The Gift of Friendship

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One of the biggest blessings that have come out of the past year and 1/2 are these beautiful women. Women that have poured into me. Prayed for me and blessed me with laughter.

On Friday, really really early on Friday, I will be flying to Houston to spend the weekend with 10 of the 12 founding members of the God-sized Dream website. We are meeting to dream and plan together….to seek God’s vision for the site and of course to eat way too much and laugh. Oh how I need to laugh!

This trip, and my ability to go, is a blessing in so many ways.

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The community that we build online is real. It matters, it changes us.

I wasn’t aware that I could be filled in this way. That I would have the opportunity to pour into others….these crazy ladies that I met online! ;)

Holley and I!

But it has happened, and the chance to spend even just a weekend in real life together, well I am almost beside myself in anticipation.

You see on Saturday is Karlena’s birthday….

Karlena 2

A birthday that I can’t celebrate with her in person. Her loss in my life is still there….

But God.

Oh how He has filled my life to overflowing with the presence of some amazing women. And that this weekend was THE weekend that worked for so many of us to gather?! That at a time I would be feeling extra lonely, I will be surrounded by friends that are doing the very things that Karlena did with me.

Praying for me, encouraging me, being that light….that example of faith.

Thank you God. Thank you.

While Karlena will never be replaced in my heart, I am so grateful that God has filled that need for friendship with some wonderful women.

Friendship, real life, true friendship is a gift.

My prayer for each person reading here is that you will have someone in your life that is filling your need for true friendship, and that you would be able to be that gift back.

 Lord, Thank you. Thank you for the gift of friendship. Thank you for filling my life with wonderful women who love You and love me so well. I lift up anyone who is feeling lonely today, who is searching for that friendship but doesn’t have it now. May they feel your peace and love even more today. In Your Great Name, we praise you! Amen

Each Wednesday we meet to join Holley in her 2014 Encouragement Challenge. If you need a little uplifting for your day jump on over and join us won’t you?!

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Why Our Individual Stories Matter

Journal 1

The word “blog” was something I hadn’t even heard of until early 2008. My husband and I had tickets to attend a Selah/Point of Grace concert and we heard that the lead singer of Selah wasn’t going to be able to attend. His wife was carrying a baby that was “incompatible with life” and she was due to deliver the same week as the concert.

The radio station gave the name of Angie Smith’s blog, and asked us to pray.

I wasn’t even sure what I would find on this blog, but I wanted to read more about this family. So that night, while using my incredibly slow dial up internet service, I logged on and found myself engrossed in a story I hadn’t expected.

Here was a woman, who had made a choice to carry a baby they were being told wouldn’t survive, and she was praising God in the middle of it.

I was heartbroken for her and yet inspired by her faith. My own prayer life changed as I found myself praying for Angie and her family. I watched as a community of strangers left comments and encouragement, offered up prayers and showered them with love.

Until that time I didn’t know that community could be formed online.

And then in February of that same year my husband and I had a miscarriage.  I was really struggling with the loss, even though it was early in the pregnancy, and I needed a way to process everything.

I had journaled as a teenager and thought that maybe this blog thing might help me. And so my first family blog was born.

I had 4 readers, literally 4. My parents and my grandparents. :)

Initially, I was writing for me….finding a way to work out my faith in this grief process I was going through.

The writing was healing for me and while I didn’t have an audience of 10,000….I was so encouraged by the community that I had seen form online that I kept going.

Then somehow I stumbled onto a few more blogs and “met” other women who were dealing with pregnancy loss and infertility struggles. I was not alone. And while none of us had the same story, I recognized that each individual story mattered.  (<=== Click to Tweet)

I am sharing the rest of the story over at Laura Rath’s blog today – will you join me over there?!

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Original Photo Credit: Walt Stoneburner modified by Kristin Smith

 

We All Need a Little Grace!

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 The sound of something spilling all over the floor brought me running into the kitchen.

There was Elijah, my almost 5 year old, with a look of fear on his face. He had made a huge mess and spilled his juice all over the chair and the floor.

Maybe it is because I have been sick the past few days and unable to keep up with my everyday responsibilities let alone parent well….

Maybe it was the look on his face, I don’t know….but I didn’t respond the way that I normally would.

I didn’t get angry or yell at him. I have little patience for stupid mistakes. (I am serious…patience is NOT a virtue that I was blessed with and it becomes more and more clear as I struggle to parent a 3 yr old and almost 5 yr old well!)

Normally I would let something like this really upset me….I wouldn’t see it as an accident, but a careless mistake.

But this night was different.

This night I just grabbed a rag and started to clean up the mess and told Elijah it was just an accident (which it was)….

I told him that he needed to be more careful about where he left his cup on the table so it didn’t happen again – but I was calm and kind.

Grace.

We all need it don’t we?

I am not above stupid mistakes, heck I make them all the time! And I expect grace from others don’t I?!

Why am I not as willing to extend it then?

Just that afternoon I had left work for an extended time to take a nap because I was feeling so terrible. I need grace too, just like everyone else.

God really used this little incident to speak to my weary heart.

I don’t want my kids to always be afraid that I am going to get angry when they do something wrong.

I want them to learn how to give and receive grace. (<=== Click to Tweet)

I want them to know that their mistakes don’t define them, but God’s grace for their lives does.

As we enter the final days of Holy Week, I am more and more grateful for the amazing gift of grace that was shown to me.

God sacrificed His ONLY Son, to be a Savior of all mankind. Even when He knew we would be sinful, even when He knew we would curse Him, would fall away and turn from His love….He loved us THAT much that in spite of who He knew we would be, He still made a way so that we could spend eternity with Him.

Wow – that kind of grace is overwhelming isn’t it?!

Grace.

We all need it.

I am grateful that I had an opportunity to practice grace in a real way with my kids. I won’t always do it well…in fact now that I have written this post I will probably fail in a BIG way in the coming days. (I’m just saying….I am the chief of hypocrites)

But I hope that I can be more quick to remember to extend grace instead of react negatively.

Because we all need a little grace!

Joining the lovely Holley Gerth today in her weekly 2014 Encouragement Challenge.

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Photo Credit: Share the Word

Clothed in Love Krafty Kash Fun! {And a Giveaway}

kraftykash Delonna fundraiser

Wow what an amazing few days it has been…I have seen community in action and have been blown away by your love and support of my dear friend Delonna.

As many of you know last Thursday was Clothed in Love’s 1 year Anniversary. And for 24 hours there was this amazing Matching Funds Donation Day. And we were all blown away at how many people responded and gave.

Delonna is SO close to having her goal completely funded…all thanks to so many of you!

I know of one woman who gave all she could, feeling like it wasn’t much…..she probably didn’t have that amount to give in the first place but she gave anyway. I am praying that God returns her gifts back to her 100 fold.

You are all a light.

You showed great love in supporting another’s God-sized Dream.

Delonna’s heart is to love on orphans, to show them that they are wanted and special. By giving to Delonna’s Pure Charity account you are also spreading love to these beautiful children!

Thank you. Really those words seem so small, but from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Several weeks ago I came across a beautiful Krafty Kash necklace on Facebook and immediately I thought of Delonna.

Kashoan of Krafty Kash makes these fun necklaces using old pages from dictionaries. She is a sweetheart and when I emailed her about possibly doing a fundraiser for the last remaining amount that Delonna needed to raise she jumped on board immediately.

They have created 3 beautiful necklaces with words that reflect Delonna’s ministry and hope for all orphans.

Love, Light and Heart.

You can see the actual necklaces in the photo above!

Each necklace is $24 + $2.50 S/H. For each necklace sold Delonna will get $12 to be put in her Pure Charity account!

I have one of these necklaces that says “Home” from a different fundraiser and they are really nice, unique pieces. Maybe a fun Mother’s Day gift idea?!

If you are interested in helping you can purchase one of these necklaces here.

In order to get the word out about these necklaces I am giving one away to one of you who helps me spread the word.

You can get an entry for each of the following below (please comment for each thing you do and make sure that you leave your email address so I can contact you if you are the winner!)

1) Share this giveaway on Facebook and come back and leave a comment saying you have shared it.

2) Click on the the Click to Tweet below and come back an leave a comment that you tweeted! (Clothed in Love and Krafty Kash joining forces to raise funds to love on orphans) <=== Click to Tweet)

3) Purchase a necklace and come back and tell me and you will be entered to win a 2nd one for a friend!

Giveaway will end on Monday April 21st!  **UPDATED – Congrats to Lisa – I have sent you a message and will order your necklace once I know which one you want!! Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word! **

Thank you again for your support, prayers and encouragement of Delonna. She sends her love from South Africa right now!!

Where Two or More are Gathered…..

Holding HandsMatthew 18:20 “20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

Right now Isaac, our oldest, is over at the High School taking his ACT test.  I was up early to make him some breakfast and when the younger kids came down stairs I told them that we needed to remember Isaac and be praying for him because he had a big test today.

Isaac (for right now) says he is interested in Pharmacy. He thinks that he will attend SDSU and they have a program there that allows for early entry into the pre-pharm program as a freshman if you get a 27 or higher on the ACT. You are also eligible for more scholarships if that happens….needless to say he has a pretty high expectation of what he wants as a minimum score on the test today.

I remember taking my ACT test and not getting the score I had hoped for….it wasn’t terrible, but I was sure I was smarter than the test said I was. ;) So as a mom now I have anxiety over this for him too!

I put out a call for prayer to some of those most amazing prayer warriors I know. It is good to have a circle of friends that will lift up even the smallest prayer requests!

Then as I was cleaning up the kitchen after breakfast Elijah (almost 5) came up to me and said that we should pray for Isaac!

So we sat down in the middle of the kitchen together and held hands.

I said “Did you know that the Bible says that where 2 or more are gathered together in God’s name, that God is there with them?”

“God is here right now Elijah, with us, hearing our prayers for Isaac!”

His eyes got big and he smiled….and then we prayed a prayer over his big brother.

It was 8:03am….right as Isaac was getting ready to start his younger brother was praying over him. I can’t tell you how much I love that!

I don’t know how he will do…or if he will get the score he wants.

I do know that our kids hear us. It is important to talk about God and prayer even in the most general of conversations. And when our kids come to us and want to engage us in prayer…stop everything and do it!

My heart is full this morning.

Regardless of how it turns out – Isaac left knowing that there were women across the country praying for him, that his siblings were praying for him…. and THAT is better than any positive test result.

Thank you for praying for my children – for covering them with blessings. I am so grateful to have a community here that loves me and my family so well!!

Photo Credit: fromcolettewithlove

Matching Gifts of Love

DeLonna

This is me and my beautiful friend Delonna. I have introduced her here before…but today is an extra special day so I wanted to tell you about something amazing that you can be a part of!

Delonna is a God-sized dreamer and fellow GSD website contributor. She has only been in my life a little over a year, but I feel like she has been a friend forever.

She has the BIGGEST heart for orphans. A year ago she started an organization called Clothed in Love. Her heart’s desire is to sponsor 40 children with profits from her non-profit.

Isn’t that amazing?!

Right now, after only a year, she has sponsored 15 children! I am so so proud of her!

Delonna is also a woman with a servant’s heart and is currently on a plane, right now, headed to South Africa for a mission trip!! :)

Then in July she is headed back to Africa as a part of the Baby Watoto Global Team. She is going to visit an orphanage where she sponsors some children and will get to love on them in person!!

Trips like these cost money and today, on the 1 year anniversary of the start of Clothed in Love, we have an opportunity to help her meet the remainder of her goal.

An anonymous donor has contacted her and offered to match up to $1000 of the funds raised for the 24 hours of April 10th!

You can read more about it here on her Pure Charity webpage.

If you can give $10 today…it will become $20.

If you can give $50, it will become $100!

Ok I don’t need to give you more examples, you get the math!!

I am just so excited about this for Delonna!

I feel called to not only support a dear friend, but to show love to orphans even when I can’t actually go to Africa myself.

Today is the day friends.

I am asking you to pray and consider how you might be able to help make this trip financially possibly for Delonna.

Go here to make a tax-deductible donation and support a wonderful cause…and make your dollar go farther with this amazing, one day only, match! 

Seeking to be the Light

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Sometimes the darkness in this world can be overwhelming.

I don’t even watch the news much anymore because I rarely find anything encouraging. Maybe that is hiding my head in the sand a bit…or maybe it is protecting my heart.

I easily gravitate towards the negative.

It isn’t something that I like about myself, but it is a part of who I am.

I have to fight it. To not get caught up in the “drama” and go down that dark path.

Recently I, and many of my dreamer sisters, were told “no” to an opportunity that seemed like such an amazing God-sized dream.

I will be honest with you and tell you that I really thought this time might be “it”. My spirit was crushed a little when the “no” came….the lies that I wasn’t good enough started creeping in again.

And I felt without words.

Have you ever been there? Chasing after what you thought was your God-sized dream only to discover it wasn’t in the cards for you. At least not now, not this time.

So I had to ask myself if this one thing was going to define me?

As writers, dreamers, want-to-be-speakers….we are bound to hear “no” from time to time. In fact we may actually hear “no” more than we hear “yes”!

But that doesn’t mean that our words aren’t important!

In fact it is the very reason that we must keep moving forward, keep offering hope to others!

As followers of Christ we are called to be a Light here.

Matthew 5: 14-16:  14 And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. 15 Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. 16 You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.

I love these verses in Matthew. Such a reminder that I need to be letting my light shine everywhere I go.

Why?

So that men and women everywhere may see creation at its fullest, may see my devotion to God and turn and praise God because of it.

We are called to be a light, ultimately, so that God can receive praise and glory!

This world isn’t about  me (I know big shocker right?!) ;)

I am here to be a light in the darkness. (<==== Click to Tweet)

I can use this space for my glory…or for His.

I hope that I am always choosing the latter. That the words that spill on to these pages are ones of hope and encouragement and ultimately point you to Jesus.

So while the “no” stings, it doesn’t need to define me. My life has been a series of “no’s” that have eventually opened doors to some amazing “yes” opportunities!

I am called to be a light here, in all seasons.  The good and the difficult because none of this life would be possible without Him.

I can’t ever forget that!

It is always an honor to link up with my fellow God-sized Dreamers. Want to join in on the fun? Jump over here to read more!

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Photo Credit: Identity Photogr@phy

You Are Not A Failure

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When I was 16 I knew that I wanted to be a Physical Therapist when I “grew up”. One of my dad’s best friend’s was a PT and he allowed me to go to the clinic after school and shadow there to see what it might be like.

Before I even started college I had hours of volunteer time built up. I loved it. I felt like it was the perfect job for me and set my mind to achieving my goals.

As a Junior I was pre-accepted to the private college of my choice, located in my hometown, with scholarships. It was the college that my parents had both graduated from….everything was falling into place, perfectly

I had no doubt that this was God’s plan for my life.

My first semester of college was tough, but I worked hard and did well. Then in my 2nd semester as a Freshman I took Organic Chemistry. It was HARD and didn’t come easy. I studied and studied for my first quiz….I think I got 20 out of 25 wrong.

A complete and miserable failure.

I am sharing the rest of the story over at God-sized Dreams today – join me there won’t you?!

Original Photo Credit: Derek Keats

The Copper Anchor – April Impact Opportunity and a Giveaway!!

Lisa Print modified 1

Sometimes following our dreams can be risky.

The world may tell us that we are crazy or that our dreams are out of reach….

But if you are following God’s plans for you, Oh, the places you’ll go!

My dear friend, and amazing blog designer, Lisa Larson is following a BIG dream with her husband and kids. She recently shared that they are pursuing adoption.

A big, and at times scary, dream…but one they feel God calling them to.

I have had the opportunity to get to know Lisa over the past year and LOVE her heart for others. Yesterday she opened her new Etsy shop.  They hope to sell these beautiful digital prints, like the one above, so that they can raise funds to help with their adoption costs.

Lisa has so much talent in design – I mean have you seen the beautiful details on my blog? She used those God-given gifts to create some amazing prints. I had a hard time choosing which ones I wanted to order!

I picked out 4 that I will print and use in our toy room!

I would love to help Lisa and Jerad meet their fundraising goal so it seemed perfect timing to feature their shop as my April Impact Opportunity!!

Lisa hasn’t asked me to post this….I just really believe in her and their desire to add another child to their family through adoption.

Would you consider making a purchase to help too?  Right now the digital prints are only $5 and $10!! Once you purchase the digital download you will have access to the print to copy, share, print etc.

A friend on FB suggested that they could even be made into a canvas print! With all the deals I find for canvas prints, I loved this idea!

Following big dreams aren’t easy, and sometimes they take some hard work and a lot of faith….but the journey can be amazing can’t it?!

Thank you for helping to support Lisa and her family! And even if you can’t purchase a print right now I know they would love all the prayers they can get!

For fun I decided that I am going to give away one of these print downloads!! You can get one entry by heading over to Lisa’s shop and coming back and leaving a comment with your favorite print. You can get additional entries for sharing this post on FB and Twitter and if you purchase a print of your own that will give you another entry! Please just leave a comment for each entry separately and also make sure to leave your email address so that once I have a winner picked I can have Lisa send you your pick of prints direct!

Giveaway will remain open until Monday April 7th!

Linking up with my fellow dream chasing sisters today over at God-sized Dreams.

GSD Link Up Picture

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