Sunday, November 30, 2008

I love multi tasking :)

This Wednesday evening from 5-8PM you have an opportunity to multi-task in a way that will benefit numerous people... friends, family members, yourself, those who are hungry, and those who are working hard to support themselves...

Stop Hunger Now, an organization that our home group has worked with, is joining with Ten Thousand Villages of Raleigh to provide an incentive to shop and to give. You can read here for the details... 

But, if you are looking for some quality merchandise (jewelry, pottery, soaps, coffee, paintings, scarves, little statue thingys, and more) then Ten Thousand Villages is an excellent place to shop at Cameron Village. 

If you are thinking about doing any Christmas Shopping for these things or at this location, please consider going this Wednesday evening. Stop Hunger Now supports people who are hungry all over the world. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A Gem in Oakwood

Yesterday I had the privilege of having lunch with my friend Julianne. We went to the Side Street Cafe in Historic Oakwood. 

I have been wanting to go there for several months now, but never found a excuse. I think it is going to become Julianne and I's regular lunch spot! 

Let me just tell you a little bit about it....

  • Only takes cash or NC checks
  • White Table Cloths yet very casual, you pay at a cashier. 
  • Lots of eclectic choices, stuff for meet lovers and vegetarians. 
I highly recommend you trying it out! I had the AV-O-CA-DO CRUSH ON YOU... SWEETIE PIE.  All of the sandwich names are unique and creative. 

Let me know if you go and enjoy! 

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

There were 3 in the bed and the little one said...

Our weekend trip to the mountains was filled with so many laughs that periodically I keep breaking out into laughter just remembering our experiences. 

We stayed at a great Bed & Breakfast. They even donated one of the nights to us. However, there was one small snafoo... 

We did not arrive until almost 11PM on Friday night so I talked with June (the inn keeper) ahead of time to figure out what we needed to do. She gave me the code for the house and then said your room is at the top of the stairs on the right, the bathroom is on the left. Great! 

So, we opened the door and walked up to our room... looked inside... one full sized bed... hmmm... what are we to do? We didn't want to bother them because it was so late, so we decided to share. Yep, all 3 of us slept in the same bed (a full). It was a little tight to say the least, but very warm... maybe it was a blessing since it dropped to 9 degrees that night. I give props to Rachel who took the middle spot. 

The next morning we realized there had been a miscommunication and we were given an entire floor the next day, but we had a lot of laughs :) 

Monday, November 24, 2008

Spot Light #1

Here is my first attempt at letting my avid readers in on the things I am passionate about, wait a second... I think most of blog posts allude to these things, but I digress... 

There is an amazing organization in Asheville, NC called On Eagles Wings Ministries. That is working toward providing care for and awareness of sex trafficking. Here is their mission statement...

 On Eagles Wings Ministries was founded to encourage women of all 
backgrounds to lay down the mistakes and pains of their past, renew their strength through God's word, and begin to soar as they experience God's love, forgiveness and a second chance through a life fully devoted to Jesus Christ. 

One of their specific projects is the Hope House which will be the first faith based home for domestic victims of sex trafficking in the US. They will be able to provide holistic care for girls ages 12-18 who have been trafficked into the sex industry. A few of us from Jubilee just went to provide a training for them and it was awesome. I am truly humbled to be able to be a part in this ministry. Wow! It is challenging work, lots of trauma and messy stuff... but, we follow Jesus example, he showed more compassion and servant hood than I can muster. So cool! 

There are likely to many needs that start once the doors open, but for now the main ways that we can help are: 

  • Educating ourselves 
  • Promoting awareness 
  • Confronting lies that we may even believe about sex, women, and the oppressed
  • Donating money (the have funding for the home, but will need to raise their monthly operating expenses as they are taking no assistance from the government. 
  • Praying for the care givers
  • Praying for the girls
Please let me know if you have any questions about this organization or how you can be involved. 

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm going to try something new

I got an idea this week that I hope I can follow through with. I am going to try to feature a different group, organization, community outreach, etc. each week on my blog. I am planning to do this on Monday mornings.

Each of the posts will include:

  • A link to the organization's web page (if they have one)
  • A blurb about what they do
  • At least one if not several action steps for people reading
Hopefully we can have discussion about the issues in question and also be creative about how to support these groups over time. 

I have a few in mind, but please send me your picks if you have any organizations you would like me to feature. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Recently I feel like I have been bombarded with thoughts about water... not sure what to make of it...

#1: The Today show is doing a special on the "Ends of The Earth" that is quite fascinating. I saw Al up in Iceland watching huge glaciers melt away and talk with people in a natural hot tub. I saw Meredith talk with Australian life guards who train since age 6 to help save people from the dangers of the ocean. There are some pretty amazing things going on out there in the world. Has anyone else watched this series?

#2: This morning as I was running I saw a bunch of water all over Whittaker Mill Rd. I don't think I'm mistaken that it didn't rain last night or this morning. I'm not sure where all the water is coming from. I also almost got plummeted with water from someone's sprinkler. Yes, someone was watering their lawn this morning. Can someone help me understand why that is a good idea?

#3: I had an extensive conversation about showering habits with my co-workers and bar customers at NoFo yesterday. Matt and I have a shower timer that lasts for 5 minutes. It has the slogan, "Be water wise, shower in 5". I try to use it as much as possible. Those I was talking with were astonished that I would take less than 5 minute showers. I have to confess that during the winter I usually spin the dial twice because I like the hot water coming down on me. But, 5 minutes is a long time if you are counting. Also, I was talking a to a friend about my brother's rental property and he said they have a 40 gallon water heater and so when 5 guys are taking showers they are bound to run out of hot water, maybe they need to borrow my timer.
How long of showers do you take?

#4: When we were in the Bahamas I saw the most beautiful water ever, clear yet blue.... so amazing.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Teach us, O God, creator, that nothing is necessary to you. Were anything necessary to you, that thing would be the measure of your imperfection: and how could we worship you if you were imperfect? You are perfect. This is hard for me to understand, but I trust it. If nothing is necessary to you, then none of us are necessary either, not even me, my friends and family. But, you do seek us even though you don't need us. Wow! Thank you for longing to be with us. We seek you because we need you desperately, for in you we live and move and have our being. All things come from you and return to you. Today I worship you. Amen.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Do you have a "trash basket"?

Periodically my mom sends me devotional things that she thinks I might get something out of... This one was written by Gwen Smith... I have cut out some parts to make it shorter, but I hope if you struggle with letting go of any guilt and shame in your life that this offers you similar freeing truths that I needed to embrace, yet again, today!

A four-year-old girl was overheard reciting the Lord's Prayer, "and forgive us our trash baskets, as we forgive those who pass trash against us." When I first heard that story, I smiled. Then I thought of a conversation I recently had with a girlfriend.

She is a Christian friend. But though she has "emptied her trash basket" of sin before the Lord in sincere repentance, she has not emptied the trash basket of self-condemnation. Not completely. She won't allow it. She struggles deeply to let go of mistakes she made in her past. She holds the trash basket lid on tightly. To be free of that waste doesn't seem fair in her mind.

She is haunted by shame. Haunted by sins that are no longer remembered by God. Haunted by sins that have been cast as far as the east is from the west.

"For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us. As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him." (Psalm 103:11-13)

These memories don't live in her past. They live in her now.

Do you see that our holy Lord delights to show us mercy? He does not condemn us as we deserve. Time and time again, Scripture reveals merciful pictures of forgiveness. The woman in John 8 was guilty when she was brought to face Jesus, but as she left His presence, her guilt was forgiven. Her trash basket was empty. When we turn to face Jesus with repentant hearts, our guilt is forgiven as well.

Toss your trash!

My friend carried around a trash basket filled with junk she threw in herself. Sure, it was accompanied by trash from other people too, but the lingering condemnation came from memories of decisions she had made, things she had done, places she had been, and brokenness she has experienced because of her own choices. In her heart, she accepts the forgiveness of Jesus, but she can't bear to forgive herself. So many women won't forgive themselves.

I've been that woman.

I know that woman.

I know that self-loathing. I've lived it. I'm not going to sit here and try to tell you that forgiving yourself is easy. It's hard--and, in a lot of ways, it should be! But I can testify that it wasn't until I prayerfully allowed the stubborn, strong, and unconditional love of Jesus to pry my fingers off the lid of my trash basket and empty the condemning contents, that I experienced true freedom and complete forgiveness.

Is there something for which you have not been able to forgive yourself?

My friend, we need to stop beating ourselves up for sins of our past. We need to stop allowing guilt and shame to chain us to unproductive living. Jesus humbled Himself by becoming human, endured an excruciating death, and then defied the grave in His resurrection so that we could be restored to a place of complete healing. Complete healing.

Second Corinthians 5:21 states that "God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God." If you are in Christ, the Bible says that your guilt was paid for on the cross of Calvary. Jesus carried the sins of the world on His shoulders so that you would not have to carry them on yours.

If you are holding on to unconfessed sin, the time has come for you to release your grip. God's Word promises that, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Accept His forgiveness.

None of us is perfect, just perfectly forgiven. Take your hand off the lid and allow the Lord to empty your trash basket of every condemning voice, once and for all. Embrace the freedom that Jesus intends for you to live in.

Let's Pray
Holy Father, Your mercy defies logic in my mind. I don't deserve it, and I just don't understand how You could possibly forgive me for all that I have done. Please take my trash basket and empty it. Forgive me today and help me to forgive myself, and others, so I can live freely in Your amazing grace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

If you got this far I hope these words brought you comfort today.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Thanks to the Gores

You can kind of make out the non mini van that the 6 of us fit into for our journey. We are very thankful to have friends who would let us borrow their car.

It was quite hilarious watching us get in and out of the car. We were packed in there TIGHT!!!

The best was sharing the back seat with my husband (um, his legs were just a little cramped : ) But, we made it safe and sound and I am so glad that we drove all together.

Fall Days

Yesterday was one of the most beautiful days that I have experienced. Ever since I was a little girl I have loved watching the leaves turn colors in the fall. There was this one bush a couple streets down from our house that would turn a perfect golden color each year. I used to beg my parents to take me to see it.

After coming home from our worship gathering yesterday Matt and I decided to walk to McDonalds to get some ice cream. (about 1PM) Unfortunately, the monopoly game is over, but we still enjoyed our soft serve. Then Matt and I proceeded to walk towards North Hills and took a left into Drewry Hills. We kept going and going...

We are still debating on building a house at some point and love to get ideas. We also like to cut down the houses that we don't like because I think it makes us feel better about not yet having our dream home. Don't get me wrong... I love our house! We just like to dream.

Along the way we passed several old couples, we asked ourselves, are we going to be like them when we are older? Then after passing a few more, we decided...oohhh, we ARE like them NOW! I'm okay with that.

We took turns at each intersection deciding which way to go, we were never getting home... we went in several open houses... then it was about 4PM. What should we do now? Oh, Beer and Football???

We stopped in at The Point to have some Big Boss and watch some games. John Michael and Anne Parker came to join us for a bit. I love hanging out with them ;)

After finally walking home it was 6:30PM... what a long walk! Matt was determined to call it exercise, but I argued that wearing flip flops and stopping for ice cream and beer negated that... whatever it was, it was fun!

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Trinity and Pics from "The Fascination"

This morning I met with my journey group girls for another bit of life sharing and musing about faith and how our pursuit of Jesus orients our lives.

We have recently decided to read the book "The knowledge of the Holy" by A.W. Tozer. In his forward he explains that he is writing for the "common" person, but I would beg to differ. This is a DEEP read.

So, each of us are taking turns leading the discussion and this week Jenny was up. She prefaced her discussion leading by saying that she wasn't sure if she could offer much (and she mentioned how great of a school NC State is). Then, she went on to give the best analogy I have ever heard in attempts to "explain" the trinity.

We decided that the trinity is something that we will never be able to explain, but we still want to understand what believe in to an extent... Until now I had only heard the H2O picture, of water, ice, and vapor... but this one is much better :)

She used me, I am a wife, a daughter and sister. I am all three at once, yet in different situations I am more one or the other. The fact that I am a daughter and a sister impacts the way that I am a wife and the fact that I am a wife impacts the way that I am a sister and daughter. Can you see how this might connect to the way that God is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, unique to each of the parts, yet deeply connected together.

Jenny, did I do justice to your example?

Also, enjoy more pictures from the Cruise... more to come ;)

A small success

Back in Feb. I posted about an organization that was asking folks to boycott Craig's list because of their exotic services availability and non accountability.

Well, this morning a friend of mine emailed me this news story that discusses Craig's list new initiative to ask those listing exotic services to provide a phone number and a credit card to help curb illegal business.

I know that this won't stop human trafficking and sexual exploitation of minors completely on this website, but at least its a start.

**One a side note... As I was looking for my previous post I went back through my blog archives and noticed that I have an amazing life. Thanks Jesus! Thanks Friends! Thanks Family!**

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I think I have motion sickness

Its weird, but I feel like my house is still spinning... like the boat when it would rock back and forth. I think we all had at least one night when the rocking got to us, but over all we felt great and had a ton of fun. Enjoy a few more pics.

So much Fun

Back to reality... at home from the Bahamas. We had a ton of fun and many posts will come to explain our adventures. The first one will show the boy's major accomplishment (a 3 high pyramid)... I was the coach :)