Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Trafficking

The sex slave trade is an issue that runs rampant in our country. Yes, right here in America, not just in Cambodia and India and the Philippines. And Atlanta is one of the top cities in the world that imports women and children and forces them into prostitution.

There are more slaves RIGHT NOW than have ever been on this earth at any other point in history. People estimate anywhere from 30-200 million people in slavery today, 80% being sex slaves. It's unbelievable that this is allowed, accepted, and even encouraged in some cultures today. Check out this short video from a group called Exodus Cry, based out of IHOP-Kansas City for a general overview of what is happening in the world right now as we speak.

So how can we help? What can we in suburbia do that can shift the pendulum to the other side? What does it look like for us to call down justice and see it manifested in the earth?

Prayer. God hears the prayers of His people. He despises injustice and longs to see the righteous prevail. Our prayers move heaven and we can't afford to be shy. We have to make declarations. We have to boldly approach the throne of God on behalf of the orphans, the widows, and the oppressed. God IS a God of justice.

Supporting women who have been freed. There are safe houses all over the world that rescue women, give them medical treatment if needed, psychological help, and teach them a trade. There are a couple of organizations that allow you to buy items that these freed women have made- and your money goes to help them as well as the facility or home they live in. Night Light. Free the Slaves. Not For Sale. She Dances. All of those are places that go to help women and children in this industry see the freedom that they were meant to always have.

Hold an awareness raising event. 5k. Jewelry party. Concert. Art Show, Etc.

We CAN make a difference. We just have to do something.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Moving!

Today we start the BIG move...across the apartment complex from building 10 to building 7. So its really not a BIG move, but a move nonetheless. Its amazing how much stuff you accumulate over a year. We've found it hard to be cut-throat about getting rid of stuff because of all the sentimental value that comes with each item. And things that I want Patrick to get rid of tend to be his most important treasures. How can you display and decorate with a Wheaties box and baseballs? Boys are beyond me. I'm going to have to call in the Pottery Barn advisory team for this one...


Today we paint, tomorrow our stuff starts to be moved. Saturday the heavy pieces go because of the assistance we'll have from some very manly men. Today I'm working from home, finishing laundry, folding clothes, putting shoes and clothes in boxes, packing up jewelry, doing some spot cleaning, and taking pictures off the wall. Hopefully this afternoon I'll start painting, with Patrick joining me when he gets off work at 4:30. Although the day is long ahead of me, I've already successfully brewed a cup of coffee, showered, checked my email, and spent an hour on facebook. Awesome. Great progress.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

March Resolutions

So I never really came up with New Year's resolutions, I came up with New Year's declarations. But now I'm wishing I had a few resolutions or goals to work towards this year. So here is my 3-month delayed set of New Year's resolutions:

Run a race. Any race, even if its just a 5k.
Start an etsy site for my paintings.
Start writing a book.
Exercise 4 times a week.
Grow mint, basil, and cilantro...again. And keep it alive long enough to eat it.
Have someone mentor me, and find someone that I can pour into.
Read at least 2 books a month.




Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Middle East

My favorite thing to do in the entire world is travel. I love missions because I love experiencing new cultures- the tastes, the smells, the sounds, the people. We can learn so much from other groups of people and the way they live.

I've been blessed to have gotten to travel a good bit in my 24 years of living- to South and Central America, Europe, Asia and Africa. All unbelievable places with lively people and unique customs and traditions. This May I have the opportunity to go to the Middle East for two weeks. This will be my first trip that I'll be leading, and I couldn't be more excited. This is something I could spend my entire life doing- traveling and seeing God encounter people with His love.

Here is a picture of one of the shirts we'll be selling to raise money. It's not very clear in this picture, but it's the only copy of the design I have. It says "Love: Be the encounter" in Arabic. So many people are only one encounter away from God's love...and because I have been freely given to, I now able to freely give. People need God's love. They need to know they're valued. They need to know that they have a great destiny in store for them. God is just longing for His people to know His love. He is good. He is loving. He is not angry or spiteful, resentful or mean. He is always good. And always loving. And He loves to give good gifts to His children.

Now if only the whole world knew how incredible they are...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Musical Seasons

For years, certain genres of music have defined seasons of life for me. As Patrick and I are packing to move to our new apartment, we've been listening to everything from Counting Crows to Juanes, from Toby Keith to Jesus Culture. And each time a song comes on, I'm immediately transported to a time when that song or artist was all I listened to.

My junior year of college, there was guy by the name of Rick Pearson (Candi Pearson Shelton's brother) that passed away. Rick had leukemia and was a worship leader at North Point. Hundreds of people would read the blog his sister started to update friends and family on his medical condition. I remember laying on the floor in my room just crying out for healing. I would skip parties and hanging out with people so that I could read people's comments and prayers on his blog. I felt like I was encountering God in raw ways every time I opened it up. At his funeral (which 1,000s attended), they played a song that he had written and put on a children's worship cd. It had been recorded months before they discovered his cancer, and it was life-changing to me. I do not know what tomorrow holds for me. I may find that days ahead are hard for me. But I know that You are great oh Lord. And I know that You are good! Even when I don't understand, even when I can't see your plan, I will never cease to lift up my hands and worship you my God.

The summer I spent in Kenya, I only listened to two songs: Regardless by Jimmy Needham (because that was the only song I had at the time that didn't mention sin or darkness, but only spoke of glorifying God) and Inside Out by Hillsong. God gave me huge revelation while we were having an impromptu worship session one night in Nairobi about the song Inside Out. And from that point forward, some of the lyrics became my deepest heart cry.

The first time I truly encountered God's love was in ministry school. I'd heard the song "How He Loves" hundreds of times, but for some reason, the night Lindy Hale spoke about her dad- this song sunk into every part of me. She had her son Matthew sing a song that her dad wrote for her and used to sing to her, and then Matthew went into the chorus of "How He Loves." I never felt anything so real in my entire life. God showed me parts of Him that I didn't know were there. He told me secrets about my family and about the qualities He put in them, just so I could experience Him on earth. It was an incredible night of weeping and not even being sure I could stand any more of His love. Now I hear that song and just want to soak in His love and go back to the time where I really encountered His love for the first time.

Although there are other songs that have defined seasons for me, this blog is already long so I'll save the rest for another day. God is good all the time.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hair Dye and Rick Pino


Some would call today a waste, however I would call it PERFECT. I went into work for 2 hours and then had to take my friend Theresa to the airport. I originally had plans after that to burn some work-out dvds from a friend but that fell through. So I went to Rite Aid and bought hair color, 2 cadbury creme eggs, 2 reese's eggs, a fastbreak candy bar, and a lighter. A good variety of essentials. Yesterday I bought new earbuds because mine had kicked the bucket. It's been a good week of buying important and needed items. I realize I could have gone back to work, but then I couldn't use my hair dye, finish my book, or play on twitter.


I was listening to Rick Pino this morning and am always so encouraged by his music. He has a way of inspiring courage in people and making them feel not alone. I've had a really hard time at work recently and some of Pino's lines really struck me... "There's a fourth man standing there in the fire, you're not alone," "your Father's coming down to shut the mouths of the lions," "The Lord is with you mighty warrior, so rise." Listening to this music really empowers my soul and allows me to see from a heavenly perspective. If only I could readily walk in these Truths minute by minute without a lull in between. But the time will come when I won't need music to remind me of these Truths, but they will be written on my heart and be a part of soul.




Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A Thousand Splendid Suns

This is the book I'm currently reading. Yes, I'm a little behind the times, but I'm okay with that. Ministry school books have kept me preoccupied for the last two years, so I'm finally doing some "catch-up" reading.

This book is phenomenal. The author, Khaled Hosseini is a one-of-a-kind writer. He has a way of fitting every sentence and word around a certain emotion that he wants to invoke in you. Everything from his word choice, hand motion and flick of the eye revolves around this one emotion, creating layers and layers of meaning and depth in each plot line. I've never really noticed that about any other author, but I've wondered how Hosseini's stories can be so sad, yet so engaging. Each sentence supports a very specific feeling, without actually specifying the feeling.

I encourage all readers to pick up this book, as well as The Kite Runner. Both are quick and meaty reads.