Wednesday, April 28, 2010

To be a Survivor in this Amazing Race

This video pretty much speaks for itself :) The TALENT God gave this woman is awesome and it is even more incredible that she is using it to glorify Jesus and bring young people to Him.
I hope you enjoy it!



USE THE TALENTS HE GAVE YOU AND BE BLESSED!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Keep on keeping on

The other day Jon and I went hiking nearby our home. It was supposed to rain that day, but it held off and we just went for it. We love hiking, but very rarely do it. In fact... we rarely get much exercise at all! :-/ {Jon moves around a lot more at his jobs than I do... Like I said over there in my bio, I do internet marketing and website content management.. so that equals sitting on my butt all day!}


Anywho, I love taking nature walks and looking at and taking pictures of God's beautiful creations.

Like.. just check out this tree!!! A beaver totally went at that thing like it was his job!.. because it IS his job!! that was the job that God gave him in life. I just love it! I love love love God's creations! He never ceases to amaze me and that's one of the main reasons why I cannot wait to homeschool. I just get so giddy with excitement when I learn about nature or science or culture, etc., because we are all God's creations and I love learning about His laws of nature and science and how the human mind works and how we are all different in this wonderful world.


Jon wanted to climb to the top so he could take pictures, so even though I knew it'd be a rough road ahead of us, I happily said yes. {who could say "no" to that face of his? ;)}


About 10 minutes into walking uphill though, my breaths were getting shorter and shorter and my chest was getting tighter and tighter.

Although I could barely go twenty feet without saying something along the lines of, "Oh... my... I .... I... this.. is.. hard!", I kept on keeping on!

Jon was pretty much flying ahead of me, stopping every once in a while to let me catch up {thanks hun!}


Howeverrr... About half way up, I started getting a little dizzy. My chest was burning. And I could barely get 1/2 a sentence out my breathing was so shallow.

I gave up. I just couldn't do it. I had to sit. I let Jon climb the rest of it and I made my way back down.


I was thinking about this hike earlier and thinking how unconditioned I am. My older sister wants to climb Mount Monadnock with me this summer... but if I don't get conditioned then I wont make it to the top! {we tried last year and I could only make it 3/4 of the way up.. disappointing}


I was also thinking that I could compare this with my life as a Christian. 


Climbing the mountain is... well.. life as a Christian. It's being a follower of Christ, which is not an easy road! It is very tough and sometimes you feel like you can't go on when life's obstacles come up against you.


And exercising is like prayer. Without consistent and dedicated exercise I cannot get to the top of Mount Monadnock.. at least not without collapsing from exhaustion! And without consistent and dedicated prayer we cannot make it through our Christian walk without always feeling totally defeated and tired of life. Connecting to God through prayer is our fuel that keeps us strong and spiritually healthy and when our legs feel like they are going to just give out from underneath us, He is there to help us keep on keeping on.


"I lift mine eyes unto the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, Maker of Heaven and Earth." Psalm 121:1-2

Friday, April 23, 2010

Slavery is Alive and Thriving

Today I started following @AaronCohen777 on Twitter... I liked his bio description: "abolitionist".

Aaron is author of the memoir "Slave Hunter: One Man's Global Quest to Free Victims of Human Trafficking". I would really like to get this book to become more informed about the current situation. His website is www.abolishslavery.org, so check it out... {after you finish reading here of course! :p}

Many people don't know the extent to which slavery is thriving in today's world, but it is a booming business and a staggering 800,000 people are bought and sold each year, adding to the already approximately 27 MILLION people enslaved today {more than double the amount of 3 1/2 centuries of African slaves}. The sad thing is, most people also don't realize that America is the largest purchaser of slaves (majority being sex slaves, both women as well as boys). Supply and demand. Americans are keeping the business as alive as ever.


{Faceless Victims}
These two little girls are already sex slaves in Cambodia. They will grow up to be among the countless faceless victims of the sex slave industry. Image of two little girls from www.aim4asia.org. Collage made by me at Polyvore.com

Sure, slavery has a new face now and a new name (Human Trafficking), but the reality is that people are still being SOLD like merchandise and held against their will. Doesn't seem like that part changed much since the Civil War.

I learned about modern-day slavery a couple years ago (a few years ago now? not sure, time flies) by watching the Lifetime mini-series "Human Trafficking". I was completely astounded and really saddened and truly sickened. I just don't understand it. It's times like that where I wish God did not give us free will and then there wouldn't be the ability to show so much cruelty and hatred toward one another. But then I come back to reality... If we didn't have free will then we also wouldn't be able to know the other extreme: unconditional love, true joy, sincere generosity....

I then was introduced to the organization called Love146 through an online friend on Polyvore.com (a DIY graphic collage website, where I made the image to the right).

I read more about it, learned more facts, felt more sadness, became more angry.... and then forgot about it again.

Why is it so easy to turn away and forget? Busy-lives, I know... that's my excuse.

It's quite unfortunate that it isn't easy to just up and leave and join one of these organizations. But... maybe it just isn't everyone's calling. Maybe some people's calling is to stay home and teach their kids the love of Christ so that there isn't a chance that another sick pervert will be born into the world. Then when they grow up, if it is their calling, they can go help.

Does that sound like a cop-out? Are you thinking sarcastically to yourself "Well that's why there aren't enough people helping! They all need to be selfish and stay home and focus on themselves!"

Well... personally I would truly LOVE to live my life as a volunteer or missionary. Who knows, maybe someday God will provide the means for such a calling. I'm not saying I know what God has in store for my life, but I think that if we do not have the means to help the way some people can, then all we can do is try to improve the lives of those around us and in our own neighborhoods.

Who knows, maybe I'm completely wrong. Like I said before, God gave us all free will right? And as the saying goes, "Where there's a will, there's a way."

Then again... even though God gave us free will, we are supposed to trust in and follow HIS will alone. So.. I guess we just need to make sure we are fully in tune with the Holy Spirit so that we have the wisdom to discern what God's will is for our lives, whether it's being an abolitionist, activist, missionary, or stay-at-home mom.

Every calling is a respectable and honorable calling when it is in accordance with God's will.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thank you for being By My Side..

Heard on the radio this morning that Tenth Avenue North won the Dove Award for Song of the Year for the song "By Your Side". Congrats to them! That song is so amazing and it has definitely touched my heart and actually broken me down to tears on several occasions. After a bad day or if I'm feeling stressed and I hear that song... I just feel so grateful for Jesus and the Holy Spirit and I can't understand WHY He loves us because we are so undeserved, but that's what makes it so precious. He will always be by our sides, even in our lowest depths, because He understands because He has been through the worst of it - tortured and killed.. but He has overcome it too - raised back to life by His own power & authority to be victorious over death and sin... to break the chains of slavery that sin has us tied to. He did it so we can be restored to God and I'm so utterly grateful that my King died for me just so I can have a relationship with Him again!

Well, here are some of my favorite lyrics from the song "By Your Side"... You know what, I'm just going to post all of the lyrics to the song because they're so beautiful :) Below the lyrics is the music video for the song.

Why are you striving these days
Why are you trying to earn grace
Why are you crying
Let me lift up your face
Just don't turn away

Why are you looking for love
Why are you still searching as if I'm not enough
To where will you go child
Tell me where will you run
To where will you run

And I'll be by your side
Wherever you fall
In the dead of night
Whenever you call
And please don't fight
These hands that are holding you
My hands are holding you

Look at these hands and my side
They swallowed the grave on that night
When I drank the world's sin
So I could carry you in
And give you life
I want to give you life

(Chorus 2x)

Cause I, I love you
I want you to know
That I, I love you
I'll never let you go

(Chorus 2x)


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Great Online Commission

Yesterday I was driving home from an enjoyable game of mini-golf with my so-soon-to-be husband, and since the signal was going out on one of the two local Christian radio stations I listen to (Hope 94.9), I switched over to The Light (91.9FM in my neck of the woods).

I started listening just in time to hear the host say,

"What do you know about Internet Evangelism? Well, stay tuned to find out..."

I turned the volume up. This really piqued my interest since a) that's what I pray to achieve with this recently created blog {to share the good news & how it affects my life}... and b) I'm a big nerd and love me a little bit of techy-talk :)

A spokeswoman came on from Global Media Outreach (GMO), explaining how 2 million people log onto the internet everyday all across this beautiful planet and they search... for answers, for truth, for God. She then started listing off more statistics: how many hits they get on fundamental questions like, "Why am I on earth?" and "Does God love me?"; how many visitors to their sites request to receive online follow-up from a Christian to talk about these questions; and how many of these people from around the world ultimately accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

The numbers astounded me... and excited me!! {You know, as a side note: I heard on the radio the other day that technically Christianity is the fastest growing religion when it comes to conversions and the only reason why Islam gets the prize for "fastest-growing religion" is because their birth rates are so high! There's your "learn somethin' new everyday" fact for today!}

Well. I wanted part of this. For the last 3 years I have been working at a company where I am in charge of content-management for our website, do Internet marketing and Social Media Optimization, etc. and I've always known that God has a reason for why I am learning the things I'm learning at my job. I just didn't know why yet. Maybe this could be the start of God having me use those talents I've learned???

I pulled up the driveway, finished listening to the program, shut off my car and quickly went inside to the computer. I went to GMO's Facebook page to sign up for their free webinar - which unfortunately, I found out was this morning, during work hours, so I couldn't attend :( but I did sign up for more information on Online Missionary Volunteering.

I also sat there for a long time and watched the site eGreatCommision as the real-time numbers showed people from around the world visiting sites like 4 Steps to God, and proclaiming either "Yes" or "No" to their belief in Jesus, and then requesting follow-up from an online missionary. It was so so exciting to watch! You should really check it out, it's a real blessing to see Christ in action.. even if it is virtually :)

Well.. I will leave you today with this video from Global Media Outreach's YouTube channel.
Be blessed <3

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"It's just greener out here"

As a follow-up to my last post, I want to share some of the wonderful and not-always-so-wonderful things about life in good ol' New Hampshire.

My friends and I used to say, "It's just greener out here." The air is fresher and everywhere you look you see different shades of green - grass green, pine tree green, moss green, maple leaf green... even the not-so-pleasant-looking bog green. God sure did bless New Hampshire with beauty!

So, in tribute to the wonderful state I call home {and in keeping with my love of lists}, here is a run-down of all things NH -- preceded by a collage I made in honor of that list :)

{Leave me a comment if I left anything out!! or if you're from NH and wanna say hi! or, for whatever reason!!}

Live Free or Die.
Maple Syrup.
Fall Foliage.
Stone walls.
My Mount Monadnock.
Covered Bridges.
Farms.
Corn Mazes.
Knee-deep snow.
Sheep.
Horses.
Cows.
Pancake House.
Blueberries.
Apple Trees.
Friendliness.
Honey.
Ice storms - a beauty and a beast.
Deer.
Colonial Homes.
Salt Box Houses.
New England Folk Art.
Colonial Flags.
Old Home Days.
Mosquitoes and gnats. ugh :(
Wild Turkeys.
Pumpkin Patches.
New England Churches.
Old Man in the Mountain - R.I.P. :(
Fresh Eggs.
Canoes.
Antique Stores.
Predictably unpredictable weather.
Yard Sales.
Moss.
Dirt Roads.
Trees of all kinds :)

I love love love where I live and I'm glad my kids are going to grow up here :-) Thank you God for Your perfect Plan!

Out of Egypt...

God assigns each of us a time and a place.

A time or generation to be born into. A place to be born and to grow up. A time to find Him. A place to live in Him.

He leads people in and out of our lives, brings us to Egypt and delivers us out of Egypt. He constantly uses circumstances in our lives to lead us to Him. Sometimes people understand what's going on and open the door to let Him in. Others keep the door shut.

Up until the spontaneous moment my mom decided to buy a mobile home in small-town New Hampshire, our family was Boston-bred, born and raised. But, our dad died in '94 and apart from having extended family scattered around metro-Boston, we had no other reason to keep living in the projects we had called home for so long.

Just like the appointed time when the Jews were delivered out of Egypt, we were appointed to pack up and move to a small, "boring", no-action town in New Hampshire. The nights were pitch black and silence was deafening, until the coyotes howled and the fischer cats wailed, and the sound of crickets took over in a cacophony of chaos.

And just like the Jews, we pretty much complained the whole way, not yet able to see the big picture. But there isn't a mall or movie theater or anything in walking distance?! What are we supposed to do all day?!

Life went on. My sister and I got on the bus that would take us to our new school, all the while conscious that we were the new kids and that everyone was staring at us. Not to mention... Did no one ever hear of Contempo Casuals around here?!

And, in a strange twist of events, we made friends. Good friends. Great friends. Friends that we couldn't even imagine what our life would've been like without.

Well, whaddyaknow.. it wouldn't be so bad after all.

As "bad" as it was at first, I thank God that He brought my family to NH and - as strange as it sounds - I thank Him that He used the circumstance of the death of our dad to bring us out of our Egypt.

Had we not come here, my sister would not have two beautiful and amazing children, I would not be marrying my soul mate, and only God knows how else our lives would be different.

I trust in God's plan and know that this is where we were meant to be.
This is our Promised Land.