Tag Archives: christian

Another great read: For The Love by Jen Hatmaker 

For The Love was such a fun read! Especially when you know that a bunch of your girlfriends are all reading it at the same time. No matter your phase of life, Jen’s honesty and wit connect all of the dots for a picture of actionable ways to live out the love of Jesus, particularly as a woman in America where our good fortune frequently blinds us and the snares of things like social media often turn us into the worst versions of ourselves. As Jen eloquently states “We are not good gods over one another; we are better humans beside each other.” Even though it’s geared toward women, I think men would really enjoy this book as well. In a time where it seems that everything seeks to divide us, it is refreshing to see voices like Jen’s ring out and encourage us to find unity in our messiness. Jen quotes John 1:4-5 which says of Jesus “in him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” I highly recommend this book, and suggest you send a copy to your best girlfriend too! After all, there are some amazing looking recipes in here too!





Another great read: The Colson Way by Owen Strachan

After reading this book and discovering what a bold life Chuck Colson lived for God in this country and throughout the world, I am ashamed to say I didn’t really know anything about him. But I think that is exactly the intent of this timely and very passionately-written book. Strachan gives the perfect blend of a biography of this dynamic man’s life and actionable guidance about how we (particularly Millennials) can and should carry on his legacy. The book takes the reader through Colson’s incredible life – his childhood, education, the rise and fall of his career, serving his prison sentence, when he came to faith, and the fearless way he lived on mission in the public arena until his final day. Realizing all of the ways in which Chuck Colson’s legacy is still a part of our Christian lives today is such a testament to how far-reaching his voice was. He sought to speak the Gospel in every opportunity – to boldly and courageously spread truth and justice. He knew it was a message for everyone on earth. By striving to bring others along with him whenever possible, we can be thankful that there are many people able to carry the torch he passed along, and this book invites us to take hold as well.

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Investing in hope.

One thing I love every month is making my donations for the children I sponsor around the world. As of last week, that number is now at 3 and it makes me so excited! Child sponsorship never used to be something I felt personally called to – all that came to mind were sad commercials and pictures on a refrigerator. But friends, it is SO much more! My heart was stirred to sponsor a child about a year and a half ago. I went on a mission trip to Lesotho, Africa with my church and one of the girls who led our trip told us at one of our first pre-trip meetings that a child she had been sponsoring (since well before this trip was ever on our radar) lived only an hour or so from where we would be, and the sponsorship organization was working with her to plan for them to meet. As crazy as it feels to say, that was the first time the dots were really connected for me. And it also makes me delight in how beautifully God weaves our lives together – in our human minds we would think that the chances that a random selection to sponsor a child would ever result in a face-to-face connection is basically non-existent. But God knows, and he knew all along. So while we were in Africa my friend got picked up by the organization and driven to the school where this little girl attends classes every day, she got to meet all of her classmates, and then got to go to her home and spend time with the whole family. The girl’s family had been working in the months leading up to the visit to make my friend a beautiful handmade gift that they were SO proud to give to her. They had all the letters my friend had sent over time and they enjoyed looking at them together. It was truly a wonderful day for all of them and our mission trip team was so excited to hear all about it when our friend returned that evening.

So after we got back from Africa, I knew this was one way I could make a difference. I was trying to make sense of all the children we had seen and loved on who needed help and when the need feels overwhelming to us, and makes us feel like there is no place to start to fix it all, the best way to act is to start with ONE.

In the last year and a half I have loved getting the sweet letters in the mail from my sponsored children and I delight in getting to write letters to them. These kids are SO much more than a picture on the refrigerator. They are linked to you, and you to them.

I love this thought from Suzanne O’Dell, a senior staff writer with World Help

There’s more going on here than a $35 a month transaction, or a child moving from point A to B on the poverty spectrum. We don’t get to walk away without being affected.

As a sponsor, you’re a part of a relationship that is mutually beneficial, mutually encouraging, and mutually needed . . . whether you realize it or not.

It’s a symbiotic relationship that thrives when both parties recognize and appreciate their need for one another—to support, to teach, to encourage, and to inspire.

Let’s give our sponsored children a little credit . . . they have more to offer than we could ever imagine!

We cannot forget to share this side of the story.

The idea of even one life being changed is a beautiful thought. But stories cannot be experienced alone. Each one of our stories is composed of reflections—of people who have poured into us, invested in us, and made us who we are.

If you want to read some great information about how effective child sponsorship really is, this is a great article to check out.

As you may know, I am heading to Guatemala on a mission trip with World Help in October, and so with the topic of child sponsorship in my heart lately, I felt like God was calling me to sponsor a child there. So here is Jeymi!

Jeymi Sarai Garcia Perez, Age: 10

For many people, the thought of a monthly financial commitment can seem like a lot – there are a lot of things we could do with $35 each month. I know there have been months for me where I feel like I really need that. But God is always faithful at meeting our needs – just like He is meeting the needs of children in distant places with my donation, He is capable of meeting my needs as well. No month has ever passed where I wasn’t able to make a donation despite the circumstances in my own life. In a way, we are ALL God’s sponsored children. Child sponsorship is such a circular blessing. I find myself now, more than ever, aware of just how abundantly God blesses my own life as I see how He calls me to pour them out into the lives of others. My perspective on the things I feel like I want and need have changed so much. The things I treasure has changed. As it says in Matthew 6:21

…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Putting treasures in the lives of others is definitely a heart-changer.

There’s no better time than right now to begin impacting the life of one child.

Sponsor a child

I’d love to hear stories of children you’ve sponsored! Have you met them? Do you write letters? Where do they live? What do they want to be when they grow up? How has it changed you?

And if you have never sponsored – what questions do you have? Maybe now is the right time!

Have a blessed week!

Have you forgotten?

Happy Wednesday! As this weeks chugs slowly towards the weekend (which I’m convinced is because it’s a 3 day weekend and I’m just very excited!) my mind keeps drifting, especially in the slower moments, towards the compassion and concern in my heart for the ongoing devastation in Nepal. The news has gone pretty silent with coverage, but it doesn’t mean the need has gone away. So I hope you’ll join me for a few minutes in bringing our awareness back to them and a few easy but VERY impactful ways you can help.

I think this quote from the book Awake by Noel Yeatts is a really powerful connection between compassion and action.

“Compassion is not pity. It is not simply feeling sorry for someone. It is not sadness or an emotion that we feel.

Most dictionaries define compassion as the awareness of need and the wish to alleviate it. I would take it a step further. True compassion—the compassion that Jesus had in the Bible when He was ‘moved with compassion’ (Mark 1:41 NASB)—is more than awareness and a wish. This kind of compassion requires movement, advocacy, and action.”

If you choose to make a direct donation, there are many relief organizations that are providing ongoing and immediate assistance in every way possible. World Help is one of these, and you can see more about how your donation could help here.

You can also read here about 4 Ways to Help and what life looks like on the ground in Nepal after the earthquake on April 25th and then the 7.3 magnitude earthquake that followed last week. More than 8,000 people are dead and that number is expected to continue to rise, and over 500,000 people are now homeless. But God is at work. Networks of help are in place and hope is rising from the rubble. We just need to be a part of that after the news headlines have turned to something new.

Nepal Disaster Relief - World HelpWorld Help - Nepal ReliefYou can PRAY, you can GIVE, you can ADVOCATE, and you can FUNDRAISE. Imagine how the Nepali people will be strengthened if we all chose even just one of these ways to make sure they aren’t forgotten in their suffering. That we are pouring out compassion. That we are taking action.

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I’m also committed to donating ALL of my commissions this month (25% of every dollar spent) on all purchases through my Stella & Dot eBoutique — an easy way to multi-task your shopping and support the relief efforts! If you want my suggestion of a meaningful gift for yourself or a friend, pick up this Interlock Cross necklace (sterling silver or gold plated) — it’s one of my favorites and a piece I wear every single day.

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A great read: Unoffendable by Brant Hansen

I. Loved. This. Book! Seriously, I needed to hear the convicting message of this book so badly. I am often aware how anger is one of the most prevalent emotions in my daily consciousness. Whether it’s something that seems big and important in its injustice or some small and trivial moment of feeling wronged, anger is such a precious and natural part of our lives. We hold onto it like it’s a prized possession. Without realizing it, we use anger to justify a myriad of actions and feelings all day long. We feel like it’s our right to have it, to deal it out, to share it, to keep it as long as we want. Here’s the thing: we aren’t justified to it at all. Anger will always deceive us. It will always make us feel like we’re the victim, that we were wronged, that we deserve something. Our default posture is our strengths and justifying our decisions, our behaviors, and our intentions. We think we need to be right so that others realize they’re wrong. What if instead of being right, we just decided to be love? If we are not capable of judging our own intentions, what makes us think we can judge the intentions of others? In this book, Brant ties these concepts to scripture in such a wonderful, humorous, and truly convicting way. We don’t need anger to seek justice and love mercy. I went into reading this book preparing myself to not be convinced – if anger could be a sport, I would be a star player. Except everyone is a loser in the game. It’s time to stop playing. I’m throwing out my jersey. I hope you check this book out and share it with friends. You will not be sorry!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Put your love on the map!

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A friend of mine posted this on Facebook this morning and it practically jumped out of the screen at me. It’s funny that I think practically all of my Valentine’s Days my whole life have been spent single, and yet I think I love Valentine’s Day more than most people who actually have a significant other to spend it with. Maybe it’s because my birthday is on the 17th and for me it’s like Valentine’s Day is really just part of the month long week long celebration for as long as I can remember. I’m always amazed by how grouchy people can get about Valentine’s Day! I have heard at least 4 people today alone grumbling about how it’s just a Hallmark holiday and they won’t give in to a made up day. I don’t care, haha. I LOVE love, and not just romantic love, but every kind of love. I get giddy when I walk around and see stores decorated in hearts and flowers, all the heart shaped candies and accessories and knick knacks. It’s just so cheerful and happy! How can you resist?! How can you not want to hug everyone?! (Is that just me? Maybe? Ha) And the origin of Valentine’s Day wasn’t even about romantic love but Godly love. A sacrificial love.

So this Valentine’s Day weekend, if you’re finding yourself grumpy for whatever reason, I challenge you to focus on the LOVE mentioned in the words above “the giving of ourselves to God and to those he has placed around us.” Go out into the world on this long holiday weekend and be on the lookout for people who need some extra love! Don’t worry about who is going to show you love this weekend, think about who you’re going to BE love to. Put your love on the map, my friends.

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After all, the greatest commandments we received were to Love God, and love people.

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Here are some ideas!

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