Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tomorrow.

As surreal as it is, I am headed to Ghana tomorrow.
This will be my first time back since July 2010. That is over two years since my last trip.
In some ways, I feel so connected to the people and culture there because of Mercy Project and because Chris has been something like 18 times in the past 2 years.
But, in a lot of ways, I feel unable to relate.  I've never experienced a trip that was solely with Mercy Project (my last trip was through another organization).
I am ready to hear the sounds of the traffic, animals, markets, and voices.  I am ready to take in all the smells and see the chaos with my own eyes.
I can't wait.
But, that is just the tip of the iceberg.
On Friday of this week, I will meet the little boy that the Lord has chosen to become our son.  He will make us a family of 5.  This precious soul will be entrusted into my care.
To say that I am excited, anxious, nervous, pumped to see his face, to touch his skin, to smell his head, and to hear his voice would be a complete understatement.
I am overwhelmed with every emotion just thinking about it.
Then, on Saturday, we will leave a village in Ghana with about 25 children that will no longer have to work 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.  
As we walk away with them, their journey into childhood will begin.
Our hope is that the months they spend in rehabilitation from their experiences of being trafficked will bring new life and the beginning of healing.
I pray that in their freedom they will also begin to taste the freedom that comes from Jesus.
 I cannot wait for this journey.  I am so thankful that the Lord has been faithful to us.

I will be missing my sweet kids while we are apart, but I will be with their big brother, ensuring that he and his friends are given the chance to be just like them.
Please join me in praying for our week.
We are so hopeful.

I will try to update at some point throughout the week, so check back in.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Abide

Abide
to remain stable or fixed in a state
stay, dwell, hang around, remain
This word, abide, has been sitting on my heart lately.  I am certain that the Lord brought it to me as a word from Him in this busy season of life.  We have a lot going on, constantly.  I keep thinking there will be a break, and as far as my calendar is telling me, there is none coming.
The Spirit is beckoning me to abide in the Lord.  To dwell in Him who is the giver and sustainer of life.  To hang around with Him and allow my spirit to rest in Him, even when the world around me is totally crazy.
"Abide in me, as I also remain in you.  No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.  I am the vine. You are the branches. If you abide in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit.  Apart from me, you can do nothing."  John 15:4-5
If I believe this to be true, then where else can I go but to the Lord?
What Jesus says here is simple--I am nothing if I am not abiding in the Lord.
So, the Lord has gently reminded me that if I will abide in Him that He will satisfy me because He is the vine, the provider of all good things.
So, in my fear, my insecurities, the chaos of life, I am seeking to abide in the Lord.
I want to bear fruit.
In all the crazy moments, that is my prayer.  
The Lord has been so sweet to give me exactly what He promised when I stop to abide in Him.
I feel peace, comfort, calm, and the fact that I am not alone.  Far from it.

Because I am nothing apart from Him.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Big 3-0

Yesterday, my husband turned 30.
This man is one of a kind.
He has been so uniquely gifted by the Lord.  
He is a dreamer, but he is also a do-er.
He is unbelievably passionate.
His intensity can often be trumped by his insane wit.
His desire to help the least of these is unparalleled.
He can talk to anyone, from anywhere, at anytime, about almost anything.
He pursues, without abandon, whatever he believes in.
He communicates more effectively than almost anyone I've ever known.
He makes people comfortable in his presence.
He is unafraid to follow the calling of the Lord in his life.
He works tirelessly for justice and mercy.
He loves his children deeply and is never too busy or uptight to play like crazy with them.
He adores me and puts me before himself.
 He loves the Lord and wants to be more like Jesus every day.
 
Happy Birthday to my husband and best friend!
 I love you!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

He Walks!

Beckett took his first steps over a month ago, but he never seemed to be enthralled by the idea of walking.  He was content to just take one or two or maybe three little steps and then drop to his knees to crawl.
Then, one day a little over a week ago, he decided to take the plunge and start walking.
He still crawls about 40-50% of the time, but we are seeing this little man choose to walk more and more every day.
He has the most precious little stiff, old man walk ever.
video
He is getting so big.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Girls Weekend

Last Saturday morning, my mom and sister arrived at my house at 6:30am, and we headed out for an overnight getaway, just the three of us girls.
It was so much fun and so very needed.
I hadn't realized until Chris mentioned it, but we {the girls in my family} haven't done this since Chris and I got married almost 8 years ago.  To be honest, I'm not sure we've done it ever.
I do believe we have started ourselves a new tradition though.
It just does the soul good to be with people who know you, the depths of you, that you can laugh, sweat, share life, and just be with.
We were only gone for about 36 hours, but it was just perfect in my book.
And, Chris was super dad.  He never once made me feel bad for leaving him with the kids, even though he had a speaking engagement on Sunday morning in Dallas resulting in him traveling ALONE with both kids there and back. Good man, I tell you, good man.

As for the girls, we ventured to First Monday in Canton.
We shopped all day on Saturday.  And sweated our lives away.
We laughed until we cried in our hotel room before we got ready for a fabulous dinner where we celebrated my Momma's birthday, which was on Sunday.
Seriously, if you're ever in the Tyler, TX area, go to Villa Montez.  It is amazing.  You will not be disappointed.
I mean, look at that gorgeous-ness.  And, check out the food.  My mouth is watering just remembering the goodness.
We slept in {for me} on Sunday which was glorious, enjoyed a nice, leisurely continental breakfast, wished mom a happy birthday, went back to Canton for another hour or two, and then hit the road to come back home.
I loved every minute spent with my mom and sister.  I am already looking forward to next year when we get to have another girls weekend.
But, I also loved coming home to my three loves.  There is nothing like it.  
To top it off, I felt rejuvenated and refreshed.  Just what I needed.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mercy Project Monday

I am so excited about what is happening in the blogging world for Mercy Project today.
Just over 100 bloggers have committed to help us to raise awareness about the plight of the enslaved children in Ghana and what we are doing to eradicate it.
I am honored to join my friends on this Labor Day to share a little about what we are doing and why we are doing it.
Many thanks to the people who helped us to make this happen.
Special thanks to the bloggers who gave up time and space on their little piece of the internet for these children.  To those I know well and to those I have never met but took a leap of faith on us and our mission at Mercy Project, thank you!

There’s an estimated 7,000 children who work in the Ghana fishing industry. Some of
these children are as young as 5 and 6 years old.  All of these children are slaves.
–Mercy Project

Today many in our country will take a day off from our jobs to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers.  No matter if we’re celebrating at home or at the beach, we’re entering into a tradition that has largely been shaped by Labor Unions - organizations that are dedicated to protecting workers’ interests and improving their wages, hours, and working conditions.  Today as we lounge around or hang out with friends and family, we’re not only celebrating hard work, we’re honoring fair, ethical working practices and the laws that prevent discrimination, abuse, and child labor in our country.  Without these laws in place (and enforced), the most vulnerable members of society suffer.  Who are the most vulnerable? Children. 

Today as we’re celebrating the systems in our own country that strive to prevent injustices like child trafficking and child labor, we’re mindful of the many child slaves around the world who are unprotected and the organizations, like Mercy Project, who are working to free them.

As a momma, it is heartbreaking to me to think of these children working all day, every day--especially when I consider that one of them will be my child soon.  I’m unable to wrap my brain around the thought of my children engaged in long, hard days of physical labor, eating one meal a day, and then falling asleep at night on a dirt floor filled with other slave children.  Yet this is the daily reality for kids who have been trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana, Africa.  As with much of Africa, there is a great deal of poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, this leaves many mothers in an unimaginable position: sell their children to someone who can take better care of them or watch them starve to death. Most of the mothers are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves and their mothers never see them again.  Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves.  Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta.

 Please take a moment to watch our 10 minute documentary about the issues surrounding child labor and trafficking in Ghana and most importantly the hope Mercy Project is bringing to children and entire communities in Africa.  Mercy Project is the only NGO working on Lake Volta addressing the injustice of child labor and child trafficking at its root - by strengthening the Ghanaian economy and eliminating the structures that cause the demand for trafficked children.
Whether these ideas of child labor, child trafficking, and modern-day slavery are new to you or you’re aware of these injustices, but need to hear some good news every once in awhile, we invite you to become a part of what Mercy Project is doing in Ghana.  When Mercy Project frees their first group of children this month, we can all celebrate together.

There are many different ways for you to join us in our cause.
We believe that the invitation to help others and love others is extended to every human that inhabits the earth.  If you feel compelled to learn more and get involved with Mercy Project, you can do so through these avenues-- 

• Following Mercy Project on Facebook.

• Connecting with Mercy Project via Twitter.

• Spending some time on Mercy Project’s website.

• Sharing about Mercy Project’s work in Ghana with your friends.

Although child trafficking, child labor, and the unstable economies that result in these injustices are a tragedy, we’re grateful for what Mercy Project is doing to protect the vulnerable and for allowing us to be a part of this story.   While we’re commemorating labor laws and ethical work in our own country today, we invite you to follow along on this journey with Mercy Project to protect and free children in Ghana.

Today, in our part of the world, it's all about the children in Ghana.
We want them to be known--by us, by you.
They are already known by their Creator.
We want justice and mercy to flow like a mighty river for them.
I believe that the Lord does too.
Praying that Jesus will continue to break our hearts for what breaks His.

“When the lives and the rights of children are at stake, there must be no silent witnesses.”
Carol Bellamy