Friday, November 13, 2015

Moving Day

And this time I don't mean that Jay and I are moving houses. 

I've just birthed a new blog Awkwardly Graceful - and I'd love for you to join me over at my new digs. In my Welcome post, I explain the reason for the name change and move. 

Familiar faces are always welcome.

Monday, November 9, 2015

For I Was Hungry

Sandwiched between two typically child-centered holidays, falls Thanksgiving. The sun is sparse and the stress of the upcoming holiday season is approaching. Is it truly possible to cultivate a spirit of gratitude during all the chaos?

Enter a post about charity. Thanks to Kelly for the #FridayFive prompt, because its often when we truly consider others that our issues are put into proper perspective.

One of my issues? Being away from my computer too much, leading to an inability to get this written in time for the link-up. Even still, this is a blog I want to share with the world, or at least the small portion who join me here.

Being the spreadsheet geek I am, a tab in my check register excel document is devoted to charitable giving by the year. I have so many charities I respect, I like to know when I gave to each so that when the opportunity arises I can give to the one which has gone the longest without a donation.

Many are local charities; who knows better about the needs of the community than those who live and serve here. I've even received personal letters from the director of one such ministry, when she realized they were serving my cousin - and mentioned me to him as well!

Her group, The Philadelphians, serves in east Tennessee prisons. Donations help them lead Bible studies for the incarcerated. 

Local causes also win a place in my heart for selfish reasons too. When the money I give goes back into the community, I can trust that my $$ are being well used - rather than going to the 3+ figure salaries administrators make in some of the larger organizations.

During my last marathon training cycle, I noticed yard signs boasting "Work Provided by LIVE-IT." This group maintains a database of community needs and opportunities to serve. Both those seeking assistance and those desiring to serve can find their needs met with this group. 

Projects include building ramps onto houses of the disabled, light maintenance for the elderly, and shifts to work in the groups thrift store. Jay and my father have taken donations to the store, and were met with great attitudes reflecting the love of Christ (after having their items turned away by a different group.)

Some needs, however, must be met by larger organizations. Currently I donate a small monthly amount to help support the Tavianos, my favorite missionary family. They are serving a town in Cambodia through the IOC and the Hard Places Community

If Marla's name sounds familiar, then perhaps you have been around when I joined many of her bloggy read-alongs. While never having the opportunity to meet them in-person, I enjoy seeing her photos of the people they are building relationships with while serving Jesus in the country they love.

For each charity, I have linked to their websites. In the case of the Tavianos, however, there are a couple of different options. 

Marla is a fabulous author (ebooks these days) and purchasing a book (via Amazon or some such retailer) helps her support their mission. In fact, she has a brand new book out. 

After a heart attack left her husband Gabe with debilitation anxiety, the family had to fully rely on God for each breath - sometimes literally. I want you to buy the book, The Storm: When Anxiety Rocks Your Marriage & Your World (its only $2.99 on Amazon).

Sometime this month I plan on reviewing the book and giving a copy away, but why wait??

Also on the global scale, I love the heart behind Compassion International. Several years ago for Valentine's Day, Jay and I researched together and decided to sponsor a child through the organization.

Since then we've traded letters with Suman, now 11 years old, via his Compassion center in India. I keep his drawings on the refrigerator until the next one arrives.

The work done by the missionaries at Wycliffe Bible Translators is essential for sharing the Gospel to unreached people groups. These laborers for the Lord can spend years learning the native languages of regions which don't have a Bible translation in their native language.

Once they are fluent in the dialect, they can then begin the translation process and bring the Word of God to people who otherwise haven't heard the gospel.

So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ. Romans 10:17

I hope you'll click through and read more about each ministry and how it supports kingdom-building. For me, fulfilling tangible needs is essential for anyone hoping to make a difference in this world and bring glory to the name of Christ.

35‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37“Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39‘When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’  Matthew 25:35-40 
I'd love for you to toot the horn of your favorite charities in the comments. Why do they stand out to you above other options?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Nerds for Words

This year I've thought more about my purpose, ministry in life than I have the previous 34. Or at least it feels to me like I have. First I discovered I had been equipped with spiritual gifts to serve the body of Christ. 

In theory, I knew each believer was equipped in some fashion for kingdom work. In practice I had no clue what that looked like or meant for my life. Discovering that the gifts don't necessarily manifest in standard ways was game-changing for me.

Teaching doesn't necessarily mean sitting in a class room of 3 year olds reading them a Bible study. I very much enjoy substitute teaching for my Bible study class, but that too isn't the full extent of my calling.

More and more I'm starting to truly believe that writing is another form of the gift of teaching. Putting thoughts and concepts into words which can be savored and enjoyed. I'm not sure I'm there yet, but the more I write, the more I can refine my craft and get that much closer to my goals.

Purpose. Calling. Gift.

These seem so serious and dramatic. And they can be. However at heart, I am a brutally honest, geek who doesn't take herself too seriously. I'm slowly learning that God isn't limited by my personality, but can work through it for His glory. No matter how loca I am.


Linking up with Jaime for Stream of Consciousness Weekend.  What's on your mind? Share it in the comments or let me know if you post your on SOC blog.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Ghosts of Halloween's Past

And finally, I present my first ever Pinterest project.
 2015's costume:

Did you dress up for Halloween? See any interesting ideas?