Friday, December 23, 2011

Christmas Traditions

Let me just start by saying we don't have anything set in stone for our holiday traditions. What we do this year may be different than next year and may be different than the year before. It's a work in progress... 

 Each year we have been molding our family values and trying different things. I learn a lot about what I want to do and not do by looking at other families around me and looking back at what I grew up with.  I look to scripture when it comes to this Christmas season and what we are really celebrating and I have also read this book that has some good stuff in it too. My husband and I talk regularly about what we want to teach our children about Christmas and what we want our focus as a family to be. 
In the past our Christmas time has been focused more on presents, stress, and expectations...  it definitely was not focused on Christ and his birthday. I thought, well I know Christmas is about Jesus but that's about where it stopped. Things started changing when Evelyn was born and we started thinking about what we wanted to teach our kids. We knew we didn't want a huge gift extravaganza and we knew we wanted to focus on the Real reason for the season but the how is the hard part.... so here's some ideas we have done/are doing and some that we want to do as our kids get older and can sit still and pay attention for longer than a nanosecond. 

1.) We have decided to steer clear from the whole Santa gig. I know, I know but hear me out... we don't want anything to compete with the true reason of Christmas and that was baby Jesus in a manger. period. 
    *I know my daughter and there's no way baby Jesus could compete with a fun loving, magic, guy in a red suit who flies a sleigh and has magic reindeer and elves and who gives you whatever your heart desires. No way. It's hard enough for me not to get distracted with all the allures of this world let alone my 3 year old who does not have a spiritual perspective. 
   *On another point I really wonder if young children can understand the difference between the make believe magic of Santa Clause whom they can't see and the realness of the awesome miracle performing person of Jesus whom they also can't "see". We have seen this in simple things like our daughter comparing the miracles of Jesus and the fairy godmother in Cinderella.(and yes we are definitely taking those in mind and re-thinking what we let her watch and read)  
   *I don't want to lie to my children and either have to tell them later or have them figure it out on their own and then deal with the possibility of them questioning other things I have told them were God and Jesus. We are trying to teach them to have faith and I don't want to muddy the water for them. 
   *Right now Evelyn doesn't totally get who Santa Clause is and when she see's a picture she calls him the snowman guy (don't ask me where that came from!) She hasn't really asked much about who the guy in the red suit is... we've watched a Veggie Tales movie about St.Nicholas and we have started telling Evelyn the story from history about the man who loved God and what God did through him to bless others. We told her how people today like to pretend that he brings presents. ( don't worry I also have been teaching her about not going around bursting her little friends bubbles and telling them he's not real)... but if you are a well meaning cashier at Hobby Lobby and ask my kids whats Santa bringing them don't be surprised with the blank stare they give you while trying to figure out what in the world your talking about.

2.) Advent calendar, so this is new to me but I am tweaking it and trying to decide how it will best fit our family. Last year I made this stocking one and put different things in it along with a bible verse that tied Christmas together. I put little toys, candy, family activities, etc. This year I decided to only put fun family activities/outing in each stocking and we have been trying to go through this e-book we got after someone I know recommend it. It's been pretty good. In the e-book they have a different ornament you can make each day but since I am definitely not together enough to get a craft done everyday and dinner on the table, we have only done a few of them. It helps to have a guide for the Christmas story and the tips help make it understandable for my toddler. I see the calendar really helping Evelyn get the idea of looking forward to it as we move to each new stocking everyday and we get closer and closer to the last one. In the future I think I would also like to do a Jesse Tree, I am still looking into it cause I don't personally know anyone who does this but it looks really great. Maybe next year Evelyn would be able to get it. 
Some of the family activity ideas I have put in our calendar are: 
- get a Christmas tree
- decorate our tree
- sing Christmas carols as a family
- watch a Christmas movie
- bake cookies together
- go up north and play in snow
- make cinnamon ornaments
- family walk to look at Christmas lights 
- have hot chocolate together
- family game night
- pick out family Samaritans purse gift
- read the Christmas story in Children's bible
- bake treats for friends/family

3.) Presents/ Giving: OK so this is a tough one that we don't know what the "perfect" balance for our family is yet (or probably ever will). The only thing I do know is Christmas is Jesus's birthday not mine or my kids. Stopping to really reflect on the humbleness of God in a dirty manger, come to die I cant fathom that the best way for us to spend the season is buying a bunch of stuff for ourselves. It's only been a few years of God really working in our family (still got a long way to go) and showing us that Christ came to GIVE to those in the most desperate NEED. He came for the lost and in Matthew 25:40 He tells us how we give to Him (by giving to those in need) 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’' 
So that being said...we have definitely tried to scale back our gift giving but it's easy to get carried away in the lure of stuff . Last year the girls each got 1 present and a stocking from us BUT one of those gives may or may not of been a trampoline and I kinda bought so muh it wouldn't all fit in their stocking. But hey were getting there! It's hard to change your way of thinking that we all need stuff to make us happy. This year I kept racking my brain to think of something to get the girls and I realized I was just feeling like I needed to get them something but they have so much already! I ended up just getting a few things for each of their stockings and thats it. (Evelyn- movie, hairbows, devotional book, fun bath color tablets, fun toothbrush ) (Zoe-movie, music cd, hair bows, little hair brush, toothbrush)
The influences in our children's lives (us, family members, media, friends etc.) are who steer our kids towads thinking they need presents and should expect them. I realized the other day Evelyn hasn't once asked for something for Christmas, she doesn 't seem to expect presents and definitely doesn't think it's her job to tell us what she wants us to buy her (yet! but I plan on trying really hard to fight against that cultural expectation! )
So instead of spending a bunch of money on ourselves or other family members who have so much, this year we have made nice homemade gifts for our family members and are giving what we would have spent on presents to the least of these. In the past couple years we have tried doing a couple things... two years ago we gave water in our families names and gave each of them an ornament we bought that the proceeds went to providing water. Last year everything we bought for families and friends went towards helping someone else through either an adoption fundraiser of jewelry or t-shirts or organizations that help provide income opportunities for women in Uganda like 31 bits
There are so many ways to give and so many hurting throughout the world it's just a matter of where you feel God leading your family. We desperately want to teach our girls about giving like Christ gave. Giving because we have been given so much. 
4.) Service- I want to be serving in our community and I especially want to be doing it during the holidays but to be quite honest I don't know where or what. I get anxious thinking about going to try and help somewhere and having my girls cry, throw tantrums, or make someone else feel bad. Having young children I have a hard time figuring out how to do it. We have gotten food to deliver to a food bank but that was more of a drop off and leave. We prepared a shoe box for operation Christmas child but quite honestly I really struggle with getting out into the community and doing. If anyone with young kids has any advice please pass it my way. I know this is an area I struggle and I need to focus on. I don't think making excuses and saying later will be better because these are the things we want to be fostering in our kids now. 
 5.)- Family time- With all the extra free time we have had not running around like crazy trying to buy the perfect gifts or overloading with extra stuff we have been trying to just enjoy spending time together. The advent calendar has helped encourage this as we play games, go on walks, sing carols, read stories, drink hot chocolate, go on short trips to the snow, and just slowing down. Stress and business is definitely not what we want to take over during this sweet Christmas time. 

So I guess that is it. I wrote this out to remember where are family is this year and also I know getting glimpses into other peoples family lives gives me ideas and challenges things I do and want to do, so maybe it does that for someone else. 

Also here's some blog posts that I was encouraged and challenged by this year. 
 Convictions and what to do with 'em 
Christmas vs. Christmastime
The Christmas Conundrum 
10 ways to celebrate Christmas morning regardless of whats under the tree
When Christmas Gets Radical: Whose Birthday Is It Really?
Invasion of Light

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dinner This Week

Almost weekly when I sit down to make a meal/grocery list I get a deer in the headlights feeling and suddenly I have no idea what my family eats... so as I figure this out I thought I would post it and maybe help another mom this week. 

Monday- Ground Beef Tacos
                   Refried Beans 

Tuesday- Sour Cream Chicken {Made this before and it's amazing!}
                     Steamed broccoli and carrots

Wednesday- Spaghetti Squash  {Try it, not as scary as it seems & good!} 
                           with Meat Sauce
                           Zucchini Chips

Thursday- Hawaiian BBQ Chicken {new to me}

Friday-   Chili {my recipe}
                   Brown Rice
                   Frozen Peas
 (1 can kidney beans; rinsed, 1 can diced tomatoes, 1 can tomato sauce, 1 can S&W chili beans w/sauce, 1 can full of milk, 1 lb ground beef/turkey seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, onion, and chili powder. 
Directions: Cook meat in large pot and season, then add other ingredients and bring to boil  and turn down and simmer until ready to eat. We like serve over brown rice and top with cheese to make it stretch and more filling, good either way)

Saturday- Leftovers

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Christmas With A Purpose

There are 25 days until Christmas.

How does that make you feel?
 Rushed? Excited? Overwhelmed? Busy?

 I get such a range of emotions when I think about this special holiday. I love Christmas and look forward to it every year. I love the cold weather, twinkling lights, nativity scenes, hot cocoa, and carols. I love baking gifts in the kitchen, making homemade ornaments with my girls, and reading the Christmas story as a family.

 BUT at the same time I get a knot in my stomach when I think about the American version of  Christmas.  A time of materialism, overspending, busyness, traffic jams, to do lists, expectations, selfishness and  stress. The statistics themselves are mind boggling.
Every year Americans spend atleast $450 billion dollars on Christmas.
Let that just sink in for a minute...
WOW that is a lot of zeros spent on a day we celebrate the birth of Jesus.

If that doesn't register how about the fact that to provide clean, available drinking water to every person on the planet it would only cost about $10 billion. 
The first time I read that it really put into perspective how crazy ridiculous our culture is about ourselves and STUFF.

2 Years ago I first saw this video and it has totally changed my outlook on Christmas, not at all saying I am perfect or don't get distracted so easily to the twinkling allure of stuff... thinking presents and activities will make me and my kids happy. That if I am generous to just give stuff to my family and friends then thats the meaning of Christmas, right?

Join with me in having purpose in your gift giving this year. Take some (or even most) of your holiday funds and GIVE. Instead of buying more gifts and things we really don't need, give something to someone that will change their life forever. Then take all that free time you have not rushing around shopping and spend it together as a family. For us SixtyFeet is what God has put on our hearts and we are partnering with them on something awesome so read below and see what God's doing.

Dare to Dream
What if the youngest, most vulnerable, most desperate children at M1 and the other facilities didn’t have to be there? What if they could live in a place filled with hope, where they could grow to know and love God, where they would be deeply cared for, where they could receive an education and have a future? What if…

Since SixtyFeet first began, we’ve dreamed of purchasing land and building a home so we can remove the most vulnerable children who live in the M facilities. We can all agree, these children shouldn’t be in these conditions.

Late last year, we had a matching donation to raise funds so we could acquire land. The land was to be used as the site for a home where the youngest and most vulnerable children at M1 could live in a loving, nurturing family-like environment. Some of you may be wondering what happened to that.

Well, we were blown away by your generosity, as usual, and you sailed past the $10,000 match raising a total of $30,000. That money, unfortunately is still sitting in the bank – set aside and earmarked for the home we so very much want to build.

Various obstacles prevented us from moving forward with our original plans (we’re learning that sometimes we just need to be still and wait on the Lord). So that’s what we’ve been doing. But we never gave up hope. Ever since then, we have been praying that we would be able to raise the remaining funds to start this home.

Recently, several incredible donors have stepped forward to offer a whopping $60,000 as a matching gift in order to make this dream a reality. Yes, that was not a typo and you read it correctly. Every dollar we are able to raise between today and December 31, 2011 – up to $60,000 – will be matched, dollar for dollar. 

So what does this mean for SixtyFeet and the children? With the $30,000 that was raised last year, we are hoping and praying that by January we will have $150,000 in order to purchase land, build a home and have a place where we can nurture these precious children. But we’re not just thinking land and a home. We’re thinking bigger… way bigger – as in community. We want to build something sustainable.

Given the size of this gift, we also pray we can use a portion of the funds to expedite our plans to remove and house many of the older children at the M facilities. We hope to establish multiple homes for boys and girls 10 and older where they can live with up to 20 other children and be mentored by young adults, who themselves have been in similar situations but who now have a heart to give back and serve.

So as we enter this holiday season, please dare to dream with us. Dare to dream of the eternal impact this will have in the Kingdom and in the lives of the children of M. Dream of the children who may arise from these homes. The leaders, the doctors, the pastors, the educators. All of whom may ultimately come from M and go on to serve and do amazing things in the name of Christ. Just imagine it.

To donate to this amazing cause, to have your donation matched dollar for dollar, and to make a big difference this Christmas, click HERE

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful for:

-A sweet little girl who finds her way into my bed in the morning and asks me to scratch her back. 

- Sweet smiles and hugs from my littlest sleepy head when I go in her room in the morning to get her up

- A wonderful husband who loves me and our girls sacrificially. 

- The love of my heavenly Father whose loves me despite of me and whose grace abounds. 

This list could truly be pages long but I just wanted to jot down a few things I was specifically thinking about this morning. 

Happy Thanksgiving!
"In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Our thanks tree

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving Re-focus


OK so even though I don't think Thanksgiving is all about turkey nor is Christmas about Santa, I did think this was funny and a good ice breaker for my thoughts .

I am a firm believer that all Christmas decor and energy should be harnessed until at least the day after Thanksgiving. Don't get me wrong I LOVE Christmas and I am excited as anyone to bust out my holiday music and Christmas cookie cutters but seriously where did Thanksgiving go?

Thanksgiving is such a wonderful holiday and I feel like it is always overshadowed by Christmas. What a sweet time it is to slow down and truly thank God for our blessings and then pray that He works in our hearts to take those blessings and give generously to those in need.
LOVE this quote source
It feels like when we rush through November with our eyes so focus on Christmas we are missing out on a blessed season that can be used to prepare our hearts for the wonderful celebration of Jesus' coming to earth. My prayer is that God would let me just slow down and take this time to reflect on His goodness and that He would cultivate in me a heart of worship. That He would ready my spirit to celebrate the gift of His son and in result not be so easily distracted or caught up in what the world tells us the holidays should be about.

"Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever."
Psalm 107:1

Friday, November 11, 2011

Look Who's Walking Now!

Last week our little Zoë really started taking off! She is walking all over the house now and getting more and more steady on her feet! The expression on her face in this picture is just priceless, she was SO excited and every time we clapped for her she sat down and clapped too. I am sure will be running after her big sis any day now. It's hard to believe how fast the past 14 months have gone and that my little baby is not so little anymore. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall Fun

Carving Pumpkins, Zoë loved getting messy and trying to eat it.

The finished product, a kitty per Evelyn's request
Annual costume party with our play group
Carnival fun
S mores in the backyard
Pumpkin Finger painting 
Local Farm trip to get a pumpkin and see the animals
Caramel Apples

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


It's been two months since my heart was changed forever. I have a little notebook with a ton of half written thoughts about days and experiences from Uganda that I wanted to remember. This is one that truly opened my eyes and changed my perspective. 

Our night started around 10:30pm when Moses came to pick my friend Christy and I up for hospital duty. "R", a boy from one of the remand homes had been in the hospital for a week already and the UG Sixty Feet team had been taking turns staying with him all day and night. We all wanted to bless them and at least take a few nights off there hands, I was nervous but I knew God wanted me to go. We drove through the busy streets of Kampala while Moses shared his heart for SixtyFeet and a little about how God had brought him to where he was now. Listening to his story I was in awe of the perseverance and devotion God had blessed him with. Moses is completely sold out for Christ and the crazy thing it just seems so natural to him to give every ounce of his being to God's work. 

We arrived and immediately I knew this facility was vastly different than any we had back home.  We walked up towards the pediatric ward at the top of the hill and passed a building that Moses pointed out as the triage area. He told us the first night 5 babies died. 5. We entered a set of metal doors and came inside a dimly lit room . It was much different than I expected and what kept running through my mind was a perfect setting to an old horror film.  The room was full of metal cribs covered with mosquito netting. Babies, toddlers, and young children filled these beds while their families attempted to sleep on mats on the concrete floor. Looking up, the ceiling was exposed wooden beams and at close look there were gaps around the edges that opened to the outside.  
"R" was in the only private room that I saw. This room was made up of 3 free standing walls and the top was open to the rest of the large shared room. Inside there were two hospital beds and a small sink. "R" slept on one bed and the other was for whomever was staying with him for the night. There was a round bucket that sat under one of the beds that was used for washing the soiled laundry. The recently washed clothes were draped across the bed rails attempting to dry in the damp Ugandan air.  Sweet "R" was resting on his bed and aroused when we came in. He had just started eating solid food again a couple days prior and had developed a very big appetite, whenever he was awake he wanted to eat some more. We all helped him up and we changed his diaper, clothes and bedding. We were out of diapers so Moses had to leave to go to the store to buy some more and since all of his clothes were still damp Christy gave her extra shirt for him to have something dry to wear. We sat together and let "R" listen to music on Christy's phone until he seemed to be tired again and then we helped lay him back in his bed. He dosed off for a little while until Moses returned with the diapers. After a brief lesson on what to do if "R" had a one of his seizures he left and we were on our own! 

The hospital is so short staffed that at night all the staff leaves except 1 nurse! After getting him settled again I took my trusty flashlight and went on search for a bathroom. After multiple attempts down a very dark hallway I decided to just hold it and wait till morning. Christy and I talked for a while in between helping to settle "R" back to sleep a few times. He was pretty restless and kept trying to get out of bed so we sat and rubbed his back and sang songs to him which helped calm him down. When he was quiet a while we decided to try and rest ourselves. We got cozy in our little twin hospital bed and I laid there praying for "R", hoping he wouldn't have a seizure because quite honestly I don't think we could find that 1 nurse if we even needed to. I looked up at the ceiling and could see a swarm of mosquito's circling around the dim light and I was trying to fight off the thoughts of getting malaria because we didn't have a mosquito net. Then in the corner of the room above the window I saw movement and I freaked out. There was a mouse and now he was climbing down the wall and down the window curtain..... So now both Christy and I were wide awake and trying to keep an eye on this little unwanted guest. We spent the next hour or two intensely watching the window making sure we knew where he was at all times. There were a few close calls that we thought he was literally going to jump right into our bed but then he finally decided to take his leave and we finally felt like we could rest a little. 

Laying in the quiet I could hear the sounds coming from the other room. Babies crying and coughing so much they were gasping for air. It was so hard to hear such pain and desperation and I couldn't do a thing about it.  The remainder of the night we dozed off and on between jumping out of bed to keep our little guy from trying to climb out. In the morning our ride came bringing the young man who was there to help for the day and we said bye to "R", I thanked God for how much better he was doing since he had first arrived (read about it here and here) and hoped he wouldn't need to stay there much longer. 

Leaving in the daylight brought new thoughts and observations. There were lines of people sitting around waiting to be seen, entire families living at the hospital while a sick family member was there. Almost immediately after we pulled away from the hospital and towards the busy down town area the first shop I saw was selling wooden coffins... and lined up along the front were rows of tiny little wood boxes the size for infants and toddlers... thinking back to what Moses had said about the first night it hit my stomach like a brick. Children were dying, mothers were burying their babies everyday and many for easily treatable illnesses. 

I remembered the last time I was in the hospital with my daughter Evelyn, she was really sick with Rotavirus. We were in the hospital for 5 days and at times I was really scared but we were blessed that they could just hook her up to an IV to get her what she needed. We had a large room with a TV, comfortable beds, available staff, clean linens and clothes, plenty of diapers and wipes, good food, and plenty of medicine and clean instruments. I remembered the silly things I complained about... being "bothered" too much and the remote not working for the television. I pray that I will never complain again about US healthcare, despite it's own issues nothing compares to that night and the reality of millions across the world with no access to decent healthcare. 

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Random Honesty

To be honest, I have tried to blog numerous times lately and haven't gotten really far. I still have memories and experiences from Uganda that I want to write about but so far I just have multiple halfway written posts. I am having such a hard time putting to words all that I saw and how I feel now.  I need to just do it and get it out because I don't want to forget anything. 

I have so many random thoughts bouncing around my head on a daily basis. Some that stick out are: 

"How did we get here? How can I "undo" everything we have collected and come accustom to over the past 8+ years?" 

"Do you know how many kids Moses or Ernest would have living with them if they had this size of a house?!?"  

"It's ridiculous that I have so many clothes that I get mad at it when there are people with none." 

"Nobody needs enough clothes for a month, I think I could not do laundry for a month a be just fine. Ugh." 

"Why do we waste so much precious time when there is a world dying with out Christ out there? What am I doing about it?!?" 

"Just show me where in the bible it says that being in debt to a bank for a home loan is OK, show me. And what are we going to do about it?!?" 

" I want to be ready to GO where ever He calls us. What are we going to do to get to that place?" 

"How many things do I label "blessings" that He would call "stumbling blocks". 

"Am I causing my kids to stumble? Am I instilling in them the same struggles that I hate in myself? Love of stuff, finding comfort in the things of this world."

"Why do I waste so much time, effort, and money on things that have no eternal value?" 

"Can we just bow out of the whole Christmas scene this year, it hurts to think about..."

"We have more shoes for my daughter who doesn't even walk than many children around the world will EVER own." 

"Where am I finding my rest, where is my comfort? Christ should be my answer both in word and action." 

"I don't want to bring children into our home and corrupt them with the American dream."  

"God has given the world all the resources we need but we aren't distributing it. We are hoarding it for ourselves while we call it blessings." -this is a big one...

Please understand I am not trying to just be negative... I never want to stop working through these things. God is doing some amazing things and I believe as our family works through these above questions and statements together and we seek Gods will He is going to grow us even more. I just want more of Him. I was told recently that I have no balance and honestly I never want to... 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Adoption Update and Fundraiser! {Necklaces and sling bags}

On our trip we knew we wanted to serve, learn about the culture, and we hoped to build relationships that would lead us to our child(ren) in the future. We were able to do this and I know the Lord has a plan for us and I know that it will all work out in His perfect timing.  

So what now? We are now in the process of getting internationally certified to adopt {so far we have gotten domestically certified}. This involves a lot of paper work and approximately $900.00. 

My little girl loves necklaces
{camera flash not so much}

So that's where you can help! We are selling beautiful handmade Magazine Bead Necklaces. These are beautiful, unique, and very versatile. I love to wear them long, double loop them, or wrap them as a bracelet. These particular necklaces were made with love by the young girls at M2, one of the Remand Homes we were blessed to serve at while on our trip with Sixty Feet. Each one is uniquely different and I have tons of styles to choose from. *These would make wonderful gifts too! hint, hint

Necklaces HERE {this links to my Facebook album}
{$20.00 unless otherwise stated plus $3.00 shipping, you can pay by making a donation above left thru Paypal and leave a comment of what number necklace you want.}

I also have 2 sling bags left for sale for $25.00 plus $5.00 shipping

Sunday, October 2, 2011

All I Have

{My favorite CD we got around Christmas time last year.  I just LOVE it. We bought it at our local Family Christian Stores and every one sold went to International Justice Ministries for the cause against slavery. I don't think they are carrying the CD anymore but have seen used copies on Amazon (here). The songs on this CD are ALL amazing and total resonate James 1:27 and Isaiah 1:17. One of my favorites is from Tenth Avenue North and I wrote out the lyrics below and a link to the song. Check it out and really ponder the words.} 

All I Have
Tenth Avenue North

Forgive me,
Lord for thinking
You would ever need me
Could you ever need me? 
Cause you spoke me into this existence
So why do I resist this?
What is it I cant let go?
Cause all I have is Yours, O Lord
Yes, all I have is Yours

You are Lord of all creation 
Author of salvation
Where else can I go?
Cause even this breath that I am taking 
You have given to me
There's nothing I can call my own
Cause all I have is Yours, O Lord
Yes, all I have is Yours
Oh, all I have is Yours, O Lord
Yes, all I have is Yours

And all I have is what You give me 
What You give is more than I need
So open my hands to give back freely 
The same way You've given to me
All I have is what You give me 
What You give is more than I need
So open my hands to give You freely 
The same way You've given to me

That all I have is Yours, O Lord
Yes, all I have is Yours

All I have, is Yours O Lord
Yes, all I have is Yours

All I have is Yours
All I have is Yours

I just love the part that says 
"And all I have is what You give me 
What You give is more than I need
So open my hands to give back freely 
The same way You've given to me" 

Our money, talent, resources, time, and energy is not our own. We have been blessed so that in return we can go and bless others.  We truly do have more than we need, way more the the majority of the world. Our brothers and sisters across the globe are suffering and we have been given SO much. Praying and seeking what this looks like for our family. 

“The King will reply, 
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of 
these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."
Matt 25:40

Friday, September 30, 2011

Amazing Apple Dip

Across the country it is starting to feel like FALL
If you live in the lovely state of Arizona it is still in the 100's....yeah.... weather wise we may start feeling like it's fall by mid November. bleh. However, I will not let this discourage me! I've got my pumpkin spice candle from Walmart and have already been busting out the fall-ish recipes. 

This recipe is perfect for fall! It's like a Caramel Apple but 10x better! Perfect for when hubby is at a baseball game and you have the whole thing to yourself a fun fall party or get together. 

Here's what you need!
2 (8oz) cream cheese squares, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 T vanilla extract
1 jar caramel topping (for ice cream)
1 large Symphony Toffee and Almond candy bar, crumbled
Sliced Granny Smith apples 

Did you know taking pictures of food is harder than it looks. 
 Cream together, cream cheese, powdered sugar and vanilla extract until smooth. 
Spread mixture in a pie plate. Next pour the caramel topping over and top with crumbled candy bar. Cover and refridgerator until cold for best results. Eat with a spoon. Serve with sliced Granny Smith apples. .

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Day 1 Part 2 (Written By Josh)

This post is a mess, I know. I gotta get it out somehow... 

The bus pulled up to M1. There weren't many children around. Most of them were lining up for breakfast. A nice mixture of corn meal and excessive water. It was a late breakfast, but that's because a couple of the children have to cook it themselves for the rest. I'd have to guess that there were 200 kids there, anywhere between the ages of 5 and 18. Most were probably about 11 or so. We all kind of meandered off the bus looking around, not sure what to do or where to start. Some of the children who happened to be near the front building saw that we were there and slowly came around. We met some of the social workers and the gentleman who runs M1 and everyone was kind and cordial. After our greetings we ventured further out to meet the children. 

[It's amazing how I could be walking around in a place, compared to American standards, that's filthy, with children who haven't bathed in who knows how long and I can feel like I'm the dirty one. It was so apparent that I came from a life where I had plenty to eat. But that's not the problem. The problem is that I have so many options that I "struggle" with frustration because I can't decide what to eat. It was also apparent that I had plenty to wear; the four outfits I brought on the trip were more than any of the kids had, yet I continue to "struggle" with buying more and overspending if they fade or I just get tired of them. Like how I look is somehow a part of my identity and I'm newer when my clothes are newer, forgetting that I have been made a new creation in Christ, clothed in His righteousness. My affluence was apparent and I felt like the kids were staring at it, disgusted by it, or maybe just I was. Now, I understand how when you come across this way of thinking it is where a lot of people start to make excuses and even pawn off their overindulgence on being "thankful" for God's blessings. We easily forget who our model is. Who our Lord is. Jesus never lived in luxury. He even challenged those who would follow Him to consider the cost before doing so(Luke 14) because it is so great. He reminded His disciples that He had no place to rest His head, informing them that as a servant is no better than his master, so we are no better than Him. If it happened to Him, it will happen to us. Paul recounts in 2 Corinthians 8 & 9 the generosity of the Corinthian church.  He reminds them that it is written in Psalm 112:9, "They have freely scattered their gifts to the poor; their righteousness endures forever." This is what we are called to and I was feeling God's discipline in me for my years of disobedience. I am so thankful that I have a Father who loves me enough to discipline me back into His righteous ways (Hebrews 12).] 

Once the children were done eating, we all squeezed into their worship room and began worshiping God in song. This was one of the most fun and most thrilling experiences of my life. The children were loud and enthusiastic. Most of the songs were in Lugandan, but some were in English. Thanks to God's convicting, I moved in amongst the crowd of kids and began worshiping with them. I don't want to give the impression that all of the children were born again believers in Jesus. Just like anywhere, there was a mix of both believers and non-believers, yet the majority of the children were joyfully engaging in this spectacular, worshipful interlude, where hope overcame all of the world's oppression, sickness and faithlessness, and we were communing together with our loving, reliable, freedom giving Father in Heaven. We weren't standing with our hands in our pockets, looking at our watches and trying to sing as quietly as we could so no one else might hear. Even if we didn't know all of the words, for the sake of joy, encouragement and praising Jesus, we were singing loudly, yelling even, making joyful, victorious shots to the Lord, dancing, hugging, bowing our heads and lifting up our prayers in a swarm of supernaturally unified voices that transcended race, age, and class! It is truly an experience that I will never forget and that I yearn to experience again. Not just there, but here in America as well. Oh how I wish the people of God would be freed from the bondage of debt, materialism, consumerism and concern for our image and worship in an undignified way! And not just in song! I pray we will be freed to: love even if we are trampled on, strive for the justification of others and not ourselves even if that leads to imprisonment and give our material blessing to others in need until God is all we rely on and rejoice in! Oh how I wish we would love like Jesus did and be obedient to the Father even unto death on a cross! He was accursed, made into sin though He knew no sin so that we could be redeemed, restored, renewed, remade, vibrant, victorious, joyful, jubilant, Jesus-like, healed, healing, helpful, hopeful, holy, saved!

and if you didn't see this video in the previous post. 


"Come back, 
and bring others with you."
As we came to the end of the trip this is what Moses, the Director of Sixty Feet Uganda side, requested of us who were there. 

Moses is in the trenches of ministry everyday. With little to no rest, he is pouring himself out everyday as the hands and feet of Jesus to the imprisoned children of Uganda. He is not ignorant to the needs in his country, he knows, he has been there. Yet, instead of asking that we just pray and send a check (we NEED to be doing this too) he says COME. 
Come and SEE

Come and TOUCH
Come and SMELL
Come and TASTE
Come and FEEL
Come and HEAR

Come and LAUGH


Go here to learn more about SixtyFeet's upcoming trips and how you can get involved. 

{I hope to write more on our call to go in an upcoming post soon!}