Friday, August 27, 2010

Fair Trade Friday

This Friday I am going to highlight the website over at Not For Sale.

Their website is a wealth of information and stories about modern day slavery. I guess it has been a long time since I have been on their website, because when I visited it today my eyes lit up like a kid at Christmas ... or a Melany at Christmas :-)

I actually can't even touch on everything, because I have not been able to go through everything. So on that note, I am going to point your attention to a few of my favorite products in their store.

- You can help a woman in Uganda continue her education by buying a pair of these:
Sseko sandals $39.00
I love them...and the straps are interchangeable!

- You can buy a bag made by a woman rescued from sex trafficking in India buy purchasing this:

Maroon Floral Handbag: $17.50

or this:
Momento Handbad: $18.00

- You can help women in Swaziland get fair trade wages by purchasing this:

Stretchy Paper Jewelry: $16.00

- or you can make a fashion statement by wearing this:
Not For Sale Dog Tags: $12.00
By the way, I have decided that I really want one of these necklaces :-)

So there are just a few ideas. Visit the website and the "Freedom Store" for more. Have a wonderful Friday and a super weekend!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

This Little Piggy

Last week my church (DC Metro Church) had an outreach opportunity sponsored through our women's ministry (DC Sisterhood). The idea was to take purses (both new and gently used) and fill them with toiletry know, all that stuff that us gals love. The purses were then going to be taken to a local shelter and given to the women in the program there.

When I first heard of the service project, I was absolutely thrilled by the idea. Unfortunately, my finances told me that my participation would be very limited or not at all. As the time for the service project came closer, it appeared that I was not going to be able to participate in buying anything. Gift giving is something that I adore so it was a little discouraging ... but then I remembered my little piggy.

The story of the little piggy:
Once upon a time there was a store named Target and there was a girl named Melany.
Melany loved Target.
She loved Target a LOT.
In fact, every time Melany moved to a new city, one of the first things on her agenda was to find the closest and best Target.

One day, a wonderful thing happened.
Target began carrying merchandise from a British brand called Liberty of London.
Oh, how this made Melany happy.
She loved the floral spring prints.
She wanted to buy everything, but alas she has to practice some restrain.

There were a few items that made their way into Melany's life.
The cute little notebook that is still in her purse, the bag that houses her computer and art journal...and the little piggy.
It was this little piggy that would become her best purchase.

The little piggy was a piggy bank and Melany absolutely loved it from the first time she saw it.
But why in the world would she need a piggy bank.
Piggy banks are for children, not grown adults, right?
Then Melany had a wonderful idea (probably from God as the most wonderful ideas turn out to be).
She could get the piggy bank and use it to hold all her change.
Being that she pays for things with cash she accumulated a lot of change.
What if she did not spend that change but saved it.
Then when she felt led, she could empty her piggy bank, cash in the coins, and do something special for someone else.
She would call it a piggy bank blessing.

Back to now:
And there it began. This little piggy bank that I have now emptied twice. The first time was to get a cool camera (and film) for a friend. Go God!!

Now, as this service project found me with a deep desire to participate through the gift of shopping, I felt the need to empty it once again. When these moments come, I never know how much will come out, but like to think that Jesus multiplies the change like He did the loaves and fish :-) I was so pleased to cash in my piggy bank and find that I had $65 to spend for this purse project. Praise God!!! I was able to get a new Nine West purse and lots of really cool stuff, including some stuff from the Body Shop (yeah for Ross and Marshalls).

I share all that to say that my heart was so thrilled beyond belief to see God provide to me the funds to provide some love and encouragement to one of His daughters. I love it! The DC Sisterhood purse project (which, by the way, was called "Be Her Change") was a huge success. While there were 25 purses needed to give one to all the women at the shelter, God moved and 75 purses were put together. Praise God!!! The picture below is not high quality (it was taken in a dark room with my phone), but you get the idea right? Basically...AMAZING!!!

So go get a piggy bank. Target does not carry Liberty of London anymore, but they do still have cute piggy banks...and you don't have to be 5 to own one :-)

Monday, August 23, 2010

The itch

I have the itch. This will probably not come as a shock (especially after my last blog), but I am pretty anxious to be back in full time ministry. It has been a thought that has been in my mind for so long. I have been bombarded with memories of my most fond moments of being on foreign soil. The littlest things have taken me back to those moments.

It has shown itself in:
the shawarma that I had for lunch the other day
(memories of Morocco)

the photos from Uganda that a Facebook friend tagged me in,
(memories of, well...Uganda)

the fondness of India as I have read the book Eat, Pray, Love
(Sorry, no picture here. It was before the digital camera age)

Gosh even as I type those things out, I am so struck with gratitude for the amazing experiences that I have had. But I just know that it is only the beginning. I will be back out there, I just know it.

A friend sent me an email today about a short term opportunity for Asia in November. I found myself once again reminding God that I am ready, upon which He gently reminds me, "No you are not." And that's perfectly fine, because I know that indeed the time will come.

So, I leave this post with a smile on my face and a dream in my heart...a dream that I know will come true :-)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Most passionate...

Last Sunday in church, my pastor asked a question that made me stop my note taking and do a little impromptu journaling right there in the middle of his message.

The Question: When was a time in your life when you were most passionate about God?

For me, reflection on this question has given me further confirmation into what my life is going to count for. As I took a little journal break to write down some thoughts, I realized that I am most passionate about God when I am serving Him in full time ministry. Two specific seasons come to my mind: 1. When I was working in the youth ministry at my church in Memphis 2. The first Discipleship Training School (DTS) that I staffed. There are so many more moments and so many more seasons that have deepened my passion for God, but it is these two that really stand out to me.

The passion for God in these particular seasons did not come because it was part of my job. It came because seeing God move in someone's life moves me. I LOVE seeing life change. I LOVE seeing people deepen their walk with God. It's what I live for and ultimately it's what I want to give my everything to.

I have been so blessed to have so many experiences that have enabled me to work full time serving in ministry. I am so grateful for all of it. It has not always been easy and I have definitely had my times of "brown out" (because I don't think that I ever completely "burned out").

In all honestly, right now I am very anxious to get back into it. I want to move to Thailand, or staff another DTS, or travel through Asia seeing what people are doing and praying about how I can participate. But right now, God has me in the Washington DC area for a very important reason. He is building me up and I know that one day, He will release me once more. I am very grateful for the church that God has put me in and the opportunity to pour into the youth group. I am also grateful for all the avenues that I have to meet with others to pray...and not just "pray", but really intercede, pray for the things on God's heart, defeat the devil in the name of Jesus, and speak forth the things of the Lord.

One day I will be back in the world of full time ministry. At this point, I don't have any idea what that will look like. I know that it will definitely be hard at times, but that is part of what this current season is about. I'm building some muscle. And just because I am not serving full time in ministry, does not mean that I am not passionate for God right here and right now. That is another area that I can grow in: being full of zeal and passion for God in every season because every season is from Him. Soak it all up.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


I saw this video after a friend posted it on facebook. I kinda like it because it makes me feel a little bit better about being alone...and "alone" is something that I have really been struggling with lately.

I have realized that I don't really feel like I have a real friend. You know...someone (or a group of someones) that you hang out with on the weekend. Someone that really knows what is going on in your life and who you know what is going on in theirs. Someone to share the day to day life with. Truth be told: I don't have that someone in my life. Not to say that I don't know anyone. I know people, but just don't have those close friendships that I so often crave.

Sometimes, I wonder if this situation is a Godsend. It does leave one in a place where they have nowhere to look but up. They have no one to go to but the Lord. It really is a wonderful thing to be in a close relationship with a God that is so near and dear. He pursues me with an everlasting love and I can know that I am never actually alone. He is always there.

...but still; friends are great too :-)

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Living the dream

I have been spending a lot of time recently reflecting on my life. Though by no means perfect, I must say that it has been a great adventure that I am living and I am so grateful. I have been to so many exciting places and done so many exciting things over the years. As I was journaling the other day a phrase came to my mind that I feel really sums up this life that I am living...

"It all started when I gave my heart to Christ and went deeper when I gave my life to ministry"

And on that note, I just want to share some really special moments:

Feeling challenged and inspired from one the youth in our group, who was the only one to show up to pray during See You At The Pole at his school. Such an amazing young man.
Being a part of the team that put together an amazing weekend retreat on worship and seeing our students experience and grow in knowledge of what it means to worship God.
Being able to work alongside these guys to love and serve youth.
Taking a huge leap of faith.
Hitting the road headed to LA. The fulfillment of a lifelong desire. Thank you Lord!
Making a stop at the Grand Canyon. Enough said :-)
School Of Ministry Development at YWAM LA.

Making chipoti.
Worship service.
Sharing some laughs with some very special young ladies.
The most beautiful child I have ever seen. There are no words to describe how special this little one is and the special place she will always have in my heart.
Spending a few days at a Sudanese refuge camp and seeing God heal the open sores of so many children.
First time staffing DTS (Discipleship Training School) - outreach location announcement night.
Ministry in a village in Thailand.
Moments like this are what I live for.
An amazing outreach with an amazing team, serving alongside an incredible co-leader, and having the best translator ever.

Getting water from a well.
Running after the kiddos following us on the trail. They loved it!!
Going out on a prayer walk and finding part of a dead animal.
This little girl and her little laugh absolutely captured my heart.
Going to a village and gathering around a woman to pray for her healing.
Another wonderful team of world changers!

...and these pictures don't even include all the adventures I had before owning a digital camera. Discipleship Training School in Hawaii, outreach to the Philippines, medical missions trip to India. There have been so many amazing memories. And I know that there are so many more ahead. I am so excited by what I am seeing God do in the youth group and church that I am currently a part of. God is so good and the adventure in serving Him is so exciting. Praises to the Father. Thank you God for all You are doing.

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