Thursday, December 31, 2009

"What Matters Now" a free e-book

Last week in an effort to find a one word theme for 2010, I read an interesting electronic book organized by Seth Godin, who shares about the book on his blog. It's called What Matters Now and is a pdf file you can either download or read in your browser. Each page is a short blurb focusing on a specific topic such as momentum, ripple, generosity, celebrate, and dumb. There are about 70 different themes offered for the year and each is written by a different person. It's a quick, thought-provoking read.

My favorites included: "Ripple" by John Wood, "Momentum" by Dave Ramsey, and "Change" by Chip and Dan Heath.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

An amazing legacy

My list of real life heroes seems to be growing lately. First I shared about these modern day heroes. Then I told you about my childhood hero who lived during the 19th century. Today I have another hero to add to the list.

Before Christmas I was reading Just Courage by Gary Haugen and learned about Donaldina Cameron. In 1895 Donaldina, 26 at the time, began a missionary career rescuing and rehabilitating Chinese women who were brought to San Fransisco and forced into prostitution. She became known as "Beloved Mother" by the women she worked with and "White Devil" by the men she rescued them from. In the 45 years she was in San Fransisco, she rescued and educated more than 3,000 women and girls!!

Though there is a book about Donaldina, Chinatown's Angry Angel, her story is not well known. I am going to try to get my hands on this book. I'll definitely let you know if I am able to find out more about this amazing woman and hero of the faith.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What a great day!

Every year my grandma makes numerous batches of cookies the week before Christmas. It's been tradition that her grandchildren help with this delicious event.

Here Chanandler Bong is showing off his handiwork. He worked on that snowflake cookie for about 20 minutes. Don't judge; it takes a while to frost and decorate a cookie when you are busy licking frosting out of your hand.

The stand out memory I have of making cookies with Grandma is that I got in trouble for putting too many of those rock hard silver balls on a cookie. Do you remember those things? They tasted disgusting and were known to chip teeth.

Kennedy was dressed for the event. She had a gingerbread man apron
and a baker's hat. She also had flour all over her face and shirt when I arrived. Grandma said she called at 7:30 to see when we would start the cookies!! Good thing she wasn't coming to my house!

When I arrived, Abby was so excited to see me she couldn't stop shrieking. I ended up needing to move my car and I thought she was going to lose it. It's nice to be loved. Actually she already thought I was late and did not want me to delay cookie decorating any longer.

Kennedy, who is in first grade, took this picture of us. Chandler and Abby are the youngest of the grandchildren.* Both of them turn five in February; their birthdays are only a week apart. But they won't be the youngest for long because Abby's mommy is having a baby in May. Woohoo!!

*There are great-grandchildren younger than them, so they aren't the youngest of the family.

Chandra's 12th birthday was the day we decorated cookies. I can't believe the girl is twelve. She's growing up so fast. She's almost as tall as I am and she already wears the same size shoe as me! Anyway, I don't know if she really wanted to make cookies with the little kids on her birthday, but she was a good sport about it.

The poor girl doesn't have any cousins her age, but she does a great job playing with the younger kids and helping out with them. Here she's helping her brother with his Advent candy calendar.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Today's Holiday: Christmas

Merry Christmas!
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”- Isaiah 9:6

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

1440 minutes each day

Have you ever felt like there aren't enough minutes in the day? Annie Dieselberg shares how just a few of those 1440 minutes in a day can bring hope to someone else.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Call + Response

Learn more about Call + Response.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The New Abolitionists

I first read about Elijah Lovejoy while I was a teenager, and he has been one of my heroes ever since. The man showed extreme courage and perseverance as an abolitionist in the early 1800s. He was run out of St. Louis for expressing his anti-slavery views. Then after relocating to Alton, Illinois, he faced more persecution as the editor of an abolitionist publication. Three different printing presses were thrown into the Mississippi River before he died in 1837 trying to protect a fourth printing press from being destroyed. Lovejoy may not have been directly involved with rescuing slaves, but he gave his life because he wanted their freedom. He was a true abolitionist.

I used to think being an abolitionist was a thing of the past. I thought all slavery ended when Congress passed the 13th amendment in 1865. Recently I found out how erroneous that notion is. Free the Slaves estimates that there are 27 million people who are currently enslaved, and it's not just happening in far away lands. There are modern day slaves in the United States, and they need modern day abolitionists to fight for their freedom.

What I love about Elijah Lovejoy--his courage, perseverance, and self-sacrifice in effort to eradicate slavery--lives on today in people like Amanda Kloer, who educates others about human trafficking over at, and Zach Hunter, a 17 year-old who started Loose Change to Loosen Chains five years ago.

Maybe someday I can join the ranks of Eli, Amanda and Zach as someone who is willing to fight for the freedom of others.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Art of Being Tactful

I will be the first person to tell you that I have never been known for possessing tact. The ability to deal with delicate situations sensitively just doesn't come naturally to me. I don't intend to cause offense; it just happens. More often than I'd like. Today, however, I found the roles reversed.

Our teaching team, comprised of 7 teachers, was discussing differentiated instruction this afternoon when the offender struck. She started by explaining that she doesn't have time to differentiate her lesson plans because being a wife and mother demands her time and attention. Then she pointed at me and declared in a tone that indicated I have no excuse, "You're not married. You don't have kids."

Clearly being single equates to having no life. Aside from the time I spend mentoring teens at my church, the responsibilities I have as a member of various organizations, the commitment I have to my small group, and the general obligations of being a good homeowner, pet owner, daughter, sister, and friend I've got nothing going on.

***To be fair, I really wasn't upset with the woman who callously pointed out I was single and childless. She wasn't being mean. She was trying to say that even had if she less responsibilities at home she wouldn't have time to differentiate every lesson. However, I was a little shocked that she brought my marital status into the discussion.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Readings from church this morning

A Peacemaker Will Come
The Third Week Of Advent

Anticipation grows within us. The day of Your incarnation is near.

There is no war nor division in the world that is beyond Your capacity to heal. The day of Your incarnation is near.

There is no hatred in the cosmos that cannot be transformed by Your forgiving love. The day of Your incarnation is near.

There is no social ill, relational breach, nor systemic evil that will not dissolve at Your touch. The day of Your incarnation is near.

In this third week of Advent, we sing with the prophets. That One will come who will bring the shalom peace of God to all human conditions.

In this third week of Advent, we shout with the children. Prince of Peace, quiet a world screaming in pain, and hungry for your Presence.

In this third week of Advent, we pray with believers around the world. In this third week of Advent, we pray with believers around the world.

Prince of Peace, we recognize that You are the God who alone can bring restoration to a fallen planet. Your capacity to restore broken relationships, communities, nations and ancient rivalries is boundless. Come, restore peace to our hearts today, and intervene among our restless human family.

Lord, make us instruments of this same transforming peace wherever we go.
We prepare our hearts in this Advent season by praying, listening, singing and responding to Your restoring forgiveness. With the ancients who awaited You, we say “Prince of Peace, plant the seeds of Your coming restoration in our hearts. After Your likeness, make us your Peacemakers.

© 2008 The Institute Of Contemporary And Emerging Worship Studies. All rights reserved. Feel free to copy & distribute. Written by Dan Wilt, M.Min.

Old Testament Isaiah 65:17-25
New Testament 1 Thessalonians 5:(12-15)16-28
Gospel Reading John 3:23-30
Psalm Reading Psalm 126

Saturday, December 12, 2009


Head over to YouTube and watch this video about the season of Advent and our response.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Not Doing Good, Part 2

Read Not Doing Good, Part 1 here.

"Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins."

James 4:17

While I was spending the last 9 months trying to ignore God's call to do something about human trafficking (a.k.a. sex slavery), my friend Amy was obediently answering that same call on her life. She and her coworker Sarah have both become passionate about helping women escape the bondage of the sex slave trade. Originally they thought they'd have to eventually relocate to a city with human trafficking problems, but through researching they've learned more about sexual exploitation in our own community. Ultimately they'd like to open and run a shelter that will provide a place for women to heal, learn new skills, and eventually reintegrate into their communities all the while experiencing the love of Christ. However, that takes more money than they currently have, and neither of them can quit their day jobs to be a director of something that involved.

Fortunately through all the researching, Amy and Sarah have found a need they do have the resources to fulfill. There are Christian shelters that exist in the United States, but they have a hard time obtaining the funds necessary to maintain their facilities and programs. Amy came up with the idea to create a website that helps raise awareness and money for these organization, as well as recruit volunteers for ministries and organizations that work with human trafficking victims. Through a series of events that only God could have orchestrated, Amy and Sarah are off to an amazing start at making this website a reality.

Now, how do I fit into all this? Good question! Amy shared her vision with me back in July. She also opened my eyes to the human trafficking taking place in my own town. I left that night knowing I couldn't sit on my duff any longer. I had to do something. So, I e-mailed Amy and said I was willing to help with her website. I thought maybe I could do some data entry or something else administrative. Amy was happy to bring me "on board" with her project. She was still at a place where she wasn't sure anything would actually materialize out of everything she was talking about and hoping for.

At this point in time, I think it's safe to say God has crushed all of Amy's doubts about the website becoming a reality. Amy and Sarah have a team of 5 or 6 people who have committed to being a part of their nonprofit to help human trafficking victims. The website they dreamed about has been created and is starting to take shape. Then Amy and Sarah's story was shared at a church of 3,000 people a few weeks ago. Because of that service, two buildings have been offered as potential shelter locations. Teenagers from the church have committed to helping raise awareness about the issue of sex slavery. They are doing research on human trafficking now, so they can create a presentation to take to others. The people from that congregation have poured out an overwhelming amount of support for this cause, and the doubts about not having resources to make the website successful disappeared.

When the website is open to the public, I'll be more active in my role as "official blogger." Until then I am educating myself on everything human trafficking. Then after the holidays our team wants to visit some established shelters in the region.

I will no longer ignore the good I know I should do. There are women and young girls out there waiting for someone to give them a way out, and I can't ignore my responsibilities any longer.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

True Story

Yesterday my friend's four year old daughter looked at him and said, "Daddy, call the doctor and tell him that I have nipples."

The daddy was a bit taken aback. Maybe he just heard wrong. "What was that?"

Little girl, "You need to call the doctor. I have nipples. Listen." She tried to breathe through her nose and couldn't because she had the "sniffles."

Friday, December 4, 2009

Child Sponsorship and Letter Writing

If you sponsor a child through Compassion or World Vision or some other organization, please watch this video. Formerly sponsored children share about the difference writing letters to your sponsored children can make.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

How to Have an Awesome Day

1. The night before, stay up until 11pm writing lesson plans for a substitute teacher.

2. Wake up early to arrive at school by 7:15 to prep the classroom for the substitute teacher.

3. Find out the seminar you thought was today is actually tomorrow. If possible, wait until 15 minutes before it would start to ask someone else about it.

4. Show up to your 8th block class after it starts. If possible, arrange for rowdy students to run around the room with the lights off before you get there.

5. Leave the snacks you are to provide for a meeting in the freezer.

6. Start pouring the boiling pot of pasta into the strainer before it's over the sink.

Do you have any suggestions on how to have a great day?