Monday, March 26, 2012

Camp, Candles & Engineering Students

Dear God, I thought, don't let me make a complete fool of myself. I got up. I spoke. It was fine. No one was moved to tears by my presentation, but God is the one who moves people anyway. I did my part, He will do his. Besides, it is 40 degrees & I am fairly certain all of the students are in a mild coma.

We were sitting outside in a replica of a squatter camp. Engineers With A Mission put on an event at Baylor University called Camp [In]Justice. From 7pm-midnight students were gathered to listen to speakers talk about social justice issues, pray and worship together. My friend Blair & I were invited to come and speak on human trafficking. 

It was a brilliant event. The final hour of the night was spent worshiping together. Around 11pm it was bitterly cold. Not bitter for Toronto or say, Helsinki, but for Texas. At this point only about 15 students remained. What happened next, was something I had not expected. 

 We lit candles and gathered close to worship. The presence of God met us. The ultimate Rescuer - Jesus himself was with us. To my right & left were my comrades. I will always remember these people. I won't remember their names, or all the details of their features. I won't remember which ones sounded angelic and which ones sang off tune. I will not recall the specific words spoken, or the songs we sang.

I WILL remember that people gathered. We gathered on behalf of those living in squatter camps, those living with AIDS, and the orphans who sit alone in the night. We gathered to remember that no matter what culture says, each person has eternal value. We sang songs that have been sung for generations- hymns whose truths have carried people through historic difficulty. The light that shone from our flickering candles was a cluster of light in a dark night. Praying prayers for the 27 million slaves who live in a kind of darkness I can not imagine.

I am not going to see those people again - those people I stood with on that cold & dark night. However, I know they are there. They exist just like the believers from previous generations existed. An army, a people, who spread far before and far after me. It is a powerful thing to stand with people. Shoulder to shoulder, advancing and partnering. 

I can so easily feel self-absorbed in my endeavors. I can forget that there are millions of unseen faces toiling to make a difference. I am one small part of the Church who remembers that the greatest of these is love.  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

No Offense, But We Sound Stupid

This video is amazing.  I came across it this afternoon and had to post. I want to speak with conviction and authority. Listen, laugh and be challenged.

Typography from Ronnie Bruce on Vimeo.
Typography Animation project for class

Poem by Taylor Mali (

Monday, March 19, 2012

Winning - But Not Like Charlie Sheen

I may not be the most competitive person in the world, but I do like to win. My husband would say that I am lying and reference a dark event from our engagement. We were at an engagement retreat & had to play a communication game.  The men are given a task and the girls have to give their fiancĂ© instructions of what to do next. Apparently, I didn't take the game seriously enough. Jady lost to a deaf man who was blindfolded. Really. Jady was not happy. I don't care about winning like Charlie Sheen, or winning at stupid engagement retreat games. But, I do want to 'win' in my life. I was looking at this verse the other day:  

      Brothers & sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
                                 -Philippians 3:13-14

Paul acknowledges that he hasn't won yet, but he knows how to get there. By forgetting the past and moving on to the things ahead. This means two things to me:

First we have to forget the past that haunts us. Forget the things we didn't do, the things we failed at and all the scrapes we got along the way. The regrets from our memories and the scars from our experiences - we must forget them. We must look ahead. Believe the promise again. Risk again.

Second, we have to forget the past that brought us glory. It is easy to ride on the accomplishments you have made this far. All the influence you have gained, the recognition you have earned. We have to let that go as well. If not we will simply coast along satisfied with how far we have come. But coasting doesn't get you across the finish line. We thank God for the things He has done in our lives already, but we look ahead & not behind. We believe that God takes us from glory to glory. You and I have to reject the lie that the 'good old days' are as good as it gets. We cling to the promise that the best is yet to come. We keep moving forward knowing there is always more of God to be had.

I want to forget all the things - good & bad - that can hold me back & make me slow down. I want to focus on the Kingdom coming. I want to win.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Remember That Party You Forgot To Invite Me To?

Look at me. I'm the life of the party. Why wouldn't you invite me?

Thanks to social media it is easy to keep up with the happenings in friends' lives. Pictures of babies, announcements of an engagement or a big move. I love seeing things like that. What I don't like is seeing photos of events I wasn't invited to. You have all been there. Seeing pics of a wedding you had no idea was happening. Or looking at Instagram and seeing everyone at dinner...everyone but you that is.

That little poke of rejection that makes you cringe just a little. That happened to me this past week (thanks so much Facebook). It doesn't matter that we don't talk as frequently as we used to, I don't like it when they get together without me. You begin to wonder why they all stayed friends but somehow I didn't stay in their friendship loop. Was it because I borrowed those shoes without asking? Cause I totally apologized for that years ago...Did spring break 2002 mean nothing to them???

I know that is a reality of life. I don't invite everyone I have ever been friends with to everything either. Maybe I forgot to invite you to a party. There are some friends from high school & college that I have stayed close to and others that I have lost touch with.  Regardless, it makes me feel small and easily forgotten. I don't like that feeling.

As I was on the verge of throwing myself a fantastic pity party and evaluating every friendship that has fizzled out since grade school, I stopped. I remembered something very important.

I remembered that God always invites me. There is never a party that He excludes me from. He always wants me and never feels some dutiful obligation. When the kingdom is having a big bash I have VIP ticket status. He looks forward to me attending and is sad when I tell Him that I am too busy to come. God never forgets to invite me. And He throws the best parties.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lessons I Learned From The Bachelor

This is the kind of beach you have a bonfire dinner on if you are on the Bachelor. Minus the old guy in the speedo.

When I was in college, my roommates loved to watch The Bachelor. Sadly, I must admit I ended up watching it with them by default sometimes. It still seems that I can't escape it thanks to Facebook, twitter & all things Internet. All sarcasm aside, I will admit there were some great lessons on love we can learn from this high quality show.

1. Grown women wear prom dresses. It appears that the average grown woman has multiple prom/pageant dresses. I had no idea. All this time, I was buying wardrobe staples like Real Simple told me to. I guess I was led astray. 

2. You must have perfect teeth. Any stains or blemishes are unacceptable. Good orthodontics in high school are required if you want to find love on national TV. 

3. Don't be ethnic. Is it just me, or are all the contestants white? Or at least mostly white. How do minorities find love I wonder? Surely they don't have to actually build normal relationships & go on dates to places like Starbucks?!? So unfair.

4. Avoid any advice from anyone who has a successful marriage. The host of the show has been married to the same woman since 1993. Thankfully, no one asks him for advice on romance and commitment. They use the more reliable method of drinking lots of alcohol and just "following their heart".

5.  Wear LOTS of lip gloss. This is a dating MUST. I don't care if you are going scuba diving in Tahiti or having dinner in Paris. A critical key to finding love is looking like you just ate fried chicken.

6. America has nothing to do on Monday nights. The fact that millions of people are spending a chunk of their time watching people compete for love tells me that Monday night needs some new activities. 

7. Men Like Helicopter Rides. I have never in my life heard a girl say, "Oh, I WISH he would take me on a romantic helicopter ride." And yet, the men seem to always plan dates on them. Maybe because you can't really talk against the noise of the chopper...I don't know...

8. Only Date On Vacation. If the show teaches us anything it is that dating can only truly be achieved by doing nothing but dating. You can't work, or talk to your family. Or go anywhere really. You must devote  yourself entirely to falling in love. 

9. Each day you should make 'the most important decision of your life'. You can't miss this step. If you don't make "the most important decision of your life" every day, then you are probably really out of touch with your feelings. To tell him about your ex-fiance, your parents divorce, that you never graduated from college...these should ALL be the biggest decisions you have ever made. These "most important decisions of your life" should always be made while talking to a camera crew and drinking a cocktail. 

10. There Is An Entire Generation Who Know Nothing About Love. The contestants and the viewers represent a generation that craves love, but doesn't know how to get it. Our understanding of sacrifice and commitment are lacking when it comes to relationships. In the end the contestants and viewers who mimicked them are left with broken hearts.

I have a suggestion. Instead of watching a failed model of falling in love, lets spend those few hours a week working on our relationships. We should choose to BE in love with our spouse. We should become better people for the ones we love. Serving our friends instead of competing and comparing ourselves against them. I know it isn't reality TV material, but I think we might have a better shot at the happy ending.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Kony 2012 - A Mother's Plea

The internet is buzzing today about Kony 2012. In case you are among the many who don't know who that is, watch this video. Even if you do know who it is, watch it. Yes, it is 27 minutes long. But surely you can spare 27 minutes ?

Click Here To Watch The Kony 2012 Video

Twitter, Facebook and You Tube have been flooded with people sharing the video and giving support for the Kony 2012 campaign. It is a viral movement. 

The rapid spread of this issue had also gotten quite a bit of criticism. Individuals are mocking the mass of people who never seemed to care about the crisis before it became a popular cause. 

Sure, there are a lot of people who are suddenly passionate about something they hadn't cared about before. Yes, maybe it is the 'trendy' thing to do. But, so what? If raising awareness is a trend, I pray that we all get super trendy really quick.

I know some people don't approve of the way they use their funds, or the way they are running things in Uganda.  If you don't like their spending practices, fine, don't give them money. Give to another organization in Uganda that you think is better. I can give you a few suggestions if you want. But don't mock people who are doing something to help oppressed people. That helps no one.

I understand that Kony isn't in Uganda at the moment, but is hiding out in neighboring regions. Maybe that fact wasn't clear enough in the video. Regardless of what border he is in, he should be found and prosecuted for war crimes. The point is injustice is happening. We need to know & we need to help.

I am a mother. Two of my children are Ugandan and live in Uganda right now. One little boy & one little girl. This issue is personal to me. I care about the nation of Uganda. I care that over 30,000 children have been kidnapped - the girls used as sex slaves and the boys as child soldiers. 

I know that probably 90% of the people posting the video will not still be involved in the issue 12 months from now. But, I don't care. It matters that people are involved now. It matters that people know. It matters that a generation of Ugandans are able to live without fear. 

Broken nations dream too. Uganda dreams. Give them a voice not a snub.

Monday, March 5, 2012

My Shoes Don't Fit Again.

A while back I wrote a post about our shoes being too small. If you missed it, you can read it here. Over the course of this past week, I have discovered that my feet aren't fitting in my shoes. Yet again. This time it isn't because they are too small, but rather I am wearing the completely wrong pair of shoes. Take a look at these shoes with me...( Guys, substitute in manly shoes)

 Oh, these are cute. I love sporty looking girls. I love fast-paced things and the idea of energy. I think I might do well to get some running shoes.

Boots! Such a classic girl-next-door look. Everyone loves the girl next door. Boots would make me look approachable, elegant and romantic. With perhaps a twist of rustic. Hmm...I think I should wear boots.

Pastel oxfords. Adorable. It's the trendy, whimsical vibe. If I wore these people would see my fun side. Plus, they look like something Zooey Deschanel would wear. And I adore her. These would make me 'adorkable' and people would find me endearing. 

Now, these are beautiful. If I was wearing these then I would look the part. Successful, in control & beyond glamorous. These are serious influencer shoes. And I want to be an influencer. These shoes mean business. 

In my original 'feet too small' post, I talked about how we need shoes that give us room to grow & shoes that will take us to the places God has prepared for us. 

I realized that I did go up a few sizes in my shoes, but I didn't pick a pair based on the type of feet God gave me or the work He wants me to do in them. I picked pairs that I thought looked the cutest at the time and that would take me where I wanted to go. 

Now, I have blisters. My arches ache. I took on roles and dreams that portrayed the person/mom/leader/wife/friend I hoped God was making me. I wanted to seem powerful, or charming, or adventurous. I chose the image I wanted, rather than being confident in my God-given image. I need to dress for how He has made me, not who I wish He had made me. 

I'm realizing yet again that if I want to be in this journey for the long haul then I need shoes that fit. Shoes that are not only big enough, but functional for the purposes God has for me. Imagine a soccer player in heels or a stockbroker in Uggs. They would not be successful. 

Putting on athletic shoes won't make me an athlete and wearing saddle shoes won't make me Zooey Deschanel (sadly). Strumming a guitar isn't going to give me the anointing to be a worship leader and getting access to a microphone won't make me speaker. God develops me, not my situation. 

I HAVE to remember that God knows where He is leading me. My armor isn't going to look like the person's next to me. Perhaps my armor includes combat boots, vintage pumps or ballet flats. I feel pretty confident that I won't end up in running shoes or clogs. But, who knows?

We each need new shoes for each season. We need room to grow & we need to trust God with the type of person He is shaping us into. There is comfort there.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Terrible Lie

The other day I was reading to my daughter out of her children's Bible. We read this story & I was brought to tears. I know you have heard it a million times, but read it again. It may seem long, but read it all the way through. Read it in a child's version - like a child would.

God's greatest love story. Source:Pinterest

The Terrible Lie ( from Genesis 3)

Adam and Eve lived happily together in their beautiful new home. And everything was perfect-for a while. Until the day when everything went wrong.

God had a horrible enemy. His name was Satan... Satan was seething with anger & looking for a way to hurt God. He wanted to stop God's plan, stop this love story, right there. So he disguised himself as a snake and waited in the garden. 

Now, God had given Adam & Eve only one rule: "Don't eat the fruit on that tree," God told them. "Because if you do, you'll think you know everything. You'll stop trusting me. And then death and sadness and tears will come." 

...As soon as the snake saw his chance, he slithered silently up to Eve. "Does God really love you?" he serpent whispered. "If he does, why won't he let you eat the nice, juicy, delicious fruit? Poor you, perhaps God doesn't want you to be happy."

The snake's words hissed into her ears and sunk down deep into her heart, like poison. Does God love me? Eve wondered. Suddenly she didn't know anymore.

"Just trust me," the serpent whispered. "You don't need God. One small taste, that's all, and you'll be happier than you could ever dream..." Eve picked the fruit and ate some. And Adam ate some too. 

And a terrible lie came into the world. It would never leave. It would live on in every human heart, whispering to every one of God's children: "God doesn't love me."

And it wasn't a dream. It was a nightmare...

Later that evening, as God was taking his walk, he called to them, "Children?" Usually Adam and Eve loved to hear God's voice and run to him. But this time, they ran away from him and hid in the shadows.

"Where are you?" God called.
"Hiding," Adam said. "We're afraid of you."
"Did you eat the fruit I told you not to eat?" God asked them.
Adam said, "Eve made me do it!"
"What have you done?" God asked.
Eve said, "The serpent made me do it!"

And terrible pain came into God's heart. His children hadn't just broken the one rule; they had broken God's heart. They had broken their wonderful relationship with him. And now he knew everything else would break. God's creation would start to unravel, and come undone, and go wrong...

...But before they left the garden, God made clothes for his children, to cover them. He gently clothed them and then he sent them away on a long, long journey- out of the garden, out of their home.

Well, in another story, it would have all been over and that would have been...
                                    The End.

But not in this Story. God loved his children too much to let the story end there. Even though he new he would suffer, God had a plan - a magnificent dream. One day he would get his children back. One day, he would make the world their perfect home again. And one day, he would wipe away every tear from their eyes.

You see, no matter what, in spite of everything, God would love his children - with a Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always & Forever Love. And though they would forget him, and run from him, deep in their hearts, God's children would miss him always, and long for him - lost children yearning for their home.

Before they left the garden, God whispered a promise to Adam & Eve: "It will not always be so! I will come to rescue you! And when I do, I'm going to do battle against the snake. I'll get rid of the sin and the dark and the sadness you let in here. I'm coming back for you!"

And he would. One day, God himself would come.

From The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones

Thursday, March 1, 2012

You Asked, So I Am Telling You...

Source: Pinterest
Sorry men, you will have to come back later. This one is for the girls... 

One of the most regularly asked questions I get is for make up recommendations. So, here you go. Enjoy!

Best Morning Moisturizer
  • Clarins Multi-Active Day Wrinkle Correcting Lotion $56
  • Jergns Natural Glow FACE Daily Moisturizer $5
  • Neutrogena UltraSheer Liquid SPF 55. During the spring/summer when my skin isn't too dry, I just use sunscreen as moisturizer. 

Best Eye Cream 
  • Bobbi Brown Hydrating Eye Cream $46 (but lasts forever)
  • Cosmedicine Opti-Mologist Eye Cream w/ Light Diffusers $12
  • FOR NIGHT: ROC Retinol Correction eye cream is by far the best. But it has retinol, so you should only use it at night. $20

Best Night Cream
  • Olay Regenerist Night Elixir $22.50
  • Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate $44

Best Foundation
  • Any foundation by Bobbi Brown. Most are $46, but last a very long time.
  • Maybelline Dream Liquid Mousse Foundation $8
  • Tip: If you add a bit of moisturizer to your foundation you get a tinted moisturizer. Great for summertime.

Best Concealer
  • CoverGirl & Olay  Simply Ageless Concealer $8
  • Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer $22

Best Eyeshadow
  • I prefer MAC eyeshadows, hands down. Tons of colors. easy to blend, stays put. $15

Best Eyeliner
  • MAC Fluidline Gel Pot $15
  • Maybelline Eye Studio Master Drama Eyeliner $6

Best Mascara
  • Maybelline Volume Express The Falsies Flared Mascara $7
  • Diorshow by Dior. This is the industry standard when it comes to mascara. $28

Best Blush
  • NARS blush. $28 
  • L'Oreal True Match $9

Best Lipstick
  • Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter . This feels like a lip balm & has the bold color of a lipstick $7.50
  • NARS Lip Gloss. This gloss stays put like a lipstick & is worth the money. $24
  • Origins Rain and Shine Liptint. The perfect lipstick/balm combo. Really natural looking. $15
To those of you who have asked me to do this post, I hope it was helpful! 

Super easy Cat Eye thanks to Pinterest