We are all loved.
I am, you are, she is.
We all are.
I am trying to educate myself on the whole issue of human trafficking by reading articles, reading books and talking with friends that have been in the trenches but am having a hard time getting my mind wrapped around the entire thing. I am at the point where maybe I do not need to understand it all, I just need to show up and be there, that I need to TRUST God in the things I don't understand and remember this verse:
"Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater" Luke 12:48
You and I, we are "those whom much is given" and it is our responsibility to help. Locally and globally and we can not think, "well, who am I ? " or " I am only one person" or " I can't make a difference" because we are the "whom much is given" and we can.
Maybe we can't get ourselves onto a talk-show to talk about it, stand in front of congress and fight for it or raise millions of dollars to go towards it, but we can do something.
"Each one should use whatever gift he's received to serve others." Peter 4:10
We are all better together and together we will teach her that she is loved and she is worth it, and so are YOU!
Every once in awhile I am going to do a little round up and tell you about what is going on in my creative world, things I am working on, things I am loving and things that you can do. I will be also including these things in a newsletter, so don't feel like you are having a de'j'vu (or however you spell that!)
Still carving away thoughts, ideas and plans to either teach in store, online or just sell these one of a kind stamps. Probably do a little of each..maybe.
Carved this little one last night and I like how it turned out. It does remind me of the stamps I have done with Purple Onion but the difference is, I made it. That is the best part. Not that "I" made it, but that it is handmade. You know what I mean. After carving one, well, I carved another and them stamped them on a hanging tag and played with a few more colors that I do not usually use. I like it..don't love it, but did not throw it away. Speaking of throwing away, I have a winner from the "my out-of-the-trash stamp" on Monday! The winner is....
As you know, I am passionate about "doing something" and I encourage you to look into doing something yourself!
This past Tuesday, the high school swim teams held a NEGU meet against the local rival school and it was awesome to see 100's of NEGU swimmers all come together for some friendly competition and gather toys and donations for Joy Jars.
Olympic Gold Medal Swimmer and the NEGU National spokesperson, Kaitlin Sandeno, Tina & I worked the booth, shared Jessie's story, talked about the Joy Squad and sold sweatshirts because it was FREEZING!!! All of the swimmers showed great spirit and overall it was an awesome event! Thank you Trabuco and Mission swimmers....(and p.s"Way to go Blue!" we won the meet...whoot whoot)
To join the Joy Squad, click here and help spread JOY to a child every month of the year. Your contribution of $20.00 a month send a jar of joy once a month to children fighting cancer. During the month of March, every contribution will be matched! Double the joy!
Be sure to go to www.negu.org the check out all of the ways you can help, from donating toys to stuffing jars! There is alot that needs to be done!
Brave Girls/Dahlia House/She's Worth It
oh my, this is a big one, more that you are going to hear me speak about alot. Human Trafficking. bad bad bad, wrong, wrong, wrong, just plain disgusting.
I am helping change that by joining in with an amazing group to help encourage, restore, empower and heal those sweet girls that have been rescued. One sweet brave girl at a time...and you can too, in fact we all can and we are.
Please consider a donation. Donate $10.00, 20..whatever you can to help buy a house. a HOUSE!?! a house that will provide safety, security and growth. Please consider donating. I am fund-raising myself for another worthy recovery program, but right now, I am asking you to maybe watch Mel, see what is going on and consider making a difference. Once the funds have been raised and the house is purchased, I am saying out-loud, right now, that I am going to go paint on that wall with Melody and crew and would LOVE to paint your name on a petal..watch the video..
okay, that is all for now..I am sure I could go on, but I will stop and let you enjoy your day!
Up until this past Monday morning, I had built a beautiful wall in front of me. HGTV and DIY is my "white noise" so I know how to build one strong and mighty, very decorative and one that can disguise or hide unsightly flaws..
Then Monday came and Monday morning I had a powow with Deena and Monday afternoon I made some decisions.
I am in at stage right now that is more like being out on a sand bar at the river, just standing there, watching everything else go by, or like being in front of a road block or on one side of the road separated by a center divider..
or behind a big beautiful,decorative, flaw hiding, protective wall.
You know, a place that might make you feel stuck, or something that slows you almost to a stop and makes you have to decide which way you are going to go, or maybe... something that hides you from what you believe to be risks, a protective barrier from possible failure.
If you have read my blog for the past 7 years...or just 7 months, you might think that this is a pattern with me. It is. I am growing. We all are and maybe I should have been a masonry contractor because even when I was young, I built walls. Earliest I can remember is when I was trying to learn math...uggghhhhh. I can vividly remember sitting in the dining room at Mrs. Larzo's house and she was so gentle and nurturing about teaching me math...and I just sat there, behind my wall...and pretty much sat there and until a huge bright light turned on..and then I was good.
Truth #1: I am tired, and when I am tired, I forget to trust, and when I forget to trust, I start questioning every direction and when I start questioning every direction, I build a wall and when I build a wall, I don't sit on top and let the sun shine or the rain splash on me..I stand like Judy Moody with my arm crossed and my toe tapping. It is called Simply Complicated and if you have been a long time reader, you know that phrase. It all is very simple and yet I create my very own self-road block by complicating things.
Then Tuesday came and I received a "to-do" list from two friends yesterday (thank you girls) and as I am now going over my to-do's, I thought maybe I would share it with you because I am pretty POSITIVE that I am not the only sitting behind this big beautiful, decorative wall.
"There is nothing I cannot master with the help of Christ who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13 JB)
The Bible gives us five actions we can take to stop procrastinating:
1. Stop making excuses. "The lazy man is full of excuses" (Proverbs 22:13 LB). What have you been saying you're going to do "one of these days"? What do you make excuses about? The number one excuse I hear is, "When things settle down, then I'm going to ..." Things will never settle down. You must make a choice to prioritize what is important.
2. Start today. Not next month, next week, or tomorrow. "Never boast about tomorrow. You don't know what will happen between now and then" (Proverbs 27:1 GNT). None of us is guaranteed a tomorrow.
3. Establish a planned schedule. Proverbs 13:16 says, "A wise man plans ahead. A fool doesn't" (LB). If you fail to plan, you're planning to fail. You need to designate some specific time slots each week for the things you need to do. Whatever it is, put it on your calendar. And if it’s a big task, break it down into small pieces. Break it into bite-size pieces.
4. Face your fears. We hate to admit we have fears, because we think they’re a sign of weakness. But fear is a sign of humanity. Only fools are not afraid. You’ve heard it said, “Courage is not the absence of fear; it's moving ahead in spite of our fears.” The Bible says there is nothing you cannot master with the help of Christ who gives you strength.
5. Focus on what you gain, not the pain. There are very few things in life that are easy. You must push through the frustration and look at the gain beyond the pain. Concentrate on how good you're going to feel once you've finished the task.
Galatians 6:9 says, "So let us not become tired of doing good; for if we do not give up, the time will come when we reap a harvest" (NLT).
Jesus never said life would be easy. There will be sacrifice and commitment. But there is tremendous reward when we do the things he calls us to do.
Talk About It
- Don’t ask, "What do I feel like doing?" Instead ask, "What does God want me to do?"
- I want you to write down three things you know God wants you to do, one item each in these three areas: your family, your personal life, and your career. Choose one of those three, and start today. Even if you can only work on your goal 15 minutes a day, do it — you’ll feel so much better!
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America's largest and most influential churches. Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller "The Purpose Driven Life." His book, "The Purpose Driven Church," was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th century. He is also the founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for pastors.
This devotional © 2013 by Rick Warren. All rights reserved. Used by permission.
So there you have it...a to-do list...and a big beautiful wall to sit up on and make a plan...join me, won't you?
Right before New Years, we hooked the ol' Mallard up and went camping for a few FREEZING days. I am a warm/summer camper so this was a new adventure for me and was excited (& also confused) on what we would do without the amenities of summer, like a pool, lake or river, but I packed up my markers, papers and blankets and we hit the road.
Just as we pulled up to our site, it started to pour but because we are campers, we were not shaken..infact, just as we finished running around setting up camp, we received a welcome gift:Us "adults" (that my sister and I) found it very easy to just sit in chairs (under EZups because it was raining)
and ask for campfires (after they thought they could move the fire ring closer to us)
Nope, it did not budge, but an "A" for effort Anyways...When it wasn't raining, we took hikes through the dry riverbed and Auntie Steph (that would be me) was probably the COOLEST AUNTIE EVER by breaking the law and passing over the signs that read CLOSEDSuch outlaws Trailblazers....look at how happy they are...sorry Jen!
Anyways..as mentioned in a previous post, we "looked" for heart rocks, which meant you did not really look for them, you just let them pop out at you and we all agreed how much more special it was when you come across something unexpected...and the fact that you don't always have to take what you find. Sometimes it is just as special to leave it for the next person so that they can experience unexpected happiness.
Then I got an idea..
On our next hike, in between campfires and rain, before we left, I grabbed a handful of Sharpies and put them in my pocket and we headed out.After we "trail blazers" crawled into a drainage pipe to get a photo
I handed each one of them a Sharpie.
Without any real "instructions" (and the simple explanation that this was not graffiti because we were writing one small word) I reminded them of our last conversation about how little things we see and find along the way can make us happy and I told them to think of "happy words"
That is all I said....and for the next 30 minutes or so (because it started to rain again) I felt an unexpected abundance of happiness because they just knew what to do...
and because we all felt very happy (because doing happy things makes you feel happy) I placed my camera on a piece of wood, set the timer and got a happy shot of Unexpected Happiness and then ran back to camp because it really started to rain!
This is a long one...get comfortable.
Fast forward several years, to late 2012, as my church, Saddleback started to talk about the twelve new churches in 12 countries.
Oh boy, I opened my heart, my mind and my mouth and made another declaration, circled a box on a little white card and made a decision to start planning to "do something"...DUH, I should know...it isn't about my plans. I know that and just as I thought I was ready to commit to a "mission" and just as I thought I would start "planning" what I thought was going to do this year, "my plans" were diverted and things are shifting to HIS plans.
It started with a few emails, texts, conversations, prayers and truth cards that traveled to the Philippines with Melody...and from the day she left, it spiralled perfectly "in-control" and things have started to come together, not by my doing, but by HIS doing. I am not going into all of the details just yet because really, I don't have all the details yet. I am still in the "give it all to God" and saying "yes" stage, praying for wisdom and direction but I will share this with you...Part one.
I am joining efforts with an amazing team of women and diving deep into the world wide epidemic of human trafficking in a way that is going to "gloriously ruin" me, just as Kay Warren wrote in her book, Dangerous Surrender.
I am just an ordinary girl and what in the world can I possibly do to help or change this human traffic crisis??? It is way out of my comfort zone, will be uncomfortable and likely disturbing and at the same time, I cannot stop thinking about it.
WE can do something by reminding rescued women how they matter, what they can do to create a living, that trusting, having faith and being brave is necessary and that they are loved.
Part one for me is helping to raise money for the She's Worth It Campaign that will go towards rescuing, teaching, empowering, educating and loving the girls that need to know that they matter, that they are capable, that they are worth it!
I am asking for 50, 75, 100...of my friends to donate $10.00 and also share the cause....because we are better together, and together, we can change the lives of many.
Thank you for your consideration.
There is always something we can do.
"Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can."
Here are a few of my favorite things that I do:
Today, do something!
I am kicking off the first day of the year with my word, Re-Purpose and a plan to "do something for others" with what I have.
I have mentioned it here and on FB, but when you have that nagging urge to help, to reach out and do something, but you just do not know what to do...
it really is easy...we humans just tend to complicate and over think things (well, at least I do.)
So now what????
First, take a look at the video:
Now, if you have taken one of my classes in the past few months, then you know exactly how to make "truth cards" the way I am making them but, here is the thing,
YOU can create "truth cards" just the way you want!
Here is what I am doing:
1. Start by creating cards or covering regular ol' playing cards with scraps of paper and tissue paper
2. Add a little ink to the edges
3. Add some paint, some stamps and some love in the shape of hearts (or whatever you wish!)
4. Add a little more "detail"
5. Adhere the truth
and hey, as you are creating these truth cards for others, think, reflect and pray about what you are doing while you are doing it. It's a win win and that is a GREAT way to start off a new year!
For more information on how YOU can create truth cards for our brave girl friends on the other side of the world, go here http://bravegirlsclub.com/truth-card-exchange-manila-phillipines
and just a little shout out to my amazing friends Melody & Kathy...YOU are changing the world...ONE BRAVE GIRL AT A TIME!
Last week, as I was finishing up my preparations for our family Christmas festivities and traditions and preparing, organizing and collecting my supplies to scrapbook in 2013, I had a constant sting of sadness for the families who have lost loved ones this past year, especially in the past few weeks and often thought about how difficult the holidays must be as families gather together to celebrate and enjoy their own traditions...and how important it really is to keep our memories documented.
As I reflected on our memories of past Christmas's (via the computer, boo!) I was reminded of our Christmas Eve traditions ...
December 2011 (by the way, I do have another child but I suppose his tradition is to "watch")
and realized that I still had not bought a Gingerbread House kit for the kids and I to work on.
This year, I just was not sold on the idea.
I was not sure why, but I would go to buy a kit, pick up the box, and then set it down and that went on the entire week leading up to Christmas. Store after store after store, I'd repeat this process and go home empty handed...
and then, on Christmas Eve morning as we were getting ready to pack the car and hit the road, the light bulb went off...
or should I say, the light bulb clicked on.
I went out and gathered some cardboard, cut out 26 snowflakes, grabbed glitter, beads, glue, buttons, more glitter, and more beads, packed it in a box and decided that this year, and for years to come, our family tradition of creating something together would bless others... There is still time for you and your family to create for others and what a GREAT way to start a new tradition and kick of a new year together...Click here for information on where to send your snowflakes!
Your overwhelming response to the doodle has been amazing. People ALL OVER are sharing it and it has been requested by many of the residents of Newtown and other places to be sold with proceeds going to the victims families and scholarships so....I am having my new wonderful friend Diana work on preparing it for printing and just as soon as it is ready for distribution, I will let you know!
It is so bittersweet for me to create work like this and I appreciate your sincere compliments. Simply put, it is God's gift and my hands. The glory goes to HIM and the love, prayers and strength go to those families that are going through what I can only call a nightmare.
My heart continues to break for those moms, dads, sisters, brothers...friends, family, neighbors..the community...and it is time, at least for me, to pull up my bootstraps and get ready to help. I cant sink into the couch any deeper...
I WE must get up and do something.
This morning (or rather, last night) was another one of those "can't sleep..gotta get up and do something" nights so I wrote out and sent a few emails to my fellow creative souls with a few thoughts and ideas and then started to color...and things became a little clearer...
History starts TODAY and remember this We are all better together....and together we will help make a change.