Sunday, August 21, 2011

Kisses from Katie

I first learned of Katie from 147 Million Orphans org .

Katie's story is beautiful and courageous. If you're interested in her book, you can hop over to 147 MILLION ORPHANS to pre-order your book today.

We had the tug on our hearts for a while to care and/or adopt an orphan. We did not understand what the stirring in our hearts completely meant at the time. 

Today we are clear. The Bible is clear about our role as Christians. I do not believe everyone is called to adopt (domestic or international), but I do think there is so much we can do to serve. 

1. Feed your community.
2. Support your local church's missions.
3. Donate clothing and food.
4. Support you local hospital's medical missions.
5. Find a family through your child's school who they are supporting.
6. Support a friend's mission.
7. Run a grocery errand for an elderly neighbor.
8. Support a community going through a natural disaster (tornado, earthquake, tsunami victims).

9. Just get creative! Do not change the channel on the news. Find an evening news broadcast to learn about what's happening around the world. Don't close your eyes to what is happening in America and around the world. It's a difficult task to see so much going on in the world, but it's a really good exercise.  We quickly learn how blessed we are, how much need there is around the world, and how it's not about the "ME".

We see this in Christ's life on earth. He spent his life serving and meeting basic needs. He didn't need a lot of money to do that. Just simple acts of kindness. 

So the challenge to myself and you this week:

How can you extend a helping hand to those around you? 

Step outside your comfort zone just as Katie did.

one less 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Joshua and the Jordan River (I'm gonna throw in some August #'s too!)

Before I share our August numbers, I want to talk a little bit about Joshua, the Israelites and the Jordan River.
Read Joshua 3:1-7; Joshua 4:1 - 5:1
(If you have the the One year chronological Bible it's pages 331-333)

God commanded Joshua to send the priests with the Ark to cross the Jordan first. The moment their feet touched the river's raging waters, the river's waters created a wall and provided dry land for the Israelites to pass on. There were a lot of other idol worshiping kings and people who feared the Israelites because they knew the God they served was all powerful. 

After everyone crossed, God commanded Joshua to have one person from each tribe (12 tribes) to gather a rock from where the priests were standing and place at the river's edge as a memorial. God then asked they do the same at the place the priests were standing. 


To serve as a visual reminded for generations to come. "In the future, your children will ask you, 'What do these stones mean?' Then you can tell them, 'They remind us that the Jordan River stopped flowing when the Ark of the LORD'S Covenant wen across.' Theses stones will stand as a memorial among the people of Israel forever."

Pretty amazing story, eh!?!? 

This week's Sabbath School lesson hit me pretty hard for various reasons; work challenges, several Ethiopian orphanages closing, empty back bedroom, etc. 
We all have our own list.

Here's my take on this story:
I feel like we all face "armies" in life. Time when we are facing what feels like the impossible. We all need God's twelve stone memorials. We need the stones in the middle of the river where the waters are raging and we feel like we're Peter beginning to sink. We need them at the river's edge so that in the midst of raging waters we see up ahead God's memorial to remind us that after "walking through" and trusting, God will prevail. Finally, we need the twelve stones in our rearview mirror. We need those stones to remember that when facing the impossible, we'll make it through and to the other side, just like He has done for the Israelites and will also do for us. 

Happy Sabbath!

Now, for some August numbers (again, received on Friday evening's Sabbath...pretty cool)!

(...and I do love me some 80's

(...and do love me some 60 Minutes every Sunday night!)

We haven't picked out this month's children book to journal in for our bub like I was sharing 


but when we do, we'll share what we chose.

Have a wonderful Sabbath today!

one less

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Scrubby Scrubby in the Sink!

A few of us went up to Women of Faith in Atlanta this year. This is my 2nd annual trip and plan on going as many years as I can. Love it! 
We were some of the first to arrive Friday morning to IMAGINE!
One of my favorite songs right now is "Blessings" by Laura Story. Her and her husband have a beautiful and challenging story where, all the while, they have held fast to Christ and His promises.

Mary Graham said Laura Story lives in the Atlanta area so they invited her to be part of WOF!!! What a surprise for all of us!!! She sounds even better in person! 
(left to right: Becca my sis-in-law, Sarah my new friend, Kera my bestie, Kristi my bestie, and K2's momma Irene)
We're missing a few lovely ladies but I forgot my camera so all I have is this one pic from when we first arrived Friday morning.
I'm pretty sure my begging may have worked because I think Kera (in the middle) sent me a text last night about it! YAY!!!
Day 1 had so many take-aways from; funny stories, tearful testimonies, practical tools for everyday life, and clear reminders of how much we are loved by an Amazing God. I really cannot explain what it's like to be in the presence of God, women of faith (note: I didn't say Baptist, Methodist, SDA, Lutheran...NOPE....same God and we're all children), family, best friends, and new friends. I just find myself so thankful to share this part of me with others at such an event. Connecting on the most important level. Loved this weekend! 
On Sabbath, my precious friend Kristi (she's wearing blue in the above pic...and if you haven't noticed...she's Kera's twin) came to our room. She had in her tiny hands this hand knitted bundle of blue, yellow, and faint green all neatly tied with blue yarn. 
Flan had made me homemade dishwashing cloths!!! I love them! I opened them up at home and both the hubs and I were afraid to use them. They are JUST SO NICE!!! What if I ruin them? Tear them? Discolor them? I had to double check first. 

Flan gave me clear instructions to use them as normal but when washing, no bleach. This cloths are AMAZING! I love using them when doing dishes. I have even found myself leaving out some dishes from the dishwasher just so I can use them. 

Doing dishes has become SOOOO special to me! 

Thank you Flan first for being my sister in Christ and simply beautiful you! You are perfect to me! Secondly, thank you for such a special and thoughtful gift. I love them!

So who's in next year for WOF???


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Women of Faith 2011: Atlanta

Today is the day!
Women of Faith 2011 is here!
A few of us will be driving up to meet our "Fireflies" group in Atlanta for a weekend of renewal, grace, and inspiration. 
Last year, Steven and Mary Beth Chapman sealed my heart once again that we were being called to adoption. I didn't understand completely. I knew we were struggling to have a family, but this was one of the final "nudges" and "tugs" on my own heart. I didn't understand our circumstances and sometimes I still do not, but I knew there was a purpose for me to be at this conference. 
We went not knowing what WOF was all about and uncertain if we would even like it. We met wonderful women. Suzie and I received a backstage tour with World Vision. We love this lady. I cannot remember her name, but will never forget her story and kindness. We sponsor a child on the west bank gaza strip. He is precious. We write often to each other. I saw his face and knew he was ours to sponsor. I fell instantly in love with our little guy. Perhaps this is what adoption will feel like?

This year we head to Atlanta full of excitement and anticipation of what's in store for us at the conference. A chance to connect with friends and family. This year we have more friends going and so excited to share this experience with them! We are missing Suzie this year...sigh, but there's always next year!


Thursday, August 4, 2011

What Is Your Take???

At this year's conference, I was gifted a book called, Jesus Calling.
Daily devotionals for 365 days. 
At first glance, another short story/thought 365 day devotional which has nice thoughts, but not profound...UNTIL you open the book and read Sarah Young's foreword. I was hooked.

Over the last couple years on our journey, my relationship with our Father has grown deeper. I hope and pray I continue to grow and learn to let go of myself and fully trust. I am a "fixer" by nature. Look at the profession I chose. A nurse. An ER nurse. An ER nurse who thrived off caring for the sickest of the sick and the bloodiest of the bloody. Morbid? Maybe. Odd? We are.  But really, I LOVED the pace, quick thinking and  rush of saving a life. I was very good at cutting off emotion to get through and do what needed to be done. 

Do you see a common theme in the above??? "I". Yep, a lot of "I's".  I always knew working in the kinds of ER's I have worked that this was a gift from God. Truly. I have held brain matter in my hands of a 17 year old boy who had just graduated and was off to college, driving his new fast car which took too fast a turn along a winding road. Somehow, we were fine with brain matter in our hands. Again, odd. But let me be clear, if we did get emotional and let these things get to us, we were no good for our patients who needed us to be on top of our game. If we didn't cut off, we'd cry our way through nearly each day at work with things we saw. So please don't think I am calloused. Being "fine" with brain matter is all it is at the moment, but I still remember leaving work and standing outside my apartment in Chattanooga, TN on good 'Ol East Dallas Rd and actually smelling the air and listening to the birds. Something that 17 yr would never be able to do again. I still see that poor little 17 year old's face as though it was yesterday I took care of him. I see many faces as there are those patients you'll never forget. Patients and families you prayed with. Lives saved. Lives lost. It stays with you. I loved being there for people in their most dire times. 

I guess the point is that I know how to cope. I know how to fix. I am good at coping. Good at smiling. Good at fixing. Blessing and my worst enemy.

The reason the last two years have been so significant for me is that I have learned that some things I just can't fix. I have also learned that I need to be "OK" with not being able to fix things. And that it's "ok" to not be fixable if that is God's will. And in all things being God's will, there is a plan far greater than what I had thought or planned there to ever be. Weren't we promised this in Jeremiah 29:11? Yep.

So back to this book. From the moment I began reading, July 13th, to be exact, each day has shared something significant for me. The book is about hearing God. I mean, REALLY, hearing God speaking to you. Each day is written as though God is speaking directly to the reader. 

Though my relationship continues to grow in Christ, I do find myself wondering at times, "Erika, is that REALLY God speaking or just what you want to hear?" I find myself in doubt; not able to let go and let God.

Today, I woke begging God to speak to me. Begging for clarity. Begging for direction. I drove to work talking, like a crazy person, to my windshield (really to God). I have a few things on my mind...hehe.

Every day before I get into the grit of work, I sit down with a cup of warm (aka coffee) and read a devotional. These days, Jesus Calling. Today's was to be still in His Presence and not to worry. God has a plan for the journey. And no matter how hard the journey, I'm not alone, He is with me/us and carrying us.  Really?!?! I felt like this day's devotion was written just for me at that very moment. 

Erika, quit begging. Quit talking. 

Just listen and let God.

So in lieu of this FABULOUS book, I'm curious of your thoughts.

How do you know God is speaking to you and that it's not just you telling yourself something?

And P.S.
TOTALLY go get this book off AMAZON since sadly Borders is closing...sigh. It's amazing! They even make a children's version...LOVE! My little miss Belle, Ashley's bub, had one on her desk. She thought it was fun that we were both reading the same book. Oh how I love that little. 

How cute is that little blue bird?!?!?

Can't wait to hear your thoughts?