{ Cinderella (DAY 516) }

IMG_0692For weeks now I have been wanting to see the new Cinderella movie.  I watched the trailer and every little single space belonging to my young girl heart got giddy.  I’m almost (but not quite!) ;) embarrassed to admit just how excited I was, I even thought about dressing up in my vintage gown that is nearly identical to the one Cinderella wears in the film.   The costumes looked extravagant and gorgeous, the landscape glorious, and the “magic” perfect.  It seemed like it was going to be a film of pure delight.  So when I got the opportunity to go on opening weekend my dad looked straight at me and said, “Just go.” (I had had the flu 24 hours earlier and wasn’t sure if I should go out of the house yet…)  So I wanted to share a few things that stood out to me from this beautiful film.  Just from watching the trailer you know that the film’s message is all about having courage and being kind but I wanted to highlight some other wonderful messages I picked up.

Pain often proceeds beauty, struggle before victory.  Following the classic story of Cinderella this version has both her parents pass away.  It was heart wrenching.  To see her walk through the grief of loosing her parents and still staying true to who they raised her to be was powerful.  It’s so easy to think of a Disney story and immediately make fun of “happily ever after”.  There is nothing easy about death though and this film shows that.  I swear I almost cried when the prince looses his father.  Both Cinderella and Kit (the prince) have experienced severe grief as well as the step mother.  Yet Cinderella and Kit allow it to make them stronger in healthy ways while the step mother lets her grief turn her bitter.

Cinderella gave what she had.  From the scraps on her plate she gave to her little friends, the mice.  She knew that it wasn’t about lace and parasols.

I love that she learned to see memories as treasures.  I’ve always wondered why Cinderella didn’t realize it was closer to midnight until the clock starts chiming.  I mean that was an important detail that everything would return to the way it had been and she seems to have completely spaced that!  While this is just speculating I think Cinderella had learned to live in the present and be fully engaged in what was happening at the moment. Alright and the prince is good looking and sweet…so there is that too. ;)

Another thing I loved was how her house was a scared place and a haven for their family.  Their family had owned it and passed it down for generations and that mattered.  Where she came from, although simple, had significance.  There’s such a thing as a “spirit” to a place where love has been and that should be cherished.

Cinderella knew that true beauty came from within and while someone can be pretty on the outside, if their hearts are ugly they are to be pitied.

I also appreciate the fact that while Cinderella does take a lot of abuse (made me so mad) in the end she stands up for herself and the ones she loves.  Also note here for anyone experiencing verbal abuse: IT IS NOT OKAY! You are valuable and just because others tear you down doesn’t mean their words have to define you.  I loved that Cinderella realizes the power that words have.

One random note: she’s not into the whole side saddle thing and I was like “Thank you!”

My favorite line from the whole movie though goes something like this, “The greatest risk we will take is to be seen as we truly are.”  I also think that’s one of the bravest things we can do: showing up and being seen without our facades.

Have you seen the film?  What did you think?  What was one positive thing you took away from it?

Posted on March 24, 2015 by | Comments { 6 }

{ Will you? (DAY 515) }

D5KCsWKB64m5wJcsA1Z1j4B3xoXiKxQbtxTGWdRJv0o,2GrQm3mKCy5XLA36kq2ofzjxDdiN6dkZw9vz3mC8pOg,DhKKjQE7swW0yRIAz2DwrrK9cnG43JG-ptJqj1ogIgU 9FRcmO2NoWIVOWWZh86l9YrIoyGjYiHwV9dvKca2p50,b-mNWjbjz_pLJyF_H0u77Uxa3k8IL6rOvcN_mWmw0mM,yt2qG6URwyVrlK1GNzxNkugjmTVIHSwIFazqEkze7DA,l4HnB_Ha9uGF6j2xaXyczMPhfolA0yyMrFRsOW1iD_4Will you be giving to charity this year?

Would you be willing to invest in a child’s life?

Would you be interested in donating $50 to help a child out today by clicking on the link and doing just that?

These are things I think about often.  I wonder what I can say or if it’s the right way to say it.  How can I tell you just how beautiful it is to give?  Some things you have to experience for yourself.

We still have 185 kiddos who need school supplies.  I hope you’ll be a part of their story today.  :)

Uniforms - 2 uniforms – 1 the colors for their school and 1 for Saturdays which is white – $30 for 2

Shoes and Socks – 1 pair of black shoes for Monday – Friday and 1 pair of white shoes for Saturday and 4 pairs of socks – $12 for 2 pairs

School Bag and Supplies – $8 for school bag and supplies (pen, pencil, eraser, sharpener)
TOTAL – $50 for one child

Psst- it’s also tax deductible. ;)

UPDATE: $91,764.82

{Photo by F. Robert Openshaw}

Posted on March 17, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ To Do Before 30 (DAY 514) }

IMG_0755A couple of months ago I kept seeing articles with titles like “30 awesome things to do before you’re 30″ or “Ultimate 30 things to do before you turn 30″.  Most of these articles had a theme of travel, fitness, and nixing bad habits.  While I agree that all of that is wonderful I realized I felt like I was missing things.  I was fed up because they seemed pretty darn selfish (I’m selfish enough as it is without someone helping me out that way).  So I decided to make my own list.  Yes, these are things for improving yourself but they also go deeper than that.  These are things I hope to continually be learning and growing in for the rest of my life….far past 3o.

Please note this list is no where near exhaustive…it’s just a starting point for me of things I want to think about.  Feel free to leave a comment on what you would add to the “list”! Also those of you past 30 please give us some wisdom!

Serve.  Bam.  Right off the bat let’s go with that conversation starter.  Want to have a glowing face and radiant smile?  Seek to help those around you.  I promise it will make you prettier.  Do the dishes that your roommate left in the sink.  Offer to walk your elderly neighbor’s dog.  Make a meal for a sick friend or someone that just had a baby.  Take flowers to someone who is sad.

Give, give generously.  Now I realize you need to save money and that that is being responsible.  I fully support that but make sure you put a hefty amount towards giving in your budget.

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” Anne Frank  

                   We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” Winston Churchill

Practice staying after a party is over to help clean up.  No, really, this is courteous and if there is one thing to cultivate before you turn 30 it is being thoughtful.

Be trustworthy.  This means that any juicy bit or non juicy bit that your friend told you (and didn’t say to keep secret) stays with you.  It means being a person of your word and when you fail saying you’re sorry.  Once trust is lost it is very hard to regain.  Better to not loose it in the fist place.  Watch your words.  They have the power to heal or tear down.  There is a lot we could cover with this one…and yes, it can be insanely hard to watch your words.  I’m definitely always needing to work on this one.

Read.  This will serve you in so many ways.  It will give you a broader perspective on life and people and everything else in between.  Plus it will help you serve others when you can strike up a conversation or help along a struggling one by knowing about many topics and genres.

Make a habit of gratefulness.  I’ve found again and again that truly thankful people are more joyful.  Don’t you love being around people who appreciate the people and things around them?  I do.  Plus I’ve found that the more I am truly thankful the happier I am.  Writing out your gifts can be immensely helpful.

Be a good listener.  You learn a lot by listening and you bless those around you in the process.  Withstanding a few exceptions we all want to be heard.

Never stop learning.  Soak up as much wisdom and knowledge as possible (yes, they are different).  From birth to the time we complete our formal education we spend so much time learning.  After that period so many people stop actively investing in learning.  Why do we do this?  Lately I’ve been realizing just how important it is to purposefully stimulate your brain.

Unplug.  Yes, I do mean turning off your phone and computer and any other devices that count as social media now and then.  At first it’s hard to do but I guarantee you that you’re not missing much and that you will feel so refreshed after a fast of this kind.  It is 100% worth it.

Posted on March 10, 2015 by | Comments { 1 }

( Brain Fog (DAY 513) }

photo(76)This week I’ve had really bad brain fog due to my health issues. I’ve tried to explain to people what this looks like but it’s hard…I’ll blame it on the brain fog. ;) Essentially my brain just doesn’t connect as fast as it usually does. It’s a bit unnerving to realize you’re saying something and it comes out totally different or you just forget mid sentence what you were saying…mid sentence!!! Another way it manifests is in the difficulty of connecting ideas and stringing them into words. Case in point: I wrote a whole other blog post and it just didn’t work.

There was a moment where I wanted to just forget about blogging this week and chalk it up to a bout of bad health but instead I decided that I needed to share these days as well as the other ones. I’m just one girl walking out this life with the rest of you and I have my challenging days as well.

Basically I’ve had some really hard things this last week in every sphere of my life and yet there has been beauty woven throughout.

(Delete, delete, delete. Think the You’ve Got Mail scene where Tom Hanks is writing the email to Meg Ryan’s character.)

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” I used to think that verse meant one or the other but I’ve come to realize they are usually intertwined, hand in hand. There was so many wonderful things this last week but there was also some very stressful and challenging ones as well. Neither stopped for the other but just mixed together. Life truly is bittersweet and I’m thankful.

“So this is the work I’m doing now, and the work I invite you into: when life is sweet, say thank you and celebrate. And when life is bitter, say thank you and grow.” ~Shauna Niequist

P.S. Someone invested in 15 of our kiddos in India and you can too! We still need school uniforms and supplies for 185 children! :) 

Posted on March 3, 2015 by | Comments { 8 }

{ Bloom Where You’re Planted (DAY 512) }

IMG_5181Dear little sister,

Sitting there the other day talking with you I was silently praying the whole time you talked.  You looked so gorgeous with your hair tumbling down in waves around you and your face upturned to the sun and I snapped a mental picture.  It was such an honor to hear your heart.  Thank you for letting me in.  At the time I wasn’t sure what I should say but driving home my thoughts finally started forming together into something more concrete like milk turning butter, taking its time.

I get it.  These teen years can be hard.  Add to that a crazy environment (and hormones if we’re talking real here) and it’s not hard to see why there’s frustration.  You don’t want to exchange pleasantries forever, you want the deep and real.  That’s a wonderful thing.  I promise you it’s out there.  Please don’t ever stop looking for that or desiring to be deep yourself.

High school ends.  Yes, I know it can feel like it never will but this too shall pass.  You don’t and shouldn’t have to be vulnerable with everyone but DO be vulnerable with people you trust.  The walls you do or don’t put up now will affect your life.  Sometimes it’s hard to spot the people to trust.  Believe me, I’ve not always been good at this myself.  The people to trust are the ones that always let you in and don’t let you down and if they do let you down (because people will let you down!) they know how to take responsibility and say I’m sorry.  Look for the people that are willing to cheer you on.  These are the people that challenge you but don’t compete with you.

Okay so this next one is really, really hard.  If it’s any comfort it’s hard for people no matter what age.  Be willing to stand alone.  Community is ridiculously important and you should seek it out.  Serve those around you and be willing to give of yourself to bless others.  But there will be times when you need to go against the flow.  There may be times when you don’t have a best friend and where things seem shallow and not worth your time.  There will be times when you’re surrounded by people and still feel alone.  I promise you you’re not.  While it’s not easy those are the best times to cuddle right up close to Jesus.  He wants to be your friend and he’s the best one to have.  He promises to never leave you or forsake you.  Take him up on that promise.  He always has your best in mind.  He loves you so much.  He will always let you in and never let you down!

What I want to tell you sounds so contradictory but here are the two phrases that came to mind.  The first is put your head down and work hard.  The other one is keep your chin up.  Obviously you can’t physically do both at the same time but the principles do actually work together.

What do I mean by put your head down and work hard?  Make the best use of this time.  Learn all you can.  Question, seek, and apply yourself to what you are doing.  Be the best you can be.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Don’t play the “games” your peers are trying to play.  Take the masks off and live free.  Remember this too shall pass but the hard work you put in to the things that matter will not.  While they’re all talking about nonsense and wasting time you’ll be getting things done.

In that same breath let me say this though too.  When you decide not to compare yourself to others, make sure you don’t judge them for not being where you’re at.  Seek to be an influence for good and to help others even though it might not be the popular or easy thing.

And darling girl-woman keep your chin up.  Not in a haughty way but because you know you are loved by the King of the universe the one who gave his life for you.  You can walk confident knowing you are loved and valued.

All of what I’ve told you takes grace and He’s the source of that.  Press into Jesus beautiful lady.

If you ever need a big sister to talk to I’m here for you.  It’s a gift to listen to your growing soul and mind.  I’m so proud of you!  I love you dearly.

Hugs.  xxx

Posted on February 24, 2015 by | Comments { 3 }

{ Sweet boy (DAY 511) }

Oct 2011-2“…it’s about looking through our lives and recognizing the act of mothering everywhere we see it, and more than that, recognizing that when any of us mother–when we listen, nurture, nourish, protect– we’re doing sacred work.” Shauna Niequist

I’m not a mother so I can’t assume I know what it is like to be one but I do have a very special place in my heart for certain children in India.  They get the part of my heart that I like to call my “Mommy heart”.  To me mommy hearts can’t be explained they just happen.  Whether you’re a biological mother or not you can still have it.

Today is a day my mommy heart can’t forget nor do I ever want to.  Today marks two years of sweet Hosanna being with Jesus, dancing free.  I miss him even though I never got to meet him.  I’m so thankful for his life and that God allowed me to “meet” him and his story.  He may have only had 10 years on this earth but his impact and his story live on.

“I don’t know what date it is for you–what broke apart on that day, what was lost, what memories are pinned forever to that day on the calendar……….hold yourself open and tender to the memories for just a moment.  As one who grieves today, I grieve with you, for whatever you’ve lost, too, for what might have been.”  Shauna Niequist  (Both quotes are from her brilliant book Bittersweet.)

Posted on February 20, 2015 by | Comments { 0 }

{ World changers (DAY 510) }

uniformproject2015AHHHHH I’m SO excited about this!!!!!! Guess what?! 200 more darling-orphans-no-longer-but-future-world-changers are going to be getting a new home.  Yep, that’s right a bunch of new homes are getting opened so that children who don’t have parents or a safe place can be loved and taken care of.

One of the most important things for changing these children’s lives is for them to get an education.  This literally gives them a future worth looking forward to instead of a life of slavery or extreme poverty.  It’s a chance for them to be teachers, lawyers, doctors, artists, or whatever else they are gifted in.  >Insert happy dance right here<

In order for each child to go to school it only costs $50.  Pretty crazy that you can change a life by such a simple act. I mean that’s worth investing in right! For the past couple of weeks I’ve been brainstorming with my friends in India and Warm Blankets about how we can connect you a little bit more to the sweet orphans in India.  We came up with something I think you will really love.  For every $50 dollars you invest in a a child’s future you will get a printed picture of that child and their name!

Here’s a little break down of supplies so you can see exactly how your gift will be used and how important it is. Without this these children can’t go to school…

Uniforms - 2 uniforms – 1 the colors for their school and 1 for Saturdays which is white – $30 for 2

Shoes and Socks – 1 pair of black shoes for Monday – Friday and 1 pair of white shoes for Saturday and 4 pairs of socks – $12 for 2 pairs

School Bag and Supplies – $8 for school bag and supplies (pen, pencil, eraser, sharpener)
TOTAL – $50 for one child

Psst- it’s also tax deductible. ;)

{Photo by F. Robert Openshaw}

Posted on February 17, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ Hands & Tales (DAY 509) }

IMG_9000 IMG_8994Last year I had the immense pleasure of being able to host and finally meet my incredible friend Bronwen.  Her story is hands down one of the most amazing ones I have ever heard.  She may live on the other side of the world but she’s a world changer and her influence stretches far and wide! I love you Bronwen.  Thank you so much for answering these questions.

Who’s touched your life and why?

So many different people have touched my life, in such a variety of ways. I think mainly because I enter every day with eyes wide open & a heart expectant for delight. Nobody has touched my life the way my 3 daughters have – they’ve taught me to love and be loved, to willingly and lovingly sacrifice, to find joy in life – big & little things, to see God everywhere & in everyone. They’ve made me want to be a better woman – day after day after day…

Have you even shaken a famous hand? If so who?

Yes! Many. But a life highlight was meeting & shaking hands with Prince William – Duke of Cambridge at a Royal State Reception in April 2014. Actually, it was ON my 39th birthday! I had been invited by our States Premier and I had prayed that I would get to shake his hand. I believe there’s such power in touch & the touching of hands. I did get to & then I got to answer his questions about who I am and what I do and why I do it. It was a very special moment and memory.

What was one of the happiest days/moments of your life?

August 15th 1999. The day I entered a church hall as a messed-up drug addicted prostitute and left a new creation because I has made the life-transforming choice to give my heart to Jesus and He had forgiven my past, given me a brand new life and filled me with hope for the future. Literally, best decision I’ve ever made!

What is your greatest struggle right now?

Great question! I’m learning to find peace and contentment in all things & in every season, and in doing so it’s helping me to view “struggle” in a different way. As a way of helping me surrender and grow. So my greatest “struggle” right now doesn’t feel like a struggle anymore. It feels like part of the process. Fully and completely letting go of my past heart hurts and letting God speak faith and hope to my heart dreams.

When were you most scared?

Ha. Easily. Childbirth. I wasn’t afraid of being pregnant or of being a mum – in fact, it’s my greatest delight. But the actual childbirth part. It was only for my first one and after that I knew I could do it. I think I was afraid of the unknown – even though I knew I would be ok! I was born for it. I know that now. :)

What’s one of your biggest dreams?

To see my story become a film. A film of tragedy and triumph. A film full of hope. It will happen one day. I know that it will.

If you could give one piece of advice to those reading this what would it?

You matter. Yes, you! You are uniquely wired and gifted to play an irreplaceable role in history. You were born at this time for a purpose. I pray that you will find delight in discovering it and living your life fully & completely every day!

Hope you enjoy her answers as much as I did and if you’re not familiar with why I do these posts you can read about it hereIf you want to learn more about Bronwen, her story, and the her amazing foundation, Hope Foundation, you can click here!

Posted on February 10, 2015 by | Comments { 4 }

{ A message from India! (DAY 508) }

Hey everyone so I thought it would be fun for you to “meet” my friends in India!  This couple and their daughter are amazing and I love their hearts to serve children in India who are orphans.  I asked them if they would be willing to send a message to all of you who have so faithfully supported the children and they graciously obliged!  I hope this helps you know just how much you’re appreciated by all of us!

Also if you’re trying to watch this on your phone it won’t work…sorry about that but I didn’t know how to change that…

Posted on February 5, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ This is 40! (DAY 507) }

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetYou know I love numbers.  That’s why I keep numbering my posts despite the fact that I title them.  So of course I can’t let this day go by because TODAY IS MY SISTER’S 40th BIRTHDAY! I’m so thankful to have an older sister in my life.  She’s the sole reason I can pass any 80’s/90’s test floating around on Facebook even though I was just a kiddo at the time.  ;)  She’s also the reason I had the coolest birthday cakes ever!

More than that though she’s the most creative and resourceful woman I have ever met, keeps lists like a pro (just like our mom!), makes everything prettier, has a knack for reaching out to those most people pass over, writes very well, and so much more.  Oh and I love that she’s given me three nephews and one niece!

Happy birthday sis! I love you so much and I can’t wait to see what this year holds for you.  May it be filled with all of the very best kinds of things and people.  At least it’s not going to be filled with you, me, and mom wearing matching dresses.  It was a phase.  Things can only go up from there! ;)

Posted on February 3, 2015 by | Comments { 0 }