November 28, 2011

:: Thanksgiving ::

So much to be thankful for...

Crazy Family

Writing Letters to Santa

An Annual Girls' Trip...14 Years Running!

November 25, 2011

Christmas Gifts That Make a Difference

Since today is "Black Friday" (dun, dun, dun), I thought a shopping post would be appropriate.  However, instead of giving you lots of advice and gift ideas that you can get from your everyday women's magazines, I thought I would share with you some gift ideas that make a difference in the fight against human trafficking.

Many organizations that work "on the front lines" with women and children in commercial sex work offer vocational training to the girls under their care.  Many learn sewing, jewelry making, paper crafts, etc.  Then these organizations offer the items to the public to raise funds.  It's a win-win.  The girls are learning skills and being paid for the work while the organization is raising funds to be able to impact more enslaved women and children.

Click on the text below each picture to be linked to the Web site where you can purchase the item as well as learn about the organization that is offering it.

Broken Bangle Cuff Bracelet $18

Indian Jewelry Bag $9

Christmas Card Set $12.99

Cozy Indian Throw $39.99

Henna Bag $14.99

God is Love Bag $14.99

Check out these sites and organizations to see all the items that they offer.  Let me know if you find something you like!

November 24, 2011

1000 Things I'm Thankful For: Part 2

My Thanksgiving edition of 1000 Things...

21. My amazing family that is gathering together today

22. An annual girls' shopping trip with one of my oldest friends

23. SEC football

24. The Word

25. iPhone fabulousness

26. Boiled peanuts

27. Accountability

28. Grannie's cornbread dressing

29. My pup, Bailey $100 I ever spent!

30. The friendship I share with my little brother

31. Friends & fellow believers who are sacrificing holidays with their families to serve on the mission field

32. The Taj I can get my Indian food fix

33. New Christmas music (Bublé, She & Him)

34. Crisp, fall air...when we have it!

35. Rebecca Bouldin, my teammate and roommate while in India

36. Facebook

37. Family traditions

38. Diet Coke

39. Turquoise

40. My church

November 23, 2011

Trafficking News from Around the Web

Everyday, I see more and more news coverage and more and more organizations forming to bring light to the global dilemma of human trafficking and sex slavery.  This is so encouraging! Raising awareness is key in fighting this issue because most people think "slavery was abolished long ago" or "stuff like this doesn't really happen here or anywhere anymore." We've got to raise awareness and force people out of the American cultural bubble that teaches us to ignore very real issues in the U.S. and throughout the world.

Today I want to highlight some of the freedom fighters that I have recently stumbled upon through Twitter friends, YouTube videos and newspapers.

  • Unearthed Pictures is a very neat organization that uses films to educate people about social injustices worldwide. Currently their focus is the fight against sexual exploitation.  They want to encourage demand reduction by "going after the men who perpetuate the cycle of sexual brokenness all over the world."  This video testimony of Jacob is powerful. It shows that what men need to overcome sexual temptation and what the world needs to end human trafficking is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

  • The A21 Campaign is an organization that seeks to "abolish injustice in the 21st century."  They recently created a short film called "In Her Shoes" that shows that human trafficking can happen to anyone, anywhere.

Please visit these organizations and articles and check out their stories. Then, do something.

Having seen all this you can choose to look the other way, but you can never say again, 'I did not know.' -William Wilberforce

November 19, 2011

A List: Things I Love About the South

  • Hospitality
  • Home cookin'
  • Big emotions and strong devotions
  • Accents, y'all
  • Sundresses
  • Manners
  • Smiles and "Hey, how's your Mama?"-s
  • SEC football
  • Pride
  • Sweet tea
  • Monograms on everything
  • Southern Gentlemen
  • Dinner on the grounds
  • Antebellum architecture
  • Traffic jams caused by tractors
  • Small town festivals
  • Hearts always being blessed

November 16, 2011

Getting Serious About Getting Healthy: Phase 2

On my quest for better health,  I have already completed my first phase: drink the proper amount of water daily. I have been drinking at least 64 ounces of water a day for about three weeks now, and I feel so good! It has definitely become a habit.  The weekends are the hardest, but I don't push myself too much.  As long as I drink water to quench my thirst between meals, I allow myself to have a Diet Coke or sweet tea at mealtime.  Since drinking water is now a habit and part of my daily routine, it's time to move on to phase two...

EXERCISE four days a week for at least 30 minutes.

I go through periods of time when I love to exercise.  I end up doing it everyday, and I always feel fabulous.  But, then, something schedule is thrown off, I have to travel, etc.  I fall out of habit and become less and less consistent until I stop altogether.  I make excuses, I plan to "start again Monday," I say that I will walk the dog longer to make up for it.  Lame.  Anyways, it's time to get back on track and fall in love with exercise again.

So, I will push through the excuses.  I will find a workout that I love to do.  I will do cardio.  I will do strength training. I will love exercising.  I will make it a habit.

I will.

November 15, 2011

Nectar of Life

I have confession to make.  I'm an addict.  A coffee addict.  I (seriously) joke that it is the nectar of my life.  I can't live without it, and I don't ever intend to give it up.  It is one of my daily motivations to get out of bed.  My coffee pot is set on a timer, and it starts the minute my alarm goes off.  Some of favorite moments with friends, with family and with the Lord are had over a cup (or two) of coffee.  One of my dreams is to run a coffee shop.  I love the stuff, and I cannot function without it.  

Lately on Pinterest, I have been finding lots of funny and truthful sayings about coffee that completely apply to my life and to my love of that fabulous, delicious stuff.  I thought I'd share some of my favorites.

I don't mind if I do...

November 12, 2011

November 8, 2011

1000 Things I'm Thankful For

The first installment...

1. Grace

2. Coffee

3. Autumn, my favorite season

4. My Nalgene

5. Cool co-workers

6. Crunchy leaves

7. Lovely-smelling candles

8. My MacBook Pro

9. Sunsets

10. Growing up in small town Georgia

11. Planned spontaneity with Mary Ellen

12. Glass bangles

13. My fully-stamped passport

14. Wonderful small group peeps

15. Pinterest, really

16. My junking buddy, Anna

17. Weekends in Georgia with the fam

18. Sermon podcasts 

19. A reliable car

20. People who care for orphans

November 7, 2011

The Nut Fest

National Peanut Festival Fun

Greased Pig Scramble

The Corndog Man!
So worth the wait in the long line.
I had hoped for lots more from the night, but my phone battery went dead. :-(
(Also, pretend like these are good Instagrams.)

November 5, 2011

A List: Things That Make Me Feel at Home

Home is

  • Southern drawls
  • My puppy's kisses
  • Coffee in the mornings
  • Isaiah 43:1-3
  • Christmas music
  • Daddy's fried egg sandwiches
  • A warm bed on a chilly morning
  • Eliz and Dana
  • Riding in an auto rickshaw
  • Mornings with my parents at my childhood home
  • Talk time with ME
  • Grannie's cornbread dressing
  • Psalm 139 
  • My brother's truck
  • Saturdays in Athens
  • Conversations with Reba
  • The smell of peanut dust on Papa's farm

November 4, 2011

What's Crafting?

I love to be craft-tastic.  It makes me feel all domestic and creative.  Thankfully, there's this handy-dandy little social media tool call Pinterest where you can collect inspiration photos and tutorials.  Not only this, but you can "pin" all sorts of things including fashion, home decor and recipes.  If you haven't gotten addicted to Pinterest yet, you should.

I have found tons of craft projects that I want to try, and I plan to feature my creations on the blog from time to time.  My first Pinterest-inspired creation was a fall wreath.  I ended up making several for friends.

The Inspiration:

My Version:

I learned how to make the rosettes from a tutorial I found here.  It's a video tutorial and very easy to follow. I painted the letters with basic acrylic paints and then spray painted a polyurethane coat to help seal the painted letter.  The rosettes are hot glued on and the letters are attached with ribbon (with a little help from hot glue and a staple gun). If you're interested in getting one, let me know and I'll send you the details.

For my next project, I hope to do one or all of the following projects: 

                             source                                                 source                                                          source

November 3, 2011

Getting Serious About Getting Healthy: Phase 1

One of the items on my list of Thirty Things is to get serous about getting healthy.  This is important to me and on the list because, as I get older, I want to make sure I'm maintaining good health despite health conditions that I already have.  I think it is important to treat your body well, not only so you are able to do more things for a fun/active life but also because we are instructed to in Scripture to "treat our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit." I believe if we work at this and make every effort to keep our vessels healthy and fit, we are even more available to carry out God's purposes for our lives.

I will, eventually, share with you some of the health struggles I face, but for now, I'd like to simply introduce you to phase one of my plan of getting serious about my health.  I decided to break it down into phases so that each thing I need to work on would be more manageable to tackle.  My plan is to work on each phase until I have it down pat-- at least three weeks since that is how long it takes to form a habit (according to some random research I found after I googled it). So, phase one is...

Drink the proper amount of WATER daily.

I'll admit it. I'm a Diet Coke junkie.  I'm addicted to it and to coffee.  Now, I can't bring myself to give up my coffee (yet), but one of my goals is to definitely drink more water than I do Diet Coke.  I pulled out my trusty 32-ounce Nalgene and decided to drink at least two bottles of water from it a day.

I have been doing this for about a week now, and it has been fairly easy, especially at work.  I drink one bottle before lunch and one bottle after.  However, the weekend was a little more challenging because of going out with friends, having leisurely mornings to drink more coffee, etc.  I am not completely cutting out the DC, but I am planning to reserve it only for special occasions like parties and when I eat Mexican food.  I have to have Diet Coke with lime with my burrito!

I'll let you know when the habit is formed and I'm ready to move on to phase two.

November 2, 2011

Obedience Leads to Revelation

Many times in my life, the Lord has shown me the importance of my obedience to Him even if I don’t know what the end result will be.  Sometimes He even waits to give me the confirmation that I am doing the right thing until after I take what I believe to be the step the Spirit is prompting me to take.  The times when I am trusting that what I am doing is what He is calling me to are some of the times that I feel most connected and most intimate with Him.  It’s funny how obedience works.  It’s one of the most important things we can do to worship God and show him our love, but it is often one of the hardest things to do. 

The tried and true Oswald Chambers daily devotional book My Utmost for His Highest highlights obedience in its November 2 devotional. I received this book as a gift for Christmas my freshman year of college (Thanks, Stef!) and have read it every year since.  I highly recommend it. 

In today’s writing, Oswald (we’re on a first name basis) speaks to the importance of obedience.  He says that “Our Lord never insists upon obedience; He tells us very emphatically what we ought to do, but He never takes means to make us do it.  We have to obey Him out of a oneness of spirit.”

Our sermon Sunday echoed this.  Am I doing what God is calling me to do? Am I living out His plan for my life by seeking Him daily to discover what my step of obedience should be in that day, in that moment? My sweet friend Mary Ellen often talks about moment-by-moment, circumstance-by-circumstance obedience.  Obedience in each and every situation, no matter how small it may seem.

Oswald says, “Jesus Christ will not help me to obey Him, I must obey Him; and when I do obey Him, I fulfill my spiritual destiny. My personal life may be crowded with small petty incidents, altogether unnoticeable and mean; but if I obey Jesus Christ in the haphazard circumstances, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God, and when I stand face to face with God I will discover that through my obedience thousands were blessed.”

The Lord wants to use us.  He wants us to live the abundant life He has planned for us.  We so often strive and stress over how to be used, how to have a more abundant life, how to know Him more.  Simply obey.

Oswald concludes, “If I obey Jesus Christ, the Redemption of God will rush through me to other lives, because behind the deed of obedience is the Reality of Almighty God.”

Obedience leads to revelation.  The more we seek to obey Him, the more He reveals His character and His plan to us.  We become more in tune to His desires for our lives and for our role in the lives of others.

Are you doing what God has called you to do? How are you seeking to obey Christ today?
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