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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Romans 8:6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

a bear belongs in a tree

Is there any place more fitting for a bear than in a tree?

Maybe he is looking for honey or trying to find a branch to rest his weary head

There is nothing more beautiful than little bears, baring teeth in childish grins

Now, the bear realizes that he is being watched..and he poses, deliberately for the camera...
say "cheese" little bear

I love you, happy bear

Rock a bye baby, on the tree top

Yesterday, I dusted off the camera.. I reeled in beauty. I captured smiles and found a bear in a tree.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Love is, part 5 and what to do when you expect the moon and what to do with all the redmarks on your pretty lil face from turning the other cheeks for what feels like infinity

Today is my birthday. It is a beautiful day to think about love.
I am 36 years old.  When I was a child..or even a young adult, I would've imagined my life to have looked a bit different at the age this relatively ripe age.

I imagined that I would be madly in love with a dashing gentleman. I imagined a fairy tale marriage, everything nice and neat and a warm little package that looked like a big, white house..with a picket fence.

I imagined that I would be able to stay at home or take a day to shop.

Things haven't turned out that way.

Life is never cookie cutter.
Life is never really shoved into a nice, neat present wrapped up to look like our expectations.
Expectations are killers of love.

Instead, love is taking what we have been given and making the most out of what we have.

I've been thinking a lot about love lately. After all, it is the most important command in the Bible.
"Love your neighbor as yourself and love the Lord God with all of your heart." This is no simple command. It's easy to love those who treat us right, but what about the ones that don't?
That can be a bit more challenging.  Turning the other cheek means that eventually you will get slapped in the face. It's inevitable. 
I wonder if that is why Christ said the path is narrow?
Because sometimes it is hard to love..when your face still burns red and there is a huge handprint that looks like the is most challenging and difficult to love.

I still try to be friends with my husband. I still struggle to try to love.
But through the struggle, I see my own weakness and my own faults.
I see the beast of expectation, looming over me like a moon.

And the moon?
I have always wanted it handed to me, wrapped up nicely on a silver platter.
I thought I was a candiate for it. My pain made me worthy of it, somehow.

But I am learning that it doesn't.
I am no more worthy of the moon than the person sitting next to me. My neighbor.

Love is handing the person sitting beside you, the moon. even when you want to keep it all for yourself, because you feel like you deserve it somehow.

Humililty is saying..maybe instead of wishing for the moon, I will bend my restless knees, get down on this cold floor and wash your feet.

That's what Jesus did. The night before he died. He didn't expect the moon, even the day before he was hung on a cross.  No, he got down on his knees on a cold floor and washed the feet of his disciples.
Because he loved them, he gave them the moon.

A moon clothed in the beautiful white linen garmet of sacrifice.
a moon that looks like love and a candle that can never be put out.

a moon that had no expectation of love..other than to freely give it..
a love that turned the other cheek..even as He bled and suffered for people who would never love Him.

The other day I was thinking about love..about how, in order for it to work in it's fullest capacity, it has to be returned. love..takes two. 
Two people who have commited to a lifetime of loving and carrying one another's cross. Sometimes, it has to start with one..but eventually, it must take two.
Two people passing the moon back and forth..balancing it between four hands and twenty fingers.

The other day I read something about trust.
Trust is the most expensive thing in the world. It takes years to earn and only seconds to lose.
The truth is that I have lost trust in men. A part of me wonders if I will ever be able to balance the moon... in hands that proudly wear a wedding ring...

But I wonder if it even matters.
I am happy. Today is my birthday.
I choose not to see the red cheekmarks from the past..from all of the times I  turned the other cheek..
I choose to  at least try to have no expectations of love..even though that is easier said than done....
and I choose not to cast all of my cares upon Him and trust that He knows what is best for my life.
Life may not look like what I imagined what it would look like..but it is still a good life.

What did you imagine your life to look like? Today, forget about your expectations. Count your blessings.
Today I am grateful for two amazing boys.
I am thankful for a job that allows me to travel.
I am thankful for iced coffees, the smell of the ocean,
a mother who makes peanut butter and banana french toast,
a father who builds treehouses..
a husband who tries to be nice to me, even though I may never trust him again,
I am thankful for words, beautiful words..
I am thankful for the moon that shines in the darkness and gives character to the night.
I am thankful for Jesus..hanging on that cross for a world that largely doesn't even love Him...
Well, Today, I'm just thankful..

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Unfailing Love

Here is a post I wrote featured on a website called Beautifully Rooted! I am so excited :)

Unfailing Love

We lived in fear of Hurricanes,

What I remember most about the hurricanes..
throwing away rotten food from freezers
My grandmother crying that her home was filled up with water.
The kind people who came from another part of the state to help rebuild..
the huge piles of weed in the yard
the eighteen wheeler that washed up in my grandmother's backyard.
talk of dead cows
not being able to get back on the island because of the flooding..
seemingly going back into time..

The thing about natural disasters is that they force us to fix our eyes on one another.  They force us to question our lives and things that really matter.

I remember after the Japan earthquake, I saw so much devastation. Cars floating in the water..and I knew that, at the end of this life, all that matters is how much we love those around us..How much love we gave back to God.. Natural disasters cause us to pause and rethink. They are horrible and I mourn for all involved..They bring us to the basics of living. Back to the core, so to speak..of things that really matter..

I want to share a poem I wrote a few years ago about hurricane Rita. Some parts are true. Others, ficticious.


We lived in fear of hurricanes
Swirling, swiveling masses
Of ache and sweat
We boarded windows
Prepped the sandbags
To catch the Gulf

We shuddered at the
One –eyed Titan conjured by a
tropical god whose steamed breath
Summoned coils of air to rise
Like a serpent in the sky

We lived in fear of hurricanes
And we knew the coordinates
Every hour mapped with careful precision
we prayed in the night to let the Named
change course

She rose
and grew
And blew the houses down
We collected debris
Our relics of years forgotten
Blown away with wind gust
Swept into oblivious ocean

And puddles of mud

Here lies a photo of Andy, who died on the bridge,
It floats in a pool of muck. And things our children made, lovingly,
With their hands..

So much lost
And so much found
Like strangers possessions
That the unknowing tide
Delivered into our yards

Their treasure intertwining our lives.
And we roved through it like lost Pirates
We conquered. We found.

A diamond tennis bracelet lying in the gravel
And a purple apron wrapped around the tree
..smelled a bit like cinnamon and pieces of the sea
A boat washed into the porch
That Grandpa built in ’89.
And washers and dryers
That nobly sailed across 6 foot waves
Rested by the roadside.
They must have looked like white flags floating from a distance.

A hairbrush with locks
Of fine golden hair
The curls of a child lost in its bristles.
Our booty.

And so much was swallowed by the earth
And spit out by the skies
The monuments of the Living
And the offerings of the Dead

We lived in fear of hurricanes
Whose might relinquished our technology
And brought us to the past.
When people thrived without electricity.
To the time of candles and lanterns.
When all was quiet and still.
 The Eye.

She brought the sweat of Grandparent’s 70 years old
Toiling in the August sun,
Replacing pieces of roof, creating makeshift lives
and scattering to find the past 50 years
lying amongst the dead branches of trees.

We lived in fear of hurricanes,
But she came
And she took
And the volunteers came
And gave back

A cycle of giving and taking
A spinning, a rotating, an exchange

a creation
and cohesiveness amongst strangers stronger than the
spherical bonds
between the winds.

side note..I hope the part about the "tropical god" doesn't sound sacreligious"
Truthfully, I don't know if God controls the weather or if the destructive weather is just a product of the thorns..I do know that when we fall, God is there to pick us up..and there forces out there that are not of God..I speak of what I do know....and I cannot possibly claim to know everything.
I do know that God is good.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Care packages for the homeless

The other day, my friend Johanna was telling me about care packages that her grandmother used to make for the homeless..

I thought it was a beautiful idea.

During the Christmas season, my mom and I delivered blankets, socks, hats, candy, and Christmas cards to the local men's homeless shelter.

Two men came up and helped us unload the car. They called us "angels" and repeatedly thanked us for thinking of them.

I'm sad because it seems that not many people have a heart for the homeless.
I think a lot of people associate "homeless people" with drugs and alcohol.. A lot of homeless are ridiculed, ignored, and forgotten..

I can't help but wonder about thier stories. Maybe some are on drugs or alcohol..
But who are we to judge?
I think about how so many of us have had the privaledge of growing up in loving, semi functional homes. How many of us can say that we have been severely abused?
How many homeless people have ever really known love?

What's even sadder is that America's homeless is taking on a whole new meaning.
Women and children are filling up homeless shelters. Children are becoming the new face of homelessness.

Recently, I went to the Potter's house, a local shelter for women. The first person I saw when I walked in the door was a little two year old boy with the most daring blue eyes... He was homeless.

I recently read a book entiteld Under the Overpass. Two men from suburbia decide that they want to live thier faith. So they leave all of thier comforts behind and decide to experience what it would be like to live on the streets. They lived in six different cities and wrote about thier experiences.

they braved cold weather and hungry nights. they made homelessness real with their stories. they told stories of real people whose lives had been marred by unfortunate circumstances.

They spoke of how dozens, hundreds of people passed them by day after day, never to even acknowledge thier existence.

 Even self proclaiming Christians and churches shunned them because of thier physical appearance.

The book told some beautiful stories of a man that would come to one of the parks and deliver pizza to them..He got to know them..and told them about a man called Jesus. 

Being homeless truly helped these men appreciate the very smallest things in life. Things that we take for granted every single day.

One of the things on my bucket list is to make everyone around me feel first class in a world that treats you like coach.
I want to make care packages that say..that shout.."you are not defined by the way that others have treated you." You mean something. Your life has meaning. You are no less than any one of us... You are no less..

I think people need to feel that they matter. that is why in my care package for the homeless i am including:

1. Godiva chocolate...because nothing says regal like Godiva. We all deserve to have Godiva at least once in our lives.

2. Bubbles..because everyone deserves to feel like a child again. Perhaps some homeless people never even really had a childhood. Bubbles sometimes say, "everything is going to be ok."

3. A book. A book to inspire. Books to remind people that people can rise above....even though you may be face down in the dirt..there is a way out. I'll have to research  lives that exceled despite circumstance and then find a book about it...

4. of course, practical soap, bottled water, non perishable food items like crackers, cereal bars..blankets, socks, hand warmers, gloves, sleeping bags,  toothbrushes, toothpaste, ...think hygene items..first aid items..think lightweight and easy to carry. What about a gift card to a local food joint, Mcdonalds, anyone? inkpens, stationary, bus tokens, ...

5. a letter from     to remind them how unique and beautiful they are and to give them the hope of Jesus.

Well, this is a brief list..I encourage you to create your own..make it unique. make is say something..
the overall message should be.. "hey, you are important. God loves you. I was thinking of you today."

below is a link to some more great ideas for a carepackage..

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Barking Dog Coffee Lounge, Orange, TX

Today was a day off the beaten path.  Coffee with friends. I can't say that I do things with friends often. It feels like I work most of the time..and when I am not working, I am loving on my two boys... A day with friends is always welome. I am praying for more days with friends.
today, I got to love on an old friend from baton rouge..I got to meet one her friends from washington, dc.

Proverbs 18:24
There are “friends” who destroy each other, but a real friend sticks closer than a brother.

here are some pics from our day...

I like the rustic door

The barking dog was filled with lots of antique, interesting furniture..

I love this photo of New York! I am going there, God willing, next month. Seeing this photo, only made me that much more excited!

Nothing speaks ambiance like an orange sofa..I want one of these, some day..

I was surprised and a little elated to see a Bible in a coffee shop..very cool
This is my beautiful friend, Tara!

and her beautiful friend, Jill from D.C!

This is me..with the wonky eye..Lately, my allergies have been so bad that I've been waking up with my eyes swollen..I call it the "wonky" eye..

If you are looking for an interesting place with flair and ambiance, call me up..let's go to the Barking Dog!

Let's be friends...

Love is..Part 4

this morning, i woke up feeling vulnerable.. Some days, I wear my heart on my sleeve and I don't want "to put myself out there" too much. I've always liked writing because writing is a way to express feelings safely. I feel safe behind a keyboard.  Some days I let things get to me...It seems that sometimes the heart has a way of remembering...the human heart, that is..

The human heart has a way of shrinking away...after it has been hurt a certain amount of has a way of balling itself up..shrinking...shriveling like a little dried up flower...but love in it's purest form has a way of pouring itself into the heart, like water..

Pure love, can cause a tiny little withered heart to bloom.

There is a verse in the Bible that says "love hopes all keeps no record of wrong."

Our insecurites and human fears are what keep our hearts love..forgets.

True love says.."It's ok that you have hurt me. I believe in who are you are..Not in the person that you were. I choose to forget."

that is true love.

True love hopes. What is hope?
Hope says, I believe that the future will be better than the past. Hope says, " you are more than the sum of the things you have done. There is a better path laid out for you." That's what hope says..

Love is humble.

Love says, "I'm not as important as I thought I was."

At some point in life..our thoughts will take us into two places..

Thinking we are the queens and kings of the universe..thinking that we are entitled. thinking we are deserving of so much, even if it costs someone else something..

And sometimes, we think that we are worth little. We fall into the trap of thinking that we are nobody's.. I used to think of myself as the bottom rung on the totem pole of life..
but I later realized that many of the men Iallowed in my life  didn't love me with true love..they didn't help me to aspire to the woman that i was meant to be..they loved me with imperfect, human hearts..

We all have one.

Only after I came to know Jesus did I ever truly understand the depth of true love. The kind of love that says, " you are somebody." You were created to give and receive love."

Is our purpose really that simple? To love?
Perhaps it is..perhaps we overcomplicate our lives?
We think we need things..we make plans..they fail..we make other plans..they may fail or succeed..
but in the end, what really matters?

IN the end, all that really matters is what we have done with the love that God gave us. How we used it matters.. 

I hope that I use all the love that God gives encourage, to inspire, to create,..
to shine as a light..

Today I was thinking of a little song I used to know.. "This little light of mine.. I'm going to let it shine."
I kept singing and I got to the part that says, "Don't let Satan blow it out.. I'm going to let it shine"

For some reason, those words really spoke to me....The thought was simple but profound. The entire purpose of the to steal, to kill, to destroy, Our LOVE...

The enemy wants to kill our love.
He wants us angry at those around us. He wants bickering, pettiness, unforgiveness..
the enemy feasts on road rage...and criticism.
He loves finger pointing and gossip. .
and, most of all, he loves lies..
because all of those things..somehow kill love..

they cause a heart to stop trusting..they cause a heart to shrivel up..and look like something dead and withered...

I'm glad that there is a force greater than the enemy.
I'm glad that God is the source of all things good, and love can shine like a light in darkness. Deny the enemy, love when it is hard. Love with intensity..
Love with a heart that is less human and more like God's..
Love childlike.
Love in a way that always protects and never tears down.
Love in a way that builds...
Love in a way that says, "I choose to give God glory through all this madness."
Love in a way that says, I am not as important as you are, stranger.
If we truly believe in Christ, like we say we do, then no one is a stranger.. we should see one another as part of the same flock...and if they have strayed..we should, with our Love, do all the we can to carry them back into the pasture..

The green pasture of rest..and hope..
The pasture that hold families...

Here is today's "love is" list..
Share your own "love is"list with me....

Love is..

buying a cup of coffee for the person waiting in line behind you

choosing not to retaliate when someone offends

making care packages for the homeless

letting it go...

doing extra duties at work..

praying for those who have wronged you..


Anne Voskamp writes of Love...Here is an excerpt from her blog..

Its hard to know what that is —
when it’s a spotlight
that heats up a prophet’s fervor.

When ardency kindles with a microphone
and holiness is this blazing performance for audience and applause.

But what is that,
that zealous ember in the dark,
when a woman wipes the drool from her father’s chin
and carries him down the hall to the toilet,
when a mother lays down bits of her singular life
to wash the bowls and the underwear of the teenager calling her a whore
and a missionary bends in a jungle, a brothel, a slum
and nobody applauds?

Are sacrifices the secret, sacred rites
that are gifts
offered with no thought of
return on investment,
given in the dark
when the only light is
and your one flaming heart?

Who’s defining the terms when it’s an honor to be awarded
and a sacrifice to be called by God?

I do confess to wondering this –
if  the call isn’t so much about carrying your Cross across a lit stage
but down the Via Dolorosa
and if the truth of it is
that the word altar comes from the Latin ‘altus’ meaning high —
because the realest altars burn
where only Heaven sees.

And that, is LOVE..

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Goodbye, Baby Falak

Precious angel, baby Falak

Tonight, I'm sad..
For a little over a month, I have been following the progress of Baby Falak..

Baby Falak made national news a few months ago. She was brought into a hospital in India by a teenage girl. She didn't have a the world gave her one..They called her baby Falak,, which means "Sky."

When she arrived at the hospital, she was covered in human bite marks. Her tiny two year old arms were broken. She had been branded with an iron. Who knows the  full extent of the trauma that this baby faced?

Several people were arrested in a child sex slave ring in association with Baby Falak's injuries. During her stay at the hospital, she seemed to be improving. She suffered brain infections, heart attacks..but she kept going, even though she was in a coma.

I read tonight that her tiny little body couldn't take the trauma. She died from a heart attack almost a week ago.

As I look at this story, I feel so many different emotions. Grief. I am sad that anyone could even consider doing this to a child. I am sad that baby falak's final memories are of someone abusing her. I'm sad that on this earth, baby Falak didn't know love...but I'm also thankful that I believe in God and I believe in His love and His peace and His rest...and I'm thankful that I know that Baby Faluk finally knows what it means to be loved.

Gratitude.. I'm Thankful that my own children do not have to face these kinds of things. Grateful that they aren't exploited and abused.

I am forced to look at my life and wonder what I am doing.....We all talk about making a difference,
but what kind of sacrifices have we made to really help others? We talk about feeding the poor, but how many have we actually fed? We talk about helping those in need, but are we really?

I look at my life and ask, Is the gospel of Christ truly being lived through my life?
What comforts can I give up so that someone can eat for a day?

I read about people who are truly making a difference in child slavery. What a testimony these people will have at the end of thier lives! I saved a child..I saved children from a life of humiliation and slavery!

Tonight, I humbly pray that God truly show me how to help others in a deeper way. I pray that God put people in my path that truly need Him..

Sometimes, however, I wonder if God wants us to seek people out.. If He wants us to seek out the hungry that he commands us to feed.  I wonder if He wants us to go and find them. I'm sure they can be found on any street corner in any major city.  I'm sure the hungry are all around us, and we don't even realize it..

"Luke 3:9 The axe of his judgment is poised over you, ready to sever your roots and cut you down. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire." Luke 3:10 The crowd replied, "What do you want us to do?" Luke 3:11 "If you have two coats," he replied, "give one to the poor. If you have extra food, give it away to those who are hungry."

As I read this verse, I can't help but notice the warning..The axe..ready. poised. threatening to sever our roots and cut us down."
It only makes me realize that roots grow in the soil of sacrifice. God has already shown me this..but this verse only confirms it..

Roots cannot grow..unless there is a sacrifice. A cross. a willing to give up..
Dear Lord, keep me humble.
And tell baby Faluk that I will see her someday. Kiss that  baby's forehead and thank you for loving her.

the link below is a news article with more details on Baby Falak

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

be the spark

Last year, I had the most amazing vision.
I was driving home from the Grand Canyon and God showed me something.
To some, the vision may seem strange.
To me, it speaks of beauty.

I saw a thousand people marching on rough terrain. Their climb was difficult. Thier journey long.
But each silent soujourner was filled with an insurmountable peace. Each person carried a lantern, the living, breathing fire of God...They were marching towards something..They were carrying thier crosses of love and marching toward the purpose set before them. They were of one mind and thier hearts beat in tune with the very heartbeat of God..

God spoke to me and said, "It only takes one spark to light a thousand lives." 

It may sounds strange, but it's true... God tells us not to hide our lampstands under bushels or baskets..

We are the spark. Our actions, for and through Christ, changes things. Molds things.

Through Christ, we make things beautiful. We are vessels of His light..

I love how Christ can make the broken, beautiful...

Even vessels that are broken..when filled, light somehow shines through all the cracks and holes and imperfections....

One day I did something adventerous. I planted notes all over the supermarket. ..notes that told people that they could be the spark that lights a thousand lives. I wanted to remind people that thier lives are not in vain... there is a brilliant purpose....a purpose that shines brighter than the sun or the sum of all stars..

As mothers, we are sparks..the bedtime kisses on foreheads..the love of tucking in...
the sizzling of bacon in a pan..that love is a spark that will hopefully light our children's lives. Our love, our prayers ,are sparks that point them in the direction of God...As mothers, our lives should be the compass that leads to life...

As women, we are sparks.....
the beauty, the confidence we carry.. our faith lights the way for others to see God's Truth.

As writers...our words are sparks
As singers, our songs..
As housekeepers, or workers... our toil is a spark.. sacrifice is the fuel that lights it....

When we live and breathe so that God may be glorified, we become sparks that light up the world.
and our sacrifices, our talents, our praise provides fuel...and suddenly, we are candles..flickering, living ..and illuminating...

Our dark world needs light.  Our kind words, like honey, pour like liquid light from our lips....
But our criticism....somehow mutes it..

Our hugs...even our touch, when birthed of love, is a spark.
But our anger, our wrath..our unforgiveness somehow mutes it...

I am tired of living in a mute world. I long for sound. I long for color.
How can color be seen when there is no light?
It can't..
The world sits silently cloaked in grey. The world ceases to bloom without light.
Like a flower needs light to grow, we need God's light to flourish.

I am weary of living in a world where people hide thier beautiful lights.
Jesus is the light of the world..when we share Him..we become the sparks......

When we share our light, we bring a small of piece of heaven to earth..
Our love...God's the spark..

BE THE SPARK! Give something up to,  praise...and become the spark...

Isaiah 42:16 
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.

Matthew 5:13-16
You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.  "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.

Psalm 18:28 
You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.

there have been days when I have awakened to the beast of envy..that subtle longing for a life that looks different.

Envy is a silent thief. She steals contentment and replaces it with the bitter fruit of jealousy.

I used to be envious of women who seemed to have thier lives paid for.  Women, who, through no fault of thier own, were thrust into perfect marriages..fully equipped with loving husbands, a nice home, and a "ready made" perfect life.

I used to envy women that didn't have to work. Women that could take the hubs credit card and indulge in a mani/pedi sort of day and then come home to a warm, cozy fireplace. I envied those with seemingly perfect little cookie cutter lives.

But I am forced to realize that no one's life is perfect.

The other day I read a facebook post. A girl, who has had a rather hard life, said she believed that God plays chess with our lives.  She saw herself as a pawn on the gameboard of life.

Life is like chess in many ways. Only, we often choose the way we move. We often control, with our free will, the outcome of our destiny.

I chose a life of work. I chose men, many of whom, were bad for me. Who am I to complain that my life isn't perfect? 

Today, I saw a video clip of a mother struggling to keep her son alive and I thought, "Who am I to complain about anything?"

This past year, my pastor told me that God was going to richly bless my life. Since then, my grandmother has died, I discovered infidelity in my marriage, and I have succumbed to fears over my health.
So what does it mean to be richly blessed?
I am learning that perhaps richly blessed is the humble act of adopting an attitude of gratitude.
Thanking God that I will see my grandmother again.
Thanking Him that even though my husband cheated, life goes on. I can still love, anyway.
Thanking God that He is in control of every aspect of my life, including my health.

In this game of life, I choose gratitude.
And I am richly blessed.

10 Deliberate Acts of Love

because nothing is ever really random.....

   Lately, I have delved into some beautiful blogs that feature some pretty amazing random acts of kindness...

Those kind of things inspire me.

Kindness is inspiring.  There doesn't seem to be an overabundance of kindness in the world..There seems to be a critical shortage.

Don't get me wrong, I have met some amazing people who live out love every single day of thier lives...but, for the most part, people are lost..aimlessly wandering..searching..looking for answers the questions of life..many people are spreading hate without even realizing it..Gossiping, criticising..endlessly complaining in a world of push and shove.

The other day I was thinking about random acts of kindness. I had a thought. Random acts of kindness are never really random. They are deliberate. They are birthed from hearts that look like God's. Love is inhaled. Love is exhaled through kindness...

I like the anyonymity of the whole random act of kindness thing...I like the idea of being loved by someone who doesn't know me.

The other day, the boys and I did a few of our own random acts of kindness. This list, however, is mostly comprised of a list of things I've done and things I would like to do..Consider it part one..of the story of my life..

First off, before I publish this...I don't want anyone calling me a "good person." The truth is that before Christ came into my heart..I was a liar. I was base and disgusting. I am living proof of the transforming power of Christ. I am not a good person. I am a renewed soul. Maybe that sounds silly, but so be it...

I hope you enjoy these deliberate acts of Love...

one of my favorite places....

1. I have always wanted to drive through the Starbucks drivethru and pay for the person's order in the car waiting behind me. You never know what someone may be going through. Small acts of kindness have a huge impact. Kindness inspires others towards love. Could there be anything better than a free cup of coffee? Not much.

In heaven, there are flowers that do NOT die..!!

2. Flowers on cars. The other day, the  boys and I bought some flowers. The kind that do not die. Some days, Jesus shows me little pieces of Heaven. There will be an abundance of laughter and flowers that never die. Everything there lives forever. People need hope. Heaven is hope. Today, I wanted to remind people that no matter how dismal things may appear. Though Death will eventually claim our bodies..there are flowers in Heaven that do not die. Nothing dies in Heaven. Sometimes, I think people need to hear that. It is Truth.

Olivia, my niece with bears!

3. Bears for children. A while back ago I found a website that had some really good prices on bears. One bear only costs a few bucks. They are high quality and amazingly cute. The bear comes equipped with a specially designed T-shirt. I picked out the words, "You are worth so much. You are simply loved." My boys and I sometimes deliver the bears to Harbor House. Harbour House is a temporary home for children who often suffer from abuse and neglect. I read an article about the children of Harbor House. Many of these children grow up to lead a life of crime, and some even take thier own lives. I know, in my heart, that only God can heal these kids. Only people who truly love can leave a lasting impact. But I wanted to make thier day a little brighter with bears that remind them that they are worth something..and that they are loved by people who don't even know them.  

Some of the bears are set to go to the Burn Hospital in Baton Rouge. I haven't had a chance to bring them yet, but am planning a trip in the near future. I once read that one of the worst pains that one could ever experience is a severe burn. I am writing letters to the children telling them how beautiful they are..and bringing bears!

handmade, crocheted baby booties!

4. Baby Booties! About a year ago, a family member gave me a pair of handmade, crocheted slippers. I don't see this particular family much so I thought the act was very gracious and generous. As I was looking at these slippers, I began to notice the intricacy. Each stitch represented an act of love.  Love is action...stitching together anything is something born out of love... I have no sewing, crocheting skills whatsoever, but those slippers inspired me to buy baby booties in bulk. I searched E bay for good prices on baby booties. Many of the sellers offered me a good price..I got baby booties for as little as a few dollars a pair! I sometimes take them to Pregnancy Resource Centers. I know that Jesus loves all women, even those who have had abortions...but I want to remind women that thier babys have feet. I hope that these little booties will remind women that there is hope and love still left in the world. I want  baby's to have warm feet!
There is nothing sweeter and cuter than baby feet. There is nothing more miraculous and wonderful than a new life...

My son, Brendan "bear" and Alicelynn

5. Meet Alicelynn. A while back ago, I heard of an organization called Big Brothers/ Big Sisters. It is an volunteer organization that allows you to be matched with a child who needs a good old fashioned, Big. There are a lot of children out there who really need more positive role models in thier life. That is why I signed up. A few months ago, I had the honors of being matched with Alicelynn. She is my little sister. I can honestly say that I love Alicelynn. We have gone to lunch, shopped at the mall, and the above picture, shows an outing to McDonalds. My son fell in love with her. She is sweet. She has spunk. She loves things that are pretty. Alicelynn, you are pretty. You are a beautiful girl, and I am glad to be a part of your life. You have a good heart. I hope that you can see Jesus in me, because He loves you very much. I am looking forward to bowling with you next week or Putt putt..whichever you decide. Maybe you can meet my cousin, Callie.

Christmas Cards for the Homeless..

6. Christmas Cards for the homeless. This Christmas I did something different. I gave out gifts and cards to the homeless. I began to wonder..When do you think the last time a homeless person received a Christmas card? Have they ever recieved one? When is the last time anyone gave them anything out of love? Without strings attatched?  As a society, we have largely forgotten that Christmas is about love. God set aside a day to give His only Son to the world..that we might Live..but instead of honoring that act...Christmas has become a holiday set aside for a man in a red suit, holiday food, and expensive gifts. The root of Christmas is love. This year, I wanted to go back to the root of Christmas and simply make it about love. I wrote individual notes to each person at our local shelter. My uncle Ray helped me to purchase blankets. I bought new, fresh socks..My mom and I put it all together in a bag of love, and brought our packages to the Salvation Army's homeless shelter for men. I hope that those men felt loved that day. I hope that, whoever you are reading this..I hope that you feel loved too...Because you are.

This particular journal was bought for a young girl...

7. Women's Journals..One day, I was strolling through the bookstore, and I saw a huge sale on journals. I thought it would be lovely to buy some journals for women in the local homeless shelter. I chose journals because I wanted women to realize that no matter where they are in life..their thoughts are important. I want women to realize that they are special no matter what size lemons life has handed them.. My mom and I stayed up late writing messages in the journals. We wrote from the book of Isaiah. There is a verse that promises beauty for ashes. Upon delivering the journals to the shelter, I learned that there were several children living in the shelter, as well. I began to realize how much we take for granted.  I was sad that a child would have to grow up without having the security of a home. If more people shared..If more people gave a little bit more..then, life would look drastically different. Many people would have a fighting chance, and the world would look a bit more like Heaven. Reader, whoever you matter where you may be in this life- Your thoughts matter. Write them down. Tell them to God. He hears you, and He longs to heal your brokenness.

8. I've always wanted to logon to the Compassion International website and buy an animal for a family. You can buy goats, chickens and a bevy of other animals to help sustain a family. Jesus said "Feed my sheep." By sheep, He meant people. There are too many hungry people in the world and far too much waste.
Find out more about feeding the hungry at :

9. Rewarding the faithful. Jesus said to bless those that bless others. Goodness and faithfulness isn't celebrated enough. Instead, it seems that society often rewards bad behavior. Examples are everywhere. I follow a few inspiring blogs whose writers live the gospel. They don't just speak it..They actually live it.. One writer has given up a bank account, car, and the American Dream to work in an orphanage in Mexico. She shares stories of how God is using her to touch the lives of children without mothers and fathers. The blog is titled, Caroline in Mexico. Another blog I follow, Terribly Interesting, is written by a beautiful woman by the name of Stephanie Cherry. Stephanie and her family are the owners of Gomer's House. They decided that they were going to sell their home in the suburbs and restore a one hundred year old home in a drug addicted neighborhood. They see that restoration is more than just about fixing up a home. They minister to people in the area and open thier home as a respite for people in ministry and the hurting.  Caroline in Mexico is in need of some books for the children at the orphange. This week, I hope to help Caroline with her wish.
Stephanie of Gomer's house is in need of things for her home. This week, I hope to buy her a nice new set of wind chimes. You would have to read her blog to understand...The moral of this long story is that God Blesses those who bless others. What act of love could be more wonderful than helping someone who is helping someone else. It looks like a beautiful rainbow of love..It extends far and wide and the colors reach those who need it most.

10. Purple plastic stripey cups and bubbles. The other day I found the cutest little purple plastic cup at the Dollar Tree. I am going to leave it on someone's car and tell them that I want thier life's cup to "run over." I am going to tell them that gratitude is seeing life's cup as always full, even when you seem to be staring into the glass bottom. I am going to leave bubbles to remind them to be childlike.  To sum it all up, I want to be a light. I want people to see Jesus in me. I want to cause people to question the path that they are on and see that freedom and love comes through Christ Jesus. He is the Way, The Truth, and the Life. I know in my heart that I could spend all of my time on works..but I know that only Christ can truly change a heart. I know that love is found at the foot of the Cross, and the more I seek, the more I find. I know that so often we are occupied with our own lives..that we forget to love others. Ask God to change that. I am confident that He will. Lovers keep loving. Writers keep writing. Singers, sing on...Do everything for the glory of God. Use the talent that He gave you for deliberate acts of love. Love often. Love with purpose. Love with purity. Love anonymously.  I have a cousin that crochets hats for cancer patients. Crocheters..keep crocheting. Painters, keep painting.. You are creative and you were made for a purpose. And that is to love.  "And the Greatest of these is Love."

God Bless all you Random Acts of Kindness people. You are really loving and loving deliberately.

She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

Monday, March 19, 2012

Love Is..Part 3

Lately, I've been having a lot of fun writing these little "love is" posts..I am finding that since I have been writing about what looks like..I am paying more attention to the way I behave. I am asking.."Does this behavior/action show love? I am becoming more aware of the love in others... I hope that you will share what love looks like to you... One thing I am learning is that it is better to throw away expectation and love regardless. ..there is no love like unconditional love. Love that keeps no record of wrongs and does not easily anger. I struggle with love sometimes. But that's another post for another day...All I can do is pray for God to increase my capacity to love..One thing I have found is that loving when it is hard..increases our capacity to love. Forgiving opens us up to love even more deeply. There is healing in love. My hope is that these little "love is"posts will cause you to love more pay attention to those around love learn that love is in the "giving up." Love is sacrifice. It is not self serving. It continually gives. True love is the kind that throws no caution to the wind. It looks humble. True love is the kind of love that says, "I would die for you." True love looks like Jesus.

Here are my 'Love is" posts for the day..

Love is caring truly caring for a pet...taking time to invest in a small creature, nurturing it..feeding it..simply loving it and seeing that it get's the best care possible..

Love is washing dishes in the sink..especially the ones that aren't yours.

Love is washing your own dishes so someone else doesn't have to..

Love is staying up late with a sick baby. Love is wringing out the water on the washrag and putting on a feverish head..Love is taking the time to care for someone who cannot care for themself.

Love is chipping in at the grocery store when the person in front of you is short on change.

Love is mowing the lawn without being asked...

Love is drawing the bathwater for a spouse...just to let them know you care.

Love is not drinking and driving because you realize that others lives are more important than your own...and even though you seem "ok to drive" there is a part of you that realizes that you could easily cost someone their life.

Love is letting someone cut in line..just because..

Love is the extra five minutes pushing someone on the swing set...

or the extra ten minutes at the park..even though you are ready to stay a little longer because you love..

Love is letting the person riding in your car control the radio...or the thermostat..

Love is checking the oil levels in her car..

Love is hiding nothing, keeping no secrets, living in the light, keeping nothing in darkness..telling the Truth at all costs no matter how much it hurts and regardless of the consequence..

Love is working overtime so your coworkers don't have to..

Love is turning down overtime to spend time with your family

Love is paying back someone the money you owe

Love is forgiving a debt.

Love is changing a dirty diaper.

Love is not yelling when he spills the milk on the carpet..

Love is adopting and caring for a child..

Love is knitting hats for cancer patients.

Love is taking time off from television to spend time with your family. Love is creating your own story.

Love is baking him the Boba Fette cake he has always wanted.

Love is baking cookies and taking them to the neighbors.

Love is teaching your child to read.

.... This list makes me realize I need to work on a few things. Last night "bear" said something sweet to me..
I asked, "Bear, what do you think love looks like?" I didn't really expect him to understand the question, but he answered with the sweetest answer... He said love looks like, "mommy."

Some days I feel like I fall short as a parent.  I work long hours and sometimes feel like I don't do enough with my kids..but that is another post for another day..

Today, I hope you find love. and know that you are loved.

Love looks like sacrifice and that looks like Jesus.

Jesus loves you!

Love is patient. love is kind. Love does not easily anger.

Love looks like sacrifice. And sacrifice looks like Jesus.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Love is..Part 2

Love can look like so many things. There are hundreds of these little cartoons. Some speak truth. Other's not so much.

To me, love looks like sacrifice. It can look like simple choosing not to text while driving..That act alone says..I care about another life more than my own.

Love can look like holding your tongue when you want to complain.
It could like giving when you would rather just buy something for yourself.

It could look like making breakfast for the kids, even when you are bone tired.
Or giving away the second Reese's cup...even though you desperately want to gobble it up for yourself.

Love looks like sacrfice.
And that looks like Jesus.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

to those who desperately want to love life and God's desperate desire to heal

There are days when I hear the crippling voices of condenmation. The voices that tear down. The voices that cause the inward finger to point into one's self. ...I feel the claw as it rips away at the heart.

On those days, I try to remember Coffeepot Rock.

One day, about six month's ago, I took my son to the Grand Canyon. Along the way, we stopped in a beautiful area, called Sedona, Arizona. Sedona is famous for it's beautiful red rocks.

I'm not going to sugar coat my trip. There were grand and beautiful moments..but, for the most part, the trip was miserable.

Miserable. I went days with no sleep. There was bickering amongst passengers.
But the hardest part of the trip was the attacks.
This may sound strange, but the enemy often comes against me in very vicious ways. I'm not going to delve into the details, but I will say that my day in Sedona was full of tears.

I often fast and pray. Sometimes, the attacks have been so vicious that I have had no other choice but to get down on my knees and pray.  What have I fasted from?

My coffee. Coffee is one of my favorite things in the entire world I would often fast from coffee.

In Sedona, I  cried out to God in frustration over many of the things that were happening.

"Dear Lord, Do you want me to just give it up? Forever. It seems that all I do is fast. Lord, please answer."

Soon after, we stopped in Red Rock State Park. I stopped in the gift shop and a postcard caught my eye.

Coffeepot Rock.

Apparently, in the middle of the desert, in Sedona, Arizona..there is a rock that is shaped like an old fashioned coffee percolater. I felt like Jesus was saying, "Go on, Rachelle. Just enjoy your coffee. I got this."
I felt, at that moment, that the rock was mine. It took thousands of years to form that rock, and I felt like God put it there just for me.

I cried. I still cry.
Sometimes, I think it is easy to see Jesus standing there, holding up a pointing finger of condemnation.

But I think that we just do that to ourselves. The enemy is the liar that would decieve us into thinking we aren't worthy..

The coffeepot rock experience is one of the ways that Jesus spoke into my spirit.."This life is meant to be enjoyed.."

To me, Cofffeepot rock spoke of love. Pure, unfailing love.

The other day I was sitting in my grandfather's yard. I began to think about the choices we are given in this life. We have two choices of consequence- The choice that moves us towards Death, or the choice that secures Eternal Life.

I began to notice the beauty around me. The trees, and their branches swaying in the wind. The billions of blades of grass..I marveled at all things living.  I stood in wonder at how each living things serves a purpose.
My spirit sang as I thought that life eternal never ends. That is what is so beautiful about being a Christian. There is no fear that life will end..It only evolves and grows into eternity. It never ceases. The heart may cease to beat..but the spirit only moves toward Jesus.

The other day I saw on old friend. I kept hearing Jesus saying, " I want to heal her her life." I kept hearing those powerful words.." I want to heal her."  I thought..That is the Jesus I know..The Jesus that longs to take the broken lives and heal them. Regardless of past or circumstance, He longs to heal..

Some days I want to grab people and say.. You don't need the relationship that you know in your heart is wrong for you..There is more for you. God wants to heal you.

You don't need to poison your body with too much alcohol. You deserve better. You are worth more. God wants to heal you.

But, like all things, healing is a choice..We have the power to choose death or is in the choices that He gave us..If you love something, you set it free..And God gave us the freedom to choose.

The other day I spoke with my brother in law. We have noticed something, as of late. In order to truly live, we must first learn to die to self. True living, the full life, comes when self is put upon the cross. Life only comes through death. Christ died that we may live..but carrying a cross means that we must die also.

Lately, I have felt Christ gently molding me into the woman I was meant to be. It's been a hard road, but the reward is truly learning to live. The reward is seeing things eternal and appreciating the simplest of things.

Today, my prayers are for you. I pray that you will find your Coffeepot Rock, that thing that emerges in your desert that will let you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how much He loves you.  I pray that your spirit will sing and that it will hum a tune of Life and things eternal.

I pray that you become the woman that God meant for you to, breathing, loving, creating...doing all things for the glory of a Living God.

I pray.

 Amazing Coffee Recipe
To celebrate life, I would like to include an amazing iced coffee recipe. I got it from pinterest. I've made it about four times already. It lasts for months and it is amazing. I am adding my own little twist .... I don't drink as much iced cofee as I used to..Caffeine withdrawal is ferocious and I  have endured many a migrane. All good things in moderation, is my new phrase when it comes to coffee..

You will need:
One gallon of water
A one pound bag of course ground Starbucks iced coffee blend coffee.. I buy the beans and ask the barista to grind it "course ground"
One can of evaporated milk
One can of sweetened condensed milk
coffee filters
a large pot or a huge bowl..

Note: you do not need a coffee maker. This coffee is cold brewed. It does something to the flavor. It's better!

Pour the gallon of water in a huge bowl. Pour in the one pound bag of coffee. Stir until grounds are saturated.
Let this mixture sit overnight.

The next morning you will need to ladle the coffee thru a filter into a container of some sort..
This is a little time consuming, but the coffee is worth it. 
What you have now, is a coffee concentrate. Put it in the fridge. It lasts for up to a month..

Next, mix the can of condensed milk with the can of evaporated milk in a separate container.

When you are ready for your iced coffee, pour ice into a cup..fill up half the cup with the coffee concentrate.
add the milk mixture according to taste. 

Enjoy. This is an excellent recipe and it saves a lot of money of coffee. I actually enjoy it more than a lot of the store bought, coffee shop coffees.. well, i didn't end up changing it is pretty much the same recipe as the one from pinterest. If it isn't broke, then don't fix it...
Cinnamon..add cinnamon..there, ..add what you would like to make it your own.

...on blackboard walls, letters to random stranger, and how God moves

our blackboard wall
 I like to write.
Lately, my family has adopted a tradition. One by one, we are painting blackboards on walls with paint that you can write on.. Blackboard paint..
I like the sound of the chalk, as it moves purposefully across the blackboard. I like how there is purpose in writing. I envelop the idea that a simple thought can touch many lives.

Sometimes I write letters to random strangers. I remind them that God loves them. I tell them that thier lives are not defined by the way that others have made them feel. I tell them that they are beautiful and remind them that they have a purpose.

One week God placed someone on my heart, a very dear old man from our small community. I anyonymously wrote him a letter telling Him of God's magnificent love. A week later, I saw him in church. He humbly walked toward the alter and cried.

I thanked God after the service. God, did you use me to minister to this man's hurting spirit?
Did you use my writing to touch a life? 

I could go on and on about writing and creativity and God and His wonderous love... I don't really know what the purpose of this post is..except to say...writers, keep writing..
lovers, keep loving...
Followers of the Most  High, keep following..

You are making a difference.
God is using you.
You are creative. You inspire.
You breathe through ink and silent..lettered keys..

Today, love and love anyonymously. Paint a wall with blackboard chalk. Write words that encourage. Speak them into the life of your family.
and praise God for His goodness...

Friday, March 16, 2012

all things bacon

Today, I am taking a moment to pay tribute to my son, Cade..

The best way to do that is to honor the thing he loves most: Bacon

Every morning, Cade unfailingly has the same breakfast request. Yep, you guessed it..


Every morning, we go through the ins and outs of how bacon causes heart disease.

Cade doesn't seem to mind... He is growing boy, and he still wants bacon...

Cade, this post is for you....You don't get bacon every day, but I think we can still find ways to incorporate bacon into your life...

Momma loves you...

here is a visual representation of all things bacon!

Cade, promise me that no matter how deep your love of bacon, you will never get one of these...
Promise me.

Thanks, but no thanks!

Here, you go sweetheart...for that meaty wound, slap on a piece of bacon..

Cade, I know how you like to dress up..maybe, we can get you one of these...?

Diet coke is gross enough by itself..
but to the bacon lover...perhaps, this is pure genius

Bacon for the bath!

Bacon toilet paper!

because bacon lovers need more bacon in between thier teeth...

bacon is an element! Perhaps, I have underestimated you, bacon!

Why eat bacon, when you can wear it?

Cade, you are too young to understand....

foamy bacon!

I think I will get these bacon air fresheners for the car...I will drive with the windows down..
that way, the entire neighborhood will smell like bacon!


Bacon and dark chocolate..hmmm..triple heart disease or
antioxidant meets bacon!


Future girlfriend? Just make sure she doesn't have a bacon tat....


For when you have children...

 Well, now that everyone is craving bacon...


"Are you achin' for some bacon, He's a big pig..You can be a big pig too.." - Pumba

profound, right?