Saturday, May 2, 2009

mission in india

Just in case you haven't made your way to Beth Moore's LPM blog yet. Be sure to read Melissa's post from April 30th. Reading her words are both heartbreaking and inspiring. Can you imagine LIVING her experience first hand?

Rick Warren challenges all of us in his ever famous book The Purpose Drive Life to take at least one mission in our lifetime. I can't wait until I have the opportunity to do so. Until then, I'll gladly support those who are going financially, emotionally and prayerfully.

God is SO good.

Just a reminder, if you haven't yet entered to win our 963 Coffee giveaway you can do so below. I would really appreciate it if you could please help me spread the word about our initiative. Thanks so much! :-)

LIVING A BLESSED LIFE with passion and purpose.

Have a blessed Sunday,

Thursday, April 30, 2009

963 Coffee - GIVEAWAY!!!

So, what's up with all of the 963 Coffee (& cocoa) talk lately?

The short answer? There are women and children suffering around the world and I want to help them.

The long answer? God has really been moving in my heart big time lately. I asked Him to break my heart for those things that break His heart. And He did. It's an ongoing process and one that I am so thankful for. For more about what in the world that has to do with selling coffee you can read this post.

In summary, 963 Coffee:
* is coffee for a cause
* brews up a great cup of organic java
* provides farmers with fair pay for their product
* allows us to bless Ethiopian widows with 100% of our proceeds

Why? Because widows are near to God's heart and they are in desperate need of assistance. Not rescue. Assistance.
My desire is to support them in feeding and caring for their children. When women lose their husbands in Ethiopia, it becomes increasingly difficult, if not impossible, for them to work. Without an adequate income, families are unable to feed, clothe, house and educate their children. The need is great. It is a matter of life and death.

The precious seven-year-old boy we are working to bring into our family lost both of his parents. While I don't have all of the details, it's a given that poverty played a big part in their deaths. While I wasn't able to aid his birth parents, I'm thankful that I am able to do something proactive to help other families stay intact.

All of this, my Friends, is where my passion comes from. Making a difference in our world and in the lives of others. Buying coffee for a cause is a win-win situation.
So, back to the giveaway...here's how to win:

Visit my affiliate page on 963 Coffee and choose which type of coffee or cocoa you would like to receive a 2.5oz sample of to try. Then, come back and leave me a comment letting me know which one you chose along with a way to contact you. Want another try? Blog about this giveaway and leave me a comment letting me know where to find your post. You can also subscribe to my blog or become a follower for additional entries.

Three winners will be picked using random.org. The first contest will end on Friday, May 8, 2009, 9:00 PM PST.

Thanks in advance for your support. What a joy it is to be able to invite others to join us in LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With joy & grace,

rejecting apathy

When I looked up the word apathy on dictionary.com, here's what I found:

–noun, plural -thies.

1. absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.
2. lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.

I think the number one reason we fall into apathy is because we feel like the world's problems (or our own problems) are just too big. We feel overwhelmed. We feel like anything we could possibly do to improve a situation would be too little. So, we throw in the towel and decide to give up. We shut down. Apathy overtakes us.

The problem, however, is that God created us to be passionate people. Anything less leaves us feeling frusrated with our lives and the choices we make on a daily basis. Being frustrated on a daily basis is just plain stinky. I know that all too well, I'm afraid.

The truth of the matter is that everything in this universe is indeed too big for all of us. The good news is that it is not too big for our Creator.

God doesn't expect us to solve all of the world's problems. He does, however, desire for us to give Him the little we do have.

We are not the answer, He is. That said, He does require that we become a part of His solution.

He longs to be able to use us to bless others, invest in others and engage with others. When we become apathetic, we not only fail to allow God to use us; we also become a roadblock to the amazing work He desires to do in and through us.

One of my favorite Scripture verses is John 10:10. Jesus said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full."

When we live in apathy, we're allowing the thief to steal our passion and our purpose. That wasn't the life that Jesus died to give us. He suffered greatly in that we would live abundantly rich lives. And I'm not talking about dollars here...thankfully. :-)

I've recently started subscribing to RELEVANT Magazine's weekly email. While I may not agree with all of the different viewpoints that are expressed, I am deeply challenged by the articles they publish. The writers push me outside of my comfort zone and bring me face-to-face with, well, relevant topics and issues we face in our lives today.

There's a column titled "Reject Apathy" that caught my eye. Jeff Goins wrote an article for it titled "The Truth About Apathy." It's worth the read and I think most of us will relate to his experience shopping in T*rget. :-)

I also enjoyed Chris Foster's write-up titled "Cambodian Coffee." It's actually kind of funny that drinking a different type of coffee is enough wake us up out of our comfortable routines. But it can! In order to reject apathy, we need to get uncomfortable.

How can we do that? We can read articles and books that make us not only squirm, but also raise our awareness to the atrocities going on around the world today.

We can add some current documentaries and inspirational films into our Neflix queue.

We can stop and really look at photographs like those Tom took last week in Ethiopia.

And sometimes, getting uncomfortable can be as simple as eating beans and rice for dinner one night a week. I know lots of families who do this as a way of better understanding how people with less resources eat on daily basis. They then share the money they saved on their meals to sponsor a child in need.

The thing about uncomfortable is that it can evoke new emotions and old passions, which leads to a richer life. The one Jesus promised us.

Life is an adventure, and I don't want to miss out on any of it because I let apathy and comfort erode away my purpose in life. The truth of the matter is that without passion, there is no life.

What about you? Have you discovered ways to reject apathy? I would love to hear some of the things God is teaching you. :-)

There definitely isn't any time to be apathetic when we are LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Rejecting apathy, one choice at a time,

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

be(love)d

I saw a photo of a group of kids wearing red t-shirts on someone's blog recently that said:

BE(LOVE)D

Wow. I loved it (pun intended) and have been trying to track down where I could buy some for my own fam. (If any of you happen to know, please let me know. I left a comment on their blog, but their last entry was pretty old, so I'm not sure if they still check it. THANKS!)

Anyhow. The t-shirts caught my eye because God has been working overtime lately in teaching me all about love.

There is power in love. The Bible tells us that "God is love." I think the verse in 1 Peter 4:8 says it best, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."

If only it were that easy, right? When someone wrongs us or hurts our feelings, love is the last thing our flesh wants to respond with. I think the t-shirt I saw is the key to all of our problems and pains.

We are first to "Be Loved" and then we can "Be Love." Awesome.

God wants me to first receive His love for me. When I am able to grasp even just a tiny bit of the depth of His love for me, I can't help but fall deeper in love with Him. As I do, that love comes pouring out towards myself, my family, my neighbors, my friends and His children around the world. I can't explain exactly how it happens, but it just does. I'm so thankful that His ways are far above mine. 'Cuz honestly, I just wasn't doing a very good job on my own.

When we allow His love to flood our lives, it affects all areas, not just some. It's then that we are able to begin living a life of love.

It's about having a heart of compassion towards others (and ourselves) and investing ourselves in others. The mistake we often make, however, is trying to do it on our own.

I receive a Scripture verse in my email every day from the New Living Translation(TM) that always seems to be timely. Yesterday's verse was Galations 5:13:

"For you have been called to live in freedom--not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love."

I've been thinking about this verse all day long. Really, this is what it's all about. I have been blessed with a life of freedom and each day choose how I spend my time, my money and myself. It's my choice if I focus my resources on myself or on others.

When I'm self-absorbed, I tend to be easily irritated, put out and overwhelmed by the needs of others around me.

When I respond in love, however, I find that joy just starts bubbling up within me. The act of being love makes me want to invest even more of myself into others. It's an incredible thing.

In order to be able to invest ourselves in others, we need to make sure that we find our strength and power in Christ. When we allow Him to fill us up with His love first, we are motivated to be a blessing to others.

(Of course, this doesn't mean that we are to stop taking care of ourselves. Part of that love needs to be invested into our own self-care. So, for all of you moms reading this, please be sure that you're not neglecting yourselves!)

Speaking of self-care for moms...how about a yummy cup of 963's Cocoa from Ghana? I'm sitting here drinking my first cup of it. YUM! I think we'll be ordering more in the very near future. It's totally delish'. (As soon as I can figure out how to do a giveaway online, I'll be posting info about how you can receive a free sample for yourself.)

So, my Friend, allow yourself to BE loved so that you are able to BE love. And, keep LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Sweetest blessings,

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

reckless faith

I've never done this before, but I'm actually going to recommend a book I haven't even read yet.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at our local Christian bookstore. I was looking through their small selection of books about missions when I saw Reckless Faith by Beth Guckenberger. I read the back and did a quick thumbing through of the pages. It looked really good, but since I've promised myself to be more careful with how I spend my money, and already have way too many books to read at home, I put it back on the shelf.

Last week, I was doing some research online when I came across a video of the author talking about her book and her life. Since then, I've found countless more videos. I can't wait to buy the book. Beth has an extraordinary faith and such a beautiful heart for God's precious children.

Geoff and I watched one of her brief videos last night and agreed that maybe our youngest needed us to take a new approach with her---spoiling her---with LOVE.

OK, it's impossible to "spoil" anyone with love, I know. But, oftentimes I refer to the way we parent our Chinese daughter as "backwards parenting." We find that she needs the complete opposite of what our birth kiddos need, and that it's alright to do things differently. Even our birth kiddos often need different things from each other.

Anyhow, I was inspired by Beth's words and thought you might be as well. You can click on the book title link above and view a short video about her ministry in Mexico. (It will take you to Christianbook.com. Scroll down to find the video.)

If you have another ten minutes you can also watch the video below about Joel and his incredible faith. Enjoy! (I did!) :-)



Praying God is revealing Himself to you in new ways as you continue LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

With love & joy,

Monday, April 27, 2009

our hearts are in Ethiopia

Waiting for our son, praying for our son and LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

dropping the plates

Do you ever feel like you're balancing plates in life? Isn't it true that just as you get one area of your life "spinning," another area suddenly starts to slip and fall? It becomes a crazy act of running around, wearing ourselves out and watching one plate after another fall and shatter. It's frustrating, isn't it?

I was talking to my mentor a couple of weeks ago and realized that God had given me yet another key in understanding my walk with Him. The first thing I realized was that never once did He ask me to balance plates. (Oops.) It's no wonder I was feeling like a failure and dropping plates left and right!

I think He got my attention when I asked Him to break my heart for those things that break His heart. It's definitely an ongoing process, but He started first by opening my eyes to those who are suffering in third-world countries.

God started to grow a heart of compassion within me for those suffering on the other side of the world. And yet, I still found myself feeling cranky towards my neighbors. Argh.

I knew that while I was learning and growing, I still wasn't getting it right. It's not an "either/or" or even "both." It's an ALL. God wants to be Lord over every area of my life and heart. Not just one or two.

I was frustrated spinning those plates because I was trying to do it all on my own. Really, God was calling me to a place of surrender. He was calling me to drop my plates.

And so I did.

Miraculously, I began to see that those plates began to balance and spin beautifully because His love and grace were holding them up.

As I surrender myself to God and His love for me, He's able to align all areas of my life to His will and my good. Unfathomable grace. Isn't He amazing?!?

Learning more every day and thankful to be LIVING A BLESSED LIFE because of His goodness.

Sweet blessings,
Amy