Jan 19, 2013

A Giveaway!

I have some really cool friends. Some of them are rock star moms who are raising the next generation of warriors for justice and Jesus. Some of them have the gift of words and know exactly how to use them to bring healing, grace and truth. Take my friend Jody for example. Mama. Warrior. Advocate. Justice Junkie. Complete Rock Star. A few years back she and one of her buds got together and formed The Adventure Project, a non-profit dedicated to not just gifting money, but elevating people out of poverty by creating jobs.

They currently have a project to bring clean burning coal stoves to families in Haiti. Did you know that the number 1 killer of children under 5 in the developing world is smoke inhalation from open cooking fires? I didn't either. $20 provides one Haitian family a cooking stove. These stoves are made locally in Haiti and provide desperately needed jobs to Haitians. Also, the benefits to the family receiving the stoves are a reduction in resources, time and the number of trees that are cut down.

The Adventure Project has a desire to see $20,000 raised in the next 7 days to provide 1,000 stoves to families this quarter. Also, for every $60 raised, you are entered into a drawing for a free trip with The Adventure Project to Haiti. Ya'll know I love to travel.

Our little family has started a fundraising page and we want you to help. Click here and donate $20 toward our family goal and we'll draw for a free, signed copy of I Walk for Water, which is awesome because I have VERY few books left.

The drawing will be for the next 7 days and I'll have one of the kids draw a name next week.


Jan 17, 2013

When It's Ok to Hug The Cashier

Today was one of those days. Long. Rough. Too many emotions at the office. I headed home until I realized that there was hardly anything in the fridge for dinner. I turned the car toward the store. I bought a few things to make and a few cold ones for the hubby and I to share after the kids went to sleep.
The cashier who couldn't have been older than twenty, seemed to have had as bad a day as I had. He forced a "hi. How are you?" ANd I responded with a bland "Good. Thank you."
When he scanned through my six pack, he asked for my identification. As he glanced at it and handed it back, he laughed "there is no way you are that old."
It struck me as hilarious and ridiculous and made my day all in one statement. I was exhausted and cranky and here this kiddo was telling me I couldn't be old enough to buy six beers. I laughed and told him that for a statement like that I should hug him.
He flippantly responded that after the day he just endured he would gladly take a hug. He went on to tell me he had just buried his best friend's dad today, who had been like a father to him. The tears started to well up in he and I both and I asked him why he was at work. Because it wasn't his immediately "family" he was unable to ask for time off of work. I smiled at told him that my kids were adopted and that family is the people you choose, not only the people who you were born to.
He wiped away some tears and nodded. And then I gave him a giant bear hug. I just felt as thought he needed it. He laughed and thanked me.
It just seems like this world is begging to be loved and to give love. Go out and give love away. Even your cashier may need it.
- Hugs n Love,

Jan 15, 2013

All Aboard!

If you've read here before, you probably know that one of the ministries that I love and adore
is the folks at Children's HopeChest; an internationally focused organization based out of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Their motto is simple: Encourage orphans to thrive in their home culture and know God through a personal relationship with Christ.
While HopeChest's model is simple, it is the approach that I adore.
Take an American community; a church, a school, a business, etc.
and partner them with an international community;
a village, a church, a school, etc. who is in need of encouragement and capital.
This partnership provides that the American partner obtain individual sponsors at $34 per month for
the children currently in the international program
to provide basic medical care, school and uniforms.
Individual sponsors are encouraged to send letters to their sponsorship child.
But the commitment doesn't end there.
The American partners are encouraged to send a travel group at least once a year to check the progress of the development and assess other needs which may lead to other development projects.
For example, this year, LoPa Art stepped up to fund through our art sales, a brick making project for the Hand for the Needy care point in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Currently, all of the children at HFN are individually sponsored, but the care center
was is desperate need of income generating ideas for the elder boys aging out of the system.
Thus, the brick making project was born.
(And fully funded by the way. :)
Currently HopeChest has 150 care points and projects in 8 different countries wold wide.
I have advocated for HopeChest to partner with two congregations in our metro area 
and LOVE watching the communities here fall in love with two separate communities in Uganda.  
While my family sponsors other children through other organizations over the world, I love through our church that all of our children know each other. Each time a trip from Westmoore Church travels to Ngariam, Uganda, we are updated with pictures and videos of our kids.
Our family's small group love sharing letters from one another's sponsored kids.
Such a beautiful picture of community here in South Oklahoma City.
And in Ngariam, Uganda.
So image my giddy delight when HopeChest asked me to accept a volunteer position with them.
To advocate for other churches, schools and businesses to travel with me once a year to the different countries HopeChest serves worldwide.
I only had one request...that this first trip would be to my favorite place.
You know what it is...
So that's where we're headed.
July 6-16th, 2013.
There are currently 5-6 new locations that are looking for an American partner.
We will travel to these locations as well as 2 sites that are currently being sponsored so that
you may see the difference between what a partnership and un-partnership can mean.
We will spend time in the capital city of Addis Ababa and also in the rural region of Awassa.
We will also be traveling to the red light district in Addis to minister to the over
40,000 prostitutes and children who live there.
If you, your pastor, your best friend, your manager, your church leadership board would
like to know more information about partnership, email me.
I'll send you some information about travel, partnership and Ethiopia in general.
I cannot wait to lead this trip with HopeChest staff and see the way God uses this for His glory.
Now...go pack your bags!

Jan 3, 2013

New Year, New Word

I made my list of New Years' resolutions. Then I promptly threw them away. While there is still a lot of things I want to approach differently and some things I want to change completely, my type A personality takes such a list as a challenge and if not each item was strategically tackled and achieved, by the end of December of 2013, my level of failure would be overwhelming.

I decided instead to simply choose a word or a phrase or even a theme to approach this new year. My choice: joy. In every situation, in each circumstance, I want to be joyful. I don't want to focus on a number regarding my weight, I want joy in taking care of myself.
I want to insert more hugs, snuggles, giggles and laughter into my kids; so they'll remember mommy's laugh instead of mommy's scowl.
I don't want my husband to re-write the manual on how to romance his wife; I want to celebrate that 9 years later and he still makes my heart skip a beat.
Yes, there is much I want to be different about this year than the last; but I think I'll achieve one moment at a time.

Did you make any promises of change for this new year?

- Hugs n Love,


Jan 2, 2013

Near Miss

I wrote this a few weeks back and wrestled with whether or not to post it because really, I cannot think about this event without checking my pulse.

I've believed in Jesus since I was seven years old. As our relationship has deepened throughout my life, I have had several moments where I had a physical awareness that I was not alone. Moments that made no logical, scientific sense. Where I knew that He, the Lord of Angel Armies was present and I felt him.
I had another one today.
With The Dinosaur and The Angel being out of school, they've traveled back and forth to the office with me a lot this Christmas break. I know that it has been really boring because while most people are able to take vacation time around this time of year, being a family lawyer means that the holidays are a consistent hotbed for litigation. I can almost never gather more than a few hours away from the office during this season.
It really isn't too rough on them. I represent a lot of kids in my practice and one whole office is a dedicated play room. But for my two, they are definitely the outdoorsy type. Being in an office all day tests all of our creativity and ability to expend energy. Especially for The Dinosaur. He lives for our walks outside or running to the car for lunch. His quick little legs can bolt at just the crack of a door.
Today was no different. There were several other kids in the office today and he was dying for some fresh air. I knew it was going to be an early lunch. He needed to get outside. I rounded The Angel and the coats and my purse and all the "mom garbage" I think that I need. I had wrangled The Angel to put her shoes on, her coat and we were headed out the door. I told her just to meet me at the car when she got her stuff together. The Dinosaur was three paces in front of me, holding the door knob to his freedom, begging me to hurry up. I really was trying. I let him open the door and just as I have every day for almost three years each time he heads out, I shouted "Do not cross the parking lot!" My office does not sit in a busy area. There are not many cars during any part of the day. But I remind him at least three times a day regardless.
The air in his face and the pavement under his feet must have overloaded his senses because he never heard me. I was less than ten paces behind him when the whole world slowed. I remember the following details with specificity and horror. It must have happened in three seconds, but time suspended and I recall it all.
Black mustang.
The back of The Dinosaur's head heading toward our car.
His perfect stride of one foot pounding in front of the other.
Never stopping.
My voice screaming his name.
Me dropping every thing in my hands and running.
Him turning and taking one step back toward my voice.
The driver missing him by inches.
We were both hysterical when I reached him.
He jumped in my arms and screamed and cried and I screamed and cried.
The Angel missed the whole thing. Thank you Jesus!
I did not need a near death encounter as a reminder to hug my children today, but I'll tell you I haven't let either one of them too far out of my reach today either.
- Hugs n Love,