Monday, September 30, 2013

31 days

Last year I joined hundreds of bloggers who wrote for each and every one of the 31 days in October. It was challenging. Sometimes I'd search through my photo file just to find something that I could post as I was out of "words". But it was good and although my to-do list is a mile long, my blog has long been neglected. Another area of neglect in my life is the habit of counting my blessings so for the next thirty one days I will be singing praises to my creator and sharing them here.

If you'd like to join in the fun or would like to check out vast selection of "31 day-ers" click HERE
Welcome 31 Days

Days of Praise:

Day 1 - Psalm 34
Day 2 - Mary's Song of Praise
Day 3 - Crown of Life
Day 4 - The Name of Jesus
Day 5 - Without fear
Day 6 - Thy Will Be Done
Day 7 - Godly Mentors
Day 8 - Common Bonds
Day 9 - A Room of One's Own
Day 10 - I have enough
Day 11 - Always rejoice
Day 12 - Full to Overflowing
Day 13 - Everyday I Will Praise Your Name!
Day 14 - Babies
Day 15 - Water
Day 16 - World Food Day
Day 17 - My Boy
Day 18 - Laundry, my nemesis 
Day 19 - A song of praise
Day 20 - Field Trips
Day 21 - This Day
Day 22 - A Voice for Justice
Day 23 - Eyes of Wonder
Day 24 - Family
Day 25 - Rest
Day 26 - Migraine
Day 27 - Choices
Day 28 - Let ALL things praise the Lord!
Day 29 - Adjustment
Day 30 - Day 30 & 31
Day 31 - Day 31 &31



Saturday, September 28, 2013

True

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Philippians 4:8

 What is true?

His Word
 Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Proverbs 30:5
His Love 

but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Romans 5:8
 
 I am worthy because He has created me
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16
But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 12:7

I don't have to worry about the future for He has the master plan

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Jeremiah 29:11
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:31-34
The truth is that God has me in the palm of His hand and in this truth I am in awe of His goodness, His grace......His mercy. He loves me even in my brokenness and imperfections. I am His and therefore I will rejoice.

Five Minute Friday
Linking up with Lisa-Jo and many talented Five Minute Friday writers. This week's word: TRUE


Friday, September 20, 2013

Evah

She was eleven when, while lying in bed, she heard the gunfire and screaming the screaming which filled the quiet in her village. 
"Scary, shadowy figures violently stormed into her family’s hut”. (Awake, pg.35)

She watched the soldiers of the LRA murder her father and beat her mother before they turned their fury on her and ripped her from the family that she loved.

She was forced to carry weapons.

She was twelve when she became pregnant, a pregnancy which was a result of being raped by the soldiers.

She gave birth to a child only to see that child murdered by the hands of her oppressors.

She was alone. She lived in fear.

She was only a child. 

Her name is Evah. 

She escaped from her oppressors captivity but will she ever be able to escape the nightmare of her memories?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This story is just one of many that Noel Brewer Yeatts shares in her book, Awake. Stories of children suffering from oppression, poverty, and disease. Stories which break my heart. 

The rebel soldiers of LRA(Lord's Resistance Army) are led by warlord, Joseph Kony. Yeatts shares this statistic regarding the LRA in Uganda, 
"Since 1986, more than 40,000 children ages seven to seventeen have been abducted to be used as child soldiers and slaves." 

Human Rights Watch stated in 2012:
At its height, the LRA numbered in the thousands, although the core of well-trained and experienced Acholi fighters may not have been more than a few hundred. Currently the LRA is estimated to have 150 to 300 armed fighters plus hundreds of captive children and adults. Although the number of LRA fighters is small, the LRA has proven capable of carrying out horrific attacks with a relatively small number of fighters. In December 2009, for example, an estimated 30 fighters killed at least 345 civilians and abducted 250 others during a four-day killing rampage in the Makombo area of northern Congo’s Haut Uele district. It was one of the worst massacres in the LRA’s bloody history. 
Although Kony and his LRA may have moved out of Uganda and have shrunk in numbers they have not disappeared. Enough Project stated this year that Sudan has become Kony's "safe haven". 
"Sudan also provided limited material support to the LRA and has failed to fully cooperate with the African Union and the United Nations initiatives to arrest Kony."





Uganda is a country whose children have been scarred by poverty, the violence of a long lasting civil war and AIDS. Millions of children have become orphans due to AIDS. Children have lost parents, family members and friends. 






What can you do to help?


PRAY:

Pray for those who have suffered, those children who have lived the nightmare, would no longer live in fear. 
Pray for the needs of the children - physical, emotional and spiritual.
Pray for God to strengthen those who serve.

GO:
World Help is traveling to Rwanda and Uganda!
GIVE:
Sponsor a Ugandan child through World Help. $35 a month would help provide a child with healthcare, an education....a home. 



Want to read Awake? Download the first two chapters, order your very own signed copy ($10) or download the ebook for $2.99 (Nook and Kindle) here

Want to join an online study of the book? Join here.





Saturday, September 14, 2013

Teaching Compassion and Raising Up World Changers

Often I feel limited in the ways in which I can help meet the needs of children living in extreme poverty. Many times I've had to remind myself that, in this season of my life, I do have the opportunity to not only love and meet the needs of the child in my care but also to teach compassion and raise up world changers.

This week I contemplated and prayed about how I can do more. I spent time clicking through the World Help website. I ordered boxes to fill for Christmas for an Orphan. I ordered a bundle of Gift of Hope catalogs to give to my daycare families and decided that this year, instead of Christmas gifts for me, I would ask for gifts of hope. As I searched the website I found many little things that I could do and I became excited. That excitement led to the realization that doing something small could have the potential of growing into something much bigger.
“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”  ― Mother Teresa

As I browsed through the faces of children needing sponsors I decided that Laurie's Little Sprouts (the name of my home daycare) could sponsor a child.  At first I was overwhelmed with picking one child out of the many children in need but then the ideas flooded in. I added Guatemala to my search since I teach very basic Spanish to the kids and decided that a child that was three years old would be perfect as most the children in my care are that age. I printed up five the pictures of five children to share with my daycare kiddos.

During circle time the next day I introduced my children to each picture, stating the name and age of the child, and added that these children live in places that don't have clean water and often times the dirty water that they drink makes them sick. I told the kids that many families don't live in houses or have food to eat but that we could help. I was amazed at my daycare kids as they were concerned and very eager to help.

Each day since we have prayed for the five children from Guatemala whose pictures are displayed in my dining room. During our lunch time prayers we pray for each child by name that they would have clean water to drink, food to eat and a home to live in. As we learn our colors I tell the children that our friends in Guatemala say rojo for red and the kids look up at our Guatemalan friends and eagerly repeat "ROJO!"

This week the kids and I will choose one out of the five of our new friends from Guatemala to sponsor and I hate that we can only choose one. One of my daycare boys, when I explained that we could only afford to send money to one child, cried out, "NO! We HAVE to send money to ALL OF THEM! I have money at home that I can bring!" Yes, this child knows compassion! This is what I want to teach the children in my care.

How about you? Could you help just one child? Please consider sponsoring a child with World Help.




Saturday, September 7, 2013

Open my eyes that I may see.........

Last Thursday was the the first day of kindergarten in the town in which I live. Although I don't have any of my own children that young, I do have four sweet girls that I've cared for at my daycare. Two of them I've had since they were babies so they are kind of like my own. As I viewed "first day of kindergarten" pictures posted on Facebook I teared up a bit. I reminisced about the past three to five years that I spent with these children and thought about how "my" babies were growing up and moving on to the next stage of their lives. I worried. Will the teacher notice when my quiet, shy little girl is frightened or needs to use the bathroom but is too scared to ask? Did any of "my" girls cry when their mamas left them at school? Are they scared? Are the other children being nice?

I have similar worries for my own children although they are not so small. My son will be fourteen next week and my daughter just turned twenty-three. I worry when they are not with me. Are they making good choices? Are they experiencing peer pressure? Will they stand firm in their convictions? But most my worries center around their safety. Are they in a safe environment?

There are mothers around the world that have deeper fears for their children than these. I can not even fathom those feelings of fears which often, undoubtedly, lead to feelings of hopelessness.

Noel Brewer Yeatts, in her book 'Awake', shares a story of an eleven year old, Ugandan girl, Evah.  Evah watched soldiers of the Lord's Resistance Army murder her father and beat her mother. She was then taken prisoner and forced to work for the army. Can you imagine?

"Evah is just one of the thousands of children abducted by Joseph Kony and his LRA. Since 1986, more than 40,000 children ages seven to seventeen have been abducted to be used as child soldiers and slaves. At the height of the rebel attacks, over 40,000 children, some as young as five years old, left their villages to take refuge in towns for the night and make the trek back home the next morning. Many walked as far as eight miles each way to their dangerous commute. They had no choice but to flee. These boys and girls were not safe in their own beds."


As a mother, as one who cares for children, this is heartbreaking. These children were not even safe in their homes. Can you imagine how Evah's mother worried? Knowing the evils that her daughter would see and experience. Knowing that her daughter would most likely be harmed and even killed. My worries seem so small in comparison. 


So what can we do? 

PRAY. GO. GIVE.


For my own children I pray, I spend time (GO!) with my children and I provide (GIVE!) for my children. I can do the same for the children of Africa. During this season of my life, I am unable to go to Africa but I am able to pray. Although I have little, compared to much of the world I have much so I can give up some luxuries in order to give. I can't just wipe away my tears after hearing such stories and continue on with my life of laundry folding, meal making and home school lessons. Every tiny bit that I do is better than doing nothing at all.

If you want to join World Help to make a difference in Africa.....in whatever capacity in which you are able please visit here

To order a copy of Awake go here or enter the give away below for a chance to win!




Friday, September 6, 2013

Well Planned Day

Inline image 2
I'm always trying new things as I search for what works best for us as we school at home. This year, instead of buying a "Well Planned Day" planner which I've used for the past two years, I decided to try an online planner. Online calenders just don't work for me. I miss the mornings of opening up my planner with pencil in hand and plotting out the day/week/month. This week I realized that I need a planner I can hold, write in and carry from room to room with me. Thankfully the online planner that I was using was not purchased yet as my trial period ends today and another big "Thank you, Lord!" as my favorite planner is now on sale!

Looking for a planner? I love this one as it gives me space to plot out my son's school day, budget planning, meal planning, month-at-a-glance feature and week-at-a-glance. It also has space for recording grades, goals, and materials/curriculum used.

I can't wait to get mine! Sale ends tomorrow (9/7)