Friday, January 29, 2010

Compassion makes a Difference.

If you are going to be at Hearts at Home's National Conference this March, you are in for a treat. It is going to be a great conference on so many levels.

There is one speaker I am especially excited about. Her name is Michelle Tolentino and she was once a sponsored child. Her testimony is moving, inspirational, and one more reminder that by choosing to sponsor a child with Compassion International, you can partner with God to directly impact a life.

If you aren't going to be at Hearts at Home this year, good news, you can still hear Michelle's testimony on the video below!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday - The Disney Addition

We had the opportunity to go to Disney World earlier this month. My pictures are less than stellar, but we had a GREAT time! So, at the risk of writing too many words, here are a few "wordless Wednesday" pics from our trip...

One of these kids (for lack of a better word) is not like the other...

Ooh the Hair!

Can't you tell, we LOVE Disney World!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Giving Thanks for Hearts at Home

When I attended my first Hearts at Home conference, I never dreamed it would change my life. I thought maybe I would learn something that might help me be a better mom. I even thought I might leave encouraged. And if neither of those things happened, I felt pretty sure that I would have a fun "girlfriend" day with my sister and friends.

The conference met all my expectations, and gave me a small headache to boot (information overload!). It also made me want to come back. Seven years and 3 kids later, I haven't missed one.

Looking back over the years, who I was then and who I am now, Hearts at Home has made an impression. The speakers I listened to and the books I was introduced to have made their mark on me, changing me little by little. Making me a better mom and a better wife.

I have learned practical tidbits like praying over laundry and what colors look best on me. I have been reminded to let God write my story and been warned against comparison. I have taken to heart the reminder that God gave me the kids I have for a reason, he wanted me to be their mom.

These lessons may not seem profound. More of them should probably stand out after seven years of attending. But even if I could not share one lesson after all these years, I can tell you that at the end of every conference, I left feeling affirmed as a woman, loved by God, and motivated, even empowered to be a better mom.

So today, I am giving thanks for an organization called Hearts at Home that God has used powerfully in my life. I'm attempting to unwrap some of the lessons learned, and looking forward to attending again this March and for many years to come!

If you are interested in learning more, their national conference is March 12 and 13th. You can go here to find out more!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Ramblings on Haiti

"When I grow up, maybe I can take a helicopter and bring food and water to Haiti."

I love it when words like this come from my daughter's mouth.

Her first grade class is working to raise money for Haiti. I am so thankful for a teacher that sees the importance in cultivating a heart of compassion and an awareness of needs in our world. She has been asking for jobs, wanting to help.

Her willingness to help has been a reminder to me to keep praying.

I read that they are estimating 200,000 dead.

It is a number I can't fathom.

There is a part of me that can't help ask why God? I obviously don't know the answer.

But even deeper I wonder, how do you get through something like this without God?

So I continue to pray for the people of Haiti, that God's presence would be palpable and many would believe and be saved.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

A Contest You can Win!

I am excited to share a fun opportunity with you!

To celebrate the release of Hearts at Home’s newest book: Living With Less So Your Family Has More, by Jill and Mark Savage, the Hearts at Home blog is launching the Living with Less Contest.

Email Hearts at Home a story or money-saving tip that gives a peek into your daily experiences representing the humor, richness, or spiritual aspects of what it’s like to live with less.

Better yet, blog readers will benefit as many of the money-saving entries will be posted on the Heart’s blog throughout the month of February!

For contest details go here!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Meeting Yesenia - the movie

Many of you know, I had the opportunity to travel to El Salvador two years ago with Compassion International and Hearts at Home. On that trip I met Yesenia, a girl we have sponsored for over 10 years.

Even now, two years later I still can't believe I went.

If you'd like to read what I blogged about in El Salvador, you can go here.

Or, you can watch my Compassion video below!

Either way, if you don't already sponsor a child, please consider doing so today. If you already sponsor a child, write your child today. Your words have an amazing impact. That child is more than a picture, he or she is a living, breathing person struggling to overcome insurmountable odds and your words can and do make a difference.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A Lesson from American Idol

American Idol is on again (My name is Megs and I watch American Idol.)

I will never understand the people who sound more annoying than the word mom repeated 235 times who actually think they can sing. I'm sure part of it is trying to grab a little bit of fame, but some of them seem genuinely surprised when the judges tell them their voices are terrible. They sob into their support group and rally against the judges, after all their mom told them they sing beautifully.

If Simon Cowell ever tells my kids they can't sing, I will take it personally. Here is why: It means I have let my children believe something about themselves that isn't true. If I can not be honest with my kids about the quality of their talents, or lack there of, then I have failed them at some level as a mom.

Don't get me wrong, I believe it is important to encourage my kids, especially in the areas they are gifted, but to tell my child she sings beautifully (when she doesn't and I don't want to hurt her feelings) or that he played a great game of baseball (when he struck out every time and I want him to feel better about himself) is a lie. I am only setting them up for failure and potential embarrassment down the road.

Instead, I hope God grants me the wisdom to guide them towards the areas he has gifted them in and push them towards their strengths.

Susie Larson pens a prayer in her upcoming book Growing Grateful Kids (due to be released March 1!), that resonates with me. I have taken it as my own and pray it over my kids.

It goes like this:

Give us a vision for our children's life so we can cooperate with You in its fulfillment. Give our children a heart for their call at a young age so they will make choices that line up with that call.
That is my prayer, and this has been my tirade. :)

Please keep me accountable, so that the only way my child ends up on American Idol, is because she actually has talent!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Look Out, Here Comes the Ice Cream Truck!


Is this what 92 will feel like?

My legs throb as I slowly make my way around the house, especially when I go up and down stairs. My arms ache, picking things up off the floor is hard. Waving is hard. My body feels like its been hit by an ice cream truck.

But in an odd way, I am thankful for the hurt because its presence means my body is growing stronger. I did inflict it on myself when I made the decision to exercise yesterday...

But it is still pain.

I like to be comfortable. I think most people desire it at some level. But making comfort the goal can be a dangerous thing.

When I remain comfortable, I don't grow. But it is so hard to get out of my comfort zone and pursue hard things.

It is a constant battle. I go back and forth in my mind weighing the pros and cons. Sometimes comfort wins, sometimes it doesn't. The examples vary from day to day. It can be making the choice to exercise, or making a meal for someone instead of taking advantage of a little down time.

It could be making the decision to talk out a hard subject with a spouse when it sounds so much easier to ignore the problem, or giving a gift that is not "in the budget" to help someone in need.

How do you push out of your comfort zone and do the hard things the bring depth to life?

Self-discipline is important, but I think the key is when grace shows up to give the extra push. Because without supernatural help, I don't think many of us would get very far.

I am learning that important things usually result in some level of pain and discomfort and hard work.

They also result in joy and purpose and a meaningful life.

And these are things worth fighting for, even when the end result feels like waking up in the middle of the road as the ice cream truck drives away.

How about you? What helps you push out of your comfort zone?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Moments of Mommyhood

"You are dumb"

"I don't want you to talk to me"

tears, giggles, sounds of happy play, tears again

"both of us are dumb"

yelling, return to happy play.

All taking place in the span of a minute.

The cycles of childhood play and sibling rivalries are a thing of wonder...

and frustration.

They are the moments of mommyhood.

Moments rarely remembered on their own. Only a handful, out of millions stand out.

To live in the moment, NOW, is the only way to take advantage of them.
For they all too quickly fade away leaving a general feeling of what was.

Take advantage of your moments today for nothing can stop their passing and you never know how many you have.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Make a Difference - PRAY!

The needs are overwhelming. They are everywhere. They are hard to understand.

The names of thousands of families fill up adoption waiting lists, while millions of children wait for families.

An earthquake shatters an already poverty-stricken country. Killing thousands. Taking away material possessions from those who had so little to begin with.

What can we do?

We can adopt. We can give. We can raise awareness.

AND, we can pray.

Sometimes, prayer feels like a cop out to me. A way to act like I'm doing something, so I don't have to do something more. I know that is not true, but sometimes it feels like that.

This week I was reminded of the importance of prayer. A friend shared the following story:
As a girl, her family had the opportunity to adopt two girls through the foster system. They invited the girls into their family for a weekend, but in the end did not feel called to adopt. Others questioned the decision. They second-guessed themselves and felt guilty. And they prayed for the girls.

Well over 10 years later, my friend happened to be at a dinner where one of the two girls they had almost adopted shared her story. The girl paid tribute to the residential care facility where she and her sister had received some much needed help. She also paid tribute to the couple who eventually took them into their home and invested in their lives.

I like to think part of their success story is because of the prayers of my friend and her family. Maybe God wanted my friend to pray so she could share in the story of those girls, a chance for her to participate in God's work. I don't know. I don't understand prayer, but God's word says it is important. So I need to pray and trust that God will use that offering to change the world.

That doesn't excuse me from doing more, but it should be what I do before... and during... and after.

With that said, I want to encourage you to continue to pray for those in Haiti. I want to encourage you to continue to pray for the millions of orphans who are waiting for a family (if you google "waiting children" you can find thousands of individual children to pray for by name!).

And if you want to do more while you pray for those affected by the Haiti earthquake, consider donating to Compassion International.

The needs are overwhelming. But we can make a difference.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Better Story

I love a good story whether it takes the form of a book or movie. There is nothing like getting caught up in a page-turning plot.

Over the last few months I have been thinking a lot about the power of story, with a slight twist. I have been wondering what kind of story my life tells.

This thought process can be attributed to Donald Miller. He wrote a book called A Million Miles in a Thousand Years. In that book he talks about living a good story. (To get a feel for what I'm talking about, check out Donald's blog here and here.)

Here's the thing about me. I don't like taking risks and I can be lazy. This tends to create very boring stories. Sometimes opportunities crop up that force me out of my comfort zone into a good story. We are in the process of adopting which adds plot to my story, but many times, especially in the every day times, I let opportunities slip by.

I spend my time reading good stories, or thinking about the kind of stories my life could tell instead of actually living a good story.

The other night Mya had an opportunity to go to a skating party at 9:00 at night. My first instinct was, its too late and its too cold. I want to stay home. But then I started thinking about living a good story and I forced myself to go. We had a great time and I almost missed it.

Bottom line, I want to live a better story in spite of my self.

Will you join me?