Thursday, January 28, 2010

Making Room for 1 More

No, I'm not pregnant!! :)

This week we invited a young man to come live with us who has been living out of his car.  His car got stolen the other day, and it had everything he owned inside.  We have known him for about 5 years; he used to be in our youth group, but we hadn't seen him in a few years.  During the last year, however, he began showing up at church again on Sunday mornings.  He would come in carrying his skateboard and his backpack, and sit right in the front row.  I was excited to see him again.  Little did I know that he would soon become a new resident in our home.

Without going too much into his story, I would like to ask you to pray for him.  He has had a rough life, and is trying to get on the right track.  He is going to stay here for one month, and during that time we are going to try to help him find a job and a place to live.  For now, he is sleeping on our hide-a-mat in our office.  The first night he was here, I apologized that he would be in cramped quarters but told him I hoped it would be a warm bed.  He replied, "do you know how long it has been since I've slept in a bed?  AND with a cat?  I love cats!"  :)

We are enjoying having him around.  Martin drops him off in the morning to look for work, and picks him up to bring him home in the late afternoon.  Our church is helping us meet his physical needs, but if you could please pray for him, it would be much appreciated.  His major needs are for a full-time job (he is looking for anything), a place to stay (with very low rent), and transportation.  Please also pray that we would show him Christ's love in a real, tangible, life-changing way.  We see a very bright future ahead for him.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Last Week of January's "Giving Project"!

If you read my post here about The Giving Project, I just wanted to remind everyone that we have a few days left in January to complete this month's goal: to give away food.  I'm curious to know if anyone has done it, and what ways you came up with to give food to someone in need. Did you cook a meal for someone?  Did you bake someone cookies?  Did you buy someone groceries?  Leave a comment - not to toot your own horn, but to give us all some ideas!

This month we invited a few different people over to share a meal with us.  I love that this is a way to bless someone with food while also getting to know them better.  Tonight we are going to a fundraiser for Haiti at a restaurant, where 100% of the proceeds are going to Child Hope International.  I thought this was a perfect fit for this month's challenge! :)  (Our donation will help give food and supplies to orphans in Haiti).

This morning I was listening to a "book on tape" (sorry - I cannot think of the more modern term for this - is it a podcast?  Anyway....) of Francis Chan's book Crazy Love.  He writes, "I believe [God] wants us to love others so much that we go to extremes to help them.  I believe He wants us to be known for giving- of our time, our money, and our abilities- and to start a movement of 'giving' churches. In so doing, we can alleviate the suffering in the world and change the reputation of His bride in America." (p. 19).   I so agree with this statement.  Let's continue to give.  Look forward to February's Giving Challenge too - coming up soon!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

And The Winner Is....


Congratulations, you were the winning entry of the Olea Essence Giveaway!  (Thanks to for their random number generator.  In total there were 12 entries which included comments, tweets and Facebook entries.  Lynn's comment was the winning entry!)

Thanks to all of you who entered, tweeted and Facebooked this contest. Don't worry, there will be more contests in the future!   Thanks!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Obsessed with Haiti

I can't stop thinking about Haiti.  I can't figure out why.  I have seen a lot of other tragedies on the news before: 9/11, the tsunami a few years ago, earthquakes in other places, yet nothing has gripped me like this. Somehow, through someone on either Facebook or Twitter, I found these two orphanages who are connected to each other through the same organization.  I found out that many friends of mine from MOPS actually know these people personally.  I do not know them personally.  Yet in the last 10 days, I have followed their blogs and tweets so closely I feel like I know them.  Both of these orphanages have been turned into triage centers, taking in any wounded who stumble upon them.  Medical personnel, as well as major news networks, are showing up at their doorstep to help. Anderson Cooper was at one of them today. Diane Sawyer was there a few days ago. I don't have cable, but I've been looking up the news features online.  They are performing amputations, c-sections, delivering babies, taking in new orphans, and working non-stop around the clock.  One of the orphanages had to move every person out because they were attacked by 20 men with guns the other night who wanted all of their food and supplies.

(Here is one of the blogs:
and the other:
By the way, these 2 orphanages are small and in desperate need of funds and of prayer.  The big organizations are getting most of the donations, but if you are looking for a direct way to help Haiti, Child Hope International is a great way to give).

But back to the question - why can't I stop thinking about these people?  I think I partly know why.  A very long time ago, God gave me a major burden for orphans.  I went and worked at Royal Family Kid's Camp one summer during college, and was a counselor for 2 girls who had been put through the foster care system. One of them held my hand the whole time (she was about 11 years old) and kept telling me she wanted me to be her mom, and that I looked like her mom.  I had such a hard time leaving her and sending her back to her group home.  The burden has always stayed with me, but been in the background of my heart.

Since becoming a mom, though, this burden has resurfaced.  I keep seeing these  pictures of orphans in Haiti, and I almost can't handle it.  I have never been on a missions trip, but I have a feeling that if I did go to an orphanage in another country, it might be too much for me to bear.

Tonight I came across a blog (a friend of a friend), and there was a prayer on there.  An adoption prayer.  She said "I double-dog dare you to pray this."  Woah.  A double-dog dare?!  I couldn't resist looking. And then I couldn't resist praying the prayer.

I don't know what will happen in our future.   My body is done having kids.  But my heart is not done, because I keep being drawn to the orphans.  Please pray for us, as we wait on God.  We wait for his timing, but His burden just keeps getting stronger and stronger and stronger.  Maybe that's why Haiti is so heavy on my heart.

Friday, January 22, 2010

People Who "Get It"

Today we had lunch with some friends who just totally "get it."  I hope you also have these people in your lives.  The people who "get it" are those in your life who totally understand what you are going through.  They have been there, walked that road (or are currently going through it), don't judge you for what you are feeling, and just understand.  They listen, they laugh with you, they cry with you.

When I was a new mom, I needed to talk to someone else who had recently been a new mom because I just knew she would "get it."  (If she had older kids, she might not get it as easily as before- I have found that I don't "get it" as easily as I used to!).

When I had my 2nd child, and had 2 kids under 2 years old, I needed to find mothers who had also been traumatized by that experience :)  Mothers who just "got it": got the having 2 kids in diapers, who simultaneously poop and throw up on you, enduring quick Target runs while the other mothers (with only 1 kid) stared at you with contempt because your kids were the ones screaming.  I think once you have 2 kids, it separates you a little bit from the ones with 1 kid, because you have to go find new people who "get it."  People with 1 kid just don't get the people with 2 kids, and the people with 2 kids no longer remember what it is always like to just have 1 (we don't always empathize as easily after having more than 1).  It's not bad at all; it is just how life turns out!

If you have more than 2 kids, you have to go find new people who "get it," because I hear it is a totally different experience having 3 kids than 2!  In other words, we will always need new people in our lives who "get it."

Today we met with another couple in ministry.  It is great to meet with others in full time ministry, because man, did they "get it."  There are a lot of pressures and decisions that people in ministry face, that other people try to understand but you just can't unless you've actually walked that road.  And when you do walk that road, you have so much more compassion for others walking the road.  The other day I read a disparaging quote about senior pastors, written by someone who has never been in full time ministry.  It angered me, because, well, it was written by someone who does not "get it." We are so hard on other people when we have not walked in their shoes.

It is also nice to have people in your life who "get it" about other areas as well: being married (as long as you have),  not having family close by, struggling to make ends meet, etc.. Or maybe you need to get together with someone who "gets it" about adopting a child (because you have), or working while raising a child, or homeschooling, or having a child with an illness, or having a miscarriage, or being married to someone of a different faith, or being single with no children.  Whatever your situation is, it is so important to seek out and find people who "get" whatever situation your in.  It is a breath of fresh air.

Do you have a friend who "gets it"?  Or do you need a friend who "gets it"?  That's what I love about the blogging community; you can easily find others who "get it", whatever your situation in life is.  I hope you find a friend like that today.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Olea Essence Review and Giveaway!

I received a surprise package in the mail a few weeks ago with some fun treats in it to try out and review: Olea Essence products!!  Olea Essence is a natural skin care product line that is olive oil based, and has no perfumes, preservatives, artificial colors and does not test on animals.  The olive oil that is used in their products is imported directly from an olive oil mill in Israel.

Let me rave for a few minutes about why I love these products:

The Olive Oil Soap Scrub - this soap scrub has THE best smell of any soap scrub I have ever used.  Immediately when I opened it, I felt like I was using a product that would be found at a lush, expensive spa.  It smells a bit like lemon verbena, which is one of my favorite scents.    This soap scrub has gentle exfoliaters (from the olives) and leaves your skin soft and smelling amazing.  It is a 3-in-1 wash, scrub, and toner, so you can use it as a face wash too!

Body Milk - a lotion that also smells amazing; a cross between lemon, lavender, grapefruit and olive extracts. I have very dry skin right now due to the winter air and this left my skin feeling soft again.

Solid Hand Cream - This is great for my dry and cracked hands right now.  I put this on before I go to bed, and wake up with soft and healed hands again.

Face Cream- This reduces fine lines!  I felt like this product had a bit too much oil for my liking, but would be perfect for someone with dry skin.  However, the product says that it balances oily and dry skin, so you might love this product!

Lip Balm- The lip balm has become one of my favorite things to put on every day. It is soft, and not waxy feeling, but rather feels like you are putting silk on your lips.  Makes them beautiful and soft again!

Rehabilitation Skin Cream- I admit that I have not used this product yet, but it is for all types of skin conditions, including acne, burns, redness, dry & cracked heels (which I will be using it for), eye puffiness, eczema, sunburn, etc... It can be used even by babies and expectant mothers.

Foot Cream - I have been slathering this on my heels for a few nights now before bed and really can tell a difference.  My heels were cracked and are soft and smooth now.

Diaper Change Cream- My boys are not in diapers anymore, but last week I had a cold and had developed a very tender, red and sore area under my nose from blowing it so much.  I put this on before going to bed, and when I woke up, it was completely healed!  I would trust this product and feel very confident putting it on a baby's bottom (or wherever else you  might need it)!  :)

You can purchase these items (and many more from their line) and many Whole Foods stores in the L.A. area, or visit Olea Essence's website.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Heavy Heart

It is easier not to look.  The past 4 days I have tried to avoid the news, relying on tweets and facebook posts and quick visits to online news sources during the day.  But tonight I decided to look.  I wanted to see the faces behind the devastation.   I wanted to open my eyes to the truth of what is happening in the world. But it's easier not to look.  Because if you look, you might see these:

A Spanish rescuer carries two-year-old Redjeson Hausteen after he was rescued from a home that collapsed during Tuesday's earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010.
 (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

An boy injured by an earthquake has stitches sewn into his head at a makeshift clinic run by missionaries at a school in Port-au-Prince, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake struck Haiti Tuesday.
 (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Cindy Terasme screams after seeing the feet of her dead 14-year-old brother Jean Gaelle Dersmorne in the rubble of the collapsed St. Gerard School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010. A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Haiti Tuesday.
 (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

And these are the "good" pictures; the pictures of the survivors.  As a mother, I cannot help but cry when I see these photos and think "who will hold this boy at night?  who will comfort him when he's scared?  will he have food and water to drink?  where will he go now?"  And my heart just wants to fly there right now, scoop him up and take him home with me.  I sit in my cozy house, with my boys tucked into bed, and I feel frustrated.  Everyone is asking for money, and I can give a little, but I want to do more.  Yet the blogs that I'm reading from people on the front line say that they don't want people to come; that means more people to feed and house. They only want those to come who speak the language and can offer real medical help.  They keep asking for money and for prayer.  Well, prayer is something I can do.  But why do I feel like it's not enough?  Why am I still frustrated?  I guess maybe it shows a lack of faith on my part; "will it really make a difference?"  

But tonight, I was reminded that YES - it DOES make a difference.  We, as moms, have so much power right now, sitting in our cozy homes with our babes snuggled in bed.  WE can pray.  Today I was reading about missionaries who own an orphanage in Port Au Prince, and people are continually being brought to them who need medical help.  At 10:50am, the owner blogged

Update from Bill Manassero 10:50AM 1/14/2010
diesel is limited and we are rationing everything. many missionaries are leaving because food and water are scarce. we're sticking to it as long as we can.
We had to close the clinic today because we are out of med supplies. We are praying some arrive -- by the grace of God
We still have a lot of patients and some that could die. Please pray!

But read his blog at 6:50pm:

We closed the clinic and said we were unable to help any new people.  Someone told me the CNN wanted an interview.  We thought if we could get the word out, maybe one of the relief organizations here might hear about our dilemma and find a way to get us supplies.  i waited on hold for about 30-45minutes with CNN and they ended up postponing the interview.  By the time i made it back to the clinic our doors were open and they were receiving new patients.  When i asked what happened, they said an SUV full of Haitian doctors and nurses arrived with supplies.  i guess God wants us to stay open -- at least for another day or two (which is how long the supplies may last).  Praise God!!! 

THAT, mommy-bloggers, is the power of prayer.  Let us pray for the missionaries, who are tired, weary and in need of rest. Let us pray for strength for them: emotionally, physically, spiritually.  Let us pray for the wounded, that they, too, would rest and find relief from their pain.  Let us pray for supplies to get there quickly, and to the right places.  Let us pray that the people would find food and water.  Let's begin with that. 

You can also follow the blog that I linked to above, as well as the blog I've linked to on the right sidebar.   This is another family living in Port Au Prince, who have 7 children on the mission field, and ALL survived and are okay.  Amazing.  That, again, is the power of prayer.  I found out about both of these blogs because they are affiliated with a church in our city (where I go to MOPS).  These two blogs keep asking us over and over for prayer.  And that is something we CAN do.  

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


It is 12:04am.  I cannot sleep.  I was nestled in my bed, loving my warm and cozy flannel sheets, but just had to get up and blog about something God has been laying on my heart lately (plus, I had coffee ice cream at about 10pm so don't think I'll be sleeping anytime soon).

Anyway, God has been speaking to me recently about the issue of clarity.  Our pastor has been preaching on this subject the last few weeks.  He has reminded us that we need to have clarity to hear God, and know what He is calling us to do.  However, we cannot often have clarity if we're doing too many things at once.  The word hits my mind all day long.  Then tonight, in my bed, I was thinking about how this is the one time of day that I actually have clarity.  In bed at night is when I do my best thinking, because I'm only doing one thing: Resting.  Then, get this - I sat down at my computer to write this post, and my computer was freezing up because I had too many programs open.  Again, God whispered "this is what your life is like when you are doing too many things!"  I need clarity.

Sometimes I think I'm a little addicted to multi-tasking.  I love getting things done, especially at the same time.  I can multi-task when I'm cooking, having a phone conversation, sitting in church (did you know people Tweet in church?), driving (yes, I have been known to put on my makeup at the stop lights), and even when I'm in the bathroom (hey, that's when some of my best -and only- reading gets done!).   Yet it really annoys me when I'm with other people and they are multi-tasking.   Especially if I'm with them and they're using their cell phone a lot.  Annoying.  (Yet I fully know that I am guilty of that too).  Anyway, I digress.  My point is that doing a lot of things at once is not always good.  In fact, it can become bad.  It can become a habit, or worse yet, a way of life.  And pretty soon, we're so good at multi-tasking, that we cannot do one thing well anymore.  We can't have a good, focused phone conversation, because we are making dinner at the same time.  We can't have a good, in person conversation, because we're so busy checking our phones for text messages.  We can't really listen to someone, because we are multi-tasking in our heads.  Sure, we can get by, but it is not good.  It is not giving any one thing our full attention. (sorry, I really like using the italics button right now).

So, back to what God has been teaching me lately.  He has been gently reminding me to slow down.  To have clarity.  To do one thing at a time.  And let me tell you, it is hard!  I have been trying to play with my boys every day - have focused play - where I am not running back inside to check my phone, where I am not planning dinner or cleaning the kitchen.  Today we went to the park for an hour and it was actually refreshing to just focus on playing with them, and nothing else!

As I look forward to 2010, I want it to be a year of clarity for me.  I want to know what God has called me to do, and to do it well. That really comes down to two things: first and foremost, being a wife & a mother. Everything else is secondary.  That is my mission.  I don't need to feel guilty if I choose to say "no" to something that might take my attention away from my husband and my children.  That may even mean saying "no" to good (even great) opportunities.  That may mean turning our phones off during dinner.  It may mean turning my cell phone off during the day when I'm with my boys.  It may mean only getting online once or twice a day, verses 10 "really quick" times during the day (does that sound like a lot?  Because "really quick" internet checks can add up! :)

When we have clarity; when we focus on one thing at a time, I think we experience life much fuller.  We are able to have the discipline of slowing down, and it is a discipline.  And our children will remember us in 10 years as "mom" versus "busy, scatter-brained, always checking her email and phone mom."

Just one woman's thoughts.  Reminds me of a post I did awhile back where I said something like "Since when did multi-tasking become a virtue?"  Sometimes God has to speak to me for awhile about something before I really get it, so this probably won't be the last on this topic.  So, what are your thoughts on this?  How do you have clarity?  How will you have more clarity in 2010?

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Becoming a Lactation Counselor

"What is THIS?" you might be asking yourself?! It is a boob.  A fake book.  Sorry if it's offensive to anybody, but I thought it was too funny not to share.  I was so excited to get this the other day, because now I have a boob model to use for my Lactation Counseling sessions. Woo-Hoo!! I don't have to grab myself anymore!!

I have met many mothers who have considered becoming Lactation Consultants.  I, too, looked into this after nursing two babies, because I endured so many difficulties that I wanted to help other mothers.  However, the amount of time and hours it takes to become a Lactation Consultant is overwhelming.  Especially for a mom of young children.  The next best thing is to become a Lactation Counselor (CLEC - Certified Lactation Educator-Counselor).  A Lactation Counselor (also called a Lactation Educator) can teach classes and help mothers with breastfeeding, but agrees to refer harder cases to a Lactation Consultant.  While a Consultant can get paid for going into homes and working in hospitals, Lactation Counselors are often paid to teach classes.  All of the work I do with mothers on an individual basis is free, although some counselors charge for their services.

A Pregnancy Help Center in my area asked me if I would be interested in going through this program, since they had been given a grant to sponsor 3 people who wanted to be educated in this area.  The State of California seems to be really pro-breastfeeding right now and is giving grants away to non-profits for this purpose.  They sponsored me to go through the Lactation Counselor program at The University of California, San Diego.  I was able to take the classes online, from the comfort of my home, and do my internship at a hospital close to my house.  The cost is $695 plus the cost of books.

What does it take to be a Lactation Counselor?  One long and tedious class with a LOT of homework, tests, and internship hours.  But after about 4-5 months, you are done!  You get a nice little certificate in the mail and a little broccoli pin to wear on your lapel (we use broccoli to demonstrate the milk ducts and how the breast works).

Now that I am an official CLEC, I volunteer to teach classes at our local Pregnancy Help Center.  We deal with all types of women, from pregnant teenagers to women who have already had children.  I also work with women in their homes, or they can come to my home to be observed and get help.  I'm always ready to refer to a Certified Lactation Consultant when necessary and have information readily available.    This field is very rewarding, especially when you see someone about to give up on breastfeeding get help, and then choose to continue breastfeeding!

I highly recommend this program and encourage anyone with an interest in Lactation Counseling to do this particular program online. The instructor is hilarious and will have you laughing so hard you're crying, right in your own home. She is great.  If you have any questions, just let me know!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Goals and Dreams

Are you a "New Year's Resolution Maker"?  It seems like there are people who make resolutions every year, and people who say they never make resolutions.  It depends on the year for me.  This year, I am newly inspired to create goals, mainly because of this website I found a few months ago called Simple Mom.  Seriously, this website is amazing.  I told the author of it that I really think this is my favorite website EVER.  Tsh thinks like me (meaning, she is easy to understand because I seem to need that right now), she loves making lists, and she helps me to be more organized and a better mom!  Anyway, she has these downloadable questions to help you set goals for 2010.  One is called "20 Questions for New Year's Eve Reflection," and the other is "Goal Setting Questions for 2010."  This last one is kicking my butt because it's 7 pages long, but SO good!!  

Through completing these questionnaires, I have discovered that I have a L.O.T. of goals for this year.  Here are some of them:

-Exercise 4x a week
-Spend a minimum of 30 minutes 4x a week playing outside with the boys (this is so hard for me!!  I know- lame mom!!) :)
-Learn how to be a more effective home & time manager
-Read 5 books
-Read the Bible to the boys each night before bed (4-5 times a week)
-Teach them to memorize 1 verse of Scripture each month
-Have a more consistent time with God each day
-Pay off 2 credit cards
-Stay debt free through 2010 after paying those off
-Increase savings
-Spend less time on the computer (ha! no, seriously)
-Clean more (this would probably happen more if I was off the computer more often!)
-Have more family fun time

Oh, that doesn't seem like enough?  Trust me, I have about 15 more goals in my head; things that have to do with eating out less, getting Jaden off of the binky, stay on top of the laundry, etc... 

Normally I would feel like I am just shooting myself in the foot by making so many goals.  But I do think that it is good to have things to be working toward in life.  When I look at this overwhelming list, I have to ask myself, "What would be my very top goal?"  It always seems to come back to the most important thing:  my spiritual life.  Time with God.  Teaching our boys about God.  Secondly, it comes down to health: exercise regularly.  

And the truth is, these two top goals would happen if I were simply a more effective time manager.  That includes spending less time on the computer (the time that I waste, not the time that I blog, obviously) :)

Today I read a quote from Dave Ramsey who said that "On average, New Year's Resolutions end around 2/14"  (Check out his site - he's pretty cute for an old guy!) :)   I think we'd do ourselves a favor by keeping things simple.  As in, I don't have to accomplish all the things above, but I can work on what I consider to be my TOP goal every day.  Then work on the 2nd, 3rd, and so forth.  At least I'll know I completed one of them!   

So, what are your goals?  Are you a "New Year's Resolution Maker"?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Becoming a Giver

In life, there are people who are givers, and people who are takers.  I bet if you think of anyone in your life, you can easily determine if they are a giver or a taker.  Do you feel blessed by them, encouraged by them, happy around them, look forward to seeing them?  Or do you feel drained, discouraged, upset or have a knot in your stomach when you know you're about to talk to them or see them?  Chances are, if you feel the second way, that person in your life is a taker.  They take from you - emotional energy, your time, your money.

What type of person do you want to be?  What type of person do you think you are?  Do you look for ways to give to others, or do you look for ways to get OUT of giving to others?

I want to be a giver.  I may not have a lot, but what I do have, I want to use to bless others and encourage them.  I know that when we give, especially out of our lack, God blesses us abundantly.

This morning I woke up and looked in the fridge, and realized I had nothing for my boys to eat for breakfast.  Literally.  Nothing for breakfast.  I could have cooked up some spaghetti for them, but I wanted some breakfast food.  Eggs = out.  Cereal = out. Oatmeal = out. Pancakes = out of ingredients. Bread = out.  I opened the fridge 3 times to look again and actually prayed for ideas.  Nothing.  So, I ran out to Trader Joe's and bought $80 worth of food for this week and came home.  My boys feasted on blueberry waffles, cereal, orange juice, and some yummy cranberry orange bread.  I stopped for a minute and thought "Thank you, Lord, that I can go out and buy food when my family needs it.  I can buy more than what we need at the moment.  Thank you for that blessing."

Last week I ran to Kmart for toilet paper, and a lady walked into the parking lot from the neighborhood across the street.  It is a nice neighborhood. But she was dressed in her pajamas and slippers, had sloppy red lipstick on her face, and didn't look very "put together" for the store.  She approached me: "Ma'am, can I please borrow $2 to buy orange juice for my kids?"  I honestly did not have any cash on me and said I was sorry.  (I did start wondering why she would want to buy orange juice of all things if she didn't have any money or food, but anyway....)

So, back to today.  I started thinking about how there are people ALL around me that do not have money right now. They don't have enough food for breakfast.  Some of these people are good friends, who are too embarrassed to admit their situation.  They don't want to ask for help.  But when we pray that God will show us the needs around us, He will.  In the past year I have discovered that many people in my life could barely put food on their tables.  Some were eating bean burritos for lunch and dinner because that's all they could afford.  Some had their electricity turned off.  Some had their cars repossessed.  Some had to start visiting food banks.  These are friends, not strangers.  Friends with families just like mine.

Today I began to ask God how I could help.  I believe God wants us all to be givers, and that means different things for different people.  One of the things I am going to do with my blog in 2010 is start challenging us to give one thing a month.  During the first week of every month, check back here for a new idea of how you can give.  For some people, God may want you to give BIG.  For others, God will want you to do what you can.

This month, I would like to challenge myself and everyone out there to give food.  Pray about what this will mean for you personally.  In the month of January, pray that God will show you one person or family to give food to.  God may not even choose to show you someone in dire need of food.  It may just be a family he lays on your heart that you think is doing great financially, but He wants to bless them through you.  Be obedient to who He would lay on your heart, even if you don't think or know they are in need.  You just never know.

Here are some ideas:

- Take someone a meal.  Anyone!  You can even take a bag lunch to a homeless guy if that's what you feel God wants you to do.  Make a dinner for a neighbor.  Is someone sick from your church or just had a baby?  Arrange with them a night to bring them a meal.  Nothing fancy, just simple.

- Give someone a plate of cookies, or a jar of jam, or a loaf of homemade bread.  This act of service encourages people so much.  They think "someone was thinking of me?" Who does not like to receive something homemade from someone?

- Invite someone over for lunch or dinner.  Give them the gift of hospitality.  You can even invite someone over for tea!  A friend did this for me and I just loved it!

- If you want to give big, buy groceries for someone.  You can even do it anonymously and leave the bags on their porch.  It is humbling to have someone do this for you, but when someone is in need, it feels like God in the flesh has just reached down to answer their prayers.

- Donate food to a food pantry.  Clean out your cupboards.  But don't just give your old, unwanted cans; give food away that will be missing from your pantry. Don't let this be so easy!

There are so many ways you can give food to someone.  But that is the challenge for January 2010.

Don't do this because:
~ You want to feel better about yourself
~ You want to get a blessing from God
~ You feel sorry for someone

Do this because:
~ You want to become a "giver" in life
~ You want to honor God with what He's given you
~ You want to obey His command to take care of the orphans and the widows.
~ Because you want to show God's love.

Will you join me?  Leave a message and let me know.  Better yet, grab the button below and add it to your blog!  (To do this, just go to your "Layout" page in Blogger, click on "Add a Gadget" and choose "HTML/Java Script".  Then paste this code into that box.  You can then drag the box wherever you want this button to show up on your blog).  Thanks for sharing!!