Sunday, November 23, 2008

Baby Fever

I had the chance to go to a baby shower for a friend today. It was a wonderful time of fellowship and such a great reminder of God's goodness. (Nikki and Stephen we love you a ton and will be praying for you as the due date approaches!) Here are a few pictures. I love these girls!!

Amanda, Dana, Jennifer and Alexis (Look at these cute onsies they made!!)

Dana, Nikki, Alexis, Amanda and Jennifer

(Unfortunately all of these pictures were taken after I had left...I was there. I promise! ;-)

So I left the shower with babies on the brain! ;-) Of course. There is nothing new with that and it didn't help that last Sunday our pastor preached on parenting. With seminary quickly coming to a close I've been thinking more about the next phase of our life and what that may look like. It's no surprise that I'm excited for the Lord to bring Jon and I to the point when we can start a family so it has often been a topic of conversation for us. Lately I've brought up the idea of adoption. Due, I think in part, to working in the social service field we both feel called to adopt, even though I'm not sure when we will begin those steps (most likely years down the road) or how it will all work out but my heart is burdened.

As I've pondered adoption and all it would entail I've been thinking a lot about where the Lord will lead us to adopt from. There is a huge need both here and outside of the United States. I'm not sure whether we will adopt domestically or internationally but at the moment my heart is leaning toward an international adoption. One night while I was at work I was overcome with the picture of what could be. The image I kept getting in my head is the picture of a beautiful little daughter from India. We would raise her up and through prayer, teaching and the grace of God she would grow into a strong Christian woman. What if she was not only a strong believer but called by God to go back to India and be a missionary? How beautiful! How exciting!

These thoughts may just be delusions from working nights or maybe they are a glimpse of things to come. Who knows, but the one thing I am certain of is that one day we will adopt. Another thing I know for sure is that I want all of our children to come to know Jesus Christ and for that relationship to radically transform their lives. If that transformation calls them overseas or into any type of full-time ministry than AMEN!! I can only imagine all of the emotions felt when you first set eyes on your child and all the dreams you have for them...but one day I'll know. I can hardly wait.
On a more random note I listened to this sermon tonight and wanted to share it. If you get a chance take some time to hear the burdened heart of this man of God. It's beautiful and moving.

A wonderful sermon by K.P. Yohannan. He is the president and founder of Gospel for Asia.
Christ's Call Follow in My Footsteps:

Before I end this LONG post let me introduce you to a part of our family you may have not met. Her name is Aleena and she is our beautiful sponsor child through Compassion. if you think of it please keep her and her family in your prayers!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Running Out of Time

What would your answer be?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Calling

The Calling of St. Matthew- Carvaggio
I absolutely love this painting. In it we see an ordinary setting of tax collectors gathered together at a table, and Matthew seems very much wrapped up in his work. Yet in the midst of a mundane situation in steps the divine. The ordinary life is interrupted by the miraculous and in one instant a life is transformed. When I look at this picture one question sums it up, "Who him?" That phrase has echoed in my mind before. I admit and am ashamed to say that there have been times in my life when I looked at someone who seems so hopeless that for a split second I think, "Who, him? I don't think he will ever come to know God." How foolish of me to even think such a thing because God's heart is that none would perish but that all may have eternal life.

Last Monday I went out for coffee with a friend of mine and ever since our conversation my heart has been burdened and convicted regarding the topic of evangelism. I remember back in high school and at an even younger age I took every opportunity to talk to those around me about Jesus and now sadly it rarely enters my mind. I am too wrapped up in life and the things I need to to do to check off my list. I need to get my grocery shopping done, and make sure my apartment is clean. All of these things are important in one aspect or another but they pale in comparison to the value of a person's soul.

There was one day when I was in high school that I remember just sitting on a bench in the middle of the mall. As I sat there I just took time to watch people as they walked by. I watched there eyes and the looks on their faces and I saw emptiness and hopelessness. My heart broke and it stirred a passion in me to tell others of the grace and hope found in Christ.

This painting also makes me think of the way I often feel when I think about taking on the responsibility of sharing the gospel with those who have yet to accept Christ. I have a funny feeling that I am not the only one who thinks these same questions. "Who me? I am just a young believer who doesn't know all there is to know about evangelism. I can't possibly have all the answers to their questions. What if I look stupid? What if I am rejected?" In the end none of these questions or excuses matter because it is not at all about me. In scripture it is clear that those who have not put their faith in Christ are subject to God's judgement (John 3:16-18, Romans 6:23) . How can we with a clear conscience choose to keep this truth to ourselves? Do we truly love our friends, family, neighbors etc?

So here I am, with the knowledge of the sacrificial life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and now what? Well I have decided to listen to sermons, read books (especially the Bible) and memorize verses that will equip me to better share my faith. However even more importantly I've decided to pray and ask the Lord to move in my heart. Until my heart is broken and hurting so strongly for the lost I will not be compelled to go and tell others.

So I guess I'm praying a dangerous prayer that will begin to challenge me in ways I never imagined. I am so frail and too often I long for the praises and admiration of others. God will need to change my heart and rearrange my priorities. Honestly I am scared to let Him have his way because I know what that means for me. I will have to be willing to be pulled out of my comfort zone.

Despite my fear and insecurities I can't help but think back to the times in my life when I was actively sharing my faith and how different things were. My life was so vibrant and my faith was so real because I was obeying the Lord's calling on my life. I want to allow the Lord to change me and begin a new and exciting work in my life but a lot of things are holding me back. I can't possibly make this passion come alive in my heart again without the Lord's hand working in my life. So...we'll see what happens.

"How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" -Romans 10:14-15

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Advent Conspiracy

This little video is a challenge to all of you to think outside the usual wrappings of American Christmas festivities to remember the bigger picture. I have been convicted every time I watch this short clip. We are blessed beyond what will be choose to do about it?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I'm tired, and I feel as if I might be coming down with throat hurts. All I have to say is that whatever I may be getting better run it's course by the time Jon and I fly down to Florida because I'm not about to spend my Thanksgiving feeling sick and miserable. I SO need a vacation!! I know I say this a lot but I seriously think I'm spent.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Praying for the Persecuted Church

The International Day of Prayer (IDOP) for the persecuted church is this Sunday 9th November*. Please join us and hundreds of thousand of others to intercede on behalf of those who live in nations which are restricted and hostile towards the gospel.

The time that we spend in prayer has an eternal impact on the lives of people throughout the world. Through prayer, circumstances change, closed doors are opened, resistant people are made receptive and leaders are installed or removed.

Please pray:
- The Lord will give courage to His people who are enduring persecution for His Name
- The Lord will place His restraining hand on those who seek to harm His people
- Churches facing government opposition will stand firm in their ministry
- Christians will have opportunities to reach out with the Gospel without fear of intimidation or harassment
- Servants of the Lord will be able to deliver Bibles and Christian literature to places where they are most needed
- Christians who have been left without pastors and teachers may be kept strong in their faith
- Christians who have been imprisoned for their faith will be released safely
- The Lord will restrain the callousness and brutality of prison guards in their treatment of Christians in prison
- Pray against the increasing problem of young Christian girls being kidnapped, raped and forced to marry
- Those who have lost loved ones by martyrdom will be comforted and strengthened by God during their grief
- Christian pastors will be kept from danger and strengthened in their faith as they care for the people of God
- New converts may be protected and provided for should their family turn against them.
- The current laws in many restricted nations forbidding evangelism, missionary activity and religious instruction, will be repealed

"In the death camps I knew that there were people praying for me. It gave me the spiritual strength I needed to live as a Christian and to trust God. It is the same for everyone in the camps and prisons today." Underground Church pastor, Cambodia
The air is still thick with tragedy in Orissa state. Someone just told me the story of a Christian widow he chanced upon in the state capital, Bhubaneswar, who chokingly related the story of her husband's death. She said that he fled from an angry mob that came to his house in the night of August 28, but he was caught and told that he and his brothers and all their families must convert to Hinduism or he would be killed. He resisted the pressure, so they tied him to a tree, took kerosene from his brother's house, poured it over him and set him on fire. He escaped when the plastic ropes holding him melted, but had suffered serious burns. He died the next day. Traumatised, his widow left the body in the house, which began decomposing and attracted dogs. After three days, he was buried, although the body was exhumed by investigating police the next day. Their house was destroyed by one of the mobs systematically attacking Christian targets, and its contents looted. The widow and her four children now live in a relief camp, wondering what their future could possibly hold.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Life of a 3rd Shift Worker

My night started off with me in a bad mood dreading coming in to work. For the normal person, day light savings time is a wonderful thing in the fall because that means an extra hour of sleep but for a 3rd means a extra hour of work. Ugh. As the night progressed I was curious what I could find on the Internet about shift jobs and here are a few sections of an article I found. For those of you not working nights it might give you a glimpse into the life of a shift worker. On the other hand, for those of you who do work odd hours, you're not alone! ;-)
"Night workers may feel they've turned their lives upside down to toil on a schedule that departs from social norms and works against the body's natural circadian rhythms

The main health hazards associated with working nights and rotating shifts are:

•Sleep deficiency. Getting enough quality sleep is the most serious challenge that shift workers face. Chronic sleep loss has been shown to contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes. And even eight hours may not be enough. Research has shown that day sleep is lighter and less restful than night sleep. Sleep is what restores your brain and organs to keep the machine running smoothly. Without enough of it, your coordination will be thrown off; you may become irritable, anxious and depressed; your short-term memory may suffer; and your immune system may get run down, which makes you more likely to get sick. Many shift workers suffer more than the average number of menstrual problems, colds and flu.

•Digestive problems and weight gain. Some studies have found that shift workers suffer significantly more upset stomachs, ulcers, and bouts of constipation and indigestion than do day workers. "A lot of people I know gain 20 or 30 pounds when they start working nights, and when they go back to days, they lose it again," says Phillips. Why? Unusual sleep and eating habits disrupt digestive patterns, which also follow a circadian rhythm -- the physiological ups and downs in every 24-hour day. Second, as Phillips points out, shift workers are less likely than others to eat a regular nutritious diet because they no longer have the routine of preparing meals with their families -- and vending machines may be their only source of food at work when cafeterias and restaurants are closed

•Stress on relationships. Irritability caused by sleep deprivation -- combined with a schedule that makes it difficult for you to get together with friends and family -- can cause a strain on relationships, especially your connection to your partner or children. Night and rotating shift workers often find that trivial matters, such as responsibilities over loading the dishwasher, can easily erupt into full-blown arguments. Salazar-Biddle says she sometimes takes her crankiness out on her husband, and he understands -- most of the time. "I get really crabby," she admits. "And since I try to save all of my positive emotional energy for our 2-year-old son, I know my irritation tends to come out on my husband."

•Drug or alcohol abuse. Many shift workers resort to prescription and nonprescription drugs. They use sleeping pills, alcohol or barbiturates to sleep, and caffeine or stronger stimulants to stay awake. These drugs can become habit-forming, and could end up adversely affecting your sleep, your work, and your emotional well-being.

A healthy approach for workers
•Post your work schedule in your house so your family can plan around your schedule and avoid disappointments. Don't apologize for needing sleep or not being available for daytime activities. Make sure your family, friends and neighbors understand what time of day you're sleeping and agree not to disturb you.

•Figure out how much sleep you need (most of us need seven or eight hours a day). When it's time for sleep, darken your bedroom and bathroom, take a warm bath, and put on a relaxing tape or CD before going to bed. Avoid doing things that can "activate" your brain like reading a thriller or balancing your checkbook. Always sleep in your bed, not on the couch, and make your bedroom as peaceful and night-like as you can. Install drapes to block light and sound, or wear a sleep mask. Try to cool the bedroom to at least 65 degrees, and avoid alcohol, caffeine, and heavy or greasy food just before sleeping.

•Avoid being in bright daylight within two to three hours of going to sleep. Light blocks our brain's production of melatonin, a natural chemical that makes us sleepy. If you have to go out during this time, wear wrap-around sunglasses.

•For rotating shift workers coming off a night shift, O'Connor recommends getting at least two hours of morning sleep after your last duty on the night shift -- and following that with 12 to 14 hours of night sleep. Avoid the urge to switch back to a night sleep schedule on your days off; it will be that much harder for you to get back on the day schedule when you go back to work.

•Avoid loading up on sugary and carbohydrate-rich foods before and during your shift: Diet also plays a huge role in energy and mood levels. While you may think these foods are giving you an energy burst to help you stay awake and alert, your body may crash shortly afterwards. Try to avoid snacking and eat one balanced meal during your shift. Don't be afraid to alter your diet regimen from that which is considered "normal." If you want to have pancakes and eggs for your "dinner" with your family when you get home from work, go ahead. If you want to make a salad instead, have salad while your kids munch on cereal.

•Don't leave your most boring, tedious tasks until the end of the shift, usually between and 4 and 6 am. That's the time when you're feeling most tired.

•Let your friends know you want to see them and aren't avoiding them; it's just that get-togethers will have to be well-planned.
At first I was searching online just to see that I was not alone in my feelings of frustration working nights but as I thought more about it...there are some up-sides to working the graveyard shift. Here are a few elaborated points I found in another article.

- uncrowded stores (there are some mornings when I only work a partial shift and I get off at 6am and head right to the grocery store. I get to avoid lines and people standing in the middle of the aisle)
- normally there is less supervision on night shifts which creates a little more of a relaxed atmosphere (that is always nice!)
- working on the off shifts usually allows for more comfortable and casual dress (in my job the dress is more casual because of the situations we have to deal with...still it can be a nice thing to be able to wear jeans to work)
- shift workers doing the same job together often form a unique bond (especially working in sometime difficult/dangerous/stressful situations at my job I find that I have to trust the people I work with to have my back no matter what. I tend to communicate more with them and open up because this job requires it!)
- I have to admit that there are mornings I smile seeing people drive to work as I am driving home to sleep.
So those are some random thoughts on the night shift. Anyone feel like converting to 3rd shift?!? Come know you want to!