Thursday, October 30, 2008

5for50--Will you join me?

Last night, as I finished Red Letters by Tom Davis, with a lump in my throat and tears filling my eyes, I made a commitment. I can no longer look the other way, and pretend that there are not millions of people around the world crying out for help. I can no longer sit in my comfortable house, with everything I need, and say there is nothing I can do to help.

Am I really a Christ-follower? Am I doing what He did? Click here to read Matthew 25:31-46 (go ahead, I'll wait). Jesus really says it all in those verses, doesn't he? I want to make sure I'm a sheep, and not a goat!

To dig deeper into this issue, I really encourage you, my blog readers, to pick up Red Letters. This book really set my heart on fire. I have always wanted to help others, from the time I was a young teen and wanted to be a social worker, to my high school years when I sponsored a child. But most of the time, I suffer from apathy. I try not to think about the ridiculous gap between those who have, and those who have not. It's easier that way. But easy is not what God asks of me. He never said, "make sure you relax, and just do what's best for you".

So we come to 5for50. The plan is simple, but it can change lives (yours included). Here's what you do:

1. Give 5 minutes a day to pray for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
2. Give 5 hours a week to fast for those suffering from HIV/AIDS.
3. Give 5 dollars a month to the Five for 50 Fund and support worthy causes.
4. Give 5 days a year to travel overseas and help alleviate poverty and suffering.
5. Give 5 people an opportunity to join you on your journey.

All you have to do is start with number 1. That's not hard at all, and once you've got that down, move on. My family and I are already doing number 3. We sponsor a beautiful little girl through World Vision. She lives in an area in Kenya, where HIV/AIDS is prevalent. We have been so blessed to be able to help her, but I know we can do more.

Will you join me with this 5for50? I often wonder why God allows suffering. Why does he let precious, innocent children that He loves be born into lives of hunger, pain, and sadness? I believe it's so that those of us who belong to Him can love. So that we can learn compassion. So that we can be Jesus to them, and they can be Jesus to us. All you have to do is start with 5 minutes of prayer a day. Imagine if it was your child, or someone you love who was orphaned, widowed, or suffering from HIV/AIDS. And then remember Jesus told us to love everyone, and realize it IS someone you love.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

8 . . .

I was tagged by Mindy, and although I usually don't do tags, I figured I'd do this one, because I'm holding a sleeping baby, and don't want to get up.

8 things I am passionate about:
1. Jesus
2. Troy and my kids
3. Truth
4. Extending Grace to others
5. The Holy Bible
8. Reading

8 words/phrases I use often:
1. No.
2. The answer hasn't changed. It's still no.
3. Is that how Jesus would want you to act?
4. Didn't I feed you yesterday?
5. Put that/those down/back.
6. I'm gonna beat you. (This is always an empty threat, which renders it ineffective)
7. You've got to be kidding me.
8. I love you.

8 things I want to do before I die:
1. Go on lots of missions trips.
2. See every cathedral in the world
3. Get completely caught up with laundry.
4. Find a bra that is comfortable.
5. Read all the books I own.
6. Be a tool God uses to bring others to a saving relationship with Him.
7. Spend a lot of time with Troy--just the two of us.
8. Make a difference, somehow.

8 things I've learned in the past:
1. Sometimes God makes us feel alone so that we'll turn to Him.
2. God loves me more than I can imagine.
3. Divorce is not an option--it really is for better or worse. And every marriage will have some worse.
4. Without God, everything falls apart.
5. I can't help everyone in the world, but I can help ONE person.
6. Sometimes love is a decision, not a feeling.
7. Be content where I am with what I have.
8. I'm a sinner, saved by grace.

8 things I currently want or need:
1. My basement finished.
2. A pool table for the basement.
3. A big screen TV for the basement.
4. A new couch for the basement.
5. Some of those pub tables for the basement.
6. Some bar stools for the basement.
7. Some movie posters to go on the walls in the basement.
8. Money to buy all that stuff. For the basement.

8 places I want to see or visit:
1. Jerusalem
2. Rome
3. Paris
4. Bath (England, not my bathtub)
5. Edinburgh, Scotland
6. Durham, England
7. Moscow, Russia
8. Egypt

8 favorite restaurants:
1. Any
2. Where
3. I
4. Don't
5. Have
6. To
7. Cook
8. !

8 tv shows I like to watch:
1. Friends
2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer
3. Angel
4. Stargate Atlantis
5. Amazing Race
6. Survivor
7. How I Met Your Mother
8. Heroes (sometimes)

Being Pro-Life

I was just thinking today, about what it means to me to be pro-life. I think sometimes people who call themselves pro-life care about protecting unborn children, but then the caring stops when those children are born. For me, it means so much more. I care about all of the innocent people in Iraq who are dying for a war that should never have started in the first place. I also care about the soldiers who are dying.

And those same soldiers who, when they come home, are not being given the care and help they need after their service to our country. Did you know that 1/4th of the homeless people in America are veterans? Does anybody care? I care, and it breaks my heart.

Jesus said, "whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me" (Matthew 25:40, NIV). This has been heavy on my heart lately, and I've wondered what I've been doing for the "least of these". What have I done when I've passed a homeless person on the street? What have I been doing for anybody?

If someone were to ask me if I'm pro-life, I would answer yes, right away. But am I? Have I been showing that I care for the lives of everyone, and not just the unborn? And in lieu of the upcoming Presidential election, as I look at the candidates, I must look at which of them are truly pro-life. Which of them really cares about the lives of all people? All of the people--not just Americans, unborn babies, the rich, the hard workers. Wouldn't it be awesome if, instead of negative campaign ads, traveling all over the place to give speeches, etc., a candidate made a small website that had this simple message:

"Instead of pouring millions of dollars into a campaign that will only be a benefit to myself, I am using all of my campaign money to help out AIDS afflicted Africa (or insert other charitable act here). That's the kind of person I am, and that's the kind of President I would be."

I would vote for that candidate in a heartbeat. And even with a small website, you can bet they'd still get the word out. Don't you think that would make the news? Wouldn't that definitely be in the spotlight? Are we wanting a President who is hungry for power, or one who is caring and compassionate, even to a fault?

The election is right on top of us. Is the candidate you plan to vote for pro-life at all levels? I don't know if any of the choices are, but we as American citizens need to make our voices heard that we care about the sanctity of life, not just of the unborn, but every single life.

Jesus didn't minister to the upper class, those who were hard workers, or those who helped themselves. He ministered to the sick, the poor, the needy, the sinners.

But when Jesus heard this, He said, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick.
"But go and learn what this means: 'I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,' for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners." (Matthew 9:12-13, NASB)

The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10, NIV)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Reconstructing Natalie

This morning I finished Reconstructing Natalie by Laura Jensen Walker. It was a wonderful book. I laughed and cried throughout the whole thing. The book is about Natalie, a twenty-seven year old who finds that she has breast cancer. Even though I found the ending quite predictable, I enjoyed getting there.

This is the second book I've read by Laura Jensen Walker, and I've loved both. I think I'll be reading everything I can find by this author.

So this is another book I can cross off my Fall Into Reading list. I need to get reading faster if I'm going to finish the list, though.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A New Nephew

Jason and Dallas had their baby today. His name is Donovan, and he's absolutely adorable! I can't wait until I can go visit when I don't have my two little monsters boys. He is so precious, and I'm so excited for Jason and Dallas. Congratulations, guys!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I wanted to talk about a movie I've recently seen that I thought was very meaningful. It's called Fireproof. I would encourage every married couple to see this movie. The acting was a little cheesy (a lot of the actors aren't really actors), but the message was awesome. Here's the trailer:

I don't know how many theaters it's playing in anymore, but if you get a chance, please go see it. We need to support these kind of movies so that more will be made! If you are sick of the junk that is constantly in theaters, support something that's good and meaningful. Let the theaters in Utah (and wherever else you live) know that this is the kind of movie people want to see.

Utah didn't even have this movie in their theaters at all the first week of it's release. It wasn't until it did so well in other places that they got it here. Were they right in not putting it in the theaters here right away? When we went to see it, there were maybe 10 people tops in the theater. So once again, if you can, go see it, and tell your friends!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why I vote third party

There are so many people who think a vote for a third party candidate is a wasted vote. I think nothing could be further from the truth. My vote is not based on "well, golly, I don't really like this candidate, but at least he's better than the other guy". I vote for the candidate that I believe would do the best job. And that is neither the Democratic or the Republican candidate.

I don't want to vote for the lesser of two evils, because then I'm still voting for evil. So many people are unhappy with the way the system is currently run, but very few people are willing to do anything about it. Most people count a third party vote as a throwaway vote, and just go with one of the two main candidates because they think that's the only kind of vote that makes a difference. But what if everyone who was sick of the system voted third party?

Two thousand years ago, a Roman senator suggested that all slaves wear white armbands to better identify them.
"No," said a wiser senator, "If they see how many of them there are, they may revolt."

Our country is not doing well right now. That much is obvious. I think Obama is right in that we do need change. But he's wrong about him being the one to bring change about. Watch Ron Paul's message to Obama.
How about these kinds of changes:
"The United States is properly a free and sovereign republic which should strive to live in peace with all nations, without interfering in their internal affairs, and without permitting their interference in ours. If I were President, I would begin the process of safely extracting our troops from Iraq. In the first place, our troops are no longer fighting a war, they are an occupation force, which occupies a sovereign country. And this is being done without a Declaration of War. The Iraqi people resent our occupation as much as we would resent another nation stronger than ours invading and occupying America." (Chuck Baldwin, Constitution Party)

"We want the power to determine our destiny. We want an electoral system that allows true representation and that ensures that all votes are counted. We want an economic system that provides opportunity, security, and dignity for all. We want an end to all spying on U.S. citizens. We want respect for human rights as the bedrock consideration in all the political deliberations of this country.
We believe that we will not be free until we are able to determine our destiny. We believe that free and fair elections are not possible in the current climate in which electronic voting machines, special interest money, corporate control of the two-party system predominate." (Green Party Draft Manifesto)

"Parents have a duty to raise and educate their children, but without choice for alternatives to government schooling, the ability of parents to fulfill that role is severely limited. Education involves not just practical learning, but the transmission of moral values, making it even more important to return authority to parents for deciding their children’s schooling without interference from government." (Bob Barr, Libertarian Candidate)

To keep this post from getting too long (I know I always lose interest when blog posts get too long), I'm going to leave you with links to a couple of youtube videos that you might find interesting:
Adam Kokesh breaks it down (yes, the music is a bit annoying)
Ron Paul smear campaign (this makes me angry--and yes, I know that Ron Paul was not a third party candidate, but he is a Libertarian (as am I)).

And a couple quotes that I hope you'll think about:

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." -- John Quincy Adams

" . . . whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." Declaration of Independence

So again, am I throwing my vote away? I think not. I'm making the only vote I can make with good conscience. Imagine how different things would be if the rest of the country did the same.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Mozart's Sister

I picked this up to read a few days ago, and I'm trying and trying to read it, but I just don't like it. It's on my Fall into Reading book list, and that makes me not want to give up on it. And look at that beautiful cover--that means it should be good. :) The gist of the story, so far, is that both of the children play the piano very well. They travel all over and play for people. And then they travel some more. And travel a bit more. And a bit more. Some of the time one of them gets sick, and we hear about that for a bit, then they get better. But Wolfie (who is the famous Mozart), since he is younger, gets all the attention. The girl wants attention too, because she is just as good. And she especially wants her father to be proud of her. After over a hundred pages, that's pretty much it. You might think that there is plenty of plot there, but seriously, what I've just said is pretty much it, with a few more details thrown in.

I want to like this book, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to just move on to something that I'll enjoy more. There are too many books out there to keep reading one I'm not liking. I imagine there are plenty of people that will really like this one, so I'll go ahead and pass it on to someone else.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mere Christianity

In case anyone was wondering, the book I mentioned in my video blog was Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. I finished it a couple of days ago. I think every Christian should read this book. The first half does a really great job as a Christian apologetic book, and the second half does a great job on talking about how a Christian should live, and the work that Jesus Christ does in us.

It's a fairly short book, so even if you don't like to read, pick it up and read it. I would even suggest this book for those who aren't Christian. So, that pretty much covers everyone. People who like to read and those who don't. Christians and those who aren't. Read this book!