Do you laugh, cry, or put earmuffs on?

So… this is something that I have been struggling with lately. Do I speak up or just let things go by?

Do I laugh, cry, or put earmuffs on and pretend it’s not happening?

The problem with those three options is that they don’t fix anything.

I don’t know about any of you, but I can’t turn on the news and listen to what is happening in our country without just wanting to rip my hair right out of my head. Seriously. Seriously, we have these people making decisions about the well being of our people?

I mean, KSLODghisfoghdflkgjh. I think that this is when I pray that the Holy Spirit intercedes in  my prayers, because I don’t know where to start or what to pray.

I don’t know if the politicians that are in these leadership positions are a “special breed of people” (for lack of better words) or if they’re truly a reflection of the heart of our nation (I REALLY hope it’s the first one… I think that may be easier to fix).

I don’t consider myself a democrat, nor do I ALWAYS agree with the republican party. I don’t think that God sits on the throne and puts himself in the political red or blue.

What I DO think – and I don’t care if you agree with me or if you like me or not – is that our country is traveling at breakneck speeds down a slippery, ice-covered, potholed road that leads to a big hole. Depressing – yes.

We need to remember to pray for God’s intervention- for His guidance on issues WHERE WE DON’T HAVE ANSWERS – because you know what? He does. He knows. And if we would all just shut up and quit whining and moaning and begging for big Mr. Government (who CLEARLY doesn’t know what the heck he is doing) and listen for our God who is all powerful – then MAYBE SOMETHING WOULD START WORKING.

Ah. That is all. I just had to say it. And if you don’t know what I am talking about, then turn on the news at any point today and force yourself to listen to what’s happening.

Hope.

Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; He is the faithful God, keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.

Deuteronomy 7:9

Evan and I had this verse read at our wedding. I think that it’s an awesome reminder of God’s faithfulness to His children. I know that our families are very blessed – both of our sets of parents are still married, all of our siblings are Christians with a fervent love for our Lord. I am not saying that our families haven’t had their fair share of rough patches… I am just saying that it’s awesome to see how God has remained faithful through the not-so-fun times as well as the times where His blessings are incomprehensible.

I’m in Love…

With this kitchen.

Classic Hyannisport Residence Kitchen traditional kitchen
How amazing is it? I love the crispness and unclutteredness of it all. (Yes, I think that I just made up that word.) ALL that I MAY change is to add a REALLY light gray to the walls – and maybe a pop of red somewhere…
Once I saw the next picture, I think that my heart fluttered… slightly… obsessed.
Renovation Redux Kitchen contemporary kitchen
Ah… a girl can dream, right?

That one time I met Heather.

At the office.

She is one of our new artists. Heather came in one day a couple of months ago to share her story with us… and to play us a couple of songs. I always like when artists come in and we can get to know them… so I was excited.

So, we all sit down and she starts to tell us her testimony. Let me just say that normally, artists all move me in some way. A lot of them crack me up, some of them tug on my heart strings a little, but NOT one of them has made me cry. Bawl, actually, until Heather.

She has been through it all and what remains the most amazing about her is that she LOVES, TRUSTS and gives ALL GLORY to God – despite what she has been through.

Hearing her story makes her (ALREADY AMAZING) music carry SO MUCH MORE of an impact. Please please watch this. Please trust me when I tell you that you’ll need a tissue… or, if you’re like me, a box of them.

I love my blog I love my blog I love my blog.

But, in the midst of life, it gets neglected. A lot.

So, I am making a commitment to blog at least once a week.

Shouldn’t be too hard, right? Ahem.

So, lately, I have really been wanting to paint and redecorate our house. Husband – you may want to stop reading now.

To start, I have purchased a poster from my amazing friend, Hannah.

Photo by Hannah Schmitt.

Isn’t she insanely talented?

I think that every good home has something that reminds them of their favorite town. Lucky for us Nashvillians, Hannah has decided to sell said poster. You can get it here.

But, what about those of you who don’t live in Nashville? Fear Not. Hannah will probably show your city some love, too. If you’re nice to her. Visit her here for pricing and info.

Until next time, keep it classy Nashville.

Blown Away.

Where to start?

I am so proud of my community, my friends, my family and people I don’ t even know. I wish that stories like these made the national news because instead of watching the news and feeling defeated, afraid, discouraged and sad, we would be filled with joy, love, hope and grace. We would finish watching the TV and jump off the couch and be figuring out what we could do to help someone else instead of pointing fingers and starting the blame game for this problem and that issue. We wouldn’t be so dependent on politicians in Washington campaigning and crusading for “the people” because we would DOING what JESUS called us to do – which simply, is to love Him and love each other. And with love comes generosity and joy and peace and hope and grace.

Let me recap what has happened.

Everyone should know now about the flood that devastated middle TN and parts of KY. A few weeks later and the media decided that it was newsworthy etc. You’ve probably heard that residents have put their personal lives on hold and have volunteered over 10 years and millions of dollars worth of work in just a few weeks. Strangers helping strangers. Celebrities flying “home” to Nashville to help wherever they could. People donating MILLIONS of dollars in a down economy, etc. The enormity of the flood was a story of its own. The RESPONSE to the flood, however, is unlike anything that I have ever seen.

And this weekend at Ellie’s Run continued to leave me baffled.

For the past four years, I have worked with a local Nashville-based non-profit called Ellie’s Run For Africa. Each year, hundreds of people show up and thousands of dollars are donated. This year, though, I was prepared to see less people and to not have a hefty amount of donations. I wasn’t bitter. I knew that while we need to extend our resources to help people around the world, that we don’t need to forget our own communities – especially when it has just experienced something so traumatic.

So, on Saturday morning, my husband and I got out of bed at 3 am. We headed to the park and met up with the other Ellie’s Run volunteers and prayed together. We prayed that the kids in Africa and the teachers in Africa would know that we were thinking of them. We wanted them to know that no matter what amount of money was raised, that they would know that there were people rooting for them, that there were people that BELIEVED in them and that there was a God that was BIGGER than anything.

After the prayer, we all went about the park – setting up tents and tables and chairs and the race course. I took my place in my “media tent”, called and emailed local news stations and sat back – waiting for people to come. I am a little ashamed to say that I was expecting the worst. I mean, people had lost everything and we were expecting money? We were holding the race in the SAME park where the city is dumping trash from the flood and in the very area that got flooded the worst, and we were expecting families to come out early on a Saturday morning and give their money to kids half way across the globe and run a race?

Do you know what happened? People came. And not just a few people… A LOT of people. Hundreds of people, to be exact. Overflow parking lots were opened. A few of them, actually. People ran a 5k through muddy fields thinking of these kids – wearing race bibs that said “I am running for…” and listed an African child’s name. And, after the race, they took off their bibs and wrote a personal note or prayer to each child that will be hand delivered to them next week.

And, not only were people THINKING and PRAYING for these kids in Kenya, they GAVE to these very kids that we prayed for early that morning in the dark field. They GAVE over $47,000 to those kids. The same people that lost their homes and clothes and cars helped raise over $47,000 for strangers that live in a slum in Africa – the people that are “easy” to forget. You know – “Out of site – out of mind.” But, God answered our prayer with this: He didn’t forget them. He never has and never will and will continue to provide whether we think that it’s possible or not.

I am so glad that God proved me wrong. I am so glad that our God loves us enough to show us his grace and mercy and wonder through the good and the bad.

Thank you to all who are doing instead of whining. Thank you to all of you who aren’t afraid to do something small because you think that it won’t make a difference. I can’t speak for everyone, but I have seen Jesus more in the past few months more than I have in a LONG time. I can’t speak for everyone, but I am ready to turn off the news, jump off the couch and dig in.

My prayer is that despite whatever circumstances you’re “in the middle of dealing with”  – that you would experience unspeakable joy and hope and grace in the days to come.

Thank you for allowing ME to see Jesus.

Ellie’s Run For Africa – it’s that time again, folks!

And because it’s my blog, and because I helped write the press release, I am going to post it. Here’s the information that you need to get involved:

6th ANNUAL ELLIE’S RUN FOR AFRICA FURTHERS TEEN’S DREAM TO EDUCATE AFRICAN CHILDREN

NASHVILLE, Tenn., — For the sixth year in a row, Ellie’s Run for Africa will bring hope to the children living in the slums of Kenya by raising funds for their education and helping to break the cycle of poverty that plagues their communities.

Proceeds from the event are slated to primarily benefit two projects:  The New Dawn School and the Emmanuel Vocational School.  Both projects serve students in their teen years in Nairobi, Kenya slums – where education is an often-missed opportunity for the majority of their peers yet is the ticket out of the slums.

Says one student, Hannington Odhiambo, of his time at New Dawn Academy: “I thought that school was a place of total freedom and independence with all the luxurious things around but the time I joined New Dawn Educational center I found a true and real school. A school that not only concentrated on academics but also on discipline matters as well as spiritual growth. A school that … had special teachers who helped me to grow upright in the epoch society.”

One American Child Helping One African Child

Ellie’s Run for Africa started when one Nashville, Tenn. child – Ellie Ambrose – saw pictures of African children whose skin, as Ambrose says, “looked like it would break their bones, they were so hungry.”  Ambrose was ten.  Now 16, Ambrose has raised approximately $210,000 which has funded classroom construction and purchased uniforms, books and shoes for students. Several hundred students are impacted each year.

“In the last six years, this opportunity to help kids in Africa has made me feel hopeful, eager, frustrated and grateful all at the same time,” says Ambrose, who is currently planning her 4th trip to Africa this summer and will independently study Swahili – the language of Kenya – in the fall.  “But, no matter how I feel, the kids who I have met in Africa still need our help.  We’ve been able to help these kids with exactly what they need for five years, and I am eager to see the Nashville community help them again.”

Event Details

Date:               May 22, 2010

Time:

6:30 a.m. – Registration (both pre-registered and on-site registrants)
7:30 a.m. – 5K Race
8:30 a.m. – Kid’s One-Mile Fun Run
6:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. – Entertainment, games and refreshments

Location:

Percy Warner Park, Cross Country Field
Corner of Hwy 100 and Old Hickory Blvd.
Nashville, Tenn.

To learn more about Ambrose’s story, who we benefit and the race day activities, visit www.elliesrun.org. To learn more about African Leadership, a Brentwood-based non-profit organization that administers all Ellie’s Run for Africa proceeds to projects in Africa, visit www.africanleadership.org.

Ellie’s Run for Africa

Ellie’s Run for Africa is a 5K race and family fun day that raises money and inspires others to act for Africa. Sprung from the dream and prayers of one 10-year-old girl, Ellie’s Run for Africa brings together North American communities to Dream Big and Take Action for Africa about how they can strengthen the future of African children through education and healthcare.

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