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Go to serve. Come back blessed.

January 17, 2010

This is a blog that I posted on the granola page……

Today I went up to AIM (Adventures in Missions) to tell a group of World Race alumni about our granola. I LOVE the response I got from everyone! It is so great to talk with people who share in the same passions to reach out to orphans and widows, and who also embrace all the different ways of doing so – such as with our granola!

Most of these people spent a month in Swaziland while on the World Race. They recognized several of the GoGos on the bags – such a small world! God has brought all of us together. His Love connects us all, the Swazi GoGos and orphans, the World Racers, you, me, and so many others around the world. We really are a huge family.

Another way that I saw these family connections is how, though I have never met any of these people, after I had shared about our dreams for this granola, they quickly offered to pray for me. In praying for me, my mom, our granola endeavors, Swaziland, and my current prep for nursing school, they blessed me tremendously! God’s love for me came through them in a tangible way today. I left with joy, peace, and love in my heart!

Today I was striving to do more to spread the word about granola and Swaziland for others’ benefits, but I was greatly blessed in the process!

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This is just a small example of when you go to a place, whether it be a small meeting or a new country, with the ultimate goal not for the benefit of yourself, God somehow blesses you in the process.

I have been yearning for a community, tribal people here at home, and though AIM is not close, and I really don’t personally know these people, they are a part of my tribe, my community, my family. I was needing a time to be with people like them – even just a few short hours. People who have denied the comfortable lifestyle, to chase after God’s dreams – which have become dreams that He has given them.

I had been overwhelmed after my first week back to school, but with their prayers and encouragement (and my own time spent with God over it), I have so much more peace. I know that this nursing school path is definitely the direction God is leading me on. I am confident in His ways, though I don’t see what is next, or understand everything (or anything?!), I will trust in Him.

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Granola 4 Life

January 10, 2010

Check out the blog/website that I’ve made for my mom’s granola. We (my mom and I) have begun to make our granola with the intent to sell it and give all profits to support GoGos in Swaziland (a little country to the west of South Africa). GoGos are grandmothers who are basically raising many of the children in Swaziland, because most of the middle generation – my age – have passed away, mainly due to AIDS.

Check out the website at www.granola4life.com . I still need to do a good bit of work with it, but the essential information is there. We welcome new orders and people who just want to find out more about Swaziland and how they can help. Pass it on to your friends and family!

Here is our Valentine’s Granola! Great gift for the holiday!

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What is Love?

January 5, 2010

So I know that I haven’t written a bog in what?….a long, long time. But in that time, I have had many ideas running around in my head and heart that I’ve wanted to share. The biggest thing that I’ve been wanting to learn about and really let sink into my heart and spirit is God’s Love. I know God’s love, and talk about how incredible His Love is, but I’ve been wanting to know more. Know physically, spiritually, and Biblically what God’s Love is, and what He says it is.

A few lines of a song from Drew Holcomb read:
Love is magic; it’s a beautiful, wonderful, marvelous, mysterious thing.
Love is magic; makes you wanna dance, wanna laugh, jump around and make you sing.
Love is magic.

These lines seem so real to me. True Love – Love from the Father – is all these and so much more. And when His Love shines thru other people, His children here on this earth, it is just as beautiful and real. It is a gift; it is magic.

I believe that at the center of everything we do should be love. If we love others, then we will be truly honest in our relationships, we will be kind and thoughtful of others, we will speak life over them and not condescending words. If we love others, then we will serve them in ways that we would appreciate, and learn to see things from their perspective. If we love, then we will obey authority, respect others, and find Life. If we love, then we are able to look past the faults and annoyances of others, to see Jesus in their eyes.

Unfortunately, I have so much to catch up on in the way that I love those around me. My friends and family, who I daresay I do love so much, often see actions that aren’t produced by love. This is something that I am praying about and learning to change in my heart – but only with God’s help and constant example of perfect love.

I have been desiring to know what the Bible says Love is. A few weeks ago I had set out to find all verses pertaining to love, but I soon realized this would be very difficult, and way too long for a blog. Here are several (still a lot!) of verses that I’ve found encouraging and challenging (and some are somewhat different than I had expected). I pray that as you read these, you experience a new desire for more of His love, and the ability to share it with those around you – family, friends, and strangers. Please pray the same for me!

Please share other verses with me – I know there are so many more!

Romans 12:9-13
Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

Romans 13:10
Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.

Psalm 145:13
The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

Colossians 3:14
And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

1 Thessalonians 2:8
We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.

Ephesians 3:17-19
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love….

1 John 3:14
And one who does not love remains in death.

1 John 3:16
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

1 John 4
verse 7: Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.
verse 10: This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins
verse 12: No one has ever seen God: but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

1 John 4:16-21
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother

Ephesians 4:2
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.

2 John 6
And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands.

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A Friend. An Inspiration. A Prayer.

August 2, 2009

I want to share with you about a good friend of mine. I’m sure if you’ve known me long enough, then you’ve probably heard me talk about him… Tony Hargrove is a wonderful Man of God. He is like a brother in my family, a son to my parents. He has been a part of the family for about 6 years now. When we first met him, he would light up the room with his smile and laugh, but today his presence and character is so much bigger and more influential. Tony loves the Lord and is seeking to serve Him in all his ways, and we can see it in his demeanor, in the way that he is trying to his life. Though Tony has had a difficult journey throughout his life, he has overcome and knows that it is not by his own accord that he is still alive and now fully alive–it is only through Jesus Christ.

God is going to use Tony in unbelievable ways–I am sure of it! Tony is a phenomenal athlete; he currently plays for the New Orleans Saints in the NFL. After a year’s suspension from the league, Tony has found passion and life in the only true form. Though a year away from the NFL was difficult, God knew what was best. Tony even admits that it was probably the best thing that could have happened. During this year away, Tony truly found a relationship with his Father in Heaven. Tony has changed, he now lights up a room not only because of his own personality, but because of the Light that God has placed within him–Life to the Fullest.

Read this article that was just posted this weekend in New Orleans. Though Tony spoke to the reporter about his relationship with God, the article credits all his effort and drive to being his own. Unfortunately, the media often takes a secular approach and leaves out the spiritual sides of stories–also, the gambling part of the article isn’t correct either. Anyway, at the end of the article there are a few dozen comments left by fans and readers. Many of them refer only to Tony’s athletic ability, the position line-ups for the team, or his past struggles; however, there is one post that talks to Tony–that is life-giving and encouraging, it is a wonderful surprise to find a prophetic word from an unknown person through this article, but somehow I’m sure that it is a prophesy for Tony, and it fills me with joy! If you want to read it, it is posted from sheri4647.

Right now, Tony is still “re-entering” the NFL scene. Though the media may currently ignore his profession of Jesus Christ, soon he will have a platform to speak Truth into many other peoples’ lives–both NFL employees and fans. God has created such a charismatic, fun-loving, friendly, caring, passionate guy in Tony Hargrove, and He will use him to do great things. Already, after less than three months of practice with the Saints, the coaching staff and fellow athletes see something different about Tony. Even though he does not currently have a way to impact people nationwide–and I am sure that one day he will–he does have an impact within the Saints community. He is able to speak Life into the darkness of the locker room and lives of the other players. He is forming friendships and sharing with others about his relationship with Jesus. God could be using him to change the entire Saints team–think about that! Think about a change within the whole team! A change that instead of putting themselves first, perhaps they decide to serve others, and ultimately serve the Lord!

medium_anthony-hargrove2
One-by-one a single NFL team could come together under God’s Love and Grace–and what better way than to be led by a fellow teammate. Not a teammate who has been a follower of Christ for a long time with years of experiences and lessons-learned, but one who has been down the hard road, who has been dealt difficult cards and made wrong decisions, and also one who has found the Love of Jesus to be the only thing worth living for, even after years of trials and tribulations. Tony has such an incredible opportunity to witness to his team, and pretty soon to other teams, and then to the whole nation, and the whole world. When Tony begins to get a steady income again and after he repays any loans, he has determined to give his money away. He knows that the money is not his own, but God’s, and he wants to use it to help others, to help the world–the orphans and widows, the lost and the broken. He will not only impact the community within the United States, but God is going to use him to help countless others around the world.

I not only want to share with you about this amazing Man of God. I want to ask you to pray with me. Pray for Tony. Pray that he holds strong to the calling that God has placed on his life. Pray that he is daily able to surrender to the Lord. Pray for his relationships in the lockerroom, on the football field, and all around him. Pray that he remains strong and firm against temptations that will arise. Pray that he is able to know God’s Love and share it with others. Pray for his future–a future that will impact hundreds, thousands, multiple thousands. Pray for him in whatever ways God places on your heart.

I fully believe that Tony is a gift from God and also a gift for God. He is special. Please pray for him, and watch to see what God will do in and through this man’s beautiful life.

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Meet the Gang

July 26, 2009

I helped my friend Tara (Stephenson) put together this little arrangement of our gang this semester at G42.
I think this is a great way to finally introduce you to the group!

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Robby: Homegrown Texan, finds much joy from eating multi-colored popcorn, is one of the only guys that can pull off a hot pink t-shirt, doesn’t mind wearing eye liner for 5 minutes, has a laugh that can seriously bring everyone to tears

Josh B.: seriously thinks he is a ninja, always drinks from a water pitcher, his other personality has the voice of “Old Greg” a scary English man fish, Chuck Norris roundhouse doesn’t come close to Josh’s arm pit symphony.

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Tara B.: The one and only baby mama, passionate about almost everything, has a homegrown remedy for all things under the sun, loves spending time drinking tea and shopping in the grocery store

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Michelle: enjoys taking casual morning jogs and sliding (tripping) across the street-we would like to think she slide in for a home run, has the most piercings of anyone here marking in at 13, still thinks her sarong (a Thai towel) can act as a skirt, dress, PJ’s and a bed sheet.

Hannah: if still awake around 12 a.m. is probably in the middle of sleepwalking or slurring her thoughts into words with no filter, is likely to miss her mouth and spill water all over her shirt, likes to answer most questions with HUH??

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Sean: Wizard on the grill, can make a guesstimate of 500 different dishes with garlic, has almost completed his first pizza oven, occasionally pictures himself dancing like the Maori tribe of New Zealand.

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Sarah: personality impersonator (specializes in a variety of northern accents), her personality is funky mixed with a shot of Thai spice. Fastest walker with the shortest legs.

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Tara S.: brought a blue and yellow glass bird as the G42 mascot named “ralpherson” (which has been kidnapped since day one and is still in search), enjoys crashing Spanish weddings especially those with hansom groomsmen, can seriously think of a song for most phrases, Sarah’s partner in crime for northern accent dialogues.

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Nick: from the north and sounds like it, can quote a whole history book and movie at the same time, tends to only listen to “underground” bands and finds any occasion worthy of a cigar to celebrate life.

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G42 Photo Shoot

July 25, 2009

Amidst the classes, we occasionally find times to have a bit of fun around here….who am I kidding?! We are always having fun here! This is a music video that my friend Sean put together after a great afternoon of photoshooting a few weeks ago. I think it’s pretty sweet! You can tell what a great time we had just by looking at the pictures–I promise, we had a blast! 🙂

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about "G42 Photo Shoot", posted with vodpod

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He Won’t Relent – So Neither Will I

July 13, 2009

With this new start to my blogging adventure, I want to not only share about Spain, the culture and the family that I have found here, but I want to tell you about things that I am learning and how my relationship with God is growing. So here is a little glimpse of how God is working in my heart right now…

I love how God uses music and lyrics to communicate with me. I believe that God has recently placed a song on my heart that just won’t leave me alone. Sometimes I repeat a single lyric or song over and over again, and this is one of those songs. “You Won’t Relent” by Kim Walker speaks to my heart, and my spirit sings it back to God.

The song is basically a few simple phrases/verses repeated many times. The first verse begins with “You won’t relent until You have it all. My heart is Yours.” If the song were this alone, it would be enough for me. How many times must I continually give myself, my head, my heart, my life to the Lord? I must daily–multiple times daily–give myself to Him. But then I think about it, and have I ever really given God EVERYTHING? I sing that my heart is His, but have I really given it all? I want to. I desperately want to. I want when I sing “My heart is Yours” for my heart, my love, my life to truly be completely His. I’m not quite there yet. So I must repeat–just like the song–and continually give my life to God. He knows and sees my passionate attempts at giving Him everything, even with all the stumbles along the way.

But that isn’t it–I cannot forget about the very first line….”YOU won’t relent until You have it all” and I realize that it is okay, my stumbles are okay. God is NOT going to give up, He won’t relent until He does have my heart, my life, my all. He is right here with me as I learn how to give it all up. I must give up my past, my hurts, my desires, my longings, my control, because when it comes down to it, He is the only thing that is important. And one of the marvelous things about this is that He is here to help me all along. He is showing me things in my past that I need to work through, forgiveness that needs to be given, acceptance and love that I need to have for myself and others, and that I don’t need anyone or anything else–I only need HIM, I only need the love of Jesus to fill me up and overflow out of my life. Though I am still working through these things, and it is a process, sometimes a slow process, I know that He is not relenting. Though I may struggle or give up on things, He is not going to give up on me. My heart is already His now, because I am in the process of giving it to Him, and when EVERYTHING is finally, wholly His alone, it will be a glorious and joyful day! My heart does belong to Jesus. And I am so thankful for His relentless LOVE for me!