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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

{Not} A Heartfelt Post

I'm just back from the Created for Care retreat. What a weekend. I spent three whole days with nearly 450 of my BFF's.


Perhaps next year we'll send Joy the memo about which day to wear her SixtyFeet shirt...


Even though I'm supposed to be taking a break from blogging, I started to sit down and write a deep, heartfelt post about the weekend and what it meant to me. Because it was truly awesome and I highly recommend this retreat for anyone who even thinks they may want to adopt at some point.

But then a friend sent me this video clip and I can't stop laughing and I have completely lost my resolve to write.



I'm sure I'll get around to that heartfelt post at some point because I really do want to share about my weekend at Created for Care. Thanks so much to Andrea and team for planning a wonderful, amazing retreat. I can't wait to do it again in March! Please let me know if you'll be there -- I'd love to meet you.
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Keeping Momma Happy: Linky Love

A while back, I read this on a sign in an antique store:

If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

If Daddy ain't happy...

Who cares?

And while it was funny enough to make me laugh out loud, I also had to admit that there's some truth to this silly statement. We women really do have the ability to make (or break) the moods in our homes.

This week has been Rough, with a capital R. Dan is just back from Africa. I'm preparing to speak (three times -- what was I thinking??) at the Created for Care retreat this weekend. The SixtyFeet film premiere is only two weeks away. And have I ever mentioned that I have five young children who I homeschool? And I help run an orphan ministry in Uganda? I believe I have.

Anyways, Momma is not happy at the moment and my home is a bit out of sorts. I'm ignoring my kids, snapping at my friends and bossing my husband around like its my job. So while I work on getting my act together, y'all will not be hearing from me on the blog for another week or so. God first. Family second. Blogging... way on down the list.


For the interim, enjoy these fabulous links. Read now, thank me later.

25 Clever Ideas to Make Life Easier

Why I Don't Homeschool

Don't Carpe Diem




Sunday, January 22, 2012

Too Good Not to Share: Real Freedom

Several weeks ago, us SixtyFeeters attended Passion2012. Beth Moore, Francis Chan, Louie Giglio... they were all awesome. But the best sermon, hands down, was brought by John Piper. Shocker, right? His sermon, on the topic of freedom, was one of the most thought provoking messages I've ever heard.

I'm not even going to pretend that I can teach (or write) like The Pipe. There's no way that I can re-create his sermon here on the Crazy Blog, in my own words.

But what I can do is summarize and paraphrase. His message is just too good not to share -- so here you have it, summarized into three little sentences. Get ready for your world to be rocked...

Piper argues that freedom is not what most of us suppose it to be... a place where we're suspended between good and evil and therefore "free" to choose between the two.

We're not free because we have the opportunity to choose between right and wrong, good or evil, indulgence or sin.

Instead, we're truly free when we're so sold out for Jesus Christ and are such slaves to righteousness... that there is no choice.

End Piper paraphrase.

Whoa.

Weeks after Passion, I'm still pondering and thinking through the implications of this message. This is heavy stuff -- but good stuff, in my opinion.

If you're willing to share, I want to hear it... what do you think about this?
Friday, January 20, 2012

Beloved

"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us." -- I John 5:14
,
Have you ever offered up a prayer -- something that you knew was in accordance with God's will, something you were asking with completely unselfish motives, something that you truly desired for the Kingdom and not for yourself -- and yet your prayer seemed to go unanswered?

Have you ever scoured the Word of God, wondering if you're missing something? Wondering what might be "wrong" with your prayers? Or even wondering if Jesus really meant it when He said...

"You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it."
-- John 14:14

Dan and I have some friends who know a little something about this kind of thing:

If you've been reading my blog (or any number of other blogs floating around the internet, like this one or this one or this one), then you know them well. That's Ernest and Catherine.

Starting back in 1994, they began praying a prayer. A big one. They asked God to expand their ministry to orphaned children. They asked Him for the necessary resources to do this work and to do it right. They needed money. They needed land. They needed a home. They needed staff. They needed transportation. And humanly speaking, this was all impossible.

Ernest is simple Ugandan pastor. He lives a quiet life, caring for a handful of orphaned children alongside his wife, Mama Catherine. He and Catherine give away all they have and all they can -- even when they can't spare it. So they have no resources to speak of. Their dream was completely, utterly out of reach.

And yet they prayed. Not once, not twice, not for a week or a month or a year. They prayed this impossible prayer for 18 years. And even when things got really bad and their situation looked really bleak, they kept on praying.

And yesterday, their dream was realized. Yesterday, Ernest stood with a group of Americans on the land that he now owns, where his new home will be built. And just as Ernest prayed, this house will serve as a haven and a loving home for orphaned and abandoned children in Uganda.

The answer to Ernest and Catherine's prayers came in the most unlikely form -- it came in the form of a couple of ordinary men, who happen to live on the other side of the world. In faith, these men started a ministry called SixtyFeet and God funded their work -- through their friends, their family, their blog readers, their facebook followers and through perfect strangers. And Ernest and Catherine's faithful prayers were answered right on time, nearly two decades later.

God answers prayer. And those truly prayed in accordance with His will -- they shall be done. Probably not in our timing. And usually not in the way we've imagined. But "He who promises is faithful," if we'll only be faithful enough to wait and keep praying.

The current SixtyFeet mission team, those blessed souls who had the privlege of watching all of this unfold yesterday, basically won the lottery. Dan described it to me over the phone in great detail and still -- I can only imagine how wonderful that day must have been. I can't imagine the emotion charging through the air or how tangible God's presence must have felt.

If, like me, you're feeling a tad jealous, there's still hope for us. The entire scene was captured on film by our friend and filmmaker, Sean Kirkland. This story will be told, along with other equally amazing stories of God's love and faithfulness, in the new SixtyFeet film entitled "Beloved."

Beloved premieres in Atlanta on Saturday, February 11th and you're invited. This is one event you don't want to miss. Tickets are available here -- and they're free, but seating is limited and going quick. Click here for more information.

I hope to see you at the film release on the 11th! I do love a good God story. Thanks so very much to everyone who had a hand in this one.
Sunday, January 15, 2012

On The Road Again...


Dan headed back to Uganda this weekend. He left the house at 3:30am on Saturday morning and flew to D. C., then to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and finally on to Uganda. He arrived at the Entebbe airport on Sunday afternoon feeling dirty, smelly, utterly exhausted and absolutely delighted to be back in the country he loves so much. Plus, Ernest and Catherine met him at the airport with two dozen freshly grown roses -- and it doesn't get much better than that.

This trip was organized by our partner ministry, Visiting Orphans. Dan is co-leading with Jared Morrison, a fellow Atlantan and VO veteran. And happily, the team includes the husband of a dear friend of mine. Scott will join the team in Uganda tomorrow.

Please pray. As always, the tasks before them are great. There's work to be done and meetings to attend and precious children to love on. And it is Africa -- so our team always builds plenty of buffer into the schedule for whatever "surprises" may pop up.

We learned about one such surprise the day before Dan left... Apparently there's a lice outbreak at M1. Dan called me from the office on Thursday and asked... "where's the closest Sally's Beauty Supply store?" I nearly laughed myself sick and then realized he was serious. No thanks to me, he made his way to Sally's and bought an industrial strength electric razor and all the lice shampoo in Atlanta.

Dan plans to attend to this situation personally -- and knowing my man, he'll do it with great joy. After all, there is much about ministry that just ain't glamorous.

Speaking of not being glamorous -- would you like to join us on one of these trips sometime? I can't promise that it'll be easy or clean or even fun...but I can promise that it'll be life changing. And it may just be the best money you've ever spent.

Check out the short Visiting Orphans video below and consider joining us. The deadline to sign up for our March trip is fasting approaching -- but we still have some space. There's also a father-son trip this summer, a general trip in October and a mother-daughter trip in April 2013, led by yours truly. Find more information here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Decision Time


Come January in Atlanta, everyone starts making their plans for the next school year. Public school? Private school? Homeschool? Decision time is upon us.

If you’d asked me back in October about our plan for the 2011-2012 school year, I would have told you that we'd almost certainly not be homeschooling again next year. It’s not that I dislike having my kids home all day. It’s not that I don’t enjoy teaching. It’s not even that I mind the constant disarray of books, papers, pencils, rulers and other school supplies that is my (rather small) home.

It’s just that homeschooling a second grader, a kindergartner, two Ugandan preschoolers and a baby is kind of… hard. And I’m not a huge fan of hard. Hard is time consuming. Hard is character shaping in a painful way. Hard makes me feel inadequate.

So I determined around mid-October that our homeschooling adventure was over. At least it would be, come May 2012.

But fortunately/unfortunately, I have a husband who is not nearly as impulsive as me. In fact, people who know Dan would likely describe him as the polar opposite of impulsive. He’s thoughtful, calculated and never, ever makes decisions in the heat of battle.

Dan pointed out that the very first semester of homeschooling five children is probably not the best time for us to decide if we should do it for the long haul. That’s akin to deciding whether or not you want to have a large family when you’re in the throes of newborn-hood and sleeplessness and utter exhaustion with your first baby. Heat of battle = bad decision making.

So Christmas break came and Dan committed to talk it over and pray it through with me. We took the entire month of December off from school and it was just enough down-time and prayer time for us to see and sense God’s clear leading in this matter: we’re called to give homeschool another good year. Or two. Or maybe more.

So homeschool again we will. Because the truth is that anything worth doing is going to be hard at some point. And when something is so painfully difficult that it shapes your character, that’s a good thing. But when something makes you feel completely inadequate and causes you to turn to Jesus, that’s fantastic.

Often, "inadequate" is a great place to be. I should know -- I'm there quite a lot.

In case you're interested, I've (finally) posted two new links on my homeschool page:

Why I Love Homeschooling My Children

Our 2011-2012 Curriculum
Saturday, January 7, 2012

Passionized!


Well now I’ve done it. I’ve gone and gotten myself all “Passionized.”

Dan and I spent a couple of nights last week at Passion2012 -- pretending to be 21 (although I doubt we were fooling anyone), rocking out with Chris Tomlin and basking in the teachings of Louie Giglio, Francis Chan and John Piper. We even ran into David Platt at dinner one night.



The days we spent at Passion were such a time of renewal and refreshment for Dan and me. We came home encouraged, inspired, convicted and filled to the brim.


I don't know if you'll hear from me again in a couple of days or a couple of weeks. I want more time in prayer, more time in the Word and more time just sitting and being quiet before the Lord. I need to get my thoughts together and digest all that I heard and learned last week.

But consider yourself forewarned -- I’ve got some posts a-brewin’.
Wednesday, January 4, 2012

$210,000

That's the amount of money that God raised for SixtyFeet in two months. He did it all -- we clearly can't take any credit for this one.

We don't have any marketing staff. We don't have any corporate sponsors. We don't even have any full time employees in the U.S.

But man, we have a Great Big God. And apparently, that's all we need.

Rejoice with us, friends. We are standing in awe of Him tonight!!!!!!

To read the full post on the SixtyFeet blog, click here.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Dang.

“God is looking for people through whom He can do the impossible. What a pity when we plan only the things we can do by ourselves.” -- A.W. Tozer

I absolutely love it when God takes my wimpy prayers, my weak faith and my way-too-small expectations... and does something Simply Awesome. Something that only He could do.

If you were part of the small army of people who helped spread the word about the SixtyFeet end-of-year-match, then I want you to know that you've been part of something very special. Something so big and so God-sized that it may just make you dizzy.

Some of you gave personally. You gave generously and sacrifically. Those who couldn't give told others who could. You blogged. You facebooked. You told random people in stores (Really. Some people did that). 

We'll be announcing the total raised on the SixtyFeet site within the next few days. And you may just gasp out loud when you hear what God did -- through you and through the people you told about SixtyFeet. It's good.

Stay tuned...

By the way, if you'd like to have a hand in another great God story, stop by the Cupcake Kids site this week -- and get involved. We're kicking off the year with a fun give-away, so don't miss it!