Short and Sweet

When was the last time you received a note in the mail? In and amongst the junk mail and bills, our mail boxes rarely are filled with notes and letters from friends and relatives. We live in a world where encouragement and praise can be received on a daily basis by those who we live life with.

But imagine you live in a world where you have no mail box.

Imagine you live in a world where there are no house numbers and street names.

Imagine you live in a world where no one gives you encouragement and praise.

Many of our Compassion sponsored children live in areas where it is very rare for them to receive mail of any kind.

But you can change all that!

Just yesterday, reading the Compassion blog, I was reminded how simple it is for me to set aside time to write a short and sweet note to the children we sponsor.

Here is what I wrote to Lina yesterday:

Hello Lina, 

I hope you are doing well! I was thinking about you today, so I decided to write to you to remind you how special you are to God. He loves you and is always watching over you.

Here is a question for you: If you could invent one thing to make life easier, what would it be?

I encourage you to spend time reading your Bible every day, learning more about God and His plan for you. Matthew 5:16 would be a good verse to read.

Love and hugs to you!

Short and sweet, and it didn't take much time for me to write this to her either.

Since I know the kids love receiving photos, I included this with the letter:

Click on the link here to download and add this image to your next letter

Click on the link here to download and add this image to your next letter

So what are you waiting for? Will you write a short and sweet letter to your Compassion children right now?

I love a good list!

Not sure if it is due to my somewhat Type A personality or being the first born, but I certainly love a good list.

And I love summer.

So imagine how excited I was when I found not one, not two, but three lists for this summer!

Today, I discovered a new website called Sacred Holidays.

Their tagline is "Less holiday chaos. A lot more Jesus."

I love the idea of less chaos and more Jesus.

But what really caught my eye was the three lists they are sharing for this summer.

A 90 day plan to read the Bible, a women's summer bucket list, and a summer photography challenge. All three lists are free on their website, you just need to share your email address with them.

Sacred Holidays summer lists

It has been quite a few years since I have read through the whole Bible. This is going to take some dedication on my part. But even if I get up a half an hour earlier each day (and cut out a little social media time), I believe I can make this work. Even if I get to the end of August and still have some reading to do, it will be better than if I had never started the challenge. Plus, spending time reading God's Word is always a good thing.

Speaking of reading, I have been working on my Goodreads challenge to read 30 books this year and I am making good progress. This year I am really trying to focus on reading books that have been living on my Kindle for too long. I printed up a list, but recently I learned about Bullet Journals. Have you heard about them?

You can get lost on the internet reading about Bullet Journals (go ahead, do a 'Google' search for them. Just be sure to come back here to read the rest of the post!). Anyway, I like the idea of having paper to do a 'brain dump'...things that take up space in my brain that I want/need to remember, but they really don't make sense to put on a calendar.

bullet journal book list

So in my simple journal, I have written out the books I hope to read in the upcoming months. Like I said, I love a good list!

Do you have any plans for this summer? What is on your list?

Getting Ready for the Next Chapter

Eighteen years ago, we started on a journey I never expected to be on. In the next couple of weeks, this chapter of my life will be coming to an end.

When we started homeschooling our children back in 1999, we were brand new Christians. I was trying to navigate so many new things. Learning to be a stay-at-home mom, learning basic Bible stories, and learning how to be our children's teacher. There were many days I was in way over my head. There were many days I just wanted to quit. There were even a couple of days that I packed the kids in the car while we were all in tears and I would drive to the parking lot of the local public school. I really didn't think we would ever make it this far.

In the beginning of our homeschool journey, I was really impressed with what some other homeschool students were achieving. I had high expectations of what I thought my children could do. I was determined that they were going to do so much more that I had achieved in my own schooling.

Thankfully, God had another plan.

The longer I homeschooled our children, the more I realized I had the definition of what it means to be a successful homeschool graduate all wrong. And this can go for the graduate of any type of school really.

In the beginning, I believed a successful homeschool graduate would enter prestigious colleges and earn high level degrees, then go on to high paying careers.

But now?

I believe the most successful homeschool graduates are those who have a love for learning and love God.

Since we were new Christians at the beginning of our homeschool journey, I spent a lot of time with our children learning how to study the Bible myself. We worked our way through many Kay Arthur Discover for Yourself children Bible studies. God was teaching me during this time, just as much as I was teaching our kids.

We spent many days learning together. Subjects that I never enjoyed in school became some of my new favorites.

And the more time I spent with my children, the more I realized that He has a better plan for them than I ever could imagine.

In just a few short weeks, my time as a homeschool mom will be ending. Amazing to me since I never, ever wanted to be a stay-at-home, homeschool mom in the first place!

my family

Looking back, there are definitely things I would have done different. But overall, I am so proud of my kids and I am so thankful for the many opportunities and experiences we have had together.

Looking forward, I pray that God gives me many more opportunities to create lasting memories with my children as they follow the path God has set before them.

 

 

Book List for Compassion Sponsors

Over the past five and a half years, books on my reading list have changed quite a bit. I have always loved to read, but the topic of global poverty and the injustices of this world have made their way into my list of books that I now read on a regular basis. It all started when I became more involved as a Compassion International volunteer.

The first book I read in this area was "Too Small to Ignore" by Wess Stafford. At the time I read this book, Wess Stafford was still the CEO and President of Compassion International. The book shares a lot of his childhood growing up in Africa as a child of missionary parents. Wess is a champion to millions of children around the world, and this book shares his heart for children. He encourages adults to invest in children, be available for them, and love them.

Since reading that book, I have read many others that encourage me to continue being an advocate for Compassion children.

Book List for Compassion Sponsors

Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch
  • The 4/14 Window by Luis Bush
  • When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert
  • Mission Drift by Peter Greer and Chris Horst
  • Small Matters by Greg Nettle and Jimmy Mellado
  • One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwerda
  • Just a Minute by Wess Stafford
  • The Locust Effect by Gary Haugen

What books have you read on this topic that you would add to this list?

What I Have Been Reading

This year, I decided to tackle some of the books that I have acquired and haven't read yet. The hard thing is, that I am continually seeing new books coming out that I also want to read. For someone who loves books and reading, this is a constant struggle for me. I thought about not adding any new books to my stack of books to be read this year, but that would be like not eating...ever!

At the beginning of the year, I did make a list of thirteen physical books that I own, and sixteen books on my Kindle that I have set a goal to read. To date, I have finished reading seven books on that list, as well as a couple of books I borrowed from the library and five new books I purchased this year. 

I really wanted to work my way through some of the books on my Kindle this year. I kind of forget that they are there, which is why I made the list. Many of those books I downloaded for free or was able to purchase for just a couple of dollars. But when I feel like reading, my Kindle is usually the last thing I pick up for reading. So far, I have stopped reading two books on my Kindle from my list this year. I think I got a little too crazy with downloading some of those free books to my Kindle when they have been available.

What I Have Been Reading

When I am traveling, I still like to bring a physical book. There is something about holding a book, actually turning the pages. And if it is a non-fiction book, I love to be able to underline passages that I want to slow down and read over again.

One book that I read recently that I just absolutely loved is 'Love Lives Here' by Maria Goff. Some things I underlined in this book:

  • "God stretches each of our lives before us like a canvas. He hand us the brushes and the paint and asks us to make our lives look like our unique version of His love. Pick your own colors, not someone else's. He only creates originals, not copies, and expects no less from us."
  • " We all don't need to do big things, but we can do equally important small things."
  • "We're not our platforms or our positions, we're His people."
  • "The lessons we're learning never really end because all of us are still growing, changing, and becoming better versions of ourselves."

The tag line for this book is: 'Finding what you need in a world telling you what you want'

Don't you just wish we had all the time in the world to listen to His voice instead of what the world is telling us?

What have you been reading lately?