Thursday, December 27, 2012

I LIKE adoption

A while ago, my husband introduced me to the Gospel Coalition's website.  If you've never checked it out, I highly recommend it.  There are so many good articles and resources there.  The Gospel Coalition was founded by men like Tim Keller, John Piper and Don Carson if that tells you anything. 

He recently found this video on adoption on the Coalition's site.  It was made by I Like Giving. I Like Giving is a movement to inspire people to live generously. It doesn't say "give" generously, but "live" generously. There's a big difference when you think about it. 

In this video you will meet the Dennehy family. They are a beautiful picture of what love is and can be.  It's also a wonderful picture of adoption.  What a gift...the gift of family!  I am reminded that my stuff and my possessions cannot be what define me.  If they do, then I'll never be satisfied.  The most important thing is love.  Love for others.love that makes me want to live sacrificially.  A love that says this American dream is a lie and it cannot satisfy you...only Jesus and living for Him can.





Love
Tracy
 

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas this year

The season is a gift,
when love came down to let us live
-TobyMac



Merry Christmas from our family to yours!


May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with Hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13

Love
Tracy

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ways to help


Just like everyone else  I can't think about the victims or pray for their friends and family  without getting tears in my eyes.  It is beyond words and comprehension.  I am so thankful that I can go to God on behalf of these families. I am thankful that he is the great Comforter because I am at a loss.  Joanna has listed on her blog, A Cup of Jo, some other ways we can help.  She has named some local organizations that we can give a donation to that will go directly to the families of the victims.  Joanna has also given the school address.  To send a letter or card of love to the school and parents the address is:  

Sandy Hook Elementary School
12 Dickerson Drive
Newtown, CT. 06482


If you want to honor these children and adults who lost their lives in a more permament way, I can't think of a more fitting honor to them than to help another child go to school.  In other parts of the world, attending school is a luxury and one that most families can't afford.  There are so many incredible organizations out there helping others but our family can personally recommend The Kilgoris Project and Compassion International.
It's not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving.
-Mother Teresa


Love
Tracy
                                                    

Monday, December 17, 2012

sinners

"God does not love sinners because they are attractive; sinners are attractive to
 God because he loves them."   
-Martin Luther

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Joys!

We are all still adjusting to each other but life is good!  Life as a family of five has been alot of fun.  Jonathan is full of joy!  He brings so much to our lives! He loved decorating the tree but has really shown no interest since.  


Jonathan had so much fun making his own Christmas tree.


And even more fun tearing off all of the buttons! :)




Sibling love!!




Baths and balance bikes rock!  Two of his favorite things to do!





We made these yummy cookies and you can find the recipe here.  They are easy and who doesn't love chocolate and peppermint together!




You can go here and here and here to get some great Christmas printables!

If you want to be inspired and read a story of hope, the hope that only  Jesus brings...go read this post.   You will cry...just fair warning.  Thank you to my friend, Sarah, for introducing me to Sara's blog. 

 Phil Wickham has a new Christmas album, Songs for Christmas.   We love it!  It plays all the time at our house.  It is hard to have a bad day when Christmas songs are playing!

Evermore



The First Noel


Love
Tracy











Monday, December 10, 2012

a book list

We love reading Christmas books together as a family each year. Have you seen the list, 50 Fabulous Christmas Books for Kids?   Simple As That  has a  put together a great list!  She has researched and listed  so many wonderful books ...it is a great resource.  You can go here to check out the list of books.


There are some books I would add to her list.  We love Night Tree by Eve Bunting.  It is about a family who has the tradition of going into the woods every year to decorate a live tree with food for the animals in the forest.



Tomie dePaolo's The Legend of the Poinsettia and The Birds of Bethlehem are some of our favorites.  The Legend of the Poinsettia is about a girl's unselfish gift to baby Jesus.  The Birds of Bethelehem is the nativity story from birds perspective.  It is beautiful!




The Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree by Gloria Houston is another touching and inspiring story.  Ruthie's family  provides the town they live in with a Christmas tree each year.  With Ruthie's father off to war it falls to Ruthie and her Mom to get the tree and continue the tradition.



Happy Monday!
Love
Tracy





Friday, December 7, 2012

another Prince

The Advent season is in full swing at our house. The last few years, we’ve used The Jesse Tree study to help focus on our minds on Christ.  We love it and it has become a family tradition.  Each day, there is a scripture reading and a devotional thought that brings us all the way from creation to the birth of Jesus.  This year we’ve been using The Jesus Storybook Bible for some of our scripture readings.  If you have it, you already know how incredible the Storybook is.  I love the how the subtitle of the books says it...”every story whispers His name”.  We want our kids to know that every story and everything in the Bible points us to Jesus...everything is about Him.  I know that I sometimes forget that...I get to thinking that it is about me... I get into the mode of reading the Bible and searching for what the Bible is saying to me, or about me, when I should be looking at the Bible from the viewpoint of searching for what it is saying about Christ.  

Last night, using the Storybook Bible, we read the Old Testament story of Joseph.  You remember…sold into slavery by his jealous, older brothers…imprisoned and forgotten by everyone in Egypt….blessed by God to basically become the Prince of Egypt. I won't include the whole story from the Storybook, but I wanted to include part of it because of how beautifully Sally Lloyd-Jones weaved it back to Christ.  This picks up where Joseph’s brothers, who thought he was dead long ago, have come back to Egypt, needing his help, and are very fearful because they thought that Joseph thought they had stolen from him (see Gen. 45)…… 

They came and knelt before the new prince.  His brothers didn't know that the prince was Joseph. But Joseph knew who they were.  Joseph's dream, the one about his brothers bowing down to him was coming true.  "It's me!" Joseph cried.  When they saw it was Joseph, his brothers were afraid.  They had wronged Joseph. They had sinned and they knew it. Now Joseph would certainly punish them.  But Joseph looked at his brothers and his eyes filled with tears.  Even though his brothers had hurt him and hated him and wanted him dead- in spite of everything- he couldn't stop loving them. His heart, which they had broken, filled up with love, and Joseph forgave them.  Joseph threw his arms around them. "Don't be afraid," he said. "Behind what you were doing, underneath everything that was happening, God was doing something good. God was making everything right again."  Joseph didn't punish them, he rescued them-he brought God's special family to live safely with him in Egypt.  One day, God would send another Prince, a young Prince whose heart would break.  Like Joseph, he would leave his home and his Father.  His brothers would hate him and want him dead.  He would be sold for pieces of silver.  He would be punished even though he had done nothing wrong.  But God would use everything that happened to this young Prince-even the bad things-to do something good: to forgive the sins of the whole world.
-The Jesus Storybook Bible


For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.
Romans 8:3a, NIV

Love
Tracy

Monday, December 3, 2012

Love is Christmas

 Have you heard this Christmas song before?  The words and the music are beautiful. It is all about LOVE. I hope your season of advent is off to a wonderful start.






I don’t care if the house is packed, or the strings of light are broken.
I don’t care if the gifts are wrapped, or there’s nothing here to open.
Love is not a toy, and no paper will conceal it.
Love is simply joy, that I’m home.
I don’t care if the carpet stained, we’ve got food upon our table.
I don’t care if it’s gonna rain, our little room is warm and stable.
Love is who we are, and no season can contain it.
Love would never fall for that.
We sing …
Wooooo.
Wooooo.
Wooooo.
Let love lead us, love is Christmas.
.....
Why so scared that you’ll mess it up, when perfection keeps you haunted?
All we need is your best my love, that’s all anyone ever wanted.
Love is how we do, let no judgment overrule it.
Love I look to you.
And sing …
Wooooo.
Wooooo.
Wooooo.
Loooove.
Wooooo.
Let love lead us. Love is Christmas.
Let love lead us. Love is Christmas.

Love
Tracy

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A good reminder

We give glory to God by simply being ourselves.
-Brennan Manning

Monday, November 19, 2012

Shopping

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.
-Winston Churchill

Tis the season to start shopping.  I am really trying to not even go into stores to buy Christmas gifts for the ones I love this year.  I know I won't be able to totally avoid the Christmas frenzy but I'm going to try.  What can be better than giving to our loved ones and knowing that someone else has benefitted from the gift we bought?  These are some of the websites and opportunities that I have found that not only provide great products but also help others.

Right now there is a great online auction going on at www.achildsvoiceauction.wordpress.com.  Each dollar earned from this auction goes directly to A Child's Voice.  A Child's Voice is an organization in Uganda advocating for vulnerable children and families.  The proceeds from the auction will be used specifically to set up a benevolence/emergency fund for families and children in Uganda and to help start a chicken farm. This chicken farm will be a self sustaining funding source for ACV and will be creating jobs for parents.  So go check out the auction...incredible items to bid on and so many great Christmas presents!







Freeset Global is working every day to help women in slavery break free.  Their bags are listed at   www.freesetglobal.com.  Freeset is located in the most infamous sex district in Kolkata, India.  Within a few miles are 10,000 women who sell their bodies every day.  Many of the women are trafficked from Bangladesh, Nepal and rural India and for some, poverty has left them no choice but to sell their bodies.  Freeset is working to change the lives of these women stuck in slavery.  They are providing these women with jobs making bags.  I love their tag line...In Business for Freedom.  I bought one of these bags and I cannot wait for it to come.  Please join me and go buy a bag or a couple! 

There is a brand new shop that has just launched.  It is called She Does Justice.  I love it.  You can go here and check it out www.shedoesjustice.com.  Megan has beautiful scarves, headbands, prints and bracelets. All proceeds from the sales each month go to an organization that is working to help others. 



Another great bag company is working with folks in Clarkston, Georgia and it is called Plywood People.  You can check them out at www.plywoodpeople.com. They work with a large refugee population from Burma and hire them to make bags, wallets, tshirts, sketchbooks and laptop and iPad sleeves.  This organization is unbelievable.  They use the billboards that the advertisting companies throw away, use them to create jobs for the refugees and create the coolest bags. What an incredible mission to a huge community of people that can easily be overlooked and forgotten.   


If you live in Charlotte then come to the 5th annual Cookies for Kids' Cancer bake sale.  It will be on December 8th and 9th at Park Road Shopping Center in front of Blackhawk Hardware.  I got the best baked goods and cookie mixes last year, plus all the proceeds benefit cancer research for kids.  You can check out the national website here.  I will be working the sale this year. I hope to see you there!


Happy Shopping
Love
Tracy




Saturday, November 17, 2012

Jonathan

It's been three weeks since we landed in the U.S.  Our family is doing well and taking one day at a time.  Some days I feel like I have it all under control other days it is just a mess, but it is a good mess! Jonathan has the biggest smile and a laugh that is contagious!  But despite the joy in this little boy, everyday I see the evidence of the trauma he has experienced in his short life and I am reminded that this is not the way God intended it to be. As a dear  friend  (who has also adopted) wrote to me this week...what a conflict that for us to experience such joy, he had to experience such loss.  I am thankful that God is the one who is doing the healing and that we are just his vessels!

Every week has been a week of firsts and this one was no different.  Jonathan got to experience his first college football game.  We went to the Arkansas/South Carolina game.  He had a great time and  is becoming a pro at calling the Hogs.


This week he went to his first doctor's appointment.  I knew after our Visa medical check up in Uganda that going to the doctor would be tough. It was.  It took Jason and I and two nurses to hold him down while he got his shots.  Poor boy!  The good news is we won't have to do that for another two months.  We also completed our first social worker visit this week.  We are required to do three visits with our social worker during the first six months of being home.  The adoption paperwork and requirements don't stop when they are home! :)




Have a great weekend!
Love
Tracy




Thursday, November 8, 2012

Happy Thursday!

Jonathan and I  have been home from Uganda for about two weeks.  The last two weeks have been a blur and we are still in a fog but life is good!  We are so blessed to get to be Jonathan's family.  The mamas at Jonathan's orphanage taught them many songs.  J has two favorite ones that he sings every day.  His very favorite is Baby Jesus! I wanted to share our sweet boy singing it...it doesn't get any better than this!  Happy Thursday!




Love
Tracy


Friday, September 28, 2012

Almost home!

Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.
Proverbs 25:25

I have been in Uganda since Monday and  much has happened this week.  Our written ruling and guardianship order are finished.  We are waiting on the birth certificate and passport.  Our lawyer filed for our birth certificate this morning.  It is almost done!  I can't wait to bring Jonathan home!  

Thank you for the prayers through all of this. Please continue to pray about the timing of the birth certificate and passport.  God has once again showed me I am not in charge, he is and his timing is perfect!  

Love
Tracy

Monday, September 10, 2012

Timers


"Godly patience is the art of letting God set the timer."
Jeanne Hendricks


Monday, September 3, 2012

Mercy

If my children were slaves and another mom could do something to help me gain my children's freedom I pray and hope that she would do something.  I am the mom that can do something, you are the mom that can do something. Today I am joining other bloggers to highlight the work of the Mercy Project. I invite you to read about their work  and I humbly ask you to get involved. 

"God does not want us to merely give the poor perfunctory help, but to ponder long and hard about how to improve their entire situation." 
 Tim Keller in Generous Justice  





There’s an estimated 7,000 children who work in the Ghana fishing industry. Some of
these children are as young as 5 and 6 years old.  All of these children are slaves.
–Mercy Project

Today many in our country will take a day off from our jobs to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers.  No matter if we’re celebrating at home or at the beach, we’re entering into a tradition that has largely been shaped by Labor Unions - organizations that are dedicated to protecting workers’ interests and improving their wages, hours, and working conditions.  Today as we lounge around or hang out with friends and family, we’re not only celebrating hard work, we’re honoring fair, ethical working practices and the laws that prevent discrimination, abuse, and child labor in our country.  Without these laws in place (and enforced), the most vulnerable members of society suffer.  Who are the most vulnerable? Children. 

Today as we’re celebrating the systems in our own country that strive to prevent injustices like child trafficking and child labor, we’re mindful of the many child slaves around the world who are unprotected and the organizations, like Mercy Project, who are working to free them.

As a mother, it’s difficult for me to imagine my children working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I’m unable to wrap my brain around the thought of my children engaged in long, hard days of physical labor, eating one meal a day, and then falling asleep at night on a dirt floor filled with other slave children.  Yet this is the daily reality for kids who have been trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana, Africa.  As with much of Africa, there is a great deal of poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, this leaves many mothers in an unimaginable position: sell their children to someone who can take better care of them or watch them starve to death. Most of the mothers are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves and their mothers never see them again.  Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves.  Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta.

We invite you to watch this moving, 10 minute documentary about the issues surrounding child labor and trafficking in Ghana and most importantly the hope Mercy Project is bringing to children and entire communities in Africa.  Mercy Project is the only NGO working on Lake Volta addressing the injustice of child labor and child trafficking at its root - by strengthening the Ghanaian economy and eliminating the structures that cause the demand for trafficked children.
Whether these ideas of child labor, child trafficking, and modern-day slavery are new to you or you’re aware of these injustices, but need to hear some good news every once in awhile, we invite you to become a part of what Mercy Project is doing in Ghana.  When Mercy Project frees their first group of children this month, we can all celebrate together.


Learn more and get involved by –

• Watch Mercy Project’s short documentary.


• Follow Mercy Project on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/mercyproject

• Connect with Mercy Project via Twitter.  https://twitter.com/mercyproject

• Spend some time on Mercy Project’s website. 

• Share about Mercy Project’s work in Ghana with your friends. 

Although child trafficking, child labor, and the unstable economies that result in these injustices are a tragedy, we’re grateful for what Mercy Project is doing to protect the vulnerable and for allowing us to be a part of this story.   While we’re commemorating labor laws and ethical work in our own country today, we invite you to follow along on this journey with Mercy Project to protect and free children in Ghana.


Love
Tracy

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Half a World Away


 
Half a World Away by Jill Marshall-Work

Half a world away
Sometimes it seems we're so far apart
But a half a world away
Is not too far for a journey of the heart
My little one, my precious joy
I'm waiting for you
My precious son, my little boy
I know you're waiting too

Half a world away
A child waits for a family of his own
While a half a world away
A family waits to come bring him home

My little one, my precious joy
I'm whispering a prayer
My precious son, my baby boy
I hope to soon be there

Half a world away
So many miles to bring you home at last
And half a world away
So many months of waiting are past.

My little one, my precious joy
You're fin'ly home to stay
My precious son, my little boy
We celebrate this day...

Knowing we will no longer be
half a world away.
 
 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

What we made on Monday...

We went our annual apple picking trip this weekend.  We have lots of apples and it is time to pull out all the yummy fall recipes.  One of our favorites is apple donuts.  It is a  recipe passed down from my Mom.


Apple Donuts (apple muffins)
Mix together:
3 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 1/2 tsp.baking powder
2/3 c. shortning
then add:
2 c. grated raw apple
2 eggs (beaten)
1/2 c. milk
Topping:
1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 c. butter


Mix all ingredients except topping ingredients.  Fill a greased muffin pan 2/3 full. I use a mini muffin tin. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Mix sugar and cinnamon together.  Melt  butter.  Remove donuts from pan and roll the tops  in the butter, then in the sugar/cinnamon mixture.  Enjoy!


Love
Tracy






Thursday, August 23, 2012

By the numbers...

Happy Thursday! We are still waiting for J. Today I just thought I would put our waiting into numbers.  When I see it in actual number of days it blows my mind a bit. 


It has been 671  days (October 22,2010) since we applied to Holt's Waiting Child Program to pursue the adoption of J.

It has been 625 days  (December 7, 2010) since we went through the interview process to be selected as his family.

It has been 623 days ( December 9,2010)  since we were told we were chosen to be his family.

It has been  42 days since we last saw J.  We miss him!

Thank you for the prayers.  Please keep them coming.  We are so close!
Love
Tracy

Monday, August 20, 2012

Heritage and Heart

I want to share about one of my favorite Etsy stores, Heritage and Heart...globally patriotic clothes.  It was created by my friend, Sheila.  Sheila and I went to college together. She and her husband,Chad, are also adoptive parents.  Sheila wanted to create clothing  that her two children could wear to show pride not only in their American culture but also in their birth culture.  Out of that desire she created Heritage and Heart.  Her clothing is handmade and beautiful.



This is the original tshirt. You can add any country's flag



This is Js shirt!


Cute panda tee with skirt.


Love this blanket!






Elyse's favorite skirt!

So go to her store and check out all of her wonderful clothing items. If you use the coupon code SHEEHYBLOG you will get 15% off your order now through the end of September!
Happy Monday!
Tracy



Friday, August 10, 2012

Working on this...


 So true!  I am working on this...


  I just came across Lindbergh's book and I am very excited to read it.  Have you heard of it?   There is a great series of posts on the book here




While on vacation on Florida's Captiva Island in the early 1950s, Lindbergh wrote this essay-style work taking shells on the beach for inspiration, and reflecting on the lives of Americans, particularly American women, in the mid-twentieth century. She shares her meditations on youth and age; love and marriage; peace, solitude and contentment during her visit.


Have a great weekend!
Love
Tracy

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Adoption feels like...

Adoption feels like genetic connection because it links you directly not only to your own gene pool but to the genes of all humanity, all the way to the roots from which we all originated...adoption carries the added dimension of connection not only to your own tribe but beyond, widening the scope of what constitutes love, ties and family.  It is a larger embrace.

-Isabella Rossellini

Friday, August 3, 2012

Still waiting

We have been home from our second trip for three weeks.  The waiting continues.  We know we are on the home stretch but for some reason the closer we get the harder it is to wait.  We know that soon J will be home and all of this will be a memory!  His bed is ready, his clothes are hung up in the closet and folded in the dresser, and his toys are just waiting on him. We are waiting on him!  Life has been busy here but even in our busyness we still feel incomplete...one of us is missing.  I was in one of those pity party moments and I read a quote from Beth Moore.  I love how God comes to us in exactly the right moment and exactly the right way.  

Really, what I meant was this: you can't rush God.  You can't push Him.  You can't pull Him. You can't tug Him or taunt Him. If He has a mind to linger right where He is, you can't budge Him one inch. You can, however, try to go without Him; but, chances are, you'll come back because, if you really have a heart for God, you'll be miserable beyond His blessing. 
-Beth Moore

Have a great weekend!
Love
Tracy

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Free the Girls

"He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well.  Is that not what it means to know me? declares the Lord.
Jeremiah 22:16


A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about modern day slavery and the sex trade industry.  At the end of that post I listed different ways that we can help these women and girls who have been rescued from slavery. I have been doing a lot of research on this topic and I am amazed at all the groups out there working hard to  get these women and girls out of slavery and the work that goes into helping these ladies get on their feet and recover.

Let me introduce you to Free the Girls.

We work alongside safe houses around the world that rescue women
 from sex trafficking and provide rehabilitation services.
Your donation helps survivors of human trafficking make a living selling used clothing while they recover and build their new life.


Selling second hand clothes has not only become quite a business here in the US but has become a profitable way to make a living in many other countries.  Free the Girls is using this sustainable model  to help women who have come out of the sex industry start their own business.

What do these women sell?  They sell bras.

Why bras?  These women who have come out of slavery have been abused by men. This type of business gives them the opportunity to only work with women.  How brilliant is that!

How can we help?  We can donate our quality, used bras.  The women receive their first inventory of bras at no cost to them.  They do pay a small fee for additional bras once they sell their initial inventory.  That fee is used to help with shipping costs. 

Would you help?  Would you donate a bra?  I am going to be collecting bras over the next couple of weeks.  If you live in the area, I will be shipping off a box in mid August.  If you don't live in this area you can just mail in your donation directly to Free the Girls.

Free the Girls
8200 S. Quebec Street
#A3-137
Centennial, CO. 80112

Christ has no body on earth but yours,
no hands but yours,
no feet but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which
Christ's compassion for the world is to look out;
yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good;
and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now.
-Saint Teresa of Avila



  Love
Tracy

Monday, July 30, 2012

Out of doors

  "Our minds, as well as our bodies, have need of the out-of-doors.  Our spirits, too, need simple things, elemental things, the sun and the wind and the rain, moonlight and starlight, sunrise and mist and mossy forest trails, the perfumes of dawn and the smell of fresh-turned earth and the ancient music of the wind among the trees. "
-Edwin Way Teale




Friday, July 27, 2012

Give Me Faith

There are times in my life when it is so easy to believe the lies from satan instead of believing God and his truth. I am so thankful that in those times God not only uses his Spirit, his word but also a simple song to point me back to him.



The Lord is my light and my salvation;
     whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?
Psalm 27:1



Love
Tracy

Monday, July 23, 2012

not just what we do...

I was reading in my devotional book, It's over, this morning and I came across this quote.

"It's not only what we do, but also what we do not do, for which we are held accountable."
-Moliere

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Half the Church

One hundred years from now may it never be said of this generation of ezers (warriors) that we folded our hands and left God's kingdom work to others. May it never be said that we ignored the cries of the helpless and focused on ourselves.
-Carolyn Custis James


For the last month I have been reading a book, Half the Church : Recapturing God's Global Vision for Women by Carolyn Custis James.  The book only has 8 chapters but it is one of those books where I read a chapter and have to think about it for a couple of days. She challenges us as God's daughters to be more, to look at ourselves the way God does and to realize that God has a purpose and global vision for his daughters. Carolyn James was propelled to write the book Half the Church because of what she read about in the book Half the Sky:Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. 

Half the Sky is a disturbing expose of the world's dark and largely forgotten underbelly where the misery and abuse of women and girls break the scales of human suffering. But I am at a total loss for words to describe the feeling that swept over me at the end of the book, where, while recognizing that Christian organizations are deployed in this fight, the authors threw down the gauntlet for the rest of the church to step up to the plate.  I was jolted to read, "Americans of faith should try as hard to say the lives of African women as the lives of unborn fetuses."  What troubled me most about this open challenge to the church was that Christians are not the loudest voices to sound the alarm, nor are we the most visible at the forefront in addressing this humaniatarian crisis. - Half the Church, Carolyn James

In the book, she talks about how we are often held back either because of the small vision we have of ourselves or because we listen to the wrong messages today about what women in God's kingdom can and can't do.  James, then moves the discussion to the devastating crisis that is happening to women and girls all over the world.  She lays down the challenge for  women who follow Christ to be on the front line of this war against modern day slavery and the sex trade.  As I have read through this book I am just hit with the thought over and over again...how in the world can I even sleep at night when other women and girls are living hell on this earth? I want to stop worrying about my 1st world problems and focus on the things that matter to Jesus.  The statistics are sickening.

300,000 girls in the US are in prostitution

2 million children worldwide in the sex trade industry (UNICEF)

80% of human trafficking victims are women and up to 50% are minors (US Dept. of State)

1 out every 3 women in the world has been raped, beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise violently abused in her lifetime  (UN Development fund for Women)


But we can do something about it...together.  There are so many ways to help. 

God created his daughters to be kingdom builders-to pay attention to what is happening around us, to take action and contribute.- Carolyn Custis James

Check out Women at Risk International. An incredible ministry and there are so many ways to get involved.

Sponsor a girl through Compassion or World Vision.  Give her the gift of an education and change her life.

Participate in International Justice's campaign of 100 postcards.

Join Care.


Most importantly we can pray and fast for these women, girls,and the people on the front lines rescuing them.  We can pray in our Bible study groups, small groups and in church.












Monday, July 16, 2012

Home again

Court went well this trip!  We are just waiting on the word to go and get J and bring him home.  We are praying it isn't longer than a month or two.




 All dressed up and waiting to be picked up to head to court.


Love
Tracy

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

72 hours

In a few short days we will be getting on one of these and heading to Uganda.  We are just a little bit excited!  Please pray for us!



Love
Tracy


Monday, July 2, 2012

It's Over

I want to introduce you to my friends, Shanita and Melanie. 



They have just published their first devotional book. The book is named It's Over: Finding Freedom By Breaking Negative Strongholds. Melanie and Shanita are incredible Christ followers, their love for Jesus overflows into the lives of others. They are the  friends who always leave you better off than the way they found you. I count their friendship a  big blessing in my life.  I am so excited that they have written this devotional.  It is a 9 week study on breaking free from strongholds in our lives. 

A negative stronghold can be described as an incorrect thinking pattern that molds itself into your way of belief.  These strongholds have the ability to affect your feelings and control how you respond to situations. Negative strongholds will change who you are and how you behave.  They may also present themselves as an inner child of your past, something in your background, or an episode that occurred that you have locked away in the back of your mind.  Although  put away, these former experiences feed and control certain behaviors today and manifest themselves as worry, depression, discouragement, or failure just to name a few.  It is satan's job to make negative strongholds permanently control your life. God knows your strongholds and He knows that satan uses them to ruin your relationship with Him.  He wants to protect your identity.
-Shanita and Melanie

I know I have strongholds in my life that affect my relationship with Christ. We all have them, but I know for myself it is easy to ignore them because they just become part of who I am.  It doesn't have to be that way.  I am excited to spend the next 9 weeks working through scripture and the questions and thoughts that Melanie and Shanita have shared in this devotional to help me breakthrough to a deeper relationship with Jesus.  You can buy the devotional book at their  website.

You are a hiding place for me;
    you preserve me from trouble;
    you surround me with shouts of deliverance.
Psalm 32:7, ESV

Love
Tracy

Sunday, July 1, 2012

some Sunday inspiration...

This beautiful watercolor print hangs in Elyse's room.  It is one of my favorite posters. The artist is Katie Daisy. Go check out her Etsy store and be inspired! I love her work. I love to use watercolors but nothing I paint ever looks like this! :)  This print is a daily reminder for me to be filled with Joy no matter what my circumstances.  I am also reminded every time I look at it that God gave Katie her talent and what a creative God I serve. 




May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Romans 15:13, ESV

Love
Tracy

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Who doesn't love a party?



It's a birthday party! My sweet  friend, Megan has been advocating for a precious little girl named Naomi.  Naomi is waiting to be adopted.  Her story is here.   Well,on Tuesday Naomi turns 7 but even more exciting than turning 7 is the fact that there are some wonderful families that are hoping to be Naomi's family.  Holt International is in the process of determining the best fit for Naomi.   In honor of Naomi's birthday, Megan is having a party over at Naomi's blog  The Sweet Naomi.  Would you consider joining our family in celebrating  Naomi by donating to the FIG fund that has been set up through Project Hopeful?   What an incredible gift to give to Naomi and her future family.  International adoption is expensive and any amount will go a long way to get Naomi home!   Please head on over to The Sweet Naomi and check out the party. 


 But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need,
yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?  Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
1 John 3:17-18


Love
Tracy