Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Ch-ch-ch-changes

I miss my red hair.

A lot.

Do you remember it?


That sassy 'do with the blond pieces too?

It was around before the bangs.

Before the brown came back into town.


Oh red, I miss you.

Maybe I'll see you again really soon...


...like on Thursday.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Setting a New Pace

I havent blogged about running in a long time. Let me start by saying I still run. Sometime around this time last year I got a little burned out with the whole running thing. Maybe I blogged about my discontent, I don't remember, but I was really starting to dread ANY exercise at all. I'd planned to run another half marathon (gosh, remembering this seems so long ago, much further back than simply a year. I checked last year's posts just to make sure. So you won't have to. See, aren't I nice?), but bowed out after lots of internal and external struggling. Issues with pride and unhappiness... wow - this is quickly becoming more about things much deeper than simply running. What a year it's been.

I'm thankful to be in a much different, much better place all around now.

And so now after a year of kinda sorta on and off running, a busy and excruciatingly hot summer, then training for a triathlon, I've once again regained some semblance of enjoyment from running.
I think I might run a little faster in these fun shoes. They remind me of a peacock feather and are lovely. I'm supremely thankful for the cool Rockport winters... if you can even call it "Winter." I wore a sleeveless dress and strappy sandals to a wedding shower this morning and was absolutely pleasant. But for real, and this should be obvious, running in humid, 96 degree weather is hard. It's been much easier to run farther and faster in the cool winter weather.


Thanks to Pinterest for more motivating pictures and phrases and catchy little doodads. If ever you need a little motivation to exercise (or a huge blow to your ego and self esteem), just click on the "fitness" tab. A few pins in and I'm either looking for a dozen cookies or strapping on my running shoes.

Oh that Pinterest.


I'm looking forward to the release of these new Nike Fuel bands, designed to be worn and keep track of ALL your daily activity- not just your workouts. There's an app that goes along with it that you can use to set goals and bluetooth back and forth to the band, which tracks steps taken, calories burned and overall daily fitness. Challenge yourself to be more active each day and watch your success! I think they come out in February and will run like $150 or something. Maybe I can shoot for next birthday?

(all images via pinterest)
I think between those shoes and this skirt (It really is made for running! Imagine that! It's a Lululemon specialty and would go just right with one of their fabulous tanks. Between that and the Fuelband, I'd be out some beaucoup bucks.), I could probably at least feel like I could run farther and faster than ever.

And lets face it, thinking you can run forever is 90% of the battle.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Most recently

The last week can be summed up in 1 word: work. You can always bet that when it seems like I'm completely neglecting my blog, it's because I'm either out of town, or working multiple days in a row. So here's a little recap of what's been going on in our house over the last week or so.

1. Most recently, or should I say, currently, we are watching the NFC Championship. This basically consists of Jordan jumping around and screaming and clapping his hands for 3 hours while his team of choice, the San Francisco 49ers finally make their way to and through the playoffs. Go niners! Beat the Giants!

2. New Jewelry! Stella & Dot released their new spring 2012 line and I am loving almost everything, which is not good for my wallet. These earrings are just lovely:


I got these and about a jazillion other pairs of earrings, a couple of necklaces and a bracelet or two. I love it all!

3. I read The Hunger Games. After several recommendations from my sister and some friends, and having hours upon hours of driving time to and from Atlanta, I downloaded all 3 books to my iPad and went to town. For the record, I also read the Stephanie Plum #18 book on the way to Atlanta too and it was kind of lame. I may very well be done with that series, but am looking forward to seeing the One for the Money movie that comes out this weekend!

HG was good! I sped through The Hunger Games, quickly read Catching Fire, and eventually finished Mockingjay. The first of the series was by far my favorite, and although I appreciate a lack of foul language and sexual situations, I'm still a little surprised that these books are written for young adults. But what am I saying, I read Stephen King as a "young adult," meaning I'd probably have been much better off putting away the Hunger Games as opposed to Cujo, The Green Mile, and Pet Cemetery. I'm sure almost the entire planet has already read this series, but if you haven't, they could be worth your time.

So that's about it. Boring few weeks here at the house, which isn't always a bad thing. We've got a busy year to come and I look forward to sharing the places we're going (both near and FAAAR) and the things we're doing. So hang in there friends, not all my posts will be about football, jewelry and books. Just this one.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Passion 2012 (#2 Revisited)

In light of my most recent blog, it seems divinely appropriate to revisit the same subject matter once again. Because today is Human Trafficking Awareness Day. If you haven't taken a minute to read my previous post, there you will find some information regarding the current issue of slavery in our world today. 27 million men, women, and children are exploited as bonded slaves in our world today- making it the third largest international crime industry. According to CNN, the UN estimates the total market value of human trafficking at 32 billion dollars. And this kind of thing isn't as far away as you might think...

(Image via CNN)

Let us remember that our God does not stand for injustice, but loves mercy.

Take some time today to educate yourself on this out of control problem.

Pray for those who are enslaved. Pray for those fighting this battle. Pray for FREEDOM.









Monday, January 9, 2012

Passion 2012 (2)

I bet you didn't know there are approximately 27 MILLION slaves in the world today.

I bet you didn't know that the number of people in slavery at this moment are more than at any other time in history.

I bet you didn't know that everyday thousands of men, women, and children are trapped as bonded labor slaves. Abused in factories. Trafficked for sexual exploitation.

I bet you didn't know that Atlanta, Georgia is a major hub for human trafficking right here in the United States.

Every year, Passion latches onto a cause worth supporting. The Passion dream team is closely paired with the Do Something Now organization and between the two of them, they bring an awareness each year to the needs that are all around us. Needs that we as Christians should feel a burden to get behind and support as well. This year was no different, but in some ways for me it was. This year the focus was FREEDOM. Freedom throughout the world from human trafficking and slavery.


I don't know about you, but before Passion, I was mostly in the dark about this issue of modern day slavery. I enjoy my life of ease where food is plentiful and my iPhone and iPad are always charged and close by. I never even dreamed that this issue of human trafficking was as wide spread and ugly as it truly is. Indifference is NOT an option.


The goal set before us Passion-goers was to raise $1 million dollars to fund 6 different organizations that are fighting against human trafficking, educating others on modern day slavery to prevent the further spread, and rehabilitating those who have escaped a life in slavery. God showed his miraculous glory and provision and our grand total (remember- college students... 4 days...) was $3,066,670.

Three. Million. Dollars.

Let that sink in for just a minute.

In the name of Jesus, 45000 college students raised 3 million dollars in an effort to end modern day slavery. As I said, we gave to 6 separate organizations, and with the excess money given, we were able to fund many other services both in the US and around the world. 25 children will be rescued from slavery in Cambodia and raised in a Christ-centered home, where they will receive medical care, counseling and education. 1,100 freed slaves will have a new outlook on life through International Justice Mission's aftercare program, intended to equip these people with the skills to flourish in their newfound freedom. 22 rescue operations have been funded with IJM that will result in freeing hundreds of children from bonded slavery. 45,000 Ukranian students will be educated on the strategies and methods used by traffickers through the A21 Campaign's Prevention Program. Tiny Hands International has set up border monitoring stations along the Nepal/India border and 8 new monitoring stations and safe homes will be made available. Finally, here in the United States, funds were given to the Wellspring program located in Atlanta, providing 12 furnished homes to those escaping exploitation, as well as The Atlanta Project which is a new task force of the Atlanta Police Department directed at preventing, tracking, and ending human trafficking in Atlanta.

All that and more. Praise God. HE does not stand for injustice and neither should we. Together we are a force for good!

Surprised?

Want to do something NOW? Check out these links and get educated. Give some cold hard cash to these organizations. Come on! Poor college kids raised $3 million dollars! Check out these links for additional information, additional organizations, and ways to give.

www.dosomethingnow.com (click on the Give Now/Freedom box to the right to donate to the causes I listed and described above)

www.equipandempower.org (This ministry is the brainchild of Christine Caine who came and spoke to Passion 2012 about the ugliness of trafficking. Spend some time at this site!)

www.slaveryfootprint.org (Are you interested in seeing how much of your life funds slavery? This is an eye opening site that will shock you- I challenge you to check it out and truly see how much of your life is already supporting slavery.)

Most of all, let us all pray together that the Lord will raise up a movement of His followers to help end modern day slavery for good. Indifference is not an option.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Passion 2012

Passion 2012 is already behind us which is bittersweet. It's going to be impossible for me to knit words together that will convey the experience I had, but I'm going to try and give you a small taste of the way that the Lord's presence moved in and through Passion 2012.

First, check out this little video. Oh I hope it works and is clear enough- it's just a little iPhone video I took during worship on day #2 during one of my favorite corporate worship songs.

video

I just only hope you can see from the video the magnitude that was Passion 2012. The dream team upgraded to the Georgia Dome last year because Philips Arena had more than sold out. Little did anyone know, the Georgia Dome would also sell out- meaning approximate 45,000 people, mainly 18-25 year olds would gather together to praise and proclaim the name of God. It was marvelous and breathtaking. All of us singing along together made my ears ring. It was as close a picture that I have experienced to what Heaven might be like- all God's people gathering together and praising Him.


Here's our little group, who as I previously mentioned, was awesome. In the face of little sleep and cramped quarters, they were patient and kind to one another. It was so exciting, as a leader of this motley crew, to see them experience the presence of God in their own way. Two of our students came to a knowledge of God's grace in their lives and jumped in headfirst to a life committed to Christ. One of them will openly share about a life formerly ensnared by addiction, anger, and depression. To see the renewed joy on his face and his new understanding of peace and freedom- this did my heart a world of good. Our God is so good.

Check out some more shots from around the Dome:




(this is a shot from the top of the dome!)

Dr. Piper! He is always a challenge, but in a good way, and this week was no shortage. Jordan and I were lucky enough to hear both Dr. Piper and Francis Chan twice as they both spoke to our community group and at a main session. We also heard from Beth Moore, Louie Giglio, and Christine Caine (more about her later...). There was a huge emphasis this year on reading scripture. But wait- you say- isn't that the point? Yes, but the reading wasn't a few verses that are tied into a message. The opening session spent the first 45 minutes simply reading passages from the Bible. Just the Bible. Then, on Wednesday, the morning session consisted of reading the book of Ephesians. Just the Bible. It was refreshing. It was glorious.

I'll save another post to discuss the cause that Passion 2012 adopted, so stay tuned to hear what 45,000 college students raised $3 million to support.


Jordan and I were in the glitter black community group. Yes, there were so many people and so many community groups that there were plain color groups and glitter color groups. Two thumbs up to whomever decided on using glitter to differentiate additional groups. Three thumbs up to the person who designated the leader group as glitter black. It satisfied the magpie in me. Anyway. Enough about glitter. Tim Smith, senior executive pastor at Pinelake Church in MS, was our fearless leader. Again this year, I had a girl from Australia in my family group (Hayley kept me sane and offered a little extra girl power to a group of men), which I find to be phenomenal that someone would travel from Australia to Passion. It just goes to show how far reaching Passion (and most importantly, God's glory) really is.



Stay tuned for more updates and stories from Passion 2012.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

It's 2012. Aren't we supposed to have flying cars already?

We've started out the new year by logging 660 miles on trusty Van #2, finishing the first leg of our trip to Passion 2012.

Our chariot:


It's been a good trip so far (pleasedontjinxmyselfpleasedontjinxmyself). The ride went by relatively quickly and everyone is getting along, despite being cramped in a van since 7:30 this morning.


The group minus one, who we picked up in Houston. We have a great group of people here- Jordan and I (mostly "I") had a come-to-Jesus before we left, and I've been pleasantly pleased to see everyone being super cooperative, flexible, patient and kind to each other. Sure, it's only day 1, but we're all basically adults and hopefully this trend will continue.


Jordan did all the driving, which I am thankful for! I read an entire book, which means it's a good thing I downloaded 4 before we left. We made it all the way to Mobile, Alabama, which leaves us 321 miles still to travel (or about 5 hours). One of my very dearest friends lives in Mobile and it was an absolute treat to see her and spend some time catching up and laughing together. I look forward to seeing her again on our way back home.

Tomorrow, we'll be up bright & early once again and complete our trip to Atlanta. Stay tuned for more pictures and stories!
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