Then Sings My Soul Saturdays - Grace Like Rain

*Please scroll down and disable my blog music before playing the video*

This week I have been thinking a great deal about God's grace. My Bible study has been diving into Ezekiel and the last few weeks we have reached the *your chances are all gone* chapters. God is now telling Ezekiel how He is going to destroy one nation after another because of their mockery of Him. He has already been telling Israel about their punishment and now He has moved into talking about those who cheered as Israel suffered. This week - Edom.

For as horrific as these people were to the Israelites, my heart just aches reading about their destruction. I ache for their pride and their jealousy - and their inability to see past it. How much God loves us and wishes to share His blessings with us and how often people choose to defile His name, reject His offer. How great a gift His grace is.

People can be so blind, so... well... not smart sometimes. I am truly grateful I live after Christ's sacrifice and am able to have such an amazing gift. If only those who can't see could see, feel and know how God's grace falls like rain. And believe.

Check out other TSMSS posts at Signs, Miracles, and Wonders!


Thankful Thursdays - 5 Senses

This week Iris at Grace Alone wrote her thankful post on the five senses. Sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. I realized as I read her post just how right she is - we often take for granted our senses and there are those who live without one or more of them. This has been a non-dramatic, non-emotional week (which is not a complaint!) and I like this topic so I will take a few moments to thank God that He, in His brilliance, offers us so many ways to enjoy Him, His creation and each other.

1. Sight. I am so grateful for all that I can see. My husband's and sons' faces, my dog wag his tail when I get home, the brilliant colors this fall has brought, my home lit by candles, new paint on the bathroom walls...

2. Sound. How grateful I am that I can hear music! Nothing soothes my heart like music, nothing gets me dancing and praising God like music. I love to play the piano and even more I love to hear my son play piano. I love to listen to my friends as they tell me what is happening in their lives - I love that I could hear the prayer request last night from Grace. She and her husband have opened their home to pregnant teenage girls - hoping to offer them an option to abortion and last night they were able to bring home their first girl. What an amazing praise and oh...the joyful tears! Now I get to hear how all of that goes, I get to meet the girl and share in her journey through this time.

3. Touch. Hugs. Kisses on the cheek. Holding hands with my husband. Tickling a baby. Brushing my niece's hair.

4. Smell. When I get to bake something for my family, cinnamon scented anything, burn my scented candles. God actually blessed me with an incredibly strong sense of smell and while it can be a bit tough at times (too much perfume about kills me...), I can usually smell something long before anyone else can. When we travel to one of my favorite places, Leavenworth, WA (it's a Bavarian-type village, not a federal prison :)), I can smell so many different pastries baking, the various foods the restaurants serve - so rich, so wonderful.... Ok. This has me thinking road trip!!!

5. Taste. All the stuff we get to eat! Ok - that sounds funny but it's true. I know I forget almost every day just how blessed I am that there is a grocery store on almost every corner. Am I craving chocolate? an apple? chicken? What do I want to eat? I can find it - in any form - AND actually taste it as I eat it - within minutes. There are those who have to travel hours to pick up their groceries and even then they are limited as to what they can purchase whether it be by availability or money. There are those who would stand stunned and speechless if they were to walk inside an American grocery store. They haven't seen that much food in their entire lives, let alone in one place.

God has been so overwhelmingly good to me. I don't know that my grateful heart can ever feel truly grateful enough. My prayer today is I never take Him or His gifts for granted.

May He bless you immensely today, too!

Quick add - I'm also thankful for days like today when the boss is out of the office and I have the time to read all of the awesome Thankful Thursday posts!!!! If you don't click and read you are really missing out! Grace Alone...


Random Things and the Leelou Launch Party - More!!!

Today we have C2's conference with his teacher. I'm praying it goes well but it never ceases to amaze me the things that are happening in school that we as parents don't learn about until conference day.

Part of me wishes the teacher would send home an agenda. That way, when they hit you with "his music teacher is having difficulty getting him to settle down while in class and considers him a major disruption" you can respond with something other than the deer in the headlights look, the plastered smile and a "We'll talk to him about that as soon as we get home."

It would be oh so helpful to be able to get your child's side of the story, too, so you're prepared with questions when you get in there. I don't know about you but if I ask my 8 year old boy if there is anything going on with any of his teachers, in any of his classes, etc. that I need to know about I get a firm "nope" and nothing more.

Anyone have any great ideas for an easy but very effective fundraiser? I have a huge opportunity to help an organization fighting human trafficking but I have less than 3 weeks to put something together. I am just not THAT talented. Well - I could put something together but could I get people to show up? That's the tough part... Ideas & thoughts are most welcome!

They keep rolling out new stuff over at Leelou. Hopefully you're checking it out and entering. Or...if not... keep hoping I win!! They have some awesome stuff over there!

Leelou Blogs


Women of the Shelter

There are a group of women I have been getting to know who are some of the most beautiful, most kind, most compassionate women I have ever met. Society wouldn't say so but society probably wouldn't take the time it takes to learn about these women, either. These women live day in and day out with one another, thrown together by difficult, often self-induced circumstances - the loss of a stable home. Most of them fight demons (often more than one) such as drug addiction, alcoholism and sexual abuse. They are fleeing domestic violence, drug dealing and prostitution. They have often left their children in the care of their mothers or worse to them - the State.

One thing I know, they have changed my perception of the homeless population. Many of us have seen the men and women standing on the street corners, holding their signs and our first thought is "if they would just go get a job..." then any number of things would happen. They'd dress better, shower more often, have a home, get their families back... Oh for it to be so simple.

They welcome me into their home - the Mission - every Sunday morning. And trust me - these women see this as their home, not as "a" shelter or just a temporary place to sleep. They clean it, they cook in it, they visit their children in it, they have friends who become their family, the fight in it and they fight to stay in it by following the rules. For people who haven't lived their lives by rules, it is an extreme challenge for many of them.

It is not a free place where anyone can sleep - these women pay $5 a night rent, they have chores, they must attend a certain number of devotion meetings each week and they must go to church on Sunday. They are starting to learn to see the world outside of their own nightmares and to learn about themselves and each other in ways they would have never imagined. This is their home and they welcome me as an esteemed guest every week. It is a privilege I do not take lightly.

I am there from 9AM until 9:30AM (ok - 8:45 until...sometimes 9:45) to offer a half hour devotion. Right now we are talking through the women of the Bible. This last Sunday was the background for Rebekkah. We're going through Genesis 24 and made it through verse 26. We only managed to get that far because, despite my best efforts, I did most of the talking. I had told them at the beginning we'd run things a little differently - I have a cold (again. Imagine that.) and so my throat and voice aren't the best. Instead of my just telling them about Rebekkah, I had one of the ladies read the first 14 verses for me and then we picked them apart - setting the stage for who Rebekkah was. There was some participation but not too much. Once we got into verses 15 through 26, if I asked for an opinion, you could have heard a pin drop. On the carpet. It was as if I was alone in the room.

So, I started pointing things out - almost word by word. For about 10 minutes I walked through those last 11 verses and then the conversation started. We talked about the hand under Abraham's thigh, about "crazy" customs, about entrusting a servant to find your child a spouse as opposed to your child finding their own spouse, God separating the Israelites from the rest of the people of the word and on and on it went. I actually didn't get to close us in prayer until 9:40.

That was huge because of two things. (1) When devotions are happening, the residents of the Mission must either be at devotions, in their room and quiet for 1/2 hour or off the property and (2) it's Sunday morning - most of them have to get ready for church. My leaving at 9:30 is almost an imperative so my staying until 9:40 to answer questions was an incredible blessing to me because it was such an inconvenience for them.

One of our topics of conversation was my reiterating to them that this half hour belonged to God and to them - not me. For as quiet as it was while they were listening to me, I did not get the feeling they were enjoying what they were hearing. I felt for sure I was boring them to death. Not one of those women agreed with me - in fact they were incredibly emphatic as to how much they appreciated my being there, how much they learned by pulling the Bible apart verse by verse and how safe they felt knowing they could ask me anything (within their relationship with God, of course) and I wouldn't get upset at them for taking the devotion off course. I have only been doing this with them since June so getting encouragement to keep doing what I am doing is incredible to me and it keeps me coming back.

Ultimately, they are another reminder to me that we are to bring Christ to everyone. Everyone. There are no limitations, no restrictions - this is not an exclusive club. They also remind me to not pre-judge someone, don't stereotype them. Perhaps they will let me down, perhaps they will do what the stereotype says they will do but that is on them - not me and shouldn't keep me from sharing and showing the love of Christ. Rejection will happen, confrontation will happen and I will be embarrassed from time to time but God wants ALL of us to know and accept Christ as our Savior. We are not to judge, we are not to determine who gets left out. It is not All with a caveat. It is just All.

Thanksgiving is coming and it is often through the holidays that food banks and shelters see an increase in donations - of food and money. Time, however, is something we have precious little of so sharing it with those less fortunate can sometimes take a back seat to those things we term a higher priority. I urge you, though - take a few hours. Find out how you can visit your local shelter and possibly spend time with the homeless this holiday season. I promise you - they will enrich your life in ways you can't possibly imagine.

And while I haven't mentioned it yet this post - don't forget the mens' shelters, too. I am still hoping to eradicate all pink blankets from every mens' shelter in the world...
Blessings to you!


Leelou Launch Party

Leelou Blogs

Another Monday morning, another few seconds clicking on various links in blogs and what do I stumble across? A site launch and giveaway!

I'm going to come right out and say I am completely ignorant in the ways of digital scrapbooking but in the few minutes I've been able to spend on this site, I can tell I've found another one that will be a huge help in getting started.

The women sound fun and I'm excited to "get to know" them better. Click
here and check it out... There are several give-aways this week!

Now, I have to do some work so I'll have to play later but in the meantime, have fun & make sure you check out LeeLou!!!


Oh how I love finding new blogs...sometimes they have the neatest toys to tell you about!

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

ImageChef.com - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

You can play, too. Click here


Thankful Thursdays - Service

Please accept my apologies ahead of time...I am a bit wordy this week but it's been a big week for me.

I know I have written about this subject before but after recent events, it stands repeating. I am very thankful - and a bit nervous about - the work God has planned for me.

Human trafficking is an ugly, horrific crime being perpetuated against millions of people on a daily basis. Some of the facts make me, simply, physically ill. For instance, in India, it is cheaper and easier to buy another person than it is to purchase a cow. Traffickers have various "favorite" ways to subdue their captive - starvation, drugs, gang rape, beatings or any combination of those (and more). There are approximately 27 million people enslaved globally and approximately half of them are children.

And that is the tip of the iceberg...

When I first learned about this issue, I begged God to show me what I could do about it. He set me to work studying and let me tell you - for a "dive in, get my hands dirty, plow through like a bull in a china shop" kind of gal - it was tough to sit. And study. That was five years of praying EVERY day, asking God to show me what He wanted me to do. And He said study and showed us where we could donate to help those who were already in the battle. That was fine for a while but I would still get whiny - "God... what can I DOOOO?????"

Then, just over a year ago He put me in motion. He put me on the Board of a Ministry I have loved for years - a ministry that serves the homeless and battered women and children in our area. He started to bring people into my life - people who live close to me - who have a passion to fight this evil. He has also started to open doors in my workplace for me to share this issue with my co-workers and related offices.

As He has started to get me moving, I have been oh so incredibly thankful for a few things.

First, that He has decided to get me moving.

Second, that there are people in this world rescuing those trapped as slaves even as I type. I pray for them, for God's protection and blessing upon them. That He keep them strong, keep them fighting and they do not lose hope. I also pray for slaves not yet rescued - that they know God is with them, that He weeps for their pain and that He, too, is angry this evil exists. I pray also for those rescued from slavery - that Christ gently remind them they are so incredibly loved and that they matter. He knows their name, their pain, their fears, their hopes and they matter. Finally, I pray for those using those trafficked and those doing the trafficking - that they see the horror of what they're doing and they stop. That they find and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, the only One who has any rights "over" human beings.

Third, that I didn't try to and I'm doing everything I can to keep from running ahead of Him in His purpose for my life.

Fourth, that this evil is starting to get the attention it needs. Do I believe we can eradicate slavery? I believe God can do - and will do - whatever He plans to do. I know He absolutely abhors the oppression of the poor and weak. My life verse attests to that.

This week, I am ultimately thankful that God has a purpose for each and every one of us and that He allows us to be a part of His plan.

For more information on human trafficking (it is mostly Seattle area information but there are other resources on the blog, too), please check out my blog: Fight4Freedom. (and it proclaims my life verse...)

For more Thankful Thursday posts, check out Grace Alone... Iris is talking about special friends this week. See what she and others have to say about thankfulness.

Have a blessed Thursday!


Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Marie-Therese Gown GIVEAWAY !!!!!!!

Oh you have to see how this woman sews. She is absolutely amazing. She doesn't use patterns!!!! I mean...I've been thinking about POSSIBLY buying a sewing machine and MAYBE taking a class or two... hoping I MIGHT, EVENTUALLY be able to sew a decent looking pillow.

Oh the talent!!!! Incredible!

I can think of only one little girl I know who would be positively adorable wearing this costume... all of my other "little girls" are too big. :( Hoping to win this for Jordan!!


Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkins...

I'm home resting today, trying to lose this silly fall cold that has me in its icky grip. I was supposed to be out at Ocean Shores with several girlfriends as it's girls' weekend so I'm pouting just a bit because I have to miss that.

My oldest son comes home with his girlfriend (who is incredibly sweet) and they're just hanging out for the day. C1 cooked breakfast (an awesome cook) then C1 & 2 started a fire. As the sun came out and the day got prettier & prettier, I said they should go out and do something - take advantage of the beautiful weather because it is sure to end. It's fall in the great Northwest. It's not a matter of "if" it will rain, it's a matter of will it stop raining...

Then I suggest heading out to a local pumpkin farm. That idea went over really well so oldest son, youngest son and girlfriend head out to pick up some pumpkins, pet a few goats, feed some chickens, ooh & ahh over the piglets (born 10/01/08) and whatever else the farm offered.

They came home and got to work on their treasures...

And I now have these on my front porch:

As well as this one:

I'm pretty sure we're set with pumpkins for the year. They made my day, though. All that feeling sorry for myself went out the window when I watched them work on their pumpkin and listened to them laugh and joke with each other. There hasn't been a more perfect fall day. Ever.

Then Sings My Soul Saturdays - Bebo Norman

*Please scroll to the bottom & turn off my blog music*

Life is busy, overwhelming, all-encompassing and just plain hard. Hard. Hard. Hard. And as I wonder how I could ever do what God has put before me to do, I stop, raise my eyes and my hands up to Him - He who has the "I know" to my "how?" and the answer to my "why?" I'm not sure I can do what He wants me to do but it is because of my weaknesses and doubts that I put my faith in Him because with Him, all things are possible.

Enjoy, check out some other wonderful music at Signs, Miracles and Wonders and have a blessed Saturday.


Another Giveaway!

I love giveaways! If I happen to develop enough readers, I may have to do one of my own someday. In the meantime, I'll just tell you about them... like this...

Over at 4 Reluctant Entertainers, another giveaway is happening. Head on over and see how you can win this...


Thankful Thursday ~ Joy

This week's subject over at Grace Alone... is joy. Head on over to check out Iris' post. I'm going to have a bit of a tough time with the subject this week because I caught a lovely cold Tuesday and feel like I've been hit by one doozy of a truck but here is what I'm thankful for this week...

1. Nyquil. I am oh so very thankful for it. It helps me sleep, even though I can't seem to catch a breath.

2. Pride & Prejudice, Becoming Jane, Emma... I am incredibly thankful we own these on DVD and they will be my company today.

3. My husband...he made me homemade chicken soup yesterday, he let me sleep through yesterday, he did the dishes, took care of laundry and did all of those things that I just didn't have enough energy to even care about let alone do. Did I mention he made me homemade chicken soup? My husband is the best husband. Ever. And yes - I'm biased, I know. :)

4. My list is short this week and while I am putting this last, it is by no means the least and is always first. My joy comes from God. I know it and I don't try to kid myself otherwise. If I try to rely on circumstances or people in my life to bring me joy, they may for a bit but at some point, the joy fades a bit, turns a bit gray. But God... He provides the light for the darkest of days and I always know that as miserable as I might be, as alone as I might feel - I can rest knowing He's right here, right now, always with me. He is joy and He shares it with us willingly. For that I am, always, thankful.

Have a blessed day!


Quilt Giveaway!

I'm going to have to develop a talent of some sort. I click to catch up reading a few of the blogs I follow and stumble across this awesome giveaway.... All these talented people out there. I really am in naive-land!! But... back to the giveaway... I'm doing all I can to make sure I have as many entries as possible. I LOVE this quilt - it absolutely needs to be in my family room!

Head on over to Pigtails and Snails and enter. Or don't... less competition for me.



Two posts in one day. Although, my first one can't really be counted as a post. It was a funny video I had to share. This is the real post...

Have you ever noticed that when God has a point to make and you seem to brush Him off from making it, He sends pointed reminders to you from every direction? As if to say "ummm... I'm not going away so you might as well deal with this now." My whole life I've struggled with forgiving people who hurt or take advantage of me. I don't dwell on them - or what they've done - instead I have a tendency to write them off, as if they had never lived and I put them and their infraction in a little room in my mind. And close the door. The only time that room gets opened is if I want to toss someone else in there.

I know I'm not alone in this struggle, Brandon Heath (one of my new favorite artists, by the way), wrote a song about it (it's good...listen to it here) and shared his struggle publicly. Wish I were as enlightened/creative as he is. I also wish I were more brave. Some of these people I have "written off" I will probably never approach for whatever excuse I assign them.

Not exactly Christian of me... and I'll excuse it as the humanness/sin nature I live and battle daily. That's mostly true. It's actually fear - fear I'll say something so ridiculously stupid I'll make it worse or that I'll somehow say something and accept responsibility for the rift even existing and yup - pride, too...(need I add to that after explaining the fear part?) Man I can't wait until Christ returns. It's painful trying to work on being Christ-like! I am lousy at it, to say the least. Whatever must God think of me????

Tonight, though, in clicking through a few new blogs, I stumbled across a post with a quote from C.S. Lewis. C.S. Lewis was a brilliant man who delved so deeply into the Word of God that I'm willing to bet if you looked at him you could almost see Jesus attached to his hip...

Anyhow. The quote... "To be a Christian means to forgive the inexcusable, because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you."

::sigh:: I think I'm going to have to stop brushing God off on this one...


Found this when I was catching up on my blog reading (thanks for sharing, Laurel). Too funny! Thought I'd share it with everyone.



Thankful Thursdays - Grace

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved.
~Ephesians 2:4-5

Our children's pastor has filled in several times for our senior pastor (vacation, etc.) and one sermon I remember pretty well is where he told "big church" how he explains the difference between mercy and grace to the children. It basically boiled down to mercy is NOT getting something that you DO deserve (punishment for doing something wrong) and grace is GETTING something that you DON'T deserve (forgiveness for our sins).

That definition has stuck with me for years because God gives us BOTH. His mercies are renewed every day. Can you imagine the control it takes to not look down on this earth and just wipe out humanity? How bad must people have been in Noah's time and how much further must we go before we reach that level? How mind-boggling is that we haven't reached the end of God's rope yet?

So - today, I write with Iris. I am just so thankful for God's grace and mercy. I am also grateful that Jesus accepts me as His Bride. He loves me so much that I am not left "just" a bridesmaid. It is humbling and startling so because the world tells you humility is a bad thing but that is a warped, wrong impression. It is so overwhelming that I can't even sit and type without tears in my eyes. It is beauty indescribable and I thank the God who created such beauty because I know no human could have come up with it.

Have a gloriously blessed Thursday!


A Giveaway

In my wandering through blog-land, I read a post that referred me to Melinda and her offering a giveaway, copies of "Surrendering the Secret: Healing the Heartbreak of Abortion." As someone who came so very close to making this decision, it is something very important to me. My words wouldn't begin to explain better than hers so I am just going to copy her post. I encourage you, too, to check out her site, Traveling the Road Home and enter the contest yourself. If you don't need it, donate it to your church. They will know someone who can use it.

Melinda's post:

Did you know that one in every three women has had an abortion? In fact, 43% of women of child-bearing age have this secret. And I don't use the term "secret" lightly. While there is certainly a multitude of unbelieving women out there that tote this secret sadness in their hearts, there are as many BELIEVING women - FORGIVEN, SAVED WOMEN in YOUR CHURCH - who are walking around unhealed. Why? Because they are paralyzed by shame and fear at the thought of surrendering their secret.

You may remember my mentioning
Pat Layton, my friend, and the founder of A Woman's Place Ministries in Tampa, Florida. With first-hand experience, she intimately understands the fear and heartache that surrounds women, post-abortion. After she was saved, she looked for material to help her and others heal, but there was none. So, she and God wrote a study that was used for 20 years at her crisis pregnancy center. This year, Surrendering the Secret was released in DVD form by Lifeway, in response to the thousands of hurting women that flooded the altar for prayer in this area, after each of their large events.

While I, personally, have never experienced this heartbreak, I know several women who have. I bet you do, too. The effects are so far-reaching. As you can imagine, with this situation often being shrouded in secret, even if a woman knows about this study and longs for healing, she's not likely to buy it herself. This is why our churches - EVERY ONE OF THEM - need to have a copy. This is where our giveaway comes in - a chance to win one for YOUR CHURCH, LOCAL CRISIS PREGNANCY OR COUNSELING CENTER...OR TO LEAD YOUR OWN GROUP!
God has recently impressed upon me that we, the blog community, can partner with Lifeway and Pat, to make a BIG DIFFERENCE in this area of secret pain. Just as He multiplied the five loaves to feed thousands (
Mark 6:41-44), I'm believing that He will do the same with this giveaway of the Surrendering the Secret study.

So, here it is: Five (5) Winners

One (1) DVD Leader Kit (including DVD study, leader guide and one member book) PER WINNER

Twelve (12) Member Books PER WINNER

HERE to watch the promo video of the study.

Giveaway will run through Sunday, October 12th - WINNERS ANNOUNCED MONDAY, OCTOBER 13TH (per

Because it is my heart that the word get out to as many churches and people as possible, I'm going to give you two chances to win:

Leave a comment

Link the giveaway in a post on your own blog, then leave a SECOND comment, including the link to your post. This is NOT about blog promotion, but about spreading the word of healing!Other ways to get involved:

Tell your church about the study and work toward getting a copy
purchased for their use, if you don't win.

Encourage your pastor to discuss abortion from the pulpit and include it in the sins mentioned from the pulpit that are forgiven through Christ. There are MANY women who walk away from a sermon feeling like their sin is unforgivable, simply because it's never mentioned.

Pat to come and speak to your women's group and/or leadership about ministering to women in crisis, or to train your leaders to present this study.

donating financially.

Join me in thanking God in advance for what He will do! Praise Him that He will multiply this small mustard seed of faith into a great movement of healing across our nation.


You can make a difference for someone else who is hurting - maybe even for yourself.

Thank you! Now... go to Melinda's blog and enter.


Then Sings My Soul Saturdays - A Better Way (Downhere)

*Please don't forget to scroll down & turn off my blog music*

I heard this group the day they performed on Spirit 105.3 and I fell head over heels for the words, the voice... what a voice God gave this group. You can't help but stop and reflect on the gift Jesus gave us when He stepped down from His throne and came to earth for us.

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God
something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
and became obedient to death—
even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.

~Philippians 2:1-11

For me, this is where this song takes me and is a powerful support to the Scripture that Jesus didn't have to do what He did. He chose to - to suffer the pain of being away from Heaven, of being mocked and tortured, spit on and beaten and then hung on a cross. Knowing that wasn't final because of our all-powerful God, Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. Because of that love, that sacrifice, we can be made right before God. "What a gift" is an understatment. I hope you enjoy the song.


It Happens Everywhere

I was told last night (thank you, Officer Bit) about a case that was prosecuted in Everett. I've included a link to the article. If you have a minute, please read it.

If you haven't told me you'd like to see Call + Response on the 15th, please let me know soon. I hope to purchase tickets early next week.


The saddest part to me is how quickly, in the posted response, people blame the women. Yes - there is a very good possibility they should have used better judgment. Have none of us made a mistake that snowballed into something out of our control? So long as he was exercising control over these women and forcing them to "work" for him, he was a trafficker.

I also have to wonder at what we're teaching our children when we assign the term "nice guy" to someone who was obviously making his money illegally...

As for him having to reimburse the women - if they were forced to prostitute themselves on his behalf - regardless if it's illegal activity or not - it was not work they chose for themselves and they were unable to work at any other job in that time period. He would have never allowed it. He owes them those lost wages, lost taxes and lost benefits.

We can't speak to what those women did and did not know about him, about what they were doing and what they were getting themselves into. We weren't there. Unless you have had it happen to you, you cannot begin to imagine how someone can gain control of another human being so incredibly fast if they want to do it.

I applaud the federal prosecutors who went after this man. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Trafficking will remain an unseen crime so long as those who commit it aren't or can't be prosecuted (evidence can be really tough to gather). I don't know every fact of the case but it is trafficking if he forced or coerced those women into prostituting themselves, even if he didn't kidnap them.

There is probably more to write, this post feels unfinished. Perhaps I'll edit it later.


Thankful Thursdays - Random

This week, Iris rolled out her new look and new blog title "Grace alone..." It is beautiful! I hope you get a chance to check it out. The topic this week for Thankful Thursday is "random." It is my favorite subject because God is so amazing, so wonderful and so giving it's hard to not thank Him just all over the place.

So...my list this week...

1. I thank You, Lord, for my husband. I know - I did that last week, too but honestly? I thank God for this man every day. Usually 100 times or more in a day. No matter what he didn't put away or what cabinet door he's left open now, I can't think of a better man to spend the rest of my life with. This godly, thoughtful and loving man was given to me by God so I could be his helpmeet. What a wonderful gift God gave me there!!!

2. I thank You, Lord, for the technology we have and the ability to use it to talk about and share You with others. I absolutely love being able to check out blog to blog and see who is saying what, who is going through the same thing I am and how they keep their eyes focused on Jesus when the waves get a little - or a lot - rough.

3. I thank You, Lord, for my job. While I would much rather be out volunteering 24/7, You have me in a place where I have grown, stretched, matured and I am so grateful for it. In these tough times, I thank You, Lord, that I am in a place that is as sure a thing as you can get these days.

4. I thank You, Lord, for my boys. They are so incredibly wonderful, I don't have words.

5. I thank You, Lord, for my dog. Yes. My dog. You remind me, through him, that it is man's job to take care of the earth and all that is living on it. You remind me just how reliant these creatures are on our care and that it is a deep and strong responsibility.

6. Finally, thank You, Lord, for the people You have placed in my life with whom I step out in the battle against human trafficking. Lord, these people have a heart that breaks with the things that break Your heart and I am just so grateful for their strength in You. Their love for You, their focus on You and their willingness to say Yes to You is going to be so powerful and necessary in the fight to come.

Thank You, Lord for my life. For giving me what You have, when You have, for putting me where You have... I love you, Lord and I lift my eyes only to You.

Have a gloriously blessed Thursday!