Thursday, March 21, 2013

Nameless ... but treasured

 This and this:

Both posted on the same day.  Both semi addressing the same issue.
The numbers and statistics are just that: numbers and statistics.  Until we see these precious daughters of the King as our mothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, cousins, friends.  Nothing is going to change.  Solving World hunger may be an issue close to your heart but if you have never gone a day without food, can you really perceive the depth of the situation?

  When my husband and I went to Amsterdam last year, we got a first hand glance at what the red light district was.  It was not how people made it sound.  Exotic women, mystery, seduction.  What I saw made my heart sink, eyes water, and urge to pray with and hug those women rise.  Numerous little body windows lined each side of the river.  Girls would strut, tease and attempt to lure men into their little back rooms for a cheap thrill.  This is not a one time deal.  Women are usually in this job for life.   They spend $100 a night just to occupy the window.

"Netherlands is listed by the UNODC as a primary country of destination for victims of human trafficking,[7] and city authorities are very worried about Amsterdam's current situation: "We've realized this is no longer about small-scale entrepreneurs but that big crime organizations are involved here in trafficking women, drugs, killings and other criminal activities," said Job Cohen, the former mayor of Amsterdam.[8]
The vast majority of the prostitutes from De Wallen are foreigners, as are their pimps and human traffickers. More than 75% of Amsterdam's prostitutes are from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia, according to a former prostitute who produced a report about the sex trade." (

Seeing those women first hand made me so thankful for my husband.  Also, that I was sheltered enough to not be a draft pick for some human trafficker's starting line up.  The call to protect has never been higher.  This situation can be thrown on anyone.  It doesn't just exist on the other side of the world.  This slavery exists under our very noses.  We need to wake up and begin fighting this epidemic with more than just pity.  If school shootings in our country speed up legistation in our country for stricter gun laws, shouldn't "missing" women and the fact that the Super Bowl is the biggest day for sex trafficking in the world be cause enough to do something?.

Coupled with the pornography industry, when you consider every second, 28,258 Internet users are viewing nude images of somebody’s daughter, it’s more than disturbing.  Source

If that doesn't send a chill through you and spur you to take action, then maybe you should examine your life.  The luxuries of food, money, a bed, sunlight, a shower, clean clothes, condoms, a passport, the ability to speak to other people outside your brothel,  and non-abusive situations are things trafficked women do not have. 

When Christine Cain, Founder of the A21 campaign, was talking to some rescued women and telling them about the love of God.  One women reacted with anger and questioned, "Why didn't you come sooner?"

"Why didn't you come sooner?" 

Even if you cannot physically be rescuing this women out of these horrid situations, you can help support the ministries and missions of places that can.  If we poured money into this cause the same way we pour money into having the newest i-contraption, favorite sports teams, or Starbucks caffeine kick, we could make a considerable dent in the fight against slavery.

In our Nations, the Family needs to be brought back fore-front.  Wholesome, loving, noble, and beautiful things need to be sown into our children's lives daily.  The power of love and the power of a place in the family can be catalysts for change.

There are many organizations dedicated to ending human trafficking.  You can become a sponsor of one today.  Any size contribution is still a contribution.  Do something in this life that will have eternal significance for someone you may never meet.

“Our daughters are precious, intrinsically valuable and deserve better — they deserve to be cherished and protected.” -Amy Gerwing

Photo: Without FREEDOM...

A21 stands for Abolishing Slavery in the 21st Century.
Company Overview
The issue of human trafficking can be overwhelming to say the least. It's true..."someone SHOULD do something", so we have decided to take responsibility and put up our hand up...if for no other reason than just because we have a hand to raise and a heart that's willing to make a difference. We have decided to become that "someone". This is why we created The A21 Campaign. We can ALL play a part in fighting injustice... it is the only way we can win.
The A21 Campaign stands for abolishing injustice in the 21st century. Anyone can join - everyone can make a difference

Saturday, March 9, 2013

8:46 and thoughts on death

Just finished watching the movie 8:46 on Netflix.  If you have an hour I recommend watching it. (It's only 50 minutes) It fictionally recounts six people that lived through the day before and day of 9/11/01.  It portrayed people that worked at the world trade center, people who had kids in the World Trade Center's Day Care, people that worked in the restaurants in the World Trade Center, emergency response crews, family members of those that were on the highjacked plane.  It is truly amazing how our lives have all be affected and change by that one day.  I was only in 7th grade when it happened.  The first plane hit  \when I was in my first period math class.  I did not even know what the World Trade Center was so it did not hit me as hard as it was for people who had family/friends that worked there or in New York.  The footage of those precious buildings smoking and then collapsing played on the TVs in each classroom for three days. 

Watching the attack on the Two Towers today makes me weep.  With a soldier husband, I recognize the enemy that he will one day be called to fight upon.  I have great respect for those that have served our country since 9/11.  The sacrifices they and their families have made is immeasurable.  Death however does happen.  I just read this blog post after watching the movie:

As a Christian, a leader, and a human being I have lived a life that has left me with scars.  A car accident in 1996 left me with a compound fracture in the right arm, a shattered left femur, and memory loss due to a head injury.  17 years later, I still walk with a limp.  A childhood with an abusive father that neglected his daughter and used her to get dates.  A mother that loved me but carried injuries from the car accident as well.  Often forgetting times where she said she would be to pick me up.  Often, not showing up at all.  As a defender of her status as my birth mother, I would fight my dad to give her one more chance to make it on time.  Little did I know that I had learned not to hold my breath.  Fast forward to 2003, my dad remarried and I got a new mom and a stepbrother.  As an illegitimate child, my step-mom immediately cut me out of the family.  The wounds she gave me run deep and often resurface with certain words/actions are done towards me.  I am now happily married to my prince of a husband here on earth and I am fully in love and awed by my King in Heaven.

The Death I am speaking of did not happen to me externally but internally.  My step-mom severed ties with every member of my family.  After about 7 years of not speaking to them and my parents moving without telling anyone, it was up to me to begin rebuilding relationships.  It was easy to bond with my grandma on my dad's side because we both had gone through similar pain but with my half siblings, my aunts and uncles it has just been funky.   I have not been able to just call up one of them to see how things in their life are going.  It feels like a giant chasm is in place between them and myself even though I may be sitting right across the table from them.  Feeling in the space is never an easy task whether you're meeting someone for the first time, going through a counseling session, or sitting across from someone who you know loves you.  Death can creep into any relationship if we let it.  In our marriages, our families, our friendships, our relationships with our children, our church.  We can be so preoccupied with pain and hurting that we may not realize that the people around us may be feeling the same thing.   Grieving is a process and it is never easy to regain the piece of your heart that is broken, hurt, or missing inside of you.  God gave us grieving as a time to reflect and rebuild but if we say in grieving we will cease to live normally.  I was lucky enough to be dating my, now, husband during this time of pain and speaking to him and gaining his insight on my issues was extremely helpful.  Not because he had necessarily gone through extreme dysfunction like my family had but because he could offer his knowledge from his semi-stable family.  I say semi because no family is perfect but there is a difference between unhealthy and healthy love.

Now I get to the point where I just have to talk to someone when I am hurting or when old feelings resurface because if I don't, the pain will engulf me.  I encourage you hurting ones, to reach out and have coffee with a friend, set apart time with your spouse, get prayer from your pastor or those in your prayer group.  I am lucky enough to work in an Army Chapel so I have someone to talk to whenever I need it.  I think the church is the best place to get help, not because its perfect but because there is a lot of hurting people filling the pews.  If you've had a bad experience, I encourage you to reach out again.  If not to a person, then to Jesus himself because the healing He gives us is lifechanging.

Death is not the only option when everything in us hurts.

Our God is always here:

Further thoughts and reflection:

“Spring shows what God can do with a drab and dirty world.”
Virgil Kraft

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Teeth and the Gospel

Lately the Lord has been very present in my thoughts.  It's been empowering and convicting.  After having my teeth cleaned yesterday, I received a word from Him.  Mind you this was the first time I had had a cleaning in 12 or more years.  My family didn't have health care or extra money to spend on my teeth while I was growing up.  My dad did manage a work deal to cover my braces but that is a story for another day.

As I leaned back in the examination chair, the dental hygeniest told me that I had a lot of build up behind my bottom and top front teeth.  She followed that statement with the following questions: Are you a mouth breather at night?  Have you smoked?   You'd have to ask my husband, and no.  She sat there chizeling away at the gunk on my bottom teeth for the better half of an hour.  We didn't have time to do the top teeth.  When the dentist came in, he said I had almost perfect teeth.  Mostly straight, minimal stains, no cavivites.  However, once the appointment was over I ran my tongue along my bottom front teeth and discovered gaps I did not know existed.  I was almost beginning to feel self-concious about them when the Lord whispered, "This is what clean is.  It's supposed to feel different."

I then had a mental image overflow of what problems I could have with my teeth: crowding, staining, cavities, abcesses, plaque build-up, gingivitis, etc.  I am lucky that I didn't need to have the fixes required to correct those problems. 

In my life, God came in and fixed the guck but left traces of His presence in my life.  Just like the gap in my bottom front teeth.  As believers, we're supposed to be vulerable in order to tell others about the amazing love and grace that flows from Jesus. 

It was more than just a visit to the dentist ...

Monday, February 18, 2013


the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.
Obsolete . the heart as the source of emotion.
have the courage of one's convictions, to act in accordance with one's beliefs, especially in spite of criticism.
1250–1300; Middle English corage  < Old French,  equivalent to cuer  heart (< Latin cor;  see heart) + -age -age

1. fearlessness, dauntlessness, intrepidity, pluck, spirit. Courage, bravery, valor, bravado refer to qualities of spirit and conduct. Courage permits one to face extreme dangers and difficulties without fear: to take  
(or lose )  courage. Bravery implies true courage with daring and an intrepid boldness: bravery in a battle. Valor implies heroic courage: valor in fighting for the right. Bravado is now usually a boastful and ostentatious pretense of courage or bravery: empty bravado.
How do you define courage?  Is it something that rises inside your spirit when certain situations present themselves?  Is it something you put on everyday like clothing?  
This topic popped into my head when I began thinking about experiences my children would have and how they could understand things like I do.  I then realized that that was stupid because I never want them to be neglected, abused, or invisible in their position as my child.  In fact, they probably won't be able to relate to any of my childhood.  They will have two parents and a semi-stable household with loving grandparents and extended family.  
When I think about courage all I can think of is pressing forward.  Not toward anything in particular just moving forward in general.   It takes a lot to get up out of the mud, to pick up that lunch tray you dropped in the middle of a crowded cafeteria, to be genuine to yourself and to your beliefs.  Lastly, it takes a lot of deep thought to steer yourself away from jealousy when it arises.  Sure, their life does not look like mine but I have no idea what struggles they went through to get where they are now.  
I think we focus too much on the aspects of a person that we can see in the present rather than learning about the journey that got them there.  In my efforts to focus on community during lent this year and in general in all my positions of leadership, I am going to make an effort to hear the journey of each person I encounter.  To experience and share with them in their recounts of courage, bravery, valor and fearlessness.  From speaking in front of a small crowd, without panic, to climbing Everest, I want to hear it all!
In every community, there is work to be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal.
In every heart, there is the power to do it.
Marianne Williamson
My one little word this year is "Savor".  I picked it as a focus word and a challenge.  So far this year, we have traveled to Koln, Dublin, and London.  They were great but around mid-January, the Lord put the word community on my heart and in my thoughts.    After talking with some friends about community, my friend, Heavenly, pointed out that the most important part of community is unity.  I think my journey begins with the focus off of self and on to others.  It sounds like it would be easy doesn't it ... but being someone that wants recognition and praise make selfless service and humility tough.  Please say a prayer for me.  This is going to be an interesting year!

Friday, December 28, 2012



Well this is embarrassing ...  I have started blogs before but I lack follow through ... this is my third blog on Google alone.  Hopefully it will stick!

We leave for Koln on Sunday for the New Year Celebration.  I have a good feeling about it.  We experienced the New Year in Berlin last year and it was pretty rad.  Christmas was good this year.  We kept it simple and only got each other a few needed/wanted items then ate dinner at home.  It was very relaxing to just not complicate the holiday.  I become consumed if I do complicate it.  Almost obsessive.  The decorations, the furniture placement, the menu, and the seating arrangement have to be a certain way.  Still in the end, I am disappointed because Christmas is more than glitter, it is about the entrance of a Savior King on to our earth.  I yearn for the day I meet him face to face.  Christmas is reaching out not in to the hurting, the broken, the lonely, the abandoned, the betrayed.  The love of Jesus covers us all.  We cannot become so consumed with our individual bubbles that we are blind to the needs of others around us. 

In other topics, my interests include documenting life in words, pictures, quotes, brochures, postcards and any other way to can attach a made memory to something you've experienced.  I picked my "one little word" (see for 2013.  Savor.  I want to experience all the flavors of my life.  In my spiritual walk, my marriage, my job, my family, my friends, my positions, my conversational encounters, my travels.  I want to taste and see the flavors and things that spice up my life.  Too often I have preoccupied thoughts or I am so busy trying to capture something through a lens, I miss the moment completely.  Not happening in 2013.

Remember where you have been and where you are going. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.  -Nikita Koloff