Time to Vote!

So, I know I said I was only going to blog once a week to help get in the habit of blogging on a regular basis but…

My dear friend, Danielle, and her fiance, Corey, are in an engagement photo contest and I want all of you to help vote for her. :-)

Click here to go and vote. Their picture is #2. And make sure to follow the directions and leave a comment, too! We want to make sure all of our votes count.

Also, if you live in Michigan and are getting married, check out her website. She is  a wedding photog and does some amazing work! She also does other photography, too, so if you are looking for someone to take your Senior pictures, check her out for that, too.

Ok, that’s all for now. :-)

Have  a great week and see you on Sunday.

Love and Blessings,

Jen

I Heart China

This month is the anniversary of my trip to China. It’s been 2 years since I spent 2 weeks (really 12 days after the traveling but who’s counting?) in a country I never thought nor really desired to visit.

And I miss it. There really isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t think about my time there or the people I met there.

They captured a piece of my heart and I will forever want to go back. I know it was God that I went there in the first place and my prayer is that it will be God’s plan for me to go back.

I pray that if I do I’ll get to see my friends again. Maybe someday they can come here to visit. I think they’d love the US. It is such a stark contrast to China. I mean, we can actually see the sun compared to the constant overcast that seems to be over China. Next week I’ll post some photos from my time there and introduce you to a couple of my friends.

These are two girls that I still keep in contact with and I love them. :-) They are so sweet! I think you’ll love them, too.

Is there somewhere you’ve been that you want to go back to?

Is there a place you’ve never been that you’d want to visit?

Here goes nothing.

I’ve been blogging for almost 2 3 years now. I had big ideas for what I wanted this blog to be about.

But…

I’ve never been able to blog regularly for more than a few weeks at a time. Mostly it’s because life always seems to get in the way. And so, I blog very irregularly.

That is why for the next 13 weeks until June 26, I will be blogging once a week and instead of writing one blog at a time, which is what I have been doing, I am going to attempt to write 2 or 3 at a time.

I’m sure you’re asking why I’m telling you all of this. It’s because I want to be held accountable for the next 13 weeks.

If I put it out there then I’ll be more likely to actually follow through with it.

I’ll be posting each week on Sunday starting tomorrow.

So here goes nothing.

Not Too Old

I’ve heard that for the last few months.

“You aren’t too old.”

And, in all reality, I’m not that old.

I’m 29. I’ll be 30 just a few weeks before Christmas. I have 8 months left in my 20s and I’m slightly nervous scared about that.

Because 30 is, well, 30.

It’s the beginning of a new decade in my life. And a new chapter, too.

It’s scary. I can’t go back and I can’t stay where I’m at. I have to move forward.

And in moving forward, I’m praying that the road I’m on is moving me closer to Jesus and who God is calling me to be.

A few days ago, I read this blog post and I absolutely believe that God meant for me to read it now.

Part of my fear of leaving my 20s and entering my 30s is that I feel like I haven’t accomplished much of what I desire to do in my life time. I’m beginning to fear that time is running out on me. Until I read that post and God brought to mind Abraham and Sarah.

Let’s face it, if they can have a child at the ages of 90 and 100, then I certainly still have more than enough time to fulfill the desires of my heart.

Right?

Right?

In all seriousness, though, the world puts a lot of emphasis on age. And, even in today’s world, if a woman isn’t married or doesn’t have a boyfriend, isn’t living on her own and have a great job/career, people (especially family) wonder if something is wrong with you. Well, at least I get the “so when are you getting married” at family functions. Luckily for me my sister is also single so I’m not the only one.

So what about Sarah? I can only imagine how she felt. Actually, I probably have an idea. Because when all of her friends were having children, she could not. She was barren and, I think, she almost became bitter because of it.

Let’s face it, when everyone around you is getting what you want or feel you deserve, you get a little angry. That anger can fester and turn bitter.

But it wasn’t the right time. It wasn’t God’s timing for her to have a child. It wasn’t until after Abram became Abraham and Sarai to Sarah; and they had obeyed God and had faith in Him that He could deliver what He promised that she finally had a son. In. God’s timing.

So maybe you’ve dreamt of being a writer or traveling the world or getting married and having a family. Just because it hasn’t happened yet doesn’t mean it still can’t. I still have lots of dreams that I haven’t fulfilled. Maybe I’m not supposed to fulfill all of them but I know one thing is for sure:

I’m no longer going to just sit around and wait for it to happen. If I do that nothing will ever get done. If I’ve only learned one thing in the last few months, it’s that if I have a dream or a desire to do something and I’ve prayed about it and step out in faith, whether I fail or succeed, as long as I give my all to it, God will honor that. If it isn’t right, He’ll correct me, sure. He wouldn’t be the good Father that He is if He didn’t.

So, here’s a couple of questions for you:

  1. Do you have a dream/desire that has yet to be fulfilled?
  2. Do you believe that you are too old to fulfill that dream?

A Million Miles

Have you read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Don Miller yet? I have but I think I was a little late to the party since by the time I’d read it, it had been out for a while. However, I have to say that it’s a book that I will be reading over and over again.

Today, the paperback is coming out. And if you head over to Don Miller’s blog, he’s giving away some books. Here is a little video he’s posted about the book.

Hope everyone had a great weekend. I spent it with a wonderful family. :-) I’ll post more about it (and some pictures) tonight or tomorrow.

Happy Monday!

OneWord 2011: Update

So I’ve sort of neglected the blog as of late.

In the past I would have said I’ve already failed at keeping up with my One Word for 2011. But I haven’t given up just yet.

I chose “focus” as my One Word.

Because I wanted to focus more on God, on the here and now.

I read One Thousand Gifts recently and loved it. Have you read it yet? I highly recommend that you do. I might just have to read it again soon because I don’t think it all sank in. But one thing that I did come away with was this: in order to give thanks, there must be a focus on the present. That is the only way we can give thanks for the everyday.

I haven’t been as diligent about keeping up with my One Word as I hoped but there’s still time. And I’m realizing that by creating focus in my life doesn’t mean that I can take on more but that I will be more intentional about what I am already doing so that I can give my all to that moment.

I can give my full attention to my God, my family, my friends when I am with them. When I am working – whether it is at the law office or photographing a wedding – I am fully there and giving my all to it. I will truly be able to do my job as unto the Lord.

And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ. {Colossians 3:23,24}

And when I am home I can focus on what my Spirit truly desires – to commune with the Lord through reading and studying His Word.

So I’m not giving up. Not yet. (I’m too stubborn for that.) I’ll just keep going, making sure to focus on where I am, who I’m with and what I’m doing.

Orphan Care: What is your part in bringing hope to the orphan?

For the past few months I’ve been thinking about what I would write when it came to this post. This conference, IdeaCamp: OrphanCare is so needed. When it comes to orphan care and adoption, the Church is either really involved or not involved at all – depending on the local church. I wish my local church was more involved on a local level.

And it isn’t that we don’t do anything when it comes to orphan care specifically. Our leadership encourages us to sponsor children through organizations like World Vision or New Mission (and many families do). We sponsor a 20-something Chinese girl who is graduating from University this year with a degree in English so that she can teach English to young Chinese students. (We paid for her tuition for the last 3 years – $600 US for one year of University.)

We help those internationally but what about domestically? What can we do to help orphans in the United States?

Not many people think about orphans being in the United States. Why? Because I think many of us just expect that children whose parents die or give up their parental rights go with other family members or are immediately adopted. In a country like the US, who would think anything different?

But every day, there are children in the US who have not found their forever family. They are in the foster care system, living in group homes or orphanages residential facilities. These children will eventually age out of the system. At 18, they will then be sent out on their own. They won’t have a support system, no one to call on when they have good news to share, bad news to cry about. They will be alone in this world.

Some have a resilience and a drive to better their situation. They do well in school and go to college, get a job, have a family, etc. They will “live the American dream.” But some are no so lucky. They are beaten down by others and believe what they are told about themselves – they are worthless, no good and who would ever want them? (Sounds like the familiar lies of the enemy to me.)

So where does the Church come in? Well, that is part of what the IdeaCamp is going to discuss this weekend, February 25-26, in NW Arkansas. This conference is a place where those who are concerned with how orphans are being treated all over the world can go to discuss and meet others who have the same heart. The world has tried to do what it can but it isn’t enough. The Church must step up and do its part. Are you willing to join in the conversation? I am unable to make it to the conference but if you are in the NW Arkansas area, I hope you make it because this is an issue the Church shouldn’t ignore.

If you can’t make it, like me, join me in praying for those who will be there. Pray that God will direct their words and actions while they are joining together to help the orphans. Also, ask God to reveal to you what your part in orphan care is. He may call you to adopt,  to foster care, or to mentor a child. Maybe it’s as simple as sponsorship of a child. Whatever it is, I believe we all have a part in bringing hope to the orphan.