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Archive for Humanitarian (other)

BLOGS THAT I FOLLOW (FOR BETTER OR WORSE) & SOME NEWBIES

Ok, so I started this post about 2 months ago.
I waited to finish and post it because I wanted to make sure that I really meant it.

Below are some of the blogs that I subscribe to and other sites that I recommend.
I also subscribe to lots of friends’ blogs, but other than 1 exception, I kept this post strictly related to ‘resource blogs’.

DAILY READS
1.  Challies.com

http://www.challies.com/
He’s my favorite. Fair book reviews, convicting thoughts, faith building exercises.  He also has another site called Discerning Reader.  My favorite of Challies is ‘A La Cart’

2. Stand To Reason
http://www.str.org/site/PageServer?pagename=blog_iframe
Logical arguments and angles to engage the world in truth conversations.

3.  Justin Taylor, Between Two Worlds
http://theologica.blogspot.com/
Tons of resource info.  I find that he posts too frequently and it overwhelms me, but usually pretty great stuff

4.  Piper, Desiring God
http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/
Speaks for itself.  However, I really love the ‘short/sweet’ theme that this blog adheres to.

5.  Straight Up James McDonald

http://blog.harvestbiblefellowship.org/
This a pastor blog and I just like him.  I usually agree, but more than anything, i usually chuckle AND learn something.

6. The Rabbit Room
http://www.rabbitroom.com/
Awesome site for artists, musicians, writers, etc to connect and be challenged to use it for the Glory of God.

7. Gospel Reminders
http://gospelreminders.com/
Just started subscribing to this last month…and have never regretted it.  It’s like a daily ‘post-it’ of weighty reminders of the Gospel.  If you find value in ‘preach the gospel to yourself daily’, then add this guy to your feed.

8.  Girl Talk
http://girltalk.blogs.com/
I like this about 70% of the time.  GREAT words of wisdom and principle from rooted women of faith. The other 30% is still valuable, but not as engaging for me.

9.  Radical Womanhood

http://solofemininity.blogs.com/
Dig this site.  This lady seems to have her finger on the pulse of the church as it relates to thinking women.

10.  OwlHaven
http://www.owlhaven.net/
A mom of lots of kids, who loves the LORD, loves her husband, loves her kids (some of them adopted) and is just funny and ‘normal’

11.  Cake wrecks
http://cakewrecks.blogspot.com/
One of my absolute favorite sites that I can’t wait to check everyday.  A cake designer who gives commentary on ‘cakes gone bad’.  Her commentary is hilarious!

12.  Todd Bolen
http://www.toddbolen.com/
Here’s my one exception of ‘friend’ site… Todd usually always has a montage of worthy data.

13.  Behind The Scenes: Invisible Children
http://behindthescenes.invisiblechildren.com/
This blog is the ‘funny, behind the scenes’ blog of IC.  They have a ‘front of the house’ blog too, but I like this one more.

SOME RECENT FINDS
Fail
http://failblog.org/
Recommended by some friends, pretty hilarious, posts about failure ideas implemented in public.  Sometimes you’re embarrased to be laughing, but….

Every Monday Matters
http://everymondaymatters.com/the-book/
A site to get the ‘how can I serve’ juices flowing

I Am Second
http://iamsecond.com/
A site of people from all walks of life sharing their story of salvation

Abortion Changes You
http://abortionchangesyou.com/
A site of care and understanding for people involved in abortion (the mom, the dad, the siblings, the grandparents, the aunts/uncles, etc)

50 MILLION AMERICANS KILLED-MORE TO COME…

I really appreciate visual aides when trying to wrap my mind around massive concepts that involve numbers.

A church in Mississippi has created a visual aid to help people … one penny for every human life that’s been aborted since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 (which is approximately 50 million innocent children)…

Mississippi Memorial '50 Million Pennies'

Mississippi Memorial '50 Million Pennies'

50 million lives … gone.  And that does not include the living lives devastated and left behind after abortion.
And there are many more to come.

Now that Obama is president, I am willingly supportive of him as the man that God has ordained to be our president.
But, when I had a say,  here is why I did not vote for him.
I am confident that I will give an account as to how I used my freedoms in this life.
One freedom is my vote and I could not reconcile using that vote to further the power of someone who not only does not protect innocent human life (created by God and in His image), but one who is the most aggressive pro-abortion legislator that we’ve seen yet.
I’m sure Obama is a nice guy and I do look forward to living through his presidency (for historical reasons, more than policy).  But, respectfully said, when I sleep at night, I feel really good that I did not cast my vote for a man that will use his presidency to actively and purposefully increase the number of pennies that will go into that display in Mississippi.

God is merciful and forgiving.
We all have many sincere blind spots and issues to work on.  However, I hope that those of us who claim salvation in Christ are always seeking to find/correct our blindspots/issues/sins, according to God’s word and through the gracious leading of the Holy Spirit.  I hope that mainstream media and trend does not dictate ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ for us.  I hope that we can see through the smoke and mirrors and that God gives us wisdom and courage, beyond measure, to see and do what pleases Him…and Him only.

Proverbs 6: 16-22
There are six things which the LORD hates,
Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:
Haughty eyes, a lying tongue,
And hands that shed innocent blood,
A heart that devises wicked plans,
Feet that run rapidly to evil,
false witness who utters lies,
And one who spreads strife among brothers.
My son, observe the commandment of your father
And do not forsake the teaching of your mother;
Bind them continually on your heart;
Tie them around your neck.
When you walk about, they will guide you;

Proverbs 24:10-12:
If you faint in the day of adversity,
your strength is small.
Rescue those who are being taken away to death;
hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter.
If you say, “Behold, we did not know this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who keeps watch over your soul know it,
and will he not repay man according to his work?

50 Million Pennies (2)

50 Million Pennies (2)

2008 IN BOOK REVIEW

Soooooo, when you’re in college you think, “When I’m done with college (or  my college culture job) I’ll do so much ‘free reading’ ”.
Huh.

Well, I am here to say that I’ve been out of that environment for 4 years now and have done very little of that ‘extra curricular’ reading I’d always longed for.  🙂

So, in an effort to be slightly less-lame, though not having a TON of time, I have tried harder in 2008 to do some reading.

I am only posting this as a form of accountability and iron on iron.  I am in NO way saying that I am proud of the number of books that I’ve read (or rather, not read).

I’ll break it down by categories:  books I finished, books I’m currently reading, books that are on the ‘to read’ list and your welcomed recommendations.  This list assumes the Bible.  🙂

BOOKS I FINISHED
1.  Under The Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
2.  Mistaken Identity by Van Ryn, Cerak, Tabb
3.  Beyond the Band of Brothers by Major Dick Winters
4.  Stories In His Own Hand by Ronald Reagan
5.  The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Mam
6.  Open Water Diving Manual by PADI
7.  Girl Soldier by Faith J.H. McDonnell & Grace Akallo

BOOKS I’M CURRENTLY READING
1.  Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris
2.  The Last of the Just by Andre Schwarz-Bart
3.  The Cross Centered Life by CJ Mahaney
4.  The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller
5.  Unpacking Forgiveness by Chris Braun
6.  A Faith Worth Sharing by C. John Miller (aka ‘Jack’)

BOOKS ON THE ‘TO READ’ LIST 🙂 (in no particular order)
1.  Why We’re Not Emergent By Two Guys Who Should Be by DeYoung & Kluck
2.  Relationships-A Mess Worth Making by Paul Tripp
3.  Into Thin Air by John Krakuer
4.  Respectable Sins by Jerry Bridges
5.  When Sinners Say I Do by Dave Harvey
6.  PeaceMaker by Ken Sande (this would be a re-read)
7.  Chinatown’s Angry Angel: The Story of Donaldina Cameron
8.  The Good News About Injustice by Gary Haugen
9.  The Prodigal God by Tim Keller
10. The Four Loves by C.S. Lewis
11. Escape by Carolyn Jessup
12. Awearness by Kenneth Cole

BOOKS THAT YOU RECOMMEND (and Why)…
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
etc.

So, here’s to looking back on 2008 and looking forward to 2009, from a literary perspective, of course.

SOME OBSERVATIONS

-I am SO glad that I did not chose to drive home on Sunday.  Thanksgiving traffic looked uncool.
-I am incredibly stoked that codine cough syrup was invented.  So stoked.
-Planned Parenthood is outrageous for offering Gift Cards for this Christmas season’s abortions!  The irony of a teenager enduring social scorn in order to bring baby Jesus into the world…to save it.  And then 3,700 innocent babies are murdered daily in the US (not to mention the rest of the world), mostly due to their inconvenience to the mother/father.
-Everyone needs an AP in their life: good friend, good tech, good iron on iron
-Fingerprint scan security is awesome on my new laptop
-Sovereignty is a comforting thing
-Seriously, I love facebook.  Oh, and Doug Bookman joined in September.
-It’s cool to accept God’s will rather than demand your own; He’s always right
-I love when cool people get engaged, like Lindsey Konecko and Jim Cosley 🙂
-I want desperately to obey God…it’s hard, but worth it
-I am pretty sure that I am never breaking my Thanksgiving tradition ever again; it wasn’t totally worth it
-I love my family, crazy and all!!!!
-Christina Seelye is truly one of the best cooks I’ve ever dined under, ever
-Everyone should watch Band of Brothers once a year
-Really? a 33-year old man was trampled to death at Wal-Mart on Black Friday?  And 2 guys got in a shoot out at Wal-MArt in Palm desert on Black friday?  Is crap on sale worth life?  Advent Conspiracy all the way.
-Marrying the church versus dating the church… commitment…Christ showed it to us…why don’t we show it to Him as His bride?
-Our ICU club still wants all the books that you want to purge yourself of… 🙂

aaand scene…

HEMPZ, THE DEPRESSION & THE AROMA OF JESUS

ok, so, follow me on this one…this post has several seperate thoughts that will converge (I hope). 

FIRST THOUGHT
I am really really sensitve to perfumes and colognes (I wish that most people would not wear them).  Truly.  You know, the guy’s cologne that after one quick hug, it’s on you for the rest of the day.  Bleh.  Or, how about the woman at church that has used such a strong brand that you can barely breath?  Yeah, all of it is not my favorite.  Due to my sensitivity, IF I wear a fragrance (which I use the term loosely), I only wear HEMPZ Pure herbal extract moisterizer: I love the smell and I love the way it feels.  The problem with this particular brand/fragrance is that it costs $22.50 for 18oz.  I don’t use lotion alot.  ANYway, I was pondering this ‘state’ in my life (the state of wishing that people wouldn’t wear perfume/cologne) and I started taking an inventory of the worship team (a group that I meet with at least 2x a week).  To my delight and gratitude, I realized how fortunate I am (and have been for almost a decade) that no one on our team really wears ANY fragrances.  So, every Sunday at 7am and every Tuesday at 7pm, we find other things to notice and laugh about about each other.  🙂

SECOND THOUGHT
You know how we label people? 
Well, how about the label that we give frugal people…if you use a rubber spatula to get the very last wipe out of the mayonnaise jar then you ‘must have lived through the depression’?  You know, stuff like that.  
I was pondering this today, as I have been nursing the last of my $22.50 bottle of moisturizer (that I’ve had for 7+ months), making sure to get every last drop in the bottle before I open the new replacement bottle.  I was thinking about how my patterns have changed over the years: some good, some bad.  One good one is that I really do use most things until they’re GONE (with the exception of food…soemtimes, you just need to throw it away).  When did this start? I’m not sure, but i do remember one of my college jobs was working for a millionare woman who had no concept of money management (nor did she teach any to her spoiled kids) and the amount of true waste and surplus that I witnessed (as i was barely getting myself through college) was profound to me.  Fast forward to today, I think through the increase in my involvement with justice based work, I have had the opportunity to be exposed to true destitution.  As a result, ‘wasting’ is hard for me to do with a clear conscience (I need only to picture a 6 yr old sex slave who is starved almost to death or the 9 year old Ugandan boy who was forced, by the LRA,  to kill his own brother, escaped and now tries to make it on his own in a war-torn country…and the list goes on).  I guess using moisterizer is a luxury that millions of people can’t afford…so, I scrape every last tiny dallop out of the bottle..not just for my wallet, but as a reminder of all those who have need. 

THIRD THOUGHT
My pastor knocked it out of the park yesterday.  He said a lot, I appreciated a lot, but one main thing sticks out to me…how do i represent Christ to unbelievers in my daily encounters?…he used the illustration of 2 Cor 2:14

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.”  

After people have been with me, are they left with a
1) pleasing fragrance (like my Hempz lotion)?  or
2) a faint foul odor? (like when you walk into a house that cooked fish the night before) or
3) a raging, gagging stench (insert the worst stench you’ve experienced…my EMT fire fighting friends say that anything GI related is horrendous)? 

CONVERGING THOUGHT?
the way I love the smell of my Hempz lotion (and nurse it and won’t waste it)…is that the same way that people respond to me because they perceive Christ in me because of my actions/words/tone/vibe/love/compassion/etc? (I doubt it)  OR, do I leave the smell like all the colognes and perfumes that gag me and that i can’t stand?  (probably)

I’m leaving out lots of sermon points, but 2 application points that he made that were SO convicting were (remember, this is about fragrance of Christ to unbelievers)
1) “How ya smelling these days?”
2) “Love them till they ask you ‘why?’ “ 

(dagger in my heart).

HUMAN TRAFFICKING IS REAL.

Human slavery is alive and well in 2008.  
27 million innocent human beings are enslaved…at this very moment.
call-and-response

A few weeks ago I saw this movie with Jennene and Eric and we absolutely think everyone should see it. 
It was a limited release at the time and sadly we saw it on the last day it was showing.  So, while we wanted to recommend it to everyone (you), we had nowhere to send you to see it.  Well, the film makers somehow  managed to get another release!  EVERYONE should see this (and see how the world responds to human slavery) Click here  for listings near you.. For those of you ‘local’, it will be in LA & Pasadena Nov 14-20th
*Please do whatever you have to do to see this movie. 

Human trafficking is not something that’s just happening somewhere ‘out there’…it’s the fastest growing commerce product worldwide, which includes the U.S.  
I’ve talked to several people who have said, ‘I’m ashamed.  I had no idea that was happening in the world and specifically the U.S.’

So, while the ecomony is a big deal and the recent elections were a big deal, the bigger deal is the massive amounts of genuine injustice  going on in our world, often under our noses, and oft times even unknowingly financed by us. 

Check it out…be in the know…hear the call…be the response. 
http://www.CALLandRESPONSE.com/home.html

*Note: this is not a ‘Christian’ movie, but it is remarkable how some non-Christians respond to this genuine on-going crisis with compassion and action. 

If you’re a Christian, have you thought through your biblical responsibility to the innocent and exploited?  To the innocent and expolited that are being enslaved, tortured, abused, sold, prostituted, exploited…with no rescue in sight?  If you have thought about it, would you like to share your thoughts, efforts, hopes, experiences? 
It’s a big deal and we’re all on the same team: Team Human. 
Some of our team mates are in desperate need:   Of physical and spiritual rescue.

DON’T WANT TO BE A PART OF THE $450 BILLION U.S. CHRISTMAS?

Well, then read on… 🙂

So, I have posted about Advent Conspiracy and I hope you had a chance (and an interest) to read about it.  If you want to check in on Dan Franklin’s blog, he’s giving updates as he and his family are formally participating.

HOWEVER, if what I just said was too much for you to deal with, here’s a quick GREAT resource for gift ideas this season that are meaningful, experience based, and not expensive!!!!  It’s a sister website to Advent Conspiracy called RETHINKING CHRISTMAS.  There are some fantastic ideas that are relation based  alternatives to the $450 billion dollars that Americans (alone) spend on Christmas every year.  There are a bunch of diverse ideas submitted by people just like you and me.  Here are 3 examples (note: obviously any/all of the ideas can be modified to the specific intention/creativity of the giver :)…and these might be cool things for your kids to do as givers of gifts too)…

“WHAT I SEE IN YOU” Ornament
submitted by laurabeefatka on Fri, 11/07/08;  
One Christmas growing up, my mom presented each of us three kids with a special ornament.  Each one represented an aspect of our God-given character.
Laura: Star-shaped ornament, representing my ability to reflect the light of God to those around me
Emily: Heart-shaped ornament, representing her tender and giving heart
Brian: Shepherd ornament, representing his ability to guide and shepherd people
I don’t remember many of the gifts given at Christmas, but I sure remember this one! 

THE BELATED THANK YOU LETTER 

For each of your relatives, recall a memory with them from your youth in which you never said thank you. Each letter can be unique, or can simply be started with “I remember when I was younger” and then proceed to write down as much about that memory as you can. At the end of the description, simply thank them. I would often say something to the effect of “Even though I never properly thanked you, I was very thankful for the way you [fill in blank here] – Thank You.”
I know it sounds simple, but you’ll be amazed at how powerful a belated thank you letter can be.

GRANDMA’S BEST RECIPE

I asked my Grandma not to buy me any presents for Christmas.  Instead, she is going to show me how she makes chocolate chip zucchini bread.  It was always my favorite snack when she came to visit and did her baking, and now I will be able to make it and share it with others.

 

I absolutely (always) love the concept of downplaying store bought, simply because, generally speaking, I think more than any gift card or piece of clothing, what people ultimately really want is to be connected with people…not stuff.  I dare say, for those of you who are followers of Christ, that what people should really be experiencing through you (us) is Jesus.  I think one of the most obvious and significant ways that people see Jesus through us is in our connectedness with humanity.  It all matters. Each person matters.  Relationships matter.  Kindness matters.  Sacrifice matters.  Compassion matters.  Caring matters. Truth in love matters.  Faithfulness matters.  Curiosity matters.  Follow through matters.  Confession matters. Creativity matters.  Patience matters.  Joy matters.  The way Jesus did it matters.  It matters because that’s the way He did it. *
🙂

Soooooooo, think about it…maybe this Christmas will be different in giving habits, not just ‘because of the economy’, but because people matter…so much so that Jesus Christ gave His life for people, not a gift card.

*sidenote: I am also aware that provision matters and that sometimes giving monetarily/materially IS another way to show Christ to people.  And if you have the opportunity, then by all means follow the Spirit and give accordingly, in obedience.  This post was moreso primarily to offer options to the ‘stereotypical’ habits of Americans around ‘the holidays’.