Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reading Challenge of 2010: July

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5:19 PM
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
For this month’s book club discussion, we read The Red Tent by Anita Diamant, a historical novel set in Biblical times. While I recognized many of the characters, the story I did not know. It begins with Jacob, forefather of the Jewish race, and his wives. Jacob took four wives and had 12 sons through the women. These sons became the 12 tribes of Israel. Jacob also had one daughter, Dinah, and The Red Tent is her story. The family of Jacob lived a nomadic life, and the red tent was a place for women to deliver the babies and have their monthly cycles. In this tent, traditions about womanhood and family is shared. Dinah, the only daughter of the family patriarch, was privy to her families stories early on, and also grew in the skills of a midwife. She longed for the day when she would have family stories of her own. She married a prince of the neighboring kingdom, and Dinah believed her fairytale was coming true. Until blind rage and pride left bloodshed and heartbreak in the kingdom. Dinah was widowed and pregnant and no longer welcome to return to the land of her mothers. She was to live as a foreigner in Egypt. Dinah’s struggles are painful, and her joy is fleeting. The Red Tent is beautifully written. It created such a different story than the one told in Scripture. I went back to Genesis and read the story of Jacob and his wives, his sons and Dinah. She’s usually missed between Jacob’s wrestle with God and Joseph’s dreams, and has most likely been forgotten. But her pain is forever captured there as well. I was glad to have read a book that opens my eyes to parts of the Bible I had missed.

The Passage by Justin Cronin
This beast of a book was our next book club selection. At 766 pages, it’s definitely the longest one I’ve attempted to read in quite awhile! So needless to say, I was thankful to be sucked in immediately and finished it in under 2 weeks. The Passage is a vampire thriller, but not with the misunderstood, emotional, brooding lovesick vampires we've seen in pop culture lately. These vamps are out for blood. What started as a science experiment gone wrong, ends as a worldwide epidemic leaving millions in its wake. The fate of survival rests on one girl, The Girl Who Came From Nowhere. Will the vampires prevail? Or will human life win out? Cronin beautifully sets up each character and gives so much rich background information, so the reader really has sense of the story being crafted. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book that I enjoyed so thoroughly, and that even when I put it down, I kept thinking about what was going to happen next. All 766 pages are worth the read.




The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Ever since I re-discovered the young adult genre, people have been recommending The Hunger Games series to me. I had put it off and put it off, but just this week, I picked it up at the bookstore I work at. And then I didn’t put it down. What a compelling story! In a futuristic society, North America as we know it no longer exists, and in its place are Districts. Each District has its purpose, and each purpose determines the District’s status. District 12 is the poorest of the poor, where the majority of the citizens are miners and almost all are starving. Katniss, the 16-year-old heroine, has been fending for her family through illegal hunting and black market bartering since her father’s death five years earlier. And her world is rocked as she is to compete in this year’s Hunger Games. This competition will not only test her survival skills, but her character as well. As I flew through the chapters, I found myself rooting for Katniss’ survival, and cheering on her budding relationship with co-competitor, Peeta. But would it all be for nothing? Would they make it through? Because there could only be one winner of The Hunger Games. This is great action-adventure-romance is a fantastic book for readers of all ages. Can’t wait to start the sequel!

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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Fundraising Events and More!

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5:56 PM
Things are definitely picking up in regards to my fundraising! It’s exciting to see what God is doing. It’s completely humbling. I made a comment on my Facebook page the other day about how amazed I am at God’s faithfulness in despite of my own unfaithfulness. Several people liked it, so I know you guys out there know how I feel. Sometimes in the busyness of my days, I find myself sinning, or distracted, or forgetting to pray, and then I get a phone call or an email from someone who wants to help me raise funds. And I’m just like “wow, God, you are truly doing this”. That’s been my month. People coming alongside of me, helping me reach my goal. So far with the amount I’ve collected and the amounts pledged, I am OVER 50 percent!!! Praise God! There’s still a ways to go, but I feel like I’ve jumped a hurdle. He’s got me. We can do this. A HUGE thank you to all of you out there that are supporting me. Here’s a few upcoming events that you can be a part of and help my cause at the same time!

On-line Mary Kay party. One of my dear friends is a Mary Kay consultant, and she has generously offered to donate 30 percent of the sales I bring in this month to my trip. Here’s a link to her online store, where you can browse the full online catalog, and purchase items right from home, without having to attend a party. Whether you use their makeup or not, there’s always something you can use. Great skincare is a must for us all! Plus, you can feel beautiful on the outside and good on the inside too, knowing you are helping women and children escape a life of slavery and abuse around the world. Visit Katie’s online shop today!

Mission Rescue. You are invited to an evening of tea and desserts at the Empress Tea Room and Bistro [Tampa, FL] on Thursday, August 12th. Doors open at 6:30pm. Join others in making a difference in the world of human trafficking. There is power in one, and together we can make a change. A minimum donation of $20 will go towards sending me to Cambodia.. Your small donation WILL make a HUGE difference.

Create:Freedom Art Fair. Create:Freedom is a gathering of artists, musicians and creatives from the greater Tampa Bay area for one common purpose: FREEDOM. 27 million men, women, and children are enslaved in our world right now, which is more than any other time in history. Southeast Asia is a source and destination area for human trafficking, or modern-day slavery. And Cambodia is right at the heart. Tens of thousands are working as prostitutes in Cambodia right now, and many of them are just children. Create:Freedom desires to not only bring awareness to this country and issue, but also to do something about it. The event will provide information about human trafficking and the sex trade and also provide a chance for people to donate to an organization [YWAM] that is actively working to help these girls in Cambodia. This event will be Friday, Sept. 3 at the Springs Theatre in Tampa, FL. Doors open at 7pm. Suggested donation of $5 at the door.

If you are in the Tampa area, feel to free to come to any of these events. And bring your friends! I’m really excited about all these upcoming opportunities to share my passion and this cause with others. Please keep me in your prayers as well.

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Silent

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2:29 PM
Well, I've been kinda silent here in blog-world lately. Plenty has been happening, I just haven't been posting all that much. I've kinda just been enjoying the silence.

I'm housesitting for two weeks and its silent here too. See, back in January I moved in with my parents again. And at 27 and having already lived on my own, it wasn't the most fun thing I did this year. I mean, I know it was the right decision for my finances and my parents are great, so it was no big deal. But I am with people all the time, and there's very little 'me' time. Opportunities for silence are few and far between. So this past week, being on my own again, I've been enjoying the quiet.

So my blog has been equally as quiet. But I think quiet is what I've needed.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Training to Reach the World

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9:59 PM
I can't believe July is here already! As each new month begins, I'm reminded how close my next adventure truly is. I have a few more details regarding my training...from September - December, I will be classroom training in Orlando, FL. From January - March, I will be outreach training in SOUTH AFRICA! We will be focusing on the HIV/AIDS crisis, and providing practical and spiritual resources to those suffering.

I still am in need financially to complete this training however. Last month, I rolled out my Training to Reach the World fundraising campaign, and it's not too late to be a part!! Through funds raised over the next six months, I’ll meet my goal to have my training fully funded. This is where I need your help. The total amount I need is roughly $6,000 [depending on airfare], and I’m at 20% of that amount currently. To reach my goal this is what I need for the next 6 months:

- 1 more Champion donors at $100/month for 6 months. These Champions are committed to not only the gospel being taken to the ends of the earth, but are also invested in my personal mission to Cambodia. They recognize a long-term commitment in myself, and desire to be a partner in this journey.

- 7 more Sender donors at $50/month for 6 months. These Senders are excited for a chance to give to a ministry in a part of the world where they may never set foot. They are able to feel invested in the kingdom and eagerly share in my enthusiasm to reach and rescue the lost and hurting.

- 9 more Supporter donors at $25/month for 6 months. These Supporters are passionate about God’s work. They are motivated to see that Christ’s love and forgiveness is being shared with others. They recognize the sacrifice on my behalf, and wish to come alongside in support.

- 9 more Giver donors at $10/month for 6 months. These Givers recognize a worthy cause when they see it. They see themselves as part of a team being used by God to fund His work. They humbly accept His prompting to do their necessary role with the means given to them.

Please pray and consider how God could be using you to give and invest in this ministry opportunity. This training is the first step of many in moving to Cambodia to reach and rescue enslaved by the sex trade. And I need YOU to get there. Each and every gift received is a blessing, and just gets me one step closer to the ministry God has burdened on my heart. To donate, you can either use the PayPal link on the left of my blog, or mail a check to my home church, Watermark Church at P.O. Box 7925 Tampa, Florida 33673.

I thank you in advance your prayers, encouragement and support.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

Doubts & Callings

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3:09 PM
I doubt a lot of things. Maybe because I was so gullible in my younger years, that now I just have more doubts. It's good and bad I guess. I think it's OK not to trust everyone that their word. But too often this doubting carries over into my relationship with God. Not in the good way that challenges me to dig deep in His word and discover new things about Him. But in a crippling way in which I fear I heard Him at all.

I doubt my calling to Cambodia. A lot. Did I really hear God? Is this really what I'm supposed to be doing with my life? Move there? Fundraise? It goes against pretty much all of my logic and reasoning. So days when I'm caught up in myself and in my reasoning, I get really overwhelmed about my future. But its when I turn back to God's Word that all those doubts are reassured. That's how I know it's really His calling I suppose. Whenever I'm in the Word, or getting advice from godly people in my life, or listening to a sermon, I'm at peace with my future. It's when I get distracted by the world that I begin to overwhelmed.

I had another great reminder this weekend at church. My good friend Ryan was teaching about taking risks, something I'm all too familiar with. He took us to a passage in Acts, where Paul was about to leave Ephesus and move onto Jerusalem. I read it, and personalized it for myself: "And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to [Cambodia], not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." Acts 20:22-24


I have no idea what awaits for me in Orlando, South Africa, and Cambodia. Whether its safety or danger, health or sickness, success or despair. But I know in full confidence that I'm walking the path God is leading me down. And that can never be the wrong path.

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Friday, July 2, 2010

Follow Me Friday!

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5:56 PM
In blog world, followers are gold. For all of us that write our whimsies to our deepest thoughts, knowing that people are reading is the greatest satisfaction. As a way to connect with other bloggers and find some fun new reads, I joined NYC Island Gal's Follow Friday list. Check out her blog, and find some other awesome bloggers!





And for those of you just finding my blog, let me tell you a little about myself...

I am 20something Tampa, FL native and have been blogging for 3 years. I currently work for a non-profit, IMPACT, which helps teens make healthy life choices. I am in the process of fundraising for my next great adventure...living as a full-time missionary in Siem Reap, Cambodia, helping to rescue girls enslaved by sex trafficking.

-Greatest loves...music, art, reading, movies/TV, travel and my Savior, Jesus Christ

-Greatest fears...creepy crawlies, heights, not mattering in this world

-Greatest passions...justice, freedom for the captives, creativity

Thanks for finding and following me! Happy Friday!

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