October 30, 2011

Gifts of Compassion


Christmas is just around the corner. YIKES! Here are some great ideas to help you with your Christmas gift list. Gifts of Compassion is a holiday gift-giving opportunity made available through Compassion International.

I browsed the online catalogue and thought how FANTASTIC this would be for group Christmas projects. Here are ideas I thought of for different kinds of groups.

Ideas for Guy Groups


Perhaps your men’s accountability group, civic club, industry network or your extended family would like to provide income producing gifts to help sustain a family in extreme poverty. How many opportunities like these could your group help make possible?
Gifts of Compassion
Cows
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Ideas for Women’s Groups


Business women, sororities, or ladies bible study groups – how about helping moms in poverty with a gift to launch them in business for themselves? Many of these women are abandoned, widowed, abused, or single parents. How many women could your group help this holiday season? One? Two? Five or more?
SmallBizforMoms

Ideas for Kids’ Group Giving Projects


I need to pick a project for my Sunday School class, and I’m confident we can raise enough to do one or more of these options. What would your children’s group like to do?
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Ideas for Healthcare Workers/Offices: 

 

Maybe your peers would like to take on a group project related to your professional interest in dentistry, optometry, or general health care and nutrition.

Gifts of Compassion4Gifts of Compassion3

 

There is something for every budget and for almost any special interest area.

 

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I’m personally drawn to the Africa Drought Survival gift because I have two sponsored children who live in Kenya, and our children’s church sponsors two boys in a village in Uganda.


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I’m also drawn to the building materials, because I can’t remember a day in all my years of being married to Mr. Build-it when I haven’t stepped on, tripped over, moved, pulled from the washing machine, or picked up tools and building materials.




I’d love to hear what your group decides to do for its project.

Please click the link to visit the Gifts of Compassion online catalogue. Pray and ask God how you or your group can get involved.

“Meet real needs and bring real joy with a Gift of Compassion.”


October 29, 2011

True Colors

Leaves in my backyard 10-25-11
The color of Fall painted across the landscape calls to something deep within. It touches the creative, inspires the mind and moves the heart. Is it the sheer surprise of changing hues that deepen day by day, or the rich, complementary combinations playing so beautifully off one another that affect such a response?

Perhaps it’s the realization that this natural glory, visible for such a brief period of time, lies buried beneath the process of survival itself. Unseen until the need to feed is no longer the pressing issue, it is then we pause to revel as shades of green yield to the true identity masked beneath.

Green. Fresh. Flourishing. A celebrated symbol of life and living. Mere garments of immaturity that must yield to the inevitable cycle.

The fullness of beauty comes as the dying process begins and the appearance of vibrancy fades in the changing season. And in this brief period of time, we marvel to glimpse the depth and richness of something we see so very briefly. The true colors.

“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord….”
2 Corinthians 3:18 

~ De

P1010045

In what way is God transforming you and bringing forth your true beauty in Him?



October 22, 2011

Looking Into the Light


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It’s funny how something so ordinary, or ugly takes on new beauty when seen in a different light.

Sometimes the light exaggerates the flaws and magnifies the undesirable attributes. At other times, the light causes you to discover the tiniest virtues that you never saw or even thought possible. It’s then, in the moment of new light, that you pause to appreciate.

How you see something depends on where you position yourself in relationship to the light source.

Faults and shortcomings are overshadowed, lost in the brilliance and hidden from sight, when we extend the grace to place the less esteemed before us… and then look into the Light.


“For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light.” Psalm 36:9


~De



How has the Light of God’s love helped you to see hidden virtues in someone, something, or even within yourself?





October 20, 2011

Evidence of New Life


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A tree-climbing boy found an empty shell clinging to the bark, cemented in place with a grip that screamed urgency and struggle. The back split neatly down the middle, and empty eyes glistened with an eerie coldness. A web spanned from leg to leg and attached further up the branch indicating that another creature had taken over this home that once belonged to another.

This previous life, reduced to brittle refuse, stands as a symbol of victory for one life; defeat for another. The transformed creature that burst forth from its bondage now lives with new purpose, never to return to its former ways, leaving behind these cast-off shackles.

The old creature is gone. It has become altogether new.

There is no beauty in what was left behind, except for a reminder as evidence of new life.


Found by Elijah, the tree-climbing boy.


~De



“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone. The new has come!” 2 Cor. 5:17






October 13, 2011

She Calls Them Sun Fuzzies


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You find a delicate intricacy in the structure;
Symmetrical balance in the masterful design.

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Strength and tenacity in a fragile form
Held together until its appointed time.


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Rejected by most; dreaded, despised,
Yet treasured by One 
who sees through new eyes.

Audrey dandelion bouquet 2010




“Great are the works of the Lord; they are pondered by all who take delight in them.”
Psalm 111:2                       



~ De


How has God helped you to find treasure in what you once overlooked?



October 6, 2011

A Walk in the Park with The Two-Year-Old Boy


His golden hair glistens in the sun as we walk along the wooded trail, just me and The Two-Year-Old Boy.

To the water! Throwing rocks. Again and again, with unrestrained joy at each splash, he watches and cheers as the ripples fade.

To the trail! Hand in hand we walk, pausing to examine fallen leaves of crunchy brown, translucent yellow, crimson and  green. Stomp! Stomp! Stomp! His game plays out upon the brightly colored carpet adorning our path.
He touches white flowers with bright yellow centers, and watches a bee gather nectar. He examines a rock and collects acorn caps to toss one-by-one, high into the air. Suddenly he turns, and off we go.

To the trees! “Deer, where are you? Foxes, where are you?" he calls into the shadows. He pauses to listen. A soft scraping sound catches his ear, and his eyes follow upward into the crook of an old tree. There sits a squirrel gnawing away at his supper. We watch for several seconds, just me and The Two-Year-Old Boy.

To the hill and beyond! Around the bend and into the sun, the adventure moves up and on. He sees a crack across our path, plants both feet and calls out the count: Ready? Set? He JUMPS with a full-body leap that spends every ounce of his effort. I praise his success. He reaches for my hand and invites me into his play; into his world. Laughing and jabbering, he pulls me along to the next crack… and the next… and together we jump, oblivious to the forced smiles of walkers we encounter along the way.

Breathless now, we walk in silence. “I love you, too!” he says first. I repeat the phrase, and like a game of Echoes, the sentiment rebounds until finally disrupted by our giggles.

To the fishing dock! For an hour we walk, exploring God’s world. We delight in the dance of water and light, in fish that splash and geese that glide gracefully along the water’s edge. Little legs grow tire, and I pause to pick up The Two-Year-Old Boy. He leans his head against mine and yawns, then looks over my shoulder and calls out, “Bye-bye!” to the boats, ducks, and trees.

To the end! Down the last hill and around the bend, he spies the old truck up ahead. I lower him to the ground, and little feet run swiftly across the last stretch of grass. He laughs as we race together to the place where we began our walk in the park… just me and The Two-Year-Old Boy.

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~ De




What adventures have you enjoyed in God’s beautiful creation this past week?



Matthew 18:3



October 3, 2011

Showing Up BIG in the Little Things

 
It amazes me how much the seemingly insignificant things in life can mean so much and impact us so deeply. These are the fleeting moments of meaning; instances or experiences that are easily overlooked if not magnified by the sheer timing of an action or the mere choice of a word.

This week brought one of those moments my way. 



It all started when I read a journal post at OurCompassion that described different ways to make and send calendars to your Compassion children. The examples ranged from simple photo cards to beautifully hand designed keepsake-style pieces. I wanted to give it a try despite my sheer lack of handcrafting ability. Too many times I’ve loaded up with all the supplies, instructions and excitement only to be left with some odd-ball looking embarrassment that gets tossed in the trash.

This time I kept my enthusiasm in check and opted for a trip to a 1-hour photo kiosk to simply make personalized, 4x6 year-at-a-glance calendars, complete with each child’s picture. Definitely not your keepsake masterpiece, but It worked for my limitations! The options for background colors, layouts and design templates let me exercise a little personal creative expression.

I felt artistic. I felt like a bona fide handcrafter.

I felt the l-o-v-e flowing through me while I worked on my simple project. As I looked at each face, I thought about their country, the living conditions and safety issues. Their family members and special prayer requests came to mind. I made special notations on their calendars about our family’s birthdays and highlighted their name to emphasize how we included them in our birthday reminder list. My heart bubbled as I looked at the finished product. The kids will like them; they look nice.

For a few minutes I enjoyed my illusions of artsy-ness.

Then -- just before I mailed the cards, I felt a little pang of uneasiness. Slowly I flipped through the seven cards again. Second thoughts gnawed as reality settled in. 

  1. The timing: The year would be half gone by the time the calendars reached their destined countries. How will the kids feel getting a half useless calendar?
  2. The picture: Will they like their picture on the calendar, or will they think that’s silly? 
Maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.


The heart that felt so happy a few minutes before now felt anxious and woefully inadequate. 


But… I mailed them anyway, in spite of my gift-giving anxieties.
 
Last Saturday – six months later -- I received a response from Vinay thanking me for the letter and his calendar card. He could have thanked me with a general acknowledgement, but instead he specifically wrote:
 
“I felt very happy by seeing my photo in the calendar.”
 
Why am I surprised when God does this kind of stuff? He knows me inside out and upside down – my joys, concerns and anxious thoughts. He knows each of my children. He knows you! And He continually shows us how much He cares by showing up BIG in the little things. 

~De

Psalm 139:23





TIP: October is the time to mail next year’s calendar cards.




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