building others up.
tonight I sat around the room with some of my closest friends as we were at the starting line for a new study we are doing on freedom called Freeway. Each of us invited 1 or 2 friends, so the group as a whole didn’t know each other, but regardless it’s pretty awkward to “introduce” yourself to a room full of your closest friends that you do life with daily. when it was Holcomb’s turn, she was feeling the awkwardness too, so I stepped in and did the introduction for her. One of the other girls said, “wow, your friends really do know you better than yourself!” I mean how awkward is it to say, “well, I’m really creative…” but when your friend says it it totally is the most amazing sweetest thing ever. My turn was last, and like Alison, I didn’t know what to say. Jenna + Alison stepped in and did the introductions. I had to stop and tell them that words of affirmation was my love language – because my tank was getting full!
something Rebekah Lyons talked about at IF was calling each others gifts out + speaking those callings over people, and I love that challenge. she says her mother told her recently, “ya know, I always knew you would write” and she thought that would have been nice to know in college when she was trying to pick a major! It’s the truth. I was so overjoyed to hear what my dear friends had to say about me, and it brought so much life and light. To know that they see me as a connector, they affirmed my hard word as a mother of basically twins, encouraged me in my writing and story telling and in my constant friend making. No, I don’t need to hear those things to know that they love me and appreciate our friendship, but it sure meant a lot to me.
you never know what people are thinking until they say it. they were embarassing me so much I said, “it’s like we are at my funeral and I”m dead and this is what yall are saying about me”. they did not like that analogy but it’s the truth! me + my bestie alison have been talking about that very thing. Why do we wait until someone is gone to say what we love about the? to affirm them and speak life to their giftings and passions? I don’t want to wait. I want to speak life over people, and tell them why I love them and how I think God has gifted them. I have friends that do that for me, and I want to be that kind of friend too.
what about you? will you take the challenge?
we had a baby shower for our good friend recently who is pregnant with twins! it’s her 3rd and 4th babies, so we hosted a little “diaper dash” for her. have yall heard of these? we set up a table and a cute little candy bar outside her front door and from 5-7 people came and dropped off diapers and took a little treat! While the dropping and dashing was happening, her best friends took the mama to dinner! It was such a fun night to sit around the round table in the back of one of our favorite local downtown resturants together. While sipping mexican martinis, and basically drinking corn queso, we talked a lot about “the everyday”. This group of girls – we are close. Our kids are all around the same ages, so we have play group dates. We went on a girls trip this past summer together, and these past few months we’ve had our bread + wine dinner/book club. We constantly have group texts going throughout the day, asking questions about potty training, sharing recipes, begging each other to come over for a dang glass of wine as it turns 5pm sometimes…, and just sharing life together.
but still - the every day, the day to day. what do we each do? what would it be like to be in each others homes, in the passenger seat of each others suburbans as we drive kids here and there, on the bar stool in the kitchen as we cook dinner, or on the couch as we just want to close our eyes for 2 min! How amazing would that be? My favorite part of this conversation is when one friend was trying to get the rest of us to be painfully truthful about how much tv our kids watch…”i mean, 2 episodes in a row? more than 2?” and almost in unison me + one of the other girls shouted “well micky mouse clubhouse is only 22 minutes!!” I can crack up just thinking about that again. There’s so much cristism, comparison, and condemnation in the “mommy wars” sometimes that it was so refreshing to stand outside Alli’s door as real humans. talking about our real day to day, and how the heck we do our day to day life with multiple little people at our feet all day.
So, every everyday is different for me. but they aren’t perfect. I do let my kids watch tv – I don’t know how I would ever wear makeup or have dinner on the table if they didn’t. I try desperately to be present with them all the time, but I’m not. I’m not perfect. and that night, talking about the real every day, it made me love my friends a little more for being real and honest.
“my studio” has transformed into the kids room. it’s still where my computer lives, and my favorite reading chair and I often love to open the blinds, turn the lamps on, and open my front storm door and let the light spill in and have lazy mornings at home together. Me drinking coffee, sometimes reading, sometimes on my computer, sometimes on the ground with the kids, but the kids always playing. playing in their kitchen, playing dress up, playing doctor, racing their cars, and most recently “drawing” with their new art easel. it’s our place + our time together, and I don’t ever want to let the moment pass and forget it. this is a part of our everyday.
join us Saturday night!
yall this is really exciting for me. I always try to make my austin friends feel sorry for me that they have all these friends that do super cool stuff…and I act like there aren’t people here that do super cool stuff in my small west Texas town…but that’s just not the truth!
a few weeks ago I was having a garage sale with Alison + Allison and some of those uber cool people were standing on my front lawn. and I thought…let’s do a fun fair trade night together! pretty amazing that in a small town there are more than a handful of us who work for or run groups that hand make fabulous things! and who’s workers get paid a fair living wage! just in case you didn’t know who all these people were…let me introduce you!
Noonday Collection..oh wait? you’ve already heard of them?
No.41 is a ministry that was started in rwanda in march 2012, and i got to be a part of it when i was living there last year. we took 32 girls from our local orphanage and village and taught them the culturally relevant trade of sewing. our “office” was our living room, then turned into our back house. the bags that our sweet girls sew (that will be available for purchase) provide one meal a day for one year to a secondary school child in our village. (for one- 41.. get it?!) we started the feed program one year ago this month, and started feeding 870 students +36 teachers, and now one little bitty year later, the enrollment has raised and we are now feeding 1,200 students and teachers a day. the headmaster even said our school now has the highest national exam scores in the district. (!!!!)
there are so many ways to get involved, and i would love to chat more with you about that if you’re interested! or maybe you’d like to hear about the girls that stole my heart and how we’ve seen them grow, the HUGE ways God showed up when we had no clue what our next move should be.. or the time i fell off a moving motorcycle. that last one doesn’t have anything to do with the feed program, but it really is funny.. now that i’m ok, at least. really, there’s so much to say and i’m ready to tell you all about it. i’m so excited to share this with you guys- can’t wait for saturday. xo.
here’s our website for a less condensed version of our story and eye candy:)
We started Scarlet Threads in 2009 when we were living and working in rural China with a small orphanage. We met some amazingly talented artisans struggling to eke out a living for their families, and at the same time, we saw children abandoned, in some cases, due to medical needs that their families couldn’t afford to treat. The orphan-care work we were doing, while vitally important, felt more like a band-aid to the deeper problem of children becoming orphans because their families couldn’t afford to care for them… and we wanted to feel like we were doing something about the root issue — poverty.
So, we started Scarlet Threads, partnering with Deng Jia to make beautiful anthro-style aprons… we’ve since expanded to other artisans working with other materials, and when my husband and I moved to Midland, we began working with local Burmese refugees to create an ADORABLE line of custom children’s clothing. We have a whole lotta different products now, but in every case the items are beautifully crafted by an artisan who is paid fairly while working in their home so they can care for their family. We’ve also expanded our efforts to include a fundraising program for adopting families and a grant program to help families with the high cost of adoption as well.
We see our artisans as our partners — not as our charity projects — and we are proud to connect you with their beautiful handiwork. We are so excited to meet all of you in person at the event next Saturday and show you the amazing things they create. As a very special treat, we will have all the samples from our Chin Collection Fall Line on sale!! This is a one-time chance get some adorable handmade children’s clothing crafted right here in Midland by Burmese refugees at some great prices!
To tide you over till Saturday, check out our website:www.scarletthreads.org
Africa Bridges of Hope
We share the love of Christ with the poor, orphaned, needy, and destitute in the Heart of Uganda’s capitol city, Kampala, by standing in the gap for children who would otherwise have no HOPE. Africa Bridges of Hope provides food, clothes, daily needs, and most importantly education through the help of people like you. We believe the Hope and the future of African nations depends greatly on the next generation of leaders. We desire to be a part of raising that generation in a family and love filled environment where Hope can be restored where it was lost and community can take pride in the future of their country.
We sell African jewelry and crafts to support our mission in East Africa. The children that we sponsor make our very special hand woven paper beads to contribute to their school fees. We have items ranging from Coconut carved necklaces and earrings, porcupine quill sets, hand carved serving spoons, bowls, baskets, drums, sandals, apparel, and much much more.
and music by Jami Stotts of Restoration Farm
is a ministry that brings Hope, Equipping, and Restoration to single mothers and women through biblical and life skills training.
The mission of Restoration Farm is to provide Christ-centered transitional housing to women and children and restore hope by meeting their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs while equipping them for a self-sufficient future
“…be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes.” Isaiah 58:12
Restoration Farm is located in Midland, Texas. We accept applications for women with children under the age of 6. Our mission is to provide Christ-centered transitional housing to women and children and restore hope by meeting their spiritual, emotional, and physical needs while equipping them for a self-sufficient future. We do this through providing affordable housing, spiritual mentoring, career mentoring, financial counseling & budgeting, Restoration Farm family dinners, and training in boundaries, nutrition, parenting, and housekeeping.
See ya soon!
Slavery still exists. It’s higher today than it EVER has been. In farms, factories and brothels. What can we do to help with a problem that seems so big? Check the labels of your clothes, buy local foods is possible, who is harvesting your chocolate? Your sugar? Money is power in our world, every dollar you spend can cast your vote for the world you want. I want to end it. Do you? Today 27 million men women and children are enslaved, all over the world, even here in America. I’m in it to end it.
did you know that slavery STILL exists? well, it does. and my mama always says that…..
knowledge is power. watch the video.
shine a light on slavery.
We are in it to END IT.
I knew this “series” if you will would take me a long time. it’s soul work. I’m working on part 3, but for now. catch up on part 1 then read this
His Promises part 2.
Before I go into what God told me during the “date with God” at Created for Care, can I just recap you of what He told me during this time in 2012? God spoke to me about brokenness being restored. I talked about that here. and then I got a tattoo. but I still really didn’t know what it meant. Then God spoke to me almost 1 year later + revealed WHY he laid that on my heart. So, maybe I”m almost a year late in posting this story, but apparently these things take time to really fully reveal themselves to me.
back to 2013. date with God.
Ok wait, I lied. a little more back tracking. August 8, 2012 I was walking the streets of Korah, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Typical day for me that summer while I was living with a missionary family and working with a ministry there. In my visits to this community over the years, I had developed quite a few relationships. One of them is with one of the prophet-ess in the village, Mulu. I had been to her house many times in the past 2 years, and had the honor of praying for her daughter, Mercy and loving on her little boy whom she adopted, Yepsura. I knew Mulu was a woman of great faith and persistent prayer and I had asked her a time or two if she would pray for healing for my endometriosis. The summer before I was in Ethiopia, I was talking to Jenna + Lana at home and they told me we were going to pray that God would HEAL me. Wow, seriously what a concept. Why had I never thought over the years that I should be asking God for that, believing and having faith that He indeed could heal my broken body.
I wanted to have big faith, like I’ve said before, so I wanted her to plea to God on my behalf for my healing. I had asked Mulu several times that summer + the timing had never been right. On August 8th, the timing was right. I asked her, through a translator, if she would pray for me. God is so sweet, in that my bestie Jenna was actually with me in Korah that day [on a mission trip] AND I had “randomly” brought my video camera. best friend + video camera = amazing proof of this once in a lifetime prayer session. Tiba, the translator, Jenna, Mulu and I all went into the room where a group of 20ish Mission Ethiopia ladies were working. Mulu had me tell the ladies, through Tiba, what was wrong and how they could pray for me. I nervously tried to tell them about my endometriosis in a way they could understand, and pleaded with them as mothers to pray for God to heal me and open my womb.
It had to have been at least 20 minutes of praying before we said amen. Mostly in Amharic, their native language, and even though I don’t know exactly what words were offered to God that morning, I knew in my spirit. I felt the prayers. These women all had their small children with them, as they often do when they work, and at the beginning of the prayer session they were all hunkered by their mamas, and towards the end of the prayer time, they were all huddled by me. Yall, at this point, camp + asher were not mine yet. It was a beautiful picture to me, of how God sees me. Well, just simply that he does in fact see me! After the praying, Mulu said she had a word for me. We opened up my bible, and read from Luke 1. “And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God. And Mary said, “behold, I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word” I have 8-8-12 Mission ET/Mulu prayer written in pink next to those verses in my bible.
I walked away from the dirty streets of Korah that day renewed. I walked away with a new hope. A reminder that NOTHING is impossible with God.
a little visual. this is Mulu! although this picture was about a year later, going through my istagram I remembered that even a year later they prayed for me!
this is me + jenna from that trip :)
and tiba. the translator extrodinare.
ok, I promise. His Promises 3 will actually talk about my date with God. the goal is to write it before THIS years date with God in in two weekends…