Thursday, October 8, 2015

Bucks for Babies

Tonight, I posted on my Facebook and Twitter about the Walk for Life that is this Saturday (please share my post and tweets on your own social media!!). I'm DESPERATE to get the word out at the last minute to help reach that $60,000 goal for Heartline Pregnancy Center. I am sad to say that at this point, they still haven't even met half of their goal.

I truly do not understand how or why this is so hard. Life is the most basic thing that there is. There are many causes out there to fight for, but it all comes down to just of life, and survival of the human race. If we don't make this our priority, nothing else matters. If we don't fight for our own lives and the lives of others, what's left? Nothing!

Please, read my post about all that I'm willing to do (and the goals I have laid out) for this walk for life. Or, just simply click here to go to my fundraising page to pledge/donate. Then, share this post with as many people as possible....PLEASE! Email it, Facebook it, tweet it, etc. Please, DO SOMETHING!

Grace and peace to you, my friends. I am fighting hard and it's killing me inside because I feel like I'm pouring myself into something so vitally important and no one cares. It's like sounding an alarm that no one hears or warning people and yet they are unmoved and unchanged. I have to know that there are still people out there that care and are willing to stand with me and with the women and children that need us. Will you be that person? Share this post and share whatever you can spare to donate....even if it's just a buck, they all add up! Bucks for babies; and the kind that SAVES their lives and not profits off of them! God bless you!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

I'm Willing to "Do Something" for Donations!

Have you ever had a moment where you said, "That's it! I've had it!"? Have you ever been so fired up that it moved you to drastic action? Undoubtedly, you have. Who hasn't been riled up about something at some point in their life? It could have been something petty or something truly worth fighting for, but we've all had times where an injustice has compelled us to fight for what's right; and made us feel that we would do whatever it takes, no mater the cost.

That is how I felt today when I read this article by Matt Walsh. Every time I read something of his, I feel like he's writing my own thoughts and feelings. I nod in agreement, share his posts on Facebook and Twitter, and do all I can to keep fighting the good fight.

One of the ways I have been hoping to make a difference is through the annual Walk for Life for my local crisis pregnancy center (Heartline). I have been trying hard to get people to care enough to donate. I thought that the release of those undercover videos (which exposed Planned Parenthood and the abortion industry) would cause people to step up in record numbers to defend life and support CPCs in their communities. Yet, at this moment, I haven't met my minimum fundraising goal and the fundraiser as a whole hasn't even raised 10%....and there are less than 25 days left until the walk!! :(

Like Matt Walsh pointed out in his article, it doesn't seem like much has changed...and I'm blown away by that! HOW can we POSSIBLY live life as usual when there is mass genocide going on in America? Are we REALLY going to continue ignoring this hidden holocaust and scandalous atrocity of murdering children and selling their organs for profit?! Do we really want our legacy to be that of the Nazis??!! C'MON AMERICA!!! Why aren't we jumping at the chance to DO SOMETHING?!

This is why I'm upping the ante. If you need new incentives to help, I'm going to give you some right now! I am willing to make several personal sacrifices based on certain fundraising milestones that I reach. If donating out of the goodness of your heart (or the fact that you can claim your donation as a tax deductible contribution) isn't a good enough reason, I am now committed to doing the following:

  • $500 raised - I will go ONE WEEK WITHOUT MAKEUP. Yes, you heard me lol. I can't remember the last time I have done this (if ever). Anyone that knows me knows that I do not go out in public without touching up my face (you'll eventually see why!). On the week that I do this, I will take a picture each of the seven days and share it on my Twitter and other personal social media accounts. I will do this to show my support for uncovering and sharing the real and raw truth about the ugliness and horror of abortion. You can't sugarcoat or glamorize it, folks. I'm sure there will be some that will ask me "why do you look so tired?" or "why aren't you wearing makeup today?" and maybe even "you look so old!" etc....and I will tell them why. I will also be sure to share about it on this blog as well! 
  • $1,500 raised - I will post a video on my blog (and/or social media) where I draw from a list of names of those who have donated. The winner will receive a free Piyo exercise program (the base kit) from me and a free computer cleaning/tune-up from my husband (references are available regarding his work; he can also tune up your computer remotely if you don't live around here). Chris and I have our regular "day jobs" but we still find time to work these other jobs that we love. Essentially, we both like to keep "machines" running. Just like a computer, if you keep your body strengthened and running efficiently, you will be more likely to function at peak performance. Finely tuned machines work best! An energized body and optimum technology are two things that most people depend on to get through the day so we would like to use our time and talents to help with that! *NOTE* This is limited to United States residents only. The funding page only shows me the name, date, and amount given so if you want to be a part of this giveaway, please email me that you've given (especially if you elected to be displayed as anonymous or if I don't already know you personally). If I don't know who you are, I can't draw your name and contact you for shipping information if you win lol. Additionally, my husband's computer work is only for an in-person or remote cleaning/tune-up. If you need additional extensive/heavy-duty work, computer parts, etc.,you'll have to discuss fees with him.
  • $2,500 raised - I will draw an additional name from the list of people who have donated and the winner will receive a bag of Shakeology (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, greenberry, vegan chocolate, and vegan tropical strawberry are the flavors available). Chris will also offer a free computer cleaning/tune-up. *NOTE* Same terms also apply here as previously outlined in the first giveaway.
  •  $5,000 raised - I WILL SHAVE MY HEAD!! Yes, you read that correctly!! Again, anyone that knows me knows that I value my hair (and look awful with short hair) so this is a BIG DEAL for me to commit to! The way I see it, my hair will come back; but lives lost do not. This will be a great opportunity for me to not only "die to self" but to sacrifice for a good cause and share about defending life when I get asked all kinds of questions. I know that the first assumption will likely have to do with cancer; which is also a cause that is near and dear to my heart. My grandma conquered breast cancer, but didn't win the battle with the skin cancer that she fought later on. My great-aunt, other relatives, and many brave friends have also dealt with this horrible disease; and several are still fighting or have passed away. I hate cancer about as equally as I hate abortion. Both are ruthless, senseless, life-sucking killers that claim countless lives and shatter families.  If my hair weren't color treated, I would donate my hair as well. I want those whose lives have been touched by cancer to know that this will be in honor of YOU too! When I reach this goal, I'm sure my empathy, grief, and prayers for all those who have suffered (past and present) will only multiply. Not a day goes by that I don't miss my Grandma and strive to fight off tears (I'm crying even as I type). However, I am willing to take on any extra empathy and grief if it means that I've raised awareness (as well as funds) to save and sustain the precious lives of babies, women, and families! 
Whew! I'm both nervous and excited! I'm more determined and pumped for this walk than ever! I really hope this post will motivate people to donate and even PARTICIPATE with me! ;) By the way, I decided what my costume is going to be when I walk (yes, costume! It's a "superhero for babies" theme and dressing up is a fun option that I'm excited to take part in as well!). I am going to be R2D2. Why? Because Star Wars is awesome....duh! ;) Actually, it's more than that. R2D2 is resilient and never gives up! He overcomes every obstacle (including discouragement from C3P0) to fulfill every life-saving mission he takes on. He proves that one person (or droid lol) can make ALL THE DIFFERENCE! NEVER underestimate your purpose in this world! God uniquely created you with a special role to play! Don't give up or let anyone or anything thwart you; even if you get knocked down or things blow up in your face. 

Grace and peace to you, my friends! As I wrap up this post, I want to share with you the video of a song that I heard the other day. I was incredibly encouraged, empowered, and inspired! It's called, "Do Something" by Matthew West. I challenge you to watch and listen to this! It is a heart pounding, fist pumping, inspiring call to action that will remind you that all things are possible! It's quite the anthem! May it inspire YOU to do whatever "something" God lays on your heart. Hopefully, one of those "somethings" will be to donate a dollar or more to reaching my goal for Heartline because it's MY well as OUR something, and HIS something! If life doesn't mean "something" to us, then nothing truly matters at all. FIGHT FOR LIFE! Donate "something" and feel free to share this blog! God bless you!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

How You Can Be A Real Life Superhero

By now, you have probably seen at least one of the many videos that have been released; the videos which have thoroughly exposed Planned Parenthood for their unlawful, unethical, brutal, and barbaric practices of butchering and selling aborted babies for profit. Even if you haven't seen them (and I don't fully recommend that you do - it's horrific!) I would venture to say that MOST of us have enough humanity to recognize that this extermination of our own human race needs to stop! The abortion toll far exceeds even the death toll of the Holocaust and yet this is STILL going on....and it's "legal"!!

"But, what can I do about it?" you might ask. Well, as I was just reminded when I watched the movie War Room today, PRAYER should always be our first response and is our most powerful weapon to defeat evil! Our number one enemy is Satan and his primary goal is to kill and destroy (John 10:10, 1 Peter 5:8). However, there is good news! God has already defeated Satan and is greater than ANYTHING he can conjure up against us (John 16:33, 1 John 4:4, Isaiah 54:17). We must pray, repent, and ask for God's forgiveness and healing for our sins and the sins of our nation. He will hear us when we humbly come and submit to Him (2 Chronicles 7:14, James 4:7). Suit up in your armor, warriors (Ephesians 6:10-20)! Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)!

Secondly, as you pray, listen to how God stirs your heart. Maybe God will prompt you to volunteer for a crisis pregnancy center. Perhaps he'll lead you to join in on a walk for life and/or donate what you can to make centers and services available for vulnerable women who need help choosing life for themselves and their babies. Additionally, you can share this and other pro-life posts to spread the word to others on your social media (in addition to sharing in person). You can even prayerfully support those who are standing up for life and vote for the kinds of people that will value human life.

The list of possibilities for making a difference are endless! Allow God to lead your heart. REFUSE to look the other way and pretend you didn't know. Edmund Burke said, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing." We cannot afford to be apathetic and dull our consciences!

Please, stand with me in this fight! Better yet, WALK with me! My family and I are doing the walk for life again this year and I have started a team for our church. I encourage fellow members of our congregation to join our team! Even if you're not a part of the Vineyard church, you are still welcome to join us (or you can even start a team for your own church/group or walk/run on your own). We have until October 10th (which is the day of the walk/5k) to build our team and raise funds. Also, there is a "superhero" theme so IF you want to dress up (which you all know I DO!) you can do that as well! They are awarding prizes for best costumes! ;)

If walking and fundraising isn't your thing, could you at least help me raise at least $500.00 for Heartline Pregnancy Center? If everyone that is reading this would donate something, I would more than meet my goal. For some reason, you all are shy about commenting, but the stats show that these posts are getting views so I KNOW there are readers. ;) All you need to do is click here to donate. You can choose to donate immediately or you can select the option to be billed later (you'll get something in the mail to collect your pledge after the walk/5k is over). 

Grace and peace to you, my friends! Thank you for reading this post! My hope is that at the very least, more people will be praying and doing whatever they can to support ministries like these. If you don't want to pledge to my local pregnancy center, I hope you will at least help with the one where you are! These caring and loving environments where women can receive real help makes the difference between life and death. Our collective prayers and donations ensure that there will be people there to pray for them, give them pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, counseling, adoption services, and so many other types of assistance! We need to give women a real choice and a chance to choose life; but we can't if death camps like Planned Parenthood is all that's available to them. We HAVE TO keep our CPCs fully funded and continually available (and in abundance!). Let's be the heroes, everyone! Together, we can rescue more women and children! Thank you in advance for caring and helping me reach my minimum goal! God bless you!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Panera Bread Jesus Party

My kids dread dental appointments; as most kids do. However, the one thing that they look forward to is going to Panera Bread for lunch. It's become sort of a tradition. It doesn't even matter that the place is packed and insanely busy. The food is awesome and the staff and atmosphere is exceptionally terrific; which is why I'm composing this post. 

Contrary to what the media likes for you to believe, there is an abundance of Christian believers living their faith out loud (and unashamedly in the public). The first thing I noticed when I walked in the door was a man, wearing a Christian t-shirt, sitting at a table with another man having lunch. Ironically, my kids picked a tiny table close to these men and sat down. I told them shortly after we got our food that we probably should have sat at a bigger table for the three of us, but we decided to stay there anyways. I'm glad we did! 

It wasn't long before I noticed just how thick the place was with fellow believers in Christ. All around me, I heard mentions of God, faith, and a guy who was even mentioning the well-known Christian financial advisor Dave Ramsey. The Spirit was very strong in the room because the kids soon started having faith conversations with me too. 

As we were talking, I could hear the man in the Christian t-shirt talking about the Republican candidates for president. He mentioned that he liked Ben Carson and Scott Walker. I also heard him correctly identify the fact that Trump is getting all the publicity and the hype because he just tells it like it is and is resonating with some people because of their own frustration with the government. I agree. Who doesn't just want to run their mouth sometimes like Trump does no matter what comes out? 

I felt stirred by the Spirit to say something to this man as he went to leave. I barely had time to tell him how much I appreciated and agreed with his remarks because my kids immediately started telling him that they liked his shirt and the "More Jesus" words on the front. We learned that we both had recently married and were on the same journey of being blended families. He also shared that he is the proud father of a ten month old son and that his heart and desire for his son is for him to grow to know Christ. Amen! I couldn't agree more! I showed him the photo of Casey's baptism and Casey shared one of the verses he has memorized:  

My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. - James 1:19-20 (NIV)

Gianna also shared a verse she knows (because she's had to write often when she disobeys and gets in trouble):

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. "Honor your father and mother" --which is the first commandment with a promise --"so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth." - Ephesians 6:1-3 (NIV)

I was very delighted to learn that this man is Doug from the WFRN morning show. In fact, a Panera Bread employee recognized him as she was collecting dishes and heard our conversation. She had the brightest smile on her face and the light of Jesus in her eyes as she told him how excited she was to hear people talking about Christ and that she listened to his show every morning coming into work. I told her we were having a Jesus party at Panera Bread. ;) It's always an encouragement to me to encounter other strong and passionate believers like her (especially younger people her age which makes me feel hopeful about God's gospel continuing for many more generations). His love and His Word endures FOREVER! 

Taking time for a photo with Casey & Gianna
Before Doug left, he knelt down and put his hands on us to pray. I felt incredibly blessed because public boldness is something that I love to witness as well as be a part of. It is uplifting to me because even though I'm not a shy person when it comes to faith and prayer in public, some people are (I've had people say to me, at times, when I've offered them prayer: "Right now?! HERE?"). 

I know that every single one of us was blessed by this God ordained encounter. I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit touched and blessed many hearts; and in a mighty and public way! God's Spirit is STILL alive and at work, everyone! My hope is that every believer was encouraged and that every non-believer was stirred with the kind of curiosity that will compel them to start seeking Jesus. The more we live out loud and share our God stories, the more we will witness the life-changing power of God in our lives, in others, and in the world around us. It is absolutely essential that we do this so love doesn't grow cold (Matthew 24:12-13) and our brothers and sisters in the faith are especially encouraged in these last days (Hebrews 10:24-25).

I am incredibly proud of my bold, enthusiastic, and loud children who don't know how to use their indoor voices no matter how often I remind them lol. Their testimonies about God (as well as random comments about Transformers and My Little Pony lol) was likely overheard by many who were blessed by it as a result. Maybe that's another reason why that verse from James is so important. When we take more time to listen, we have more time to learn and be blessed by what we may hear. When we are quick to speak, we can sometimes be less self-controlled and our emotions can burst like a dam (not just anger, but other things as well). It can often lead to uttering words we later regret. It makes me think of Mr. Trump because even though it feels great to speak our mind, it's not always very kind or wise (Proverbs 12:18). Doug and I agreed that a good-hearted, wise, and faith driven Christian man like Mike Huckabee would be a GREAT president. He's another guy that is bold and unashamed of his faith. Just like we've witnessed today, that's something that this world needs more of! I think it MIGHT have been in a Beth Moore Bible study that I once did where she said that God won't just change your life, He'll change your day (I found this old post in the process of looking for it and I need to re-read and apply this right now! This was no accident!). Yes, Lord, please! Change our lives, change America, but also change our days! Abundant, joyful, encouraging, and blessed days are for TODAY as well as tomorrow and every day after! 

Grace and peace to you, my friends! I encourage you to pass this story along to others, as well as your own God stories too (some of Casey's is in the video below if you want to watch his testimony from church!). Please, feel free to share this post on social media for others to read. Perhaps it may refresh a fellow brother or sister who feels that there's nothing good happening in the world and they feel weakened in their faith. Share your own stories in the comments below and/or post a link to your own God story from your blog! Maybe we can compile them into a future post or start a new blog where we're all sharing what God is doing! Giving praise and glory to God is POWERFUL, my friends! Spreading the truth of His power and goodness strikes mighty blows to the kingdom of darkness, so let's do some damage! Comment with an "Amen" if you agree and let's keep the Jesus party going! God bless you!

Ignite: Children's Sunday from Vineyard Community Church on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Kingdom Thoughts

You are the Kingdom encounter this world needs. - Pastor Derek Coy. 

Think about the words above for a few moments. Ponder it. Let it sink in. If you're like me, all the turmoil in the world has probably had you thinking, "What do we do? What's next?" The answer is in those words that our youth pastor shared with us today. As Christians, we need to live our faith bolder and louder than ever before! We need to rise up, get involved, serve more, and take our jobs as Christians more seriously. It's time to BE what we want to SEE in the world around us!

Nearly two years ago, I shared on my fitness blog about hearing testimonies at church. The youth of the church were sharing about how they were "Kingdom workers." It was very inspiring to me! We need to have that attitude; the attitude of servanthood. We need to be happily working to see the Kingdom come and God's Will be done on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10). After all, is there anything else that will yield as much fruit as laboring for the Lord? It's like another phrase that came to mind from another sermon I heard several years ago. It was something like, 'you can either build His Kingdom, or you can build your own.' Which makes more sense? Which one lasts? My friend, Karen, once put it this way, "What will weigh more in heaven?"

I'm blogging these thoughts and putting them out there today because I felt very stirred to do so. There was a time where I blogged very regularly. I enjoyed it and felt like God was inspiring and fueling me to write and share with others. My life has drastically changed since those days and I haven't blogged as much for a variety of different reasons. Aside from obvious factors (such as simply not having the kind of downtime that I used to) another big one has slowed me down: self-worth. Even though there have been times where God has had me encouraging and sharing with others that it's never to late to serve and be the kind of person He's called you to be, those very words have been hard for me to embrace for myself. I keep comparing myself to previous versions of who I was. I often reflect on my teen years (where I was growing in the Lord the most) as well as in the years right before my divorce. I think more highly of those Melissas than I do this one; even though I never thought I was good enough THEN either!

Derek's message today strongly emphasized that we need to embrace our identity in Christ and reject any lie that would contradict the truth of who we are in Him. I think the main thing that I deeply need to comprehend is the fact that I am NOT unusable by God! At every age and stage of my life, I felt like I never had the kind of faith or testimony to be the kind of person that I THOUGHT I should be. I have been like Moses; chosen by God but reluctant to be who He says I am because I don't see what He sees (or think that I'm "almost" there, but not quite and therefore can't do it). So many things have been on the back burner of my life for all sorts of reasons, but none of them more than the stupid lie of, "He can't use me anymore. My life isn't what I think it should be, so I'm done."

What I need to focus on now is not in who I was or who I think I should be. The only thing I should EVER be focusing on is who HE is and whatever HE wants to enable me to be! God brought the Luke 19:26 to my mind as I was pondering all the Kingdom thoughts during the service.
These words of Jesus have always been a little confusing to me. I have never fully understood the meaning until God showed me today how it directly applied to me. In the five years since my divorce, I have tried to wrap my brain around how God could still love or use me after I've committed my personal "unforgiveable sin" (divorce). To me, it doesn't make sense how he could forgive me when I don't fully forgive myself. Beyond that, how on earth could He be so GOOD to me when I still don't feel deserving? For three years, I was running and drowning in pain and grief until I made faith my foundation again in 2013. In no time, he was accomplishing the impossible for me: He found me the perfect job, a house of my own (right next to my parents), an amazing boyfriend (whom He quickly revealed to me was to be my husband), followed by a wedding, the selling of my new house for a profit, and another new and amazing job!

1st Wedding Anniversary Selfie   

Everything keeps getting better and better; and that's where that verse comes in! I truly believe that faith and thankfulness is what has brought about the blessings in my life! Just like Job, He didn't "take away" anything from me to punish me or anyone else, but to give me a better life; not because I deserve it, but because He truly loves me! He gave Chris and I to each other because we have content, grateful, and faith filled hearts. We appreciate what He's done and continue to give thanks for what He continues to do in our lives. We strive to pay it forward and bless others as we have been blessed. This is also where the other part of that verse makes sense as well. Chris and I were rescued from lives where His work was hindered by the bad choices and attitudes of the people we were with. They were not content with anything they had (including us) and so they lost the blessings that they never knew they had because it was never enough for them. They thought they had nothing, so that "nothing" was taken from them but has become EVERYTHING to us! Chris is a priceless treasure to me that I feel grateful for every day! It kind of feels like finding something precious or rare that someone else discarded; you just wonder how someone couldn't know what they had when it was theirs! Sometimes, they figure it out later on, but it's usually too late. God will give the blessings to the people who treasure and appreciate them!

Grace and peace to you, my friends! I hope that someone is blessed by reading this because I was certainly blessed today! Remember, be a Kingdom worker because that is the type of person and encounter that this world needs! We will begin seeing changes in our communities and all over the world if we continue to advance the Kingdom of God instead of just trying to build our own castles in the sand. We MUST put our time and energy into the people and things that will weigh the most in heaven! YOU matter to the Kingdom! God can and will use you to bless others and He will bless you right back as well! May your faith fuel and fill your heart with contentment and joy! God bless you!