Friday, November 28, 2008

Few of My Favorite Things...

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I decided to create a list of some of the things I'm grateful for. Of course, I'm grateful for and to God, my Dad, my Mom, my sister and my Grandpa, as well as all of my friends (I won't even attempt to name you all here because I'll surely forget someone). Of course I'm also grateful for my health, that I have a roof over my head and food in my cupboards. But, those major things aside, I created a list of the 'little things' I'm grateful for this time of year.

* Thanksgiving leftovers
* Sitting in the dark with just the Christmas Tree lights on
* Sound of rain on the roof
* Leaves changing colors and the crunching sound they make when I walk on them
* Baking my Grandma's Christmas Sugar Cookie recipe
* Time off from work!
* Christmas music playing 24/7 on the radio station- especially the old school Bing Crosby, Nate King Cole, Irving Berlin, etc.
* Seeing the Christmas ornaments I made back in elementary school
* Houses decorated with lights- especially the over-the-top decorations
* Eggnog Lattes
* Christmas movies- especially 'It's a Wonderful Life', Christmas Story and 'Nat'l Lampoon's Christmas Vacation'
* Animated/clay-mation versions of Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, etc.
* Sound of jingle bells
* Putting up the Christmas decorations

Those are a few of my favorites this time of year...I'm sure there are many more that I'm forgetting.

Gobble Till You Wobble

Thanksgiving was yesterday. My sister had to work all day, so rather than sit around the house by myself, I signed up to help with the set-up of a couple of local community Thanksgiving Dinners. Both were in Placentia, where I used to live and I have to say that I was pretty surprised at the state of several neighborhoods in Placentia. You basically make a right turn, where I would have normally gone straight, and all of a sudden you are in a run down neighborhood, with bars on the windows and gangs on the street corners. They blocked off an entire block, cleaned it up and set up tables, chairs and just as I was leaving, the caterers (who donated all of the food) arrived. Then on to the second location, the Placentia Boys & Girls Club, where I helped to move tables/chairs around and decorate the location. Then back off to home where I spent the rest of the afternoon making a modified, scaled down version of Thanksgiving Dinner... really the only difference was that I just cooked a Turkey breast vs. a whole Turkey... the rest was the same. Here are a couple of pictures...

My first attempt at Sweet Potato Pie... turned out pretty yummy!

Had to have the Cranberry Sauce from a can... for nostalgia's sake.

Suzy getting the turkey ready for serving.

Hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving!!!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanks to the generosity of many people, we have already found sponsors for each of the 115 children who live at the Door of Faith Orphanage! So, from me to you... THANK YOU!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Door of Faith Orphanage

In the first part of December a group of us from Saddleback Church will be heading down to La Mision, Mexico, for the day, to throw a Christmas Party for the 115 kids who live at the Door of Faith Orphanage.

We’ve partnered with this orphanage several times over the past year and have found that many of the children have been taken in by the orphanage due to abuse/neglect from their family members or their family is simply too impoverished to provide for their children’s everyday needs. It’s fairly rare that children are adopted out of Mexico’s orphanages because of the laws put in place by the Mexican government and the fact that if you adopt one child, then you are required to adopt all of their siblings as well- a task which most adoptive parents aren’t prepared to take on. As a result, these kids typically spend their entire lives in an orphanage.

Door of Faith does an amazing job of making the orphanage as much of a home as possible and providing for a sense of normalcy and hope in these kid’s lives. DOFO’s main focuses are:

Family- to provide a family atmosphere for their kids For example, they have someone act as the Tooth Fairy as the younger kids begin losing their baby teeth. They also ensure that each child has their own cake on their birthdays and as the girls turn 15, they each have a Quinceanera party for them.

Education- each child is placed in school. School is considered a luxury in this part of Mexico and many children grow up with minimal education. Not only does DOFO provide for schooling up to age 18, they have also helped provide financial support for those DOFO ‘graduates’ who are looking to go to college- they currently are financially supporting one of their kids as they go through Law School in Mexico City.

Community- DOFO is committed to providing back to the community they live in. If they ever receive a surplus of supplies or food, they ensure that it is distributed amongst the other orphanages in the area who may not have received as many donations. They also go out into the community and, in a fashion similar to Habitat for Humanity, build homes for those who have no homes.

As you can tell, DOFO is a wonderful organization who is committed to bettering their community, educating the next generation, and, most of all, in words taken from their website:

“The very reason we are here is to serve our Lord Jesus Christ through serving and seeking Him; our ultimate goal here is to raise responsible Christian adults.”

If you have any interest in providing a Christmas gift for one of these children, please go to this blog for instructions on how to do so.

If you would prefer to provide a monetary donation, please click on this link and all proceeds will go towards helping the Door of Faith Orphanage.

Thank you and God Bless!


Saturday, November 15, 2008


Southern California Fires

The apartments off of our exit that burned down.

I're probably wondering why in the heck I'm blogging after having been evacuated because of the fires. But, it's either do this or sit and continue to watch the news which is just serving to confuse me because in the dark, all you see is fire...I can't tell where the fire is located. My thoughts right now are too fuzzy and jumbled to begin to explain today, so I'll have to do that at a later time, but I have to say that it's been so incredibly humbling and I have such a, really indescribable, feeling of gratitude. Everyone, both family and friends have been so incredibly supportive and caring. I think that I may have already used up my monthy text message allotment in just one day :-) So many people have been texting and leaving me voice mails to check in and make sure I'm okay, to see if I need a place to stay, to let me know that they are praying for me and I still continue to receive texts into the night of people checking in to see how I'm doing. I've never really doubted that I have a wonderful family and great friends, but I have just been truely amazed by everyone's support, love and concern.

I can say that I've truely had one of those experiences where I've felt others' prayers. As we were forced to leave our home and I was driving away, I couldn't even hold it together...I actually made wrong turns about 4 times trying to get to my sister's boyfriend's place, just because I couldn't even think straight. But, within 1/2 hour of sending out a prayer request, I had an inexplicable calm come over me. So, thank you all for your prayers and, please, continue to pray that no more homes would be destroyed, no lives lost, that God would give a supernatural amount of endurance to the firefighters battling this blaze and that He would cover them in Him protection, that the weather would turn favorable (rain would be fantastic!) and that God would comfort those who have already lost their homes. All of these things I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Must Read

I read a lot of books. I would guess that I'm currently in the middle of 3-4 books. I would say that I'm rarely disappointed in a book and that's mainly thanks to and their wonderful reader rating system. If it's anything below 4 stars, I probably won't read it; and, this method has proved to be very successful for me thus far. Case in point... "Same Kind of Different As Me". I purchased a book on Amazon and it came up with the screen, "If you liked this book, you'll probably like these books" type of thing, and this book was one of those listed. Out of 200+ reviews, "SKoDM" was rated 5 stars. I'm already impressed and I haven't even purchased the book yet. So, I did buy it and read it within a couple of days and, I have to say, it was a REALLY good book.

It's a true story and it's narrated from the points of view of the two main characters, Denver and Ron. Denver was, essentially, a slave working a plantation long after slavery was abolished. He ultimately leaves the plantation to find a better life and ends up destitute and homeless, living on the streets of Fort Worth. Ron, on the other hand, was an upper class art dealer living in TX. Their lives intersect when Ron's wife, Deborah decides that they need to do something with their lives and signs them up to serve meals at the Union Gospel Mission in Ft. Worth.

The story is about the impact these two men had on one another's lives and the deep friendship that they formed. It's truely a testament to divine appointments and seeing God use people in the body of Christ. Whether you believe in God or not, you won't be able to help but love this book and fall in love with a man who, by society's standards is uneducated, but whose words are enormously full of wisdom and insight, whose actions are full of love, and whose heart is full of grace and forgiveness.

Just a couple of my favorite 'Denver quotes':

"Whether we is rich or poor or something in between, this earth ain't no final restin' place. So in a way, we is all homeless- just workin' our way toward home."

"Just tell'em I'm a nobody that's trying to tell everybody 'bout a Somebody that can save anybody."

If I cant' have the real thing, I'll enjoy my virtual puppies...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Our Hope is in You

I’ve been trying to sort through these past couple of days since the election. I’ve just been feeling tremendously sad about this election and trying to figure out where that sadness was coming from. I’ve concluded that it’s stemming from a few things…yes, I’m not happy that Barrack is our new President and I DEFINITELY do not agree with him on numerous issues, but I’ll save that for another post. But, I’m not even as much concerned about him only because his power is limited. He can only do what God allows. My sadness stems from the public’s reaction to him winning the election and their reaction to Barack himself. On the news, out in public, on Facebook, on tv I keep hearing people make statements that are just downright disturbing to me. That’s what I want to talk about in these next couple of paragraphs:

“I’ve never felt to proud to be an American”, “I feel so patriotic”, etc. …. really? Prior to Obama being named President, you weren’t patriotic? The USA absolutely has it’s problems, but you’re telling me that the love you felt for our country on November 5th is so much greater than it was on November 4th? I certainly know that I take my country for granted, and apparently many other people do as well. If you really feel that you didn’t have reason to be patriotic prior to Obama, then I recommend that you go visit another country. Go to a country where 95% of the police are corrupt and they take bribes to look the other way when children as young as 5 years old are being prostituted out to the highest bidder. Go to a country that, 14 years ago, was ravaged by a genocide where almost a million people were slaughtered in the course of 3 months, while the government either looked the other way or participated in the killings themselves. Or how about an article I read today about a 13 year old girl in Somalia who seeked help from the government because she had been raped by 3 men. Their reaction??? Accuse her of adultery, drag her screaming and begging for mercy, in a pit in the ground where 50 men proceeded to stone her to death, all while 1,000 people looked on. Maybe before we start bemoaning how bad our government is, let’s think of the options available to us in the rest of the world. Our patriotism shouldn’t be based on a man being elected into office.

I’m also constantly hearing how ‘historic’ this election is…we now have an African American President. Sure. Absolutely. That is historic. It just makes me question people’s motives for who they voted for. Were we more concerned with making history or electing the right person? Just as much as the color of someone’s skin doesn’t make them a bad person, it also doesn’t make them a good person either, or the right person in this case. I’m certain that most people didn’t vote based on race alone, but I have heard several people and groups, prior to the election, proclaiming that, if you were a minority living in the U.S. you have no excuse to not vote for Obama. That’s one of the most ridiculous statements I’ve heard. Basically, they were telling us to vote based on skin color… how is that any different than if I were to vote for someone simply because he/she was white? There is no difference and I think that way of thinking is dangerous.

Lastly, and probably the statement that upsets me the most, is hearing people say that they now have ‘hope’. Hope for our country, hope for their children’s future and for themselves. I don’t get that… did they really have no hope before??? And, if that is the case, then don’t you think that they’ve been putting their hope in the wrong thing/person? I certainly wasn’t putting my hope, or planning on putting my hope, in McCain. My hope was, and is, in God and I was hopeful that McCain would willingly let God guide his actions and decisions. It really breaks my heart to hear people felt hopeless prior to Obama and now, all of a sudden, they have hope. Well, I hate to break it to ya, but Obama is not the Messiah. He’s not perfect and putting your hope into anything that is imperfect is really taking a risk, because you’re going to be disappointed when Obama can’t live up to your idealistic expectations of him.

I truly can’t help but think that God is grieving…not over who won the election, but over the fact that all of the praise, faith, hope, attention and trust that He is worthy of, is all going to another.

It's really important that we all start praying for our nation. Praying for the people of this nation and for our new President. I pray that he would allow himself to be guided by and make decisions according to God's will, not his own or the popular majority.

Monday, November 3, 2008

No Excuses.... VOTE!!!

The message of this post is short and sweet.... VOTE!

You have absolutely no excuse not to. We so often forget that it is a PRIVILEDGE to vote. In so many other countries people are just now earning the right to vote and you find many of those people willing to walk DAYS to get to a place where they can cast their vote... and they are excited to do it! In many of these same countries, women still don't have the right to vote and there was a time in our country when we didn't have that right either. I think that we, as women, often take that for granted. We read in our history classes about women's suffrage and how we earned the right to vote...but, do you realize what some women endured to earn us that right? This is an excerpt from an email I received several months ago (I've already verified on that it's true :) :


Why Women Should Vote

This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden's blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of 'obstructing sidewalk traffic.'

They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air. They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the 'Night of Terror' on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson's White House for the right to vote. For weeks, the women's only water came from an open pail. Their food--all of it colorless slop--was infested with worms.

When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.


And, we don't vote why???

I pray that we each pray about these votes we are going to cast tomorrow. Prayfully consider each candidate and each proposition and rest in the fact that

"Everyone must submit himself to governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God." Romans 13:1

God is in control. Regardless of whom our next President is or which propositions pass/fail, God is sovreign and He can bring good out of anything that we might initially see as bad. Apart from God, neither of these men can do anything, so why get stressed out, worked up or angry tomorrow??? Like Pastor Rick said yesterday, "I'm not counting on any politician to be my Savior."

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween!!!

I don't think that I'll ever be too old for dress up...

Here are some of my wonderful co-workers... what a great costume, right???

I, literally, decided to wear my costume at 9pm the night before. I hadn't really given any thought to what I wanted to be for Halloween and just figured that I would take advantage of the denim day at work. But, I know me and I would have been disappointed if I hadn't dressed just doesn't feel quite like Halloween without the dress-up piece.

It was a fun day at work. My company has Halloween costume contests and pumpkin carving contests and some people get REALLY into it. There was a department who dressed up like the Verizon Wireless Network. They had one guy dressed up as the main guy and a bunch of people following behind him with laptops and periodically he would stop and say, "can you hear me now?". Then there was the bowling ball and pins. They all went out onto the lawn area and the 'pins' lined up in formation and the 'bowling ball' ran towards them and they all fell down to the was classic. Then in the pumpkin contest there was one entry that had a couple of pumpkins who were screaming and in front of them was a pie crust, cinnamon, whipping cream and a recipe for pumpkin pie. People are really creative...they come up with such amazing ideas! Anyway, it was a great Halloween.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm Lazy

I haven't posted in over a week and this post isn't really going to make up for it :) I just wanted to attach a YouTube Video that I really like. It's called 'Cardboard Testimonies' and I think that it speaks for itself.