Friday, December 28, 2012

Singing Praises Day 10

Before you start reading this blog, if you haven't already done so, take a moment to read the opening blog of this series here 

You may have noticed this through previous blogs or if you know me by conversations, but I love missions. Local and International. And there's a simple answer to why I love missions so much...I love PEOPLE! Each person is unique and has something to offer and it's my goal to find out what makes each person I connect with so special. Everyone has gold within them....everyone is made in HIS image. So by the simple act of getting to know others, a little more of Jesus is revealed to us. Glorious! Well, I met this person while I was leaving Haiti. I most definitely wrote about that trip and you can read about it starting here.

Kyle Adams

So, I most definitely was not ready leave Haiti, but it was time. We got all packed up and ready to go. We jumped onto the school bus with a couple of our new friends and headed to Port Au Prince. After a stop for breakfast we made our way to the airport. We started through one of what seemed like the 132 security checks and toward the ticket counter. As we are walking through the maze of rope that guided us to the counter we chatted about our trip and a man asked me what we were doing in Haiti. I explained that we were just a group of friends that got together and decided to go support a cause of our dear friends myLIFEspeaks (I wrote about co-founder Missy in a previous blog, if you missed it please take a moment to check it out here). 

Once we got through the ticket counter and were in the waiting area...where we would be for a long time...I started asking Kyle a million and one questions (for those of you who know me, that's not a surprise to you...but by asking questions that's how I find all the gold in people). Kyle is somewhat of a large man, so it wasn't a complete shock when he told me he was a NFL player. He currently plays for the Chicago Bears. That right there is an achievement. Not many people can say that. However, besides him making fun of me for being a NY Jets fan, football was not really a topic of conversation. There's no doubt he loves what he does and feels honored to play for the NFL, but there was so much more. Kyle told me about how he got started doing missions in Haiti in 2008 and about the Ephraim Orphan Project. You need to hear this story yourself. Take 4 minutes to watch this video that the Chicago Bears made: Bears Confidential. Kyle goes down to Haiti about twice a year and as a board member with Ephraim Orphan Project is actively making a difference in Haiti. He openly shares his faith and encourages others to take action. Kyle is living a life that points to Christ. He is living each day as a positive role model and making the daily decisions that will allow him to leave a legacy. He uses his platform for the benefit of those less fortunate and not for fame's sake. I'm thankful for Kyle and the difference he is making. He is a world changer. 

Take time to connect and read more about the Ephraim Orphan Project:
Website: www.ephraimorphanproject.org
Facebook: /EphraimOrphanProject 
Twitter: @ephraimproject 

I'm not a Chicago Bears fan...but if you absolutely must check them out:
Website: www.chicagobears.com
Twitter: @chicagobears    



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Singing Praises Day 9

Before you start reading this blog, if you haven't already done so, take a moment to read the opening blog of this series here 

I trust that each of you had an incredible Christmas! I must say I have been enjoying this Christmas - even though it is much different than usual. I have been staying at my brother's house since Sunday while he and his family is celebrating this amazing holiday in Arkansas (the holiday is amazing...not so much the state). It has been extremely quiet in this house with the exception from the occasional meows that loom around the corner. Cash, their cat, has been mostly hidden during my stay and the fish, well, he's a Beta fish, so he likes being alone. For me, this could potentially have been a disaster. I get bored. Quickly. But, it has been quite the opposite. I've been recovering from an awful sinus infection, so rest was a definite requirement and I have been recovering quite nicely I might add. I didn't realize how much I needed the quite time with the space and time to do, well, whatever I wanted at that moment. And mostly all I have wanted to do is be wrapped in a blanket on the couch listening to music, reading books and watching movies (and some days showers have been optional...but not more than one in a row rest assured). This is not the usual break for me. But it's proving to be beneficial to me in so many ways. It's almost even a detox..in more ways than one. 

Katie Davis

One of the books that I finished this week is Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis (with Beth Clark). I started this book months ago. Yes, the plural version...months ago. I may be a slow reader, but this had nothing to do with the speed at which I read. You see, I met Katie a few years back and though I haven't seen her since I follow her. I follow her story. I follow what God is doing in her life and ministry. She was in town (or should I say in the country) and I heard so much about her from Steve Cherrico (another great connect made through this awesome man...read more about him here). So, I invited her to join me to Brooke Fraser concert at 12th and Porter of course. I had just been to Uganda and had fallen so madly in love with that country that just being near her would make me feel closer to where I left my heart. I immediately knew that she was going to change Uganda forever. Her heart and passion for loving and wanting to help the people of Uganda was undeniable. But it was so much more than want to help then, she wanted them to encounter Jesus...the ultimate Helper. 

Each time I read a page in her book I was in tears. The stories. The people. The country. The desperate need. My heart couldn't handle it. But I was determined to finish it this week. I needed to finish it...for me. I finished it on Christmas day...the last chapter ended with a beautiful excerpt from her journal from December 25th, 2010. It was poetic to me.

Katie is a hero in my book. She would never say she is a hero, but for anyone who has met her, I bet they'd agree with me. She is living out what the Bible talks about when we are told to look out for the widows and orphans in James 1:27 and she's just in her early 20's. She is inspirational. She is a world changer...not is "going to be" a world changer...she IS a world changer. I'm thankful that she listened to the Lord as He guided her to where she is now. I'm thankful that her parents chose the hardest decision, but the best decision in letting God be in control of her life. I'm thankful for the hope that is in Uganda because of her obedience. I'm thankful for Katie Davis!

You really need to check out more about her. Seriously. And get her book!

Katie Davis
Website:www.amazima.org
Blog: www.kissesfromkatie.blogspot.com
Facebook: /amazima 
Twitter: @katieinuganda 

For more info on where you can buy the book visit here. Buy one for yourself and one for a friend.

"Now that I have seen, I am responsible, Faith without deeds is dead,  
Now that I have held you in my own arms, I cannot let go till you are."  
Albertine, Brooke Fraser
 

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Singing Praises Day 8

Before you start reading this blog, if you haven't already done so, take a moment to read the opening blog of this series here

Bryan and Erika White

Up to this point, I haven't done any couple and these two could each have their own day, but I want to honor them as both individuals and as a couple. I met Bryan and Erika in 2005 through mutual friends (the wonderful Penrose family!). They were desperately looking for a sitter for their two boys, Justin and Jackson. At that time Justin had just turn 2 years old and Jackson was 3 months old. I can't believe it's been 7 years since the first time I walked through their door. 

Bryan is a talented singer, musician, songwriter. He has hit singles, platinum records, gold records...and the list goes on...you can read his full bio here. He's got the talent. When I met him, I couldn't tell you if I had ever heard his music. I didn't listen to country music growing up (okay, I still don't, but I do respect the talent), so to me Bryan was just another guy. And he acted just like that...any normal guy.

Erika is a wonderfully theatrical woman! She is an actress and the founder of The Brentwood Mom. When I think of Erika words like fabulous, stunning, creative come to mind. When I met her, she was a mom...a little neurotic, but in the best of ways! She was always prepared with the rundown of schedule, contact numbers, etc. I could expect at least one phone call while babysitting to check in. She is a great mom! But she is also super creative. Every event was special because she cared about the details. Her home was always clean...and i don't know how she did that with two active boys...not perfect, but lived in clean. There was only one time that it was not all that clean...and that was when Erika was out of town, Bryan was sick and a couple guy musician friends were helping them watch the boys. I was so glad that Erika never saw how that house looked! Ha!

Somewhere in the past 7 years it became a lot less of just being the babysitter and more like friends. So much has happened in those years for both them and me...and I'm so glad that I've been able to be part of their lives. I am so blessed by this family for so many reasons. I love how Bryan and Erika cherish each other. They treat each other with such love and respect that is admirable and worth honoring. They are amazing examples to their boys (and those around them). They raise their boys to be kind to all, gentleman that open doors for women (yes, even at 7 and 9 years old they are doing this on a regular basis!), and most important of all to love God and live a life that honors Him. 

Bryan and Erika are nothing short of stellar. They know how to have fun. They love life. They love others. They don't let their status become their identity. They are incredible at what they do, but more importantly they are incredible at who they are. Simply an amazing family and I'm thankful for them!

Connect with Bryan and Erika here:
Bryan White
Website: www.bryanwhite.com
Twitter: @bryan_white
Facebook: /BryanWhiteFans
iTunes: Bryan White

Erika Page White
Website: www.erikapagewhite.com
Website: www.thebrentwoodmom.com 
Twitter: @ErikaPageWhite 
Twitter: @thebrentwoodmom 
Facebook: /erikapagewhite