Monday, July 25, 2011

Kansas City Misison Trip 2011

Pastor Schiele was our mission group's
contact at Grace Baptist Church. He
made our lives so much easier! Thanks!

Have you ever had a week when you are totally surrounded by teenagers in the sweltering heat doing manual labor and loving it? I have! I know that it doesn't sound like much fun but when you are doing it all for the glory of God and the fellowship of believers it really can be amazign!

This past week was our fourth mission trip with the youth of Villebrook Baptist Church. In order we have served in Springfield, MO; Springfield, MO; Memphis, TN; and now Kansas City, MO. I love youth and I love missions, and it is amazing to see the students that my husband has mentored in his 13 years of doing youth ministry that are now youth ministers themselves. Our group this year included three groups that were led by former "Jimmy kids".

For eight days, six groups from three different states came together for a total of about 90 people serving. We had everyone from infants to senior adults living together at Grace Baptist Church. I just have to stop for a second and say how grateful we are to Pastor Lavendar and Pastor Schiele for allowing us to invade their facilities and for being very gracious and accommadating to our group. If you don't know anything about Grace, it is in a pretty rough area in Kansas City. That in and of itself was definitely out of our kids comfort zones. Not to mention that it was uncomfortable because it was possibly the hottest week of the year! So we all bonded together in the midst of our discomforts.

Everyday, our teams would undertake three hours of morning service. During that time we divided into groups that did tutoring for elementary school children, teaching life skill classes at Ivanhoe Community Center, and gardening in a local park. Then we would all meet back at Grace for lunch.

In the afternoon we headed out for three more hours of service. This time our teams did a Daycamp at Macedonia Baptist Church, community revitalization with Ivanhoe, street witnessing around the KC Metro, and services projects for the people of the Kansas City Baptist Temple. I was pleasantly surprised at the consistently great attitudes our kids had--even when they were shoveling sewage in 100 degree heat. Once our work for the day was finished we headed to the YMCA for showers and back to Grace for supper and worship.

It made for some really long but really awesome days. I am happy to say that we saw four confirmed salvations during our time of service plus we planted many more seeds. Not to mention the changes that God did in the hearts of our students during this trip.

Thank you for all of your prayers and support as we undertook this great adventure.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Fun Times at Old Navy

Last night I had a great time with some gal pals at Old Navy. I am part of the Old Navy Style Council through That means that periodically I get the opportunity to try great new products for free and to share them with my friends. This time myself and three of my friends received a free decorated tank top of our choice. So last night we all took our coupons and went to Old Navy to pick out our tanks. We had a great time and some great fellowship!

The selection of tanks was pretty good, but better online than in our store. The tanks themselves were cute. Some of the fabrics were a bit see through and the tanks weren't "fitted" but they were very comfortable. In the end, I think that we all found at least one tank that we really, really wanted.

For myself, I decided to try a style that I normally would have steered clear of but my girlfriends encouraged me to give it a shot. What the heck! It was free so I am going to give it a go.

Check out the latest products from Old Navy to enhance your summer fun. Also, check out the Crowdtap badge in the right hand navigation for your chance to sample free products.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Busy Week!

This morning when I opened my eyes I took a deep breath and prepared to plunge into one of my busiest weeks of my year. For me it's the week before leaving on mission trip. That means I have a ton of little laundry and packing...that have to be done before we leave bright and early on Saturday morning.

This year I feel especially overwhelmed because of the car problems we are having. If you don't know, a little while back our car was vandalized when someone poured fabric softner into our gas tank. On the advise of the mechanics we talked to (all five of them) we waited it out to see what was going to happen because no one knew for sure. Needless to say about a month later, our car's fuel system is caput. So our car has been out of commission since Wednesday. So I have been at the mercy and grace of all those who have either given me a ride or allowed me to borrow their car to get to work and do my grocery shopping (thanks, Cindy & Dustin & Shaina!).

Still I am trying to maintain a good attitude and not get too stressed out while I wait for my car to be repaired and to depart on mission trip. So if you have a second to stop and think about me, say a prayer that everything will get worked out quickly so that I can finish all the little things that I have planned this week. Also pray that our car repairs will be covered by insurance and will be done for a reasonable price. But most of all pray for the five different youth teams that will be convergining on Kansas City, Missouri, on Saturday, July 16th for Mission Trip!

More Mission Trip Facts:
  • 5 Mission Groups from 3 States (many led by former youth of my husband's)
  • 90 youth, adults, and college students from age 11 to 62ish
  • Working in 4 local Kansas City, MO ministries
  • Partnering with 3 local churches
  • For 8 days

It's going to be great!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Whence Came a Prince by Liz Curtis Higgs

Whence Came a Prince by Liz Curtis Higgs is the third book in the Lowlands of Scotland series. This book is the last which focuses on the early years of Jamie, Rose, and Leana. The final book focuses more on the second generation.

I won’t do to you what a friend did to me and reveal a major plot point but I do want to give you a brief plot overview. Whence Came a Prince picks up with Leana staying with her Aunt Meg in Twyneholme after fleeing Auchengray on Jamie and Rose’s wedding day. Once again the narrative is delivered mainly from the perspective of Jamie and Leana.

As Leana grieves her loss of Jamie and tries to find peace in the fact that her sister is happy, Leana discovers a special blessing that God has placed in her life. Dare she hope to believe that this blessing is true? What will become of her now? A woman who has suffered the cutty stool and been accused of adultery has few prospects in her life.

Jamie had finally learned to love Leana with his whole heart, and was enjoying their little family. He had put aside his infatuation with Rose and was becoming the husband that God has called him to be. Now he finds that Leana has been taken from him and she has run away to leave him with his new bride. Will he ever love Rose the way that he had learned to love Leana? Can he forgive her for the “truths” she told to the kirk that brought their marriage about?

After fearing that she would be childless due to her bout with the croup, Rose has sought everything she can do to heal her womb so she can bear Jamie’s children—even to the point of alienating her sister. Can she love Leana and Jamie? Will their relationships ever be the same again? When she does find herself with child, she wonders if Leana will still be able to love her. Will she ever see her sister again?

Finally, Jamie has decided to go home to Glentrool and to take his family with him. It is a long, dangerous journey. Rose is pregnant. Will she be able to handle it? Will he be able to get his sheep home to Glentrool without incident? What will he find waiting for him when he arrives?

Whence Came a Prince will not disappoint you. You will grieve and rejoice with Leana. You will want to strangle Lachlan as he tries once again to cheat Jamie. Rose redeems herself as she matures as a wife and mother. It is a great conclusion for this portion of their story. The way that Liz Curtis Higgs writes brings you directly into their time and their stories. You can almost imagine sleeping under a plaid in the back of a wagon as you flee to a faraway home that you have never seen before.

I highly recommend When Came a Prince to lovers of Christian fiction and historical fiction. It is well written and full of historical details that will make history lovers everywhere rejoice! Another great book from Liz Curtis Higgs!

Other Books by Liz Curtis Higgs:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Good and Bad of Social Networking

It makes me laugh and shake my head when I think about all the changes that have happened to technology in my lifetime alone. I remember the first time I ever saw a computer. It was in our public library and you could reserve a time slot for 30 minutes and you could choose a big floppy disk that contained one program you could play. Go sticky bear! I was around 5 or 6 then.

When I was in middle school, I shared one of three of the school computers (small private school) in order to type my 10 page research paper. Then I saved it to a 3" hard floppy that was carefully labeled with my name and research topic. I remember that you had to be so careful not to bend the protective metal piece which protected the disk memory. If you bent it you were toast!

Our high school was bigger and had a better budget so we had two whole computer labs. I was excited the first time I was able to burn my own music CD to play in my discman. I believe a few of the people in my school had cell phones but I don't think so.

In college, I got my first ever cell phone. I bought and paid for it all on my own. I also bought my first desktop, lap top, and thumb drive. I wrote a Xanga blog and eventually got a Myspace account.

Now I have Facebook, a phone that browses the internet (even if it isn't a "smart phone"), and an ipod. My oh my how things have changed.

With the advances in technology we are able to get in touch faster and more often. We use Twitter for instant updates and Facebook to network with friends that we have long since forgotten, but we also see the negative effects of this instant connectivity.

More and more with next generation demands everything to be given to the instantly much like an internet search engine search. We also whine and complain and blast people on Facebook which is WAY more public than standing up in downtown New York during rush hour and shouting the same things--for two reasons. Number one, people get the information instantly and it is there until you delete it. Number two, it is targeted specifically to your friends and if they are your friend to theirs as well. Also this addiction (yes, that's what it is) to technology has developed shorter attention spans, worse spelling habits, and less face to face interaction. You know it's bad when they actually have to coin a term for technology withdrawal!

So keep in mind, it's important to use your technology for good. Maybe you should be posting encouragement on Facebook instead of blasting the person who upset you. Stop texting during church, but send a text after the sermon to tell a friend what you have learned...I don't know. All I know is that we should use all things for the good of those who love Him.

Stick to the good in technology and flee from the bad. It will be better for everyone if you do.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fair is the Rose

Fair is the Rose is the second book in the Lowlands of Scotland series by Liz Curtis Higgs. Fair is the Rose continues following the saga of Jamie, Rose, and Leana as they work through the consequences of their choices.

Leana and Jamie’s son, Ian, came into the world handsome and healthy at the end of book one. He is the glue that has bound their unlikely marriage together. Ian’s birth was a turning point for Jamie as he vowed to God to truly try and love his wife—forsaking his love for Leana’s sister, Rose.

Leana has continued to risk her heart and to love Jamie even though it has meant countless heartaches for her. When Jamie told her about his vow to God, her hope is renewed but can she really trust this man who has loved her sister for so long? Showing grace and the love of Christ Leana is determined to give Jamie the chance to prove himself and to bring his love into their marriage at last.

Rose was none to happy to come home and find her sister had taken her wedding and her husband. She was even less happy when she learned her sister was pregnant—officially sealing her marriage to Jamie. Yet Rose still harbors feelings for him and Jamie has done nothing but encourage her in those feelings. Now that Jamie is determined to honor God, his marriage, and his wife Rose has little choice but to try and take matters into her own hands.

Jamie is finally learning to love his wife and bury his love for Rose when Reverend Brown comes to tell him of an oversight in the kirk records that may jeopardize everything he holds dear. Will he be able to trust God? Can he truly learn to love Leana the way she deserves? What will become of his family?

I truly enjoyed Fair is the Rose. It is interesting to see how Higgs remedies the Biblical pologamy in the midst of her historical Scotland setting. I also enjoy that her characters are flawed and complex. It keeps things interesting. Plus you know that a character is well written when you really, really hate that character and then realize that this is the emotion that character is meant to evoke in you.

My favorite part is the way in which Leana handles the consequences of the choices she has made. Her character accepts responsibility for the wrongs she has committed but most importantly she accepts God’s forgiveness and moves on. This encourages others to follow her example. I know that accepting God’s forgiveness and forgiving myself are the hardest parts of forgiveness and I love how she lives it out well.

I highly recommend the writings of Liz Curtis Higgs to historical fiction lovers, and to those who are fans of Biblical allegory. Her writing, characters, and stories will bring the Biblical accounts to life and help you see them from an entirely new perspective. Another great read!

More Books by Liz Curtis Higgs: