Wednesday, May 11, 2011
All donors from today, May 9, to midnight CST on May 26th will be entered to win!!!
$10 donation= 1 entry
$25 donation= 3 entries
$50 donation= 8 entries
$100 donation= 20 entries
$500 donation = 120 entries
$1000 donation= 250 entries
Ways to enter:
Through either of the links on the sidebar of the blog. Donations made through the Reece's Rainbow link are tax deductible and go to our family's adoption grant through Reece's Rainbow. Donations made through the ChipIn link go directly to our family's personal adoption account. Your online donation is secured through PayPal.
Share about our giveaway on your facebook page, personal blog or through email and you will receive additional entries for yourself!!
For each time you share about the giveaway on facebook you will receive 1 entry (you could do this daily!)
For writing a blog post about it you will receive 5 entries.
For posting our giveaway button on your blog sidebar you will receive 2 entries.
For sharing with your friends through email you will receive 3 entries.
If you SHARE by any of the methods listed above (or any other creative way you come up with) then please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Over the past week I have run across several things that have sent me into memories of my past homelessness and cause great heartache for me. I do not say heartache in the sense that I have pain from those memories, but pain for those in the circumstance today.
The first instance that caused me grief was on Tuesday. Shortly after I dropped Erin of at the train station I was driving away and had only gotten 4-5 blocks and I saw a young man who appeared to be homeless. He looked to be between sixth and ninth grade. The reason that I thought maybe homeless, he carried a clear trash bag that had a pair of shoes and a few sets of cloths. I realize that this is not an automatic determinant of whether or no he was homeless or not, but the sight of him made me think it. At this I began to feel sad and remember when I was young.
When I was 6 years old my mother and father split and I chose to live with my father. The reason, I was a daddy's boy. This decision, little did I know, meant that at times in the next few years I would move from place to place, town to town, state to state, family members house to family members house, homeless shelter to homeless shelter, park to under pass, to where ever we could find to lay our heads at night. In addition, it meant that I would have food sometimes and others I would not. Moreover, I would have my father and older brother, and at times be alone for days at a time. Additionally, I would have to move from school to school.
The second instance that reminded me of this time was a presentation in my Human Behavior and Diverse population class. One of the groups covered the homeless population of north Texas and it had interviews of some of the homeless in Dallas. Listening to the group was enlightening in that it gave light into the broader society and how it is currently viewing the population. Part of it believes that homeless do not exist, part believe they do and they are lazy unmotivated people, and others believe that they are in need of help to get them going again.
I am a formerly homeless person. I have a high school diploma, I am a graduate of a university, I am a masters student, I am a member of the Oklahoma Air National Guard/ United States Air Force and have served my country at home and abroad for almost 7 years, I am a minister of God, I am a homeless person who has done a lot with help from people who cared.
I am a living example of what can happen when homeless people succeed.
Monday, September 20, 2010
Several friends are getting married so I thought I'd put together a list of stuff we learned that you don't always find in bridal magazines.First. Remember this is about your marriage more than it is about the 3-4 hours that are your wedding. Be sure to spend time preparing for spending a life with another imperfect person. Get as much premarital counseling as you can. Some books and things that have helped us are Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts by Les and Leslie Parrot, For Women Only and For Men Only by Shaunti and Jeff Feldhan, Fighting for your Marriage by Scott Stanley and Howard Markman, Captivating and Wild at Heart by John and Stasi Eldridge. If you're in oklahoma, check http://www.okmarriage.org for PREP courses in your area.
Secondly and similarly, you do NOT need everything that they say you do in the bridal magazines. i.e. name cards, programs, expensive favors, save the date cards, RSVP cards, a chocolate fountain, limos, a full 9 course dinner, brunch for all, hotel baskets, heaps of flowers or even a flower girl/ring bearer. If you do get all that stuff, you really will spend the $26K that is the national average. Holy cow that's a lot. It's the marriage that counts so don't go into debt for your wedding (and don't put your parents there either). Furthermore, if you do all that, nothing will seem special because everything is extravagant. So pick a few things to splurge on and let those things be the stylish highlights that everyone will remember.
Third - Don't cut the cake until you're ready to leave the reception. I think this is some sort of unspoken signal that the party's almost over.
Fourth-Prepare for the unexpected. We had an outdoor wedding on our friend's wooded back yard. Long before the day, I was preparing myself mentally for freezing drizzle and cramming our closest 20 people into their home and saying our vows dripping wet. But when you are focusing on point >1<>above, then other details can fall by the wayside. Admittedly, that would have been a hard detail to swallow though, so mentally prepare to let some big stuff go before it gets there.
Fifth (and last for now). You do not need a $5000 dress or shoes. You will wear it for 1 day and then it will be pretty much useless. Let God's gift of your husband's love give you that radiant, captivating glow and you could be wearing a $20 sundress and feel just as much a princess.
A 6th thought - similar to #1. There are *many* many details over which you could stress as you prepare for your wedding. Always keep in mind - is this really a key detail? Does it matter to me? Will I and my Bride/Groom remember this and tell the kids about it? Remember points 1, 2, and 4 above, and do the best you can then let it be what it will be. Focus on the key details that you want to remember for a lifetime and it will be the day you've always dreamed of.
Friday, August 13, 2010
I don't think it ever does stop. Not until every single person in the whole world lives in submission to Christ. Whenever we step out of that we hurt people, we hurt ourselves, we feel the emptiness and strive to fill it with invariably unhealthy actions. The threat of destruction, nauseating consequences cannot stop our desire to follow our own desires. Have you ever had a piece of chocolate cake callllll your name? or felt the draw of pornography, or even just been tempted to laugh at another's mishaps rather than feel grief over their pain? We as a society are mistaken in the belief that our nature leads us to good things. The actions we naturally take are destructive. They just are. No loss, no threat of abandonment will ever be strong enough to stop it. That is not how the universe works.
As C.S. Lewis says: "We are not merely imperfect creatures who must be improved: we are... rebels who must lay down their arms." We must surrender. We must see our depraved hearts yearning for all manner of unhealthy things from the minuscule uncaring giggle to the mighty pull of addiction. Unless we see that our hearts, our very core and heart, desires by its nature its own (and everyone else's) destruction. We will have affairs, we will cave to our addictions, we will risk the hurt every single person who crosses our path in some way.
The good news is that God IS and he loves us *fiercely*. And however bad we are, we are not irredeemable in His hands.
Monday, January 4, 2010
"Suffering comes from the abuse of free will"
The Problem of Pain ~ C.S. Lewis
Not surprisingly between my work and Joshua's, I've been returning to this quote more and more lately. Several years ago, I mentioned it to a friend who said she didn't believe it. I consider her one of the wisest people I know so her disbelief has always been hard for me to reconcile. I wonder, though, if she just misunderstood. Suffering does comes not only from our own abuse of our own free will, but far more frequently it comes to me as a result of another's abuse of their free will.
Of course there are extreme examples - thieves, drunk drivers, violent insurgents, rapists, murderers, adulterers, abusers...all causing deep suffering to so many for the sake of what they want to do or have. There are perhaps we could say the lesser offences - negligent drivers, careless insults, bitter people, who cause pain but don't even realize it.
Then there are almost unperceivable actions. Out of my free will, I decided to work from a coffee shop today. It's a luxury that most of the world can't afford even if their jobs were to allow it. Is this use of my free will causing suffering anywhere? The increase in demand for coffee from poorer nations? Is it abuse or merely use of my free will? Is it causing as Lewis recons, the types of pain that are below a certain intensity and not feared or resented at all. It's a thought to consider when we grab our morning latte, how about all the talk of greeness? What suffering will it cause if we ignore the ramifications of our actions carried out to their fullest influence? How often do we think of the full consequences of anything we do anyway?
So what of suffering? Ruminating on the cause, for me, ends with Lewis' quote. Someone somewhere or maybe many someones at many times or places abused their free will and thus pain for someone else was born. Which leads me to another favorite quote of Lewis' "It may be possible for each to think too much of his own potential glory hereafter; it is hardly possible for him to think too often or too deeply about that of his neighbour. Truly we are called to love and care after each other in a far deeper way than we can imagine and none of us can possibly be up to the challenge on our own strength. Thus the mercy of God steps in whispering the actions of love whenever we are humble enough to accept it and yield our actions to in the benefit of another. Only then we can hope to approach the greater love that is to lay one's life down.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Well it has been some time since my last writing and I have truly meant to be on here more but as we all know, things happen. I have now been married for 290 days and am learning more of this life each day. It has its ups and downs, but it is for sure worth all that i have learned through it! God has truly put truth to the words of Erin's bosses words "Marriage is Gods primary people building tool". One of the light hearted things that I am learning in this Advent season is the value of the Advent calendar. It has long been a tradition of Erin and her family to have this calendar and grow the excitement about this wonderful season. I am trying so hard into this tradition and I feel that over the next couple of years that this will grow on me. I have included some pictures of this event as proof. Until next time!
Monday, September 28, 2009
Sitting in church yesterday, Alex the associate pastor, i was listening to the sermon and at the end Alex initiated a time of reflection. In this time of reflection he read off thoughts and scripture to give us a bit of guided meditation on scripture. It was in this time that I was presented with the though "how do I live in the world and not be of it?".
This question is one that can be quite easy or in some cases hard.
Jesus is the prime example of all Godly living and shows us his life through scriptures. In the scriptures it shows us that for three years of ministry that Jesus didn't work outside of the lectures, healings, and various other miracles he performed. In these efforts he worked sometimes without sleep or food, but he continued.
How can I live like this?
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Monday, May 18, 2009
Note: not all photos in the albums are by Abigail Smith. We've thrown in other's snapshots too.
Note: not all photos in the albums are by Abigail Smith. We've thrown in other's snapshots too.
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
The other day I was asked if I felt any different after getting married, my response, no.
Why is it that my life has not become somehow different? The reason I believe has a lot to do with the person that I married, the way we approached courting, and the way that we viewed marriage.
From the beginning we said that we would not be together for the sake of being together, but it would be to fulfill God's desire for our lives. God, without a doubt, wants now and back then for Erin and I to be together. So what does this mean..... Being married to Erin is the same as not being married to her, living life as God desires.
I finish this note with this: I love my God with all that I am and everyday I hope to express that through every act in my marriage with Erin.
Sunday, March 15, 2009
LOVE YOU ALL!!
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Invitations & Napkins:
Art Trends Inc, Oklahoma City
Mishelle Handy in Edmond
Abigail Smith Photography
Coffee bar catering:
Beautiful Bouquets Flower Shop
Favors and Decorations:
Ribbon, candles, tulle: