Confessions of a chronic overachiever

Photo taken my my amazingly talented friend, Sarah, when she was here on Spring Break.

I have a confession to make. It’s not nearly as scandalous as my last confession, so please don’t be worried, but this confession is going to force me to make some changes, some of which might affect this little space I’ve created on the web.

The confession is two-pronged, because I don’t believe in doing anything small. Go big or don’t go at all, that’s how I roll.

First, I have a very nasty habit of biting off more than I can chew. I assume I can handle way more than I actually can and I convince myself that it’s fine, I don’t actually need sleep and Nutella for breakfast, lunch and dinner because I don’t have time to prepare a proper meal is perfectly acceptable.


Okay – so that’s the first part of the confession. I take on too much and assume I can handle it just fine.

The second part of my confession is I am terribly prone to laziness. It’s true. I am the dog from the movie UP. I can be perfectly engaged in an activity then SQUIRREL!

That’s me. It’s not ADD, though I would LOVE to blame it on that. I’m just easily distracted and I have a hard time pulling myself back.

I’ve struggled with finishing the school year strong with the kids. I imagine every teacher the world over feels this spring time tug when the rigors of a daily schedule must wage battle against the pull of a warm breeze and the call of the outdoors. The fact is, I’m tired. I want to be done and so do the kids. But we can’t, because learning should never end.

I read this post by Ann Voskamp the other day and it reignited my desire to do this home schooling thing well. Whether this ends up being the only year we teach our children at home or we decide to do it again next year, I want it to count. This requires that I fight the laziness that threatens to invade and dig my heels in.

I’ve lost momentum on my book. It’s a lot, this business of home schooling, maintaining a blog, writing a book, trying to keep a household running smoothly, editing a new manuscript and getting into shape.


I need to finish the book and finish it well. Do you see a theme here?

So first order of business – GET MORE SLEEP!

Do you know how fascinating squirells are when you’re tired? Stunning little creatures…

My goal is to be in bed no later than 10:00 every week night most week nights because the whole stay-up-till-midnight-pretending-to-be-working-but-really-reading-blogs-and-surfing-facebook thing isn’t working for me. I’m tired. I need to sleep. I’m not a night owl and never have been. I’m accepting that and moving forward.

This means I need to be diligent with my time and get my butt out of bed early. In fact, I set up my alarm on my phone so that when it goes off, my screen lights up with the phrase “Get your butt out of bed you lazy A…!”

I firmly believe in tough love.

I am going to be kickin’ it on my book this month and I actually do have a book manuscript to finish editing. I will be here, too, but maybe not every day. And I’m going to add a third confession – that’s scary.

Shaun wrote about it last week. It’s sometimes difficult as a blogger to not blog because we fear the audience we’ve worked to build will go away. And honestly, I can’t afford to lose my audience right now. I’m counting on you guys to help me get the word out about Compassion International’s awesome work when I go to Tanzania next month. I want you right there with me!

So I won’t be far away this month, but I may not be here every day. Because I’ll be a little busier than normal trying to keep my head above —


And then I go to Africa

Compassion Bloggers: Tanzania 2012A little over two years ago I sat in front of my computer screen and cried. Hot tears rolled off my chin and onto the keys. It was the first time I had seen Compassion in action and I was so deeply moved by the stories and images coming out of India.

As I read, and our family began sponsoring a child, something ignited inside of me. I wanted to be a part of this movement of storytelling to change a child’s life. And I began to pray a simple prayer every single day.

Lord, use my gift and passion to Your glory and not to my own.”

I wanted to be a part of something bigger than just myself. I wanted to give back an offering through the words that stir my soul. I wanted to just do something.

It’s no secret that I have the deepest and utmost respect for the ministry of Compassion International. What they do for children around the world inspires and moves me deeply and it’s been an honor to write about them in the past whenever the opportunity arose.

But now…well, honored seems too small a word. I’m humbled. Deeply, deeply humbled to be a part of this ministry in a new and exciting way. For two years I have read the words of bloggers whom I admire as they give the world a glimpse into what Compassion does for children from India to Kenya to the Philippines to Ecuador.

And all the while I’ve prayed for an opportunity to be able to tell stories in a way that honors the One who gave me the words. As I prayed, I knew that I would someday have the chance to do this thing I so desired. I just didn’t know in which capacity it would take shape.

I am thrilled to be a part of the upcoming Compassion Bloggers trip to Tanzania. Thrilled and honored and humbled and a little nervous.

Thrilled because I love a good adventure.

Honored that Shaun had the confidence in me to allow me this opportunity.

Humbled that the Lord would choose to answer my prayer in this way and that He would grant me the opportunity to do what I love with an organization that I am passionate about.

And nervous because Shaun mentioned something about an in country flight and he said it with this sort of half smile on his face like he knew something I didn’t. I’m also nervous because I’m pretty sure I’m going to need a few immunizations and I generally do all I possibly can to avoid needles at all costs.

Including give birth to three children naturally because I FEAR THE NEEDLES. And when I say I fear them, what I mean is I usually faint…and sometimes seize…when I get a shot.

It’s super neat.

I am truly grateful and thankful for this opportunity and I hope that you all will join me on this journey and invite your friends along. We’re all going together to see and hear and experience the ministry of Compassion as they vigilantly work to release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.

Will you come with us?

Do you have Just a Minute?

We have all been impacted by someone. As a teenager, I was deeply impacted by one of the leaders of my first trip to the former Soviet Union. We were standing in a pizza parlor in the middle of Red Square when he said something that I’ve never ever forgotten. It was a moment that would eventually come to define the person I am today.

I wrote about that moment here and much to my delight and surprise, Wess Stafford, President of Compassion International has used that very story, along with many others (including one from Shaun Groves who also wrote up a wonderful post about the book), in his newest book, Just a Minute. Compiling stories that reveal the power of just a quick moment to impact a life, Wess Stafford’s new book is inspiring, encouraging and filled with sweet moments that reveal the impact we can have on a child’s life if we’re willing to take the time to speak wisdom and encouragement and love.

And it only takes Just a Minute.

Tonight as I sent the kids to bed after what can only be described as a long and arduous day, Sloan asked me to sit down and read with him. I didn’t want to. The arduosity (that should totally be a word) of the day was mostly due to him and his eight-year-old boyness and quite frankly all I wanted was for the house to be quiet so I could curl up in the corner.

But then I thought about this quote from Just a Minute:The time is now, while their spirits are soft and impressions are easily made. Tomorrow’s leaders, in whose hands the future rests, will still climb into your lap today, run to your embrace, laugh at your jokes, listen to your wisdom, and comfort you with tiny arms and big hugs. But not for long. In a few short years, the clay will harden, and they will inherit the corridors of power and start making the decisions that will shape your world.”

The selfish and tired part of me wanted to just shoo him off to bed with empty promises of “another night” but I couldn’t shake the thought that this moment was precious and fleeting. So we climbed into his bed together and laughed heartily at Calvin and Hobbes, while he sat nestled in the crook of my arm, still more boy than man but every day changing and growing with lightening speed.

And let’s face it, my first born truly does have the potential to wield great power over my world one day.

Will he put me in the scary nursing home where I’m left alone in a dark corner or the happy one that looks like a spa and serves me ice cold Jello and Nutella three times a day while I lay snug in my cozy feather bed?

Here’s to hoping he remembers the little moments when I’m old and frail, right?

Right Sloan? I know you’re going to read this…

If you haven’t considered sponsoring a child through Compassion International, I would really encourage you to do so today. We received another letter and picture from our sponsored child yesterday and I marveled at how much he had grown. He is the same age as my Sloan and in the two years since we’ve be writing to him he has lost his little boy look and is developing the more mature look of a young man.

How I pray for this developing leader, as I pray for my own children. We talk about him as if he were a part of our family and it’s because he is. And signing up to sponsor him? Well, it only took just a minute.

This isn’t meant to be a pitch or to make anyone feel guilty. I truly believe in the power of Compassion International to change a child’s life and give him hope for the future. I believe in this because I’ve spent time reading about the work they do, and seeing the hearts of those who lead.

If I can encourage you to do anything today it would be to purchase the book Just a Minute, to hug and encourage a young one near you and to consider how you can impact not only the children closest to you, but also those around the world who need someone in their corner.

For more information on the book, visit this site.


Third World Symphony: Not for the Simple-Minded

Alright, friends, lean in close.  Im’a bout to get real with you.

I’ll be the first to admit that I am one with deep faults.  I just am.  I know what most of my flaws are, although every once in awhile a new one (or old one that had been ignored, whatever) crops up that takes me by surprise. 

You mean I have to deal with that now?!

One of my biggest struggles and greatest weaknesses, however, is one I’ve known about a long time.  It just may be the thorn in my flesh.  Simplicity.

How is simplicity a fault (sin – let’s call it what it is)?

I’ll tell you.

I’m a “Jesus Loves Me This I Know” sort of person.  I always have been.  I’m not analytical.  I don’t sit and question and ponder and search and try to figure things out.  Since I was a child, I just knew and accepted my Faith as my own and I’ve never ever doubted who Jesus is – not to the world and certainly not in my life.

This is my greatest weakness – but it’s also my greatest strength.  It means that very little has ever shaken my faith.  Even the nasty, ugly trials of life never really knocked me off the foundation of who I believe God is.  And I’ve been through some ugly.  I’ve questioned Why, not ever really expecting or needing an answer but just because it felt good to ask, “Why, God?”

But in the end, I am very comfortable with the answer, “Because I Am.”

This spirals into weakness, however, when I find myself with little urgency to seek scripture for answers outside of, “God is Love.  God is Grace.  God is Mercy.”  I just don’t seek Him.

But blogging has challenged me in a lot of ways – or,more specifically, reading blogs has challenged me.  And the blogger that has most challenged me to think outside of my simple little box is Shaun Groves.  You’ve heard me mention his blog here before – I’m kind of a stalker.


But the fact of the matter is that Shaun’s writing has encouraged me in so many ways to search deeper into scripture.  Why do I believe what I believe?  What do I understand about God and who He is regarding the deeper issues of life?  Who is God?

Today, Shaun released his new album, Third World Symphony.  Inspired by his work with Compassion International, Shaun began writing and developing this album sometime last year.  And he brought his blog readers along the journey as he sought and wrote and dug into the heart of the gospel.

In case you hadn’t heard, this move has been kind tough on Lee and I.  Really tough.  Hard. About a week after we came down here, as I was wallowing in emotions, I hit play on Third World Symphony.  I had heard rough cuts of several of the songs, but this was the first time I listened to all of them.  And I sat in bed and wept.

You know that moment when lyric and song blend perfectly into a melody that doesn’t just please your mind but rather stirs your soul?  The moment when you hear harmonies so lovely that your stomach flip flops and your lungs constrict?  Yeah…I had a couple of those moments.

The album is really good.  You can see for yourself just how good it is by going here and buying a copy.  As an added incentive, when you purchase the album, I will personally send you telepathic fist bumps and feelings of all over awesomeness.

You. Are. Welcome.

I was not asked to write this post.  I just wanted to help spread the word about the album in the hopes that you can be as blessed by it as I was.

The End.

Compassion Bloggers in Philippines

A few years ago I started reading about a ministry called Compassion International.  And I dismissed it.

I had seen the ads on television for child sponsorship programs before.  You know, the ones with a tearful celebrity begging you to give up one cup of coffee every day so a child could eat.  Not that I don’t think those programs are wonderful, but I was just desensitized to the weepy pitch.  So when blog post after blog post began popping up about Compassion, my first reaction was to ignore them.

I hate jumping on bandwagons and this seemed like an online Christian bandwagon.  I’m revealing a bit of evidence of my sad, stubborn little heart to you all today…

After the Compassion bloggers went to India, though, I began to take notice of this organization a little more.  I was impressed by several things -first, Compassion is serious about meeting the needs of children.  Sponsorship money goes to the child and is used honestly and wisely and lovingly to make sure that children living in poverty are given hope for the future.

Second, the hearts behind those involved with Compassion are so humble, tender and filled with love.  Compassion has a purpose to “release children from poverty in Jesus’ name.”  They take this purpose seriously and it really made an impression on me.

Finally, I couldn’t help but be impressed by how well this ministry utilized social media for the greater good of humanity.  I’m not sure you’ll find another organization that is better utilizing social media tools like Twitter, Facebook and blogging to bring hope, healing, faith and love to the most remote areas of the world.  I’m seriously amazed by what they do.

So, I finally got over my silly pride and we sponsored a child from the Philippines named Jonri, and what a blessing it has been.  The kids LOVE to get letters from Jonri and to draw pictures in return.  Admittedly we have not done a good job of consistently writing him and we are working on communicating with him more.  But it has blessed our family to know that Jonri is being loved and cared for and he is definately prayed for.

This week, Compassion has another group of lovely bloggers touring none other than the Philippines and the stories coming out of the country are beautiful and moving.  You will be blessed to follow their journey.  And if you feel led to sponsor a child, you can rest assured your money is not squandered or wasted.  It is well spent and you will be impacting a child’s life forever.

That’s a bandwagon that’s totally worth jumping on, in my opinion.

Send Emilda to The Special Olympics


Social media has made the world smaller.  It has connected us to one another in ways that were not possible even ten years ago.  Through social media, we now have the power to hear and see the plight of those on the other side of the world. 

And we can act.

It’s not a matter of if we should.  We just should.  Let’s think big.  Not only for the good of others, but for the blessings that come upon us as well.  The knowledge that we took part in something bigger than us.

Emilda is an 18 year-old Compassion International sponsored child with the mental capacity of a three year-old. She lives in a squatter community in the Philippines. And she’s fast!

In 2009 Emilda competed in the Philippine Special Olympics and she performed well enough to qualify for the World Special Olympics in Athens, Greece this Summer. But she needs your help to get there.

Emilda’s parents are unable to pay her way to Greece and neither is the Philippine government. Her need is $19,857.

This is more than just helping a little girl run a race.  This is showing a little girl that her talents and gifts are worth celebrating.  This is helping a little girl see a dream come true.  This is showing a little girl’s parents that the world knows…and we care.

Would you like to help send Emilda to the Olympics?  You can do so quickly and easily by clicking right here.  If you’d like to read more about Emilda and her amazing talent that has provided her this opportunity, head over here.  Grab a box of kleenex first, though.

We have the power to work together for the good of this sweet and beautiful little girl.  I don’t know about you, but that makes me smile.  If you would like to share this amazing opportunity with others, use the information below:

Donations can be made at:

Pictures and more information about Emilda are available at:

When asking others to give please use the following link:

Or this shorter link:

Let’s do this together and cheer Emilda on to the finish line!  Thanks everyone.