A Giveaway: Noonday's "Clustered Charm Necklace"

In honor of “Small Business Saturday” and the upcoming “Giving Tuesday,” I will be giving away the Clustered Charm Necklace from the Noonday Collection (click here to view the necklace).  I love Noonday because it creates income opportunities women both internationally and in the United States.  To learn more about how Noonday works, click here. 

I love to see friends pour themselves into making a difference in this world and have loved watching my friend Melissa Watson give herself fully to becoming a Noonday Ambassador.  While Noonday itself is a “for-profit” business, Melissa Watson is a “non-profit” ambassador, meaning that she gives away all the profit she makes from her Noonday revenue.  If you order through the following link (click here), your order will go through Melissa Watson, which means your order makes a double impact both through Noonday and through the various causes Melissa supports.  Now through Tuesday, Noonday is running incredible sales of up to 75% off various items.  It’s an excellent time to shop the Noonday Collection. 

To enter the giveaway, take a look at Noonday’s website to learn more about who they are and what they do; then leave a comment below answering this question:

“What are you most looking forward to this Christmas season?” 

This giveaway will close at Midnight (CST) on Tuesday, and a winner will be randomly chosen Wednesday morning.  The winner will receive Noonday’s Clustered Charm Necklace. 

Giveaway only available to residents of the United States and Canada. 


Our Generation Will Be Marked by How We Respond to the Syrian Refugee Crisis

Our generation will absolutely be marked by how we respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.  The question is how will you respond?   The collective response of a generation is made up by individual responses, so how you respond and what you actually do matters.  There is a lot of mess and confusion and fear clouding us as a generation right now after the recent attacks on Paris.  Extremes and misinformation are prevalent, especially in America in the past few days. 

So, let’s stop and refocus in on the basics. 

Will you pray with me now before reading further that the Spirit will guide you as you read? 


First.  Always first.  Is Jesus.   If you are a follower of Jesus, you have to start with Him always.  What did He say?

He said that when He returns, the nations will be gathered before Him and He will judge them based on this very simple formula: how they treated the least of these of his brothers.* We will be judged by how we treated the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and the prisoner.  Or for us in our modern world: the homeless, the refugee, the poor, the ill, the persecuted and the incarcerated.1
Feed the hungry

Quench to the thirsty

Welcome the stranger

Clothe the naked

Visit the sick

Visit the prisoner

What this means for us to day is simply this:

Care for the homeless and the poor

Welcome the refugee

Befriend the ill, the persecuted, and the incarcerated

This is where we begin.  Always.  But God was speaking this truth long before Jesus walked this earth.  In the Old Testament, God repeatedly wants His people to be known as a people who welcome, accept, and embrace the foreigner, the sojourner, and the oppressed.2  

Why?  Because not only does this tangibly provide a way to care for those who are desperate and in need, but it also reflects the heart and nature of God.  He welcomes us and cares for us in our poverty, need, and desperation, and He gives us a home in Him.  He calls His people to act similarly and reflect His nature to the rest of the world.  His desire for all who are homeless, poor, refugees, ill, persecuted, and incarcerated is to know that there is a God who cares for them.  The evidence to them that this is true comes largely from the practical care provided by His people. 

Our response to the Syrian refugee crisis is not a gray area for us as Christians.  Scripture is pretty black and white on the issue. 


We are looking at the crisis of our generation. 

These are the quick facts:

Syria is in the midst of a civil war

11 million Syrians have fled their homes

7.6 million Syrians are displaced within their country

4 million Syrians are refugees 3

700,000+ have fled to Europe 4

What does this mean?  It means that there are many, many people displaced and without a home.  The Syrian refugees are normal, everyday people like you and me.  The only difference is their nation is so incredibly war-torn that they have fled their homes.  Please stop to imagine that.  We can be so anesthetized by our American reality that we do not even connect into what that must be like.  So.  Please stop and imagine.  Imagine our government falling and our nation being so war-torn that you would actually leave everything you own to simply find safety for your family.  Imagine the safest option being to leave everything you own, flee your home, and risk your life just to keep your children alive. Touch into that reality for a moment.  What would you want someone else’s response to be if you were in that position? 

Jesus Himself said, “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”5

How Will You Respond?  

The real question is how will you respond to this crisis?  At the end of your life when you stand before Jesus and give account for your life, how will you account for this moment?  Will you be able to say that you cared for the homeless, hungry displaced foreigner in our generation?

For More Information on What You Can Do

My husband is connected to a contact who directly works on the ground with Syrian refugees in the Middle East.  That contact currently has practical ways you can help actual people with actual needs.  Please email me for more information by clicking here. 

If you want more generalized information on how you can help, click here read this article, “Because We Can’t Do Nothing: Practical Ways to Help the Refugee Crisis” by Tsh Oxenreider

If you want to link directly to the "We Welcome Refugees" organization, click here. 

Special thanks to Val who gave his time to reading through this post and helping me word some of the most important sections.  This was definitely a team effort.  Thanks, Val. 

* After clarification of the Matthew 25 passage as seen in the comments below, I have since edited this post and added the "of my brothers" to this line as it appears in Matthew 25:40.  

Matthew 25:31-46
Deuteronomy 10:17-19, Leviticus 19:33-34
“Syria: The Story of the Conflict” by BBC News http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-26116868
“What You Need to Know: Crisis in Syria, Refugees, and the Impact on Children” by World Vision Staff.  http://www.worldvision.org/news-stories-videos/syria-war-refugee-crisis
Matthew 7:12


A Year with My Brother

In just a few weeks, I will be saying goodbye to my little brother.  He came out here almost a year ago, at the time just to stay for a bit.  But it seems he found more life here than he expected and he’s been living next door since. 

He has so many adventures ahead of him still, journeys to still pursue.  This is good and right and so happy.  He’ll be back in here again and again for sure.  But goodbyes are still hard.  Bittersweet.  I am so happy for what life has become for him this past year and all that lays ahead of him in the coming months, yet I find my heart tighten a bit as I know that this season of living next door to one another will soon come to an end. 

I am grateful for the time.  For our deepened friendship.  For my boys to have known him so closely…to feel that Uncle Vic is a part of us.  For him being at each of their birthdays this past year.  For evenings on the porch.  And innumerable trays of nachos.   For winter nights watching Lord of the Rings.  For the friendship between Val and him.  For being let into his life.  For getting to know his people.  For being loved by him and his friends.  Grateful.

That it will never come again is what makes life so sweet.  – Emily Dickinson


I Didn't Sign Up for This

Over a year ago, my good friend Mrs. Gore wrote a blockbuster post titled, “I Signed Up for This,” highlighting the importance of taking a positive attitude toward the daily realities of motherhood (click here to read).  She exposed her own struggle with whining and sighing about the reality that motherhood can be, only to share that she was learning to embrace the truth that she did in fact sign up for this reality.  Her post was an encouragement to me and to many others. 

And yet, it left me with the tender place in my heart for every mom who didn’t sign up for this.  For the mom who sat in her bathroom looking at a positive pregnancy test with tears filling her eyes because she wasn’t ready for this.  For every mom who has sat in a specialists office hearing that her child has this disease, that syndrome, this handicap, that complication.  For every mom who has sat across from a psychologist hearing her child’s diagnosis.  There are many of us who didn’t sign up for what we found to be our motherhood reality. 

When I shared this with Mrs. Gore, she suggested I pray about this topic and consider writing a post springboarding off of hers.  So, while it is over a year later, I know there are many mamas facing challenging motherhood realities that they didn’t sign up for.

To those of you who didn’t sign up for…


This pregnancy

This child

Mothering a child with special needs

Still changing your eight-year-old’s diapers

Facing your child’s chronic disease

Hearing a terminal illness diagnosis

Navigating your child’s extreme behavioral or emotional challenges

Not sleeping well for years because of your child’s unique challenges

Sitting in the doctor’s office and seeing your child not meet developmental milestones over and over again

Sitting in your playgroup and explaining your child’s differences to the other moms

Fill in the blank

You didn’t sign up for this. 

And on your worst days, this haunts you.  You cry alone in your bathroom because you didn’t sign up for this.   You didn’t sign up for this.  Not at this time.  Not this way.  Not these challenges.  This is harder than anything you ever imagined.  You are dedicated and committed to your pregnancy, to your child, to carrying the challenges that come with your reality of motherhood…but you never signed up for this.  Whatever your “this” is. 

To the mom sitting in the bathroom looking at the positive pregnancy test with tears welling up in your eyes because you never signed up for this pregnancy: you are not alone in that bathroom.  Even if you feel so incredibly alone, you are not.  God is sitting right there with you, wanting to hold you.  The timing of this pregnancy may be so incredibly difficult and challenging, but He sees and knows.  He sees you.  And He knows that life inside of you is meant to be here now.  Cry out to him.  Let the tears fall.  Be honest with yourself and with Him about the unexpectedness of this pregnancy.

And then ask Him to make you able to be a mother to this baby.  To this person.  Even if you were never planning on signing up for motherhood, you are a mother now…this very minute.  Ask Him to empower you to mother.  Ask God to do more than you could ever ask or imagine in your relationship with this surprise child.

To the mom of a child with special needs, you also are not alone.  Every single day of your challenging reality, you are not alone.  You face things every day that most other moms never even have to think about.  Motherhood takes more from you than you ever expected.  You are often exhausted and lonely.  You continually find yourself explaining your child and your reality to others.  You are not alone.  You have not been lost in your reality.  You are a powerful mother that was intended for that child and these challenges.  God did not make a mistake.  Rather, he entrusted you with all of this.  Ask Him to make you able to carry what He has entrusted you with in your motherhood realities. 

To the mom who is facing the reality of her child’s chronic childhood disease or terminal illness diagnosis, you are not alone.  You are facing a grief that most moms will never know in their entire lifetime.  Let that grief wash over you.  Sit in it.  Acknowledge it.  And ask God to be near you in the grief.  He is acquainted with sorrows.  You will find yourself adjusting your everyday life because of the reality you now face.  You are familiar with doctor’s offices and hospital rooms as regular places you go.  You grieve the loss of the childhood experiences you thought you’d have with your child. You didn’t sign up for this. Yet, God wants to be with you in it.  Sitting with you and your child, His arms around you both.  Ask Him to comfort you in the grief and show Himself as near to you on the hardest and saddest of days.  To reveal to you the beautiful story He is writing through your child’s life and the importance of you in that story as your child’s mom. 

To the mom facing anything you didn’t sign up for in motherhood, you are not alone.  God sees and knows your story, your situation, your struggle.  He knows what you didn’t sign up for and He has not left you alone in it. 

Because I’ve faced things I didn’t sign up for in motherhood, I’ve come to the end of my abilities, reserve and strength and have desperately asked God for His help, strength, power, and insight.  And through that process, I’ve found Him to be nearer and more present than I knew Him to be before.  I’ve found Him close.  Holding me.  Whispering to me that He has given me everything I need for those things that I didn’t sign up for.  That in Him I am fully equipped for motherhood, even when there are unexpected realities.  In the challenges, He becomes tangible.  In fact, what I have found to be true in all the unexpected challenges is that God’s grace is even sweeter and nearer when we face things we didn’t sign up for.

So to my fellow moms of unexpected circumstances, if you seek Him in the things you didn’t sign up for, He will spiritually become more than anything you never signed up for.  In Him you have everything you need to love this child in these unexpected realities.  You are not alone.  

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18

* Photo credit: Sierra Sage Photography (click here)