Ready

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As I wrote out my big dreams & crazy ideas for my new business, Ginger Lane, it hit me. I’m ready. I’m finally ready.

Psalm 40 starts, “I waited patiently for the Lord, He turned and heard my cry.” But I realized, in these times where I thought I was waiting on God, He was actually waiting on me. He has been waiting on me to say, I trust you. You got this. He doesn’t force Himself on us, He doesn’t force us to love Him or glorify Him. He waits on us. He waits for us to open our hearts and accept His invitation. We have to stand up and say we’re ready.

God put these crazy big ideas on my heart. And I’m giddy to do my part and follow His lead. I’m ready for God to do amazing things through me.

I’ll share more about the crazy ideas as they progress.

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“Let me walk upon the waters, wherever You would call me”

Having just returned from The Influence Conference, my soul is nourished, my heart is lifted. A conference based on building community, ironically, I didn’t know anyone going into it. Anyone in “real life”. But that quickly changed.

It was beautiful. Beautiful how souls were shared. Hugs were given. Prayers were said. Hearts were lifted.

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A few of the many ways my heart was healed, my soul was encouraged…

The lies we hear from the world and let ourselves believe: your voice is worthless, nobody loves you, you are not seen, your gifts aren’t as good as others, that value is determined by someone other than God. Lies! Jesus is enough. We are so loved.

God did not give us gifts, just to take them away.

Fill the unknown with faith, not fear.

Don’t invent enemies.

My dream, my gifts, are a gift from God. I am a Steward of a Dream. To use. To pursue. If I let fear & lies take over so I don’t follow it, I’m being unfaithful. Believe this, friends. Don’t be idle and let your dreams fade.

God doesn’t say “follow your dreams”. He says Follow Me. Align your dreams with God’s will, God’s plan. It’s not about how many followers I have. It’s about me following God’s will.

Sole Hope Party at InfluenceOver 250 women tracing & cutting shoe patterns for Sole Hope the first night.

Ginger Lane at Influence ConferenceMy Ginger Lane clutches in the Market. I set out notecards & pens for people to write encouraging notes to the girl we sponsor through Compassion. Child sponsorship is at the core of the Ginger Lane Mission. I can’t wait to send the notes to our child!  Ginger Lane photoshootOne of the highlights of the weekend was the photoshoot for my Ginger Lane products.

Ginger Lane photoshootMegan photographed, Kristin & Brittany generously agreed to model. I am giddy & encouraged & blessed.

Influence sistersThe other highlight? These amazing women. My sisters in Christ. From the left, Rachel, me, Kathleen, Jennifer, Jenny, Amanda, Whitney, Lena, Tawny, & Katie.

SunriseThe gift of taking a 6am flight home was viewing the sunrise from the sky. My Spirit worships while viewing God’s natural creation. I kept thinking about how He created all of this. All of us. And imagining all of the people below and how He knows and loves each of us individually. That Jesus died on the cross for each of us, individually.

I am home: refreshed, challenged, overwhelmed, encouraged. With Hillsong’s “Oceans” on repeat in my heart from our worship:

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior”

Reece’s Rainbow (Host a Lemonade Stand)

I’m excited to have Rachel, a fellow Influence Network-er, here sharing her story and giving project. This is a great way to get your kids involved in giving: host a lemonade stand and donate the proceeds to Reece’s Rainbow.

The mission of Reece’s Rainbow is to rescue orphans with Down syndrome through the gift of adoption, to raise awareness for all of the children who are waiting in 25 countries around the world, and to raise funds as adoption grants that help adoptive families afford the high cost of adopting these beautiful children.

About Reece’s Rainbow

Please visit Rachel’s blog for a list of great tips for hosting a Lemonade Stand for Reece’s Rainbow  and let her know that you will be joining her Lemonade Stand Campaign!

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I am thankful and honored to have this opportunity to guest post today.  So that you know a little bit of who you are hearing from here are the basics, I am 34 year old wife to a soon to be pastor, (he is finishing up seminary this summer.) I am a mother to five wonderful(most of time) children(one of which is due to be born any day now.) Our life is often messy but in the mess we get to see God make something beautiful in our lives.  I would love for you to come by my blog, www.make-something-beautiful.com and get to know my family and I better.

 My heart grew significantly for orphans with Down Syndrome and special needs after the birth and Down Syndrome diagnosis of my first Son Sam in 2009. 

After Sam was born while doing research on the Internet on his condition, Down Syndrome I discovered an amazing organization called Reece’s Rainbow. They are in the business of redeeming orphans with special needs. Special needs orphans are the bottom of the barrel as far as orphans go, they are often living is horrible conditions with out adequate housing, clothing, food, medical care and worst of all human interaction. Often children with mild and moderate disabilities are left in crib rooms for there whole life, never escaping the bars and white walls.

JOIN US and “MAKE A STAND FOR ORPHANS!!” Host a lemonade stand in the month of May or collect change to give toward the redemption of beautiful special needs children around the world.  You can give  directly to Reece’s Rainbow and receive a tax deduction. FOR MORE TIPS PLEASE VISIT MY BLOG AND LET LEMONADE BE USED TO REDEEM!!

Kids Can Give: Project Night Night

KidscangiveThe boys and I recently had the opportunity to fill bags for Project Night Night, through our local parent group. We purchased items, then filled three bags, for boys age 4-4 1/2, which will be delivered to a local homeless shelter. I struggle with how to teach them about giving because a 5 year old can only do so much in terms of service. But this was the perfect giving activity for kids. While we stuffed the bags, we talked how they would be given to children in a homeless shelter, and what that meant. By the end of it, they were asking to give away their toys to the children, toys that were much bigger than the bags could handle. These are the moments you want to put in your pocket and carry with you.

Project Night Night

What is Project Night Night?

Every child who receives one of our Night Night Packages leaves the shelter owning a book which encourages reading and family bonding, a security blanket which can be cuddled, and a stuffed animal which can become a cherished friend.  We have one objective – to deliver our Night Night Packages to every homeless child in the country who needs one.

Project Night Night

In addition to the new book, blanket and stuffed animals, we included: washcloths, toothbrushes, toothpaste, colored pencils, and spiderman activity books.

Project Night Night

(Apparently my boys inherited my need to make a silly faces in photos…)

And then we prayed for each child that would receive a bag. We prayed that God would bless, protect them and keep them healthy. We prayed that the little boys would come to know and love Jesus and know how much they are loved.

Project Night Night

You can help!

Want to fill a bag for Project Night Night? Order tote bags here.

Influence…Making my online life mean something

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The Influence Network was launched in January and it is already one of my favorite online spots. These women (yes, I’ll generalize for a sec) are real, genuine, creative, Christian bloggers. To continue with the growth and depth of the community, I’m linking up with all these lovely ladies. I look forward to meeting you all at the next Influence Conference!

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Ginger

Looking for a photo made me realize that there are no photos of me. Except for this one. And what I love about it is that it’s from a surprise 10th anniversary trip my husband planned for us in Napa. (No small thing coming from Boston and finding childcare for triplets.) Drinking champagne at Mustards, with my love. Heaven.

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1I met God. During an emergency surgery after the birth of my triplets after my health began to fail, I was surrounded by pure white and His complete joy and peace. It was like a giant hug from God and the most amazing experience of my life. Read more about it here.

2I’m allergic to most raw fruits. Unhelpful when dieting or walking through New England apple orchards.

3God uses me to connect people. I can be chatting with someone about a need, problem, whatever and He will bring to mind a different friend, acquaintance, resource that can help. It brings such joy and gives me goosebumps every time. I can’t force these situations, so I’ve started praying every day that God use me to connect people to others that can fill their needs, give wisdom, whatever it is. Since we’re all part of One Body, I feel like I must be a ligament or synapse.

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Community. Wisdom. When I first started this blog journey last summer, I was really put-off by the networks that asked everyone to play these games of commenting on each other’s posts and clicking on their links. Not because they were genuinely interested, but just for numbers and page views.  I was looking for genuine people, genuine community. So when I came across the folks that the Influence Network attracted, I knew immediately that these were my people, my sisters in Christ.

 

The day I met God.

I hesitated to write this post because it is so personal. But this story has been sitting on my heart recently, and I feel like God is telling me to share it. It is my story of being the recipient of the gift of life, and learning that God and the gift of donated blood are both very real.

Over the course of our triplet pregnancy, our focus was on the boys and their health. At 34weeks, they entered the world with a textbook perfect delivery. We had a NICU team for each baby and doctors lined up against the wall just to witness a triplet birth. We heard their sweet cries, I was able to see each and they were whisked off to the NICU by their teams. All was good.

(Yes, my head is on a ziploc bag of dirt. My husband felt is was important that the boys were born on Virginia soil. Honest.)

I was brought back to my room to recover, and for the next few hours, all was well. From this point on, I only know what my husband and doctors told me happened. I was in and and out of consciousness and ultimately required a blood transfusion. My kidneys stopped working. My blood pressure was borderline comatose. By God’s grace, I made it through the night and was brought into emergency surgery when my doctor returned in the morning. I remember being wheeled out of the room and looking at my husband, who was standing helpless by the window.

I remember being on the operating table. I remember my heart was crying out to God. I remember not being lucid enough to pray “real” prayers, but I remember praying constantly asking God to be with me. And the next thing I knew, everything was white. Pure white. Pure light. I was surrounded by God. He was with me. I felt the most beautiful peace and joy I have ever experienced. Words cannot begin to describe the beauty of the experience. I don’t know how close I was to death, but I know that God is real and never left my side.

It turns out I had massive internal bleeding. The incision from my c-section had torn open in multiple places, leaving me with “a million little bleeders”, as we were told. The doctors had found 2.5 liters of blood in my abdomen (the average person has about 5 liters total). I have come to learn that I was VERY lucky to have survived.

(I’ll spare you the photos of what I looked like after all this. Not pretty.)

So what does this have to do with giving? With the blood transfusion and subsequent surgery, a large percentage of the blood in my body was not my own. Strangers selflessly gave blood, not knowing how or if it would ever be used. And it helped save my life. I remember walking down the streets of Boston, looking at everyone, thinking “do I have your blood in me?” I am forever grateful to those who donated their blood to me and helped save my life.

Give Blood with the American Red Cross

Facts from the Red Cross website:

  • Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood.
  • More than 38,000 blood donations are needed every day.
  • One donation can help save the lives of up to three people.
  • More than 1 million new people are diagnosed with cancer each year. Many of them will need blood, sometimes daily, during their chemotherapy treatment.
  • A single car accident victim can require as many as 100 pints of blood.

This gift is free. This gift is real.