Month: November 2015 (page 1 of 2)

Couch Potato

Where did my walk take me today? Not very far. To the couch and  in front of the TV. All day long.  No mashed potatoes, no sweet potatoes; just a couch potato.

I must watch the Macy’s Parade. Tradition. I must see the Rockettes perform. Tradition. No wavering on these traditions.

Then football. And more football. And since 2006, I get to enjoy a third game on Thanksgiving. So much to be thankful for.   I obviously have a problem. My favorite team wasn’t even playing. Doesn’t matter.  Somebody is playing  somebody else somewhere.  I just love football.

I love the excitement and the physicality of the game.  I love how the quarterback is willing to stand in the pocket and scan the  field,  knowing that some really big guys are bearing down on him. I love how the running backs just put their heads down and plow through the pile. Maybe they zig and zag and weave in and out. It is a lovely dance  to watch. I love how the wide receivers contort their bodies to catch the ball. They aren’t thinking how they will feel when they hit the ground or when the defensive guy levels them; they just want to catch that ball.  I love how these guys take hard hits and get back up.

They are tough guys and they play tough. I respect that. They play in any kind of weather. Heavy rain. Game on. Snow. Game on. It doesn’t matter.  That just adds to the excitement!

No turkey today either. There is a turkey smiling somewhere. I had steamed shrimp with several helpings of  football. I could have had a peanut butter sandwich and would have been happy. Just give me some football and a couch.

Once in awhile we need to give ourselves permission to be couch potatoes.

Guilt free. Just relax. All day long.

“The way we rest matters as much as all we do. Go get some.” Bob Goff

The Children’s Table

November 24, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Remember sitting at the  children’s table during a holiday meal?  You know, the table (usually located in the kitchen) where your cousins challenged each other to put carrot sticks up their noses.  You are stuck there because there is not enough room at the big people’s table (maybe “adult” is a better choice of words). What happens at the children’s table should stay at the children’s table: hiding the green beans in the napkins, playing in the gravy,  picking at the turkey carcass with little fingers, and piling your dessert plate high with Cool Whip, no pumpkin pie, just bring on the Cool Whip. IMG_5581

Here is a picture of the children’s table during morning snack time in the Dominican Republic. Don’t you love their concentration?

Each child received a metal cup with corn flakes and milk. The spoons seemed too large but they all managed quite well. They were pros.  No spills!!

They enjoyed every spoonful, down to the last drop! No chit-chatting; just getting down to business. Like this little girl!

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Then I saw this little guy sitting alone out in the courtyard. I don’t know why he was not allowed at the children’s table. Why wasn’t he able to sit with his friends?  I was so glad that someone had remembered to bring him his cornflakes cup. He was enjoying his snack, but all alone. IMG_3949

 

I hope this Thanksgiving Day finds you surrounded by  those you love, counting your blessings and enjoying turkey and cornflakes. But go check out the children’s table, that is where the fun stuff is happening!

Keep walking and Happy Thanksgiving,

Krista

 

 

 

Stink, Stank, Stunk!

November 22, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Balloons are so much fun, right? Everyone loves a balloon! They are colorful and can be twisted into fun animal shapes. Balloons usually signal a celebration, a party, definitely a fun time! Children, especially, love balloons. Give a young child a balloon and you made a happy friend! IMG_5565

In October, I was blessed to be able to serve with Compassion International in the Dominican Republic. At 2 Compassion Centers, we  interacted with the precious children through 4 Bible School stations:  Worship, Bible Lesson, Activities, and Crafts. I volunteered to lead the Craft Team and had super support from the Team. Generous individuals volunteered to fill any remaining space in their suitcases with glue sticks, markers, pipe cleaners, coffee filters, wiggle eyes, and  lots more.

We organized all the crafty supplies into one suitcase and  we were ready to go! This is going to be fun!  The children, divided into age groups,  rotated to the 4 different stations throughout the day. The Craft Team  had an ideal location, I thought. We could glue and create under a nice shaded area with picnic tables. However, a large generator was loudly running which required us to scream the instructions to the children. Thankfully, someone eventually pulled the plug and the screaming stopped.

For one rotation cycle, we had a large group of 4-year-olds coming our way. They marched proudly towards the picnic tables where the creative magic was to happen.

But wait! What were they carrying? Balloons? Really? Who gave them balloons? We want names and there will be revenge! How will we get their attention?  Our butterfly coloring pages can’t compete with a balloon!  Now what will we do?

In retrospect as the leader, I made a bad decision.  Yep, we took the balloons from them.  Nicely. We tried to nicely take the balloons from their little hands. Have you ever tried to take a balloon from a child? Don’t. It was just one of my many moments of insanity. We promised them in English that we would hold the balloons for them until the craft activity was finished.  It didn’t matter which language we spoke or which language they understood, all that mattered was what they were experiencing: strangers were taking their balloons! Grinch had nothing on us. Now, hand over the balloons! th3MKVA464

There were many confused little faces, even some tears.  The children loved their balloons; maybe it was the first balloon they ever received.

Then with all the handling of the balloons between the children and the mean strangers (yes, it gets worse), the balloons did what balloons tend to do. They POPPOP-POP-POP The loud “pops”  scared the children, which brought tears. Then when they realized they no longer had a balloon, more tears. Yeah, we stink, stank, stunk!

What a disaster! How did this go so wrong so fast? We had pure intentions. We wanted  to bless the children with a fun creative craft that tied in with our Bible School theme.  Our hearts’ desire was to bless them and love them, not make them cry.

When this young group eventually moved onto their next station (Hey, Bible Lesson Team, good luck with the balloons during your lesson!), some with their balloon back in their hands- the few that survived this terrible ordeal. But some of the children left holding the remaining pieces of latex and a butterfly coloring page. They cared more about the pieces of latex.

If I had a redo, what would I do? Just enjoy the balloons. Just play with the children. Just cause smiles, not tears.

But God knew our hearts. He knew what we had intended to do.  I am very thankful God knew our hearts so I could sleep that night and not take up drinking.  He knew we meant no harm.

Luke 16:15 “….God knows your heart.”                Acts 15:8 “God, who knows the heart….”

God knew we didn’t try to stink, stank, stunk. And that will have to do.

Note to self: Do not take a balloon away from a child.

Keep walking and take a balloon with you,

Krista

 

Getting My “Cheer” On

November 20, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

I spent today dusting off my pom-poms and practicing my splits. I am getting my “cheer” on. I will be cheering for “Team Jay” at the 50-mile JFK ultra marathon tomorrow. Give me a “J”…… J

The car is packed with a sleeping bag, blankets, clothes, food, drinks, and pom-poms. I am ready (not excited but ready) to get up at 2:15 am and drive to Boonsboro in Washington County, Maryland to cheer for my biggest cheerleader, my hubby.

The 50-mile JFK is the nation’s oldest and largest ultra marathon. You have to be in great physical condition to attempt this but the required mental fortitude amazes me just as much. I just can’t get my mind wrapped around 50 miles in one day! The realization that once your start; you will not stop until 50 miles down the road. That just blows my mind. If I could have a week to complete it, then maybe.

But I will be there. Clapping, cheering loudly and providing course support (I have the easy part).

That’s what we do for one another. IMG_5491 (1)

Last year we engaged in a activity of writing our marital mission statement. A statement that would define what was important to our marriage and therefore, what wasn’t. This paper would help guide our actions and decision making. We knew it was a great idea, even with 31 years of wedded bliss under our belts. My elementary teacher genes kicked in and we made it  into an acrostic, spelling out CAMPBELL.  It was typed and printed and placed on our wall as a daily reminder.

So when this Saturday before Thanksgiving (tomorrow) rolls around, I am reminded of our letter “E”.   Our “E” is:  “Enjoy sharing and living each other’s life dreams.” Why my hubby has chosen a 50-mile walk/run as one of his life dreams, I have no idea. But he has, so I support him. I will cheer him on and on and on; from his start at 5 am until he crosses the finish line.  Go Jay Go!

“You are doing great!”

“You can do this!”

“Keep going, you got this!”

I am his cheerleader and he is mine.  He is my biggest and loudest cheerleader, but he refuses to use the pom-poms. When one of my life dreams was to start an outreach to give new sneakers to children in need, he cheered, “Go for it!” When this website and blog became another life dream, he cheered,  “I know you can do it!” The list goes on and on. I have been very blessed to hear many hubby-cheers throughout the years.

Does someone you know need a little cheering? Your spouse? Your child? A co-worker? An encouraging word or a pat on the back can mean so much. Go get your “cheer” on and brighten someone’s day. I will even let you borrow my pom-poms.

Keep walking (not 50-miles but keep walking)

Krista

 

Make it Special

Some of my most memorable birthdays are not  about a specific gift but about a specific feeling. I felt special. On my special day, I felt very special. That was a great feeling as a child. That is what has stuck with me. Not a gift that I eventually  outgrew or broke. But the lasting feeling of “I am special. ” Isn’t that how we should feel on our birthdays? The God of the universe created each one of us unique and special. I am His Handiwork and that makes me extremely special.

Psalm 139: 13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Money was tight growing up but my mother always made sure to make our birthdays  special. I am the third of four girls. I am not the oldest or the baby. I was just “one of the middle” girls. Pretty easy not to feel special.

My birthday is in the fall which meant I even had to go to school, most years, on my birthday. But when I got home and finished my chores, I knew I could count on a special dessert. Following  our evening  meal,  I was tickled to be presented with my very own perfect-size birthday cake! While my sisters and I were at school and not underfoot, my mother had time to bake. She creatively used  3 small round aluminum pans from our play kitchen set. She stirred up some chocolate  cake batter and spooned it carefully  into the  greased and floured tiny cake pans.

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(The remaining batter was  put in a regular-size cake pan for my regular, non-birthday, non-special siblings.  zing-zing) When the toothpick came out clean, she knew they were ready. She carefully extracted them  and  stacked them one on top of the other. Then the creation was covered with vanilla icing and topped with one candle. Yummy! It was my very own special, tiny 3-tiered cake! I was special indeed.  A special cake for my special day. God created me special and my mother did this small thing to make sure I felt special.

Around the world, children’s birthdays come and go and they don’t know how  special they are.  Poverty gets in the way. But TODAY is a very special day for a young boy or girl because it is their birthday!  TODAY a birthday child is waiting to feel special and loved. YOU can help by clicking here Happy Birthday

TODAY you are changing a child’s life on his/her birthday! How cool is that? That is special cool!

Unmerited Generosity

November 18, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Today my life-walk took me several hours away to spend time with my 87-year-old aunt and accompany her to a doctor’s appointment.  She stands about 5 feet tall but can add a few inches when she gets her hair done.  She still has some life-fire in her belly and that white hair (poofy or not) only accentuates her twinkling blue eyes. She shared with me that  when we are together over the holidays,  she wants to have her obituary picture taken. She wants to be sure to have an up-to-date picture, just in case.

So per her request, we will set up a  backdrop and place her in front of it. We will take her picture that she will one day use for her obituary. ( When you are stringing popcorn and singing carols around the tree, think of me. Please.)  She is living life, but preparing for death. I love it!  She is slowing down physically but not mentally. Spending time with her reminds me that life, even though slower, can still be fun and should be embraced.

Before leaving her room in an assisted living facility, she showed me a card she had received with a tightly folded $50.00 bill inside but no signature. Someone simply had signed:  happy thanksgiving“.

Now this is the second time she has received a mysterious gift of money. I jokingly comment that she must have a secret admirer. A wealthy secret admirer, which is the best kind of admirer to have. But my aunt is very perplexed. She wants to know who is doing this; who is sending her money? She has spent time comparing the handwriting on both cards and she has wracked her brain as to who could and would do this. Most of her friends are elderly and live on very limited incomes. So she has no answers. This is a pickle.  I encourage her to count it as a blessing from God.  He is looking out for her.

But this bugs her. She really, really  wants to know who is the anonymous money giver.  Why? So she can thank this person.  That is how it works. When we are given a gift, we are to say “thank you” (at least in the world of manners).

Gift = Thank You

She wants to show her appreciation and it frustrates her that she can’t.  But she can’t. It is just unmerited generosity. This gift is from someone who wants to be anonymous. They want to bless her and do not want any fanfare from it.

Just accept it. It is a gift in the truest, purest sense.

Why is unmerited generosity so hard to receive?

Last weekend, I found a small, white envelope in my mailbox and rammed into my big, messy purse.  I will open that later. The day went by. I was busy with shopping, lunch, football, raking leaves and life. Finally at the end of the long day, I looked in my purse and saw the small, white envelope. Oh, I forgot I put that in there.  I didn’t recognize the handwriting but opened it and found cash. Twenties. Twelve twenties to be exact:  $240.00. Wow! No signature, no clue who it was from. Just a sentence stating the intent for this gift:  to use it for a ministry that provides new sneakers for children in need. How kind!

But who sent this gift and why would someone give cash? I can’t thank them and gush over them! I can’t send them the official thank you on the ministry’s letterhead for their tax purposes! I can’t send them a Christmas card from the ministry! What if I walk past them at church and don’t even acknowledge them? What if it is a relative that I don’t bother to send a Christmas card to this year? What if it is from one of my friends? A generous gift like this calls for a response. But I can’t do anything. I have to just accept it. I understand the frustration that my aunt is feeling.  Just accept it. That is how this person wanted it.

Matthew 6: 3,4  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Even though I can’t thank the person the way I want to or the way I feel like I am suppose to, I can thank The One who made all of this possible. I can say “thank you” to God for keeping the shelves stocked with sneakers for the local children in need. I can say “thank you ” to God for blessing my aunt.  I don’t need to know “who” gave because He knows. He knows and He will do the rewarding.

 

 

A Very Bright Day

November 14, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Today I found a brown box at my front door! An unexpected gift! Yay! My day brightened! But what could be inside? My birthday had come and gone and it is a little too early for Christmas. Hmmmm.

A  quick slit through the top and I discover lots and lots of  colorful  feet! I love them! They are so cool! I love the bright colors and I appreciate that someone took the time to brighten my day with this surprise! They purchased the fun feet, scattered them throughout the  tissue paper-lined box. and included a very loving, encouraging card. They drove through traffic to the post office, probably stood in a long line, and paid for shipping. They were intentional. They knew what this would mean to me. They knew this would brighten my day. That shows their kind heart. IMG_5327

The card revealed the mystery gift-giver. So I made a  quick phone call to say “thank you so much”  and my day turned even brighter. She tearfully told me that she just started sponsoring two dear little boys in Indonesia!A day can’t get much brighter!

It is hard to put into words how sponsorship truly changes a child’s life; how this will impact these 2 young boys. It is a very special relationship and it is a God-thing.

I told her their packets will show up within the next several weeks. They will include picture bookmarks,  pictures for on her fridge, and introduction letters to get the relationships started.  I suggested that the boys probably like soccer (most little boys do) so go buy some soccer ball stickers to send with your letters. Lots of fun ideas were popping into my mind. This is so exciting! Oh, the ways you will brighten their days!

Yes, my day was brightened with my box of happy feet. But when these 2 boys in Indonesia learn that they are sponsored, their days will be brightened too and their lives will never be the same. It was a very bright day indeed!

 

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Love-Hate

 

November 12, 2015

Dear fellow travelers,

I confess I have a lot of love-hate relationships in my life right now. I love when the life-waters are calm and the life-sailing is smooth but those feelings turn to  hate as soon as the waves grow larger and the turbulence increases.

I absolutely love to blog when my computer cooperates but when I spend hours writing a post and it disappears…….HATE TIME. I love my microwave when it is installed above the stove and with  the push of a button heats up something yummy but currently I HATE it. Several weeks ago, it began beeping randomly throughout the day causing me to question my sanity. I think it was sending out a secret SOS message to the mother ship about the unintelligent life here. Now it has been removed from the wall and is sitting in the middle of our  floor until my husband lets me take a sledge hammer to it. Definitely Hate , the microwave, not my husband 🙂

I passionately love my Steelers when they play well and hopefully win ( yes, I do expect them to win every game) but on  most  Sundays I hear such hateful, ugly  words coming out of my mouth. My husband could insert lots of comments here but I can’t let him near the keyboard so quickly moving on…….

I love my gym membership. At least I think I love it, I can’t really remember.  I haven’t been there in so long, obviously I am not  in love with it after all. Never mind.

I love the trees in our yard for the shade and the birdie homes they provide throughout the summertime. But now I hate them. How dare they drop all those leaves for me to rake! Grrrrrr

I love my jeans when they can stay zipped-up throughout a meal but usually I hate them because they are cutting into my extra roll of tummy and the zipper must come down  (see above  gym membership).

I have the luxury to change my mind and move in and out of lovehate relationships. Sometimes silly relationships.

What about people? Am I always loving? Do I sometimes hate? To be honest, yes I do. I have hated. That is an ugly thing to confess. I can be full of love but also very full of hate.

I have just finished reading through the book of John in my yearly goal to read through the Bible.  This means I have read through all 4 Gospels which means I read about Jesus’ willingness to die a horrible death on the cross for me 4 times. I have read 4 times about His arrest, trial, crucifixion, burial and resurrection through the inspired words of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. That is hard to read and attempt to comprehend one time, but 4 times is beyond humbling and sickening.

Through it all, Jesus is all Love-Love. Through the bogus trial and false accusations- Love. Through the brutal beatings and inhumane crucifixion – Love. And that Love was for me, then and now. What He did then, was out of Love for me now.  I continually offer  Him countless reasons to turn away from me and even hate me:   when I am disobedient,   when I sin, and when I turn my back on Him.   But LOVE, was His response then and now  He is all Love-Love. All the time.

For God so Loved the world…..

 

 

54 Reasons

Looking for a reason to start sponsoring a child?  Well, here are 54.

These are my 54 reasons why I sponsor. One reason for each year I have been alive. Maybe one of my reasons will speak to  you and encourage you to  start your sponsorship journey.  Maybe your reason will be “Because of Judah”. Check out: Fall in Love with Judah

 

Why do I sponsor?

  1. Because it is so much fun
  2. Because Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. ” Matthew 25:40
  3. Because I want to help change a child’s life
  4. Because there is proof that  sponsorship works
  5. Because I love to write letters
  6. Because 17,000 children die every day, mostly from preventable or treatable causes. (UNICEF)
  7. Because Jesus loves children,  “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
  8. Because I live in a country of excess and plenty
  9. Because I love beautiful smiles
  10. Because I want  children to learn about Jesus and His love
  11. Because I love to receive letters filled with love and pictures
  12. Because I have the privilege to pray for my children and their families
  13. Because I have quality health care
  14. Because I want my worldview to be stretched
  15. Because I worship freely and openly
  16. Because I can share my favorite Bible verses with children
  17. Because I love a big family
  18. Because I have indoor plumbing
  19. Because “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
  20. Because extreme poverty still exists and affects children the most
  21. Because an extra gift to the Dominican Republic provided medication
  22. Because I drink clean water every day
  23. Because an extra gift to Peru provided a mattress for my child
  24. Because I want for nothing
  25. Because I love pictures on my refrigerator
  26. Because I want to be a difference-maker
  27. Because my  own daughters were born healthy
  28. Because “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality exist in our world, none of us can truly rest. ” Nelson Mandela
  29. Because of new friendships and relationships that are developed and nurtured
  30. Because my family and I have  been immunized
  31. Because I don’t sleep under a mosquito net
  32. Because a gift to Tanzania helped a family start a firewood business
  33. Because I have a car and money for gas
  34. Because of beautiful artwork from little, budding artists
  35. Because I want children to  know someone cares and someone knows their name
  36. Because I want them to see Jesus in me
  37. Because I have more than 1 room in my house
  38. Because I love to encourage others
  39. Because “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” Proverbs 19:17
  40. Because I have plenty of clothes and shoes
  41. Because you are never too old to pick up your crayons and color a picture to send to a child
  42. Because I love to make them special cards for Christmas and birthdays
  43. Because I own 8 Bibles
  44. Because it is so easy to email letters and attach pictures
  45. Because “Every child you encounter is a divine appointment,” Wess Stafford.
  46. Because God’s Kingdom is being built one child at a time
  47. Because each Compassion Center is based out of the local church
  48. Because I have the opportunity to  visit the children and give hugs
  49. Because Compassion has financial integrity
  50. Because I am the only sponsor for this child
  51. Because my home has a non-dirt floor and  there are no holes in my roof
  52. Because I  eat at least 3 meals a day, everyday
  53. Because I feel safe in my home and community
  54. Because of these beautiful blessings:

IMG_4986     IMG_4086   IMG_4084    IMG_4082   IMG_4085    IMG_4083

If you  found your reason, click on “Say Yes to a Child” and start your amazing journey of sponsorship. Your life will never be the same. Say Yes to a Child

Blessings,
Krista

My Visit with Santa

IMG_5225The calendar may say November 9th but I had a surprise encounter with Santa today! He  was busy stocking some lower shelves at a store and I almost ran him over with my shopping cart.  That would have landed me on the naughty list for sure.  But a wink of his eye and a twist of his head soon told me that I had nothing to dread. Even though Santa was working undercover in khakis and a blue shirt, I recognized those cheeks like roses and that nose like a cherry.  The beard on his chin was as white as snow.

I apologized for the near collision and steered my cart in the opposite direction not wanting to bother him .  But with my wondering eyes, I turned around and dared to ask  if he gets surprised looks with  pointing fingers from the children.  His eyes – how they twinkled!  “Oh, yes.”

Santa was kind and sweet; he was chubby and plump.  Santa doesn’t usually have a full beard but he does it for the children. This time of the year, he intentionally grows his beard for the children.  Yes, for the children.  Something simple and something fun for the children. What else does this working Santa do for the children? He works on Black Friday in his full Santa suit.  He will be dressed in fur from his head to his foot. For the children.

My time with Santa ended. He went straight to his work. Instead of  sugarplums dancing in my head, I wondered,  “What can I do  for the children?” Something simple that would cause a smile? Something simple that would add some joy? For the children. That is how I want to live my life…..being intentional for the children. Like Santa.

Happy  Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

(Clement Clarke Moore, “The Night Before Christmas”)

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