Wednesday, October 27, 2010


You could win this!  All you have to do is link to this post (on the Alaska to Africa blog) from your facebook page or blog, or become a follower, and get the word out that we are taking orders for Christmas.  Remember that all proceeds will go to help others this Christmas who have no mom or dad to care for them, much less give them a gift.  Make your purchases count.

 This 12"x7" layered cross will be the only one made, specifically for this event!  It is a beautiful blued steel background (blue/purple color comes from a careful heat treatment) with a brushed bright steel front. Help us help the fatherless this Christmas.

Don't forget to tell us that you linked up by email, commenting, or facebook!
Oh, and the winner of this unique cross will have this shipped anywhere in the U.S. in time for Christmas giving!  If you happen to live outside of the U.S., we will try our best!  We will announce the winner on December 12th.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

THE MOCKINGBIRD PARABLES by Matt Litton (Book Review)

My husband is an artist and I am not.  When I see a piece of art or hear music I enjoy, I just know I really like it.  Because of who he is, he can explain why it is a good art or music piece.  I feel the same with this book.  I feel like Mr. Litton has illuminated the reasons why "To Kill a Mockingbird" is such a great piece of literature.  Especially from my Christian world-view.

It is clearly articulated in the beginning that the author in no way attributes his thoughts to Ms. Lee.  Mr. Litton is taking a revered story and sees it through his Christian lenses and states just as much.  What is amazingly wonderful, is that Mr. Litton has expertly taken the simple and basic tenants of what Jesus taught and shows us where they permeate this timeless story.  As I read through the parables, I was sadly reminded of how timeless the issues of racism, both skin color and economic, really are.  I was reminded of what it means to be a neighbor and what true courage and love really look like, not necessarily what Christians exude.  It made me remember that my actions are truly what define what I say I believe and are noticed specifically by children.

I loved this book, partly because I love "To Kill a Mockingbird."  I love it because it brought me to a place of realization of why I love Lee's novel, but also because the messages in Mr. Litton's parables are truth.  Some are hard truths and convicting truths, but truth nonetheless based on God's Word.  I would certainly recommend this book to others.  It is an easy read and very applicable for book clubs.  I wish I could discuss it with others!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Uncomfortably Happy

I'm skipping all the way down to the last night I was in Kansas.  My awesome brother-in-law suggested that his wife and I take a "time-out" together!  We chose our usual place - Olive Garden!  We also chose our usual hot chocolate, but splurged and looked at the desserts.  We chose not one, but two delectable dishes: a pumpkin cheesecake and a decadent chocolate dessert.  
We were pretty giddy with all the sugary delights!  

Of course we ate/drank it all!  It was a feat we were determined to conquer.  
We came.  We ate.  We conquered.
We were uncomfortable.
We were happy!

My sister has also put herself out there to be uncomfortable in order to follow her Lord.  She and I have both been moved to encourage others to push themselves out of their comfort zone if/when God calls us to do so, which He does extremely often in Scripture.  He calls us to reach out to the outcasts, love our enemies, be persecuted for His names' sake: these are all uncomfortable.  When we really live the way Jesus talks about, we will look very different from others and this can be hard.  She is there right now. 

Where am I?  I just spent the last couple weeks with my husband, albeit physically demanding weeks cutting firewood for winter.  I was able to come home to my nice house with warm wood heat (and a gas heater for back-up!); nice cozy furniture in which to curl up while I watch a little T.V. or peruse the internet; and we just finished the new kitchen cabinets/counter top.  I live in luxury.  I live in a very comfortable place.  Now, I'm not just talking about my physical conditions.  I live in an immense amount of security.  I do not fear for my life when I fill my glass with clean drinking water as opposed to young girls filling their jugs with dirty water from a water pit several miles away.  I'm able to go to the pantry and get a snack when I am hungry when others are immensely grateful for a single bowl of rice and beans for a meal that may be their only one for a few days.  

I spent the last year on a "clothes fast."  I did not allow myself to buy any clothing (except for 3 items of the undergarment variety) for an entire year.  Actually, it will be a year sometime around Thanksgiving.  One might think that this would be positioning myself to be uncomfortable.  Sadly, it was really easy.  I have a ton of clothes.  In fact, I gave away half my closet during this year.  I may not dress in the latest fashions, but I hardly lack in adequate clothing.  

My husband and I felt like we needed to increase our giving and we set up a new way to substantially do this.  When you decide to drastically change your spending habits, you usually feel some discomfort.  Again, this has been strangely easy.  It seems our finances are more than adequate for our daily necessities.  This may sound a bit arrogant and I know, know that our finances may not always provide our needs.  We have been there before; stretching every paycheck week to week.  We have learned through those times, however, that when things are going good, we must prepare for lean times.  This not only helps us, but enables us to help others.

I have quit my job in order to be more available to serve my husband, my community, and anyone else God asks me to serve.  This has been a little more uncomfortable.  I have discovered that I am less excited to follow the direct commands of my husband during a home work project than I was from my former boss.  I had previously prided myself on having tough skin and letting things roll off.  That doesn't seem to carry over to my husband!  I'm also finding it difficult to stay on task when I'm working on projects at home when at work I was an extremely focused worker.  Some of this is to be expected, but I feel a bit out of my element.  This is hardly an extreme form of discomfort, I have to admit.  

I'm wondering if God is preparing me.  I know He doesn't waste time and I have seen how He prepared my sister and has begun His work through her and her family.  This leads me to believe my time is coming!  As daunting as this may be, I am excited!  I have learned that if I really want to experience God, it will happen in those moments of being uncomfortable and stretched.  If I can do it all on my own, it's not really His power on which I rely or see.  I want to see more of Him.  

Sometimes, being uncomfortable can be a very happy thing!