Showing posts with label advent conspiracy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label advent conspiracy. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Tunes for Tuesday... Christmas music

Hello Lovely Readers,

After my last Tunes for Tuesday (link) where I shared music that inspired me while I was writing I thought this week it would be fun to share my favorite Christmas Music... In no particular order.

Even though I said no particular order this has been my favorite Christmas song this year
Song: Mary Did You Know?
By: Pentatonix 

Song: God Rest Ye Merry Men
By: Mercy Me

I listen to this song probably all year round--it is so beautiful
Song: O Come O Come Emanuel
By: Bethany Dillon

Song: O Holy Night
By: Carrie Underwood

I like these next 2 songs because I am from Oklahoma
Song: Oklahoma Christmas
By: Blake Shelton and Reba McEntire

Song: BC Clark's Jingle

I know this song gets dissed for being too materialistic
but I have memories of singing it with my sister
Song: Santa Baby
 By: Eartha Kitt

Song: Carol of the Bells
By: Pentatonix

No Christmas song list would be complete without this
 Song: Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas
By: Judy Garland

Ah! So many Christmas songs I love... it is probably favorite type of music. And while in some ways I wish I listened to it all year round I am glad to keep it special for this time of year.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful for the meaning

My nieces first ChristmasDear readers,
I like Thanksgiving, I have some traditions of Thanksgiving that stick with me like watching the Macy's parade and the National Dog Show. Since moving to Boston I have not always had the typical family Thanksgiving, I have made my own traditions of finding friends and spending the day with them. I am not a cook but I love making recipes that I remember from my childhood like pecan pie and sweet potatoes. I love watching my first Christmas movie over hot coco, most of my life we as a family always watched White Christmas, but now as an adult I like to start my season off with A Muppet's Christmas Carol. Sadly however Thanksgiving is often overlooked at least for me personally because it is the start of finals stress season.

Last Christmas...holding nephew
a great gift.
So as much as I like Thanksgiving I love Christmas, so it makes my heart hurt when people say they don't like Christmas. So I will admit I don't like how consumerism Christmas is. I love Christmas because it is a time for me to go home be with family. I will admit even though I hate consumerism, I like picking out gifts for people, this does not always mean buying. My two favorite gifts I have ever given have been to my dad one year it was a photo of us when I was younger and I am just resting my head on his shoulder, another year it was a poem I wrote that made him cry. Now that my niece and nephew are getting bigger I like seeing them on Christmas and seeing the joy they have. So yes I enjoy buying gifts but I set simple rules 1) I don't just buy random gift (usually this means I don't buy everyone I know a gift)... if I buy gifts it means something to me for that person, even if it is a gift card. I gave my friends a gift card to a restaurant so they could have a date night ( and as they had a baby I knew they needed a date night... of course I also offered myself as a babysitter). 2) I don't spend money I don't have... as I am one of the few people in America that don't have a credit card this is easier to do, but I set a budget for myself to keep my spending to a minimum. Yes, Christmas can be tense but it doesn't have to be. Remember a Charlie Brown's Christmas and what Christmas is all about...

I don't mean to stand up on a soapbox... every year my church goes through a series on Advent Conspiracy and it a series that really challenges us to get back to the roots of Christmas (video below explain). The first year we got involved in it... I felt guilty because I like getting gifts, but I mostly like giving gifts, and this felt like more pressure to spend less. I didn't really understand and I couldn't imagine telling my family I wasn't going to buy them gifts especially since I had already sent off my Christmas list.
Over time, I started to understand the idea of Advent Conspiracy. For one I stopped wanting things really. I might want things but instead of asking for things that might seem kind of pointless, I ask for things that I have put a lot of thought into. And as I get older I feel my gifts get more practical, like asking for luggage or shoes. Since I don't buy random gifts I don't like asking for random gifts. Also since I don't buy every body I know I don't expect gifts from everyone. So if you are reading this and think you need to buy me a gift... don't. And if you read that sentence and still think you need to get me a gift... I ask you to give to LIVING WATER.

I don't think I truly understood Advent Conspiracy until my pastor said something to the effect "make Christmas mean something more to others." I have never tried to sugar coat my life on this blog, but I know I am blessed in my life and I thankful that I don't fall into the group of people that just want Christmas behind them (according to a statistic given in my church it was more than 50%). I understand stress can come with Christmas, the travelling, seeing people who you may not want, buying people gifts you don't want and sometimes there is a deep pain if you are alone. I know those feelings even in a small amount, but I want to ask what if we made Christmas about more than ourselves? Christmas is consider the time of giving... what if we could give to others who couldn't give to themselves. I have found my passion for Living Water, but I know there are other organizations out there that are helping others meet basic needs around the world and in our own country... I think if we pushed ourselves to spend less on meaningless things and actually gave to others our Christmas might mean more.
I owe this picture to opening my eyes to the true plight of the thirsty, it was this picture and the fact "A child dies every 15 second because of clean water," and I thought "not on my watch." It was after this I decided to go to Honduras, on a Living Water trip.

Sorry this post was not meant to be a soap box, I just meant to encourage you that if you are feeling down at Christmas, this wonderful time of giving, that we give more than just gifts and presents but we give love... because love can change the world.  

Monday, August 27, 2012

Back from Honduras!

Hello lovely readers,

I am back safe and soundly from Honduras! People have already asked how was my trip and I have not been able to put into words, well not good words but it was an amazing experience and I can not wait to go back!

To explain my journey I must go back to Friday before I left. As I was finishing my packing I had this weird feeling that I may not come back from this trip and I was totally at peace with this. A few years a go my younger sister told me she would like to die a martyr, I was shocked by this statement because she seemed at peace with that idea. On Friday I felt that peace. Though sitting on this side of the trip I am glad I am back and I can spread word about Living Water International and I can encourage people to go on a missions trip. With this feeling in me I wrote a letter to my friends and family...

Dear Friends and Family,

I am about to go to Honduras. I know I will be all right but if anything should happen to me I want you to know I am completely at peace with this. I am going down to Honduras for God's work and in doing this I am happy if the Lord calls me home during this trip. I know you might be sad and miss me but I am up in heaven. I do not want any one to be mad at God for calling me home. This is His will and His will is perfect even if it doesn't make sense at the time.
Please know how much I have loved you all. My parents who have loved and supported me in all my dreams. I know my dreams may not have always been what you desired but you supported and loved me no matter what. To my sisters, I want you to know how much I have looked up to you and you have inspired me so much in both my faith and my desires to be a wife and mother. 

To all who have loved and invested in me. Thank you so much. Remember to HOPE in the Lord my dear friend reminded me that the Lord ALWAYS has our best in mind and so we can completely trust in him because of this. God will never just point the way he will walk beside us. 
I love you all so much. Please care for each other as I have cared for you.

I guess the Lord isn't done with me yet because I am here sitting on my bed writing on this.

Today while I was doing my quiet time I read this passage Isaiah 57:2 "Those who walk uprightly enter into peace; they find rest as they lie in death." I think this is what will stick out to me most rather in life or death to be in peace with God.

I am still processing my trip and all that God taught me on through this experience. I went old school on this trip and took a disposable cameras down to Honduras, now I just need to find a place that will develop film. Here are a few pictures borrowed from my friends. When I have my pictures developed I will post them.

The beauty of Honduras was a great surprise
The town in which the school was located.
Some of our beautiful students.
Yeah we have water! 
My gingerness really sticks out. 
The girls were so sweet wanting to be close to me. 

Our team at the pump sight. 
For my friends at church, 
you might like to know the money we raised during advent conspiracy 
went to pay for this well.  

Love you guys and thanks for all your prayer and support during this trip. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Overwhelmed by Love

Over these last few weeks I have been raising support for my trip to Honduras in August and I have been overwhelmed with the generosity of people.

When I first learned about this trip I kept praying that if this is what the Lord wanted he would keep the doors open. I had also already committed most of June and all of July to summer school so if I was going to go on this trip it had to be when I wasn't in summer school, its not. So that door has remained open. Another possible door could have been my family, I know I am 25 and living in Boston so they could not have physically stopped me from going on this trip but if they were not supportive I would be questioning this trip. My mom, in her protective way, worries about me going to other countries. I tell her I want to go to Israel and she worries I will be blown up in a car bomb or when I talk about going to Africa she worries I will get AIDS. I know it is a motherly thing for her to worry about me but I was nervous she would not support this trip because of all her mother some worries. But she has been the very supportive, which is great. Actually, when I originally mentioned this trip they thought I was going by myself. I mean they knew I was going with Living Water but they thought I would be alone not knowing anyone I was with, so they were relieved I was going as a team with people from my church. So they were more supportive then I thought because they were supporting me when they thought I was going by myself. Another door for me could have been the shots. I mean I hate shots but worse than that is I didn't have a doctor here in Boston. Well that had to be fixed for multiple reasons not just my shots. Now I have a doctor and I have gotten both my typhoid, first rabies shot and I go in on Wednesday for my second rabies shot and Hepatitis A, then after one more rabies shot I will be done for trip.

To see more on all of this go to "Blaire Goes to Honduras Blog."

While all these doors could have stopped me a long the way, the main reason for this post is to thank people for all the support have been given. I keep thanking God about how blessed I am to have people who are supporting me in this journey. I have never really been on a missions trip like this. I have gone on trips with Campus Crusade but they have all been in clean America, nothing outside the country. So I feel in a way this is my first mission trip.

When I was younger, I felt guilty for not being called to the missions field. My older sister went on mission trips and my younger sister wants to go to Africa and she told me once she wanted to die a martyr. I have never had that conviction. I went to my dad all upset that I didn't feel called to the mission field. He told me that if every Christian was called to go to Africa or China there would no Christians in America. For awhile I could live with that answer and consul myself that answer. But lately I have been feeling that there has to be more. Last Christmas, as usual my church did our Advent Conspiracy tradition and I saw this sign...
This sign tugged at my heart strings, because I love children, I can't stand the fact that children, the most innocent creatures are dying because they can't get clean water. So I wanted to do something. I can always give money but more than that I wanted to go and dig a well. Like most people I thought the need was in Africa, so I had my heart set on Africa. Because of the length of a water project in Africa, short tern mission trips are only allowed to go to Central or South America. But the more I learn about the water issue the this makes great sense. In Central and South America the water is close to the surface but they dig wells they haven't covered them properly meaning that animals get inside them and contaminate them. So while I would love to one day go to Africa my heart is set on Honduras.

Since I have never been on mission's trip I am not really for sure what to expect. But one thing I was not expecting was the out pouring of generosity. I have to raise $2,000 and as of yesterday I am close to $800 dollars. It has amazed me how many people are willing to help. I am also surprised when people "sorry it's not much" because to me it is huge and I feel so blessed to have people who are giving so generously. This is the real purpose of this post to thank people for their generosity and how amazing it feels to have this kind of support and love.

If you are interested in supporting me please contact me so I can give you more details. THANKS!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Birthday wish


Hello Lovely Readers,

My birthday is not for another couple of months. But I already know what I want. Every Christmas my church does what we call Advent Conspiracy where we readjust our out look on Christmas from buying lots of gifts to keeping Christmas simple and sacred. My church give a special offering every year to organizations like Living Water International and local organizations.
Advent Conspiracy Video

While we give money every Christmas, this year we have wanted to raise more awareness of the water crisis around the world, we also want to build a team up to go on a missions trip to help dig a well, teach the people about clean hygiene and spread the story of the true living water, Jesus (John 7:38). 

Personally, I was really touched when I saw that 1.8 million kids die every year because they lack clean water. If you hang out with me long enough you will know I have a heart for kids. So this statistic really pulled at my heart strings. During advent I gave up buying drinks in order to save up money to give to living water. Also for Christmas I bought my parents gift cards to living water, this allowed them to chose what country they wanted to give money too. But I immediately had it on my heart to go to a country and dig a well. (Something I have never done). I am still praying to God that if this is something He wants me to do that he will keep the doors open. But I am hoping to go to Honduras in August with Living Water International and invest in a community down there. I would love any support and prayer on this. 
For my birthday I want people to give to Living Water International click here for the Donation page and if you want to learn more about Living Water click here. If you want to support me and my trip to Honduras please contact me, but as I am not 100% certain I will go I would like it more if you guys would directly give money to Living Water International.  

Videos from Living Water...
The Birth of Living Water
A trip from Honduras 

The Story of the Thirsty

Thank you very much. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A little Advocacy

Hello lovely readers,

Last night instead of doing my usual homework routine after work I went to a meeting about Living Water International an organization that builds water wells to people in 3rd world countries to provide them fresh clean healthy water. Did you know?

Sorry the bottom part is blurry it "A Child dies every 15 seconds because of the lack of clean water. It costs us an average of $0.96 to to provide clean, safe water to one person for one year every dollar makes a difference."
I am not meaning to sound like I am on a soap box so please forgive me if I do. I have a heart for children with that statistic was not settling with me so I went to this meeting to find out how I could help and maybe a chance to go on a trip with them to help dig a well. I have actually never been on a trip like this so I am not sure what to expect or how to prepare but right now I am praying that if God wants me to go doors will remain open. But in the mean time I have decided to save my money to donate to this cause... in that I am not going to reduce how much drinks I buy when I go out. Like not buying soda, coffee, or other beverages and put that money aside for this cause.

A Living Water well
First, I will say yes that Living Water is a christian organization but rather you practice that or not we all need to address that the water crisis needs to be resolved. We are so lucky to live in America where we have clean water every where. Think about how much water you use from your shower, brushing your teeth, using the restroom, washing your hands, or making that cup of coffee. I know last summer in Boston our water was contaminated by a leak and it pratically shut down our city but we could still go buy bottled water and we survived the few days. But I can't imagine what it is like for people to go find water every day that was contaminated and knowing you had to do drink it but it was going to get you sick and maybe kill you. Also as a girl I would be the one to take the watering can (the orange bucket in picture) to walk 5 or so miles to get water then walk back with it full weighing 40 lbs, I know I am not that strong and if I had to do that every day I would not have time to be getting the education I have. Water is tied to everything.
I am feel so blessed living in America with so many freedoms and purusing the dreams I want to pursue so I am going to try to find a way to take my blessing and give to others. Right now it is with my money, I hope soon it will be with my time, going to Central America for a week and helping dig a well. Also this Christmas with Advent Conspiracy I am going to try to be more thoughtful with my gifts. Even if your not a Christian your presents can be more focused on presence and helping others. We all need to help this world.

Think about how you can help.

Please if you want more information on this please click on the links in this post.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Christmas Mindset already?

Is it bad that its not even Thanksgiving and I am already thinking about Christmas. I am very much a person who believes in one holiday at a time and I get mad at stores that put Christmas stuff out before Halloween. After having a sister that worked in a craft store I understand more why they get it because there is just so much stuff they have to put it out, but I still don't like it... I like Christmas to be sacred.

Growing up my mom wouldn't let us listen to a Christmas song or watch a Christmas movie till after we had watched White Christmas, which we did on Thanksgiving day or the day after. And I loved sitting there with my slice of pecan pie and maybe hot coco letting the Christmas season begin. My mom would fill the house with little Annalees and I got to do the nativity scene, which was always my favorite as it was really the only decorating I did.  Then when it was all gone, I remember the house looked so empty.
An Example of an Annalee
A Fontanini nativity set.
But now I see on facebook that a lot of people are already watching Christmas movies and listening to Christmas songs... and I want to join in but I can't because I still believe Christmas should be sacred and we should wait till after Thanksgiving to celebrate the season of Christmas. But I so badly want watch my favorite Christmas movies and sing Christmas songs.

I know my mom reads, this and will probably be thinking "you are an adult, you can watch Christmas movies whenever you want." That true mom, I can but I like Christmas being at Christmas time. So I am holding out for after Thanksgiving to start decking the halls. 

I think I like the idea of Christmas because it means going home, seeing my family, and reliving traditions. I have a lot of fond family memories surrounding Christmas. It also means a time away from school and stress and I could use that right now. So maybe I am not jealous of the people already watching Christmas movies, I am jealous of the mind set they are in.

Okay that is my random tangent of the day.... If you are in the Christmas mindset already please consider Advent Conspiracy. The idea of it is to remember the real meaning of Christmas.