Where I’ve Been

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Miss me? I haven’t been around in a month!

I’m still writing, just not here lately. I’ve been writing for the Presidential Prayer Team, The Internet Café and Just 18 Summers.

But I’ve also been working on the talks for my upcoming mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I’m getting very excited. I leave March 27 and will return the 31st.

God has provided in ways that I can’t even comprehend. I want to share with you and I will, but first – can I ask you a favor? If you bought an Everyday Missionary t-shirt, would you please send me a picture of you in the shirt?

You can go through my contact page to get my email address, or if we are Facebook friends, you can tag me in a picture or direct message me. (If we aren’t Facebook friends, come friend me.)

I’d like to write a post about the mission trip and feature pictures of some of the people who bought shirts. Thank you so much! I look forward to hearing from you.

*Photo credit

Lots of love,

Carol

When Life is Hard to Swallow

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I’m really not a dog lover.

I don’t tell cute dog stories over coffee with friends. It’s not often my dog has a picture on Facebook. But, there are times when I look at the floppy ears on her hair-dropping self and think, “You’re pretty cute. When you don’t stink and aren’t shaking tufts of fur all over the house and aren’t licking your…”

Well, let’s just leave it at that…

I’m posting over at the Internet Cafe today. Click HERE to read the rest of my devotion.

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And today is the last day of my t-shirt sale to support my mission trip to the Dominican Republic. After today, you will not be able to order a shirt, so if you wanted an Everyday Missionary shirt, don’t miss out! HERE is the link for a t-shirt order.

For those of you who have ordered one already and for those of you who are praying, thank you!!

Carol

Is Jesus Cold? and Mission Trip Update

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Hey Friends! First of all, let me give you an update on the fundraiser for my mission trip to the Dominican Republic. I’ve been overwhelmed at your generosity and the way God provides.

God called me to go, and He has sent the money to cover the expenses – some of it through many of you. First, you have Facebook shared my post “How Being Still Is Causing Me to Go” 468 times! Thank you!

I set a goal to sell 75 shirts. So far, I’ve sold 65 of them, but you have donated above and beyond the sale of the shirt. On the Booster site, I have raised (including the sale of the shirts) $890!!

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My t-shirt fundraiser isn’t over yet! It has 7 days to go. After that time, you won’t be able to order the Everyday Missionary shirt anymore. If you wanted one but haven’t ordered yet, HERE is the link to the site. Please continue to share the link with your Facebook friends. I’ve had many people buy shirts that I don’t even know because you shared it with them.

I may be the one going to the Dominican, but I carry each one of you in my heart as I go. Thank you!

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I’m also posting a Giggles and Grace column over at Just 18 Summers today. You won’t believe what Grace told me while we were driving down the road the other day. Click HERE for a good chuckle.

In Him,

Carol

How Being Still is Causing Me to Go

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It’s funny how I feel so close to you – all of you. Though there is a computer screen and miles and miles of cyberspace between us, I feel connected. Some of you have been faithful readers since I began this blog.

As I’ve poured out my heart in words, you’ve read them. This blog has been a journey. I started it in August of 2007 when the Lord was doing a great work in me – a revival.

I shared with you my heart for missions. You’ve walked with me into the prison. You celebrated and laughed with me when I found out I was expecting a surprise blessing. You cried with me when she was placed in the NICU at birth. You, dear reader, have watched me stretch my amateur legs and take a wobbly stand in the world of writing, and you rejoiced when I was published.

I’ve read email messages of how you were blessed by something the Lord shared with me. You’ve called me to give encouragement. I knew how proud you were because you told me.

For that, sweet friends, I am thankful – and perhaps why I feel so connected.

Some of you will remember how I pray and choose a verse for each new year. In 2013, my verse was “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) God asked me to stop pushing. Stop trying to control everything and just let Him work out the details.

And so I was still.

While I was still, I watched as God provided opportunities again and again. I stopped focusing on where I wanted to go and what I wanted to accomplish and started focusing on God. Just God. I found the incredible blessing of being in His presence – of finding an intimate fellowship with Him.

I’ve wanted to go on a mission trip for a while now, but things never seemed to fall into place. But at the end of 2013 while I was basking in God’s glory and being still, He provided an opportunity, perfect for me.

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My cousin Emily works for a non-profit organization called One Vision International. She called to tell me One Vision was putting on a women’s conference in the Dominican Republic and wanted to know if I would be interested in going as one of the speakers. Then today, the coordinator emailed and asked if I would be “the” main speaker.

I couldn’t believe God would choose me. I am completely humbled. And honored. Our pastor has been preaching an incredible sermon series about living a life that is bold. On Sunday, he spoke about bold obedience and asked us to pray for bold obedience this week.

I listened to the sermon thinking, “Okay, I’m already being bold! I’ve agreed to go to the Dominican. I’ve never left the country. That’s a pretty big deal.” I left thinking the sermon was a confirmation of the decision I made to go on the trip. Then today, I received the email asking if I felt comfortable being the main speaker. And I knew God was preparing me yesterday for my “yes” today. I think you know my answer.

I have to admit to you that my biggest concern was raising the money to go. The trip is $1,600. My closest friends have encouraged me not to let that stop me. I just didn’t want to be one of those people begging for stuff. Everybody is hurting. I didn’t want anyone to feel burdened in the asking. But if God is in this, and I know He is, He will work out those details, too.

So, my husband Alan has created a t-shirt with my life verse, Matthew 25:40 and that passage in Matthew where you find “sheep to the right.” (Matthew 25:31-46 in case you want to read it.) I am in love with the shirt. We are using a t-shirt fundraising site called Booster to sell the t-shirts and raise money for the trip at the same time. The fundraiser will be on for only two weeks!! The shirts will be shipped at the end, so they should come by March 3.

If you are able to buy a shirt to support my trip, I would LOVE it. Can I also ask you to share the fundraiser with your Facebook friends? Some of them might like the t-shirt, too. And it well help me so much!

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But I’m also asking for your prayer. Please pray for the team as we prepare for the trip. Pray for my family back home while I’m gone. The trip is March 27th – 31st. And pray for the ladies who will be hearing the message we bring. Pray for lives to be changed – both theirs and ours.

If I’m allowed and have a connection, I’ll blog from the trip. If not, I’ll tell you all about it when I return.

Thank you all for your support all these years. ☺ I’m glad you are part of the flock.

Click HERE to go look at the shirt and read my story about saying “yes.” You can decide if you want to buy one or not after you get to the site. You can also just make a donation on the site, if you so choose. Thank you so much in advance.

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Carol

Time to Break the Ice

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My four-year-old, Grace was the most excited. She doesn’t care about missing school – in fact, she’d prefer not to. It was the actual snow that had her jumping and screaming.

Living in the south, we don’t see too many flakes fall. Grace was almost two the last time we got a good snow day and doesn’t really remember it at all. When the forecasters predicted 1-3 inches in our suburb north of Atlanta, I figured it was safe to assure her, that indeed, it would definitely snow. So, of course, by late afternoon Tuesday in the “surprise” or “predicted” (depending on who you are asking – the meteorologist or the mayor) snow, we were all dressed with four layers, boots, mittens and scarves ready to play. Who knows when we’ll see it again?

I followed my crew and a few neighborhood kids with the camera, snapping the obligatory pictures of snowball fights and sledding. Even my husband was home; his work released him early. He even beat my fourth-grader home on the bus.

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But somewhere between snapping pictures, drinking hot chocolate, changing into dry clothes, posting on Facebook and heading out again I was made aware of the many who didn’t make it home before their children’s buses and those buses who never showed up on the street corner with waiting mothers.

People all over my home city of Atlanta were stranded. One of my husband’s co-workers left work before him but headed into the storm and had to seek shelter at a Walgreen’s. He spent the night on the floor somewhere between the feminine products and Valentine’s candy.

Wednesday morning, as my children awoke to a full day of sledding and merriment, the news shared stories of those who spent all night in their cars, people needing food and medication.

At one point I stood in the backyard, camera to my face, framing up a picture of my daughter throwing snowballs at my husband, and I felt a little guilty. Not that I was wrong for enjoying my family. I don’t believe that at all. I just struggled with the dichotomy of my family enjoying the snow while others walked miles in it to be with their children or deliver food or babies. (Yes, one lady gave birth on I-285!)

No sooner than the guilt appeared, the Lord impressed on my heart – “Carol, how is this different than any other day?”

You see, every day there are hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands of people hurting all around us. Those with pains we cannot see – broken hearts, broken lives, loss and grief, disillusionment, hopelessness, bondage, loneliness… The list goes on and on.

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While I’m so proud of my city for stepping up and helping out during this crazy, icy mess we’ve been in for the past couple of days, I’m also asking myself what about every other day? What happens on Saturday when the weather is predicted to be 60 degrees, and the sun returns? Will the Snowed Out Atlanta Facebook page continue to be a source of help for people after the ice thaws?

I’m looking at the sequined lady in the mirror, too, friends. How can I live my life to serve those around me everyday? I want to be an Everyday Missionary – a person who stops to help when someone drops their groceries, who sacrifices to give to those who need, who gives time to friends who need to talk and shows grace when school systems make the call to close school too late.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:36-39 NIV

So as the snow thaws, I ask you fellow Atlantans and Americans, what are we going to do now? Let’s don’t wait for the next disaster to show love to our neighbors.

It’s time to break the ice. Don’t you think?

Carol