Picture This…

Downtown-Pattaya-at-night-lynhdan (1)


You’re cold, scared, vulnerable. You stand in the flashing lights wearing clothes that make you feel exposed and on display as men walk by and make gestures and unwanted advances toward you. The worst part, you know that they are watching…the people who have brought you into this hell that you now experience night after night. You know that you can’t run away from the fear and discomfort. You know what’s coming. It won’t be long and someone is going to come up to you and offer money for you to do things that make you shudder at the thought…and you’re going to have to do them. You feel sick and sad and alone and empty inside.

Can you even begin to imagine this being your reality? I have thankfully never experienced anything even remotely like this, but the fact that so many women and girls (and don’t be deceived, boys too) do, makes my heart literally ache. It gives me a sick feeling that climbs up from my deepest being. How can this be the life that so many endure?

You know what the bright spot in all of this darkness is? It’s not hopeless. There is a hope and a future for these girls and women. There are people out there fighting to set them free and return them to their homes or to a safe place where they can recover and thrive and go on to live wonderful lives. There is love waiting to be shown to them by people who have hearts that cry out to save them. Rescue is coming.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the need in the world and just feel like you can’t possibly help everyone and that’s true, you can’t help EVERYONE but you can help SOMEONE and even one SOMEONE is better than NO ONE. You can join with The Exodus Road to help free these slaves and give them a new life. You can see amazing things happen when you help fund teams that go into these dark places to bring light and hope to these girls. YOU can make a difference.

I want to help in a tangible way and if you do too, I hope that you will donate to this fundraiser that I have set up in partnership with The Exodus Road through Pure Charity. The funds will go directly to investigation costs. I have set up a fundraiser with the hopes of collecting enough to pay for one full week of investigations ($245.00) but I would absolutely love to see this go above and beyond that! Imagine if we could work together to fund 2 or 3 weeks! Imagine the lives that could be impacted! I can’t help but get excited about that! If you would like to be a part of this great cause, please consider visiting my Fundrasing Page and donating. I would be extremely grateful and I know that the lives that will be touched through your donation will be thankful as well.

Together, we can make a difference! I will be sure to update with information on any progress that is made from investigations and raids. There is nothing more thrilling to the heart and soul than seeing lives changed radically for the better. I can’t wait to share about it with you!

Out of Dreams…


Out of dreams can come amazing ideas. I dream a lot. I remember a lot of what I dream. I’ve often been mad at myself for not writing things down from dreams I’ve had because sometimes I forget some specifics, like song lyrics I made up in a dream that were pretty dang good! Maybe if I had written them down and/or recorded myself singing them, I’d realize that they weren’t all that good, but for a moment I was a serious superstar.

Anyway, as you may be able to tell, I love to write. I have always loved to write. When I was young, I loved to write in journals/diaries and I went through a phase where I was really into writing short stories. I came across some of them a few years ago when we were getting ready to move. Although they were pretty juvenile due to having been written as a pre-teen or young teen, they were still pretty decent and I found myself kind of impressed with the depth of some of the things I wrote. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’m some amazing writer or something, but it really just was something I enjoyed.

That brings me to now. Friday morning, after my husband and kids left for school and work, I decided to lie back down for a bit. It was the first week of school, all of the sports/band schedules had started up and I had babysat a couple of days too and getting up super early all week had just pretty much kicked my butt. Seemed like a good excuse to go back to bed for a bit.

I ended up falling asleep and having one of the most vivid and detailed dreams I have had in a really long time. It was so intense and real feeling. I was me, but much younger, the place I was in was unfamiliar and the people I was surrounded by weren’t anyone that I know in real life. There was so much mystery around what was happening in my dream and what I was experiencing. I woke up and just kept thinking about it. I got up and threw in a load of laundry and ran the dishwasher and all I could think about was this dream. So, I decided I was going to write it down. As I was writing it down, I decided that it was a story that I would love to read as a book or that could totally be a movie that I would be interested in seeing. I love suspense-thriller type books and movies and it fit into that genre perfectly.

I decided that with my love for writing and just how I can’t seem to stop thinking of this dream, I am going to do something with it. I started writing it out and adding some different things to it and I’m loving the creativity I’m feeling. So, I’m thinking I’m really going to work at this in my spare time and make a little short story out of it. I’m excited about it. I haven’t felt creatively excited in quite a while, so I’m really into this.

I can’t wait to share my dream/story with you when I’m finished. I’m not sure how long it will take me to finalize it, especially since I’ve really just begun, but I’m so excited about it that I just wanted to share that it’s happening. There is just something so refreshing and thrilling about getting a creative idea and actually executing it. I hope that I will execute my vision as well as I’m imagining.

What about you? Do you have anything you’re feeling passionate about creating right now? Anything you’ve created lately? I love to see how different people are in their ideas and how unique our creativity is. Just another reminder of how unique God created each of us to be.

What My Heart Is Begging To Share


A couple of weeks ago, while my family and I were at our church camp, we had the surprise and excitement of having the band, Remedy Drive, do a concert. Our family knew and liked several of their songs and we were really excited to be able to see them in such an intimate setting. The concert started off like most others, with the music blasting and the energy level high. We were singing and jumping around and enjoying the music…and then my world got rocked.

After some great songs, the lead singer switched to a more serious tone. His name is David Zach and the things he said have stuck in my heart and my mind ever since. He started telling us about an organization called The Exodus Road. Their mission is to free slaves of human trafficking by working with law enforcement to intervene and rescue these victims. He went to SE Asia for the first time last year and is headed back for his 4th time in September. After the concert, I spoke with him and he said “Once you have seen them, you can’t un-see them. It’s always in your mind and you have to do something about it.” (That is not a direct quote, but very close to what he said.) His intense passion for The Exodus Road and what it is doing just embedded itself into me and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. It has caused me to research human trafficking for hours and my heart and soul are crying to make others aware of just what it is that is going on and what we can do about it.

Here is a little video of him speaking at an Exodus Road event a few weeks ago. Some of the quotes he uses here are ones that he used at the concert, that really stuck out to me.

My first instinct when I hear about these kinds of things is to think “How can I help? What can I possibly do that will make a difference?” I know he’s right though. I know that even the most ordinary people can do something to make a difference. I know that awareness is a huge part of what can make a difference and shed light on something like human trafficking. I know that I have a voice (and so do you) and that we can use our blogs, social media and the like to get the word out and make this injustice known and get it in the forefront of peoples’ minds.

My heart is begging to share this with you. I knew I couldn’t wait another day to do so. Waiting even one more day means missing the chance to get it out there and into peoples’ hearts and minds as soon as possible. I will be writing monthly and sharing things about The Exodus Road and what they are doing. I will be praying diligently for the people that are risking their safety in order to go in and regain the safety of others. I will be sharing things via facebook and other social media. This is too important to sit by and be silent about. I can be a voice for these victims.

I would love for you to join me in this. Like them on facebook. You will see updates of raids and rescues and it’s such an amazing and hopeful feeling to rejoice with them when rescues are made! Check out their website and read all about who they are and what they are doing. Help spread the word. Together, we can make a difference.

I would like to end this post with a song that I have to say I had only known the chorus to and didn’t really realize what it was about until I saw Remedy Drive perform it that night and then talked to David afterward about it. I think it’s an amazing picture of the value of each and every human being. I think it’s such an important message. I think it’s a cry out to each of us to do something. The picture below is of my youngest son and I with David after the concert. I want to make sure my boys know the value of each and every human being. I’m so thankful that Remedy Drive introduced us to The Exodus Road.

2015-08-08 22.42.43

“I’m a soul inside a body. I’m not a commodity.”

Do Yourself A Favor


While at church camp a couple of weeks ago, I got talking to a lady I hadn’t seen in a long time who said something that I found very interesting. We were having a pleasant conversation about some things that had been going on in our lives and a friend of mine was standing there as well. As we were about to walk away, my friend said “Keep posting all of those cool pictures, because I love seeing them.” Suddenly, the woman’s face turned red and she said “I’m embarrassed to say this, but I may have “unfriended” you guys. I went through a little time of being upset that no one was “liking” or commenting on any of the posts I was making and in my hurt, I just started “unfriending” people.” She said that she realized afterwards that it probably wasn’t the best way to handle the situation and that she was embarrassed about it. We assured her that we weren’t upset with her about it and after talking for a while longer, went on.

I must say that that conversation keeps resounding in my mind. Not because I was upset with her or anything (I looked and I actually had not been “unfriended” by her anyway), but because I just couldn’t stop thinking about how much we sometimes rely on the approval or acknowledgement of others for our own validation. Let me make it clear that I am in NO WAY saying she needs validation from others to be happy. I am saying that we all tend to fall into that at least a little sometimes. I’m saying that social media contributes to that even more-so. So, what can we do about it?

First off, let me just say that we all have different personalities, interests, etc. (not that you needed me to tell you that) and that is a major contributor to the things we “like” or comment on on social media. Things that seriously crack me up may seem completely dumb or not make sense to someone else. Things that I find interesting may seem totally boring to someone else. That’s just a part of being different. My husband and I have a very similar style of humor, but there are still times that I will be laughing to the point of crying about something and he will just stare at me like I’ve lost my mind. In the same way that I don’t let his reaction hurt my feelings, I should be the same way when people don’t “like” or comment on the thing that I find to be so dang hilarious. Different life experiences cause us to find different things funny or they may cause us to find certain things not funny at all. No biggie, I’m still going to laugh my butt off when I think something is funny, whether anyone else does or not! In the same token, there are things that I find to be very interesting. Things that get me excited. Some of these things are the most boring things ever to other people. Int the same way, I find some of others’ interests to be completely snooze worthy. That’s just because we’re different. Chances are that I won’t “like” their posts and that they won’t “like” mine when they are about a topic that is just not exciting or appealing to either of us.

Another reason why people may not “like” or comment on our posts is just out of no reason other than that they just don’t think to. I know that Brian has a tendency to just scroll through facebook on his phone and look at things. He sometimes mentions about different pictures or posts to me, but when I see them later, he hasn’t “liked” them or anything. It’s not that he didn’t actually like them or find them interesting, he just didn’t hit the little button. I know that I sometimes am looking at facebook while I have a minute waiting for something and sometimes just don’t get the chance to respond to it in any sort of way or know I don’t have time to respond to it like I want to and plan to do it later, but never actually get back to it. Not that I didn’t appreciate what the person had posted, the circumstances just didn’t allow for me to convey it. Not only that, but I start to feel like a serious stalker if I start “liking” a ton of pictures on someone’s page. So, sometimes I will only “like” a few, even though there are several I actually appreciate.

I guess what I’m trying to get at is that it’s very important not to allow what you perceive to be the reactions to your posts, have too much of an effect on you. Post things because you’re excited about them or find them funny or they interest you or convey a message you think is important. Do it knowing that people are seeing it and that even if no one actually gives any kind of response, it doesn’t mean that it hasn’t made some kind of an impact on someone. Use social media for fun and good, not for complaining or bringing people down. If social media stops being fun for you, stop using it. If need be, “unfollow” people whose posts have a tendency to bring you down. It doesn’t mean you aren’t still “friends” with them on facebook, it just means you don’t have to see their posts and be brought down by their negativity. Most of all though, remember that your validation does not come from people. People will let you down sometimes and hurt your feelings, that’s just a sad fact of life. Your validation needs to come from the One who created you and who calls you “Dearly Beloved”.

Let’s all be aware of the things we post and really look at whether they are something positive that could bring someone a laugh (without being hurtful to someone), bring someone a message of hope, or just generally brighten someone’s day. Maybe be mindful of just hitting the “like” button when you see something you like, because that can brighten the day of the person who posted it.

Do yourself a favor and use social media for fun and enjoyment and if it becomes something other than that…get rid of it. Life is too good to allow something like social media to bring you down.

Learning To Roll With It


I suffer from anxiety. I am easily overwhelmed. When my schedule starts to fill up, my head starts to spin and I start to completely freak out. Being busy turns me into some kind of monster that I can’t even stand to be around, so I can only imagine how my husband and children feel. Saying I do not handle schedules well would be an insane understatement. So, with school starting right around the corner and sports, band, youth group, etc. starting up…what’s an easily overwhelmed girl like me to do?

Well, I just got back from 12 days of being at church camp and I had a lot of time to reflect on how I handle schedules and had some really good conversations with some of my dear friends who deal with crazy schedules too. Not only that, but being busy and being intentional about how we use our time were some of the topics of a sermon I heard there. So, this girl got to praying and was really honest with God in the fact that I cannot deal with schedules and the stress that comes with them on my own. I need Him to get me through it because I have tried for far too long to handle it on my own and that has been an epic failure. Now, God already knew that I needed Him, but being the gentleman He is, He didn’t force His way into my schedule-panicked life, but He sat there waiting for me to invite Him into it. I could immediately feel a difference in the way I am looking at the upcoming school year, when I intentionally asked Him to help me through it. What in the world has taken me so long to ask Him? I mean, I trust Him for our health and provision. I trust Him for wisdom in parenting our children and for being a good wife. Why did I not trust Him in the same way and ask for Him to help me through our schedules, like I have asked Him for help with all of those other things? Geesh, we can be really slow to learn sometimes, can’t we?

So, here’s the deal. I sat last night and went through all of the current sports and band schedules that we have and I put them into my calendar. I started thinking about how I’ve never perished during a busy season yet, so chances are real good I won’t this time either. I started thinking about how even though I’m not a person who thrives on being on the go (in fact, it drains me incredibly) that doesn’t mean I can’t still enjoy things along the way. I mean, I get to watch these amazing children that God has entrusted to me, playing sports and instruments and growing closer to Him through Youth Group. I get the privilege of seeing them gain strength and confidence and do the things they love. When I view it that way, instead of as another thing on the calendar “to HAVE to do”, things start seeming much less stressful and much more enjoyable.

One of the pastors who spoke at camp mentioned setting aside a day for your family that meant no friends over, no going anywhere, etc. and just spending family time. He said that love is spelled T-I-M-E and I believe that is absolutely true. Brian and I talked about it and decided that Sundays were the most possible day for making that happen and that we were going to ensure as a family that Sundays are dedicated to going to church and then spending the day doing things as a family. We love to play games and watch movies together and that seems to get lost during the school year when our schedules are so full, so this will be a way to work those things we enjoy into our schedules. I know it will be something we look forward to each week too. This means deciding now that we will be saying “no” when people ask us to do things on Sundays. It’s ok to say “no”. In fact, sometimes you have to, to be able to say “yes” to more important things. My family is the most important thing in my life, next to Jesus, so I won’t feel even a tiny bit guilty to say “no” to other people or things, in order to say “yes” to time with them.

This year is going to be filled with some new things. Gavin is doing Middle College, so two days a week, he will be heading to the community college to take some classes and with 2 vehicles, this will require some creative finagling, but we’ll make it work. Riley is doing marching band, so he will have rehearsals every week and parades to march in that will take up some weekend days, but it will be fun to go to all of the parades and watch him drum down the street and see his joy as he is doing something he loves. Asher will be playing soccer again this fall and so will Gavin, so Brian and I will often be in different directions and at different fields, but we’ll both be watching our boys play a sport they love. I am going to be a Youth Group Leader for the 3rd year now and will be moving up to Senior High Youth Group with my group of girls who I have been with since 7th grade. I’m excited to see how the girls adjust to high school and to see their faith grow. Even though my boys may have to miss Youth Group sometimes because of sports schedules, I will be thankful for the nights when they can go and for our discussions on the ride to and from church. Our church is 25 minutes away, so we have lots of time to talk about random things on the way there and about what went on at Youth Group on our way home. I will be going back to work in the Fall too, which could make our 2 vehicle/Gavin going to Middle College situation a little more tricky, but I know we will work things out.

So, I am vowing here and now to not let our schedules get the best of me this year. I am going to remind myself that every time I start to feel overwhelmed or panicked, I need to stop and pray and ask God to come into the midst of our schedules and to help us through them with grace and joy. I know that He will help me learn to “roll with it” and to even enjoy the things that I should be enjoying, instead of dreading things just because they felt overwhelming to me in the past. You know, God is pretty amazing like that.

If you’re like me and tend to get anxious and overwhelmed easily by schedules, I hope that you will team up with me and ask for God to be in the midst of your schedule too. Also, if you find some clever ways to make things easier around the house with chores or great ways to make homework time easier, please share. I would love create our own little support system to encourage one another through these busy days. Let’s choose joy over panic. With Him, we can do it. It will be so worth it.



I LOVE reading, but I’ve noticed that since facebook came to be and pinterest and all that good stuff, I don’t read nearly as often as I used to. I have realized that almost the only time I read now is when I’m camping, just before I fall asleep.

That makes me kind of sad, but also makes me excited for all of the camping I have coming up. I am currently finishing up a book that I started on my last camping trip called The Memory Collector by Meg Gardiner. It’s a suspense thriller type of book and I love books like that. I’m almost done with it though and since I have a Kindle that is filled with books that I haven’t touched in about a year, I decided to charge it and bring it with me on my trips I have coming up.

I’m not sure what I will read first, but I did download a bunch of Karen Kingsbury books at one time because I have had them recommended to me a ton of times, so maybe I’ll start there.

Do you like to read? What are your favorite books? I would love some recommendations because I plan on getting back to reading like I used to and spending much less time on the computer. So, what do ya have for me?

Breaking Free


When I started blogging again a couple of months ago, I felt this pressure like I needed to post something every single day. I was afraid that if I didn’t, I would have people lose interest and just end up not following me or reading anything anymore.

Before I went on my last long vacation, I stayed up until 2:00 in the morning (even though I had to get up at 6:00 to get ready to leave) and typed up and scheduled posts for the entire time I was gone. That made me start my vacation ridiculously tired. Why in the world did I do that?

What I realized is I was starting to post things just for the sake of posting and not because they really had much importance to me. That’s not at all what I want this blog to be about.

You see, I did the blogging where I did a ton of reviews and got a bunch of free stuff and while that was really awesome for a while, it started to just get overwhelming. Deadlines for reviews and just tons of stuff started making me feel like it was something I HAD to do instead of something I WANTED to do. Then my blog became nothing but reviews and giveaways and lost all of the things about it that had at one time made it a therapeutic and enjoyable thing for me.

In other words, my goal for this blog is not to have a blog that makes companies want to approach me for reviews. It’s not to impress or have thousands of followers (of course, I would be fine with that though). This blog is a place for me to share things that I like and things I don’t. A place for me to share my struggles and my successes. A place where I hope that I can connect with other people and where I hope people can find encouragement.

So, I’m breaking free from the feeling that I have to post something every single day because why post something just to post it? Why post something that really has no meaning to me or just feels like a burden? I’m not doing that. I’m posting things I actually WANT to share with you and nothing else. So, if you don’t see anything for a few days at a time…it may be that I’m on vacation with my family or we have a lot going on or that I just don’t feel like I have anything of real value to say at the moment.

I hope you’ll all be ok with that. Thank you so much for following my blog and reading my posts and for all of the awesome feedback that I get. Keep it coming! If there are topics you would like me to maybe touch on or things you love about the blog that you hope I will continue, please let me know!!!