Chase Fireflies


Some Other Jammin Christmas Ideas

Handmade blankets ( created by women in Calcutta from recycled sari material – the money from these blankets goes to support Hātha kā banā and other established ministries which serve former sex workers (currently, there are no blankets available but you can always be put on a waiting list for one. They go about $200 each, which is pretty pricy, but these blankets are beautiful symbols of redemption and hope.)

Virtual bottle of water ( These are bottles of water from Charity International. They are $20 each, but every cent goes to freshwater well projects in Africa.

Handmade bags ( These bags are also made by former prostitutes in North Calcutta who have been rescued from poverty and shame. Instead of having to sell their bodies, these women now have the choice to make these bags, earn a decent living, and restore their dignity. You can purchase these bags easily from freeset’s ebay store (

A gift of freedom( Check out International Justice Mission’s Holiday Gift Catalog. You can purchase a day of investigative work ($25), a day of advocacy ($70), a day of aftercare for kids who have been rescued ($40), etc.

A pig, a goat, educational support, share of a well, etc ( World Vision also has a gift catalog where you can purchase these items and about 100 more.

Sponsoring a child ( For only $32 a month, you can sponsor a child and provide education, health care, nutrition, the opportunity to hear about Jesus, safe recreation, etc. Paul and I sponsor Roberto and our youth group kids sponsor Rodean and Ruth. (Maybe we have a thing for “R” named kids?) Anyway, we write our children monthly and send stickers, pictures, coloring pages, etc. The coolest thing is that we also receive letters from them all the time. This organization is just amazing! Selah absolutely LOVES “(R)uth!”

A child’s desk and bench, teacher development, vaccinations, etc ( This organization also has a gift catalog that goes to support the Dalit people (formerly known as the Untouchables in India.) The Dalit Freedom Network partners with the Dalits in their quest for religious freedom, social justice, and human rights by mobilizing human, information, and financial resources.

Well, that’s a more hefty list than I was anticipating! There are tons and tons of other highly reputable organizations to partner with and lots of gifts that can be given to benefit our brothers and sisters around the world, but at least this is a good place to start. Have fun shopping! Whoohoo!

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Gifts that Give Back

Many of you have probably heard of Kiva, but if you haven’t please check it out ( Kiva allows you to connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. You can read about and choose to sponsor a particular business that will help someone achieve economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (6-12 months), you can receive email updates from the business you’ve chosen to sponsor. The amazing thing is that as loans are repaid, you get the money back! Kiva offers gift certificates for only $25 (or more, if you prefer.) It’s a great Christmas present for someone on the other side of the world!

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Silly Things I Don’t Want to Forget

How Selah insists that we put deodorant on her elbows

That look that Selah and Adden give each other that suggests they already communicate in a language that I don’t understand

Adden’s enormously chubby smile and subsequent giggle

Hearing Selah mimic me by saying, “It’s messy.” And with a sigh, “Oh well…”

Our conversation that happens at least 10 times (if not more) a day:
Me: Selah, we are going to go to __________ today.
Selah: Me, cry?
Me: No, Selah, you don’t have to cry.
Selah: ADDEN CRY!!!!!!!!! ADDEN FUSSY?????
Me: Well, yes. Adden will probably cry and he may be fussy, but that’s okay.
Selah: Yep.

Adden snuggling up against me and smiling in his sleep

How Selah runs to the door when Paul comes home and then proceeds to go ballistic around the house and insist that Paul “fly.”

Selah’s love for Jesus. (We read the Christmas story a million times yesterday and she still wasn’t satisfied.)

The sound of their laughter – one of my favorite things ever.

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Creating Space

“We have hints that there is a way of life vastly richer and deeper than all this hurried existence, a life of unhurried serenity and peace and power. If only we could slip over into that Center.”
– Thomas Kelly

This year for Christmas I want unhurried devotion more than anything else. I want time spent alone with Jesus. I want to be still and know that He is God. I want the peace, joy, and love that we send to others in Christmas cards, but so rarely make space for ourselves. I want to spend time in the evenings alone with Paul. (Note: Adden, that means you need to learn how to sleep, little man! I love you dearly, but you sleeping is essential to my sanity.) I want to spend time with family, reconnect with friends, and reach out to neighbors. I want to see the season through my children’s eyes and I want them to see beauty and lots of it.

If any of you have suggestions about how you create space in your life – especially at this time of year – please send them my way. I would love any help that I can get! Thank you!

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Shop Less – Live More

Friday, November 23rd is Buy Nothing Day – it’s a day where you challenge yourself, your family, and friends to shop less and live more.

The challenge is easy – live simply for a day. Spend time with family and friends, rather than spend money on them. When crazed shoppers wake up at 3:50 am to secure their place in line, sleep in instead, and spend the day just enjoying life.

Buy Nothing Day exposes the environmental and ethical consequences of consumerism. The developed countries (20% of the world population) are consuming over 80% of the earth’s natural resources, causing a disproportionate level of environmental damage and unfair distribution of wealth. As consumers we need to question the products we buy and challenge the companies who produce them. What are the true risks to the environment and developing countries? How is our money going to support inhumane conditions for laborers? It’s our responsibility to look for simple solutions and Buy Nothing Day is a good place to start.

Now if you decide to head to the malls, we will in no way look down on you. By all means, get the deals. We have dragged each other out of bed on one too many a morning, believe me! However, this year instead of complaining about consumerism detracting us from the meaning of Christmas, we are attempting to live out our beliefs. The thing is, this isn’t just a one day deal, we are hoping this will be a lifestyle change. We’ve got a long way to go yet, but anywhere is a good place to start.

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The Votes are In

Our thankful pail will continue receiving thanks till the end of the month. But alas, since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, we’ll reveal the goods.

Adden thanks God for milk, warmth, rice cereal, his family, his activity center, pacifiers, sleep, and Orajel (though we’re not sure who is more thankful for that – Paul and I or him- it really works wonders on his teething issues.)

Selah thanks God for Mimi, Papa, Boppie, and juice every day- yep, every day. If we want to get any other responses out of her, they have to be coaxed out. Maybe next year, Mommy and Daddy will make her top five! At least if we can be on par with juice, we’ll have it made. On a side note, she sure has loved scribbling out her thanks and throwing it in the pail.

Paul and I are thankful for each other (aww…), our amazing kiddos, our families, clean water, his job, good health, our ministries, our home, church, freedom, the Bible, coffee, the success of New England sports teams (whoohoo!), simplicity, friends, missions, anyone who may be reading these ramblings, Craig’s list, people who challenge the way we look at things, the beauty of creation, those who fight for social justice, and above all else – we thank God for the story of redemption that Jesus has written on our hearts.

If you’ve got the time, we would love to hear what you guys are thankful for as well. Thanks so much!

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Of Junk and Treasures

So I guess I’ve been walking around with some heavy bags of late. You know… envy, pride, selfishness, apathy, excuses and the like. Never really even realized that junk was there, (sorry to all of you who did!) but thank God it’s getting tossed as this weekend has progressed. I’m sure I’ve got a ways to go, but at least it’s a start.

While I’ve been at this conference, I’ve attended most of the main speakers – Andy Stanley, Louie Giglio, and Doug Fields. I missed the lady because I slept in and splurged on Dunkin D’s. Also missed Shane Claiborne due to my son going ballistic. (But that’s okay, little buddy. I would too if I was being starved.) I was disappointed initially because my husband adored the message (that’s just one reason why I love him), but I am relishing spending time alone with God and Matthew 5-7 later.

I have gone to a few seminars- Lauren Winner on Talking Chastity in a Sex- Crazed World. (Youth group girls reading this, can you tell what’s coming? Lots of awkward stuff, but hopefully we can dialogue about it so that it’s not too excruciating.) I loved her take on everything – very up front, refreshing, brutally honest, and totally different than anything else I’ve ever heard on the subject. She had this dry, sarcastic, intelligent wit that was strangely engaging. I would highly recommend her book on the subject, based on the insights shared at the seminar.

Also went to Engaging Youth Culture by Walt Mueller. Though I wasn’t dragged there by my husband, I didn’t really see the point. Thank God thank God thank God I went. So informative! Not sure who I thought I was thinking that I understood what kids are going through these days. 18 years younger? I have been grossly ignorant and for that I ask their apologies. I will attempt to be a better listener. I will also make every effort to see this world from your eyes. Call my bluff if I fail, guys, because I know I will.

Mueller shared this jammin’ quote by John Stott. “We stand between the Word and the world with consequent obligation to listen to both. We listen to the Word in order to discover even more of the riches of Christ. We listen to the world in order to discern which of Christ’s riches are needed most and how to present them in their best light.” There isn’t anything else more that needs to be said on the subject.

Today I forced myself not to attend Lori Solierno’s seminar on prayer, because I’ve been to the thing twice and have listened to the cd probably 5 times. (I easily get addicted to stuff, I am a slow learner, and I forget everything.) Instead Paul and I started accumulating wisdom from Doug and Cathy Fields about marriage, ministry, and family. Truthfully, I am clueless about how to raise my children to love Christ and His church. And if the world gets the best of me and they don’t, then everything will be for naught. Paul and I are hoping to continue to pursue wisdom from those that we look up to for counsel in this area. I’m sure it will be a journey filled with millions of mistakes – but Selah and Adden – even though almost all you can comprehend is the word “yummy” right now – know that we’re going to give this effort all that we’ve got. We love you two little rascals.

Besides all of these gems being excavated, we have enjoyed the warm Atlanta weather (it’s snowing in Pittsburgh), Paul’s parents who have loved on our kids and freed us up to learn, Starbucks brews, debriefing at night, little mints by the bed, Olympic Park, conversations with our maid, David Crowder and Tomlin, David Crowder and Tomlin, and David Crowder and Tomlin. (Though I can’t worship with Crowder without thinking about squirrels on a rampage.) Anyway, it’s been a great weekend and I am exhausted, but renewed.

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We have arrived and are movin’ on up

First off – our apologies to the youth workers who visited our blog tonight with the intention of hearing thoughts on the convention – and were instead hit with “Mole Update.” Lovely. I adore that your first exposure to us is in the form of my moleage issues. Anyway, 15 van hours later, we have arrived in Atlanta – with our two traveling tikes, a pair of gracious grandparents, frazzled nerves, and anticipation for this year’s conference. Our thanks to the YS staff for putting this whole shabang on. We wouldn’t be here if we didn’t think it was worth our while.

Anyway, before we head to bed, we wanted to instill some jealousy at our brushes with fame this evening. In the midst of the insane R. Kelley traffic, the first celebrity spotting was Paul’s mentor – Dave Barr. Dave is an amazing youth pastor who lives just about 45 min away from our own home. If you’re looking for wise veteran counsel, find this guy, and buy him and his son lunch this weekend. It would be so worth it. The second guy we bumped into (actually, we were holding up his limo, but he was quite gracious), was the little cute man from the Jeffersons. He waddled right past Paul with his entourage and actually said hi. Paul and his parents were dumbfounded. Wow… the Jeffersons guy… There couldn’t be a better way to kick off this conference.