Chase Fireflies


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The Cards in the Tree (A Christmas Gift Idea)

Every Christmas morning, there are two envelopes hidden somewhere in our tree.  One for Paul and one for me.  But neither are really for us, which is the cool part. 

They are gifts given somewhere around the world, on behalf of the other. 

The hurt is there.  The hunger is there.  The injustice is there. 

But greater is He in us than he who is in the world.

The opportunity is 0urs.  To heal, to feed, to love in His name.  Because He first loved us. 

Maybe the person receiving the envelope is an educator.  Give books on their behalf.  If a pastor, give a Bible.  If a counselor, give aftercare counseling.  If a cook, give food.  Extend their heart and passion around the world. 

So here are some ideas, ya’ll.  Give and love much. 

Gifts of Freedom:  IJM Holiday Gift Catalog

Equip Churches to Seek Justice $25
Urgent Aftercare Package for a Trafficking Survivor  $40
Legal Representation $65 
Bicycle for a Former Slave $72
Transform a Life with a Scholarship $330

Gifts of Compassion:  Compassion International Gift Catalog

Soccer Ball for $13
Art Supplies for $20
Clean Water $25
5 Ducks for $30
Dental Care $38

These two organizations are just ones we have worked with in the past.  I love them and wholeheartedly believe in their work.  But there are countless like them.  If you know of other worthy organizations, I would love to hear of them here.  Thanks!


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Christmas in Focus

Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace.

If you refuse to be hurried and pressed,
if you stay your soul on God,
nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace.
In that stillness you will know what His will is.

Amy Carmichael

Perfect peace have they that love Your law and nothing can make them stumble.
Psalm 119:165

May peace be yours today, as you stay your soul on God.
Because of Jesus,

Kristin


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Give Thanks Bucket: A Thanksgiving Idea for Families

 

We started this tradition 4 years ago now.  The little pieces of paper tossed in a bucket.  Giving thanks.  Making the thanks a habit.  Each day inching towards Thanksgiving. 

And then we keep the pieces in the bucket till the next year.

4 years ago, Adden was thankful for milk, sleep, orajel, singing, pacifiers, and cuddling.  (He would have been almost 6 months- awww!!!!!)  And clearly he was so verbal back then!  Today he was thankful for baseball diamonds, his puppy (stuffed, that is), and his family. 

Among the other old praises were good biopsy reports, clean water, good health, safety in traveling, jobs, Jesus, “Me the Bear”, and applesauce.

Today I am grateful.  Grateful for a bucket.  And for the years of praise treasured inside. 

That I may make the voice of thanksgiving heard and may tell of all Your wondrous works.   Psalm 26:7 
God is always, ever good. 


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Early Morning Ramblings: Meekness

Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.

To grasp poverty of spirit.  To know true riches.  To be peacemakers.  To extend mercy.  To hunger and thirst for all that is right.  To mourn.  To live the teachings of Jesus in a world of pride and burdens and excess.  Such is deemed blessing. 

Yet I vacuum up opposing values so easily.  And who is standing at my waist and looking up to every move?  And if they need a model, shouldn’t the one standing above them be their best one?  And if they cannot find me making peace and holding out a hand of mercy and hungering for righteousness over bread; then how will they see and know and live? 

God, there is meekness to be unearthed today in me, for it is wrapped and protected in self-love.  Allow my defenses to fall to the ground.  Show me what it means to give up pretense.  May whispered criticisms come with looks of disdain.  And may I be okay with the value that You deem over the world.

It is good for me to remember that I have nothing to defend.  Nothing to pretend.  Nothing to boast of. That I am nothing without Christ.  And in Him I am everything.  In Him is my breath and life and meaning.  In Him is my purpose and rest and direction. 

Maybe I am wearied and burdened from holding on to so much that is not Christ.  For who stands with me but Him and asks that I learn to find rest.  Grasp it tethered to Him.  Him who is gentle and meek in heart.  Whose humility was lived on a cruel cross; a cross that (still) gives life to me. 

Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.
-Matthew 5:5


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Love Small.

Her hands are worn and weathered with the soil. 

If you walk into the little white country church, she sits in the back pew, to the left; sometimes alone or with children; most often with her grandson.  I don’t know where he would be without her. 

One time I sat in her home with our baby, sunken deep into her living room couch.  I asked questions because I needed to learn.  About so many children and an only love buried and how they first made it work to get by.  She told me simple stories of love.  Loving with basketball games, loving with nachos and cheese, loving with pies. 

More recently and most ridiculous, is this story of butternut squash.  For two weeks, I scoured grocery stores for butternut squash, when there was none to be found.  But why would she know that.  Then out of nowhere, she has bags of squash so heavy that the bags are breaking.  She gives them to my in-laws who give them to me.  And I can’t keep from laughing at God’s goodness. 

When you plant seeds deep within the soil, you have no idea what will become of them.  You work hard with your hands and no one sees.  You don’t work for approval.  You have no idea what will become of these plants.   You cannot see the end from the beginning.  You work anyway.  You love anyway. 

Maybe extravagant love is just this.  It’s the ordinary kind, worn and weathered.  My Lord dried feet with a towel.  My Lord taught others using seeds and a lamp and salt.  My Lord told stories.  My Lord cried.  My Lord sat with children and ate bread with friends. 

Maybe it’s not that we love much, it’s that we love small.  Love in the ordinary.  Love in the nondescript.  And maybe then the Gardener will take what is meager and multiply it till bags are breaking.

For those whom we love and for recipients unknown. 

With Love (the small kind),
Kristin


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do not be overcome (september 11)

We had just been married a month when the planes struck the towers. 

I was teaching first grade when the secretary walked in and whispered in my ear.  It didn’t seem real until the images burned through my disbelief; soon after school let out that day. 

There in our nearly one room apartment, I did not want to ever leave.  Having travelled the world, I wanted to now stay huddled on brown shag carpeting.  I made coffee and drank it slowly; Paul at my side. 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 

While the news reports were still pouring in weeks later, Paul wanted to go to the city.  He wanted to help somehow.  I didn’t.  The distance was all well and good, as far as I was concerned. 

Convinced that we were going to be hit with a second wave of attacks, I went with him anyway.   I think we took his brother with us the first time and our second trip in we took high school and college students.  I still remember that default mechanism of fear.  It was so pervasive it was all I could think about.

Having not cared an ounce about dying, all of a sudden I cared an awful lot. 

Nothing we did there those days came anywhere close to the bravery and sacrifice exhibited by responders following the attacks.  Theirs was the bravery.  Ours was the ordinary.  To put our presence and their heroics in the same sentence is even absurd.  God knows my heart; I didn’t even want to be there either time.  I am ashamed to say that I didn’t want to be there.

That being said, it was where I had to be to confront my own fears.  It was where Paul lead us to begin our new marriage and our faith on streets still filled with dust and wreckage and people scurrying to work anyway. 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 

Tonight, I am hanging up our five year old’s dress and she tells me that there were planes that once came and crashed into buildings because of people who wanted to make us afraid.  And then she asks me if I am afraid.   

And though I find myself sucked back into fear like a vacuum and though I am so easily overwhelmed by everything in this life and though I want to protect our kids with everything in me, my words will always begin and end with my actions. 

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. 

(Thanks for your consistent example to me, Paul.  I love you ten years out.  And counting.)