Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Sick With Heartache

Have you ever seen or heard something that is so disgustingly wrong it literally makes you feel like you're going to puke?

I have. Last night, in fact. This isn't the first time this has happened. As previously stated, I have a very sensitive heart, and there's only so much wrong it can take without completely shattering into a million pieces.

I was listening to a sermon on abortion/birth control last night, and they brought up the story of a woman named Andrea Yates.

Andrea Yates personally drowned each of her five children, killing them. She killed her own children. Now, I'm not going to go into the details of this, because I don't want to make you horribly sick like I was. But, if you would like to read a more detailed account of the story, along with the following trials, you can read it here.

I felt my whole body go numb as the pastor related this unbelievable story. My stomach clenched, my eyes grew wide, and my hand clamped over my mouth.

As a person who loves children with a burning passion, nothing could be more horrific or grotesque to me, than a mother killing her own children. I, quite literally, felt like I was going to throw up.

Needless to say, I didn't get to sleep until around 1:00 last night. I used to, and sometimes still do, consider this a burden. I used to hate that I was so sensitive about things like this. But, then I realized, my heart is breaking for the things that break the heart of God. While many people could read the story, think it was horrible, and move on with their lives, I couldn't forget it. I consider it a blessing that God has made me so sensitive, that I can see through His eyes how broken and deranged our world really is. And with that understanding comes an unquenchable thirst to change it.

So, I thank God, for giving me something that so few people possess today - a sensitive spirit. A spirit that truly understands when something is wrong with the world.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Courtship Shmourtship

I have said very passionately how against dating I am in middle school and high school, but I've never really addressed my views on dating outside of that. In college, or after. Well, folks, I still am not a huge fan of "dating" just to date, but I can do courtship. Courtship in a godly way.

I'd like to introduce you all to Joshua Harris. He is married and has three kids, has written lots of books on the subject, and is a pastor at Covenant Life Church. He is the author of Boy Meets Girl, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, and Sex Is Not the Problem (Lust Is). I highly recommend all of his books.

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of sermons on marriage and dating and courtship. Mr. Harris's sermon "Courtship Shmourtship" is, by far, my favorite. Along with being incredibly insightful and chock full of fantastic advice, it's also pretty funny at parts.

I will type out a small excerpt or two for you all, from the very beginning. Keep in mind, this came out around 2005.

I took my wife to see the new version of Pride & Prejudice this week. Just a little tip for the guys: You can score some major points with ladies if you're into Jane Austen. So I watched this movie, this story, which, if you're not familiar with it: The basic moral of the story is no matter how bad you mess up with a girl, if you're a gazillionare it all works out in the end. Now I knew that was going to anger a few ladies - "That's not true! It's about true love!" Yeah, but he is a gazillionare, isn't he? As I watched this, and all the complications and miscommunications and wrong accusations and misunderstandings and romantic interests playing out in this movie, I thought to myself, "This whole relationship thing has never been easy."

You see, the terms we use to describe our relationships are really meaningless. It's the way we live that matters. I've met people who would describe their relationships as 'dating,' and they are doing that in a way that is glorifying to God, that is marked by genuine love. I've known other people who say they're into courtship, and they're like serial courters. They've courted half the free world! If there isn't genuine love motivating us, the terms we use really don't matter at all.

The rest of his sermon is just as good, and I would encourage you to listen to it. It really is very powerful. You can either listen to it online, or even download it to your iPod.

Here's the link:


His message is that it doesn't matter what you call your relationship, if it's based off of selfish desires, it shouldn't be happening. A relationship can only flourish with genuine, Christ-like love. I think that's a message we all need to hear.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Who Am I?

I love to take personality quizzes. I am a very introspective person, and they give me insight into who I am and how I act in certain situations.

Over the years, I've been told by these quizzes that I am like Cinderella, Jane Bennet (Pride & Prejudice), and Sam (The Lord of the Rings). I've been told that I am very loyal person, that I love my family, and that I have very strong morals.

But, along with these results, comes a percentage. 24% of people got this result. 50%, 72%, 98%. If only a hundred people had taken a certain quiz, and only 10% had gotten the same result as me, that's still 10 people who are exactly like me.

I didn't like that at all. Who am I? How am I different than all those other people who took the quiz?

When I would take more advanced personality tests, I was thrust into one of sixteen personality types. Mine described me perfectly. While I was happy to get insight into the way I act and why I act that way, I was still disappointed. 1 in every 16 people were just like this. They fit into this category too. How was I different?

My crisis was further brought to the surface by social groups at school, or just in general. I hoped I wasn't a geek, I definitely wasn't a jock or a cheerleader-type, and I wasn't goth or emo either. I didn't really fit into any of the stereotypes. So who was I? Where did I fit in?

While I may never fit into a certain stereotype here on earth, I can be rest assured that I will fit right in when I get to Heaven. Of course I won't fit in to any stereotypes on earth! I'm not of the earth, my home is in God's Kingdom. My question was finally answered!

Who am I? I am a daughter of God! He made me exactly the way he wants me to be. He created me to love classical music, to have a fierce passion for orphans, to love to write! He didn't want me to fit into any of the world's stereotypes, just His.

He made you that way too. No matter what the percentages say, there is no one on earth who is exactly like you.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Fighting Boredom

Let's face facts. School is boring.

Maybe not everything. I, for instance, love my English class. But, other than that, I usually feel like I'm going to fall asleep.

I can't help it. Whether it's the tangent of a circle or the inside of a flower, it's just not interesting to me. Maybe to some, but not to me.

So, what do we do? How do we fight off this oppressive sense that we would rather be anywhere but here, in school? I think I've found the answer.

I love to learn about history, but taking notes is nobody's favorite thing to do. My history teacher will give us packets of notes that we have to highlight as she reads to us. It's the last class of the day, and it's extremely hard for me to focus. My foot taps, my mind wanders, and I want nothing more than to go home. But, today, I tried something new. And it worked.

About a page through our notes, I decided to try something. I made my own notes. As we were reading along, I underlined things that gave me thoughts, and wrote the thoughts down next to them. Some of them include:

Pirates of the Caribbean (East India Trading Company)
British pants (Ponce de Leon)
A mad face (African slave trade)
The song "The Age of Not Believing" (I thought I could probably fit in "The Age of Exploration")

That made class so much more interesting, thinking up what kind of weird connections I could make. But, if your class is so boring you can't even do that - I've got another solution.

The other day, I read the true story of a girl named Maggie, age 12, who lived in Uganda. She walked 7 miles every morning, and 7 miles home every night to get the kind of education we get in elementary school. But, soon, her single mother couldn't afford to send her to school anymore, and any dreams she had of a career or rising above her situation were crushed.

I don't think that we, in America, truly understand the value of our education, how lucky we are to be able to learn what we can learn for free.

As I sat in Geometry today (which is in no way interesting at all), I kept reminding myself that kids in Africa would give up a limb for this class. That kept me paying attention. I realized how selfish I'd been in the past, wishing I could go home and get on Facebook, when some kid in Africa was wishing he could be where I was - school.

Just thinking about how many children would give up their homes for an education like mine, really made me focus, and really try to enjoy my schoolday.

I suggest you try it. We, as a whole, need to realize how lucky we are to have school.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

No Place Like Home

As you all know, I've been in Florida for the past week visiting my Mom's family. While I loved seeing everyone and getting to grow closer to my family, I truly couldn't way to get home to see Dad and Jace.

Getting home, however, was harder than just tapping my feet together and saying, "There's no place like home."

A 12-hour car ride with a not-yet-walking two-year-old was no picnic. The ride was made easier, though, by our stash of Greek yogurt smoothies and Trader Joe's cheese puffs, and our periodical french fry breaks at Sonic and McDonald's.

We went off and on watching Signing Time, Barney, Elmo's World, and Veggie Tales. My sweet baby boy even watched a little of The Princess and the Frog with me (My 11-year-old boy cousin watched it with me and LOVED it. So no excuses guys.).

As Mom was doing all the driving (I wouldn't have driven on the interstate even if I had passed the permit test), it was my job to make sure Levi was happy and smiling. For someone who's only 5', reaching from the front seat back to a baby car seat was difficult. It was like yoga in a sitting position.

When we weren't eating fries or watching TV shows, we were listening to music. Levi's finicky taste didn't let us stay on one song for more than thirty seconds, that is, except his favorite - Boom Boom Pow by Black Eyed Peas. I nearly passed out laughing as we banged our fists in the air for the BOOM BOOM, Levi banging in all the wrong places with a huge smile on his face, feet kicking willy-nilly in the air.

All in all, I enjoyed the trip back, even if it was a bit exhausting. Nearing our destination, Levi started to sign "Daddy" and say his mumbled version of Jace. He wanted to see them as badly as we did. After some pizza and a sound whooping (BY ME!!!) of the iPhone ESPN Spelling Bee app, we went to bed. As my eyelids are drifting shut even now, I think:

There's no place like home.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Gift of Time (Greetings from Florida)

Me and my mom and Levi left for Florida on Sunday to visit Mom's family. After waking up at 6:45 in the morning and listening to twelve hours of Signing Time and Sesame Street in the car, I almost kissed the ground when we reached my grandparents' house.

I'd seen my grandparents over the summer during Levi's heart surgery, but I hadn't seen my cousins since the Christmas before last. Honestly, I was afraid that I wouldn't know them anymore, that we'd have to take a long time to reform a connection we once had, but I was dead wrong. All they needed was a little time.

Angel (age 11) is homeschooled at a tutorial, so we had some time together on Monday. Believe it or not, we bonded over homework. He liked to see what I was working on (Geometry) and liked to show me what he was doing too. And when I decided to stop for the day, he loved that I chose to help him with his homework.

Annie (age 9) is in public school, so I hadn't gotten much of a chance to see her yet. When she got home, she immediately came to the room where me and Angel were having a Guitar Hero battle, and asked if I could cook something with her.

"Of course!" I replied, and we headed to the kitchen. We got out her EasyBake Oven and put on our aprons. She decided on a cake (although I really wouldn't call it a cake, it was so small. More like a fluffy sugar cookie). We mixed all the ingredients together, and all the while I was explaining to her how cake batter should look, and other rules of the trade.

While our smallish "cake" was cooling, I decided to go outside and see what Angel and his two friends were doing. It turned out to be baseball. Now, I was excited! I played softball for about 4 years - fall and spring ball - and I hadn't been able to play the last few seasons (too old for the league). I was disappointed, at first, that I wasn't able to even make contact with the ball when I was at bat. But after about an hour of playing, I had my mojo back, and Angel and his older friend were fighting over whose team I got to be on.

Angel and Annie went to bed giving me hugs, much more comfortable with me than they'd been the night before. All they needed was a little time. Not much, just some quality attempts at bonding. They're both at school today, and now I can't wait for them to get home!

So in closing, greetings from Florida! And never understimate the power of time.

Friday, March 12, 2010


No one likes failure. But I think it's fair to say that I dislike it more than most.

I'm a perfectionist. I'm not as bad as I used to be (endless tears if I got less than an A on my math homework), but I'm still working on it.

I went to get my driver's permit today. I could've gotten it months ago, but I never had a real desire to like anyone else.

Leading up to my testing, I heard all my friends say what should have been reassuring words.

"You'd have to have no common sense to fail it."

"It's the easiest test on the face of the planet."

"Just take the practice tests and you'll be fine."

"John McSmiggen passed it! And everyone knows he's failing all of his classes!"

As we dropped Levi off at school, I heard Dad say while unbuckling him, "Next time you see Tori, she'll be a permitted driver."

While all of these words should have been encouraging, I took them a different way. All of these people were expecting me to pass. If I didn't, I would be lowering their expectations of me, incapable of doing what they all thought I could.

With all these thoughts whirling around in my head, you can imagine how tense I was when we reached the driver license office. The first thing they did was test my vision. I'd noticed that things were a little more blurry lately, but it didn't seem to be affecting anything. Until the vision test. I could read alright on my left side and perfectly in the middle, but I couldn't see any of the letters on the left. None. At this point, I was hyperventilating. So nervous that I would fail without even having taken the written test.

Thankfully, the man accepted my vision, even thought it wasn't perfect. I then proceeded to enter the testing room and was placed in a mini cubicle with an old computer to take the test. When I missed my fourth answer, I felt tears start to spring into my eyes. My breathing was heavy and I felt like I would start crying at any moment. When I missed my seventh answer, the test came to a stop. I had heard you were only allowed to miss six, but maybe the test was just at an end. Maybe the man would pass me because he liked me.

I should've known better. It was not smart of me to get my hopes up, only to have them dashed by three simple words out of the mouth of a stranger - "You didn't pass."

I quickly retrieved the keys from my dad and ran to our car, finally letting out all the pent up emotion I had felt during and after the test. I had failed. Failed. I never failed. I thought back to the words of all those who had encouraged me.

"You'd have to have no common sense to fail it."

"The next time you see Tori, she'll be a permitted driver."

I had let everyone down, including myself. I cried more than I've cried in months today. Failure was foreign to me, until today. I wasn't used to it. I wasn't used to falling below my own expectations, let alone everyone else's. I was ashamed of myself, absolutely mortified. I was hesitant to tell anybody. I was hesitant to blog about it.

But my parents explained to me that maybe this failure was a blessing. There'd always be failure and I would have to learn to deal with it. Maybe one day one of my kids will fail their drivers' permit test, and I'll be able to tell them, "That's okay. I did too." Or maybe a friend will fail it, and I'll be able to support them through that. As much as I hate failure, it's good to know that my failure may be a help to someone else someday.

I'm not very good at dealing with failure, but I'm learning. I'm learning that failure is always going to be there, but we have to be thankful for it. We have to understand that God has everything planned out - even failure.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A Little Something Beautiful

When I got home from school today, I commented on how beautiful it was outside. The sun was out, the sky was blue, billowing creamy clouds hung in the sky, and there was a cool, refreshing breeze.

My dad suggested I take a walk - which I automatically frowned at.

I don't enjoy exercise very much - unless it's with people I feel comfortable and happy being around. A bike ride with Jace? Any day. A game of basketball with Jace and his friends? It's on. A softball practice with some of my best friends? Can't wait. A walk? Sometimes, but not today. Or so I felt.

However, I was immediately struck with the idea of taking Levi for a walk with me. He loves to go outside and see the trees, grass, birds, and cars. So I put him in his little wagon and buckled him up. I would've put socks on him, but he just would've taken them off and thrown them out the wagon.

Anyone who knows me knows that I prefer to have music always. There is never a time when I don't want to listen to music. However, I was debating whether or not to bring my iPod with me on this particular outing, seeing as I wouldn't be able to communicate with Levi with headphones on.

But I quickly rushed inside and brought out my portable iPod speaker. I put it on the opposite side of Levi and plugged in my iPod. After much deliberation, I decided to play the album "Tell Your Mama" by The Vespers. A great, Christian band, their music is a mix of indie and folk. My logic on this was that: 1) I felt it was very calming. 2) Any joggers passing me would hear God's word through the music I was playing.

Throughout our walk, I couldn't have been happier! It was just BEAUTIFUL outside. I had a breeze ruffling my hair, some peaceful background music, and Levi behind me gasping in excitement at every car that passed by.

It was a little something beautiful to kick off my Spring Break.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What We're Dealing With

I've just started a book (and I'm already halfway through) called The Boy from Baby House 10. It's about a little boy who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy in Moscow, Russia. Given up by his parents at 18 months, he grew up separated from the "normal" children in a room full of the "uneducable imbeciles."

Vanya, the little boy, has a tragic story. But it's the story of many in Eastern Europe and Russia.

When I told my friends how upsetting and painful reading this book was, they told me to stop reading it.

I refused.

While it may be so painful and sad it makes me cry at night, and so grotesque and inhumane it makes me want to puke, I need to read this book. Only when I am exposed to the wrongs of the world can I find passion to change it. I need to know what will happen to my sister if she doesn't come home, what happens to thousands of children every year, because it forces me to take action. I cannot ignore what I know. To do so would be against the Word of God. And I am responsible for what I have seen.

I'm going to post an excerpt from The Boy from Baby House 10. It's a little graphic, ridiculously unjust, and it makes me want to punch someone. I'm not going to make anyone read this. Some people may choose not to because they're scared. I don't blame them. But, personally, I think you need to read it. Knowledge of evil drives people to action for good. And, God knows, we need some action for the special needs children of the world.

Keep in mind that Vanya is very smart, especially for one growing up in such seclusion. He can speak, and was learning to walk. At this point, an instructor is taking Vanya to a mental institution. He doesn't know where he's going, and he thinks he will return home. Poor Vanya.

Already traumatized by his journey through the asylum, Vanya stared in horror at the scene before him. The room was crammed full of cribs. Not wooden ones like in the baby house, but bigger ones with high metal bars, like cages. In each crib was a bare mattress. There were no sheets or blankets. On each mattress lay a child. Some were naked. Some were wearing only a dirty undershirt. They were lying in puddles of their own urine. One was lying on his feces. Another child was banging his head violently against the bars of his crib. They were moaning and crying.
Before he could say anything, the deputy had taken Vanya from Svelana and torn off his coat and boots and dumped him in an empty crib. As Vanya struggled to pull himself up, he noticed the boy in the crib next to him was tied up in an old sheet so he could not move his arms. He was rocking from side to side.
Vanya grabbed hold of the bars of the crib and looked around frantically for Svetlana. She was by the door, not looking at him.
"Svetlana, Svetlana. Why am I here?" he shouted, breaking the silence. "Why has she put me in this crib?"
"Oh, he can talk can he?" said the deputy director, surprised. "You've brought as a talker - a troublemaker? As though we haven't got enough problems already."
Suddenly the terrible truth hit Vanya like a punch in the stomach. "You're not leaving me here are you?" Svetlana was still not looking at him.
The deputy director went over to Svetlana. "Are you sure you've brought the right one?"
"Oh yes. The commission examined him just two months ago. He's been assigned here. I've got the letter from the ministry." Svetlana found the document.
From across the room, Vanya yelled, "Don't leave me here, Svetlana. Auntie Valentina (a caretaker) wouldn't want it. I'm her little major." But Svetlana was still not looking at him. He searched his mind for reasons to persuade her to take him back to the baby house. "Adela will be bored without me. She likes the funny stories I tell."
Svetlana never turned around. The deputy ushered her out, shutting the door behind them. Vanya hurled his body against the bars of the crib and screamed as loud as he could. "Don't leave me here, Svetlana." He heard the key turn in the lock.

That is what we're dealing with. If you can read that and not be moved, at least a little bit, there is something wrong with you. Why should it matter if a child can't walk, or has a lower mental capacity than the next? They're children. God's children. Just like you and me. And I wonder how long he will allow his children to be so mistreated.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

The Worst Team

People like to root for their teams. Whether it be the Superbowl, the Olympics, or your little brother's first soccer game, you like to root for them. You like to stand and scream and jump and cheer them on. But would you still cheer them on if they always lost? If it was absolutely impossible for them to win?

Picture this: The New Connecticut Eggs are the worst team in the NFL (Yes, I know that there is no such thing as New Connecticut. It's supposed to be fictional.). Each member of the team has a deformity of some sort - a limp, a wheelchair, an inability to see clearly, an inability to understand what's going on around them. None of them know how to play football, or really even know what football is. They want to score a touchdown because that's what the other teams do, but they don't understand how to. And even if they did, they wouldn't be able to manage it. Picture the Eggs up against the worst team in the real NFL. They'd get pummeled, completely smashed. People feel sorry for the Eggs. They can't root for them, because they're so bad they don't even have a chance, but they do feel sorry for them. Maybe they even want to help, but they're too embarrassed to be seen with that team. They're too bad. They're just hopeless.

That is the situation of Down syndrome children in the game of adoption. Except that their lives are on the line. Because they have a little extra chromosome, they don't understand why they can't sit with the other children in the orphanage. They don't understand why families come in and kiss and hug the other children, but only glance pitifully in their direction. They don't understand why the other children get to leave with these nice people, and they're still stuck in the orphanage. They want so badly to go home with some of those nice people, and they try so hard to get the nice people to like them, but they don't know how. They try their best, but they don't understand why they're so different from the others. Those nice people feel sorry for them, maybe they even want to help them. They say, "I'll just give the orphanage some money and tell them to use if for these poor, little disabled children." But the "poor, little disabled children" don't want those funny green papers. They want to be lost in the arms of one of those nice people. They want to leave with them like the other children. But those nice people don't like them. Those nice people's kindness only goes so far.

You can donate money all you like for the Down syndrome children in places like Eastern Europe, Russia, and around the world. But do you honestly think your money means anything to those children? Maybe, maybe, they'll get a nicer bed, or some good food. But I'll bet you they would trade a bed, clothing, or good food any day for a family that loves them. For one of those nice people to take them home and love them for who they are. Not feel sorry for them and give them little slips of green paper, but take them home to a safe, warm, loving place.

Down syndrome orphans are the worst team in the Adoption League. People feel sorry for them, but they don't root for them because they're embarrassed or scared, or both. But they need someone to root for them. That's the only way they'll ever get any better, is if someone comes to teach them to play, show them what to do.

Don't wait for someone else to come along and do your job. Adoption is not an alternative. God calls everyone to help the orphans and the fatherless, especially the "least of these." Don't be tricked into thinking that those kids care about your money. Because they don't. Not one bit.

If you say, "Hey, that's none of my business," will that get you off the hook? Someone is watching you closely, you know. Someone not impressed with weak excuses.
- Proverbs 24:12

If you are interested in learning more about special needs adoption, Down syndrome in particular, please visit: http://www.reecesrainbow.org/

Friday, March 5, 2010

Overcoming Anxiety

I used to be the person that gets nervous about everything. Not just a little jittery, but breakdown nervous. Crying, feeling sick, hyperventilating. That used to be me. I had a generalized anxiety disorder.

Then I started to take counseling. People always think that counseling is a bad thing. Why? Counselors are like doctors for your mind. They help you fix things that you don't know how to fix yourself.

It's been almost nine months since I started seeing a counselor, and all of my family and friends can see a difference. I don't let things bother me as much, and I have a much higher self-esteem. Over time, my counselor had helped me reconstruct my negative thinking patterns of "I can't do this," "I'm not good enough," and "I have to be perfect."

It is so liberating to be free of my restrictive anxiety. I would literally almost make myself sick with nervousness before when now, I only get a few butterflies in my stomach. I learned how to recognize tension in my body and how to control it. I can make my body relax now. I learned how to control my breathing, and my thought processes.

I almost feel like a new person. I don't have to worry anymore. I've learned how to stop my negative thoughts before they go spiraling downwards.

All of this through the providence of God, and a counselor. And people think they're a bad thing... My counselor helped me knock down barriers that were preventing me from being the person God wants me to be.

And I thank God for her. I thank God that she has helped me overcome anxiety.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Reading (Yes, for Fun)

I love to read. I always have. Any books - I enjoy reading picture books, young adult fiction, classics, the list goes on and on. However, in today's culture it can sometimes be difficult to find good Christian books in the sea of literature containing non-Christian material. But, you'll be pleased to know, I have found so really great Christian reads that are for teens and young adults. Hopefully, you'll check some of them out. Trust me, they're worth your time.

1. Do Hard Things
Alex and Brett Harris
In Do Hard Things, Alex and Brett Harris (age 19) challenge the teenage mindset of "just have fun" and look at the teenage years as a way to start preparing for God to use you in the future. This book is life-changing. This book is what prompted me to start Shining City Teens. It really shows you how the low expectations on teenagers today have hindered our views on how to handle our teenage years. I recommend it to anyone, especially teenagers. Their new book, Start Here, is coming out this month with new ideas of how to become a "rebelutionary" and put Do Hard Things into action.

2. Generation Change
Zach Hunter
I just got this book, and I have to say that Zach (age 16) really knows how to talk to teenagers. His book addresses the problem that many teens are having - they want to do something to contribute to and help the world, but they don't know where to start. Zach gives an overview of many of the world's major issues and ways that you specifically can help out. It really is a great starting place. I also recommend his other books: Be the Change and Lose Your Cool.

3. I Kissed Dating Goodbye
Joshua Harris
Now, before I tell you about this book, let me just say that it's not a book that just points out all the different ways that dating is bad. Joshua Harris wrote this when he was about twenty-one, and he realized that, as a Christian, his life should be radically different than the rest of the world's - including his approach to romance and relationships. I Kissed Dating Goodbye focuses on living your life for God, and maybe that means not "dating" like the rest of the world. For people that are considering marriage or courtship, his book Boy Meets Girl is also a good choice.

4. Jesus Freaks: Martyrs
dc Talk
This is a very emotional book. Not like Twilight emotional, emotional in a way that leaves you awestruck at what people went through (and are still going through) for their Savior. It contains the stories of many martyrs, from the past and the present. After I put this book down, it made me look seriously at my faith and say, "Would I have been able to trust in my God enough to withstand the things they did?" The stories in this book will challenge and inspire you. I also recommend the second volume, Jesus Freaks: Revolutionaries.

5. Chosen
Ted Dekker
While Ted Dekker may be a Christian author, this may be one of the most action-packed, suspenseful books I've ever read. Fast-paced and full of plot twists, it may even be a little bit hard to keep up with. Young Johnis's world is turned upside down when he is made a captain of the Guard, a position he had never trained for, and is given a mission that concerns the fate of his entire world - and another. I can't explain how highly I recommend this book. However, it's only the first in a series. Following Chosen are: Infidel, Renegade, Chaos, Lunatic, and Elyon. I also suggest that you read Dekker's books Black, Red, and White. They tie in with the Lost Books series (Chosen, Infidel, etc.).

Monday, March 1, 2010

March Child

Our child of the month for March is Carter.

Along with having Down syndrome, Carter also has FAS (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome). He is 5 years old, and if facing imminent institutionalization. So he needs all the prayers he can get.

You can view his picture at www.reecesrainbow.com. Click on 'Waiting Children' --> Click 'Most "At Risk" Children, ages 3-5' --> Click 'Waiting Children' --> Scroll down to 'Other Countries' and Carter should be sixth.

Please join me in praying for this little boy. He needs it.