Saturday, October 3, 2015

October Currently and a What Not to Wear Transformation

Brrr!!!  Cold rain.  Gray clouds.  Chilling wind.

Is it October or November?

Bring back the clear, sunny fall days and the crunchy, colorful leaves!

I shouldn't complain because I would rather be cold than hot.  Still, the last two days have been ones that chill you to the core and never let you warm up.

Being that it is a blustery night during which everyone is staying in, I figured it was a good time to blog.  It has been a while since I have done that, but it has been even longer since I have joined the Currently.  Tonight, my free time Farley's linky matched up.  :-)

Recently, I started studying Spanish, so I find it quite interesting that Bay is in Spanish class too.  Now, many of the main characters are in Mexico.  TV time turned into extra practice.  

Over the past for months, I have worked in New Jersey, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Guatemala.  This month, I will go to Virginia and Kentucky.  Haiti is in March.  Gotta say, even though the travel life is hectic, I love it.  It is such so rewarding to serve with World Orphans.  I enjoy talking with people about their lives and our ministry to discover how together we can make a difference in the lives of children.  God is at work and I am grateful to be a part of it.  Read more details in my October newsletter linked below.

Becky's October Bulletin: Guatemala, Collyde, and Colorado
Where are the cool fall days?  It's not time for 40 degrees and rain yet!

For the past year and a half, I have been blessed to live with a family from my church.  They were so generous to take me in when I needed a place to stay and it has been great getting to know them.  However, the time has come for all of us to move on to different living arrangements.  I am in the midst of an apartment hunt in an area where apartments do not like to be found.  

A few months ago, I commissioned my friend, Rachel, to help me update my wardrobe.  I was/am sick and tired of being told I look like I am 15!  After ranting about this a few too many times, I realized that it might help to stop wearing the same clothes I wore when I was 15.  Don't get me wrong, I was not exclusively wearing high school clothes.  However, I hate shopping and spending money, so a few old faithfuls were in the mix.  Since I hate shopping, I relied on Rachel to push me out of my comfort zone and into an adult wardrobe.  She did just that.  

She taught me how to layer pieces and to incorporate color in more subtle ways.  All the while, she encouraged me to pick out pieces and respected my taste.  It was a great collaboration.

After our shopping spree, I donated two giant garbage bags of brightly colored, young-looking clothes to Goodwill.  The primary-color loving former first grade teacher in me had a hard time letting go.

Now, I love everything I bought and feel more confident, while still being comfortable and colorful.  Plus, I like getting compliments on what I wear.  Rachel gets all the credit though for being my Stacy London.

You can't see my whole ensemble here, but I love this jacket!

Well, that's it for me tonight.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Friday, August 21, 2015

My Vegan-Friendly Life

Good Evening,

It is that time of year: the end-of-summer/back-to-school frenzy of final barbecues, last trips to the beach, and school supply shopping.  It is the time of year when I still feel like I should be back in a classroom frantically hanging bulletin boards and labeling supplies.  Sigh.

Alas, I am not in a classroom and that is okay.  A bit sad, but okay.  I am loving what I am doing with World Orphans and know for sure that this is where God wants me at this time.

Though I love my job, one challenge is that I work from home.  I literally work in my bedroom, at a desk right next to my bed.  It is a bit strange and has led to me feeling a bit cooped up at times.

To combat this cooped up feeling I take walks, schedule plenty of social outings, and am trying to invest more in hobbies.  For example, I started learning Spanish in preparation for a trip to Guatemala.

My post tonight is not about World Orphans, school, or Spanish though.  It is about another hobby of mine: cooking, specifically cooking vegan food.

Let me just start by saying that I am not a vegan.

However, over the last year, I have been leaning more and more towards plant-based eating.  I never was a big meat-eater, so this was not a difficult progression to make.  In addition, I have drastically reduced my intake of dairy, so some days or meals I am completely vegan.  Therefore, I consider myself to be "vegan-friendly."

I owe much of my love for vegan food and cooking it to my sister who gave me The Holy Grail of vegan cookbooks for Christmas.  It is called, The Oh She Glows Cookbook by Angela Liddon, and it is AMAZING.
Angela's recipes are not only vegan, but often gluten-free and/or nut-free.  They are healthy, colorful, and super fun to make.  I love having a counter full of fresh veggies to chop and spices to blend.  Cooking and eating is much more fun when it is colorful.  It truly helps me appreciate all that God has created and to value food as fuel for my body.

That being said, here are a few highlight recipes that I've made from the cookbook or Angela's blog.  It was hard to choose just these because I have absolutely LOVED everything I have made from it.  By the way, I take no credit for developing these recipes.  If they look good to you, check out the cookbook or blog.  Also,  I know that my food-photography skills need some serious work.  :-)

Indian Lentil-Cauliflower Stew
Luxurious Tomato Basil Pasta
Glowing Strawberry Mango Guacamole.  Oh my goodness.
Guacamole on a whole new level of awesomeness.
Crowd-Pleasing Tex-Mex Casserole with black beans, corn, rice, spinach, and lots of spices.
Warm Spring Salad with quinoa, asparagus, peas, and strawberries
Did I make you hungry?  Haha.  Perhaps some of your final summer shindigs can be vegan-friendly this year.  Bon appetite!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Camp Travels and a Future Trip to Guatemala!

Greetings from New Jersey!

I am back home after an adventurous first half of the summer.  It is so nice to reconnect with my friends and my church community.  Travel is that much sweeter when you have a home-base to return to in between.
As much as my last newsletter was filled with celebrations, this one is too.  Together with World Orphans, you and I are part of God’s great work to not only care for the fatherless, but to draw each person closer to Him.  I could share a million moments where God clearly showed up this summer through one-on-one conversations, prayers, worship, and so much more.  However, I will try to limit myself to a few highlights.
Kirkwood Camp and Conference Center: In early July, I had the pleasure of spending a day and a half at Camp Kirkwood, near Cincinnati, Ohio.  Though I grew up with knowledge of this camp, I had never visited.  As soon as I arrived, I knew it was a special place filled with people who love the Lord.
            The camp generously gave me an hour to teach a breakout session.  Since the theme of the week was “Storytelling,” I wove together my testimony with the story of Usha, an orphaned teenager from India.  I encouraged the campers that their stories were instruments for sharing God’s love with others and speaking out for those who are in need.  Next, everyone broke into small groups to pray for orphans and to discuss how they could use their gifts to make a difference through World Orphans Rescue Teams. 

Becky speaking to senior high campersCamper looking at a picture
Seneca Hills Bible Camp: After spending eight days working from my parents’ house and enjoying time with them, it was time for my next camp experience, the one I had been eagerly anticipating for months.  As a college student, I spent two summers serving as a counselor at Seneca Hills Bible Camp in Pennsylvania.  They were two of the best summers of my life and I spent the years afterwards missing that special place and the amazing people there.  I thought I would never get the chance to go back, but God knew better.  Earlier this year, the program director invited me to serve as the missions’ speaker for one week!
            Knowing this was a huge task and that I could not do it alone, I invited my friend and India trip team member, Kim, to come with me.  Together we spent six days bonding with the campers, counselors, and staff.  We taught missions each day to over 100 campers, ages 6-12.  Since the age group was young we focused on what it means to be a missionary, the challenges orphans face, and how children of all ages can make a difference.  The campers engaged well with all the topics and were especially invested when we shared the stories of specific orphans in India.  Plus, they had a blast learning about Indian culture and singing “Yeshu Tera Naam, (Jesus Your Name is Higher)” in Hindi.

        At the end of the week, at a special campfire, campers were given the opportunity to share what God had done in their lives and what they had learned through all the camp experiences.  A few quotes stood out to both Kim and me.
"I learned that you can worship in any language and God will understand."

"I learned that there are 1.2 billion people in India and most of them are Hindu.  I am not the only one who needs Jesus."

"I learned that you can be a missionary wherever you are!"

Children often say it best.  It is incredible to realize that God is opening their eyes and hearts to the world even at such young ages.
Now that we have celebrated the summer, it is time to look ahead.  Right now, I am busy launching three new Rescue Teams that resulted from Big Ticket Festival. Hopefully, a few more will get going soon.  Also, I am preparing for a very exciting trip to…Guatemala!!
Guatemala Trip:  This trip is designed specifically to cast vision and to invite churches to partner with World Orphans and international churches in Guatemala.  For this purpose, World Orphans invited me and two others from my church to join the team.  This way we can experience the work being done there first-hand and report back to leadership.  In addition, my experiences in Guatemala will enable me to communicate more effectively about World Orphans to many others as part of my daily advocacy work.
As part of my preparation for this trip, I am responsible for raising $1500.  To help with this process, I will be selling shirts.  The cost is $20.  I would be so grateful if you would not only pray for me and the whole team, but prayerfully considering donating and/or buying a shirt. 


Donate: Becky's Guatemala Trip

T-Shirt Order Form
Thanks so much for all your prayers and support!

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bands and Big Ticket!

Hello Blogland,

Long time no see.  These last few months have been a whirlwind of awesomeness.  Since I started full time with World Orphans in February, the momentum and work load has increased steadily each month.

Anyways, my goal with my blog was to continue to provide you with ministry updates and I have failed at that.  I am going to try to improve though.  To start, I will share my July newsletter, which really is about June, but whatever.  It is a bit on the older side now, but it still gives you a glimpse at what I have been up to lately.  Hopefully, I will remember to post my August one sooner.

The beginning of June was spent finalizing plans for my month-and-a-half long nomadic journey full of work events.  Then, on June 15th I headed home to Ohio to spend a few days with my family before heading to Michigan where the fun began.
"To the World" Worship and Justice Tour: On June 21st, I met up with two bands, Bluetree and The Informants, who were finishing up their World Orphans Worship and Justice Tour.  They had been traveling around Michigan playing in churches and other venues for the purpose of creating worshipful experiences and promoting justice for orphans.
            I joined the tour for the last few shows to help recruit Rescue Partners and to sell jewelry handmade by women in Guatemala and Haiti.  On Sunday, we played at an amazing church full of people with hearts for the world.  That morning alone, 21 new people signed up to be monthly partners with World Orphans.  Their support, along with all of the other Rescue Partners provides for our international church projects who are still awaiting U.S. church partners.  Thanks to Rescue Partners, these churches are able to continue providing holistic care for the orphans and vulnerable children in their community.  Over the course of the whole tour, 58 people signed up to play this important role.
Big Ticket Festival:  After the tour wrapped up, it was time to get ready for the main event: Big Ticket Festival (BTF).  It took two full days of set-up to get the World Orphans experience tent ready to go.  This preparation including cleaning out an old school bus, tearing cardboard, slinging mud, modge podging, hanging burlap, spray painting, stringing clothes line, and much more.   The result was a six-minute-long audio visual presentation that left many in tears.   The journey took people from the comforts of everyday life through our true brokenness, and into the life of an orphan in Cambodia.  They also were given time to pray for orphans and those in need around the world.
            Throughout the festival over 2,000 entered the bus and went through the World Orphans experience.  At the end, they expressed their sadness, conviction, and desire to do more for orphans with the staff members and volunteers working inside the tent.  Then, they stepped out into my tent where I shared about Rescue Teams and other ways to get involved.  It was such a blessing to empower people to turn their emotion into action. 

Amie and Me working the tent
            I had some great conversations with young people who hoped to get their youth groups to form Rescue Teams, adults who wanted to get their businesses involved, and many individuals who had great ideas for fundraisers.  The many different ideas included dirt bike races, hiking events, pie auctions, running ½ marathons, YouTube videos etc.  I look forward to following up with these passionate people and hopefully helping them start their Rescue Teams.
            In addition to serving at the experience tent and my own Rescue Team booth, I was also able to represent World Orphans in several other ways.  At least once or twice a day, my supervisors chose me to speak on stage to invite people to get involved with World Orphans.  Though a few of these stage times were sprung on me last minute, I had a blast at every one!

Selfie from the Worship Stage
            Also, on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, I helped out with the large appeals from the Main Stage.  On two of the three nights, Jared Faelleci, a volunteer advocate and public speaker for World Orphans, spoke about the work being done in Iraq.  He explained how God is using World Orphans to provide refuge for those fleeing ISIS.  Then, he asked the audience to give generously to support the over 600 refugees in our care.  Over 30 of us wandered through the crowd of 10,000 people carrying buckets to collect the donations.  Later, our hearts raced as we counted the money.  All of us were praying and hoping for $10,000, which would really mean $30,000 thanks to two matching donations.  Guess what.  God showed up!  The crowd donated $10,005!
            On the last night, Aaron from Bluetree made an appeal for Rescue Partners and 31 people responded.  Plus, others made one time gifts, which will also be used to provide for the children care for by our international church partners.
Aaron Boyd of Bluetree speaking about World Orphans from atop a bus
            Serving at Big Ticket Festival and alongside both bands was incredible.  It confirmed to me that I am just one person in the midst of a much greater movement.  God is at work through His faithful servants and He is providing for orphans.  Thank you for being a part of it all!

Hope you enjoyed the update!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

CAFO and Color Me Cambodacious!

Good Evening Everyone,

It's been a bit since I have blogged, but I just finished writing my slightly late quarterly ministry update, so I figured I would share the news with you all.

The first quarter of 2015 has drawn to a close.  Looking back now, it is hard to believe in January I was sitting at 78% support and unsure when I would begin full time work.  God provided in amazing and humbling ways through all of your generous gifts and prayers.  Thanks to you, I have now been on staff and working hard for just over 3 months.
Over these past months, I have undergone training, worked on the Rescue Teams website, made hundreds of phone calls, started my own Rescue Team, and traveled to Nashville for the Christian Alliance for Orphans conference.  Having shared many of these efforts with you already, I will provide highlights for only my most recent work:

Color Me Cambodacious: Running to Rescue Orphans in Cambodia: The Rescue Team that my friends and I started has grown to include 11 runners and 9 fundraisers.  We are all in training for a 5k race on May 16th where we will run on behalf of orphans in Cambodia.  Our pre-race efforts have yielded $426 of our $2600 goal.  We are excited for the progress, but have a long way to go.  All of the Color Me Cambodacious team members and the children in Cambodia would be grateful for your support.  You can make a one-time, tax-deductible gift here: Donate to Rescue Orphans in Cambodia.

Journey Trip Calls: Throughout April, I spent most of my days calling nearly everyone who has traveled with World Orphans on a Journey trip in the past.  From 2011 to present, we have sent hundreds of people around the world to experience poverty, the orphan crisis, and the amazing work of the local church as supported by World Orphans.  During my calls, I heard many inspiring stories.  Countless Journey trip alumni have become lifelong orphan advocates through overseas missions, foster care, adoption, careers in social work etc.   Several are now prayerfully considering starting Rescue Teams to invite others to join the cause.

CAFO Conference: As I write this newsletter, I am just back from a two-day whirlwind trip to Tennessee for the annual Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) Summit.  The event was a bit overwhelming at first with over 100 ministry booths lining the hallways, a huge list of breakout sessions, and crowds of people!  However, soon I realized how amazing it was to be surrounded by thousands of people who have dedicated their lives to caring for orphans.  From foster parents and adoptive families to church leaders and global orphan ministry workers, all were playing their role in defending the fatherless.
            Having accepted the fact that there was no way I could engage in everything there was to do at the conference, I decided to spend one day attending breakout sessions and the other day at the World Orphans exhibit sharing about our ministry and networking with other ministries.
            On Thursday, I attended three breakout sessions.  One emphasized the importance of caregiver well-being in the effective care of orphans and vulnerable children.  You must teach and support the entire family, not just the child.  This was encouraging to hear since World Orphans does provide this type of family-support in our home-based care programs.
            The other two sessions were taught by World Orphans (WO) staff and our partner ministries.  Scott Vair of World Orphans, Mark Gumm of Bethany Christian Services, and Chad Smith of AMG Guatemala shared about the importance and beauty of humble collaboration.  Mark Gumm summarized the impact that partnership can have by saying, "By collaborating we can reach more children, more families with the compassion and love of Jesus Christ and we can do it better.”

Left to Right: Mark Gumm, Chad Smith, and Scott Vair.

Kate Borders
In her session dedicated to "Empowering Short Term Missions Teams,” Kate Borders, Executive Director of Mobilization for WO, emphasized that when planning trips, “We do the logistics well, so we can do the heart level well.”  Once the details are in order, team leaders have more time to disciple team members.
            Friday was spent at the booth with my good friend and co-worker, Amie, whom I finally met in person at CAFO after months of working together long distance.  As newer staff members we spent plenty of time listening to the veterans share about our ministry with great depth.  When opportunities presented themselves, we too spoke with many who visited our exhibit.

Lindsay, Amie, and Me, the three newest staff members all working hard at CAFO.

I could go on for pages, but I will try to summarize.  CAFO was a fast-paced time of fellowship with fellow staff members, learning from leaders in orphan care, and sharing the vision of World Orphans.  I look forward to following up with the over 30 new contacts we gained to invite them further into the work of advocating for orphans.

Representatives from World Orphans and three of our partner organizations: Bethany Christian Services, AMG, and Together For Adoption

These past three months of serving with World Orphans have been amazing.  I hope that you are encouraged to hear how God is using your prayers and support to change the lives of children around the world.
Thank you so much and God bless!


Monday, April 13, 2015

Where's Your Tom Sawyer Island?

Where is your Tom Sawyer Island?

Where do you go to get perspective?  Where do find peace and open your mind to creativity?


This question stumped me at small group last week.  The girls and I had just read the introduction to Love Does by Bob Goff in which he talks about making his office Tom Sawyer Island in Disneyland.  He describes how this place has become an escape for him.  A place of clarity and potential.

What a beautiful concept. 

Do I have a place like that?

The fact that it did not immediately come to mind indicates that I do not go there often.  That I often fall into the busy routine and don't take time be still and dream.  Yes, inspiration comes.  God speaks.  The small voice whispers in between the cracks in my schedule and the brief moments of silence in the midst of the noise.

I wonder what He would say if He had more time.

After a few moments of contemplation and listening to my friends share, I realized I do have a place or rather a type of place.

High.  Wide.



Nothing offers perspective quite like an expansive horizon and a view from the top.  The rushing cars and crowds of hurried people are far below.  The earth stretches out as far as the eye can see.  Rooftops.  Fields.  Oceans.  Whatever the scenery, it all melts into the distance with the sky spread above.

Peace comes.  He's got this.  There is a bigger picture, a wide view.  Far bigger and wider than any height on earth could ever reveal.  God sees it though. 

Time to slow down.  Breathe deep.  Listen.  Smile.  Remember.

He's got this. 

Where's your Tom Sawyer Island?

Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Currently

Can it be April already?  How did this happen?

Not that I am complaining.  April is my favorite month.  Spring weather (hopefully), flowers, and my birthday!  Plus, this April, I have my first World Orphans event to look forward to.  I will be going to the Christian Alliance for Orphans conference in Nashville at the end of this month.  So exciting!

Today, I am linking up with Farley's Currently.

I am finishing up the winter season online.  Though I originally loved the characters, they are getting a tad bit annoying and the situations are getting less plausible.  Oh well, guess that's what happens with many TV shows.

My friends and I just formed a World Orphans Rescue Team called Color Me Cambodacious: Running to Rescue Orphans in Cambodia.  We will be racing in a Color Me Rad event and inviting people to sponsor us by donating to World Orphans.  It's going to be so much fun!

I'm heading back to Ohio tomorrow to see my family for Easter.  I can't wait! 
It's finally a beautiful, warm day outside!  I've been inside working at my computer all day, so I'm antsy to get outside.  Time for a walk!
Haven't packed my bag yet for my trip home.  It's only a few days, but I should probably get on that.
EGGS-plain Your Name
My blog name was born from me being a teacher and volunteering with Compassion International.  Now, that I am working for World Orphans, I still consider it an appropriate name since I am encouraging and leading people to raise awareness and funds for orphans around the world.