24 ~ in three different lights

I love “24”. Jack can save the world – save “millions” of lives in just 24 hours.

My last 24 hours wasn’t as exciting. Yesterday was long. Work went well, but kind of stressful. I was feeling stuffy trying to fight off a chest-cold with air-borne, and neither my little girl nor myself could take a nap, because she had just learned how to escape her ‘sleeping quarters’ . It’s finally time to graduate to her big-girl bed. I couldn’t find my wallet or my phone – it’s goin’ on a week now. And I found out I need a crown and my son has no enamel on his teeth due to a high fever he had when he was 2, so he has many cavities, and we have no insurance.

But it all seems a little insignificant in light of what I recently read happens in the span of 24 hours elsewhere:

  • Over 13,000 children age 5 & younger will die of hunger
  • About 3,000 children will die of diseases caused by unclean water & poor sanitation
  • Nearly 3,000 children will die from malaria

These stats blow my mind. Nearly 20k kids dead, in 24 hours. It seems so senseless! But in one day, we can help turn these numbers around. We really, really can.

Ricky & I have been able to make a dent in the numbers by reaching out to even one 6-yr. old child, Jhonatan. It doesn’t seem like a big impact (just one child), but I know that our $32., the letters from his American friend, Braylon, & our prayers really do make a big impact on Jhonatan and his family. Would you join us? Those who have a little bit extra are called to give to those who do not. But ya know, those who do not have a little extra are also called to give to those who are suffering from poverty. When you answer, God will more than step up to your level of faith and provide for you. Faith can do wonders. He’ll reward every effort. It is his very nature, as our Provider & Father…and we will know in our hearts that we obeyed.

I’m no Jack Bauer, but I can help save one life, and I can’t think of a better feeling.

jack

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For more info, or if you want to choose a child to impact as well, just click over to C.I. (Compassion International) & start your search.

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adjusting to change

i’m back for a bit ~ we’re just adjusting this week!

last week was sure a whirlwind, moving ans starting a new job. it feels so strange to be in a home over 25% smaller, knowing we could’ve stayed where we were. but to save money so we’ll be able to get out of debt, have some savings set aside for healthcare & urgent needs, and give more to people or causes…it’s worth it. yeah, it’s cramped, it’s louder without carpet, but it’s freeing…and pretty dang cute!! for now, i’m writing from the hutto public library!…but i’ll post a picture or video as soon as we’re set up with internet again.

bray’s favorite thing about the new house is his clubhouse (really just a shed). i gotta admit, it’s way better to see a happy doggie greet us thru our backyard fence, li’l cottontail bunnies hopping around our green grass & cute geckos scurrying around (rather than seeing florescent parking lights shine over a carwash & fast food place). our new house is quaint & adorable.

big props to my hubs for staying alongside me in this effort to make wiser choices w/how we spend our time & money. oh, yeah – dave ramsey, too. it’s jaw-dropping to see the change in his spending habits from when we first got married. we’ve made some mistakes & some sacrifices too, & thru them, God has given us lots of opportunities to bless people and grow.

i honestly cannot wait to watch him work in our lives even more, now that we’ll have a little extra money from the downsize & our careers. HE’s gettin’ every drop of credit. gotta love him.

shoplift a heavy burden

it was a rush. my mind would go a hundred miles an hour (to keep up with my heart) as i walked the isles of the store. it could be any store…or house. it could be any thing. lipstick, underwear, a toy for my son, a ring, a birthday gift, a grape, a coke…you get the idea. my objective was to try & find a way to get out of that store without paying for it…without a soul noticing it was gone. it was kind of a ‘lets see how far i can push the limits’ game i played. the anxiety was actually exciting while i shopped. maybe since i never really went thru a drinkin’ & druggin’ phase, this was my version of a “high” i missed out on. the pinnacle was always at checkout. i thought if i got past checkout, i’d probably be safe…beyond suspicion. sometimes i’d use coy conversation & flattery to distract the cashier. i was dang good.

rolling cameras, electronic machines, magnetic strips, return policies ~ i thought i could beat them all. for example, if i got hungry, i’d head over to the protein bar section, open one up, eat it slowly while i ‘shopped’, as to not seem paranoid & then leave the wrapper on the bottom of the cart at check out. if they asked, i’d say, ‘oh, that’s just garbage’. a thief and a liar.

sometimes i’d be at home, bored w/an overdrawn bank account & have an intense desire to shop…or should i say, attain something new. once the urge got in my brain, it was like nothin’ could stop me. i’d take little items easy to hide in my purse. if i didn’t have the money (i read shoplifting rarely has to do with the lack of money), i’d think, ‘there’s got to be somethin’ around the house i can return. then w/that cash or credit, i can buy something else.’ i’d frantically search the house for items or search my purse for a good receipt & then look for an item listed on it. in essence, i used the socially acceptable & legal right to return things, so as to justify it. i’d take back all kinds of things i’d had for up to 9 months, clothes worn & washed countless times…i’d literally break things, un-stitch a hem to make it seem defective, even hot-glue a plastic price-tag loop back onto a garment so it looked never worn.

one time i even returned a dress jacket i gave to my husband for his birthday. it had a small rip in the armpit & i made it bigger, stating it was defective. originally i paid $29. @ fred meyer…& i got credit for it, but not before several cashiers looked at it with an ‘oh my god.’ examining me & then the botched receipt (another trick i was fond of ~ i’d make the purchase date illegible w/water stains or just just rip it). they had a small debate team meeting as i stood there with a long line of people behind me. yeah, it was embarrassing. am i really writing all this? my gosh, it still is. but at the time, all that was worth a $13. gift card to me so i could get something new. to this day i can’t believe it ‘worked’. in fact, to this day, i can’t believe i was never caught.

i watched a dr. phil called, ‘can’t stop stealing’. i completely related to this woman. only she’d been arrested 4 or 5 times & was still addicted. he basically used her kids’ innocence & the threat of prison to scare & shame her into accepting the gift of cognitive therapy he offered to pay for “in her own home town”.

it was far from a message of grace & forgiveness. now that’s a real gift.

i thought getting caught just one time would break me. the sheer humiliation of being hauled off in from of my toddler while he waits for his daddy to come for him…or the thought of being handcuffed in public…it still scares me. but that’s not what helped me stop. dr. phil’s guest made me feel less alone in my addiction, but that wasn’t it either.

i read that confessing something to God with your mouth – it cleanses & saves you. confessing it to someone close you can trust is what starts the healing process. i believed that. i finally told my husband last year, then later my mom, that i had struggled with this compulsion for several years. like food addicts who have to eat to live & are therefore continually faced w/temptation to overeat as they stand in front of their fridge, i had to shop for necessities & groceries weekly. the temptation was always there.

but after confessing to God & someone who could hold me immediately accountable, my urges to “lift” started…lifting. when i’m tempted to steal (yeah, i’m still tempted), i ask myself, ‘self, why!?! do u need that? what kind of example are u setting? would it be worth getting caught? do u think you’re more special or entitled than others who actually pay? get over your…self.’ or i’ll just say a simple prayer for the strength i need; recalling that there’s One who promises to supply all my needs, when i need them. sometimes i don’t do either, & end up taking something anyway. the last thing i can remember lifting was a birthday card that played ‘who let the dogs out’ when you opened it. angel had used it as entertainment while @ wal mart, even during self-check out. that was 3 or 4 months ago.

i’ve been thinkin’ about it lately. my reasons for doin’ it & for me, it comes down to three things ~ not trusting God nearly enough, refusing to die to my selfish desires, & clutching a perverted sense of self-entitlement.

today as i type this, i am nearly free of that issue. not because i tried hard, faithfully attended a 12-step klepto program, or was caught in the act. instead, thank God grace was poured out on me.

before it got worse, i was shown in my heart how confession & reliance {on strength greater than my own} can join forces to really change a person ~ from the inside out.