Thursday, May 31, 2012

Little things that bring us joy | World Vision

Last night, as I was walking by our refrigerator, I happened to glance up at all of the pictures on it.  Two on the top corner caught my eye.  They're pictures of our sponsored child, Ali.  We sponsor him through World Vision.  [This is not a paid post's just from the heart ;) ]  We help sponsor Ali for $35 US dollars each month, which allows him to attend school, receive school supplies, & have access to foods that are nutritious.  Our money also helps provide clean drinking water in his village as well as health care & education about HIV which is rampant in his country.  When we started sponsoring him, he was nine and couldn't even draw the number 1.  Now he is 12 years old, in school, and is able to count from 1-50.  We are so proud of him!    

When I was looking at his pictures last night, I realized that it had been a month or two since we had written to him.  So this morning I promptly went on the World Vision website & sent him an email. (Isn't it cool that you can do that!!)  Now, he won't get the email directly, as he lives in a small community in a small country in Africa. BUT...that email will be sent to their headquarters, printed out, translated & delivered to him by one of the workers.  It goes a little something like this:

Let me just tell you...each time we do this, we fall more & more in love with this little boy!  It is so rewarding to hear from him!  And the letters we write to him are so simple.  Here's what I wrote him today for example: 

Hi Ali!!

We hope this email finds you doing well :)

I looked at your picture just last night & realized how long it has been
since we've written to you.  We received your last letter in the mail, and
boy were we thrilled!! We always love hearing from you.  And I must say, your
drawings are getting better & better each time you write to us.  I'm hoping
that we can send you another package soon.  It was exciting to hear that you
are back in school.  I know it is hard for you, but we will keep praying that
the Lord will bless your efforts & allow you to understand well what you are
learning.  We are so excited that you're learning all about your home,
community and country.  And you are counting 1-50!  We are very proud!!

You mentioned that you are playing ball games at school with your friends.  I
know you are having so much fun.  We love to play ball games here too.
Cameron & I love to play a game we call softball.  It is similar to baseball.
 During the summer (which is almost here in the U.S.) we play in the  evenings
with people in our community.  We will get together & play several nights a's lots of fun!  What kind of ball games are you playing at school?

It is getting warmer here.  We are almost in our summer season, so the days
are long.  Cameron works long hours with his family, building houses for
people.  How is the weather in your community now?

We will send another fun package soon!

Please remind your family that we  love them & are praying for each of you!

Hugs & we hope to hear from you soon.

Love always,

Cameron & Carrie Gilliam 

I mean, really...something so simple, but it means the world to him.  And when we hear back from him asking us to pray for him so he can learn in makes my heart melt!  It truly brings joy to our hearts! 

If you've ever thought about sponsoring a child & haven't yet done it, I would encourage you to jump at the next opportunity.  I cannot tell you how much fun it has been for us to connect with a child on the other side of the globe and watch him grow.  We have been so happy with World Vision & would recommend them to anyone! 

We're looking forward to the next time we hear back from our little friend :) 

"But grow in the grace & knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.  Amen"  2 Peter 3:17

Monday, May 28, 2012

No greater love | Memorial Day

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."  
John 15:13

To all of our fallen 
and to those who may,

We are grateful.

For you were not required to serve,
You volunteered your service.

You were not required to give,
You gave anyway.

You were not required to fight,
Yet you fought and protected regardless.

You are our friends, our comrades, our soldiers, 
Our heroes.

And we are grateful.

We remember these today.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Give-away opportunity!

Picture edited with Florabella's Ambrosia

If you're into digital photography & love to edit your've most likely heard of Florabella.

Well, Florabella is releasing a new collection & is giving away 5 FREE sets of this new "Color Matte" action pack.  

Go here for your chance to win:

Good luck!! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

[Reflection] and Re-purposing...

Ever have those times when you feel as though you are moving forward in one direction, only to have that direction changed?  I do.  I am totally there right now.  

At times I feel as though I am a GPS system trying to re-calibrate itself but not getting any signal with which to do so.  So here I sit...just blank.  

Blank with no clue where to move my chess piece next.

When this happens, I tend to crawl into my hole & think.  A lot.  

During this thinking process, this morning in fact, I realized something.  I have been praying that God's truths would become very real to me.  That His truths would in fact shape my view of life on earth rather than life here determining my views of God.  And I have been asking Him to make me dependent on I am so often a very independent kind of gal.  

And it hit me...

My feelings of "loss of direction" are most likely the first steps in the process of my prayers being answered.  It is when I have no clarity in myself that I am FORCED to depend on the one who made me.  Oh, that my heart might depend on Him all the time, not simply when I'm left with no other option.  

In truth, all things depend on Him...  

"The earth is the Lord's and the fullness of thereof, the world and those who dwell therein..." Ps. 24:1

"These all look to you, to give them their food in due season.  When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are filled with good things.  When you hide your face, they are dismayed; when you take away their breath, they die and return to their dust.  When you send forth your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the ground."  Ps. 104:27-30

"All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made.  In Him was life, and the life was the light of men."  John 1:3-4

"...and He upholds the universe by the word of His power..." Heb. 1:3

I know these things.  In fact, I teach them to the ladies in my Christian Doctrine classes.  But oh how my heart often forgets them; too often forgets them. God has recently changed my direction, I am asking Him to redefine the elements of my life for me.  Once such element is this blog.  I will be re-purposing it.  In the's had no real clear point...just a place for me to link up pictures for photo-challenges & such.  I believe it is now going to become an outlet for personal thoughts.  I exciting!!  Believe me, you do not have to read this if you don't want to :)  I don't expect to gain a large readership this way.  In fact, much of what I'll type...pertaining to "spiritual matters" often turns people off.  If you feel that way, then no harm no foul.  This blog probably isn't for you.  I'm sure I'll still post pictures as I'm an avid photo-nut.  But just realize that this is now going to be used primarily as "Carrie's avenue for expression of thought."  

Truthfully, I'm excited about this shift in direction.  I read this excerpt this morning.  It's from a book I'm reading right now called Hudson Taylor's Spiritual Secrets.  It completely fascinated me when I read it.  And, honestly, it reminded me of how silly it is that I would ever argue with or distrust God and His plans for me.  Surrendering my will isn't giving's letting go to receive something better. 

"'I never made a sacrifice,' said Hudson Taylor in later years, looking back over a life in which that element was certainly not lacking.  But what he said was true, for the compensations were so real and lasting that he come to see that giving up is inevitably receiving, when one is dealing heart to heart with God."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

{Hey Girl} I Heart Faces, May

{Hey Girl} I Heart Faces, May

This month's I Heart Faces photo challenge is "Hey Girl". I tend to take a lot of pictures of children...and my subjects of late have been mostly male :) So I knew I would have to go back a few weeks in order to find one with a girl in them. The  photo I chose is a picture of my best friend from childhood. I am submitting this photo because I feel as though it not only captures the essence of her, but because I believe it captures a major part of what it is to be female...class, sophistication, poise, grace & beauty. Hope you enjoy!

Photo Challenge Submission