Sunday, February 26, 2012

A Legacy Worth Leaving

Wess Stafford experienced some of the cruelest physical and psychological abuse when he was a young man. People he should have been able to trust to act within his best interests took advantage of that childlike trust. Now, close your eyes and fast forward to the future. How do you imagine this man turned out? Based on your knowledge of cause and effect and your experience with children who are mistreated at a young age, what do you think has become of this man’s life?
                Wess Stafford is the President and CEO of Compassion International. Perhaps you’ve heard of it;  Compassion International is one of the largest sponsor organizations for impoverished children. Stafford himself would attest that the events of one’s past often influence one’s future. Life is made up of countless “minutes,” and not just those lasting for sixty Mississippis, but a brief period of influence. Those brief periods can influence a life that may have plummeted into despair and turn them around, inspiring a young man or woman at an early age to do the same for others. Conversely, those “minutes” can be used to bring irreparable harm to a young life, causing it to follow in that direction forever.
                In Stafford’s new book, Just a Minute, he, with the help of Dean Merrill, takes readers through a storybook full of lives that were shaped by the influence of others. The book reads reminiscent of a “Chicken Soup” book, a treasury of “minutes” in story form, weaving through stories of lives of which you and I may not be familiar and those with which we are very familiar such as Adolf Hitler, whose “minute” (you can imagine) was not so pleasant, and didn’t result in anything worth emulating.
                In the first few paragraphs of his book, Stafford explains why such a book is so important. When Stafford travels and speaks to crowds on the “minutes” that changed who they are today and why it’s so important to invest in the lives of children, everyone listening remembers a moment in time, a talk, a pat on the back, an encouraging word, or a discouraging word that had a very vital effect on the person they’ve become.
                We live in a world that seems to wage war on childhood. Child-killing has been legalized and labeled “abortion,” as if life is something where, at the last moment, one can pull the eject button and fly out of the cockpit, saving oneself from the wreckage below. People are on the local news being hauled off to court on child porn charges every day. Men and women go to jail for child abuse. Prominent figures rest in the safety net of their influence while leaving countless young lives destroyed forever. Those are the “minutes” that should not be. But they happen.  This is why Just a Minute is, indeed, vitally important.
                Stafford encourages readers to make a minute worthwhile in the life of a child, just like someone may have for them. And if the reader has never had a “minute” invested in himself or herself, he or she should look back on what they wished for and not cheat another life out of what had been neglected him or her.  Children grow up to be adults and here we are now, with a choice. What kind of minute will we leave?

Click here to read reviews or purchase the book from

Thanks to Christine of TheDeMossGroup for the copy to review!

Friday, January 13, 2012

A Kernel of What?

Hello everyone.
It's been a long time. I'm returning now from my self-imposed, yet unplanned hiaitus from both blogging and the social media world. Those two aren't an oxy-moron in my own head...but after I typed them it seems like they are. Just trust me! They aren't.

So...the hiaitus came around Christmas...when anxiety and depression reared like an ugly two-headed beast. For the entirety of 2011, I plugged myself into everything I possibly could, taking every opportunity, saying "yes" to everyone who asked. And then a couple days before Christmas the after-effects of the stress came like a tidal wave and I could hardly breathe for a week, literally. Heart pounding, chest-tightening, nonsensical anxiety and panic for a week. I guess that's a medically proven thing...that anxiety usually comes after stressful situations. (Hence explained to me by Jen and Brittany :) )

So...out of all of that, there's something I've learned. Sometimes you have to let go of goals or projects, or entire seasons of your life even if they're good things. You may feel like you have to commit to them, see them through, come hell or high water, because they're your responsibilities. But all of those good things can wrap you up so you can hardly breathe. And sometimes you're supposed to let go - and there's no shame in it. Sometimes you have to let go and move on.

This concept was made more clear to me by a video life update from Olan Rogers. Olan is one leg of the tripod that was BalloonShop, an amazing set of hilarious youtube videos made by he and his two friends, Thomas Gore and Joshua Pursley. I watch them all the time :) they're pretty incredible. But...... watch this video :)

I couldn't help but cry with him when I saw this. It reminded me of things in my life, of letting go of things, of things I've had to do and people I've had to leave to move on to what Christ has called me to do. And it reminds me of a verse in John. Verse 12:24 says, "I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds." Christ's death and resurrection resulted in the production of much more fruit. Reminds me too of Jerry Falwell. When I was at Liberty, Jerry Falwell, Sr. passed away my sophomore year, during exam week. It was heartbreaking for the entire campus. But after he died, though many assumed the school would fizzle, Liberty only grew, and was amazingly pulled out of debt by a hefty life insurance policy that Dr. Falwell left behind.

Anyway, all of that is a dramatic way to tell you why I've been gone for a while. I'm not saying that I'm giving up on blogging or social media as my kernels that have to die. There are some things in my life that have to...but not this. Although, who knows...maybe that will change. So be it.

So, to end with a happy update, 2012 is a new year, and a year I've resolved to not land myself in a giant ball of stress by Christmas, but to let some things go. I've also resolved to finish my novel this year, and get it into a proper state to start seriously editing and sending out queries for publication.
But all of the things I've changed or resolved this year are toward the result of glorifying God with my life and the way I live it. And if anything I'm doing starts to lead away from that ultimate goal, it will have to die as well.

End seriousness. :)
Have a good day. :)