The Dance Recital I Can’t Forget

 

This year I was so nervous about the girls dance recital. Not for them. But for the audience. I kept hearing all these rumblings about the show. It’s too intense. Some even removed their daughters from certain dances. Why? I kept wondering. Why be so risky? But this is nothing new. The owner of the studio, Treasha Detweiler, always pushes the envelope. A few years ago it was “The Offering,” a dramatic telling of the holocaust. The story went something like this. There was a family hiding Jews. And one day the non-jewish fiance picked up the wrong coat on his way out the door, it was the one with the gold star on it wrongfully identifying him as a jew. When the guards saw that Jewish star, they put him behind bars. Eventually they lined him up with the other prisoners and prepared to execute him. Arms extended, he never said a word. He gave his life willingly so his friend could live. Then the spotlight went to another scene, as a woman tells the story of another Man, who with arms extended, willfully gave His life on a cross, so that we might live.

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I will never forget that show. The picture of love and sacrifice mixed with flawless technique and breathtaking choreography. Treasha invited an honored guest. A holocaust survivor. He wept and proclaimed that this was the best holocaust dramatization he had ever seen. Then there was the show titled “The Undivided Heart.” A community divided by racism. One child killed in a car accident. His heart was then donated, unknowingly, across racial boundaries to another family. Joined now by blood. That last scene, a mother listening to her sons heart beat in another’s chest. I can’t even type this without crying. After the recital, a local mom shared the story of her own son, his life too short, but extended by a heart transplant himself. Then there was the ballet show about abuse and abortion. Who does these topics? What ever happened to the Nutcracker?

That brings us to this year. The topic was end time prophecy as told from the book of Revelations written by one of the dance teachers, Jennifer Dolan. A nice, light, topic… free from controversy….Or maybe not.
But Treasha knew something that not all Christians know. In the Bible it says this:

Revelations 1:3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.

And let me tell you after seeing this production I know without a doubt that not only did the audience take the words of Revelations to heart, but those dancers did too!

Before I saw the production, I wondered if the “Antichrist” dance was really necessary since there was so much talk of how “intense” it was. 
But after seeing it, I understood the need for it to be in there. It was my favorite one. Intense? Yes. Chilling. But necessary. It is a dance that I have watched over and over. I need to understand the truth portrayed in that scene. We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against powers and principalities. And I knew that their teachers were covering them in prayer daily. These same teachers had also prayed over each dance before one move was made.

My girls have been dancing with Many but one for about 7 years. We have sacrificed time and money. And for what? Is this a good use of our time and resources? There are many ways to instill values and beliefs in our children. Was this the right way? Those are weighty questions that we as parents will always wrestle with, often without definite answers. But this I know for sure. At this studio my girls have flourished and bloomed. They have also struggled and cried. They have continued to learn and grow in their knowledge of dance, life, and most importantly God. And our family has too. When we go to the productions, seeing our girls dance is a bonus. The stories are the main event. They stay with you. They pierce your heart. They leave a mark on your soul. And my girls have been able to be dance those stories. Yes, it can be difficult when they are young and have one small roll. And it can be frustrating when they are older and might still have a small roll. But the effect of being a part of the Many But One dance studio has been profound and eternal.

I am forever thankful for the risks they have taken, the stories they have told, and the lessons they have taught. Every member of my family has been blessed and challenged by the investments made at this little Christian performing arts studio. Is it perfect? No. Because there are humans there. But there is so much love, grace, and purpose that I feel incredibly grateful to have been a small part all these years.

I would encourage you to click on this link,(Anti-Christ dance  )and take a look at this dance. Whatever you believe about Revelations, you can’t argue with the truth expressed here. We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against principalities, powers, and rulers of this darkness. Let me know what you think in the comments. All crude and rude comments will be deleted. Keep it civil. 🙂

 

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How to Honor Fallen Soldiers All Year Long.

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As of late, there has been much confusion between Veterans Day and Memorial Day, and I think I know why. We understand how to honor living Veterans. We can celebrate them, thank them, fight for their healthcare, and tangibly affect them. But how, exactly, do we honor the deceased? Attending a Memorial Day celebration and decorating a grave stone are important options, however, I would like to suggest a few other ways we can honor our fallen heroes all year round.

The first way we can honor fallen soldiers is to study their history. There seems to be a concerted effort to delete history in general. Whether it is by diluting the faith of the founding fathers, distorting the intent of the constitution, or denying the real reasons wars are waged, truth is being removed from the public square. Our utilitarian society has destroyed the beauty and the importance of studying history. Whenever a college student decides to major in history, they are asked, “What are you going to do with that? Become a history teacher?” However, from now on, students majoring in history should answer, “I am going to use my knowledge to honor fallen soldiers.” We must never stop studying history. Let us be known for our knowledge of our fallen heroes, not our obsession with the latest reality star. Some believe studying history is boring, but take heart! It doesn’t have to be that way! Start by reading “If you can keep it,”  written by the always entertaining Eric Metaxas, and go from there.

Secondly, if we want to honor fallen soldiers we must engage in the political process. Understanding our nation’s history naturally propels us to be more active about the present. We can esteem fallen soldiers by working to protect the freedoms for which they gave their lives. This is done by voting at the local and federal levels, supporting important legislation, and working to get the right leaders in place. Too many citizens vote for funding instead of freedom which ironically puts both freedom and funding in jeopardy.

Lastly, to honor the fallen soldier, we must fight for the right to life. When we vote to protect freedom, we have to remember that our freedoms end where the God given rights of others begin. There is no right more foundational to our country than the right to life. Everything, quite literally, begins there. Before we can debate any other right of man, we first must allow the unborn the right to live. The brave heroes of our nation fought on the front lines, left their homes and families, and gave their lives to preserve the lives of others. The least we can do is to follow in their footsteps by fighting for the lives of the innocent, defenseless, unborn babies that desperately need our protection.

Today is an important day to take some time to truly remember the sacrifice of the brave soldiers that fought for the freedoms we tend to take for granted. Let us pray for and support any families we know that have been tragically changed by the loss of a dear loved one. And let us honor them year round by studying the truth of their history, engaging in the political process for freedom, and fighting for the right to life.

Our First Year as Minimalists

IMG_1929.JPGLast year about this time I gave myself the gift of minimalism for my birthday. I joined a class offered by Joshua Becker and bought his book “The More of Less.” I wrote at length about it here. When I wrote that blog, I was only 4 months in. Looking back now, I can’t believe how much I got done in a short amount of time. But the truth is, I was desperate. I had reached my limit. So I dove into the course full steam ahead. I pulled more than one all-nighter. It was a priority, an obsession, because the freedom I began to feel as I dug my life out from under all that stuff powerfully propelled me to push even harder. I gave away things I might need. I gave away things that I loved. I gave away gifts from people I love because I had no choice. We didn’t have the room. Our house was bursting at the seems.

SPOILER ALERT: At the beginning of the course, you are asked to think about your “Why.” And mine was simple. I wanted more time with my family. I wanted to stop spending so much time with their stuff and more time with them.  I have seen many people sharing their success on the Facebook page for the course. But I have also seen many people that don’t really move forward. And while there are obviously extenuating circumstances like a death or life altering event, for the most part, I would say that the main reason it doesn’t work for some people is that they don’t make it a priority. And the reason they don’t make it a priority is because they don’t understand how amazing their life will be when they finally do it. So I wanted to share some of the ways my life is exponentially better.

  1. My kids get it. We were never big consumers because we have never had a big wallet enabling us to do so. Therefore, my kids weren’t the type to ask for toys or candy at the store. But since minimalism, the reason is so much more grand. So much more noble. When it comes to getting a new toy/outfit/game they truly understand that we just don’t need it! They inspire me and each other. “We’re minimalists,” they say and move on.  This is way better than “We don’t have the money,” because it’s actually more true. Even if we did have unlimited resources, constantly buying the latest gadget isn’t good for anyone! It breeds discontentment and overflows landfills. My youngest regularly gives back the toy at Chik-fil-a, even when he doesn’t trade it for ice cream. Mind blowing. But they are tired of picking up stuff off the floor too.
  2. Our house is typically neat instead of always a mess. And even when it looks like a disaster, because there are still seven people in a 1700 square foot house, we are typically only about 15 minutes from it looking really great. The reason for this is two fold. First, we have less stuff which obviously means less to clean and put away. But the other less obvious and even more important part is this. Since we have purged and purged and purged all year, the stuff we do have, actually has a place. It used to be that if all my clothes were clean, I couldn’t fit them in the drawers. But now we live within our parameters making cleaning that much easier for the kids.  They can put toys in the closet because the closet isn’t bursting at the seems. They can put books on the shelves, because they aren’t full. The old adage, “A place for everything, and everything in it’s place” is actually a thing! Who knew??
  3. We have more time to do what we want. This year, like many years before, we hosted Easter. But this year, unlike any other year in my life, we went to the beach two days before. There was almost no stress about cleaning. Even when I looked around and thought, “This place is a disaster!” we were able to straighten up in no time. Now, for perspective, my children are older. I have three girls ages 10,12, and 14, and my oldest is fantastic at straightening up, when she wants to be. I don’t have babies anymore, and that makes a huge difference. But the stuff is just gone. And I DON’T MISS IT!
  4. I have new floors!!! They were literally a gift from God. Free. I wrote about it here. And because my house had been minimized, we were able to install them without a huge hassle. I looked at my husband, and we just marveled at what a mess it would have been had this happened months before. All this time I have been praying for new flooring, maybe God was just waiting for me to get rid of all our stuff so there was room! Think about that for a minute. You think you are saving money by holding on to all the stuff you might need someday, but all that stuff has a cost. And you never know what you are missing because of it.

Here are some things I learned:

  1. I didn’t need to be more organized. I needed less stuff. That’s me. Some people are great at organizing and such. More power to you. I am not. And further more, even if I was, I would still rather be with people than at home organizing stuff. No offense introverts 😉
  2. This is not “Decluttering.” It is purging. It is uncomfortable. Some people say to ask “does this thing give you joy?” But I actually *did* get rid of things that gave me joy because I just don’t have room! Also people are constantly decluttering because they are constantly taking in stuff they don’t need or could do without. Of course you will have to get rid of stuff occasionally. But living a minimalist life means you stop taking in. It means you stop valuing stuff over people. It means you stop buying stuff just because it’s a holiday.
  3. You need real support that most people can’t give. I found some people are kind of intimidated by this whole thing. They feel judged. We all tend to do that when someone makes a big life choice that sheds a light on a possible problem in our own life. That is why the support you get in the course is invaluable.
  4. I was lying to myself. I told myself I was fine. Chaos didn’t bother me. I am laid back and fine, I rationalized. Nope. Not true. As evidenced by the way I regularly lost my cool when I couldn’t find something I lost in the piles of stuff or how I got so frustrated cleaning up before an event. It bothered me. I just ignored it.

Sometimes when I look at pictures of an old chair, or think about books I gave away, I do feel a bit sad. But when I look at my house any sadness is gone in an instant. And when I hear my kids say “We don’t need it mommy,” I feel relief. We are all So Much happier and more free.  I have struggled my whole life with keeping things neat. My mom always quoted this proverbs from the Bible: “A wise man prizes his possessions.” And now I finally can. But only because I have less.

The course is just about to start again and right now you can even use the code FF25 to get 25% off at http://my.becomingminimalist.com The deadline to sign up is April 30th.  I will be signing up again and again! After your first time through you can keep going over and over for free! If you still don’t think you need the course or the book, read here.

If you are minimizing now or have in the past, how has your life improved? What have you learned? Share in the comments and inspire! 

Fifteen Things to Look for in a Man

Today is our 15th anniversary! And while it is commonly known that the traditional gift for 25 years is silver, and the gift for 50 years is gold,  it is a lesser known fact that the gift for 15 years is a blog post. So since I am a slave to convention,  here ya go babe! This one’s for you!

Fifteen Things to Look for in a Man

1. A man that knows and loves Jesus and the Word of God

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2. A man that will join you in your hobbies

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3. A man that loves Chik fil a….. enough to wear cow ears

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4. A man that puts your happiness above his pride

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5. A man that understands your love for Movember and is not threatened by your pre-teen crush on Magnum P.I.

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6. A man that will drive 23 hours straight to take you to the place of your birth

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7. And drive you the very next summer across the country to California to see your college roomie

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8. A man who cares for and respects the elderly

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9. A man who loves your family

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10. A man that loves and respects his mom

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11. A man that will fly you back to NY, just to meet your fav talk show host

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12. A man that dances. Your daughters will thank you

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13. A man that regularly shows affection963860_10153121206960510_998525973_o

14. A man who can wrestle. Wrestling is really important

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15. And last, but definitely not least, a man with whom those sparks fly!13567184_10157067265085510_1930858657536733103_n

Here’s the truth. Having a list is important. But a list won’t get you to fifteen years or even fifteen months. It takes more than ideals and standards to build a thriving marriage. You need love. But not just any love. You need the greatest love. Jesus told His disciples that there is no greater love than to lay down your life for another. Listening to Kelly Minter recently brought new depth to that verse for me. Yes, Jesus laid down his life at the cross, she reminded us. But that wasn’t the first time He laid down His life. Every day that he stepped foot on this earth was a day that He laid down his life in heaven for us. Having a beautiful marriage requires this kind of love. Laying your life down every dang day for the person on the pillow next to you. That is the greatest love. That means laying down your right to be right. Laying down your pride. Laying down what’s fair. Laying down past pains. Laying down insecurities. Laying it all down and loving with an everlasting love that can only come from God. Without a doubt, Paul is truly more than I could have hoped for or imagined, but we have been through many ups and downs. We are broken people with hurts we are healing together.  We have had horrible fights (aka “strong fellowship”) that left me doing the ugly cry,  and we have had utopian moments when I thought my heart would burst. Yet without exception, our marriage is the strongest, happiest, and the sweetest when we are mutually seeking to serve the other through the power of our loving Creator.

Planned Parenthood Offers Fake Prenatal Care

Cecile Richards knows how important prenatal care is to the patients of Planned Parenthood. People literally “depend” on Planned Parenthood for prenatal care. Obviously.

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So a woman tried to make an appointment for some prenatal care, should be easy right? I have taken screen shots of their answers. Check out these telling answers.

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Right. I know. I know. Asking for prenatal care at an abortion clinic sounds ridiculous. But Cecile promised! (You have to watch the video-link below- to hear the tone of this worker! Like the caller is an idiot for asking!)

Maybe another clinic….

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Ok, well, just try one more. Surely someone offers prenatal care!

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Then where can one go? I mean,they keep telling us if we don’t fund Planned Parenthood, where would people go for prenatal care????

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Got it. Right around the corner there is a legit clinic for prenatal care. But not at Planned “PARENTHOOD” right? I mean the name has the word Parent in it!

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This girl gets it! Well, at least they offer mammograms! Oh, wait…Nevermind!

Watch the video from Live Action News here. Really. It’s mind blowing!

And share!! People need to know this. I mean, at the very least Cecile Richards should know. And yes, there are a TINY percentage of clinics that offer “prenatal care” but as John Zmirak put it so eloquently, do you really want to go to a vet that owns a butcher shop? No thank you! So let’s give that government funding to clinics that actually help women instead of butchering them.

Using the Trivium to Learn about Racial Unity

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Over the last several years God has been stirring in my heart questions about race that I have never thought about before. But before I write about those exact questions, I need to share about three basic levels of learning I have studied with our Classical Conversations homeschooling group which have impacted my life in such a profound way.

There are three basic levels of learning that involve the arts of grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric.
The grammar stage is when you learn the basic information, the vocabulary, and the facts. I know when you hear the word grammar you think of English Grammar, but the actual word grammar refers to the basic elements of learning anything. For instance, reading scripture and memorizing verses are grammar skills. It is simply the acquiring of information.

The dialectic stage is digging deeper, asking questions, researching, and debating.
When you hear the word dialectic, it sounds like dialogue. This is the stage where you start wrestling through those Bible verses in a small group by discussing topics, and debating doctrine.  A crucial skill in this level is asking questions. You should be debating these issues using logic and reason. You are working through tough topics. In our homeschool program we begin this level in the middle school ages when they naturally start asking more questions and no longer simply accept information from you. They want to know why. They want to know how come. They want to argue with you. So we give them tools to debate issues. The problem is that very few of us were given those tools. As a society, we are largely unable to have a conversation with somebody that we disagree with. There are certain topics that are off limits. Don’t talk about politics or religion, because it will get heated. But the problem is, when you don’t talk about difficult topics you will never really learn about them. If you only look at one side of an issue, you will remain at that lower level of learning, and often times, the information you learn will not even take root in your heart. I believe this to be the problem with a lot of teens that go off to college. They have never experienced the dialectic level of learning the Bible. They are simply told “This is the way it is. The end.” If students are not given the tools to debate truth, if they are not given the space to question, they will never reach that second level of learning. And when you stay in that grammar level, you are very easily swayed.

The rhetoric stage is the application of language in order to instruct and to persuade the listener and the reader. It is the knowledge (grammar) now understood (dialectic) being transmitted outwards, as wisdom (rhetoric).

Now when I say rhetoric, you very likely think of political rhetoric. But rhetoric is the art of persuasion. Think about Bible study community groups. The grammar stage is reading a passage or listening to a teaching. The dialectic stage is researching and discussing different ideas or interpretations. And rhetoric is when you go out and make disciples. You take what you have wrestled through and express it to somebody else. We see that in the Bible Jesus taught his disciples in the grammar and the dialectic level. He would have discussions with them and ask them questions, giving them space to think about things deeply. He would debate Pharisees in front of them and even debate the disciples themselves. Then His final words were, “Go make disciples,” which is the final rhetorical stage of persuasion.

For most of my life when it came to the subject of racial unity, I was in the grammar level. I have learned lots of statistics. I have heard one sided arguments and one sided opinions. But I never really questioned, I never debated or discussed these issues with anyone other then people that agreed with me. However, a couple years ago that changed when I saw a documentary on Netflix about the prison system in which the documentarians asked a question I am embarrassed to say I never really thought enough about. If you know anything about the prison system, you probably know that the population in prison is not at all like the population outside of prison. Outside of prison the population is 13% African-Americans. Inside of prison it is about 40%. Those numbers may not be exact, but suffice it to say, the ratios are very out of proportion.

I’m confessing today that when I heard those statistics in the past, my reaction was cold and unfeeling. When someone proposed the question,

“Why are the numbers so disproportionate?” my answer was always the same.
“If you do the crime you do the time. It’s that simple don’t do crimes, and you won’t go to jail.”
But this documentary asked the question again.
Why?
Why is this one group of our population committing more crimes, if that is even the case. Truthfully, I had thought about that before too, and my answer was one of which you might have thought.
“They commit these crimes because of the breakdown of the families, poor education, low incomes, etc.”
But then the question was posed again.
Why?
Why is this one area of our population under educated with broken families? And it made me stop and think. What is inherently different?
The documentarians offered reasons that were hard to digest. One answer was this:

Maybe going from slavery to equality was harder than we, as a nation, anticipated.

Then, as God would have it, a friend of mine, who happens to be black, started a dialogue about race with my me and my husband. This was my first experience in the dialectic level of learning about race. Dimitri allowed us to ask stupid questions without taking offense. He offered grace whether I said, “Black” or “African-American.” He gave us access to his life experiences and let us hear how it affected him. He told us of the time he walked hand and hand down the street with his wife,who happens to be white, only to hear profane racial slurs yelled at both of them. This was not hundreds of years ago. This was not decades ago. This was today. Then he asked if we had ever heard the stereotype that black people can’t swim. I had. In fact, I have recently learned that black children are 3 times more likely to drown. He asked me if I knew why. I admitted I had never thought about it. So he educated me. He told me that his dad was a kid in the 50’s.  His dad wasn’t allowed in the public pools. So he never learned to swim. When recreational swimming became the thing to do and everyone else was learning how to swim we had a portion of the population who weren’t allowed to participate. This is not 300 years ago. This is not somebody that is long gone. This is somebody that is walking around today that has vivid memories. Not only do they have the emotional pain of such systematic rejection, but they also have the physical consequences of not being able to teach your child a summertime rite of passage. I never thought about that. We certainly didn’t agree on everything, but the conversation was considerate and the tone friendly.

This journey of questions started a couple years ago. But over the last year these issues have been regularly thrust into the headlines. And we as the body of Christ have a choice to make. We have the option of admitting we have a lot to learn on either side of this issue. Or we can keep ignoring the pain and dissension in hopes that it will go away.

If we really want to learn, we have to leave this grammar stage consisting of facts, statistics, and long held opinions and move to the dialectic stage of questions and conversation with open dialogue and listening. And really listen. With empathy. Not assuming that you know someone else’s experience. And once you have spent a lot of time discussing and analyzing and debating, then fine, try to persuade someone to see your point. But the worst thing you can do is to skip the dialectic stage. This is the modus operandi of the day. Take a fact and tweet it or post it on Facebook without that middle stage of debating and discussing with logic and reason all while researching and addressing any logical fallacies. Listening and asking good questions was illustrated so beautifully by Jesus all throughout the gospels. He spent so much of His ministry in that all important dialectic stage.
There is a quote from Bonhoeffer that beautifully illustrates the importance of listening.

Just as our love for God begins with listening to God’s Word, the beginning of love for others is learning to listen to them.

Because of our conversation with Dimitri, I decided to go on a mission of sorts, diving into the dialectic stage by having as many conversations with as many different people as I could. It was awkward and uncomfortable at times, and I had to bite my tongue more than once. Naturally, I was fearful of the response I would get. With some of friends I was pleasantly surprised, and with others I was sadly disappointed. I had many conversations with people of every background and nationality and hope to have more still. I suggest for you to do the same! In the next couple of days I will be posting some of what I discovered in my conversations. It is my hope that we, the church, can lead the way in showing the world how to come together in love and unity, no matter what your race or background, not sweeping feelings under the rug, but by having tough and empathetic conversations with people different then ourselves. We must remember the prayer of Christ in John 17 realizing that our unity actually proclaims His Deity.

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.”

*I welcome discussion in the comment section as long as it is nice. Hateful comments will be happily removed. It’s my prerogative. 😉

Why the 7-11 Clerk Does Not Buy Powerball Tickets.

Lottery Balls

As I drove the two ballerinas to class, the older dancer wondered aloud if a slurpee would ease the pain in her aching mouth from her newly adjusted braces, and I caved. After a long day of homeschool classes, she still had 3 hours of dance ahead of her. She negotiated a large, while her little sister jumped on the gravy train acquiring a small slurpee for her yet brace-less mouth. Standing at the cash wrap, I couldn’t help but notice the ad for  powerball. How many billion dollars? What if? What’s a couple bucks? Can you even imagine?

“Ever buy a ticket?” I asked the man behind the register. He paused for a moment while I wondered if he would honestly answer my inquiry. After a few moments, he smiled and shook his head.

“No, I don’t buy them.” he finally told me truthfully.

“It’s kind of like throwing your money in the garbage, isn’t it?” I suggested.

“You know what?” he continued. “I am leaving for India next week, and when I go there, I can use the two dollars I would have wasted here and go do something with my children.”

I knew he was right. Instantly I was reminded of our short stint in Greenville, SC, 9 years ago. The apartment complex we lived in was not very diverse, and we were the minority. Middle eastern Indian families were the norm. My now teen ballerina was only 4 years old then and quickly made friends with little Nithya Priya at the park. Her mother and I became friends also, and they invited us over for a lunch of coconut rice one day. We sat on the floor with boxes scattered throughout acting as furniture  as if they had recently moved in, but I knew they hadn’t. Instead of spending money on furniture, they were saving money. More specifically, they were saving thousands for a trip to India, and every dollar they saved by not buying more furniture brought them closer to that goal. They were expected to bring gifts and support for those they left behind.

We talked about God and life. I shared my faith, she explained hers. I don’t have any way to know what she took from our time together, but her family’s focus on what really mattered stayed with me all these years later.

Tonight on “In the Market with Janet Parshall” Janet spoke with Todd Nettleton from “Voice of the Martyrs.” He shared his latest conversation with a newly converted Christian named Mohammad. Forced from his house because of his new faith, Mohammad met with Todd in a tent that he now called home.

“How can I pray for you?” Todd asked Mohammad, but Todd could not have anticipated his response.

“I don’t need anything.” he answered.

“We have all we need.” He continued shockingly as they sat in his tent where their very safety was in jeopardy.

That’ll preach.

Of course I know that God loves to give his children gifts, and clearly I am not saying we shouldn’t pray for needs and and even wants. But coming off the last few months of massive consumerism and straight into this powerball extravaganza my soul needed these stories. Typically when someone asks me how they can pray for me I have a list.  All too often I need bigger, more, and easier. But not today. Today I was reminded in three different ways from all over the world, that I have all that I need.