Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Some of my faves....

I know I said I was disappearing, but I just wanted to share some books that the Lord has been using to change my life and my faith. I'd LOVE to know if you read them!

"Breaking the Rules - trading performance for intimacy with God" by Fil Anderson

"Life of the Beloved" by Henri Nouwen

"Turn my Mourning into Dancing" by Henri Nouwen

"Prodigal God" by Tim Keller

and of course lots of time in the word.....I've taken FB and Twitter off my phone so that I can pull up my Bible in all of my downtime. MAN, this has changed the time I spend in the word! I have fallen in love with His word all over again....especially reading the Psalms at the same time as 1 & 2 Samuel so you can read David's life and his heart at the same time. Wow.

I'm starting "Sacred Romance" and "Evolving in Monkey Town" as well as "What Good is God?" and "1000 gifts"....

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Taking a break

I know I said I was going to continue to blog and just go private...but for now, blogging is off. I am taking a break from social media.

Just spending time "in the shelter of His wings".... would love your prayers. Life is beyond words hard and I am in need of so much of Jesus. He is completely faithful and more precious to me than I deserve. So, right now....it's just me and Jesus. I am in need of lots of His truth, instruction and healing and I'm going to spend the next bit curled up in His lap. I hope to come back to blogging, FB and Twitter, but for now it's safest to just sit with my Shield and my Refuge.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Going under cover :-)

I'd like to go back to blogging...but am going to be making my blog private.

If you want to keep reading my thoughts...as random or annoying as they may be :-)

Email me your address and I'll put you on the list

brandi_mcelheny (at) yahoo (dot) com

Friday, July 30, 2010

I think I may love Henri Nouwen

Just a few quotes....

"I realized that healing begins with our taking our pain out of its diabolic isolation and seeing that whatever we suffere, we suffer it in communion with all of humanity and yes, all of creation...

...the way through suffereing is not to deny it, but to live fully in the midst of it.

Our efforts to disconnect ourselves from our own suffering end up disconnecting our suffering from God's suffering for us.

Facing our losses also means avoiding a temptation to see life as an exercise in having needs me. We are needy people, of course. We want attention, affection, influence, power. And our needs seem never to be satisfied. Even altruistic actions can get tangled with these needs. Then, wehn people or circumstances do not fulfill all of our needs, we withdraw or lash out. We nurse our wounded spirits. And we become even needier. We crave easy assurances, ignoring anything that would suggest another way.

I am less likely to deny my suffering when I learn how God uses it to mold me and draw me closer to Him. I will be less likely to see my pains as interruptions to my plans and more able to see them as the means for God to make me ready to receive Him. I let Christ live near my hurts and distractions.

Our choice than often revolves around not what has happened or will happen to us, but how we will relate to life's turns and circumstances...will I relate to my life resentfully or gratefully?

For in our suffering, not apart from it, Jesus enters our sadness, takes us by the hand, pulls us gently up to stand and invites us to dance.

It is here (prayer) that we find courage to face our human boundaries and hurts, whether our physical appearance, our being excluded by others, our memories of hurt or abuse, our oppression at the hands of another. As we find freedom to cry out in anguish or protest someone's suffering, we discover ourselves slowly led into a new place. We become conditioned to wait for what we in our own strength cannot create or orchestrate. We realize that joy is not a matter of balloons and parties...It has to do with a deep experience - an experience of Christ. In the quiet listening of prayer, we learn to make out the voice that says, "I love you..."

The gospel calls us continually to make Christ the source, the center, and the purpose of our lives. In Him, we find our home. In the safety of that place, our sadnesses can point us to God, even drive us into God's loving embrace. Here mourning our losses ultimately lets us claim our belovedness. Mourning opens us to a future we could not imagine on our own - one that includes a dance..."

Ok, wow. He's smart, huh? And deep. This is just a FEW of the underlined passages and I'm only on page 38! More to come...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Sweet Layla

My sweet friend, Layla, posted this on our "I am a WarriorGirl" yahoogroup. I just had to share

Dear Warrior Girls,

Thanks a lot. Thanks for taking my cozy, easy, half-convicted life, and turning it upside down. Thank you for allowing God to work through your lives in a way that has switched me from reading decorating blogs (and dreaming of billowy curtains, and glorious white dishes), and choking me with grim reality blogs. I really appreciate the way you took my shopping trips (*SIGH*) and made them seem so darn petty. Today I came home with a little pink bag of my favorite undies, and now all I can think of is how many bellies that price tag would have filled. Yeah, thanks for that. I would also like to thank you for introducing me to your children. Children that could have remained a mystery…unknown… Now my heart has been touched in places that I didn’t know existed. I sob over photos of these little ones, and the ones that peep through bars…waiting for their forever family. Yeah, thanks for that heartache. Now I cannot throw anything out without wondering how I EVER became so wasteful. I look at my stuff and wonder what my problem is. REALLY? Do I REALLY need another one of those? Great. Now I have more conviction…thanks. This is what I get for having a band of friends that care more than I knew was even possible. This is what I get for knowing a God that is SO BIG and AMAZING, that I have been smacked-down, face flat on the concrete. I have tripped on my own indifference. And you know what? I TRULY AM THANKFUL! I love you all so much. I wonder why God allows me to be in this group? I am SO stinking far behind where I should be! I don’t pray enough, care enough, give enough, try hard enough. I am so selfish that is nauseates me. Why on earth would God show me such mercy? There is so much mercy in pain and correction. My Father is so good. Yes, this letter started sarcastic and silly, but here is the cold hard truth: I want to know more. I want to hurt more, feel more, give more, break more. I need all of you to hold me accountable. I am not even close to making the cut. Thank you, Jesus, for your mercy and grace! I am nothing without the blood of Jesus covering my every sin. I needed (NEED) the reality and support that He has brought through all of you. I am forever grateful…even though I really liked billowy curtains and PINK undies. ;)

Your Warrior Sister,

***don't you just love her already?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Dress for a Cause!

I read this tonight and for me - it's a no brainer!! Wow! What a great idea. In fact, so great I totally want to use it. If you guys LOVE this giftbasket idea, let me know. We have some crazy cool shirts around HopeChest, plus necklaces and coffee and such plus we are making some crazy cool shirts for the WarriorGirls (may have an entire line...just sayin') and we could do something like this to fund, i don't know, rescues?! :-)

But for now...read what my sweet friend Kim has written and about this amazing way to not only help Korah but enter to win an amazing prize pack of 13 shirts plus a hat and tote! wow!! *PS this is possibly the longest post ever - but worth it to see all these cute shirts)

For those of you that don't know, much like myself a few months ago, "Korah" in Amharic means "cursed". Around 75 years ago, the Ethiopian government moved everyone with leporsy to this area of Addis Ababa . There are now approximately 100,000 people that live in the slums of Korah and are considered the "outcasts" The other thing that is located in Korah is the city dump. I have had friends say they could see parts of the dump moving and then realized it was people moving. People searching for food to eat and scrap metal to sell.

There is something else, or rather, Someone else, moving in Korah.


He is stirring in the hearts of His people and people like pastor Sammy Liben and Project 61. There is now an education sponsorship program for the children of Korah. If you have not read this post this last week, I really encourage you to take the time to read it...it is a long post and yet leaves me speechless. Also, visit the Hoffman's blog as Laura just returned from there as well with Visiting Orphans.

So...while we have a bit of time to fundraise, the kids at Korah do not. They have a child sponsorship program that has a deadline of July 31. Yep...one week left. And it is $700 to sponsor a child in Korah for an entire year. They get to go to boarding school, have meals and and education. You can read what all that entails in Jody's post. Pretty amazing stuff. Made me realize my pitiful little TV was just fine-and-dandy-thank-you-very-much. (okay..I already realized that but just thought I would throw that in there...)

When we shared as a fundraising family a few months ago at a Show Hope event, we said we never want to be the endpoint of a gift...any gift. We believed it when we said it and we believe it even more today. We want to share the benefits of this fundrasier with Korah in whatever way God chooses.


How does this "Dress for a Cause" the Sequel work?

All you have to do to have your name on a piece of paper in our bowl of wonders is purchase a piece of this picture of Korah Kids. Your piece, or pieces, will build upon other's pieces and together we will all have a part in God's work in Korah. As pieces are purchased, I will uncover more and more of the picture. Pretty neat, huh!

A picture tile of Korah costs 10.00.
2 pictures tiles of Korah cost 15.00.

You can enter by reposting the Dress for a Cause, the seqel on your blog , tweeting about it and of course, posting it on your facebook.

That is 5 ways to end up in our bowl of wonders and have your closet filled with adoption themed shirts. Can I participate? No. Can my daughter? No...much to her dismay. (She was counting her pennies.)

So, let's take a look at who is generously participating in the Sequel...

Show Hope. SH had actually wanted to participate in the first Dress for a Cause but I received their communication as it was ending, so I told them I would take a rain check. SH goes above and beyond in partnering with families with resources and adoption grants. That is just a small part of what they do. Show Hope would like to partner with your in your fundraising efforts with their merchandise affiliate program. Contact Lindsey at SH. She is your go-to girl. Oh...and how generous is this. They are giving a shirt, hat AND tote bag (I am so jealous...)

Heart to Home. The Dixon's are a fundraising family that has generously donated an Adopt. Pray. Support. shirt. They are a family of 10 currently on the wait for siblings from Ethiopia. Tricia is always full of support and encouragement so you will want to visit their site and bookmark this family. Take a look around their site for other items they are selling to bring their little one's home.

Holding God's Hand in the Journey. Okay...I'm gonna be quiet and let you read the anonymous quote on Debbie and Jeff's shirts and water bottle.
"We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life, but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands."
Oh, guys....this one is SPECIAL!! They are taking shirt orders right now and if I were you I would not wait to see if I won this ginormous prize, I would go ahead and bless this family with a shirt order...or two...and a water bottle...like the one I just ordered (Merry Christmas, Isabelle...shhhhhh)

The Walser Adoption Adventures . Let me tell you about this family. They are on the other side of Florida from me. I get the sunrises and they get the sunsets. Rachel is a busy homeschool mom with a side business and a pastors wife. She is always full of encouragement and has had quite a year getting to the waitlist...but guess what just happened, they made it! She is out of town at a convention and she only had a few minutes to update her blog but I thought she put it perfectly. Here is what she said: "For a year it's been a paper chase. I have known a child waits at the end of it but most days I have been lost in a cloud of notaries and background checks and references and authentications. Paper. But today, I feel the tangible love and longing for my child. I hear a heartbeat, I feel a kick. I feel a life growing and I sense our meeting is just around the corner" That is just a glimpse into the heart of the Mama of this family. Their shirts say, Love with Abandon..Love an Orphan.
Oh...they already do.

Ordinary Hero. Change the World for One. That says it all. Here we have the lovely Kristi Johnson aka Mama to many but especially one very cute Lucy Lane. Her sister, Kelly, has Ordinary Hero and if you have not been following along with their recent trip (very recent, like I think their flight is due in while I type this...) to Africa, then head over and see what they have been up to. The work they did recently with the flooding in Nashville was inspiring and reminded me there are opportunities everywhere and everywhere to change the world for one.

147 Million Orphans. Gwen and Suzanne need no introduction but I will brag on them still the same. These ladies and 147 Million are a pivitol part of the adoption fundraising community and orphan care awareness. The impact and influence their hearts and efforts will have with Amazima Ministries will not be known this side of heaven but I can pretty much say with certainty they will hear the words "Well Done." I had the privilege of hanging out at the pool with them a few weeks ago in Orlando. When they asked if we would adopt after "Hope" I replied I am getting "old" . "Better an old mama than NO mama" Gwen chimed in. These ladies know the realities of the orphan crisis. Aging parents and lack of funds are no excuse.
They are donating a 147 Million shirt (may not be the one pictured below, depending on availablity because these ladies sell A LOT !) and one of the wonderful magazine bead necklaces made by the women in Uganda.

Because we are led. This sweet family had adopted from China and and doing it again. This time they are adopting an 11 year old boy with mild cerebral palsy. You can read his story on their blog but in a nutshell his birth mother took him to the hospital when he was 6 years old and abandoned him there. They are a fundraising family as well and I would invite you to check out their blog. They have some sweet dresses up for auction to go towards their adoption expenses and they are selling tote bags as well.

Feeding the Orphans. Meet Sydney. She is 10 years old. Don't let her age fool you. She has a heart and spiritual maturity well beyond those 10 years. She becamed burdened at the thought of how we could live like queens and kings when there are others, especially in Africa, who have nothing. So, little miss Sydney started a blog, designed a t-shirt, and advocates for the orphan. Two of which will be orphaned no more. Her family is growing by way of Ghana! She is raising money for a well in her siblings village that was affected by a fire. When I asked Sydney to participate in this I told her I did not want her to donate a shirt, I wanted to purchase one to put in the giveaway. She said she wanted to donate it. Can you say "servant's heart"? (Oh...and Syd...I'm older than you and I say I am buying one..)

The Road Less Travelled . The Shubin Clan is another one of my Florida families. They have been so encouraging to me and we have had the opportunity to meet half way in Orlando a couple times to visit. They are currently getting their Dossier submitted and will soon be on the wait for their little girl...who will join their little Silas and their home grown kiddos. Erica has a fabulous blog that she updates regularly and is in a "humble attack mode" when it comes to fundraising. She knows how to get it done and if you need pointers don't hesitate to ask her. She is full of ideas. She has recently posted about the life journey they were going through as a family when they were adopting Silas. Pretty real stuff. Head over to their blog and become a follower if you are not already. They have some amazing new shirts and I love their design. One of my favorites is the Where you Live shirt. Check it out. And...in the spirit of guy talk and "manning up" their Pie hole shirt gets to the point. (The color of the prize shirt may not be the color Erica is wearing below)

And then there is us. No link...you are already here. The first shirt is what we call the "Lilah" shirt. Well...because the first one I made and sold was for Lilah. And she is beautiful and she is the same age as our little "Hope" will most likely be and if I lived close I would totally need a sweet hug from Lilah...but instead, we have named a shirt after her and have sold many. If you would like an adult Lilah shirt of a different color we can accomodate that!

And then we have the one that started it all for us. We designed this shirt a year ago. I can't believe it has been that long and I am humbled that I still get orders for them a year later. We have loved them and have loved seeing others wearing them on their return trips from Africa with their babies. That is fun.

Finally, (whew...I'm tired..and old Gwen.;) is our Love is Not a Color shirt. The video
was great fun to make and I have once again been humbled by the number of orders that continue to come in for this shirt. You never know when you do a design but you know it was placed on your heart and you just go with it.

We will run this through the week and dig into our name-filled bowl on Friday. I will update our picture of Korah throughout the week as your pictures are purchased. Please comment on this blog or facebook me or skywrite above my house and let me know how reposted. You can purchase your Korah picture with the button on the sidebar. Please feel free ask questions

Go to KIM'S BLOG to donate!!! Yes, GO NOW!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Treasure Hunting

So often when I put out fund raising requests I get overwhelmed....what if no one gives? What if they are tired of me talking about it? What if I've asked, one too many times? This was the case this week. I mean, come on, $8,000 is a lot of money. a LOT of money. Truth is, I was worried. But I kept reminding myself and others that "God scattered abroad His gifts to the Poor" (Psalm 112:9)

I'm not fundraising. I'm not begging and pleading and scraping money together. I'm just looking. Treasure Hunting if you will... for where HE has placed HIS gifts to these girls. And then, giving these people the privilege and opportunity to give. You know - I've never regretted giving. I certainly don't miss the bday presents or anniversary presents I gave up this year. I know my Brayden doesn't miss the gifts he gave up on his birthday so that kids in Africa could eat. I have, however, regretted NOT giving. I saw a need, meant to give, but just got busy. I missed out on an opportunity to be a part of a miracle. I truly believe this is the greatest gift He gives us. The opportunity to be a part of HIS love letter to those He finds precious.

Well guess what? I got a call this afternoon from a precious friend. She's a blog friend who I've never actually met in person but have spent hours with on the phone. She actually left me a message that went something like this: "I just read your blog and my husband and I would like to give. Call me back and let me know if paypal or a check would work best. Looks like you need $7300 - so we'd like to give that amount." I dropped the phone and jumped around screaming. You should see me do my happy dance...It's quite lovely. (ok, maybe not). I called her back and told her our need right now is actually only $6500 and she said she'd send the check right now. And you know what? She was THRILLED. We were both practically in tears on the phone, so very thankful that the Lord allows us to be a part of this. She was SO excited to give and be a part of the rescue of these girls.

I hung up the phone and did a LOT more dancing and jumping and screaming. HE DID IT!!! AGAIN!!! Blew me away one more time. Not only do we have the funds needed to pull off a rescue, but we have the funds to provide a Christian counselor for these girls for a whole YEAR!

AND, the money is still coming in. People across the country have said - "we want to give. These girls are worth more than our comfort, our stuff." Girls in Kansas are having a huge garage sale. (Details on Tom's blog) Lindsey is selling her coach purse (go HERE to win a chance!). I'd LOVE to sell anything you want of mine...leave me a comment :-) We are over $500 PAST our goal and will be funding the NEXT rescue! KEEP giving!!! Our goal is to match our sweet friends' $6500 and have 2 rescues funded by Monday night! Will you join us? Will you give up some of your comfort so a little girl can be rescued? Will you give up lunch out on Sunday afternoon? Will you sell something? Offer to trade babysitting with a friend and send the money instead? I PROMISE you won't regret it. I can not fully explain the joy it is to be a part of HIS rescue of the oppressed.
Read more: http://blog.beliefnet.com/redletters/#ixzz0uRtfeG7n