Wednesday, February 26, 2014

~ The Laborers Are Few ~ Part Three ~ An Update from the Field

Romans 10:13-15
"As the Scripture says, “Anyone who calls on the Lord will be saved .14 But before people can ask the Lord for help, they must believe in him ; and before they can believe in him , they must hear about him ; and for them to hear about the Lord , someone must tell them ; 15 and before someone can go and tell them , that person must be sent "
Crystals prayer for her time in Peru .
Crystals sending agent - Pioneers
For those of you that follow my blog you know I have already written two previous posts on my dear friend Crystal Snow who is currently serving as a full time missionary in Peru . Today I want to give you an update on Crystal , the work , the people and how you can help if you feel lead . Crystal and I have been IMing , Facebooking and e-mailing for the last several weeks . We are actually IMing as I write this post . She is currently back from a jungle trip , teaching Bible stories to local children , working on her Spanish and preparing for her next jungle journey . She had to leave our chat for dinner time which was soup....which she will possibly also have for breakfast . I'll give varied details through out the post .
Crystals passion is for the people of Peru , especially the children .  As I read through her e-mail updates and her telling stories not just of what she is doing , but about the people she is meeting I am brought to tears .  Brought to tears for the people , the work , but also for the beauty of what God has placed in Crystals heart . I had the pleasure of meeting Crystal when she enrolled as a freshman to a college I was working at . Right from the start she was a spirit I knew I would love . However, my dog did not immediately love her , you can read that story here and also learn more about Crystals beginning steps toward Peru . Well, my initial instinct was right on this one and Crystal has remained a cherished and encouraging friend . If I can do her story even a little bit of justice or add one more prayer warrior to her army then that would be great .
Me & CSnow - @ TTU - Creation Festival 
This day ended with us and the rest of the crew
quiet literally on the floor....not in prayer so much
as near exhaustion .

I've been reading our e-mails , messages and looking through her pictures praying for the Lord to direct my words . I so want to express the amazing thing that is going on in this young ladies life and because of this young ladies life . Just as we chatted today I wanted her to know and be encouraged by the idea that she represents so much more than herself . Many of us who would love to , but never will be able to tread the mission field in the way that she is find joy , peace and assurance through the work she is doing . My hope is that the idea of not just being the hands and feet of the Maker , but of those of His missionaries at heart would energize her .  I believe 100% that God is using Crystals life to change others lives for His glory ! There are many pictures and words straight from Crystal that I want to share with you . In our most resent chats we've discussed her health , her heart (not in a medical sense, but a spiritual and rather human one) , the teaching she is doing , needs and what's next . I am so grateful for technology and the ability it has to bring us close to those miles , countries and even oceans away . Since Crystal is currently in a village she has access now and then to the Internet and can message, email, facebook and what not . However, when she leaves again in the upcoming months to head back to the jungle she will more than likely not have such resources . I mean , this is the kind of ride she is hitchin' to the jungle y'all .
Per one of Crystals update a ride into the jungle can take up to 5 days . Stopping to stay in schools  along the way and of course with very few potty breaks . " If we got a boat of our own we would not have to rent one (way overpriced) and it will help our trip take 2 or 3 days instead of 5 or sometimes 6." - CSnow . Crystal and her team are hoping to fund raise for a new boat or (new to them) and motor as they prepare for their upcoming jungle trips . I will have a full "needs list" at the end of this post .  Here are a few pictures and words from Crystal on her jungle trip .  
John 15:5
 “I am the vine, and you are the branches. If any remain in me and I remain in them, they produce much fruit. But without me they can do nothing."
"Sunday morning we held our first service of about 15 people with the Enganu tribe . We sang songs in Spanish along with songs in their native tongue Quetcua and our missionary leader Jamer (Peruvian pastor) taught the story of creation . That afternoon , we went out along to each house on the river to invite the children to our classes . Monday through Friday we ate breakfast together with the people in the community and had about 30 minutes to get everything ready for our kids classes . We met everyday from 9:30-12 in an old school house and each day had 20-40 kids from ages 1-15 . We had 5 lessons throughout the week, one for everyday- 1. creation of the world 2. the first sin (Adam and eve) 3. the promise/need of a savior 4. the birth/life/death/resurrection of Christ 5. the salvation message . Each day we sang 3-6 songs and taught them hand motions that would help them remember the words . This was harder than normal because for all of them, Spanish is their 2nd language and for many of them they don't understand a lot. Daily, we also practiced our Bible verses Genesis 1:1, Romans 3:23, and John 3:16. We were quite surprised how well the kids understood and could memorize these verses . Lastly but very important, each day we played games outside. Relay games, games with water balloons and water, running, hopping, and games to build trust and team work."
Houses & Water Buffalo
Laycie washing dishes in the river .
CSnow (representing in her TTU shirt)
teaching on the topic of Creation .
A BABY Boa ! CSnow I get the creeps
just posting this pic . I are
super brave !!

Crystal & Oscar
"This is my little bud Oscar . He is a happy, funny 9 year old boy, who constantly has a smile on his face . He is missing his two front teeth and more importantly missing the relationship with King Jesus . He has not yet heard, but we have hope that he will soon. :) Oscar's daddy for all his life until recently has been an angry, abusive, alcoholic . A few years ago, the Brujo  (witchdoctor) told Max (oscar's dad) that he only had a few months to live and that his house was cursed with an evil bear spirit that would kill him before the sickness did . Max left the house to wander . He traveled from brujo to brujo trying to find a cure . He dressed in all black, was on a strict "diet" from the brujo and was told never to return... through this, he stopped drinking and after months of searching, went to the missionary's house and begged for her to heal him . She told him she would pray for him, but for him to be healed he must choose which God he would serve . He could not serve the dark and the light . He must choose . A week later, max returned and told her that he was ready to trust in God, return to his home, and asked if she would go with him to cast out the bear spirit in his home . Max is now a firm believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and is in our discipleship program. He reads His Bible everyday and is learning how to finally be a daddy to his 4 children ." That is one of several stories Crystal has shared about the people she has met in Peru . I loved this picture because you just never know what will make someone feel more comfortable and will show them love, compassion or kindness . For this lil' guy it was a double eyes closed pic !
“A kind gesture can reach a wound that only compassion can heal.” -Steve Maraboli
Classes in the Jungle - From Crystals E-mail Update
Along with time in the jungle Crystal has also been spending time studying Spanish more intensively . She has been doing this by taking classes , helping tutor English , as well as using it in her every day life with her Peruvian family , locals and new friends . While in Peru since Crystal did not have her Visa during her education time , she had to take a break and leave the country . There are strict visitation laws with deadlines and fines if you break them . Crystal was not the only one in her class approaching this deadline so they took the opportunity of "needing" to leave the country to visit Chile . In January she finished her classes , but before graduation she had a very intense opportunity to test out what she had been learning when a fellow traveler came against some local authorities trying to reenter the country . " I stepped up to the glass wall and asked what the problem was . Calmly in my best Spanish accent explained that we were all here attending the same school in Arequipa , Peru and that after we finish school we would be traveling to different cities to work with the different tribes . The man was frustrated not buying our "story" and began to raise his voice . I took a  deep breathe and explained that Marcus was a doctor's assistant who would be working in a hospital for the next year, Sigrid is working with a kids program in Arequipa and that Drew and I would be working with tribes in Pucallpa . He called his boss over and explained the situation I had just explained . He asked me why he should give me more time - I had already spent my 5 months and more time was prohibited , I told him we were in the process of gaining our visas but that they had not arrived yet . He looked down at the passports, he looked back at us, he looked down again at the paperwork... they shared a few words and finally he stamped Marcus paperwork, then Digrid's , then mine , and finally Drew's . Never before had I felt so much like a secret agent in my life. :) haha God yet again opened the door . He gave me the words to say, and He softened the hearts of these two government officials. GLORY TO GOD we made it back to Peru . "
Crystals traveling buddies to Chile
while waiting to re-enter Peru .

Crystal and Meg - Arica, Chile
I mean , don't try to tell me after soup and rice for
days that this wouldn't look like manna from HEAVEN!!!
I read that story of the law "forcing" Crystal and other students to leave Peru for a while , then see the pictures of her time in Chile and think only of Gods perfect timing and provision . Provision of funds , safety , friends , clearance back into Peru , rest and relaxation . While it may have been a inconvenience in "our" timing and plans it appears to have been a beautiful time of revitalization as well . Much need , I can only imagine .  In continuing to read Crystals updates , look at her pictures and pray for her and the work she is doing I realize that there is so much that a blog post will simply never truly do it justice . However , I am giving it my best try here .
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the church. Worship is.”
― John Piper - From one of Crystals' updates -
Here are some quick facts - Crystal is in good health . She had some small issues when she returned from the jungle, but nothing to be worried about and is better now .  Her Spanish is getting better every day and I can tell it is becoming more natural to her by her messages and e-mails . They are starting to read like broken English :) WHICH IS GREAT !! Her family misses her a great deal . Apparently she was the noise maker in their home and things have gotten rather quiet . Imagine that ! LOL!!  She is currently in a village in Pucallpa and as I mentioned before , teaching Bible stories as well as hygiene , and general life lessons (why we get jobs , working , etc. ) each day , building relationships and most importantly loving on these people who have been in the dark for so long . So many of Crystals' updates mention the darkness of the people . The love they have never known , how they are considered replaceable or dispensable , and how so many of the females (and probably males) have never heard a encouraging or kind word in their life . Crystals' heart is growing more and more in love with the people of  Peru it would seem . I truly feel like God created her so very specifically and specially for this work . Her heart is so huge and loving towards everyone that I can't imagine someone walking away from her and not having felt cared for . I am asking the Lord to continue in keeping her well , giving her strength physically, mentally , spiritually and to strengthen her Spanish as she grows closer to the people .  I have told her repeatedly how strong she is . I absolutely believe she is a super hero of sorts . In my eyes anyway . As Crystal works on her Spanish , prepares for another jungle trip , and the rest of her time in Peru here are a few of the more current and possibly realistic needs . In Crystal's words :-)
-Chocolate - She said this jokingly , but I see that as a REAL NEED !! So, on the list it goes .
- " hmmm need list would for sure be anything useful in a classroom...
- we do a lot of teaching and are always in need of markers, construction paper, crayons... anything literally. we want to take supplies to give to the tribes and communities. they literally have nothing and the closest store is about 5 days away
- along with beads and string. we use a lot for the little beads tiny for fishing line or honestly any size. don't have to be fancy. the girls sit with us for hours and listen to Bible stories as we made necklaces
-thank so so so much!!!! we are also collecting money for a boat and motor if anyone would like to send money if we got a boat of our own we would not have to rent one (way overpriced) and it will help our trip take 2 or 3 days instead of 5 or sometimes 6. (painful on the butt) "
Crystal has far better and more detailed updates on the people she has met , classes she has taken , run ins with government , new custom's and varied other things available via her e-mail update . If you are interested in donating items/funds please feel free to message me and I can get your info to Crystal or if you would like to get updates from Peru or and find out how you can donate/mail items from the needs list you can private message Crystal through this link to her Facebook page . You can also donate funds for Crystal or any other Pioneer  missionary by going to the Pionerer Link Here .
While Crystal may be miles away these pictures assure me her beautiful, unique, spunky,
and loving spirit remains intact .


What in the world is that animal on your head DDP and can Jack have one ?!
You can read my first two posts on Crystals' planning and preparing for Peru HERE and HERE !
In all my posts you can click on any of the red highlighted links to see other related posts from myself , fellow bloggers and to go directly to businesses/deals/items I am bragging on .

Monday, February 24, 2014

Coming Soon ~ C.Snow Peru Update

To read my first two posts on Crystals preparing for her time in Peru you can click here and here ! I will be posting a update soon on how Crystal is doing since moving to Peru with some CSnow quotes and pictures from the adventurer herself !!

Apple Pie ~ A Quick Fix

Necessity is the mother of invention or so they say . I am not sure that this was a necessity so much as it was a snow day craving . I have a notorious sweet tooth and I blame my grandfather for it . I have seen him eat candy for breakfast when he thought no one was paying attention . Until now I have kept that secret safe for him . Anyway , after a trek in the snow chasing after my snow pup Jack Davis I really wanted something sweet . I did the normal combing of cabinets, fridge, and freezer looking for inspiration when I came across these two items I had purchased on a , "we'll see" basis .

I have become a Healthy Choice Frozen Greek Yogurt fan and shall proclaim it's awesomeness to all who will listen !!! They are 100 calories per prepackaged bowl and the box seen here comes with three bowls . They also have four flavors, but I lean toward the vanilla bean simply because you can add to it easier than say blueberry . The Dole Apple Crisp comes in a pack of two bowls and contains cinnamon apple squares and granola/oats . They can be eaten as is or heated . On this particular evening I heated up the apple bowl , poured its contents over a frozen Greek yogurt and then sprinkled the granola/oats over both of those . AMAZING !! Quick, simple , and bit lower in cals and fat in comparison to actual apple pie with ice cream . As I said this is a quick fix for a sweet tooth ! If you are a apple pie fan I would highly suggest this little mix .
What snack or meal creations have you made in this winter weather ?!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

What Would Mamaw Hannah Think ?

Growing up I was what is called a "latch key kid". Meaning , I had my own key to my house and after school would go home alone until a parent came home from work . Prior to my latch key status I was baby sat after school and in summers by my grandparents as well as my great-grandma , Mamaw Hannah . All of the grandchildren call her Mamaw Hannah no matter where they fall in the line of secession . Anyway , I spent many a afternoon and summer day at my Mamaw Hannah's . Mamaw Hannah was a traditional, old, southern,  Christian woman . She was a wife of a miner , mother of 12 , faithful church member and friend to many . That's just part of who she was ,  to me she was much more , actually I am sure to all of us she was much more . I often find myself thinking of her when I am doing what I consider to be traditionally southern women things (I always puff my chest thinking she would be proud to know that some of her ways have stuck with me), such as breakin' beans on the porch , making sweet tea , and what not . Tonight as I sat listening to a debate online and letting beans cook on the stove I thought of Mamaw Hannah . I spent a lot of today cooking or preparing foods for cooking so , I guess she's kinda been on my heart all day . What would she think of us now ? I am sure the technology would impress and scare her all the same time . She would be excited to see how so many of us grew up , went to college , got married , had babies, those babies had babies and so on . She would be wearing us out on a daily basis for not being in church as much as she thought we should and she would be the first place we would all go to when feeling down .

Now that I am grown I have often thought how short changed other cousins might have been by not getting to have spent as much time as I did with Mamaw Hannah . But something my Mamaw said about Mamaw Hannah (her mother) has changed how I think on my memories , in a good way . One day when going through old family pictures we started discussing Mamaw Hannah when my Mamaw said , "She made all you kids feel special . I bet you thought the way she treated you was different than how she treated all the others ." I sure did , until now (insert sound of reality/glass shattering here) . What a revelation it was to me to think that she loved all of us as much as she loved me . I mean , she loved me SO MUCH !! That sounds so selfish and vain , I know ! I don't mean it in a , why would she love everyone as much way, but in a awe inspiring , HOW did she love us all so much way !?! I recall laying on her couch with twisted ankles , migraine headaches , and even just to be beside her and the amount of safety and love I felt there was immeasurable . To know that all of us got that kind of attention and affection was a wonderful revelation for me . It also helped explain a little of who I am, I think . I feel like we all at one time or another wonder how/when certain parts of who we are were formed . I wrote in a previous post about a child secretly telling all her friends that each of them was her best friend , and in her heart that was true . She genuinely loved each of them just as much as the other . While the story that came from wasn't about me , it might as well have been . For the most part , I genuinely love people , the ones that don't agree with me , the ones that are mean to me , all of them . I mean, I wouldn't go on vacation with all of them , but I have a genuine unexplainable love for them . And while I have had many experiences in my life with varied people, in varied countries and situations I think it may have been my time with Mamaw Hannah that shaped this part of my heart .

Tonight as the smell of something simmering on the stove & the sound of jack snoring in the floor fill the house I am taken back to evening time with Mamaw Hannah . Every morning she would sit on her brown couch brushing her long silver hair . She would braid it and then wrap it in a bun on top of her head , securing it with bobby pins and then every night she would undo the practically undone bun from her head , untwisting the braid and brushing her hair before she went to bed . I feel like I can hear her humming as I picture it all in my head . Tonight I am grateful for memories , revelations , and facts ! Odd combination perhaps , but thankful none the less . I hope that whatever else shapes my heart as time goes on that this influence of Mamaw Hannah never fades . Even if I forget how to cook beans or braid my hair I pray desperately that her consistent and unconditional love is one trait I never lose .

I will probably share more stories about Mamaw Hannah in the future . There are so many !!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Story Tellin' - #1- Coupon Boot Camp - Go On W/O Me the Missions is More Important

While this blogs purpose is to mainly share about my daily faith walk....or sometimes lack of faith walk I also like to take the opportunity I have here to share fun stories . I feel like a lot of my stories tend to have a little lesson to them , but I wanted to share this one and possible  a few others just for funsies !! My past stories have been centered around family , former roomies and besties . This one will be no different .

Today I had to wake up super early......for me . So, instead of going back to bed after my early morning to-do's I decided to make the most of my time . I must say between my coupon scores , to-do's marked off the list , and what not I am feeling pretty good about the day . While I was calculating my coupon savings and cutting coupons for future needs I was reminded of a hilarious incident with the friend that got me into couponing . I'm unsure if you ever give the cashier your e-mail when they ask , but I do . It has only profited me in the past with  amazing coupons . Todays memory is linked to one of those amazing coupons !! It was a spend $10.00 get $10.00 off your purchase . That's right , free money so if I only spent $10.00 I would walk out with a free item(s) . With my coupon & coupon mentor in tow we headed to the store rather excitedly to spend my "free" money !!! Now there is always fine print such as you have to spend $10.00 exactly . It can't be $9.99 and still receive the discount . My friend and I began our hunt in some of our favorite spots such as the jewelry section , stationary , etc . I found a journal and was determined to not spend more than the $10.00 coupon . With that exact $10.00 requirement it can get frustrating finding just the right priced item(s), especially if you don't go in with something in mind . I know you are thinking that is far too much trouble just for $10.00 . Well on this day I started to think the same thing . I literally found myself sitting in the floor of the sock section telling my friend I just wouldn't use the coupon ( in a "go on with out me , the mission is more important") tone . Then she leans down and in a very stern voice says ,"THAT'S FREE MONEY !! WE ARE SPENDING IT !!!" . I imagine this is what coupon boot camp might look like if coupon boot camp was a thing . P.S. DIBS on making coupon book camp a thing ! When the sales lady came over to see if we needed any help we , in unison , grumbled "NO!" I did end up with enough items to use my "free money" and we left the store laughing as well as victorious . Today I actually laughed out loud as I recalled her determination to help me save $10.00 . That's what good friends my book anyway . They alert you to freebies online , "remind you when your kohl's cash is going to expire" ,  and help you max out your "free money" coupons !!
Happy Shopping to You !!
May your friends be the discount drill sergeant you need in your weaker moments !!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

First of February Freebies & Valentines Pre-Thinking
Some of these deals will end this weekend others will be around for awhile . So, be sure to check the details on each link before clicking purchase . I feel like these are great deals that I need to share with you all . Starting with................. , this deal ends Sunday February 2, 2014 11:59 P.M. PT . Use code XOXOCARDS for 10 free cards from Shutterfly . You will have to pay shipping , but I have learned it is a fair cost/deal when getting personalized cards . Especially considering it will save me a trip to the store and the agony of reading 100 cards . They also offer addressing and stamping of your card , but that will of course add an extra charge to your purchase above shipping . I usually use these kinds of deals to get ahead on birthday or holiday cards .
5x7 Folded Card
View the entire collection of cards.
E-Cards with a Cause - mommasgonecity is a instagramer that I stated following several months ago . Once you see her daily dose of cuteness displayed in her toddler and newly adopted pup, #theoandbeau , you kinda become addicted . It has been amazing to watch what this rescue pup has done for their family as well as the shelter he was rescued from . In the spirit of LOVE and all that their rescue pup Theo , has brought has partnered with to create a FREE Theo and Beau Valentine e-card . For every share, $.50 will be donated to @santacruzspca up to $5,000 . Yes, this is a shelter outside of your community, but it is a shelter none the less and it costs you nothing !! Jack Davis has already started a list of Valentines he wants to send one too . is a site for artists to offer up free samples of their upcoming releases . I know a lot of people are hesitant to purchase from new artists simply off of buzz . This gives you chance to check out some music , plump up your audio library , and perhaps support some up and coming musicians and writers all for FREE . I have recently downloaded tunes from varied genres so don't worry about there being something in your style . Once you download with them they will send you e-mails to keep you updated on new releases, etc . I'm currently jamming to some Tyler Hilton - Studio Sessions and I love it .
If you are looking to add to your music library you should download  iTunes if you don't already have it . They often promote new artists , new releases , etc. with a Single of the Week . These singles are FREE !!! Sometimes they lead no where and sometimes they are your first note of something amazing . Some of my fave Singles of the Week have been from artists such as Zac Brown Band , HAIM , David Nail , Orianthi , and many other amazing artists that are now or on their way to being well known . I would also suggest downloading the Starbucks ap for this same reason . Weekly they will message you through the ap a free download . Sometimes it is music , other times it is another ap, game , or a book  . I have gotten many great FREE tunes from Starbucks ap from artists such as She and Him , Arcade Fire , Young the Giant , and Mary J. Blige . In my opinion when there is free music out there you really have no excuse for a flimsy music library .
Papa Johns - If you are keeping up with the trends you already know that most pizza places have adapted their ordering process for online orders . With this ever growing trend Papa Johns has created a point system where when you order via online ,  you gain points toward future orders and freebies . You all know how I love a Rewards Program !!! With Super Bowl weekend , Peyton Manning as a Papa Johns spokes person as well as playing in the big game they are offering points on this weekends orders toward a future free pizza order with promo code PJMVP . If I understand correctly , when ordering your pizza online you need to add the promo code PJMVP and it will later add a free pizza credit up to $15.00 onto your Papa Johns account .  Click on THIS LINK to find out more about setting up an account , ordering online and what it takes to get a free pizza ! Don't forget to tip your delivery people folks !!!! This specific deal is only good through Super Bowl weekend and it's points/rewards will not appear until Monday February 3rd or after .
Alright guys , I will keep you updated with other great deals and freebies as I come across them, but with this post alone you could arrange for an amazing personalized card , sweet mix tape , and dinner all at little to no cost !! Valentines is just around the corner !!! If you are looking to get your online shop on then may I direct you to my post from several weeks ago , "Get Your Purse , We're Going Shopping" . It will lead you to some amazing links such as Stella and Dot , Mary Kay , Pampered Chef , Drowsy Aurora and several others that can help you get just the perfect Valentine for your Valentine !!
(In all my posts you can click on any of the highlighted links to
see other related posts from myself , fellow bloggers and to
go directly to businesses/deals I am bragging on. )