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Love and Hate

I attended church yesterday with a heavy heart, the events of Saturday in Charlottesvile, VA at the forefront of my mind. I was not however surprised. Racism is something that will always exist in this broken world. My pastor spoke that love and hate are intertwined. I cannot disagree, love is powerful and can be good. It means caring and wanting the best for the thing I love.

But

What do I love so much that I would hate? It’s a valid question. If my family or friends are hurt, I hate what hurts them.

So

As I look at my newsfeed on various social media outlets, and I look at the chilling photos of well dressed white men holding torches and seig heiling ( not sure of the proper verbage for it). I wonder how much do they love the idealogy of whiteness to hate the rest of God’s creations?

For we are all image bearers. My saviour was not white. He was on earth a middle eastern Jewish man who brought salvation to all.

One cannot be of two minds. You either love God and therefore love all. Or hate God and love the few. What you love is what you are most passionate about, what you expend time and energy on. If you are more passionate arguing on social media about things that attack your comfort than  in working to love God and others than perhaps its time to reevaulate what you are truly loving. The heart is a decitful thing, and idol maker and can lead people away from God.

This weekend’s past events in addition to other events have made it evident that there are many who love the idealogy of whiteness over all. The death of Heather Heyer happened because a man so full of hate drove into a crowd on purpose. Because what he loves overrides the diginity of others. Because what he worships was being attacked in his mind.

I pray for him to repent and have  a Paul moment ( Act 9:1-19). Paul was a man called Saul who persecuted Christians until Christ intervened, causing him to be blinded for a period of time. When he was able to see again, he saw the truth of who he had been and became someone new. I truly believe that people can change, to learn to love something beyond their own comforts.

My first inclination is to hate these people right back. I am angered and saddend but not surprised. I must fight against this because how can I claim to love Christ if I hate who he created? How can people meet Jesus if I am not willing to see them as people in need of Him?

I love God and therefore I fight against hate. I will do so by how I know best, my words. I will continue to work in my community loving people because they need love. I will engage in hard conversations and not back down. I will listen and read as I have been. I have much to learn and much to love. Most of all much to be in prayer for my own heart, my community and this nation.

I pray for there to be more love of God then of self preservation.

Books I have been reading

Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler

When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett and Bryan Fikkert

The New Jim Crow – Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander

White Trash  The 400 year untold story of class in America by Nancy Isenberg

 

Unexpected Places

I never once imagined that I would end working with kids. I played teacher as a kid but I also played doctor, super hero and WWII spy. ( In a way it’s understandable to see why I enjoy writing fiction so much!). But working with kids as a career? NOPE. Or at least that was what I believed. Until I met my friend Mary Ann who works with Greater Miami Youth For Christ in a program called KIX ( Kids in Christ). It is an afterschool program (among several ) that reaches into a few neighborhoods throughout Miami. Through my friendship with Mary Ann, I started to volunteer off and on over the years. Helping out with homework or being there for the teen program on Friday nights.

Last year though, I was offered a position as staff. It was an answer to a prayer, a second source of income and feeling the God moment in it. Have you ever had a moment where there was no hesitation to say yes because it just felt right? This was one of those moments for me. I knew I was going to say yes to this and I began work with the second and third graders three days a week.

Let me tell you something, it has been the hardest job I have ever had but by far the most rewarding. These kids they just get into the heart. One in particular reminds me of myself. She has a bit of imagination and I see the story teller emerging in her. I get her, I was her at her age. I lacked confidence in my abilities with Math homework ( and I’ve only just begun to encounter this Core Math stuff too). Working each day with my girl is one of the highlights of the day. Seeing that moment when she gets it, especially after fighting hard for the answer is a victory. Her victory.

I have been told that God qualifies us for the work He needs us to do. This is why this time in my life could not have been planned by myself. I did not feel confident in being able to do something like this in my life. But God is greater than my doubts. This is where my trust in Him comes in for my life. Trusting Him in this place has been a huge lesson for me. I’m still learning and I’m not the greatest every day but there is grace in this work. As I learned a few years ago, work is worship and worship is work.

The desire and heart of Greater Miami YFC ( and YFC nationwide and international) is to reach the youth. Kids and teens in communites of all kinds bringing the love of Christ into their lives. The neighborhood that we minister  in is one of the largest Habitat communites in the country. It is a tight knit community that often has dealt with crime and violence. A few weeks ago a young lady was shot in the face by her ex boyfriend waiting for the school bus. She survived but she may lose her right eye.

This is the reality of what these kids deal with day in and day out. But by being able to come to KIX afterschool or  for teen events gives them a respite. It gives them a place to point to and say there is safety and love inside that building. I am grateful to get to be part of it. To plant seeds of hope in Christ and loving on these kids. I look forward to the next victory my girl has this coming week.

I would love it if you could dear reader take a moment to click on the link for Greater Miami Youth For Christ to learn more about what we do in our vast city. Perhaps you would like to get involved with your local chapter or even donate to KIX ( just look for my name under the donate tab). Most of all I would like your prayers for this neighborhood and many like it through out our country. For these kids to find a place of hope and love in the name of Christ.

 

 

Story Monday: Bookshelf Purge

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Box of books ready for donation

We all have those books that mean more to us than others. It struck me recently as I paired down my bookshelves that there were some books I always keep. And my hope to one day live in a tiny house means I will need to choose which books to keep and which to purge.

After all I won’t have much room to store them. By giving away books I have no interest in reading again, I am giving someone the opportunity to enjoy them. For them to do more than collect dust on my shelves.

Doing this can be hard. Feeling as if I am now betraying these works who live on my shelves. As a book lover, it is within me to keep all the books. However, practically I cannot continue to keep them.

In future I am going to put aside those books I have no desire to read again. To either give them away to my friends or donate to my local library, hospital or nursing home. Yes, I could also sell them to a used book store. However the danger here is then returning home with more books!

What a great way to help the community? By giving the gift of story?

Mid Week Motivator: Nano Prep Part 4

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In just a few days Nanowrimo officially begins! The next few weeks will be full of challenging creativity. Remember this is a marathon, not a sprint. While this a competition, this is not a race against others but with others.

Schedule your writing time. Whether it means getting up earlier . Some days you may have more time to write than others. Honor the time you have set aside.

Join local write ins. This will help you connect to other writers. Don’t forget the online community as well. Join in on the fun on Twitter by following the #Nanowrimo.

Most of all enjoy the process! You may find you have a first draft to polish in December or a head start towards your first draft.

Mid Week Motivator: Five Reasons To Buddy Up

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It can be hard to get out there and commit to a healthier lifestyle. As with anything else in life, this cannot be done alone. Especially when you are starting out. When I started working out, having a buddy there was hugely important. Here are my five reasons to buddy up.

1. Accountability– When you know your friend(s) are setting aside their time as well, it gives you more reason to get up and GO!

2- You Work Harder– No matter the kind of work out, you will push yourself a bit more. Lets face it, being competitive is in our nature.

3-It Is Bonding– I can attest that a few of my close friendships were forged by working out together. When sweating alongside someone, nothing is hidden.

4- You Learn New Things– Your buddy may know more about using weights and you know about running. I have learned how to get more out of my squats and push ups from one buddy. I in turn helped her learn how to pace herself while running.

5- You Become More Motivated– The more you work out, the more it becomes a habit. There will be times you are not able to meet up with your buddy. Do not let this not stop you!You can text your buddy and brag on yourself. You will see that going out there alone is not as daunting as it once was.

You may start working out with a friend and it just does not work. For whatever reason. As with any relationship, this cannot be forced. Or its a scheduling issue. You may end up meeting up for a few weeks or from time to time.

What other benefits have you found working out with a buddy?

Survival Guide To Valentine’s Day

 

So yes, it’s that time again. That time of year when Christmas is swapped out for Valentine’s Day. I do not know about where you live but this happened even before Christmas Eve had passed.

Seriously, corporate America?

But it struck me. The way it is being sold to us, this holiday is not about love. Nope. This is all business.

But what is being sold to us is not love. It is in fact marketing geared to sell us lies about love.

The lie being sold to us is that you are only loved if you are in a relationship.
That the only kind of love that matters is romantic love. But love, real love is so much more than sappy greeting cards and chocolate with an obscenely long shelf life.

Real love is being in real community. Once I discovered my worth in Christ, I discovered love. Love for myself, love for others and even love for strangers. But the world tells us that you are only loved if you are in a relationship. This is far from the truth because I am well loved.

This has taken me a while to get here. To understand that there is all kinds of love and it is not limited as we have been taught.

Another lie is that if you are in a relationship, then you must spend $$$ to show as much. Pressure is placed on all of us then. Those in a relationship and those who are not.

But, only if we allow corporate entities to define love and how this should look.

How can this be done?
For a start, dear fellow singles. Remember you are loved. Look around at your family and community. Your worth today and every day is not measured by the receiving of cards and gifts. Reach out to your fellow singles and go OUT to celebrate. Or  stay in and binge on Netflix and chocolate? A totally valid choice. This year,I hope to go dancing with my good friends on Valentine’s Day. I want to celebrate friendship and community.

I do not need to be in a couple to celebrate love.

For my coupled friends, do not allow yourself to get stressed out about this day either. You know it’s totally fine for you to binge watch Netflix and eat chocolate in your pajamas.
I came across this on Pinterest and thought it rather interesting.

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Off To Camp I Go ( Again)

I am leading at camp again this week. Things are a bit different than last year, but the mission remains the same. This was taken last year on the final day of mission camp. I will be busy the entire week supervising middle schoolers as they serve our community, study the book of James, develop closer relationships with each other and worship God. It will be a week of late nights, little sleep, lots of deep conversations and laughs. It will be fun, growing and exhausting. I can not wait to sleep on the floor and wake up my girls each morning. Really, I can not wait!

Follow me on Twitter @lindasconnelly for updates and pictures!

I will be taking a break from blogging for the rest of this month. I will return to my regular blogging schedule in the beginning of July.

I’ve Been Nominated!!

I have been plugging away at this blog for a while now ( just over a year, first at Blogger and now here). Today my dear friend and fellow blogger Janet ( check out her blog on Living with Anxiety and Panic Disorder www.livingwithanxietyandpanicdisorder.wordpress.com ) and Honest Reviews, great stuff on both!) nominated me for a Leibster Award! First thank you Janet for nominating me for this, even though I admit I did have to do some research about it.

 

This award motivates bloggers to work hard

It provides exposure to small bloggers

It helps to build god relationships with other bloggers

It is an opportunity to share more about you with others

It is easy and good fun

 

Once someone nominates you, follow the steps below

1- Thank the person that nominated you!

2- Post 11 facts about yourself

3- Answer the 11 questions posted by the person who nominated you

4- Nominate 10 bloggers with less than 200 followers that you think deserve some recognition

5- Inform those bloggers that you’ve nominated them!

6- Post 11 questions for them to answer.

 

So here it goes!

 

Eleven Facts

1- I admit and embrace my nerdiness and devotion to sci- fi, most particularly to Doctor Who these days.

2- I own a cat and I tend to instagram (@lindasconnelly and tweet (@lindasconnelly) about him way too much

3- Though I just turned 35 I believe my mental age to be about 25.

4- Blue is my favorite color and not because it matches it eyes.

5- Daydreaming is one of my favorite past times

6- I find running to be fun at times

7- I am obsessed with all the uses for Coconut Oil ( seriously there are A LOT!)

8- I don’t take advantage of living so close to the keys nearly enough ( this I will change in the future.)

9- I made my own coffee creamer then paid for it when I did not properly date it.

10- Journaling helps clarify my thoughts and I do it before I write anything.

11- I would not be who I am today if I did not follow Jesus.

 

And now for Janet’s questions for me.

 

1-Why did you decide to start blogging?

 

After getting healthy I had people approaching me about how I did it and decided blogging would be the best platform.

 

2- What is your biggest dream in life?

 

I hope to be able to support myself fully by writing within five years.

 

3- If you could have dinner with one person living or dead, who would it be and why?

 

This is hard but I honestly think a meal with Audrey Hepburn would be amazing. She lead such an interesting and loving life and having a conversation with her over a good meal would just be wonderful!

 

4- If you could change one thing about your, what would it be?

 

Nothing. I am exactly where I need to be at this point in my life.

 

5- Have you ever fired a gun?

 

Not yet, would like to try it at least once.

 

6- Would you rather trade some intelligence for looks or looks for intelligence?

 

Neither, I have exactly the amount of intelligence and looks I can handle hahahaha!

 

 

7-What is your favorite joke?

 

That is really silly, Why six afraid of seven? Because seven eight nine!

 

8- What is the worst present you have ever received?

 

None come to mind. Anytime someone puts the time and effort into a gift then how can it be bad?

 

9- What is your worst fear?

 

Not living a full life.

 

10- Is there anything about the opposite sex you just don’t understand or comprehend?

 

Loaded question! EVERYTHING!

 

11- Do you want to build a snow man?

 

Very badly, let’s do it!

 

Confession time, I honestly do not have a list of blogs to nominate and pass this along to. Getting nominated was great news then I began to feel guilty about this. I only have two that I would recommend taking the time to read and even follow. One belongs to Janet Mickley who nominated me and the other is a young lady who has begun to follow my blog. A college student named Cece I spent an evening reading through her posts and found them to thoughtful, intriguing and most of all full of young wisdom. Check her out her blog Excuse My Truths at www.excusemytruth.wordpress.com

 

Here are my 11 questions :

 

1- What inspires you to write a blog?

2- Have you ever wanted to restart a day?

3- During which television show do your friends know not to call you during?

4- How have you faced a fear head on in the last six months?

5- What was the result of facing it?

6- When was the last time you called someone instead of communicating via text or social media?

7-What are your hopes in writing a blog?

8- Have you felt discouraged in writing it?

9- Did you have an amazing, unexpected surprise lately?

10- You are given $1,000 and told to give it all away. What would you do?

11- What is your favorite ice cream flavor?