Reeee-jected **DaniGee**

rejection

Happy Sunday Radicalnites!!

I love my friends. I thank God everyday for there  being there for me and providing me loads of encouragement, sometimes on a daily basis. I also enjoy our real conversations. I know that when we ask each other for opinions, it’s not going to be a watered down version. We love each other too much to be anything but real each others. During one of our weekly convos, one of my friends stated that she had went on an interview and she had got rejected from a job. Her words were, I don’t like the feeling that comes from being rejected.

Who does? I am sure beekeepers doesn’t like to get stung by their moneymakers or I am sure that supermodels doesn’t like tripping in 5 inch stilettos. However, that’s life. Rejection is a part of life. Sometimes, people get rejected on a daily basis. Rejection is just like everything else in life. You can look it 1 or 2 ways. You can see it as a personal failure and that nothing ever is going to go your way or you can see it the way I see ( or at least try to or after a few days of moping), which is a stepping stone.  We only need one yes. It may take 200 nos or no callbacks but it will happen. With every rejection, I want to learn something more about me. I want to know how I can improve on myself when the next opportunity comes.

NO, rejection doesn’t feel good but It is a necessary part of life. We have to go through some valleys in our lives to know how to handle ourselves when our blessings comes. It won’t always be peches and cream but it also won’t be thunderclouds and raindrops all the time either.

Keep Praying and know that God always have our best interest in mind.

Still Pushing,

DaniGee

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Serving God, Saving Orphans Part 2~Audrey

In my last post, I told you all about Bridges of Faith. I told you what we do and how we do it. But now I want to tell you the stories about these children. I want to tell you how my life has changed working here. So I present an array of pictures and stories to show you what Bridges of Faith is really all about.

11063754_918105812784_1955259061713858976_nAt Bridges of Faith, we get many sibling. Siblings are required to be adopted all together to keep the family connection. The two in the picture have a third brother (you you’ll see him later when we head to the McWane Science Center). Watching the boys playing with Lego was magical. Legos make everything better, even squabbling siblings. The amount of pure joy was great to be a part of and still touches me when I look at this photo. They were so happy while they were here experiencing all kinds of adventures. I am privileged to have participated in that joy.

20405_917491159554_848575441207968056_nIn our down time (which there is truly not a lot of), we like to play games. At BridgeStone, we have ping pong and Foosball tables (and, yes, I do feel like I’m an episode of Friends every time I play). I am absolutely horrible at ping pong but will join in Foosball games with the kids. We also play table top games . Jenga is a favorite of the kids, and they love to make building out of the block seeing how high they can go without falling. As you can see in the picture, they really get into Minion Operation. They over-concentrate and love when the buzzer goes off. The picture shows the older children playing happily with the younger ones. I loved seeing them get along with one another and being considerate of the younger ones.

10672376_919790736184_3445467615523589873_nWater sports was the game of choice and the children quickly learned the English word for “swimming”. We spent countless hours at the pool whether it was at Bridgestone or at other people’s houses. Many generous people threw pool parties and let us stay with them in their home while we were here. The children were figuratively fish in the water. This picture captures our kids in motion. Jumping, splashing and playing , they always had a great time. The day we went to the lake was amazing! We had a blast canoeing, swimming, and riding jet skis. The kids never had a better time.

10511108_917824661214_8632223771176358230_nBut swimming was just the beginning of our water fun. One of our amazing volunteers set up a ginormous slip-and-slide! They went head first, feet first, surfing and running down the plastic. To see these children enjoying the same thing I did as a child was for very emotional for me. These children live in an orphanage without enough workers to go around. They don’t get to do a lot of things that I got to enjoy as a child. But here they were slipping on soap and covered in grass having the time of their lives.

Water balloons was another experience we were able to share with the kids. This photo is golden because it shows the group effort it takes to serve these children. Not only are the children present, but you see 11541973_920487355154_7123272538960979440_nthe youth group that has come to camp to spend days with the children doing a variety of activities and learning Bibles stories. These volunteers clean the site and make food to share with the staff. They are integral to the program. They introduced a variety of games, and while they picked up on the water balloon fight, they didn’t really understand kick ball. The volunteers and children worked together to over come the language barrier and were able to participate in the game. Seeing the youth work with these children and around the camp with an open heart and a giant smile, really gave me hope for the future.

This post is getting long so I will tell you more stories next week! Stay tuned!

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits:http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/
And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name, please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com

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It’s A Heart Issue-Renee’

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Whatever trials, tribulations, bad days and annoyances we face they are all brought to us or sanctioned by God to reveal the state of our hearts. You can say I believe such and such all day while the sun is shining, but what about when the storm hits. When the rain beats you down and you can’t see, or when something hits you right in your chest and you feel like you can’t breathe. …I’m talking about that kind of storm.

I’m in a storm and it’s difficult for me to process because. ..it’s an issue close to my heart.  I struggled with the idea of love when I was younger,  because I saw vulnerability as a weakness. People will see what you care about the most and exploit that, that was my mindset. It took me having Daniel at 23 years of age to really truly love someone. He turned on a switch in my heart I just couldn’t flip off. He left me wide open emotionally…

With that being said, when something really hurts me…it cuts me deep. I mean to my core. Before I could shake things off easily because my level of care was surface at best,  so nothing truly affected me.

I just experienced and am experiencing a situation that is challenging me qt my core value. Since i started HER, I’ve been attacked in this very area if sisterhood.  Again, a heart issue. How can i honestly blog, post and write positive messages for women when right now another woman has hurt me?  This situation revealed what I need to turn over to God. I need to pray for her (not in the God please get her lol) but a deep felt God bless her, restore her, heal her…heal me, restore me. Wherever I’ve lacked or whoever I’ve hurt forgive me. If i see her, like I see me a soul who needs grace and forgiveness it puts this back in the right perspective.  It takes the focus off my feelings, my hurt and places them at my Father’s feet. I am by no means perfect, but through Him I’m loved perfectly and can reflect Him and his attributes.

My heart issue needed to be exposed so that I can become the woman God made.

I got off track, cried,  said a few (ok, ok) ALOT of cuss words lol but that’s ok. The point is, although I still feel wounded,  confused and just plain old sad…I don’t have to carry that with me. God said come to me all who are burdened and heavily laden and I will give you rest. Everyone’s burden is different.  Some it might be illnesses, some might be finances. ..for me i don’t know why, but my biggest issues always come from relationships. I’m going to ask God to reveal why I’m like 99% of the time attacked in this area, but whatever the reason….ive got to put my big girl panties on…and keep trucking

One leg at a time,

Renee

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Serving God, Saving Orphans Part 1~Audrey

I have faithfully followed God’s calling and stepped up to serve Ukrainian Orphans at Bridges of Faith.  But what is Bridges of Faith really?

10557757_10152513140817171_3281271709855537029_oJoyfully radical, the BoF family lives James 1:27.  Armed with lethal love, short-term teams invade Ukrainian orphanages, revolutionizing young lives that were headed for destruction. From camps for regional groups to bringing Ukrainian orphans to Alabama, God dramatically uses BoF to build lives and rescue damaged children.

Three times each year, Bridges of Faith brings Ukrainian orphans to BridgeStone, our 140 acre retreat center in Central Alabama, to taste Southern culture, faith, and life. All volunteer driven staff raise their own support and hundreds of people from across America and Ukraine work together to demonstrate His love for these kids. Though not an adoption agency, families meet the children and often invite these kids into their forever families. Though designed for the children they rock out worlds with who they are. All involved see the Face of God. No one is ever the same again.

Ukraine has over 100,000 orphans.  Only approximately 10 present are orphaned due to death of a parent. The majority are social orphans – products of alcoholism, 11039310_10153319928642171_7916572586876156665_oabandonment, or imprisoned parents.  Every year, around 2,000 mothers abandon their babies in maternity hospitals.  An estimated 6,000 to 7,000 more are abandoned at an older age or removed from home because of crime or neglect. These Orphans typically grow up in large state-run homes, which may house over 200 children.  They are “evicted” at about age 17, insanely unprepared for life in the real world.  With a lack or worldly skills, the majority of these orphans going into prostitution or the drug trade.  Approximately 10 percent of these will attempt suicide before their 22nd birthday.

Bridges of Faith formed to bring short-term answers and long-term solutions to the 100,000+ orphans in Ukraine. Kids who stay in the orphanage face bleak statistical futures. Within five years of graduation from the orphanage, ten percent of the kids commit suicide. More than ten percent go to prison. Only ten percent make meaningful lives. The others live in the grip of life-controlling problems; drugs, crime, and mafia are common for them. Sixty percent of the girls are trafficked. Our programs give direction, hope, opportunities, and life.

The Ukrainian Orphan Project is the program in which Bridges of Faith International Children’s Fund revolves around. It takes 154,000  dollars of funding to  bring two groups of ten Ukrainian orphans for four-week Christian camp experiences at BOF’s retreat facility in Alabama in the summer It covers transportation, food, lodging, interpreting services, health/travel insurance, speakers/activities, overhead, and incidental necessary expenses.  During the children’s time in Alabama, they experience Alabama life and culture through camping, touring educational sites, teaching settings, and visiting homes and families. Children participate in a variety of activities such as Braves baseball games, trips to the Gulf Coast and the
11329753_10153326176077171_992915694409136205_nUSS Alabama, and attending events at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival.   English and bible lesson are incorporated into the everyday curriculum for these children as well as a variety of games, crafts, and lessons.

The ongoing miracle of BridgeStone provides the setting for eternally changed lives. Some describe special locations as thin places, places where the barrier between heaven and earth almost disappears. Over the years, many people have found new direction, new life, forgiveness, healing, restoration and love in this truly thin place. Add the crazy fun of the Almighty Mud Run, the beautiful Goodwin Pool, paintball and other great activities to great meals and rich relationships, and you begin to understand the miracle called BridgeStone.

But I know you want more information on a personal level and I will give it to you! Stayed tuned for my next installment on following the road God leads me!

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits: http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/
And if you are interested in making a tax-deductible donation to BOF in my name, please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com

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It’s like that sometimes……..Renee`

What kind of person do you want to be?

I’ve been wrestling with this question all of my life. I’ve struggled with insecurities and that has lead me to really put myself second (in an unhealthy way). This past weekend I had a very tough conversation with someone I love, but can’t continue to have in my life if they continue to be unhealthy. (for those keeping up, yes this is the SAME person I’ve blogged about probably the last three years). I’ve not confronted this person before and this time I was willing to do so; it did not end exactly like I had hoped, but the good part is- I am walking and owning my truth. If you hurt me I do not have to be bitter towards you, but I also do not have to pretend that I am ok with you.

I’m learning to hold fast to my boundaries, in a good way. It helps me to stay healthy and my health is important because I have three little boys and a husband that need me to pour into them. Heck, the vision that God has given me requires that I check myself quite often.

I have also started to attempt to tackle that debt monster again. I have used the funds from the AmeriCorps account and am now paying directly for my loans..which honestly sucks..a lot, but I am determined to have only those bills be the nonessential bills I will pay.

I also signed up for a 22 day challenge from the I Am Second movement, because I feel I have been a bit stagnate. My friend Audrey also challenged me to find more kid and hubby free activities for myself. Even LaDarren has encouraged me to start spending more money and time on myself. It means I have really let my life get out of balance if everyone who loves me says…Renee I think you need to spend more time on what you like to do. That’s always been a problem for me.

Even before I had children I struggled with putting my needs before those of my family. I didn’t mind doing it and still don’t but I need to make sure that I am not losing myself in the process. That’s the key. I have been helping Darren with his fitness business and God is blessing us with that and I am excited, but I know that the empowerment of people especially women is what I’ve been called to do. I just still don’t know what that looks like. Nor, have I taken the appropriate amount of time to really explore what that looks like.

But here I go now….hope I find something out soon.

Keep me in prayer!

Renee`

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A Lot Going On ~Venus

Hey everyone! This blog might be a long one. Lol! There has been a lot going on in my life lately. During the spring, I got a second job. I worked at my primary job Mondays-Fridays & my second job on Saturdays & Sundays. I was beyond exhausted everyday. I had to wake up between 5a.m. & 5:30a.m. and leave my apartment between 6a.m. & 6:20a.m. to walk to to bus (it was a 30 minute walk) stop on campus so I could get picked up by the shuttle bus to go to work (my primary job) . I had to be at work at 7a.m. During the weekday all I wanted to do when I got home from work was take a shower, a nap, & watch tv. In May, I was laid off from my primary job & worked very little w/ my second job (business has been slow). I decided to not work summer camp this year on campus. I was expecting to work more w/ my second job over the summer but things haven’t happened that way. Thank God I was able to get unemployment.  Things have been pretty hectic lately. I’m in the process of getting things situated for my move to my new apartment in the fall. I got approved for my new apartment on Sunday. Praise God! Even though things have been crazy lately, I’ve been trying my best to keep my head up. I have my moments. I have no choice but to trust God right now & believe that he will work things out. God bless!

~Venus

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Come With Me Now….I Bet My Life~Audrey

Afraid to lose control
And caught up in this world
I’ve wasted time, I’ve wasted breath
I think I’ve thought myself to death…
Now only this seems clear
I need to move, I need to fight
I need to lose myself tonight

Whoa, come with me now
I’m gonna take you down
Whoa, come with me now
I’m gonna show you how

“Come With Me Now”, Kongos

So God shut a down with a big slam in my face. But just the next day, he knocked on a new door. I tentatively looked in the peep hole. It was a great job in the area at a place called Bridges of Faith. Bridges of Faith bring Ukrainian orphans over to the US to experience American culture and receive the love of God.  I would be their resident grant person and would live on the 140 retreat.

All was fine and well until it was time to talk pay and salary. I had already told God I would accept a huge dip in pay to join this organization. I had bonded with the place and the people there. But then I found out that all BOF staff raises their own support. That’s right: I would have to beg people for money to pay me.

I hated this idea and took a step back. I stepped away from everything for about two days and prayed. This was scary. What if I couldn’t do it? I couldn’t do my job and be stressed out that I would loss my car. I hated asking for money! How could I do this?

But He told me I was supposed to be here. His peace is mine and I know that he will find a way to provide for me. So I threw that door wide open and walked in on faith. I followed him and I bet my life on this feeling, this draw I have towards this organization.

I started and, on day three, the children were there, and I knew without a doubt I had made the right decision. One day I got to spend it at my close friend’s farm with the kids. Good fellowship and horseback riding made for a great day. There was even a paint fight!

So here I go. In over my head but floating on faith!

 

I know I took the path that you would never want for me
I know I let you down, didn’t I?
So many sleepless nights where you were waiting up on me
Well I’m just a slave unto the night…
I know I took the path that you would never want for me
I gave you hell through all the years

So I, I bet my life, I bet my life
I bet my life on you
“I Bet My Life”, Imagine Dragons

 

If you would like to find out more about Bridges of Faith please visits: http://www.bridgesoffaith.com/
And if you are interested in making a tax deductible donation to BOF in my name, please contact audrey@bridgesoffaith.com

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