Thursday, February 28, 2013

JASON!!

I always tell myself that I am going to do a nice photo shoot with Jason when he turns a new age. Usually I end up getting a few cute snapshots but we never do a REAL photo shoot. It's easy with Liza because her birthday is in September and we can get outside. For Jason... in February... I have to get out my whole photography set up so we don't have mess in the background and take his pictures in my living room.

I finally got around to it this year and only eight days after his birthday! Go me. :)

This morning while Liza was at school Jason and I played photography. 

We started out with Batman... because Jason IS Batman right now.

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Then Jason wanted some pictures with his sons... Alvin, Simon and Theodore. He loves his boys and takes great care of them. Always playing with them and having conversations. He tucks them in tight with hugs and kisses each night. It's adorable.

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(Pretty sure the boy will need to be making faces for his senior pictures... and his wedding pictures... and any photo shoot that he ever has. I'm ok with that.)


Next we added in his other three sons. 

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Isn't he adorable!?!?!

AND he is five!

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Back to the sillies. :)

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But these are my favorites...

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This one is my favorite of the favorites. Jason is such a silly and fun boy but in the depths of his heart he is the sweetest boy EVER... and I think this just reveals his sweet heart.

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And that's my boy. :)

I love him!



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Things That Make Me Happy



THIS BOY and the THINGS HE SAYS!

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JASON: Mom! This is going to be the biggest time of our life!!
ME: Oh yeah?
JASON: Yeah! We're going to have a baby!
ME: Who is having a baby?
JASON: Me. And you! We are going to get married!
ME: I get to marry Batman!?
MIKE: You can't marry Mommy Jason. I already did!
JASON: Well I can get you two UNmarried!
MIKE: Really?!
JASON: YES!


 JASON: Mama, are heroes born or made?
ME: Heroes are made Jason.
JASON: How?
ME: Well, they have a good heart, make good decisions and care about other people.
JASON: *excited* Sometimes I make good decisions!!
ME: Yes you do. You are going to grow up a hero Jason.
JASON: Yeah... because I really do care about people!

(I post a lot of conversations like this on FB. If you love stuff like this feel free to add me.)


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MY LIVING ROOM

When I am at home you will find me in my living room. It's my favorite place. My couch is comfortable. The fire is divine. And it's just a really relaxing spot for me. It's also where my craft stash is. :)

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A GOOD EASY RECIPE THAT THE WHOLE FAMILY LOVES

                                                                               Source: the-girl-who-ate-everything.com via Laura on Pinterest


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LIZA'S CREATIVE DRAWINGS

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This is a picture of an ant hill. The ants are carrying grapes, a cookie and an apple core into their ant hill. :)

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MY HUNKY HUSBAND

He does wonderful things... like taking the kids out to the mall in the middle of the day so that they can play and I can have the house to myself for a little bit. Really... he's quite amazing. 

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What makes YOU happy??

Monday, February 25, 2013

Jadyn ~ 3 months

During the week of Valentine's Day I got to photograph Jayden for her three month photos. :) She's such a doll! Really! A beautiful baby. 

Unfortunately we were only able to get something scheduled for an evening and baby had a cold. She didn't last too long before she was all tears and begging us to stop so she could just be held. In our short time though we did manage to get a few nice shots in.

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I love this next one so super much!

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I got the following idea off of Pinterest somewhere and I love how it turned out! :)

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Where was pinterest when I had my own babies!?!?!  I would have loved to have those squares printed out and hung on a wall. Oh well... guess I'll just keep doing it for other people. And I'll see Jayden again when she is six months. :)



Friday, February 22, 2013

Read It




Why do I read my Bible?

Why wouldn't I!?!

John 14:15 says, "If you love me you will obey my commands."

And guess what... I love God. :) As if you didn't know. I really really DO love God. And when you love God Christianity is no longer about rules to follow... it's about relationship. And just as I hope that my kids will understand that I have boundaries in place for them because I LOVE THEM, I've come to realize that God works the same with me.

I love God... so I will obey his commands.

BUT...

How do I know his commands if I do not KNOW HIM!?

I read my Bible... not because I HAVE to... because I don't have to. No one is putting a gun to my head and forcing me to do it. I read it because I WANT to... because I want to know Him. I want to know the one I love.

Many profess love for Christ but then refuse to open their Bible. I'm not saying I read mine everyday or for hours at a time... because I don't. But I do read it because it is black and white right there on the pages... If I love God I will obey him. I love him... so I want to know him. I want to know how to live in a way that pleases him. I want to spend time with him. And so I read.

And then I obey... whether I understand why he says to live a certain way or not. Whether I want to or not. I obey... because I love him. I don't get to pick and choose what to follow and what to ignore. It's all or none... because God gave it all for me on the cross.

Do I miss the mark sometimes? Absolutely. But I confess and keep on going. Because that is what you do when you are in a relationship with someone you love.

Read it. Live it... because you love HIM.


Do you read your Bible? Why or why not?



Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Five

Five years ago this magnificent boy entered the world and changed my heart forever.

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I'm so glad that he still has those amazing cheeks!

Today I made the mistake of looking through too many old photos. I can't believe my baby is five already! It's my last time to have a five year old. Ever. 

Or a 2 1/2 year old...

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I'm dying! His cuteness is killing me!

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He's almost three in this one...
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Man! I always tell him to stop growing up and he tells me I can't. I'm going to start saying in my whiny voice "whyyy nooottt!?"

One of my favorite things about Jason are the faces. It never gets old.

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He's almost four in this one...

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Fact: Jason is the most difficult kid to discipline because he is always so ridiculously cute. Even when he is really being bad he is unusually cute. 

And here is my big five year old today... with a bad haircut. Figures that the first one I pay for would be the worst one he ever had. :)

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He sure enjoyed his cupcakes.

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And I enjoyed him. :)



Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Rest

I've been saying for a while now "I can't wait for May!"

What is so significant about May you ask? May... the time when I can rest. I'm taking a year off of almost all things that I have been involved in. I plan to get my head, heart and spirit together. I need to take care of my health. (Don't worry... nothing major... just some hormone issues that need sorted out.) I plan to take a year to refresh.

This morning I clicked on a link that just so happened to say very well what has been on my mind about rest.

"There is a time to stop and rest, however. Rest is good... rest is one of the very good things in life to do. Our bodies need rest, our minds need rest, our spirits need rest... our relationships need for us to be rested... our jobs need for us to be rested... the GOOD GOOD things in the world that we do need a rested BEST of us."

You can read the entire, short, article of encouragement on The Brave Girls Club site.

So, I'm going to rest in that year. And I'm not talking the sleep kind of rest but the resting in God and who He is. I'm going to find joy.

You've probably heard it said that "the joy of the Lord is our strength." It's a phrase from the Bible. (Nehemiah 8:10 to be exact.) I figure that's great and all but HOW do I get the joy of the Lord... because I could really use some strength right now!

I've been reading in Psalms and the other day I found the answer to my question in Psalm 17:11. It says,

You make known to me the path of life;
you will FILL ME WITH JOY IN YOUR PRESENCE,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

I'm taking a year to rest in God's presence. 

I have a feeling that it's going to be a great year with great outcomes!

How do you feel about rest? Do you take the time to rest? Do you feel guilty when you rest? Do you desperately NEED rest??



Monday, February 18, 2013

Giggles

We spent the day at the zoo and on the way home Liza and Jason were just cracking up. Jason has the best laugh when he really gets going. It's amazing. Of course as soon as I tried to get video of it he started his fake laugh which isn't nearly as good. I asked Liza to think of some things that would make him laugh real hard and this is what happened...


Saturday, February 16, 2013

I'm a Dork

Sooo... there was this one night that we had a babysitter and me and my hunky husband had a date night. We went out to eat and had some really yummy food. It was a wonderful time. 

We had an hour between dinner and movie so we stopped at the craft store. As we pulled into the parking lot it started snowing gloriously large snowflakes.

I thought it would be fun to be carefree like a child and catch snowflakes in my mouth. 

After about thirty seconds of trying I finally caught one! I was so excited and proud of myself.

And then the sidewalk tripped me.

The end.



My name is Laura
and I'm a dork.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

We Have a Problem



Our world is a mess.

How do I know?

1. Family entertainment now consists of a "superstar" strutting around in lingerie on national tv... and everyone raving about how amazing it was. Personally... I call stuff like that soft porn. It's something I never want my daughter to see. I hope she never "looks up" to something like that and decides she wants to be like that. It's just not a great example.

2. Pretty Woman. Ask a group of girls what their favorite movie is and you will have many of them answering with Pretty Woman. I used to like that movie too... but now I hate it and I hate the fact that I ever liked it. Why? Because I've learned about the reality of prostitutes and frankly, Pretty Woman makes it look glamorous... like it's an easy way to land a nice, rich guy. It doesn't work like that. Not even close. Even Richard Gere isn't real big on the idea of the movie. He says that "it made those guys seem dashing, which was so wrong." (source) He's right. It IS wrong. But everyone loves it anyways.

3. Do you know the number one selling video game at Target and Walmart (at the time Somebody's Daughter by Julian Sher was published in 2011)? Let me just quote the book...

These days, in the biggest-selling video game of all time, Grand Theft Auto IV, you can pick up a prostitute, have sex, then kill her and get your money back. YouTube offers over fifty videos from various Grand Theft players who discuss their favorite ways of killing the women, from stabbing to a simple bullet in the head.

Shocking. The number one selling game. Why are people buying stuff like this?

Because our world is a mess.

What do we do with messes?

We clean them up.

I know the world is a huge place and I can't clean the entire thing. BUT I can start with my circles of influence. I can stand up for moral integrity. I can encourage modesty. I can make sure that my home is a safe place for my family. I can share the truths about prostitutes and how many of them are underage children being trafficked as slaves.

I can do my part in my place.

 


Thursday, February 14, 2013

V-day Swap Link Up




My swap partner was Tara from The Furr Four... she has some cute boys!!!

I got super excited when I saw the package in the mail!! Because let's be honest... who doesn't love fun mail?! It so refreshing to get something that is simply just for fun in the midst of all the bills. :)

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Before we get to Tara's favorite things that she sent me let me start with a story...

It was at least a year ago that I decided I needed a new camera strap. I like mine but it it has a lot of white in the pattern and well... after wearing it on my sweaty neck for a while it's not so white anymore. (Gross... I know.) So I went online to find another cute strap. I searched and searched until I found one I loved and then I ordered it... or at least I thought I did. After waiting and waiting and waiting for it to come in the mail and it NOT coming I decided to check out what was going on. Apparently the order never fully went through because there was no confirmation email (should have been my first clue haha), no payment taken from my bank account. Nothing. The order never happened. I never got the camera strap. And I STILL need a new one.

So... knowing all that you can just imagine my excitement when I opened the package from Tara and saw this...!

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A lovely camera strap cover that will hide the grossness of the old one!!!! I love it!

Also in the package was a candle, chocolate and some note cards.

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I think Tara and I would get along just fine since I too love all those things. :) In fact, I sent her note cards too. What can I say!?... great minds think alike. :)

 Thanks for the wonderful package of favorites Tara!!!







Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Girls with Swords

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Girls with Swords is Lisa Bevere's newest book and it is now available!!

You should get a copy. Truly! It's goooood.

It constantly had me thinking.
It taught me new things.
It expanded on some things I already knew.
It challenged me to choose to be a hero in every situation.
Then it equipped me with weapons to fight in this spiritual battle.
It reminded me that other people are not my enemy... Satan is. Yes, Satan is real. And yes, he hates me.

Girls with Swords is definitely a book I need to read again. It's also one I hope to someday buy the curriculum for and go through it with a group of friends.

I'm going to leave you with a few things that Lisa wrote in the book that made me stop and write them down so I could continue to be reminded of the powerful words...

"The role you choose to play in this battle is what is in question. Will you be an unarmed civilian, victim, prisoner of war, or hero? As you form your decision, please know this: there is no safe middle ground. It is just a matter of time before you must join one side or the other. It is always better to predetermine your position with decisive intention rather ha have it chosen for you by passive default."

"In the hands of God's daughters, swords are weapons of life and light."

"Far too many factions of Christ's body wield only pieces and fragments of his word and no longer lift his word as a whole."

"Your journey toward becoming a hero begins when you simply grant God permission to have his way."
 "I believe we will see signs and wonders to the degree that we preach the Cross of Christ and live the Word of God. A minimalistic Gospel produces minimal results. Preaching only half of the benefits of the Cross will produce only half of the Cross's benefits. Derivatives cannot be expected to produce what an original will at full strength."

 "If you are not careful, listening to what other people say about you may cause you to forget who you actually are."

 "For far too long the Word has been interpreted rather than proclaimed. We have gotten into the habit of passing it through the filter of personal experiences, social preferences, current prejudices, and the limited counsel of the human mind rather than simply declaring what was so powerfully and eternally spoken and recorded. We've interpreted the gospel rather than expressed it."



It's time for us to live like heroes!


I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for a review. But even if I had to buy the book I would tell you all the same things. :)


Monday, February 11, 2013

Living What I Teach Them

I talk to my kids about almost everything.

They know that girls are not for sale. They can learn more about that when they are older.
They know that we were saving our coins to give to the crisis pregnancy center in town because some people decide that they don't want to have their babies and they get rid of them. We want to do something about that.
They know I have a sugar addiction.

They aren't afraid to talk to me about my sugar problem... as you read in the last post.

Having my kids straight up ask me if I was making a bad choice when eating the sugary stuff was really convicting. It's wrong of me to be telling them to make good choices and then sit there making bad ones right in front of them... KNOWING that I am making a bad choice.

SO...

Today I went to Panera for a bit of me time and while sitting there I remembered that they have the most amazing peanut butter cookies. For a second I debated getting one but then I remembered my kids looking at me asking what kind of choices I was making. I decided to pass on the cookie and I went home and told Liza that I made a good choice. She was so happy for me. I had no idea that my kids could make me feel so awesome for making the right decision when it comes to sugar.

In fact, I felt so good about it all that I exercised for the first time in forever. (I may regret that in the morning hahaha.)

I plan to continue making GOOD CHOICES... because that's what I want for my kids... for them to make good choices in life.

Of course, it will be difficult for me to get back on the no sugar thing... especially since it's Valentine's week and the kids will be getting loads of candy from school. And they just came home from the grandparents' with jellybeans (a favorite) and brownie mix (another favorite). And next week is Jason's birthday. And it just doesn't end. There will always be sugar. Everyone else, including my family (unfortunately), will always be eating it. I can't get away from it.

Instead, I guess I'll just have to do the right thing.

I have to live what I teach.

They have seen me fail.
And now they will watch as I pick myself back up and get back on the right path.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

My No Sugar Coach

Soooo... I went a year without eating sugar. For me that means no cakes, cookies, ice cream, pies and other yummy goodness that I love oh so much. It was hard but it was a good year.

Then the year was up and I decided to have a cookie... and then another... and another... and I am still eating cookies... and pies... and chocolate... and pretty much whatever sweetness I can get in my mouth. It's quite disgusting really.

It's sugar addiction.

It's bad. And out of control.

My kids know that I have a sugar problem and shouldn't eat it. Yesterday I decided to use Liza's coupon that she got for McDonald's. I picked up food for her and Jason and the only thing I'll ever eat from McD's (because Super Size Me turned me off of McD's for life) is their shamrock shakes. Of course I bought a large one so I could share it with the kids.

As we were eating our yummy shamrock shake...

LIZA: Is this sugar?
ME: Yes.
JASON: So you are making a bad choice then?
ME: Ummm... yes. (the shame!)
JASON: You really shouldn't make bad choices mommy.
ME: I know. :(
LIZA: Maybe you should just not look at it so you aren't tempted to have it. Like when you are shopping if you have to go down the goody isle just don't look at the goody side. Because there is a goody side and a not goody side. Just don't look at the goody side so you won't be tempted to get it.
ME: That's a pretty good idea Liza.
LIZA: I'm going to be your Don't Eat Sugar Coach.

Today I am making better choices. I have to. My kids are watching me. I talk to them ALL. THE. TIME. about making good choices... enough that they even know when I am making bad choices. And they aren't afraid to call me out on it. I guess I need to be setting a better example of doing the right thing even when it's really hard... even when it's different than what everyone else is doing.

Today... because my kids are watching me... I will not eat what I am not supposed to eat. I will be a better example. I will not eat sugar.


Friday, February 8, 2013

Unsettled

 



I'm in a funk.

I feel stuck in a place of frustration and discouragement... in most areas of my life.

It's weird because my life is good. I have nothing major to complain of. But I'm unsettled. I feel like there is a major shift coming but I don't know what that shift will look like or when it will take place. (Good thing I'm not a planner! If I was, this unsettled place would have me incredibly messed up right now!)

I'm ok... but at the same time I don't FEEL like I'm ok.

A favorite quote of mine...

I'm not ok. 
You're not ok.
And that's ok.

Thank God it's ok to not be ok sometimes! And I'm absolutely thankful that my God loves me even in my crazy... because I have a whole lot of crazy.

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

That's my memory verse right now... and it's also my prayer. That AS I TRUST IN GOD He will fill me with joy and peace... even in this unsettled place. 

What do you do when you are feeling unsettled?


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Human Trafficking ~ Creating Awareness

Last week a young boy somewhere in Alabama was kidnapped and held captive. Today I am hearing the wonderful news that he was rescued and he is ok. I don't watch the news. I only heard about this story because I saw it posted and reposted on Facebook. People were talking about it.

I am so thankful that this little boy is ok and reunited with his family. What I am about to say is in no way meant to take away from his story. That family went through a nightmare this past week and it was real and I can't even begin to imagine what that mother went through as she was helpless to get her boy back. I am thankful that people cared enough to share his story so that more and more could join in prayer for his safety and rescue.

As the story was continuously posted and talked about this past week all I could find myself thinking was "people are being held captive in the United States every. single. day!!! Why do we not care about them like we did this little boy???"

A captive is a prisoner, a person who is enslaved or dominated.

Slaves.

Abolish means to do away with or put an end to. The sad truth is that slavery was never really abolished.

I started reading The Slave Next Door. Did you know..

"More than twice as many people are in bondage in the world today than were taken from Africa during the entire 350 years of the Atlantic slave trade."

Many people come to America... the land of the free... in search of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Many of those that come in search of that find only the opposite... enslavement, fear and nothing even close to happiness. And many of these slaves aren't even immigrants... they are Americans. Our own.

One boy held captive can set the masses to talking and caring. Thousands upon thousands being held captive and people don't even know about it!!

A statement in The Slave Next Door stood out and is sticking with me...

"Through our ignorance and worse yet, our lack of interest, we enable slavery. Unless we heed the wake-up call, slavery will continue to spread. Our children are also endangered by a different, subtler threat--apathy. Kids learn from their parents, and if noninvolvement is what we teach, by word or example, then that is exactly what they will learn and how they will live."

Don't remain ignorant. Don't have a lack of interest. Don't teach apathy.

What can you do? Talk about it. It's a good starting place. Don't have the words? Then share mine! Or find an article and pass it around. Make people aware. Awareness is a great beginning!

Last night someone shared on Facebook this article about a former sex trafficking victim. I reposted it to my facebook page just before going to bed. I was beyond excited to wake up this morning to see that many had then shared it on their pages and conversations were happening. THAT is where we start people! Sharing information. Having conversations about it. Creating awareness.

Will YOU join the fight? Will YOU create awareness?






Sunday, February 3, 2013

Sex Trafficking... Let's Talk About It

My heart is so incredibly heavy today. I didn't sleep well last night. I'm angry. So... ANGRY!

This world we live in has so much darkness. So much evil. My heart is aching... crying out... wanting to DO something about it! But I'm just one person and the problems all seem so HUGE.

There are two problems that are currently concerning me and giving me great grief.

Child pornography
and
sex trafficking.

Many of you may be ready to click off this blog and stop reading. Many of you may be thinking that it's easier to know that these things go on but remain ignorant about the true realities. Many of you may shy away from hard topics like this but we must discuss them!

Last night I couldn't fall asleep. My heart was grieving the loss of innocence. I found myself for the first time praying "JESUS!!! COME BACK NOW! Please! For the sake of the children come back now!" And then I cried myself to sleep.

These problems are real and they happen in greater numbers than we can ever imagine. And why did it take until I was 33 years old to be educated about sex trafficking??? I was one of those people who knew it existed. I even support a ministry that does a whole lot about it. BUT I didn't really know anything about trafficking... until someone who IS educated came along and talked about it.

And now I know... now I know way too much to remain silent. I know way too much to do nothing!

You see, I always thought that sex trafficking was something that happened in OTHER countries. OH... how wrong I was. I didn't know!! I honestly did not know how much it happens here in the good old USA. I want to cry all over again! HERE! On my home turf! My country is sick and I don't know if it will ever recover.

And today... I had no idea until recently that there was such a dark side to the super bowl...

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Pimps have taken their bitches (sorry... that's what they call them) to New Orleans to work. Children are being prostituted RIGHT NOW. Men are selling and buying women and children for sex.

MEN ARE SUPPOSED TO PROTECT WOMEN AND CHILDREN!!!!

But so many don't. They abuse them and take advantage of them. And honestly... there are women that are abusing and taking advantage of them in the same way.

CHILDREN!!

So many VICTIMS of sex trafficking are 12-17 years old... and men are paying to have sex with them... with children.

God help us all! PLEASE GOD!

This problem is monstrous. We may not be able to end it completely but we can put a big dent in it. It will take each person doing their part. It will take men fighting along side the women. It will mean that you need to become educated, speak up, write to your government people, push for new laws... but ultimately we must change our understanding and thinking of prostitutes.

I have a small plan to get started.
1. I am going to continue writing about this topic over the next week. I hope you will come back and continue reading.
2. Yesterday I bought a kindle. This morning I purchased two lendable books about sex trafficking that were recommended to me. One I have read and one I will read soon. I purchased them on the kindle so that I can share them with anyone for free.

I want to lend these books to you! I want to help you to become educated about this worldwide problem. The two books that I have are:

Somebody's Daughter by Julian Sher
The Slave Next Door by Kevin Bales and Ron Soodalter

From what I understand you don't even need a kindle to borrow these books from me... you just need an email address? I'm still figuring it out but these books are definitely lendable and I want to lend them out starting today. If you would like to borrow my books let me know and I will send one to you.

It's time to do something! It's time to stand up and protect the women and children. It's time for EVERYONE to care about these issues!!

Today... many of us will be sitting down to watch the super bowl. Please say a prayer for all the prostituted children. Many will be raped, beaten and even murdered this weekend. Pray for them. Pray without ceasing.



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