Tuesday, September 29, 2009

All In God's Time

Last week I posted a couple of "thoughts" I guess you could say- just about what I'm learning, hearing, seeing, etc. Today's message is a bit more... um... well, I'm not sure what today's message is. I'm still reading in Zechariah- the end- Chapters 12, 13, and 14. Let's just say that it's probably a good thing that I'm not a Bible Scholar... because days like today would make it really interesting- and confusing for others I think! :)



The introduction to this reading was about who we consider to be strong characters in the Bible. Well, I would have said "Samson, David, or Joshua." But really if you think about it, some of the strongest men (physically) were some of the weakest men. What about Daniel, who sat quietly in the corner of a lion's den? What about Timothy who was young, had poor health, and a timid temperament? Sort of gives us hope after all! It's not necessarily about all the big things- the physical strength- or even recognition.


I'll just be honest... the past couple of weeks have been terrible. I'm struggling in so many areas of my life, and constantly feel like I'm just frantically treading water- but just enough of my head is above water so that I can still breathe. I'm constantly asking the Lord what His Will is in all of this- what I'm supposed to be doing- what steps to take- what words to speak.


But I'm reminded that my strength isn't in and of myself- it's in the Lord. And just knowing that I don't have to ever be alone is enough to get me through one more day of uncertainty. I still don't know the answers, but I'm comforted in the fact that I'm His and He is mine. He does care, and He will show me eventually- when the time is right. Of course, I've been told that I'm the only person in the world who prays with my datebook in hand... "Okay Lord, when are we going to do this? I'm open on the 5th- what's your schedule look like?" haha- I know that's a little extreme, but I think we all sort of pray like this at one point in time or another. We want things in our time, when it's good for us.


News flash: it's not about us! It's not about our timing, or what we think will work out just right. I'm learning this now as we speak... and oh it's such a hard lesson for me. I'm so prideful- and I'm starting to see just how prideful when it comes to thinking that I know better than the Lord. And what's worse- that pride can spread so quickly- and it's that pride that brought down Samson and Daniel. I don't want to be like that! I want to be quiet in the corner of the lion's den, so to speak (Lord, please don't put me in a real lion's den!).


In times like these, I feel like I'm in the lion's den though- except instead of sitting quietly, I'm trying to fight the lion because 'I know better'!!! And I tell myself things like "Greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world" and while that's true, maybe the lesson I need to learn is what it looks like to sit quietly in the corner. Maybe this a fight that I don't need to fight. Maybe the uncomfortable quiet corner is where I'll finally hear His voice.


Maybe I'm completely off my rocker- but it's an honest assessment of where I am. More to come as I learn...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Return to me, and I will return to you

The Temple was built, but the enthusiasm waned. Years later, the only movement in the Temple was the wind. Zechariah, a younger contemporary of Haggai, was an encourager. Instead of just giving him the words to speak to the people, the Lord actually gave Zechariah many visions...and really cool visions at that! First he saw an angel on a red horse, with three horses and riders behind- who were "the ones the Lord has sent out to patrol the earth." (Zech 1:10) The Lord tells the angel that He has returned to show mercy to Jerusalem, and that the Temple will be rebuilt.
Then Zechariah looks up and sees four animal horns, which are representatives of the world powers that scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem.
Then he sees four blacksmiths, who have come to terrify the four horns that scattered and humbled Judah.
Lastly, he sees a man with measuring tape, who is going to measure how wide and long Jerusalem is. Another angel appears with the good news that Jerusalem will one day be so full of people that it won't have enough room for everyone- and even those who live outside the walls will be protected!
The Lord says that He will live among them, that Jerusalem will be His own city. And my favorite verse, "Be silent before the Lord, all humanity, for He is springing into action from His holy dwelling." (Zech 2:13)

How does that relate to today? Well, I keep hearing statements like, "The Lord has removed His hand from us because our nation has moved so far away from His will." And that may very well be the case. But I take my feelings about the direction of our nation, and I think about the people of Jerusalem, who also saw their land go through complete destruction. In the end, the Lord restored it back to them, and He "sprung into action from His holy dwelling" by sending Jesus, the Messiah Himself, to be housed in the Temple. The Lord calls us to return to Him, and He will return to us. If we want Him to return to us, we must first return to Him. Think about yesterday's message- priorities. Our priority is to put Him first, thus returning to Him. And we can live in His peace knowing that He will live among us- He has chosen us- He is passionately in love with us! And that is the hope that can withstand seeing destruction- that will still stand when nothing else has- that will keep us in the palm of His hand. We are His, and even when everything else falls, He will stand- and we will stand because he dwells within us.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Priorities

So, who has ever really read the Book of Haggai? I'll be honest- I'm not even sure how to pronounce it. But that's where I found myself this morning... all two chapters of Haggai. That whole book is about setting priorities, so of course it rubbed me the wrong way. I'm all about flying by the seat of my pants; priorities, schmiorities. But it really spoke to me by the time I finished reading.
Here's the setup: following the Babylonian exile, the people are returning to Jerusalem. Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed the city, including what was once Solomon's Temple. So they start working on building the Temple back- but opposition arises. (Enter Haggai, the prophet who tells it to you straight)
The Lord gives a message to Haggai that the people are more interested in themselves and their luxurious houses, than rebuilding his Temple (which by the way looks like a pile of rocks). Haggai doesn't sugar-coat it; He tells it to them straight... put the first things first. He asks them to remember it the way it was, and to take courage and work, for the Lord is with them. After the encouragement from the Lord, the people respond by completing the Temple- and clearing a place for God in their hearts.

Alright so no- it's not exactly like that in my everyday life- it's not about physically rebuilding anything at all. But spiritually, it's exactly where I am. Think about it: there are 168 hours in a week. So how is it that some people get so much done, and I feel like I get nothing done? Priorities! The people finished building the Temple in the midst of opposition because that was their number one priority. And that got me to thinking- and those of you who know me know that's a scary situation. What are my priorities? Well, looking back over the last week, my priorities have been sleep, food, visiting family because I have a new nephew, catching up on work from being out, sleep and food. But what about the Lord? I mean, if I really think about it, what do I want to look back on when I reach the age of 40, 55, 70? My job? The stress that's causing me to worry all the time? NO! I want to know more about the Word of God; I want to have a consistent prayer life; I want to have a family who is walking with the Lord alongside me. So, as much as I hate to admit that I'm wrong about anything- my priorities are out of whack! My first priority should be first and foremost the Lord and my relationship with Him. He says, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and its righteousness. THEN all these things shall be added unto you." Everything falls into the correct place when you're top priority is God.

Haggai, you can slap me in the face and call me wrong. This is the time for getting our priorities straight. Yes, there's opposition all around us- but the reward comes when we stay the course. We build the Temple of the Lord (which is our bodies) to house Him. Then the other stuff can happen. You can have all the power, fame, riches, nice houses, nice cars, and nice clothes because of "what you have accomplished for yourselves"- but where does that leave you? I am nothing unless I'm His daughter first. If He is honored first, all that other stuff can come and go, but it won't affect my stability which is in Christ.

So, how's that for today's lesson? Pretty good I think. I'm off to prioritize my day... which has already tried to take on a life of it's own.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A time for babies- and no, I'm not pregnant!


May I introduce you to my new nephew... William Bradford? He will go by Bradford. Isn't he the cutest thing you have ever seen? After two hours of pushing, he finally decided to give his mom a break and make his grand entrance! It was a wonderful day, and I've never seen my brother that happy. I can't wait to see who this little guy becomes. He's already gotten everyone smitten over him. Plus, he's bound to look good- between his parents' good looks, and their style- he's going to be one good looking baby.
To see more pictures, you can visit my website at:
http://web.me.com/kaysanford/Site/My_Albums/Pages/Bradford.html

Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dananananana- They say it's your BIRTHDAY!

Ok, ok, I realize that I have been a slacker on the blogging- so I'm going to start with today, and then my following posts will move backward into things I've been up to. But, for the sake of sharing Debbie's birthday pictures with everyone today, I'll start here...

We had a Birthday Beach party for Debbie today- bless her heart- she's 29 and doesn't look a day over 20. We furnished the conference room with beach towels, paper lanterns (not shown), a lovely pink flamingo (perched in a bucket of sand), lai's, and a sun hat for Debbie. Clearly I should have checked the package labeling on the grass skirt I bought- because Polly was the only one able to fit into the 'child size' skirt.

Yes, that's a flower bra. It came with the 'child size' skirt. Debbie received a bubble machine, a heartfelt card, and a new pair of aqua flip flops (which so nicely matched her attire today).

After a lunch of chicken salad, canteloupe, crackers, and birthday cake ice cream- it was time to catch some rays. Those flourescent lights really bring out my tan.

Happy Birthday Debbie! I hope you had a wonderful lunch- and I hope your birthday continues to get better and better! We love you!


Sunday, May 3, 2009

A time to help



I was encountered with a tragedy about 5 years ago now that I had either never known existed, or just chosen to ignore. Remember the drought we experienced here in the southeast last summer? I do. I remember not really being all that affected because I myself didn't own a home, and it seemed that the only ones affected were those who had yards to water. Well, that wasn't the case. Some cities and towns were having their water rationed- they were having to reuse bath water over and over- having to keep water in a cup for brushing their teeth. I'm sure it seemed inconvenient at the time. Take that same drought and place yourself in Meto, Kenya. The difference is, they don't care about watering their yards, or even about water for taking a bath. They didn't have water to drink. Their cows had all been dying off- one by one- for the past two years. They had to walk MILES just to find water for themselves and their children. These are women who were trying to nurse their dehydrated babies when they were dehydrated themselves. What if you had to walk 15 miles one way just to get water to drink?

And what if that was the same water that people bathed in, and washer their clothes in? And then you had to haul only what you could carry 15 miles back? It sort of puts our life here in a new perspective doesn't it? Well, the good thing about this is that there is a group now who is dedicated to drilling wells for these communities to have fresh, clean water- and it's right underneath them! Integrity Worldwide has already drilled one well in Meto, Kenya- which will be enough for 6,000 people! This not only saves their lives... having clean water. This helps them to break free from poverty through the businesses of livestock and cash crops. And there are so many more communities in Africa that need this help! I guess before for me- it wasn't something that I was encountered with everyday, so I just didn't think about it. Well, out of sight should not be a good enough reason for something to be out of mind. People are dying. So- here's what I've done. I have pledged to Integrity Worldwide that I would raise $100 from my friends and family in one week to go toward this project. Look- $100 is nothing. That's $5 from 20 people. And if you're asking yourself what I've given to Integrity, and why I can't just give- I have given and will continue to give. But what good is it if I'm the only one who knows about this? What will change if I don't spread the word?What I'm hoping is that I will actually exceed this goal that I have set. Please- you have $5. The economy stinks, and I know that everyone is being hit really hard right now. But what is being hit hard? Our comfort? Even in our worst times, we have it so much better than the people in Africa who HAVE NO WATER! Even in our worst times, we can turn on the water hose or the sink and get all the fresh water we want. It's $5. That's all I'm asking. If you can do more, I will eternally be grateful. Click here to help: http://apps.facebook.com/causes/fundraising_pledges/69564?m=120b508f

Friday, May 1, 2009

A time for Expression!

I pulled out my point and shoot today because I needed to take a quick shot of something for my mom (which didn't need my serious camera)- and low and behold- I found some pictures and video clips from my trip to Denver.  My best friend Byrd lives in Denver, and I am usually in my element when I am around two people- Byrd and Amy.  As you can see from the following video clips, I enjoy hanging out with Byrd.

video
This video is what I like to call "The set up."  I have now set up the scene for what is to come.

Now, before you view the next scene, please keep in mind that I am just expressing my right to be free- in a public place- just as this man is also expressing his freedom.
This video is called "Expression!"

video

As you can tell, Byrd is a professional videographer.  Why else would I have asked her to capture one of the most important moments of expression in my life?  

And then, there is the final scene.  This video is called "Did I seriously just do that and you didn't get it on video?"

video

Byrd- my long time friend.

Maybe one day we'll find the video of our roller blading routine.  Now, that would be a SERIOUS blog post!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Stop in the name of love...

Before you contract an STD?

Yes, that is the opening line of the song I am singing tonight at a pregnancy center volunteer appreciation banquet.
Yep, that's right. I'm not lying to you!

This is what I do- I take songs that are already out there, and change the words to fit whatever group I'm singing to. I did something similar at our National Conference last year for a coworker who was getting married. That one was more of an 80s theme though.

Tonight... is Motown. And I'll be videoing it. So, if I can ever figure out how to post video (which I've been unsuccessful at in the past), I'll post it on here so you can all see it.

Until then, this is Diana Ross- signing out. Or Martha (from the Vandellas) or one of the Temptations. You get the idea. :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How do you honor your mother?

Mother's Day- it used to be a day that I forgot about until the Saturday before- and then I scrambled to get my mom something nice. Of course, something nice usually ended up being a useless trinket that she would never use, or flowers that would die the next day, or the only card left at the grocery store because everyone else had done their shopping already and picked out all the good ones.
I just recently starting pondering the appreciation of my mother- which isn't hard to do because I've got a good one. She's always there to help- sometimes when I don't even ask for help- but she's there.
I know that there are people out there who don't have the best moms in the world, but there is one thing that your mom gave you, whether or not you've realized it already or not. That thing is LIFE. I mean, I really like my life. And I really like my mom for giving me the life that I really like. Of course, I realize that dads have a part in this too, but there's another day for that- it's called Father's Day- and this post is on Mother's Day.
So, I got to thinking... what is it that I could give my mom to show her how much I appreciate her? Yes, a card would be nice, especially if I wrote it myself, or planned ahead to find one that hadn't been picked over by the "responsible Mother's Day shoppers." But what about the gift she gave me?
I'm 100% positive that I haven't always been easy to deal with. I'm sure that if my mom could have seen into the future, she might have seen what troublesome times she would have had with me through my teen years. But I'm also sure that she still would have chosen to bring me into this world. Because even through the hard times, the long hours she worked as a single mom to raise my brother and me, the tears she cried when she couldn't give us something that we wanted- she loves us. And she'll be the first to tell you that she would lay her life down for us. Now, how could she have known that she would feel that way now? She couldn't have- and she didn't. She didn't know how things would have turned out, but she chose to have us all the same. I will forever be grateful to my mom for that.
And because of that, this year I will be donating money to an organization that helps women choose life- in honor of my mom. It's the only way that I can think of to thank her for giving me life- to help someone else give life in hopes that their child will come to appreciate the sacrifices that were made by their own mother.
To all mothers everywhere- I'm starting early this year- but THANK YOU!
http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=78269817870&h=Gc28b&u=J26wi&ref=nf

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Twitter for Twits

So, I sat in on a nonprofit911 call today about Twitter and it's uses for fundraising. Very interesting stuff. I have been hesitant to start a twitter account because I really just wasn't very sure what it was or how to do it. But after this call today, I was informed of all the different methods, uses, etc. So, I took the plunge. You're now looking at the newest member of Twitter. @kaysanford
Comments, suggestions, etc- they're all welcome! Are you using Twitter? What are your favorite things about it? Dislikes? Do you use it for personal updates, or for work? I'm curious to see the general consensus here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's "Bring your kids to work day!"

Last week during an all-staff meeting, I was informed that our north office in Virginia had planned a day for kids to come to work with their parents. Since our office is really small, and everyone else has grown kids in college, we only had one lonely kid show up to work at our office. However, I think that he really enjoyed his time with us, and that he will definitely sleep well tonight. So, I've put together a little comparison study of what the kids in the north office might have been doing while our kid was doing his little activities. Hope you enjoy!


1. While the north office kids were learning everyone's job descriptions,

Max was learning phone manners.

2. While the north office kids were doing arts and crafts,

Max was doing his own art.

3. While the north office kids were running around laughing and playing,
Max was practicing his Darth Vader voice into the fan.
4. When the north office kids took a lunch break,


Max was enjoying his snack time.

5. When the north office kids had nap time after lunch,

Max also took advantage of nap time.

6. While the north office kids were tye-dying t-shirts,

Max was just modeling his t-shirt.

7. While the north office kids were playing hide and seek,

So was Max!

8. When the north office kids were playing "House,"

Max was playing "Cops and Robbers."

9. While the north office kids were playing "Mother May I?",

Max was playing "Red Light, Green Light."

10. And finally when the north office kids settled down to watch a movie together,

Max watched a movie too!

All in all, it was a great day having Max at work with us. He's such a polite young man, and I know that I speak for all of us when I say that he is welcome here with us anytime. Who knows... maybe when he grows up, he'll want to work for Care Net too!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Purple Envelope Project

I just wanted to let everyone know of a grassroots movement that has begun. As you all know, I work for Care Net in Donor Relations, but what happened yesterday was nothing short of a miracle. I talked to a stay at home mom named Lauren who, in her words, "just wanted to help." She has started a project called the Purple Envelope Project to help support pregnancy centers. The idea was sparked from how much attention and response was generated through the Red Envelope Campaign. Lauren mentioned that she heard people say "we SHOULD have generated response and support for the actual pregnancy centers" so she said, "well, why don't we?" Thus sparked the Purple Envelope Project.
Lauren's blog is www.purpleenvelopeproject.blogspot.com which will give more information about how to participate. The idea is to send one dollar in a purple envelope to either Care Net or Heartbeat to help support pregnancy centers. I have already developed a plan in house here at Care Net so that we can track how many come in here.
I have to say that I am deeply blessed by the actions of one person who just wanted to make a difference. I pray that this project is a HUGE success!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Humble pie

So, my friend Julie had this post on her blog about wrestling with humility.  She asked if anyone else wrestled with it, so I thought I should post a blog on my WWF wrestling with humility.  Let's just say that it's of course not in my nature to be humble.  I mean, let's face the facts here- I AM WONDERFUL!  No, really- humility is a hard lesson to learn.  So, while reading Julie's post, I started asking myself, "Where has the Lord taught me humility lately?"  And I immediately thought of this one lady who I'll call Stacy.  Stacy is a regular donor for the company that I work for.  She calls me every month- she says I'm her buddy.  At first she called to sign up to become a monthly donor, and then the next month she called to change her bank account number, and then the next month it happened again, and again, until she finally just cancelled the monthly donations.  I was starting to think that she was stealing bank account numbers every month, because it just seemed a little too ironic for her to change the information EVERY month.  Well, I get tickled everytime she calls because:
A.  She has the greatest accent ever.  She sounds like Barbara in Funny Girl.
B.  The way she says her name just cracks me up.  She repeats her first name twice and then 
      says her last name.
Let's just face the facts here.  I was tickled by Stacy's calls, but they were starting to get a little annoying.  I mean, how many times can one woman change bank accounts?
Then it happened.  She left me six voicemails in one day- progressively letting me know throughout these voicemails that she was in the hospital.  I had no idea why, but she just kept calling.  Then she called and I was able to answer my phone.  It turned out that her sisters and niece "are very jealous, and I cut them off, and they committed me to the 7th floor."  I didn't have the heart to ask her what the 7th floor was, but anything with the words commit and hospital- can't be good.
So, then I thought, well she's just losing it- and then Cindy reminded me that I should really be praying for this woman.  And it hit me.  Who am I?  What, am I perfect Kay who never does anything wrong, or who never acts in a way that makes others think I'm crazy?  Am I so perfect that I have a right to disrespect this woman with my words?  No!  I am pond scum.  And no matter what is going on with this woman, she deserves my utmost respect.  
So, I've been eating humble pie on that one lately.  God is showing me compassion through this woman in ways that I never thought I'd see it.  It's awesome.
So there- Julie- you're not alone.  I'm the first to admit that I think I'm great, and then I sit for a minute and remember that I'm nothing at all without Christ.

Monday, March 2, 2009

It's raining, it's snowing, the old man is... going?


Well, it happened.  It stormed like nobody's business on Friday, and then rained all day on Saturday.  But it was all worth it- because it snowed on Sunday!!!!  Yay!  It never snows here, and when it does, I'm always conveniently out of town.  So, needless to say- I was thrilled- and you might as well have been watching two kids to watch how Michael and I responded.  WE WERE SOOOOOO EXCITED!
And, it was Max's first experience in the snow!  I took some pictures of him early that morning when we went outside... but the best part of the 
day was when Michael took us (me and Max) to the golf course to play in the biggest yard in Birmingham!  I was a little nervous at first, because we r
eally haven't had the chance to let Max just run and play without his leash.  But he did really well.  He ran and ran and ran- and then he ran some more.  He ran so much that little snow balls started sticking to his legs- it was really funny.  He actually ran so much that all I was able to get were action shots.  So here are some shots we were able to get...

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More pictures




A time for a haircut- our first to be exact


Well, it has taken quite a few trips to the vet to get acclimated to the groomer, but we finally got Max's hair cut today!  This has been an eventful experience, as every time I would take him to get his hair cut, I would come in to pick him up, and he would be all fluffy from a bath, but no hair cut.  "He just does NOT like the clippers!" they would say.  Well, blessings to Vonda who after two visits and a willing spirit to "work" with Max to make him see that hair cuts are good, was able to cut Max's hair today!  She was so excited... as was I.  His hair was getting so long that I was really having a hard time keeping it from getting all matted up.  
So, here are some pictures of our new do...