16 December 2010

my thoughts exactly

The past few years Advent has been a very special time for me. This year I want it to be, but my mind is running in too many directions. I don't have time to sit still, and I probably couldn't do it even if I had the time. I feel frantic and scattered, even when I'm not doing anything.

I've been thinking since last night about how much I want to slow my mind and heart in time for the last week of Avent. I've missed most of it, but it's not too late to salvage it. I just don't know how. Then I read this:

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light & the darkness,

send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do

seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.

We who are anxious over many things

look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways

long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.

To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”

(Henri Nouwen)

Thanks, Jody, for taking the time to post this quote. It's exactly what I'm feeling, and exactly what I needed to read this morning. I'm going to print it and make it my daily prayer for the next week.

13 December 2010

reflections on adoption

While I'm reposting thoughts from others, I couldn't resist sharing this wonderful post from Jennifer, a fellow adoptive mom. She clearly articulated what I feel all the time but don't always know how to explain. If you're an adoptive parent, you should read this. If you know an adoptive family, it would probably be good for you to read too.

"real" gifts with purpose

Since I love Advent but am having trouble making time to blog these days, I thought you might enjoy reading some great thoughts from someone else on "10 Ways to Avoid the Seduction of Consumerism this Christmas."

By the way, I might seem like I'm not into buying Christmas gifts, but I actually fought to keep gift giving alive in my family. I love giving and receiving gifts. I just don't think we need to go overboard. I also think that it's exciting to give donations, as I mentioned in my previous post, or buy "real" gifts that support a good cause.

Searching the internet will yield all kinds of gifts with purpose, so look for gifts you love that support causes you believe in. Two that I have used for Christmas are:

Gobena Coffee: Each bag of coffee feeds an orphan for a month. I bought a bunch last Christmas for gifts and for us. Nearly every time I serve it to guests, some coffee lover comments about how good it is.

Paper Bead Necklaces supporting From HIV to Home: I made these available to friends and family last year, so they sent me some again this year. They're made by women in Africa who are paid fairly for their handiwork, and they're beautiful. The proceeds support a great organization, so everyone wins. (Let me know if you want to see my supply.)

I also have a new favorite organization to purchase gifts from, but I can't tell you about it because certain people who might read this post will be receiving Christmas gifts from them this year. I'll have to tell you about it after the holidays, and you can make a note for next Christmas.

Really, the options for purposeful gift giving are neverending. If you have a favorite gift with purpose, please share it in the comments so we check it out.

07 December 2010

our crazy 2010

It's amazing to look back over this year and see what has happened in just 12 months.

In January, the CCO got excited about our dream to start an intentional Christian community for young adults in Norristown. We started the application process with the CCO and started looking into options for a new ministry venture.

By the end of April, we had a great location for the Norristown Community House and an amazing landlord who loved our vision. (In fact, he loves it so much that he's moving in next door to expand the community beyond just young adults!)

In June, our family headed to Pittsburgh for 5 weeks of training as new CCO staff members. The things we learned and the relationships we built were preparation for our new role as directors of the Norristown Community House and campus ministers.

In early August, we took possession of the community house and started working crazy long hours to get the house ready. If it weren't for some amazing volunteers who labored in the heat and filth, we might not have survived.

On August 21st, students moved into the house for our inaugural year, committing to grow in intimacy with God, community with others, and engagement with the world.

During the fall, we continued to invest in the students at the house while starting to build relationships with students at Montgomery County Community College. Just last week, we learned that we may soon be able to expand to Cabrini College as well. We're enjoying building relationships with college students and hope to see lives transformed.

As we look to 2011, we're excited about launching our monthly movie and discussion nights, Behind the Scenes: moving beyond the images to the issues. We're excited about the 2 groups who will be coming to stay and serve at the Norristown Community House in January and February. We're excited to go deeper with college students.

None of these things happen without funding, which is why we're so thrilled that a couple has stepped up and offered a $5000 matching grant for end of the year giving and the first 6 months of giving from new monthly donors in 2011. Those of you on our mailing list may already know about it. If you don't, you will soon. If you're not on our list and would like to follow what's going on, please let me know so you can receive our newsletters regularly in 2011.

We'd really appreciate it if you would pray with us about this exciting opportunity. Pray that God will provide abundantly for our family and the expansion of this ministry. If you are in a position to give financially, please pray about that as well. You'll have the opportunity to be part of something new and exciting. Our hope is that the Norristown Community House will be a catalyst for change in the lives of young adults, Norristown, and the world and that God will transform lives as we serve on local college campuses.

My email is beckybowersox @ gmail . com (without the spaces). We'd love to hear from you, whether you want to give or pray or just get on our mailing list because your mailbox is too empty. If you're ready to give now and don't want further information, you can donate online through the CCO. Just make sure you choose Peter & Becky Bowersox as the staff members.

06 December 2010

great gift ideas

We're currently picking out birthday gifts for Jesus. We will choose gifts that reflect things we believe make Jesus happy and are also close to our hearts. Here are some of the options up for consideration.

We might buy a stove for a family in Haiti or provide clean water for someone in Liberia or give animals to an Asian family because we believe Jesus care about our basic needs.

We might give money to help fund an adoption because we believe Jesus wants to put the lonely in families. We might do that through From HIV to Home or Lifesong for Orphans or Run for Orphans because they are organizations to which we're personally connected.

What do you think would make Jesus happy? What is close to your heart? I challenge each of us to think outside the box the Christmas and look for new ways to give. Whether you're looking for a gift for Jesus or for someone who really doesn't need anything, donations make great gifts and don't create clutter.

Later this week I'll be posting some of my favorite "real" gifts for those who may not appreciate a donation but would love a gift with purpose. Stay tuned.

05 December 2010

wonderful song

I received James Taylor at Christmas as an early Christmas gift, and I'm in love with the song "Some Children See Him." If you aren't familiar with the song, you should go listen to it. It's beautiful.

Some children see Him lily white,
The baby Jesus born this night.
Some children see Him lily white,
With tresses soft and fair.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
The Lord of heav'n to earth come down.
Some children see Him bronzed and brown,
With dark and heavy hair.

Some children see Him almond-eyed,
This Savior whom we kneel beside.
Some children see Him almond-eyed,
With skin of yellow hue.
Some children see Him dark as they,
Sweet Mary's Son to whom we pray.
Some children see him dark as they,
And, ah! they love Him, too!

The children in each different place
Will see the baby Jesus' face
Like theirs, but bright with heavenly grace,
And filled with holy light.
O lay aside each earthly thing
And with thy heart as offering,
Come worship now the infant King.
'Tis love that's born tonight!

By the way, I haven't forgotten my promise to share some alternative gift ideas with you. I'll probably put the first ones up tomorrow.

01 December 2010

world aids day

Today is World AIDS Day. We all know we should care about the issue, but it's easy to become desensitized to all the important causes and needs in the world. AIDS used to be one of those issues for me, but my perspective has changed drastically in the past few years.

Two experiences changed things for me. One was reading There is No Me Without You the summer after our kids came home. The other was getting to know Jennifer, a fellow adoptive mother and passionate woman. I could tell you how she has inspired me to understand the reality of HIV and AIDS, but it's probably better to hear it straight from her. Check out her blog post today.