Saturday, January 31, 2009

RIP Grandpa Glen!

My Grandpa Glen was a very good, kind hearted man who loved the Lord and wanted to use his life for purpose. He was a man who did what Jesus called us to do when he said to visit those who were in prision.

Yesterday, he went home to be with his Savior Jesus and we couldnt be more excited for him! He had a wonderful ministry that touched the lives of individuals who were on death row. He believed that they mattered too. So often, we forget that these are people with families, people with stories.

His ministry touched the lifes of many and I pray that my grandma will continue the work that they have both set out to do..




Here is story of a man that his ministry touched!

This is Freddy’s story. It is of necessity short. You see, Freddy resides on Texas’ death row. He came to death row in August, 2002 at the ripe old age of 18.
Freddy has probably seen more of the bad side of life in his 18 years than most people have who are in their 50’s. His life has not been at all easy by any stretch of the imagination. This does not excuse him of what he has been convicted of; but in telling, there is understanding…not just of Freddy, but of a cancer that is in our country that needs to be excised. That cancer is in letting our children run wild and us not doing anything about it.

Now we have let it go so far, the only hope we have is what we should have been doing all along: Praying! You will see how prayer has changed Freddy’s life. Now the only thing that can save Freddy is a miracle. But then, I know the maker of miracles.

As we read Freddy’s story, I pray the Holy Spirit will convict us of our unwillingness to spend time in communion with the Father. He can, and will and wants to do miracles in our lives.

The miracle Jesus has done in Freddy’s life is that He has become Freddy’s Lord and Savior. There is an amazing transformation in Freddy. I hope Jesus is real in your life too; because you see, without Jesus you are also on death row. Maybe you’re not locked up in a 60 square foot cell, but your end without Jesus is just as bad as Freddy’s was.

Freddy went from death to life on death row. If he can do that, you can too. Read about Freddy now; not just with your eyes, but also with your heart. This is his story. It is typed with the exact spelling as he wrote it.

Pastor Glenn Taylor


"Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Hi! My name is Jorge Salinas. I have been praying so God can help me reach out to those who are among drugs and gangs as well as those who’s life seem not to have a purpose or no meaning. Also to those who’s lives have been changed threw the great power of God. Let this be another testimony.

It is kind of hard for me to be writing this. I would preffer to be present and speaking it out of my own mouth instead of writing it.

I would like to go back to when I was 10 yrs old just a little boy, 4th grade. My mom worked almost all day long. She didn’t get payed much. We rented so she had to pay rent, food and clothes. Since she worked my brother took care of me. He took me everywhere he went. I met all his “Homeboys” which taught me how to smoke weed. At 10 years old I had already smoked my first joint. It made me feel good being high. Everything seemed funny for no reason. Little by little I was using this drug. In 6 grade I became a member of a gang. Doing all kinds of small crimes like stealing, writing graffiti on walls, breaking the windows of other peoples houses, skipping school and other small crimes. Junior High was way different. Major change! More students, more gangs, more problems.

Since my mom could only afford to buy me clothes from the flea market I had too much pride wearing it cause I saw other students in school wearing all kinds of expensive stuff that I couldn’t afford. It made me feel down. I started doing more drugs, skipping school and fighting with other rival gang members. I was send to Alternative School several times, and ended up getting expelled and flunking 7th grade.

Street life was hard. Gangs. Drugs. Drive-By shootings. Stealing someone elses TV’s, VCR. Bigger things now. I wasn’t stealing candys from the store! No! Now I wanted to make money. I had a lot of other rival gangs. My family didn’t have no kind of transportation. We didn’t have no car so we had to walk. Eather to the store---to the park---to a Homeboy’s house. Where ever we had to go we go walking. We always ran into rival gangs. Since they did have cars we had to run and hide. My brother and I we never knew if they (rival gang) had a gun with them or base ball bats or what?! So, we had to run and hide. Sometimes we throw rocks at them and break their car windows.

In 8th grade I was still 14 when another gang tried to get me out of the house because I had beaten up another gang member. We, my brother and I, had a gun in the house, so we shot at the gangsters. No one got hurt. My brother was arrested. I was released for being a juvenile. My brother was released from county jail a few weeks after. We were back on the same spot till we got involved in drug dealing. I got locked up and send to a rehab program for 9 months. I got arrested for burglary of a vehicle, graffiti and selling cocaine to an undercover cop. I was kicked out of rehab for fighting. Still the gangs! I spent 1 month in Juvenile Center. Small cell. No TV. No nothing. Just toilet paper, bunk to sleep in and pillow. The food was not much. I was released back to my mother’s custody. The month I was released was June and guess what?! That same month of June I got locked up again! I was 16. I was arrested for Aggravated Robbery, Agg. Assault on a police officer, escape and 2 counts of criminal mischief. I was send to boot camp program. I had 5 or 6 Sargents yelling, screeming and spitting in my face all at once. Ordering and forceing me to do all kinds of exccersice. Boot camp was an awful place! A lot of other inmates passed out cause of too much exccercise. Others threw up. It was hard being pushed around. Building anger inside of us. After 6 months of pain and suffering I graduated and was released back to my mother’s custody. I was also placed on probation till my 18th B-day. I was released on Feb. the 28th. Still 16. Turned 17 a month after my release which meant I was an adult already. I got a capital murder case picked up. During the 6 months that I was out I got a girl pregnant which now has my son. Right now I’m on Death Row at 19 years of age locked up behind bars. I thought about suicide several times back in county jail. Drugs. Gangs. It’s just not worth it!

Drugs? I overdose once on cocaine. Still, I kept on doing it. Gangs? Shoting others or getting shot at! For What? To defend something that you realy don’t know who, what, where, or when or why it started? Once you join in a gang your so called “click brothers” show you love and care but what happens when you realy need their help? Where are they? If you ask me I’ll tell you this, “I don’t know.” Never once did they say, “Hey you know what? Our brother Freddy is locked up faceing Death Row. How about go give him a visit and encourage him that it’s not the end of the world. As long as there is life their’s hope.” Nope! Not once did my “Homeboys” visit me. Not once did my “Homeboys” wrote me a letter and told me “Keep your head up.” Not Once!

I’m greatful for my family cause they never gave up on me. I once felt that I had no purpose in this world. But now that I gave my life to God, I see back and I do have a purpose. God had a plan for me. I could have had not woke back up from the overdose. I could of had gotten shot. Even though I’m on the Row I feel blessed. Threw letters I’ve found that most of my “Homeboys” passed away. Eather got shot or driving under influence and crashed.

If you use drugs or are in a gang I ask you to change your life around. Turn to God. He gives a high---a high that is great! You don’t need drugs.

You don’t need gangs to feel loved. God loves us all! You will see and feel the difference. I will be praying so God can touch your heart and change you. If you are asked if you want to accept God into your life to step forward or raise your hand. If you in your heart know that you want to do so go ahead and do so. Put that pride away. Don’t be shy or embarrassed.

I know that when I was 15 or 16 I was asked several times if I wanted to accept Jesus Christ in my heart to raise my hand or to step forward. My pride didn’t let me even though I wanted to. I always thought about what was person next to me, my neighbor, going to think. The person next to you is not going to be with you forever.

I’ll be praying so this message reaches across. God loves you and He will change your ways of thinking. God bless you. Thank you for your time.

Brother in Christ
Jorge A Salinas
“Freddy”"

You may support JLM Ministry through their website. http://www.jlmministries.com

Nannies don't last forever

Yesterday, my job as a nanny ended. I loved watching Sam & Katelyn. Kids are an adventure. They are constantly learning and every day is different.

Sam & Katelyn drew these wonderful pictures for one year olds! I was impressed... It was a very sweet gesture. Their mom made a photo album with pictures of the kids for me to take. Heather (mom) said she really loved me and that it completely sucked that I got a new job.... I started crying.. I will miss my babies...




Sam & Katelyns pretty pictures :)




My babies and I at Christmas!




The nice photo album.




I was offered a position at Godwin Heights Elementary school working with a boy who has autism. He is between age 3&4. I do not know a lot about his functioning, but I assume he has little to no language skills. I believe he will have a lot of sensory needs and I am very excited to start monday with this little guy.. The job just fell into my lap.. I didnt even do anything to get it, other then people knew me and recommended me for the position. God is good!

My BN Chair

As a child, I had always wished and hoped for a huge chair that I could read in. I loved the chairs and Barnes & Nobles and often tried to get my mom to sit and read with me there. I had always dreamed of having a chair like that when I got older. Well, my dream came true yesterday.

This is my new chair. While it doesn't currently match my room, it feels like a santuary. I absoutely love it!!


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Chains are Broken

12:00 noon marked a historical day for our nation. I did everything possible to go and see this historical event, however, I was unable to get tickets, but I was glad that I was not in the masses of people in DC...

President Obama's speech brought tears to my eyes as I watch a man who so desperately seeks change. I think that as a nation, healing will begin. However, I feel that Americans are putting to much trust and hope in one man rather then doing something about the problems. We are expecting our new president to fix them. I believe it is important to realize that he will not fix all of our economic problems, but he will infact ask Americans to take ownership and responsibility of this nation..

I am excited to see what happens in the next four years. I am very proud to be able to watch this occasion on national television.

I will forever be moved by this day. I do not have the thoughts or words to describe how I felt, but I pray that his leadership and his cabinet will do the work of God.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Job Loss

The tough economic times have brought a lot of job losses to the area. Today my dad was laid off from his job. This wouldnt be so bad except, he carries are major health insurance policy and since I have been having a lot of health related issues this is a bit of a problem. I am very frustrated, but God is in control.

If you all could pray for my family, that would be great. This comes at a tough time during the year.
Blessings
Sarah

Sunday, January 11, 2009

And I didnt forget about you!

I did not forget about my blog.. I just have been rather busy. I started school this week and it has been a challenge for me. I was just getting in a routine of life that I really enjoyed and then BAM! School starts again! I have had over 500 pages of reading from wednesday- today to get done and it has taken me quite some time. I apologize for the lack of updates, but know that I am establishing a new routine and will return shortly!

Thanks for your comment! Keep them coming!
Blessings,
Sarah

Sunday, January 4, 2009

STUCK

Stuck!!
That is me!! I am stuck on something that I cannot wrap my mind around. I must say that today one year ago I stepped foot on a soil that was much different then American soil. I stepped in the heart and soul of South Africa. South Africa is the largest country in the world affected by HIV. 10,000 die daily. The numbers continue to grow on a daily basis. I am reminded by this journey though my journal.

My first entry starts out like this. “We arrived in Johannesburg this morning and were greeted by Brian, Molly and Jason. First, we arrived at the airport and instantly I knew we were in a foreign place. We had to go through passport control and customs. I noticed as we were in the airport how the shops had R’s next to everything, which is their currency. Rand is their currency. Molly took us to place where we could exchange our American dollar for Rand. At any point, the currency exchange can go up or down.

As we departed the airport, I realized we were driving on the left side of the road, which is really the right side and that Jason was driving the steering wheel, which is on right side of the car, instead of the left. That was confusing at first. We arrived at Vox, ate and then had a brief meeting.

We were being debriefed on our first visit to a township, which is basically the slums. We arrived in Fintown, which is basically where children and families live who are poor, sick or dying. They live in tiny little shacks and they are wearing the most dirtiest clothes, but somehow are so incredibly happy. It is odd to see happy children who have nothing. The hardest was seeing the piles of filth and trash, but realizing that no one was going to pick it up. The stench was awful and could be smelled from miles away.

Something else that I had a hard time adjusting to was the fact that this little boy was wearing shoes, but his big toes was so big that it was sticking out. His feet were too small for the shoes. Shoes are considered elite in this country, which is very different from US.

I could go on from this first journal post, but was interesting for me is how stuck I really am. I think about my trip so much and wonder if others are profoundly impacted by the situation that I see over there. I know that people have offered their ideas to me about sending money over to help, but I don’t feel that I am connecting or building a relationship with someone. I want to build deep meaningful relationships that have a profound impact on people…


I am stuck!!






First picture on South Africa's soil! :)

Devotional 2

If you didnt get the email or want a recap here is the second devotional :)

As talked about in the last devotional, we will hit on respect again with Men. This devotional hits home the importance of respecting the male in your life. First, it is important to respect his judgment. A man deeply needs the woman in his life to respect his knowledge, opinions and decisions. Many men have confessed they are valued in every are of their lives except at home. I found this idea to be sad, but very true. Women often like to take control of the situation and make their husbands feel inadequate, not needed or that they do not have a lot of knowledge in the area to make the right decisions.

Second, Women need to respect his abilities. Men want to figure things out for themselves. They like to conquer things are affirmed as men in this way. For some reason, spending hours figuring out how to put the Dvd player together is fun. Problem is, we want to help them and guess how they interpret it? As distrust. Men love to figure stuff out on their own, so just let them! They feel affirmed, excited, encouraged and alive!!!

Third, women need to respect in communication. Women hold the power to build up or tear down men. Women need to be more tactful in how they communicate in front of others in regards to their husband. It is interesting how men can feel so loved and affirmed when women praise men in the public eye. It is also detrimental when a woman says something negative about her husband in front of other men. Dozens of men say it’s extremely painful when their wives criticize them in public. Anything that seems to show that the man is not somehow in control is embarrassing to him in front of others. The male is supposed to be the protector, provider and is supposed to take care of everything. If the woman public criticizes that he cannot take care of her, then she is communicating to her husband and others that he does not measure up.

Women hold incredible power and responsibility. We have the ability to build up or tear down men. Respect at home affects every area of a mans life. There is something unique in how a man approaches the world that makes his inner home-fired feeling of personal adequacy foundational to everything else. Very few men can do well at work or at home if their wives make them feel inadequate.

Friday, January 2, 2009

For Women Only Devotional

Hi Ladies,
As promised here is the first devotional from "For Women Only". I hope this finds you well and gives you some knowledge in the male world!



The more we understand then men in our lives, the better we can support and love them the way they need to be loved. While it may be totally foreign to most of us, the male need for respect and affirmation- especially from his woman is- is so hard wired and so critical that most men would rather feel unloved then disrespected or inadequate.

If a man feels disrespected, he is going to feel unloved. This translates to : " If you want to love the man in your life the way he needs to be loved, then you need to ensure he feels your respect most of all .

Most women do respect the male in their life, but don't realize how their actions or words convey the exact opposite! So take thought to your words and actions for this is huge!

" In a relationship conflict, crying is often a woman's response to feeling unloved, and anger is often a males response to feeling disrespected."

Thought for the weekend: Try to think about ways you can be respectful towards the men in your life whether it be a father, brother, boyfriend or male co- worker.

I hope this first devotional was insightful. I gained some information :)
Love you girls! Blessings this 2009 season!
Sarah

Christmas, New Years and 2009!!!






Christmas is always a wonderful time to spend with family and friends. I love hearing all the traditions that people have in place which do not contain material gifts. Some people chop a tree down every year, others make birthday cakes for Jesus, some volunteer at shelters.. Whatever gifts/ talents God gives people, it is often seen during the holiday season. I wish that as a community people would reach out more, not just during Christmas. I hope that as this year moves forward, we can all be mindful of the blessings in our lives and use them to help others. Christmas was a wonderful time to spend time with family members. I cherish the memories of Christmas. I especially enjoy the Disney Christmas Parade... Definately a tradition. One day, I aspire to be there :)


As 2009 has approached us, I have some thoughts that I would like to see happen during the year. Most people have New Years Resolutions that never stick, so I never set resolutions, nor goals because I am always achieving goals, I have things that I would like to see change this year...


1) I would like to have a kind-er spirit, one that is more gentle and patient towards others. I hope to extend grace more freely.

2) I aspire to lose a quite a bit of weight the old fashion way.. Diet and exercise.. Sometimes the road that is less traveled is the best way.. I would like to lose 40 pounds, but I am content with 20. I am seeing that this would improve my overall health and energy level.

3) I feel that this is the year for a marathon.

4) I hope that I continue to have financial blessings, so I am able to remain stable during a shaken economy and able to finish my Masters Degree in 2010.

5) Finally, I hope that myself, family and friends have a healthy 2009. I pray for health among everyone.