Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Morning, I Couldn't Help But Think...

"Remember the prisoners as if chained with them—those who are mistreated…” Hebrews 13:3

Christmas morning.
Hands wrapped around my steaming, oversized mug of peppermint mocha.
Sitting on my soft, comfortable chaise lounge.
Reclined and relaxed against fluffy pillows in my warm, cozy living room. 
Snuggling next to my smiling husband,
watching eager children unwrap presents wrapped with love,
taking in the joy and laughter of those sweet memories in the making.

Yet amidst the crescendo of this undeniably jubilant atmosphere, 
I couldn’t help but think of the worsening plight 
of U.S. Citizen Saeed Abedini, and his wrongful imprisonment in Iran.

I couldn’t help but think of the mental and physical torment that he has endured
while being held captive in Evin Prison, Tehran, and even worse,
what he’s suffered in Rajai Shahr Prison, Karaj, which,
Jordan Sekulow describes as being "known in 
the international human rights community as the prison 
where prisoners of conscience are sent to disappear,”
the prison in which he was abruptly transferred to without explanation.

I couldn’t help but think about Saeed’s wife, Naghemeh,
and the incomprehensible pain of being separated 
from her husband for yet another Christmas,
with no clear understanding of whether or not
she will ever see her beloved again.

I couldn’t help but think about Saeed’s children,
frightened and in despair, longing for their father’s 
embrace, protection, and presence.

And I couldn’t help but think that if it were my husband,
how I could only hope that all of you, family, friends and citizens alike,
would help amplify my voice to fight for his freedom.
That if he were visiting a foreign country in an effort to help orphaned children,
and was seized without cause, thrown into prison unjustly, tortured and abused,
that you would not let him be forgotten.

Under no circumstance should a U.S. citizen be allowed 
to be imprisoned in a foreign country without cause.
Please consider joining the growing number of people globally fighting for Saeed’s release
by continuing to flood the social media pipeline with a call to action.
Sign the petitions, reach out for your congressmen, the white house, the news stations,
celebrities, athletes, and anyone you can think of who will help cry out for justice.

#freesaeed #savesaeed

Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

This Christmas...

"The only currency that will heal every culture is ceaseless love.” 
~Heidi Baker

For the first time in 20 years, I didn’t get my Christmas cards out this year!!!
Oh I made them alright, designed them on Shutterfly Thanksgiving weekend…
I was definitely on the ball and into the Christmas spirit. 
Cutest pic of the kids ever!
3 weeks into December, I can’t figure out why they haven’t arrived yet...
Apparently I made them, but never ORDERED them.


For the first time in 20 years I didn’t bake Christmas goodies for friends and family.
I visualized myself making them many times over, but somehow, it just never happened.

And now here we are, the eve of Christmas…How did these weeks fly by so quickly?

I loved seeing all of the notes that were floating around the web over the past few weeks
reminding us that there are many struggling this time of year,
and how important it is to make an extra effort to be tenderhearted.  

But really, this should be the standard every day of the year.

Somehow, in this ever expanding world of social media,
everybody seems to be quite consumed
with what everybody thinks 

It’s exhausting.

Why should someone else’s opinion
be a factor in how you treat them?

It shouldn’t.

What they think is between them and God.
How you treat them is between you and God.

I’m convinced that authentic “Christianity” looks
very different than what most “Christians” think, 
and I can testify that demonstration goes a lot further than lip service.

“Do everything without grumbling, arguing, so that you may
become blameless and pure…
Then you will shine among them like the stars” (Phil 2:14, 15b)

"You don't have to purpose to see the stars. 
You don't have to convince someone that there are stars. 
In the darkness of night, they stand out as points of light. 
Religion is like that, always trying to convince people that there are stars. 
People don't need to see religion. They need to see light. “ (Gary Keeseee)

Anyone who claims to be a “believer”
but isn’t walking in love, compassion, & grace,
isn’t really walking the walk.
Sadly, that’s often these days.
The collateral damage is exponential…
It’s leaving a trail of destruction,
and the walking wounded are everywhere as a result.
It’s heartbreaking to see, 
yet all the more reason to shine my light even brighter,
And I’m determined to be a part of the “clean up crew."

Sweet Bellas, my one wish for all of you this Christmas,
and every day thereafter,
is that you will love one another.
Fiercely. Without pretense, and without hesitation.
If you err in doing so, better to err on the side of love & grace, every time.

Merry Christmas, and my most heartfelt and sincere wishes 
for a very happy, healthy & blessed New Year.

Keep Shining Sweet Bellas!


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