Thursday, April 30, 2009

Don't Say I Didn't Warn You

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it.”

“Well, why don’t you ask Him?”

“Because I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.”

(quote from the Irresistible Revolution)

Adam and I often get asked what started us down the path to inner-city ministry. Why in the world would we CHOOSE to go into places where it's not safe? Where there's violence and drug deals? guns and prostitutes?

And to be honest, sometimes I ask myself the same questions.

(But then I remember ALL the stories in the Bible and, you know, the fact that these people are EXACTLY who Jesus would hang out with)

That said, I didn't always have a heart that understood how I should want to be where Jesus went. Looking back, it's easy to see God guiding our steps and leading us in that direction. But in the midst of it all, things weren't nearly so clear. I remember feeling stirrings in my deepest heart that there must be more. That Christianity surely was deeper than going to church and tithing and being a good person. Where was the abundant life?

And then I read The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. And it laid me out. Flat-out blew me away. I mean, the life that Shane is living (check out is pretty revolutionary. And I'm not saying I'm agreeing with every word he says, but I am saying that his book literally changed my life. All of a sudden I heard this voice whispering in my ear, asking me daily "but what if Jesus actually MEANT every word He said?"

"What if we really are supposed to lay down our life?"
"What if the last are really going to be first?"
"What if we really are loving Christ by loving the "least of these'?"
"What if God really does care about the plight of the fatherless and the widows? And what if He expects His people to do something about it?"

I felt like I couldn't go on living the same way. So Adam and I worked at a summer camp for inner-city kids (a job which kind of just fell into our laps in God's oh so creative way) and once we recognize the need of our neighbors, we simply could not ignore it any longer.

Long story short (or maybe not exactly SHORT, I never claimed to be concise), Adam and I have been having our hearts become more and more inclined towards the people in the city of Atlanta. People who are often ignored, forgotten, overlooked. People who Jesus loves very much.

But lately, I've been feeling a little discouraged with it all. Don't get me wrong, I still love it. But it's hard. And most of these people? They dont even want to change. I was wondering (this is embarrassing to even admit) why it even matters if our twelve year old girls start having kids and live on welfare the rest of their lives. That's what they want, after all.

And then I read the Compassion Bloggers stories from India. And I was reminded of Christ's heart and how broken it is for those who live on the margins. Those who are suffering. Those who are poor and weak. And I remembered that just because we want something for ourselves, doesn't mean that's what is best for us.

So regardless of how hard it can be, regardless of how little change I see, I will keep loving and keep serving my kiddos. Because Jesus loves them. And that's enough reason for me to love them too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just a Few Things He Thought You Should Know

My hubby wanted me to clarify a few things for you

1- He has cut the grass since Monday when I posted my picture. He would like all of the internet to know that he is clearly on top of the yardwork and would never let our grass get so long that we would get 4 letters from the HOA. Never.

2- When I mentioned that I had a scar beside my eye from a baseball bat to the head, Adam felt a little concerned that you might think that he was the perpetrator. Rest assured folks, it is a long-standing battle scar from when I was four and ran straight into a five year old wielding a aluminum bat. He was my nemesis ever after. Or for a few weeks until I forgot about him.

I also find it imperative to share with you some of the shots from my "reflection" photoshoot which I did not enter in the I Heart Faces contest. If you ask me, Jayci is a doll. Just a doll. Except when she won't sleep. Then she's still a doll, but a little more reminiscent of one particular doll, one whose name rhymes with "yucky."

At first, I thought I would take some extraordinarily beautiful shots of my precious daughter reflected in our sliding glass doors. Then I realized that she probably wouldn't be reflected. I mean, I can't even imagine how my door got this dirty. Oh right, I have two annoying dogs who find mud every day, even in the midst of a huge drought. And I hate cleaning. Bad combination.

So I opted instead for the mirror in the un-cut grass. Lesser of two evils right?
I mean, is she a cutie or what? Remember when looking in the mirror was fun? I dont either. But I like watching Jayci discover herself.
And who is watching American Idol? Because I just feel the need to say that if I wasn't married, and he wasn't married . . . Well I'll just leave it at that.

Monday, April 27, 2009

A Little More Reflection . . .

I know I already posted about 500 pictures of our reflections in our less than clean mirrors. However, as it turns out, this week's theme at I Heart Faces is also "Reflection." So here's my entry for this week in the kids' category.
(please note that we STILL haven't cut our grass . . . )

I also thought I'd enter the adult's category this week (I know, try to contain your excitement). I saw lots of these pictures (of reflections in the eye) already among this week's fabulously talented entries, so I realize this is nothing new. But I loved seeing my reflection in my best friend's son's eyes. I mean, could he be more of a heartbreaker? They are going to be in big trouble when the ladies start noticing him. And I'm thinking it wont be long now . . .

*Can I just say how FUN I Heart Faces is?! And the guest judge this week is Nate of The Image is Found (which has been my favorite photography blog forever - and I'm not just saying that to try and suck up to the judge)

Check out the entries this week on their site - you won't be disappointed. I say that because I enjoy making sweeping promises that I can actually follow through on.
*For example, I have learned not to promise that I won't eat cheese or drink diet coke for any period longer than 24 hours.

Friday, April 24, 2009

I Don't Get It

What do you mean we need to cut our grass?
I simply cannot understand why you would say such a thing.
Oh come on y'all, you are supposed to side with me and not my mom! I feel so betrayed. . . Oh I kid. But seriously, I hate going to the doctor, yet I did it anyways. But NOT because my mom told me to. I am grown and no longer have to do what my mom says. I did it because the internets told me to. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I hate going to the doctor for a plethora of reasons. First of all, it's super-far-away, and then they make you wait forever so it takes pretty much all day. It never fails to put me in a foul mood. Why? Because they make you wait for 10 or 45 minutes in the waiting room (Which is normally full of LOTS of coughing, hacking and mucous. Which grosses me out to no end). And then they finally call your name and you feel like you've won the lottery. Until they have you weigh yourself and then ask you "how much"? Apparently she can't understand mumbled whispers and so she makes you repeat yourself until you are practically yelling embarrassing numbers across the room for the whole world to hear. I'm not saying that happened to me or anything.

Then they bring you to a small room without even 4 year old magazines to entertain you, make you undress, and leave you there for another 10 or 45 minutes.

Anyways, all that to say that this particular experience was delightful, because I went to a different doctor right near my house. In fact, it's right next door to my favorite Mexican restaurant, making it delightfully convenient to get a physical and cheese dip in one fell swoop. (note: I looked up that saying because I wasn't sure if it was "one fail swoop" or "one fell swoop." Turns out it is "fell" - not that either makes any sense)

This doctor's office was completely empty. Which makes me wonder if doctor's offices are like restaurants. Anytime we go try a new restaurant and it's empty when I walk in, I can feel the dread in the pit of my stomach and the voice in my head screaming "retreat." Unfortunately, it's impossible to sneak out unnoticed since, well, you're the only ones in there . . . But I digress. The empty doctor's office, on the other hand, led to the voice in my head singing 'hallelujah.' (Just to clarify, I dont actually "hear voices" - this is all for dramatic effect).

Verdict is that I have a sinus infection. I got my drugs and should be feeling better soon. At least that's the plan.

The other verdict is that we are switching to this doctor for sure. Although I was slightly disturbed because when I was checking out I heard somebody else come in and tell the lady at the front desk they were there for a "bad rash." I didn't think anything of it until I walked out and saw the only person in the waiting room was one of the waiters from my favorite Mexican restaurant. Luckily I am not one to be deterred from chips and cheese from something as nasty insignificant as a "bad rash."

As a matter of fact, I think I will eat there tonight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

And then I thought I might die

I might have a sinus infection. I have had a sinus headache for like 3 days straight. Granted, I have a low pain tolerance, but this one is a doozy. Seriously every time I bend over, I think I might pass out from pain. And this time, I am not even exaggerating.

My mom said I should go to the doctor. I decided to use WebMD instead. So I looked up "sinus infection" and have spent the better part of the last 30 minutes or so reading about various forms of mucous and discharge. Now I also feel like I might throw up, and my head is still in the early stages of explosion from all the pressure.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Take 368

And that's not even counting the ones that were of the ground, my forehead, and the sink.

Ok so I might have struggled a little with taking my self-portrait for I Heart Faces this week.

Here's a few that I decided against, for various and sundry reasons.

This one would be great, if I washed my bathroom mirror. But I can't remember the last time I did, so I have something which is probably toothpaste splatter on my head.

And this one makes me laugh because I am not quite sure what this face I'm making is. It looks like I'm trying to be sexy. I am giggling just writing that, because trust me - I was not trying to post a sexy self-portrait while holding my baby. Oh and my battle scar (beside my eye - from a baseball bat . . . ) is just far too noticeable.

I may have mentioned this before, but cleaning? I hate it. Hence the filthy mirror. Also, I was clearly confused about where to look in order to be actually, you know, looking at the camera.

Sometimes, when I am taking pictures of people (or just watching people take pictures), I make really silly large grins. It's good for my street cred.


Speaking of comparing yourself to others, I wasn't going to enter this week's I Heart Faces contest for 2 reasons. 1- I wont win and 2- The theme is self-portrait and ugh. I hate taking pictures of myself and everyone's pictures will be better than mine and I wont look as pretty and . . . oops. Like I said, one of my biggest struggles people.

But I'm working on it. So here's my kids entry for this week's theme - Self-Portrait.

I think I'll have to post an "out-takes" version as well because it took me about 800 pictures to get even one good one. I struggle with the holding the camera out and pushing the button. Doesn't anyone else think these cameras are just too big to do this with?! Good thing I've been working out. Or I haven't. Whatever.

Go see more self-portraits over at I Heart Faces!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Um, She Can Sit Up On Her Own?

This morning I, unfortunately, was forced to run several errands. One of which was a trip to BJ's to purchase formula for Jayci. While there I ran into a rather eager mom carrying her cute little one in a fancyee sling. She asked how old my little one is, I smiled with pride and informed her that sweet Jayci is 7 months old (seriously?! already!?)

"Oh mine is 7 months old too!" She exclaimed with great excitement. "She crawls and walks and talks." She gushed on. "Just the other day, she said 'I want my bottle' and she walks a few steps every single day! Can you believe she knows how to open draws and cupboards too?! It's amazing, just amazing!" . . . I smiled politely, not sure how to respond to her exuberance. I felt slightly skeptical about her 7 month old speaking in complete sentences and running marathons but whatever.

And then it happened. She asked me: "What is yours doing?"

"Uh" I fumbled for a moment before responding that "she can sit up on her own?" That lady looked at me like my poor little girl was doomed for straight D's and auto mechanic classes . . .

Now I dont share this story because I am in any way worried about Jayci's development. She is bright and happy and aware and clearly just fine (besides with parents like us, she is obviously going to be ABOVE average ha). But I have been thinking all day about one of the most dangerous traps that women especially seem to fall into time and time again.

It's the trap of comparison. I mean, if we can't compare bikini bodies anymore (because I can pretty much guar-antee I have LOST that battle), then we should compare what cars we drive, what our houses look like, and (worst of all) what kind of parents we are. Or how our kids are performing. It never ends.

This is, quite honestly, one of my biggest struggles. I am SO bad about comparing myself to others, and it's a losing battle. What do I hope to accomplish by "winning' in these comparisons? Clearly nothing is won. Besides pride and a sense of self-worth which is based on fleeting standards which, when I think about it, don't mean much of anything at all.

As a mother, I am praying daily that Jayci will find her identity in Christ. That she will know, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that she is LOVED by her father and I. That she will know that WHO SHE IS is far more important than what she does or (especially!) what she looks like. If she can learn even from a young that it doesnt matter if she doesn't meet the world's standards of success and importance, then she will be leaps and bounds ahead of her mama in maturity and contentment. . .

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Why Mentor?

Sure we love our kiddos and want to serve them. But we love camp. And we love tutoring. And we love sidewalk Sunday school. And regular Sunday school. . . So why mentoring? Why are we so passionate about mentoring, and why should YOU be passionate about it too? And why should you want to mentor one of our kiddos?

Read more on our VAM! Vision Atlanta Mentoring blog

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

I mean, do you really expect any less than random from my blog posts?

My home church (I say "home church" because I find things are confusing between my downtown church and my suburban church . . . so for all matters of this blog, home church = suburban church) has this great ministry called "Praise Aerobics." And yes, it's just as dorky as it sounds. I mean, we do sweet hip hop dance moves that would bring my kiddos to tears, they would be laughing so hard. As a matter of fact, I myself always laughed at the thought of a bunch of nerdy moms doing aerobics to the remixed "Our God is an Awesome God." But then I joined them. Because this is what I usually do when it comes to trends: Resist, and then jump on the bandwagon once it's too late and it's no longer cool (exhibit A - Ugg boots).

However, Praise Aerobics has become one of my favorite times of the week. Except when Sara teaches. Rumor has it that she makes us do Suicides. I am NOT on my high school soccer team people. This body is no longer cut out for suicides (or maybe it never was). Today, there was a point when I distinctly heard my thighs telling my butt "oh un-uh." And I'm pretty sure it is not going to feel any better tomorrow. (ps - if Sara is reading this: I jest. I appreciate you kicking my butt into some semblance of order).

Anyhow, here's the real reason for this post: One Church. A friend of ours is starting a new church and they currently meet just once a month on Monday nights. Which is PERFECT for us since we run children's church on Sunday mornings at Metro Kidz and don't get to soak in church teaching and worship for ourselves very often. This month, the pastor taught about how Jesus was the fulfillment of this passage in Isaiah:
"The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners."
And he brought me to tears as he wondered what it would look like if we, as a church, were ACTUALLY good news to the poor, brokenhearted, and prisoners. What if God was whispering in Sabo's and Sincere's ears that He had GOOD NEWS - and that WE were the embodiment of that good news?

The goal of Jimmy's church is to free up its members to be the Good News of Christ to those who need it most. How can this happen? I mean, shouldn't that be the goal of every church? Yes, yes it should. But it seems like too often we get caught up in budgets and buildings and even Bible studies that we just plumb forget about BEING THE GOOD NEWS. Christ says, plain as day, that He came to bring Good News to the poor. To the children starving in India. To the women with AIDS in Africa. To the girls being sold into slavery right here in Atlanta. To the fatherless kids in our own neighborhoods. If Jimmy's church can help its members become secure in the knowledge that CHRIST IS ENOUGH, then that frees them up to live out the Good News that is Christ's death and resurrection. What a beautiful truth!

I'll tell you what, there were several times that I just wanted to stand up and shout AMEN. And then I remembered that we weren't in our church downtown. And people might think I was weird. And I don't want to let THAT cat out of the bag just yet.

So I want to encourage you (and me. especially me.) to be GOOD NEWS to all those who we encounter this week. Because I'm pretty sure it could change the world. For real.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Spring Time

I am feeling CONCISE this morning (which if you know me at all is very unusual). So without further ado, here's my picture for this week's I Heart Faces Spring/Easter theme.
Luckily there is an amateur category over at I Heart Faces this week. Because the photography talent? It's overwhelming.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

Happy Easter to all my peeps. I am not a fan of Peeps, actually. But do you know what I do love? Cadbury Mini Eggs. And can I just say that a tragedy has occurred in the assembling of this year's Easter baskets by grandma Stanley? She could not find any Cadbury Mini Eggs. Which was met by much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Because I am a grateful, thankful person.

Luckily, I remembered that I gained 4 pounds on vacation last week, so I forgave Publix for being out of Mini Eggs.

Oh and I also remembered the real reason for today.
"Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus"(Romans 6:8-1).

Amen and Amen.

It was a great Easter Sunday today. We started out with some mad crazy Easter Egg hunting downtown at church. And a fantastic play at church (which I might blog about at some point. It was life-changing y'all). After the service, there were hundreds of kids running around looking for Easter Eggs and eating hot dogs. Because nothing says "resurrection" like plastic eggs and hot dogs without buns (we ran out). But in all seriousness, it was a GREAT outreach - we had tons of kids there, and the church was packed out.

And a little family picture from our time at the g-parents house after church.

And did y'all even think for a second that I would leave you without some pictures of Jayci's first Easter? Of course not. You know me so well.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fun in Florida

Do you like that alliteration in my title? That's some stellar writing right there. Or not. Apparently my brain is on vacation too . . .

As a result, I will spare you my rambling and just share a few pictures from sunny (but somewhat cool) Florida.

And again, I would like to warn you of the impending cute-ness. I mean seriously, we came with our friends who have two of the most adorable kids ever (besides Jayci of course).

It's about those curls. I cannot resist the curls.

I also cannot resist this one. Can you blame me though?

And then there's this one. It's a wonder I am not slain from all the cute around here.

But seriously, friends + sunshine + cute children + good food = one VERY happy Becca!

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Friend & I

This week at I Heart Faces, the theme is "My Friend and I." For the first time, I knew immediately what picture I wanted to use. This is one of my favorite pictures. Of all time.

I love it so much it makes my heart hurt, just a little. I adore both of these kids. My own daughter and Sabo (one of the kids we work with and who Adam mentors - to read his story, go here). The contrast between her bright baby-white skin and his chocolate skin, between her blessed life and his difficult one, between her soft glow and his hard shell, could not be more beautiful and bittersweet.

Sabo loves Jayci because we love Sabo. And we love Sabo because Christ loved us. Simple, beautiful truth.

Last week there was over 400 entries at I Heart Faces. That's a whole lot of pictures people, and a whole lotta talent too. Visit and see this week's entries!

One tiny little, very fun detail I may have forgotten to mention

In the midst of all my complaining (thanks for the encouragement everyone!) I may have forgotten to mention one thing: Adam and I are leaving tomorrow morning for Florida. It's Adam's spring break and since I never pass up an opportunity for vacation or sunshine and the beach, we are headed to West Palm. We are going with some of our very best friends and couldn't be more excited. Our kids love each other too. See?
So today I am busy packing. Have I mentioned I'm not a good packer? I over-pack. Because who knows what the weather will be like? Or if I'd rather wear a sundress or sweatpants?(who am I kidding? we all know I'd rather wear sweatpants - but I should pack 1 or 6 sundresses just in case!) And I don't want to forget any of the essentials. Like Jayci's sunglasses.
Anyways, we will be gone all week - but I will have my trusty computadora and will try and check in. Maybe.

Oh and remember how I promised y'all a little video gold from last weekend with our kiddos? Well here it is! I know you've all been waiting in anticipation.

You can read a little more about our kiddos and get to know one of these kids (the one who's scared of the dog) at the VAM blog.

Charli and the Kiddos from Becca Stanley on Vimeo.
*Note: This video makes me LOL. I love these kiddos so so much! But please also notice that I am laughing hysterically at poor Zack, while reassuring him that we will not let Charli hurt him. That's some good mentoring right there. For realz.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Option A or B

There's a very good chance right now that I might:
A - go crazy
or B - pull all my hair out.

I am leaning towards option A seeing as I would probably look really bad bald.

This morning, I was feeling ambitious so I got down on my hands and knees and cleaned the kitchen floor(note that this is the first time in the history of the world that this has ever happened), and the dogs promptly ran all over it leaving muddy paw-prints. Oh and they have chewed up a pacifier, two blocks, and a rattle so far today. Plus every time Jayci FINALLY falls asleep (and it doesnt happen often people) they BARK and wake her up. Unfortunately Jayci sleeps more like her mama than her papa, who wouldnt wake up to the dog's barking if his life depended on it. No one told me these things barked. . . . I demand a refund.

Jayci is also pushing me to the brink today. Even with all the crying and not sleeping, she has never actually annoyed me until today. All of a sudden she has turned into this little creature who arches her back and spits her food at me (she hates bananas . . .clearly she is NOT related to me - I love everything banana), as soon as I get a cloth or wipe out to clean her face (which is covered in food as a result of her head movements and my poor hand-eye coordination), she shakes her head vigorously and arches her back again. Oh and when I try to put her down for a nap? She arches her back so far that she rolls onto her tummy, and cries loudly. So far today she has slept a grand total of twenty minutes. Again, I would like to report some false advertising. I heard that babies slept. Oh and can I add that I am not looking forward to her being two?

And Adam has been SO busy lately that I feel sort of like a single mom. And can I just say that I have NO IDEA how they do it?

In other news, Adam and I sent our first batch of support letters out! I feel strangely nervous about it. I mean, what if no one sends money? We dont have a Plan B right now. God's definitely teaching me about trusting Him for provision right now. I also think that maybe some of the bad mood/stress/frustration/doubt in my abilities might be some spiritual warfare. I mean, Satan does NOT want God's people stepping out in faith and doing big things for Him does he? I think not.

At least I slept for a solid 6 hours straight last night. I literally begged God for Jayci to sleep. And I am so glad we serve a God who cares about all the details of our lives, because I'm not sure I would have made it through this day without those 6 hours. Well, that and a whole bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs and 5 Diet Cokes. I don't eat my feelings or anything.


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