Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Motherhood: Finding Rest in the Father's Arms

Evie at one week old.
Evie at one week old.

It’s true that parenting teaches you a lot about yourself. I’m not sure if anyone ever gave me that advice or if I just assumed, as with all major life changes, becoming a mother would be as much an introspective process as an external one.

Tonight I reminded what a restless personality I have while I was rocking down my equally restless 7-month-old. As she struggled to find comfort and stillness in my arms, straining this way and that hoping for five more minutes of play time, I thought of how the Father holds me. How in the midst of my frantic need to finish a “to do list” or task his arms encircle me. If I slow down long enough to hear his heartbeat, to rest and soak in his spirit, gradually my limbs start to release tension.

He knows I need rest. He knows I need stillness to hear his heart for the world. His perspective is a million times over what mine is to my baby girl’s. He not only knows what I need in this moment or in the next hour, he knows what I need 10 years from now. He knows that when I rest in Him, I hear his voice more clearly.

As I rocked her to sleep tonight and I held her longer than normal — just to watch her sleeping, the only time she is ever truly still — I thought of a how God holds me. I laid my head against the rocking chair and in the stillness of the nursery we were both gently rocked in the hands of the creator of the universe.

He knew what I needed. He knew I had a long to do list and I felt overwhelmed and tired and spent. He let me struggle and strain in his arms till I found a place of rest. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

Prayer and Fasting for the Super Bowl



My husband Matt and I were recently made aware by a missionary we support in Dallas (Deep Ellum area) that the Super Bowl is a time when there is a significant rise in human trafficking in the U.S. An unknown number of enslaved children are currently being trafficked into the Dallas area in preparation for Super Bowl XLV. Each city that hosts the Super Bowl or similar events experiences an influx of prostitution rings ready to sell America's children to the crowds. Throughout January and February, many churches, non-profit organizations and law enforcement agencies have come together to fight human trafficking during the Super Bowl.

Volunteers are participating in street outreaches 24 hours a day working to locate and rescue victims, helping high-risk businesses such as hotels and bars recognize victims and canvassing at-risk neighborhoods with anti-trafficking information. These efforts during the previous two Super Bowls resulted in 50 children being rescued from their captors as well as prosecution of the perpetrators! 

Matt and I inquired about volunteering, but we we're a little late to join the street teams. Instead we are committing to join the many other believers in praying for the anti-trafficking programs and fasting the day of the Super Bowl. We hope that God will be glorified and His light will shine in the midst of dark places as a result of this anti-trafficking campaign.

"...if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday." Isaiah 58:10

I wanted to make you aware of the efforts and invite ya'll to join us in praying and choosing to fast either Saturday or Sunday.

The group organizing the outreaches, Traffick911 (http://www.traffick911.com), has a prayer guide for supporters to follow. I've here is a document with the prayer guide for today through the Super Bowl. Please announce this as you see fit to your groups and to other church leaders you know! 

Thank you,
Matt & Sarah-Jane Menefee

Monday, January 18, 2010

Top 10 Reasons to Work on a Governmental Holiday

(Things I found out from working on MLK Day)


The past two years I’ve come in to work on MLK Day. It isn’t that I don’t respect Martin Luther King Jr., it just happens that his holiday tends to fall on my deadline for the Tech Times. Besides, I’d like to think MLK, a hard worker in his own right, would not begrudge me working to meet a deadline. In fact, though many have expressed their pity for me working alone in an empty office building while everyone else sleeps in, I’ve found several advantages to working on holidays.

1. You don’t have to wear nice clothes, fix your hair or wear make-up. Who’s going to see you? (I’m wearing a wind suit over my yoga clothes and a bandana.)

2. Because you don’t have to get dressed up, technically you can sleep in past your normal morning alarm. (I got up at 7:30 a.m. and spent around 10 min. on my appearance.)

3. The whole pot of coffee at the office is yours. (I’m brewing my own Kona coffee this morning, something I’d never be able to enjoy with everyone else here.)

4. Go ahead; sing along with your music! (I’m singing with the Glee soundtrack in honor of their Golden Globe win.)

5. It’s gloriously quiet! Sometimes, even with my office door closed and my headphones on, the noise of the office can be distracting. Not on holidays!

6. No incoming e-mails! (if you don’t count out-of-office autoreplies) Everyone who would e-mail you is on holiday. This is an excellent opportunity to send them e-mails so you’ll be at the top of their list tomorrow. (whoever they are)

7. You won’t have that sinking feeling tomorrow when your coworkers realize that though they had a holiday, the same amount of weekly work must now be completed in four days. Is it really a holiday if you have to work late the rest of the week to make up for it?

8. Take lunch whenever you want. No one is here to create an office cover schedule and no one is calling anyway.

9. No meetings! You can focus on the tasks at hand without any interruptions, meetings or annoying conference calls.

10. The top reason to work on a governmental holiday is that you can take the time off later while all your coworkers are working! (and it doesn’t affect your vacation time) I’m taking off next Monday when my fiancĂ© is in town.


Friday, July 10, 2009

A Little Princess

The Waco Hippodrome is showing "A Little Princess" tonight at 7:30 p.m. as a part of their summer movie series. I'm volunteer "working" the event and will probably end up serving popcorn, but it's worth it to see free movies and shows.
Get a $2 off coupon for the show!

The story of "A Little Princess" has a special place in my heart. I grew up reading it and Frances Hodgson Burnett's other famous work "The Secret Garden." I think as a child I found it easy to relate to the main characters in Burnett's books. Young, clever and inquisitive girls who enjoyed reading and believed in good "Magic" that could make gardens flourish, heal young crippled boys and reunite fathers and daughters.

While I was trying to explain the story to my boyfriend last night, I grabbed my well worn paperback copy off the little shelf in my bedroom, (reserved for such classics) and was surprised to find it had been inscribed to me from my parents on the occasion of my eighth birthday. I guess that reinforces how long I have enjoyed reading this book! (Incidentally, I couldn't help myself and read three chapters in last night around midnight and will probably finish the book this weekend.)

I'm looking forward to the movie tonight, though I've seen it and the 1939 Shirley Temple version several times, and will probably tear up when Sara declares to Miss Minchin, "I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren't pretty, or smart, or young. They're still princesses. All of us."

Those are words of hope to young (and not so young) girls everywhere. I hope you'll join me at the movies tonight. Also check out the other fun movies that will be playing every Friday night this summer and the exciting Hitchcock Third Thursday series at the Hippodrome Web site.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Brothers Green IRL



This weekend I had a fun time meeting two of my favorite YouTube vloggers John and Hank Green of the vlogbrothers. I discovered the vlogbrothers and their project Brotherhood 2.0 last July when Hanks very popular song "Accio Deathly Hallows"was featured on the front page of YouTube. After watching his video and his brother's response video I was hooked.

It couldn't have come at a better time. I was about to graduate from college and had already started my first full-time job. In the weeks after receiving my diploma I went through post-college depression (that's according to this one blogger I found on a Google search). Which means I'd graduated a year early from college and left all the friends I had to sit in an office for 8 hours+ a day. Who wouldn't be depressed?

The only bright spot in my day, besides getting off work at 5 p.m., was lunch time. I didn't know anyone and often didn't have transportation, so I closed my office door and had lunch with the vlogbrothers. They were about 150 videos into the B2.0 project, a project which had the two brothers who live in different states communicating every week day back and forth in YouTube videos, so I had a lot of videos to watch to get caught up.

I really looked forward to lunch everyday. I had so much fun with the Green brother videos! I now know I'm a made of awesome nerdfighter and have read all of John Green's books. It's been a great journey getting to know the Green brothers and the other awesome nerdfighters through the forums at the various nerdfighter Web sites, first www.brotherhood2.com and now http://nerdfighters.ning.com.

It's very hard to explain the awesomenss of nerdfighting. The inside jokes, phrases and songs are really best experienced first through the videos. Of course if you're coming across this for the first time you have a long way to go to get caught up. The vlogbrothers currently have 369 videos up on YouTube and will have a lot more before the month is up.


All of this background information leads up to my meeting the brothers Green on the first stop of the Great American Tour de Nerdfighting 2008 in Plano, TX last Sunday. I thought I'd be nervous meeting John, Hank and The Katherine (Hank's wife) after watching them for more than a year, but it was actually like meeting friends. They didn't know me, but I knew a lot about them. (I didn't want to make too many assumptions because I learned the folly of that in John's latest novel, Paper Towns.) They were even more awesome in person as they are via YouTube. It was also great meeting other Texas nerdfighters. We all have a shared history through the vlogbrothers and it was very easy to talk to complete strangers because of that commonality.

The visit was short, sweet and totally awesome. The Tour de Nerdfighting continues as the Green brothers travel the country meeting others just like me. Thanks to John and Hank for never forgetting to be awesome and teaching others the value of being a nerd.

Hank and John Green, brothers for over 27 years, decided not to write to each other during all of 2007, and instead make daily video blogs.

Though the project "Brotherhood 2.0" has now ended, they decided to keep updating the YouTube channel at least once a week. Additionally, the community of nerdfighters that they helped create is now stronger than ever, and lives at: http://www.nerdfighters.com

John Green is the author of the novels "Looking for Alaska," "An Abundance of Katherines" and "Paper Towns." His personal site is http://www.sparksflyup.com

Hank Green runs the Web site http://www.ecogeek.org.


Photos
TOP: Hank (left) and John (right) walking up to the Plano library where we had our nerdfighter gathering.
RIGHT: John signed my copy of Paper Towns. You should go buy a copy today or if you live in Waco and are really nice to books, you can borrow mine.