Category Archives: Dreaming

Where do we put the stuff?

Housing

Image by james.thompson via Flickr

If your children are “Messies” encourage them to marry someone who is laidback but possibly not a Messie. For better or worse, I’m a Messie and I married a Messie. Among other places in our house, the garage has always been a major dumping ground for us. This past year it has also become storage for the wonderful donations from people like you that just can’t wait for The Sparrow’s Nest to open.

Our garage is full of diapers, maternity clothes, a couch, a chair, a sidetable and lamp, a glider rocker, a changing table, well, you get the idea. We worked almost all Saturday cleaning and organizing and sorting. We took some into other parts of our house and some we took to church to store for awhile. It’s so fabulous and exciting to think about these items being used in the house by young mothers.

But that’s the catch , isn’t it. We are getting all this great stuff but we still don’t have a place to put it. We don’t have in our possession the whole point of The Sparrow’s Nest.

The Nest.

God has put on my heart such an urgency since the weather has started to change. Do you remember how bitter last winter was? I keep having that dreadful thought of a young mother trying to find shelter when it gets really cold. What if she thinks the only way she can find a home is to terminate her pregnancy? These thoughts race through my mind and make me sick to my stomach.

I just want to put on your heart the plea for God to provide a facility for us. I know there is someone in our area that could make an incredible sacrifice and donate a 4-5 bedroom house in St. Charles. I also know that if we pool all our resources we can have this project fully funded by January so we can lease to own a property.

There are so many exciting possibilities this fall. I want you with us every step of the way. I want your prayers. I want your creativity.

Can you just see it?  Are you willing to make it happen?

Part 2: God whispered “Nehemiah”

Priests to Perfume Makers

Nehemiah 3: 8-9 Uzziel son of Haraiah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired the next section; and Hanaiah, one of the perfume-makers, made repairs next to that.

One of the most fascinating things to me about this passage is the diversity of the workers. Nehemiah inspired priests, goldsmiths, rulers of other districts, countrymen, and even a perfume maker to rebuild the wall . He cast such a vision that anyone with a heartbeat and hands could make a difference and significantly contribute. The passage that caught me up is found in Chapter 4 of Nehemiah. Verse 19 says Then I said to the nobles, the officials, and the rest of the people, “The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Whenever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us!”

This resonated so strongly for me. Our volunteers and workers mostly work independently. We don’t have  central location for every one to gather and meet, to hear the trumpet when they are attacked, or scared, or overwhelmed. But these are not things to hold us back. We have a common goal . We have common timeline. We have a common passion. We come from all walks of life. All levels of education. Gifts and talents and every sort of personality marks the identity of our phenomenal volunteer force. God has brought together a unique group of individuals into his vision for The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home.

Our tasks are spread out of a large time span. But I want our volunteers, our own wall builders to know that even though the work is extensive and spread out that you are doing an incredible work. Especially this coming fall, we have some tasks before us, primarily fully funding this vision, and YOU are key! You are building your legacy in your own Jerusalem just as Nehemiah did in 500 B.C.

Part 1: God whispered “Nehemiah”

Nehemiah rebuilding Jerusalem

Image via Wikipedia

Do you remember when your toddler was learning to build with blocks? They would take those 2 or 3 blocks with those little mitten hands and try over and over again to stack them up successfully. During the process they would undoubtedly get frustrated when the blocks would fall over. They might eventually throw them or trying to push down even harder to get them to stay stacked.  The irony is the pure joy they get in knocking them down again themselves. 🙂

My heart was drawn to a different type of building this morning. God drew me into Nehemiah. He’s been whispering parts of this story to me for a year and I’ve only read and studied it bits and pieces. This morning I read its entirety and God has brought me to my knees.

The parallels between Nehemiah rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem and our building The Sparrow’s Nest are obvious. But I just wanted to share a few points that God specifically showed me this morning.This week I’ll share a 4 part series over what God gave me from Nehemiah.

1. Prayer : It seems so obvious. But Nehemiah gives us the example at every start, every turn, every adversary, every thanksgiving to pray to God .

Nehemiah 1:10-11 They are your servants and your people, who you have redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O, Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”

Nehemiah’s heart had been broken by the despair of his people. Nehemiah knew this would be a huge undertaking . Building the wall again would not be a popular project. Nehemiah also understood he would need the support of powerful people. But the very first thing Nehemiah did was to ask God for forgiveness before favor. When Nehemiah was given the opportunity to ask permission of King Artaxerxes, Nehemiah quickly first prayed to God and then answered the King.  When the opposition was in full force against rebuilding the wall, Nehemiah and his men prayed to God and made preparations to meet the threat.

I believe with all my heart in the power of prayer. I also believe we will not be successful in this endeavor without on-going, consistent, bold prayers. Just as Nehemiah did, we need support from powerful people, we need guidance and direction in our decision making, and we will need prayer warriors posted at our doors to protect the young women and those precious babies.

The next 120 days are a critical part of our history. My instinct is to get through the fall and start wrapping things down for the holidays. But God has always had a different plan. I believe God has some incredible wall building coming down the pipe this quarter and I challenge you to boldly pray what your role will be in this endeavor. I ask you to pray for generosity in spirit, time, and money. I ask you to boldly pray for protection, guidance, and direction. YOUR prayers will determine our steps.

Marking God’s Faithfulness

Cairn

Image by KatieTT via Flickr

When you are hiking and you come across a stack of rocks it usually shows where someone has gone before you to mark the trail. The stacks or cairns can direct your path and keep you on course.

The Isrealites also built monuments to remember God’s faithfulness. They built these altars to mark how God had guided them. The stones were used to mark a space or dedicate a time of God’s faithfulness.

4 So Joshua called together the twelve men he had appointed from the Israelites, one from each tribe, 5 and said to them, “Go over before the ark of the LORD your God into the middle of the Jordan. Each of you is to take up a stone on his shoulder, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, 6to serve as a sign among you. In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean?’ 7tell them that the flow of the Jordan was cut off before the ark of the covenant of the LORD. When it crossed the Jordan, the waters of the Jordan were cut off. These stones are to be a memorial to the people of Israel forever.”

 8 So the Israelites did as Joshua commanded them. They took twelve stones from the middle of the Jordan, according to the number of the tribes of the Israelites, as the LORD had told Joshua; and they carried them over with them to their camp, where they put them down. 9 Joshua set up the twelve stones that had been[a] in the middle of the Jordan at the spot where the priests who carried the ark of the covenant had stood. And they are there to this day. Joshua 4: 4-9

Tonight we’re laying the first of many stones as a monument to God. The Sparrow’s Nest is hosting a Unity Prayer Concert. We are dedicating this evening to God’s glory and direction for us over the next 12 months. We’re spending the evening in focused prayer, praise, and worship to make sure we are step for step with God as we prepare to launch this ministry.

This is not a fundraiser. This is simply time to align our hearts and minds with God. We hope you come. We hope you can lay your own cairn or alter for your family as we all take some time to dedicate our lives and dreams and visions to God.

What’s the Plan Stan?

Sky

Image via Wikipedia

It’s hard to imagine that a little under a year ago the idea of The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home didn’t even exist. Since then of course it’s become an all-consuming fire of urgency.

I  just wanted to take a moment to share with you where we have been and where we think we are being led. On July 21 last year I determined there was  need for a residential maternity home for pregnant teens in St. Charles County. The next several months were filled with research, phone calls, and visiting other maternity homes. I started recruiting board members and volunteers in August and September. In September Quinn Murphey orchestrated Armstrong and Teasdale agreeing to do all of our legal work for us at no cost. On October 4 we had our first board meeting at the Schnucks’s Deli with Kevin Thompson, Amber Teigen, Adam Eaton, and Scott Sigmund.  Scott McHenry had our website going live in December. We finished up the year with a very intimate Christmas party with dreamers sitting around my kitchen table thinking of “what ifs…”

We started off the new year with Dan Cooper helping us to receive our non-profit status from the IRS on Jan 12, 2011. Susan Zimmerling hosted our first fundraiser on February 2. During this time I worked to make relationships with the community through the YMCA, Rotary, and Community Council. I contacted many churches, individuals, and civic groups letting them know we were coming. We collaborated with Bridgeway Behavioral Health for our first 5k fundraiser in April followed by a beautiful benefit concert in May hosted by Zion Lutheran Church  I connected with Casey Graham, our friend at givingrocket.com, who developed our first capital campaign. Through these efforts we were able to raise almost $34,000 in the month of May through individual contributions and local church support. I attended as many Non Profit trainings and webinars as my schedule allowed. My reading list of resource books and blogs was sometimes staggering. It’s been a compelling year of growth, prayer, learning, and focused determination.

This past month our brave board decided to fast forward the timeline of The Sparrow’s Nest. Instead of opening in another 18-24 months we are dedicated to opening our doors in 12 months. Mark your calendars now to attend our ribbon cutting ceremony in July 2012.

I’ve laid out a very optimistic but aggressive timeline for the next 12 months. As one of our volunteers said, “if we’re going to do this, and this is really a need, then let’s move now.”

So on July 30, 2011 we will have a focused time of prayer and praise at the O’Fallon YMCA to dedicate the next 12 months to God’s leading. Our Strategic Plan will be finalized  by August 5 allowing us to go after major funding from grants and foundations. By August 30 we will have all the information gathered for the ordinances, permits, and licenses required to operate. We need massive manpower to get this underway in this amount of time so September 2011 will be a major volunteer recruitment month for us.

Our next two major fundraisers will be our October 1 Sparrow Scramble and our Celebration on November 12th. We will finish out the year with another letter appeal. By December 30 we will have determined a general location.

We will start out next year flying. We plan to purchase or have a lease on a home by January 20. By March 30 all of our permits and licences will be acquired. By May 30 our staffing will be complete and by the following month their initial training will be finished.

By July 30, 2012 we will be operational finally  able to see our mission in action.

It’s a lot of hard work requiring laser intensity and focus. We need your prayers. We need your financial support. We need your insight, ideas, and help. This is such an exciting part of our history to be a part of. We are literally starting from the ground up. And the sky is the limit of what we can accomplish together!

So that’s the plan Stan. And we’re praying with all our hearts this is God’s plan for The Sparrow’s Nest. We can’t lose sight of what we are really working towards. We want to restore young girls to the love of God. We want to give their precious babies a very strong start to life. We want to be used by God to ease a portion of social injustice.

What’s your plan?

WOW ME Wednesdays!

via Flickr”]Being human is a full time job  it means being...

I love a good party! My completely extroverted self loves to fill a room with as many different people as possible and move in and out of fascinating conversations, crazy stories, and hysterical jokes. Voices mingled together connecting, laughing, and dreaming recharges my soul. So that’s why it should come as no surprise that we are already planning our anniversary party for 11/12/11!

I have this concept of filling the entire St. Charles Coffee House with our volunteers and supporters and surrounding them with inspiring music, unique pieces of artwork, and of course lovely coffee and my favorite DONUTS among other tasty sundries.

Our theme will be “BEAUTY IN FLIGHT” to represent our tremendous journey of learning how to make a start up non-profit fly.

So today on WOW ME Wednesdays share with me how you have seen beauty lately. Has it been painful to watch, did you recognize it as beauty, why was it beautiful to you?

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”Ashley Smith

 

WOW me Wednesdays!

The classic red-and-white Etch A Sketch model

Image via Wikipedia

I am aptly nicknamed “Etch” for Etch A Sketch. My brain works in lines and draws connection between seemingly unrelated ideas and events. I didn’t say straight lines. Some are curvy, some are dotted, some are purple, some are coffee flavored, some are invisible… But just like an Etch a Sketch, give it one good shake and I lose all the lines.

For today’s creative outlet draw some lines. Doodle it on paper, scan it in, and post here or doodle online with something like http://www.onlinesketchpad.com/. Draw your dreams, doodle your ideas, sketch connections. But don’t put a lot of thought into it. Just flow. Let’s see what’s on your heart and mind.