Tag Archives: Using your gifts and talents

Where Do We Begin?

Thank You Trash...

Image by Daniel Slaughter via Flickr

Phillipians 1:3

I thank my God every time I remember you.

How do you begin to thank people for believing in a dream? How do you show gratefulness for people supporting and encouraging vision? There’s nothing tangible there. There’s no t-shirt or certificate or prize. I can only share my heart.

We have so much to be thankful for today. We are rich in blessings and have only God to thank for it all. And you.

We’re thankful for volunteers sitting around a table and asking “how is this ever going to work?” and then praying for guidance and working out details to make it work.

We’re thankful for a Board of Directors sitting in silence, presumably dumbfounded by an obstacle, only to laugh and say “We know this is going to happen, and this is how.”

We’re thankful for the Board of Directors spouses supporting the sacrificial giving of time and money their families have chosen to make to this mission.

We’re thankful for professionals in the area coming to us saying “We believe in what you are doing, we want to be apart of it and help make this dream a reality.”

We’re thankful for our sponsors saying to us “We financially support your endeavors and want to partner with you.”

We’re thankful for our supporting churches telling us “We want to grow with you and make an impact in our community for the glory of God.”

We’re thankful for all the emails, phone calls, and letters telling us to not give up and they are praying for our success.

We’re thankful for all the area service providers cheering us on and reminding us that we are a desperately needed service in St. Charles County.

We’re thankful for all of our supporters feedback to help us take more steps forward instead of backwards.

We’re thankful for our donors entrusting us with their gifts knowing that it may be awhile before we can put their generosity to use.

We’re thankful for our donors who don’t even live in the area, who may not even see the fruits of their labor, but still believe in this ministry.

We’re thankful for those volunteers who are patiently waiting on the sidelines until they see a need for their gift and talent.

We’re thankful for those volunteers who say ” I have no idea how to do that, but I’m willing to try.”

We’re thankful to all the donations of diapers, wipes, maternity clothes, and furniture.

We’re thankful for little things, like postage stamps, t-shirts, and handwritten cards.

We could write for days and days and not cover all the things you have blessed us with this year. I’m sure you gather how in debt we feel to you. Our biggest thanksgiving is just knowing you’re along for the ride, you haven’t forgotten us, and you are still pulling for this dream to become a reality.

What else can we say but, thank you.

If we have been a blessing to you we would love to know in what capacity. What are you thankful for on this Thanksgiving?

 

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Maybe we don’t need corporate money after all

Bald Eagle

Image via Wikipedia

My family just returned from a great Florida vacation. The weather was perfect for spending every moment we could outside. We did the usual tourist items, but our most memorable and impressionable times were in the Great Outdoors either on the beach or the wetlands.

One of these times was on an air boat tour of the protected wetlands just outside Cocoa, Florida. The captain of our boat would troll along and then suddenly gun the boat towards animals and birds he saw off in the distance. We saw countless alligators up close and personal, egrets, blue herons, all in their natural habitats. Towards the end of the 60 minute tour the captain was turning the boat back towards the docks when he caught sight of an eagle sitting on top of a single palm tree in the middle of the wetlands. We jetted across the water and then just as quickly, slowed up so not to disturb this incredible bird of prey. The eagle had other plans and suddenly took off into the sky pumping those majestic wings. The captain of the boat decided to chase after the eagle knowing full well with all that strength and might the eagle would leave us behind. The ride and the sight was exhilarating and one I will not soon forget.

The Sparrow’s Nest got left behind on the Monsanto Grow St. Louis Contest. We made a good run at it and it was because of your effort and perseverance that we finished in the top 25 of over 300 entries. We can’t thank you enough for the 50,000+ votes we received. The exposure of our mission was great! It wasn’t money we were counting on but it would have been REALLY nice to have at least 5000 more dollars in our little nest egg. We knew it was a long shot because we really are  a little fish in a sea of much bigger fish.

But what I’m wondering is if you will be like that eagle, and not so much leave us behind this time, but soar high and strong and mighty, and give that $5000 to help Build The Nest on our own. Maybe we don’t need some big corporation’s money. Maybe we just need people like you willing to help us take flight and transform those 50,000 votes to $50,000?

Can you give $100, $200, or $1000 to help Build The Nest? Whatever you can give would be greatly appreciated. You can give on our secure site http://www.thesparrowsneststl.org or mail it to:

The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home

ATTN: Treasurer

911 Hampshire Heath Dr.

O’Fallon, MO 63368

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31

Part 3 God whispered Nehemiah: And you thought I forgot what I was doing

Nests are typical examples of extended phenotypes.

Image via Wikipedia

And you thought

I

forgot what I was doing…

A couple of weeks ago I started this series on Nehemiah and how the re-building of the wall relates to the Building of The Nest for The Sparrow’s Nest. I bet you thought I wasn’t devoted to finishing this series. But…

In Chapter 4 of Nehemiah we read Nehemiah and the people were facing great opposition to the rebuilding of the wall. But despite the frustration and distractions verse 6 tells us they “rebuilt the wall till all of it reached half its height, for the people worked with all their heart.”

We’re getting into that time of year when we’re distracted by really good wholesome things, not at all like the evil Nehemiah faced. But Fall is starting, college football is in full swing, kids soccer is every weekend, and all those holidays are coming. With all that being said, we have fabulous momentum going. This is the time, just like Nehemiah, to put our noses to the grindstone and get the Nest built. This is the time to constantly be putting the word out, to be creative in our planning and implementation, and to give sacrificially to this ministry.

So, you may have thought I had forgotten about writing this series. But I’ll reply rather snarkily in a biblical manner:

I am carrying on a great project and cannot go down.

Why should the work stop…” Nehemiah 6:3

This is the time to fully devote ourselves. Just as Nehemiah and the wall builders devoted themselves to building a legacy that would last generations, we need to devote ourselves to this work. Just as Nehemiah and the wall builders devoted themselves to hard work despite financial and provisional struggles, we need to devote ourselves to finding every resource available to Build The Nest

And just like Nehemiah and the wall builders stated as recorded in Nehemiah 5:16 “Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall.” We need to state:

We devote ourselves to the work of building the nest for The Sparrow’s Nest.

Can we count on you? Are you devoted?

 

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.

A Thread of Gratefulness

two businessmen shaking hands

Thurgood Marshall
None of us has gotten where we are solely by pulling ourselves up from our own bootstraps. We got here because somebody bent down and helped us.

This week is just another typical week of people helping us find our way along this incredible journey.  We’ve had so many people offer services, offer advice, offer their prayers, offer donations, and even offer up their friends!

We just want to take a moment to thank a few. We won’t get everyone but we hope to make this part of our DNA of this organization, this thread of gratefulness.

We want to thank our volunteer Jimmy Teigen for organizing the Sparrow Club to support the Sparrow Scramble on October 1 at Mid Rivers Golf Links. We also appreciate Brett Kunin for being the first to sign up and offer so much excitement and encouragement.

We want to thank our volunteer Ember Figgins for being a fabulous committee chair in organizing the RUSH 5K on May 5, 2012. Her organization and hospitality is top notch.

We want to thank our fabulous board for coming together in prayer and determination. Kevin Thompson, Cesar Silva, Amber Teigen, Anne Schoch, Marla Stover, Sandra Wilhite, and David Trampe are amazing examples of heroes of faith. They have stepped out and offered to lead.

We want to thank Mike Trask from the St. Charles Business Journal for looking at us with different eyes and sharing our story with our community.

We want to thank Marcy Bursac of Shalom House for taking an entire morning to share her mission and so much sage advice for operating a non profit and serving the homeless.

We want to thank Drew Donahue from  AHM Financial Group for walking through our insurance needs and being such a source of encouragement.

And we want to thank Caleb Freeman from Freeman-Richards Consulting for taking our ideas and thoughts about our public image and making them into tangible beautiful ideas.

Whoever said there are no good people left on this earth on wrong. They just all happen to live right here in the St. Louis Metro Area.

MOVE!

IMG_9344

Image by bkeepers via Flickr

I want you to get out your calendar. Because 364 days from today you will be sitting on the lawn of The Sparrow’s Nest Maternity Home no doubt sweating, drinking lemonade, eating ice cream sundaes, and listening to incredible live music as we celebrate the opening of The Sparrow’s Nest.

Can you just see it? Can you feel the excitement of that day? Can you imagine the faces of our neighbors? Can you see the face of the first girl walking through our doors?

But I can’t tell you the location yet. I can’t tell you the time. But I don’t want you to just hang. I need you to MOVE.

We have so much to accomplish in the next 12 month and we need all the help we can get. And I have to admit my fragility as an Executive Director. I cannot physically do this without you. I can’t be everywhere meeting with everyone that needs to be met. I can’t fill out every single piece of paper and file every license we need to get going. If this all falls on me we’ll miss the opportunity. We won’t be able to help as fast.

I need you to feel the urgency for efficiency and productivity. I need you to have the desire to build a quality organization based on biblical foundations. I need you to get fired up and answer the question “What Needs to Be Done?”

This isn’t sitting on the sidelines cheering us on. This is getting in, learning a lot. getting your hands dirty, leaping in and getting this thing done. This isn’t the time to worry about your age, or your money, or any other excuse. This is not waiting on me but it’s you rallying your community. It’s you getting the word out to your small group, your neighbors, your friends, your family and saying “this is what is going on, I think you might be the right person to help or to spear head this action.”

But this also isn’t the time to sit back and say this isn’t my gift or talent. Maybe this is the time when you answer that question that has been nagging your heart, “I want to do more, I’m just not sure what it is…” Maybe this is the time not to fall on your natural abilities but it’s time to take a leap of faith with us and say “Lord,  I don’t know what you’re doing to me but I trust you. Use me however you see fit even if it’s something I’ve never done before.”

Grow with us. Make an impact with us. There will be time next year to sit back and enjoy that glass of lemonade. Now it the time to MOVE.

Call me at 636-336-2534 or email carissa@thesparrowsneststl.org to volunteer. Let’s talk about what you can do.

It Isn’t Right That…

A year ago God opened my eyes to an injustice in my community. He boldly pushed me to fill in the sentence “It Isn’t Right That….” I can fill that in with so many wrong things in the world. Wrong things that leave me broken hearted. Issues like child abuse, poverty, and bad water sources, that can leave me feeling powerless and immobilize me to do anything about it.

In this season of my life I’m addressing the injustice that It Isn’t Right That Children Having Children Don’t Have A Safe Place To Stay. I’m not justifying these young women’s choices. I’m not trying to make it cool to be an unwed teen mother. But in my heart it is not right that a teen mom should be convinced that her only option is to abort her child or that if she chooses to parent her child that somehow that life should be one of burden and lost dreams. It’s just not right.There are worse things in life than an unplanned pregnancy

We are embarking on a whirlwind 12 months. We have so much to accomplish and we need your help. We need volunteers to step up and knock out some of these details that we need to be successful. We need volunteers to draft policy and procedure. We need volunteers to plan and staff events. We need volunteers to draft grant proposals. We need volunteers to make connections in the community and set up meetings with influential people.

God is doing amazing things in our community. You know you possess these skills to help us. Or  you know someone who does. Or you have a stirring deep within you that you want to do something more. You want to get in and make a difference. You’re just not sure what that is.

Mark your calendar today for Tuesday, August 16th for our next volunteer information meeting at 6:30 p.m. Bring a friend, bring your small group from church, send a representative from your civic group. Let’s get fired up and right this wrong now!

How would you finish the sentence “It Isn’t Right That…” What social injustice has God opened your eyes to this summer?