Monday, April 23, 2012


I don’t know about you, but in my day-to-day life, I feel very safe most of the time.  In the back of my mind, I realize that there is hunger, violence, and despair going on at every moment.  However, if all I did was think about these things, I would be extremely depressed, so I try not to think of them too often.  However, with my increasing appetite for world news, and PBS’s Al Jazeera, all of the troubles around  the world are brought into my living room every night when I tune into PBS.  From bloody uprisings in Syria, to East Africa famines, the world can be a pretty sad place.  

But as I said, I have always been able to separate the bad things that happen to other people, with those that occur in my own life.  That is, until about a month ago...

My wife Erica and were heading home from a packed Friday night.  It was late, about 1:30.  We were about half a mile from home, approaching a stop sign, when I heard firecrackers.  I looked around, and my eyes focused on a bombardment of flashes of light being exchanged between two cars, about 50 feet away from us.  It immediately registered.  The two cars were shooting at each other.

Before I had time to say anything, one of the vehicles slammed on the accelerator, and came barreling into our lane, on target for a head-on collision.  I’ll remember those headlights for as long as I live.  Upon impact, our two month old Volkswagen Tiguan was pushed back - about 15 feet or so, into 4 parallel parked cars on the street.  At this point, men and women 

start getting out of the minivan that was shooting, and screaming.  

“Oh my gosh.  We are going to die.”  I thought.

The story goes on, but in order to keep this at an acceptable length, I’ll summarize by saying that my wife and I are finally nearing 100% health, which I thank God for.  

There it was.  The violence that I heard about on the news was now infiltrating my life.

In the three weeks since the incident, I have repeatedly thought about how quickly life can change.  Before, I figured that I would never have to deal with a situation that could end up costing me my life in an instant.  However, this experience hammered home the fact that we are truly at God’s mercy.  

Whether it is an event that you experience, or something God has placed in your life on a daily basis, it is all God’s plan.  Some of us are born with above average intelligence, athletic skill, artistic ability.  Some of us are born into ghastly poverty, which is often accompanied by hunger, minimal education, and a life filled with third world disease.

The thing I love about Awake & Alive, is that their entire mission is dedicated to dealing with one of the biggest shortcomings of our world...lack of education for the poor.  In all of history, the thing that has driven prosperity, is knowledge and education.  In a few hundred years, our standard of living has increased an overwhelming amount, all because of the power of knowledge, which is obtained through education.

On good days, I believe that God specifically wants to use me to fight this education epidemic.  On days when I feel down, I have a little harder time accepting this truth.  Despite my skepticism on those days, deep down I believe that it is of the utmost importance for one’s self to feel connected to something bigger than themselves.   It goes beyond spirituality though, it actually makes us happier!  Throughout the years I have repeatedly read (I am a science magazine junky) that being connected to something beyond yourself, makes you a happier person.  It is actually one of the most important factors in happiness.

So, in summary,  life is short.  You are at the mercy of God.  Do extraordinary things for Him, like getting involved with Awake & Alive.  Whether it is through giving financially, or participating in my online Christian bookstore’s fundraising program that gives Awake & Alive 5% cash back whenever you shop.  To participate in the latter, just use the fundraiser code “AwakeandAlive” when prompted at checkout.

Go beyond wishing.  To quote a wise man, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.


Monday, April 9, 2012


Lately we have been keeping you up to date on the cold hard facts about what is going on with Awake and Alive. We have been talking a lot about the great new stuff that is going on and the thermometer that keeps going up!! Thank you!! All of that is really GREAT stuff, but I (Jolene) want to let you all in on some of the emotions behind the passion.

I have really been burdened lately.

I toss and turn and lose sleep these days. I am thinking about the widowed mothers who as I type have to make the horrible decision to leave their children at home so they can go make money to provide food for their little ones! It is their reality and it is impossible for me not to put myself in their shoes! I think about my 3 Ethiopian babies and how if I were to try to leave them to go pick up sticks they would follow me as far as they could …the whole time they would be following me with tears in their eyes, possibly screaming at me to stop and come back…or yelling, “momma, hold me, hold me!” But I would know that I could not stop or they would starve to death. And so, I press on with my 3 crying children behind me, trying my hardest not to burst into tears myself, they would be giving it all they had to follow me for miles until their little legs just got so tired that they stopped and turned around to go home. And so I press on knowing that I HAVE TO FEED THEM!

This haunts me.

I lie in bed and can not sleep. Lately God has been putting this at the for-front of my mind and I had to share it with all of you.

Broken hearted I lay in bed praying for the mothers that I know have to do this…everyday. I pray for them for the strength it takes to daily break their child’s heart to be able to provide for their basic needs. I pray for this cycle to end for them! I pray for the babies who do not understand. I pray for the children, that they do not shut themselves down and become numb to love after being left and let down, in their minds, by their mother everyday. I pray that one day it will be different for all of them. Will you pray with me?

I have been praying for people here in the states who are hearing of this situation, I pray their hearts soften. I pray that their hearts open. I pray they are moved into action for these poor mothers and children. I pray they help spread the word!

Will you help spread the word?

We have the opportunity to give these mothers a safe place for their children! Not only a safe place to be but a place to THRIVE! To take the children off the streets and be fed! To learn about Love.

We have the opportunity to give mothers peace of mind!

I pray that only God’s glory is seen in this movement! I pray only for encouragement from people not praise! All praise goes to God who has given me the passion and opportunity to be the voice…

YOU can be the voice too!

You can spread the word!

They need you!

Awake and Alive needs you!

You can be the change in this cycle!

There is no "giveaway" to entice you to share this, there is no material gain,

There is only this broken momma who is asking you to be the voice for other broken mothers who are hopeless and have no platform to speak for themselves.

They can not speak up for themselves or their children, but we can!