Monday, November 18, 2013

Lens Giveaway from Crave my Photography!

Ok...I'm really hoping to win a new fabulous lens...but I'd take the mentoring workshop too!

http://cravemyphotography.com/blog/lens-giveaway-2/

I'd love to win so that I can use either prize to enhance my photographs!  First faces I'd capture or edit -- My 3 little handsome boys - Lincoln, Justice & Zeke...always my favorite subjects!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

In March of 1996 I took my first mission trip to Mexico to work in an orphanage.  As a 17 year old girl, the experience of this trip changed my life.  Although I had already dedicated my life to Christ, this was certainly a turning point in my life and deciding to serve Him full time.  I was able to see first-hand the impact of a life lived without the love of Christ.  Since that trip I have had the opportunity to return to that orphanage as a sponsor for high school kids.  It was so wonderful to see some of the children that I had remembered from the previous trip.  I think in America we don’t necessarily see the big picture of children abandoned or left orphans by their families.  This was something that hit me like a ton of bricks on my third trip to Mexico.  While we were there a family of 6 children were dropped off and left at the orphanage because their parents no longer wanted them. This was absolutely devastating to me.  While I am no longer na├»ve enough to think things like this do not happen in America, I was never aware of it before, so this impacted me greatly.  From that point on, I was committed to giving all that I could to make sure everyone had the opportunity to know the true LOVE of our Savior. 

This coming February 14th - 18th I have to opportunity to return to Mexico and share Christ’s love.  I will be joining a team from StoneBridge Christian Church (Omaha, NE) and traveling to Puerto Penasco, Mexico.  We will be working with Amor Ministries and building two homes for needy families in the city.  Families in Puerto Penasco apply for homes and Pastors from Amor line up homes to be built.  All labor is done manually: no power tools, cement mixers, etc.  We want to show the family and others that they can build and make improvements without needing power tools since many areas do not have electricity.  As much of an impact that I think a trip like this has on the people we will be serving, I know from experience that it will be an even bigger blessing for me to be able to serve them.

I am asking for you to partner with me for this trip in two ways. First and most important, I covet your prayers.  Mission trips can be risky.  Please pray for our safety, strength and good health!  Also, pray that our efforts will make a difference and that our work will demonstrate the love of Christ.   Secondly, I am asking for you to help support me financially.   The cost of the trip is about $750.  I will be sending in my deposit the 1st of November and purchasing my plane tickets as soon as possible.  

If you are interested in supporting me financially, please contact me via email stinasander@yahoo.com or message me on Facebook and I will get you the details.  

Thanks for your prayers and support!


Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Bright Side.....

Today at church I gained a little perspective.  Everyone has been doing the "thankfulness posts" (me included), and I'm not going to lie, sometimes, I sit and really have to thank at the end of the day about what I'm thankful for.  Anyway, today at church, one of the men was talking about Thanksgiving and how we should have "an attitude of gratitude."  This really struck me.  Because honestly, I have spent the last 18 months constantly focusing on what is going wrong in my life, and how bad it all is.  When I actually stop to think about it, no wonder I've been so miserable.  I've never been one to thrive around negativity(really, do any of us?) and I have been breeding in myself for over a year.  Why is it so easy to see the negative instead of the positive?  I know for me, if I am continually around negative, grumpy people, it becomes contagious....meaning I GET GRUMPY TOO!  Negative Nancy!

So, today, I'm choosing to actively change my attitude.  Not just for this season that we are "supposed to be thankful," but back to what I like to think of as "normal Cristina." Happy, positive, cheery, look on the bright side, glass half full kind of girl.  I have a good friend who has been coaching me to "take captive your thoughts."  At first, it annoyed me, like I was just going to be able to stop thinking things that made me sad or angry, but in reality, she was telling me that I own my thoughts.  Yes, sad & infuriating thoughts will cross my mind, but how I choose to handle them is up to me.  I know this will not be easy, but I also know that I like myself a whole lot more when I am "normal Cristina" (see description above).  I have said for years, "I don't like me when I'm grumpy, I'm sure no one else does either!"  So here we go, a few days before the big "Thankfulness day", join me in seeing the bright side, and not the negative first. And, maybe, just MAYBE,  if I start focusing on the brighter side of things, that the darkness won't be so noticeable! :-)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 5: My church family

Today I'm thankful for my church family.  This church is so loving & kind.  I've always known that, but since moving back here about 9 months ago, it has been shown to me time & time again.  The love they have for me & my boys is outstanding.  At times, I second guess my choice to move back to Norton.  This town if filled with many memories & happy times, which seem to make my current situation more painful. As I sit & question if this is the right place for me & the boys, I receive constant affirmation from my church family.  Encouraging notes in the mail, a phone call, a hug, a kind word, generous support & help with my house, vehicle stuff etc.  I am so humbled by the outpouring of love they continue to show me.  I know that I am here for a reason, and that one of the reasons I came back to Norton, is that this is my home. My church family proves that to me. This is where we belong.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 4: Zeke...

Today I'm thankful for my baby(not so baby anymore) Ezekiel(Zeke).  He is such a light to my life.  I absolutely adore him.  I don't know what my little family would be like without him.  His cheeks are so perfectly kissable, his giggle is infectious, and he is great at snuggling.  I love seeing his little personality develop right before my eyes.  His brothers adore him too...they miss him when they are at school & love to play with him when we get home. I often think about the meaning of his name, Ezekiel - "the Lord provides strength"  SO POWERFUL!  For me, every time I say his name I am reminded of that meaning. It is such a humbling thought, that HE (the Lord) is in control and providing & sustaining me & giving me strength.  On the other hand, I am so encouraged to pray the meaning of his name as a prayer over him for the future.  I pray that Zeke will always stay in the presence of Christ & allow that Lord to be his strength.  I am so blessed to be the mommy of these 3 amazing little men.  I am so thankful that God saw fit to entrust them to me....may I be ever faithful & do my best to raise them according to His Word!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 3...Justice

Thankfulness...Day 3

Today I am thankful for Justice, my middle boy!  He is so full of JOY! On the worst day, he can put a smile on my face that won't go away! He is so full of life & energy.  I am so thankful that he is still here today!  To be honest, the worst day of my life was the day he was flown to Kearney in the helicopter when he was 11 months old.

Read the story here:

http://gretchensgiggles.blogspot.com/2010/03/our-adventure-with-justice.html

He is the sweetest ornery boy I have ever know & I'm so happy he is mine!  He loves so completely & he makes my heart smile!  Jesus had a lot of fun creating him!! He is Mr. Personality!  I can't wait to see how God will use him as he grows!

Day 2...Lincoln (catching up)

Thankfulness Day 2

Today, I am thankful for my oldest son Lincoln, the boy who gave me the name Momma!  I love his tender heart (a little too much like me at times), I love his stubbornness...as he grows I pray this will develop into perseverance.  He is so loving & kind, he is an amazing big brother.  His big blue eyes have melted my heart since the first time I caught their gaze.  He snuggles, hugs & kisses me all the time.  When we drive down the road, he sits up from & holds my hand the whole time.  I am looking forward to the man that He grows to be in Christ.  Thank you Jesus, for my Lincoln =)