Women’s History Month Spotlight – Katie Davis

Katie Davis2

Young? Only in actual years. This beautiful, amazing young lady has the servant’s heart of one who has lived a lifetime for Jesus. Her book, Kisses From Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption, is on my bookshelf and travels with me everywhere I go as an audio book. I guarantee you’ll be forever changed after reading it.  Warning – Your life will gain new perspective and you will find a desire stirring in your heart to want to serve.

Katie was a popular teen in high school. She was the senior class president, Homecoming queen, she had the boyfriend of her dreams and college plans were in the making. When she talked her parents into allowing her to go to Uganda for a two-week mission trip over Christmas break to work in an orphanage, her life was turned upside down. No longer could Katie imagine living a life of comfort and convenience, with so many things, when there were so many who lived with little to nothing, who were dying from lack of food and medical care.

Katie moved to Uganda at age 18, adopted 13 girls, and has devoted her entire life to serving others. She began a non-profit, Amazima Ministries, and has been an angel sent from God to so many in need.

I have three sponsor children through Compassion International that I’ve talked about in the past – Alex from Tanzania, Amede from Togo, and Mamounata from Burkina Faso – among other causes I support. I have had people tell me that there are plenty of needs to be met in our own country and have gone on to ask why I feel the need to support those outside. Yes, I really have been asked that. And my heart breaks each time. I look at Katie and thank God for people like her. Not because she serves in another country, but because she serves. She serves where the Lord has sent her. We aren’t all called to serve in the same area, doing the same thing, which is a blessing in and of itself, since there are many needs to be met all over the world. I just ask -and challenge – you to look for a way to make the world a better place. To serve those in need. To be a light in the darkness, stillness in the chaos, peace in the midst of war. Be that someone to another. No matter where or to whom.

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That’s my challenge to you. Find someone – or a group of someones – that YOU can make a difference to. Whether it’s your time, money, talent, love…it’s free to love another. It doesn’t cost a cent. But it can potentially save the life of another and will make you the wealthiest you have ever been. Guaranteed.

“Love is not patronizing and charity isn’t about pity, it is about love. Charity and love are the same — with charity you give love, so don’t just give money but reach out your hand instead.”  -Mother Teresa
 

Birthday Blessings

Seize the Day

I’ve heard people talk about 50 as being “over the hill,” “half of a century old,” “on the downward slide,” etc.

When I woke up this morning, having turned 50 myself, the first thing that came to mind was:

I AM SO BLESSED!

I got out of bed, got dressed and headed out the door for an early morning run. As I ran, I reflected on my life. What a better time than a milestone birthday, right? And as I strolled down memory lane, my heart nearly exploded with gratitude. I am, at 50 years of age, at a place in my life that is the best it’s ever been. The heart breaking moments and tragedies of years past are a direct connection to where I’m at now. If every one of those crises hadn’t happened, my life literally would not be what it is today. I think of all the prayers I’ve prayed, disappointed when they weren’t answered, only to realize that they were answered. Thankfully not the way I had hoped for at the time.

So today, at 50 years old, let me share with you some of what makes me the richest woman in the world.

First of all, the people who have been placed in my life by God, at the exact time and in the exact role that He knew I needed exactly when I did.

  • An amazing husband, Clint, who has given me the marriage, friendship, and partnership in life that I’ve always dreamed of.
  • Two amazing boys, Ben and Alex, who have taught me the true meaning of unconditional love and acceptance.
  • A granddaughter, Zoey, who brings unmatched joy to my life, and a chance to experience part of her father as a little one all over again.
  • A step-daughter, Jennifer, and five step-grandchildren who have accepted me into their lives, my life all the more beautiful because of them.
  • A step-daughter, Becky, who enriched my life with her kindness, sparkle and beauty–inside and out–who has gone ahead to greet me at the gates of heaven when I’m called home.
  • Parents who gave me the gift of life and the foundation of family and faith. It took me a while to catch on, but I eventually got it. 🙂 And while they waited, they taught me patience and perseverance.
  • Sisters, Sandy and Brenda, my best friends chosen by God for me to share life with from beginning to end.
  • My grandma Cielinski and my Uncle Earl who helped carry me through some of the most difficult times of my life.
  • Mr. Rude, my high school English teacher, who made such a difference in the life of this high school student with a love of writing.
  • My “Brighton Group” (you know who you are), who have accepted me exactly as I am, broken and flawed, who have taught me how to live a clean life, honest and true, how to love, and how to be a friend.
  • A Church and Church Family that lifts me up.
  • A blogging community with which I’ve grown as a writer and as a person.

And beyond these angels in my life, I’m blessed with and grateful for:

  • A job in which I’m blessed to serve victims of crime. Since I was a victim of crime at one time, I’ve come full circle, blessed to use my tragedy for good.
  • The ability to sponsor three kiddos from Africa (Togo, Burkina Faso, and Tanzania) through Compassion International, helping to release them from poverty and give them hope. Alex, Amede and Mamounata have taught me compassion, that the gift of giving blesses the giver, and the power of prayer.
  • The ability to be a sponsor to Amazima Ministries in Uganda, furthering the work of Christ as he reaches the unreachable.
  • The ability to be a donor to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I mention these things because it is not me or my money that helps in these areas, it’s all because of an amazing God who has laid these passions upon my heart and has given me the resources to be able to do so. And it’s this giving that has changed my heart as nothing else could ever do.
  • The gift of writing, which brings me so much joy and satisfaction. I published a book last year, The Inheritance, a dream I’ve had as far back as I’ve been able to dream, and another book, Shear Madness, due out next month.

And the blessings just go on and on. Go back to my thirties? Not a chance. Not even my forties. My best days, my best life, is right here, right now.

And as a side note, at the end of my run, still dancing on my pink cloud, I nearly stepped on not one, but two, squished flat as a pancake, messy toads. If that was the enemy’s way of bringing me down from my high, it didn’t work. It simply made me drive more carefully than ever to work. Just in case… 🙂

Carpe Diem

 

 

Truly Admirable People

1. Jesus – Even though He was faced with every imaginable trial, the least of which would break the strongest among us, He persevered sinless. He performed miracles and gave of Himself endlessly, showing compassion equally for all, regardless of financial status, gender, race, or background. He gave the ultimate gift of Himself for those who criticized, condemned, and persecuted Him. Many do not do that for those they love.

Jesus on the wall of the senior Home

2. Mother Teresa – She selflessly gave of herself to the poor and needy. While most of us are happy with new shoes or sweet treats, Mother Teresa was happy giving those shoes and basic, need-it-to-live food to people who had none . While many of us read about faith and the life of Christ, Mother Teresa went out of her way to truly live it. And while we tell our friends and family we love them, Mother Teresa lived out her love not only to her friends and family, but to strangers, with her kind and gentle spirit.
“If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.”
Mother Teresa

Mother Teresa of Calcutta (26.8.1919-5.9.1997)...

3. Pope John Paul II – Other than the awesomeness that he was Polish (yeah, I’m half Polish), Pope John Paul represented so much more than the Catholic Church. He was a Pope for people everywhere, no matter their religious denomination, or even none at all, not only the Catholic people. Gentle and kind, yet strong in his work for the betterment of humanity, and his teaching the importance of being saved by Christ as a person, not from a formula.

English: Pope John Paul II on 12 August 1993 i...

4. Katie Davis – At a young age Katie Davis knew that she wanted to live a life following Jesus. While most high school girls were focused on dating, dances, and clothes, Katie was focused on helping the poor. And when other high school girls were enjoying Christmas break in their senior year, Katie went to volunteer at an orphanage in Uganda. And further, while her schoolmates were planning a life of college, Katie was planning a life of service to the poor in Uganda. That desire to serve led to Katie adopting 14 girls who needed a family, and to Amazima Ministries, a child sponsorship program, which has grown to sponsor over 600 children. Katie is also talented with words, penning the book Kisses From Katie, a highly suggested read, as well as a blog.

Katie Davis2

5. Maya Angelou – Dr. Angelou is a picture of strength, grace and beauty, who has overcome the brutality of racial discrimination to become a well-known poet, memoirist, and novelist, multifaceted author, among other accomplishments. She took an unfortunate situation and living a life of faith, made it good. Her way with words encourage minds to explore and hearts to heal, as well as meld racial lines.

Maya Angelou

6. Kathryn Stockett – Author of the bestselling novel, The Help. It took her five years to find a literary agent and The Help received 60 rejections before a publisher finally picked it up. And yet she soldiered on and didn’t give up. We can learn a lesson from Kathryn Stockett about how perseverance leads to success, and about staying real in the middle of success.

7. My late grandfather – My “Grandpa Cielinski” was the kindest, gentlest man, Polish accent, and always smiling. He was a man of few words, but what he did say was always kind and with a smile. I never once heard him say a negative word about anyone. He had set prayer times during the day when he would retreat to his bedroom, and we knew not to bother grandpa when he was praying. He was such a strong man of faith and the cornerstone of our family.

The one common thread all of these people have is amazing humility. Maybe that should be my One Word for 2014.

All is Grace.