When we need the Shepherd to come find us

posted on: March 29, 2020

Since the Pandemic has occurred, we have a bible lesson each Sunday in our home. Below are the notes for our bible lesson in the morning.

 

Luke 15 New International Version (NIV)

The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus.

But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” 

Then Jesus told them this parable:

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?

And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders

and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’

I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.

There are around 37 to 40 parables in the three first gospel books in the New Testament. The Gospel of Luke contains both the largest number of parables (24) and the most unique parables (18) which are not repeated in the other gospels.

A parable is a short story that illustrates a universal truth. A parable sketches a setting, describes an action and then shows the results. In the parable of the Lost Sheep, the reader learns that each person is precious to God.

Why does the Shepherd put the sheep on his shoulders and go home?

Because that’s what a Good Shepherd does. He carries.

The survival instincts of sheep mirror those of humans. We stick together. We follow each other, even if it’s sometimes not the wisest thing to do. We walk a winding path and watch for predators. If threatened, our need to flee overrides all other survival instincts. In fleeing, sometimes we get lost.

Jesus is hanging with people of dubious character. The Pharisees (such sticklers about rules) do not approve. Through this parable Jesus gently tells them: “Look, we have some highly agitated people here. They had to flee because they were threatened. The rest of you have safety in numbers, so I’m not going to worry about you for a while. I’ll try to get these people back with us so we can celebrate walking the winding path together.”

What has a lost sheep experienced?

Fear

Grief

Anxiety

Sadness

Loneliness

Dread

Jesus says in John 10:10 I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. Have life more abundantly. He doesn’t want us to live in fear, or sadness. He wants our life to be full of color and laughter and he wants to us to with each other just like the 99 sheep were together. We weren’t meant to be an island unto ourselves.

No man is an island. No one is self-sufficient; everyone relies on others. This saying comes from a sermon by the seventeenth-century English author John Donne. John Donne was an English scholar, poet, soldier and secretary born into a Catholic family, a remnant of the Catholic Revival, who reluctantly became a cleric in the Church of England. He was Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral in London (1621-1631) 

‘No Man is an Island’

No man is an island entire of itself; every man 
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; 
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe 
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as 
well as any manner of thy friends or of thine 
own were; any man's death diminishes me, 
because I am involved in mankind. 
And therefore never send to know for whom 
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. 


Olde English Version
No man is an Iland, intire of itselfe; every man
is a peece of the Continent, a part of the maine;
if a Clod bee washed away by the Sea, Europe
is the lesse, as well as if a Promontorie were, as
well as if a Manor of thy friends or of thine
owne were; any mans death diminishes me,
because I am involved in Mankinde;
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

MEDITATION XVII
Devotions upon Emergent Occasions
John Donne 

Jesus came for those who needed him. He came for the sick, for the lost, for those afraid. 

Mark 2:17

When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I camenot to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

 

I have always had this idea from a young age that there were two sides in everything. Them against Us. Me against Them. The ‘it’ crowd and the Outsiders. The Greasers against the Socials. Good vs. Evil. Jedi vs. Sith. However the paradox is that this CoronaVirus Pandemic has created this new idea to me. We are all on the same playing field. We are all in this thing called Life together. No man is an island unto himself. WE are all sheep gone astray.

 

Isaiah 53:6 King James Version (KJV)

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

 

There is no discrimination. This virus will go against anyone with no care of 

Race

Creed (a system of Christian or other religious belief; a faith.)

Color

Wealth status

We all are just sheep needing a home. We all at one time or another this year have felt helpless and in need of a Savior, a Shepherd. We have all grieved and cried and felt alone. And in this time of crisis we feel threatened. Now more than ever we need a Great Big God to just reach down and find us. 

I can’t help but turn to King David’s words and try to find solace in his suffering during this scary time.

Psalm 13 may be the very deepest of all the pits of life David endured. In this Psalm David is all alone and momentarily felt that even God had left him. 

In Psalm 13 David asks, “How long will I have sorrow in my heart daily? Hear me, O Lord. I trust in your mercy. My heart rejoices in your Salvation. I will sing unto the Lord.” Psalms 13 may have been the scariest time of his life. David may have felt like he was in the darkest cave of his life. 

Here in this psalm David was in a cave, not unlike Elijah who in I Kings 19:11-13 was also hiding for his life in a cave praying to die. 

 

1 Kings 19 New King James Version (NKJV)

Elijah Escapes from Jezebel
19 And Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, also how he had executed all the prophets with the sword. 2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time.” 3 And when he saw that, he arose and ran for his life, and went to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there.

4 But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, “It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!”

5 Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, “Arise and eat.” 6 Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. 7 And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, “Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.” 8 So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God.

9 And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

10 So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”

God’s Revelation to Elijah
11 Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.

13 So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

This time right now may be the hardest, scariest moment you have ever experienced in your life and like David and Elijah, you too may feel cut off from the rest of the world, all alone. In these moments, choose to be still and listen for a still, small, gentle voice. HIS voice. You are not alone. We together are not alone. Jesus has no rival. No equal. He will be our Savior.

The voice of the Lord that found Elijah was not a booming voice. It was still, small and kind-gentle as the voice of a Shepherd to his sheep would be. Elijah, David and the Lost Sheep did not need and we today do not need a booming voice scaring us further into hiding, rather each one of us needed, needs and will forever need that soft touch of an angel, a Shepherd, Jesus, God in flesh. Softly, tenderly the Master is calling. Allow him to carry you from the cave  you are in back out into the sunshine and back to the fold of sheep where together we are safe.

 

 

Savannah. May you finally rest, sweet child.

posted on: February 21, 2019

Savannah. Savi.  

Savannah. It is of Spanish origin, and its meaning is “treeless plain” from Spanish sabana. Where will you find rest, dear one? 

Matthew 19:14 (KJV)
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

His precious last breath of air.

“They can just hang him.”

“Let him rot in a cell somewhere.”

“Life in prison is too good for him.”  

I can’t post the rest of what was said online about this creature.

 

 

What I am about to say isn’t pretty. It isn’t nice and it is definitely not pleasant. Brace yourself and endure.

 

 

Those  comments in italics above are just some of the comments on social media by strangers and people of society and those in his community and neighborhood when they realized “Geo” was mentally ill and in a psychotic attempt to supposedly remove a microchip buried inside his daughter,  he brutally murdered the two year old baby with a hammer in her bedroom Tuesday morning, February 19th, 2019. Read about the monster here.

“This is the worst case I’ve ever seen.” said Detective Robert Enmon of the Orange police department. It affected so many police officers, first aid responders and people in this city. This is all such a tragedy.

 

Take that in for a moment.

 

 

Please. Below is a picture of this sick individual.

 

It is hard to wrap one’s mind around this atrocity. In no way, am I about to  condone this maniac’s actions. He is guilty and there should be severe consequences. In light of this innocent two year old baby girl’s nightmarish death I would like to turn the spotlight on us as a society, a community and as a human. Were we morally obligated to somehow save her, help her or help him get mental help beforehand? 

 

Deciding what (if anything) counts as “morally obligatory” is a principal concern of ethics. Responsibility is accompanied by three essential elements:

1) Norms that determine accountability,

2) freedom or free will to act as a rational agent, and

3) results that can be either praiseworthy or blameworthy. Was anyone else besides the father blameworthy? Were we as a community part of the problem? Those are difficult questions and ones that we may even be quick to shun, however, they must be asked.

Responsibility with respect to these three elements is essential to being human. 

Yovahnis “Geo” Roque age 26 is charged with capital murder in the killing of this innocent child, Savannah. He could face the death penalty or life in prison. Neighbors merely doors down from him couldn’t explain why he snapped. No one can understand the tragedy and blame is thrown around just to try to make sense of everything.

Did we as a community reach out or offer aid? The mother of the baby girl died in 2016. Did we bring food? Did we offer to help with the infant at any time? Did we ever as a community challenge him to go to church and attend services and bring his daughter to Sunday school? Did we as a city show him there was a better way to live and raise his child?

“Well no, of course not.

He didn’t live here back then. He was in another state when the mother of his child died.

He didn’t grow up here.

He is a stranger.

I didn’t know him.

He should have known better.”  and on and on and on the comments go……

 

Of course. You’re right. We didn’t reach out. We didn’t know him. He did know right from wrong. Our ‘no’ is quickly enveloped with the soothing excuse that eases our minds and allows us to fall back into a lax slumber as we pull our Comforter back up around our shoulders and snuggle under the heavy cloak of security and denial.   “Well, my babies are safe. I’d never do that.” This murder should have never occurred.

Proverbs 6:9 (KJV)
How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?

We as a community are trying to make sense of this senseless nightmare before closing our eyes and returning to our routines, schedules and obligations. Then we will just go back to ignoring the hurt and devastation that is going on daily along all the avenues all around us.

It sounds harsh but it is truth. History proves that time and time again. The shock and horror wear off and we go back to ‘normal’. Remember 9/11? The emotions and rage we felt so long ago has faded a bit. We have healed some in the years gone by. We will heal again. We will continue on with life. That fact is sad.

This murder happened two blocks from the church I attend. This murdered happened almost in the shadow of the church’s steeple. This child for the last year or so lived less than five minutes from my best friends’ home where I go multiple times a week. We as a church should have known this family. I should have had interaction with this family at least once this last year…but I didn’t.

I should have at least one recollection and memory of kneeling down and peering into those dark eyes of this innocent girl as I introduced myself and invited her to Sunday school just a few blocks up from her house.

I need to let that sink in.

 

 

I should have, within the last year, at least once knocked on that house’s door and asked if I could pray with them about any situation. I dropped the ball.

But I didn’t. I didn’t know him. You didn’t know them.

It wasn’t THIS community’s fault this monster murdered his daughter. It wasn’t our fault. 

We didn’t know him or what he was capable of. We do know someone. We do live next door to someone…and if you are a saint in a church somewhere then you do have an obligation to reach the lost and the hurting in this twisted, dying world. 

Let me talk to religious folks, spiritual church goers for a sec. We cannot keep the Prince of Peace to ourselves. We are to be witnesses! We are to go forth and deliver the gospel of the Good News.

2 Corinthians 5:20 (KJV)
Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,

 

This criminal had mental illnesses…he was insane and unstable.

A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day. Each person will have different experiences, even people with the same diagnosis.

Recovery, including meaningful roles in social life, school and work, is possible, especially when you start treatment early and play a strong role in your own recovery process.

 

This criminal was most likely on drugs. 

Celebrate Recovery is a Christ-centered, 12 step recovery program for anyone struggling with hurt, pain or addiction of any kind.

Celebrate Recovery is a safe place to find community and freedom from the issues that are controlling our life.

  • Are we teaching our kids to the best of our ability about the side effects of drugs and other addictions?

The ball has been dropped somewhere along the way.

This criminal’s social media presence was frightening and disturbing.

It took everything I had to listen to a part of his songs posted. My heart almost beat out of my chest.

It’s unclear if he was a musician or singer but one of the most recent songs he posted on social media was titled, “My Demons”.

A few lines of the lyrics is shared below.

 

We all have our demons but mine are the meanest.

They won’t let me get too close to the ones I need the most.

They are angry and violent.

So you better run away before my demons come to play. 

 

Let me address the church folk again right here.

If we say we are followers of Jesus Christ then what in the world are we doing here playing life safe?

Why aren’t we reaching out to our communities and trying to help them? WHY!

Mark 1:39 (KJV)
And he preached in their synagogues throughout all Galilee, and cast out devils.

Mark 3:14 

And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and that he might send them forth to preach,
15And to have power to heal sicknesses, and to cast out devils:

Matthew 12:28 (KJV)
But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.

Mark 16:17 (KJV)
And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

Matthew 8:16 (KJV)
When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:

How do we know if outreach will work or not if we don’t try?

Sometimes I believe we PLAN and ORGANIZE the life right out of our churches.

We sit in meeting after meeting, gathering after gathering and lunch after lunch and fail to connect with the hurting souls all around us.

Casting Crowns lyrics say it better than I ever can:

Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?
Or does anybody even know she’s going down today?
Under the shadow of our steeple
With all the lost and lonely people
Searching for the hope that’s tucked away in you and me
Does anybody hear her?
Can anybody see?
She is yearning
For shelter and affection
That she never found at home
She is searching
For a hero to ride in,
To ride in and save the day
Matthew 19:14 (KJV)
But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

 

 

I’m trying so hard to show you Readers my heart. Can you feel the pain? Can you understand what I am trying to say? We’ve dropped the ball. This senseless tragedy is a nightmare. It makes no sense. It should have never happened. Not on our watch. Not ever.  NO! No more! My heart hurts so bad. I don’t want to believe this story is real but it is.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is so much that will be uncovered. So many more details that will come to light. There will be an organized vigil to help the community try to make sense of it all but we won’t. We can’t make sense of the snuffing out of such a beautiful light. There is so much more I could write and say but my thoughts are all a jumbled mess. I don’t understand. I never will. I don’t think I ever want to understand.

Just hug your little ones tonight. Love them. Love your family. Love your neighbors in the best way you can show them. Somehow learn to be nice and let’s all try harder to come together in this fractured society. The ball was dropped somewhere along the way.

Can we try, for Savannah to offer rest and comfort and compassion in this treeless plain?

 

Rest in the arms of your merciful Creator, Savi.

I’m so so so sorry, sweet child.  You deserved everything. God forgive us.

Eclectic Enneagram Tests

posted on: February 19, 2019

 

I recently came across Enneagram tests and had never heard of them before. Everyone emerges from childhood with one of the nine types dominating their personality, with inborn temperament and other pre-natal factors being the main determinants of our type

The Enneagram of Personality, or simply the Enneagram (from the Greek words ἐννέα [ennéa, meaning “nine”] and γράμμα [grámma, meaning something “written” or “drawn”]), is a model of the human psyche which is principally understood and taught as a typology of nine interconnected personality types.

Take the test then head over to http://www.sleepingatlast.com for the 9 SONGS FOR THE 9 ENNEAGRAM TYPES.

It has been amazing to see my type of a mix between Three (3
THE ACHIEVER) and Eight (8 THE CHALLENGER)
The Powerful, Dominating Type:
Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational

yet I am married to a man who is a mix between Two (2 THE HELPER) and Six (6 THE LOYALIST) Reading the lyrics to the song that went with his personality moved me to tears. I understood him just a bit more.

Sleeping at Last is the podcast you have got to check out! The lyrics for each of the songs moved me to tears.

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/relationship-type-2-with-type-3

Type One is principled, purposeful, self-controlled, and perfectionistic.

Type Two is generous, demonstrative, people-pleasing, and possessive.

Type Three is adaptable, excelling, driven, and image-conscious.

Type Four is expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed, and temperamental.

Type Five is perceptive, innovative, secretive, and isolated.

Type Six is engaging, responsible, anxious, and suspicious.

Type Seven is spontaneous, versatile, acquisitive, and scattered.

Type Eight is self-confident, decisive, willful, and confrontational.

Type Nine is receptive, reassuring, complacent, and resigned.

Check out a great website for more info on this.

https://www.enneagraminstitute.com/how-the-enneagram-system-works

 

Please take time to do the test and share your results here. I can’t wait to hear from you and know more about each reader.

What do you think? Let me know!!

Astonishingly Honest #WhyIStayed graphics & shocking Domestic Violence statistics

posted on: October 9, 2018

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the focus is on making America aware of this nightmare. Awareness plus Action creates change so I am willing to do my part, however small that might be. Please contact me via lauraaranda@owlofhope.com to come to your school, church, book club and host a workshop concerning human trafficking in America and how it affects our American runaways.

The number of American troops killed in Afghanistan and Iraq between 2001 and 2012 was 6,488. The number of American women who were murdered by current or ex male partners during that time was 11,766. 

A woman is beaten every nine seconds in America.

 

#WhyIStayed

 

10,000,000

That is the number of minor children exposed to domestic violence every single year. Just let that heartbreaking number sink in for a moment. These are your Sunday school kids, your classroom students, your neighborhood kids playing in the streets. We have to do something! 

 

 

Need help?

In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline or visit the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline operated by RAINN.

https://hotline.rainn.org/online/

For more resources, visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center’s website. https://www.nsvrc.org

 

 

Between 55 percent and 98 percent of child sex-trafficking cases involved children who had prior involvement in the child welfare system.

Runaway and homeless youth are at particularly high risk for exploitation
by traffickers: A survey of youth in a homeless shelter in Salt Lake City, Utah, found that 50 percent of homeless youth reported having been solicited for sex by an adult.

Reports have also indicated that one out of every three runaways will be “lured toward” prostitution within 48 hours of leaving home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While we may not know exactly how many young people are being sexually exploited and abused by traffickers in the United States, it is clear that the sex trafficking of children and teenagers is a significant problem that deserves concerted attention. The challenges presented by these cases are not insurmountable, and there is a growing coalition of lawmakers from both parties who are committed to strengthening state and federal laws to better protect young people from this devastating form of abuse. There is also a strong community of anti-trafficking advocates committed to raising awareness about sex trafficking of minors and developing policy proposals and best practices for identifying and apprehending traffickers and providing supportive services to victims.

 

above notes taken from:

https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/HumanTrafficking-brief.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is one thing you can do to improve all areas of your life at the same time – invest in yourself. The most famous investor of all time, Warren Buffett, says: “The best investment you can make is in yourself.” Go do something, become proud of yourself, get a career, go back to school, pick up a hobby, gain self confidence so you do not have to be subject to the opinions of another partner. 

 

 

🌟 Laura’s Daily Intention🌟

An *accountability partner* is great to have when we’re tackling big goals. Today, think about someone you can have in your corner as your work to get productive.

World Day against Trafficking in Persons

posted on: July 27, 2018

I’ve met so many wonderful people along the way on this journey including the SWLA Abolitionists group, and other authors doing their part in spreading awareness. 

Human trafficking is a crime that exploits women, children and men for numerous purposes including forced labour and sex. The International Labour Organization estimates that 21 million people are victims of forced labour globally. This estimate also includes victims of human trafficking for labour and sexual exploitation. While it is not known how many of these victims were trafficked, the estimate implies that currently, there are millions of trafficking in persons victims in the world.

The United Nations has declared July 30th to be World Day against Trafficking in Persons. Use this Day to spread awareness in your area. Do podcasts, youtube videos or social media posts. I’d love to help! lauraaranda@owlofhope.com 

#HumanTrafficking #EndHumanTrafficking #pushingbackthedarkness

If you need someone to speak to your homeschool group, church or book club contact me! lauraaranda@owlofhope.com

 

Share our hashtags and create those difficult conversations this month so others can be aware. 

 

 

My evening at Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue Farm Tenino, WA

posted on: July 13, 2018

Oftentimes, I have been intrigued by those beautiful people who dedicate their entire lives to a cause or business. One example would be a family Mom & Pop shop or a community’s meat market with a famous butcher who is the grandson of the creator and owner…a business that has been passed down from generation to generation. It amazes me that people can stay in one place and dedicate their entire lives to doing just one thing…for me, that would scare me to death to have to do that but it also impresses me that others are so good at so many things that the world may never know about. In this post, I want to share one of those special people I believe the whole world should know hear about and know. She may never be a household name but to alpacas, she is a hero. 

Many know, I am away on holiday visiting family in Washington. I am currently writing book two in the Pushing Back the Darkness series bringing awareness to abuse and sexual trafficking in America. I was driving to visit Mount Rainier one day last week, when I drove past a ‘llama’ farm. On a whim, I looked them up online and found Cross Creek Alpaca Farm. Without thinking to hard on the matter, I quickly sent her a message and asked if I could come visit her and check out the farm. She replied and invited me  out. Tonight I spent over an hour there. One of our first conversations was one of her explaining to me she had to find a job to support the rescue Alpacas. She relies on donations to feed them and nurture them back to health.  Alpacas are not native to the United State of America. Since 1984, alpacas have been imported from Peru, Bolivia and Chile into the United States but when they arrive here they can be mistreated, misused or neglected…sounds familiar, huh???  What a parallel…maybe that is why my heartstrings were tugged so tightly…..

   

Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue was founded by Sharon Bond and Jacklyn Glover who started with rescuing horses in 2003. Then in 2007, they began to rescue alpacas. There are very few animal rescues dedicated to the saving of alpacas but the need exists. Too often gelded males, older females and otherwise unwanted alpacas are passed from farm to farm, or they are put down for little or no reason other than they are a burden to the current owner. I was able to learn that llamas are bigger than alpacas. Alpacas love love love to be sprayed with the water hose and I had the distinct privilege to spray them down and watch them jump in the cool water and then lay in the cool dirt now that they were nice and wet. It was so cute!

Alpacas only live to about 15 years old but these can get to 20 or older since they are so loved and spoiled here at Cross Creek

If you could see them, you would fall in love with them just as I have. I didn’t even know alpacas could be abused or neglected…but they are just like any other farm animal that people don’t take care of. She is a hero and every alpaca rescued is one out of harm’s way.

What is abuse/neglect?
Abuse of animals could be defined many ways depending in which context you are speaking and to whom. In Webster’s dictionary abuse is defined as; to hurt by treating badly; mistreatment; causing injury.
Neglect is defined in Webster’s as; not to care for sufficiently or properly; slight; to treat as unimportant, through carelessness or by intention.

Many of her alpacas came from a rescue in 2014 from Polk County, Oregon. The owners of Jocelyn’s Alpaca Ranch in Falls City were charged with several counts of animal neglect in 2014 after alpacas on the farm were found dead or starving. (*CAN YOU IMAGE!??* THAT’S SO SAD!)
Jocelyn and Robert Silver were both indicted on 18 crimes: felony first-degree animal neglect, felony second-degree animal neglect and 16 counts of misdemeanor first-degree animal neglect.
They were arraigned on the charges Tuesday afternoon after press time. The Polk County Sheriff’s Office has seized and is caring for 175 alpacas. Later the news came out that there were as many as 200 being kept on 3 acres with little or no food.These animals were in terrible conditions and as many as 50 have already died before the rescue.

Cross Creek’s website is full of information:

Why does she want to rescue an Alpaca?
Alpacas are not native to the United State of America. Since 1984, alpacas have been imported from Peru, Bolivia and Chile into the United States. Alpacas, cousins to the llama, are native to the Andean Mountain range of South America. In their native lands they have been used for clothing, food and heat for many thousands of years. In the US, attempts are being made to develop industries utilizing the fiber produced by alpacas. Because of its soft texture, alpaca fiber is sometimes compared to cashmere. Containing no lanolin, alpaca fiber is also naturally hypoallergenic.

The alpaca industry has grown steadily with current estimates totally over 120,000 registered alpacas with the Alpaca Registry, Inc (ARI) in the US. Due to the small size of the national herd, the alpaca industry is a breeder’s market. This has led to the discarding of non-breeding alpacas due to age, deformity, illness and poor breeding practices. In recent years, many intelligent alpacas have been discarded as of no worth, due mainly to the lack of human understanding. Because of the influx of alpacas, there have been increases in neglect, abused and abandoned animals. The well-being of the alpaca is put into jeopardy. This was reason enough to be a hero and rescue them. I applaud her efforts and want to share her story with the world!

 

 

Click here to learn more or DONATE to : Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue Farm

A note from her:

CCAR is a 501c(3) non-profit organization,

and they rely entirely on private & adoption donations to pay for medication, veterinary expenses and feed.

All contributions are tax-deductible as allowed by law.

SEND A CARD

Send a complimentary card with your donation to CCAR to let your family and friends know about the special donation you gave in their name.

Whether it be birthday, anniversary or in memory of someone, they will send them a personalized card.

When you use PayPal, you can attach a note to them that will let them know that you would like to SEND A CARD.  Or on their website you click on CONTACT US, and send them an email.  They will then contact you by email to get the needed information to send the perfect card for you. For more info call: (360) 350-3813

Cross Creek Alpaca Rescue welcomes your support. GO CHECK THEM OUT–Tell them AUTHOR LAURA ARANDA sent you!

The Army of the Returned

posted on: June 18, 2018

Ezekiel chapter 37 is a well known story of the prophet’s vision of ‘The Valley of the Dry Bones’. If you are not familiar with this passage, find time to read this incredible story.

The first question we read that was asked was by the Lord to Ezekiel. “Can these bones live?

My thoughts: Could it very well be that the prophet’s answer would have indicated or predicted what was to happen? What if he said, “No.”? There is no chance for this nation to be brought back to life. 

I would like to think that the Lord’s great mercy would say, “You think they can’t but let me show you they can.” And the vision would have continued on from there regardless of the answer from Ezekiel. 

A question. “Can these bones live?” then

A command. “Prophesy to these bones.

Ezekiel had to speak to the dead bones. Dead bones live by a power that goes along with the word of God which he preached. As he preached hope to the nation, God restored them. Further preaching led to a dramatic restoration.

(Reminds me of Acts chapter 2. A great outpouring of the Holy Spirit filled the people in the New Testament. )

He must pray, and he did so; and the dead bones were made to live in answer to prayer; for a spirit of life entered into them.

Here you see the work of the Word and Prayer mixed together. We pray to the one who raises the dead!

The Matthew Henry Commentary says: But we call in vain, still they are dead, still they are very dry; we must therefore be earnest with God in prayer for the working of the Spirit with the word: Come, O breath! and breathe upon them. God’s grace can save souls without our preaching, but our preaching cannot save them without God’s grace, and that grace must be sought by prayer. 

Prodigals have deadened their senses, hardened their hearts and turned away–we must speak life into them. We can pray to God and also speak to the dead bones. Ezekiel was speaking to God and to the bones. 

Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord. The Lord will cause breath to enter into you and you will live. You will know who the Lord is. 

Ezekiel prophesied and there was a noise and a shaking. The bones came together. Bone to his bone. Even dead and dry bones begin to move when they are called to hear the word of the Lord. 

But there was no breath in them. 

God tells Ezekiel to prophesy to the wind. Breathe upon the slain that they may live. Ezekiel did so. The breath came into them and they lived and stood up as a great army. 

The Army of the Returned. 

Then God said, Son of man this is a whole house. Their bones are dried and their hope is lost. 

Prophesy again. God will bring you out of your graves. Out of your hole you’ve been buried in. Out of the darkness. You will know the Lord when he brings you out of your graves. You will know the I AM. He is going to put his spirit in you and you will live. 

Ez. 37: 16-18 Moreover make a symbol and a sign . The Lord told Ezekiel to make a sign–take a stick and write For Judah and the children of Israel his companions 

Then take another stick and write on it For Joseph the stick of Ephraim and for all the house of Israel his companions. 

Join them into one stick and they shall become one in thy hand. 

The children will ask you what does this mean, show us.

The binding of the two sticks represents the reunification of the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. Unity.

Praise will return. The family will be whole again. There will be unity. Division will be healed and praise will return again.

The Matthew Henry commentary says: United in brotherly love -continual feuds and animosities so be no longer. They had been two sticks crossing and thwarting one another, nay, beating and bruising one another; but now they shall become one, supporting and strengthening one another.

Don’t give up on your prodigals. Don’t give up on relationships and families that have splintered and a nation that looks like it is dying. Don’t give up. There is power in your words. Speak life. Preach hope and pray to the God who wakes the dead. Pray to the Restorer!

Lauren Daigle’s lyrics from Come Alive is so fitting:

 

Through the eyes of men it seems there’s so much we have lost
As we look down the road where all the prodigals have walked
One by one the enemy has whispered lies
And led them off as slaves
But we know that you are god yours is the victory
We know there is more to come
That we may not yet see
So with the faith you’ve given us
We’ll step into the valley unafraid, yeah
As we call out to dry bones come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones, come alive
God of endless mercy god of unrelenting love
Rescue every daughter bring us back the wayward son
And by your spirit breathe upon them show the world that you alone can save
You alone can save
As we call out to dry bones come alive, come alive
We call out to dead hearts come alive, come alive
Up out of the ashes let us see an army rise
We call out to dry bones come alive

America, What Nicaragua needs you to know and share

posted on: May 31, 2018

The below interview is from a man we met while in Nicaragua. His name has been excluded as well as the church he attends. I created this interview with him in a desperate attempt to get America’s attention.

Though he primarily speaks Spanish and responded to me in Spanish, all of his answers will be translated into English for our readers.

The strong Nicaraguan people are resilient but as they march on their Mother’s Day holiday this year they did not celebrate. The people declared it a day of mourning for the fallen as the death toll as reached over 80 people. Right now they are in what they call, “The Mother of all Marches”! This is a march for their freedom, for their liberties and for the future generations who don’t have a clue what terror Communism brings. You will see real photos here, however, I chose not to share some of the more graphic pictures he sent over. They were gruesome and worse than anything movies could portray. This is real. 

READ the interview and SHARE SHARE SHARE the interview to get the news out. These are real time events. Most importantly, PRAY!

More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of

Tennyson

 

 

¿Dónde vives en Nicaragua?

Where do you live in Nicaragua? 

In a Managua neighborhood in an old mansion

 

¿Puedes decirle a América la línea de tiempo de los eventos nicaragüenses?

Can you tell America the timeline of the Nicaraguan events?

There has been up to three marches per week due to suspension of the dialogue.

 

¿Alguno de su familia ha estado involucrado?

Has any of your family been involved? 

Two of my innocent cousins were hurt just for the pleasure. On Wednesday, they took them and my aunt to the place where they are tortured and forced to beg them not to kill them. The police are murderous and corrupt.

¿Hay ‘chicos buenos’ y ‘chicos malos’ en Nicargua?

Are there ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ in Nicargua? 

The ‘good ones’ are the students and the ‘bad ones’ are the JS: Sandinista youth.

 

*Laura: The aggressive Sandinista Youth run about armed with iron pipes into the crowds of protestors with police protection. Vicious and cruel. 

 

¿Qué debe cambiar?

What needs to change? 

The government because it is very corrupt.

 

¿Qué debe suceder para que Nicargua sea pacífico?

What needs to happen to make Nicargua peaceful? 

Nicaragua has been peaceful, but because of the situation the country has worsened and there are many armed people.

 

¿Qué quieres que América sepa?

What do you want America to know? 

Let him know that we want a new change of government.

 

¿Cómo puede ayudar América?

How can America help? 

America can help if they will intervene in removing the corrupt from power.

 

¿Hay algo que Estados Unidos pueda hacer para ayudar a Nicaragua?

Is there anything America can do to help Nicaragua? 

Removing the corrupt from power helps the country improve the situation of Nicaragua since the president refuses to resign.

 

Comparta cualquier historia que desee que América sepa sobre Nicaragua.

Gracias.

¡Mantenerse a salvo! Que Dios bendiga a tu familia.

Share any story you want America to know about Nicaragua. 

Thank you. 

Stay safe! God bless your family. 

 

The story that needs to be told is that Nicaragua is repeating the same story for the second time when it is in shambles.

 

There is so much more I could add. There is constantly new information coming out but I just wanted to send out this plea from a citizen there. PRAY for them! Share this blog post and interview so it can open people’s eyes to the devastation going on right now. Find me on Facebook:

You should be able to see the album here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10155839692111185.1073742148.734416184&type=1&l=eb5c2edc49

and you can see an album full of more pictures of Nicaragua and our trip there recently.

 

 

 

America, this is what the beautiful people of Nicaragua need you to know.

According to Wikipedia: On 18 April 2018, demonstrators in several cities of Nicaragua began protests against President Daniel Ortega‘s decree of social security reforms that increased taxes and decreased benefits. After five days of unrest in which nearly 30 people were killed, Ortega announced the cancellation of the reforms. However, the opposition has grown to denounce Ortega and demand his resignation, becoming one of the largest protests in his government’s history and the deadliest civil conflict since the end of the Nicaraguan Revolution.

Will you remember me?

posted on: November 7, 2017

There is a song by Sarah McLachlan whose lyrics came to mind today as I was studying.

I will remember you, will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
I’m so afraid to love you
But more afraid to lose
Clinging to a past that doesn’t let me choose
Once there was a darkness
Deep and endless night
You gave me everything you had, oh you gave me life
I will remember you, will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
I will remember you, will you remember me?
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories
It is fascinating when you realize that the mind makes up only 2% of the human body yet controls so much of our lives. It is responsible for all body functions as well as personalities, memories and how we react to the world all around us. This link is the page I studied today if anyone is interested in reading the entirety. 
Memories are not stored in our brains like books on a shelf. They must be actively reconstructed from elements scattered throughout the various areas of the brain. Memories cannot be deliberately deleted at your will. If we experience any traumatic events, I have learned through studies that memories are imprinted even stronger in our minds due to emotional content. Young children, with their lack of verbal and conceptual systems, are more likely to have real eidetic (extraordinarily accurate) memories than adults.
I spent this time explaining all of this because I want to combat the ideas and myths and lies like:
  • Pornography affects no one but myself.
    This is a lie. I submit to you Readers, what you place in your mind and what you allow your thoughts to dwell on feeds an industry that is perpetually pumping out this garbage to a world whose appetites are getting darker and darker.
  • What I do in my alone time hurts no one else.

What you deem normal and ‘OK’ will affect the way you view relationships. Girls that are in this industry are demoralized and abused and mistreated. When the veil on that world can be torn down and viewers see how those girls are treated and manipulated and bribed, would viewers still find ‘pleasure’ if they knew about the tears and nightmares behind the scenes as well?

Covenant Eyes says the following:Today, we have a multi-billion dollar worldwide porn industry. Pornography production and distribution is done by businesses that run like Fortune 500 companies. Pornography isn’t just a haphazard collection of images that kids find through scrambled cable channels and websites run by perverts living in their parents’ basements. No. Pornography is a business, and a pretty successful one at that. About 20 large U.S. companies are responsible for at least 70% of the hundreds of millions of pornography images online.

And why is this a problem? Up until recently those more likely to be predisposed to sexual addiction were those who had subconscious motives to act out sexually, such as victims of physical or sexual abuse. Now the Internet has changed that statistic greatly. Thirty years ago, when Patrick Carnes studied the neurochemistry of sex addiction, he was testing in a pre-Internet world.

 

There are now people struggling with sexual compulsivity who never would have been if not for the Internet.”

We must take our heads out of the sand. Cavemen may have used cave walls as their pornographic canvas, but there are no limits to the canvas of the Internet.

 

We have to keep our children safe. Insist on Internet safety. What is in the mind cannot be deliberately deleted. Guard your mind. I could use so many scriptures that talk about the mind. WE know the mind is a battlefield. The Devil’s playground. Don’t give room for him to work. Don’t place images in your mind that you cannot get rid of. Will you cry over the memories you allowed yourself to experience? Guard your mind. Guard your eyes. Guard your heart. Guard your memories.

Meet her some day

posted on: August 11, 2014

This is a poem I wrote. It needs brushing up and fixing but the first draft is below. I dedicate this to my daughter Caelyn. She is entering high school and decided she wants to become an author one day. Her dad told her to write. Writers write always… I don’t know if that dream will ever come true or not but if it interested her now….we say go for it. As long as she is pursuing a dream and not just being a bump on a log. Caelyn, we believe in you! You can do anything! You can be anybody! You can go anywhere! Go save the world!

 

Anyways I wrote stories since I was eight years old. My 5th grade teacher, Ms. Poole used to let me write stories instead of do my classwork at school. She believed in me. She told me to dedicate my first book to her and still to this day she ask me about that book that I have never written yet….and at 30 that dream seems dead and gone. Sad…. I wish I had a book to dedicate to her. I wish I had something to show her that she didn’t believe in me for nothing but that I can be what she thought I could be……

www.writerscafe.org

You are gonna meet her on the street one day

She’s gonna be better than you

She’s gonna be worse off than you

She’s gonna be every decision you never made

She’s gonna be the failures you didn’t fall into

She’s gonna be the triumphant wins you never won

She’s gonna be the victory you never chased

She’s out there

But she’s not you

She is not you