Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Thank You

A quick THANK YOU to Hollie Colwick for the use of her beautiful photography on our sites. If you are in the Louisville area, find Hollie at

Friday, January 25, 2013

"The Legacy We Leave Behind"

Legacy is defined by Merriam Webster’s Dictionary as “something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past.”  In this journey of life, we are recipients of legacies passed on to us from others and we all leave a legacy behind when our time here on Earth has ended.  The power and influence of the legacies we receive and the ones that we give is often underestimated.  As I reflect on this concept, I am reminded of those legacies that have influenced my life.  Most have been very good, and others not so much.  Positive or negative they all combine to form the legacy that I will pass on to others.  I am not sure that many of us fully understand the power of a legacy as it can be something to honor or to overcome. 

For those who receive legacies of faith, hope, compassion, mercy, unconditional love, acceptance, and wisdom, there is a strong likelihood that the lives of these recipients will be balanced well-adjusted and blessed with enough resilience to live a life that is emotionally and spiritually healthy and well-balanced.  When the legacy is one of abuse, constant criticism, conditional acceptance, condemnation, unforgiveness, lack of or intolerance for emotional expression, and negativity, the person on the receiving end is likely to pass on that negative legacy and to have a much more difficult life.  The abused as a child is more likely to become an abuser as an adult.  The child raised in a loving and compassionate environment is more likely to become an adult who is compassionate and loving. 

Most of us have a mix of the two extremes from which we form our own legacy.  We are not necessarily doomed to failure if our previous experiences were largely negative and we are not guaranteed success in life if we were blessed with a positive experience in the past.  Nothing is perfect in this life and outcomes are never guaranteed.  However, we do have choices about our actions and attitudes that have power to influence and overcome.  We also have a Heavenly Father who will (if we just ask) come into our lives to take the bad and use it for good and add it to what is already good to make it better.  Our legacy is something we leave behind that is the foundation for our children and future generations to build their lives and future.  Leave a legacy of your best self and God’s love in your life.  Your children and future generations will reap the benefits and continue that great work that God began in your life.  Imagine the possibilities! 

Blessings -- Winnie

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Do More!

We are all called to do something; Together we can do more! My friend Patty once wrote, 'It's not enough to just believe...we must do more' She was writing about believers who say they have faith but don't exhibit it in there day to day lives. In order for us to impact our world and the future, I am convinced that we must be willing to impact children. In order to really be excellent at effecting change and healing in others, we must first begin with ourselves. It is like the service announcement goes, 'you must secure your own oxygen mask first prior to that of any children around you'. As we move forward, our mission to provide hope to children is the same. Our goals and programs however, have changed. We believe that the best way to offer hope to children is by strengthening the adults in their lives. It is not enough to find homes for the fatherless if the parents in those homes are not equipped to parent well. It is not enough to advocate for the orphan if you are not willing to help sustain his biological family first. It is not enough to say you are brokenhearted over the orphan crisis if you are not willing to help change the poverty level of young women. It is not enough to say you desire to heal the emotional wounds of children if you aren't courageous enough to heal your own childhood wounds first. We must do more; believe for more. For His children and to His glory!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Where we've been...

We first began our efforts helping children through orphan advocacy as Project G.L.O.W. Established in 2003 to shine God's Light to Orphans Worldwide, Project G.L.O.W. set out to advocate for the fatherless. As a therapist, Susan began to see many adoptive families asking for help. Upon inquiry, these parents described how they felt both blessed and ill equipped to care for their adoptive children. She began to gather information and produced courses to help prepare parents prior to adoption. In addition to education, fundraising efforts were launched to help the orphaned and poor in various countries. Since we were educating adoptive families and working to support orphan ministries, it seemed logical to become involved in adoption. In 2008, Arise Adoptions was established to advocate for waiting children in Ethiopia through adoption facilitation. Working in tantum with Project G.L.O.W., it was a well loved, family run program that grew quickly. By May, 2011, the Arise Adoption program had experienced great success, growing rapidly to such extent that the Lord directed us to consider outside assistance. A newly appointed board would make the decision to give our agency, and it's Ethiopian program partnership with West Sands, to Lifeline Children's Services. Adoptive families would now be given the security of other country options and we would find ourselves praying for clear direction and next steps.  After almost 18 months of resting and waiting, we move forward with renewed vision and purpose. It appears to us that there are a great number of adoption agencies and limited support to families and children post adoptively. With the help of many of our original board members and several adoptive families, we go forward. Though we are still passionate for adoption, our goal is to support children and their caregivers through education, consultation and charitable giving. With renewed hope and mission, we have expanded our vision to include children whom have been impacted by poverty, divorce, and/or adoption. Arise for Children, Charities and Family Resources have been established to provide hope and healing to children and families worldwide. We invite you to join us as we help others love deeply, engage creatively, and give generously. We are steadfast in our belief that we are ALL called to do something and together we can do more...for His Children and To His Glory!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

God's Favor

I am so excited to announce that I have been chosen to train with Dr. Karen Purvis to enhance my therapy skills with Trust Based Relational Intervention. I am so very excited. Thank you Focus on the Family! ~Susan
Why Did God Allow This? This question is not new and is often asked by those of great faith as well as those who are not believers at all. Anytime the unexpected or unthinkable happens, the first question to come to mind whether expressed verbally or not is often “Why?” Why so young? Why so soon? Why so much suffering? Why would God allow it? The more egregious the circumstances are, the more likely we are to ask the “Why God” questions and express anger at some level with the perpetrator of the tragedy as well as God himself. As Christians we are not exempt from questioning God or experiencing and expressing anger at God in our most intense moments of shock and grief. Some may wonder if questioning God or being angry with God is “allowed,” or will such things bring about God’s wrath on the individual who is questioning and /or angry. After all, if we believe that God is capable of doing such awful things for reasons we can’t understand, what might He do if we dared to question or be angry with Him? Recently, twenty very young children and six adults lost their lives when a young man came to their elementary school with guns and started shooting. It was a senseless and violent act that has left many asking that “Why God?” question and (truth be told) rocked the faith of some of the most stalwart of Christians. In the aftermath of this tragedy it is only a natural and normal grief reaction for us in our humanity to feel anger and even to question God with some level of anger. Does that make those of us who are believers and Christians “bad” people and does the expression of strong feelings in reaction to such tragic news cause a permanent rift in God’s love for us? The answer, I believe, is best found in Romans. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -- Romans 8: 38-39 The truth is that God does not separate Himself from us, period. In all things and situations, God is present and His love is constant. So, one might ask, where was God when that gunman started his rampage against those innocent children and their teachers? He may have seemed to many of us to be absent, but He was not. His promise to “never leave or forsake” found in Hebrews (13:5) is also a constant truth. In our humanity we may perceive God to be “absent” because these lives were not spared, but that is our human understanding and perception. To fully comprehend the “why” questions of tragedies such as the Sandy Hook massacre, we would have to be capable of thinking and feeling as God does, and that is not possible. We are still very much human beings with human minds, logic, and emotions. God’s ways clearly are not our ways, and we must accept to the extent humanly possible that we will never fully understand Him. However, we can be certain that His love and presence are unfailing – even in the most horrific of circumstances. God was with those students and their teachers and even the person with the weapon, and I believe that God’s grief and sadness that day were profound as he saw one of His creation commit an unspeakable act of violence and foresaw the overwhelming sadness and grief that would follow in the lives of the loved ones left behind to grieve and mourn this terrible loss. Most importantly let us never forget that God understands fully the grief of a parent as He gave up the life of His only Son, Jesus, on the cross. As we ask the questions for which there are no real answers or explanations, we can be assured that God’s love is still very present and real. His grace and mercy are big enough to handle anything, and while we may question and even shake our fists at the events that we perceive to be terribly unfair, God is not surprised and He does not stop loving us because we are human. He instead chooses to love us because we are human. How many of us as parents stop loving our children when they ask the “why” questions and express their anger at us for what they perceive to be a failure or lapse of judgment in us as their parent? We may be hurt by our children and disappointed in their reaction, but as parents we see the “big picture” that our children can not. The same is true for God (on a much more profound scale) as our Heavenly Father. He sees and understands far more than we ever can and knows the pain that we feel in our humanity. Our reactions and questions are not a surprise to God at all. Instead, He chooses to love us through that pain and help us find our way to a place of healing. All He asks in return is that we trust Him enough to allow Him to do what He does best….love us unconditionally in all circumstances. ~Winnie

Friday, January 4, 2013

A Fresh Start

Arise for Children is happy to announce our re-launch as a program to benefit children and families through family education, individual support, and global charitable giving. To learn more please visit our new web address at www.AriseforChildren.Info