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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Dressember: Week Four

It was the last week (and a few days)!

This week was one of the hardest to enjoy wearing a dress, but the best week of the month.  I mean, I was sick of it.  I don't know why some ladies enjoy wearing dresses so much.  I'm over it.  I may not wear another dress until February or March.  However, we had a good week as a family, once we were all well! We had Christmas festivities in Somerville, and then drove back to Alabama to be with family.  It was the most difficult trip to pack for, because each dress requires shirt/leggings/shoes to match.  Honestly though, the first thing I packed was my jeans for January 1 and 2!  A few people have asked me if I will participate with Dressember next year.  At first I said "NO! This has been harder than I thought, and more annoying."  However, now that it's over, I think that if I could get a team together of at least 5-10 ladies, that I would do it again.

Also, I upped my goal to $500 and STILL went over because I have such kind and generous family and friends!  So first, I want to post the Thank you picture, and then the rest of the pictures, since this will be my final post on this topic.

Thank you to the 15 people who have given to #Dressember on my campaign page! I reset my goal once I reached $300, and tonight I reached $500!!! That is all because I have some kind and generous family and friends! THANK YOU! However, I am not going to reset the goal with only one day of dresses left. Just because my personal goal was met, does not mean that all captives are free. It doesn't even mean that @ijm #IJM met their goal. Bottom line: if you feel led to give, PLEASE DO SO! There are many women participating who have Not reached their goal amount. The fundraising pages will remain open and accept funds until the end of January. #give #endslavery#enditmovement 
#endtrafficking #thankful
December 22: #Dressember on the carousel with two kids. I really wanted to wear jeans today. #IJM #itsbiggerthanadress#youcandoanythinginadress #endslavery#enditmovement
#endtrafficking #carousel #memphis#christmasshopping

December 27: "Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little." ~ Edmund Burke
I reached my fundraising goal yesterday because of several generous people! When I reach a goal, I like to set a new one. So, I upped the goal a little. I'm almost to the new goal! Would you consider giving even just $5 to help bring justice to the oppressed?
Also, I've been shopping a few times this month and had to strongly resist the urge to buy more dresses just to have a change up. Then my sweet mother in law surprised me with this one for Christmas! It reminded me of this verse because I've been doing the #Dressember challenge to break the chains of those in slavery, because it's something I think Jesus cares about. Delighting myself in the fact that it makes Him happy, even if I am slightly less comfortable than usual. {Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4}
Today's picture is in the home of some sweet extended family who hostevery#enditmovement
#endtrafficking #christmastree #christmas
December 23: Yes, little baby, I know Mommy looks funny with a dress on top of shorts and leggings to workout. It's just for a few more days. I'm wearing a dress, and somedays looking funny, to remind people of the very not funny fact that about 30 million people are not free. It's the most wonderful time of year for some, and just another day in agony for others. #Dressember #IJM#itsbiggerthanadress #youcandoanythinginadress#endslavery #enditmovement 
December 24: I hope you're having a blessed Christmas Eve! Candlelight service with communion was sweet at church, although I had to wrestle with my goofy babies at the back. #Dressember #IJM #itsbiggerthanadress#youcandoanythinginadress #endslavery#enditmovement 
December 25: Standing by the nativity scene for #Dressember today because we are celebrating the birth of our Savior. I feel so thankful for all the time with friends this morning and now family this evening. It's always a blessing to come home. International Justice Mission is all about helping women in crises to come home. These words from 'O Holy Night' are particularly meaningful to this cause: 'Truly He taught us to love one another; his law is love and his gospel is peace. Chains shall he break, for the slave is our brother; and in His name all oppression shall cease. ' 
#IJM #christmas #itsbiggerthanadress#youcandoanythinginadress #endslavery#enditmovement 
December 26: This is my Daddy and Granddaddy Jim. They have always been loving, affectionate, kind, and setting a Godly example of how to treat women, has set me up for success in my self esteem and relationships with all men. Some girls in trafficking are there because they were desperate for love, and believed the lies and coercion of pimps who may have 'courted' them in person or online for months before trapping them. Watch what your daughters are doing online! Pray for your kids! Be a parent who invests in the lives of your children! I love my dad and grandad more than I can express. Also my granddaddy said, "Oh yes, this is called a selfie!" As I went to take this pic with him. #Dressember #IJM #itsbiggerthanadress#youcandoanythinginadress #endslavery#enditmovement
December 27: "Nobody makes a greater mistake than he who does nothing because he could only do a little." ~ Edmund Burke
I reached my fundraising goal yesterday because of several generous people! When I reach a goal, I like to set a new one. So, I upped the goal a little. I'm almost to the new goal! Would you consider giving even just $5 to help bring justice to the oppressed?
Also, I've been shopping a few times this month and had to strongly resist the urge to buy more dresses just to have a change up. Then my sweet mother in law surprised me with this one for Christmas! It reminded me of this verse because I've been doing the #Dressember challenge to break the chains of those in slavery, because it's something I think Jesus cares about. Delighting myself in the fact that it makes Him happy, even if I am slightly less comfortable than usual. {Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4}
Today's picture is in the home of some sweet extended family who hosted a big get together even though they have a brand new tiny baby at home! Bravery and hard work right there! #IJM #itsbiggerthanadress#youcandoanythinginadress #endslavery#enditmovement
#endtrafficking #christmastree #christmas

December 28: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. International Justice Mission seeks to bring freedom for the victims and prosecution to the perpetrators, justice at its best. {He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? ~ Micah 6:8} #Dressemberis to campaign on the behalf of those who aren't able to escape without our help. Let's do justice! #justice #IJM#itsbiggerthanadress #youcandoanythinginadress#endslavery #enditmovement 
December 29: Channeling my inner Elsa today with a side braid and blue dress for #Dressember on this dreary day. Let it go! Let it go! What are you holding onto, that you need to let go for 2015? I've been considering this question today. What are the things in my life that prevent me or my family from drawing closer to Christ? I am glad to have participated in this campaign for International Justice Mission, but it has required more social media posting/time than I have ever done before. January will see a huge drop in this. #IJM #frozen #elsa#itsbiggerthanadress #youcandoanythinginadress#endslavery #enditmovement 
#endtrafficking #letitgo #whyaremyarmssolong
December 30: "Do something today that your future self will thank you for." Usually I use this quote to motivate myself to exercise or make better eating choices. Let's think about this in terms of eternity though. Do you think your fancy handbag/shoes/jewelry can walk up to you in heaven and say, "Thank you for rescuing me from that store. You spent money well the day you chose to bring me home." I think not. However, a girl you may never meet on earth, could walk up to you in heaven and say, "Because you gave, my life was forever changed. Thank you." As the next picture I am about to post shows a kind hand releasing some butterflies from the jar, will you help release someone from captivity? #Dressember is almost over. What will you do today that your future self AND maybe someone else will thank you for? By donating to this cause, you could do both! Link in profile. [Matthew 25:31-46] (A lot of my dear friends are hurting today at the passing of loved ones recently. I didn't feel like a big fake smile was appropriate. Solemn selfie today.) #IJM#itsbiggerthanadress #youcandoanythinginadress#endslavery #enditmovement

December 31: It's the last day of #Dressember 2014! It only took 15 people to help me meet my personal goal of $500. I know way more than 15 people have been seeing these posts, and I know that 30 million people are still forced to work via manual labor or for sex, against their will. You can no longer plead ignorance to this issue. End this year on a high note, by contributing to the cause of freedom and justice.  #IJM#itsbiggerthanadress #youcandoanythinginadress#endslavery #enditmovement 
#endtrafficking #happynewyear #icantwaittowearpants

Fearless in '15

I don't think of myself as a fearful person.  However, I've realized lately that all my negative reactions are rooted in a fear of some sort.

When I'm angry with Jonah, it's really because whatever negative behavior he is exhibiting is making me fear that I am a "bad parent" or he will grow up to be a "bad person." When I am upset or hurt by something my husband says, it is really because I fear being unloved.  When I am stressed out about cleaning our house, it is because I fear what other people will think of me.  When I am annoyed with people in public touching my children on the face or hands, it is because inside I fear my kids catching some virus and getting so sick they die. When I am frustrated in traffic, it is because I fear disappointing people or missing something at the location to which I am en route.

Although these aren't huge, life shattering, anxiety inducing fears, they are enough to hold me back form loving others the way I want to, the way I am called to do. These fears, and others I am working on uncovering, are enough to prevent me from the constant peace that my relationship with Christ is meant to provide. So this year, my one word focus is going to be:

I am excited to embrace this mindset of freedom in Christ, free from fear.  Every fear of mine shows lack of faith in some way.  I know in my heart that I am loved by and serving the God of the Universe, and there is nothing He can't handle.  There is no detail in my life that escapes His care.  I want to know that in my head as well as my heart.  
I want to know that God has got it ALL under control so deeply in my heart and head that it is finally able to spill out into my actions and reactions as a fearless life. 

The opposite of fear is faith. Faith brings freedom.  I want my life to be one of faith triumphing over fear.  I have read in multiple places that the Bible specifically mentions something about "do not fear" or "do not be afraid" type statements 365 times, one for each day of the year.  I'm ready to start listening to this, to feed faith instead of fear.

Photo credit

What is your focus word for the new year?  Have you ever tried this?  I'm doing this in lieu of any resolutions, and hoping it lasts longer!  Do you have any resolutions or a focus word or both?

What I Learned in 2014

I haven't had the opportunity to join in with Emily Freeman and the "What I Learned in ____" monthly posts in a while.  So when I saw this link up for what we learned in 2014, it made me so happy! We are with family for the holidays, and I actually have enough time to do this without making myself feel crazy.  I'm going to back and pick out something big from each month to recap 2014 lessons learned.  Sometimes I had time to blog about it, some of these things are still too personal to write about, but have just been lived.  I hope this helps, encourages, or teaches you something!

1.  It is possible to have a totally natural birth, in a car, and everyone turn out healthy, and this be the most unexpectedly beautiful answer to prayer of my life. (January)

2. I didn't know if I could love my baby girl as much as I loved my first child, the boy.  I discovered that I could. Having kids 20 months apart wasn't easy, but totally worth it! (February)

3.  A "little" allergy to wheat when I was 20, turned into a HUGE allergy after my hormones switched up and I had my second baby.  Now I can't eat anything with wheat, or I violently throw up. However, there are so many gluten free products out now, that it's not that bad! I have to mostly follow a gluten free diet, and it's helped me lose a lot of baby weight and resist most of my biggest food temptations, and get creative with meals. (March)

4.  We can search and pray for months about a ministry position, and apply to hundreds of jobs online, but when God wants us to go somewhere, He orchestrates it. (April)

5. Seeing my kid turn two was crazy.  I had a kid TWO whole years ago!? What?! I love him so much! I think I love him more now than before, and I didn't think that was possible the day he was born.  I can't believe I am blessed to be the mommy of this two year old! (May)

6. Ministry life is crazy hard.  We love serving, but it's so much harder, full of spiritual warfare, and doubt, and troubles, and temptations to run away, than we ever expected or prepared to encounter. (June)

7.  Getting to experience life alongside people is amazing.  I prayed for years as a child to have friends.  Now, I have more genuine friends, people who love and care about our family, than I have ever had before.  We are so involved in our community that it feels like we see someone we know every single time we leave our house.  Most days, I absolutely love that level of connectedness.  Some days, it's a little overwhelming, until I just put it right back in God's hands.  "All these people you've brought into our lives, God, help them, bless them, show us how to love them better." (July)

8. I miss teaching first grade. School was fun.  I did like it.  I hope to go back someday. (August)

9. Even when life seems upside down and inside out and messy, difficult, and disappointing, God is still working, and Jesus does all things well. (September/October)

10.  You should NEVER take a stroller on an escalator traveling up, and then chicken out after you've started, and try to jerk the stroller back down the moving escalator.  Sometimes it turns out OK though, and everyone survives, and life goes on. :) (October)

11.  I participated in the "Write 31 Days" project, and am glad that I did.  I attempted to get up early each day because I thought a routine would naturally fall into place from that early rising point, but it didn't.  I discovered that the time I get up does not determine how good of a mother and wife I am going to be that day.  The more I constantly renew my mind through scripture (Romans 12:1-2), and prayer (Philippians 4:6), and praise and music (Psalm 134:2), the better wife and mother I will be that day. This was my closure post. (This took the entire month of October, so it was really learned by November)

12.  Worldwide statistics on human trafficking are the most sickening things I've seen in a while. Over 36 Million people in captivity, forced to work in manual labor or sex trafficking or both, are all over the world.  International Justice Mission (IJM) is an amazing organization that seeks to bring FREEDOM for the captives, and JUSTICE to the perpetrators!  Dressember is a neat campaign that asks women to wear a dress every day of December, in order to bring awareness to human trafficking and the plight of women in bondage worldwide.  I am so honored to have been a participant this year! I wore a dress for almost the entire month  in order to remind myself to pray and to bring awareness to all those I come in contact with via real life and social media.  I attempted at the beginning of the month to raise $300, and I actually made it to $525!  I am so thankful for generous family and friends!  You can read about all 4 weeks here. (December)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Dressember Week Three

I have been happily shocked by some new donations this week! Woo-hoo!  When I explained this whole thing to John, he said, "There's no way you are going to get $300 just for wearing a dress every day.  December is a slim month, and nobody gives."  His discouraging outlook has made me even more thankful every time someone gives.  It just makes me so thankful for every donation!

Our family also fought off a mean stomach bug between the end of Week 2/beginning of Week 3. We lost that battle, and all 4 of us caught it.

Dec. 15: It was a stay at home, finish decorating the tree, and do all the laundry that was puked on kind of day. I confess I did not wear a dress yesterday because I was too busy taking care of sick kids to change clothes. Official rules say it doesn't matter as long as you don't leave the house, but I had been trying to wear them all the time. Oh well, that's why there's grace, eh? I'm very close to reaching half way on my donation goal for #Dressember ! Would you consider contributing to the cause of freedom? "Person, not possession. Child, not commodity." Anon. #itsbiggerthanadress#youcandoanythinginadress #endslavery#enditmovement
#endtrafficking #christmastree

Dec. 16: The Honea girls got hit with the stomach virus last night, so today we are both exhausted and recovering. Thankfully, yesterday I washed this comfy dress so I can still participate in #Dressember from the couch. I'm feeling puny, but I know when I feel better I will have no limits to my freedoms. Did you know that an estimated 30,000 victims of trafficking die each year from abuse, neglect, torture, and disease? Eighty percent of those in sex trafficking are under 24 years old, and some as young as six. Let's join together and rescue a few of them. Please. Link in profile. #IJM #itsbiggerthanadress#youcandoanythinginadress #endslavery#enditmovement

Dec 17: First time to leave the house since Saturday! Woohoo! The kids and I ventured across the street for our regular Wednesday night activities at church and we all had a blast! Today's #Dressember picture comes with a complimentary #photobomb from Jonah. 
Being sick, I had forgotten to check email and the fundraising page and I was blown away by a few new donations when I got online today! Thank you from the bottom of my heart to ALL the people who have given so far!!! You are not only making me feel like wearing dresses and posting more on social media than ever before is truly worthwhile for this cause, but you are also giving to God when you give to those who cannot help themselves. {And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40} #itsbiggerthanadress#youcandoanythinginadress #endslavery#enditmovement
#endtrafficking #give #generous #IJM
#Dressember with my jumping bean. Human trafficking is the fastest growing crime in the world. Would you like to help some good guys catch some bad guys? Check out what #internationaljusticemission #IJM stands for! #itsbiggerthanadress #youcandoanythinginadress#endslavery #enditmovement 

Dec. 19: Do you know how many slaves work for you? Thinking none? Try again. 
I have 72. 
I imagine many of them are helpless children. Go to and take the survey to find out how many you have. #Dressember exists to share this exact kind of information and bring freedom for some. It starts with a few of us standing up and saying "I care." Do you care? 
#fridayintroductions #IJM #itsbiggerthanadress#youcandoanythinginadress #endslavery#enditmovement 
Dec. 20: Winterizing a 'Summer' dress today for Dressember. A dear friend told me about a local ministry that seeks to help those trapped in prostitution. Memphis friends, have you heard of the 'A Way Out Program'? Looking for ways we can help closer to home is one way to put a face with the ministry. When you see this problem as a person instead of a statistic, it becomes far more personal and meaningful. Check out this resource or look for more in your area! #IJM #itsbiggerthanadress#youcandoanythinginadress #endslavery#enditmovement 
#endtrafficking #memphis

Karis and I are both in dresses today! I had not missed one Sunday of church since we moved here in May, then I missed the last two Sundays because of sickness with Jonah. So today it was just wonderful to see everybody again!!! I am so thankful for the freedom to celebrate Christ. Those who are captives aren't free to do much, let alone go and worship.  #Dressember#DressemberBabies #IJM #itsbiggerthanadress#youcandoanythinginadress #endslavery#enditmovement 
#endtrafficking  #church #christmastree

Of course, if you are feeling led to give PLEASE visit my campaign page here: Honea Travels in Dresses.
Or if is after December, then just visit the IJM website and donate that way!