Friday, December 14, 2012


Most of us don't really think about end of year giving until taxes roll around right? The thing is, tax deductible donations are tallied up based on the total from the previous year. If you're looking for a tax break (um, hello? aren't we all???) then I have just the opportunity for you.

Children's Hope Chest is a non profit organization that helps children all over the world.
As many of you know (or even if you don’t), I felt called to do a mission trip to Moldova at the end of January. In Moldova, kids are basically kicked out of the orphanages at age 14; because of this, alcoholism among teenagers is very high and many of the girls turn to the sex trade as their last resort. Others are lured in and trafficked against their will. Children’s HopeChest has a program that helps teach them skills so that they can earn a decent living and stay out of trouble. That is what I am going over there to do. I'll be teaching self defense.  Here’s a little info on what they are doing.

 Before I give to any charity I always check them out with Charity Navigator. Children’s HopeChest has a very high 3, almost 4 out of 4 star rating. I try to stick with charities that use at least 80% of their finances for program expenses. You can check them out here

 Now, you totally have the option to give to this particular trip OR you can checkout all the other options Hopechest offers for any giving. Any and all contributions count towards saving lives and YOU can be a part of something BIG. PLUS, most companies will match your donation to 501/503 C, non profit organizations. Most of these young adults simply want the basics: toiletries. Seriously, it doesn't get much more basic than that. If you're at all interested in donating to THIS specific trip keep reading. If your heart pulls in a different direction, simply check out for info on all they have to offer :)

The total cost for the trip is roughly $2500.00. Any donations would be greatly appreciated. If anyone needs year end charitable donations, this is a good one. In order to contribute to THIS trip, go to and click on the “Give” tab. Select “Trip Payments” and enter the amount of your donation, any amount is helpful. Use the Reference Number MT130101T and put MICHELLE CARLSON in the NOTES field.

In God's Love,

Monday, December 10, 2012


Any time we head out on the town as a family, my son and I play a little game. We challenge each other to find smiling faces. It may sound corny, but it's our thing :)

Last night we headed out to our church home for the annual Christmas Pageant and my son and I decided to engage in our little game. The pageant was completely sold out and the seats were nearly full. So, I'll be kind and say we're talking about a couple hundred people (in reality, that should be multiplied). I asked my son to count the smiling faces and he counted 6 and 1/2. The half was a lady whom he could not fully see.

After making this not-so-startling discovery, I asked him what he did notice about all the others. He said they seemed impatient and unhappy. Most were waiting for the show to start, some were barking orders about seats, and other were simply frowning. In the most joyous time of year, there seemed to be far too much bitterness amongst us all...

To me, this begs the question: Why the long face? Now, I get it. I don't know your life, but I would venture a guess as to the fact that you don't know mine either. In fact, many of us are blithely unaware of each others plights and struggles. I find it interesting that those who live with a pessimistic view of the world see those of us who seem happy as not having any problems to deal with. In reality, it is not the problems that are the's our mindset.

How do you handle the magnifying glass of the Christmas season? Do you hold tight to grudges you should have let go long ago? Do you intensify feeling of loneliness by cutting others off from your life? Do you try to make up for a years worth of bad attitudes by going "schedule crazy" in December? Or do you get into debt up to your eyeballs trying to buy favor from others? What do you find your heart all wrapped up in this Christmas?

I believe the key to a fulfilling season is found in the chasm of our mind. For example, if we only focus on how others have done us wrong we will eventually reap the bitter seeds we sow in our hearts. What's worse is the only one we hurt is ourselves. So what do we turn our mind to? I find my answer in the book of Isaiah.
Even to your old age I am He, and even to hair white with age will I carry you. I have made, and I will bear; yes, I will carry and will save you. Isaiah 46:4
I am assured here that God is with me no matter what. I can let you in a little secret now: we're all human. Yes, even you. I'm sure I have disappointed people and I rest assured you have as well. God is higher and He is where our thoughts should rest so our souls can find rest as well.