TYPES OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

A21 on 21 – 5 Types of Human Trafficking.

  There are many forms of trafficking, but one consistent aspect is the abuse of the inherent vulnerability of the victims. On this month’s A21 on 21, I’m sharing Interpol’s informative article on five different types of human trafficking.  1. Trafficking for forced labour Victims of this widespread form of trafficking come primarily from developing […] Read more…

walk for freedom

A21 on 21 – Walk for Freedom 2017

  How do we fight human trafficking? ONE STEP AT A TIME! Last year’s Walk for Freedom was a tremendous success! It was the largest human trafficking awareness event to date with over 300 walks in 40 countries around the world! Encouraged in Heart hosted a team/walk for the first time last year! Here are some of […] Read more…

Jerome Elam

A21 on 21 – Jerome Elam.

On this month’s A21 on 21, I’m sharing more of the story of my friend, fellow veteran, human trafficking survivor and powerful abolitionist, Jerome Elam.  I shared some of his story previously here. So many of us read about survivors and don’t realize the courage it takes to face the abuse and then also face […] Read more…

self

A Note to Self About THE FEELS.

Are you feeling all over the place lately and don’t know exactly what’s up? I wrote this note to Self and prayed that you’d read it to your Self…and that your heart is encouraged. Dear Self, I’m having a lot of feelings and I don’t know what’s up. I’m tempted to just press through and […] Read more…

human trafficking

A21 on 21 – 20 Ways to Fight Human Trafficking

  On this month’s A21 on 21, I’m sharing 20 ways you can help fight human trafficking because there are so many ways to get involved. Here are 20 Ways You Can Help Fight Human Trafficking from US Department of State. Learn the red flags that may indicate human trafficking and ask follow up questions […] Read more…

SHINE A LIGHT

A21 on 21 – Shine a Light on Slavery.

This month’s A21 on 21 I’m urging you to help shine a light on slavery.  The termination of slavery is the most important domestic and more importantly, global pursuit in the 21st century.  The more attention, awareness, education, people, resources, money, technologies, proactive initiatives and abolitionists that show up and shine out to defeat this […] Read more…

The World & the Pattern.

I’m thoroughly convinced the world will never know or love Jesus if Christians look, sound, act and speak in the same pattern of the world. So, how’s your news and social media feed treating ya these days? I don’t know about you, but if I stay on social media news feeds for too long, I […] Read more…

A21 on 21 – 15 Ways To Fight.

On this month’s A21 on 21 blog post, I share 15 ways you can help fight human trafficking. Anyone can join in the fight against human trafficking. Here are some ideas to consider. Learn the indicators of human trafficking so you can help identify a potential trafficking victim. Human trafficking awareness training is available for […] Read more…

dressember

A21 on 21 – Dressember.

On this month’s A21 on 21, I’m sharing about Dressember. Did you know that one dress can change the world? Yes, wearing a dress for the entire month of December helps fight and prevent human trafficking! Dressember is a global movement of people wearing a dress every day in December to raise awareness and funds to […] Read more…

The Life Church

Thanks for Giving!

Today I wanted to say, THANKS FOR GIVING me your support, encouragement, and friendship throughout the years. It was a huge leap of faith for me to step out of my comfort zone and into speaking and writing blog posts and books. So many of you have been there from day one, encouraging, supporting, showing […] Read more…

pornography

A21 on 21 – Pornography and Human Trafficking.

On this month’s A21 on 21, I’m asking some tough questions and sharing some tougher realities because if we’re going to end human trafficking, we need to look at the horrific roots that feed and perpetuate the “demand” – the deviant appetites and heinous crimes against humanity. This past month I listened to a lecture […] Read more…

empty

Are you running on empty?

My friend, are you running on empty? Are you tired of being tired? Are you over EVERYTHING? Is it time to fill er’ up but you don’t know what, where to start, or how to get off the freakin’ hamsterwheel? The signs and symptoms of running on empty are subtle and not-so-subtle. There’s something very […] Read more…

A21 on 21 – 25 Facts About Organ Trafficking

On this months A21 on 21, I’m sharing 25 Alarming Facts About Organ Trafficking. This is one of the least talked about aspects of human trafficking. Traffickers often target disadvantaged & vulnerable people to kidnap or trick into selling their body organs. Common organs trafficked are kidneys and corneas. Watch this 4 minute video to […] Read more…

walk for freedom

A21 on 21 – Walk For Freedom

On this month’s A21 on 21, I’m asking you to join The A21 Campaign’s third annual global Walk for Freedom! The goals for this year’s Walk for Freedom is to take a stand in your city, spread awareness globally that slavery still exists while also raising one million dollars to help care for 2,000 human […] Read more…

true friends

True Friends Share Their Hurt and Their Happy.

This morning at breakfast I briefly talked with Cal and Jake about relationships. Middle school is such a weird, exciting, growing, frustrating, learning, hilarious, fun, sweet, and stinky (Thank you Jesus for Axe body deodorant spray, Amen.) time. I’m in awe of them. They’re navigating middle school like champions. Not perfectly, but honestly, who’s navigating […] Read more…

normal moms

It’s What the Normal Moms Do.

Have you ever wondered, as I have countless times, “What do the normal moms do?” It’s the first day of school here for the Fink fam. We are all kinds of middle schoolers up in here – 6th and 8th grade! (Please notice Crash’s displeasure with the first day of school – he’s still floating […] Read more…

Truckers Against Trafficking

A21 on 21 – Truckers Against Trafficking.

On this month’s A21 on 21 – I’m sharing about an incredible organization, Truckers Against Trafficking, and a story of hope!  Here’s a short video that tells you about Truckers Against Trafficking. Trucker Kevin Kimmel spotted an old RV at a truck stop last year that caught his attention. He says that he noticed “a […] Read more…

Jerome Elam

A21 on 21: What About the Boys? Jerome Elam’s Story.

What about the boys? I’ve written a lot of my monthly A21 on 21 posts about girls and women being human trafficked but I’ve never written a post, which focused on the boys. Today, I share about the boys and the story of one. This is the story a survivor, Jerome, who gave me permission […] Read more…

America heal

Four Ways to Help America Heal

Life, current events, and social media have been populated with so much pain recently. My heart aches. There are so many hurting. There are so many families and communities grieving. I’m grieving with you. I’m praying with you. I want to be an agent of change, hope, and healing with you. Yesterday, I used my […] Read more…

partner

A21 on 21 – Partner.

On this month’s A21 on 21 blog post, I’m inviting you to partner with A21 Campaign! Click here and scroll to the bottom to enter your email address. You’ll begin to receive partner email updates like the one below where you’ll learn more about how to help end human trafficking!   Dear Stephanie, When I […] Read more…

no shame1

No Shame! (Part 1 of 3)

NO SHAME!  In this special three-part series, I want to encourage you this June to say, “No shame!” to your past, present and future.  I encouraged this past Mother’s Day at my home church, The Life Church – (If you’re in northern Virginia, come visit us!) and shame used to be a big part of […] Read more…

A21 on 21 – O.U.R. – Operation Underground Railroad

On this month’s A21 on 21, I’m highlighting an incredible movie and organization I learned about this past month. This past week, some friends, Jake and I went to go see The Abolitionists movie.  There was as special one night showing at select theaters (just during the making of the movie, 7 traffickers were arrested […] Read more…

snarky

The Response to Snarky Comments is…

I recently had someone give me a really snarky comment and honestly, it took me by surprise because it was from a woman I really love. After I silently told myself to, “CALM THE HECK DOWN WOMAN!” (I talk to myself a lot…it’s not cray; it’s okay), I observed a pattern that this friend often […] Read more…

risk factors

A21 on 21 – Human Trafficking in American Schools – Risk Factors and Indicators.

On today’s A21 on 21, we’re looking at the risk factors and indicators of human trafficking in American schools. (Today’s information came from here.) Though there is no standard profile of a child-trafficking victim, several risk factors make certain children more susceptible. Reports indicate that traffickers often target children and youths with a history of […] Read more…

change

Change.

As I made my normal egg white and veggie omelet this morning, I decided I wanted to change up my norm and add some guacamole because…well, guac rocks.  Guacamole is just additional proof that Jesus loves the world and this Jersey girl. For reals. I opened my guac, read the avocado’s “proud-I’m-chunky” comment and thought, […] Read more…

risk

When Was The Last Time You Took a Risk?

When was the last time you took a risk?  Like, a real risk. Not eating spaghetti sauce while wearing a white shirt.  That’s not risky; that’s just INSANE. The reason I ask is during my prayer/reading/sitting/listening time this morning, I read about taking risks and how we should do one thing that involves risk a […] Read more…

21 ways to get involved

A21 on 21 – 21 Ways to Help End Human Trafficking.

On this month’s A21 on 21, we’re focusing on 21 ways to help end human trafficking! 1. WRITE A LETTER Grab your stationery and pull out a pen! The simple act of writing to a survivor in one of our homes is an incredible encouragement to survivors along their journey. But don’t be surprised if […] Read more…

blessed juggle front cover

The Blessed Juggle is now available!

Today is THE DAY! My newest book, The Blessed Juggle – From Cray to Okay, is now available for purchase only at Encouraged in Heart! It’s been months and months of praying, writing, editing, juggling, proofreading and now launching The Blessed Juggle book out into the world! It’s okay…I’m not cray; alright, I feel a […] Read more…

slavery

A21 on 21 – How to Bankrupt Slavery.

Did you know you that modern day slavery creates more money than Starbucks (11 billion dollars), Target (21 billion dollars) and Apple (78 billion dollars) COMBINED?  On this month’s A21 on 21, I share a short informative video how by Human Rights First on how to bankrupt slavery.  Modern day slavery, also known as human […] Read more…

one question

One question.

I just consumed only about a gallon of coffee and as a result have one question for you. Just one question. After a gallon of coffee. The Finkster would label my asking just one question, after a gallon of coffee, nothing short of a Christmas miracle. As the new year approaches almost as rapidly as […] Read more…

simply

Simply.

Yesterday in my private time, the Holy Spirit whispered LIVE SIMPLY – SIMPLY LIVE into my heart. Jesus lived simply and simply lived. Even in a complicated world (I mean come on, they didn’t have Google back in Jesus’ day..), Jesus lived simply. He withdrew from the complexity of life to be with and seek […] Read more…

TED TALK

A21 on 21 – TED Talk on Human Trafficking

On this A21 on 21, I’m sharing a TED Talk by Journalist Noy Thrupkaew.  Noy shares some of her own story and also identifies different ways human trafficking is all around us.  She also asks us to consider the many facets of forced labor exploitation.  I learned a lot by watching this!  Please take the […] Read more…

problem with community

The Problem With Community is…

There’s a problem with community that is often not mentioned and far too overlooked, most likely because the problem is right under our noses. And sometimes, we’re immune to what’s right in front of us. In this age of supersized social media saturation, there’s a problem with community. I don’t believe social media is the […] Read more…

aftercare

A21 on 21: Aftercare Program

On this month’s A21 on 21, we’re listening to some of the incredible global A21 aftercare team members. Currently The A21 Campaign has cared for survivors from 21 different cultural backgrounds. The horrid fact is that currently, less than 1% of human trafficking victims are rescued. And, without a strong aftercare program, the survivors that […] Read more…

victim

A21 on 21 – How To Identify A Human Trafficking Victim

On this month’s A21 on 21 post, we’re focusing on How To Identify A Human Trafficking Victim. This information was posted by my friend, survivor and advocate, Jerome Elam. Jerome’s story was featured here this past January. Ways to identify a human trafficking victim: • Seems anxious, fearful or paranoid. Avoids eye contact. • Tearfulness […] Read more…

Help

Blog cast: Help!

Do you really want to help someone? Then help; don’t rescue. Here’s a little help to help you HELP! The best way I know how to understand the difference is this: Helping is doing something a person can’t do. Rescuing is doing something another person can do but won’t (at least not yet!). Let’s help […] Read more…

do something

A21 on 21 – We Can All Do Something.

On this month’s A21 on 21 post, I want you to hear from The A21 Campaign founder, Christine Caine. My friends, we can’t do everything but WE CAN ALL DO SOMETHING. SLAVERY MUST END. You’ll hear a little more about what The A21 Campaign does to rescue, restore and release healed survivors back into life […] Read more…

momme

I Want to Encourage You!

I want to encourage YOU! I want to encourage you SO MUCH that I’ve been in the studio recording….NO, not music, because I want to encourage you, not cause your ears to bleed… I want to encourage you with audio encouragements so I’m bringing my speaking engagements to YOU!! I have a variety of topics […] Read more…

will

It’s in the Will.

If you want to know what the Finkster’s and my wishes are after we die, it’s in the will. But to be really honest with you, it’s always in the will. Here’s some real talk today. If you’re single, don’t think a man is going to “fix” your life. If you’re married, don’t think a […] Read more…

filter

Filter

I’ve found it necessary to regularly limit my exposure to social media for a few reasons: I don’t want my heart hardened, I want to be a positive change in the world and to be totally honest, sometimes I just need a break from some of the online non-sense. We live in an age where […] Read more…

Kumar

A21 on 21 – Child Labor Slavery

On this month’s A21 on 21 post, we’re focusing on child labor slavery. This atrocity is happening worldwide. Horrifically, the precious orphans that we’re charged to visit and help and care for in their affliction and need (in James 1:27) are often preyed upon by evil. This is a snapshot of Kumar’s story. Kumar became […] Read more…

jon acuff

Blog Cast: One Post.

One post. One person. One person standing their post made a difference in my life. Just in cast you haven’t heard (wink, wink…) last fall, I published my first paper book, Building Bridges – Made on Purpose for a Purpose (you can get a copy at https://encouragedinheart.org/shop/). This was a personal and professional milestone. But […] Read more…

Delight

My son made a picture for me and laid it out on the table, but I was too hurried to notice. I had things to do, and only a certain amount of time to do them in. He waited patiently. He wanted to see my delight in the work he created just for me. So […] Read more…

human trafficking

A21 on 21 – Summer Travel.

Today is the first day of summer. Since this time of year brings summer travel and fun vacations, this month’s A21 on 21 post is about how to recognize common traits of human trafficking victims who are traveling.  Please take the time to read this short list of potential warning signs of human trafficking victims. […] Read more…

wilderness

Wilderness.

Three years ago, the Lord dropped a word into my heart, “WILDERNESS“. Listen, when you’re notified by the Boss (not Springsteen, the Big G), you’re about to leave the comfort of familiar to be placed in a stretching time well, that’s not really all that thrilling of news.  I prefer living in the land that […] Read more…

every season

Blog Cast: Sweetness in Every Season.

Hello! Glamor girl here. Did you know that there’s sweetness in every season? Yes, even when you’re getting up in the 4am hour to finish writing the draft of your next book, The Blessed Juggle – From Cray to Okay in 30 Days! before the kids out out of school (2 days left!)! Here’s the […] Read more…

Katya's story

A21 on 21 – Katja’s Story

On this month’s A21 on 21 post, I’m sharing Katja’s story. Her life has been changed thanks to The A21 Campaign. (If you have young children around, please use caution as this video has mature content.) Please help more lives trapped in human trafficking by sharing this post with your sphere of influence. You never […] Read more…

we all need space to grow

Space to Grow.

We all need some space to grow. When I first planted these rhododendron bushes, I intentionally spaced them out. I’ve learned that plants need room to grow so that they can thrive and bloom. So do people. We all need some space to grow. Friends, no matter where God plants you, give yourself and those […] Read more…

building bridges freebie

Freebies and Building Bridges

As you might have heard, I wrote a book titled, Building Bridges. Despite being the author of said book, I want you to know that I still struggle with building bridges, because well, I’m me. And “me” has a large ego. And my “me ego” (my will) gets in the way. When I let my […] Read more…

ripple effect

Blog Cast: Ripple Effect.

Your life has a ripple effect. Tiny, medium-sized or wide…you have a ripple effect. I don’t know about you, but I wanna have a gigantic ripple effect. No, not after I do a cannon ball into the pool… (then, and only then, I prefer a more petite splash, cause well, ya know…) I want my […] Read more…

human trafficking resource center

A21 on 21 – Labor Trafficking.

This A21 on 21,  I’m writing about labor trafficking. I often write about human sex trafficking and today wanted to spread awareness about labor trafficking. I collected this information from Polaris. Labor trafficking is a form of modern slavery that exists throughout the United States and globally. Labor traffickers—including labor recruiters, contractors, and employers—use violence, […] Read more…

teeter totter

Blog cast: Are You on a Teeter Totter of Talent?

Have you ever played on a teeter totter at a playground? I still teeter totter, almost every morning with, “I’ll wear a hat…no, a blinged out headband (cause it distracts people from my enormous bedhead)”.  Or if I’m really feeling wild, I teeter totter about which way I’ll heat (read: burn) my hair…flat iron no, […] Read more…

April Fools' Day

April Fools Day!

So, I just L-O-V-E April Fools Day. I’m mean, I put some serious thought and preparation into April Fools Day (which is April 1st just in case you didn’t know) because, well, I love laughing. And, I am also sorta totally ghetto fab.  So I’d like to share one April Fool Day idea in hope […] Read more…

walk with me

Crazy Groupie!

Have you ever gone somewhere and noticed a bunch of enthusiastic supporters and thought, “You crazy groupie!” and then proceeded to look for the celebrity they’re following? Webster’s online dictionary defines “groupie” as: a fan of an athlete or celebrity who tries to see the athlete or celebrity as often as possible; an enthusiastic supporter or […] Read more…

bodies are not commodities

A21 on 21 – Bodies are Not Commodities.

On this month’s A21 on 21 post, I wanted to tell you about an educational and awareness program The A21 Campaign developed called Bodies are Not Commodities. Watch this short video: Bodies Are Not Commodities has been developed in response to an overwhelming need for education about human trafficking among students. Its goal is to […] Read more…

change

Blog Cast: What’s Your Gerbil?

What’s your gerbil? Listen, I’ve drank enough coffee. This “What’s your gerbil?” question is for reals, yo! I’ve had different “gerbils” throughout my life. No, not that actual gerbil as I do not prefer a gerbil as a house pet but after you listen to today’s blog cast…you’ll know that what I mean…and that I’ve […] Read more…

be a pine tree

Blog cast: Be a pine tree!

I took this video this past weekend. There’s a lot of wind in the background but don’t please don’t let it distract you from the heart of the message because the wind that surrounds is a vital part of the message and why I want to tell you today to be a pine tree. The […] Read more…

Good meets needs!

Blog Cast: God will meet your needs!

I believe God will meet your needs. I do. I really, really do! I believe God will meet a lot of your “wants”, too!  But, have you ever said, “God will provide!” but wavered? Have ever thought, “God will provide!” but then took matters into your own hands as if God just might not provide? […] Read more…

help them go

A21 on 21 – Let’s help them GO!

On this A21 on 21 post, I’m highlighting an organization that is very dear to my heart, Redemption of Rahab. This life-changing ministry is on the front lines of human trafficking in Washington DC and Virginia. They know “GO” is in the Gospel. They go, meet at risk/trafficked women where they work, in the strip […] Read more…

Hide and Seek.

When I was a child, I loved playing hide and go seek. As I got older, I learned some little tricks to the game. Things like, if you hear the closet door slide open, look for the hider
 in the closet. Or, if you hear feet going up the stairs, look for the hider upstairs. […] Read more…

thirst for first

A Thirst for First.

First, I don’t do resolutions. I’m not against other people having them; it’s just not for me. On the first, there’s something sacred about turning the page and getting a chance to start over. Really though, every day we have this grace; it’s not a new year thing. It’s New Year day and there’s a […] Read more…

free the girls

A21 on 21 – Free the Girls.

This A21 on 21 I want to say, “THANK YOU!” We’re just days away from Christmas and so many of you gave bra gifts to help birth new life and hope into precious beautiful lives.  We collected 620 bras from many different states in the US.  Now, I want you you to see on the […] Read more…

get dressed

Get Dressed.

Every day I get dressed and do my thing.  I’ve done a lot of Christmas shopping this month and been in the stores way more than normal. I’ve seen a lot of naked and hurting people.  What I mean is, I’ve seen a lot of people wearing clothes, but not the right clothes. They’re wearing […] Read more…

Pop and Steph

How You Doin’?

The holidays can bring great joy and a new tidal wave of grief, too. So I want to ask you in a less-creepy-Joey-from-Friends-kinda-way, “How you doin’?” The reason I ask is because I realized I’m doing just doing okay. And it’s okay. I drove home from Jake’s football award ceremony and reached for my phone […] Read more…

top 5 human trafficking hot spots

A21 on 21 – TOP FIVE: Hot Spots for Human Trafficking

Today’s A21 on 21 post came directly from The A21 Campaign blog. Here are the top 5 hot spots for human trafficking. Many people have asked me, “Where does human trafficking take place?” The answer might surprise you.  Cyber World: Social media has had a tremendous impact on the sex industry. People can easily approach […] Read more…

letting go

I’m Letting Go.

I made a decision this morning. I’m letting go… Letting go doesn’t mean I don’t care or that I’ve quit. Quite the opposite is true. It means I care so much that I’m allowing God to be God and lead me. Guys, too many times I’ve taken the reins and asked God to catch up. […] Read more…

get some skin in the game

Get Some Skin in the Game!

Okay, I’m just warning you ahead of time that I’ve had a lot of sleep, coffee and a tremendously long journaling time with the Big G. Now that God’s helped me recalibrate and coffeeinate, I want to share something with you that won’t make you feel comfortable, “Get some skin in the game!” I was […] Read more…

I believein you!

Blog Cast: I Believe in You!

Remember this, “I believe in you!” I made this 37 minute video for you, because I believe in you! I know you have a blessed and full life. I also know you have a message inside of you and wrestle with who, what, how, when and where to share this message with!  I made this […] Read more…

A21 on 21 – Meet Chris Caine.

On this A21 on 21, I want you to meet Chris Caine. Chris is the co-founder of The A21 Campaign.  Chris is just an ordinary woman like you and me. She loves the Lord, is a wife, mom and desires to boldly live out her faith.  Recently she was diagnosed with cancer and I want […] Read more…

Bralalalala

A21 on 21 – Why Bra-la-la-la-la.

This A21 on 21 I want you to have some facts and statistics to support why we’re doing Bra-la-la-la-la for the entire month of October. You can use these facts to help advertise with others why you’ve joined Bra-la-la-la-la and the fight against human trafficking. We’ve already collected over ONE HUNDRED bras so far and […] Read more…

#nicolesstory

A21 on 21 – Survivors Like Nicole.

Did you know that currently only 1-2% of trafficked victims are currently being rescued?  I will fight for those 27 million still living in modern day slavery while also helping survivors like Nicole. Nicole was trafficked for 7 years, forced to have 2 abortions and finally ran 3 flights of stairs to freedom. I used […] Read more…

Awesome life

Do You Want an Awesome Life?

Do you want an awesome life? I don’t think there’s anyone out there that would really say, “No Steph, I’d really love to have a crappy life!” Today I want to encourage you to not compromise. Don’t trade awesome in for the compromise of so-so! Last week I sat in my hairstylist’s chair to get […] Read more…

What are you waiting for?

Have you ever said or thought, “What are you waiting for?” Last week I styled my hair and wrestled with saying something to someone about something. How’s that for being crystal clear?!? I thought, “What are you waiting for, Steph?” You see, I ‘m no longer of a student at the school of Stuff Your […] Read more…

Bralalalala

A21 on 21 – Free the Girls – Bra-la-la-la-la.

  ‘Tis the season to free the girls, bra-la-la-la-la ….  Just like the retail stores, I’m ready to get my holiday groove on, more then a few months early! Three questions: 1. Do you want to end human trafficking? 2. Are you part of a sports team, Girls Scouts, Boy Scouts, book club, gym, coffee […] Read more…

a love letter

A Love Letter from Me to You.

I’m 40 which is the exact middle ground between 20 and 60. I wrote a love letter to both the younger and older peeps because I care, a lot. It’s from me to you. Sometimes I struggle with relating to both the younger and older generation. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying, I’m just saying that […] Read more…

3 Relationship Reminders

Relationship Reminders.

The Finkster is soooo great at soooooo many things. He’s great at building bathrooms. (Seriously. Amazing, right?!?!?!) He’s great at putting out fires. Heck, he’s great at putting out fires that his wife starts in the kitchen (which just further supports why I really, really should stay out of the kitchen. It’s in everyone’s best […] Read more…

A Special Message from COFFEE GIRL!

(I don’t know who created this most awesome pic to give credit where credit is due!) I posted this picture to my Facebook wall, Instagram and Twitter yesterday. I think it’s hilarious. Hours after posting, I thought this pic is not only utterly hilarious, it’s also wisdom. You see, when we let the sun shine […] Read more…

A21 on 21 – World Cup 2014 and It’s a Penalty.

As many of you know the World Cup is going on in Brazil right now. Large sporting events like the World Cup and the Super Bowl increase crime such as human trafficking and child exploitation, with the influx of tourist travel. At the 2014 Super Bowl, sixteen juveniles were rescued from being forced into prostitution. […] Read more…

Remain.

When we remain, He sustains. A few days ago I posted the picture on the left. I noticed this beautiful bloom as I walked Crash. I clipped a bloom and brought it home to continue enjoying this unique beauty. Not even 24 hours later, the beautiful bloom, withered. The bloom needed to remain attached to […] Read more…

Practice Field

The Practice Field.

Jake and I talked recently while we walked Crash and tossed the football back and forth. Jake still wants to be an NFL football player when he grows up. When he scores a touchdown, he wants to point others to God and give God the glory. I’ve seen him practicing his end zone “glory dance”. […] Read more…

Drinking coffee

Are You Drinking Coffee From a Pothole?

You know I don’t play when it comes to coffee.  There have been times in my life when I drank coffee from a pothole. This is utterly cray cray because I know which places have the best iced coffee (Panera), lattes (Starbucks) and drive thru options (Caribou is closing but Starbucks just opened one). I […] Read more…

A Mother’s Day Push.

Earlier this week, I wept in the Mother’s Day card aisle. I found the perfect card for my mom. I wasn’t looking for one for her. HEAVEN isn’t a deliverable address for postal carriers. I was there looking for other women but I found the perfect one for her. I’ve pushed so many tears out […] Read more…

bike

What’s wrong with me?

Have you ever looked at the woman who is stylin’ and smilin’ and wondered, “What’s wrong with me?” Or the composed mom who patiently guides her child through a meltdown and considered, “What’s wrong with me?” Or the speaker who speaks to stadium filled seats and cried out, “What’s wrong with me?” Or the woman […] Read more…

It's About Time

BLOG CAST: It’s About Time.

Have you ever thought, “I can’t because I don’t have the time!”? Do you want to manage your time instead of your time managing you? I don’t know about you, but I’m always looking for different and better ways to streamline my time-consuming daily and weekly tasks so I can keep stumbling forward on purpose. […] Read more…

Twenty Seven Million song

A21 on 21 – Real Men Don’t Buy Girls.

Today is A21 on 21. Real men don’t buy girls. Real people don’t buy people. Those two sentences may seem like obvious statements but they’re not. There are TWENTY SEVEN MILLION slaves today. People are buying people. People are not a commodity. God gives us all different talents and spheres of influence. Matt Redman and […] Read more…

Change Pace.

During Lent and also throughout life, I need to change my life pace so I don’t about face and quit. My happy place is the beach.  My beach life pace is so different than my normal life pace. I feel most restful at the beach. I love everything (well, almost everything) about the beach. The […] Read more…

I’ll Be Happy When…

Just look at my little baby’s face. He’s just miserable. Crash doesn’t like bad weather or when his mom puts him in clothing. (But seriously, isn’t that an adorable Sherlock Holmes jacket?!) Crash also doesn’t like wearing clothing in bad weather. You see, my baby shivers in the cold. So as his parent, I will […] Read more…

TBT – Brokenness.

(*This post is a Throwback Thursday from two years ago.) Going through the motions doesn’t please you, a flawless performance is nothing to you. I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered. Heart-shattered lives ready for love don’t miss for a moment escape God’s notice. Psalm 51:16-17 (Message) Earlier this week, I blew it. I […] Read more…

A21 on 21 – A Survivor’s Story.

It’s A21 on 21.  This is Katie and her story.  She’s a survivor.  Her life changed forever when she was just eleven years old.  ONE person saw something in her and offered her help. Another ONE cared. My friends, ONE person can make a difference. I pray her survivor story encourages you to know you […] Read more…

AWE Party.

This summer I want to do something awesome and different.  No, I’m not waxing my legs again, or ever, for that matter… This summer let’s have an AWEsome PARTY!!!!!  When you think about an awesome women that stood by your side and encouraged you, who do you think of? I want this to be a […] Read more…

Help Me Stand My Post.

This is super brief because brief is my current bandwidth allotment. Since my father’s passing two weeks ago, so many kind hearts have asked me, “How can I help?” or, “How can I pray for you?” The offers of love, friendship and support have been a source of such great comfort. It matters to me […] Read more…

YOLO Swag.

My precious nine year old won’t stop saying, “YOLO SWAG!” and I want it to stop. (FYI:  YOLO = You Only Live Once) Me: “Cal, go fold your laundry!” Cal: “YOLO SWAG!” Me: “Dinner time!” Cal: “YOLO SWAG!” Me: “Did you finish your homework?” Cal: “YOLO SWAG!” Do you want to know what happens when […] Read more…

Pop’s Eulogy and Life Motto – Keep Punching.

I’m probably going to be writing about my Pop for a while. Probably only forever, because like my mother…I’ll never stop loving or missing them.  Writing helps me turn my emotions over to God, process, heal and express the healing process of turning my emotions over to God.  I had a really crappy afternoon yesterday, […] Read more…

BLOG CAST: Unseen Potential.

Focus on what you believe, not solely on what you see because there is unseen potential.  I pray today’s blog cast encourages your heart! Repeat with me, “I will not focus solely on what I see, I will focus on what I believe. I believe Jesus! There’s unseen potential coming!” Read more…

Mentor Monday: Mom Life.

Today’s Mentor Monday question: I love my kids and was at first happy to be a stay-at-home mother but now I feel trapped like I’m only good for meals laundry and cleaning. Does this mean I shouldn’t be a stay-at-home mom? Please help! This is our last Mentor Monday. Thank you for participating and responding […] Read more…

A21 on 21 – Katja’s Story of Freedom.

It’s A21 on 21 and today I’m encouraged to report progress.  My friends, please watch this three minute video of Katja and her story of freedom. I am proud to be a partner with The A21 Campaign to abolish injustice and slavery in the 21st century.  (*Be aware this video contains adult material, if you […] Read more…

Mentor Monday: Family and Private Time

Today’s Mentor Monday questions: 1.  What If The Toxic People That Bring You Down In Life, Are Your Family? How Do You Cope With That… And Be A Good Follower Of The Lord? Friends, Usually Do Not Understand. 2.  I’m struggling in my private time and need encouragement on what private time is. I’d appreciate […] Read more…

Mentor Monday: Relationships.

Today’s Mentor Monday questions are: 1.  I go to an awesome church where there’s great worship and preaching. I feel like like the slant of the church is always leaning towards married people and families but I’m single. I’m struggling to find a community where I can be growing in my faith and relationships. 2.  […] Read more…

We Wish You a Merry Christmas!

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). Matthew 1:23 No matter where you are geographically, emotionally and spiritually, I pray that you experience Immanuel, God with us, in a very real, tender and most personal way. From my home to yours, […] Read more…

A21 on 21 – The National Human Trafficking Hotline.

It’s A21 on 21. The more I learn, the more passionate I am about being an abolitionist to end human sex trafficking which is slavery. There are about 100,000 children that are sex slaves in the United States of America today.  There are child sex slaves in MY COUNTRY.  In the United States, truck stops […] Read more…

Sonderful is WASSUP?

I know this is the Christmas season and I desperately want to be focused soley on the greatest Gift ever born but lately I’ve been distracted.  I’ve been pulled a little here and a little there and ALOTTA here-there. This time of year can bring a magnified wonderful and equally magnified sad.  Today I’m writing […] Read more…

Mentor Monday! WASSUP?

Have you ever met a wise woman that’s a little further down the road of life and thought, “Wow, I could really learn a lot from her. She needs to mentor me!”  And, for one reason or another you never asked her because, “She’s probably too busy.”? You are not alone.  I almost didn’t ask […] Read more…

We all have stuff.

The Finkster and I observed a beautiful woman courageously face her “stuff” at our kitchen table this past week. This woman is considerably younger than us and what impressed me most is she considered the long-range implications of her current choices and stuff.  The weight of her stuff is now too heavy for her. She’s […] Read more…

Ghetto Fab Mom. WASSUP?

I don’t want to brag or anything (yes I do), but I’m planning on taking Pinterest by storm with this pic and post.  One look at this pic and I’ll be on the FAB MOM BOARD in just seconds. Whoops, I left out one word, GHETTO.  I’ll be on the GHETTO FAB MOM BOARD with […] Read more…

A Closed Door.

I believe a closed door can be a very beautiful thing.   I do. I’ve heard the popular saying, “When God closes one door, He opens a window.”  This sentence has a lot of merit but needs to be stretched a little further, particularly as we focus a bit more on gratitude and thankfulness in […] Read more…

A21 on 21- Nefarious

I call the 21st of every month A21 on 21 here at EIH as it’s the day that I write about human sex trafficking. Encouraged in Heart is a proud partner with the awesome non-profit organization, The A21 Campaign, that fights against human trafficking. Today I want to share with you a movie titled Nefarious. […] Read more…

Keep Calm and Get Heartbroken. Wassup?

I recently thought about the only other guy I seriously thought I would marry BF (Before Finkster). We dated in college and had an intense passion and toxicity. I ignored my friends many warnings because I allowed my infatuation to put blinders over my eyes. I saw what I wanted to see and that was that.  […] Read more…

Freedom Street.

I live really close to Freedom Street.  No joke.  I took the above picture this past weekend while I was out biking and talking and talking and biking with the Big G. I had a ginormous A-HA moment that I’ve been dying to share with you.  I even pulled over my bike, took out my […] Read more…

God’s Presence. WASSUP?

God’s presence brings peace. Soothes. Calms storms. Strengthens weary hearts. Encourages the discouraged. Fortifies the wobbling. Embraces the hurting. Refocuses the scattered. Refuels the warrior. What is one thing God’s presence has done for you? WASSUP? Read more…

Mindful. WASSUP?

There’s really something to living life on the hamster wheel I tell ya. It’s familiar. It’s (almost) honorable. It’s bigger. It’s bigger than just the circular strides that creates the self feeding constant motion. It’s often mindless…because it’s familiar. And, in the mindlessness of the hamster wheel I realize that the hamster wheel is an […] Read more…

Did I Do Good? Am I Good Enough?

I passed Cal in the school hallway today after I had a parent-teacher conference.  Knowing why I went in he immediately asked, “Did I do good?”  His eyes screamed, “Am I good enough?” He looked at me, his parent, for worth. I felt it in my inner-momma-spirit that this was one of those moments that […] Read more…

A21 on 21 – It’s “P”ersonal.

Encouraged in Heart is a proud partner with the awesome non-profit organization, The A21 Campaign, that fights against human trafficking. It’s A21 on 21 and what I’m writing about today is personal.  It’s more personal than any other A21 on 21. When you look at someone in the eyes and hug them, it’s personal. Last […] Read more…

BLOG CAST: Come On!

I walked Crash on my fav trail yesterday.  If I said, “Come on!” once, I said it a zillion times. Crash was so busy looking at the dog behind him that he couldn’t see anything in front of him.  He sat and looked back.  He pulled to go back and his ghettofabulous Momma said, “Come […] Read more…

When I Was a Kid, I Remember…WASSUP?

Have you ever looked at the kids today and thought, “WHEN I WAS A KID, I remember….” and finished the sentence with some random “hardship”. Me too.  Laughter is good medicine…here goes, hope you’ll join in! WHEN I WAS A KID… My antibacterial gel was called my mom’s spit on a Burger King napkin. I […] Read more…

Absorbed and Exhausted.

“I’m ex-haust-ed,” I complained to the Finkster when he was away on a business trip this past summer. He sympathetically inquired, “Are the boys giving you a hard time?” “No, they’ve been amazing.  I stayed up until 3am watching Season 2 of Downton Abbey and I’m totally exhausted.” We couldn’t contain our laughter…the Finkster because […] Read more…

Learn, love and live.

The more I learn about the gospel, the more I love the gospel and the more I’m compelled to live out the gospel (the revelation of Christ).  The gospel does not change.  The way I live out the gospel has changed…. dramatically. What does learn, love and live the gospel look like to you today? […] Read more…

In My Circle? Wassup?

I used to put my kids in a playpen when they were little to keep them safe, me sane and home destruction minimal.  I put our dog Crash in a kennel for the very same reasons. As the kids and the dog mature, their circle of control (and destruction) widens.  But, even as a grown, […] Read more…

Scars and Stories.

One of the many things I love about cops is that we love telling stories.  Every time my old partner, Tom, and I get together, we go through the old schtick of stories we lived out together.  Our families listen because (we make them) the stories are engaging, exciting, unpredictable and for the most part […] Read more…

I Wonder About Being Scared and Sacred.

I wonder, when was the last time you did something that scared you? I’m not talking about going COSTCO shopping on a Saturday morning scary, that’s just plain crazy.  I’m not talking about getting your legs waxed….that’s just ridiculous (and not permanent as I found out).  The something scary that I’m writing to you about […] Read more…

The Younger Generation.

I just got back from a run with Crash.  And, let me just say that when I run with Jess, she does not require quite as many pee breaks! Sheesh… While on our run, I got to thinking.  You and I, we, can make a such a huge difference in the younger generation (you know […] Read more…

Wear What Fits Today.

I walked into my closet and scanned for a shirt to wear. It’s way lame to admit that I regularly think, “I have nothing to wear” cause I just typed that I walked into my closet. My closet is way bigger than what I need. I’m blessed to have a closet full of nothing-to-wear clothes. […] Read more…

I Hang the Important Stuff.

This week as I lived the glamorous life that I do, often do in yoga pants, I went into Jake’s closet to get his laundry hamper out. This is what I saw… The boy has never hung anything on a hanger (please note the empty hangers on the right!) unless under intense coercion by the […] Read more…

Just Finish The Race.

When a friend recently asked me, “How many eBooks do you hope to sell?” this was my reply, “When a marathon runner prepares for their very first marathon, they normally run to finish the race.  I just want to finish the race.  I just want to publish the eBook.  Next marathon (book), I’ll go for […] Read more…

5 Things I Want You To Know About Being a 20-Something. (Week 5 of 5)

Earlier this summer, I asked a handful of friends if they’d join this writing-encouragement-August-project titled, “5 Things I Want You to Know About……”  God’s seen them t-h-r-o-u-g-h some BIG things so I asked them to share “5 Things I Want You to Know About __________”.  They prayed and filled in the blank.  Every Thursday this […] Read more…

5 Things I Want You To Know About Being a Pastor’s Spouse. (Week 4 of 5)

Earlier this summer, I asked a handful of friends if they’d join this writing-encouragement-August-project titled, “5 Things I Want You to Know About……”  God’s seen them t-h-r-o-u-g-h some BIG things so I asked them to share “5 Things I Want You to Know About __________”.  They prayed and filled in the blank.  Every Thursday, I’m […] Read more…

A21 on 21 – Education and Prevention.

Every 21st of the month I blog to spread awareness about the atrocity of human sex trafficking and The A21 Campaign. Every 30 seconds, another person becomes a victim of human sex trafficking. This needs to end, now. The best place to start is locally. Last month, some friends and I joined about 150 other […] Read more…

5 Things I Want You To Know About Being Divorced. (Week 3 of 5)

Earlier this summer, I asked a handful of friends if they’d join this writing-encouragement-August-project titled, “5 Things I Want You to Know About……”  God’s seen them t-h-r-o-u-g-h some BIG things so I asked them to share “5 Things I Want You to Know About __________”.  They prayed and filled in the blank.  Every Thursday, I’m […] Read more…

5 Things I Want You To Know About Being The Parent of an Adult Child Who is Gay. (Week 2 of 5)

Earlier this summer, I asked a handful of friends if they’d join this writing-encouragement-August-project titled, “5 Things I Want You to Know About……”  God’s seen them t-h-r-o-u-g-h some BIG things so I asked them to share “5 Things I Want You to Know About __________”.  They prayed and filled in the blank.  Every Thursday, I’m […] Read more…

Our “Garden”.

We ate our first yellow pepper from our garden last week. By garden I mean our singular container. This is our “garden”! Yes, the quotation marks are needed cause…well, you know. Any green thumbs out there? Whatcha growing in your garden? WASSUP?!?! Read more…

The answer is found in the space between Perfect and me.

The answer to many of my questions are found in the space between Perfect (God) and me (ghetto-fabulous and utterly imperfect). It’s important to remember that only God is perfect. I’m not. You’re not. Your spouse isn’t. Your boss/coworkers aren’t.  Your neighbors, church, kids, pastors, friends….all. not. perfect.  Only God is perfect. So how do […] Read more…

Sliced too thin?

You know that no one is ever asking me for a recipe because cooking and baking just aren’t my thangs.  And even though I’m fully aware of my culinary deficiency, I stil made two pies for you today! I chronically hear women say, “I’m so busy, I’m so busy, I’m so busy, I’m soooooooooooooooooo busy.”  […] Read more…

A21 on 21 – She’s Not a Stat, But Know the Stats.

It’s A21 on 21 today. For any new friends here, I write about human sex trafficking and The A21 Campaign on the 21st of every month. A woman trapped in human sex trafficking isn’t a statistic, she’s a human life. But to help these precious human lives, it helps to know the statistics. Today, I’m […] Read more…

Fill in the blank – WASSUP!?!

A fill-in-the-blank is WASSUP this Wednesday! This morning I woke up at the first thing I did was 1. _______.  (Take my thyroid pill.) The first person I talked to was 2. _______. (Crash, stop licking my face!) The first thing I drank was 3. ________.  (Coffee with 1% milk.) The first place I went […] Read more…

BLOG CAST: Why God Made Me in 24 Seconds.

Have you ever wondered, “Why God made me?”  I asked Cal to write his answer yesterday.  My little homeslice has his Momma’s hieroglyphic-styled handwriting and needs to practice.  After wiggling around the living room for the better part of an hour, he said, “I’m finished Momma.”  Cal answered in 24 seconds what Bible scholars have […] Read more…

BLOG CAST: From Wilderness to…

The past since months have been difficult ones for me. Not impossible, but very, very difficult. Just to a quick snapshot are the honorable mentions: a marriage crisis, my father almost died, parenting challenges that asked the Finkster and I to be more bold than ever in our trust in God and God called us […] Read more…

A21 on 21 – Freedom Begins Here.

Click here to view in browser. Steph,There’s an old saying about people who wrong you, “With friends like that, who needs enemies?”This couldn’t be more true for Teresa.Teresa’s “friend” took her out for a drink, then drugged her and took her to Greece where he sold her. Within hours, Teresa went from a date into […] Read more…

The Highlight of the Lowlights.

I love me some hair highlights. My fab hairstylist, Vince, honors my two spoken and one unspoken long-standing requests: 1. Obliterate the gray. 2. Don’t make me look like a soccer mom that drives a minivan (whatever, just roll with me on this one). 3. Even out the uneven bangs that I clearly self-trimmed. Last […] Read more…

The Mountain in Front of You.

My ways are often not God’s ways. And very often, my perspectives aren’t either. All too often when I’m faced with a very big something…it feels like a huge, impossible mountain to climb. And I get stuck. But you see, that’s where I’m wrong. I’m only seeing the very big something from my perspective. This […] Read more…

Pet Tricks is WASSUP!

Pet tricks have been Wassup in the Fink home lately! The boys and I have been checking out pet trick videos on YouTube which makes me examine some of the four legged ones in my life…   My nephew, Griffin (left), and his cousin, my baby, Crash (right)…love sunning themselves and chillaxin’ outdoors. But they […] Read more…

The Message and the Method.

Certain messages I think about a lot.  I was recently thinking about a sermon message that I heard over ten years ago by my friend, Pastor Brad Russell of Dulles Community Church.  He said, “Compromise the METHOD but not the MESSAGE!” Compromise the method, not the message! When I first became a Christian, I thought […] Read more…

No more blah blah blah.

So don’t sit around on your hands! No more dragging your feet! Clear the path for long-distance runners so no one will trip and fall, so no one will step in a hole and sprain an ankle. Help each other out. And run for it! Hebrews 12:12-13 When you run in a road race, there […] Read more…

Just Say, “No!” and go slow!

Entering into a four-day weekend throws a curve ball of slow into a go go go go go routine. So often I find myself resisting slow and saying, “No!” and just go go go go go.  Do you know? Some things I’ve wanted to say, “No!” to, but didn’t. Take for example Cal’s four-month phase […] Read more…

Angelina Jolie. WASSUP?

I was shocked when my friend Court told me about Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy. Shocked. I feel like a butt-wad writing that I was shocked, and you know full well that I DO NOT WANT TO BE A BUTT-WAD, but I was shocked.  It’s not like I know her, Brad and their tribe or anything.  […] Read more…

Two ways to say, “It’s okay.”

The past.  Sometimes we need to look back at the past, to get past our past and go forward in our future. I love to listen and talk with women. One of my most favorite things to do after a speaking engagement is listen to what’s on women’s hearts. Often times I hear laughter.  And, […] Read more…

One hangry rapper.

I’m learning so much these days.   For example, Facebook taught me about Grumpy Cat.  I’m a dog person, I thought all cats were grumpy.  I didn’t know that there was one that ruled supreme. So now I know. Yesterday I learned, via Twitter, a new word, “hangry”.  When you’re so hungry that you’re angry, my […] Read more…

And, I Don’t Want to be a Butt-Wad.

It’s Friday and I’m fri-ed…so here it goes. I love Jesus. I love Jesus so much and want the world to know this about me. But sometimes, I’m scared. Sometimes I get scared. I get scared sometimes to tell people that I love Jesus because the word “Christian” means a lot of different things to […] Read more…

A Wonder Woman WASSUP!

(pic from here) I sat in a meeting this week where a woman said, “When I am honest, I’m humbled not humiliated.” Wow. Another Wonder Woman to add to my collection of wonderful women. “When I am honest, I’m humbled not humiliated.” This wonderful wisdom just rolled off her tongue as coffee rolled off mine. […] Read more…

Laura in a Bikini on My Front Yard.

I’m so dead meat on this one. But it’s cool cause I have exceptionally forgiving friends. And, Laura’s gonna kill me for this but I know she loves me and will forgive me….eventually. Tomorrow we have our annual community yard sale. Tons of peeps pass by my home to go there so WE (Laura + […] Read more…

Jesus take the wheel…and wax strip.

Ask Jess, I’ve been talking about getting back to weight lifting for M-O-N-T-H-S.  By months I mean about two years.  And I meant it…eventually. I enjoy walking, biking, elliptical and running but cardio activity is tough on my ligaments and joints. I could have avoided some minor injuries with strength training so I (eventually) got […] Read more…

The Routine of Going Out on a Limb…

The more I study the character and experience the power of God, the more I see patterns where God asks His followers to come up higher, dig in deeper, stretch out further all to trust Him more. Sometimes I slide into complacency.  I long for routine comforts and when I’ve experienced God in an XYZ […] Read more…

you + me = WE

On Tuesday, I had an amazing dinner with my friend Pam.  We shared about life, faith and running…home girl ran a 10 mile race and then a 5K the weekend following! We found yet again that we’re kindred hearts.  We both love God, bling, our friends and want to encourage women’s hearts for God’s glory! […] Read more…

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