Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Reality Rally. Gillian's event Reality Rally has done so many wonderful things for the community of Temecula Valley California, where Gillian resides, as well as Michelle's Place a wonderful resource for many women with breast cancer, that I felt it should be highlighted on my page here. Below are some questions concerning Reality Rally and it's history and it's impact on so many.
Brenda: Thank u Gillian for agreeing to do this interview with me. It is a pleasure doing this and sharing the wonderful event. I would like to get things started by asking this question. You are a former cast member on Season 17, Survivor Gabon; how did u get cast to the show? Were u a fan of the show previously?
Gillian: Yes I was a huge fan of Survivor from the first season and I applied from the second season on. I applied to every season. For 8 years I sent in 15 applications. I went to two open casting calls. I was brought into 2 interviews a year apart and I had a very extensive phone interview at one point. I sent in 20 applications before I finally was able to get on. I truly love the game and still love the game. My advice is to NEVER GIVE UP if you are trying to get on Survivor. If you are the right person for the right season then u will get picked. So just never give up!!!
Brenda: I love the story of how the idea for Reality Rally came about when you were walking down the beach one day in Gabon. Had you wanted to do Reality Rally previously or did Reality Rally come as a result of this walk?
Gillian: No, when my torch was snuffed out the idea for Reality Rally came about. I wanted my experience of 6 days to make a difference. I realized I was able to use my Survivor platform to do so much more with it. During the 5 weeks that I was at Ponderosa waiting for the game to end, I was training for a 60 mile walk and while training for this walk the idea for Reality Rally came about.
The vision behind Reality Rally was to enhance the community of Temecula to offer an event that anyone can be a part of and for reality stars to attend and have fun in the process. which is why we call it Fun For Funds, while raising money for a charity. It is a wonderful resource and can help so many people. Reality Rally has truly become what I envisioned in that it benefits so many more people in the community and others across the country and has done so much more than me playing Survivor could ever have done for me.
Brenda: Why Michelle's Place? What stood out about this resource?
Gillian: I had read Michelle's story about 8 years ago, she was a young woman who had been misdiagnosed with a breast lump when she was 19 and told not to worry about it. She was diagnosed at 23 with breast cancer and then died when she was 26. Michelle's Place was started about 10 years ago and they provide over 6,000 services a year for women and their families who are affected by breast cancer.
Brenda: What all goes into planning Reality Rally each year? Is it a 365 day a year thing? What goes into the staging of your event?
Brenda: I hear that your work covers a larger distant reach now with other countries and charities. How much of an impact does it have as that is remarkable!
Gillian: This has definitely become an event that has reached all across the world and allowed many people to be involved in helping with the fundraising. Reaching out to the reality star fan base and the reality star base the fundraising came in from nine countries, all 50 states and 455 cities. Plus the public (teams) that were part of the games their fundraising came in from 5 countries, 23 states 106 cities. So it has definitely expanded all across the world. Reality Rally is a trademark planning business that can be taken to other communities to expand their communities and their charities. We re looking into doing that this year and expanding out across the country for the same event focus.
Brenda: Looking back on this past event, is there anything that stood out to you?
Gillian: The thing that stands out to me all the time and blows my mind is just hoiw many people have taken my vision and have made it their event and their vision too. It never ceases to amaze me in fact I am completely in awe of this. The sponsors, the people who compete in the teams and the reality stars, the community and all who back us, it just never ceases to amaze me and blows my mind.
To think all of these people are making my "jungle vision" theirs as well and I remain in eternal gratitude to every one who has ever been involved at any point. it never ceases to blow my mind how much they have embraced it and made it their own. When I look back at the highlight videos that are available at the Reality Rally Home Page. I sit in awe thinking "wow!! we did that!"
Brenda: Any advice for anyone who would like to organize a yearly event?
Gillian: It takes a tremendous amount of commitment and passion and a lot of work. If you have a charity that you really want to support then you have the commitment and the passion, anyone can do it! Be prepared for a lot of work! It's the commitment, the passion and the help. Those are the 3 things that you will need to make it successful.
Brenda: Gillian u have been so wonderful! Thank u for taking time out of your busy schedule to do this interview with me. In closing, do u have any shout outs?
Gillian:Fan Page please go LIKE the Fan Page and keep an eye out on what we are doing!
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I would like to extend an invite for u all to order this book which is currently available for ordering online. Holly has an amazing story of comeback from trials to now living a happy and successful life. In fact her life mirrors her Survivor experience as it started tough but she made it and is flourishing!
On a personal note, I will add that Holly has been an encouraging and wonderful presence in my life. She befriended me early, prior to her season's start. She sent me a private message on Facebook and said I'd like to get to know you, tell me more about you. Not many cast have approached me that way so it was cool. I responded and we hit it off like gangbusters. Holly and her husband Charlie, were gracious enough to share the entire journey with me.
During the season I had some problems in my own life here and there, but though she was so busy in her own life, Holly would drop everything and be there for me. She was the person I would turn to in tears who would speak encouragement to me. She got me through some really rough periods and has been a motivating impact in my own life. That is what makes Holly a genuinely beautiful person and I have never forgotten that kindness she showed. Plus her life is so motivating as well in watching the beauty of her ride and how it has come full circle.
So in short I have had the blessing to know Holly Hoffman personally and hope many of you will take the time to get to know her as well. You won't regret it! She's one in a million!
To order a copy please click on this link to purchase directly from her website
Plus please take a moment to follow Holly Hoffman on Twitter as well by going to @HollyHoffmanS21 link will take you directly to her Twitter to follow her!
Below is a video of Holly as well enjoy!!
Visit her website today at Holly Hoffman Org!
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Recently I came across this lesser known and appreciated book of the Old Testament. I had not myself ever truly read it but I received a prompting to have a look at it. Which I did and upon reading it gained a genuine appreciation for it.
Habbakuk from what brief research I have done on him was a minor prophet and possibly a temple musician during the reign of Jehoiakim (from 609-598 BCE.) This is when the Babylonians were growing in power.
The main interchange in this book is of how a man openly questions the wisdom of God asking why He allows such problems and horrible things to happen to His people? In the first chapter we read in verses 12-17:
"LORD, are you not from everlasting? My God, my Holy One, you will never die.
You, LORD, have appointed them to execute judgment; you, my Rock, have ordained them to punish. Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing. Why then do you tolerate the treacherous? Why are you silent while the wicked swallow up those more righteous than themselves? You have made people like the fish in the sea, like the sea creatures that have no ruler. The wicked foe pulls all of them up with hooks, he catches them in his net, he gathers them up in his dragnet; and so he rejoices and is glad. Therefore he sacrifices to his net and burns incense to his dragnet, for by his net he lives in luxury and enjoys the choicest food. Is he to keep on emptying his net, destroying nations without mercy?"
Reading the pleas all through this book and the responses that God sent back to His servant made me feel as if I too could relate to this prophet. Nowadays when we look around and see the violence that happens on a daily basis. Plus we see so many people getting wealthy off doing questionable things. The parts where he mentions how the wicked enjoy the luxuries and continue to succeed while many don't. Plus the part where he speaks of the treacherous wrong doing that abounded caught my heart.
I realize that Habakkuk comes across initially as indignant and demanding but I feel each of us have had those "moments" when we too have searched God for understanding.
Though it's not quite on the level of Habbakkuk's, I can myself recall a hissy fit I threw when I was 16 over wanting to join a Church. How the Lord dealt with my searchings shows the same level of mercy and compassion that He displayed to Habakkuk when he too stood upset and indignant towards The Lord.
I had been myself patiently waiting for years to join a church that I had grown to love. However, my mom couldn't sign the permission slip for me to join as the sect she belonged to had threatened to expel her if she did.
On a "fleshly level" I felt that it was so wrong as I felt that I had the right to worship however I wanted.
I also didn't like how the leaders within her sect were over-stepping personal boundaries with me and dictating even my being able to attend the Church. Especially since I was not even a member of their sect and had not attended in years.
When I was able to finally win that battle to attend, the right to join seemed almost futile. Finally during a meeting I attended, which was held during the week for the youth and happened about a month after I started attending Church, I sat and listened while 3 teenagers (younger than myself) be asked about how they were faring with their families and friends since they were about to be baptized.
The teens all shrugged and said basically "aehhh". Now at this time it had taken me months to even get to the point of being able to attend. Plus I was enduring a lot of crap from people about my choice plus dealing with this sect also. After listening to all this at the meeting, I was rather upset and ended up having a rather vocal and lengthy hissy fit talk with God.
I remember to this day how He handled me as He said "To be silent before the Lord and wait for Him" (Psalm 37:7 click to read)Then He gave me a verse from the Bible at Matthew 25:23 which reads : "Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!"
I grew quiet and sure enough in a matter of 4 days my mom allowed me to be baptised in secrecy.
The interchanges between Habbakkuk and God are so timeless and faith affirming. God's responses to him show such wisdom and mercy. My favorite response can be found throughout chapter 2 of the book the last line is so important, for God urged silence, saying "But oh! God is in His holy Temple! Quiet everyone—a holy silence. Listen!"
A verse found at Habbakkuk 2:4 is referenced several times by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:17 Galatians 3:11 and the essence of the verse can be found also at Hebrews 10:37,38
As you read further into this great book you will begin to learn, that the true theme of Habakkuk, is growing from a sense of perplexity and doubt, to one of absolute trust in God.
It is a journey we all take. In the end God pulls us through as His Holiness and mercy reveals itself even more in our lives and in the world around us.
Be still and trust. God has it.
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Sunday, April 15, 2012
Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening let your hands not be idle, for you do not know which will succeed, whether this or that, or whether both will do equally well.
Joel Osteen (click to listen) about sowing seeds in your time of need. While listening to it I felt led to share this inspirational wisdom as well.
Joel touched on how often when we are in need we tend to think of our needs primarily. He shared the wisdom that when we are in our lowest moments, be it financially, be it illness, be it the loss of a loved one, depression, etc.. that instead of allowing ourselves to stay mired in the waters of self absorption and pity, instead we should focus on being a blessing in others lives. That by "sowing seeds in time of need" we not only directly bless a life but we also bless ourselves.
The principle of this message is so true and is founded on grace. How often do we, when we are struggling, cry out often to God for relief and answers? How often do we share with our devoted friends and family our woes and problems seeking their advice and after a while it just feels like a broken record?
Firstly God already knows what we are in need of before we ask (Matthew 6:8 please click scripture to read verse)plus God is so intimately acquainted with us (Psalms 139 please click to read chapter) that He already is miles ahead of us in responding as we utter the petition. Plus how long does it take before well meaning friends grow weary of listening? Why not be a solution?
When we sow seeds of grace in others lives even when we too are struggling, we actually lessen our own load spiritually. We also open doors for those blessings to be returned back. Plus we greatly enrich others lives by being a direct answer to a prayer.
A great case in point is an illustration Joel used of a cancer patient who was always seeking prayer for other cancer patients. As a result of his faith and the desire to see others healed and whole, his own illness which was just as serious, began to lessen. After some time, there was no sign of cancer in him. He was so focused on seeing others blessed that he didn't spend time feeling sorry for himself. Or wallowing in his illness thereby feeding it. His desire for others to be healed miraculously healed him of a deadly disease.
I saw this as an answer to my own prayers. So I got to thinking of ways that I too could sow seeds of grace. After thinking, I realized that God had provided me with a slew of them. From where I work to various people in my life who too are having struggles. I realized that all this past long while, that God had already provided an answer. It may not make us all over-night millionaires or even over-night return what we have lost back, but it works.
In closing, I can't help but think of an analogy I once heard of an American soldier in Italy during World War II. As he was walking through the mountains, he came upon a statue of Jesus. It was partly hidden behind some tall weeds. As he approached the statue, he noticed that the hands of Jesus were broken off and nowhere to be found. As he sat meditating on the hand-less statue, an inspiration came to him which he wrote on a piece of paper and placed it under a rock at the base of the statue. He gave the statue a 6-word name – "I have no hands but yours."
When we sow seeds of grace we become the hands of Jesus and directly impact a life with our own. I am grateful for Joel's message and hope that it too will impact just as many lives as it has mine.
Below I would like to share this beautiful video message. Please take a moment to listen.
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Thursday, April 12, 2012
This day and age it just seems so risky to take any new steps or venture out onto uncharted waters. National unemployment rates are at 8.2%. Gas prices rising daily and it just seems every day the cost of daily essentials seem to rise.
In the area I live in, you see strip malls that are now closed. As well as businesses that would have been flourishing a decade ago have either shut down or moved. I am still amazed that tried & true corporationa are no longer in business. Plus on our local news they are now posting job listings and career fairs, a sign of the rough times we are living in.
YET.....despite all we see as we look around us and watch the nightly news God has a promise. In fact God has a Plan.
We read in Jeremiah 29:11 this uplifting verse:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. "
For those who are struggling like I am, I want to state that I have faith that God is showing us to a place where things will be better. I have found that when you pray and ask of God (and are willing to listen to God) that He will show you what to do and will direct you. It may not come the first time, in fact it may take a few prayers or maybe even years, but you will know. It will be quiet. It will be clear. It will be precise. It may even come from another person approaching you. Either way The Spirit will guide you and direct you to know. For if God says He has a Plan for your life, He will reveal that Plan.
God never makes a promise that He cannot fulfill. Like Romans 4:21 says: "He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises." plus we read at Hebrews 11:11 about Sarah who believed God would keep His promise to her of a son, even tho she was long past child bearing age. She was 90 when her son Issac was born. Her husband was 99.
Abraham and Sarah's story in fact is a great testimony to this. She and Abraham were childless for many, many years. This promise (God's Plan) was revealed at Genesis 17:15-22 God's Plan can be found in verse 19:
"Then God said, “Yes, but your wife Sarah will bear you a son, and you will call him Isaac. I will establish my covenant with him as an everlasting covenant for his descendants after him."
At Genesis 22:17 we read also: "I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as the sand on the seashore. Your descendants will take possession of the cities of their enemies,"
Now it did not happen over night when God promised this. While waiting for the promise to be fulfilled, Sarah offered Abraham her maid servant Hagar to bear a son. Not a good idea as this ended up leading to a lot of problems. Which we can read about at Genesis 16.
Which goes to show that we all need to trust God and have patience for His timing as our timeline differs from God's. As humans I think we lack the perspective to see what the future can really hold for us. To see the great plans and have faith on God and them.
In the end Hagar had Ishmael and Sarah ended up having Isaac. Just like God promised she would. Even on the date He promised she would bear him. Due to their impatience though, there ended up being enmity in the households. Later this would transfer to the descendants and nations that came from either son. Which shows it's best to simply wait on God.
Myself as testimony I am believing on this scripture and know God will reveal His plans to each of us. God has promised us strength, purpose, joy and hope as we search and wait. For the Scripture says at Isaiah 55:11: "So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it." so with each day seek to trust and believe Him when He says:
"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. "
Saturday, April 7, 2012
As a child growing up I never had the chance to celebrate Easter as my parents (or for the most part my mom who raised me after my dad's passing when I was 9) were Jehovah's Witnesses. Yet as an adult I have started celebrating Easter but as an adult I celebrate the true meaning. In Easter's case it would mean the Sacrifice and Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.(Crucifixion: Read Matthew 27 Resurrection : Read Luke 24 click on both to read the Biblical accounts) Yet the holiday also contain customs I would like to examine these customs and how they came about. To look at the origin of this holiday we call Easter.
What does a bunny have to do with Jesus?
The idea that a rabbit could reproduce without loss of virginity led to an association with the Virgin Mary. With rabbits sometimes occurring in paintings of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus. Rabbits are such large breeders that they can even become pregnant while still pregnant with a litter. This phenomenon is known as superfetation.
The Easter Bunny was first mentioned in a book by Georg Franck von Frankenau called "De ovis paschalibus". Rabbits were popular characters in medieval church art. In ancient times it was widely believed that the rabbit was an hermaphrodite.
It may also have been associated with the Holy Trinity, as in the three hares motif, representing the "One in Three and Three in One" which has symbols within the artwork that were thought to denote and symbolize the Holy Trinity. See image below that is taken from Paderborn Cathedral in Germany.
In England, this triad rabbit motif usually appears in a prominent place in the church. Such as in the nave area or the chancel area. Which appears that the symbol held significance to the church in the medieval Age.
Origin of Easter
According to St. Bede, an English historian of the early 8th century, Easter owes its origin to old Teutonic mythology. It's derived from the name Eostre, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring, to whom the month of April was dedicated. The festival of Eostre was celebrated at the vernal equinox, when the day and night gets an equal share of the day.
The English name "Easter" is much newer. When the early English Christians wanted others to accept Christianity, they decided to use the name Easter for this holiday so that it would match the name of the old spring celebration. This made it more comfortable for other people to accept Christianity.
However Easter as we know it today is associated more date wise with the Jewish Passover. Which is celebrated during the Jewish month of Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew lunar year. The Jewish Passover under Moses commemorates Israel's deliverance from about 300 years of bondage in Egypt.
It was during Passover in 30 AD that Christ was crucified under the order of the Roman governor Pontius Pilate as the then Jewish high priests accused Jesus of "blasphemy". The resurrection came three days later, on the Easter Sunday.
The early Christians, many of them being brought up in Jewish tradition regarded Easter as a new feature of the Pascha (Passover). It was observed in memory of the advent of the Messiah, as foretold by the prophets.
Thus the early Christian Passover turned out to be a unified commemoration of the passion-death-resurrection of Jesus. However, by the 4th century, Good Friday came to be observed separately. And the Pascha Sunday became the date to observe Christ's miraculous Resurrection.
Throughout religious observances in early Christendom, the Sunday of Pascha had become a holiday to honor Christ. At the same time many of the pagan spring rites were also a part of the celebration.
But despite all the influence there was a shift. No more worship of the physical return of the Sun God. Instead the worship of Christ and His Resurrection and miraculous triumph of death became tantamount in the rites.
The Feast of Easter was well established in Europe by the second century.
In North America
Easter was not a popular custom among the early settlers in America. Because most of them were Puritans or members of Protestant Churches who had little use for the pagan customs associated with the celebrations; most of them entered in as part of the ancient spring rites celebrated during the Vernal Equinox.
It was around the Civil War period in the United States that the message and meaning of Easter began to be celebrated as it had been in Europe. Mostly due to the Presbyterians. The scars that the Nation felt during this time in seeing widespread death and destruction opened many to the observance. They found the story of resurrection as a great source of inspiration and renewed hope.
Eggs : The Origins
Eggs, like rabbits are fertility symbols of antiquity.
Easter eggs & baby chicks symbolize new life. Eggs have been a symbol of spring since ancient times. An egg also is a symbol of the rock tomb out of which Christ emerged when he arose again. The chick, hatching out of the egg, symbolizes the Resurrection and new life.
But for me the true meaning is....
Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.
Tuesday, April 3, 2012
Genesis 19:23-26 KJV
"The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar. Then the LORD rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the LORD out of heaven; And he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt."
Recently I was thinking about this story in the Bible and of the end result of what happened to Lot's wife. This story for us is one to think on and search ourselves for how many of us are tied to worldly possessions, careers, circumstances, etc? If this were to happen tomorrow would we obey God and flee a devastated world or would we also look back?
An excerpt from Henry Morris taken from: "The Defenders Study Bible": "This remarkable happening is stated matter-of-factly, with no suggestion that it was a special miracle or divine judgment. Lot’s wife "looked back" (the phrase might even be rendered "returned back" or "lagged back") seeking to cling to her luxurious life in Sodom (note Christ’s reference to this in Luke 17 : 32, 33) and was destroyed in the "overthrow" (Genesis 19 : 25,29) of the city."
In this day and age it is so easy to have our minds tied upon material stuff maybe promotions, careers, lifestyles, possessions etc. It can be so easy to even have our own lives attached to these. Lot's wife serves as an example that all of it can be stripped so easily away from us. Especially if God has something better in mind for us. That we in looking forward should also in essence not look back either as what spiritual significance do these things hold in regards to what God holds for us now and in the future?
Maybe for us it will not be as extreme as physical destruction but the effects that can come from holding onto something when God is directing you out can manifest in different ways.
Spiritually, Christ, in making His sacrifice for us has already covered the human frailties we all have in the flesh. It's only a matter of in the end, do we want to do things His way or our way? Or do we want to hang onto the things that we think are comfort zones and pay no heed to what God has in store?
This can also be tied into unforgiving terms and non-resolved things as well which too can be equally as destructive in the long run.
Lot's wife is an example to always move forward and not look back because nothing good comes from it. Instead seek to continually move forward relying on God to lead the way.
Click to Play Show Me The Way by John Schlitt of Petra