Making a Difference

One of the most important things in my life to feel like I’m helping make a difference in the lives of other people.  It may not be earth-shattering changes on a daily basis – it may be as simple as holding a door or elevator for someone, or smiling and saying hello.  You never know what those little things mean to someone.

This summer I have the opportunity to go to the Dominican Republic with our church’s youth group.  Lord willing we’ll be making huge impacts on the lives of those in the Jarabacoa area.  Not only will we be teaching Vacation Bible School to the kids in the local villages and helping to make much-needed repairs to homes, but we’ll be taking the gift of CLEAN WATER in the form of water filters for families!  Much of the underlying issues of disease and death are linked back to dirty water!  Many people get their drinking water from the rivers where they, as well as animals, bathe!  These filters will be taken into homes that have been pre-screened.  The homeowners will be responsible for providing a 5-gallon bucket and we’ll install the water filter while sharing that like the filter removes the disease and dirt from the water, that Christ does that for US!

For more information on the water filters, check out www.filterofhope.org.  The water filters are $40 each, and provide 500,000 gallons of water for a family over a 10-year period!  What a low-cost way to prevent disease and illness while showing how God can do the same thing for them!

I’m excited about helping make a difference in the live of others, but I’m equally as excited about how God is going to use this to make a difference in MY life!  My oldest daughter, Renata (age 18) will be one of the students on the trip, and this will be her 3rd trip to the DR.

Please be praying for us and the team as we prepare to go, as well as those that we’ll be ministering to there.  While it’s important to have clean drinking water and a safe place to live, what they really need is Jesus!

You may be asking how you can help us make a difference!  There are two ways you can make a HUGE impact:

1. PRAY!  We need prayer partners to pray with and for us, and for those that we’ll be interacting with once we’re there.

2.  FINANCIALLY!  If you feel led to support us financially, you may give online though http://www.sandhillschurch.org.  You’ll need to create an account, then log in.  Click on the GIVE NOW button.  (If you’d rather send a check, the church website has the mailing address). You’ll see a dropdown list to select where to designate your funds. To select the teen trip which my daughter and I will be serving on, select “DR Student Mission Trip 2015”, and in the comments section you can enter “The Jeffcoats”.  To provide water filters, select “Water Filters” from the list.

To learn more about Filter of Hope, click here.

I’m also selling some of my artwork to raise money for our trip.  An 8-pack of notecards (including envelopes and shipping) is $15.  Multiple packs shipped to the same address is less.  Just leave me a message in the comments.  Payment is via PayPal.  The pack contains 2 each of the following 4 photos.

"Sunrise Over Bogue Sound #1"  Copyright Joan K Jeffcoat, 1015

“Sunrise Over Bogue Sound #1” Copyright Joan K Jeffcoat, 1015

"Sunrise Over Bogue Sound #2" Copyright Joan K Jeffcoat 2015

“Sunrise Over Bogue Sound #2”
Copyright Joan K Jeffcoat 2015

"Sunrise Over Bogue Sound #3" Copyright Joan K Jeffcoat 2015

“Sunrise Over Bogue Sound #3”
Copyright Joan K Jeffcoat 2015

"Sunrise Over Bogue Sound #4" Copyright Joan K Jeffcoat 2015

“Sunrise Over Bogue Sound #4”
Copyright Joan K Jeffcoat 2015

This is totally stepping out of my comfort zone, but I feel God calling me to “Go” as it says at the end of Matthew which we refer to as “The Great Commission”.  I’m hoping to make a difference in someone’s life.  Who knows?  God may be using this to make a difference in mine.

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Jack, Best Boy and Night Night

My friend, Curtis Rogers, has a knack for story-telling. I hope you enjoy him as much as I do!

This Side of The Diaper

“Best Boy is getting pretty old,” Charlie said this morning.  He held his favorite blanket in the world up lovingly and looked at the frayed edges and bare spots.  Somewhere there used to be a design of a giraffe on it.  The blanket that once wrapped him safely doesn’t even take a full Charlie arm span to display anymore.  When Charlie was little my wife and I would tuck him into his crib with that blanket.  “Here’s a blanket for my best boy,” his mommy would say.  That’s how he (yes he, Best Boy is a he not and “it”) got his name.

He was putting some clothes into a bag this morning to take to his grandmother’s house after school.  He hugged Best Boy again before putting him in the bag.  He picked up Jack and hugged him too.  Jack, or Jack the Bulldog Mascot of the Mighty Georgetown Hoyas…

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How to Dispose of Old Paint

If you are a homeowner who likes to paint frequently, chances are you have excess paint in your garage.  And if you have lived in a house for any length of time and love to paint, you likely have OLD paint.

We fall into both of those categories.  We love to paint and we’ve been in our home for nearly 15 years.  We love anything other than white walls.  Even our laundry room has been painted.  The only things not painted are the hall coat closet and the linen closet.  Oh…and the closet in the finished room over the garage, otherwise known as a FROG for anyone who lives outside of the Southeast.  Hmm…why haven’t I painted those yet?

Anyway, in a feeble attempt to start cleaning out the garage last year I realized that we had lots of old paint cans and I knew that we wouldn’t be using that paint again.  Being somewhat of an environmentally aware and conscientious person, I wanted to dispose of the paint in the proper way.  I did a little research, and then consulted our county’s website for disposing of ‘hazardous materials’.  Our county has an annual recycling event where you can bring all sorts of items that are deemed hazardous:  paint cans, spray paint cans, car oil, batteries, computers, printers, household cleaners, etc…  The next event wasn’t for some time so it didn’t work in my timeframe for disposing of the paint. I wanted that checked off my list!

In looking at the list of things that the typical trash WILL pick up I noticed that they will take cans of paint under certain conditions.  Filling the cans with either sand or kitty litter to absorb the paint so that it won’t leak out!  KITTY LITTER?!  I didn’t have easy access to sand, and well, we don’t have a cat.  However, being resourceful, we had purchased a bag of kitty litter for the trunk of the car earlier in the year when we had ice.  (You never know when you are going to need some traction in the snow and ice.)

The process was a little more involved than I first thought, but generally simple and fairly easy with a little elbow grease.

You’ll need the following items to make this go easily:

  • A paint can key or screwdriver to open the cans.
  • Sand or kitty litter (we bought cheap kitty litter)
  • Newspaper or other material to cover and protect the floor.
  • A scoop or cup.  Unless you like to lift and control pouring out of a 25 pound bag. You’ll get your upper body workout later.
  • Something disposable to use to stir everything together.  An old paint stir stick works well.  We didn’t have one, so I used an old plastic coat hanger that I cut and modified.
  • An old rag or paper towels.

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You’ll need to add a little at a time and mix well.  It’ll likely take several additions and stirs to get it to the point where it’s almost as thick as set concrete.  If it still resembles thick oatmeal, you’ll need to add a little more and stir again.  It eventually turns very hard. I would suggest doing this a few days ahead of time to make sure it’s hardened and dry.

No need to put the lids back on.  I left my lids off so the people collecting them could see that I had taken the proper measures. I loaded them in a box and placed them out for collection! Done!

Now…what color do I want to paint those closets??!?

Before you start, be sure to check with the agency who handles your trash or recycling.  They may have different rules and guidelines for disposing of paint.  This was for latex paint. Other kinds of paint may require different handling.

How NOT to Live Your Dream

There are so many blogs, writers, groups, Facebook pages, etc… that encourage you to #liveyourlist, do your #30DaysofHustle, #DoOver, succeed, win, break through and live your dreams.

Yep. I’m on the bandwagon!  I’m in Facebook groups that help encourage you to succeed.  I want to “live my [bucket] list”, and be creative, and do better, and set goals, and make changes where I need to, and maybe even start my own business at some point!

I’m sure you’re asking why someone who is wanting to succeed and meet goals and live dreams be telling someone how NOT to do that?  Hang with me a moment.

Back up 2 Sundays ago.  I am sitting in church and they are presenting www.filterofhope.org and opportunities to go to the Dominican Republic (DR) on a missions trip where one of the activities will be to distribute these life-saving filters.  I felt God calling me to go!

Now fast-forward to this past Sunday.  There are a bunch of us meeting after church to get more information about the trip. Sitting next to me is a friend I hadn’t yet met.  (Those who know me well know what I’m talking about.)  After it was over I turned to introduce myself and she pretty much started telling me her story and crying.  Not a truly ‘ugly’ cry, but a deep, emotional ‘I’m hurting’ cry.  Tears welled up, then overflowed her beautiful eyes.  Obviously there was a backstory.  My heart started breaking for this precious one.

This precious young lady, who has a heart for God and is ready to go (and already asked for time off at work), was hurting like crazy.  As her story unfolded, it was evident that those close to her aren’t supportive.

It’s dangerous!  Stay here where it’s safe!

You can’t afford to go! How are you going to pay for it?!

How many of us hear those around us, even those closest to us – those who should be leading and guiding the way to engage this world, utter words of discouragement and doubt?  Did those who uttered those words of discouragement and doubt mean well?  Maybe.  And maybe not.  I am not all-knowing and wasn’t there to hear it.  I only know the limited context and know nothing of her history and background.  But I do know that she feels called to go, but yet feels that she doesn’t want to disappoint her family. Where are her champions?   Where are her cheerleaders?! Where are the people in her life that could have said, “You can do it! I believe in you!”  Did they not have champions and cheerleaders?

Just this week I shared a quote on Facebook that, when boiled down, pretty much said, “If you don’t know how to do something, let someone do it that does.”  As a positive person and problem-solver, I’m naturally thinking along the lines of ways to overcome that skills gap:  teach yourself, learn from someone else, hire someone, or out-source it!  Well, someone commented that she was told that, but not in that context.  Her doubters and discouragers meant it as, “You can’t do that.  That’s for professionals.”  {heavy sigh}  Thankfully this young lady didn’t listen and went on to start a business with her husband and says they are doing well!

This makes me look at my own life.  When have I listened to the doubters and discouragers?  Have I listened to the point that it kept me from trying?  My mom and I were talking the other day and it seems like I have always been a rather strong-willed child and even adult.

And then I started thinking.  Hmm…  When have I BEEN the doubter or discourager in someone else’s life?! I am typically the cheerleader and dreamer with my friends.  I do my best to encourage and foster their dreams.  I do play the devil’s advocate with them, but only to help them view it from all the angles.  And yes…they know the intent – as a sounding board and advisor; not as a dream crusher or hater.  My daughters wanted to go on the DR trip with the youth group a few years ago.  (One was a rising high school freshman, and the other a rising high school sophomore.)  I was totally scared to send my ‘babies’ to a 3rd world environment, but we prayed and helped and encouraged, and when they got back it was evident we all had grown through their trip!

You know those around you.  If you want to fail, listen to the doubters and discouragers.  Let them squash your hopes and dreams.  Let them tell you to stay where it’s ‘safe’.  Let them fill your head with doubts that God can’t provide.  For me, I’m glad that Columbus didn’t listen to the people that rained on his dreams to go discover.  I’m glad that Dr. Salk stuck with it long enough to discover the polio vaccine.  My dad had an artificial heart value.  Yep – totally glad that whoever decided to invent that sought out the champions and cheerleaders in their lives – I had many more beautiful years with my dad. I’m thrilled that, despite the short-sighted vision of others, personal computers didn’t fade out quietly as some had predicted. And my Kurig?  OH BOY!  I’m grateful the inventor of that didn’t give up!!

My job as a parent is to teach, encourage, lead, and guide.  I want to teach my girls how to be explorers, with confidence that they *CAN* try the hard and scary things.  I don’t want them to listen to those who want to discourage their sense of adventure and creativity.  The point is not whether they succeed or fail – it’s the fact that they tried, and overcame fears and objections, and stepped out of their comfort-zone. Hopefully they’ll continue to seek out the cheerleaders and champions in their lives. That’s what I call success.

A New Year, A Re-kindled Passion

I think this year will be a very different year for me.  Will it be for you?

Have you ever done something that just resonated with you? I mean, really struck you down in the depths your soul? So much so that you sense you’ve done something wonderful for yourself? It may have been learning something new. It may have been something as simple as learning to cook something. It may have been helping someone who couldn’t do anything to repay you. It might be using that gift that God has set in each one of us. When it happens, you know it. It’s that feeling you can’t shake and that motivates you, and gives you perspective and purpose.

Years ago I took photography night classes.  It started out as a way to help a friend who had been tapped as the chair for the newly created department at the local community college.  We met in the local camera club, and she begged me to take the class so that, in her words, there would be at least one student!  I excelled and found a new passion for photography.

Well, life happens and that passion was a hobby and got pushed to the back.  I haven’t really had a nice camera in my hands for 25 years.


My mom still lives in my childhood home on Bogue Sound in Eastern NC (part of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway), and it was the day we were leaving.  My husband woke me up and said, “You have GOT to see the sunrise!”  Knowing it had to be a good one, I decided to get up. I went to the dining room window and looked out. It wasn’t anything THAT great at the moment, but experience told me it was going to be amazing.  Thankfully, the sun hadn’t broached the horizon, so I wasn’t too late.

Excited, I hurried back to our room and donned my jeans, sweatshirt, and tennis shoes. I slipped into the room our girls were sharing (my old childhood room), and quietly asked our 16-year-old daughter if I could borrow the new Canon Rebel T5 DSLR camera she had gotten for Christmas. She grunted and groaned, and I instinctively knew where her camera bag was and grabbed it.

Getting a camera in my hand after 25 years was amazing. I kept reframing the shots with the docks and wind-swept oaks as the lighting was continually changing.  The mirror-like reflection on the water.  Intense orange.  Brilliant pink.  Cottony clouds.

The years swept away as if I had never stopped shooting. The excitement of catching something so glorious. The sleeping artist re-awakening. The contentment of my soul. A passion re-kindled sparked within.

I think this year will be a very different year for me.  Will it be for you?

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