Hope Runs {how God can change your life in the blink of an eye} ~ Giveaway!!

There is no way to know where your life will go.

We work and plan and love and learn and think we know what may happen in this world, and what God may put in our path. But His magic shows, again and again, that what we know is nothing, and what we live is His.

This is how my story changed:

I went to Africa to climb a mountain.


It was the end of a year of around-the-world travel. A year of running through Indian monsoons, and searching for Mexican food in Mongolia, and reading hundreds of books on any hammock I could find. A year of a strange kind of traveling bliss that overtook me.

In Kenya, a mountain beckoned, as it had before. I was a runner, and a hiker, and after climbing to the base camp of Mt. Everest several months before, I knew I wanted more. After a few days in Kenya’s capital, I headed to the guest house that had come recommended to me – a cheap place near the mountain, I had been told.

I arrived to find a stranger truth than I first understood.

This is what was true:

An orphanage owned this guest house, and the elders of the orphanage were inviting me to break bread with them. And then, life changed.

Because I felt God there, in that lunch, with those people. And I asked Him to help me see. To help me know if He had put this place – this orphanage, this home for 170 Kenyan children I had never thought to think of before – in my road to change me.

He had, of course.

To this day, I have never climbed Mt. Kenya. I lived in that orphanage for a year, starting a small running program that became a non-profit organization, Hope Runs, with a mission to help orphaned and vulnerable children.

sammy and claire low quality

And in that year of running, other things came to pass.

Because on that first day, in those first hours, I had a met a boy. A teen who looked nine or ten, but proved to be thirteen, and who had struck up a conversation with me that I couldn’t shake. Throughout my year living in that place, he was at my side.

When I left Kenya, I left with the intention to bring him home with me. And eventually, with hope and prayer and work and sweat, he made it here. And now, years have passed, and our lives are more wildly different than we ever imagined.

Hope Runs: An American Tourist, A Kenyan Boy, a Journey of Redemption is the story of our journey.

I believe in the power of story. Not just mine, but yours as well. In honor of the launch of Hope Runs, I’m giving away a free ebook, entitled, Share Your Story. Download it here.

Hope Runs Cover

 GIVEAWAY!!! Win one of 3 Copies of Hope Runs

To win a copy of Hope Runs enter via Rafflecopter below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

————–>>>>>(Or, buy a copy of Hope Runs and get $150 in freebies.)

About Hope Runs:

Sammy Ikua Gachagua had lost his father to illness, his mother to abandonment, and his home to poverty. By age ten, he was living in a shack with seven other children and very little food. He entered an orphanage seeing it as a miracle with three meals a day, a bed to sleep in, and clothes on his back.

When Claire Diaz-Ortiz arrived in Kenya at the end of an around-the-world journey, she decided to stay the night, climb Mt. Kenya, then head back home. She entered an orphanage seeing it as little more than a free place to spend the night before her mountain trek. God had other plans.

Hope Runs is the emotional story of an American tourist, a Kenyan orphan, and the day that would change the course of both of their lives forever. It’s about what it means to live in the now when the world is falling down around you. It’s about what it means to hope for the things you cannot see. Most of all, it’s about how God can change your life in the blink of an eye.

About Claire Diaz-Ortiz:

Claire Diaz-Ortiz (@claire) is an author, speaker and Silicon Valley innovator who was an early employee at Twitter. Named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company, she holds an MBA and other degrees from Stanford and Oxford and has been featured widely in print and broadcast media. She writes a popular blog at ClaireDiazOrtiz.com and is the author of the new book, Hope Runs: An American Tourist, a Kenyan Boy, a Journey of Redemption.

Finding Balance in Real Life

balance-241612_640Balance can be such a hard word.  It seems to me as moms we are all looking for it!  We want to be great at everything and we want to always have our ducks in a row.  We want to be the perfect mom, the perfect wife, perfect friend, sister, and daughter.  We want our schedules to flow and our work to be masterpieces.

But if we are honest some days we are just getting by!

We still have to live life and life can be hard. We face trials, illnesses, broken marriages or friendships.  There are moms who are struggling with depression and deep pain and just getting through each day seems to be a big deal.

Just know this! If you haven’t found the perfect balance:


Honestly, we will never find the perfect balance on this side of heaven. I’m not going to give you a list of tips to help you find the perfect balance today.  I’m just going to give you some scriptures to hold on to when life is out of balance.   These are what I am holding on to these days!

Matthew 11:28-30 ”Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

John 16:33 ”I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

And this one is my favorite.  Every mom should hang this one on her mirror!

2 Corinthians 12:9-11 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

When you are out of balance- REST IN HIM!!


This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

When Your World Seems Like It Is Crashing Down


I’ve have many-a-days where my world seems like it is crashing down. Seasons of life where I asked the “why me?” and “what have I done to deserve this?” questions. You know, the times in life where you just don’t understand why things aren’t going “your way”? If I am being honest, I have asked these questions more in my Christian life than prior to my salvation. And this just simply shouldn’t be the case.

I have found, more than anything, the simple act of comparing myself to someone else has been the primary culprit in these downtrodden seasons of my life. Sure, I’ve compared myself to other people before, but the truth is, my main comparison of myself isn’t to other people – rather it’s of where I am now in my life and where I think I should be at now in my life. And the two never parallel. And to me, this trap of comparing God’s plan for me and my plan for myself is even worse than comparing myself to someone else.

As I continued to get on my knees and cry out to God about the world that was seemingly falling down around me, that’s when I realized what the culprit was. I had taken my eyes off of Him. And that, my dear friends, was why my world was so off kilter, why life as I knew it was crumbling down around me. But God is so good, He showed me my way of escape. (1 Corinthians 10:13)

While I don’t claim to have all the answers, I can simply share what has given me freedom in this area of my life. Here are some steps I took that gave me freedom from the comparison trap. I refer back to these steps when I am tempted to fall back into my old mindset.

1. Identify it’s falsehood. By calling out the falsehood of this mindset, we begin to allow God to speak directly to our hearts concerning this dangerous comparison trap. This is our first step towards rebuilding our confidence in Him.

2. Let Him heal your heart and mind. I did a lot of damage to my self-worth while trying to play God in my own life. It really caused a lot of pain and self-hatred when I allowed myself to destroy who I was with the “what ifs” of my wild imagination instead of listening to the truth of who He says I am. (2 Corinthians 10:5)

3. It’s time to get real. Allow God to rebuild and restore your sense of self-worth and purpose on this earth. As He heals your heart and speaks to you the truth in love, you will find your world is no longer crashing down on you!

4. Seek partners for accountability, prayer and counseling if need be. For me, I made sure I had both an accountability partner as well as a prayer partner to help keep me on track. And for me this has worked wonders in my walk with God. It has given me the extra support I’ve needed time and time again on my journey to be more like Jesus.

While “perfect” balance in itself is a falsehood, healthy balance is not. I believe that if we allow God to show us who we are in Him, our lives will be less chaotic and more peaceful, essentially finding a healthy balance for every season of our life. Keep your focus on Him sweet sister, and I believe your life will be as balanced as it possibly can! Remember, don’t strive for being perfect, rather strive to be in relationship with the perfect One.

I am praying for each of you,

Carlie K. @ Managing Your Blessings | Learning to Speak Life

This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

Dear Mom {who is trying to do it all}

Dear Mom Who is Trying to Do it All

For the past week, my two youngest children have been sick… really sick. After a trip to urgent care, I settled in for what would prove to be a long and exhausting week with my two little “patients.”

It had been a long time since our kids had been this sick – and a long time since I had been that tired. The youngest of my four children is five years old. With a good stretch of health in the family, I was finally feeling like a normal human being again – that is until this past week (it is amazing what a good night of sleep can do!).

This past week was a reminder though of how I felt for a span of about ten years. For much of those ten years I was pregnant, giving birth, rocking babies, breastfeeding, and chasing toddlers. As I think back to that special (but exhausting) time in my life, I feel compelled to pass something on to you.

To you, the mom who feels trapped in those crazy, exhausting, and seemingly endless moments right now. 

I need to tell you something that is so, so, important. It is something I wish someone would of told me.

You can’t do it all. You just can’t.

We live in a culture that is telling us that we can. Not only is our culture saying we can do it all, it is saying that we MUST do it all. The lie that so many of us can fall into believing is that our worth and significance come from what we do. Some of you may even believe that your worth comes from being a mom and doing motherhood perfectly.  But that isn’t what God tells us.

God tells us that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, beautiful in His sight, and a treasured possession in Christ.  Our significance comes from being His child. His daughter. His girl. Period.

It’s not from what we do, whether that be an executive, teacher, doctor, or mom. Our worth is found in Christ alone. We don’t have to earn it or work for His approval. Who we are is defined by what Jesus has done for us – so we rest in knowing and being known by Him.

There is great freedom and joy when we live out of this truth. But it doesn’t come easy. We can too quickly forget and so we need to regularly remind ourselves of who we are in God’s eyes. We will be talking about balance throughout this month. I think a good place to start is laying aside the “rat race” you may find yourself caught in and resting in Him.

Now I am all for a good race and know that we are called to run with perseverance….

but I also know that our running will be in vain if we don’t first take time to rest in the God whose love defines us. 

Do you feel trapped in the “rat race”? Are you resting or are you worrying? As we start this series I would love to pray for you. How can I pray for you? Please…share your requests below and lets gather together lifting one another up in prayer.


Ruth Schwenk

This post is part of our series Finding Balance as a Busy Mom. 

Please check the series page for all of the posts! 

Finding Balance as a Busy Mom

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