by Mary Peterson, Housing Specialist
Sarah Saccone serves as the full-time Program Director for Lamb of God Maternity Home, daily giving witness to her passion for women in crisis pregnancy through the gift of adoption. Utilizing her Bachelor degree in Sociology from California State University of San Marcos, Sarah worked as a counselor of homeless youth in a shelter-home atmosphere for nine years. She has served on a number of mental health non-profit boards, been a long-time volunteer for San Diego Hospice, and spent time teaching children in East Africa. When describing Sarah, Grace noted, "She is able to mentor, inspire, and listen...but also lay down the boundaries and call the moms on their stuff. I wish I could duplicate her for each of our future homes!"
Grace Dulaney is the Founder and CEO of Agnus Dei Foundation. Inspired by her personal experience as a birthmother, Grace established the Foundation to impact the culture of life by being a champion for adoption as a viable and positive solution to an unplanned pregnancy. The foundation opened its first Lamb of God Maternity Home in San Diego two years ago. Because of its supportive and loving environment, 100% of the birthmothers in their program have stayed committed to their adoption plan. The foundation is laying plans to replicate this unique and successful model nationwide. The stories of birthmothers who have lived at Lamb of God Maternity Home are featured in The Sidewalk Chronicles, a beautiful documentary that aired on January 24th. The film juxtaposes the hurt and regrets of women who have aborted with the joy, pride, and peace of women who have chosen adoption [watch the trailer here]. http://www.agnusdeifoundation.org/
Sarah, the 30-year old Program Director of Lamb of God Maternity Home acknowledged, "It's mentally exhausting. My friends will ask, 'How was your day?' and I think, 'I can't even explain to you how my day was.'"
Leaders in maternity housing face the burden of supporting staff, like Sarah, who are daily facing the complicated scenarios of the moms. Plus, they must manage the logistical challenges of keeping an organization going–keeping procedures legal, staff equipped, donors informed, and more! Up against the programmatic and administrative challenges that a maternity-home demands, the role of leadership is particularly important.
The leadership exercised during the start-up stage has unique aspects. When reflecting on her experience of founding a home, Grace Delaney, the founder of Lamb of God Maternity Home, offered this leadership advice, "The most important aspect is to have things lined up before you move forward. There is such a temptation to put the cart before the horse." She continued, "Reign in and be more deliberate. Set realistic goals; have the right people in place; have the right physical location. Because once it begins, things really start happening!"
Once the home is operational, the challenge of finding "right fit" staff is common. Grace noted, "When it comes to getting the right staff, its 10% knowledge, 10% skills and 80% mindset. Mindset includes things like desire to serve, people skills, and flexibility. You need to find those with absolute passion--where it is a vocation!" Continuing on this theme, Sarah quipped, "Every job description should end with 'and it will be ever changing.' There is just something about the work that demands flexibility." After sharing her gratitude for the wonderful staff with which she worked, Angie Hammond, a long-term leader of multiple life-affirming ministries, reflected that recruitment is a work of God, "You have to pray them in."
Reflecting on the different types of authority with a maternity home, Angie described a lesson that she learned, "My office was in the house, so directing things back to the house parents was essential. If a mom wanted to tell me something, I needed to hear it from my house parents. It also went the other way; if a mom needed to hear something, it came from the house parents. That way, I was teaching the moms to honor authority and to follow protocol."
"As leaders, our responsibility is to create safe, positive environment for everyone to learn," noted Angie. "Our staff need the freedom and safe place to share their experiences, concerns and disappointments." As one of the staff working directly with moms, Sarah described her experience, "There are rough days and there are beautiful days... but there are so many little miracles that it makes it joy to be part of."
Heartbeat International President to receive Defender of Life recognition
COLUMBUS, OH – Celebrating her nearly 42 years of hands-on involvement in the life-saving ministry of pregnancy help, the last 21 of which as President of Heartbeat International, Peggy Hartshorn, Ph.D., will be honored as a Defender of Life by Students for Life of America, the group announced Tuesday.
The award is set to be presented at Students for Life of America's West National Conference in San Francisco, Calif., on January 25, 2015. Students for Life of America has also announced Professor Robbie George of Princeton University as its East National Conference recipient.
"It is truly an honor to be recognized by an excellent pro-life organization like Students for Life," Hartshorn said. "The work they are doing among high school and college students around the country is remarkable, and I am so thankful to commend with them the great work that pregnancy help organizations are doing every day in every region of the world."
Jolted by the announcement of the U.S. Supreme Court's infamous Roe v. Wade decision Jan. 22, 1973, Hartshorn immersed herself in pro-life work almost immediately, becoming involved in Columbus (Ohio) Right to Life in the following weeks. She and her husband, Mike Hartshorn, then began housing pregnant women in 1974, which led to their realization of a call to begin a pregnancy help organization in 1978.
That call led to the 1981 founding of Pregnancy Decision Health Centers, in Columbus, Ohio, which now serves over 15,000 clients annually in eight locations throughout Central Ohio.
Peggy Hartshorn joined the board of Heartbeat's forerunner organization, Alternatives to Abortion International, in 1986, before taking the reigns as president in 1993. During her tenure, Heartbeat International's umbrella has expanded from around 100 centers to over 1,800, comprising the largest and most expansive pregnancy help network in the world.
Hartshorn's previous awards include the Cardinal John J. O'Connor pro-life award from Legatus International, the Norrine A. and Raymond E. Ruddy Memorial Life Prizes Award, the J.C. Penney Golden Rule Award, the Sanctity of Human Life Award, the Patrick Cardinal O'Boyle Award from the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, the Founder's Award from the Christ Child Society, the Catholic Woman of the Year Award from the Diocese of Columbus (Ohio), and the President's Volunteer Service Award under President George Bush.
Previous Defenders of Life Award winners include Congressman Christopher Smith (R-NJ), Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Father Frank Pavone, Abby Johnson, David Bereit, and Phyllis Schlafly.
By Jennifer Minor, Editor/Writer
For the last 42 years, October has been recognized as Respect Life Month, focusing on issues of life and the dignity of the human person, with a special emphasis each year. It's also time set aside to spread stories about the good that comes from adoption and the healing that can follow an abortion.
For us, every month is the month we witness, experience, and encounter these stories, so why even bother with Respect Life Month?
It's all about seasons. The seasons set aside in church life to celebrate such events as Easter and Christmas help fuel our appreciation and awareness about truths that should always be on our hearts and minds. We recognize the truth of Jesus rising from the dead every day, but that doesn't keep us from celebrating Easter. In the same way, we celebrate Respect Life Month to remind ourselves and others of the beauty and wonder of life from conception to natural death.
Reflect on this year's theme for a moment. "Each of us is a masterpiece of God's creation." When you go to an art museum and see a painting or sculpture worked by a master artist, what do you do?
Personally, I'm stopped in my tracks, breathlessly gazing on the beauty and wonder of the masterpiece. Between van Gogh's Starry Night, da Vinci's Mona Lisa, Rodin's The Thinker, and Rembrandt's The Return of the Prodigal Son - only a few of the recognized masterpieces of Western art - I could spend days in reflection and admiration.
And yet, these master artists are mere shadows and reflections of the Master Artist, whose masterpieces we so easily pass by without a second glance. God gives each of His masterpieces unique gifts of life, personality, and will. God's art is not stagnant or unthinking. Every person - each of us - is one of God's masterpieces.
When we take the time to gaze at His masterpieces, we can't help but notice the beauty and wonder of each man and woman, adult and child, pregnant mother and unborn baby.
This is the month to remind ourselves, our staff, our volunteers, our clients and our communities that each of us is a masterpiece. It's a time to remember that every life is worth celebrating, honoring, and cherishing as a precious and irreplaceable creation by the Designer and Maker of the universe.
Whether you have celebrated October as Respect Life Month with fundraising, awareness campaigns, or nothing at all, it's not too late to remind someone that they are a masterpiece. Those we serve certainly need this reminder, but so do our staff, volunteers, and everyone we see day by day.
Speaking of reminders, here is one for you: You are a masterpiece created by God, the Master Artist. Even if no one else does, He gazes on you with wonder, both in this season and in every season.
by Jay Hobbs, Communications and Marketing Director
When leadership is discussed as a topic unto itself, most experts tend to zero in on models, theories, and examples.
How frequently should my team meet? How strictly should the Board abide by Robert's Rules of Order?
Should my title be Director? Executive Director? Grand Pooba?
As you may have guessed, the idea of sitting through an extended meeting to focus on these burning topics wasn't exactly on my Can't-Wait-To-Do List.
My fears were dispelled about 30 seconds into the Leadership track of this year's Heartbeat's Institute for Center Effectiveness.
Instead of wrangling about which leadership strategy has which benefits or holes in it, our facilitator, John Rue of Built to Lead, went straight to the heart when the starting gun fired.
John's point, from start to finish, was that, if we are ever going to lead—or even live—with freedom and conviction, the question of "Who" we are needs to be settled and fanned into flame.
Am I primarily a director? A leader? A pastor? A husband? A dad?
If so, I'm going to face an uphill climb any time any of those identities are threatened. Bad day at work? That's an assault on my primary identity as a director. Bad day at home? That's an assault on my primary identity as a husband and dad.
The biblical shorthand for all of this is idolatry. It's dethroning God and setting up something in His place. When we do that with our work, family, friends, or anything else, we're cutting ourselves off from our true identity: Believer, Son, Friend of God, Sheep. Not only that, but we're putting an astronomical burden on something (or someone) who was never intended to bear the weight of the universe.
That was the starting point for the week, where we focused on finding not "balance," but alignment between who we are and what we do. This is where our core identity aligns with our passion, and where work becomes a joyful outflow.
What's your primary identity? What are you passionate about? Do they line up? Maybe next year's Heartbeat's Institute for Center Effectiveness is a great place to find out.
by Kirk Walden, Advancement Specialist
Are you one of those who has a tendency to compare yourself to others? I can be. And my comparisons often show me coming up . . . short.
Others appear more engaging, more educated, more everything. They seem to have the very gifts I don’t possess.
The funny thing is, I may be exactly right. Not all of us are alike. God gives different gifts and talents to each of us and for His reasons only, some appear to have more than others.
The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 tells us of a master giving talents (a measure of money) to three servants. One received five talents, another two, and another, one. We know the story well.
The servant who received five talents made five more, and the servant who received just one talent hid his away and made nothing. The first servant was rewarded with greater authority. The third was cast aside for not using what he was given.
But what about the servant in the middle ... the one who received two talents? We see no record of him complaining about receiving just two talents, and there is nothing in the text about any grumbling over the difficulty in making more money with only two—while another was given five.
Instead, we see a servant who took no time to compare to another and instead went to work with what he had. In the end, he gained two more talents. Do you know what fascinates me about the master’s response? For both the servant who received two talents and the one who received five, the reward is the same.
Both servants are told, “Well done, good and faithful servant. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.” (Mt. 25:21, 23)
I suspect many of us feel we are a little short of talents at times. And yet, the Lord is only asking us to take what we have and give our best. If we build on what we have, He receives joy--which He then invites us into.
So today, let’s all take heart. The joy of our master is not dependent on the number of talents we receive, but on how we use the ones we have.
by Jor-El Godsey, President
Best practices and powerful tools will only carry the effort so far... And maybe not as far as we'd think or want.
Even from the title of his book, "The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business," Patrick Lencioni tells it straight. Our best tips, tools, and techniques won't carry the day beyond the operational health of our organization.
Sounds too "touchy-feely"? Lencioni anticipates this objection, noting, "[M]any leaders struggle to embrace organizational health because they quietly believe they are too sophisticated, too busy, or too analytical to bother with it. In other words, they think it's beneath them." (Emphasis added)
Lencioni, well-known for best-selling leadership and management books such as "Five Dysfunctions of a Team," "Death by Meeting," and "The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive," pulls from each of these and others to reveal how a business or non-profit can learn to function in a healthy way.
Setting aside his customary "fable" format, Lencioni uses real-life examples to illustrate and emphasize the challenge and importance of working toward organizational health.
"Organizational health will one day surpass all other disciplines in business as the greatest opportunity for improvement and competitive advantage." Lencioni says.
If you're new to Lencioni, you might start with his "Five Dysfunctions of a Team" to ease into these weighty concepts. His books are neither long nor difficult to read, but offer powerful insights for any non-profit organization.
by Ellen Foell, Legal Counsel
Twelve tribes. Twelve leaders.
Each of these twelve men had the same mission, the same destination. The destination was the Promised Land. The mission was straight from God through Moses: Scout out the land of Canaan.
We know the story. How many came back? How many had a negative report? Ten. How many came back with a good report? Two. Remember, all twelve were Israelites who had seen the same power of God, heroically leading them out of the land of Egypt and miraculously parting the Red Sea for the entire nation to walk across dry land.
Each of these leaders were adventurers—explorers, daring to go where no Israelite had gone before. But only two came back with a good report.
Now, let's think about those two. Two men, two characters, two temperaments, two callings, two destinies. One destination, one God.
We know plenty about Joshua...the man even has a book named after him. Joshua was the understudy for Moses before eventually replacing him as the leader of God's chosen people. He used to stay at the entrance to the tent of meeting even after Moses had gone to bed.
With Moses kept outside Canaan, it was Joshua who led the people on the last leg of the journey into the Promised Land. He led the march around Jericho. Joshua charged and challenged the people with perhaps the most popular wall hanging in Christian homes today: "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (Joshua 24:15)
Then there was "The Other Guy." What was his name again? Caleb. What do we know about Caleb? Not a whole lot. Other than as his Hebrew name suggests, he was wholehearted. He followed the Lord wholeheartedly.
Caleb, along with Joshua, had journeyed into the same Promised Land with the other spies, had seen the same things, and came back with a report that, along with Joshua's, differed so much from that of the 10 that his life was spared. Along with Joshua, Israel's second in command, Caleb had been brave and had to swim against the tide.
Now imagine: When Joshua received his accolades from the Israelites, he did not stand up and say (or at least it is not recorded): "I want to thank everyone who made this possible, especially my friend and companion, a man of great and wholehearted faith, Caleb the Kenizzite." (A roar of applause rises in the background)." No, no accolades. No book. No quotable quote hanging on my kitchen wall 3,000 years later.
Caleb was the other guy. But, what a guy.
The boldness of being the 'other guy'
Caleb, as far as we know, was about 80 years old when he walked into the Promised Land. After seven years of fighting the Canaanites, Jebusites, Amalekites and other-ites, Caleb boldly walked up to Joshua and asked for the inheritance, the destiny that was his. Then, he took it. He received all that he asked for. That interaction is recorded in Joshua 14:7-14, which underscores Caleb's wholeheartedness and vigor in serving the Lord.
Hebron has belonged to Caleb ever since (Joshua14:14). Caleb's destiny was secure. He was able to take that same hill country he had seen over 40 years earlier.
He was strong. He was patient. He waited more than 40 years to get his hill country. He persevered. He never lost sight of the vision or the promise. He trusted God. He did not try to accomplish God's will on his own. He was a man of conviction. He was not self-reliant; he knew he needed the Lord's help. He had a specific place he wanted: The hill country.
Caleb was not a namby-pamby guy who would take leftovers. He had a place in mind within the destination of God, and he asked for it. He respected authority. He went to Joshua and reminded him of the promises of God in the midst of Joshua parceling out all the land, and simply asked for what was rightfully his.
Caleb was not a jealous guy—at least there is nothing to indicate he was. He watched Joshua follow Moses into the tent of meeting. He watched Joshua take the place as leader of the Israelites. He watched as Joshua led. What kind of leader was this? A wholehearted leader who never lost his vision for his destiny or God's destination.
Caleb took the promises of God, not as a deserved reward, but as an opportunity to exercise faith and claim new victories. Caleb was in his 80s, yet he asked for the hardest place of all, a place where giants were entrenched and where the fierce Anakim still guarded the cities (v.12). He did not ask for an easy place where he could spend his remaining years in peace and quietness. He still wanted to do something for the Lord, and for those who would come after him.
You will notice, that although Caleb thanked God for his vigor and strength, he did not depend on his own strength. Instead, he confessed his need of God's help and demonstrated a faith firmly grounded in God's promise, not on his own strength, nor that of his fellow Israelites. Though Israel had disappointed him 40-plus years before, Caleb did not complain when he had to continue wandering in the wilderness with his countrymen.
Learning from the 'other guy'
What can we learn from the other guy? Not everyone is a Joshua. Not everyone is in the limelight. Not everyone has a biography that thousands read. God will not, and does not, reprimand, chastise us, or judge us for that. Sometimes, the best leaders are those faithful folks who lead behind the scenes, daily exercising faith, declaring their testimony, and pressing on to claim what God has for them.
Sometimes we don't understand why disappointments come our way, often through no fault of our own. But we must remember that new opportunities can still come our way if we hold steady in faith and keep on walking with the Lord. Caleb watched his fellow leader and servant, Joshua, succeed, lead, fight, and win battles, while he himself did not grow weary of doing good.
He did not grow jealous or competitive. He did not grow disrespectful, he respected the authority and anointing of God in Joshua.
We must all, like Caleb "wholly follow the lord." Let us not seek honor or reputation from our fellow man. It is enough to do with all our hearts whatever God gives us to do, and give all the glory to Jesus. Then we will some day hear, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
What about you? Are you a Joshua? Leading seven times around the city, charging into Jericho, dispensing justice, and lands, slaying giants? Or are you a Caleb, the other guy? The other one? Faithfully, mightily, justly, humbly, patiently and wholeheartedly following God, into your destiny?
Whether a "Caleb" or a "Joshua," let us be found wholeheartedly loving and serving Jesus.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us...Hebrews 12:1
It seems not too long ago, I was constantly running kids or my elderly parents to their appointments. Trips to the dentist, orthodontist, physical therapist, orthopedic specialist, and dermatologist kept me constantly moving.
My children are now adults and my parents have since passed away. Yet, here I am with the same amount of appointments.
Funny thing is, now all the appointments are for me.
Lately, I have noticed the "maturing" process more and more. Sometimes, it bothers me. The books I've read about how exercise can help slow down the aging process have convinced me to learn the sometimes-joyful discipline of exercise, especially over the past four years.
While I was doing my thing in the lap pool the other day, I noticed a younger, very fit woman in the next lane.
Now, I rarely try to pace myself with other swimmers, but that day, I decided to go for it. I can assure you that, whatever semblance of a race I pretended we were in, I came in second place. The harder I tried the further behind I fell.
Feeling a little distraught, about to give up, and just plain old, well old in general, I suddenly heard a still small voice. "Run your own race, the race marked out for you."
Was this a Holy Spirit-inspired moment? I think so. As I splashed down the lane, I began to heed the advice. I began to zero in on my own technique and took my eyes off my unaware competitor.
Funny thing is, the more I focused on my own race, the more satisfied I became with my efforts. And, the more I improved.
In that exercise session, I did my personal best in time and, more importantly, in distance, all while losing track of the young athlete in the next lane over.
There are times and seasons in our lives when we are called to hone in and build our endurance as we run our own race. It is so easy to get caught up in comparing our own giftedness, resources, and ministries with those around us, which can either result in us feeling really good or really bad—neither of which translate to joy or are of much use in the lifelong journey of endurance.
Believe me, this "maturing" woman has been there and knows.
Is today the day you lay aside the things that hold you back and push forward in faith?
No matter your age, as long as you are alive, you are called to run with perseverance the race marked out for you.
What are you waiting for? Get moving!
By Betty McDowell, LSW, LAS, Director of Ministry Services
by Chet Scott, Built To Lead
The US Air Force trains it team to memorize two numbers, for the sole purpose of their survival during a time of trauma. We don't recall so well when we're overwhelmed, so our military leaders want these numbers embedded in their soldiers brains.
Our tendency, remember, is to do nothing, to turn into statues when we become hyper-stressed. This is rarely the right call. If the building is on fire, run. If the plane has crashed and you are still alive – move. If the boat is capsizing in the open seas, get going. Head for the upper deck and plan your escape. Don't sit still. However, if you're lost deep in the woods, according to Ken Hill a renowned expert in this field, don't get busy moving. Don't run. Don't move. This is where being a statue actually pays off. STOP. You are most likely to be found, in this case, if you stay where you are. Moving on...
Our fear tendency takes a similar look and feel every day around the hallways of corporate America. The moment things get a little hazy, crazy, and out of control we start to freak. When we can't see where we're going the freak can reach a dizzying peak. Our brain gets overwhelmed and without a sense of direction, we go statue again. We ruminate, and we tend toward sitting in our "cubes" and either doing nothing, or doing nothing new.
We STOP. We wait for the leader to tell us the way forward. They rarely do. So, mindlessly we continue to do what we've always done even when deep inside we know it's not working. And, oftentimes we go further. We allow our brain to forecast the future and it tends to catastrophize when given an overwhelming problem and little to no direction home. Yikes. Back to our Air Force pair of num's to recall.
Here are the numbers.
The USAF reminds it's workers of these two numbers over and over again. Here's what they mean.
98.6, as you already know, is our optimum core body temperature. When it gets below 88 you can't think clearly and when it drops below 82, you're toast. They teach their team to do what's necessary to remember techniques to keep warm. Here's one. Consume sugar even if it's cold. Sugar is the best ignitor of heat. Choose sugar over coffee, tea, or alcohol. Is that sweet or what?
3 is a little more complicated. They refer to this as the Rule of 3.
You cannot survive:
Here's the BTL AND...
To live out your OPUS while traveling your builder's journey, please remember this:
Your CORE temperature needs to feel like fire. As you pay attention to what gives you energy along this journey we call life, you can significantly improve your chances of writing your masterpiece. Step one is realizing what gives you energy the moment you are doing it. We refer to these as discovering your LOVE's. We ask our clients to write this in the form of their love to's. Very cool. Great lives are always lived by someone that discovers their passions and falls in LOVE in work and life. This is step one...
3 numbers we remind our family, friends, and clients are as follows:
12 8 4 powered by 2 is our framework for building CORE centered confidence, Communities with chemistry, and Continuity with contentment. These fortunate few live lives that represent their masterpiece. Their teams are inspired communities of people that are building deep trust and tasting what it's like to be in flow. They build the next generation of leaders before they need them and understand why this is best. These, home grown leaders, carry the vision forward and make it clearer during their time. The team outlasts it's founder and continues on with uncommon alignment, engagement, and energy. The Leader looks back at this legacy with contentment. Very cool.
And, you're BTL CORE on fire. We'll call this you're Air Force three. Remember these and you'll be flying.
Like this article? You'll love Heartbeat International's Insitutes for Center Effectiveness, which features on-site training from the Built To Lead team in the Leadership Track. Registration is open today for Insitutes, which takes place Sept. 29-Oct. 3 in Columbus, Ohio. Click here to learn more.
Every day, in every corner of the world, God is moving His people to launch new efforts on behalf of mothers and children at-risk for abortion, as well as efforts aimed at healing those affected by previous abortions and reaching communities with positive pro-life messages focusing on imago Dei and Sexual Integrity.
Whichever ministry you decide upon, we recommend looking at some key resources to get you started on the right foot.
Click any of the below to start with the information you need.
Answering the call to reach, rescue, and renew men, women, and children—even entire communities—from the violence of abortion requires a team effort, with every life-saver pulling on the same rope.
Click one of the below to learn more about your unique calling... and what you can do to become best equipped on the front lines of the Pregnancy Help Movement.
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