Monday, August 31, 2015

4:00 ams

It's Monday morning and nobody should be awake at 4:00 am and people you don't know shouldn't call you Soph when your name is Sophie and even coffee is failing at keeping my eyelids from drooping. But today is another day I am living and another day God had made and that's keeping me going today.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Thanks Radical Face and Goodnight Caffeinated Smiles

I'm wrapped in piano strings.

And that smells like coffee to me and feels like a comforting, classical hug.
So wrap me and hold me piano strings and I'll fall asleep on your lovely piano keys.
Just don't tell me about the bird that flew away because his feathers didn't match his wings,
For if the days would go slower I'd leave my politeness inside of the thank-you and please.

I'm wrapped in piano strings.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Blessings just around the corner

Pasta, nice professors, an opportunity to go home, surprising my parents, car rides and good talks, ministry opportunities, being with a group of believers, encouragement, E.T, pretzel chopstick adventures, side hand hugs, and just many blessings. I'm seeing the silver lining now and I am thankful.
 Though I should be thankful when the linings I see are only grey.
What a blessing it is to be loved by a Savior who sees the black depths of your heart and the motives behind the actions and words that you are ashamed and loves you more than all human beings who love you and who can't see the depths of your heart and the actions and motives and words you are ashamed of.
The one who truly has every right to hate and condemn us, loves us more than we could ever imagine and
How Great is Our God?
Greater than words could ever speak and meanings could ever hold and actions could ever show.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

But the Moon was full and it had an angel ring of hope around it

Maybe life is a bit tough and maybe it's hard to be a fish swimming upstream and maybe a school claiming to have Christian standards that don't follow up on the afore mentioned standards and rules are shocking at first and not admirable, but God is still good and He's working in me.
I am a complainer when it comes to curve balls.
Things seem so "unfair".
But as good 'ole Relient K says; "The beauty of grace is that it makes life unfair."
I should not be complaining even if things aren't quite as pleasurable or uplifting or encouraging as it was at Clearwater Christian College.
I may be missing it everyday and that's okay.
But this is where God has placed me now and I need to be a light still.
And I need to be fighting and not complaining.
A compassionate prayerful heart goes a lot further than a complaining, disapproval heart.
I shouldn't settle for less, but I should be praying for a revival and trying to reach out to people and make the best of a less than favorable situation.
God has called me here and He has blessed me even through this time.

And I need to be even more grateful.
I am loved, and I am blessed.
Today my group of Clearwater friends and their roommates and I ventured to Dunkin in the morning as well as spent the afternoon/evening at my friend's apartment. We made tacos, cookies, and watched Cheetah Girls three as well as played games and talked and laughed and jammed. It was a good evening and I am so glad I have friends to stick with and go through this less than favorable situation with me. God is faithful and He has provided me with good times and good friends with memories to treasure and things to laugh about.
And the moon was full and bright and it has angel ring of hope around it.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

It's the end of the decade, but a start of an age

I'm letting the warmth of my coffee warm my cold nerves.
Here's to my last year of college;
Didn't think it all would come this quickly...
But, alas, it has.
So I must ease on down the road with it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

I know this only the first full day here at my new college and my second night here,
but it has definitely felt weird.

It's hard coming from a school where you have made Godly friends and had high standards and didn't have to worry about the majority of the student body having extremely different views.

I didn't have to worry about them barely clothing themselves and the language around you being less than edifying and the guys clearly sizing you up as you walk past them in the Christian college I went to.

I'm going to a Christian college now but I'm having a hard time adjusting so far.

Especially being out in the middle of nowhere and away from my close friends and family and even a Target or a Starbucks. There are small pleasures in life and I definitely have taken them for granted.

Thankfully God has been teaching me the importance and wonderful beauty in friendships though.
Three friends from my previous college are going to this college now and I think being new together has strengthened our friendship. I also have made another friend to who is an incoming freshmen and is totally sweet. We've made a pretty tight bond and we stick together. Loyalty is a tight glue that keeps the cracks from tearing our walls down. 

They had an event tonight at our new college and we definitely made the best of it. 

Whether it was cornhole, or watching Jurassic World, or tennis, or just talking, we stayed loyal and we had fun with our time together. Afterwards, we ended up watching Highschool Musical together in one of my friend's dorms.

Loyal friends are important in life and I'm so thankful that I have some. 

I know God can get me through any situation but I'm so glad I have them or else I might be crying in a corner right now because this change has not been what I thought it might be. 

But is life ever what we think it will be? 

Usually not.

But still,
change is hard.
Especially when you had something so good.
But I will praise Him nevertheless.
And I am thankful He has not made me go through this without friends there beside me.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Saturday, August 22, 2015

"Everything's got to end otherwise nothing would ever get started"

-- The Doctor

My summer adventure is ending and tomorrow my senior year at a new college adventure is starting.
I don't know what to say but I think the Doctor's words sum it up.
So, let's get this thing started.

In the words of Bilbo Baggins;

"I think I'm quite ready for another adventure."

Friday, August 21, 2015

Temptation (why am I still screaming?)

Today I was convicted. I have some more learning to do you see. So, a few weeks ago I was subbing at a preschool. It was nap time for the kids and there were a lot of kids. But one kid, would NOT go to sleep. Granted, I was never a kid who was a big fan of naps. So, I understand not wanting to take a nap. But this kid was crying and crying and making noise and it had been an hour and a half already into naptime and he was still crying. I was trying to comfort him and coax him into laying down to rest, but it wasn't work. But then, I prayed. I prayed that he would lay down and rest. Five seconds later, he laid down and in a minute or two he was fast asleep. Second story, today I was babysitting and when I reached the house I was babysitting at, my phone wasn't working. The screen was black and it wasn't turning on at all. No matter how many times I pressed the power button and held it down. It was more than 80 % charged so it wasn't like it ran out of battery but nevertheless I put in the charger to see if that was the issue and it didn't work either. I was worried because that was my only mode of communication between the babysitter as well as my parents and anyone for that matter. Well, while I was there babysitting, the kids were playing on their kindles and IPhones so I decided to read the book I had brought with me which was entitled; Tempted and Tried which convicted me because one of the biggest temptations I have is Facebook and not only that but endlessly checking and seeing how many likes or what comments I get on my posts/photos so that my ego may be fed. And it's an easy thing for me to do considering I have Facebook on my phone. I don't know if this is the reason or not but when I read and was convicted, I prayed to God and asked that my phone would work for communication purposes but I also asked that if He was trying to teach me a lesson that I could learn the lesson without my phone being turned off. After I prayed, I tried pressing the power button on my phone again and it turned on. I sincerely think God was trying to tell me to take a break from Facebook and to evaluate my motives when I post things. To evaluate who's attention am I trying to grab and to stop trying to scream when I should be quiet. Again, still working on the quiet soul. So, I'm at least taking a week off of Facebook and social media because I believe that is a lesson God is trying to teach me. But as well as that, He also has been teaching me the power of prayer and how even the small prayers are worth it. Faith is important in the life of a believer. God won't always grant your prayers but He just might so it is worth it to take the time to pray even over small things such as crying kids and phones that aren't working. And again, quiet souls and overcoming temptations through Christ. The book stated an important verse and I'm going to share it because it was a great reminder;

"With confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." -- Hebrews 4:16

Temptation is strong but the power of prayer is stronger.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

"But everything I paint seems to peel"

                                                           -- Warm Bodies

I guess Warm Bodies was a book before it was a movie? I didn't know this until I stumbled across this quote but I liked it. I actually was looking at this article with a load of literary quoted and you know, most of them were about love. They're beautiful but most of them are heartbreaking. They also got me thinking about love and thinking about ways to be shown love and how I'd like to be shown love.

You know I think one of the best ways to be shown love is to be praying for the person every single day. To be putting God first before the other person and loving the other person with the love of Christ. You see, a lot of these quotes are beautiful but a lot of them are heartbreaking because the love they have is an obsessive sort of love. The way they love is unhealthy. They make each other their worlds. A lot of the quotes say how they don't know how they could live without each other. But you know, you never know what will happen in life. You have to be able to be okay in life if something ever happened to your significant other. You have to put them second or else you cannot love the other to the fullest. Christ is the source of love. If you do not go to him for love, then how can you properly love your significant other. If you're not seeking God in prayer, how can you do what you're supposed to do within the relationship. If you're not praying for the other within the relationship, how could you have his or her best interest in mind?

I want to be shown love not by some words declaring that I am his world or his reason for living.
I want to be shown love by His love for Christ and knowing Christ is His first love.
I don't want our love to be heartbreaking.
I want our love to be paint that dries and remains and does not peel.
I want our love to be coated with the love of Christ.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

I'm not a wallflower/I'm a wildflower

I want to keep telling of your works.
And tonight tasted bittersweet, like frosted tears.
And I'm confused about things and I don't understand boys or why they do what they do.
But I really like the song Clair De Lune and the sun shined today and the rain shined too.
I don't want to leave but at the same time I do,
Oh Lord, all I can do, is look to you.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Thank You Lord

Tonight was a night of fellowship and worship with my fellow believers.
It was a beautiful thing.
It reminded me of two things.

1. I am blessed to have fellow believers that encourage me and lift me up. I know some Christians are lone sharks in this world and don't always have a group there to encourage and guide them through dark and scary waters.

2. I am blessed to be able to publicly worship and praise my Savior in this country. There is a lot of things I don't agree with and is wrong with America, but I am so thankful that we have the freedom to praise our God.

We wanted to go and witness and evangelize today but the rains and storms came down heavy and hard. We reached the beach right when it started pouring and we came back to my house. It was sad at first but obviously, God had a different plan for us or the rains would have cleared. And I don't know what the reason was, but I do know I got two lessons out of this night anyways and God is good and we were still able to worship Him and grow together as believers united in the body of Christ.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Your will be done Lord

I've been reading this book called "Set Apart" by R.Kent Hughes. Which, by the way, I highly recommend. But the reason I'm pointing this out is because when I was reading it, there was something that was pointed out to me that just me stand back and look at things in a new perspective. I can tell you that I have been struggling with selfish thoughts lately. I've been wanting certain things to happen or to come true and I pray for them and then I say; "Your will be done Lord". I say it because inwardly I am thinking that I want His will to be done. That is, until His will is done and it doesn't match up with what I asked for. When that happens, I am still saddened and I still ask Him again thinking maybe there's still a chance or maybe His will can change. What a fickle human heart I have. What got me thinking about this is because in "Set Apart", the author points out how Jesus even prayed before He died on the cross that if there was another way out that He may take the other way but if not, not his will but God's will be done. And God listened to His son cry out in agony and pain, and although it saddened Him, there was not another way out so He sent His son to die on the cross because that was His will. And Jesus obeyed, because He valued God's will above all else. That just puts things in immense perspective to me. A lot of times when I pray for these selfish things, its about getting a job I wanted or going to a college I envisioned myself to be attending or having a certain guy I liked be interested in me. They are such minuscule things that really need not happen and I still ask for it and am upset when I learn that it is not God's will for me. Even though I know God's will is best. It was majorly convicting and I want whatever happens and comes my way for me to be able to say; "Your will be done, Lord" and then mean it and want it. Because God's will is so much better than anything I could have cooked up for me. And Jesus accepting God's will to die on the cross for our sins, is so infinitely huger than accepting the things God shows me is His will and I'm not particularly fond of. It's really ridiculous when put in that perspective and humbling. And it redirects my focus to Christ and God and how much He really loved us. Jesus didn't want to suffer and God didn't want to see His son suffer and yet He did it because He wanted to set us free from our sins because He loved us so much. He doesn't want us to suffer either in this life, but if it's His will, you know it's for the better and you know He loves us still. Just like God loved Jesus still even though He had to send Him to His death. If He sends us to our death and that is the cost of following Him, it is still worth it and it is still for the better.

Lord, your will be done.
May I follow it and not resent it.
May I love your will.
May I follow you to the ends of the earth, knowing You are my everything and You are worth it all.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Everything Must Change- Olafur Arnalds

"As dawn goes down to day,
nothing gold can stay."

--Robert Frost

Olafur says it all in one classical music piece entitled "Everything Must Change".
I think at our points in life; my friend, her sister, and I, are realizing this.
There are so many different stages in life.
Nothing can stay the same.
Everything must change.
It doesn't mean it's bad, it's most likely necessary, and only time will tell if it's good or not.
But it still must change, and we'll probably change with it.
I'll go where the Lord takes me.

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven"

--Ecclesiastes 3:1

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

A Quiet Soul

Has been pressing on my heart hard as of lately. To have a quiet soul means being at rest in the midst of whatever situation is present. It is being okay with not having to chime in and speak something that you want people to find humorous or get attention from. A quiet soul is being okay with not being the center of attention. Not being the one people automatically see and hear. It's being the person in the background doing things for the Lord that not everyone will notice because you aren't screaming  "Look at me, look at me" while you're doing it. A quiet soul is full of patience. It knows that things happen in God's timing and that you don't need to try to make anything happen before it's timing especially because even if it's what you want, it may not be what God wants for you. A quiet soul is able to listen better because it's not talking and adding to the noise that seeks our attention every day. A quiet soul is a content soul. A quiet soul seeks God and seeks God first and rests in what He offers.

I struggle with a quiet soul a lot.
I want to have my voice heard.
I want approval.
And I worry about being notice more than I do about taking a step back and trying to listen to what God wants me to do.
I want a quiet soul.
I want to find peace and rest.
And I want to watch my tongue and guard my thoughts.

Father, my Lord, I pray for a quiet soul.
I pray that you can show me and help me practice what a quiet soul is and apply it in my every day life.
I pray that I may seek you first and above all else and that my only concern will be glorifying you and following your commands.
With a quiet soul comes humility and stopping trying to elevate myself and being liked and approved,
so I pray for this as well.
My true friends and my future husband (if it's your will for me to have a husband) will love me and find me even if I am not putting myself out there and trying to elevate myself or shout out in this loud world.
They will be see me anyways and love me anyways.
Please help remind me of this day to day and let me just trust in you.
I love you Lord.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Rocks of Choice

His hands hold the rocks of choice and are left open for anyone to see and take,
but the problem is that not everyone takes a rock of choice.
Some would rather not choose at all, and they ignore the fact that the rocks are there.
They see the rocks of choice but in not choosing, they choose to look away.
They don't realize that not choosing a rock of choice is still a choice.
You can take a rock of choice and consciously choose darkness or consciously choose light.
But when you choose not to choose, you're still choosing darkness.
You are just blind to the fact that you're living in darkness.

Thankfully, I  know someone who can touch the eyes of the blind and make them see again.

But if you can see, I hope you choose clearly.
I hope you choose the light that will guide you and give you an eternity of light and life.
I hope you don't choose a life and eternity of darkness and suffering and death.

 "So Jesus said to them, “The light is among you for a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, lest darkness overtake you. The one who walks in the darkness does not know where he is going."
--John 12:35

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I'm Unsure

When I'm uncertain of the future, I start imagining it. And that's bad. It's a problem of mine. I do not know the future and the things I imagine are most likely far from what will be and what will happen. I don't think there is any good in imagining my own future. I think there is only good in trusting God with my future and keeping an open mind and to keep focusing on how I can glorify Him while I am here and living in the present. 

Oh Lord, please gently press the weighing thoughts of the future back into the unreachable spots of my brain and press upon the thoughts of you and how to glorify you now into the caverns that I delve into daily.

Oh the things I'm learning.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Oh Lord, May I Obey You

Sometimes I am very good at listening.
Sometimes I am very bad at obeying.

I know and felt God calling me to read a poem that pointed back to Him and the Gospel tonight at a coffee house.

I even asked for prayer for it the previous night knowing that this was what I was supposed to do.

Tonight though, I tried to metaphorically run. I chickened out. I looked at the list of performers and there was one name written down. I looked around at the crowd and it was big. I got my coffee and my Mom and sister and I sat down and started playing a game. I had easily ignored what God was telling me to do. I could feel the guilt pricking at me and I was ignoring that. It wasn't until my loving sister and Mother prodded at me that I buckled up the courage and wrote my name down. I am thankful that they did that but ashamed that I had tried to ignore what God was telling me to do. I know I do that a lot. Whenever there are opportunities to share but could cost me embarrassment or judgement, my mind simply turns off the switch that says; "I am willing Lord and I will do it" to "Oh no Lord that's not what you want for me really".  That should not be my first response. My first response should be; "Lord, I see that this may be different than what I thought and could cost me a few moments of embarrassment and judgement but you are worth it and having these souls listening to Your words and truth and having the opportunity to spend an eternity with you when they die, is worth it." I am willing up until a point most times. I am willing until I am faced with something that terrifies me. And the thing is that I have no reason to be terrified either. What can mortal man do to me? I am a child of God, and a conqueror. Perfect love casts out fear. I have no reason to be afraid for my God is with me. I don't want to be a Jonah. 

I did end up reading my poem and it was hard.

But it was worth it.

And next time, I don't want my first reaction to be ignoring God when fear tries to creep in.

I want my reaction is to be trusting God and realizing that doing what He has asked me to do is worth it. And I want to do it right away. I don't want to "run" first and then come crawling back.

I know I am still human but tonight has made acutely aware of an area in my life that I need to work on and I need prayer for.

Sometimes I am very good at listening.
Sometimes I am very bad at obeying.
But I realize I want to be better at obeying.
Oh Lord, help me obey you.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Am I Ready?

 I am.
You know there was a time when I really thought I needed to step away from life's problems.
But stepping away doesn't make your problems disappear.
I realize that's kind of what I was hoping for.
The whole; "ignorance is bliss" sort of deal.
I don't want that now.
I need to face my problems and fight them.
I don't want to step aside.

However, in a couple of weeks I'll be headed off for my last year of college.
And I pose the question to myself; Am I Ready?

I believe so.
I don't know what all this year entails for me.
But I think I'm ready for it.

And I'm not running away from my problems this time,
but I think leaving for a little while helps you realize things and helps you grow.
And some things you do need to make sure your mind doesn't dwell on.
I think staying here would be harder not to dwell on certain things.
It doesn't mean I'm not facing my problems, but sometimes a break gives you perspective on your problems.
Sometimes seeking other people's advice helps you out.

I think this will give me time to grow closer to God and hopefully help me focus on Him more.

I need that,
I need to focus on Him more.
I've really realized that and I've been trying to do that especially these last couple of weeks.

But I'm excited to go out there and go to chapels and have Christian professors again hopefully pass on their wisdom and be surrounded by believers that will hopefully uplift and encourage.

And if not, still, He is good.
And I know He has a plan in all this.
And I want to seek and praise Him still and all the more.

Monday, August 3, 2015

To sum up my El Salvador Learnings

On my last day in El Salvador, the morning before I was to go to the airport, I came across this verse;

"But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works."
--Psalm 73:28

What a fitting verse to sum up the week, and to keep in my mind as I live my life moving forward.

1 Peter 3:4

"but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious."
I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to right about my Friday in El Salvador yesterday. I'm going to be honest, I was sick on that day. I whole heartedly wished I wasn't but I was and spent most of that day sleeping and recuperating. So, I didn't have a lot to take away from that day. Although I can't say I took away nothing from that day, because I don't think there is day where we can't take away anything from it. I think the main thing it taught me was patience and how sometimes we need to learn that we aren't super human beings and as much as we want to, we can't always get to experience everything we want to experience. I really wanted and even tried to sit in on the service put on for the youth but eventually I had to just rest. And sometimes we need to rest in life. We need to take a break from all the clutter going on and sit back and rest our souls too. So, I guess that is what I took away from that day. As much as I wanted to spend that day with the rest of my team and the youth that were there, I needed to rest my body and my soul.
On a side note, I'd like to talk about the above verse.
I love that verse so much. I came across it last school semester back in April, but I easily forgot to meditate on it over the Summer. Every time I read it, I think to myself that a gentle and quiet spirit is the beauty I want to have. However, I do not live that out very often. I fall back into focusing on outside beauty. It annoys me, really, it does. I know it's popular in society to focus on that because that's what they teach you. That's how you get guys. That's how you fit in. That's how you become acceptable. But, that's not what the Bible teaches, and every time I am reminded of this, that's what I want to focus on.
Story time:
When I was in highschool, I had mini-romances. I don't know how else to describe it really. We never really were in full on relationships but we definitely were invested in each other and we definitely were attracted to each other. But honestly, those didn't last very long. And I have many of guys proclaim their interest in me, but again, I think it was only because of my outside appearance. Now trust me, I am not boasting here. I'm just stating what I think. And I can tell you that part of why I think that is because I do not believe I had the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit and I do not believe my heart was hidden in Christ. But you know, each time something didn't work out or a guy stopped liking me, it hurt. Because I knew it wasn't me they really liked. Not the inward person. And you know what? I don't think I'll ever have a deep relationship that will work out unless I do work on my inner self.
Outward appearances fade away, and you can't hide your inner self. It comes peeking out.
When my inner self comes peeking out, I don't want it to be ugly.
I don't want my inner self to be arrogant and proud, not giving any thought to others, or a flaky person who does not dedicate herself to God's word or following Him completely. I don't want to be a lukewarm person and I don't want to be in a relationship with a lukewarm human being. I want my life to be hidden in Christ and glorifying Him and when I become in a relationship with someone, that is what I want to be attractive to Him. My relationship with Christ. And that's what I want to find attractive in a man. And if I am not focused in Christ or I find a cute guy who is not dedicated to Christ, I know I am not ready for a relationship or a relationship with him. And I know it wouldn't work out if I was in a relationship with someone who wasn't living completely in Christ and especially if I wasn't living completely in Christ.
Now what do I mean by this?
Do I mean the person can't mess up and lose his way?
Does it mean I have to be perfect and never sinning in order to be in a relationship?
No, not at all.
That's impossible.
But I have to be focused on God first.
God above all else.
And so does he.
If a guy takes a place in front of Jesus in my thoughts, then I can't be with him.
I'm not ready.
That is not a healthy way to start a relationship.
God needs to be first in my life.
Likewise, it's the same with the guy.
I don't want him to elevate me in front of God.
God is first.
I want to make God first in my life.
And I need to work on myself in the mean time because I can't be a good future wife if I only focus on the outside too.
I need to focus on being a girl with beauty that pleases the Lord.
And I want my future husband to love me for having the beauty that pleases the Lord too.
Or else I know he's not deeply rooted in God either.
Those are my thoughts of the day.
I know I have a lot to work on.
I need to be calmer, gentler, and kinder.
I need to focus on others and God moreover than myself and how I appear to others.
I can honestly say, I need to put God first right now.
I am not ready for a relationship with anyone right now,
I am still distracted and not focusing on Christ as I should.
But I am praying, and I am trying because I want Him to come first.
He is my life, my love, and my all.
He is my everything.
I need to live that out rather than just know it.

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Thursday we had a youth conference and a group also went back to the public school because they had a morning group and a completely different afternoon group. So we went in the afternoon this time to share and talk to the new group. When we ministered to the public school, it didn't go as well as we expected or as well as the first time did. We had trouble being loud enough because we were on a basketball court and there were no outlets to plug in a microphone or anything which was different from what we had the day before. We had a megaphone but that still didn't help that much and a lot of the older kids were talking so it made it very hard to hear. However there was a little girl  who really wanted to hear. She kept making the "shh" motion and asking girls to quiet down so she could listen and even though I know she couldn't hear because I was sitting with her and I couldn't hear, when we handed out Gospels of John she opened up hers immediately and I saw her quietly reading it out loud to herself. Even though things didn't work out as we had planned it too, God had (and has) everything under control and He was still working through the complications. This girl was such a love though and I miss her. But it also reminded me that even though there are times and days where everything seems to go wrong, there is always an upside to it. Not only that, but it makes all the difference even if just one girl in that huge group of kids got to hear the Gospel. Our job isn't to see how many souls we can collect for the kingdom. It's not a contest. Of course, I'd like all the people I talk to who aren't saved to become saved. But my point is, it was worth the whole program knowing one person was interested in and heard the Gospel. Even if no one else heard the Gospel, I would do the whole program over again because each and every life matters.