Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The winner is...

According to random.org the winner of the Project320 giveaway is...

#7  Karen King
Woohoo!  Congratulations, Karen!  You are getting some incredible goodies!  Thank you to everyone who gave clean water!  The project total is  up to $6,930 and still growing!   Thank you to Jill of Modern Prints, Kristi from WiseAbe and Kelley from i heart maps. for helping with this giveaway.  Go shop at their stores they all have incredible items plus you know they are using their businesses to bless others!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

O Holy Night

One of my favorite childhood memories is going to Christmas Eve midnight mass with my Grandfather and sitting up in the choir loft with him while he sang.  I didn't grow up Catholic but every year I looked forward to midnight mass and listening to the singing.  The choir would always sing O Holy Night.  I can't listen to this song without getting teary eyed!  Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 22, 2011


$6,440 dollars have been raised so far through Project320 to build a well!  That is awesome.  I think the best part is that folks who don't even know each other have come together and donated $10, $20, and even $500 to help families who don't have clean water be able to get clean water!  Will you help get them to two wells? The goal of being able to fund one well has been met...could you help them get to two?  Think of how many families would be blessed by two wells?   Jesus replied, " Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself. Matthew 22:37-39  I can't think of a better way to love our neighbors than to bless them with clean water!

Would you please consider a donation to Charity Water.  I have a great giveaway going on right now for each $10 donation you are entered into the giveaway.  Just leave a comment letting me know you gave!

Please consider giving the gift of clean water this Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Update on J!

We received an update and new picture of J last night. What a great Christmas gift!   He is doing so well and I wish I could show his pic because he is adorable! :)  He is learning to stack blocks and loves to ride on the merry go round but he is scared of the slide!  Our family has tried to focus on the fact he is coming instead of focusing on the fact that he isn't here yet but it has been hard.  Please continue to pray for a  quick court date for us  in 2012 and for the other two families who are waiting to travel just like us! 

This month we got J the book The Pine Tree Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs.  We have the Pumpkin Patch Parable and love it but I think I love this one even more.  The story is about a farmer and his wife and the Christmas trees they grow each year.  They share their beautiful trees with the neighbors but there is one tree that they have saved for themselves.  On Christmas Eve, a poor family arrives on the farm hoping there is one tree they can buy.  The child of course sees the one the farmer's wife has set aside for the farmer's  family and asks can we buy this one?  A great story to teach my kiddos that it is more blessed to give, than to receive and that Christmas isn't about the gifts under the tree but about Jesus and trying to be like him!

"Each one should give, then, what he has decided in his heart to give 
God loves the person who gives happily." 2 Corinthians 9:7 (ICB)

Would you consider giving the gift of clean water this year for Christmas? For each $10 donation to Charity Water you get an entry into the giveaway.  You can go here  to give!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

My first giveaway...and I am excited!! (giveaway is closed)

Let me introduce you to Project 320.   This is the third year for Project 320.  Six women have gotten together and decided that they can do something to help others.  These women with the help of many others have already raised enough money to build three wells in two years, and this year they are trying to build another one.  I hope my giveaway (keep reading) on this blog will help contribute to Project 320 meeting it's goal of building a well.

Today I...

Took a shower.
Brushed my teeth.
Filled the coffee pot.
Filled the Christmas tree stand.
Ran the dishwasher.
Ran the washing machine.
Used the toilet.
Washed my hands.
Did some more dishes.
And lots more laundry.
Rinsed salad greens.
Ran baths.
Topped off my iron.
Fed my kids glasses of fresh, clean water.

Water, water, water...

Is it fair that today I whine & worry over trees & toys,
when today 4500 moms just like me are worrying whether their
children will live or die?

Over contaminated water?

When I think about how healthy and safe my family is, I have no worries.
I need nothing.
I am so blessed.

But those other moms need us.
Together, we can relieve some worry. (from Project 320)

The founders of Project 320 have put out the call for bloggers to offer giveaways with the hope that enough money is raised to fund a well through Charity Water. The founders of Project 320 are hoping for 50 blog giveaways and ten entries per blog or more of course! That would be enough for a well!  Would you be one of my ten?   Here is the deal...for every $10 dollar donation to the Project 320 well you get one entry into this blog's  giveaway.  You will be giving directly to Charity Water and each donation is tax deductible. 

Here is the giveaway...and if I could I would enter because the goodies are awesome! :)
Jill is the owner of Modern Prints on Etsy.   Jill is a fellow adoptive mom and blesses so many people through her business! I love her prints. I have ordered a couple of her prints and they are beautiful!  Perfect for you or for a gift! Jill has graciously donated a $20 gift certificate to her store to this giveaway.  Here are a few examples of her work!

Also, included in the giveaway is a necklace from  i Heart Maps.  I met Kelley at the Marketplace to benefit the Kilgoris Project.  Her jewelry is beautiful.  What is so wonderful about Kelley's store is that she always gives 20% of her profits to the Kilgoris Project or Wine to Water. You pick a location that is special to you and Kelley makes a beautiful necklace.

Here is my bracelet from i Heart Maps. I love it!

I wrote a post about places to shop this Christmas. The next gift comes from one of the places I suggested to shop... Wise Abe. I love everything in their store and when you buy from them you know that your money is also going to help support Compassion's Leadership program.  So, it was hard to pick one thing to include in this giveaway from Wise Abe but I did it! A beautiful burlap pillow. 

 You know you want to enter! For each $10 you donate to the Project 320 charity water site you will receive one entry into this giveaway. Leave me a comment to let me know you did.  Also, for an additional entry you can share this giveaway on fb or your blog but be sure to leave another comment letting me know you did that.  This giveaway will be going on until Monday, December 26th at 12:00 am EST.  I will announce the winner on Tuesday, December 27th! Would you please consider donating to Charity Water?  Just $10 can change a life forever!  Please take a moment and give clean water for Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Advent Conspiracy

 This video is a good reminder of how we spend way too much on ourselves at Christmas! Clean water...we all take that for granted.  It is easy to do because we have an abudance of it here in this country.  But for plenty of other folks clean water is nowhere to be found.  In a few days I will be introducing my first giveaway on this blog to help raise funds to build a well for a community who doesn't have the luxury of clean water.  Details coming!! 

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

1 Corinthians 13 Christmas

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shiny balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crocheted snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.
Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
Love is kind, though harried and tired.
Love doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust, but giving the gift of love will endure.

Author Unknown

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Best Cocoa Mix!

One of our favorite activities is to make hot cocoa mix!  We do drink alot of it but it also a great gift.  I have yet to find a recipe as good as this one.

Cocoa Mix

1   6-8 ounce jar of powdered coffee creamer
1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
1 lb. can of Nestle Nesquick chocolate powder
1 small box of powdered milk

Mix all ingredients together in a gallon jar or other large container.  Stores nicely.  For one  cup of hot chocolate, add a heaping scoop or two of dry mix to water. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Great places to shop!

When shopping for Christmas gifts,  I wanted to try to buy things from shops that make a difference in the lives of people.  We are Compassion sponsors and one of the things that Compassion does for alot of the children they serve is help them go on to college. The Leadership Program helps students attend college, pay for room and board and books.  With education these children can leave poverty behind and make a difference in their own country. So, where does the shopping part come in.  Wise Abe is the dream of Kristi and Jessica. Wise Abe is a shop that sells recycled coffee bag purses and burlap pillows...does it get any better than that?   Yes, it does...the best part is that when you buy from them 10% of the profits goes to the Compassion Leadership program.  So you buy a bag or pillow and help a student go to college!  You can go here and read about the students they sponsor.

If you are local to Charlotte this  weekend is the Marketplace that benefits The Kilgoris Project.  The Marketplace will have so many different things for sale from local artists and just your average craft maker and lots of yummy goodies. Perfect place to find Christmas gifts. Best of all the proceeds go to help the children and families in Kenya.  The Marketplace will be in the Southend at Seneca Square Shopping Center 5215-C South Boulevard.  You can shop Friday night and all day Saturday! Hope to see you there!

If you have already done all your Christmas shopping and just want to share some Christmas love this year.  I have two friends who are in the process of adopting. I met Lauren through the world of international adoption on the internet.  She and her husband are adopting for the second time from Ethiopia.  Well, she has this huge giveaway on her blog. For $5 you can enter to win a bunch of goodies like a Kindle, beautiful throw, coffee, candles, scarf, fleece wrap...and on and on.  Go here and check it all out!  Again, I say only 5.00 dollars to enter.I know that doesn't seem like much but when you are trying to raise funds it is huge!

Angela is a friend I have met through our International Adoption Support group here in Charlotte.  She and her husband are adopting from the Democratic Republic of Congo.  She has a cool fundraiser going on right now. Again JUST $5 will buy you a puzzle piece and help to bring their daughter home.  You can go here and buy a piece and make a huge difference this Christmas. 


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Operation World

Today and tomorrow Uganda is the featured nation on Operation World's prayer calendar.  If you haven't used Operation World's calendar and resources before it is a great way to pray for the nations and learn about the needs in each country!

 If you would please include in your prayer these specific ministries working in Uganda.


Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Jesse Tree

A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
   from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
Isaiah 11:1

Last Christmas I was introduced to The Jesse Tree.   Every evening for about four weeks leading up to Christmas we read scripture, talk about it and  hang an ornament on the Jesse Tree that represents what we just read. The readings take you through the Bible chronologically leading up to the birth of Christ. It is a great way to keep our focus on Jesus during this time of the year.  We are all excited to do it again this year.  While I love the one that I have linked to...I just went ahead and made one for us from burlap and felt...easy!

The ornaments I printed off from here.  Jake and Elyse colored the patterns, I glued them to felt and made our own ornaments.  The devotions I found here and just printed them off and put them in our own book to use year after year.

This is what the tree will look like on Christmas!

There are other great advent options like Amanda's advent activity book over at Impressyourkids.org. 
Or Tara's version of the Jesse Tree You which you can get here !


Thursday, November 17, 2011


My friend, Shellie, gave J a book this month to add to his collection.  The Little Engine That Could is one of the best children's books!  He is one loved little boy and we can't wait for him to know that!

I know I have shared about Compassion's Bite Back program before.  The Bite Back program helps children and families prevent and treat malaria.  I wrote a whole post about malaria because J had it recently.  This past week I have once again been reminded of how we are so blessed in this country by our access to healthcare and treatment...it is a gift that I take for granted.  I have spent time in the hospital this week with my Mom.  She is about to have heart surgery.  We were totally taken by surprise by her condition.  However, I am so thankful that we can walk into a clean hospital with doctors and nurses who will do whatever they can to help treat us and improve and correct our condition.  This week we have never had to worry about whether medicine would be available for her.  We haven't had to worry about anything in regards to her care.  I am so thankful for that.  But it has made me want to advocate even more for those who don't have the gift of healthcare or medicine.  For just $10 you can save the life of a child and help a Mom or Dad have medicine to give their child. Malaria kills 2,000  children each day.  So would you please join us this month and give to Compassion to help fight malaria?  You can go here and donate.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011


We got an email that told us meeting J in 2011 is not going to happen.  So, short of a miracle (which God can do anything) we will be meeting him sometime in 2012.  We are praying it is sooner rather than later in 2012!! To say that we are sad is an understatement. Thankfully we have a good support system of friends and family who are such an encouragement and blessing to us!  When we got the email I had just finished re-reading chapter 1 of  One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp in preparation for a Bible study I will be participating in this fall. Thankfully what came back to me from chapter 1 as I read the email was this:

There's a reason I am not writing the story and God is. He knows how it all works out, where it all leads, what it all means.  I don't. (page 21)

We know God is in control of this whole process but it is a daily choice for us to trust because we don't understand and honestly we would write it differently if we could! The times that grow our faith are not the easy times in life and we know that and we are thankful that we serve a God who loves J more than we do and is working all things for our good!  My friend, Rachel, sent me this scripture.

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord.  At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love answer me in your saving faithfulness.
Psalm 69:13 ESV

We know that at the right time J will be coming home. Please pray for J and the affidavit that is needed.  Please pray for us!


Monday, November 7, 2011

Do good!

Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good, in order that they may provide for daily necessities and not live unproductive lives.
Titus 3:14

I sat in church yesterday and listened to a message about doing good.  It was the perfect message to hear on Orphan Sunday. How do we help orphans here in the U.S. or abroad? We do good! Whether that good is fostering, adopting, sponsoring, advocating, giving money or mentoring....just do it! We love others the way we love ourselves.  We follow the great commandment:

And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.
Matthew 22:37-40

We can help by mentoring.  We can help by advocating. We can change the life of a foster child by starting a ministry like this one.  We can sponsor kids here, here or here. You can learn about adoption here or here.

The gospel I believe in offers a cup of cold water in Jesus' name.  The only gospel worth living is the one that incarnates love.  The only gospel worth giving our lives for is the one that elevates the needs of others above our own.  That's what the "good news" is all about.
-Tom Davis  Red Letters
Living A Faith That Bleeds


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Great quote!

God is graciously involved in adoptions.
He has done it Himself.
He knows what it costs.
And He stands ready to support us all the way to the end.
~John Piper

Thursday, November 3, 2011


Unfortunately, one of the major causes behind the huge number of orphans in this world is the lack of food and the lack of basic resources to allow mothers and fathers to provide for the family.  It seems that often, faced with the choice of either watching a child die of hunger and hunger related illnesses, or placing them in an orphanage where they can receive some care (granted, not always great care because of the overcrowding and lack of resources in many orphanages) and have the opportunity to get adopted, most parents will choose the orphanage.  Can you imagine being faced with that decision?  Give my child up because I realize I can't provide for them?  What is so hard to swallow about the hunger that faces so many people in other places of the world is how much we have right here in America...we have so much more than we need.  But, what do we do about it?  Obviously we can't pack up what is in our pantry and send it over seas. 

A child dies every six seconds from
malnutrition-related causes.

It’s preventable. And it’s curable.

There are about a billion hungry people in the world. Hunger gives way to chronic malnutrition, and in its most severe form, severe acute malnutrition kills 1- 2 million kids a year.

  • A child becomes acutely malnourished and the mother must leave what little livelihood she has – typically farming – to take the child to the nearest hospital.
  • Long walks give way to crowded waits in makeshift centers. If admitted, she remains as the caregiver in a crowded malnutrition ward, which is often a room with rows of straw mats, as the child is treated.
  • Disease is transmitted easily between the weakened children in the ward.
  • And, if the child survives, he or she often returns home to find that his or her family have sunken into a deeper level of crisis.           (source: mananutrition.org)

Let me introduce you to MANA

The folks at MANA are doing something about malnutrition in other parts of the world.  MANA stands for Mother Administered Nutritive Aid.  A pack of MANA is fortified peanut butter and tastes a little bit like a Reese's peanut butter cup.  What this pack can do is save the life of a child.  As little as three packs a day for six weeks can bring a child back from the brink of death.  Isn't that incredible?!!  Look at these pictures showing the before and after of the difference MANA can make:

Here's a video of what MANA is doing in Rwanda.....

How can we help MANA?  There are a couple of ways.  One is by going to their website and donating.  Another way is by  hosting a Give Your Lunch to Jesus day at your church.  Our small group this summer ate pb&j sandwiches together after church and gave what we would have spent on lunch to MANA.  Another way is by setting up your own fundraising campaign to benefit the efforts to build the factory in Kigali, Rwanda.  Please consider joining with MANA to help change the life of a child.


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Kilgoris Project

If you are on Facebook, or read adoption blogs very much, you are probably aware that this Sunday is Orphan Sunday.  I am so excited about Orphan Sunday.  Being able to get the word out about ways to serve the orphan and the widow is awesome!  Today, it is estimated that there are about 143 million orphans in the world...give or take a couple thousand.  However, due to all kinds of various issues, many of those orphans are not able to be adopted.  I wish they all could be adopted but, that isn't reality.  I love adoption...I am adopted, and if you read this blog regularly you know that we are currently in the process of adopting.  I wish everyone would do it!  But since that isn't going to happen I think we, as the church, need to look for ways to "curb/slow down" the orphan crisis.  We have been on the defensive as the church for a long time.  Instead of looking for ways to solve the orphan problem we are playing catch up.  We are not on the offensive.  Obviously, we are not going to solve the orphan crisis only through adoption.  So what do we do?  We can begin by developing programs that keep families together and supporting ones that already exist.  Programs that help mothers and fathers get AIDS meds so that they don't die, programs that help create sustainable jobs for a single mom so she can support her family, programs that help communities grow food so parents aren't faced with the choice of watching their child die or giving them up for adoption. I wanted to take a few days and focus on different ministries that are making a difference in the orphan crisis either through job creation, medications, or hunger relief.

I want to introduce The Kilgoris Project


I first learned about this ministry a year ago from friends here in Charlotte.  The story of Kilgoris started in 1999 when a couple from California was on safari in Kenya.  This couple  ( the McCormacks) struck up a friendship with one of the waiters (Willie) at the game reserve and they bonded over their mutual Christian faith. Over the next couple of years the McCormacks and Willie corresponded.  They learned of the desire of Willie's church to build a church building and start a preschool and The Kilgoris Project was born.

Fast forward 12 years later and there are now four schools, a church, a tea farm, women's co-op and basic care (nutrition, clean water, and medical care) that is making a huge difference in the lives of those living in the Kilgoris village and the surrounding villages.   The schools are educating the children, providing them with an opportunity to find employment when they grow up. The tea farm is producing a sustainable way to pay the teachers at the school.  The basics such as food, clean water and medical attention are there to keep the children healthy so they are able to learn. The women's co-op is a way for the moms to learn to make crafts, which are then sold in the U.S., enabling them to provide for their families. 

So how can you support The Kilgoris Project?  Well, if you live in California or North Carolina you could come to one of the Marketplaces and buy things made by the moms in Kilgoris or things made by other artisans and everyday craftsmen and women.  All proceeds benefit the children and families in Kilgoris! I have included pics of the postcards advertising the locations! The postcards are the same but there are three different locations.  If you don't live near a marketplace event, would you consider donating to The Kilgoris Project?


Monday, October 31, 2011

Thankful Calendar

As I'm sure everyone would agree, focusing on being thankful is not always easy.  We try really hard in our family to focus on our blessings, but with that being said, it is easy to go through each day and not be. A couple of years ago a friend and I found the neatest November/Thankful calendar and we each decided to make one. I am a visual person and it helps to have things up in our home to remind me to be thankful...that is why I love this calendar so much!  This is our second year to put the calendar up, and I'm determined that it will become an annual family tradition.  Each day we write down something we are thankful for on a strip of paper, put it in the pocket for that calendar day and then we share with each other when the day is over.

  Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pumpkin Bread...yummy!!

It is not fall without some good pumpkin bread to eat!  This is a recipe that was given to me by Mom (any recipe from Mom is gonna be awesome)  and it is yummy!

Pumpkin Bread

3 1/2 cups of flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups of sugar
1 cup of oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup of water
1 can of pumpkin (14.5 oz)

Sift dry ingredients into a bowl.  Add remaining ingredients. Mix until smooth.  Grease and flour 2 big loaf pans or three small pans.  Bake at 350 for 1hr. to 1hr 10 minutes.  Enjoy!!

Friday, October 21, 2011

It has been a year!

It was a year ago today we applied to Holt's Waiting Child program to become J's parents.  In the days that followed we received all the information that Holt had on J and we were asked to review it and let them know if we would like to interview to adopt him. We knew even before we received any info on him that we wanted him in our family.  It was hard to read about all that had happened to him in just his first year of life, and to know that he had already experienced more in that short time than most of us will go through in our entire lives. But at the same time we saw how God was already taking care of him and providing for him, and that was incredible!  Our interview with Holt was set for mid November so Jason and I began filling out the questionnaires (so many questions!!) and scheduling our home-study.  Our interview ended up getting pushed back to the first week in December. The six weeks that went by as we waited to interview for J were not easy but as we have learned God has been at work in each step of this process even though we may not see it with our eyes! 
This is the first picture we saw of J!  Wish I could show his face! :) Soon!!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another month gone by...

October 17th already! This fall is going fast but we are so ready to meet J and have him home!  Wow...waiting is just hard!

Once Jake and Elyse turned two I no longer kept track of  their age in months but since our boy isn't home yet I am still marking each month with a celebration of him! He is 25 months!

This month we ordered J two new books.  The first one is I Love You, Little One by Nancy Tafuri. I love the illustrations in this book!

 We figured there was no better book for J since he loves to play with cars and trucks than Constance Robinson's My First Truck Board Book.
Would you also join us again this month by donating to Compassion International's Bite Back program. For 10 dollars you can save a life!  In August, we shared how J had just gotten over Malaria.  You can read that post here.  It shouldn't be that children have to suffer and die with Malaria when it is so treatable.  Please consider making a donation!

Please continue to pray! We are hoping that we get news this week! 

Thursday, October 13, 2011


A few years ago a friend brought up the need for guardian ad litems to the church we were attending.  I wish I had applied at the time but I didn't!   She was serving as one and saw what a blessing this role serves in the life of a child. She also knew that this is one very important way that Christ followers need to be involved...advocating for children who are abused or neglected.

Since entering the world of adoption we have had our eyes opened to alot of needs.  Needs here in Charlotte and needs half way across the world.  One way to serve at home is through the CASA program. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate.  The volunteer is appointed by a district court judge and helps to make a determination of a child's  needs.  The guardian ad litem is an advocate for the child to make sure that he or she is placed in a safe and loving home.  The guardian serves as an important voice for the child in court.

You can go to the National CASA website to learn moreand  search for a guardian ad litem program in your area.  Would you please consider filling out an application with me? 


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

cars, trucks, and preschool

Last night we got two new pictures and an update on J!  He is doing well.  His vocabulary is growing and he is able to point and name many different objects. Of course, he is learning in Lugandan not English.  His favorite toys are cars and trucks...he loves to drive them around.  Typical boy!  And, we learned that he will soon be heading off to the Early Childhood Development Center for school!

We love getting updates on him but, at the same time it makes us realize how much of his life we are missing out on. We want to be the ones teaching him new words and getting to play cars and trucks with him and loving on him. But we continue to wait and we are not alone in waiting.  There are other families waiting for their kiddos too. Would you please pray for them also?  God knows who they are!

Thank you so much for your prayers!!

Friday, October 7, 2011


We are still waiting.  No news!  A friend shared this scripture with me recently and once again I am challenged about why I worship God.  Do I worship him because of the blessings in my life and because my life is easy or do I worship him simply because he is God?

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms,
      and there are no grapes on the vines;
   even though the olive crop fails,
      and the fields lie empty and barren;
   even though the flocks die in the fields,
      and the cattle barns are empty,
  yet I will rejoice in the Lord!
      I will be joyful in the God of my salvation!
  The Sovereign Lord is my strength!
      He makes me as surefooted as a deer,
      able to tread upon the heights.
Habakkuk 3:17-19

Have a great weekend!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Who wouldn't want to win a trip to Aspen?

My friend, Mary Beth Picker, is guest posting on my blog today.  I met Mary Beth  through email a few years ago after she wrote an article on adoption for our college alumni magazine.  Last winter we finally got to meet in person.  She and her husband, Casey, are true examples of living out their faith.   I can't help but think of Mary Beth and Casey when I read this verse... "Dear children, let's not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions." 1 John 3:18  They have a passion and love for the people of Ethiopia and specifically the village of Adami Tulu and the school that they have helped to build in that village. Would you please consider being apart of the life changing work that is occurring in Adami Tulu?

Thank you so much Tracy for allowing me to post on your blog about a subject that is so important to me.
Over three years ago, my husband and I began our journey to adopt our son from Ethiopia. And since that time, God has been filling our hearts with an overwhelming love and passion for the people of Ethiopia. We returned a year after our first adoption to bring our daughter home. After arriving home with her, we knew we had to do more.
We have been so blessed to team up with other adoptive families around the U.S. and with Lifesong for Orphans. Lifesong is doing some amazing work through a small nursery school that they support in Adami Tulu, Ethioipa. You can read more about Adami Tulu here.
Last year, we, with five other families, raised over $40,000 to build a new building, restroom facility, and gate at the Adami Tulu school. In August, we got to return to Ethiopia to see the new building. We had an amazing trip, and have absolutely fallen in love with Adami Tulu. You can read more about our trip here and here. The school is changing the lives of so many vulnerable children in the area by offering them a wonderful education and two nutritious meals a day.
We’ve returned home with the knowledge that we have so much more to do in Adami Tulu. So we’ve agreed to continue our work with Lifesong by raising funds for another school building on the Adami Tulu campus. This will enable the school to expand to include 1st and 2nd grade. More details will be coming soon, but we’re anxious to get a jump start on fundraising. We know that this project will cost at least $50,000. But, for these sweet faces, we’ll do anything!

We are very excited to announce our first fundraiser for our next phase of the Adami Tulu project: another Aspen Giveaway!

Our Aunt and Uncle have, once again, generously donated toward our fundraising efforts. Only this time they’ve offered us not one but FIVE stays at the Hyatt Grand Aspen.

Any one of these November stays might make a great early-Thanksgiving get together for you and some friends or family!
We will begin the giveaways today and draw winners on October 15. To enter, donate $20 by clicking the link for the stay that you’re interested in. For every $20 you donate to Lifesong for Orphans, you will get one entry in the drawings. By the way, 100% of your donation will go to our work in Adami Tulu.
Here are some details and pictures about the Hyatt stays:
Hyatt Grand Aspen has complimentary continental breakfast, a pool and hot tub, fitness center, fire pit, daily room cleaning and nightly turn down service complete with chocolates. There is even a little hut by the hot tubs where you can hang your robes to keep them warm for you! The hotel is within walking distance of lots of shops and restaurants in Aspen.
The retail value of each stay is approximately $2,500.

To get to Aspen, you could fly into the Aspen airport. The hotel will pick you up and, since everything is within walking distance, you can go without a car during your stay. Or you could fly into Denver and rent a car to drive to Aspen. Or, of course, you could also just drive to Aspen.

Hyatt Stay Giveaway #1:

  • Sat.- Sat. November 5-12 (full week stay)
  • Studio Unit (Like a nice hotel room with small kitchenette.)
To enter the drawing for Giveaway #1, donate to Lifesong for Orphans here:

Hyatt Stay Giveaway #2:

  • Sun.- Thurs. November 13-17 (five days/ four nights)
  • Two Bedroom Unit (Two Bedrooms and Bathrooms, Kitchen, Livingroom, Dining Room, Washer and Dryer, etc.)
To enter the drawing for Giveaway #2, donate to Lifesong for Orphans here:

Hyatt Stay Giveaway #3:

  • Sun.- Thurs. November 13-17 (five days/ four nights)
  • Three Bedroom Unit (Three Bedrooms and Bathrooms, Kitchen, Livingroom, Dining Room, Washer and Dryer, etc.) Maybe a family could do an “early Thanksgiving get together” in this one.
To enter the drawing for Giveaway #3, donate to Lifesong for Orphans here:

Hyatt Stay Giveaway #4:

  • Tues.-Sat. November 15-19 (five days/ four nights)
  • One Bedroom Unit (All the things a two bedroom has but only one bedroom and bathroom)
To enter the drawing for Giveaway #4, donate to Lifesong for Orphans here:

Hyatt Stay Giveaway #5:

  • Tues.-Sat. November 15-19 (five days/ four nights)
  • Two Bedroom Unit (Two Bedrooms and Bathrooms, Kitchen, Livingroom, Dining Room, Washer and Dryer, etc.)
To enter the drawing for Giveaway #5, donate to Lifesong for Orphans here:

Just imagine, you could win a stay in Aspen, just for donating $20. What a deal! Plus, you get to be part of this amazing project to help these precious kids in Adami Tulu.
If you are unable to use one of the stays, you could donate your entry to a friend, or minister, or someone who could really use the time away.
Help us raise money to expand the Adami Tulu school and spread the word about our giveaway. Please repost on twitter and facebook! Thank you!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

One Step Closer...

Great news!!  Yesterday we got word that the probation officer's report we were waiting on was filed with our agency.  Now the lawyer can file our affidavit with the court in the UG!  So, while we get to hurry up and wait again, we are getting close to meeting our boy for the first time!

And, considering that news, we had the perfect ending to the day yesterday.  We enjoyed a Ugandan feast with friends last night and the ones who cooked for us were missionaries in UG for ten years!  We had no idea when we planned this dinner two weeks ago that we would actually have something to celebrate! :)  Here is a picture of our dinner... we had beans and rice, greens with gnut sauce, cabbage, chicken and posho. This would truly be considered a feast in UG because most people are not able to afford all of this food!

Thank you for your prayers!  Please keep praying for the process!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The goat from "A Goat and the Smelly Cat!"

 Isn't that picture awesome?  Just look at that those children!!...and the goat too. :)  This goat will provide milk for these children and income for the orphanage from selling the milk, too!

Back in May I introduced you to the Kyengera Orphanage in Uganda and my friend, Tonya.  Tonya and her family have adopted the entire Kyengera Orphanage. You can read that post here.  In June, Jake and Elyse had a bake sale to raise money to buy a goat for the orphanage...that didn't go quite as we planned because God had another plan for providing a goat for these children in Uganda, and once again, He showed us his love and grace.  Then, Jake and Elyse invited their friends over for ice cream and those friends brought enough change to pay for a year's worth of vet fees for the goat.  It was incredible to see these kids from the age of 2 all the way up to 12 bring all of their change for kids they will most likely never meet this side of heaven, but they all wanted to share what they had. Their willingness to share was such an example to me. 

If you would like to learn more about the work being done at the Kyengera Orphanage go to  Kirabo Seeds.  We are already getting excited about the next project they are working on...starting a library for the children at the orphanage at Kyengera!


Monday, September 19, 2011

A Hungry Child Can't Wait: Ask 5 for 5!...guest post

Guest Blogger: Sarah Lenssen from #Ask5for5
Family photos by Mike Fiechtner Photography

Thank you Tracy and nearly 150 other bloggers from around the world for allowing me to share a story with you today, during Social Media Week.

A hungry child in East Africa can't wait. Her hunger consumes her while we decide if we'll respond and save her life. In Somalia, children are stumbling along for days, even weeks, on dangerous roads and with empty stomachs in search of food and water. Their crops failed for the third year in a row. All their animals died. They lost everything. Thousands are dying along the road before they find help in refugee camps. 

At my house, when my three children are hungry, they wait minutes for food, maybe an hour if dinner is approaching. Children affected by the food crisis in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia aren't so lucky. Did you know that the worst drought in 60 years is ravaging whole countries right now, as you read this? Famine, a term not used lightly, has been declared in Somalia. This is the world's first famine in 20 years.12.4 million people are in need of emergency assistance and over 29,000 children have died in the last three months alone. A child is dying every 5 minutes. It it estimated that 750,000 people could die before this famine is over. Take a moment and let that settle in.

The media plays a major role in disasters. They have the power to draw the attention of society to respond--or not. Unfortunately, this horrific disaster has become merely a footnote in most national media outlets. News of the U.S. national debt squabble and the latest celebrity's baby bump dominate headlines. That is why I am thrilled that nearly 150 bloggers from all over the world are joining together today to use the power of social media to make their own headlines; to share the urgent need of the almost forgotten with their blog readers. Humans have the capacity to care deeply for those who are suffering, but in a situation like this when the numbers are too huge to grasp and the people so far away, we often feel like the little we can do will be a drop in the ocean, and don't do anything at all.

When news of the famine first hit the news in late July, I selfishly avoided it. I didn't want to read about it or hear about it because I knew I would feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable. I wanted to protect myself. I knew I would need to do something if I knew what was really happening. You see, this food crisis is personal. I have a 4-year-old son and a 1 yr-old daughter who were adopted from Ethiopia and born in regions now affected by the drought. If my children still lived in their home villages, they would be two of the 12.4 million. My children: extremely hungry and malnourished? Gulp. I think any one of us would do anything we could for our hungry child. But would you do something for another mother's hungry child?

My friend and World Vision staffer, Jon Warren, was recently in Dadaab Refugee Camp in Kenya--the largest refugee camp in the world with over 400,000 people. He told me the story of Isnino Siyat, 22, a mother who walked for 10 days and nights with her husband, 1 yr-old-baby, Suleiman, and 4 yr.-old son Adan Hussein, fleeing the drought in Somalia. When she arrived at Dadaab, she built the family a shelter with borrowed materials while carrying her baby on her back. Even her dress is borrowed. As she sat in the shelter on her second night in camp she told Jon, "I left because of hunger. It is a very horrible drought which finished both our livestock and our farm." The family lost their 5 cows and 10 goats one by one over 3 months, as grazing lands dried up. "We don't have enough food now...our food is finished. I am really worried about the future of my children and myself if the situation continues."

Will you help a child like Baby Suleiman? Ask5for5 is a dream built upon the belief that you will.

That something I knew I would need to do became a campaign called #Ask5for5 to raise awareness and funds for famine and drought victims. The concept is simple, give $5 and ask five of your friends to give $5, and then they each ask five of their friends to give $5 and so on--in nine generations of 5x5x5...we could raise $2.4 Million! In one month, over 750 people have donated over $25,000! I set up a fundraiser at See Your Impact and 100% of the funds will go to World Vision, an organization that has been fighting hunger in the Horn of Africa for decades and will continue long after this famine has ended. Donations can multiply up to 5 times in impact by government grants to help provide emergency food, clean water, agricultural support, healthcare, and other vital assistance to children and families suffering in the Horn.

I need you to help me save lives. It's so so simple; here's what you need to do:

  1. Donate $5 or more on this page (http://seeyourimpact.org/members/ask5for5)
  2. Send an email to your friends and ask them to join us.
  3. Share #Ask5for5 on Facebook and Twitter!
I'm looking for another 100 bloggers to share this post on their blogs throughout Social Media Week. Email me at ask5for5@gmail.com if you're interested in participating this week.

A hungry child doesn't wait. She doesn't wait for us to finish the other things on our to-do list, or get to it next month when we might have a little more money to give. She doesn't wait for us to decide if she's important enough to deserve a response. She will only wait as long as her weakened little body will hold on...please respond now and help save her life. Ask 5 for 5.

Thank you on behalf of all of those who will be helped--you are saving lives and changing history.

p.s. Please don't move on to the next website before you donate and email your friends right now. It only takes 5 minutes and just $5, and if you're life is busy like mine, you probably won't get back to it later. Let's not be a generation that ignores hundreds of thousands of starving people, instead let's leave a legacy of compassion. You have the opportunity to save a life today!