Friday, July 29, 2011

Diapers? Please Help!!

Another Holt (our adoption agency) family is about to head over to UG for their court date and they are going to bless the children and workers at their son's and J's orphanage with cloth diapers.   They have very little diapers there right now and not to be gross but the kiddos just go in their pants. Would you please help?  You can go to their blog and they have an Amazon Wishlist all set up. You don't even have to ship them to the Boltes...Amazon will do that for you!   You can also just donate money using the paypal link.  J is one of those babies who will benefit from this...would you please consider it?  Thank you!!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Conversation with a friend

Last night we had a good friend over for dinner.  Sine has been in this country for over twenty  years.  He is from Ethiopia and was a refugee himself.  Of course last night as we sat around our table what did the conversation turn to...the famine in Africa.  I don't know how many times I have heard his own story of life in the refugee camps in Somalia but everytime I hear it, it still moves me so deeply!  He told us how he was moved to tears and sorrow when he saw the pictures of those suffering right now.  He gets it on a much deeper level than I ever will because he has actually suffered from hunger, homelessness and utter despair in his life!   But God has taken care of him time and time again because Christians were willing to step out and be used by God! We talked about the organizations over there right now trying to help. I know in situations like this it is easy to disconnect from it because it is so far away and honestly there is so much in our lives to distract us and I know I feel like what can my little amount do to really help? But if we all work together in Christ he can multiply what we give.  Please consider skipping lunch or dinner this week or like a friend and her husband did...give up your grocery money for the week and just eat soup and sandwiches and give it to the relief effort!

Compassion, World Vision, and MANA are all agencies working over there in the name of Christ!

I was reading the book One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwerda last night and this was the scripture at the beginning of chapter 7!

"'The sin of your sister Sodom was this: She lived with her daughters in the lap of luxury—proud, gluttonous, and lazy. They ignored the oppressed and the poor. They put on airs and lived obscene lives. And you know what happened: I did away with them.  Ezekial 16:49-50


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Peanut Butter and Jelly

Have you seen the news reports about the drought and famine in the Horn of Africa?  If you haven't there are about 10 million people who are on the verge of death because they do not have any food or water.  They are fleeing into refugee camps but for many of them it is too late!  It is being called the worst drought in the last sixty years.  My friend MaryBeth wrote a great blog post about it here.

How can I look at these pictures and walk away and just live my life as if this is not happening?  How can I walk into Starbucks and buy myself a four dollar cup of coffee and not feel convicted?   But how many times do I do just that?  How many times do I walk around like these children and their basic needs do not exist? Yesterday I was reading in Luke 11.  In verses 37-54 Jesus is talking to the Pharisee whose house he is at to eat. 

When he finished that talk, a Pharisee asked him to dinner. He entered his house and sat right down at the table. The Pharisee was shocked and somewhat offended when he saw that Jesus didn't wash up before the meal. But the Master said to him, "I know you Pharisees burnish the surface of your cups and plates so they sparkle in the sun, but I also know your insides are maggoty with greed and secret evil. Stupid Pharisees! Didn't the One who made the outside also make the inside? Turn both your pockets and your hearts inside out and give generously to the poor; then your lives will be clean, not just your dishes and your hands.
 "I've had it with you! You're hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but manage to find loopholes for getting around basic matters of justice and God's love. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required.
 "You're hopeless, you Pharisees! Frauds! You love sitting at the head table at church dinners, love preening yourselves in the radiance of public flattery. Frauds! You're just like unmarked graves: People walk over that nice, grassy surface, never suspecting the rot and corruption that is six feet under."  The Message

No more looking the other can I?  How can I claim to have the love of Christ in me but continue on without helping!

So we can do something about this!  MaryBeth had a great idea and it is here.  We are going to participate in  Give your Lunch to Jesus.  What if all of us gave up eating at our favorite restaurant or fixing a great meal and just ate pb&j  on Sunday, July 31st...think of the glory God would get because of our obedience to his word!   What an incredible picture it would be of the body of Christ doing what the body of Christ was made to do!  I hope you join us on July 31st!  There are so many great aid organizations out there but Compassion International and World Vision are two Christian organizations working to help the people suffering in this region of Africa.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
   and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
   and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
   and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
   and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
   and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness[a] will go before you,
   and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
   you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
   “If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
   with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
   and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
   and your night will become like the noonday.
11 The LORD will guide you always;
   he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
   and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
   like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:6-11, NIV


Monday, July 18, 2011

One Month Closer

On Sunday, J turned 22 months! We rejoice in the fact that we are one month closer to meeting him and having him here with us.  But of course the Mommy heart  in me is sad to have missed one more month with  him.  But we are blessed!  He is healthy, his belly is full and he is trying to learn to run and kick a ball!  Good stuff! 

 So, each month as he turns older we buy him a book to celebrate! J's library is growing and this month we got the book Through Moon and Stars and Night Skies.  It is a beautiful story of how a little boy joined his family through adoption.  It came highly recommended!  I can't wait to read it to him!


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

229. Waiting

Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live. 
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, The Message

For the past couple of months I have been keeping a thankful journal.  After reading Ann Voskamp's  One Thousand Gifts  I knew I had to keep one also.  It has become a way that I worship God.  When I write down what I am thankful for it helps me to praise God and focus on him the way I should! 

This month at church our sermon series is on worship and David said something on Sunday that really struck me...are we letting God into the secret places of our heart or are we just keeping him where we want him? (Tracy's wording)  I know I do exactly that! Yesterday as I was looking back in my journal I realized I had thanked God for lots of awesome things...Jason, our kids, flowers,coffee, clean water, salvation, grace and on and on but I hadn't thanked him for the hard things.  Of course that is the whole point of Ann's book...thanking God for the hard things and bad things. Thanksgiving in everything...worship in every situation! Well, I hadn't done that yet. goes number 229. I am thankful for Waiting.  UGH!! That one is tough to put down!  I don't like waiting. I want J home right now!!  I don’t like not being the one who is in control of this process. I don't like not knowing the timing. I want to be the one putting him to bed and I want to read him books and be the one who gives him  hugs and kisses right now!  But there was such freedom and joy that came from writing that down!  Yes I thank you God that your timing is perfect and you  know more than I do! I thank you that in the waiting you are molding me and changing me to be more like your son! I thank you that this is for your glory!  So, I praise God for the waiting!!

I hope this song blesses you as much as it has me!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Jo's Blueberry Farm

I love getting out of the city and  into the country. Don't get me wrong I love living in Charlotte but sometimes a break from concrete is good!  Today was one of those days. So we  packed a picnic lunch, loaded up the car and headed to Jo's farm with some neighborhood friends!  We have lots of blueberries  to bake some  yummy things with! 

Besides picking blueberries we got to feed their chickens!  This was more of a hit with the kiddos than picking blueberries!

While we were picking the blueberries we came across a nest in the blueberry bush!  We all thought this was the coolest thing!!

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Great Ideas

 I have had a lot of fun reading all of the blog posts about activities to do with my kids this summer!  It is always good to get inspiration and ideas from other places...sometimes by the end of the school year I am little drained when it comes to ideas. The first great idea I  found is by  Meg at Whatever ...she painted this fabulous chalkboard in her kitchen and added  their summer bucket list to it. I love the ideas and chalkboard!

Summer is such a great time but it is easy to get caught up in the...what do WE want to do next question! Serving ourselves is easy but serving others...sometimes it is easy to let that one go the by wayside.  The example I have to follow though is this...   just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve  Matthew 20:28 

 So here is a great list to help remind me of where my focus needs to be! You may have already seen this post that Kristen wrote  about 100 ways  for your family to make a difference ( it is up to 109 ways and growing)!  If you haven't seen it I have reposted it below.  Kristen and her family have started Mercy House.

  1. Babysit for a single mom
  2. Teach compassion with a Family Giving Box
  3. Write a Family Mission Statement
  4. Bake cookies for your local fire dept.
  5. Pick up trash at local park as a family field trip
  6. Create snack packs for Ronald McDonald residents
  7. Welcome a new family to the neighborhood with a dessert and introduction
  8. Pray for the poor of the world
  9. Color a Smile-print coloring page to be given to lift someone in need up
  10. Make a baby care kit for a baby in need
  11. Take time each week to unplug as a family
  12. Donate your time or treasure to the Make a Wish Foundation
  13. Appreciate your church staff in some small, tangible way
  14. Do yard work for an elderly neighbor
  15. Make a Life Book for a child in Foster Care
  16. Read You Were Made to Make A Difference as a family
  17. Volunteer to cuddle babies at the hospital (older kids/teens are often allowed also)
  18. Read Christmas Jars as family
  19. Save loose change in a jar and give to a needy family at Christmas
  20. Take a family volunteering vacation
  21. Stop and say thank you to grocery clerks, waitresses. Ask them how they are doing.
  22. Become a monthly sponsor to help pregnant girls in Kenya
  23. Make a birthday cake for an underpriviledged child
  24. Serve at home: make each other’s beds, clean up someone else’s mess
  25. Write thank you notes to people who serve you: postman, yard guy, doctor, etc
  26. Sponsor a child monthly (cannot recommend enough)
  27. Make relief kits for disaster relief victims
  28. Sew a sleeping bag for someone in need (easy pattern)
  29. Volunteer at a non-profit
  30. Make up some Hygiene Bags to pass out to local homeless people
  31. Take your family on a tour of Red Cross
  32. Put a monthly date on the calendar for a Family Service Night
  33. Take a meal to a new family
  34. Create a card for Habitat for Humanity new home owner
  35. Encourage your older children to be a Mother’s Helper to a mom with young kids
  36. Fill a backpack to help give a homeless person a lift up
  37. Make birthday cards and deliver them to a local nursing home monthly
  38. Donate books to Africa
  39. Take your kids to a local Food Pantry with canned goods to donate
  40. Deliver food for Meals on Wheels
  41. Pray as a family on a regular basis for the people in your life.
  42. Donate your hair to Locks of Love.
  43. Give blood. (Take your kids with you and explain the importance).
  44. Donate nice toys to cancer ward at a Children’s Hospital
  45. Buy a mosquito net and help prevent malaria
  46. Randomly celebrate each other with a special treat, meal, time
  47. Donate school supplies to a classroom in need
  48. Compliment and thank the teachers in your life
  49. Buy a soccer ball for a child in poverty
  50. Give a used bike to a homeless person
  51. Donate coloring books/crayons to hospital emergency rooms
  52. Host a 40 hour famine in your home (fast something!)
  53. Give clothes to a family in need (call your church/school to find one)
  54. Read to a special needs child
  55. Only drink water for 2 weeks, give proceeds for clean water
  56. Buy a goat for a family in extreme poverty
  57. Give a donation in someone’s name to an organization you believe in
  58. Send your used shoes to Reuse-a-Shoe
  59. Become Certified Respite Caregivers to give Foster Family’s a babysitting
  60. Decorate a Christmas tree at an elderly person’s house
  61. Hold a collection drive: makeup, lotions, etc for women at a shelter
  62. Find a Food Bank near you to volunteer
  63. Deliver popcicles to children at a homeless shelter
  64. Offer your pet for therapy to the elderly
  65. Decorate nursing home rooms of residents with homemade art
  66. Have regular “family nights” with games, ice cream, time together
  67. Visit the NICU with treats for the doctors and anxious parents
  68. Write to unsponsored children
  69. Read to patients at a local hospital
  70. Plan a family missions trip
  71. Bake cookies, host a bake sale and donate money to the poor or a cause
  72. Volunteer at a local animal shelter
  73. Plant a garden and share the produce
  74. Hold a drive for lightly-used stuffed animals for police stations SAFE program
  75. Write letters to servicemen
  76. Give a micro loan and change a family in a third world country
  77. Smile. At everyone.
  78. Make care packages for children in the hospital
  79. Instead of a birthday gifts, ask for donations for a charity or food for a food pantry
  80. Shop fair trade
  81. Offer to decorate hospital hallways during the holidays
  82. Ask your city about volunteering to remove graffiti
  83. Host a Lemon-AID stand and donate proceeds Blood Water
  84. Make no-sew fleece blankets for Hospice
  85. Collect pencils for African children
  86. Send a care package to our military
  87. Read the Bible together as a family every day
  88. Collect shoes for Shoes for Kids (started by an 11 year old girl)
  89. Let kids choose a charity to donate to for one of their Christmas gifts
  90. Become a foster family
  91. Pay for someone’s drink in Starbuck’s drive-thru. Make sure your kids enjoy the act of kindness.
  92. Help your kids starts a neighborhood or school Bible Study with their peers
  93. Volunteer to plant flowers for your school/church flowerbeds
  94. Make a Care Bag for a child in need
  95. Adopt a child
  96. Welcome home a hero at the airport
  97. Complain less
  98. Start a Kindness Club with your family
  99. Let your light shine!
  100. Look for opportunities to be the difference in someone’s life
  101. Host a virtual food drive
  102. Start a KidzRap on your street!
  103. Purchase gifts through families fundraising for adoption.
  104. Make a quilt for NICU familes
  105. Pay the toll for the car behind you
  106. Invite friends to Vacation Bible School
  107. Help keep families together
  108. Take someone flowers from your garden
  109. Participate in Operation Christmas Child

I hope that these ideas are as much an inspiration to you as they have been to me!!