Friday, December 31, 2010
from andreas blog - "Here’s the DEALIO if this project is news to you. MOST girls and ladies in Africa do not have the money OR access to sanitary items. SO–during their monthly cycles they often just sit at home. These widows NEED to leave their homes to find work to provide for their children–but they can’t!!! And 60% of young girls drop out of school because they have no way to care for themselves during that time and are too embarrassed to go to school. WELL–thanks to women stepping up to the plate ALL OVER AMERICA–these girls and widows now have washable, organic pads. While I know some of you are saying, WHAT???? Is that sanitary. Well…lemme tell you this. THIS IS more sanitary than what they were using–some times making tampons out of old newspaper. They just didn’t know what else to do!!! Many of the girls and women get infections. Not knowing what the infections are, some women are even outcasted by their husbands if they still have them thinking they have been unfaithful. Some even left or worse–abused because of being falsely accused of something they couldn’t help. (I read an EYE opening article about this…it’s just awful!) AND did you know the drop out rate for girls INCREASES to just 8% (did you hear that?!) when they have these?!?!?!"
also from her blog - "We then headed back to Sinia campus where we were greeted by the ladies who attend Wiphan’s Skills Training program. They had been told about the “It’s a Girl Thing Project” and even though they were also told we would not arrive until 1 pm- most of them arrived at 8 am. I asked Elizabeth why they came so early…. she said, “They were just too excited!”. As we talked about them, gave them instructions for use and for cleaning them… they danced and sang and praised God for his provisions. Humbling to say the least… When’s the last time you praised God for your maxi-pad? BUT to these ladies, these gifts are life-changing. They can leave their homes during that time of their cycle- they can work, go to school, and be kept safe from infection. These are the things we take for granted that we truly rarely think about. Toilet paper, tampons:), soap & running water…
Your sister in Christ, April "
amazing that they were praising God for these things we take for granted...it makes me take a step back and really think about things...and my eyes fill with tears
make sure you head over and read her blog post and look at the pictures :)
Monday, December 27, 2010
(The Christmas pickle is not really a pickle at all. It is a pickle-shaped ornament that is the last one hung on the tree on Christmas Eve. The first child to find the Christmas pickle gets an extra gift from Saint Nicholas. Or so the so-called legend goes. History of Christmas pickle)
Maggie woke up at 3:30 Christmas morning! She said she couldnt sleep and needed her pillow fluffed. "ok maggie bring me your pillow and i will fluff it" so I did that for her. Then every once in awhile I would hear her run down our hall and back. I think she was coming in to see what time it was. So for the next 3.5 hrs she did that about every 20 minutes. That girly was excited for gifts! I remember being the same way when I was little :) She came in around 7 and we told her we had to wait until Zek and Hazel woke up. (Emery was already awake) So Hazel woke up not too long after that and we had to go in a wake Zek up (he sleeps alot later than the others normally)
The girls were so excited to open gifts. It was fun watching them. Zek loved opening them as well, but didnt fully understand. He got a little tykes slide and LOVED it! It was the most excited we had seen him. I actually had tears in my eyes watching him in his excitement. He likes to go down head first. Its really cute!
Later that morning my mom, brother, sisters (and sisters boyfriend, and nephew came to celebrate at our house. We had brunch and opened gifts. I made reindeer pancakes for the kids. It was a lot of fun having them all over.
That afternoon we went down to Adams families and celebrated with them. Everyone had a great time!
Overall this Christmas was excellent! Last year was really rough. Lots of adjustments last year with bringing Zek home and me having terrible morning sickness.
We hope everyone else had an awesome Christmas!
Friday, December 24, 2010
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Ephrem from Lifesong for Orphans on Vimeo.
“What first drew me to this little boy was his sweet round face. Obviously, he has suffered a great deal from malnutrition. When we visited the school he and the rest of the children were so focused on their meal. It’s amazing to see how Lifesong was changing their lives. After lunch, I found myself surrounded by children playing a name game. He reached out and kissed my hand. My heart melted... I think of him daily.”
Sometimes it can be hard to imagine the hardships that go on around the world. We sit in our comfortable homes, with pantries full of necessities, and it seems strange that most of the world doesn’t have a pantry, let alone food to fill it. But for millions of children in Africa this is their reality. Hunger is a part of their daily lives. Then add the fact that many of these children are also orphaned, either by death or abandonment… it’s almost more than we can bear. It’s hard to go there mentally and we protect our hearts by pretending it doesn’t exist. But it does. Children are suffering.
Little Ephrem is one of those children. Born in Ethiopia, his father is now dead and his mother disappeared years ago. He was taken into his grandmother’s care, but she has struggled to provide for him. At 4 years old, Ephrem is extremely small for his age, and most likely suffers from a type of growth disorder, though the lack of specialized medical care keeps us from knowing for sure. And since he has been malnourished most of his life, it is no wonder his health is affected.
Praise the Lord, Ephrem is now enrolled in Lifesong’s Adami Tulu Nursery School, where he is getting two meals a day and seems to be flourishing under the care of his teachers. His sweet demeanor and precious smile easily capture your heart.
Bring joy and purpose this Christmas season to children like Ephrem around the world!
*Want to use your blog to advocate for the fatherless? Click here to learn more.
Monday, December 20, 2010
In February 2011 (just a few months away) I will be traveling to Ethiopia with the organization Visiting Orphans on a mission trip to help care for orphans and underprivileged children in the area. And by underprivileged I don't mean food stamps and 40 cent reduced-lunches. These are children often solely with the clothes on their back, children that thankful and joyous that they have covering... regardless of how tattered, stained and odorous. Children that would give anything for shoes or a consistent meal or a stable roof over their heads. These are children that struggle daily and by early grade school age are their family's primary source of income... if they even have a family.
So, how did the whole mission trip come about? Well, the past 12 months have been quite the whirlwind for Christie and I and our family. After returning from Ethiopia last December, times were difficult as we struggled to adjust to our new “normal” … not only from the shock factor of bringing a new baby into our home, but the sights we'd seen were unlike anything we'd ever witnessed. Honestly, it didn't hit us at first... it probably took 3-6 months to process everything. And now the thought hits us like a ton of bricks daily… “what can I do?” or “what can we do?” We have life so easy… our family has no worries about food, shelter, transportation… or to an even greater extent clean water, shoes on our feet and the knowledge of our savior, Jesus Christ, the one that loves, accepts, forgives and saves.
I’ve been blessed with a kick in the rear to travel back to Ethiopia on a 10-day mission trip this coming February. And no, this isn’t going to be a mini-vacation. I’m leaving my family at home… not because I want to, but because this is God’s calling right now in my life. That is where I need to be for that 10-day stretch. A stretch that will help continue to shape me into the wholehearted, fully-engaged believer I long to be.
Of course, with any happening of this magnitude, a ton of support is needed. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have reservations and second thoughts about this trip...daily. But then I think and reflect on this passage...
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -- Phillipians 4:6-7
Knowing that the "peace of God, which transcends all understanding" is my guard and is protecting me from the attacks of Satan lifts a large burden off my heart. I don't have to know how or why, or think "what if..." I just have to believe and trust God to take care of me.
As I embark on this journey I need your support. Prayer comes first and foremost. This is a huge step in faith for our family. One parent, four kids, 10 days... those are difficult odds for Christie and her peace and patience is concern #1 for me. Another point of needed prayer is my safety, we will be doing a lot of traveling and visiting a lot of places and there is that possibility of sickness. Also, please pray that God will teach me more about Himself and that our team will be able to communicate God's love to all that the children that we meet.
These are children that need our prayers, our love, our time and our touch. They need to know that they are valued and that they matter to us and to God... these children need to know that they are important.
In addition to your prayers, I ask that you consider supporting me financially. The cost for my mission trip will be around $3,000. That figure includes all my travel, lodging, food and even a donation to the orphanages we will be helping.
Currently, you are able to help support me financially in one of three ways...
- T-Shirts ($15 or $18.50): I designed t-shirts specifically for this mission trip (see picture @ top right of blog). They are one of a kind and are probably limited to this initial run of 100. If you live in or around Indy you can pay in cash or check and pick up a shirt for $15. If you need it shipped you can pay online for $16 ($1 extra to cover PayPal fees) + $2.50 shipping, for a total of $18.50 ea. They just came in today and look/feel awesome. I love mine! More info on the shirts is available in the top right corner of the blog. At least $9 from each shirt sale will go to support my mission trip.
- Acacia Bead Necklaces ($20): These one-of-a-kind necklaces are handmade by widows in Uganda. The necklaces are awesome, the girls (Maggie and Hazel) both emptied their piggy banks because they wanted to each buy one (they were a little short, so we had to make up the difference). :) The beads are made out rolled magazine, they are beautiful and fascinating... I stare at them and wonder... how did they do that? I have a variety of colors available (pictures of all available necklaces will be posted on Facebook soon!). I have a few necklaces with super large beads and those necklaces are slightly more expensive at $35 each. $8 from each necklace sale goes to support my mission trip, the remaining balance is split between the Ugandan Widows that actually make the necklaces and Visiting Orphans so they can continue their ministry.
- Donate ($1 and up): Or if necklaces and t-shirts aren't your forte you can always donate the old-fashioned way. You can drop off or mail checks. Or you can donate online via PayPal! The link is just below the T-Shirt link up in the upper right corner of the screen. Include your shirt size with any donation of $20 and up and I'll send you a T-shirt! All these monies (minus cost of shirt for donations above $20) will go to support my trip.
Over the next several weeks I will be profiling different places we will visit and things we will be doing while in Ethiopia.
God Bless and Merry Christmas!
Saturday, December 18, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Meeting our Zek for the first time
It's so crazy that a year ago we got to take a walk to Hannah's Hope to meet our 3-month old baby boy. (He had just turned 3 months old the day before.)
We had thought and prayed about him for so long and now it was our turn to meet our son. We saw so many families travel before us to bring home their babies and wondered when our turn would be. It is just so crazy now that it has been a whole year since we have had him our arms. He was such a tiny little guy cradled in our arms. Now he is an oh so active toddler running around and jumping off of things. He is quite the little dare devil.
We have come a long way this year. Lots of happenings in our lives that we are so grateful for. So thankful for. Sometimes we felt so overwhelmed with everything that was happening. It's crazy to feel so blessed and so overwhelmed at the same time. I am not saying we are anywhere near having it together because we are so far from it, but we are definitely adjusting well. -most days :)
Zek is adjusting well. He had a rough time having a new baby brother after only 6 months being home, but he loves his baby brother so much. They are going to be so close we can already tell.
Today we celebrated by watching Zeks Gotcha Day video that we had put together before his birthday this year. We made a cake. We went out for Ethiopian for dinner. We ate cake and sang "Happy Gotcha Day to You" and Zek opened his gift. We bought him a book called When God Found Us You. It's an adorable book and I recommend it for any adoptive family.
We all had a great day today! It's been fun looking back and thinking about all that we did today one year ago. Before we met Zek we went out shopping. We got a taxi with 2 other couples. So 1 taxi 3 couples and a driver. If you have been to Ethiopia you know how tiny those taxis are. It was hilarious. Adam and I squished in the front seat and 4 people squished in the back. We tried to get a taxi to take us all back but they told us that it was illegal to put all of us in one car :) On our way back the driver didn't know where our hotel was. Well neither did any of us...We were getting ready to meet our kids in an hour and nobody knew where to go. Finally they found someone that knew where the hotel was. Yay! We got back ate lunch and met with Almaz (the director) We filled out paperwork and all walked to Hannah's Hope. It was awesome taking that walk that we had seen (in pictures) other families take. It was surreal. Meeting our little Adam was surreal.
We love you Zekie and we are so blessed to have you in our lives and are so thankful that God found us you.
Daddy blowing out the candle.
Yep, it's pink...that's how we roll (with 2 older sisters)
"Mommy, why are you making me pretend to be eating this food?" - Hazel
"Mommy, I will pretend to eat this
but I want to try their pizza if we move to Ethiopia" - Maggie
Zek enjoyed the food tonight. Previously he wasn't so sure.
Mommy and Emery (he's sticking his tongue out)
Our Ethiopian flag cake that mommy made
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Us at the airport early in the morning...
Our bags before we left.
One year ago today Adam's dad picked us up and we left super early in the morning to head to the airport and make our way to Addis Ababa Ethiopia.
It's crazy to think at this time last year we were sitting in the airport in DC waiting to board our Ethiopian Airlines plane and head to our son.
I have done alot of reflecting this week. I always reflect about our trip but this week just more than normal.
So much was happening at once and it was so hard to process. I have to admit I am glad it isn't this time last year :) I was 10 weeks pregnant with Emery and we were headed to bring home our 3 month old baby boy. Wow, so much to process. It was hard to get excited about the trip as I was feeling terrible. When I am pregnant I have horrible morning sickness.
In DC we met up with other families that were in our travel group. Some of them were families that I had been following their blogs. It's interesting meeting people that you had been following along with. We sat for awhile waiting for our plane. I had a peppermint mocha from Starbucks. yum...Adam didn't get anything because we didn't want to run out of money...(read 2 paragraphs down)
While waiting at the DC airport we get a call from Adams mom saying that Hazel had thrown up. Great! My 2 year old daughter that I had never left (except for one overnight stay at a hotel in our same city) was sick and I was getting ready to be 8,000 miles away! All I could do was pray for her. I knew she would be taken care of, but she needed her mommy.
Also waiting at the airport we discovered neither of us brought our debit/credit card. We had lots of cash, but what if we ran out????? Luckily that did not happen! :)
It was such an exciting time with mixed emotions. Leaving our 5 and 2 year old daughters was tough. Being on a plane for lots and lots of hours feeling like I was going to throw up was not fun either! Luckily it only happened once. God really had His hand in this trip because I felt better in Ethiopia than I did at home. It may have been the adrenaline, but really it was, I am sure, God.
I cried when I left the girls that morning. They were sleeping. I am so glad that we had to leave so early. It would've been too hard leaving them when they were awake. I cried on the way to the airport, I cried when our plane took off, I cried when our plane took off from DC, I cried as we were landing in Addis. and I cried when we got into the van headed to our hotel. Yes, I did alot of crying that first day. I guess being pregnant and hormonal didn't help! :)
This past year had been crazy. So many adjustments for us in so little time. It's gone so fast and I am so grateful that it did. Now time can slow down again :)
I will post more reflecting on our trip on Zek's gotcha day December 13th. WE are having a little party just with our family and going out to eat Ethiopian.
Here's the post from one year ago yesterday... http://knowingnobounds.blogspot.com/2009/12/leaving-tomorrow-morning-for-ethiopia.html
flying to DC sunrise and the moon
Our departure time
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
As our family and friends can probably attest, we haven't sent Christmas cards in a while... it's not that we don't want to, it's just that we never have enough hours in the season. And with Adam working at a church, well, this isn't exactly a slow season.
But, this year will be different. We've had enough change over the past year to more than warrant the annual Christmas update from our clan. Many of our far reaching friends and relatives have never had the pleasure of meeting our little guys Zek and Emery.
So, what are we going to do? Well, after a little searching we stumbled upon Shutterfly.com's Christmas Card selection. We've ordered multiple photobooks from Shutterfly before so we know the high standard of quality in the product. And, with these particular Christmas Cards you can actually drop your family photos in... which is perfect for us. We don't have to include the wallet pics of the kids or the family because they're all right there on the card. It's a nice little keepsake that friends and family can hold on to for seasons to come.
And the best part? It's FREE! Well, sort of... Shutterfly is running a promotion right now for bloggers, woo hoo!!! Check it out here: http://bit.ly/sfly2010
We really like the clean feel and the fact that there are four small pictures surrounding a single larger picture is perfect. All four kids have their own spot along the sides and we can put our family picture in the middle. Plus, we are able to craft our own special message and more pictures to go on the inside of the card. It's perfect for us!
So, if you are in a pickle and still want beautiful, personalized cards you should check it out!
Here is a link to Shutterfly's Christmas Cards and a couple other neat things they offer:
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Today is World AIDS Day. Would you take a few minutes and learn something about this virus and the stigma around it? Watch this great video!!!!
Did you catch the part about kids on ARV medication will live a NORMAL LIFE SPAN?? NORMAL! i had no clue!!!!
“You cannot contract HIV from casual contact. HIV is not found in tears, sweat, snot, feces and urine. You don’t have to fear catching HIV through day-to-day activities with people who are HIV+. You are free to share plates, cups, utensils, food, drinks, toilets, towels, linens and other household items without risk of transmission. HIV cannot be spread by shaking hands, hugging and kissing infected individuals.” -Project Hopeful