Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Check Out This Article

A friend of mine sent me this article . It's a great observation about the orphan crisis and what should be done about it. Here's a clue: if you're a Christian, it involves you.

Check it out and be inspired.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Summer Fun

Rahel made it home just in time for summer fun. We've had lots of free time to get to know each other and work on bonding. The kids have enjoyed playing together and enjoying the lax schedule. I often say that she must think all we do in America is play, swim and eat cake (we've already had three birthdays and a holiday since she's been here). Hope she's not too shocked to learn that it's not all play around here once school starts again.

Lots of our friends have big pools at their houses and we've been doing some swimming there, but in our own back yard, we've rigged this up. Two blow up pools side by side on our deck (yes, I know it's rather tacky and borders on "you might be a red neck if...."--but the fun factor and ability to cool off is worth it).

Rahel's getting brave and going all the way under!

And the kids have gotten creative with their acrobatic pool-to-pool jumping competitions.

After a long day of swimming, what better way to end it than with a sleepover. The kids have slept in the same room (yes all 6 of them) almost every night since Rahel's been home. They did a few nights on the floor and then realized the beds were a lot more comfy.

The current sleeping arrangements are: Caleb sleeps up top in Caroline's bed, Colton sleeps up top in Meron's bed, Meron and Caroline sleep together in Rahel's bed and Hermela and Rahel sleep together in Hermela's bed. So out of six kids, only Hermela is actually sleeping in her own bed and she now has a new bed buddy.

Who says we need a bigger house. The way I see it, with six kids in one room, that leaves the boys room open to add two more :-)

Sunday, June 26, 2011


I've finally made a batch of injera that actually resembles the real thing in taste, texture and even has the little holes in it. I've tried for over a year to make injera with "quick" recipes off line and never got close. I finally realized there are no short cuts and if you follow the long directions-it actually works. A friend of mine gave me the starter and I brought teff flour home from Ethiopia so we can now enjoy injera on a more regular basis.

Check out those holes!

And these happy faces (well except for Caroline-Ethiopian food is not her favorite, but she's learning to like it). Before we left Ethiopia, we had lunch with our driver and he told Rahel she may as well order pizza (instead of the traditional Ethiopian food) because there's no injera in America. She was very happy to see this coming right out of her new mom's kitchen. We've had Ethiopian food 5 or 6 times now since she's been home.

Now I'm just waiting for my injera pan to arrive so I can make them full size.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Please click here to view our second adoption journey video. We praise God for his many blessings!!!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Birthday Meron!!

Last week was Meron's 5th birthday. She asked for a frosting cake??? So I found directions for a princess castle cake and I must say that I'm pretty impressed with how it came out. Now, this was the most BASIC cake I found when I was looking for recipes. You wouldn't believe some of the cakes that came up--you'd need some serious skills to pull most of them off. But this one was pretty simple and a BIG hit with all of our kids--especially the birthday girl.

Notice the princesses are taller than the doorway--I guess they'd have to duck down and crawl in :-)

Excited to learn she'd be going to Monkey Joe's (we call her Monkey Joe sometimes, and she's been asking to go there forever, so we all went the day after her birthday--so much for "cocooning" with Rahel).


Friday, June 10, 2011


How long would it be ok for your family to go without fresh water? Think about that. How long would you estimate that you'd be OK to live without a fresh water source?

How long would it be ok for your family to depend on jugs of water to bathe, drink, cook with, wash your hands, clean dishes and wash clothes.....and not in a "we're on a fun family camping trip way" (does that actually exist?--I'm not much of a camper :-)....but in a "we don't have any other option way?

How long would you wait before you reached out for help if you suddenly didn't have a clean source of water?

How long would you allow your kids to drink water that you knew could be contaminated?

I'm thinking that we wouldn't stand for it for very long at all.

In fact, I'm sure we'd seek help immediately.

We are so fortunate to live in a place where CLEAN FRESH WATER is EASILY and READILY available.

For so many-nearly 40% of the world's population-clean water is not an option.

While we were at Trees of Glory, we happened to be there when the water donkey came to deliver the water for the day. Of course I'd seen pictures of the water donkey on Karen's blog, but seeing it in person really hit home.

The kids at TOG depend on a donkey to deliver containers of water each day, or they would simply not have any water. No water to drink, no water to wash hands with, no water to cook with, NO WATER.

It is hard to imagine a life without running water. I venture to say that we wouldn't stand for it.

So why then should the staff and children at Trees of Glory have to go on hauling water for their basic daily care needs?

When I was there, the staff mentioned the need for water many times. IT IS THEIR GREATEST NEED.

They hope to be able to more easily care for the 100 children that are currently being served there and to be able to have water for their cows and crops. The bigger picture though is that they ultimately hope to double or even triple the number of kids that can be served at TOG once they are finally able to have a readily available source of clean fresh water.


Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor. Ecclesiastes 4:9

The project is a big one--$25,000 is needed to drill the well--TOG is located in a mountainous region, so the ground is rocky and the well must be dug deep in order to hit water. Plus, a generator is needed to pump the water up to the buildings and repairs must be made to the existing plumbing.

Like I mentioned above, once this project is complete an additional 100-200 kids can be served and ministered to! That's pretty significant and worth our time don't you think?

If we all join up to do our part, we can have this project funded in no time. There are three ways that you can help right now:

1) If you want to make a tax-deductible donation directly to the well project ...
Go to, click on GIVE.
Select DESIGNATED GIFT and enter your donation $ amount
For Reference Number, specify ET2119000
In the Notes area, specify WELL

2) Another sponsor-Kim-blogging at the "Change Me Crew" blog has a great give away going to benefit the well fund. (JUST THINK, IF JUST 50 OF THE SPONSORS WHO HAVE KIDS AT TOG RAISED $500 EACH, THIS PROJECT WOULD BE FULLY FUNDED--LET'S HELP MEET THAT GOAL FOR KIM).

3) My friend Heather who has been given a great vision to help those in need has launched her One Purse organization to support those in need. She is currently donating all proceeds from her One Purse parties to the TOG well project and also has a great Coach bag up for auction now through this Sunday June 12th. Check out her blog here and click here to go right to the auction. You can also read more about the first One Purse party another friend/sponsor's blog who was in attendance. The party raised over $500! Email Heather at with question.

This is the purse up for auction.

So lots of ways to help--pick one and let's STAND together in the gap for these precious kids who desperately need clean water.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Smiling Faces

That's the difference this time. The first time I visited Trees of Glory, the kids were initially hesitant and shy around us (the came out of their shells, but it took a while). This time, you could see the recognition in their smiles. It is a great thing to know that even a short day trip can have an impact on the life of a child--it makes it all worth it. This time, the kids we'd met before came running and you could tell that relationships had begun to grow.

As with our first trip, the delivery of hand written letters and pictures from sponsor families was the highlight.

We got to check in on sweet Webit. She was tiny and frail, but her face glowed as she received the letter and gifts from her sponsor family. Her coloring and strength have improved and her smile lit up the room as she saw pictures that her sponsor family sent. What a blessing to be able to meet this child that we all prayed for. Please continue to pray for her complete healing.

The paper airplanes were a big hit again.

My friend Heidi's little girl Tigist. She totally recognized me this time. It was great to see her again. Isn't she the cutest?

This is Hiwot, another one of my friend's little girl. She's being raised at TOG by Simret. You can really tell how much Simret loves these kids.

Cute siblings.

And now the princess has a crown--sweetest little GIRL.

Another friend of mine sponsors this girl-also named Meseret. The teacher was quick to tell me that she is an excellent student!

We had to show her what to do with chap stick and some of the other items that she received. That's how outlying this region is from the city. Common things to us have never been seen or used by most of these kids. She got the hang of it :-)

Meseret with her little brother--just beautiful!

My mother-in-law meeting Mitiku

My mom with her child-Zewditu

And one of my favorite little boys. His name is Muse which is translated Moses. He was "found" and taken in by Simret as a baby. He's got the greatest personality and the most precious smile and is also sponsored by friends of ours. Love him!

That's what it is all about--building relationships--even if it's just over a few days or via online letters and pictures--because those relationships matter. Ever wonder if that $34 really makes a difference? Well, I'm here to tell you that it does. The love that can be sent across the world through prayer and petition is priceless. I am so grateful to have been able to witness it first hand and to be able to share it with those of you who have yet to go. I would encourage everyone to go at least once.

If you're interested in sponsoring a child specifically at Trees of Glory, contact the sponsorship coordinator Karen Wistrom at

She'll add you to her list so that when children are added to this care point, they won't have to wait for sponsorship.

More to come.......

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Feet Firmly Planted

Just before I left for Ethiopia, our pastor told this story of an Indian tribe facing seeming insurmountable odds:

The tribe had been fighting for survival against another more aggressive and violent tribe. One night, after many of their men had been killed in battle, it became clear to them that they must move on and seek safety or their women and children would surely be killed along with the rest of the warriors at day break.

The problem was that in order for them to escape, they would have to cross the river that was nearing flood levels-a task that had never been successfully accomplished with the waters running so high. With no other choice, the warriors made the decision to attempt to cross the river that night. Knowing that not even the strongest man had ever made it across, they knew that it would be impossible for the women and children. So, the warriors decided to carry them on their shoulders hoping to be able to carry them to safety and find refuge from their enemy on the other side.

An amazing thing happened.

Because the men were carrying an extra load, their feet became firmly planted on the ground. Because of the weight from the women and children on their shoulders, the warriors were able to solidly step across the river bed to dry land.

This illustration immediately stuck with me and I've gone back to the imagery and the message of this story many times over the past few weeks. It is such a good description of what carrying the burden of others does for us. When we are willing to be "burdened" or to have a heart for others in need, it helps to plant our feet on solid ground.

I've returned from my trip to Ethiopia with a renewed burden for the people there and particularly for my friends at Trees of Glory. There is much to be done there and I look forward to working to help kids like Meseret, our sponsor child, have a brighter future and know that they are loved by God and his followers.

May we all be burdened in such a way that our feet are firmly planted on a path that follows more closely after Jesus.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Ready For A Trees of Glory Update????

Well, I'm dying to give you one. I've been trying to keep the computer time down to a minimum so that I can maximize on the bonding time around here (and catch up on my growing mounds of laundry). So, I'm a little behind on posting about our trip, but Karen (the sponsorship coordinator for Trees of Glory) has posted a bit about our trip and the huge need for water at this care point. Click here to head over to her blog for some details.

I'll post more about our time there and about raising funds for their greatest need-a fresh water well soon.