Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Children Are Our Treasure

Well, I've been meaning to write more about the Created 4 Care Conference that I went to in January, but the days have gotten away from me.

One thing I did want to share--as a reminder for myself more than anything--is the idea that our children are our TREASURE.

In a culture where children are often thought of as a burden-just one more expense, one more thing to add to the "to-do" list, one more mouth to feed, one more person in the's nice to be reminded that they are no such thing, but instead precious gifts.

Treasure is defined as anything or person greatly valued or highly prized.

When I think of my children in that way, it really changes things. One of the speakers encouraged us to think of our children as who they are in Christ--dearly loved and highly valued.

This, of course, is easier said than done when they've just tattle tailed-again, talked back or colored on yet another piece of furniture (not that any of my children ever do those things :-)

I'm challenging myself to start thinking of my kids in this way-as a precious and valuable gift that is to be guarded and well cared for--like a prized possession.

We were also cautioned not to think anything about our children that God doesn't think. This is crucial. One of the speakers said, "You can not afford to have thoughts about your kids that God does not have." If we think of them according to their actions, their weaknesses or how well they perform, we run the risk of having thoughts that start to shape our feelings towards them in a negative way.

We were encouraged to speak words of truth over our kids and to pray scripture over each of them. This gives them positive words to think about themselves and in turn helps shape them into kids that possess those qualities (for as a man thinks in his heart, so he is-Proverbs 23:7).

I've selected verses to pray for my children and to encourage them in an area that they may be struggling in like wisdom, confidence, kindness, self-control... and we're memorizing them and using them to help shape their character and hopefully instill these qualities in them over time.

Let me just say, this is hard work. Our first reaction is often to focus on the negative. But, when you read a verse like Psalm 127:3 -

Children are a gift from the LORD; they are a reward from him.

you can start to believe that it is worth it, because it is true--children are a gift and a reward!

Monday, February 27, 2012


Remember my two little friends that were waiting for a sponsor family?

Kerline above and her sister Manoucheca below

Guess what?

They're still waiting.


I'm actually really surprised that my girls are still waiting. I started out with 4 boys and these 2 girls. All of my boys now have sponsor families, but these sisters still wait.

I keep thinking that surely some family will come along and see that these girls are waiting, and that they're sisters, and you can't break up sisters, so they'll sponsor both of them.

So far, that hasn't happened, so now I need your help.

Each day, at least 100 people view this blog.

I'd be willing to bet that a good number of those viewers use facebook, email or have a blog of their own. You all have the power to reach people that I will never come in contact with.

I would LOVE IT if you all would take a small leap of faith and just pass this post along to spread the word about my two girls.

Here's what you need to know:

Every day, these sweet sisters struggle for the basics. Each day, they wake up without the security of basic necessities that we don't give a second thought to--like clean water and a meal.

We had the opportunity to meet the pastor that cares for these girls and the 40 other orphaned and vulnerable kids at Fond Blanc and he describe how they usually only have enough food to feed the kids one meal a day and for that he is grateful

But, sometimes the money is just not there for a meal, so they give the kids sugar water and bread so they will at least have something to fill there bellies.

As I sat at our friends table and listened to the faith of this pastor--all I could picture was these precious children gratefully receiving their sugar water--their one meal for the day.

And all I could think was "this is not right."

There's got to be something we can do.

And there is.

Our small group has partnered with Children's Hopechest to not only provide nutritious, consistent meals to these girls, but also education, basic medical care and most importantly Christian discipleship so that the kids at Fond Blanc know that they matter to God and are not forgotten.

But, this doesn't happen without faithful sponsor families who step up and say "YES-I will be the difference for one of the least of these. I'll give $34 a month" (I know times are tight, but this is really such a small sacrifice when you consider the many ways we spend $34-like a trip to the movies, a dinner out, a coffee or two a week....).

On Wednesday, I have to return these two sister's profiles to our sponsorship coordinator. I would love to return them to her with the assurance that they have found sponsor families.

So, this is it.


If you would like to literally change the life of one or both of these girls, please email me at for the details.

I can assure you, you'll be glad you did.

And remember, if you have access to any type of social media (or word of mouth for that matter), please consider passing this post along.

*****Although these two are sponsored now, there are still about 10 kids still waiting for families at Fond Blanc. To learn more, visit Fondly Blanc or email me at the address above.*****

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I'm Guest Posting

My good friend Michelle Snead has started a new blog to help share how she and her family are "getting through the day." We brought our first two daughters home at the same time she brought her sweet little girl and boy home 2 years ago. She blogs along with another mom who both have four small children very close in age and together they share their organizational, meal planning and helpful hints about how they make it all work.

This month, they are featuring adoption posts to mark the two year homecoming of the Snead kids and she asked me to share our story.

You can read about it on their blog here and find out how we're "making room" for one more.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

All Dressed Up

We had a great evening out doing three things I love-eating delicious Ethiopian food, hanging out with great friends and raising money to provide clean water to communities in Ethiopia.

Our Ethiopian Adoptive Families Group has formed a friendship with the local Ethiopian Women's Society and together with Water Is Life International , they are helping to raise money to drill life changing wells in Ethiopia. We attended a fundraising dinner last weekend and had a ball. The kids just love being around this group of women and their families and I feel especially thankful that we have this connection for our Ethiopian children. You should have seen their delighted faces as they indulged in the yummiest injera they've had in a long time (mine has been flopping lately and while they tell me "it's good mommy," now that I've had the real stuff again, it just doesn't compare). Meron ate so much that she came to me after dinner and said, "mommy, I can't breave (breathe) berry (very) well."

Seeing the pictures of Trees of Glory last week and the hope that clean water brings to a community makes me really appreciate the fact that we never have to worry if our water is safe for our children, or available for that matter. We were without water for a few hours while we replaced our hot water heater last month (a birthday present from my parents--thank you very much--I do so enjoy a hot shower) and just that short time without water was inconvenient. I can't imagine how difficult life is without a clean source of water.

It also makes me really motivated to spread the word and do more to help others.

We have good friends that are doing amazing work in Malawi, Africa to bring water for irrigation and drinking to farmers there-changing whole communities and allowing them to become self-sustainable. Their organization is called Africa Windmill Project. They are using very basic supplies that are readily available in Malawi (sack, sticks and bike tires) to make a very major difference. One of my favorite parts about their story is that after taking a mission trip to Malawi, John (founder of AWP) was so inspired to help that he actually went home and constructed a windmill in his backyard to see if it was a feasible option in Malawi. It was, and now they are training farmers in building and maintaining these windmill wells. Here's an excerpt taken from their blog detailing "what they do":

Africa Windmill Project focuses on educating and supporting rural farmers as they work to feed and care for their families. We do this by working directly with the farmers and by supporting other organizations as they work with farmers. Currently Africa Windmill Project is focused in the Central Region of Malawi. Africa Windmill Project's programs directly influence The UN Millennium Development Goals: End Poverty and Hunger, Gender Equality, Child and Maternal Health. AWP indirectly impacts the remaining goals; Combat HIV/AIDS, Environmental Sustainability, and Global Partnership and Universal Education. These areas of focus are critical.

The desperate need for clean water around the world often seems overwhelming, but if we each do just a little bit, it can really add up and together we can make a difference in the lives of many.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Pure joy--that's what I feel looking at this picture--and judging from their faces, that's what my friends Girma and Simret feel too as they watch water pour from the newly dug well at Trees of Glory.

(picture from Karen Wistrom)

To read more details, click over to Karen's blog .

Thanks so much to all of you who contributed to this life changing project. I can hardly wait to get back to see it for myself!

Sunday, February 5, 2012


This is our sponsor child Meseret in Ethiopia. I had the chance to visit her at the Trees of Glory care point when I travelled to bring Rahel home this past May.

The day after we received the profiles for the kids at Fond Blanc Haiti, I received this letter in the mail from Meseret. We've received several of these letters since we started sponsoring her. This one was extra special because it also came with an Ethiopian Christmas card. Here's what she wrote:

How are you doing whom that I love? I am doing well. I am so thankful for your support. May God bless you. I wish you happy, peaceful and healthy new year.

On the back, there is a place for her to ask a question and ask for prayer. Here's what she wrote:

When would you come to Ethiopia again? Pray for me to fear God and to be a smart student.

When she asked when I would come to Ethiopia again, it just melted my heart. I'm so excited that I will actually be able to go again this year. I feel so lucky-my next trip will make four times that I've been able to travel to this beautiful country in just over 2 years time-can't wait to hug her again and let her know that Jesus loves her and so do we.

Because of our relationship with our sponsor child in Ethiopia, I know just how valuable this relationship is. One of the most powerful things we get to do as sponsors is pray for our children.

These six new faces are currently on our fridge. I gave each of our kids one of these dear children from Fond Blanc to pray for a family to sponsor each of them.

So far, I've been able to put a star on four of the six to represent that they've been sponsored.

My two sweet girls were given these two sweet sisters to pray for.

Hermela has Manoucheca

Rahel has Kerline

Each morning, they've asked if their girls have found a sponsor family yet. Each morning, I've told them "not yet, but keep praying."

If you are interested in sponsoring one of these precious girls, please email me at .

Believe me, IT MATTERS.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Let The Games Begin

Last season, our 5 oldest all played soccer. I figured it would help things be a little less crazy if they all did the same sport at the same field at the same time. Well, in theory that would have worked out, but we ended up having practice on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and games on Saturday, so that plan kind of backfired.

This season, we thought we'd kick it up a notch and branch out a little (you know-to add some excitement to our lives). So, the two little girls are doing a ballet class (just one afternoon a week for 30 minutes taught by a great high school homeschooler). They love it!

The two older girls are sticking with soccer and we're rejoining the baseball circuit (which could very well do me in-talk about a time commitment). Both boys are playing this season-it'll be Colton's first time and he can't wait.

When we get into the thick of a season, I inevitably question why we ever committed ourselves (and often over committed ourselves) to something so trivial as sports in the first place (although the kids have a blast, it's great exercise and Nick and I love watching them try something new and work hard at it-lots of lessons learned).

We commit to the practice it takes to get good at a particular skill, rearrange schedules to make it to each event and prioritize our calendar to accommodate all these extracurricular activities.

Yet, so often that same intensity of commitment is lacking in our own Christian walk and in the training of our children.

I mean, when was the last time you cleared your schedule for three plus hours for the next 12 Saturdays just to spend time seeking and knowing and serving the Lord? Yeah- it's never happened for me either.

I'm reading an AWESOME new book called "Not A Fan" by Kyle Idleman. I've only made it to the second chapter and it so good that I'd HIGHLY recommend you pick it up.

The implications of this book are life changing.

The author gives the most basic definition of a fan-"an enthusiastic admire" and declares that a large portion of those who claim to be Christians define their relationships with Jesus (if not directly, then through their actions) as mere fanship.

He continues that many have made a decision to believe in Jesus without making a commitment to follow Him-they admire, but aren't devoted, they know about him, but without intimacy, they assume good intentions make up for apathetic faith, they are secret admirers, but not FOLLOWERS.

The gospel doesn't allow for this distinction between "making a decision" for Jesus and "making a commitment" to Him. As Idleman says, "When we decide to believe in Jesus without making a commitment to follow him, we become nothing more than fans."

I don't know about you, but that's just not good enough for the one who gave it all up for me.

In a society where we so easily commit to countless lessons, book clubs, birthday parties, appointments and play dates, it's easy to lose sight of the fact that God requires ALL of us and that He is not a part-time-penciled-in event that we can squeeze in here or there.

"It is a twenty-four-hour-a-day commitment that will interfere with your life."

So, as our family embarks on a new sports season, I pray that our commitment to ballet, soccer and baseball will pale in comparison to our commitment to FOLLOW Jesus-whatever the cost-and to raise our children up for Him

Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Come Take A Look

My talented friend Audrey and two other members of our small group travelled to Fond Blanc in January. Take a look at their first hand experience in Haiti through her video.

click here to view video

Makes me want to jump on a plane and hug some kids!

If you want to join this exciting adventure through the sponsorship of one of these precious children, please email me at

Three sweet kiddos still need your support:

Elima-born December 20th

*****Elima is SPONSORED-thank you Taylor Family********

Kerline-born September 19th

and her little sister Mouncheca-who turns 12 on Februray 12th

Be the difference for ONE!