Monday, December 19, 2016

A Special Request for a Special Lady

The computers were purchased and have been received by Ayne.  Thank you to all who donated!

Beautiful Ayne is the founder of I Care for the Nations, one of the care points in Ethiopia where we sponsor a child.

She is an absolutely amazing woman with a servant's heart who is a true example of a community leader.  

She works tirelessly to support and encourage the kids and empower their moms and care takers at I Care.

This is not only physically exhausting, but also mentally draining work.

The trauma and loss that most of the kids at I Care have experienced is overwhelming and she is on the front lines each day working to make a change for these kids and their families.

I had the opportunity to take a surprise trip to Ethiopia in October (nothing better for my soul than spending time in this country that I love).  

Visiting with Ayne and hearing updates about the kids and women and learning more about the income generating projects that have been put into place this year was an absolute 
highlight of the trip.

Celebrate with me as you view these amazing pictures!

What was only a dream last year  is now a thriving reality.
Last year at this time so many of you donated to "Change Their Stories" and you truly have done just that with these income generating projects.

cotton spinning machines

weaving machines

Barista training room

daycare training room

Below, hanging on her walls at I Care are pictures we sent from our team trip in June 2015 (so cool to see that she has saved these photos and displayed them).

During our visit, Ayne shared some of her struggles.  She asked for nothing, but one thing she did mention is that the computers they are using in the I Care office are old and very slow.  She and the staff at I Care use these computers to send updates and pictures about the kids and programs. They are so slow in fact that they often stay late into the evening in order to complete their work.  

This woman goes out of her way to sacrificially serve others everyday.

Here she is below translating a letter that my friend's sponsor child wrote while we were there.  She made a point to meet with us so that we could have the letter before we left.

I would love to bless her with two new laptop computers for the I Care office to make her life a little easier.

So here's my idea for a little Christmas surprise for her.

My friends just got word that they are traveling to Ethiopia to complete their adoption in early January.  

Could you help me by donating a few dollars to Ayne's computer fund so that we can purchase these computers before the end of the year?

We are hoping to raise $450 to provide 2 Notebooks and adapters.

They would then be ready to be hand delivered just in time for Ethiopian Christmas
 (which is January 7th).

As you've seen with the many other fundraisers we've done, when people join together and give a little it adds up to a lot and we are able to make a difference in people's lives.

If you'd like to join me in making a difference for this amazing lady who has given her life to serving others, 
click on the "donate" button 
at the top, right hand corner of this blog.

***Also, please leave a message of encouragement in the message box when you donate.  I will compile these to send on to her as well.***

You will be helping to partner in the work that Ayne has started at I Care. 

Thank you for your continued support!

It is truly changing lives.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Animal Farm

When we moved here, the house came with 3 hens and a barn cat....apparently that's a thing.
Binky the Barn Cat

Well the hens are old so they were only laying an egg here and there and since we are experienced farmers, Nick decided to picked up a box of chickens on his way home from work so we could eventually have more eggs.

Now our old hens stay in the field and every night they walk back to their hen house.  We thought all chickens did this.

Not so.

The new chickens immediately flocked to the woods.

So we spent the next 2 hours catching them.

We got 8 out of 9 back and counted it as a success.

Then we read about chickens and learned you have to coop train them and so we did. 

This stressed the old girls out and they stopped laying altogether. 

Since it was going to be some time before we'd get eggs from the new hens we decided now was as good a time as any to order baby chicks.......which come in a box in the mail.....who knew?

I was so scared I'd get a box of dead chicks, but all 26 were alive and well.

Nick and I built this brooder (and felt pretty proud of ourselves)

The new chicks were a novelty and the kids did school in the barn for a few days....until they realized how much work baby chicks are.  Rahel and Caroline were official chick care takers and did a great job.

Around this time, still feeling super sad about our move and missing family and friends, I had the brilliant idea that we should adopt a dog....because we had nothing else going.

We found the sweetest hound mix at the animal shelter and brought her home at the end of September.

Meet Mali aka "the best dog ever" (at least that's what we originally called her until she started leaving surprise puddles on our she's just "the averagest dog ever" but we still love her).

The only animal we had when we moved here was our rescue cat Wally.
He is such a trooper.

Wally:"help, he's got me again"

He's the most tolerant cat and allows even the little boys to scoop him up.

Which they do often.
Feeling the love.

Wally: "Seriously?"
Then Colton found a turtle.  His very own pet!  We kept him in a flower bed for a few days before turning him loose.

We marked him in case we ever saw him around again.

As if one turtle wasn't enough, Colton rescued this injured turtle at the playground one day.  Luckily we were near the local zoo and they were able to take him in.

The animal farm adventures continued when we realized that 4 out of our 8 "hens" that Nick had brought home were actually big fat roosters!

We separated these boys out and eventually found them new homes where they could do what roosters do.  The 5:20am rooster crow added to the farm ambiance, but we surely do not need any more chickens around here.

The baby chicks grew and transferred into the hen house.

These black and white ones are my favorite.

And then finally, after nearly 4 months of raising and feeding chickens, we got our first egg.

We affectionately named it the $500 egg because that is about how much we've spent to this point feeding and brooding our little flock.

We now have a grand total of
 30 hens
8 kids
2 cats
1 dog

and now
all we need is the partridge in the pear tree!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


September started off great because my dad came to visit.

Along with our first friend visitors.

 school is going great and all the kids are doing well

We found the public library!

We love it here and go every week.


 We prepared a delicious Ethiopian New Year feast.

Melkam Addis Amet (happy New Year)

 And visited a worm farm that makes organic fertilizer....this is so something I always do 

 And as we settled into country life, our little farm expanded.......

After the Move

Well, these pictures are actual just before the move.  This is one of my all time favorites of my two big girls.  Nick took the job, but we weren't done with Angel's adoption, so I stayed home for about 3 months while he commuted back and forth.  These two were indispensable during that time.

When we realized we were moving, we decided we better legally "readopt" Eli and officially change his name.  This is us at court.


 Last try.

Then all of these special people came over to help us move....I told you we have great friends.

Some kids were more helpful than others  :-)

After the longest trip ever, we finally arrived.

My parents drove us up.

And we finally have a table that is big enough for all 10 of us!

Caroline got right to the business of baking.

The boys wasted no time jumping back into sports.

The adventures in the woods began.

We celebrated Ethiopian runners in the Olympics.

And then school started......10 days after we arrived, fun times...

We missed our "Moon Party" Gee Gee (my mom has done little parties with the kids whenever there's a full moon for years now)

My mom came back 2 weeks after dropping us off to visit.

We explored our new playground.

And just like that, August came to an end.