Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Donate Here...

My friends started a sweet website called created to help fundraise for charities. One of my goals for 2012 is to raise the cash to fully fund the Crops for Widows Program. My goal is $27,400 to raise in 2012. That averages out to just over $75 each day. But I'd hate to wait a full year to know the program has been funded.

Will you join me? With your help, we can impact women who desperately need help. I was there in October. I saw the need with my own eyes. Donate here

Thanks friends!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Union

While I've been kind of quiet on the blog, I've been busy in the background of life.  A while back I met with a feature writer of the local paper about a greenhouse project on the elementary campus.  He learned of my work in Ethiopia and asked for an interview about that.  The result was an article in The Union's Christmas segment where they focus on people serving others. 
I'm quite thankful for Rich taking the time to meet with me and allow me to critique his article.  I must also say that there's one line in the article that really, REALLY bothers me.  I asked for it to be taken out multiple times but they didn't listen to that suggestion.  So when you read the line "she sleeps well at night...", please know that was creative license.  I don't sleep well at night because of the few people we've been able to impact.  It's not a proud thing.  In fact, my heart aches for the many, many people in the same situation who we pass on the road and never get to impact.  It's for those people that we continue to raise money for the crops program (and others) to reach those people.
If the print is too hard to read, you might have to save it and then view it as a jpg.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

FOVC Garden

While in Ethiopia in October, we planted a garden on the FOVC campus. I showed pics on my blog of it where the ladies were using the planter. I just chatted with Desalegn, the main guy who makes things happen in Ethiopia. He said this:

Yes, it is being gardened and the seeds are growing slowly.
The widows and staffs are always following the garden
and the widows are eagerly waiting to use it for more place in their own gardens and to use the ways you teach them in their own lands

Desalegn, you are so sweet. And I'm so thankful that you make it your passion, your job, and your life focus to serve these widows and orphans. It is a joy to partner with you and FOVC.

Tax deductible donations may be made to FOVC if you'd like to partner with us in the crops program. Email me if you need my address tam4buit at hotmail dot com.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

What I'm up to with Journey4Hope

Two things going on in my world of journey4hope. The first is that I've been working on making ethiopian magazine bead necklaces that are for sale. Here's one I just sold today. To see more, click on the necklace tab above.

The second is that I really, really would like to sell the rest of the Feed Hope puzzle pieces. I'm super thankful for Megan's willingness to do this fundraiser and would love to honor her and get all the pieces sold. After all, who wants a partially pieced puzzle? To see more about that, click on the Puzzle tab link above.
And last but not least (I know, I said just 2 things), I'm praying and thinking about the next trip to serve FOVC in Ethiopia...

If you wouldn't mind sharing the links to the necklace and puzzle pages, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Let me know you stopped by,

Tamara B

Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Wish List

I'll start by admitting that I love receiving gifts. I day-dream about what I'll spend my Christmas money on... whiter teeth, a new purse, new clothes of all sorts, partially funding a dish washer, and a list of other things. And while our family moves our focus from a season of thanksgiving to a season of advent, I'm still human. And I still want things. Want. Not need.

Look at the above picture again. It's more than my two boys in front of the Christmas tree. For me, it shows a struggle and an inner battle. I've recently been to famine-stricken Southern Ethiopia where people are starving and literally teetering on death. There is so much NEED there that my WANTS are ... I can't even think of the word to describe it. Realistic people might say "but there will always be those situations". And to that I reply, but I've seen with my own eyes the need, the desperation, and the difference we can make. No, I can't expect every one else to think like I do, but I can take a few minutes to share with you.

Semi Feral Mama recently had one line on her blog recently that sticks in my mind:
In 24 years can an AP [adoptive parent] look at their child and say, “Yes, I knew your mother was going to die, but the contract I signed said I couldn’t help”? Will the child think, “Wow, my Mom is so ethical”?
That comment was in relationship to adoptive parents meeting up with the birth parent who was suffering from famine related problems. My thought about the above comment also applies today as I took my two younger kids shopping and then decorated a tree with my family later:
In 24 years, when I stand before my maker, will the Creator of the universe tell me "I told you over and over again to care for the orphans and widows in their distress" or will He tell me "what you've done for the least of these, you've done for Me"? While I won't give every penny of my checking account to caring for the orphans and widows, I will be held accountable when I meet my maker. And as we continue through advent season, it's my prayer that I'll look forward to the coming of Christ more than I look forward to opening a few gifts or spending some Christmas cash!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

About Time

While I ignored lunch time and gave my kids gardettos instead, I managed to update both the necklace page and the puzzle page. Please amuze me and check them out :) Each of the pages have new text and new pictures. Happy viewing.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Shop with a Purpose

New necklaces have arrived.  Well, they haven't really arrived cause I made them.  But I'll be posting them this weekend.  Stop by the Necklace tab and see what's new -- I'll be posting them Saturday morning.
Shop with a Purpose.
100% of the proceeds go towards my volunteer work in Ethiopia.  By purchasing a necklace, you're providing education to widows in the crops program and giving them Hope for their future.  That is something that I'm thankful for.
With love,
tamara b

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I still complain

I have so much. Yet, I still manage to complain.

Early yesterday morning I jacked my back. I immediately did exercises and took meds but even so I had to find a spot on the couch and rest rather than take care of my to-do list. When I woke today, I was thankful for the 12 hours of sleep I'd gotten. But a few hours later, I was getting tired of laying in bed all day long. And as several more hours passed, I still wanted to complain about how uncomfortable my bed was. And then I thought of this guy:

Sunday morning driving down the road in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, I saw this guy sleeping. On the sidewalk. Near the road. With nothing but some raggedy bags for clothes.

Do you get it? Where I live, I don't see this on a regular basis. My friends, it doesn't have to be a third world country to see a homeless person. It happens right here in our towns. People that have to count on soup kitchens to help. In Addis Ethiopia, there's one soup kitchen. It has been in place for ~20 years. Yet, the idea hasn't caught on there. The soup kitchen's stats on the numbers of people they serve is impressive. Yet there are many people like this guy who will never receive help. And there are many more just like him.

While I lay in bed today, I continued to think about people in need of help. And I thanked God for letting me play a small little role in loving people in Southern Ethiopia. And I asked God to help me do more. I'm excited to see what God will do with FOVC and their pojects in the coming year. Maybe you'll play a small role too...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Need Water

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Southern Ethiopia, where FOVC exists and millions of people live, is being brutally affected by a drought. This picture below shows what is normally a stream bed. But because of the lack of rainfall, the stream has run dry.

Can you imagine having your source of water dry up? As if they don't walk far enough for water, now they have to walk farther. Adding more labor and difficulty to their already hard day. And not just that. Those who've planted crops are watching them wither. And die.

Planted crops [minus] water [equals] dead crops.

Dead crops [equals] hungry people

I can't even begin to imagine their hardship and I've been there. We can't fathom it. For one full week I had some crazy stomach drama going on. I hardly ate. I would wake in the night feeling hungry. But eating would just make me sick. So, I went without. Even so, I can't imagine the hunger they feel. Unlike me who chose not to eat, they have no choice. They have no food. And no water.

The good news is that through FOVC's crops for widows program, we're bringing hope. We're teaching them to grow crops during a drought. And on the next trip, I plan to set up water catchment basins and drip irrigation systems. While I'd love to take a family vacation next year, I know that feeding hope is worth so much more and look forward to another opportunity to serve in such a way!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Vegetable Gardening

These are my ladies. Eight of them. Walking for hours to get training and receive HOPE. Both things they're lacking in their current state. Hard working ladies who just can't get ahead. After all, when drought ruins their crops, they don't collect crop insurance, they go hungry. Joe and I were excited to serve and teach these women for the week:

Each day we taught on a different topic. This particular day, we talked about planting vegetables, composting over the garden bed, and using the seeder that was donated by Earthway Inc. mentioned in this post.

After trying to explain to the women how to create an ox-drawn harrow and not succeeding, I suggested that the ladies bring their hand tools the next day because we needed an even seedbed to make use of the vegetable seeder. They, of course, brought their hand tools and got right to work.

The ladies received training on how to use the seeder with the different seed plates. They were excited to try it out and I was thrilled to watch them. When they were comfortable using the tool and had the seed bed prepped and ready to be seeded, they picked the right plates for the various vegetable seeds we had and started planting. What a sight!

When the 4 rows had been planted, it was time to give a little more education. While water is scarce, and it's a long walk to get water, we explained the importance of watering the seeds to get them to germinate and grow. It will be a hard sell. But if they can see it happen where we planted the veggies, then maybe they'll go through all the work to do the same thing. Yes, it is a long walk to water, but water is so important. So, we watered the seeds while I prayed for rain.

While the seeds were watered on one end of the raised garden bed, the ladies finished planting garlic on the other end.

When the planting was finished, we had the ladies compost the garden bed. It wasn't the best option for compost. But it will help retain soil moisture which is incredibly important during a drought.

Not knowing if they would grasp the idea or not, we did it anyway. And the next day when it was hot and still hadn't rained, we went back to the garden bed. When the ladies pulled back the compost (aka dried grass) and saw that the ground underneath retained the moisture (from the mixing of the top soil with that below it) than the uncovered earth, they got it. Lesson learned today.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Do Something

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post titled Bethany's bracelets. I shared the story about Bethany making the bracelets out of a desire to help the hungry in Ethiopia. It was right after I came back and she was hearing me tell people often about what I saw. It warmed my heart that she came up with this all on her own. While there wasn't much to her pipe-cleaner bracelets and they wouldn't likely raise a lot of money, the love poured into her efforts was priceless.

If a 4 year old little girl can do something, so can you!

Did you catch that? You can do something too. You don't have to be an expert. You don't have to be a super creative artist. You don't have to be rich (although we all are compared to the rest of the world). You can be a 4 year old little girl with a desire to do something. And DO IT!!!

There's another reason I re-visit that post. Because not only did Bethany do something, but her post encouraged someone else to do something too. Over the weekend I got an email from someone else who wanted do something. This woman has a big heart. She bought every one of Bethany's bracelets and then turned them around to spread the news to others. At her bible study group this week, she handed out the bracelets to everyone. She then shared Bethany's story with the ladies and encouraged them to do something. To give in some way. So, by buying the bracelets, she'll feed a hungry person for all 4 months of the famine. And in addition to that, she's spreading the word to her friends and encouraging them to do something too. Now, how about that for DOING something. Way to go! And thank you for how you're serving the people of Ethiopia with your heart!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wine to Water...

note: I dislike blogger. I edit my pics to have the right layout and when I upload them, it's still WRONG. Please understand that blogger is goofing it up, not me. Now, that I vented about that, back to my regularly scheduled post.

Let me start by saying that I am so thankful for my dear friend, Oscar. He's the owner of Ramos Torres Winery. And not only does he make amazing wines, he makes some great hors d'ouvres too. The tri-tip was amazing and if I wasn't so busy chatting, I would have loved the rest of the food too. Anyway, thank you Oscar for the many ways you served, and gave, to the wine social fundraiser.

A wine social. What's that? Who goes to those? The wine social was mostly a hang out time. In a winery. With wine. And food. But not everyone was drinking wine. In fact, I know of at least 4 people who had no wine to drink at all. Yet they came to socliaze and hear about my work with FOVC. I'm thankful to my friends and family who showed up. Thankful to know that God is working in the hearts of some and I could provide some information and encouragement. And they could see that average people like me can do something.

We socliazed. Laughed. I even gave a brief little presentation. I could talk all night long about the work that I'm a part of through FOVC in Ethiopia. But I'm not huge on being the center of attention (unless I'm cracking a joke). So, I wasn't overly comfortable with that. And I would have done much better if I'd had a little outline. I hope my simple words were an encouragement to the others to get involved.

We also had a little silent auction on the side. I've been burned by an auction before but I thought a hand full of items would be really helpful. Oscar donated a wine gift basket and Ryan and I donated some Ethiopian items like cofee and necklaces. My friend Denise donated some Ethiopian art blank cards and some ethiopian necklaces.

For those looking to do a fundraiser, here's what I liked that we did and what I didn't like. I'll share the negatives just so you can learn from my deficiencies. I partnered with a reputable winery. A local winery. With someone who was willing to help. The hard part is though it was local to my growing-up home, I wasn't there to work on details and sell tickets. Next time I'll look to partner with several friends who are eager to sell tickets. The event was before the holiday season which means that items for purchase would have been a great opportunity to buy Christmas presents. Timing was bad in that two classmates were getting married that same night which took some friends away. Timing was also bad in that it was very close to my return from Ethiopia and the weeks prior to the wine social were given to the Ethiopia trip. I also loved the idea of socializing for an hour, then welcoming everyone and giving a short presentation. I could have improved on my presentation. I needed to have somone who was responsible to host while I was busy chatting. My friend, Kristine, helped take money and greeted people as they walked in. But, I could have also used someone to keep track of time, make sure water was on the table, and welcome everyone to the party. I wasn't able to do that well and chat with people. The other thing I would change is to show pictures, not just have a slide show on my lap top off to the side.

This was my first time. I know. I need to give myself a bit of a break. It went well. I'm thankful. We were able to raise money from the sale of the tickets and the silent auction. The money raised will go towards helping me get back to Ethiopia for the next time where I plan to set up some water catchment basins and drip irrigation systems. I'm looking forward to it. Friends, this wine social raised money for water... I'm not Jesus and can't turn water to wine or wine directly to water. But, with the help of those in attendance, this wine social will be bringing water to the crops or widows program. Thank you.

For those who are interested in giving a donation towards my involvement with the crops for widows program, checks may be written to FOVC and mailed to me. Email me if you need my address. Checks written to FOVC are tax deductible. Thank you!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Starvation is Real

I got the chills just thinking about this post. Starvation is real my friends. A mix of emotions overwhelm me as I look at this face below:

This is one of the crops widows Joe and I were training for the week. Her name is Boltase. Upon meeting my crops widows, I greeted each of them with a hug. When I hugged Boltase, it was like hugging sticks. Literally. We use the term "skin and bones" with ease here. At least I do. But this woman, she was skin and bones with no body conditioning on her.

She looked rougher than the rest. As we interacted with each of the women, I kept an eye on this lady who just looked bad. When we talked of walking to a nearby widow's farm, Boltase informed me that she was too ill to walk with us. When we sat in the shade, she sought the sunshine. Something wasn't right.

Starvation is real. I knew there was a chance I'd see it up close and personal.

That night lots of things went through my mind. One was of Boltase. A woman I didn't really know. But a woman created in the likeness of God. A woman who walked a long ways to receive some training and hope. How could we let her down. I talked to Dr. Jo about her. First thing the next morning, I took Boltase to see the lovely Dr. Jo.

I stood there awestruck at what I saw. As I think through those minutes again, I feel a sickness in my stomach. Starvation is real. Even in Shanto, where FOVC exists to help many, they are unable to help everyone. Dr. Jo checked her out, asked her questions and treated her with medical care and love. In this picture below, Dr. Jo had to use a children's blood pressure cuff on Boltase because an adult one was too big. Her arm was literally the size of a two-year-old.

Starvation is real. I hate it.

In the words of my sweet friend, Dr. Jo, her patient was "so far beyond empty, I don't know how she's still standing". She was severely malnourished and severely dehydrated. Her kidneys had begun to shut down. She had no reserves left. Dr. Jo also shared at some point that in a matter of 2 to 3 days, we wouldn't have seen Boltase again. There was no way she would physically be able to move.

But there's good news. Boltase, by no strength of her own, made it to the FOVC campus. While there, she was seen by a medical doctor Can you grasp the weight of that? Literally dying. I know, I know you might think twice about it. But when you see it face to face, it's heart wrenching.

Pedialyte multiple times a day along with some other medical intervention and within 3 days I watched this person, who didn't even have the strength to smile, be able to raise her hands, worship and give praise to God for what we were doing for her.

Friends, it's so much more than a crops project. It's so much more than providing food to those facing starvation. It's giving hope. To those who supported my trip to Ethiopia with encouragement, prayer, and finances, I just want to say thank you. This woman is alive and smiling because of it.

With the happy news, please don't be fooled. Boltase has a long road ahead of her. With the lack of rain in Ethiopia, I saw crops withering. Without rain, their crops won't grow and that will only further impact the health and eating habits of Boltase and others around her.

Dear God, I know that You know. Let it rain Father. Let it rain!

Bethany's bracelets

Today, all on her own, Bethany decided to make bracelets for people in Ethiopia who are hungry. Earlier in the day she made Judah's birthmom a necklace and said the next one she'd make to sell for her. But it was later that she grabbed a bag of brand new pipe cleaners. Twisting them into a bracelet, she worked on each one. When asked what she was doing, she informed me multiple times that she wanted to sell them to help hungry people in Ethiopia. It melted my heart. She cares. Trying to help her dress them up a little bit to make them worthwhile, she was adamant she do them herself.

Now, hours later with a pile of pipe cleaners on the couch, we sit in the living room holding her. While she has a heart for the hungry, she's still a curious little 4 year old and just put her hand underneath a running treadmill with lots of tread. The end result was a screaming child, a yucky/ouchy hand and a momma ready to puke! While she's still all worked up and hasn't calmed down yet. I brought up the bracelets to see if it would distract her.

Through her tears she said "they're for people in Ethiopia who don't have any food"

Child, oh how I love you! We may dress up those pipe-cleaner bracelets a bit but because of you're big heart, I will try to sell them on here on my blog.

Friday, November 4, 2011

A few of my favorite scenes...

disclaimer: the views expressed on MY blog are mine, and not necessarily that of Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children. That means, if you don't like what you read here, talk to ME about it, not FOVC. Thanks.

I crawled in bed tonight knowing I need to post about the trip. Like SemiFeralMama has said, all (2) of my fans are eager to hear and read more. While I really want to share it with you because my trip was amazing, I also want to be realistic. Friends, I got home late Sunday night. And each night this week I've had something going on. I've had no time to do laundry this week, no time to mop floors, no time to change the sheets, or fix a meal, or write a blog post. I haven't even taken sufficient time to dig in the Word this week. What I have been doing is fighting a head cold, go to scheduled meetings/activities and beg people to come to the wine social. So, if you're a California friend, please buy a wine social ticket (or 10) so I can cross that off my list. Thanks.

Okay, now to my Ethiopia post. I will post about the crops. It went well. Still lots to do there. But for now, I'm sharing with you a few of my favorite scenes. There's more for sure.

Tutu (vet/protector/brother), me, Dr. Jo (medical doctor, FeedHope brain), Aki (friend, guide), and Joe down front (crops expert, perfect teammate). Love these guys!

Left the table for a potty break and who knew we'd find a kiddie
playground. Of course, we took advantage of that!

If you know me, you know I have no problem stopping on the side of the
road, snuggling up to some locals and snapping a photo.

and if you don't know me well, you'll rarely find
me looking like this:

Aki, my "official" friend once he added me on facebook,
was a great guide. And a lovely photographer and great
help translating. Looking forward to seeing you next
time Aki! Thanks for putting up with us last week!
Seriously there, are lots of pics. Between Joe and I, we had over 2500. Joe has great pics so some that I'll be sharing here are actually his. Just so you know.

Oh, and there's nothing with the disclaimer at the top. Ryan thought by me writing that would make people think I'd been scolded. I haven't. I just want to prevent it. While I write about my trip and my experience, it will be my opinion. That's all. It's pretty simple.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What do you think of when you see this picture?

We were walking back from one of the widow's farms when Aki's phone rang. We had a brief discussion with Lory who was back at the FOVC campus. And then I laughed. Out loud. Only in rural, super rural, Ethiopia does one walk down a foot path (cause it's commonly not wide enough for a vehicle although it was in this spot), talking on an iphone. And not my iphone - I'm not cool enough to own one of those. It was Aki's iphone.

And the other thing that I love is that in Joe's picture here, he captured Aki taking a picture. No, he's not the paparazzi, he was my guide, and is my new friend. He liked my camera and I was happy to let him be the photographer. No, I'm not cool enough to have the paparazzi or a bunch of people following me around. But I am talking on an iphone in the middle Ethiopia!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

High Five

I haven't had much time to put together real thoughts about the trip.  I'm still thinking through how to share and how much to share and what all to share.  But as I'm sitting here editing Joe's pictures, I came across this one and loved it.  I love that people are smiling.  And my little kindergartners that I'm working with saw it and asked "how come they're so happy" just after seeing how tiny and dirty their house was in comparison to ours.  Then I got to this pic and they have big smiles.  I'd love to say that they're always smiling this much because of the hope they have within them.  Like we should be.  But the reality is in that moment, the reason for the smile is because I taught the kids a little High Five game that Uncle Mike does with my kids.  You tell them "up high" and get a high five, then say "down low" and get a low five and then cup your hand and say "in the hole" and when they stick their finger in your cupped hand, you reach out and tickle them.  The kids loved it.  Everyone laughed.  So, I love that they're smilling in this picture.  And I love that, if only for 30 seconds, I could bring some joy to their lives.
I've heard the question many times recently "Will FOVC let someone go who's not skilled?"  Friends, don't deceive yourselves.  The definition of skilled should not be limited.  Sure, not all of us are medical doctors or veterinarians.  But you know what, I'm not either.  I may be considered the crops expert but there those out there who know more than me.  I'm just willing, not super expert.  I know some basics and am willing to learn a lot while I volunteer.  You don't have to be an expert to help.  After all, kids need loved.  Can you play the high five game?  Then you too could be helpful on a team trip. 

Monday, October 31, 2011


Well, after a long day, or two, of travel, I made it home.  Tired and increasingly short with my wild kids, I crawled in bed and my husband who's been amazing, put them to bed by himself for one more night.  Thanks love. 
This morning, I took the first warm shower in 10 days.  It was too warm.  Is it possible to miss the cold showers of Ethiopia?  I guess so.  I don't speak of the warm showers to put my friends in Ethiopia down.  It's just a difference, that's all.  I also shaved, tweezed my eyebrows, used face wash, face cream and did my hair.  Each for the first time in 10 days too.  Not that I couldn't do those things in Ethiopia, but I had promised myself to leave my vanity at home.  And even when I desperately wanted to tweeze my eyebrows, I could find the tweezers.  They magically appeared this morning.  Imagine that.
In between playing with my kids, I mostly unpacked my stuff.  Still need to put it all away and vacuum out my suitcases.  Yes, I brought home a million tiny little pieces of grass seed.  Don't worry customs, I will promptly compost it where it will get up to 140 degrees and kill anything that might be in there.  On the plane, I began editing photos.  Mine combined with Farmer Joe's, aka Yosef's, and a few of Lory's, I have over  2500 pics.  I need to finish that in the next few days so I can share some at a presentation to my bible study group on Thursday night.  I guess I know what I'll be doing each night after my kids go to bed.
In the coming week or so, I'll get some more specific posts up.  But to summarize a few things real quickly, our crops project was mostly successful.  Implementation will be key.  And follow up and building examples on the FOVC campus is crucial.  Which means, I will continue to go back as my hubby and finances continue to allow.  Starvation is absolutely REAL and sickening.  One of my crops widows was near death due to  a lack of food.  Education of food is important too.  More on that later.  There's 38 new kids on the FOVC campus.  I wonder if that's due, in part, to the closure of so many orphanages in the Southern area.  All the kiddos received their sponsor gifts that made it through customs with ease.  It was amazing to see how much the kids had grown since 4 1/2 months ago.  I enjoyed Ethiopian food more than other times I'd been there.  The FOVC staff was loving and helpful.  Each of them were so protective.
I came home last night ready to curl up in my husbands arms.  Unfortunately I was asleep in the van before we ever got home.  I'm so thankful for how he loves me.  For how he allows me to use my gifts to serve God through serving others.  We just had lunch together and what a treat that was.  I love that husband of mine.  He's awesome.
Thank you to everyone who made the trip possible for me.  By the financial support, prayer support, encouragement to go, asking me to go, going with me.  And to those who helped Ryan on the home front while I was away.  Thank you!  And for anyone who wants to participate with FOVC in the future, please let me know.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

one quick pic

Okay, maybe two. Cause I first added the wrong one. But it's worth sharing too.

My main reason for going on this trip to Ethiopia was to provide training to the crops widows. This training is one the many ways that FOVC is giving long term help while they provide food during this short term famine. If you've read my blog before, you know that I was pretty excited to take this little garden seeder over for the ladies to use. The picture below is of one of my crops widows using the seeder to plant vegetables behind the FOVC school. One of many encouraging parts was seeing these ladies excitement for use of the seeder. I gave them vegetable seed to take home and plant and told them to borrow the seeder to do it.

Another cool picture. This is of Judah's bio brother - the younger of the two. While there in June, this sweet little boy was scared of me and ran away crying. This time he was bashful but not scared. He came just as we were getting ready to leave. I'm so glad we didn't miss him! I thank God (and my friends) for making this prayer to see them again a reality!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia :)

Amazing how well our flight went... and how frustrating it was all at the same time.  Who knew that the last 32 hours would pass so quickly.  Much quicker than my 37 hour labor with Scott in case you're wondering.  Thought I'd share a few things I jotted down that Joe and I collectively got to experience on our trip here.
- I'm so glad I've been here, done this before.  It could be pretty overwhelming to fly to Africa with a friend who's never been and then meet up with your driver/guide who you've never met.  But it wasn't overwhelming at all.
- I thank God for the opporunity to go and love because he first loved us.  I get to love on 8 widows this week. Will you join me in praying for them?  You could pray for one each day and that would be awesome!
    day 1: Trunge
    day 2: Latashe
    day 3: Bontashe
    day 4: Aster
    day 5: Matafe
    day 6: Martane
    day 7: Shibre
    day 8: Galate
-  Listening to John Piper's message about Adirnirom Judson's life is a tough challenge but interesting timing as i'm going to serve.
-  I've seen so much waste in the airports and airplanes.  Particularly with food and water.  At Chili's I in Detroit I watched the water pitcher fill and then overflow while being left unattended.  Of course, I got up and fixed it.
-  While the seats certainly aren't luxury, I thank Godd for sustaining my back so far. (written from Amsterdam to Addis) and my most discomfort was my tailbone, not my back.
-  Pretty smooth process until security in Amsterdam took away my pliers and brand new crescent wrench.  I begged and pleaded and even asked if they stewardess would carry it on and hide it and give it to me later.  She could have even put it in the cockpit!  I even tried informming them that my whole trip was based around those tools  putting the seeder together.  I did all but cry.  No mercy.  Stupid Amsterdam security.  You're the same guys who confiscated my bottle of wine a few years ago!
- arrived in Addis.  Shoulda had Joe get in line for visas while I exchanged money.  I hate exchanging large sums of money by the way.  LONG line for visas followed by a long line for customs or whatever was next.  Almost 2 hours after landing, we were headed to luggage.  I didn't expect it to be on the conveyor but I did expect it to not be lost.  More drama ensued.  Lack of communication mostly.  Did you know that KLM doesn't have a bag delivery when they lose your luggage?  I think Ethiopian airlines does.  Plus with Et Air you don't have nasty security guys taking stuff away.  Yes, I'm bitter.  Anyway, we then started the process for lost luggage and we're told we'd have to come back to get it.  All donations.  I needed them!!!  Joe and I weren't satisfied with the lack of looking through the rooms of bags they had so I went hunting for them.  The sweet employee told me one spot to look, then another.  Then across the room, 100 yards away, he spotted what he thought was my luggage.  Could it be????  I ran over and sure enough, I picked  up all 4 suitcases of donations!!!!  Thank you Lord.
-  As I drug all four suitcases through the airport, bypassing the customs guy who wasn't very happy but I just kept smiling at him I made it to Joe who had our ticket stubs in hand.  We headed back to the guy I smiled at and let him make sure it was our bags we had and not someone elses.  And as we put the bags on the conveyor belt, I continue to pray asking God to let those bags go through with ease.  Prepared to fight and then pay for them to be allowed through, I about fell over when they didn't ask one.single.question!!!  Thank you God again!!!  I hadn't prayed for an easy flight but I had prayed and prayed for gifts and a seeder and all the medical stuff to make it through customs. 
- Another bit later our guide tells me that he's reserved one room with two twin beds.  While I trust Joe, I really did want my own room.  And out of respect for Joe's wife and my husband, I thought it was very important.  Thankfully, we got to the guest house and each have our own beautiful rrom.
- It's 1230am on Sunday here.  I'm in much need of a shower and some sleep.  I didn't catch Ryan on facebook but I did get to chat with my dad and that was a treat!
ciao for now.  We head to Shanto tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011


Today I stayed home from work to pack and get my house in order.

Well, it's almost 3 and I'm almost done packing. But I still have a list of things to purchase on my way down to the airport. And I've made a bigger mess in my house, not cleaned. At all.

In preparation for leaving, I also wanted to take some time with my family. So, this morning I took my kids to school. After a quick visit to the chiropractor, I joined Bethany's class for a field trip to the pumpkin patch. Then after a few quick errands in town (like mailing out a bunch of FOVC shirts), I headed back to the school for lunch with Scott. Only I was a bit early so I also got to join him for recess whereI pushed him on the swing and he grinned from ear to ear. Then lunch. By the way, I learned today that my son, who fixes his own sandwich, doesn't eat the bread. Hmm. Son, leave off the bread next time... or just eat the bread so you're not starving by time school is out.

Eventually I made it home to begin taking the piles in our reading room and putting them in suitcases. What a chore that is to figure out how to combine the lighter weight stuff with the heavier weight stuff. I'm taking in some IV fluids for Dr. Jo which really impact the weight. Each bag weighs 2 1/2 pounds! So, I got a little creative with my packing. And when I finished, none of my bags are full but each weighs the 50 pound max. side note: one of my pet peeves is having a full suitcase but I guess I'll have to get over that.

Tomorrow, I'll be meeting the other half of my crops team, Joe, at the airport. This is where we'll finalize our packing. I'll kiss my husband good-bye, get a little anxious, ask God to take away my anxiety and set off for Ethiopia.

Tamara volunteers with FOVC to help teach widows

to grow their own crops, therefore giving them the

means to feed and sustain their family unit.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

7 days left...

and my to-do list is still quite long. Normally that list includes getting the house in order and tying up loose ends at work. This list, well, it doesn't even have room for that.

I'm so thankful for friends, family, and the love of my life who've pitched in to help or loved me enough to ignore the things in my home that I've ignored lately. In the last two weeks we've had someone cook for our family on Wednesday night, and someone else cook for us on Thursday night. Little things like that sure help.

On my to-do list today:

  1. Start packing the stuff I won't need in the next 7 days.

  2. Track down a few high quality items for the FOVC wine social silent auction.

  3. Sweet talk, or beg, at least 10 people to buy tickets to the wine social.

  4. Make cookies with Bethany and her girlfriend who's here for the weekend.

  5. Pray for the FOVC crops widows.

  6. Prepare a meal for a neighbor who's having surgery.

I'm sure there's at least 10 other things but I'm sure you don't care to know it all :)

Friday, October 14, 2011


I updated the wine social, puzzled and the necklace pages. So click on the links at the top and see what new info I have up there.

I had some cool pics of the RamosTorres winery to share but my hard drive crashed. All the more reason to buy a ticket to the wine social and check it out yourself :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Getting Ready

Like all of you, I'm a busy momma.  And I think several times throughout each day about a blog post.  But I never get it done.  Kinda like cleaning my house lately.  But, it's really fund and important for me to share with you about what's going on with my upcoming trip.  So, here's a few things you might like to know:
1. FOVC hit their $30,000 fundraiser mark for the Feed Hope relief project.  But, just because they raised the $30k and just because the fundraiser is officially finishing up, doesn't mean there isn't a great need there.  The $30k will feed lots of people but there a lots more that won't be fed.  My point here is that while I'm super thankful for the many who gave, if any of you still want to give on behalf of the families in and around Shanto, you can mail the check to my house and I'll hand carry the money to Ethiopia.  And it will go towards feeding people.  100% of it.
2. Last weekend I put 998 miles on my old minivan.  Friday, the two littles and I headed down to a cute college town to visit SemiFeralMama, one of my travel buddies.  Our kids played together while us adults chased the kids and chatted some (first pic).  It was good to see them again.  Saturday afternoon SFM and I left her cute college town and headed to a bigger city to the West to see CaptainMurdock, another of my adoption travel buddies.  They hosted yet another very successful fundraiser for FOVC's Feed Hope relief project.  Murdock's daughter whose super fancy secret blog identity I can't remember right now had her own little mini fundraiser too (pic 2).  Her heart was beyond precious!  The third pic is of some of the "shower" hosts counting out the generous donations.  You can read the details about it on Murdock's blog
3. Did I mention that I suprised Murdock.  That was the fun part.  The other fun part was meeting some of Murdock's friends - some for the first time and some for a second time.  She picks good friends.  I loved them.
4. On our drive home, I was way to tired to stop and see friends so I continued on I-35 heading back home.  We left at 10am and got home by 840pm.  I guess we stopped a few different times and shopped and ate and shopped and ate some more.
5.  I really haven't made any necklaces lately.  I know some of you have asked about them.  I've made a few special orders I guess (pic 4).  I plan to make more necklaces but just haven't had the time, energy, or strength in my back.  I'll make some more in the near future.  Maybe on my flight to Ethiopia.
6. While I was on my little adventure South, my external hard drive started to crash.  It would connect, then stop.  It was wierd.  Well, it's done working all together now.  EVERYTHING is saved on there.  So, for my missions meeting on Tuesday night, I didn't have the stuff I needed.  For the the trip to Ethiopia in 8 days, there's stuff I need from my hard drive.  Grr.  To say it simply, I could really use for this hard drive to work next time I try.
7.  I leave in 8 days.  Our reading room is becoming piled with things to take: seeder, sponsor gifts, vitamins, feed hope shirts, a few medical things, and I don't remember what else.  Eventually I'll have to start organizing that.  Two of our team leave late Friday night/early saturday morning.  Joe and I leave next Friday.  Boy am I getting excited, even though I have a ton to do yet!
I thank God for how He allows me to be a little part of showing love to His people in Ethiopia.  I am also so thankful for my husband who is supportive of my never-ending need to be helping someone out.  But I'm not Wonder-Woman.  I get tired and cranky too.  So pray for me.  For strength and energy and patience.  Especially when it's Thursday and my babysitter doesn't work out and I have to leave bible study and my kids are naughty.  Oh that I can love like God loves.
More from me another day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ask and it shall be given to you

When I was preparing for my 2009 mission trip to Mexico City, we were encouraged to write support letters. Even if we could afford the trip without financial assistance. Why? Because doing so allows others to be involved who might not otherwise get to do so.

Last year while preparing for Ryan and I to head to Ethiopia to serve with FOVC, we were looking at big expenses for the trip and wrote letters asking friends and family to support us financially. One friend was very generous and sent us a check for $500. Thanking him over the phone, he shared that he believed it was important to do things like this. That he wasn't in a position to "go", and was thankful to give to someone who could go. It was his way of getting involved. We were both blessed by his giving.

I've tried to include people in our work with FOVC in Ethiopia. Some allow me to share while others show a genuine interest and get involved. Maybe they can't spend 10 days in Ethiopia but they can do things like show me old corn planters, walk me through how horse/oxen drawn equipment, allow me to take equipment home to look at, share with others about FOVC via blogs, facebook, and chats at the dining room table.

Yesterday we sat in the living room with our friend, Marty. Yet another person I've invited to join this adventure from the comfort of his own home, er shop. I have a borrowed little garden seeder in my living room for him to look at. Marty welds, machines and does other "guy" things out in his metal shop. Before the Cardinals game started, we were asking Marty if he could duplicate something like this with metal that would stand up longer. The more we talked, the more I thought this little garden seeder would be ideal... to get us started. So, I began searching online for this little gadget - an Earthway 1001-B. Made with the large scale gardener in mind, this tool is

an "ideal row crop planter, the 1001-B is a tool that takes the guesswork out of planting any row crop. Here’s how it works: install one of the precision seed plates that best fits your seed, then adjust the depth of planting on the ground opener, and then set your 30” long row marker for the desired width, then fill the seed hopper with seeds, then begin pushing in your well tilled soil, that’s it." (taken straight from their website).

For those friends who plant their crops with a 12 or 24 row John-Deere corn planter, they can't imagine planting their crops with this tool. But, I love the idea of using this tool. The widows I'll be working with crop very few acres (probably less than 3), and this would get them started right away with planting their corn rather than the all-too-common method of broadcast seeding the corn. Our machinist friend, Marty, thought that the plastic and aluminum would hold up well enough that we wouldn't need to have it made of heavier metal. Which sure makes it easier to get to Ethiopia in my checked luggage!!!

I checked out Earthway's website and then began comparing with similar products online. From the comments I read, for a tool of this size and durability, the Earthway was the hands-down way to go. I decided that I would invest a little of the crops money I'd raised to buy this tool. I envisioned it being the beginning of moving forward with improving cropping for the widows of Shanto. I stressed the importance of planting corn but now they'd be able to see it.

However, before I ordered an Earthway Precision Garden Seeder, or the broadcas seeder, I sent them a the following comment via their contact button:
"I volunteer with a non-profit called Friends of Orphans and vulnerable Children ( I began a crops for widows project with them to teach the widows and community members how to grow a crop and feed themselves. This is in Southern Ethiopia. I've been looking at taking an earthway seeder to help them get corn planted (they currently broadcast seed it). If I can help them improve how they plant crops, along with other education, then these people will have a better chance at providing for their families. And as an adoptive mother of a child from there, I believe strongly in keeping families together compared to them deciding which child to give up for adoption because they're starving - our personal story but also a common one in poverty stricken rural southern ethiopia. I'm contacting you to ask if you'd be willing to donate a precision garden seeder for me to take with me to ethiopia when I fly over there Oct 21st. I would love to answer any questions you might have. Thank you in advance, Tamara B, FOVC Crops Expert, mom, and garderner"

You can imagine my excitement when I had the following reply in my inbox when I got home from work today:
"Tamara, Thanks for the email. We would be happy to help. I'll have a 1001-B and the optional seed plates sent to your address below. Sincerely, Jeff KendallVP Sales & Marketing, Earthway Products, Inc."

I read the email and immediately jumped up and interrupted Ryan's "quiet time" to tell him the good news. I was so EXCITED. I still am. Thank you Jeff and the Earthway Inc team for your partnership in sharing good news with the poorest of poor in Ethiopia. With your generous heart and helpful contribution, you'll join me in helping women keep their families together... something I've dreamed of since the day I met Judah's birth momma! Thank you, thank you Jeff. Your message in my inbox made my day. I'm excited to serve along side FOVC, working to to educate and support orphans, vulnerable children & widows in Ethiopia, empowering them to break the cycle of poverty and hunger as we offer them hope and independence for the future.

I have learned to ask. And it has been given to us. Thank you Lord Jesus for the peole You use to be Your hands and feet. Anyone else want to volunteer and partner with FOVC? Let me know!

[I in no way personally benefitted by posting such nice things about Earthway Inc. However, the people of Shanto, Ethiopia will personally benefit from their generous donation. And I certainly benefitted in that I was encouraged by their generosity. Hmm, maybe I'll put one of these on my Christmas list...]

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Necklaces and Wine

I had necklaces done earlier this week ready to add here for sale. I took them up to show Ryan's family last night and his aunt bought them. While I'm glad I have them sold, I also want to share why I didn't keep my word about having any new ones posted.

21 day until I'm heading to Ethiopia!

I'm having a wine social event back home in Kingsburg in November. Trying to come up with a creative and catchy name for the event. Got any ideas? Leave me a comment.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Puzzle Pieces

Today, I was blown away when Lory called me to tell me she'd received a check for $1050 with my name on it. Seriously, I was amazed. I had yet to tell anyone, except maybe my husband, that my in-country expenses for my October trip are $1046. Thank you God for how you provide and encourage me.

While it would be nice to have my in-country expenses paid for, it was intended to pay that. And I love how intentional the gift was! I called the gift giver's wife and learned that the $1050 gift was for 150 puzzle pieces. I'm thrilled for multiple reasons:

  • I was secretly a little bummed that I'd sold very few puzzle pieces.

  • Of this gift, $700 goes towards feeding people during the famine - approximately 54 kids for one month. Thanks dear friends for feeding God's precious created children.

  • $350 goes towards my travel expenses which will be close to $2600. Thanks friends for helping shoulder those expenses for me.

I have put it on my to do list to start piecing all those pieces together for the puzzle. Thanks friends. For those who are interested, there's 345 tickets left to be purchased :)

Saturday, September 24, 2011

So, I've been doing this puzzle fundraiser. And not doing a good job of it. And I feel bad because while I'm focusing on the bead necklace fundraiser, I'm not focusing on the puzzle fundraiser that my friend, Megan, so generously set up for me.

504 pieces to sell. 6 pieces sold to date.

Obviously, I'm behind. And because of that, I've also not raised any funds for the trip. I'm glad to volunteer and serve along side FOVC. But, it's not like we have all the money in the world to fly to Africa every four months. I'm going to be real and honest here. Even with some donations towards our last trip (which helped a ton), it still costs money. And while I really wanted to go home to CA to see family and friends, we couldn't do both and so I chose Ethiopia. And with this recent trip, I chose Ethiopia again. And then recently, with some medical issues with both grandma's, I knew I needed to get home. So, I thought I could better justify the expense of going if I could share about FOVC while there. And it all costs money. And I'm so thankful that I have a husband who wonderfully supports our family. But it costs more than we make. About $2500 for this next Ethiopia trip. And if you average it out, it's a little over $500/month in expenses for the last two trips. Which I would consider expensive.

All of that mumbling to let you know that I really, really could use your help. Would you buy some puzzle pieces? I believe strongly in the work that FOVC is doing and have chosen to fundraise to keep children alive. But if I'm going to go and offer long term hope through the crops program, then I also have to fundraise a little for my own expenses. If you'd like to make a donation, I'd humbly accept.

hating to ask,
tamara b

Friday, September 23, 2011

"very big food shortage"

Raising funds to support families through this famine is priceless. But raising awareness is also highly valuable. I don't know a lot of the detailsof what happens day to day at FOVC or in and around Shanto. But I did get to read a report from Desalegn. I wanted to share a few things that you might be interested in. Things that are good for us priveledged folks here in the US to know about.

  • While there's a drought in the horn of Africa, there's very localized, heavy rains in Shanto. Because of the rains, farmers are unable to plant crops. No planting crops = no food to harvest later on. No food to harvest = increased hunger...

  • Desalegn visits homes in Shanto. In his words, there is a "very big food shortage". I could have cried when I read this - for two reasons. One is that I can't imagine not being able to feed my family. And two, because I'm overjoyed that I can play a little role in raising money to feed families through this famine. To date, we've raised ~$200. That will feed 15 kids for one month, or just under 4 kids for the length of the expected famine. Oh, how I can only hope that number grows.

  • My very non-medical mind understands that following heavy rains, an area will see things like malaria and measles break out. So, not only are they dealing with famine which equals suppressed immune systems and then they'll have to face diseases. Oh Lord, my heart aches for these people.

  • Food inflation continues as a rule of thumb. When will it stop?

Friends, I know that I'm passionate about this and know that not everyone is. But, if you could spare 5 bucks, or more, it would be a huge help to others. Just this week, a sweet little girl at Awanas handed me $5 for my trip. It may not pay for my $1500 airline ticket, but her heart and her smile and her $5 were worth so much to me! Be encouraged friends to give a little love this week.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

necklace sales

I'm so, so thankful for the outpouring of support to buy the necklaces (see tab above).  We have so far raised $180 which feeds 13 kids for one month of the famine.  THANK YOU!!!  I'm also super appreciative that Bethany's bracelet sold.  She was SO excited about that, especially when we told her that it would be enough to feed one child for the famine.  She wants to make at least two more so she can feed Judah's mom and brothers.  That's my girl.  And today when she earned a quarter for picking up walnuts at mom's, she asked if she could give it to feed hungry kids.  She gets it.  I'm so glad for that.  So, be on the lookout for more necklaces to be added Sunday or early next week.
In the meantime, I love talking about FOVC.  But I often don't have time to blog about it.  So here's a quick snippet.
We're leaving October 21st.  Focusing on teaching them techniques that will grow a crop during the famine.  I have lots of prep work to do in the next few weeks.  Teaching material to get together.  Soil test kits to put together. That on top of my other FOVC fundraising activities - mailing out shirts, making necklaces and mailing them out, and getting together idea for the wine tasting fundraiser.
I'm so, so thankful for my husband who plays a critical role of keeping me grounded, encouraging my strengths and building my weaknesses.  There may be dirty dishes on the counter but we're loving God together and I'm so thankful!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Just in Case

In case you missed it on my side-bar or on the tab at the top here, I have my necklace fundraiser finally up. Please, please, please check it out and share with others. This is kind of a big deal to me. Just sayin'. If you want the direct link to the page, it's here:

Don't forget about the two other fundraisers I have going on. I'm not trying to over do it. It's just that important to me to help others in need. This is not enabling them. It's saving their lives from famine and teaching them skills so they can provide for themselves long term. Those two fundraisers are:
1. The Feed Hope tshirts that I designed. These shirts help bring an awareness to the work FOVC is doing plus they bring in a little money for the organization I whole-heartedly believe in. A little less than half of the $20 cost of the shirts goes towards the famine relief project.
2. The Puzzle Fundraiser. Thanks to Megan for coming up with this fundraiser. two-thirds of your $21 donation goes towards the FOVC Feed Hope relief project and 1/3 goes towards my personal expenses for the trip.

As always, if you'd like to donate to FOVC, you can always do that by writing a check and mailing it or by donating online. If you'd like to donate to my personal expenses, leave a comment here or toss me an email.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Feed Hope Shirts

I have these sweet shirts needing a home. Shirts are for sale for $20/each with the proceeds going directly to FOVC's Feed Hope relief project.

Need a cool t-shirt that gives hope back to Southern Ethiopia during the drought/famine?

So, while I was sweet talking my kids into modeling a shirt, Judah didn't want me to take his picture. I asked Judah if he wanted to help momma raise money to feed kids. He said yes. I said "then smile big". This is what I got:

Will you help Judah raise money to feed hope to kids just like him in southern Ethiopia?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


First of all, thank you to Tamara B for allowing me to guest post on her blog today. My name is Megan. Tamara and I have been long time adoption buddies! Judah and my son were born in the same area of Ethiopia, and it has been a blessing to have her as a friend. I am here to support her and FOVC's efforts to feed local communities in Southern Ethiopia.

As many of you know, Tamara had been asked to return to Ethiopia because of the drought/famine issues. Her personal expenses are ~$2500 this trip, which is just 4 months after her last trip. This wasn't a "planned" trip in that she wasn't planning on going 4 months later but is going because of the drought/famine issues. She has been blessed in that she can get the time off of work but then there is the obstacle of the money. She hoped to raise funds for the Feed Hope relief project but could also use some help funding her travel.

A little more about the trip (and I am sure you will hear more from Tamara), the Feed Hope relief project is raising funds to feed the local communities for 4 months of the famine. This late October trip will be a small team of 4 (which makes it more expensive per individual). Two of the team will focus on food delivery and medical. Joe and Tamara will focus on crops training - specifically on growing drops during drought. Wow, what a long term impact Tamara will be having on these communities. It is not just immediate relief, but what she is doing will help to insure the communities will be ready for the next drought!

I began to dream of how Tamara could donate to FOVC and also fund her trip. I am not the most creative or experienced fundraiser, but I came up with a little idea.

A puzzle fundraiser! Here's how it will work. I made a 504 piece puzzle, out of the Feed Hope Logo. We are asking folks (YOU) to sponsor pieces of the puzzle. Each piece will cost $7. I am asking each donor will sponsor 3 pieces of the puzzle, so a $21 donation. Yes, 3 pieces! The $7 from one piece will go to Tamara's travel fund, and $14 from the other two pieces will go to FOVC's Feed Hope relief project!!!! When you sponsor a piece of the puzzle, we will write your name on the back, and then start piecing the puzzle together. With your help, we will complete the puzzle before Tamara leaves for her trip! Each piece of the puzzle will literally help complete the Feed Hope logo, and also help build the relief effort!!!!

This is Tamara's fund part of her own trip AND donate to Feed Hope!!! Let's help her fulfill her dream!!!!

How do you sponsor 3 pieces (or more!)? Funds can be donated directly to FOVC - checks written to FOVC at 1428 Venice Ln., Longmont CO 80503. Please put a sticky note (NOT the memo line) identifying that it's for Tamara's puzzle fundraiser so they will know where to allocate the funds!

THANK YOU so much for considering helping Tamara in her efforts. We hope to have the 500 piece puzzle completed by this time next month!!!! This will raise $3,528!!!!! About the $1176 towards Tamara's travels and $2352 to Feed Hope!!!!! We will keep you updated on the progress! I know many of you are stretched this right now, and $21 is a lot to ask, so we are so thankful for your sacrifice. are the steps...
1) Send a $21 (or more) check to FOVC with a sticky note that reads "Tamara". This will sponsor 3 pieces of the puzzle which funds Tamara's travels and Feed Hope.
One step, pretty simple huh??? If you want extra credit, here ya go:
2.) Tell your friends via your blog, facebook, twitter, letters to your old Aunt Sally about FOVC's Feed Hope Relief project

Thanks again friends,

Friday, September 9, 2011

ISU vs. Iowa

Raising money today for FOVC's Feed Hope Relief Project.  These two necklaces are themed ever so slightly for each of the teams playing this weekend.  They both utilize paper beads made in Ethiopia mixed in with some beads from Kenya.  Necklaces made by yours truly.
Will you buy one?  Can we sell it to the highest bidder, starting at $20 each?  What are you willing to pay? 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Water is Life

The following was posted on the FOVC blog by Desalegn:

Thank you all for this unexpected thing happen to Shanto! This is more than life to us. Water born diseases killed many children, girls drop out from school to fetch water, pregnant mothers and infants died due to lack of clean water, etc, etc, etc. But clean water is coming soon due to your support. Thank you all many million times for what you did and are doing! A little to you is more than life to the people of Shanto. We love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Isn't that so cool. To see pictures, you'll have to go directly to the blog. I read this and asked myself the following: how can I not find some money in my pocket or piggy bank to give to them that would lead to LIFE. Literally, clean water is the difference of life and death for some. I keep thinking of that change jar in my room that was going towards a vacation. But, right now I don't want to consider a vacation knowing that our change can make lasting change. How about you?

I love a few other things about this project. First off that the well is finally being drilled which allows many to see the fruits of their labor. Secondly that it's being done by "local" guys. Thirdly that it literally means life for some people. Fourthly, ... who knows, I'm so excited I can't even remember what I was thinking.

Anyway, check out the blog and consider if you might have a jar of change that could make a change.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Beading with Bahe was a Blast

So when I was in Ethiopia this past summer I bought a bunch of beads. I thought I might use them at some point. Though I thought about keeping them to myself, I knewt they'd be great to use as a fundraiser for FOVC or my future involvement with them. I didn't know that my involvement would be this October.

I recently called my friend Bahe, the beading queen, and asked her to help me put a few necklaces together. Bahe was super generous and brought her tools and supplies over to help. We discussed what we wanted them to look like and eventually starting putting them together.

We even had a little helper.

We were so busy beading that we didn't take any pictures.

Except one.

In the hours Bahe was helping, we put together a few necklaces. And there are more to come. Some with glass beads, some with paper beads and some with an Ethiopian cross. I have some more to put together and in two weeks we'll have them finished up.

So, be ready to see them here. I will be selling them. All proceeds (which is 100% since I donated the beads) will go towards FOVC and/or my October trip. Be on the lookout.