Tuesday, August 30, 2011


So, without me even knowing about it, a few of my friends pulled off a super successful fundraiser. It was fun. It raised money and awareness. I'm super greatful. In the last two weeks I've seen some pretty creative ideas for raising funds:

  • Baby shower - where all the gifts were financial donations to FOVC.

  • Rockin' Night - where local gal (who happens to be a surgeon, not a singer) rocked out to some fun songs and raised money. I assume they paid her to sing more, not to stop singing as they would do to me.

  • Selling some Ethiopian handi-and-art work.

What I'm saying is that you don't have to be a movie star or a millionaire to come up with a fundraiser to support FOVC's Feed Hope relief project. In fact, I'm horrible at fundraisers, I think. But my heart is there so I continue to try. And maybe you suck at singing like I do, but maybe they'd pay you big money to stop singing. Anyone want to give it a shot? Maybe not the stop-singing fundraiser but something else?

Monday night I emailed my childhood friend who happens to be the winemaker and owner of RamosTorres Winery. He's got a pretty sweet winery and tasting room. He hosts several events each year where you can taste his wines. I don't know if it will work for him to do a fundraiser but I thought it would be a great idea. Taste good wine, support RamosTorres Winery, bring awareness to FOVC and encourage people to support the FOVC Feed Hope relief project OR the Crops for Widows Project. It would be sweet. Don't ya think?

If you're from Kingsburg area, would you stop over to the RamosTorres facebook page and tell him that you would come to the fundraiser if I came to town????

(p.s. today is my dad's birthday and I'd love, love, love to tell him happy birthday in the same sentence I tell him that I'm coming home. Just sayin')

Monday, August 29, 2011

Done Sorta

Well MB's shower may officially be over, but the fundraising efforts are not. FOVC is still needing to raise somewhere in the ballpark of $10,000 to feed people through the famine. While I'm super thankful for Megan, SemiFeralMama, and Murdock (just so you know Murdock, I hate referring to you by that name and always type your real name and then have to backspace), who not only raised funds for FOVC but awareness, there's lots of work to be done. I know that $10k is totally possible in the next 4 weeks and I look forward to seeing how that unfolds.

If you're on the fence about giving money to FOVC, will you email me or leave a comment? I'd be happy to answer any questions.

If you wished you had participated in Shonda's shower but didn't get to it, please know that I'll be giving you an opportunity to support FOVC with another cool fundraiser. Coming Soon. For now, I want to thank the many people who have come along side FOVC with one time donations for the Feed Hope relief project. If you're interested in particpating with FOVC long term (like sponsoring an orphan, or helping with the various widows projects, or furnishing the orphanage, FOVC would love that too).

Until next time,
Tamara B.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

It's still shower time

If you haven't heard by now about Captain Murdock's/MB's shower, you should click on over to her blog and check it out: http://www.godwilladd.com/. A few friends are showering Murdock. But, it's not your traditional shower. This one is 100% going towards famine relief. All of your donation goes directly to FOVC's Feed Hope project.

Don't know much about FOVC, well I can tell you a little more about that in a sec, but first I want to share about Feed Hope. For just $13, you can feed one child for a month. We ate the bare minimum at DQ tonight and it was still $15. So, if you do the math $13/month x 4 months of the expected famine = $52. For $52, you could guarantee that a child will have enough to eat through the famine. Wow, that is amazing. Would you take this challenge and feed a child with a $52 dollar donation?

If you've been to my blog regularly, you've seen these faces. If you're new, let me introduce them to you. This is a woman named Abebech with her sons who are 10 and 8. I love this woman. We share a son together. His name is Judah. Abebech is one of the reasons I came into contact with FOVC. Simply put, I wanted to find an org that was working in the area of my son's birth. And voila, fifteen steps later, I connected with FOVC. Abebech is a widow earning a living - most of which goes towards the rent of her home in the background. She longs to provide for her children's needs. But with the increase in food prices in the last 6 months, and the affects of the famine, I'm not sure if those books will look so healthy come September. In fact, I pray nightly that they will survive. Vulnerable families like this one need our support. They need us to sacrifice our "wants" so that we can help provide for their basics "needs". Will you help?

As Murdock's shower winds down, will you jump on board and surprise her with a donation on behalf of the middle brother she's preparing to bring home? Stop by and let her know www.godwilladd.com and then go to www.fovc.org and donate. Thanks friends.

And because I'm going to ethiopia to serve during this Feed Hope relief project, you can bet that I'll be seeing first hand where your generous donation is going. And because I will be seeing it, I will also photograph it and share here!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Animals of Shanto

Ryan just read me a brief facebook conversation with the Director of FOVC. "Dr. T" is a reference to Tuto, the guy that Ryan trained with some veterinary skills. I'm sure you'll find this conversation encouraging as you get a little glimpse of day to day issues that FOVC works with:

Ryan: Just checking in to see how Dr. T is doing. I know you are busy with 100 other things but I wanted to make sure he was doing okay and being the blessing that I'm sure he can be to the people and animals of Shanto.

FOVC Director, Desalegn:
Hi Ryan, Dr T is really working very good. He visits the animals and widows three times per week and he has a plan to contact you with some questions soon. I will translate his questions into English and send to you then.
The cows are very well. The widows are reporting that the cows are health and becoming bigger than expected due to the treatment which you provided in June.
I will come with some questions from Dr. T soon.
Thank you in advance and God bless you and your family.

Ryan also shared with me that Desalegn is mostly speaking to Tuto in English. Ryan encouraged Tuto to learn English (it's was pretty broken English when we were there in early June) so he can better communicate with and learn from Ryan and other veterinarians. Of course, we're glad to hear that Desalegn is helping Tuto improve English by speaking to him that way. I look forward to the day Tuto can be used as a translator as well as the local veterinarian in serving his own community!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Trip to Ethiopia: Update

I'm going to do famine relief. Long term training to help be prepared for the next drought with some cropping methods. I'm so glad to play such a role. But I'm also prepared for the chaos of drought/famine issues that might consume our time. Maybe I'll end up doing more medical than crop. God knows, I don't. But I'll be prepared, at least somewhat, for that.

In the last few days, details have continued to fall into place. Just thought I'd share a few with you:

  1. Tickets purchased. $100 less than expected. Thank you Lord for the break on tickets!

  2. Met up with my travel buddy Joe and most of his family.

  3. Happened to run into (you know I don't believe in coincidences, right?) a local lady who's a nurse. Ryan's their vet and I don't really know her. But I really know no stranger so I interrupted her and asked if she would teach me some medical stuff that might be useful to Dr. Jo. She agreed. I'm hoping to take a CPR course on Thursday and Friday afternoon.

  4. A few friends are doing FOVC fundraisers which warms my heart (and feeds families) and I'm so thankful.

  5. A friend emailed me asking if I needed any money for my October trip. I hate asking for money. She made my day!!!

And while things are falling into place, additional things still need to happen.

  1. I need to get Thursday and Friday afternoon off. Not usually a HUGE deal but considering that's my last two days in my current office (I start a new job on Monday), I kind of need to be tying up loose ends there.

  2. I have a busy, busy week. But I also need time to focus on FOVC and spend time with my priorities in the right places.

  3. Some trip details still are in the works.

  4. Things are ever changing in Ethiopia which can daily change how we go about things there.

But I serve a big God. And beyond that, I'll be serving along side some cool people. While I loved working along side my husband last time, he's trying to do some things state side for veterinary life there and will stay home with our kids. Which means one less thing I have to organize. So, any friends near by who want to feed my family while I'm gone in October, I'm sure Ryan would be up for it :)

Off to school open house I go...

Monday, August 22, 2011


So my friends are pretty cool. And they're throwing my friend Shonda a virtual "Baby Shower." Instead of gifts, they are asking donations be made to FOVC.org in honor of MB. Not only is FOVC the org we're involved with but an org working very near where her boys and their family is from. The hostess' and I would also love it if people would drop a comment, a prayer or a word of excitement about this new little man joining their family. For those who don't know the story, they adopted Taz last summer when we adopted Judah. They are now heading back to adopt Taz' older brother. To read more check out Captain Murdock's blog.

Would you consider sharing this link on your blog and/or facebook page? I would love this to spread like wildfire over the internet and to be able to raise lots of funds for FOVC and have lots of words of love to add to MB's "baby book."

Thank you so much, Murdock's real life friend, Tamara B.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Didn't get it done

 I know my post yesterday said that I'd get a more specific post up today.  But as you could see, that didn't happen.  Instead, I did dishes, folded laundry, met up with my travel partner, Joe, for the Ethiopia trip, listened to an audiobook with my kids, played at two different parks with the kids, fixed a dish for a church potluck, bathed and tucked a few kids in bed, prayed for a particular child who's naughty A LOT, and finally crashed on the couch while I chatted with Megan for a few minutes on facebook.
Megan, you are so sweet!  One of these days I hope we cross paths in real life.
As I mentioned earlier, Joe will be my travel partner to Ethiopia.  I'm so, so thankful for his willingness to step up to the plate and help me with this all important crops stuff.  I will tell you more about him later.  But for now, I just wanted to put a shout out to the many people who are partnering with us in this venture to serve along side FOVC.  To those who pray, donate, encourage, travel, provide helpful information, give us a deal on supplies, etc, I am so thankful for you.  Seriously thankful.
Tomorrow I'm heading to central Iowa for kids' doctor appointments.  But I really hope that I get to talk to someone who doesn't know about FOVC's work in Ethiopia who would be interested in knowing more.  Oh Lord, would you use me to bring awareness to the thousands of people dying in the horn of Africa.  And Father, as my heart continues to ache wondering what Judah's family is facing, would you continue to give them hope for a future.  Amen.

Friday, August 19, 2011


It's important to know specifically where your assistance is going.  I've had several people mention lately about always wondering if they're assistance actually got to the intended place.  One of the things I like about FOVC is that they're a small organization with boots on the ground.  They know the exact needs of the people in their area.  And they're working tirelessly to meet those needs. 
I recently saw pics on the White House website of some important people visiting the famine hit areas.  I will have a post up by Saturday morning that talks specifically about their trip and how it confirms the work FOVC is doing.  In the mean time, know that these are the faces of people who need help, people that FOVC can feed with your help.  Please check out www.fovc.org and click on the Feed Hope (relief) link.   

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tickets, Get your Tickets

Today Lory firmed up mine and Joe's tickets.  We're leaving Oct 21st and returning October 30th.  Out of a nearby airport for a very reasonable price.  Thank you Lord! 
guess now I should start thinking a little more seriously about how I'm going to fund my trip... looking at a total of roughly $2500 this time.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

FOVC tshirts for sale

FOVC is selling shirts designed by yours truly.   The two pics you see are the two sides of the shirt.  The Africa logo is on the front and the FOVC logo/website is on the back.  For $20, you get a cool tshirt, FOVC gets a few bucks (it's not much), and we all get to share with others about what's going on in the horn of africa and what good things FOVC is doing.  Wanna order.  I would be so thankful if you do. 
If you order, I'd love to post a pic of you in your shirt on my blog.  Also, if you raise $250 for FOVC's campaign to FEED HOPE (http://www.fovc.org/grassroots.html), you will get one of these sweet tshirts as a thank you. 
So, go here http://www.fovc.org/store.html to place your order.  Pretty please.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Give UP

This week we've been busy with bible school each night, an extra 5 year old in the house and the loss of our 6 friends (they didn't die or anything, just moved out).  All the while, I have in the back of my mind, this drought and famine going on in Ethiopia.  I find the little things that we do that are so wasteful.  And I imagine how I could give that stuff up, save the money, and send it to feed someone during this famine. 
I wonder why not everyone is doing something.  After all, we're not all called to be passionate about it, but we are all commanded to look after the widows and the orphans in their distress [bible: james 1:27]. 
So in thinking about what I could be doing, or how I could be doing things differently, I thought I'd just share a few ideas:
  • Cheap frappuccino.  So, maybe you're not able to give up your morning coffee drink, but there's a cheaper way you can do it.  On Sunday I served my cousin a famine friendly version of a expensive coffee: one pot of coffee with a can of sweetened condensed milk mixed in, chilled, and served over ice.  Cousin T liked it.  And she texted me on Wednesday to tell me that I saved her $12 so far this week.  How 'bout that.  Now imagine if each week she saved her $12 and put it towards FOVC's campaign to FEED HOPE during the famine.  In 8 weeks, she would have $96 to donate.  And if just 10 of us did that same thing, we'd have almost $1,000.  Crazy how quickly that can add up!  (disclaimer: now I'm not suggesting T do this, in fact, I know she's saving for increased child care costs but it's just an idea)
  • On Fridays, the staff at our neigboring office always eats out together.  I love that they prioritize one lunch break each week to sit down together.  Today I joined them.  My lunch was cheap but was still $5.15.  Imagine if instead of eating out, the 5 of them rotated making something at home and bringing it in to share.  At half the cost of the meal over an 8 week period, they would have $100 to donate and probably would have eaten healthier meals too. 
  • The CHANGE jar.  How many of you have a change jar or use the cigarette tray in your car for loose change?  I have one too.  Except I don't carry cash very often.  I find myself with cash and wasting it so I try to put the cash in the change jar.  Sometimes it's a twenty and sometimes it's quarters.  But every time it's not money I absolutely need right now or I'll starve.  Imagine if I cashed that out and donated it, how it could CHANGE someone's life who literally is starving.
  • Vacations.  Ryan and I don't do glamorous vacations.  In fact, our last family vacation was probably to CA in 2008 to visit my family and friends.  Anyway, some friends were looking at awesome Mexico vacations and I thought that my husband might enjoy something like that instead of me using all my vacation time on mission trips.  Then I happened to see a magazine article highlighting local places in the midwest that are on a lakefront.  That wouldn't be too bad.  A couple hours drive, a night on the lake and some good food.  But that magazine is collecting dust while I think of other alternatives.  What about a little bed and breakfast an hour away.  I'd still get the time away with my hubby without all the time driving, the expense of fuel, or the expense of a fancy resort.  And the money I save can go to feeding a family who desperately needs a hand up.
Is this drought and famine on your mind at all.  What are you doing to help out.  Those people are certainly orphans, widows and oppressed.  I help because I want to.  But I also help because I don't want to stand before the almighty God when he asks me what I did for His children and not have an answer.  What are you willing to give up?

Monday, August 8, 2011

the "F" word

It's sad to hear the "F" word: famine.  When you understand the definition of it, it literally takes my breath away.  Here's what TIME reported about the "F" word:
The word 'famine' may be a familiar one, but it is not thrown around lightly by the people who decide when there is one. The fact that most of us today probably associate the term with the 1984 crisis in Ethiopia is testament to its exceedingly careful dispensation; to use it too often would dilute its power to command the attention of the press and governments around the world. Famines don't happen overnight, but when the United Nations declares one, those governments are expected to pay attention – and help pay to get the situation under control.

Read more: http://ecocentric.blogs.time.com/2011/07/22/famine-in-somalia-when-does-the-world-decide-to-use-the-%e2%80%98f%e2%80%99-word/#ixzz1US2wEiy2

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


So, I haven't written much about it. When I did, I shared MY wishes and not FOVC's. Now, FOVC has had a chance to get their leadership on board with a huge fundraiser. I mean, doable, but huge. It's directly related to the famine. But it's so much more than that. It's long term, tangible help. Feeding them during this emergency crisis but teaching them to provide for themselves long term. To be prepared for the next drought.

We can't fathom the implications of the drought because we have insurance when our things get destroyed. They don't. I'm impressed by the the focus and strategy of FOVC. I've read some lately about us thinking we're helping but we're really hurting them long term. I can attest that this plan does NOT put them in that situation. Emergency, short term relief (what FOVC is doing) is important in times of crisis. But it's also important to teach a man to fish so to speak. FOVC is also doing that. I'm proud of the work FOVC is doing. And I'm proud to partner with them.

So, please, please, please head over to the FOVC's page on project Feed Hope and check out all the specifics of what they're doing. I'll give you a hint: it has to do with 30 G's.

Facing Famine

As Southern Ethiopia is staring famine in the face, FOVC continues to put together the details of the Emergency Action and Intervention plan.  This plan is a plea for help.  But not just to beg for food for the famine, it's to continue to encourage and train the locals.  To prepare them.  Two of these three pictures are a good reminder of who needs our support.  One of the pictures was just for fun :)
If you'd like to read more about the issues in Southern Ethiopia, check out the FOVC blog at http://www.fovc.org/blog.html