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.