Thursday, December 27, 2012

Made my day + trip update

Today was another great day.  In my little adoption circle of friends, I heard fun news.  Some connecting back to Ethiopia, some starting to adopt again, some getting ready to travel, and one couple donating to our trip.  So glad for all those things!

Made my Day.

That's it.

Okay, you know me, I can't keep it that short so I'll share quick that Ryan and I have turned in our applications for the March trip and paid our deposit.  I'm looking forward to the small team that will be travelling together.  We're waiting to hear back from Hope Chest about Ryan doing work there.  Hope Chest doesn't start projects until all their funds are raised.  We have ~$30k to raise before the animal husbandry project is initiated by Hope Chest.  I've been praying that Ryan's skills will be put to use - that Hope Chest will support Ryan doing some livestock care, that we can raise funds personally to pull off some small community-wide livestock related medical clinics, or that we can raise the ~$30k to fund the project.  Big prayers, I know.  But I also know that I serve a BIG God.  Did I say I'm looking forward to our team travelling???

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Made My Day

My friends emailed me today to let me know that they chose to sponsor Konjit and another child.  I am so thankful!  It made my day.  There are 70-ish children left that need sponsors.  It's a great Christmas gift to give a loved one.  It would also be something fun to do as a group at work or in your small group.

That's my challenge for the next week.  There are more than 20 people working in my building.  Even if just half of them would participate, together we could sponsor one child for a year costing us $40.  That would totally make my day.  Maybe two kids are possible.  That would be $80 in a year.  Definitely a good option if you can't commit to a $34 per month sponsorship.  Hmm, how can I deliver this to my co-workers in that busy little building???

In other fun news, FOVC transferred the agriculture money to Hope Chest this week.  It's a big step forward in raising the funds to begin (begin with Hope Chest, but continue with FOVC-Ethio) the livestock program.  Hope Chest, from what I've gathered, doesn't start the project until it's fully funded... which means we have some fundraising to do to get going!

Speaking of getting going, Ryan and I are planning to travel together in March on a small team to see the Shanto children.  Of course, I'm also looking forward to seeing my widows!  The trip will be for 12 days some time in the March 16-30 window.  I have joined Ingrid in praying for the perfect team members to join us.  If you're interested in going on the trip or supporting Ryan and I on the trip, let me know.

Check out Hope Chest Shanto care point to see the many kids who need sponsors  I see their sad little faces and know that many of those children are new to the program.  They don't know what it's like to have their picture taken, they don't know what it's like to eat every day.  They haven't been to school.  And like most of us, they need a little love.  You can make a difference! It would make my day!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


Meet Konjit

She is another of my little friends from Shanto.  I met her on my first trip there.  Konjit has a twin sister who's also receiving assistance from FOVC-Ethiopia.  Each time I saw the girls they were mostly quiet and stand-off-ish.  But it wasn't always that way. 

Meet Konjit after she warms up to you:
She's one of the twins with matching glasses.  If I can tell them apart correctly, Worknesh is on the left and Konjit is on the right. These bright eyed little girls would light up a room.  Konjit is currently in first grade which makes me think that she's learned to read and write.   Konjit's sister is sponsored.  I can just picture her reading your sponsorship letter.  In fact, I would love to take a picture of Konjit reading your sponsorship letter when I travel in March.  Would you consider sponsoring Konjit?  Together, they can receive nutrition and education that will last them a life time. 

Sponsoring a child through can be life-changing for $34/month (or $408 per year).  To sponsor Konjit, click here.  To view other children who are also in need of a sponsor, click here

The other day I shared with you about sweet Hana who many of us loved as our own.  My friend's little daughter, Megan, decided to sponsor Hana.  I just wanted to share with you that Megan quickly started to put together a letter for Hana so that they could get to know each other better.  Tonight, I was chatting with Megan's mom who shared their creative idea for being able to sponsor Hana.  Megan's mom has a photography business.  Together Megan and her mom have included Megan's classmates on this project - of knowing Hana and getting her sponsored.  Sounds like M's momma will be taking a cute class picture with a quote or verse on it, then selling it to the class moms for $10.  The proceeds will support Hana.  With just 40 pictures sold, Hana's whole year will be sponsored.  It doesn't have to be photography, maybe you can rake leaves, cut wood, bring in your neighbors mail each day, etc.  Don't want to earn $408 raking leaves?  How about getting your office together to sponsor a child, or two?

There are 90 kids in Shanto's carepoint that need sponsored.   Will you help?

Friday, November 2, 2012


This is Hana:

We met Hana on our first trip to Shanto in June 2011.  While Ryan was working cattle, she appeared and proceeded to not let go of Bev.  They brought her back to the FOVC campus and everyone immediately fell in love with little Hana.  She's a gem!  But she was also really struggling from some health issues including Hep B and malnutrition.  Hana got to join the FOVC family that day along with her siblings.  She was treated for Hep B, began receiving a meal each day, and started school.

When I returned to Ethiopia in October, she was still well loved.  In fact, I got to see a little more of her attitude.  No more the quiet little thing, Hana was growing and doing well.  She was the center of attention and knew it.  She was quite surprised in October when she didn't get spoiled rotten by us!

Hana is one of many faces I look forward to seeing when I return to Shanto.  When I saw this picture on the Hope Chest Shanto site, it broke my heart.

Gone is her sweet smile, her ringlet hair, and her bright sparkle in her eye.  Hana is need of someone to sponsor her.  When you sponsor Hana, you commit monthly support and ongoing encouragement through prayer, letter writing, and relationship.  You can even go on a sponsor trip where you can meet her and get to know this gem of a child.

Would you consider sponsoring Hana?  It's $34 per month.  You can sign up here through

Thursday, November 1, 2012


I just got off the phone with Wil at Hope Chest.  The Vision trip planned for December is postponed.   I'm certainly bummed about not being able to go but I'm thankful for the wise decision making on their part.  It's been a year since I've been in Ethiopia and I am so looking forward to getting back there.  Hopefully the March trip works out!
In the mean time, I should be getting a better idea of development plans for Shanto in the next few weeks.  I'm looking forward to how Hope Chest will help Shanto become self-sustaining.  I'm also looking forward to how you might be willing to partner with Hope Chest in one of the development areas or by sponsoring a child.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

it's okay

I'm getting excited for Ethiopia.  At the same time, a commitment to serve in Ethiopia is difficult.  It was my plan for us to return to California as a family in 2013, 5 years after our last family trip.  I was hoping for a long weekend getaway with Ryan.  Those are things we can't make happen when we're invested in Ethiopia.  I spoke to my dad tonight.  He's coming out to visit for Christmas.  I'm so thankful.  It's been over a year since he's seen the kids and since we're not getting out there, I'm so thankful he's coming out here.  It stinks that my kids don't really know their cousins and other family in California.  It's sad that I can't sit at my grandma's bed side when she falls and breaks her hip and has surgery like last week.  In that sadness, I continue to thank God for choosing us to play a small part in Ethiopia.  In that sadness, I continue to ask God to use us to be the hands and feet as we seek to serve the widows and the orphans.  

This week is the first team conference call.  I'm looking forward to meeting the others over the phone and hearing a little more about what we're doing.  I don't yet know a lot of specifics on the schedule, locations, etc.  In the next 4 weeks life will be busy, both of our work environments will get busier and more hectic, holidays will be on the door step, followed by dermatologist appointments (for my itching skin) and then leaving for Ethiopia.  I'm trying to be well rested... we'll see how that goes in the coming 4 weeks.

Monday, October 8, 2012


With today being a federal holiday, I'm trying to catch up on a few things at home.  One of those things relates to my love for Ethiopia.  I've mostly filled out my application to do a visioning trip with Children's Hope Chest December 1-8.  I need to dig out my passport, knock the dust off it and grab some info that needs to go on my application.  I'm super excited to see how Hope Chest works and functions.  To see how the developmental side of things works in carepoints that are in various stages.  I'm excited to meet the staff - both the local Ethiopians and those travelling.

I haven't written much about the transition from FOVC in the US to Hope Chest.  For those of you who are curious, there's a couple reasons for the transfer.  FOVC in Ethiopia exists.  Desalegn and his staff continue to work diligently to provide for the needs of the locals.  The reach, and therefore the impact, of FOVC will increase with the partnership with Hope Chest.  Check out this picture:

Taken at Shanto. June 2011.
See Rick with those cute little kids?  It's such a joy to love on and support those children.  But it's heart-breaking to see the kids in the background.  The ones on the other side of the fence.  The ones who are in desperate need.  The ones that are hungry.  The difference between the kids snuggled around Rick and the kids outside the FOVC campus is fortune.  FOVC can only spread it's resources so far.  They aren't able to reach all the kids like this one

Partnering with Hope Chest is going to change some of that.  Hope Chest has gone in and studied the needs and written a developmental plan for the WHOLE town of Shanto.  I'm excited.  That includes adding a bunch more children to the sponsorship program (See Ingrid's blog for more info on that).  It will also include  agriculture programs as part of the development program.  I'm excited to see how God might continue to use Ryan and I in this journey.

Now back to that application...

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Crops Pics & Update

I've not had communication from Desalegn for the past few months but today I saw that he posted an update about the Crops for Widows.  When I was there last year, the widows were requesting improved seed to plant and fertilizer.  It was difficult because I wanted them to have heirloom seed and make use of compost.  Their viewpoint is that the improved seed (genetically modified) gives them more to harvest - something they need to make it through the coming months.  The fertilizer helps grow the crop of course.  The drawback is that it's short sighted.  But how do you teach them to plan long term when they don't even have food for the next 3 months?  Heirloom seed is something they can harvest for food but also save some to harvest for seed.  They could store the seed and then plant it the next season without having the expense of buying bags of seed.  Harvesting crops for seed is time consuming, I know.  I've been doing it recently with herbs that I planted this past spring.  Likewise, the use of compost would provide nutrients to grow the crops without the expense.  Both, the improved seed and the chemical fertilizers are expensive.

Regardless of them doing it different than what I had planned, I'm thankful that it was done.  Crops planted and ready to harvest.  Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU friends who so generously donated towards the crops program in the past.  Please take a few minutes and check out the link to Desalegn's blog post.

In December I'm planning to return to Ethiopia on a visioning trip with Children's Hope Chest.  I'll get to meet their staff and see various sites at different places in development.  I'm eager to see the development plan for Shanto and how it might include livestock and crops!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Long Overdue, I know

While I haven't posted lately, it doesn't mean that we're not involved with Ethiopia.  In fact, with each passing month, I desire to be more involved in Ethiopia.  I know the need.  I've seen it with my own eyes.  I am daily reminded of the choices women have to make because they don't have options.  He is my son:

But it's not just about my son.  It's about this lady, Judah's birth mom:

And about women like her.  These faces are the motivation for what we do.  Not just what we do, but what we ask God to do.  Bethany prays regularly for people in Ethiopia to have enough food.  From what I know, people are wonderful about supporting children to go to school.  And I'm thankful for that.  In fact, in November, friends of Ethiopia FOVC will looking for more sponsors for children like this:  

In the village of Shanto, where we've done most of our work with FOVC, they'll be adding 80-some kids.  Ethiopia FOVC will be partnering with Children's Hope Chest to impact more kids.  If you can spare $34 a month, it will be money well spent.  One of the things I love about Hope Chest is that you can go on trips and see YOUR sponsored child.  How cool is that?!?!?  You can see your impact!  If you're interested, leave a comment and I'll connect you with Ingrid, our sponsorship coordinator.  

Like I said, many people help with child sponsorships, or building schools/libraries, or digging wells.  These are all good things.  All things we've personally and financially supported.  But what happens when those kids are done with secondary school and ready for college?  They don't have the means to afford college and so they don't go.  Friends, it's not like here in the US where you get scholarships or financial aid or take out loans.  No money = no opportunity.  But, some friends are helping out with that.  Cliff and Mary have a non-profit that help older orphans go to college.  If you scroll back up to that pic of Judah's mom, you'll see two boys - soon to be teenagers.  They're in school and even learning ENGLISH.  But they have no hope for college.  How cool if they had that opportunity through an organization like Cliff and Mary's.  Through Higher Education 4 Ethiopia's Orphans, you can help sponsor a student to go to college.   I can't remember the exact dollar amount but I think it's something like $500 a year sends them to university!  Cliff and Mary are in Ethiopia right now with 3 students graduating and 10 more getting started.  I can't wait to hear about their trip when they get back

And then there's our work with widowed women.  Specifically in the field of agriculture since most the country is agriculture based.  That has been on hold for a bit but we're hoping to get that going in the coming months.  I'm starting discussions with Children's Hope Chest on that too.  I'm excited to see how that might progress once we get the children's sponsorships taken care of.

More in the months to come...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

On Hold

The June trip never happened.  It was delayed until October.  Since that delay, I haven't written or updated much.  Instead, Ryan and I have done a lot of praying, searching, chatting, and praying some more.  We desire to serve in Ethiopia helping women keep their families together.

For now, I continue to save up some vacation time to utilize to best serve.  The next trip may be to Ethiopia to work with the widows.  But I'm also considering using some time to get better training so that I can be better help.  My journey 4 hope might be seeking partners who can better serve in the actual training in Ethiopia.  Just so you know, I am committed to being in Ethiopia and helping.  I love my time in Ethiopia.  I find great joy in serving the widows.  I could even live there for an extended period of time.  But, I want to help.  I want for these women's lives to really be impacted.  So, I want to make sure we're doing this the best way possible.

What that means?  I don't know yet.  What I do know is that Ryan and I will continue to pray and search.   And for now, that's all I know.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

adoption update

Not much of an update to speak of.  We sent the social worker our old homestudy like she requested and haven't heard anything back. 

I should call her.

But then again, I'm not 100% sold on adopting this little boy.  It's nothing to do with him and everything to do with my own fears.  The questions my friends have asked and thoughts they've given me to consider are HARD.  While some of those things aren't easy for me to consider, like quitting my job and losing the benefits, I also know that some times you just have to jump in with both feet and get wet.

For now, we are not moving forward but we've had a lot in the last few weeks so moving forward would have been a bit crazy then.  Time will tell.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Adoption Again...

Earlier this week, one of my adoption buddies linked to her blog on facebook.  Captain Murdock's blog post, My Heart is Broken, grabbed at my attention.  Little did I know, it would also grab at my heart strings.  Murdock has been looking for one of her son's friends from the care center.  She recently found out that "Abe" has yet to be adopted and is now advocating for a family for him.  As I read her post, I chuckled at the details.  I had recently been praying about adoption.  You might recall a short post in mid April where I mentioned that Ryan was ready to adopt again.  Adopting again brings two issues to mind.  The first is that it's not common to allow a family to displace their oldest child.  We would be doing that if we pursue this little boy and would need the blessing of the agency providing his care.  The second is that I'm selfish and was really looking forward to a break from penny pinching.  After 9 years of marriage, we're finally building a garage.  I'd also love, love, love to add a dish washer to my kitchen and do some minor work in that room.  Pursuing an adoption would mean penny-pinching and fund raising once again.    My prayer was simple in that I shared that I was willing to obey if God provided a child in need.  This boy that Murdock is advocating for is indeed a little boy in need.  

There's only one problem.  Ryan was clear that he wanted Scott to remain the oldest.  Abe is 8.  Which puts him one year older than Scott.  Which presents a problem for Ryan.  

An hour later after sharing the story with a co-worker, I thought to email Ryan.  I simply asked him to read Murdock's blog if he had a minute and asked him to consider the little boy.  What I didn't know is that Ryan and I were likely reading Murdock's blog at the same time - he from his office and me from home.  Well before I had even shared the story at work, Ryan had emailed me at my home email suggesting we consider adopting Abe.  When we made that connection, I was floored.

I do believe that we serve a God who sees the big picture and knows how it's going to play out.

In the mean time, I've contacted the agency and had some brief discussions with the waiting child coordinator.  I've also contacted some knowledgeable friends and asked them to help me understand all that I need to consider if we choose to move forward.  Adopting an eight year old wouldn't be easy.  It could, but it could also be very, very hard.  We have a lot of things to think through and consider.  I thought I'd share a few things that Semiferalmama and murdock are helping me to consider in case you're also considering doing something similar:

1. Find someone who's been there, done that and ask lots of questions.
2. How might displacing the Scott's "oldest" status impact him?
3. I love that my kids are close in age.  And I selfishly desire for any future kids to also be close in age.  But close in age and developmentally different are a potential for struggle.
4. If you run a tight ship, are you ready for that boat to be rocked?  Are you patient enough and willing to wait for an 8 year old to start acting like an 8 year old?
5. What are your plans if things are really a mess?  What if he needs counseling?  Are there counselors available nearby to help?
6. It might be helpful to have a trusted amharic speaker who's willing to help communicate here and there...
7. Would your family be supportive of the adoption?  In my specific situation, my mom is my daycare provider.  Would they be patient enough to deal with a struggling 8 year old?
8. Which brings up the next concern: are you willing to stay home while that child adjusts?  What if it takes more than "maternity leave" and you need to stay home 6 months?  Or a year?
9. Attachment challenged kids can come off pretty charming.  His personality could be very different than the agency or visiting Americans have seen.

There is a lot to consider in adoption.  How will it impact my marriage, my 3 children, my sanity?  Our finances?  At this point, we are certainly not saying that we are all in.  In fact, at this point, there might be other families interested in him that would be better suited.  I called a friend on Wednesday who I thought was a good candidate.  Kids are mostly grown and adoption has been on their heart.  If we're not the family for Abe, I'm okay with that and will advocate for a family for him.  Maybe there's another child that would be a better fit for our family... we shall see.

Saturday, May 19, 2012


My house is a pig sty.  The floors need swept and mopped.  Clothes need folded and put away.  Bathrooms need cleaned.  You know, the normal stuff.  But it's so much worse than the normal stuff right now.  My house needs de-cluttered.  Each and every single room needs de-cluttered.  On top of that, I took a bunch of totes down from the attic to have a garage sale.  Then for various reasons, the garage sale didn't happen.  I really want to get rid of all the clothes and baby items.  I don't like clutter.  At all.  In my perfect world, everything would have a place it would call home.  

I began de-cluttering.  The first room took me over an hour.  We still had all our winter hats and mittens out.  It's almost 90 today, I guess the winter apparell can go to it's home.  The next room was horrendous.  Too much stuff.  As I began in that room, my kids woke from their naps.  My head is pounding and I'm just not motivated to clean anymore.  

I should begin fixing supper, and bathing the kids so they're all cleaned up for church tomorrow... I better hop to it.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Judah's Hair

B: He needs to turn white
me: Umm, no, he doesn't need to turn white.  He'd look like a ghost.
J: I would look like a scary cat.

and the conversation continued about the white scary cat he could be.  We'll have to work on that with Bethany.  It's innocent on her part but I want her to know the impacts of her words before they fly out of her mouth.  This is something I could have learned earlier in life... and fail at sometimes.

On another note, Judah's hair has been growing out for months and months.  It's all uneven.  The front is shorter than the back part of the crown of his head.  The back lower part is shorter yet.  Regardless, it's long enough to do something fun with it - twists or something.  It's so hard to keep it from getting all dry!  I need to find the a guy at our nearby university who would be willing to do Judah's hair.

Monday, May 7, 2012

It's been two years since these two met.  And life changed forever for all of us.

We arrived home exhausted from Ethiopia with an overwhelmed little boy and two other children who were as excited as could be.  On our drive home, we purchased Judah nuggets and french fries which he wouldn't eat and still doesn't to this day.

Tonight, in an attempt to celebrate and remember how our life changed two years ago, I come to the keyboard with an exhausted and broken heart.  Tonight, I'm the overwhelmed one.  Tonight, the heaviness on my heart is exhausting yet keeping me awake.  It's that heaviness that I want to share with you.

I've been working on a presentation of Africa for some 7th graders at my local school.  I've dug through photos of my recent trips to Ethiopia.  It's fun to watch the videos and see how the kids grew from one trip to another. As I get a glimpse of life at FOVC, I'm reminded of the many who stand outside the fence who never receive help from FOVC and their generous supporters like you.  I'm reminded that sometimes when we do help, it might just be too late.  I'm reminded of the preciousness of life.  I'm reminded that I could sacrifice a little more and maybe change the life of just one more child.  I'm reminded that I can never do enough.

As I sit and type, next to my laptop is Bethany's change box.  Last night I rewarded her for something and as she started up the stairs to put her pennies in her bank, she came back to the kitchen and put it in her Ethiopia penny bank.  Oh Lord, would you continue to mold their little hearts after yours.  And God would you soften my heart and make me more like you, that I might live and give sacrificially.  May I be more concerned about keeping people alive than about building a financial portfolio for retirement.

The need is great.  The harvest is plentiful.  The workers are few.  Would you wake us up to the needs of those around us!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rainy Season & Drought

On this day two years ago, was the start of a long day that ended in the start of a long trip home to Iowa with a certain little boy in our arms.  Maybe I'll write more about that tomorrow.

For now, I'd like to share a blog post with you titled The Science of Rainy Season and the Problem of Drought in Ethiopia.  Living right in Soddo, Ethiopia (the town near Shanto where we stay), R and her husband manage a home for parentless children.  Reading through her posts have been of great interest to me.  This particular post about the weather has been open on my computer all week to read.  It gives a good glimpse of how weather impacts the people of Shanto as they live off the land.  If it interests you, it only takes a few minutes to read.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wolayta FB Group

There's a Wolayta facebook group for parents with kids from Wolayta.  If you're interested in joining that group, let me know and I can add you.
Sorry to my friends Megan and Lindsie who I didn't think to add already :)  which is why I'm posting it here.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Crops Update

Where do I start?

A huge praise and shout out to The One who brings the rain because it's been raining in Southern Ethiopia.  Word on the street, er blogger networks, is that it was raining there.  So, I contacted our FOVC Director and he confirmed that it has been raining in the South.  According to Desalegn, the widows and farmers took the opportunity to plant their seeds.  All of our widows have planted the seeds which FOVC provided.

How about that!?!?!?

Besides the training that I've tried to provide, FOVC is doing a hand full of things with the widows.  I'll bullet point a few things and if you want to know more specifics, please ask.

  • All widows were provided seeds from FOVC.  The one picture I saw a few months back was Pioneer seed corn bags being handed out.  They also received teff, sorghum, beans, and pea seeds along with fertilizer.
  • Drought means that crops don't grow, which means people don't have food.  It also means that harvesting seeds for the next crop decreases as well.  Supply and Demand tells us with decreased supply and normal demand, prices go up.  These women who are in desperate situations, before they were impacted by drought, continue to face unrelenting poverty.
  • While they received enough rain to get crops planted, it is important that they also get timely rains to grow and mature a crop.  I'm hoping to hear back from Desalegn about the amount of rain they have received.
  • I do not know the number of widows who received assistance so far through the crops program.  I"m guessing it for sure includes the 8 widows we trained and quite possibly more.  The number is directly related to the amount of money we have raised for the crops program.  To those who've given, you are changing the lives of women who are most certainly grateful.  As we continue to move forward with an ever-growing program, I am working to ask more questions and get more answers to share with each of you.
  • The widows received some training from the local agriculture officials at no cost to FOVC.  This is an area that I'd like to pursue more of.  It's important for the widows to be trained locally in ways they can grasp and understand.
  • No one has used the seeder.  In my conversation with the Director, it is too time consuming to use the seeder.  At first I was offended by this.  It takes longer to do it with the seeder.  But I know it's also more beneficial.  It's that odd balance of western ways and traditional methods.  I just want to pull my hair out thinking they aren't willing to change.  While it might be partly that, it's also legitimate concern.  They traditionally plant into rough ground that isn't leveled off.  Some broadcast seed, while others cover it.  Using the seeder requires smooth ground which is hard and time consuming labor.  For quite some time, my creative and inspiring husband, has been telling me we need to get them something like a harrow, that will help smooth the ground out.  He has it all figured out in his mind on how to make it locally and I'm excited for him to do that on his next trip.
  • We wrote an agreement for the purchase of oxen to plow the fields.  I have not heard if any were purchased.  And by saying I have not heard, what I really mean is I have not thought to ask!  My fault.  
So, where do we go from here?

With writing down a few things, I'm realizing that I haven't asked near enough questions for clarification.  I get so focused on my one question and don't think of anything else I guess.  I also know that we have a long road ahead of us to make necessary improvements.  These people are a joy to serve.  I best start doing a better job of serving!  We're thinking about a late September trip.  This would be beneficial on multiple levels.  It would give more time for Dr. Jo to grow stronger.  By September, the missionary veterinarians should be back in Soddo and we should be able to meet with them.  Plus, by September, those going on the trip would have more time to fundraise for their personal expenses.

I long to be in Ethiopia a month from now.  It's funny that though we never purchased tickets (cause they were crazy high), I have this sense of wanting to be there.  And needing to be there.  I want to check in on my widows, including a certain special few ladies.  I want to play with the kids.  I want to see the school where two special little boys attend.  I want to encourage my Ethiopian friends at FOVC.  But it's not about me.  So, I will wait, pray, and prepare.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Things are a Changin'

Well, we've still not had our official chat with board members, Dave and Lory or Jo, but it sounds like the June trip is for sure on hold. That saddens me and gives me joy. Sad because I look forward to going. Joy that maybe this summer we'll spend a few days somewhere together - all 5 of us.

In the last few weeks I've been doing a lot of praying and not a lot of "work" for FOVC. But, here and there I've been doing a few things. One is updating the puzzle to show you how much of the puzzle is sold and how much is left. I'm still not ready to post pics of that. Fitting solid color pieces together takes organization which is a fun challenge. There are still 49 pieces left. For anyone who buys more than 5 pieces, I will send you one of these domino necklace made and donated by Nicole:

The other thing I've been working on is new necklaces. Off and on all day I worked on finishing up some partially completed necklaces. Don't stop by my house and see how little I cleaned today while I was beading, but do stop by the necklace page and check out what I added today. Here's a sneak peak at one of the new ones:

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Ethiopian Coffee/Tea Party

Today I had a tea party with Bethany using my Ethiopian coffee decantur and cups. Check out the pics and her cuteness on my home blog

Saturday, April 14, 2012


If you know half as much as I know about FOVC, the organization we volunteer with in Ethiopia, you'll know that they're doing lots of cool things. Providing sponsorship to children with Ingrid's wonderful leadership, giving medical care to children and staff, providing clean and accessible water to communities, and giving hope to widows are just a few of the things. But it doesn't function without the effort and support of volunteers. Or without people like you sharing about FOVC.

Thank you to each of you who has played your part in serving the needy in Southern Ethiopia.

With all the areas of work that FOVC is involved in, and the many hands that participate, in my view, it is critical that we pray for the leadership of FOVC. As Ryan and I plan a return trip to Ethiopia in June, it's not without much thought, communication, and prayer. It's not about us. It's about doing what's best for the people benefitting from FOVC's services. We are considering postponing our June trip. This hasn't been 100% decided but it's looking more likely.

While I greatly anticipated a June trip on many levels, it's not about me. Postponing the trip would allow more time for logistical things to fall into place. We are grateful for the many, many people who've partnered with us financially but we still have a lot to raise. We'd also love to see the bee project happen so more time would allow for that. More time would also allow for Ryan to work with FOVC on hiring a veterinarian and setting up a community outreach.

Whether we go in June or October, we will continue to ask God for His wisdom in moving forward.

Sunday, April 8, 2012


It's been almost 2 years since we brought Judah home. On Friday Ryan mentioned to me about being ready to pursue adoption again. Our hearts are open.

Oh Lord, you have given us a heart for the orphans and the widows. Would you continue to bring light to this path you have us journeying on.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Domino Necklace

My sweet friend, Nicole, is making me a domino necklace with a picture of this sweet boy on it. Isn't he precious?!?!?! Thanks Nic!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Where There is No Comfort

I read a short and well written book today called "Where There is No Comfort" by Juliann Trai. She went to Southern Ethiopia with an organization called International Crisis Aid with the intent of sharing their story. She shared well in her 80 page book about the seven days she was in Ethiopia. Many of her experiences were things we experienced on our first trip. And when I googled the town that ICA is working, it was about 40 minutes from Shanto where we work with FOVC. For those in the Holt adoption world, it was pretty much smack dab between Durame and Hossanna.

I love how this book told the story but didn't drag out the details. I love how it captivates you and makes you want to know more. I love how you get the picture of what ICA's mission is like. Reading the book and looking at the pictures made me want to put my experiences with FOVC down in a more detailed and specific space. While I've kept up this blog and my awesome hubby had it printed for me, there's not a specific place where you can get an overview of it all. I should do that.

If you're interested in reading more of her book, it can be found on amazon. The cost of the book was the only bad part about it. Except that it's not truly BAD. It's just more than I like to pay for a book. Granted, I'm guessing, yes guessing, that part of the proceeds go back to the ICA ministry.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Help me Help Kaight Help FOVC

Wow, that's about a tongue twister, isn't it?

My friend Kate and her husband, Rob, have hearts like mine. She desires to help keep families together in Southern Ethiopia and is partnering with FOVC. They desired to raise enough money to dig a new well in one of FOVC's communities AND to raise money to bring more widows into the crops program. Friends, Kaight and Rob are well [pun intended] on their way to meeting their goal. As of this morning, Rob and Kaight's efforts have raised $10,246.

The first $10,000 goes towards digging a new well. The next $5,000 of their goal goes towards the crops for widows program. I have no doubt that my friends will meet their goal. After all the first $10k was raised in 47 days. I'm so excited to see people believe in and support FOVC. I'm so thankful for how they're partnering with FOVC to raise awareness and funds. There's another important component to all of this.

It's more than raising a ton of money and throwing it at needy people. FOVC's programs continue to flourish with the assistance of people who care to get involved. To train, educate, and give hope to communities where they have none of those things. People like me. People like Ryan. We're partnering with FOVC to bring that training, education and support. But, we can't do it alone. While we volunteer our time and talents, our financial talents do get limited.

Ryan can treat all the FOVC livestock and outreach into the community to treat their livestock as well. I can teach the widows various management and cropping techniques to help them grow food during a drought, etc. But both of our efforts come with a financial cost as well. We're average people with an average income. Travelling to Ethiopia twice a year doesn't come without a cost. So, today I humbly ask you to help us as we help Kaight as she desire to help FOVC.

If you're willing to donate $5, $10, or $100, you can mail us a check or donate online here

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Lottery Winner

My friend Shiloh just posted this on facebook:

Who bought one of those tickets for the multi million dollar lottery last week?? How about investing in something you have 100% chance of winning in?? Help my friend Tamara and her hubby get to Shanto, Ethiopia. Your money will help them teach widows farming, which gives them the ability to feed their families!! So, a 100% chance of your money benefitting someone OR a one in 176 million chance of winning??? Go here and donate $5, $10, or $100 today!!! And hey, it's a tax deduction!


Thanks Shiloh for the encouragement and support. You're absolutely right. Giving towards our trip is a 100% guaranteed win in helping women keep their families together.

MY plans (highlight to see the print since I can't manage to fix it)

Maybe I haven't shared much about what my plans are for the June trip. I have a lot planned and am hoping to get it all done but I know it’s a lot. My three main things are:

1. Check in on my widows I’ve trained in the past, provide some additional training.

2. Set up a drip irrigation system and water collection basin by installing gutters on the metal roofs of the orphanage and school buildings.

3. Check in on a site donated for widows to grow coffee trees. It’s the best coffee growing area. This one I’m not really sure what I’m doing yet because I know NOTHING about growing coffee trees.

The other things I hope to do include:

1. Meet with the local ag specialists and get my ladies into a formal training program.

2. Identify some leaders of my existing ladies who will train others in the community.

3. Learn more from locals about their existing bee keeping practices.

And of course, I’ll love on the kids, chase them around and play soccer pretending to be much younger than I am. I’ll drink some STRONG coffee, and listen to traditional singing before they drag me into the circle to dance with them. I’ll hang out with the doc while she checks kids over and follow Ryan around while he checks on the livestock. It will be exhausting but worth every ounce of energy and every penny.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Almost April

Just a quick update on my week as it pertains to the June trip to serve FOVC.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: the views expressed here are MINE. Not the views of FOVC. So, it is MY faith that is tied into why I do what I do. Not that of FOVC. I'm a volunteer with FOVC, a non-profit, non-religious organization. For those who are wondering, I mention this because I've been asked numerous times if FOVC is a religious organization. Some of the individuals who volunteer for FOVC, like me, may be bible believing Christians. So, it's my views that may be reflected below.

It's been a tough week. Another week where I feel like not enough is happening in the planning process. Another week where I feel like the time I spend on my knees for the organization isn't enough. A week where I'm reminded of how it's not just the devil who attacks where good things are occuring, but it's also my own sin that negatively impacts. It has also been a week where I'm so, so thankful to partner in life with my husband. He leads me, he provides for me, he loves me, he watches my back, and he encourages me. Yes, he's so much more than that. Last night while we were both exhausted and I crawled in bed at 730 for a short break to try to get rid of my headache, he tended the kids. My short rest lengthened when I stayed in bed for the night, only with a quick wake-up call from the kids when they were headed to bed.

Anyway, back to our work with FOVC. I learned that the bee project won't be happening in June. The beekeeping pros decided that they couldn't make it happen that quickly. As I thought through the impacts of that, many ideas floated through my head. one of which was for me to not even go on this trip. After all, it's really, really expensive. Some of my main goals included setting up a water catchment basin and drip irrigation system. Because I also found out that there's still no running well water at Shanto, I wondered if I even had a purpose for the trip. I wondered why I didn't know there was no running water... a critical component to a drip irrigation system. Selfishly, I didn't want to "waste" my 2 weeks of vacation and lots of money to figure out that I couldn't do the tasks I'd planned to do. As I talked through it with Ryan, he brought me back down to Earth a bit. My one main goal of starting the beekeeping project wasn't going to happen and my other main goal of drip irrigation might not happen.

I did a lot of complaining to my husband before I changed my perspective. There's a lot that still needs to happen in planning this trip but my whine session is over, my attitude is in check, and I'm ready to move forward. After all, I need to start designing a drip irrigation system and have never done that before.

Oh, Lord, that you would give me wisdom in knowledge in the areas I'm lacking so that I can best serve you in Ethiopia.

If you would like to make a tax deductible donation towards our travel expenses, you can do so here:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Early in our marriage, we attended a Family Life adoption training. I learned a lot during the conference but one think has stuck in my mind ever since. The father of an adoptive family was standing up front speaking. What he said rocked my world:

Everyone thinks your 18 month old little boy is adorable. But when he's 18 years old and knocking on the door to date their daughter, he's not so cute anymore.

Rocked my world. I had never thought about it before. I had lots of daydreams including an 18 month old baby, and not many daydreams of that child growing into maturity. It was 7 years before we brought Judah, a two year old beautifully brown-skinned child into our family. By time that happened, I had thought many times about my son at 18 years old.

We live in a small rural town. Every one seems to know Judah. He sticks out in a crowd. He also happens to be a loveable and precious little boy. His classmates adore him (he might be a bit of a class clown) and he's not even in school yet. Adults love him because he's cute. But by time he's 14, or even 10, will he still be so cute? When he's 12 and lolly gaggy in a gas station (cause he's some times a bit ditzy and gets easily distracted), will be be looked at as lolly-gagging or will he be looked at suspiciously?

Even if in our small town, he continues to be like Norm on "Cheers" where everybody knows him, what about when he goes to the neighboring town for ice-cream? What if a girl in a neighboring town sits by him at a football game or movie theater? What happens when he leaves for college in a big city or moves for his first real job? I won't be able to protect my son forever.

Many have heard about Trayvon - a child who was killed by a man who thought the young boy looked suspicious. The hoodie (which all 3 of my kids love), skittles and iced-tea are apparently super suspicious. His death is heart breaking. Certainly for any momma with a brown-skinned beauty. Don't let his death be in vain. May we all, even us white momma's and daddy's, learn from this. maybe we not judge based on looks. And you know what, that goes beyond teenaged brown-skinned beauties, that also includes the kid at the park with saggy pants, gauges in his ears, tattoos on his body, and earbuds blasting music into his ears. That inlcudes stereotypes of all types of people.

While some families are putting on hoodies to prove that a hoodie does not equal suspicion, I think their pictures tell a story. Let us be people who don't judge unjustly.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fundraising Campaign

We're headed back to Ethiopia June 1st. We'll be there 15 days. We have a lot to accomplish before we go and when we get there. While working on trip details this past week, we're also starting our fundraising campaign. Friends, we can't do this trip without you. I'm serious.

We're hoping to raise $7,000!

Yes, we know that's a big goal. But we have big expenses facing the two of us in the coming weeks:
  • $3,000-$4,000 in airline tickets.
  • $3,000 for in-country expenses (guide/driver, hotels, food, visas, etc)
  • $500 for Livestock Outreach/Treatment
  • $500 for Crops Project supplies
If you'd like to donate, you can mail us a check or donate online here:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Travel Team in June

Super excited to be settting up the details of a travel team for June to serve along side some awesome people (the veterinarian is my favorite) at FOVC in Southern Ethiopia.

Tentatively planning to be gone for 15 days. That means Ryan and I will be counting on family and friends to care for our children for 15 days. That's a long time!!!

Can't wait to see these details come about.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Birth Parent Meeting

If you've read my blog for any length of time, you know that meeting #1 with Judah's birth mother didn't go so hot. It has slightly improved each of the two times I've seen her since. With the pictures I've seen lately of the Shanto area, the lack of rain is impacting EVERYONE there, including Judah's bio family.

As I prepare to go back to FOVC to serve, my Ethiopian family comes to mind. For those of you who've adopted, or just want to share your opinion, please help me think through what I hope and pray is my next meeting with Judah's birth mom. What questions would you ask her and the boys? Would it be ethical/appropriate for me to take them for the day and just spend the day with them? I would never want to jeopardize adoptions or cause any problems in her village, but I do want them to know that I love them and want to spend time getting to know them. Maybe, just maybe, she'll open up to me.

Monday, March 12, 2012

... And Back... love that!

I have already kinda-sorta mentioned a return trip to Ethiopia in June. It's happening. I'm excited. We have a lot of plans to make and details to work out in the coming weeks.

As we think about the specific things we have in mind for the trip, the purpose isn't set in stone 100%. The sponsorship coordinator, Ingrid, will do her thing. The veterinarian, my hubby, will do his thing. I'll play with the kids and sweet talk them into braiding my hair. Okay, I'll probably do more than that. In fact, I'm hoping to get a drip irrigation system and water catchment system set up on the compound, plus see the coffee tree production site, plus help the bee guru, Gregg, get the bee project off the ground. That last item might not require much from me but I'll be sure to take pictures :) We're also hoping to do some medical work but I'll leave those details up to Doctor Jo, my sweet friend whom I miss dearly, and those medical professionals that will say "here I am, take me".

How could you be used on this trip?

That's the question I'm trying to answer. I have a few friends that I'd love to take along. I know they'd be helpful. I know that even if they didn't have a super specific job, that they would be blessed just by being there, seeing the kids, loving on the kids, encouraging the staff, etc.

My mind is running like crazy about all things FOVC and Shanto related now... yippee! More posts to come in the next few days about all the things running through my little mind.

Here I am Lord, send me.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bee Project

Today I was thankful to have the opportunity to skype with Desalegn in Ethiopia, Gregg in Denver, Ingrid in Minnesota, and Ryan in the neighboring town. We chatted about bee keeping in Ethiopia. And I'm not sure who's more excited (and nervous) - Greg or me.

A June trip to kick off this project and work on a lot of other little things is sounding very likely. Now, it's time to follow up with the FOVC board of directors and get to planning a trip and fund raising for the bee project.

Did you know that worker bees will immediately start making a new queen bee if the queen dies. And similar to some forms of government, the queen bee doesn't actually make any decisions, the worker bees do all of that. That's your bee lesson for the day from a simple minded woman who doesn't know a whole lot about bees.

Monday, March 5, 2012

6 New Necklaces

I posted six new necklaces for purchase. Each gives a little insight to my life and a description of the necklace. Check them out and let me know which one you'd like me to mail to you. I love visiting with one of the ladies at the post office so please give me a reason to go see her.

That was a little sneak peek. Would love for you to share and tell your friends about these cool necklaces :)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Winner Is:

Captain Murdock over at GodWillAdd.

So, Captain, let me know which necklace you want from the lovely options available. And if you want to wait a few days to pick, I have 5 more to add.

Thanks for those who played.

Friday, March 2, 2012


In bite-sized fashion cause I'm exhausted and need to be getting ready for work but I'm blogging:
  1. The wells were completed recently in Shanto. So, for the first time, the people in this community have access to clean drinking water. And plenty of it.
  2. But when the community with limited access to electricity loses what little they have, the pumps are unable to run. which means people aren't getting that clean water. We take so much for granted, like clean drinking water and pumps to bring that water into our homes.
  3. It still hasn't rained in Shanto. They need rain in order to plant crops. They need crops in order to feed themselves. They need food in order to survive. Please pray for rain.
  4. I've been email chatting with Gregg, the bee guy. Gregg is excited about taking over the bee project and moving forward. I'm excited for his enthusiasm!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Do you know that I've been specifically praying for someone to do that!?!?!?
  5. I've also been praying specifically for someone to do the same for the coffee project. That might be my friend Rick. But it might not. So, I'm still up for someone to take that over. Enthusiastically.
  6. Finding local bees is extremely critical in developing the beekeeping program. Communications with Ethiopia are sometimes slow and I'm anxiously awaiting to hear back from the local model farmer I met or the ag specialist guy. It's another thing to pray for - bees.
  7. We're tentatively planning to head back to Ethiopia. In June. Wanna go? If you're interested but June doesn't work for you, let me know that too. We're up for some change and the June is a very rough, tentative date.
  8. I sold 6 more puzzle tickets. 93 left. $7 each.
  9. I love sharing with friends about FOVC. Shoot, I'll even share with strangers. If you want to know more, I'd be happy to talk your ear off. Just ask Kaight.
  10. During March I plan to head to Minneapolis for an FOVC fundraiser on the 10th. If you're in the area, I would love for you to come. I'm also hoping to head to central Iowa on the 24th to see some friends and talk about FOVC. I love going but when I'm gone for a weekend, my home suffers cause that's when I usually clean, etc. So, my prayer is that I would stay healthy, that my funk of always being tired would ease up, and that God would be glorified in my over-tired attitude :)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Year

Seeing all the FB posts about Leap Year made me think of the Ethiopian calendar.

Did you know their calendar is not the same as ours? I can't remember the technical terms but one of us has a Julian calendar and one doesn't. Ethiopia has 13 months in their calendar. Of those 13 months, 12 of them have 30 days and one of them has 1 has 5 days.

If you have any interest in Ethiopia, it's an interesting fact to know. In addition to that random fact, here's another one: it's also not 2012 in Ethiopia. It's 8 years (I think) behind our calendar year in Ethiopia.

That's all.

Don't forget the give-away just a few posts down or click here.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Puzzle Pieces

Remember last year when my sweet friend, Megan, organized a puzzle fundraiser. It's been a slow sell. Today I got an email from a dear friend who was donating $500 towards the puzzle fundraiser. So, she bought 71.4 tickets :) One of the cool things about that is $330 is going towards the Crops for widows program. That allows over 10 ladies to particpate in the crops program. I am so excited. And so thankful. I'd post a picture of the updated puzzle but I haven't had a chance to tell you about it yet. With the remaining pieces all solid blue, it might take me a bit to do the 71 additions.

I'm not sure which will drive me to the looney bin first: piecing solid colored pieces together or dealing with disobedient children. I am actually joyful about both of these situations - the puzzle is a good change of pace and a good challenge and I welcome the opportunity to put more together [so feel free to buy a few pieces]. My children are a source of great joy even when one of them just mooned a sibling... oh dear! While I really want to laugh,

P.S. did you see that I'm doing a give-away HERE? I've only had two people sign up so far so your odds are pretty good.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

New Items and a Give-Away

This past week, my amazing [real life] friend, Murdock, brought home Ethiopian child #2.

Her son, who needs a super-identity-protector name is currently referred to as MB on her blog. But I'm not just writing about her cause she's super cool and I'm blessed to call her friend. I'm sharing with you for a few reasons. One of which is to ask you to pray for our friends with a new 5 year old member of their household. Another reason is to share about the title of this post.
With more than 15 new items on my necklace page, I'm finally ready to do a give-away on MB's behalf. This give-away is warranted on so many levels. But especially because it's been a long road to bring Taz's biological brother home. So, here's the deal:
  1. Give-Away prize is one necklace of your choice.
  2. Enter to win by posting to your blog about this give-away and linking to the necklace page
  3. You can earn a second entry by sharing my necklace link on facebook.
  4. You can earn a third entry by purchasing an item from my necklace page.
  5. If you share on facebook or your blog, comment below and give me the details so I can count your entry.
  6. I will ship for free to anyone in the continental US.
  7. Give-Away ends next Sunday at 6pm.

Welcome Home MB. I sure do look forward to meeting you!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

FOVC Feeds Kids

One of the things that FOVC does that I rarely take the time to talk about is care for the orphans. And at one of the "newer" sites, the children are in public school but still needing assistance.

At the Dale site, they have recently rented a building space where the ladies can prepare food to serve the children. Getting a meal each day is a huge improvement. In addition to the kids receiving some good 'ol nutrition, FOVC hired two ladies to do the cooking and cleaning. Which means these beautiful ladies are gainfully employed.

And you know how it all happens???

When people like you and me step up and care for the orphans and widows. It's pretty simple.

Tonight I came home from a long day of mentally exhausting work. I didn't get a lunch break. I literally had people with me all day that I was getting to assist. My 11am snack of cake held me over to the time I could eat a quick bite at 230. And when I came in the door tonight at 645, I was beyond hungry. More tired than hungry, I grabbed a cheese stick from the refrigerator and a hand full of pecans and called it good. After all, that should sustain me for a few hours, right?

You know what though. I had the CHOICE to eat or not eat today. I had food that I could have eaten. I just didn't do it. But our friends in Ethiopia. These kids that could be our children, they don't have a choice. And they don't have a voice to share about their lives.

Tonight, I want to be their voice. These children whose pictures you may have looked at briefly. They want to say "amaseganallo", which means thank you, for caring enough to set aside a few dollars each month to feed those who are in desperate need of nutrition. And as someone who's been there and looked at those children in the face and knows their needs are beyond our comprehension, I also want to say thank you!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Birthday Celebration

It's my birthday TODAY. I have one wish for my birthday today. For people to partner with us int he crops for widows program. I figured if everyone that wished me Happy Birthday on facebook would donate$5 each, we could really make a difference in the lives of women who are still getting hit HARD by drought. But it doesn't just have to be my facebook friends.

You can make a difference too!!!!!

Will you consider a $5 donation today for the crops programs? The fundraiser is already set up. You can give via paypal or credit card. It's super simple. It would be the best gift. Click here to give:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Coffee & Bees

Alright friends, I need your help. Our friends in Ethiopia need your help. What do you know about growing coffee trees and coffee bean production? How about bee keeping? Do you know a ton? Please share. Leave a comment or email me at tam4buit at hotmail. What's that? Are you saying that you don't know much? Okay, then, can you think of anyone you do know that would have knowledge in either of these areas?

Both of these pictures below were taken in October at one of the model farmer's farm. In the first one, there are coffee trees in the foreground that are being propagated. I was glad to see this couple so advanced in their farming techniques.

While we were there, and I was seeing all the different things they were doing, I wondered if they had any bees. Bees are great for honey. Honey is a great sweetener and a product that can be sold. But from the perspective of growing plants, bees play a hugely important role of pollinating plants. So, I began asking about bees and this is what the model farmer took me and showed me:

Yes, friends, those are bee hives hanging out in the shade. I was super excited to see this was occurring and immediately wanted to do more. This was the first time I saw bees in Ethiopia. I want to bring more bees to the Shanto area.

But 3 months after my trip, I've done very little with this thought. Well, my friends, that needs to change. I need a crash course but a thorough course in coffee production and bee keeping. Soon, we hope to develop both of those programs in our FOVC sites.

P.S. one of our FOVC sites is the location of the best coffee in Ethiopia. As I sit here early in the morning at my computer, I can just see how FOVC can start their own coffee exporting business. Wouldn't that be a cool way to support widows????

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Necklaces Plus

I've sold the baskets and one necklace this week. Thank you Cassie and Nicole. There are plenty more. I have more in the process and will try to catch up with posting more pics after I'm finished with the Sweetheart Supper on Tuesday.

Check out the necklace page and scroll through to find one you like. Want a basket? I've sold the 3 that came home in my luggage but there are more at

Happy shopping,
Tamara B

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Rockin' My World

Do you remember my friend, Boltase?

I wrote about her on my blog in a post titled Starvation is Real. She was one of my crops widows who was very near death. Tonight, I was able to chat with Desalegn, the guy who leads FOVC in Ethiopia. He shared that Boltase is doing well but has a shortage of food. That first part is music to my ears.

The second part is rocking my world. It's not like Boltase is the only one who has a shortage of food. Did you know the famine is still destroying lives in Southern Ethiopia. Yeah, I haven't been very good at sharing that. The famine was expected to be 4 months. And you know what, that 4 months is up but the famine isn't.

Right now, people should be planting maize for this next crop season. Only problem is that the rains still aren't coming. And my ladies, along with everyone else, aren't planting crops without water to get them to germinate. They are waiting for rain. For some of those ladies, I know they are praying for rain. Would you be willing to join them? Your donations of dollars are impacting these ladies. With the money you've given, FOVC is able to give widows seeds to plant. The problem is that it still needs to rain. A small amount of rain is needed to plant the crops. But it will be needed to keep the crop growing.

When I was chatting with Desalegn earlier he said "Sometimes I become sad when I see widows and children and some elders are crying for food and walking here and there to find food". That's heart breaking. I was there. I met those ladies and their children. I met the model farmer and his wife. They are all suffering. There is much greater need than the little bit I saw. Will you join me in partnering with FOVC?

I put this little fundraiser together because I care. Because I've been there and seen the need up close. Because I know the impact that your dollars make when I spend my vacation and money to travel to Ethiopia and train these widows. I would love to widen the circle of influence. I'd love for you to join me in raising $2,500 in the next few weeks to impact and change the lives of 10 widows. Can you give $25? Would you share this with at least 9 friends who will also give $25 and together you can sponsor one widow? Facebook, tweet, email, blog... whatever it takes. Join hands with your co-workers, classmates, siblings, girlfriends for real, sustainable, change. I promise, you won't be dissapointed.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

New Things... Sharin' the Love

My sweet friend Nicole rocks! Knowing that I was selling bead necklaces to raise funds for my next trip to Ethiopia, and knowing that I still have lots of puzzle pieces to sell, Nicole emailed me to help. It's a way that she can get involved. Thank you Nicole! Nicole loves to upcyle and make domino necklaces. So, let me tell you a little more about them.

The domino is hand picked to be used. Her hubby drills the hole (it's more delicate work that you'd think) and she does the design. After the design is on the domino, she coats them with a thick resin and then cures them under glass for several days.

So, here's the deal.

With your $21 donation towards 3 puzzle pieces, I will send you one of these cool necklaces. I have the following domino necklaces ready to send to you:
  • two "worth the wait" (pictured on the left)
  • two "ethio flag" (pictured in the center)
  • two "family hope love" (pictured on the right)
  • one "love forever" (top picture on the right)
But guess what, Nicole is so creative and cool that she also offered to make some custom necklaces. Those look pretty awesome too. This one below she sent to my friend Megan:

So, if you want one of these cool custom domino necklaces, you can make a $35 donation and send the pic you want on the necklace.

Again, Nicole, I can't thank you enough for how you've participated in serving others. You may not be able to go to Ethiopia, you may not have a million dollars to donate to the organization, but you can use your gifts and talents. Nicole, you're doing just that. What a treasure you are!

On another note, I have a bunch of bead necklaces to get rid of. Donating $26 will get you a sweet necklace that directly supports my next trip to Ethiopia. But, it also impacts the ladies in Ethiopia who make the magazine beads. This one I just added. The magazine beads are interspersed with colorful glass beads.

This might be a little lengthy, but hang in there with me. I have one more very important thing to share.

Meet one of my sweet friends in Ethiopia. This is one of my widows. She's a beautiful lady. A hard working lady who serves FOVC in many ways. You are impacting her life. You are changing her family tree. As a widow in Ethiopia, she has nothing. Except her children to care for. With the assistance of FOVC, she has a job and an income. She's one of FOVC's widows. And when I was in Ethiopia in October, I would often find her preparing food for the children or working on a craft project. In this picture she's working on bracelets which can now be found on FOVC's website.
Our FOVC widows receive training in other areas too. While some are in the livestock program, others are in the crops program, and others are working on crafting. Check out these baskets they made that snuck into my luggage on my return flight. The sell of these baskets directly benefits my widowed lady friends in Shanto, Ethiopia.

As I've mentioned above, I have a few new things on my necklace tab here on my blog. Check them out and see what you can buy. If you order in the next two days, I can probably get it to you by Valentine's Day.

P.S. my birthday is coming up soon. One of my birthday wishes is to get everything on my necklace page sold so I can add some new stuff...