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 :)