"Once our eyes are opened, we can't pretend we don't know what to do. God weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Links that I Love

Here is a blog to check out!

This is a non-profit group of artists that help people around the world by
giving interest free loans & a place to sell thier crafts.

To check out items for sale by both the artists
raising money for the cause as well as the people they are helping
go here:

If you feel so inclined you also may purchase this (for me) while you are there
please do:

Really. I like.


Questions to my Compassion International friends

Okay, I know there are more of you reading than on my "follower" list so hopefully someone out there reading this has an answer.

I sent Efrata (Ethiopia) a family gift of $100 in June. I haven't heard anything yet. I did recieve a letter dated in September talking about the birthday money that I sent back in April (it was written 5 months after I sent the birthday money) but nothing was mentioned about the family gift.

How long has it taken you to get a response to a family gift? It's been 6 months since it was sent. I'm wondering because I also sent Nanese (Haiti) money this summer & got a reply from her less than 3 months later.

Is 6+ months normal or should I check with Compassion? I'd really like to know what they got (and that they got it.)


Thursday, December 9, 2010


Want to avoid the line at the stores?

Why don't we stop buying just to buy, and giving just to give & instead we change a life. You can purchase very SPECIAL gifts through Compassion International & do just that. You can make a difference in the life of a child living in poverty. Instead of buying something meaningless this Christmas, spend a little less on unnecessary things and make a true impact in someones life.

What's on your list that can be trimmed down so that you can replace it with a Compassion gift?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


"I am only one, but still I am one.

I cannot do everything, but still I can do


And because I cannot do everything,

I will not refuse to do

The something I can do.”

Helen Keller

Friday, December 3, 2010

My New Blog

Check out my new blog about the For A Day Foundation of Grand Rapids.

Check it out! Leave a comment and click "Follow." Then share it on facebook! Then come back here & let me know what you think.


Monday, November 29, 2010

This is Compassion.

Great video that I saw first on THIS blog I follow. I hope I'm in Shaun's shoes someday & I'm able to meet Efrata as well as the other kids I correspond with.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Letter Day! From Vestine

Dated 10/23/2010 (recieved November 27th)

Dear Dan & Julie,

My beloved parents, how are you doing? I am also doing well and my family also is fine. I am now studying in primary six (6) class and I am 17 years old. When I am at home I like cleaning, cooking, and fetching water, then after I play with other children.

I also attend sunday school always and I sing in the children's church choir.

My studies are going on well. My best subjects are mathematics and English. I thank you for being my parents. i will be your good child. My family members send you greetings in Jesus name. May God bless you.

Dedication: Read Isiah 40: 29-31

and along No. 60 from my hymn book. (I'd love to know what this is!)

M. Vestine

Isaiah 40: 29-31 reads
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.

She also drew me a picture. The first picture I've recieved from any of the kids! :)
She drew a flower (Says Ururabo)
Another flowers (Says Akarabo)
A bible with a flower (?) (Says Bibilia)
and a bird (says inyoni)

Friday, November 19, 2010

Welcome little Tadesse

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This is the sweet face I saw when I logged into Compassion today & found Ashenafi gone. (See post below.) I guess it softens to blow of losing a sponsorship so unexpectedly.

This little cutie's birthday is April 12, 2006. He does not attend school because of financial problems. He has the chore of running errands. (What a different world! He's so little!) He likes soccer & playing house. His parents are married & are both sometimes employed as "loading & unloading." He lives in Wolisso, Ethiopia. (Again Ethiopia! They know how to pick kids for me!)

I hope he's ready to be spoiled rotten with STICKERS!

A little shocked

I logged into my Compassion International account today to send emails to my 4 Compassion kids. What a shock to see a new face! And an even bigger shock to see that Ashenafi was gone. Nanese's photo was no longer on her account. I knew that she had aged out. I was expecting that and this is the first sign that she has left although her information is still there. I'm going to attempt to send one last letter to her. I was not expecting to lose contact with Ashenafi. He graduated college and he's an accountant! I hope that the Lord blesses him and he finds a good job & can overcome poverty. He's healthy & attending church & choir. I'm happy that he's doing well and I'm very proud of him. I wish I could have said goodbye.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Letter Day! From Nanese in Haiti

Dated 9/7/10

Dan & Julie,
Today I am very happy to write you this letter. My family and I are doing very well thanks be to God. How are your family and you doing? I hope you are doing very well with Jesus. My spiritual life is going very well. I always go to church. I did well in school. I pass my exams. Pray for me to work hard in school. During the vacation, they organized a nice football championship in my area. Many other areas came to take part in it. They gave a nice gold cup to the champion team. Thank you for the nice card that has pets on it you sent me. Thank you for the picture of Calel (Caleb) and Hunter. I don't live near lake and ocean. Do you have ocean close to your house? I know how to swim. I have goat and sheep in my house. As chores, I clean the house, sweep. I have siblings. My favorite subject is English. My family member's name are: L--, A--, and J--. L-- is my sister, A-- and J-- are my siblings (brothers?) Thank you for the nice gift you sent me. I bought a nice skirt with it. I love you. I will pray for you.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Every time I go shopping at the mall or a store like Target I always take a walk through the boys section to look for something cute for the boys. For the last few months I've been looking for BMX clothing as that is the sport they are into right now. Then this morning I was looking at this photo. This is our newest correspondence child. What is she wearing? Could it be a BMX shirt?

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This is Mukanoheri Vestine. She will be 17 years old in a couple months. She lives in Rwanda. She is in the US equivalent of 5th grade and is doing "below average." And.. she's beautiful of course.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blog Question

How do I "hide" my blog from Google? I am getting a TON of hits coming from google. They are searching for "quotes about paying it forward" and finding me. Is there a way to stop google from finding my site?

(Really. Try searching that. I'm on the first page!)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The best $20 I have ever spent

We got a new letter from Efrata!!!

Dated September 1, 2010 (received 9/25/10)

(Note: We sent her birthday money in April and "family money" in July. The note mentions the birthday money but not the family money.)

Dan & Julie,

Efrata greets you. She and her parents (she only has one living parent?) are doing good. She follows her classes properly. She is grade 3. She attends her sunday school. She is thankful for the letters you wrote her. She enjoys doing sports like push-ups. We do not have cow. She has received the birthday gift of 337.08 birr. She bought a shirt for 100 birr, sweater for br 83, and a pair of shoes for br 85, and the other 69.05 is spent for the birthday ceremony. She is very thankful for the gift. She wishes you a happy new year and merry christmas. She will celebrate Ethiopian New year. Goodbye.

Questions from Efrata: What pet do you like? Do you have cows in your country?

Pray that she performs wisely, it's the subject of mathematics in school.

(Written by Tamiru)

That is the best $20 I have ever spent. True story.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A new letter!

Okay- A new letter is coming.

It's like Christmas.

There is a gift "under the tree" but I have to wait... it isn't here yet.

It's from Efrata. Cross your fingers & toes that a picture comes with it! I want to SEE what she bought with her birthday/gift money!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Believe - A 9/11 Tribute

Never forget

Sweet Nanese

Nanese aged out of the Compassion project she was in on her birthday this month. I hope to still get a letter from her telling me what she got with her birthday money, or if she liked her musical birthday card. I will miss writing to her!

Lame Sponsors of the world unite

A must read on letter writing. Even if your not a sponsor, read it! A little arm twisting never hurts. If you can't sponsor financially, will you at least consider becoming a correspondence sponsor?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Going Green at the cost of human life

I read an article yesterday about Organic Cotton farming. It spoke of farms in Uganda who supply organic cotton to companies in the US & elsewhere. Sounds like win win right? Farms in Uganda making money selling green products to the U.S.
The specific town, Apac, also has the greatest amount of Malaria on Earth. Why? Because of the absence of pesticides. 2000 to 3000 people a week are treated for Malaria. This increases to 5000 during the rainy seasons.

The draining of the malarial swamps in Apac is banned "which amounts to preserving wetlands at the price of human life."

Spraying houses with insecticide — which in 2008 cut malaria infections in half — is also forbidden. Why? Because of objections from Uganda's organic-cotton farmers, who supply Nike, H&M and Walmart's Baby George line. Chemical-free farming sounds like a great idea in the West, but the reality is that Baby Omara is dying so Baby George can wear organic.

You can find the entire article here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Project 61

Last night I posted a little about Korah, a trash dump in Ethiopia, that is home to One Hundred Thousand people.

Today I'm sharing a link to Project 61.

P61 grab button

Project 61 has a sponsorship program. With $700 a year you can remove a child from the city landfill they call home and send them to a private boarding school. Visit them at www.p61.org or click here.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

100,000 people live, eat, and sleep in a trash dump

I don't have time to write much about Korah but here's a short rundown. Korah is a trash dump in Ethiopia. One hundred thousand people live here in complete poverty. The food they eat, the air they breath, the place they rest.. it's a dump. A true trash dump.

The video (link below) is from Ordinary Hero, See website. A lady, Sumer, has moved from the comforts of America to help give these people a better life through Project61. Ordinary Hero has partnered with Project61 to help gather sponsorships and to raise awareness.

Watch the video here.

Letter Day!

After being disappointed that no letter was in my stack of vacation mail, I received one with today's delivery! Yay!!!

From Ashenafi:

22/10/2002 (June 29, 2010)

Dear Dan & Julie
How do you do? I am doing well. Praise be to God.
(Parents & 3 siblings names.. hard to read.)

Best game: Soccer
Best food: Chicken stew
Best pet: dog
Color: white
Holiday: Easter

I live in a town called Debre Zeit which is 47km from Addis Ababa. There are around 7 lakes and mountains. The weather is nice. When I grow up I'd like to be an accountant.

I am so thankful for your willingness to be my sponsor. Where do you live? I would like to have your picture. How many children do you have? I live with my family. I am 2nd year accounting college student.

How about your weather? Are your children students or workers?

Pray for me to be successful in my education and __?__ to have driving license. Pray that God may help me.

** There are a couple parts I'm confused about. The translator wrote 3 of the same sentences twice. I hope that she didn't miss anything by doing that. His letter seemed longer than that unless he did in fact rewrite things. Regardless I received a beautiful letter from him. I just love him to pieces!

We're back from vacation!


We had a great camping trip. Glad to be home, just wish we could have a few more days at the campground. I love the lazy stress free days we had. Gotta get back to the grind. I have a party to throw on Monday. We expect about 80 kids to come. All battling cancer. (I'm super stressed about this one!)

I can't wait to get my 10 days worth of mail. It would make my day to see a letter from one of the kids! Crossing my fingers!
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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Calling all Lurkers

Ok, so now you know a little about me. But if your new to my blog I'll give you a little rundown..

1.) I fell in love with 'the orphan' early this year. My husband & I began the process of adoption but we are currently at a standstill. Nothing more than getting all the paperwork & never going further. Why? Because to put it simply, we are very scared of the emotional issues attached with older child (or toddler) adoption. I'm more than ready to move forward but this is a two person team & I'm sure that we won't be filling out any of those papers in the near future.

2.) My husband is an avid mountain biker. We travel all over Michigan to attend races. It's fun.

3.) We recently were introduced to BMX racing. My 6 year old was hooked on day one!

4.) I have two kids. Caleb is almost 12, Hunter is 6. I've been married for 12 & 1/2 years now and I'm only 31. Uh umm... I mean I'm twenty-eleven. That's better.

5.) I have 3 sponsored kids through Compassion International. I LOVE them. I want so badly to go visit them all, to shower them with gifts and goodies. I hope I have the chance to meet them someday. Sponsorship is addictive! It's one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.

6.) I am a local director of a Foundation named "The for a Day Foundation." We throw parties for children with cancer. Makeovers, goodies, pictures, and visits with firemen & beauty queens. (If you want to start a chapter at a local children's hospital ask me how!)

7.) I love Ethiopia. I think the people are beautiful. It's number 1 on my list of places I want to visit someday.

Ok, now it's your turn! Tell me about yourself. My blog hits vary from time to time but I'm so curious who you are and how you found my blog.

Don't be shy! I don't bite.

And I encourage you to ask the post the same "call out" on your blog and leave me a link! :)

NGO's in Africa

Are "Buy One, Give One" products like shoes killing the African economy? Here is an article written by R. Todd Johnson titled Is philanthropy killing Africa?

It give a totally different perspective than what I think most people see. I'm not advocating for his opinion, but it's interesting none the less. How do you balance charitable giving & saving lives without crushing entrepreneurs living in Africa?

Any thoughts on his theory?

Monday, July 26, 2010


Hunter rode on a BMX for the 2nd time yesterday. This is a different track than the first ride & the picture below is from his first lap around.

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This track had a couple of steep hills that he wasn't prepared for. This is him almost to the top of one hill & beginning a backwards ride & then fall down the hill. How helpless I felt watching him fall! Thankfully he brushed himself off and with Dad's help completed his lap.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Giving back

I thought I'd start listing ways to give back. Things I've done and things I'd like to accomplish.

1.) Child Sponsorship.
Of course I'd start with sponsorship. :) The agency I sponsor through is called Compassion International found here. Child sponsorship will provide your sponsored child with food and clean water, medical care, educational opportunities, life skills training, and more. You will receive letters from your child & you will have the opportunity to write them letters & bring them hope. It's life changing. I can assure you that.

2.) Complete a service project at Christmas.
For the past few years I have given to families at Christmas. I have worked through the food bank to give someone a Christmas (or Thanksgiving meal.) We always give them extra. Toiletries, additional food, and gifts.

3.) Meals
A local church makes and distributes meals to homeless once a week. You can get involved in this type of activity or you can make a meal for someone who has brought home a baby, suffering from illness, or just to lift spirits.

4.) Adoption
There are 150 million orphans in this world. Children who need families. If you cannot adopt, help someone who is. Learn what it means to adopt. Emotionally, Financially, and spiritually, there are ways to help families adopting.

5.) Pay it Forward Day
Have you ever driven up to a drive through window & found out the person in front of you paid for you meal? It happened to my husband once! What an inexpensive way to spread joy.

6.) Volunteer
Volunteer at your local veterans home. I have volunteered in the past, helping bring residence to church.
Volunteer for larger non-profits like the American Lung Association, or the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation. They host fundraisers yearly & are always looking for volunteers. Help with registration at stair climb event for the ALA, or distribute food to riders at the MS150.
Volunteer at church, Vacations Bible School, or in the nursery. Churches rely heavily on volunteers.

7.) Thanksgiving Meals for the homeless
I've debated working for the missions on Thanksgiving. There is a huge meal prepared for homeless on Thanksgiving and I've always been intrigued about the opportunity to help. Guess I just need a nudge! If anyone local is reading this, please consider this & invite me to come.

8.) Help at School
There are a lot of jobs completed at my kids school by parents. They are always needing people to make copies, cut out projects, and help the kids. Rewarding!

** I will continue this list as more ideas come to mind.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Nanese's birthday card

If you have your speakers on you'll notice my music player is playing a new song (Somewhere over the rainbow.) We bought Nanese a birthday card today that plays this tune (without the words.)

Nanese will turn 20 on September 2nd. The last letter she wrote to me took 6 weeks to arrive. I'm going to be sure to get her birthday card out in the mail this weekend so that she will get it in time for her 20th birthday.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Queens & Heroes

Camp is less than a month away!


I am working on all the details. A big job with a huge payoff when it's completed. Can't wait to see all the smiling faces!
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(FYI- I did fix my typo in the word bandanas.)


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Trees are poems that earth writes upon the sky.

I saw a very similar photo on Lynn's blog
here and I had a similar photo of my backyard tree taken last week. Since I love Lynn's photos I decided I had to post mine too. ha. I'm a copy cat! "See.. see.. I have a cool tree picture too!"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A new letter from Nanese!

This letter was written on 5/30/10. We received it today, July 14th.

(My notes in italic.)

Dan & Julie,

It's a great pleasure for me to take advantage of this opportunity to greet you in the name of our saviour Jesus. (Boy do I have something to learn from her!) How are you and your family? I and my family are very well by God's grace. I am doing very well in school by God's grace as well as my church. We had a nice conference in our church. It was very beautiful. Many people accepted Jesus Christ as their saviour. (She spoke about a conference in her last letter. Either there was another conference or she was really moved by the one she attended.) I was happy to see that. We have beautiful vegetables. We grow corn. Do you grow corn in your country? (Yes my dear, corn is one of my favorites! Unfortunately it usually comes out of a can!) I have a sheep and it has two baby sheep. I love them very much. Pray for me, for my spiritual life and I will pray for you and your family. I hope God bless you all.


The BMX world

My kids were invited out to a local BMX race track to give BMX racing a try. They LOVED it! Here we go again.. dumping more money into bikes! My husband races Mountain bikes, my kids, who have very nice MTB's are ready to start BMX riding & racing. All the gear & the bikes.. oi'..
Thank God we can afford these hobbies! We are blessed!

Here's Hunter!
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Unfortunately he did crash. He has a lot to learn and this part scares me!

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He's ok. He hurt his elbow and is babying it a little bit yet today but he will be fine. Caleb did well riding. He would like to practice a few more times before he commits to sticking with it.

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Monday, July 12, 2010

I love quotes.

I have a thing for quotes. I love uplifting, happy, and motivating quotes. I love when you read one and it just sticks to you and doesn't let go.

"The miracle we hope for is not always the miracle we receive."

That quote brought me back to the adoption we were talking about. Maybe that's not a 'miracle' in itself (well maybe it is?) but I prayed long and hard for something that I didn't get. I did however get to sponsor a beautiful little girl a few years older than the 'little girl' I was hoping to adopt. I begin a life changing sponsorship instead. This little girl will be able to live at home with her biological mom. Her mom won't have to worry if she has been fed that day because her sponsorship will take care of that for her and I think that in itself is HUGE! And I get to start what I hope is a life long friendship with someone who lives in Ethiopia. Win Win! :)

In fact, now I have 2 friends in Ethiopia now & 1 in Haiti. I didn't select these other two. Compassion selected them for me. Do you remember why we wanted to adopt from Ethiopia? Because we were to young to adopt from Haiti. With all the other countries Compassion works with, they just happened to select them from Haiti & Ethiopia. God knows what he's doing! He knows where my heart is and is making it very clear that this is what he wants me to do.

"The BEST and most BEAUTIFUL things in the WORLD cannot be SEEN or even TOUCHED. They must be FELT with the HEART." Helen Keller

There WAS a little girl in Ethiopia waiting for me. Just not the way I had hoped. I PLAN to visit her someday. I hope I have a lot of children in Ethiopia to visit some day. Until then I will just shower them all with love, letters, and gifts! I will do my best to bring HOPE and love into their lives.

Good looking bunch huh?

I put this photo at the bottom of my blog but I had to show it off. I'm thinking I'm missing some kids. Boy this sponsorship thing is addictive!

I still don't have my next letter from Nanese. I know it's on the way too! That just makes it harder to wait! Post office faster please! But I said PLEASE!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Art for Nanese

Since I have 2 photos of Nanese, I decided to add both photos to this project. She will get a larger art project because we will only have the pleasure of sponsoring her for 2 additional months. (Depressing! I LOVE her letters!)

Nanese will receive two very nicely drawn pictures of bikes. She expressed that she likes to bike and we are a biking family. I hope she enjoys her "art" package from the boys.

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By the way. I couldn't resist asking Compassion if we had any letters in process. We do! Another letter from Nanese! I was disapointed to learn I still don't have any idea how Efrata spent her birthday money (although I for whatever reason will bet you she bought either a goat or food.) I sent the money in April. I had high hopes that we would have something coming by now but I understand that she lives in a completely different world than we do and things just don't happen at the snap of a finger. I'll try to have patience. As if I can do anything else about it.. I guess my only other option would be to buy a very expensive plane ticket and go to Ethiopia to find out myself. Hmmm..... Tempting.

Art for Ashenafi & Efrata

I cut this paper down the middle to seperate it and add it to the artwork made by the boys. These are photos of the kids working on their drawings and holding them up for the camera.

Ashenafi will receive pictures of soccer balls & ping pong, two things his packet says he enjoys. (We have not received a letter from him as it's only been a few weeks.) Efrata is going to get a picture of a flower & an airplane.

Hunter (my youngest) included a very sweet note on the back of both of these pictures.

Dear Ashenafi,
I like Soccer too. I drew something for you. I wish I could help your country. From Hunter.
(He really wanted me to add, we will send you money to help. Even though we WILL be sending him money, I decided against putting that in a letter.)

Dear Efrata,
I drew a plane for you. I wore a costume once. I looked like a pilot. My grandma has been in a plane. (So has his mom & dad!) Have you been in a plane? I haven't. From Hunter.

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Monday, July 5, 2010

A boy named Achile

Posted with permission from a Compassion blogger, Rebecca,.
Here is her post about a boy named Achile who needs your help.

This is Achile:

Since the moment I saw his face I have been fighting the urge to jump on the next plane to Burkina Faso just so I can hug him.

I'm afraid that if I was wealthy my whole life would be spent flying all over the world to hold babies and hug children.

But this sweet eight year old boy, Achile, who I am sure would appreciate a hug, needs something that I cannot give him.

You see, Achile has a broken heart, and it needs to be fixed.

Achile is suffering from a heart defect called Tetralogy of Fallot. Over the last 5 years he has suffered with pain, and has not been able to regularly attend school because of his condition.

Through his sponsorship with Compassion International, Achile has been receiving medical treatment in Burkina Faso, where he lives. Unfortunately the operation that can save his life cannot be done in his home country. He must travel to India for heart surgery.

The cost of this surgery, including travel, is $20,449.

This amount may as well be millions for a family living in extreme poverty.

But if we each give the little we can give, God can take that gift and multiply it. And his beautiful child, Achile, can have the opportunity to live his life. He can have the opportunity to run and play, to go to school, and to be a child.

If you would like to be part of God's blessing on Achile's heart, you can donate here. And I ask that as you go through your day, you remember a child named Achile.

** Note from Julie. This boy lives in a country were the families make an average of $300 US dollars a year. While $20,000 seems CHEAP for any surgery it would take 68 years for a family here to come up with that kind of money. That is if they don't eat, buy new clothing, or pay for school for 68 years

Special Days Camp- a camp for children fighting cancer

I will be so blessed next month when we host our first event at camp next month. With 80 kids expected we will be busy pampering the girls & playing with all the boys in attendance. Through the For A Day Foundation of Grand Rapids we will be hosting a big party for these kids!

To keep costs down (we are on a limited budget) we have selected a less expensive craft for this event. I found a foam 'badge' project for the boys & a garland halo project for the girls.

A friend at Panopoulos Salon is organizing volunteers & donations for a hair style station but because some children are undergoing chemotherapy and have lost thier hair she is also seeking donations for bandanas.

I will be asking a local grocer this week for a donation of cookies, frosting, and sprinkles so that we can host a cookie decorating station. I will be looking for tattoos for both the boys & girls for a tattoo station, and will will of course have our normal stations.

I'm am still working on goodie bags. I'd like to have large goodie bags that will hold their tiara's, boa's, make-up, firefighter helmet, cookie, etc.. but I think that is out of my budget. Toying with the idea of just getting colored lunch bags but I'm afraid that would be to small.

I wasn't aware of how much work this directorship was when I signed up, but when it all comes together it is worth all the effort!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Links that I Love

If you're a bit crafty, this looks like a really fun project. :)

Click here for Craft Project

Went to Africa for the day

Did you know it's only a 5 minute tram ride from Battle Creek, MI? O.K, so we went to Binder Park Zoo. The next best thing I guess. It was my first trip there & the zoo is amazing! The animals are in more of a natural habitat. The scenery was great and we all had a good time.

Walking under the row of flags from Africa. Ethiopia is on the top Left. (Of course I'd take a photo of Ethiopia!)

After a short walk we came upon a clearing where we could see animals like giraffe, zebra, ostridges, and deer all running through a wide open field. The kids bought lettuce leafs and fed the giraffe.

The keeper said these were domesticated cow. They look so fierce with those horns!

We also saw monkeys, hogs, and other animals native to Africa.

After a few hours in Africa we made out way back to the tram to head back to the States.

It's America by Rodney Atkins

An early Happy Birthday to the U.S.A.

Drivin' down the street today
Saw the sign for lemonade
They were the cutest kids
I've seen in this front yard

As they handed me my glass
Smiled and thinkin' to myself
Man what a picture perfect postcard this would make
Of america

It's a high school prom
It's a springstein song
It's a ride in a cheverlet
It's a man on the moon
And fireflies in June
Kids sellin lemonade
It's cities and farms
And open arms
One nation under God
It's america

Later on when I got home
I flipped the t.v on
I saw a little town that some big
Twister tore apart
People came from miles around
Just to help their neighbors out
And I was thinkin' to my self
I'm so glad that I live in america

Now we might not always get it right
But there's nowhere else I rather build my life

Cause it's a kid with a chance
It's a rock n roll band
It's a farmer cuttin' hay

It's a flag blowin' in the summer wind
Over some fallen hero's grave.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Advocate for the voiceless

I dont' know anything more about this organization other than what is on thier website, but I think the overall message is the same as mine...

Perpetual Change is a non-profit organization that exists to inspire change. It does not take much for one to greatly affect the life of another. Together with you, Perpetual Change accomplishes this through Orphan Care, an Adoption Promise, and Advocacy of the Voiceless.

“Get people talking, Get people motivated, Get people involved”

Become the Perpetual Change!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chinese companies rent white foreigners

This is totally off topic for me but I couldn't resist sharing.

You can find the story here on CNN.com

In China, white people can be rented.

For a day, a weekend, a week, up to even a month or two, Chinese companies are willing to pay high prices for fair-faced foreigners to join them as fake employees or business partners.

Some call it "White Guy Window Dressing." To others, it's known as the "White Guy in a Tie" events, "The Token White Guy Gig," or, simply, a "Face Job."

And it is, essentially, all about the age-old Chinese concept of face. To have a few foreigners hanging around means a company has prestige, money and the increasingly crucial connections -- real or not -- to businesses abroad.

"Face, we say in China, is more important than life itself," said Zhang Haihua, author of "Think Like Chinese." "Because Western countries are so developed, people think they are more well off, so people think that if a company can hire foreigners, it must have a lot of money and have very important connections overseas. So when they really want to impress someone, they may roll out a foreigner."

Or rent one.

Last year, Jonathan Zatkin, an American actor who lives in Beijing, posed as the vice president of an Italian jewelry company that had, allegedly, been in a partnership with a Chinese jewelry chain for a decade.

When is being foreign a career advantage?

Zatkin was paid 2,000 yuan (about $300) to fly, along with a couple of Russian models, to a small city in the central province of Henan where he delivered a speech for the grand opening ceremony of a jewelry store there.

"I was up on stage with the mayor of the town, and I made a speech about how wonderful it was to work with the company for 10 years and how we were so proud of all of the work they had done for us in China," Zatkin said. "They put up a big bandstand and the whole town was there and some other local muckety-mucks."

The requirements for these jobs are simple. 1. Be white. 2. Do not speak any Chinese, or really speak at all, unless asked. 3. Pretend like you just got off of an airplane yesterday.

You can find more about this in the link above.
Interesting to say the least no? The things you can get away with in other countries!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Items I can (and cannot) send our kids

From Compassion International:

We cannot send our field offices items that exceed 8-1/2" x 11" and 1/4" thick.


Baseball and football cards
Calendars, smaller than 8-1/2" x 11"
Construction paper
Greeting cards
Laminated flowers and leaves
Magazines, less than 1/4" thick
Pages from coloring books
Pages from watercolor paint books (may not send paint brushes)
Paper dolls
Photos of you and your family
Scrapbook paper
Scripture cards
Small posters

We cannot send any metal (including jewelry, ornaments and magnets), perishable items (gum, candy, flower seeds), or any larger items (soccer balls, clothes).

Unfortunately, we can also no longer send the following:

books and booklets
ceramics or glass
cloth items
elastic hair bands
foam crafts
plastic rulers
Please remember to put your sponsor number and your sponsored child's number on your letters to ensure that your child receives your letter.

FUN IDEA: Collect pictures of your family and make a small photo album for your child.

Items needed:

Variety of family pictures
Five to 10 pieces of construction paper or fun scrapbooking paper
Glue or double-sided tape
Two small pieces of string
Glue or tape a picture onto each page and indicate who is in the picture, what this person likes and dislikes, his or her hobbies, age, birth date and other fun facts. Continue with remaining pictures. Finish the album by stapling the paper together or tying the paper together with two small pieces of string to keep album intact.

Happy 20th!

Ashenafi turns 20 today. I wish I had the time to send him a birthday gift but we just added him this week.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Celebrating Life!

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2009. On my twenty-eleventh (31st) birthday she completed her treatment! We ('kids') are throwing her a party on Sunday! Pictures to come in a few days! Love you mommy!!!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Keep Changing the World

I found this song here

Keep Changing the World

by MikesChair

Something here is wrong
There are children without homes
But we just move along to take care of our own
There's so much suffering just outside our door
A cry so deafening
We just can't ignore

To all the people who are fighting for the broken
All the people who keep holding on to love
All the people who reaching for the lonely
Keep changing the world
Take a look around
Before the sun goes out
What's lost can still be found
It's not too late now
It only takes one spark to make the fire burn
So reach inside your heart and let this be the start

I see you changing the world
Every boy
Every girl
Step up!
I see the sun coming up
It's a brighter day
Let's show the world that love is a better way
So lend a hand join the fight
'Cause time is ticking away

Monday, June 21, 2010

Mid June Sponsorship letters

Here is our goodies ready to go out with tomorrows mail.

Top left is for Efrata. Includes a letter from me and a really fun sticker scene. The stickers are removable & she can place them all around the "castle" background.

Bottom left is for Nanese. Includes a small gift ($), a letter from me, something written by the boys, and stickers.

Bottom right is for Ashenafi. His includes a letter from me, lots of photos as this is our first mailing for him, stickers (yes, I know he's too old!) and a funny card with laughing zebra's on the front.

Why do I post these? It helps me keep track of what I send the kid every month! Otherwise I'm looking through my stickers, cards, postcards, and photo's trying to remember who got what already. :)
I'd like to connect with another Compassion sponsor/blogger as well. It would be a great help to see what we are sending our kids!

New sponsorship in Ethiopia!

Introducing Ashenafi!

Another new kid to write! Probably shouldn't call him a kid. He'll be 20 on June 26th!
His family duties are:
Washing clothes
Running errands
Carrying water
Gathering firewood
Kitchen help

He is in 11th grade and participates in church, bible class, and chior. His parents are alive but not together. His guardians are his grandparents. He likes to watch TV, play soccor, swim, and play ping pong. He lives in Debre Zeit, Ethiopia were typical income is $12 a month.

I believe that children in Ethiopia age out of the compassion program at age 22. I have 2 years to get to know him! Again we have been blessed!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Open Doors Orphanage

There is a couple that I know (Aaron & Gwen) who are moving to Guatemala to open an orphanage. I have known Aaron since early elementary and his wife Gwen went to highschool with both of us. What an amazing service to God! Click here to see their website. I'm sharing this to just help spread the word and maybe direct some support their way.

They are putting together mission trips (for only $600!) for anyone willing to go down and help them build the orphanage this fall.

Check out the video (found on their website) below. (Turn the sound off at the bottom of my page.)

There are 370,000 orphan's in Guatemala.
68% of the children are malnourished.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Half the world lives on less than 2.50 a day

Six months ago if you had asked me if I was rich, I would have said no. We are somewhere between middle class & upper middle class in America. Then I learned about countries like Haiti & Ethiopia. Countries like Burma and Kenya. Third world countries.

I continue to learn about how wealthy we really are. How the simple fact that our basic needs are covered everyday is a blessing when so many don't even have that.

Almost half of the worlds population lives on less than $2.50 a day. 80% of the worlds population lives on less than $10 a day. How do you stretch $3650 dollars over the course of a year? That's about $6000 less than our yearly Meijer grocery bill!

Today over 24,000 children will die. I don't understand how this isn't something our media cares to cover until there is a huge natural disaster.

I'll remember how blessed I am today when I have to take 4 kids to the doctors office for Caleb's breathing tests. Inconvenient? Sure. But my precious Caleb wouldn't be here today if he were born in a 3rd world country. In fact. I probably wouldn't be either.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I just requested another correspondence child.

Can't wait to see a new face, write to another child, and love another child.

Why Ethiopia?

This is why I want to help Ethiopia. Nicely put into a video by another blog family. You can follow thier adoption journey at http://youngfamilyadoption.blogspot.com
(Turn off the music player at the bottom of my page.)

International Day of the African Child

Today is International Day of the African Child, an important day to both celebrate the work of those who have fought for equal education and child's rights in Africa AND a day to remember your own commitment to helping Africa's most vulnerable citizens -- AIDS orphans and other children affected by illness and poverty.

Check out Ahope for Children. I love this organization! A orphanage in Ethipia that cares for orphaned children with HIV.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

A new old photo of Nanese

I requested any old information that Compassion had on the girls. This is what I received. This is an undated photo of Nanese. I am unsure how often thier photo's are updated, but it was a joy to receive this!

Garage Sale Money

Last month we had a garage sale. I have been incredibly lazy about putting the money in the bank. In fact it still isn't. This was intended to have been sent to Efrata & Nanese a month ago, but I'm just getting to it today.

It should reach Ethiopia in a few weeks. I have my fingers crossed that I will recieve a photo of them with what they purchased in a month or two. This equates to many months salary for Efrata and her mom.

Nanese's gift will take longer as I have to mail it. I'm so happy that I can give them a gift just by selling some of my "stuff."

Susan G Komen Walk

Looking for ideas for a tee-shirt design.
I'm thinking something that incorporates Tiaras & Hero Capes.

On being a sponsor

Compassion International has a website for sponsors. It's sort-of like a facebook type site where you can meet other sponsors, learn about the needs of children, share ideas of what to send the kids, and see photo's of other sponsored kids worldwide.

I am now friends with a man named Jimmy Wambua. He grew up in Kenya and was a sponsored child. One of the reasons I picked Compassion was because of his story.

I want to be that sponsor someday.

Here is a blog on Jimmy & life here in America: A Different Perspective

By the way... I think Jimmy is in Haiti right now visiting his sponsored child.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Taking the next step. The big leap.

From 1/2 days to full days.

From Elementary to Middle School.

From tables to desks.

From old to new.

Congrats on graduating Kindergarten Hunter!
Congrats on graduating Sixth Grade Caleb!

I love you both!

Thanks to the AWESOME teachers at their Elementary School. I will miss them greatly!

A good read-

On being an adult. On Cancer. On that little girl who wants to stomp her feet. All of it. We all have days like this I think.

Click HERE for "On Cancer"

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Another letter from Nanese in Haiti

written 4/24/10
received 5/29/10

Dan & Julie,

I am so glad to write this letter to you to ask you how are you and your family. My family and I are doing very well thanks to God. I am doing very well in school thanks to God. I still attend school every day. I need you to help me pray for the end of the school year. My church activities are going very well, thanks to God. I like attending church every Sunday. My church had a convention and they preached some good sermons. Many people accepted Jesus as thier Saviour. Did they have a beautiful convention at your church too? What date? did they preach some good sermons? There is a lot of food in my country like; corn & yam. Do you have a lot of food in your country? I love you very, very much. I pray for you everyday. So God can bless you more and more every day.


Birth & Death

I was blessed to have been born in the USA & given birth in a huge hospital. Had I been part of the other 50% of mothers in the world who don't have this advantage I likely wouldn't have survived giving birth to my first child (seriously.)

(Double click to open the video in another window to see the entire screen.)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The end of t-ball season '10

Today was the last day of t-ball. How I'll miss the opportunity to watch my youngest play ball.

Another passion of mine

The For a Day Foundation

I will not post photos of the children on this blog but here is a great one of (some of) our volunteers at our most recent event. Visit us here.
Visit our national chapter here.

edited: volunteer photo won't show up! Sorry! Click the link to learn more about us!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Letter from Nanese

Dear Dan & Julie,
It is a pleasure for me to write this letter to you. My name is Nanese __ and I am 19 years old. I have 1 brother and 3 sisters. My mothers name is Zila. My mother is a vendor. My fathers name is Cleriyien and he is a cultivator. I live in Plaisance, Haiti. There are a lot of fruits like mango and avocados. I like eating them a lot. I am in 9th grade. I am praying for you and your family. Please pray for me and my entire family. Tell me, do you enjoy fruits? I like eating fruits. I wish God to be with you in everything you do!

From Letters /Ethiopia & Haiti

Written 4/24/10, Recieved 5/24/10

.. more later when I have time

"My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
and while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish." (Rascal Flatts)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

First letter from Efrata

Oh how hard it is to wait for the first letter! Here it is!

From 2010_05_15

Date: 11/8/002 (April 19, 2010 on our calandar I think.)

Thank you for being willing to sponsor me.

My Parents:Nulu Emembet
(no sisters/brothers/ best friends)

My favorite things:
Best game: Jumping
Best food: pasta
Best School Subject: English
Best Pets: cow?
Best bible story: about moses
Best color: green
Best song: ?God is high/right? (Hard to read.)
Best Holiday: Easter

From 2010_05_15

When I grow up, I want to be a pilot.

Thank you for being willing to sponsor me.

Where do you live? Do you have children? What's your job?

Pray that God will make me a clever student.

Writers name: Tamiru Bikila
Translator: Sofi

(The letter also includes her finger print and a connect the dots goat that she colored with pencil.)

* She wrote this prior to getting any of our letters because the kids were included in all of our letters to her.

Friday, May 7, 2010


We are always affected by the choices we make, no matter what. Everything that we do potentially has some impact on our lives.

We affect others; they affect us. The law of Cause and Effect--it's irreversible.

Just for fun..

Come, follow me, and I'll make you fishers of men. Matthew 4:19

(Click to feed them & move your cursor around to have them follow when they aren't eating.)

How about a little hamster to keep you company while feeding the fish?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

"Support Africa" by my 6th grader

Caleb has been working HARD on this writing project at school. Today he wrote his rough draft, asked me for advice, re-wrote his rough draft, and typed it. This is NOT done. But I thought it was worth sharing! He does not enjoy writing but when you have a fire in your heart for something you work hard at it. He has a fire in his heart for the people of Africa.

Here is his editorial:
(Remember this is still a rough draft.)

Support Africa

The country Africa is a place filled with poverty and we need to send money to support them and their families in their time of need.

Basic needs of people are not being met. One out of six Africans do not have enough money to cover basic needs like water, food, and shelter. The average income of someone who lives in African is less than one dollar a day. A way to save money to send to Africa is to skip two trips to Starbucks every week this could save you $5 a week which equals over $250 in a year. You could send your savings to the needy in Africa. In East Africa alone there are 86.8 million people that are undernourished. One person dies every 2.43 seconds (worldwide). 1.1 billion people don’t have access to clean or safe drinking water and often have to walk miles just to find water, most of the time this water is not clean.

I believe that the opposite of poverty is not being rich but instead simply having enough. This means that you have enough of what you absolutely need to live happily. You might be wondering how you can help. If you have two video game systems you could sell one and send the money to a charity that supports Africa. My family is sponsoring an 8 year old girl in Ethiopia named Efrata. She lives with her mom, her dad has passed away. Her mom makes $17 a month when she has a job. Efrata has to find water and carry it to their home every day. She sleeps on the ground and doesn’t have enough food. I am selling items in a garage sale to raise money to send to Efrata.

In Africa alone there have been 28 civil wars since 1980. From 1998 to 2002, 4 million Africans have died because of these wars and that totals up to 13 million refugees. There are hundreds of different diseases like AIDS, polio, and malaria, and one million people die each year just from malaria. In Sub-Sahara Africa there are 34 million orphans. To compare there are 24 million more orphans there than the entire population of Michigan. Could you imagine your life without parents to lead you in the right direction?

So go online to find a charity that supports Africa and donate as soon as you can.

Good Job Caleb!! Mommy is proud of you!

Monday, May 3, 2010