"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, 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.