Thursday, May 14, 2009

Most Randomness Thursday

Well, I totally missed Whoo's Day is Tuesday on Tuesday, but don't worry it will be back next week!!! I have also failed to update the blog with things going on in our lives outside of the Future Hope Project stuff.

Speaking of--I ordered some stuff a couple of weeks ago to make a pendant that I have been wanting to make for quite some time. I ended up not making the exact one that I wanted, but varied it. It fits with the FHP logo. I finished it yesterday and I'm pretty happy with it-especially being the first one I've done. I have some other plans to make at least a few others.

I still have to make the hole at the top a tad bigger to attach a jump ring and then get a chain for it.

Other than family time, FHP, third online Bible study coming up, and the other exciting thing I couldn't tell you about before, things have been pretty slow! haha! I will however be talking about the other exciting avenue we have been working on in the next couple of days.

We've been spending a lot of our family time doing more geocaching, walking/running/riding on the trails, playing at parks, and just hanging out. Chris has had his head in his school books, I've been doing a lot of craft stuff, and Aleeyah is...well...being a 3 year old!

On a bigger announcement--we have a new nephew!!! Mason finally decided to come out and play last Wednesday!!

I haven't got to hold the little squirt yet, but am looking forward to seeing him in 1 1/2 weeks!

We did get a chance to go to the Royals Game with Chris' work! Gotta love the free perks that comes with his job! We had an extra tickets, so dad was able to go with us also. Aleeyah was fascinated the whole time and kept asking what they were doing as if she was trying to figure out exactly how the game is played.

I do have to say that ballpark hot dogs and peanuts are totally overrated!

On another note of job perks--some of you may remember that up until we moved to Kansas, Chris and I have spent a lot of time apart throughout our marriage due to him working out of town each week with various jobs. It was rough, but we made it through it and are happy to be together now! One good thing that came out of our time apart and all his traveling is the racked up frequent flyer miles and hotel points. For the last 4ish years we have had enough hotel points to take a 7 day cruise almost free and enough frequent flier points to get us there. We've been putting it off for quite some time, but have decided it would be a wonderful way to spend our 10 year anniversary-which is this year. So we head out to...

ALASKA in September! For Chris it will be like returning to a place he once called home(not quite in the same area he use to live) and for me, it will be an all new experience! One of the biggest challenges I'll face is leaving my baby home. Well, not home-with responsible adults, but not with me. I've only ever spent 4 nights away from her in all her 3 1/2 years of life. I'll miss her like crazy, but am excited about spending some alone time with Chris. So in September (almost a month after our 10 year anniversary) we will fly out to Seattle and then hop on board the ship and sail away!!

Okay, so I think that's going to be a wrap on my completely random post!

Hope everyone has had a wonderful week so far!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Page 139

It was on page 139 that a tear finally hit the page of a new book (Same Kind of Different as Me)I had just picked up the day before. Up until that point, reading about the modern day slaves and the life of an International art dealer had merely peaked my curiosity. A few of the stories even had my eyes a bit misty. But it was page 139 that made my heart ache.

Even as I look at the page, I can see just in the corner a small stain that soaked it's way into the next 3 pages. I should have taken it as a sign of what was to follow because for the next 107 pages my I went from misty eyed to weeping and back every few pages. As the tear soaked into the pages, the words of the modern day slave turned hobo began soaking into me.

'A lotta times while I was out there, I'd see a shootin star burn across the black sky, bright one minute and gone the next. Ever time I seen one, seemed like it was gon' fall all the way to the ground, and I couldn't understand why I never could see where it went...The Word says God put ever star in the heavens and even give ever one of em a name. If one of em was gon' fall out the sky, that was up to Him, too. Maybe we can't see where it's gon wind up, but He can. .... And I found out that sometimes we just have to accept the things we don't understand.'

There is a saying that goes around that "I need Africa more than Africa needs me." and I thought about this when I read his words in the book. I thought about the rooted prejudice that keeps my mind from believing that a homeless, black slave would have something so profound to say. The same prejudice that I try to keep out of my mind, but yet it camps there and rears it's ugly head from time to time. I thought about this man, who once was considered the lowest of low, was doing more to help others in those few sentences than many will do in a lifetime. This is a man that can see life through new eyes and lives on a faith that can move mountains and who am I to think that he knows nothing.

Prejudice has been on my mind for quite some time now. I don't call people of a different color by slang names or tell jokes mocking them. I pray for all people of any color. But I've realized in the last few weeks that prejudice is still a part of my life and not because of anybody else but myself.

The other day, I took Aleeyah out to play in the lawn of our complex. There was a little Asian girl playing also. They had such a wonderful time. Neither one of them knew what the other one was saying, but it didn't matter because running, playing follow the leader, and giggling required no words. But yet, I felt content with just smiling at her mom-knowing that I would only get frustrated trying to understand while feeling bad that I was so impatient.

We watched Slumdog Millionaire just a few days prior to Compassion sending another group of bloggers to India. As the people sat at small stations being paid very little for their work of answering the calls of agitated people having problems with their electronics, I thought of the many times I wanted to curse during or after making one of those calls myself. It's frustrating when the language barrier keeps you from getting something accomplished. And I loose patience once again and my brain goes where it shouldn't go.

All to often, I glance at the beggars sign-wondering if he really wants to WORK for food or if he just heard the local station talking about how much money one can make for standing on the street corners. I wonder if their drinking and drug addiction put them there. Nevermind the cause of the addiction, but one thing is for sure-my money won't be going to support such an addiction. And I drive right on past him.

Is it easier on your heart to hear of a fire, tornado, or hurricane hit an area that "needs to be condemned anyway"? Is it easier to flip the channel when the news is talking about a young, black man being shot in the city? I mean he was probably getting into some kind of trouble...right? What about when we are devastated by 1 plane crash in the US when there is an equivalent of 180 planes crashing each and every day when you look at how many children die each day from preventable causes?

I don't know why God allowed such misunderstanding of each other and why some have completely followed in a path of hate and anger against someone who looks different than they do, but I also see that just as Denver Moore said, 'sometimes we just have to accept the things we don't understand'. To accept something we understand a situation but do not attempt to change it, protest, or exit. I'm not saying we should sit back and let poverty happen, but what we should accept is God's plan and His calling to us to help them.

Would we understand the level of compassion, faith, mercy, and love that comes with loving someone different than yourself if there weren't any slaves--slaves of man, slaves of anger, slaves of poverty, etc ? This isn't to say that we I wish bad things on good people so that we can grow, but that God is using us for a purpose.

It would prejudice of me to think because of the color of your skin or the items that you possess that you aren't doing anything or even say that you aren't doing enough. Only you know truly what you give and what you feel is enough is up to you and Him.

I've learned about the devastation in poverty, but also the faith and contentment in the hearts of the poor. I want more of that faith and contentment in my life. I'm beginning to see that the only way I'm going to get that is if I truly give of myself out of love and let God take every ounce of prejudice from my heart.

What are some of the organizations you are a part of to help those who God calls us to help? Use Mr. Linky below to link to as many organizations as you would like to share. Use the name of the organization and their website to leave a link. This will make it anonymous, but if you want us to know more of your personal story with the organization-leave a comment.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

We have a winner!!!

It's been only a week since we launched the Future Hope Project. And what an exciting week it has been! We have had a great response of enthusiasm through blogs and emails and I wish I could sit down and share them all with you. Instead, I'll give you some highlights.

Jill from Girls Just Want to Have Fun wrote about FHP HERE and showed off her packages HERE. Also something to note-she only had to spend around $10 for one package. Just $10!

Judy from My Compassion Experience wrote about FHP and Compassion HERE and she posted a button on THIS blog where she features crocheted blankets to benefit Compassion International.

Kimberly from Tree Huggin Mommy writes about FHP HERE. She's also loading up her two girls to join the efforts to purchase the needed items.

Sarah from Finding What I Am Looking For is talking about it HERE. Check out that good lookin' button on the right side!!

I also want to note that we have 2 large group efforts already in the works! A friend of mine that I use to work with a million moons ago is organizing a drive at her church.

Jill (also mentioned above) is also in the process of organizing a group drive with her mom's group!

I know that is several shout outs, but we are indeed thankful and excited about the support!

Thank you everyone who emailed, blogged, twittered, facebooked, myspaced, etc on behalf of the Future Hope Project this week!!

Okay, now down to the winner of the $25.00 gift card. Typically, I like to do a video of the Aleeyah drawing a name, but she is quiet in the other room and all parents know that disturbing such a thing is...well....not to be done! So this time, I did it the old fashioned way-by myself with no camera. You are going to have to trust me this time. :) All the names were written on little blue pieces of paper and then put in the closest plastic container I could find. Swirled around. I reached my hand in, grabbed one of the names from the sea of blue...and.....


Congrats Jill! I'm thinking the added 6 entries for the group drive helped you out on this one!

Thanks again to everyone who helped spread the word this week! We will be needing to keep the word going so let us know if you have any ideas.

Don't forget to continue to collect items for packages and get them sent off. We still have another winner to announce soon for the Ugandan handmade craft. See HERE for more details!!

Drawing today!

Okay, I'm going to be doing the FHP drawing some time after 7pm tonight. So you have until then!!!

Check HERE for details.

I'd write more, but my body is feeling the strange need for some Vitamin D and today is the perfect day for it! Plus Chris took a half day and we have some biking to go do!!!

Have a wonderful day! See you after 7pm!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Whoo's Day is Tuesday?!--Meet Tracy

It's time for another Whoo's Day is Tuesday?!

Today, you get to meet another one of my blogger friends, Tracy. Tracy is another blogger I met through Compassion. She writes on Wages in the Making. She is a wife and a momma to 3 beautiful kids. She has a heart for children living in poverty and it shows through her words. She doesn't just talk about poverty because she feels that she should. I believe she truly hurts for them. She recently got back from a Compassion trip to see one of the children that her family sponsors. I enjoyed reading each post about her trip and the feelings that she went through. I was also so delighted when she offered to take a doll that I made to Ethiopia with her to give to one of the girls we sponsor.

After reading her interview-go over and say hi! She is very nice, warm person to chat with. It's definitely a blessing to know her.

When did you start blogging and why?
I started dabbling in blogging back in 2007 with the extinct dinosaur that is 'myspace'. Back then I only wrote when I had a really good antidote or really felt God leading me to jump up on my soapbox and start yelling. So those old articles are really some of my most inspired. This past year, I began blogging regularly on blogger to keep my friends and family, who had so graciously helped to fund a Compassion International trip to Ethiopia, updated on my progress and my trip. Through my trip journal entries, I found that I actually had a knack for writing and have sense used it to clear my head around midnight or 1 a.m. so I can sleep peacefully. Sleep medication I don't have to pay for!!

Has your blog evolved into something other than its original intent?
I think so. I started writing mainly to keep others informed about my life and my three kids as we live out of state. But now I use the computer as my own personal psychiatric couch. It doesn't talk back and doesn't charge me $100 an hour, so I'm going to try to keep up regular appointments, for my family's own good.

Is there a blog post that you have written that you would like to share with us?

Of course I have to mention my blogs about my Compassion trip as that was THE most memorable experience of my life

But sense that would take your readers at least a good portion of their lives to read all 10 days - I would have to pick my back-up of "Sick Days". I wrote it back in February of 2007 when my baby girl decided to throw up all over my van and the enlightening day that ensued. And who doesn't love a good throw-up story??

Do you write on more than one blog?
Thankfully no. As I am a procrastinator at heart and my children would never have clean underwear if I did. ** Although Abbie so graciously tried hard to get me to switch places with her and head the Bible study blog while she took my place on the way to Ethiopia. I felt God may get a little mad if I disobeyed his calling and decided to instead suck it up and take the 16 hour plane ride over to Africa. I'm just hoping I can start MY own Bible study blog up next year so she can graciously switch places with ME and let me take her place in going to Uganda. Cause fair is fair and I'm just generous like that.

How do you think blogging has affected you the most?

I have found a boldness I didn't think I had. It is so much easier to witness, to point out difficulties we all face, to share intimate and personal struggles with others via a computer screen. And after doing this for about a year, that boldness has sense carried through to my everyday life. I am much more ready to share Christ, to talk to strangers, to share my pain or struggles with others since I have been able to use blogging to 'dip my toe' into the water and find out that God really does bless you personally when you speak out in His name.

Have you had an opportunity to meet any of your blog readers face-to-face?

Only my friends and family that are contractually obligated to read my rambling. (Although my husband doesn't read my > blog, hmmmm, isn't there something inherently wrong about that??)

Are there any particular blogger tools that you would recommend to others (ex. Blog readers, traffic sites, widgets)?

I am still such a newbie to the blogging world. I haven't even ventured out into that world as I know I would be much more dangerous. I know it's old-school, but I do love my FeedJit traffic feed as I think it's cool I have people popping in occasionally from around the world. Granted, it's usually from a random search like "chili recipe" or "Ethiopian day wages" but hey, a girl can dream of the big time, can't I??

What is the blog you look forward to checking the most daily and why?

I love reading Big Mama's blog as she is a member of my "Crazy for Compassion" club(that I just made up), was a Compassion blogger on last year's Dominican Republic trip, and seems slightly demented, in a hilarious way. Her sense of humour and wonderful writing gives me something to strive for. But I guess when you get about 23,659 hits a day, your blog must be pretty good. I'm just thankful for my 3 daily readers, at least I'm not talking to myself ....

Name 1 blogger that you would like to see interviewed?

Well sense Abbie is the only other blogger I keep close and personal tabs on (read as: the only other blogger that gives me comments...), I think she needs to answer these questions herself!!

Is there anything else you would like to share?
Short of begging, I really would like you to take the time to read my Ethiopian trip entries. Not for my benefit but the benefit of all the children I was able to meet, hug on, love on, and share with while there. Back in the Fall of 2008, God would NOT leave me alone with the nagging message that I needed to go on Compassion's Africa trip. Compassion International is an amazing organization that is truly changing the lives of children, and I was able to see that first-hand. The sights and lessons the Lord taught me there were amazing. In America, we are bombarded with so much STUFF that clouds our vision. To step into another world and see true joy, true pain, and true love of another, is a gift that cannot be gained through a good book or a TV show. It puts your focus back where it belongs, on your own family, and on the heart of God - His children, and His love for others.

Thanks Tracy for sharing and joining us today!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

2 Giveaways!

Alright guys--we are halfway to our week before we draw for the $25 Barnes and Noble gift card. Thursday we are drawing. Check HERE for more information about the Future Hope Project and on how to get entered into the drawing. There are 7 different ways that you can earn up to 16 entries.

Also, Gin from Hope Aid International is also hosting a giveaway for the Future Hope Project where you can win a handmade item made by one of the Ugandans that Hope Aid helps.

From her site--"As an added incentive to participate -- each person who sends a care package or donates a minimum of $10 towards the project will have their name entered into a drawing for a handmade Ugandan craft made by one of our Hope Aid beneficiaries in Fort Portal!!!"

Who doesn't want a handmade item from Uganda???

Need help finding items for your donation?--Let me know. Grab a button over on the right to add to your blog to help promote the FHP. Don't forget to add your link to Mister Linky if you posted a blog or added a button to your site.
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