Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Heart for Congo Update

Just made our 2nd huge deposit today & mailed checks off. In September we raised $11,050. In October & December combined we raised $9,971 & completed the sponsorship for 8 babies & helped to fund the hiring of additional nannies at an orphanage. That is a total of $21,021!!! With that money, we're providing a solar panel so an orphanage can have electricity for lights & a fridge. We fed our soon-to-be-sons orphanage of 30-40 little ones for a year! We helped pay for surgeries & are helping on completing a kitchen & a boys & girls home. God is good. He is faithful. He is taking His vision to us & we are being his hands & feet to these orphans. I'm truly blessed to call you my family & friends. Thanks to each and every one of you! If anyone would like to make a tax-deductible donation you can write a check out to OFA & mail to me.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Pray & Fast for Goma


Linkhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/congo-m23-rebel-group-demands-demilitarization-of-goma-airport-for-fighting-to-cease/2012/11/19/80b21bfa-3228-11e2-92f0-496af208bf23_story.html

Please pray & fast with us right now. The M23 rebels have now entered Goma (DRC's "capital of the east.") Goma is where "Josiah"- the eldest of our referred children- is from. Goma is also where the airport is located. This is the airport "our boys" would fly out of to get to Kinshasa, the capital city (located in the West & where we would travel). The rebels have claimed they have taken the city of Goma (not confirmed) & the UN claims they still have control of the airport (BBC news). IF Goma is taken international aid will most likely evacuate & rebels will head South to take Bukavu. Bukavu is a 3 hour car ride South of Goma. It is the nearest town to "our sons'" orphanage, which is also the orphanage the 8 newly sponsored children live. While the orphanage is very remote & has never been attacked these are all things to pray about. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

November's Rare Inspiration

November is generally a slumpy-dumpy month for me. For one, the weather in NY is cold and for a girl who thrives in summer’s heat hibernation mode is sucking me in these days. I don’t enjoy bundling the 4 kiddos for 40 degree temps. I miss ice cream, tank tops, & sunsets at 9pm. Next, my running races are over until Spring & just today I retired my trusty running shoes of two years (sniff sniff).  Also, we celebrate Veteran’s Day & it’s sobering to remember all who have died for our freedom. And… there’s the dreaded Nov 12 (1990) when my own mother unexpectedly died. Also, I decided not to do any fundraising for DRC during the month of November because (1) I didn’t feel called to any specific idea & (2) I wanted to focus on raising awareness & thankfulness instead of asking so…I haven’t had “a project” that gets me going. And, well, having a project makes me happy.
West Point jumper

 I was thinking about all the above today and how I really should blog because it had been a while so I decided to give my ears a pep talk & cranked up some Christmas music via Spotify. I was preparing salmon, picking up toys, vacuuming the living room when all of a sudden, I received a wave of inspiration. As in a comic book strip I began to see 3 images line up…

1.     We received new pics of “our boys” from a gal who spent time in ---orphanage. She has spent a significant amount of time with "Josiah" & knew that "Gideon" is currently being sponsored by her high school friend.
2.     My SIL inquired about sponsoring a child from DRC
3.     Just this morning I received an update on 8 children in that orphanage who need a sponsor.

So… I would love to see ALL the orphans in the ---orphanage sponsored by the end of November! A full sponsorhip. $50 a month for a full sponsorship or $25 a month for partial.
Veteran's Day Hike
So many of you have approached me wanting to help but don’t feel called to adopt. A lot of times that leaves individuals feeling “stuck.” We want to do something, but what? I have an opportunity for you NOW for needs NOW. No long paperwork, legal documents, no mandatory classes. It does mean investing in a child’s life until he/she is adopted. All the children in this orphanage have lost their mommas. Our boys are in this orphanage & it's probably to assume that the families who sponsored them saved their lives—and are continuing to do so until we can get to them.

Would you consider?

Check out this link/blog for their photos & info on sponsorship. Please message me if you have questions or need more info/direction.


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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Stirrings


If I had been born a princess in an Egyptian palace would I have had enough compassion to rescue that Israelite baby out of the Nile? If I had been born with the beauty of Queen Esther would I have opted for boldness & stood before the King to advocate and plea for my people? If I had lived as a German through the Holocaust would I have had enough bravery to hide precious Jews? If I had grown up in the South during the Civil Rights movement, would I have cared enough to friend & defend the African Americans and advocate for them?  
Instead, I was born in the Super-Power of the world where I have never experienced true hunger or persecution.  I am living as part of the richest 5% of the world. On the other side of the world in DRC, however, 4 women/girls are raped every 5 minutes*, boys are being kidnapped and used as child soldiers. For some reason, God has instilled a compassion, boldness, bravery, & empathy in me for this people group. I feel like I have a responsibility, an obligation, ability, and a privilege to love & advocate for these lives- fellow mankind- for my time. 
Luke 12:48
“When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.”
So, who/what stirs you? Do you believe 1 person can make a difference? I am  dedicating  this week to sharing stories about individuals making a difference (in your life). Post your stories below or on the Heart for Congo Facebook group (private) and/or page.It is my hope that our stories will build each other up, instill courage, & remind each other that through Christ I/you/we can rise up and step out towards that goal, fear, or dream that stirs me/you/us.

(I understand there is much to be done locally- tending to hurricane Sandy victims, helping overwhelmed moms down the street, speaking up for the bullied child, standing up for the abused, feeding the hungry here- and I will do my part locally, but my heart beats for Africa at this time. My passion is in DRC, wanting to love in the name of Jesus. So, those are who I will advocate for as long as I’m called. We all have an opportunity & responsibility to care for each other, but specifically widows & orphans.)

*http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org/conflicts/profile/democratic-republic-of-congo

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

WHO is Heart for Congo?


WHO is Heart for Congo?
We are a community of people raising awareness of the current state of DR Congo & bringing relief for those orphans in need, and particularly the children who will never be adopted & will remain in DRC. We will be partnering with a non-profit, Our Family in Africa, to fundraise for these children. The group was started by 3 West Point families (Riley & Michelle Post, Eric & Lana Thornburg, & Dave & Naomi Beskow) all currently in the process of adopting from the DR Congo. We have committed to 12 months of raising awareness & fundraising.

NOVEMBER’S FOCUS:
Because September and October were huge fundraising months we will be shifting our focus to raising awareness during the month of November. We will be sharing DRC facts & stats, hearing testimonies of changed lives, presenting information about the non-profit Our Family in Africa, & introducing our 3 local families currently in the process of adopting from the DRC- the Thornburgs, Beskows, & Posts (my family).

CURRENT PROJECT:
Any donations received this month will be going towards finishing a girls’ boarding school in a village outside Kinshasa. This home will safely house & protect vulnerable orphan girls from the harsh realities of the capital city of Kinshasa. These girls will not be adopted. Your kind donations will help us provide ongoing food, water & education for girls that will call this place home.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

October Tally


It’s time to tally up October's fundraising & celebrate reaching our goals!

September re-cap: goal $5,000 to purchase solar panel. Event: Congo Carnival. Raised: $12,000

October re-cap:  $12,000 to feed our soon-to-be-sons’ orphanage in Eastern Congo for 1 year (40ish kids). We used the leftover $7,000 from September’s amazing Congo Carnival to start this project and with your help we surpassed the $5,000 needed to complete feeding these children! October add-on: fixing a kitchen

Between:
  •  online jewelry sales from Outreach Uganda (gross income of $1,422 so we’ll get 40%),
  •  Highland Falls Fall Foliage Festival, cash donations & our Open House ($2,900)
  • D’s 10th B-day party ($1,000)
  •  3 bead parties (still waiting on final tallies, but at least $2,000),
  • an announcement about the needs in DRC made by M in a small Michigan church ($1,000)
  • an anonymous family pledge to match up to $1,000 PLUS all those cash donations to me matched ($2,000)


We clearly surpassed the needed $5,000

I LOVE how these goals continue being surpassed because INDIVIDUALS are stepping up with ideas, courage, & the drive to “go for it.” Thank you!

The big question is what will we do with the cash overflow?
We (the 3 West Point families adopting from DRC- more on us later) decided to use $1324 of the money on much-needed-repairs for this kitchen. Below is a picture and some basic information:

40PIECES SHEETS U.S. $ 20 U.S. $ 8OO
BOARDS TRAVERES 10units U.S. $ 17 U.S. $ 170
CHEVRON 22PIECES $ 154
SHIPPING U.S. $ 200
TOTAL $ 1,324 U.S.

And the rest of the money? Instead of announcing on Nov 1st I’m blaming Sandy & giving myself an extra day :).  Stay tuned tomorrow…


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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

10-year-old-wish

Ready to be inspired by a 10-year-old? AMAZING Heart for Congo story from our Ft Campbell friends, now residing in California. Thank you for taking our cause across country...
Congo cupcakes

 Dear Family & Friends,

 I will be celebrating my 10th birthday and I wanted to do something different this year. I don't want presents because I want to do something nice for kids that need food and other things. There are over 5 million orphans in the Democratic Republic of The Congo (DRC). I know how these kids feel because I have been in an orphanage and I was really hungry too. I used to be in a crib, even when I was 5 years old, and I was really hungry and lonely. One time I remember having to go to the bathroom so bad and so I snuck out of my crib. I tiptoed across the floor and all the adults were outside talking. We had to stay in our crib all day, even if it was sunny. Now that I am not in a crib and I have a family and lots of other stuff, I want to help t
he kids that are still orphans. Our friend is trying to raise money to feed kids in one orphanage in the Congo and I want to try to help her. Here is my idea, instead of presents for my birthday I would like people who come to my party to help me raise money to send to the DRC. If you were planning on bringing a present to my party, could you please bring a donation instead of a present? I hope that we can help the orphanage get food and things they need. This would be the greatest birthday present ever!

Love,
Deacon
Happy Birthday Deacon! Thank you!


10-year-old Deacon raised over $1,000 for Heart for Congo. Basically, he just fed 40 orphans for 1 month. Awesome! Thanks Deacon! Notice our latest thermometer...we're almost to our goal of $12,000!!!
I had to share this one...Deacon's Dad (deployed) calling in for the fun

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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Family Pics

We had family pictures taken 2 weeks ago by our talented friend, Andres. Andres & I attended Nyack College together & photography is now his full-time job. Andres spent a decent amount of his childhood in Kenya & with hearts for orphans, he & his wife Kim are fundraising for the Rehema Children's Home in Nairobi, Kenya.  Click on the links to read more about this fantastic couple and if you're in the West Point area look them up for a photography session.

Photo #1 from post family | Pictage

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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Beads for Sale

I'm thrilled to announce that Heart for Congo is being "sponsored" by Outreach Uganda this month! When you shop, purchase, & write Heart for Congo in the comments section during check-out they are giving us 40% of proceeds towards feeding our orphanage in DRC for a year! This organization has been fantastic to work with (three cheers for Katie) & I'm thrilled they're extending this opportunity to us! Just a reminder, Heart for Congo's goal is to raise $12,000 by OCT 31st to feed our soon-to-be-sons' orphanage (in Eastern DRCongo) FOR A YEAR! We only have 4 weeks to raise $4,000 but I know we can do it! 
beads!
 Here's what you can do:
  1. Go to  Outreach Uganda HERE 
  2. SHOP (all times are fair trade)...birthday gifts;  teacher gifts; Christmas gifts for your sisters, moms, daughters, neighbors, friends, coaches, postal workers;  unexpected gifts to simply bless someone you know & tell them how much you appreciate them. These products are stunning & high quality (I have a necklace, earrings, scarf, & bracelet).
  3. Write HEART FOR CONGO in the COMMENTS section during check-out & they will give Heart for Congo 40% of all sales UNTIL OCT 31!. 
  4.  SHARE SCREAM this info with at your friends & encourage them to shop & write HEART FOR CONGO in comments!

This is a win-win guys! Your purchase will bless someone you care about, support a Ugandan woman AND help feed an orphanage in DR Congo.

Below is an excerpt from Outreach Uganda & how your purchase empowers the crafters:

Outreach Uganda is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization headquartered in Colorado and dedicated to helping empower Ugandans rise out of poverty. To do this we work with village groups in Uganda to bring hope and improve lives, especially in the areas of education, women’s empowerment, and self-sufficiency through job creation.
What is Fair Trade? Fair trade assures more than just fair wages, it addresses:
  1. Fair wages
  2. Protection of children’s rights
  3. Women’s rights
  4. Environmental rights
  5. Indigenous rights




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Monday, October 1, 2012

Heart for Congo Project #2



Since Congo Carnival was a hit and we raised over $11,000 many people have asked about where the extra money we raised is going. Glad you asked! ‘Tis the time to announce our next project- feeding our boys' orphanage* in Eastern Congo (borders Rwanda)for a year! As of now, OFA (the non-profit guiding us through this adoption) gives $1,000 a month to feed this orphanage. Riley came up with the idea (again) to feed that orphanage for a year- especially since our soon-to-be-sons are there. We've already raised $7,000 of the $12,000 needed so I'd love to complete this project by October 31st. A project a month, can we do it? This is a BIG amount to raise (with no major fundraising event going on as of yet) but I believe we can do it.

On a fundraising note, keep your ideas flowing to us. The Congo Carnival was our first attempt at fundraising & God most definitely poured his blessings there.  I will be launching a Heart for Congo Facebook page for jewelry/accessories in the next day or two. I’ll be selling handmade items from Uganda and we will keep 40% of profits for Heart for Congo & the rest of the money goes back to the women who made them. Very cool! I’ll let you know how you can get involved! We’re also working on planning a silent auction, getting a booth at a women’s craft fair, possibly a kids fashion show, forgoing some meals, selling a vehicle, encouraging kids to collect change, etc. LOVE all your ideas & passion to help the DR Congo orphans. We can do this!

Heart for Congo Re-Cap:
Project #2:            Feeding our boys’ orphanage in Eastern DRC for 1 year
Goal:                     $12,000 by Oct 31 (already raised $7,000)

*Just like showing pics, I’m not allowed to state orphanage’s name on any social media website- for the protection of identities and money


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Friday, September 28, 2012

Our 1st Year Together

Somehow I forgot to post this on the blog a few weeks ago as we celebrated Sol's Gotcha Day! Enjoy our 1st year together



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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Re-cap of Congo Carnival


I am still getting goose-bumps.  From setting up at 5am to closing down around 3:30pm the Congo Carnival was an incredible, inspiring, blow-me-out-of-the-water- day! In fact, I’ve found myself putting off writing this post because I can’t find the right words to summarize my joy, gratefulness, & admiration surrounding the whole event. Here is my best shot…


Why am I shocked by His goodness & faithfulness? Why am I surprised that he has chosen to stir hundreds of hearts in my community to come together for orphans? He is God. He cares about me, my world, us. He loves humanity. And, He has a heart for orphans. I believe he rained down blessings on this community as our hearts began to match his.

Ironically, if I had known how fast this Heart for Congo group would spread & how big the Congo Carnival would get I would have been too fearful to get started. I think I am not alone in that feeling. We doubt that we can do it- that we can make a difference. Saturday exposed that lie – we did it! And going forward, I may not know what I am doing but WE are doing it!

I’m not sure where to go from here except that I know God wants me to continue fundraising for a year. He has promised me his blessing & his protection for a year. I’m actually starting to believe Him! 

I think what has amazed me the most (besides the fact that we brought in over $11,000!) is that I never once had to beg people or recruit help. YOU ALL OFFERED your gifts & what you were able to do. And each of us was needed to make it happen. If Ry hadn’t suggested the yard sale I wouldn’t have thought of it. If Saedi hadn’t come up with, “I know, let’s have a bean-bag game!” we wouldn’t have considered carnival games & the importance of including family & kids. If people hadn’t donated items there would have been little to sell. If others hadn’t come to help me organize & brainstorm items would have been overlooked. If others hadn’t sent encouraging notes & spoken words of life into me I would have begun doubting & questioning. If the Gades hadn’t offered to set up "Congo Carnival North" we would have missed blessing a huge portion of our community & foregone a huge sum of cash! If others had ignored their heart promptings to send a check or to deposit online we wouldn’t have exceeded our goal. If people hadn’t come early to move boxes we wouldn’t have been set up in time. If the Wood family hadn’t crafted beautiful signs we would have looked like just another large yard sale. If people hadn’t baked we would have missed out on new interactions & a huge chunk of cash. If crafters hadn’t sent their flags, hair clips, ponchos, buttons, onesies, pottery, magnets, etc we wouldn’t have stood out. If there weren’t balloon twisters, face painters, cookie decorators, bounce house guards, people wiling to tie prizes on a fishing pole, bean bag helpers bending all day long, sellers willing to be kind to all, off-site food stands & other sales we couldn’t have done it. If others hadn’t come to clean up we would have been overwhelmed with exhaustion. But WE did it. YOU have inspired me. YOU have made this journey more than about myself & my dreams & passions & calling. You have come alongside me & we are doing this together. We are truly changing lives locally & abroad. These Congolese orphans are getting electricity & we are well on our way to feeding an entire orphanage for a year! Thank you for your passion, hearts, dedication, dreams, hope, & love!

1 Corinthians 13:2
“If I have the gift of prophesy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans & possessed all knowledge, & if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing.”

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Words

"Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name;
you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord, your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush & Seba in your stead.
Since you are precious & honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give men in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west.
I will say to the north, 'Give them up!'
and to the sound, 'Do not hold them back.'
Bring my sons from afar
& my daughters from the ends of the earth-
everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed & made."

Lead out those who have eyes but are blind,
who have ears but are deaf.
All the nations gather together
& the peoples assemble.
Which of them foretold this
& proclaimed to us the former things?
Let them bring in their witnesses to
prove they were right,
so that others may hear & say, "It is true."
"You are my witnesses," declares the Lord,
"and my servant whom I have chosen,
so that you may know & believe me
& understand that I am he.
Before me no god was formed,
nor will there be one after me.
I, even I, am the Lord,
& apart from me there is no savior.
I have revealed & saved &
proclaimed-
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses," declares the Lord,
"that I am God.
Yes, & from ancient days I am he.
No one can deliver out of my hand.
When I act, who can reverse it?"

Isaiah 43: 1b-13

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Report from the CFO

Riley, as guest blogger, has the much anticipated financial report for the Congo Carnival:
a quick mid-day count to update our tracking board
As the Chief Financial Officer of the family (guess who's the CEO ?!?!), I have the good fortune of being the first to share the financials from day's Congo Carnival. As many of you know, our stated goal was to raise $5,000 to buy a solar panel by close of business today. I will let Michelle fill you in on the squeeze, but here is the juice:

Pre-sales and early donations - $5,355
Today's Sales (Donated items, baked goods, crafts, games, etc...) - $4,487
Today's Sales from Outstations (Gades and Garcias) - $526
Todays Donations - $1,308
Grand Total - $11,676

Without stealing Michelle's thunder, here are a few quick thoughts and impressions from my point of view. First, we serve a loving and faithful God. Through your generosity, He answered our prayer BEFORE the main event. Sometimes I think God smiles at our smallness in the same way we do our children. Second, I am married to a crazy, wonderfully passionate woman. Married for 10 yrs and still amazed by her. And finally, we live in a community that is unlike any other we have ever experienced. You are the hands and feet of Christ and we will always remember your contributions today.
Counting partners





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Friday, September 21, 2012

Say What?


It's the night before our big Congo Carnival event & Ry just counted up all the money we've raised so far--money from cash/check/paypal donations & money from selling donated items on our local online West Point yard sale site. We have already raise $5,355 & the CONGO CARNIVAL IS TOMORROW! Say what?!? Our goal was $5,000 for a solar panel & you all have totally blown me out of the water. I am straight-up amazed at how quickly God has stirred hearts for this cause and ignited a passion for orphans in all of you. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your encouragement, time, money, advice, prayers, discipline, & compassion for orphans. This is what Heart for Congo is all about. We are buying that solar panel so those orphans can live with electricity.


I was freaking out when this truck pulled up today because our 3 garages were maxxed out!


And...all the extra money will go towards our next project that I guess I can announce NOW! We will be raising $12,000 to feed an orphanage for a year (more on that later)! Say what!
Just this afternoon until friends rescued me by organizing!
 Please pray for our Congo Carnival tomorrow! The 3 garages are organized & packed full. The bounce house is here. The hot dogs, brats, burgers, buns, & oj has been donated from Target & Adams. We're making a late-night trip to Panera to pick-up their leftover bakery items. The prizes are waiting. We're going to have balloon twisting, face painting, cookie decorating, coloring, bean bag toss, & other games. Cookies, cupcakes, & caramel apples are being delivered & baking parties (with cadets) are going on all over West Point right now. And the forecast looks wonderful. God is good. He is faithful. He has provided the money. I pray He would use the Congo Carnival to draw hearts to Himself. I pray this event will ignite even more hearts to bring relief to the orphan crisis.  

Look at these ADORABLE Army ponchos some girls from the homeschooling co-op sewed!
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Superhero (or not)

"How do you do it?" I get asked a lot. 

I do not have super-hero powers & those who know me can attest to my deepest, ugliest faults & sins. That's the beauty. The world doesn't need superstars & God doesn't want super-heros. He is close to those with broken hearts. (Psalm 34:18). Calling all mommies, right? He wants us to come to Him & He promises rest for our soul (Matthew 11:28-30). My body may be tired & busy "doing life" (like the upcoming Congo Carnival---shout out, yo!) but my soul is peaceful when I go to Him. He wants to lavish His grace on us and say, "Come to me as you are. I don't love you for what you do for me. I love you because you are mine." (Matthew 11:28"; Ephesians 2:8-9; Isaiah 43:1). Isn't that something to find super-hero rest & strength when we are weakest!
Super-Stars

I am not a super-hero. I am outgoing, impatient, mouthy, determined, tired, desperate, fallen, forgiven, restored. I value going to God when I'm heartbroken (when friendships fade), in need of rest (because the kids want to be held, the dog is sick, & 4 days worth of laundry is piled on the couch) but also in times of joy (Psalm 92:1)! Going to God means prayer & listening, & making sure my feelings align with the Bible. I listen because He is the One who formed me inside my mother (brown eyes, long tongue, and that say-it-how-it-is personality). He knows me & He knows the plans He has for me (Jeremiah 29:11). When I listen I try to tune into: What is He speaking to me about? Why am I feeling this way? Should I? Could I? Really me? You want me to do that? You'll go before me (Deuteronomy 31:8)? You won't leave me? (Deuteronomy 31:6). You'll give me the words to say (Luke 12:12)? Are you sure all I have to do is trust you? (Proverbs 3:5) Okay- let's do this. Now or never. I trust you. We hold hands & jump!... Or I sit. And wait...because sometimes that's exactly what we're supposed to do (Psalm 27:14).

I am not a superstar but I really, really try to trust in the One who knows it all. 




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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Other Side of Crazy

We stand out
The commissary workers know my four children by name (they especially dote on Solomon). They pat their heads, pinch their cheeks, & hand out cookies on the sly. The lab technicians at our hospital also know my children by name & ask when we'll be back.  The childcare workers at Grace Community Church announce, "Here come our boys!" when the see Sol & Isaac running wildly down the hall with backpack in tow. We stand out. Some people admire us. Some people think we're straight-up crazy.

It doesn't bother me when people infer I'm crazy because I feel crazy! It often feels inconvenient taking care of four children & I often think we have no business committing to take care of two more toddler boys - but we will. And I can't wait! That's what crazy is about. Isn't it crazy to believe "Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it" (Matthew 16:25).

I was having a texting conversation with my friend L the other day. She is my age with biological kids, special needs adoptive kids, is pregnant & plans on adopting more. She is a military wife who is currently enduring another deployment. We were texting how crazy is "good!" AND how we have both come to believe that it is "crazy" not to do something about the orphan crisis. She said, "In my twisted little mind, we are the normal ones." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Wanna join us on the other side of crazy?
Straight-up crazy
The principle runs through all life from top to bottom. Give up your self,
and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. Submit to death, death of your ambitions and favourite wishes every day and death of your whole body in the end: submit with every fibre of your being, and you will find eternal life. Keep back nothing. Nothing that you have not given away will ever be really yours. Nothing in you that has not died will ever be raised from the dead. Look for yourself, and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin, and decay. But look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” 
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity


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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Favor

Ever feel like you're in a season of the Lord's favor? Happily, I'm there! 6 months ago I could not say the same. 6 months ago I was spiritually dark & in a self-centered place. Slowly & faithfully, God has brought me out of the pit & restored my joy, life, hope, & dreams. So much life has happened in my heart this past month- the beginning of Heart for Congo, a referral for 2 boys that need to be adopted, and person after person talking to us about wanting to help orphans. I know that these times ebb & flow from low to high & circle again, but I'm doing all I can while my energy is high & I'm in a season of continuos blessing.

This is what made me move.  I was sitting in church listening to a sermon called Fearless holding us back from pursuing our dreams & 5 excuses people make. The 5th excuse was mine- "Someone else will do it". I've told myself that for years & reasurring myself that:  "I'm a busy mom of 4; that we move too much; that it's impossible during deployments & we should maximize family time in seasons of homecoming;  I've already adopted- isn't that enough?" Needless to stay, during that sermon my heart was stirred...a lot! I knew I needed to step out in faith immediately or I would lose courage.

The next day I created a closed FB group called Heart for Congo. From there, Riley and I have committed to a hard-core year of fundraising to help orphans who have little hope. We will choose projects from Our Family in Africa, a non-profit committed to bringing relief & aid to DRC orphans. And it just so happens these are also the people helping us adopt our two boys. Our first project is to raise $5,000 by the end of Sept. to purchase a solar panel that will provide electricity to an orphanage in Kinshasa. The cool part-- the Heart for Congo FB group has caused so many people to step up & help. It's fantastic! For more info on our fundraising projects, click on the Heart for Congo tab on this blog's home page.

All this to say He is good. He is faithful. In seasons of low & seasons of high, Jesus deserves our continues gratitude.


Daniel 4:
vs 35 "His sovereign rule lasts & lasts, his kingdom never declines & falls. Life on earth doesn't add up to much, but God's heavenly army keeps everything going. No one can interrupt his work, no one can call his rule into question..."

vs 37 "Everything he does is right, & he does it the right way. He knows how to turn a proud person into a humble man or woman."

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Orphanage Dream

I want to start an orphanage.

My childhood dream was to start an orphanage. At eight years old I pictured myself eighteen & growing gray and wrinkled living in a small African village holding, changing, feeding, nursing hundreds of babies and children.  When I met Riley and chose a life married to the military I knew that dream would have to wait, or perhaps never happen.

In the past few years God has restored my passion for orphans. In addition to sponsoring two children through Compassion International  we adopted from Ethiopia last September (2011).  As soon as Sol was with us for 6 months (May 2012), we began the process to adopt from Ethiopia again.

In the past month, however, God has restored my dream for orphans. I know that may sound surprising coming from someone who just adopted a beautiful boy from Ethiopia. To a lot of people it may look like I never lost my spark. The reality is, after three deployments with young kids, two years of paperwork & waiting, a move, and adjusting to life with four kids, this momma lost her dream of helping a village of hundreds of little ones. Excitingly, a month ago God began dropping "Congo" into my lap- through Facebook messages, conversations with friends, Congo gorillas at the Bronx zoo (random, I know), reading, & listening, etc. Quickly, it became clear to Riley and I that we were supposed to adopt from DRC... and now! We are currently working through kinks of transferring paperwork  from Ethiopia to Congo. Yes, the adoption is exciting! We are thrilled to welcome another child into our family, but what excites us the most is the potential to help those hundreds of other kids left behind- to give them hope. After 24 years I feel called to pursue my dream- an orphanage! Stay tuned!





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Monday, June 18, 2012

Catch Up

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I've been a lazy blogger lately; I have loads of laundry piled on my bed that I throw on the floor at night only to return to the top of my bed in the morning; the basement hasn't been vacuumed in over a week (meaning the dog hair is probably half an inch thick); I feed my kids multiple Popsicles a day; leftovers & grilling are my saving grace... BUT we're enjoying life with daily trips to parks, lots of friend time (and sadly saying goodbye to the Morrows & many others), explorations, swim lessons in frigid pond water, trampoline jumping, fresh-cut hydrangea blooms from around post, reading, fun day trips (strawberry picking, Bronx Zoo, visits from Uncle Kyle...ahhhh I love summer!
My little gardener loves to say "flower"

Fast Eddy exploring the Hudson

Ellie, enjoying our Father's Day excursion in the Hudson

Chillaxin with the kiddos

Happy Father's Day

Beautiful hydrangeas from a No Trespassing area :)

Girl after my own heart

Isaac loves to show off and make people laugh




Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happy Day

  A year ago today we met & touched sweet, little Edilu for the first time...






So thankful for our youngest son- for his energy, his happy spirit, for his strong-will, for his bravery, for his smiles, for his desire to please, for loving us in return.


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