28 March 2011
24 March 2011
I leaned over and grabbed up one of the kids to carry them in the house. I felt something slide in my back and doubled over in pain. I could hardly move. We gone to Ryan's grandparents to clean the house. I spent the next few hours on the couch as my back kept getting worse. Finally someone decided I had to go to the emergency room.
Six weeks later I still was miserable. I'd had physical therapy, x-rays, and lots of drugs. An MRI finally determined that I had a herniated disc. I was still miserable and living on pain killers and muscle relaxers. I had missed out on much of Judah's first 6 weeks at home. And when I was involved and holding or snuggling my kids, it was horribly painful.
Mixed in with the tailbone pain that I've had for 5 years, I was miserable. Slowly the pain began to alleviate. My doc informed me that I would be susceptible to easy relapse. Easy flare-ups. A few times I've had to take a muscle relaxer but mostly it's been going well.
As I was walking up the stairs, I coughed and in that moment felt that "slide" feeling in my lower back and doubled over on the stairs. Did I really just do this again? For a week or two I've known that my back pain was getting worse, that I couldn't comfortably sit to work and that I needed to start my physical therapy again. Great. Slowly, I made my way up the two flights of stairs, downed some advil and crawled in bed. As I type this, I'm hoping that I can close my laptop, fall asleep and feel perfect. Think that's possible?
Umm, Lord, you know this Ethiopia trip is just 10 weeks away. Give me strength to endure so I can be a light. So I can serve others who need hope and encouragement. If I wake up in the morning feeling normal, I will boast in You alone!
Judah: Momma, can you get me some more CLEAN water?
Me: Sure honey. And when you get home, you can have all the clean water you want.
People in Shanto don't even know what it means to have clean water. Wouldn't it be great to change that for them? You can. Do you have a piggy bank or a jar you throw your change in? Would you be willing to donate it towards FOVC's well drilling projects? You can donate here: www.fovc.org/donate.html. Your gift this week is tripled thanks to the Howlett's and Jo's matching gifts. Isn't that cool!?!?!
22 March 2011
This morning I heard a story from him in regards to me saying "yep". What he told me was that when they asked a certain little boy if he eats his own poop, the boy replies with "yep". Now, I understand that boys will be boys and say crazy things like that. But, the boy they've questioned is autistc or something along those lines and the poor kid probably doesn't know what he's saying. While it's popular to say the funny things the other boys are saying, I want my son to stand up for those children who need a voice. How do you teach that?
20 March 2011
Bethany and Naraa pause for a picture. We are Naraa's friendship family. Being a busy senior and well acclimated to life at UIU, we treasure the times we actually get to connect with her:
Eerii's outfit. She looked awesome!
One of the guys' traditional outfits. Different outfits are used at different times of the year in different areas.
Thank you to the International Programs office at UIU for their help in organizing and transport. Thanks to my Mongolian pals who showed up to teach us all something new. Your joy is cantagious! The only thing I didn't like about the night was that by the end, my husband was ready to give up his airline ticket to Ethiopia so he could return to Mongolia. Yikes.
19 March 2011
I despise having to do word verification when leaving a comment on someone's blog. Often times it prevents me from leaving a comment. So, just now, I took that off my both blogs. Feel free to leave a comment, no verification required.
I don't like driving all over the place. I like it even less when it's a million shades of dead stuff around here instead of the lush green. But today, I drove 20 mins, picked up my Mongolian friendship student, drove 40 minutes to walmart, shopped with one whiny child and another one who told me how much he liked everything he saw, even the mayo. Then drove through McYuck's for lunch on the road. Drove 40 mins back to drop off Mongolian pal, drove 30 mins to pick up Ryan's bday gift and then 35 mins home. Too much driving for me. But gas is cheap, right!?!?!
This week he lost a lens. It was found the next day. I rejoiced tha I didn't have to buy a new $80 lens. He lost it again the next day but he found it right away. We saw that a screw was now missing. It got "fixed" this morning. Also had them put silicone nose pads on so he doesn't have to push his glasses up all the time. But now they're crooked. They don't sit on his face straight. Great. Tweak them a bit and hear a loud pop. Can't see anything broken so we move forward.
If you know me, you know that my son has an ongoing health issue. I've asked the doc about it and been told he'll grow out of it. Well, much growing has occurred but he still has his problem. It's sad. Heart breaking but not life-threatening. Took him to the doc who said "I'm suprised we didn't catch this earlier". He's lucky I wasn't there or I would have bit his head off!!!! We go to a specialist in late April. I can't wait to get some answers. I'm a little nervous for a bad prognosis.
Speaking of Health Issues
I have this nagging irritated throat. Not 100% sore or dry. But irritated. Towards the end of the day it gets sore. I need rest. This is not a rest ful weekend. Argh! I need to not get sick so to bed I go and a rest I shall take tomorrow. Speaking of tomorrow...
Mongolian Culture Night
As part of our church missions, our goal is to bring awareness of other cultures to our church. Tomorrow night we host a Mongolian Culture Night at our church. There are 14 Mongolian students at our nearby college who will share. I can't wait! Singing, presentations, game and food... suh-weet. Just today I learned a few new things about Mongolia while I was out with my student.
Okay, seriously hitting the hay now. I had one more gift for Ryan's birthday but he's over there snoring. Guess I'll have to give it to him tomorrow!
17 March 2011
Today when I think about all the green clothing I'll see, I also think about green growing plants. The plants that we'll be helping the women of Welayita start growing. Know how else that ties to my green theme? As these women grow their crops, they'll not only be able to feed their families, but maybe even produce some extra that can be traded for some green-backs (though I'm not sure they call them "green-backs" in Ethiopia). And continuing on with the green theme, thank you for those who've partnered with us these last few days to get seed money saved up to start the crops project. Our little crops fundraising is seeing some growth. I will be sure to update that meter on http://www.journey4hope.blogspot.com/ again this coming Saturday!
Okay, back to the green-wear. What do you do today to celebrate St. Patrick's Day? And a better question, one that goes beyond clothing and colored drinks, do you know why St. Patricks Day is celebrated. I'm sure I've been told but can't remember if I have. Would love to hear your comments on this one.
16 March 2011
Imagine if you had to sleep on a crummy bed in a dirty Sup3r8. Could you imagine? The bed would probably be hard as a rock and who knows what would be crawling on your comforter.
Friends, it could be so much worse. In most of rural Ethiopia, people are sleeping on the dirt floor. Imagine how comfortable that would be! And what crawls on them at night? How 'bout breathing in that dry dust next to your nostrils. If they have a little more money, they might be sleeping on hay laid over the dirt floor.
Last January when a group visited the FOVC sponsored children in Shanto, the sponsors were able to send little gifts. One child received a fleece blanket from her sponsor. Can you imagine her joy. A blanket! Wow. With rainy seasons coming, I imagine those dirt floors don't stay completely dry. Could you imagine having a blanket to lay over the grime and muck they call their bed?
The other day I emailed Lory at FOVC to see if there was a need for bags for the school children. She shared the story of the blanket with me. You know how easy it would be to vacuum seal fleece (it's light-weight) and take it to Ethiopia? Wouldn't that be a cool gift to give?
I'm quickly learning that though my role with FOVC is the Crops for Widows program, my heart is much bigger than that...
15 March 2011
Sad you say? You're right. It is. And you can help. When our team travels in June to Shanto where these kids are from, it's our goal to take clothes for the children. According to the FOVC blog, they'd like to have:
- pillowcase dresses for little girls,
- simple clothes for boys, and
- longer, elastic-waist skirts and t-shirts for the older girls.
Maybe your in the middle of the adoption process and need something to keep your busy. Maybe you have some fabric laying around that needs to get put to use. Maybe you have an extra $15 in your budget this month and would love to shop the local clearance racks. Maybe, just maybe, if you so desire, you can give a child his or her second outfit to call their own! Wouldn't that be cool!?!?! It'd be much cooler than the scrubbing I'm going to have to give those cute little shoes up above!
14 March 2011
Books I'm listening to is Adopted For Life by Russel Moore and A Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns. I recently started reading Girls Gone Wise in a World Gone Wild by Mary Kassian. And all 3 of them are packed full of good information! The Hole in our Gospel book is getting dusty, so to speak, cause it's my treadmill book and I haven't been on the treadmill lately. Maybe I can my butt in gear tonight :)
13 March 2011
12 March 2011
Last night, we went to a Fish Fry in a nearby town. We went with my folks and met my favorite famers, my boss and family and a few other friends there. It was fun. I was even a little spoiled by one of the fire-fighters who hooked me up with a Pepsi when I jokingly asked for one. It was a joy to support the guys, and the fire department, who came woke from their sleep to put out the fire at our house last fall.
Today, I made time to read my Girls Gone Wise book that Michelle gave me. Scott and I went to town and trimmed Harley's hair around his feet and bathed him. Scott was a great help rinsing Harley. After a quick stop at the store, Scott and I stopped at B&K's. They have the litter-mate to our puppy. It tooks the dogs a while but they finally began playing together and having fun. It was so much fun to watch! Feeling a little lazy, I came home, showered and found a comfy spot on the couch. Some friends stopped by for a while before Ryan made a wonderful Mexican meal of Arroz con Pollo and Sopapillas. Yummy! Thanks Ryan for fixing me foods from my past. It's been years since I've had either of those!
The kids are watching a movie account of Moses. Bed time routine is just around the corner!!!
10 March 2011
Shortly after that Ryan and I went to Ethiopia to pick up our son, Judah. While there we saw the plight that surrounded every day life. We drove down the road and I longed to teach them how to prevent the erosion I was seeing in the fields.
I came home but wanted to go back. I wanted to do something more. Sure, we sponsor a Compassion child there but that wasn't enough for me. As the chair of the missions committee at church, I began planning the next mission trip. Though I love and have a heart for Mexico, my heart wanted to go to Ethiopia more. So, I planned a little and questioned a lot. I didn't want to go on another mission trip, throw a few thousand dollars at a project, return home and pat myself on the back. I desired to teach themself something sustainable; to work myself out of a job.
Then, I went to a leader training and it was confirmed that we needed to do missions differently in our church. We pursued a vision casting trip instead. Still, I longed to return to Ethiopia. Those who talk to me would attest that I said I was going to Mexico this year and also saying that I was going to Ethiopia this summer. So, without getting into ALL the details of our missions decisions, within days of deciding that I wouldn't go to the Mexico trip, Lory from FOVC asked me to join them on a trip to Ethiopia!
Are you serious?
So, here I am. Not going to Mexico. But going to Ethiopia. And Ryan is going to. I'm so excited to be able to serve along-side my lover! I'm so excited to be serving in the area our son is from! As we move forward, we will be buying tickets ASAP so that we can leave in 10 weeks! It was a simple choice for us. We have so much and wanted to give back using our gifts and talents. We're doing it friends. And so can you!
If you're interested in reading more about what I'll be doing, check out yesterday's post at http://journey4hope.blogspot.com/2011/03/fovc-and-me.html
We may not all be able to go, but all of us can participate!
I took the following right off Lory's blog. If you don't want to click on the link, then read below:
I am taking another team to Shanto around the first of June.
FOVC is beginning to expand to three more villages. So, we will work in Shanto again, and we will also visit the new villages.
It would be sooooo amazing to bless those little village girls with pillowcase dresses.
Anyone up for another round of sewing? For a simple tutorial on how to make these simple dresses, go here. Or go here.
Important note: please use thick, grosgrain ribbon, or real fabric straps for the ties! We would also love to take simple, elastic-waist skirts and t-shirts for the bigger girls. Culturally, once a girl is 10 or 11, a mid-shin-length skirt is more appropriate for her.
Simple boy pants and shirts would be greatly appreciated, too....I hear the clearance racks at Walmart, Target and Kohls are full!
Let me know if you are "in" for this project!
09 March 2011
For those who don't know, I was born and raised in a central California farming community, I attended California State University, Fresno where I received a BS in Agriculture Education and plant science. I worked for the Iowa Natural Resources Conservation Service starting in college and upon graduation, moved to Northeast Iowa for a permanent position. Marriage and 2 biological kids later, we adopted a 2 year old boy and brought him home from Ethiopia last May. While driving through the country side in Ethiopia, I paid close attention to the farming operations and erosion because that's what I do for a career. While there, we were able to meet our son's birth mother. She's an amazing woman who lost her husband to pneumonia and then made the courageous decision to give up her youngest child for adoption because they were literally starving.
Since coming home 10 months ago, I continue to think about the poverty-stricken families in rural Southern Ethiopia. Most of the families live on less than $1 per day (which would buy two bunches of bananas as a comparison). When left as widows, the situation often becomes desperate. This is part of the reason there were 2,227 Ethiopian children adopted by U.S. families in 2009 (statistics found here). My desire to get involved in teaching them sustainable practices came to fruitition when I connected with Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children. FOVC is a grassroots organization dedicated to educating and supporting orphans, vulnerable children, and widows in Ethiopia and empowers them to break the cycle of poverty and hunger as they offer them hope and independence for the future.
In Ethiopia, too many children are living in extreme poverty in one parent homes. Because of abandonment, death from HIV/AIDS, malaria or other preventable diseases, mothers are raising their children alone. They are trying to keep the family together but most do not have education or skills to provide properly for their family. Partnership with FOVC helps these women provide for their children and keep them from becoming orphans. In addition to FOVC's other areas of service, they have a specific program called Hope for Widows. On a personal level, I can't fathom the heart ache of relinquishing a child. Judah's birth mom had to do that and is missing out on his dimples, his energy and his good behavior. I don't want her, or women like her, to have to go through that painful decision of relinquishing another child. Because of my education, career, international experience, and interest, I have been asked by FOVC to head up their crops portion of the Hope for Widows Project. To date, this is the only part of the project they have not been able to get off the ground. Additonally, they've asked Ryan to take part in their livestock for widows portion as a practicing veterinarian and someone who's worked in veterinary medicine in rural Mongolia.
When normal agricultural cycles are disrupted and sources of crop seeds are gone, people struggle to survive at the most basic level. Sadly, this is all too often the case in rural southern Ethiopia. Donations of $1,874 would provide over 220 pounds of seeds— nourishing maize, teff, beans, potatoes and onions - growing food for FOVC's widows and all of their children for years to come. As with our other Widow's Hope programs, the women in the program will make small re-payments to the Crops for Widows fund, so more widows and their families can be helped in the future. Now isn’t that a seed worth sowing? My goal is to take $2,000 U.S. dollars of seed money with me when I travel to Ethiopia. I've been asked to join a small team in late May/early June. The team will do various things. My responsibility will be to educate the women in the basics of farming (what likely had been there husbands livelihood). Ryan has been asked to join the team as well. His knowledge and experience will be used to work with the livestock.
This is where you can play a valuable role.
In the next 2 months, I will be raising up partners to establish the seed money for the "Crops for Widows" project. Additionally, Ryan and I will have to come up with over $5,000 for our travel and daily expenses. If you would like to partner with the project and/or with us personally, we would be greatful.
Here's the details for those interested: for the two of us to travel, we are looking at an estimated $3,000 in airline tickets and $2,400 that would cover daily expenses for the estimated 12 days of travel. Those expenses include all food, lodging, transportation, tips, water, taxis, etc. Because this organization is funding programs to serve the Ethiopians, we are responsible for 100% of the costs of the trip. In addition to giving up our vacation time, we need to fund our expenses. Having just comleted an adoption, we can't do this alone. With 5 donors at the $200 level, 10 donors at the $100 level, 20 donors at $50 level, and 20 donors at the $20 level, we would raise a fair amount but still be personally responsible for $2,000.
Our goal is to raise the majority of the funds. This isn't about me meeting a goal though, it's about changing the lives not just one child but of entire villages. Will you partner with us? Will you partner and encourage these women and their children? Please, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, would like more information, etc. My email is email@example.com.
Thank you for your time. That in itself is much appreciated as I work to plant seeds.
Checks can be written to Rocky Mountain Christian Church and mailed to me at Lory Howlett, FOVC, 1428 Venice Lane, Longmont, CO 80503. DO NOT put my name on the check but please add a seperate note that says "Tamara B" on it or "Seed Money" on it depending on what you want to donate to. THanks.
Eager and ready to serve,
08 March 2011
What initially had my interest in FOVC was that they are in the Wolayta region of Ethiopia and Judah was born in Wolayta. Then as I read through their website, everything I read grabbed my interest:
- Building an Orphanage
- Raising money for new wells to be drilled
- Grassroots organization
- Working to provide hope for widows in several areas: livestock project, handicrafts project, and a crops projects.
- Their projects are self-sustaining - the widows receive loans that are paid back so that the money can be loaned to other women.
In early February I read Lory Howlett's blog and left a comment. Recently I read even more on the website and decided to email Lory. I couldn't stand idolly by. Over the last week, both Ryan and I seem to have found a good fit with FOVC.
... to be continued
If you haven't already done so, please take a peek at their website before my next post http://www.fovc.org/
06 March 2011
Anyway, I wanted to share a really cool way that you can support their adoption and at the same time, help provide for needs children in Ethiopia. It's a double benefit. A $10 donation will provide one pair of croc-like shoes for a child in Ethiopia and help LeAnn and family raise money to help pay for their son's plane ticket home. How cool is that! I love this idea. Click here to make one donation that helps in two ways. You can read the specifics about their fundraiser and desire to provide shoes to kids in need here.
For those who like shoes, would you consider donating shoes to a child in need? For those who've adopted a child, would you donate shoes that might end up in the community your child is from. How cool would that be!?!?!?
05 March 2011
02 March 2011
There's a really cool organization working in Ethiopia near where our son was born and lived the first 18 months of his life. Friends of Orphans and Vulnerable Children (FOVC) is a grassroots organization lead by an Ethiopian and supported by Americans. You can read more about them on their website: http://www.fovc.org/about.html
This picture has a story behind it. I read it here on Lory's blog. Here's what she says: the picture is of an FOVC boy's shoes...he couldn't help with the building project because the shoes were so tattered....before Team Tasfa member Ingrid outfitted him with new shoes. The boy was found, crying and alone, a couple of hours later. Investigating the reason for his tears, Ingrid learned he was overcome with tears of joy because he had been given a real pair of shoes.
*edited to add: How cool that Ingrid, the one who gave the boy the shoes, commented on my blog. She linked the actual story in her comment. If you want to read it from her point of view, check it out here: http://12knotheel.blogspot.com/2011/01/our-team-brought-over-multiple.html
Wow. And I have how many pairs of shoes in my closet?!?! Most of which I don't wear because the soles are worn out and they're no longer comfortable.
Did you know that $250 buys 40 pairs of shoes for kids in need? Wow. Do you know what I spent on my last pair of Keen's? This is the same reason that I couldn't bring myself to buy the pair of keens I showed you in this post. Anyone want to save a few bucks, throw the money together and buy shoes for kids in need?