Monday, August 31, 2009


Sometimes I sit here in front of my computer screen and I have a blank mind. I don't know what to write. So I sit. And wait. Sometimes I walk away, and sometimes I cannot keep up with my thoughts.

Today, I'm overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed with the thought of being so vulnerable in a public forum such as my blog. Wondering sometimes if being as transparent as I have with the emotions that come with the preparation in moving across the world is a good idea.

Then I remember the stories we heard last fall of the kids that were orphaned as a result of the LRA invading their homes and slaughtering their families. I remember the tears poured out as a young boy recalled he had to tie babies to trees and whip them until they died as part of the initiation process of the LRA.

I remember the children I have placed in foster care because their families did not have a support system or money to care for their mental health properly and as a result, their chilren suffered.

Then I remember this is why I blog. Because these stories need to become something of the past and not the current headlines.

Maybe the vulnerability is okay. I want you to know that this journey is not easy. We have tough days. We cry. We laugh. We have joy. We are scared. Really scared. There are so many unknowns at this point.

What if we don't go to Kenya? I trust that this journey we are on is not ours-it's God's journey laid out for us. All we have to do is take the next step. Step. Step. Right? If this journey inspires others to invest in the life of a child-in our community, across the world, then it's worth it.

But I do know something. I know that my God is bigger than these problems. I know He has a plan for each life that is created. Sometimes there are hard questions that go unanswered. Like, why do children have to suffer like they do today?

I may never know. But I do know that I serve a God who loves those suffering children. I know a God that can use us to bring relief to some of the suffering. I know a God that wants to use me-to know me from the inside out.

TJ and I have been praying for many things. One of the things is that we would stay united in this journey we are on. It is long, tumultuous and there are days we feel like throwing in the towel. We also pray that God would help us lose ourselves in this process. It's not about us. It's not about how much good we can do. It's about us wanting to be like Jesus in this process. It's about us dying to ourselves each day and asking God "WHAT IS IT YOU HAVE FOR ME TODAY".

Today was a sweet day. Almost too good. Today I had an interview with a local magazine who wants to share about what God is doing with our family. It was pretty awesome to share with these three women how this "Kenya spark" started, how TJ and I met and what's next.

One of the questions that has sat with me from the interview was "In 2011, one year after you may have been in Kenya, what do you want to see". I said I want to see a waiting list jam packed of teams wanting to pour themselves to the fatherless-in Africa-in China-in South America-in their community.

If this interview can get more people motivated to cap their salaries and give the rest away to hurting people-for people to GO and take their families to other places to see that we, as Americans, are the minority in this world, then it is worth it to us.

What's next? TJ and I continue to press forward and be vulnerable. We are clay in the Potter's hand. We are ready for what is ahead. We step out in faith.

Jesus, you are higher than all circumstances, your promise stands, your love for all to see. You are Higher than our protest lines, and dollar signs, Your love is all we need. Fill our hearts with your compassion. God, be the solution. We will be your hands and be your feet.

Friday, August 28, 2009

We have a winner!

Congratulations Michelle H! You have won your choice of a children or newborn session with KB Photography!

Please contact me at to claim your prize.

This was so much fun. My favorite summer memory has to be long bike rides with the kids, now that all of our kids can ride bikes, or our recent trip to Michigan.

Thanks for sharing all your memories! Stay tuned. I think I may have to do another giveaway sometime soon :)

*Results chosen by

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Today is a really really fun post! I'm doing my first giveaway!!!

Meet Krysta. I have known her since she stepped onto a local university's campus as a freshman and I was her fearless "Resident Assistant" way back in 2001. Since I have known her, Krysta has grown into a beautiful lady who loves Jesus and has such a servant's heart.

Krysta is now married and a proud mama of a little boy, O. She has recently opened a photography business and does a great job.

Krysta has been working with the agency I work for in donating her time and services to photograph the kids and families who use our program.

To see the beautiful work she does, check out her site, here.

Because I am so proud of her and thankful for all she is doing to serve the youth in our community, I would like to give away one of her photography packages.

Giveaway: Your choice of a newborn session or children's session with KB Photography.

Krysta gives you full printing rights of roughly 10 photos on a CD to take with you to print where you prefer.

To enter, leave a comment on this post by 12:00am midnight Central Standard Time by telling me your favorite summer memory this year.

You may have additional entries added if you blog about it, twitter or post on your facebook. If you do additional entries, please let me know by commenting if you have posted this contest elsewhere and where.

Good luck!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Meet the Grandparents.....

Meet Grandpa O.

I love him. This sign has been hanging above his woodpile for as long as I can remember. He is a cynical, dry-humored man and I have memories of him threatening to tie me to a tree if I called him a "bald-headed man" again....he did get me tied to a tree once....but only once....

My Grandpa would take us into his workshop every summer we came to visit and we would pick out what animal-or whatever we wanted to make out of wood. One time, I made a cow like the one hanging below.

My Grandpa said that "Joywood" is what Grandma calls 'camp'. I didn't know that. It suits here because all of my memories of Grandma are full smiles and true JOY! How can you NOT call camp "Joywood"???

And how could we forget the swing?

My Grandpa had a game he made up with 2 swings. One, a wooden, flat seat, hanging from a tree branch we would swing from. The second, this one:

He would swing the plastic tire swing at us and if it hit us, he would yell STINKFISH! My kids thought that was a hoot.

One of the things I love most about my Grandma is....

well, the Swedish pancakes are AMAZING...BUT......

I can't help but LOVE the fact that she is crazy about wearing authentic African paperbead necklaces!!!! Doesn't she look gorgeous wearing them????

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


I have always loved butterflies. Last weekend, we were able to see one of the most beautiful things. Monarch butterflies start migrating towards Mexico in August of every year. We were in the edge of Lake Michigan and saw thousands of butterflies covering the Cedar trees lining the banks.

A lady nearby came over to us with a net full of beautiful Monarchs. She tags them as a hobby. Each 'tag' is a sticker with a phone number on it. If one finds a butterfly with a tag on the wing, you call the number and let the person know where you found the butterfly. She reports that she has received many phone calls from around the US and in Mexico.

When you are done tagging them, you set them free! Our boys loved it!

A day we will never forget!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Not Me! Monday

Welcome to "Not Me! Monday". This is a blog carnival set up by MckMama with the hopes of all of us mothers can use a good laugh as we admit all the inperfections that come with our duty of mothering.

While on getaway vacations with our young kids, I always come prepared. I pack enough food to ensure we do not have to stop and get an greasy, fast food restaraunts. I always ensure that there are plenty of food, books, and goodies to keep the kids at bay and pass time as quickly as possible. This is why I certainly did NOT feed my kids, chocolate marshmallow treats, granola bars, and juice for almost the entire way to avoid restaraunts. Nutritious and healthy foods are always what is in order. Feeding them nothing but JUNK for the entire car ride? Nope! Not me!

I also did NOT have my kids watch videos for 5 of the 8 hours of the trip. Nope, not me! We always have lengthy, educational, intentional discussions with our children about the various landscapes-other than the flat, prairies we live on-, past presidents and organic foods.

Oh, and I always make time for bathroom breaks. That is why I did NOT make my 3 yr old urinate in a soda bottle, because we simply did not want to waste more time getting home. Not me! We always allow plenty of time in our schedule to stop for bathroom breaks.

Would you like to join in the "Not Me Monday" fun? Before you do, check out the rules here.

Happy Monday to you!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Girl Effect

I was shown this video from a friend of mine recently and I had to share it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Tonight, I sit here so grateful. Grateful for the crumbs covering my kitchen floor, because my children's bellies are full, and I know that there are millions of children who are hungry tonight.

I am grateful for the opportunities God seems to be laying at my feet to bring awareness to my community about orphan care. Because guys, there are millions. There are so many many organizations out there that care for them and so many ways to be involved.

I am grateful for the many of you who have emailed and responded in ways I have could never imagined to make an impact on little lives specifically in Africa.

Every Wednesday I participate in this fantastic, fresh, grassroots ministry called iFast58. The idea came from a friend of mine, whom I have spoken about before, Brandi, as she is feeling called to gather a nation of people to lift up and pray for the oppressed, the widowed, the orphaned. The "58" comes from the Lord giving Isaiah 58 as a starting point for this ministry. Awesome.

So, every Wednesday, as a group, we fast. It can be a meal, TV, blogging, or whatever you feel like we can do and that energy that is put into that is fixed on praying for the fatherless in our world.

If you would like to be a part of this, email Brandi at

If you are "hip" and enjoy can find a group at #iFast58.

I am so grateful. Grateful for people like YOU who choose to become active and make a difference for these voiceless children.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Feeling full

Where does the time go? It has been an incredible week. It has been full. Packed with joy.

Things are clearly falling into place for us here. I do not think I have had more confirmations that the road we are on is where we are meant to be at this specific time, then I have had this week.

I feel God working and I see him moving. Nothing is sweeter than resting in His arms.

Our garage sale was awesome. We sold almost everything. Our home has less tangible things, but it couldn't feel more full.

Our boys have hardly noticed their toys that once were there are now gone. Ben asked me if the toys went to help orphans. When I said yes, he went to his room and brought out some of his favorite "guys" and offered them to help more orphans.

As we are gearing up for the new school year, it feels surreal that my first born is going to be in Kindergarten. As we talk about school, he asks me where kids in Africa go to school. I show him pictures on Bud and Kim's blog to try to give him the best "visual" I can. He then clarifies if these children go to Vacation Bible School. I tell them that people come and teach them about Jesus-but that will be our job when we go there. Ben asks me to help him list all of his favorite Bible stories so we "don't forget" any to make sure all the kids in Kenya know about them.

Thank you Jesus for preparing the hearts of my children. Over and over again.

So, what is the next step? To be honest, I have no idea. But, I have received so many phone calls from people encouraging us, praying for us and just "happen" to have a relative who lives in Africa wanting to meet with us to share about what it is like to live over there-much different than spending a few months at a time there...

It doesn't feel as if we are blind anymore. We feel as though God is slowly peeling back the veil as we step closer to what it is He has for us.

Thursday, August 6, 2009


So, this weekend is the BIG one. Yup. We are chuckin' our stuff. We are using this opportunity to create awareness about Mattaw Children's Village and the need for orphan care globally, specifically in Africa.

We have been praying for this day. Praying for the people who may stop by. Praying for opportunities to share what God is doing in Africa.

I'm so excited.

I'm also baking a ton of goodies. Yes, I can bake, and I'm learning to cook. Ask my husband and maybe get his perspective on how it's going :)

If YOU want to know more about Mattaw Children's Village and where we are headed, they have an awesome new website up. You can find it here.

If you are in the area and would like to stop by, we are open Saturday 8am-3pm.

I have a ton of work to do, so I've got to get back....

Look at these can you NOT tell the world about them?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

DIY 5 yr old style

So, as we are giving our stuff in our home the big "heave-ho", my wonderful, generous, 5 yr old insists that he helps decorate, and keep our home feeling like....well, home.

Nice touch, wouldn't you say?