Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Blog!!!!

I have good news! I am making the switch over to a new blog I've been working on.... I hope you continue to follow our crazy life to Kenya over there!!!

Future posts will be at

See you there!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Psalm 104:1
Praise the LORD, my soul. LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

Psalm 113:3
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.

Psalm 105:1
Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

Isaiah 58:10
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Phase 2 begins!

Our family has officially entered into Phase 2 of transitioning to Kenya. Last weekend we moved out of the temporary house we were living in for the month of August and are now living in Minneapolis to spend this last month with family.

3 kids. 5 hours. 14 million pounds of luggage in a mini van packed to the ceiling....I'm just glad we made it! The kids were awesome and were rewarded with a big ice cream cone today for their awesomeness.

My husband is staying back home for a couple of weeks to finish up work. He will join us later this month.

We have so much to be grateful for today. Our kids are healthy and have seemed to transition well into this phase. Now, if only I could get my poop in a group and finish my 'to do' list, I'll be good.

Big changes are underway for my blog. I won't share specifics, but I hope you like it. I really want a place where people can come and see what life in Kenya is like as well as look into the world of orphan care-and feel compelled to act.

For now, this is our crazy life and it's crazy uncomfortable but we're happy and at peace completely knowing that this is where we are supposed to be.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Oh, Benjamin

"My favorite thing about going to Kenya, Mama, is getting to teach all my new friends my favorite sport". ~Ben

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Phase I almost complete!

Tonight, I sit here with 10 days left of our "Phase I". So much has happened in this phase. I feel like the closer we get, the more walls are put up to break through.

I say, bring it on, baby.

This month, the day after we rented out house and moved into our temporary location, the donor completely pulled out. I had to go through raw emotion of grief that week to process the "whys" and "hows" and even "if this is the closing door to this chapter of our lives, then we will still be okay, right".

It was tough. But this wasn't a surprise to God. He has provided over and over again in these last 20 days. Let it be a testimony to how much God cares and watches over us NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

I had the chance to attend the Global Leadership Summit and soak in tools that will benefit Mattaw when we get out there. I purchased the MP3 files so TJ could listen and study as well as to the Huffmans if they are interested in learning more. It was good stuff covering how to lead well and building an organization.

Also this month we had our plane tickets donated to us by some fabulous folks. We fly out of Minneapolis on October 4th. Booking these tickets definitely made us take a step back and say "whoa, this is really happening". YESS!

God always takes our valleys and turns them into good. Because of the lost donor, we were able to gain access to an awesome media outlet, The Christopher Gabriel Program, and speak about the vision of Mattaw and speak about the need for a new donor. As a result, we have had several positive prospects approach us and when the time is right, I will share more about this. But nonetheless, God is in this. I just know that a lot of the trials we have faced this month is preparing us for the journey ahead.

Though our year in Kenya may look a bit different than expected, we are confident that this was not an accident.

There is still an awesome opportunity to partner with us in building Sprouts Baby Home. If you are interested in partnering with us, feel free to email me at mattawsprouts (at) yahoo (dot) com for opportunities available.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Green isn't just for hippies....

This year has been monumental for me. Not just in the moving overseas-kind of way.
I've started to look at ways that I can be more responsible in how I shop, eat and clean.

As the "being green" movement was becoming a trend, I was intimidated by it.
It seemed so.....hippie.

I was uncomfortable.

But, I started having conversations with moms about making small changes in our lives rather than a complete overhaul.

So, I have started slowly. Using paper or reusable bags rather than plastic when I grocery shop.

Simple. Even my kids got involved and would SCOLD me when I forgot my bags (those darn first born kids) at home.

I started to understand more about buying local and why it was so important, when possible, to shop local brands and farmers markets. Instead of ordering online, I've tried to make an effort to support the small guy, even if it cost a bit more.


I was challenged a little deeper last winter.

My son was going through some health issues and I was feeling helpless. My pediatrician was less than desirable to work with and nothing seemed to be helping. My son was put on more rounds of antibiotics and nebulizer treatments than I could count.

I started to look at environmental factors that could be attributing to his health issues.

Allergies? The tests tests proved negative. (45 injections later)

Talking to doctors (NOT my Ped), I was challenged to look at inside my home. Thus, this started the process of elimination.

Out went the Glade air fresheners, Pine-Sol floor cleaners, bathroom cleaners, bleach, laundry soap, etc.

My house smelled like NOTHING and it drove me nuts. I started using Shaklee products. Skeptical, I wondered if it really cleaned as well as the other products I was using.

I educated myself. I read many articles comparing store brands and other ‘green’ brands to Shaklee.

I learned that not only do Shaklee products clean as well as the other store brands, but because it came in concentrated formulas, I was saving money and waste. I also learned healthier ways to scent my home by using essential oils (HELLLLO LAVENDER!)

Today, I am an Independent Distributor, because I wholly believe in Shaklee’s products. In completely overhauling my cleaning system, as well as implementing nutritional components into our daily routine, the trips to the doctor have been cut more than half for all of my family.


Today, I am linking my Shaklee business with supporting the Sprouts Baby Home. It seemed like a no brainer.

Sprouts needs the funding to support the babies that will live there. ALL the money earned from you purchasing Shaklee products through me goes directly to building Sprouts.

Choosing to sign up to become a Distributor helps even more. Becoming a Distributor joins me in funding Sprouts. Not only do you get to pave your way to an awesome career and promote healthy living, but you earn an income and help babies in Africa, too.

Do the research for yourself. We all encounter many crossroads in our lives. Perhaps this is one for you. Choose non-toxic cleaning. Choose health. Choose to do your part in recycling an changing lives a half a world away at the same time.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Transitioning kids

I've tried to be as transparent as possible on this journey to help remember this season in our lives, but also to be somewhat of an encouragement for you who may be on the same path or may have thought about doing something like this.

Working as a Treatment Foster Care Social Worker in the past, I'm familiar with the grieving process that kids go through when they are taken out of their familiar environment, and the behaviors and issues that arise as a result. I am not claiming to be an expert, by any means. Here are some things we have learned:

Transitioning children is a big deal. It needs to be intentional and planful, when possible. I know that TJ and I will be okay, we will be able to handle the upcoming changes with minimal discomfort. Our children have never been to Kenya before. The way they handle the new culture, food, sights, and sounds will all be very different, because they are different.

Be intentional about how this transition makes them feel. Asking open ended questions to get kids talking about their emotions.

What do you think about our new house? What do you think of our move? Are there questions you have that are making you feel ______?

We continue to have ongoing age-appropriate discussions with them daily about moving.

Give kids power to choose.

We have already sent suitcases to Kenya with a team that went to Kenya from our area 2 weeks ago. The boys helped pack and choose toys they wanted to send in advance to have waiting for them when we arrived.

We have given the kids each a suitcase that they can put whatever they want into it without mom and dad giving an opinion. The boys chose pictures, toys, and various things that they wanted to bring.

Bring familiar items from home.

We are bringing their bedding from home, to give a sense of familiarity to them. I am packing picture frames, photos of family, grandparents, aunties and uncles, cousins and friends they have here to keep in their room to remember those who love them back in the States. I also am packing the essential oils/air fresheners that we use in our home today to use in our new home in Kenya.

Keep your routine.

Examples would include bedtime stories, family meals, songs, games and any elements to our day that we can keep similar when we arrive. Keeping kids' routine the same as much as possible is helpful in transitioning them to a new environment.

There is so much more to this I know. If you have any advice to help us get these three monkeys transitioned well let me know.

Monday, August 8, 2011

This kind of sums it up......

A song tonight that has meant so much to us in this journey. Oh, how He love us.

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realise just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

Yeah...he love us....OH how He love us

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

You LOVE us.

God is doing great things

A week ago, I was sitting at my kitchen table sobbing, wondering what was going on. Trusting God has a plan and feeling at peace at the same time. We chose to take last week to just "be" and process and grieve and wait.....

Anyways, today is Miracle Monday. Because Jesus loves us so much, he stirred in the heart of an anonymous family who gifted us with plane tickets...and then some, to fulfill our needs to get to Kenya.


So, in this hour, we are dancing and celebrating for all that God is doing in this journey. God is carrying us every step of the way....

I hope this encourages you like it does us. Prayer works. That's all.

From the bottom of our hearts, thank you for this gift. God's ways are HIGHER than mine, we know that full well.

........and it would be embarassing to mention my "grand" idea.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sprouts update

God gives and takes away. We still choose joy and we move ahead. This journey has never been about us, but about bringing a voice to precious lives in Kenya that need advocacy.

Orphaned and abandoned children who need safe homes.

This week, our family moved out of our home, after finding an amazing family who was able to rent it and all that was in it until we return. It was a complicated weekend, but we somehow managed to move our stuff into a new, temporary home in the same town. This new home does not have a lot of furnishings, but it has allowed us to stay in our community and sort through the rest of our belongings until we move to Minneapolis in Sept. This also allowed us to organize our shipping container to get it ready to ship it overseas.

Last Monday, I was prepared to present our family's itinerary to our donor that we have worked with since January and receive a check that allowed us to purchase the rest of our furnishings for Sprouts and finalize our freight container to be sent off next week.

Last Monday, I received a phone call saying that our donor was no longer able to give. Nothing. No more. No reason, or explaination.

It was over.

It was a very difficult moment to swallow. It was the icing on the cake of the very difficult weekend that we had endured just a day before.

So, here we are. We can choose to be bitter, angry and spiteful. We can choose to seek revenge and go on a smear campaign.

Instead, we grieve, and process the emotions of this all and move forward with anticipation and joy for what is ahead. Our example and witness can be in how we react in these situations, too.

God's ways are higher than our ways. Sprouts is God's. HE knows our year ahead and the needs of Mattaw.

We are now in need of a new donor and in need of funding we had not anticipated for our freight container and our plane tickets.

We are asking God to provide, and informing people of the need. If you are interested in giving towards Sprouts, you may go to Mattaw's site here. Please indicate on the donation form what you would like it to go towards specifically.

Stay tuned for major miracles ahead.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Flying by the seat of my pants

Tonight, I'm sure God is looking down and seeing a lot of me looking up at him like this...


this week,

this year....

I've had to learn how to fly by the seat of my pants way more than I have been comfortable with.

If you are a visual being like me, then let me entertain you with some visual art of emotions I have experienced this year.

Bloody fear.

Ticked. Off.




The journey is far from over. In fact, in a lot of ways, I know it has only just begun. We are currently in a temporary house in the same town, waiting to leave. Just a few more details, big details, to go.

Our kids are great. We are adjusting slowly to new changes. New emotions every day.

We are finding joy in flying by the seat of our pants.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

July 28th

Okay, so I'm sitting here bawling my eyes out after just taking down Alayna's crib and bedding from her little bedroom. It's moments like this that catch me off guard as I process and grieve the life we created in this home. Breaking free from the comforts and memories of life here in Minnesota and looking ahead to the unknown.

This week has not been easy. We are currently packing up our home and preparing this house for the next family who will live here. I can count the number of days we have left in this house on one hand.

It's with mixed joy, anticipation, weariness and hope that we move forward to this next step.

Our possessions here on this earth have dwindled down to a few boxes, but our hearts have never been so full.

That's the life that Jesus brings. I am humbled to be chosen to be on this journey with my family. With Jesus.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


It's been way too long since I've posted. An update is well deserved. This is going to be a bit scattered, because I'm having a hard time collecting my thoughts.

My heart and my brain are full-so full of joy of what He has done in our lives this season. I'm sitting here, blank, trying to find words to appropriately describe what I am feeling at the moment.



We are ready.

Our house didn't sell. But God knew about that. He provided the perfect family who needed our home until we wanted it back. Our furniture, too. We've learned that our desires are not His desires. We've learned that His ways are always perfect.

God taught us lessons of downsizing while we lived in a shell of a building that used to be our home. We've learned that it's not our home. It's God's home. And whoever wants to use it is welcome to that-and everything in it.

We prayed, begging God for help to answer our kids' tough questions about life in Africa. He gave us words. We've learned that God gives us just enough for today. Today is all we need to worry about.

We have learned to pray to ask God to change our hearts and not to change our circumstances. There are so many things to learn within our circumstances that it would be a tragedy to wish it away.

Be challenged to pray bigger. Prayer works. I wish I realized the depth of this years ago. However, I'm thankful for this journey we have had this year and all the lessons learned from it.

Just about there. More updates to come.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Want an awesome bug repellent?

Perhaps your neck of the woods could be described like this right now.

Our summer has our backyard infested with mosquitoes. Thankfully, my babes haven't had many welts on them like past summers.

Mix one part of Shaklee's basic H with two parts water and VIOLA!!! have yourself some awesome non-toxic bug repellent. I've been spraying my kids with this stuff all summer. It works. It even works on your animals.

My kids also think I've gone all crazy on them by chasing them with a "water bottle".

Basic H is a concentrated non-toxic formula that is also great for cleaning your kitchen, your bathroom, your windows, your carpet . . .

You can purchase Basic H right here.

ALL profits I make from your Shaklee purchase goes directly to funding Sprouts' monthly operating costs.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

yes, the anxiety is still there.

"God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house.

God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives.

God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war.

God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives,

and God is with us when we are with them." -Bono

I try to sit and process how on earth we will process the suffering we will see and experience on a daily basis. This has often come to mind as I think about bringing my kids to a third-world country.

I don't know how to do it, guys.

I don't think I'm supposed to know. That's okay. I don't have a choice. I cling to the truth that God doesn't thrust us into situation that He hasn't equipped us for. God is with us when we are with the poor, the addict, the destitute, the homeless, the orphan, the widow, the _____________.

But c'mon. I'm still human and I'm axious.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The numbers are not numbers. They are children. Like yours.

Sponsorship is something very close to my heart. I dove in for the first time "sponsoring a child" 10 years ago. I've told you about Priscillah before. She struck chords deep in my heart and became my daughter, before I even knew what parenting was about.

A 13 yr old girl who had suffered through abuse I had only read about in my college text book reading. Priscillah had lived a lifetime already and was barely in the 7th grade.

I get emotional thinking about it. Children should never have to suffer the way she had to.

Priscillah is one of the 1.9 million orphans living in Kenya. Now a mother herself, she is fighting to provide for her son so he isn't left motherless, too.

Sponsorship works. Sponsorship is more about writing a check each month. The resources we are blessed with should be helping others no matter what color or culture differs from our world.

Sponsorship became a real relationship to me, from far, far away. A few dollars a month completely changed her life. I also sent her letters and had a phone call a time or two. She changed my perspective on orphan care.

Orphans in Kenya need you. YOU. Sponsorship defines the lines of life and death to many kids in Kenya.

Specifically, at Mattaw, we are in need of sponsorships for many of our kids. It will be far more than just a check you write each month. You will have opportunities to write to, send gifts to and perhaps one day VISIT her (or him).

The kids at Mattaw need YOU to give resources to them that allow them to thrive in an environment that raises them to be responsible citizens of their country and teaches them about a God who loves them more than we can articulate.

Please consider opening your heart to one of our kids in Kitale. Then when YOU come and VISIT US this year, you will have a chance to love on the little boy or girl who will forever change your perspective on what life is all about.

To inquire about sponsorships, please email mattaw (at) yahoo (dot) com.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

How to tick off a llama.

I really love the 4th of July. It's one of my favorite times of year! We spent the weekend out of town with family in North Dakota. The kids had so much fun and truly embraced moments of their own that will be going in their memory books.

Let me explain.

(this is where I realize how I would love to have a family photographer following us at all times. Some moments are TOO awesome to not have a camera!!!)


My sweet, Alayna Joy, totally ticked off a llama this weekend. Yes, a llama. Her name is Hannah Montana. Oh, it gets better.

We were visiting a dairy farm that had quite the collection of animals including rabbits, donkeys, goats, sheep, and yes, a llama. Her name is Hannah Montana. She is very tall and hairy. Hannah loves the goats she shares a pen with and she loves to give kisses.

Hannah walked up to me while I was holding Alayna about 2 inches from my face. I got a kiss (awwwww!). Alayna proceeded to rake her fingers across Hannah's face to grab and tweak Hannah's nose so hard that Hannah sneezed, stared and stomped away.

She's kind of a diva. Hannah, not Alayna.

However, I'm sure Alayna will act like a diva one day.

..............anyways, Alayna also got her chance to ride a goat. She was squealin' louder than any animal in that pen as she rode! Perhaps it's my mother's Western roots coming out in her.

I was also educated on the process of milking. God bless all of you who farm. I will never look at a glass of milk the same.

Collin- I know I don't need to say very much that would surprise you about this kid. If you have been reading long enough, you would know that he has had his moments.

Well, he gave us his glory this weekend. We caught Collin peeing on a tree in the middle of a park Sunday afternoon during a pot luck. It was part of a family reunion we attended.

He loves giving grand first impressions.

We lectured Collin as to why we do not pee in public (this isn't his first time).

About an hour or so later, we look up and see Collin dashing behind a large tree far off in the distance. My motherly instinct takes over and I yell to my husband that Collin is peeing on trees again, and he runs over to help Collin tinkle in a more appropriate place.

Off to the bathroom they go. They return a few minutes later and my hubs informs me that Collin was caught full monty going...ahem....#2 by the tree. "Mom, I couldn't find the bathroom".

I have a feeling that this is not going to be our last issue with this.

Ben- He is pleased to tell you that he followed ALL the rules this weekend, and supervised the safety of others as we were lighting off fireworks....

.....because he is so laid back that way.

I love my kids. How on earth are they sooooooo different!?!?!!?

Hope you guys had a great 4th! Updates on Kenya soon to come!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

More miracles....

We have so much celebrating going on at the moment, I can hardly contain myself.

First, I have to give a HUGE shout out to my sister, Nicole. She just got engaged last night to her long time love. He's been called Uncle Chris for a while now, but FINALLY we can make it official! Welcome to the family, Chris! Oh, and if you haven't checked out my sister's blog, then you need to go here. She cooks as if it's her last day on earth. You'll love her!!!

Also on the homefront, we had a huge step forward last night. I'm telling you what guys, PRAYER WORKS. The impossible CAN happen. We are still in a bit of shock that we are going, actually going, to Kenya.

We thought that something like this was too far out of reach. Or, only to be done only by watching other people doing it and would never be applicable to us.

We will be booking flights to leave for Africa by Labor Day weekend. I will share more about how this came to be so soon once I get my thoughts together. For now, I'm so scattered!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Friday, June 24, 2011

Funky Family Friday

Whoa! Well, I've been a bit forgetful behind on getting Funky Fridays posted.

I've had a few things going on........

******The purpose of Funky Family Fridays was created to give ideas on how our family functions, sometimes it's creative activities, traditions or just a funny moment during this past week.******

This week, we celebrated my son's 5th birthday. We have a tradtion that recently started at the dinner table. We go around the table once a week or so and take turns saying one thing the like and appreciate about each person.

On Collin's birthday, we all took turns saying our favorite thing about Collin. When it came to be my turn, Collin looked at me, rolled his eyes and said,

"oh great. Yeah, yeah I know Mom, you love all of my kisses and snuggles. Good grief".

I just sat there with my mouth open. OF COURSE that is my favorite thing!!! Does the number 5 make him too old for that stuff!?!?

.........he has no idea what's coming. Wait until his mama picks him up from school wearing a large, purple velvet hat and blasts Will Smith in my mom-mobile.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


If you're not praying big, pray big. God has no ceiling.

Psalm 50:10 "...for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills".

Meaning, EVERYTHING in the world is God's. (Psalm 50:12 If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is mine, and all that is in it.)
We have nothing to fear. (Psalm 5:11 "But let all who take refuge in you be glad;
let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.)

We can ALWAYS trust Him. (Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for give you hope and a future")

There is nothing God cannot do.

We just have to ask.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

30 days and counting

In 30 days, we are scheduled to leave.

We have a house to sell and the rest of our support to raise. We need to purchase plane tickets and sell the rest of our stuff. In our little Midwest homeland, we have this little saying that goes, "UFF-DAH" meaning, "that's a lot on your plate".

Yeah, feeling that way.

I'm not overwhelmed or stressed, I'm totally in peace. Peace knowing that we have surrendered this entire process and we are TRUSTING Him. It's a full plate, but He is carrying it and refining us in the process....and my knees and elbow are pretty scraped up :)

I was skyping briefly with another mama overseas the other day and she really encouraged my heart in so many ways. She made me feel validated and really excited
to see mind-blowing miracles in the next 30 days.

Miracles to pray for:

We have a big meeting on Thursday at noon. HUGE. I'd appreciate prayer for this. It's a real cornerstone for us to be able to get the container shipped and us to Kenya. Whatever is meant to be, right?

I have a garage sale planned July 16th to sell our stuff. Daring? That's how I roll! My mini entrepreneur (my first born) is selling cupcakes to benefit orphan care at our sale. I hope you come and eat a ton of them and buy our stuff. :) Or, just come and visit and say hi!

To be fully supported.

Oh, an our house to sell. Is that too much to ask!?!!?

It's all in His precious time. And we wait.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Summertime is for.....

I found this at a garage sale over the weekend for $3. The go-cart...not the man in the tie-dyed tshirt. Just to be clear.

This toy has brought more joy to our boys than I've seen in a long time! I'm thinking this will be brought to Kenya with us to share with our Kenyan family. It's too fun NOT to bring.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Living in a "newspaper" world. Change.

I do not know many of you who read my blog. But, I feel lead to show you this 10 minute video.

John Piper has been one of the billions of pieces of my life's puzzle that God has used to mold me in who I am today.

Suffering has been on my mind lately. It's been one of the BIGGEST heart issues that as a mom I have aggressively wrestled with this year as I tell God


I've feared suffering. "No, not me, God". Not my family or my kids.

I found myself living and building this false sense of security and safety.

Safety and security doesn't exist. You can build your walls higher and wider. But in reality, I've failed.

You may not understand things John Piper talks about fully in this brief sermon. But, I challenge you to listen to every word and be moved. Be disgusted. Be offended. Know Jesus. Be challenged.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Isaiah 58

I've been reading Isaiah 58 over and over again. It's wierd. I'm drawn to it. I wake up at night and Isaiah 58 is in my mind.

What is God saying to me? I've never been one to audibly hear God speak. I've never been one to have scripture just come to me like that. However, in my little, small world, I've been pummeled by the reality of how RELEVANT God is to my life today. I'm longing to be in His word more and I'm thirsty to know what His ways are for my life.

I've not been a morning person much of my life. Recently, I've been awake at 4:45am for several days in a row. Laying there. Staring at the ceiling. Coincidence?

"Isaiah 58. Spend yourself".


"Spend yourself on behalf of the poor".

Mmmmmmmmmmmm ...... k.

I thought I was kinda doing that...right?

"Isaiah 58"

Okay, so apparently there is more I need to learn. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sprouts Needs List


Toy, feeding and clothing donations can be gently used. They do NOT have to be new!!!! Please avoid anything that is broken or torn. Thank you!


So I'm in the phase of beign ::this close:: to ordering a container to ship on its merry way to Kenya filled with treasures YOU have generously given to Sprouts. I'm also stashing some goodies for other families in Kitale as well as stuff for our family.

But we have a little ways to go to be fully furnished for the baby home. I'm not trying to get this home to be like the "American way", however, there are essentials we need and there are some products that we need that would make life with 50 babies a lot easier for the staff caring for them.

If you are interested in getting a group of people together to go in on a bigger product or starting a campaign on your own FB page or blog, that would be HUGELY helpful in getting this list finished off.

Please remember that if you do donate through paypal on the button on the right side of this post, please remember to designate on the donation form specifically what it is for.

Alright! Here we go!

35 cribs - $100 each- handmade by a Kenyan craftsman in Kitale

Toys = rattles, blocks, rings, water toys, outside toys, etc
*please no stuffed or battery operated toys

Feeding = bottles, nipples, dinnerware, bowls, plates, sippy cups
15 highchairs - $120 each - **need to be ordered very soon!!!

Clothing = 24 month to 3T pajamas, tshirts and non denim pants

**It's not a huge list, but they are all things that are needed to top off our donation list!

If any of you are local, we are having an inventory organizational party at my house on Saturday starting at 1pm. Please email me if you are interested in coming!!!!


I've heard it said many times "there is a reason for everything" or "it's just a season". Have you? It couldn't ring truer for me right now.

Last weekend our family went and visited the town I grew up in Northern Minnesota. The weekend was filled with mixed emotions as I intruduced my family to people who meant the world to our family growing up and showed my family the home we lived in, the window I used to sneak out of, the woods my brother and I used to build forts in, and the trail we would ride our bikes down and harass golf players to buy golf balls from us. I ran into the father of my best friend growing up who lived just down the road from us and got an update on my dear friend that I have searched for but never could find!

We jaunted briefly across the Canadian border so the kids could get their first stamp in their passports.

We saw many bald eagles on the way in which Ben affectionately started reciting The Pledge of Allegiance to each time he saw one (we saw 2). Perhaps this is his following of his mother who seems to burst out in "America the Beautiful" at every 4h of July fireworks show.....but I digress..

It was an awesome weekend.

In many ways, the weekend was very healing for me. See, growing up, I did not make the best choices. My perspective was that I was doing normal small town stuff. My family decided that it was in my best interest for me to move to Wyoming to live with my aunt and uncle just before my junior year of high school. Leaving at that time, for me, was very traumatic and I've had this dark cloud over that part of my past for a long time.

I gave a brief presentation to my little home church I grew up in. Many people attended that I remember from growing up. Many people I spoke in front of about how Africa has wrecked my life prayed for me during those tumultuous years and I had no idea. Prayer works, people.

Coming back as an adult to the town that partially haunted me was a good thing. It gave me a different perspective. Hearing people's memories of me-joyful memories- was so healing, as my perspective and belief about myself was always so negative.

Looking at my oldest son and seeing that I was exactely his age when I moved to this town and having this sense of things coming full circle was amazing.

There is a season for everything. I'm thankful for the seasons HE has taken me through and I'm thankful for the season I am in now.

God isn't done with us yet. He is not finished working in our hearts. Some things he continues to sift me and refine me to be more like His image.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

I just want to GO!

Sometimes I have days like today where I wonder "hmmmmm".

I'm not discouraged. I'm joyful. I'm trusting in His plan for our family. But sometimes I just wonder "hmmmmmm, what is God doing?"

I'm not one who plays things last minute. However, this is all this journey seems to be. I'm clearly out of my comfort zone most of the time.

Have you ever been there?

There are so many details that need to pan out for us to move. I've been wrestling with feelings of fear pelting my spirit yelling, "what if this doesn't work out?" What I've learned is that I (we) need to be content being the kind of vessel that God has called us to be. This journey is not about us. If our family was meant to be used to have a community united to build a beautiful baby home for Kenya's tiniest treasures, then Praise God. The icing on the cake, for me, would be to live in Kenya and watch Sprouts be built from brick 1 on up. That is the direction we are headed.

Today, I am feeling challenged to surrender the plans that I have for my life and be content where I am today. I struggle with pride and I struggle with being discouraged easily. Does that make sense? I know God is refining me in these areas of my life on a daily basis.

I feel like I've been living 'in the future' for months and I just want to be in Kenya. I know I need to be focused on today, the present, and stop worrying about the "what ifs".

Yesterday, we had sweet time with my Grandparents. My kids' Great-Grandparents. This meant the world to me to have them together as they have not seen our kids since Ben was 9 months old.

They stopped for lunch on their way back home to Colorado. They poured their years of life and wisdom and filled my soul with much needed encouragement.

I'm so thankful to have generations before me who have loved God deeply and have loved me unconditionally despite the "detours" I have taken along the way.

This verse came to mind after I had posted these pictures and it seemed fitting.

Psalm 100:5
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Why our Pastor rocks

So, this morning, we went to church like any other Sunday. My husband has been away for several days, so I frantically got the kids ready to go AND the house tidied up for yet another open house.

The kids "earned" their promised treat this week of a cinnamon roll and a hot chocolate for sitting so well in the service last week. They were thrilled.

Anyways, our Pastor's sermon today was on "The Sermon on the Mount". Pastor Glen had memorized the entire Matthew Ch. 5-7 and spoke it as if Jesus were preaching it to us. There was a lot of fun emphasis and props. Ben had a lot of questions during his sermon today, such as

"Why, Mommy, do I have to cut off my right hand if it sins?"


"Why, Mommy, do we have wood in our eyes?"


But, what really made me gasp was when we were driving to the beach today and he told me,

"Mommy, Pastor Glen really makes me want to read the Bible more. I have so many questions".

I could have turned into a puddle in that moment. I pray every day that my kids crave the Word of God and want to learn more about Him.

God is so good. God has known my little mothering heart and known my longings for my children. I just love it when God encourages me like that.

Things to pray for this week:

1. To gain stride in our family's support raising.
2. To sell our home (dropped the listing price, have had 4 showings since Friday)
3. For our inventory for Sprouts to be filled so we can get the container shipped!!!

God is good, all the time. There is no other timeline I'd rather trust.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Pressing ahead.

Today is a day that I am feeling confident, but overwhelmed! In looking at my "to do" list, there is NO WAY I can get it all done by depending on myself. Someone told me that it seems like a ballet dance. Yes, that's an accurate description. There are so many details that all need to be timed perfectly for us to go.

Selling our home. Plane ticket purchase. Being fully funded. Scheduling the container to be shipped to Kenya. Etc.

Trusting God has given me a new perspective. It's not just about s few things in my life I can easily brush off and "hope for the best". It's trusting Him wholly, completely, and ultimately, to make many, many details of this move to Kenya a reality.

I've been so overwhelmed with people's compassion and generosity recently, it has left me speechless. Strangers who have never seen my face are giving their resources to Sprouts. If you are reading this and are one of them, THANK YOU.

All I want this little blog to be is an encouragement to anyone who reads it as to how God is real, living, relevant to our culture and life today.

Never in my life did I think our family would be moving to a third-world country and leaving all we know behind.

In this season, I want to remember that God is faithful in sustaining us in the very moment we need it. Since I am one who loves to have things mapped out, it drives me crazy to get things in last minute and be disorganized.

Disorganized and last minute is all that I'm feeling! I feel like this is not by chance, but it is a part of God slowly refining me for a greater good.

There are still many ways to give if any of you are interested. I will put a post up soon about specifically needs left for the baby home. I'm also excited to share with you about a new project coming up to benefit Sprouts and another struggling group in Kenya-widows.

This is not about me, or our family, or about us. This is about all of us choosing to step outside our comfort zone and use the resources that have been given to us to bless others who have n.o.t.h.i.n.g.

Sponsor one of Mattaw's kids.
Be a donor towards Sprouts.
Pray for us.
Be an advocate for orphan care.

These are all ways you can be a part of this. For more info, please email me at mattawsprouts (at) yahoo (dot) com

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Monday, May 30, 2011

The voiceless. Why care?

I wanted to share a post today that touched my heart. Amy did a great job explaining that there is such a time as being too late.

check out Amy's post

Friday, May 27, 2011

In a while

I'm gonna go offline for a while. I need a break.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Maybe I am being irresponsible....

It is my prayer that all of you who read this will never lose the sight that what we have been given is a blessing from the Lord. I pray that the desire to give back and not be attached to the "stuff" that consumes our lives to become more valuable than our relationship with Jesus.

To me, these kids are worth it. Jesus is worth it. If you are not familiar with this little guy, I want you to click here and read about where he came from.

No, I have no idea where my children's college fund will come from nor do I know how we are going to retire.

Living life "normally" for me includes building relationships with others so they may be pointed to growing closer to Jesus. Living normally, for me, means using everything that we have been given to bring Glory and honor to the One who deserves it.

Please, view this sermon and let it wreck your heart. I am praying for your heart to be wrecked in Jesus' name because it is only through Him that it can happen.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Funky Family Friday

They're here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Alayna, clearly, is wondering what she's been born into.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Homeschooling has been an internal battle for me for over a year now. It's been mixed with feelings of dread and insecurity and gradually has evolved into excitement and anticipation.

Looking back at the journey of God gently peeled my tight grip from my will and lovingly disciplined me to pursuing HIS heart. When I finally let go of my will, which included NOT owning a mini van or living in the frozen tundra prairies, it's been a journey of living by the seat of my pants.

It's been an amazing ride.

Homeschooling has me really excited. Did I really just say that? Never ever did I foresee me feeling excited about it. I find myself on websites and in stores looking for creative ways to teach our kids the next 2 years.

So, we will be starting THIS SUMMER with homeschooling. Ben, being 11 days away from summer vacation, has other ideas about what to do with his time. We figure if we start now, it is one less thing to adjust to in Kenya....and I think we would benefit from that.

Thank you for all of your encouragement with homeschooling. I know there will be struggles ahead. Please keep filling me up with what works for you and what hasn't worked!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why I don't run

It's marathon season here in Fargo. My husband is obsessed. I would like to take this week and celebrate why I do NOT run.

1. Froggles - a term my husband speaks. a.k.a "the jogging farts". Are you kidding me!?!?

2. Bleeding nipples - tshirts chaffing...gah! do I need to explain? Looks like a great time. Sign me up.

3. Pooping in pants - apparently the bowel system unleashes when you run and forget to clear out the pipes.

4. Being chased by dogs. Or, being bitten by TJ's personal favorite, a Bischon Frise. Ruff Ruff.

5. Hypothermia (in this part of the country, not freezing to death requires a minimum of 11 layers of running gear)

Oh, and did I mention that 9 months out of the year it feels like it's dark from 7pm to 6am? So, in order to get a good run in, one must look like a glow stick to not get run over by a car, snowplow, or whatever....

6. The gear. Tight pants, short shorts, shoes that look like this!

Nothing about this screams "HEY! I'M HAVING A GREAT TIME!!!"

TJ swears it's a great stress reliever. I coupon and paint my toes. We all have different coping skills.

Perhaps you are a lover of running. If you are running ANY event this year, I salute you! I also will be "that gal" wearing an obnixious outfit and holding some poster up commenting on how warm, relaxed and "not thirsty" I am.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ode to TJ

I love my husband because...

He lets me go public with this photo.

Because he moves our Christmas tree all around the house, from room to room, until I decide where I want it. And he smiles.

When he is sick, he never complains.

Goes out to shovel our driveway at 6:30am because our snowblower broke down...

...and smiles.

He takes his family to the lands of the unknown.

Flies around the world with me. visit our Kenyan daughter.

loves and loves

and loves orphans

and of course...loves Jesus SO much, he preaches the Gospel like the world is ending tomorrow.... :)
p.s. if you think it was easy to make this photo...well then you don't know us very well!!! (Kenya 08)

...and loves orphans some more.

He's one helluva guy.