Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fundraising opportunity

Our family is in the middle of support raising. It's been a faith-building road for our family. It's humbled us and brought us into many amazing relationships with people who love us and love what God is doing in Africa. If you are one of them, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

One of the recent ways we are fundraising is really fun! My dear friend, Wendy, whom I love to bits and pieces, lavished her artistic talent upon us and created a design for a t-shirt for an upcoming marathon in our area.

Though I do not have a photo of the actual t-shirt, I do have the design for the front.

Catchy, eh? She's talented!!!

The t-shirts are unisex sizes and come in S, M, L, and XL. We also are offering kids sizes.

The adult t-shirts are a royal blue Under Armour dry-wick shirts. The children's sizes are a cotton blended shirt, also blue.

Perfect enhancement to any wardrobe!!!

Cost is $15 for kids and $25 for adults. 100% of the profits from these shirts go right to our family for our salary while we are in Kenya.

If you are interested in ordering one, please email me at
mattawsprouts (at) yahoo (dot) com

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


When I find out which one of you gave my kids permission to grow up........

(first swing ride)

(preschool graduation)

It's with gratitude I say....

I'm so grateful I can be real here. There is nothing more than to be transparent with the process of our family going over. To share the ways God is providing for our family, to share the hurts, the tears and the joy that comes with this season in our lives is precious. To know it is safe to do so here, with your support-well, there are just no words.

One thing that has proven true always is how God sustains us, no matter what. He knows my heart, He knows my husband's heart, He knows our unspoken feelings, words and He loves us the same.

On the note of transparency: In the news recently, I'm sure you have heard of the drama surrounding Greg Mortenson. The "Three Cups of Tea" author has been caught in the middle of deceit and fraud, after claiming he was building many schools in Afghanistan. Although I believe he started with really good intentions, it made TJ and I realize that we are all human. What can start out as a really good cause, a really well-intentioned purpose, things can get carried away very quickly.

That is why we want you to know that we intend to have ultimate transparency with every resource that is given to us. Aside from financial support, we have been blessed with generosity and support of all kinds. Emails, phone calls, meals, watching our kids, prayer, hugs-without you, this process would be even more difficult than it is already.

So, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you. Thank you for partnering in this journey with us.

We will be starting a monthly newsletter to keep all of you updated who may not be able to follow our blog as often as you want. I anticipate that the posts will be flowing when we get out there, because there will be so much to share.

No, I don't have a clue how to put a newsletter together. So, bear with us :) If you are interested in having updates by email from our family starting in August, please email me at tlkenya (at) yahoo (dot) com and I will put you on our email list.

To end this post, I wanted to share a video that can be found here. In a culture where people believe you are born into your fate, look at Narayanan Krishnan ministry. I hope it inspires you!!!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Today is a crappy day, just sayin'

"There goes Mom crying again," I hear more than once over the past week.

Letting go is hard.

Transitioning is hard.

Today, is a hard day. Today is a day that I look up at the sky and ask God "Why, why us?" Today is a day where I can say that I feel like crap.

Letting go of "my treasures" is not easy. I'm sick to see the piles of junk that we've accumulated over the 7 years we've been a family.

Why did I feel like all this stuff was necessary? Some of it is sentimental. Some of it is "just in case" fancy plates, "on sale" extra holiday decor and "oh this is cute" picture frames. Why am I so attached to it?

I sit in an almost-empty shell of what used to be our home and I don't hear the kids begging for the toys that are in storage. I don't hear them wishing for that one shirt that is in a tub somewhere in the garage.

I see them playing with the few toys left out they do have. I see them playing more make believe outside now that it is nice out. I see them unfathomed by wearing the same small number of shirts they have left in their drawers.

Oh, how I long for being a child again, some days.

On the other hand, I'm not seeking to put out the world's biggest pity party. Just being real with where I am.

I always fall back on the little phrase "if not me, then who?".

Who? I have no idea how what we are doing today will impact tomorrow, our family, or those around us.

But I find myself praying for little people half way around the world I haven't met yet. I find myself praying for my children to be drawn closer to Him and for their little hearts to be wrecked for God's glory for all they see, hear, smell, taste and experience in Africa. I pray for Sprouts-for Mattaw, for all the missionaries in Kitale that we will be joining because I love the ministry of orphan care.

If not me, then who? If not US, then who?

Even though today is a crappy day in my little world, I'm thankful to know and be reminded that we have food, a house, vehicles, employment and friends. I know that tomorrow is a new day and all days are not like this one. But today, for now, life is hard. That's all.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sprouts Shower update

How was your Easter weekend? Were you filled with a new sense of hope and joy at what our Savior did for us???

I wanted to update everyone on where we stand with donations for the Sprouts baby home!!

I'm amazed and grateful at all of your generosity and giving towards babies you and I haven't met yet. Oh, how I pray for these little lives today and ask for God to put His hedge of protection over them, wherever they may be today.

Today, we have received donations for 8/50 cribs and 7/25 highchairs! We will continue to receive every penny with joy and anticipation as we prepare to break ground on Sprouts Baby Home in January! Please look to the right of this page and consider donating towards furnishing the baby home. PLEASE indicate what you would like your donation to go towards!!!

Also, if you are a savvy garage saler, we are in need of clothing for babies ages 0-2. I am asking for knit pants, and short sleeve and long sleeve onesies. Other toys, board books, bottles, and blankets can be found at the Sprouts Amazon Store or by YOU at a garage sale or another retail store.

In other news, we have officially listed our house for sale!!! I'm now in the world of keeping my house very very clean and waiting for the right buyer. God knows. I'm not worried.

I'm thankful that we have finally reached outdoor temperatures that my kids can play in for more than 10 minutes at a time so we are not in a constant battle of picking up.

I think I've entered one of the more difficult phases. One of which I didn't anticipate being so difficult. This is trying to decide what to donate, what to sell and decide if it is worth paying a mini storage fee to store while we are in Kenya!!! Talk about a real lesson in where my treasures are.

Have a great day!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011


He is ALIVE!!!!!

Boasting only in the cross and what He has done.

Friday, April 22, 2011

EVERYTHING He did, He did it for you.

I am overwhelmed with gratefulness for what He has done for me. What greater love than giving up His ONLY Son for me?

This song is one I sing with my boys before they go to sleep. I want them to know nothing more than how much God loves them and wants a relationship with them.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Prayer request.

Our faith is being stretched more than ever this week....and I know it has to be because He has something greater coming in the future that this lesson will benefit us. Isn't that why the Lord allows us to have trials? To bring us closer to Him?

Why wouldn't I trust God who was willing to put his Son on the cross for me? To give up his Son for what I had done? Because of this, I know that I can trust Him with ANYTHING, including our finances.

Will you please pray for us?

I'm excited to share with you how He provides. His eye is on the sparrow.....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Homeschooling...yeah right!

I've come to learn that God laughs when I give him my agenda.

Me: "I'm going to marry an accountant, have 2 kids and live in Colorado."
God: "heeeheehheee"

Me: "I will never own a minivan."

Me: "I will never homeschool. There is NO WAY I could ever do that".
God: "heheheheeeeeeeeee"

....I'm sure you've never experienced that.

I've never considered myself to be one who would homeschool my kids. In fact, the entire idea petrified me. My younger siblings were homeschooled for a period of time growing up, so I knew some of what it entailed.

I wasn't interested. I classified homeschooling families as denim-wearing, goat-milking, unsocialized kids and I certainly wasn't going to inflict THAT on my children.

But I'm certain that we will be picking eggs, milking goats and churning our own butter in the near future. Don't worry, I'll take a few photos.

A friend once told me "Homeschooling isn't bringing school home, it's leaarning at home, and it doesn't have to look like school". I'm thankful that there are so many opportunities and cirriculums out there to choose from. I'm thankful for a husband who is completely on board with this and is excited about it. I know that just being in another country will give our kids an amazing learning enviornment.

......and I live in Minnesota and yes, I do have a minivan. He is wrecking me one step at a time. It's so uncomfortable but it's been the most amazing ride!!

{If you currently are homeschooling or have in the past, would you please share with me your experiences? Any advice is much appreciated as we bound over this hurdle as we make our way across the big pond!}

Monday, April 11, 2011

In a culture of "doing", remember this....

"We are human BEINGS, not human DOINGS".

Remember to rest in Him today.

I heard this during yesterday's church service yesterday and it resonated with me. We are in a culture of 'doing' and 'going' and business that we (or I) often forget to sit at His feet and just BE.

I hope this encourages you today!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shaklee for Sprouts

I recently became a Shaklee Independent Distributor. I was attracted to the corporate responsibility the company takes to use minimal waste in producing and packaging their product. I also love the fact that it is a non-toxic formula and I can still get the same clean results that the other store brands give me without exposing my family to the harsh chemicals.

I've recently started using some of Shaklee's supplements and have found them to be amazing. Typically, taking vitamins has given me a stomach ache and I have found that Shaklee's vitamins, for me, have not done that. I have also found product that kick my head colds to the curb in 48 hours, similar to what products like Airbore claim to do.

I'm hooked.

I'd love for you to consider taking ONE of Shaklee's products and trying it. The product is called Basic H.

This product contains a concentrate that makes 48 gallons of cleaning product. Think of the plastic that saves our enviornment. Not only that, but think of the gallons of fumes you won't have to inhale.

Basic H cleans my kitchen, my bathroom, my windows, my walls, my floors, and our toys for our kids.

My goal is to get a ton of this product out to Sprouts. Not only that, but the profit that I make from my Shaklee business website goes to fund the monthly operating costs of Sprouts. 100% of my profit. My goal is also for Sprouts to be cleaned with Shaklee products and to be able to afford to have the babies on supplements as soon as they can.

Please consider taking this ONE product into your home and giving it a try. If you are not satisfied, Shaklee will give you your money back, no questions asked. There is nothing to lose.

Your purchase of Shaklee ---> fills your home with awesomeness ----> supports Sprouts' monthly operating costs. WINNING!!!

*If you are interested in donating a bottle of this to Sprouts for us to take with us, please email me.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Sprouts Store is here!


Congrats Teri! You've won the book!!!!


Original Post:

Here we go! A fun day! I've created an Amazon store that allows you to go and shop for items we have hand-picked for the baby house. All you have to do is click on the store link in the right column and shop away!!! All of the product will be delivered to my town and will be stored until it is shipped on a cargo container overseas the end of June.!!!!

Categories include: clothing, feeding, diapering, toys, etc.

Oh, did I mention that by you shopping by clicking that specific link on my blog gives Sprouts baby home a percentage back of what you paid? So, it's a win-win. You fill our home with awesome gifts AND we receive a cash donation!!

You will see many products are eco-friendly. Remember my goal is to keep all products in the baby home as 'green' as possible. Not all fit that category, but my goal is to have it 100% green in 5 years ;) We'll see.

Now, go shop!

I have another giveaway! Please do not forget about the one happening here!

Today you have an opportunity to enter to win a copy of Anne Voskamp's book "One Thousand Gifts". It has been a blessing to me in so many ways, and I'm hoping it will be an encouragement to you, too. It also makes a great gift!

Both winners for the necklace and today's giveaway will be announced tomorrow morning. Both winners will be picked at random.

Here are the rules to enter:

You get one entry for doing each of the following....

1. Tell me your favorite baby product
2. Post about this baby shower on your Facebook
3. Blog about the baby shower and link back to my blog
4. Tweet about it!

So, you have up to 4 entries you can submit for helping me spread the word.

Thank you thank you thank you for ALL you have done this week. There is no too small of a gift. I can't wait to see what you all pick out!!!


Poopsie Whoopsie!!!

My goal with Sprouts from the get-go has been to keep it as eco-friendly as possible. When discussing how we are going to handle the diapering 'situation' that babies tend to have, it brought on quite the challenge.

Currently, I cloth diaper my daughter. Initially, it wasn't because it was the "green" thing to do. It was way more about saving money for us. Going down to one income and adding one more child made our budget tighter. At first it was a love-hate relationship for me.

Now, I wouldn't do it any other way. If you are diapering your baby now, the Bumgenius Flip system is as easy as using pampers...for real!!! I would seriously consider it. I wouldn't have said that a year ago.

When looking at Sprouts, we quickly realized that we were going to be throwing away a minimum of 500 diapers a WEEK!! Kenya doesn't exactely have a great landfill system, and the landfill they do have has already said "no" to diapers coming into it.

That means, 500-700 diapers a week would be thrown into the streets of beautiful Kenya.

It's a no-brainer, don't you think?

Sprouts will use ALL cloth and biodegradeable liners/inserts. This also means that we are trusting that YOU will help us keep our closet full of fresh diaper inserts.

We are still giving a lot of care and research about this because we want to be a good steward of your dollars and be efficient and eco-friendly in how we dispose of the...ahem "waste".

Currently, I am considering using the gDiapers and the Bumgenius Flip system. Both we can get at wholesale cost. Both have biodegradeable liners. Both have cloth options. Hmmmmm....

The wipes situation I'm still trying to wrap my head around. 2 wipes per diaper change x 8 changes a day x 50 babies. OYE!!

Please consider donating towards a diaper fund. I really want to preserve Kenya's beauty and not pollute it with disposable diapers. I'm sure when you come out to rock the babes you will want the same thing, too.

$10 gifts us with 1 diaper cover. Our goal is to have 500 covers in stock.
$5 gifts us with a package of approx 18 biodegradeable inserts for the diapers
$8 gifts us with one cloth insert for a diaper.

Have you checked out the giveaway going on? Winner announced Friday morning!!

There will also be one more giveaway sometime today. I'm giving away a copy of Anne Voskamp's book "One-Thousand Gifts". It will knock your socks off!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Giveaway Winners Update!

and we have a winner for the paperbead necklace!! Congrats #12 Jody! Please email me at to collect your loot.

...and because I love you and because I am completely in awe of what God has done this week....and because I can....I'M PICKING ANOTHER WINNER!

Congrats #1 ERIN! again, please email me at to collect YOUR loot!


Original post:

Okay, I cannot take it anymore.

I need to do a giveaway. You guys just rock. The gifts and encouragements you have given all of us this week has been overwhelming. Sprouts is going to be one rockin' baby house.

Ally is a 13 yr old girl that came to Kenya with a team I led last summer. Her heart was wrecked for a little boy at Mattaw Childrens Village named baby Georgie.

She came home from our 2 week trip and learned on her own how to make paper beads and since has been selling them on her etsy shop. She started to sell them with the goal to raise enough monthly support for baby Georgie to help raise him at Mattaw.

It first started as this....

Turned into this.....

...and now, has turned into many, many artistic designs, like this.

You are never too young, or too old to start making change. Ally is proof of that. She is an inspiration to me.

So, to honor her and to continue to support baby Georgie, I am giving away one of her "mixitup" necklaces pictured above.

To enter, all you need to do is go to her Twirling Trees etsy shop and tell me which creation of hers is your favorite.

Winners will be chosen at random sometime Friday morning!

Hush little baby......

Your $5, $50, $120 donations are doing something about the orphan crisis. It's allowing us to provide tangible resources for these babies that otherwise would be left to die.

Again, thank you so much for your encouraging words through Facebook, email, Twitter, and phone calls yesterday!!! Thank you for those of you who donated towards highchairs for the precious home we will be bringing these babes into.

I was thinking last night how some of these babies are, right now, a twinkle in God's eye right now-the PLANS He has for them already. Incredible how Sovereign our God is.

Okay!!! Bring on more baby stuff!

Like yesterday, continue to donate through the Paypal 'donate' button or on the ChipIn button. Please always indicate what you are donating for: a specific item or for just the "Sprouts" general fund.

I've heard the best dreams start from being rocked in one of these.

Or, perhaps one of these

...and soothing bedtime stories? A must.

All cuddled, warm in their jammies.

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".

Thank you for looking after them....

Monday, April 4, 2011

April is a good month for Showers


The babies in Kitale need YOU!!!! The time has come for us to join together and start furnishing the Sprouts baby home in Kenya. This week I will be featuring something new everyday. Please consider spreading the word on your own blog or facebook page.

Today, we need twenty-five $120 donations for highchairs!

There are many ways to donate.

1) Donate using the ChipIn button on my blog (this is tax-deductible)
2) Go to, go to the bottom of the page and make your tax deductible donation.
3) Mail your check made to Mattaw Ministries to:

Mattaw Ministries
PO Box 375
Moorhead, MN 56561

Please mark your donation as "highchair".

Stay day this week I will be doing a giveaway-you're not going to want to miss it.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Are you ready?

The shower starts tomorrow!!!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

A few reasons why I love my family

I have a husband that adores his children.

I am visited by a "loco" Chihuahua every so often that perches on my couch....

...and continues to tolerate her partnership.

My 4 yr old sneaks dog treats out of the doggie jar...and enjoys them.

Ben loves his sister despite her projectile vomiting.

I have sisters that I love more than anything in the world.

Uncles that wrestle my kids...and always willingly lose.

Squishy, happy, cuddly daughter.

...and one of the best friends that God could bless a girl with.

Today, I am focusing on gratitude for all that we have been blessed with in this life.