When Words Will Not Come


July 22nd, 2011

Drought in Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia and other parts of Eastern Africa

Famine declared in Somalia.

Read this post. I could not say it better then Rebekah does.

Sign the petition being sent out by ONE.

Support Doctors Without Borders.

Support Our Families.

(via Cindy Burt)

Win a Paper-Bead Necklace


April 11th, 2011

Check out the Awaka Children’s Foundation blog for a chance to win a cool paper-bead necklace from Uganda.

From their website:

Kamengo is located in the south of Uganda, 45kms from Kampala, depending on traffic it takes 1 hour and 30 minutes to drive.

Kamengo is a big county having over 80 villages. The population of Kamengo-Ffunvu village is about 1000 people: children below the age of 7 years taking the greatest percentage, followed by women and men last. Kamengo has a good number of elderly poverty stricken people with medical needs, as well as many children with special needs: many with hearing and eye impairments due to a dirty water source.

Malnourishment runs rampant in the village due to the high poverty and lack of access to jobs. Awaka hopes to be able to provide a weekly nutritious hot meal to the residents of Kamengo-Ffunvu with help of regular donors. We also hope to provide the residents the means to gain skills to produce products that can be sold at markets to allow for self-sustainability, as well as seeds for farming.

Christmas Shopping and Helping a Family at the same time


October 25th, 2010

My friend is hosting an online silent auction to raise money to bring her son JohnMark home from Ghana.

It’s a pretty amazing story. I’ll give you the short version but go get a box of tissues and read her story here.

The short version is this: about 2 years ago, they adopted two older girls from Ghana. They knew the girls had a baby brother but he was not in need of a family at the moment. While visiting an orphanage in Ghana, guess who they met? Yep, BabyBoy. So, after much paperwork, waiting and red tape, they are bringing home their daughters’ biological brother.

Now, they are trying to cover a few costs. They are auctioning off quite a bit of cool stuff, a lot of it hand made in Ghana – including raw shea butter. If you’ve never used this stuff, you are missing out.

Here’s the deal – the items can be shipped to you at your expense or they can be picked up the night of the auction if you win. But I’ll throw out this offer – if you are from out of state and win an item, I will pick it up and ship it to you at no cost – just to say thanks for helping out a family.

Happy Christmas Shopping. Ready? Go.

Links on Adoption and World AIDS Orphan Day, Plus Random Updates


May 8th, 2010

Several blogs I follow have posted very interesting articles or links to topics surrounding parenting, adoption, AIDS and a few others. I’m not going to try and rewrite what they have already stated much better than I ever could. Instead, I’m just going to link like crazy and give credit where credit is due.

Yesterday was World AIDS Orphan Day. I have mixed feelings about this day. It’s an important day. The world needs to know how serious this issue is but it can’t be summed up in one day. The kids are around and need our help the rest of the year. It’s an overwhelming task to try and help them all. Start small. Help one.

In the year 2000 there were 12 million orphans in Africa and more than twenty-five percent of those lived in NIgeria and Ethiopia. Eleven percent of all children in Ethiopia were orphans.

By 2010, between twenty-five million and fifty million African children, from newborn to age fifteen, would be orphans. In a dozen countries, up to a quarter of the nation’s children. The numbers were completely ridiculous.

Twelve million, fourteen million, eighteen million-how could numbers so high be answers to anything other than “How many stars are in the universe?” or “How many light-years from the Milky Way is the Virgo Supercluster?”

Who was going to raise 12 million children? Who was teaching 12 million children how to swim? Who was going to sign 12 million permission slips for school field trips and pack 12 million school lunches? Who was going to by 12 million sneakers that light up when you jump? Backpacks? Toothbrushes? 12 million pairs of socks? Who will tell 12 million bedtimes stories? Who will quiz 12 million children on Thursday night for their Friday morning spelling test? 12 million trips to the dentist? 12 million birthday parties? Who will offer grief counseling to twelve, fifteen, eighteen, thirty-six million children?

(Except from There is No Me Without You by Melissa Faye Greene)
note: Not all of the orphans she is referring to are orphans because of AIDS but even if it’s only 12 children instead of 12 million, it’s still 12 too many.

An excellent post by Erin of Full House, Full Hands, Full Hearts on World AIDS Orphan Day

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If you are considering adoption, you have adopted, you know someone who adopted or any combination of the above, please read this post on love and adoption by Tonggu Momma.

And another post on adoption from Fugitivus (If you can’t handle swearing, skip this one.)

These aren’t the typical sunshine and roses articiles about adoption. They are very real. Adoption is not perfect and is never the ideal situation for a child. It is the last resort. And yes, it can go wrong. And it’s important that people know all sides of adoption. I can’t stress this enough:  All adoptions come with grief and loss that is very real.

If you have an afternoon, read Yoon’s Blur. She’s an adult adoptee, who, in my opinion, does an excellent job discussing the good, the bad and the ugly points of adoption.

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And a few random updates.

  • You can still throw your name into the hat to win Kevin’s awesome book.  I’m giving away 2 copies and so far there are only 10 entries so if you are one of those people who never wins anything, you’ve got a really good shot of winning this time around.
  • My school did a fundraiser for charity:water last month. Pretty proud of the elementary school, they brought in almost $400.
  • There are less than 20 days left of school. That is such a nice feeling.
  • Fun things I have planned for my class: An ice cream party (because they brought in over $60 for charity:water), making our own playdough, making rainbow crayons from the broken bits of crayon, making one of those paper chains for counting down the days in school, cleaning out the classroom (cleaning isn’t that much fun, but if you say it the right way, you can convince a kindergarten student anything is fun).
  • Went to Feed My Starving Children tonight. My group packed up 34 boxes of food. The entire group packed 194 boxes (or something close to that). It works out to enough meals for 114 children to have one meal a day for a year. If you want a fun family activity, go check it out.

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I think we’ll call that good for the randomness tonight. I really don’t think I should be allowed to blog after about 9:30 at night. I’ll try and make a little more sense next time around.

By the way, Happy Mother’s Day. If you haven’t called your mom yet, go do that.

NaBloPoMo Post #29: Shopping with a Purpose


November 29th, 2009

If you have someone on your holiday gift list but you have no idea what they want or need consider buying something in their name, like water or a goat or a flock of chickens or a micro-loan. Here’s a list of places to get you started.

charity:water Give clean water.
Oxfam America Give animals, training for mid-wives, soap, blankets, seeds and much more.
Heifer International Give goats, sheep, water buffalo, ducks, knitting baskets, rabbits, milk cows, etc.
Samaritan’s Purse Help buy a plane ticket for a child needing surgery. Buy hot meals. Provide clothing and shoes. Help build schools and hospitals.
PlumpyNut A peanutbutter type paste that is being used to save children from malnurishment.
Doctors Without Borders Doctors and Nurses who volunteer their time in areas of the world where medical care is difficult to come by.
AHOPE Sponsor an orphan in Ethiopia who is HIV+

Or, if you don’t want to just give someone a card stating you donated money in their name, consider purchasing gifts from a store that gives back.

Ten Thousand Villages Great gifts from around the world. Ten Thousand Villages is part of the fair trade organization so you know that what you buy is hand made and the artist is getting a fair price for their work.

Fistula Foundation
Beautiful jewelry and scarves. Supports hospitals treating women with fistula – a complication from childbirth that can leave a woman incontinent, which usually means she is shunned from her family/support system. (P.S. check out the movie Walk to Beautiful for more information on this).
Amharic Kids Jewelry made in Ethiopia by women who are HIV+. The money made from the sales helps support these women.
Water4Christmas T-shirts, waterbottles, etc. 100% of the money goes to charity:water. You can also check out the Water4Christmas etsy shop for handmade items. Again, 100% of the money goes to charity:water.
Orphans No More You’ll have to e-mail the Matts to see if there are any left. The bracelets and ornaments were all made by the nannies in Uganda who are currently caring for their son while they wait to bring him home. The money will go towards their adoption costs and back to the orphanage he is currently staying in.
Beads For Life Handmade paper beads by bead makers in Uganda. I ordered a bag of loose beads for myself and they are amazing.
Kazuri Handmade beads from Kenya.

I’ll add more to the list as I find them. If you have any organizations, feel free to add them.

NaBloPoMo Post #13: Clean Water for Everyone


November 12th, 2009

It’s almost here.

The day to spend $10 to change a person’s life forever.

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$10 on Friday, November 13.

That’s it.

Water4Christmas


October 23rd, 2009

If you are looking for great Christmas/Holiday presents and you want 100% of the proceeds to go to charity:water then you need to check out Water4Christmas’s etsy shop.

They have ornaments, t-shirts, headbands, jewelry, blankets, and more. It’s all handmade and it’s for a great cause.

Walk for Water


June 11th, 2009

Carrying 5 gallons of water 2 miles from the Mississippi River back home.

Pay It Forward


May 31st, 2009

Remember that movie? I loved that movie. Anyway…May 27th was Give Away Day over at Sew, Mama Sew! and so I’ve been checking out a pile of blogs (hundreds actually). And in a few places I’ve seen people doing this pay it forward thing so I thought I would join in.

Here’s the rules

(I found my idea here: Bec Clarke)

I am entering into the following contract with the first 5 people who comment and then commit to do the same on their blog.
Just read below and if you feel up to the task copy the following into your blog and leave me a comment. I can’t post overseas, so it’s for US residents only.

1. I make no guarantees that you will like what I make. You get what you get and you don’t have a fit.
2. What I create will be just for you, with love.
3. It’ll be done this year (2009).
4. I will not give you any clue what it’s going to be. It will be something made in the real world and not something cyber. It may be weird or beautiful. Or it may be monstrous and annoying. Heck, I might bake something for you and mail it to you. Who knows? (okay, I probably won’t bake anything because shipping that is a huge pain.)
5. I reserve the right to do something strange (but probably won’t)
6. In return, all you need to do is post this text on your blog and make 5 things for the first 5 to respond to your blog post.
7. Send your mailing address – after I contact you.

Welcome to everyone. I will however, make an effort to do something that you like based on what I see on your blog, BUT there are no guarantees.

How Often Do I Use Water?


May 19th, 2009

Since Kevin has started this whole Bald Birthday Benefit we’ve been very aware of how much water we use around here. And it’s amazing how much is used. I tried keeping track this weekend.

  1. Woke up, went to the bathroom, flushed the toilet.
  2. Washed my hands.
  3. Got a drink of water.
  4. Brushed my teeth.
  5. Changed Milo, washed hands again.
  6. Made Milo a bottle.
  7. Got Lexi up, changed her, washed hands.
  8. Lexi used the bathroom, flushed the toilet.
  9. Lexi washed her hands.
  10. Then she played with the water for a while.
  11. Milo got a bath.
  12. Lexi got a bath.
  13. I got a shower.
  14. Kevin got a shower.
  15. Breakfast – made OJ (with water)
  16. Washed Milo’s face after feeding him.
  17. Did laundry.
  18. Fed dogs, gave them fresh water.
  19. Planted flowers, watered them.
  20. Ran the dishwasher.
  21. Put ice in my soda.
  22. Drank  several glasses of water.
  23. Washed hands many more times.
  24. Flushed toilet many more times.
  25. Made cereal for Milo.
  26. Made more bottles.
  27. Washed more bottles.
  28. The dogs got fresh water at lunch.
  29. And dinner.
  30. We drank water with dinner.

And this is just from a day. I can’t imagine having to do all of these things with the small amount of water I could haul on my back. And I can’t imagine do all of these things knowing that nothing was safe to eat or drink, everything I was washing or cleaning wasn’t actually getting washed or cleaned. But there are people everyday who do.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be this way. You can help. You can give clean water.