Friday, December 30, 2011


Before reading about this week’s Give1 project, Mercy House, I didn’t know much about sex trafficking. To be honest, it was a happier time.

I started researching to write a blog post for this week. And I came across an article that paints a much better picture about sex trafficking in Kenya than I could, given my naivetë. It was written by Josh Ruxin for Nicholas Kristof’s blog on the NYTimes. (Kristof is a great journalist who covers poverty, empowerment, etc.)

"Mombasa’s child sex trade is a disturbing thing to watch, but I found that it’s exploding everywhere in this scenic city, one of Africa’s major tourist destinations….When I inquired about the phenomenon, everyone told me that tightened restrictions in Thailand and elsewhere in Asia had pushed the trade to Mombasa, where dozens of weekly flights from Europe fuel its existence.

Officially, the problem doesn’t exist, but according to one estimate, up to 30,000 girls between 12 and 14 years old are currently being lured into hotels and private villas along Mombasa’s north and south coasts where they are sexually exploited with promises of riches and trips abroad. In Malindi, impoverished children of both sexes looking for a new life sell their bodies to tourists…many visitors to Mombasa travel there specifically for illicit sex.

So how did poverty and corruption create this situation? The growing number of children joining Mombasa’s sex tourism trade is in part attributable to the lack of opportunity and further displacement caused by the violent outcome of 2007’s disputed presidential election. With few, if any, economic prospects at hand, unscrupulous agents are able to entice boys and girls with the promise of legitimate jobs. Often, however, the kids end up being forced into sex with strangers under the supervision of their putative sponsors. Seduced by the fast cash, many may end up becoming life-long sex workers, with lives cut tragically short by AIDS and violence."

Mercy House is providing a new opportunity, a new life outside this unimaginable situation, for girls who are about to become mothers. They need approximately $5,000 each month to run the organization. Let's do what we can to help the girls (and their babies) that need Mercy House. Donate as you can and pray for these girls, the babies, Maureen (the house director) and all those girls who are not fortunate enough to have the Mercy House as a refuge.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Favorite New Year's Recipe


Black Eyed Pea dip is the best thing ever! I use Pioneer Woman's recipe and it's so delicious. So without further delay, head over and get the recipe. Then hit the store before it gets too crazy. We'll be doing an early-ish New Year's Eve celebration at my sister in law's place. Fondue, baby!

And a couple of random reminders.

1. Donate to our charity of the week. You already did, right? No? Maybe you missed it. Here's the link.

2. Sign on for the Seven giveaway. The winner is being picked Saturday morning. Good luck!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011


Dun dun duuuuunnn.......

Do you do them? I just started last year. I took a long time to figure out 5 goals or themes for my year and I loved it, actually. So I did it again.

1. Learn and apply 10 Mixed Media techniques in one art piece. I have signed up for this class. I can't wait to get started! Christy Tomlinson is my new favorite human.


2. To learn more about the fasting and prayer. Without a doubt (from what I've heard in the Bible and from a million people over the course of a bazillion years) fasting and prayer go hand in hand and lead to a deeper connection with God. The reason I haven't done it so far, even though I've wanted to, is because I'm a chronic dieter and quitting some foods just feels like a diet to me. But I think obedience is my theme this year and God said something to me the other day. It was something to the effect of 'Just do it. Just try it.' So I am. I am taking a few precautions to safeguard my diet mentality. I'm not weighing myself at all. And should I lose weight, I'm not going to hit the mall for a new Forever 21 wardrobe. I'm really trying to not make this a diet. And it's surprisingly easy in that respect. See yesterday's post for what I'm doing with the prayer aspect. It's all going really well so far.

3. Like I said about themes, this year it's obedience. Several opportunities have landed in my lap this last year and now it's time for me to do what God has planned for me and just put one foot in front of the other. So this year I'm a robot. And I'm super happy about it. There is something liberating about turning your brain off and letting somebody else steer.

Do you have any resolutions? What about themes?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Book Review and Giveaway

Hey y'all. So, Jen Hatmaker's new book, Seven: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess is out. I read it in about 2 days. Very good, and as always, huh-larious. Like, laughing out loud, shaking the bed laughing. It shines a light on just how much we consume (food, clothes, trash, media, etc). She goes on a month long fast from seven areas of excess. For example, in month 1, food month, she only eats seven foods. And I don't mean Mexican food as one. I'm talking seven ingredients. This one seemed pretty hard, but in the end, most of the world doesn't have the luxury of seven ingredients. It was a real eye opener in how much we have (and still continue to want). It was refreshing and educational. It shows one woman's way out of the craziness and I really appreciate that. I think we're all sort of there, don't you?

By far, my favorite chapter was about stress. This one really speaks to me. I'm a simple housewife/blogger chick. That should not completely unglue me, but it does most days. So I needed this chapter. Jen cited a book, Seven Sacred Pauses: Living Mindfully Through the Hours of the Day. You guys, this one has changed my life in 24 hours! It's a book that teaches an ancient practice of praying at specific times for specific things. It's a gorgeous concept and has kept me completely centered for a solid day. That's a victory, folks. Pardon my new use of the words 'centered' and 'gratitude' and "mindful". I might sound all Buddha, but whatever. I promise that you will not be led down a freaky hippy path or anything. This book is written by a Christian nun named Macrina Wiederkehr and guides you through the prayers of the hours. It all comes so naturally and is perfectly timed with the natural rythm of your day. For example, in the morning there is a prayer for joy and gratitude of a new day. There are Psalms that you read with each one. It's so nice and not stressy and so welcome in my life. Incorporating more prayer into my life is one of my resolutions this year, but such a vague one, right? Well, this book is spot on for setting easy steps for making sure it happens.

So, ladies, how about a giveaway? Both of these books will go to one random commenter. Just tell me one thing... what do you feel like you have enough of? Is there anything in your life that you feel like scaling back on? Just leave a comment and I'll pick a winner on Saturday morning.

*UPDATE* This one is closed. Michelle Cain, you are the winner!

Monday, December 26, 2011

New Week, New Charity

Good morning, everybody! I hope you had a blessed Christmas! The seriously humble birth of Jesus made me think of what Mary was like, what her pregnancy was like, how people must have treated the unmarried mama. In honor of her and her sweet baby boy, I'd like to introduce you to our charity of the week. If you're newish, we usually support a charity instead of an adoption every couple of months. And I could not be more moved by this one. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Mercy House. Like, it's probably my most favorite charity. This info comes straight from the site.

The Issue:

  • Annually, 21,000 women are hospitalized from having an illegal, unsafe abortion in Kenya. (Center for Reproductive Rights)

  • Abortion is a volatile topic in Kenya.

  • 13,000 Kenyan girls are kicked out of school for being pregnant. (Center for Reproductive Rights)

  • 25% of pregnant women in Kenya are HIV positive (ObGyn in Kenya)

  • Every 30 minutes, a woman is raped in Kenya. (Nairobi Women’s Hospital)

  • Mothers often force their daughters into trading sex for food in the slums (CNN)

  • More than 20,000 children are sex trafficked in Kenya (Human Trafficking)

  • 1500 women die in childbirth every day across Africa (WHO)

The Vision of Rehema House (supported by Mercy House):

  • Provide a safe place-a guarded home with six maternity beds

  • Partner with local churches

  • Prenatal Care-vitamins, checkups

  • Proper Nutrition-protein and regular meals

  • Counseling-post abortion/prostitution

  • Ministry-prayer, Biblical teaching

  • Skills-jewelry, soap, sewing (future products will be sold here)

  • A nurturing environment in-which to give birth

  • A safe place to stay and learn and heal until they graduate from the program

  • An account to start small business or go to school (from products they make and sell)

The Plan:

        Our residents are invited to stay in the program for a minimum of two to four years, but our desire is to support each mom and baby throughout their lives. Each girl earns money through our Sustainable Skills Program and it will be dispersed over a long-term period to continue their education and even start a business as a part of our Graduate Program. Since our residents are at-risk- abused and even orphaned, we will assist them for as long as needed. We want to be their forever family and will tailor our help to each girl's situation. Our goal is quality, not quantity and total discipleship.

It is the desire of The Mercy House team to fulfill Micah 6:8 "He has shown you, O man, what is good: And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and love mercy, to walk humbly with your God."

These are the girls. They are so brave and smart. They are protected here. Counseled here. Supported here. This is an amazing place. These lovely ladies now have 4 baby boys living in that house! What a blessing! What would their lives and their deliveries be like if they weren't here? This is something I am moved by. I want to help, don't you? Well, you can do that in a few ways. Of course, you can donate your dollar right here. Or you can buy something that they have made. And, as always you can spread the word. I'll see you tomorrow!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Recipes for Christmas Morning

Christmas morning is almost here. And this year, I want to do something special, maybe even start a new tradition. Perhaps I’m being inspired by The Family Stone and Meredith’s Morton Family Tradition Strata. So I came up with some recipe ideas.

First, I’ve always wanted to try this Rachael Ray recipe for prosciutto and eggs cooked in muffin tins. I’ve also seen this recipe mimicked with ham slices (easier to find and cheaper than prosciutto). And you could use herbed cream cheese instead of mozzarella cheese to add some more flavor. Either way, what a clever idea!

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If your family is more of a sweet than savory breakfast crowd, perhaps you could flatten cinnamon roll dough and press them into muffin tins. For the filling, add some baked apples and cranberries (for 6 servings, sauté 4 or 5 chopped apples and a cup of cranberries in some butter, brown sugar, and a dash of vanilla). Bake the apple cinnamon cups for 10 minutes at 375 degrees or until the dough is golden.

What do you serve on Christmas morning? Share your recipes and fun traditions in the comments!

Oh, and Merry Christmas! Thank you for making this year so merry and bright for so many families and the children who need them. You have shown that giving, even just $1, really does make a difference.

Melkam Genna!

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Hi lovely Give1Save1 readers! My husband and I were so blessed to have had the opportunity to be the featured family a few weeks ago and I’m excited to have the chance to stay connected to this amazing community by becoming a contributing blogger.

Beth knows how much we love Ethiopia; the people, the culture, the rich history. So how excited was I when she asked me to write about Ethiopian Christmas? (Very!) Although we haven’t been in the country during the holiday itself, and my attempts at convincing my husband that I would be traveling to Ethiopia in a few weeks for “research” so I could provide you with some personal experiences failed, we are, nonetheless, excited to share more about the holiday as it’s celebrated in Ethiopia based on what we know about the culture along with some insight from friends.

One of the more obvious differences between Christmas as celebrated in America and in Ethiopia is the date; the Orthodox Christmas (approximately 50% of the population in Ethiopia are Orthodox Christian) is observed on January 7th.

Melkam Genna! The words Genna (alternate spellings include Ganna and Gena) and Christmas can be used interchangeably to mean the birth of Christ. The holiday can, therefore, also be referred to as “ye genna baal”.

Here at our home, Christmas preparation starts with cutting down our own Christmas tree, digging out decorations and untangling some lights. Shortly thereafter we decide just what we want for Christmas dinner and who will be joining us so we can plan our trips to the grocery store. While we’re out, we might as well get some gifts and wrapping paper! The best part of Christmas, however, is taking time to understand exactly what we are celebrating; the savior of any and all people being born among His creation.

Preparation for the holiday for Orthodox Christians in Ethiopia begins with a fast lasting up to 40 days (Advent) prior to the holiday itself. This means the day of Christmas involves eating MEAT. For those that can afford it, they will feast on sheep or doro wot (spicy chicken sauce or stew). For those that can’t (which is unfortunately the majority of the country), they will still celebrate by eating special foods including eggs and others that will not include shiro (a sauce or stew made of chickpeas), a daily staple in the Ethiopian diet. Our most recent trip to Ethiopia was during the fast leading up to Easter so we had plenty of chances to eat shiro and love it!

Full of historical and religious history, one legend states that the wise man who brought frankincense to the birth of Jesus was King Balthazar of Ethiopia. Because of this, many people burn frankincense incense as a part of their celebration. It is also said that the shepherds celebrated the news of the birth of Jesus Christ by playing a game called genna. This game, involving two opposing teams hitting a wooden ball with wooden sticks made from local trees attempting to outscore each other, similar to field hockey, is still played around Christmas.

Orthodox Christians typically attend church on Christmas Eve/early Christmas morning, often celebrating with candles. Although the church is a gathering place for those worshipping God and celebrating the coming of Christ through Christmas, Orthodox church-goers don’t actually enter the church.  Instead, they stand outside. There is a very elaborate ceremony surrounding communion involving three concentric circles.

Decorating and gifts are not an important part of the celebration. I suppose I should mention, however, as the western influence grows a bit in Ethiopia, they are seeing the sales of small, artificial trees popping up here and there. They are usually for sale about a week before Christmas and are very expensive, so the few Ethiopians that purchase one will typically be from the upper class.

Christmas seems to be one of the most intensely celebrated holidays here in America, but that isn’t necessarily the case in Ethiopia. So what’s more important in Ethiopia than Christmas? Easter and celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. But that’s for another day and another post!

Again, I am so thankful to have the chance to keep up with the Give1Save1 community. From our family to yours, we wish you a betam melkam genna! (a very merry Christmas!)


Kelly and her husband, Nick, are in the process of adopting their first child, a five year old child from Ethiopia who Kelly met on her first trip to Ethiopia in 2009. Kelly is a physical therapist and loves having the opportunity to spend time volunteering in Ethiopia, bringing and building equipment to optimize physical development, creating new programs to assist with orphanage organization and providing caregiver education. Living in Colorado, Kelly enjoys most things outdoors, including snowboarding and hiking. Kelly blogs over at just love.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What you CAN do

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Man I was hit hard by this quote today. You too? So we may not be big enough to fund a whole adoption yet. That's OK. All in good time. BUT, I'll tell you right now that we have, on average, at least 500 viewers come to this site every day. Are you not supposed to say that? Is that like asking somebody their weight? Well, now you know. And if all 500 of you gave a dollar, a TINY TINY dollar, we would be making a huge difference in the lives of the Alexander family, our family of the week. Don't worry about the big picture. Just think about what you can do. You can spare a dollar. And you can share your voice. You can make a difference today for a buck.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Last Family of The Year!

It has been an awesome first year for Give1 Save1! Next week, Christmas week, we'll be blessing the Mercy House in Kenya. Stay tuned for that. We have one more family to bless in 2011, though. Let's make it count! Let me introduce you to the Alexanders. They have 3 biological kids (all boys) and an adorable set of twin girls from Ethiopia. They assumed that the twins would be their only adoption. But God had a different idea. Funny how that works, right? They are adopting again. This time they are adopting a boy (or THREE) from Uganda.

So, people, they have 5 KIDS already and will soon (very soon) have 1-3 more boys. And it's Christmas. Aren't you feeling extra generous? OK, let's absolutely blow it out of the water this week. I mean really really really do something big. A Christmas miracle for this family. Donate here. If you have a dollar, give a dollar. If you have a little more, give as you feel led. Ready? Set. GO!!!! And then tell everybody you know. Viral is what we're going for. :)

How About Some Updates?

So much bigness is going on with so many of our Give1 families right now. How about an update?

The Knights are finishing up their week today. Wow! It's been a big week! Posts from My Concrete Sky, Shabby Blogs, and Baron Batch! Craziness. Our grand total this week was $1080! A huge thanks to everyone that donated and blogged and tweeted.

The Harshmans were last weeks family. They finished with.... well, I'll let Katie tell you how they did.


Remember the Mowens? Guess where they are right now???

And finally, the Hirths. Our own blogger, Lindsay is celebrating a huge step, getting that dossier off! They are officially IN LINE!

So WOW! Big week on Give1! I can't wait to introduce you to our new family of the week. Stay tuned! If you'd like to donate to any of these guys, I know they could certainly use it. If God puts it on your heart to do so, just click on their links. They all have donate buttons on their blogs. And as always, continue to pray for these families. Thank you SO much! For everything.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

"Operation Random Christmas Blessing"

Baron Batch of the Pittsburgh Steelers loves his friends and family…but he’s not getting them Christmas presents this year. Instead, he’s making Christmas merry and bright for the Knight family, our Give1 family of the week...a family he's never met.

“I guess the idea of buying material things for people that have everything that they need just was heavy on my heart, especially after being over seas doing mission work,” said Batch. “Thinking about what the amount of money I would spend on all of my gifts could do for someone else that really needed it, I wanted to do something randomly good for someone else.”

So instead of buying all the gifts he had waiting in online shopping carts, he added up the total. He decided he would donate that money instead…but to whom? Here’s what God did to help Baron:

  • Monday, Baron had coffee with a teammate who mentioned he and his wife were thinking about adopting.

  • Baron decided he would support an adoption.

  • Baron walked home and prayed, “God just please bring a family to me that needs a financial blessing so this all works out.”

  • He got home, checked Facebook, and found a message from a friend from high school. This friend was asking people to support the Knights this week on Give1Save1 so they can bring their adorable Emme home from Ethiopia.

  • Baron smiled and said, “God, you are too good.”

Baron told us, “God let me know I was doing the right thing. He couldn’t have made it more obvious.”

To get more people involved in what he calls “Operation Random Christmas Blessing”, he is asking people to follow him on Twitter. For every follower he gets this week and until Christmas, he will donate 25 cents, up to the amount he had pledged from all those online shopping carts that are now empty. “And no I’m not going to tell you guys how much that amount was until after Christmas day, so it will kind of be like a Christmas present to all of you as well! All I will say is that if we meet this goal it’s going to be a huge blessing to an awesome family that I have never met!”

The fun twist in this story is that Operation Random Christmas Blessing turned out to be not so random after all. As God would have it, Baron and the Knight family are all from Midland, Texas. And just as Baron came up with this idea, then committed to supporting an adoption, this just happened to be the Knights’ week on Give1, which is what prompted that Facebook message…(Anyone else get chills?)

Baron said he’s gotten more joy than he ever expected from this project already. “I thought I was giving the blessing, but I’m the one who has been blessed this week. People are sending me heartfelt messages and sharing their stories. It’s been a blessing.” He said he learned unexpected lessons, too. “I learned to listen to my heart and follow through on those tugs at my spirit. It has strengthened my faith.”

I asked Baron what his friends and family thought about this challenge, given that they wouldn’t be getting presents from him. He laughed and said, “I don’t think my family knows!”

When he started this challenge, Baron had 14,375 followers on Twitter. As I write this, he is up to 15,212…so his commitment is now over $200! (And we still have more than a week to go until Christmas!)

Do I even need to ask you what to do next? Follow Baron Batch on Twitter! It won’t cost you a penny…just his. Or join Baron’s giving this Christmas season and donate to the Knight family if you haven’t already.

Baron, we wish you a very merry Christmas.

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Welcome to my site! from baron batch on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Warby Parker

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Hey everybody! So am I the last one to know about these glasses and this awesome company?! Just in case I'm not, let me share. This, my friends, is Warby Parker, a truly impressive company that sells glasses. They are a buy one give one company. I love that. Can't get enough of that. But they have a million other reasons to love them. Ok, I'll start with 5.

1. They are $95.

2. They are super cute. I've got my eye on this pair. Though I'm pretty well in love with these too.

3. You can try them on for FREE in your own home. They ship them to you (up to 5 frames) and you keep them for 5 days. For free. No shipping or anything.

4. They match your face shape with the glasses that look best on you on their cool website.

5.  When you buy a pair, one pair is distributed to Africa, Asia, or Latin America.

So, I urge you to go check out this cool cool thing. I'm really impressed. Have I said cool too much? That's not cool anymore, is it? Dang it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Giveaway Day!

Hey Everybody! Hope you're having a good week so far! I have a gem for you today. I have absolutely fallen in love with Graphic Spaces. The designer, Christy Wernert, is an adoptive mom herself, actually. She has (among a million other adorable items, seriously, dig around the site) a whimsical, fantastic, set of wooden dolls from all around the world. She's generously donated a set of Ethiopian dolls for a giveaway this week in honor of little Miss Emme Knight. Who wants one? Me me me!

If you'd like a set, just leave a comment in this thread. Tell me one thing you wish for sweet Emme. She's that little ball of adorableness that we're working on bringing home this week. The giveaway will close at midnight central time on Friday and I'll let you know who wins on Saturday.

Have you donated yet? Go ahead. It just takes a sec. I know it's Christmas and everybody is a little tight on cash. But I bet the Knights could really use it. Christmas, taxes, and an travel date with an extra plane ticket for the ride home (next month probably). Yikes. So don't get me anything this year, OK. No, really. ;) Just pass it on to the Knights. I know we can get those numbers up. We're at almost $400, but I know we can really kick it into high gear. Let's really bless them today! Donate right here.

Guest Post by My Concrete Sky

Hey Everybody. Beth here. I've got a treat for you today. Alisa from My Concrete Sky is posting today. Don't miss the freebie downloads of the gorgeous artwork  at the bottom. Take it away, Alisa!

life usually doesn’t go as planned, now does it? or is that just my singular experience and everyone else’s life plays out just as they want it to? (i have a slight hunch that this isn’t the case ;)...

all growing up i can remember, for one reason or another, thinking that i would have life figured out by 25...i just turned 29 last month and, um, let’s just say this ‘got it all figured out thing’ has yet to magically happen...

when my husband and i got married, i told him that i anticipated having amazingly great pregnancies because i had this crazy aunt who would always tell me that if a girl has bad periods, she would have flawless pregnancies (and boy did i have horrible, painful, long periods...sorry to be so graphic...) so with this knowledge that my pregnancies would be a easy breezy, we pretty much knew we would have 3-4 biological babies and 1-2 adopted babies, perhaps siblings, hopefully from hong kong, the country of our heritage.

that was the script our married life was to follow.

and then reality set in.

we were ecstatic beyond comprehensible reason when we found out we were pregnant with baby number one. i had dreamt of the day heaven would perhaps bestow the gift of motherhood upon me! i had so many goals of all i wanted to accomplish before the baby arrived, a fitness to plan to follow, etc etc etc because not only was i going to enjoy every moment of pregnancy, i was also going to be prepared to be the best mother i could possibly be in every aspect of my life. shortly after making all those lofty goals (like 3 weeks later...) i was quickly shown that pregnancy would not be quite as effortless as i had planned for. loooooong story short i was in and out of the ER during my pregnancy, attached to iv’s and on bed rest for the first 6 months. my dear sweet husband was my nurse, my caretaker, my everything. although this pregnancy did quite start off according to plan, i was grateful and humbled by the gift and opportunity to be carrying a life inside me.

once six months hit, i was feeling great and recommitted to achieve those certain goals etc. husband and i bought our first house weeks before the baby was to arrive. getting our house (and most importantly, nursery) together was the most important thing on my list. i strategically scheduled baby showers, prenatal classes, hospital tours, etc etc so that all could go according to perfect plan to welcome our beautiful baby girl.

well, another long story short, weeks before d-day i fell, torn up my ankle, got put in a cast, ruptured my placenta, had to have my casted leg duct taped to the stir up during delivery because i was too numb to be able to hold my extra-heavy leg up, and gave birth to a beautiful (and fortunately healthy!) baby girl 3 weeks early...oh, and all this without a prepacked hospital bag, without the bassinet set up at home, with only going to 1 prenatal class under our belt, and not making it to even one baby shower yet (all of that wasn’t scheduled this early on the calendar!!).

talk about foiled plan! but all of that didn’t really matter...i was a mother, and in the midst of all the chaos and unfulfilled goals, my baby girl, my husband, our little family, was all that mattered. we had our first new home, we were a real little family, the world was ours for the taking.

fast forward a couple months more and my always healthy, athletic, ski-patrolling, hiking, hunting, jeeping husband, suddenly got very ill. ill to the point of not even being able to walk, being in agonizing pain, barely able to breathe. knowing there was something wrong, we began a very loooong (and still ongoing journey) of test after test, doctor upon doctor trying to find some answers. the answers were just not coming and finally we sold our little cottage, knowing we needed the money and our savings to pay for all these medical expenses. and after all of that, still no definitive answers came.

we got pregnant with our second child, before we understood the severity and longevity of my husband’s condition. and 10 months later, we were blessed with a baby boy. (which pregnancy was even more difficult because a) i was so ill again that i could barely take care of baby #1 b) my husband was so ill himself, so we were both helplessly restricted by our bodies...). so for 6 months of the pregnancy, our already chaotic life was in even more chaos...

present tense, six years later he has been diagnosed with two chronic, debilitating, auto-immune diseases, both of which still do not explain a lot of the problems he is having. he has been in and out of a wheelchair, has been bedridden for about three intermittent years of the past 6 years. once again, long long long long long story short, we have experienced anger, frustration, fear, hate, doubt, depression, etc etc...which brought us to the point we are at now...

i share this immensely abbreviated version of my life not to bore or whine or  whatever, but to give a little background info of about journey so that maybe what i am about to say may hopefully be better understood...

i most definitely do not have life all figured out, but there are some things i have figured out along the way: usually doesn’t go according to our plans, and really if we think about it, that is usually the best plan possible because as much as we think we know, if we truly face the facts, we really don’t know much. a universe and a god who have existed for millennia upon millennia before us, might have a clearer understanding of what our souls truly need to reach our potential. if we allow ourselves to be guided and led by the light of heaven, our journey will take us everywhere we need to be, right on time. gives us happys and sads, failures and victories...moments that make us fly higher than we thought possible and moments that allow us to see what our guts are truly made of. this crazy adventure of life is filled with so much joy and goodness amongst the bitterness and pain. the gift of diverse experience is so precious. it allows us to learn, grow, evolve, and gain understanding so that hopefully, we can empathize, support, cheer on, and connect with other fellow sojourners on this journey of life.

...from time to time i still get a bit sad because of all the shattered dreams (i.e.  can’t have anymore babies due to the volatility of my husband's health and my tough pregnancies...who would take care of the two precious souls we have been given when we are both down and out?...and obviously because of the health issues, we won’t be able to qualify to adopt, but it makes me appreciate and relish in the miraculous gift of motherhood that i have been so graciously given.) but i have found so much beauty as i learned to sift through the pieces and rebuild. the dreams once broken, of course, are never the same, but reconfigured, usually end up being more than we could have imagined if we allow ourselves to be transformed through the process. this is what my husband so beautifully and simply calls, ‘new dreams for old...’ i am grateful for my husband by my side, who rebuild these dreams with.

...every victory, no matter how small is worthy and deserving of celebration. our little family has learned to search for even the little miracles in our life, the joy in the journey, and the every day triumphs. we are learning to feed the faith instead of the fear and each time we choose to do so, so much beauty is discovered in the process and blessing from heaven are poured upon us.

...i still have questions about who what when where why and how, i always will, but i am content to live these questions, in hopes of someday, without even knowing it, realize i have also lived the answers as i continued to do what matters most. life may not have gone according to plan, and yet somehow it is played out perfectly, adversity and all, because it has gotten me to the present. i am truly truly blessed and am learning to better count my blessings every single day. i am learning to not insist on slugging along the baggage, troubles, failures or shattered dreams of yesterday into today...learning to let it go. learning to not fear and worry over what may lie ahead tomorrow...tomorrow is unknown and contingent on our decisions and actions of today. learning to focus instead on the now. to do my best with what i have now. to live in the moment now. embrace the experience of now (all of it...the victories, the heartbreaks, the happys, the sads, all of it). reanalyze in the now and control what i can control and let go of what i can't. i am learning to not carry the burden of all time and eternity, but to take the struggles in small chunks, day by day, each and every day. create/find joy and happiness in each day no matter how yucky some of those days may be. each day is a new beginning. and that, my friends, is a gift. already stated, i am seeking to feed the faith, not the seek the beauty, not the embrace the growing opportunities through adversity, not to run from be happy now, instead of waiting for 'something' to fight for victories, no matter how be strengthened by defeats, instead of mourning what i wished would have been or for what i had planned dance in the rain, even if i forgot to put on waterproof mascara that day, and to trust in god, in his mindfulness, understanding, mercy, grace, and love for me.


at the gracious invitation of beth, i am ecstatic to share two of my art pieces (pictured above) as freebie downloads! these quotes are reminders i hold close to my heart...perhaps they might have that impact on you as well. simply, print, cut, and hang!


included in this download is an 11x17 print size (you can print at kinkos etc) AND an 8x10 print size with two for you and one to share!


this is sized 7x7


alisa is living her dream and true calling as a full-time mommy/wife and as a nap-time artist/designer. She spends he days schnoogling her babies, avoiding laundry, finding order in the chaos, enjoying the journey, and cultivating a creative life. To see more of Alisa’s work, please visit her at

Sunday, December 11, 2011

New Week, New Family

Hey Guys!

Hope you all had a great weekend. I'd love to introduce you to a sweet family. You're about to fall in love. You'll probably want to adopt. *Shrug* So be it. I'm just saying... this lovely family met their daughter last month, and I have not laid eyes on a cutie like this. I mean, seriously, look at this kid.

Her name is Emme. Let me give you a little run down of this part of Ethiopian adoption. When you are matched with a child you accept or deny that child. If you accept you are assigned a court date a couple of months later. So then you fly to Ethiopia, meet your child, and go to court (where she officially and permanently becomes your child). But then... you have to leave, go home and wait for an Embassy date a few months later. That's where the Knights are right now. Their daughter, Emme, is still in a transition home waiting to be picked up. This is undoubtedly the hardest part. Our job this week is to pick up some of the financial burden. When they get home with Emme their adventure begins. It won't be easy. But we can make sure that owing a ton of money is not on their list of concerns. Just look at that little girl! You simply must go see their meeting Emme video. Get a Kleenex. Then come on back and donate. They need to go get their baby girl and this is the last leg of the whole thing. Let's see if we can carry the travel expense, at least. Ready, go!

Friday, December 9, 2011


So you may have noticed Give1 has another blogger. That’s me! I’m Lindsay Hirth. My husband and I have been married four years, and we have a son who is two and a half.

My husband and I went to Ethiopia just after we got married. We like to say that we went there for our honeymoon, but the trip was also work-related. Our trip to Ethiopia really inspired us. We were inspired by the beauty of the land, the generosity of its people, and the rich culture. Ultimately, we were inspired to (eventually) return to Ethiopia…this time to adopt a girl.

[caption id="attachment_1011" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="I am still inspired by Ethiopian women who carry water for hours each day. It's HEAVY."][/caption]

I have been blogging about adoption for a while. And when I discovered Give1, I was inspired once again. (Keep in mind that Beth is currently out of town with her family, and she doesn’t have Internet access, so she can’t see that I’m about to embarrass her.) Through this blog, Beth has done more for orphans in Africa than any one person I know. She is helping families offset the costs, and in doing so, she is helping more children find the families they need, freeing up orphanage beds for kids living in the street. Beth is doing this for no other reason than she felt called to do it (and she was given the talent to make it happen).  She inspires me with her passion and creativity (seriously, have you checked out her other blog?). She inspires me with her immense generosity…she doesn’t make a penny from this, her 2nd full time job.

I’ve worked behind the scenes with Beth off and on over the last few months, and I am in awe of how Give1 has grown. Thanks to you, families are hitting the $1,000 mark more and more. Thanks to your passion and networking, the audience is growing and growing. So when Beth asked me to start blogging for Give1, I jumped at the chance. I wanted to do more to help orphans and adoptive families come together, and working with Beth and Give1 is the most inspiring opportunity I could have asked for.

And families like the Harshmans are inspiring us all. They’re sharing their hearts and stories. They inspire some people to answer the call to adopt, and they inspire more people to open their hearts to care for orphans through financial gifts and prayers.

Truly, this movement is inspiring.

So let’s show the Harshmans how much they’ve inspired us. Let’s blast that donate button and wrap up the Harshmans’ week on a great note!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Seven Layer Cookie Bars

Hey Everybody! Here's a yummy favorite holiday recipe from Katie, our mama of the week. I made these last night! Easy, quick, and tasty.

Favorite Family Recipe:

It's actually a yummy dessert that I discovered in one of my (Katie) grandma's cookbooks (after she passed away in January, my mom let me have a bunch of her cookbooks and I have enjoyed cooking/baking even more since!)  
7 layer bars

Put these layers in order in a square 9" pan

1/3 c melted butter

1 pkg graham crackers (crushed)

1 cup flaked coconut

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 cup butterscotch chips

1 cup crushed pecans

1 can of sweetened condensed milk poured over the top evenly

Bake at 325 for 33 minutes.  It's absolutely amazing.

I also asked Katie how we could pray for them this week, and here's what she said...

3 ways to pray for us:

1. Pray for as smooth as a ride as possible through the adoption process.

2. Pray for us to have safe travels as we take a whirlwind tour of the midwest to see family and friends for Christmas.

3. Pray for Katie to get a permanent teaching position (instead of all this long-term subbing!).

Thanks for the recipe share, Katie! Have all of you given to the Harshmans this week? The week is coming to a close, so get the word out! Being obedient to God's call to adopt is not always easy and it takes a giant leap of faith to sign on to a $30,000 commitment when all that money is simply not there. That's where we come in. We're supposed to use the money that God has entrusted to each of us to take care of the Whole Church. Including the Harshmans. And including their new little boy. We're the hands and feet, folks. Let's really lift them up here in the final stretch!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Shopping for Good.

It's that time of year. Time to shop. Here's another few faves to add to my Christmas list. Or whoever's.

I'm freaking out over Sseko's latest... the pleated clutch. They are amazing. I want this blue one. I think. 

Wait, no! I want this one! I don't know which one I want!!!

I also have a couple of adoption tees that require a second look. And they both happen to come from future Give1 families. So if you buy from them you're giving straight to their adoptions.

This is a beautiful, comfy tee designed by one of my favorite artists,Kal Barteski, on behalf of the Sanford family. More on both Kal and the Sanfords in a few weeks, but for now, you can shop here.

Another awesome tee that I own. It's long and comfy and has a flattering cut. I'm sorry. I won't even wear an adoption shirt with a high neck. :) This one is super cute on.

Happy shopping. Come on back tomorrow for a delicious recipe share from Mama Harshman.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Don't Watch This in Public.

Not if you're a cryer (you know who you are... ahem, Kori, seriously, get somewhere alone :) ).  This one's a doozy. Adoption + Christmas music = an emotional wreck, but it's got a happy ending.


Merry Christmas by Third Day. Totally epitomizes how a lot of us are feeling this Christmas. It's weird feeling a big ache for a child I don't know. Does she get a stocking? Nope. I don't know her favorite colors or personality. I don't know her size, so no cute dresses. I did buy her a present. It's a blanket. And I'm doing something freaky, sleeping with it so it gets my smell on it. Seems like a weird idea, but I'll send it before I go meet her in a care package. They say that's a good idea. If you're looking for Christmas presents for your little one overseas, let me say that I have found something really cool. Recordable books from Hallmark. There's a great one for tucking in your baby from afar called Under the Same Moon. It'll also let them hear your voice and the sound of our language. Just things that help ease the transition. She's definitely getting that one too. Feeling a tad sappy this Christmas. Our same child was likely on this planet last year living her life somewhere and I didn't miss her. I didn't know. But now I do and our Christmas feels a little incomplete. Boo hoo and all. OK, that's enough sappy stuff.

Have you given to the Harshman family yet? You totally should. That's why we're here! Adoption's a little hard, actually. But money is nothing. We can cover that, right? We've got more important stuff to deal with. Let's just see how much we can take off their plate this Christmas.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Week, New Family: The Harshmans

Hey Everybody! Uh-mazing week last week with the Mortellites. They raised over $4300 towards their adoption. Let's see if we can extend that kind of warm welcome to the Harshmans! Ya want to make that a habit?!

This is Katie and Eric and they're adopting a sweet little baby from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Want to hear a little more about them? I'll let them tell their story. Pop over here and listen to their adoption story. You guys are all so brave for getting in front of those cameras! I'm so chicken! I'll have to try it sometime. :)

If you want to hang out with and get cozy with the Harshmans you can head over to their Adoption Journey page or their blog. Now let's slam them with dollar bills, ok?!!!!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Winners!

Pinned Image

  1.  Abbey Newton

  2. Brandy Wade

  3. Meg Martinez

  4. Brianna Tenges

  5. Adam Crockett

These are the winners of the Simple Amharic for Adoptive Families by Amy Kendall. Congratulations!!! I have this book and CD myself and can totally vouch for it. If you didn't win and you still need to learn Amharic, pop on over to Amy's website to buy the book. It's a good one!

I just gotta wrap up this week with a HUGE thank you. The Mortellite family is closing in on 4 THOUSAND DOLLARS! I never dreamed that a group of people would circle around strangers like this. The world feels kinda good right now. Y'all come back Monday for a repeat for next weeks' family, the Harshmans.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Inspiring Kids to Give

Your giving this week for the Mortellite family has been truly awesome. You have shown that people can make a huge difference in the lives of others, and we have been so inspired watching you lift up this family and care for orphans.

So how can such wonderfully giving grown-ups inspire their kids to have that giving spirit, too? Here are some fun ideas:

  • Lead by example and show your kids how to live a giving life. Volunteer and bring your kids if it's appropriate. Or choose a family cause and stay active.

  • Before (or maybe after) they rip into their Christmas presents, ask your kids to gather up old clothes and toys they don’t use anymore. Bring the kids with you to donate the items to the local thrift store.

  • Pick an Angel from the Salvation Army tree, and have your kids help you pick out presents. Be sure to tell your kiddos how great it is to give to others. (And maybe you could take them to see Santa after you drop the gifts off at the Mall.)

  • After learning that some kids don't get enough to eat, my friend’s three-year-old son started "Pennies for Parker" to buy food for the local food pantry. He raised more than $300 (with the help of mom and dad) by collecting change from friends and neighbors. (That story still warms my heart.)

  • Or try something simple, like Christmas gifts. Help your kids pick out small Christmas presents for each other (or Mom and Dad). They’ll be beaming on Christmas morning when they see the joy giving can bring.

  • Start a new family tradition...with Kiva! is a great site that allows people to become microlenders. Your family can browse projects around the world and select one to fund. And as "microfinance" would suggest, you can invest a small amount of money (even $25) to make a big impact. The intent is that recipients will pay back the microloan you provide, so you can reinvest that money in another project, and then another, etc. This giving activity also serves as a great business lesson for your older kids.

For more ideas or to make giving a central part of your family, check out these neat books:


- Lindsay

Thursday, December 1, 2011

How Do You Really Feel About Eggnog?

You know what I have found? That eggnog evokes some seriously passionate responses in people? So I'm going to ask you the same question that I asked our Mama of the Week, Kelly.

How do you really really feel about eggnog?

Eggnog. Nick feels less excited about it than me, and I don't get real excited myself. Nick said, "Gosh, what is it made out of?" I read him the list of ingredients. "If you put it in a frying pan, made an omelet out of it and served it with a side of bacon, then I'd think about it." I also wonder what other recipe could you get away with using raw eggs without having some sort of crazy FDA warning, as opposed to receiving a holiday encore. Maybe next year we'll be more brave.

Huh-larious! Do you have a favorite holiday recipe?

We would like to say that our way of preparing turkey is our favorite Christmas recipe. The first year I cooked my own turkey was a treat. Did you know there are TWO bags of turkey innards that are supposed to be pulled out prior to being put in the oven? Hmmm...I didn't. And last year? Last year Nick was so helpful when he prepared the turkey. It was unfortunate when he put it in the pan upside down and the breast meat was so mushy from being soaked in its own juices for hours that it was barely edible. On that note, would you like to come over for a holiday dinner?!
So, a recipe we actually do have success with (and is one of our favorites) is something rather simple, actually (apparently, simple is better for people like us without the "cooking gene"). It's Shaker corn pudding. My mom used to take my brother and I to Shaker Village of Pleasant Ridge in Kentucky when we were little and I remember how special it was to eat the authentic Shaker food. We had a cookbook from Shaker Village and I can always remember having this dish at all holiday meals.
Shaker Corn Pudding
3 Tablespoons butter, softened
2  Tablespoons granulated sugar
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
3 whole eggs, slightly beaten
2 cups frozen corn  (I usually use more)
1 3/4 cups milk
1. In a large bowl, blend the butter, sugar, flour and salt
2. Add the eggs, and beat well with a rotary beater or mixer on low
3. Stir in the corn and milk (if using frozen corn, chop it up a little first to release the milky juices)
4. Pour the ingredients into a buttered flat 10x16 casserole and bake at 325 for 45 minutes, stirring once halfway through the baking period
5. When done, the pudding will be golden brown on top and a knife inserted in the middle will come out clean.
6. This mixture can be prepared ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. Stir well, then pour into a baking dish and bake as directed.
You guys, I made this last night and I have NO photo! That's how fast my six year old ate it. I have had so much fun getting to know the Mortellite family and you guys have been an amazing blessing to their family. Thank you thank you thank you for your donations, prayers, and for telling your friends about this site. We've done something cool this week. I'm out for the weekend. Lindsay's posting tomorrow about how to encourage your children to be givers. She's so wise. I'll check ya next week with our next family, the Harshmans. Oh, and by the way, how do YOU feel about eggnog???

~ Beth