Monday, July 29, 2013

Kindness, Week Thirty

Here are this week's acts of kindness!

July 23- Made another sponsor folder. On this day I made a sponsor folder for my friend Liz and her sponsor child Shakespeare. I need to get some more supplies for these folders- I picked up more folders at the store recently, I've got a box of advocacy materials on the way from Compassion, and I need to get some more letter stickers because I didn't have enough to spell out "Shakespeare" on the folder. It's a long name! :)

July 24- Worked to cheer up a coworker. Someone I work with was in a really bad mood on this day, or so I heard. She just seemed kind of distant by the time I came in. Anyway. I tried to cheer her up and get her in a better mood on this evening. We had an ok time, for being at work. We talked about travel and looked up the kinds of food they eat in Indonesia. She also told me stories about when she went to Spain in college. She told me if I go to Indonesia, I should take a loaf of bread and some peanut butter in case I don't like the food! Haha.

July 25- Signed a petition. I was really worn out on this day, so it was a low-key act of kindness. Apparently the California government is planning on fencing in a  large piece of land for an airport or something, and that land happens to be where there used to be a Japanese internment camp. Survivors of the camps visit these sites sometimes, and it's not really fair that they wouldn't be allowed to visit this site. So I signed the petition asking them to reconsider fencing in the area.

July 26- Shared Compassion with a patron. Close to closing time on this day, a guy came up asking if we had change for a $10 so he could print some stuff. We didn't have change, so I offered to override the print job for him, as it was only a few pages. It turns out he was printing some stuff for a trip he's taking this week, to several countries in Asia. He was telling me how nice it is to travel out there, and he really enjoys it when he gets to go for work, and I told him that was good because I was hoping to travel to Indonesia next year. He started telling me how much he likes to visit there, and asked me why I was going (since obviously it wasn't for work- why would the public library send me to Asia??) And I got to tell him about Compassion! He said it sounded like a really awesome program, and he sounded genuine. So that was fun.

July 27- Airport party!!! I have already posted about this, but today's act of kindness was making my sign and heading down to the airport to welcome home the Bailey family. It was basically the best day ever. Sunday was really lame and boring by comparison. If you ever have the chance to welcome an adopting family at the airport when they arrive, I highly recommend it. It's exhilarating, and is a really nice way to show your friends that you care about them.

July 28- Sent a card. Well, I didn't send it on this day, since it was Sunday, but I spent some time writing some "thinking of you" type cards to send to some folks. Everyone loves getting mail, and it's always nice to let people know they're in your thoughts and prayers.

July 29- Offered to share the savings. I was very surprised to find a packet in the mail today from Target, congratulating me on my new child. Since, you know, I don't have any kids. Anyway, there  were tons of really good coupons in the packet, so I posted about it on facebook and I'll be divvying them up among some new moms I know! At least some good will come out of it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Oh Happy Day

Today was one of the best days ever. No exaggeration.

We got to the airport a little before the plane was supposed to land, but found out when we got there that it had been delayed by about thirty minutes. No biggie. I've only been waiting like, two years for this day (maybe a year and a half), I can wait another half hour.

Though by the time we heard they had gotten off the plane, I admit I was bouncing up and down on my tired feet. So many people waited, ecstatic as all get out, waving little fans with my buddy's picture on them- the kind they hand out at church revivals.

And then we saw them, a beautiful family of three, coming our way. I may have squealed three or four times.

Immediate family gathered around for hugs at first, uncles meeting their nephew, grandparents meeting their grandson. Happy tears were shed. I stood off to the side quietly crying, waiting my turn for hugs.

Once the close family had their turn, though, I had to get closer or I was gonna explode. Not going to lie. I couldn't keep my happiness and excitement contained any longer. I physically ached with happiness seeing Anel with his thumb (sometimes thumbs) in his mouth, snuggled up to his mama, giving all these strangers funny looks before giving them gentle high-fives and even fist-bumps.

And finally I got my turn. And I felt like crying all over again.

Yeah, he's giving me the side-eye. We stuck our tongues out at each other, too. 
: )

I have prayed so much for this family. Held them so close to my heart. I love Anel and his mom and dad so much. Words can't even begin to express how happy I am that they are home. I can't wait to see updates on facebook about how he's doing as he settles in, getting used to life with his momma and daddy. I can't wait until he can come visit Bible study, too. : ) He's a little wild man- I have a feeling his mom won't have much time to do anything other than chase him around for a loooong time.

Welcome home, Bailey family!!!!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Happy dance!

This has been the LONGEST week! I don't know how I'm going to sleep tonight- I simply just can't wait for tomorrow! Tomorrow afternoon, at 3:25 pm, my friends Scott and Ashley will be arriving back in Louisville with their little boy! I am sooooo excited! Ashley has been posting an update almost every day on facebook, and I am extremely grateful and blessed that she surprised me with two pictures in my email a few days ago. He looks so much bigger in his daddy's arms than he has in all the other pics I've see of him! They have been having lots of fun with their little wild man and the other kids at the orphanage. Wednesday was my little buddy's birthday and I am so thankful that they were able to spend the day with him. They endured multiple flights (some on tiny planes), cold showers (a blessing in the 100+ degree heat they've had every day) and who knows what else this week so they could spend that day with their son. And now they're on their way home. I am just so happy.

I wanted to say thank you to my online friends for praying for this sweet family, even though you have never met them. I am looking forward to sharing pictures of this adorable little boy with you sometime soon! Tomorrow I'm going to put on my Haiti shirt, roll up my posterboard signs, and head over to the airport for the welcome home celebration! Yay!!!

PS You really should take a look at the orphanage's website and check out the awesome work they're doing in Haiti. Children of the Promise is taking care of some adorable kids- and their first goal is to reunite children with their families. So many parents in Haiti are simply unable to take care of their kids because life is so hard there. CotP and other great organizations work really hard to help birth parents keep their kids. If that's not a possibility, they then work to find them loving homes with adoptive families.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Kindness, Week Twenty Nine

Here are this week's acts of kindness....

July 16- Gave out sponsor folders. This is actually a fun thing I've been doing for friends who decide to sponsor kids through Compassion. I put together a folder for them. In one pocket, I put some fun paper and stickers, and in the other pocket, I put some information about Compassion that I've ordered through the advocate catalog, like brochures, bookmarks, and window clings. I also include three pre-printed envelopes addressed for letter-writing (I never use the ones they send with my letters!) and a larger envelope for sending special stuff. When I have ink in my printer, I have also been including a little flier I made up about the do's and don't's of letter writing (like remembering to put your sponsor info on everything, what kinds of items you can send, tips on how to address different topics, etc.) But right now I'm out of ink so the last three folders I've made, I haven't included that. Anyway, on this night, I took two folders to friends at Bible study who have recently taken on sponsorships.

July 17- Moved on. The night before this day, some stuff happened and things were said that bothered me, made me angry and a little upset. I went to bed feeling a little spiteful that night, and woke up the next day feeling the same way. I had thought about sending an email to at least one person telling them how I felt, but I just decided to move past it, shut my mouth, and try to forget about it. Hopefully the same thing won't happen again, though, because I may not be able to do the same thing twice. I was that upset.

July 18- Donated to a yard sale. My friend Briana recently started the process of adopting a girl from Ethiopia. Next month she is having a yard sale to benefit that cause. She came over on this evening and picked up several boxes of stuff I had for her yard sale. Hopefully she sells it all and has a really successful sale!

July 19- Shared a smile. My boss got in a pretty bad wreck a few weeks ago, and this was his first full day back at work. When I saw him on this morning, I asked how he was doing, and understood a lot of his frustration about the pain, plus his exhaustion and concern about the day. He likes to hear my stories about the nonsense my pets get up to, so I emailed him a picture of my bunny with his head stuck in a cardboard tube. It made him laugh. Mission accomplished.

July 20- All I wrote in my little notebook on this day was "some days it is an act of kindness not to yell at/punch people." Can you tell what kind of week I had?

July 21- Served in the nursery. I am actually scheduled to help out in the nursery once a month. My surgery prevented me from doing that January through April of this year. May was my first time back, and I found that I couldn't lift the babies in the room I was normally in. In June I was out of town, and then I hurt my back at work right after that. I had considered telling the nursery director that I should just sit the next few months out, but I know they really, really need help. So I switched to another room (the "crib" baby room), put on my brace, and went and helped out. It was a pretty decent morning, and I'm glad I did it (even though I was achy when I got up and really wanted to stay home!)

July 22- Offered to help. This weekend a coworker of mine found out that her dad has a brain tumor. This happened just a few days after he had a check-up and was declared cancer-free for four years and three months. She has spent every day since Sunday in the hospital with him. I didn't find out about all this until I got to work Monday night, so when I got home, I sent her a facebook message asking if there was anything I could do to help. She lives with her parents and takes care of them, and they live pretty close by. It would be easy for me to go over there and take food to her mom (or take it to her at the hospital), help feed her cats, or whatever. I haven't heard back from her yet but hopefully she will let me know if there's anything I can do to help.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sweet Greetings

On Mondays, blogging Compassion sponsors often post the letters they may have received during the week. I am linking up with Blogging from the Boonies- please check out Michelle's lovely blog and the wonderful Compassion-related resources she posts there.

I was very excited to find two letters in my mailbox on Saturday, especially since I hadn't received any in several weeks! This week we got a letter from Mary, and our first letter from Mishel. 

May 25, 2013
Dear Jessi, 
How are you? I hope you are fine and your family. I even hope that you are doing well in terms of health and job. At school I am doing well. As you know this is the term of music festivals and I know that music is part of me. I am co-operating with the teachers so as to do well in my academics. 
My family and I are all fine. We pray for you each and every day because you are part of us. At church we are doing well. We praise and worship Him because He is the provider of all. I learnt that it is good to be humble before God. My best memory verse is in 1 Timothy 6:12, Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young but be an example for the believers in speech, conduct, faith, love, and purity. 
During the April holiday, we went for a camp at Kamatusa Girls High School. We were taught about God's word and it was very encouraging. I learnt many things like it is better to listen more than to talk much. 
I received the letter that you sent for me. I am glad that you are now feeling well. In our country now the weather is calm. Thank you for the stickers. Our country is well and the land is green. I would like you to pray for our country, me, my family, and the people at the hospital. 
Yours faithful, 

Mary writes great letters! I think it's so cool that she was able to go to camp at the girls' high school. It sounds like the senior retreat I went on at the beginning of my senior year! It also made me very happy to read that Mary considers me a part of her family!

And here is Mishel's letter, along with the drawing she made: 

26 June 2013
Dear sponsor Jessi, 
I greet you with much affection. I want to tell you that I am fine and so is my family. I am doing very well at school. I have many friends and we play volleyball with other friends who live near my home. We jump rope, but I do not neglect my homework. Are you married? What do you study or work? I would like you to pray for my family. I will be praying for you. I say goodbye with many kisses and hugs. Can you send me photos? 

Mishel Estefani

It sounds like Mishel has a lot of fun with her friends! I'm looking forward to getting to know her better. It's always exciting to get a first letter- I feel an instant connection and a big surge of love for my sponsor kids when I first hear from them!

Then this morning I found a letter from Victor in my mailbox!

25 May 2013

Dear Jessi, 
I greet you in the name of Christ who died for us hoping that you and your family are fine. Our family and I are farming on well, my parents are doing their best in the garden and I am also working hard in school to have a better grade at the end of second study level. 
I am happy to hear that you can now go to work after the surgery you have gone through and I am praying that God may guide and protect so you may continue with your work and continue showing love to me. 
Here in our country we experience a lot of rain from March, especially in our area and many people are planting crops while others are weeding their crops. The crops we grow are maize, sorghum, fruits and watermelon. I like fruits because they are protecting my body against diseases. 
I am very happy for your cousin whom God has blessed with a child and I know that he will be happy to know what God has done for him. I also believe that in some years to come I will be having children and I will care for them as you and my parents have done to me. 
I thank you for the gift you send for me and it helped me a lot because I used it to buy some school items like set books and I enjoy reading them in my free time. May God bless you. 
Your beloved child, 
Victor Otieno

What a great letter! Victor is such a friendly and sweet kid. I'm glad he told me about the crops his family has planted. I will write to him soon about my parents' garden! 

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I have a small and possibly premature announcement to make. I had planned on keeping it to myself for a little while longer while I tried to figure some stuff out, but I am too excited about it and too anxious for people to pray, so here goes.

Like pretty much all sponsors, I would love to visit my sponsor kids. Not only do I love them individually, but I am really passionate about helping kids around the world, whether it's improving living conditions, health, education, whatever. I have read about so many people who have taken international missions trips or even moved overseas, like Katie Davis, and thought "gosh, I'd love to do that, but I can't." Why can't I? Fear, I guess. I have always said "I don't travel." That's why I've never gone on a mission trip. I don't go anywhere, and I definitely don't go anywhere without my mom or my husband. I let fear get in the way too often. Fear of travel, fear of the cost, etc. And I also felt weird about the idea of spending money on a trip like that when I should be, according to my plan, putting money toward expanding our family through adoption.

I am beginning to realize, though, that I need to get over my fears, and get over my own timeline. I need to give myself over to God's calendar and forget about my own. We have made so many plans and set so many goals when it comes to adoption, and none of them work out. I know I'm supposed to be a mom, and an adoptive one at that, but maybe I am trying to cram God's plan for my life into my schedule. And it's just not working out.

Based on things that have been placed on my heart, books and scripture that have been brought to my attention, persistent dreams I have been having, and a host of other factors, I am thinking that now may be the time for me to boldly step out in faith and finally, for the first time in my life, go on one of those trips I have dreamed about. And I do mean "boldly stepping out in faith." I feel braver about traveling since I went to Pennsylvania a few weeks ago, which I'm sure doesn't make sense to most people, but that was a huge victory for me over my anxiety. It would also be a leap of faith financially. I have a plan for getting the money for the trip, but it's still a big deal.

After a particularly vivid dream early Monday morning, the first thing I did upon waking up was go online and look at the list of trips Compassion has coming up. I was disappointed to see that no trips to Indonesia are currently open for registration, but there was one for Tanzania scheduled for March, and I thought "well, that will work." But something still didn't feel right about it. Later that night I went back online and looked at the website again, and saw something I missed the first time- a list on the side of the webpage for upcoming trips, including some that simply aren't open for registration yet. Do you know what I saw? Indonesia. And you know what was special about it? In the past, when I have seen Indonesia trips listed on the website, they haven't gone to the area where Tasya is. They generally stick to western Indonesia. But this trip is going to eastern Indonesia, including the "ID" area that Compassion works in. Tasya's project is ID 141. I have such a feeling of peace about all of this. It's really exciting.

So I have a prayer request for you. I want to spend a lot of time in prayer up until the time registration opens near the end of August, because while I know God wants me to go out into the world and meet with His children, I want to be sure that THIS is the trip He wants me to take, that this is the right time, and all that. I'm not even praying about the financing yet. I just want to know that this is what I'm meant to do, and it's not just another example of me getting excited about something that isn't meant to be...again.

I would really appreciate your prayers for me over the next few weeks, for wisdom and discernment and good decision-making. For clarity, definitely. For sureness of direction and for me to clearly and distinctly hear what God is telling me. I would truly appreciate it. And hopefully I will have some good news to report in a few weeks. : )

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Kindness, Week Twenty Eight

I had the opportunity to do a few extra-special acts of kindness this week! Here they are:

July 9- Bought a t-shirt. My friend Ashley is getting ready to go to Haiti to get her son- in ONE WEEK! They started selling shirts, since so many people have asked about them, and the proceeds are going to the orphanage where my buddy has been staying. Of course I had to get one! Hopefully I will have it in time to wear to the airport when he comes home!!!

July 10- Mailed a package. I recently found out that one of my friends joined the Air Force, basically, because they are paying for her to go to med school. She is currently out of state training in Alabama, where it is hot and gross. She's working really hard, and I am so proud of her. I found out her current address from her friend, and found out some things she needs (like socks, sports bras and laundry detergent) and picked some up on clearance at Target to send to her. If you know anyone in the military, or even anyone who's spending time away from home, consider sending them a care package- they're a lot of fun to put together and are very, very appreciated!

July 11- Signed a petition. I love these things. I signed the petition that was sent to the UN president asking for education reform worldwide, so that all children may have access to education. You may have heard about Malala speaking at the UN on this subject recently. It's a very important cause- many kids, particularly girls, don't have access to education at all. Some are persecuted for trying to learn. Others can't grow to their full potential because of the struggling school systems, shortage of teachers, lack of supplies, and the distances between rural schools.

July 12- Donated to the American Cancer Society. This was another one of those "would you like to add a dollar to your purchase" things. I wasn't feeling well this day and didn't do much, unfortunately.

July 13- Treated the birthday girl. My friend Jess and I usually work together on the weekends, and we almost always get lunch (usually from the same place, actually) on those days. She won't be working with me this weekend because it's her birthday, so I treated her to lunch this past weekend instead!

July 14- Got donations together for church. I say I got them together, not "I donated things to church", because I forgot everything at home. We were going out to a late father's day lunch immediately after church, and going to a wedding that afternoon, so I was pretty scatter-brained. But I did get together a bag of food for the food pantry, and a bag of school supplies for our school supply drive that I totally planned on taking to church on this morning. I also had a small bag of baby food to donate- we are sending a team to Honduras in October on a medical mission trip, and they have asked for donations of baby food, formula, and bottles, as well as money for medical supplies. We have several jars of baby food leftover that we had bought for Monster, so I wanted to give those away as well. I guess it will have to wait for next weekend!

July 15- Shared my school supplies. I had a fun conversation at work on Saturday with a friend that I work with. We were talking about notebooks for some reason, and how we have notebooks that we never use, but we just keep buying them because they're pretty or cute or whatever. You can never have enough notebooks. Or office supplies. We love them. We are both on tight budgets, and she was telling me how she has to force herself to stay away from the school supply aisle when she does her grocery shopping, now that all that stuff is out on display! Well, when I did my shopping last week, I picked up a couple of extra notebooks (of course.) I picked out a cute one today and left it in my coworker's inbox, as a surprise when she comes in to work tomorrow. I hope she likes it!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Outgoing Mail

I've decided to try to make this a semi-regular feature- posting about what I'm writing to my kids about. I know that I also post letter-writing ideas each month, but I thought it would be fun to share a more personal take on letter-writing.

Every month I sent 2 or 3 online letters to my kids, usually when I hear from them (I want to go ahead and respond to what they've written about.) If I have pictures to send, I'll also usually do that online. Sometimes if I have a very special picture, I'll order prints from Walgreen's and send them to my kids (for example, when my mom got a new puppy earlier this year, I took a very cute picture of her cuddling Loki, the pup. I had copies printed for all of my kids, because I wanted them to have a picture of my mama!)

Once a month, I do hand-written letters and send goodies to my kids. This month, all of the kids are getting letters written about three core ideas:

  1. In my opening paragraph asking how they're doing and providing family updates, I shared that my grandfather had to be taken to the hospital again this weekend. I told my kids that he has problems with his blood in the past, and now he may have a problem with his heart. I asked them to please pray for him. 
  2. I shared that my country's independence day was last week. I told my kids that many businesses were closed so people could have time off work. I told them that many people celebrate the holiday by shooting off fireworks, which are pretty but very loud! 
  3. Lastly, I shared my excitement about this weekend. My friend Paul is getting married on Sunday! I shared with my kids that Paul and I have known each other since we were 13 years old. We met at school. Paul is a very kind and very funny guy. Whenever I mention one of my friends to my kids, I always like to tell them a little bit about them (in this case, I told them that Paul knows how to play the drums and he tells funny jokes!) I asked most of my kids if they have ever been to a wedding before. I was able to personalize this section a bit, too. I asked Jayid if he has ever been to a wedding, and told him that I have seen pictures of Indian weddings and they are so beautiful. I have read about wedding traditions in some of my kids' countries when I did country profiles for my blog, so if that is the case with the kid I'm writing to, I'll tell him or her "I have read about weddings in your country. They sound so festive! Have you ever been to a wedding? What was your favorite part?" Tasya wrote me a whole page about Indonesian weddings once!
Finally, the best part about hand-writing letters is that I also get to send treats in the big envelope! I have lots of fun stuff to send this month. 

  • Each kid is getting an "animals of Pennsylvania" postcard, which I picked up on my trip last week. Cows are prominently featured, which I thought was pretty funny. But they also have black bears, deer, and birds and stuff. Postcards are fun!
  • Victor and Mary are getting planners. I found TONS of fun stuff at Michael's today, a lot of which was on clearance. These planners have holes punched in them so they can fit in binders, if they have them. Mary is getting a planner with a kitten on it, and Victor's has a very manly-looking hot rod on it. They both speak English and are my two oldest sponsor kids, so I thought that the planners would be a fun gift for them. They also have spaces for notes, grammar tips and metric/English conversion charts in them. I hope they like them!
  • Mishel, Tasya, and Brenda are getting princess sticker books. I love the Darice brand sticker and activity books that Michael's carries. They have tons of stickers in them (in the case of the princess books, 314!) and often include play scenes. They are also the perfect size for mailing, and are a great price- regularly $1, they are currently half off because they're technically summer merchandise!
  • Carlos is getting a "stained glass" coloring book from Dover. Those little Dover books are the best! The stained glass coloring book is filled with dragon pictures printed on what looks like waxed paper. Once colored, they pick up sunlight like a little stained glass window! I don't know Carlos yet as I'm still waiting for his first letter, but I thought this was a pretty cool treat for an older boy. 
  • Joane and Said are also getting Darice sticker books from Michael's. Joane's is full of happy faces, rainbows, and positive messages. She's a little too old for the princess stuff and other supplies I have for the younger girls, so I'm going to have to keep an eye out for stuff for her over the next few months! Said's sticker book is "custom cars" themed, full of race car stickers that you can customize with other little stickers. It's pretty cool!
  • Prayer and Jayid are getting the last two race car themed "paint with water" books they had at Michael's also on clearance, also regularly a dollar. They are just little coloring books with those patches of color that turn to "paint" when wet. 
I hope all the kids like the goodies I'm sending- and I hope they all go through the mail OK! Sometimes I worry a bit about the extras I send, since I don't always hear from the kids about receiving them. But since they're all acceptable by Compassion's guidelines, I just pray that they get there OK!

What are you writing to your kids about? Have you found any super cool goodies to send through the mail recently?

Monday, July 8, 2013

Meet Prayer!

I sent an email to Compassion not too long ago asking if I could get just one more correspondence kid. We had nine kids total at the time (seven correspondence, two financial sponsorships) and I know this is weird, but I kind of hate the number 9. It's just awkward. Always round up, I say. And I love welcoming new sponsor kids to our family! Anyway, I got a response saying they'd be happy to put me on the list, and today when I was checking our account to look for any photo updates, I noticed that our number of kids is up to a nice, even 10!

Our newest sponsor child is....Prayer!

First of all, I love his name. It's awesome. His middle name is Yonathan, too. Jonathan is my brother's name. He is 11 years old, one year younger than my Tasya. His birthday is October 22, which is a few days after my parents' birthdays. He lives in north Sulawesi, also like Tasya- though not quite as far north. She lives on a little island just past the northern tip of Sulawesi, and he lives in the northern part of the mainland. Still, that's pretty exciting!

Compassion says that Prayer's favorite activity is badminton, and that's the only thing listed. I'll have to ask him if he likes any other sports or activities- it will be kind of hard to find badminton-themed stuff to send him! I am so excited to get to know this precious boy!

Kindness, Week Twenty Seven

Here are this week's acts of kindness!

July 2- Donated to help homeless pets. My mom and I went to PetSmart on this day, and at check out, the cashier asked if I wanted to donate to their organization that helps take in homeless pets and find them new owners. Of course I said yes. I also got some treats for my pets on this day, so that was an act of kindness, too! : )

July 3- Spoke up at work. I won't go into too many details, but we have something a little out of the ordinary going on at work right now, and it puts a very heavy, rather unfair burden on some of our employees. So on this day, I met with my boss and talked to him about it. Hopefully something good will come of it and we will be able to work something out so this event goes a little more smoothly for the next few weeks.

July 4- Did a FREE Kiva loan! This one was very exciting. I love Kiva, the microloan organization, but I never have any extra money to give (like, when I do have the money, it has to go somewhere else, and then when I'm actually thinking about Kiva, we are broke.) Michelle at Blogging from the Boonies posted a link on facebook for a free trial from Kiva, so people can get the hang of it. As long as you don't already have a Kiva account, you can follow this link and you'll get a FREE $25 to donate to the group of your choice. You can search by country or subject (like education, retail, health, etc.) That money will go toward a microloan for someone who needs it, whether they're starting a business to support their family, raising funds for schooling, or many other causes. The loan gets repaid, and eventually, you get your money back! You can either keep it or reinvest it in another microloan. In this free trial scenario, the money will go back to the person who put up the donation for this promotion- and they can get more people to try Kiva! This was a very easy and awesome opportunity to make a big difference.

July 5- Toughed it out. Sometimes an act of kindness can be to live out your day as planned, because that's the best thing for everybody else and it's the nice thing to do. This day was MISERABLE. I worked a full day. We were insanely busy- about every 60-90 minutes we had the opportunity to sit down and fake cry, the day was so lame. By the early afternoon, I felt awful. My back was hurting, I had to step away to fix my brace several times because it was causing me extra strain (and every time I had to step away, what seemed like a hundred more people came up to the desk in my wake.) It was just awful. Words cannot describe how bad it was. I really needed to go home, and probably should have asked to do so, but I stayed because I knew it would be impossible to get any coverage from other branches and I would be putting my coworkers in an awfully tough spot if I left. So I stayed, and when I get home, I crashed HARD. But I think I did the right thing by staying.

July 6- Went shopping. I don't see my dad super frequently. He doesn't get on facebook and only recently has started texting. I talk to my mom a lot, and see her at Bible study, and sometimes I think he gets bummed out that I'm not around him as much since I got married and moved out. I had to do some shopping for some wedding presents this weekend. My dad loves shopping, getting out of the house, and driving around town, so I asked him if he'd take me. We had a good time!

July 7- Apologized. Sometimes it's nice to apologize even if we haven't done anything wrong. Someone said something this weekend that led me to believe someone else was upset with me, and I was definitely not ok with that, so I sent a big email apologizing if this person had felt wronged in any way. I actually got really upset about it, because I didn't want this person to be upset with me. I heard back from them and it turns out, the first person had apparently spoken out of turn- my friend wasn't upset with me at all. I guess the second act of kindness was not sending an angry text to the person who set this whole thing in motion, because I definitely typed up a few. But I deleted each one before sending it, chalked it up to a big misunderstanding, and quietly moved on.

July 8- Bought school supplies. This morning was grocery morning, and I was very excited to see that Walmart has finally put out this year's school supplies. I haven't been in school for quite a while, but I love school supply shopping! This time of year is excellent for buying all kinds of stuff. You simply can't beat the prices this time of year, and there are so many people who can benefit from your bargain shopping! I got some stuff for my Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes. I got some notebooks to put up for future Bible studies.  I got some sets of teeny tiny composition notebooks to send to my sponsor kids- I have to measure them but I am pretty sure they are right under a quarter inch thick. If they're a little too big, they would make perfect Bible verse notebooks, like the one I carry for anxious moments. Lastly, I got some stuff for a school supply drive they're having at church. For $5 you can buy quite a bit of stuff this time of year. Spiral-bound notebooks are only 17 cents each at my Walmart, and folders are 12 cents. Kid scissors are 50 cents regular price, but they will go on sale from time to time until about mid-August. Boxes of Crayola crayons (the only crayons I'll use or even consider buying) are really inexpensive, and other brands are even cheaper. Anyway, school supply shopping is a lot of fun, and there are tons of organizations that need them. This is an easy and inexpensive act of kindness!

Saturday, July 6, 2013


Ashley and Scott have their plane tickets purchased! Praise the lord! Thank you for your prayers. Please continue to pray for the family as they make the trip to Haiti to pick up their son.

I wanted to let you all know about something they are doing sort of last-minute, because many of my Compassion friends have kids in Haiti. A lot of folks asked Ashley if they'd be doing a t-shirt fundraiser for their adoption, and they did not- but they have put one together to raise money for the orphanage there. The shirts are super cool looking and very inexpensive. If you would like to take a look at one, and maybe consider purchasing one, check out her blog entry about the shirts. I can take care of mailing them to you if you decide to buy one- just let me or Ashley know (that info should be included if you pay via paypal.) I'm so excited to get my shirt- I'll definitely wear it to the airport when they get home! : )

Here's the design on the white shirt...

And here's how the navy shirt looks!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A request..

I know I have a few regular readers on here, and several people stumble across my blog while looking for info about Compassion, which is awesome. I love having virtual visitors! Because I know many of you love Jesus and don't mind praying, I would like to ask you to pray for a friend of mine.

I have mentioned my friend Ashley on my blog several times, and have linked up to her blog in the past. She isn't posting much now because of the sensitive nature of the things she would be posting about- she and her husband Scott are in the final stages of adopting a little boy from Haiti. And by final stages, I mean that they should be able to get him very soon.

When I tell people about this family, I refer to this child as "my buddy", because I love him so much even though I have never met him, and he is not my child so I have no right to share his name with others. Once he comes home, though, you can bet I'll be talking about him all the time! : ) Would you join me in praying for my buddy, and his new mom and dad? His birthday is near the end of this month. His birthday is also Scott and Ashley's wedding anniversary. And Ashley's birthday is next week, too! What better anniversary present than being with their son on his birthday? What better birthday present than to meet his new mama and daddy? Please join me in praying that the travel arrangements will all work out so that they can be with their boy on his birthday, even if he isn't quite home by then. Pray for the other precious children at his orphanage, that they will either be reunited with their birth families or that they will find "forever families" by adoption soon. Pray that they will stay healthy in Haiti, a country with so many, many health problems. Pray that my little buddy will ease into his new home well, that he will grow up healthy and strong (he is teeny tiny right now!)

Thank you so much for your prayers, friends. I hope that by next month I will have some fun "welcome home" airport pics (or even a video) to share with you, with Ashley's permission of course! I am so thankful that this little guy is in the final stages of coming home!!!!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Kindness, Week Twenty Six

Halfway through the year! Things are going pretty well! : )

June 25- Threw a shower. Two members of our Bible study group will be expanding their families soon. My friend Ashley and her husband are adopting from Haiti, and my friend Liz and her husband are expecting a baby in August. My plan was to have an adoption shower for Ashley this summer, and then about a month or so later, have a baby shower for Liz. Things got kind of crazy schedule-wise, and we ended up combining the two showers. I couldn't have done it without help- everybody volunteered to bring food, the presents were adorable, and my friend Leah even climbed up on the counter to hang pretty star decorations from the ceiling. We had such a good time! Liz is from Tennessee, so I made a Tennessee trivia game; Ashley's son is from Haiti, so I made a matching game with Haitian Creole phrases, and since everyone has a connection to Lifeway, I also made a Biblical moms and children word scramble. It was cool.

Also, I would just like to say- if someone in your life is adopting, it is an awesome thing. It is beautiful and wonderful and a tremendous act of love. So many adoptive parents "labor" for their children MUCH longer than the 9 month wait that biological parents go through, and yet, somehow people don't always give them the same kind of attention that birth parents get. Do you know how hard it is to find adoption stuff for people not adopting little babies? Greeting cards are hard to find. Birth/family history books always include baby pages. My friends who have adopted newborns or tiny babies are treated just like other expectant moms, minus the belly-touching (that would be weird.) But people adopting toddlers or older kids don't get that kind of attention, and I think that's stupid. So here's some advice: if someone you love is adopting a child that is not a "baby", still be excited for them. It's a big deal. End of rant.

June 26-  Gave my signature. On this day, I signed a petition regarding diamond buying practices in the United States. Organizations are pushing for laws that would require a lot more oversight for American jewelry buyers, to limit the number of conflict diamonds that enter the country. This is really a human rights issue. If you're interested in learning more, you can click here.

June 27- Donated a book. A while back I let someone borrow one of my books. I love books. I have tons of them, and I pride myself on the great shape I keep them in. I hate seeing abused and torn up books. Well, this book came back to me looking pretty ragged. It's a hardcover, and the book itself is fine, but the dust jacket kind of looked atrocious. It is no longer good enough to sit on my shelf. Instead of throwing it away or recycling it, I decided to donate it. It wasn't in good enough shape to send to Operation Paperback or another charity like that, but it's still a very well-loved book, and I know that someone will be happy to get it from the library booksale. When you're cleaning out your own personal library, don't forget to consider your public library as a place to get rid of your books!

June 28- Liked a page. I like super-easy, shareable acts of kindness. On this day I saw a news story about a kid named Xan who is very sick, and he has a wish to get a million facebook fans. Click the link, like his page. It makes him sooooo happy. It's so easy- there's no reason not to do it! : )

June 29- Tried to save an animal some suffering. I get email updates about circus-related protests and other peaceful actions, thanks to some mailing lists I'm on. I recently found out that there is going to be a festival in Michigan soon, and they have hired a company that has a former circus elephant named Nosey who has been abused for a very, very long time. I sent a letter to the people in charge of this festival asking them to please reconsider having an elephant as entertainment, as these creatures really deserve better than these environments. I know I talk a lot about animal causes and elephants and stuff on here, but that's just something that's particularly important to me. If you have something you care about, you can find an organization that will hook you up with opportunities like this, too- for pretty much any cause.

June 30- Asked how I could help. My church is sending a team to Honduras this fall for a medical missions trip. I stopped by their table in the foyer before the service on Sunday and asked how I could help. They gave me a list of prayer needs and a list of items they need donated to take on the trip. I have been praying for them and will continue to do so, and I will also see if I can get my Bible study group to donate some stuff for them to send!

July 1- Shared a sweet treat. I made the mistake of shopping on an empty stomach this day. My grocery store had little containers of chocolate peanut butter fudge out by the bakery- I couldn't resist. I decided to share it with my coworker because she has been super stressed out lately and I knew she would be even more stressed that evening because she had a program to do. I know that canceling the program would be the optimal way to reduce her stress, but I hoped that some yummy fudge helped a little bit, anyway. : )

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sweet Greetings

On Mondays, blogging Compassion sponsors often post the letters they may have received during the week. I am linking up with Blogging from the Boonies- please check out Michelle's lovely blog and the wonderful Compassion-related resources she posts there.

This week we received form letters from our two youngest sponsor kids, Brenda in Mexico, and Jayid in India. 

The first letter was from Brenda! Her letter was called "My Christian Learning."

I learn the most about God from....My Teacher

My favorite Bible story is....Noah's Ark

My favorite thing I learned about Jesus is...His miracles. 

When I pray to Jesus, I pray dad, that he may drink no more. 

Please pray for... my father and mother. 
I would like to ask you... Do you have any pets?
I want to thank you for... to be my sponsor. 
Jessi, I want to tell you that I am happy for the gift that you send me and I like to go to the project because we make a lot of things and the food is very delicious and the games that we play and the colors. 

I'm glad to know that Brenda's favorite Bible story is Noah's Ark. I have lots of Noah-themed stickers and coloring sheets I can send to her! I will definitely be praying for her dad, too. Brenda also included a drawing!

The second letter was from Jayid. His form letter was called "My Dreams."

May 22, 2013

When I grow up I want to become...a teacher because he teach to all illiterate people. 

Someday I would like to meet my sponsor because...he wants to see her with her two lovely eyes. (Oooh...smooth talker. Haha.)

Someday I would like to visit...Kolkata for seeing a zoo and animals. 

I wish to see my village/town improve in....water facility and education facility. 

When I grow up I would like to help my family by....making their wishes to come true.

Dear Sponsor Jessi, 
I am child development worker. I am writing on behalf of Jayid. He is fine here and ask about you- "how are you doing there." He wants to know about you. How do you celebrate your holidays in summer vacation. Please pray for me, he says. 

I love the fact that Jayid wants to be a teacher when he grows up, so he can teach people to read. I told him so when I wrote to him this weekend! I looked on a map to see how far Kolkata is from where Jayid lives, and it's about 19 hours away. I wish that I could help him visit the zoo with his family! And here's the picture Jayid drew. 

I'm so happy that I got some letters this week!! 

July Letter Writing Topics

Here are some letter ideas for July!

  1. Independence Day. Not only does the United States celebrate Independence Day in July, but Colombia and Peru do, too! What does your family do for Independence Day? Do you go on a picnic? Do you have a meal with your family? You could tell your sponsor child that many families cook their meals outside on a grill for this holiday (cooking inside is not a foreign concept to other countries.) Write about fireworks! Do you set off any fireworks of your own? Do you go to a fireworks show? Tell your sponsor child how many people decorate with red, white, and blue decorations for this holiday, as they are the colors of our flag. Ask your child about independence day celebrations in his country. Even if it isn't celebrated in July, I believe that all the countries Compassion works in have an independence day holiday. 
  2. Staying cool. I'm not a huge fan of July because it's usually nasty hot outside. Chances are, your sponsor child lives in an area where warm weather is a regular occurrence. How do you stay cool in the heat? Do you go swimming? Several of my sponsor kids like to swim! Ask your sponsor child how she cools off when it's hot outside. 
  3. Halfway Point. Now that it's July, 2013 is halfway behind us! This would be a good opportunity to provide your sponsor child with an update on how your year has gone so far. Did you tell your child about New Year's resolutions? How are those going? What do you hope to accomplish before the year's end?
  4. Vacation. Sponsor kids sometimes go on vacation. Many of them do not, but they still like to hear about the trips we may take. Are you taking a vacation this year? You can tell your sponsor child about it! For sensitivity reasons, it's a good idea to keep things vague. For example, instead of saying "we are flying to Orlando, Florida, so we can visit Disney World and all the theme parks there, and we are staying in a lovely hotel", you could say "this summer our family is taking a trip to another state. The state is called Florida. Florida is in the southern United States, and it has many beaches and natural habitats for lots of animals. I hope it's fun!" Don't forget to pick up a postcard or two for your sponsor child while you're on your trip!
  5. VBS. Many sponsor children have the opportunity to attend Vacation Bible School activities. It would probably be a good idea to explain what VBS is just in case. You could say that during the summer break, when children are out of school, many churches have activities for children to learn about Jesus and have fun. They have snacks and make crafts, read Bible stories, and sing songs. If you have a Christian bookstore in your area (or a Christian owned store like Hobby Lobby), you can even check out VBS materials that might be good to send to your sponsor child, such as activity booklets, coloring sheets, and other flat, paper crafts.