Wednesday, January 20, 2016

The Secret on How to Be Loved...

Stuff was coming up on my feed...like "how to catch a guy", "how to keep a guy", "how to make him love you"...
After I spit the vomit out of my mouth...I then half laughed and cried at same time. Pretty sure I snorted...possibly sharted as well. This is a definitely a no-no in having someone love you...according to "advice" people type and believe.

1. If you need to "catch" anything....please let it not be a person. That would make you creepy as hell and definitely do not catch an STD...that would make you stupid and creepy.
2. If you need to "make" someone love you, you are even more creepy and stupid.
3. If you read this, snorted or sharted...you are a keeper and prove my point.

You can't "catch" someone. Nor, should you try. You can't "get" someone to love you. Nor, should you try.
You are worth more than that and so is the person you are wanting/needing/obsessing over.

Life is too short to pretend. You love or you don't. Don't spend the rest of your life trying to "keep" something that is not yours. Once you can see people outside of yourself and actually see them...You give the gift of independence. Your man, woman, children are not an extension of you. They are uniquely them. Love them. Appreciate them. Give them freedom.

That is how you feel loved.





Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Only Thing I Asked God For.....It's the One Thing I Didn't Get...

What is the one thing I asked?
  I begged God to protect my heart.
 I begged.
I pleaded
and was given into every situation
with faith 
believing HE heard. 
Instead
my heart 
it's broken
the multitude of pieces create a shadow
a shadow
i can't seem to escape
the shadow of a plea
an earnest plea
God
Please protect my heart
He said, "No"
and
"Lay it it down on a platter
It's up to you 
you decide how you feel"
I created you with free will
your choice
 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Everyday and pretty much all day...I have this overwhelming feeling/burden of wanting or better yet, needing to write...but, I don't. Now that I think of it, this feeling/burden of wanting or better yet, needing to do pretty much ANYTHING is ever present and you know what? I still do nothing. Kind of sums up this past 12 months. It's a non stop constant feeling of failing. Failing everything and everyone...Here's the thing...I feel like I'm failing at the ONE thing that I promised myself I would not give up...my heart. I'm failing myself. It's the one thing I actually can control....my reactions, responses, my beliefs....and essentially my heart. I can't control my mom dying, losing my home, car, marriage, emails/texts received...BUT, my heart...yeah.....I should have this...

But...I don't.

I feel like I'm losing the only thing I am proud of.....grace....STOP here...I know/believe and breathe God's grace in my life...this in NOT what I'm talking about...this is about extending it...

Honestly, I'm mad. I'm hurt. I'm weary.


yet,
in ALL things...give thanks.
I'm not thankful my mom died. I'm not thankful I  lost what I have....
In a way though......an honest way...I'm thankful for this past year.

yes, I'm failing....

I'm mad, hurt, weary,

but.... I believe...I believe in promises..I was promised,"I would not be left, forsaken or forgotten"... and because of grace...I know I'm failing....

crap


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Post That Can't Be Titled or the Blog formerly known "As They Lived Happily Ever After"


I miss this... I miss you... I miss writing...sharing...I haven't been on here for awhile... In all honesty, if you have read this blog or still do....then, please can I just scream in front of you, can I get ugly...raw...You know me, I do not hold back. Tonight I tried to decide if I should create a new blog for a new life...I started to read this one from the beginning in '07...So many tears.

Decided...this is my story. Why would I dismiss any of it? There are gaps...pain...but, I write because...writing brings you into my life and I need you ...


This week my mommy died. This week I was in the hospital (again). This week I found out I move after 9 years. This week I ran out of borrowed money for my attorney and will face the judge with my head held up high, but cry inside for what can never be.

Freedom is a word and notion we all know, but very few know they need it and are willing to sacrifice everything to achieve it.... unfortunately, we allow our own freedom to be defined by others

Saturday, August 18, 2012

 I wrote this a few months back and never published it....

"Now I understand why dishonesty and lying is pandemic and whoever said that truth will set you free forgot to mention that it also provides a breeding ground for judgement from the pious who hide behind false perfection...I am loved as long as I show what you want to see. God forbid my heart becomes a mirror for your own hidden struggles. For every stone that is picked up and thrown in my direction.....remember, you are only picking up that stone because of your own guilt and fear of being exposed for your own sin that lives inside of you. In truth I stand. Hated. Beautifully marred. Overwhelmed by grace."

It hurts to read the above words...unfortunately not much has changed. My heart is beyond broken. It breaks for my children, family, friends and well, society. My husband of 17 years filed for divorce this week.

 I have lived and will continue to live my life transparently... please message me for any reason....

Until then....As I work my way back into blogging I leave you with this




A few months ago we sat down with 80 women....representing 400 children....In life you will have critics...people who question you....There IS a season for everything. Do NOT ever compromise what is in your heart.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Shop to Send Us!!!!

So many awesome things are happening for Because Every Mother Matters. One of the most exciting is the opportunity to bring 10 women with us. 10 beautiful giving women that desire to pour their hearts into the women we serve. They will be leaving their families to come along side of us. This is such an walk of faith for all of us. Most of us don't have a chunk of money laying around to pay for the trip. We have to fundraise and rely purely on others to believe enough in us and what we're doing to send us. Delicate Fortress is helping us raise the needed funds for these amazing women to come. We will receive 30% of all purchases made in their online store for the week of FEB 1-7th using the coupon code TEAMBEMM at check out. At the end of the week, I will divide equally all money raised to help fund everyone's trip. Check out the store. Get it in time for Valentines Day. Shop to Send Us!!!!! Every purchase not only helps us get closer to going, but supports the survivor of human trafficking. WIN/WIN!!!!!





Delicate Fortress Creations



Joining Forces for the Women of Ethiopia


Team BEMM

It's almost here! In just a few short weeks I'll be heading to Ethiopia with Because Every Mother Matters (BEMM) for what promises to be an incredible, life changing experience. Through this trip, I'll be humbled to work alongside women half a world away to bring livelihood and health to their communities. I'm so excited for this wonderful opportunity.

The thing is, it's kind of expensive..... Around $2500 expensive. And not all of us have $2500 laying around. :)

So, all of us participating in the trip have decided to work together to raise the necessary costs and we're partnering with a fantastic organization, Delicate Fortress Creations (DFC) in order to do so!

DFC is a shop with purpose - offering hand made items created by individuals who have escaped human trafficking, modern day slavery, poverty and exploitation. They have beautiful, unique gifts - jewelry, bath and body, handbags, children's items.... You name it, they have it!

From February 1-7th, 30% of all DFC sales utilizing the coupon code "Team BEMM" will go to our team! At the end of the fundraiser, all monies raised will be split evenly amongst our group in order to help offset our travel expenses.

I'm so excited we're partnering with them because it will help us raise the money to defray some of our costs and as we do so, we'll be making a difference in the lives of countless women around the world by purchasing their products. It's a win win deal!

Won't you join us?

Anyone in the United States can participate. Simply go to www.delicatefortress.com, find what you like and put in the coupon code "Team BEMM" at check out. 30% of everything you buy will go to our team!

So, mark those calendars!

Thank you so much for your support in this very important endeavor. It means so much!

Forward to a Friend

Pass it on to your family and friends and make the impact even greater! Anyone with a United States address is welcome to participate!


Connect with Because Every Mother Matters

Quick DFC Links

Find us on Facebook
Follow us on TwitterVisit our blog

About DFC

Delicate Fortress Creations (DFC) is a Shop with Purpose store where you can fight human trafficking, modern day slavery, poverty and child exploitation with every purchase. We support over 25 different non-profits and small businesses who are reaching out to help those effected by these crises with opportunities for education, rehabilitation and vocational training.

Visit DFC Here!



Sunday, January 29, 2012

Finding Balance

I'm beginning to think finding balance in life is like getting in the car when I see a rainbow and driving every direction it shines to find the pot of gold. It's chasing Nessie in the Scottish Highlands. The quest for achieving balance has made billions for self help guru's, conventions, mental health practitioners, exercise clubs, preschools, resorts everywhere, churches, bars, organic farmers, online colleges, non-profits (including mine), and the list goes on and on and on....Finding balance in life has now become the politically correct way of saying, "NO" or "YES". Pull the balance card on a friend asking if you can come over to talk and she understands. Volunteers are needed at the shelter...Don't want to say that you have plans watching your favorite show...balance card works. Moms that are stressed are joining the gym, put the kids in daycare...why? Balance. Even church is now included...Yep, pretty sure if I attend church on Sunday it brings balance to all the other days I was kind of an ass, everyone is seeking balance. If I give $50 to this org, take yoga one day a week, have "me" time a few times a month with friends, read to the kids at least 3x a week, church on Sunday, scale work down to only 40 hours a week, eat in 5 days a week, read at least 15 min 4 times a week, go on a date night once a month, read my bible at least 30 min a day,buy organic milk, volunteer 2x a month at the shelter.....then maybe I am balanced. I will feel good about myself. I will be able to justify every other decision I make outside of what is scheduled. It will be okay to say, "NO" when I'm asked for more....I will also say, "YES" out of guilt because I didn't meet the "balance" quota.

I am NOT saying that any of the above is wrong. Finding "balance" is NOT a bad thing. My issue with the great quest for achieving "balance" in life is... it is NOT based on what I truly love. It is a concept made by people.

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; ..."

Finding balance is trying to control our moments.

"But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble."

When you seek balance in your life you are limiting your life to the box you define. When you are truly seeking HIM and following HIM your life will NOT be balanced. Your life will be a big beautiful mess.

Live life boldly. Live life messy. Dare to live an unbalanced life

*Some weeks I want nothing more than to trade my kids in for a quiet sandy beach ALONE.
*Some days I want nothing more than a new outfit and manicure.
*Some days I want a go large McDonald fries.
*Some days I sell half the clothes I own because I know it will help someone
*Some days I hide behind my computer working 18 hours a day and barely say, "Hi" to my kids.
*Some days I unplug everything and build forts, do puzzles, howl at the moon with my 6 babies.
*Some days I want to quit
*Some days I do quit
*I don't want to get out of bed half the time
*Some weeks I won't shower for days
*Some days my kids only eat organic, no sugar. Everything made from scratch
*Some days we eat cereal for dinner

Everyday is either a struggle or a victory...sometimes both throughout the day.

It's a gift, you know...Today is a gift. Don't waste it trying to achieve balance. JUST EMBRACE IT

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What Does it Look like

"...and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday"
What does this really look like?
Is it more than polo shirts and pressed dresses?
Little girls in bows and boys in their Sunday best?
Is it more than your 10% left at the alter of filled churches open two days a week and deserted on the nights someone falls at it's doorsteps desperate and alone?
Is it more than small group and once a month potluck?
Is it more than inviting the "unsaved" to a service?
Is God asking for more than what we are comfortable with?

I don't know.
I really don't.
All I know is when I see images like this posted on forums
and posted by my own family (Oh gasp! An atheist)


then I believe with all my heart
that YES
HE is asking for more.

Then I see a picture posted by many of my Christian friends

and I think


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

The thing is..
HE is asking for more than what we are comfortable with.

Here was my response to the first picture:
Until people NOT God choose to put focus and energy on important things...this will not end. God is not some deity deciding who should starve. No, it is us. The corruption is wide spread...from money hungry corps that take advantage of weak government structures to rape and pillage a continent to the millions of apathetic people that place their stock in what they see and own. We are the ones that dictate the football player earning millions while others go hungry. We would rather watch the idiot box on a Sunday, spend 100's of dollars in tailgating parties than forsake our mocha to feed a child we will never meet. Nope God is NOT to blame, but it is US that are guilty.


"...and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday"
What does this really look like?
Is it more than pretty packages under the perfect tree?
Is it more than finding the perfect gift for that someone you want to respect you as much as you admire them?
There has to be more?
Or better yet...
There has to be a "balance" that we are comfortable with.
One of
"sacrifice"
and
"comfort"

Maybe it's just me
but when I look at those images
I feel like a hypocrite
Especially now...

Both images are screaming for THIS season.
The season of a birth.
The greatest sacrifice in history.
The birth of a man (regardless of faith)
This man, Jesus (regardless of faith)
lived
"...and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday"
So, what does this really look like?

It looks like a beautiful chaotic mess waiting to happen!
It looks more like what you DON'T want to look at.
It comes in your "crazy ass neighbor" that you would rather ignore, but invite over anyway
it comes in the form of the bitchy cashier that you try to make smile
it is apparent in that "annoying friend" that you include
or psycho at work you invite to lunch
The idiot that cuts in front of you, but you choose to ask how they are

the crazy ass holiday shoppers, that you smile at
the praying athlete..and rejoice that he is thankful

It also is the starving child, the dying mother, the 10 year old sold into sex by her family

It looks like GRACE.

It looks like YOU.






Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving

This year my thanksgiving is deeper than my normal...in a year everything I knew, believed and trusted was stripped to an ugly rawness. In the midst of chaos and uncertainty....in the dirt of faith I grew....Oh man...everything and anything that truly matters in my life is there because of HIM. In HIM I trust...My new moto is day by day or in Amharic kas by kas...I am thankful for today.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Splendor

I tend to find myself in the most incredible places with the most incredible people to serve the most incredible God and yet....my biggest fear is that I will somehow and somewhere forget or minimize how incredible it all is..My prayer. My hope...is that I will NEVER lose the wonder, the sense of awe...the beauty and awesomeness that life is meant to be....


video

Friday, November 4, 2011

Cooking up a Family

Have I ever wrote about how much I love cooking? I love it. I love everything about it. I love preparing the ingredients. I love chopping. I love sweating over the stove. I love choosing between following precisely a proven recipe or creating my own masterpiece. I love how science and artistry work together in the kitchen. You have to use both. One without the other...or at least in my experience ends up being a disaster. I love the smells. I love the expectation you get...wondering if your hard work, dedication and plan will pan out. I love tasting everything as it cooks. What's it missing? What does it have too much of? How can I fix it? Can I make it better? I taste. I analyze. I adjust. It's like the one thing throughout my day I can actually control the outcome of (too the extent of my knowledge and/or creativity). I even love seeing the mess that is left behind! It's a reminder of the process. The bigger the mess, the more I pour into it. In my home of feeding 9 or more every night...the mess is HUGE! The clinging of plates, utensils, dishes and my screaming orders at everyone drowns out everything. It's like the world stops. Nothing else matters. The kids aren't getting bigger. Life isn't moving fast. Bills are waiting. School is on hold. All that matters is THIS moment. Then we sit and no matter what is happening...we pray. We give thanks. Yeah...some nights we are heavy with thought when we eat. We are frustrated with each other. Someone may get sent to their room. It can get loud with chatter. Everyone asking for more before I even take my first bite. Complaints that they want Kraft. Yeah....and some nights we are smiling as a family. Everyone is engaged and happy. We are enthralled with stories from each others day. The air is filled with "This is the BEST dinner ever mommy"! The thing is...no matter what I cook, the way it tastes, the mood my family is in, the mess it creates...time stops...the world comes to a halt. It is about this moment...where science meets artistry. You are sweaty, messy, creative, following recipes, serving, praying it comes together...This is family.



To show how much I love cooking and the process...I share with you my "attempt" at preparing chicken in Ethiopia. *not for the weak stomach or anyone that thinks buying McNuggets from McDonalds is cruelty free...This my friends is Africa!


video

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Read Between the Lines

Last night I got a major case of PAWU. Yeah, got my "panties all waded up" and it wasn't pretty. The thing is...It hurts, it comes on unexpectedly.... like a wedgie in pants you have no business wearing..thus the phrase:) It's surprising. It over takes you.. more often than not it's followed by panic and over reaction. You just want to grab it. Pull it. Heck...even rip it apart. In the midst of it all...I forget ...yeah, it's uncomfortable, but easily fixable. Instead I immediately react then I regret it. I'm not gonna lie, it was instant relief...but it did nothing more than embarrass me as if I just adjusted my panties in public for the world to see. Lesson learned. I can yank on those panties all I want...privately or publicly...thing is...they got waded up because they don't fit. Something is wrong. I can pull. I can panic. I can cuss. I can over react. I can even continue to wear the same old waded up panties and complain that they hurt or embrace the wedgie they cause or even ignore it...OR...frickin' change them! My point is...my bad case of PAWU was MY OWN FAULT! It always will be. I am a big girl and I choose which panties to put on everyday. Yesterday, I wasn't wearing my big girl pair...pretty sure it was more like a diaper. Sticks and stones may break my bones...panties may pinch and ride...and words WILL hurt me, but I will NOT let anything cause me to stumble.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Top Ten Excuses

So...the whole blogging everyday thing hasn't happened....not yet anyway:) I haven't forgotten about it..nope. Not at all. Just the opposite really. I'm thinking about it constantly...It's there..just like the mosquito that buzzed around my ear every night in Ethiopia for a month. Okay, that sounded bad. My blog is not a nuisance. It's therapeutic. It's needed. I need it. I live so much in my brain. Every detail etched in my memory. Every thought a dot on the etch a sketch. Going left. Right. Down. In circles. Sometimes, I can look at it and see God's artistry. Beautiful. Then other times....it looks like scribbles on the wall made by a defiant toddler. So, why? Why haven't I blogged?

My Top 10 List

Starting with the most obvious:)

1. I have 6 kids.
2. I run a growing non-profit (I spend 4-12 hours daily on this)
3. Blog block
4. The last 48 hours I haven't left the bathroom that much
5. Jet lag...spent one month in Ethiopia only to fly straight to Disney World
6. Halloween
7. I view it as another obligation...even though I love it..Yeah...kind of like.... to be honest...dare I say it? Kids. Marriage. Church...etc...
8. The older I get and the more I do...the less I really care about filtering myself for approval. Yet, your support (not of me) but the women I serve means EVERYTHING to me.
9. Just going to say it....What if I spend a whole day writing my whole heart out and NOT ONE SINGLE person even reads it? Yeah...vain. I know....I know I'm not alone though;)
10. I will have to be responsible for what I say.

Whew....now that my excuses are out in the open, it really doesn't change much. I will still go about my day taking care of 6 kids, working on Because Every Mother Matters 4-12 hours a day, stressing about obligation versus relationships in regards to my husband, kids and most importantly my GOD, bathroom breaks from choosing food that I know triggers everything, if I'm going to get hate mail, constant demands for halloween candy, sleep deprivation, writing for the sake of writing and not audience participation and finally laying my head down on my pillow only to be reminded by the imaginary mosquito buzzing around my head...that I am responsible for what I say and what I do...AND it DOES matter!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

30 Days...

Yeah....I'm blogging everyday for 30 days. It has been awhile....My personal life is insane...You all know me. I don't hide or pretend. I'm me! I started this blog...for YOU! Yep. 30 days of realness...Hey...I just got back from 4 weeks in Ethiopia and met my kids at disney world for a week...Um....I am lost

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Help Fight Human Trafficking and Save Mommas by Shopping with Purpose

While doing research to help us understand more about this heart wrenching crime against humanity, we came across this website that had 55 little known facts about Human Trafficking.

We are so humbled to bring you an awesome opportunity to support not only BEMM, but help victims that have suffered because of Human Trafficking.

YOU can make a difference.

AND

You can do it through SHOPPING!

YES.

You heard me. Did you know just by SHOPPING at

DELICATE FORTRESS. COM

You are helping people. Their products are made by survivors of Human Trafficking.

Your purchase not only financially helps them, but it also speaks loud and clear that

YOU CARE AND YOU WILL DO THE SOMETHING YOU CAN DO TO HELP.

AND

for one week only...starting Sept 7-14th

ANYTHING. Yes ANYTHING you purchase through

DELICATE FORTRESS

will also help Human Trafficking at the root.

Did you know an orphan has a greater chance of being exploited?

At BEMM we work to prevent orphans by caring for their mothers and equipping communities with education, resources and health care.

Please Read this post

WRITTEN by: Karyn Puller

Owner and Heart behind Delicate Fortress

THEN VISIT

DELICATE FORTRESS

30% of every purchase using BEMM as the coupon code will help us provide the 4x4 for Mareya which will save 15-20 lives and prevent 40 orphans month after month.

Because EVERY Mother Matters


Imagine this.....

You are in labor. Instead of the conventional "driving to the hospital in plenty of time", you are required to walk to the village that your very rural, very small community is an outlier of. Your village is one of 23 comprising the outlying communities. If you have complications you are then literally hog tied to a stick and carried down a mountain to the nearest hospital where hopefully you can be taken care of. That, my friends, would be enough birth control for me - just hearing that story. Done. No babies.

But babies happen and due to the reality of these circumstances only 6 out of 10 mothers actually survive childbirth.

Welcome to life in Mareya, Ethiopia.

I would not have been a survivor. I don't know if you have been in labor or not. In case you haven't, here are a couple quick highlights from my experience.
  1. It REALLY hurts. And its hard to walk while you are in labor.
  2. Walking speeds the process along.
  3. The more times you give birth, the quicker labor can potentially go and the higher the chance that you could "bleed out", meaning that a clot develops and instead of the bleeding stopping after delivery, you just continue to bleed.
I would have had about 15 minutes to live after the birth of my third child without medical care.

Now imagine this....

There are 143 million orphans around the world today. 143 million. Imagine how many less orphans there could be if less mothers died in child birth.

Imagine what knowledgeable and safe midwifery could do if practiced in the outlying communities. Imagine what a 4x4 vehicle could do if available. I'll tell you one thing. It would mean a lot less hog tying.

Count me in.

And count in BEMM, short for Because Every Mother Matters.

I happened to meet the founder of this organization at a conference I recently went to. She described this process to me when we were discussing DFC and the fact that one of our main desires is to fight child exploitation. Orphans are part of what leads to child exploitation. When a child has no one to provide for them, no means of living and no education, they are at very high risk of being picked up and used by a trafficker.

What if we could cut down on the maternal death rate? We would be shrinking the orphan population and the risk of these children being trafficked.

That is the goal of Because Every Mother Matters. They aim to achieve this goal by providing maternal birth kits to these communities, training 2-3 midwives in each community to practice safe birthing methods and funding the purchase of a 4x4 vehicle for the village to use as an ambulance for moms in distress. Imagine what they will be able to do with this help. Imagine the number of moms that will be able to see their children grow and thrive, the number of children who will be cared for by their own mothers and the number of children who will have a much smaller risk of being exploited.

Makes sense to me.

Steffany, the woman I met at the conference, is heading over to Africa in October with maternal birth kits, educators and hopefully money for a 4x4. She needs to raise $20,000 within the next month. Total raised so far - $4040.

Do you feel passionate about this cause and want to do something? Here's how you can:
  • Donate directly to BEMM. You can do that here.
  • Follow BEMM on Facebook and participate in the fundraiser we are hosting for them. 30% of all purchases utilizing their coupon code will go directly to BEMM.
  • Purchase items for the maternal birth kits via BEMM's Amazon wish list.
  • Buy a tacky headband, created by African refugees here in the states. $4/headband will go to pay them a fair wage for their creation, $4 will to toward funding the ambulance and $1 will take care of transaction fees incurred by DFC for making them available to you. And last but not least the incredibly cool headband will go to you!
I know DFC is small, but together it is possible to make a big impact. So, let's get started. And all the best to BEMM.

Now, let's save some lives!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

What's Happening

Tomorrow is the last day for adopting families to enter the fundraiser we are doing to help one of them get a little something something towards their adoption! As of right now the family chosen tomorrow will receive the min of $1000 in CASH to be used to bring their kiddo home. Not bad for a $20 donation towards providing an ambulance for 24 villages in remote Africa to prevent 40 orphans a month by saving their mommas! I'm loving this dual purpose fundraiser. Have you entered yet?
www.BEMM.org

On Monday we will announce the winner and reveal how much has been raised with the different fundraisers towards the ambulance and how much further we have. Stayed tuned on Tues via Facebook, blog, twitter and our website to learn about an exciting week long partnership we have with an amazing org. Check them out. Like what you see? Next week we will get our very own code and for every purchase you make you will not only support the hands that made the products, but 30%! Yes, 30% will be donated to Because Every Mother Matters. It's not to early to shop for Christmas. *You will thank us later;)



www.delicatefortress.com.

Friday, August 26, 2011

6 Months

Now that my little pity party is officially over, my eyes are once again focused where they belong....outward:) Last week was tough. I am completely out of what little comfort zone I feel like I have left. I think I've gotten in a horrible habit of walking in blind faith completely expecting God to work or meet the needs I feel that need to be met. Does that make sense? I fully expect God to provide what is needed..only I have gotten in the habit of defining what is needed. I need to trust that He will work according to His will and not mine. I fully expected after I jumped off the freakin' cliff and head first into several conversations with different pastors from different churches (something that terrified me) that God would show up how I wanted Him to...in the form of what I feel are tangible ways...ie..the churches hearing the need, being moved to act and ending with them committing financial support to 24 villages surrounding Mareya by helping provide the funds to purchase the 4x4, midwife training and supplies for the clinic. Nope, it didn't happen like that and to be honest last week I was a little upset. I found myself mad that I did what I thought was my part. I put myself in situations, conversations and reaching out in ways I never thought I would and nada..nothing. No reward. No closer to helping the people God Himself told me to help. Then, it occurred to me...who am I expect or define how I feel God should respond? I don't know what seeds were planted, I don't know how or when God will grow them. Heck, I don't even know the type of plant that will eventually be harvested. All I do know is my God is good and He will provide what is needed and when it's needed. With that said...I have fully surrendered the outcome to Him and I will continue to be obedient . I will work like it depends on me and pray because I know it's up to Him. If I had my way, the funds for the 4x4 would already be in the bank. Their not. Not even close. I had someone today try to bring comfort by telling me even if we don't raise the money in time that we will definitely have it raised by our spring trip. That is comforting. That maybe...it's not suppose to happen this trip. There's always spring. That's only 6 months away. That is only 120 people who will lose their lives. That in only close to 240 new orphans in Ethiopia. I have had someone tell me that maybe we aren't successful raising the funds because a 4x4 (ambulance) is not the answer and I heard God wrong. The day I sat in the ditch with the administrators from the 24 villages and I heard that 4 out 10 women die giving birth, I heard that they don't survive the 10 hour hike down the mountain, I heard the men ask, "Please save our women". I'm pretty confident I also heard God that same day...Do I believe that He is in control? Yes. Do I trust in His timing? Yes.
It was last week that I felt so convicted that the bulk would be raised by helping others as well. I was in my bed and my mind started thinking about how on earth I even came to be in a ditch with 24 villages by myself in Ethiopia. My journey started with my desire to adopt and after my twins joined our family in 2008, God grew my passion for orphans into an organization whose primary focus is to prevent them. I get so many requests to help fund adoptions that it only made since to combine my two passions. Adoption of the 160 million orphans that are already waiting for someone to love them and providing the resources and education necessary to 24 villages in Ethiopia that would prevent 40 orphans a month and save the lives of their mothers.

you can read about the dual fundraiser here http://toliveloveandlaughtoday.blogspot.com/2011/08/adoptive-parent-talk.html

To date we have raised almost $1250 of the 20k we hoped to raise to support 11 families adoptions and the ambulance.
There is a chance we may not reach our goal. Worst case scenario 120 people will die and 240 children will be left orphaned. And we will have to be okay with that...we will take comfort that even though this thought is painful we would have to believe it's not His timing...

There is also a chance that we will reach our goal. That we will witness a miracle. That 120 people will be saved by providing the 4x4 by Oct. and 240 children will still have a mother. And when that happens...We will give God the Glory....

I just know...Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

For a min. $20 donation you can give hope to an adopting family and save lives.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Every Moment...

I spend every moment of every day thinking about faces that I can honestly not bare to disappoint. When I look at my kids I feel like I'm failing them, when I close my eyes I see all of the beautiful people I have met on my trips to Africa and I am now failing them.. I have sold more possessions than I own to constantly meet goals to not disappoint anyone. Yet...I fail. I haven't had a decent nights sleep in years and I know by me quitting it won't change that. I will continue to be haunted by failing and quitting, but man...I really needed a freakin cookie. I obeyed God beyond pain and beyond my comfort zone.. I didn't do it for my benefit or gain. I did it because I love. I love so much it hurts. I put everything I have out there. I'm tired. I just want to be numb for a day. Not to feel. Not to think. Cause I'm breaking. And I see no relief. People are still hurting. I'm still failing. I have nothing left to give.

I quit. I quit trying. I quit pretending. I can't do it. This moment and every moment I fail.

Adoptive Parent talk....

I have a confession to make. I'm serious...don't laugh, but BACE (You know...before adoption changed Everything!) I was pretty much the "weird mom" that nobody understood. I seemed to never fit in anywhere. I tried. I really did. I would act interested in the same things other mommas liked even though my my mind drifted elsewhere..It wasn't until I became a STBEAP (soon to be expecting adoptive parent) that I became aware that there were other BACE and STBEAP people like me. All of a sudden for the first time in 30+ years I didn't feel..you know...um..weird and alone. After we suffered our first ARM (adoptive referral miscarriage) I realized that I had a new family. A family of BACE, STBEAP and some ARM's and they were wonderful. For the first time ever I witnessed community. A group of people who looked beyond themselves who, yes...were slightly weird like me and stood for something that beat with in my own heart. I found AP's (adoptive parents)! When our first children died in Liberia before we could bring them home and during the transition of bringing our twins home from Ethiopia that weighed 10 pounds at 2 years old AND me bringing home a sick pregnant Ethiopian momma home with me thus starting BEMM (Because Every mother Matters) YOU WERE THERE! All of you..the BACE, STBEAP, ARM, and AP's.My family. A community of people like me. It wasn't long after that I became a PASOP (post adoptive stressed out parent) and yes..You were still there. Encouraging me. Loving me. Supporting me. I consider the adoption community my family. The ones that get it. The ones that are laughing at my BACE, STBEAP, ARM...because you understand.
Here it is...You are my family. You are my community. I'm calling on you once again as a JAMT6KWRANPTHPMO (Just a momma to 6 kids who runs a non-profit to help prevent more orphans) to support me. My org is currently raising the funds necessary to purchase an ambulance that will service 10,000 people and save 20 lives a month! We Need 20K in two weeks. This will prevent up to 40 orphans a month! Awesomesauce, right? ...Yes. but what about the 160 million orphans that need a home TODAY! I found it's so easy to get on my PAHH (post adoption high horse) and only support prevention. Yet...my family is my family because of adoption and I believe in my BACE, STEAP, ARM. AP's and placing children in loving homes. Period.
So...WE (BEMM) is donating $2500 towards a family's adoption when we meet our 10k goal. Wait...wait...How will we do this? We are counting on the community I have come to love and trust to help us help them. We need $ to help fund our projects that were inspired because all of our board (minus 1...but this one has more heart and has personally served more in Africa than all of us combined) are AP's who were were once BACE, STBEAP and some ARM's..my point! We get it. We get you. We love our kids, your kids..We know it takes ALL of us to make a difference.

The details.
For every $20 donation you or ANYONE you know gives to www.bemm.org(have them mention your name) YOU will be entered to win 25% of the 10k we raise.
You do not have to be an AP to enter...You can submit a name into the drawing.
Here is where it gets COOL! Our goal is to raise 10k by Sept 4th. What ever is raised above that will be split up by 50% thousand...
If 10k is raised then 25% will towards one adoptive family
For every additional 1k raised after 10k then 50% will be donated to an additional adoptive family...up to 20k
The breakdown
Give $20 and you are entered to win (not adopting? Just want to give $20 ? Write a friends name down and it will be credited towards them)
After 10k each additional 1k will be split 50/50 with an AP.

If we raise 20k in 2 weeks then 1 family will receive $2500 and 10 additional families receive $500 a piece for every 1k raised.... That is $7500! 11 adoptions helped and an ambulance funded that will prevent 40 orphans a month!!!!!!


To make this work...We need you to donate $20 AND help spread the word. Remember the more we raise the more we can give towards potentially 11 adoptive families!


Donate $20 today and enter in your name if you are adopting or another family wanting to raise money for their adoption!

*only $ donated with someones name on it will go towards this fundraiser*

Saturday, August 20, 2011

911

Waiting...pacing, antsy, anticipating, expecting, doubting, scared...Yep, that pretty much sums up my last few weeks since I got back from Ethiopia. I remember each face. Forever etched in my mind. I can still feel the flies feasting on my skin. My heart is still beating out of my chest as I replay word for word what was spoken. In June I sat in a ditch with the representatives from 24 villages in rural Ethiopia. I can't quite explain it...I listened to every word, I watched every face, I felt every freakin fly..even now every detail is in place, but I have never felt so out of control in my life. I was calm. I was present....but it was not me. If it was me, I would have cried hearing that women in labor were being carried 12 hours down a mountain tied to a stick only to die. I would have thrown up knowing 4 out of 10 women DIED trying to give birth. Instead I sat there, took a deep breath and prayed. In moments the answer was clear. It was direct. It was simple. You can see it here...
video


I thought what was needed would be accomplished in weeks by sharing their stories, the statistics, the need and voila... Actually not much has happened. Amazing people have written inspiring posts to help raise the funds, our "fans" have increased, I'm finding myself way out of my comfort zone talking to churches, businesses...but..zip. Nothing. We are no closer to providing what is needed to save over 20 lives every month. I couldn't figure it out. I have never been so certain of anything as I have been when I sat in the fly infested ditch and promised we would help. A few days ago I was driving down the street feeling defeated and crying..An ambulance flew by. It was headed towards my home. My heart stopped. My first thought..Are my kids okay? Then it hit me. I thought about all the times I have seen an ambulance, or a wreck on the side of the road and prayed that every one would be okay. As much as the sound of an ambulance stirs up fear in my mind...it also brings comfort. I know I can call 911 and help will come. I know an ambulance can mean life or death. Every time I see one drive by, I think about the one who is inside. I think about the the ones who love the one inside. I didn't realize until I sat with the 24 villages what this means to them...Not one single person in the 24 villages owns a car. The nearest hospital is an 8-15 hour hike away. My son Diezel's life was saved because of an ambulance. By providing a way for over 10,000 people to get to a hospital within an hour will save a life. My prayer is every time you see or hear an ambulance drive by, you think of the person that is inside. You remember that your donation to www.BEMM.org is saving lives...and as corny as this is...WE are going to write every contributors name on the ambulance. Yep, you heard me. I want the world to see (or at least the 10,000) to know YOU!





Monday, August 15, 2011

Just Another Number...

Last week I had someone that I admire greatly ask if they could write a guest post for Because Every Mother Matters. If you don't know Jeff and Katie Seevers yet, I encourage you to find them on Facebook. Their passion, enthusiasm and sincerity is contagious. His post is raw and truthful, but more importantly he gets it. He understands as an adoptive parent the importance of prevention. Holistically speaking orphan care needs to be addressed prior to birth. Taking care of momma WILL and DOES have a direct impact on the orphan crisis. It is my hope that after you read Jeff's post that you do what He says.


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This morning I woke up with some things on my mind. Mothers and the orphan crisis.

My wife and I have been in the process of adopting for over a year. We just passed court and became the parents of two incredible Ethiopian children and we could not be more excited. However, amidst the excitement there is sadness about a problem. A really big problem. It's called the orphan crisis. For those of us who have adopted, or are in the process of adopting, we have felt the immense burden for the voiceless children who are left in the horrible wake of some catastrophic statistics.

But I'm not going to put them here. Why?

Because you don't care.

That's right. We don't care about numbers. 1 out of every 11 women are dying due to pregnancy related issues, and yet those numbers mean nothing to you or me...yet.

I saw a video when we first started out on this adoption journey where Eric Ludy talked about "depraved indifference". In essence these terms boil down to the fact that because we are not directly impacted by these people, i.e. the number of people starving in Africa, or the number of women that die during childbirth in developing countries, we won't be moved enough to act. Tough words to swallow, but they are true.

I know, I know...I've said them too. You're thinking, "but what can I do about children in Africa starving, or mothers dying during childbirth? These problems are massive." And you know what? You'd be right. They are massive.

Consider the orphan crisis. There are an estimated 163 million orphans the world over. And the number continues to climb. One would think, this challenge is insurmountable. And you'd be right if you did not believe that you are capable of making a significant impact, Well, maybe it's time for a little pep talk.

Look what happens when that number becomes a face. Consider what you helped BEMM accomplish with one mother who had a stomach tumor, that if not removed, would die. You mobilized. You acted. And you know what? She is a mother alive today because you cared enough to act. You didn't help a number. You helped a person.

You are capable of saving a life. Yes, you heard me. YOU...are capable of saving a life. Not just any life. A mothers life. You could impact the orphan crisis in a very real and personal way.

Numbers are people. Do you care about them?

Prove it. Act.

Go to www.bemm.org and together we can make a difference. They are raising money for an ambulance that will serve 24 rural villages and save 15-20 lives every month!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Carried

I have been going through an incredibly rough time this past month and am a stagnant mess. We have 6 weeks to raise 20k for an ambulance that will service 24 villages and save 15-20 lives a month. Just the thought that we could save just ONE life should be enough to get me moving. Yet, here I am...feeling paralyzed. I'm not sure if it's fear, being overwhelmed, having surgery or just my life in general that is the issue. I have more than I can explain going on in my personal life right now. The thing is...I know.. and I believe that we will raise the money. I can see so clearly in my mind and heart, us delivering the 4x4 ambulance to Mareya. I see Jodie training the 24 villages in midwifery and the birthing kits, I see visiting the 20 mothers from our sponsorship program (only 2 have sponsors as of right now), I see a team of 4-6 additional people with us (we have 1 signed up right now). Living on faith and ignoring fact is a normal thing in my life. Everything BEMM has accomplished has always been relying on God to show up and perform a miracle. That miracle is always YOU. You all.. Even though we are no closer to the 20k, 4-6 people and 20 sponsored mommas than we were last month...YOU all still blessed me in such a personal way. Your encouragement has carried me for the past few weeks. From a family that sponsored the one of the two 70+ year old women in Ethiopia that I didn't know what to do with..If you don't know the story, please follow us on FB to read it. Basically, I found our first sponsor for two Ethiopian mommas. Then my partners sent me two women who didn't meet the "criteria". I did not want to turn them away and put a plea out on FB and a sweet family answered the call in such a beautiful way. They wanted to sponsor the barren woman so she would have an immediate family praying and supporting her. I was blown away. Then today I received the sweetest letter from a momma that calls herself the "$5 Queen". She says she doesn't have much, but I think she has more heart than anyone I know...She sends me every $5 bill that crosses her path..today I got 6 of them. Why? Her words "I'm so excited to send you more $. I know it's not much, but it's from God to be sure." I wonder if she knows that her 6 $5 bills will save 6 lives?! This week, we also had someone I admire write a guest post for us to share..coming Monday! Our medical director, Jodie also wrote an inspiring note that we will be sharing. I met a beautiful momma at a convention recently who has her own fair trade store that helps human trafficking victims...without asking she sold 49 of our headbands for us and wants to feature us in her blog. You must check them out http://www.delicatefortress.com/
We had people donate 2k towards a momma that needed life saving surgery two weeks ago. Oh, a friend of mine from highschool out of nowhere donated and spread the word of BEMM...
I am so thankful for all of the ways so many of you have carried me over this past month. Because of you..I know we will provide the ambulance we promised, the midwifery training, the 4-6 people to come with us and the 18 additional sponsors. We can do this!!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

She Matters



I received an email last week with information about a 25 year old momma in Ethiopia. The details were vague. I was told she looks pregnant, but is not. That she is getting weaker and needs to be seen by a doctor and asking if we would help. To be honest, it wasn't the best time. We are desperately trying to raise the 35k needed for the Mareya project that will save hundreds of lives, I was getting ready to have surgery and the real kicker- WE HAVE NO RESERVES IN OUR ACCOUNT....bottom line...The reasons for saying, "no" were pretty long and justifiable. Yet, once again...we did not look at our budget or take a vote...Saying, "no" was never even an option. The only option was to act.

So, WHY should you help?


This momma has a name.
She is loved.
She matters.

We had no idea when we said, "yes" to helping how dire her circumstances were. The doctors found a 1 foot by 7 inch cyst in her abdomen. Without speedy removal, she will die. She is scheduled for surgery at the end of this week. Right now our staff in Ethiopia are donating their own blood for her surgery and are trying to find another donor. Apparently, it's byb in Addis (bring your own blood).

We need help. She needs help. Her medical care will end up costing around $2500. That is $2500 more than what we have. We need to raise this within the next 24-48 hours. Why?

BECAUSE EVERY MOTHER MATTERS!

Please donate
www.BEMM.org

Monday, July 18, 2011

Derailed


I woke up tired and quite honestly not ready for the day. I was scheduled for my pre-op, needing to take my son to get his braces fixed for the 4th time in a few months, my work for BEMM hovering over me, not feeling well, etc...BUT...I was determined to make today a good productive work day. I have a few days left to be productive before my surgery. My list was a mile long..Don't you know as soon as my kids got out of bed the demands started as they do every morning. I want this. I need this. Life is unfair....I really wanted to scream, stomp, throw a fit and give everyone a piece of my mind. I have work to do. Important work. Life changing work. While I was forming a lecture in my mind, listening to the demands of my kids...my eyes met Diezel's and time stopped. I looked at him. He was mad and crying. All of them were in a mood. At that moment, I abandoned my agenda. I took him by the hand and said, "Let's go play outside." The complaining stopped and the fun began. After playing, the 3 little ones groomed my hair (a fun, but painful experience) followed by swimming. On the way to my pre-op appointment the van broke down. I really believe if I wouldn't have let go of my agenda first thing in the morning I would be a little stressed by this point. After all, nothing on my list had gotten accomplished and to top it off...I'm stranded with 6 kids in 105 degree weather. We were quite the sight at the gas station. The kids were sprawled out on the concrete in swimsuits...Got to admit, I still had fun. I missed my appointment, but I was with and doing the most IMPORTANT work, life changing work...being a momma to 6 beautiful kids. And by the end of the day, thanks to my friend Kristin..we got our non-profit papers filed. I don't have a car anymore, but I have so much more:)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

On a Personal Note

You all know I have had a ton of health issues.
From Typhoid fever, Hep A, Giardia, Tissue parasites, myocarditis, high blood pressure, IBS, etc...

I also refuse to allow the way I feel to dictate my life.
I brought home 8 pound, 2 year old twins, a sick pregnant woman (who spoke no English) and was sick beyond words....
I have learned to live with whatever challenges my body presents.
About 8 weeks before my last trip to Ethiopia, I ended up in urgent care after vomiting blood, losing weight, fevers and pain (unfortunately...nothing new)
They found a 5cm mass on my ovary.
I was happy they found something with all my health issues.
I know it's weird..
I had an endoscope...nothing was found, but they stretched my esophagus because it was skinny.
I went to my OB/gyn...They couldn't find the mass and assumed it was a cyst that burst.
I then went to Ethiopia.
I was doubled over in pain and bled the whole time.
8 weeks later...nothing has changed.
I went back to OB
They gave me a biopsy and scheduled surgery
Since then...
I heard a glorious word..
BENIGN!
But..
I'm still bleeding.
I still need surgery.
I also broke my ribs last week.
I'm healing from my broken foot.
Still have GI issues
Going to Physical Therapy

YES
I hiked over a mountain in Africa on a broken foot, bleeding and thinking I had cancer.

Why?

I am more than this body.
I am more than who I am told...
I am what I believe.
Which will always be more than what I feel

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Deep Burden



It's not a secret that I have no idea what I'm doing most of the time. I don't have a degree, experience or any reasonable explanation for how I do what I do...Two weeks ago, I found myself after an intense mountain climb on a broken foot in a remote village in Ethiopia at the foot of an 81 year old momma. She cried at the site of me. I was the first frenji (white) that she had ever seen. She just kept asking how I found them. As I held her, I said, "step after step momma". I can't explain the feeling I had sitting there in the hut with the family....I wonder if they will ever know the honor I felt being with them, sleeping them, eating with them, praying with them...Just a few hours before the climb over the mountain, I sat down with the administration (elders) of Mareya, Ethiopia and discussed what the needs of the community were.

I found myself as I often do..in situations that I can't believe are happening.....

I sat in a canal with the elders of a community surrounding me. All eyes on me. I asked, "What are your main concerns? What Can I do to help?" again, I'm in awe that I am even here!-Then I heard all the men say, "Our women are dying. They need help". I sat there. I listened. I heard the problems. In two minutes I knew the solution. I looked at everyone and offered my solution, which involved overturning a tribal law. Surely...they would know...I'm nobody. I have no business being there and would say, no.

Without discussion, they voted unanimously that the plan was good.

I found out that day...4 out 10 women die DURING delivery. In Mareya there is a health center built by the government. It is only a shell. The nurses lack EVERYTHING. No sheets, curtains, supplies, equipment. Mareya is surrounded by 24 villages (all without electricity/water). Due to outdated and traditional delivery practices they outlawed home births and midwifery because more women were dying due to infection.

Because of this laboring women hiked anywhere from 1-6 hours over a mountain to Mareya. If they made it, then half would deliver only the placenta (the babies were born on the way down), the others were in distress and sent to a better facility, which meant 8-12 more hours of hiking. The laboring mommas are tied to a stick by their belly and carried down. They will die at this point.

What are we going to do?

I told them, I would bring a 4x4 to them. We would provide a vehicle that will transport the women that make it to the clinic a way to the hospital. This alone with impact %40 0f not only laboring mommas, but other patients as well. We also got the elders to allow midwifery again, after we promised training and kits to each village. This alone will save lives! We will also build a better gurney system and stock the existing clinic.

Why? Why do I work with moms when their are 150 million orphans? I will watch a mom buried who died due to preventable causes and leave 6 kids behind who now have NOBODY and will be another number to the already sickening 150 million other kids

The faces I see keep me awake. I do not represent a church, a group, a cause. I am uneducated. I am nothing special.

I am simply a momma who knows that everyone can make a difference.

I am deeply burdened by all I have seen and those I have met. The thing is....I am grateful for this burden. I feel "lucky" to be burdened.

Education can be bought, experience can be learned, but the direction of your heart...is up to you
We need to raise 30-35k in less than 3 months. This is the most I have ever attempted to raise in such a short period of time. I'm a little nervous, but more importantly I'm freakin excited to see God move this mountain.

Go to www.BEMM.org to help