Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Split Second

Within an hour of my last post I found out that a $1000 donation came in!!!! Then 2 minutes later I got a phone call from my mom telling me my dad collapsed from a heart attack and was in ICU. I went from elation to panic within a second. I learned a lot today.


Are you tired of me talking about going REDical yet? Truth be told...I'm kind of tired of it. I'm not tired of using my voice. I am not tired of the cause. I am not tired of doing what is right. I'm just tired of feeling like I'm not being heard. Then God slaps me upside the head with truth and I think to myself... are you kidding me Steffany? Even if everyone has tuned me out. Even if the goal is not met. Even if I am hidden on Facebook because I am annoying...I must NOT grow tired in serving, in giving, in loving, in my obedience to- " Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." I remember it's not about me... then I open my eyes to what God has done and who has listened...and I stand in awe. I am once again reminded that HIS plans are not always mine..they are always better and I am excited to be used by HIM.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Picture is Worth...

(Carolyn Tweitmeyer and daughters from Project Hopeful being Tacky 4 Africa)
To watch the video they were making click here

Some say a picture is worth a 1000 words. I believe that. I also believe a picture is worth a dollar. I have a donor who will give $1.00 to Because Every Mother Matters for every photo posted on our Facebook fanpage of someone being Tacky 4 Africa or going REDical for World Aids Day. $1.00 for the mommas in Africa for each picture (one per person). Have you ordered a headband? Do you have a picture? Post it and we get a $1.00. In celebration of all things Tacky and REDical for every picture you post, you will be entered to win our newest Tacky 4 Africa headband!

The medical team from doma rocking the Tacky.
To watch the awesome stuff they are doing click here

Dasha the cutest headband model from Project Hopeful

My friends canine companion looking like a stud in a headband-proving that they truly are for all creatures!

Leah, my awesome sister-in-law who continues to spread the tacky to all her friends in Lubbock, Texas by selling, giving and sharing!

JR showing that real men will do anything to support mommas

Bethany displaying the cool way to go TACKY 4 AFRICA

and Danette (need I say more?)

Don't have a Tacky or Redical headband? Order 1,2,3,4 or 10. 100% of your purchase supports the refugee hands that make them and organizations making a difference in a mommas life. For 2 weeks a picture posted is worth $1.00 to help BEMM

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Why Did Fatima Die?

The topic of discussion this week in the Boster house....

Why did Fatima get killed mommy?
I get asked this question when I wake up.
I hear this question when we eat lunch.
I am confronted at naptime.

Who was Fatima mommy?
Was she black?
What did the man look like that killed her?
Did they know how much she was loved?
Does the gunman remember her?
Why did Fatima have to die?
Does God love the man who is singing about her?
Does he hate the one who pulled the trigger?
Was she killed in Africa?
Why does the man still sing about her?
Am I beautiful like Fatima?
Mommy...Why do people kill?
Does God love them?
Would I be taken away like Fatima?
Would you sing about me?
Can we find the person who killed Fatima and tell him her name?
Mommy, why does the man take away what is loved?

These are just a few of the questions that I have been asked this week after sharing with my children K'naan's song FATIMA.

These are the conversations I have with my children. I used to raise my kids in a bubble thinking protecting them from the world was the best gift I could give....I now know showing them the world and letting them experience it...the good, bad, beautiful and ugly has a greater and more lasting impact than anything I could imagine.

Why Them????

Why? Why have I spent the last 3 months supporting Project Hopeful? They are known for their passion and advocacy work in helping hiv+ orphans through educating families about hiv who are considering adoption to remove stigma in hope that the millions of children living with HIV who may never find a family have HOPE.
What about Because Every Mother Matters? Where on earth does our mission fit? Even though I am an adoptive mother...I do not believe adoption alone will solve the orphan crisis. Let's just say that every Christian did indeed adopt a child...then what? What happens tomorrow when due to AIDS alone 6000 more children will be defined as orphans and then the next day?
Orphan care is NOT just as simple as adoption.
Adoption is
one solution
Orphan care is looking at the causes, the solutions and then WORKING TOGETHER!
There will never be one solution or one cause...
16% of kids under 5 die to Malaria
Every 2 seconds another child dies from Malnutrition
Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war.
1 in 11 women will die due to pregnancy related causes in E. Africa.
What if you could help a momma through her pregnancy, make sure her family has clean water, provide mosquito nets to the family, educate on self-sustainable ways to feed their family...what kind of difference would that have? What if all organizations worked together? What kind of impact would that have?
So, why? Why am I working with Project Hopeful?
In Africa..unfortunately life is already hard. You might die due to childbirth, lack of clean water, malaria, malnutrition....
but to die in shame
to be left alone and unloved because of HIV...
to suffer in silence as a momma and know after you die your kids may carry your legacy and face the same demise is UNFATHOMABLE.
Before Carolyn Twietmeyer and I had even spoke live...I committed to helping her. At that time I only knew of her adoption ministry. Even though I'm not in the adoption ministry..I prayed she woulds use her passion, knowledge and reach to encompass the mommas-
It wasn't until after I sold 120 headbands at her booth that I even heard about PROJECT HOPEFUL's SISTERHOOD PROJECT!
I encourage you to read more and learn why I chose to support Project Hopeful.

By now most of you know they have been featured in PEOPLE magazine. Buy it. Support it.

Only 5 days left to raise the 5k I promised I would raise for the SISTERHOOD PROJECT
5k to help over 14 mommas and their children. 5k to help 14 mommas keep their children.
5k to bring HOPE to our sisters in AFRICA!

Want to help?
remember for every $20 donation you will be entered to win a custom bracelet made
YOU HAVE TO WRITE BEMM in the notes section.
All info is on my website
Click LOGO

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

She Cries...

Xia cries.
The first time I held her at age 2
she cried.
When I would look at her
she cried.
looking in the mirror
she cried.
Even though starving... my attempts to get her to eat
made her cry.
In her sleep
she cried.
She cried when she was full.
She cried when she was hungry.
She cried when I held her.
She cried when I let her go.
As she smiled
she cried.
I forgot
She forgot
2.5 years has passed
we forgot that Xia cries.
I spent a lot of time with her parents in Ethiopia two weeks ago
and they asked me
"Does she cry?"
because they said
"Xia cries".
my answer
I haven't heard the Xia cry for a long time.
She smiles...
She laughs..
She is happy...

Then today
she cried
My first thought was shameful
why are you crying
I was irritated
I remembered
Xia cries.
so do I.
I didn't look for a reason or ask why
I just held her and cried too.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Here's the Deal....

I have no idea what I am doing. I sometimes kid myself into thinking I have a plan or that I can charge into whatever I'm doing and come out victorious. In all honesty...I'm not the most relateable, smartest, or capable of people. I am not trying to be down on myself or display a false humility..I am just being real. I have people for whatever reason through this blog want to meet me and when they finally do, I rarely hear from them again. I know this and it's okay, it really is. I am different, weird, crazy, "ADHD", blonde, aloof..etc...I'm kind of the underdog I guess. The underdog of non-profits, the underdog of life, the underdog in relationships. I come up with these, for me, huge goals..like raise 5k for a baby home in Liberia in one week, raise 3k for a Christmas project in Uganda in a few days, raise $1800 for a mom in Ethiopia, 15k for medical expenses for Gedese, 15K for a women's health center, 1000's for strangers adoptions, 5k for World Aids day, etc...I attack these goals/visions with absolutely no plan, no backing, or thought. I am not popular, well liked or for the most part taken seriously. I have 62 blog readers and half of those probably have never even read my blog (I do have a handful of loyal friends/readers who support whatever crazy thing I do). I don't have a "following", a "platform"..I am terrified to speak publicly whether it's in front of one person or 100.Yes, my family has had limited grocery budgets, we sold my cars, my family has sacrificed alot to meet many of the goals when the donations didn't come in...No complaints here. I am blessed. In all reality for me to even think BEMM could even make a dent in the issues that are dear to my heart is ignorant. I doubt BEMM/or me will ever be "successful" in most peoples eyes. I don't think we will ever help the 1000's. I don't think I will ever have 1000's of people supporting my goals....BUT DOGGONEIT...That is what I love. Just because of the reasons I mentioned...for BEMM to accomplish every single goal that I listed above can ONLY be attributed to GOD! There is no way..this girl (me) could have done anything by myself. The only answer is HIS power because it is so evident and clear that it is NOT ABOUT ME. I will never help 1000's, but I can tell you by name each and every person that BEMM has helped and to me that is why I continue to ignore the obvious that I have no idea what I am doing and trust that GOD does.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

This is Dedicated to YOU

No act of giving is insignificant. Even the smallest decision to do something, anything will have an impact. Today my tears are flowing. When I started BEMM I had one goal in mind- To share the joy I get when my hands and heart are open and willing to give what I have. I purposefully created a product, "The Tacky Headbands" knowing even in the hardest of economical times...to support a cause through $8-10 purchase was do-able. To date the tacky headbands have raised 1000's of dollars. More than that-They are made by beautiful hands that need not only the money, but the confidence to know-they can make a difference..then they are purchased by you-Believing that your donation has made a difference. And me? You trust my decision to find an organization that BEMM can support. I don't take this lightly. Many of you have followed me from project to project. Together we have raised more than 30k overtime. We have faced disappointments together...when in faith we gave to causes, only to be burned. This is dedicated to all of you- Whether you have been with me since the beginning from Marion's House, the River Island Project in Uganda, birthing kits, Gedese, Feed the Forgotten, The doma health center to Project Hopeful, etc...This is where the past 6 months of our conjoined efforts have taken us...Guess what? YOU MATTER!

Friday, November 19, 2010


Have you ever found yourself wondering how on earth you of all people are where you are? It's like those times you have driven for many miles- you are aware of your surroundings and everything, but you are on auto pilot. You finally notice where you are and everything seems so fuzzy. You remember driving but at this very moment you seem to be acutely aware of where you are.

Today I find myself in full realization and completely present in where I am and I can't help but to cry. Who am I? Who am I that I should be here? Those of you who know a little more about me...to be sitting here, writing this and experiencing the life I have is to be fully clothed in the beauty of grace. I am alive! More than that...my heart beats for my God. I look back and am in awe of where I am and all HE has done.

I have 6 beautiful children, a man who loves me more than I deserve, amazing friends and the love of Christ in my heart.

I have been overwhelmed by the support and love I have received today in regards to the vision in my heart to raise 5k for Project Hopeful. I'm tring really hard not to get stressed and attached to the results from today's efforts. Instead of worrying and pushing... I am completely surrendered. I don't know if 5k will be raised...that is up to HIM. I do know..at this very moment-I feel humbled, blessed, loved, aware, and undeserving. I know that I am nothing...yet, very loved. I am thankful.

This is me...on my knees...thanking you for the amazing gift you gave me today- AWARENESS.
That what I do-does matter and what you do-does matter. I love you

REDically Tacky 4 Africa

(put BEMM in comment section)

Today is the day!
The official start of going
REDically Tacky
and believing with
Radical faith
that 5k will be raised
Sisterhood+ Project.

I can't begin to tell you how urgently this money is needed. I can't begin to tell you how much you are needed. I can't begin to tell you what hope your/our efforts will bring to a momma and her children. I can't begin to tell you how the sisterhood project will help families stay together and what that means in regards to the orphan crisis. I can't begin to thank you enough for helping spread the word. I can't begin to effectively share my heart with you, for you, and for them..my only words
(insert cheesy grin)

Here's the deal. Today is the official kick-off.
Here are ways to get involved and support REDical.

1. Buy a headband or two or three or four or how ever many. Remember they make great gifts. Order the World Aids Day one. If you order more than 4 headbands-you will be sent a free gift.

2. Just give money- Any amount is needed. Remember we have a 5k goal in less than 2 weeks. If you donate $20.00 or more, you will be entered to win either the Funky Fish/BEMM bracelet or the original BEMM painting by Amy Smith

3. The first donor of the day and the last donor of the day will automatically be entered to win the bracelet or painting AND will receive a t-shirt (limited sizes)

4. Do any of the above AND spread the word through blog, facebook, etc..and you get a HEADBAND for free! (please send me a link to your posts)

Original painting by Amy Smith

Custom bracelet by Funky Fish designs

T-shirts donated by Jamie Glandon

And the original and famously TACKY 4 Africa Headbands

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Go Redical for Hope

One of my many blessings and wow moments in Ethiopia last week was when we visited the ENTOTO project. A few people that lived in the area (outskirts of Addis) on your way to Entoto- where the holy waters are saw a people with no hope, no future, outcasts among their own. Most of them had come from all over hoping, believing the holy water of the area would cure them of their affliction. Most of them women, mothers, young girls with HIV/AIDS. When the holy waters didn't heal, their faith waved and their heart and spirits shattered. I don't know the whole story of how everything transpired so I will try not to ad lib, but basically a few individuals started visiting with them, reaching out, and really seeing these people for who they are-beautiful, capable, worthy. Long story short 100 people are now being served, educated and treated and given what is needed- HOPE. They are now working, learning, taking medicine. They are active members in society, they no longer hold their head in shame, but can look at you in the eyes and when they do...it is magic. It doesn't stop there..on the mountain of Entoto, children are going to school, the community is working together, things are changing. I was blessed to stand in the same room with the founder and many of the women whose lives had been changed. They were busy making jewelry that was being sold around the world. From Ten Thousand Villages to boutiques in California.

Why do I share this story?

Two reasons.

World Aids Day is quickly approaching. I thought I had three weeks to accomplish the goal God put in my heart..turns out I have only 2 weeks. That's why when it is accomplished I can sit back, raise my hands towards the heavens and scream, "ONLY YOU FATHER". For the last few months many of you know I have been quietly advocating for PROJECT HOPEFUL. The truth is..I don't know much about them, but what my heart tells me and what I hear my God tell me is...GO Steffany- Bury your head, work in faith, give all you have, and love..do it all radically!
They are starting a similar program to what I saw in Entoto. Everything is coming together for them...the need is 20k. The difference between the two projects is the women and children will not only get education, purpose, drug management, but A SAFE PLACE TO STAY! The level of vulnerability for these women and children who live on the streets compared to an actual home is heartbreaking.

My goal in two weeks- 5k. I want to raise 5k for Project Hopeful, I want to raise 5k for the women and children that my very heart beats with, I want to raise 5k because I know it is possible. I want to raise 5k to glorify my creator, I want to raise 5k because IT IS NEEDED.

To raise that money through headbands is possible. I would need to sell 900 of them- Remember 40% goes towards the refugees in my area- That's some major revenue for two awesome causes. The reality is..I know it will take more than headbands. I will start up $10 Fridays(but we only have 2 until World Aids Day) I will auction off my original Because Every Mother Matters painting by Amy Smith, I will personally give all that I can, and I will sell headbands!
I can't do this alone. I need you. I need you to spread the word. Post on Facebook, Twitter and to blog. Together we can do this. I am open for more ideas on how to raise this money in such a short time. I just know....It's not about me. It's not about you. It's about HIM.

and I can hear HIS voice every night.....

Red being the World Aids Day Color:)

Are you in?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Wow. I just reread my last post. That was a doozey. It barely made sense to even me. Maybe I should hold off future posts until I resume somewhat of a normal wake/sleep/eat pattern.

Until then head on over to Paula's blog to read a little of what we did. I promise you'll beable to follow her train of thought:)

Spears Family Blog

Pictures of my Ethiopian family.....

Gadese and Christiana

Slumber party at Gadese's

Cried a lot

I spent the day with my twins parents-Fekede and Almaz

Alex and Christiana

I Give...

I have so much to process...I want to hit the ground running, but my body is a little hesitant. I know so many of you who have read this for awhile all have the same question....Is Steffany healthy? (Given what I went through last time)-The answer? I am great. I can't quite figure out my sleeping schedule and have been up the last few nights by 3 am. I have lost 10% of my body weight and am 98 pounds strong! No worries at all about my physical health. I hiked 24 miles in 24 hours to buy meat for a village. I feel like a warrior:) My family did amazing while I was gone. I walked through my door to not only a clean home, but candles lit everywhere and my first warm shower in 2 weeks. My family was amazing. I have been resting as much as needed and working as much as I am inspired. Thank you to everyone who has prayed for my journey and my family. I can't wait to share everything with you all. From spending the night with BEMM's first momma (Gedese), to breaking bread with my twins parents, visiting the most beautiful place on earth with doma to visit where all your donations have gone, creating new friendships....and planning a return trip beginning of March. It's not to early to begin thinking about coming. The next few weeks are going to be insane. HOLD ON. So much is happening. Not only for BEMM, but my personal life and many orgs close to my heart. I feel so humbled and blessed to be a small part of HIS work. Many times over the last few weeks I heard.."Where's Steffany" or "Steffany has ADHD" Right where I need to be. All over the place. You know that and I know that. Everything I do may seem absurd to all until you are the one my absurdity loves. One thing I learned through all this...ADHD is not a bad thing. I know this blog is everywhere. Normally...My written word is grounded and understandable...blame it on Africa, but right now..I just write.

I can think of one beautiful example- As the team waited patiently in the bus after our feast at Gadese. I sat inside holding her, Alebachew and Christiana. We cried and held eachother and cried some more. I tried to pay them for the feast which lead to more crying.
Since I don't know Amharic...but I do understand laughter, love, anger, and hatred...I chose at all times in all circumstances to do what I know...Be a dork. My heart was broken from the moment I landed with Gadese, the twins parents, etc...I escaped...I needed to laugh, cry and smile. If you are wanting sad pictures of Ethiopia to inspire you, grab you and make you want to give...Then I have nothing.This time I focused on the beauty and not the devastation. I saw the joy and not the sadness. My stories are of hope and not desperation. I leave knowing with all that I have...It's not about me. I can leave nothing worthwhile...other than my smile. For the 1000's that asked me for birr..Which may have provided a meal..What I and my traveling (doma) companions left meant more. A smile. A laugh. A song. A memory. Will I remember my last meal more than the people who were there? My last visit I wanted every dying person to have a drink of water and gave the very clothes off my back. This time..I wanted to give more. I only have one shirt and one bottle of water. I gave my heart. I gave my joy. I gave my smile. Does the dying need water and warmth or prayer and love? Which is more important? What do you have? Which do you give?
Again...I am processing...