Friday, July 30, 2010

The Pressure is on.....

or not....
I am working hard on my BEMM page. It's hard to create a website that should be neutral. I am an emotional person by nature. To create a website that is more factual and professional...is hard! The pressure is on...(self induced:) to create a realistic, true, genuine and hopefully humble website that will inspire, educate, and inform people that in all realness...while we sit comfortably..1 in 11 women will die in E. Africa...and that is real. My struggles with raising 6 kids are (gulp) real and times hard...but pale in comparison to what the majority of women face...How on earth do I begin to live my life with integrity and perspective? Not to mention run and operate a small non-profit? I am learning and I will make mistakes...I just never want to get caught up in stuff that doesn't really matter..you know?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Biting Motivation

I found myself consumed in a huge project as soon as I woke up this morning. After several sleepless nights and being covered in itchy blistered bites, I finally decided to attack my bedroom. I was sure I would find bedbugs or some sort of nasty infestation. I tore my room apart. I got out flashlights to search every nook, cranny and seam. I washed all bedding, drapes, rugs. I emptied all drawers, closet and vacuumed the couch in my room. I scrubbed the floor under my bed, dressers and baseboards. I got rid of over 3 large trash bags of clothing to donate. I organized shoes, bags, and even underwear. I swept up a pound of dust. After all of that...I remembered my paintball battle I just had in the woods and figured out I was covered in chiggers. Nothing like the fear of bedbugs to motivate me to do stuff that needed to be done anyway. I am now slathered in anti-itch cream, doped up on benadryl and ready to fall deeply asleep in my nice clean room.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

It's Over...

The 2 weeks of feeding my family of 8-9 on $50 a week has come to an end. Depending on your view point..it was either very tragic or quite triumphant.
Like so many challenges I have created before...I learned so much through the process. I know I start things strong and committed, only to find myself making excuses towards the end. The first week was awesome. I went $3.30 over budget. We were eating well and I felt prepared. After the 8 day mark my fresh food source depleted..
Lesson 1. Buy only what you will eat and eat what you have.
Lesson 2. Never buy your food for 2 weeks out!
Lesson 3. Plan a basic menu for the month based on what is on sale. Then purchase those items IF they keep
Lesson 4. Only buy your produce as you use it!
Lesson 5. You really don't need what you think you do..
Lesson 6. You have MORE than you think you do...
Lesson 7. I am more spoiled than I though I was
My biggest mistake was buying my $100 budget for 2 weeks all at once!
Once my fresh food ran out..I panicked. Not to mention we had tons of company the 2nd week. I also became extremely ill for 4 days. Leaving my man to feed our family:) Need I say more...
The 2nd week depending how you look at it was not so successful. I went $100 bucks OVER! What gets me and disappointments me is..I know we could have done it. I know with better planning..It could be done. Even with the 11-12 people I had, but I got lazy and made excuses.

Good news is..I am selling this week a few luxuries I don't need and I will be donating what I make ($120) to Redeeming Waters. Even though I run BEMM..I never want to get so short sighted that I can't support amazing causes.

Bad news- I failed and went over budget my 2nd week.
Good news-I learned tons and get to give to Redeeming Waters

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Way We Roll....

My baby sister and her friend drove to visit us for the weekend.
We of course showed them how we do things Boster Style.



Shaving cream and water balloon fights




followed up by all day paintball battles....


Friday, July 23, 2010

Slightly Dramatic

In case you haven't noticed...I am and can be slightly dramatic. I had a friend after I called her in tears recently tell me..I still have a little Jr. High in me. I do..I really do. I wish I didn't. I HATED school drama and social politics...so much to the point I dropped out 3 months before graduation. Even though I did end up getting a little college..I guess I never graduated from the mentality. All through school I constantly felt this "judgment." Mostly from girls. That is probably why to this day I have very few girlfriends. I was always opinionated, different, and quite odd. Then I became a mother! Yeah, motherhood takes everything to a whole other level. I felt even more opinionated, different and quite odd. The mom with hot pink hair, using cloth diapers, who breast fed openly in public...and I wondered why people stared:). I eventually got tired of being different inside and out.
I wanted to fit in. I craved fellowship outside of my marriage. After I got married I knew it was no longer okay to have just guy friends. I needed to change, buck up, stop being so "strong" and explore what it meant to be a woman and have women friends..in essence try to belong somewhere. I spent 7 long and lonely years exploring what that meant. I tried to be perfect (well, as perfect as someone like me can get:). I read only pma books (positive mental attitude) and scripture. I listened to only uplifting music. I completely separated myself from where I started and really who I am. I became a Stepford wife . I lived in a happy little bubble. A bubble I had control over. A bubble that did help grow me, but a bubble nonetheless. I guess I was cocooning. During that 7 years I only told maybe a handful of people about my "testimony"...Many of you know how far I have truly come and what crazy bondage I have escaped...But the few I told during that time "judged" me harshly and turned their backs on me...So, once again this slightly dramatic always opinionated, different and quite odd (not a girl anymore, but a woman and a mom to 6 kids) felt the need to belong. Only this time..I was determined to be me. The mess I am. No more hiding (no my hair not pink again)...but to let the light that is in me shine. Some may see it as an annoying strobe light, others may see a UFO in the distance...but what they(you)see doesn't matter as much as what my creator sees....and He sees me...a slightly dramatic, opinionated, different and odd woman . A woman..who no matter how hard she tries will always march to a different drummer....but has a heart that is for HIM. a heart that beats for the odd, dramatic, different and opinionated.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We Did It!

Tonight is one of those nights that I would have called Adam at work and asked him to bring dinner home. I have been throwing up and feel just awful emotionally and physically. I'm ready to throw in the towel for the day, crawl into my bed and forget dinner all together....but I won't. It's days like this when I realize how spoiled I am. I don't have to walk miles just to get water for my family. I'm not wondering if they are going to eat tonight. I'm not worried that my lack of energy and vomiting is due to some potentially lethal sickness. My dinner has been cooking all day on the crock-pot (my biggest challenge is trying to finish it w/o puking). I have Amish friendship bread that needs baking and I made a commitment to live within my $50 a week budget. This is our last meal for the week and we did it! I am happy to say I went over by $3.30.

7 days. 8-9 people. $53.30 in food!

(This is what I had control over..this does not include if or what Adam purchased when he was away from the house or Miss Kelly's decision to treat my kiddos to burger king one lunch:)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Just Picture it...

You know you are a blog addict when something catastrophic happens and your first thought is..
Where is my camera?!
As I started snapping pictures of the scene in front of me and thinking about how I would make this into some amazing theologically witty post that would inspire comments to flood in..
I even had a blog title thought out
Broken Blenders, Amish Friendship Bread, Headband Material and Dinner for under $2.00.
Then I saw the blood
the pain sank in...
and
in the midst of crying
I couldn't help but to laugh
and
think....welcome to another day in the life of every momma in the world
I will leave the rest of the story up to your imagination.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Boring Truth

I remember a time not so long ago that I rarely blogged....
Now
I am blogging several times a day.
Not sure which is better..
you wondering what I am doing/thinking
or
realizing how boring I really am.

I just quit an epic Monopoly game with my family.
Seriously..that was exciting as being trapped on the 101 freeway in L.A.
To the dismay of my family..who ALL happen to be serial entrepreneurs..
I gave away my property and money and walked away.
2 hours later...they are still at it.

AND
I am finding solace and enjoyment on my computer.
Yes.
I am truly boring
I'm glad you now know the truth.

Maybe...

Just maybe..I was a bit naive thinking I could me my family off of $50 a week. So far everything is great..we are 5 days in. No trips to the store which is HUGE for us. We even made it this weekend with not spending any extra. The problem is going to definitely be in a few days when all of our "fresh" food is gone. It was stupid for me to buy 2 weeks of food including my fruits and veggies! Tonight was a huge success. I had bought 2 whole "natural" chickens (no antibiotics) for $6.00 bucks, it was on the (THIS MEAT NEEDS TO BE EATEN NOW RACK:)
Dinner tonight for $4.25 fed 8 people and yes, we had leftovers
1 roast chicken...I seasoned it w/ olive oil, lemon, thyme, rosemary, sea salt, pepper, garlic and 1/3 onion
Mashed potatoes-bought for .92 cents for a 5 pound bag..mixed with butter and a little bit of milk
Cucumber salad-My friend gave me a fresh cucumber. I cut it, added dill a little bit of leftover lettuce and balsamic vinegar....

There you go! Dinner and not to mention tomorrow I will boil the left over chicken carcass and make a delicious broth for another dinner!

Like I said..all is going great. I think my biggest mistake is buying my fresh food 2 weeks out! In 2 days..we will be out of fresh veggies and fruits...then we will have to make due...w/(insert scream here) canned!

I also went through all my stuff this weekend and right now I have my peg perego stroller, a chico backpack, and the baby bed I was saving for my grandkids for sale online.

And...I took a ton of stuff to GOODWILL.

Remind me to tell you about "the Christmas tree" sometime. It belonged to my sister who died recently...
That was a whole other lesson learned

Did You Notice?

Did you notice some new "flair" on my blog? I added a new button. It looks like this



This is a button to a precious blog friend of mine Lindsey.
Just by adding her button I was awarded a chance for her first giveaway.
A chance to win a new copy of...

1.) One Million Arrows by Julie Ferwerda

2.) Scared by Tom Davis

3.) Priceless by Tom Davis

4.) Radical by David Platt

I also earned a chance by following her blog
http://africaboundandrews.blogspot.com/

Count it. I have now earned 2 chances to win!

I also can earn a chance by Facebooking about her giveaway!
Well, you all know I'm kind of a facebook addict, duh:)

I will even earn a chance to win by blogging about it:) No brainer again.
I love to have new blog material anyway and a chance to share a special blog friend with you all!

THE FINAL AND TO ME (for obvious reasons) THE MOST AWESOME WAY TO EARN A CHANCE TO WIN IS....

if you donate $1.00...yep just a buck via her paypal account to
BECAUSE EVERY MOTHER MATTERS
you earn a chance to win one of the fabulous books above.

So final tally for me:
5 CHANCES to WIN!
You don't have to do all 5
Pick 1,2,3,4 or 5 to do.
Of course..I'm not going to lie
I'm really hoping you pick all 5
(or at least a buck to BEMM)

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Bunch of Stuff

My nature has become the mind set to to let go. Not hold on to stuff. I crave to simplify. I don't keep all of my kiddos art projects, letters written, old outfits and special things. I failed at their baby books, scrap books and cataloging their growth. I used to write when I was a kid. I even collected memorabilia. Then one day everything was gone. My old pictures, yearbooks, journals, keepsakes were stolen. Since that day.. I think I was so heartbroken over "losing everything at 20" that I place little value into stuff. My husband on the other hand..saves everything. Our garage is filled with box after box of "stuff". He keeps everything from old batteries to the Dallas cheerleader cards from the 80's. I mean everything. Our garage is filled with "memories". This weekend we did an impromptu cleaning. Every few years I have my "wig-out"..A time where everything seems to fold in around me. My house needs painted, the carpet needs shampooed, my garage is so full I can't walk through it, our closets are overflowing, the weeds have taken over, our cars need new oil, my kids are screaming, the laundry is piling, what's for dinner, I have 5 printers (none work), another tree is dead on the property, Xia's hair needs to be done, there are boxes everywhere, my dining room looks like a junk yard, relationships are falling apart, my husband is giving me the ..I want sex look.. bills are unpaid, half the light bulbs are burnt out, the drawers are overflowing, tutoring needs to be done, we haven't left the house for days, I stink and need a shower, the twins skin looks ashy, oh crap..the water is going to be shut off in 3 days, I can feel crumbs in my bed....ARGH! I feel like everything is going to explode. It's all in ONE BIG ROOM! I can't take it!
Yep...that pretty much sums up my train of thought this weekend. For every box I put in the giveaway pile..Adam kept 5 boxes.
I know one day I will be thankful that men were created with the ability to compartmentalize. When I am 80..I will sit on my front porch and long for the days when I worried about dinner. I will want to look through all our stuff and remember the good ole days...OR...I will still be me-wanting to throw crap away and Adam will still be him..holding on to it all. Either way...it will be us. Together with my 1 box for his 15 boxes...just the way it was meant to be:) and I will still have my every couple of years wig out session when everything seems to be crashing down. He will hold me tight like he always does and we will sort through the stuff together:)

On Track..

almost 4 days in to my challenge and still on budget:)
I think the second week will be hard.
We will be out of fresh fruit and veggies.

Lesson #2
Plan meals ahead, but purchase your fresh fruit and veggies as needed or go to farmers market once a week.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Treasures I Found Today

Cleaned the garage spontaneously today. We found infestations of black widows, cat poop, trash, a dirty diaper that was stored in a plastic bag for I don't know how long, junk, more junk, and a few treasures. Covered in layers of dust and grime, I came across a beat up old case. My first thought was to toss it aside and label it "no good"


The shell

The treasure.

A vintage Singer sewing machine. This could be special to the right person.

Then I came across another dirty box. Something that appeared to be undesirable. Again I was ready to throw it in my discard or unworthy pile

The Shell.



The treasure.

Antique silver from 1930ish. Again something special hidden in plain site, but ignored for years because I never took the time to look inside.

As I was laying in my bed tonight, exhausted from my day...I decide to go on FB. A particular post by Lindsey Andrews caught my attention. After I took a moment to read her words..
Again I was convicted.

The shell.

A 5 year old boy(same age as my Lukas). He has cerebal palsy w/ significant delays.
He probably has spent most of his life in an orphanage.

In 6 short weeks he will be moved to a mental institution where he will spend the rest of his life confined to a crib in a dark room.
"no good"
Cast out
Labeled as undesirable
Looked over
He will not be able to find his forever family at that point


The treasure.

A five year boy.
Meet Monroe.
He is more than just the challenges you see..
He is worthy of love..simply because He is he.
He is beautiful.

He will be special to someone...

Maybe you?

Will you take the time to see what is inside?
A 20k grant will apply to this treasure.

Go here for more info
http://godgivenpassions.wordpress.com/2010/07/17/monroe/


A Better Way

I found a better way to track the results of the "challenge". It hit me this morning while I was measuring the milk I used, pieces of bread..etc. ..that this would be a full time job figuring out to a penny our consumption. On Thursday I spent about $100 at the grocery store. My goal is to live off of that for 2 weeks or roughly $50 a week. So any additional food items I buy in the next 2 weeks will be totaled and that will be what I spent over budget and that will be the amount I donate. Does that make sense? This method will require a lot less time and will probably be a lot more accurate as well. It's really difficult to break down your daily butter usage to the penny:)

As of right now I am over budget by $1.30.
$1.30 on an energy drink (compulsive purchase yesterday)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Final....

I spent $5.65 today for our family to eat for the whole day:) Including my $1.30 energy drink...sweet!

On my Playlist....

Listening a lot to Jimmy Needham. I love his lyrics. This one is spoken word type stuff...
If you are like me and don't always click on the videos I see on blogs..
(I really should though...watch what people post. Probably better for me than FB)
Anyway, I posted the lyrics below





No one is good not even one

The front pages of papers of children raped by rapist
Iraqi torture chambers and we the blame claim we're blameless
Wrong all
And swelling up inside of us there's this pride in us this arrogance
And our only line of defense is the sense that
Im not as half as bad as this friend of mine so I must be fine
We mean well don't we
Yet I've never seen good intentions set a man free from
Hurt all
This poor unfortunate soul
Filling a single void with toy after toy with girl after boy
How boring this wasn't this meant to be Humanity's life story
Warring with Good saying what have you done for me
Bough all
Hanging out for six hours marred beyond recognition
In complete submission to his father will still
A proclamation was made louder than the loudest temptation
With more beauty than all his creation
More eternal than eternity more angelic than the heavenlies
It Is done for you and bought with blood
Accept
Rejoice
For freedom has come

1st lesson Learned

Things are going great regarding staying within my budget so far. Before I went to the grocery store yesterday to purchase 2 weeks of groceries at $50 a week, I started dinner in the crockpot from stuff I had laying around the house. So, technically last nights dinner was not included in the $50 I budgeted for this week. Score:) This mornings breakfast also came from stuff I had already in the cupboard and the last bit of milk purchased last week:) Lunch consisted of last nights leftovers..I added 1/4 of $1.00 bag of cheese to it though. .25cents into my budget there. I splurged on an energy drink earlier at $1.30 (this will probably bite me in the butt later). Tonight's dinner I am using ground beef that was in my freezer from two months back..We will make tacos! I am learning that I have more resources in my freezer and cupboards that probably would have gone unused if I wasn't being thrifty. In all honesty, most of it would have expired before I even thought about using it instead of going to the store.

1st lesson learned-Use what I have and only buy what I am sure I will use.

Here is last night's dinner. I took frozen chicken breasts that Adam had bought months back (they were never fresh..the kind that already comes in a bag) That is probably why I never used them. I know..me bad. Anyway..5 frozen breasts, a jar of trader joes Vodka pasta sauce that was purchased months ago when I was in St. Louis, and whole wheat organic orzo (bought months ago as well)
It turned out great. We had tons leftover too.

I have had several people email me telling me they couldn't do it. Yeah, $50 is quite a stretch...but what about $100 or $150? Create a budget. One that is comfortable for your family..not so comfortable that you don't have to give something up, but something that you know you can do...Then share what you learn...Save some money in the process or give the extra away:)

I found my first unneeded item that I'm holding onto and am ready to sell it...It's my stroller I bought when Lukas was a baby. We had never been in a position to purchase a nice stroller or any stroller with the other kids. This was my first baby splurge after 4 kids. I know it is extremely unlikely we will have anymore babies, but for some reason I held on to this. It is in desperate need of a bath

My peg perego stroller. Any ideas on WHERE to sell it? HOW MUCH to sell it for? Any money I get will go towards charity...Craigslist? Ebay? Local paper? I normally give my stuff away. I'm kind of new to selling it.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Challenge Clarification...

After re-reading my "challenge", I realized I may have come across a little haughty..
Wanted to clarify something. I am not doing this to prove a point or make a statement of any kind.
I am simply trying to turn my families financial situation into a game. If I don't ..I may end up focusing on what I don't have, getting angry at the situation and becoming bitter. So, this "challenge" gives me something constructive to focus on. Will I be able to only spend $50 in groceries a week for my family? I don't know, but I will have fun trying...and who knows, maybe I will learn something about my spending habits in the process:)

BTW- I will not be including the price of the food I already had in my freezer or cupboards in my daily total..that is already spent money (probably from last year:) But trust me when I say..there really wasn't much there to begin with.

I am serious though about selling some of my junk(stuff) that I don't need to make up the difference and donating that money:) Thanks Layla for the inspiration

The Challenge...

Are you ready?
Ready for a challenge?
To challenge your spending...
To learn to live on what you have?
or
Live on less?
Be happy with a little?
To be okay with what you have...
and realize that your "nothing"
is
a major something to the millions around the world?!

Then..here we go! It is no secret that Adam and I started from less than meager beginnings. We used take our kids..knock on doors in L.A. and ask to paint their house number on their curb for $10 so we could eat. I am no stranger to tightening our belt and pressing on...
We have been blessed to not have to for a few years...but I still appreciated those times. It was humbling, character building, and much needed.
Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you view it...
once again..we are needing to live on a dime.
The only difference is...
We have 6 kids
40+ employees and their families
a mortgage
the film
a massive loan to keep the company afloat
new business endeavor
and
-way more responsibility-

A combination of bad economy and bad decisions made by several people who lack the ability to see the long term...We as a company and a family are hurting.
I could either choose to get angry
point my fingers
be bitter
filled with fear
(not making your house payment for months can do that)
or
Use this as an opportunity to work on
spending less
appreciating more
and
counting my blessings.

The challenge....
To spend $50 a week for a family of 8.
That may sound like a lot
(half of the world's population lives off $1.00 a day)
Or
You might be thinking....
How is she going to do that?
Either way...
I challenge you....
See what you can live without for a week
(donate the remainder to charity..like BEMM:)
Keep a record of what you actually spend down to the penny...
including
coffee
magazines
etc...
Be aware of what you spend.
I will honestly tally everyday for the next few weeks what I spend....
Every cent I go over $50. a week...
I will personally sell something I own to make up the difference to give away.
Sound radical?
Good!







Disconnected Families...

How to start this....hmmm. Well, I guess I realized something this weekend. It hit me like a freight train. I was holding my 3 month old nephew Lincoln for the first time on Fri...as I was soaking in that wonderful baby smell, watching him do my favorite baby stretch (you know the stretch they do as they're waking up and you're holding them. Their little butts stick out and their hands are by their head..they normally fart doing this stretch), and listening to him giggle..I realized how wrong/sad it is..that this was the first time I've held him and how wrong/sad it is that my niece Annerson(almost 2) really doesn't even know who I am or more importantly I barely know her. We also had my husband's cousins and their children come this weekend. I almost cried when Laura's daughter walked up. I barely recognized her. Our children all played so beautifully. I wanted to freeze the moment. Family together. Ah...absolutely wonderful. I am so used to wearing my wife hat, my mom hat...but somewhere I forgot that I am a daughter, aunt, sister, niece and granddaughter. I don't think I'm alone either. I think as a society we are forgetting. We are forgetting community, family the importance of roots! Yes, I understand kids grow up, they move away from the nest, they find their own way. This is important it really is...but I can't help but to also think about what it was like 200 years ago or even 50 years ago. I would have probably been at my nephews birth, my mother-in-law and my husband's ailing grandfather would be with us. My children and Annerson would be more like siblings. My own 2 sisters who I barely know would be my closest friends. I also think more than ever before; family dysfunction has become our scapegoat, our reason, our justification for our disconnection with each other. Past hurt, family junk, our need to want to protect our children from the garbage..which for obvious reasons is valid...Whatever the reason reality is... There is a disconnection that is happening in families, communities and in my own life and it becomes more apparent the older I get. My desire to want my family closer also grows the older I get..I want huge family Christmas gatherings, Sunday dinners..I want to see Lincoln and Annerson grow. I want the desire to care for my aging parents, I want cousins to be best friends, I want my much younger siblings to know I will be there for them, I want my kids to care for me when I'm older...I want connections...and I know..it starts here..I need to work harder, try more, reach out often...no matter how messy family is...it's still beautiful.







Adam and his cousin Laura! I love this woman. I wish we lived closer. Wise, beautiful and filled with grace.



Not even half of us roasting smores. Laura and her family have been hosting Ukrainian orphans
for the last few years. We had the privilege of meeting 3 of them...Incredible

My nephew Lincoln...He stole my heart. Most peaceful baby I have ever met and he did my favorite stretch all the time!


Annerson...my adorable niece. I wish I would have spent more time with her...my fault. She is amazing. Sings twinkle twinke little star with gusto (at least that is what I was told;) Seriously though...she radiates the love that is poured into her by her parents!

Adam's cousin Sarah and her daughter Chloe...I had the privilege of going to Texas when she was born. The cutest baby! And Sarah...right from the start a confident and amazing momma. Sarah is the strongest woman I know. Her other daughter is Cailyn...none of my pictures turned out of her...she was constantly on the move...I wish I had more time to get to know both of them, because Chloe definitely forgot me:)

I love this picture. These three beautiful children have something in common...They were orphans.


We also had the absolute privilege of spending time with Adam's cousin Jay's (Laura and Sarah's brother) wife and kids. He was recently deployed for 6 months. Candace opened her home to 9 of us for a week. She was a rockstar. I so wished she was my neighbor. Funny, strong, loving...Love her and her beautiful kids. She would inspire me in so many ways.

her husband (Jay) is a pilot and a doctor...so, basically He is awesome! No that's not him. Just some random air force guy..who is probably incredible..giving my kids the tour of the base...

Devon...their son. I don't know where to start..Everyone wants and needs a Devon. An incredible kid...because he has incredible parents. Miss me some Devon
Candace with one of the super twins. The twins were a delight. So cute. So sweet and I love this shot of Candace..it portrays her beautifully! She loves her kids. She loves being a mom..She plunges 100% at all times

The two of us...being mommas...Miss her.
I think I feel so wrong/sad..simply because I know I'm missing out. Our family is amazing and I desperately want to know them more.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"Be like the sun for grace and mercy. Be like the night to cover others' faults. Be like running water for generosity. Be like death for rage and anger. Be like the Earth for modesty. Appear as you are. Be as you appear."

RUMI

I Think We Have An....




Artist!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Paula the RockStar....(Cassie too)

and thanks to Paula and Cassie too....the super cute headbands are gone and this experiment is over! More to come :) But for now...just breathe in sweet victory! In 2 hours $60 raised for a momma...A mom we may never meet...but a mom who matters! WOW!

One Person Making A Difference...

You all know what a believer I am in..one person's ability to make difference in the life of another.
I think no act of kindness..no matter how small is insignificant. Saying, "hi" to the cashier has the ability to have such a huge impact. Helping your neighbor with their trash...listening to a story you have heard 1000 times, smiling at the grumpy driver next to you, maybe buying a $8.00 headband...all of this..is needed. Everyone can do something! I wanted to share 2 inspiring stories of people who inspireed me this week!

So blessed by this email...This family just placed their 5th grab-bag headband order. I emailed her asking her if she wanted to pick one out this time...I offered her the grab-bag price for being such a rockstar! This is the response I got....Please ignore the part about me personally...just listen to her heart! WOW!

Nope-the surprise is half the fun! I am in love with this headbands and my family is as well- even my husband asks me to show him which one came today:) Here is the thing, I have 2 beautiful children and an awesome husband. I also just finally graduated from college with my social work degree. We want to adopt but right now is just not the time. Your headbands provide me a way to help. I love your blog- Your raw honesty brings chills to my bones yet inspires me. I look forward daily to reading your words. Sometimes I am cryong as I read your struggles and other times, I am laughing out loud as I share in your joys! Who knows if i have received a tacky one, because to me anything that is handmade has some beauty in it! I will continue to order them as long as you sell them. The organization is so important and in the time of highly paid basketball players announcing on national Tv where they are going to make their next millions and "movie stars" in court, it is refreshing to support someone who at the cost of alot is working selflessly to help others. You are an inspiration to me and so many others. If there were more people like you in this world, wow- what a world we could have!!! Have a great day!
I seriously have no idea who she is....(except for name and address:)
My point is...She gets it! Her family truly understands and is able to make the connection between just a $8.00 tacky headband purchase and making a difference in the life of another. She gets that she can't do everything...but doggonit they can do something! I love that. When I first started BEMM...this is the vision I had! So..thank you Amanda. Thank you Amanda's husband! Thank you for your support!

5 headbands left from the experiment and only 3 days to order. I did meet with Danette (the head of mt sweat shop of love ladies) and they are willing to sew another batch:) Wahooo...So we will restock soon. However, I am undecided if I will continue to do grab-bag for the $8. or post pics and let everyone choose for $10....this experiment will be the deciding factor. Maybe I will do both.

I also wanted to thank Layla. I never met her. I don't really know her...but she has blessed me by her willingness to do what it takes to play a part in something beyond herself. I love this. She went through her jewelry and decided to sell 75% of it to raise the $12 to buy a headband! And any additional $ will be donated to BEMM. Again..someone who gets it...they know they can't do everything..but they can do something! If you are a BEMM fan..you can bid on her jewelry on the BEMM page.

Anyway...3 days. 5 headbands..here they are



Chocolate Morning

Pink Argyle
Plum Paradise

Black Vintage

Fruit Stripe

Natural and Opinion Time

To circumcise or not...hmmm..
I really appreciated the comments and insight that was shared last week regarding my opinion time poll. I thought I would get a lot more feedback though..It's one of those issues (for lack of better word) that I know people are either completely indifferent or have very strong view points on. I'm not sure where I fit in...For both my older boys...I didn't give it a second thought. It was just something you did. I honestly don't remember if we were asked at the hospital..I'm sure we were...
I don't remember having a strong view point though..It was just..natural. Then we met Diezel. I remember the first diaper we changed, I was a little like,,"whoa"..then I moved on and didn't give it a second thought. However, the nannies at the guest house in Ethiopia were very opinionated. They were disgusted by it..They shook their heads and claimed the twins family must not be Christian. I think this was the first time I started thinking differently about circumcision. I never would have "judged" it either way. I never looked at it as a religious thing. I certainly didn't circumcise my boys due to my beliefs..I don't even know why I did..other than it was just "natural". When we got home to America we asked our pediatrician abut it. He said it's not routinely done anymore and he won't perform them unless they are medically necessary. Our biggest reason to want to was..So Diezel felt like he fit in. He was already obviously different color wise, do we really want him to have another thing separate him from the other boys in the house? Then..we also had Gedese with us. (the pregnant Ethiopian woman I brought home to take of for a year) She, like the nannies in the house was disgusted. She would often talk abut it. It seems the more she talked about it though..the more protective I became to keep him intact. She would say things like, "Let me do. I do it. In Ethiopia the mother's mother does it..I do it for you"...We had no medical reason to do it. My doctor wouldn't perform it. I sure as heck wouldn't let Gedese do it...So, what did I do? I am proud to say..nothing. He is still intact and that is the way he will stay..unless for some reason it becomes medically necessary or he chooses later in life. The more I was pushed or told it was " disgusting" or "non-christian"..the more I started to question the whole thing. The more people wanted to judge my son by whether or not he was circumcised the more resolved I became to how unimportant it really is. So, if I have another naturally born son, would I choose to circumcise? Truth is..I don't know. I do know..I would give it way more thought than I did with my two previously born boys. What started for me as something that just seemed "natural" has become way more unnatural in my heart.

I know that this is a sensitive topic to many...My goal was not to offend anyone or start a controversy..I just really respect and appreciate different view points and love wisdom in areas that I seem to know little about.

So, again..thank you for all your input last week.
__________________________________________________________________

This weeks OPINION TIME topic...

Again, remember when you answer to the right-your vote is anonymous.

Simply...ARE YOU HAPPY?

Be honest.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Coming To An End...

My sister-in-law took 20 headbands home to Texas with her. She was excited about selling them:) She took the last cute ones I had. So, the seven below + maybe 5-6 others are all that remain of the cute ones. I do have about 15 tacky left though;). I know you're sad...The headband era will be coming to a close..for awhile or until I can have some more made up.

No worries..I still have tons of Tacky beaded bracelets!

Anyway thank you everyone for making this so fun and we made at least $1000 for the mommas in E. Africa by you all buying, selling and wearing Tacky for Africa Headbands.
I don't have the final numbers yet...but we have raised WELL over 12k for the for the momma's in E. Africa in the last few months! Yeah..this is exciting stuff!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Experiment Update.

Bright flower
Marilyn Monroe polka Dot
Perfect paisley

Have been sold.

Experiment



The headband orders have slowed down drastically. Yet, I keep seeing pictures of them popping up on my FB and the Because Every Mother Matters FB...I get so tickled (Yes, I just used tickled:) every time I see a new person wearing a Tacky for Africa headband! I am loving it. So, if you haven't posted your picture yet..please do:) I have had a few people talk about doing a headband party..I love that idea. If you are interested, let me know. I can send brochures, headbands and anything else you need. Basically the rule has been..not to let anyone see them first. The grab-bag thing has been working really well! However I do know half of you voted that I should allow people to choose their own (for an additional $2.00) So, I will try it...for one week..an experiment. I will post pictures that a blog friend took for me. You can all thank Ginny for the awesome pics! If I do not sell the 1o headbands I have pictures of (thus proving Grab-bag rocks)..I will go back to grab-bag only.


Pink Argyle

Black martini olive

Plum Paradise

Marilyn Monroe Polka Dots

Bright Flower

Sunkist polka dot

Chocolate Brown Morning

Black vintage

Fruit Stripe

Perfect paisley


Again this only an experiment! One week only.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Need To Change

I'm thinking I might need to change my bio.. "I have made more mistakes than anyone I know and I'm wrong way more than I'm right." It's starting to get really old making mistakes and being wrong all the time. I have had a bad few months and have really lived my bio line perfectly! This week in particular my mistakes have hurt people and I am regrettably sorry. The thing I hate is most of my mistakes are due to my ignorance or from my desire to help. I become so absorbed in fixing something that I am completely unaware of what I am breaking along the way. Then when I look back..I am devastated by the mess I created.



One of my biggest mistakes the past few months has hurt my family. Sometimes I forget that the MOST IMPORTANT MINISTRY I have..is my family. period. When I start getting angry with my children for interrupting my "work" time or start viewing them as a distraction from what is important..I have failed terribly. What I'm doing with Because Every Mother Matters is a new territory for me and my family. I have been involved in a lot of causes before, but they were short term, maybe lasting a month and then I move on. (except for the year w/Gedese)
Never before have I taken on something this big that I believe in this much. It got kind of overwhelming. I was spending well over 20+ hours a week on it and when I wasn't working on the computer networking, I was meeting with people, on the phone, and obsessing over it. My family suffered. This week I have worked really hard on restoring the balance. My kids and I have had many adventures this week. The fighting has decreased. The smiles are back and I am focusing more on my ministry (my family)in my home. I think BEMM can and will be successful even if I cut way back. I actually think it has room to grow even more, by me removing myself a bit. There's a lot more room for God now:)

One day I will share the other huge mistake I made this week. One that hurt some of the people I admire the most. I have cried more tears in the last 48 hours than I have in awhile. I have learned some invaluable lessons and have grown up a lot. That I am thankful for. I have had time to ponder and spend time with my creator. I am still searching for an answer as to why I seem to hurt people even when my intentions and heart are good and I feel so strongly that He is leading me...it gets so confusing. I know my heart..He knows my heart...yet, something is missing and I will keep digging deep and hitting the floor on my knees until I figure it out.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Never...

not do what is right
allow fear to stop you from doing what is right
pretend or think you know all the answers
stop believing you can make a difference
quit searching for the good in people
not give Grace when it is in your power to do so
miss an opportunity to pray for someone
put your faith in man..

and you"ll be fine

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Weird!

Tonight is just plain weird...I feel like I am in some weird alternate universe! Where people are weird! And everything is weird! So...goodnight weird world! I hope I wake to my own familiar weirdness...and not this weird place...

Nanoo-nanooo

Hurt...

I think God wants us to know what it means to hurt...It is in our pain that He teaches us...In our hurt we grow..

No matter who you are or where you have been...to hold on to your crap will bring bitterness...but...
WOW! when you learn to give it up..your crap...becomes fertile ground for AWESOMENESS!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Opinion Time..To Circumsice or Not to Circumsice

I am really curious about your opinion on this. Please take a moment to vote...remember your opinion is anonymous when left on the poll to the right of this post !

OR

leave a comment on your thoughts about this..but be specific..I really want to know what you think.

Thanks!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Friends Like These...

I have never had a ton of friends...
I know how to blend in and get along...
I can love just about anyone...
but
to dig down
go deep
and
really get dirty with someone.
to allow them access to ALL of me....
and
to know all of them
In my life..
until recently
this has happened 5 times.
5 friends.
Real friends.
2 of them I talk to regularly..
3 of them I found again through FB.
In the last year though...
I have met so many amazing people.
Women who inspire me
encourage me
support me
reach out to me
even when I am
unlovable
distant
and
just being me..
Friends who
pray for me
listen to me
and
even though they may not always "get me"
they love me.
AND
I absolutely LOVE and ADORE THEM!
This past week...
I was so blessed by many...
some strangers..
some acquaintances..
but
ALL I would be honored to call my friend.

I had one friend return from Ethiopia..her family faced some intense moments while there..many of you prayed for my friend Amy. I lovingly call her...UGG..her of strong stock woman. She never ceases to amaze me. She has an inner and outer strength that many of us dream of possessing. Even in the middle of a huge battle to bring her daughter home..she STILL met with Gadese, Alebachew and Christiana...she even remembered to take them Snickers and take tons of pics for me! I woke up Sat. morn to 12 pictures!
Amy and Gadese!

After my "rough" post..I received a few encouraging emails and phone calls.
three that stand out are from 3 women I have NEVER met. After reading their words..I sat there in awe. I didn't have to explain my post. They just got it. I was so blessed by them...
Thank you
Lindsey...I cannot wait to get to know YOU. I have felt a connection with you from the moment I read your heart for KUSHUM....
and
Melanie...You had me at "sharing ungodly amounts of coffee and laughing till we snort" and your usage of the word s%it...Something about that was very comforting!
Oh Dear Brandi...
Do I need to say more my sweet friend! We are sooooo completely different in sooooo many ways...Yet.from the moment over 2 years ago we visited each other's blog...We knew we were the same! I have never met anyone quite like you...You can motivate even a sloth. Love you!
and
then there's MISSY!
I had the privilege of meeting her last month!
What can I say about this woman?
Never before..have I ever encountered the same mix as me...
Recently I had someone tell me...
I was fearless yet filled with so much fear....
I take that as a compliment...
Missy is without a doubt...
fearless
passionate
strong
unique
yet..
filled with
a beautiful weakness...
An empathy that most can only dream of.
a vulnerability that makes her lovely!

When I met her in Florida this past month..I fell in love with her kids! They not only tagged all the headbands being sent out, but they kept 20 to sell themselves..This weekend they sent me pics of a group of women and girls who wanted to support BEMM!
and turns out Missy has a HUGE talent for all things hippy. She makes the most amazing candles for her org Flicker of Hope...
They are incredible..They not only smell incredibly but burn rather slowly!
and
She is making a special
BECAUSE EVERY MOTHER MATTERS CANDLE!
Look for details soon.
You will not want to miss out!
AND
then..there is Danette!
BEMM would not be where they are without her.
I asked over 600 people for help to create something we could sell for the mommas in E. Africa
and
one person answered the call.
I didn't even know her...
yet..she answered.
and not only did she answer, but her family did!
3 generations of women...
my sweat shop of love ladies!

So..if you are one of the "dare to be tacky buyers"
these are the women who spent countless hours for free sewing for the mommas they never met!
With friends like these....
I feel a little less alone.
So many of you have helped make a difference in my life...
I do not want to leave anyone out!
I also give thanks to:
Lucky Friday Studios
Erin Littleton
a 3rd time headband buyer:
Amanda Johnson...
Oh my goodness...
AND
LOGOS DEI COMMUNITY CHURCH!
If you live in the Tampa area..
PLEASE GO CHECK THEM OUT!
You will be blessed!
I will write more about this...
Annee
Ginny
Charity
Jenny
Paula
and the list goes on!


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy Indepence Day.

Freedom is powerful...you can choose to exercise that freedom or simply take advantage of it...


I wonder what freedom you have today that you are thankful for?

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Guess Who?


If you know the answer..then you know why I am doing the dance!




Friday, July 2, 2010

On The Lighter Side....

In the midst of how I feel today....
I still choose to cherish the little moments

Like..counting the hairs on my sons upper lip.

And trying to get him to take a picture with his momma

Capturing my daughter's beautiful smile..
(notice the headband she is wearing...hint..hint)



admiring how big and strong my little man is getting

Taking the tricycle brigade on an adventure


listening to the boys in the house encourage their little sister "just keep peddling"

just watching my kids soak in the sun

and witnessing my son serve his sister in her weariness....

ah.....I love these moments...
sometimes I just forget to look for them.
Thank you everyone for your encouraging words.