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?


Please donate

Monday, July 18, 2011


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 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..
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

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


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 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 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 to help

Friday, July 8, 2011

The "Feel Good" Post

There is a fine line between sharing honest emotions when telling a story for the purpose to educate and using a story to propaganda an agenda....

I constantly fail at this. The line is so fuzzy. I write to share. I write to educate. I write for an agenda. I'm told that I inspire people to want to get involved and then in the same breath that I use guilt to get what I want. Many times I erase a post after spending hours writing it, because I fear I crossed that line.

Do I write the truth in-spite that I may cross the line? My heart and mind is so intertwined in emotion, agenda, purpose and story that I can't separate any of it.

I pray and hope that those who know me...understand that I have an agenda...I may offend you. I may cross the line. You may feel guilt reading what I write. You will also know that my intentions are pure. My heart desires nothing more than to serve. In my total abandon to the call in front of me...I might not write a "Feel Good" post...

I have 2 months to raise 35k.

I will write. I will speak. I will share. I will offend. I will inspire. I will lose friends. Some people will answer the call. Some people will leave me. I will not hold back. I will blur the line between education and guilt.


Because I refuse to allow my own comfort to come before doing what needs to be done.

Everyone can make a difference! The "can" is not the variable ...The "if" and "when" are up to you