Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Poppy Full of Laughter

A few days ago I was having a hard day. In all honesty, I have a lot of hard days....This day though, I was driving my kids to various schools and I started to cry. I grabbed my phone and started dialing the one person I knew would provide what I needed...laughter. Laughter is a cure. Deep, genuine laughter penetrates every part of you. It liberates you from that which binds (so does deep tears)...On this day, I wanted to laugh. I dialed my sister. It is no longer her number. She died a few years ago. No matter what was going on between us or in our lives..we made each other laugh. All she had to do was talk in her witch voice about poppies (Wizard of Oz)..and I would laugh no matter how angry I was that she had just given me a swirly. She was the only one I could laugh and cry with about the same things. We hated eachother as much as we loved eachother. On this day though...I only missed her. Love. Hate. It didn't matter. I just wanted Kym. I came home and started sharing with Adam how I felt. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a right orange flower. It was a poppy. We bought this house a year before she died. The next year I saw a single poppy. Last week, looking out my window...missing my sister, needing a laugh..I saw 4 poppies and 3 waiting to bloom. I told my man..I needed a moment. I sat down beside the poppies. 4 poppies blooming. 4 years since she died. I looked at them. I started to talk to them. I laughed. I cried. I remembered.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Keeping it Real...

In the past year you have helped us raise over 30 thousand dollars! Right now in our account we have $100 that is usable. Where has the money gone? What exactly did we accomplish?

To date:

WE have given over $14,000 to Doma for stage one of the holistic women's health center in the remote village of Bora. About 2k was used to fund a possible life saving surgery on a mother.

WE have given $5,000 to Project Hopeful for their Sisterhood Project. A group home for mommas and their children with HIV.

WE have given $1500 to MOPS INTERNATIONAL to start a program in Ethiopia. We are still needing $8000 more to fund it.

WE covered the cost to bring a woman to Ethiopia with us who has stage 4 cancer and was given 6-12 months to live (on her list of stuff to do was volunteer in a third world country) Cost $2000

WE payed out about $2000 for our staff in Ethiopia.

WE have given over $4000 to the refugees who make the headbands

WE have provided assistance to several mom's and their needs both locally and in Africa about $3000

WE have traveled to Ethiopia 2 times and have 2 more trips scheduled this year. Cost about $9000

WE have bought fabric and supplies to help us fundraise at well over $1500

WE purchased birthing kit supplies at over $1000

On average I spend 15-30 hours a week working on BEMM stuff.

As you can see more was spent than raised. To make up the difference, Amy paints pictures and uses part of her money she earns to help fund things, Jodie has payed for many things out of her own pocket and personally donates to every campaign we have, I (Steffany) have sold my car, my clothes, my furniture, and lived off of $50 a week for our family of 8 to make sure that we do what it is we say we are going to do.


I believe in being transparent with our organization. I want you to know where every dime goes. This is also a plea for help.

Here's the thing. We are kind of stuck in a cycle. We hear of a need, we respond and act. PERIOD. We don't look at our fi,nances. We are moved to help. We are not a non-for profit. We don't have the 2k needed to become one, as soon as we start saving for it..what do you know another need comes up that no-one else is handling. This week alone I have been contacted by two universities who want to do grant writing for us, but since we aren't a legit non-profit, we can't take advantage of the offers. There are business's that want to donate, but once again...we are not a legit non-profit.

Funny thing is...I'm not asking for donations to become fact, it's not on the top of my priority list. What making a difference in individual lives.

This week alone we were told about two mommas. Both of them are the bio-moms to two different adoptive mom's children. They are both dying and need immediate medical care. Gedese and Alex (our in country staff and BEMM's first momma) will care for them in their home and take them to the hospital for treatment which we will pay for. From past experience we know it will be on average $2500 per woman to help them. (depending on what needs to be done, length of stay, etc..)

On top of that we still need $8000 to fund the MOPS program in Ethiopia which will directly impact 100's of mommas lives through mentorship, health care, micro loans, etc..

We are also starting a midwife training program (cost to be determined)

Opening a group home for pregnant street mommas in Nekemte

Continuing our Birthing Kit program cost of $400 per month.

Before we can even think about spending money on a non- profit license...these mommas need help NOW!

We NEED you.

If you have a blog, FB or twitter..please spread the word of what we do at least once a week. Link to our site. Make a website badge for your blog.

If you are creative think about making products for us to sell.

Commit to selling 10 Tacky headbands to your friends this month or 10 of our "Simple Cards"

Donate. Any and all amounts help! Are largest single donation was $1000 or smallest was $5.00- They were both equally appreciated.

Have a garage sale, a lemonade stand, organize a 5k run, put a jar in your business, talk to your local birthing center or OB/GYN...

You really are saving lives.

My last trip to Ethiopia I met Gedese's momma. Gedese is the pregnant mom that lived with me for a year. Gedese and her daughter both almost died during childbirth. Gedese's mom has had to bury several of her children and would have had to bury another daughter. I can't begin to describe the feelings I had when I was standing there by one of my dearest friends, her mother and a precious toddler that would be dead today if nobody stood up and cried out, "I will help".


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Running Hard, but Going Nowhere

Have you ever had one of those dreams where you are running as fast as you can or hitting as hard as you can only to find yourself no further than when you first started.
It's like all your energy is being used.
You believe it will have an impact.
Nothing happens.
You are left exhausted, frustrated and defeated and no further than where you first started.
Yep- that pretty much sums up the last year of my life....
For me this represents me trying to do things alone or believing that the result is somehow related to my own strength.
I exhaust myself just listening to my own thoughts.
I work.
I struggle.
I fight.
I might "win".
Then it begins again...
like a long hallway in my dream that I run towards something or away from something
only to end up where I started.
two words
"I surrender".
I am waving my white flag. It is not about me. I can't do it on my own.
It's a crazy balance game.
Somewhere I bought into the idea that balance means everything in life get's equal time.
It is about having discernment in where you are needed.
Spiritual alignment.
For me...
I need my GOD above all else.
My man
My kids

I desire everything to be perfectly balanced and in order.
nothing is.
All things are distorted when God is absent.
I can give my house. My car. Every possession...
But it will NOT bring me closer to HIM.
Only when we give what we truly covet will we catch a glimpse of the sacrifice that was made for us.
I will find my balance by surrendering my agenda for His will.

I found what I covet is not stuff...
never has been and hopefully never will.

What I desire is to give to others..
so much that it affects my family negatively.
I spend 6-7 nights a week advocating for people I don't know.
I sell what I have, do without and martyr myself everyday.
This has become my idol.
I give at the expense of my family.
I justify it to my family by guilt.
I can honestly say..
I would give anything and everything
that is my doctrine.
One day God may ask that of me
He just wants me to serve my family.
for the past two weeks my man and I have turned off our phones and computers from dinner until bedtime.
Not going to lie...I don't feel like I'm "accomplishing" as much...
my kids are happy
we are less stressed
my man is writing music again
the 3 little ones learned to skateboard
I am making amazing dinners
I'm sleeping better
We are once again becoming the family God intended us to be.
instead of running hard without going anywhere...
I am walking, enjoying and moving forward

Monday, May 2, 2011

The $10 Journey

It begins here
My change jar.

I save and use this to buy....
carefully thought out fabric patterns.

On average I spend $30-$60

It then goes here

to Yorinimu and his wife Rosa or other local African refugees through City of Refuge.
Yorinimu lost his first wife in a refugee camp and made him sole provider to his 5 children.
He met Rosa in the states. They live in a modest apartment and rely on Rosa's income at a local factory and are grateful for the extra income provided by BEMM.
We pay them $4.00 per headband.
I pay them upfront to give them the immediate income they need.
Average payment is $300-400 for a stash like this

I then bust butt hustling them on Facebook, blog and various businesses.

Then the rest is up to YOU.
Yes. You.
You pay
$10 for a headband

and have Tacky 4 Africa headband parties....

Have your furry friends wear them...

Give them to the men in your life...

Wear them at Disney World

Sell them at conventions

give them to adorable babies

wear them in Africa

buy them because....

know that your $10 will go here.

developing a holistic center to help these mommas through Doma

raising money to provide medical care for these mommas

purchasing chickens and building a chicken coop to help this momma create a sustainable life..

Deliver birthing kits to mommas in Uganda, Congo, and Ethiopia

Providing hope to this mom and dad who only want a chance to prosper

partnerships with organizations to bring aid to this great grandmother caring for her great grand kids because everyone has died from AIDS and a single mom with HIV.

This local mom who delivered a surprise baby on Christmas Day

A birthing kit to this mom we met walking 10 miles with 80 pounds of grain on her back at 8 months pregnant. We will also provide any medical care her or her baby may need.

helped pay the way for this beautiful 27 year old stage 4 cancer woman travel to Africa with us.

kept this grandma from having to bury another child.
Gedese (the mom who lived with me for a year and her baby Christiana visiting Grandma for the first time in almost 2 years)

Bring hope to the village where this young lady is from in the form of a town ambulance and midwifery training. Without either one...she would be one of the 4 women out of 10 that die due to pregnancy related causes.

doesn't seem like much...
a headband.
a card.
a donation.

it really does make a difference.

(Occasionally we have special pieces that someone has made or donated to us that we sell for more).

In our shop currently at

We have
A one of a kind hanging quilt made by Clara Lawrence.

Be a part of the $10 journey.
Change a life today