Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sharing our blessings this season


Last year around this time, we worked with our boys to raise funds for Heifer International.  Our goal was to buy some bees and a goat for people around the world that are in need.  We didn't quite make that goal, but were able to purchase a goat and some chickens.  My boys learned just a little bit about what it means to love people as Christ did.

This summer we met Mr. Baxter at our garage sale.  He had stopped by to look at something and began to share with us about the ministry he heads.  This local ministry reaches out to children and families in Jamaica who are in need.  They work with 3 local "Basic Schools" as well as churches and individuals to improve the lives of Jamaicans through Christ-like relationships.  Mr. Baxter travels regularly to Jamaica to continue these spiritual ties.

We loved talking with Mr. Baxter about Jamaica UpRiver Outreach.  As we spoke, he shared that it only costs about $35 a month to feed one of their basic schools.  That's 28 kids from ages 3-6.  We brainstormed about ways that we could connect with these schools and how our children could be in touch with some of the people there.  It has been great to begin learning about Jamaican culture with the boys.  
Manasseh, our 5 year old, has fallen in love with the people, the music, and the culture.  He is extremely enthusiastic about working to raise money to help the children at one of the schools - Fustic Grove Basic School.  I asked him the other day what kind of goal we should make regarding how many days to try and feed the students, his answer? 100,000.  I figured out that would cost about $117,000.  That's do-able, but I'm not certain it's within our reach this year.

Our goal this year is to raise $420.  This would feed the children at Fustic Grove for an entire year.  That's 1 meal per child, 28 children per month, for 12 months.  It breaks down to about $1.17 per day - less than most people in the United States spend on a hamburger or a coffee.  

Our plan is to sell crafts and baked goods at our church sale this weekend.  We will have handmade felt masks, felt crowns, some Christmas ornaments, banana bread, a variety of cookies, and someone is even donating a diaper cake.  There will be a variety of other items available at the sale for donations to this project.

The boys and I are also available to help with yard work such as raking, picking up sticks and nuts, etc.  We would love to bake or cook in exchange for donation, or even do a little light cleaning around the house.

Will you consider helping us feed these precious children in 2014?  $420 is all it will take - can you give up a soda this week to feed an entire class in Jamaica?  You won't only be filling their bellies.  Feeding these children will help them learn better, they will be more successful as adults, and have an opportunity to know Christ's love in a new way.

If you're interested in helping the students at Fustic Grove this season, feel free to contact me through my personal email address - - or on Facebook.  I will be glad to answer questions for you.  We are also able to mail some of the craft products in exchange for donation.  ALL proceeds will be donated to the children at Fustic Grove Basic School.

Many blessings to you and yours as we enter this season.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Tummy Stuffers - A great gift for a 2 year old (sponsored post)

My two year old loves to fill things and dump them out and fill them again... and dump them again... It seems to be a common stage that many two year olds experience.  As Azariah approached his second birthday, we were presented with the opportunity to check out Tummy Stuffers.  I have to admit, I thought they were kind of silly at first.  I also knew that my boys would love them.

Tummy Stuffers - Logo

Guess what: Azariah (and the other boys) love this alligator! In fact, it was one of the few toys I packed to keep my boys entertained during a youth convention while I worked as a vendor.  This little guy held all of their toys and scrunched up to fit inside their special toy trunk!

The boy's play trunk, ready to go to youth convention.
He gobbled up toys and spit them back out.  He chased little boys around to gobble them up.  He even worked as a hat!

Azariah, wearing the Tummy Stuffer as a hat!
Our alligator was out last week when Azariah's therapist was over to work on speech.  She adored him and used him with Azariah to prompt some words!  I never thought that our Tummy Stuffer would also work for therapy, how excellent!

Whit considers fleeing the scene

While our kitten is not so much a fan of the Tummy Stuffer, I think it's a fantastic gift option for toddlers and preschoolers!  Christmas is coming, who is on your list?  I'm positive that my 3 and 5 year olds would love to have Tummy Stuffers of their own (in fact, they've already told me which ones they wish for)!  Tummy Stuffers sell for $19.99 plus shipping and handling.  13" seat pets come with a free 8" buddy (for a limited time)

More Than You Can Take

I just heard a song on the radio that stopped me in my tracks.  I've seen a blog post that so many people have shared about the lie that "God won't give you more than you can take."
This is Selah.

I've been there.  You see, yesterday marked the due date of our 5th baby.  Selah would be in our arms now, had we not lost babies 4 & 5 in the last year.  Talk about an overwhelming feeling.  It sure feels at times like "more than we can take".

The truth is just that - God won't give us more than we can take... but we forget this next part, we leave it off ALL THE TIME.  Listen closely because this is important and when you forget about it, people leave feeling weak, inadequate, unloved by God - because why would he dish it out to them and not others. 

So here it is: God won't give you more than you can take WITH HIS STRENGTH.

That's right.  Sometimes we get knocked down and the ONLY way up is through Him.  His strength is certainly the only way we made it through the last year. In His strength, we continue to stand, to fight, to live.

As I washed dishes and listened to the song about God not giving us more than we can take, I thought of the verse, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light."

WHAT?!!!  Honestly, I can't figure out what that means when I look around and see the hurt and brokenness in the world.  I do, however, know that because of my faith in the good, holy, perfect God - I was able to make it through the last year.  I know that if it hadn't been for His strength, my burden would have felt much more desperate, lonlier, harder. 

Are you there?  Are you in the dark times?  His burden is light.  Spend time in prayer and discovery.  Let him pull you through.  Turn up the worship music.  Cry on his shoulder.  His strength will pull you through.  God is a BIG God. 

Be strong in the Lord and His mighty power! (Eph 6:10)

I urge you to do some study in Ephesians 6.  Learn how to suit up in a way that will make you strong in the face of a powerful enemy.

Blessings as you walk through each day and trust in Him.