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Showing posts from September, 2011

Sometimes I realize I have too little faith.

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Three weeks ago I just thought I had set my expectations too high.
The economy is too bad. People have many other choices for where they'll give. You guys are all tired of hearing about the orphanage and the need and you have moved onto other things. The $5000 we have already raised is a lot. Let's just be thankful for what we have and try something else.This is what was running through my head.

I don't know why I always forget that this isn't really my project after all. I always get into the trap of believing that I'm the one doing this, and that it's all limited by my power.

If that were the case most of what has happened the past 3 years wouldn't have happened at all.

That Sunday at church 2 weeks ago when I was listening for what to spend the week praying for the first thing running through my mind was, "We still need $5000 dollars, I'm out of ideas, I don't know what else to do to raise that money. That's what I should pray about.&qu…

Letters from my Grandmother

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I received a letter from my grandmother in the mail recently. Grandma may be the only person I actually write letters to any more. On paper that is. They are still trying to figure out how to use their newfangled CD player after all. I don't believe my grandparents will ever own a computer, much less figure out how to send an email.

I love this about them, actually. I love to get Grandma's letters. There is something timeless about them, something that sounds just like home to me. Just like her house stays exactly the same, no matter how long it is since I last returned. She finally changed out the curtains that had been in her kitchen windows my entire life after I gave her some lace curtains to replace them.



She always wanted lace curtains. Ever since Grandpa took her to England. Grandpa always thought she was being ridiculous. I may have taken matters into my own hands and sewn her some.

Everyone should get letters like hers, full of the same everyday goings on of a life l…

How do you hold things lightly and yet steward them well?

Wow you guys, I'm shocked. I had to go back and reread yesterday's post because you all had me wondering if I wrote what I thought I wrote.

I seriously thought you were all going to tell me I ought to get over myself and let the Boy give away the garage I was getting so emotional over.

Thank you for your good advice and ideas.

I had already explained to the Boy at the end of our conversation why I was conflicted. I told him about buying toys for him, as the oldest, with an eye to what would last for many children to come. I explained the cost of replacing things like that and told him honestly that I wasn't sure if it was a useful thing to give away. (Bridge of Hope, is a non-profit run by a friend at our church that provides furniture and household goods for free to refugee families in City Heights, San Diego, among many other things. I forgot to link yesterday. The kids have gone to their Thanksgiving dinners and played with these kids. They have all purchased and wrappe…

Maybe I AM a Hypocrite

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He makes me wonder these days if I'm a hypocrite. We're standing there in the dining room, his face flushed and his voice urgent, "But mom, didn't you say that there are kids who don't have any toys that would be happy to have these?"

For years I have fed this, unaware of this possibility. I give them 30 minutes to clean their room. I tell them that if they have more toys and clothes than they can manage to put away in 30 minutes they have too many, and anything still on the floor after that will be put in a bag and given away. I follow through.

They have given many, many toys to charity this way. (Or the trash can if they aren't worth re-gifting.)

He came out of his room with the wooden toy garage and the collection of cars. "I want to give these away mommy, maybe not to the orphanage because that many kids might fight over it but maybe a boy at Bridge of Hope would like it. And I want to give my Legos away too."

"I don't know," I…

One Thousand Gifts

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I have this little superstition when Aaron is away. I wait to delete any of his phone messages until after he's walked in the front door and I can see he's safely home.

My reasoning is that if something were to happen to him before he gets home, such that he never actually walks in that door I will want to hear his voice again. Out of all the regrets, big an small that I would have, deleting the last recording of his voice seems like one I can control.

I do this when he's away on a long trip. I also do this on messages he leaves in the middle of a regular day before he drives home that night. It's just what I do.

But he is home again, safe and sound, from his business trip. It is a gift to have him near again.

Other gifts I counting this day.

The way Bam Bam giggles when he walks round a corner and finds me.

How much easier the day is when the children do their chores.

So many clothes to wear we have to give some away.

A pantry stocked to bursting.

The way the Boy is …

Chantelle

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When we were in 3rd grade we used to huddle together in her big walk in closet with the little bookshelf packed full of Bobsey Twins books trying to read the exact same book together. She is the only person I've met who is a faster reader than me, and she never waited for me at the end of the page so all the books I read with her were missing sentences here and there. But i kept going back to read together with her.

In high school it was magazines and her room moved to the basement on the other side of the space with the TV and all the old couches where we played Mario Brothers and Sonic th Hedgehog. I lost every time. She still read faster than me too.

We grew up together, within a few blocks of each others houses and her parents house is as much a childhood fixture for me as mine was. She returned from a year in France and taught me about real chocolate and good wine and good salad dressing.

She dragged me along on countless adventures, camping, hiking, rock climbing and I rem…

Announcing the Giveaway Winners

I have a sort of default setting when it comes to spread sheets that is probably irrational. In other words, I avoid them if at all possible. It is this I blame for the elaborate high jinks that I have undertaken to bring to you the results of this giveaway.

Rather than just do the easy thing, like enter everyone into a spreadsheet to keep it sorted, that's me kicking myself, I decided to go for drama, creativity, something else. Which is why last night I gave myself carpal tunnel syndrome cutting hundreds of strips of paper after printing out all of the donations lists and the tweets organized by hashtag, and the facebook comments, etc. I have a giant bowl full of them now.

(What exactly I was thinking I don't know. I've been solo parenting this week. I've fallen into bed exhausted, some times fully clothed several nights in a row. I rented a movie on Monday night thinking I would need it to keep me company when Aaron was out of town and I still haven't had a nigh…

So many changes (You can come back now.)

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The 2 week long fundraising drive is over, and I've very pleased to announce that we raised $5236.50.

That's a little more than half of what we need, and we have a few more prizes donated as well. So after I announce the winners of all the prizes here and at Voices of Charis The Charis Project's blog, I will start another brief fundraising drive over there. You see, the money matters section of blogher has featured me and this post this week, which is amazing, and hopefully will help us reach our goal.

In the meantime, several important things have happened in the past 2 weeks that we should catch up on.

Aaron switched careers. No seriously, he totally switched. Instead of carpentry he's going to be selling fine colored gemstones for a living. His employer is one of The Charis Project's  long time supporters and regularly gives his customers the option of matching his donation to the The Charis Project. He's asked Aaron before to join him in business but the tr…

Good News to the Poor Gemstone Giveaway - Building a Self Sustaining Orphanage

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We come to the last prize of this whole giveaway fundraising event. There are only 2 days left in the giveaway.

Our goal was $10,000, we've so far raised just over $3000. In a way, that's fantastic. That's more than we had, and yet, if you could help us push through, tell this story as many times as you can in the next 2 days we still have a chance of reaching our goal. We just need to reach more people. If 700 people give just $10 each we can make our goal. How many of you have at least that many friends on facebook or followers on Twitter?

The good news is, we have so many great prizes, your odds of winning something are actually incredible right now. Don't let that stop you from telling your friends though since every tweet or share gives you yet another entry.

Today's prize is one of the best, actually, there are 2.

The first might just actually save your life and the lives of people around you. Of all the prizes we've offered this week this on may have th…

Easy Canvas Prints Giveaway - Building a Self Sustaining Orphaange

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One of the perks of being a blogger is that sometimes people offer you free stuff. I don't have that happen very often but I was so excited when Megan from Easy Canvas Prints offered me a free canvas print to try.

Have you heard of these? Take a photo, any photo at all, and turn it into fine art for your wall. Maybe it's a favorite spot you saw on vacation, maybe it's that perfect candid shot of one of your kids. I have wanted to try this since I first found out about it.


I knew exactly what photo I would print to canvas. It's one Aaron took of the Girl on a hill with the setting sun lighting all the bushes and her hair on fire. I planned to hang it over our mantel where we have some ugly media outlets to cover up.

But then when I was planning this fundraiser I realized what a great prize this would be for someone and so I asked Megan if I could give it away instead. This was a great personal sacrifice on my part, just so you know.

She graciously said yes, and so now I…

Win an Ipod Nano - 8G - Help Build a Self Sustaining Orphanage

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You know those kind of family friends who have been friends so long that you don't really remember the start of the friendship but your history is so intertwined that they show up in all your stories?

The donors of this prize are just that sort of family friend. We actually stayed with their grandma on our honeymoon, that's how far back it goes.



A few years back they bought a property with the cutest little guest cottage that they rent out as a vacation rental. Blue Fern Cottage has everything you could want, a little home away from home, and easy driving distance to the beach, Legoland, Seaworld, the zoo, wild animal park, etc. You know, all the things people head to San Diego to see. They have had guests stay from all over the world.



When we let it be known that we were looking for prizes to help make this fundraiser fun they at first thought of offering a few nights stay at their cottage. But since that's not something everyone can use they decided to donate an ipod nan…

Birthing Paths Childbirth Classes Giveaway - Building a sustainable orphanage

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This is my friend Teresa's baby. Everyone say awww!

(Full disclosure, I have been friends with this woman for most of my life. She's doing this giveaway because she is a very good and generous friend. I hope you all have a friend like this in your life. She feeds my soul in the very best ways.)

Ok, parenthetical gushing aside. You are all going to wish you lived in Canada for this one.

Teresa is a certified Bradley Method Instructor. Her 2 children were birthed at home with midwives in attendance. She is strong and gentle and wise and you would be very, very lucky to be in her class if you were having a baby for the first time.


In her own words.

Preparation is the key to a safe and treasured birth. I offer small, personal, interactive childbirth classes that are about educating parents, supporting moms and helping dads as they journey on this path of birthing a child. The 12 weekly classes focus on nutrition, relaxation, exercise and education, ensuring ample time to ask…

Secret Agent Josephine's ABC's -Building a Self Sustaining Orphanage

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If you've been around blogging for a while you've probably run into Secret Agent Josephine, the blog authored by Brenda Ponnay. Your kids have probably looked over your shoulder at all the pictures of happy children doing colorful art projects and asked, "Why aren't you like that lady mom? We want to live with her. She's fun!"

She's kind too. This is not the first time she has helped The Charis Project out with a donation.

Brenda shares her crafty and artistic design ideas for parents and kids in many places online. We've made a lot of them here at our house. Especially popular have been the alphabet cards she designed for her own daughter, bug, when she was learning the alphabet. Every drawing is special, you will love them all.

Just this summer she released the book - Secret Agent Josephine's ABC's based on the cards she designed.



Look, even Jellybean loves it. There he is with Brenda at blogher11 reading along. He's so advanced. …

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