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Sunday, August 29, 2010

I'm Gellin' Like A Felon

You know, after 4 children, you would think that a quietly playing child behind a closed door would set off warning bells. However, I heard some tapping behind the door and was enjoying 5 minutes of peace to get my laundry put away and figured it was the sound of blocks smacking. However, I started thinking that it didn't totally sound like blocks, it was a little odd somehow.....and went in to find this:

Turns out smacking and squishing an entire nearly-full tub of hair gel all over your head and body and jammies and carpet and sister's clothes and toys sounds an awful lot like blocks...almost.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Hard Things

It is the first day of school for my 2 oldest daughters and that day is ALWAYS hard for me. You would think after years of this (my oldest is in 5th grade), it would get easier, but it never is. They are a little nervous, a little excited, I am sad to send them off and my house feels emptier and lonely, despite the 2 crazies fighting over toys and pulling hair (oh Thing 4 is a hair puller these days-argh!! so maddening!!) I still have running around here with me. That coupled with the change of seasons dangling in the humid aging August air makes me feel squeezed in my heart. Add to that a little (ok a lot) extra squeezing when I think of all the children I left behind in Africa who are getting ready for school for the first time without a mom to pack their backpacks and pick out their "first day outfit" and make sure they get to class ok, and sometimes I feel so gripped by the hard stuff that it literally feels hard to breathe and is physically exhausting. I am definitely a "feeler"-I feel things deeply and they profoundly affect my days and moods, many times more than they ought. But, alas, it is the way I roll and so I spend a fair amount of time battling back feelings that can threaten to overwhelm at times. The first day of school always makes me think about how fast time is flying and how I am powerless to stop it. It makes me realize that TRULY, I "do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes" just as God states in James 4:14. I cannot grasp and cling to a handful of morning mist any more than I can keep my children close to me forever, but I want to, and sometimes I try. And fail. But I have found, that like the mist in the mountains behind my house, if I learn to appreciate the beauty of the mornings, where the mist partially covers the green rolling peaks and hides their full splendor, I can realize that when it is gone, while I remember it's beauty fondly, I get to see the full majesty of the mountains revealed.

(photo taken from my deck this past spring)
That is how it will be with us. I know my children are but a vapor just as I am and I cannot stop time, and I know my time in Africa this summer was all too short and I pray that the Lord will allow me to return sooner rather than later-things in this life are so fleeting, yet when they are gone, the full majesty of our Lord will be fully revealed. When I think of it like that, it makes the hard things a little more bearable, for God's grace IS sufficient and thankfully His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

He Did It!!!!

All the spots at the school in Ethiopia are filled-ALL THE OLDER KIDS in the last post have sponsors!! God did it-He is SO. GOOD. Can I get an AMEN????

Monday, August 16, 2010

Time is Ticking Away

(photo from Project 61 blog)

I know that you all do not want to just read about Korah all the time, and I will resume posting about mundane, lame things in my life soon enough, but truly, that place has my heart firmly in its grip right now and this is something I NEED to share about in this post. So many of you have shared with me that it has in fact gripped your heart as well, and in fact there has been a HUGE response for the sponsorship of children--for that I say THANK YOU!!! Thank you for reading, for listening, for imagining, and for RESPONDING. Since I know you all care deeply about this special place, I have something to ask-can you help me find just a few more sponsors? Get this-they are only about 15 children away from filling every possible sponsorship slot they have available! AMAZING!!!! But, the ones left who need sponsors need them the very most. You see, these are older boys mostly, plus 2 girls, who are looking at their last chance. Their last chance-to get out of the trash dump, to get out of the filth, to get out of the ash filled air and the putrid smells-and get an education. Their LAST chance to pursue a future that is radically different than the generations before them. THEIR LAST CHANCE. They are teenagers, not the little cute faces we all want to squeeze and chubby hands we don't mind holding. They are older kids, the forgotten ones that people don't notice, until they get in trouble maybe. They are big boys who work, every day, in the dump, trying to scratch out, literally, survival for themselves and often their family. They are not usually the ones people request when inquiring about sponsoring a child. But...they are boys who have heard about this Jesus guy around the church project. They are boys who are smart and funny and who want to succeed. They are kids who have the capacity to learn and love, and who desperately want to be loved in return. They want to believe the promises of this Jesus guy they hear about, but they have been let down an awful lot by life and people. I think they deserve a chance, don't you? You can read about them more in this post on the Project 61 blog.

If that did not grab your heart and squeeze it enough, here is something that made me sit, silent tears running down my face at dinner tonight just to think about it-this is the Facebook status of Sumer from tonight about the boys: "Took 15 boys who live at the trash dump out to dinner tonight. One was missing, Biru, he only has one pair of pants and shoes and they are covered in mud and he did not come. He needs a sponsor! :)"

Can you imagine it, being a teenager and not being able to go out when ALL your friends and family are, for a special treat of dinner OUT (yay! no trash to eat tonight!) not because you don't have a fancy enough party dress or the just the right shoes to complete your snazzy outfit, but because you HAVE NO OTHER CLOTHES OR SHOES AND YOU SMELL LIKE GARBAGE. No. This should not be. Can you step up and help? If you have, THANK YOU, a thousand times over. You ARE making a difference-this is changing the next generation of people in Korah. If you know someone who you think might like to be a sponsor, can you be bold and ask them? Can you share with them about these wonderful kids? Can you help give them a CHANCE? Every child, little or big, is beautiful in the eyes of the Lord-we need to let them know they are beautiful in our eyes, as well. If you are interested or know someone who is, please contact Erin, sponsorship coordinator for Project 61, at We are running out of time to get these boys sponsored before the school year starts-please think about it! :)

James 2:14-17

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


So guess what? Did you know this blog started as a knitting blog? Hence the "Talk Is Sheep" title, in case you ever wondered where that came from. Ha ha, oh where the Lord has taken it! I do really like to knit, although I used to do it WAY more than I do now, and I have always been facinated by the "fiber arts"-knitting, crocheting, weaving, etc. Well, it turns out that what I have to tell you is not that far off from my orginal blog start-God has been doing some weaving of His own in my life and I am just starting to see the edges of the beautiful tapestry He is putting together-and I love it!! I am not sure how that piece will look when the Lord is finished, but one part He is working on now is something my hubby has put together. You see, the husband did not go on my recent trip to Ethiopia, yet God has woven his heart together with mine in our passion to see change come to Korah. My guy has taken something that was a long time goal of his own-to do a triathlon-and united it, (er, wove/weaved/tied as if using some sort of string-like item) to our desire to see our brothers and sisters in Africa have something very basic-WATER. Life-giving, life-saving, life-sustaining, clean water--and more than that, the Living Water that is Jesus! Hubby had already planned on doing this triathlon in September and has been hard at work training for it-no small feat, by the way. He is a sports lover and follower, but has never been a triathlete kinda guy (not being mean-he was a big old football player-not exactly the same category as triathlete, ya know what I'm sayin'?) Our friend Troy was sharing how he was going to complete a half marathon as a fundraiser for their adoption and the wheels in my husband's head started spinning (ooh! like a spinning wheel! that they make yarn on! see? I am going to use this weaving analogy to death in this post, maybe) and he set up the coolest website. Here is the link to it:

PLEASE go to the site, read all through it-I am amazed at how well it is done and how informative it is-way to go, honey! But truly, it has the potential to be a VERY. BIG. blessing to a community who needs it. You see, the funds he raises from his triathalon will go directly to the community of Korah. When we were there in Africa, we all (on my OH team) felt like we wanted to do something with a lasting effect in that community, not just feed them lunch, play some soccer and walk away. We wanted them to be able to be self-sustaining, to have a safe place to live and clean water to drink. The folks at the project had shared with our team leaders that there is some land available that they could buy and use for all sorts of community needs, the biggest being putting in a well. A well means clean water available to the community-something so basic, so necessary, so taken for granted here in the US. Literally, the difference between life and death for some. But, in order to purchase the land for this well and begin the process of digging it, they needed to pay $25,000 down (and ultimately a total of $125,000 to completely own the land). Well, there were 22 of us on the team and we figured if each of us could raise about $1200, the down-payment would be covered easily! That is the background on the project link above-I have prayed and asked God for GREAT BIG things out of this-and so far He has not disappointed! We smashed the goal of $1200 in just a couple of hours thanks to just a couple amazing donors--what do you think, folks? Can we make a crazy goal of $5ooo? I would love to blow the doors off of this fundraising effort and get those beautiful folks in Korah access to water. And here is a secret-I loathe fundraising. But I am actually happy to do it for this-I cannot get this place out of my head and heart. I think about them all day when I am awake, and dream about it when I sleep, for real. Check out the website and see how it works-we are not asking for big amounts at all-and in fact, it is set up so the whole family can be involved, with amounts as small as 26 cents! So, this is also a great opportunity to get your kiddos and their friends involved in giving to others. I don't know about you, but I am always looking for ways to do that that make sense and seem doable, you know what I mean? I want my kids to learn early the value of giving of what they have been blessed with in order to help others. I thought that was such a fun thing that my hubby included in this!

I also wanted to share that they are nearing the maxed out point of enrollment for sponsored kiddos at the boarding school in Ethiopia! Can I get a gigantic WOOHOO!! Y'all are just amazing and I am so thankful for the bunches and bunches of you who said 'Yes' to God's calling on your heart for these kids. If you have not yet signed up to sponsor, do not despair! They are putting together a waiting list of sponsors in case someone cannot fulfill their committment for any reason or if more kids become eligible for sponsorship, etc. so please still pursue it if you feel led. But, if you cannot at this time, please check out the triathlon website above and see if anything there grabs your attention. Woven together, we CAN make a real difference!!

Finally, if neither sponsorship nor the triathlon thing seems a good fit for you, please feel free to check out my Etsy shop from the link at the top of this page. I have Isaiah 61 bracelets that directly support our sweet Netsanet, whom we are sponsoring, and lots of other goodies that support the work of several amazing organizations. All these areas in my life that have long been passions of mine-creating, writing, my husband, children (I was a child devel/social work major)-are all being woven together right now by the Lord for a common purpose of His and I am so blessed to see glimpses here and there of the beautiful work God is making with them-what an undeserved joy!!

"I want them to be encouraged, and knit together by the strong ties of love. I want them to have complete confidence that they understand God's mysterious plan, which is Christ Himself" Colossians 2:2

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Ask Not What You Can Do for Ethiopia, But What Ethiopia Can Do For You (and your kids!)

So I MAY have mentioned Korah and getting involved there a time or 2--read back in older posts if you are new here or have not read what I am talking about. Recently, we were in Tennessee visiting with friends and had an opportunity to get together some letters and things to send to our sponsored child in Ethiopia. I literally just casually told my daughters if they felt like writing letters to Netsanet to be included with the things from us, they could. I gave them no guidelines on what to say other than just introduce themselves to her. That night, my oldest came into our room and gave us this:

Oh my heart! Did you catch the part where it says "My name is Emma and I have three younger sisters. I want you to know that I also consider you one of my sisters"???? Think you need to wait till your kids are older to go on mission trips or even have your family go somewhere permanently? Think that you need a ton of $ so that your kids can go with you and see it firsthand? Think your kids are too young to "get it"? Think that sponsoring a child is just for that child's benefit? Think again. I am not bragging about my kids and their being all holy or anything. This is NOT my child with the naturally gentle heart for others or the one that adores being a big sister to the little ones. She is an incredible funny kid with a great heart, but I think she would also be just fine being an only child, if ya know what I am sayin'. BUT, God is growing her heart for others by leaps and bounds and it makes me praise Him all over again! I watched her start to ask for things when we were shopping at Target for clothes for Netsanet, then just shut her mouth without finishing her sentence. I watched her gently and quietly tell her little sister, "not today-that is not why we are here" when that one requested something on that shopping trip. She is genuinely SO excited about her newest sister, and that is straight from the Father above! So when you are considering the cost of getting involved in whatever God calls you to, whether great or small, don't forget to consider the GREAT BLESSINGS, too, b/c God never seems stop giving them!!! :)