Monday, January 31, 2011

Raising Funds for Africa: My Attempt to Make a Difference

***In case you missed them you can find my other Africa posts here, here, and here. ***

This summer, Kristen, my pseudo little sister and one of my closest friends in. the. world. will travel to Ghana, Africa, where she will work in this orphanage.

Sponsored by the Rafiki Foundation, the Rafiki Orphange in Winneba, Ghana, is working hard to make a difference in the lives of parentless children and trying to protect them from the life that awaits the orphaned child in this part of Africa (warning: this link will lead you to heartbreaking news of what happens to orphaned children in this part of the world. It made me cry, just so you know).

And she's not going alone.
See these two adorable faces????

Bloggers, meet Allison (left) and Lenzie (right).

Allison has a heart for service unlike anyone I've ever seen,
and Lenzie is one of the most level-headed, down-to-earth people I've ever known.

And they'll be joining Kristen on her journey to change lives, even if only for a moment.

In an effort to help them raise funds for their trip and for the orphanage,
 I will be selling t-shirts from now until March 1st.

The short-sleeve t-shirts will cost a minimal donation of $20, and did I mention that any money Kristen raises above the expenses for her trip will be donated to the orphanage?

Sizes S- XXL are available for this traditional style t-shirt, and this is the design that will appear on the front:

I am thrilled with how they turned out-- I can't wait to get my hands on one,
 and I so hope you feel the same way!

But, if for whatever reason $20 is too much to give or you don't have a need for another t-shirt, but you still want to help make a difference for this great cause, you can donate whatever amount you're comfortable with by clicking on the donate button on this post or on my sidebar. Every dollar helps. :)

HOWEVER, if you're lovin' the shirt and can't wait to rock one of your own, then this is the place to be. Just click the donate button found on my sidebar and be sure to donate at least $20.
And be sure to include what size you'll need and your shipping address in the 'notes to sellers' section when you check out.

Happy shopping, friends, and thank you a billion times over for your support.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

More on AFRICA and a few other odds n' ends

First, thanks to all who have commented, e-mailed, and asked about AFRICA. I just know God has some big things in store here, and I can't wait to witness all He has 'up His sleeve', so to speak.

Second, my super cool sponsor, ERIN NORMAN PHOTOGRAPHY, if offering a fabulous giveaway right now on her amazing blog.

See these super cute frames?
Well, they can be yours if you enter to win them by Friday.  

AND, see this beautiful face?

It belongs to my friend Elizabeth, or E-Beth as we all call her, and she donated her hair this weekend.
I am so proud of her and her new blog, which I can pretty much guarantee is going to be the next big one, seeing as how she's easily one of the coolest, most interesting people I know.
You can check it out here.

And, for all you who now have a new found interest in African adoptions after reading my recent posts, here are some Ethiopian adoption blogs I've come to love:

Ethiopia Minus 1Photobucket

I hope your weekend was wonderful, and if you haven't entered my giveaways (here and here) or joined my linky party, I'm thinkin' you should probably do that, mkay?

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Like Mother, Like Daughter

Earlier this week I talked about how my goal for 2011 is to inspire someone else to be or do better....there's also a linky party open RIGHT THIS VERY MINUTE where you can share your story of who inspires you.

No one has entered yet...I'm assuming this is because you're all still writing your posts, correct?
 Good thing, because you made me nervous for a minute there.

Well, in a way I feel as though I've already met my goal.
Remember when I donated my hair last month????
Well, today a little someone special in my life did the same.

And boy was she ever excited.

She was literally THRILLED to be giving her hair to help someone else.

And I was one proud mama.

Isn't she beautiful?

Oh, and see that super stinkin' cute dress she's wearing?

It was given to her by GracieMaeKids, a fabulous Etsy shop that will be hosting a giveaway here very, very soon.

And, needless to say, we love it.

Speaking of giveways, have you entered the two I've got going on right now? You can find them here and here.
You might want to do that after you add your 'who inspires me' post to my linky party. :)

And Libby, you are a rockstar.

Friday, January 28, 2011

hopelovescards giveaway: Jan. 28- Feb. 2

Oh. my. word.
Fridays are fabulous.

Know how I know?

Because Fridays mean giveaways, and this week's can't be beat.

Bloggers, I'd like you to meet hopelovescards.

Her shop is stocked full of adorable paper good.....

...and everything is customizable.

She offers super cute invitations.

And I LOVE these note cards with the babies!

And I'm convinced that her Valentine's selection simply can't be beat.

Oh, the cuteness that is these cards.

And Libby would LOVE these:

 And I love this customizable birthday pin!

And these little mirrors are just too cute.

And, remember how I said Fridays are fabulous?
Well, they're about to get fabulous-er because the shop owner wants to give one of these to one of you:

It's a super cute custom plate, and please feast your eyes on the custom options:

I think I'm in love....with a plate.

Are you crushin' too?

Well, here's how you can enter to win one of your very own:


Head on over to hopelovescards, drool over the goodies, and then come back here and leave a comment telling me what you love most in her shop.


*Heart hopelovescards via your Etsy account and leave a comment telling me you did.
*Purchase something from her shop and let me know what you ordered.
*Become a follower of my blog or remind me that you already are one.
 (Leave a comment either way, please. )
* Join my linky party and leave a comment telling me that you did.
*Blog, tweet, or facebook about this giveaway and leave a comment telling me what you did.

Please leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry. :)

The winner will be chosen via the morning of Feb. 3.

Good luck and happy commenting.

Oh, and don't forget to check out my other giveaway as well.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Who do YOU admire? A LINKY PARTY :)

If you recall, I didn't make a New Year's Resolution this year.
I have a list of things I'm attempting NOT to do, but until recently I hadn't set my sights on that one thing I was willing to commit to for the next three sixty five (days, that is).

And then, on my birthday while eating Chinese food with mi madre, it hit me via my fortune cookie:

There it was;
in 2011, I want to inspire others...even if it's just ONE other.

I want to use this year to try to inspire someone to do better and to be better.
I want others to see the good in my words and my actions and aspire to do the same.

Which ultimately means, that I want to do and be better so that hopefully someone out there will want to do and be better along with me.

And I don't about you, but I learn best by example.
And it didn't take me long to come up with my resolution role model.

Bloggers, meet THE Emily Anderson.

I've been reading (and ADORING) her blog for about six months now.
I literally can't get enough.
Not only do I love her writing style, her fabulous musical picks, her adorable kiddos, and her touch o'sarcasm, but I love her desire to spread the love.
She loves GOD, she loves HER FAMILY, and she loves DOING GOOD.
And all of that sounds pretty fabulous to me.

I also love how she's not afraid to admit that she's not 'the perfect mom' and that she sometimes looks a mess. I mean, really, don't we all?

And most of all, I love her heart.
And in her heart, there's a place for Africa.

Did you happen to notice that adorable picture of a  little girl in the frame Emily was holding?
That's her daughter, Elsa, who will hopefully be arriving at her forever home sometime next month.
And here's what Emily has to say about Africa:
(Borrowed with permission from Emily.)

my grandparents got us a globe for christmas.

it was a fitting gift...and came to us right before mr. anderson left for africa.

we were able to "see where daddy was" while he was on his long flights to and from.
so, as i walked into the boys room the other day, i got so perturbed, seeing that one of them had put a gigantic red sticker on this globe.

our beautiful globe.

my immediate thought was "who the heck did this and why don't they know how to take care of our things?!"

but then upon further inspection, i noticed where this "big, giant, red sticker was placed".

a heart over addis ababa, the city where elsa resides.

caedmon came running up to me, so completely proud and beaming, saying "look, i put a heart sticker where elsa is, cause she's our sister and we love her!"

my heart broke (and i quickly forgave myself for the bout of anger i had going on inside of me for the sticker in the first place).

my immediate thoughts were "they get it"...they are understanding the fact that we have a part of our family on the other side of the world.

and in that moment, i was very thankful.

so, i'm often asked why we chose to adopt from ethiopia...i can't really give more of an answer than "the Lord has called us to adopt from there"...really. i never would have said we would have a child from ethiopia. but now, here we close to having her in our home.
the statistics for this country are heart breaking.
see for yourself:
• One in six children die before their fifth birthday

• 44% of the population of Ethiopia is under 15 years old

• 60% of children in Ethiopia are stunted because of malnutrition

• The median age in Ethiopia is 17.8 years

• 1.5 million people are infected with AIDS (6th highest in the world)

• 720,000 children have been orphaned by AIDS alone, and there are 4.6 million orphans in Ethiopia (this number varies, some say there is as many as 6 million orphans).

• Per capita, Ethiopia receives less aid than any country in Africa

• In the 90s the population (3%) grew faster than food production (2.2%)

• Drought struck the country from 2000-2002 (first year no crops, second year no seeds, third year no animals)

• Half the children in Ethiopia will never attend school. 88% will never attend secondary school.

• Coffee prices (Ethiopia’s only major export) fell 40-60% from 1998-2002.

• Ethiopia’s doctor to children ratio is 1 to 24,000.

• In 1993, after 30 long years of war, Eritrea broke from Ethiopia and became an independent nation leaving Ethiopia landlocked without any major seafaring ports.

so i ask you...where is your heart residing?

maybe you're not ready for adoption at this point, but i pray that the Lord uses this blog to show you that you don't have to be a small don't have to be a rich don't have to be a perfect family to adopt.

Thanks for sharing your story with me and so many others.
Thanks for being someone who challenges me to be and do better....
and for being so darn funny.

Praying for Elsa-

If you want to know more about Emily and her newest addition, you can check them out here:

And when you read her blog and fall in love, leave her a comment and tell her I sent you.
And now, I've just GOT to ask:
We all need an 'Emily' in our lives, and I would absolutely LOVE to hear about yours.
So, if you feel so inclined, write your own post about the person who inspires you, and then come back and link your post here.
I can't wait to read your entries.
Have a great weekend, and be sure to come back soon-- I'm announcing my Africa fundraiser in the next few days. :)
See you then, mkay?

AFRICA: How It Started For Me

Several months ago, God planted a seed in my heart.
And this has grown, and grown, and grown.
And it's grown for Africa.

And in thinking of all the things I want to share with you about Africa and all the ways you can help and all the amazing things God is doing there, I thought it was only natural to share with you how I first came to be interested.

And to me, it's surprising.

You see, God got my attention through, of all things, a YouTube video.

Now I don't for sure, but I'm willing to bet than whenever whomever it was who created YouTube came up with the idea, he or she never planned on YouTube being a source of inspiration. But that's what it was for me. I don't even remember how I stumbled upon this particular video, but it has changed my heart and opened my mind to how I want to help and the difference I want to make for Africa and its people.

The video tells the story of Kristi and her family in their journey to adopt this precious little girl from Ethiopia.

And since watching it, I've started following her blog. And during the past six months or so, I've been inspired time and time again by her desire to serve not only her family but those she left behind in Africa.

And she's got big news: they are adopting again!
And this time it's a little boy named Wes, and after following her story, I can't wait for her to get him home and love the heck of him and show us his precious little face, which she won't be allowed to do until he's home.

But, Kristi doesn't want to just help Wes; she also wants to help others who are hurting and in need of help in Africa. So, she's in the process of collecting cloth diapers (new and gently used).
 If this is something you're interested in, check out her blog here or by clicking the button below:

And, get excited...I've got some big news coming your way soon regarding Kristin's trip and how I'll be working hard to raise money for Africa.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wordish Wednesday: Doc, aka Cutest Dog Ever

I. am. in. love.
Wordish Wednesday

Oh, and have you checked out my latest giveaway? You might want to do that. :)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Relaxed Beauty Giveaway: January 25- 30

To say the least, it's been a long week...and it's only Tuesday.
In case you missed it, I went down hard last week with my back.
Thanks to all who asked about it, btw. I'm doing somewhat better....
although it appears to pour when it rains at my house, and now my precious Hollyn is sick with a sour throat, earache, fever, and the dreaded croup. Needless to say, we are just loads of fun this week.
If anyone feels the need to send some packaged cheer our way, by all means.

Speaking of cheering up, giveaways never hurt.
And this one I think you are going to just LOVE.

Bloggers, meet Relaxed Beauty.

This super cute Etsy shop is stocked with some earrings that I think are just delish.

I love her simplicity.

Really, her work just screams classy to me.

And I think these two red sets are so much fun.

And I love this next pair, mostly because they remind me of my mom, who happens to be one of the trendiest gals I know. :)

Well, the store owner would like to offer a pair of these to one of you:

Adorable, right?
I think so too.

Here's how you can enter to win them:


Visit Relaxed Beauty on Etsy. Browse through all the goodies, and then come back here and tell me the name of your favorite item.


*Heart your favorite item in her shop via your Etsy account and leave a comment telling me you did.
*Like her facebook page and leave a comment telling me you did this.
*Purchase something from her shop and tell me what you chose.
*Become a follower of my blog or remind me that you already are one; leave a comment either way, please.

*And, listen to how cool this is. The shop owner, who is very active in missions, sponsors a little girl in Peru, and in an effort to do more to help this year, she's donating $1.50 from every sale to Kid's Alive, the organization she's been going on missions trip with recently. You can learn more about them at

Well, she also runs a blog for
parents and children's ministry leaders. If you're interested, you can check it out here and leave a comment on her blog and then leave one here telling me you did.

Please leave a separate comment  for each thing you do.

The winner will be selected on the morning of January 31 via
Happy commenting and good luck! :)