GiVeAwAy!!!! RADICAL by David Platt!!!


It's time to CeLeBrAtE!!!!!! Soon, our dossier will be finished, and thanks to the Lord using so many of you, we have the funds we need to submit it! I think that's a reason to celebrate!

So I'm doing a giveaway! I'm giving away a copy of the book


Radical:
Taking Back your Faith from the American Dream

by David Platt!!!!!!

If you haven't heard of this book yet, I'm surprised, because everyone seems to be talking about it. I have not read it yet (except for Chapter One which you can get
here), but I have listened to the Radical sermon series online. It is powerful. It is radical. Sadly...and I say that because it is so obviously the clear call of Jesus when you read the Bible...and yet so counter culture to American Christianity. It resonated with me, because these things have been on my heart for a while. I can't wait to read it! I plan to get myself a copy to celebrate this milestone in our adoption process. But...I figured I shouldn't be the only one having all the fun!!

So I'm giving away a copy of Radical! I can ship it to you, or--if you already have a copy--give it to a friend! I will ship it wherever you want! This could make your Father's Day gift-giving simple! (I'll even include a gift note from you!)

So here's how to enter:
  1. First, become a follower of my blog (if you aren't already), either with Goggle reader or Facebook networked blogs, or subscribe by email or RSS feed. (All links to the right.) This way we can be friends for longer than just today!
  2. Then, post a link to this giveaway on your blog, twitter, or facebook. (One entry for each post, and you can enter once a day for each kind of post until the end of the giveaway! This could give you up to 15 chances to win!!)
  3. Finally, leave me a comment or send me an email and let me know you've entered! Be sure and do this each time you post, so I know how many times to enter you!
This giveaway will end on May 31st, and I will draw the winner on June 1st. 5 days, folks!!! Enter now so you don't miss your chance to get this great book for FREE! Certainly I am not the only one who's excited about this?!!!

Oh...and while you're entering giveaways...there's a few more you should know about:
  • 10K in 20 Days...join the movement & help 26 families (including us) with adoption! Tons of great prizes...go here to enter!
  • Melissa is giving away one of her new necklaces!! Go here to see them and enter!
  • Erica is giving away a Simple Love shirt of your choice! Go here to enter!
  • Tracy's giving away some great bracelets made in Haiti! Go here to enter!
Yea!!! No one loves free stuff more than me! Go over and enter today!

So much to say...and--for a limited time-- SIMPLY LOVE TSHIRTS!!!

God is SOOOOO good and there are so many things I want to tell you about RIGHT NOW!!! But, in an effort to not overwhelm you with information and to pretend like I know how to pace myself, I'm going to take a deep breath and take it one thing. at. a. time.

First, last weekend's fundraiser. So wonderful. God raised exactly what we needed. Our funds for our dossier are IN and now, we just need the last few pieces of paperwork to come in and then it will be authenticated and off to Ethiopia! I want to tell you more...show you more...from last Saturday...and I will...in another post.

To celebrate, I've been wanting to do a giveaway. To say thank you for all of your help getting us this far. To rejoice in what God has done. And just because it would be fun! Also, two of my friends are doing giveaways, and I want you to know about those!! But...not yet. Don't worry, I will...soon...tomorrow...in another post.

I have a new friend, who I met via this blog a couple of weeks ago. We've never met. She contacted me about doing something special for our family to help with our fundraising. To be a part of our journey. How humbling. How fun! Wait until you see what she is making...sooooo precious. I promise, I will show you...in another post.

(This is fun...I feel like Ryan Seacrest...."after the break...")

So what the heck WILL I tell you today?! I will tell you that my buddy Erica has given me a great opportunity to make a little cash to cover our authentication fees (which, here in FL, is about $10 per page of our dossier, and there's lots of pages....this will cost us between $200-300.)

So Erica has been selling Simply Love shirts for a while to fundraise for her adoption. You might remember these, because we sold them for our mission trip as well.


We Walsers LOVE our Simply Love shirts. I'm looking over right now at Nathan, eating his lunch at my kitchen table, and guess what he's wearing? Yeah. Pretty much we live in them.

So Erica is allowing me to piggyback on her pre-order sale and sell shirts this week to fundraise for our adoption! Yea! And she has Africa AND USA designs!

Just in time for Father's Day!!! Seriously, these make great gifts, and I can ship them to whatever address you choose! I'll even include a personal note from you if it is a gift!

These will be ordered next week, so I NEED YOUR ORDER BY JUNE 1ST!!

HERE'S HOW TO ORDER:
  • Pay via Palpal button to the right that says "Help bring home Walser #7--Donate!"
  • Adult shirts are $24.95 (includes shipping) ($3 extra for XXL)
  • Youth shirts are $19.95
  • Tell me in your paypal note on your payment or in a seperate email.....(1) Mens, ladies, or youth; (2) Africa or USA; (3) size; (4) Shipping address
  • That's it! Sit back and let me do the rest!

HERE ARE THE DESIGNS:



Ladies ($24.95 shipped):
S, M, L, XL
XXL $3 addtl charge
Africa front:
(on me, in picture above)

USA front:

Back of ladies:


Men's ($24.95 shipped):
S, M, L, XL
XXL $3 addtl charge
Africa front:
(on Nathan, in picture above)

USA front:

Back of men's:


Youth ($19.95 shipped):
XS, S, M, L
front of kids:

back of kids:


Let me know what you want---you have until June 1st!! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. And be sure and check in tomorrow to hear about the giveaways!

The upside of fundraising...& a sneak peak...

So, sometimes fundraising really stinks. As I mentioned a while back, here, this is not the first time my family has fundraised. It is one of the most humbling, difficult, pride-swallowing things I've ever done. Erica wrote a post yesterday about that very thing. At times it is a discouraging process, and for someone like me, who is a people-pleaser, it is hard to put the need out there and know that people are drawing their own conclusions and judgments about your character and your motives.

But there's a good side to fundraising. No---a GREAT side. It's when friends come alongside you and say, hey--this is as important to us as it is to you. Your child is as important to us as (s)he is to you. When your arms are tired from holding up the staff, and you just can't do it anymore, we will stand beside you and hold your arms up for you. (Exodus 17)

Today my friends did that for me. They served for hours prepping for my fundraiser tomorrow. And today I feel like a lucky girl, with great friends.

I would never wish fundraising on anyone. And yet, in some ways, I think if you don't have to, you miss out on an incredible blessing. Namely, watching those you love (and some you may not even know) come along side and offer to hold up your arms.

My bloggy friends are just another example of that in my life, on this journey.
For example: my friend, Connie, who I've never met, is having a garage sale on the other side of the country for us & 4 other families this weekend. Seriously?! Who does that?! Who has that done for them?! I certainly never have! How do you receive that kind of grace? All i can say is-- with your head bowed and your heart filled with praise.

So, sometimes you might hear me complain about the fundraising part. But know, deep down, that I know that I know that I know--my Jesus loves me. I know because my friends are Jesus to me, and they showed me that love today. I am blessed.

Oh, yeah, and a sneak peak of tomorrow...details here...it's gonna be a blast!!










Raffle Dinner & Fundraiser!!


We are so, so excited about our upcoming FUN-draiser this weekend! We are hosting a dinner & raffle. We have tons of great prizes for everyone to win! Right now, our goal is to raise the remaining $1000 we need to cover our dossier fee. We are excited because as soon as we submit that dossier, we will be officially "waiting" to be matched to a child!! The clock really starts to tick at that point!! (If there are any funds raised above and beyond, that will go towards our referral fee, which will be due upon being matched with a child.)

LOCAL FRIENDS:

YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE PRESENT TO WIN. Even if you can't come, you can purchase tickets in advance, and we'll enter them in for the items you want to try to win! {{Instructions below.}}

Here are the details of the raffle items and ticket prices:

$5 raffle ticket items:
4 DISNEY HOPPER PASSES!! ($541 value)
$250 Brighthouse certificate towards your bill

$1 raffle ticket items:
Bubba Gumps $25 gift cirtificate
Chik Fil A 5 free sandwich coupons (5 winners!)
Chili's $25 gift card
Coffee basket
Crabby Bill's $25 gift certificate (2 winners!)
Creative Memories items
DeLorenzo tire auto care package (2 winners!)
Family fun basket
Free haircut and style (5 winners!)
Get Fitness 3 mon. membership
Junk Posse Sterling silver Africa necklace
Kevins Cutting $26 gift certificate
Kidz Art birthday party for 10 kids
Leather Bible
Massage envy 30 Min massage
MOSI 2 tickets to admission
Movie basket
Paint Ball 4 player passes
Panera Bread 2 free loaves of bread/month for a year

Partylite tealight holder & tealights ($60 value)
Phillys spring training 4 tickets ($100 value) & polo shirt
Publix $50 gift card
Rays autographed baseball & misc. Rays gear (2 drawings!)
Salt Rock Grille $25 gift certificate (2 winners!)
Sweet Tomatoes 2 free meals
Target $25 gift card
Tastefully Simple basket
Thirty-One $50 gift certificate
Threshers 4 tickets & two polo shirts
Twedts Bowling $20 gift certificate (4 winners!)
Wine basket
YMCA one month membership


$1 tickets will be:
$1/1 ticket
$20/25 tickets
$50/65 tickets
$100/140 tickets

$5 tickets will be:
$5/1 ticket
$20/5 tickets

Those of you who plan to come, there will be baskets for each item, and you can choose which items you want to enter your tickets to win! We will also be serving a dinner of baked ziti, caesar salad, bread, & dessert for a suggested donation of $5/person. Families are welcome and ---please---bring a friend! This is an open invitation!!

Local friends who can't come but would like to support our fundraiser, you may purchase tickets in advance the following way:

  • Email me with the amount of $1 and/or $5 tickets you want to buy
  • Tell me specifically how many tickets you want entered for which specific items (ie. you buy 25 $1 tickets, and you want 5 in the Paintball basket, 10 in the Publix GC basket, and 5 in the Chili's GC basket)
  • Let me know how you want to pay: give me cash or check, mail me a check NLT Wednesday, or donate via Paypal to the right and include a comment that it is for your tickets.
  • I'll call or email you on Sunday if you've won to make arrangements to get your prizes to you.
It's that simple. This is a great way to be a part of our event even if you can't physically be there!!


LONG DISTANCE FRIENDS:

Would you pray for us?!! Pray for this to be a great event, a fun time for all, and that it would bring us one step closer to bringing our child home!!!

Thank you!!

10K in 20 Days...we are participating!

We are participating in a fun campaign to raise money for adoption. Go over here and check it out! You could win some fun prizes or even benefit if you are an adoptive family that is homestudy ready! (Thanks, Storing up treasures, for paying it forward!)

Dim the lights & grab some popcorn...

If you are like me, often when you see video links you don't take the time to watch them. And because of that, if you're like me, it takes about 100 people reposting the same video to make you realize, hmmmm...maybe I should actually watch this.

I'm a little slow, but I finally did watch these videos. And I HIGHLY recommend that you do too. They are soooo good. Just be sure your Kleenex is handy. There are three; I'll introduce each one:

This is an awesome testimony of a guy who was adopted into a trans-racial family. Watch it and be moved.




My friend Kim is selling some great shirts that she designed after seeing the video above. Check it out and see if you don't want one for yourself!





And then I saved my favorite for last. This is the Vogeltanz family's "Gotcha" video, which is the day they picked up their little girl in Ethiopia. But it is soooo much more than a gotcha video. It is the heart cry of so many of us who have or who are adopting, and so beautifully expressed. I have never met this family, but I have a special love for them because they are church planters as well, and they did so with dear friends of Joe and mine from seminary. Watch and be blessed.


Evyn's Gotcha Day + Adoption story from emily Vogeltanz on Vimeo.


And once you've wiped your eyes enough that you can see clearly again...go check out Erica's Africa cookie cutters! They are adorable, cheap, and help fund her adoption! I LOVE mine!! Fun for so much more than just cookies...get yours before they're gone!

A pop quiz on Mother's Day



About 8 years ago, when my kid were little (ok, now I feel old), we had just moved to New Jersey from Nebraska, and I was asked to introduce myself to a group of ladies. I gave them a pop quiz in the form of multiple choice, and asked them to pick which answers they thought were true of me. One of the questions described two different versions of a "day in the life" of me, and I asked them to pick which one they thought was true of me.

So now it's your turn! A little pop quiz for you! Which do you think was true of me?:

Day in the Life A

  • Up at 6:15.
  • Quiet solitude and prayer time with the Lord.
  • Throw in a load of laundry in the basement on the way to the treadmill for a workout,then move the clothes to the dryer on the way up to take a hot shower before the kids get up.
  • Fix a nutritious breakfast for the kids, begin a loaf of bread in the bread machine for lunch, and pull something out of the freezer for dinner.
  • Wake up my little darlings, who quickly dress, make their beds, and eat breakfast.
  • Spend the day finishing all the laundry, balancing the checkbook, reading to the kids, fixing a leaky faucet, emailing all of my friends, updating my scrapbooks, teaching the kids to diagram sentences, and planting bulbs in the garden.
  • While all four kids nap, I read a great book on the Christian life and flip through a decorating magazine.
  • Greet my husband as he returns from work with a kiss and a tidy home filled with the tasty aroma of a home cooked meal and freshly vacuumed carpet.
  • Give the kids a bath after dinner, then visit with Joe on the couch while they quietly put on their PJs and brush their teeth, ready by 8 for their bed time story.
  • Get hugs and kisses from the four cutest kids in this world and climb into bed with the man of my dreams.

Day in the Life B
  • Kids wake me up just in time for Barney.
  • I offer a quick prayer for patience as I carry my Danielle to the kitchen, all while she’s screaming “BOTTLE” in my ear.
  • No workout. No shower.
  • Unglue the kids bottoms from the couch and begin the hour long process of picking dirty cloths off of the floor, changing diapers, fixing Hannah and Danielle’s hair, only to have them remove the pony tails within minutes, and telling Josh he can’t wear the same Chicago Bulls shirt three days in a row.
  • Throw some lucky charms in a bowl and instruct the kids to dig in, while I go to empty a dishwasher that I discover I forgot to turn on last night.
  • Wonder at 10:30 where the morning has gone, and what the heck I’ve been doing for the last 3 hours.
  • Send the kids outside to play, telling them all moms make their kids play outside in 30* weather.
  • Answer the door every 5 minutes as the kids knock and say, “MOM- I’m cold". Or "Nathan took my chalk". Or "I have to go to the bathroom". Or "Josh just hit me". Or "I need a drink". Or "MOM, Hannah locked herself in the barn again!”
  • Wonder at 1:00 if I’ll get anything done today and realize I should probably feed the kids something for lunch.
  • Put the kids down for a nap, and spend the next 2 hours trying to convince the boys that 4 years old is not too old for a nap. Give in and let them play on the computer instead.
  • Greet Joe as he returns from work and help him up off the floor after he trips on one of Hannah’s baby dolls.
  • Realize that I haven’t even thought about dinner and beg Joe to order pizza.
  • Attempt to catch up with Joe about our day, and end up yelling over the noise of four toddlers chasing each other all over the house, only to loose my husband to the chaos as he joins in the chase.
  • Repeat this sentence 100 times: "Kids, please get pajamas on and brush your teeth and get ready for bed.”
  • Collapse exhausted on the couch at 9:45 as Joe reads the kids their Bible story and prays with them.
  • Get hugs and kisses from the four cutest kids in the world, and climb into bed with the man of my dreams.
Some things have changed. Some haven't. But one thing is for sure: my kids are growing up. With tears in my eyes, I am trying to remember yesterday with thankfulness, embrace today with an intentional awareness of the joy found in the ordinary, and look forward to tomorrow's version of what being a mom will mean for me.




Three months & five stages later


It has been three months since Nathan, Hannah, and I returned from Africa. In many ways it seems like we were there only yesterday. In others, it seems like an eternity ago.

I liken my first taste of Africa and my processing of it these last few months to someone who is going through the five stages of grief. I honestly think while I was there, I was in a state of shock. Being slightly numb is about the only way I could keep from weeping at every moment. I was carried along by the rhythm and flow of life in Ethiopia—the sights, and sounds, and smells. But I didn’t know how to feel. I was overwhelmed by the need and my lack of ability to do anything about it. And I certainly didn’t know how to reconcile everything I was seeing with my life back in America.
Which led me to anger. At injustice. At rich, spoiled Americans. At myself. Some justified anger, sure, but mostly my anger was misdirected. I wanted someone to blame. Surely someone was responsible for all this death and sickness and disparity, and so it must be all those people who don’t know, who don’t care, who don’t do anything. If they would just listen. If they would just care. I was ready to point my finger at anyone and everyone.
And, of course, at myself. Because Africa, like a magnifying mirror, reveals more of yourself than you really want to see. Things you hide well in a land of prosperity--like selfishness, laziness, greed, arrogance-- get exposed in a land of want. When you see a woman who has nothing use her meager supply of water and injera to serve you tea-- you can’t help but think of how often you’ve opened your overflowing pantry and sighed that there’s just nothing to fix for dinner. When you meet a man who walks the 3 miles back and forth to work, works 12 hour days, 7 days a week, all for about $2 a day, and he counts himself as blessed—you can’t help but think of how often you’ve complained you needed “me time” after a day “stuck” in your comfy house homeschooling your well-fed kids and folding enough laundry to clothe an army. When you give a child a piece of gum, and you look back to see them sharing it with 6 other children around them--you can’t help but think of overflowing Easter baskets and Christmas stockings stuffed full of goodies. And you feel fat. Regardless how much you weigh, you just feel like a soft, flabby glutton.
And so I entered the stage of bargaining. OK, God, I can still live in my house as long as I speak up for orphans and bring one home to live in it. I can still have 25 pairs of shoes as long as a couple of them are TOMS. I can still spend hours online doing nothing productive, as long as I occasionally post something thought provoking on facebook. I can still own way more than I need, as long as I donate some of the stuff I don’t really want anymore to Goodwill.
But that leads to depression. Because you can never really reconcile owning anything with having given enough. I think of the story where the man came to Jesus and said, ok, I’m ready to follow you, and Jesus said, only one more thing: go sell everything you have and give it to the poor. The man walked away sad. He could not do it. His heart was not willing. While I certainly believe it’s ok to own things, I can never again rest in a place of, ok, I’ve given enough, I’m good now. It will never be enough. And that can be deeply unsatisfying for someone who wants a simple black & white way to deal with my abundance. It just isn’t simple, people.
And I am finally accepting that. There is no easy answer. Really, I’m finding we here in America have a lot more in common with my new friends in Ethiopia than I originally thought. Our countries, yes, different indeed. But we are all people, created in God’s image, and in desperate need of the gospel. And redemption. What Africa wears on the outside, laid bare for all to see, we hide underneath layers in America. They wear physical disease, hunger, poverty, and need. Here, our layers of “stuff” hide emptiness, brokenness, despair, and a hunger that is never satisfied deep within our hearts. Their need is easier to identify, but ours is still there. Underneath it all are human beings with gaping wounds and fatal bleeding. We need a remedy. We need to be rescued.
And with my acceptance comes hope. I believe in a Remedy. I believe in a Rescuer. I serve a King who loves Africans and Americans. I believe He will use me, if I will daily seek to obey His leading in my life. I will not prescribe to you what you need to do, and what that will look like for you. I will not pretend there is an easy solution or that one need in one country is any greater than another need in another country. But for me, I cannot forget what I have seen, and I am now responsible for it. Under the veil of earthly things is a spiritual reality, one we sense when we close our eyes and stand still long enough to feel. We were meant to live for so much more than the American dream.
And so I will not doze off in the sleepy shire, I will engage in the battle. I want blisters on my hands and fatigue deep in my bones and scars on my heart from all I’ve seen and experienced---because too much is at stake. Lives are at stake. Physical and spiritual. I don’t want to cling tightly to anything, save Jesus. I want to spend myself—my life, my time, my resources—with reckless abandon. So that one day, when I stand before Him, I have nothing left. Nothing wasted. Nothing squandered.
I used to be anti-short-term mission trips. I just didn’t see the need to spend thousands of dollars to go somewhere for a few days where you would barely scratch the surface of the need but potentially leave with some sort of self-righteous satisfaction that you at least “did something”, returning to your life of complacency the other 350 days of the year. It seemed to me a bad use of resources that could be better used in the hands of someone who worked there long term as well as a hindrance to seeing the daily mission we are called to here.
But I have changed my mind. Go. Let the two worlds that are America and Africa collide in front of you. Spend the money, because in God’s economy, it’s a drop in the bucket. Like the woman who poured the perfume on the feet of Jesus, offer what seems excessive. When I asked an Ethiopian pastor who ran a local orphanage what I should tell my friends back at home, he said, "Tell them to come. Come and see. It means so much that you would get on a plane, leave your families behind, and come be with us and spend time with us.”
Why would that surprise us? After all, we were created for community. It is the greatest gift we can give as we seek to share Jesus.
So go and see. Serve. Share. But don’t wait to engage in the battle until your feet hit African soil. Start today. Start here. Because too much is at stake.
Join me in this conflicted state, where my sin and my obedience wrestle daily. Choose to live with eyes open. Stop spectating. Suit up, and get on the field, where you strive for the goal but often meet resistance and sometimes fail. It is not funner. It's harder. At times it feels like a burden. But it is what is true. What is real. And it is worth it, because it is where Jesus resides.

**I am blown away by the response I have gotten from this post. It means so much to know I am not alone in this process and this journey! As many of you have asked, YES!, feel free to share this post with others. All I ask is that if you do so, please be so kind as to link back to my blog, preferably, instead of copying the post itself. And please leave me a comment or email me and let me know--I'd love to meet you and visit your blog as well! Thank you again, and may God use all of it for HIS glory!