Merry Christmas

We are thankful to have Abby home this Christmas and to have the opportunity to teach her about why and Who we celebrate.

We wish you and yours a wonderful Christmas celebrating Emmanuel--
God with us.
A child,
and yet a King.

Blessings,
the Walser family


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Reckless Abandon t-shirts for sale!!!

I am so excited to show you our new t-shirts we are selling for our mission trip! Check out the awesome design (created by our very own talented friend Nichol Shubin!)

FRONT:
BACK:
You have to admit--they're cool, right?! The shirt is unisex, navy or grey shirt, with grey and yellow printing. They are so soft!

You can order yours today for just
$25 shipped!

AND we have sweatshirts for just
$40 shipped!

Get your order in today! Use this link below or the one on the right sidebar of my blog!


Reckless Abandon t-shirt SHIPPED
Color




Reckless Abandon sweatshirt SHIPPED
Color





Also, MudLove bands are still available for a $15 donation to the trip!

MudLove jewelry


Thank you for supporting my mission trip to Ethiopia!!

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Love-with-a-band-on!!!...Mud Love bands!! LAST day to preorder!


It's the last day to pick your choice of color and style of MudLove band--yours for a $15 donation toward my mission trip to Ethiopia in February!


A few things to love about MudLove bands:
  • they not only help me get to Ethiopia, they also provide clean drinking water for an African for a whole year!!
  • sooooooo many colors to choose from and three different styles
  • they are handmade, waterproof, and adjustable in size
  • perfect for guys and gals!!
  • they would be a great stocking stuffer for [you or] someone you love!

For every $15 you donate towards my trip,
you can pick the MudLove band/necklace of your choice [no shipping fees!]!
Preorders end today, so be sure and let me know which one you want!!

Order using the menus on my right sidebar or go to this post here!
[If for some reason the paypal buttons aren't working, you can use my email address as the Paypal recipient (walserhome@tampabay.rr.com) and let me know in the notes section the MudLove item you want.]


Thank you for helping to support my part of Reckless Abandon 2012!!!

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MudLove Bands!! Help support Reckless Abandon 2012!!

What a crazy couple of months it has been! Weddings, adoption homecomings, celebrating forever family day for Abby, a visit from some of our dearest friends, THANKSGIVING...it's been non-stop! We are blessed and thankful indeed!

And as excited we are to enjoy these next few weeks of the holiday season, we are already looking ahead and preparing for next February 16-26th-- when Joe and I join a team to head to Ethiopia for our mission trip: Reckless Abandon 2012!
We will spend a week in Addis training church planters, working on an orphanage building, running a VBS, as well as serving in Korah, the leper colony we served in two years ago. More details are coming soon and can be followed here in the upcoming weeks as well as on our church website.

But now the fun news: To help fundraise for my trip expenses, I have THE COOLEST bands EVER!


MudLove bands

MudLove bands get me excited for several reasons:
  • well for one they are just cool looking and awesome! : )
  • they are handcrafted by the founder Luke Wright in IL, who is a IWU grad like my niece Katie!
  • Luke gives 20% of all sales to clean water in Africa through a faith-based organization, ICDI, a company dedicated to providing, equipping, and empowering people in the Central African Republic with the essential tools and knowledge to survive and thrive in their country! Each band provides clean drinking water for an African for a year!!!
  • And now he has agreed to partner with me to help fundraise for my trip!

For every $15 donation to my mission trip, I will send you a MudLove band of choice below! We have three options you can choose as a thank you for your donation:

  1. A "redeemed" band, in the color of your choice
  2. A "redeemed" necklace, with either a brown or black cord

OR......[drumroll bc this is my favorite!!!]

3. A custom designed "Love with Abandon" band, in the color of your choice!!!!

Luke is still making these custom bands, so above is a picture of the prototype. Isn't it cool?!?! So here's the deal: my goal is to be able to give:

10 bands each day for the next 10 days!
Pre-orders begin today and end Dec.9th!


You can donate below or on the right side of my blog and select the band of your choice. All bands will ship mid-December. You can also use the general "Donate" button below for a donation amount of your choice.

Pick out yours today! Thank you for your part in helping send me back to Ethiopia for some Kingdom work!

MudLove jewelry
Band Color (necklace choices are only black and brown)





For a donation of a different amount, click here.





[If for some reason the paypal buttons aren't working, you can use my email address as the Paypal recipient (walserhome@tampabay.rr.com) and let me know in the notes section the MudLove item you want.]

Thank you!!
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He's coming home!!!!!!!


See this little peanut?!?!
It's been four long months since this picture was taken.

See that mamma?!?!
It has been four long months since she held her son.

It has been a long wait. But though there have been tough days and plenty of tears, I have watched this family wait well. Trusting God and His faithfulness, even when His timeline is foggy and when the hole in their hearts and home seemed too great to bear. I have watched them have faith and hope even when circumstances were hopeless, because they knew their God was bigger than any obstacle.

Tomorrow, the Masers leave for Ethiopia, to bring Caleb home forever.

On Thanksgiving night, all 7 Masers will finally be together.

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
(I'm just a little excited about it.)


Go let Melissa tell you about her day yesterday.
And then die of cuteness when you look at the next photo.


Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.
Psalm 30:5

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This Sunday and every Sunday// One less orphan

Today is orphan Sunday. Our church is making a video and I was asked for Abby's referral pictures. I cried when I uploaded them. What a difference a year makes. One year ago, Abby was an orphan. Today, she has a family.

2010: Abby's referral pictures

Oct. 2011
How incredible is God?! How blessed am I?! I read this yesterday on Lara's blog:
God's heart is for orphans to become sons [and daughters]. And He lets imperfect people like me be a part of that. Mommies who sometimes let their kids watch too many cartoons or forget to pack a spoon in their lunchboxes. There was a time I thought He only wanted the really great moms to do this job. I was so wrong. He equips me (of all people!) to do this. Everyday I wake up, completely incapable of handling the day ahead. And everyday, He gives me just what I need to love these children He has loaned me.
Today I just am amazed. Adoption is not easy or glamorous. It's not always fun, and I am not always patient. There are hard days and many times I feel like the wounds are too deep for my inept love to heal. But God is so present, and His love never fails. And it is all so worth it.

Below is my post from last year's Orphan Sunday. Don't forget to remember them. See where loving orphans can take you...it is soooo worth it.


This Sunday and Every Sunday


Orphan Sunday.

I have to admit, a little part of me doesn’t like that we call it that. Like it’s limited to one day a year. We don’t have “Prayer Sunday” or “Quiet Time Sunday” or “Obey Jesus Sunday”---these are a regular part of how we live out our faith daily, they aren’t just highlighted on one Sunday every November. It would seem weird to say, “Share the Gospel Sunday”.

I guess I understand. It’s there so we don’t forget our responsibility and calling. It’s a chance to speak up all the more loudly for those who cannot speak for themselves. Especially here, in America. Today, we sit in our comfy churches where our kids go to Sunday school and eat their cups of goldfish and accidentally spill their dixie cups of clean water and where we sip on our coffee and nibble on our donuts and complain that the thermostat is set a little too low and the volume of the speakers set a little too high. Even in gospel-centered, truth-teaching, God-worshipping churches, we can be mostly isolated from the situation that over 147 million children face every morning when they wake up: no mom. no dad. Today helps us remember.

Because we do forget. I forget. We forget that there is an orphan crisis. Not just that there are orphans in the world. But an orphan crisis. 147 million is a number I can hardly begin to wrap my head around. I can write it; but I can barely grasp the magnitude of that. many. little. children.

Who will teach these 147 million children to ride a bike? To write their name? Who will tuck them in and tell them stories and comfort them in the middle of the night when they have a nightmare? Who will buy 147 million pairs of light-up tennis shoes and 147 million pairs of jeans and 147 million toothbrushes? Who will fill their Christmas stockings and their Easter baskets? Who will take their pictures over the years and notice every little change as they grow? Who will kiss their bo-bo’s and bandage their skinned knees and make them chicken noodle soup when they have a cold? Who will laugh at their silly jokes and hold them tight when they are sad? Who will throw 147 million birthday parties, with cake and hats and games and party favors?

Who will help them avoid lives of servitude or prostitution? Who will pass on to them the traditions of culture, religion, of history and government, of craft and profession? Who will help them grow up choose the right person to marry, find work, and learn to parent their own children?1

And who, who will tell 147 million children that they are loved by their Creator and that He has a purpose for their lives?

The Bible says who. US.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans
and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.
James 1:27

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed.
Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows.
Isaiah 1:17

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
Proverbs 31:8-9

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
Matthew 18:5

Adoption is not the only answer.

Adoption rescues few. Adoption illuminates by example: these few once-loved children…have been offered a second chance…like young ambassadors, they instruct us. From them, we gain impressions about what their age-mates must be like, the ones living and dying by the millions, without parents… For every orphan turning up in a northern-hemisphere household—winning the spelling bee, winning the cross country race, joining the Boy Scouts, learning to rollerblade, playing the trumpet of the violin----ten thousand children remain behind alone.2

There is much for us to do. There is something everyone can do. For the orphans in our country and around the world.

So adoption may not be the only answer. But it is part of it. Maybe you are being called to adopt. Look into it. Ask questions. Don’t dismiss it and let the impulse pass by without weighing the thought: is one of those children your child?

And if not adoption--there are so many ways to serve orphans. A few blog posts I recommend to get started:

Read. Pray. Investigate. Let God lead you. But don’t wait for a flashing neon sign---the call is clear.

Tonight at our church we’ll watch a short video and have some info out about adoption and foster care. Our pastor will mention it briefly during the sermon. We won't have any fancy posters or cool decorations, but I suppose it will pass for a decent attempt at an Orphan Sunday.

And that’s ok with me. Because the spirit of adoption and a love for the least is written on the hearts of our people. And while we still have a long way to go as we figure out individually and corporately how to live that out, this Sunday will not be a reminder. We already know. It’s a responsibility we own and pray to obey daily.

As Christians, we must go to church and worship together. We must read the word and pray and share our faith.

And we must take care of orphans. We must hurt for them and pray for them and serve them and love them. This Sunday and every Sunday hereafter.

In you the orphan finds mercy.
Hosea 14:3


1This paragraph is quoted from “There is No Me without You” by Melissa Fay Greene, and the paragraph before it is adapted from the same section as the quote on pages 22-23.

2Greene, p. 24

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MIA


No, I did not fall off the face of the earth! : ) I am still here. I can't believe it's been over a month since I last posted. What can I say, it's been a change of pace and schedule and routine, and some things have had to be put on hold. I've been trying to keep up with blogs and facebook, but the time for that is less and less, and I find myself only half in-the-know, which is almost more frustrating that not knowing anything at all!
Hoping I'll find my sweet spot eventually.

Many of you have asked about the kids, and they are doing great. In the last couple of months, God has showed us several different reasons why he has led us in this direction, and we are seeing Him working in us and in our kids. I am grateful for your continued prayers as we continue to navigate this path.

So what have I been up to (since it certainly hasn't been blogging)?! Welllll....here's a few things...

Pick-up line
So I can now see where I will loose years of my life that I'll never get back: school drop off/ pickup line. Sitting. Waiting. All so my kids don't have to ride a bus. Not to mention all the running around, picking up and dropping off for social activities and youth group and school functions. If you're ever looking for me, I'm probably in the car, taking someone somewhere to do something. I am officially a taxi driver.


Boot camp
I started a beach boot camp two weeks ago. It was a groupon deal and it runs out in 2 weeks, but I'm determined to use it while I can to jump start my physical fitness. So I'm up at 5:15am each morning, which is a feat in itself since I am NOT a morning person. This is a picture of me stretching this morning---haha no not really. For one, I'm just slightly less fit, and when I try this pose I usually fall over--not to mention my class is at 6am and it's pitch black outside still. But you get the idea. It's been fun. And hard. And already rewarding. There's something pretty cool about living five minutes from the beach and being able to exercise by the ocean and under the stars. Even if 9 out of ever 10 moves cause me to do a face plant in the sand.


Homeschooling Abby
It has been so fun for it to just be me and Abby during the day. We have begun some preschool/kindergarten work, and she loves having my undivided attention. Since her language skills are slightly underdeveloped for her age (for obvious reasons), I forget she's 5/almost 6--and it always amazes me how well she is able to accomplish other tasks and demonstrate other skills. Just because she's still learning to recognize her letters doesn't stop her from being able to cut things out perfectly, or solve a maze, or put things in a sequence. She's a quick learner, and we're having a blast.


Parenthood
We are now addicted to this show, thanks to my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. We are halfway through season 2 on DVD, and season 3 is recording on our DVR for when we are ready. We're getting through it slowly--we don't have time to watch much tv, but when we do, this is what we are usually watching.


"I just think things should work properly."
I couldn't agree more with Mr. Dyson, and nothing gets me more frustrated than when the things I depend on most, DON'T. Like my car. Or my kids' PC. Or my phone service. Or my kitchen cabinet for that matter (which keeps falling off the hinge). My car has been in the shop twice since I last posted. My kids' computer is new-to-us, and has been in the shop three times since we got it in August. God is teaching me all about the fallenness of the world. Come quickly, Lord Jesus. : )

******

Oh and there's soooo much more. I could go on and on. I don't think I'm any different from any other mom, juggling about 30 different things at one time, all day long, and still somehow managing to fall into bed each night with just as much to do the next day.

My friend Barbara says, "Just do the next thing." It's been my mantra. Since Abby's looking at me with her hungry face, I guess lunch is what's next. Happy Monday, ya'll!
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One year in heaven

One year ago today.


These were my thoughts a year ago.

Here's where D&J are now.

Today, I ache for a year of life and memories missing. But at the same time, I see Glory. I trust in a God that brings beauty from ashes. And I choose hope.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time
are not worth comparing with
the glory that is to be revealed to us.


For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together
in the pains of childbirth until now.

And not only the creation, but we ourselves,
who have the firstfruits of the Spirit,
groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons,
the redemption of our bodies.

For in this hope we were saved.

Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?

But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.
Rom 8:18-25


You can be a part of honoring Emma Jo by helping build a well in Uganda. Join the party. Details here.

{D&J: I love you. Wish I could be there. <3}

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Pinspiration Link Up!!!


So today I'm hosting a linky party for our Pinterest inspired projects! Maybe you've tried a recipe there, or bought something you saw there, or did a project or craft you pinned. Maybe you used a decorating or party idea you saw. Anything you pinned will work!

I'll share my project first, then tell you how YOU can participate today!

I've used several recipes on Pinterest already, but since I've done recipes on my blog before, I decided to share about something else.

This past weekend was Melissa's shower for baby Caleb. I had seen a quote on Pinterest several weeks ago, and knew it would be perfect for a homemade gift. I admit, I didn't actually pin it, because I didn't want Mel to see it. But it inspired my gift.

Here's the image I saw on Pinterest:


I changed it up a little bit so the wording reflected adoption. I got this frame:


I liked the design but it was gold [hideous]. So I spray painted it black. Then, I printed my own version of the quote and a picture of Mel and Caleb onto some pretty scrapbooking paper, and voila! My gift:


{Note: I wasn't planning to use this as my Pinspiration post, so I didn't take great pictures of the process. Next time I'm be more deliberate. : )}


It was fun to make and fun to give. : )

OK, so here's how you can link up your Pinspiration post:
  • Click on "Click here to enter" below
  • Put your permalink in the linky below (link directly to your post, not just your blog.)
  • Add the linky box to your post so your readers can see all the projects!
  • Copy and paste the Pinspiration logo at the top on my post, and add it to your post!
Looking forward to seeing some ideas in action! I'm off to go make some of these! Your turn!!





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{Back} To School! (Pinspiration postponed!)

It has been a crazy week in my household as I'm sure it has been in many of yours. It's back to school time! As I mentioned, for us, is a new adventure as my kids go TO school for the first time. We are all adjusting to new schedules and new routines and new experiences and new JUST-ABOUT-EVERYTHING! We're finding our sea legs in these uncharted waters, and I am glad to report: so far, so good. We are easily identified in the school--since we kinda stand out--one family, four kids, all in one middle school, homeschool background. We are praying for our representation of the King in this new context and for His glory displayed through us.

One thing I am quickly realizing is that my time to sit and be on my computer has virtually evaporated. Abby and I stay pretty busy during the day, and with the driving back and forth to school and various evening activities, there's just not alot of time left. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. But you may see a little less of me on facebook and pinterest and even here. I'll be around, I just may have to catch up in chunks.

In light of the busy week, I am not ready for my pinspiration post. So how about we reschedule, and do it Monday? Are you planning on joining in?? Now you have the weekend to take photos of your project and post to link up here so we can all see what kind of fun things Pinterest in inspiring (be sure and grab the logo on my pinspiration post)!! And our easy weeknight dinner board is up, so message me your email if you'd like to be a contributor and post recipes there for all of us to share and comment on! C'mon, I know some of you have some good ones to share with me!!! (By the way, if you're not on Pinterest and want an invite so you can join immediately and not wait to be accepted, message me your email address.)

Hope you enjoy a great weekend after this busy week! I leave you with some back to school pics of some good lookin' kiddoes! : )

Nathan, 8th grade

Josh, 8th grade

Hannah, 8th grade

Danielle, 6th grade

Abby, Kindergarten {at home}

The Fab Five

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