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***AWESOME Tshirts! Help support our mission trip to Ethiopia!!

back of men's shirt

We have some really great tshirts available for a limited time, and all the profit goes toward our Reckless Abandon mission trip to Ethiopia in January! This is the trip that Nathan, Hannah, & I are going on. Please head over to Erica's blog and read the details on these shirts!

Seriously, the guy's shirt is one of the coolest I've ever seen. And I LOVE my gal's shirt--it has a great fit and is really cute! These are only available through January 6th, so order now! Trust me, you will love them!!!

front of men's shirt
front of gal's shirt

back of gal's shirt

a Merry Christmas indeed

Our Christmas tree will probably never be pictured on a Hallmark Christmas card. For one, my family has no patience when picking out a tree. So the one we got this year (after an excruciating 15 minutes of looking) is a little (alot) fuller on one side than the other. It's also leaning a bit in the stand, but I left it that way because I figured the two counter balanced each other. : )

While I insist on white lights, our ornaments do not match. They are a mix matched collection of ones we have accumulated over the years. We have a tradition each year that everyone gets a new ornament. One day, when my kids have families of their own, we will give them all of their ornaments for their own trees. It's a fun event, picking out our ornaments each year. This year, my ornament looks like a snowglobe and says "HOPE". I picked it, because for me, this Christmas is all about hope. One of my favorite verses is Roman 8:25:

"But if we HOPE for what we do not see,
with perseverance we wait eagerly for it."

We will celebrate and enjoy the bounty of all God has provided for us this Christmas, and we will celebrate the baby King---the promised Messiah--God with us. And it the midst of it all, we will HOPE and wait for the child we have not met yet, praying that maybe, next Christmas, we will celebrate together.

Merry Christmas from our family to yours!!

Reckless Abandon 2010!!

"Africa -
Once you see it, you will never be able to un-see it,

and once you see it, you will be responsible for it,
and for the self it reveals back to you."
Shauna Niequist

Most of you know this is primarily a blog dedicated to chronicling our adoption journey. It does, however, also provide an outlet for me to talk about my thoughts and daily family life. I hope you don't mind if I tangent a bit today and tell you about something else exciting going on in my family's life!

Our friends, the Shubins, who we met this summer, were a huge part of how God directed our family to adopt from Ethiopia. Dave and Erica have been planning for months to lead a mission trip to Ethiopia, a country that has left a mark on their hearts and souls. We at LifeBridge Church got excited when we heard their heart for this country, because we are excited to see how God will use our church to impact a country halfway around the world. As our young church plant grows, we are prayerfully considering how God will use us for global impact. This mission trip will help us discover how we can be used and shape that connection.

I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of that process for our church. There is so much need in the world, and we as a church need direction and guidance and wisdom as we seek the specific areas and projects we will partner with long-term. I want to be a part of that discovery and development. Therefore I am planning to go, Lord willing, using funds from my direct sales business and local fundraising efforts.

Joe and I also determined, through much prayer, that we would like to begin passing on this value and opportunity to our children. After discussing it with our kids, we all decided to allow Nathan and Hannah to go on this trip as well. They are currently fundraising to cover their expenses.

Sooo....tomorrow is a Facebook-athon to raise money for our team. Here's how it will work:

Thursday December 17,2009 from 12:00am-11:59pm we're asking that you donate your facebook status (or write a blog post) to our cause. I'll have a paypal button up on our mission trip blog as well as this blog, all you have to do is copy and paste the info below. In other words spread the word and let the Lord work as He will in the hearts of His people.

Reckless Abandon Ethiopia - to unrestrained give of oneself without caution for the cause of another. Will you send us to Ethiopia to help build a chicken house? To sing and play with sweet orphan babes? To play soccer with the street kids? To be Jesus with skin on to those we meet? To show love in a tangible way. If everyone on my friends list donated $5 we'd be fully funded. Will you consider donating? Every dollar helps. - Thank you for your support, check back often for updates!

For more info on our facebook-athon, go to Erica's blog here. For more details on our mission trip to Ethiopia, visit our missions blog here.

Thank you for helping us spread the word! We appreciate your prayers and support!

Ho Ho Ho with a purpose

I love Christmas and pretty much everything about it. The tree, the lights, the eggnog, the presents, the cookies, the eggnog, the music, the eggnog...sorry, lost my train of thought...where was I?

Oh, yes, Christmas! And even though we try not to get too caught up in the madness of this season, it is certainly a time for giving. And lately, I'm obsessed with giving gifts that have a purpose even beyond the gift itself. Here's a few of my personal recommendations of gifts I'd love to give (and get : )) this Christmas (most are $20 or less!):

Suubi Beads
LinkMy friend Erica is selling these beautiful necklaces made in Uganda. I have two and love them! Go to her blog here to see sample of necklaces or contact her directly here.

Card inserts
How cool is this?! My friend who is adopting from Ethiopia made these cards. Purchase them in a package and send them out with your Christmas cards, letting your friends and family know that you made a donation to the adoption in their name. Go here to get yours!

Andrew Peterson
Ok, so you're not gonna actually GIVE someone Andrew Peterson--that would be weird. But SERIOUSLY, this is the coolest Christmas album EVER. Andy decided to write a Christmas musical, but not just start the story at the book of Matthew. He went all the way back to Genesis. And I'm not kidding, it is awesome. If you're a little spent on tired carols with little truth and no theology, trust me--this one is for you. My kids love "Matthew's Begats", but it. is. all. good! He bring together several of my favorite artists to contribute to the project. Buy it here.

But, I will say, if you really want to be a rockstar gift-giver, take your special someone to see the show. (dates and locations here). It is my favorite concert I have been to in a long time (sadly, no shows in FL this year. : ( ). Andy MCs the first half of the show, and all of the artists who are with him on tour, as well as Andy, take turns performing whatever songs suits their whimsy that evening. It's a fun, rare glimpse of some of these great artists unplugged. Then, after intermission, you get "Behold the Lamb of God", live. Just go. Trust me. (And when you see Andy, tell him to pleeease come to FL next year!)

Just Love Coffee
Do you know someone who loves coffee? Then this is a perfect gift! Go here to purchase Ethiopian coffee, and support our mission trip in the process!

147 million orphans
Two moms start a business to raise orphan awareness and help families raise fund for their adoptions. Check out their cute merch here. I want one of each.

TOMSI love Toms. For every pair of Toms, you buy, a kid in need gets a pair. Not some shady percentage or portion of the sale... a shoe for a shoe. Blake has a cool story--read it on the website. Maybe you saw him on a AT&T commercial. These shoes are so cute and so comfy. Go here to shop styles for men, women, and kiddos. (If anyone was wondering which pair is on my Christmas list, don't think I picked this picture on accident. : ))

And, last but not least, I have to put in a couple plugs...

Tastefully Simple
Who doesn't love food?! It's the perfect gift every time! Buy Tastefully Simple from my website here, and all my profits go toward Nathan, Hannah, and my mission trips to Ethiopia in January. You can view the e-catalog here.

And, of course, tshirts. Cute shirts that promote adoption. All our shirts can be seen on the right sidebar. Or go here. Help bring home the littlest Walser from Ethiopia.


So there's a little something for everyone. Have fun shopping! be sure and share your gift ideas in my comments!