Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Pictures9

In Memory of my

Beautiful, Spunky Mother…

Barbara J. Lane

August 19, 1945 – March 9, 2014

Friday, January 31, 2014

Correspondence Connection Update

Those who visit my blog know that one of my passions is inspiring sponsors in their letter writing ministries to their Compassion children. Our words of love and encouragement are such an important aspect of sponsorship. The connections and relationships are so very valuable.

Last year I shared a Correspondence Connections post where I featured a letter I had written about my daughters and their friends.

Today we received a letter from our little Madina in Uganda.

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Greetings from Uganda, hope you are fine. My mother and father greet you. How are Kaya and Luna? I thank you for the letters and pictures which you send me….

Greet Owen and Olivia and also Nancy and Hannah. Thank you for their pictures, they look nice. My friend is called Sharon and we like to play netball. Thank you for the books that you have sent me and the sticker book and the cards.”

I love that, as I had hoped, the letter about Kaya and Luna’s closest friends inspired a connection and response from little Madina. My girls were so excited to read this reply and I was sure to reach out and greet their friends on Madina’s behalf.

Now, not all of our Compassion children reply specifically to our letters and I understand that there are a lot of variables that factor in to why this is. However, we are always excited to get a response like this!

Have you gotten any interesting reply letters from your sponsored children lately? I would love to read about them!

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Lord Knows…

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At this very moment, the Compassion Bloggers are in Uganda. My heart has been with them for a while as they prepared for this trip, travelled there and spent their first day.

 

My excitement is mixed with a bit of heartache as I imagine what it would have been like to be there with them all, witnessing it all with them first hand.

But, what has come to me recently as I start to mourn, is that the Lord knows…

He knew, before the blogging contest in 2012 was promoted, that I would win the prize of a trip with the Compassion bloggers.

He knew that I would be offered a chance to travel to Uganda and that the date of the trip would be pushed back to right now.

He knew that, as I waited in anticipation for my turn to travel and blog, that an unexpected blessing would fall upon us.

  A baby.

None of this has surprised God, even though it was not how I thought it would all play out.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Truthfully, the realization that I was pregnant came right at a time when both my husband and I were struggling in many ways. That positive pregnancy test was a catalyst for a bit of a “shake up” between us. Baby Clay, while he was still smaller than a lima bean, brought hope, no doubt.

The Lord knows.

I am also reminded of this as I read through the posts being published by the Compassion Bloggers in Uganda. Are you keeping up with them?

The bloggers have the difficult task of spending a day in the field, processing all that they witnessed and somehow wrapping their thoughts up into posts that will touch people. A daunting task, truly.

But the Lord knows whose hearts are open to the message and who is ready to commit to sponsoring a child. Sometimes those people just need a little nudge.

Will you take a minute today to help nudge a few hearts? Look through the recent posts by the Compassion Bloggers in Uganda and choose one or more to share via social media. Email links to those who are not a part of social media. Pray that the message would be received by open hearts.

I am looking forward to the upcoming posts and can’t wait to see how the Lord moves His people!

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saying Goodbye

The sands in the hourglass of 2013 are slipping away. In so many ways, I am relieved to see this year pass.

It has been a difficult year for our family in so many ways. Really, the troubles seemed to start in the fall of 2012, but they kept on coming throughout 2013.

We faced battles of every kind ~ deep, personal attacks that seemed unrelenting at times.

I have tried to keep swimming through financial issues, personal and emotional hurdles, trials in my marriage, business woes and grieving over the path one of our loved ones is taking.

Losing the chance at a much anticipated trip to Uganda with the Compassion Bloggers was a blow that rattled me much more than I would have thought possible. Yes, the reasons for not being able to take the trip come with the unexpected blessing of a new baby on the way, still my heart shattered and my mind questioned the timing of it all.

In processing that loss, it seems I have lost my words and a bit of the driving passion to blog for the organization that means so much to me. Every time I sit down and try to speak on this little platform on the web, my heart breaks and tears well up for what is apparently not meant to be. At least, not right now.

It is bittersweet to try to come to terms that my feet will not be standing on the red clay of Africa anytime soon and, we will instead be welcoming a baby boy with a fitting name ~ Clay.

Lastly, as the door starts to swing closed on this year, we were given the news that my mother will be undertaking a journey of her own. Her journey will be a battle against that insidious C-word. Cancer.

Of course, your prayers are appreciated.

Looking back at 2013, there are blessings and bright spots sprinkled throughout the pages of days. I hope, as we turn to a fresh blank page in 2014, that the blessings and bright spots will outshine the burdens and trials.

Thank you to those who have stuck around despite my absence here on the blog and who have prayed for our family this year.

Today, I say goodbye to 2013. May 2014 be a better year for all of us!

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Monday, November 18, 2013

I am a Compassion Grandma!

On Friday I received word that our beloved Kwagala Deborah in Uganda gave birth to a baby boy. The tears came when we were told that she named her precious baby after the heroes in her life.

The name she chose is Michelle Jason Grace.

My husband and I are still processing the fact that, across the ocean, there is a sweet baby named after the two of us. What a profound statement!

Our beautiful daughter and grandson could use your prayers, though. Before the birth, Kwagala Deborah was diagnosed with both malaria and anemia. It is only because of the financial gift that was collected on her behalf before departing the program, that she was able to receive treatment.

Also, her family situation is very difficult and she does not have much support.

Lastly, she was given some questionable breastfeeding advice that may threaten her success in nursing her baby.

All of these situations need fervent prayer.

It is very hard for us to be so far from our lovely daughter and the sporadic communication also poses issues. My husband and I wish there were some way we could bring Kwagala Deborah and baby Jason here to the US and give them the love and support they need. But for now, we give our requests to God and pray that He care for our loved ones so far away.

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Mail Call Monday!

I have all of the intentions to get back to blogging regularly, but things seem to get in the way! I do have a Mail Call to share today, though!

Last week, we received a letter from Rodrigo in Bolivia.

Rodrigo writes often and he is such a sweet young man. He thanked us, as usual, for the letters we have sent him and for the drawings we have sent as well. Rodrigo tell us that he has three dogs and one cat and they are lovely and nice. “One of my dogs gives you the paw.”

Rodrigo tells us he is trying hard in school and is doing well. He tells us about a parade he was a part of in August to celebrate the anniversary of Bolivia. Rodrigo played the snare drum and marched with his school marching band. I wish we could have seen that!

His letters are always signed With Love and his love is apparent in his letters. He is such a special boy!

We were also blessed to receive an updated photo of Precious in Ghana which brought tears to my eyes.

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What a treat to see a smile on her face and hos much she has grown! I cannot help but reflect on the scared and shy reflection in her first photo and how we have seen a progression of confidence as the updates have come.

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Isn’t that quite a change?

I have also received a different kind of Happy Mail in our mailbox this past week.

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Cloth diapers!

That is my roundabout way of announcing that the Lord is blessing us with a baby, coming at the end of March! We were not expecting this blessing and it does impact my ability to join the Compassion Bloggers in Uganda at the end of January, but we trust is His plan. We know that this little one will bring joy to our household and that I will be able to join in a bloggers trip as soon as I am able!

I hope that your mail has been happy and that you have heard from your sponsored children recently!

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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Long Overdue Mail Call

You know how life is…  Ups and downs, unexpected turns – we have been through all of these in the last few months and this little blog has been neglected.

While I have managed to keep up with monthly letters to our Compassion family online using the letter writing tool on the Compassion website, I have a stack of letters waiting for a handwritten reply and some goodies.

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I haven’t sent a collection of handwritten letters in to the Compassion headquarters since late June or early July, I believe. Now that life seems to be settling down a bit and we are back to the schedule and routine of the homeschool year, those reply letters are going to get moved to the top of the priority list.

Now, it would take quite a while to go through all of these letters and share highlights, so I’ll just be picking and choosing some of my favorite tidbits here today.

I always love getting pictures in the mail, so I was very happy to receive this picture of our Yishak in Ethiopia, with his family on his birthday.

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As is common with many children in Ethiopia, I do not hear from our Yishak very often and the letters we do receive are often short. However, each year, we are blessed with a family picture that comes about five to six months after Yishak’s birthday. He has such a good looking family and it has been nice to see how everyone is growing!

The letter that came with this picture was one of the most lively and engaging we have received in the past four years. We learned that Yishak is doing very well in school and has moved on to 10th grade. He thanks us for all of our letters and tells us he is always thinking of us in his prayers. That brought a smile to my face!

We heard from the bubbly and enthusiastic Meenadevi in India.

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Prior to being assigned as our correspondent child in December, Meenadevi had had one sponsor through her time in Compassion and had last received a letter in 2007.  In this letter, her excitement over receiving love and encouragement is unmistakable. Her thankfulness and love seems to pour off of the paper.

“I am so excited to receive your loving, Uncle and Aunty. I am excited to know about you and your family and read the interesting news in your letters… Aunty, please convey all of my love and prayers to all in my correspondents home. I am happy to learn about Luna and Kaya.”

She goes on to share many little details about her life, interests and family. She replies to many things we have shared in our letters to her, recalling specific details and sharing compliments all the while.

I am so thankful that her financial sponsor agreed to let Compassion connect Meenadevi with a correspondent and I feel so blessed that we are the lucky ones!  Our sweet girl signs her letter with, “Your Love is Ever Remembered”.

As usual, the letters from our Kenyan Alice and Ncheshia came on the same day.

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Both children mentioned the teacher’s strike and asked for prayer for the resolution. It is clear how much they both value education and how important it is to them. Ncheshia asks, “Please pray for God to intervene so that they call call off the strikes as I am much affected academically.”  Alice shares, “Please pray that we go back to school soon, Before the strike we had done exams and I was position number one with 327 marks and I am very proud.”

We also learned about a Fun Day they had at Alice’s school where the children were given rides on horses and camels. My own little horse lovers thought that was wonderful!

Other tidbits from some of our recent letters:

Rodrigo in Bolivia: “We have finished our trimester at school and I am calm but it doesn’t mean that I will stop doing my bit in my studies. As you may know, I dream of being a police officer, so I have to be worthy and not give up.”

Uwera in Rwanda: “I hope that you are doing good and I request more photos and I will be so happy. The pictures of your children make me so happy.”

Kazihizina in Rwanda: “Thank you for all of the letters you send to me. I am so happy to know about your news. If you have got any problems, you please tell me.”

Elin in El Salvador: “I learn about God at the project. I accepted Christ into my heart in 2007. I am so excited to write to you.”

As I go through the stack of letters again and read the sweet words, my inspiration is rekindled to sit down and spend some time working on personal hand written replies to these beautiful children. They are truly blessings in our lives!

Have you received any letters from your Compassion children recently? Are you working on letters, either online or hand written? Leave a comment and tell me about them!

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Monday, July 15, 2013

Mail Call Monday!

Several Mondays each month, Compassion International sponsors link up to share the news from their sponsored children around the world.

I have two letters to share today and the first one is from our Magid in Ghana.

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Again, I have to say how blessed I am by the letters written by most of our teens. While not all of them write detailed letters, some of them are truly creative in their expression.

Magid says, “God, who cannot be compared, richly and kindly bless you and your family and be with you all, always.”

He goes on to tell us about how he is learning the importance of helping the elderly in the community. I love how these important lessons are shared with the children in the Compassion program!

Our young man then asks a question that amazes me, “Do you have any intention of travelling outside of your country?”

Hmmm, why yes I do!

While my upcoming travel plans will take me to Uganda, in my heart I feel like I will be visiting Ghana within the next few years and hopefully I will meet Magid and also the little girl that started our Compassion journey, Precious!

In wrapping up the letter, Magid shared some lovely prayers for us and prayer requests for himself. His verse for us was Psalm 133:1.

Today we received a letter from our beautiful Guatemalan flower, Yolanda.

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As an added bonus, an updated photo of her appeared on our Compassion account this past week, too. Isn’t she just lovely?

The letter was short but chatty. Yolanda shared that she is doing great and she is happy because school started and she is in third grade. She says that she sometimes likes to help her brothers with their homework and she would like to be a teacher when she grows up.

I am always smiling and I am friendly and kind. I always do my homework.”

All wonderful things to read! I love that she has a positive image of herself!

What about you? Did you get any letters from your Compassion children recently? If so, please share in the comments section below!

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Thursday, July 11, 2013

Thursday’s This & That

Outside of my window… After several rainy, humid days, we finally have some sun and a slightly cool breeze. It is refreshing to be able to have the widows open and let some cool, dry air in!

Around the house… A Group 1 Crew station in playing on the internet radio.  I needed something with a beat to help me motivate to clean around the house and get prepared for a pot luck we’re hosting tomorrow.  The hum of the dishwasher is mingling with the purr of a fan. Giggling girls are chatting on the couch. 

On my to-do list… Along with mundane tasks, I have some new, neat things to tackle like getting more info on immunizations and filling in paperwork for my Visa. Wow, just four months before I hope on a big airplane and fly over the ocean!

Speaking of that… As I read back through the posts where I was first drawn to Kwagala Deborah two years ago, I now just smile to see how plainly God was working on me and aligning something beautiful.

There are so many details in our relationship that have God’s fingerprint plainly showing. 

Right now, my beloved Ugandan daughter is going through a bit of a crisis, so I would love it if you could pray for her.  I know that winning the Compassion Bloggers trip was a blessing from the Lord to get me to Uganda “for such a time as this”.

And I am preparing and praying over the big and little details surrounding the tip. High on my list is that the “re-entry” Shaun Groves writes about is going to be very, very difficult for me. Especially coming back to the US at the height of the pre-Christmas Spend Fest. I already know my heart and that I can be cynical and judgemental. It is going to be hard to come back from a developing country and watch as Americans celebrate Christmas in the way they are known to do.

Would you pray for me and the upcoming trip? For the details and the “re-entry”?

Your prayers, support and friendship are all so appreciated.

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Friday Feature!

Today I want to feature a really wonderful program!

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According to their website, Kiva is “a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Leveraging the internet and a worldwide network of microfinance institutions, Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world.”

Through Kiva loans, you can fund or partially fund a project such as business start-up, continuing education, purchases of additional stock and more. These loans can make a BIG impact on the lives of people around the world!

Want to learn more? Click here.

Today, I have a special offer for anyone who has not yet gotten involved in Kiva loans.

If you click this link to my personal referral, you will be given a free $25 to fund a Kiva loan of your choice.

This is a no-risk opportunity for you to see what Kiva is all about and to support someone’s dreams and future! The process is quick and easy! Take a few minutes today to do a good deed and help! Come back and share which project you chose!

If you’ve partnered with Kiva in the past, please feel free to share your experiences in the comments section!

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