Friday, October 29, 2010

Flashback // Feel-Good Friday

Flashback:

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Luna Blue ~ 14 months old ~ October 2007

Feel-Good:

The sheer jubilation of this boy in Africa, after receiving a box from Operation Christmas Child, makes me laugh with joy. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

More Devotions

As I sit down this morning to work on another round of letters for our 7 Compassion International children, I plan to print out the devotion that I posted about here. My plan is to send each of the children a devotion every month, and I hope to send each child a folder that I can decorate to say something like, “Precious’ Devotions”.

Since I posted that last post, I have written a couple of other devotions that I will eventually send. You are free to copy or distribute these, if you wish. Maybe you’ve realized that it has been a while since you’ve written your child, but you’re pressed for time. You can just copy one of these and email it to your child with a couple of personalized sentences. Or, you can write out a letter and copy on of these and print it out on fancy paper, like I plan to do!

Obeying Your Parents

"Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord." Colossians 3:20 NIV

Being obedient isn't always easy, but it is an important thing to strive for. Sometimes we tend to be selfish and desire to do what we want, but with prayer and self-control we will learn how to be obedient. Listen to your parents, teachers and elders and do what they ask of you.

Prayer

Father God, I ask that You help me obey Your rules. I know that one of Your rules is to obey my parents and I want to practice obedience. Help me listen to them and to do as I am told. I know that You can help me, so I ask for your strength and guidance. I ask this in Jesus' Holy name. Amen.

*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Forgiveness

"Do not repay anyone evil for evil.

Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody"

Romans 12:17 NIV

Sometimes people aren't nice, and our first instinct can be to return that unkindness.We need to remember that the Bible asks us to forgive, not to repay evil for evil. Matthew 6:14-15 clearly tells us, "For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your Heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive you sins." Forgiveness isn't always easy, but we can ask God for his help.

Prayer

Dear Father God, please give me a forgiving heart when I am angry. Help me to remember the importance of grace. I know that you want me to forgive others when they aren't nice, so please give me the strength and peace to follow your wishes. Thank you for forgiving my sins. In Jesus' precious name. Amen.

Hopefully, these will help you as you devote time and effort to correspondence with your child. If you have ideas for other topics for devotionals, please share them!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

There is Joy

There is joy to be found….

  • in tackling things, one by one.
  • in unexpectedly balmy breezes, late in October.
  • in the morning’s learning going smoothly and quickly.
  • in an impromptu game of ball.
  • in friendship.
  • in being able to help.
  • in the chattering song of playful squirrels.
  • in the familiar smell of decaying leaves.
  • in Bible verses that comfort the heart.
  • in knowing the Lord.
  • in refusing to give in to fear.
  • in singing praise with my sweet girls.
  • in the voice of a sweetie-girl, belting out one of her favorite songs.

Ah, yes, there is joy.

Monday, October 25, 2010

In This World, You Will Have Trouble

As I have alluded to in past posts, our family has had some “trouble” recently. Nothing life threatening, thankfully, but still some situations that are stressful. I’ve had instances of gut-wrenching worry and waking in the middle of the night in a sweaty panic.

But take heart… our God is so awesome. I’ve put more time in the Word and in prayer. Better than a magic fortune cookie, the Bible has a way of speaking to situations and providing insight. Comfort.

On a particularly rough day, a sweet angel came to my doorstep with gifts and encouragement that have helped tremendously. Hope.

I sat down to roll some of the change in our change jar and realized that in less than 5 minutes, we rolled $8 in pennies. I recalled reading that the average monthly income in the area where our new Correspondent Child lives is $8. We still had plenty more change to roll. Perspective.

I’ve “coincidentally” (in quotes because I don’t really believe in such things) stumbled across things that have spoken right to my heart. This post, entitled Worrying found its way in front of my eyes. A timely reminder that brought things into focus right when I needed it. Jessica from Bohemian Bowmans has catapulted herself right up towards the top of my “Favorite Bloggers List”, I think you should hop over and check her out. Encouragement.

Last night, I went to women’s Bible study. Earlier in the day, the stress had been flaring up again. Little panic attacks that set my world to spinning… We’re were learning about Rebekah but one point that our teacher brought home time and time again was Trust. Trust.

Yes. In this world you will have trouble, but take heart. He has overcome the world!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Saturday’s Snapshot

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Because every baby pumpkin needs a Pumpkin Cozy!

I found this little set up yesterday and had to smile.  Four year olds are so cute!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Maybe I Should Clarify….

After a couple of rough days, I had myself a good chuckle last night.  I happened to check my Sitemeter stats and noticed that someone came to my blog through a Google search. “Is Meeshi even a word?” Ahahaha! So, just for clarification, Meeshi is a nickname I was given many years ago.  Michelle –> Meeshi. When I first started this blog years ago, It was for a short term project, posting a photo a day for 30 days.  I really didn’t imagine that years later I’d still be blogging. When it came time to pick a name to register through Blogger, I just picked the first thing that came to mind. “meeshimama.blogspot.com”

Recently, I have thought about changing the URL to something like “bloggingboonies.blogspot.com” but I don’t know how to do that without confusing or losing most of my faithful readers. If anyone has any suggestions, I’d love to hear them!

(*Editing to add: My Google-Fu skills are telling me that it would be easy to change the URL, but it would mess with any links to my blog and search engine rankings.  Overall, it would be a confusing mess, so “meeshimama” it will stay!)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Introducing….

Kazihizina from Rwanda!

Kazihizinaclose This rare double-post day is because I was just emailed Kazihizina’s most recent photos and some history on her, as I requested.

I was heartbroken to read that she has had two sponsors since she has been in the program. Her first sponsor used to write to her some, but it has been years since she has received any letters or gifts. Years.

I am having an emotional day already, and reading that completely broke my heart. Kazihizina sat through mail-call after mail-call, and her name wasn’t called. I wouldn’t be surprised if, at some point, she gave up hope of having her name called again.

Thankfully, her sponsor agreed to have a Correspondent assigned and thankfully God did some great match-making. Our Kazi-girl has NO ideas what is coming her way! Within minutes of finding her on our online Compassion account yesterday morning, I sent out an introductory email. Later in the day, I made up a Christmas package with a card, a couple of silly bands, some paper ornaments and stickers. Today, I felt compelled to write another letter and tell her some more about us and that we’d be faithful to write to her and send love and support.

If you get anything out of my blog, I hope it is the importance of writing those letters to your sponsored kids. Don’t let your child be the one who sits through mail-call after mail-call in disappointment.

If you would like to be a Correspondent to a child or two, just contact Compassion. 1-800-336-7676 or use the Contact Us button on the Compassion International website.

Thursday’s This & That Post

  • Outside…of the window, most of the trees I see are now bare. There are chickadees hopping around in some of the branches and snacking at the birdfeeder.
  • Around the house… it is a bit chilly in here and I am thinking of starting a small fire in the woodstove. Both of my girls are feeling sick, which means our plans to go and spend some time with the seniors at the Continuing Care Center have been cancelled.
  • My spirit… is in a funk. This week, a number of things have gone wrong or we’ve heard news we didn’t want to hear. I am really, really missing our Nico. We haven’t seen or heard from her in about 5-6 weeks now. Some days, I have a sense of peace or our busy schedules keep me from dwelling on it. Yesterday, my heart heaved with sadness and I felt that anger rise up in me again. It is a heavy feeling and I don’t like it.
  • But, there is joy…in welcoming our 7th Compassion International child into our family. Several weeks ago, I signed up for another correspondence child. These are children you don’t have to financially sponsor, but you do have to commit to writing to them regularly. (Their sponsors do not want to write, so they sign off to allow someone else to write to them.) Kazihizina is a 15 year old girl from Rwanda who likes to sing in her church choir. She also enjoys playing group games, playing house, marbles, hide and seek, jump rope and other ball games. I know that the children in Rwanda generally only write the minimum 3 times a year, but I look forward to being a constant presence of love and encouragement in her life.
  • There is perspective… as we struggle with some financial issues. I read that the average family in Kazihizina’s area makes $8 per month. Yes, EIGHT dollars….. per month. That is perspective, no doubt.
  • In my prayers… a family that I know, whose 9 year old daughter is undergoing a heart procedure today.
  • Our plans for the rest of the week…are up in the air. Tomorrow’s history class and helping a friend move on Saturday will depend on my girls getting better.
  • Some books in our library basket…

Too Many Pumpkins is such a cute story! Luna has asked me to read it several times since we brought it home and I am pretty sure she talked Kaya into reading it a few times, too.

I am a big fan of Tomie dePaola and think this book is sweet. Luna, however, got hung up on the fact that the frog is as big as the pig. Ha! Four year olds!

What are your favorite Autumn themed children’s books?

Lastly, I want to add a great deal I discovered today. If you live near a Walgreens, you might want to take part. Now until Saturday, they are offering a free 8”X10" photo collage if you use create the collage on their website and use the code 8X10TREAT at checkout. This offer is good for each customer, not each household and our Compassion kids always love it when we send these. I just made one for Kazihizina on my Walgreens account and will make another for one of our other kids on Jay’s account. I’m thinking it would be good to send with Johan’s birthday package.

(As another side note, I found out that as of last week, Compassion is allowing Silly Bands to be sent with our letters.They have been on the “no” list for quite some time, but if you send just a couple in with your letters they will now go through! Whew, one way to weed those things out of our house! lol )

Monday, October 18, 2010

Letter Writing 101

If you are a Compassion International sponsor, I would guess you already know the benefits that your sponsorship dollars provide to your child. What you may not know is that as a sponsor, you have the potential to provide something crucial that money cannot buy. A relationship. With that relationship, you can show your child that they are loved, that they are important and that they are prayed for. You can provide encouragement, hope and inspiration. The way that you do this is by committing to write to your sponsored child.
Throughout my journey as a Compassion sponsor and a trained Advocate, I have heard a lot of questions about writing to our sponsored kids, so I have decided to dedicate a post to answer those questions and share the basics. (If you see text on this page that is a different color, those are clickable links that you can follow.)
How do I write to my sponsored child?
You can write to your sponsored child by logging into your account on the Compassion International website. Along the left hand side of your account page you will see a link that says “Contact Your Child”. This will take you to a page where you can email a letter to your child. (This email doesn’t go directly to your child, but it is sent to the Field Office in your child’s country, where it will be translated.)
You can also write a letter on your own paper or use this printable Compassion stationary. If you use your own paper, please remember to leave half of each page blank for translation and also include your sponsor number, your child’s name and their identification number. If you are not sure of these numbers, you can always call Compassion at 1-800-336-7676 and the helpful operators will get those for you.
Your letters should be sent to the following address:
Attn: Child Correspondence Dept.
Compassion International
Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004
How often should I write?
A good rule of thumb is to write about once a month. If it is helpful, pick a day of the month and write it on your calendar as a reminder. There is also a group of many sponsors who all have committed to write on the second Friday of each month. You can find a Compassion blog post about it here.
Our family likes to write about twice a month to all 10 of our Compassion kids. We get a lot of joy out of writing and also have the time and energy to devote to doing it this often. Some have asked me if it is possible to write to a child too much, and my opinion on that is it could be possible. Consider a sponsor who writes once or twice a week and a child who receives mail just once a month. That would mean that the child receives 8 letters on one day. Depending on the age of the child, this could be just too much information to process and respond to. While an older child may be able to handle that many letters at once, some of the effort may be lost on a younger child and may overwhelm translators and project staff.
Please, do not wait until you get a letter from your child, before you sit down to write. It is important to remember a few things. First, it can take several months for a letter to travel from you to your child, and several months for a reply to make its way back. Second, in some projects their resources only allow them to help the children write to you three times a year. Even if this is the case with your child, your letters to them are so very valuable.
Why does it take so long for the letters to travel?
The letters have many stops along the way. Your letters are first sent to the Global Ministry Center in Colorado which processes an average of 100,000 letters from sponsors per month. Each letter is checked to be sure it has the proper information on it, is scanned in and then put with other letters headed for the same country. The letters are then shipped to the country, and sometimes can be held up in customs for weeks. At the Country Field Office, the letters are scanned into the system and wait for translation. Depending on the number of letters that need translation, this can also take a few weeks. Once they are translated, they are sorted by project. At this point, the are ready to be taken to each project. With some of the projects being remote, this could take weeks. Some letters travel by car, by bike, by donkey or by walking carrier and are delivered to the project. Some projects have one or two Mail Days per month and your letters will be delivered then. All told, this process can take months to get from point A to point B.
The children won't necessarily write back to you on the day they receive the letter. Many of the children need help, so they will write when that is available. Some projects have Letter Writing Day three times a year and will write then. Then, those letters travel back to the US the same way they got to to those countries. Again, it could take months.
Why is letter-writing important?
Poverty often gives children a feeling that they do not matter. Your letters go a long way to show your children that they really are important. While sponsorship dollars are necessary to keep the program running, it is the personal relationship that is built between the sponsors and children that start to break down the walls of hopelessness, despair and worthlessness.
In this last year, I have heard statistics of how many, many children who receive letters from their sponsors are inspired to try harder in their studies. I have spoken to a young man who was once a sponsored child and heard just how important the letters from his sponsor were to him. He even told me that, besides his Pastor, he feels his sponsor was the most influential man in his life. I’ve read articles and blog posts that bring home just how crucial those letters are. This blog post from Lisa-Jo of the Gypsy Mama blog is truly a must read.
I have also heard of the too-common heartbreak when children sit through mail-call at their project with hopeful anticipation, only to be devastated time and time again when their name isn't called. The whisper of, "You don't matter. You're not important." one more time.
Please take a minute to read a short story, The Delivery, written by my friend Caitlin. It brings to light the anticipation and heartbreak that can be found on Delivery day.
I don’t know what to write about. Can you help?
Along the right hand side of this page, you’ll see links to previous posts with letter writing ideas. There is also quite a bit of info to be found on the Compassion International website and the Our Compassion site. Ultimately, it comes down to sending love and encouragement. At the end of your letters, ask a few questions so that your child knows you are interested in their life.
Can we only send letters?
No, we are allowed to send things that could be classified as a "document" and that fall within the size restrictions. If you’re creative, you can send all manner of great goodies. See the link on my right hand sidebar about “Sending Goodies to Your Sponsored Child”. There you will find the requirements and some suggestions that your child will love!
What if I just am not into writing at all?
If you have the financial means to sponsor but have no interest in writing at all, please contact Compassion (1-800-336-7676) and ask that they assign a Correspondent Sponsor to your child. There are many people like myself who are happy to write to children who would otherwise not receive letters. (Only two of our children are financially sponsored by us and the others are our Correspondent Children.) Compassion cannot assign your child a Correspondent unless you contact them and agree to it.
On the flip side, if you cannot sponsor any more children but have the time and energy to take on the responsibility of becoming a Correspondent Sponsor, contact Compassion and ask to be put on the waiting list. (Call them at the 1-800 number provided above or use the Contact Us button on the Compassion International website.)
What if I have other questions?
The phone operators at Compassion International have always been extremely helpful, so don’t hesitate to call them with any questions. You can also leave a comment here or email me and I will answer your question if I am able to.
I pray that this blog post is helpful and that you are inspired to write to your sponsored child. As with all of my blog posts, you are welcome to share this link with anyone at any time.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Letter Writing Idea ~ Devotions

Last night, I was thinking about letter writing ideas to send to our sponsored Compassion International children.  I know that many people struggle, not knowing what to write about every month.  It suddenly came to me! Our kids could really benefit from Devotions!

I started a journal over on Our Compassion. I am hoping that other sponsors will join in and share ideas or write Devotions that we all can share. My thought is that it would be great to have a topic where we share a Bible verse, a short paragraph and end with a prayer.  Here is a quick example I came up with:

Sharing ~ Helping Others in Need

"A generous man will prosper.

he who refreshes others will refresh himself."

Proverbs 12:25 NIV

In this world, we do not all have the same amount of possessions or talents. We know that Jesus had a heart to serve others. Do you have anything that you can share?  Look around for opportunities where you can share an item, a smile, a kind word or a helping hand.

Prayer

Dear Lord, you have given us so many blessings.  Please touch me and help me to see when I can reach out to others and share what I have.  Show me times when I can share something that I have with another.  Help me to notice opportunities where I can share a smile or a kind word with someone around me.  I ask this is Jesus' Holy name. Amen.

If you have ideas for Devotion topics or would like to write and share a devotion that other sponsors could use, stop by Our Compassion or feel free to email it to me and I’ll post it there.  I also plan to share them regularly on this blog.

In other news, we got a letter from Precious yesterday.  A few months ago, I stopped asking questions throughout our letters to our children and started putting them all at the end of each letter.  I think it has helped and we’re really starting to get a lot of answers to things we’ve asked.

Here are some excerpts from our most recent letter:

"Precious says she is learning maths and English at school. Family members are: Isaiah, Grace, Gertrude, Prince and Abigail. She says it takes 12 minutes to walk from home to the project. The business is going on well and wants you to pray for their business.

She says she wants you to tell her more about Kaya, Nico and Luna's education as well as your business.

She says she can now help her parents sell and she can also read and sing some Christian songs!

She says she would like to know more about your church, especially the activities that you do. She says she will never stop praying for long life and prosperity for you and the entire family. She wants you to pray for her to obey her parents, Sunday school teachers as well as elderly persons.

"If someone has done you wrong, do not repay it with a wrong. Romans 12:17 Precious says she want you to share it with everyone you know."

Consider it done, sweetie girl!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursday’s This & That Post

  • Outside…it is another grey and dreary day. The sunrise was a beautiful sherbet pink and orange and I thought we would end up with another sunny day to match yesterday. The leaves are just stunning and yesterday’s sun lit them up so beautifully. I had to take another picture as I drove down our road into the valley.

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  • Around the house… there is a lot to be done today. Kaya and Luna are working on some learning while we listen to the classical station on the radio. (We generally listen to our favorite Christian station, but the girls have a hard tome concentrating if we listen to music with words.) Because we’ve had a busy couple of days, the house needs quite a bit of attention today to get things back in order.
  • Plans for the day… homeschooling, laundry, tidying, art project, a trip to town to hit the library and store, finishing up Christmas packages for our Compassion International children, menu planning, cleaning out the fridge, dinner, baths and bed.
  • On my mind… I dread cleaning out our refrigerator because no matter what I do, we always end up wasting food and it makes me feel so guilty.
  • In my prayers… I have recently heard of so many struggles in marriages.  My heart is heavy for my friends and other couples with big, heavy marriage issues. In all honesty, Jay and I have been there.  Years ago, it was like we were living as room mates.  While there was a basis of love in our very core, life had gotten in our way and a deep crevasse formed between us.  How did we get back to a place of deep and loyal love?  Only by the grace of God. As we come closer to Him, we learn more about His plan for marriage and the privilege of Love.  Jay and I have been together for 10 years and married for 2. Every day, we seem to get closer and I can only thank the Lord for that!
  • Concerning Compassion… we received a letter from Rodrigo earlier this week.  I am so thrilled that his project has moved to reciprocal writing and we are becoming so close with this sweet little boy.  He always tells us that his whole family gathers to read our letters and they pray for us daily.  How humbling is that?
  • One Meal One Day… I’d like to tell you about a great event coming up next week to support the fight against Global Hunger. Please visit the One Meal One Day website to learn how you can also join us. We will be skipping just ONE meal on October 20th and sending the unspent money to Compassion. Will you join us and also spread the word?
  • Field Trip… Yesterday, some of our homeschooling friends met up for a trip to the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse. While I am somewhat conflicted inside when it comes to zoos, we did have a great time and it was a gorgeous day! I will close with a couple of photos from our trip.

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Now, time to finish the coffee and get this house whipped into shape!  Have a great day!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Feeling Blessed

As you can probably tell from my blog name, we live out in the country. 

HPIM3269 This is the road we take into the tiny nearby town about 5 minutes away. A village so small there isn’t so much as a single stoplight. We’ve got a classic, small-town main street with a library, pharmacy, pizza shop and so on, but you could drive from one end to the other in about 3 minutes.

We are so blessed, that even in this teeny tiny town, we’ve got an amazing, diverse homeschooling community.  I believe I heard the statistic that 5% of the children in the district are homeschooled. I find myself thinking, many times a month, just how thankful I am for this group of families!

Our little church has enough homeschooling families that we’ve put together a great co-op which meets 3 times a month for classes and once a month for a field trip.  Today, during one of our classes, the kids all worked on Christmas cards for the unsponsored Compassion International children. (If you want info on how YOU can do this, scroll down a few posts.)

HPIM3282 Several of the families involved sponsor children, but they were happy to hear there was a way to bring joy to the children who are still waiting for sponsors.  They wrote encouraging messages on the cards and also drew pictures to go with them.

I encourage you and your family to spend a little time and prepare a few cards for the children who are still waiting for that good news that they’ve been chosen by sponsors.  I also want to remind you that time is of the essence if you haven’t gotten a Christmas card or gift out to your sponsored children! I have finally gotten my order from Oriental Trading and plan to put my Christmas packages together for our 6 Compassion kids tomorrow night. I will hit the PO Wednesday morning to get them mailed out!

I’ll close this post with a couple of photos of our beautiful surroundings.  The leaves are at peak right now and I am continuously struck by the brilliant beauty all around us.

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Sunday, October 10, 2010

Follow You

Absolutely love this song!

You lived among the least of these
The weary and the weak
And it would be a tragedy for me to turn away.
All my needs you have supplied.
When I was dead you gave me life.
How could I not give it away so freely?

And I`ll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy, God.
Follow you into the world.
Use my hands, use my feet
To make your kingdom come
Through the corners of the earth
Until your work is done
`cause faith without works is dead
And on the cross your blood was shed
So how could I not give it away so freely?
And I`ll follow you into the homes that are broken.
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy, God.
Follow you into the world.
(x2)
I give all myself.
I give all myself
I give all myself.to you.
And I give all myself.
Yes I give all myself.
And I give all myself.to you.
And i`ll follow you into the homes that are broken
Follow you into the world.
Meet the needs for the poor and the needy, God.
Follow you into the world.
(x2)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Christmas Cards for Unsponsored Children

Did you know that you can send Christmas cards to Compassion International’s unsponsored children this year? I know! Exciting huh?
Here are the guidelines:
-Cards must be received by 11/30/2010, so mail them soon!
-Send "general cards" that would be well received by boy or girl, young or old.
-Include a cover letter explaining that the letters are for unsponsored children.
-You may direct the cards to be sent to a specific country, otherwise they will be split between countries.
-Mail the letters to

Attn: Laverne, Sponsor Correspondence Team

Compassion International

Colorado Springs, CO 80997


Let's make this Christmas special for every child in Compassion's program!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursday’s This & That Post

  • Outside of my window… it is another grey morning. A steady stream of golden leaves fall from the trees.
  • I am hearing… Kaya, Luna and their friend giggling and dancing around in ballerina outfits ~ classical music on the radio.
  • I am thinking… of my husband. He called this morning to tell me that his boss met with him to tell him he can’t talk about the Lord at work. (He was actually told that he “can’t talk Religion”, which we don’t.) Yet, half of the other contractors use the name “Jesus Christ” as a curse many, many times a day.  They can talk about going to the bar. They can talk about trashy TV. They can discuss just about anything under the sun…. Except God. :scratching head: I was able to give some encouragement, but I think the freedom of self-employment is looking good to Jay right about now.
  • I am thankful for… the changes in my husband since we’ve come to a relationship with Jesus. He once was a drunk and an absentee parent and partner.  He is now so attentive and loving. If he isn’t able to share the changes in his life, I’d be happy to tell the world.  Our lives are so different now, we live with more meaning and peace.  Even in the hard times.
  • In the kitchen… I’m sipping my coffee and loving the Pumpkin Spice creamer.
  • I am thankful for… my husband, and that is an understatement.
  • My upcoming plans… Tomorrow I will send off emails to all of our  Compassion International kids in honor of the official letter writing campaign. They hope to encourage sponsors to write once a month, on the second Friday of every month. I may have a date with my hubby tomorrow night and not sure what the weekend will bring. I’d like to see my nephew on Sunday, as he is home from college for the weekend.  Not sure if I can squeeze in a trip to my sister’s between church and Bible Study though.
  • My photo thought for the day…. Autumn Brilliance:

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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

(Not Quite) Wordless Wednesday

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I am happy to report that our two cats that were poisoned by Sentry brands flea medication last Friday have made  a near-complete recovery. Jasper, pictured above, is the ten year old alpha-pet of our home. He even rules over the rottie-pitt dog. He still has a bit of clumsiness and also is much more cuddly that he ever was, but otherwise he is doing well.  Squeak, our little sweetie, is also showing a bit of clumsiness and has taken to sometimes stalking things like sneakers left in the hallway. We are very, very thankful!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Better Late Than Never

It occurred to me this morning, I never shared this picture that arrived last month.  Bertille in Burkina Faso is the most recent addition to our Compassion International family.  This spring, my husband started building a shed behind our house and when he realized we’d be cutting out a $65 per month bill from our storage unit, he amazed me by suggesting that we take on a second financial sponsorship. (Four of our Compassion kids are are correspondents, financially sponsored by others.) I decided to let Kaya pick and she chose this sweet girl who was born just a couple of weeks after she was.

It wasn’t until after we finalized our sponsorship that we read that Bertille’s father had died and her Mother was listed as seriously sick. We had a little wiggle room in our budget that month, so we sent out a $100 Family Gift right away.

scan0004 Our sweet Bertille was able to purchase a bicycle, which will make it easier for her to get to school. She will also be able to help her mother with errands and possibly make a small income running errands for others.  She also bought some clothes, food and treats to share with friends.

Owning a bicycle is pretty much a rite of passage for children here in the US, but in other countries it is such a privilege. Since the day we received this picture, I randomly catch myself daydreaming about Bertille cruising down the dirt path to school on her shiny green bicycle.  I hope it brings her even a fraction of the joy I feel in my heart!

Yesterday, I read a post by Kristen of We Are THAT Family that moved me, and I’d love it if you could hop over and read it, too!

The Power of Three

I am joining her cause, will you?

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Recent Reads

We have access to a great inter-library loan system, and I am always looking for great children’s books that will teach our daughters about the cultures and countries where our Compassion International kids live.  Here are a few books we’ve really enjoyed.

A Country Far Away has a really interesting format.  Each page has a simple sentence or two with illustrations above and below to show how each action would play out in a small village in Africa or in the suburbs here in America.  The drawings in the book capture your attention and help children to see how different life is in these two locations.

The following pair of books are from a series featuring different countries.

 

Each page features a different letter, with facts and illustrations that helped us learn a bit more about culture in Guatemala and India.

Have you read any children’s books that go along with your Compassion sponsorships?  If so, please tell us about them!

I have more books on hold at the library, so I will share them in the coming week!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Warning for Cat Lovers

I am going to stray from my usual topics of Compassion International, homeschooling and parenting to tell you about the awful experience we had yesterday.  It is my hope that it can prevent someone else from going through the same ordeal or losing their beloved cat.

We have a dog and some cats and, like most people, we deal with fleas. Usually, we use a product like Revolution or Advantage for them, but because we’ve had some tight weeks recently, I bought Sentry brand spot-on flea treatment. Yesterday, I treated our dog with a vial of the Sentry and without really thinking, I used up what was left in the vial on two of our cats. My thinking was that using just a little on the cats would be fine.  How wrong I was.

We had a friend’s daughter over for the day, and after I applied the flea treatment we went to a homeschool history class then ran to town and came home around lunch time. After lunch, I walked to the mailbox and when I came back to our house, I just happened to notice a cat’s tail in an unusual spot under our porch. I also noticed a strange sound of labored breathing and when I knelt down to see what our cat was doing, I saw something that spun me into full-on panic. Our cat was writhing and convulsing on his side, his jaw was chattering and blood was coming out of his mouth. I couldn’t reach him, and panicked and didn’t know what was happening (I thought he was dying) or what to do in that moment.

Suddenly, it popped into my head that I had read something years ago about pets getting sick from flea meds. I ran in and Googled and sure enough, every hit on the first page was about the toxicity of certain flea meds in cats.  I remembered that I had also treated one other cat and ran outside and did a lap around our house.  As I rounded the back of the house, I saw the second cat writhing in the mud in front of our shed. I called a nearby homeschooling mom who is a vet and she told me she would be right over to give them Valium and help me wash them.

At that point, I really thought they were dying.  I grabbed the cats, and called my hubby at work.  I was a hysterical mess. During that call, another call beeped in and it was a friend.  I don’t even remember what I said to her, something like, “I just killed my cats!”

The vet arrived and we started working on the cats.  They were given injections and we washed them with dish soap to get the medication off of their skin. All the while, they were just convulsive and out of it. My friend showed up to whisk the kids away and what a blessing that was! The vet stayed here for an hour or so, checking on them, but after we washed them, it was just a matter of keeping them warm and comfortable and waiting.

To make a long story a bit shorter, today it looks as if the cats will survive. It is a miracle that I noticed the first cat and was able to find the second and bring them in and treat them.  Had I not, they likely would have died overnight as the temps were near freezing. They are up and walking/stumbling around, they’ve eaten and eliminated.

I am so thankful for our vet friend’s quick response and the thoughfulness of my other friend who took the girls and distracted them with a trip to the pizza shop while all heck was breaking loose.

My warning is this: do not EVER use any flea medications with Pyrethrin or Permethrin on your pets!!! It doesn’t work at killing fleas but it sure enough can kill your pets.

Please spread the word.  Hartz, Sentry or any other cheap over-the-counter flea meds with either of those chemicals can be fatal to your beloved animals. I learned the hard way, I don’t want anyone else to go through it!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Flashback Friday

I’ve already shared this video, but I think it is worth repeating:

This Spring, we decided to have a little talent show during our homeschool co-op Open House.  Being huge Britt Nicole fans, my girls immediately knew what they wanted to do! They put together some moves and practiced for a couple of weeks. As they practiced, Luna was ALWAYS screwing around.  She’d be doing flips, jumping off of the couch, karate chopping her sisters… I told Nico and Kaya that if Luna started goofing off during their performance, just to let her go. They could do the song without her.  I was amazed, as the music started, Luna went along with the routine as if she had practiced diligently for weeks.  She even nailed “her solo”, much to my surprise.

Anyway, I find myself watching this from time to time and it always makes me happy. Honestly, I tear up most times, too.  God sure has blessed us with these girls.