Friday, October 26, 2012

Giveaway Winner!

I would like to thank everyone that participated in the Blogging from the Boonies giveaway this week! You know how important letters are to sponsored children and your posts helped spread the word!

Take a minute to look at the blog posts about the importance of letter writing, shared by the contest entrants!

Why Letter Writing is Important – My Journey with Compassion

Are Letters Important? – Because of Shamim

A Lifeline – One Woman’s Journey of Faith

When Will it Come? – Life Drawn Out

"Why?", You Ask - Love is an Action

The Heart of Sponsorship - Compassion Family

Little Treasures Make an Impact, Simple Words Change a Life - Ounce of Compassion

I put the names of all of the entrants into a jar and shook the jar around before I pulled out one slip of paper.

The winner of the giveaway is……

Hannah H.!

Thank you to everyone who helped spread the word.  Hannah, take some time to browse the Compassion Store and then contact me and let me know what you’d like!

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thursday’s This and That

Outside of my window… The sun is shining and a warm breeze is coming in through the window.  While we’ve been needing the woodstove off and on, today promises unseasonal temps close to 80! I’m taking advantage of this warm spell to open all of the windows and wash the bedding so it can hang on the line.

Around the house… We’re set to leave for homeschool group at the YMCA in just a few minutes, so my girls are running around and getting everything packed and ready to go!

A reminder… My giveaway for a Compassion tee of your choice will end tomorrow morning!  Entering is easy and you will have your choice of any style and size of tee available on the Compassion store website.

We have not had as many entries as I anticipated and your chances to win are still pretty good!  If you’d like a chance to enter the drawing, hop on over and visit the giveaway post.

Something that makes me smile….

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Now I need to dash out the door with my girls! If you' have a blog post with a little of this and that to share, please feel free to link up below!

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Monday, October 22, 2012

Mail Call Monday!

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

On Saturday, I was happy to find two cream colored envelopes in my mailbox. Both letters were from Kenya!

The first was from our handsome Ncheshia.

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Ncheshia has been sponsored since April and this is the second letter we’ve received from him.  Although he is nine years old, this letter was written with the help of a center staff member.

Ncheshia tells us that he is praying for us, especially for protection for us. He shared that he had an “August holiday” and he is happy with his parents. We’re told he is working hard to obtain good marks in school and that he is assisting his parents in the home. He thanks us for the great love we have shown him and closes his letter by asking that God give us abundant blessings from above.

Our second letter was from Alice.

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Alice is twelve years old and writes her own letters. We’ve had some time to establish a nice relationship through letters and I always look forward to hearing from our smiley girl.

In this most recent letter, Alice tells us once again how proud she is to have friends outside of her home country. She thanked us for all of the letters we send to her. She goes on to tell us that her favorite animal is a dog because it guards the home.

Alice shared that she had her screening test for school on September 8th. Then she told us that there was a teachers strike in her area.  I Googled to find out more and was relieved to read that the strikes ended by the end of September. She also told us that there was some fighting in the Tana River delta.  I looked this up as well and know more about the fighting and how to pray over the situation.

Alice asked if we have strikes and war in our country. I’ll have to think of how best to answer those questions for her.

On the back of the letter, Alice shared this neat drawing.

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Alice closed her letter, “I pray for you and your family. ~Your lovely friend Alice.” Lovely friend, indeed!

What about you? Did you receive any letters from your sponsored children recently? If so, please feel free to share in the comment section or by joining our Mail Call link-up below!

If you join in on the Mail Call, please be sure to tell your readers that you’re linking up with Blogging From The Boonies’ Mail Call Monday and link back to this post! You’re free to grab the Mail Call image at the top of this post as well!

Also, if you participate in Mail Call Monday, I am also going to ask that you visit at least one other participant and read and comment on their post! Thank you!

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Friday, October 19, 2012

A Giveaway!

I am just so blessed by the readers of Blogging from the Boonies! Your comments and encouragement bring a smile to my face!

In an effort to give back, I’d like to host a little giveaway!

The prize for this giveaway will be one tee shirt from the Compassion Store! You will get to pick the design and size to suit you!

Maybe you’d like this soft and stretchy grey shirt!

Ladies Ask Me Shirt

(Confession: I love this shirt so much that I have TWO of them and I end up wearing it three or more times a week!)

Sun Mother Tee

Maybe this cheery blue tee is more your style?

Compassion Ladies Tee

Maybe pink is more your style. This shirt fits the bill!

If you prefer a men’s cut tee, they have plenty of those on the store site, too!

How can you enter this contest?  It is easy!

Through social media, spread the word about the importance of writing to sponsored children!

If you have a blog… write up a blog post that tells your readers why they should write to their sponsored children.  (You’re free to link to my post, Yes, Letters Really Are That Important! <Worth One Entry>

If you have Facebook or Twitter… please share at least two different updates that stress the importance of letter writing. <Worth One Entry>

If you do not have a blog, Facebook or Twitter… you can coordinate a letter writing event at your home or church. You could bring stationary and stickers to your church or small group to hand out to sponsors. <Worth One Entry>

If you do any of the above, please come back and leave a comment telling me! (If you shared a blog post, please share the link to that as well!) A week from today (10/26), I will choose one winner who will be able to pick any tee that they want from the Compassion Store!

Giveaway Rules: Participants must have a US mailing address. If the winner is not interested in a tee, they have the option to choose any item from the Compassion store that is less than $25.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday’s This & That

Outside of my window…  A stiff wind comes and goes, making the trees dance and leaves swirl down to the ground. Each day, more trees are left bare. Looking out, I am reminded that it is time for me to start filling our birdfeeders with black oil sunflower seeds. I miss seeing our little feathered friends visiting the back deck.

Around the house…  My girls are just starting to wake up and I hear them chattering and laughing upstairs. As I look around, I can see that my house is a mess. Yesterday’s glasses still sit on the table, boots have been kicked off and lay net to the woodstove, the couch blanket lies in a heap and the kitchen counters are cluttered with random stuff. My mental to-do list is growing.

On the reading list… I am still enjoying the 12 week study I am working on, Seeking Him by Nancy Leigh DeMoss. I have also started reading John MacArthur’s Twelve Unlikely Heroes. It focuses on people that God used to accomplish His work, and how they were unfaltering human.  They faltered, they struggled and at times they fell short. But God still used them. It really is a perfect book for me to read right now, as I struggle to come to grips with why God would see fit to use me.

I am hoping… I am feeling led to work more on memorizing scripture and hope to have more of God’s word hidden in my heart. If you have a minute, could you share one or two of your favorite Bible verses in the comments section?

My confession… This morning, I visited my Google Reader and had to do the dreaded “Mark All As Read”. My computer has been acting up and the bottom half of the screen keeps flickering and freezing. I haven’t been keeping up with other blogs as much as I would like to and when I stopped by my reader today, the number of unread posts was over 120. Overwhelming. I am also behind on replying to emails and some other computer work on my plate. We are not in a position to replace the laptop at this moment, so I am praying that this glitch is temporary or just goes away all together!

Some pictures from this week:

IMG_1415 A card that graced my mailbox and brought a smile to my face!

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I love the zig-zag patchwork feel of this scene.

Unfortunately, I don’t have any Links I Love to share today, due to my limited surfing.

I had a suggestion to make Thursday’s This and That a link up, so we’ll give it a shot. I did last week and no one wanted to link up, but I’ll try this week and maybe the next to see if there is interest.  Do you have a random This and That sort of post to share? You’re welcome to do so below!

Now to make use of the caffeine I just consumed and whip this house into shape! Homeschooling starts in about a half hour so it is time to straighten up! I hope that your day is blessed!

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Monday, October 15, 2012

Mail Call Monday!

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

Last week, we received a thank you note from our Johan in East India.

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We learned that Johan was able to buy many things with a family gift we sent in April. The list includes a “saree”, shirt, bucket, 2 piece lamp set, a hot pot, a water can, “bathery soap”, salt, oil and sandals. I hope that his family enjoys those items and we are blessed that we were able to send a financial gift to his family.

Today, I found a big envelope from the UK in my mailbox.  Our correspondence with Yolanda is a special circumstance and her financial sponsor lives in the UK. I’ve never had a look at a welcome packet from the Compassion UK office, so I was excited to tear into the envelope and take a look.

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The presentation folder is designed really well!

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Inside, I found our beautiful Yolanda’s photo in a nice cardstock picture frame that can fold out and stand up in its own! There is also a smaller business card with Yolanda’s picture, birthday and country, on the back it has a list of suggestions of ways to pray for her.

The folder also contained three little booklets: an introduction booklet about Yolanda (including another picture), a booklet about the sponsorship program and a booklet about letter writing!

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Also included included in the folder was some stationary for writing to the child and a plastic “webkey” which can be inserted into a USB port and it will take you directly to the UK MyCompassion site.

I really enjoyed being able to look through all of the materials in the UK version of the Welcome Packet! My heart is just so happy to see our Yolanda and how she has grown!

What about you? Did you receive any letters from your sponsored children recently? If so, please feel free to share in the comment section or by joining our Mail Call link-up below!

If you join in on the Mail Call, please be sure to tell your readers that you’re linking up with Blogging From The Boonies’ Mail Call Monday and link back to this post! You’re free to grab the Mail Call image at the top of this post as well!

Starting this week, if you participate in Mail Call Monday, I am also going to ask that you visit at least one other participant and read and comment on their post!

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Friday, October 12, 2012

Rescuing the Future

I am a big fan of watching the videos put out by Compassion International. I learned a long time ago, be sure to have a box of tissues within arm’s reach.

This week, Compassion released this short film which is so well done.  Please take some time to watch it!

Rescuing the Future

I also wanted to share that our family has had some spiritual warfare flare up this week. Please pray that we can keep our eyes focused on the Lord and His provision. I am keeping Psalm 3 and Psalm 37 close at hand to read when anxiety rises up within me but your prayers would be appreciated.

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday’s This & That

Outside of my window…

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From where my laptop usually sits, my view is of our dining room and the trees behind our house. The wind and rain from the recent days has shaken many of the leaves loose and a few of the trees are completely bare. Still, the flash of orange coming from the sugar maple and the deep maroon of an oriental maple bring color to the still-grey morning.

Around the house… My girls are chatting and eating breakfast while my mother-in-law’s cockatiel chatters and dances on his perch. A chill in the house means I’ll be getting up soon to start a small fire in the woodstove.

On the reading list… I am enjoying the women’s Bible study I’ve been attending on Wednesday nights. I really needed something like this with daily homework that forces me to get into the Word. Sometimes I am so distracted and “busy” that time in the Word takes a back burner, unfortunately. Reading the Bible is sort of like exercise. Both are good for me and they make me feel good, yet even though they should be done daily, I let other things take priority. Accountability (and homework) give me the added push that I seem to need!

I am re-reading… My friend JD has been such an encourager to me! I’ve read a comment that she left on my last blog post at least a dozen times.

A portion of that comment:

“My face hurts from smiling so hard!!
I saw this from early in 2011, when our preparations began for Ghana... saw it when I stood in the church office at Precious' Compassion center, (literally saw you signing the guest book!), saw it when God provided for your passports... and more... it was never a doubt, ever. The only thing missing from the picture was HOW God would do it, that is... until this compassion contest - my first thought was "Wow ... how creative a God we serve!" my next thought was, once again, as He did for Ghana... "God answers prayers long before we know how He will - faith in God can never disappoint."
Celebrating with you, my dear sister... "Never tire from doing what is good, for at the right time, you will reap a harvest - if we do not give up."
As for not being good enough, look what His word teaches us... Abraham and Sarah were "too old", David "too young, just a shepherd boy!", Mary was just a teenaged girl, unwed... The disciples were sinners... Lazarus was "too dead"... Forty years in the desert, isn't that "too long to survive"? The giants in the promised land were too big...”

I have also had to go back and read JD’s account of meeting our own beloved Precious in Ghana in 2011. I’ve been imagining myself in Ghana, if the Lord sees fit to send me there.

Feeling thankful… Really, that topic should just read I am feeling thankful. Period.

Feeling disappointed… I was searching the local online library catalog and was disappointed to find that there is no International Traveling for Dummies books. There really ought to be!

Now for some links I love!

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Jill from Compassion Family is having some great Compassion International related give-aways this week! Be sure to click the button below to go and check them out!

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Kimberly from Three Little Larks shared a very moving post about the Mathare Slum in Kenya. Take a minute to hop over and read Yea, Though I Walk Through (Mathare) Valley.

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Thanks to Compassion International’s Blog Month, I have stumbled upon many great blogs that are new to me.  Wynne Grace Appears is one of those blogs. I highly recommend stopping by to read Elizabeth’s post And I Named My Dreams, I Named Them Big.

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Here are a few pictures from this week!

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Because of a suggestion from one of my readers, I’ve decided to create a link-up for the Thursday’s This and That post.  Do you have a little of this and that to share? Feel free to link up below!

If you link up, please be sure to visit at least one other blogger that has joined in! It would be appreciated, too, if you share with your readers that you’re linking up with Blogging from the Boonies’ Thursday This & That. Thank you!

Time to finish the coffee, start the fire and get going on our day! Remember to look for opportunities to "do good”, today! May you be blessed, friends!

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

It Is Sinking In

It has been twenty-four hours since I read the news that I would be travelling with the Compassion Bloggers in 2013. While the news did come as a shock to me, as I was thinking it over yesterday I could see all of the ways that God had laid down this path before me and prepared me for this.

Amid my thoughts that I am surely “not enough” to go on a trip like this, comes the reminder that I have a strong and faithful God who is more than enough. This journey will, no doubt, bring me closer to Him and force me to focus on my reliance on Him.

To be honest, I have spent much of the last twenty-four hours in daydream land.

Here is what I did yesterday:

~ Wondered how I would keep myself occupied on an international flight when I can’t even seem to sit still for a half hour TV show.

~ Packed and re-packed an imaginary suitcase.

~ Googled “What do toilets look like in Africa?”

~ Triple underlined bring toilet paper on my list.

~ Thought about how I could tactfully decline eating goat or grub worms and explain that I am vegetarian without offending.

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No.  Just, no.

(The picture is one of the grub worms that Shaun Groves and some of the Compassion Bloggers ate on the trip to Ecuador last year. :shudder: Click the picture to read Shaun’s post about this “delicacy”.)

Here is what I did NOT do yesterday:

~ Laundry

~ Vacuum

~ Sweep

~ Clean out the litter box

~ Etc., etc., etc.

Needless to say, I really need to do those things today!

Thanks to the posts yesterday and today on the Compassion Blog, I’ve had a jump in blog traffic! If you’re new around here, Welcome!!

My passion is helping sponsors understand the importance of writing to their sponsored children and sharing tips for the letter writing relationship. I’ve got all sorts of links for you on my sidebar.

If you are a sponsor and it has been over a month since the last time you’ve written to your sponsored child, could I encourage you to hop over to the Compassion website and send a note? Your child would be so happy to hear from you!

Now, I can no longer neglect my to-do list so it is time to get going on my day! I hope that your day is blessed!

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Monday, October 8, 2012

I am in Shock!

My coffee sits next to me, unfinished, and my thoughts are whirling. In fact, I am sort of a mess this morning. Excitement has me shaky and jittery. I’m am giddy and just a little bit scared.

The first webpage I opened today was this one from the Compassion Blog.

When I read through and the screen scrolled down, I saw this.

blog month

Cue the adrenaline.

I’ll try to calm my whirling mess of thoughts long enough to pour out my gratitude.

To my God who has changed who I am and the direction of my life. He has placed a passion in me for advocating for children and supporting sponsors in their ministry to their Compassion families.

To my readers whose comments and emails bring joy to my days. The Blogging from the Boonies community is such a blessing to me!

To those who have sponsored one child or many, your act of generosity and obedience is making a difference!

To my OurCompassion family, your support has been simply amazing. I consider myself lucky to be a part of a community of Christians that is so passionate about sponsorship.

The words thank you just don’t seem to fully convey the gratitude I hold in my heart, but I will say it anyway.

Thank you!

If you are a new visitor, please take a few minutes to check out some of my most popular posts on the sidebar! You can also follow BFTB a number of ways by clicking the follow buttons on the upper right. I am always happy to talk Compassion or answer questions!

With a smile on my face and gratitude in my heart,

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Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sunday Praise

Recently, my friend Beverly teamed up with formerly sponsored Laurent to find sponsors for children in a Compassion International project in Rwanda. (You can read a post about Laurent from compassion’s blog here.)

Yesterday, Laurent travelled to center RW340 to tell three children that they had been sponsored. He also stopped to take make pictures and video of children at the project.

This young lady makes me smile, dancing with abandon! Laurent says she is dancing and happy because Compassion changed her life.

Simply beautiful!

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Friday, October 5, 2012

Autumn in the Boonies

There’s no doubt about it. Autumn is a gorgeous time in our part of New York.

These last few weeks, every time I drive down our road and into town, I find myself gasping or murmuring, “Wow!”

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Sometimes I find it truly difficult to drive while the scenery catches my eye. I can’t help but notice the beautifully formed trees dressed in flaming splendor.

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Walks are better in that I can slow down and look around a bit. I bask in the glow of the golden light.

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My eyes scan the ground and note the fine details of the leaves that have already fallen. The wind has shaken some leaves free and they dance down like nature’s confetti.

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Even on grey days, warmth shines through the leaves that still cling to branches. They seem to glow.

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I find it interesting how the hidden beauty in these leaves shows through when they begin to die. I cannot help but think of my Savior and the hidden beauty that came from His death. What an act of love.

When I look in awe at the amazing Autumn scenery, I praise God for the work He continues to do in my life. The beauty is a reminder of what was done for me, and for you, as an act of love and sacrifice.

May you be blessed, friends.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Thursday’s This and That

Outside of my window… The sky is a dreary grey but the changing leaves on the trees bring a cheerful burst of color to my view.

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Around the house… Kaya and Luna are working on memorizing their Bible verse for AHAPWA next week. Romans 11:33-34 is a bit longer than the ones they have done in the past, so they are trying to make up a song to help them remember.

Speaking of that, I got such a laugh as Luna was working on memorizing another Bible verse for their AHAPWA meeting last night. “You created my inmost being. You knit me from my mother’s wool….” Hmmm, close. This is the same girl who was sure John 3:16 said, “Whoever believes in Him shall have a turtle life.” Ha!

My confession… I had not handwritten letters to our Compassion children since early Spring, aside for a couple of greeting cards for birthdays. The summer is so action packed that I relied heavily on Compassion’s online letter writing tool. This week, I finally sat down to handwrite letters and put together bundles of goodies and I feel so much better about that. Now, to get all of my Christmas cards and packages assembled next week!

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Now for some Links I Love!

I am a big fan of the Homeschool Creations website! Recently, Jolanthe shared these great Bible verse printables! (Click the button below to check them out!)

Bible Verse Printables 200

So far, she has 70 verses uploaded and will be adding more in the future!

Bible Verse Printables

I will be using these with my own girls and I also plan to print some out for our English speaking Compassion children, too!

Another link I want to share is the link for Shaun Groves Music.

If you don’t already own it, I would encourage you to buy Shaun’s latest album, either on a CD or through iTunes.

This album is one of the best I have ever heard.  We keep the CD in my car and I’ve found that, even after listening to the songs over a hundred times, there are still lyrics that bring tears to my eyes. If you already have the album, it might be a good gift to share with friends and family.

Well, it is time for me to assist my girls with their learning before we head out for classes at the YMCA! I’m excited to be (finally) submitting my application for a passport today while my girls are in class!

I hope that your day is blessed! Thanks for stopping by!

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

31 Days (or Less) of Random Blogging

With coffee in hand, I clicked over to my Google Reader yesterday morning and a feeling swept over me.

Wait….  Did I miss something?

The entire blog-o-sphere seemed to have gotten a memo that must have landed in my junk folder. (Or maybe it was just sent to the “real” bloggers, and not me?)

The “31 Days of” meme.

Not to be left out, I decided that I would stake my claim and start 31 Days (or Less) of Random Blogging.

Because, basically, that is what I already had on the agenda anyway. Go me!

Are you doing anything specific for the month of October or is it business as usual for you?

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Don’t forget to connect with the BFTB community!