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I mentioned earlier that my daughter, Gaubri, and I plan to go on a mission trip in March with a group from Faith Community Church so I wanted to share more details.
The trip  will be 10 days and 9 nights in Chalchuapa, El Salvador, March 8-17th. We plan to have a vacation Bible school, do door-to-door evangelism, build a home for a church family that lost their home in a typhoon, and spend some time in a music ministry as we serve a church in Chalchuapa.
This is the timeline we were given in December:
TIMETABLE – This is a best estimate of the next 13 weeks:
  • Immediate – Passport secured DONE!
  • 12/19/11 or before – Prayer / financial support letters out 1/2 DONE
  • 01/11/12 – Team meeting after Wednesday service / El Salvador pics / Q & A  LOOKING FORWARD TO THIS, MATT GRECO IS IN EL SALVADOR THIS WEEK SO HE WILL HAVE MORE INFO TO SHARE WITH US DURING THIS MEETING.
  • 01/15/12 – $400 EACH deposit due – We’ll buy tickets after we have this deposit!
  • 01/29/12 – Team meeting / covered dish dinner – Time and place TBA
  • 02/12/12 – $500  EACH payment due
  • 02/29/12 – Team meeting after Wednesday service
  • 03/04/12 – $600  EACH (balance) payment due
  • 03/07/12 – Wednesday Night dedication of El Salvador team
  • 03/08/12 – Leave for El Salvador!

I am super excited for the opportunity to go and serve in El Salvador and be a part of this team.  I am also so grateful for the chance to take Gaubri to experience another culture and expand her view of the world, I think she will come back with a much better appreciation of how very blessed she is.

Please pray for all of us as we prepare and if you feel led to contribute to the trip you can make donations through Faith Community Church.

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Outside in Kansas City~Sunny and 37 degrees.  We have been enjoying record highs lately and the forecast predicts 60 degree weather again this week!

I am thinking~that I would like to blog on a regular basis this year. I am also hoping to start training for a 5k and am entering into a new discipleship relationship.  Excited about new things in 2012.

I am thankful for~family time over the holidays.  It was such a blessing to have all our children and grandchildren with us on Christmas.  I know there will be years that this can’t happen so I truly appreciate it.

In my kitchen~I am planning to eat from the current fridge, freezer and pantry offerings this week.  It will help to clear things out before they go bad and save some money after the Christmas spending. After that I am planning to try out Once a Month Mom’s real food challenge and the Whole Food’s Menu.

I am wearing~My new fleece pullover from Land’s End, Jeans, Nike’s.

Last creative endeavor~is to regularly entertain, distract, and care for a nine month old 😉

Sleeping Sweetie!

I am going~to travel to El Salvador with a group from Faith Community Church for 10 days in March.  My daughter, Gaubri, will be going too. We are very excited about going to serve others and share the love of Christ.

Gaubri

Can’t wait for~tomorrow, every day is a new adventure. Longer term I am looking forward to a trip to Europe in spring 2013, Lord willing.

Family News~We are down to five people at our house right now.  Our foster son who has been with us since last January transitioned to his new home the day before Thanksgiving. He is being adopted by a family member who really loves him so this is a great ending for our placement with him.  We really need prayer about future placements, if, who, when, we take in more children.  Initially we were just focused on having a “break” and even though we have gotten several calls about placements we have told everyone that is what we are doing.  We still have our foster daughter, and she is spending three nights a week with her birth mom so we are in a very doable place right now. Unfortunately (or fortunately) that internal nudging that there is such a need and the constant reminder from the calls and the postings looking for placements on the foster care email loop keep me pondering what our next step should be.

Current Read~I am starting Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History by Diana Lynn Severance.

I am hearing~The hum of the computer, Brent took Gaubri and Shakur to basketball practice and baby D is taking a nap.

I am hoping~to keep the household organized with a new app I purchased for my Iphone called Motivated Moms 2012. It also comes in printable versions and breaks household tasks down into daily lists, similar to the old card system that the Sidetracked Executives used or Flylady without the deluge of emails.

Around the house~the dead Christmas tree has been taken to the woods and the living room is back to normal. The house seems very empty and quiet after the holiday invasion…

Simple pleasure~quiet time to blog and meal plan.

“He executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.”  Deuteronomy 10:18

This past weekend Brent and I traveled to Sioux Falls, SD to attend a workshop.  Hope for Orphans presents Your Church and the Orphan:  A Group Workshop Experience on Orphans Ministry in Your Church.  It was very profitable and here are the areas that were covered (in a nutshell).

“Least of These” Theology 101

A.  The Bible mentions caring for the poor and oppressed approximately 2100 times in Scripture.

B.  Who were the poor?
     1.  Aliens (strangers)
     2.  Widows
     3.  Orphans
     4.  Other:  destitute, opressed, sick and in prison, hungry, need shelter, and are naked, weak and afflicted.

C.  Where does caring for these groups of people rank on God’s priority list?
      Exodus 22:21-22, Ezekiel 16:49, Micah 6:8, James 1:27

Historical Overview of Orphan Care

A.  The seven primary ways by which orphans have historically been cared for:
      1.  Extended family
      2.  Intra-community
      3.  Inter-community
      4.  Foster Care
      5.  Group Home
      6.  Orphanage/Children’s Home
      7.  No Care

The Twenty-First Century Church and the Orphan-Care Crisis

143 million orphans–can we get to them all?
There are approximately 380,000 churches in North America.
There are approximately 2.3 billion professing Christians worldwide.

In Summary

1.  God has always had an expectation that His followers will care for those in society who are marginalized.
2.  Orphans have been cared for in a number of different ways throughout history, all of them having various advantages and disadvantages.
3.  The church is God’s answer to the orphan question.

One thing that was discussed that really stood out to us from this section was that people are not aware of the orphans in the United States.  In the past their was an orphanage or orphanages in each city that held the orphans and people were aware of it and took gifts, adopted out, etc… Now our orphans are in foster homes across our nation and are invisible.  That is not to say that all children in foster care are without parents but almost 120,000 have had parental rights terminated and are available/need to be adopted.

Outside in Kansas City~It is an absolutely beautiful autumn day!

I am thinking~That it has been a long time since I last posted and how to best catch everyone up on the many things that have been going on.

I am thankful for~The great opportunities Taylor had to learn skills this week while helping the Hallams move into their home in the Northeast.  He was able to help lay laminate flooring and is now excited about replacing the flooring at our house.  Nicholas and Jeremy were both blessed to be able to learn valuable skills while serving the church too.

In my kitchen~All is clean and quiet and I love my new kitchen faucet!

I am wearing~Black knit shirt and teal skirt.

Last creative endeavor~ No time!

I am going~With Brent to Sioux Falls, SD next weekend for a workshop about starting an Orphan’s Ministry at your church.

Can’t wait for~ Spending time with my husband next weekend.  We have reservations at a B&B.

Family News~Luca Ethan was born Tuesday, September 16th, at 1:52 p.m.  Luca weighed 8 lb. 8 oz. and measured in at 21 inches.

Current Read~Attaching in Adoption by Deborah D. Gray, Parenting the Hurt Child by Keck and Kupecky.

I am hearing~Insects in the backyard.  I guess you can tell there are no kids at home right now.

I am hoping~To get the house cleaned and in order in time for another case study visit and Nicholas’ coming home on Wednesday and bringing along a friend to stay for the weekend.

Around the house~I am trying to get home repairs caught up before we receive our first foster children.  I started a plumbing project last week to repair the leaky faucet and leaky sink.  We ended up having to replace the faucet and the sink basket.  Of course none of the old stuff wanted to come off and we did not have the best tools for the jobs…First I sent out the emergency call to my brother, Brad, who came over to help me when I still thought I could repair the faucet.  He injured himself in the meantime, so sorry Brad.  Later after I found that everything would have to be replaced Jeremy took pity on me and came over to help (ie do most of the job) his temperment, skills, interests, match up to this a lot better than his dad or youngest sibling.  Yay!   Jeremy to the rescue again.

Simple pleasure~Painted my toenails with new red polish that my mom bought me called I’m Not Really a Waitress.

Plans for the weekend~This weekend Brendan came home with grandpa and spent the night on Friday.  We met with his mom and dad at the City Market Saturday morning to hang out and return him.  It was a beautiful day and we came home with spices from Planters, pumpkins for the porch, and ground chuck from Pleasant Pasture Farms.  Brent is replacing all the guts in one of the toilets today and treated the yard to try to get rid of our mole infestation.   Next weekend is the trip to South Dakota.

This past week has been extremely busy, so I am just chilling out tonight and planning to work like crazy tomorrow after a good nights sleep.  Wednesday night, July 17th, the possibility arose that another driver was needed for the FCC Youth Mission Trip to Michigan.  Thursday morning I found out that I was going to go and we left on Saturday morning.  We were gone for 8 days and had a great time.  We were very busy, worked hard and were inspired and challenged to serve the Lord in ways we never imagined. We went to serve a church plant named Parkway Community Church that we learned about from our friends Josh and Missi Linebaugh who moved from Kansas City to Grand Blanc, MI almost a year and a half ago for Josh’s residency.  We miss them tremendously and it was such a blessing to spend time with them and serve their new church.  Please pray for Parkway and the devoted, passionate pastor, Andrew Lucas, and his charming, hilarious wife, Sera.  There are some real challenges here and I look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store.

As you can all tell the post-a-day goal has not been met.  I made the trip to Oklahoma, came home managed to unpack, do laundry, and basically pack again before I left early Thursday morning for Springfield, MO. 

I did spend Monday evening painting my picnic table and benches with leftover exterior trim paint from my house. I took back the paint cans that I purchased to paint my lawn chairs and small matching table and made an exchange for two new cans of the same paint.  I took the new cans home and they quit working even faster than the first two. I swore that I was finished but when I went back to the hardware store I decided to try “one more time”  I checked to be sure that these were from a different batch code so cross your fingers and I will let you know how it goes this time after I get home and give it a try.  I will post pictures of the now infamous lawn chairs if I ever get them successfully facelifted. 

Tuesday afternoon was spent cleaning/organizing my hall closet with a dear friend and then spending a little time catching up with her while relaxing in my backyard. 

Wednesday I took the boys to work then went to Alicia’s house and baby sat while she ran errands.

Bright and early this morning, Thursday; Brent, Taylor and I left for Springfield.  We arrived in time to make a WalMart trip before the 11:30am game.  Taylor’s team lost the first game against the Nationals 2-1 and then won the second game against the Sluggers 13- 6.  We sat in the shade the whole time but when we checked into the hotel I found that I am really sunburned.  Just a reminder how much sun exposure you get that you aren’t even aware of. 

Dinner:  Panera-soup & salad

Reading:

  1. World Magazine
  2. The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham
  3. Container Gardens 2008
  4. Money for Life
  5. Do Hard Things by Alex & Brett Harris

I am listening to:

Baseball on T.V., yes that is what you do on a baseball trip, you go to the ball park and watch baseball then you go to your room and watch baseball then you hang out with other families from the team and talk about baseball.  If you have time you run to the batting cages and practice a little baseball.  I love my baseball boys!

Creative Endeavor:

I brought my pictures from the Greece trip and a ready made scrapbook kit that Alicia gave me a while back.  I am hoping that during free time here I can get a good start on a scrapbook.  Brent will have to spend some time working so maybe I can get it done then. 

 

The Panathinaiko Stadium I am still working on how to get slide shows on my blog or at least organized pictures but am not happy with the results yet.  Here is one picture from Athens, Greece on our recent trip. 

The Panathinaiko Stadium saw a return to the glory of its past, when in 2004 it was used once again as an Athens Olympic stadium.  Archery events would be hosted here, and it served as the finishing point for the men’s and women’s marathons.  Taylor enjoyed our stop here!

Go here for a virtual tour, it is huge.  http://www.destination360.com/europe/greece/kallimarmaron.php

The last few days are kind of a blur, I know there was a Thursday but cannot tell you exactly what happened.  The usual, driving everyone to work, picking them up, laundry.  That evening my mother and I went out to eat at Panera which was wonderful as usual and then to a chick flick, Made of Honor, we had a great time. 

Friday, Taylor did not work and Nicholas drove himself so no delivery service that morning.  Taylor and I stayed home and got ready to go out of town.  I tried to work on a project which was spray painting our old lawn chairs and tables with this special spray paint called “Fusion” that is made to paint plastics.  It has a picture of lawn furniture on the can.  It works great, if you can keep the can working.  I bought two cans and neither would stay unclogged for long enough to use half the can so the project is half done and I need to go exchange them for new ones.  I tried cleaning out the lids but that did not help.  It is amazing how much better they will look after the face lift.  Not a great idea to do a project like this when you have plans though I started the weekend with forest green fingertips and nails. 

After Nicholas and Brent got off work we dropped one of Nicholas’ BMW’s off at Tires Plus for an alignment and then headed to Oklahoma to see Brent’s mom and other assorted family members.   Ginny, Jeremy, and Libby went from their house too.  We had a low key family weekend mostly eating and hanging out.  Brent, Nicholas, Taylor, and Brent’s oldest brother, Dwayne went to see Get Smart on Saturday night and thought it was very funny.  I have been out of the loop of all the jokes ever since. 

We got to Kansas City about 7:30 Sunday night, picked up Taco Bueno for dinner and retrieved our dog, Ruby, from my mom’s then headed home. 

Lists

The lists I have included seem to be popular and I wanted to share a site I found that has a lot of them. Check out:  www.printablechecklists.com.

Budgeting Recommendation

If the cash in assorted envelopes has never quite worked for you check this out: http://www.mvelopes.com/

My husband and son are highly recommending it.  Here is the introduction-

Manage your Personal Finances Online!

Mvelopes Personal is the most effective online personal finance and spending management system ever. This revolutionary, award-winning system applies innovative financial software technology to the traditional envelope method of budgeting to help you manage your finances, while living within your income – and most of it’s done automatically!

 

Yesterday was Father’s Day and we have several fathers in our Kansas City family right now Brent, Chad, and Jeremy. Brent was able to spend his morning at church then on to the ball park with his two youngest sons.  Hey, good times, Father’s Day at the baseball park what could be better?  The game was rained out but that did not stop them from going to lunch with old baseball buddies and glorying over old times.  Taylor was amazed at the detail they could all remember from games years ago. 

I was grocery shopping for the ingredients for our “Greek” meal and trying to make some hard copies of pictures from the recent trip to Greece.  I will post some soon, I made a slideshow with slide.com and could not figure out how to imbed it.   I made Gyro’s, Pita Bread, and Greek Salad.  Alicia made the best Baklava I have ever had, it was delicious, oh why did I send it all home with her? 

Who was here?  Brent, Shelly, Nicholas, Taylor, Alicia, Chad, Brendan, Lillian, Jeremy, Ginny, Libby, Barbara and Brad. 

Let’s just say that as far as household progress I am now two steps back after the family invasion but it was worth it. 

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