Adoption, Christmas, Humanitarian

CHRISTMAS :: 18 gifts that matter for #GivingTuesday (and every day)

#GivingTuesday is a terrific opportunity to look up and away from ourselves. Of course, this outlook shouldn’t be confined to just one day a year, but I can’t argue with a movement that encourages us all to reach out. And so, in celebration of Giving Tuesday, here are eighteen different ways to give a gift that gives. A gift that loves. A gift that matters.

For more information about a particular gift, simply click on that photo.

Image Map Provide EDUCATION IN CHINA Provide for FOSTER FAMILIES IN CHINA Provide ORPHAN CARE IN CHINA Provide MEDICAL CARE IN CHINA PROVIDE REFUGEE RELIEF around the world PREVENT human trafficking and exploitation Provide CLEAN WATER around the world FEED A HUNGRY BABY for a week PROTECT vulnerable women Provide WARM COATS AND SHOES CARE FOR Romanian orphans SUPPORT a crisis pregnancy center in Taiwan Sponsor a baby in a TAIWANESE ORPHANAGE Provide SURGERIES for infants and children in China Provide EVERYDAY NECESSITIES for care centers in China Sponsor the EDUCATION of a child in Ethiopia Build a HIGH SCHOOL in Ethiopia Provide a VOCATION for an adult or care for a child

1. Love Without Boundaries | EDUCATION | Provide education and school access to at-risk children in China ($10+)

2.Love Without Boundaries | FOSTER FAMILIES | Provide a family environment through foster care to orphaned and at-risk children in China ($10+)

3.Love Without Boundaries | ORPHAN CARE | Provide access to care, hope and healing to orphaned and impoverished children in China through LWB’s programs ($10+)

4. Love Without Boundaries | MEDICAL CARE | Provide medical care and surgeries to orphans and infants/children whose parents would not otherwise be able to provide care. ($10+)

5. Samaritan’s Purse | REFUGEE RELIEF | Provide tents, heaters, food and more to displaced people ($125+)

6.Samaritan’s Purse | PREVENT HUMAN TRAFFICKING | Provide education in at-risk locations to empower potential victims to recognize and avoid exploitation and trafficking. ($100+)

7. Samaritan’s Purse | CLEAN WATER | Provide a water filtration system to give 3,500 people access to clean water ($20+)

8. Samaritan’s Purse | PROTECT VULNERABLE WOMEN | Provide literacy classes, maternal/child health education, protection and support for victims of gender-based violence, and more. ($30+)

9. Samaritan’s Purse | ONE WEEK OF FOOD | Provide food for a baby or nursing mother for one week. ($9+)

10. Samaritan’s Purse | CLOTHES & SHOES | Provide warm coats, clothing and footwear to displaced people in refugee camps. ($25+)

11. Anchor of Hope Romania | FOSTER CARE | Provide family-like environments and other vital care for orphans, abandoned babies, and at-risk young people in Romania. (Any amount) To give directly to Christian & Marie Burtt, full-time missionaries serving in Romania with Anchor of Hope, click here.

12. Taiwan Xi En | CRISIS PREGNANCY HOME | Provide nurturing care for infants and expectant mothers at the Taiwan Xi En House of Hope. (Any amount)

13. Taiwan Xi En | SPONSOR A BABY | Provide diapers, formula, clothes, shelter and caring nannies for abandoned and at-risk infants 0-2y at the Taiwan Xi En Orphanage. ($50/mo)

14. Show Hope |  SURGERIES | Provide heart, cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries to orphans and infants/children in China. ($65+)

15. Show Hope | EVERYDAY NECESSITIES | Provide diapers, food, and clean drinking water to the special needs orphans living at the Show Hope care centers in China. ($12+)

16. Adami Tulu + Ziway Project | EDUCATION & FOOD | Provide access to education and nutritious meals for a school-age child in Ethiopia. ($19/mo)

17. Adami Tulu + Ziway Project | HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATION | Provide the resources necessary to build a high school so the Adami Tulu + Ziway students can continue their education. (Any amount) Or, donate in honor of a loved one, and send a card to a friend! ($20+)

18. Lifesong for Orphans | WHERE MOST NEEDED | Provide life-giving care for children, and sustainable micro-business opportunities for adults, in Bolivia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Ethiopia, Liberia, Zambia, Cambodia, India and Ukraine. On #GivingTuesday [2 December 2014] only, your gift to Lifesong for Orphans will be multiplied 4x through a matching grant when you give using this link. (Any amount)


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Poetry & Words

She’s outside of time. We’re in it.

One week and three days. That’s how long it’s been since Holly left this earth. Thirty years she lived on this side of eternal life.

“We are not alone / We are more than flesh and bone / What is seen will pass away / What is not is going home…” –Andrew Peterson

Donations to Ethopian school  Ziway Adami Tulu in memory of Holly Lutterman[Donate in Holly’s memory to the The Ziway + Adami Tulu Project]

And now, she’s home.

She’s dancing in the pure Light, healed. 

She’s outside of time. We’re in it. She’s free, and we’re trapped, feeling deeply the ebb and flow of new grief, constantly aware of life’s frailty.

The thing about death, you know, is that the living keep on living.

“The living can’t quit living,” Wendell Berry writes. “They can’t because they don’t. The light that shines into darkness and never goes out calls them on into life. It calls them back again into the great room. It calls them into their bodies and into the world, into whatever the world will require. It calls them into work and pleasure, goodness and beauty, and the company of other loved ones.”

And so we can’t quit. We don’t. We keep on, changed. Our perspectives shift, our priorities shift, our vision is altered. But we don’t quit.

We mourn, but not without hope. We grieve, but not without hope.

Hope is the anchor.

Hope points me to the “holy shores of uncreated light“, and the One who lights the way.

“‘Praise, Praise!’ I croak. Praise God for all that’s holy, cold, and dark. Praise him for all we lose, for all the river of the years bears off. Praise him for stillness in the wake of pain. Praise him for emptiness. And as you race to spill into the sea, praise him yourself, old Wear. Praise him for dying and the peace of death.

…Now that I can hardly walk, I crawl to meet him there. He takes me in his chilly lap to wash me of my sins. Or I kneel down beside him till within his depths I see a star.

Sometimes this star is still. Sometimes she dances. She is [Holly]’s star. Within that little pool of Wear she winks at me. I wink at her. The secret that we share I cannot tell in full. But this much I will tell. What’s lost is nothing to what’s found, and all the death that ever was, set next to life, would scarcely fill a cup.” -Frederick Buechner

Adoption, Inspiration

INSPIRATION :: Update on the Adoption Fundraising Auction (to be hosted on Mom’s Best Network!)

How Can I Help Orphans - How Can I Help People Who Want to Adopt - Adoption Fundraiser - Adoption Fundraiser Auction

Tina, my friend who’s adopting from Ethiopia, has been messaging me little updates as she moves along in the process, and let me tell you — my eyes have not been dry. I can’t share specifics, but God’s provision in every step has been nothing short of miraculous. God just keeps answering prayers. Part of me is in complete speechless awe, and part of me just says, “Yup, that’s my Jesus!”

While I can’t share the little personal details (the adoption is still mid-process), I can tell you Mom’s Best Network has generously agreed to host a fundraising auction for the Jensens! The auction will be held on the Mom’s Best Network Facebook page, May 1-6!

This is really big news, as the Mom’s Best Network platform will provide fantastic publicity and a far greater reach than I would be able to offer personally — it’s so thrilling and truly an answer to prayer!  There will be all kinds of fantastic items up for auction, and all proceeds will go to the Jensens — I encourage you to go like the page now so you don’t miss the auction when it happens!

Can I ask you to share this information with anyone you know who has a heart for adoption?

Or perhaps you’re a brand, a shop, or a handmade vendor, and you want to donate an item. It’s free publicity and link-back for you, and it’s EVERYTHING for one little child. You won’t even have to ship your item until later, when we contact you with the winning bidder’s shipment information.

Just email me (oaxacaborn at gmail.com) the following information:

• A photograph of the item(s) you wish to donate to the auction
• A brief description of the item(s)
• The starting bid amount(s) in $ USD (usually the retail value)
• Links to your Facebook page, website, and/or shop
• Your name and the best email address to reach you

(A few technical details — the bidding process will occur online, on the Mom’s Best Network Facebook page. Bids will be in the form of comments on the product photo. When the auction ends on May 6th, we will contact the winning bidder to obtain shipping information, and will then pass the mailing address on to you. And if you’d like to read more about the Jensen family, you can peruse their personal blog here.)

You guys, I’m believing that God will use this auction to provide far above and beyond what the Jensen’s need to complete this adoption. I know, I’m dreamin’ BIG here. But I believe. Tina was telling me yesterday, “I want to share with families that feel led that it [adoption] can be done even with our income. God provides so much and usually not the way you think!”

Let’s see what happens! Who else is excited?! Now let’s go share this post! ;)

Adoption, Handmade, Inspiration

INSPIRATION :: How YOU Can Help an Air Force Family Adopt a Child

I want to introduce you to my sweet friend Tina and her beautiful children (her Air Force husband, Erick, is not pictured). I’ve known Tina since I was, oh, maybe 11 years old or so? She runs Green by USA out of their home in South Dakota, he’s nearing deployment again, and they are part-way through the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia.
Tina Jensen image by OCD Photography
Jensen children image by OCD Photography
Recently, she held an online auction stocked entirely from items donated by friends and family — and all the winning bids combined resulted in $700 toward their adoption fund! There’s another auction coming up in April, and I want to help her make this one even more successful than the last.

I know many of you who read this blog own small businesses or have a handmade shop. Can you help me by donating an item to the auction?

It’s very easy to participate. Just email me, oaxacaborn@gmail.com, the following information:

  1. A photograph of the item you wish to donate to the auction.
  2. A brief description of the item.
  3. The starting bid amount in USD $.
  4. Links to your Facebook page, website, and/or shop.

We will send you a link to the online auction when it is live (sometime in April) so you can spread the word to your circle of friends. Once the auction has ended, we will let you know the name and mailing address of the winning bidder, so you can package and ship the item on to them. That’s it!

And if you don’t have any items to donate, would you be willing to share this post instead?

THANK YOU, FRIENDS!

Image Credit: Justine Luetschwager of OCD Photography

Handmade, Humanitarian, Inspiration

HANDMADE :: The Adami Tulu Project, or, How I’m Sponsoring a Child in Ethiopia with One Etsy Sale Per Month

I first heard about the Adami Tulu Project through friends who volunteer for the organization, and who had recently traveled to Ethiopia to work with Adami Tulu school. I hadn’t checked out the website, though, until this afternoon.

Children at the Adami Tulu School

As I was browsing through the pages of children awaiting sponsorship, I read the following:

…Your sponsorship cost is only $19 per month – some 37% less expensive than most programs – and 100% of that money (after PayPal fees) goes into the field, spent on the costs of Adami Tulu School. 0% goes to US administration.

And I thought to myself, “Nineteen dollars. That’s less than what I charge for ONE hat in my Etsy shop. I’d only have to sell ONE hat each month to sponsor an Ethiopian child.”

All afternoon and into the evening, I couldn’t get it out of my mind. I kept talking to God about it, and kept thinking about it. (Anytime I think too hard about orphans, and little kids needing love and food and blankets, I have a hard time not crying. But I was with Josiah and Aveline, in the middle of the grocery store, where crying just won’t do.)

I checked my email when I got home, and lo and behold — someone bought a hat while we were out running errands.

And I knew exactly what I needed to do.

So, meet little Yeabsira. He’s 4 years old, an orphan, and lives with his grandmother.
Yeabsira - The Adami Tulu Project - Sponsor a Child

Thank you, dear God, for reminding me today what is really important. Thank you for reminding me that You are the Giver of all good things. For what do you require of me but to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly before You? (paraphrase of Micah 6:8)

[All images via The Adami Tulu Project]