Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Politics and Orphans



photo by stevendepolo

Numerous sources are reporting that the two Presidential candidates spent close to $2 billion on their combined campaigns.  Add to that the amounts spent by every local politician - senators, sheriffs, etc - who were on the ballot yesterday, and the amount is truly staggering.  All this money was donated by someone - either to a political party, the candidates themselves, or to a PAC.  I get that advertising costs money, as does travel and swanky parties for election night.

But as I sat here last night after putting Pumpkin to bed, and wondering when we'll get "The Call" from our adoption agency about a placement, I couldn't help thinking about other ways that $2 billion could be spent.

According to foodfororphans.org, $92 will feed an orphan one meal a day for an entire year.  If people contributed the same amount of money to orphan care as they do to presidential campaigns, we could feed 21,739,130 orphans for an entire year.

Or, with average adoption costs around $30,000 (Adoptive Families Cost and Timing of Adoption Survey), that same money could help create forever families for 66,666 orphans.

It breaks my heart to think of the millions of orphans around the world who went to sleep last night hungry, lonely, and afraid.  A dear friend and I are starting a nonprofit organization to help adoptive families with the costs of adoption.  As adoptive mothers ourselves, we know how hard the road can be.  We believe that the cost of adoption should never prevent a willing couple from opening their home to a child in need of a forever family.

We have to finish fundraising for our own adoptions before we start fundraising for the nonprofit, so there's no conflict of interest.  But I'm confident that if people can donate over $2 billion dollars to political campaigns, they'll find it in their hearts to donate to a truly worthy, life-changing cause.  I'm excited to see what God will do with it.

If you feel compelled to help orphans, one way to help is by donating to a worthy charity that helps provide food, shelter, or medical care for orphans. Two organizations I like are foodfororphans.org and 127millionsorphans.org.  Or, prayerfully consider helping someone who know who's adopting to raise the money they need.  Volunteer to help with their fundraisers, donate money to their cause, or pray for them. 

Everyday, I dream about the 2 children who are not yet part of our physical family, but who are growing in my heart day by day.   I pray that we get the call soon so our family can be complete.  And I pray for the millions of orphans worldwide to find loving, forever families.



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Dave Ramsey, Here We Go!

We just got back from our first Financial Peace University class today. We've been basically following
along with his plan for about 2 years now, but we don't always have the "gazelle-like intensity" he calls for.  We sometimes take a leisurely stroll through the plains rather than running as intensely as a gazelle runs from a cheetah.

We're proud of our decision to adopt without going into debt, but we know it'll take a lot more focus and intensity to pay off all our debt, especially my student loan - Yikes!  But I know we can do it.

I'm excited to have the accountability, and the support behind us by being in the class.  We've made TONS of changes to our lifestyle, but I know we'll discover even more ways as we talk with others in the class.  (Like, maybe I'll actually use the cute little cash envelopes I made earlier this year - LOL)  See, I have great intentions.  Accountability actually helps me follow through.  Can anyone relate?

Want to know what the buzz is about?  Find out more here:




and here



Let me know what you think!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Everyday Preschool - Experimenting With Sound




Pumpkin took a break from helping me unload the dishwasher to make music on a pot lid.  Inspired by the impromptu concert,  I encouraged her to experiment by banging on different pots and pans.  We talked about the materials each object was made of, and how the sounds compared.  We explored pitch, volume, resonance, and more.

She discovered that glass is higher-pitched than plastic.  Wood has a deeper sound.

She especially liked the stoneware.  Each size had its own unique sound.

We even had fun making up our own silly songs to the rhythms she played.


When she was finished, she put some pot lids on her feet.  "Look, Momma!  I'm doing Stomp!"  (Don't worry I held her hand... )

It was a simple, quick science experiment that didn't take any advanced planning.  (Yippee!)  Best of all, it capitalized on something she was already interested in, and allowed us to live in the moment while adding a bit of learning and critical thinking to the mix.  Love it!

Other spur-of-the-moment sound experiments we've done:
  • Hitting different things with a rock (lamp post, concrete, bench, tree trunk, boulders, other small rocks).  We got to talk about hollow vs. solid, vibration, echoes and more.
  • Singing, talking, yelling into tunnels and tubes we find at parks and playgrounds.
  • Talking, singing into a fan.  It makes a fabulous choppy sound that elicits TONS of giggles every time.
How do you turn everyday experiences into impromptu experiments?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Old School is Cool Again






Well, at least in my world :)  You know all those retro pictures floating around Facebook lately - pictures of old-fashioned egg beaters and Rubik's cubes telling you to re-post if you recognize it?  I feel like that in my house today.

Pumpkin needed a booster seat.  She didn't want one for over a year because sitting right on the kitchen chair made her feel like a big girl.  But she was eating soup the other day and the bowl was higher than her nose.  I knew we had to do something.

But we've been on a serious spending diet for the last year or so, saving up money for our adoption fund.  Thriftiness has become our new mantra.  "How can we fix it instead of replace it?", and "What do we already have that will work?" have become weekly, if not daily, questions.

So when Pumpkin needed a boost, I immediately went Old School and duct taped some phone books together.  My parents would be so proud!

Then it hit me.  That's exactly what they did "back in the day."  Back before there were 500 television channels urging us to buy and consume every moment of our lives.  They painted boxes to make play stoves and made boats out of milk cartons.  Our parents used what they had, and we used our imaginations a lot.

There's a lot to be said for that way of living, especially in these tough economic times.  Don't get me wrong; I LOVE my microwave and my computer.

But learning to be content with what we have, learning that less is truly more, and that we don't have to buy the latest and greatest techie gadgets just 'cuz everyone else has them, has been so freeing.  And the joy of seeing an extra $30 go into our adoption fund rather than the Target cash register is the best reward of all!




Sunday, December 18, 2011

Even Supermodels Don't Look Super All the Time

Since my daughter was born, I find myself more and more critical of a media that worships unattainable standards of beauty and thinness.  I know this may sound critical since I just posted an 11-part series (!) on Top 10 Makeup Mistakes last month, but it's not.  I believe women owe it to themselves to reflect their inner strength and beauty by looking their best and putting their best foot (and face) forward.  But let's face it, ladies.  Most of us will never look like a supermodel on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.  (Besides, they shoot those covers in January, and who wants to try and look hot while wearing a teeny tiny bikini in frigid water?  Too much work for me!)

We are constantly bombarded with images of The Beautiful People - on TV, movies, billboards, magazines - you name it.  How can we not feel insecure, like we don't measure up?  Take these stats, for example.
• Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful (up from 2% in 2004)
• Only 11% of girls globally are comfortable using the word beautiful to describe themselves
• 72% of girls feel tremendous pressure to be beautiful
• 80% of women agree that every woman has something about her that is beautiful but do not see their own beauty
• More than half (54%) of women globally agree that when it comes to how they look, they are their own worst beauty critic
SOURCE: Dove Research: The Real Truth About Beauty: Revisited
                                               
I've struggled with this lack of self-esteem most of my life.  When I considered starting my own business as an Independent Mary Kay Beauty Consultant, I put off the decision for over a year, spouting the usual excuses of being too busy and not having time.  But underneath it all, my real fear was that I wasn't beautiful enough.

Then I saw this video clip from the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty.  It helped me to realize that helping women learn about skin care and makeup application isn't about making us all look like supermodels.  It's about celebrating the beauty that's inside every woman, and helping her feel better about herself.  I LOVE this video clip, and wanted to share it with all of you.  I hope you enjoy it.



Is your perception of beauty distorted?  I'd bet we could all look like supermodels if we had a team of makeup artists, hair stylists, and Photoshop experts at our disposal.  But real beauty - our own beauty - is so much more interesting. 

Here's to your unique beauty that is yours and yours alone!  Know that you are beautiful and worthy daughters of the Most High God.  You are hand-knit by God, whose works are wonderful.  YOU are wonderful, my friends.  Stay beautiful!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Oceanography Lessons in the Bathtub

As Pumpkin was taking a bath this evening, she starts pushing the water around her body with her arms.  As the current circles around her, my very first thought is how I'd often do that as a kid, too.  I watch her for a bit, then decide to talk about it.  I ask if her duckies are moving with the current she's making.  She glances at them intently as only a 3 year old can before answering yes.

So we talk about ocean currents and waves, and how they make things move in the ocean.  We relate it to the Disneynature Oceans movie we watched earlier today.  (More science lessons there: the food chain - lots of things get eaten in that movie; life cycles - sea turtles hatch from eggs on land and scurry back to the water as soon as they're born; taxonomy - though I wrack my brain to remember King Philip Came Over For Green Spinach, I opt for a simple preschool version of "Whales have blowholes because they're mammals and breathe air, and sharks have gills because they're fish and breathe water.")

Then my precocious 3 year old attempts to make a whirlpool to sink her duckies.  As she splashes water all over us, we erupt into giggles and I'm reminded what a tremendous blessing homeschooling is, and how learning opportunities are all around us, every moment.  We definitely don't keep regular school hours.  For a 3 year old, life is school.  I hope she continues to see each day as filled with amazing discoveries just waiting to be experienced.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tree of Thanks, Wacky Preschooler Style

As the season of grateful reflection is replaced by the holiday rush, here's something to make you smile.  My family did a Tree of Thanks last week.  We took turns saying what we were thankful for, and my hubby wrote them down.  Well, all but one, which Pumpkin insisted on writing herself.  She did a wonderful job of gluing all the leaves to the tree without any help from us, but some of the things she was thankful for left us scratching our heads.  Her selections are marked for you (as if they weren't obvious...)  Here's our tree:


Goats??  I have no idea where she thinks of these things, but it's never a boring day at our house....