My Favorite Handmade Gift [Currently]

I keep meaning to show y’all my Mother’s Day gift. If we’re Twitter or FB friends, you’ve seen it. But I love it so much, I might tell you about it again tomorrow. But in case  I don’t, come back. I like to mix the crazy up.

[Speaking of crazy, I’m so busy packing 1000 pounds of donations in 18 suitcases, getting ready for Africa (leaving in 15 days!) and remembering all my kids  last-week-of-school activities, that I’m a pretty scatterbrained person right now. I have forgotten about 4 important things this week!]

Anyway, back to my pretty:

My hubby read this tutorial, bought some bronze wire, a few pearls (one for each of my kids) and a twist of pliers, he made me my favorite new necklace! He said it was surprisingly easy and inexpensive.

Every time I wear it, people stop and ask me about it. I brag that my hunky hubby made it. (I leave out the part about it being easy and inexpensive!)

I love that man.

P.S. I *totally* emailed him the tutorial.

WFMW: How You Can Help Joplin

I survived a deadly tornado when I was 18 years old. I was home from college for the weekend when an unsuspecting tornado ripped through our neighborhood, destroying homes and killing neighbors. My mom and dad dove on top of me to protect me from flying debris.

It was terrifying.

The war-torn aftermath and cleanup were heartbreaking. And the fear from such a catastrophic event stayed with me for years.

I’ll never forget going to the local school and digging through clothes from the Salvation Army shelter.

Red Cross drove up and down our street for days and days, feeding us as we began the tedious cleanup.

I can’t imagine if 75% of my town had been destroyed.

With the death toll climbing, Joplin needs our help.

Please consider doing something:

  • World Vision: Text”‘TORNADO” to 20222 to give a $10 donation. You can also donate online or call 1-888-511-6443 to support World Vision’s effort.
  • The Salvation Army’s disaster-relief efforts in Joplin can be supported by texting “JOPLIN” to 80888 to make a $10 donation. You can also donate through their website or by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY.
  • Red Cross is providing shelter and distributing needed supplies. Text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation, or visit thewebsite to donate, give blood or volunteer
  • Make and send hygiene kits to Heart to Heart
  • Convoy of Hope is delivering food and water to Joplin. Those wanting to help can text the word “CONVOY” to 50555 to make a $10 donation. You can also donateonline or by calling 1-417-823-8998.
  • Christ the King Church, a local Joplin church, has a great list of ways to help
  • You can also mail items listed below to-

James River Assembly (link to give online thru this church)

Attn: *Cherish Kids* Adoption/Foster Families in Joplin

6100 North 19th Street

Ozark, MO 65721

-Rubbermaid type totes with lids—medium and large sizes -Hand sanitizer -Gift cards–Wal-Mart and Target -Cases of water -Bags of groceries filled with food items (non-perishables) -Diapers -Wipes -Snack items -Toiletries (soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, contact solution, feminine hygiene products, etc.) -work gloves, plastic tarps and -Pack and Play type cribs

  • Pray for peace, healing and comfort to those injured, grieving, displaced, suffering.

*Please don’t forget next week’s THEMED WFMW: Summer Boredom Buster Ideas!

[Maternity] Home School {Giveaway}

This past year has been — how do you say–UNEXPECTED.

I never thought my trip to Africa in 2010 would result in forming a non-profit to empower a young lady to open a maternity home in Kenya.

But God knew. (By the way, the not knowing part is called protection and prevention of ulcers)

Maureen, (who by the way is conducting Staff Orientation TODAY at the home) Executive Director, has a graduate degree in education. She values education and besides offering these precious pregnant girls basic necessities, like a home, the Bible, counseling, prenatal care, sustainable life and job skills, we also wanted them to receive an education.

And that’s how a homeschool classroom in a maternity home was born.

I’ve never homeschooled my children, so there was a big learning curve regarding the process, curriculum, etc. Since the girls will be speaking English (the school/trade language in Kenya), I knew I had some work to do. Some readers and Twitter friends walked me through the basics.

Well, it turns out Monarch, a premier online Christian homeschool curriculum was reading tweets. After working out many details (like having several new laptop computers donated by anonymous bloggers), Monarch has generously and graciously donated two licenses for every subject (excluding history) in grades 7-11 for the Mercy House to use  from Alpha Omega Publications! It’s around a $3600 value. (And in full disclosure, I offered an extended ad on my sidebar to them).

I’m so excited about what we will be able to offer these girls! I’m in the process of learning the ropes through these training options:

Ready for the rest of the good news?? I know so many of my readers homeschool….

They are also generously giving away a 5-subject Monarch set as well as 3 more subjects that 3 people will win!!

Please click here to “like” the AOPP Facebook page and here for the Monarch Facebook page.

Entry is easy. Visit this landing page to fill out the simple entry form!

I think the monetary value of the curriculum has obviously been a huge blessing to our small non-profit, but it’s the on-going partnership I’m excited about. From communicating with Monarch, I’m very touched by their sincere concern for the girls of Kenya. I know they will be following their progress closely!


psst….I’m over at (in)courage today. I’d love for you to join me.

When You Feel Unworthy

I slammed the bathroom door and exhaled loudly.

Doubt and defeat assailed me.

My husband looked up from shaving. I knew he’d heard the harsh words between my kids and I. The battle would be forgotten, but not the words. I beat myself up: why do I engage? Why don’t I just walk away…?

It was a rough Sunday morning with a whiny preschooler refusing her clothes, an emotional tween outburst, and an easily distracted son still not dressed for church, not to mention the constant sibling arguing and the mom who’d had enough, biting off every head she could find.

I’m not going to lie:  it was all very ugly.

My thoughts immediately went to our upcoming trip to Africa in just three weeks.  With slumped shoulders, I put words to doubts: Why are we going to Africa? Why does God want us? We aren’t worthy of this.

I’m not worthy of the task before me. I have no business leading a non-profit. I am terribly inadequate and not qualified to travel across the globe with my family to help at Mercy House.

I am prone to sin. Prone to wander, Lord I feel it:

And after I dumped that verbal mess on my husband, he pulled me close and said, “Good, that’s exactly how you should feel. We aren’t worthy. We are inadequate. We are nothing without Jesus.

But He is worthy. He is adequate. He is everything.

He will go before us, work through us, use our unworthy mess of a family to accomplish His purpose.”

And then I recognized the attacker, the one who seeks to destroy my soul and uses my own weaknesses to try and accomplish it. The one who uses the people I love the most to discourage me the greatest, the evil one whispering “Kristen, you aren’t worthy of this calling,” into my ear.

I closed my eyes and listened to my wise husband. I acknowledged the spiritual war raging and I remembered the girl I love across the ocean waiting for me. I offered it all to Him. I will not be defeated by doubt and fear.

When I feel unworthy, it’s probably because I am.

But I’m leaning heavily on the One who is worthy.


I Needed This

Last week was hard. We had a plans to go to the beach (something I honestly don’t love-love, but the rest of my people do. Love).

As we packed our lunch for the day, we received more bad news. I didn’t want to go.

But it was exactly what I needed:

"Mom! There is sand on my hands!"

"Dude." (new favorite word)

Yes, that is seaweed in the background. Galveston is not known for it’s beauty. But we aren’t picky.

This girl LOVES the beach. "Mom are there fleas in seaweed?"

My hubby (fourth child), building a sandcastle.

"Mom, do I have a farmer tan?"

"This is the best day ever!"

My kids teach me that even in sorrow, there is joy.

And now I’m looking forward to the next trip to the beach.


Are you a beach lover or a there-is-sand-in-every-crevice-and-the-water-is-freezing-kind-of-girl like me?