Our other kids

Our other kids

I write about our three children all the time. Their pictures are scattered all over this website.

But we consider that we have several other children. Kids we’ve never actually met, but who we love very much.

The oldest is one that Josh and his sister sponsored when they were teens, and that we took over writing to and sponsoring when we got married. She’s now married, a pharmacist, and has two children (the younger of whom, by the way, is named Joshua. That tells you how much of an impact Josh had on her life!) 

There are three more that we’re currently sponsoring. Each of our (birth) children takes the responsibility to write to one of our (sponsor) children. Our oldest writes to a girl her age in Indonesia. Our middle chose a girl to sponsor from Tanzania. Our youngest writes to a girl from Peru.

Having these children in our lives means we’re much more aware of what’s going on all over the world. Hearing about mudslides in Peru makes us aware of how dangerous life is for these families. And since I lived in Istanbul during the 1999 earthquakes, I’m VERY aware of just how devastating those kinds of natural disasters are. 

But at a more personal level, it’s incredibly powerful knowing we’re having a hand in helping three families get out of the poverty they’ve experienced. These children are given an education…medical assistance…and are being introduced to the God that notices when a sparrow falls. I’ve seen that faith blooming in our “graduate” sponsored child and we all celebrate as we see our three current sponsored children learning the same truths.

Because of how much we believe in what Compassion is doing, Josh and I are participating in a challenge to help 2,000 children who have been “in the system,” waiting for sponsors, for the longest AND who have birthdays coming up. We are praying for a 5-year-old girl named Mekedelawit Fekadu from Ethiopia. Her father passed away, so she’s living with a single mom. That hits home because we live in an area where SO many children are being raised in single-parent households, but I know the kind of poverty she’s experiencing is something I can’t even imagine.

Would you consider being HER answer to prayer? She and her mom are praying hard that someone will step in and offer her the same kind of education that the three girls in the picture on top are experiencing, and I can’t wait to hear that she’s being sponsored! 

Here’s her bio so you can learn more about her.

 

 

 

ACTION update: March

ACTION update: March

It’s now mid-March. How’s my action coming?

First off, I’m realizing that I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. So I’m changing my schedule for some things, and I’m choosing to be okay with that.

 

  1. make tamales
  2. make macarons
  3. make Manti (a Turkish ravioli-style dish)
  4. edit and publish my Esther book (starting the audiobook format)
  5. edit and publish my 2018 NaNoWriMo book 
  6. learn Spanish using Rosetta Stone
  7. make vanilla extract in the Instant Pot (bought the vanilla and the containers)
  8. make Fire Cider (bought the containers)
  9. make sauerkraut (bought containers)
  10. make kimchi (bought containers and kelp powder)
  11. make croissants 
  12. ? I still don’t know what my final goal will be. 

So my Esther book (#4)? That won’t be published by Purim. It isn’t possible. 

Because that #12 that’s sitting there? That’s a really fun project I’m excited about, and the timeline for that is a lot more locked in.

I’ve been creating a book of dance poses, that I’m going to offer to dance moms (and photographers who don’t have dance training, as well as studios and teachers who want some added inspiration). It’s going to help everyone feel more confident walking into photo day, having a better idea of what to do in front of the camera. (or behind it, in the case of the photographer). I’m working really hard at getting it for sale in plenty of time before this year’s Photo Days, so that took precedence over everything else!

As far as the food challenges:

I started making vanilla extract, decided that was far too easy to call its own challenge, so I put something else in for #7. For that challenge, I’m making sourdough starter! Actually, as of this morning I can say I made sourdough starter, because this morning I made my first recipe using the starter! (see bottom of post for the sourdough dutch baby I made!) Tomorrow I’ll start some sourdough bread.

I made sauerkraut as well, and yesterday it was ready! I tried it on a hotdog and it was perfect. I’m definitely going to do that again, as it wasn’t hard. Just took some patience. 

I’m plowing through Spanish, though it’s getting a lot harder so I’m trying to figure out how to make sure I’m actually GETTING it and not just knowing how to answer the questions. I’m on unit 9 (out of 26).

So the updated list:

  1. make tamales
  2. make macarons
  3. make Manti (a Turkish ravioli-style dish)
  4. edit and publish my Esther book (starting the audiobook format)
  5. edit and publish my 2018 NaNoWriMo book 
  6. learn Spanish using Rosetta Stone (on unit 9)
  7. make vanilla extract DONE
  8. make Fire Cider (bought the containers)
  9. make sauerkraut DONE
  10. make kimchi (bought containers and kelp powder)
  11. make croissants 
  12. make poses book (almost done)

 

 

 

Action: Month 2

Action: Month 2

2019 is my year of Action. And boy, does that mean something different than I expected!

First of all, life throws curve balls. 10 days ago, I fell and landed on my tailbone. Like, directly on it. I’m pretty sure it’s just bruised and not fractured (the treatment is the same but the time it takes to heal is 4 weeks instead of 12), but I’m having to learn where my limits are and ask for a lot more help than I usually do.

Seriously, I had no clue just how independent I was until I couldn’t do it all by myself anymore!

Second, it’s been a crazy busy month. We’ve been spending our weekends at Disney if we aren’t cleaning our Airbnb or at the dance studio. This isn’t unexpected, but it does mean our schedule is more crowded than it used to be.

But I’m still making progress!

I bought a bunch of the tools I need for some of my projects (will list them momentarily), and I’m averaging a unit a week of Spanish. I’ve also made more progress on my Esther book. It’s going to be an audiobook as well as for Kindle and a print book, so this morning I read the first chapter. It’s harder than I thought it would be!

So while the kitchen projects will have to be put on the back burner (ha! get it?), I’m making strides on two of the goals. 

Currently the list looks like this:

  1. make tamales
  2. make macarons
  3. make Manti (a Turkish ravioli-style dish)
  4. edit and publish my Esther book (starting the audiobook format)
  5. edit and publish my 2018 NaNoWriMo book 
  6. learn Spanish (halfway through Unit 6 out of 20!)
  7. make vanilla extract in the Instant Pot (bought the vanilla and the containers)
  8. make Fire Cider (bought the containers)
  9. make sauerkraut (bought containers)
  10. make kimchi (bought containers and kelp powder)
  11. make croissants 
  12. ? I still don’t know what my final goal will be. 

 

 

 

2019: Action!

2019: Action!

A few weeks ago, I heard something that got me very excited.

“Action is the antidote to fear.”

I liked it so much, I put it on my Letter Board so I could hold onto it.

But I didn’t really think about it when I was thinking about what I’d make as my word for 2019. I struggled with my word: for awhile I was calling it “Leap 2.0“, but I knew that wasn’t accurate. I’d faced my fears in 2018 in a very real way, and I no longer feel like fear holds me back (at least not nearly as much).

Instead, I wanted to tackle things that had always sounded like too much work. Things that intrigued me but scared me in their commitment. Things like making macarons.

After talking to people about this idea, a friend suggested the perfect word.

 

This year’s word: ACTION.

I’m going to choose twelve projects that I shy away from, not because I’m afraid, but because they just seem too big.

I’m not even sure yet what all 12 projects will be. But at this point here’s what I know it will include:

  1. making tamales
  2. making macarons
  3. making Manti (a Turkish ravioli-style dish)
  4. editing and publishing my Esther book
  5. editing and publishing my 2018 NaNoWriMo book
  6. learning Spanish (I bought Rosetta Stone right before Christmas)

First up: the Esther book.

My goal is to get it in Amazon: as a Kindle, a paperback, and possibly an audiobook, in time for Purim (since that’s the holiday connected to her story).

I’m excited to see these things come to pass and am very curious to see if it changes how I see time-intensive projects.

What do you consider to be staples?

What do you consider to be staples?

I just looked up the actual definition of “staple:” it’s a main or important part of your diet.

That means that what I consider to be a staple may be something you never keep on hand. And an item you never consider being without might be one I only buy when I need it for a specific recipe!
Staples are important because they simplify in meal planning. If we know what we keep on hand, we can just buy the fresh items, or the things we use an entire container of (like a jar of pasta sauce). (that’s not a good example. In my family growing up, pasta sauces were a total staple. We had a TON of them sitting in the pantry!)

Some of the things I just refuse to be out of (because I’ll be in trouble when I go to make a meal and realize I’m missing a key ingredient):

  • onions (sorry, mom)
  • minced garlic (I know a lot of people want to mince it fresh, but I love the convenience)
  • peanut butter (not just for emergency PBJ sandwiches: I love Thai and that features PB frequently)
  • soy sauce (I didn’t realize just how important this ingredient is until I ran out last week and suddenly couldn’t do half of the recipes I’d planned for the week!)
  • tortillas (for quick wraps, quesadillas, and for my daughter’s favorite snack, a tortilla filled with shredded parmesan!)

What do you make sure you have on hand? And even more helpful (I hope ;) ) , what should you start making sure you always have on hand?

One big (simple!) tip:

I have a whiteboard on my fridge, and as soon as I get close to running out of a staple, I write it on the board. Then when it’s time to write out the grocery list, I grab the whiteboard to make sure they get included. So no more soy sauce emergencies!

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