Tuesday, July 21, 2009

A new sweetie

Our family had the honor of sponsoring a dear child living at New Day for eight months. In that time, we contributed $35 a month to go toward her care, sent gifts, celebrated her milestones, but most importantly prayed for her by name and lifted her up to the Almighty. To put it mildly, we fell in love with her. Last month, fifteen month old Gracie was adopted into a forever family in country. A local Chinese family now will forever call her daughter. I had pictures of Gracie around our home as a daily reminder for myself and for the girly girls to pray for this sweet orphan. Now that she has a family, we still pray for her. Our prayer is that she and her family will know the saving grace of Jesus.

Gracie with bows and the bear we sent her


This is Melody in what I believe is our blue Bumbo seat we sent for Gracie in January

Our little T in the Bumbo at the same age. Notice she was sporting two little pigtails like Melody's one above

It's time to pick out our next sweetie to sponsor. When I saw the picture of Melody, a new arrival at New Day, I was captivated. To me, she has quite a resemblance to our younger girly girl at the same age of 4 months. All that hair- she fits right in!! Her given name of Melody is a name the girls have picked out for some of their dolls, so I hear it daily. As I read the brief information about her I was struck by one more thing- her birthday is the same as Gracie's. So that sealed it- we should sponsor Melody. I emailed Rita and she put us in the database for Melody. She won't be a long term resident, she is there for surgery and then will return to her home orphanage. But she'll forever be in our hearts as our second sponsor child. Her picture has gone up in our home alongside Gracie. We have begun to pray for her by name, lifting her up to our Lord. We are asking for His healing hand when she undergoes surgery. For her family to quickly find her. And for her to know the love of her savior.

It is an honor to sponsor. There are many organizations and you can email me if you'd like suggestions. Won't you consider? It truly is a blessing.


There is still time

Yes, friends, there is still time to place your order for key fobs, hair bows, clippies, headbands, ponytrailers-- basically anything girly hair related- to benefit this family in their fundraising needs to bring home Hailee. If you haven't been by and seen what I'm up to before, I'm donating 100% of profits from sales off my website to the Salem adoption fund. They need $24,000, fast, to bring home Hailee from Eastern Europe. The fundraiser has been going for a few days and ends tomorrow, Wednesday, at midnight. So please spread the word, post on your blog, grab the button from my left sidebar, link to this post, email any friends who buy bows- there is no code or anything- every sale that comes in goes to this family. Keep me busy!!! Get those orders in!!


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Thankful Thursday

I have enjoyed reading Thankful Thursday posts on others' blogs. It just so happens that I have a chance to write a post on a Thursday and there is something in particular I am quite thankful for today, so here is my first (hopefully of many) Thankful Thursday posts...

The girly girls have long been timid around water. OK, timid is a bit, well, weak. They have been down right terrified. Last summer we spent the majority of our time at the community pool in the baby pool alongside the infants and toddlers because 8 inches of water was where they were comfortable. I could, on occasion, get them to the steps in the main pool, or in an inner tube, but they would still cry and have a death grip on me. No. Fun.

I had heard wonderful things about a swim school in the area and quite a few friends had taken lessons with amazing results. I looked into it last year, but it is expensive and for us, times two. Early in the spring a friend whose daughter had gone last year mentioned that the family run school was Christian and offered scholarships, that they viewed their business also as a ministry. I contacted them and we were given a partial scholarship, a true blessing because we could not afford to send both girls.

They began their 8 days of lessons a week ago Monday. There were LOTS of tears. Nightmares for several nights and elaborate plans to avoid going back.

"OK, how about this. We get Mom to go to the grocery store first. You go one way, I'll go another and we'll get lost and miss the lesson!"

By the third lesson we were seeing progress as they were still scared stiff, but the crying was lessening and they were learning- lots!

The lessons are 1 child to 1 instructor and the teachers have been amazing, giving each of my girls the exact dose of gentleness and encouragement and in P's case- 'you'll do it because you are the child and I am the teacher and I said so'. Man, that kid can try to talk her way out of any situation!

So today was their last lesson. As far as they are concerned that's reason enough to celebrate. It was a tough one with a water safety test fully clothed. I'm celebrating because they have asked me to take them to the pool everyday for the past week, and I have obliged for hours and hours. They have been in the big pool, jumping in, swimming underwater to see who can go farther, splashing and playing like the majority of all the other kids their ages. Did you catch that- BIG pool!!!There is still some fear about some of the skills and not wanting to practice some of the trickier things they learned, but the growth is simply amazing.

I can't begin to thank Morgan Swim School enough. I'm extremely thankful!


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Bows for Hailee

I hope that you made it to the end of my last post. The quick re-cap is that I feel led to help raise funds to donate toward a friend's adoption of a downs syndrome child currently living in Eastern Europe. (Fun fact about me- I was enthralled with Eastern European history in college and took so many courses from an amazing professor that I ended up with a degree in Govenrment with a concentration in Russian Politics.)

So here is how this is going to work...

I will be donating 100% of the proceedes from sales of my products off my website from today until July 22 to Hailee's adoption fund. I have been in the 'bow business' for a little over 5 years and have been online for 3.5 years. It's a nice hobby income and has been able to cover almost all of my girls' expenses from preschool tuition, dance classes, to wardrobe. But it's nothing huge, and July is typically a slow month. I want to be able to donate HUGE. That's where I need help.

Please spread the word about this fundraiser. Now is the prefect time to start thinkng about back to school accessories. All of the bows, headbands, ponytrailers, etc. on the website are only the beginning. I can make anything to match anything! Local customers stop by my house with outfits in hand, and my web customers email me pictures of clothes. I automatically match all Gymboree lines and Gap lines, so I know those colors already. I do school uniform bows, cheerleading team bows... Have a style you like but don't see on my site. Send me a picture and I'll recreate it. Remember, 100% will go to help bring Hailee home!!

Here in the South monogramming is HUGE. My best sellers are my 3 inch and 4 inch single intitial flat fold bows. Pick your color ribbon and color embroidery thread for a custom creation.

Headed to D!sney? Look at my Magical Mouse bows.

Don't have any girls in the house? I have several adult/mom items. Once you use my wristlet key fob you'll wonder how you lived without it!!

It's great to keep your keys easily at hand and still hold little hands or packages. They are one of my biggest sellers at craft fairs. Customers tell me in addition to everyday use, they love theirs for walking the dog, running quick errands and not wanting a purse, great for H.S. and college kids (stylish and trendy too!) to safely have their keys accessable. I like not fumbling for my keys in the parking lot. When I put them in my purse they have a slim profile that doesn't take up much space, but are easy to find. Need to keep your husband from snaging your keys- get an ultra girly style- that will do it!!! I'll be adding many more to the website. I have a ton made, but not yet uploaded. And like the bows, I can custom make your fob in a variety of colors. I have many colors of the webbing and a large fabric and ribbon stash on hand.

Another great adult option is the fabric covered headband. I wear one almost every day. It's quick and easy to be stylish with a designer fabric headband!

No girly girls in your home? I know you must know somebody!! Please pass this information on!

Bows for Hailee

My normal turnaround time is 7-14 days. I'm filling current orders within 7-10 days, but hope to be swamped for Hailee. Need something quick for a portrait or vacation. Just let me know.

There are so many possibilities! Please stop by the website, send this message all over, help bring in the orders to raise funds for Hailee!


Monday, July 13, 2009

The Rich Family

This is long, but please stick with me...

Yesterday in Bible Fellowship class we studied Matthew 5: 1-12, the Beatitudes. We were asked to reflect on how we could better be living in line with the characteristics that Jesus called blessed. Our teacher, Mike, shared with us a story by Eddie Ogan known as The Rich Family. After reading her story, Mike told how he had searched for more info on Eddie and read how she and her husband and their children (biological and adopted)lived to this day giving to the church and to missions. I'll let you read the story and then I'll share it's impact.


“I’ll never forget the summer of 1946. I was 14, my little sister, Ocy was 12, and my older sister Darlene was 16. We lived at home with our mother and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad had died years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to rear and no money. By 1946 my older sisters were married, and my brothers had left home.

A month before Easter, the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offer would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially. When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. That would allow us to save $20 off our grocery money for the offering. Then we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn’t listen to the radio, we’d save money of that month’s electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents, we could buy enough cotton loops to make three potholders to sell for $1.00. We made $20 on potholders. That month was one of the best of our lives. Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we’d sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in the church, so we figured that whatever amount of money we had to give the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the Pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering. The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change. We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before. That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn’t care that we wouldn’t have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering. We could hardly wait to get to church. On Easter morning rain was pouring. We didn’t own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn’t seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet. But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in new clothes and I felt so rich. When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting in the second row. From the front, Mom put in the $10 bill, each of us girls put in a $20.As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch, Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes!

Late that afternoon, the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked her what it was, but she didn’t say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10, and seventeen $1s. Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn’t talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling millionaires to feeling like poor people. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn’t have our mom and dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. I know we didn’t have a lot of things that other people had, but I never thought we were poor. That Easter Day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn’t like feeling poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed that I didn’t want to go back to church. Everyone there probably knew we were poor! I thought about my school friends and felt terribly embarrassed to be thought of as “poor.” We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn’t know. We’d never known we were poor. We didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. The joy of what we had done, of sacrificing and saving had been taken away from us. Although it was a sunny day, we didn’t talk on our way to church as we usually did.

At church that Sunday, we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun-dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said,“Can’t we all sacrifice to help these poor people?” We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week. Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Ocy, who gave it to me. And I dropped it into the offering. When the offering was counted, the minister announced it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He wasn’t expecting such a large offering from our small congregation. He said “you must have some rich people in this church.” Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that “little over $100.” We were the rich family in the church! From that day on, I’ve never been poor again. We had been given back the joy of sacrificial giving.


So I'm sitting there, listening to the story and thinking. While not poor like Eddie, we live dollar for dollar. I can't just cut a check and donate to all the causes that I believe in. Yet I have a desire to give, to give sacrificially. I want to live as one of those Jesus called blessed in Matthew 5:3-10.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,
for they shall inherit the earth.

Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they shall be satisfied.

Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called children of God.

Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

I'm a SAHM, I don't have much of an income except what I get from selling my hair bows. Eddie and her sisters looked for ways to save and for what they could sell so that they could raise funds to give. I have donated my items on many occasions for fundraisers. A basket is being picked up today, in fact, to go to a charity auction this weekend to raise funds for the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias at the 5th annual Rally for Ally who has Ectodermal Dysplasias. I enjoy knowing that my handiwork can help raise funds. My mind immediately turned to a family needing funds to save a life. My bloggy friend Adeye . She and her husband, Anthony, are adopting precious Hailee from Eastern Europe. Time is of the esscence to get Hailee home is an understatement. You can read about her on Adeye's blog and click the button below for additional information and sponsorship.

What did I feel in my heart I am called to do? Use the talent God has given me to create and sell my hair bows and donate all profits toward Hailee's adoption expenses. I'll post specifics with details about my products and pictures and links and a button to grab to spread the word in my next post. I've got some work to do to get this ready to go!!


Friday, July 10, 2009

My gift

Now that I've had a bit of caffeine I am starting to function. Per my last post, I wasn't woken up that early (7:15), but for my summer standard for a morning without any definite have to be somewhere plan- it was early. I think the girls and I could have easily slept until 9. But since I was up, I began to charge up my gift.

Paul had been dutifully asking for about a month what I wanted. And in all honesty, nothing came to mind. I don't need anything and there wasn't even anything I really had been wanting. Then two nights ago he had an idea. He asked me if I'd want an MP3 player. That sounded cool (we are very technologically unadvanced, just not into all the hype and media bombardment). So he went to the store yesterday and got me this little (like 2 inch little!) do-dad.

I was all excited to download my first podcast and I knew exactly what I wanted to be able to listen to-
sermons from our former church McLean Bible Church
We moved away from the chaos that is Northern Virginia 4 1/2 years ago without looking back, despite having lived there my entire life, sans 4 years in Williamsburg for college. It was too crowded, too expensive, and the materialistic values that permeated the area was not the environment in which we wanted our kids to grow up. The one thing we do miss is the excellent Bible teaching of Lon Solomon at McLean Bible. It averaged 5000 adults weekly when we began attending in 1996 in a normal sized building that grew into a very big church that the Lord blessed with an amazing property and facility just outside the beltway. When we were back in the area one Sunday morning last summer and had the chance to attend worship, it was amazing to see the construction that had taken place and the growth. I'd easily call it a mega church now- so cool to see! Lon always said that a goal of the church was to reach the world through reaching secular Washington with the message of Jesus Christ.

I was always touched by MBC's commitment to families with disabled children. Now that I have been touched by special needs adoption and have bloggy friends with children with all sorts of special needs, I view this ministry with greater appreciation. I though I'd link MBC's Access Ministry as it may provide some information or insight.

I'm excited to use my birthday gift to reconnect to MBC. Lon is a gifted teacher and I encourage you to check out the sermons I'm sure you all are far more technologically advanced and know all about how to do that. Paul and I really like Lon’s famous “So What?” question he often asks during his sermons that leads to a practical application of the message. I'm off to listen :)


Happy Birthday...

to me!

Z U L V A . com - graphics and comment - friendster layout

I'm 35 today. Paul woke the girls up early and brought them into bed with me so they could say Happy Birthday with him before he left for work. We three girls are *not* morning people. It was a sweet gesture. Now I'm groggy and have two grumpy kids, but it was a sweet gesture.


Monday, July 6, 2009

Delaware, Nevada, Vermont, oh my!

I'm down to my final three states. I just received an order from Alaska that I'm working on right now, so one more state got crossed off the list and I'm down to the final three. In 3 years and 4 months of selling my hair bows on line I have shipped to wonderful customers in 47 states, Guam and 5 countries. I love making bows, headbands, and clips and it excites me to imagine the girls who wear them and the destinations they travel to. I love maps and you'll often find me with my atlas before I ship out orders looking up exactly where my handiwork will end up. I've sent quite a few bows to the New Day Foster Home in China and never cease to smile when I visit their website and see pictures of the darling little girls wearing my bows, poofs, flowers, and korkers!

Know anybody in my final three states of Delaware, Nevada or Vermont? I'm offering buy one get one free to the first cutomer I get from those states. I'm sure I can offer an appropriate finders fee if you send someone from the final three my way!