October 28, 2011


My vision in this blanket project was far too small. Initially, providing blankets to the children at the care points meant 300 blankets. That seemed like an impressive goal. My emails and postings turned up a group of eager friends who were willing to help. I worried. Then, the handful of friends grew and our goal of 300 blankets changed. Could we provide blankets for another care point? Now, I worried that we wouldn't be able to get 400 blankets. If we did, how could we get them to Ethiopia?

My worries grew as I felt it would be impossible to bring all of the blankets. Then, God provided more luggage space through the willingness of other travelers. The number of blankets reached 400, but we still lacked space for 50 blankets. Such an intimidating number when you are talking about packing them into luggage. A few more willing travelers and the number dwindled to 31.

Our in country itinerary was finalized and we are going to visit a possible future care point that ministers to street children. Then, the Lord gave me a glimpse of his vision and soon blankets are pouring in. Over 400, 450...nearly 500. Enough for us to bring for this ministry! Five hundred handmade fleece blankets--and 300 used to seem unreachable.

I just keep repeating, "I listened to God, but didn't dream quite big enough." Quietly, I say to myself, "I didn't trust enough either, because I worried each step of the way."

Thank you, for your generosity, and for taking part when it did seem like a crazy idea!

October 19, 2011

We Met Our Goal!

We have reached the goal of having a blanket for each child at the three care points that we will be visiting in November! I'm counting blankets that aren't mailed yet, but are stacked (like the guys above) on your sofa waiting to be packed and mailed.

Thank you so much to so many people who have made blankets and hosted gatherings! If you live close enough, I hope I hugged you and said thanks. Many of you live so very far away, and most of you I haven't met personally. A friend teased me the other day that my 'cape' was showing. In her jest, she hit it right on. If I ask for help or admit that I cannot do something, I'm not superwoman. Pride is such an ugly thing. This project has been wonderful for me, because from the beginning I knew I couldn't do it alone. Believe me, I thought about it for awhile. God has humbled me and forced me to trust Him. Thank you again for your excitement and willingness to bless the children in Ethiopia. We leave (with 400 blankets) on November 11, just 3 weeks away!

October 17, 2011

Our baby is four!

It is hard to find the words to describe Jojo at this age. He's always been very...interesting. He's lovable, without fear, and very verbal. That makes conversations in public embarrassing. Asking our new neighbor why he is naked (he was not wearing a shirt). Telling the grocery store clerk that 'we live in a jungle and my mom said that she's really not white, she's tannish, but I'm brown'. He's an astute, adorable, pest. When I bribed him to eat a bite of tofu, he told me that it would make him throw up. I didn't believe him until I heard gagging a minute later and he had spewed all over the door and front steps. He brings up that 'yucky kung fu' every time I ask him to eat something that looks questionable.

He said to the nursery workers a few months ago, "Shake your bootie and I'll give you $100."

He came up with that on his own. I think. Really. We don't have cable television.

He amazed me a few months ago when he flippantly put three letters together and read them. I recorded the second word he read because I knew Seth wouldn't believe Jojo, our mischievous monkey, could put letters together. I don't know how, but something good is happening in his head during our busy school days. Maybe as he terrorizes the older kids during their lessons, he's actually listening.

He won't sleep in his own bed at night, but prefers cuddling with Elijah or snuggling down at the foot of his bed. Eli pleads with us pretty regularly for another younger brother, "because then Jojo will have a buddy in his bedroom and he won't sleep with me." Secretly, Eli adores his little brother so much he'd really like another one just like him.

I don't believe our family could possibly handle another little boy quite like him. He's far too...interesting.

October 16, 2011

Mailing Blankets

My parents spent an evening trying various packing methods to try and shrink the fluffy fleece into a nice condensed package. I wasn't there to experience the ordeal, but the results sounded very scientific. Any possible packing method was attempted and the most successful result is kind of strange. To avoid anyone else going through blanket packing madness--here's the successful method. We tweaked it some to be most cost effective. I have nothing against space saver bags, if they work for you--great! My parents used a food saver bag with awesome results, but it was hard and for 400 blankets would be pretty pricey. Packing tape wrapped around the blankets had the same results (18 blankets in a large box).

I've recently found out that I'm a visual person--I have a hard time getting directions across verbally. Rambling, confusing sentences...followed by my final statement, "Clear as mud?" So, here's a step by step visual with goofy comments.

For all of you who have a stack of blankets and an address--here's the best way to pack those pesky blankets!

First, fold the blanket in half--it should be about 24 inches wide.

Roll it up into a nice tight tube--best working with a buddy. Do the best you can, try to keep it nice and tight.

Once it's rolled up, wrap packing tape around in a spiral. It's taking the place of a space saver bag--they didn't get the blankets smaller, just held them in place. The packing tape should hold the blanket nice and tight in it's little blanket tube shape.

No worries, folks, our hands were this veiny before we started wrapping these blankets up! Genetics, not a job hazard, blessed every female in our family with popping veins.

You should have a nice tight 24 inch blanket tube, ready for shipping. We used an 18 x 18 x 24 cardboard box to ship 18. I was able to lay 17 in my suitcase, versus the 13 I could fit by just folding and stuffing. Please email me with questions, I may or may not be able to answer them!

October 2, 2011

Descending on DC

Sometimes, Seth takes a trip that is so tempting we have to tag along. I tried really hard to convince everyone that a trip to DC at this time in our lives could turn into a disaster. I even waited to pack until the night before, hoping someone would listen. It's been years since I've lived there and all I can remember is whining. I whined about being hot, being thirsty, being bored, and being so terribly tired. As a kid, I whined. As a mom, I imagined all the cool stuff I missed when I was busy whining. Then, I realized I might have five little whiners tagging along behind me.

Or maybe I'd lose one or two in the bustle of a big city. Or it would rain all week and we would be stuck inside the hotel.

Thus my worries about taking the trip.

I didn't tell the kids but I swaped out the shirts they packed for five shirts in matching colors. At least that might help keeping track of everyone. Although, the only other time I dressed everyone in the same color is the only day I've ever lost a child.

I thought about getting a couple of sporty animal backpacks with the long tails that double as leashes. But, I decided we would probably be attracting enough attention without me having five furry appendages, plus I didn't think Everett would go for that.

So the week began, driving most of the day. Seth clipped the van mirror as he sped past a parked city bus. Then he ran a very, very red light. I was having serious reservations by this point. Finally, we bid the van good riddance and wished the valet luck as he drove away.

Day one--Blue day. No one noticed that everyone had blue on, except Seth who exclaimed later that day, "Why didn't I get the blue memo?!" We arrived at The Mall before anything was open and proceeded to visit the memorials and monuments. As you can see, it was just the six of us and the park staff. Pretty cool way to take in the sights. By the time we made it to Lincoln, buses had descended and we were just faces in a growing crowd. And we had been walking for nearly 2 hours.

Day two was the day I realized we were attracting more attention than I had imagined. By mid-afternoon, we had been approached by a few Ethiopians and I started to notice the Asian tour groups. It could have been that they were taking pictures of things BEHIND us, but it certainly seemed like they were snapping photos of our little group. It didn't really dawn on me until I noticed that the chatter behind me had stopped and I only had two children. When I turned around, I saw two women, one posing with Sally and Everett while the other took photos. Eli was boucing around off to the side, beet-red, waving at me with uncertainty. Evidently, we must look very "American" in our matching shirts and varying skin tones.
Day three--we did the zoo in funky blue/green and left DC. We had done most of the museums, memorials, monuments, and probably walked 15 miles a day. We were ready to leave.
Our trip wasn't officially over, as we stopped for a night with Seth's aunt and uncle. We had the priveledge of getting a very personal tour of Monticello. Unfortunately, all we had was one outfit left. Keeping a count of 1-5 was no longer a pressing matter, but everyone was forced to wear matching reddish/pink. Except Seth, he didn't get the memo.