{ Let’s do this (DAY 541) }

IMG_6639When the time actually comes for you to write something you’ve been waiting years for it’s as if the moment renders you speechless because it’s finally arrived. That’s how I feel right now, speechless or else a torrent of words. On Monday I received the email I’d hoped for since 2012. Lately it was the email I thought I might never receive.

I’ve heard it said that good things come to those who wait. Sometimes the waiting seems so long though that you begin to doubt. That’s where I’ve been the last few months. You see when I set out to raise money for orphaned children in India I clearly knew God had whispered into my heart a nice round sum of $50,000. Even though I didn’t raise that amount in the 100 days I had set I still knew it was what I had been told. Continuing on after the dress project seemed like the right thing to do. Then at the end of 2011 I got word that we had surpassed that goal. It was a miracle only God could have done. I was awed. So many generous, supportive people have given to change hundreds of children’s lives. I can never thank all of you enough for that.

After that I just kept raising the goal and when a friend said to put the new goal at $100K I decided there was no reason not to. But I never really prayed about it and recently three years after setting a new goal I began to wonder if it was really just my goal or if it was the Lord’s. I’m learning lately that sometimes something that is a good thing in and of itself still isn’t meant for me. These last two months I asked the question my heart didn’t want to ask. I asked, “Lord, is this $100K your goal or was that my goal that you never intended for me?” And you know what? I began to think that it was time to stop fundraising. It was brutal for me to consider.

I’m a pretty determined person and when I say I’m going to do something I really try to follow through. Knowing I might not finish was hard and felt like a failure. Honestly I was so weary and I felt guilty for that. Those children in India have my heart but the funds just weren’t coming in. There were no new ideas popping into my head. Yet all I can think is, “Just because people stop donating doesn’t mean those children still don’t need help.”

And then Monday came. I opened my email and there was one of the best emails that has ever landed in my inbox. In short it said that my new total of funds raised was $99,919.82. It didn’t come in the way I thought it would but it was there. I jumped up with my heart in my throat trying to tell my mom. My hands took on a life of their own and I bounced up and down as emotion welled up inside of me.

I’m here today telling you this because I want you to know Jesus does miracles. Jesus takes a few loaves and fishes and feeds the multitudes. He takes a lot of donations from people all over the world and uses it as a means to change lives, souls that have value. When I think about how he has used so many of you to help my 545 kiddos in India I’m stunned and incredibly grateful.

You’ve helped little girls who might have been trafficked into the sex trade now have a safe home and a future outside of being a child bride. You’ve helped little boys who would have been slaves in brick kilns get an education so that they can become doctors, teachers, engineers, or whatever they want to dream of now.

Please stop for a minute and realize the impact one life can have. Think about someone like Mother Teresa, a president, an author… Someday one of those children you gave money to may become someone like that. Or maybe 545 children will and they will help change the world for good. I know they already are.


There are just a few things I want to leave you with:

I love “my” children in India,
I love Jesus and most importantly:
May God receive all the glory for he alone has accomplished this.

Oh and one more thing? Who is going to help push us over the $100K goal?! Only 80 dollars to go! WOW!  You can donate here. :)

“The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.” Psalms 126:3

Posted on October 1, 2015 by | Comments { 6 }

{ Heart beat (DAY 540) }

IMG_6615 IMG_6614IMG_6618 IMG_6619Hello you wonderful person,

I think you’re pretty amazing. Yes, you!  At some point you realized that being a gift to others could change the world.  No, I didn’t get the wrong person.  You see, you realized that putting actions to words makes a difference.  You invested in the lives of children you don’t even know by donating to orphaned kiddos in India.  So, in my book that makes you a world changer.  And oh, how you have changed lives!

Since I started my dress project back in 2011, you along with so many generous people have provided hundreds of children with a safe place to not just survive but thrive.  Want to look at it another way?  Approximately five dollars feeds an orphan for a month.  So that means that the $93,479.82 we’ve raised could feed 545 kiddos for almost three years. You’ve been a crucial part of that.  We’ve used your generous gifts to provide food, clothing, education, and homes.  It may not seem like a lot to you but it is to those sweet darling children who have lost parents and security.

So here’s the thing. We’ve almost made it to the 100K mark but I need a little more help.  If everyone gave just $17 we would reach the goal! Would you please partner with me today to make this miracle happen? You can click right here to invest in these precious lives.  Thank you so much!


P.S. I chose these twirling pictures of me and and my kiddos because it’s something we can both do even though we are on opposite sides of the world…

Posted on September 17, 2015 by | Comments { 0 }

{ Dress The Rainbow (DAY 539) }

IMG_6451Hey friends! Sorry I’ve been MIA lately.  There’s been a lot going on and I just needed a break.  During the last few weeks though one of my best friends and I have joined Brittany’s (from The House that Lars Built) instagram contest to #dresstherainbow.  Basically we were supposed to go find colored walls and then snap pictures of ourselves wearing the same shade of clothing.

Thankfully my girl Malia is amazing and was totally up for this fun adventure with me.  Tripod in hand and melting in the heat we took photos all over the neighborhood and city.  Yes, we got stared at.  Yes, there were embarrassing moments.  Yes, running back and forth from the tripod to a pose gets interesting.  Yes, we changed in the car sometimes.  Yes, we laughed our heads off.  Yes, it was totally worth it even if we don’t win.  (But let’s be honest…we REALLY hope we win!)

Also here’s a funny side note about the pink picture from Malia’s perspective: “You know that moment when you burst into laughter with your friend because something weird just happened?  Well this is ours. :) @Misselaini had her fingers on the bow of her dress to show off the stylish 50’s vintage dress that her mother wore growing up and I thought, ‘I’m going to join in accentuating the bow.’  I reached out my hand to the bow and Elaini matter-of-factly says, ‘Malia you’re going to make me look pregnant.’ This pictures was the result.” 😉

It’s amazing how much color there is around us if we will only look for it.  I’m curious to know…what fun summer adventures have you had?  Did you have any that were so enjoyable and memory making but didn’t cost any money?


Posted on September 8, 2015 by | Comments { 6 }

{ Quotes (DAY 538) }

IMG_5726I’ve been storing up quotes from my reading lately and I thought it was about time to share some of the quote love! Enjoy!

“Perhaps,” she said, “to be able to learn things quickly isn’t everything. To be kind is worth a great deal to other people.” A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

“Faith isn’t an equation or a formula or a business deal that gets you what you want. In short, there’s nothing on the other side of the equals sign, just Jesus.” Love Does by Bob Goff

“It was when I was happiest that I longed most. It was on happy days when we were up there on the hills, the three of us, with the wind and the sunshine… where you couldn’t see Glome or the palace. Do you remember? The color and the smell, and looking across at the Grey Mountain in the distance? And because it was so beautiful, it set me longing, always longing. Somewhere else there must be more of it. Everything seemed to be saying, Psyche come! But I couldn’t (not yet) come and I don’t know where I was to come too. It almost hurt me. I felt like a bird in a cage on the other birds of its kind are flying home.”  Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis

“The first trick, the one I am practicing now, is to just start where you are. It’s a luxury to be in the mood to write. It’s a blessing but it’s not a necessity. Writing is like breathing, it’s possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what.” The Right to Write by Julia Cameron

What quotes have you recently enjoyed? Let me know in the comments below!

Posted on August 20, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ Hands & Tales (DAY 537) }

IMG_6230It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts but I guarantee you this one was worth the wait!  Ever since I was a little girl I’ve been going to my library and checking out books.  I still have the same library card I got when I was about seven.  Even with the plastic peeling off I can’t bear to part with it and get a new one.  Over the years I’ve seen librarians come and go but one has always been there (for 20 years!).  Recently I asked him if he would be a part of this series and he graciously obliged.  I’m thankful he was willing to record these thoughts for us! I hope you enjoy his answers as much as I did and learn something new today.

What drew you to being a librarian?

I had a job as a student worker at the library where I went to college and I enjoyed the work though I didn’t think about it as a career at the time. After college I worked in several fields but couldn’t find one where I felt fulfilled. I met with a career counselor and after a series of assessments and several meetings he concluded that I should consider working as either a chef (I love to cook!) or a librarian. I remembered my college work and also how much I liked the college setting and thought that working in a college or university library would be a great job. When I finally got a library job, though, it wasn’t at a university, but at a public library. It turns out that what I really enjoy about my work is not so much doing research, but helping all kinds of people, so the variety of folks that come to our library is much more interesting to me than just students doing research.

What is one thing you wish people understood more clearly about what you do?

There’s more to our work than many people realize. (I kind of assume that’s true of most jobs.) Not too many people know that those of us working at the reference desk or in the children’s department have gotten Master’s degrees in order to do the work we do. But even more than that, we bring a deeper understanding of the organization of information and interpersonal communication to our work than is likely to be obvious.

What has been the most influential book you’ve ever read? 

That’s a tough one! So many books, like so many teachers and mentors, have made an impact on my life over the years. Surprisingly, the one that I would have to say has been the most influential is a slim cookbook (Fine Fresh Food, Fast by Michele Urvater) that my grandmother gave me as a birthday present during my college years when she heard I like to cook. It has some great recipes that really opened my mind to new ingredients, flavor combinations and cooking techniques and got me hooked on having fun in the kitchen, which is now a real passion of mine. I still make many of the dishes in that book regularly.

What one person has touched your life the most and why? 

I didn’t meet my wife until I was 28, but we’ve been together for 25 years now and she still frees me to be the kind of person I want to be, while at the same time challenging me to know more and do more than I might otherwise on my own.    

What was one of the happiest days/moments of your life? 

The first one that comes to mind is the day we opened our new library. We didn’t announce the day or time we would re-open after our move since we weren’t sure how long it would take to get ready. But on a Monday afternoon, once we had everything in place, we opened our doors, and within an hour the library had a couple dozen or more people exploring and admiring our new space. It was an amazing feeling to be a part of that effort and to be able to offer that to our community.

What is your greatest struggle right now? 

I am feeling quite challenged by the variety of duties for which I am now responsible at this library. Some of that is my own fault as I would like to accomplish more in order to help the library improve, but I am already doing more than ever before. I need to remind myself of that and take things more gradually so that I can get a good handle on each added task before trying to take on more.

When were you most scared?

This question is a real challenge for me. Nothing big comes to mind, though I did freak out after my first exam in graduate school. I was completely stumped by most of the questions and thought “I’ve packed up and moved to Tucson for this and now I’m going to fail and have nothing to show for it.” (I got really drunk that night!) Turns out everyone did just as poorly and he just gives tough exams. He was my favorite professor through my program there.

If you could give one piece of advice to those reading this what would it be?

Be careful about judging people. Allow them to surprise you with the depth of their minds and hearts, especially when you least expect it. I have had fascinating exchanges with people who I would not have guessed to be as bright or thoughtful as our conversations showed them to be. It always makes me feel lucky to have met someone like that.

(If you want to know how this series started you can read why here.)

Posted on August 11, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ Butterfly wings (DAY 536) }

IMG_0837It started with an Instagram post. A little girl with outstretched arms showed off a cute pair of butterfly wings and the whimsy of it was so perfect.  I have a niece who is 6 and a very important half.  I love her dearly and enjoy doing auntie dates with her so when I saw those colorful wings I figured I could find a way to make a pair.

Sitting at the kitchen table I found myself with a piece of fabric 5 inches from my face and a fat black marker in my hand as I drew lines into patterns.  Note to self: read the marker first.  After a few moments of concentration I looked up and read the marker “Vapors Harmful.”  There was something so wonderful though about creating those wings.  I thought about how fun it would be to let my La la fill them in with bright colors.

When the day of our date came around we sat at the kitchen table and colored.  She did it almost completely by herself and I just offered suggestions when she asked.  Sometimes you need to make butterfly wings and let your niece color them in so that she knows you’ll always be here to help her learn how to fly. 

I love the idea of wings.  We all need something that makes us soar.  Maybe your words will be someone’s wings.  Butterflies were first caterpillars.  Caterpillars are slow and really just look like worms.  If you didn’t already know you might not guess that those worms morph into something beautiful.  What if we remembered that a little more with the people around us?  What if we could draw out the beauty in a person with our words?  What if we could say over them words that would make them spread their wings and make the world a better place because we showed them that their true self wasn’t the caterpillar but the butterfly? 

Our words can either make people crawl or make them fly.  That doesn’t mean that words always have to be easy and I’m not talking about flattery.  The caterpillar has to go through some serious struggle to become a butterfly but our words should be helpful.

Words are free.  Encouraging someone or saying something that draws out the beauty of their soul doesn’t cost you anything.  Can you give one person wings today?  Can you make one person “fly”?  It doesn’t even take pixie dust!

Posted on July 28, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }

{ Get back up (DAY 535) }

IMG_5901“Too bad no one on that dock has a phone out so they could video us trying to get out.  I bet it would go viral when we fall in the water trying to get out of this kayak.”  These were my words as we paddled up to wooden dock several yards away. I should have kept my mouth shut.

Last Sunday was a gorgeous day.  After church my dad spontaneously decided we should rent kayaks and head out to the river.  It was a grand idea and off we went.  My friend Malia came with us and we laughed a lot trying to figure out how to be a good team and row in a straight line.  Our course pretty much looked like a bunch of Z’s strung together for the first hour.  Towards the end of the time though we had gotten in sync and were enjoying the outdoors.

I was grateful as we rowed up to the dock with all the people sun bathing and hanging out that we had finally figured out a good rhythm.  Still, we had to actually get out of the tippy kayak and on to the dock without splashing awkwardly overboard.  Thankfully we manged to gracefully exit the kayak.  Mind you we had about 15 people watching us.  We pulled the kayak up onto the dock and here is where it happened.  Reading this next part in slow motion will make it better.

I grabbed the front of the kayak and stared walking up the dock.  Two steps past the large group of people I felt for a split second the most interesting sensation of…flying.  Whoosh! Wait for it.  My feet were literally straight out in front of me and then with a grand splat I landed on my rear.  And because I’m like an old person I could have cared less what all the people around me thought and just wanted to make sure I had no broken bones.  It was hilarious.  I can only imagine what it looked like when I went air born for that split half second.  I wish I could have seen my stunned face.  After getting the wind back in my lungs I tore off my flip flops and dropped them in the kayak, picked up the end I had been carrying, and walked off.

Sometimes life is like that.  We’re walking along doing our thing and then bam! we are on our derrieres and not quite sure what happened.  So the next time life trips you up I hope you take a deep breath, laugh it off, get back up, and keep walking.  Also learn from your mistakes: don’t wear flip flops on a wet wood dock.  😉

(Picture taken by my dad who was the only one brave enough to take his phone out on the water…and smart enough to put it in a plastic bag)

Posted on July 21, 2015 by | Comments { 0 }

{ Desires (DAY 534) }

IMG_5679Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about desires and contentment.  It seems that if you tell someone you have desires for something they think you’re not content.  While that very well may be true I don’t think that’s always the situation.  I believe the two can go hand in hand and while it may be a tricky balance it’s possible.

Desires aren’t bad things.  I don’t know what your desire is.  Maybe your desire is to attend college, land a certain job, marry the love of your life, have children, start a non profit, travel the world, be fit, be healthy, be smarter, own pretty clothing, be a small business owner, find a cure for a disease, or become president.  I don’t know what your desire is but many (certainly not all though) desires are healthy ones and come from a healthy place.  We were created to have interests and wants.  It’s only when you have an over desire for something (i.e. it consumes you) that it becomes a problem.  If your desire is making you unhappy, impatient, irritable, or angry because you’re not getting it then you probably have an over desire.  Yet if not, your longing doesn’t have to be sinful.

Sure desires for all these healthy and good things can’t satisfy us.  But the longing can point us to something more, something that is actually the most amazing thing.  Only Jesus can satisfy us.  I love this quote by C.S. Lewis in his book Till We Have faces.  He says, “It was when I was happiest that I longed most…The sweetest thing in all my life has been the longing…to find the place where all the beauty came from.”  Our longing reminds us that the best is yet to come.  Our longing says we were created for a better world.  Our longing reminds us that there is sin but one day it will all be gone.  Our longing reminds us that ultimately we need Jesus.  There is no need for you to deny to yourself or others the things that you really hope for and desire.

You can simultaneously hope for something in the future while also being content.   I think thankfulness is key here.  I think appreciating the beauty and gifts of now cause contentment in your life.  Looking ahead is a beautiful thing.  Gratefulness for the gifts right now is equally important.  Have both, and enjoy where you are now and look forward to where you hope to be one day.

Posted on July 7, 2015 by | Comments { 6 }

{ Tom’s Thumb (DAY 533) }

IMG_5602 IMG_5596 IMG_5582 IMG_5580 IMG_5583“Climb every mountain, ford every stream, follow every rainbow, till you find your dream.  A dream that will need all the love you can give, every day of your life for as long as you live.” ~Sound of Music

Hello friends! Last week we took a spontaneous trip down to the beach to see friends-who-might-as-well-be-family.  Every year we go down to see them while they are on vacation and sometimes we hike Tom’s Thumb.  The past few years I haven’t been able/willing to do the hike but this year I was like, “Let’s go!”  I knew I would probably physically pay for doing this hike but I knew it would be worth it and sure enough it was spectacular.

There’s something about trekking through dense forest/bush only to come out onto a glorious view of the ocean.  And there is something exhilarating about climbing straight up a hill and making it to the top to stand on the edge of a cliff.

For the last half of the trek up Tom’s Thumb you literally have to just keep your eyes down and put one foot in front of the other.  The incline is so steep you’re practically crawling up and a few times when my shoes didn’t have traction I had to pull on the long grass around me to make it to the next foothold.

Sometimes life is kind of like that.  You just have to put one foot in front of the other.  But here’s the good news, if you keep on pressing in you’ll make it to the top.  And the view?  Well it’s totally worth it.

UPDATE!!!  $92,419.82  To everyone that donated for my birthday and for the incredible anonymous donation that came to my house THANK YOU! YOU PEOPLE ARE AMAZING!  And if you didn’t get to donate to help children in India get an education then you can donate here!

Posted on June 30, 2015 by | Comments { 5 }

{ Rest (DAY 532) }

IMG_5384Light bulb moments strike when you’re least expecting it.  Last week when I was minding my own business and teaching a student I said something I’ve said about 3,711 while teaching piano.  “Please make sure you count that rest.”  Wait. Pause. Rest.

Most of my students tend to rush the rhythm of the songs.  And taking the time to count out a whole measure of resting is like torture to them.  As adults in a bustling world I think we might have the same mentality though.  We rush around just trying to get done what we’re doing to get on to the next thing.  Or we try to hurry through this season because the next one looks more exciting, happier, you fill in the blank.  We look down on rest or at the very best consider it a luxury.

What if we’re doing ourselves more harm than good by racing along?  What if the rests are just as important to what we are doing?  What if the rests are actually vital?  Maybe, just maybe, the scriptures are on to something when they say that God rested on the 7th day.  If anyone doesn’t need rest it’s God but he does anyway.

It’s in the pauses of the song that the other melodies and sounds round out and feel richer for having the moments of quiet.  The space in between the notes is just as important to the intent of the author of the piece as the notes are.

I don’t know about you but I feel guilty when I rest.  Just this past week I was determined to take a day off at home and rest since I haven’t been feeling too great.  Yet when my rest day finally got there I cleaned like a crazy lady and did laundry and made dinner and all sorts of things.  It’s not that those aren’t wonderful things.  It’s not that I didn’t feel better when I was done cleaning (mentally, not physically…) but it wasn’t rest.  I want to feel productive and like I’m doing something.

Rest is doing something.  Real rest is productive.  Rest resets our thinking and gives us a chance to breath.  The pauses are just as important to our life melodies as the notes are.  We come face to face with our own humanity when we pause.  More than that though I think we can see God in the rest.  “Be still and know that I am God”, he says.  Rest reminds us that God is in control.  How can we hear his still small voice if we’re always rushing around hurrying the rhythm along?  After rest we may just hear his love notes a bit more clearly and distinctly.

Posted on June 23, 2015 by | Comments { 2 }