Saturday, December 31, 2011

I'm Going Back. {Prayers for Simon please!}

I'm writing this morning with a lot on my mind. I'm going to try to sift through the mountains of thoughts and try to get this post out as clear as possible. Bear with me.

A week from today I will hit my goal of going 365 days without Facebook. It has been quite a journey, and I've learned a lot. My heart has changed I can promise you that. If you haven't read my Facebook aha! moment, you can read that here.

Up until recently I have been torn on whether or not I want to go back on. I don't really miss it most of the time, but slowly I started feeling it on my heart that it's not about me. Why do I keep making this about me?  Ahh, because I'm human I suppose. :)

My decision at this point is about those that I truly care about. The ones that I have failed at staying in contact with this past year... 

The ones that I had no idea that their baby was born with critical conditions that needed prayer. 

The ones that came down with unique illnesses this year and I was one of the last to know. 

The ones that found out they were pregnant after a long time of trying and I wasn't able to offer my congrats.  

These are the people that I care about and just because I can't make a call to each of them every month to see how they are doing doesn't mean I don't want to know what is going on with them, pray for them, let them know I'm here for them.

At first I think I just expected everyone would get it that I was not on Facebook, therefore, if big events happened, well then text me of course! Guess what, in the heat of a moment when you are crying out for prayer you don't have time to make a second contact list of all the people that don't have social media. I remember this so clearly when we were on our knees asking for prayer on Facebook as I watched my father-in-law pass away within 72 hours of his diagnosis of cancer. This was only 2 years ago and I remember it as clear as day. I could barely get updates up on Facebook, never mind even think about anyone that I may not have reached in that way. But those posts and being surrounded by prayer on that site is what helped keep us going... I hope this is making sense.

Then something happened last night and it confirmed all the feelings I have been having. A friend of mine posted an image on Instagram of a family I know and her caption read: Praying for you Simon! My heart stopped for a moment. Wait a second.. I know them, Simon is only a few months younger than Sawyer. My husband knows her husband... what is going on with Simon!? I posted back on Instagram immediately asking what was going on, and my friend said to add her on Facebook so that I could get all the updates. I was instantly so annoyed at myself. I couldn't get the updates because I am not on Facebook. I had to have my husband add her and then he relayed all the information to me.

Little, sweet, Simon slipped and fell in the bath the night before and was taken to urgent care for what they thought was a concussion. They posted on a Facebook a picture of him in the waiting room and asked for prayer. Literally about 3 hours later they were posting saying that Simon was now fighting for his life. He was life-flighted to San Diego Children's Hospital for emergency brain surgery! Are you kidding me!? I could not believe what I was hearing. So now he went through surgery and is still in critical condition. They are trying to figure out how much brain function he has at this point, keep his temperature down and slowly get him off the sedation. I cannot even imagine the roller coaster this dear family is going through right now. I immediately started praying. I woke up about a million times last night, and every time I woke up I got out the words, Lord heal Simon. This little boy has consumed my thoughts, my prayers.

This incident confirmed what I had already been feeling. 

I'm going back.  

I can't pray, organize meals, help with fundraisers if I don't know what is going on.  

I don't take it personally that I have been the last to know about things, it's just life. Facebook and Twitter are by far the best way at reaching a lot of people in a short amount of time. I'm just thankful I had Instagram otherwise I have no idea how long it would have gone without me knowing about little Simon.

I considered getting back on Facebook a week early so that I could read the updates, but I am going to wait until the 365 are up. I'm having my husband check constantly and update me right now. We both have our hearts invested in his recovery.

Basically, at this point after dealing with my own issues of Facebook I've realized that the positive aspects of it far outweigh the negatives. And if negative feelings start to come back, well, then I should probably check my heart first.  

I'm eager to connect with those that I did lose contact with over the last year. I'm not afraid for a moment that it will consume my time because I've already dealt with that. I think at this point going back on Facebook will probably make me a better friend. If I see something going on, I can personally check in with them and get together. I'm ready to write lovey dove messages on my hubby's wall again.. LOL.

I probably will keep my blog name the same for now because, well, A Mom Without Facebook is where this blog started. It still holds special meaning to me. I think the Lord really taught me a lot during this time I spent away from Facebook. I'm glad I did it, and I'm proud of myself for committing to going the full 365 days without it. Just for the sake of discipline.

I'm still going to be blogging, because I love this way of sharing my thoughts. I love being able to look back at my blog posts this year alone and see where I have come, the different trials I have gone through, the happy moments I have shared and be able to read my exact emotion on that day. Something I will never relive. So although I may not be blogging daily, this momma isn't going anywhere.

I'm coming back to the lovely social networking site.... and if I had to choose one word to describe the feeling... humbled.

In the meantime, I do want to ask for prayer for sweet Simon. I will keep you all updated as his progress continues.

♥     ♥     ♥

I wish you all a safe and blessed New Year!

Oh and here's a little fun note to end on. I'm almost done with my first trimester! YES!!!! 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Missing In Action.

I've definitely been missing in action lately. I have honestly cried when getting emails from some of you checking in on me because you have noticed that I haven't blogged in a while. That's just where my emotions are at right now. A big roller coaster! But thank you, so so much.

I just wanted to give a quick update because I really can't be on the computer long at all. I get dizzy even scrolling through Pinterest on my phone! How bad is that!? lol. And this has pretty much been my playroom lately. It takes everything out of me to help the kids pick it up, so most days I just don't. lol. Oh man. So not like me!

The morning sickness, or shall I say, all day sickness has been tough. I'm getting by though. Thankfully my sister and I just text and call each other and get all our complaining out and then go about our days. :) I'm now taking a nausea pill called Zofran. It's a category B med and it's helping most of the time, and then last night I lost the nausea battle. Ugh no fun! Just talking about it makes me want to run for the bathroom. Lovely!

But I just keep reminding myself... it's so worth it in the end... and there are plenty of women with morning sickness much worse than I... and some that get it the entire 40 weeks! I'll be 10 weeks on Friday and usually I start getting relief around 12/13 weeks. Almost there...

Funny thing is, when I have been feeling okay enough that food sounds really good, I've been craving salads!? WHAT? That has never happened before!! I'm not complaining, but just very strange... lol.

So I'm just praying through the tough parts and thankfully my kids and hubby have been amazing. Hubby has brought home dinner several times, helps with as much as he can at night, dishes, laundry, you name it. He's awesome. And Addy and Sawyer have been troopers. They have been playing together so well and watching a few more movies than usual, but hey, it's only a season right? The kids even come up and bring toys on my bed and just hang with me when I'm too off to do much else. I love that they just sense that something is not normal, and just hang with me. Their little spirits brighten my day. 

My sister and I both went to our first doc appointments last week. It was so funny to have both of us, our hubbys and my kids all in the waiting room together. Our doctor got quite a kick out my sister and I being due so close. She as well kept us at 4 days apart, but pushed our due dates back 1 day. Both babies are doing great and the heart beats were strong on the sonogram. My sister and her hubby thought the little "peanut" baby at just about 9 weeks looked like a wad of gum. That cracked me up. I suppose they are kind of right! haha.

I also turned 29 last week. CRAZY. It was a low key day, but I still felt spoiled and had fun hanging with my fam. My sis made these awesome rainbow sprinkle cupcakes. LOVE.

Well, I'm exhausted now so I'm going to go take it easy. That's a little update as to what has been going on over here...

It's hard to believe that this time next year I'm going to have a 7 year old {step-son}, a 4 year old, a 2 year old, and a 5 month old. WOW.

Maybe we are a little crazy?

Naaa... God will never give us more than we can handle. ♥

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas...


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Mike Hawthorne. We Miss You.

It was two years ago today, that my husband lost his wonderful, loving, father to cancer. John was 26 years old. It was an absolute whirlwind of a ride. John's father, Mike, was taken to the hospital on a Monday evening after having some strange symptoms over the weekend. To our surprise, he was diagnosed with liver cancer on Tuesday evening and on Thursday we said our last goodbyes.  It was something we could barely wrap our minds around. Mike had been picking up his grandson from school just the week before...we couldn't understand how this could be happening...

I wrote this note and posted it on Facebook in order to try to come to grips with the scenario that just played out in front of my eyes. I wanted so badly to wake up, for it to be a dream. To be able to say something that could heal my husband's broken heart.. It still doesn't seem real and every time I tell someone the story they tell me they have chills. We have a lot of joy, and are very blessed, but we have not escaped tragedy by any means. We don't expect to. I like to look back on it each year, just to remember where our family has come from. And to remember Mike.

I was pregnant with Sawyer at the time and although Sawyer never got to meet his grandpa Mike, we gave Sawyer his middle name, Michael, in his honor. 

I miss him so incredibly much, but I know there will be a time where I will feel his big bear hug again.. and hear his voice... and I will rejoice seeing him without pain in a place where there will be no more tears. 

Until then, we must remember how fragile life is, how little control we have, and never take a moment of our time here for granted. 

Here is the note I wrote that evening...

♥     ♥     ♥

As I sit here and try to process the events that just took place in a few short days it is still absolutely mind boggling. A good friend put it so well that a mere 72 hours ago my father-in-law, my daughter's grandpa, and my amazing husband's daddy was diagnosed with metastasized liver cancer and tonight he is with our Lord and Savior in heaven. Talk about a whirlwind of emotions. Although I'm not a blogger of any sort, I felt compelled to write in order to come to grips with everything in my own way...or at least try to sort things out in my own mind so here goes..

Today we were supposed to do a biopsy of the tumor(s) in his liver in order to find the original cancer site in hopes of treatment, but a very different diagnosis was given...that he only had 24-48 hours left with us. Not only was Mike's liver failing, but the cancer had now spread to his kidneys and the calcium levels in his blood were still off the charts. A multiple organ failure was taking place and the doctors knew at this time that we had caught this cancer far too was so aggressive that there was nothing we could do at this point and even attempting to do the biopsy would have been a treacherous process for Mike's body to go through and even finding the original site at this point would have been a futile effort.

Mike went into an unconscious state last night and never regained consciousness. In a way it was a hidden blessing, he never even had to know his hours were limited.

All day, John's mother Terry and John's brothers surrounded Mike and spoke to him. It was a very difficult sight to see, especially where only one week ago John's mother (Terry) lost her very own dad, Don Tucker. Never in my worst nightmare could I imagine losing my father and my husband within a week of each other... but Terry was leaning on the Lord with all her heart, as we all were, and the Lord says He will never give us more than we can handle, so if that tells you anything about Terry's strength and her amazing faith I don't know what does.

I just want to personally thank each and every one of you that prayed for our family today. I want you all to know that we felt it. In a time of utter darkness, shock and confusion the family was able to find peace and not feel torn with anger and bitterness at our loss. I'm not saying it was a day without sadness and mourning, because the Lord knows how many tears were shed and many more to come, but there was an underlying peace that no one could deny.

Looking at the outpouring of love on a website that I usually use to talk about mindless matters, John and I couldn't help but be brought to our knees. We feel so blessed to have such a wonderful network of family and friends... people we hardly talk to or haven't seen in forever and those of you that are in our lives regularly all came together for us and we couldn't be more thankful. Offers for babysitting, meals, and even rides to pick up family from the airport were streaming in and I can honestly say the family was touched more than you can even imagine. Reading the posts of prayers and encouragement meant the world to us today and John was even able to read your posts to his brothers and mom as words of encouragement. (Gotta love iphones right?) All of your responses, phone calls and texts throughout the last few days really kept us going... and we will never forget it. The Lord had his arms around us and you all were a little part of that.

For those of you that didn't know him, Mike Hawthorne was a man you would never forget if you met him. His warm presence and huge smile would greet you and if you tried to shake his hand... well you wouldn't get very far because he would be hugging you instead. He was always full of compliments and probably one of the most genuine people I have ever met. A genuine giver to the core. He would do anything for his family and even just talking to him on the phone he would begin by saying, "It's so great to hear your voice!" Even on Wednesday before Mike slipped into his unconscious state he was able to speak to John on the phone and of course just like Mike would, he was whispering, "How are you my son?" It was always about everyone else... even in his final hours.

I remember first working at Hawthorne Tire right before Mike retired and he taught me everything there was to know about doing the books, paying the bills, and even taught me how to look up a tire size or two! I had never seen someone in business like him. The customers were drawn to him...almost like captivated by his teddy bear presence. He would never end a phone call without personally thanking the customer for their business. I had never seen anything like it. When he told me he had customers that had been coming there for several decades I was beginning to understand why.

I feel so honored to be part of the Hawthorne family..and the Hawthorne family business... and honored to have known Mike for the past 4 years. I feel honored to have the friends and family I do and honored to be resting at peace knowing that the Lord is carrying us through this difficult time.

I know many of you have asked if you could help our family, and honestly, this is very new to me and John so I don't even know what the next few days or weeks will bring. We don't really know what to ask for other than continued prayers for strength as the family deals with the aftermath of such a tragedy. The holidays are going to be harder this year and for many years I'm sure.

If any of you would like to post a memory of Mike, I know it would mean the world to John and the family knowing how his father touched other people's lives.

Thank you again for all your love & support...

Addyson & her grandpa Mike '08


Monday, December 5, 2011

Morning Sickness. {Prayers please}

I half expected it. I've been sick with my last two pregnancies, so although I had dreams of skipping the awful beginning, I had a feeling my days of feeling like a spring chicken were limited. The day after Thanksgiving it hit me. Nice of the little peanut to at least give me Thanksgiving to enjoy food for one last time.

Since Black Friday, I've been really down for the count. Nothing sounds good. Actually the thought of most food almost sends me running for the bathroom. The nausea lasts all day long... with very little relief. I'm wondering if any one has any remedies out there that I haven't yet tried... I'm desperate. 

My sister texted me and said it best..

You are incredibly lucky to have had it happen so easily, unfortunately it just doesn't come free. But I'm sure the payoff is worth the price...

Absolutely the payoff of a precious miracle is worth the price. And thinking about all the people out there that would do anything to be in my shoes even on my sickest of days are what keep me going sometimes. 

I am thankful.

I'm just needing a little relief in the meantime and trying to stop the feelings of guilt that come when I can't be the same mom and wife I was a few weeks ago before the nausea started... 

So I thank you for your prayers. 

And if you have any tips/tricks or advice for battling the constant nausea, please post them in the comments. 

I will most definitely be reading each and every one of them.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Instagram Friday {7 weeks preggo}

When you are 7 weeks preggo and the nausea is in full effect you start taking pictures of things like your burnt toast, Sprite and Gingersnaps...

With a little fun Christmas light decor thrown in of course. 

And for those that have popped out more than one little love, do you seriously start showing at 6 weeks!? The baby is only the size of a blueberry! But I have a bump!! 

Okay...back to the saltines and Sprite. I kinda want to punch saltines in the face right now, but we have a lot of time left together, so I better be nice to them. 

Here goes...

Oh, and you can follow me on Instagram!


{Linking up here}

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

4 days apart.

Okay, so like I mentioned in my last post, the story of baby Hawthorne on the way is really quite fascinating and it has been driving me a little crazy holding it in for the last several weeks.

I guess I kind of wanted to give myself a bit of time through the first trimester before announcing it, but, finally I realized, I would rather tell people sooner and ask for prayer for a healthy baby than not tell anyone and if for some reason God had other plans for the little love the size of a blueberry inside me, then well, at least I would have a lot of other shoulders to lean on. Just my preference I suppose.

So here goes, the story I've been holding in for weeks!

And like I mentioned... if the talk of baby making, menstrual cycles and the such make you want to run for the hills, go ahead and do so now. lol! The rest of you, I'm so excited to share!!

Okay, so this goes back to October...before Halloween to be exact. Hubby and I have always talked about having another baby, but we never really knew when God's timing would be. Addyson was a bit of a surprise 6 months into our marriage, and Sawyer we tried one month and that was all it took. So after Sawyer, we knew we really had to be careful unless we were hoping to be the next Duggar family. Which as far as I know is not God's plan for us. lol.

So one evening after kids were in bed, we had a glass of wine, and were talking about the thought of having another little love running around and really got excited about the idea...and well... in so many words... we decided to give it a whirl. The next day we kinda laughed, and thought, well... maybe we should wait a few months before really trying because we just don't know yet what God's plan is for another baby for us. Let's just say, there would be no more waiting. lol. And just for the record I have no idea why for some people God allows them to get pregnant by basically looking at each other, and for others it takes all kinds of methods, even medical help to do so. I just think we all have our own battles, and lessons that the Lord is teaching us, and he uses different circumstances for different people. One of those things we will never fully understand.

Well, this is where the idea of being pregnant kind of took a different turn. My sister and her husband {and yes I have full permission to post this} with whom I am best friends with, had been trying for a baby for several months at this time... 8 to be exact. My sister and I live in the same community, are 14 months apart and have been attached at the hip our entire lives. Along with our youngest sister, who we are desperately are trying to get to move to our community as well, that just got married in September. 

The morning I got the two pink lines was a Sunday and it was the first time I actually got to tell John in person that I was pregnant! I told him over the phone with Addyson, because I was basically in a panick when I found out, and with Sawyer, I was actually out-of-state visiting family on the east coast when I found out, so once again it was over the phone. So this time around it was an exciting moment that we shared and we just kind of hugged and stared at each other and laughed. That's all we could think about doing. We couldn't believe that one time in "danger zone" and here we were.

Then it set in.. all I could think about was how nervous I was to tell my sister. I was so excited, and yet, so torn that finding out I was pregnant was probably going to discourage her greatly. I know in talking to several friends over the years that there comes a point when you are trying to get pregnant and the more people you find out about that are getting pregnant around you, the harder it gets for you to feel excited. It just makes you want that so much more... I have always felt their pain, even though I couldn't relate. I could completely understand their emotions though. It made sense. All in God's timing takes on a different meaning. You wonder if it ever will be God's timing..

So I told her first thing and we both had a lot of silent moments on the phone. She was so happy for us, and like I feared, so discouraged. It was bittersweet. I wrote a post called bitter vs. sweet that day. You can read it here. I cried. A lot.

Then the thoughts started coming in like waves... why did we even "try" knowing my sister was trying? I have a lot of friends that have been trying... am I just being insensitive? Why am I the one being blessed with another baby when all I want is for my sister and her husband to have this joy? I just knew the enemy was trying to rob me of my joy, but I couldn't stop the guilt. I spent a day crying and battling it out with God. I felt like the waves of questions were attacks. I felt horrible. Not exactly the way you think your first few days finding out your pregnant are supposed to go. Plus, not to mention the hormones that are completely out of whack now. Oh Lordy!

I just started praying. 

My husband started praying. 

My mom, my dad, my youngest sister and her husband started praying. 

A handful of friends started praying.

I truly felt the only way that my sister and I were going to feel peace in that moment was for her to be pregnant. Soon. Maybe before I was in my second trimester I was hoping. Or at least before I had the baby.

Like I said, I found out I was pregnant on Sunday and I knew her cycle {of course us sisters talk about this kind of stuff, and funny thing was how close our cycles have gotten since living .7 miles apart} and she would know on Wednesday if she was. All I could do to stop the attacks of guilt was to pray..

Tuesday morning came and by God's will alone, my sister got PREGNANT written across her digital test for the first time ever. Shocked is not the adequate word. This was even a day early!

God answered our prayers with YES, NOW. I am crying just thinking about it. 

I cannot tell you the emotions of that day. Words don't do it any justice. Our family rejoiced and praised God and laughed. It was the most amazing thing to see a prayer answered that quickly.

We calculated our due dates and found out we are due FOUR days apart. How insane is that?! We just started laughing imagining that we very well could be in the hospital at the SAME time! Imaging our families running from room to room... the husbands checking in on each other seeing how the other is holding up... what the heck we could even share a room! Well, maybe a curtain in between for "GO" time. LOL. It seriously sounded like a scene you might see on reality T.V. Obviously we have no idea how that last month will play out for each of us, but it's going to be awesome. And I'm so, so excited that I happen to be blogging now so I can document this adventure, because that's definitely what it's going to be. An adventure.

It's amazing to look back at the whirlwind of emotions... God had this from the beginning. Like this little picture mentions so perfectly, in my time of utter despair and guilt and confusion, God had something better in mind. Us being pregnant together was something we had never really imagined. Something I don't feel like we ever could have planned ourselves. At least not successfully. lol.

Now we are texting and calling each other every day, checking in on each other's painful boobs and tired state. Sending each other pics of our bumps that hardly even exist yet, and reading The Girlfriends Guide to pregnancy together.

We keep telling my youngest sister to drink the water and join us... but as a happy newlywed she is determined to wait. Darn! ;)

You better believe we will be visiting this place again as our growing bumps demand more food! LOL!

I just am thanking God for this gift of giving us each other as we go through what is very likely my last pregnancy and her first TOGETHER.

And our hubby's are just a tad thrilled about it too....

They already are practicing their before and afters. Love it!  

 This picture even makes me forget my morning sickness for a moment because I laugh so hard looking at it. 

Oh man. Love those guys!!

This is gonna be a fun road ahead.


{Linking up here}

Monday, November 28, 2011

Advent Conspiracy

I was honored to be asked by the lovely Ashley of the world so sweet to be a guest blogger for an amazing series she is doing. 

The Advent Conspiracy? Never heard of it? I hadn't either. 

I encourage you to take a few moments of your time and watch this video. It will explain the meaning behind the Advent Conspiracy.

Pretty awesome huh? 

My heart was touched, and as soon as I saw it I knew this was something I wanted to be a part of. I was thrilled that Ashley contacted me and I will be doing a guest post on {Worship Fully} later this week.

Check out the rest of the line-up for the series. 

It's going to be good. 


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sawyer has something to tell you...

I can hardly contain it anymore...


I am still in shock, but the nagging, watery feeling in my throat just at the thought of certain foods reminds me quite quickly. The fact that I have to get up to pee 500 times a night and drop to the floor if I stand up too fast because I can't see due to extreme lightheaded-ness {is that a word?} is something that also reminds me. Or the fact that I can smell if Sawyer "dropped a bomb" as soon as I step foot up the stairs to get him from his nap. And if those weren't enough, even at 7 weeks I'm starting to feel the tiny indentation of what I liked to call my waist {I pretty much have a boy frame. ugh.} well... the waist I liked to pretend I had has already started to widen.  

And I couldn't be happier.

If you have been following me for a little while you might remember my little confession...if you haven't, you can read it here. Let's just say I had no idea that this little confession of mine would come to fruition so quickly. God truly had other plans.

The story is actually pretty amazing. And the crazy thing is that it's not only my story I have to share.

If you are a guy, or if you feel like even the talk of a menstrual cycle, or a pregnancy test is TMI, I encourage you to stop here. LOL. Wish me well and hop on over to another blog of choice, maybe even one of my lovely sponsors? hehe. I promise I won't be only blogging about my cravings and growing belly for the next 32 weeks. {Although I'm sure there will be a lot of that thrown in there!} For those of us that have been there, or might be experiencing it right now, it kinda takes over your life for those 40 weeks.

If you don't mind a bit of pregnancy talk and "girl stuff" on occasion, please join me as I'm honored to share this awesome story of how I found out, and the aftermath of the news.. and well, just the road to having another little miracle join our family! EEK! 

But first I really need to go eat something. Something without meat and something that is not leftovers. The food aversions always hit me first. It's not so much what I'm craving as it is what sounds okay enough that I don't want to hurl just thinking about it.

I am gonna go boil a pot of water for some pasta, so I'll be right back... ♥

{ Link up here, here }

Friday, November 25, 2011

Blessing While Giving {Part 2}

I decided back in September that I really wanted to do something different this Christmas

It sounds so silly that I was already thinking about Christmas in September, but I LOVE the holidays and pretty much start thinking about them as soon as we can officially say it's boot season here in San Diego.

I'm sure I'm not the only one that has had this idea, but this was my thought... every gift I give would be helping another person in need. You can read that original blog post here.

Someone selling something for a great cause. 

Supporting someone in their own journey to raise funds whatever it may be. 

Or a company that gives back a percentage, or gives another item when one is purchased.

Well, I've been doing some serious research and wanted to share some of my ideas. Some of these things I have already purchased, some I have not. I won't go into detail in case someone that I happen to be buying for stumbles across my blog. hehe.

♥     ♥     ♥

Here are 10 different ideas I have found so far.

1. Toms

Of course, most people already know about Toms, but for those that may not, Toms gives a pair of shoes for every pair you buy. Awesome. I own a pair of the wedge heels and can't wait to get my hands, or should I say feet, on a pair of the original ones.

How awesome are these for hubby, dad, brother, etc?

2. 31 Bits

This is a group of friends were determined to make a difference in Uganda.

They have committed to buying jewelry monthly from what started as 6 women in Uganda to now 99 women. They have helped these women that were in times of suffering feel joy and experience liberation. They even have a wedding line of jewelry!

3. An Awesome Book

This one I don't have to hide, because I don't think my 3 & 1 year old will be snooping around my blog anytime soon. I bought them each one of these books. They are awesome. For every book bought, the Awesome World Foundation gives a book. Books are delivered directly and distributed to schools, hospitals, libraries, camps and shelters both domestically and worldwide. You can even read the book on the website to see how awesome it is before you have the option to purchase the awesome book. Awesome. And there is An Awesome Book Of Thanks. Can't get much more awesome.

4. UNICEF {U.S. Fund}

Working in over 150 countries, UNICEF is a global humanitarian relief organization providing children with health care and immunizations, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF supports UNICEF's humanitarian relief work through fundraising, advocacy and education in the United States.

All kinds of stuff, even soft toys from IKEA help this cause. From November 1 to December 24, for every IKEA soft toy and accompanying children's book sold, the IKEA Foundation will donate one euro (approximately $1.35) to support UNICEF and Save the Children Education programs.Awesome.

5. Ethical Ocean

This site doesn't give back monetarily, but it only provides items that are the best for people, the environment, and animals. So that is giving back in my book!

Each of the product pages includes a story: explaining what the product does, where it comes from, and what the seller is doing to positively impact the globe. Sellers are thoroughly screened before being allowed to sell on the site.

I found this amazing mustache reusable coffee cup and was hooked. Pretty sweet.

6. Children's Art Project

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center  started this Children's Art Project to generate revenue to enhance patient services through the sale of products created with children's art. They have all kinds of items and even these pretty awesome iPhone 4/4s covers. I just love that all the items are made with the art of children. Makes me want to cry! Everything from jewelry to clothing, to stationary. 

7. Invisible Children 

This one I have known about for some time and have always had them close to my heart. The 3 young men that started this organization are from Southern California. I remember going to a church service in SD and seeing these guys and they were just starting to speak out about the horror they found on their trip to Uganda. It was Invisible Children in the making. 

They created the documentary "Invisible Children: Rough Cut," a film that exposes the tragic realities of northern Uganda's night commuters and child soldiers.

All the proceeds go to their mission to rescue and provide a future for these children and their country.

"All of our programming is a partnership between those of us at Invisible Children and those in the Ugandan community. We focus on long-term goals that enable children to take responsibility for their future and the future of their country. Our programs are carefully researched and developed initiatives that address the need for quality education, mentorships, the redevelopment of schools, resettlement from the camps, and financial stability."

8. Throwing Our Arms Open Wide - An Adoption Place

This blog has a designated page solely to help families on their way to the adoption process and also for those raising money for orphans.

I fell in love with it as soon as I found it. Incredibly creative things and they are being sold for an amazing purpose. Not too much wordage needed for this one... check them out. She is even willing to add  your shop if you are also selling for this cause! 

9. 147 Million Orphans

This is all I needed to read when I stumbled on this website. Amazing cause.

"We are two moms who love orphans! We met six years ago as we were both going through our first adoptions (one domestic and one international) … Thirteen kids and seven adoptions later, we are bound together through faith and mission. We love “doing life together” and accepting the call to speak up for orphans everywhere. We want to help as many people as possible to see the 147 million orphans as scripture calls them, “…those who have no voice.”   We want you to see YOUR PART in helping change the life of an orphan. Could it be adoption, sponsoring a child, volunteering for orphan care ministry, rocking babies at an orphanage, financially supporting someone adopting, or buying these products?"

10. iGive

Connected with 944 stores, iGive is determined to make a change. The stores have teamed up with iGive to give a percentage to the cause of your choice when you shop with the iGive button.

The free iGive Button doesn't change your shopping habits. This tiny addition to your browser automatically tells participating stores that you want your shopping to support your favorite cause or charity.

If your charity or cause of choice isn't an option, you can add it! Love this. It may be a small percentage given, but every bit counts.

I'm in the process of adding the A21 Campaign, if you read my recent post on sex-trafficking, you know the cause I'm passionate about.

I'm thrilled that so many awesome stores are on board with this. Amazing.

♥     ♥     ♥

I hope this list may help you a tad as the Christmas craziness begins! 

I know there are SO many more amazing sites out there and it's so encouraging to know that we have a lot of options when we want to buy for a cause.

Feel free to post a link to a shop or site you know of in the comments! 

Love it.

Happy shopping!

{Linking up here, here, here}

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

We all have something.

Something that absolutely sickens us to the core.  

An issue going on it the world that brings us almost to instant tears when we think about it. 

We push the thoughts out, just to get through whatever it is we may be doing when it happens to cross our mind. 

Something we are insanely passionate about.

Most of us don't know what to do about it.

Last night at our weekly Bible study that we host, this topic came up.

On Sunday, the sermon was on the fact that God has set us apart for a designated purpose. Jesus knew this and prayed that we would be guarded, and protected by God in order to be sanctified, made holy and set apart to do His will.

God gives us an ability.

God gives us a personality.

God gives us a passion.

Over the evening we dug into this idea further and each took turns speaking about what our abilities, personalities, and passions were. It was amazing seeing the differences within our small group alone.

We read 1 Corinthians 12. This is the passage that talk about how the body is not made up of one part, but many. Explaining the need for different people to have different passions, abilities, etc.

"Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them as he chose." 1 Corinthians 12:14-18.

As we all got to talking, I was completely fascinated by the different passions in our little group alone. It ranged from abortion, to sex-trafficking, to bullying, to animal cruelty and more. My husband pointed out at the end of the evening, the one thing we all had in common was that we all felt a passion to help the helpless.

The thing that absolutely brings me horror is child abuse and sex trafficking. This is something that rips me to my ultimate core. Anger that sometimes I never knew I had is what forms when I think about these poor victims. I was explaining this to the group last night and the most interesting thing happened. My husband stopped me and said, "love, I know this sounds crazy, but that is exactly what I was going to say."

We just kind of looked at each other. I don't know why we have never talked about it. Probably because I push it out of my mind most of the time to keep myself from completely falling apart. I think for both of us, having children ignited this fire in us. We already support a few kids in Africa by a monthly donation, and don't get me wrong, I think all those organizations are fantastic. But the passion for the victims of sex-trafficking and abuse is where I feel myself want to fight someone. Yes, all of my 5'1 frame.

One of our friends told me about this organization called The A21 Campaign. Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century. I quickly became an expert on the website within an hour.

Their website reads: Human trafficking is an organized criminal industry that affects every nation. While the statistics can seem overwhelming, it is important to remember that every number represents the life of a victim. The A21 Campaign has recognized a significant need in the region of Europe, and is committed to combating this injustice through rescuing one life at a time.

The statistics are overwhelming... 
  • Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today, generating approximately 31.6 billion USD each year. Specifically, trafficking for sexual exploitation generates 27.8 billion USD per year2.
  • There are 1.39 million victims of commercial sexual servitude worldwide3.
  • Over 25 percent of sex trafficked victims are trafficked from Southern and Eastern Europe4.
  • 90% of victims trafficked into the European Union member states will end up in the sex industry5.
  • Tragically, only 1-2 percent of victims are rescued, and only 1 in 100,000 Europeans involved in trafficking are convicted6.

This organization's is helping:

Instagram Friday {Thanksgiving}

Here it is, Instagram Friday!

{Thanksgiving edition}

I realized I took plenty of pics at our first stop and then once we got to my parents house, well, I was kinda over it! I wanted to just put down the camera and spend time with the fam. Of course that means not even one picture of my family and inside of my parents house. Or even any food! lol. Oh well, I promise I'll do better on Christmas! 

So here are some things I am truly, truly, thankful for. 

1. Jesus - He saved my life. 

2. My family - We are incredibly close, and I wouldn't have it any other way. 

3. My children - Bring more joy to my life than I knew was possible. 

4. My husband - His heart, his love for the Lord, his genuine spirit, the way he leads our household. 

5. Our home - The place where our own traditions are beginning. 

6. Our friends - We truly have some amazing friends. People that would drop everything at anytime to help us if we were in need. 

7. Health - I know being in a season of good health is so much to be thankful for.

8. Our jobs - although tough at times to run our own small businesses, I'm thankful for a job that allows us to never worry about food on our table. 

9. Our church - I have never learned, grown, and been excited about my faith as much as I have since finding our now home church, The Movement.

10. Blogging - Incredibly blessed by the inspiration, encouragement, and creativity I've found since my blogging journey began.

 I actually did it myself. Was a HUGE hit. Was even told I need to make this an annual occurrence. 

John's beautiful momma. Jack & Lobos.  

 I had total bathroom envy at my brother-in-law's house. LOVE that sink!! And wardrobe mirrors!

 All boy cousins at this house, means the only dress up is a Superman mask! Good enough for her. 

Love them. That's all. :) 

 Pointing out Uncle's truck of course! 

 The house I grew up in. Now "grammy gram and grandpa's." 

 Sawyer saying, "come on mom!" 

 Thanksgiving day hair do. She is getting too big. :( 

{Linked up here}