Monday, November 19, 2012

donate $10 to love a child for Christmas == enter a drawing for some sweet stuff!!


 there are children all over this world that are barely living because they don't have the basic necessities.....clean drinking water, food, shoes, a family to care for them......

there is a village that was built after land was purchased by a group of local (South Dakotan) men.
 it was built to give children and families a hope....a life. 
it's called Hope Village....in West Africa. 
and there is an organization that was created to support this Hope Village. 
it's called Bridges of Hope 
 You can visit the official website here--pretty great page. you can see the real children, the real school buildings, the real water wells, etc.




BOH has built a school and orphan homes (foster care for children living as orphans). it has purchased livestock and a well for clean drinking water. the children are taught by teachers who are paid by Bridges of Hope. and now Brides of Hope is asking for sponsorship for 300 children in the surrounding area to be able to attend school in Hope Village. with all of this, BOH is trying to teach the people to be sustainable, so that some day soon they will be able to provide for themselves without soo much help from the states.....but that all takes time.

bridges of hope needs our hands.......
desperately.

here's our chance:




 i am now sitting on the board for Bridges of Hope.
 it is a organization that was started in the little town of Rapid City, SD. 
so i can tell you EXACTLY where your money will go,
 should you choose to contribute in some way. 
100% of monies are sent to Hope Village in West Africa to pay teachers' salaries, provide rice, purchase chickens, etc, and to support and sponsor the children there.
 my hope is to visit soon to see the progress in-person.




 you can go right to the Bridges of Hope page to enter your name (or someone you love) in the raffle.



 for every $10 raffle chance you purchase, your name will be entered once.



 so should you like to purchase MORE than 1 chance ($10 ea.),
you will be entered over and over again!!



there are soo many reasons i see a winning situation.



you will be blessing a child who has gone without.....
you will be pleasing yourself for giving a child a chance....a hope.
you will be entering yourself in a great giveaway.....
you can't loose.
look at these faces.



she will thank you....



they will be grateful.....



their future will be brighter



and hope will be alive.



wanna be a part of something BIG??

here are more details...............

Starting today, November 14, 2012, we are hosting the first ever 
BRIDGES OF HOPE: RAFFLE WITH A CAUSE! 
We are so excited for this. We are able to offer 4 fantastic prizes: a brand new Apple iPad4 with retina display, a brand new Kindle Paperwhite, a brand new Apple iPod Nano and a brand new Apple iPod shuffle! So how do you win one? Easy. Entries are ONLY $10. You can enter as many times as you want AND donate any amount you want – increase your chances of winning. The fundraiser ends on December 14, 2012 so get your entries in right away. Want to find out more? Click over to the page where all the information is laid out: 


if you have any questions about the raffle or about Bridges of Hope, just leave me a message. 
this organization is very near and dear to my heart.

thank you for passing this along to every single friend/ blogger you know!!!

SMOOCHES!!

to listen to the beautiful music in this video you will have to click the pause button on my music above (red badge on the top right of the page)
enjoy!!....and meet (some) who you'll be helping



Saturday, November 10, 2012

~`~Surrendering to Something Heavenly~`~





 i can't even explain what's been happening to me lately.
 i know it's a God thing. 
i have learned through some really tough things the last few years what God's presence feels like. there are soo many times when i wish i could feel that presence and it just isn't there. 
it feels amazing to feel the Holy Spirit working in me. 

i have been at a loss for words. i can't seem to figure out exactly what it all means.
 i have this spirit. this energy. this passion. a love for others that i can't explain. i want to help. i want to give. i want to go. 
it's crazy how badly i want to go.

it's really rather difficult to sit still and be quiet and patient while He works on me and gives me answers.
 i'd rather jump! 
tell me what to do with all of this!



 i have been fighting for the orphans and the widows more than ever.
 is that what this is about??
 are we suppose to adopt again? 
(the kids have been talking and praying)
 are we supposed to move somewhere where we can be closer? 
what is it?


i asked some advice from a wise soul and was advised to keep doing what i'm doing.
 i know it's not up to me. i know that there is a perfect time for everything. i know that i can make a difference whether i'm here or "there". but i know there is a plan to go. dic has told me to trust and listen about that.....that it isn't up to us or about us. i am keeping my faith, as i know to do, and trying to be as patient as possible. 
and i have asked dic to keep an open mind about what's to come. 
our family has found a place where we trust God more than ever before. 
i love that. 




so in the meantime i will give of myself. i will care for the needy. i will support the families who work soo hard to give children a family. i will lend a hand when i can. i will fight for the widow and i will fight for the orphan. i will trust my God when He says He has something big planned for me and my life. i will try to be still and quiet and listen for His words.

 changes that happen in my life, i am learning, are not about me. these changes will bring glory to my creator. i am His tool. i am His Shepard. 
i have given it all to Him before.
i am prepared to do that again.
for the love of God.
i am ready for something big.
something's happening.
it will be HUGE when i figure it out.
i'm praying and asking questions.
maybe i'm not asking the right questions.

i surrender...... 

 to whatever you're doing inside of me.
it feels like chaos, but somehow there's peace.
it's hard to surrender to what i can't see,
but i'm giving in to something HEAVENLY.
 




surrendering to something
heavenly.



Monday, October 1, 2012

the happy days of fall






i flopped on my monthly posting.
september came and went. 
darn.
home schooling my kiddos has been great.
and this is usually how i look at things.....
if I can do it, anyone can. :) 







 my boys are happy (and aregash is tickled to have them home). 
they sometimes miss their friends, but i have assured them that the homeschooling community will be scheduling more activities soon.
 i chose not to participate in the co-op because i wasn't sure how overwhelmed i'd be.
 turns out it's not the thing that overwhelms me.....if anything, it has taken stress away.




you know....a leaf-angel :)


last week i was down in the dumps.....we've had something laid on us that was unexpected and painful, but obviously part of the big plan. 
of course, i am the one who takes things the hardest.....i don't let things roll off my back
the way my hubby does,
and they snowball.  
so for the last couple of weeks i've felt pretty depressed. 
this isn't always a bad thing for my kids. :)
and this is why.....




school only takes us around 2-2.5 hours each morning, so we have some time to play.
 and we have. 
last week we filled our week full of donuts and cookies and french fries and fountains. 
we spent our time outdoors in the beautiful fall weather 
and indoors ice skating with friends. 
 then we had some ice cream.....a couple of times. 
there was even a comment or two like this....
"i think this is the most sugar i've EVER had". 
ha.




and i've decided what makes me feel better is when my kids feel good. 
we have a blast together.
 they crack me up.
and i'm the coolest mom ever.
life is grand.
the blues will go away,
but we'll have each other
FOREVER.




and when i feel like running
and hiding......




i think about this family of mine.
and how i love them.
and how they love me.

there hasn't been one ounce of regret 
about spending my every. single. minute. with them.

they soften this mama's heart,
which sometimes seems to harden.




they are happy days.




happy days of fall.




Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Changes

There is soo much change in my life right now....in OUR lives....that my head is perfectly spinning in an odd, but peaceful sort of way. I feel like I could take anything on...and I pretty much have my platter filled to the top.
Here's the scoop!
(and a little bit of a tour through our vacation:)


Wisconsin Dells--12 hour drive from home


Some people call me crazy, but most just know I'm Kendra and go with it.


zip-line time!


In the last few weeks we have gone from a place of essentially being debt-free to a place of "What now?" Can  we call it a leap of faith? Okay, that's the explanation I'm gonna use. 
It sounds better than just saying that we jumped in a giant hole of stupidity.


the wave pool and one of 7 water-parks at our hotel


When we made the decision to adopt, I sat in the bathtub one night and read Dave Ramsey's book about how to release our dependency on money.....when friends would ask us to go on a trip, our response was always "we can't afford it". 
It was true. It's probably still true. But something I learned was that when you really set your mind to it, you don't need as much as you think.  Within a couple of months of reading that book, I (I say I because I had to set the plan in motion with my family) payed off a vehicle, all of our medical bills, credit cards, etc.  We CHOSE to live for awhile on NEEDS vs. WANTS. 
 And it became easier as we went along.




Today.......well, today we have jumped out of that zone and into another.
The gift of a mini-van (I realized that after a period of time) that God gave us to help us pay off our adoption, has died. Our washing machine has died. And when they say "when it rains, it pours", it's soo true. 


the coolest-pizza delivery car with the coolest people


So what'd we do? We bought a washer/dryer set that could have bought one plane ticket to Ethiopia (I compare everything to our adoption process now).  And we bought a year-old vehicle, which we would have never dreamt of doing....ever.  
But we did.  And it's done.
And then we went on vacation!!!!
 No longer debt-free. crap.


big brother lending a hand through the "webs"--coolest thing ever & above an arcade!


So you're probably wondering what all the fuss is about......normal-every day people throw money around like it's nothing. What's the big deal? 


first trail-ride


Well, if you know me and my family we don't fit into that realm of "normalcy".  We don't fit into that main-stream idea of doing what everyone else does just cause they're doing it.  Maybe at one time, but it never felt right.  And it's pretty funny (and frustrating) when people "see" us as being "normal" and then they find out we aren't. 


go-cart fun!


With that being said....within all of the financial changes that were happening in the last few weeks, we also made a HUGE decision to.....yes, that's right......school our kids at home. *gasp*  Crazy, huh? I know, I haven't quite gotten over it either. And yesterday when everyone was posting pictures on Facebook of their kiddos' first day of school I felt this sense of being lost. Because I used to take those very same pictures of my kids with their backpacks on and all set for a new year. 


  

I think about the Christmas programs and teachers we cherish. 
I worry about what my kids may feel they're missing out on.....like Zachary's first year of middle school....and Cole's last.  This was not an easy decision, but one I've been thinking about since Cole walked through the school doors in Kindergarten. I felt like God had given me the gift of parenting these children and I was pushing them out the door for 8 hours a day to be parented by someone else. 
I know to many that will sound ridiculous, but when Zachary started 1st grade he actually spoke those very words to me, and it hit me like a ton of bricks.  And like any big-tough decision, it wasn't something I moved on for quite some time. Cause kids are suppose to go to school, right? That's just what we do.  From the time of Laura Ingalls Wilder kids have been leaving bright and early every morning of the week to be with their peers and learn about all kinds of fascinating things, whether they want to or not. 


dic showed the kids what his brother and sister use to do to him :)


 There have been times through the last many years where something wasn't going quite right and Dic would say "Why don't you just homeschool them?". I know what you're probably thinking.....DIC said that? Aren't all the crazy ideas all Kendra's?  Yea, most of them are. Ha!


jet boating through the Dells--a wet-n-wild ride!


This idea has been tumbling around in my head through the last year.  We loved all of our kids' teachers throughout the years (well, most of them) and we didn't have any major issues that couldn't be resolved, for the most part.  It just felt like it was time.  There are things that stand out when I try to find the reasoning, but basically it's because it just seems to be what's best for our family right now. So we just go from here.  I still have concerns about what it will look like. I worry that the kids may not always be on-board. But it will never be anything I will regret trying.  



  

My family and friends know that I'm stubborn and that if I set my mind to something I will accomplish it....crazy idea or not.  What I am feeling right now is not a force that pushes against society, but a strength from within. Cause Lord knows that this will take strength. 




 It seems a little weird to most to teach their own child, but then what have we been doing all along? 
(yep, some days I still I have to do some self-talking)


our dare-devil--ZACH


Maybe some day the "norm" will be different, just like everything else.  Vegetarians used to be outcast...now people envy them because they're healthy. Ya know? Doing what everyone else does JUST because everyone else does has never been our thing. 


see.....we DO let them have sugar...just not when you're looking :)


I'm sure many are wondering......were the kids all on-board or did we force them (cause we're soo mean you know:)?  
Each child got to make their own decision.
And they are excited about it.


the adults were in awe of our boyz skilz--LUKE


New adventures....new friends.....new ways of learning.....etc.
 It will be a journey.
 One we take together.


isn't this just the most beautiful babe you've ever seen? me too.


In the midst of all of these changes happening in our home....in our hearts......in this family.....
we will be giving the glory to the One who paved this pathway for us.....the One who opened the door back up after I slammed it shut soo very many times.....the One who doesn't make promises He doesn't keep.  


  

HE knows the future of each and every one of His creations. 
Finally letting go.




Letting go feels soo good.
Huh, Luke?



Changes.
Changes.






 and faith.
changes and faith.
it's all good.


 

Monday, July 23, 2012

My 40th.....here's the scoop

yesterday was my big birthday.......
the party part was fun, 
but i'm not that thrilled about the number. :0)





 but sometimes you just need a reason
 to get together with your buddies....






and your family......



my lil brother and his wifey


and people who have touched your life since your childhood.....



my mentor and childhood friend from across the street--now my son's principal


and you have to remind yourself 
that life is good
and age isn't really that big-a-deal.....







so you jump on the highest ride
 you can find.....








even though you're scared to death.....








with the ones you love......








and you realize that this isn't a free-fall.....




zach on the alpine slides by mt. rushmore



and going "up" is just as fun as coming down.......








 so you sit back 
and take a breather 
while everyone else is running by.......








to cherish
 this.....







this.....






this......






and this......






and you count your blessings
cause
 getting 
"older" 
isn't that scary....







when you have your peeps
to lean on.






love 
shows it's
face
once 
again......



loves this man



and when it feels like the world
 turns it's 
back on you
 .......








you find the beauty
 in the funny.....
(and he truly is hysterical)







and share your childhood 
dreams.....




the taffy shop in downtown keystone



with your sweet-hearts.







flowers seem to bloom
 where you walk.....






and storm clouds 
go away......






 cause you've found the good
 in everything around you







you start to sing 
a different tune......




ending the night with Mercy Me in concert at Hills Alive--awesomeness



and you're finally at peace....




loving the fact that my kids love to listen to and sing about Jesus.




with where you are in your life.
the people who have touched you.
and hopefully you've touched some as well.
and you know that
 this is the beginning.
not the end.
of 
something
amazing.

it's just another step
to something
beautiful.

i was reminded yesterday
by my smart older brother
that i may be ten years from 50,
but at least
i'm alive.
time to start seeing 
the BRIGHT 
side. 




today was a great day!
starting to get "over" the  "F" #.









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