Saturday, July 30, 2011

T-Shirt Time!!

We do have a gray one that will for sure be in print. But we thought...maybe not everyone is as gray and boring as us ;) So we wanted to have a fun color option too!!

These are only the ladies T-shirts. We will also have kids and guys. We will show ya all those in the next day or two!!

Custom t-shirt printing at

Custom t-shirt printing at

OK We need YOUR vote! What color would YOU wear?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Danielle's story

My story, in large part, begins with a commitment from my parents for their children. Because of this, I had the opportunity to go to Kenya, Africa after my senior year of high school. I can remember sitting in training watching a video about missions and thinking, "Well, Lord, this is nice, but it's not me. This is a 10 day trip, nothing more. PLEASE don't send me to Africa, God! Not for more than this, anyway."

Well, just like Jolene shared and many of you know, God so often has bigger plans than what we can imagine. What I thought was a 10 day trip, "nothing more," was the catalyst for a passion in me that absolutely CANNOT BE QUENCHED and is so much stronger now, 16 years later, than it ever was after that summer.

Africa changed my life forever.

After that trip, I went off to college and found out quickly that Taylor University was a part of a consortium that would allow me to study abroad for a semester and, low and behold, one of the places I could study was Daystar University in Kenya....the same place we boarded while working with street kids on my mission trip, and in less than 2 years, I was back for 4 1/2 months, building relationships and weaving Africa even more intricately into my story.

Fast forward 10 years. I have a beautiful family of 5 with 3 incredible little boys. My husband is a missionary kid from (you guessed it!) Africa, and I just can't believe we're not relocated yet! Doesn't marrying an MK from Africa almost guarantee you're going to end up back there? No, it most definitely does not. So, I let the dream die. I honestly think I subconsciously pushed down this very real part of me--this passion for Africa and its people--and thought the dream was dead. But God was working. He was working through the miracle of adoption. He was working in the restlessness in me to LIVE OUT MY FAITH and not just talk about it. He was working in a small group of women who gathered to pray for me and encourage me that Africa was a part of who I was. That dream was not dead! In fact, one person went so far as to say that the "MORE" that I seek of God? Africa was part of the answer to that "more." This realization revitalized me. It made me realize that while it may not look like how I thought it would look, my life journey will forever involve Africa.

Bringing Selah home from Ethiopia confirmed this even more. But then God had another test. When my husband lost his job as a pastor less than a year later and an opportunity presented itself for Karl to go back to Sierra Leone to train pastors, I was sure this was what I had longed for! But, my husband wasn't sure. And once again, God knew the big picture. Honestly, this part still confuses me today. I STILL wish our house would have sold and I was sitting in Sierra Leone right now. I'm not sure why we're not. But I have faith that GOD IS IN CONTROL. He knew that if we were gone, I wouldn't have the opportunity to work alongside Jolene to start Awake and Alive--the dream of a lifetime. He knew Karl and I wouldn't have the same opportunities to grow and learn together in the same way. He knew and He knows. And while I still don't TOTALLY understand, I DO trust Him.

So, here I am today. I am a mother. I am an advocate. I am a teacher. And I am a passionate child of God, more determined than ever to bring life and joy and LOVE to those all around me--so that myself and others--including the beautiful people of Africa--can truly be

Awake and Alive.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jolene's Story

Here is the story of how I woke up, became alive, and was moved into action...

It started with a pregnancy...
a pregnancy that ended to soon.

I always knew that I was made to be a momma. I never wanted anything more. God had put that love for kids in my heart and it was a strong force in my life.

I was 11 weeks along when I lost that baby. I had 11 weeks of dreaming, planning, and loving that had come to a crashing halt.
I remember sitting in the Dr.'s office right after he had told me that the baby was not alive, I remember the instant rush of emotion, and feeling of lost, and I burst into tears. But it was crazy, only minutes after I had found out about the loss of my baby I had an undeniable peace in my heart. I was still laying on the table when I had stopped crying and felt that peace. Pulled myself together and told my husband and my mom that that was the last time I will cry over my miscarriage. I knew that God has bigger plans.
Little did I know just how big...

Now, I can say that I have felt the extreme opposite of peace. Trying to get pregnant came with an entire new set of emotions and struggles. When I lost the pregnancy my thoughts were as followed, I had lost that pregnancy so that I would be able to come along side my friends who, heaven forbid, might experience the loss of a pregnancy. And that was the box I had put God in, and so I expected him to be "faithful" to me and allow us to get pregnant and put that whole miscarriage thing away until tragedy hit a friend of mine and then I could pull out my "it happened to me too" card. And in my mind that is the plan that I had come up with as to why God would allow a miscarriage to be a part of who I am. With that all being said I was expecting God to be "faithful" to my plan and we should be pregnant with in 6 months ...right?

So we were trying to get pregnant...uhhgg. It was awful. Every month when I would discover that we were not pregnant my emotions would instantly pull me back to the feeling I experienced when the Dr. told me that I had lost my baby. All month long I would think; OK we did everything right, it had to happen, and if it did happen, that would make the baby due in August...whoa that will be a hot summer being pregnant, and if that sweet baby is born in August then it will be one of the oldest in their class when it goes to school, it will be one of the 1st drivers, it will be older when they go off to college, and the thoughts just went on and on....and on. Then one night (I had just realized that day that I was not pregnant) I was totally consumed with angry thoughts, anger at God for not being "faithful" to me, angry at myself, at my husband, at all the people who seemed not to care what I was going through, anger anger anger...crying, crying, crying...
but then my heart stopped racing. And a calm spread through my body. "You do not need to carry a pregnancy to be a mother," is what I heard. I instantly knew that was a Divine gift. Those words changed my life.

"You do not need to carry a pregnancy to be a mother."

After that, suddenly I started being hit with all kinds of adoption awareness. That awareness happened in December of 08. (The month our adopted daughter Claire was born.) We signed on with our adoption agency in December and Claire was home in August.

This is the 1st picture we saw of her precious face. On May 18th 2009.

We have had many people ask us how we decided what country to adopt from and that is an easy one. God picked it for us. In almost all countries if you want to adopt you have to be 30 years old and married for 5 years. Not in Ethiopia. I was 24 and Darin 25 so Ethiopia was about the only option. And it is so great to see how God placed us in Ethiopia for many specific reasons.

Wheew... That was and always is emotional to relive.

So adoption took us to Ethiopia. But God had much more in store then just making me a mother. When we traveled to Ethiopia it was the biggest culture shock of my entire life. I had been on mission trips before but God had broken me in an entirely deeper way then I had ever experienced or knew was possible. On that trip we found out about the history of our beautiful baby girl, this little child that God had given me to take care of. I was holding her in my safe arms as I was looking around at all the other children in the orphanage, not knowing if they would experience a mothers love and the safety that my sweet girl would. I was broken. And I knew that I had to do more!

So we did. We were home for 5 months with Claire when we signed up to adopt again. And this time for 2 more children. And once again I put our God in a box. And I thought OK once we get these 2 children home I will have done what God has called me to do and then I can go back to living my comfortable life. My husband and I will rebound from the financial stress of adopting 3 kids in 2 years and we can live out the rest of our lives comfortably.
But God's plans were bigger!

He put some very specific people in my life that lead me to the slum of Addis Ababa, the slum called Kechene. And my brokenness reached a whole new level. We were able in spend time with the poorest of the poor. We went into their homes and saw how they lived. Theses beautiful widows and orphans who live in devastation and it is their reality... and I know that I have given you all the details already about what these priceless children go through. But they are real! They matter! They matter to me and most importantly they matter to God!

These girls are my inspiration and they are who I think of then I work so hard to try to raise money to help the people of Kechene.

my ending note.

I am thankful for my miscarriage
. And I do not say that lightly. I understand that could really sound crazy! But I think about this journey that God has given me, I think about how He used what I wanted more than anything in this life; He gave me the opportunity to experience a pregnancy and the hope that comes from a pregnancy to me, and He took it away, but then...He filled me with more then I could of EVER of tried to fill for myself.

Because of God's true faithfulness...I am Awake and Alive. Thank you Lord.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Not quite accurate

We have been on awe of your support! The chip in button on the side does not do your love justice!! We have had almost $1,000 donated to help feed the kiddos in Kechene for a year! That means we are 1/5 of the way there!

We have 2 and 1/2 weeks to go and if you can help spread the word we would be MORE then thankful! By reposting this on FB or on your blog we can get this info out to thousands in the next 2 week and that means that by simply taking 2 minutes and a few click of your mouse we can feed MORE kids!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Give Away Time

You will not believe it!!
We are so blessed!!! We had someone donate an iPOD shuffle to us,
under one stipulation...that we use it to promote our cause!
(of course)

2 simple things...

1. We have to reach 100 followers on our blog...

So follow us. Simply click the button.

2nd. We need to have more money raised for our kiddos in Ethiopia to eat
so each $10 you give will equal one entry,
You may "enter" as many times as you would like. Our fundraiser ends on July 31st.
(that gives you a little less then a month)
So tell ALL your friends RE POST this blog entry ASAP.
We need to raise that $5,000
and you NEED that iPOD shuffle!!

Think of the summer play list you could have on that thing!!

So again you get entered to win by giving $10,
using our "chip in" button on the side,
$10 =1 entry $20= 2 entries, and so on...
but the kicker is that we can not even draw a winner
until we reach 100 followers on our blog...So tell your friends about the AWESOME way they can give back and possibly win big!


Hey there friends~

I just wanted to remind you all that we only have 4 weeks to go on our 1st fundraiser! By simply giving a one time gift of $50 you can feed a child for a year!
The child who receives your gift will be between the ages of 4-9 and it might be the only 2 meals they will get that day!

On this day where we reflect on all of the freedoms we have, lets not forget those children who are slaves to hunger.