Tag: children

The Children’s Table

November 24, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Remember sitting at the  children’s table during a holiday meal?  You know, the table (usually located in the kitchen) where your cousins challenged each other to put carrot sticks up their noses.  You are stuck there because there is not enough room at the big people’s table (maybe “adult” is a better choice of words). What happens at the children’s table should stay at the children’s table: hiding the green beans in the napkins, playing in the gravy,  picking at the turkey carcass with little fingers, and piling your dessert plate high with Cool Whip, no pumpkin pie, just bring on the Cool Whip. IMG_5581

Here is a picture of the children’s table during morning snack time in the Dominican Republic. Don’t you love their concentration?

Each child received a metal cup with corn flakes and milk. The spoons seemed too large but they all managed quite well. They were pros.  No spills!!

They enjoyed every spoonful, down to the last drop! No chit-chatting; just getting down to business. Like this little girl!




Then I saw this little guy sitting alone out in the courtyard. I don’t know why he was not allowed at the children’s table. Why wasn’t he able to sit with his friends?  I was so glad that someone had remembered to bring him his cornflakes cup. He was enjoying his snack, but all alone. IMG_3949


I hope this Thanksgiving Day finds you surrounded by  those you love, counting your blessings and enjoying turkey and cornflakes. But go check out the children’s table, that is where the fun stuff is happening!

Keep walking and Happy Thanksgiving,





Stink, Stank, Stunk!

November 22, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Balloons are so much fun, right? Everyone loves a balloon! They are colorful and can be twisted into fun animal shapes. Balloons usually signal a celebration, a party, definitely a fun time! Children, especially, love balloons. Give a young child a balloon and you made a happy friend! IMG_5565

In October, I was blessed to be able to serve with Compassion International in the Dominican Republic. At 2 Compassion Centers, we  interacted with the precious children through 4 Bible School stations:  Worship, Bible Lesson, Activities, and Crafts. I volunteered to lead the Craft Team and had super support from the Team. Generous individuals volunteered to fill any remaining space in their suitcases with glue sticks, markers, pipe cleaners, coffee filters, wiggle eyes, and  lots more.

We organized all the crafty supplies into one suitcase and  we were ready to go! This is going to be fun!  The children, divided into age groups,  rotated to the 4 different stations throughout the day. The Craft Team  had an ideal location, I thought. We could glue and create under a nice shaded area with picnic tables. However, a large generator was loudly running which required us to scream the instructions to the children. Thankfully, someone eventually pulled the plug and the screaming stopped.

For one rotation cycle, we had a large group of 4-year-olds coming our way. They marched proudly towards the picnic tables where the creative magic was to happen.

But wait! What were they carrying? Balloons? Really? Who gave them balloons? We want names and there will be revenge! How will we get their attention?  Our butterfly coloring pages can’t compete with a balloon!  Now what will we do?

In retrospect as the leader, I made a bad decision.  Yep, we took the balloons from them.  Nicely. We tried to nicely take the balloons from their little hands. Have you ever tried to take a balloon from a child? Don’t. It was just one of my many moments of insanity. We promised them in English that we would hold the balloons for them until the craft activity was finished.  It didn’t matter which language we spoke or which language they understood, all that mattered was what they were experiencing: strangers were taking their balloons! Grinch had nothing on us. Now, hand over the balloons! th3MKVA464

There were many confused little faces, even some tears.  The children loved their balloons; maybe it was the first balloon they ever received.

Then with all the handling of the balloons between the children and the mean strangers (yes, it gets worse), the balloons did what balloons tend to do. They POPPOP-POP-POP The loud “pops”  scared the children, which brought tears. Then when they realized they no longer had a balloon, more tears. Yeah, we stink, stank, stunk!

What a disaster! How did this go so wrong so fast? We had pure intentions. We wanted  to bless the children with a fun creative craft that tied in with our Bible School theme.  Our hearts’ desire was to bless them and love them, not make them cry.

When this young group eventually moved onto their next station (Hey, Bible Lesson Team, good luck with the balloons during your lesson!), some with their balloon back in their hands- the few that survived this terrible ordeal. But some of the children left holding the remaining pieces of latex and a butterfly coloring page. They cared more about the pieces of latex.

If I had a redo, what would I do? Just enjoy the balloons. Just play with the children. Just cause smiles, not tears.

But God knew our hearts. He knew what we had intended to do.  I am very thankful God knew our hearts so I could sleep that night and not take up drinking.  He knew we meant no harm.

Luke 16:15 “….God knows your heart.”                Acts 15:8 “God, who knows the heart….”

God knew we didn’t try to stink, stank, stunk. And that will have to do.

Note to self: Do not take a balloon away from a child.

Keep walking and take a balloon with you,



A Very Bright Day

November 14, 2015

Dear Fellow Travelers,

Today I found a brown box at my front door! An unexpected gift! Yay! My day brightened! But what could be inside? My birthday had come and gone and it is a little too early for Christmas. Hmmmm.

A  quick slit through the top and I discover lots and lots of  colorful  feet! I love them! They are so cool! I love the bright colors and I appreciate that someone took the time to brighten my day with this surprise! They purchased the fun feet, scattered them throughout the  tissue paper-lined box. and included a very loving, encouraging card. They drove through traffic to the post office, probably stood in a long line, and paid for shipping. They were intentional. They knew what this would mean to me. They knew this would brighten my day. That shows their kind heart. IMG_5327

The card revealed the mystery gift-giver. So I made a  quick phone call to say “thank you so much”  and my day turned even brighter. She tearfully told me that she just started sponsoring two dear little boys in Indonesia!A day can’t get much brighter!

It is hard to put into words how sponsorship truly changes a child’s life; how this will impact these 2 young boys. It is a very special relationship and it is a God-thing.

I told her their packets will show up within the next several weeks. They will include picture bookmarks,  pictures for on her fridge, and introduction letters to get the relationships started.  I suggested that the boys probably like soccer (most little boys do) so go buy some soccer ball stickers to send with your letters. Lots of fun ideas were popping into my mind. This is so exciting! Oh, the ways you will brighten their days!

Yes, my day was brightened with my box of happy feet. But when these 2 boys in Indonesia learn that they are sponsored, their days will be brightened too and their lives will never be the same. It was a very bright day indeed!




54 Reasons

Looking for a reason to start sponsoring a child?  Well, here are 54.

These are my 54 reasons why I sponsor. One reason for each year I have been alive. Maybe one of my reasons will speak to  you and encourage you to  start your sponsorship journey.  Maybe your reason will be “Because of Judah”. Check out: Fall in Love with Judah


Why do I sponsor?

  1. Because it is so much fun
  2. Because Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. ” Matthew 25:40
  3. Because I want to help change a child’s life
  4. Because there is proof that  sponsorship works
  5. Because I love to write letters
  6. Because 17,000 children die every day, mostly from preventable or treatable causes. (UNICEF)
  7. Because Jesus loves children,  “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” Matthew 19:14
  8. Because I live in a country of excess and plenty
  9. Because I love beautiful smiles
  10. Because I want  children to learn about Jesus and His love
  11. Because I love to receive letters filled with love and pictures
  12. Because I have the privilege to pray for my children and their families
  13. Because I have quality health care
  14. Because I want my worldview to be stretched
  15. Because I worship freely and openly
  16. Because I can share my favorite Bible verses with children
  17. Because I love a big family
  18. Because I have indoor plumbing
  19. Because “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
  20. Because extreme poverty still exists and affects children the most
  21. Because an extra gift to the Dominican Republic provided medication
  22. Because I drink clean water every day
  23. Because an extra gift to Peru provided a mattress for my child
  24. Because I want for nothing
  25. Because I love pictures on my refrigerator
  26. Because I want to be a difference-maker
  27. Because my  own daughters were born healthy
  28. Because “As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality exist in our world, none of us can truly rest. ” Nelson Mandela
  29. Because of new friendships and relationships that are developed and nurtured
  30. Because my family and I have  been immunized
  31. Because I don’t sleep under a mosquito net
  32. Because a gift to Tanzania helped a family start a firewood business
  33. Because I have a car and money for gas
  34. Because of beautiful artwork from little, budding artists
  35. Because I want children to  know someone cares and someone knows their name
  36. Because I want them to see Jesus in me
  37. Because I have more than 1 room in my house
  38. Because I love to encourage others
  39. Because “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.” Proverbs 19:17
  40. Because I have plenty of clothes and shoes
  41. Because you are never too old to pick up your crayons and color a picture to send to a child
  42. Because I love to make them special cards for Christmas and birthdays
  43. Because I own 8 Bibles
  44. Because it is so easy to email letters and attach pictures
  45. Because “Every child you encounter is a divine appointment,” Wess Stafford.
  46. Because God’s Kingdom is being built one child at a time
  47. Because each Compassion Center is based out of the local church
  48. Because I have the opportunity to  visit the children and give hugs
  49. Because Compassion has financial integrity
  50. Because I am the only sponsor for this child
  51. Because my home has a non-dirt floor and  there are no holes in my roof
  52. Because I  eat at least 3 meals a day, everyday
  53. Because I feel safe in my home and community
  54. Because of these beautiful blessings:

IMG_4986     IMG_4086   IMG_4084    IMG_4082   IMG_4085    IMG_4083

If you  found your reason, click on “Say Yes to a Child” and start your amazing journey of sponsorship. Your life will never be the same. Say Yes to a Child


My Visit with Santa

IMG_5225The calendar may say November 9th but I had a surprise encounter with Santa today! He  was busy stocking some lower shelves at a store and I almost ran him over with my shopping cart.  That would have landed me on the naughty list for sure.  But a wink of his eye and a twist of his head soon told me that I had nothing to dread. Even though Santa was working undercover in khakis and a blue shirt, I recognized those cheeks like roses and that nose like a cherry.  The beard on his chin was as white as snow.

I apologized for the near collision and steered my cart in the opposite direction not wanting to bother him .  But with my wondering eyes, I turned around and dared to ask  if he gets surprised looks with  pointing fingers from the children.  His eyes – how they twinkled!  “Oh, yes.”

Santa was kind and sweet; he was chubby and plump.  Santa doesn’t usually have a full beard but he does it for the children. This time of the year, he intentionally grows his beard for the children.  Yes, for the children.  Something simple and something fun for the children. What else does this working Santa do for the children? He works on Black Friday in his full Santa suit.  He will be dressed in fur from his head to his foot. For the children.

My time with Santa ended. He went straight to his work. Instead of  sugarplums dancing in my head, I wondered,  “What can I do  for the children?” Something simple that would cause a smile? Something simple that would add some joy? For the children. That is how I want to live my life…..being intentional for the children. Like Santa.

Happy  Christmas to all, and to all a Good Night!

(Clement Clarke Moore, “The Night Before Christmas”)