The Rose That Grew From Concrete

over 8,000 people will receive access to safe drinking water for the first time – thanks to you

Thanks to everyone reading, this is the message I am able to deliver to you:

By the end of this week, Argisa, Ethiopia will have clean water!

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Most of you know that you all raised, over the course of one week, the money we needed for our first phase of the Ethiopia project. That, in and of itself, was a miracle.

Jack, from Waves for Water, boarded a plan on December 12, and I have just been informed he has landed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Jack will be bringing 80 Sawyer filters to the rural village of Argisa, Ethiopia on Lake Awassa. This is where Sister Donna Frances has been living for the past decade. She lives in an area with an extremely high malaria rate, flooding, famine, and drought and is committed to living with the people without bringing in too much western influence.

Water has been a huge stress on Sister, but no longer. Everyone in the village will now have an overabundance of safe drinking water.

I was excited to also hear from Sister Donna today. I had written her quickly to let her know Jack was on his way, and was worried she would not receive my email before he arrived.

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What I love about this letter is how genuinely surprised and excited she is by all the different kind of cloth diapers that the village received from you guys:

“Hi Jamie, wow, I just arrived in Awassa and read your Email.  Today is the 12th of December, so they will arrive tomorrow. WOW, really exciting…Do you have a phone number for them?  I will wait for them here in Awassa, they will arrive on which day do you know?  Exciting, exciting.

Also 4 packages of diapers came; two full of colorful snap type diapers, and a box full of new Gerber prefold diapers, 5 packages… OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH what a god send, and there was a full box of diaper pins with them.  Lots of thick folded liners to go in the snap pants, soakers of knit wear, and just about all one could imagine under the rainbow.”
Loving thanks for helping me in Gods work with the children,
Sr Donna

We started this in October. It is now December, and in that time frame you all have single-handedly made a tremendous impact in a small village thousands of miles away from where most of you call home. Instead of water that brings death, you have provided water that gives life. You have also met the needs of the area with cloth diapers! While we have a long-term goal of bringing out an EC expert (still need to find someone willing to come with us in March), for now you are meeting the immediate need with hygiene and comfort.

Way to go, guys! I can’t wait to update you more with Jack’s pictures!

Waterlink Africa: Water Changes Everything

Clean Water Projects Image 2Did you know? $1 can give clean water to one person for over a decade.

Why is water life-altering?

  1. Unsterile water is the number two killer amongst children. Around the world, fetching water is a woman’s task. Thus, one of the most crucial health issues for women in Africa is the clean water shortage. 1 in 5 children worldwide dies of a water-related disease.
  2. Water is a women’s issue. In order to get access to clean water, women and girls must carry up to 50lbs of water every day over typically 5 miles or more. Carrying this water has shown to stunt growth in young girls which has contributed to the extremely high maternal mortality rate in these areas, but girls and women also face dangers along their way to a water source.
  3. Water improves education and economy. Education has been proven to be the greatest way to improve a community. When kids get sick from water-borne diseases, they can’t attend classes – then fall behind, then drop out. Most students suffer from severe dehydration because they try to drink as little bad water as possible. When the brain is dehydrated, it has a very hard time focusing on tasks such as school work, and chances of success are greatly diminished. There are some children who walk daily to get water and are unable to attend school, and the adults are unable to put hours into a paying vocation. When children have the opportunity to be educated, they can become problem solving members of the community and have a hope of contributing to their society.

Waterlink Africa

Fayye Foundation has teamed up with Waves for Water to pursue a series of clean water projects throughout Africa. The filters that will be installed use the highest filtration rates available, can provide clean water for an entire village for pennies a day, and have a high flow rate which eliminates the need to store water. The filters are self-sustaining and easy to maintain. If cared for, each $50 filter lasts for many years, providing clean water for up to 100 people a day.

waterlink Africa: a chain of friends, spanning generations, from Africa to America and back to Africa. Donor, healer, helper – each link is necessary. Waterlink Africa delivers solutions from inventors to people in need of safe drinking water in every faraway corner of Africa.

Waves for Water and Fayye Foundation are certain that everyone who lacks clean water deserves to have unlimited access via an endless chain of caring, of which each of us is a single link. Experts are confident that the water crisis will be completely eradicated in our lifetime, but the only way we can do that is by every person in the link working towards this cause.

To donate to our first Waterlink project (Waves for Awassa/Project Ethiopia) you can go here. Your tax-deductible donation has the potential to give 20,000 people access to clean water. Every dollar counts.

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Recipe: Armenian Monti

I completed the first of my Pre-30 Bucket List! #13, learn how to make Monti.

Monti, is an Armenian dish I LOVE. When my mom first made it for Brian he went crazy. It is now his favorite food of all time, and he’s not the only one.

I’ve been around my mom making Monti since I could remember, but this time I was actually going to learn and be able to replicate it at home.

My mom and me making Monta in the same kitchen!

Apparently, true Armenian Monti uses lamb which I am a fan of, but my mom is not. That is why we always have used beef. She also adds Garlic into the meat.

Here we go!

The Recipe!

Chopped up onions, garlic, parsley and melted butter, before the ground meat is added

egg and oil to start the dough

If the dough is done it should feel like your earlobe

roll out dough into thin strips

cut into squares

spoon meat mixture into dough squares

pinch ends

line up on baking sheet

spoon melted butter over all uncooked monta

in the oven!

This is what they look like when they’re done.

Although, completely good on their own…..

We serve it in a bowl with hot water, garlic yogurt, and topped with slowly grilled “crispy” onions.

I would have taken a picture, but we ate them all before I could get my camera out- So here is a picture I took from another blogger with a different recipe(looks like she’s also an adoptive mommy):

Recipe for Monti from written by my mom:

Mama’s Monti:  From a Scandinavian Mama!  They can blame it on that!  The ingredients are for 1 batch, however when I make it for you all I make it X4

Ingredients:  Single Batch=  About enough to fill 1 cookie sheet

Dough:

 

  • 1 Egg
  • 1/3 Cup Water
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Melted Butter
  • 1 1/2 Cups plus 2 Tablespoons All purpose Flour

Filling:

  • 1/2 Pound Ground Beef  (It’s customary to use Lamb, but you all love the beef)
  • 1 Onion, chopped very fine
  • 1/4 cup or so, finely chopped Parsley
  • 1 or 2 cloves of minced Garlic
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/8 Teaspoon ground P
  •  Salted Butter, melted  Used to drizzle on just before putting in oven…2 to 4 Tablespoons  (I use more, the Scandinavian thing again!)  And, to answer what you’re thinking,  my cholesterol is low!

Yogurt Sauce:

  • 2 Cups (at least) of plain Greek Yogurt (We like the Fage Brand)
  • 1 or 2 cloves of minced Garlic
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt, or more to your liking….we use more, of course

Broth:

I have never used the broth recipe, but some people use the following:

  • 3 Cans of Beef Broth (or Homemade), or Chicken Broth
  • a Couple Tablespoons of Catsup
  • a Couple of shakes of Tabasco Sauce

To Make Dough:

In a food processor, combine Egg, Water, Salt, and Butter. Process until mixed.
Add Flour and process until mixture forms a ball.  If it’s too sticky, add a bit more Flour.
Turn dough out on a lightly floured board and knead a bit until dough is smooth and elastic. About a minute.  Cover dough with plastic wrap and let rest while you are making filling.

To Make Filling:

Combine Ground Beef, Onion, Parsely, Garlic,  Salt and Pepper.  Mix until well-blended.

To Make Yogurt Sauce:

Combine ingredients and refrigerate until serving time.

Set Oven to 375 Degrees

Prepare Pan.  Spread a light coating of butter on pan

Now it’s time to work!  


(First of all picture the end result in your mind so you see where we’re going with this.
They look like a little fat canoe with a ball of meat in it.)

On a lightly floured board, roll out half the dough at a time to form a 9 inch square about 1/8 inch thick.  Cut dough into 1 1/2 inch squares.
Note:  I just roll out some dough to the right thickness as long as you get little squares to fill.

I take a baby spoon and fill about 1/2 Teaspoon of filling on each square.  Then pinch two opposite ends tightly.. It now should look like a little boat with the meat inside.  As each Monti is formed, put it meat side up in the prepared pan.  You can put them fairly close together, as long as they aren’t touching.
Ok, now you can leave this part out, but it’s not going to taste as good as mine!….Drizzle the melted butter over the Monti!.

Bake them on the middle rack in the oven for about 35 minutes.  I check them about 25 minutes   The dough should be browning, but don’t let the bottoms start burning.  Cool  on the pan.

To Serve:

Boil some water in a pan with a little salt.
Put as many of the Monti “boats” in a bowl.
Poor some boiling water in bowl over Monti.
I like it with less water and lots of Yogurt Sauce on Top
Daddy likes more water with Yogurt Sauce mixed together, then adds the Monti

That’s it!  Oh no I almost forgot the best thing of all. The Onion Garnish!   Take 1 chopped yellow onion and slowly cook in a saute pan in……butter!  It takes some time so start this early in the preparation of the Monte.  Cook it until it is carmelized and nice and brown a little crispy.  This is the “garnish” you put on top of the Yogurt Sauce  mmmmm

So I do this Times 4 for my family.  It takes me hours to do that much.  If one family gets me to make it a the other daughters’ family finds out it’s a Monti war.

Note: The Monti Boats freeze great.

Christmas Stocking Project: Use Your Stockings for Good

stocking market clean water projects

Did you know? $1 can give clean water to one person for over a decade.

During the holiday season, there’s a lot of tradition in exchanging presents. We want to embrace our traditions and also be able to give back. Here’s our idea: instead of stocking stuffers, let’s put every dollar that would go towards those small gifts towards clean water for our friends in Africa. $10 that would have been spent on stocking stuffers could give life-altering water to ten people.

Why is water life-altering?

1. Unsterile water is the number two killer amongst children. Around the world, fetching water is a woman’s task. Thus, one of the most crucial health issues for women in Africa is the clean water shortage. 1 in 5 children worldwide dies of a water-related disease.
2. Water is a women’s issue.
In order to get access to clean water, women and girls must carry up to 50lbs of water every day over typically 5 miles or more. Carrying this water has shown to stunt growth in young girls which has contributed to the extremely high maternal mortality rate in these areas, but girls and women also face dangers along their way to a water source.
3. Water improves education and economy.
Education has been proven to be the greatest way to improve a community. When kids get sick from water borne diseases they can’t attend classes – then fall behind, then drop out. Also: Most students suffer from severe dehydration because they try to drink as little bad water as possible. When the brain is dehydrated it has a very hard time focusing on tasks such as school work, and chances of success are greatly diminished.When children have the opportunity to be educated, they can become problem solving members of the community and have a hope of contributing to their society. There are some children who walk daily to get water are unable to attend school, and adults are unable to put hours into a paying vocation. 

You can help!
This Christmas, we can save one child, mother, brother, father or sister by donating as little as one dollar. Fayye Foundation has teamed up with Waves for Water to pursue a series of clean water projects throughout Africa. The filters that will be installed use the highest filtration rates available, can provide clean water for an entire village for pennies a day, and have a high flow rate which eliminates the need to store water. The filters are self-sustaining and easy to maintain. If cared for, each $50 filter lasts for many years, providing clean water for up to 100 people a day.

Your donation is going directly to our March project to bring clean water to a rural area is Southern Ethiopia, called Argisa. We are in close communication with Sister Donna Francis who has been living in the area for many years and has provided empowerment and housing for young girls in the area called Heartland. Recently, the situation has become dire and time is of the essence. Here is one of her last messages to us:

We have had typhoid repeatedly during the last 2 1/2 months, Masame and I, and the kids at Heartland, also repeated malaria caught in our livers.  Filters are a hope…but we haven’t been able to get them implemented yet.  We could use 5 at Heartland to meet the use for kitchen and drinking, with 30 kids coming, it would be good!!  The villagers are in a terrible need as we are the people who live on the lake shore.  The town where we go to get pipe water, treated by the government, is 2 km away, and we go when it is running to get drinking water.  This source was turned off for 2 months last year when the government demanded taxes for the water.  The town refused, and the water was stopped, and the people told to drink the lake!  We were sending donkey carts round trip over 50 km to get good water for drinking, and at 10 times the price!”

One dollar brings clean water to one person for over a decade. No amount is too small, and it will make a difference! We do ask for a minimum of $10 to receive a gift from Africa in return. However, if you even have 50 cents to give, it will assist  this project insurmountably. Please click below to donate:

 

 




 

 

 

A Letter About Marriage From My Dad

My parents have been married for over 40 years.

And not a lukewarm relationship- people who don’t know them often ask if they are newlyweds due to the way that act towards each other

My mom and dad dancing at my wedding.

To my Favorite,

People always ask your Mom and I what is our secret to such a strong, loving marriage when they watch the way we love and interact with each other, and then find out later that we have been married for over 40 years.  People are mistaken when they think you stop falling in love when you grow old – you grow old when you stop falling in love with each other.  The bonds of matrimony are a good investment only when the interest is kept up.  What we love and how we love directs our decisions – we don’t develop by accident.

Mom and I both work hard at our relationship to make it what it is, and this year I thought I would share some of my thoughts with you on what I see are the key points to our successful marriage.  

First of all, I want to say that I am so proud of you for the loving woman you have developed into.  You are such a wonderful mother and devoted wife.  I know you do most of the things I have listed here, but I feel it is always good to step back and look at the big picture now and then to keep that focus. You have been married a relatively short time compared to your Mom and I, and if you keep working hard on your relationship with you husband, I cannot begin to describe to you the joy you will experience as your relationship builds over the years.

I know this for a fact, because this is what your Mom and I have.  This is what God promises you for a marriage if you listen to what he has to say and obey Him.  God has given me theses word to share with you.  What I will be sharing with you are principles from the Bible that I have learned over the years.  I am writing to you, but this is to both you and your husband.

  1. First and foremost – Always Keep God First:  He holds everything together (marriage, family, business, etc) — if you let him.  A Bible that is falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.
  2. Never confuse your career with your life.  Making a living is not making a life. Don’t get caught up in today’s world thinking where who we are seems less important than what people think we are
  3. Always remember that a great marriage is not 50/50 – it is each person wanting to give 100 all of the time
  4. Create passion for life, and for one another
  5. Whenever you’re wrong – Admit it
  6. Whenever you’re right – Keep quiet
  7. Forgive – unconditionally
  8. Before starting an argument, consider if it is really worth it
  9. Frame every so-called disaster with these words – “In 5 years, will this matter?”.
  10. Build intimacy – both sexually and emotionally – throughout your marriage
  11. Keep romance alive in your marriage – always stay Honeymooners
  12. Stay committed – the Ten Commandments are not multiple choice.  Years of obedience cannot purchase one hour of disobedience.
  13. Respect each other
  14. Always make time for the two of you.  Remember that the time you two enjoy wasting together is not wasted.
  15. If you want to do something positive for your children, work to improve your marriage.
  16. Compliment more that you criticize, and when you do need to criticize, be sure it is constructive
  17. Always ask yourself in all situations “If my partner had only two days to live, how would I be treating him”.  Treat him like that every day for the rest of your life, and you will have best marriage ever.

We come to great love not by finding the perfect person, but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.  God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or did not do.

Remember that God has no grandchildren, only children.  You two have got to do your own growing – no matter how tall your parents were!  In watching marriages through out my life time, I have learned that everybody wants a great marriage, but in most cases they miss the point that true happiness is obtained in the journey taken and the form used to reach that goal.  Smooth seas don’t make skillful sailors.  Enjoy your Journey!

All my love,

Daddy

Yeah, he’s that great.

 

Top 5 Things I Wish My Parents Did Differently

 

My mom and her lapse in judgement. She doesn’t believe she did this. I have a picture to prove this event transpired.

 

It seems like all parents to to give their children a better childhood and life than the one they had.

I was blessed with a very happy childhood, and I am trying to give my children close to the same one I have. However, there were things in my own childhood I wish my parents had done or hadn’t done (see above picture).

Here is a list of what I learned not to do from my parents:

1. I will teach my children how to ride a bike! That’s right, my parents totally dropped the ball on this one. They were older when they had me, I’ll let them slide on this one. I still don’t know how to ride one, though! So scratch that- Brian will teach my children how to ride a bike (and while they’ll learning I might as well join in and learn, too!)

2. I will not feed my children hotdogs and burgers except on very rare occasions. My dad and I would go antiquing together, but when allowed to his own devices we would have Kaspers Hotdogs or Nations Hamburgers…Or worse…7-11 hotdogs (*gag*).

3. I will not let my children have a TV in their room. I remember putting it on and trying to do schoolwork. Talk about a distraction.

4. I will not let my children near insecticides. My parents let me bug bomb and spray my playhouse. My poor little endocrine system.

5. Refined sugar will be limited. Mom, I blame you and your house full of delicious freshly baked cookies, brownies, and cakes for my sweet tooth.

 

With the above being said it is an extremely short list compared to the hundreds and thousands of things my parents did right.

What about you? Do you try to parent according to your own experiences in childhood? What would you change?

 

 

 

Breastfeeding or Bottle Feeding Dolls?

I found this photo of myself as a child yesterday:

My first thought: “That is a massive scrunchy.” My second thought: “I’m bottle feeding my baby doll.”

Perhaps to retaliate from our anti-breastfeeding culture many women decide to become anti-bottle feeding as a response.

I have friends who will not allow their children to have dolls that come with bottles. They will throw away the bottle that comes with the doll, and some have even purchased the “The Breast Milk Baby” for their children.

While some people may think it is extreme, it does make logical sense to me. Our kids have such a disadvantage to having a successful breastfeeding relationship with their children because of Western societies anti-breastfeeding views they will be bombarded with their entire lives. Taking out bottles as play for a child would give your child and early foundation of breastfeeding as biological normal feeding for a human.

However, if your child wants to bottle feed his/her baby and you’re unsure what to do to- I don’t think you should burn those toy bottles just yet.

This photo of me as a child reminded me of how much I enjoyed playing with my dolls and toy bottles. Children are extremely perceptive. I knew that my dolls were not real. I understood my own desire to become a mother one day, and it would be different than playing with dolls. I also LOVED playing with my dolls. My favorite part was “feeding” them with their bottles. I had dolls that would cry until they received their bottle, dolls that would “drink” water and urinate afterward (changing a doll’s wet diaper was really exciting to me), and bottles that would have disappearing milk and orange juice in them as you turned them upside-down. The simple pleasures of a child, right?

I always believed that I would breastfeed my children, even as a child. My bottle feeding dolls did not confuse me. I always have had strong positive memories of being breastfed by my mother, then when my sister had her baby I developed another positive view of breastfeeding by watching how she cared my my niece ( my sister is fourteen years older than me and had her first baby when I was nine years old). I learned from them why they valued their breastfeeding relationships with their children. If you don’t want to let your kids play with bottles, I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. However, don’t think that a plastic doll and bottle will change any thoughts on parenting you have instilled in your children, through example or conversations.

I want my boys to know there are many healthy and acceptable options in life.  Even something as simple as the explaining pumping/formula feeding/breastfeeding and why each option can make sense depending on the family is important to speak to them about early on. If they choose to have children one day and end up bottle feeding their babies (out of educated choice or because it is the only option available), they hopefully will have been taught to feel no guilt or shame in caring for their children the best way for their families.

With that being said, the plastic bottles get to stick around in our house. However, bottles are not the desired means of feeding dolly as of late:

Aram (2 years old) breastfeeding my favorite childhood doll.

Samuel (a couple of weeks after he came home from Ethiopia) breastfeeding the same doll. He was really excited when he saw it because he said the doll looked like him. He still sleeps with it every night!

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