choresandchatter

Random thoughts on a homemaker's journey

Blogging for Orphans|Door of Hope Palawan

For those of you who have visited Chores and Chatter previously, you realize adoption is close to my heart. Caring for orphans is a way we show God’s love to those around us, and adoption is one way to do that. However, we have many opportunities to love the fatherless beyond adoption.

I have become aware of a project to bless Door of Hope, an orphanage in the Philippines  through sponsorship and Christmas packages. I hope I can use my little blog to help spread the word and bless some children! Would you prayerfully consider how you are able to participate in this project with me? Keep reading to find the details!

Blogging for Orphans | Door of Hope Palawan

Blogging for Orphans is a group of bloggers, who are uniting together online to make a difference in the lives of children… orphaned children.

Door of Hope Palawan is the orphanage for this campaign and we would love to introduce you to some of the sweet children who call this place home.

Blogging for Orphans has set out to accomplish 2 goals in this campaign for Door of Hope and we need your help to do it!

52 Filled Bags for Christmas in July

It is our goal to help in the Christmas in July program, where every July people fill 2-gallon plastic bags for each child in the care of Door of Hope. This year there are 52 children to bless (24 for boys and 28 for girls), at the Door of Hope Palawan. It is our goal to help fill these bags, so each child can have something to call their own on Christmas. The bags are shipped from the host church in upstate New York on a ship for the cheapest shipping, which takes 3 full months. Now is the time to make their Christmas special!

Here are two ways you can help meet this need:

  • Fill Your Own Bag for An Orphan – Once you have registered for blessing a child’s Christmas, print Door of Hope Christmas in July Shopping List, shop and fill a 2-gallon plastic bag or use 2 – 1 gallon plastic bags for each orphan you registered for and ship it to New York. (Address will be provided once you have registered)
  • Let Us Fill Your Bag for You – If you have limited time and want to avoid shipping, while providing a Christmas bag to a child, you can donate $25 and the bag will be filled for you. You need to register to let us know the gender and age of the child you want to bless this upcoming Christmas. After you have registered for a child, please donate on the Door of Hope website for this need, which is below the registration form.

Please register and donate by July 15th and have all bags shipped to New York no later than the 18th of July.

Door of Hope Palawan Collage | Blogging for Orphans

52 Children Sponsored for a Year

It costs $300 a year to provide food and education to each of the children, who call Door of Hope home. Blogging for Orphans would love to help meet this need but we need your help!

Here are three ways that you can help us make a difference in these orphaned children’s lives:

  1. Raise $300 to Sponsor a Child for a Year – As a family, you can work together to raise $300 to sponsor a child for a full year, in your family’s name. We have created a promotional form that can be emailed or printed that will help you share with family, friends, church members and neighbors about this life-changing campaign for Door of Hope Palawan. Every donation helps and nothing is too small to make a difference! You may want to have a yard sale, bake sale, lemonade stand or talent show that can help you raise the money to sponsor a child for a year. With a donation of $100, a child’s expenses are covered for 4 months and $200 covers these expenses for 8 months, while the $300 covers their expenses for a full year!
  2. Sponsor a Child for $25 a Month – That is all it cost a month to feed and educate one child in the care of Door of Hope Palawan, which is less than $1 a day. Our goal for Blogging for Orphans is to see all 52 of the children, who call Door of Hope their home, to be sponsored by the end of this campaign. Won’t you make a difference in an orphaned child’s life and sponsor one now? To do so, please donate on the Door of Hope website with the $25 a month option.
  3. Donate $25 in Chores and Chatter’s Name – Each of the bloggers involved with Blogging for Orphans would love to help by sponsoring a child’s expenses for a year. With 12 of my readers donating $25, the readers of Chores and Chatter will have the joy of sponsoring an orphaned child.

Want to do more for Door of Hope Palawan? They have many needs and are sharing them with those who have a heart to help where they can.

We would love to see photos of all the wonderful things that your family is doing to help the children of Door of Hope Palawan. If you are on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and would like to share your photos of packing your bags, raising money for sponsoring a child or anything that pertains to how you are uniting with us to meet these needs, please use and follow the hashtag #blogging4orphans on all of those social media networks!

To stay connected with Door of Hope Palawan, you can read their blog and follow them on Facebook.

On behalf of the bloggers that make up Blogging for Orphans, I would like to thank you for taking time to learn how you can ‘unite with us online and make a difference in the lives of orphaned children’ in Palawan, Philippians. We invite you to share our post on your social media networks to help us spread the word of the needs at Door of Hope.

The bloggers of Blogging for Orphans | Door of Hope Palawan Campaign:

Dollie of Teachers of Good Things
Cassondra of Beyond the Cover Blog
Lisa of Organize 365
Vicki of the Vicki-Arnold Blog
Aurie of Our Good Family
Ticia of Adventures in Mommydom
Sarah of Chores and Chatter
Tabitha of Meet Penny
Trisha of Intoxicated on Life

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Roses, Chocolate, and …Laundry??

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Growing up, I was captivated by romance. You know, the Anne of Green Gables or Sense and Sensibility type of romance. Expectations built of flowery words, thoughtful (maybe even sparkly) gifts, and much more. As my husband and I have grown together in our love by God’s grace, my heart has changed it’s view of what love really is. Sometimes love is shown with date night or gifts; but most of the time love is bigger than that. Love can be:

  • Forcing yourselves to sit down and talk through an issue when you’d much rather sweep it under the rug.
  • Mowing the lawn for your husband to allow more family time on the weekend, even though you detest mowing the lawn.
  • Cleaning up the kitchen when the one who normally does it is overwhelmed.
  • Helping with laundry without being asked.
  • Agreeing not to buy gifts so you can stay within your budget.
  • Buying the funny card that your spouse will enjoy instead of the serious, mushy card you want to get for him.
  • Sitting down and enjoying each other’s company in spite of the to do list screaming your names.
  • Keeping the house or doing a task the way your spouse prefers it done. Not because it’s “right,” but because it’s his/her preference.
  • Not reacting with anger when your spouse does not fulfill your expectations.

Many more ideas are out there. Most of these ideas are free. All of them include putting our sweetheart’s desires above our own. This is not easy most of the time, is it? But, as we go throughout Valentine’s day, we can keep some of these ideas in mind. Showing our love means nothing one day a year, if we are not seeking to love the other 364 days. May God bless your marriage as you continue to seek to show each other true love! How do you choose to show love?

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Adoption: Remember Gratitude

In our home it seems fitting that adoption awareness and Thanksgiving are celebrated in the same month. We really are grateful for the blessing of adoption and the lessons we have learned. I thought I’d just share a few thoughts this Thanksgiving Eve.

Foremost would be our gratefulness for how God shaped our faith and view of him through our experience. Now we really know that God will give peace beyond comprehension. He blesses exceedingly abundantly above what we could ask or think. He places the lonely in families and cares for the orphan. We know it because we have experienced it. Like the Israelites’ monuments, we have something we can look at and remember. Our faith in God is stronger because we have seen him work. Problems were solved in a way only he could. And, I don’t think any believer can experience adoption without having his own view of salvation deepened. As Christians, we are adopted as sons into God’s family. What an awe-inspiring thought!

Of course, I don’t think anyone can experience adoption without being grateful for financial provision. A couple of extra job opportunities were provided for my husband or I right before a payment was due. We were blessed with several financial gifts to use for our adoption. And, when our sweet baby came to our home more quickly than we expected, friends and family blessed us with supplies. I have never quite understood how the numbers worked at that time of our lives.

I would be remiss if I did not share how thankful we are for the choice our daughter’s birthmother made and the protection God had on our baby’s life. In this world where abortion is so easy and available that is not taken lightly. All other circumstances aside, a woman made a very courageous choice and allowed our baby girl to live. If you are in the waiting period of adoption, I encourage you specifically to pray for your future child’s birthmother as she makes these decisions and follows through.

I am thankful for how God has expanded my vision of adoption. Hopefully, we use our experiences to bless and encourage others as they walk the path. Our decision to adopt came after walking through infertility for several years. However, we now see that the global opportunity for adoption is so much bigger than that.That was just what God used to bring us to our decision to adopt. In our country and around the world, the need is great! Orphan care is a current buzz word thrown about, but it truly is what God expects of believers.  More than just expanding our family, God has shown us the eternal value of adoption. Through adoption into Christian homes children are hearing God’s truth.

Adoption can be difficult and painful. We have several friends who have experienced failed adoptions. (I hate that term by the way. There has to be a different way to say that.) But, sometimes it is through tough lessons and pain that we see how big our God is. We see his grace and healing. We are able to claim his promises. Though no one chooses to walk through pain of any kind, when one’s faith has been stretched through those experiences we can see their value. If this Thanksgiving finds you at one of those tough points, I pray that God gives you extra comfort and allows you a glimpse of his greater purpose.

Thank you for walking memory lane with me as I counted a few of our blessings. What are you thankful for today?

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Adoption: What Does it Feel Like?

My friend’s question caught me off guard. She asked, “What does adoption feel like?”  In eight years since we first began our adoption application, no one has ever asked me that. Oh, let me tell you adoption certainly spans the spectrum of feelings and emotions! Maybe you are going through your adoption process and wonder if your experience is “normal.” Perhaps, a friend or family member is traveling through adoption, and you’d like some insight.

Adoption feels surreal. You have begun the process submitting the application and preparing your home for the home study. Perhaps you have even reached the waiting list. You are “expecting” but not pregnant. You anticipate the child who will come home; but can’t check its development status on a pregnancy site. You want to begin getting your child’s room ready; but don’t even know what age to expect. You’ve been matched with your child internationally, but they are miles away. You have their picture; but can’t hold them. You can’t put your hand on your belly and feel them kick.

Sometimes the adoption process feels lonely. People who have not experienced it often do not understand, even people who are close with you. People mindlessly say dumb things. As the process grows long  you may withdraw. Others can also be fearful and withdraw from you due to inaccurate information they’ve heard or painful experiences of their own. Some friends or family members may be too afraid to celebrate with you or even get to know your child until it’s all “final.” In some families, the race of the child you have chosen to adopt can even cause division.

Vulnerability often rears its face throughout adoption too. The adoption application is very long and ridiculously personal. Childhood, parental relationships, financial details, and marital intimacy are all discussed with a complete stranger during the home study. You and your spouse have to decide age, health status, race, and more for the child you desire to adopt. If your answers don’t match, you have to face them together and delve into them to learn why. Later in the process, you may feel your family is at the mercy of agencies, lawyers, birthfamilies, and social workers. Long waits and periods of miscommunication with those involved accelerate the anxiety and fear.

Yet, there are incredibly happy or positive feelings in adoption too. Let me take you back to when my sweet girl was four days old. We got the call that we could come to the hospital to see her! Wow! I can still remember the anxiety and excitement! Trying to get there without speeding. Holding my husband’s clammy hand in the car. (Praying for safety in the terrible storm when  newscasters were actually telling people not to go out if they didn’t have to. Believe me. We had to!)  Trying to hurry into the hospital without actually running and causing a scene!

I remember feeling overwhelmed as I looked through the nursery window seeing  a tiny bundle swaddled in a blanket. Meeting her birthmother. Knowing that whatever the circumstances, by God’s grace this woman chose to allow our baby girl to live!  Holding that very tiny baby in my arms and realizing that I was holding, actually holding in my arms, an exact answer to years of prayer. Seeing my husband hold our baby girl the first time and knowing he was wrapped around her pinky finger in the first seconds. Overwhelming joy and love!

Peace also marked our adoption, the incredible peace that God gave us. Truly experiencing the peace beyond comprehension mentioned in Philippians 4. Encouragement also surrounded us from our friends and family. Many prayed for us. Financial gifts or extra jobs provided right when another payment was due. Family who showed up with pizza and sat with us when we thought we were losing her. Friends and church family that brought a brand new car seat, handmade blankets, a bag full of newborn supplies, a Winnie the Pooh collection hardcover edition, and more even before she was officially home. A surprise party given to us when everything was final.

The specifics of our journey are not the same for anyone else. However, I’m sure our feelings and emotions are pretty common and normal. You, or someone you know, are experiencing similar feelings. But hear me when I tell you it is worth it. All the emotions, all the feelings, all the “I can’t believe a stranger is asking me this,” is worth it. If you are a believer, God is bigger than your feelings. He will give his peace. He will send other believers to encourage you. He knows the end of your journey and knows your child already! He has led you this far, and he will not leave you. Keep the big picture in mind. A child needs a family. You can be that family!

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Adoption: Are you aware?

November is known as Adoption Awareness Month. Quite honestly, I grow tired of all the “awareness” campaigns. However, I don’t want to let opportunity slip by. For our family, I also think it is fitting that adoption awareness month is the same month that many people focus on gratitude. We are beyond grateful for adoption, its place in our family, and how our perspective has grown.

So, I’ll ask you: How aware are you? Do you realize that adoption grafts a child into the family tree? Making them one of the family…not an add on. Are you aware that an adopted child is yes, a REAL son, daughter, sibling, cousin, grandchild? (And, are you aware how painful comments alluding to their non-biological “realness” hurt?) Are you aware of the process parents go through to adopt? Are you aware of the number of children needing to be adopted? Are you aware of the invasive questions parents must answer on the adoption application?

I will also ask: Are you aware of the blessing of adding children to your family through adoption? Do you know how best to assist your friends going through the adoption process? Do you ever educate yourself on the huge global need of orphans? Do you realize there are so many opportunities to be involved in orphan care even if you “are not called to adopt.” Have you ever considered the eternal aspect of adoption for Christian families that is vastly more important than the immediate physical family aspect?

If you are not aware of these things, I encourage you to become aware. Seek to learn. Ask questions. Read. Pray to ask God to show you where your attitude might not please him regarding adoption. Some may even need to face their fear and discern why they are not aware of these things. Perhaps some avoid the issue because it is painful.

Is November the only time to be aware of adoption? No, but it is certainly a great time to begin! Awareness is not enough; but it is a beginning. Our awareness precedes our action.

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What do you like to do?

“Well, what do you like to do?” That should have been a simple question. Why could I not answer her? My sister was trying to help me write a bio. I could think of all the things I “do” throughout my week; but what do I like to do? I felt like I’d become one of those people that had “lost themselves.” I remembered all the activities I used to enjoy. I thought about some new activities I was discovering and learning to enjoy. I thought of all the things I do for my family. But, none of it seemed to fit “What do you like to do?” I was taken back and began to think about it.

I remembered all the things I used to enjoy doing; but never seem to get to anymore. I felt like “I” had disappeared. My personal identity and tastes. Yes, I was “wife”, “mom”, “daughter”; but where was ME?! Satan can quickly jump on this and send us to the “maybe I should go back to my career” place. Or the “I need more free time.” Or, “How does SHE do it all and still find time for leisure?” Or, I’ll just drown these feelings in chocolate.

But, my friend, this is not where God wants us to stay. God showed me that he has me right where he wants me. And, yes, some days it is difficult here. But, why is it that we expect difficulty for our overseas missionary friends or full-time ministry friends; but expect our assignment to be easy? Giving to our families includes daily laying aside ourselves. It involves seeing our reactions, attitudes, and words through God’s eyes not ours. Seeing our to do list through his eyes not mine. And, he showed me that through these new identities and responsibilities, He has grown me through his grace.

A mom friend of mine once said,”This is a season. It does not mean life will be like this forever.” As I ponder this, I realize that in this phase of life I don’t have a lot of time for hobbies. I also realized that if I work at time management I do find more time for things I enjoy. Do I think moms need their “own” time to catch up with themselves and reboot? Of course. That is only healthy.

So, I remember: I like to read, write, and scrapbook. I also enjoy tea, candles, coffee, and chocolate. I enjoy pretty things even if I try to minimize at home for sake of function. I enjoy entertaining. I love friendship. What do YOU like to do?

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A Gift of Eleven Years

We are celebrating our wedding anniversary this weekend. Our celebration will be simple: pizza (because we have a coupon) and a movie at home probably. Maybe we’ll wander around somewhere enjoying fall colors. (Have I mentioned how glad I am we got married in October to enjoy God’s beauty EVERY anniversary?) But, our celebration is really much more than that.

We are celebrating ELEVEN years. We are celebrating God’s grace in our lives to bring us to this point. We are celebrating God’s gift of life to allow us to continue our walk together this long. We do not take this for granted. We have watched others around us go through divorce and experience the death of a spouse. We know it is not in ourselves to bring us to this point. We thank God for our life together.

I am also celebrating some other aspects of our anniversary. I am remembering various times along the way that are etched in my heart. Moments of my husband’s care to me,  laughter, learning, and even pain. Most of all, I am overwhelmed at my husband’s patience toward me and his quiet strength. I am thankful to see how much we have learned and grown these last years.

I pray that God gives us many more years together. I am blessed beyond measure. I hope I don’t ever forget that.

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Celebrating a Goal Accomplished!

Last Saturday, by God’s grace, I accomplished a goal. Not just any goal. A goal that until this summer, I would have never considered. I participated in a 5K. I ran almost the whole distance. Well, I use the term running loosely. More like jogging…or as a friend describes it: bouncy walking. But, nonetheless, I DID IT! In spite of only being able to run 2 or 3 times in the month preceding due to a family emergency.

I know some who consistently experience a runner’s high may wonder what’s the big deal? I assure you, it was a big deal here! I have never been considered athletic. I never enjoyed sports or PE class. I never felt like I measured up physically. And, don’t even get me started on the one time I was brave enough to try out for the softball team in high school. A few times in my life I have enjoyed athletics: tennis in college and tae bo workouts.

I hear that voice in my head. (Do you have one too?) I think it’s my junior high persona. She tells me I hate exercise. She tells me I’m bigger than everyone else. She tells me I can’t do this. She tells me I’m not as cute as that other runner at the park. But you know what? I may not be as cute as the other girl at the park. I am not as fast as the other runners. I am bigger than some and smaller than some. BUT, I realized something on Saturday! I was doing it! I was running with other people. In a race. In public. Without a bag over my face. And…wait for it…I was enjoying it!

Training this summer, I began hearing other voices. (I know, scary!) I heard my friend who ran her first 5K in the spring telling me I could do it and to pray for help and pray to enjoy it. I heard my friend who trained to run with me telling me to persevere.  I heard my husband offering to switch the laundry when he got home, so I wouldn’t have the excuse that my running clothes weren’t washed.

I enjoyed the sense of accomplishment. I enjoyed knowing that I exercised self-discipline over the months to prepare. I was excited to realize that God gave me grace to persevere when it was hard. Did I like it? Well, finally, yes, after 4.5 months, I liked it. Do I consider myself a runner? Not really. But, you know that girl in my head? I squashed her Saturday and that was the best part of all!

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Welcome to my world!

I’m so glad you stopped by! Welcome to  my little corner of the world where I plan to share a little of  what I’m thinking, doing, and learning. I hope you feel comfortable enough to kick off your shoes and sit at the table with me sipping coffee (or tea!) and indulge in some virtual snacks. Then again, if you are sitting at my table, you may want to keep your shoes on to avoid the crumbs. Sweeping is such a futile chore, isn’t it?

 

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