F & F

First a word on my family and friends. Yesterday was a LONG day. I was up at 6:30 doing water party details. I did not stop for one second (that’s pretty much no exaggeration) until about 9:30 last night. But it wasn’t just me, my family and friends were doing the same thing. My sister “volunteered” to accompany me all day. So when I picked her up at 9:30, she was my captive for 12 hours. Can you imagine how awful that’d be? No complaining from her. Lindsey volunteered to watch my kids while she was babysitting my nephews. That’s 5 kids. She did it so I wouldn’t have to be getting 3 kids in and out of the car every few minutes. My brother, after being at school for 8 hours straight already, came and lifted heavy objects and did anything else I needed for another 4 hours. Leslie, well what would I do without her? My poor sister-in-law has been living on mostly coffee for the last few weeks and has the energy to prove it. Great ideas, hard worker, blessing to be sure.

And then my friends! Candi with her cold, Cassie with her Lani. Of course Jody and Amy were there as well. Theresa came and needed no direction, just did what needed to be done. Angie and J.D. came later in the night but their efforts showed as I unplugged everything as we were leaving. All of them from Muscatine, 30 minutes away.

Then my local friends, Chrissy, whose husband has been working a ton and skipped precious time with him to help me out. I know what a sacrifice that is! And Lynn and the rest of the Jarretts. Tom (the husband) gave us hope for more lighting and Lynn, well she just worked her booty off. Her girls hammered away at some pipe cleaners that will be used to mark everyone’s wine glasses.

I mean, really. I got choked up a few times in the night just looking at everyone doing this. All for water. These people have heart and I somehow get to call them friends and family. I am one lucky lady.

2 Years Ago

We saw this face for the very first time.

2 years ago. So many of you have been with us since then. Can you believe it’s been 2 years?

I wrote this then.

I’m not even sure what to say about that. I think I’ve said enough what he means to me. I think I’ve expressed that my life would not have been complete without him. That his entire spirit gives off light and love. That he. is. amazing.

Tonight I was giving the kids showers. Dailah and Trysten went first then were sent to clean up. Tariku and I got some time when I was drying him off, lotioning, clipping nails, etc to just talk. Sadly, that doesn’t happen very often. It made me feel awful.

Because I remember the promises I made to his picture 2 years ago. And I haven’t been great at a few of those. This boy strives to be worth my love every day (clearly not yet realizing he could do nothing to lose it), he deserves more one on one time to get to know me and vice versa.

So that’s going to be my referralversary present to him.

2 years ago. I CANNOT believe it’s been that long that I have loved this boy. I CANNOT believe the intensity of my love for him in such a relatively short amount of time. I CANNOT imagine what it will be like 2 years from now.

What an amazing blessing he is.

1,000 People

That’s the number of Liberians who will taste clean water for the very first time because of readers like you who participated in $10 Friday. When you do the math, you get…

over $10,000. In one day. In less than 24 hours. $10,000.

That. is. incredible.

We got that “news” when we were setting up the space for the party on Saturday. And honestly, though I was/am a bit overwhelmed with the details, it put it all in perspective.

Who cares about centerpieces when 1,000 people will have clean water?

When moms won’t have to watch their children die.

When girls can go to school.

When stories of generations will carry on because multiple generations can survive in one family.

Because of you. Because it’s water and the other stuff just doesn’t matter.

What an awesome day. Thank you so much to those participated in any big or small way.

Thank you, God, for giving me perspective when I so desperately needed it.

Ok

What do I do? Someone keeps hacking in and posting inappropriate things. What are we thinking here? I changed my password a few times, now what? I have it set where I can post from my email (I did this when we were heading to Ethiopia and blogger doesn’t work there). Maybe I should take that application off?

Thoughts?

Oh What a Day

Yesterday we got so much done. With just one week until the big party I am on overdrive figuring out the littlest things (did someone say a table for coats?) that I had forgotten until now. Thankfully I have a pretty terrific husband who went with me to all my errands yesterday, and terrific parents-in-law who took the kids to a movie, so I could have another person thinking about things that I was missing. But we’re getting there and it’s going to be great. I’m literally excited for the whole weekend, not just the Saturday night party.

So a few water things then we’ll move on.

1) Cassie has a new button you can put on your blog or Facebook or whatever that will take people straight to the Water For Christmas etsy shop. Even if you don’t put it on your blog, send people there as they start to shop for gifts!

2) Part of the Saturday night party’s events will be the auctioning off of Africas that people have painted. I’ve seen quite a few of the 25-30 that will be there and I can’t tell you enough how beautiful they are. The good news? You’ll get a chance to bid even if you won’t be able to attend! Look later this week for pictures of the Africas where you’ll be able to bid on the ones you love. For a sneak peak, here is one from Amy‘s mom, picture does not do it justice:

And here’s one from Dana:

Can you even believe their talent? I honestly want every.single.one that I’ve seen. Oh, and for you Ethiopian fans like myself, my talented husband made one just for you guys.

So moving on…

After that day of work, we had a night of play. Hosting some friends for some homemade pizza. Then it was our almost weekly night of game playing with my brother and Lindsey. We like to play a card game called “Little Pepper”. I have no idea why Zach and I continue to take them on seeings they beat us almost every time (lucky punks). 🙂 Anyway, Zach and I keep trying to throw them a curveball, last night it was playing with the kids’ jumbo playing cards.

That didn’t work either, so we switched finally to a few board games. Since we won both, Zach and I have decided we’re not going back to cards, our egos just won’t let it happen. Love those 3 people, they keep me young. 🙂

And does this make up for not posting yesterday?

Not Today

No totals today. But yesterday was huge. Did you get partially annoyed with every blog you visited talking about water? If so, you’re heartless…just kidding. But really, I was moved to see it showing up everywhere. To say it went viral yesterday might be the biggest understatement of the century. It was EVERYWHERE, which will be huge come Monday *hopefully* when we get the totals. Thank you so much for partnering with us. Donating, spreading the word, praying, it all helps.

I just got out of the shower (I know, and it’s not yet 9am!) and used the lotion I used while we were in Ethiopia for the first time since leaving. I’m homesick for a place I was never blessed to call “home”. But, as one of my friends said, “If you left part of your heart there, it’s possible to be homesick”. And I did, I think I left a big part of my heart there.

I’m missing it today. I was looking at Tariku sleeping last night and just kind of praying over him. I was trying to just send my prayers across an ocean where they might meet with prayers of other special people in Tariku’s life. I was asking God for another miracle, that of whispering in some ears, “Tariku is amazing. He’s thriving. He has a zest for life unseen in other 4-year-olds. He is a blessing to everyone who knows him. He is yours and he is theirs and he is Mine.”

And though I know our God is a God of miracles, I was aching to fly to Ethiopia and tell those people myself. “Thank you, thank you, thank you. I’m a better mom, friend, wife, sister, daughter, Christian, human-because of you.”

We were asked to never let Tariku forget about Ethiopia and it’s struggles. Almost 2 years later and I can promise that Ethiopia and it’s struggles are never far from my mind.

First Gift

I was going to write this long post about why you should donate $10 to Water For Christmas today and then tell every person you know to do the same. I was going to do that but then I realized most of you already know why you should. If you’re like me, at least 4 times a day you get asked to do something like this. $10 sounds simple enough so you tell yourself you’ll do it later and then continue checking other blogs, etc. And then forget.

So do it RIGHT NOW. Click on the button on my sidebar and donate. Or go here to see a bit more then donate. If your friend says they’ll do it, demand you sit next to them as you watch. Get as creepy as you’d like, it will be worth it.

I cannot imagine what could be done in one day if everyone donated just $10. Just 2 coffees. Just lunch.

So let your first gift this season be the gift of water. Donate $10 (or more!) today. Because somewhere in Liberia, there could be a whole lot of this happening if you did.

Just So you Know…

tomorrow I want you to participate in “The First Gift” campaign. $10. Ask everyone you know to donate $10 tomorrow. Tomorrow I want every blog I go to, every Facebook status and every tweet (I’ll have to picture it since I’m not actually on twitter) to be talking about it. Because this could be huge.

On another note, getting so very excited for water weekend. Multiple reasons. But today, I got an email from this woman. An incredible, loving, beautiful, amazing woman, wife and mommy. She’s coming. I am so. excited. to see her. Though I got to travel with her to Ethiopia and got to see her again at the Mehaber, this will just be different.

There’s been rumors that another friend of mine from a certain state up north might come but I’m waiting for him to confirm (ahem, Tony).

But tomorrow. Ready, get set…

Just Wondering…

is it a full moon out there tonight or something? My normally really well behaved, loving kids gave into the devils on their shoulders A LOT today. Argued with each other, talked back to me, lots of lies, totally ignoring me. It was just a weird day. I’m not at all exaggerating when I say they so rarely do that. But because they weren’t listening my patience was short. And because my patience was short, the kids were in bed…at 7:02.

I’m guessing all of our behaviors have been out of whack because Zach has been gone for a few days. No one has voiced that exactly but we’re all looking at each other like, “What do we do without that guy?” or maybe even more so, “You’re a lot nicer when he’s around.” Lord knows they are thinking that about me as they lay their freshly bathed heads down on pillows tonight.

So when I was checking in on my blogs I came across this one. Because this Friday will be a big day for Water for Christmas. I hope you guys are joining, I’ve heard from many of you who are. But this blog put the words so perfectly that I’m feeling today.

How to be a mom to my three beauties and a sister to those around the world. How to be a wife and a woman trying hard to provide a few wells to Africa. How to be in the here and now and be making lists of everything that needs to happen within the next week.

I love all of my roles, I really do. But what I’ve learned these last few days is that all my roles are more special and more vibrant when I’ve got my man by my side.

So this Friday. Go here to get all the tools you need for it. Zach will be back then and so will my personality. 🙂

Water…what else?

I don’t have the computer so I have NO idea how this will turn out, BUT.

Lots of good stuff. Go to http://www.farm-raised.blogspot.com to see one of the Africas that will be featured at the Wine to Water party (and perhaps online first, more details to come).

Also my friend, AnnMarie, is doing cool things in the great state of Wisconsin for water too. Though I don’t have her blog on my phone, she will kindly make a comment on this post so you can go to her blog and buy some great shirts!

Jody’s home from Liberia. I’m so excited to soak up what she learned there. Though I’ve never been, Liberia (and clean water) are on my mind.