Friday, June 13, 2014

If I've Learned Anything



Have you ever taken one of those spiritual gifts tests?.  After Peter and I were married for a couple of years I re-took one of those tests.  I was fascinated to see that one of the gifts that was previously towards the bottom had migrated to my top 5.

Giving

I'm such a first born, type A person.  A lot of things I do because you are "supposed" to do it or not supposed to do something else!  I've been a giver but more out of obligation than from my heart.  I wasn't bitter or angry to give.  But I didn't necessarily get joy out of it.

One of Peter's greatest qualities is his heart for giving.  It is really unlike anyone I've ever known and by watching him I have truly learned to be a giver.  I watched him seek opportunities to give.  To hurt because he couldn't give more.  It was attractive, in a magnetic sort of way.  I wanted to do it too!

I've never thought of myself as a giver.  In fact sometimes I kind of embarrassed because I don't think I volunteer enough or help people out when they need it.  But as I've been reflecting on people over the last few days I've realized something.

I am passionate about giving to people.

I hope anyone who knows me would agree with that.  I love people.  I had a difficult time giving up my advising job at the College of Charleston because I LOVED my students.  I loved getting to talk to them.  Helping them.  Watching how they developed over their four years.

I love my friends.  Near and far.  I make an effort to keep up with them.  Whether by phone or email or social media.

I love my family.  Obviously.

And God has placed people on my heart.  People that need Him.  People that need someone to give.

***

Today is my one year anniversary as a consultant for Rodan + Fields.  When I first started this business we started setting aside my extra income each month to contribute.  I hadn't felt called to do anything specific but I knew the Lord had a special place for that money.

This past Sunday our worship leader shared about a school in Kenya that he has been working with.  Bungoma Rectory Academy is operated by the members of the Bukusu tribe in Bungoma, Kenya.  Initially (like most schools) they charged their students to come to school.  In 2010 they had 12 students.  Enrollment quickly increased to over 100 students and many of them are orphans.  They can not afford to pay for school OR food.

The school started feeding all of the students two meals a day.  They also operate on Saturday because they know these children won't be fed on days they aren't in school.

Todd reported that these schools are in dire need of money.  They operate without paying the teachers, with few textbooks and in buildings that are literally falling apart.  In spite of that they recently placed 7th out of 100 schools in their county in testing.

The Lord just spoke to me as I was listening and clearly said...."This is where your money should go."

So, if you have purchased any Rodan + Fields products from me during my first year of business you are helping out these dear children.  You are helping to feed them and show them the love of Jesus.

Thank you!  Thank you for supporting me and in turn supporting them!!  We have been so blessed by giving.  The world teaches that you can't get enough stuff.  We want the latest technology, the biggest house and name brand everything.  We eat out.  We vacation.  We splurge.

We could feed one of these children for a year on what we spend at Starbucks in a couple of months!  I'm speaking both in general and specific terms here because my goal certainly isn't to judge anyone for how the spend their money. It's a personal issue.  But the fact remains that there are millions of hungry children in the world and I'm not.  I'm never hungry.  I'm never uncomfortable.  I'm never desperate (well sometimes around 5pm on a weekday and a little bit today when I realized Reed had poured an entire cup of coffee in Kelsey's face.  Thankfully it was cold!!).

***

This business allows me to serve people in two ways.  I get to work with a wonderful team of supportive women.  We pray for one another, lift each other up and encourage one another.  This business has made a huge difference in many lives.  People are able to stay at home with their children instead of working.  People are funding adoptions or schools overseas.  People are changing their financial future just by working a few hours a week.  It's AWESOME to be a part of.  It's an amazing opportunity and I can not share it fast enough.  I want to conference call every single one of my friends and family and get them on board because I truly believe in the business that much.

But most importantly this business is giving me an additional income to use for God's glory!  I pray He will always keep me focused on WHY I started.  I pray He will open incredible doors to serve others.  I can't always serve in person at this stage of life. But I can give!

***

I'm still looking for people who want to do adoption fundraisers over the next year.  Email me and we will set up a month where 50% of my proceeds will go to fund your adoption!!!

And thank you again all my sweet friends and family and customers who have supported this amazing journey!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Kelsey's Two Month Update

Well I still can't get the official pictures off of my camera so these iphone beauties will have to do!

Dear Kelsey Jane,

It's hard to believe you are already two months old.  The days just seem to fly by and I try to take time each day to just sit and enjoy you.  You love to smile and coo and cuddle so you make it easy to want to spend time with you!

At your two month appointment you weighed 11 pounds and were 23 inches.  You are about 1/2 a pound smaller than your brothers at this point (they both weighed 11'7 at theirs!).  The doctor was pleased with your growth especially given our troubles with nursing and weight gain the first month.

You are doing such a great job with nursing now.  One day it just seemed to click with you.  After your first months appointment the doctor said it was ok to let you sleep at long as you could during the night so we cut out the last bottle which was the first time you woke up at night.  You tend to go to bed anywhere between 930 and 10:30 and will sleep anywhere between 3 and 5:30.  It's usually a 6 to 7 hour stretch which is great!  You still sleep a lot during the day but it's never consistent.  Sometimes you have awake time in the mornings and sometimes in the evenings.  It just varies day to day.


You really are a happy baby.  You are very talkative in the morning when you wake up or right before bed.  You just smile and coo whenever you see me or your Daddy.  It's precious!  I love hearing your little noises.  Stafford will often comment, "Kelsey is talking to me!"  

You became an international traveler this month and met both sets of grandparents.  You did great on our trip to Canada, taking your first ferry ride and spending the night in a hotel.  Mama and Daddy also go to enjoy a couple of date nights thanks to the grandparents.


You are just starting to wear your 0-3 month clothes and I got a little sad putting the newborn ones away.  However, I will admit it is pretty fun each time I get to get out a new outfit.  I love shopping for you and dressing you!  There is a lot of pretty pink in this house!  You are still wearing newborn diapers but after we finish this box you'll be on to size 1!

We love you so much Kelsey Jane.  You fit right into our sweet little family.  Your brothers think you are so wonderful and your Daddy and I agree!

Love,
Mama & Daddy


Monday, June 9, 2014

When God Says.....Just Do It


Last year Peter, the boys and I (and unbeknownst to us, Kelsey) did a 5-mile hike at Mt. Rainier.  It was AWE-some.  Truly awe inspiring.  The views were breathtaking.  And something about the accomplishment of hiking through snow covered paths (we were totally unprepared) carrying Reed on my back has made that day really special for me. 

Peter took a zillion shots of this "swish" symbol in the snow.  I think it was more impressive in person but we kept joking about how Nike should use it for their Just Do It campaign.  

***

Last year at this time I took another huge leap of faith.  After months of debate and wondering why I kept feeling the Lord literally whispering to me "I have something for you to do" I started my own business as a consultant for Rodan + Fields.  It was scary.  We invested a decent amount of money and honestly I was SO afraid I was going to fail.  What if no one bought anything?  What if I've just wasted all this money on a business that falls through?  

And God just said....just do it.

So I did.

I don't often feel the Lord being super clear about his direction for our life.  But he was very clear.

Just do it.

One of the things I knew he was calling us to do was to give.  In fact, I really started because of this nudge.  Whether if was an extra 10 dollars or 1000 I knew He wanted giving to be a central focus of our business.  And He was clear that He wanted us to give 50% of our profits.  

***

You may remember reading my story initially.  I felt certain that the Lord was calling us to adopt.  In fact I almost expected a baby to just appear on our doorstep.  My heart for children and babies.  For orphans.  Man...I just KNEW he wanted us to adopt.

But He didn't.  And I was confused and a little sad about it.  

And then came this business.  And it was so clear!  This was the way He wanted our family to help at this time in our lives.

Just do it.

***

Sometime down the road I would love to start a non-profit to help those trying to afford adoption.  But right now we are choosing to give to various causes that support and share Jesus with orphans and children around the world.  It's important to us (because we believe it's important to God) that we not only give to an organization that helps with physical needs but with spiritual needs as well.  

***

Over the next year I plan to choose a different family or organization each month to contribute to.  There are so many wonderful ones out there.  If you have a group or person that you know works with orphans or plans to adopt will you please email me?  I would love to hear their story and help them with this amazingly important task!

***

If you have purchased from me in the last year I'm excited to share with you later this week how your money will be helping children and orphans around the world!

***

This business has been SUCH an amazing blessing for us.  Not only is it allowing me to contribute to our family by paying for preschool and other things but it is allowing us to give back.  I work very part-time hours and truly enjoy getting to help people find a skincare solution to the problems they are facing!

This business is for anyone.  Men and women.  Young and old.  Introvert (me!!) or extrovert.  Working professional or stay at home mom/dad.  Care about skincare or don't care of skincare.  It doesn't really matter.  If you are interested in finding out more about this amazing company or products please email me or send me a message today.  

Peter and I have prayed from the beginning that this business would bless our family and that we could bless others as well.  We pray for our team members and future team members.  We truly believe in the product, the unique business model and the potential this business has to be totally life changing.

So excited to share more with you later this week!!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

8 Weeks Comparison

Thought it would be fun to look at each kid at around 8 weeks.




Who do you think looks alike?  

Kelsey's 1 Month Update

Yes I do realize that my sweet girl is already 8 weeks old.  However my CUTE picture of her with her animal is stuck on my SD card.  I can see it in the camera and I can NOT get it to the computer.  I kept waiting thinking I'd figure it out but if I wait any longer I'm going to forget everything but let's be honest, I already told someone her birthday and it was the wrong date.  Whoa.  Major Mama brain.

So....

Dear Kelsey Jane,

You are one month old today.  It has been a crazy month and exhausting month.  But not for the typical newborn reasons.  I won't go into details about all our nursing struggles and health issues the first month you were around but it definitely made the transition to a family of 5 difficult!

You are a great sleeper.  Too good in fact.  This was one of the most frustrating parts of nursing and at this point you are(were) still taking a bottle in the middle of the night because we can not get you to wake up enough for you to nurse.  You were a sleeper from the start.  The first night in the hospital we tried to wake you....the nurses tried to wake you....no one could do it!  You were bound and determined to get a good nights sleep.  So at home we usually let you go 3-4 hours and then we wake you.  I pump and then Daddy feeds you your bottle.  You wake on your own a second time and are usually alert enough to nurse.  During the day you have improved a lot even in the last week or so.  After a few visits to the lactation consultant she finally gave me the go-ahead to try to nurse you exclusively.

We took you for your 1 month appointment and you weight 8 pounds 13 ounces.  Hard for me to believe that your big brother weighed that much when he was born!  The Dr gave me the go ahead to let you sleep at least 6 hours at night before waking you up.  That's generally when you are waking on your own.

You are still comfortably in newborn clothes and newborn diapers.  You seem to tiny to me still.

I call you Peanut and your Daddy calls you girlie-girl.  I'm not sure what that means :)  Your brothers are absolutely taken with you.  Reed asks often "Where Keldy" and goes to your bassinet first thing when he gets up in the morning.  Stafford likes to hold you and give you kisses.  He also is interested occasionally in what you wear...having some outfits he prefers.  Both love to kiss you and pat your head...although I think you have been "patted" with a couple of matchbox cars.

Overall you are a very happy baby.  You are rarely fussy and when you are you can be soothed by cuddling.  You love to cuddle and I love it that you love it!  I try to sit and cuddle with you as often as I can because you are growing too quickly.  Soon it will be time for another update!

We love you sweet girl.  You fit into our family perfectly.  We pray everyday that you will grow up to love Jesus!

Love,
Mama & Daddy

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

O Canada!--Day 2

K started out Day 2 with a nap.  Look at those cute little lips!



























All smiles after our nap!


This cracks me up.  He wasn't scared to hold the monster's hand at all!


Another big animal!


Finally a real animal!  After a fabulous breakfast at the Blue Fox (a MUST if you visit Victoria) we headed out to do a little shopping.  Then we took the boys to a park and a petting zoo.  The peacocks were putting on a show!


Brushing the baby goats


I wanted to take one home.  They were really cute!


Checking out the chickens


It's already hard to get 4 people in a "groupie"....how are we going to manage 5!?


Doing a little tree climbing


And duck watching


And mohawk sporting.  This will probably be embarrassing in 15 years so I won't post a lot of details.  But we had to do a clothes change mid-day.  This is her "ha ha look what I just did" face.


View of the Olympics on the ferry ride home


Finally baby K makes it into a groupie shot!


Victoria was so fun.  The city is very walkable and there is a lot to do for both adults and children. We are definitely hoping to return before we move!

O Canada!

Man we have had a busy month of doing nothing.  I think I'm going to be saying that for the next 20 years.  Taking care of a family is so much work and so much of it is repetitive and not really exciting.  Dishes.  Toilets. Diapers.  Somehow it makes the time fly though!

We have been blessed to have both sets of parents visit for a week so May has really been a walk in the park!  More dishes but totally worth it.  

After the first month of nursing struggles and weird infections I'm finally feeling like we are getting into a groove.  Sweet girl sleeps like a champ most nights and honestly I think I'm feeling more rest now than I did when I was pregnant.  I'm excited to get back into blogging, working my business and getting healthy!  I'll be sharing a little bit about what I'm doing in future posts but for now here are a few pictures from our jaunt into Victoria.

We took a ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria BC.  Having the amazing case of Mommy brain that I seem to be unable to shake I forgot our nice camera.  So we have some iphone pics and our memories!


Butchart Gardens

The Sunken Garden at Butchart Gardens--it was beautiful!


Mama & her boys


My Sweet Husband


This was as close as S-man would get to riding an animal on the carousel.  He chose to ride the bench instead.


Reedster was a little more brave


I got to sit with S on the peacock bench


Peonies.  My all time favorite.


Fountain at the Japanese Gardens.  This might have been my favorite spot.


Awww


This fountain ran on a 4-hour schedule.  So you could sit there that long and never see the same combination.  It was gorgeous!  Reedster was especially enthralled by the water.


Watching the water


Daddy & Reedster


All five of us!!


Proof that K actually came with us.  She was feeling camera shy.


Fisherman's Wharf for dinner.  The colors were gorgeous!


S spent a lot of time looking for Sammy the Seal.  Can you spot him?


Not the best place to carry your 2 year old if you don't want ice cream in your hair.


Walking home from dinner


S-man enjoyed watching this "flamingo"


First in a series of "hold hands with the huge animal" pictures.  This guy was our hotel's mascot.


Finishing up the first night with a short swim.

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