Watch Our Progress

easy fundraisers

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

So I added a new page to my blog above titled "wish list". 
My techno-genius friend, Brandon, suggested it.  It highlights some of our upcoming expenses and other ways you can help if you are interested!

In other news we have our fingerprinting appointment on Jan 3rd in Nashville.  At the same time we are downtown we plan to get the State Seals we need for our paperwork bundle.  Once we receive those seals then our paperwork heads to Washington DC and then off to Ethiopia!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I was talking with the Director of our adoption agency this morning and she told me we are #2 on the wait list for a little girl!!

As I was talking to her she told me that Ethiopia celebrates Christmas on Jan 7th - which is awesome because that is our son's birthday.  (Coincidence? I think not!) Their calendar year runs differently than ours as well as their Christmas traditions. 

    Christmas in Ethiopia
    The Ethiopian Christmas known as Ganna is celebrated on January 7th. The day before Ganna, people fast all day. The next morning at dawn (around 4am), everyone dresses in white and attends church. Most Ethiopians don a traditional shamma, a thin, white cotton wrap with brightly colored stripes across the ends. The shamma is worn somewhat like a toga. This celebration takes place in ancient churches carved from solid volcanic rock and also in modern churches that are designed in three concentric circles. Men and boys sit separately from girls and women. Also the choir sings from the outside circle.   People receive candles as they enter the church. After lighting the candles everyone walks around the church three times, then stands throughout the mass, which may last up to three hours.  
    Food served at Christmas usually includes wat, a thick, spicy stew of meat, vegetables, and sometimes eggs. The wat is served from a beautifully decorated watertight basket onto a "plate" of injera, which is flat sourdough bread. Pieces of injera are used as an edible spoon to scoop up the wat.   Gift giving is a very small part of Christmas celebration. Children usually receive very simple presents such as clothing.  Religious observances, feasting, and games are the focus of the season.  After the service is over the rest of the day is spent dancing, playing sport and feasting. Around the time of Ganna, the men and boys play a game that is also called ganna. It is somewhat like hockey, played with a curved stick and a round wooden ball.   Twelve days after Ganna, on January 19, Ethiopians begin the three-day celebration called Timkat, which commemorates the baptism of Christ. The children walk to church services in a procession. They wear the crowns and robes of the church youth groups they belong to. The grown-ups wear the shamma. The priests will now wear their red and white robes and carry embroidered fringed umbrellas. The music of Ethiopian instruments makes the Timkat procession a very festive event. The sistrum is a percussion instrument with tinkling metal disks. A long, T-shaped prayer stick called a makamiya taps out the walking beat and also serves as a support for the priest during the long church service that follows. Sources:

Friday, December 2, 2011

Christmas this year will be much different at our house. 

The holiday season is always full of giving and this year I'd like to encourage people to give with a purpose.  There are so many websites and opportunities to purchase a gift that will benefit someone else besides the gift receiver.

Please consider visiting some of these websites for your gift purchasing this year.  not only is there some great products out there but it just makes sense to help out others as well.

Visit where there are many different products listed from artwork, apparell, jewelry and much more.  When these products are purchased you can choose a family to donate half of the proceeds to!  (We are listed under Ethiopia but of course you can choose any family that you might want to help!)

Coffee Lover in the family??  Visit to purchase a wide variety of very delicious coffee.  There are a number of blends available - my favorite is the African Skies blend.  For every bag of coffee purchased, $5 will go towards our adoption.

Visit to purchase very cute, unique jewelry.  This family that sells the jewelry not only is adopting themselves but helps out other families adopting.  The family that runs the site picks a partnering family each month and 50% of the proceeds for their month is sent to that adopting family.

They've got these adorable rings, hair pins, earrings, necklaces and duffel bags!!

Search for the word "adoption" and you can find a lot of products for sale with proceeds going towards adopting families.

Gray/orange Kenya bead bracelet

Visit and purchase a pair of these cool shoes!  For every shoe purchased they donate one pair of shoes to someone in need.  They have some pretty neat videos on youtube where they have documented shoe drops all over the world.

Visit to learn about ways you can help the wonderful people in Uganda.  If you have a person who you really don't know what to get them for the holidays considering sponsoring a child in their name.  You can also donate formula and many other things in their name.

Check out our adoption agencies "shop" page.  There are several cute items that are for sale that benefit their humanitarian programs.

Visit my "for sale" tab on my main blog page to check out wreaths, lion pillows, earrings, bows and tshirt scarves I have for sale.  I plan to start an etsy shop but I just haven't had time quite yet!

If you know of any other websites that help support please leave a comment and I will add it.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

I had a great reason to be thankful this Thanksgiving!  I got off work early on Wednesday because of the holiday and when I came home...there it was.  A nice white package I had been waiting for for about a week, my long-awaited completed home study. 

A lot of things ride on this home study.  You can't apply for any grants without a completed home study, you can't apply for the last application needed without a completed home study and you can't submit your completed dossier paperwork to the Ethiopian embassy without a completed home study. 

I already had my last application ready to go.  It's called an I600A and it's an application that is sent to the US Immigration Department for them to look over and make sure you are eligible to adopt the specific age range and gender we have requested.  They also set a fingerprinting appointment for us which is one of the last steps before we can send our paperwork to Africa.

If everything stays on the timeline that is average for most people then we should be able to submit all of our paperwork - which is also known as a dossier - to the Ethiopian embassy by the end of January.  This simply means that we will get in line for a child that meets the requirements that we have asked for!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I won a book in a raffle and little did I know how awesome this book was!!  I highly encourage you to purchase it as a Christmas gift for anyone in your family who is interested in Africa, reading, orphans or just following God's calling.  At 18 years old this girl up and left her cozy home, loving family, friends and boyfriend to be with the people of Uganda.  She ends up adopting 13 little girls and starting up a great sponsorship organization called Amazima which helps raise money for the children of Uganda to go to school, have school supplies, food and clothing. 

I'm a bit naive to the conditions in Africa to be perfectly honest.  I think a lot of people are like me, you know what you see on tv and that's the extent.  I've been reading a lot of books on raising adopted children and what to expect when you get home from respiratory infections, scabies and other things to watch for.  In Katie's book she is always talking about repairing the children's feet from jigger bites.  So I decided to look online at what exactly a jigger was  I even went to the extent of watching a video that showed how to remove jigger egg sacs from feet.  It's like one of those gross things that you can't look away from but still make you cringe.

I found this video that really broke my heart.  These kids are crying out in pain, there is no numbing ointment or shots available.  If you have a weak stomach you probably shouldn't watch.

NewSpring Foot-washing/Jigger Removal from The 410 Bridge on Vimeo.

I usually take old shoes to Goodwill, and although I feel like they are a great organization, I plan to start sending shoes to Ethiopia because these people can benefit so greatly for what we consider worn out shoes.  The lady who helped us with our home study is headed to Ethiopia to pick up her new son in about a month or two.  I'm gathering any shoes, any sizes that you might be ready to part with that she can take with her to Ethiopia when she goes. 

Contact me if you need to know where to drop them off or if you'd like to mail them to my house you can send me an email with SHOES in the subject line and I'll let you know how you can help!

My email is

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Every time I go in the Just Love Coffee Roastery building to buy coffee I see a saying on the wall that really hits me.  "Be the change you wish to see in the world".  I believe it's by Mother Theresa, but needless to say it has stuck with me.

I ran acrossed this great documentary and wanted to share.  Addis is the capital city of Ethiopia.  Someone this weekend called us heroes for going on this journey of adoption and although I was flattered, we have done nothing but simply followed God's calling.  There are millions of mouths to feed all over the world, we are just feeding one.  We are BEING THE CHANGE WE WISH TO SEE IN THE WORLD.  The real question is how will you change the world?

The City of Addis - A short documentary from Session 7 Media on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

I'm Speechless

I'm recovering this morning from a sore jaw because I was literally laughing and smiling the whole evening.  Last night was the Mr. Football 2011 fundraiser that the football team, booster club and parents put on for us last night.  Thank you can't express how much love and support we felt last night, the auditorium was FULL. 

I had some of my crafts there for sale as well and sold quite a bit of stuff.  Our grand total was around $4600!!  Best legs and talent with to Austin Fisk and the player who raised the most money won the crown and that was Ethan Turner.  One of the funniest parts was that the guys came up with women's names for the show.  One guy even shaved his legs to just under his short dress.  Sitting in the front row I could see his hairy legs under his dress!! ha ha  I can't believe how many of the guys did their nails and toes.

All the yummy desserts provided by the cheerleaders

Lots of soups (chili's and homemade chicken noodle)

Getting a ticket for some good food!

Two awesome football moms :)

The craft and coffee table

Smiles after a big piece of chocolate cake!

Me and my Pops

Micah eating chips, his favorite food

Football mom volunteering to sell my crafts!

Micah and Grandma!

More volunteers!

Guys and Girls (not sure which is which) grabbing some food

Lee "Leah" Carden

Chatting before the show

Setting up

Each boy had a bucket for donation votes

Waiting on the show, LOL!

Mrs. Rudy Thomsen

Micah and his best bud Jeremiah being silly
Chris, Toya and Tommy before the show
The judges panel

The auditorium was FULL

The contestants, ha ha!

And the talent portion begins...

Back up dancers for Beyonce
"Don't stop believin"

Zumba dancing

Saying thanks!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Mr. Football 2011 coming this FRIDAY!

I can't upload the actual flyer that was created, ugh, it's so funny!!  There's a bearded woman on it if that tells you anything!!  But here are the details...

Join our Warren County Football Team as they strut their stuff for a worthy cause!

Mr. Football 2011 Womanless Beauty Pageant

Our football boys will be dressing up for a Womanless Beauty Pageant to show their head coach how much they care about him and his family.  You will not want to miss it, so please join us at the

Warren County High  School
November 11, 2011 (Friday night)
Meal in Cafeteria starts at 5:30pm

Soups and Chili Supper (includes soup, drink and dessert)
Cost is $5.00 * Pageant will follow, cost is $2.00

All proceeds will go to the adoption fund of Coach Tommy Johnson and wife Monica Johnson as they are in the process of adopting a child from Ethiopia.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


Every Thursday night the football team gets together at a local church for the pre-game meal.  This past Thursday a few of the parents asked Tommy and I both to attend because they had an announcement.  I was a little suprised to see the local paper there with a camera!

The announcement was that the football team has graciously decided to host a fundraiser for us...and get's "Mr. Football 2011" womanless beauty pagaent! HA HA

The event is being held on Friday, November 11th at 5pm at the Warren County High School in McMinnville, TN.  A dinner consisting of soups, salads and desserts will be a cost of $5 per person followed by a "talent show" at 7pm in the school auditorium.  Each boy is require to get a $25 sponsorship from someone in the community and each boy is required to also have a talent which can be individual or group.  Each boy will decorate a bucket and whichever boy raises the most money will be crowned "Mr. Football 2011" with their very own crown!

The booster club is helping with the event and will be getting $100 sponsors from local businesses to help with the cost of food and other expenses.  All the money raised will go towards our adoption!

How lucky are we that we have such a great community to support us!!  Tommy and I were actually on the radio this week talking about adoption as a topic for a segment.  It was great to be able to inform some people in the community about a topic that a lot of people don't know a lot about.

I PROMISE this is going to be an amazingly fun event and I can't wait to share pictures after the event! :)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Home Study Interviews

Today was our second round of home study interviews.  Our caseworker, Kelly, came to our house last Thursday for our first interview.  She asked us each a series of questions about our family, how we were raised, what morals we were taught growing up, our favorite childhoood memories and questions about our siblings.  She also asked us about our relationship, how we discipline our children and what we felt our best and worst traits were in ourselves and in each other.  She also walked around our house to make sure we had fire extinguishers in place and that we had medicine and chemicals out of the reach of little hands.

So today was our follow up interviews at her home in Smyrna.  She talked to us both about some books that we should read and what to expect when we get the little one home.  I had been doing some reading that talked about the same things she talked about.  For whatever year your child is that is how many months you should stay home and bond with the child.  So if she's two years old we should plan to stay at the house as much as possible for 2 months.  This will give her an opportunity to bond with us, learn her surroundings and rely on us for her needs.  If we have visitors they recommend only letting them hold her for 5-10 minutes and to not let visitors feed her or change her clothes or diaper.  Her basic needs should be met by either Tommy or I so that she understands that we are who she will turn to when she needs things.

It makes sense that she is going to be going through so many changes that she will need to be introduced to new experiences and people very slowly.  The air is different, the language is different, the food, the culture and everything is different for her and it can be overwhelming for a little one who is much more aware of her surroundings than a newborn.

It will take Kelly around 3 weeks to complete our home study report.  I'm excited to say that she and her family are traveling to Ethiopia to visit her little boy for the first time!!  After our home study report is finished we will file another application where we will receive a fingerprinting appointment and then I think we'll be finished and ready to file our paperwork!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Medical Visits Complete

We visited our family doctor on Monday afternoon to get our medical forms signed.  We each had two forms that asked basic questions like height, weight (ekk), blood pressure and any other medical question you can think of.

Unfortunately, we both had to have tetanus shots because we couldn't remember the last time we had one and we both had to have a TB skin test where they injected a small amount of something right under the skin with a small needle.  We both have to go back today to show our arms - I guess to make sure we haven't had a reaction to it.

Micah got off with a flu shot and 3 suckers.  We didn't get any suckers...and our arms are killing the both of us from the tetanus shots!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Moving Right Along

Moving right along in search of good times and good news with good friends you can't loose, this could become a habit!  (Isn't that a Sesame Street song!) I spoke with our agency Director today and she told me that if we were able to submit our paperwork today that we would be #3 on the waiting list for a baby girl!

Unfortunately, we aren't ready to submit our paperwork quite yet.  We have doctor's appointments next Monday to get the appropriate forms filled out and then our initial home study appointment is on Thursday.  I imagine it will take a week or two (maybe three?) for her to finalize the report and when that happens we then have to submit a form called an I-600A along with $890.  This form is sent to the United States Citizens and Immigration Services in order to obtain permission to adopt internationally. Once we receive the form back we will be scheduled for a fingerprinting appointment in Nashville. (that's included in the fee paid).

Needless to say, we are moving right along!!

On a very sad note, our Director was telling me about a case in Washington that has absolutely broke my heart.  I can't imagine what was going through little Hana's head or her "parents" for that matter.  It makes me very sick to my stomach.  Please say a prayer for Hana, for she is now safe and in God's hands.

You can read the article here:

Sunday, October 2, 2011

One down, one to go!

This past weekend I braved the cold weather to have a booth at the Autumn Street Fair in downtown McMinnville, TN. I didn't realize how chilly it would be and how windy. I almost lost my tent more than once to the breeze!

I had the lion pillows for sale along with tshirts, wreaths, coffee, baked goods, bows and oreo and cake pops.

Needless to say, next year I will know to pick a better location. There wasn't much traffic where I was which really hurt my sales. After the registration fee I only made $81 :( That didn't even cover the cost of materials I bought to make the wreaths.

It just so happened that a local newspaper reporter passed by my booth and started talking with my friend, Jesse, who was dressed in Ethiopian dress.  She started talking to him about African orphans and that we are trying to adopt.  So low and behold when I got the paper today there was a mention of our booth and what we are trying to do!  This is monumental considering this reporter over the last year has written a lot negative things about my husband in the paper because he is the local football coach. :)

I've got one more chance to sell the rest of my things at next weekends craft fair at Applefest, which is another craft fair in town at the local private school.  Let's hope for better luck next weekend and maybe some warmer weather!