January 25, 2015

Adelce and Rhoda

Have you ever thought about sponsoring a child? I'd love to tell you a little more about my two sponsored girls, Adelce and Rhoda. I really enjoy corresponding with them via snail mail! Their letters always make my day brighter!


Adelce


Adelce is the youngest girl I sponsor. She's 8 years old--and lives on the other side of the world in Indonesia. Her favorite color is brown. (Hey, somebody's gotta love it!) Adelce reminds me a lot of me when I was her age. She loves dolls and bicycling.  :)  Her dad can't always find work, so their family struggles to get by day-to-day. Adelce's dad takes her to school, which is a long ways away from their home. I am so glad that Adelce's family places a high value on Adelce getting an education. I can tell she's going to grow up to be an amazing young woman. Even at her young age, Adelce has a heart to fight against injustice ... she wants to be a policewoman when she grows up! Adelce's letters are always a bright spot in my day! I love her colorful drawings.






Rhoda


I started sponsoring Rhoda not too long ago. She's 10 years old and lives in Tanzania. Her mom and dad can't always find work, so, like Adelce's family, they struggle to get by. Rhoda has many chores to do, including washing clothes, gardening, running errands, cleaning, caring for animals, helping out in the kitchen, carrying water, child care, gathering firewood, and buying/selling in the marketplace. That's a lot of work for a little one! When she has free time, Rhoda loves to play with dolls, play games with her friends, draw, and tell stories!  :)  We share the same favorite color: red. When she grows up, Rhoda wants to be a teacher. So far, I've received one letter from Rhoda. She is such a sweetheart. I can't wait to get her next letter, which should be arriving soon!





If you've ever thought about sponsoring a boy or girl, I definitely recommend taking a look at Compassion International's website. You can learn more about what their programs provide for kids like Adelce and Rhoda and take a look at the profiles of kids who are still waiting for a sponsor ... and maybe you'll feel God's tug on your heart to get involved and be a positive voice in a child's life.

Sponsoring these girls has already been a big blessing in my life, and I am so excited to see them grow in the coming years!

January 16, 2015

Chad and Me (sequel to "Legless Ants and Recess")

Perhaps you remember my "Legless Ants and Recess" short story. Well, if you just can't get enough of Chad, Walter, and Daphne, here's a little sequel I wrote!  :)

Chad wasn’t exactly popular, but he could kick a soccer ball farther than anyone else in second grade (although not with great accuracy). And he could swing around from bar to bar on the half-dome jungle gym in the center of the playground. Chad was so often on the jungle gym that he was practically a part of it. He even hung upside-down, holding his somewhat creepy sidekick, Walter, fast with one arm. The stuffed animal bat, black with beady eyes, never left Chad’s side.

Most kids on our class thought Walter was creepy.

Walter was present the day I first met Chad. It was my first day in first grade. During recess, I sat in the corner of the playground underneath a tree, trying to pretend I was invisible. “Hey, you!” a voice yelled. I glanced up and saw Chad bolt off of his perch on the jungle gym.

He raced in my direction, but stopped several feet away where a red-haired boy squatted over a magnifying glass. The glass was angled to magnify the sunlight onto a tiny object. As I squinted, I could see that the object was actually a bug of some kind. Gently, and almost tenderly, Chad lifted the small bug off the ground. Magnifying Glass Boy began to protest, but Chad didn’t even seem to hear him.

Chad walked in my direction, the bug on a single finger--and Walter gripped in his other pudgy hand. As Chad set the bug in the dirt next to the tree, I inched away from the creature. Chad started and blinked, then said, “Oh, hello!” Apparently, I had done a pretty good job of making myself invisible … until now. I waved weakly. To my surprise, Chad plopped down next to me. He settled the bat on his knee. “I’m Chad, and this is Walter,” he said, gesturing to the long-winged bat balancing on his knee.

“Hi,” I said quietly. “You’re Daphne, right? The new girl?” Chad offered. I nodded, my short brown hair bobbing up and down. “Well, just so you know, if you want a friend, I’ll be your friend.” I looked up into Chad’s merry, earnest blue eyes. Then, Chad stood up. “Back to my post!” he said, saluting with the hand that held Walter.

At the next recess, Chad asked if I wanted to come and play on the jungle gym. I never climbed more than a rung or two, but Chad was okay with sitting on the ground nearby and playing a game of tic-tac-toe in the dirt, too. And Chad and I have been friends ever since.

But one year later, Chad started to act weird. Well, weirder than usual. He still carried Walter everywhere he went, so that made him pretty weird to begin with. During story time in our second-grade classroom, we all sat on rectangular carpet mats. Chad always sat next to me. But one day, he leaned over and began picking at the bottom of my white tennis shoes where the rubber had started to detach.

And then Chad started cutting in front of me in line for the drinking fountain, flashing me a toothy grin. It made me angry, and I couldn’t quite pinpoint why, but I glared at him.

One night, I asked my mom why Chad was cutting in line and picking at my shoes … even though he knew it annoyed me. “It’s probably because he knows it annoys you,” my mom said, smiling. “Boys do stupid things when they like girls … anything to try to get their attention.”

Well, I mused, if the more a boy likes a girl, the stupider he acts, Magnifying Glass Boy must like our classmate Alicia an awful lot. He’d thrown rocks at poor Alicia yesterday, trying to get her attention.

But I should get back to my story. Mom was right about Chad. I found out for sure on one sunny Tuesday I’ll never forget. Chad was showing me how to find caterpillars under the trees. I didn’t like most bugs, but caterpillars, with their fuzzy bodies, were okay with me. One caterpillar marched precariously close to the edge of my palm, so Chad gently lifted my other hand next to it, to keep the fuzzy critter from falling right off my palm! I started at the caterpillar as it crawled up on my thumb.

Chad suddenly set Walter down on the dirt (something I’d never seen him do!). Chad opened a sweaty hand, revealing a little scrunched-up dandelion, then he knelt on both knees. That afternoon, Chad asked me to be his girlfriend. “No,” I said. I looked down after that one irreversible syllable escaped my lips and saw that the caterpillar had peed in my hand. I didn’t touch caterpillars after that.

January 13, 2015

What to say to someone struggling with anxiety

I’ve shared a little with you about my history with anxiety.

You read about my first anxiety attack and my journey through blaming myself … and then finally getting help. Well, as I mentioned in that last post, my battle with anxiety continues day-to-day. Maybe someone you know and love is going through a similar struggle and you're wondering how you can help. I’d like to share with you what I’ve found helpful in this journey.

Oh, and a quick disclaimer. I am by no means a medical professional. There are many forms of anxiety … and this is just what I personally found helpful.  :)

  1. Remind me that you love me.
  2. Be supportive of me getting help through medication and/or therapy if it’s needed.
  3. Give me grace if I’m short with you or irritable … because that can happen when I’m feeling especially anxious.
  4. Let me cry and let me know that it’s okay not to have myself together all the time.
  5. If I’m having a panic attack, remind me to breathe deeply and that it will pass. Pray for me.
  6. Gently encourage me to take care of my body by eating right, exercising regularly, taking vitamins, and spending time in the sunlight.  :)
  7. Remind me that I’m not going crazy and that experiencing anxiety is actually very common!
  8. If you know anyone else who has experienced anxiety or panic attacks, connect me with them.
  9. Understand that talking about my anxieties can actually make me more anxious! So, don’t pry if I’m not ready to talk about my specific anxieties, especially if we’re in a public setting.
  10. Send Bible verses that have been encouraging to you when you’ve faced hard times … and not just the “fear not” passages.  :)

In my journey through anxiety, my prayer changed from begging God to take away my anxiety to “Lord, be my source of peace today. I cannot do this without you.” One positive that’s come from my battle with anxiety is that I’m reminded to refocus my thoughts on the Lord more often. I fight anxiety every day … but not alone.

If you struggle with anxiety, what are some of the helpful things people have said to you?


January 4, 2015

Craft photos!

Remember that Scrabble project I mentioned last month?

Well, it took me longer than I thought it would, but I now have 3 out of the 4 Scrabble coasters done! I had some trouble with the glue at first, but they turned out quite nicely. The polyurethane finish really makes them look great and will help protect the wood from moisture! Here's a photo of a couple of the finished coasters:


Special thanks to my husband, who helped out with gathering supplies and parts of the craft process!  :)  Dave's very talented when it comes to putting things together. Just take a look at this nifty Metal Earth scorpion he put together this week!