Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Introducing Isaac!

Isaac is a singer.  On December 2, many of the kids from SCH competed in the Special Olympics.  Isaac won a singing competition and got an award!  Here he is singing his song.

Isaac's challenge is nystagmus (both eyes shake from left to right) although he had surgery for that in April 2008 which helped to stem it.  He also has some mild speech issues.

Isaac goes out to private school and is of average to above-average ability.  Because he spent most of his years in the gov't orphanage, he never had the opportunity to go to school and thus he is delayed.  He just turned 9 years old.
He likes the ocean, riding in the car and his best friend, Caleb (whom you already met).

Caleb (on left) and Isaac (right)

Isn't he a CUTIE!?


We passed $4000 today!

Thank you to Staci & Robert
Bridget and Family (who put us over the top!)

Now I challenge you, if you have been planning to donate but have not yet, PLEASE, still do! Let's see if we can make $4500 before we leave! There is much good to be done for Sarah's kids and God has big plans for the money you are sharing!

I knew all along God would provide the funds for this endeavor! Isn't he awesome?

On the note of things for Sarah's kids, I bought a set of student clocks today for $9 (set of 12) so that I can demonstrate with the big clock and the kids can make the times on their little clocks.

We (RoseBud and I went shopping today) also got some more things for the touchy-feely books. We got the thingys that go on the bottoms of your chair legs, both the felt and the rubber ones, some acrylic scrapbook stickers, as well as some metal flower stickers and some gems (probably all choking hazards, now that I think about it--they'll have to read them with supervision) and we bought some permanent markers. Total for Target was $28, so total for today was $37.

RoseBud and I also bought a bunch of stuff for our trip
Pepto Bismol
Hand wipes (antibacterial)
Conditioner (for smothering tiny living creatures that crawl in your hair)
Granola Bars, fruit snacks (for RoseBud, not me!), prunes (for both of us, because we love them) and tuna in a pouch (in case we are starving somewhere, I guess)
A new document pouch because the zipper on my other REALLY NICE one BROKE!
Bungee cords (RoseBud thought for, you know, bungee jumping LOL) for attaching our suitcases together
Ziploc bags
A lice comb (ewwww!)
Laundry soap in a convenient travel size
A neck pillow (will the airlines even let us bring that???)

Total (this was NOT kid money...this was OUR trip money) $105.10 Yikes! We did buy a lot of granola bars.

Wanna know what I'm packing? 5 t-shirts, a skirt, a pair of tan capris, pajamas (1 pair), my salwar kameez, (see photo)

and a pair of sandals. Oh, and some unmentionables, which I won't mention! Y'all don't need to know about my unmentionables. Not that I'm mentioning them.

All are snuggly rolled and sealed into 3 gallon ziplocs. Or 4. I think 4, but there is room in the fourth one. The sandals aren't rolled. You can't roll sandals. Actually, they are still in the basement and I should run and get them right now, before I forget them and end up in India with only my dark brown suede Land's End mocs. That would make a fashion statement. Oh, and must run to get our electrical adapter. Forgot that this morning, too. Good thing I'm planning ahead! I have lots of time to remember the things I forgot!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Packing, Packing and more Packing!

I have 3 suitcases full (one for the master, one for the dame, one for the little boy who lives down the lane!).

Two are nearly full to the top with the uniforms from Land's End. I also fit the Teaching Clock in with the clothes as I wanted it padded so it wouldn't be cracked banging against other luggage. We'll see how it arrives.

In the third suitcase, I fit most of the teaching supplies I have already purchased. Yay! I was expecting them to fill up both of our remaining pieces of luggage.

The fourth suitcase is begun with the bare books and a big stack of paper I'm bringing for doing projects.

Still to fit in the suitcase: The laminated posters of the continents (may have to decide not to bring these...), any reproducibles I still have to make for our lessons, and our overflow from our carry-ons. I also need to get the liquids (shampoo, medicines) into the checked bags as you know the rule about 3 small liquid things in your carry-on! One of these will need to be toothpaste for our LONG arrival!

It will take us two full days, plus a little bit, just to get to Hyderabad (52 hours!) Granted, we have some significant layovers, but several of them take place in the middle of the night. Nothing like being forced to be wide awake just when you want to be asleep!

Also today, I cut out felt outfits for our felt puppets. Ours will not be THIS cute, but RoseBud pronounced them cute nonetheless. I made simple robes for them, felt hair in several colors, 3 crowns, a halo (oops, just realized I forgot to make wings!), a cross, a tomb and some gifts. Can you guess what we'll be acting out? Oh, also made a little baby Jesus wrapped in swaddling clothes (totally random aside: in our Christmas Eve sermon, our pastor read from the New Living Translation (I think) and it says that Baby Jesus was wrapped snuggly in [some sort of cloths]. Anywho, it sounded like she wrapped him in a SNUGGIE when he read it! That gave me a snicker in church)

I also had RoseBud begin cutting out the continents I photocopied. She didn't get very far before running off to go sledding.

10 days from now we'll be leavin' on a jet plane! Whoo hoo! Pray for excellent winter flying weather, please!

Oh, and thank you to
Scott & Shawn
Gus & Julie (and family)
Jon & Aleta

Meet Christina!

Christina is 10 years old and she goes out to a private school. Her main challenges are some learning challenges, especially retention of what she's been taught, and speech issues.

She loves to dance and is very talented at it. She even got a major role in her school's dance program!

Isn't she beautiful? I love her big, bright smile! I can't wait to meet Christina. Word has it, she's also a great snuggler!

Video of Christina (and Christopher) singing Happy Birthday

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Tripmates

Leslie, adoptive mom of 2 from India.  Her daughter Nandini was at BSSK with Sunshine.  Organizing the trip.

Faye, fellow blogger, tagging along on our trip.  She will be staying with RoseBud and me at our hotel in Newark and the 3 of us are going to the Statue of Liberty on our layover!  She didn't know any of us before signing up to go.

Cherie, lived in Mexico doing missions for 5 years

Emily, her 13 yo daughter

Scott and daughters Kailee and Katie (18 and 16)

Linda, John and their dd Sam (age 16)

That's our official group, all 12 of us! 

There is also Erin, who is going on her own and staying a whole month, but who will be there at the same time we are.  She actually arrives a day after we do.

And that's all I know about everybody!

Thank you to Charlie and Cynthia for their donation!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas and some Thank You's!

Thank you to

Larry & Rita
Howard & Denise (and Sri)
Jill & Tom

and to Mr. GT who raised $395 by "giving away" his candy!
Thanks to candy donors
Me (hey, I didn't even get any!)
and all the very generous people at American Girl

and to Nonny who kicked in an extra $5 to make it an even $400 (because you know that, except for parentheses, there is nothing I like better than for things to be even and symmetrical!)

Luke 2:10-15 (New International Version)

10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
 14"Glory to God in the highest,
      and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

From BibleGateway

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bare Books

One of the projects I want to do with the kids we work with is to make books with them.  I bought these "Bare" books--essentially blank books that we can illustrate and make into books.

I chose board books because I want my kids to make books for the younger kids.  Board books are chunky little books with thick cardboard pages, perfect for toddlers and little kids (they can't rip the pages!)

I'm thinking we'll make color books and my kids can read the books to the younger kids and help them learn colors, English names for colors and signs (sign language, which is what many of the non-verbal kids are learning) for the colors.  This will be as simple as coloring the pages with a marker or drawing pictures of something that color and possibly labeling the page with the name of the color.

What I love about this project is that it will reinforce the learning for the kids making the books by teaching someone else. (even if they know their colors, they can practice on their English by labeling)  Also I love the servant aspect of the project and I think they will be thrilled to do a project which will bless someone else.

I have several projects like that planned.

In addition to the color books, I'd like to make texture books.  I'm brainstorming right now what things would be easy to bring and stick into the books.  I've got velcro (both the fuzzy and the picky sides), sandpaper, felt.  There I'm stumped.  Anyone have any suggestions for some relatively flat, easy to glue in items that have interesting textures?

And the third book I'd like to make with them is some sort of Bible story book where they can "read" the story to the younger kids.

Cost for the Bare Board Books:  $39 for 30 books. (shipping was a very reasonable $3 and they came in about 3 days!  I was very impressed!)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Meet the Kids We'll be Working With: Caleb

I'd like to introduce you to some of the kids we'll be teaching when we go to SCH.  I'll be talking about them while we're there (hopefully!  I hope I can get internet access)  and it will be good for you to have an idea of who they are.

Caleb is 12 years old.  He has cerebral palsy and some speech issues.  He is incredibly determined and a very hard worker!  Caleb is enrolled in private school and though he began in a preK program, (because he had never been given the opportunity in his previous orphanage to get an education) he quickly moved into the first grade.

Here's some more of his story.   Click on the link and watch the video of him saying his alphabet.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to fall in love with this little boy!

Indian Jingle Bells

There are a couple of versions out there on YouTube, but this one has the best picture. It does lose the sound after a minute. Oh well. It's so cute!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

More Thanks

Annette & Jack
Doug & Sandy
Jack & Therese
Len & Emmy
Pam & Harlow
Mike & Janet

Thank you!  Thank you!  We are so close!  God is going to do this!!

And a very big thank you (and a kiss!) to Mr. GT, who every Christmas makes over 3000 pieces of candy and gives them away, but who this year sent out a little note at work to trade boxes of candy for a $10 donation.  I'll post the results of this effort soon.  That amount is not yet included in today's total.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Only in India!

It's only dye!
Originally uploaded by journeymama

This is little Solo, 1ish son of Rae, who writes my favorite blog in India. She captures India so well and reading her blog lets me feel, a little bit, that I am there.

Go read about what happened to Solo!

Naughty Cat, Poetic Girl

Pepper just cracks me up!

Saffron keeps trying to climb into my Oriental Trading Company box.  It's a huge cardboard box, and I have the lid folded closed (you know, with the flaps tucked into each other)  The only opening is a slit in the top.

Saffron managed to work himself into the box (with the lid still closed).

Pepper is trying to learn her multiplication facts on the computer, next to the box.

She's already frustrated by multiplication.  Now she has to keep disciplining the cat.

I hear her shout:  "Saffron!  No!  I know your schemes and your plans and you may not go in there!"  She lifts him off and sets him on the ground.  

Not 30 seconds later, I hear her again, "No you may not go in there!!!!!!  That is a command and a rule that you are not allowed to break!"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Preschool Christmas Program

Sunshine the Shepherd

Jesus Step by Step

Hi Mom!!!

Shepherds come to the manger

Kneeling at the manger (sorta)

Better hurry back to the sheep!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Help a Starfish, or Why I Get Involved

(this version of the story is from StarfishNetwork

The story is told of a man walking along a beach the morning after a storm had passed through. The sand was littered with starfish that had been washed ashore. Down the beach he noticed a young boy picking up starfish and throwing them into the water. As he approached, he asked what the boy was doing. The boy didn’t hesitate as he explained that the sun was coming up and it would kill the starfish if they didn’t get back into the ocean. The man laughed and said, “There are thousands of starfish on miles of beach, you can’t possibly make a difference.” As the boy picked up another starfish and threw it back into the ocean he said, “Well, it sure will make a difference to that one.” 

If you let the thought of all the trouble in the world overwhelm you, you will drown.  Don't try to do it all.  Don't try to help everyone.  Find your passion, choose your starfish and throw just that one back.  It will make a difference to THAT one.

Monday, December 14, 2009

India is Gorgeous

Banana Boy wrote and choreographed this song himself. Please ignore the mess behind him.

India is in Asia
India is in Asia
India is a beautiful place
India is gorgeous

And One More Purchase

One more purchase to report.

Boys' underwear (1 pkg = 6 pair/$5.99)
2 pkgs size 4
1 pkg size 6

Girls' panties (1 pkg = 10 pair/$6.54) (why are girls' unders such a better deal???)
2 pkg size 4
1 pkg size 6
1 pkg size 8

Socks (1 pkg = 6 pair/4.99)
1 pkg 6-12 mo.
1 pkg 12-24 mo.
1 pkg 2T-3T
1 pkg 4T-5T

3 pkg Pampers Preemie Swaddler diapers @ 8.99 each (on sale)

Total: $96.07 (why does that add up so fast????)

Weighed my two already-packed suitcases the other day and one came to 20 lbs and the other to 25 lbs. I was really encouraged by that because
1) I have to drag these through like 5 airports
2) I won't have to pay extra fees for overweight luggage
3) I can stick MORE stuff in them!

The first two suitcases hold a bunch of Land's End school uniform clothing I got at the tent sale in August. Oxford shirts were about $3 each, dress pants were about $5, polos were $3. Really good deals to be had. It's almost all boys' clothes, but Sarah's boys will look fabulous! (BTW, this was not paid for with donation money--Mr. GT and I donated this)

Is This the Cutest Thing EVER????? (or what!)

...the shirt, I mean, not Rose Bud!

It looks way tinier in person.  It's a 0-3 mo. fleece sweatshirt from Land's End.  I was at the inlet the other day and found this on the clearance rack for (are you ready?) $3.50!!!  Won't that be CUTE on one of the babies?

I also found 2 size 4 fleece sweatshirts for some of those skinny-no-body-fat little peanuts Sarah just brough home. (They were less than $9 each) and some socks for $1 a pair and a teeny-tiny pair of knit shorts.  CA-YUTE!

So, I spent another $27.38.  I know.  This was sort of whim shopping, but those kids are SO skinny!  And it gets down to about 60 degrees there now.  There's even times of the year when they wear stocking hats.  I know from experience, those tropical kids can't handle the cold weather.  Banana Boy still hates to play outside in the winter and it took TWO years before he could even get dressed up in his snow stuff and stay out more than 5 minutes!

So one of you who gave about $25, you claim this purchase in your heart.  Know that you made some little ones very, very warm!

Your Dollars at Work

Another report on the spending of the money.

When RoseBud and I go, our main task will be teaching a group of children in a sort of mini-camp. Sarah has asked that we work with the kids on learning the continents and oceans, telling time, some science projects, Bible stories and sewing.

In preparation for that, I purchased some supplies from Oriental Trading Company to bring along. Not only did I have a coupon for free shipping, but it also included 15% off the whole order! I was thrilled to be blessed with such a good deal on OTC's already great prices! (for the best deals in coupons, check out RetailMeNot. Just type in the name of the website you want to shop at and you will find any coupons there might be out there. I love this site!)

So, here is what I bought from OTC:

Changing Faces Clock
3 sets of smooth cut scissors (I took a chance on these--I am a strict Fiskars fanatic and refuse to buy any other scissors for our kids' use. They are sharp and last forever. But these OTC scissors are very good and I'm happy with them. Sarah asked for scissors)
12 magnifying glasses
color mixing paddles
felt puppets
(these are just the bodies in various skin tones. We'll decorate them there)
50 felt sheets, asstd colors
scratch art crosses
nativity foam stickers
rhinestone cross ornaments
resurrection craft
valentine foam stamps
foam weaving placemats (fits in with the sewing unit)
5 million glue dots (best price I've found)
Continent posters
5000 tissue paper squares (saves me having to cut up all the tissue paper)
1000 tissue paper strips (ditto)
faux leather coin purses to sew (comes prepunched with laces, for sewing unit)

Total: $177 with discount. If anyone would like an itemized list, I can provide that for you.

I'll be posting more about the specific projects we'll be doing with the kids. I'm really excited about this! Sarah had chosen 7 or 8 kids with whom we'd be working, but she asked if she could add a few more to our group. She said the kids are really excited about doing this with us!

A Very Special Thank You

to Daisy, who shared $12.51 from her allowance. She's been saving it up for quite awhile.

And also to Banana Boy, who for Christmas gave me $11.20.  This included his $10 bill from his birthday.  Isn't that sweet?  Mr. GT said BB had been plotting for 2 weeks about sharing this with the kids in India.  He kept asking if they could use dollars in India.

Thank you also to
Nate & Susan
Mark & Lori
Wayne (again)
Lynn & Erik
Scott & Tracey
Keith & Teresa
Ron & Suzanne
Chad & Jenny
Stan & Mary

Thursday, December 10, 2009

When Your Cat Dies and Goes to Heaven

it will look like this.

Important to know:  There is also a fire burning in this room.

25 below outside, happy cat inside.

Please note:  No cats were harmed or killed in the making of this post.  Spider is fine.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

You Are All So Generous!

Thank you to

Barb & Keith
Tim & Gayle
Linda & David
Amy & Tom (& kids, I'm sure!)
Michelle & Terry

We are getting so close!  Less than $1400 to go!

Sarah is looking at wheelchairs today, and from what she said yesterday, there might be some good ones available for between $100 and $400.  I would really like to help to purchase at least one.  I will also be sending a check very soon to help out with some of the immediate expenses with the new kids.  Thank you everyone SO much for your generosity!

Please spread the word of this ministry and share Sarah's blog with others.  The more people who see it, the more who are available to help.  And if this ministry touches you, please consider sponsoring a child!  Any amount, given on a regular basis is a HUGE help to Sarah's ministry.  Remember, she has not corporate sponsors, as of yet.  All funds to run the homes come strictly from individual donors like you.

I have been so blessed by everyone's generosity in helping me fundraise for this trip.  God's blessings!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Visas came today!!!!

We applied for 10 year visas and they were granted!  Yippee! 

I was pretty certain I would get one.  The cost for a 6-month visa to India is $60.  A 5-year visa is $150 and a 10-year visa is also $150!  In addition to the visa fee, there is a $13 processing fee each time you apply and about $5 to FedEx it there and $21 to FedEx it back.  So to apply for a 6-month visa twice in 10 years (I've already been there THREE times in 10 years! well....It will be 3 times after this trip)  So to apply for a 6-month visa twice in 10 years is $60 x 2, plus $13 x 2, plus $26 x 2 (assuming the costs don't go up) for a grand total of (wait, I'm getting my calculator, because, while I am love math and all it entails, I did to be an airhead when doing calculations.  I also really love parentheses (I'm sure I give you Grammar Heads out there a headache) and tangents (another math item))))))))))) (did I get them all closed???)

Grand total of...$198 (that was two 6-month visas).  One 10-year visa was $189.

Are you bored yet?

I also got RoseBud a 10-year visa.  We DID debate the wisdom of that, seeing as how she is just 14 and it added some money to the cost of this trip.  But again, this is her 2nd trip in 3 years and we plan to take a family trip with the boys in 6 years or so.  What it came down to was that I asked her what SHE thought about it.  She brought up needing it for the family trip and we also discussed the possibility of her doing an exchange program or some sort of service trip in college.  I was so pleased that she was open to such a possibility and that India has captured her heart, too!  She is such a great kid!

One more interesting (to me) note about the visas, is that apparently you aren't automatically granted a 10-year visa, just because you apply for one.  Another person going to SCH when we are there was granted only a 5-year.

BTW, the visa is permission to enter the country to which you are traveling. You must apply to that country's consulate here in America and they decide whether to grant permission for you to enter their country.  The visa is a sticker glued into your passport and the customs/immigration folks check it when you enter the country.  At that point, they give you a cool little rubber stamp in your passport to show that you were checked upon entry.

Here ends today's visa tutorial.

(Last interesting factoid:  You cannot use your Visa to apply for your visa.  They only take a money order!)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Sweet Story

Here is the sweetest note I got in the mail from our very elderly former neighbor:

Dear Friend:
So glad to hear from you and about what you are about to do.  I'm not very good at writing but I'm afraid you'll just have to put up with it as my sister (whom he lives with) just isn't up to it.  She is sick to the extent that she just can't sit down and write a letter. At any rate we would certainly like to help if we can although it won't be so very much.  Enclosed find check.

Isn't that sweet?  Letter writing is definitely a lost art.  That an 85 year old man would take the time to write such a nice little note just blew me away!

Oh, and the "not so very much" help?  $200.  God is so very good!

Thank you to
Bob & Becky
Don & Dorothy
Stephanie & Jim
Dave & Ann

Sarah has been introducing the new children over the last few days, so if you haven't been over to her blog lately, do check it out. 

And now see several of her new kids:

This is April.  Isn't she beautiful?  She has no eyes and is blind.  Because she has been so neglected and unloved, she won't let anyone touch her.  She won't accept human touch.  At all.  She just sucks her thumb non-stop and lives in her own little world.

And what about this cutie-patootie!  Is she not the most adorable thing you've ever seen?  At two months old, she weighs 2.2 lbs.  She is VERY malnourished!

And then there is Shalene.  She is definitely not an adorable baby.  She is in her mid-teens and has been shifted from home to home.  She was promised rehabilitative services, but was then rejected at that place and left (unannounced, really) back at her original place.  As a disabled female orphan in India, she has no way to advocate for her rights or even for decent human care and respect.  Can you see that in her face?  I can't wait to see that face change over the course of the next 6 months with love, care, respect and basic human dignity she will be afforded now.

Really, have you ever seen such hopelessness?

Please pray for all these children, for their survival and growth under Sarah's care.  Pray for compassionate and loving staff to be hired to love on these kids.  Pray for the financial resources to come forward to provide for all their needs.  And please pray that we will be shown how we can make the biggest impact when we are there.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Over Halfway!

We've bumped over $2000!  God is so awesome!

Thank you to

Corey & Karen
Keith & Kim
James & Anita
Greg & Shannon

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The First Little Boy

Oh, my word.  Everyone knows there is suffering in this world.  Everyone knows there are orphans in the world.  Everyone knows there are things that break your heart in this world.

We aren't very often touched by it in America.

Be touched today.  Read about the first of the new children Sarah has.  His name is Jaron and he makes me want to fly there today, just to hold him and assure him that the world is NOT a terrible place.

Thankfully, Sarah IS doing that.  He is already responding to her and even laughing a little.

Romans 8:28 (New Living Translation)

28 And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. 

God can turn even the worst suffering, into good.  And through Sarah, he is. 

I can't wait to be a part of this!