Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Feeling Good {Clothes for Cambodia}

I love to give. Like seriously, it's so much fun to give away things, food, money (if it's there!), time, etc. I live in the land of excess and accessibility. It's freeing for me to part with material items and makes my heart swell to see others blessed by it. It fills my soul to get a nudge from my Father to act on something and then to see it through. I'm so thankful He's gifted me this way.

All this praise was brought on by a simple email I received today. It was from a girl named Jess from the Perth area. Grant, the girls, and I were picnicking on a Saturday afternoon and exploring a new park (because that's what you do in Australia...Oh, how I miss it!). There was a netball tournament going on and lots of kids around. One boy, about 10 or 11 years old, asked us if we'd like to buy a candy bar for a fundraiser. Of course I always do and also always ask them to tell me what the funds are for. (Not because I want to judge where my money goes but because I'm genuinely interested and curious.)

In this case, he was helping out his older sister, Jess. She was raising funds to volunteer at an orphanage in Cambodia with one of her friends. And this when the "nudge" came. I asked if his sister was around. She was. Then I asked her, almost apologetically, if the kids needed any clothes. We were to be moving back to the States in the next couple of months, and I wanted to lighten our load a bit before the movers came. She seemed thrilled about this offer.

All of this literally used to hang in our closets!
Fast-forward two months, and I almost forgot to email her! But I didn't, thank goodness. After I let our next-door neighbor, who was pregnant with her first girl after having two boys, take what she wanted, Jess came over. I thought she was going to do the same thing - pick and choose. But she loaded up plastic bag after plastic bag with everything I had! (I was thankful to see it go.) She said thank you and that was pretty much the end of it. Until this morning.

Months later, here's the email:

Hi there!! 

I was thinking to myself.. 'wow I need to send you some photos of the Cambodian children wearing some of the clothes you donated!' And then realised I still had your email in my sent file! 

We had an amazing time, we managed to fundraise $1200 (I would estimate you contributed around $70-$80 of that through me selling some of the good quality clothing items!)

With that money, we bought 250kg of rice, new printer ink and paper for the orphanage who recently got a printer donated from another sponsor, a new water tank for the orphanage, $200 of older boys and girls clothing for the older kids at the orphanage, a toilet for a rural family who have never had one before, and mosquito nets for her new home that was donated by another volunteer at the same time as us. 

So here is just a couple of pictures of the orphanage kids and also some rural village kids wearing some of the lovely clothes you donated :) and I put a couple of other cute ones in for you to see! thank you again so much for your contribution and I hope the move went well!! 

Jess :)

How flipping amazing is that?! I cannot wrap my head around how far-reaching our actions extend if we're walking with Him. There is a plan, and I'm grateful to be reminded of this. How we chose to visit that particular park on that particular day. The boy approaching us. The gift of inquisitiveness God gave me to ask about the fundraiser. The boldness to ask if Jess needed clothes. (I honestly felt stupid and invasive as I walked towards her that day. I distinctly remember feeling like an idiot and so relieved when she was interested. Even then, I thought she was just being nice.) That I remembered to email her months later! They were just clothes. Even more, they were just clothes that were a burden to me! But look how God used them! We are not just out here swimming in la-la land until we die. There is a purpose for everything. And these purposes are super adorable.

The pants were worn by both of my girls.

If I remember correctly, the girl on the right is Jess.
The pjs are not from us, but aren't these little guys adorable?
This classroom makes me want to teach again. 
Both of my kids have photos taken of them in this shirt. Amazing!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Mosaic Leaf Pennant {Kid Craft}

I love it when a craft with the kids turns out to be home decor worthy. And not just because precious little hands help make it but because it's nice-looking as well. That's how I feel about these mosaic leaf banners. We haven't been in town for Thanksgiving in years, and then all of a sudden it's at my house this year. I figured I needed to autumn things up a bit for the family. 

Grant was out of town this week, and the girls and I had a full-fledge, three-step project to work on. The first step was finger and sponge painting a large piece of butcher paper using fall colors. I told them to saturate the whole thing - no white spaces - but try not to mix the colors to where it's all brown. (Okay, so I told Miss P that. Little Miss 2-Year Old did what she wanted.)

The second step happened when said 2-year old was napping, and Miss P had an early release day. I made her put her scissor skills to the test by cutting thin strips from the dried finger painting and then cutting those strips into squares (1-2"x 1-2"). Her hand hurt, but we got through 3 episodes of Full House, which I'm proud to say she LOVES. 

Then, finally, yesterday, I took inspiration from this mosaic acorn and this tissue paper leaf craft to make a couple of pennants for the house. 

While Addie was napping and P was at school, I cut fall leaves on my Cameo, laid the cuts on top of Contact paper, and trimmed the Contact paper from around the edges. The girls later took the little strips of paper, torn them into even smaller pieces, and fill the insides of the leaves. I punch holes in the top and laced them on jute. 

It was time-consuming but not hard at all. Presley really thought it was neat how the first craft of finger painting evolved into this. I'm proud of her picking up on that abstract concept. And proud of Addie's abstract body art.

Happy Fall!