Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Let's Find A Home For These Sisters

This beautiful set of sisters is described as wonderfully sweet and happy. Their estimated ages are 8 and 11 (give or take). The younger of the two is very smiley and sweet. She loves to jump rope and currently in grade 2. Her older sister is the shy one. She loves playing volleyball and is enjoying grade 6. The sisters arrived at Hannah's Hope on July 22, 2009. They are considered full orphans as they have lost both parents. They were living with their 16 year old sister before coming to Hannah's Hope. They still wait for their forever family to find them. If these sisters strike your heart at all won't you pray about considering them for adoption? I have personally worked with older girls for the past 4 years locally at the Baptist Home. I know how quickly they can steal your heart. They long for love and acceptance and family. These sisters are no different. Take a moment and CLICK HERE to go to the OH site and read more about these beautiful sisters. They are titled the 'Lovely Sisters' on the site. And please let me know if you have any questions.

Now I will introduce you to the next set of sisters that have been waiting for adoption for quite some time now.

These precious children have lost both parents due to HIV/AIDS and now reside in an orphanage apart from Hannah’s Hope. They are said to long for a family more than anything in this world. AGCI is taking steps to find a family for these sweet girls and a place for them to call “Home”.
These girls are said to be the approximate ages of 9 and 11, although believed to be older. The oldest girl is in 4th grade and loves to learn. The younger sister is in 3rd grade and is said to be gifted in sports. Both girls are known to have incredibly sweet, happy spirits and are said to be incredibly joyful despite the extreme poverty they have lived in most of their lives. They are both in excellent health and have normal development for their ages.

These girls deserve every chance at life. They deserve a family to call their own. Please take a moment to pray for these sisters. If you feel drawn toward them at all do not discard that. Pray about whether they are to join your family. God will make it known. Take a moment and CLICK HERE and read more on these beautiful sisters, titled 'Sister Love', on our OH site.

Pray for both of these sets of sisters as this year draws to a close and we embark on a new year. Let's stand together and believe that all four of these girls will have a place to call home in 2010. They have a whole life of blessing that awaits them and you can help get them there by your prayers.

Thanks so much.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Take Ethiopia Home

This is for all of you Ethiopia fans out there. I have Ethiopia art for sale which benefits Ordinary Hero. I have taken some of my shots from Ethiopia and turned it into artwork which will look fabulous in your home. This is especially great if you have adopted from Ethiopia and want a part of your child's culture visible in your home as a reminder of where he or she is from, or if you plan on adopting from there one day, or if you just simply have a heart for that country. I personally love my Ethiopia art because of my adopted son, Nathan. It is a great reminder and a cool piece of art in our home.

Take a look through all the different varieties and see what jumps out at you. Then you can click on the picture and see what it can look like with different colored mattes, frames, sizes, etc. It lets you see the finished product right in front of you.

So take a look at the prints that can be purchased as cards, which are great for fund raising, or several different types of prints, which are great for fund raising events as well, and have fun visiting the blessed country of Ethiopia.
We are all big fans around here.

There are over 50 pieces of art to choose from. Click here to go straight to the link to view them all or click the red bubble link below.

And most important....Thank you for supporting Ordinary Hero and helping to make a difference in the life of a child and a person in need :)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Today, 20 Years From Tragedy...Why I have a heart for people

Today marks the anniversary of the day that would forever change my life 20 years ago. Since twenty years seems like such a long time and such a significant number I just had to pause for a moment to reflect on my life since that day. I often have people ask me "Why do you have such a heart to help people?" I have never really known the answer to that question until just a couple of years ago it suddenly hit me. It all made sense. First of all, I think each one of us were designed and put on this earth for reasons that exist outside of ourselves. I think our true purpose will always revolve around the influence that we have on others and not just revolve around ourselves. A lot of the time we look inward to find our lifes purpose but until we look outside of ourselves I don't know that we will truly find it. I asked the question for a long time and longed to know my life's purpose. But it was when I laid that question down and just started serving others, that I truly found my calling in life. In the past few years I have been made aware of where my passion for others comes from.

God also uses our own life experiences to mold us into who he has called us to be. Our own life experiences can make us or break us. The choice is up to us but if we allow God to
truly come alive in us then He can use whatever we have been through to help others. He brings purpose to our pain. He allows us to experience His divine healing so that we can spread the good news and let others know that healing does exist and it is for them too.

So what is it that fuels my passion?? I will explain......

Twenty years ago, I was 16 years old, it was a typical weekday night. I put on my new Christmas outfit and headed out the door just before dark to go to my job at the local Hallmark store in the mall. I had some errands to run first. As I came out the door of a store and got as far as putting my key in the lock of the car door, I was approached by a man who stuck a knife to my neck and told me to not say a word or he would kill me right there. I completely froze with fear. I even saw a girl on a pay phone probably only 100 yards away and i couldn't even scream because I was so frozen with fear. He grabbed me and put me in the car in between him and a man wearing a ski mask. They drove off and here I was in the middle of my worst nightmare as they went on to explain everything they were planning on doing to me. If I cried I got punched in the face and I quickly learned that I was completely helpless.

My nightmare went on into the night as they raped me and I was convinced I would die. When I never showed up for work my mother entered into her own nightmare that is any mother's worst fear. She called the sheriff and submitted my picture and said I was missing. My family and friends searched up and down the roads for me into the night for fear that I had run off the road.

Meanwhile I am subject to the abuse of these men. By the grace of God they drove across the state line to pick up a woman who was the wife of one of them. Their plan was to drop her off and keep me for God knows how long before they eventually killed me I'm sure. They threatened my life before she got in and told me not to say a word. I kept quiet.....until we drove past the place that they abducted me from and I saw a police car with its lights on right beside my car in the parking lot. There we were driving by and I saw my help out the window as we were getting ready to pass it by. I knew this was my only chance so I started screaming at the woman to stop the car and let me out. This started a lot of arguing and back and forth between her and one of the men as she was trying to figure out what was going on. She drove past the site and I kept screaming at her to let me out. She finally pulled over and lifted her seat so that I could get out of the car. I ran across a parking lot and ran straight to the policeman who had just happened to spot my car just minutes before we drove by.
I had been missing for several hours at this point.

They ended up pulling them over across the road, one left on foot and was missing for a couple of days until they later found him hiding in a hotel. There is much, much more to this story that I hope to put into a book this year. Both men are still locked up to this day in the prison system.

All I can say is that at that time in my life I truly lost myself. Everything I had ever known came crashing down and would never be the same. But I can also say that I lost myself only to truly find myself. I did not know God at the time. It took a couple of years but after trying several avenues of trying to find healing on my own, which only led my life down more wrong roads, I discovered I was not made to carry the weight of that on my own and that I did not have to.

ter an unexpected teen pregnancy about a year after the rape, I gave my heart to God when I was 18 just before my first daughter was born. My husband and I completely surrendered our lives to God and have experienced His blessing since that day.

So as the anniversary of that tragic day occurs I can only rejoice at what God has done to turn my life around. I rejoice that my life was spared on that night when there are many who are not and we don't understand why. I rejoice that due to illness from the rape the doctors told me I would never have children BUT God allowed me to birth 5 and gave me a beautiful adopted son. I rejoice that I have received His divine healing in my mind, body, and spirit. I rejoice now that He has given me a heart to help others who, like me, find themselves in some kind of helpless situation that is out of their control. I rejoice that He has brought purpose to my pain and that I can encourage others that He can do the same for them.

He can do the same for you. God is the ultimate healer. But it doesn't stop at just us being healed. He brings healing so that we can then help bring hope to others, who can then help bring hope to others, and so on. You see, we live in a fallen world. We must have God's grace to make it and so many don't know that God's grace is there, ready for them to step into. And who better to understand what someone is going through, when they feel completely alone, than someone who has been through it themselves and has come out on the other side to exclaim that life can go on and it can be blessed and better than it was before.

So yes, today marks twenty years from that awful night but it also marks 20 years of God's redemption and purpose in my life. I know I relate to those that hurt in this world and I will forever try to bring hope where I can and let them know that I understand and that God loves them right where they are, no matter what their circumstance. Helping people gets contagious once you start.

If you woul
d like to see a video of my story that the 700 Club did, you can CLICK HERE. They did a great job of putting my story out there and bringing glory to God around such a delicate issue.

I encourage everyone to search their hearts and ask yourself how God wants to use your life to help someone else. In that, is where true purpose is found. People look at all the great things that Ordinary Heroes do. But a true ordinary hero looks like the logo that is on my site. He is a little distressed by the way that life has brushed across his path, but underneath lies the purpose for his pain and the hero that busts out to help others. That is what makes us ordinary. That is what gives us an extraordinary purpose.

God Bless,

A Christmas Blessing...A Great Story!!

Well, after the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season has now come to a close, I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas.

I have to share what just made my Christmas. It wasn't what I received, it is what I gave and what I watched others give. Last Christmas we took presents to a family whom I had met while they were living in the homeless shelter. She had moved into public housing so we went by to check on them and took each of her 6 children she had living with her, a Christmas present. When we showed up on Christmas day last year the mother was fixing a Christmas dinner. I noticed there were no presents under the tree. The mom said that the kids understood that she could not give them Christmas so she was making them a nice Christmas dinner. They were thrilled to get the present that we brought each of them. I had no idea that they did not have anything for Christmas, as the mom had not mentioned it or asked for anything.

A month or two ago, I get a call from the mom telling me that she is going to be having another baby. She asked if I had any baby furniture in my donations. I rounded up the furniture and we took it to their house about a week before Christmas. They had just moved into this house about a month ago so there was stuff everywhere and the mother was too pregnant to do anything with it. They had no kitchen table. They had one twin mattress for all of the 6 children to sleep on. When I asked one daughter where they were sleeping she told me "on the floor." There were clothes everywhere because they had nowhere to put them. The full mattress the 9 month pregnant mom slept on was on the floor.

After we left I knew I wanted to gather a team of people to go in and get her organized. I couldn't imagine her bringing ANOTHER child into that place with no where to put her. We were planning on having our Christmas party so I put out word and a wish list and had everyone show up with a gift for this mother and her children for Christmas. I knew all of us together could bless them alot more than just my family could. So all of my gracious friends were thrilled to do this for this family. They all said they had been looking for someone to bless this Christmas. So, man, did the donations and presents come in for this family.

I get a call a couple of days before Christmas that she was in the hospital and had just had the baby. I round up my team and we head in there on the day before Christmas Eve to whip that place into shape, as she would be coming home with the baby soon. I picked up her oldest daughter who had been staying with her at the hospital. She came to help us. While there I get a call from the mother. She is crying and tells me that the baby was being taken right then into surgery due to complications. She was having a lung bypass. So get this mental picture......All these people who came to help this family, whom they don't even know, gather around and lift up this little baby in prayer during this crucial moment in this family's life. The daughter was visibly upset so we were able to give her words of encouragement as she worried for the life of her new baby sister. We had a mighty prayer warrior head up the prayer and let me tell you, heaven heard her. We got back to work and continued to pray as we worked. I later get a call from the mother who has a new level of peace about her and said the surgery went well and the baby was responding great to it. Thank you God, for answering our prayers.

We finish, the house looked amazing!! The mom came home while baby remained in the hospital on Christmas Eve and her other children came home to join her. They had been with a cousin. I just can't help but think how timely this all was. God knew the situation this family would be in right before Christmas. He knew that this little one would need prayer at a crucial hour as she did and He had us there together to pray right at that very moment for this mother and her new baby. God orchestrated it all to line up according to his perfect will and had each person in their perfect place to see that through. Amazing!!

Not long after they were all home, we showed up with all their Christmas presents that had been given by everyone at our party and beyond. Let me tell you that this family was soooo blessed. The mom was crying and they were just so happy. They also told me that they cried when they walked in and saw their new house. They were so amazed by all of it.

After we left and were driving home to have our own family Christmas, I realized that this is what Christmas is all about. I had just watched my friends give from their hearts and I had just watched my children carry in presents and give to a family in need before they had even had their own Christmas. I had just watched the faces of these little children as they lit up with every present they opened, knowing that they would not have had a Christmas if it weren't for everyone who pitched in to help them. It helps me realize that we can all do something to help others. We can all be an Ordinary Hero to someone in need. If we have an open heart and we ask God to show us the need.....He will put it right in front of us. This opened many hearts this Christmas and I hope that it has blessed yours.

I have a video that documents the whole thing. It is so sweet to see all that were involved in this outreach. It takes a village!! THIS FAMILY IS PRECIOUS!!


God Bless,

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Ordinary Hero Spotlight

I have to share these Ordianary Hero spotlights. We are reminded that no matter where you are in life, you can use your place to bless others. I posted around Halloween time about the teen girls living at the TN Baptist Children's Home taking their time to create bags for the kids that live at the Nashville Rescue Mission homeless shelter. They each had a picture of a little child that was homeless and they really poured their hearts into creating bags for them to use on Halloween at the festival. Now these teen girls have had some love handed back to them. You can read in a previous post about Kristen taking the opportunity to have her 2nd grader and some of her 2nd grade friends get together to make frames for the girls who reside at the TN Baptist Childrens Home. They were so cute and so excited and took their great big, little girl hearts to do this project to spread some love to these teen girls. They then had the opportunity to meet a few of the girls and hand deliver their frames, which thus creates the cutest picture of love above. The girls at TBCH will have a constant reminder every time that they look at their frames, that they are treasured.

One other Ordinary Hero spotlight I needed to share. This is from Stephanie, who contacted me about wanting to send a package to our military. It is always so awesome to see you guys step up to the call to help others. It reminds us that we are all Ordinary Heroes and created to share love to others in this world. She challenges us to look at our lives and see what life experiences have had an impact on us and then take those experiences and use them for good. In her own words......

"I finally had a chance to ship it off this evening, so it should be on its way with tomorrow's mail. :) My best friend and I had a great time shopping for things that we thought we'd miss if we were overseas. (We were in Wal-Mart and I said to her, "Okay. If we were overseas, what would we miss most?" and before either of us could respond, another lady in the isle quickly piped up with, "Oreos!" haha.) Thanks, again, for this opportunity. The military holds a special place in my heart. I grew up in the DC area, my best friend's dad was in the Air Force (we met over 10 years ago, when the AF stationed her dad in my area), and since going off to college, I now have many, many friends in Army and Air Force ROTC. Thanks for the chance to let me/us show our appreciation in a tangible way. ":)-Stephanie (and Alysia)

Thanks to all of you who step up to the call to help others ever day and a special thank you to Stephanie and Kristen for sharing your pictures with us.
"God works all things together for good...."

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Latest in Sierra Leone

I know several of you have been waiting on an update in Sierra Leone. I just received a few new pics that I thought I would share. The kids in The Covering are doing great adjusting to their new life. 7 new children moved into the Covering this week. Sam, pictured above with his siblings, just had his hernia surgery and is recovering well. He is LOVING school and is soooo happy to be enjoying his life with his brother and sister. They all three speak with Lori and her family regularly. Lori and her family are busy starting their fundraising efforts to adopt Sam, Betty, and Falah. Please, click here to jump over and visit the Pyle family and support them in their fundraising efforts. What a joy it would be to plant a seed in the adoption of these three beautiful, courageous children and help bring them home to their forever family. Right now, the Lord has arranged treatment of their birth mother in Sierra Leone, who is currently dying of Aids. They visit with her and we thank God for having them all cross the path of all of us while we were over there. Pray for these three as they face great heartache on the road ahead. But we rejoice in the plan for their life that we see already unfolding by the hand of God as he has already placed the Pyle family in their path.

There is still much going on in Sierra Leone to help free the other kids. There are many fighting on their behalf. It is all completely in the Lord's hands. We pray and believe that they will join these kids before too much longer. There is still a lot of the same back and forth negotiations going on. When I know something new I will post an update. Keep praying for those children and their freedom. Their destinies hang in the balance.
Here are a few new pics of some of the kiddos.

There are still several areas of sponsorship needed for all of the children pictured below as well as the new children that I don't have pictures for yet. These are all children that reside at the Covering. There are a couple of children who don't have any sponsorship at all yet. The areas of sponsorship range from 30-40 dollars per month. Please click here to sponsor one of these children and to learn more about these children.

Thank you all for your love, concern, support and prayers for these precious children in Sierra Leone.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

That's What Little Girls Are Made Of......

Being an Ordinary Hero means that your heart is bent towards helping others, even when you don't realize it. I just had to share this special outreach that a group of 2nd grade girls did to turn a pizza party into a time of blessing the teen girls from the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home, as well as some homeless moms, with their talent straight from the heart. This is what it is all about people :0) These little hands from such special little girls will bless the teens and moms this holiday season in more ways than one.

I will let you hear about it in Kristen's own words.....

I wanted to send you a few pictures from our Service Project Night. My daughter had wanted to have a few of her fellow second grade classmates over for a pizza party. So, we turned this pizza party into a party with a purpose.
We painted the mats of picture frames with watercolors and each girl made their own personal designs. These frames will be given to the girls that you meet with at the Tennessee Baptist Children's Home.
The second project we did was a hit. Each girl decorated a brown paper bag with Christmas decorations and then we filled them with a few items off the Christmas Wish List from the Women's Ministries at the Nashville Rescue Mission. They need all sorts of items for their Christmas Bags, but we chose hats, gloves and a few food items. The girls LOVED stuffing the bags. I only wish we had had more items to make more bags with. I think next year I might ask each girl to bring items for the bags so that we can provide more items to the women and children and get other families involved in this project.

Thanks again for your example of being an Ordinary Hero. You have inspired many by being the hands and the feet of the One who we celebrate this season.
Merry Christmas!

The smallest gestures really do show God's love in big ways. I have seen people in awful situations on the brink of hopelessness get handed a simple card that reminds them that they are special and loved in the eyes of God and those He has called to be His hands and feet. You can't imagine how God has ordained THAT card or THAT gift for THAT particular moment, just when He knew that they needed it the most. Our steps are always guided and they will be used to bless others as long as we let God guide us.

Thank you Kristen and your girls for showing us just how to be an Ordinary Hero in the life of another.

Blessings to you all this Holiday Season.


Enjoy the pics below....