Tuesday, June 21, 2011

And Our Winners Are.......

I can't say enough about the efforts made by our affiliates during this grant giveaway. You guys worked hard and got the word out there and it is paying off in so many ways. We have sold....70 sheep that we will be giving away next month while in Africa!!! Can you say we will be dropping a herd somewhere :) Not to mention the countless # of shoes, blankets, raincoats, backpacks and many other items sold through the OH Store. Your purchases, whether tshirts or products for children in Africa, go a long way.

We are thrilled to offer this Grant Giveaway. OH has been blessed to be able to give away thousands of dollars in grants this year to families adopting or traveling on missions. We have been having a grant giveaway contest going on since Friday. It just ended, so without further ado....the top 3 affiliates with the highest sales from Friday until midnight on Tuesday, who will all three receive $500 toward their adoption or mission trip,  are......

#1. Kate Jones, from Tucson, AZ, Our highest seller!! Kate is traveling on a mission trip to Ethiopia with OH in July.
#2. Brian and Heather Keehn, from Crown Point, Indiana, our second highest seller!! The Keehns are adopting through All God's Children. 
#3. LeAnne Lynch, from Hopkinsville, Ky, our third highest seller!!  LeAnne is traveling on a mission trip to ET with OH in July. 

Way to go!! I want to applaud every affiliate who took the time to sell during this grant giveaway. Even though I could not give $500 to everyone, I am thrilled to be able to offer 40% of all the purchases made on an affiliate's behalf. Everyone is a winner here!! :)

Great Big Super Thank You....to all who participated and purchased, and a super CONGRATS to our top 3!!

Grant Giveaway Time is Almost Here!!

Just a couple of hours left in the grant giveaway. Who will be our top 3 and win $500 extra to go toward their adoption or mission trip from the affiliate sales through the OH Store?? Chances for giveaway end at midnight central time tonight :) I wish all the affiliates the best!! I will announce the top 3 soon!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Grant Giveaway Ends Tomorrow at Midnight

Tonight and all day tomorrow will determine the top 3 Affiliates of our Grant Giveaway. The top 3 will receive $500 each to be applied to their adoption or mission trip on top of the 40% that each affiliate receives from purchases made on their behalf.  We really have some awesome affiliates raising money for some life changing causes. Be sure to check out the OH Store and click on the affiliate's name you are supporting in the box labeled "Affiliate Name" during checkout. That affiliate will receive 40% of your purchase to be applied toward their adoption or mission trip. We not only have merchandise, like awesome tshirts, jewelry, tumbler, and kids stuff, we also have sheep, blankets, shoes, backpacks and raincoats available for the children in Africa that we will be visiting in July. Your purchase will go a long way....literally :) Thanks for supporting OH and our affiliates who strive to CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Come See Us Today!

If you are in the Brentwood Area today (Saturday), come over to the OH tent set up at the Brentwood Town Center Saturday Festival. We will be there from 10-3. We will have merchandise and you can also find out more about OH and what we are all about.

Here is an article about it in the Brentwood Homepage. So come see us today at Town Center Way in Brentwood, TN and look for the OH tent, I'd love to meet you.

Also, don't forget about our Grant Giveaway going on online through the OH store. If you know an affiliate don't forget to click on their name in the drop down menu beside "Affiliate Name" during checkout in order for them to receive 40% credit for your purchase :)

Have a great Saturday!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Grant Giveaway Time!!

Ok, Affiliates....now is another chance to earn an extra $500 on top of the 40% you will receive from your sales. 
If you are purchasing on behalf of an affiliate, now is a great time to do it. We are giving away three $500 grants....one to each of the top three affiliates with the most sales beginning today through Tuesday at 11:59pm.  Don't forget to add the affiliate name where it says "Affiliate Name" in the checkout process in order for that affiliate to receive 40% of your purchase. All of the affiliates are raising money to support their adoption or mission trip. This is a great way to help them reach their goal through the OH store
For more information on how to sign up as an OH affiliate go to our OH Fundraising page. It's never too late to sign up. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Small Team Off To ET, New Grant Giveaway, New OH Country Music Artist Supporter

Ok....trying to get back in the swing of blog land and get caught up. Summers with 6 kids home and running OH....well....Whoo! Soooo.......

First big news is we just sent off a small team of 3, soon to be 4 to Ethiopia in order to bring some much needed help to Ashli this summer with Restoration orphanage. I'm super excited about this group of young adults who have such a big heart to serve! One of them happens to be my daughter, Lauren. She, Whitney, Zack, and Caitlin are going to dive in, hearts first, to provide some hands on support for the kiddos in this orphanage. I will have Lauren blog while there so hopefully we will get some updates soon. So, in the meantime, Lauren, Zack, and Whitney fly out today and Caitlin joins them the first of July. Keep them all in your prayers. They literally just sent me this pic of them in the airport.

 Snapped this pic of Lauren at the airport about to fly to DC to meet up with the rest of them.
Ashli sent me this pic of some donations that she has received for the orphanage. She is thrilled! Thank you all for supporting the kids at Restoration Orphanage. It is truly making a difference.

Second......IT'S TIME!!


Starting tomorrow, Friday at 12:01am,  all the way through Tuesday at 11:59 pm we are offering grants to the top 3 affiliates with the highest sales from the OH store at the end of Tuesday. OH will give each of the top 3 selling affiliates a $500 grant!! Yes that is $1500 we are giving away! So affiliates get ready to put your selling caps on. If you are not an OH affiliate yet but would like to be, go to our AFFILIATE INFO PAGE to learn how to sign up. Don't miss out on a chance to get an extra $500 toward your adoption or mission trip on top of the 40% you receive in commission from all of your sales. If you purchase on behalf of an affiliate don't forget to click on their Affiliate name in the drop down menu during checkout in order for them to receive the 40% credit. 

Ok, NEXT........
You all must check out this rising new country artist. Mackey Roberts is launching his new album very soon. He is an AWESOME country singer, OH supporter, family man, and great guy! You all will LOVE this album when it comes out! You can also pre order a copy. In the meantime enjoy this new video showcasing the making of his new album and check out the OH tee he is sporting in at least 3 shots from this video!! :) You can also find him on FACEBOOK

CLICK HERE to go to the direct link or watch it below.

And lastly.....just for fun.....Check out this picture someone sent me. She said she was driving down the road and saw this window on someone's house and thought of us, and stopped and snapped the pic. Ha! I'm thinking these are the windows for sure of our OH orphanage one day!! Thanks for sending, Brooke!

Have a great day everyone!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

New Tumblers and Video

We have new stainless coffee tumblers now available in the
Be sure to check out the awesome William doing his own commercial for the new tumblers :)

(Silence music on right side bar or CLICK HERE to go to direct link.)

Also, be sure to check out our updated OH Sightings Page to see who's wearing our merch. 
You might recognize someone if you have sent in a pic. Send us those pics if you want to be added to the page. Thanks for wearing the OH merchandise and being an Ordinary Hero. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Leaving For Africa in One Month!!

I can't believe how close we are to heading back to Ethiopia for our second annual mission trip. We are taking two teams this year back to back. Around 50 people will be traveling between the two teams to love and serve the orphans and children in need in Ethiopia. It is truly amazing to look back and see the lives that were changed just one year ago and all that has taken place since then. It really does put into perspective the power of one mission trip. There were 22 of us last year and all of us were wrecked to make a difference by the time we came back.

One community that hit us hard with more love and poverty than we had ever seen was the trash dump community of Korah.

You can watch our day in Korah HERE. You will see that we were partnering with P61 and looking for sponsors to help get the kids out of the dump and into a boarding school. My friend, Sumer, moved her family to this community to help the children there.

Wellllll.....when we returned and I put out that video, we were able to max the school out with sponsored kids to the point that they couldn't take anymore. We helped bring around 150 more sponsors in for these kids, maxing the school out at close to 250! Unbelievable to take children from here......
 to here......

Also while on this trip we saw the need for a water well in this community. My team came back and fundraised, with the help of many of you, and we have around $18,000 to donate toward clean water in that community, which they are working out the details for now! We also found our own children to sponsor and made life changing relationships with these kids that now consider us family.

Also, while on this trip I went in with my camera, ready to advocate for the waiting children. So many of them found their forever families. The best part! A couple of the team members found their forever children on our trip and came home and started the process. Two of those children are now home with thier families.Below we have the awesome Kelly Bullock who adopted Mercy, and who is now our OH Ethiopia Missions Coordinator!!
 And here we have Gina Payne, who adopted Mamo, and is now our OH Affiliate Fundraising Super Coach!!
So awesome to see God at work here. I did not know either of these ladies one year ago. Now they have their new children because of that trip, and are serving for OH!! Awesome!!

There were two sisters who we advocated for that STILL have not found their forever family. We will be seeing them again and PRAYING a family steps up for these two. They are simply precious!!

Of course we can't forget the life changing impact this trip had on Ashli. After the trip, she moved over in November and is now serving there full time. She never could have imagined how her life would change in just a few months.

On this trip we served in the city and outside the city to the country community. We loved, we fed, we clothed, we played soccer, did arts and crafts and much, much more. Hearts were linked! To see pics from our trip, start to finish, you can go to the link on our OH site, HERE. 

Now this year, we get to turn around and do it all again, only on two different teams!! We have several that are returning from last year to join us again. I am so excited to see what amazing relationships and adventures lie ahead with these upcoming teams. I hope to introduce the team on the blog before too long. Of course in four weeks you will all be able to follow along on our journey from this blog as you watch us travel over and serve our hearts out. 

Here is a video of us in action from our OH mission trip last year, put to an awesome song by Kristi Neumann, who is donating the proceeds of this song to OH for grants. This will give you an idea of who we have waiting in store for us to come serve. These kids will simply take your breath away!

Silence my music on right side bar to watch below or click HERE to go to the direct link.

Ordinary Hero & Kristi Neumann Help Bring Waiting Children Home from Kelly Putty on Vimeo.

Friday, June 3, 2011

"I Would Adopt If Only It Weren't So Expensive!" What are your thoughts on this?

"Why does it have to cost so much to adopt and how could I ever come up with that kind of money?"
This is the #1 issue with adoption that I hear more than any other. There are many people that have a heart for adoption, but they simply don't have the 20-30 grand sitting around to pay for it...therefore, they opt not to even try. People feel bad to have to fundraise and have to ask their friends and family to help. There are even people that feel that "if you must fundraise to adopt then that must mean that you can't afford the child and so you shouldn't even be asking." These are all very common concerns and thoughts when it comes to adoption, and worth addressing. I know that there are many different opinions out there when it comes to fundraising and dealing with the issue of money.  I will share some of my thoughts and I would love to hear some of yours.

The first obstacle for most people is that ADOPTION CAN BE EXPENSIVE. There are some private adoptions and also adoption through the foster care system that can be done for a minimal amount of money. Foster care adoptions can be done for close to nothing because it is through the state.
BUT international adoptions and domestic adoptions through an adoption agency are EXPENSIVE!
It is very intimidating and frustrating to see past that hurdle when you REALLY feel the call to adopt but yet you simply don't have the money.

Why does it cost so much? Well, there is the homestudy ($1000-2000), there are agency fees ($5000-7000) country fees ($5000-7000), fingerprints, forms, government stamps and approvals ($$) plane tickets there and back and sometimes two or three trips involved (more$$). Tickets are expensive. There is the incountry expense once there.($$) There are post placement homestudy reports when you return. ($$) This all adds up, but luckily it is a process and not all due at the same time. Depending on the agency, country, etc, this can take up to a few months to years.

So what are you to do? There are some people that take out loans to pay for it. I mean, when you look at it, we take out loans every day for cars, school, homes, etc. We then pay down the loans through payments while we enjoy what we are investing in. Why should we think differently about a human life. If there were ever something worthy to invest in, it would be that as long as you can afford the monthly payments.

I am not a big fan of debt so I have found that one of the best ways to raise money for an adoption is through fundraising. This is the main reason I have launched our affiliate program through the OH Store, in order to help folks fundraise. I know that when I started my own adoption we did not have the money that we needed. We knew that going into it, but yet, we felt this strong call on our lives that we were supposed to adopt. We had no problem with adding another mouth to feed, it was just the upfront cost to get the child here that we could not fathom. I realistically knew that if we waited until the day came that we had an extra 20 grand then it would never happen. We had 5 other children and you know how there is ALWAYS something that comes up that dries up the bank account. So we decided to take a huge leap of faith and just go for it, let God lead the way, and nervously see where it led us. The reality was, that if we didn't end up with the money then at least we would have tried, never having been left with the question of "What if?" hanging over our heads. Sooo.....the fundraising began.

There are many ways to fundraise. It can be as simple or as creative as you would like. The first hurdle you must get past is feeling bad about asking for money. This stops a lot of people. It is a pride issue. It is humbling to ask folks to walk alongside you and join you in your journey. BUT I honestly believe with all my heart that God uses that to open people's eyes to adoption, who otherwise never would have even thought about it. When you put the need out there, when you tell your story, share your heart, talk about wanting to bring a child into your home, a child who has nothing, no future without you.....what does that do for those who are hearing? Well, since faith comes by hearing, it opens that person's eyes, and plants a seed of thought in them that they otherwise NEVER would have thought of had you not come to them sharing your need and sharing your heart about the orphans. It allows that person to make a difference in another's life simply through their donation. By helping you get the child home, it allows the giver to be left with a sense of purpose, especially once they see the child join your family, meet the child, see this little life changed forever, knowing that they played an important role in it. What does that do for that person? Well, I have seen many miracles come from it. I have even seen a situation where someone got offended at the person asking for a donation toward their adoption, only to see in the end, that person ended up adopting themselves. Why? Because their eyes were opened to it. Anything out of our comfort zone will rub us the wrong way at first. But the great thing is that you allow God to do the work. God's heart is for the orphan and widow.  He delights in opening people's eyes to that very great need and he will use situations like this to do it. When we have lack, it creates an avenue for God to shine. It is all done through faith and obedience. All throughout the bible, the miracles happened once there was a simple act of faith on our part first. We step out with what we have and then God does the rest.

For our own adoption, we had a dinner at a hotel and some of our friends sang. It was a wonderful night of music, good food, and fellowship. We shared our heart, and gave people the opportunity to give at the end. It was very profitable for our adoption. We raised close to $10,000 in that one night. We also wrote letters and sent them out to our friends and family. Also, one of the best ways to spread the word these days is through blogs and facebook. Trust me when I say you will be surprised at the ones who will give. The ones you never would expect to give will give the most. The ones you would expect to give sometimes do not. I have seen people raise a lot of money through selling tshirts, crafts, jewelry, and all kinds of creative things. I know from personal experience that we did not have the money going into our adoption. Luckily it is all not due at once. I saw us put forth the effort to fundraise and I saw God provide for every bill just as it was due. I have also seen families fundraise to the point that they raise MORE than they needed and were able to turn around and bless another fundraising family. Is it hard to fundraise? Yes! Does it require work on our part? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes! To see that little person join your family and know that you helped change a life at whatever cost or effort is so worth it. I cannot imagine my life without my son, Nathan. We have had him home for not quite three years now. It was a huge leap of faith to adopt, especially when we already had a fairly large family. But God knew that little boy belonged in our family and God supplied our needs because we gave Him the opportunity to do so. I have seen miracle after miracle when it comes to this. That is not to say that it won't be hard and that there won't be times when you are financially stretched. Again, it is an act of faith. With adoption there is also a lot of uncertainty because you are dealing with governments, rules and regulations. We personally had to switch countries three times in four years. We finally landed in Ethiopia and adopted our son from there. Even through all the uncertainty, extra paperwork, fees, etc, God paved the way and provided our needs. In the end, at His perfect timing, we brought home the most amazing little boy into our family. God also did a work in us through the fundraising, stretching our faith, teaching us how to survive the wait, and growing us in ways we never expected. I think that is part of it as well. We went into it thinking we were changing a life, when in reality, ours were changed just as much....and all for the better, growing in areas that we never even realized we needed to grow in.

So this is all food for thought. This is obviously based on my personal experience and what I have seen through now working in the adoption circles. I would love to hear your thoughts or stories on this. It is the huge elephant in the way of many. It is a topic worth discussing, working out the frustrations, and finding encouragement in. Nothing is too big for God. The real question is "Will we give Him the opportunity to use us when we clearly feel that burn in our heart for the orphans?" I welcome your comments.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Who Gives A Sheep?

Well......32 of you do! Ha! I just couldn't help myself :) I am thrilled to announce that we have had 22 whole sheep purchased and 10 half sheep purchased in the Ordinary Hero Store. So that is 27 whole sheep that we will be giving to children in need in Ethiopia! That is a whole herd ;) We leave with our first mission team on July 7, which is drawing near. I am super excited to see what great things will come out of this trip! Our second team will follow the first team over to ET the middle of July. That is between 50-60 of you Ordinary Heroes joining us as we travel to Ethiopia to serve the orphans this July! Many lives were changed last year as a result of our mission trip to Ethiopia. I want to thank those of you who have given to these children we will be serving by purchasing the sheep, donation combos, shoes, blankets, raincoats, etc, from our OH store. You will get to follow along and watch us give it all away in July.

One life that was completely rocked last year was Ashli's, who you all have seen me talk about on this blog. If you missed her story, you can read it HERE. She came back wrecked to serve and packed her bags and moved to Ethiopia last November after she had experienced ET with OH for the first time last July. She has recently begun the process of turning Restoration Orphanage around and providing the needs of the malnourished children because of so many of you stepping up to help her through your donations. We just can't thank you enough. Your donations truly are life saving and life changing for these children. She last reported that there is now only one baby that is still under weight. When she first started at this orphanage there were many, many more. That is the difference that you all are making through your support. She will need continued support throughout the year in order to keep it all running smoothly. If you might be interested in supporting monthly you may do so by clicking HERE and putting Restoration Orphanage in the memo. If it is monthly support, please let us know that as well. We will be visiting this orphanage in July where you all will get to see the fruit of your donations.

Also, don't forget we have our new apparel in the OH Store right now. We have this awesome new Girl's tee.....

We have this awesome new boy's tee....

We have this awesome "Change The World For One" Women's V-neck Burnout Tee....

We also have new Bead Cuff Bracelets....

AND....you can use the '5off' coupon at checkout and get $5 off the bangle and metal cuff bracelets. 
All this can be found in our Ordinary Hero Store. 
Through your purchase you help CHANGE THE WORLD FOR ONE. 
Thank you!!