Thursday, July 24, 2014

1st family beach trip

We like to set our children's expectations low so we don't have much to live up to in the future.  That's why our first family beach trip was to Galveston.  Now, if you love Galveston don't go hating me for saying that. There are great things about the place. But when you are driving over the bridge to enter the island and are woken up from a dead sleep (Simon) saying "Why is it so stinky?" and you still have about 5 miles to go before you actually see ocean, you know there is a major seaweed problem.

Despite that blip in aesthetics, we had a wonderful time with all 50+ members of the Ross family for our reunion. The kids had a blast playing with all the cousins and spending hours at the beach jumping over hills of seaweed, hunting crabs, catching shrimp, and all the other beach-y things. 

Here's some highlights:
Simons' first time in the ocean
Henson's first time in the ocean he found a dead fish. Awesome.

Train museum

All the second-gen cousins

the best family picture we got






Late-night crab hunting

Beach hair

Attempting this...

His turn



Pleasure Pier

His carnival game win

They rode this about 15 times

Our Ross fam

Monday, July 21, 2014

Update

In case you saw my previous post, I realized I should give an update on how H4H did with Day of the Orphan. 
We successfully raised almost $20,000 just by donations from wonderfully generous people! Thank you all!!!

This will allow Village of Hope to support the newest residents of the orphanage stress-free! 
A HUGE blessing!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Day of the Orphan


You can also help by going straight to this link:
               
                                                          

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Batik Thunders Up!

Another facet of H4H is Hope Creations, a womens' training program that teaches skills and business management to allow them a way to earn income. 
This program was started by three amazing women: Martha Bulley, Chelsea West, and Amy Hubble.
There are two training centers - Premec Creations & Adwenpa Creations - in two areas of Ghana. 

Meet Martha.
Martha is the co-creator, manager, and teacher at Premec Creations, the original training center.
She is a strong, intelligent, driven woman. As a single mother herself, she wanted to provide a way for women to provide for themselves and their families. 
(Only 4% of women in Ghana are able to find a salary job. The majority of opportunities are given to men, regardless of qualifications.)
Aprons made by Martha given to my mom and me.
One of the skills taught at the center is batik. This is a technique of hand-dyeing fabrics by using wax as a dye repellent to cover parts of a design, dyeing the uncovered fabric with a color or colors, and dissolving the wax in boiling water. 
(above aprons made with batik fabric made by trainees of the center) 
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While the OC college group were there visiting they commissioned Martha to made Thunder batik.
We were there when she was making it, and it was so cool!



Finished product!!
We will also be receiving some in orange soon!

Heartbeat for Hope will be selling these for $40/bolt (4 yards/bolt). 
All proceeds go back to the Hope Creations fund to continue supporting these programs at our two centers.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Where do we start?

HEARTBEAT FOR HOPE returned last Wednesday from another mission trip to Ghana.  I always look forward to being back there to see our friends, and to see what path we are directed on that time. I wish I could express the feelings invoked by an experience like these. A stewed combination of joy, excitement, anticipation, anxiety, sadness, heartbreak, hope, fear, want, humility, selfishness, compassion, urgency, and love all mixed up together at, what seems like, one time. 
Each trip I have taken has been different, but this year added a deeper emotional struggle for me.

Our organization has expanded in the past year to include assistance in a few different rural villages in greater Accra, Ghana. This trip included some physical work to improve a school and create a library space for Ayikai Doblo village (pics and more info to come on that). 
It also involved the beginning of a sponsorship program for children in these rural villages to have the hope of attending school, which is not free even for public education. This meant meeting families, orphans, and single mothers to begin a relationship and gather their information.  Our Ghanaian friend, Evans, is the headmaster of a ministry college in Accra. He and I have been working together for the past several months to begin this process. He was our liaison to find families and to translate. He is an amazing person.


 We spent two days traveling and meeting children together, and interviewed a total of 76 kids in 2 days. I will honestly admit that I thought I had a grasp on what this would be like since, you know, I had been to these villages before. I was SO wrong. It  was one of the very most emotionally draining experiences I have ever had. I had seen the hardships and struggles of the villages, but this was different. It was more. My heart was so full, but so sad all at the same time. I felt guilt for having to walk away from those kids leaving them to hope for help for what I pray will be just a short time.
But in their conditions EVERY. DAY. MATTERS.
I was unprepared for the true reality that I would face in their eyes, their malnourished bodies, and their stories that brought them to us.
On our last night in Accra a a single mother with three children showed up to the steps of the college where we were staying to ask for help for her children. 
This is Deborah. Deborah is three years old and does not speak English. She began speaking to our translator in her native language with a shy, quiet voice. Our translator, Lawrence, then told me that she told him that all she wants is a friend. He asked her who she would like as her friend. She pointed to me. 
I have no idea how I kept it together. I have tears through my typing right now as I write this. 
Meet Deborah:
  This trip was busy, productive, challenging, and wonderful. 
Mostly, this trip left me thinking, 
"Where do we start?".

With so much thoughtfulness, I hope that wise decisions can be made, and progress with these new efforts can be efficient and best for those that it matters for most. 
Please keep these children in your prayers.

Thursday, May 08, 2014

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Here and There

 Life after Celebration Week. *Sigh*
Well, actually, April is just busy, so it's still been fun. The boys are already planning next year's birthday party, so that won't get old, or anything.


So, here are some things keeping up occupied post-birthdays.

Mother/Son Cowboy Dinner at church. Always fun. It is for 3-5 year old boys, so Simon was a first-timer.

Sooooo, you may notice my kids' western wear is a little lacking in authenticity. Henson's comment after getting dressed to go, "Cowboys wear a belt. Here is my belt." Well, ok then.
 Grammie also joined in this year.

 My Mamaw turned 80 (actually part of Celebration Week - the 7th)! My mom's sisters were able to come in to celebrate on Easter weekend. How cute is she!? I love having her close by.

Then Easter
The goods from Grammie's Egg Hunt


George's Mustache Bash! My BFF's little man turned 2 and they got to celebrate up here since it was on Easter weekend. 

Last weekend I had a wedding and can now add a gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free cake to my list of coordinator firsts. It did have fruit creams in the centers and tasted really good!


 And, not to be forgotten, Simon can officially dress and undress himself without assistance! *applause*
 
  






This is definitely worth documenting. This is what would be known as a 'game changer' in the realm of motherhood accomplishments. One more step to independence, and less for me to have to do :) 
However, that is a catch 22 since it also makes me want another baby to baby...
Don't go and spread rumors, though. We are thrilled with our two 'big' boys.