Selfie Stick Goes To Swaziland

So it’s true…A) I own a selfie stick, but it was before you could get them at Walgreens for $9.99 and it’s called the X-Shot…much more sophisticated sounding than selfie stick.  And B) I totally took it Swaziland.  I had to pack it in my carry on because selfie sticks recently became banned on airplanes and in Disney World :)  I have been known the accidentally almost hit waiters or passerbyers while trying to get a shot, so it was probably wise not to take it on the plane.

While at the care point I actually did not use it much.  Tons of kiddos plus all of which love having their picture taken plus navigating the selfie stick made me sweat…I imagined injuries…and blood.  I did take one selfie on our way to a home visit…in the back of a moving truck…down a really bumpy road…it was awesome!

Our team absolutely took full advantage of the selfie stick when together…especially on our safari.  Did I tell you guys we did a safari?!?!?!  Oh my word.  Probably in the top 10 of the most fun/amazing things I’ve ever done.  I mean, you should totally have a selfie stick on hand when you get to pet a wild rhino named Flower because she is “friendly”.  And then a “not so friendly” rhino decides to scratch his horn on your jeep.  You never pass on that kind of selfie.

 

Also never pass on selfies when you are left waiting for 40 minutes for the safari jeep to come back and get you and then your guide asks if we mind walking…ummmmmm, are we on game reserve land right now?!?!?  Will we be attacked by a cape buffalo or ticked off momma hippo?!?!?

Selfie sticks also come in handy while actually in the safari jeep.

This isn’t a selfie stick photo, but I am holding the selfie stick in my holster…obvs…so I thought it should count and our faces are pretty spot on.

And selfie sticks prove to be invaluable at team lunches.  This was a series of photos.  I gave direction for each.  And clearly the team missed a minor direction I called out.

Everyone just be normal.

Okay a silly one.

Now serious.  SERIOUS!  Be serious people.

Please tell me that if you were in this series of photos with me you would have done a serious face too?!?!?!  Tell me I wouldn’t be the only one because our team really didn’t pick up on my SERIOUS face instruction and they all thought by “serious” I meant “normal”.  I mean, you guys, this is my serious face.  This is how I break bad news to people and hash out things with our insurance and sternly reprimand our children.  Please tell me I’m not alone!?!?!?

This blog post’s main goal is to push you over the edge if you were on one about whether or not to take the $9.99 plunge to purchase a selfie stick.  In the end, they are highly beneficial…a tad haphazard and can cause bodily harm, but really really handy!

Happy Wednesday!

Fun Day + August’s Bible Journaling Class

You may remember way back when for my first Bible journaling class all the money went towards helping fund a Fun Day for all the kiddos and community at the Ngungwane carepoint.  I always want people to see how their giving shows love…I’m a visual person myself, so I wanted to share some photos from our crazy Fun Day.

As soon as the bounce house started to inflate and music started blaring tears began welling up in my eye balls.  My eye balls had a mind of their own on this trip…they could not be contained.

The photos below are not mine.  Alisha took all these and passed them my way.  The only part of Fun Day I actually saw was the blowing up of the bounce house and then the delicious chicken lunch every one partook in afterwards.  Marcie and I were in the building with a constant, never ending line of sweet kiddos who could not wait to have their faces painted.  Alisha was wise enough to walk around and grab a few shots of all the fun.

We kicked our fun day off with a fun snack of cheetos and apples for everyone and then ended with a giant meal of the biggest pieces of chicken I’ve ever seen, pop (reminds me of a grits/rice mixture), salad and cookies for everyone.  I loved that lots of community members came out to spend time together and get a yummy meal as well.

So thank you to all the ladies who attended my very first class…for your generosity and thoughtfulness and willingness to love big.

Also August’s class is set and here is your official invite.

When:  Saturday August 15th

Time: 1pm-4pm

Where:  Our house…near Nashville, TN

Cost: $50

This month’s funds will go towards helping fund a playground being put in at the Ngungwane carepoint for all the 140 kiddos who come daily.  They currently have nothing to play on and we’re going to try and change that :)

This class will be 3 hours in length and we will talk about the process of Bible journaling and I will share how I go about this each day.  We will also talk about supplies and tips, tricks and techniques I use.  There will be time for questions throughout the class as well as time for you to do some of your own Bible journaling and practicing.

Each person will bring their own supplies.  You can read about the supplies I use on THIS POST, but please feel free to bring the items which work for you.  YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PURCHASE THE ITEMS I USE.

I currently have 11 spots available for this class.  If you would like a spot email me at pitterpatterart at gmail dot com or Message Me Here.  You can reserve more than one spot, so chat with your family and friends and make it a girls time.  This will also be a kid free time…sorry, no kiddos.

I cannot even begin to say how much I enjoy doing this each month.  July’s class was crazy good and just filled me right up.  God continues to show how mighty He is…despite my sinful self.  Cannot wait to go hard after this playground and watch as God works.

Also, I’ve had some inquiries about if I would come and teach this class elsewhere and the answer is yes…as long as it fits with our family’s schedule.  Just email me and we’ll chat about the details.  And I know several of you are interested in an online version…I would love to do this, but right now just don’t have the time or know how, but I really do hope to offer this eventually.  You guys are all way too kind!

Happy Wednesday.

He Is Fun

I rarely think about God being fun.  I easily forget about all He has done and continues to do just for our enjoyment…for fun…for joy.  And then it hits me.

Shortly before leaving for Swaziland I received an email from Children’s HopeChest asking if we would be willing to paint at Ngungwane while we were there and if so could we bring some paint trays, rollers and brushes.  We of course wanted to help in any way we could so we added paint supplies to our ever growing packing list.

I had no idea what all we would be painting.  Turns out AIM had just voted on new paint colors for the care points…something bright and easily seen so communities would know these buildings were care points…and they wanted us to paint the entire outside of the building.  When our painting day rolled around we found out Ngungwane was the first care point to be painted and I had the honor of taking the first paint stroke.  I was giddy to say the least.

I loved our team.  Each lady was all in.  Nothing was too big or too hard or just too much.  We went head strong into the painting of the building too and knocked it out in one day.  As we neared the end of having it all completed, we realized to paint the very top of the front and sides we were going to need to get on the roof.  Next thing I knew we were hoisting Brooke Carman onto the roof and then I was being hoisted next…and then I got my skirt hung on the edge of the roof and Brooke had to rescue me.  I’m happy to say we got documentation of my perplexing situation thanks to Alisha our resident photographer.  I proved to be the greatest trip leader of all time…over and over again.  What can I say?  I’m a natural.

After we army crawled across the top of the roof and then began hanging over the edges to paint my courage dropped through the roof.  This is where I will begin to blame my short stature and chest size to keep my pride in tact.  TMI?!?!?!  The team loved this little side-by-side so thoughtfully put together (humor was abounding with these ladies) of the very quick change in my enthusiasm for being on the roof.  All “hooray I’m on a roof and I love Jesus and will hang over the edge for Him”…to a very quick…”get me the heck off this roof because I’m obviously going to flip over the edge and plummet to my death.”

Needless to say Brooke Carman was a champ and I was replaced by Courtney.  I couldn’t hang…literally…so I went back down after a slightly dramatic dismount from the roof to paint with the other short folks.  Again, my leadership skills are ones to be rivaled.

I also took the award for Greatest Faces Made In All Swazi Trip Pictures awards.  It wasn’t easy people.  I worked hard at it and will probably devote an entire post just to the hilariously awful faces I made in so many pictures.  I’m literally cracking up just thinking about it.

I like to think I was channeling my inner slightly somber, yet relieved to be off the roof Liv Tyler from Lord of the Rings in this picture with Erica.

We loved the new colors and everyone else did too.

BEFORE

AFTER

Then God reminded me of how really fun He is.  The staff asked if one of us would paint the name on the care point…and big.  You guys, my heart skipped a giant beat and I immediately volunteered.  There we were in the middle of Swaziland and all I could think…is this one of the reasons why I have been practicing my hand lettering like mad…all for this moment…could God be this fun…this into the details of our lives??!  Yes.  He is fun.  He is this into the details of our lives.  He loves to show off and fill us with joy!

That night I practiced several options and even made up a little sheet of several different letterings for the staff to pick from the next day.  After they chose I set to work.  I was crazy nervous.  It was a tad stressful working on the side of a building with limited supplies, but it was awesome…maybe one of the highlights of my life…which sounds a tad crazy, but it really was.  I was even emotional and teared up several times as I was working.  Only God could have placed me in this moment…in this special community…in this special country…with these crazy special people, kids and our team.  It was an honor.

 

Still makes me all warm and fuzzy on this inside.  Still thrills my heart God would allow our team to be apart of this community…our brothers and sisters in Christ…across oceans.  He is so good and truly is fun!

Happy Monday.

PS:  There are still lots of kiddos at the Ngungwane carepoint who need sponsorship.  CLICK HERE and then choose “unsponsored” in the status bar.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

First of all…Hi!  It’s kind of fun stopping by on a Saturday!  So this title is two fold:

1.  The winner of the Timbali Givweay is

TRESSA SANDERS SAYS:  I’m digging the Lensha Calypso shoulder bag!  I also love the zipper pouch I got at the Bible Journaling class!

Too fun!  Thanks to everyone for entering and helping spread the word about Timbali Crafts and their amazing ladies.

And 2.  I requested Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner from Josh Kelley.  And there you have winner winner chicken dinner.  I know you’re minds are blown.  It makes me laugh.

I’m sitting here with children running wild around me.  I finished up another Bible journaling class just a few hours ago and my heart is full to the max.  I even got homemade pickles!!!!!!  Loved today’s class and all the ladies.  God is just crazy good.  So thrilled and excited by all He does.  I’ll post more details this week, but the next class will be Saturday August 15th from 1-4 and you can go ahead and grab a spot(s) now.  Just shoot me a message HERE.

Hope the rest of your weekend is awesome.

Happy Saturday!

I Forgot To Tell You

So totally forgot to tell you 5 really important things…at least in my book these are quite important :)

1)  Crazy me forgot to tell you that every Timbali item comes with the name of the lady who made the item.  And then, even better, you can go on the Timbali website and read about her amazing self.  Thank you Rachel for your sweet reminder of a comment:

“Just wanted to note that I received my tote today, and it is AH-mazing! So big, beautiful, and handy, and the quality is over the top! I didn’t know that it would come with the name of the woman who made it, but I was so excited to go to the website and read her bio, and to read her prayer requests. How awesome! I can’t wait to fill it up with stuff :).”

2)  While in Swaziland I discovered my hands down new favorite bag is the Lensha Shoulder Bag.  You guys, I toted this baby all over Swaziland and it never ceased to amaze me.  I even found myself staring at it all lovingly…insert all the heart eye emojis…I mean, the navy, kelley green and yellow.  It’s going to be a long time before I’m switching out my purse again.  I’m a smitten kitten for sure.

3)  My heart skipped a beat when I got to sift through all the Timbali cosmetic bags.  If you recall from my Bible Journaling Supplies post, I have been using one of Timbali’s zipper pouches to hold all of my supplies.  The only thing that did not fit in my pouch was my water color set, but hold the phone party people.  Timbali’s cosmetic bag does the trick and holds every last one of my journaling supplies easily.  I am in love.

 

4)  Tomorrow is the last day to enter the Timbali Giveaway.  You could have all these goodies show up in your mailbox for just helping spread the word about this amazing company and amazing women.  CLICK HERE to enter.

And 5)  We’re throwing a Timbali party August 13 and you’re invited!!!  This is going to be too much fun.  We will have tons of Timbali goods…shoulder bags ($24), market bags ($15), cosmetic bags ($10), sling bags ($22), Kindle covers ($12), mega totes ($35), zipper pouches ($6), Christmas ornaments, iPad covers ($13) and doll dresses ($13).  No ordering at this party…leave with all your goods ready to use and share.  All the money will go right back to the Timbali women.  No incentives for the hosts either…we’re just looking for a good time :)

Filling our home with people is one of my favorite things.  There will be yummy food and drinks so come shop with a purpose, have some fun and bring a friend.  Message me HERE and I’ll send you all the info.  Would love to see you there.  I’ll supply the cookies.

Happy Thursday.

They Shine

When we chose to become foster parents we both really weren’t sure what this new journey would look like.  There were a lot of what ifs and even more nervous unknowns and still are.  I think all the training in the world doesn’t really prepare you, but being thrust head on begins to do the trick.  We’re still learning how to love and how to play our role well and Christ like.

We love adoption.  God used adoption to stitch our family together.  It’s beautiful, but also heart breaking and loss filled.  Everyday we are learning more and more about how to parent all of our kids, but even more the questions which come and will keep coming from Solomon and Amon.

We believe adoption is not the answer to the orphan crisis in our world.  We do however believe one of the greatest forms of orphan care is family preservation…coming along side families and helping keep the family system in tact…preventing a child from becoming orphaned in the first place.  Obviously this is not always an option, but we want to do our part in this family care.  So becoming foster parents became our new role.

Going into this role has not been easy.  It is overwhelming and hard, but I whole heartedly believe in standing for family.  We’re currently past the 6 month mark with our current littlest being in our home.  It’s wildly difficult navigating all the ins and outs and communication and scheduling.  She has regular visitations, but we also meet her parents often outside of those visitations on our own.  I know this isn’t for everyone and isn’t always an option either, but it works for us.  We want them to see her as much as they can.  We want her to know without a doubt who they are and their role in her life…they gave her life.

Every 3rd or 4th of July…depending on where it falls in the week…for 5 years now we meet up with family and friends at Josh’s parents house for a yummy dinner and then load up and head over to go canoeing on a local lake.  We paddle out a ways and all gather together in the middle of the lake to watch a big local fireworks display.  The fireworks are so loud they shake the canoes and we’ve even had pieces of ash sprinkle on our heads before.  It’s one of our favorite traditions.

This year we invited our littlest parents to join us.  And they came.  They are always so excited to see her.  This was their first time being around a big group of our family and friends.  We know stigmas can come with foster care…we are always a bit wary about certain things people say…or judgements they choose to share with us.  What I am so dang proud of is our friends and family who just love.  No judgements.  No harsh words.  Just acceptance.  Just big love.  As we all gathered at Josh’s parents house that night and began eating I wanted to gather everyone up in a giant dog pile and just gush out all my emotions.  There was food and laughter and your everyday conversations.  I heard countless “She’s beautiful” and “We sure love ya’lls girl” and many more sweet sentiments voiced to her parents.  It was as if we all had known each other for a lifetime.  Josh’s parents and everyone else just welcomed them right in and never looked back.

Then we loaded up and headed for the lake.  Glow sticks started cracking.  Kids started getting their late night wild hairs.  Everyone picked out their paddles and life jackets.  Then I watched as one by one canoes made their way onto the water.  A watery substance continued to well up in my eye balls because of the sweetest canoe holding little one, her momma, daddy and our friend Susan.  It was like they were old friends.  Laughter continued late into the night and everyone loved the fireworks as always.  Then we paddled back, exchanged big hugs and everyone headed home.  Despite leaving for Africa the very next day I could not stop thinking about the night we had just had.  I couldn’t get past God’s goodness and mercy and grace.  His desire to redeem.  His redemptive ways and love.

We’re so proud of her parents.  They are working hard.  This process is taxing and can take a toll on your spirit if you let it.  Little one is loved something fierce.  I’m also proud of our family and friends.  We know this big endeavor could have been awkward, but boy did everyone just shine.  Never will anything speak louder than love in action…acceptance and kindness and words which say “everyone’s welcomed”.  This is the good stuff…the stuff which I think thrills God’s heart.  Everyone on the inside because He irradiated the margins and lines and turns out, there is no outside after all.  Crazy thankful and blessed and honored we get a front row seat in this journey.  It’s a good seat to have.

Happy Wednesday.

7 Things

1)  Thank you to everyone who is sharing about Timbali Crafts.  Amazing.  Keep it up.  And there’s still plenty of time to enter the Timbali Giveaway.  Mail is one of my love languages so I get super pumped when I get to package up fun goodies and ship them off.  I cannot wait to see who wins..all this goodness in one box…it’s too much!

2)  I ate my first cucumber yesterday.  And now I can die peacefully.  Cucumbers do not taste like cookies.  I’m not a fan of them, but I decided I was going to force myself to become one.  This is the life I live inside my head.  I made myself eat them again today.  It’s crazy town.  And all of a sudden I’m big on dill pickles (and no, no bun in the oven).  Give me all the pickles of the world.  I’m eating them like candy and adding them to everything.  Aren’t these the things you’re so glad you stopped by to read?  I mean, cucumbers and pickles are my A-game.

3)  I have 2 spots left for Saturday’s Bible journaling class.  I’ve been getting my prep work on and I’m all kinds of excited.

And currently I just keep coming right back to this Message passage from 2 Corinthians 12.  The weaker I get, the stronger I become.  God is so good.

 

4)  I am seriously considering the partial head shave.  For someone who has about zero fashion and style and wears t-shirts 100% of the time, this is huge.  Like huge huge.  I also might have watched a youtube video with my niece on how to make your own dreads.

5)  Amon got a bath this week.  I feel like Josh Kelley and I are getting better about this whole “bathing your kid” thing.  In fact, all of our kids got baths.  And then they immediately turned around and went back outside and turned right back into dirty, sweaty children…because it’s like 100 sweltering degrees in Tennessee right now.  We try.

6)  We’ve been on quite the s’mores making kick.  Fire s’mores and microwave s’mores…either will do.  A s’more in one hand and a cucumber in the other.

7)  And reading time is at the top of my favorite time of day list.  And why yes, Solomon is wearing a ninja hood closely resembling a guillotine executioner.

Hope you guys are having an awesome day.

Happy Tuesday!

PS: Timbali Giveaway ends Friday!

Timbali Giveaway

One of my most favorite parts of each Swaziland trip is spending an evening hearing about Timbali, the Timbali women and shopping through piles and piles of Timbali goodies.  It’s exciting and fun and crazy beautiful!

Each week go-gos…the amazing women who cook tirelessly for the children…from care points in Swaziland gather together to cut fabric to take home and sew into beautiful creations.  They are using their gifts and talents to create and in turn help provide for their families financially.  Timbalihas become a major source of income and outreach to 100+ Swazi families!”

I love this portion from their website:

“Timbali means ‘flowers’ in the Swazi language, Siswatti. It’s also the word used to translate ‘lilies’ in Matthew chapter 6, where Jesus talks about how as his children, we don’t have to worry, because He knows our needs and He can meet those needs better than we ever could ourselves. 

That is the heart behind Timbali Crafts: that we would see the Lord’s provision. Not just for the needs that are obvious (and extremely important!) like food, shelter, and education; but also for the deeper needs of the heart like love, acceptance, forgiveness, self-worth, joy, hope…all these things and more that are so perfectly found in Jesus Christ!”

I loved talking with Julie, the founder of Timbali, and hearing her thoughts and some new dreams for the women of Timbali.  Their products are amazing.  Their hearts beautiful.  Their hands busy.  And their will and desire to work hard and provide for their families unstoppable.  I want to dream beside them so we brought home 2 giant bags of Timbali products and are planning a party.  No ordering at this party, you leave with your item.  More details coming soon.

I also wanted to share some Timbali with you guys.  I want you to catch the spark.  I want you to tell your friends.  I want everyone to see how purchasing with a purpose has power and we can all certainly do our part.  So here’s the giveaway deal…One winner takes all in this giveaway…handmade Swazi soap (not Timbali), handmade necklace made by Lindiliwe, a Ngungwane go-go, adorable bird ornament,

awesome sling bag,

my favorite cosmetic bag,

awesome small multi purpose zipper pouch

& the large iPad zipper pouch…all for one person’s taking.

Here’s how you enter:

Please leave a separate comment on this post for each entry.

Entry #1 Go check out the Timbali Crafts website and tell me something you’d be stoked to purchase.

Entry #2 Go “Like” Timbali Crafts on Facebook.

Entry #3 Share this giveaway with your friends on your personal Facebook status, Twitter or Instagram. You can use the Facebook and Twitter button at the bottom of this post or just copy and paste the link at the top in your status or tweet bar.  There’s a picture posted with all the goodies as well on my Instagram…@pitterpatterart…feel free to re-post it.  Let’s get the word out about these amazing ladies.

Again, please leave a separate comment on this post for each entry.

Giveaway will end this Friday, July 24th at midnight and I will announce the winner on Saturday.  Goodies will be mailed directly to the winner.

I also still have 3 spots available for this Saturday’s Bible journaling class.  All the money will be going to purchase 2 new sewing machines for the ladies at Ngungwane.  We are hoping as sales generate, more and more go-gos will be able to join Timbali.  Hoping we knock them both out and send the funds on their way so machines can be purchased asap.

Thanks for entering and helping to spread the word about this amazing company and group of Swazi women.

Happy Monday!