Happy Birthday to Me

We have a running joke in our house when it comes to birthdays.

Instead of just one day for your birthday, instead, you get a whole week, which by the end of the month has actually become a whole birthday month.

During birthday month the person with the birthday usually to tries their best to get the other people in our family to buy them gifts or to do things with them that we normally wouldn’t ask for or do.

For instance, when it’s my birthday week I know that it’s a given that my husband will take me out to dinner on the big day, BUT for the whole week I usually try my best to get out of cooking and every chance I get I will drop hints like, “have you seen the new birthday pancakes at Ihop” Or,  “wow you sure can smell the Mexican restaurant down the street today!”  I also throw in the fact that many of the restaurant’s reward clubs I belong to have sent us coupons for free birthday meals and somebody has to use them so it may as well be us 😀

Even though I truly don’t expect my husband to have to take me out to eat all week, A girls still gotta try, right?

And try try try I have because guess what October is for me?

October my Birthday month!

This is how Birthday month went down for me this year….

First, my husband gave me a new fitness tracker that I have been really, really REALLY wanting, AND I managed to talk him into letting me have it about 3 weeks early.  And then fast forward to Birthday week in which I managed to talk him into taking me to Ihop for free pancakes, we tried out a new Mexican restaurant that some friends suggested, We went to 54th Street Bar & Grill & Dairy Queen on my actual birthday, and then two days after my birthday, we went to another Mexican restaurant which just moved in at the end of our street. We also went on a ton of walks, Sunday drives, and shopping.

As I write this I realize how spoiled I am because even if it weren’t my birthday month he would still do all that stuff with me.  Thankfully we don’t do all of that eating on a regular basis or we’d both weight 5000 pounds!

Now fast forward to a little bit ago…

Last night I was writing letters to the kids I sponsor through Compassion. As I was answering the questions one of them had asked I realized that one of the questions was – When is my birthday month?.  The cool thing about that question is that the child who asked it just so happens to have her birthday in October too and it was really kind of cool to tell her that we share the same Birthday month.

As I was writing her letter I began wondering how she had spent her birthday. I started to write the question asking her if she had done anything special for her birthday but then I  stopped.  I stopped because I wasn’t sure if that were an appropriate question to ask because she lives in extreme poverty. The more I thought about the question the more I realized that she most likely doesn’t eat dinner out or get extravagant gifts for her birthday like I do.

As a sponsor, I am always offered the opportunity to send a donation towards a birthday gift for her and several times when I have done this I’ve received pictures back of what she bought with the money. What I’ve noticed is this – Every time she used her birthday money to buy practical gifts such as clothing or cooking supplies such as flour or sugar. While those are good gifts,  and she seems to be very excited to get those things I know they would not be my first choice of how to spend my own birthday money.  I realized now that her birthday and my birthday are probably very different.

I ended up never asking the question about her special day, but I did tell her how special she is and that God made her special by creating her on her birthday day.  I also wished her a Happy Birthday.

I think birthdays should be special for everyone, but especially for children.

I know my birthday was a little very extravagant, but the truth is even if I’d never gone out to eat dinner or received a gift it would have still been a great birthday.  It’s not about the eating or the gifts, it’s just knowing that people love me so much that they took the time from their own days to wish me a happy birthday, or to just hang out with me. Those are the things that really make birthdays special for me.

How about you? What makes your birthday special for you?

How do you like to make birthdays special for the people you love?


Today is the last day of my birthday month and in honor of birthdays of everyone everywhere, I’d like to try to squeeze in just one more gift. But this time the gift is not for me. This gift will be a special birthday opportunity for a child who may not normally have a special birthday. If you follow the link below you will go to Compassion International’s child sponsorship page.  On that page you can use the birthday search filter to choose a child that has a birthday coming up, or if you’d like you can even choose a child who shares the same birthday as you.  when you sponsor a child he or she will receive the news just in time for their birthday that they have been sponsored by YOU!

Wouldn’t that be an amazing birthday gift for that child to receive?!

If you’d like give the gift of sponsorship to a child for their birthday just click this picture and it will take you to Compassion Internationa’s website.  If you are unsure or just want more information this link will take you to that too.  

 

My ‘Two-Worded’ One Word for 2017

Recently it was brought to my attention that I like things to be symmetrical.

I may have known this info all of my life but I guess I never really thought much about it.

The first time that it really hit me that I seem to have an over obsessive issue with things lining up perfectly was the first time I stood up after I had knee replacement surgery last September.

The minute I stood up I noticed that the leg with new knee was now longer than the other one. Also, the leg with the new knee was perfectly straight and the other one was bowed back. The thought never occurred to me that after surgery my legs would be different lengths and man oh man did that drive me nuts!

Actually, this bothered me so much that over the course of the next ten weeks I spent a whole lot of time trying to rig my shoes in the hopes of somehow making my legs more even.

I bought several different styles of lifts from the store but all were either too high or too low. After the store failed me I decided to get crafty and began cutting different widths of cardboard and gluing them together to stick inside of my shoes. This helped a little but nothing I tried made them match perfectly.

My physical therapist even measured my legs and gave me a lift that she said was perfect but I still could feel a difference.

My other knee was scheduled to be replaced in November and soon I began worrying that maybe the doctor wouldn’t get my legs even and I would be lopsided for the rest of my life!

I know this sounds like it’s not such a big deal and I did know that I needed to just let it go, but oddly no matter how much I tried to ignore my uneven legs I couldn’t.  The lopsidedness was driving me crazy!

After Surgery Getting Ready for Christmas

Because I had my second knee surgery scheduled for the Monday after Thanksgiving I figured I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the things I usually do to get ready for Christmas.

I also knew from the last surgery that I should consider my day to be very productive if I was just able to take a shower and finish all of my physical therapy exercises.

Here is a list of some of the things I usually do in preparation for Christmas:

The Christmas tree – I am usually the one who gets the tree ready to decorate by putting on all of the beads and bows. Once those are done my husband and I put the ornaments on together.

Christmas cookies – I usually bake a whole lot of different Christmas cookies.

Christmas Shopping – I usually spend many hours going from store to store to find just the right present for everyone. I then spend several full days wrapping them.

Christmas Dinner – I usually make a full course meal for our family dinner on Christmas day.

I really had no idea how these things were ever going to get done because everyone knows that I am the only one who knows how to do those things correctly…or so I thought….

About two weeks before Christmas my husband decided that he was going to put up the tree and decorate it. He put on Christmas music and I hung out in my chair with my foot propped up watching. I did hang a couple of ornaments but I soon learned that my husband has quite a talent for Christmas tree decorating. I also found out that putting the Christmas tree up was a whole lot of fun this year.

A few days later I found myself Christmas shopping online and without ever stepping a foot out of my house I was able to buy most of our Christmas gifts!

And they all arrived on time!

A few days after the presents arrived I put a roll of wrapping paper, tape, and a pair of scissors in the middle of my dining room table and just left them there.  Part of my knee rehab requires that I take a three-minute walk around my living room several times a day.  Each time I would get up for my 3-minute walk I would wrap a present. Eventually, all the presents were wrapped. It was actually kinda fun wrapping a few presents each day and also allowing wrapping paper, tape, and scissors to live on the dining room table for two weeks was somehow very freeing for me.

The weekend before Christmas my husband decided he was going to bake M & M cookies.

I helped by finding the recipe and explaining a few small details but for the most part I backed off and let him have at it. I soon realized another talent I never knew he had… Baking!

My husband’s cookies came out much fluffier than mine and I will also have to admit that they were the best tasting M & M cookies we have ever had in our house!

For Christmas dinner, this year it was decided that everyone coming would bring a dish of finger foods. This ended up being way yummier than the traditional dinner I would have normally made and also it allowed me to spend more time with my family.

Lesson learned…our family never needed a fancy dinner all we really need is to be together.

Also not spending all my time on Christmas day cooking and cleaning allowed me to snuggle with this little guy while he napped.

I think maybe I might have napped for a bit too.

Even though I was laid up with this knee I think this may have been one of the most peaceful and fun Christmases I have had in a long time. I am not sure exactly when it was that I put myself in charge of everything to do with Christmas but now I can see that I have spent a whole lot of time trying to make a perfect Christmas but all I had really accomplished was making myself dread the holiday season and I had missed all the important stuff like enjoying my family and preparing for the true meaning of the season… which is about celebrating the birth of Jesus which really has nothing at all to do with trees, food or shopping.

Over the past few months, I have realized that I just may be more of a perfectionist and a control freak than I thought I was.

I also have learned that there are a lot of things that I’m holding onto that I need to let go of and let other people do.

The past two years in a row God has given me a sort of theme word for the year. In 2015 my word was Trust and the year 2016 was my year to Believe.

With all that has transpired in the past few weeks, I can tell that I have already been given my one word for 2017 which is “Let Go”….Yep I know that technically that’s two words instead of one…but since I’m working on letting go I think I will just go ahead and go with the two-word one word this year 😀

A couple of things I have noticed by letting go are not only that I can relax when I let go but also that when I don’t hog everything there is to do, it gives others a chance to shine their own talents… hence my husband the awesome baker and decorator.

Also just another Fyi – It’s been 5 weeks now since I received my second knee and am very happy to report that my legs are a perfect match now and I can’t even begin to tell you how much better that makes me feel!

I’m not sure I can ever let go of the symmetrical thing fully but I can truthfully say that I can for sure let go of a whole lot of other things.

Oh, and one more thing…  we ended up having two Christmas trees this year! My husband found a great bargain on the display trees at K-Mart so he bought one and we put it up also! Yay!!!

2016 was overall a pretty good year and I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store as I learn what else God has to show me about letting go.

What is the one word God is telling you to focus on this year?

Will you please share your word in the comments below and if you have written a blog about it post the link so I can read it.

Happy 2017!

Terri Siebert

Time Wisely Spent

20160420_135113

Why is it that whenever God gives me a job to do I always allow myself to get all worked up into a frenzy?


My biggest fear in the world is speaking in public.

Tomorrow is Compassion Sunday at my church and in order to present the kids waiting for sponsors I am going to have to speak in public.

Last week I was feeling excited for the opportunity to share these children with my church and was not feeling nervous at all.

But then Wednesday afternoon the child packets arrived…

Suddenly things felt different.

Suddenly I felt a huge responsibility to those children.

Within a matter of an hour of receiving the packets I began feeling nervous. By that evening, I began rethinking what I had planned to say in church on Sunday. I soon began writing down a plan and I began practicing what I was going to say over and over. Before I realized what was happening I had myself so worked up that each time I practiced, instead of getting better at what I was going to say I began to get worse.

Yesterday I thought about it some more, changed my presentation again, settled on what I thought was my finished product a few more times, and then finally ended up going to bed very late last night feeling sick to my stomach and panicky at the thought of speaking in front of the church on Sunday.

HELLO social anxiety!  

Did you forgot that you don’t live here anymore??!


After a restless night, I woke up this morning with God’s voice in my head saying, “stop worrying about what YOU can’t do and instead, remember what I CAN do!”

Suddenly I realized that I just needed to chill out and I needed to give this worry to God!  Nothing here has changed except I seemed to have forgotten God is the one who is in charge of all this.

I have already been in this place way too many times in the past so ya think I would have known the drill by now.

So like I have done every time I set out to talk in public, I took out a piece of paper and wrote on it the words, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.‘ I threw all my extra notes in the trash and put it all back into his hands.

Tomorrow instead of a bunch of notes in my hand I will hold his words as a reminder.

From this day forward when it comes to the God stuff, I have to remember not to spend my time thinking about what I should be spending my time praying about!


Update… Somehow I forgot to push publish on this post last night so figure I may as well finish the story with what happened today.

So I went to bed last night in peace and then woke up this morning with this crazy notion in my head that because we already have so many child sponsors in our church most likely we would not have many kids sponsored today.  Yep, you guessed it I was already thinking way too much again! Thankfully I caught myself and went for a drive before church and prayed.

God set me straight and I arrived at church excited and knowing in my heart that God was going to make something big happen today. Sure enough, I soon found myself with a front row seat watching as another one of his amazing stories began being played out before me!

From our worship pastor starting us off speaking his own sponsorship story to our pastor’s Compassion tailored sermon everything went great.  It wasn’t about any of us presenting the story today as much as it was about God uniting his children with one another.

27 children received new sponsors today but also at the same time 27 sponsors also received new children.

Many blessings are in the making for all those involved I’m sure.

There was never any need to be nervous or worry.

No need to second guess.

Just show up is all that was required … because just like He always does, God also showed up in a mighty big way in our church today!


If you would like more information about sponsoring a child or Compassion Sunday visit www.compassionsunday.com or contact me through the contact link at the top of this page.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Terri Siebert

Music Monday ~ Mary did you Know? ~ Day 8 of 12 Days of Giving Christmas Away

terrisiebert.comnativity

Hi there and Happy Music Monday!

Not only is today Music Monday on the blog, but it’s also Christmas week and we are also on Day 8 of 12 Days of Giving Christmas away.  As you know, for the past 7 days I have wrote a whole lot about gift giving and have posted several gifts that are great ways to help someone to know the love of Jesus during the Christmas season and also all year-long. (If you missed any posts you can read them all –> here)

As we move closer to Christmas, more and more Christmas songs are being played on the radio and one of my favorite Christmas songs right now is ‘Mary Did You Know?’ and my favorite version is this one sung by Danny Gokey

Enjoy….

Wasn’t that great?!

The words to this song make me think of my own children when I carried them inside of my body. I used to sit sometimes with my hands on my belly feeling life moving inside of me as I would wonder what the baby would be like.  I also knew that I was already in love with the tiny little person inside of me  even though I hadn’t met him yet.

A few weeks ago my daughter, who is now pregnant was visiting and she announced, “my baby is kicking.” Suddenly everyone in the room was around her and we all began taking turns putting our hands on her belly to feel the baby as he moved. Just as it had been with my own children I wondered what he will be like, and I also know that I am already in love with my grandson even though I haven’t met him yet.

I often wonder what sort of things did Mary think about as she waited for the birth of her baby. Did she wonder what her child would be like, as love filled her heart for her child she hadn’t met yet? And how would she have felt had she known that her baby was actually a gift of love that God was not only givng to her but he was also giving to the whole world?

Luke 1:26-38  26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israelforever; his Kingdom will never end!”

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. 37 For the word of God will never fail.”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

What I find most interesting about this passage is that when the angel told Mary that she was going to conceive a baby she didn’t argue or say something like, “let me pray on this and get back to you.”  She just took the angels word about everything and she answered, “I am the Lord’s servant.”

If she had known the full story in detail what would have her answer have been?

What if she had known that one day when her son became a man, people would follow him and worship him?

What if she had know that one day some of those same people would turn on her son and then ridicule and torture Him until he died a horrible death?

I have a feeling her answer still would have been the same.

I wonder how she would have felt had she have known that one day her son would rise from the dead and be savior to all?

I wonder how would she have felt had she known that for hundreds of years to come people would celebrate her son’s Birthday?

The whole reason we even have Christmas in the first place is to celebrate Jesus.

JESUS – God’s gift to the world.   He is the gift that when we accept, he changes everything, from the way we see things to the reason we live. Without Him life has no meaning and believe me when I say that I do know how that feels, because there once was a time that I did not have Jesus in my life.

Nobody should not have Jesus in their life.  That is why for today’s 12 Days of Giving Christmas Away gift I would like to give you the opportunity to help make the difference in the life of a child by sponsoring a child through Compassion International.

When you sponsor a child you will be able to write letters back and forth with your sponsored child. In those letters you can share the love of Jesus and bring hope to a child in that will last a lifetime.

I also want to tell you that I have children I sponsor and I have met 2 of them. I have also visited several of Compassion’s projects and have seen them in action. I can promise you that the small amount of money you give to sponsor a child is a very small investment that has a very HUGE return in that child’s life.

Because it is Christmastime and because we are celebrating Jesus’ Birthday this week, I thought maybe you may like to choose a child who has the same Birthday as you, or maybe the birthday of someone else you know. All you have to do is put your birth date into the link below, hit ‘search now’ and a page will pop up with pictures of all the children who are waiting for sponsors.

http://banners.compassion.com/banners/FlashReplacements/searches/embed-300×250-2.php?referer=121431

Every child deserves to know Jesus Christ, will you be the one to help to give a child that blessing?

Go ahead put your birthday in…. or maybe… you could try putting Jesus’ Birthday in  🙂

http://banners.compassion.com/banners/Birthday_Search_300x250.php?referer=121431

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Terri Siebert

P.S.   It’s another blog hop! Write a Music Monday post or a Christmas post of any kind, add your link up to the inlinkz link up below.  Then past the code into your blog to share the link up with your readers and other bloggers who may want to join up.

// <![CDATA[
document.write('’);
// ]]>

get the InLinkz code

Other Posts in the ‘Twelve Days of Giving Christmas Away’ 

Day 1. A Very Special Music Monday –  Kickoff to Twelve Days of Giving Christmas Away

Day 2. Water of Life – 12 Days of Giving Christmas Away

Day 3. Giving Christmas Away ~ Feed  a Mother and Baby

Day 4. Twelve Days of Giving Christmas Away – Good Tidings of Great Joy and the Gift of the Bible

Day 5. Pigs Chickens and Goats

Day 6. No Time to Write Because I Want to Read a Book and Go to Sleep

Day 7. Baking Classes to Help Ericka Become a Chef

12 Days of Giving Christmas Away – Feed a mother and Baby

Last night my husband and I had a frozen pizza for dinner.  Normally frozen pizza would not be my number one choice for dinner but my husband was the chef for the evening and that is what he cooked. The way I see it is if I don’t have to cook the meal then don’t I have a thing to complain about.

When I really think about it, the fact that I have any kind of food at all gives me even more reason to have nothing to complain about.

Did you know that there are families in which a meal was not available at all last night because they don’t have enough money to buy food?

If you didn’t know that then I am telling you now and I am also letting you know that there is a way you can help put a stop to that

Today’s 12 days of Giving Christmas away gift is food for a mother and baby.

Did you know that for just $15 you can feed a mother and her baby for a whole month!

$15 is less than the cost of just one dinner out!

The picture of the mother and baby below is a picture I took in El Salvador at on of Compassion International’s Child Survival programs. As you can tell from the picture this is one very healthy mother and son!

Your gift could help other babies to be healthy just like the little guy in the picture.

Mattjew 2535

Your gift can help stop the malnutrition that robs a mother and her baby of the strength and energy that they need to survive.

If you would like to help just click the picture of the mom and baby above and it will take you to Compassion International’s website. From there you can just follow the instructions and soon your gift will be on its way!

What  better way to celebrate the birth or our savior than by sharing his love as you help feed mothers and babies?

Thank you so much for coming by today and have a great week!

Terri Siebert

 

 

Other Posts in this series, ‘Twelve Days of Giving Christmas Away’:

A Very Special Music Monday –  Kickoff to Twelve Days of Giving Christmas Away

Water of Life – 12 Days of Giving Christmas Away

Everyone Deserves a Fair Chance

Squeals of delight echoed off the walls of our tiny concrete playground as we took our stance, lined up arm and arm, ready to guard the make believe goal behind us.Everyone deserves a fair chance

Our three year old opponent was in position eyeing us up, a look of determination on her face. With her tiny foot posed behind the lopsided pink ball, she counted, “Uno dos tres!” Suddenly the ball was sailing toward us and more squeals of delight erupted as the ball made its way through our legs and into goal. We all cheered as three year old Genesis jumped up and down, clapping her hands in sheer delight. “Score!!! Mine! Mine! Mine!” she said.

Her joy was contagious and we couldn’t help but join her in the celebration. There was so much to celebrate today because not only was Genesis winning in this game of soccer but she was also winning in life!

This was my second day El Salvador and that morning our group had visited a Compassion child survival program called “Little Friends of the King” and now this afternoon we were visiting three year old Genesis and her mother Vanessa who are part of that program.

In the area where Genesis was born the infant mortality rate is very high. Many babies never make it to birth and many who are born never make it to their first birthday. If Genesis’ mother ‘Vanessa’ had not been a part of the child survival program Genesis may have been very different from the child we were playing soccer with today.

Being in Compassion’s Child Survival Program helped Genesis’ mother to learn how to take care of herself and her baby during her pregnancy and after by giving her pregnancy coaching, medical care, and emotional, nutritional and spiritual guidance. Vanessa also learned how to care for Genesis after she was born and Genesis also receives medical checkups and her childhood immunizations.

The Child Survival Program also has vocational training such as cosmetology, jewelry making and sewing classes.

Everyone deserves a fair chanceVanessa showed us a sewing machine that was given to her by Compassion and she told us that at the CSP she was able to learn how to sew and she showed us clothing that she makes and sells in the market. Learning this valuable job skill has helped Vanessa to be able to support herself and her daughter financially.

It was very obvious how much being a part of this program has made a world difference in Vanessa and Genesis’ lives and has helped Genesis to develop into the healthy, bubbly little girl we were playing soccer with today.

Our game of soccer continued most of the afternoon with Genesis making the rules. We didn’t mind at all to be playing by the rules of a 3 year old because Genesis’ rules were fair (and also a lot of fun!).  We all took turns playing each position.  There were only two positions, you were either a Kicker or you were a Goalie and you clapped and cheered when anyone scored.

Everyone deserves a fair chance

As each of us took our turn to kick the ball Genesis would place the ball on the spot where we would kick it from. When it was my turn to kick the ball, just as I was getting ready to kick, Genesis suddenly moved out of her goalie position, picked up the ball and moved it closer to the goal. We all laughed and then I took my turn kicking the ball from my new spot which was closer and gave me a better advantage of getting it in the goal.

I didn’t think too much about Genesis moving the ball closer to the goal at that time but now I have had a little more time to think about why Genesis may have decided to move the ball closer when it was my turn.

I have a knee problem which causes me not be able to walk or jump very well and though I never said anything about it to anyone, I think Genesis still may have noticed and I think maybe she didn’t want me to be at a disadvantage when it was my turn to kick the ball.

Something I noticed about Genesis’ game of soccer is that no matter which team we were on we were still all winners and we were all cheering each other on.

Because of the small space we were playing in, the goal was only about four feet away, but I am guessing that in the eyes of a three year old, four feet must look pretty far and when it was my turn to kick the ball Genesis made sure I would have a fair chance at getting the ball into the goal just as everyone else did.

Being in Compassion’s Child Survival program has given Genesis the advantage that she needs too.

Because of the assistance and the hope her mother receives Genesis was given a fair chance at life and now she is a healthy, joyful and thriving little girl today!Everyone deserves a fair chance

Everyone deserves a fair chance

Isn’t she just the cutest?!! You can see the joy just radiating out from her and believe me when I say, her joy  IS contagious! 🙂

If you would like more information about how you can help mothers and babies like Vanessa and Genesis receive a fair chance, you can visit Compassion’s website by clicking on any of the pictures in this post.Genesis3

Thanks for reading and have a blessed evening!

Terri Siebert

 

Music Monday ~ I Will Follow….to El Salvador!

In less than a week I will be in El Salvador with a group of ladies and Compassion International.  20150814_131551While there we will be visiting a brand new child development center and I will also get to meet Ericka who is one of my sponsor children.

11850908_10205554545716210_904552180_nI’m soooooooooooooo excited about this new Journey I will be adventuring out on but at the same time I can’t allow myself to think about it too hard because this is something that for me would normally be waaaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone!  

I can barely believe that in just a few short days I will be flying alone … with God … across the country to an airport I’ve never stepped foot in, meeting up with people I’ve never met before and then hopping on another plane and heading off to El Salvador!  I have never been your social type of person, I’m awkward around strangers and actually a bit of a loner.

I also know that while I’m there I may see some things that might be hard to see and though I know I won’t want to see those things I also know from past experience that its in the hard places that I tend to see God the most.

It seems like I keep finding myself in these so unlike me sort of settings more and more often here lately and like I said in the beginning I can’t let myself think about it to hard, which is what I just did!  I now I have a  few butterflies fluttering around in my stomach but I still feel really really excited about going on this journey and I can’t wait to see what God has planned!

All of this excitement is why this week my Music Monday song is ‘I Will Follow’ by Chris Tomlin

It’s really amazing the places you will find yourself when let God lead.

Now its time to get to the packing… I have to figure out how to get all of this stuff into one suitcase!

20150828_135600Have a great week!

 

Terri Siebert

Casa Del Pan

I got a really cool email a couple of weeks ago from Compassion telling me they are opening a brand new Child Development Center In El Salvador named “Casa del Pan” or “House of Bread” and they have invited me to come with them this September on a on a Women of Compassion Vision Trip & Retreat..

Our trip will introduce us to every facet of Compassion’s work in the field and will also include a day with our sponsored children. I am so excited because I will get to meet my Ericka in person!  🙂  🙂

Ericka

Another cool thing that is happening is we are also advocating for the children who will be a part of this new center and we will also get to visit the center and and meet the children we are advocating for! I am so excited for these children who will now have the opportunity to learn and grow physically, mentally and spiritually!

Here are 3 of the children from Casa del Pan who are waiting for sponsors:

Alisson Nayeli Villanueva

aaa 001 - Copyaaa 001Osmin Edgardo Martinez Nunez

o 001 - Copyo 001Darlyn Yesenia Sosa Guerrero

t 001 - Copyt 001

Could it be that maybe you are the sponsor that one of these children have been praying for?

I have seen first hand that sponsorship works. I have also been on a trip with Compassion and seen how and where they work and I have also met some of the children and families who’s lives have been changed. If you would like more information about how you can help change the life of one of these children, leave me a comment or send me and email at tluvs2trvl@yahoo.com.

Before I go today I would also like to ask if you will please say a prayer for each of these children to receive sponsors quickly and that their lives will be blessed and that each of them will know the love of Jesus.

Thank you for your prayers and have a wonderful evening,

Terri

 

 

 

A Picture Forever Etched in My Mind

Our van rushed through the crowded streets of Port au Prince. We were trying to get to our destination of Mother Teresa’s Children’s Hospital by 3:00. We had been told that if we didn’t arrive by 3:00 we would not be able to get inside. A new driver and a wrong turn pushed us past our desired arrival time and now  we were pulling in front of the building, our arrival time 15 minutes late. Maya our guide got out of the van and knocked at the door I held my breath while at the same time saying a silent prayer, ‘Father, if this is your will today, please get us in,” that instant Maya began waving for us to come inside,  prayer answered our group climbed out of the van and headed through the door.

We had been told we were going to be helping with the malnourished babies today and that our job would be changing their diapers and feeding them. I was excited about this because I love babies and in my mind I envisioned us cuddling a cute little baby as it happily drank a bottle. What I didn’t know yet was that it was not going to be anything at all like I thought it would be and nothing could have ever prepared me for the helpless feeling that was waiting for me on the other side of the door.

We entered the room and the first thing I noticed was the white metal baby beds that were lined up head to foot in rows, and each one had a baby about the size of a newborn in it. In the first bed we were met by a cute little smiling faced baby boy. His little smiling face just warmed my heart and took a bit of the edge off my shock at what I was seeing beyond him in the other beds.

To me this hospital looked out of date and not at all like any hospital I had ever been in in my life.  There had to be over 60 babies here and though I never actually counted babies, there were two full rooms of babies each with at least 25 or 30 babies per room. There room was all white with nothing in it that showed that this room was for children, other than there were baby beds. The baby beds were very small and they seemed really unsafe.  They had metal bars and there were no bumper pads to block the the baby’s heads from being bumped. I also noticed that the babies who were able stand were much taller than the sides of the beds, and the first thing that went through my head was how easy it would be for one of these little ones to fall out head first onto the concrete floor below.  Another thing I noticed was that the babies didn’t have blankets though I am not really sure a blanket was needed because there wasn’t any air conditioning or even a fan to stir the hot muggy air.

There was one nurse in the room and she was busy mixing cereal and filling baby bottles with milk. We were given the task of changing each baby’s diaper and then to feed them. We spread out and began going down the rows almost in an assembly line fashion. I began checking diapers and eventually reached a bed with a baby boy sitting in it. He lifted his arms up to me, I reached in and picked him up, his tiny little body seemed  to mold to me as he pressed in close seeming to almost melt into my arms.  I was unprepared for the panicky feeling that washed over me as I suddenly felt shocked at how feather light and tiny he felt in my arms. I was frozen in disbelief as I stood there holding him in my arms, unable to let him go, and I also got the feeling that he did not want to let go of me either. Another silent prayer went up, “God, he’s so tiny, so precious, and so sick, please do something!’ Only a few minutes ago I was looking forward to coming here and now I felt sick to my stomach wondering how could this be possible that a child could be so small and so sick?! And right now this somehow made me I feel really small too.

Holding back the tears that wanted to spring forth, I held on to that precious boy as long as I could but I also knew there were other babies waiting to be changed and fed too.  I finally peeled him off my body, laid him down and began to change his diaper. I gently took his tiny cloth diaper off and once again I was in shock at what I was seeing. his tiny legs were like fragile sticks,  his tummy looked somehow bloated and to big for his body that was nothing but skin stretched over a tiny skeleton. I was smacked in the face by the fact that this baby was one of those children I have seen on the television commercials, the ones who are starving.  I wanted to close me eyes to what was before me right now, oh how I did not want to see this!!

So many times I have I prayed for God to open my eyes and let me see what he sees and now he had my eyes fully open wide and all I wanted to do was shut them tightly back up again.  I wanted to go back and live in my happy bubble of a life where all babies were cute and cuddly and full of life. My mind kept saying this can’t be true, you must be dreaming, but unfortunately this was not a dream, this was the harsh reality right here in front of me and it hurt my heart. Tears wanted to come but I would not let them out and I finished changing his diaper and fed him a bottle.  I sent prayer after prayer up for him and as I fed him he fell asleep in my arms.

 Just as I lay him down in his bed the nurse handed me a tiny little baby girl. To my surprise she felt even tinier than the boy had been and she just lay in my arms listless and gazing off at nothing. The nurse then handed me a bowl of cereal that resembled thick gloppy white paste and motioned for me to feed the cereal to her. As soon as I realized she wanted me to spoon feed a listless baby I was once again uncomfortable. This baby looked as if she was barely able to keep her eyes open, much less eat from a spoon. What if she were to choke?

I had no choice but to do what I was told so I did it even thought my motherly instincts were telling me this was not possible and also not safe for the baby.  I was worried she would choke as I put the first spoonful of food in her mouth…. I fearfully watched as she began slowly sucking the cereal off the spoon and to my surprise she was able to swallow it!

For the next 10 minutes I fed her tiny spoonfuls of cereal. When she seemed to be finished I told the nurse she was done eating. The nurse lifted up the baby’s shirt, felt her tummy and pointed at the bowl motioning for me to feed her more. More?!? I am a mother I know when a baby is full and this baby sure seemed to me to be full! I was not the one in charge here today so reluctantly I gave her another spoonful of cereal.  She held it in her mouth for a long time and I kept thinking to myself that at any second she would spit it out or start to choke, but instead she eventually swallowed it down. This went on for another 10 minutes or so and I began to realize with each spoonful she was beginning to become more aware of her surroundings and she was starting to eat a little faster.  Eventually she finished the whole bowl of cereal and I lay her down to change her diaper. While I was changing her she began playing with a small pink stuffed animal that was tied to the rail of her bed and she even began to smile.  While I was changing her diaper I noticed that she had a cloth bracelet on her leg with her age written on it and it said she was 8 months old!! How could this be possible? I knew she cold not weigh more than 8 pounds because she was the size of a newborn! I thought I knew what poverty was before today, but now here I was once again still having my eyes opened even further, WAY much further than I ever wanted them to be open and once again my heart was hurting.

When I finished changing her diaper I started to move away from her and on to the next baby, but just as I started to walk away she raised her arms stretching them up to me, I reached down and touched her precious little face and said goodbye because I knew I had to move on.  As I started to walk away I looked over and  her hands were still up and now she stuck her bottom lip out and began to cry. That was the end of me, I could not take it, the next thing I knew I had scooped her up and I held her in my arms rocking her telling her it was going to be okay.

As I rocked her she kept looking me right in the eyes, and in turn I could not tear my eyes off hers. Her little brown eyes were mesmerizing and I wondered what she was thinking about just as she reached out her tiny hand and placed it on my mouth. Once again my heart was melted to mush. There was no way I could put that precious girl down now, so I found a stool and sat down on it and just held her until she finally went to sleep, the whole time she continued to look right into my eyes

I am not sure how but somehow fell in love with that little girl as I sat there holding her.  After she fell asleep and I lay her down in her bed to move on to the next baby I realized that each baby in here needed someone to love on them.  I felt an overwhelming feeling of love for each one of them. that day and there were so many babies and so few of us. My heart was tearing into shreds and at the same time the feeling love was almost overwhelming as I gazed around the room and realized that all of the ladies who were here  today were all loving up on these small little babies. At one point I caught eyes with another of the ladies in our group and I could tell by the look on her face she was also feeling the same heartbreak I was feeling and I also knew she loved them too.  I am pretty sure her eyes spoke for the way the whole group was feeling inside.

We had been told that these babies were malnourished.  I don’t know a thing about malnutrition but as our time went on that day I realized that many of the babies had fevers, runny noses, and diarrhea. I am not sure if that is part of being malnourished or if they were also sick with something else too. Either way these were the sickest children I had ever seen in my life.

As I was sitting there in that room I remembered that I had read on Compassion International’s website that 9 million Children never make it to their fifth birthday. I wondered how many of the babies in that hospital room would not make it to their fifth birthday. After I came home I looked up the facts on Haiti and found out that 76 out of every 1000 children in Haiti do not live to see their fifth birthday. It breaks my heart knowing that a lot of the babies in that room may become one of the children in those statistics.

As I left the hospital that day I felt heartbroken and I will admit I was a little upset with God that he didn’t just snap his fingers and fix these babies but then later that evening God reminded me of my last visit to Haiti. On that visit I had visited one of Compassion International’s Child Survival Programs (CSP). Mothers can come to the CSP and while there they are taught how to take care of themselves during pregnancy and they are also taught how to take care of their babies after they are born. At the CSP the moms learn about proper nutrition, and are given a safe place for their children to learn and grow. Their children also receive medical care and immunizations. Most of all at the CSP the mom’s and children learn about Jesus and they have the opportunity receive the hope that only He can give them.
You can watch the video below to find out more about the CSP

That day we were not allowed to bring cameras or take pictures in the hospital, but even though we were not allowed to do that, a picture will be forever etched in my mind of what I saw that day.

If you would like to sponsor a child in Haiti or  do something to help you can click this link – Haiti and get more information.

Thanks for reading and have a blessed day,

Terri

Will You Take the First Step?

GivingTuesday-Assn8 Today is an exciting day! Today on this blog we are going to be a part of something big and brand new that has never been tried before. Today Compassion International along with it’s family of friends, sponsors, and bloggers from all over the world are coming together to help fund and launch a brand a new Child Survival program  to help moms and babies in Gujarat, India! Did I mention… the plan is to do it….ALL IN ONE DAY?! Today is ‘Giving Tuesday’ and I am inviting YOU to be part of it. Why are we doing this? Because these are the facts….

  • In the small community of Gujarat most of the mothers are just teenagers.
  • Over 70 percent of the babies born here are born in their homes.
  • Most are surrounded by, illiteracy, alcoholism, abuse, child labor, and child marriage,
  • They are malnourished.
  • 1 in 3 newborn deaths in the world occur in India.
  • Every year over 2 million children under the age of 5 dies in India, and half of those 2 million children die before their 1st birthday.

I am saddened when I read those facts. It is just so hard to believe that children are living in those conditions and that they are dying from preventable and treatable causes. Children under the age of 5 should not be dying from things such as dehydration and malnutrition and today we are going to help change this! Because WE can change this! Funding this new child survival program will:

  • help prepare moms with training to help them care for their babies.
  • help mothers learn to read and write.
  • help by giving children a safe place to learn and grow.
  • help by ensuring lifesaving medical care for babies and their moms.
  • and most of all proclaim the hope of Jesus to families living in poverty.

In March of 2013 I visited a small village in Haiti which has a Compassion child survival program in place and it was working very well.  I saw moms and babies who where healthy, thriving in their community and most of all I saw whole families who were filled with the joy and the knowledge that they are loved by others and most of all loved by Jesus. Child Survival programs help to save lives and they help to give hope. They work. Today I am asking you to join us as we band together to help the moms and babies of Gujarat to have a fighting chance by helping to fund this new Child survival program. Will you help rescue babies in poverty in India? Your first step could be their first step…. GivingTuesday-Assn-3 will you Click any picture in this blog post and it will take you to more information about how you can help rescue moms and babies. You can also help the moms and babies of Gujarat by sharing this post today or any other link in this post with your friends. I also ask if you would please pray today for this program and all of the lives it will affect. Thank you so much for your help,

Have a blessed Tuesday,

T

#GivingTuesday #CompassionBloggers

Related Stories

Here is a video I took of the moms and babies singing to us while visiting a Compassion Child Survival Program In Haiti. 

Why Giving Tuesday Matters

http://blog.compassion.com/givingtuesday-2014/

Me and Mr. Jones: For God Loves a Cheerful Giver

Holly Barrett: #GivingTuesday

http://www.yvonnereynolds.com/blog/give-babies-a-strong-start-on-givingtuesday

http://truthnsprinkles.wordpress.com/2014/12/02/if-i-can-spend-i-can-give/

http://frugalandfocused.com/2014/12/givingtuesday-lets-fund-compassion-child-survival-program-india/

http://randybayne.com/2014/12/add-giving-tuesday-holiday-checklist/