That's the word my friend Kristen used to describe the work we are doing together.

Volunteering with the refugees has been both cathartic and redemptive. Each Friday we load up a van or two with supplies, snacks and people. Make the one-hour drive to an apartment complex whose sole residents are refugees.

It's so much like the work that Keith and I did in Ethiopia, and also the work she does yearly in Kenya. Both groups of women need to know their value. Ultimately, it is in the God who created them. For now, we are helping them see it through their beautiful creations.

I am able to communicate with just a handful of the ladies. The same was true when I spent a day at one of the sites in Ethiopia. But we more than manage. Somehow they know I love them, and eventually they will ask why. Enter Jesus.

It is crazy how God is bringing things around full circle. Somehow, our time here is making our experience in Ethiopia better. It's getting easier and easier to look back on that time and say it wasn't so bad. Don't get me wrong. We loved it and were completely torn when we had to leave.

But the adjustment was a difficult process. And a long one. We were finally finding our new normal, thinking "Okay, we can do this."

My comfort isn't God's priority. His priority is His own glory.

Kristen turned to me one day and said, "I've had this idea for about a year and you're the perfect person to do it with."

I said, "I'm the perfect person to do most things with, but go ahead. What's this idea?"

In a nutshell, it is a way to empower women all over the world. It's a way for their work to help women across the globe but in their same walk of life.

It's a way for you to impact women in poverty all over the world...and for it to impact you.

It's a way for us to advocate for these women. To give them opportunity.

It's called Fair Trade Friday. Check out the site or read Kristen's post about it.

This post was ready to go out on our launch day but blogger wasn't cooperating. So, here it is. Four days late. We sold out within hours of launching on Monday and have hundreds on the waiting list. God is good.


This Makes It Official

A few Saturdays ago, I walked back to bid the children goodbye before I went out for a few hours. Since they still sleep together on Friday Family Fun Nights, they were all in one room huddled on the floor in their cozy pajamas playing with Legos.

"Kids, I'm going to a few garage sales this morning, so Daddy will get breakfast for you when he gets up."

"What's a garage sale?" the little one asked.

"Well..." I looked down to the bed where I sat. "For instance, a bed in a store might cost $500, but at a garage sale it could be $100 or less."

From the child whose incessant diarrhea of the mouth makes me jealous of the deaf, "Five hundred dollars! Five hundred dollars!!! I didn't know a bed costed $500. A bed shouldn't cost $500. Five hundred dollars..." And, on and on and on he goes.

"Awesome! What a great deal. I love garage sales," looking all starry-eyed said the one cut from the same mold as her frugal mother.

And the little one said innocently, "We already have beds."


"Each of us has a bed to sleep in, indeed," I concurred. Here at the grandparent's house, that is true. 5 extra people, 4 extra beds. What a provision.

My kids realize more than I do how God has taken care of us through this.

Technically, "our" beds were stolen by our former tenant. Yes, you heard that right. Stolen. Along with everything we left to furnish our once clean, beautiful home. This post will not make it past the Blog Police if I go any further, so no tirade today. Boo.

I feel like we have been through a year-long hurricane, which seems to be over now. As we pick up the pieces, I find myself struggling.

It's difficult to not let yourself be defined by your circumstances. Although my Sunday School answer that Jesus is the One who consumes me, so often it's my kids, my worries, my planning.

In the literal chaos that surrounds me (because I have no closet), I find it hard not to think of myself as displaced. The truth is I am exactly where God wants me. He has allowed my circumstances, as crummy as they may seem, to show less of me and more of Him.

So, we are starting over.

In Texas. Houston.

The hot, muggy, congested, smoggy, stuffy, humid, sticky pit of the United States. I realize I am offending all true Texans with this statement.

The decision to move to Ethiopia was made more easily than the one to "move" here.

This pretty much makes it official. Keith had to drill holes in the front of my van so that we could display a second license plate. One isn't enough for "The Lone Star State." It's like Texas is showing off to all the others. Two license plates??? Come on, Texas! We know you're bigger and better than the rest of us teeny tiny regular sized states.