Saturday, September 15, 2007

Tabitha USA

Heather, your question about our foundation "outs" me in a way, but in a good way I guess. I have always maintained somewhat of an anonymous stance on my blog, but I have never said anything I would be ashamed of or feel does not represent me, so I guess I am going to out my identity in a way.

Our 2 oldest children were born in Cambodia and we had a year-long struggle to bring them home through a rather politically tumultuous time regarding Cambodian adoptions. I was very outspoken about this situation and the year gave me time to fall in love with the country and realize my responsibility as an adoptive parent to not just take these children in need, but to open my eyes to ALL of those in need. I learned a lot during that year, and of course even more since then. I wanted to support an organization that was truly helping people to help themselves, not giving a hand out, rather a hand up. We found these qualities and a spitfire of a director through the Tabitha Foundation, a non-governmental organization (NGO).

Shortly after arriving back home from adopting our children, I emailed the director and asked her why there was not a Tabitha USA as there were organizations in Canada, Australia and the UK. Her reply will never be forgotten by me, "Because no one has ever asked." Well, that was the voice of God smacking me in the face and telling me to get off my duff and make a difference if I could.

I bought books, researched the internet and learned truly how to start a not-for-profit (as a dummy). I have a biology undergrad and a master's degree in clinical psychology - I have never in my life taken a business course! But, many stressful months after I began, we had our not-for-profit status and we were off and running. We became Tabitha USA at that point.

Since I am "out" now, I will talk more frequently and fervently about Tabitha USA as it is a passion of mine. It is all-consuming, exhausting and ever so rewarding all at the same time. We are in our 4th year of operations and have helped raise over $300,000.00 so far to help the people of Cambodia through housebuilding, well digging, tuition payments, cow purchases, bicycle purchases, seed purchases, and on and on. You can find a list of options through our website by clicking on the community development tab at the top.

I thought I would check on YouTube to see if I found anything and by golly I did. This video was made by some volunteers through Tabitha Australia so while the contact information at the end is not the same, it gives you an idea of how housebuilding trips go (and this is just one part of what our organization does). We have had the fortune of actively participating in 2 such builds and are planning our 3rd for next year. Suffice it to say, once you go and experience an adventure like this, you are forever changed for the better.

Thanks to Mark from Tabitha Australia for the video!

This one is cool too and a bit of an "ad" for a trip upcoming next year. It is pretty cool as well. As a global foundation, it is nice that we can use the talents and ideas of everyone to work towards the improvement of so many lives in Cambodia.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Happy 90th Grandma!!

90 years is what we celebrated tonight for my great-grandma. It is so hard to even imagine what she has lived through, experienced, rejoiced over and mourned over. I have known her all of my 33 years and honestly can't think of a nicer human on this earth.

If you remember we almost lost Grandma a couple of times over this last year and she has been through some rough times and has more to come, but tonight she was in great spirits and seemed with it cognitively. All of that in itself is a gift, but having such a beautiful light still shine on this earth is an even greater gift.

I never want grandma to suffer and when God is ready for her, I hope she is able to go peacefully, but I am reminded tonight of how special she is to me and how lucky I have been to be influenced by her.

Happy Birthday Grandma,
I love you, a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck.
(we say this every time we part, it is our thing)


Sunday, September 09, 2007

0 Days Seizure Free

You know those signs that calculate how many days "accident free" for work sites or manufacturing facilities? Growing up in a town with many factories, these signs are still frequently highlighted outside factories like scoreboards. Well, I feel like I have one running in my head, but this one is for our Doodle and her number of days since her last seizure.

I have been getting cocky, even taking her to the pediatric neurologist less than 2 weeks ago and proudly announcing she had not had any seizure activity since our last appointment, as if I had somehow been the model parent and prevented any nasty seizures from entering our little girl's overactive brain activity here, no way.

Well, last night ended our run and it always throws me for such a loop and sends me back to square one with wanting to protect her and hold her close all the time, watching her every move for the most minuscule of signs of seizure activity. We had all just gathered at the supper table for her favorite meal, spaghetti and meatballs with garlic bread. She had been fine all day, having soccer practice in the morning, playing outside, taking a bath, and then hanging out the rest of the afternoon. Nothing unusual or overly stressful. Well, she first complains about the garlic bread (not normal) and says she doesn't want any and that she is SO TIRED. Well, we just thought it was an attitude because we had the fresh garlic bread from the deli area instead of the frozen kind. Then she layed her head on the table and I told her to sit up...she said I am so tired...and then her eyes rolled back in her head and she begins to seize.

I hurried around the table to her and lifted her up, talking gently that she was okay and would be okay, told D to come and help me and then all of a sudden she unloaded (vomited) a great deal on me. everywhere. While gross, this seemed to bring her back around and we made it to the bathroom (and then the shower). She did get sick one more time within the next hour and then seemed to be back to normal. I did sleep out in the living room with her last night though just so I could keep a complete eye on her.

It scares the absolute &(%T out of me, every time. Cockiness gone, I am going to start looking online for a bracelet or necklace for her to wear that indicates she has epilepsy. Now that she is in 1st grade without Meesta in her class, she does dance class, gymnastics and soccer - if I am ever NOT RIGHT THERE, I don't want there to be any confusion about what is going on. I really didn't want to "label" her this way and we have done everything to keep her life as normal as possible, but given the suddenness of this last seizure, I feel I am actually doing her a disservice if I don't take that step.

On a slightly less serious note, after the initial seizure and vomiting episode, D was trying to keep the other 2 kids from being freaked out by the experience so he told them to "eat up". Please keep in mind I said that we were eating spaghetti...and the smell was less than appealing. I didn't have time to consider how hysterical this was until today...but poor kids, how COULD they eat with the smell and general grossness of it. I am sitting her still laughing about it.

Please keep Doodle in your prayers, it is no fun for her at all either.


Friday, September 07, 2007

We Have Moved

I have been gone, but with very good reason...we have been moving, and not much unlike the covered wagon shown above, but a bit more primitively even...! My dear husband, who never wants to be a burden to anyone, decided that we could use this OPEN HOMEMADE GREEN WAGON made by an older guy in the church to move our possessions, BY OURSELVES ONLY.
We have moved almost everything now and have actually been sleeping at the new place for 2 weeks officially today and it is slowly starting to feel like home. It is just a completely different house, no cathedral ceilings, one level, 2 bathrooms, 3 bedrooms. We have condensed a great deal. This house does have GORGEOUS hardwood floors throughout the house though and is so incredibly closer to just about everything and is on a pleasant dead-end street (like our old house) that it is going to work and meet our needs.
As for our old house, we just accepted an offer on it today, but it is a contingent offer and could fall through so we hope that either someone else comes through with another offer and forces the other people to do something or that they get their house sold quickly and are able to close. Once we sell it - we will have NO MORTGAGE payment. It is beyond my imagination really. We should be able to become debt-free completely before we leave for the Navy, hopefully with a bit of cushion as well. That will be an amazing feeling.
The kids are doing great and adjusting well to school and are loving their activities and busyness - let's just pray that I can keep up. We found a cool walking area very close to our house and I joined a gym close by that I can go to FREE through my employer:).
All in all, everything seems to be going very well and I am happy.
Oh yes, not to forget, I spent today training our new employee for the NFP, that is such an amazing relief to me, I cannot explain it. It is going to be a great life-changing positive for me for sure.
All for now, just wanted to check in...