We were going to be a perfect sponsoring family…

I was compensated by World Vision for my time in writing this post. All opinions are my own.

2015 Sesame Street Trip - Zambia

I had grand plans the first time I signed up to sponsor a child in another country. I was going to write letters monthly and send gifts regularly. I was definitely going to pray daily, and maybe even some day our family would go visit our child.

These were all such good ideas.

We’re on sponsored kid number three now, and I can’t tell you what a blessing it has been to know that our small contribution each month offers so much to our overseas children. We definitely pray for these kids. We occasionally send letters. And once or twice (in eight years), we’ve sent gifts.

I used to feel guilty for not doing more. I wanted to be the perfect sponsoring family, you know? But I’ve since learned that our lack of perfection in this area is trumped by the fact that organizations like World Vision are working full time to make sure children’s needs are met. They work on-site for our sponsored children to offer clean water, school supplies and better education, teacher training, improved nutrition, healthcare clinics, and agricultural training. The best part?

They do it all in the name of Jesus.

More about kid sponsorship in a minute, but first…

Our Family did the 6K for Water!!

Remember the Global 6K for Water I told you about? My family and I did this over the weekend. It was amazing! And also…

It was hard. You might say I’m a little bit sore. Ha! But it was so great to know that what we did helps to provide for families who don’t have clean water accessible to them. We loved using walk time with our family to talk more with our kids about life and needs in other countries.

Here’s a little recap of our experience. First, a pre-6K selfie – while looking into the sun! Our oldest couldn’t join us for this because he was finishing his college finals. So he cheered us on from the campus while the rest of us took off and hit it the road!

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This 6K for Water was organized in an effort to raise awareness and money to help families who normally have to walk about 6K every day to get (dirty) water for their families. Therefore, Matt came up with the idea that not only should our family take part in this 6K, we should take buckets and fill them with dirty water at our half-way point. He wanted to give us an idea of what this walk usually feels like to the children walking so far each day to collect water for their family to drink.

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I can’t believe how great of an experience this was. I also can’t believe how difficult it was. Walking 6K (which equals 3.7 miles) is tough enough. Walking it with full, heavy buckets of water? Super challenging.

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The entire way home, carrying our heavy buckets, after we were already hot and tired made us so very mindful of what families go through every single day. This became so much more than just a walk for us. I am so thankful my family did this, as it was absolutely humbling and rewarding.

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So now what?

If you participated in the 6K for Water, you received a bib with information about a potential child you could sponsor. Did you take a peek at that? Take a moment to pray about whether or not this was something you and your family might like to do. It’s profound to think of the impact your sponsorship can have in changing many lives! If you did take part in this 6K for Water, I’d really love to hear how it went for you!

Whether you participated in the 6K or not, I’d like to encourage you to consider sponsoring a child. As our family has proven time and again, you don’t have to be a perfect sponsoring family. You just have to care enough to say “yes!” Your simple monthly contribution offers much to your child and the community he or she is a part of, then you and your family can go above and beyond in any way you choose.

How child sponsorship through World Vision works:

  • Find a child you want to help. Look forward to the first letter from your child within 6-12 weeks.
  • Your gift helps your sponsored child and their entire community! Your donation combines with gifts from all other sponsors who support kids in the same area. This means long-term resources for everyone!
  • Local staff make your donations go the extra mile. Children don’t get direct cash benefits. Better yet, their staff creates a sustainable plan for funds that keeps communities out of poverty even after they’ve moved on to help other communities!

My World Vision digital experience lets you get regular updates, track community progress, and view photos of your child. You can even send them a letter through email!! ( <—- Now we’re talking about something I would actually keep up with better!)

OH, and here’s something extra cool. Every $1 donated equals $1.30 in impact because of grants and product donations!

You can join World Vision in breaking the cycle of poverty through child sponsorship. Please pray about this ministry and check into child sponsorship here.

Did you take part in the 6K for Water? If so, how did it go for you?

My Husband is Making Me Do This

How sweet of my husband to be so supportive. How great of him to jump on board with my latest “pet project.” Between the two of us, we’ve even gotten our boys excited and they have started to tell their friends. We’re in this together, and we’re looking forward to being a part of this!

But I’m not sure about this newest idea my husband came up with. Who does he actually think I am, anyway? After 22 years of marriage, does he not know that I do have some limits? My inner spring chicken flew the coop more than a few years ago.

Yet, Matt said it so confidently, as if he didn’t even question my ability. I guess I should be honored? Sure thing.

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So first things first, to catch you up on my inner conundrum: Our family is taking part in a 6K event with World Vision on May 6. Many of you have signed up to join, and if even more of you join, I will be so ridiculously happy.

This will mean clean water for people who normally have to walk 6K every single day just to get DIRTY water. The thought of this makes us sick, and knowing that our 6K efforts on May 6 will help provide people with a short walk for CLEAN water? Well, I’d walk 6K every day if it would keep the donations coming in.

My youngest saw this picture and was like, “Eeew. What is that?” and I had to tell him that it’s the dirty water kids are walking for miles to get for their families —>

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My husband’s idea

Here’s what Matt said, and you guys, I am both amazed at his brilliance and terrified that I won’t be able to handle it.

“We need to do this the right way. When we go on this 6K walk, we’re going to take along a big jug, and map out a path that will take us 3K to a body of dirty water. We’re going to fill our jugs and walk back the final 3K with our full jugs. How else will we truly understand what these children face every day?”

So basically, I feel like a 43 year old baby. I wanted to argue, and even opened my mouth to do it. My hips, you know? My bad knee!

But the truth is that little tiny children, who are likely malnourished, walk this trek every single day just to collect a jug of dirty water for their families.

Dirty water.

Every day.

So we’re doing this thing.

Our family is walking the 6K for World Vision and we’re doing it with jugs of water. If this doesn’t make me appreciate the beautiful, pure water at my tap I’m not sure what will.

We’ll be live-streaming some of our journey via Facebook on May 6 so we can share more about our experience. I hope you’ll join us! And by that, I really mean that I hope you walk with us! (You can just walk it though. Jugs of dirty water are not a requirement.) :)

I’m extremely thankful our sons were so quick to join in with us, so we’ve got them signed up too. The beauty of how this 6K works is that you and I don’t have to be physically together to do this. You can sign up, then walk straight out your own door and do the walking in your own neighborhood.

So, May 6. Walk 6K for water. Join our virtual team. Why?

  • Every day, people around the world walk an average of 6 kilometers (approximately 3.7 miles) in search of water, and that water is often contaminated with life-threatening diseases.
  • World Vision provides safe water, sanitation and hygiene education to decrease illnesses, improve health and lessen the burden on women and children.
  • Safe drinking water, improved sanitation, good hygiene and good water resource management can lead to a reduction in child mortality, cut transmission of malaria, improve public health and reduce extreme poverty.

Learn more here about World Vision’s water program here.

Want to do this with me?

Sign up here. Want to see part of our live journey on Facebook May 6? Like my page here.

Here’s to clean water for everyone!

I’ve Been Taking Clean Water for Granted

If ever my kids are whiny, achy, arguing, or restless, I give them this admonition, “Go take a drink of water.”

It’s become a joke around here, as if water is my answer for everything. (Kid: “I can’t find my math book.” Me: “Go take some sips of water.” Perhaps I’ve taken the water thing just a little too far?)

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Hey. I’m right you know. Drinking water really does help many an ailment. Cranky kids really might simply be thirsty, you know? Any time we’re struggling to focus, we take a water break and it almost always helps.  (Unfortunately, drinking water has yet to help us find motivation to clean the house. I find that coffee works better for this. But I digress.)

I heart water. I drink water all day long. I encourage everyone to be sure they are drinking enough water. And I’ve recently come to realize that I take the gift of water for granted.

It’s just right there at my sink, all day long, you know? It’s the easiest thing in the world for me to fill my glass full of clean water and drink it as needed.

I’ve known that other countries don’t have it as easy as I do, but I haven’t learned much about this problem until recently. How about you? Here’s something I just found out:

6 kilometers (approximately 3.7 miles) is the average distance that people in the developing world – often women and young girls – walk for water each day. This walk can be dangerous, and the water is often contaminated with life-threatening diseases.

OVER THREE MILES!! That’s how far little girls walk every day just to collect (contaminated) water for their families. This news causes me anxiety, which at my house means I need to pause, re-group, and take a sip of water. Oh, the irony.

Many, thankfully, are doing what they can to help with this global drinking water problem. I’ve started by doing this:

Each time I take a sip of water throughout the day, I pray for God to provide clean access to water to those for whom it is a struggle.

It’s a simple thing to do, letting my water drinking habit become a prayer trigger. And what else? Well, what are you doing Saturday, May 6?

This is something we can all do to help!

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, people from around the globe will walk or run 6 kilometers to support World Vision’s water initiatives through the World Vision Global 6K for Water.

The Global 6K for Water is organized by Team World Vision, a group of passionate people who run, walk, and race to help children get clean water. Team World Vision’s water projects run in harmony with World Vision’s work in other key areas of development: health, education, food, and economic development. This approach tackles the root causes of poverty, enabling children to experience fullness of life.

Team World Vision was founded in 2006, and since then, they have helped more than 30,000 people cross finish lines to raise $30 million for World Vision’s work around the world.

Did you read that? $30 million! When each person does a little, a LOT of help can be offered!

How you and I can help

World Vision is on site in different parts of the world to make clean water accessible for many. We can partner with them to help – no matter where we live and what we do! Here are some options to consider:

  • Become a host site: Work together with your church, school, community center or run club to register as a host site (it’s free!) and spread the word about how fun and easy it is to support clean water programs around the world! Whether your goal is 10 people or 100 people, World Vision will equip you with all the marketing materials, race day signage and staff support for a successful race day.
  • Join a local host site: Walk or run with other Global 6K for Water participants at a host site near you.
  • Start a virtual team: Invite your friends and family all around the country to join your “team” even though you will each be walking or running from your own neighborhoods on race day. <—- This is what I’ll be doing. Stay tuned!
  • Individual race: Walk or run the Global 6K for Water from your own front door – whether on a treadmill or around the neighborhood with your kids, you’ll be taking part in a global effort to support clean water! (Note: Thanks to our generous donors, the registration fee for kids (15 and under) is only $25 – a discount of 50%!)

Each participant’s registration fee of $50 supports World Vision’s water programs. After registration, you will receive a World Vision Global 6K for Water t-shirt, a race bib with a photo of a child you can sponsor, and a race medal in the mail.

Who wants to walk with me?!

I’d love it if we all took a virtual walk together! Even better, promote this to all your friends so the word will spread and more can become involved in helping!

Register here and mark May 6 on your calendar. Watch for more details coming soon as we plan this fun and beneficial event!

Now, everyone go take some sips of water. And while you do, pray for those for whom drinking clean water is a challenge. How exciting that, together, we can be a part of making healthy opportunities around the world!

I was compensated by World Vision for my time in writing this post. All opinions are my own.

You Can Win a Big Berkey Water Filter (worth $258!)

Tis the season for amazing giveaways, huh?

Today the folks at Berkey.com are offering to send one of you a Big Berkey, worth $258! Isn’t she a beauty?!

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We are so thankful to have a Big Berkey in our kitchen to purify our drinking water (thanks to Berkey.com for sending us one!). As you can imagine, our family goes through a significant amount of water each day. It is a relief to know that because of the Berkey, our water is free of:

  • Fluoride – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Viruses – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Pathogenic Bacteria – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Lead – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Arsenic – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Iron – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Mercury – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Chlorine – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Trihalomethane(THMs) – Removed to greater than 99.8%.
  • Bisphenol-A – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Chloramines – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Pharmaceuticals – Removed to greater than 99.5%.
  • Petroleum Contaminants – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Methylcycohexane-methane – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Pesticides – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Heavy Metals – Removed to greater than 99.1%.
  • Coliform and e-Coli – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Atrazine – Removed to greater than 99.9%.
  • Uranium – Removed to greater than 97.0%.
  • Gross Alpha emitters – Removed to greater than 98.7%.

We can taste the difference in Berkey filtered water compared to straight tap water. This is such a simple, yet amazing item to have in the kitchen. It filters up to 2.25 gallons at once, which means you can fill it in the evening before bed and have plenty of filtered water the next day for your family. Read more about the Big Berkey here!

Want a chance to win a Big Berkey? Enter the Rafflecopter below for not one, but three chances to win! I’ll select a random winner on Friday, December 16.

a Rafflecopter giveaway