Saturday, September 3, 2011

New Blog!!!!

I have good news! I am making the switch over to a new blog I've been working on.... I hope you continue to follow our crazy life to Kenya over there!!!

Future posts will be at

See you there!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Psalm 104:1
Praise the LORD, my soul. LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.

Psalm 113:3
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.

Psalm 105:1
Give praise to the LORD, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done.

Isaiah 58:10
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

James 1:27
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Phase 2 begins!

Our family has officially entered into Phase 2 of transitioning to Kenya. Last weekend we moved out of the temporary house we were living in for the month of August and are now living in Minneapolis to spend this last month with family.

3 kids. 5 hours. 14 million pounds of luggage in a mini van packed to the ceiling....I'm just glad we made it! The kids were awesome and were rewarded with a big ice cream cone today for their awesomeness.

My husband is staying back home for a couple of weeks to finish up work. He will join us later this month.

We have so much to be grateful for today. Our kids are healthy and have seemed to transition well into this phase. Now, if only I could get my poop in a group and finish my 'to do' list, I'll be good.

Big changes are underway for my blog. I won't share specifics, but I hope you like it. I really want a place where people can come and see what life in Kenya is like as well as look into the world of orphan care-and feel compelled to act.

For now, this is our crazy life and it's crazy uncomfortable but we're happy and at peace completely knowing that this is where we are supposed to be.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Oh, Benjamin

"My favorite thing about going to Kenya, Mama, is getting to teach all my new friends my favorite sport". ~Ben

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Phase I almost complete!

Tonight, I sit here with 10 days left of our "Phase I". So much has happened in this phase. I feel like the closer we get, the more walls are put up to break through.

I say, bring it on, baby.

This month, the day after we rented out house and moved into our temporary location, the donor completely pulled out. I had to go through raw emotion of grief that week to process the "whys" and "hows" and even "if this is the closing door to this chapter of our lives, then we will still be okay, right".

It was tough. But this wasn't a surprise to God. He has provided over and over again in these last 20 days. Let it be a testimony to how much God cares and watches over us NO MATTER WHAT THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

I had the chance to attend the Global Leadership Summit and soak in tools that will benefit Mattaw when we get out there. I purchased the MP3 files so TJ could listen and study as well as to the Huffmans if they are interested in learning more. It was good stuff covering how to lead well and building an organization.

Also this month we had our plane tickets donated to us by some fabulous folks. We fly out of Minneapolis on October 4th. Booking these tickets definitely made us take a step back and say "whoa, this is really happening". YESS!

God always takes our valleys and turns them into good. Because of the lost donor, we were able to gain access to an awesome media outlet, The Christopher Gabriel Program, and speak about the vision of Mattaw and speak about the need for a new donor. As a result, we have had several positive prospects approach us and when the time is right, I will share more about this. But nonetheless, God is in this. I just know that a lot of the trials we have faced this month is preparing us for the journey ahead.

Though our year in Kenya may look a bit different than expected, we are confident that this was not an accident.

There is still an awesome opportunity to partner with us in building Sprouts Baby Home. If you are interested in partnering with us, feel free to email me at mattawsprouts (at) yahoo (dot) com for opportunities available.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Green isn't just for hippies....

This year has been monumental for me. Not just in the moving overseas-kind of way.
I've started to look at ways that I can be more responsible in how I shop, eat and clean.

As the "being green" movement was becoming a trend, I was intimidated by it.
It seemed so.....hippie.

I was uncomfortable.

But, I started having conversations with moms about making small changes in our lives rather than a complete overhaul.

So, I have started slowly. Using paper or reusable bags rather than plastic when I grocery shop.

Simple. Even my kids got involved and would SCOLD me when I forgot my bags (those darn first born kids) at home.

I started to understand more about buying local and why it was so important, when possible, to shop local brands and farmers markets. Instead of ordering online, I've tried to make an effort to support the small guy, even if it cost a bit more.


I was challenged a little deeper last winter.

My son was going through some health issues and I was feeling helpless. My pediatrician was less than desirable to work with and nothing seemed to be helping. My son was put on more rounds of antibiotics and nebulizer treatments than I could count.

I started to look at environmental factors that could be attributing to his health issues.

Allergies? The tests tests proved negative. (45 injections later)

Talking to doctors (NOT my Ped), I was challenged to look at inside my home. Thus, this started the process of elimination.

Out went the Glade air fresheners, Pine-Sol floor cleaners, bathroom cleaners, bleach, laundry soap, etc.

My house smelled like NOTHING and it drove me nuts. I started using Shaklee products. Skeptical, I wondered if it really cleaned as well as the other products I was using.

I educated myself. I read many articles comparing store brands and other ‘green’ brands to Shaklee.

I learned that not only do Shaklee products clean as well as the other store brands, but because it came in concentrated formulas, I was saving money and waste. I also learned healthier ways to scent my home by using essential oils (HELLLLO LAVENDER!)

Today, I am an Independent Distributor, because I wholly believe in Shaklee’s products. In completely overhauling my cleaning system, as well as implementing nutritional components into our daily routine, the trips to the doctor have been cut more than half for all of my family.


Today, I am linking my Shaklee business with supporting the Sprouts Baby Home. It seemed like a no brainer.

Sprouts needs the funding to support the babies that will live there. ALL the money earned from you purchasing Shaklee products through me goes directly to building Sprouts.

Choosing to sign up to become a Distributor helps even more. Becoming a Distributor joins me in funding Sprouts. Not only do you get to pave your way to an awesome career and promote healthy living, but you earn an income and help babies in Africa, too.

Do the research for yourself. We all encounter many crossroads in our lives. Perhaps this is one for you. Choose non-toxic cleaning. Choose health. Choose to do your part in recycling an changing lives a half a world away at the same time.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Transitioning kids

I've tried to be as transparent as possible on this journey to help remember this season in our lives, but also to be somewhat of an encouragement for you who may be on the same path or may have thought about doing something like this.

Working as a Treatment Foster Care Social Worker in the past, I'm familiar with the grieving process that kids go through when they are taken out of their familiar environment, and the behaviors and issues that arise as a result. I am not claiming to be an expert, by any means. Here are some things we have learned:

Transitioning children is a big deal. It needs to be intentional and planful, when possible. I know that TJ and I will be okay, we will be able to handle the upcoming changes with minimal discomfort. Our children have never been to Kenya before. The way they handle the new culture, food, sights, and sounds will all be very different, because they are different.

Be intentional about how this transition makes them feel. Asking open ended questions to get kids talking about their emotions.

What do you think about our new house? What do you think of our move? Are there questions you have that are making you feel ______?

We continue to have ongoing age-appropriate discussions with them daily about moving.

Give kids power to choose.

We have already sent suitcases to Kenya with a team that went to Kenya from our area 2 weeks ago. The boys helped pack and choose toys they wanted to send in advance to have waiting for them when we arrived.

We have given the kids each a suitcase that they can put whatever they want into it without mom and dad giving an opinion. The boys chose pictures, toys, and various things that they wanted to bring.

Bring familiar items from home.

We are bringing their bedding from home, to give a sense of familiarity to them. I am packing picture frames, photos of family, grandparents, aunties and uncles, cousins and friends they have here to keep in their room to remember those who love them back in the States. I also am packing the essential oils/air fresheners that we use in our home today to use in our new home in Kenya.

Keep your routine.

Examples would include bedtime stories, family meals, songs, games and any elements to our day that we can keep similar when we arrive. Keeping kids' routine the same as much as possible is helpful in transitioning them to a new environment.

There is so much more to this I know. If you have any advice to help us get these three monkeys transitioned well let me know.