Thursday, July 28, 2011

Another Way You Can Help, Without Money

  I stumbled upon something on another blog site that I thought sounded like a lot of fun, and can really be helpful.  Since London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, I don't want to need things there that are much less expensive here.  Before we leave, I'll make sure the kids have new socks, shoes, and pajamas.  This stuff adds up.  But you can help with that once again, without giving me money. 

     What's it called?  Ironically enough,it's called, "Shop It To Me."  Here's a description from their website.


Shop It To Me is a free, trusted online personal shopper relied on by millions of women and men.

The Service:

Shop It To Me is an effortless way to find sales on more than 700 brands.

You tell us what's important to you: specific brands, categories of clothing & accessories, and your sizes - and we work as your free personal shopper, scouring the web to find the best prices on the items you love.

We check close to 200 retailers each day for sales on women's, men's, and children's clothing, shoes, and accessories.

Then, based on your preferences we create personalized e-mail alerts (Salemails™) that feature the latest markdowns, secret promotion codes, and even VIP sale events.

     So, what you do is click on my personal referral link here:
and they'll ask you what brands you like, and then you'll give them your sizes.  They send you an email when they find your sizes and brands on sale on the web, complete with links that take you straight to the sale item.  You even choose what day of the week you get your email.  I get mine on Thursdays.  It's nice because I'm a size that is difficult to find.  I can't tell you how much I hate finding a pair of shoes online that are at a really great price, only to click on the link and find that they don't have my size.  "SaleMails" take care of that little problem.

     Here's how it helps me.
     For every ten of you that sign up, I get a gift card to a clothing store where I can get the things we need for the big pond hop.

     So if you think you can stand one more email per week, please give it a try.  If you don't like it, you can unsubscribe or dump it in your spam folder.  And if you really like it, you can earn the gift cards yourself- just get your friends to sign up through you.

    You guys have been so supportive. I love reading your comments and hearing what you think.  I couldn't have imagined that so many of you would even look at this blog, much less continue to look and click on ads.  I wish you could know how my heart smiles when the counter goes up on my stats page.  Thank you. 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Ms. Fine

     We tried to go to Taiwan last year.  By tried I mean we prayed, we sent lots of emails, we researched.  It ended up to be a big, disappointing no-go.  I haven't given up on that one yet, but for now, it's not going to happen. 

     Reason number 1 on the no-fly zone?  I have two kids.  No one had a problem with me having kids, they just don't have anyone available to watch them while I work.  I needed a "support person" to come with me and help me out with them. 

     Ok, well, do you know anyone who is willing to step out of their lives for, say, a year, and come across the planet to babysit?  For free?  Oh, and did I mention that this person would have to pay their own way?  Yeah, I didn't either.  Plan shelved.

     So then I had the experience that I've referred to as "The Big Bang," and the issue has been raised again.  Could I possibly have such a thing as a nanny about?   Well, as a matter of fact, yes.  This time I did.  Go God.

     Let me just say that I have some really great friends.  For most of my life, I've had friends for seasons- wonderful people who came into my life and have since moved on.  In many cases, if I run into them at a store, or if I'm on facebook at just the right time, I can pick up with them as if we'd never been apart.  I love them.  They are significant, irreplacable.  The friends I have in my life right now and for the past two or three years since I began this crazy life of makingallthingsnew are extraordinary.  They are quite the group of intellectual, free-spirited, dusty footed, rag-tag, people loving, God adoring freaks.  I heart them. 

     I gave one of them a little journal for Christmas this past year, because I am convinced that her ideas will change the world, and I wasn't about to let a thing like forgetfulness rob her (and us) of what her mind can do.   She is a force like a hurricane.  I walked alongside another as we carried our malaria-stricken children to the hospital.  We were both so far out of our element, wondering what our obedience was really going to cost us.  In the middle of that great chaos, she reminded me that I could be a mother, work the Great Work, and participate in all the silly things that are required of us for being human and still find joy in a really good book, a cup of tea, and a quiet conversation.  She walks in beauty.

     I don't have time to write about all of them, and there are many more, like the one who always has an hour or three to listen to me rant on the phone about oh, just about anything- it started on facebook chat one night when I was scared to death about my health. . .or the one who showed me than having a kid with autism was cool in an I'll-beat-your-butt-if-you-mess-with-my-kid kind of way.  But I did meet this one in Haiti.  With dirt in our hair that smeared in the sweat that dripped out onto our foreheads, blackened fingernails and feet that would never know cleanliness again, we learned about happiness.  If you've never been to Haiti, you need to find yourself a group that is going to go do something really great to help them out.  Then go, and see how insignificant your contribution really is, and in return see just how much those people can give you.  It is a crazy, manic joy that I can't describe to you at all, you have to do it yourself.  So over a plate of rice and beans one afternoon this friend shares with me her heart for God, her willingness to serve.  I'll never forget hearing her say, "I am ruined.  I am ruined."  Nothing will ever be the same for her.  And I knew it because I saw myself about four years ago saying identical things, hearing that old hymn in my head, "No turning back, no turning back."  She's gonna start working the Work.

     I finally got up the guts to ask her to go with us to London.  I told her what I needed her to do, and she started laughing.  Of course she would go.  She'd just been asking God how she could serve long term, and how she could specifically serve in London.


     Cricket loves her because she throws paper wads at him when he eats.  Rooster likes how she's going to be a nanny, like that show.  He regularly stops and yells, "Ms. Fine!" just like Mr. Sheffield did on the show.   We're all singing the theme song around the house and laughing, because, who would have thought?  A nanny!  For us!  Unbelievable. 
     That's how she became        The Nannyyyyyy!

Saturday, July 23, 2011


     When Rooster was born, all of the nurses in the maternity ward made cooing noises at him and commented at how they'd  love to take him home.  He was always being held, always being talked to- I thought this was what maternity nurses did.  When Cricket was born, I learned differently.  He kicked, he squirmed, he screamed when he cried. The nurses wanted no love from Cricket.

     I learned quickly that my two children are very different.  Where Rooster craves quiet places with little interruptions, Cricket wants the world at his feet, ready to be enraptured by his every word.  Pretending that you are listening isn't good enough for Cricket.  He wants you to believe in everything that he says, and he is a very passionate little boy.

     He is the stereotype of a boy.  He loves bugs, mud, fish, farms, any animal that will be still long enough for him to pet them, popsicles, bubble gum, and bare feet.  He is also quite partial to chickens, especially if they will sit in his lap, but if they won't, he's just as content to chase them.  He likes nothing better than an afternoon spent with a water hose.  He doesn't like to wear shirts.  He will never, ever be capable of sitting still.  He is constantly talking.  He baits his big brother and reacts with glee when Rooster attacks him for it.  He really reminds me of the little red-haired boy in that movie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.  He's also a bit of a Beaver Cleaver.

     Rooster, Cricket, and I have logged quite a few frequent flyer miles in our QuestToMakeTheTruthKnown.  It hasn't been easy on any of us.  We once lived in the jungle for six weeks.  Now when I say "the jungle" I mean we were flown in on a crop-duster of a plane, dropped off in the jungle, and the plane left, taking with it's departure our only means of  returning home.  We were staying in that jungle for awhile.  Rooster, in his overly dramatic fashion, decided immediately that he was going to die.  I must admit that I contemplated my own mortality a bit more often than normal during our stay.  It was hard living.  We both got sick several times.  I'll spare you the details.  But every time I thought I'd had all I could take, here'd come Cricket, bouncing along without a care in the world.  I can't count how many times he asked, "Can we move here?"  If you ask him today, he will readily tell you that it is his favorite place on earth.

     He earned a nickname on that trip.  Cricket the Ev-ng-list.  And he earned every letter of it, even the vowels I didn't type for security reasons.  That kid will stop anybody, anywhere, and ask them if they know God.  He doesn't know all of the answers yet.  Sometimes Mama Jemima has to help him out.  But that kid opens doors.  I've never seen anything like it.  Whatever it was that the nurses didn't like about him in the maternity ward, it sure attracts people now.

Friday, July 22, 2011


    I call him Rooster for a reason.  He really is the cock-of-the-walk.  Just watch him walk sometimes.  It's so Foghorn Leghorn.  He's fourteen.  He's over six feet tall.  He has massive feet.  He turns tween heads with his black hair and sparkly blue eyes.  He's the most comical person I know.  He's autistic.  He's neurotic.  He absolutely adores babies.  He wants to see the world saved and he's quite willing to participate in that if his pre-requisites are met.  He laid it on the line for me:
1- No countries with malaria.
2- No countries where one must sleep under mosquito nets.
3- No countries where I can't play my PSP.
4- No countries without Wi-Fi.
5- I am not going anywhere without my own Wii.  This is non-negotiable.
6- We absolutely must take ice trays.  I can't live without ice.  It's horrible.

     When asked what he thought about his family entering into our line of Work, he replied, "Well somebody's gotta do it, and I suppose it's gotta be us."  -said with much arm waving and head bobbing.

     He's hysterical in a Dan Akroyd kind of way.  In fact, when I first heard that Dan Akroyd has Asperger's Syndrome, I couldn't see it until I compared his humor to Rooster's.  Good grief, they're twins.  I've been trying to talk him into wearing a dark suit, fedora, and sunglasses while walking around saying, "We're on a mission from God."  I think he'd nail it.  He thinks I'm nuts.

     He's the type of kid that isn't easy to love, but well worth the effort.  If you can get past the smart-aleck tone to his voice and the constant derrogatory coments that he's been told by modern tween television are funny, then you've got a kid who cares very deeply about the world around him.

     He's been bullied unmercifully.  The worst perpetrators have been adults.  Everyone thinks they know what will make him better, but oddly enough, wouldn't know enough about him to ever make those calls, and don't ever care to know.  No one seems to realize that he was born into a society that believes everything he does and says is somehow wrong.  He literally wakes up in the morning knowing that he won't do anything right today.  Every day.  That knowledge alone is enough pressure to make anyone of us go bonkers, but he gets up every day, makes his bed (most days), and walks out into a world that will never accept him and constantly make hurtful attempts at changing him.  And even though he still wakes up mama Jemima every time there is a thunderstorm in the night, he is the single bravest human being I have ever known.

     When I think about what I've been taught about Jesus laying down his rights and his life for us, and how we are called to do the same thing for him, I think about my Rooster, my beautiful, strong boy, and how he lays down his rights to comfort, to security, to comraderie every day to walk among us.  Will he ever know how much we have been honored by him?  Will we?

Hurdles, Hedges, and Hoops and How To Crash Through Them All One At a Time

     We're in the honeymoon phase.  We've been given a new mission, we've gotten over the shock, and now we're just being silly.  Doing things that don't need to be done now, but doing them anyway, just for fun.  Like dusting out our suitcases, picking out sheets and pillowcases, deciding which toys must be taken... Or reading up on English slang.  Watching Dr. Who and saying over and over again, "Look, I want to go there.  Did you see it?"

     What we must do, and we must start doing it now, is no fun at all.  Fundraising.  The word alone sets me all over with shivers.  I dread it.  But it has to be done, so I've set my teeth on finding ways for it to be fun because, after all, I'll be doing it for a solid flarking year and you, yes you, will all have to put up with it.

     My God is a God of miracles.  I don't say this lightly.  I've found several ways for my supportive community to help, and it doesn't cost money.  Hallelujah!  Did you hear that?  I said you don't have to give me money!

   Oh, I can't believe I just said that.  Give me a moment for the palpitations to subside.  A glass of water for Jemima!  Thank you.

    Now then, I'm a newbie at blogging.  I know next to nothing about HTML, or computers in general for that matter, but if I need to know something, or I need to know how to do something, I will figure it out.  Ask my mechanic.  Ask my plumber.  Ask my doctor.  Ask my mother!  So when I started putting this blog through it's paces, I discovered something.  You can put up ads on this thing.  And I get paid per 100 clickety-clacks of your little mice.   Or I get a commision if you buy something, but don't do that unless you were planning on buying it anyway.  So if you don't mind, once every seven days, could you clickety-clack through them?  All of them?  It's completely free and easy to do.  And the proceeds go to the Work.  You know what Work I do.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Big Bang

     No, I'm not talking about controversial theories.  I'm talking about our lives, and what happens sometimes when you live your life on faith and obedience.  Sometimes, just sometimes, you get a Big Bang from God himself.

     So here we are, wandering along, and one morning I open my email and there it is, my Big Bang.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Cricket and I were planning this splendid adventure in Haiti together.  I'd been, he hadn't, and he made me promise him that I'd not go again without him.  I agreed and we pulled out the calendar to block off three weeks of good times with dusty feet- simple enough.  But we never could pin down dates (clue number one), and I never could decide just exactly how to begin fundraising (clue two) or what exactly we were going to do for three weeks aside from walking around randomly feeding people (food, amongst other things).  And there was the issue of Rooster, my little chicken, who is terrified of mosquitoes and malaria endemic countries, who refused to go to any place else where he'd have to take malaria medications.  He'd had malaria once, and he was bound and determined to not ever have it again.  Was I seriously going to leave him behind?

     The answer to that ended up being no.  Our Call (with a capital C) is a family call, and where one goes, three go.  I made this decision, and just about the same time, behold, I received the Big Bang.

     I got an email from my good friends the Perthians, needing my help with a specific task.  Could I spare them, say, 2012? 
The year? 
Yup.  Or any length of time during that year.
Ok, where to?
London, Ontario?
No, London England.
Well, let me just think about this...

     Now before you go thinking that I was jumping and screaming for joy, let me tell you a little about myself- Jemima.  I am a confessed anglophile.  I love all things English.  I can Jane Austen, Dr. Who, and Cornish pasty you around the block and back again.  I cannot get enough.  I am actually thankful that we don't have the BBC on our cable lineup because I'd never get my beehiney off of the couch and do anything if I had unfettered access to that much information all day.  So why did my stomach take a flying leap off the Tower Bridge when I heard "London?"  For all of my love of those absurdly uptight, highly fashionable, quick witted people, I am, admittedly, more than a little intimidated.  If you know me, you know that I put my dirty feet into my dusty rubber clogs with my grubby t shirt and my shorts that have definitely seen better days, and I'm good for going. . . anywhere. 

     Anywhere except London. 

     This is my fairy tale city.  The in-your-wildest-dreams fantasy town.  And I'm going looking like- THIS?  I couldn't even pull a pair of good panty hose over my crusty, haven't-had-a-pedicure-since-Cricket-was-a-baby, water buffalo hooves without catching a good ladder in the first try.  How am I going to swing this one?  I don't want to be the water buffalo loose in Notting Hill.  I want to be the fine lady in Banbury Cross with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes.

     There ought to be a reality show, "When Fantasy Becomes Reality" because when fantasy actually does become reality, what do we make of our dreams?

     I finally remembered, at some point, what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 9, "I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some."  So there you have it.  If it means that I must wear real shoes and visit a hairdresser regularly, and maybe slap some polish on my hooves (I mean toenails), then so be it.  Big Bang.

     And guess what?  Stubborn old Rooster is excited!  He's actually looking forward to it. Cricket is excited too, but he's always excited.  That boy has an ant farm up his caboose somewhere.  So we're going.  To London.  God willing.  July 2012.  For six months.  Big, big bang.

Photo courtesy of constantin jurcut.