Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas from the ORR Field Team

Possibly the funniest JibJab ever (thanks Tim for the laugh)!

Merry Christmas from the ORR field Liberia and America.

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Giving Gifts That Matter

Are you are running around like a crazy person, trying to buy last minute Christmas gifts? I thought I wouldn't bring this up again, but I just watched the ORR video of the gang delivering Christmas bundles...and I couldn't not talk about it and share it with you. Not only did it make me really miss being in Liberia, but it made me almost cry [almost Cramer] to see how incredibly happy the kids were to open up their bundles! So, if you're still looking for that perfect Christmas gift for a loved one, I encourage you to take a look at the video below...notice the smiles, laughs and sheer joy. I immediately thought about how there's no gift I can give a loved one to evoke that same amount of joy...and it will be sitting on the shelf in a what's the point?

Buy a gift that matters, that will make a difference in the life of an orphan in Liberia! These gifts are not wants, but needs. You can give a gift in a loved ones name, or just give a gift to give. It is better to give than to recieve.


Christmas in Liberia

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mr. and Mrs. Baily

I wasn't able to take very many pictures yesterday, but the photographer has already posted one picture on his website...and it looks awesome!

My sister, best friend and the person who makes me laugh the hardest is a married woman now! The ceremony was beautiful, there were lots of laughs (ring bearer busting it down the aisle, aisle runner not cooperating, etc.) and lots of tears--of joy, and alot of celebrating!

The happy couple is enjoying the surf, sand and sun of Jamaica.

I love you so much Juju and Daniel!

Thanks to Michael Schneider Photography for the pic.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Since I've Been Home

Sorry things have been so quiet on this end. Some of you have been wondering where I've been and what I've been up to. Let me show you.

I've been spending time with these people:

[My family, Leslie, my sisters, Juju--my sister, best friend and Bride-to-Be (I've been waiting for the perfect time to use this makes me laugh everytime! I think Juju was being a turtle??), and the soon-to-be Mr. & Mrs. Daniel Baily]

And then there's the wedding junk:

[cupcakes, showers, ice skating, bachelorette party, belly dancing, making over 600 truffles, centerpieces, altering dresses, cleaning, packing, moving, organizing, making to-do lists, running errands, making airport runs, laundry.....]
The rehersal and rehersal dinner are tonight, and tomorrow's the big day!! I'll post pictures from the wedding as soon as I recover. And after I recover, I'll also get out my November newsletter (oops!). And tell you some stories about Liberia...and give you some of my reflections and thoughts.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Quick Gifty Update

[Gifty and her mom]

Today was the day! Gifty and her new mom boarded a plane and left Liberia! Thank you all so much for your prayers! She'll meet her new family sometime tomorrow...and I'm fairly certain that it will be love at first site! The thought of Gifty on her way home makes me excited (and thankful), but it also means that it's time to start praying for all things medical. The hurdles don't end with Gifty coming to America. She needs a new liver.

Gifty holds a special place in my heart. Today I realized that I missed her...I haven't seen her since I kissed her goodbye on Monday. When I think about her future, I know that she still has a long and difficult road ahead. But I also know that she is a fighter. I've thought about how special Gifty is, and how much joy she has brought into so many people's lives. She truly is a special girl, and I really believe that God has great things in store for her.

Gifty's story and journey has opened my eyes to the power of God's healing hand and I have seen the power of prayer. Gifty is a miracle.To God be the glory!


[I feel like this is all going to be very random]

I'm finally home! This morning when I woke up (at 6:45am?!), I woke up in another world. It felt strange to wake up in my American bed, under my blankets, next to a closed window, where I felt carpet under my feet, and turned on a light, and I pushed a button to flush the toilet, then I came downstairs, opened the fridge and poured a glass of oj and sat down in front of the tv with my parents. Talk about strange!

I have eaten 4 salads and had probably too much milk in less than 24 hours.

My sister is getting married in 9 days...which is crazy! And, it's unbelievable that it's almost Christmas; I never entertained the idea until I landed in Brussels and there were Christmas lights around the airport. And, Brussels was miserably freezing!! It was 32 degrees when I landed.

This morning, I've had the house to myself. I don't know why, but I have gone into every room and just looked around at all of the stuff. I even stood at the pantry for a few minutes, just surveying everything on the shelves. It's crazy! We have too much stuff. I feel like I am too blessed, but I also feel very wasteful. America is the land of plenty and want.

My brain has been running at a million miles a minute this morning. I've had so many thoughts, too many to write down. One minute I'm thinking about how fabulous it is to eat a bowl of cereal with real milk, and the next minute I'm thinking about what the children at Childcare Foundation are doing right now...and about how they are probably hungry.

One thing I'm sure of is that our God is good. Even as my plane was descending into Atlanta, I couldn't help but look out over my familiar city that's a world away from Liberia and sing "How Great is Our God".

Just from the last 24 hours, I think there are going to be alot of quiet times where I just need to listen and respond. I think God has alot to say, and I have plenty to learn. I pray that these next few months at home are fruitful and that I use my time wisely. I miss Liberia. Even though I'm home with my family (and all of my family's shenanigans), I'm happy but I miss Liberia. More than anything, I think that I am grateful. Grateful for everything.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Gifty Update

First of all, thank you all for all of your prayers!

I feel like an update is I'll catch you up. Gifty's mom has been in Liberia for more than a week. The past week has been full of running back and forth between the Temple of Justice and the Embassy. We were hoping that Gifty would be able to leave on Friday, but the Embassy still isn't convinced that Gifty is an orphan and doesn't think we have done enough to track down her family members. It's frustrating because of Gifty's medical condition--she's healthy enough today to fly, but who knows when the next respitory infection will creep back into her tiny body. She's looking so's great seeing her out of the hospital, living in a house, taking a bath, eating ALOT, sitting on the floor playing with all just feels so normal.

The good news is that on the Liberian side of things, Gifty has a new mom! So we just need to keep praying for the US Embassy side of things! And, we need to be praying for all of the medical things once Gifty gets stateside. She can't even be added to the transplant list until she's on US soil. Time is of the essence, but I have to keep reminding myself that it's not about our time, but it's about His time.

I will keep you all updated and let you know when Gifty is finally on her way home!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Calling All Prayer Warriors

[this is going to be short and sweet, I'll give a more detailed update when I'm not so sleepy]

Please pray for Gifty. I know I haven't been updating you all, but tomorrow's the BIG day! Tomorrow is the day that Gifty is supposed to leave Liberia to head home to America with her Ma. All of the legal hurdles and paperwork are not completed yet, and we're just praying for a miracle tomorrow. Pray that all of the paperwork would be completed in time for the flight. Pray that Gifty would be healthy enough to travel...she's been coughing alot. Gifty's been home from the hospital since Monday, and we've been loving all of the Gifty time! It's going to be hard to say goodbye to Gifty, but we are grateful for the time we've gotten to spend with her. God is so good and He's already worked so many miracles in Gifty's situation...keep praying for more miracles!