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One Simple Wish

14 Mar

Sometimes I will come across an article that makes me want to jump up and down shouting YES! I read one such article last week on CNN: Website Shows Foster Kids Their Wishes Are Worthwhile. The article is about an organization that grants wishes to foster children.

We’re all familiar with wonderful organizations such as Make-A-Wish that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions or the Jack & Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation which grants wishes to families when one of the parents has terminal cancer. Now, One Simple Wish strives to grant wishes to foster children. And I gotta tell ya . . . I LOVE this idea.

one-simple-wish

As a little personal background, my two beautiful stepdaughters are both adopted. The oldest was separated from her brothers and sisters and bounced around to a couple of foster homes before coming to live with my husband and his ex-wife where she would eventually be adopted. The conditions in some of the foster homes were less than ideal, to say the least. The youngest was adopted at birth, but had that option not been available, she might have found her way to the foster care system, too.

Sadly, it is that way for many foster children in “the system” today. They wind up in bad homes or float from place to place without ever getting to put down roots anywhere. But, I also believe there are many foster parents who try to give the children the most loving home possible, while struggling to financially provide for his or her needs.

Imagine yourself as a foster child. You’ve lost what was familiar to you and are placed into a strange environment. Maybe you are moved from foster home to foster home for years. Your heart yearns for a permanent family of your own, one that will embrace you and care for you. But maybe that family never comes and you remain in foster care well into your teen years. Do you think you would feel unwanted? Would you be sad, depressed, and lonely?

This is why I think One Simple Wish is such a great organization! They step in and say to these children: “we care, YOU ARE SPECIAL, and your wish is important to us.” What could be better than making a child feel valued?

Are you curious about the types of wishes these foster children are making? You might be shocked at the simplicity and earnest desire behind many of them.

  • One young boy wanted a suit to wear to a relative’s funeral.
  • Another girl requested a gift card to Barnes & Noble so she could buy books to read.

Others were as simple as:

  • Gymnastics lessons
  • Clothes
  • Ticket to Disneyland
  • Laptop to take to college
  • Tricycle

Clothes, books, lessons, tricycle, a computer for learning. Basic, everyday things that no child in 2013 should have to do without. And that’s where One Simple Wish steps in.

The best part of this program is that you can grant an entire wish for a child or contribute toward a wish – it all depends on how much you can contribute. There are, also, a variety of other ways you can participate: How You Can Help. Hop on over to their site and check out some of the wishes for yourself.

Blessings,
♥Rachel

4 Blog Posts You Should Read

24 Jan

I subscribe to way more blogs than I can possibly read in a day. Or a week.  Or a lifetime. They’re all so good and I wish I had time to read them all. Sometimes, as I’m skimming the titles, I’ll see a few that catch my attention enough that I’ll read the whole post. I’ve found a few recently that I think are worthy of sharing.

daisy

Tracy at Time with Tracy talks about 3 Ways to Be a Remarkable Friend. It’s an interesting perspective and I could learn a lot from her suggestions. So many of us are not necessarily lacking in empathy, we just don’t tap into it enough.

While the idea of praying for your spouse as you fold their underwear is a good one, it’s not what I needed to hear in that moment. I was struggling. My insurmountable laundry wasn’t the problem; it was the symptom.

You can read the rest of Tracy’s post here.


Layla Palmer at The Lettered Cottage has such a great idea for this year! One of her goals is doing random acts of kindness for people, so she had the idea to leave a few anonymous notes for random people in her neighborhood. What a fun idea and great way to perk up someone’s day!

RIGHT before I stuck the sticky note to the mailbox, a mail man came walking through the door, and your girl panicked. I instantly entered a little state-of-being I like to call the Perspiration Station, and proceeded to blurt out something about a “photo project” before he even asked why I was standing there with a camera in one hand, and a sticky note in the other.

You can read the rest of Layla’s post here.


Michael Hyatt is never short on great advice. In his post, Courage Is Not the Absence of Fear, he talks about how he confronted one of his fears – conflict – and dealt with a difficult situation.

Years ago, soon after I became head of one of our publishing divisions, I had to confront one of my authors. He was pleasant and cooperative when I spoke with him. But he was demanding, uncooperative, and downright nasty to my staff. Finally, one of them came to me in tears and said, “I’m sorry, but I just can’t take it any more.”

You can read the rest of Michael’s post here.


Justin Davis at Refine Us has a great piece for any recovering perfectionist and points out some of the struggles perfectionists deal with regularly: unmet expectations, living in defeat, and lacking in joy.

My guess is that some of you are perfectionists too. You have to be perfect at work. You have to have a perfectly kept house. You have to have perfectly behaved kids. You have to be the perfect spouse. You have to be the perfect friend. If you can’t be perfect, then most likely you just put on the facade of perfection. You pretend things are perfect at home; with your kids, in your job. No one can know you may not be perfect, after all.

You can read the rest of Justin’s post here.

I hope you enjoy these posts from some fabulous bloggers. Have a wonderful day, friends!

Blessings,
♥Rachel

It’s Not Too Late to Honor Your Dad for Father’s Day

19 Jun

I know Father’s Day has passed, but there is a way you can still honor your dad.

You’ve probably all heard of the Make a Wish organization.  This fantastic group aims to grant children with life-threatening medical conditions a wish of their choosing.  I love what this organization does to help children – who have had to spend much of their childhood in hospitals – feel special.

But there’s another organization you may not have heard of before: the Jack and Jill Late Stage Cancer Foundation.  This Atlanta, Georgia based organization was founded by Jon Albert in 2006 following his wife’s death from stage IV metastatic breast cancer.  Jon and his wife, Jill, realized that families – and especially the children – need time together following a parent’s life-threatening cancer diagnosis so the children can create lasting memories with their parent.

Here’s a piece NBC News did on the organization last year:

{If you are reading this in email,
you may need to click over to the blog to watch the video.}

Their goal is to create WOW! Experiences for families facing cancer.  Once a parent is diagnosed with late stage cancer, so many days are filled with doctor’s visits, tests, pills, chemotherapy, radiation, and sickness.  These are not the memories parents want their children to have of them.  So, JAJF steps in to create an experience for the family to enjoy together.  It might be a vacation, a trip to a special event like the Oscars, or something else the family would like to do together.  JAJF wants to make it possible for families to step out of the cancer crisis and into a memory making environment.

And you can help!  They are continuing their Tweet4Dads campaign through June 21.  Choose on one of the following Tweets and retweet it or post it to Facebook.  Help spread the word about this great organization!

Let’s not limit celebrating dads to only one day. Support dad memories, check out @jajforg http://bit.ly/LWN5aQ#Tweet4Dads

@JAJForg is halfway to its goal of helping 12 families create dad memories. Learn more & donate http://bit.ly/Lsvw1s#Tweet4Dads

As with any organization such as this, they also need money to help them make these memories a reality for as many families as possible.  They are trying to help 12 families create dad memories before it’s too late.  In honor or memory of your dad, would you consider making a donation to them today?  You can view their donations page here.

For more information about JAJF, visit their site at www.jajf.org, follow them on Twitter at twitter.com/JAJForg or find them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/JAJForg.

♥ Rachel

Keeping Track of Everything

17 Jan

I’m pretty much on cruise control these days.  Feeling very well with mild fatigue – no complaints at all.  :)  For the first time since this started, I’m not thinking about treatment (even though I know I have more coming up).  I’m just enjoying being “normal” for a while.

This is definitely the age of information overload, right?  Floods of lists, notes, contact information, emails, blogs, articles, news stories, and a hundred other things all come into our lives on a daily basis.  From research articles to my own medical reports & records to treatment details, I’ve collected a huge amount of information just on cancer related topics alone.  But whether you are a cancer patient or not, we all have tons of information to store.

Source: ThinkStockPhotos.com

In the “old days,” we might have kept all of this information in paper file folders.  Yeah, I know, I still have plenty of file folders on my desk, so the old days really weren’t that long ago, huh?  More recently, maybe we’ve started keeping lots of information electronically within folders on our computer.  But now, there’s another option!

There is a tool that Barry and I both have been using for several months to keep track of important information we don’t want to lose.  The tool is called Evernote and it’s a pretty handy little gadget.

It’s basically an electronic notebook.  It allows you to create notebooks and within those notebooks, notes where the information is stored.  Evernote is easy to use and syncs with the web so that I can access the information from home, work, or via my Android phone (and iPhone if you have it).  AND, it’s free.  They do have a paid version for those who need more space, but the free version gives you quite a bit of storage and functionality.

Some of the things that I store and organize in Evernote are:

  • Recipes
  • Blog/Writing Ideas and Research
  • Cancer Related Articles and Information
  • Medical History
  • PDF Books
  • Family History
  • My Journal
  • Quotes
  • To Do List
  • Project Ideas
  • Contacts
  • Blog Articles
  • Gift Ideas

The possibilities are virtually endless.  You could organize pretty much anything your little heart desires in Evernote!  It also has an easy web clipper that lets you “clip” pages from websites and pull them directly into Evernote.  I love that it syncs with the web so that it is accessible anywhere.

If you like to have your information organized all nice and neat, you should check it out.  If you do, let me know what you think.

Happy Tuesday!
♥ Rachel

Cancer-Free Friday: Peeves and Fritters

14 Oct

How’s that for a blog title: Peeves and Fritters.  I’m pretty sure it’s an original.  Can’t imagine anyone else wanting to use that for a title!  ha ha

For this week’s Cancer-Free Friday post, I’m wondering – should we talk about pet peeves (since it’s National Pet Peeve week) or apple fritters?

Hmm…..  I’m feeling indecisive, so how about both!

Pet Peeve

You know how people use the word “like” as a filler in sentences?  That’s my pet peeve.  Well, it’s one of them.  Some of you know me well enough to know that I have WAY more than one pet peeve.  ha ha

I’m going to call Sarah and, like, see if she wants to, like, maybe, go have lunch tomorrow. {“Like” and “maybe” are a deadly combination when used together.}

She bought flowers at Costco so that we could, like, arrange them for the party and, like, save a few bucks by doing it ourselves.

My idea for the website would be to, like, you know, make it better, or something. {It’s even worse when “like” is followed by “you know.”}

Drives…me…up…a…wall.  :)

What about you?  You know you have them, so speak up.  What are some of your pet peeves?

Apple Fritters

The weather’s turning cooler, there are huge, beautiful, shiny apples in all sorts of gorgeous colors in every grocery store and farmer’s market, and I have a sweet tooth about as big as my head.  So I made apple fritters for the first time the other day.  I thought they were pretty yummy and very easy to make.  Hear me again – they were E-A-S-Y to make.  I am ALL about easy recipes.  If it’s complicated, I’m not making it.  I don’t have the time or patience for complicated recipes.

I thought you guys might enjoy this one.  We can thank Betty Crocker for it.  Betty’s pretty awesome when it comes to things like this.

Let me just state for the record that I am a NOT professional food stylist, baker, or photographer (I’m sure that is painfully obvious by this photo – taken with my phone camera no less!  ha ha).  I just wanted to give you some idea as to what these little guys looked like when I made them.  If you want to see how they are supposed to look, go check them out on Betty’s site.

Here’s the recipe:

Apple Cinnamon Fritters

Vegetable oil for deep frying
2 cups Original Bisquick® mix
1/2 cup cold water
1 egg
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 large unpeeled Granny Smith apple, chopped (about 1 3/4 cups)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
  1. In deep fryer or 4-quart heavy saucepan, heat oil to 350°F.
  2. In large bowl, stir Bisquick mix, water, egg, granulated sugar and cinnamon. Fold in apple. Working in batches, drop batter by tablespoonfuls into hot oil. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, turning occasionally, or until golden brown. Use a metal slotted spoon to remove fritters from oil; drain on paper towels.
  3. Before serving, sprinkle fritters with powdered sugar.
Makes 22 fritters.
Click here to print this recipe from BettyCrocker.com.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!  I will try my best to do the same.

Cancer-Free Friday: A Hodge Podge

23 Sep

Good news!! It’s Friday! That means tomorrow is Saturday (I’m a pretty sharp gal – ha ha) and that means college football – YAY!!! Here’s hoping Auburn gives us a WIN this week. War Eagle!!

This week’s Cancer-Free Friday is a compilation of some recent blog posts I found inspiring & encouraging, or just simply interesting or useful. I’m hoping you will enjoy them, too.

I loved this post by Holly Gerth – 3 Simple Ways to Help Anyone in Your Life. So many times, we have a friend or loved one who is hurting and we just don’t know what to do for them. Holly provides three suggestions: affirm the emotion, call out the best in the person, and encourage the next step. Visit Holly’s blog to learn more about how you can use these steps to provide support to someone you care about.

Kasey Krawiec writes about how we cannot always avoid the storms in our life and states, “…the storm was only a chapter…. not the whole story.” What a great reminder that no matter how ferocious the storm raging around us may be, it is a piece of our life – not our whole life. There were good days before the storm came and there will be good days after the storm has passed. You can read the rest of Kasey’s post here.

My sweet friend, Sarah, made an adorable (although sadly themed!) wreath last week. (I just can’t resist knocking her Vols!) I thought it was so cute, I popped over to The Picky Apple where she got the idea to see how it was done. However, I quickly realized that it would require a WHOLE lot more patience than I have to cut out all those little pieces of ribbon, loop them, and THEN affix them to the wreath form. Nope, not for me. It’s cute, though. Too bad Sarah didn’t choose orange and blue for her colors. ;)

If you are looking for Fall decorating ideas for your front porch, Home Stories A2Z brings together 22 Fall Front Porch Ideas from around the web for your parusal. Lots of great ideas!

For those of you with creative tendencies (digital or traditional) BittBox put together a Freebie Gallery where you will find lots of great hi-resolution background images, Photoshop brushes, fonts, and vector images that are all FREE to download and use in your own projects.

I know some of you are into photography. Vandalay Design posted 33 Photoshop Photo Editing Tutorials this week and it is a great resource for learning how to edit and enhance your photos. The list includes links to tutorials explaining how to touchup old, scratched photos, how to create a vintage polaroid effect with your photos, and more.

Lastly, the Pew Research Center stated that 31 percent of people who send text messages would rather text than talk. I’m in that 31 percent. I’m not a phone person. If I can’t talk to you face-to-face, I would much rather text than talk. Might be weird, but that’s how I’m wired. :) What about you – text or talk?

Oh, and I saw this photo on Pinterest and it just makes me smile. Look at that sweet thing! Hope it makes you smile, too.

Source: Pinterest

Have a wonderful weekend!!

Cancer-Free Friday: Profile – CMN

16 Sep

Two of my favorite people in the world run an organization called Church Missions Network. Phil and Susan Johnsey live outside of Nashville, Tennessee and have known Barry since he was a teenager. Phil was Barry’s youth minister and Barry even babysat for them on occasion. Phil and Susan are now grandparents who are head-over-heels in love with three adorable little girls.

Phil has a heart and a passion for missions work. He spends countless hours planning for and preparing to lead groups of volunteers to do medical and construction work in Africa and Honduras. He then spends more countless hours actually serving alongside the volunteers in these remote locations, many times being away from home for three or four weeks at a time.

Photographer: Phil Johnsey

Church Missions Network exists to connect individuals and churches to more effectively participate in missions work. The scope of their efforts is broad and touches many lives in ways that are more than spiritual. Phil understands that you can’t address people’s spiritual needs without first meeting their most basic physical needs such as food, medical care, and providing a means for them to generate income. In addition to building churches and equipping pastors to lead these churches, CMN also takes medical teams to provide vital medical care.

Photographer: Phil Johnsey

The organization also provides sewing machines and supplies to women in some of the communities so that they can sew products to earn money to support their families. Through Kare 4 Kids, CMN makes food available for orphans. In May of this year, the organization provided more than 25,000 meals to hungry children in Kenya. For many of these children, it would be their only meal of the day. It doesn’t get more important than that!

Photographer: Phil Johnsey

I would love for you to take a few minutes and visit their website to learn more about the great work they are doing. Not all of us are called to physically go to the mission field and work in a hands-on manner, but we are all called to do something.

Maybe you can make a contribution to CMN. Maybe you can say a prayer for the next team as they prepare to go. Maybe your church is wanting to make a greater effort in the area of world missions and you could connect them with Phil.

If you have questions about the program or are interested in volunteering, feel free to email Phil at pjohnsey@churchmissionsnetwork.org or let me know and I can put you in touch with he or Susan.