Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Gift for You!

We love comments! And we have received a lot of great ones. You always encourage and support us with the love you show by leaving us messages. Some of our favorite comments to read are from our friend Anonymous, it's so unexpected and excites us so much when He/She stops by. ;)

Yesterday we received a comment from someone who has just found us- those are always the best, and to that reader we wanted to say "Welcome!" We hope you stay and we wanted to tell you that we have a big announcement in the works for next year that you may be interested in following...

So in appreciation to all of our readers we thought we would give you a gift! And since the FoodPak was one of our first adventures we thought it would be fun to donate one in your name- to our readers! You have made our experience so much fun, and we are so thankful that you have given your time to stop by. :)

Hope you like it! And we pray this one goes far!

Merry Christmas from taylorandfrankie!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Creativity

Christmas is just around the corner and we are so busy making gifts for family and friends along with getting ready for our Christmas adventure up North! (More on that later!) This year we decided to give everyone on our list a donation to a charity or organization that fits them best paired with a home made gift (or something inexpensive that was wished for)! We are having so much fun spending time together, making these secret things and can't wait to to share what we did for everyone! But they have to open it first.... and before that we have to finish making them...

If you are doing something fun this year to join in the spirit of Advent Conspiracy let us know! We would love you hear your creative ideas! (To read some really awesome ideas, check out this blog post and all the great comments of how others are Doing Things Differently!)

And if you want to join in on the giving, here are a few places we like:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Chump Change for Pump Change!

So we have been visiting Ecclesia for a few weeks and we really like it. Their messages just keep capturing us every time we go and we leave excited and eager to change things around us. During this season of advent, they are focusing on true peace, shalom, in our families, neighborhoods, cities and how the birth of Christ can bring it.

During this season of Worshipping Fully and Giving More we are excited about joining in on their latest project! On Sunday they launched “Chump Change for Pump Change”. So for the rest of the year we will be collecting our loose change in jars and on January 10th, in celebration of Epiphany, we will turn that change over to Ecclesia and they will use that to build clean water wells in India! If you want to help us out we will be carrying a bag with the Chump Change for Pump Change with us everywhere we go. Just find us and drop in a few pennies. (Journey people we will be at 9 o’clock – hint hint ;) ) Or if you want to start your own jar, we have more stickers!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Seed-A-Need Update

We've been keeping our eyes open for Needs to Seed, but before we could get one, we were unexpectedly Seeded!! LOL!!

We woke up early yesterday to take Frankie's car to the shop to get some work done, but due to the snow, (the wonderful, glorious, magnificent snow!), all of the car windows were iced!!! Because we live in Texas we were quite unprepared for this! As we stood around scratching our heads, a neighbor, who was on his way out, ran back upstairs and returned with a can of "De-ice". This small random act of kindness saved the day!

So, we were Seeded... and now we have a great oppurtunity to meet our neighbor when we return the can to thank him!

So thanks God for the snow and all of the seeds that sprouted from it! :)

(If you look closely, you can see our kind neighbor in the background, running back upstairs! Thank you!!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Seed A Need

one seed. one vision. millions affected.

We just got our seed a need cards in the mail and we are so excited!! Agent J first introduced us to seed a need through her blog. (Thanks J!) The idea is to change the world through unlimited good deeds from one person to the next. Seed a need sends out cards with the seed a need logo, the website, and card number, and these simple instructions:

Perform an act of kindness to someone
Then give them the card
or have someone give it to them.

"Give and it shall be given" Luke 6:38

The cool part about this project is that everytime the card is passed, the recipient of the good deed can go online and leave a comment about what happened. If everyone does this, then each card tracks all of the good that is being done and also where the card is! How neat is that?!

So don't just sit around and wait for a card to come to you! Get in on the fun by going to the website and signing up- you will recieve 3 seed a need cards to start your mission! (While you're there, check out the great ideas the site has to get you started!)

The SEED of good deeds become a tree of life! Proverbs 11:30

Stay tuned to find out how we will seed needs!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

CHF Southwest Grand Opening

Last weekend we were back in San Antonio for Children's Hunger Fund's Southwest Grand Opening! It was a great day- the weather was beautiful, the sky was blue, and there were balloons at the entrance!!! (We love balloons!) The inside of the building was just as great. A lot of hard work and dedication was finally revealed!

At the start of the tour we walked through the break room to the assembly room. Here we were stopped to see a long line of kids that spanned the whole length of the room- youth volunteers from CBC. A rolling surface moves box after box after box, from one end to the other while the kids place there designated item into the box. From the rollers, the box is taken, packed, sealed, and stacked. This is the room where all of the processing will be done, and with the new layout and set up, boxes can be assembled so much more efficiently!

We were then moved through sliding doors into the training room,. This is where the important relational training takes place to teach people how to distribute the boxes to local families. Everyone who wants to hand out Food Paks needs to go through this training in this beautiful new room. There were also vegetable trays and fruit trays for snacking - they treat you real god when you volunteer! Yum!

Next on the tour was a room that we had been in before when we helped process the boxes a few posts back... But this new and improved room had shelves with stocked water, rice, beans, canned food, toys= everything you need to run an organizations as great as this one! Much of it was recently donated. At the end of each aisle was a table stacked with items and a description of what it is, how it serves, and how it is distributed.

Chairs filled the center of the room and a stage was make of Food Pak boxes! In each chair was a book mark and a card. Everyone picked a seat after taking the tour and waited for the opening ceremony to start. We got to meet and visit with James Massey, the Missions Coordinator at Oak Hills church. During the ceremony we heard from about five different people, all of them excited and thankful for the great things that are happening in San Antonio with the opening of this new location. Lot of prayers, lots of praise, lots of cheers for CHF and God's plans for the future! At the end, everyone was asked to fill out the card to support CHF through prayer and the bookmark is to help us remember the different points of the ministry pray for. At the end of the morning we got to meet and see a lot of great people. Dave Phillips, founder of CHF, and Michael Richards, Regional Director, and our friend Charlene Webster :) were there as well as a few more people from CHF- sorry we can't remember everyone's name! We even made a new friend Amy, Hi Amy! It was a great day, and we has such a good time! We were glad to be a part of such an exciting event and so excited about what God is going to do through the new location and all the wonderful volunteers who serve there! We even left with two new really cool shirts!

Check out our morning in pictures:

the training room

Dave Phillips

Us and Charlene!

Sweet, new shirts!
(The back has a picture of the Food Pak and also the website.)

Friday, November 13, 2009

More Free Food!!

So we haven't bought groceries for 3 weeks!!! We've been living off the free food from G'ma's house and whatever else we had in the pantry when we started. We planned to go without grocery shopping for only two weeks, but by the end, we still had tons of food leftover! So we started week 3!

This week has been a little more difficult since we've pretty much run out of breakfast foods and snacks...but take a look at the picture above...all of this we have recieved for free this week! Free samples in the mail from my new favorite website-, free snacks after donating blood, free Whataburgers for wearing orange on Tuesday, and 2 free $10 Panera gift cards from the mall! Plus, my mom sends us home with leftovers everytime we visit! lol! Also, Frankie's week has been packed with lunch meetings and office dinners where he feasts on someone elses dollar!

So we have made it through 3 whole weeks of Food Pak inspired eating without spending a dime on groceries!!! (Although, we did slip a few times on the last week and had some fast food meals...totally unplanned. :/ But they were still pretty cheap.)

We still have some canned goods left in the pantry so we will see what happens next week!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Other Christmas Gifts

Speaking of Christmas presents...November is a great time to start Christmas shopping! Before all the hustle and bustle and the craziness that comes after Thanksgiving, Operation Christmas Child and other similar programs launch their campaigns. This works because they need to have time to process and ship the gifts before Christmas, but it also works out that you have the chance to shop for others first! Coincidence? I think not! ;)

Similar to Operation Christmas Child, Oak Hills has built relationships over the years with two orphanages- one in Haiti and one in Nicaragua. This includes some medical mission trips, as well as summer and winter mission trips. So for Christmas they pack shoeboxes full of clothes, school supplies, toiletries, toys, and other little goodies for all the children, nannies, and pastors at these orphanages then hand deliver them! It's pretty neat!

We did 7 boxes this year (practicing giving uncomfortably). Definitely not by our own means, and not because we are $bags, as we were referred to on Sunday! ;) LOL! But because we serve an amazing God who chooses to work through obedient and willing hearts! A lot of the money came from simply selling stuff on Craigslist! Really! Stuff that we had lying around (fish tanks, small pieces of furniture, and so on)...the cash really adds up! So instead of putting it in to a bank account where it gets lost with the rest of spending, we stashed it for November! It was so exciting to see it build up!

It's also so much fun to shop for all the goodies to fill the boxes! Here's what we bought:
For Fred

For Mama Hilda

For Guerby

For Dakinlove and Junia

my favorite gifts! so cute!

For Dudre and Dudro (twins! :)

Majority of the shoeboxes Sunday morning at Journey! Great job, guys! (Also, some wrapped Foster Tree Angel gifts for foster children in Guadalupe County!)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

All We Want for Christmas

It's that time of year again, and family and friends have started to ask the question "What do you want for Christmas?" And even though we would love for everyone to participate in Advent Conspiracy, some people still like to give gifts. So for those people, here is our response... this is the Official TaylorFrankie Christmas Wish List!


1. A reusable water thermos from charity:water. Thermos partnered with charity:water to create hydrationforall and this really cool thermos. The best part is that 100% of the profit from this product goes to building wells for people who need clean water.

2. This H2Africa hand made bracelet by Amy Smith is at the Water4Christmas Etsy shop. This shop features a variety of sellers whose product sales are donated 100% to finding a solution for clean water in villages in Liberia, West Africa.

3. Children's Hunger Fund Menu features great gifts for giving and receiving. You can send food, Bibles, shoes, bikes, toys, and other goods to people in need. Anything from the Menu would make us happy, as well as a lot of other people.

4. charity:water bracelets are a great way to show support to a good cause, and again, 100% of the profits go to building wells!

5. A stained glass water drop ornament by Barb Bulluck also for H2Africa at the Water4Christmas Etsy shop.

6. For every pair of TOMS shoes sold, another pair is sent to a child in need. These shoes are awesome and are a two-for-one deal!

7. This Every Child's Right Shirt raises money for a family's adoption. Also, when you purchase this shirt, you can mention another family (we found out about it through the Block Family) and a portion of the profits goes to help fund their adoption as well!

Water, food, homes, shoes, life... this is what we want for Christmas.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Advent Conspiracy 2009

Advent Conspiracy's 2009 video!

Again, inspiring and encouraging! Enjoy and share!

ALS Part Three: ALS Walk

Here we are! All of that hard-work, fundraising paying off! Here at the ALS walk to D'feat ALS, all of the teams came together to walk for a cure! Free breakfast, fun games, jammin' music, free lunch, and free t-shirts for everyone who shows up on time and isn't in the car driving around looking for a parking spot as the opening ceremonies start... (the shirts were really cool this year, and we are really sad we didn't get one...). But we still had fun with all of our family and friends! Check out the photos!

Frankie representing!

Nothing but smiles on a beautiful day!

Here is the lady we are doing it all for!!!
We love you Tia Chita!! :D

We have big things in the works for next years ALS fundraising efforts! We'll be sure to share it here when it comes around!

Thanks to all our friends and family who helped support through Frankie's walk page! Ya'll are great!

ALS Part Two: Softball Tournament

The second event we helped out in was the first annual Chita's Angels Softball Tournament! We couldn't play because we had to be at a wedding later that day, but we did do our part by manning the concession. Although we didn't win, everyone had a lot of fun!

Taylor selling sandwiches. :)

Dad running home!

All the Angels ():)

Thursday, November 5, 2009

ALS Part One: Benefit

Ok, so it may not seem like we've been very adveturesome, but actually we've been so busy being adventerous that we forgot to post! Ok, that and we were being a little lazy...
But here's what we've been up to:

Lately we've been busy on the weekends working to "Strike Out ALS". ALS is also known as Lou Gherig's disease. It's a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. Frankie's aunt, Chita, has been living with this disease for over 6 years. She's strong and inspiring and it's great to be able to help out and raise money to fund research and find a cure! Over the past couple months we have participated in a Benefit Dinner and Dance, a Softball Tournament, and the Walk to D'feet ALS! Here are some of the pics from the benefit:

The Family

We made cupcakes for the bake sale!

Buc-ees silent acution gift.

Candy Basket silent auction gift.

The outcome for this was great this year! It's always fun to get together with all the family and half the town of Devine and all together we raised a lot of money for a good cause!

Check out the rest of the cupcake pictures on Taylor's Facebook!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mystery Can

Out of all the food we received, one can stood out from the rest.
One can was just a little too plain and had us scratching our heads.
This can was large and had no paper label, instead printed on the side were the words Pork in Juices.

I think that the fact that it was meat, and not tuna or chicken, made us grab it. But what we would do with a can that looked like it could have a whole snout in it, was a mystery. After pushing it aside for a week, we decided it was time! We looked online for something to make and found a recipe for BBQ pork. We opened the can to find a solid chunk of meat (about the size of a snout, lol!) and forked it out in clumps into the pan. It actually turned out to be like pulled pork sandwhich meat. :) I made some BBQ sauce from a few things we already had and also some rice and beans. When it was all done the scariest can in the pantry turned out to be the best dinner we've had during our Food Pak inspired eating!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Week 2

This is our second week of our Food Pak inspired eating, thanks to the free surplus we found at Grandma's house.

Lunch today is tuna and crackers... yum!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Water for Christmas

Wanna help others and give cool gifts? This Etsy shop does just that!!
Awesome people have donated their totally cool talents and creations to sell and all proceeds go to clean water projects!!

"All proceeds from items sold on this shop go directly to building fresh water wells in Liberia, West Africa! To learn more about Water for Christmas, visit"

Why didn't I think of that?! It's just too cool! Check out the shop: Water For Christmas Etsy Shop!!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Free Food

Here's all the freebies we collected from Grandma Lita's house! Mom also helped out by throwing in the two boxes of pasta! Thanks!

This is the basis of our meals for the next two weeks...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Advent Conspiracy

As the Christmas season is drawing nearer and we begin to be bombarded by Christmas ads, we thought we would share this option with you. For two years we have participated in Advent Conspiracy. For those of you that are not familiar with it, the basic concept is this:

Worship Fully
Spend Less
Give More
Love All

Instead of buying gifts for Christmas spend time with your families and friends, quality time. Make gifts, volunteer, sing carols, do something to create memories. Then take the money that you would have spent on the gift you would have bought and put it to better use. Show love to the people that need it the most. For $20 (the same amount or even less than that sweater you were looking at) you can give a person clean drinking water for 20 years, through Charity Water. I bet that sweater wouldn't last as long...

Last year Journey Fellowship teamed up with CHF and their Menu: Meals Served With Compassion. Through this you can buy just about anything to send to people in need- Bibles, shoes, bikes, toys, beans, pasta, seeds, first aid kits, small cars, and Food Paks (that cost about the same to pack your self but go four times farther). Last year, our parents all got either beans or pasta sent in their names to feed people who could use the help. Taylor even received 25 pairs of shoes sent in her name! This year we are taking the money saved from the free food we received and we are buying gifts from the Menu.

This video says it all! Enjoy and be inspired.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Back at it!

While we were home in Devine for the weekend, we discovered Grandma's pantry stocked full of tons of canned food products brought from the visiting Arizona family. They recieve mass amounts for some reason and brought it along to share. So we stocked up! Today marks another two weeks of Food Pak inspired eating!

This time around we are limiting our eating to what we grabbed from Grandma's and what we already had at home in the pantry and fridge (which is not much, just some random odds and ends of things.) We will be saving our grocery/eating out money to go towards our Christmas gifts that we will be buying through CHF's Menu - Gift Catalog, featuring "Meals served with compasion". (More on this later.)

Read along as we update about new food explorations and our past adventures (that we have neglected to post about over the past couple months. :P sorry!)

“In this life we can’t always do great things,
but we can do small things with great love .”
-Mother Theresa

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Do Something!

We've been so encouraged by others who have decided to take the Food Pak Challenge, that have volunteered their time, who have donated Food Paks through CHF and the Oak Hills Food Pak Campaign, and also people who have decided to just do something, anything bigger than themselves.

There are so many different ways to give and different resources to give from. Find something in your budget that you don't need. Evaluate it against the needs of others.

  • Frankie has had internet service on his phone for the past year. It's handy, but the monthly fee is enough to sponsor a child through World Vision. Internet bill or help a child and their family be healthy, sucessful, and learn about Jesus?? He's letting go of the internet.
We learned about another program through CHF called Skip1, a simple concept of skipping just one thing to give of your time or resources. Check out the site for ideas of what to skip and to see how their Top Skippers have contributed!

  • Mom figured last night that if they (2 adults, 1 teenager, and 2 children) skip eating out after church on Sundays, just Sundays, they could fill a Food Pak every week! Or, take that money to buy groceries and donate them to the Agape collection baskets at church! The simplicity of eating out could easily be replaced by a crock pot the night before for much less!

Even if your budget is already tight and you're skipping a lot of things just to get by, there are ways to give of yourself for free! Give of your time- volunteering is amazing! I can think of a few ways people would be blessed by your time: volunteer in children's and youth programs at your church, visit the elderly, spend time at a homeless shelter or a street ministry.

  • Not only can you give of your time, you can give from what you already have. I love Agent J's blog about "making love an action verb". She posts about her experiences of showing love to others without spending money. Do you have some extra clothes or shoes in your closet? Take them to someone who really needs them!

There are so many ways to be a part of something bigger than you. That is why we started this blog. We wanted to share our experience as we journeyed through a Food Pak to help others who rely on them. Keep reading along as we find fun ways to give and continue with our adventures!!

Friday, September 25, 2009

We have a winner!!

Well, we put the name into the hat, and when we drew it back out it was the same... Congratulations to Trevor from Thoughts B4 Conviction N2 Action! He is the winner of the our box. A good friend from Journey and a great man of God, he joyfully accepted the Food Pak Challenge!

Thanks to everyone who left a comment, we were so glad to hear from you, even if you didn't qualify for the contest!

Good luck Trevor! Stay tuned to read about his week.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Mission Accomplished!*

All 10 boxes loaded up and ready to drop off at Journey Fellowship! It is so hard to believe that we came to where we are. Thinking back to the launch of the Food Pak campaign at the Bigger then You service at the AT&T center we remember saying to our selves "Yeah, maybe we can give a box." We weren't even going to pick up a box on the way out, but somehow we ended up with three... and then that little voice that God puts in your head started with "what if...". Then "what if" turned into "I think we can do that." Then doing it turned into doing it again. And then maybe giving a box turned into buying 10 boxes and volunteering time and meeting people and going so much further then either of us would have imagined. Thanks to God for the simple "what if" and his opening of doors and clearing paths, and many blessings along the way. And thanks to Mom and Dad who gladly offered to pay the processing fee for the boxes, you guys are so great!!! And of course thanks to all the readers who supported us on our journey- we couldn't have done it with out you.

*Although our Food Pak experience is complete for now, our mission isn't over. We will pick a winner later in the week and post updates about CHF and other people who try the challenge. We will also continue to blog about our adventures as we continue to find new ways to give, so stay tuned!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Going Shopping!!!

Today was shopping day, and it could not have been more fun. After buying just enough for the past few weeks we went out and bought 10 times as much!

Filled up the cart!


Our cashier clocked out after us, I think she was a little overwhelmed.

It covered the table!

10 boxes!


Wait! Eleven!!!

So, here is the deal. This isn't a box for us- it's for you! Well, one of you at least. We would like to post a challenge, and at the same time our first giveaway! We will send this box to one randomly selected reader willing to take the Food Pak challenge. Leave a comment and we'll reveal the winner next week! Eat from this box, then buy another or even two, to give back to CHF. And we'll feature you on here! (Umm...some rules apply: you kinda have to be in the Houston, San Antonio, or Buc-ee's area. Unfortunately, shipping the box would cost more than what's in it.)

Large Families - just pick a few people to eat from the box, keep track of the savings and see what you come up with at the end of the well. Couples - this will be great for you, we laughed so much during the process, and had a ton of fun trying to come up with things to make. Singles- you will have it made! Just make sure you have strong will because this challenge can be testing...

However, if you are not our contest winner, we would still love to hear from anyone who decides to try the Food Pak experience! Let us know how it goes and we would love to share your story on our blog!

So start commenting and check back soon to see who the winner is!!!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Day FIVE! In the Field!

So, this morning was GREAT!! We went down to the Children's Hunger Fund warehouse in San Antonio and we helped out with "repacking" the boxes. (Checking for variety, adding extras/fillers, and checking expiration dates, etc). It made us just that much more aware of what the whole process and experience is like.

Plus, volunteering is a great way to really get into something and be a part of something bigger. The people there were great! The staff was amazing and the other volunteers were so happy to be there, too! The 25 of us together processed 7 palletes of 75 boxes for a total of 525 Food Paks that are now ready to serve!

Being around the staff also gave us a deeper understanding of why Children's Hunger Fund operates. The Food Paks are a vital key to nourish these families but to also open the door to share Jesus! His love is so much more nourishing than beans!! Here are some of the pictures from this morning:

To finish up our second Food Pak we had the rest of our fruit for breakfast, pineapples for me and pears for Frankie.

For lunch we had tuna crackers and peanut butter crackers with some dried apples.
It was all good and tasty until dinner...dinner was a different story tonight- the rice and refried beans did taste good, but I craved something different, really craved something more. Not peanuts. Not noodles. Not pintos. My mom was making scrambled eggs with ham and cheese for the kids. I love my mom's scrambled eggs. I wanted them. I thought about just eating them and scrappping the last meal of our box, it was so plain and we've been doing this all week... Duh! That's the point self! When people get to the end of their groceries they don't just give up get something better, that's what's left, and they eat it. This is what they are living off of, and they've been eating it for much longer than a week. So suck it up, self. This was probably the hardest moment for me out of both weeks, but also the most real and revealing.

So tomorrow we get to take all of the money we saved from the two Food Pak weeks and go shopping!!! The amount we did not spend going out to eat and living from our box is equal to about 10 boxes!!! 10 families!!! 10 oppurtunites to share God's love!!! We are so excited!!!

[Awesome side story! Not only did we save a ton of money, but God greatly blessed us in a very specific way. Last week, we were at a benefit dinner for Frankie's aunt Chita who has ALS. This event was complete with bake sale (including our cupcakes! post delayed, but coming soon!), silent auction, raffle, dinner and dance! It was a great night and they raised a good deal of money, but what was interesting were the silent auction items we won... we bought only $15 worth of tickets (15 tickets) to bid on some of the over 70 items that had been donated by kind companies and friends and family from all over town. Tons of items, we bid on all kinds of stuff. Guess what we won... a $25 gift certificate to Joey's Surf 'n' Turf, a $25 gift certificate to Rocky's Diner, and a $50 gift card to Pappasito's! $100 worth of FOOD!!! God is just too cool! (We also won back our very own Buc-ee's basket- a blessing all it's own, since it wasn't generating enough interest to make it worth our donation.)]