Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Fun!

Merry Christmas to all of you!!! Hope you had a wonderful time with family and friends in honor of our King! :)

We had a really great Christmas! Complete with an awesome story to go along with our Toy Closet again this year. So here it is! The story of our second annual Toy Closet Adventure. Ooooo boy, get ready!

As we did last year, we started shopping early, hitting up sales and using our shopping secrets. Although we moved and don't have an actual closet this year, we still managed to stash all our goodies until we were ready to give them away. And if you don't know what I am talking about go here to learn about last year's Toy Closet Adventure that began it all! (Side note- it is my favorite post that I have ever written!)

First, we had to figure out what to do with the toys when the time came... We do donate to toy drives but we also enjoy taking out toys and actually giving them to children. There is something that's missing when you just drop off a toy rather then deliver it to someone. Plus, the look on their faces is just awesome.

So when we were thinking about a place to go we remembered our cousin Kaitlyn when she stayed in the hospital. We happened to visit her on Halloween and they were having a party when we showed up and took all the kids trick-or-treating around to different parts of the hospital. It was a lot of fun and the kids really enjoyed it! We thought that they may do a similar thing for Christmas and wondered if we could assist in providing toys for the kiddos. We thought it would be a great way to give back to the people that helped take care of our family and bring some cheer to families spending their holidays in the hospital. So after a couple calls, we got in touch with Meg, the nurse in charge of organizing the Halloween event. We told her our idea and what we had and asked if there was any opportunity for us to come and give these toys to the kids. She was so excited and said that the best time to do this would be when Santa comes, but that they hadn't been able to find a Santa yet... Taylor so wished she knew a Santa when she hung up the phone... but then remembered.... not only do we know a Santa, we know the best Santa in San Antonio and he goes to our church! After talking to Mrs. Claus and figuring out a date that would work for everyone, we had a Santa booked for them! (Check out his awesomeness here!)

Every little detail was falling into place... any problem that came up quickly worked itself out before we had time to worry about it... it was amazing and obviously carefully coordinated by someone other than ourselves. Funny how God's got your back when you are doing what He made you to do. ;)

When the day finally came (we had to wait all the way til the 23rd!) we all showed up and shared in the excitement of watching the kids (and lots of nurses!) light up with joy as they saw Santa coming down the hall and to their rooms. We delivered gifts and candy canes and lots of giggles to patients in their rooms and then headed to the play room for story time with Mrs. Claus and more kids visiting with Santa. We even went down to the ER to share some smiles! It was so wonderful hearing the kids excitedly thank Santa for the gifts and it really did warm our hearts. Toy Closet - you did it again! What a great way to spend time together sharing God's love! It was a beautiful day and we were all so blessed to be a part of it!


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Giveaway Winner!

Congrats to Kara Starr for winning our "Start Something That Matters" giveaway! She is following her passions and hopes to make a difference! Be looking for your book in the mail soon!

Also, we are so busy this week! Printing last minute LOVE:water shirts to be sent out tomorrow, as well as working on the kid's shirts. Also this week we are delivering our toys from our toy closet! We haven't shared that with you yet but be looking for that post in the next few days. :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Official TaylorFrankie Christmas List - Part 2!

1. Hand Drawn Dots Ash - What wish list would be complete without TOMS shoes? These would be a great addition to my collection. Aren't they fun?! TOMS Shoes
2. Classic 301 - New to the TOMS family, these stylish sunglasses look good and do good, too! Each purchase helps give life saving sight to a person in need. So cool!! TOMS Eyewear
3. Jute Pencil Case - This nifty little zipper case is great for any little doo-dads. It's awesome and it provides work for vulnerable women in Cambodia. Love it!! Trade As One
4. The Ultimate Stocking Stuffer - Mints, gum, coffee, and a shirt that all give back to a variety of causes! Plus they look cool and taste yummy! Yes, please!! Project 7
5. Paracord Bracelet for Honduras - A blogger friend's daughter has decided to make these to support Touch a Life Center in Honduras after being moved by their work while on a missions trip. They are super neat and you can order them in a variety of colors! Awesome!! Wherever He Leads Us
6. Kiva Cards - These unique gift cards let the recipient choose a project to loan the money to. From helping Caleb run a green grocery store in Kenya to providing a group of women funds to purchase threads and fabric for their dressmaking shop. Give away!! Kiva
7. Toys - I love toys! And apparently so do kids. :) Children's Hunger Fund wraps and distributes thousands to children in the US and around the world to bring smiles at Christmastime! Anyone can help support this project and others through their gift catalogue. Fun, fun!! Children's Hunger Fund
8. "Kisses from Katie" - This is a story of Christ's grace as Katie serves him with her life in Uganda. Her blog is heart breaking, inspiring, and a beautiful portrait of Christ's love. So moving. Amazima Ministries
9. Feed 10 Bag with Pouch - Fun and flexible, this bag works for all kinds of fun things! With its purchase, 10 meals are provided to school children through United Nations World Food Programme's School Feeding program. Feed me! FEED
10. Faith Shirts - Super excited about this one! Brogan came up with this design (inspired by our LOVE shirts) to benefit Children's Hunger Fund! Each shirt features Faith with an apple symbolizing the good it does for kids and families in need! So proud of him! Faith, Hope, and Love Shirts

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Week 4 - Love All

God’s love has no boundaries. Ours does.

That’s why it’s important that we practice love intentionally. Our love starts to look more like God’s when we stretch its boundaries—to the lonely, the imprisoned, the homeless, the hungry, and the thirsty.

We hope this Advent season has prepared you to Love All: your family, the hard-to-love, and the overlooked in your community. We also hope you will join us in demonstrating God’s boundless love by loving people who desperately need safe drinking water, and with it living water, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Thank you for sharing a bit of your Advent season with us. We hope it has been one filled with all the hope, joy and love that God placed in a manger more than 2,000 years ago.
Wishing you a joyful, peaceful Christmas,
Your Living Water Family

This is our favorite part of Advent Conspiracy and Christmas! We love to love! It's fun and fulfilling. It's what we were made to do. You and me, us, all of us. We were made to love - God and our neighbors. So what better time to remember and celebrate that purpose than for our Savior's birthday?!

And if you believe that the love shouldn't stop when the presents are unwrapped, join us on a journey of love. Next year we have come up with a theme that will take us through the steps of "Living Simply to Love Others". One theme, 12 months, and a whole lot of LOVE!

Remember that this isn't just a Christmas thing... Advent Conspiracy doesn't have to end with the season. There are so many ways to worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all, year round!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Official TaylorFrankie Christmas List 2011 - Part 1!

Each year we search the internet for some of the coolest gifts that give back. I know we are a little late with the TaylorFrankie lists but there is still time and who wouldn't want these gifts all year round? Some of these products make the list every year but some of them are new and a few are being revealed here on our list for the first time ever! So check out my list and be on the look out for Taylor's coming soon!

1. TOMS - These TOMS are awesome! TOMS gives a pair of shoes for every pair that you buy and start at $45.00 for the classics- that is not a bad deal. TOMS

2. Hello Somebody - This one is new to our blog. We have been keeping it a secret from you for a bit. We heard about them from our friends at Bless Your Heart. For just $25 you get this sweet watch offered in a variety of colors plus kids receive food and education. Hello Somebody

3. Starburst Basket - Hand crafted by women in Uganda, this bowl is stunning! Even more beautiful is that this bowl gives work to a family in Uganda that can now support themselves. "Gifts that bridge worlds and rebuild lives". Women's Peace Collection

4. Bibles - CHF's menu has always made its way on to my list. This year why not give bibles in the name of someone you love? Children's Hunger Fund

5. Hope Shirt - This shirt was designed and is being sold by Taylor's 6 year old sister. She has always had a heart for Haiti and knows the importance of food and shelter for everyone.

6. Project 7 Gum - Did you know for less than $18 you can buy 12 packs of this gum and at the same time 10 fruit trees magically appear on our planet? Project 7

7. TOMS Eye Wear - The newest TOMS product! For each pair of glasses you buy you give sight to someone else. TOMS

8. Feed Bags - There are so many Feed Bags to chose from. Most feed people around the world but with the purchase of this bag, another identical bag is sent to Africa with medical supplies inside! Feed

9. World Vision Bike - You do not receive an actual bike but instead you help a girl continue to go to school safely by giving her transportation. World Vision

10. Holga Camera - $36 goes to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, New York Chapter. And this is just one of many gifts on this site that gives to tons of different causes when you buy products from them. Gifts that Give

For more gift ideas check out last year's TaylorFrankie list.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

"Start Something That Matters" Book Review and Give Away!

We are so thankful to Blake and Spiegel & Grau for sharing this book with us! We both really enjoyed reading it and recommend it for anyone! Even though we are not bookworms we couldn’t put this one down!

Before we tell you about the story we want to tell you how awesome the book itself is. It's already inspiring tons of bloggers across the country who received it for free so we can tell you about it! And 50% of the proceeds from the sales are put into a Start Something That Matters fund to help inspired readers carry out their amazing ideas! How cool right? Now for the stories...

If you’re not familiar with Blake Mycoskie and TOMS (which how could you not be if you follow are blog? ;) then allow us to introduce you… Blake first experienced the need for shoes when he was traveling Argentina. He jotted down his thoughts along with a picture of the popular local shoe that he had been wearing while there. With this exciting new idea and his new Argentinian shoe-making friend, he left for the US with 100 pair of TOMS to see what he could do. This was the beginning of what we now know as the great, the amazing TOMS shoes! The start of something that matters as an idea, a movement, and a new way to do business.

Each chapter reveals a little more of the TOMS story and how the company grew to be the image that they are today. Blake also shares some nifty tricks from life before TOMS and lots of stories of other companies that have started with big ideas.

Another thing that we love about this book is that Blake backs up his strategies of starting something that matters with real life stories of challenges that every business faces when they start out. Like people saying that Wal-Mart would never make it and like Method seeing what’s wrong and doing what’s right. This book will motivate and inspire you to take your ideas, face your fears, and truly start something that matters.

(Check out more book deets and other reviews on the Amazon page!)


Wanna read it? Wanna turn your passions into a movement for others?
Wanna share it? Know someone who has the passion to Start Something That Matters?
Answer these questions from page 36 and you could be the new recipient or giver of Start Something That Matters! :)

If you did not have to worry about money, what would you do with your time?
What kind of work would you want to do?
What cause would you serve?

Answer in a word or two, three sentences, or a paragraph! Just leave us a comment by Sunday and we will choose a winner in time for Christmas! Can't wait to hear what kinds of passions you all have!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Week 3 - Give More

This week's theme [Give More] is coming at just the right time. Realizing that we are almost a week away from Christmas and we had not bought any gifts we went out shopping... walking around the store looking for something that would show our love to ones receiving them. Not the way I like to shop by the way... I like to know what I am getting for someone before we leave the house and not rush into buying something that could be meaningless and thoughtless. In fact my favorite type of shopping is shopping for things that I can use to make gifts with.
I remember one Christmas when Taylor and I were dating but living in different states we made a plan that for that year we would get each other 10 gifts, but the catch was that we had to make most of them and then the rest couldn't be more then a few dollars. I remember making a door hanger and buying socks and I remember receiving a box of rice crispy treats. The gifts didn't really matter, it was the love that we gave with them and truly the thought that was counted. Taylor knew I loved rice crispy treats and I knew she loved frogs so most of the gifts I got her had frogs on them. Plus seeing each other for the holiday was also nice.
 I guess what I am trying to say is that the real special gifts are the ones that connect us and those are not always the kind that fit under the tree. Spending time on something can be so much more valuable then spending money. So this year give more and by taking time to find the things that make the holiday really special.

Here is a little song to finish this thought out... take it away guys!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Week 2 - Spend Less

Just watched this video and was so excited to see Pastor Chris Seay at Ecclesia! Man, we miss our Houston church. Check out the video and read below as we continue to conspire together and spend less.

Spend Less from Living Water International on Vimeo.

Shopping is filled with a sense of promise. We’re promised comfort, status, better looks, happiness and joy, but do those promises really deliver? And what do they have to do with the promises of Scripture? If you’ve ever felt like we might have lost the point when we turned the birth of Christ into a season of frantic shopping, you will appreciate the second pillar of the Advent Conspiracy: Spend Less.

Spend Less isn’t about being a Scrooge. It’s about being free to celebrate Jesus. We hope you will reflect on the birth of Christ with us, and celebrate the fact that because some believers Spend Less, hundreds of thousands of people around the world are being blessed with safe drinking water, offered in Jesus’ name.

Like they said, you don't have to be a Scrooge to spend less. Try just giving one less gift. Try spending a bit less than last year. Try and make that list a little shorter. As we all conspire together it adds up.

We are forgoing extended family gift exchanges this year for starters. At about $20 per trade x the two of us x three families... that saves about $120! From gifts that aren't really needed to gifts that can mean hope and life for some one in real need. We will spend time with our grandparents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and spend the money where it really counts. How are you conspiring to spend less this week?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

CHF Toy Wrap 2011

This morning I got to be with the rest of the 300 people wrapping bears in San Antonio, Texas! Check out the video! We had a lot of fun and if you look really close you can see my sister's head when they pan through the SA warehouse.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

LOVE:water + $10 Gift Card

Update: Gift Card to Living Water International have ended for the year.

Now when you order one of these in the month of December.... also get one of these!!!

A $10 gift card to Living Water International!

Now you or the gift recipient can decide exactly where your money goes! When you receive the gift card you can go here and pick a project. "Ugandan school kids" or "Unreached people in Peru" are just two causes you can support in addition to a list of 25 countries you can choose from! Each project tracks how much it has raised so you can instantly see what you are a part of!
So visit our shop, choose a shirt, and get a free $10 gift card! [Give More]

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Week 1 - Worship Fully

Advent starts today! We are so excited to be in this season again as we continue to figure out how to get back to the basics of Christmas. How to celebrate in a way that honors our King, our Immanuel and not stuff. Week 1 with Advent Conspiracy focuses on worship- "Worship fully." But also being conscious of what you are worshipping... are you worshipping the baby Jesus born unto us a Savior? or are you worshipping shopping? checklists? business?

We hope you share your thoughts as we go through this journey of Advent 2011 together! How will you choose to worship fully this week?

Here's a quick vid and devo from [AC] to get your worship juices flowin.

Worship Fully from Living Water International on Vimeo.

Christmas begins with a baby born in a manger. He changed the course of the stars and turned fathers’ hearts to their children. The heavens sang his praise as angels sang glory to God in the highest and on earth his peace. Shepherds praised God and traveled to Bethlehem to see him. Magi journeyed from the East to worship him. His mother treasured these things in her heart. They called him “Immanuel”—“God with us.” He proclaimed his presence to the end of the age.

What we do unto others, we do unto him.

Again this Christmas babies will be born in ramshackle homes. Herod will not try to kill them, but their drinking water will. Again Jesus will turn our hearts to children. We who still hear angels will journey to see Christ in the least of these. Our camels traded for drill rigs, we will bear the gift of life: clean drinking water, offered in Jesus’ name. Mothers will treasure these things in their hearts. This is full worship.

Worship derives from Old-English words meaning “worth-ship.”

What we give worth to is what we worship: possessions, God, shopping, children, money, Jesus. We worship all the time. Advent is a time to consciously direct our worship towards Jesus, Immanuel, God with us. A time to worship fully.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Day Three - Dinner

Our last dinner. A can of cream of mushroom, chicken, left over mixed veggies, and potatoes. If you want you can throw in the rest of the milk and left over pasta. This was so good!

Day Three - Lunch

Having tuna again for lunch today as we run around.  :)

Day Three - Breakfast

Did you know that if you take hard granola bars and pour milk on them and then put them in the microwave for about 45 seconds they turn back into oatmeal!  Delicious!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Real Taco Cabana Girl

We interrupt our meal posts to share with you a great opportunity to help out a friend of ours!

Her name is Kara Beth Starr and she is one of the finalists in the first ever Taco Cabana talent contest! If she wins she will get to hang out with Anjelah Johnson and be in a TC commercial! (Plus free TC for a year!)

You can see her awesome video here!

If you think that Kara should be the winner (why wouldn't you? she is so cool!) then go Vote Here!!! She would be so grateful! :) Thanks, readers!

Day Two - Dessert

Milk and rice makes rice pudding and it makes it pretty well!

We made dessert tonight and it was good!
  • 3 cups of our nut milk
  • 2 cups cooked white rice
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • (we bought some as our dried fruit item in the food pak)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • Ground cinnamon, generous pinch

In a saucepan, combine 3 cups milk, 2 cups cooked white rice, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/3 cup sugar and a generous pinch of ground cinnamon. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the milk is absorbed and the pudding is thickened, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or let cool, press plastic wrap onto the surface and refrigerate until chilled. Makes 3 1/2 cups. Thank Rachael!
One more day of meals!
Tomorrows Menu:


Tuna and Crackers

Chicken Noddle Soup

Day Two - Dinner

Day Two - Lunch

Day Two - Breakfast

Nothing complicated about this.  Fruit and granola bar.

The Menu for today is

Fruit and Granola Bar

Tuna and Crackers

Chicken, Beans, and Shells

Rice Pudding 

If you are just joining us we decided for three days we would eat meals that are easily made from item found in a CHF Food Pak©.  Doing this we would remember to be prayerful for the needs of the hungry and maybe raise some funds to feed a few families.  If you would like to donate we are asking for $5 sponsors for each meal that we create.  Just email us that you would like to help and we will respond back with what you can do.  If you just want more information about CHF and the Food Pak© visit their site here.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Dinner Day 1

We made some pasta for dinner!
Saved some for tomorrow, we will change it up a bit by adding some different ingredients.

Lunch Day 1

Rice and Veggies
We only used a little bit of the rice and half of the veggies because we plan on using the rest in the next few days.

Nut Milk

In the list we listed a bag of unsalted nuts.  One thing that we have always wanted to have as part of the food pack is milk, for both drinking and cooking with.  Thanks to mike+brit for finding this video because now we can make milk!!!  We picked up almonds and made some pretty awesome almond milk this morning.

Don't drink to much we are going to try to use this milk for a few things tomorrow and Wednesday. :)

Breakfast Day 1

We only used half of the can of potatoes because we are going to use the other half for Day 3's dinner.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Prep for day 1

So tomorrow we start our food challenge so we took our list and headed for the store!

This is what we picked up!  One full pak!

Here is a look at what we plan on eating.

The Menu

Breakfast:  Beans and diced potatoes

Lunch:  Rice and vegetables

Dinner:  Pasta

So we set the beans to soak tonight and tomorrow morning I will wake up and finish cooking them!
I'll be sure to share photos of everything we make.  I will also share what we are doing with our bag of nuts that we haven't done before, lots of exciting things happening tomorrow.  :)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Food Pak Challenge III - The List

Here is our shopping list!

Everything is pretty basic. We specified a few of the generic items to work with what we have planned but other then that all of these are items that you should find in a typical Food Pak©.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Invite - Food Pak Challenge III

As part of our goal to give to CHF this Christmas we are recruiting another holiday to help us spread a little awareness and yummy-ness, and hopefully raise some funds toward our goal.

Okay here is what we are thinking...

Thanksgiving is coming up in a week and a half and just like everyone else we plan on feasting until our bellies are full! But in between the turkey being carved and the pumpkin pie we still remember that there are some people that aren't able to feast on ordinary days. As a matter of fact, 1 out of 4 children go to bed hungry in San Antonio- that is 25%! So to remember and to help we have come up with a plan. And because we want to help these children through CHF we want to use the Food Pak© again.

We have come up with a menu for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for the three days leading up to Thanksgiving (Monday-Wednesday). Each meal is created from the food in the Food Pak©, and for the two of us we plan on only using the amount of food in one Food Pak©. 3 days, 6 meals, and we are inviting you to come along with us. We will be posting instructions, ingredients, and menus in enough time for you to try one meal, one day, or all three days with us. The point isn't to starve yourself but to see the things that this box can do for a family that is hungry. To raise funds we are asking for sponsors to commit to give $5 for any one meal. At the end of the three days we should have $45 and that's just about enough to feed a family for two months!

So this Thanksgiving let's really celebrate and be thankful knowing that we were able to feed the ones that can't quite feed themselves.

Please RSVP and Come back tomorrow and look for the shopping list!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Gearing up for Christmas - 2011

Christmas is getting closer, and if you don't believe us just take a walk into your local grocery or retail store. And just like everyone else, we too, are getting ready for the season.

For us, getting ready for Christmas looks a lot like....

Working with our church to get local Angel Tree wishes passed out and Haitian orphan shoe boxes distributed. Taylor was there yesterday setting up.

CHF Toy wrap is also on the list and the email was sent on Saturday to sign up for this this year!
Within minutes we (myself, my sister, and her boyfriend) were signed up to ensure our spot. Taylor has class on Saturday mornings this semester (something that she declares she will never do again) and will not be able to make it.

We are also figuring out what we will be doing as a family this year. CHF and Food Banks seems to be at the top of our list.

Don't forget about our Toy Closet! We still have to find what we will be doing with all of the toys we have collected this year.

So many things to do... We also plan on coming out with another TaylorFrankie Christmas List this year to share some ideas of gifts that give back. :)

Last year we made a video as a part of a contest that showed how we did Christmas differently for Advent Conspiracy. Take a look and let us know what you plan on doing this year for Christmas.

Start Something that Matters

Look what we got today!!!  Can't wait to get our book and start reading!
Also, be looking for a giveaway contest soon!

Welcome to TOMS Books for Bloggers Program!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


During November each year, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of moustaches on thousands of men’s faces, in the US and around the world. With their Mo’s, these men raise vital funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men.

The Movember Effect: Awareness & Education, Survivorship, ResearchThe funds raised in the US support prostate cancer and other cancers that affect men. The funds raised are directed to programs run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG, the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Together, the three channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programs in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.
For more information on the programs they are funding please visit the following:Prostate Cancer FoundationLIVESTRONG, The Lance Armstrong FoundationAwareness & EducationGlobal Action Plan

Even TOMS is getting in on the Mo-ness!
Check out the Limited Edition Movember TOMS!

Check out the Movember site for more fun!

Half Birthday

Well... I just got home and saw that Taylor didn't post anything and now she is asleep.


Well, for today we will just wish the love of my life happy HALF Birthday!!!

I love this girl :)

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Orphan Sunday

November is Adoption Awareness Month and today is Orphan Sunday! The Christian's calling to help the orphan is clear. This video says it all!

Why Love Orphans? from Christian Alliance for Orphans on Vimeo.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sunny Saturday

Sorry no photos for this Sunny Saturday... instead we'll just have to tell you how we enjoyed the day!

Taylor has class on Saturday mornings so I went to Devine to spend some time with the family. Mom, Kathy, and I headed down to the Devine Fall Festival Parade with some family and friends watching the floats, cars, trucks, and bikes pass by. It's a small town so everything is about the same each year but it is still fun to go out and see everyone. Plus, people walk next to the floats handing out candy...Yay, free candy!

After the parade we headed to Pleasonton to visit my grandparents and to have lunch. Then my sister and I went to see a movie.

Taylor had some fun girl time with Mom and Teddi after her midterm!

The day ended with a quick game of basketball between me and Brogan and then a fajita dinner! Yum! Then we all sat down to watch Cars 2!

Not a bad day. :)

Now I have to go wake Taylor up from her spot on the couch.

Hope your Saturday was good, too!

Thank You Notes

It's Friday and this is when we like to catch up on a few personal things... check emails, return calls, and write thank you notes. I hope you don't mind....

(James can we get some thank you note writing music, please.)

Thank you Halloween,

For being the one day of the year when it is okay to play with your food.


Thank you Texas,

For cutting back during the recession and letting fall go. Who needs fall? It's not like he did anything anyways.

Thank you Pinterest,

For being Facebook's good looking best friend.

Thank you Five Guys,

For making me feel like I am actually the size of 5 guys...

And last but not least

Thank you Midterms,

For reminding me that the semester is only half over. :(

Thank You Notes is a product of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. We just liked it so much that we decided to do our own version. :)

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We love CHF!

I know, we must have said it a million times, but they are just so great! They are a bunch of really cool people with enourmous hearts of love that pursue God and His love for the poorest children. Children's Hunger Fund fights hunger, malnutrition, abuse, neglect, and disease, but most importanlty they provide hope! Hope found in the promises of a God who is bigger than the poverty they are facing and even better than canned foods and medicines.
It's exciting to share with you this update from Dave Phillips about how CHF is growing and expanding to reach more children in His name in our own cities (and families!) and across the nations. What great news!

(This is the somewhat shortened version that was emailed. Click the link after Dave's name to read the little bit longer but more exciting letter!)

I am very excited to share with you a HUGE development for Children’s Hunger Fund. For several years, we’ve quietly searched for a new building to use as a launching point for greater impact in the lives of suffering children. I am happy to announce that we have found the building! Yesterday, we officially took occupancy of CHF’s Global Distribution Center in Sylmar, California!
If you’ve ever visited our cramped Pacoima facility, you can imagine how much more we could accomplish with more space. This move will double our current warehouse capacity to ship and receive product for needy children. This may be the most exciting growth opportunity we’ve ever pursued, and it is also our greatest step of faith. We are completely dependent on God to move in the hearts of friends like you to fulfill this vision.
As we step out in faith, we NEED you to join us! With worldwide Thanksgiving and Christmas distributions of food and toys ahead, we are facing our greatest financial challenges yet.Will you help?
For the children we serve, Dave Phillips President of
Children's Hunger Fund

So neat to see CHF's dependence on and trust in God. Their faith is inspiring! And the cool part is that we can claim the same when we too pursue "God-given visions".

So excited about the plans we are working on to help CHF in the next couple months! Hopefully we can bring awareness to our community of the beautiful work that CHF does and how they can be a part of God's work loving the poor.

"...The LORD is trustworthy in all he promises and faithful in all he does. The LORD upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing."
Psalm 145: 13-16

Kaitlyn's Blood Drive

For those of you who follow us on Facebook you may have seen a little bit about our cousin Kaitlyn.

Kaitlyn and her mom Veronica

Kaitlyn is 11 and recently found out that she has scoliosis. We have been praying for her as she went through the surgery to correct her spine and are happy to announce that after just a week she is home walking around. She is one tough girl! A lot went into getting ready for her surgery, such as a blood drive to provide all the blood that would be needed for the long procedure, another even that will take place is a plate sale to raise money to help pay for it.

While Taylor was not able to be there to give blood, I was. It was scary. For those of you who don't know I have a bit of a fear for needles, and blood... but I have a great love for my family and was going to give it a try.

Here is a video of the day, please forgive the shaking of the video... I was very nervous! Oh and keep an eye out for my mom, she gave with me!

The turn out was so great! At the end of the day they had two trucks with 44 units completed, and we had to turn a few people away because we couldn't fit them all into our time frame. But everyone got a chance to help out. Thank you everyone for your donation, and your prayers. I am sure we will have the same great support when we come around to selling tickets and plates for our great cousin!

We got to visit Kaitlyn in the hospital on Monday just in time to trick or treat floor to floor with some of the kids. It was good to see her and her mom and our uncle Juano! She had tons of balloons and animals and even made a few new friends! This girl has a big heart filled with lots of love!

Praying for you Kaitlyn! And hoping you have a great recovery!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Almost there!

So exciting! Just updated our water project update over there on the sidebar --->
and guess what is happening in the next few months...


Our well should be finished between now and January! Oh my goodness! When you really think about it, it's incredible. God allowed us to be a part of changing a community forever. Families will experience clean water for the first time. Children will be able to go to school instead of walking miles a day in search of dirty water. Babies will live!

After this phase is completed we should be receiving GPS coordinates of the project. Then we'll know just where it is! How cool, right? Can't wait for that confirmation! Check out our sidebar to see what else will be happening in this process over the next three months!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Memorial Box Monday - Anonymous Blessings

Linny at A Place Called Simplicity started Memorial Box Mondays.
"In Joshua 4 Almighty God tells the Isrealites to collect stones and set them as a Memorial to remind them of God's power and provision. He then tells the Isrealites to use those stones as a memorial; that every time they see them to tell their children and their children's children the stories over and over again, continually reminding them of God's faithfulness."

To read the full idea and an introduction to Memorial Box Mondays
go here and read Linny's "How about Memorial Box Mondays?
aka We will remember..." post.

So last week we did a few speaking events. The first was at another campus of our church and the second was with a group of kids at CHF. We love sharing God's story and how he uses us to do his work to encourage others, hence the blog... so we had fun!

After a few times of sharing with people we get used to getting asked questions, and even one lady had said that she read our blog during the Food Pak challenge! But last week we were blessed with something that has never really happened before. And we hope that the person doesn't mind us sharing this (we don't actually know who it was). But last week we got a call from our friend Jesse at CHF asking if we were around the office because he had something for us that someone dropped off. Since we live in San Antonio now, it is a lot easier to just hop on over to the the warehouse. :)

When we got there we got to see some of our friends- Char, Paul, and Jesse- a blessing in itself! Then Jesse made us work just a bit...pppsshh typical Jesse. But when we left we got a sweet card, no name signed, but in it was a hundred dollar bill! Someone who was volunteering at CHF when we shared our story was just really blessed and wanted to share their heart with us.

As an unemployed couple this is a huge blessing! But not as a means to pay bills or anything... During the time we were raising money for the well last year we opened up a savings account to keep the money in. After we met our goal we left this account open and continued to put extra money in it creating a "Projects Fund". We did this so no matter what was going on in our lives we would always have money to do the things we love. Like help sponsor someone's mission trip, or donate to an adoption, or buy $200 in toys to hand out for Christmas... just little things like that. ;) But after 6 months of no income that fund has been long depleted.

But now with the opening of our LOVE shop and a sweet $100 blessing, we can start creating some of our ideas for products to help more people- like the hungry, the sick, the orphaned, and the enslaved as well as continuing our LOVE shirts for the thirsty- all in time for Christmas! We are so excited to use this blessing to keep sharing God's love and to continue living to love others!

This is what the card read: The Lord has touched the lives of so many through your service. As you give of your time so lovingly, it's easy to see His light shining through you. May God bless you as you continue to impact lives and light the way to Him.
"Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16 (The same verse we shared in our last MBM post!)

Into our Memorial Box will go a $100 bill! Ha, ha, not the real one - that's gonna be put to use! So thankful for God's blessings lately and to be able to continue to serve Him with our lives.

Sunday, October 30, 2011


We had a great time tailgating this morning at church and celebrating team spirit! :D Breakfast was complete with sausage wraps, kolaches, tacos, donuts, and yummy muffins! It was nice to be able to just hang out for a while and enjoy the beautiful weather on the church patio. We love our church family!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I am so excited!!! Look what we got in the mail today...

We won!!! I sent in pictures of Brogan and Teddi with a huge Yellow M&M Frankenstein at the Commissary on base, and we won! So cool!!!

So thankful that the Lord is blessing us with the means to bless others when our funds are limited.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dun duh duhhh...

We purposely skipped our last blog post... yeah, on purpose... cause we wanted to build suspense... ha, ha. (Oops again.)

Ready for the update?! The 10 Days project so far has raised $62,260!!! How amazing is that?!??!?!? That's enough to fund 6 new wells in Rwanda!!! (Plus, they are leaving the giving line open for one more week so that everyone has time to get all their monies in.)

Visit their website at

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

10 Days!

Teddi and I just finished drinking water for 10 days along with 100s of others across 50 college campuses! We raised money by not buying other drinks throughout the 10 days and donated it toward Living Water's efforts in Rwanda! Their goal was to drill 10 new wells after these 10 days and they are releasing their update tomorrow!!!

Watch the video.

Be challenged.

10.10.11 from Living Water International on Vimeo.

Stay tuned for the update!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2 months 'til Christmas!

The holidays are near! (With Texas and it's trickery weather, you would never know it!) Thanksgiving is next month then Christmas! I know we just posted about it, but now really is the time to start planning! Before all the hustle and bustle - you know what I'm talking about... Frankie is asleep so we aren't actually planning right this second, but it's on our to-do list!

What are you going to do for Christmas this year? How bout Thanksgiving?

Any special celebrations? Trips? Relatives coming in?

What will you choose to let your holidays look like? feel like? be about?

Our mission to fund a well last year touched the hearts of our family in Michigan who decided to do family projects to help us raise funds as well as all together, forgo less gifts and instead put usually gifting monies toward the water project! This year, the project is food!!! Talks are we may be having a contest to collect non-perishables and build sculptures...

We'll keep you posted for sure! But in the mean time... start brainstorming!

"Christmas can [still] change the world!"

Annnd... enjoy this picture! :)

Monday, October 24, 2011

Caroline's Thank You

We got a thank you note today! Back in September charity:water sent out thank you notes and made videos and sent emails thanking people who donated in the first 5 years (How thoughtful!)... because we moved, ours came late. Thought we should share it with you. :)

We Walk Because We Can - Chita's Angel's

We had a great time walking this weekend at the ALS Walk to Defeat ALS!
Take a look at the group shot from the day.

Thanks to everyone who donated to Taylor's page!  She met her goal three times!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Books for Bloggers

We just entered a contest!

Blake Mycoskie, came out with a book earlier this year called "Do Something That Matters". And as a promotion they are hosting a contest for bloggers. Winner receives 2 copies of the book...

One to read and review.

One to giveaway on their blog!

For those of you who don't know, Blake is the founder of TOMS! And if you are a reader you know how much we love TOMS so we are super excited to be entered into a chance to get to read his book for free.

We will keep you posted when we find anything out.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Drumroll Please!!!

Introducting my first ever batch of rainbow cupcakes! They are for the Walk to Defeat ALS tomorrow and our team is Fiesta themed. Making these was so stinkin fun. I couldn't help but take a picture of every beautiful step!
mixing the batter


this reminds me of something
but I can't quite figure out what...but it's so pretty!

tada!!! amazing!!!

and dying the frosting!

Aren't they gorgeous?! Golly, I almost can't stand it!!
We'll have to post an updated pic of the insides with our walk update tomorrow after someone takes a bite!! Stay tuned!! lol!!
Oh...and these just may have to be the next baking adventure...

cookie bowls!!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


So last week we went to the premier of the 58: The Film.
For those of you who don't know what 58 is, it's a global initiative to end extreme poverty through acts of true fasting (Isaiah 58).

Isaiah 58

1Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

2Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.

3Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.

4Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.

5Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?

6Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?

7Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?

8Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy reward.

9Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;

10And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon day:

11And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.

12And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.

13If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:

14Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

The movie featured different stories of families from Ethiopia, Brazil, India, and Kenya. Each one telling of the daily struggles they face to survive.

One lady with four children lived in a part of the world that hasn't had rain in five years. She lives in a hut that is so bad that her husband left because he couldn't live there anymore. She collects sticks along with her oldest daughter to sell to have money for water and food. But as they collect more and more wood she has to travel farther and farther away from home, all while being 7 months pregnant.

Another story told of a man who works in a stone quarry. He works there to pay off a loan he took from the quarry owner. He is paid very little and when he is ill and cannot come to work his wife and children have to take his place. The physical work is making him sick, but to rest and heal he would get into more debt. He knows that he will die paying off his debt and so will his children and his children's children, all for the $600 that he owes.

Another story of a women who brings home discarded produce from a dumpster that she cleans and sells for money and what is not fit to sell she feeds to her own family. And another of children that are so far from hope that they have even given up on expressing their dreams because they know they will never come true.

Story after story of heartache and extreme poverty, but in the midst of all of these stories there is some good news.

Some 58 Facts

Think ending extreme poverty is impossible? Think again. Consider the following facts:
  • Over the past eight years, the number of kids dying from measles has declined by 78 percent.
  • Twenty-two countries have cut their malaria rate in half in only six years.
  • In the 1990’s the number of children dying from preventable causes dropped from 40,000 to 33,000 per day. In 2008, that number decreased to 24,000. Today, it is 21,000. In one generation, we’ve cut the number of children dying from preventable diseases almost in half!
  • The number of children dying before their fifth birthday has also decreased even while the number of overall births is increasing.
  • In less than ten years, a third of children who couldn’t afford to go to school now can. And literacy rates are rising worldwide.
  • The spread of HIV has been curbed. New HIV infections have been cut 16 percent globally.
  • Two hundred years ago, the average life expectancy was about 30 years. Today, many of us have a life expectancy of 75 to 80 years.
  • In the same 200 years, we’ve gone from over 90 percent of the world’s population living in extreme poverty to about 1.4 billion people there as of 2005 (the latest census numbers). That’s still way too many people. But here’s the good news: In 1981 52 percent of the world’s population lived in extreme poverty. By 2005, that number was cut in half down to 26 percent: All in one generation!

How can you help? What is 58 doing?
You can give yourself. Fast one thing. Make a change in your life to make a change in the life of someone else. Live Isaiah 58...

1) Pray. Align your heart with God’s over the suffering of the poor and seek His vision for the unique possibilities of our time.
2) Choose your fast. Commit to go hungry. You might simply forgo a meal, commit to a regular fast, or choose to give up something other than food. There are countless ideas and options.
3) Invite friends to join you or join an existing group to fast together. Grow your church, your fellowship group or other group of friends by fasting together. Sharing this experience with others will be valuable on many levels.
4) Offer whatever you have fasted for the benefit of the poor. If you saved $10 by not eating a meal, give it to help end extreme poverty. If you fasted from television, give that time to advance the cause or learn more.

What 58 does is they partner with organizations like Living Water, Compassion, Hope International, and many more. They ask you to pick your fast, pick your cause, and make a difference.

Here is the preview for the movie that we saw. Please visit the 58 website and read more about what they are doing. Global poverty is curable and it can happen now.

58: THE FILM Trailer from LIVE58NOW on Vimeo.