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Monday, May 28, 2012

Before I Go...

Dear Friends,

I just want y'all to know how very touched Dan and I have been by all the kind notes and comments that have come our way since our big announcement last week. Please know that we have read every word of every message and we have been so deeply encouraged and blessed.

Many of you have asked for more details on supporting us financially. If you're interested in this, you can sign up as a one-time or recurring donor on the Friends of SixtyFeet site.

Friends of SixtyFeet is our ministry's operational fund and covers everything from staff salaries and health insurance to paperclips for our office. Basically, it's all the stuff that's not very exciting to donate towards but is essential to the execution of our mission. And although we work off of a very tight and detailed budget, all of our operational expenses are currently paid out of one account -- so there's no need to designate your gift. It will get to where it needs to go.

If you or your church are interested in partnering with SixtyFeet in this capacity, please reach out to Dan for detailed information on our 2013 budget. He's got it and he'll be happy to share it. Or even meet with you in person if possible.

And finally -- if you're interested in continuing to follow along with us after this blog goes private (tomorrow night), please click the "register" link on the homepage -- just trust me, you'll see it tomorrow -- to request access. I'll soon be blogging about my upcoming trip to Uganda and Dan will write frequently about our work and life in ministry.

Thanks and blessings, friends. I'll see you on the other side!
Monday, May 14, 2012

Our Big Announcement -- And Our Last Post

In order to give some context to our “Big Announcement,” let me first share a story...

Years ago, Dan and I served a refugee community ministry in the southwest corner of Atlanta. It’s a simple little operation run by a precious couple, named Bennett and Idong Ekandem.

To say that we “served” this ministry is probably a strong word. Our little family of four would occasionally hop in our Audi and make the 35 minute trek to the apartment community in Clarkston, GA which represents one of the largest refugee communities in the world. Once on property, Dan and I would deliver a few bags of groceries, drop off some of our unwanted junk to various residents and leave a little money with Bennett and his wife.

Our entire family loved the Ekandem family and especially Bennett, whom we affectionately dubbed “Big Bennett.” The man was literally bursting at the seams with Christ’s love and his joy was infectious. I’d never met anyone quite like Big Bennett and I thought it was so nice that such a happy, humble, quiet servant had landed this refugee-ministry job that suited him so well.

We’d probably been acquainted with the refugee ministry for 6 or 7 months when I learned a shocking piece of information: Big Bennett hadn’t always been a quiet, humble servant living in a refugee community. He was a trained and highly educated architect whose name is associated with some of the most prominent buildings in downtown Atlanta. He felt the call to serve full-time in refugee ministry, and Big Bennett up and walked away from it all -- from the money, the prestige, the entire lifestyle.

In short, Jesus approached him and said “come, follow me.” And immediately, Bennett did.

What what?? I was flabbergasted by this discovery... he left a promising, lucrative, high-powered career to move to Clarkston, GA and serve a refugee community? Why would someone who was able to “make it” in the corporate world walk away for ministry work? Couldn’t he just volunteer on the weekends or something?

I know how ignorant all of this must make me sound. Please understand that at this time in my life, such a move made absolutely no sense in my economy. I remember turning Bennett’s story over and over in my mind and fearfully considering... what if, one day, God called Dan and me to do something similar? Could we really do it? Or more accurately, would we do it?

I pushed the question out of my mind because it didn’t seem too pressing or probable. Dan and I plugged along with our lives and did all the regular stuff. He worked hard as a software developer and I did the same as a stay-at-home-mom. In 2009 we added a third baby to our brood.

But in early 2010, everything changed. The Lord opened our eyes to a desperate need in the world. He broke our hearts for imprisoned children. Almost instantly, the entire course of our life was altered. Suddenly, what had been sacred and important was not such a big deal. What had been gain, we now counted as loss. We saw everything differently.

When we started SixtyFeet in early 2010, we had no idea that the Lord would grow and expand the ministry so exponentially and so quickly. For the last two years, we’ve juggled the work of SixtyFeet with our “real lives.” Dan and the other board members have essentially balanced two full-time jobs and frequent travel to Africa. The SixtyFeet wives and our amazing volunteers have filled in wherever possible.

But the ministry has now grown to the point that we just can’t effectively run a multi-faceted, international ministry without some full-time staff in the US. Dan and I have prayed and fasted and looked at this situation from every possible angle and with consideration to every possible scenario and it’s clear: we’re the ones who are called to go and do this thing.

We've decided to pull a Big Bennett. We've inquired of the Lord, we've counted the costs and we're prepared to respond in obedience.

Dan is transitioning out of his job by the end of this calendar year in order to run SixtyFeet full-time. For us, this is exciting and awesome -- but also scary. This is uncharted territory and, although we're confident in Christ's provision for us, this is a risk. Dan is leaving his nice, secure job to run a young, international ministry. This has several implications:

1. We are officially a ministry and missionary family – which means we’re officially raising support. We do have financial backing from the SixtyFeet board and from our own church, but in order to fully fund the SixtyFeet operational fund, known as Friends of SixtyFeet, we need additional supporters.

The mission of SixtyFeet is beautifully and fully funded through The Cupcake Kids, monthly film showings and the generous donations we receive throughout the year. Now, our greatest need is for staff to execute on the mission. The SixtyFeet board and our little church plant cannot shoulder the full operational cost of this work -- so we’re seeking individuals, churches, foundations and corporations with a heart for unique, international mission work to partner with us financially.

We need monthly, quarterly, annual and one-time donors to align with us. Please prayerfully consider aligning with us in this way and email Dan at danowens at sixtyfeet dot org for more information. Whenever possible, Dan will be happy to sit with you, face to face, to show you our new film and to discuss the ministry and specific staffing and operational needs.

2. Even more importantly, we need a team of people who will commit to pray for us. When someone once asked Charles Spurgeon the secret of his success, he simply replied "My people pray for me." It’s a jungle out there and as we step out in faith, Dan and I need prayer coverage for our ministry work, for our marriage, for our family and for life in general. If you’re interested in coming alongside us in this capacity, please email me at shellyowens at sixtyfeet dot org.

3. I’m taking a step back from SixtyFeet work and assuming a more behind-the-scenes role. If this seems counter-intuitive to you, I get that. I mean, Dan enters into full-time ministry work and now I’m backing away?

When Dan initially decided to make this move, I first assumed that my role would be the exact opposite. I’m an experienced fundraiser with extensive non-profit experience... I figured I’d be hanging up my homeschool hat and hitting the road with my husband to help build this ministry and raise support. But the Lord has clearly confirmed that my role will be anything but.

My family is on the brink of some major lifestyle changes and at this time, the best way for me to support SixtyFeet is by supporting my husband, loving my children and managing my home. I’m not backing away altogether and I’ll still be very involved in the work of our ministry – but mostly by sticking behind the scenes.

4. In keeping with the point above... the Crazy Blog is going private. Y’all, it’s sad (it really is so, so sad for me because I have loved this space!!) but it’s true. I just cannot continue to dedicate the time and attention required for public blogging.

The next time you visit this page, it will be password protected and access will be restricted to family, friends and those who serve on our financial and prayer support teams. This is necessary, due to the sensitive nature of the work we do and also frankly, because the public blogging world has just worn me out this year. Remember?

If you fall into one of those aforementioned categories and would like to continue to keeping up with Team Owens and follow along with our ministry work, you can register for our private blog at this same web address in about one week.

Thank you so very much to everyone who has followed along with our Crazy journey over the last few years. I was sifting through some old blog posts and pictures last night and I've got to admit, I got a little teary-eyed. For me, this is the end of an era.

If you’ve been reading from the very beginning, you’ve watched some amazing stuff unfold... and to God be all the glory. He's taken us in directions we never could have imagined and our story is really His story. He’s the author and perfecter of our faith and our lives. Dan and I are truly blessed to serve in His courts.

And that's a wrap. We love y'all dearly and we are thankful for you. 

Gratefully in His Service,
Dan & Shelly

Monday, May 7, 2012

Headed Out

I'm blogging here tonight... come see me!

With the Cupcake Kids season drawing to a close, our family is headed to the beach for some R & R -- thanks to the generous gift of a dear friend.

But check back with me next Sunday night. I (finally) have a major announcement from the Owens family...
Monday, April 30, 2012

Tips of the Trade

It's here! This is the week of The 2012 {Inter}National Cupcake Kids sale!

Last week I posted on facebook that I've been simply overwhelmed by watching all of The Cupcake Kids activity that's taking place from coast-to-coast and even internationally. It's hard to believe that it all started with the idea of one little girl...

That's my Madeline on her first day of Kindergarten 2008. The same year she conceived the idea for The Cupcake Kids.

Since that time, Madeline and I have witnessed dozens of Cupcake Kids stands, both in person and through pictures, spring up all over the world. We've seen Cupcake Kids sales that have done well. We've seen sales that have done really, really well. And we've seen sales that have absolutely knocked our socks off.

So for those of you preparing for your own Cupcake Kids stand this weekend, the following is a list of our best practices and favorite tips of the trade...

Best of the Best: Tips for The Cupcake Kids

1. Pray with Your Children Beforehand: In the days and weeks leading up to your Cupcake Kids stand, pray together as a family. Pray for good weather, pray for a great turn-out and pray especially that the Lord would use your family to bring hope and restoration to imprisoned children in Africa.

2. Dress for Success: If possible, purchase Cupcake Kids t-shirts from the SixtyFeet store for your entire team, including the adults.

3. Be Prepared to Share about SixtyFeet: Spend time on the SixtyFeet site and get familiar with our work and mission. Help your children understand what they're doing and specifically, what they're raising money for. The more passionate they are about the cause, the more funds and awareness they'll raise. Also, be prepared to educate others on the ministry of SixtyFeet and send your customers to our website for more information or to make online donations.

4. Let Your Kids Take Charge: After all, it's The Cupcake Kids. Not The Cupcake Moms. Put them to work in the kitchen -- baking and decorating the cupcakes and cleaning up afterwards. On the day of your sale, let them do the selling.

5. Don't Price Your Cupcakes: The stands that offer their cupcakes for "free with any donation to SixtyFeet" fare much better than those who put a specific price on their items.

6. Offer Curbside Service: Seriously... people love it.

7. Sell Virtual Cupcakes Before AND After Your Sale: Everyone who signs up to host a Cupcake Kids stand is given a personal fundraising page. You can send your link, for your specific Cupcake stand, out to friends, family and anyone who cannot physically attend your sale and give them the opportunity to purchase a "virtual cupcake" from you. You can promote the link to your stand both before and after your sale date -- using blogs, facebook or email. This is a GREAT way to increase your total sales and to spread the word about SixtyFeet. Check out my family's personal site for an example.

8. Dress Up Your Table: Cupcakes make any table look fancy, but adding some height and variety to your table adds interest.

9. Hang Bright, Cheerful Signage: Making signs is another great way to put your kids to work!

10. Delight in the Work You're Doing! Rejoice in knowing that, through your efforts, you and your children are making a real and lasting difference for imprisoned children in Africa. Cupcakes are no small matter to SixtyFeet. The Cupcake Kids is the fundraising arm of our ministry and every penny of the money raised through these stands immediately goes to work on the ground in Uganda. We are thankful for you!!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


"Love begins by taking care of the closest ones -- the ones at home."
-- Mother Teresa

In the day-to-day of messy rooms, dirty laundry, runny noses and to-do lists, I sometimes find it hard to believe that I'm really doing eternally significant work by raising my children.

Surely I could spend my time doing more important things...

I could fight more fiercely against injustice and poverty.

I could spend more time working for SixtyFeet.

I could attend more weekend conferences to share our message.

I could lead more Bible studies.

I could volunteer more of my time to worthy organizations.

But I'm fully convinced that this is the most important mission field I'll ever serve in...

Thanks, Griffin Gibson, for family pictures as beautiful as last year's.

It's true what they say... the days are long but the years are short. And another year has passed in the blink of an eye.

As much as I love the work Dan and I do in Uganda and in the inner city of Atlanta and with our little church plant, the work I do at home is the most important of all.

I am blessed.
Sunday, April 22, 2012

How Was Your Weekend?

We spent ours helping with a 3-day Cupcake Kids sale:

We celebrated this little dude's birthday:

We sent our Daddy off to Africa:

And we had a house showing for a prospective buyer.

So... not much going on around here.

I need to ask y'all to please pray for Dan and his time in Africa this week. More and more, we're learning that the mission field is also a battlefield. It's rough out there. And for us, the last several months have been marked by trials, testing and persecution like we've never experienced before.

Ministry work can be deflating and discouraging. It can be depressing and it can be downright ugly. And sometimes I can't help but wonder why? Why must it all be so hard? If Dan and I are walking in the Lord's will for our lives and faithfully serving Him with all our hearts... shouldn't He be blessing us?

Not necessarily. In fact, the opposite is usually true.

This weekend, Dan and I watched a powerful sermon by Ligon Duncan, a pastor in Jackson, MS. It's a full length sermon so plan to watch it when you have a spare 58 minutes. But it's worth every second.

Duncan's message is for anyone who is faithfully serving God while simultaneously experiencing hardship, discouragement and disappointment. The two are not mutually exclusive -- they often go hand in hand. And with a walk through 1 Kings 19, Duncan beautifully explains why.

I honestly think this is one of the most impactful messages I've ever heard and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Have a great week, friends. If you watch the sermon, please come back and tell me what you think.
Sunday, April 15, 2012

Craftiness for the Creatively Challenged

Today is the 6th birthday of a very, very special girl...

Thank you, Griffin Gibson, for the beautiful pic!

Many, many months ago, Hannah declared that she wanted a rainbow party for her 6th birthday. Remembering that my dear friend Andrea hosted a little-girl rainbow party last year, I went and reviewed her old post on that topic.

I read Andrea's post and checked out all of her beautiful, crafty ideas. And, immediately, this thought came to mind: "Oh crap."

Y'all, I'm not crafty. I'm just not. I was born without a creativity gene. I am also slightly unorganized, rather impatient and completely non-detail oriented... all qualities that do not lend themselves well to craftiness.

And yet, my daughter wanted a rainbow party.

We celebrated Hannah and Joseph's birthdays last April with a huge party. The event was great fun and also doubled as their homecoming party...

But honestly, I'm not sure that either child completely grasped what was going on. At the time, neither of them were speaking much English and they'd never celebrated a birthday before. Also, while all the party attendees were family and dear friends, Hannah and Joseph didn't know any of them very well. It honestly makes me a little sad looking back on it.

But this year, they know what's up. This was Hannah's first real birthday celebration -- and I was determined that it would be all she wanted it to be.

So here's what this non-crafty momma came up with...

This is dry white rice, dyed with food coloring. It's so super easy that even Baby Charlotte was able to help. Simply dump a few cups of dry rice into a gallon sized ziplock bag. Stir a couple tablespoons of water mixed with food coloring and pour into the bag. Zip up the bag (make sure it's zipped WELL -- I learned that the hard way) and hand to a child to squish around until the color is evenly distributed. Pour into a container or onto a paper towel to dry.

Purchase some inexpensive glass containers and voilà! You have a fun rainbow craft which also doubles as a take-home/keepsake piece... thus freeing you from the obligation of goodie bags. Which I hate.

We also did this stuff...

Rainbow M & M's, by Madeline and Davis.

Rainbow shaped fruit tray by Yours Truly.

Rainbow colored egg hunt. What's that? You're wondering if I only did the egg hunt to rid my home of left-over Easter candy? I can't believe you'd suggest such a thing. I'd never pawn off unwanted items to unsuspecting guests. Not unless it was for a really good cause.

My crowning crafty achievement was for each girl to create a tutu, using strips of tule and soft headbands from Target.

I cut the strips of tule ahead of time and the girls simply tied the pieces onto the headband. This activity took up a good 20-30 minutes and when complete, they were a huge HIT!

So there you have it -- my one crafty post of the year. I knew from the beginning that adoption would call me out of my comfort zone... but I had no idea that it would require CRAFTINESS. Geesh. The things we do for our kids...

Happy Birthday, precious Hannah. You are loved and treasured.
Thursday, April 12, 2012

Lighten Up

My last couple of posts have been rather heavy. The clip below has nothing to do with anything... but I decided it's time to {momentarily} lighten up.

This is only one minute long but trust me... it'll make your whole stinkin' night.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Suffering Well In America

In my last post, I raised the issue of “suffering well” in America.

Suffering, not prosperity, is the mark of a vibrant and healthy Christian life. It's the tool God uses to refine us, teach us, soften us towards others and to help us understand our complete dependence upon Him.

C.S. Lewis said this: "God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains."

But let’s face it. America can be a hard place to suffer. This is the land of opportunity and the wealthiest country in the world. We live in a place of affluence, comfort and excess. Even the poorest Americans are wealthy by the world's standards. Don't believe me? Check out this global wealth calculator. 

What in the world does it even look like to suffer in America?

Before I go on, let me say that I know there are people in America who do suffer. Even in my own little cirlce of family and friends, there are people dealing with loss, tragedy, sickness, financial insecurity and more, even at this very moment. There is suffering here.

For those of us who encounter such trials, there is much opportunity to use them for the glory of Christ. There is perhaps no greater testimony to the power of the Gospel than to suffer with grace, hope and the "peace that surpasses all understanding."

But what about the rest of us? Those of us who are generally healthy, gainfully employed and who are not dealing with significant loss or other such trials. We're rich Americans. How could we possibly suffer for the cause of Christ?

I think I can sum it up in four little words…

Choose to LIVE SIMPLY.

That’s it. Make intentional choices that cause you make less of yourself and make more of Christ. Instead of striving to keep up with the Joneses, live quietly, simply and sacrificially.

For some that might mean choosing to live in a modest home, far below your means. For others it could mean driving an inexpensive car or owning no car at all. It could mean no jewelry. It could mean second-hand clothing. It could mean all of the above or something else altogether.

The application may look different for all of us but the principle remains the same. For a more eloquent explanation of this idea, check out what the Piper has to say:

Friday, April 6, 2012

Sharing in His Sufferings

Our family was pounded last week with the stomach bug. And in a family with five young children, the stomach bug is never good news. But it’s especially rotten news when it arrives several days before vacation.

Dan and I sat with the kids last week, night after night, and prayed for healing. We prayed for the “yucky germs” to leave our home and that the Lord would restore us all to perfect health… because you know, we had a vacation planned.

And the Lord did provide the health we needed to make the trip. He also provided some awesome Chattanooga travel tips through Marcie H, a precious blog reader.

We made it through every day of the trip without even a hint of the stomach bug. It was a complete miracle and a precious couple of days together. Aaaaaaaand then Davis threw up in the car on the way home.

I guess next time I should pray more specifically that the Lord would provide health for our vacation… and for the entire drive home.

I thought about hitting the “publish” button and ending this post right here. A sweet family vacation. A couple cute pictures. A little puke on the way home. And {mostly} all is well with the Owens Family.

But I’d be doing y’all a terrible disservice -- because that’s not the end of my story. And if you know me well, you know those aren’t the types of blog posts I write anyways.

Here’s the truth that’s burdening me: I spent the last week fervently praying for and encouraging my children to pray for… a vacation. And frankly, that’s pretty lame.

Yes, we’re called to bring our prayers and petitions before the Lord. It’s true that He numbers even the hairs on our heads and cares deeply about the details in our lives. And a family vacation seems innocent and wholesome enough for a prayer topic.

But let’s get some perspective.

I know many mommas who live in the third world. And in third world countries, women don’t pray for their children to get well so they can go on vacation. Those women pray for their children to get well so they can live.

The rich pray for things like vacations, parking spots, faster internet access and enough money to make private school tuition. While the poor pray for things like food, water and basic life necessities.

On Tuesday (whilst on my much-prayed-for vacation) I read this quote from Jen Hatmaker: “The poor world is begging for mercy like Bartimaus, while the rich world is asking for more favor like James and John.”

And then it hit me right between the eyes. That’s me. That’s what I’m doing. I’m constantly asking God for more favor, more blessing, more good stuff in my already way over-blessed life.  With every breath of most of my prayers on most days, I’m begging the Lord for ease. For comfort. For fun. For a complete lack of suffering in any capacity.

Paul Billheimer says this: “It is not unusual that the greatest saints, those who have made the greatest contribution to the kingdom on earth, are those who have suffered the most… we never learn anything new about God except by suffering.”

But how on Earth does one suffer in an affluent culture such as America? Sure, there are those of us who suffer due to a loss, tragedy or other situation. But what about the rest of us? Those of us just shuffling through life, comfortable as pie, with no real clue what the word suffering really even means?

My next post will deal with that topic specifically: how to suffer well in America. But for now, I'll get on my knees and pray this prayer for me, for you and or for anyone who identifies with the words I've written here.

Lord, this Easter may we not desire what’s easy. May we not pray for what’s selfish. May we desire, above all, to share in your sufferings and to truly know you and the power of your resurrection. And through our sufferings and refinement may You make us into your likeness and use us for your glory.

Happy Easter, dear friends. Rejoice for He is Risen!
Sunday, April 1, 2012

When There's "Nothing" You Can Do

Have you ever had a really, really big problem? I have. Frankly, it seems like Dan and I deal with them all the time.

We have two adopted children. They came to us from unbelievably harsh circumstances and have many demons in their closets. There are days that I fear they'll never fully recover... and there's really "nothing" I can do about it.

Our ministry serves imprisoned children. Imprisoned. Children. It's a problem so big and so complicated that there's really "nothing" I can do about it.

Really big problems tend to make me feel... really helpless. Can you relate? Have you ever faced a mountain so big that you knew you couldn't scale it? Or perhaps you've heard these words from a doctor... "I'm sorry. There's 'nothing' we can do."

This week, I was blessed and encouraged by these words from my morning Bible study...

"There is rarely nothing you can do.
Being still and knowing He is God a long shot from nothing.
Trusting in a God you cannot see is a long shot from nothing.
Holding your tongue is a long shot from nothing.
Counting it all joy is a long shot from nothing.
Submitting is a long shot from nothing.
Confessing sin is a long shot from nothing.
Resting in Christ is a long shot from nothing.
And hear this one really loudly: praying is a long shot from nothing."

-- Beth Moore, Mercy Triumphs

No matter how bleak the circumstances, no matter how high the walls... we serve a God who's bigger than all of our problems combined. There's rarely "nothing" we can do. And I will rejoice and rest in that.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Home Sweet Home [for now]

Our house is on the market. We listed it several weeks ago. All the neighbors have been by to tell us that they’ll be sad to see us go but that they “understand.” We have a big family so obviously we need a bigger house. Right?

Wrong. We happen to like our little house and we’ve found lots of ways to make it work for us. We have our reasons for needing and wanting to move – but none of them are because we desire a bigger house.

Besides, the term “small house” is very relative. I’ve been to Africa and I’m perfectly aware that by the world’s standards, my three bedroom, 2 bathroom house is basically a palace.

I’m not against big houses and if you own one, I think that’s great. But what I am against is the way Dan and I often feel pressured to upgrade and “move on up” just because the world tells us it’s time.

So here’s how we make our small house work for us…

This is mission control.

It’s also known as the wire shelf in the laundry room. It’s where I keep our homeschool supplies, paper products, dry goods that won’t fit in the pantry (because my “pantry” is actually just another medium sized cabinet in our kitchen), art supplies, coupons and basically everything I might stuff into a basement or an extra bedroom if I had one.

This is my homeschool room.

It’s also known as the kitchen table. I have to admit that sometimes I see pictures of really amazing homeschool rooms and I get a little jealous. What I love about them the most is the idea of a separate place to stash all the books, papers, school supplies and other clutter that goes along with homeschooling. But at the same time, having our “homeschool room” right in the middle of my kitchen works well for multi-tasking. I can teach grammar while I unload the dishwasher. Or keep an eye on the math assignments while I bake bread. It’s often rather handy.

This is the playroom.

Adorable baby not for sale with house.

It’s also known as the garage. Seriously. We rolled out a foam pad and some cheapo carpet onto the concrete floor. We run a heater in the winter and a fan in the summer and… voila, a playroom! The “playroom” also functions as additional storage space and provides an extra spot for schoolwork when I need to split up the kids to help them focus. And my car just has to live outside and that’s too bad, so sad.

By the way… are you sensing a theme here? Very, very few places in my small house have a singular function. Nearly every space doubles as something else. The den also functions as the office. The top of Madeline’s closet also functions as the linen closet. Baby Charlotte’s dresser also functions as her changing table. We can’t afford to waste any space, so we don’t.

And speaking of doubling up… my kids don’t have their own rooms. (Gasp!) Hannah and Madeline share a room, Joseph and Davis share a room and Charlotte has a small nursery next to the master bedroom. All five kids share one, simple bathroom with a single sink. And while they’re grumbling and waiting in line at night to brush their teeth, Dan and I tell them it’ll build character.

We’re perfectly happy to host guests in our little home. Baby Charlotte sleeps in a queen sized bed with bedrails. When guests stay with us, her room becomes the guest room and she bunks with the big girls. And she loves every minute of it.

And finally, there are the perks. These are my two favorite perks to living in a small house:

First, limited space means limited stuff. We have two sets of sheets for each bed in the house. My kids have two pairs of pajamas each. I don’t decorate with cute knick-knacks for every holiday of the year. And we have so few toys that it would probably be shocking to most people. But I actually find this lack of stuff to be rather freeing – not the other way around.

Second, we spend a lot of time outside. A LOT. Dan and I would much prefer a small house with a big yard over a big house with a small yard. We love to sit on the porch and watch the kids run through our backyard, climb trees and dig in the dirt. We love for them to use toys powered by nothing but their own legs and their big imaginations. It's a beautiful thing.

So by this point you might be wondering -- if we love our little house so much, why are we moving? Well, that's a blog post for another day. Stay tuned...
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What You Need to Know

I’m sorry to say that this post will not be nearly as exciting as my last one.

But I’m happy to report that Dan and I have been completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support since that post. I honestly had no idea I had so many friends. You guys are amazing and I am very, very touched.

And now, let’s get down to business. There are a couple of things that you need to know about…

First, are you doing a Cupcake Kids sale? If so, do you know that you don’t have to wait until the actual day of your sale to start fundraising? Everyone who registers their sale on The Cupcake Kids site will receive a link that will allow you to sell “virtual cupcakes” to out-of-town friends and family members ahead of time.

I mean, chances are if your grandparents/aunts/uncles/cousins, etc live out of state, they're probably not going to attend your cupcake sale. But never fear! They can still contribute to your child’s stand by using the personalized link you received at registration. You could also promote your personal page on facebook or your own blog. It's rather handy.

For an example, here’s my family’s fundraising page. Nifty, huh? And if you feel like you need to go ahead and purchase a virtual cupcake to support our stand, it will not hurt my feelings.


Y’all know Colleen. At least you should. She used to be my bloggy BFF but now she’s one of my real life BFFs. Our families vacationed together last year. We traveled to Africa together last year.  And this year, we’ve already gotten to spend all kinds of time together, thanks to two Created for Care retreats and the SixtyFeet film premiere in February.

Colleen and her family are moving to Uganda to work for SixtyFeet. For five weeks, that is. Taking a family of six to east Africa for an extended period of time is not an inexpensive thing. So Colleen is fundraising. And I happen to have some very important insider information regarding this fundraising effort: there’s going to be a super fun, fundraising give-away on Colleen’s blog sometime very soon.

You really, really don’t want to miss it. If I were you, I’d hop over to the UglyCouch and get myself signed up as a follower right away. Do not delay.

Third, I’m going back to Africa in June. Have I told y’all that? Joy and I are leading a precious team of ladies on an 8-day trip to Uganda and we’re pretty stinkin’ excited about it. One of my other bloggy-turned-real-life BFFs will be joining us for this adventure…Lara, TheFarmer’s Wife.

And in order to fund her trip, Lara is selling fabulous hand-made jewelry. I’m not even kidding – it's gorgeous. And inexpensive! I wore a pair of her earrings at Created for Care last weekend and I was kicking myself for not bringing along extras to sell for SixtyFeet… I think I could’ve sold 100 pairs. They were a HIT!
You can find these and other awesome stuff in Lara's jewelry store.

And that’s the latest with me. Never a dull moment around here in Crazy Town!
Here's a pic just for fun. The kids and I did homeschool in our fort one day last week. It was not a productive school day -- but it did score me some much needed "cool mom" points. We're loving springtime!

Monday, March 19, 2012

My Thoughts on Slander, Scandal and "Truth"

"I would hope that my successor has the constitution of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros."

--Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, regarding his recent decision to step down from public ministry to pursue another career.

I've been quiet on the blog circuit lately. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. On the contrary, I have quite a lot to say, but I haven’t been exactly sure how to say it. This blog world has seemed a rather ugly, unfriendly place lately. I’ve backed away over the last few weeks out of disgust, exhaustion and yes… fear.

The firestorm of hate and attack that Invisible Children is currently facing – I can relate. These last few weeks have been the darkest, hardest, most painful time I have ever experienced in ministry. Satan is clearly on the move. And if I’m feeling this kind of pressure, I can only imagine how the founders of Invisible Children, who run a much bigger and larger profile ministry, must feel.

On Friday afternoon, came the news of Jason Russell’s breakdown. And I literally wept tears of sadness for the wave of smug and unkind comments and harsh judgments that I knew would follow. I don’t know the Invisible Children people personally. But I do know that they’re my brothers and sisters in Christ. They’re real people with real families and real feelings.

I’m not saying what Jason Russell did is ok. But I am saying that I know for a fact that it’s hard to operate under intense pressure and scrutiny.

Unfortunately, I can speak on this subject with some degree of authority. Since starting SixtyFeet, our family, our ministry and even our personal characters have been slandered up and down the internet – almost exclusively by people who have never met us. False and truly despicable accusations have been made about us.

Here’s a critical piece of information about my husband and me…

Dan and I started SixtyFeet two years ago because we heard about a need in the world and we set out to do something about it. That’s it. We weren’t trying to save the world. We weren’t looking to become famous or rich or powerful. And if we were looking for those things, we have clearly failed miserably.

We rallied some friends to join with us in the SixtyFeet effort and here’s our board of directors today:

We’re a couple of stay at home moms, a pediatrician, an attorney, an insurance salesman, a nursing home developer and a software executive. We also employ several single moms and our pastor does some part-time work for us. Our volunteer staff includes a farmer, an airforce pilot and two homeschooling moms. Between us, we have almost 40 kids. Overall, we’re pretty benign and boring people.

Now brace yourself for this next statement because it’s a real shocker: Our team is made up of sinful, flawed people who are not perfect. Sometimes we even make mistakes. Scandalous, I know.

Like every person reading this blog, we’re unworthy sinners saved by grace. And we’re just doing the best we can to live out God’s call on our lives. To us, SixtyFeet is more than just a ministry. It’s become our whole lives and our passion. It’s our blood, sweat and tears. It’s our hard earned money and precious time away from our kids.

Ministry is hard and it's messy. It's often highly complicated and things are not always what they seem. Sometimes it's hard to know who to trust and how to trust. But I do know this: we're called to love and encourage one another.

I’m not naïve and I understand that anyone who runs a public ministry and or writes a public blog has opened themselves up to comment and criticism. I’m good with that. I believe that iron sharpens iron. I believe in complete transparency in ministry and that we’re called to hold one another accountable. I believe in speaking truth and exhortation.

I also believe in doing those things prayerfully, in love, with the benefit of first-hand information, and according to Matthew 18. And if you’re a believer in Christ, I pray you’ll stand up and stand with me on the tide against this. It's time for us Christians to unite, to give one another a break and to simply show some grace.

Comments are closed on this post because the last few weeks have provided me with enough online hate, slander and gossip to last a lifetime. But if you have something you’d like to discuss, please feel free to Matthew 18-it and email me directly.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's Open Season for CUPCAKES!!!

The birds are chirping, the flowers are blooming, the smell of spring is in the air. And at my house, that can only mean one thing...

Yep. It's that time again. The Cupcake Kids are back!!! This year's {Inter}National Sale is scheduled for May 5, 2012. Which also happens to be Cinco de Mayo. Margarita cupcake anyone?

If you're new around here and you don't know the amazing God story behind The Cupcake Kids, here's the skinny...

Shortly after forming SixtyFeet, my six year old daughter and four year son approached me with a question... “Mommy, what about us? Can we do something to help the children in Uganda?” I smiled and patted them on their little heads and I so appreciated their hearts and interest.

They were just little kids and I doubted they could do much -- but I decided to humor them and let them give it a shot. They wanted to sell cupcakes and lemonade on the street corner one Saturday afternoon. Like any good mommy, I gave them my blessing and even agreed to match everything they earned. Thinking, of course, that they’d earn $10 or $15.

That day they earned $260 for the children of Uganda.

After that, word spread quickly. Inquiries poured in from friends, relatives and strangers who wanted to host their own Cupcake Kids stands in their neighborhoods. We agreed to do a second sale and this time, with multiple locations.

That day they earned $10,000 for the children of Uganda. And “The Cupcake Kids” were born.

It took us a while, but the adults finally caught the vision for what God was doing through our children. We were stunned. Blessed. And very humbled. “And a little child will lead them ...” Isaiah 11:6.

Since that time, The Cupcake Kids have made many special appearances. Last year, they sold cupcakes and lemonade all over the continental United States and Alaska, as well as Canada, Indonesia, Singapore and Africa. 100% of the proceeds went directly to SixtyFeet and immediately went to work in Uganda.

The Cupcake Kids are little people with big hearts for God and the imprisoned children of Africa. Today, they are the fundraising arm of SixtyFeet.

If you have some little people with big hearts for God, we hope you’ll join us for this year’s National Cupcake Kids Sale on May 5, 2012. It’s a “sweet” way to get the whole family involved in orphan ministry.

You can register for a sale here. It’s quick, easy... and delicious.

And to my blogger/social media friends -- can you share this link? Or direct people to The Cupcake Kids site through facebook? We'd be so grateful for anything you can do to help spread the sweetness!!

Thanks so much to Missy and others who have already jumped on board to help lead the charge! If you're interested in guest posting on The Cupcake Kids site about your own SixtyFeet or Cupcake Kids experiences, please email me at shellyowens at sixtyfeet dot org.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

When Saving Becomes Hoarding

"Now listen you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you... You have hoarded wealth in the last days." (James 5:1,3b. emphasis mine)

Where do we cross the line between healthy, biblical saving practices and "hoarding," as James speaks about in the verse above? I strongly suspect that most of us, in the name of "wise spending," crossed that line long ago.

Several years ago, I was shocked to read the words below from Francis Chan. His sound biblical teachings caused Dan and I to re-evaluate our priorities and to make some serious changes to our saving and spending habits.

"Someone asked me recently why I don't save money for emergencies or retirement. My answer was how can I justify saving for myself 'just in case' something happens to me when something IS happening to so many already?  Today, 29,000 kids will die of preventable causes."

Watch this five-minute clip and hear it for yourself. Be forewarned, folks. This is convicting...

Sunday, February 26, 2012

When God Needs Us

Last week, a friend asked if I could write a blog post to help raise money for another friend in need. And because I love both ladies dearly and I'd pretty much do anything for either of them, I happily agreed.

My "friend in need" was Sara. She and her entire family have been in Uganda for the last 11 months, fighting to bring their daughter home. They received all of the needed approvals to head home... but their plane tickets had expired. They needed to raise $6,500. Fast.

This is a family I love and a cause I definitely wanted to support. But as usual, I overbooked myself last week. Too much to do. Too little time. No time to blog.

I spent a couple of days thinking through blog post ideas in my head, but I didn't have any time to write. I definitely didn't have a couple of free hours to pound out the kind of thoughtful, heartfelt post that would inspire people to give.

I fretted and stressed about it all week... because you know, it was all up to me to raise the money. God needed me to do this for Him, right?

To make a long story short, I never did find a couple of free hours to write out a beautiful, inspiring post. But on Friday morning, I found a few minutes. I sat down on my porch with my laptop -- but instead of using my precious few minutes to write a beautiful post, I decided just to offer up some prayers.

Afterwards, I hurriedly typed out a couple of paragraphs, recruited Colleen to make a fancy button to slap on the page and posted it on Sara's blog. It wasn't very well written and it was full of typos. It was certainly nothing special.

I honestly have no idea how much has been raised to date... but I know that six hours after I put up the post, the entire $6,500 was raised.

Seriously. Who am I kidding? God doesn't need me. But because He is gracious and loving and good, He sometimes lets me help.

It's almost laughable how easily I can fool myself into thinking that God needs me -- instead of the other way around.

On those days I'm tempted to feel like Ron Burgundy (see the clip below if you're not familiar :-), I'm thankful that He gently and lovingly puts me back in my place. 

Thank you, Lord, for any bit part you're willing to let me play in your work.
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Let's Bring Em' Home!

Well, I've gone and done it again. For the second time this year, I've hijacked another blog. For some reason, I just can't help myself...

It's not so much the hijacking that draws me to this stuff -- it's the chance to be a small part of some really amazing God stories.

Watch the short video below and, if you're intrigued, please hop over and join me at Let Love Guide. After nearly a year in Uganda, this family is finally coming HOME! But they still need our help...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Twas the Night Before Lent...

As a family, we've never really made a big deal out of Lent. Easter, yes. Lent, not so much. Over the years, Dan and I have abstained from different things or observed the season in other ways, but it's been more of a private thing -- not a big family celebration.

This year, I've been inspired to do things differently. We're going all out for Lent. I've taken some ideas and cues from different friends and planned out a season that our whole family is pretty darn excited about.

Here's our plan...

First, the Pancake Dinner. In England, the Tuesday before Lent begins is called "Pancake Day." The point is to enjoy a rich, satisfying meal before the period of fasting and self-denial begins. I suppose it's the British version of Fat Tuesday.

So tonight, we celebrated the beginning of Lent with a big pancake supper, complete with fresh berries, whipped cream and all kinds of ridiculous toppings. I meant to take pictures but we had so much fun that I completely forgot.

Second, in keeping tradition, we're all fasting from something for the next 40 days. Tonight at dinner, we all made our announcements about what we're giving up...

Dan: Red Meat
Shelly: Facebook
Madeline: Books on Tape
Davis: Teddy Bear
Hannah: Stuffed Dog
Joseph: Stuffed Dog
Charlotte: Lent (yes, Charlotte is giving up Lent for Lent. I guess the point of the exercise was lost on a two year old).

Third, we're not only fasting. Dan and I have spent a lot of time in Isaiah 58 this week reading about the kind of fast that's acceptable to the Lord. According to these verses, a true fast requires more than abstaining -- it also requires giving and doing.

So this year for Lent, our family will also be giving. Each day for the next 40 days, we'll give a gift to someone. Not necessarily a material gift -- perhaps a gift of time or service, a meal for a mom who's too frazzled to cook or a completely random gift to someone who has no way of repaying us.

Tonight at dinner, we completed our Lent List together. This is the list of the 40 gifts that we've agreed, as a family, that we'd like to give during the season, in Jesus' name. As we discussed this list together, I was nearly moved to tears at the suggestions of my children. Even Baby Charlotte participated and contributed ideas.

And finally, we're doing a Lent Tree. I stole this sweet idea from my friend Andrea and it's such a beautiful way to celebrate the season with little ones. The idea is that you put together a simple "Lent Tree" (ours is a couple of branches plucked from trees in our yard) and decorate it each day with an ornament which corresponds to a daily Bible reading.

I originally set out to find or create 40 perfectly beautiful ornaments...

But I made it about halfway through the list before I realized it was going to be too expensive to purchase them all ready-made. And too ridiculous to try and make them all fluffy and perfect, because I'm terribly un-crafty.

So instead, I bought some clay and Dan and I had an ornament making fest with the kids. We all pitched in and molded the last 20 ornaments together. It was great fun and I ended up with some serious keepsake pieces...

Here's my favorite, by Davis:

As Davis explains it, the ram is sad because she's about to be sacrificed. Can't say I blame the old girl.

Here's to celebrating the season! I hope you'll celebrate with us -- the more the merrier!
Sunday, February 19, 2012

No Burning Bushes

I know, I've been quiet. I don't think I've ever gone a full two weeks without updating this blog. But y'all, I've had a lot on my mind...

Several months ago, I did a post entitled The Waiting Place. The title probably says it all but in case you can't tell...Dan and I were um, waiting.

Waiting upon the Lord, that is. In prayer and petition. Over some serious, stressful and [what we preceived to be] time sensitive matters.

We're now three months down the road and I can tell you this with great confidence: we're still pretty clueless.

In matters of divine revelation, I'm clearly on a need-to-know basis. And apparently, I don't need to know any more than I know right now. The Lord keeps reminding me that there's a biblical term for this kind of predicament. It's mentioned in 2 Corinthians 5:7 and it's called...

"Walking by faith and not by sight."


I was hoping for a clearly marked road map, dropped straight from Heaven. Or maybe a visit from an angel. Or at least a burning bush in my bedroom. But no. We're called to walk by faith, not by magical road maps that guarantee success, safety and protection at every turn.

We're called to walk by faith and trust that because He is God and because He is good -- He will not fail us. Or as Martin Luther says... "I know not the way he leads me, but well I know my guide."

And so now the time is upon us. It's time for Dan and me to start stepping forward in one direction or another. And we will do it, but by faith alone. I'll share the details on all of this when the time is right. But for now, please know that our family sure could use your prayers.

Over the coming season of Lent, our family plans to seek out as many opportunities as possible to draw close to the Lord. To sit at His feet. To reflect His glory. And to walk by faith.

We've created a Lent Tree like my friend, Andrea. But with a bit of a "Crazy" twist to it. Check back with me on Tuesday night, the night my children are referring to as "Lent Season Eve," and I'll share all our big plans for the next 40 days.

Who knows? You may even decide to to take a step of faith and party along with us.
Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Healing {Still} Happens

Today I took Hannah and Joseph for a blood draw. They've been home for over a year now and this should be their final battery of post-adoption tests, declaring both of them completely healthy and bringing much peace of mind to our family.

Blood draws with four and five-year-olds are not usually my idea of a good time... but this one went so well. Hannah and Joseph did great. Really, really great. So great that I felt it time for a blog re-run, because today's appointment was pretty much the same as that one last June...

Healing Happens, from June 9, 2011

Nearly seven months ago, I took Hannah and Joseph for their very first appointment at our pediatrician’s office. I wrote about that appointment here. It’s a day I will never forget…

It was the dead of winter and I remember running through the freezing cold parking deck at Piedmont Hospital, dragging behind me two children I barely knew. We made our way into the doctor’s office, signed in and began the unbundling of coats, scarves, hats and gloves. All the while I’m wondering what the people around us could possibly be thinking about the exhausted-looking, short-tempered white lady with the two black children who were speaking some obscure African language.

I felt like every eyeball in the room was on me and, despite the freezing temperatures outside, I can remember sitting in the waiting room and breaking into a sweat.

After what seemed like about 5 hours (but it was probably more like 5 minutes), the nurse called us back for our appointment. Our pediatrician, Dr.Roe, is a member of the SixtyFeet board. He traveled to Uganda twice last year and had already given both Hannah and Joseph full exams, so our appointment was quick. Dr. Roe wrapped it up, hugged the kids good-bye and then broke the bad news to me: “Shelly, you know we have to start catching them up on their vaccinations. Today."

Joseph handled it like any other three-year-old. He huffed and puffed and cried and got over it when I handed him a sucker.

Hannah was a different story. When the nurse brought the needles into the room, Hannah became more hysterical than any child I have ever seen. She belted out the most primal screams I’ve ever heard. She kicked, hit, pinched and tried to bite me. And she became freakishly strong – between two nurses and me, the three of us couldn’t hold her down so Dr. Roe had to come in to restrain her.

It was a pretty awful scene. And it was probably two full days before Hannah really calmed down and recovered from the episode. I don’t know if I’ve ever really recovered.

Fast forward seven months…

Today we had another doctor’s appointment. Hannah and Joseph were both due for another major round of shots. I’ve been prepping them since last week…. “Guys, we’re going to Dr.Roe’s office next Thursday. You’re both going to have shots. It’s going to hurt but just for a minute. And then you get a sucker and we’ll go home.”

Today we walked into the office. I signed us in and grabbed a seat in the waiting room. Hannah and Joseph sat on either side of me and looked quietly at books. And as I type this, I realize that I didn’t even give a second thought to what anyone was thinking about the white lady with the two black children.

The nurse called us back quickly (which was kind of a bummer… I didn’t even have time to update my facebook status and ask people to pray) and the appointment was over before we knew it. And then it was show time. Or shot time. Whatever.

Dr. Roe walked out of the room and the nurse was on the way in with her tray full of shots – polio, tetanus, Hep A, Hep B… Hannah looked me square in the eye and proclaimed “Mommy, I be a big girl this time. I no cry.” And of course I’m thinking “yeah right.” But I gave her a smile and some encouraging words. But on the inside my heart was pounding, my palms were sweating and I’m was wondering when everyone was going to fall apart.

The nurse walks in, smiled at Hannah and asked “would you like to go first?” Hannah said, “yes please,” hopped on the table and looked at me. She repeated her claim from earlier… “I be big girl. I no cry.” And I walked over and held her hands tightly and braced myself for whatever was coming next and… NOTHING.

I almost could not believe me eyes. Hannah’s band-aids were on. Her eyes were dry. It was over. And she was SMILING!!!!!! Joseph went next and, spurred on my Hannah’s heroic performance, he did the exact same thing.

The nurse looked at me and I looked back at her and she said “Wow. That was remarkable. Do you remember what it was like six months ago?” And I started to laugh because how could I forget? But then I started to cry because I was so incredibly proud of them. And so there were tears shed after all -- just not Hannah and Joseph’s.

I know it was easier on them this time for a myriad of reasons – Hannah and Joseph are familiar with our pediatrician’s office and with his staff. They speak and understand the language everyone was using. This time they knew what was going on.

But more than anything, I think this made the difference: we've become a real family. Hannah and Joseph trust me and they know I'd never do anything to hurt them. Their hearts are starting to heal.

In some ways, the last seven months have flown by. And in other ways, time has gone so slowly and some days have been so hard. But slowly, our Lord is bringing healing. He's healing Hannah and Joseph's hearts, minds and bodies from pain and experiences they never should have had.

He's also healing the rest of the Owens crew. He's healing us from the curse of our abundance, our selfishness, our materialism. From the way we used to live and from the things we used to live for. The last seven months have opened our eyes in ways we never could have imagined -- and we will never be the same.

Indeed, He makes all things new.
Sunday, February 5, 2012

{And Now} A Heartfelt Post

On Tuesday night, I sat down to share my thoughts and experiences from the Created for Care retreat, held last weekend in Buford, GA. But then I was rudely interrupted by a hilarious video clip and was temporarily rendered unable to write.

Now I'm back and I do want to share about my weekend.

Created for Care 2012 was a time of total refreshment for me. Note that I did not say it was a time of relaxation or rest... I think I slept for a combined total of 6 hours the entire weekend. And I'm not sure if I sat down the entire time. But dang it was fun.

It was a weekend of laughter, encouragement, friendship and complete, utter joy with a hotel full of like-minded ladies. In my book, it doesn't get much better than this:

I spent my time working at the SixtyFeet table, doing some break-out sessions,

That's me on the end and some of my favorite blog writers on the panel: Gwen Oatsvall, Suzanne Mayernick, Missy Dollahan, Kristi Johnson, Lovelyn Palm and Lara Dinsmore.

and generally doing what I do best: talking, laughing, eating and acting completely immature.

Of course this is Joy, not me. But I was wearing the baskets on my head too. I just don't have a picture of myself to share.

On Saturday night, I found myself onstage addressing all 450 women at the retreat. Andrea was crazy gracious enough to give me the mic and a few minutes to thank the retreat attendees for the role so many of them have played in launching and growing the ministry of SixtyFeet over the last two years.

During this time my heart was not just to speak for SixtyFeet or for Uganda or even for orphan ministry -- but to speak for ministry work in general. Because even large, busy, overbooked families can do ministry. You really can.
Now I'd be lying if I didn't tell you this... while I was up there speaking, a part of me actually wanted to scream "DON'T DO IT!! Keep your head down. Pour all of your time and energy into your husband and your children and your home. Don't get sucked into ministry work because it's crazy out there. Play it safe, avoid the spiritual warefare and just stay home!!"

But what a disservice that would have been. While playing it safe would've made my life easier, it would've also made it far less meaningful. We weren't built for easy. We were built for service. We're here to work. And I so want to encourage you in that.

I may have already shared this short clip with you but it's so good, it's worth sharing again. Hear below what Francis Chan has to say about playing it safe and staying home.

You can do ministry. You really can. You don't have to wait until you reach a season in life that's more manageable. You don't have to wait until all of your sin issues have been defeated. You don't have to wait until you've been trained at seminary. If you're willing and open-handed, God will use you right now if you'll let Him.

Have a great week, friends. If you're watching the Superbowl tonight (I personally don't even know who's playing), enjoy with caution.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012

{Not} A Heartfelt Post

I'm just back from the Created for Care retreat. What a weekend. I spent three whole days with nearly 450 of my BFF's.

Perhaps next year we'll send Joy the memo about which day to wear her SixtyFeet shirt...

Even though I'm supposed to be taking a break from blogging, I started to sit down and write a deep, heartfelt post about the weekend and what it meant to me. Because it was truly awesome and I highly recommend this retreat for anyone who even thinks they may want to adopt at some point.

But then a friend sent me this video clip and I can't stop laughing and I have completely lost my resolve to write.

I'm sure I'll get around to that heartfelt post at some point because I really do want to share about my weekend at Created for Care. Thanks so much to Andrea and team for planning a wonderful, amazing retreat. I can't wait to do it again in March! Please let me know if you'll be there -- I'd love to meet you.
Thursday, January 26, 2012

Keeping Momma Happy: Linky Love

A while back, I read this on a sign in an antique store:

If Momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

If Daddy ain't happy...

Who cares?

And while it was funny enough to make me laugh out loud, I also had to admit that there's some truth to this silly statement. We women really do have the ability to make (or break) the moods in our homes.

This week has been Rough, with a capital R. Dan is just back from Africa. I'm preparing to speak (three times -- what was I thinking??) at the Created for Care retreat this weekend. The SixtyFeet film premiere is only two weeks away. And have I ever mentioned that I have five young children who I homeschool? And I help run an orphan ministry in Uganda? I believe I have.

Anyways, Momma is not happy at the moment and my home is a bit out of sorts. I'm ignoring my kids, snapping at my friends and bossing my husband around like its my job. So while I work on getting my act together, y'all will not be hearing from me on the blog for another week or so. God first. Family second. Blogging... way on down the list.

For the interim, enjoy these fabulous links. Read now, thank me later.

25 Clever Ideas to Make Life Easier

Why I Don't Homeschool

Don't Carpe Diem