I typically advocate for Honduran children who attend the same projects as my own sponsored children, but am so delighted to advocate for these three precious children from around the world. Their sweet faces won my heart!
Princella – Ghana
I think this sweetie was very aptly named… Princella is a little princess! She lives in a forested community in Ghana with both her dad and mom, and she is one of two children in the home. 3 1/2 year old Princella helps in the home by caring for children, and her favorite activities are singing and walking. She attends kindergarten as well as church activities and Bible class. Her birthday is December 29, 2011.
Princella’s dad is sometimes employed as a farmer, and her mom is sometimes employed. Most adults work as market traders and earn the equivalent of $10/month. Common health problems in her area include malaria and typhoid fever, and the regional diet consists of maize, beans, chicken, fish, bread, cassava, plantains, and rice. The spoken language is Fante.
Sauphiana lives on the plains of Port-de-Paix with both her dad and mom, and she is one of 3 children in the family. 6 year old Sauphiana is in preschool, and her favorite activities are playing house, art, and hide-and-seek. Her birthday is May 15, 2009.
Sauphiana’s dad is sometimes employed as a laborer, and her mom is sometimes employed as a seller in the market. Most adults in her community are unemployed, but some work on plantations, as subsistence farmers, or as market traders, and earn the equivalent of $43/month. Common health problems include fevers, typhoid, influenza, and malaria, and the regional diet consists of beans, bananas, chicken, bread, beef, and rice. The spoken language is Creole.
Jefri lives in an island community with both his dad and mom, and is one of 2 children in the family. 6 year old Jefri is not presently attending school, but he attends church activities regularly. Bicycling is his favorite activity. His birthday is May 30, 2009.
Jefri’s dad is sometimes employed, and his mom maintains the home. Most adults in this community work as subsistence farmers and earn the equivalent of $33/month. Common health problems in the area include malaria, diarrhea and vomiting. The regional diet consists of maize, fish and rice.
Some letters feel like endearing hugs. And I love hearing from these incredibly sweet children that I’m going to be visiting in a few days! I’m taking a quick break from packing my suitcases to share from the letter I received today from one of my older Honduran boys, 12 year old Samuel. We’ve been corresponding for the past 8 months, and he already has opened up to write very touching letters.
In talking with several new sponsors recently, they’re full of questions of what to write, and I love giving ideas to help them connect with the heart of their sponsored child. My kids enjoy even simple letters about the birds that I see here, or even trees and plants that I like. Even though I’ve already been to Honduras to visit some of my kids, I still am surprised by some of the glimpses into their lives that I receive through their letters, such as this one here…
It’s HOT in Honduras! HOTduras is my affectionate nickname for this country! And I can’t imagine living in a hot place in a city without trees for shade. That little glimpse gave me a whole new visual picture of Samuel’s living conditions.
With the level of poverty that these children face, it impresses me so much that their heart to succeed is so that they can provide for the needs of their families. Several of them have shared their dreams with me, and they are not for themselves, but in order to serve. The dream is to be someone “important” in life so that they can help their family.
If you are new to corresponding with a sponsored child, share about your relationship with God, and encourage them in developing their own personal relationship with Him. For me, there’s nothing more important, and I hope that each of my children will grow to share this same passion.
I felt Samuel’s sweet hugs all through these little excerpts and through his whole precious letter, and I can’t wait to give him hugs in person in just a couple of weeks!
So now back to packing… and praying for packing miracles to get everything in my suitcases!
I love miracles. I love seeing God display His glory in doing miracles in our lives. I love reading about them in the Bible, I love hearing people’s testimonies of miracles, and I especially love experiencing them myself.
Today I was filled with joy to hear about a beautiful miracle.
One very dear sponsor has been praying for one of the boys I’ve been advocating for from the new Compassion Tu Reino Aqui. She shared the same heart that I’ve had for Marco, and has been faithfully praying for a sponsor for him.
And the more she prayed, of course the more she loved him.
For weeks now, I’ve been praying for God to do a miracle on her behalf so that she could sponsor Marco… that God would release unexpected money that would fully provide for his sponsorship. Today that happened… God answered these prayers for unexpected resources for full provision!
It is always so incredibly encouraging to see God at work like this… And I’m ready to see Him do it again.
I’m ready even more so after hearing the report back today from a young gal on a mission’s trip in Honduras. Hannah had her special child visit day with her sponsored children, including three children from this new Compassion project, Tu Reino Aqui. She is the first one to meet some of these children, and has given our team permission to share her report:
…They are absolutely precious. They stuck out profusely among everyone else, and all three of the children had completely rotten teeth. Keisy’s mother told me that they used to sleep in a field until compassion came along and now they are building a wooden house. Keisy also looks somewhat malnourished. Harold is TINY. His grandmother had no work and feeds four grandchildren. None, not even the adults, had ever been to San Pedro Sula. None of the children had ever eaten in a restaurant, eaten ice cream, or owned a toy. Amy had never received new clothes. …they just seem like they need physical needs met more than anything. They were so full of life and joy.
I have so much love for these children, but am feeling so much pain on their behalf too.
I was so happy that little Keisy was chosen by this sponsor. While my heart is overwhelmed with the desperate needs of these precious children and their families, I am grateful that they will be receiving help from Compassion’s ministry, along with the encouragement and support of their new sponsors.
This project is in a community that is especially poor. The needs are profound and in some cases, desperate. Honduras is already a very poor country, and even for Honduras, this community is extremely poor. The average income is only $50/month. Many children are living with grandparents who are caring for several children, and often without employment…
Children who have never owned a toy…
Children who may have never had a piece of new clothing…
Children who probably have rotting teeth…
Children who might not even have any kind of dwelling to call home.
Are you willing to make a difference in their lives? I have 10 more children who are still waiting for their sponsors, and I would be thrilled to tell them the good news, face to face, that they have been chosen. I will be seeing them in two weeks!
Is one of these children on your heart? Do you too need a miracle for provision in order to sponsor one of them? I will pray for you too! God loves to answer our prayers and reveal His glory to us, again and again. If you would like to help change the story for one of these children, please contact me.
Having been a child sponsor and advocate for awhile, I thought I had a fairly good understanding of the poverty that my children faced. However, when I actually visited two of my girls last summer, the reality of it hit me, and I discovered many times how little I really knew. While each one of those times of greater understanding and revelation gripped my heart, the moment regarding the dolls touched my heart very profoundly.
All year I had looked forward to visiting my girls and bringing them special gifts, and first on my list was a special doll. After our delightfully happy time swimming together, I presented Yolani with her doll. Instantly she was so incredibly over-the-top, ecstatic with her gift, and bubbling with intense joy! For a child who has so little, to receive her heart’s desire like this was a huge dream come true.
Yolani was in a flurry of delight examining her doll and doll clothes
All the girls were in awe of Yolani’s doll…
Yolani didn’t need much prompting to start dressing her doll in the different outfits
This sweet outfit was a treasured gift for Yolani from one of my friends
Showing her doll to Celvin, her older brother who was still in the pool… he immediately got out of the water and came over to see her gift
Look at Yolani’s shining eyes! She promptly named her doll “Bonita”
While I was thoroughly enjoying Yolani’s delight over Bonita, I was acutely aware of the reactions of the other girls in our group. As they stroked Bonita’s hair and shared Yolani’s happiness, a look of longing and sadness swept over each one. When I asked them about their dolls, I discovered that not one of them had ever had a doll. Never. In fact, they didn’t even know any girls who had a doll, except for the ones who had received dolls from their visiting sponsors.
Both Yolani’s joy and Suany’s sweet spirit and pain still deeply touch my heart
My heart in that moment was crushed by the weight of sadness, grief, frustration, and really anger that poverty had denied these children such simple childhood pleasures that we take so for granted. Our children here have so many toys… it hurt to realize that these 8, 9 10, and 11 year old girls had never had a doll. I had brought little gifts for the other girls, but I had no other dolls to give them.
When our team visited the local market, I looked in vain for dolls to purchase. The only ones I found were cheap little plastic dolls like you would find in a dollar store here, but the faces were incredibly harsh and ugly looking. Who makes such ugly dolls? Why? And my heart broke again that I had nothing to offer these other girls who had won my heart.
Even this week I received a letter from my little 7 year old Ugandan girl who replied that she had never had a toy before. Aaaugh! My heart…
Sweet Claritza enjoying the chance to hold Bonita
Avi, one of Yolani’s many cousins, was so delighted to hold Bonita
So I promised myself that when I returned, I would bring as many beautiful dolls as I could fit in my suitcase… not only the 5 that I need this year for my own girls, but for these other precious girls that I had gotten to know and love… Suany… Cesil… Avi… Claritza. And there’ are still so many more girls on my heart that I want to love on, but their dolls will have to wait for another year, as I simply cannot squeeze any more in!
Filling up my suitcase with dolls for precious girls
I leave for Honduras in 22 days… so much excitement and joy for this long anticipated trip as I finish collecting the last of my gift items for the children. After seeing Yolani’s incredible delight not only in receiving a doll, but also that she had a few different outfits and pairs of shoes for Bonita, I would like to provide the same for each girl receiving one of these dolls next month. I have a list of items that I still need to purchase… however, with a number of trip expenses that I still need to pay, I realized that I really need help with this project to bless these girls!Buying a $10 doll dress for one child would not be difficult, but trying to provide 2-3 dresses for 9 girls is beyond what I can do at this point!
Here is a partial list of what I still need for this trip…
4 more of the purple outfits pictured here (single outfits are available in Walmart stores rather than the sets as shown on the link)
If anyone is up for sewing some pretty dresses to fit 18″ dolls, that would be wonderful too!
I am also looking to provide each girl with some sewing items so she can have the fun of designing and creating her own doll dresses and accessories…
9-18 “fat quarters” of pretty cotton quilt fabric in petite floral designs
9 packages of hand sewing needles
9 spools good quality white thread
9 pairs inexpensive sewing scissors
If you are interested in sharing in this joy together with me by providing one or more of these items, please contact me. I would be very grateful for your help in blessing each of these precious girls with a dream come true. And Yolani, Suany, Cesil, Avi, Claritza, Daniela, Reina, Sofia, and Maybeline will all be sending you “enormous hugs and kisses” too. :o)
One month from today I’ll be on a plane heading for Honduras! It has been so exciting to be dreaming and planning for this trip all year long, and to see God’s hand at work opening doors and providing the way for so many details. For the past few months, I’ve been packing my suitcases with gifts for the children, and can’t wait to hug each one of my sweeties, as well as their family and friends that I have come to love. I have a really big family now!
In March, I and the others on our team for this Vision Trip started advocating for the children from Tu Reino Aqui, (Your Kingdom Here), the new Compassion project in the rural mountains of Honduras. We have caught the vision for advocating for a whole project, and it has been so beautiful to see one child after another be chosen by a sponsor. It’s extraordinary to see that about 90 of the 200 children have been sponsored already, and we’re dreaming and praying for sponsors for each one.
I currently have these 12 children remaining from the 2 dozen that I have been personally advocating for, and would love to see each of these precious ones sponsored by the time I arrive at their project on Friday, July 17th. I know that the Lord has a special sponsor planned for each one, and it’s like going on a treasure hunt to find those sponsors. Both the sponsor and the child will be special treasures for each other… Is one of these treasures for you?
A Special Note for Grandparents
Several of these precious children live with one or both grandparents. What a blessing it would be for these grandparents as well as the child to have someone like you come alongside them to help and encourage them. Many grandparents in our country have had to take on the full responsibility of their grandchildren, and as difficult as it is here, the conditions in Honduras there are incredibly more difficult. Imagine trying to do this in a simple adobe mud home with dirt floors, no running water, toilets, showers, baths, or washing machines. Cook your food in an outdoor adobe oven. There are no screens on your windows, and no air conditioning. Walk on dirt roads everywhere you need to go. And it’s hot outside… really hot. The adults who have jobs work as day laborers, and the average income in this community is very low… only $50/month. If you have an extra tender place in your heart for grandchildren and for grandparents, I ask you to consider sponsoring one of these children in need.
Axel is 4 years old, and his birthday is September 15, 2010. He lives with his grandmother. At home, duties include carrying water and gathering firewood. His grandmother is sometimes employed as a laborer. There are 3 children in the family. Axel is not attending school because he is too young. Soccer, running and playing group games are his favorite activities. He also attends church activities and Bible class regularly. Contact me to sponsor Axel.
This child is on hold!
Helen is 6 years old, and her birthday is January 15, 2009. She lives with her father and her mother, and is responsible for carrying water, running errands and cleaning. Her father is sometimes employed as a farmer and her mother maintains the home. As part of Compassion’s ministry, Helen participates in church activities and Bible class. She is also in primary school where her performance is average. Playing with dolls and jumping rope are her favorite activities. Contact me to sponsor Helen.
Marco is 9 years old, and his birthday is February 17, 2006. He lives with his grandfather and his grandmother. At home, duties include carrying water, gathering firewood and running errands. His grandfather is sometimes employed as a farmer and his grandmother maintains the home. There are 2 children in the family. For fun, Marco enjoys soccer, playing with cars and hide-and-seek. He attends church activities and Bible class regularly and is in primary school where his performance is average. Contact me to sponsor Marco.
Aldemo is 6 years old, and his birthday is December 5, 2008. He lives with his father and his mother. His father is sometimes employed as a laborer and his mother maintains the home. Adelmo works at home carrying water, gathering firewood and running errands. There are 4 children in the family. Adelmo is not presently attending school. Soccer, playing with cars and running are his favorite activities. He also attends church activities regularly. Contact me to sponsor Aldemo.
Rosa is 9 years old, and her birthday is June 6, 2006. She lives with her father and her mother. Her duties at home include washing clothes, running errands and cleaning. There are 3 children in the family. Her father is sometimes employed as a laborer and her mother maintains the home. For fun, Rosa enjoys playing jacks and singing. She attends church activities and Bible class regularly and is in primary school where her performance is above average. Contact me to sponsor Rosa.
Graciela is turning 10 years old this month… her birthday is June 14, 2005. She lives with her father and her stepmother. At home, duties include carrying water, gathering firewood and running errands. Her father is sometimes employed as a farmer and her stepmother maintains the home. There are 2 children in the family. Playing with dolls, jumping rope and playing group games are Graciela’s favorite activities. In primary school her performance is average and she also regularly attends church activities and Bible class. Contact me to sponsor Graciela.
Yasmary is 9 years old, and her birthday is December 4, 2005. She lives with her father and her mother. Her duties at home include making beds, running errands and cleaning. Her father is sometimes employed as a farmer and her mother maintains the home. Playing jacks and jumping rope are Yasmary’s favorite activities. In primary school her performance is average and she also regularly attends church activities and Bible class. Contact me to sponsor Yasmary.
Valeria is 4 years old, and her birthday is December 26, 2010. She lives with her mother, and is responsible for helping in the kitchen, running errands and cleaning. Her mother is sometimes employed as a laborer. There are 3 children in the family. Valería is not attending school because she is too young. Playing house, playing with dolls and jumping rope are her favorite activities. She also attends church activities and Bible class regularly. Contact me to sponsor Valeria.
Jesús is 6 years old, and his birthday is May 9, 2009. He makes his home with his stepfather and his mother. Carrying water and running errands are his household duties. His stepfather is employed as a laborer and his mother maintains the home. There are 2 children in the family. Playing ball games, bicycling and playing group games are Jesús’s favorite activities. In kindergarten his performance is average and he also regularly attends church activities and Bible class. Contact me to sponsor Jesús.
Paula is 4 years old, and her birthday is September 2, 2010. She makes her home with her mother. Carrying water, gathering firewood and running errands are her household duties. Her mother is sometimes employed as a laborer. There are 3 children in the family. Paula is not attending school because she is too young. Playing with dolls, hide-and-seek and playing group games are her favorite activities. She also attends church activities regularly. Contact me to sponsor Paula.
Edisson is 5 years old, and his birthday is June 16, 2009. He lives with his grandmother. At home, duties include carrying water, gathering firewood and running errands. His grandmother is sometimes employed as a laborer. As part of Compassion’s ministry, Edissón participates in church activities. He is also in primary school where his performance is average. Playing with cars, playing with marbles and playing ball games are his favorite activities. Contact me to sponsor Edisson.
Scarleth is 5 years old, and her birthday is March 21, 2010. She lives with her grandfather and her grandmother. Her grandfather is sometimes employed as a farmer and her grandmother maintains the home. Scarleth works at home carrying water, gathering firewood and running errands. There are 5 children in the family. For fun, Scarleth enjoys playing jacks, playing house and playing with dolls. She attends church activities and Bible class regularly and is in kindergarten where her performance is average. Contact me to sponsor Scarleth.
This cuddly Havanese is not my dog, but one that caused me to get bit with the puppy dog bug this past weekend. I would love to have one of these dogs, in white! I’ll think about it… after I get back from Honduras…
I love, love, love to travel~! But after my wonderful trip to Honduras last year, I decided that I had to take proactive steps to fully regain my health so that issues which were creeping up on me would not be part of my life or hinder me from pursuing my dreams. I am sharing my experience here to encourage other sponsors who have been battling weight or health issues which prohibit you not only from traveling to visit your sponsored children, but keep you from experiencing the fulness of a vibrant, healthy life.
As I mentioned in part one of this series, several years ago I lost 50 lbs in 4 months by eating mostly raw plant foods. Since I needed to lose the weight I put back on from a hectic school and work schedule the past few years, I have returned to this amazing way of eating once again. The weight is coming off steadily… 20 lbs so far! Plus I have tons of energy, and feel so much better already.
I’m not trying to simply lose weight. Rather, my goal is the restoration of health and living fully alive, which for me includes losing weight. I personally think that this is one reason that so many diet plans fail to work, because the focus is on losing weight rather than restoring health. If the underlying causes are not dealt with, any weight loss is likely to only be temporary. The same can be true also for those who are underweight and need to gain weight. Bringing ourselves back into balance for fulness of health physically, emotionally, and spiritually is the true goal. Each of these are incredibly vital, so this post will deal with the physical aspect of that goal, and upcoming posts in the series will address the others.
Why are raw plant foods so effective and vital for losing weight and restoring health? One of the main reasons is that they create an alkaline state in the body, while cooked foods cause an acidic one. Sickness and disease can only be produced when our bodies are in an acidic state, not an alkaline one! Consuming raw plant foods and live juices also help to detoxify the body… toxins help us gain weight and contribute to sickness and disease. I know that when I eat mostly raw plant foods, I feel incredibly alive, and this encourages me in working out (I like to swim!), which of course builds muscle and burns fat, all creating a happy, supportive cycle in my body.
I am very happy and encouraged with the results that I have experienced by eating the “alive” way, and to encourage you in your journey, here are a few keys that I use for successfully rebuilding my health and losing weight.
1. Identify goals and list the health challenges
The first thing I do before starting this journey is to write down my purpose and goals of what I want to accomplish. I need to identify why I am doing this, as it helps in keeping me motivated! I also list each of the health concerns that I am dealing with. What is out of balance? Are there digestive issues? Headaches? Skin disorders? Sleep issues? Where is there pain? List each item, both large and small. Three of the major concerns on my list were swollen, painful knees, elevated blood pressure with its slide toward hypertension, and blood sugar issues heading towards diabetes.
Last month I had to get a consent form filled out by my physician before going on this trip. I had already been eating the alive way for about 2 months by the time I arrived in my naturopath’s office, and we both were very happy to see that my blood pressure was already back to normal, the swelling in my knees had stopped, and sugar imbalances are no longer an issue.
Many, if not most, of our health challenges are a direct result of our diet. It is so encouraging to see that these can be improved or even reversed by changing our diet to a health based one. Check out Hallelujah Diet’s testimonies on a vast array of conditions that were eliminated through a diet high in live plant foods, and be encouraged that your challenges can be improved as well.
2. Keep a Daily Journal
This is really a very simple tool, but I found that keeping a daily journal is vital to my success. Even though no one else sees it, it keeps me accountable to myself. One reason is that it makes me aware of what is actually going in my mouth, rather than eating mindlessly. I also don’t like to have to write down that I ate something that I shouldn’t have, so this little act motivates me to stay on track. At the beginning of the journal I have my list of health issues that need to be addressed, and a list of goals that I want to see accomplished. Verses of promise, words of encouragement, prayers and blessings can all be written here as well.
The journal also helps me to be aware of my little successes along the way, and to adjust goals as needed. At the end of each week, I review my progress, and decide what I need to focus on for the following week. For example, I realized that I was sabotaging my efforts by allowing myself a nightly treat, albeit it a healthy one. However, once I cut out the compromise, I started seeing a dramatic improvement. I also realized that I wasn’t getting proper rest, so I started recording when I was going to bed each night, because I needed to be accountable in this area of regaining my health.
A simple composition notebook works great for this purpose. Each spread represents one week, with the page on the left divided up horizontally for Sunday – Wednesday, the right hand page for Thursday – Saturday, and both pages divided vertically into three columns for the 3 meals/day. I record everything that I eat for each meal, and the portion amounts. However, there is no need for counting calories when eating the raw foods way! In the margin for each day I record my weight, how much time I spent exercising, how many cups of water I drank, and what time I went to bed. I really need to be aware of each of these areas, or else it’s too easy to forget and make compromises. Being aware of the changes in my weight each day also help me in assessing my needs and changes I need to make. It’s also a great motivator as I see the encouraging results!
3. Drink 8 or more glasses of clean water each day
Pure, clean water is essential to our health, and most people do not drink enough water. I personally choose to only drink water and fresh, raw plant juices… no soda, coffee, or any other beverages. One of the reasons for this is that I don’t want the empty calories that the other beverages give. I know that some sources say to count other beverages towards the 8 cups of water/day, but I personally don’t do this. I want my body to be cleansed from the inside out with pure water.
Each morning I fill my two 20 oz. glass bottles with water, and refill them later in the day. That way I know that I’ve had 10 cups of water each day. My goal is to drink one bottle before leaving for work in the morning, drink the next 2 bottles at work, and have the last bottle in the afternoon/evening.
When I feel like munching something in between meals, I first drink a cup of water and wait a little bit to see if I’m truly hungry, or just thirsty. So often we reach for something to eat when we really are thirsty… but we just haven’t learned to identify it as thirst.
4. Eliminate refined, processed foods and sugar from the diet
There is no question that sugar is both incredibly addictive and destructive to our health, and the same is true also for the overly processed foods that are so typical to our Western diets. Explore this topic online for yourself if you haven’t done so lately, because it will be a huge motivator in making this necessary change.
I found that by eating a diet high in live plant foods, the cravings for sugary, processed foods disappear. One reason for this, I believe, is that the nutritional requirements are being met, and I don’t feel the need to keep eating something else to meet that need. And the more that my body is cleansed of the toxic chemicals in processed foods, my taste buds come alive for real food, and processed foods begin tasting as nasty as they really are for our bodies. I especially noticed this one time after being on a fast for a couple of weeks… when I had my first bite of my favorite candy bar afterwards, I was shocked at how horrible it tasted, while the juice from a fresh orange was pure heaven.
On my first wedding anniversary 36 years ago, I not only had just lost my first pregnancy, but needed to undergo chemotherapy for a subsequent condition related to the pregnancy. It was an incredibly difficult time, but one that indelibly marked some changes in my thinking and goals. I decided to really learn about how to have a healthy body, because I sure didn’t want a repeat experience with chemo. It was a huge motivator to make whatever changes were necessary. Back then I was eating a diet high in processed sugar… a few years prior to this time, I was in high school devouring several candy bars every day for energy as a competitive swimmer. I also thought that buying the “brown” bread at the grocery store was being healthy. How far I’ve come since then…
5. Eat a diet high in live plant foods
A raw plant food diet works wonders in restoring health and vitality! When I embarked on the journey to learn about health and nutrition after my experience with chemotherapy, one of the first things I learned about was the importance of raw plant foods.
When I eat mostly raw plant foods, I feel alive, while a diet of cooked foods leave me feeling sluggish by comparison. The majority of my meals now are all raw plant foods. However, if I am going to have some cooked foods, I start each meal with live plant foods… fresh fruit or veggies, a cup of fresh, raw juice, or a green salad. Eat slowly and enjoy, and wait a little bit before eating the cooked food. This gives the satiety center in my brain a chance to register the nutritional value of the raw foods, so that I don’t overeat by eating too much too soon.
For breakfast, I have fresh fruit, a green smoothie, or 1-2 cups of fresh juice. The juice option is my preference, but if I don’t have time to prepare it, one of the other two options are great alternatives. Lunch is typically a large green salad of mixed greens and herbs, with some of my favorite veggies, and a rosemary balsamic dressing. Dinner is typically another large green salad and a cup of raw juice. Usually I include a salmon patty, hard boiled egg, hummus, beans, or another protein source. It is very important also that I make sure to have a source of healthy fats every day, usually 1/4 avocado, or olive oil in a salad dressing, or raw nuts.
Two of my favorite salads… Tabouli (without added grains), and Pico de Gallo
Since I have been working 6 days each week, I have to plan ahead. I’ve been loving my fresh salads that I prepare ahead of time that I can grab on the go. Usually I fill a jar with mixed greens and my choice of veggies, with a small amount of healthy salad dressing.
4 ripe tomatoes 1 cucumber, peeled 1 large bunch parsley 1/4 small sweet onion several small stems fresh mint juice of 1 lemon salt and pepper to taste
Finely mince all the veggies and herbs. Toss in a bowl with the fresh lemon juice and seasonings. Yum… I could live on this one salad alone!
Deborah’s Pico de Gallo
4-6 ripe tomatoes 1 red bell pepper 1 bunch fresh cilantro 1/4 sweet onion 1 small mild Anaheim chili pepper 1/8 small head of cabbage, optional juice of 1-2 limes salt, pepper, and cumin to taste
Finely chop all veggies and herbs, and toss in a bowl with lime juice and seasonings. If you like your pico hotter, add in a chopped jalapeno pepper. This recipe is already as hot as I can handle it!
Coleson and his favorite… Green Lemonade
Consuming a diet high on raw fruit or veggie juices is just the best! Your whole body is detoxified and nourished, and various body systems are soon brought back into balance. I try to have fresh juice every day, and typically will make some each afternoon to last for the next three meals before making it again the next afternoon.
The past few months as I’ve babysat my oldest grandson one evening/week while my kids enjoyed an evening out, I introduced Coleson to raw juices by starting with “Green Lemonade.” I let him help me prepare the juice, and he would chuckle and laugh to see the parsley stems disappear into the juicer. Coleson absolutely LOVES Green Lemonade! The first week we made it, he easily polished off two full cups of the juice, and was well onto his third cup, pictured here. My daughter-in-law told me that later in the week Coleson asked her, “Hey Mom! Do we have any of that Green Lemonade?” It’s definitely his favorite food when he comes to Grammie’s house! Here are a few of my favorite juice recipes to whet your appetite.
Coleson’s Green Lemonade
6 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples 1/2 fresh pineapple, with rind trimmed off 2 stalks celery 1 large bunch parsley 2 small leaves kale, with thick stem cut off 1 small lemon, with the rind partially trimmed off
4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples wheat grass cut from 4″ pot 4-5 stalks celery 1 large bunch parsley 2-3 leaves kale 1/2 – 1 lemon, with the rind partially trimmed off 1/2 – 1 lime, with the rind partially trimmed off
4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples 3-5 lbs carrots, with ends trimmed off 1/2 fresh pineapple, with rind trimmed off 1 lemon 1/2 – 1″ slice fresh ginger root
4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples 1 lb fresh strawberries 1 beet root, scrubbed and with ends trimmed 3-5 lbs carrots, with ends trimmed off 1 lemon
The Blushing Grape
4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples 1 lb fresh red or purple grapes 1 beet root, scrubbed and with ends trimmed 3-5 lbs carrots, with ends trimmed off 1 lime
V-8 Super Charger
2 tomatoes 3-5 lbs. carrots, ends trimmed 2 stalks celery 1 small beet, ends trimmed 1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into chunks 1/4 bunch of parsley 1 small handful young spinach leaves 1-2 green lettuce leaves 1 lemon, rind partially trimmed off 1 small clove garlic
4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples 1-2 stalks celery 1 bunch parsley several sprigs of fresh mint 1 lemon
4 large crisp, sweet apples, such as Fuji apples petals from 3-4 non-sprayed old-fashioned garden roses 1/2 lemon 1/2 lb strawberries, optional
I experimented with this one just for fun, as I currently have tons of gorgeous old-fashioned roses blooming in my yard. In the past I’ve made rose honey, rose syrup, rose vinegar, and rose potpourri from my roses, so it was natural to try rose lemonade… what a lovely treat!
An easy way to get live plant foods into your diet is to make smoothies. And if you’re willing to be adventurous and try green smoothies, they are extraordinary, and really are delicious! Smoothies are great for getting the nutrition needed when life is just really busy and you’re having to eat on the run.
2 ripe tomatoes 1/8 – 1/4 small avocado couple sprigs of cilantro juice of 1/2 lemon 1 small clove garlic, peeled (optional)
Add all ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth. Then pour through strainer to remove seeds. This is one of my favorite smoothies, especially when I don’t want something with sweet fruit.
Deborah’s Popeye Smoothie
1 banana, peeled and preferably frozen overnight 1 large fistful of young spinach leaves several sprigs of parsley, optional 1 leaf Kale, with thick stem removed 1/2 cup yogurt or choice of nut milk, optional 1 tbsp Hemp seeds, optional 1/2 cup water, or as needed for correct consistency
Add all ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth. Yum.
I didn’t think I’d ever have the courage to publicly show this, but here is a video on preparing Green Smoothies that I threw together at the last minute for one of my video class projects at school a couple years ago. Green smoothies carried me through a very intense school and work schedule for a couple of years when I simply didn’t have time to focus much on what I was eating and when I definitely didn’t have time to prepare fresh juices. In a few minutes I had a healthy blender drink that I could pop in my lunch bag and drink on the run.
Eat to satisfy hunger, not appetite
It’s so important to recognize the difference between these two! So much of our eating is at the whim of our appetites running out of control. Sometimes I simply need to remind myself that I am in charge of my decisions, rather than living as a slave to any cravings and appetites. You won’t go hungry eating a diet of raw plant foods, but your appetite may have to go hungry!
However, different cravings can also be a signal for something that is out of balance in our bodies. For example, craving chocolate can be a sign of magnesium deficiency, or craving salty snacks can be caused by an increase in stress hormones which can wreak havoc on the adrenal glands. Rather than giving in to these cravings, find out what the true need is, and correct the underlying cause in a healthy way.
Focus on the Positive
This little key really has helped me in being very successful in making the dietary changes that I needed. I found myself looking forward to the delicious, healthy foods that I would get to have for the day, rather than feeling sorry for myself for what I couldn’t have. And by reminding myself of the wonderful health benefits I am experiencing, it keeps me from even wanting unhealthy choices.
Here are a few of my favorite resources for regaining health with raw foods.
The Hallelujah Diet has profoundly shaped my understanding, and has influenced and encouraged me in my health journey for a couple decades now. Their amazing site is filled with recipes, testimonies, research, meal plans, classes, lifestyle centers to visit, and even health ministers that you can connect with to help you through your own personal challenges.
Cherie Calbom, aka the Juice Lady. Cherie’s books are filled with fabulous info on a raw plant food diet, from great recipies, to specific juices to help with a vast array of sicknesses and diseases. She also has great information on understanding why the raw plant food diet works so effectively.
From her bio on Amazon: “Cherie Calbom is passionate about health and healing because she healed her body from debilitating chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyaligia by designing her own fresh veggie juice and whole foods diet plan. She was so amazed at how her health turned around that she went to graduate school and earned a Master of Science degree in whole foods nutrition from Bastyr University so that she could be a credible source of information.” Check out Cherie’s page on Amazon… any of her books are wonderful! Here also is Cherie’s website.
Drew Canole of FitLife.tv has great info that is very helpful and encouraging. Make sure to check out his weekly videos and great recipes. Drew also is speaking from personal experience of health transformation, offers programs at different levels of help as a trainer and coach.
The 5 day detox plan is a great start for those new to cleansing your bodies with healthy foods. The 5 day whole foods plan is the easiest level and most gentle for detoxifying your body. The second level is a 5 day smoothie detox, and the third level is a 5 day raw juice detox. This booklet has great info and comes with a daily video that you will find very encouraging.
The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory… Feed Your Soul, Strengthen Your Spirit, and Renew Your Body. I appreciate the spiritual focus of the Daniel Fast to consecrate ourselves to the Lord through extended prayer and fasting. This is a partial fast using whole plant foods, and while many of the recipes are cooked, I still find this a valuable resource and encouragement.
To Your Health~!
I’ve learned that each right decision encourages me in making the next right decision…having a meal with that fresh salad, fresh juice or a smoothie make me feel better, which in turn encourages me in making the next right choice for the next meal. I like how I am feeling, and am so happy with good results, and hope that my experience encourages you in making your next right choice too. To your health~!
P.S. I encourage you to seek out medical advice for your health challenges from a Naturopath who focuses on healthy ways of correcting underlying causes rather than depending on drugs to manage symptoms.
“What a lovely thing a rose is!” – Arthur Conan Doyle
What a lovely bouquet of precious girls from Honduras and Haiti… all named Rose!
The Honduran Rose
This sweet Rose is from the brand new Honduran project, “Your Kingdom Here” that I will be visiting next month. I hope to meet her and take photos for her new sponsor!
Rosa Maria is from Honduras, and her 9th birthday is today, June 6. She lives with her father and her mother, and she helps at home by washing clothes, running errands and cleaning. There are 3 children in the family. Her father is sometimes employed as a laborer and her mother maintains the home. For fun, Rosa enjoys playing jacks and singing. She attends church activities and Bible class regularly and is in primary school where her performance is above average.
Contact me to sponsor Rose Maria, and enjoy sending her this birthday collage photo as a special gift to delight her heart. I will email you the full resolution photo.
The Haitian Roses
Since our team traveling to Honduras next month has shared in the joy of working and praying for sponsors for the Honduran children in the brand new project, we’ve caught the vision of how important it is to advocate for all of the children in the project. Each of the following girls are all from the same brand new project in Haiti, and Compassion is specially featuring the children from this project to see all the children sponsored this next week. That would be such a blessing for the children and for this new project!
Rose Thalie is 7 years old, and her birthday is April 15, 2008. In her home, Rose helps by carrying water and cleaning. She lives with her mother. Her mother is sometimes employed as a seller in the market. There are 3 children in the family.
Rose Beltha is a Valentine’s Day sweetie! She is 7 years old, and her birthday is February 14, 2008. Rose lives with her father and her mother. Her duties at home include carrying water and cleaning. There are 3 children in the family. Her father is sometimes employed as a farmer and her mother is sometimes employed as a seller in the market.
Rose Darlie is 7 years old, and her birthday is October 11, 2007. She lives with her father and her mother, and is responsible for washing clothes, helping in the kitchen and cleaning. Her father is sometimes employed as a laborer and her mother maintains the home. There are 4 children in the family.
For fun, Rose enjoys singing, playing house and playing group games. She attends church activities regularly and is in primary school where her performance is average.
Rose Stephanie is 6 years old, and her birthday is August 4, 2008. In her home, Rose helps by carrying water, gathering firewood and caring for animals. She lives with her father and her mother, and there are 7 children in the family. Her father is sometimes employed as a farmer and her mother is sometimes employed as a seller in the market.
Art, playing with dolls and reading are Rose’s favorite activities. In primary school her performance is average and she also regularly attends church activities.
My goal here at Trusty’s Mailbag is to encourage sponsors in connecting with the heart of their sponsored child. If you use the source code I provided for sponsoring any of these Haitian Roses, please do let me know, as in the upcoming months I will be providing free resources for all of the sponsors of the children I advocate for. Many blessings!
I admit it. I have been a night owl for decades. A night owl of night owls. My creativity typically burns brightest and best between the hours of 10 pm and 2 am. I can have a hard, stressful, exhausting day, crash on the couch for an hour after dinner, and then the Energizer Bunny kicks in. All it takes is that one spark of imagination for a creative project, and I’m off and running. I’ll glance at the clock after what seemed like minutes, and be shocked that it’s already 2,3 or even 4 am. Or if my ears start ringing, then I know it’s about 4 am.
So last year before my trip to Honduras, I was working on my final project in the Visual Communications program at my local community college. That final project actually was this website, Trusty’s Mailbag, in its infancy. When I found out that the deadline had been moved up by a couple weeks, I realized that I could no longer count on finishing this assignment after I got back home. It had to be finished before my trip, and I only had 2 weeks to do it.
Enter the Energizer Bunny mode. Ta-dah!
Every spare minute outside of work and packing was spent creating this website, and I was staying up till at least 2 am every night, though more often than not till 4am, and I even pulled a couple of all-nighters. My project was submitted before my trip. I got an A on the project, an A in the class, I aced the entire program, and I was happy with a job well done.
But I was exhausted. Exhausted, and overweight from keeping a similar intense schedule throughout the entire 2-3 years of school.
Arriving at SeaTac airport, I discovered that my suitcases were about 12 lbs overweight, so that meant going through them, pulling out all the books and anything else heavy, and stuffing them to my already way too heavy knapsack bulging with cameras, my laptop, and more. I was casting longing eyes at the travelers who were pulling a small suitcase on wheels for their carry-on, because my knees were buckling under the weight of carrying that knapsack.
I showed up in Honduras very tired and run down, with seriously swollen, hurting ankles and knees. Certainly not the condition that I wanted to be in for this incredibly precious trip that I had been planning all year long! I loved every minute of my time in Honduras, but did not want a repeat performance of feeling exhausted and sick for my next trip… or for any future trips, for that matter.
So a few months ago, I remembered all of this, and decided to make the necessary changes in my lifestyle so that I would be in good condition before heading back to Honduras in July. Actually, I didn’t want this just for Honduras, but for my life in general~! The Energizer Bunny kicked in again, but this time for everything that would produce health. Top of my list was getting proper rest and losing weight.
Getting Proper Rest
Okay, so that’s easier said than done for a night owl. But I quickly discovered that it was very do-able once I implemented all the changes that I had decided upon, like daily exercise. My goal was to be in bed by 9:30, and let the creative Energizer Bunny go to work in the early morning… or the afternoon after I got home from work. I haven’t made it to bed that early every night, but it’s definitely becoming more normal than not.
And wow… I discovered that if I go to bed by 9-10, I can actually get up at 5-6 in the morning with no problem. Who knew? Lol…
After 3 years of school, and dealing with a few different injuries to my knees, back, and arms over the past few years, I faced the unpleasant reality that I needed to lose 40-50 lbs.
The year before my 50th birthday, I decided to give myself a special 50th birthday present. I would lose 50 lbs, and it was a very achievable goal by losing only 1 lb/week, with 2 weeks off for Christmas. Lol… But I did it. Actually, I lost the 50 lbs in 4 months, not a year! I was going down a dress size every 3 weeks, and went from a size 16 to a size 4. It was so easy on my mostly raw plant food diet with its fresh raw juices and salads, exercising a little bit every day, and drinking at least 8 cups of water.
I knew I could do it again, and this time for good. So far I’ve achieved about 1/3 of my goal, and am determined to do the best that I can in these next 7 weeks before I leave for Honduras. Already the swollen knee issue I was battling again is resolved, and I have tons of energy. Yay!
In a series of upcoming blog posts, I will share specifics of what I am doing, with recipies, ideas, and encouragement for those of you who have been struggling with some of these same issues. I know there are many sponsors who want to visit their children, but are unable to because of health, financial, or fear issues. I want to address each of these, and hopefully see many other sponsors set free to do the traveling that we long to do, to be a blessing, and receive His blessings as we go.
With all the exciting preparations for my upcoming Compassion trip to Honduras… advocating for children, shopping for gifts for my 11 children plus their siblings and a few of their friends, planning visit days, packing, and working 6 days/week to finish earning the money I need for this trip… I suddenly realized that I am waaaay behind in my correspondence with my kids~! So while my heart is still to see the remaining 12 children I have available receive sponsors before our team arrives mid-July, I’ve been enjoying a sweet time immersed in a pile of my children’s letters.
The letters from three of my 9-10 year old girls brought an extra delight… they each included their own sweet drawing of Trusty. Over and again, my children — from the youngest of them to my teens — remind me how delighted they are playing the “Trusty Game,” with me. These recent drawings expressing that delight have been in response to a few different “Trusty Letters” that I sent over the holidays. I’m so impressed with each one of these drawings, and each child warms my heart and makes me smile.
“Trusty’s Happy Market Day” by Reina, 9 years old, Honduras
I love the sweet face that Reina drew of Trusty, with smiling eyes even! And look at the detail on the fetlocks… I’m impressed! Reina’s letter spilled over onto another full sheet of paper, and I love that she answered many of my questions, shared about things she has been learning at her project, and chatted about her life. Her whole letter reflected exuberance and delight. Reina has such a precious heart, and I can hardly wait to meet her on her visit day in 8 weeks~!!
When Reina wrote this letter, she wouldn’t have known that I’m coming to visit this summer, but look at how she ended her letter…
Gabriela delights me with her frequent letters that give me glimpses into her life in Romania, such as the food her family prepared for Christmas… “cabbage, sausages, stake, and pig’s trotters.” I had written to my children about my painting that I entered in the county fair last summer which took the blue ribbon, so Gabi wrote, “I do not have the chance to participate in such fairs, but I congratulate you for the prizes and your talent. I don’t have a big talent, but I will draw something for you and send it.” Here is her sweet picture of Trusty with the children, gathering her inspiration from the coloring pages that I sent. I love her drawing and will continue to encourage her, and each of my children, in their artistic endeavors.
“Trusty & the Children” by Gabriela, 10 years old, Romania
And again, a comment in one of her letters reminds me of the main reason that I have created this website… to encourage sponsors (including myself~!) to write to our sponsored children, so that as many children as possible will be receiving letters. Even little postcards or brief online email letters sent consistently throughout the year will remind our children that they are valued and loved. I’m having so much fun catching up with my correspondence after this bit of a “drought.”
Devora is one of my World Vision children in the Dominican Republic, and she always draws delightful, full page pictures that are sent with the letters that her older sister writes on her behalf. Devora’s drawing is in response to the Trusty’s Christmas Travels letter that I sent last fall, encouraging the children to observe beautiful art prints of Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem, and then again on their flight to Egypt. I love that she thoughtfully created her own drawing of the story, and I smile to see Trusty grazing in the bushes. I thought it was interesting that she included a pipe for water. And of course, how fun that she labeled her people, indicating where baby Jesus is in her drawing!
“Trusty’s Christmas Travels” by Devora, 9 years old, Dominican Republic
By sending my children art prints of stories that I am writing to them about, they are encouraged to make their own observations and to think about the stories. Here is Devora’s response to the winter letter…
Each of these girls recently had updated photos… I discovered Devora’s new photo last night as I was writing online letters. Yay! I love seeing each of these girls in their new photos, and their dear hearts and faces make my heart sing.
So if you haven’t written your child in awhile, or are looking for some ideas of what to write, check out some of the ideas in the Creative Letters section… and let your child’s heart sing to hear from you.
Visiting at “Breezes of Paradise” with Daniela and her pastor
Last summer when I was on a trip to visit two of my sponsored children in Honduras, I was surprised by an emotion that I didn’t anticipate feeling.
Granted, it only happened on the last day of my wonderful trip. I stayed an extra few days on my own after our team left for home in order to visit my girl, Daniela, who lives in a different part of the country. Being on my own for the special day with Daniela was not the problem, but rather that there was no one to share this incredibly precious time together with.
Throughout the year, I prayed for a traveling companion for this year’s trip, not only for the safety factor in having someone to be with while I would be on my own again after the group tour, but more importantly to have someone to share the joy together in visiting more children. Each friend or relative that I thought might be a possibility, was unable to go.
And so I wondered… and prayed.
As I have been advocating for precious children from His Kingdom Here project, I have been messaging back and forth with a number of people who have been interested. Right from the beginning of talking with a precious sponsor named Lori, there was a special connection, and while she was very interested in the children who needed to be sponsored as well as the trip itself, it made no sense in the natural, as she said, for her to go on this trip. But it was so clearly apparent that God was directing her to go, and in a series of small miracles ~~ in our opinion! ~~ God opened the door for Lori to be part of this special Vision Tour, to sponsor a child from the new project, and for us to be traveling companions together for the whole trip.
Lori with her Guatemalan princess, Iraida
Lori is well versed in traveling to visit sponsored children ~~ Haiti, Tanzania, and Guatemala ~~ and knows the special ministry that the Lord works in our own lives as well in the lives of the children as a result of making these trips. I think this is part of what makes this so special to both of us, that we are each anticipating seeing God’s hand at work, knowing His Presence, and hearing His voice throughout this trip. He faithfully does this in our lives day in and day out, but there is something very special about going on these trips and seeing His heart for these children.
God had such a perfect answer for my prayers! Though Lori and I have never met before in person, and we live half way across the USA from each other, we’ll be meeting in Houston for our connecting flights to Honduras. I am so grateful for this new friend, and it is already such a joy to be sharing God’s answers to prayer, as well as planning a special Princess Day together for seven of our Honduran girls in honor of the Quinceanera for two of them. So much blessing!!
All throughout the past few weeks, God has surprised us with His “whispers”, as Lori calls them, and seeing Him work in the many details of preparing for this trip. And the more that I see what He is doing, I am all the more excited to see what He will do on this trip. I know I will continue to be awed by His perfect answers.
Would you like to be part of His perfect answer for a precious child? Today is Ludin’s 10th birthday, and she has been waiting and wondering who He will provide as a sponsor for her. I will also send the full resolution sized princess photo for her new sponsor to use as a special delight for Ludin. You can read her story here, and if you want to be part of a beautiful answer to prayer, contact me here.