Wednesday, December 29, 2010

You just NEVER know...

Funny how things can come full circle.
I am in awe of people who believe in sheer consequences. To me, it makes so much more sense to believe that God is in control of all this craziness... especially when you see - in hindsight - a fun or even amazing plan unfolded!

For those of you who know me, it is not surprising to know that I really do not like Wal-Mart. I have tried to figure out - honestly - why? I could say it is a matter of principle and it is about fair trade and how a giant retailer creates a negative environment from the most basic, third world laborer to the middle man supplier or even to treatment of the store employees right here in the good ole USA. I get all that - I really do....but it's not that complicated. It donned on me recently: I just think people should be NICE! Gosh darn - especially if they are dealing with me, the PAYING CUSTOMER!

Given the choice, I will choose to shop at Target...just tends to be a more civilized least in my neck of the woods. However, there are times when Wal-Mart is more convenient and has what I "need." I will say, though, I have my limits. My sisters-in-law suggested one year, on Black Friday, that we be at Wal-Mart when the doors opened at 4 AM! Ummm, NO! I had them pick me up around 6 am, when they were done with that insanity and on their way to the next open-way-too-early store.

I will shamelessly admit I am rather proud of the fact that I boycotted Wal-Mart for over a year not too long ago. However, I am now not all that proud of the reason WHY. I went to return some excess craft items I purchased for a classroom Halloween party. The lady at the Customer Service desk (oh my - there's an oxymoron) was rude. She did not say a single word to me and had a sour expression the entire time. Her silence was a challenge to me and I attempted to get her to crack  - and MAYBE be nice - but AT THE VERY LEAST speak to me. She never did. WOW...that really threw me for a loop. I got to my car and called the phone number on my receipt. I asked for the manager and unemotionally told him how disappointed I was with the way I was treated.

Wait! I have to throw in an important tidbit here...I try real hard to call store managers when I have a positive experience - especially when an employee goes above and beyond what is expected. Heck, I have called about a couple delightful Wal-Mart employees AND I recently gave the DMV a glowing report!! It is our nature to QUICKLY I consciously try to COMPLIMENT, too!

Back to Wal-Mart....
The manager listened to my complaint and assured me he would speak to the lady at the returns desk. Obligatory, I am sure. I was polite to him - but - I had to admit to him...I really was not going to shop there anymore. Like he cared, right? As if he believed me? Not likely. If not, he was over 1 year wrong.

Fast forward 2 or 3 years...
I am working at a church and a woman I know briefly comes on staff at one of our campuses. She is delightful and inspiring and supportive and one of THE MOST LOVING people I know! I simply adore her and treasure every single moment I am in her presence. She is someone I want to live next door to when I get to heaven. (Are you catching on to how much I love her?!)

To make her even MORE wonderful, in her previous life, she was a professional hairdresser who now cuts hair in her home one day a week. With so many kids, that is a savings opportunity I am totally all about. PLUS, I get to hang out with her that much more!

Here's the DRUM ROLL part......
I arrive at her house one lovely Monday for haircuts and I am introduced to her mother. OH just made the connection and I am SO glad this woman has NOT remembered me from the service desk!

C'mon CAN this be?! This woman could not possibly have raised this GOLDEN CHILD?! My heart sinks with realization as I acknowledge enough physical resemblance that I dismiss any crazy notion of questioning the genetics.

I am polite & friendly & in a state of shock that I am hopefully concealing.

I find out later that these two women have a very strained relationship and it's been rough for quite some time. ( least SOMETHING makes sense - whew!)

Over the past year, this Wal-Mart lady (actual identity unrevealed!) through her wonderful daughter has supported us in adoption & missions trip fundraising. God is so cool~ He has seen fit to humble me and give me a natural, comfortable...even delightful...relationship with this woman. Yup...the same lady who single-handedly got me to swear off Wal-Mart for over a year.

I often run into her at her daughter's house and she seems excited to see me. She works in the photo lab now at Wal-Mart and has printed several photos of our foster kids when I am sending them to their bio moms. She is actually sweet to me!

The bottom line? I have been able to love on this MOM for her daughter...and her daughter claims SHE, herself, is blessed by that. (I get paid in take-your breath-away squeezin' hugs!)

Funny how things come full circle: I was in Wal-Mart the other day - right after Christmas - and I saw this mom. I went up to tell her I knew she got a really cool necklace from her daughter's family (she bought it from OUR fundraiser!) and she smiled, turned to me - SHOWED OFF the very necklace I was referring to! - and gave me a big hug!

Never say never!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

BEADS, Glorious Beads!

Gorgeous necklaces made by lovely Ugandan women from hand rolled recycled PAPER beads.
Each one - no matter how long - is $20! That price is split between: the beader, Visiting Orphans and US...for Ali's missions trip! Add $1.50 for shipping...unless you are local & I can hand deliver!

TO ORDER ONLINE: Visit, Click on the DONATE button (right column), specify $21.50 and send email to indicating the one you want! Don't forget to include your MAILING address.
LOCALS: I am happy to show you ALL these beauties in person. Just ASK!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Our Christmas "Letter!"

By grace, we have been blessed & it is an added blessing to be able to share with others.
In 2011, our desire is to offer hope...
right here in Chicago—or even half a world away!
Our prayer is that YOU will join us as we search for what really matters in this life … in an effort to make a REAL difference!