Friday, January 31, 2014

Letters to My Kids: January 2014

As promised, I am going to start posting the letters I write to my kids each month. I hope to share some inspiration to fellow writers. I love getting letter ideas from other sponsorship blogs and I hope my blogs do the same thing.

This month, I wrote to my kids about my younger sister. I shared some details about her and some things going on her in life. I then asked my kids about their siblings. I asked about them by name, if I knew their names, and asked a few questions about them. I hope that we can develop a dialogue about their siblings and other family members. Here is the letter I wrote to my sponsored boy, Sandesh, in India.


Hello Sandesh,

How are you doing, my friend? I am happy to have this opportunity to write you another letter. How are you? I hope that you are well.

In this letter, I want to tell you more about my younger sister and ask some questions about your siblings I hope to get to know your family a little bit better, as you learn more about mine.

My sister Jordan is doing very well. In a few weeks, she will celebrate her 21st birthday. Her birthday is on February 15th. She is still studying in university and is doing well in her classes. She is studying to be a policewoman. She is in a special program that is made for people that are also working jobs. Because she has to work many hours, she only takes one university class at a time. She takes each class for 8 weeks and then moves onto the next class.It will take a little longer for her to complete university and graduate, but this is what works best for her life. She is very excited to complete the program and be a policewoman. Jordan has the same boyfriend that she has had for a few years. His name is Steven and he is 22 years old. Steven is a hard worker and he works as a car mechanic. They haven't planned it yet, but I'm sure they will get married someday. I would be honored to have Steven as my brother-in-law. I put a picture of me, my mom, and my sister Jordan on this letter. I also put a picture of Jordan with her boyfriend, Steven.

When Jordan and I are together, we enjoy eating a meal together and we spend a lot of time just talking. We like to share stories with each other. But, because she is so busy, I don't see her too often. I hope that I can see her more often soon.

How are your siblings Sagar and Pratiksha doing? I pray that they are healthy and happy. How old are they now? What grades are they in at school? What do you like to do with your siblings? Do any of your siblings attend the Compassion project with you? Thank you for telling me more about your family. I will write again soon.



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sagar Seeks Salavation!

The alliteration in this title was completely accidental, but I like it. It makes it sound like a newspaper headline or something. It's very exciting, isn't it!?

Like clockwork, it has been 2 months since I last heard from Sagar and his letter was right on time. His project is brand new and wasted no time getting on the every two month writing schedule.

This letter was not dated, but it was written sometime after November 14th and before Christmas. :)


Dear Kayla, 

Greetings to you in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I am so happy to write this letter to you! How are you and your family? Thank you very much for your letters! I am fine and my family is also doing well!

Yes, I like to swim!

We had Children's Day on November 14th. We had a lot of programs on that day. After guidance of guest we danced spiritual songs and we had program on awareness of HIV/AIDS. 

We are preparing for the Christmas program & New Year program. Our climate is so cold. 

I got personal hygiene materials in project center. 

I am completing my letter! 

Please pray for my family. I want from God change my family heart and give me and my family salvation. 

I hope you enjoyed reading this letter! I am praying for you and your family. I love you very much! May God bless you!

Your Loving Son,


All spacing and exclamation points were written by him. He was so excited in this letter! 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Warm PJs for Valentine's Day!

I read about this great cause over at Arrows in the Hand and just thought it was so wonderful!

The organization Family-to-Family is running a Pajama Drive for various shelters around the country. Here's the concept: You buy new or gently used kid's pajamas, buy some stuffed animals, make a Valentine's Day card for each child, and send them to a shelter near you. You can send an email to Family-to-Family and they will connect you with a participating shelter near you. They found a shelter that is is about a 45 minute drive from me. I emailed back and forth a little bit with the program coordinator there and we have come to an agreement that this will be an ongoing thing for me. I am going to start collecting kids' pajamas and stuffed animals and send a box every couple of months to this shelter.

Where I live, there is this great little consignment shop that sells children's clothes and toys. Everything there is either brand new, something somebody didn't wear, or was only worn a couple times before a child grew out of it. I love shopping there for clothes for my sponsored children. I love buying kids clothes in general, and not having any children myself, I don't get to do it often. I went into the store looking to buy some pajamas and I was amazed at how many I found! I had to give myself a spending limit and stick to it or I would have walked out of this place with probably 50 sets of pjs. I ended up buying three for girls and three for boys. I had so much fun picking things out.

For the girls, I bought size 3T, 4T, and 10

For the boys, I bought size 3T, 5t, and 8

As far as stuffed animals go, I found some that I had packed up in my box of teacher things that I no longer use. I figured it was much better to send these off than to keep them in my closet. 

I'm going to write the Valentine's cards tonight and have them shipped off to the shelter. What a great idea for a way to help out. I am a firm believer that a cozy pair of pjs is key to a good night's sleep. I am so happy to participate in this.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Sweet Sagi Girl

I have a correspondent kiddo from Indonesia, as you probably know. Her name is Sagitaria, but when I think of her or speak about her, I always call her Sagi. She is such a precious girl, to me. She calls me Mama. I love that.

In this letter, she is answering the list of questions that I asked about her school. I am happy that I have been getting answers like these from so many of my kids. It really does give me great insight into their school lives. Sagi wrote her letter on November 26th.


Dear Mama Kayla, 

Shalom. How are you mama Kayla? I hope you are doing well. Here, my family and I are doing well. Mama, I don't like studying mathematics. My talent is dancing. There are spinach and kangkung (water spinach) in the garden. On Sundays, I go to church. Mama, I am in 5th grade. I wear a uniform. There are 8 classes in our school. There is a library in our school. We have sports teams and physical education class at school. Mama, there are computers in our school. The male and female students are seated separately. The children start primary school at 7 years old and finish at 12 years old. Mama, next week we are going to face the semester test. Please pray for us. I hope that we can get good scores. That's all for now, Mama. May Lord Jesus bless us. Amen. 

Your Child, 

If you can't read the caption, it says "Sweeping the floor at home". Sagitaria always draws me such great pictures. 


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Honest and Open Letters from Albania

Last March, (it's been almost a year already!) I sponsored by dear boy, Domenik, from Albania. Domenik is part of the newest ADP (Area Development Project) that World Vision started and the ADP has only been open for a little over a year. In this area of the country, there is such great need. The conditions there are truly horrible. The schools are low quality, the streets are dangerous, and the poverty levels are very high. The average wage for a family in Albania is only a couple thousand dollars a year. Match that up with the fact that goods (groceries, clothing, etc) cost about the same as they do in the United States, that is not a very good amount of money. And, that is for people that are working, clearly. The unemployment rate is also very high.

My little Domenik is only in 1st grade and is not yet writing his own letters, so his mother writes his letters for me. Over these last few months, these letters have been getting more detailed and are very honest about what the family is really going through and experiencing. I like that. I like hearing the truth about life for my kids. Sometimes letters can paint a picture of happiness, even if it's not the case. After reading these two letters from Domenik's family, I just want to fly over to Albania and bring them all home with me. This time, when responding, I wrote one letter to Domenik and one letter to his mother. I'm hoping that her and I can start our own relationship with each other and talk openly and honestly with each other.

Side note, I love how is mom shares her thoughts and opinions from the persona of Domenik.

Without further ado, the two letters:



My dear older sister Kayla, I am so glad to have got your letters, gifts, stickers, and the glasses on the card (a card with 3D glasses and picture). Most of all, I am happy that God has blessed me to know an angel like you, so sweet and you shine my life and that of my family. You had asked me about my performance at school and if I have high results or not. My mother wants me to achieve higher results, but we do live in a poor area and the school and the kindergarten are in bad conditions. Now that we are in the season of winter, we write with difficulties because it is so cold and there is not heat in the classrooms. When it rains there are floods and we suffer the consequences of the impure environment and the garbage everywhere. 




You had asked me about the grocery store that we have. There, sell my grandfather and grandmother, but because of the high level of unemployment and poverty, people do not purchase much from them. My big dream is when I grow up to have the opportunity to leave this country and to go in search for a better life elsewhere. But now I am too little. I spend my free time playing ball games and visiting parks, but where I live, these are not safe places for me. Now I have to close the letter and tell you that I love so much the presents that you sent to me with the first letter. I send to you a big hug, sister. I love you Kayla. 



Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Joy After a Long Weekend

This weekend was a long one, both literally and figuratively. Literally, yesterday was MLK Jr. Day, so it was a no mail delivery day. Anybody else get sad on no mail delivery days? :)

Figuratively, my weekend was long. I typically don't have to work on Saturdays, but this weekend, due to scheduling confusion, I had to go into work for a couple of hours. It wouldn't have been so bad, if it wasn't from 8:00-10:00 a.m. Saturday is my only sleep in day of the weekend, so I have to admit I was a little sad to lose it. I know, I know, first world problems. I didn't get to sleep in, wah. But still, I'm the type of person who likes that consistency of sleeping in on Saturdays.

Another reason my weekend felt long was the amount of people I spent time with. Don't get me wrong, I love people, but as an introvert, I love people in small doses and for short amounts of time. I spent all morning on Sunday at church, as I usually do. Then, I'm used to coming home and having the rest of the day to rest and recover and prepare for the work week. But, on Sunday night, I got together with some family members for dinner. I love my family and spending time with them is great, but I started my week a little tired. If you're a fellow introvert, you can understand.

Anyway, today I came home from work and I had two letters in the mailbox! Joy in cream colored envelopes!

The first letter I opened was from Wendjy. Wendjy is 18 years old and is from Haiti. This letter was not dated, but it was written sometime before Christmas.


Dear Kayla, 

I greet you in the name of Jesus, the almighty. How are you, your health, and activities? I hope everything will be fine for you, by God's grace. I was happy to receive your last letter you wrote to me. I thank you. I also thank you for your prayers for me for school so I can work better. I believe God will give me intelligence to be successful in my school and everything I do. I'm doing fine, by God's grace and in good health. Everything is okay in my school. I always study and get good understanding of what the teachers are saying. I do not quite understand two subjects; physics and trigonometry, but I'll do my best to understand them. I'm right now in grade 12 and by next year, I will be done with my high school. In Haiti, where I live, kids do all kinds of games like jumping rope, soccer, etc. Wishing you a merry Christmas and a happy new year 2014. 



The letter from Dafyne was on the My Typical Day template, with a short message attached. She also drew me a picture of an orange house, a line of pink hearts, and an apple tree. I'm not able to upload the photo, though, so you'll have to use your imagination. :)

Dafyne is 5 years old and from Brazil. This letter was written on November 22nd, 2013. 


My Typical Day

Every day, I wake up at: 6:00 a.m
I have my breakfast: At the project
I have lunch: At the project 
My study routine is: Every day I review my studies
Before going to bed: I have a snack
The days of the week I like best: Monday, Tuesday, Saturday, Sunday 

Dear sponsor, 

I share Deuteronomy 6:5 "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart." Dafyne is very happy to give you news. She is healthy and well. In school, her grades are very good. Dafyne sends kisses and hugs to all your family. Kisses! 


Friday, January 17, 2014

More Love From Albania

I have to say, my Albanian boys are starting off 2014 in a great way. Letters within the first two weeks of the year!

Today's letter is from Xhuliano. As you can imagine, this letter is as sweet as it can be. Xhuliano has such a sensitive soul. Such a precious boy.


Greetings my friend, Kayla,

I was very happy receiving your letter, where you wrote many beautiful words for me and my family. I will express openly every thought I have in my heart for you, my friend. I like the subject of literature at my school a lot. My teacher is very loving and patient with her students. My family is thank you for praying to the Lord every day for us. We pray to God for you as well, because you are a girl full of love and pride. You are and will be every day in our hearts. Stelina is doing great, but Marsela is sick with a mild flu. I was glad to hear that your parents bought a new house. I am dreaming of a new house for my family and I hope that God will help us finish the new house that my dad has started to build. Now we live in a very small house where I sleep in a small kitchen together with my sisters. I love them so much. I like a lot the career your sister has chosen to become a policewoman. I pray to God to fulfill her desire. The wedding of my cousin was a wonderful one. My mom participated there and she told me there was a special atmosphere, good food, and lots of dancing. I am ending my letter here, wishing it finds you doing well. 



Thursday, January 16, 2014

An Amazing Gift from Albania!

Have I mentioned lately how much I love my boys in Albania? Oh, it's been awhile, you say? ;) Well, I really love them, so much.

In October, I sent a family financial gift to my little boy, Domenik. Then, I eagerly awaited getting the picture in the mail of what his family decided to buy with the money. Today, I received that picture. Well, multiple pictures, actually. And they sent me a gift back!

Domenik is only 6 years old, so his mother helps him write the letters. It's just a short letter, but it is so sweet. I love this family.


My Dear Sister Kayla, 

First all, I wish you all the best and then, before thanking you for all the gifts you sent to me, I would like to let you know that it made me very happy that you consider me as your brother. I am still too young, but growing up I will understand more and it is very nice having an older sister that would help me understand more and advise me when I do something wrong. I also thank you about the gifts you sent, but most of all for your love. I am very proud and happy! 

Love you sister! 

Domenik's mother spent the money I sent the family on food. It looks like they were able to get a few bags full! In this picture, you can see Domenik with his mother and little sister. 

Domenik with his little sister. Those waves are so cute!


Lastly, the gift to me! Inside the envelope, Domenik's family sent me two beautiful bracelets. I just can't get over how thoughtful that was of them. I wonder if his mom made them, or if they bought them at the store when they were buying their food. Either way, I am extremely grateful. 


Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Learn More About Your Child: Question List #1

Lately, I haven't been doing a good job sharing the letters that I write with my sponsored child. I know that I used to post them monthly and I am hoping to get back into that. At the end of this month, I will post the emails that I wrote to my children.

But, until then, I want to share with you how I get to know my children. If you're like me, you've run into a bit of a roadblock when it comes to asking your child questions in letters. More often than not, you find that your children just aren't answering the questions that you are asking them in your letters. When I started noticing this, I came up with a guess of why this was happening. My guess was that the questions were simply getting lost in the information of the letter. I think this happens especially to the children who receive letters in bulk, and were receiving 2-3 letters from me at a time. They were focused on the information that I was sharing about my life or focusing on the encouragement I was sharing with them, that the questions were falling by the wayside, understandably, of course.

I came up with a plan!

I would send a letter that was just questions. No other information, just a list of questions. At the beginning of the letter, I told the children that I was sending some questions so I could get to know them better, but they didn't have to feel pressured to answer them all. Some of my children did answer every question in the list, but most that have responded, have chosen a few from the list and answered them for me.

Today, I want to share the list of questions I ask my children shortly after sponsoring/being assigned to them. This list of questions asks about: Home/Community/School/Project. I have gotten such good answers back and I've learned so much about what my children do and experience daily.

Feel free to copy this list!

1. What is your house made of?
2. Who do you live with?
3. Where do you sleep? Do you have a bed?
4. Does your home have electricity?
5. Where does your family get water?
6. What are common jobs in your community?
7. How does Compassion help your community?
8. How do people travel around in your community?
9. How many children are enrolled in your Compassion project?
10. What do you like most about your project?
11. What foods are typical in your community?
12. Are there any famous places in your country? 

I hope you hear back from your kids soon! Happy learning!

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Another Three Letter Day!

I can get used to this. :)

I love seeing my small mailbox full of cream colored envelopes. I also got a student loan bill, but that's nearly as exciting. Let's just toss that to the side... :)

First up, I bring you love from Thailand. 10 year old Fongwin always write great letters. This letter was written on November 6th, 2013.


Dear Kayla,

Hello sponsor! I am very glad to have an opportunity to write you a letter again. I and my family are doing fine. Hopefully, you and your family are doing well. Thank you for the birthday gift you sent me. I spent it on a household thing. Thank for the coloring picture. I colored it. It is very beautiful. I go to school. I show the picture to my friends. They like it so much. For my school performance in the last term, it was good. I will try harder. The weather in my place is cold season now. It is still raining. Many provinces in my country have flood. I am very pity on the people who face the flood. How is the weather in your country? I go to school every day. My school has just started a new term. Please pray for my study. I will think of you and pray for you that you have strength in your work. Finally, may God bless your family with happiness always. 

Love in Christ,


Next up, is a letter from sweet Sadiya. Sadiya is 9 years old. She wrote a very lovely letter and is answering some of the questions about her country that I asked all of my kids last summer. Her letter was written on October 31st. 


Dear Sponsor Kayla,

I greet you in the sweet name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I am doing good with my family and they are also doing well. Hoping you all are also doing the same. My study is going well. I go regularly to my project. I learn story of Jesus and songs of Jesus. Some days back, I got a sweater. I got all your letters. On August 15th, we celebrate our Independence of our country. The colors of our flag are orange, white, and green. I miss you a lot! Please pray for me. 

Yours Lovingly, 


Lastly, I got a long letter from little Solomon. He wrote, with the help of his tutor, two whole pages! It appears that he receives my letters in a huge bulk. He doesn't seem to mind, though. I try to think about how I feel when I get letters in bulk, like today. Our kids must love it too! To get so many goodies at one time must be so fun!

Solomon was 7 years old when this letter was written, but turned 8 soon after. His letter was written on November 6th. 


My Favorite kind of weather is: Summer
It is Usually: Hot
When it is Sunny, I Like to: Play Volleyball
When it Rains, I Like to: Watch T.V
During Christmas, the Weather is Usually: Chilly 

Dear Sponsor,

Greetings to you in Jesus name. How are you? I am tutor writing this letter on behalf of Solomon. He and his family are doing well. He is so excited to receive all your letters. He received so many from you. He likes to know more about you. Thank you for stickers, pictures, and sums (I sent him a math worksheet to practice). He liked so much everything. He share with his friends and tell them about you. Surely he prays for your new job to go well. He hopes you enjoy it. He is regular at school. He is doing his study work well. Thank you for birthday wishes and colorful stickers. On birthday, he will get cake and invite friends and share with them. At home, his mother prepares some sweets and have fun. Thank you for your loving prayers. He was happy to hear about your country. It is so interesting. What is your favorite food and sport? He wants to know it. In our country, we celebrate Independence Day on August 15th. We hoist our flag and have some cultural programs like dance, song, etc in school. We sing the National Anthem at the time of hoisting flag. He liked seeing you and him in the photo you sent. It is so great to hear about your church family. He loves the picture with the kids in church. In our church here, there are only a few babies. He likes to play with them and share things with them. In his school, he celebrates Children's Day on November 14th. He and his friends will enjoy program of dance, songs, and a speech by the prime minister of India. He is doing well in the project (coloring, singing new songs, ball games, and learning about Jesus). Please pray for him. He will pray for you. 


Friday, January 10, 2014

First Letter from Alexander

I was super happy to have a cream colored envelope in the mail today! And it was big envelope, which could mean a whole slew of things! I opened up the envelope and saw that my Honduran boy, Alexander had written me his first letter!

It's two pages stapled together, but as I looked closer, I noticed that it was the same, exact letter written twice. The first time, it's written in cursive handwriting and without any punctuation marks to be seen. My guess is that his project workers gave him another piece of paper and told him to redo the letter neatly. He rewrote the letter (the handwriting looks the same), but this time in print and with all the correct markings. Alexander is turning 13 years old in two weeks, so I'm guessing it was just typical pre-teen/teenage laziness. :)

In this letter, Alexander is answering the letter I sent him asking questions about his community. I send a letter like that to each of my children as soon as I can write to them.

This letter was written on December 20th, so it got here very quickly!


Hello Dear Sponsor Kayla, 

How are you? I hope you are in good health. I want to tell you that my community is called 2 de Marzo (2nd of March) and it is located in El Progreso, Yoro, Honduras. My community's population is 240,000 people. A common job in my community is to work at textile mills. A common transportation is the taxi. Let me tell you that my community's weather is very hot and a fun thing to do here is go to the mechanic games (Any ideas?) I want to ask you, what do you do on Christmas? I want to ask you to pray for me and my family. I want to thank you for your contribution and I wish you a Merry Christmas. I say goodbye with a hug. 

Carlos Alexander


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Letters Received in 2013

I've noticed a lot of people posting how many letters they received in 2013 and I loved reading the lists the made. I thought it would be fun to make a list like that myself. I'm going to split the kids in two groups, those I had for all of 2013 and those that I only had for part of it. The kids I've only been sponsoring/corresponding with for a few months are going to have, of course, less letters. In each list, I will sort from greatest to fewest letters. Here we go!

Here are the kids I had for all 2013. They had all the full year to write letters:

My winner this year was Xhuliano. He wrote me 14 letters!

I got 8 letters from Florenc. 

I received 7 letters each from Celeste and Kalpesh.

I got 6 letters each from Abu, Sandesh, Sagitaria, Jhon, and Karanja. 

I received 5 letters each from Eric, Sagar, Kwizera, and Solomon. 

Both Sadiya and Dafyne wrote 4 letters each. 

Khushi and Melaku both wrote 3 letters each. 

Next, I will share with you these letters from the children I have had for less than a year. Each of these kids joined my sponsorship family sometime during 2013. 

Fongwin wrote 4 letters this year.

Wendjy wrote 3 letters in 2013. 

Domenik, Elias, and Nikko each wrote 2 letters. 

I received 1 letter each from Enatenesh and Debora. 

I am awaiting the day that I receive my first letter from Brenda, Derrick, Alexander, Maria, and Antonio. 

In total, in 2013, I received 123 letters, which averages out to one letter about every 3 days. I would say that's a pretty successful year! 

How many letters did you receive in 2013?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

First Letter of 2014: Festivals and Holidays from Kwizera

Happy new year to me! Only four days into 2014 and I got my first letter of the year. Gotta love that. :)

This letter is from my cutie in Rwanda. This time, Kwizera wrote to me on the Festivals and Holidays template. Most of his answers in this letter are similar, but if you think about, we celebrate most of our holidays the same way too.


1. Our national festivals/holidays are: Christmas, Easter, and New Year

2. My favorite national festival/holiday is: Christmas

3. My family celebrates my favorite national festival/holiday by: Dressing smartly, going to pray, and eating good food. 

4. My favorite foods to eat during celebrations are: Meat, rice, and chips. 

5. My family celebrates Christmas by: Going to pray and eating good food.

6. At the project we celebrate Christmas by: Gathering together, praying, and eating well. 

7. My family celebrates New Year by: Going to pray and eating good food. 

8. At the project we celebrate the New Year by: We celebrate it at home. 

Dear Kayla,

Your sponsored child Kwizera greets you in the name of Jesus. He'd like to tell you that he and his family love you and they always pray for you. He is so glad for the letters and pictures you send to him. He has completed primary 3 with good marks and he is going to proceed with primary 4. He has shifted to another project. He now belongs to RW-339 because his parents moved nearby the project. He celebrated his 9th birthday on November 15th. He wishes you a Merry Christmas and happy new year.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014: New Year, New Word, New Shoes

Starting in 2012, I adopted the One World resolution strategy. If you have not heard of this, listen up, because I think it is amazing. Instead of making a list of unreachable New Year's resolutions that will ultimately lead to failure and disappointment, this strategy challenges you to choose one word to change your life in the next year. Just one word to focus on for the next 365 days. One word that will change your life for the better in the coming year.

Along with my one word for the new, there has also been the New Shoes tradition in my family. Every Christmas, for probably the last 10 years or so, I have gotten a new pair of Converse shoes for Christmas. Every year it's a new color. A fresh start on my feet. When I was younger, it was really just because I loved these shoes and they are really the only kind of shoes that I feel truly like myself in. As I grew older, all of those original emotions held true, but I added an element to these shoes. When I sat down and thought about it, I realized that these shoes were going to walk me through a new year of my life. Through the ups and the downs, the ins and outs, and every crazy adventure in between. From December 25th-December 25th, I'd be wearing these shoes. It was kind of cool to think about what I was going to get into with my shoes. 

Exactly a year ago, I wrote this post about shoes: Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

I'm going to write a similar post this year, sharing the One Word that went along with those shoes. Then, of course, I will introduce my new shoes and my new word for 2014. Is the suspense killing you? Haha. 

In 2012, I wore cranberry colored converse. I chose my first One Word: Patience. I originally chose this word because I was driving myself crazy waiting for letters from my sponsored children. It may seem silly, I know. Each day I would check the mailbox for letters and get so disappointed (almost angry) when a letter wasn't there. I was thinking that I wrote so many letters to my kids, why weren't they writing back? I was an impatient mess. Over the year, though, I learned much more about patience than I thought I ever would. I learned that letters from my sponsored children were a blessing and that waiting for them was a good thing. I no longer felt the pressure of waiting for them. More importantly, though, I learned patience in other areas. I learned to be patient with people in my life. Everyone is different and grasps concepts in their own time. Being getting impatient with somebody, for any reason, just creates pressure and conflict and generally makes things harder. Of course, I still had my impatient moments, but I think God really showed me how to love others in moments of impatience. 

This last year, I wore red converse shoes. I focused on the word Trust. I was really struggling with trusting God when the year started (now that the year is ending, I can't say that I'm completely trusting now, but I definitely made improvements). I had all these dreams and ideas that I wanted to accomplish, but had no idea how to do any of them. Some of them involved large amounts of money I knew I did have, some of them seemed emotionally impossible, and some just seemed like they would never happen and I wasn't okay with it. Vague, I know. I will try to explain. 
One of the main dreams I had in 2013, was to get to Honduras to meet my sponsored child, Celeste. When I saw that I would need about $2200 to get there, I almost completely wrote off the trip, thinking there was no way it would happen. But, through a series of amazing events, I had not only come up with the money for the trip, but I had enough money to take along great gifts for Celeste and materials to the project we'd be visiting. God really worked through that dream for me, and showed me that if I trust him, everything is possible. 

Also in 2013, I really struggled with my singleness. At 24 years of age, it is hard to be a single woman. It seems that most of the people around me are in relationships, engaged, or already married. Some are even having babies! Me, I'm just hanging out by myself in my apartment. There were days that I got so hopeless and down on myself for being single, that I refused to get out of bed, shower, or leave my apartment, as if that would help me meet a future husband. After some months of just feeling sorry for myself and jealous of anybody who was in a relationship of some kind, I realized that this is just pointless. Being single isn't a death sentence. Through many hours of prayer and more days of despair (sometimes you just have a rough day), I came to the point of trust. I will trust God's plan for my life. If the plan includes me meeting a wonderful man someday, that is great. If that plan involves me living on my own forever, that is great. If that plan involves me being single and raising adopted kids on my own, that is great. I am beginning to learn to just trust God. I will accept what comes or what doesn't come and move forward from there. 

I'd say that God taught me quite a bit in 2013, eh? 

Alright, now it's 2014!! Whoo! 

This year, I am embarking into the world on purple shoes. 

My One Word for this year is: Breathe. 

It could probably go right along with last year's word, Trust. 

For the past several months, I've been allowing myself to get into a panic over things. I don't think these moments quite qualify as panic attacks, though. But, I call it panic, nonetheless. These moments almost always seem to revolve around money. Do I have enough? Will I have everything I need? What if I run out? 

I am ashamed to admit it, but I have been known to sit for hours furiously writing out budgets, calculating how much money I will have on specific days, subtracting bills I need to pay, groceries I need to buy, even attempting to estimate when I will need to get gas, when I might need to mail something. Then, oh my gosh, what if an emergency happens? What if I have to fix something on my car? What if I can't pay my rent and I get evicted. On and on and on. These moments have been known to strike anywhere: at home, at work, while driving.

It. Is. Ridiculous. 

And I. Am. Done. 

This year, whenever I feel a moment of panic arising, I want to look at my purple shoes, and remember to breathe. Breathe in. Breathe Out. Trust God. That is my new mantra for 2014. 

I did some searching and found some inspirational pictures and made a couple of collages. If I have a freak out moment, maybe I can come back to this post and take some breaths. 

Well, long post is long, but I am happy that I wrote it. I know that I will come back and read it and hopefully feel inspired by the things I have accomplished and I feel hopeful about moving forward with my life. 

Are you participating in the One Word challenge for 2014? I would love hear the word you chose!