Adoption: A Partnering Opportunity

Slade Adoption Travel

I have been so incredibly blessed by our surrounding family, online and church community. Many of you may know that we are adopting two girls from Ghana, West Africa. We started the process two years ago. I can’t believe it has been that long already! There was one particular part of the process that kept us stuck for 13 months without movement. It was a very long and hard time.

There was much uncertainty looming on whether we would even be able to bring our girls home. Two weeks ago we finally were granted approval in order to move on to the next step, the final step before we fly out and bring them home. God has taught me a few things during our long wait. I learned the meaning of the verse Proverbs 13:12,

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.

I was heart sick. Literally, my heart ached. I didn’t even know that was possible until this season of waiting and longing for our family to be together. My husband and I have struggled through the most difficult season in our marriage.

And each week we talk to the girls, their hope has waned as we have continuously put off when we will be back, because we simply did not know. Now we are just weeks away from bringing our family together but we need your help! We are in the final phase of fundraising so we can travel back and bring them home.

We need just $1,317 to complete our fundraising which will pay for the total of $7,500 for all of our plane tickets. Pure Charity has been such a wonderful partner in this. Once the funds are ready, they go directly to our travel agency. All donations made through Pure Charity are tax deductible.

When you give, you aren’t just giving money. You’re investing in the future of two precious girls who long to be with their family. You’re investing in a brand new life for them, with a hope and a future.

There are no gimmicks here. Money is simply a tool we need to use sometimes to make dreams a reality. This is one of those times. Please partner with us and help us bring them home. Click here to make a donation if you’re reading in email and cannot see the donation widget below.

Christin

Christin has a heart to encourage and equip women in aspects of discipleship, marriage, mothering, writing, blogging, and community. She sees the body of Christ as an important community of encouragement and discipleship and works to foster that around the web. She has been married 13 years and has 7 children ranging in age from 11 down to 3. You can find her encouraging moms at her blog Joyful Mothering, writing some deeper thoughts on life and writing at ChristinSlade.com, and learning more about Google+.

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On Stranger Hospitality

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Hospitality means primarily the creation of free space where the stranger can enter and become a friend instead of an enemy. Hospitality is not to change people, but to offer them space where change can take place. It is not to bring men and women over to our side, but to offer freedom not disturbed by dividing lines.”

Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: The Three Movements of the Spiritual Life

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I suppose I’m here as a sort of test case, a run at determining the lengths and depths of hospitality within the Allume community. To the point, I am far from what might be considered the target demographic of Allume, a community which hopes “to minister to the woman, the blogger, the story teller.” More to the point, I am most emphatically not a member of the sorority of womanhood. I am a member of the other sex.

The request to join this community of writing and faith was, I admit, a bit daunting. There were, at last count, twenty writers for the Allume blog, and only one other man (fistbump, Dan King!).   Unafraid of the awkward yes, I decided to jump into this decidedly feminine venue, one with an aesthetic boasting chartreuse, and plum, and frilly hearts. It is true; I come to this community as an outsider.

It is difficult to play the role of the outsider, the differentiated one. We all know this to be true, have all found ourselves on the wrong-track side of money, power, fashion, or sex. And yes, as things go, I suppose I have it easy. A critical analysis of historical exclusion would indicate that being a man in a woman’s conference blog world does not constitute the most dire of “fit” problems.

That being said, it seems, at least to me, that my inclusion at the Allume table (as it were), may stand as a sort of metaphorical reminder. There are strangers among us, those who feel the sting of never quite making it into the inner circle. And perhaps, in an honest moment, you’d admit it–you feel like a stranger too.

Don’t we all have fit problems?

According to dictionary.com, “hospitality,” is “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.” Did you catch that last word? Strangers. The definition begs an interesting question: if the purpose of hospitality is to create a space of invitation, of welcome, why exercise it only among those whom already feel invited and welcomed? Is the fullest expression of hospitality the invitation of close friends and relatives to a dinner party, or is it something broader?

Jesus taught a broader kind of hospitality, one that favored welcome of the outsider. In Matthew 25, Jesus taught of his triumphant return, praised those who extended warm welcome to God. And how did they extend such a welcome? Jesus taught, “[t]ruly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

Jesus was the embodiment of stranger-hospitality, went out of his way to break bread with the outcasts, the tax-collectors and sinners. He was the entertainer of the marginalized, the party-thrower for the little people.

Yes, there are strangers among us, and perhaps I serve as the tangible, awkward reminder of that truth. (And don’t worry, I’ll continue to pop in from time to time as an ever present tangible and awkward reminder.)  But as we push forward to Allume 2014, let’s work to create a culture of stranger-hospitality, to craft places of fit for the outsider. Let’s remember that this is the way of Jesus.

Now… could someone toss me a baseball?!?

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Seth Haines is a working stiff who makes his home in the Ozark mountains. He and his wife Amber Haines have four boys and a dog named Lucy. Seth enjoys music, food, fly fishing, and fine sentences. He writes regularly at sethhaines.com, and shares music, art, and quippy thoughts on both Twitter and Facebook.

*Photo by Kulwant Singh, Creative Commons via Flickr.

Community Begins with Your Unique Voice

Community Begins With Your Unique Voice

Since this is our inaugural post for the Allume Community Writers, we would like to introduce ourselves first.

community_unique2Hi! I’m Caroline.  And this is my friend Karrie.

We met each other almost 11 years ago in Akron, Ohio.  Karrie was in high school & I was a sleep-deprived mother of 2 toddlers at the time.  Karrie quickly became a necessity in my life as a babysitter & sanity saver.  2 more kids later & 16 moves between the two of us, Karrie is no longer our babysitter, but she’s still my sanity saver!

Karrie & the TeSelle kids circa 2009

Karrie & the TeSelle kids circa 2009

From the very beginning, we have done life together & built community – sharing the good, the bad & the ugly.  We have not let geography or our 15-year age difference hinder that.

It was because of our friendship & life built around community & our desire to help others that led us to start working together as virtual assistants.

What does all of this have to do with being a part of the Allume community?

Community begins with your unique voice.

We recognize that you have a unique voice in this world.  Your life and your experiences are uniquely you. You’re here because you have recognized the opportunity to share that with the world through the avenue of blogging.

What is our unique voice?

Our unique voice is to help & encourage others.  Right now, we’re doing that in a virtual way.  We are here as a part of the Allume community to HELP YOU.

We see this as an opportunity to get to know you {build community}, hear your dream {encourage your unique voice}, then point you in a direction of figuring out how to achieve that dream {grow your influence}.

In the coming months, we will cover topics ranging from writing a great purpose statement for your blog, interviews with the experts, working with affiliates, widgets we love & much more.

…our heart here in this space is that we walk together into living well and full, and from that place we write and blog and make a difference in the world in which we live. Logan Wolfram

Most importantly, we’re here for the community, sharing the good, the bad & the ugly. Walking together, living well & full – that’s community.  Building upon those relationships will help grow your influence & make a difference in this world.

We’ve introduced ourselves, now it’s your turn. We want to get to know you better.

Take that first step of walking together in this community.

What is your unique voice?  Share it with us in the comments below.

Caroline

Caroline TeSelle is a dream-encourager & cultivator. She has used her gift of encouragement and behind the scenes virtual assistant talents to assist many in the blogging community & just recently joined forces with Karrie Dobie to form Two for One VA. Caroline lives in Chicagoland with her husband & four kids. You can also find her on Instagram.

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