Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hands of Hope

Every year our church does a church-wide Bible/book study, and each week, the pastor's sermon ties in with the lesson. This year's "Full Service in a Self-Service World" is a little different! Instead of holding the normal weekend services this week, the congregation was sent out to serve others in the Hands of Hope service projects!

Here are some of the projects from which to choose:

  • Helping local schools with landscaping, litter pickups, mulching, painting, etc...
  • Assisting various human service agencies such as the Salvation Army Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army Thrift Store, American Red Cross, Wake Interfaith Hospitality, Society of St. Andrews, an assisted living home, New Bern House, and more.
  • Packaging 100,000 meals for Stop Hunger Now to send to those in need in Africa and Haiti.
The Schmidt family chose to glean with the Society of St. Andrew. We were sent to a field in Louisberg, NC to harvest collards and cabbages. Since it was over an hour away, we were off to an early start for a Saturday morning. It is quite a chore to get 6 people adequately adorned to work in a cold, wet, dirty field, but somehow, we made it out of here on time!

We smartly put latex gloves over our cheap Dollar Tree gardening gloves, William and I were given sharp weapons, and we were sent out into a field to harvest the collards and cabbage. With Benaiah on my back and what looked like a little linoleum knife, I quickly realized that I was ill-equipped to harvest the collards. So, I crawled down the row cutting cabbages and peeling the icky leaves off so that they looked like what you would buy at the store. William harvested was a harvesting machine doing both collards and cabbages with his little saw. Jeremy did a great job hauling 8-9 cabbages at a time to the Inter-faith Food Shuttle's truck. Marissa enjoyed pulling the nasty leaves off of the collards and bagging them, Annika was in charge of the cabbage bag and peeled a few of them, and Benaiah got himself into a position on my back where he could see over my shoulder and give me editorial comments like, "EWWwwwww! Dat distustin', Mommy." Near the end, he started asking to watch "Yo Gabba Gabba" and "Barney."

We harvested for 2 hours, and as we were walking off of the field, the kids asked about doing it again!

We joined some other families from church at Bojangle's for lunch -our reward.

Sadly, we forgot the camera because I'm sure that the photos would have been great entertainment for many! These are collards. The field in which we worked had sand in between the rows, and the cabbages and collards were inter-mixed.

It is so cool to know that within 48 hours of our family project, people in need are eating the cabbages and collards that we picked!

Jeremy went back to church that evening to join his middle school small group in packaging meals for Stop Hunger Now. He said that was fun too.

When can we do it again?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ready to Adopt Again?

A LOT of our friends with whom we shared our first adoption voyage are back in it for round 2! I am so excited for all of them! It is wonderful to see how God has changed our hearts through our experiences with orphans and seeing REAL poverty first-hand. One family is pursuing a 13 year-old boy whose likelihood of being adopted was diminishing with every passing day. Another family that we know is pursuing a child who is HIV+ and is educating everyone who will listen! I am so happy that God is using these families for HIS glory by making these children part of their families!

So, we've been asked more than a few times if we're ready to go back, and for now, the answer is "NO." It isn't that we don't have a desire to help orphans, but God really gave us a handful when he placed Benaiah Meteku in our family! He is one busy boy! The challenges of home schooling have been magnified as we are afraid to leave this little guy unsupervised for more than 30 seconds (maybe less!).

We both imagine that when the kids that we have get older, we would like to go back to Ethiopia and bring home some older children if that is what God wants. Another thing that we've thought about is being a foster family. Who knows what God will ask of us?

Two very important lessons from our first adoption remain:

1. Where God guides, God will provide. We have no concerns that if God calls us to adopt again, we do not need to fear the details.

2. When God's calling is clear, obedience is the only option.

So for now, we are content with our 4 blessings, but we are fully expecting the day to come when God will call us to adopt, foster, or maybe even something we have never imagined!

When that calling comes, HE will provide, and we will obey.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Home School Science Fair

(click collage to imbiggen -check out the squirrel art by Annika!)

After months of preparation, Jeremy, Marissa, and Annika all participated in the home school science fair. It has taken me this long to recover from it so that I could write this post!!

Annika made a non-competitive display called "Squirrel Friends." We read a few books about squirrels, she colored some, and we printed some and made a nice display. She was so cute answering questions about squirrels at her display! We did learn that there are white squirrels in Brevard, NC, and they have a festival in their honor! She didn't care. She just enjoyed people thinking that she was cute!

She is cute!


Marissa's project was entitled, "Vermicomposting: A Worm Taste Test." (No, we didn't eat worms!) Getting the worms was a big pain in the butt! I ordered some online before Christmas. As it turns out, they were in CA, and the post office would not ship anything live while it was cold in between here and CA. Well, it was December and January, and it was really cold pretty much everywhere between here and CA, so they worm farmer never shipped them. After lamenting the delinquent worms on Facebook, I had a couple of friends tell me that I could get them locally, so with less than 2 weeks before the science fair, Marissa got 1/2 pound of premium red wigglers from a worm farmer in North Raleigh. Good thing they are fast eaters!

Marissa set up an experiment to see how fast the worms would eat certain foods. It was gross. So we had worms (EWWW!), and then we had to measure the food that the worms had left. She loves worms, and even Marissa was grossed out by having to pick out the composting food and get the worms off and out of it (double EWWWW!). She did end up with an interesting project and now has pet worms.


When Jeremy told me that he wanted to do a project involving bubble gum, I was very torn. I was happy that he had interest in something, but I also knew that over the years, the science fairs across out country had been bombarded with gazillions of lame bubblegum experiments. So, we put a twist on it. His project was entitled, "Strechi-densi-bility: Stretchiness, Density, & Water Solubility vs. Bubble Size." So, Jeremy's project actually had 3 experiments and a calculation with lots of data analysis.

We were having some major motivation problems with this one, and two days before the science fair, I was totally losing it (screaming, crying) while trying to get it across to him that he needed to finish his stinking project! After lunch, he realized that the science fair was *this week* NOT *next week*!!! AAGHAGAHAGAA!!! Jeremy did get it in gear and turned out an excellent report and an interesting project.

Neither of our competitive projects won any awards or moved on to the the next level, but we are so glad that we did it! The kids learned a lot about the many aspects of a science fair. There is WAY more to it than just running an experiment. We had to employ our math, writing, *time management*, and art skills too.

Next year, we will have some solid deadlines for every step of the projects! They WILL be great!