Monday, April 13, 2015

Honduras Trip Update: IT'S HAPPENING!

I just wanted to post a quick update on how all my trip planning is coming along.

Yesterday, I finally got my Trip Guide. It took quite a while for it to reach me because I'm still overseas and had it sent to someone in the states who then brought it out here for me. But I finally have it. The funny thing is that they put me down as from Michigan because that's where all my stuff was sent too:


I also received my baggage tags, a cute little Compassion International bag filled with goodies for me and for my sponsored kids and a notepad. I'm still waiting for my trip itinerary (along with information on what projects we'll be visiting) but that will be coming later. 




Even with my trip guide laying right beside me as I type this, this trip still feels pretty surreal to me. It hasn't really sunk in that I'll be traveling across the world to see Fadi and Ali face to face. It's crazy!

How can you support me?

Firstly, I'd just like to say a huge THANK YOU to all who have already prayed for me and donated. You all are wonderful and I pray that you would be blessed abundantly for what you've done.

I still need some money to pay for my domestic airfare and to buy gifts for Fadi and Ali. Click HERE  to donate and to hear more about my trip.

Prayer is still appreciated. I know wholeheartedly that God's going to change and transform me during this trip and I'm really excited. I mean, moving back to the States just days before this trip is going to transform me but I know that God's going to speak about his will for me while I'm in Honduras.

So... how can you pray?


  • Pray for God to guide and invigorate me as I address the preparatory details for this trip like flying to Miami (BY MYSELF!!!) and back and shopping for myself and for my kids
  • Pray that God will open my eyes, ears, mind and heart to Him in a special way during the trip
  • Pray for my fellow tour members (I will learn their names later), that they too will be open to all that the Lord wants to do in and through them during the trip
  • Pray that God will use me as an ambassador for Christ - that I would represent him well as I interact with children, Compassion staff, fellow travelers, and anyone else God brings across my path during the tour
These four points are taken directly from my Trip Guide from the Journaling section. They encourage me to start journaling and praying about the trip right now so that my heart may be ready. So, please pray with me! 

If you look to the right of this post, you'll see that I've been counting down the days. It won't be too long! I'm so excited!! 



Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sponsorship Saturday: Go Into All the World Review

A few months ago, I got the privilege of being one of the first to read David Chalmers' new book entitled: Go Into All the World. The book talks about him traveling all over the world to visit a little more than half of his 50 sponsored kids. Yes, you read correctly. David sponsors 50 kids! To put that into perspective for you . . I only sponsor two.

Anyway, David's book goes through his experiences visiting his precious children in many different countries like Bolivia, Brazil and the Philippines. He shares what it was like encouraging a hurting child, asking the hard questions to his sponsored children's parents about their lives, eating exotic dishes, and sharing his faith with people in poverty. With each page, I couldn't help but put myself in his place and experience everything with him.

The book also really helped to ignite my desire to see my own sponsored kids: Fadi and Ali. And I am excited to have the opportunity in June. From David's book, I've learned what questions to ask them, how I should be praying for them, and how I can put myself in their place as I hear their stories.

Go Into All the World is not just a bunch of memoirs or short stories. It is not just page after page of random percentages about child sponsorship or information about Compassion International. While that may be included, it is much more than that. It is filled with happy, tragic, uplifting, hilarious, and life changing stories about how God has used one man to change 50 different lives across the world. I definitely recommend this book to everyone - not just sponsors.

I'd like to end with a quote from David's book. It totally sums up why he chose to sponsor and why I choose to do the same. May it inspire you to make a choice like this too:

"I want to see kids sponsored. I want to see lives transformed. I want God to be glorified through it all. I want people, when they see my life of sacrificial generosity, to see God in me."


You can read more about David and his book HERE and you can get the book for yourself HERE.

Let me know below if you've read the book and what you thought of it!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

#Kaneiac Street Team

So, last night, I became a part of Spencer Kane's team. You're probably wondering what that means.

But first . . who is Spencer Kane?!?!


Spencer is an 18 year old Christian singer/dancer/songwriter/speaker. He hasn't been around very long but is already making a huge mark. His music mainly focuses around showing kindness to others and the prevention of bullying. You may remember that a while back, I interviewed him for the Bullying Prevention assembly that I had at my school. (You can click HERE to read about the assembly and watch my interview with Spencer)

Anyway, while I was reading some posts on Spencer's blog, I came across a really cool way that I can help him with his career and also get his insanely important (more on that later..) message out. So, I emailed his manager and had a quick chat with him about what it meant to be a part of Spencer's "street team".

And what does that mean? Well . . .

Basically, I am part of the team that supports Spencer and helps spread his music/message around. We help him out with voting, music ideas, and help out at concerts if we're able to.

What's his message?

Spencer speaks about showing KINDNESS and living your life as an example to others. It's kind of sad that when we hear the word "Kindness" we think of it as simply being nice to others. I throw the word around all the time when I see little kids bickering. But seriously, kindness is a huge deal. Showing LOVE is showing KINDNESS (and vice versa).

You all know that I'm pretty passionate about preventing bullying, suicide and other issues like that so that's part of the reason why I joined Spencer's team. I want to help him get the word out and do what I can. Being able to support Spencer and be a part of his team is another super cool way for me to be a "Voice for the Voiceless" which is what I like to say is the overall message of my blog. I want to speak up about different issues to give them a voice.

I'm excited about what all this will entail and I pray that God would use me (behind the scenes where I LOVE to be!) to help out. I've always been interested in the entertainment business but you can't really go anywhere when you're not able to act, sing, dance or direct a movie. So, I'm looking at this opportunity to help someone (who is in the entertainment business) spread Christ's light and empower others. I also really, really love Spencer's music and encourage you all to check it out!

Here are some ways that YOU can support Spencer Kane:
- Check out his music!
- Pray for him! (We should always be praying for others - especially those who have quite a lot of influence over other people)
- Join his Street Team
- Follow him on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram

#KANEIAC



** pictures belong to Spencer Kane

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

My Hair Care Plan

I've been wearing my hair natural (I cut off a lot of my hair to get rid of all the damage and have not chemically relaxed/straightened my hair) for about 2 years but just recently I've become REALLY obsessed with it. Honestly, I just want it grow. And I know that I'm impatient and black natural hair tends to take a while anyway but I want mine to grow NOW.

So . . .

I've created a hair care procedure that I plan to follow for a while - especially since I'll be heading off to college in less than 6 months (I'd like to have my hair long and healthy during college. Difficult? Most likely).

First, you all need to understand something. I am NOT an expert on caring for natural hair. I don't know the best products or best ways to achieve moisturized/shiny/frizz-free curls. What I'm posting today is just some steps that I plan to follow to keep my hair healthy and to hopefully help it grow faster. Feel free to comment below with tips or with your own hair care plan.

Cleaning

Here's my plan for washing my hair. Currently, I've been washing my hair every two weeks - shampoo, conditioner, deep conditioning . . .

But I've been reading that shampoo really isn't good for natural hair because of all the sulfates and other gross things that basically rip the moisture and strength from your hair. So, for this new plan, I won't be using too much shampoo (maybe once a month now).

How will I wash my hair now? CONDITIONER!

Here are my steps

the night before

  • put olive oil in hair and sleep in a shower cap
hair washing day
  • Before showering, add a small amount of conditioner to hair
  • Let hair soak in water while you shower
  • Rinse conditioner and oils out of hair
  • Add a large amount of conditioner to hair
  • Detangle hair with fingers
  • Step out and squeeze hair to remove excess conditioner
  • While hair's still wet, add moisturizers (olive oil/shea butter/argon oil)
  • Diffuse
every other week
  • Add deep conditioner (click HERE to see my recipe)
  • Cover hair in shower cap and let hair sit for 30-45 minutes
  • Rinse out deep conditioner 
  • Moisturize (olive oil/shea butter/argon oil)
  • Diffuse
Just to clarify: I've read lots of articles about whether or not it's a good idea to deep condition your hair once a week and from what I've read, it's ok as long as it works for you. My hair doesn't stay moisturized for very long so I think this'll help. If it starts to mess with my hair then I can always prolong it a bit. 

Moisturizing

I keep my moisturizer in a spray bottle. I spray my hair in the mornings, when I'm home from work and at night before I go to bed. It helps keep my hair healthy and allows me to manipulate the curls when I need to. Here's what I usually add:
  • water
  • olive oil
  • shea butter
  • argon oil
  • conditioner
Lately, all I've had is just olive oil, conditioner and water and it works fine. 

I also know that the "LOC" method works really well to lock in moisture. 
L - Liquid
O - Oils
C - Cream

LOC usually means adding water to your hair, followed by your favorite natural oil (olive oil/argon oil for me!) and ending with a cream (shea butter or a store bought cream maybe?)

Styling 

For the past 2 years, I've been styling my hair with bandanas, scarves, bobby pins and twist outs but because I want my hair to grow as quickly and as healthy as possible, I'm going to omit a few of my old styles for the time being:
  • Twist outs: This is when I take a section of my hair, spray with my moisturizer and comb out all the tangles. Then I divide the section into two and twist them around each other until they buckle. I then fasten in them in what I call a "doughnut" against my head with a bobby pin. I leave them in overnight and then untwist and style my hair in the mornings.  So why am I taking a break from twist outs? Firstly, to comb out my hair, I have to comb out all the curls which rips out a lot of it and causes split ends. That's not going to help my hair stay healthy at all. Secondly, Niger's pretty humid at the moment and the twist outs don't last longer than a few hours. It's become a useless style. And finally, I want to leave my curls alone as much as possible so combing my hair or spending hours with my fingers in it isn't going to help.
  • Bobby pins: I still plan to use my bobby pins once in a while to bring up the hair on the sides of my head or make a few small twists but for the most part, I'll be avoiding them for the next few months. They stretch my hair and sometimes add annoying tangles when I put them in wrong. Besides, my hair looks just fine in a scarf or on its own.

Tips

  • Be gentle with your hair. When detangling, don't rip out the tangles or go quickly. Take your time
  • Keep your fingers out of your hair when it's dry
  • Drink LOTS of water
  • Eat your fruits and veggies
  • Protect your hair at night. Either sleep on a satin pillowcase or keep your hair in a satin bonnet
  • Stay away from shampoo. However, conditioner tends to build up in hair so I plan to shampoo at least once a month
Helpful Links

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sponsorship Saturday: Gift Ideas

Hey, everyone! I'm sorry that I haven't posted anything in a while. I can't say that I've been busy (because I haven't been..) - I just haven't had the motivation.

I can't stop thinking about my Honduras trip this summer. I CANNOT believe that God has provided the money for me to go. He is so good! Thank you to everyone who has donated so far too. I still need a few more hundred dollars to reach my goal so that I can pay for my domestic airfare and my gifts.

Speaking of gifts. . .

Even before I registered for the trip, I was making a list of various things that I could bring for my kids. But now I want to ask you guys.

Below is the list of what I've thought of bringing. Are there any items that I should add? Any that I should take off? Is my list too big? Everything that you guys say will be extremely helpful so please comment below!

FADI

- Backpack
- Doll ("Little Mommy Sweet As Me Hispanic Doll")
- Hair barrettes/combs/bands
- Friendship necklace
- Toothbrush/toothpaste
- Reading book (e.g. "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe")
- Notepad/coloring book
- Colored pencils/crayons
- Cute T-shirts
- Card games (e.g. "UNO")
- Bible
- Photo album
- Devotional/hand towels for Fadi's mom
- Toy cars for Fadi's little brother
- Stuffed animal toy for Fadi's niece
- ??? for Fadi's older sister
- ??? for Fadi's dad
- Swimsuit

I'd really like to send something sweet and small for each member of Fadi's family but am really at a loss for what to send for Fadi's dad and older sister. Any ideas?

ALI

- Backpack
- Soccer ball
- T-shirts
- Toothbrush/toothpaste
- Reading book (e.g. "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe")
- Notepad/puzzling book
- Colored pencils/crayons
- Card games (e.g. "UNO")
- Stuff animal toy
- Bible
- Photo album
- Devotional/hand towels for Ali's mom
- ??? for Ali's twin brother
- ??? for Ali's sister
- ??? for Ali's other sister
- Swimsuit

Once again, I really have no idea what to get for Ali's siblings. First of all, I don't know their ages (I asked in a letter a few months ago and I'm hoping to get a response before June).

And the reason why I'm buying swimsuits is because we'll be visiting a water park for the Child Visit day and I don't know if my kids will already have swimsuits. So I could at least buy swim shorts for both of them. I haven't decided yet.

Once again, I would really appreciate it if you guys would let me know if I should take some items off my list or add anything. Thank you!

Click on the link to the right of this post OR click on the "Honduras 2015" page to donate to my trip.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sponsorship Saturday: GUESS WHAT?

As you can tell by the title, I'm pretty excited about something. Want to guess what it is?

I'M GOING TO HONDURAS!!

That's right, I got the rest of my money so I officially registered for the trip last night!

Thank you SO much to all of you who have donated and have helped me make it so far. God is such an amazing God and I cannot wait to serve him this summer.



When I get to the States, the rest of my trip planning will have to happen in less than a week. I'll have shopping to do (I need a bathing suit for myself and lots of special goodies for my kids), jetlag to sleep off and packing to do. Before leaving Niger, I'll be buying my plane tickets to Miami (to meet the team) but I'll have to hold off on that for a little bit because my parents are still working out the details for when we first get back to the States.

I just wanted to update you guys on where I'm at and also wanted to say a big THANK YOU for the donations and for the prayer. 

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Liebster Award

So, I was nominated by The Glorious Mundane for a Liebster Award. The Liebster Award is a fun way for bloggers to get to know each other by answer some questions and nominating others. I have been nominated to answer 11 questions about myself and my blog and then I will need to nominate some other bloggers.









1. How did you decide on the title for your blog?

Well for starters, I'm an MK (missionary kid) from and living in West Africa - where I've practically been my whole life. Niger, the country that my family is serving in, is just a stone's throw away from the Sahara Desert, hence, the name for the blog. I was born in and adopted from Benin and then moved to Niger when I was 2 with parents and younger brother. Now I'm 18 years old and my life in Africa is quickly coming to an end.

The second thing you should know is that I love purple. It doesn't matter what shade but I am just infatuated by the color. When I was little, I used to think that I had purple skin instead of brown. And as I grew up, I never got tired of the color. I guess you can say that's where the "Violet" part came from. But it could also be because violets aren't very common in the Sahara Desert, or any desert for that matter. In a desert, they're unique. They're just as unique as an introverted, adopted African/American girl currently living on her home continent infatuated with the color purple and wanting to be a light for Christ in a world that has grown tired of hearing about him. Yep, pretty unique I'd suppose.

(Taken directly from my About Me page)

2. What are some of your favorite pastimes? 

Reading ~ I especially like realistic fiction or the Bible
Movies ~ I'm a big fan of dramas and romantic comedies and can watch the same movie over and over and over. . .
Games~ My favorite card game is definitely Dutch Blitz
Music~ I listen to all sorts of genres but what I mostly have on my iPod is pop
Journaling~ I use my journal for prayer so as I write out all my thoughts and feelings, I'm also discussing them with God!

3. Describe a typical day in your life?

6:02am  -  I wake up and get ready for school/work at Sahel. This includes doing my devotions, checking Facebook/Twitter/email, getting dressed and eating breakfast. I'm out the door by 7am.

7:30am-2:30pm  -  I'm at school helping out in the Kindergarten classroom. Even though it's a blast working with the kids, I leave at the end of the school day exhausted. My duties as the Kindergarten teacher's assistant include teaching the kids Bible, helping a few of the kids stay on task and keep up with the rest of the students, supervising the elementary kids at recess, learning from Mrs. S (the Kindergarten teacher), eating lunch with my high school/middle school friends and keeping the kids quiet at nap time. Fun, fun, fun!

3:00pm-11pm  -   I get home and do any extra lesson planning that I wasn't able to do at school. Then I usually crash in front of the TV (or my computer), chat with friends online, write my sponsored kids or listen to music. I have dinner, play games (board games and Wii MarioKart) and watch a movie or TV show with my mom and dad.

Of course, there are certain days when I have after school activities like Baby Home, Youth Group or Bible Study but this is the typical schedule for me.

4. What is one thing you are sentimental about?

I get pretty emotional when I hear about kids who have been neglected, abused or "forgotten". I hope to one day work with special needs kids and also adopt kids who have been abused. God has really laid hurting kids on my heart.

5. What is your most popular/most read/favorite blog post?

Surprisingly, my most popular and most read blog post is "20 Facts About My Best Friend". I originally had each fact posted as a tweet on Twitter a few years ago but then decided to turn it into a blog post. I had no idea that it'd be so popular! To read about this best friend of mine, click on the link above!

6. What is one goal you have for 2015?

I don't know if this is much of a goal but I truly want to know more and to really accept how much God loves me. I know that he does but I'm often forgetting. This year, as I say hello to a lot of new changes and beginnings (leaving Niger, going to Honduras???, starting college and moving back to the U.S.) I want to be able to trust God and to really understand how much he loves me.

7. What is your favorite blog post that I wrote?

I don't really have a favorite post but I love all that has been written about Tera. Obviously, I'm not married or have children but I love hearing about what it's like to be a young mommy. I file away all those helpful tips that have to do with cloth diapers and schedules and keep in the back of my mind for later!

8. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?

I love being able to communicate my thoughts and feelings. As an introvert, I really do struggle with getting my emotions across when talking to someone face to face. Being able to chat online or blog helps me to think clearly and to have my say. I also love being able to use my voice to speak out about bullying, suicide, poverty, children, racism and God.

9. What is the meaning behind YOUR name? Are you named after someone?

I actually just asked my mom today if she knew what my name meant (and she didn't) and she told me that I was named after a family friend name Alice. Alice is a very dear friend to my mom but even so, my mom didn't think that Alice Ruth sounded very nice. So, she changed it a bit and named me Alicia. My birth name is actually a name in Bariba (a language spoken in Benin) which means "third daughter". I like to use it once in a while.

10. What is your favorite season and why?

My favorite season is probably winter. It's a bit random because I really dislike being cold but I love the beauty of snow and being able to sit inside all toasty and warm. Winter also brings Christmas in December and my birthday in February.

11. Tell me 10 random things about yourself

1. I was adopted from Benin, West Africa and have grown up in Niger, West Africa

2. I have two financially sponsored children from Honduras and two correspondent sponsored kids from Ghana and Haiti. I love them as if they were my little brother and sisters and am looking forward to meeting some of them face to face. You can read more about them HERE.

3. I LOVE spicy food and basically have to eat it every day. My favorite spicy dish is sauteed onions and hot peppers. I eat it almost every day!

4. I don't have a favorite movie but I really like the sad, dark and dramatic ones like The Great Gatsby, The Perks of Being a Wallflower and The Fault in Our Stars to name a few.

5. I'm a missionary kid and have spent my whole life living in West Africa

6. I LOVE little kids!

7. I consider myself very introverted. I prefer being by myself in my room thinking about life and all its wonders ;)

8. I attended the same school almost all the way from Kindergarten to 12th grade and now I work there!

9. I have a fascination and appreciation for ASL and the deaf culture. I'd love to adopt (or work with) deaf kids

10. Jesus is the love of my life and my best friend (*cough* I may have just given away the answer to the facts in my most popular blog post. . .)


I nominate these blogs for the Liebster Award -->

Love is an Action

You're Not Invisible

Watt's Happenings

Our Compassion Adventure


Please answer the following questions and nominate some of your favorite blogs for a Liebster Award:

1. How did you decide on the title for your blog?

2. Who/What is your inspiration?

3. How many countries have you traveled to in your lifetime?

4. What is your favorite blog post that I have written?

5. What is your favorite blog post that YOU have written?

6. What is your favorite Bible verse and why?

7. If you could spend a day with any person (living or dead) who would you choose?

8. Name a quirk of yours

9. Why did you decide to start a blog?

10. If you knew that today was your last day on earth how would you spend it?

11. Name 12 random facts about yourself