25 noviembre 2013

Thank you, God.

So cool... (Ha!)

Over the weekend, we held our Fellowship for Ethiopia: an effort to raise money to buy sewing machines for the sewing women of Bethany Christian Services' Family Preservation Program.  At an urban art gallery, to the lulling tunes of Ethio-Orthodox pslams, the wafting of spices through the air, the chattering and chasing of children and the encouraging conversations with the saints, God did His work.  He raised enough money for five sewing machines.  At $320 a machine, that is quite impressive.  Thank you, God.  Or I should say, "Ahmesegenalu."

So, so cool... (Ha!)

22 noviembre 2013

Adoption Zinger Week

Oh, you didn't know?  Yes, it is Adoption Zinger Week.

Yesterday, a man was at our home, estimating, and he asked me, "Oh, so you run an in-home day-care?"  Stifling a laugh (which is much preferred to the feeling that comes when those oh-so-rude questions are asked), I said, "No!  They are my babies!"  This answer was met with huge eyes and a "Wow!  You're brave!"

Maybe... Well, yes.  I am brave.  Thanks.

(I have been waiting for this question for two years.  Of course it waited to present itself  during Adoption Zinger Week.)

20 noviembre 2013

Literature in life

"G, what are you doing?"  "I am digging a hole, MamA."  "For what?"  "To bury Picky Picky."  "Where is he?"

the dead Picky Picky... whom G tried to shove into the little hole (in the pile of toys) he had made

In love

G is in love with his new little friend.  (Yes, that is a real baby.  Doesn't he look like a doll?)

Mita is in love with her Madrina Boo.

I am in love with these kids.  (Ty too!)  These two sat down on the futon and G said, "MamA, sit down in your chair.  Let's talk."  And we did. 

Public Service Announcement

Please, share this with your family, friends and Bible study ladies:

It is not acceptable to ask any mother if her children are "really hers," "really related," "really siblings," "from the same parents," "really sisters," "really brothers," etc., etc., etc.

(I mean, what did you not understand?  I did just say that they are all my kids.)

It isn't any of your business.  It isn't important to your life.  It doesn't change any current relationship.

I am thankful that my children are usually so busy playing and enjoying each other that they don't hear the rude, nosy, ridiculous questions that question the legitimacy of their family.  But that isn't going to last.  So, get busy: Tell your family, friends and nosy neighbors who are out walking their dogs.  I want the whole world to know and change by the time my kids are more likely to engage in conversation with adults.  That isn't too much to ask, is it? 

Go on...

The evolution of diction

17 noviembre 2013


Oo... if only Blogger would fix this problem with clicking in the textbox!  I want to make a hyperlink; but alas, I cannot. 

What I am saying "Amen" to is: http://thewolski5.blogspot.com/2013/11/a-season-of-giving.html

14 noviembre 2013

Praise God!

So, as you can see off to the right (Why do I always want to type "left"?), God has provided for the 20 Starter Kits for my cooking classes in Ethiopia.  Praise Him! 

"What will you do with the extra money, Amy?"  Well, my friend, who will be teaching sewing and crochet, has also put together a Starter Kit for the 15 women that will attend her classes.  Each of those comes to around $40.  So, the money will go towards her materials. 

In addition, Bethany Christian Services has agreed to let us purchase some sewing machines, for a sort of sewing co-op.  The women will be able to come to the office building and use the machines.  This is great news for them... much faster work and products of higher quality.  However, due to importation and taxes and inflation, one machine, the cheapest one found in Addis Ababa to this point, costs $320.  So... any more money that comes in will also go towards the sewing machines.  Thankfully, Christ Redeemer Church (http://www.christredeemermke.org/) has graciously offered to purchase one of the machines.  Thank God.  We'll see how many more we can support.

I love it when God's work seems nearly impossible... because it is so not.  


After breakfast the other day, G called me to the living room to see what he had done: He chose and set out clothes for everyone. "Just like you do, MamA!"  My baby.

Resting at the window, a la MamA

He has even started choosing the best one and circling it and crossing out the worst example, making an appropriate pained face.  :)

Here, he is practicing his volleyball serve on the dust particles floating in the air.  Some follow-through, no?!

Of food

The other day, G said to me, "MamA, my mouth needs a mushroom.  What can I do?"  When I told him that we didn't have any, he went on and on, "But, MamA, my mouth really needs a mushroom.  It just does. ..."

Yogurt practice

I made the kids green eggs (no ham) the other day.  They loved it!  It made me think of words, though.  For my children, these were green eggs.  At a college diner, they might be called "Farmers' Market Scrambler."  And at a fancy brunch, they are, "arugula-infused curd of egg."  Ha!

My children

Dance Mania!

Church Brothers

These two are rebuilding houses in the Philippines with their blocks.  I told them what happened the other day and showed them some photos and they have been very concerned since.  Please, God.

"Row, row, row your paper a-cross the wood'n floor!"  Seriously, hours of fun!

School time

07 noviembre 2013

What I've been hearing

Girumy was trying to touch some blueprints that Rob had brought home.
Rob: Please don't touch those.  They are very old.
Amy:  From when are they?
Rob:  Um... 1976.
Amy:  -no comment- -storm downstairs-

G:  What's going on with me?  I smell lemonade.

-gas is passed-
G- I don't like to stink.
Jared- It's OK.  It comes with the territory: That's what happens when you eat lots of vegetables.
G- (You can imagine... the embarassing moment when your child tells the truth that you'd rather keep private.)
MamA- Uh, Girumy, no vamos a hablar mAs de eso.

We heard a song in which was a line something like, "I should have taken her to all the parties because all she wanted to do was dance."
G- MamA, you should go to Madison because there are lots of parties to dance at there.
(He has made this connection because my sister was married in Madison and he knows that I attended and danced.  So now, Madison is the dance-party capitol of the world.)

06 noviembre 2013

Family fun

Dancing Mohawk Brothers

Mita has decided that this scarf is her "beautiful hair."  I just see Somalia.

Pitching practice.  Yes, I have decided that throwing paper balls at the door is acceptable.  Hours of fun!

One of Mita's favorite people in the world happens to be in Iceland right now, so she is calling her.  The boys then decided to call as well, using FaceTime.  "How's the rotten shark dinner?"

Rob wanted a record of this rainbow in a bowl. 

Rob, inspired by the tutu, began to dance.  Upon seeing him, G exclaimed, "Don't flourish, PapA!"  (Thank you Theo Huxtable.)

In case he falls in Swan Lake, he has some swimming goggles ready.

Whoa, Air Ty!

G - Professor of Linguistics

Ty has long been saying "Gyoom" instead of "Girum" (with the flap)... even though he can make that sound.  A couple of days ago, G decided that he had had it: "Ty, don't say Gyoom.  My name is Girum.  If you can't say it properly (Yes, the child said "properly."), then call me Israel or Izzy."  Ty agreed, and for about two days called him Izzy (which made us really miss Elenita)... ... ... and then all of the sudden, "Girum!"  "Girum!"  "Girum!"  R-flaps all over the place.  Yay!

02 noviembre 2013

Family Preservation in Ethiopia

Dear Readership,

One of the reasons why I really like Bethany Christian Services is because they support family preservation, meaning that they work to keep families together so that adoption doesn't seem like the only choice for a birth-family.  They have a family sponsorship program (Unfortunately there is a problem with blogger and I can't make hyperlinks at the moment.  You can click on the Bethany link, down and over to the right, to read more about this.), in which a family is supported financially so that they can stay together.  This, however, is not the goal, but a temporary necessity.  One of the ways in which they work to move families past sponsorship is to give trainings in income-generating skills. 

A couple of weeks ago, Bethany sent out an invitation for trainers in certain areas.  Thank you, God.  I had been praying for God to ordain a trip to Ethiopia and here was His provision. 

In some weeks, my sister, a friend and I will go to Addis Ababa to teach classes to about 35 women.  I am planning on teaching how to make hand-made pasta, home-made yogurt and kombucha.  I thought for a long time before settling on those three products, for their widely available ingredients in Ethiopia, their simple processing and their longevity.  The staff in Ethiopia then agreed that these are valuable products to learn to make and sell in their context.

I will have 20 women in my classes.  What I plan to do is make a starter kit for each of them, with the necessary equipment to make each of the products.  (Soon I will have a photo of a made-up kit.)  "Why buy the materials here, Amy?"  Because so much will be out of my control (timing, stores' hours, language, culture, weather, and on, and on and on) in Ethiopia, I'd like to prepare as much as possible here.  I will still have to buy all of the food ingredients once there, but I'd like to keep the shopping to a minimum for the aforementioned reasons.

Would you consider sponsoring a starter kit?  It comes to right around $20 per kit.  The women will then be able to leave my training having the knowledge and equipment to begin immediately making these products for sale.

If you would like to bless these precious families, you can send a check to me.  Thank you so much for making it through my long post and for considering helping these dear Ethiopian families.


the Stensbergs