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Officially Moved!!

Photo credit: Creative Commons

Can you tell I am a Mom to two young boys?? They are Lego-obsessed, and these pictures always crack me up.

I have officially moved my blog to its permanent home.

You can now visit me at www.tammyhelfrich.com.

I would love it if you would continue to follow my blog, and subscribe for updates here (in the right hand corner).

Thank you for following my blog. I look forward to connecting with you.

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Where have I been?

How is your summer going?

(Photo – Creative Commons)

I apologize that I have been relatively quiet with my posts lately.

The main reason for this is that I am in the process of updating my blog. I am moving to a self-hosted site, which has been incredibly eye-opening and frustrating, to say the least.

Have you ever gone through this?

If so, you can probably understand my pain and irritation.

I am getting very close to having it the way that I want. However, I would love your patience as I work through all of the details. It’s not quite there yet. I know all of the headaches will be worth it in the end!

I will update you more as I move forward, but I will no longer be posting regularly from this site. I would love for you to follow my new posts at www.tammyhelfrich.com. I am having a special guest visit the blog tomorrow.

I have also had the honor of posting at fellow writer friends’ sites, and will be continuing to visit others in the months to come. I am very excited about the community of really great writers that I have around me right now. They are doing some amazing things, and I am thankful to know them and be able to learn from them.

You can check out the recent posts here:

Why Parents Matter – at Tor Constantino’s blog

Can’t Find a Roadmap – at Jim Woods’ blog

Thank you for reading. I appreciate you!

Tammy

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LifeChangers – Making a Difference

LifeChangers

It’s a series about people just like you and me, who decided to do something different.

They decided to change their life, or the lives of others around them.

They are inspiring.

They are making an impact right where they are.

They are passionate.

They are full of life.

There are so many charitable organizations that are doing great, impactful work. I had always heard about the ones who sponsor children internationally, but also wondered how much of the money actually went to the children in need.

Then, almost three years ago, my Pastor went to Uganda with Compassion International. His tour guide was Peter Habyarimana, who was a sponsored child and now works for Compassion. The stories and pictures that he shared were so amazing. He left there changed, and moved to make a difference.

Photo by Scott Hodge

Not long after that, he invited Peter to come speak to our church, and to bring 250 child sponsorship packets with him. Compassion does a great job of preparing the sponsorship packets with pictures and information about each child and the country they live in. When he requested 250 packets for a church our size (around 700-800 then), Compassion was surprised. Based on their previous experiences, they did not want the staff to be disappointed when the children were not sponsored. My Pastor’s response was, “You don’t know the people of The Orchard.” After all, we had all seen these pictures and heard his stories.

Photo by Scott Hodge

The great thing about Compassion is that they work on the ground in the countries where children are sponsored. They develop centers where the kids come to school and learn about God’s love. They help provide for the child and support them. And this is all for only $38/month in sponsorship. You can make an incredible difference in the life of a child for the cost of what some people spend on Starbucks in a week!

When we came to church that weekend, the staff had arranged the sponsorship packets very creatively. Before many of us had even listened to a message from Peter explaining the sponsorship program, we had picked a child to sponsor.

Photo by The Orchard Community

We chose our child, Peter, because he is only a few months younger than my oldest son. He lives in Uganda with his Mom and younger sister. We exchange letters regularly, and are always thrilled to receive his notes and pictures.

In addition to the monthly sponsorship, you are also able to send money for birthdays and Christmas. You are also able to give a family donation each year up to a certain dollar amount. One of the most humbling experiences for us (and our kids), is seeing the pictures of what Peter buys with the money we send. Typically, it is a chicken, hen, eggs, milk, rice, a bottle of soda, and maybe one outfit and shoes. One of the times, he got a ball. My kids are always blown away by this. For the cost of what I would typically spend for one of my kids birthday gifts, Peter is choosing things to help his family survive.

Peter’s most recent picture

Not only is Compassion doing an amazing job for these kids and their families, but they are also allowing us to join in and make a difference. It may not seem like much, but it’s everything to that child and his family.

This LifeChanger post is in honor of Compassion and my Orchard family. Collectively, we sponsored over 220 children throughout the countries of Uganda, Thailand and El Salvador. We have been supporting them for well over 2 years now.That is amazing! That is LifeChanging!

To learn more about Compassion International, and child sponsorship, please visit their website. There are kids waiting for sponsorship right now.

How has sponsoring a Compassion child impacted you?

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World’s Best Mom

Yesterday was Mother’s Day. My boys told me on multiple occasions that I was the “World’s Best Mom.” Every time I hear it, my heart melts. How could it not, when I receive a funny card like this, picked out by my eight year old?

And homemade cards like this from my six year old.

And hear it from these two beautiful faces.

Of course, we Moms know that is not true. There are always Moms who do more, do things differently, have more kids, and seem less stressed. This list could go on forever. We can always compare ourseles to other Moms who never seem to get it wrong. And if there really was an award for The World’s Best Mom, we probably wouldn’t be on the list.

But I think that is one of the worst things we can do.

As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

And to our kids, we are the World’s Best Mom. We’re THEIR Mom.

We feed them, protect them, hold them, love them, support them, and encourage them. There is nobody like Mom.

I do realize there will be a time coming when they will not feel this way. It’s coming sooner than I prefer.

But that will be a phase. Deep down, I believe they will still know all of these things. They’ll just have a hard time showing it. And it may take them some time to figure it out.

So instead of comparing myself to other Moms, I choose to live in this wonderful moment.

I choose to enjoy that I am their Mom.

I choose to enjoy that God has given me two incredible boys to love.

I choose to spend as much time with them as I can, when they still want me around.

I choose to embrace their uniqueness.

I choose to help them understand how incredible they are, and that there is nobody exactly like them.

I choose to help them see the world through the lens of compassion and grace.

I choose to accept this amazing journey of being their Mom.

What do you choose?

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Brag it up!

I love to hear about exciting things that are happening to people around me. It energizes me. And I love to encourage people who are doing unique things.

But what I often find is that people are scared to speak up. They don’t want to appear self-centered. They are afraid they will disappoint themselves or others around them if they don’t finish what they are excited about doing.

Today is all about YOU!

I want to hear what you are excited about.

I want to hear what’s going great in your life.

I want to hear your dream.

I want to hear about something awesome that you just accomplished.

I want to hear about that new project you’re starting.

Today is all about shameless self promotion with no regrets!

Ready, set, GO!

 

 

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And the Winner Is……

Thank you to all of you who submitted suggestions via Facebook or in the comments. I appreciate your ideas, and some of them were very creative! But, they weren’t exactly expressing what I want the series to be about. I know what you’re thinking – how could you possibly peek inside my head to be able to figure that one out??

My husband and I talked about it all weekend long, and he actually ended up coming up with the name. I feel it best describes the series I will be starting soon. His response was, “So, do I win the Amazon gift card?” Yes, honey, yes you do! 🙂

So what was the winning name? Drumroll, please………………..

LifeChangers

It’s a series about people just like you and me, who decided to do something different.

They decided to change their life, or the lives of others around them.

They are inspiring.

They are making an impact right where they are.

They are passionate.

They are full of life.

And they are willing to share their story.

I am so excited about sharing the stories that I have already been working on. I am hoping that you will be as inspired by them as I am. I will be posting the series once a week.

I would also love to hear from you. If you would like to nominate someone, please let me know.

I have had this series on my mind and heart for a while now, and starting putting ideas together about a month ago. Little did I know that it would go along nicely with our new series at The Orchard! I love it when that happens.

Thank you again for all of your great suggestions. I appreciate it very much!

 

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I need your help!

I am so excited about a new series I am starting on my blog. Once a week, I will be featuring people or organizations that inspire me. The main theme is going to be around normal people who are doing extraordinary things right where they are, or people who have stepped out of their comfort zone to do something unique. Those are the kind of people that get me excited and inspired.

Here’s where you come in. I need your help.

creativity

creativity (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I have been thinking long and hard about it, but I am having a difficult time coming up with a name for the series. I’d love your ideas for a series title.  If you are going to be reading it, I think it would cool for you to have some input. I’ll even throw in a $20 Amazon gift card if I pick your title. (I know, it’s probably not very motivating – but, hey, you will get to see the title every week too!)

So, throw out some of your creative ideas. Ready, set, go!

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I thought I had lost her

I thought I had lost her

I was sure of it

I didn’t think she was ever coming back

She was unique

She was strong

She was in good shape

She was confident

She loved a challenge

She was comfortable in her own skin

And she was missing for a very long time

But she is slowly making her way back

With every workout

And every dream

And every new personal best

And each new mile walked or biked or ran

And each size dropped

And each new adventure

And every time she pushes beyond what her mind thinks she can do

But she’s also changed

While she is similar, she has something she didn’t have before

Years

And wisdom

And faith

And self acceptance

And understanding

I love getting to know her again

 

 

 

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Blue Like Jazz The Movie

This past week, I learned how little I know about the movie making business. I have followed Donald Miller and read his books, but I had not heard the story behind getting Blue Like Jazz made as a movie. Wow! It is a pretty incredible story.

Obviously, we all know that Hollywood has the market cornered on movies, how they are made, and which ones get made. However, movies like Blue Like Jazz and the story behind it are changing some of that.

Somehow, I stumbled upon a chance to sign up for a prescreening of the movie before it is released. It will come out officially on April 13th. Since I had never attended a prescreening, I learned quite a few things.

1. The time they tell you to be there is not when the movie will start. There are usually pre-activities. Lesson learned? Don’t get your popcorn and drink immediately. Wait until later!

2. You never know who will be there. I had no idea that Donald Miller, Steve Taylor (the Director) and Marshall Allman (the lead actor) would be there. They took time to meet everyone and get pictures. That was pretty cool!

3. There was time for Q&A after the movie. They really wanted to hear our questions and get feedback. They also asked us to fill out a survey on the film.

4. Opening weekend is everything. It’s what makes or breaks a film. Especially when there is not a huge advertising budget to continue supporting the film. To Hollywood, this film is a “barcode”. If there is not interest and a great turnout on opening weekend, it will not continue to be shown.

5. This is not your typical Christian film. It’s edgy, and real, and deals with concepts that many of us can relate to. I think this film has a broader appeal and can make a big impact. Steve Taylor says it best:

I made it clear to all our potential investors and/or heads of media companies, the vast majority of whom were fellow Christians, that this was not going to be a family movie.  The reason was simple: How do you tell the story of a college kid who flees his Southern Baptist upbringing in suburban Houston to attend the ‘most godless campus in America’ without showing what that environment is like?  And how can that environment be portrayed realistically in the context of a ‘family’ movie?  Doesn’t have to be rated R, but it’s probably going to be PG-13, right?

I would HIGHLY recommend this movie. I will be showing my support on April 13th when it opens. Here’s a sneak peek:

Blue Like Jazz trailer 

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Little Thoughts

There’s a great line from a Seryn song that says “little thoughts have weighed your vision down.”

I love that line! It’s so true. We allow little thoughts to keep us from doing big things. Why do we do that?

I think it’s because we all have negative voices in our head. We think and think and think about all the ways something won’t work.

We compare ourselves to what others are doing and think we can never do it as well.

Or we think that our thoughts and dreams are not as meaningful (or neat or artistic – fill in the blank!) as theirs.

We talk ourselves out of so many things. Why? Because it’s easier. It’s an excuse. It’s so much simpler to do that than to actually work hard for something. It’s easier than stepping outside of our comfort zones and pursuing something different and unique.

Have you experienced this? What little thoughts are you letting weigh down your vision?

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