Thursday, February 19, 2015

My Soul Thirsts For Uganda

Photo courtesy of Soul Thirst Africa
I’m still in shock that I'm going on my first mission trip this summer.  My first time to leave the US with a Passport...My first time to have to prepare for a trip with immunizations...My first time to be away from my husband and boys (and dogs) for ten days.  I’m going with a group from SoulThirst Church, whose leaders (including my brother, Bill) have been to Uganda numerous times before.  We will be going to various villages where the church’s non-profit partner, SoulThirst Africa, has installed clean water wells for villagers who previously had no clean water.  SoulThirst Africa was created to provide clean water as the first step to a new life for impoverished people in Uganda and Kenya.  After our other church leaders went, I began praying for the Lord to make a way to make it possible for me to go. On previous trips there, the women of the villages that were visited specifically requested more women to visit and so this trip is planned for us. At this time, we have about ten women committed to going, including my mother, Sharon!  We will be forming lifelong friendships, entering into their daily lives, playing with their children, and holding their babies while giving and receiving encouragement from one another.  Words are difficult to form to express how excited I am to travel to Uganda, meet the people God loves & cherishes, and see the wonderful way He has provided clean water to support them.  It is an experience that I am so looking forward to and will surely never forget!

Photo courtesy of Soul Thirst Africa
As part of this mission, I’ve been asked to reach out to my friends and family to ask for support.  First of all, I need your prayers.  Although it is safe to travel to Uganda, I will see and experience things that will at times overwhelm me.  Knowing that you are praying for me and the others who are going will be a great source of encouragement and strength.   I've already begun the preparation of this ten day journey by having my first round of shots, giving up Dr. Pepper (no joke...that was tough!), and now scaling back on coffee with lots of sweet creamer.  My family really needs the prayers as I give this up! :)

Second, as a member of the mission team, I’ve been asked to raise funds through friends and family in order to involve as many people as possible in my journey. My fundraising goal is $3000 and it is needed quickly to purchase airfare, pay for travel expenses, food, & lodging.  Please consider partnering with me on this journey and helping with a donation. To donate to my trip, visit the donation link on the website, and type "Kimberly Baker" in the traveler name box next to your donation for the Uganda Trip. All donations are tax deductible. Checks may also be made payable to SoulThirst Africa and mailed to 140 South Heartz Road, Coppell, TX 75019.  As an expression of gratitude for your donation of $100 or more, I would love to make a set of notepads for you. You can choose a custom set here on my Etsy website: 

Photo courtesy of Soul Thirst Africa
I'm taking my fancy camera and plan to share lots of photos of the journey.  When I get home from Uganda, I'll have lots of stories and photos to show here on the blog and in person.  I’ve jealously listened to my brother, our pastor, and many in our church share what they have seen firsthand and how a trip like this has significantly changed them.  It will be absolutely incredible to see what the Lord does through this trip, so thank you for your prayers!  Thank you also for any donation you’re able to provide.  See more information and photos of previous trips, as well as a video with my brother, Bill, sharing all that God is doing through Soul Thirst Africa at

Sunday, January 13, 2013

More Of Making A Plan(ner)

Did I overwhelm you with everything yesterday?  I had hoped to fit all of this in one post, but I was worried you might run away, screaming at all I was sharing.  Now for the rest of the planner! 

The back of the planner wraps up with a few brain-storming boxes: "Big Home Projects", "Christmas Card Verses", "New Year's Resolutions for 2014", & "Things On Loan".  I'll probably adapt these as the year rolls on...those were just the ideas I could think of having a place for on January 1st.

"2014 Calendar": I used to create a full year calendar jpg and add to the back of the planner.  This will help me to quickly glance when dates fall next year.

"Vacation Ideas & Fun for 2014": Hubby & I hope to see all 50 US states by the time we've been married 50 years.  We've seen almost 20 states and we've been married almost 17 years.  Most of those state vacations have been the past 3 years.  I can jot down specific destinations I hear in passing and come to this spot next year to review ideas.  Also, when I hear the boys mention "I've always wanted to go to ____" or "I wish I could see ____", this is the place to jot it down!

"2014 Organizational Goals": More organizing!  Just in case I don't stay on top of everything in 2013, I can jot it down here!

I've read through the Bible in a year before, but wanted to try it a different way this time.  I'm reading the Bible chronologically following a plan created on One Year Bible's website here. I'm also jotting notes as I go with a key word or subject to remember the passage.

Now we're near the end...finally!  When I bound the pages together, I included this working "Family Home Project" list I used last year from  So many things didn't get checked off, so I wanted to include it here for reference.  These are items that I'll include when I make my monthly "Organizational Goals" or "Things to Make Time For" lists.

Here are the rest of the pages for your downloading pleasure!

End of Planner Page 2: 2014 Calendar, Organizational Goals, & More (Right Side)

 End of Planner: Chronological Plan to Read Through The Bible

"Our Family Home Projects" from iHeartOrganizing found on the Free Printables here

I think that just about wraps it up!  Look for the blank monthly calendar pages in the weeks to come (at least before February hits!).

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Make A Plan(ner)

I recently read a quote that states: "Every minute you spend in planning saves 10 minutes in execution."  Time is short & sweet to me...and very hard to come by with all of our family's activities.  Anytime I can catch a few extra minutes, I relish & delight in it!

I sat down this New Year's Day to make a plan.  It began with a plan for just the first week of January, then turned into a plan for the month, then I realized that we needed a plan for the year.  Don't get me wrong!  We fly by the seat of our pants often around here.  My goal is to have a plan that will help me keep all the many lists that are floating around in my head straight.  Once I can categorize the lists into something I can visually see, then I can physically check each one off when it is completed.

This is a series of posts I plan to blog today & tomorrow.  Check back for the other half & "back" (so to speak) of the planner.  I hope by sharing this with you, you can "Pin It" to refer to or print it to use when you need it!


 The cover was actually the easiest part.  A Year of Many Firsts offers a free chevron design download (here) in PowerPoint (or Keynote) format to add your monogram and any text box your heart desires.  Print that on heavy duty card stock first.  You can leave the back blank or start right away with the planner pages like I did.

 Some favorite ideas I've found by bloggers are Infarrantly Creative's printable blog calendar (here) and Wild Olive's blog planner (here).  I love the box designs (that's kind of how my mind works, too) and knew that I wanted to incorporate them in the design.  Now you know where credit is due, let's get to the planner pages!

I need an overview of the month first before getting to the week-by-week plans.  Each month has a page spread that includes the following.

"Zones to Organize": There's always that list of things to put away, things to clean out, or things to get rid of.  This is the spot I'll list each month that I want to tackle.

"Capture your 365": I'm always up for a fun challenge.  A few years ago, I took a photo-of-the-day and posted it for friends and family to see on Facebook.  Now, it is a neat memento of our year and I have many photos I wouldn't have normally snapped.  Capture Your 365 offers a daily list of photo themes each month, which you can photo using instagram & post with the hashtag #cy365 (click here for all the info).  Just after a few days of taking the challenge, I'm stumped on ones like "Peaceful" and "Real Life".

"Birthdays" & "Things to Make Time for This Month": I never want to forget the special days and events each month.  This is a spot I can refer to for birthday cards and/or gifts.  I also want to be more intentional about planning special days and moments with dinners and events with our family.

Monthly Calendar: I saved a pdf of our full, (very full!) monthly calendar from iCal, then dropped the image in the document I was creating.  This calendar is constantly changing, so I'll pencil in things to add and cross through things to forget.  With the entire year now printed and bound in this planner, I might reprint the calendar at the first of the month and just glue or paperclip it over the one printed in the planner.

"Organizational Goals": I need a little help staying on top of things, so I found Creative Organizing's Year of Organizing Checklists (found here).  I cut and paste the list in this box for each month.

Turning the page, the planner switches to a weekly view.  Beginning with the first week of January, I can see all the little and big things that need to be done.  I sit down on Sunday afternoon, take a look at the coming week and make a plan to fit all of our activities, meals, Bible study, etc. into the 7 days that week.  Here are the items included each week:

Weekly Calendar & "Etsy Orders to Fill"
I use the weekly calendar to pencil in our afternoon & evening activities.  It could also be used for dinner planning or listing errands to run on particular days.
I have a little Etsy business (shameless plug that takes just a little time each week.  I found I was printing Etsy invoices & stacking them nearby, only to find them missing or crumpled on the floor after another "someone" used the computer.  I like how I can see a list of all orders and especially like the little circles I can check off when each order is moved through the process to deliver!

"To Do", "Etsy Store Up-Keep", & "New Product Ideas":
The "to do" list is quick to fill up, but I wanted to prioritize and Sunday's planning on it: Look at weekly activities & plan, make weekly menu plan & grocery list, and clip coupons.  The rest of the list is blank.
I've always checked my Etsy shop stats, but now I have a more intentional plan to check it weekly, see what words are trending and what items have been viewed the most.  This will help me see what items to discontinue and what areas I might create a new product in.
"Pinterest Project Ideas To Do This Week": I love Pinterest (click here to follow me, The Mad Padder), but feel like I'm always pinning and never "doing" anything.  If I have time, I can try a pinned idea and look in this spot to see the one or two I'd like to try soon.

"Phone Calls To Make" & "Emails To Send":
 This is the spot I can write & prioritize people that I need to contact.  Enough said.

"Bible Verse For The Week", "Prayer Requests", & "Bible Study":
My goal is to memorize a Bible verse each week using 52 Weeks-52 Verses' plan here.  Each Wednesday, the "new" verse is posted and I place that one on the following week's box.
I don't want to just flippantly say to someone "I'll pray about that for you" and not do it.  There's a spot for me to write the name and request so that I'll remember.  It's also a wonderful thing to look back upon & see how God answered the prayer!
I'm a part of a wonderful Bible Study called BSF (more info here).  Each Monday, I attend Leaders Meeting and on Wednesday I lead a small discussion group.  This is the spot for me to jot down key verses & Biblical principles and list specific needs of our large class or small discussion group.

 "Blog Posts" & "Days of Gratitude"
Last year's new year's resolution was to blog...I failed.  I started off the year with a bang, but lost momentum after just one month.  Not this year!  I hope to post once a week, but hope to grow to twice or three times a week.  With a box to write my plan, I'll be better prepared when sitting at a blank blog screen.
A few years ago, I kept a Gratitude Journal and listed 5 things I was thankful for each day.  In the "Days of Gratitude", I'm writing just one thing that made my heart happy that day.

Would you like your own copy?  You can download the links and pdf files by clicking on the caption below the images.

 Cover: A Year of First's Chevron Cover Post & Free Download

Page 1: January Monthly Photos & More

Page 2: January Calendar & Organizational Goals (has page 3 that leads into Weekly Calendar)

Page 1 & 2: January Photos List, Calendar, & Organizational Goals: Blank (has page 3 that leads into Weekly Calendar)

Page 3 (Repeat for the odd pages, 51 more times to make 52 weeks): Weekly Calendar Page 1 (Left Side): Blank

Page 4 (Repeat for the even pages, 51 more times to make 52 weeks): Weekly Calendar Page 2 (Right Side): Blank

Pages 3 & 4: Weekly Calendar Pages 1 & 2 (Left & Right Side): Personalized with Etsy Orders, Shop Up-Keep, Bible Study, & Blog Brainstorming

If you have any suggestions, let me know.  I only made it in pink, so there might be some requests for different colors...maybe when I get this crick out of my neck from sitting at the computer this long!  Check back tomorrow as I wrap it all up with the rest of the plan!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Valentine Labels

Each apothecary jar in our kitchen holds a yummy Valentine treat: M-n-M's, conversation hearts, & red licorice.  A cute & easy way to add a sweet touch of love for Valentine's Day was for me to add these labels from the Bible verse 1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 

Click on the link above (not the image) to save the file then print.  Simply cut the images with a scallop or circle punch, then add the labels to any jar or container.  You can even glue one to the front of a Valentine card for that special someone.  I also provided the directions to make each label layered with cupcake liners or baking cups that you can find on the baking aisle at your grocery store.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hop To It!

One of the best parenting books that I've read to date is Lisa Welchel's Creative Correction.  Not only is it full of Biblical parenting wisdom, it shares creative and practical ideas you can use in disciplining your children.  We've used the ideas shared in the book to help end an argument and solve the problems in the never ending saga of sibling rivalry.  Well...this weekend, we added another strategy.
We've watched this clip numerous times.  I have no idea why they are hopping...It could be a hoax for all I know.  What I do know is that we start laughing the minute they start hopping.  So that got me thinking...
Big Guy & Middle Man couldn't agree on something Saturday morning.  Voices were raised and the alarm of "MOM!" was sounded.  After calling the perpetrators down to the kitchen, I told them to start hopping.  What?!?  The look on their faces was priceless!  
"Yep, if you two want to keep arguing, then keep hopping."  
Even Little Buddy joined in on the hopping...and he wasn't even a part of the disagreement!  Within 15 seconds, they were tired (which makes it hard to argue when you're out of breath!) and laughing (which makes it EVEN harder to argue when you're laughing!).  I don't think they even remembered what they were arguing about at that point.  
Then yesterday, we were out and about as a family.  An argument ensued between Little Buddy & Middle Man.  "Start hopping" was all I had to say.  We got quite a few looks in the middle of the parking lot as each held his foot and hopped while working the problem out.  
Maybe hopping to work out a disagreement will start to spread.  We might even see it on the next presidential debate!

Saturday, January 14, 2012


I have to admit...I'm addicted to Pinterest.  Ideas abound on this wonderful piece of the web.  The only problem is that I spend a lot more time "pinning" than doing! 
A fun idea that I pinned recently is some heart shaped cinnamon rolls found at "Poppies At Play":

What a cute way to show the boys my love!  Not just that they are the shape of a heart, but they're OoOEy, GooEY SwEEtNesS!  One small problem...I don't have 2-3 hours on a Saturday morning to make cinnamon rolls from scratch.  So, I took the easy way out and bought that little, giggly doughboy and his super big cinnamon rolls in the can.  Here's the quick instructions on how to make these yummy treats.

Open the cinnamon roll can, keeping the raw rolls in a circle shape.  Then, start unrolling one end of the circle-shaped cinnamon roll and re-rolling it to create the heart.  Our youngest son watched in fascination and thought this was so takes very little to fascinate this child!

Simply bake and follow the can's instructions, cover with the can's icing, and add some sprinkles (EvERythINg tastes better with sprinkles!).  In 20 minutes, these little cuties are done!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Let's Brace Ourselves!

Our 12-year-old, Big Guy, had a huge change today: BRACES!  Initially, I think he was excited for this day to come.  His orthodontist feels the best plan of action is to use an apparatus called the "Herbst Appliance" (photo and info here).  At our appointment today, Big Guy only had the top braces "installed".  He'll go back in a few weeks to have the bottom piece of the appliance put in, then receives the arms of the Herbst Appliance (they look more like shock absorbers to me!) next month. 
By bedtime tonight, the excitement has worn down.  Big Guy said that he can't wait to get his braces off.  Um, dude, you've only had them on for 8 hours!  This may be a long, long road full of many chocolate milk shakes and Advil...for both of us!