A Different Set of Wheeels

"Giving opens the way for receiving."
 -Florence Scovel Shinn

Last November, we launched a campaign on IndieGoGo to buy a car to use for safe transport of the children supported through House of Loveness in Zimbabwe.  Over a forty day period, we raised enough money from many small donations to buy a car (just over $6,000) that would be used to help transport the children to and from school and appointments.  We looked at cars for several months, but the conditions of the used cars were less than ideal and there were concerns about the costs for ongoing maintenance.

We have decided to turn the car money into a large donation to buy bikes ($80 per bike) in a rural area for children to ride to school. It is a much better use of the funds and the bikes don't require expensive upkeep like the car (yes, we still need a car!).

The children receive the bikes on Monday and return the bikes on Friday. They are responsible for keeping the bikes in good condition to maintain bike pr…

The Catalyst to Choose Love

Earlier this year, I was invited to give a speech during Catalyst Week in Downtown Las Vegas. The speech was about a catalyst moment in my life. I chose to speak about going to Zimbabwe to adopt a baby in 2008, only to discover she died just before I arrived.

Losing the baby was a catalyst moment because I had the choice to leave immediately and never return to Zimbabwe (which was my first instinct) or to stay in Zimbabwe and spend eight days grieving a baby in a country I'd never been to, among people I didn't know.

I stayed.

I spent most of the next eight days taking care of a crew of abandoned children that lived at a local hospital. They reminded me to go beyond the wounds and sadness and Choose Love.

By the end of the following year, I had returned to Zimbabwe seven times, and founded House of Loveness (HOL), an organization to care and educate abandoned and orphaned children.

Now, HOL has 501(c)3 status through the loving support of our fiscal sponsor From The Heart Pro…

This is What Love Looks Like

Thanks to your support and love Cheepo is well-fed, well-loved and starting second grade in January. Here are some other accomplishments of House of Loveness over the past year.
With your support: -Provided  6,000 meals for children -Provided salaries for one caregiver, two teachers and two assistants -Supported pre-school for 20+children -Provided primary school fees for 5 children -Provided 8 bikes for children in rural area who otherwise would walk 25-50km a day to school -Provided new shoes, clothes and backpacks for 30 children -Launched The Gratitude House project in Zimbabwe -Raised funds to buy car for safe transport of the children  -Graduated 20 children from pre-school -Hosted the first Service and Safari Retreat in Zimbabwe (next retreat is Nov. 29-Dec. 6, 2014, please join us!)
Together We are dreaming Bigger Dreams for the children of Zimbabwe in 2014.  
Thank you for your support!

2014 Service & Safari RetreatJoin us in Zimbabwe Nov. 29-Dec. 6, 2014 for our Second annual Servic…

Making A Difference

Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.-Nelson Mandela
Last week at a small one room school in Zimbabwe, thirteen women from the US and UK cheered as twenty-two children graduated from the school House of Loveness supports in Zimbabwe.  The women and two of their daughters were spending a week in Zimbabwe with House of Loveness founder Betsy Blankenbaker for a Giving Thanks Service and Safari Retreat.  The retreat group gave their time and their money to make a difference in the lives of these children.  
If you would like to join us in Zimbabwe in 2014, you can hold two spaces for 2014 retreat through a donation as a House of Loveness Hero on the current IndieGoGo campaign.  

We Need A Ride Campaign on IndieGoGo
Thanks to everyone who has supported the We Need A Ridecampaign for House of Loveness. We are so close to our goal!

There is still time to receive some great perks for your donation towards a new car for safe transport of the children in Zimbabwe…

Following My Heart

"It is the heart that gives; the fingers just let go." -Ibo tribe, Nigeria
In the next 48 hours, ten women and two of their children are joining me for a week long retreat in Zimbabwe.  I am filled with gratitude for the sacrifice they are making to leave their families during the Thanksgiving holiday, pack bags full of supplies to bring to the children and fly 20 plus hours to Zimbabwe. I have to believe the decision to come to Zimbabwe was made from their heart.  Their head might have given them another answer.

On my first trip to Zimbabwe in 2008, I arrived to the news the baby I was to adopt had died.  I spent eight days in Zimbabwe to get her buried and in my head I knew I never wanted to go back.  But my heart led me to return again six weeks later with a wheelchair for Kuda, one of the abandoned children I met whose legs were so atrophied that he scooted on his hands across the dirty hospital floor.  No one ever thought he would walk but I wanted him off that hospita…

Turning Rocks Into An Education

When I first met Primrose, she stared me down. She was only three years old but her gaze pierced my soul. She didn’t smile.
Primrose was ‘living’ in the children’s ward of a hospital in Zimbabwe but she wasn’t sick. She was abandoned, or a dumped baby, as they call them in Zim.  There was no room in the nearby orphanages so Prim lived with six other dumbed babies in two cribs at the hospital.  The week before there had been ten babies sharing the cribs but four of them died.  I had arrived in Zimbabwe to adopt one of those babies, a five week old infant named Loveness. I buried her instead.
In a country where a child under the age of five has about the same chance of living as dying, I didn’t want to see Primrose and the other dumped babies left at the hospital.  What kind of childhood is this?

With the help of friends and family, I founded House of Loveness, an NGO to provide emergency and longterm care for at-risk children in Zimbabwe.  The children now live in a private home and are …

Expanding Our Borders

Coming Home

This past week I arrived from the US into the airport at Shannon, Ireland.  I was excited to be coming home.  I've only been to Ireland a few times but each time I connected strongly with my Irish roots.  My mother is a Murphy and her family immigrated to the US during the Irish potato famine in the 1850s along with two million other Irish people who left their homeland to start new lives in the US, Canada and Great Britain.

When I passed my passport through the hole in the glass to the customs agent at the airport, he thumbed through my passport at the pages and pages of stamps, including one from being in Ireland just a month ago.  Then he glanced at my customs form.

"You're a teacher?"

"I teach a movement class for women," I responded, not going into the explanation of Qoya, the class I would be teaching in Ireland this week.

He scanned my passport.

"You travel for fun?" he asked.  "Why are you going to all these places?"