Saturday, January 31, 2009

MJennings Designs

Melissa, creator of MJennings Designs, has been a supporter of Across All Borders from the very beginning, when we first asked adoptive families and adoption supporters to contribute recipes for our cookbook. She contributed a lot of recipes and has even sold several cookbooks for us. Now she has increased her support by becoming our first sponsor and is graciously donating 15% of her profit from
MJennings Designs to AAB!

Melissa designs and creates beautiful jewelry and can custom make items for you. Not only is she a talented jewelry creator and an AAB supporter, but she is also a mom to Peyton. Peyton was adopted from Guatemala. Please visit her website and remember her whenever you need to shop for gifts (or whenever you're in the mood to treat yourself to a little extra something). Not only will you be supporting another mom's business, but you'll be contributing to the mission of Across All Borders. At checkout, be sure to enter code AAB15.

Melissa - Thank you for your support! It means more to us than you will ever know!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It Wasn't Me!

So many people have emailed to tell me how much they love
our website and the new blog look. Before anyone goes on thinking that I developed the talent of website design over night, I’ll put a stop to it now (just in case you didn’t scroll to the bottom of the site to see who really designed it).

Tera Chavez, from the blog A Little Bit of TLC, is responsible for designing the Across All Borders site, redesigning our blog and creating the buttons that can be placed on your blog to link to our site (while I’m thinking about it…get through reading this and then grab a button and put it on your blog for us….we need to spread the word and could really use your help). I “met” Tera back in 2007 while we were both adopting through the same agency. Her precious daughter, Emma, came home from Guatemala in June 2007.

Tera has been an angel to us as we were getting ready to launch! For anyone to work with me on anything computer related requires tons of patience because honestly, I’m like a baby learning how to walk when it comes to these things. Saying I know nothing about site design is an understatement. I’m surprised I even know how to turn the computer on.

I‘ve thanked her a hundred times for the long hours, hard work and support that she‘s been giving us since mid-December, but it will never be enough. The only thing else that I can do is thank her here publicly and help spread the word about
her creative blog.

So, my peep, thank you again! ;)

Now, for any of you that are thinking about changing the look of your blog, head over to Tera’s blog to find out more about what she offers. She is super easy to work with, very understanding and obviously the most patient person on earth. In addition to redesigning blogs, she offers a couple of other things as well, like adorable Christmas cards and beautiful adoption portfolios. And I think she may have just started offering blog-site designs (the AAB site is a blog site) to as one of her “products”! INCREDIBLE!!

So what are you still doing here? Grab a button from our side bar, put it on your blog, order a cookbook if you haven’t done so yet and head over to Tera’s blog to schedule your redesign. Hurry up…time’s a wastin’! :)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Across All Borders

For as long as I can remember, my heart’s desire has been to adopt children from around the world and to work with orphans and families at risk of leaving their children as orphans.

In March 2007, one of those desires was placed in my arms while I sat in a room off of the lobby of a hotel in Guatemala. He was tiny and wrapped in a blue blanket. My heart, that had been hardened by years of heartache, melted as I became his mom. As the months passed while we waited for him to come home, I went through the ups and downs that every adoption process brings. I was thrilled to finally have a child, but hurt that he was not yet able to be home. I had no doubt that he was meant to be our son, but feared the possibility of his birth mother changing her mind or adoptions in Guatemala being stopped before our case was final. In August of that year, I moved to Antigua, Guatemala to foster our son and wait out the rest of his process. What was supposed to be a less than 2 week trip became a journey that lasted 2 months. During that time, I struggled with the love I had grown to have for Guatemala and the desperation to leave our son’s birth country. While I was happy to be spending such precious time with the child of my dreams, all I wanted to do was go home. I was home sick, in culture shock and physically ill….nothing would make me happy other than the call to say we would soon be going home. For 2 weeks I cried myself to sleep every night. I complained to anyone that would listen. I was convinced that my prayers were going unheard and that I had been abandoned. On a beautiful September morning, I sat on the roof top terrace staring at the most beautiful view I had ever seen. The sky was clear and even though Volcano Agua was far away, it seemed close enough to touch. As I sat there I realized how foolish I had been. My time in Antigua wasn’t about me or what I wanted. It was about Him and what He wanted. I had never doubted that I would one day spend my life doing humanitarian work in countries around the world and throughout Tommy’s adoption I knew that we would one day work in Guatemala, but until that moment I had not even considered the possibility of there being a greater purpose for my being there other than to spend time with our son to make his adjustment easier once he was allowed to come home. In an instant, I realized that I was there not only to spend time with our son, but to begin living the purpose of my life. Before starting to work in Guatemala, I had to see it, truly experience it. I had to feel the pain that so many people there suffer with each day. I had to hear the stories of how they fight survive. I had to see with my own eyes people living in extreme poverty, malnourished children, kids living on the streets. I had to cry tears not for myself, but for others that were suffering far more than I ever would. I couldn’t leave until my love for Guatemala became a burning passion so intense that it could never be distinguished. From that day on, for the remainder of my short 6 weeks there, I didn’t try to hide. Instead, I opened myself up to allowing whatever was meant to happen while I was there to happen. I saw, I heard, I felt and my love for Guatemala grew to a love that is greater than I ever imagined it could be. Of course, I still wanted permission to be able to go home and continued to make that perfectly clear, but as the days passed, I longed to be able to stay in Guatemala for as long as possible and ended up never wanting to leave. Some people at home began to think I was crazy. How could I love Guatemala so much? Why would I want to live there without being able to have the luxuries of home? Why would I want to spend the rest of my life, living among people suffering with untreated diseases and in extreme poverty? Had I lost my mind?

In October 2007, as I boarded a plane with our son bound for the U.S., I cried tears of joy and sorrow. It was the most bittersweet moment I have ever experienced. I couldn’t have been happier that his adoption was final and he was able to come home. I couldn’t wait to see my husband again and was excited about being reunited with the family and friends that had given us never ending support throughout the adoption. But I didn’t want to leave Guatemala. While my heart had been filled with the love I had for my child, a huge piece of me was left in Guatemala. As I watched the country that I loved with every thing in me fade into the distance, I knew that I would be back and what was happening was only the beginning of the rest of my life.

I’ve spent more than a year talking about Guatemala to anyone that will listen and knowing all along what it is I am supposed to be doing there. It took a little longer than expected, but today, my other heart’s desire and life’s dream becomes my reality. Across All Borders is that dream and desire. We are committed to spending the rest of our lives reaching out to those most in need in Guatemala and other countries around the world. Until my last breath, I will remain an advocate for orphans and families at risk of leaving their children as orphans and will continue to do every thing I possibly can to give them hope, a future, a better life. Some people still call me crazy and many others will in the future, but I am not accountable to those that do not believe in or support this work. I am only accountable to the One that created me for this purpose. Those that feel this is something we shouldn’t do have no idea of what the true meaning of life is. We are all called to help widows and orphans in their distress. We are all called to reach out to those in need. Whether or not we choose to follow that call is a decision we each have to make individually. For us, it was a decision that was easy to make.

Today is the beginning of lives being changed, lives being renewed, lives being transformed. We would love for you to join us, support us and be involved in any way you can. Visit our website to learn more about what we are doing and ways you can help. Check back often, both here and our website for frequent updates about what is going on and how Across All Borders’ work is progressing.

OUR ADOPTIVE FAMILIES COOKBOOKS ARE NOW ON SALE FOR A LIMITED TIME!! Please make sure to order your copy and copies for your family and friends today! For more information, visit Across All Borders and click on the blue cookbook fundraiser box at the top of any page. You may order online or by mail. AND, you can even use the Paypal link below to place an order!

Number of Cookbooks

We would like to thank every person that contributed recipes for the cookbook, those that have been instrumental in helping us launch Across All Borders and those that have already let us know that they are willing to do any thing they can to help. We owe so much to these individuals that are just as committed to Guatemala as we are and we are sincerely grateful for their support and encouragement.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Airplanes, Tamales and Chocolate

My son has been playing with his toy airplane all day. I think he knows that 5 MONTHS FROM TODAY, we'll be leaving for Guatemala. I know he's only almost 2, but still...just let me believe what I want to believe, ok?

My hope for 5 MONTHS FROM TOMORROW...that the tamale lady hasn't stopped selling her amazing gifts wrapped in banana leaves as I've heard my man at Chocotenango has. The news that Chocotenango is no more has had a serious impact on my days. Sweet Ishmael changed the way I felt about chocolate (just when I thought I couldn't love it anymore, he proved me wrong) and to know that I will never again taste one of his perfect mocha truffles or macadamia nut whateveryoucallits hurts...seriously. Please, tamale lady, don't let me down.

(Yes, I know my appetite for all Guatemalan food seems petty at the moment, but I'm hungry for it right now, so go easy on me.)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"Believe Me Now"

I woke up this morning with the song “Believe Me Now” by Steven Curtis Chapman playing in my mind. For those of you that know me, you know that I adore SCC, among several other contemporary Christian music singers. And you’ll learn soon enough that some of SCC’s music has actually been a huge inspiration for the organization itself. I’m a huge fan of all types of music, so to wake up with a tune already playing in my mind isn’t out of the ordinary, but waking up hearing a song I haven’t heard in months is. I woke up hearing words that I desperately needed to hear today, so when I rolled out of bed I put the All Things New CD in (because I’m SO not up with new technology and still have a CD player instead of an Ipod or whatever the latest thing is) to listen to while I made my coffee. When “Believe Me Now” came on, I sat down with my warm cup of joe and concentrated on the words that I was already so familiar with. Comfort and peace are amazing feelings as they wash over you and refresh your soul. I’ve been struggling for the last month with a few things related to the organization. None of the struggles are so difficult to deal with that I will put a stop to things before they even begin and none are really that bad at all, but they are struggles and even the smallest struggle can often damage a person’s spirit. I’m obviously not one to hide any thing in an effort to try to make things look easy or perfect. This isn’t easy and I’m reminded of that every day. I let go of the struggles that have been weighing on my heart for the last month or so and I will not allow them to creep back in. Life is too short to worry about situations that you cannot control and this song reminded me today that while I am weak, He is strong and He alone is all I need to overcome whatever struggles lie ahead.

This is a video I found on Youtube. Try not to pay close attention to the pictures….they aren’t the point.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Big Day

Watch for changes and lots of information to come on January 26th! That will be the day we "officially" launch the organization. Just in case you wanted to know.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Email Address

I've heard that a few people are looking for my email address so they can send recipes for the cookbook. So you don't have to look all through the blog to find it, you can email recipes to terry dot bracey at gmail dot com.

Thanks to those of you that have sent recipes already! To those of you that have not, PLEASE send a few of your favorites.