Archive - September 2016

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» The Benjamin Andrew Lance Foundation
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» Goodbye… normal?
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» REVIEW: LIFX Color 1000 Light Bulbs
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» Celebrating FIVE years of life!
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» Review: PrAna Sustainable Clothing

» The Benjamin Andrew Lance Foundation

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Steve and Melodie Lance. They have a beautiful story and a beautiful foundation. I hope you’ll take a few minutes to lean in to their story.

The Benjamin Andrew Lance Foundation is more than just a Foundation. It’s a story. A story of tragedy turned into hope. Today we want to share a glimpse of that story as we introduce you to an inspiring family, foundation and the young man who started it all.

Benjamin Andrew Lance, “Andy”, was born in 1984 in Rolla Missouri. A blonde-haired, beautiful firstborn baby boy. His dad, Steve, had a busy career with Chevron that started in Missouri and eventually allowed the family to live all over the world, including Bangkok, Thailand.

Andy had just graduated from high school when the rest of the family (His parents and two sisters Amanda and Rebecca) relocated to Thailand and remained in the States to complete a Bachelor’s in Nursing on his path to becoming a Nurse Anesthetist. However, he did join the family in Thailand during his school breaks.

While on break, Andy began to join his mother, Melodie, at an orphanage she volunteered at regularly. This is when Andy’s heart for the orphan became very evident. He was able to visit twice per year and he spent much of those visits playing with and caring for children at the Pakkret Babies home.

Melodie recalls Andy saying “If every family in our community would adopt one of these children, this place would be empty!” Andy felt strongly that children needed to be in loving, Christian homes.

Andy was a positive and kind presence in the orphanage, and everywhere else for that matter! There was one little girl in particular, Napassorn, who connected with Andy in a special way. Nappassorn was about 6 years old when she first met Andy. The orphanage staff needed assistance putting on her braces and Andy was just the guy for the job. They bonded quickly after that moment and Andy returned to spend time with her as he was able, even making quick phone calls from the States to sing Jesus Loves Me.

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Andy taught Nappassorn that Jesus loved her. Not only with words, but with actions. Eventually Nappassorn was matched with a family in Kentucky.

Andy had the opportunity to see Nappassorn with her forever family a short time later. Melodie recalls how emotional he became after seeing her home, thriving and no longer pulling herself around on a concrete floor. Once again, he spoke about the need for children to be in loving, Christian homes. Today Nappassorn is 18 years old. She is educated, loved and has the tools she needs to live a full life.

Tragically, In 2008 Andy passed away due to a weather-related car accident. A bright, shining light in this world too quickly extinguished. But in the grief and sorrow of the aftermath Andy’s family remembered his constant love for the orphan and his desire to see each child become part of a family.

In Thailand they were exposed to the difficulty and expense of preparing a child’s file for adoption. They saw first hand the extended wait this caused at times. They also realized that funding was part of the issue. In their son’s memory, Steve and Melodie decided to start a foundation to address and fund this particular issue.

Steve and Melodie spoke with their pastor, Kevin Donaho and his wife Rachel. They had recently completed the adoption process through America World. Kevin encouraged Steve and Melodie to speak with AWAA and establish a fund with their partnership.

So much of what Andy brought to light during his time in the orphanage, the need for loving Christian families, aligned with the core goals of America World.

Eight years later, it’s Andy’s birthday week. A fitting and appropriate time to celebrate his life by unveiling this foundation and making it available to those who also feel that paperwork, or expense of paperwork, should never make a child wait longer than necessary for a family.

The Benjamin Andrew Lance Foundation was established in Memory of Andy. A passionate, kind and extraordinary young man who believed children belong in families. His foundation will provide funding and ease the financial burden on orphanages as they complete the necessary investigations and medical appointments for children waiting to be adopted.

In honor of Andy’s birthday we encourage you to rally around this beautiful cause. In honor of a life that was spent loving others.

Visit the website here and select the Benjamin Andrew Lance Foundation from the designated fund options to give in Andy’s memory today.

Steve and Melodie today with their daughters and son in law

Steve and Melodie today with their daughters and son in law.

» Goodbye… normal?

I am post-parathyroid surgery by three weeks now. And my bod is still not with the program. My blood work looks good, things are beginning to regulate… but I’m still very exhausted, weak and fatigued. Those are all pretty much the same thing, but it feels different throughout the day. I’ve poured over message boards and have found that many people have experienced the same thing after surgery. But shhhh… don’t tell the surgeons, because they will tell you they haven’t heard or witnessed that.

The rest of this post would end up being complain, complain, I’m sad, I can’t go on long runs, complain, I go to bed at 8pm and lie awake all night, complain.

So I’m just going to stop it right there and tell you what IS happening that doesn’t involve the above.

I’m praying a lot. When I go on my 5 minute walks, those are for praying. For the person who last texted and asked for prayer or for the children in my kids’ school. For me, to stop worrying so much about me. When my worry over whether I’ll be me again takes over I’m finding that looking out is the only solution.

I began interviewing a woman this morning who lost her son. In response, they formed a foundation in his name that benefits orphaned children. She shared with me that the longer they move forward in life the more they realize how fleeting life is on this side of Heaven. They now celebrate the life he had here on Earth and use their grief to benefit others. Looking out was the solution for them and looking up was the solution for them. Our lives here are a vapor and what can we do but use those lives to love others and give glory to a God who loves us?

I have so much faith that my struggles are very temporary, that my body will regulate and heal in time. But while I’m in the struggle I pray that I’m refined and changed. That my small struggles will teach me how to cope with big struggles. Because they will come. I pray that God sees fit to fill me with resolve and strength… because I’m finding I don’t possess enough of it to do very well on my own.

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

» REVIEW: LIFX Color 1000 Light Bulbs

Putting four kids to bed is not for the weak. LIFX bulbs can’t help with bath time, bed time snacks or reading books out loud, but they have been ideal for setting the mood right and making sure lights out really happens. The different colors and brightness settings can create an environment to help kids get focused when it comes to cleaning or reading on their own, then easily changed to calm and relaxing when its time for sleep.

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Set up

One of the best features that set LIFX apart from other smart light options (that I’ve found) is that LIFX bulbs don’t require anything additional, such as a hub. All of the initial set up is controlled through the app. You just screw the bulb into a ceiling light or lamp, power it on, and go through the step-by-step instructions on your phone or tablet. A total of about 3 minutes per bulb. I used my iPhone 6 for everything and didn’t run into any issues.
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iPhone App

The app is super easy to use and just makes sense. Which is silly to type but I have had too many good products or services get ruined by the app. A simple swipe up or down changes the brightness level and a turn to the left/right easily changes the color. Some of my favorite bed-time features include being able to make lighting schedules or setting a timer on the fly.

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I’m also looking forward to the holidays when we can bring in a little green and red for Christmas. Speaking of themes, LIFX provides a handful of fun effects (like candle flicker, strobe lights, music visualization, and more) without having to download anything additional.

Conclusion

LIFX seems to have the best smart bulb out on the market when it comes to quality of light and the app is great. $59.99 a pop can get expensive really quickly but a single bulb is expected to last for 28 years (based on 3 hours a day)! I assumed that this kind of bulb would cost more to operate but was surprised to see that it’s only $1.32 per year. With these costs, we can see these bulbs as more of an investment purchase for our home. We’ve been able to use them nightly for the kids and been able to utilize them for movie nights, too. As winter time approaches, these bulbs will be useful for getting the kids asleep…and awake!

Buy on Amazon

Lifx website

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: The folks at LIFX kindly provided us Color 1000 bulbs for this review. As always, the opinions are my own.

» Celebrating FIVE years of life!

Liam we’ve had the joy of seeing you grow for the past 4 years. I still remember seeing your picture for the first time, it feels like yesterday. You challenge us in our parenting daily and help us grow. You are such a lover and you give the best compliments. I’m just so glad you’re our son. So glad. Here’s to five whole years of the world being a better place because you’re in it. We love you so much!

» Review: PrAna Sustainable Clothing

I was thrilled to review a few pieces from the prAna Fall line as a Moms Meet blogger. Not only because the Fall line is gorgeous, but because this clothing line represents much of what I value when choosing a company to purchase from. prAna uses sustainable materials and most of their clothing is manufactured in Fair Trade certified factories. As a family, we have become painfully aware of the hardships others face to create items for our first-world lifestyle. Buying Fair Trade clothing is a step in the right direction for all of us.

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For this review I chose the Bridget Flannel top and the Kara Jeans. This is pretty much the outfit I want to wear until Summer reappears again next year. The Bridget top fits perfectly, true to size, and it’s lined with a cozy thermal layer. The buttons snap like lovely old vintage shirts and the sleeves roll up nicely. This is a great layering piece… AND it has a pocket! Bottom line, this shirt made me want to pack up the car for a camping trip the moment I put it on. Better start making some plans!

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The Kara jeans are basically jeans that are secretly yoga pants. They are stretchy and flattering and very comfortable. They are a mid rise and perfect for an active day while still keeping your look somewhat pulled together. The jeans are pretty long, I’m 5’3ish, so I would imagine these would be great for long-legged gals. I easily added a cuff and solved my short-girl problem. They also come in many colors, giving you plenty of options. I read the sizing chart carefully and received the perfect fit, straight from the website. That rarely happens with jeans.

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From sizing, to comfort to ethical manufacturing… prAna is pretty much doing it all. I am looking forward to spending many days in this comfy and versatile outfit throughout the Fall and Winter season. Check out their entire Fall women’s line here and grab yourself some beautiful and sustainable apparel. Additionally, I have a discount for you! Use code MMLPGOOD and receive 15% off your order! Happy Fall!

AND! If you hop over to the Goodbye Normal Facebook page this week you’ll have a shot at winning my outfit, in your size of course. Happy Fall, go get your wardrobe started!

All Content © Erica Ho, Goodbye Normal