My life with the 3stephensboys is exciting, trying, fulfilling, entertaining, amazing, tiring, inspiring... what God made me for & what I love. Therefore, you may not see many pictures of Darrin or me, but you will get an eye full of my 3stephensboys in all of their glory, amazement and cuteness! Thanks for visiting! Enjoy!

Monday, September 03, 2012

A Labor Day Post


“When the lives and the rights of children are at stake, 
there must be no silent witnesses.”--Carol Bellamy
 P.O. Box 3005  l  Bryan, Texas 77805   214.673.6732

  
There’s an estimated 7,000 children who work in the Ghana fishing industry. Some of
these children are as young as 5 and 6 years old.  All of these children are slaves.
–Mercy Project

Today many in our country will take a day off from our jobs to celebrate the social and economic achievements of American workers.  No matter if we’re celebrating at home or at the beach, we’re entering into a tradition that has largely been shaped by Labor Unions - organizations that are dedicated to protecting workers’ interests and improving their wages, hours, and working conditions.  Today as we lounge around or hang out with friends and family, we’re not only celebrating hard work, we’re honoring fair, ethical working practices and the laws that prevent discrimination, abuse, and child labor in our country.  Without these laws in place (and enforced), the most vulnerable members of society suffer.  Who are the most vulnerable? Children. 

Today as we’re celebrating the systems in our own country that strive to prevent injustices like child trafficking and child labor, we’re mindful of the many child slaves around the world who are unprotected and the organizations, like Mercy Project, who are working to free them.

As a mother, it’s difficult for me to imagine my children working 14 hours a day, 7 days a week.  I’m unable to wrap my brain around the thought of my children engaged in long, hard days of physical labor, eating one meal a day, and then falling asleep at night on a dirt floor filled with other slave children.  Yet this is the daily reality for kids who have been trafficked into the fishing industry in Ghana, Africa.  As with much of Africa, there is a great deal of poverty in Ghana. Unfortunately, this leaves many mothers in an unimaginable position: sell their children to someone who can take better care of them or watch them starve to death. Most of the mothers are told their children will be given food, housing, and an education. Instead, the kids are often taken to Lake Volta where they become child slaves and their mothers never see them again.  Thankfully, Mercy Project is working to break the cycles of trafficking around Lake Volta by providing alternate, more efficient, sustainable, fishing methods for villagers – ultimately eliminating the need for child slaves.  Because of the work Mercy Project is doing in Ghana, the first group of children will be freed this month from Lake Volta.


We invite you to watch this moving, 10 minute documentary about the issues surrounding child labor and trafficking in Ghana and most importantly the hope Mercy Project is bringing to children and entire communities in Africa.  Mercy Project is the only NGO working on Lake Volta addressing the injustice of child labor and child trafficking at its root - by strengthening the Ghanaian economy and eliminating the structures that cause the demand for trafficked children.
Whether these ideas of child labor, child trafficking, and modern-day slavery are new to you or you’re aware of these injustices, but need to hear some good news every once in awhile, we invite you to become a part of what Mercy Project is doing in Ghana.  When Mercy Project frees their first group of children this month, we can all celebrate together.


Learn more and get involved by –

• Watching Mercy Project’s short documentary.

• Following Mercy Project on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/mercyproject

• Connecting with Mercy Project via Twitter.  https://twitter.com/mercyproject

• Spending some time on Mercy Project’s website.  http://mercyproject.net/

• Sharing about Mercy Project’s work in Ghana with your friends. 

Although child trafficking, child labor, and the unstable economies that result in these injustices are a tragedy, we’re grateful for what Mercy Project is doing to protect the vulnerable and for allowing us to be a part of this story.   While we’re commemorating labor laws and ethical work in our own country today, we invite you to follow along on this journey with Mercy Project to protect and free children in Ghana.


NEW LIFE FOR CHILDREN
www.mercyproject.net


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas Card 2011

Merry Christmas from
The Stephens!
2011


I hope that this post finds you healthy and well! We here in the South are doing fine and have been busy as I'm sure most of you have been too!  So as not to bore you with all of our particulars, here is a highlight of this past year.

Dakota:
  • Spent much of the summer in Colorado & Pennsylvania 
  • Began High School!
  • Turned 15
  • Made the jv soccer team!
Kye:
  • Loved camping in Colorado this summer
  • Began 3rd Grade
  • Turned 9
  • Continues to love his HipHop Class & Cub Scouts
Kru:
  • Also had a blast in Colorado this summer
  • Began all-day Kindergarten 
  • Turned 6
  • Played soccer again, but has decided it's not his sport

For the other 2 Stephens, everything is pretty much the same.  We have the same jobs, still live in the same place! and still trying to keep up with the boys and their craziness! Although during the past 2 weeks, we have gotten rid of both of our old vehicles.  Just yesterday we bought a new little 2011 Soul.  We are pretty excited to have a reliable vehicle!  We are having to get used to everyone sitting so close together after the van, but it runs! it's under warranty! it has heat! it has ac! the windows roll down! it doesn't smoke!!!burn oil! So YAY!


After spending Thanksgiving alone, we are excited to see family during the Christmas season!!! In fact, only a few days away!  I hope that all of you will have a blessed Christmas and that Jesus will be the focus of all of our celebrations!!!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A Birthday, Parties, Field Trips & Halloween

Dakota is 15!  How did THAT happen? 
Not sure, but it's crazy!  He is soooo a teenager 
and of course can't wait to drive!
He is loving high school and is a good kid that
I don't have to worry about!
I'm very thankful and blessed!
Didn't do too much for his birthday...
presents of course!
and  a cake with pink icing!

 Forest Ridge had their Falcanpalooza
and Kye and Kru had a blast!


 My school had a fall dance, Fallapalooza, and 
Dakota was invited! Talk about fun! We danced for 
4 hours and had a great time!

Kye had a museum day and was a caveman!
 Kru had a field trip to the Oil Ranch!
I was able to go along and even though it was chilly,
we had some fun! He milked a real cow with success,
fed cows and goats, rode a train and hayride!



 I loved being able to go along!
 And then, Halloween!
 Our church, Connecting Point, participated/sponsored  
BooFest again this year. This was our 1st time to go.
 Dakota trying to "win" a trip!
Nice pitch!

 And then the night, of trick or treating!


Dakota's idea of trick or treating!
 At Kru's teacher's, Miss Farnie, house
 And then today, I was able to go with Kye's 
class to the Renaissance Festival.  It was his
first time and he loved it!
 Shootin' some paint ball guns with Thomas, 
Bryce and Caleb!  Look at Kye's intensity!
 Of course we had to see the animals!  He wanted
to ride the elephants and horses as well, but
the petting zoo had to do!
 Cheering for the blue knight at the joust!
He didn't win :0( Kye was bummed!
 Kye and his buddy, Caleb!
 It was a great day!
I'm super thankful that I was able to spend a 
day with Kye and Kru!  One on one time
is rare, but really important! 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Homecoming 2011

Have I told you that Dakota is in high school?!?!  It blows my mind and on any given day it scares me a bit because he goes to a large 5A school. There are 2500 kids there and over 800 in his class alone!  That is bigger than the college I went to! But every time I find myself becoming a wee bit nervous, I have to take a breath, say a prayer and know that Dakota will be fine!


Dakota asked Mati to go to Homecoming with him.  Not ever having a high schooler before, I was a newbie at this whole thing!  Apparently, the whole entire affair is important and we learned quickly what we had to do! It started with how he would ask the girl.  It had to be creative!  You can't just go up to a girl and ask her, you had to think of a special way to "pop of the question!"  Mati is a swimmer, so Dakota got her locker combination and we used a pair of goggles and wrote of the eyes the question.  Attaching the goggles to a sea turtle stuffed animal, Dakota hung the turtle in her locker along with some candy.  I thought that was the end of it other than buying him a outfit, but no there was more!  Of course I was assuming there would be a purchase of a crosage for her, but not here in Texas, at least not for homecoming.


This is a mum!


Here is Texas they have this tradition of making and giving mums!  What is it, you ask?  It's a fake flower that you embellish and then embellish some more.  The girls' mum is bigger and the boys' mum is attached to a garter that he wears on the arm.  But it's only for pictures!  They don't wear them at the dance, but whatever!  So a couple of weeks before the dance, Dakota and I went over to Sarah's (a Texan native) so she could help us.  I really enjoyed it!  And actually made another one for a friend!  

So now that the mum was made, Dakota and I went to the mall to find him an appropriate outfit that wasn't shorts or jeans!  It took awhile, but we finally found pants, a shirt, a tie! (his first) and a pair of Vans! (making uncle sooo proud!)  Having never worn a tie before, dad had to help him out!

Chillin' before time to leave!

A pose with mom!

 The complete package!!!
So the plan was that we would meet Mati at a friend's house and that all of the parents would take turns transporting the kids for the evening.  First was Kelly's house for pictures, then off to dinner, then to George Bush Library for more pictures, then to the Expo Center for the dance and finally pick up at Midnight and drop off at homes!  Here are some picts of the couple!

 I made them pose funny!
And then the double date!



All in all I think he had a fun time!  And it was a High School experience and memory for sure!  I couldn't believe how perfect his tie matched her dress!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Back to School 2011

Really need to update about our summer happenings, but thought I should get up the first day of school picts at least! Seems I can't find time to keep up with the blog!  So here are the pictures from the first day of school a few weeks ago!  It's hard to believe that we have been in school for a month now!

My high schooler! 9th Grade!
Dakota
My 3rd Grader!
Kye

And my Kindergartener!
Kru


Walking into Forest Ridge



Kru-man at his desk! He was way excited!!!

And Kye-Kye at his!
Then it was off to the high school!


Where did the time go??? Seems like yesterday that I was dropping Dakota off at Kindergarten!