Monday, October 29, 2007

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"GRACE WORKS"
GIVEAWAY
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Did you know there is a country with a little over 1,000,000 population yet around 1oo,ooo of the people are orphans? This same country has the highest HIV/AIDS rate in the entire world and unless something profound happens to change the rate of infection and thus death, within a few decades, this people group will virtually become extinct.
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Swaziland is the beautiful mountain kingdom nestled between Mozambique and South Africa with approximately 1/3 or more of its people infected with HIV/AIDS. The Swazi people are facing a pandemic that is having tragic effects as elderly grandmothers, and in some cases, older children are often the only ones left to care for the orphans who are being left behind in staggering numbers...and in far too many cases, these little orphans are also dying from the disease or from malnutrition and other conditions, many of which are preventable and/or curable.
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Nearly 2 decades ago, I lived in Swaziland as minister to children and teens. I fell in love with Swaziland. Those laughing and loving Swazi little ones planted themselves in my heart. Those same children are now grownups who are facing a challenge that through the world's eyes seems nearly impossible to face and beat.
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But many on the outside are stepping forward and saying that they will not stand by and watch a nation die without it being given a fighting chance. For some, it means they're leaving behind their lives of comfort and transplanting their entire lives to Swaziland. Some will work to fight the spread and effects of the disease. Others will pour their lives into those children who have been left behind...to equip them to lead and rebuild their nation some day.
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My 12 year old daughter and I are going to Africa in 2008. We'll have a little over a week to bring some joy, love, laughter, and nourishing food to some of these precious ones . The Bible says that pure religion is to care for the widows and orphans and that whatever we do for the "least of these", we to Jesus. I'm a mom of my own seven children. Every day I read to them, sing songs with them, hug on them, make them laugh, feed them nourishing meals, pray for them, and make sure they know that they are loved immensely. It breaks my heart to think about babies who have no one to rock them, toddlers who are falling asleep at night with hurting stomachs from lack of food, elementary aged "big" sisters who are having to take on the responsibilities of their deceased mothers, and young adolescents who fear they'll be dead before their dreams of adulthood can ever be fulfilled.
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One of the ways that we are financing our trip to Swaziland is thru GRACE WORKS JEWELRY. A sweet friend has donated hours and hours of work (plus all the materials so far) to create jewelry that we are selling to raise the money for our trip that we'll be making with Children's HopeChest.
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To create an awareness of the need in Swaziland and to spread the word about our jewelry, I'm giving away the first HEART FOR AFRICA'S CHILDREN bracelet made by my friend Rhonda. I'm also trying to find out what colors and styles are the most popular so we'll know what to concentrate on as we make more jewelry to sell.
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If you would like to enter the drawing for the HEART FOR AFRICA'S CHILDREN bracelet, please leave me a comment telling which of the jewelry pictured below you like the best. As said before, you'll be winning the red and pink heart bracelet, but your feedback will help us as we make more jewelry.
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The first one is from the "Swazi Skies" Collection.
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The second one is "Rich Earth" reflecting the richness of the Swazi
soil and the value it has for the farmers of that country.
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This third one is "A is for Africa". The A could also be a reminder to pray for the Aids crisis on that continent.
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This green one reminds me of the lushness of Swaziland, often compared to the Scottish Highlands, during the rainy season. This line is entitled "After the Rains".
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This bracelet is from the "Shades of an African Savannah" collection. All these pieces are composed of browns, greens, golds, and blues.
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The last set is from the same collection as our giveaway bracelet, "Heart for Africa's Children". Some of the beads in the bracelet appear almost yellowish-orange in the photos but they are actually pale pink.
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Again, if you would like to be entered in the drawing for the bracelet pictured at the very top of this post, please leave me your contact information and which jewelry designs you like the best. You do not have to be a blogger to enter but I do ask that you live in the U.S.A. The deadline for the drawing is 1:00 pm. Sunday, November 4. I'll hold the drawing later on that day.
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Another couple of things...
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If you're someone I know "in real life" and you'd be interested in selling or buying some of our jewelry, please let me know. 100% of the proceeds go to our trip as all of the materials have been donated. Some folks have volunteered to take some of the jewelry and sell them to their friends and family as a way of helping us raise our needed support. In fact, my sweet mom has already sold almost all of the first package full that I sent her. (Thanks, Mom!)
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To find out more about the ministry of CHILDREN'S HOPECHEST and ways that YOU can be involved in making a difference in the lives of HIV/AIDS orphans, visit their website at: http://www.hopechest.org/
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And to read more about the journey God has us on, go to: http://elysasmusingsfromgraceland.blogspot.com/2007/10/huge-news-for-some-of-you-this-will-be.html
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107 comments:

~Deidra~ said...

My favorite is the "Shades of an African Savannah" bracelet...although they are all beautiful.

Mommy Instincts said...

Shades from an African Savannah is my favorite, I love the color combinations!

Jen

TheAngelForever said...

Gorgeous creations! I love Swazi Skies and A is for Africa.

TheAngelForever
www.theangelforever.com

Elysa said...

"After the Rain is beautiful but I love them all and yes please enter for me since I still cannot leave a comment :)"

Here's a proxy entry for Sandy!

Elysa said...

And here's another proxy vote for my non-blogging pal Julie:

"All the jewelry is gorgeous but I think I like the Heart for Africa one best, because it has a more substantial look to it, with the dangling hearts and cross.



They’re all beautiful!



Thanks for giving me a chance to win one. Great idea!



Julie Y"

TracyMichele said...

ooooh.. I like Rich Earth but After The Rains is a close second!!

tegdirb92 said...

gorgeous jewelry--I love them all!! Please enter my name, thanks.

Cara Putman said...

Good luck in raising the funds. What a wonderful idea! I'd love to be entered. I love the heart for africa's children set.

Noel said...

"Shades of an African Savannah" stirs my heart... I was in Africa last summer and there's just nothing like the soil there: bright copper set against a blue sky... and the people all wear vibrant colors... What a wonderful way to bless Africa!

M.E. said...

Beautiful bracelets! It was hard to pick one favorite. I like A is for Africa. I like those colors together the best.

CrystalG said...

My favorite is the Shades of an African Savannah. They are all beautiful

Stephanie said...

After the Rains and the Swazi skies are my fave. Great all around giveaway and for such a great cause!

The Baker Family said...

I like Swazi Skies!

Earthmama said...

They are all beautiful. My favorite is Rich Earth.

thesmithclan@stny.rr.com
http://quietquandaries.blogspot.com

Ornery's Wife said...

I really liked the rich earth style. It would go with many things, especially during this season.

I admire you for your selfless sacrifice, and will pray that many will have their needs met because of your presence there.
TM

Mama Zen said...

The Rich Earth is gorgeous!

kelli (at) pfrog (dot) net

Mandye said...

They are all so beautiful, but "Shades of an African Savannah" bracelet makes me want to be there! God bless you and your work!

AngelaB said...

great prize! love the rich earth!

windycindy said...

Hi, I like the "Rich Earth" bracelet. I like earthy, natural tones. Thanks, Cindi :)

April said...

I like the Heart for Africa's Children. Please enter me. Thanks!!

Elysa said...

Another proxy vote! ;)

> > It won't let me leave a comment but I read your blog. The jewelry is so
> > pretty!!
> > I really think that is a great idea! thanks for sharing with me. I'm
> > praying
> > for you.
> > Troubadour Pledge Love,
Clemmie

Qtpies7 said...

I like the first two and the last one the best.
I am going to send your blog to my cousin who is planning to move to AFrica to open an orphage!
God bless you guys!

Susanne said...

"A is for Africa" is my favorite. What a beautiful cause!!

Paige said...

What an amazing journey! I'm in awe of the work you are doing. I just wish you could bring all of those babies back and give them to families who would love them and take care of them.

As for colors, I think the rich earth and A is for Africa are the most beautiful.

Kari & Kijsa said...

We love them all!! The Shades of African Savannah are stunning, as well as the rest!

blessings,
kari & kijsa

Laura @ Laura Williams' Musings said...

They all are beautiful, but the "Shades of an African Savannah" really stuck out for me. Thanks for a wonderful giveaway!

Julie said...

I like the 'A is for Africa' but it was hard to decide.

John Dee Spicer said...

I love Heart for AFrica's Children.

Jill S

Marie said...

I love Rich Earth. Indeed!

Aimee said...

A is for Africa is my favorite!

Drewe Llyn said...

A is for Africa or Heart for Africa's Children....can't decide! You choose!

How exciting!

Kyra said...

Swazi Skies is beautiful! Please count me in!

Rhonda Jeanne said...

Elysa...what an amazing response!!! Isn't God Wonderful???

Stephanie said...

I love the Heart for Africa the best, its just beautiful. Thank you so much.

Emily said...

Wow it's hard to choose, but I think my fave is "Shades of an African Savannah".

margalit said...

I love the green one. Oh wow, what a great giveaway. Please count me in!

Jennifer P said...

Please count me in! My favorites are the Shades of an African Savannah and A is for Africa.

~Nancy~ said...

LOVE Rich Earth!
Thanks for the chance!
Please be sure to enter mine.

Jo said...

Oh I am in love with Rich Earth. Those colors go gorgeously together! Please enter me as well. Beautiful!

jocoiner[at]gmail.com

Awesome Mom said...

I love A for Africa, it is so pretty.

Shauna said...

I like all of them, especially Shades of an African Savannah.

Tamara said...

"After the Rains" definitely! Green is my favorite color. :-)

Thanks for offering such a great prize!

mrshuntinak AT msn DOT com

Geri said...

count me in !!! Please!!! Love this!!!
gerijones64@hotmail.com
Shades of an African Savannah
I wish I could go with you!

Melissa Neece said...

I like After the Rains.

But they are all

Supercalifragelisticexpealidocious!
Thanks for the contest!

http://melissaneece.blogspot.com
(Lots of pregnancy and natural living links)

~Melissa

Jason and Caryn said...

Swazi Skies is my fav!

michelle said...

They are all beautiful, but I like the Swazi Skies one. I would love to be entered!

Michelle
www.northofthe49.com
michelle (at) northofthe49 (dot) com

Elysa said...

Thank y'all all for your sweet words. I've been so excited about the large interest in the drawing and the ministry God is leading us into.

Y'all are a blessing!!!!

Nikki said...

Please enter me . I love the Rich Earth colors. I have always enjoyed the browns and burnt oranges of nature.

Nikki
If I would happen to get lucky and win please contact me at Angelheart135@aol.com

Ginny said...

They are all pretty, I like any of the first 4 designs.

Someone Being Me said...

What a great cause and an awesome giveaway. Please add me to the list and I will be checking out the other jewelry for sale as well.

Kathleen Marie said...

Wow! What a wonderful giveaway. All are beautiful and it is almost impossible to choose. Thank you for entering me and have a blessed day! ☺ Oh, and mine is posted ☺

Heather said...

My favorite is the last one. They are all lovely though!

Rhonda Jeanne said...

BTW...my fav is "Shades of an African Savannah". The colors makes me feel warm and cool at the same time. Don't enter me in the drawing, though...I'd just give it back to you if I won and then we'd be right back where we started from. ;-)

Fiddle D. Dee said...

They are all pretty! My favorite is the last one!

Christine said...

I love the skies, the rich earth, and the hearts bracelet. But they are all beautiful. Please enter me, thanks

Aubrey said...

I love after the rain and shades of african savannah! they are all lovely!

Linda SS said...

Gorgeous...Hearts for Africa is probably my favorite.

family said...

My favorite is the "After the Rains" set. Thanks! bigfamily8@yahoo.com

FENICLE said...

I like them all, but A is for Africa is very pretty!!

info@fenicle.com
http://www.fenicle.com

Nise' said...

They are all beautiful, my favorite is Heart for Africia's Children! I own a couple of purses made by the wonderful laides of Timbali Crafts!

Chele said...

Oh what beautiful bracelets -- my favorite is: "Swazi Skies". Thank you for counting me in the drawing.

April said...

I like A is for Africa. They are all beautiful!

Alyson, Brett & Girls said...

Such beautiful color combos and graceful pieces! I really probably like them all but if I had to pick a favorite, I'd say Rich Earth. What a wonderful project!

Thank you for sharing your talents to benefit others!

Elizabeth said...

I like the 1st blue one

Michelle said...

I really like the first one, that blue is so pretty.

Karen said...

I love Swazi Skies! All of them are beautiful though:-)

kpuleski [at] gmail [dot] com

Jennifer said...

They're all beautiful, but my favorite is Rich Earth! I'd love to win, so count me in! Good luck everyone!

LivingforGod said...

I like the first and the last designs the best. Please enter me in your giveaway. Thanks!

Sonya said...

Rich Earth is my favorite of them all1

Kristiem10 said...

They are all pretty, but my favorite is Swazi Skies.

momofmhasr said...

I like the after the rains.

Tara said...

My computer wigged out before I could vote. I like the one with the heart for African children. I think that's it. Anyway, I couldn't honestly tell because I loved them all! Bless your efforts to help just one child. You will never regret it.

Kristina said...

I love the hearts for Africa's children set. Beautiful!

Dawn said...

I honestly love all of them. They are beautiful. I think it just depends on people's favorite colors or personal preferences. If I have to pick a favorite I really like the last one with the hearts. It is really pretty.

sam said...

I'm torn between Shades of an African Savannah and Rich Earth.

jouette said...

what a wonderful thing you are doing. i think they are all beautiful and unique.

Melanie said...

they're all really cute but i think i like a is for africa. can we buy these if we don't win!!?

Emily said...

I love the After the Rains.

princesslimey(at)gmail(dot)com

Audra Marie said...

They are all beautiful, but Rich Earth caught my eye the most. :)

Thanks for the chance to win.

Audra
writetome (at) thesilvas (dot) com

daisyaday said...

Rich Earth is my favorite, but the others are nice, too!

Once Upon a Dream... said...

I would love to win! My favorite of your pieces was/is "Rich Earth". Please count me in. Thanx.
I'm doing a little giveaway over at my place too.

nor_lou said...

I love after the rain, they are all so pretty

cabesh said...

I like the Swazi Skies

Lesha said...

My favorite is Rich Earth. :)

Rachel said...

I like the blue one and the green one. I miss Africa!! I graduated from high school in Nigeria. My parents were missionaries there and I haven't been able to go back since. Best wishes for your trip.

Tracy said...

I love Swazi Skies

tnayar at cox dot net

Deb M. said...

All of the bracelets are beautiful..Rich Earth & Heart for Africa's children are my favorites.
Thank you for the chance to win.

Blessings...

Cherie J said...

I love the bracelet from "Swazi Skies" Collection. Thank you for the contest!

cherierjatyahoo.com

angelaandconnor@gmail.com said...

I love swazi skies!

Sandy said...

They are all beautiful! I love Swazi Skies.

writinlife said...

I like the Swazi Skies

Stephanie said...

I love the names of your bracelets Elysa. They are very beautiful and help me to envision the loveliness of Swaziland.

Mommy said...

They are all beautiful, but I like the red one in the last picture the best. Very beautiful! Thanks for the chance to win something so special. :)

Michelle B. said...

Swazi Skies is my favorite. please enter me in your contest

Tiff said...

Rich Earth is my fav. Please enter me!

Michelle O. said...

I love Swazi Skies. I'd love to win! Thank you.

Thrills said...

Rich Earth is my favorite.

stacey said...

i like the second one, but truly they are all wonderful! i will be back soon to learn more! come visit me!

Cheryl said...

I like the Rich Earth.

Kim said...

I love the Shades of an African Savannah.
Kim

Richelle said...

I like "A is for Africa"

Doreen said...

The one that really caught my eyes was the: 'Shades of an African Savannah'!!

Doreen said...

The one that really caught my eyes was the: 'Shades of an African Savannah'!!

heather h said...

Wow, yours is a giveaway with a very, very touching story. I always read that bible verse and pondered it before having a child, but now I feel like I can understand the pressing need for this far more. You are doing a wonderful thing by going to Swaziland with your daughter. Good luck to you, and I'm saying a pray for you right now that your journey will be both fruitful and rewarding. You will touch so many lives.

I can't pick one fave, so please allow me to say my top picks: the blue one, green one, and the pink bracelet at the bottom with the cross. How gorgeous. These are beautiful. Good luck on your trip!

seahagstudio said...

a is for africa is my favorite. i wish you the best of luck on your once in a lifetime experience. you should feel very proud to be teaching your daughter at such a young age to be so generous! god bless, tracy

Elysa said...

Here's another proxy vote. This time for FIAR Leslie N. For some reason, she couldn't get my blog to let her leave a comment.

Thanks for your encouragement and bracelet help, Leslie! :)

Elysa said...

The drawing is now over but I wanted to say thank you to all who entered. You were a blessing to me. :)