happy new year!

So, here we are in 2012. Frank is already disappointed because he believes he was promised flying cars by now. He has been drowning his grief in ham, cheese and a variety of pastries we absconded with from his mother’s house.

Since I keep track of pretty much all of the highs and lows on this blog, I don’t feel like it is necessary to rehash the entire year.  I mean, you can probably guess that the beh-behs were the highs... and accounted for a few lows, too. (like, the barfies, the no-sleepies and the poopies)  But hey, I’m gonna go ahead and say that we finished 2011 with way more checks in the “awesome year” column than in the “holy crap, what happened???” column.

Now that 2011 is in the rear view mirror and 2012 is the date I will be reminding myself to write on all of my documents from here on out, I think it’s always positive to kick off the new year looking forward.

In the vein of a fresh start, I am back on the running bandwagon (Couch to 5K, baby!) and am starting the weight loss circuit.  After stalling out just over 12 pounds into it during the middle of last year, I’m ready for a do-over. And of course, proceeds from this round will still go to ending human trafficking.

So, there’s that.

Because I enjoy being cliche and having New Year’s Resolutions and all that, especially resolutions relating to weight loss and working out, I will undoubtedly need to post every stinking day about my resolutions and what I am doing to acheive them.

Until I stop achieving them.

And then, if my previous behavior is any indication, I will hide out and post cute pictures of my beh-behs. You know, to distract you from burning questions like, “So, Em, how’s the weight loss?” or “Hey, did you run today?”

My beh-behs have a hard time with flashes:

Carrie trying so hard to keep her eyes open...

Ellie. She hates me for taking her picture with the flash on.

Seriously, Mom? TURN OFF THE FLASH!


So yeah, weight loss and working out.

But I think if I work on those two things, that will just continue to improve the quality of life for my family and for me.

Aunt S didn’t realize that she was helping us get in the mood for a healthier new year when she sent us coordinated pink Puma track suits.

We're ready to go jogging!!

Now, if only I could find these in adult extra long.

Happy New Year, world.


the big announcement

Some of you wondered if we were moving.

We’re not.

Some of you wondered if we bought a new car.

We did not.

Some of you wondered if I got a new body piercing.


And my brother wondered on my Facebook Status: Frank has joined the Airforce to fight for Freedom, and with Jeff Goldblum will pilot a space craft to a mother ship and share a cigar with his co-pilot before launching a nuke. This wouldnt be his first time.

Sadly, no.  It’s a shame, too.  I bet Jeff Goldblum would’ve been a lot of fun to fly with.

And of course people wondered if we bought a new appliance.

I mean, I know having kids slows down your life, but if my big announcement was concerning a brand new refrigerator, then I’d say my life had come to a screeching halt.

So no.  No new appliances.

And no babies.  C’mon, guys.  We wanted twins, but Irish Triplets?? We’re not completely insane.  Just a little insane.

This announcement was weeks in the making.  It took a lot of hard work, discipline and focus.

::Drum roll::

I lost my first 10 pounds.

Which would be completely unimpressive and insignificant if it wasn’t tied to something else.  Something that is so much more than calories, carbs, fat, fiber and protein.

Hundreds of thousands of people live in slavery.  Drug cartels are realizing that they can make far more money trading lives than trading drugs. Don’t think it happens only to people we don’t know.  I posted here about a girl I went to high school who knew first hand accounts of people kidnapped and forced into slavery.

Some people might still be wondering what weight loss has to do with ending human trafficking.  And I ask, what does running a marathon or a half marathon or a 5K have to do with anything?  It’s about moving with purpose.

Ten pounds means $100 to fight human trafficking.  Ten pounds represents 20% of my goal to lose 50 pounds. Ten pounds is 35,000 calories.

But the stats that I can’t get out of my head?

And I am plagued by the idea of people who sell their own children into the sex trade for a color TV, car or other consumer itemWho does that?  What kind of world do we live in?

So, before I go on and on about why Human Trafficking is such an important issue in my life, I wanted to introduce you all to someone who has made ending human trafficking her life.

As I’ve been sharing that Human Trafficking has been placed on my heart, God has been sending people to me via friends and family.  One such person was Katharine and she will be receiving support from me via my weight loss fund.  Here’s a little bit about Katharine in her own words:

My eyes and ears where first turned to trafficking or call it like it is: slavery, with the issues of Child Soldiers. I began campaigning and working towards ending the use of child soldiers in Africa and more specifically Uganda. The more I dug into the issues with child soldiers the more I began to see just how wide and deep slavery goes.


My heart started to break because I too have been abused on all three levels, verbally, physically, and sexually. It’s been painful for me to heal from wounds that go back to early childhood and the whole time I knew the love of our Father.


As it sank in the horror that the children, women, and men live in I realized what they need is not just physical freedom but spiritual freedom as well. The healing power and freedom that only comes from knowing Jesus. To add to it, I was an inner city art teacher. So many of my students would tell me when they grew up they wanted to be a prostitue, have 2 children by 8th grade, and would tell me about their older boyfriends (I taught K-6). I took these girls in and did what I could, sent messages home to their parents and had meetings with them.


Soon after I left my job and chose to follow Christ’s call on my life. A life devoted to missions and to go meet these men, women, and children where they are, go them in the brothels, in the streets, in parts of towns where the majority are refugees. Help bring them to safe places where they can heal and learn, and even learn the language and how to survive in their new home (if they are from another country).


The best way to help end trafficking is to help end it in the life of one person at a time. God values each life and so do I. Building relationships with these people will help uncover trafficking rings to bring to authorities, it will help prevent their children from being taken just by teaching them what to look for, remind them that trafficking is found in every social class, and teaching them new self worth in Christ.


Katharine is one of many human trafficking missionaries who have been brought to my attention and my hope is to use my blog as a place to introduce you to each of them and to raise awareness of their particular mission fields.

It is not lost on me that Katharine and my mutual friend, Eve, had her miracle baby today.  Eve’s son is going to be loved and adored and protected by Eve and her husband, Paul.  They will be wonderful parents.  But just as we are all ecstatic for Eve and Paul, there are people out there who don’t treat other humans like the miracles they are.  As a matter of fact, there are people who treat their fellow man worse than they would treat an animal.

As long as that goes on in this world, how can we rest?

So there you have it.  My big announcement.  Ten pounds down, 40 to go. How are you moving with a purpose?  I want to hear about it in the comments!


human trafficking: the story continued

It has been a month since I started investigating human trafficking. What have I been up to?

I spent some time speaking with some wonderful people at Not for Sale ministries to find out more about human trafficking.  Specifically, things that can be done on a local level to abolish human trafficking.  I will write more about that in the coming days.

Some of my dear friends have their own dear friends who are missionaries in this field.  Among them are Katharine, a woman who is a missionary in London who works with International Teams and a missionary named Christopher whose family’s mission field is Thailand.  Their stories are amazing.  Their hearts are full of a desire to love like Jesus loves and to reach into darkness and be a light.  I hope to write more about what they are doing in the coming months.  Please be praying for them!

I was surprised to receive a message from a girl I went to High School with and who was on Track & Field with me.  Her message is below and reminds me that human trafficking is an issue that is very real, even though it is so easy to ignore.  I’ve made some grammatical edits/clarifications where necessary since this was all a conversation on Facebook.  I plan to release more of her stories and insights down the road, but here are a few bits and pieces of our fascinating conversation:

Most people dont think about this as an issue and it really is quite serious. I just wanted to let you know about a special that is on CNN about trafficking. It seems pretty interesting and not sure that you knew about it.
I worked as a civilian military police officer on a military base. We were informed and made aware about trafficking through a DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) officer who was also a highway patrol man (he was both, career in law enforcement). What drug cartels are now doing in Mexico is human trafficking into the US since the US is hitting them hard with all of the drug busts and repossessions they have had in the past year or two. What the cartels do is abduct citizens in their own vehicle or get in your with you in it. Then they tell you that they will kill all your family members if you do not do what they tell you to do (since they take your identification from you).  They also threaten to kill your child if your child is in the car with you. Eventually you know that you will die if you do not do what the abductors say and they will not take your child with you. The abductors will leave your child in the car they took from you to die. (Its very sad makes me cry just thinking about it). It is easier to make money this way then getting drugs across the border.
There was a marine I worked with whose wife was at the blood donation center donating blood. She was feeling dizzy so she thought she would get some fresh air. So she went to the side of the building and stood there for a few seconds when a car pulled up asking her if she wanted to make money. She said no. The guys in the car kept talking to her telling her that she would be perfect and she was felt like there was something wrong and started to walk to the front of the building. As she started walking one of the guys tried getting out of the car to pull her in. She ran to the front, still dizzy and told the front desk. The cops were called, she gave a description of the individuals.  Apparently these two men were known for abducting girls into Mexico for trafficking, but they just haven’t been caught yet. These abductors change vehicles, used missing persons’ vehicles or stolen vehicles.

It is hard to believe that something like human trafficking hits so close to home. I have heard from multiple sources that drug cartels are switching to human trafficking because it is more lucrative.  While drugs can only be sold once before they have to get more supply, the drug cartels have discovered that men, women and children can be forced into labor or the sex trade many times over.

In an effort to illustrate that human trafficking is something that hits closer to home than we think, the folks over at Not for Sale Campaign have created a slavery map that shows reported instances of slavery occurring throughout the United States and the world.  Check out the map.  You’d be surprised to see how many reports are coming from our own backyards.

Have suggestions, questions or comments?  Leave them in the comment section or shoot me an email at tallgrl98(at)aol(dot)com.


For those of you who were guessing that my post would be an announcement of another pregnancy – you are very wrong.

Frank would lose his ever-loving mind if we had another child barely a year younger than the twins.

Nope.  This is not a clever blog announcement about a pregnancy.

I started this blog the same month that Frank and I became engaged to be married.  I was 22 years old.

I had been out of college for less than one year.  I had been working for less than six months.

I am not even really sure why I started the blog, other than that I had a weird fascination with the idea of having a diary.  And I’m not even sure why I had that weird fascination.  I’m a terrible correspondent.  Ask anyone who has tried to correspond with me.  I found letters from my darling college roommate, Kelly, and nearly wept at the beautiful notes she would write me.

I doubt that she could make the same claim about the letters I wrote her. Because I didn’t write.  I was a horrible pen pal.

If you look at my blog from 2003, you will find that it was nothing more than a documentation of shopping excursions, what I ate and how I felt about it, and who could forget my rankings of area shopping malls?? (answer: just about anyone and everyone could and should forget it)

I don’t go back to those early postings very often.  Sometimes I do re-read various posts from our wedding planning.  But truthfully, my most pressing concern (if I’m being honest) was finding a tube top so that I would tan evenly.  Heaven help me if I had strap marks while wearing my strapless wedding gown!

I look back on those early years and I wonder at how Frank and I managed to make a life together.  I mean, considering how seriously the odds were stacked against us (under the age of 25, for starters) and then reading my blathering thoughts at the time, it’s a wonder that we managed to move across state lines, find full time employment and not critically hurt ourselves in the process.

But here we are.

I look back on those early years – my immaturity and my self-absorbed interests – and I am struck not by how much I’ve changed, but how much more aware I am that I haven’t changed as much as I should have.

Yeah, this post is not about patting myself on the back.

“Way to go, self, you managed to generally stay clear of the Emergency Room for most of your adult life. Bravo.”


I think a lot of life is about peaks and valleys.  Peaks offer a moment of clarity where I get to see where I am going and where I have been – and realize that the road in both directions is long, winding and generally uncertain.

And valleys remind me of my own humanity.

I think that I am on a momentary peak.

The K-Fam, for all intents and purposes, is doing very, very well.  Frank is employed.  I am employed.  The girls are healthy and growing and developing and have clean diapers on (at the moment).  We have food and shelter and enough extra cash to afford a brand new Starbucks addiction (as long as I keep brewing at home…).

Our coffee cup runs over.

But in this rare moment of clarity, I see my life as it is.  I’m not sad about it or angry or hurt or feeling guilty.  I am just aware that I was young and like pretty much all young people I know, I was blissfully unaware.  And now I am approaching middle-aged.  Or, if I am honest, I am probably middle-aged already (I’m 30 – does that count?).


The point is that I see myself driving home from church, work, wherever – I see the sun shining and the wind rustling the leaves on the lush green trees and even though I have many responsibilities, I feel unburdened. I feel light.

And I am becoming aware that being unburdened is a rare, precious gift; I feel that while I am in the sunshine, enjoying the beauty of this world, there are people whose burdens are great.

Reading the news is a buzz kill.  You are bumping along in life all concerned about what is for dinner or wondering whether or not you remembered to pay the water bill, when all of a sudden a news anchor calmly, matter-of-factly explains that 32 girls in Ghana were rescued from a baby factory where their brand new babies were sold into slavery or as human sacrifices.

The juxtoposition of my life and theirs is hard to grasp.  How can my brain comprehend such disparity of the human existence?

God has been working on my heart, opening my eyes.

Am I going to end human trafficking in this world?  No.

But how can I do nothing?  How can I enjoy a warm summer day spent going for a walk or teaching my baby girls how to build sand castles, while other men, women and children are in such total darkness?

Many children find themselves sold into slavery because their families cannot afford to eat.  They are sold so that the rest of the family can survive.

And yet so easily, I can go to McDonald’s and enjoy a fruit and yogurt parfait, oatmeal or a warm cup of coffee.

While I am contemplating ways I can get involved (more to follow over the next few weeks), I cannot help but realize how mindlessly I eat.  I think very little about what and how much I put in my mouth.  After fertility treatments and a twin pregnancy, this is definitely starting to show.

I have a lot of weight to lose.  Fifty pounds to be exact.

Yeah, that’s right.  Fifty.

Not fifteen.



What’s sad is that I’ve lost pretty much all of the baby weight.  The weight I have left to lose crept on slowly at first.  I slowly gave in to the weight gain.  “It’s just a pound.  Or two.  Or five.”

Or fifty.

Working out my body is just as important as working out my mental muscles.  The discipline I use for walking and running (and not eating dessert after every meal) helps me be more disciplined in other areas of my life, like time management or finances.

Getting involved in helping to stop human trafficking isn’t going to happen over night.  I won’t find a solution by writing a check for $5.  Big problems like this require persistent and unrelenting action.

In 2001 I started Weight Watchers.  I lost 60 lbs over the next 8 or 9 months.

I did not lose all 60 lbs in the first week.

Every week I lost a little bit and it all added up.

It’s that kind of discipline – making one more person aware, getting one more person to care – that adds up.

A little bit of kindling added slowly builds a big fire.

My goal is to become more disciplined and aware of what I eat, which will simultaneously help me work out the mental muscles needed in order to be dedicated to a cause as important as ending human trafficking.

It’s a weird way to connect two things, but it makes sense to me.

If you ask my mom, she’ll tell you I’ve always been annoyingly persistent. When I want something, I usually find a way to get it.

For every pound that I lose, we (Frank and I) will donate $10 to end human trafficking.  It’s a weightlossathon.

If you want to join me in this effort – either by losing weight yourself or donating money for every pound that I lose, please do!  Let me know in the comment section if you are “in” and what you are doing.

And if you aren’t interested in joining in, if you could keep me in your thoughts and your prayers as I go down this road – both weight loss and figuring out how to help raise awareness of human trafficking issues – I would be so grateful.

Thank you.

where is my heart?

Like most wives, my heart is with my wonderful husband:

And of course, as a new mother, my heart is also with my sweet girls:



And today I would’ve bumped along just fine with out anything else to put on my heart.

My heart was feeling quite full.

But then I came across my friend’s Facebook page.  She wrote about human trafficking.  She wrote about young girls who experienced horrors that I cannot even begin to comprehend.  My stomach turned.

And the thing is this: I’ve heard about human trafficking before.  Occasionally a story will make the homepage of CNN or MSNBC  or some other news website.

I will often feel a tug.  A sadness.

And then I will move on.

But the stories stay with me.  They always have.  As I read my friend’s page, all of the other stories I’ve read over the years came flooding back to me.  Stories that people told at church. Stories I heard about on the radio.  So many horrible stories.

I looked at my sweet babies sleeping peacefully and I am relieved that my girls are safe.

And then…

And then I think of all the sweet babies that are not safe.  And the mothers that are either powerless to do something about it – or choose not to… or both.

How can I not be moved to action?  Even if the action is only spreading awareness.

But I can’t help thinking that there must be more than spreading awareness.

This. Must. Stop.


Are you in?