Saying goodbye to 2022 wasn’t all that hard.

I’m saying hello to 2023 and it feels a bit like putting on a new dress and brand spanking new shoes. Out with old, in with the new and all that jazz. And I’ve got big plans.

I’ve made my resolutions and created my Day-in-the-life-of-Jan pie chart. These machinations help me gear up and get ready to make a splash for an extraordinary year.

Anyone want to turn on the timer? How long do you think this enthusiasm can last? Let’s hope 12 months? In any case it’s a good effort to contemplate time and what can be done with another year of life. There are 8,760 hours in a year, 522,600 minutes. That’s a lot of time to figure out how to spend it.

Fifteen years ago, I had an ephiphany and set out to make difference in the life of an orphan every day. 200 Orphanages Worldwide was born. I invited people to come along with me on the journey and now there are many many many more who are doing something every day to help an orphan. We just do our part and no more, knowing we can’t do it all but we can all do something.

But, just look at those faces. How can you not do something if it is in your power to make their lives a bit brighter?

That’s what it’s all about, folks. I’m energized, inspired and motivated to make a difference in 2023. Our small efforts of doing good in this crazy upside down world are sometimes the only good people get to see. So, let’s go! Let’s make 2023 a smashingly extraordinary year! jh

I turned around and another year is almost gone. 2022 has had its hills and valleys, as my Dad used to say.

One the upside, I marked a dozen months as a Wyoming resident and that meant for most of the year I was getting resettled. The upside is I am meeting new friends, visiting new shops, seeing new scenery and I am loving it. I am always up for adventures and bravely go.

We’re blessed to be able to live near our oldest daughter and family in Wyoming during summers and two daughters in Arizona through the winter. We make it our mission to spend as much time with all of our 15 grandkids as we can. We even traveled to Ohio for a few days and happily caught our oldest grandaughter’s Senior night and last volleyball game. Our intention to be involved in their lives means lots of travel, hikes, and overnights, sporting events, movies and popcorn and as you can imagine, I love every minute. And we’ve added a few faces to our crew. Meet Sissy and Ellie.

Still, with all that joy, I’ve experienced upheavals, or valleys. I have the same sense as others that the world is spinning a bit faster and a bit out of control. We have weathered the worst of a poorly managed pandemic, many nations are suffering from unprecendented, seemingly intentional debt and inflation, and now we are threatening a dangerous war with potentially a fearfully bad ending. Nothing makes sense and I long for the good ole days! With all of these upheavals, my instinct is to cloister. Hide out. Stick my head deeply in the Wyoming dirt. It’s hard to focus on the work at hand, which makes me so glad for a devoted board of directors and dedicated project manager to help us stay the course.

It takes an extra effort these days to stay engaged with our mission, but I do it because the suffering of the orphan is real. It hasn’t changed. Those children, who are hungry and alone still need us, maybe now more than ever. They have very little hope unless we bring it. As a matter of fact, here are some eye opening statistics:

The Numbers That Matter Most in 2022*

  • 387 million children live on less than $1.90 a day.
  • 220 million children are at risk of growing up alone.
  • 140 million children have lost one or more parent.  

These are heart wrenching statistics and builds a case that not every child has a family, extended or otherwise. We are blessed to help our partner organizations who have stepped in to be the family so no child is left alone.

That being said, although it ‘s been a tough year to remember the important things, I’m not giving up. So, as I re-energize, I’m hoping you feel the same way. I’m ready. Let’s move forward together and continue making an impact caring for orphans.

200 Orphanages continue building new partnerships and funding projects this year. We are hoping to fund up to $25,000 in approved projects before year end, and that will take some help from you! We’re using undesignated donations to fill the needs as donations are down. But you have been faithful and so are we. We’ve saved for a rainy day and well, it’s raining.

Please generously remember the orphans in 2022. Join me in the battle cry: Onward and Upward!

*Statistics from: https://www.sos-usa.org/who-we-are/what-we-do/long-term-care

My Mom, myself and siblings in the 60s.

It’s almost Mother’s Day and truth be told, I’ve celebrated my share. This year, two of my daughters and I are taking a few hours to have lunch and browse the shops.

Long gone are the days when my kids bring me crafts from school. Two of my four daughters were born on or around Mother’s Day which made those days extra special. We’ve celebrated Mother’s Days and birthdays for years and now they’re mothers themselves and have their own Mother’s Day celebrations. So for me, Mother’s Day has come full circle.

Still, I celebrate being a Mom, but also honor my Mom, and my Grandmothers all who have passed on. It’s amazing the void I feel with them gone, especially when online florists remind me to buy flowers for them, even after all these years. But, the richness of their love for me remains, and today, instead of buying flowers from a florist, I plant flowers in my garden for them each spring. Having a memorial garden for them has been therapeutic and well, beautiful. I especially like my moonlight gardens where all the flowers are white Shasta Daisies, my Mom’s favorite flower.

And while I dig, water and plant the day away, I consider the work we do for the orphan. Most orphans are abandoned, or neglected, it makes me ever grateful that at least for most of my life I had a mother and grandmothers to love me, and care for me. Doing something for the orphan who is alone in this world helps me remember my Mom, and good fortune I’ve had.

So, the Mother’s Day Campaign for 200 Orphanages Worldwide is underway until June and it’s my hope that many will participate by donating. The campaign’s donations are applied to renovations of a home for 10 children in Kenya. Last year, we raised enough to help complete the renovation of another one of their homes. Now, that home is filled with happy, healthy children thanks to our donors.

This work makes me happy everyday, but especially on Mother’s Day!

If you want to donate or participate in caring for orphans in honor of your Mom, or a special woman in your life, Click The Button below.

Have a Blessed Mother’s Day and Remember the Orphan on her behalf!

The weather is turning, bringing flowery thoughts of gardens, citrus trees and rose bushes. I’m taking joy eating our citrus, watching the flora blossom, the butterflies and even the wonderous hummingbird hawk moth of the Arizona desert.

Hummingbird Hawk Moth on Lantana in Arizona

Our lives continue to March On!

Just a year ago, we were settling in to our winter residence in Wickenburg, as we moved from Phoenix, and then in May 2021 we began our move from Washington State to Wyoming. I’m not going to lie. The last year was arduously arduous. If that’s even a thing.

Along with our move to Wyoming, we traveled a lot last year, including a wintery trip to Minnesota in November to say goodbye to my Dad.

More recently we’ve enjoyed warmish weather while hosting guests in Arizona. I’ve worked with my horses, took on three pigs to raise for meat, lost our lovely dog of six years and acquired a delightfully energetic puppy named Charlie. Also, I’ve killed a lot of new plants by succumbing to the temptation and bought them too early in the unpredictable Arizona spring.

So, as I settle in two new communities, I’m finding new ways to dig my roots down deeper. I love meeting people, expanding my sphere, building awareness and helping others connect especially if they want to get involved with orphan care. As I circulate, building connections, I lean on our wonderful project manager Angela in Jacksonville, to stay the course for us. I couldn’t be happier with our amazingly committed board of directors as well as lovely volunteer coordinator from Vancouver BC who is always steady and sure… how blessed am I. How bless we are as an organization.

Also, because of the impact we make with our simple efforts, as shown by the video we recently received, I’m giving myself some permission to rest, restore, and revive, because there’s so much to be done. This work is for the long game… and the little video clip showing a young child finally able to wash her hands properly inspires me to March On! So…

…This year, watch for snippets from my Memoire in progress: “My Something.”

Stay tuned on more ways you can help us expand our reach!

  • Reconnect with our partners, and meet new partners with whom we’ll be coming alongside raising awareness and funds for safety, shelter and sustainability.
  • Keep informed and find ways to help by hosting a summer “Dinner In” or “Men who Cook” gathering with your friends, family and colleagues.
  • Build a network far and wide to raise awareness and funds to help orphans

The white board in my office sits prominently where I can see it from my desk as a reminder:

“2022: Every Day: Do something to help an orphan in need.”

Let us help you find your “Something” to help an orphan this year!


jh

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After a series of life events, the most recent being the passing of my Father, I find myself thinking about legacy.

Norm Skalicky April 1, 1934-November 7, 2021

I’ve concluded we all leave one whether we want to or not. And the good thing is we get to choose ours. We can actually decide how we want to live and what we want to leave. No matter how much baggage we came with, or onslaughts and mishaps beset us, we, in fact, own our days. As imperfect beings, each life has built-in complications. We hurt people, they hurt us, we win some, we lose some, we use poor judgement; we make great decisions. It’s a mixed bag, really.  

But along with that, we each get to choose what we do with our life. No one stops us from intentionally building goodness into the lives of others. Nothing stops us from doing deeds of charity, thinking good thoughts, practicing kindness. These are all our choice. Sometimes, they aren’t easy, but the choice is ours none the less.

As you know, I decided in 2007 to intentionally transition my life using my talents and skills to help orphans in some way. This is part of my legacy. More than 13 years ago, I founded 200 Orphanages Worldwide and from small beginnings, and with the help of hundreds of people just like you… we’ve been able to provide safety, shelter and sustainability for orphans around the world. We’ve worked with partners who provide day to day care and we’ve helped provide funds to dig wells, build dormitories and libraries, provide irrigation and livestock shelters, greenhouses and orchards, and more. What a joy it is to see children have running water, ample produce and protein, and a safe place to call home.

Working with kids while at Mainsprings in Tanzania. We Can’t Do It All, But We Can All Do Something.

Now as we enter the giving season, we are happily providing you an opportunity to help an orphan today.  We have various projects that need funding and any donation is welcome! 200 Orphanages sends 100% of your gift to a project that provides safety, shelter and sustainability. To give a gift on Giving Tuesday, or any day, go to www.200orphanagesworldwide.org.

Thank you in advance!

Happy legacy building in 2022 and beyond.

Across America in 30 days: A Personal Journey

It’s been a bit of time since I’ve written and so much has transpired. We, along with so many in the great migration of 2020, moved. Yup, we are now residents of Wyoming. Just like that. We were the last family members to leave Washington. Our house sold quickly, but our closing in Wyoming took a month. So we decided to take a drive across country with our German Shepherd and three herb planters tucked around the luggage. We traveled over mountains, along rivers on backroads and the Interstate through Idaho, Montana, then stopping in Wyoming, on to South Dakota and then Minnesota to stay with family for a few weeks. Then, we loaded up the car (Beverly Hill Billy style) and drove to my daughter’s home in Virginia via Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland. Sigh!

Traveling the nation was like driving by and waving to a long forgotten friend. Each state displayed its own beauty, the small towns, big cities, the farmland with cattle dotting hillsides, and corn and beans flourishing for miles. And then, evidence of devastating drought took a toll on crops for miles down the road. But still, the hills, mountains, forests, rivers and streams are uniquely America. I couldn’t help but belt out a few bars of “America the Beautiful” while being immersed in the spacious skies, the fruited plains, the purple mountain’s majesty, the amber waves of grain as we sped along. It was a great privilege to see our nation’s beauty up close even if through the passenger window. A highlight was visiting our nation’s capital on a Friday night, it was buzzing with visitors as we climbed Lincoln Memorial steps and said a prayer for our country. Visiting loving family with these backdrops made our travels all the more delightful.

With all the distractions of moving, organizing movers, unpacking boxes, alongside all the upheavals of current society, I’m mindful that there are still orphans desperate for help. Many don’t have the basics of life, such as water, daily nutrition, medical help, much less a roof over their heads. My passion for 200 Orphanages is unabated as we transition. We’re still coming alongside our partners in orphan care helping them fund projects with the help of so many. We intentionally pared down our efforts of late waiting for better days. But in truth, the orphan can’t wait for our days to get better, less busy or more secure. Their needs often can’t wait. So, we march on from where we are doing the best we can to make a difference in the lives of orphans. Thank you for partnering with us in this work and for what you do for the children.

As for me, I get the privilege of learning all about the Cowboy State and enjoying the beauty of Wyoming. I’ve dusted off my cowgirl hat and boots and I’m ready to get busy sharing our 200 Orphanages story with my new neighbors.

We’ve updated our nonprofit address and will send it shortly! Stay tuned for our annual update as well! Thank you for what you do for the children!

Watch for this postcard in the mail!

Stay tuned and get ready for good things ahead. jh

We marched through 2020 with shoulders to the wind. We’re ready for 2021. Bring it.

Sometimes you just have to roll with it. That’s how we got through 2020. We had a bit of wind at our back as in late November 2019, you helped us raise more than enough funds to complete the 1st phase of the well with our 2nd Annual Tanzania Tonight. That enabled St. Teresa’s to start the well. Founder and director Teresa Nyirenda Litchy, kept us informed as the project got underway and by spring we were receiving receipts and photos of the tanks filling, Soon the kids, staff and community were rejoicing in their access to clean affordable water.

The 2020 wake up call came as our partner’s fundraisers and gatherings were canceled. Our project manager Angela McDermott began to ask the question: “What should we do to help our partners get through this?”  

We pondered that, as our core mission is to fund building projects providing safety, shelter and security, not day to day operational needs. But, we knew this year was out of the ordinary. The board agreed whole-heartedly to be flexible, and support raising funds to allocate toward basic needs of the children. And you responded by helping raise enough funds to provide emergency relief. You came through and with a $10,000 match, we exceeded the $20,000 goal. With that, we funded a medical clinic for a month for Mainsprings in Tanzania, it bought food for a month for 500 kids living at Open Arms International in Kenya, it provided a month of operations for the home in Myanmar, relief for the poor through Ashirvad in India and basic supplies for St. Teresa’s in Tanzania. Your funds made an impact and filled the gap while our partners figured out alternative ways to fund raise. And we marched on.

In November 2020, we held an online auction to fund pipes, plumbing and fixtures for St. Teresa’s, even irrigation! It was our first online auction and because of you, we exceeded our goal of raising $10,000.

In 2020, we welcomed new partners and projects in various parts of the world. People of Peru, based in Walla Walla Washington is operated by Paul and Sandy Opps in Iquitos Peru. They’re request is to help complete a building already in progress that will serve the kids in their care. Open Arms in Kenya is requesting funds to replace roofs and add solar panels. Angel of Mercy in Cameroon, is requesting help with getting electricity to their site we helped fund more than 10 years ago. We’re also raising funds for 6 computers for Ashirvad. So, we have lots of work to do in 2021.

Even in the face of crises, you answered the call. I appreciate that you see our vision and embrace it. The result is the vulnerable child has safety, shelter and sustainability and a brighter future. As we turn the calendar, we’re marching strong into 2021. Whatever may come, we know you’ll do what you can to help make an impact in the lives of children in need.

I’m looking forward to making 2020 jealous of 2021.

Happy New Year !

2020 in My Blog Titles:

  • March: Stay Safe and Innovate
  • July: Motivate and Mobilize
  • October: BOUNCE: BE RESILIENT

Thank God 2020 is almost over and looking back, most of us fared better than we’d feared. There has been great loss, much of it unseen, but will manifest itself. In and through it all, we stayed safe, innovated, motivated and mobilized, and now we BOUNCE.

We American’s have had it pretty good over the years, and we may just take it for granted. Thus, living through precarious times is unfamiliar to many of us. For me, the hard days of isolation and sadness over endless assaults on personal freedoms brought to mind my all-time favorite poem by Christina Rossetti:

Up-Hill

“Does the road wind up hill all the way? Yes to the very end. Will the day’s journey take the whole long day? From morn to night my friend.” SIGH.

~So, as I BOUNCE, I recognize, hard times come to all, and the road winds up hill all the way. Do we stop half way? NO! Do we sit and rest? No! Do we give up and turn back? Heck NO! We bounce!

Her poem goes on, and ends with hope and comfort for times of need. Rossetti suffered much of her life in not only poverty but loneliness and sickness. She endured rejection, disease, poverty and hard choices, only to bounce in resilience. She stayed with her writing. While caring for family, she reached beyond herself, positively impacting those suffering injustices of her day. She became a renowned poet in spite of the obstacles of society, health, and broken relationships. She bounced.  

Her resilience encourages me. I’m buoyed by her persistence, her grounded values, her looking outside of herself to the needs of others. This is how to bounce.

Does the road wind uphill all the way?

Yes, to the very end my friend.

BOUNCE MY FRIEND! BE RESILIENT!

Training Tips from the MAYO CLINIC
https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/resilience-training/in-depth/resilience/art-20046311

  • Get connected. Building strong, positive relationships with loved ones and friends can provide you with needed support and acceptance in good and bad times. Establish other important connections by volunteering or joining a faith or spiritual community.
  • Make every day meaningful. Do something that gives you a sense of accomplishment and purpose every day. Set goals to help you look toward the future with meaning.
  • Learn from experience. Think of how you’ve coped with hardships in the past. Consider the skills and strategies that helped you through difficult times. You might even write about past experiences in a journal to help you identify positive and negative behavior patterns — and guide your future behavior.
  • Remain hopeful. You can’t change the past, but you can always look toward the future. Accepting and even anticipating change makes it easier to adapt and view new challenges with less anxiety.
  • Take care of yourself. Tend to your own needs and feelings. Participate in activities and hobbies you enjoy. Include physical activity in your daily routine. Get plenty of sleep. Eat a healthy diet. Practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, guided imagery, deep breathing or prayer.
  • Be proactive. Don’t ignore your problems. Instead, figure out what needs to be done, make a plan, and take action. Although it can take time to recover from a major setback, traumatic event or loss, know that your situation can improve if you work at it.

20200713_165457When the Pandemic started, my brave soul shouted out a new motto: Stay Safe and Innovate! Six months in, it’s changed to: Stay Sane and Motivate.

In keeping with shut-ins everywhere, I’m watching more movies. There’s one I watch at least once a year since 1987 called Overboard. I know many of the lines of the script by heart, but I still laugh. Every. Time.

It’s light, entertaining and has two of my favorite actors, Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. The scene that makes me LOL these days is when Kurt’s four unruly sons finding their new Mom rattling around the house murmuring: “Bah ba bah. Bah baah. Bah ba bah. Ba Ba Baaa. Bah Ba Bah.”

This is how I feel these days after too many months of scary pandemic headlines, straightjacketed freedoms, protests and lawless riots.

Watching a funny movie relieves the cloud of oppression until I read the next headline, ugly post or get knifed by glares from masked shoppers as I inadvertently walk down the wrong supermarket aisle.

News updates from varied sources requires slicing and dicing using my left brain right brain like a slice-o-matic. What drives the exhausting headlines are he-said she-said rumors and sensational falsehoods with a dash of truth. It’s exhausting and sometimes I just have to run away from sheltering in place.

I don’t go far… or into the throng. Often it’s a simple ten minute drive to the barn to ride my horse Krizzy that keeps me sane. Krizzy likes the treats I bring and I love the smell of her. She calms me; so it’s a win-win.

It’s often quiet at the barn, so the noises in my head dissipate. Most often I’m the only one on two legs, and the six or seven horses in stalls jealously watch my every move as I groom my mare and saddle her up. After a short walk around the arena, I gather my courage to jump on. Then I close my eyes, breathe, and walk on.

My not so smart watch dings, congratulating me on moving again as my hips flow with deceptive ease walking in rhythm atop Krizzy’s back. She moves with grace and sway as I listen to the birds and watch the clouds pass by. My horse gives a sigh and a snort and I begin to relax. These few moments of calm help me remember that God is in control and He decides what’s next.

So, I am working at living my new motto: Stay sane and Motivate. It’s easier when I’m at the barn, not as easy when I’m force to shelter in place. Still, I drive home with a quieter heart, motivated to breathe, and walk on.

preciousgirlsWhen my head is cleared of all the noise, I can refocus on what brings me joy; like inviting friends and family to come along to help vulnerable children have brighter futures. I know negative distractions serve to only hinder my work. If I let them that is. My reprieve at the barn reminds me that I get to choose what I listen to, I get to embrace the truth, and that which is central to my life. I get to act on my faith, helping children have a safe place to call home. I breathe, and walk on.

I can’t do it all, but I can do something. JH

Dear Orphan Ambassadors, Friends and Supporters,

I hope this short message finds you safe and well.  Doesn’t it feel as if we all have unexpectedly been put on a time out? No one is happy about it, but for the good of all we comply! Thank you for that by the way.

But, there’s no denying I feel a bit like I’ve been sent to my room. Furthermore, I’m in shock. I’m reminded of the shock I felt years ago after being rear ended in my car out of nowhere. A distracted driver came fast over a hill not realizing I was still stopped at the red light. After the impact, I covered my eyes in panic, asking my friend in the front seat if I was bleeding. I forced my eyes open and looked around, there was no blood and we were the only ones sitting in the intersection. What just happened? The driver who rammed us had pulled to the side of the road leaving me in shock, stymied, helpless and fearful.

I feel a bit of shock these days. Suddenly everything is stopped. We can’t see what hit us, but we have to protect ourselves and others. One day we’ll be able to open our eyes and get back to normal, even better than normal I believe. For now, I am engaging my faith, defusing fear. My time is in God’s hands. So, how are you? I hope you have peace today.

So, I’m staying optimistic. Four words are rolling around in my head: BE SAFE AND INNOVATE.

Many companies and individuals are doing just that. We are all responding to being housebound with lots of online school activities… online meetings, online shopping, creative dining out, even church goers lining up in circles in their cars in church parking lots. People will not be stopped! We are really amazingly resilient and it gives me hope.

Be Safe and innovate. With the extra time on my hands, I’ve been researching, strategizing and preparing for ways to safely engage with you. We’re researching a virtual 5K, so stay tuned how you can get out and exercise, while keeping your distance. Angela and I will be doing videos or Vlogs, to enhance our communication. We hope we’ll graduate into small group Facebook Live conversations and maybe a podcast. As a virtual organization, we have a bit of a head start with working from home and at a distance, although we are stumbling about like everyone else figuring out the next best way to stay engaged.  We’ll all find a way! Be Safe and Innovate!

For the Children, Jan

This is what the pandemic’s demise looks like:

“I’m melting, I’m melting! What a world what a world. Who would have thought a good little girl like you could destroy my beautiful wickedness….” From the Wicked Witch, The Wizard of Oz.

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