Ways to Help After Our Tragedy

As most of you have learned by now, I’ve recently been widowed a second time in less than six years. You can read a little more about that here. Additionally, over the last year, my husband and I were privileged to adopt three beautiful Bulgarian children and one adorable little boy from the local foster system. In addition to our 5 older biological children (ages 17, 20, 21, 26, and 27), our youngest children (3 boys and a girl) are ages 3, 6, 7, and 9. Three of the four have diagnosed special needs. As you can only imagine, our needs are GREAT!

Prayer is our number one need, and I don’t make that request lightly. Additionally, the following are other tangible ways you can serve our family. Several have been suggested or set up by friends, and they’ve been HUGE helps during this time period where access to regular income is inconsistent, at best. Others might be simple ways to some of you that would offer significant service to us.

Just an FYI…This is COMPLETELY out of my comfort zone (asking for help that is), and I’m almost embarrassed to do it, but God is working with me on that sin of pride, so I’m trying to do what I feel He’s given me permission to do.

Financial

GoFundMe: Simply click on the link here and follow the steps to make a donation of any amount. This has been a significant tool in helping to keep us afloat and meet the unexpected financial needs that arise (medical bills have been HUGE for us this year…for the kids’ therapies and for my multiple surgeries).

Paypal: You can also click here and send a donation to my Paypal account using the Friends and Family feature (to avoid any fees). My Paypal account is leahstirewalt25@yahoo.com

Gift via check: We’ve received several gifts by check, and I’m happy to pass along my address if you don’t have it. Just send me an email at leahstirewalt25@yahoo.com to request the address please.

Freezer Meals: It’s been a blessing to receive freezer meals dropped off at various times over the last six months, and I can’t tell you how helpful that truly has been. On nights when I just don’t have it in me to cook, I can simply pull out one of the very generous freezer meals offered to our family, and we eat like royalty. I know freezer meal cooking is a ministry for some people, and we’ve been truly been blessed by it several times.

Other

Gift cards: This has been a HUGE blessing so far. We’ve received gift cards from all over…gas, restaurants, VISA, grocery, and even some for a movie outing. God knows our needs…just allow Him to guide.

Cards: I can think of no better encouragement than to receive a hand-written card in the mail. That is truly one of my love-languages. I’m happy to share our address if you send me an email asking for it please: leahstirewalt25@yahoo.com

Rescued and Restored – This is the book I published that came out in June, 2016 that chronicled that first year of widowhood following my first time as a widow. Little did I know then that less than a year after that book came out, I’d be walking a similar path. While it doesn’t pay much, each time someone purchases the softcover edition or the Kindle version, I get a little royalty. Every little bit helps. You can find it here!

#HeIsStillGood T-shirts – We now have #HeIsStillGood T-shirts available through a TeeSpring campaign in both long and short sleeved tees – also in various colors (for toddlers, children, and adults)! A great conversation starter. I decided to design the shirt with the sample hashtag message that I keep repeating in light of our recent tragedy of losing Joel. In spite of those difficulties we may go through in this life, I believe with every ounce of fiber in my being…God is STILL good! Nothing can take that away from me. I found I started using the hashtag phrase #HeIsStillGood all the time, so why not put it on a shirt too and help to raise a little money for our family during these uncertain times. It’s been very well-received so far! Check it out by clicking here!

Some fun things to do with the kids: We’ve had a gift of mini golf that’ll we using soon, but anything you can think of that might be a nice little outing to do with the kids. If it’s something major (i.e. Carowinds), please know I can’t handle all 4 littles on my own in a big place like that and an adult or mature teenage helper would need to be factored in. (I can find the helper…just need that factored into ticket counts.) If God has blessed you with the ability to give fun gifts on a more expensive scale, something that’s close to us but would be a HUGE blessing to the kids (and me) would maybe be a weekend at The Great Wolf Lodge or a trip to Pigeon Forge, etc. Again, these are just ideas that friends have suggested, so I thought I would include them. We are walking through new, unexpected territory, so it doesn’t take much to put a smile on our face when it comes to someone blessing our family. We consider EVERY blessing a HUGE blessing from God Himself! Update: We were given a trip for 6 to Disney World in July! My heart remains overwhelmed with gratitude for such a tremendous gift. Thank you so much to our gracious benefactor(s). God will bless you immensely for this! The kiddos and I had an incredible week, and it helped to take the sting out of mission daddy for a little while.

Handy-man type things around the house: We have work (some possibly fairly significant) that could involve a plumber, electrician, carpenter, and possible contractor (for a longer-term project). We also have simpler jobs that just involve hanging pictures, etc. Update: many of these things are being tackled already, but there seems to be a never-ending list, so feel free to volunteer to serve in this capacity if you feel so led.

Yard work: This was Joel’s gift – not mine. I can hop on the John Deere and figure it out, but I would love someone to show me what weeds need to pull or if they are plants that will simply bloom again. I really am that bad outdoors but appreciate the absolute beauty of a home with curb appeal. We have been blessed with many people helping to keep the lawn mowed. However, the other areas are getting out of control: pulling weeds, weed-eating, trimming back trees and bushes, cutting down and removing a dead tree, and much, much more!

Handmade gifts to honor Joel: Another love language of mine. Some of you are so gifted and talented and have already offered to make things for us to honor that sweet man of mine…jewelry, memory quilt, portrait painting, shadow boxes, prayer shawl, pillows from some of his shirts, etc. We welcome any and all ideas in this category!!!

Respite care for mommy: As an introvert…this is how I re-energize, so this is HUGE!!! I obviously can’t just take a complete stranger in to do something like this, but I know some of you have already hinted at this, and we can talk further.

House cleaning: We’ve already been gifted one house cleaning, and that was HUGE! That would certainly be welcomed again!

Massage/mani-pedi/spa day: This sounds so trivial, but when your whole world falls apart, and the love of your life is suddenly gone…you no longer have someone reminding you of your beauty and worth. Sometimes…a little pampering can go a long way! I’m still looking for a hairdresser in the area too. Anyone you care to recommend?

Amazon Shoppers – I know many of you shop on Amazon. If you do, would you consider using my referral link…just click HERE and shop for whatever you need? It’s just another small way I can earn a few pennies, and they add up over time.

That’s what I can think of right now. I’ll tweak the list as things are handled or if something else needs be added. But, here’s a way to start if you feel led to help a twice-widowed woman and her former orphans.

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