Thursday, December 29, 2011

Merry Christmas to Huruma Children's Home!!!

I just LOVE it when I can post pictures of kiddos receiving their Leigh's Blankies, this posting and pictures are very dear to my heart!!! If you remember back in August I had posted about our delivery of 75 blankies to Mama Zipporah from Huruma Children's Home in Kenya (read more here). Mama Z saved those blankies for Christmas gifts for all the boys at Huruma.  She has blessed us with some BEAUTIFUL pictures of the boys with their blankies AND their brand new dormitory where they each have their own bed! Praise God!

We love you Mama Z and thank you for doing God's work in Kenya!
For more information about Huruma Children's Home, read here.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lord, you are providing, moving, and loving us closely!

Malawi, Haiti x2, China x2, Mexico x2, Phoenix, Joplin MO, Kenya, Poland, Thailand, Philippines, Honduras, ...and India here we come!
Posted by Picasa

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A Christmas Blankie

This sweet little one was given a Christmas Leigh's Blankie, bought by his auntie at a special event- Cornerstone's Believe Boutique!!!

Precious boy!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Blankies headed to Honduras!!

My sweet friend called me this past week because a midwife from Gilbert Mercy Hospital is collecting blankies to send to an area in Honduras where newborn babies are wrapped in paper garbage bags.
Here are some nurses with Leigh's Blankies, I wish we could have sent thousands of blankies!!!!

Blankies at Nikki's Place in Thailand!!!

A few months ago I enjoyed a visit from the sweet Stowell Family.  Debbie and Matt Stowell had been in a couple's bible study with Greg and Leigh Ann (Tonkinson) just before Leigh passed away. They were very good friends and enjoyed sharing life and their families together. Debbie and Matt felt God's calling to do work in Thailand and moved there this last year.  I was so thrilled to be able to see Debbie and the kids when they came for a visit, and upon that visit they picked up a batch of Leigh's Blankies to distribute back at their home in Thailand! It was touching for them to be a part of something that honored Leigh's life as they love the Tonkinson family dearly.  This was another opportunity for them to make an impact on the children in their community as well.  

Debbie and her kids picking out their special blankies for the kiddos in Thailand.

They decided to donate the blankies to a very special place called
Nikki's Place-Agape Home, which is a home that provides love and care to abandoned or orphaned babies and children with, or at risk of, HIV/AIDS.
Below are amazing pictures of the little one's at Nikkie's Place with  Leigh's Blankies!

Debbie and a sweet one from Nikki's Place

 The Stowell girls lovin on the little girls.

I'm thankful for Debbie and Matt's friendship and
their willingness to be the hands and feet of Christ over in Thailand!!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Blankies headed to Mexico...

Leigh's Blankies are used to comfort and warm children. They're used as mats for little ones to sleep on. Now some children in Mexico will use them as a sack to carry their belongings. I received a forwarded email from a sweet friend,now 43 blankies are headed to Mexico!!! Here's why...

"There is another village in Mexico that hasn't been adopted. I think there are 17 boys and 22 girls, but I can confirm. This is a village that can't have a lot of "things" because they are much more mobile than the other one,and have to "pick up and go" at the command of the Padron (boss of the ...field work). She thinks that more practical than having a toy,would actually be a blanket for the children,because they can wrap their only possessions in it when they have to move with mom and dad to field work,but will still have something soft and special. Any chance Andra and her team would have enough blankets to fill that order? Cindy's pastor down there would present them as part of a Christmas program,sharing about Jesus. He calls each child up individually and presents them with their only Christmas gift in the name of Jesus and gives them a big hug."

God, Thank you for Leigh's Blankies!! And thank you for the hands that sew with us!! God, please be with these children!

Believe Boutique was a HUGE Blessing!!

Thank you so much for making our fundraiser at the Believe Holiday Boutique a huge success!!! We met SO many wonderful people and raised enough to make SEVERAL HUNDRED more blankies!!!

Andra, Maria and Deanne in front of a stocked cabinet of blankies!

I want to thank Maria, Deanne and Linda (not pictured) for working the weekend with me! These women prayed, sewed, and talked to countless people at the boutique about Leigh's Blankies. I am so grateful to them! Thank you to Molly at The Tomkat Studio for our beautiful packaging labels, because of her help, each person who bought a blankie received our website information. I loved our wood signs at our booth, made and donated by Dawn from Sassy Talk! Thank you to Jenne Acevedo for writing a beautiful article about us in the Believe Vendor Guidebook, which was handed to every shopper who came through our doors.   Modern Woodmen of America matched our funds raised at the boutique, we are so grateful to them! And thank you to the many, many women who sewed and help prepare everything! So much work went into this fundraiser, we give God the glory for it all coming together!  

I am in the process of collecting pictures of sweet little ones with their Leigh's Blankies.  If you bought a blankie at the boutique...please send a picture to and I'll compile them for our website! How fun!!  Blankies were bought for newborns, toddlers, big kids, adults...even dogs!! My favorite blankies were our Christmas prints. It's so fun to have a special blankie on the couch for the Christmas season!

Judy (Greg Tonkinson's mom), Andra's grandma and many others came to support us!

Andra and Kathe Wunnenberg

As we wrapped up the boutique, we got to hand deliver some blankies to very special lady at the boutique. Kathe Wunnenberg, who founded Hope Lifters, led myself and some other ladies in a grief group at church this past year.  She loved on all of us experiencing grief and encouraged us with the love of God.  Two of us in that group went on to start non-profit organizations. Myself and Shayla, who founded Owl Love you Forever, were impacted in a big way by the wisdom and truth Kathe spoke into our lives.  I am so grateful for the divine appointment God made for Kathe and I. We gave Kathe blankies for her Hope Lifters Ministry. Often Kathe meets women who have lost children, holding a blankie can sometimes bring comfort to them.  Kathe has also written and published three books on loss, you can check them out here at her website or on Amazon.

We are all so excited to see where God will send the next several hundred blankies!!

Check back for more updates, follow us on Twitter or "like" us on Facebook!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Blankies on sale at the BELIEVE: Holiday Boutique Nov. 4th and 5th!!!

Hey friends!
I wanted to let you know of a wonderful event that is happening next weekend at Cornerstone Church! Believe Holiday Boutique is an annual event at Cornerstone that raises money for the Women's Networking ministry. I've been serving on the Believe team for the last 3 years, and it is such a privilege. Leigh's Blankies has been given an incredible fundraising opportunity at the Boutique this year! We will be selling the blankies for $20 each, and for every blankie sold TWO will be donated to children in need. EXCITING!!!
Looking back over these last several months, God has truly blessed this ministry. Over 500 blankies have been hand made and distributed to Kenya, Haiti, Malawi, Poland, Tunisia, China, Guatemala, Joplin MO, and to adoptive families and their birth mothers in the Phoenix area. We'd like to continue to grow this ministry and watch God lead us where He wants us to go. We are open to His will and His desires for this ministry. I never would have dreamed that we'd have over 40 people on our team for Leigh's Blankies, From our home sewers to our gals that iron at sew nights, each one that is involved has a very special place in my heart. Their willingness to serve, the light that each one exudes and the diligence into getting these blankies made is admirable. They all desire to bring joy to children but most of all honor the Lord. I want to thank each of you for getting us prepared for this Boutique!!! With the sale of these blankies, we have the potential to raise enough money to fund our fabric for next year! And not only that, here's some BIG news!! A fraternal insurance company is going to match our raised funds up to $1500 for this event!!! SERIOUSLY!!! ;)

SOOOO....please come check out the boutique. It is so much fun and you'll get your Christmas shopping done! And come on by and shop for some blankies. They are so soft, cute and some little cutie is going to love one. We even have a Christmas line :).

Love to you all, and thanks for YOUR love!

(Any donation made at this event to Leigh's Blankies, beyond the sale of the blankie, is tax deductible).

Click on the Believe image for more information!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

You can serve others through Leigh's Blankies!

First I have to apologize, it's been a long time since you've heard from me on this blog! We have been BUSY making and distributing blankies. Now it's time to update you on what's been going on!!
I'm so excited to share with you that a local preschool, Ladybug Learning Club, has asked to fundraise for us and they are including the little preschoolers in the process! Last month, they had each student bring their own blankie to school.  The teachers talked to them about the security and comfort their own blankie brings to each of them.  And that many children who are in need or are hurting could use the comfort of a blankie and the news that God loves them! Ladybug has a drop off station for fabric, thread and other sewing materials. They will be collecting materials all year long! Thank you God for this blessing!
Another way we are seeing others serve children is through our take home kits! Many, many people are now sewing Leigh's Blankies from home.  And even having their own sewing parties!
One sweet friend, Kristina Stansbury, wanted to share her own experience as she hosted her own sew party! I'm so thankful for her servant heart, as she not only hosted , but taught these ladies how to sew!
"Ladybug preschool has chosen Leigh's Blankies as a service project this year. One of the parents at the school is a friend of mine and mentioned she'd love to help if she knew how to sew. Another friend, who has been following Leigh's Blankies, wanted to learn how to use her sewing machine and make blankies too. Using a kit provided by Leigh's Blankies these ladies learned how to sew and created blankies. What joy to fellowship while sewing these snugly blankies for a child in need."

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Grateful for you Betty!

These are just SOME of the many blankies Betty has sewn for Leigh's Blankies! You may remember me writing about her here. I am so thankful for Betty and her servant's heart! She is blessing so many little ones with her willingness to sew for Leigh's Blankies! And she does an AMAZING job.
Thank you Betty!!!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Incredible Pictures & Story from the Poland Blankie Delivery!!! Guest Author: Susie Marr

Susie Marr in Poland with Joni and Friends - Wheels for the World
Read about prior to her trip here!
Somebody loves their lobster blankie! I love this smile...

These children's lives will be forever impacted because of their new chairs!

Well, it has been a month since I returned from Poland. I wanted to let you all know that we were able to give all of the blankies away while in Poland. I am including a few pictures of the children I was able to personally give the blankets to after I was able to fit them with a new wheelchair. There were 3 wheelchair specialists on our trip and I have not gotten every one's pictures yet. When I do, I will forward on those also. We had about 10 extra blankets that we were able to give to a children's hospital in Poland. Thank you so much for this wonderful blessing. As we saw each person at our distribution sites, we were able to give them physical freedom in the way of a new wheelchair, spiritual freedom in the way of presenting the gospel after we fitted each of our new friends with a chair, and a BIG warm HUG in the form of Leigh's Blankies!! Our new Polish friends are so appreciative......thank you again for being a part of this ministry with your gifts to make the blankets, send the blankets.....and pray for us who take Leigh's Blankies all over the world!! God is so good. Isn't it wonderful being a part of the family of God!!!
Susie Marr

Thank you Susie for being the hands and feet of Christ and traveling to Poland!!!
What an awesome ministry!!! Such a privilege for us to partner with you!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Labels: God answers our prayers!!!

I am AMAZED by God's goodness! As you have read, we are completely out of labels for our blankies! We originally ordered 500 labels & have made/distributed almost all of the 500 blankies.We have been praying and asking for the funds to purchase more.  Jeremy & I sat down this morning to pray about how to purchase more labels with the funds that have been donated. We hesitated to order the "minimum" as the cost goes up per label. God answered our prayers! Today, the label company offered to print us A THOUSAND labels for a fraction of the regular price!!! With the donations that have come in, we can order 200 labels and the company will hold on to the rest until we can afford to order more!!! THANK YOU for your prayers & support!

I honetly can't wait to run out of labels again, because it just means 1000 blankies are covering little ones all over the world!

Here is the link for our label company, I would highly recommend them! Not only did they do a fantastic job on the labels, their service has been incredible!

Blankies in Kenya!!

Delivering the boy's blankies to Mama Zipporah and her daughter, Caroline, at Cornerstone Chandler. They are so grateful for the blankies!

Huruma Children's Home, in Kenya, has always had a special place in my heart. Mama Zipporah, the home's founder and director, is well known around my home church as the amazing mother to over hundred children in Africa. She began Huruma with just one child and now is bursting at the seams! When I first heard Mama speak at Cornerstone, she was here visiting and reporting on how things were going back in Kenya. Our church supports Huruma  and we were excited to here how God is working in the lives of the children. Something she said hit me like a ton of bricks. Because of the limited space at the home, the bed space was very limited. In a three tiered bunkbed slept 6 children. Three small children on the bottom, two children in the middle and an older child on the top. Can you picture it? This image was burned in my mind. As a church, God called us to pray and make a difference in their living and sleeping space. And praise the Lord, this Fal,l a brand new boy's dormitory will open with a bed for each boy at Huruma!!!

So knowing that brand new beds would be given to the boys, guess what came to my mind?? BLANKIES! I had the privilege of speaking with Mama Zipporah on her most recent visit to Chandler and it blessed me so much! Her compassion and interest in Leigh Ann's life warmed my heart. I explained the mission of Leigh's Blankies and she responded, "You want others to remember Leigh Ann! And now children will have blankies!" Yes, Mama, you got it. :)

As I spoke with her about the blankies she explained how each bed could use a blanket. I said , "How many do you need?" And she said, "A ton!!!" So this month, 75 blankies made it over to Kenya in the suitcases of the Cornerstone's missions team and every boy's bed with have a blanket!! They were double the size of our regular blankies, as they needed to cover the mattresses. And they were made with tons of color to brighten up their rooms!

This all happened because of God's goodness! Our May fundraiser yard sale raised almost $750, and guess how much the large sized Kenya blankies cost? The materials came to around $775!!! Truly amazing!

We had a ton of women participate in sewing these blankies and many people donated items and time to the yard sale. I want to thank everyone for their time, love and encouragement! I look forward to continually sewing and working with you all again!

Next year, Mama Zipporah prays to have a girl's dormitory with beds for each daughter. And the of course, she said they will need blankies for those beds!! I'm excited to begin that project! And I hope some day to go to Huruma and love on each of those precious children!!

For more information on Huruma and how you can help support them and their ministry click here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Praying for labels!

We ordered 500 labels for Leigh's Blankies and they are officially....GONE! :) Amazed that we have made and distributed over 500 blankies!!! Please pray with us for the funds to order more labels! God has provided so much and we are thankful for what he has done and what He is doing with this ministry. Our link to to our PayPal donation account is to the left sidebar for those interested in donating. Thank you!!!
Published with Blogger-droid v1.7.0

Friday, July 1, 2011

Blankie Kits!!!

The idea for our home "Blankie Kits" was a gift from God!!! My dear friend, Kathe, has encouraged me from the start of Leigh's Blankies. Kathe leads my grief group at my church, Cornerstone Chandler, and has been a huge part of my grief process and helping me to adapt to this "new normal" of living life here without Leigh Ann. Please check out her blog here, God is using her in many ways as she walks along side women experience grief.  When I started this ministry, it was overwhelming keeping up with the sewing, as the blankies were being requested often! Kathe encouraged me to make home kits for people to take home and make the blankies themselves!!  The kits have been a hit! We have almost 70 blankies out in the community right now in home kits that will be returned and distributed to children all in the next month!
Here is a note from Betty, a friend who has been doing some BEAUTIFUL sewing for Leigh's Blankies! Betty got involved with Leigh's Blankies through my dear friend, Maria.

Just maybe a week after I said to my husband that I needed a hobby to do at home (and housework does not count) Maria sent an email to our Pastor's wife and ask if anyone would be interested in helping sew blankies for children as a ministry....I got the email and forwarded it on to the prayer chain that I send the emails on to and after maybe another week the Lord spoke to me that it was something I could do to help as I like to sew.
I would encourage "Senior Believers" that when you think you have nothing more to give that the Lord can change those thoughts for you and you can do many things to help being strengthened by our Almighty God.
Thank you Maria for inviting me to join you in helping in Leigh's Blankie ministry.
I like to pray over each one as I do the final pressing and folding for the child that will receive it and that God blesses their lives.
God Bless
If you would be interested in picking up a home Blankie Kit, feel free to contact me!! Or if you have a story to share from your involvement in Leigh's Blankies, send it to me. Others will be encouraged by the work God is doing!!
A Blankie Kit includes enough fabric for 5 blankies, 5 Leigh's Blankies labels, and instructions. 

Group Sew Nights!!!

One of the things I enjoy the most about this ministry is our Group Sew Nights!! It is so amazing to see how God brings different women to minister together! We meet in our home and form an "assembly line" with sewing machines, fabric cutters, ironers, hand stitchers, fabric folders, and "home kit" packers!!! It is truly exciting to see the blankies created and loved on by each individual.  And we love sharing stories of how God is impacting our lives through this ministry!

I'm new to sewing myself, so I'm thankful I have the opportunity to be encouraged by seasoned sewers that  attend.  And it is AWESOME to see women arrive who have never sewn and leave the sew night with new skills!!! We have a few ladies that have learned to sew on Leigh's Blankies and now attend our sew nights regularly or complete home kits for us! What a privilege to see individuals learn, grow and give back!!!  Little ones are touched by these blankies, but the women who sew them feel equally blessed! If you would like to get to involved, please feel free to contact me! Home kits are available with fabric, instructions and labels!

My girls love Leigh's Blankies and I love having them a part of it!

Completed blankies ready to be sent out!!!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Blankies on their way to Poland! Guest Author: Susie Marr

My name is Susie Marr. I am heading to Poland with Joni and Friends - Wheels for the World. Poland is a developing country and it is very difficult to get a wheelchair there. I as a Physical therapist assistant will be fitting people to the wheelchairs that we have sent over there. We will also be hosting a Day Camp for families with children with special needs. When Andra heard about this mission trip she asked if I would take Leigh's Blankies. I have had the privilege of knowing both Andra and Leigh Ann. Greg and Leigh Ann were at our church when they were first married. When Andra was in high school I was her youth leader at church. I am so honored to take these blankets and carry on the legacy and Godly influence that Leigh Ann continues to have. Many of you have lovingly made these blankets and partner with me as my team gives them to the children we meet on our travels. Thank you all so much for allowing me to be part of this too! Can't wait to see what God will do!! I will keep you posted and share pictures when I return!
--Susie Marr

Susie and Leigh's Blankies!!!
Please pray for Susie and the Joni and Friends Team as they travel to Poland tomorrow!


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Blankies delivered to Joplin MO...Our prayers are with those in Joplin!

 The tornado that went through Joplin Missouri last week had all of us praying and grieving for those that lost their homes, belongings and loved ones.  The night of the tornado, many people across the US were scrambling to see how they could help.  Joplin residents would need everything. Food, shelter, medical supplies, camping gear, clothes, blankets, etc.

I couldn't help but think of  the small children in Joplin without their blankies that night.  Blankies provide security and comfort to small children. With their world turned upside down now, due to the devastation of the tornado, we definitely saw the need for Leigh's Blankies to be sent there.  As I prayed for the families that night and stewed about how we could help them, God gaves us an answer! On Facebook, I found news about a man, Sean Wright, from The Grove Church, who was packing a trailer with goods for Joplin and he was driving it out there the very next day!

As I showed up that next morning with the blankies, it was such a blessing for me to witness the generous response of others!  Below is a picture of Sean organizing just some of the goods donated that morning.

I enjoyed meeting Sean and telling him about Leigh's Blankies.  His wife had taught Sunday School with Leigh Ann and she had been personally touched by Leigh's friendship and her willingness to serve children.  Sean was excited to deliver these blankies to some of the little one's in Joplin! And he genuinely communicated his eagerness to get to there and help in any way he could. His humble heart and willingness to go showed an examle of how to be the hands and feet of Christ.

Fundraiser Yard Sale!

I enlisted a few sweet friends to help me kick off our Leigh's Blankies' Fundraiser Yard Sale!!! They helped me price, move and organize the many donations we received from several different families! I couldn't have done this sale without the help of others, so to all those that participated...THANK YOU!!!

During the sale, we had several shoppers interested in our ministry.  One gentleman had adopted his 2 daughters from an orphanage in Columbia and teared up thinking about the children in orphanages receiving Leigh's Blankies. Another woman had been looking for a way to serve in her community and wants to sew with us! One gal, Rebecca, stopped and cried as she read on this easel about Leigh Ann and the blankies.  For the last year, she had been following Greg's blog (Leigh's Ann's husband) and her heart had been heavy for his family's loss. But she had also felt encouraged by God's faithfulness through his grief and was inspired by Greg's choice to keep trusting in the Lord through pain and hardship. We couldn't deny that God wanted her at our yard sale that morning. This gal has been personally touched by this situation, but she also sews and wants to join us in making the blankies!  

We raised almost $750 at this yard sale! All of which is going towards the purchase of fabric for a delivery to Huruma Children's Home in Kenya!!! Check back soon for more details!!!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Delivery to Christian Family Care Agency!

This is a beautiful picture to me!

My family has a deep love for Christian Family Care Agency (CFCA), as we adopted both of our girls through their agency.  In 2005 we first met our case worker, Carole, and  began our adoption paperwork.  She counseled us, mentored us and has continued to love and pray for our family through our adoption finalizations and as our children have grown older.  Leigh Ann and her husband, Greg, also had a relationship with Carole, as they had completed their adoption paperwork through CFCA in 2009 and had been waiting for an adoption placement before Leigh Ann died.  You can imagine how touched we were when Carole called and said CFCA would like to receive Leigh's Blankies, but not only that, had a specific plan for the blankies.
Their staff had come up with the idea for us to make a matching set of blankies for them, one small and one of regular size. Baby could be wrapped in the regular sized blankie and be held by birth mom in the hospital. When it's time for baby to go home, that blankie could be sent home with the baby and new adopted family. And then the matching small blankie could be sent home with the birth mom  to keep by her side, in her purse or as a keepsake.
This concept touches my heart so deeply as I'm sure it does yours.  You can imagine the grief a birth mother experiences when placing her baby in the arms of another mother. I've only experienced the receiving side of adoption placement, but my heart is tender towards birthmothers. We maintain semi-open adoptions with both our birthmoms and love them deeply. We pray that God heals their pain and their grief and blesses their lives for their incredibly selfless decisions they made for their babies. 

We pray these blankies are a blessing to them!

Carole and our girls with the first batch of matching set of Leigh's Blankies! 

THANK YOU for your support for Leigh's Blankies!!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Blankies in Haiti!!! Thank you Lord for this blessing!

I'm continually amazed to see God's hand with Leigh's Blankies. My hope is that in every step of the process in making these blankies, God is glorified!!  Whether we are at the store counter ordering fabric or delivering these blankies over seas, may God be glorified for his goodness and faithfulness in all of it! 

Pictured above is Paul (The Grove Church) and John (Good Neighbor Orphanage Director in Port au Prince) and 20 of  Leigh's Blankies!! :) Yes, that makes me smile! The blankies were distributed starting with the youngest child, working up to the older children. There are 30 children that live at Good Neighbor Orphanage (GNO) and they are hoping to grow their facilities and house more! I wanted to include the information below from GNO's website. I'm sure it will lead you to pray and possibly support these children!

The Orphanage 

Waiting for breakfast
So to give you a quick peak into the orphange as it is now. The current dorm building was put up after the earthquake.  It is two rooms-girls and boys.  There are 3 bunks per room (double on bottom, twin on top) which sleep 5 allowing for 15 girls and 15 boys.  The orphange is not set up to take in infants because of the extra care, money and staff they require.  Our youngest child is two years old.
 Sophie, Esther, and Vivi live in the dorm rooms with the children and oversee their care.  In addition there is extra support staff that works during the day to take care of the cooking, washing, bathing, hair, etc. 
Wash day

Visit the website for Good Neighbor Orphanage here.
Good Neighbor Orphanage is serving orphans in Haiti, and seeks to educate, care for and when possible find homes for orphans in Haiti.