Guest Blogger : The Burkes Went To Africa

So we went to Africa.

It seems almost as strange to say that now as it was to declare “Oh my gosh, we’re going to Africa!” during the weeks and months leading up to our trip in February this year.

Traveling to Africa has been on our wish lists for as long as either of us can remember.  We didn’t know how we were going to do it, but both of us were hoping we would make the trip one day. And we promised that neither of us would go without the other, which sounds really sweet but actually has more to do with our ongoing competition about who has visited the most countries in their life. Karen’s ahead by two countries so my opinion is that she shouldn’t get to go anywhere that I haven’t been until I catch up.

As it turned out our opportunity came as a result of our sponsoring two kids from Africa through Compassion International. There is a girl, Foasia, living in Burkina Faso, and a boy, Freeman, living in neighboring Ghana. When we began sponsoring them we didn’t have any particular plans to visit them, but I’m sure the idea was lurking somewhere in the backs of our minds. For years we just wrote letters back and forth and tried to get to know them as best we could through pictures and questions.

Then one day while looking at the website, I noticed that Compassion was putting together a sponsors trip to Burkina Faso. Since we were recent empty nesters we felt like a celebration trip was in order, plus Compassion was handling all of the details and that seemed like a good way to experience our first trip to the continent. So over the next several months we shipped our passports off to get the required visas, started gathering everything we thought we’d need, and as the day approached, started taking our malaria meds.

The trip was everything we could have hoped for! Looking back on it now it’s a blur of first impressions, from the heat and dust of rural Burkina Faso to the humidity and clamor of urban Accra in Ghana. The food, the traffic, and the faces of people carving out a life under conditions I can’t imagine. The quality, integrity, and obvious impact of the Compassion work. So many memories, but the ones that stick out most in my mind are the first meetings with each of our kids. It sounds weird, but my initial response to seeing them for the first time was, “Oh my gosh, they’re real people!” Of course I knew that in my head but on some level it was such a revelation! It was like bumping into a real Hollywood celebrity in line at Home Depot (this actually happened to us once with Tom Selleck). Suddenly this person you’ve only seen in pictures and exchanged letters with for years is actually standing there. It’s weirdly awkward at first. On some levels you have developed a relationship with this person, but it’s suddenly clear that in so many ways you don’t really know them at all.

Our time together with each of them was too short, but it did help fill in some of those blanks. For the first time we actually heard what their voices sounded like and enjoyed the sound of their laughter. We talked with them first-hand about their hopes and dreams, and learned some of their struggles. More than anything we just tried to show them that they matter. One of the most devastating impacts of poverty is the way it labels and eventually convinces people that they are worthless. We wanted our kids to know that they are continually on our hearts and in our prayers. We wanted them to see that they can hope for a brighter future. We wanted them to understand that we are willing to go to great lengths to demonstrate our love for them.

So, we went to Africa.

Dave and Karen Burke live in Huntsville, Alabama. They have three grown children of their own, a grandchild on the way, and currently sponsor four children through Compassion.

Guest Blogger : Meg @ Henning Love

Hello Jitney's Journeys followers! My name is Meg and my blog is henning love, where I love to write about life with my husband, our two dogs and share my many many baking adventures with everyone. 

When I describe myself, my identity is not as a wife first but as a daughter of a King. God is my first priority in life and I would be nothing without Him. When Whitney asked if I would guest post, I wanted to share something with you all that God has placed on my heart lately as a priority and that is prayer and the purpose of prayer.

Back in February, my husband brought home a 30/30 challenge prayer book, 30 minutes a day for 30 days.

My relationship with God dramatically changed during this challenge. In this book, I was taught so many different ways to pray, pray using Scripture, pray for other nations, pray for our government leaders are just a few examples. As a result of this challenge, I have found that I continually stay in prayer throughout the day. When I am feeling sad I talk to God and when I am feeling happy I express it to God. I realized through this prayer challenge that I don't have to always be eloquent with my prayers, but being mindful that I am talking to the Creator of the Universe and of my life. 

Undergoing a prayer challenge opened up to my eyes of how much more dependent upon God I need to be for everything and I mean everything. My husband and I were needing more friends in our life so I prayed for that and God has answered that. I am currently unemployed and while He hasn't answered that prayer request yet, I asked God for help and He brought to my mind two past situations and He told me didn't I take care of you through those situations, I will take care of you through this unemployment. 

Our God is a great and mighty God and I am humbled today to be able to share with you more about prayer, the importance of it, bringing all and every requests before God and remaining constantly in pray with Him throughout the day. He wants every part of us, He wants to know when we are in that low valley or when we are standing high on that peak. 

*If any of you are interested in taking this challenge, the university where my husband is a coach at, publishes this books and I have a few copies which I am more than willing to mail to any blogger who wants. 

Guest Blogger : Molly @ Still Being [Molly]

second trimester maternity style - cobalt and white striped Old Navy jersey dress, yellow belt, cobalt Converse Chuck Taylor's - North Carolina Fashion Blogger

Hey everyone! My name is Molly and I blog at still being [molly]. I blog about fashion, my faith, my friends and family, being married, and food! I am SO excited to be guest posting for JD and Whitney today! I absolutely LOVE them and their blog and so I was so honored when they asked me to guest post while they are on their next travel expedition! Well, since the weather is getting warmer and Spring is finally here, that means it's the PERFECT weather for a good burger! I mean, really though, anytime of year is a good time for a burger, but you know what I mean. Well, I want to share with you one of my recipes for my delicious homemade salsa + turkey burgers!

RECIPE: Salsa Turkey Burgers - still being molly

Molly’s Homemade Salsa & Salsa Turkey Burger Recipe(s)
For Molly’s Homemade Salsa (just combine all these ingredients in a blender and boom! you’re done):
  • 1, 14 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1, 14 oz can fire roasted tomatoes (I used Great Value brand at Wal-Mart)
  • 1 medium red onion, quartered
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1-2 jalapeno(s), seeded or not (depends on if you want it spicy – I like it really spicy so I use two fresh jalapenos)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • small handful of fresh cilantro, washed
  • 1/2 tablespoon orange juice
  • juice of 1 fresh lime -or- 1 teaspoon of lime juice
Ingredients for the Patties (Yields 4-6 burgers (depending on how big you make the patties)):
  • 1lb of lean ground turkey meat (you can also use ground chicken or ground beef)
  • 2-4 tablespoons of your favorite salsa (I use my homemade salsa – recipe provided above, but you can use any salsa)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 clove minced garlic (or use 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Ingredients for the “Decoration” of the Burgers
  • 100% whole wheat hamburger buns (I like the Nature’s Own kind)
  • Chipotle Mayo
  • Jalapenos (you can use fresh or pickled… for these burgers I use pickled)
  • Pepperjack cheese
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
MAKING THE PATTIES: Okay, after you’ve made your salsa (or picked out which store-bought salsa you want to use), you’re going to take the ground turkey and place it in a bowl. This part can get kinda gross, and it’s good to have a helper because you want to avoid touching ANYTHING after you’ve touched the raw meat. Combine the turkey, salsa, and ALL seasonings for the patties in a large bowl and mix it with your hands. I actually used one hand to mix it all, that way I know I have one clean hand that I can pick up the ingredients with. Once you’ve got it good and mixed, now you make the patties. You can make the patties small or large depending on how big you want them, BUT, make sure they are FLAT. They will puff up in the middle when you broil them because they’re filled with juices… so make them as flat as you can before you put them in the oven. COOKING THE PATTIES: Now, you can totally GRILL these patties and they would be delicious, BUT, I actually BROIL these patties in the oven to keep them super juicy. If you decide to go this route, here's what you do: BROILING THE PATTIES: On a greased baking sheet, place the patties down with a little bit of salt and pepper on each side. Once the patties are on the baking sheet, place them in the oven with the oven on BROIL. Now, these cook FAST. Flip the patties every 4 minutes and pat them down with a spatula or whatever to flatten them out as they broil. Do this until the center of each patty reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. FOR THE PERFECTLY TOASTED BUNS: On the stove, place your buns with a little bit of Chipotle mayo spread on each side, face DOWN onto a large pan or skillet. Have the heat on low-medium. You can have these toasting while your patties are broiling. MAKING THE BURGERS: Okay, so once the burgers are cooked all the way through, you’re almost ready to eat! Put your patties on a plate and get your desired ingredients out. You’re ready to EAT! Here’s how my burger looks (in order of ingredient top to bottom):
  • Top Bun
  • Chipotle Mayo
  • Salsa
  • Jalapenos
  • Lettuce
  • Tomato
  • Pepper-jack cheese
  • Salsa turkey burger patty
  • Chipotle Mayo
  • Bottom Bun
Yeah, it's pretty much the most delicious thing ever. Now, time to enjoy! What about you? Do you have any delicious burger recipes you'd like to share? Be sure to stop by my blog and let me know! Thanks again to Whitney and JD for having me today!

Guest Blogger : Lindsy @ LMR Photos

Hi, there!  I'm Lindsy and I blog over at with my husband, Dan, but as a travelling musician and full-time dad he doesn't show up very often.  I'm a photographer, work at home mom, and we have a kiddo whom the internets shall call "BB", "The BeeBs" or "Baby Bread".

I am so honored that Whitney asked me to post for her while she travels!  I wanted to post about something very near to my heart:  foster parenting!  There seem to be so many misconceptions about foster parenting and I hear some crazy things from well-meaning people so I wanted to give my two cents.  We haven't been doing this long, just a little over a year and a half.  Being foster parents has radically changed our lives and we are beyond blessed by all that God has done for us. I've been getting some great questions in response to our Why We Became Foster Parents post so if you're interested go ahead and check that out and ask us anything!

Becoming a foster parent:  While you do have to pass a background check and complete an application and interview process, you don't have to be a lot of things that you might think you need to be! Race, ethnic background, and income level are not an issue for foster care. You dont have to be rich, married, a homeowner or live in a huge house and you can be a first- time parent.  We were licensed in 90 days and start receiving calls right away!  There are so many kids in the system that it doesn't take long.  This is awesome for adoption-minded families that may not want to wait months or years for a private agency.  As far as costs and services, our kiddo gets free daycare, food assistance, therapy and tons of hand-me-downs.  The stipend that you do get paid is, um, well, not much so you can guarantee that no one is signing up for foster care to make the big bucks.  Which is a good thing because it means that we're all doing it because we want to. 

Attachment:  To be honest, my love for BB was pretty shallow at first but it has grown as he's attached to us and we to him. When it comes to foster parenting, you can never hold back your love for these kids. These kids desperately need to know that they are loved whether they're with you for a day, week, year, or forever. We were told by a long- time foster-mom, "You are the adults, you can handle the loss and that is never a reason to withhold love!"  Loving just for the sake of loving, loving no matter what, that's true love.  I guess that's what we do. What fostering a child has done for me and my heart has been life-changing. Being a foster parent has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I'm taking care of someone's child, loving him as my own, attempting to give him the best childhood possible and showing him that there is a God who loves him. It’s awesome. Simply put.

We are so honored to have gotten many messages from people who have told us they're considering foster care now, too! That is the best news! If you feel a little tugging at your heart strings, please consider becoming a foster parent or donating your time/resources/hand-me-downs to a foster family. It is truly the best gift you can give a child.  If you want to know more, find a local agency and start asking questions and feel free to contact us, too!  

Guest Blogger : Ruthy @ Discovery Street

Hi there! I'm Ruthy from Discovery Street; a lifestyle blog documenting my days as a wife, new mom, and homeowner. Pre baby my life was about adventure, travels, food and making something from nothing--currently life revolves around a 17 pound blue eyed ginger haired girl named Parker Penny...I swear she's my daughter...but she clearly took after her father. 

Our path to where we currently are in life was not the road most traveled; but we wouldn't have it any other way.


I LOVED going to pre-marital counseling. But that probably doesn't come as a surprise to those who know me; I'm totally into psycho babble regarding personality assessments. I heart taking "get to know yourself better" tests. I love Myers Briggs, birth order analysis and learning about love languages. So seeing how my partner and I "matched" up was really fun and interesting. I think it helps that we were already "pre-determined" as compatible based on e-Harmony's matching system, but it was pretty confirming to hear our counselor say that we were one of the highest scoring couples he's ever counseled. (Aww yea!) I realize that points and answering questions on-line regarding our viewpoints on finances, children, roles, communication, etc are not the be all end all of determining a successful marriage. But it sure was great to learn that we have similar outlooks on the "big stuff."

The most significant thing I took from this experience was the answer to this question. Our counselor asked, "Five years from now, when the romance and novelty has worn off and you've had the fight to end all fights and I ask you, why did you marry _____, what is your answer?" We each answered sincerely and lovingly and looked back at our counselor pleased with our answers looking for affirmation. We learned our answers revolved around how I made Andyfeel and how he made me feel. He told us our answers revolved around ourselves....that the other person was fulfilling our individual expectations or desires. But what happens when those expectations or desires stop being met? This is when a lot of marriages start falling apart because this is the basis of "why I married _____." 

Our counselor explained that marriage is a calling. (*We went to a Christian counselor, so "calling" includes a spiritual connotation). Five, ten, or 20 years from now if Andy and I are going through a rough patch and someone asks me why I married him...I'll say without hesitation, I was called to. When you feel called to do something, when you know without a shadow of a doubt that your marriage is a divine appointment, you don't let anything stand in your way. This truly was an "ah-hah" moment for me. I wonder how many marriages might make it through the rough times if they truly understood before hand that they were called to be husband and wife. Called not to just love each other, but called to honor, respect and serve one another even when we don't feel like it.

Guest Blogger Intro!

Prepare yourselves.

The next four blog posts are going to rock your world, all thanks to the help of these lovely ladies:

We've asked Ruthy, Lindsy, Molly and Meg to entertain and challenge you while JD and I take off for a couple of weeks.

Y'all are going to love reading the posts these women have prepared. 

In the meantime, head over to their blogs and you will instantly see why I asked each of them specifically to share something amazing with you. They all have hearts for the Lord that will blow your mind and encourage you to live out the Gospel in a more beautiful way.

{scheduled for may 2}

Lindsy @ LMR Photos
{scheduled for may 7}

{scheduled for may 9}

{scheduled for may 14}

We're excited to return mid-May to share some amazing stories of how God is moving through our family!!