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What potholders, tigers, and Ethiopia have in common

“Mom, I’d like to sell my potholders so that I can give the money away.” Tate, my 8-year-old said this rather nonchalantly as we were driving from school to gymnastics. She got one of those rite-of-passage potholder loop kits from the grandparents for Christmas, and she’s been a weaving machine this spring.

“I like that idea a lot, Tate. How much would you sell them for?” I asked. “Oh, something like twenty-five cents or maybe fifty cents or maybe a dollar,” she replied, quite the entrepreneur.

“What would you give the money to?”

She thought for a moment. “Well, I can’t decide between homeless people or tigers.” I tried not to laugh. “Tigers?” I asked.

“Yeah, there’s a certain type that’s endangered, and I’d like to give money to people who are helping stop that.” She’s always been an animal lover.


I loved her heart and her ideas, so I promised we would look in to how she could give her proceeds to organizations that helped both these efforts. And then I also remembered that we’re about to launch the second phase of fully-funding some work done in an Ethiopian village.

“Hey Tate, would you also be interested in giving some of your profits to work being done in a small village in Ethiopia? It helps lots of mamas with little babies, giving them supplies they need and teaching them how to take care of them.” One of our Compassion children lives in Ethiopia, so I knew she’d recognize the country.

“Ooh, yeah! I wanna do that, too.” Bless her.

So I’m gonna help my little entrepreneur with some more supplies, and she’ll be making potholders and raising money to give an even three ways: our village in Ethiopia, work being done in our local homeless community, and the tigers.

What’s this about a village in Ethiopia?

In case you forgot, we (meaning, this blog) are dreaming big to fully-fund a Child Survival Program in central Ethiopia. It costs about $25,000 a year to keep the lights on and the program alive and kicking. To make things easier, we decided to break up the effort into four phases of $6,250. And phase two starts today.

This is why I care

To me, living simpler isn’t an end—it’s a means to an end. I don’t try to live with less, keep my calendar emptier, and live life more fully… just because. We do it because there’s something greater at stake, because life isn’t about me. I’m not the center of the universe, so it doesn’t applaud me when I take more boxes to the thrift store, live with one family vehicle, or make more room in our budget.

"Live simply so that others may simply live." -Mahatma Gandhi

I am passionate about living simpler so that others can simply live. Sounds cliche, and maybe a little cheesy, but that’s okay to me. I love that freeing our resources, our time, and our energy means blessing someone else with it.

And you guys—these mamas need blessing.

The work done in this village

In Ethiopia, thousands of girls in poverty are growing up without good role models. As these girls grow up and have babies, they lack the basic skills and knowledge needed to raise a healthy baby.

Women in an Ethiopian village, which is being sponsored by the readers of

A CSP is a local work done via Compassion International, and they’re all over the world. It specifically focuses on mothers and children under four (when kids then typically start being sponsored by individuals), and its efforts are all about teaching how to provide a safe home for families. In weekly gatherings, moms are encouraged, and children are given a fun place to play, learn, and explore.

Here’s a short little video that visualizes well the simple power behind a CSP:

These women are also given monthly food supplies, nutritional and hygiene training, and regular medical checkups. And all this is provided for $25,000 a YEAR. For an entire village. That’s nuts how inexpensive it is to do this amazing, much needed work.

Women in an Ethiopian village, which is being sponsored by the readers of

(And yes, these moms and children also learn about the life and teachings and Jesus, but “being a Christian” is never a prerequisite for finding love and help. Truly.)

Why you matter

A woman in an Ethiopian village, which is being sponsored by the readers of

I’ll just say it, because you readers are smart people and can read between the lines—I’d love it if you joined my family and gave to this project. It’s being done through Pure Charity, which means you can give one of two ways:

• You can shop online at many of your usual places, and a percentage of your purchases will be dumped in to your PC giving account, which you can then direct to whatever project you like. Or,

• You can give directly.

A woman in an Ethiopian village, which is being sponsored by the readers of

I, personally, do a mix of both. I like that my giving is instant when I give money, but I also love that things I’d buy online anyway help a much greater cause than just my own family. It’s really pretty great.

Here’s a post I wrote a few months ago about how both giving directly and giving with your online buying works. This video may help explain things, too:

We’ve already made a huge dent

So Great Day Farms loves this project, too, and they’ve given us a $1,500 grant to kick-start this phase. How awesome is that? Love it. And others have already started giving, too, so thank you for that.

A woman in an Ethiopian village, which is being sponsored by the readers of

Would you consider allocating some of your giving funds to our village in Ethiopia? And would you also consider signing up for a Pure Charity account, so that some of the online buying you do anyway could also bless others? We have about three months to fund phase two.

Thanks, readers.

Any questions? Thoughts? Info about endangered tigers?

Reading Time:

4 minutes





  1. Karen

    Pretty amazing! Tell Tate more supplies are coming her way.

    • Tsh

      Aw, thanks, Mom!

  2. Sarah

    I have an 8 year old who also regularly does crafts, and expresses interest in selling them to either give the money away or buy something she wants. I don’t want to discourage her, but I have no idea how to help her go about that. Side note: We call our “weaving machine” the Loom-inator, because we all have received many custom-designed pot holders.

    • Tsh

      Loominator. That’s great!

  3. Christie

    My daughter often wants to sell baked goods or crafty items to give money to orphans. I guess I’m not very entrepreneurial because I don’t know where we’d sell her stuff. We asked to sell some baked goods at the church cafe but it wasn’t allowed to sell things not made “in-house” (aka health inspected), which I totally understand. I guess we could ask if she could sell her cards in the church bookstore?

  4. Ashley // Our Little Apartment

    I just want to say how much I admire you as a mom for Tate knowing about people who are homeless. I taught Sunday school to 4th graders and their exposure to folks who were not the same as them was minimal. It’s a tricky balance between introducing them difficult subjects and sheltering them completely from seeing suffering.

    Anyway, I love hearing about your parenting (especially on the podcast). My son is only 2.5 and we have SO much in common, life-philosophy-wise (and even career-wise – except you veering off into professional blogging and I veered off into graphic design). I grew up overseas and I want to instill the same non-America-centrism in my child(ren), whether or not we end living overseas as well. So, thank you!

    • Tsh

      Thanks, Ashley! Yeah, it is a tricky balance, but I figured I’d basically tell my kids the truth, and they are innately curious. There are homeless people everywhere, if you just look.

      And yes, giving our kids a global perspective is one of our highest priorities. 🙂

  5. Victoria

    Your daughter’s heart touches mine. I need to be more active in my giving than I have been in the last while, and set a better example for my own children.

  6. Rebekah

    My daughter has done similar things with her crafts. A few times we did food drive birthday parties instead of gifts as well as using online platforms to raise birthday funds for special projects for our favorite non-profits. It really is much more exciting to bring in funds for organizations and causes we really believe in. My daughter is the same age as Tate and I just wanted to mention that we found a good price point of $5 for her potholders…they are high quality loops and our friends and people she has asked have been more than happy to pay the price! And at the moment she is not even raising money for charity but a special like me AG doll 🙂

  7. Jen TL


    I love hearing about your family and life goals, they line up very well with my family and our goals. My husband has a few fears about moving out of the country, but I keep working on it. I think we are a few years away, but our daughter is not quite 18 months old, so we have some time. 🙂

    Also, where can we ‘buy’ some of Tate’s potholders? Or make a donation to her ‘fund’ to help her charities?

    Thank you for everything,

  8. Crista

    That is so sweet! I am glad that she has the giving down, that can be a hard thing to teach a child. If you have ever been through Financial Peace University and listened to “The Great Misunderstanding,” lets just say it made me cry.

  9. Elizabeth P

    First, I just want to say that I love that your mom was the first reply! That SO would have been my mom too!

    We have lived in Africa for most of my marriage, both our kids conceived there, one born there and a nephew adopted from Ethiopia. That Simple Mom is generous toward some beautiful women in the Horn of Africa makes me feel blessed to be a reader. Thanks for letting me know about Pure Charity; I will definitely follow-up on that.

  10. Kelly

    I love how easily a child thinks of solutions for world-wide problems. I’ll just make something and sell it, then give my money to people who need help. Sometimes, I think children need to be in charge.

  11. Aimee @ Simple Bites

    Go Tate! What a sweet example for us all. Excited for phase 2!

  12. Debi

    Dear Ms TSH, I would love to purchase 20 pot holders made by your daughter. Is it really possible? If so how do I go about it?
    Love in Christ, Debby

  13. Casey

    Found you through Dave Ramsey. Just bought your book. Loving it!

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