Some Nights I Stay Up….


The past few nights I have been up with my head spinning. Okay, who am I kidding, the past month since I have been home from MD Anderson have been tough. I feel almost like I have been in a coma. Yes, the reason I have not blogged in forever.

Then 2 nights ago, I got up and had the worst bone pain. I described it to David as “you know when you ski all day, and you get home and your feet and legs feel frostbit? They hurt to the core, you take a hot bath and they still burn?” Ya, it is like that, and then factor in the non stop feeling of you are going to puke along with the sensation someone just kicked you in the stomache. Oh, and let’s not forget the comatose feeling of like “why am I just floating around with no ambition or drive?” If this is my “new” normal, I can’t handle it.  I have never had less energy or motivation. It is a little overwhelming this “me, I call Denise”.


So it’s about 1am and it’s the night I stay up cashing in my bad luck, giving myself a pity party. Ridiculous but so much needed. Then it happens. I think of my girls. My girls from MJC all the way to Peru all the way to Kitale. I think of the little ones we met that had no time to cash in on their bad luck, they only knew of hope, love, prayer and belief that things would get better. I think of the day Hellen told me she found out one of the girls was HIV positive and she wasn’t sure how to break the news to her. I think of Anne’s mom who was sick when we visited and passed away a couple months later.

I think of them because here I am in an amazing house, at the best hospitals, a hot bath filled with “stress free” salts and a cabinet filled with any type of medicine I need to cure my littlest of aches and then I hop into my fluffy bed with nice crisp sheets, face my fan on me and call it a day.

I think of me and I think RIDICULOUS. Chin up, and remember if cancer had not entered my life I’d be working 80hrs seven days a week. I’d be telling my boys for the umph time “just a minute” as I answer my phone. RIDICULOUS. I love the new me and if it is cancer and bone pain that made it this way, then I need to fluff up my bed and be thankful I’ve got the everything around me pushing me forward and watching and cheering and praying for this cancer to get out of me.  And it is working. It really is.

I think of my girls in Kitale. I think AMAZING. Their happiness is contagious. I want their happiness and cancer brought me to that road.


But I also think of their pain. I know their pain. I know it better than I ever could have. Imagine getting HIV, malaria or even the worst flu you have ever had. You are not crawling into that fluffy bed, you are crawling into a ball on a slab of cold ground in hopes you have a blanket. You are not running into your clean bathroom to get cooled off nor hope you don’t puke, you are huddled in that corner with a bag you found in the trash because you are afraid to go outside in the middle of the night to go to “the bathroom”. When you are a girl in the slums you have no idea what is going to happen to you when you leave that one little corner you have.  You don;t  run down to your fridge to get ice water, you have no fridge, let alone kitchen. Heck and medicine to cure whatever, it’s no where to be found. You just live with the pain until who knows….


I know, I sound deep but it is so true. It’s that place I went to the other night during my pity party that made me realize I’ve got stuff to do. We’ve got stuff to do. So heck, Denise, get up and stop fussing over every ache and pain. And I did. The next day and now 2 days in, I’m vowing to get to that better place. The girls need me. They need you.

And it was just over a year, (July 30, to be exact) that I called Charlotte and told her David and I would build the Orphanage. It hasn’t even been a year since Denise W, Kiara, Jami, Jenni and David decided to step in an figure how to get these girls sponsored so they could live in the Mighty Acorns Orphanage.


Look at this place. Almost complete and busting at the seems. Girls just started moving in late August. Most of them have their first EVER  mattress, sheets, pillow and blanket. And on top of that, they have a bathroom and shower. They have a room mom who will nurture them and help them grow. ABOVE ALL THEY NOW HAVE YOUR BELIEF IN THEM. I cannot believe I missed seeing their faces when they got your letters, seeing their faces when they saw your family photos and sweet pics your kids colored. Oh, Kiara, you cannot get back to Kitale soon enough.  I’m so bummed about all the evil war and terrorist stuff. Seriously, why do bad guys have to ruin it for us good guy who wants to help.

We won’t let them win, and Kiara will be back with her kids soon, and yours.

So with that said, I must say good night.

X0X0- Denise



They Call Her Kiki, I call her Kiara…

A pillar of:

Independence. Fearlessness. Determination. Generosity. Creativity

Because we all know there is more than meets the eye with you.  Give us a little history on Kiki!

A: Well, after saving this question for last I think it’s more easily answered by reading the rest of my answers to the other questions..

Q:  When and how did you come to find Matilda Jane?

A: I joined the MJC family in 2009 as a high school intern and never left. I started as an intern that glued pin packs to flowers a few hours every morning and at the end of the semester didn’t want to part with my new friends at MJC so I worked part-time as a packer and puller until I got the privilege to work with Sam and Denise in the cutting room and the rest is history. I finished high school and tried the whole college thing for a semester until I dropped out to work full time. I went from working with Sam in the cutting room to running the Platinum department with a few of my best friends in a matter of years.Q:  For those who don’t know, where is your next big adventure taking place?

A:  Kitale, Kenya. (Africa)

Q:  Africa is definitely in your blood.  When did you know you would do anything for the opportunity to live over there?

A: Since I was young the idea of being in Africa has always appealed to me. In May of 2012 Denise sent me on my first trip to Africa. After visiting Rwanda and working with the women there I knew it was what I was meant to do. I came home and was determined to get myself back to Africa one way or another. A few months later Denise sent me a text asking if I wanted to go to Kenya with her and a few of her friends..of course I said YES. And it was on that trip that I knew Kitale, Kenya was where I wanted to be and nothing would make me happier than loving on the kids and people of that small town that I had fallen head of heels for the second we pulled into the orphanage and were surrounded by all the beautiful children.Q:  What is it that makes you love this far away country so much that, you are willing to leave your friends, your family and a wonderful job?  I’m pretty sure I know the answer, but we all want to know. ;-)

A: The kids. The people. They easily win you over with a smile. And there’s no stopping them from stealing pieces of your heart with every single smile, giggle and/or hug. But then they break your heart with their stories and you fall even more for them. And you’re left lost in love with a beautiful country full of beautiful people that were born into a hard life but still radiate so much more love, hope, happiness and joy than you would think was possible. And that’s just one of the reason why I love Kenya and why I am willing to walk away from my comfortable life here to try and make even the tiniest dent in the lives that I come in contact with.

Q:   What does the Mighty Acorn house symbolize to you?

A: “Just as the acorn contains the mighty oak tree, the self has everything it needs to fulfill its destiny. When the inner conditions are right, it naturally emerges.” –Derek Rydall By providing the girls with a safe home, love and a hope for a better life I think it symbolizes those inner conditions being right. I hope that by providing the girls with the everyday needs that start with a safe home to live in along with love, hope and an education they will be able to blossom into the women they hope to be and chase the dreams they thought would never be possible instead of the destiny they once thought they were doomed for!Q:  Where will you live while you are in Kenya?

A:  I will be living in the Mighty Acorn house with all the girls and can’t wait! (In my own room though)

Q:  How do you plan on connecting families with their sponsored child?  Why is this so important to you?

A:  I plan on connecting in anyway that is possible and necessary to build a true and lasting relationship between the families and their child whether that is letter writing, emailing, Skying or phone calls or any other ways that we think of. This is the most important part of my job and the part that I am most passionate about. Like I said, you will easily fall for the kids with a simple smile or giggle or hug and I want to do everything I can to make these girls feel special, loved and worthy and am willing to do whatever it takes for them to feel all those things and more from their families by providing that connection between the two. And I’m always open to ideas on how do this even never hesitate to share if you’ve got ideas or thoughts on how to make this better!Q:  How will sponsoring a Mighty Acorn change a life?  Can you give us an example of life as they know it and how it will be forever changed?

A:  Imagine you have been born and raised into a world that it surrounded by total and complete poverty. You wake up in the same dirt that seems to cover every surface of the city you call home. You live with a handful of other siblings that share that same dirt as a bed. You once had parents that you haven’t seen in so long you can’t even remember what they look like. Parents that have been gone for so long that you aren’t even sure if you still have any. You and your siblings do anything and everything you can to find food and just survive day to day life in the Kipsongo slum. BUT one day an American woman and her friends visit and fall in love and go home and share you story with their friends and they all want to do something to change the life you thought you were destine for and they CHANGE that destiny. They provide you with a safe place to not only lay your head at night but also the love, education, hope and opportunity you thought was only possible in your dreams. But now it’s a reality and you are forever change. Kenya is one person closer to a better place.

Q:  Who has been the greatest influence in your life?

A:  I could easily just say the Lord but not only Him but also the my parents and other individuals He has put in my life that constantly point me back to Him and have encouraged me to never give up on my dreams no matter how impossible they seem at the time.

Q:  If you were to be granted one wish, what would it be?

A:  I would wish for a better life and opportunity from the begging for all the kids in Kenya..and the rest of the world.

Q:  You are one of the most independent, strong and determined young women I know.  Where do you find the strength to follow your dreams and stand by your convictions?

A:  The one and only provided or true strength and hope, the Lord.Q:  What frivolous pleasure will be the hardest to leave behind?

A:  Starbucks Coffee. No doubt.

Q:  What are five adjectives your friends would use to describe you?

A:  I text a group of my friends and these are the 5 that were named the most.

Independent. Fearless. Determined. Generous. Creative.

Q:  What is your favorite memory from childhood?

A:  Memory? Disney World, of course. haha. But Seriously, the best part of my childhood is that I was born into a Christian home and was raised by two parents that loved me unconditionally (and still do) and reminded me everyday that Christ has given me my talents and personality traits for a reason and through Him all things are possible..even my dreams to impact Africa somehow.   Q:  What is your favorite Matilda Jane memory?

A:  I think it’d be impossible to narrow it down to just one! The past few years have been the most growing, challenging and fun years of life so far. I have built friendships that will last until the end. I’ve found another family of people that will forever hold a part of my heart. Dropping out of college for this company was the best decision I’ve ever made. Denise has taught me all about being a leader, a hard worker, an independent strong willed women while doing all those things with good character and a generous heart.

Q:  We are all going to miss you so much!  Tell us how you plan on keeping us involved and informed throughout your journeys.

A:  I’m a huge fan of Instagram and will continue to post from both my personal account (kiaraamstutz) and the Mighty Acorn account (mightyacrons). I also have a personal blog ( that I post on regularly. We also hope to have a Mighty Acorn blog set up as soon as possible so you can follow along there too! I’ll be sure to share the link as soon as it’s up and running.


Love Love Love Simply Love