Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Heely's Review

I had the wonderful opportunity to review a pair of Heely's. I thought this would be great for Brooklynn to try! So we looked at the options that Business2Blogger and Heely's sent us and she decided on this pair!

Have you heard about Heely's? If not let me tell you a little about them and our experience with them! When you open the box you see these directions on the inside of the box!

Heely's are a great two for one, shoes and skates! They are super stylish shoes and are quality made to last. As shoes, they are nicely made, the sole is thick and is sturdy. They seem as if they will last a long time, which is a plus with this mom. One aspect of the shoe that I love, you can completely take out the wheel and put the bracket back on so it is functioning only as a typical shoe. Great because I don't have to fight in the morning before school trying to tell her she can't wear her new shoes to school because they have wheels! Plus, it literally takes seconds to switch from shoe to skate mode. You can be ready to ride in no time!

Brooklynn was very excited about the new shoes but was also a little nervous to use them. We watched a few tutorials on the Heely's website to make sure we knew what we were doing before going out to the driveway. I helped Brooklynn roll down the driveway a few times holding onto her arms to help her balance. Okay so here is a real problem we encountered, because she has skated before she wasn't used to needing to lift up her toes. The first few times weren't that easy and she had a hard time keeping her balance.

After using the Heely's a few more times she is starting to get the hang of it which was great. It is just going to take more practice and maybe even time practicing in the house. It is also about feeling confident enough to take off running in the Heely's to zoom like the videos displayed. Brooklynn happens to not be much of a risk taker, which means we need to practice more to build up confidence after she fell outside!

We do think it will be a lot of fun and very good exercise once she masters the skill!

If you are interested in your own pair of Heely's they have a great deal coming up! Heely's is throwing a Black Friday special!! Between Nov 25-Nov 28, Buy any pair of Heelys, get the second pair for $25. Or buy a Nano, and get a pair of shoes for $25, and get free ground shipping on all orders!

Want to watch for future deals they may have? Follow them on facebook, on twitter, or on their website!

Disclosure: I was sent a pair of Heely's in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was received. All opinions were honest and my own.

Thank you to Business2Blogger and Heely's for this opportunity!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

"Dirty 30"

Okay, with me turning 30 this month (ahhh), I wanted to come up with an idea that would make this upcoming birthday something to look forward to rather than dread it! Really I am having an issue with this birthday!!! I not only feel old, gasp, I found a gray hair....yikes! Really does this mean I need to dye my hair, okay, step back and breathe....worry about things I can change!

Okay! So, instead of celebrating my birthday I had an idea! I have heard many birthday ideas from friends and I am customizing my own idea using a similar name.

Ever feel like sometimes you are playing tug-of-war with your life? Let me explain here. I think I have things pretty well managed, but sometimes I feel like I am being drug in a direction I don’t need or want to go. I want to get a hold on these feelings instead trying to block them out. I am not trying to impress anyone with this; I just want to go down a different road where there is no tug! I want to better my life but in turn better the lives of my kids. A better me equals a better them and is a better bigger picture!

The Dirty Thirty, no it will not be the dirty thirty parties some of you may have heard of! Mine will not consist of any going out bar to bar, but simply tasks or items that I have wanted to get at and attack! Some of the things I made a list of are my "Dirty" little secrets, some are my wants as far as my house, and some are some habits that I would like to instill in my daily routine!
No they aren't dirty and yes this may seem silly or weird, but listen folks, its better than stressing and causing more of those little white friends to pop up!! The reason for it being a dirty "30" is not because I am coming up with thirty things necessarily, but they should take about 30 min. If it takes more than 30 min, it will be a weekend project! Also for something to become a habit you need to do it at least for 30 days for it to become natural!

So here is my list:

1. I want to get rid of my junk drawer. (Yes my secret drawer- I stash things in so it's hidden, please let me know I am not the only one that stashes things from time to time!)
2. I want to re-organize my china cabinet (it stresses me out)
3. I want to get rid of all my skinny clothes, no I will NEVER be a size 2 or 4 again!
4. I want to get rid of all my unmatched sheets.
5. I want to box up all the kids’ clothes that don't fit.
6. In our basement, I want to get my laundry area all sorted.
7. Hang up our smoke detectors (please don’t ask!)
8. Replace light bulbs in basement
9. Flip mattresses
10. Build railing for front porch steps
11. Get fencing for side of house to hide the hot tub!
12. I want to get a storm door for the front door. Really I have wanted one for the last 8yrs.

1. Wake up at a consistent hour everyday (I used to be good at this, by getting up early before the kids to do my devotions, needs to start again)
2. Walk/Workout three days a week (This is to get healthy, not because I want to fit into the previously mentioned size 2/4 clothes!)
3. Spend more time in bible study (I do our group bible study, but I want to make sure I am doing more, seeking more)
4. Keep up with my zones-Fly lady! Especially on days I work!
5. Specifically spend time with the kids doing something with them without the distraction of phone/computer/television. During the summer it is easier to be an “unplugged” family. I want to be more intentional about our time together!

Here's a bonus to this, I feel guilty already about sharing that I have so many things I want to regain focus on; but if it isn't too shameful I will post pictures of before and after if I have some wonderful organizing tips, etc. Again, I will never say I am perfect, but sheesh this makes me feel bad to admit some of the stashing....does that mean I need therapy? I hope not!


Monday Menu

This weeks Menu is pretty simple!

Meatloaf with Carrots and Potatoes

Crockpot Pineapple Chicken

Cheese and Chicken Quesadillas

Spaghetti and Green Beans

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken served with rice

I will be making soup and rolls and then having someone bring desserts and salad.
(We are doing rake and runs with our small group....)
Grilled cheese, fruit, and carrots with ranch

Baked French Toast
Stuffed Chicken, Rice, and Green Beans
Leftovers/Sandwiches :)

Hope you are blessed this week!

Here is a little snipit from a craft I am going to do with the kids on Thursday!!

Of course I found the idea on Pinterest!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Monday's Menu!

This week I have some great new chicken recipes to try!!! I will post a blog with pictures and the recipe and how it went over with our family! I wanted to find things that my kids would love and would be healthy as well as easy to make!

Here are our Dinners for the week!

Pizza after an evening of trick-or-treating!
Cheesy Chicken Ranch Lasagna with salad
Crock Pot Meal ~working late~
Chicken and Spinach Casserole
Make your own Taco Bar
Balsamic Chicken with Rice and Veggie

Out to Eat for lunch and leftover dinner

Happy November!!! What are you most thankful for today?!

Today I am thankful for my wonderful family!

Enjoy your day and Be Blessed!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Future Craft!

Okay, so I may be slightly addicted to a new fad in the social network! I have a great friend, Laura, that had been talking about Pinterest. Well, I guess I asked the right person because after our conversation she sent me an invite to join! Oh my, in almost three weeks, I am hooked more on that than facebook, gasp, shocker?! (Yes I use facebook too) I love all the ideas I am finding and all the wonderful blogs that I may have never found without this network! So, I have already added new recipes to my collection and I am tickling my craft bone!!! Have you heard of Pinterest? If not, on the sidebar I have a link to my Pinterest page, you can click on it and if you think you'd like it, I can send you an invite!!! You won't regret signing up, well maybe you will regret the amount of time you spend finding all things wonderful!!

So on that note, here is a craft I will be making soon.
It is on my list of things to do after this busy week of
catering, working, and two birthday parties!

Click here to go to the website!

Okay isn't this the cutest idea?! I know she bought them at Pottery Barn and is suggesting to do the love notes in them leading up to Valentine's Day, which I LOVE, but I have an idea! So, I am suggesting going out getting some felt, thread, ribbons for the straps, and some Velcro. I think it would be a great idea to have the kids write or draw things to each other too, maybe reasons they are grateful for each other, ways they care for the other, etc. I think these could be used at multiple times during the year too!

I'll post when I accomplish this!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Menu Planning Monday~

This week is VERY exciting!!! Both of my kids have birthday's this week! Two days apart, yes very crazy! God has blessed us with AMAZING kids! I love them so much!
So this weeks meals will incorporate great meals and breakfast specials!

French Toast with Blueberries

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Southern Sweet Potato Bake
Green Veggie
Pie/Birthday kid Cupcake!

Breakfast Bake

Roasted Turkey with dried Cranberries
Herbed Stuffing

Waffles with fruit

Chicken Gyro with Yogurt-Dill Sauce
Sweet Potato Fries
Pasta Salad
Brownie/Birthday kid Cupcake!

Eggs with Toast

Broccoli Rice Casserole


Crockpot Roast
with carrots/potatoes

Parties: Lunch will be fruit and pb&j or turkey with cheese
Dinner: Pizza with Salad and Veggies

We will be going out to eat for lunch
Dinner: Grilled Cheese with soup

Welcome Back!

How are you? How was that for a nice long blogging break from me?!

I had a summer busy with recovery from surgery and I had a good summer with my kids. Without being able to drive for 10 weeks after surgery, we needed to be creative with me at home with the kids. It was however nice to have some down time with them before school kicked into high gear again. And, oh my goodness, has it kicked into high gear!! Not only being at a new school, but Andrew is all day now. Yes, a few tears (yes from me!) but it has been nice too for both the kids! Praising God for their awesome transition, as it could have been disastrous. Both the kids love their teachers and their classmates.

I am partially back at work currently, waiting for the surgeon to release me back to floor nursing. I am so excited about getting back to patient care, etc. But more importantly I am excited about getting back on a schedule of work and blogging! I have been writing down ideas all summer for projects, things to write about, etc, and I can't wait to start, I am really excited about it! As you can imagine, after having surgery, it not only was overwhelming but very intimidating as I knew that I couldn't do the same things that I did without thinking about. I am getting better at doing things left handed. I still have problems lifting things with my right arm, but I am not going to let it define me. The only other thing that is frustrating is that I can't type for long periods of time, my fingers start to go numb, but that is a nerve issue after having surgery. So with that said, I WILL be blogging, just not everyday. I will be sharing meal plans/recipes/ideas. Then on occasions: craft ideas/activities. I want to have a weekly inspirational post likely at the end of the week. Then, as I start to do reviews/giveaways they will be either on Tuesday or Thursday! I hope I am able to live up to the expectations I set before taking this long break. Please feel free to contact me again if you have an idea or question! Thanks for sticking around!!!

Be Blessed!

Monday, May 9, 2011

April 8th, 2011

Last night I hardly slept, not only did the dogs fight outside our windows all night, the rooster crowed before dawn, but I had a lot on my heart. I think we are all at a place where we are tired and spent physically. Breakfast was wonderful again with hard boiled eggs, bread, bananas, papaya, and pineapple. This morning Jen shared a devotional about "greatness" and how we find greatness in humility. (Amazing)

After devotions we went to Yvrose's Orphanage. The kids were super cranky and mean today. I haven't seen this side of them but, I think they are anxious about us leaving. They wanted a great deal of attention (positive or negative) and they clung tightly to us. After lunch it rained and flooded the yard. Some of the kids all gathered on a little porch and watched "High School Musical" on a very small TV. (Just a thought, why/how did they get this movie?! haha)
It was hysterical! The kids knew all of the lyrics and dance moves. Pretty funny. It was really evident how some wanted to be loved on, and how some continued to seek attention in whatever way they could find. Some of the boys would look straight at us and then start pinching and hitting the other ones sitting next to them, knowing they would get in trouble. All they want is your time and attention. I wish I could give them more of that. I would love to be here longer or bring them home with me. Either way I want to pour more into them.
Jen brought nail polish to paint the kids nails, of course they were so excited!

We painted a few but then it turned into some of them, even the boys turning around to paint ours, even our toes. They have true servant hearts. Patrick used his only shirt to wipe the excess paint from around our nails to make sure it looked nice and then they blew on them to help them dry.

Amazing kids, God has blessed me much more than I could have blessed them during my time here. After painting their nails, they ate their meal.
My heart just dropped during their meal. One little girl was passing out trays of rice and set two aside, my first thought was she wanted extra, but her intention: to make sure the kids that were back in their rooms got some before they ran out. Before she started to eat, she was thinking about others, how many of us would do that before our one and only meal of the day? Seriously, be honest....

(Update: Mama with 4/5 pictured, had baby Joshua on April 12!)

Late in the afternoon we went back to check on "Mama" (9 months pregnant with 5 other kids and her husband was killed with a machete) at the back of Yvrose's lot. She was so proud to show us the beds that Randy and Marvin had made for her. It was like "Extreme Home Makeover" Haiti style. After they made the beds, they used leftover wood to make shelves for her too. You would have thought they were made out of gold! Yvrose came to each of us and raised her arms to God and said "Thank you God for sending the missionaries!" and then kissed each of us on the cheek. She told us that she didn't know how she would provide for this woman and her children. Then we came and the woman got new beds, shelving, and food (enough to eat and sell for several months). Yvrose gives God the glory, she takes credit for nothing. What an amazing woman. She told us many stories about how God has provided, blessed them. She has mentioned before, but I am visually seeing how God has planned our time here. First we were supposed to come two months earlier, our trip got pushed back due to the elections and cholera outbreak. Yet here we are in Haiti, elections going on, Martelly winning....God wanted us to be here now. This family wouldn't have been here two months ago, we wouldn't have known the need for beds, etc. Thank you Lord for providing ALWAYS! Do you see this bigger picture? I originally was put off, not seeing why our trip was being pushed back, thinking how inconvenient it was that I had to apply for yet another vacation. (At a hospital, especially on my unit, it is hard) I am amazed! Thank you Jesus!!! Thank you Lord for all these kids, and their love~

It came time to say "goodbye". We were emotionally and physically exhausted but we didn't want to leave. The tears began to roll from our eyes as the kids began to cry. How precious that the kids were clinging to us after a week, saying I love you. I felt like I was not just leaving a piece of my heart but leaving "my" kids behind too. I will miss them so much. Many of the children ran to their rooms and collected whatever token they could give us. These kids are amazing, do you understand that they don't have much, yet they are willing to give you whatever they have. Heartbreaking when they have nothing (compared to our standards). Physically they lack a great deal but they are blessed beyond all measure to have Yvrose as a mother. Yvrose pours out everything she has for these children, most importantly she teaches them about Jesus. And let me tell you, these kids are so rich with the Spirit of God. Their thoughts are focused on Him and not consumed by the rush of things, money, and schedules. I am blessed to have learned that there is more to life than the things I value. I can tell you, I want things to change at home, I don't want to get back into being consumed by everything around me. I want to lead my kids as Yvrose is leading these kids. I only have two kids, she currently has 170+, if I can't pass these values on to my kids then I have failed, majorly.

(Can you feel her love in this picture?!)

Haiti has changed me. I WILL NEVER FORGET!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

April 7th, 2011

(This is a picture of Yvrose's farm)

Today I woke up early again, as I walked out and saw the sun rising, I prayed for the day that we were about to be blessed with. Praising God for a breath of fresh air. Today started out with devotions and breakfast and then we left to go to Yvrose's farm. It was a beautiful drive through Haiti. Again, it is SO beautiful here, yet there is so much suffering and devastation all around. At the farm we walked the grounds, were able to pray over what crops will one day be on this land. We were shown Yvrose's coffee beans, bread fruit, and mangoes. The farm is lush with fruit and coffee. Once Yvrose's coffee beans are ready to harvest, she roasts them with sugar cane, and let me tell you, she makes AMAZING coffee!!! If we were in the states, it wouldn't be hard to get supplies or the field plowed, here, we have to wait on a container to be released to get the seeds. The fields need plowed I am not sure how Yvrose plans to do this, I am praying for this, maybe something a team in the future can focus on! It is amazing to see just how much Yvrose trusts that God will get the seeds to them before the rainy season begins, which is in May. Her faith is impressed upon me over and over again! We walked to a pond and a pool she has full of Tilapia that are growing.

All of the livestock got stolen. She talked to us about how she prays that she can have a new farmer that she can trust and that will work hard for her in these fields. Here is a picture of a house on the farm. Please pray for a Godly person to live here and tend to the farm.
On the way back to Yvrose's Orphanage we stopped at a distillery and saw Haitian moonshine being made, Yvrose said she would buy a small amount and mix with water and it is like a cough suppressant. It didn't smell wonderful~

We also stopped at a stand along the road and bought flat bread.

We had an appointment at the HHF gift shop where we were able to buy Haitian art and locally made items. I was able to get some things for the kids, some pure vanilla, and a basket. We then went to the orphanage for a couple of hours and hung out with the kids. The kids are going to do a program for us tonight. It is very evident that they know that our time is coming to an end, you can see that they get anxious, and act out to get your attention. They are all very clingy, but I really love snuggling with the kids, it is amazing how they just melt in your arms and lap, and doesn't take long for them to totally relax and fall asleep! We left so the kids could get ready for their program they have prepared for us. At 7 pm we were picked up for the program. When we arrived it was dark and hard to see, but the kids immediately found you as you feel hands grabbing your skirt and hands leading you to your chosen chair! How honoring, greeted by little ones calling your name and kissing on you. The kids lined up along the walls of the orphanage and sang and then played their instruments (all taught by Yvrose).
I can't explain to you just how much of a blessing it is to hear these children praising God, and Yvrose's legacy living within these walls.

Once they finished their concert they of course rushed up to hug and kiss us, some of the kids were crying, thinking we wouldn't be back. A few of the kids rode with us back to the lodge, it is simple, can I tell you, LOVE, they need things yes, but what they need most is to feel LOVE. I don't know what God is stirring in my heart, but I know this is not the last time I will be here. My heart is heavy for Haiti

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I just had surgery Tuesday on my shoulder....I will be back to blogging soon. Thanks for hanging by....unfortunately I am experiencing more pain than planned. I will try to type next week.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

April 6th, 2011

I want to start by telling you, I have a hard time sharing this journal with you. This was the hardest day of my life to date. I couldn’t even pick up a pen to write about it for a couple of days. Please understand what I am about to explain to you is far worse than the feed the children commercials that you may have seen.

(The medical girls pictured outside the Center of Hope)
Today started out with great opportunities for me. We planned on working in two different hospitals today. The first hospital is HHF (Haitian Health Foundation). HHF is run by Betty, on Wednesday’s it is for women and children birth-12 months. These women travel up to 8 hrs to get here. They have to check in by 7:30am to get the babies weighed in, blood pressure and vitals recorded, and updated vaccines if needed. It was great to see the mothers at these checkups! I had an awesome time talking with the women and being able to tell them how beautiful their babies were! The mothers were so proud and their whole demeanor would change as we would tell them in Creole how beautiful and ask the name of their baby! I wish I would have gotten a picture of these women, especially as they weighed the older babies. Once they are too large for the infant scale, they graduate if you will to a hanging scale. They would lay the children in a sling, hands and feet hanging out as they squirmed around, and then attach the sling to the scale. It was cute!!! They started in the gazebo, then they had a breastfeeding class, it was great to see women assisting each other. After they finished the educational portion in the gazebo they then proceeded to wait to see the doctor in the main facility. This was an all day affair, in the states we get antsy waiting 40 min to see the doctor, again another way for me to thank God and feel blessed by the care so readily available. The Center of Hope is a residential treatment facility for two of the most vulnerable and fragile populations in rural Haiti: at-risk pregnant women and severely malnourished children. The next paragraph and picture I took from HHF's website as we didn't take pictures of the malnourished babies at HHF. ( The Kwashiorkor Treatment Facility is for children who suffer from severe malnutrition caused by protein deficiency. These children often need to be tube fed, as they have lost the ability to eat—sometimes even the ability to cry. Rehabilitation of these children is often difficult; to help with the treatment, mothers are housed with the children to learn about proper nutrition and to prevent a relapse into malnutrition.

(Same boy, 6months after treatment)

HHF does a great job getting the kids healthy but also educate parents about how to keep the kids healthy. All in all it was a very encouraging morning.

We then were picked up to go back to the orphanage for lunch. We were able to help pass out bread with peanut butter! It was so much fun to pass out peanut butter to all of the kids. The kids were so appreciative, and wanted to share. Mechelle and Lachelle kept trying to give me bites of their sandwiches. Very humbling, when they don't eat like this usually, they are eager to please and offer what they have. I can't believe and explain how much they are teaching me on being a better servant!

Mother Theresa's Hospital

A few words for the afternoon: NUMB and Spiritually devastated. As we were dropped off, we knew we were going to help bathe and feed little ones and possibly older adults. I never expected to see or feel the things that were about to unfold before me. Walking in the aroma of urine, feces, and vomit hit you before you can catch your breath. I looked around and saw 33+ metal infant cribs lined in rows in the first room, housing what can be described no better than bones/limp bodies. These children didn't resemble my idea of even a baby that was malnourished would look like. I could count every rib, if we handled them wrong their skin may tear or their tiny bones may break. These children lay motionless, whimpering, struggling to breathe some of them, shallow respiration's, kids that look past you and don't reach up to be loved on. I felt like the breath had been knocked out of me. I felt worthless, numb, angry, hurt, and amazed that this actually exists. The vision that is burned on my retinas is FAR worse than any feed the children add, and those always have the ability to capture my heartstrings. I eagerly asked a Nun if I could change a baby or wash, or do anything. Here are children laying in their own feces/urine and vomit crusted to the chin/neck. As we came in it was the winding down of nap time. You could tell the Nun felt ashamed as I was persistent in asking what I could do. It was almost as if she didn't want me to see what the grave reality of the situation was. She said no, she was fine, just to help feed them in an hour. However I needed to DO something, I was afraid if I didn't do something I would physically shut down and start to weep. We walked out quickly and yes I lost it. Thankful for my sunglasses. After a little bit, I went back in and asked the Sister again. Finally Sister Margarete allowed us to hold babies. She said "There are too many of them (babies) and only 5 Nuns to hold." The kids had bracelets on identifying name, age, and admitting numbers. Eager to learn names to pray I was stunned and sickened by age vs. weight and motor skills etc. that were reality. Everything I knew came crashing down. Lord, forgive me for being SO selfish. Lord, how can something like this exist? I don't understand. HELP GOD PLEASE!! Bring someone to help or please take these babies out of their current Hell. I gazed at a 5yr old that probably at best weighed in a little over 20lbs. A 1 1/2yr old that maybe weighed 10lbs. Lord where are you? I wish my arms were stronger and larger, I can only hold two, three at most. I am falling apart.... We helped feed the babies, the infant I was feeding just threw up on of the sister's told me it was because she just came the day before and she is so hungry and her body can't handle the food yet. JESUS HELP. The Nun is worried about my clothing, seriously? I don't care about my shirt. What about IV fluids? What about enteral feedings? I AM ANGRY THAT THERE ISN'T MEDICAL EQUIPMENT TO TAKE CARE OF THESE BABIES!

After feeding the children Sister Leese was talking with me, she asked when I am coming back, all I could respond is I'd love to come back with my husband. Reality is, could Chip handle a day like today? And, would I actually want his eyes and heart to be burdened with such despair? I would love to bring back a team to do just baths, changing diapers, HOLDING, and feeding. Of course going from here to the orphanage would instill more hope. Lord why do I feel SO discouraged? The Sisters are doing what they can. They go out to find these situations. THEY ARE HELPING! Is it enough? They are getting the kids healthy, they are seeing success, they are educating families....please allow me see the silver lining~

Beth Moore put it: Faith unchallenged is faith stifled. God am I putting you in a box? I know who you are and what you can do! God I don't want you to fit in a box....MOVE!

Matthew 8:26 You of little faith, why are you so afraid?

God please forgive me for being SO selfish. Forgive me for being prideful. Forgive me for not springing into action. Please give me the courage to act. Lord use me. Humble me Lord, I'm on my knees, use me as YOUR servant. I don't like to feel like I can't control myself or my emotions. I feel empty. Lord I just want to feel something, numb isn't good, broken....I turn to you Jesus. PLEASE take these little ones into your hands. Humble me Lord.....all I have to give is Your love, I hope my arms and hands have been pleasing to you today Lord. Sister Margarete told me that they go out into the bush/mountains to find if they can help. They take in the worst cases that they find. If there are more out there....maybe my mind shouldn't go there right now. Sister Leese took me over to the nun's house, she showed me where they will have mass today. She then went to get something for us. She came back with Mother Theresa's card with a prayer and a charm that has I Thirst~ She proceeded to ask for prayers. "Please don't forget us, Please pray for us!" Lord, I couldn't forget, probably even if I wanted to, which I don't....YES praying is the least I can do. Sister Leese has pain in her left side, she asked for prayers. We then had to leave, Lord please keep your hands on the Sister's and over this hospital.

Lord, please don't let me forget. My walls are torn down, thank you for opening my eyes God~

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

April 5th, 2011

(Little girl from Darlene's with baby doll and balloon!)

This morning we went to Darlene’s orphanage. Gene and Shelba, missionaries we are serving with told us that Darlene’s orphanage is what Yvrose’s looked like when they partnered with her 11 years ago. It’s one thing to be told that conditions are not good, but it is another to actually see it. When I walked through the gate of the orphanage I saw devastation. The physical conditions were terrible and the children were sick. You want to know the second thing I saw after scanning the grounds? I saw these precious kids, standing lined up, waiting to sing to us.
They sang in Creole and English "Let me see your face, let me see your eyes." "Thank you for coming and welcome to our home." (I promise to have Chip do the techsavy thing for me by uploading the video on the blog!)

They sang and conviction lay on my heart. I am eager to get home and go over our budget….there has to be something financially at least that I can do. (I tell you this because it continually was on my mind)

The physical conditions of this orphanage were unbelievable and there was truly no room inside or out for the kids to move freely. They don’t have the room to play soccer like at Yvrose’s. They had a tarp hanging from the building to the fence with folding tables where they could eat.

Their rooms, while Yvrose had bunk beds, they needed more. It was amazing to me, we were surrounded by kids again, their eyes piercing, but not very many had smiles. Some had wounds, for me as someone that doesn’t mind wounds, I felt at a loss because I didn’t have the proper supplies to clean and bandage them. While Katelyn held a little boy I tried at best to clean a wound and put a bandage over it. At best it would only last a day.Miriam, a PT, had a little one cling quickly to her. The little girl’s name was Cecilia. (Cecilia is on the far right front of the picture above.) They told us that she has contractures due to Typhoid. She was so precious; she wouldn’t keep any toys until she knew everyone had something. Miriam is going to look into making a splint out of one of our flip-flops to get her arm back to a neutral range. Some of the kids had bad coughs. Jen, another nurse found a little boy with a very high fever. Jen tried to explain to the caregivers that he needed to be hospitalized. At first they would not let him go because they didn't have the money and strangely were afraid to let him leave with us to go to HHF.
There was a lady working at the orphanage and she tried to say he just needs to eat, after better translation they decided they would let him go. They proceeded to wash him and dress him in nice clothes. They wouldn’t let him leave the orphanage before they made him more presentable. Two of the girls from our team went back to the lodge to grab more medical supplies and $10 for him to go to the hospital. It is so frustrating that there is no way to get the kids the things they need. Antibiotics are rare and not common practice, it kills me to see these kids only eating once a day.

After leaving Darlene’s we went back to Yvrose’s. I was not doing well, I am sure dehydration was hitting as well as something intestinal. I wanted to stay at the orphanage, but ended up going back to the lodge to rest. Prayed for healing.

The kids attended a VBS put on by Melissa’s church from San Diego.

Thank you Lord for today.

April 4th, 2011

Seriously can’t explain to you the uneasiness of the roosters and the dogs. Our room backs up to the road, and anytime there is any bit of disturbance, wildlife or someone walking, the dogs go into a raging fit. On one hand it is nice because we stay alert to the surroundings, on the other I would love for some good sleep. Once the dogs get going it spooks the roosters then the dogs chase the roosters, again never-ending! Maybe some chicken for dinner wouldn’t be so bad, just kidding! This morning we had a wonderful breakfast; it was a crepe with apples and then a slice of laughing cow cheese.

(When I told you they treated us like kings and queens I wasn't lying)

One thing that Yvrose does in addition to having the orphanage, she takes in homeless people. There is a mama that is pregnant with her 6th child; her husband was murdered just a few weeks before we got there by a machete. Can you imagine a family of 7 living in one tiny room with two twin beds? After breakfast we talked about building bunk beds, Marvin and Randy are going to build them today, and we will get a full size bed for the mama! Together as a group we gathered some money to buy mattresses and food, as 11 of us gathered our money we got $405. This was more than enough for this! PRAISE GOD!

(Rice we got Mama!)

While we waited on Yvrose, Adrian, and Alphonse to pick us up we took a walk to see the rest of the lodge grounds. The lodge we are staying at is owned by Betty and Edmund. Betty is a nurse from America that after coming once to Haiti felt called to move here, since then she has furthered her education with a masters and PhD in Public Health, and met her husband Edmund. They utilize these grounds to rent out rooms for public aid workers, missionaries, etc. We walked over to the new buildings and they are beautiful. We walked to the roof where it overlooks the sea and mountains. We sorted supplies to take to Yvrose’s orphanage and then some to take to Darlene’s orphanage as well. They were filled with toiletries, toys, school supplies and medical. I have to tell you one of the most touching things from one of the bags we took to Yvrose’s, Laura from my small group gave me girls underwear to take, the young girls at the orphanage were overjoyed to get a pair of underwear! Rosita passed one out to each girl that would fit, and they were SO excited. Pretty humbling to think this would be so special to them.
We also colored and played play-dough. These are treasures to them. The kids are all very creative and I got a few pictures to bring home from some of the kids. They are so giving. We tried to teach the kids the chicken dance...I am sure we looked like CRAZY people, but they laughed and learned quickly. The rest of the morning was spent loving on the kids. They crave touch and love. It is noticeable that even the older kids yearn for this too. I was watching some of the older ones acting out just to get our attention. Even if the attention they are getting is that of correction, they are still eager to get it. I listened to a few kids lung sounds, I am sure one little boy has pneumonia, if only antibiotics were as readily available as they are in the states. I wish I had more to give. More time to love on the kids and more resources to give them the medical attention they so desperately need. For the most part, the kids at Yvrose’s are healthy but a few need antibiotics. A lot of them need treatment for scabies. A little one died from bacterial pneumonia in January. My heart breaks because I know without a doubt if they had access to things as we do in the states, this wouldn’t have been an option. I can’t explain why I am having a hard time today, I feel like I am choking back the tears.

I want to be upfront first about this: I DO NOT PITY Haiti! I will admit I thought I needed to rescue these babies, I mean even taking a few would ensure their not having to endure a life like this. Right? Wrong! I talked with Yvrose about adoption, and if she adopts out, and she said no. I was surprised to hear her say she didn’t think that was best for Haiti. She talked about how she is raising them and teaching them to love the Lord and how she wants to equip Haiti with good, strong, Christian Haitian leaders! Wow, what a legacy she is leaving. She is teaching them to build their house on a solid rock (Matthew 7:24) She is teaching them to obey God and these children are eyewitness to God’s provision and her example of a SOLID way of living!!! I am challenged by Yvrose, to live more of this example! Thank you Lord for Yvrose, and for her love for you!

After leaving the orphanage we went on a prayer walk to several churches. It was quite a drive to get to the churches; they were mountainous areas/the bush. Saint Charles church was first.
The tin roof leaks and there are only a few benches (wood slab over two stumps). The team that was there the week before us secured the roof, but by all means and purposes it needs to be redone. We prayed in the church and then got back in the trucks and headed to a second church the River Church. It was precious to see how they had used pink and white pin-wheels and flowers to decorate the sanctuary. Again they need pews. Lord, what perfect timing for our church to be doing this renovation. Please help me to find a way to get them here! I was blessed to be able to pray for God’s protection and blessings on this church. Lord bless the congregants and those that will come to know Christ here. We then went to the beach and gathered rocks so that we will remember to pray for Haiti. The beach was all rocks; the sound of the water hitting the smooth rocks was soothing. There were huts all along the beach, some homes were made of concrete, but Yvrose said that you only had that if you had a lot of money. Let me tell you the huts were beautiful, they were so meticulously made with bamboo/dirt/grass.

On the way home we had to hurry because we (the American’s) had to be home before 5 pm. They were to find out the results of the election. Amazingly enough, although we tried to not be there when the election and rioting was going on, we were right in the heart of it. There was much rejoicing in the streets of Jeremie, they all were anticipating that Martelley would win! Everyone was screaming "Alle Alle! Tete Kalle!" (Go! Go! bald head!). Haitians filled the streets cheering, there was a funeral going on at the same time, Yvrose told me to get pictures....I took video. They were dancing in the street with a casket over their heads, amazing. They were rejoicing, not only the life that had passed, but for a new power in office. As we were getting closer to the lodge one of the tires on Yvrose’s truck blew. Yvrose was a little worried, she said we needed to get home now, because as she explained, they won’t hurt her, but they would hurt us, especially if the election didn’t go as they wanted. Edmund happened to be just ahead of us and we got in his car and proceeded onto the lodge. Everyone made it home safely, we prayed for Yvrose and that she would get a tire and get home before dark! As we were eating dinner we heard the cheers and gunshots, Martelley was declared the winner of the primary election.

Lord, please be with the people of Haiti. Lord, please guide Martelley!

April 3rd, 2011

Today we woke up and had breakfast: Fresh fruit: pineapple, papaya, banana, and bread. To drink: Fruit juice. We then went to church at The Airport Church. The Airport Church is located close to the Jeremie runway. We drove for a long while down very bumpy roads. There is no way to describe to you just how bumpy the roads are, even our worst pot holes would be a godsend here! Driving and walking for that matter are a fend for yourself mentality. CRAZY! When we got to the church we didn't find much, we saw the remains of an old concrete building with no roof and a banana tree growing in the middle. The rubble needs to be cleaned up, a men's group from FCWC is planning on going out this summer to put a roof on the building. Meanwhile they are worshiping in a temporary church. There were two benches and several logs to sit on. The support was made of small tree posts and the roof was scrap metal. Looking from the back you can see how it is leaning. When we arrived, church had already started, Thomas was leading them in a bible study (Sunday School). Once they noticed we were standing in the back, they all moved off of the benches so we could sit comfortably. It was so touching. Despite the conditions, they were WORSHIPPING! Thoughts came across me, they know what it is to truly worship, not letting surroundings hinder them, or fear of the unknown, or frustrations of those in the congregation. They had a JOY that was unspeakable. We stateside seem to find anything and everything to hinder our ability to get to this point of truly worshipping. We complain about the temperature, the volume of the sound, the type of music, the message we are receiving....seriously people, isn't it about one thing?! The Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit was there, and it was amazing to feel HIM. I have a challenge for myself and for all of you at home: Forget your surrounding, worship authentically~ Stop complaining and look for what HE wants you to learn and be focused on! Another thought that consumed me was, this is what Heaven will be like, only with no language barrier! We will all be worshipping in one accord. Even though we couldn't understand their language to sing along, we all clapped and danced together. I noticed some hymns, it was wonderful to be able to sit and worship together! There was a joyful noise made today. It was amazing to listen to Thomas, and then for Randy to preach. Randy gave a message on faith, using an illustration of a child jumping to someone they know and then to someone they didn't. We need child like faith!
After service was finished I felt my hair being touched, followed by lots giggling by a group of young girls. They love curly hair! I told them it was okay to touch it! This wasn't the first time that my hair was played with while being in Haiti! I wish we had more time to sit and be with the members of the church. Here we are trying to minister to those in Haiti, but yet I still feel like I am the only one being ministered to. Lord, please allow me to be your vessel!

(Pastor Thomas, Pastor Randy, and Yvrose-translating)

After church we went to the orphanage for lunch. We had a chicken leg, breadfruit souffle, and beans and rice. Yvrose has such a servants heart. She stated today that she wanted to feed us so that we weren't hungry and so we wouldn't get sick. I am not sure if Yvrose ate today, she keeps herself busy while we eat. I am guessing she doesn't eat. It is hard to eat when you think the others are hungry. For a moment I thought we were going to get to go out and love some more on the kids, but the heat and exhaustion was getting to some of the team members. After drinking some amazing coffee from Yvrose's farm we returned to the lodge for rest. I read and tried to rest for a bit, then we swam in the pool. They had turned the pump on and chlorinated the pool, it was nice, but again, my heart started to think about the kids. I could only think about how much they would enjoy and feel blessed to come and swim. It's amazing, after a short time, I feel for the kids like they were my own. I am thankful however for the laughs and conversation poolside. Lord thank you for continually blessing our time.


April 2nd, 2011 First Full Day in Jeremie: I woke up today to many roosters crowing. One particularly has perched himself right outside of our window. The dogs were anxious about something as they were in a barking fit as well. I am now not worried about leaving my alarm clock at my parents house, one of the things I forgot to grab, as I have a good old reliable roosters! Please note some sarcasm! The roosters seem to wake us with their excitement, I talked back to ours, yes we're awake now, you can stop-yeah he just answered with another crow! No lizards in the bed or in our room, I was worried about that as well. They told us that we would most likely wake up to a couple in our room. Our room is open to the outside (the windows and then at the top of the ceiling there are openings covered with mesh screen to keep some bugs out.) The evening was full of the sounds of nature, I am not one that would first jump to go camping, however, this was a joy to wake up to. Thank you God for this opportunity. I was able to wake up to the sun rising, here is one of the pictures, it doesn't do it justice, but so thankful for the opportunity to thank God for all HE is going to do! Today was an amazing day. We walked from the lodge through Jeremie to Yvrose's orphanage. The walk helped open my eyes, my heart goes out to the people of Haiti. Again, the thought of how beautiful the country and people, but how can I make even a dent in what needs to be done? Once we arrived at the orphanage we were greeted with open arms. We brought some things to the orphanage for Yvrose and the kids. It is hard to get certain things in Haiti, and in my checked bag I had a 12 lb. "log" if cheese~ Provolone! Yvrose was so happy, she was praising Jesus for bringing us to her, another very humbling moment. I gave Yvrose some pepper and other cooking spices, she was amazed. Things we take for granted, she was SO blessed by. She explained how hard it is to get some things and if you buy the nicer spices/cheeses some people would think she was rich and would "debrick" her (steal/rob). After giving some things to Yvrose, we walked through the orphanage. All it took was one smile and I was attacked with hugs and kisses, kids on all sides of me. They immediately came to us and all they wanted was to be touched, to feel love, and to take their picture.The whole day was full of lots of hugs, kisses and fun games. A little girl, almost two years old, wanted me to hold her, she wouldn't let me put her down. I am sure she has an ear infection, antibiotics are not easy to come by here. She got some Tylenol to help with the pain and slight temp. Here is a picture, her name is Feteya. These kids are so full of joy and delight in getting something. Donna, a lady on our team was passing out Smarties, the kids wouldn't take another one once they had been given one. I witnessed some showing her they had already been given one. Let me tell you, my kids stateside, would have taken two I know without a doubt. Humbling, I can't even describe to you, then some of the others would lead Donna to the kids that didn't get any yet. These kids are servants, and are teaching me~ The kids get one small meal per day. Yes you are reading that right, ONE. They do not complain but are full of joy. They typically would eat rice and beans. The beans serve as their protein. Yvrose and the older girls prepared our meal inside the orphanage. We were served like kings and queens. VERY hard, especially when you know the kids out back aren't eating and don't ever get to eat what we did. The lunch was wonderful. They made us beautiful meat and cheese pies. The crust was great. They took such delight and care in making our meal for the day.

Some of the games we were able to play with them were duck-duck-goose, double dutch jump rope, and bubbles! They loved playing duck-duck-goose, although they never said goose! They would just hit you a little harder of the head and start running like mad. It was funny. They were the best at jump rope. Boy can they snap that rope down. I am going to try to upload a video of them jumping. It was amazing!!!

My Cup is Full:

My hands have been touched by tiny little hands but more importantly their joy and zest for life is embedded in my heart.

My how I hope I can make a dent in their lives, showing the love of Christ.

I have learned more about being a servant in one day than I have my 29 years of life. May I take it with me forever~ I am SO thankful for these kids and for the witness in Yvrose.

LORD, Help me to remember, may I NEVER forget!