4.15.2014

Rescued.

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Have you ever seen a more perfect profile?
She is beautiful.
And rescued. 
She lives with 25 other children in a small, walled-in (for protection) village in eastern Haiti.  
She would have been trafficked.
But now she gets to sleep in a safe home.
With running water.
And a "mother."
She is fed well.
She plays.
She gets educated.
And she doesn't need to grow up repeatedly wounded and broken down.
She gets to grow up with a heart that is allowed to hope
HOPE.

I have tried to get my thoughts into this post 4 or 5 times, but each time I deleted them.
Because this trip has felt much more complicated than I ever imagined. 
I figured 5 days in Haiti would be pretty fun.
But there have been many moments that I find myself questioning everything from calling to theology. 
I need more days to process what I have learned and experienced.  
And so, I'll leave this post short and sweet.
Revisit it later when I return home. 
Because Haiti is heavy.
Poverty is deeper than I imagined.
Humanity is more beautiful than I believed. 
And Help One Now spans the distance between the two in ways that have left me hurrying to pull my sunglasses over my eyes so no one sees my tears streaming. 

Like when this little one fell asleep on my lap today.
Feeling safe and cared for. 




4.13.2014

10 Thoughts on Haiti, Mid-Trip

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10 mid-trip thoughts on the Help One Now Haiti bloggers trip:

1.  You all-- Haiti is beautiful. I love the long pink ribbons tied in the little girls' braids.  And the way the sheets hanging in the doorways blow in the wind.  The little people's bare feet, all dusty and worn.  Even in the broken down places, there is this cultural beauty that I want to bottle up and bring home to share with everyone.  And the  landscape literally takes my breath away.

2.  Driving in the back of a SUV in Haiti also takes my breath away.  There are no road rules, just horns.  I know a lot of people who travel are not phased by this because they have seen it in other countries, but I have not.  So I am both freaking out and totally mesmerized.  There is not a single trace of road-rage, but everyone is cutting everyone off...Incredible.  Haiti can cure road rage peeps.

3.  There are true and worth-emulating leaders here.  Americans should be getting on airplanes to learn from them.  They are changing their homeland and have the most faithful hearts you can find. 

4.  Worship is worship.  It doesn't matter that I did not understand a word of their music this morning in church.  The tunes were familiar...but the words, so different.  And yet, my heart felt like it might overflow with praise for my King.  All our hearts connected, even with real barriers like language and culture between us...just worshiping God.  That is holy stuff.

5.  Haiti people are beautiful.  

6.  I still hate airplane rides.  It does't seem to get better with each ride, either...I am a mess, so pray for me.  PLEASE.  (Wednesday I have three flights.  Yikes.)

7.  Help One Now is the most intentional organization I have ever leaned into with my heart.  I knew before going on this trip that I loved their work.  But, seeing it on the ground...hearing real, live people tell us about the changes they have achieved with the backing of this organization-- I want to grab all my friends and tell them to get on board with this.  

8.  I have so much to learn from the ladies on this trip with me.  They are further down the path of leadership and loving others well...and I am running -- running-- after their words and conversations, just trying to absorb all the wisdom in these women.  This team is amazing.  

9.  Some moments I think, Am I really in Haiti right now?  I grew up liking the comfort of a hard wooden pew in a church that really offered very little outreach to the world around them (and my heart, if I am honest with you, liked words better than action anyways).  It is easy to wish goodness to others, to think Christian words like "mercy", "justice", and "hope" without ever having to go there and wrap those words together in "experience."  God get us out of wooden pews and religious places and heart-stances that wish the world better.  This trip, at times, has been uncomfortable for me, but I am so uttery thankful for it.  Living in a comfort zone is not really living, friends.  

10.  We played with kids from the school Help One Now built with a local pastor today.  They loved my tattoos.  And my iPhone.  And the videos of my kids I played for them.  All these little people clinging onto pictures of my regular life, pointing and giggling.  Little hands trying to trace and rub away my tattoos.  Braiding my hair.  Holding my hands.  I could have played with them the rest of the trip.  This was my most favorite part yet.  Seeing the love and genuine relationships between Help One Now's people and the people here.  Tears were cried.  Hearts were full.  This is goodness overflowing. 


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Click over to the Help One Now site for ways YOU can help them do their work in Haiti.  This is a creative and different org altogether, friends.  So there are various and unique ways you can get involved. 

4.04.2014

Giveaway, Wise Decor!

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I am a words person. It is my love language.  
I use to write with sharpies all over my jeans, the lyrics of songs, Scripture, quotes, anything really. 
Now I just tattoo stuff on my skin:). 
Or, I put it on our walls.  
A few good words lined up in a row can shift my whole day~
Spoken, written, however they come...They just reach down and sit heavy in my heart,
Beautiful, sweet, and remembered. 

I was invited to choose some wall decals from Wise Decor to add to our word collection.  
After searching through the tons of designs they offer and then contemplating on maybe even going the custom route, I found 1 Timothy 4:14 in their list of Scriptures...And that was it.  

Perfectly timed.
Ever needed. 
And now applied to our old 70's paneling, offering a daily reminder to not neglect the gift within. 
Who knew panelling could look so good.

Gifts are never meant to be buried away, forgotten, ignored, or neglected. 
The things that stir your heart to excitement, 
the things you know and are good at, 
the things that make you feel alive,
the things that inspire you to do more of the same~
You feel drawn there for a reason.  
For a true and honest and legit purpose.

To spend a lifetime cultivating our unique gifts~ mining, digging, uncovering their beauty and scope...can you imagine the legacy we'd leave?  

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Wise Decor is offering a $50 gift card to one lucky reader. 
Comment below.
Tell us what you are gifted at...
(I love to read about you guys...so write away, peeps!)

**To increase your chances, follow them on the social media links below and comment separately for each follow.  There are many ways to enter, so use them all up and up your odds:).  


Giveaway ends Friday, April 11th.

You can check out the Wise Decor shop here.
I think a custom design might just be the best grad gift ever...
Or maybe a June wedding gift?
Possibilities are endless!

Good luck, friends!

4.03.2014

Join Me For Stories~~~

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I sat on my floor the other day and watched the video below. 
While my own kids played behind me.
Running wild.
Laughing.
Free.
And my eyes watered all over my cheeks. 
Oh God, I might be a mess in Haiti.
I'll hide my red eyes behind the brim of a Yankees hat.
And hope that the people there know that any tears they see are NOT because they are poor.
Or broken.
Or have less.
Or need so much more. 
It's because they are all just like us. 
The sounds of women preparing food.
The sounds of shuffling feet on the earth.
The giggles. 
The reading.
The working.
All of it is beautifully familiar.
And yet, I've never really taken time to go hear the sounds lived inside anyone else's life. 
I have a feeling that I will see and hear more beauty in Haiti than I've ever witnessed before. 



I am humbled and thankful for the chance to be a storyteller person for Help One Now on this trip. 
That feels so huge a task right now.

To walk with some amazing women (they are authors and speakers; and I am a note-taker, utterly thrilled to share company with them for a few days)...


To attempt to put words to moments that might leave me speechless.

To get a chance to see the very things YOU all helped raise money to build into people's lives.  

These are heavy things for my heart, honestly. 
Just typing them out now makes my screen go blurry.
I look forward to sharing each day with you.
All the tiny moments.
All the wow moments. 
And everything in between.

Sometimes the most exquisite and beautiful pieces of life are the strangely familiar ones...
The sights and sounds that make you, not even knowing it, say 'oh yeah... I know that.'
When you find those same familiar treasures in lives far away, in strangers,
They will make you feel right at home. 
Like, this is where you belong in this moment.

I am banking on that for Haiti.
That it will be a place I forever long for in my heart.
Foreign and familiar. 
Broken and beautiful.
Wild and free. 

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So I carve a place for this trip in my soul.
I look forward to making Haiti's people my home for a short time.
I pack a lot of ball hats.
And clear space on my camera card for hoards of photos. 
I promise my kids that this trip needs to happen, even if they miss me for a few days. 
Because they are sharing their mama with little kids who don't have their mama anymore. 
And I am thankful for the encouraging push to just 'do this' from a husband who knows my heart better than even I.
And I pray hard.  Hard.
And bring the authority of Jesus into this trip.
So that I can give my fears no space, no time.
And spend April 12th to the 16th just telling beautiful stories

lovely photos captured by Scott Wade.


3.24.2014

Spring Break - Beach Living.

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My mom and dad treated everyone to a beach week in Ocean City for spring break. We went down for most of the week (kept a couple days for homeschooling and a sick Philly at home).  And even though Phil and Philly were not 100%, we all had a blast.  

There was lots of exploring and shell collecting.  We have bucket-fulls of nature in the kitchen right now.  The kids watched the sunrise two mornings with my mom and talked about heaven, barely visible fishing boats on the horizon, and shifty characters called seagulls.  We watched The Walking Dead in the dark, all lined up on the couch.  Phil read on the deck, snuggled in a hoodie.  And he talked about how God loves change.  Then we decided that change is a beautiful part of growth~ so we like it too. 

I love my little triangle house.  Next to a field and car lot.  Across the street from old airport hangers and a still-used runway.  It is the opposite of fancy and on a good day, maybe gets labeled 'quaint' or 'somewhat charming'...But, I am thankful and satisfied to the brim with it all.

But if I ever get to pack up and move to the beach, you better believe I'll be there.  I'd move in a heartbeat if I got to watch sunrises over the water and collect shells with the kids everyday.  There is nothing like breathing in the ocean and sleeping with the sound of waves in your ear.

What is the one place you'd jump to move to?  
Or, do you already live in your dream spot?
Do tell.

3.15.2014

The First Six Months.

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We are over 6 months into the first year of homeschooling.  
Whatever fears I had in the beginning~ I can hardly remember them. 
I love this teaching thing. 
They love it, too.
It might just be our best decision yet. 

It took a while to settle into it. 
The three of us sat crying on Niamh's bedroom floor on the third day of school.  
That memory makes me laugh now.  
It just took a little time to get in the groove and figure out what homeschool looks like for us. 

It is probably very different for everyone. 
I am not a schedule person; so our day is very flexible.
Sometimes we homeschool in pajamas. 
And sometimes we pack it up and do parts during errands/driving/etc.   
We usually start school in the late morning/early afternoon. 
We spread out all over the kitchen... books, music, crayons, papers, coffee... it is messy and wonderful. 

On Monday, we ditched school and drove to Philadelphia to see a Pompeii exhibit at the Franklin Institute.  On Wednesday, we worked hard to make up the missed school day's work~ and then decided that a super late-night Mr. Peabody and Sherman movie was in order.  (CUTE.  go see it.)  We had the whole theater to ourselves and may or may not have danced to the end credits.  Who knows.  

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I love teaching Spanish most.  
(Rosetta Stone kicks booty...and is easily supplemented with worksheets and activities.) 
I have learned so much, because I have had to put the time and effort into figuring out what specific things I believe, especially in the Science and Bible subjects.  (Insert: hours and hours of reading after kiddos' bedtimes.)  

We have had hard conversations about creation.
We have talked about beauty and thankfulness.  
Niamh is obsessed with King Tut and Egypt and wants to be an archeologist.
Philly read his first chapter book.  On Elvis.  (Check out the Who Is ____ books on Amazon.  My kids love them.) 
Phil reads to them a lot on his days off.
And teaches them magic tricks...which I have argued are not a part of our curriculum. 
He doesn't care.  

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There are definitely hard moments. 
But there always are in anything worthwhile. 
A few years ago, I would never have imagined us going this route. 
But I am so thankful we found our way to it.
As a family, we have spent hours upon hours together; learning, laughing, talking, and just being with and next-to one another.  There is beauty in that.
My goals have shifted greatly in the past few months.
And I like the feeling of excitement that accompanies new hopes and dreams.  

Teaching our kids is an awesome gift
It is my most favorite thing to do.
Each day is an adventure.
And I love being able to explore tomorrows together.

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