Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Follow You

Stumbled upon this song today....

{Can you tell where my heart still is?}


Saturday, May 26, 2012


I'm sitting on the flight home from Port-au-Prince after an absolutely amazing week and trying to think of a way to write and express what we just experienced. I'm emotionally wrecked {in a great way!}, physically beat up and exhausted {seriously, I would insert a picture of my black and blue legs, but I'd like you to keep reading :) }

We {Husband and I} went into this trip knowing that it MAY be our last time into Haiti. It may be time to pass the torch as God takes us along other roads. So, I was really praying that things would have improved for this little country with such a huge personality, that will forever hold my heart in its hands. All I had to go on was the U.S. media reports of how bad things still are, stating that much of the aid has not been received and that much of the devastation remains. I can't tell you how joyful, giddy, crying-happy-tears elated I was to drive down the previously shattered, broken, beaten and battered roads of this very special city and instead find new buildings, revived businesses, clean, bustling streets, tent cities gone, smiling faces....this is where I start to cry. Their faces. You could see the joy that has begun to return! They are working, they are back to "normal", they are happy.

It was 4 days into this trip before I realized something... Husband and I have been here 4 times. Three times in 2010, within the first 6 months of the earthquake, and now 2 years later. However, we have a team with us who has never set foot here. What do they see? What is their perspective? Naturally, what they saw was a completely different view. They could still see the dirty streets, the tent cities that remain, the cracked and destroyed buildings that have yet to be removed or rebuilt. It was wonderful to be able to point out all of the changes and show them what has been restored, but they simply had to take our word. And there is still much work to be done.

However, as a team we were able to open a new chapter. Our project this week was to work alongside the missionaries and the Haitians to pour the foundation for a new school. As we gave our all, leaving all we had to give each day, the next generation sat mere feet from us as we worked side by side to physically and symbolically build a firm foundation for those little ones to learn, grow and go on to change their world. At the end of the week, our teams gathered round Pastor Nikolai Louis, the school director, to pray a blessing over him, the students - present and future - and over that building. It may only be a building, but it's impact will be far reaching and we are so thankful and humbled to have been a part of its beginning!

So, as I sit flying away from that beautiful island, I mourn the part of my heart that stayed behind, but I look to the future for us and for Haiti.

Last thing I wanted to share was our devotion from this morning:

"What have you been given? If you've received any encouragement from others, give some away. If you have food in your cupboards, give some away. If you've been offered a forgiveness you don't deserve (which, you have) offer forgiveness to someone who doesn't deserve it.  And how about the gifts and talents God has given you? Whether you work in the ministry or in the corporate world, whether you're raising children or caring for your elderly parents; all of these are sacred when done with Jesus in mind. Bloom where you're planted. Use the gifts God has given you for His glory. Live with passion, conviction, courage, and compassion. Sow seeds of faith. Embrace hope. Walk in love. Let everything you do, be done with Him in mind." ~Susie Larson

For pictures, click the link below:

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Few Random Thoughts

Well, I said that I would try to do better than past trips and blog, that is so much easier said than done! We are working as hard as we can from 6 am until 2-3 pm. By the time 2 or 3 rolls around it is sweltering heat, we are covered head to toe in sweat, dirt, concrete, sand, all held together by multiple layers of reapplied sunscreen! We are dog tired, but energized by the progress that we have made. Tonight, after dinner, we went out to the street to watch the kids {and one of our team members} play soccer. It's amazing to see these kids run around, playing barefoot or maybe with just one shoe, kicking on a dirty, gravel roadway, but just happy and energetic. One of the best parts for me was that several of these kids, now 2 years older came over to say hello and they remembered me! They asked about my family and why it took me so long to return. THEY remembered ME. It floored me. One of the things we have been talking about this week is that they see us. They watch every move we make, what we say, what we do. They know we are there. And for the younger generation, they remember. We are here to serve them, we are here to love them. We are here because they matter.

Sunday, May 20, 2012


Wow, am I tired! Today has been one of those gigantic, oversized days. I'm not sure if I can honestly say that I went to bed last night to begin with, but then was up at 3 am, at the airport by 4:15 and on the first flight of our journey by 6:30 am. We hit a few speed bumps and a major hurdle! {I'm not quite prepared to go into the "hurdle" - hoping it gets resolved first!} After a 2nd flight, landed with grand anticipation in a little country that holds my heart captive. Driving through the city, I had random waves of emotion from giddiness over the changes to sadness over the work that remains. We spent the evening making new friends and reminiscing with old ones. And my day is now ending with a bittersweet, joyful, sad piece of awesome news. {My amazing parents are now Senior Pastors in Dearborn Heights, MI}. So, in my physically, emotionally exhausted state, I just feel like sharing one thing.... Sometimes it feels like we have slammed into a huge brick wall. We know that we are doing the right thing. We know that we are on the right road. We've put our faith in His plans for why isn't it easy? Why are there obstacles at every turn? Why does this have to happen now? To me? More often than not it's because you ARE on the right road, walking through the right door! Keep on fighting, keep on walking, keep on trusting. You may not see it now, but He's got you right where He wants you! That's my "deep" thought for tonight {smile!}

Monday, May 14, 2012

Add To The Beauty

6 Days to Haiti!  So, as my mind is consumed with preparing, reflecting and dreaming of what's to come, I would like to encourage you to listen to these words and ask yourself "What can I do to add to the beauty?"

Friday, May 11, 2012

Sunshine & Volcanos

Blogging.  Hmm, yeah.  I probably should have blogged on Monday or maybe Wednesday…well, here it is now Friday.  I’ve been putting it off all week!  I have things to say and then decide that I’m not really sure what to say, then I just don’t have time or I can’t pick a topic.  Ugh!  So, this morning I decided that I am just going to start write-talking.  So, we will see together what this ends up becoming! {Smile}

Well, I currently feel very scatter-brained.  We have a lot going on – busy kids, work, volunteering, obligations and Hubby and I leave for Haiti in 8 ½ days.  My house looks like a herd of elephants ran through it, I should really go and exercise and my kids don’t have school today, so we have added random children to our brood!  My 2 youngest, Squirt and Bug, have decided to pull every cushion off of our couches, pile them, along with the entire hoard of stuffed animals and every ounce of bedding, onto the extra-large sofa. 

So, I’ve decided to sit my bum down in this enormous mess with my nice, warm mug of coffee goodness and enjoy the day.  {On a couch currently without cushions!} I’m watching my son and his buddy wander through the yard with their be be guns, listening to my littlest ones talk about kangaroos, Squinkies and imaginary friends, our sweet dog, Annie, is splayed across my feet and the beautiful sunshine is pouring through the window. 

I am beyond blessed!  I know this fact, but it becomes so easy to forget.  As we’ve been preparing to lead our team back into Port-au-Prince, I’ve had this softly bubbling, quiet volcano of emotion underlying everything that I do.  I’ve been trying really hard to ignore it, bury it, pretend that it isn’t there, but we leave in a week, so it’s probably time to just let it out….

When I first returned home from Africa, it was really hard to re-adjust to “American” life.  Just driving down a safe, paved road would bring tears to my eyes.  Road signs, stop lights, gas stations, grocery stores, coffee shops, I cried inside TARGET!  Kids riding bikes, playing on big, safe playgrounds, TOYS!  Then sometimes I would get downright angry as I overheard conversations of others complaining, whining or even just being completely, naively ungrateful for the things that they have been given.  However, as happens when time passes, I began to forget.  I began to revert to the comfortable, unaware life that I was used to living.  It’s just so easy to walk through life not seeing the bounty, the excess, the simple comforts that most of the world does not get to enjoy.  The past few weeks, my eyes have been re-opened.  As I watch my kids play with the toys that overflow out of their oversized closets, buying a month’s worth of groceries for my family, taking a walk on a paved pathway, going to dinner in a gorgeous restaurant while being waited on hand and foot, having the ability to worship in freedom and in public in a beautiful, air-conditioned building…I am reminded and humbled by those who do not have the ability, the freedom or the possibility of even grasping those things that I so willingly take for granted.  So today, whether you have been witness to the things above or not, will you please take time to simply enjoy the little things, be thankful for your bounty, say a prayer for those in need and maybe even consider what you might do to make an impact?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Girls! Girls! Girls!

I am the lucky mother of three beautiful, sweet, sassy, stubborn, strong, dramatic, fun little girls. And one very patient, kind, gentle, smart boy! I found myself telling him a story last night….

When I was a young girl, I was stubborn and strong willed. {Okay, WAS may be inaccurate!} I don’t really remember what I was like when I was little, but I do certainly know that I was not a fun teenager! To put it bluntly, I put my poor mother through hell. So, I was laughing as I told Buddy that God is probably rolling with hearty laughter as He looks down at me as I attempt to mother my three beautiful little ladies!

To be honest, having a boy was easy. At first, I was scared to think of raising a boy, but I very quickly realized that what you see is what you get! When we found out that Peanut was a girl, I seriously freaked out. I called my Aunt, who in my opinion has raised 3 amazing young women, and peppered her with a million questions! Wise woman that she is, she very calmly put me at ease. However, as time has passed and my girls are beginning to turn into young women, I am starkly reminded why I was gripped with a sense of sheer terror! {Smile}

I had the amazing opportunity this past weekend to speak to some young ladies at our church. The topic was sex. Yep, that’s right! And they got to ask me questions – completely open, honest questions. In preparing for that day, I knew I needed to do some major research {and Prayer!} and that I had better know what to say! Let me tell you, Moms or Dads or whoever, nothing puts the fear of God into you like doing research on sex and today’s teens!! {We are going to leave that topic for another day!} All I could think about was my three sweet, innocent, but growing-up-too-fast little girls. And as fearful as I was, I remembered something really important. As hard as He may be laughing, He not only gave them to me, but He gave ME to THEM. He has a purpose and a plan for each of our kids that would be impossible without the “perfect” imperfect parents that we are. I know I’m sort of stating the obvious, but sometimes we just need to be reminded….God gave us our kids because we are the perfect Moms and Dads to fulfill the purposes and plans that He has for them! No one else could do your job better!

The sassy Squirt

Our daring, fearless Peanut

The always energetic Bug

Little man, Buddy