Friday, July 29, 2011

Happy Birthday P!

I would like to wish one of my favorite people in the entire world, Pam Sanabria, a very Happy Birthday!  Pam is one of the sweetest, caring, and kindest people I have ever met, and I love her dearly.  I wish I could be there with you to celebrate your birthday today.  Happy Birthday P!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Haitian Adventure: Bonus photos

Here are some more photos that I took with my phone in Haiti.  Enjoy!

We passed this church on our drive from Bohoc to Port-au-Prince.  SO lovely.
 The sunsets were always AH-mazing.
 This is a "gas station" in Bohoc.  When you need gas, you just call out to the person in the house.  He/she comes out, and you give them money for the gas you need.  Not sure that would go over so well in the States.
 It's a jungle out there...
 This was one of our more interesting meals.  
 One of the boys at Matthew 28 is a very talented artist.  I bought this piece at the HAFF gift shop.  I wish we could buy more of his art.  
Check out this footage I shot while we were driving along the coast.  This part of Haiti is absolutely beautiful!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My Haitian Adventure: Part 2

I hope you enjoyed reading Part 1 of my trip to Haiti.  Here are some more photos and stories about my time there.

Since the Holy Roller was on its' last leg, we had to use this truck for one day. It made our previous vehicle seem like a stretch limo.
One of my most memorable days of the trip was having the opportunity to speak at a youth seminar on temptation at HAFF (Haitian American Friendship Foundation).  I got to share my testimony and some words of encouragement, and it was quite humbling.  I never thought that I would be speaking to youth about resisting temptation...something with which I have always struggled, especially in my younger days.  God is incredibly amazing, isn't He?  I truly believe that He harnesses our mistakes, failures, and lessons learned for His glory, so that we can help and teach others.  
After I shared my story, this young man (Dameus) had the courage to share his testimony.  I will always think of him especially when I struggle to do the right thing.  I'm pretty sure that I got MUCH more out of the seminar than the attendees did.  
Despite having been on an island for a week, I was starting to feel very landlocked since we had not seen the ocean yet (except from the plane).  Words cannot express how excited we were to finally see the water on our drive back to Port-au-Prince.  It is gorgeous!  After a week of sweating, we were ready to jump right in but had to keep driving.  
Some of the ladies from my team standing with Tompy, our Haitian staff member.  Tompy is THE man.  Seriously, he seemed to know every single person in Haiti.  He is one of the fastest, craziest drivers I have ever known-he would do just fine in Atlanta traffic.
After a VERY long trip, we were finally back in Port-au-Prince.  It is different than Bohoc in every way imaginable.  
Even though it's been over 18 months since the earthquake, there is still a lot of devastation.  There simply aren't enough funds to even begin to repair everything.
I loved seeing flowers growing in random places throughout the city.  They seemed so hopeful and full of promise.  
The presidential palace took some very heavy hits in the earthquake.  I can't believe that it is still standing.  

Overall, going to Haiti was an incredible experience.  To borrow the wise words of my father, I am confident that I received more than I gave and learned more than I taught.  Thank you for being a part of my journey.  

Monday, July 25, 2011

When in doubt, go green

As temperatures continue to soar, there are some important go green tips to keep in mind.  

1) Close your blinds during the day to avoid letting excess sunlight in your home.  (Keep them open in cooler months of course :)

2) Keep your air set around 78 degrees.  For every degree you lower your thermostat below 78, you increase your power bill by 6%.  

3) Drink a lot of water...that's right, water.  Not soft drinks, tea, or other beverages.  Stick to good ole, plain water straight from the tap.  If you don't like to drink tap water, buy a filter for your faucet.  

4) Buy food from local vendors when possible.

5) Do all of your errands in one trip instead of one or two each day.  

These are just a few easy tips for living a more green lifestyle.  What tips do you have to share with us?

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Haitian Adventure: Part 1

Having been home one week, I have finally had time to organize my thoughts about my trip to Haiti.  Overall, it was an incredible experience.  Yes, it was hot, hard, and uncomfortable at times.  However, it was one of the best experiences of my life, and I will never forget my time there.

Here are some pictures from the trip.  Pictures can tell a story, but they definitely can't give justice to the amazing journey we had.  The best part of this journey is that it started in Haiti but will continue for the rest of my life.  God never, ever fails to teach me incredible lessons and show me just how much He loves me in the simplest ways-a beautiful flower, a smile from a child, and through the love of strangers.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.  I hope that you are the star of the adventure of your life...cherish each day and every moment spent with loved ones and know how much God loves you.  You are precious and incredibly special because He created you and loves you immensely.
One of many team photos we took throughout the trip.
After arriving in Port-au-Prince and spending one night there, our team got an early start to Bohoc, a small village about 75 miles outside of the city.

Our bus, dubbed The Holy Roller, did NOT do well on the windy, bumpy, and muddy roads.  See below for what happened on the way to Bohoc.  We got stuck...I mean stuck stuck.  Some locals tried to pull us out to no avail.  Things were not looking good at this point.  Where was AAA when we needed them?
After about 45 minutes of waiting, hoping, and praying for a miracle, God sent us the UN!  They happened to be driving by (there is a small UN post in Bohoc) and came to our rescue.  The soldiers were from Nepal and were very excited to be heroes for the day.  When you are stuck (physically, mentally, or emotionally), know that God will send his own version of the UN to rescue you.  
Of course I loved all the pretty flowers in Haiti.

We lead Vacation Bible School several days once we were in Bohoc.  After the first day, our team all agreed that Haitian kids are MUCH more well-behaved than their American counterparts.  None of them whined, complained, or asked for anything.  We taught them songs, acted out Bible stories, and had lots of fun with these great kids.
We got to help Pastor Georges build his church one morning.  Basically, we spent all morning looking for rocks in a field.  We loaded them in buckets and dumped them in the foundation of what will one day be the pulpit of his church.  It was surprisingly fun despite the very hot weather and hard work.  Pastor Georges has such a unique and inspiring vision for his church, and we were blessed to help him build it.
Some of the kids who live next door to him came by to help us.  Even though they were younger and smaller than us, they surprised us with their strength and hard work.
The foundation of Pastor Georges' church.
Just a typical walk down the street in Bohoc-donkeys, goats, and people were all over the place.  After a few days, we didn't even notice that people were riding donkeys, walking down the road with things balanced on their heads, and taking their bull for an evening walk.
Haiti is unlike any place I've ever visited before.  The topography, the food, and the climate were all quite foreign to me.  But, the people felt like family.  They are warm, inviting, and welcoming.  Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Haitian adventure.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Is this normal?

Is this normal?  I'm pretty sure that most people don't have this many colors of nail polish.  
This is AFTER I threw away some shades too...yikes!

Monday, July 18, 2011

A better place

Hello friends! I apologize for the delay in posting anything. I have been a bit under the weather since returning from Haiti and am finally starting to feel better today. It was an amazing trip, and I look forward to sharing all the details with you over the next few days.

In lieu of a more specific go green tip, I want to remind and encourage all of us (Yes, I need this reminder as well!) to only take what we need and give away what we don't need. Having traveled all over the world and seen people who don't have much food to eat, this is incredibly important. Share with those in need. Love unconditionally. Serve your fellow brothers and sisters. Let's make this world a better place together.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Onward to Haiti!

I can't believe that we leave for Haiti tomorrow.  I've been preparing for this trip since January, so it has been a long time in the making.  I'm confident that God has amazing things in store for our team and the people we will serve in Haiti.  

Haiti has been on my heart for awhile now, and I am absolutely thrilled and honored to have the opportunity to serve God's people there.  Please pray for our team's safety, guidance, wisdom, mercy, boldness, and unity.

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms." (1 Peter 4:10)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Italian Holiday: Bonus footage

While we were in Sorrento, we stumbled upon a wedding at the beautiful church pictured above.  Katie and I had JUST been talking about songs in weddings.  She and my brother had very unique, non-traditional music in their wedding, and we both agreed that we love when couples think outside the box for wedding music.  I had told her that I definitely want to walk down the aisle (one day-not any time soon!) to an acoustic version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow."

We were awestruck when we walked up to the church and heard the live band playing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow!"  I instantly got's just such a beautiful, dreamy song.  I could not believe they were playing it when we had JUST been talking about it.  I didn't think to record it until the end of the song, but here is the short video I took.
I will never forget that moment...such a lovely memory.  I could feel God smiling down on me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

I hope you have a great day celebrating our country's independence.  Don't forget to say a prayer of thanks and gratitude for the brave men and women who fight for freedom and justice here and abroad.  We salute you today!

"For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the protected will never know."

Friday, July 1, 2011

Au Canada

First of all, Happy Canada Day to all of my Canadian friends!

Secondly, can I just say WOW...the Duchess of Cambridge has done it again. Her cream colored Reissa dress, red Sylvia Fletcher fascinator, and maple leaf diamond brooch (on loan from Queen Elizabeth's personal collection!) are to die for! I LOVE that her fascinator appears to have a maple leaf shaped design on it. SO chic. The Duchess is simply stunning.

Happy High Fashion Friday lovelies!