Saturday, October 31, 2009


Halloween began a night early this year, with Seth and his friend, Eric, attending a Fall Festival at church on Friday night, and Reed and Maya trunk-or-treating with Tim and me.

Tonight's trick-or-treating was one of firsts - the first rainy one in my boys' lives and the first one in several years that we didn't have companions. It was also the first time Seth covered only one street before declaring he was ready to call it a night. (Reed pressed on.)

Despite our abbreviated trick-or-treating, the boys had enough candy to sort (the highlight of Halloween evening) and to share with MiMi, BaBa, Mom, and Dad. Enjoy these photos of our two Ninjas:

Our persistence in the dreary, drippy weather paid off with this stunning rainbow - a treat, indeed!


When Tim and I were weighing my decision to return to Haiti, of course the cost was a matter of consideration. After all, the new school year had just begun with its monthly tuition always coming due. But Tim was steadfast in his urging that finances shouldn't factor into my decision. When time came for my commitment, I said yes ... eager to be a part of this women's team and to return to the orphanage.

So, we paid the trip deposit and readied ourselves to pay the remaining balance when the time came. Soon I received word that an anonymous gift had been given toward my trip -- a tremendous help toward the remaining balance. When this past week began, I owed $700 toward my trip. By Friday, with no soliciation on my part, my balance was zero ... donations had come in to cover the entire amount.

I am awed by the generosity of the givers and grateful for their financial support. I hope that they know the blessing their gift is to me and my family. When I hug and hold the children this coming week, I will have them on my mind and offer their love along with my own.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Countdown to Haiti

If you recall, my trip to Haiti last May was abruptly cut short when a teammate fell ill. When I returned to the States after only two days, it felt like leaving the battlefield while the war was still going on, leaving my four other teammates to face it alone.

I knew upon my return that I would be going back someday; however, I had no idea it would be only six months later. In nine days (November 6) I will be travelling with One Vision International and a team of nine ladies to spend five days with 120+ Haitian orphans.

These are the same beautiful children we were with in May, now situated in a better location. I say "better" because that's what I've heard, but I am eager to see it for myself. Given their former housing, I know it wouldn't take much to count it a step up. From one commode to two ... it's already an improvement.

Since my trip in May, One Vision has purchased the land and dug the well on the site of the future orphanage. Some day, hopefully soon, these children will have a vastly improved life with proper housing, adequate bathroom facilities, a church, a school, and grass to run and play on. With each donation, they move closer to making it happen!

On this trip, our team of ladies, will specifically be building relationships with the women who serve as caregivers for the orphans. This team of 15+ ladies work tirelessly to cook two meals a day for the children (no small feat when you consider they are doing so on an open fire with one, maybe two pots), teach lessons to the younger ones, keep the facility clean, and do everything else you might imagine such a position requires.

On Sunday and Monday, several of our team members will be taking these ladies to our hotel to enjoy lunch and a relaxing afternoon. We will provide facials, manicures, and pedicures for the ladies, make lovely beaded necklaces, and then share in a time of Bible study. We hope that this will help cultivate trust between the ladies and the One Vision teams who come in throughout the year. We pray that it will open their hearts to the Gospel.

The rest of our team members will be staying at the orphanage to spend time with the children. Each day we will be having a special time of Bible study with the teenage girls. On Saturday and Sunday I will be leading this time. These girls live in a culture that offers them little respect, little privacy, and little hope. As I recall my own teen years, I can't imagine how difficult it would be to grow up in such a place. We hope to share truth from Scripture about how God has created them, how He loves them, and how He offers hope.

I am so excited for the trip, thankful for the wonderful team that has come together, and eager to see how God will work in and through us on our journey. Thank you for your prayers for us, for the children, for the caregivers, and for our families while we are away. I look forward to sharing about the trip here when I return! (For more information about how you can donate to this orphanage or sponsor a child, visit

Monday, October 26, 2009

Race for the Cure

On Saturday, October 24, my friend Jennifer and I participated in Knoxville's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure as part of Chelsie's Champions. Chelsie is a lovely fourteen-year-old from our church who organized this team in celebration of her mother, Melanie, who is battling breast cancer. It was a joy to run as part of this team and to honor a beautiful woman and friend. To join with more than 14,000 others walking and running in honor and in memory of friends and family members was quite emotional and inspiring. I look forward to participating in this race again next year and encourage everyone to do the same! $3.3 million raised so far as a result of Saturday's race - toward education, research, and a CURE!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Under the Big Top

Well, in our case we were in Thompson Boling Arena, but the energy was the same. The excited chatter and squeals of children waiting to see the Greatest Show on Earth filled the cotton-candy air. Vendors strolled the aisles selling must-haves...balloons, light-up sabers, stuffed elephants, and more.

Last Friday we went to the Shriner's Circus with Tim's mom, Ann. The last time we went to the circus was for Reed's second birthday, so the boys didn't remember a lot about the show. And to be honest, Tim and I weren't sure what to expect from a non-Ringling Bros. circus, but we were pleasantly surprised. There was plenty to delight and thrill, and we sat wide-eyed, alongside our sons. Here are some more pictures from our evening:

Waiting for the big show to begin: Ann, Seth, Reed, and me. Notice Reed is already armed with his glowing saber, ready for the house lights to go down.

All of the performers were talented, but we were really wowed by the elephants.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Wild At Heart

The first weekend of October I (Tim) travelled with six friends to Colorado for a Wild At Heart Boot Camp. We had an amazing time! Here are some pictures from our weekend:

On Thursday on our way to St. Elmo we drove past this stunning scene.

Here's a picture of main street of St. Elmo, a ghost town from the Colorado silver rush.

Standing in front of the General Store in St. Elmo.

Our crew standing in an old homesite on our way to Grizzly Lake.

After a two-mile hike, we reached Grizzly Lake, elevation 11,400 feet.

Our motley crew: me, Albert, Josh, Marc, Joe, and the Unibomber (aka Bruce).

On Friday afternoon, Marc, Joe, and I hiked to the crosses above Frontier Ranch.

Leaving the ranch on Sunday, here I am with Mt. Princeton in the background.

(P.S. Yes, this is my first official post on the blog! To know more about Wild At Heart, visit