Thursday, November 17, 2011


I am back home in Ohio. The family I was working for in Virginia Beach had gotten out of the Navy and moved to North Carolina and with Kris and I becoming increasingly serious I figured it was the perfect time to transition home. As Hurricane Irene’s path seemed headed right for Virginia Beach I decided to expedite my moving process and left before she hit.
I had interviewed at a non-profit ministry and for an office job at a factory near home. I hadn't heard back from either job and was felt very anxious as I drove home to a lot of unknowns. I knew that my heart was being pulled toward taking the ministry job but I'd get paid more than twice as much if I took the factory job....and the factory job provided benefits. So as I waited to hear back from each job my prayer became that God would make one a no and the other a yes. I was begging for the easy way out on this one. :)
As it turns out the ministry called me back first to tell me I had gotten the job if I wanted it. I still hadn't heard back from the factory but decided to take a leap of faith and took the ministry job. The very next day I got a letter in the mail saying I hadn't gotten the factory job! So God was willing to confirm that I had made the right choice but He wanted me to have to walk in faith through it and CHOOSE to trust in Him.
I started at the job just over 2 months ago and I LOVE it. I'm working at a Teen home called the House of Hope. We are a residential program for troubled teens. We provide teenagers, ages 13-17, with a Christ-centered education program, supplemented with Christian counseling, administered in a loving, home-style environment to reconcile and restore teens and their families.
It is the PERFECT job for me and a true answer to prayer. Years ago when God knit together all of my qualities to make me who I am today He put in me a heart for ministry. The last 7 years away from home have been a journey for sure but God saw it fit to allow me to come home again. In the deepest places of my heart I’ve always dreamed of being able to do ministry in Morgan County but I believed I’d never be able to get a paid ministry position around this area. I should have known that God would see the deepest desires of my heart and make them come true.
If you want to know more about what I’m doing you can check out the blog at I will warn you... I just created the blog so it is far from done! I'm getting paid to blog cool is that! :)
Thank you all for your loving support and prayers that have carried me through these past few years!
In His Amazing Love,

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


10 days ago I married my best friend. As cliche as it sounds it is true. Kris and I have been friends for over a decade. We first became friends during my freshman year of high school when he sat behind me in Spanish class. Since then our friendship has stood the test of time. Through graduation, college, me moving to Honduras and then Virginia Beach, boyfriends and girlfriends, and so much more. Through it all he remained one of my closest friends.

Then about a year ago I flew back to Ohio to go to a wedding with him. Kris was in the wedding and had to be there all weekend. Since the wedding was near Salt Fork State Park (2 hours from our home) we decided rent a cabin for the weekend to minimize driving back and forth. As I flew to Ohio I had no idea what to expect from the weekend. I didn't know that Kris had feelings for me and I certainly didn't expect him to show up at the airport with flowers and Starbucks! When we got to the cabin he proceeded to pull out a Christmas tree, Christmas movies, my favorite candy, hot coco, and many of my other holiday favorites. I LOVE Christmas. Throughout the weekend Kris made no attempt to share his feelings but I could tell that something was changing.

Fast forward 10 months....Kris proposed to me just 3 days after my 26th birthday. We had plans to meet at his house to eat dinner and watch t.v. together. I had been in Zanesville for the day with my mom and was running late. I text him to tell him to go ahead and eat but I'd be there before our shows started. I got there an hour later and he wasn't there....nor had I heard from him all day. I began texting and calling nearly every hour but he never responded. Finally at a little after 10 p.m. (over 5 hours after he usually gets home) there was a knock at the door. I went to answer... certain that it was going to be the police telling me he'd been in an accident. I opened the door to find him down on one knee with the ring in hand. He started saying all this sweet stuff while I stood there with my mouth open. When he finished talking I still didn't respond and he finally was like "I think you are supposed to say something now." To which I responded "where have you been!?!?!" I finally gave him an answer and got the ring on my finger. :)

Now fast forward 6 weeks: November 5th 2011 Kris and I became husband and wife! People thought we were crazy to do such a short engagement but we wanted to get married at Burr Oak Lodge and they had announced that they would be closing their doors in January. They only had a couple of dates for us to choose from. Both dates were in November so we just made it work! :) The wedding was PERFECT! The weather was beautiful. The lodge and the decorations were gorgeous. It was the perfect day. I had said since the day we got engaged that there were going to be leaves on the trees for our wedding. I'd always wanted a fall wedding and I prayed every day for leaves. People kept telling me to not get my hopes up....that there are NEVER leaves on the trees in November. None the less when I woke up November 5th it was 60 degrees outside and there were lots of leaves left. God does answer prayers...and even performs miracles when we believe! God provided just enough rain and warm weather to keep the leaves from dying too early! What an amazing God we serve.

So I've officially been married for 10 days. Aside from some minor arguments on decorating things have been wonderful! He has lived in his house for 6 years now and the decorations have been the same since day one so me changing that is rocking his little world! However, I refuse to live in a house where pop cans from a superbowl year, old antique looking oil cans, and old ripped pillows are the decor! I keep telling him I'm not living in a bachelor pad! :)

We've been looking at buying a house. I think if we get that house it'll be different. It'll be a brand new place for both of us and we can make it OURS. The lake house has been HIS for so long it's hard for him to change. So for now I've tried to back off and just make little changes at a time.

I'm excited to watch what God has in store for us. I never thought I'd be married to this man...yet here I am! God's timing and perfect plan for our lives never ceases to amaze me.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

4 months

It's been over 4 months since my last blog. Now I know that I was far from blogging daily like I had planned but before July I was doing a decent job at being consistent in blogging a few times a month.....then Izzy died.

I shut down. I was hurting. I was frustrated by my friends/families response to her death. I felt like the people that love me most...the people who have always loved me best.....didn't even know how to comfort me. I was angry and frustrated that they couldn't help ease my pain. I was maddened by the fact that no one seemed to understand my loss.

The truth of the matter is people continued to love and support me in the ways they knew how. They supported me and did their best to comfort me.....there just was no "right" way. There wasn't enough comfort in this world to carry me through what I was experiencing. And while I got frustrated with my family and friends for not having the answers I forgot to turn to the one who did have the answers. I forgot to let God be my source of comfort. He is the only one who can or will ever truly know the anguish I experienced.

My situation was unique. It wasn't just a mother losing her daughter. It was more than that. And with the loss came a lot of extra pain as I felt like I had to fight for the world to acknowledge the loss as just that: a mother losing a daughter.

I still miss her with every passing day. In a lot of ways I'm dreading returning to Honduras because this will be the first time I've gone KNOWING she wouldn't be there waiting on me.

To all of you who experienced my frustration or rage these past months as I coped with my grief: I am sorry. You didn't fail me in any way. Thank you for loving me through this.

I miss you sweet Isabel. Mommy loves you.

Friday, July 8, 2011


It has officially been one week since I heard the news of Izzy passing away. A week of feeling like my heart has been split in two. A week of grief like I've never known it before. I miss her every moment of every day and I am still struggling to believe she is really gone. I loved that little one with every ounce of my being. I'm sure I failed her at times and that I didn't do everything right but I can promise you that I I loved her to the best of my ability.

A few months ago I came into contact with a girl because some art work she had made for a friend. I've never had the privilege of meeting her but during the past few months we have e mailed back and forth about a project she was going to do for me. During that time we have gotten to know each other on a deeper level. Today after hearing about Izzy she sent me the sweetest e mail......her words meant the world to me. She never got to meet Izzy.....heck she hasn't even met me. Yet God used her to touch my heart today and help me along in this grieving process....

"I am SO very glad you shared this with me... I can't even begin to imagine how heartbroken you must be. I don't know how you functioned there once learning the awful news, and I don't know how you're functioning at work for 12+hours at a time, as you cope with such a profound loss. I am so, so sorry, Ashley...

What a priceless series of gifts you have given Isabel in the "extension" of life God gave her--through you! I'm sure that if she'd been able to relay any messages to you on this trip, she would have wanted to thank you:
--for BEING IN HONDURAS, in the first place, when you could've been many other places...
--for FINDING her there in that village, and stopping to acknowledge her & reach out to her. I wonder how many people had previously seen/walked by her, yet left her there to die...
--for SEEING her for who she was: precious...sought after...and LOVED!
--for RESCUING her from what would've been a horrible, lonely death in that mountain village, years ago...
--for BELIEVING she could be helped--and for facilitating that precious process!
--for BEING WITH her, there in the, to warm her heart...after such a long & isolated time of suffering silently where she'd been before...
--for PROVIDING for her physical needs, starting with medical care to help her frail little body grow stronger...
--for ADOPTING her as your own, giving her a true sense of identity...of belonging...and her first glimpse of God's love and tender care...
--for BEING HER TRUE MOTHER, nurturing her and showing her the opposite of what her biological "mother" had done...
--for STRUGGLING through the decision of what was best for Isabel, loving her unselfishly so that you gave her what was best for ISABEL, even when it meant an excruciating decision for YOU to have to leave her in others' care...
--for the EXTENSION OF LIFE you gave her as a result of your decision, allowing her body to keep healing/growing instead of giving her a setback by taking her to an all-new environment with other physical/medical risks.
--for the SUFFERING you endured, dealing with a huge hole in your own heart as you returned to the States without her, so that you could give her heart a chance to keep healing, miles away...
--for GIVING her the most priceless gift of knowing she is loved...through the years you cared for her & the stability you provided her, when all she'd known prior to that was abandonment and decline...

I will pray for you, Ashley, as you continue to process such a painful, devastating loss, and as you remember all those days and years with your precious little girl. I'll pray, too, that satan won't "beat you up" with any of the "what if's" and "if only's" he loves to taunt us with. God gave Isabel AND you a precious gift in one another. Hang on tight to those incredibly rich memories, and know that you made a PROFOUND difference in her little life!!! I know she made a difference in yours, too."

Thank you Rachel for your sweet sweet words. They touched my heart more than I could even begin to tell you.

For those of you who have never heard the story of Isabel I'm posting it below in 3 parts.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Isabel - part one

The story of finding Isabel:
Living in Honduras I have witnessed a lot of things that lacked in the justice department. I've seen things that would make grown men break and sob. I've experienced things that I thought were surely the greatest acts of injustice in the entire world. However, when we found Isabel (March 11th 2008) I knew that injustice had taken on a whole new meaning for me. A friend of ours (Carlos) runs a daycare center in Teguc called Jen to ask her to go with him to deliver food to a starving family in a village near us. Shortly after they left Jen called to say that they were on their way back but needed me to warm up some water and find something that would serve as a bathtub. Upon their arrival at the house they had found a little girl that was so malnourished that she was literally starving to death. Jen was bringing her back to Casa to get cleaned up and then planned to make the long overdue trip to the hospital with her. Just as I was about to hang up the phone I heard Jen's voice barely whisper the words "Ash this is worse than anything I've seen here."

Let me just say that nothing could have prepared me for the site that I was about to see. Jen walked through the door carrying a tiny little bundle that was unmistakably a baby from the wails that could be heard from miles away. Wails that screamed of injustice and pain. We headed straight for Jen's shower where I had set up our make shift bathtub. As Jen began unwrapping the blanket I felt my heart drop and my stomach turn at the site before my eyes. I managed to lift my gaze. I found the rush of emotions that were gripping my heart staring back at me as my eyes met Jen's. Knowing the time for tears and breaking down would come later I allowed myself to look past what I was seeing and meet the needs of the little one Jen was placing in my arms.

We managed to get her changed and wrapped up in a clean blanket. Within minutes after I found myself sitting in the car cradling that same bundle and staring down into the eyes of a little one I would quickly fall completely in love with. As we drove to town Jen helped me piece together the rest of the story that I had yet to put together. The bundle in my arms was four year old Maria Isabell. (we call her Isabell) She and her brother, sister, and cousin were living with their grandmother just outside of Ojojona. The mom had abandoned them months before when her new boyfriend said he didn't want kids. From there the Grandmother (who isn't all there) struggled to find money for food and medicines that were necessary to keep her grand kids healthy. Isabell was by far the worst. She had begun having seizures off and on about four months ago and continued to have them in my arms as we rushed her to the Emergency room.

Once there we learned that she weighed only 19 pounds....4 years old and 19 pounds. They hooked her up to an IV and we soon saw a doctor. However, answers were few and far between. Priority became getting fluids in here and getting her stable. Getting her belly full and her strength back was far more important than dealing with the seizures that came off and on or the distorted/deformed way her body had become over the past months. Her hunger pains had sent her into the fetal position. The fact that no one had touched/moved her for days on end had allowed her muscles to disintegrate and the skin literally just hangs from her legs.

Not willing to let her spend a night in the hospital alone I volunteered to stay the night with her. I spent the night massaging her feet. She LOVES having her feet rubbed. (oh yes ME touching feet! ....God does have a sense of humor) I've decided that it is one of the few places that people can touch without causing her great pain and she really just longs to be touched. Every time she would cry (which was often) I would be by her side singing or talking of the days ahead when we would be playing tag, singing together, giggling, and doing all the normal things that 4 year olds were made to do.

Let me just say that those late night hours bonded us on a level that I didn't know could exist after such a short amount of time. By middle of the night she was drinking water and able to swallow again. Around 2 a.m. she had the last seizure and by morning her eyes were brighter, her body was a little stronger, and she was beginning to develop a little bit of an attitude. We spent the night and today bending, flexing, and moving her limbs the best I could. She still prefers to keep them curled up and bent the way we found her but they have each at some point been stretched all the way out so we know it is possible. We also treated her head for lice and may have managed to kill half of them. (she had a head FULL of lice)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Isabel - part 2

Falling in love with her:

From the moment we found her, Isabel’s progress was more of a roller coaster ride than I could have ever imagined. For every step forward we took it felt like we took two steps back. I watched her grow and change so much. She began making eye contact and holding it. She learned to lift her head and role from side to side. We worked with her arms and legs non stop until her muscles became comfortable in a normal position. We definitely walked some miles together......especially in those first few days. I could tell you what the names of every med she was on and when she needed to take it. Heck I even knew what they each smelled like. I knew which meds she hated and that you had to mix them with something else to get her to take it at all. I knew the stubborn gleam she gots in her eye that meant she wasn't going to do anything you wanted her to until she decided to. I knew what her mad cry sounded like...her hurt cry...her scared cry. I knew every scar, bump, bruise, and speck on her little body. I learned quickly that she liked her hair played with when she was going to sleep and her feet rubbed when she was hurting. I knew that she loves the color red and found music/singing to be soothing. When she was in the hospital they would bring each of her meals on one tray and a meal for me on a second tray...the card on my tray always said "para la mama." (for the mom). All the nurses (whom I knew the names of as well as most of their life stories by the time we left) referred to me as Isabel's mom and talked to Isabel about her momma (me!). I loved her...she was mine in every way I know how to say it. Heck while she was in the hospital she needed a blood transfusion and when it came time for it all eyes (of the doctors) turned to me to give the blood for it. I of course rolled up my sleeve and stuck out my arm. I would have given it all to her if it is what she needed. So you know that saying flesh and blood...we were well on our way!:) For those of you who don't know me so well let me just say I HATE NEEDLES! I'm a baby ...plain and simple.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Isabel - part 3

Making her truly mine.

After spending nearly 6 weeks in the hospital fighting for Isabel’s life the doctors released her and we began the fight to make her mine. After fighting INHFA (Honduras social service) friends of mine volunteered to go pick up a social worker and bring her out to where I was. I spent hours tracking down the mother as well as every receipt, photo, or document that I could find to prove that she was better in my care and that the family could never afford to pay for her health care. The mother had agreed to meet us to discuss Isabel’s care.

Once we got to the grandma’s house I realized that I had brought with me my own personal Honduran entourage. I said very little… only role seemed to be standing in the background holding my sweet Izzy. Yet I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I felt like a fly on the wall as I watched it all play out before me. Have you ever prayed over one thing with specifics that you so badly want to specifically that you've imagined it happening that way a million times in your head? That was how that day went for me. I felt like God asked me to write a detailed list of what I wanted to see happen and then He made sure to bring to life all of the things I wrote on paper. It was a reminder that we can pray about things until we are blue in the face and ask God for 100 things...but unless those things line up with His will they aren't going to happen like we want. More than that it was like God was telling me I've been doing the right thing. That it was all falling into place because it was His will.

We got to the house and the mother was there as anticipated. The social worker and lawyer we had brought along went right to work. They started talking to the mom and grandmother explaining who they were and what organization they worked with. As the mom started to fight saying that Izzy doesn't need medical attention my friend (who happens to be a doctor) stepped in and made it known that in his professional opinion she wouldn't live if she didn't receive help. The social worker then ever so gently informed the mom that, with or without her consent, INHFA could take Izzy from them. Things went rather smoothly after that. Before too long we were in a car and headed to town to pick up Izzy's medical records from before we found her. We then went to make copies of all the paperwork/pictures/etc that I had as well as the medical stuff. After that they actually sat and typed up the authorization paper for the mom to sign in front of the lawyer saying she was handing over her rights to INHFA....who then drafted papers saying they are handing her over to me. They simply wanted to provide a buffer between the mom and I in case she decides at some point she is going to change her mind. From there we went to another office and they drafted a birth certificate on the spot. (she has never had a birth certificate and never been registered...makes me wonder what this countries population really is if they have all kinds of babies who aren't registered) All of her documents from before said her birthday was Jan. 12, 2004. However, her birth certificate now says Jan. 2, 2005. So somewhere in those 6 weeks I had her she has lost a year of her life. I walked away that day with her complete medical history, the paper with the mother's signature saying she is giving up all rights, the 2 original copies of her birth certificate, and most importantly....Izzy still in my arms. My heart called her mine from the second I met her but that day it was like everyone else was acknowledging it too.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Today was an up and down battle emotionally for our team here in Honduras. Our first stop of the day was to the special needs orphanage. When we arrived we were told some devastating news. The girl Ashley had been telling me about all week, Izzy, had became ill and had passed away. Even though I had never met this girl I knew she had to be absolutely amazing from just listening to Ashley talk about her with such love and admiration. While at the orphanage all of us had some great experiences with the children. Their smiles and laughter are some of the most amazing things here in Honduras. The boys spent the night again last night so they were with us all day again!

After the first orphanage we went to the Dump. The Dump here in Tegucigalpa you have to see to believe. Hundreds of people live, and I do mean live in the dump. Our goal today was to feed some of them. As you drive towards the dump the scenery goes from sad to heartbreaking as you see men, women, and children in conditions you never thought possible. As we drove in we had to have people guard the food on the back of the truck so that it was not taken. When we got to a crowded spot we had the kids stay in the van as we got out to great the masses. The man in charge of the feeding is Mark Tindel. He works at Casa de Esperanza and at least once a week comes to the dump to feed. We passed out beans, rice, tortillas, and water to the people at the dump. Mike and I were in charge of passing out the water and it went fast. I got down to just one pouch and my goal was simple, give the last bit of water we had to a child. Two people came towards me, a man with a machete, and a little girl with a smile. I don’t even have to tell you who ended up with that water.

After leaving the dump we went to the Mother Theresa Orphanage. This place had some amazing kids. Daniel quickly made a new friend who wouldn’t part from his shadow. And his name was Daniel too! Steve also connected with a child, Kenny. They were inseparable all afternoon! One of the nuns there pointed out a small girl, Jacqueline who was shying away from our group. She was such a sweet little girl! The nun told me that when I leave the little girl would cry. But it didn’t take that long because as soon as anyone but me touched her she started bawling. Luckily Hines was there to help me calm her down. Side note, she also covered me in warm strawberry milk.

Our busy day continued when we went to the Jesus statue at one of the highest points of the city. From there we got to see a storm roll in and the view was breath taking. We then had to run back to the car to beat the storm and luckily we all made it back before the storm came.

Our final trip of the day was to KFC where we took the kids from Casa de Esperanza for dinner. Those kids are quite possibly the most energetic children I’ve ever associated with. The KFC has a soccer field in it so Daniel and I got to play some soccer with the kids! There were some sad goodbyes as we left KFC though.

In closing please keep Ashley in your prayers tonight as well as anyone else whose life was changed through Izzy.

(Written by team member: Corey Bryant)

Maria Isabel

My Dearest Izzy,
God may not have knit you together in my womb but He certainly carved out a special space for you in my heart. And although I didn't labor for hours to bring you into this world we certainly walked a lot of long and hard miles together. Even when it felt like the entire world was against us I refused to give up on you because I knew in the depths of my heart that you were worth fighting for. I cried a lot of tears, prayed a lot of prayers, and picked a lot of fights on your behalf.....and it was all worth it. Even this pain that I now carry in my heart is worth even a second of the time that God granted us. I will never understand how God chooses what two hearts to bond together but I will be forever grateful that He picked your heart for mine. Your gentle disposition, your stubborn nature, your fighting spirit.....I will forever cherish all of the little things that made you my little princess. To the world you may have been disabled but to me you were perfect. I selfishly long for 5 more minutes to squeeze you close....but I know you are finally at peace. All of Heaven gets to delight in your presence as you skip, jump, laugh, play, and breath deeply for the first time. I imagine you there now singing with a whole choir of angels and taking long walks.....hand in hand with Jesus. I love you my precious girl and I thank you for the ways you freed this heart of mine. Your momma misses you deeply......

Thursday, June 30, 2011


Today we got up bright and early to build another house! And by bright and early I mean Mario woke me up at 5:55 by saying “Corey… GET UP” The boys stayed over last night and they can be a handful but they are awesome. We arrived at the build site with the wood already unloaded (by Mike, Daniel, and I) which means we were ahead of schedule! The brothers as usual were all about helping us build the house by doing whatever they could do help, even if sometimes that just meant running and giggling. We finished the house early even though we faced a lot of difficulties. I was so proud of our team as no matter what happened they continued to work hard and didn’t let these issues get in the way of providing for a family in need. The family we build the house for was so very gracious. The look in their eyes when the gazed upon their new house was all the satisfaction we needed!

During the building of the house Mario, one of the middle brothers, was by my side helping me for most of the day. He hasn’t said much to me so far on the trip but today he was extremely chatty! Mario’s story is a long one and to see him thrive is awesome. Whenever we have been around kids his age he is the center of attention and is always sharing with the other kids. Its amazing to see someone that has less that me give without even batting an eye. He is inspirational. On our ride home Mario, Marveen, and I sat in the back of the bus. Marveen was passed out after a few minutes but Mario and I were talking, singing, and dancing the whole way back. He is an awesome kid and I am so very thankful that I got to know him a little better today! Everyday down here has been a great gift and the things I have learned I will not soon forget. The boys are staying the night again so its time to get them ready for bed. Tomorrow we are going to the special needs orphanage, the dump, and taking some great kids out for dinner.. this all means that tomorrow will be my favorite day of the trip!

(Written by: Team member....Corey Bryant)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Our stuck bus....
Steph was a beast with the rake!
Our team building garden rows

Me with Christian (the little boy I attached to at the hospital)


We started our day off at Hospital Escuela. I have a love/hate relationship with that place. I love it because it continually breaks me. My heart has never left that place feeling anything less than broken and changed. Yet I hate that same place BECAUSE it continues to break me....and because of the reasons it breaks me. It breaks my heart to see so much pain and despair. The hospital is worse than most things I've seen here. They put 10+ people in each bed. So that when you walk into a room there are hospital beds lining the walls on all sides. They reuse catheters, needles, and who knows what else. To top that all of because it is a "free hospital" they don't provide meals or bedding for their patients. So it is easy to see why my heart breaks from just being there. I believe that one of the greatest injustices of this world is inadequate health care. Today was no different for me. We went from floor to floor handing out blankets and stuffed animals. I ended up spending the majority of my time at the bedside of a little boy whose Mom is working every day so she can only come visit him on Sundays. The boy (Christian) couldn't have been more than 2 and when I first saw him he was screaming and crying as he got his injections/treatments for the day. I went to his side to hold his hand and ended up staying until he went to sleep.

After the hospital we went to "the brothers" house to clean for a couple hours. The brothers are a group of 8 boys. The 5 middle kids were the first 5 children in Casa de Esperanza (the orphanage) when they opened their doors. They were placed back with their parents a couple of years ago. Since that time they've been living near missionary friends of mine. (Jen and David) So we spent a couple of solid hours scrubbing, sweeping, mopping, and washing everything we could today.

We then headed to a new ministry called Casa de Esther. It is a ministry for sexually abused girls. They will be opening their doors to the first 4 girls within a month and are equipped to take in up to 30. We spent time building shelves, cleaning, and hauling away wood.

Finally, we headed back to the homeless ministry that my friend Amber runs. She feeds every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so we went there tonight to help feed and spend time with the sweet people that show up each night.

It was a very full day but we were blessed to get to be a part of all of it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Monday & Tuesday

4 years ago I met Nathan Hale and we became fast friends. He came to Honduras to build a garden for the orphanage I was working for. During his 2 weeks here I picked his brain and learned more about cob housing, worm beds, composting, and gardening than I ever thought possible. He shared with me his dream/vision to start a farming project that would employ people to work there and in turn would produce food to feed hundreds.

Flash forward 4 years.....yesterday I had the privilege of seeing all of that become a reality. Nathan (and others) came here in April to put his dream into motion. Someone donated land for the project and yesterday our team was able to spend the day working there. I was brought to tears as I stood and looked out over the land.....this project that Nathan has dreamed for, worked for, prayed for, cried for, and fought for. I am moved by his faithfulness to this call that God has placed on his heart and I felt blessed to be able to play even the smallest role in it.

Unfortunately our bus, the truck, and a delivery truck all got stuck in the mud on the property. And when I say stuck I mean sunk right in. We spent the ENTIRE day pulling, pushing, digging, and praying one vehicle after another out of the mud. Around 8 p.m (after close to 6 hours of working at it) we finally gave up and called a tow truck (which ended up also getting stuck!) to come pull the delivery truck out. Despite it all the team was amazing. They never once complained....even after the sun went down and the skies opened up and began to down pour.

Then today it was off to the Nashville school which is a bilingual school near the valley of the angels to build bookshelves and picnic tables for the school. The school is dedicating to not only giving the kids an education but also teaching them about God's love. After hours of working on the tables we headed to the Valley of Angels (a little shopping village) to buy our souvenirs. While there we enjoyed some authentic Honduran food. We got coffee, Coke in glass bottles (the only real way to drink it in my opinion), pupusas, and fresh fruit popsicles. I was IN heaven. :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Today was a build day. We headed out bright and early to build a house for a sweet family. The family was made up of a woman, her daughter, and her two grandchildren. As soon as we arrived we began carrying wood down a narrow path to the house site. We also jumped right in to tear down the existing structure that they had been living in. It could hardly be categorized as a house with its gaping holes, sparse furniture, and small size. It took us 10 minutes to move out all of their possessions. It would take us weeks to pack up all of our belongings and completely move out of our homes.

The team did amazing. They jumped right in and helped in any way necessary and within 6 hours we had demolished the previous house, carried in the wood, and built the entire house.

My favorite part of the day was at the end when we all circled up inside of the house to pray over the family and their new home. The mother decided she would like to express to us her appreciation for our hard work. In doing so she started sobbing and kept repeating how blessed she is. I was humbled beyond belief. This women standing before me was expressing how blessed SHE is. How often do we, Americans, think we don’t have enough? We want bigger houses, more things, fancier cars, etc. Very rarely do we stand back and just recognize how truly blessed we are. Yet here was a woman, standing in a 17X17 foot home, praising the Lord for the blessings he has bestowed upon her.

Mr. Dan is 75 years old, yet he was out there today helping us build and serving those wonderful people. He is living proof that God can use anyone despite their age or what they may have to offer.

Friday, June 24, 2011

In Honduras!

The team all made it safely into the country. We headed out to Casa de Esperanza for the afternoon and played with the kids there. I can't even begin to describe how good it is for my heart to be there and near those kids whom I love so deeply. I will never grow tired of watching Katty come running towards me and flinging herself into my arms. Feeling her arms wrap around my neck is like a breath of fresh air. The team spent the afternoon playing and then grilled hot dogs to eat with the kiddos. I'll post pictures soon.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Smart Phone

I recently upgraded my cell phone and got the iPhone 4. Thanks to my wonderful sister who bought me the iPhone 3G I was able to sell my old phone and buy the new one for just $50! Let me first say how much I, in my materialistic ways, love my iPhone.

Today while the kids napped I decided to go outside and soak up some sunlight. (I'm tired of living at the beach and being so white!) I settled down on a blanket with my ice coffee, a good book, and music streaming from my iPhone. About 30 minutes late my phone just suddenly stopped playing music. The screen said "TEMPERATURE!!!!" It went on to explain underneath that my iPhone needed to cool down before it continued to work. The screen then flashed to a keypad and above the keypad it said "dial emergency." It even flashed back and forth between English and Spanish asking if I wanted it to dial emergency. Apparently my phone thinks it's too hot to be outside and was prepared to dial 911 for me if necessary!

Thank you smart phone.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Parenting License

The more I watch the news the more certain I become that there really should be some sort of screening process involved in becoming a parent. I've considered several options for such a screening process.....

1. Have a panel of judges who carefully considers each parental candidate. They could observe each person and decide on whether or not that person is up to the responsibilities of raising a child. The problem with such a panel is who would we deem worthy of such a position? Who out there deserves the position of judging the parental worthiness of an individual?

2. Implement a test. A list of 100 questions to determine if a person is competent enough to handle the role of being a parent. Included on the list should most certainly be "at what age is it appropriate to get botax?" If your answer is 8 years old....then you certainly should fail. I wish I were kidding when I say that the Today Show recently featured a story where a mom not only let, but also encouraged, her 8 year old daughter to have botax. The daughter competes frequently in beauty pageants and "the wrinkles around her mouth were holding her back from winning." Really.....I mean REALLY! The problem with such a test is that a person could pass by answering the other 99 questions perfectly and yet answer that they see nothing wrong with an 8 year old getting botax treatments so she can "feel better about herself."

3. Parenting Classes. Before a person can even consider conceiving a child they should take classes that teach everything from how to put on a diaper to money management to nutrition and health. Oh wait....they call that college right?

As you can see there are more than a few holes in my dreams of fixing the world's parental problems. Don't get me wrong I'm not trying to down play how hard it is to parent a child....especially in today's world. I have years of experience with children and I still doubt my abilities to successfully parent a child. The thought of being a mom terrifies me.

Yet when I hear stories of child abuse I just want to scoop up all the wounded children in the world and let them know that someone out there really does love them....someone out there really does want them....someone out there sees the injustice being inflicted on them and weeps over it. I understand the fall of man. I get that when God created the world He never intended for us to know pain and sorrow. I get that it was by our own selfish nature that sin entered the world. And I understand that God allows each of us the free will to decide if we want to have a child and how to treat that child once it is born. My head gets's my heart that is screaming out against it.

Real situations I've heard of lately that make me seriously wish we could implement some kind of required parenting license.

*A couple who are going to court for "caging their 6 year old daughter." Authorities suspect that the girl was caged in a crib for at least a year and that the parents were feeding her one poptart in the morning and one at night.

*A couple who are both in the Navy would put their twins in their high chairs with a bottle and then leave them there for 12 hours while they went to work.

*A 16 year old girl who committed suicide because her own father was molesting her and she felt like there was no other escape.

The list goes on and on....Stories like this happen every day. I probably won't ever win any awards for being a mother but I'm determined to do my best and I'm even more determined to pray for all those poor little ones out there who have less than stellar parents.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


‎"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one,
not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a
night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that"
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dump Day

It's that time again....the annual "dump day." It is a day dedicated to raising funds to help feed the nearly 1,200 men, women, and children who live in the city dump in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Please consider going to the link below to donate.... something....anything....even the smallest amount helps.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Conflicted Feelings

As all of you know by now Osama bin Laden was confirmed to be dead yesterday. Yet, as everyone else gloats, cheers, celebrates, and congratulates my heart feels conflicted. To me there is no joy in taking a man's life....any man's life. However, sometimes there is a duty that must be carried out. A duty so great that many people's lives depend on it..... A duty of protection, not vengeance.

Please hear me when I say that I deeply appreciate the sacrifices made by our military men and women in order to keep us safe. I now live within the military community and am personally connected to several active members of our armed forces. I've seen first hand the sacrifices they make in leaving their family behind to join in a cause that they find worthy. I've become acutely aware of how often they have left their families on a moments notice to chase down a threat that we, as civilians, didn't even know existed. They are, in EVERY sense of the word, heros.

So I get why there was such a collective sigh of relief last night as people heard of Osama bin Laden's death. However, I still cannot come to terms with Celebrating this man's death. I mourn the life he led and the choices he made. I mourn the fact that he seemed to have never heard the word of God...or worse yet heard it and rejected it. I mourn the fact that he didn't know a personal relationship with Christ. So today, even though most will probably scoff at me, I refuse to rejoice in his demise.

Proverbs 24 :17 "do not gloat when your enemy falls; when they stumble, do not let your heart rejoice."

“Osama bin Laden, as we all know, bore the most serious responsibility for spreading divisions and hatred among populations, causing the deaths of innumerable people, and manipulating religions to this end,” said Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, the Vatican spokesman, who released a brief written statement reacting to the news. “In the face of a man’s death, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibilities of each person before God and before men, and hopes and works so that every event may be the occasion for the further growth of peace and not of hatred.” -Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, on the death of Osama bin Laden.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Happy Sunday

“In your relationships with one another,
have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature God, did not consider
equality with God something to be used to his
own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness. And being
found in appearance as a man, he humbled
himself by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!” - Philippians 2:5-8

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mimi & Elle

About 3 weeks ago the twins (of the family I work for/live with) turned 2. I've been working for this family since the girls were 5 months old. I've watched them go through most of their milestones....starting to crawl, first steps, first words, etc. I can't believe they are 2 years old already!

Their 2nd birthday was, without a shadow of a doubt, fancier than my wedding day will be! They broke out the sterling silver and white table cloths. The cake was beautiful, the food was perfect, and the decorations took days to prepare and set up! They had well over 50 people come to the party and it was just a really great day.

Cake Table
Food table

Me & Elle
Jessie & Mimi
Mimi and her boyfriend Finn going on their first "car date"
My VA Beach family
I have the world's best best friends.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Wedding

I stumbled across a blog entry today that I wanted to share with you all. You should most definitely click on this link and read it straight from the source to see the photos and full effect the writer was going for.

"The Cost of the Royal Wedding... What if?

Every time I've turned on the television or opened a news website for the last two months, news of the royal wedding is at the forefront. Yes- I'm eager to see a picture of the princess in her wedding gown- but the numbers I'm seeing associated with the cost of this wedding break my heart every time I hear them mentioned. Some media outlets are estimating that the total cost of the royal wedding will fall somewhere between 40 and 50 million dollars. Add on top of that the burden to British taxpayers for security and lost productivity for declaring the wedding day a national holiday and the numbers get into the BILLIONS of dollars.
What if...instead of a $434,000 dress...Every one of the 88 abandoned and severely special needs children at Sarah's Covenant Home in India got the life saving surgeries and therapies that they needed.
WHAT IF... instead of spending $800,000 on the royal flowers...... 320 houses were built for families displaced by the earthquake in Haiti.
WHAT IF... instead of the $80,000 cake ordered for the wedding......the financial burden was removed to bring 4 children home to eager and loving families...
WHAT IF... the $65,000 that will be used just to clean the streets for the royal wedding procession......was used instead to clean up these streets in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya.
WHAT IF... instead of a $600,000 luncheon hosted by Prince Charles......The remaining 144 un-sponsored children at Yezelalem Minch (Ethiopia) were sponsored for the next 12 years- or until most of them are adults- providing them with an education, nutrition and a safe place to grow up.
The point is- there are choices that we all make, myself included. The choices aren't always easy. The world tells us that we need bigger and better things and that we should find our self worth based on the amount of "stuff" that we can amass. The amount that we deal with on a daily basis may not equal the millions spent on the royal wedding, but the decision is the same: continue our lives of comfort, or make sacrifices to support the least of these."
I couldn't agree with her more. I too have found myself annoyed and burdened these past weeks as I heard about the cost of the royal wedding. But for me, my annoyance goes even further than just what better ways the money could be spent.....I can't help but notice that we Americans who have no real ties to the Royal family are consumed with this wedding. We've taken more of a collective notice to this one event than we have ever taken in world hunger, poverty, lack of education, abuse, or any of the other injustices that go on in our world every day. I hope you found this (hers not mine) blog to be inspiring and motivating. What are we doing to make a difference on a daily basis? How are we taking a stand against the injustices we see around us?

Thursday, April 28, 2011


I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world
and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. -E. B. White

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


At the last second I was able to go home to Ohio for Easter. I love being home so I jumped at the chance to be there for Easter.
It really is all about the simple things in life like blowing bubbles with your nephew!
Mams and Clayton dying eggs.
Yep...he's cute. :)
oh yes...and so is he.
Pap-pap and Clayton taking a swing at the pinata

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend came to VA to visit me for the weekend. There was a dirt track race (he LOVES racing) going on in a nearby town so we were going to spend our weekend there. Friday night we headed to the track for the qualifying and heat races. I had underestimated the frigid affects of the wind and nearly froze my butt off. However, we made the most of the night and watched some decent racing.

The main event was supposed to happen the next day but due to bad weather the race ended up being delayed and moved to Sunday afternoon.

Since the race was delayed we decided to drive to Williamsburg to have dinner with my roommate Addy and her boyfriend. The heavily anticipated bad weather had yet to show its ugly head and as we drove to Williamsburg under a cloudy but rainless sky the decision to postpone seemed premature. However, we were no sooner being seated at Green Leafe restaurant when all hell broke loose.

Let me take time out for a moment to mention that I HATE storms. Like am terrified of storms. Like want to climb under a bed, curl up in a ball, and cry when it storms.

It wasn’t until our waitress mentioned that a tornado had gone through Richmond, VA that we began to worry. But even then we didn’t understand the magnitude of what we were about to encounter. We spent an extra 30-40 minutes at the restaurant waiting on the rain to clear. Finally, seeing a lapse in the downpour, we made a mad dash for the car.

Despite the late night hour (it was only like 9 p.m. but that's late for me!) it seemed like we were driving through daylight as the sky was illuminated with lightning bolt after lightning bolt. As we made the hour drive back (I cried through most of that hour drive) to our hotel, in Gloucester, the storm damage became more extreme. As we reached the city limits there were obvious power outages, downed power lines, areas of forest that were completely leveled, and emergency personnel everywhere. It wasn’t until we got back to the hotel and turned on the t.v. that we realized that a tornado had indeed hit that area as well. Thanks be to God that we spent the extra time at the restaurant waiting for the rain to clear or we would have been in the heart of the storm.

The next day as we drove around the little town we saw the magnitude of the storm. A local school had been almost completely destroyed, buses had been ripped apart by the tornado, homes were damaged, trees were leveled, etc. There were 4 confirmed deaths and dozens others were injured. My heart goes out to the families affected by the storm. I'm so very thankful that God kept us at the restaurant for long enough that we missed the most severe parts of the storm.