{Gone to Haiti} 5 Prayers Requests.

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In a couple of hours, we will be in the air headed towards these precious kids. While we are in Haiti, we covet your prayers, warm wishes, and love.  We are going to Haiti to bring joy and hope to a corrupt nation. It is our sincere desire to make a lasting difference in the lives of these sweet people.

Life is hard in Haiti. Your prayers and love make a difference to us while we are there. Things are always easier with support.

Here’s a list of our top 5 prayer requests (deemed priority by me!):

1. Protection from illness. We have been vaccinated for Hepatitis A, Typhoid, and taking anti-malarial medication but that doesn’t always protect your body from other potential dangers. Please pray that our bodies are renewed each day and remain strong.

2. Joy in all circumstances. We travel with the intention of bringing joy and hope to the people of Haiti. In harsh conditions, it can be difficult to remain positive. Please pray that our attitudes are joyful not just to the Haitians but to each other as well.

3. The hearts of our Haitian friends. Historically, Haitians have been bulldozed by corrupt people. They have been beaten down and robbed of many opportunities as a result. Naturally, this type of treatment has built a wall around the hearts of many of the people we will meet. They are reluctant to love and receive because of their past hurts. Please pray for their hearts to be softened.

4. Our jobs. Please pray for the people at our places of employment and that things go smoothly while we are gone.

5. Our marriage. Traveling has always brought Jason and I closer. We’ve learned more about each other and grown in such beautiful ways while traveling together. Please pray that God continues to use travel as a way to strength our marital bond.

Thank you for your continued prayers and the moments you’ll think about us while we are away. It means the world to us!

See ya soon!

 

Campus Book Rentals.

I am a 28 year old grad student. I literally have been spending money on college textbooks for 11 years. Not only is it expensive but it is also exhausting. The process of getting textbooks makes me want to cry. Go on campus, find a parking spot, buy a book, pay for the book, have a panic attack because the prices are so expensive, and then go home and barely use the book. This cycle has been constant in my life for the last 11 years until this quarter.

This quarter I used Campus Book Rentals. I found all of the books I needed in about 10 minutes, set the length of the rental, and checked out online. And the sweetest part, I saved $368.72 on book charges (they offer free standard shipping but I needed a rush order. Slacker!). Check out the prices below:

Title Period LDP Shipping Price Total

Book jacket Healthcare Finance : An Introduction to Accounting and Financial Management
ASIN / ISBN: 9781567934250
91 Day Rental
Due:9/16/2013
icon Expedited $3.99 $ 40.84 44.83

Book jacket Cases in Healthcare Finance
ASIN / ISBN: 9781567933420
91 Day Rental
Due:9/16/2013
icon Expedited $3.99 $ 23.50 27.49

Book jacket Cornerstones of Managerial Accounting
ASIN / ISBN: 9780538473460
91 Day Rental
Due:9/16/2013
icon Expedited $3.99 $ 19.00 22.99

 

The savings alone is incredible but not the best part… A portion of the purchase goes to support Operation Smile . This is amazing because Operation Smile is an international medical charity geared towards improving the quality of life for children with cleft lips. The organization has helped hundreds of thousands of children since its conception in 1982. So cool! It’s like a double win!

If you lucky enough to pursue a secondary education, want to stretch your budget, and have an interest in helping those around you, Campus Book Rentals is your sweet spot!

{Gratitude Journal} 30 More Moments from Haiti.

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We leave for Haiti in three days. As I continue to reflect on my previous trips, I am amazed by the lasting power of the seemingly small things. Last week when I shared 30 moments from Haiti, I couldn’t help but feel like there was more… More to share, more to be reminded of, and more to feel…

So here’s 30 more moments:

1. Playing with the kids on the mountain.

2. Watching Jason play soccer barefoot with the Haitians.

3. Kervans and Timon (our interpreter and security) hanging out with us.

4. Pastor Fontaine giving us everything he has.

5. Playing with the kids at the Miriam Center.

6. Surviving my first motorcycle ride.

7. Having enough money to complete our concrete project.

8. Watching my sis adapt so well.

9. Talking to my parents on the phone.

10. Conversation with Melonnie (a full-time missionary).

11. Breeze in our bedroom.

12. A little girl waiting outside of my shower to give me a sucker.

13. My husband’s hardworking spirit.

14. Time of fellowship with the team.

15. Timon always looking out for us.

16. John stealing my popcorn.

17. Bottles of water.

18. Madam Fontaine preparing meals for us.

19. Kisses from Christina.

20. Singing Haitian women.

21. Afternoon naps.

22. Meg praying and speaking over women.

23. Tickling the kids.

24. Madam Fontaine thanking us for being there.

25. Meg’s testimony at the Brothel.

26. Jason playing with Sabrina and the boy at the Brothel.

27. Feeding the kids at the Miriam Center.

28. Afternoon cards.

29. Jason’s big heart.

30. Finding humor in the small things.

I cannot wait to add to this list of precious memories. The next three days cannot go quick enough.

High Five for Friday.

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Friday, Friday, Friday!

The weekend is finally here. Woo Hoo!

This week was AMAZING!

Here are the highlights:

(Unfortunately, I didn’t take a lot of pictures).

1. Jason and I have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support for our upcoming Haiti trip. Our uncle missed the “deadline” but sent us cash to help us with traveling expenses. God is seriously so good!

2. I went to see New Kids on the Block, 98 degrees, and Boys II Men in concert this week with a lifelong friend. It was three kinds of amazing!

3. I started listening to this devotional series from Lifeway on the way to work this week. Beth Moore rocks my world!

4. My friend Lizz and I met with our pastor on Sunday to talk about our goals for Haiti. He prayed for our trip and gave us excellent advice.

5. I used a gift card and received an 1.5 hour massage on Thursday night. My neck and back have never felt better.

Tell me about your week by linking up with the gorgeous Lauren Elizabeth  for H54F. 

 

{Gratitude Journal} 30 Moments from Haiti.

{Christmas Gifts} A New Approach.

We leave for Haiti in 10 days. This will be my third trip. I spent some time this morning reflecting on Haiti and asked the Lord to prepare my heart to travel again.  One of the ways I prepare is by flipping through my gratitude journal. This helps me remember the “little” things and maintain a spirit of “thanksgiving” (it is easy to complain in 100 degree weather!).

Here’s a snapshot of my journal from last year:

1. My family having the courage to come to Haiti. (My sister and husband traveled).

2. The smiles of the kids and cheers as we traveled into St. Louis Du Nord.

3. Ken placing a $5 bill into a woman’s Bible.

4. My husband’s hardworking spirit.

5. The teamwork of the group.

6. The stars and breeze on our rooftop home.

7. The Central KY area and their heart for Haiti.

8. A cold shower.

9. Watching my sister step out of her comfort zone.

10. The juice at lunch.

11. Our interpreter.

12. Music time with the kiddos at the Miriam Center.

13. Jason saving my sister from falling out of the back of the truck.

14. Washing Dishes.

15. Jason working hard on a bench project.

16. The  Haitian women that cook and clean-up after us.

17. Our interpreter protecting us during an argument at the market.

24. Popcorn.

25. Going hut to hut distributing food to families in need.

26. Playing with the kids on the mountain.

27. Helping Din Din walk down the stairs.

28. Jason being so laid back.

29. Breeze after the rain.

30. Sprite and Coke.

I am looking forward to reliving some of these experiences and making new memories. 10 days, friends.

High Five for Friday.

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Woo Hoo!

I love Fridays. I am so grateful for the weekend.

A couple of awesome things happened this week. Here’s a summary:

1. Duke went to puppy oncologist and was very energetic and lovable. Everyone commented on how sweet he was.

2. The moss rose I planted on our porch is blooming. I love watching new colors sprout up.

3. I received a precious thank you card this week. It’s nice to be acknowledged for things you do.

4. We started purchasing stuff for our Haiti trip.

5. At the travel clinic, we met the nicest doctor and received two vaccinations to help us stay health during our trip.

Tell me about your week by linking up with the gorgeous Lauren Elizabeth  for H54F. 

Duke.

Duke

Jason and I have four pets. I know you are thinking, “Wow, that’s a lot!” And it is. We never intended on having four pets but we love them very much. Since we don’t have kiddos yet we are pretty wrapped up in our furry kids. Most of the photos on our phones are of our dogs and our fat cat. We wouldn’t have it any other way. We love them. We live with ungodly amount of pet hair and bizarre smells because we adore our pets. They are our babies. They bring us tremendous joy.

Duke is the last dog to join our pack. I always think of his as the middle child because of his age and mannerisms. About four years ago, my friend called me and said her sister found a dog at the lake and was looking for a foster home. I had just moved into my house and had a new Jack Russell pup and thought it sounded like a lot of work but still said yes. I brought Duke home with the intention of finding him another home.

The first afternoon with Duke was eventful. He promptly destroyed some down throw pillows on my couch and left me with a huge mess to clean up. While cleaning, Jason called to check-in since he was on a camping trip. I explained I was fostering a new dog but didn’t think I could keep him because he was ruining my house (insert the “This is why we can’t have nice things” rant here!). J said he was coming to town and would pick him up and see how he did on the farm. The trip with Jason to the farm was a game changer for Duke. He instantly bonded with J and his dog, Ringo.

From day one, Duke has been a part of our family. He’s the lover of the group. Always trying to snuggle close to us. Always happy to see us when we get home. Always playing with Milo, our Jack Russell. They are best friends. He has mannerisms similar to one of my other dogs and it always makes me smile. He gets scared when your voice drops an octave. He’s never met a stranger. We love him deeply.

Duke was diagnosed with cancer last week. Today we made the decision to make him comfortable and hope for the best. The medically advised treatment is risky and it won’t keep him permanently out of the woods. We decided to cherish the time we have left with him. Make sure he’s not in pain (he isn’t right now) and love him until his last breath. We are heartbroken but so very grateful for the time we’ve been able to (and will continue to) share with this sweet fur ball! He’s such a good boy!

{Haiti} The Call.

Ten years ago, the Lord put a great burden on my heart for the Country of Haiti. He told me to go. I didn’t know why. I ignored his instruction for 5 years. Those were the 5 darkest years of my life. The tug at my heart was constant. The voice of the Lord was so clear it was nearly audible. Yet, I decided to turn from it. I even tried to trade the call for another country and took a trip to Northern Ireland. It was a fun trip but wasn’t where I was called. It didn’t end the darkness. It kept getting worse and slowly but surely I felt the intimacy with my savior slip away.

Finally, after five years of complete turmoil and feeling like I had been wandering through the dessert for 40 years, I realized-

“God’s gifts and calling never change”.- Romans 11:29

So I surrendered to the idea of going to Haiti. It’s not like I ever said I didn’t want to go. It was more like I never made time to go. Things got in the way. It cost too much. It was too much time. I couldn’t get off of work. Blah. Blah. Blah. I knew finally I had to stop running from God and run towards him. I didn’t have a clue where to go or how to get involved but thought I would start by visiting my church website. While browsing online one night, I found this post in a forum that said something like, “Going to Haiti. Who wants to go?”. I e-mailed a response quickly before I could chicken out.

It wasn’t long before I received an e-mail response and was invited to the home of a now dear friend for an informational meeting. During the meeting, the facilitator told us all about Haiti. The poverty. The voodoo. The risk of illness. The sadness. The joy. The hardships. After the presentation, she asked if anyone wanted to go. While sitting in a room full of strangers, I said, “I’m down.”

Since surrendering  to the call, my life has radically changed. I feel closer to the Lord. I no longer ask the big question, “what is God’s will for my life?” I don’t ask because I know. I am intimate with him, walking in his presence daily. My life is “fruit filled” and full of promise. I now know without a shadow of the doubt that the Lord chooses our path so that we may abundantly live.

“You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. I have appointed you to go and produce fruit that will last, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you.”- John 15:16

Tell Me- Have you ever felt called to do something (big or small) and actually responded with action? If so, what was the outcome?

{Merge Your Money} Avoid Financial Infidelity

A lot of people ask me about money. This used to not be the case but somewhere along the path of getting married and following the Dave Ramsey plan, things changed. I am always happy to sit down and chat with folks about their financial situation and give advice based on our experience.  However, the best advice I can offer married couples is to avoid financial infidelity like the plague. Merge your money, talk about your money, and make plans for your money. This helps you and your spouse stay on the same page. It gives you the ability to talk about tough topics (like why saving for a tropical vacation might be important) and omits the possibility of creating a marriage that isn’t based on trust.

If you are trying to build a marriage based on honesty, start with your checkbook. If you don’t believe it’s a good idea , check out this infographic before you close the door on the idea completely. It could save your marriage. I know it’s saved mine.

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June Wallpaper + Looking Forward.

June is here! It’s always a fun month because the days are filled with sunshine and the nights are filled with the yummy scent of BBQ’s and bonfires. I love June.

I also love my new June desktop wallpaper. It’s from Nicole Classes Blog and is really colorful.

June 2013 Desktop Wallpaper by Alma Loveland for NicolesClasses.com

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June is more than pretty desktop wallpaper. It’s going to be loads of fun. Here’s a preview:

1. We celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary on the 15th.

2. We are going to Haiti for a week.

3. I am going to Pittsburgh to see 98 degrees, New Kids on the Block, and Boys II Men!

4. I start volunteering at the Refuge clinic this month.

5. I get two weeks off of school. Grad school kicks my butt!

The more I think about these things the more excited I get. Yay for June!

Tell me: What do you have to look forward to this month?