Things have changed quite a bit ’round here since my last post in February.
For starters, John Robert changed universities and started attending Transylvania University in Lexington, KY after a successful freshman year at Kentucky Christian University. We’ve been fundraising, moving, and adjusting to his new life in KY over the past year and he’s already moved twice… He was able to visit Haiti this summer which was an amazing gift after a hard year learning to survive in the USA. We love JR and are so honored to be a part of his journey.
(Photo taken this Spring after a KCU soccer game!)
Secondly, on May 27,2015, Jason and I finalized our adoption and finally were able to give our daughter, Beverly, our last name! It was a joyous occasion filled with a “gotcha day” party and the fulfillment of a promise we made to Bev when she moved in… she got her ears pierced!
(Photo taken on Cinco de Mayo!)
And finally, we welcomed a sweet baby boy into our lives on June 22, 2015 after hours and hours of labor… Ellias weighed 7 lbs 14 oz and 21 inches long. It was love at first sight for all of us!
(Photo taken around 3 weeks old)
This year has been filled with tremendous growth and an explosion of love. My husband and I are grateful for all of the support we’ve had over the past several months. There is NO way we could have endured the craziness without our family and friends. It’s been a wild ride!
I just returned from my fourth trip to Haiti. After trips, I’m always met with the same question, “How was Haiti?” This question is always incredibly hard for me to answer because it’s difficult to describe the way I feel. Haiti, to me, is like going home for Christmas. It’s the place where my heart is full and broken at the very same time. It’s the place where my passion resides and smile never fades. Haiti is home to me.
I want to reenact the moments of pure bliss, describe the faces of the kids I get to see, the way Pastor pours into my marriage or the way the whole community sacrificially loves. But instead, I get hung up with the question every time and look to the ground and say, “It was great!” I hope this response doesn’t make the experience seem flat, unimportant, and mediocre. Friends, Haiti is not any of those things. Haiti is where my friends live and where my heart stays.
Haiti reminds me of the magnet on my fridge that says:
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.”- Helen Keller
Haiti cannot be described by words, it’s an experience that must be felt with the heart. It’s a calling. I will do my best to highlight moments; but in truth I will always fail to find words because matters of the heart are hard to describe.
This quote perfectly describes 2013 for me. It was the year I learned to: praise the Lord during transition, be ok with not walking through the door, enjoy new experiences and celebrate trials even when they sometimes cause pain.
Here are a few highlights from 2013 that will last forever in my heart and mind:
Jason and I went to Haiti in June.
In November, my friends and I started a not-for-profit organization to support a school in Haiti.
In December, I graduated with my master’s degree in business administration.
A lot of our friends married, had babies, and invited us to celebrate with them.
Our families took trips, had meals together, and spent a lot of time lovin’ on each other.
As 2013 wraps up, I am grateful for life’s hallways and am eager to see what 2014 has in store!
It has been a couple of weeks since I have been on this lil’ blog of mine. You see, it is difficult for me to integrate my love of writing into my daily life. I am busy like you and as a result I tend to prioritize other things over my space here on the internets…
When I am not blogging, I am…
1.)Working outside of our home in a leadership role trying to make a difference in healthcare and provide for our family.
2.) Loving on my husband and focusing on strengthening our marriage.
3.) Planning a trip to Haiti this summer and fundraising for our trip.
4.) Trying to clean our house and get keep the laundry from overtaking the upstairs.
5.) Playing with our pets and making them do silly things.
6.) Sitting in the classroom or on the internet and trying to finish my master’s degree.
7.) Attempting to go to the gym and do other things to improve my health.
8.) Laughing and hanging out with my friends and family.
9.) Learning Haitian Creole so we can communicate with our Haitian friends.
10.) Carving out time for daily devotions, weekly Bible Study and church.
11.) Wasting time on the internet reading my favorite blogs.
While this list is not comprehensive, it does paint a picture of my life. It is not infused with creativity at ever turn and it does not orbit around home remodels or a fashionable closet but it provides me with an abundance of joy… And for that I am grateful.
Over the past several years, I have developed a great love for the Haitian people. I have wanted many times to share this love with the blog world yet each time I sit down to crank out a post, words simply fail me.
And honestly, I still don’t know what I want to say… I don’t know how to explain my love for these people.
But what I do know is that during this holiday season, I am acutely aware of all that I have and all that the Haitian people do not have
… I am aware of every set of eyes I have looked into, every giggle I’ve heard from a Haitian child, every time a child has played with my hair because they have never felt “white people” hair before and every single time my sunglasses have been “stolen” for a picture. These images cannot be undone and that’s why my husband and I have asked Santa to help us continue to love on the Haitian community in lieu of gifts this year
You see, Haitians do not have the luxury of expressing love through generous gift giving. All they have to offer is a relationship built on love. And because of their love for me, I am a better person.
I guess that’s why I cannot stop thinking about these little faces and considering how I can help them during this holiday season. Since J and I do not have unlimited resources and we cannot promise a village fresh water, we chose to encourage our friends and family to help us love on these people.
I’m sharing this post with you today to remind you not to lose focus on the true meaning of the season and encourage you to connect with some sort of charitable organization in 2013 by pouring into the lives of others. No matter what that looks like for you, I can assure you, the love that you will receive will far outweigh the love you know how to give.
P.S. If you think you might like to give abroad and help the people of Haiti, let me know in the comments section and I would be more than happy to give you some advice based on my experiences.
Have you heard about Operation Christmas Child? It’s so great!
My life group partnered with this incredible organization to bless needy children all over the world with Christmas. Our group chose to pack two shoeboxes: one for a girl and one for a boy. We each purchased small gifts to place inside our shoeboxes and were delightfully surprised when the boxes were overflowing.
Having never participated in Operation Christmas Child, we were not sure what to expect. When I dropped off the boxes for the group, I was amazed. So many people in our community had already dropped off boxes for kiddos all around the world. Things like this make me proud to live in Central Kentucky.
YOU CAN HELP BRING CHRISTMAS JOY TO KIDDOS TOO…
Even though the drop off week has passed, you can still build a box online and give to this worthy cause. Oh, and the best part is, they e-mail you and let you know where in the world your box is delivered! LOVE.
As I mentioned yesterday
, In spirit of the the holiday, many of us have smeared our facebook and twitter statuses with posts of thanksgiving. While I did not participate in the traditional thirty days of Thanksgiving, I think it is rather appropriate to spend this day pointing out a few of the many ways that God has richly blessed me.
… for all of my extended family and friends. I have been richly blessed by them!
… for Lord’s Legacy Life Ministries. A ministry that was built from the ground up by my mama has brought so much hope into the lives of others.
… for the opportunity to pray with my friends when they need me.
…. for financial stability. This is attributed to my husband and Dave Ramsey!
… for UK athletics. It’s my favorite!
… for my sister Dawn’s roommate, Sabrina. She is quite possibly the love of my life.
… for the ability to have a voice. As a woman, in many countries, I would be bound and unable to speak up!
… for the men and women that serve our country. It’s a difficult job and they do it so well.
… for reliable transportation. It gets me where I need to go and is safe for my family.
… for good food. I love to eat and so grateful to have the opportunity to choose from a large variety.
… for my mentors. I have three and they are so awesome at pouring into me.
… for my pets. They are silly and make me laugh a lot.
… for my health. Many of my friends struggle with health issues and as a result, I’m so grateful for my health.
… for my bloggy friends. It’s refreshing to be accepted by a community of strangers.
Enjoy the day with your friends and family!
In spirit of the upcoming holiday, many of us have smeared our facebook and twitter statuses with posts of thanksgiving. While I did not participate in the traditional thirty days of Thanksgiving, I think it is rather appropriate to spend the next two days pointing out a few of the many ways that God has richly blessed me.
… for my parents. At twenty-eight, I am beginning to realize how amazing it is to have two living parents. I cherish the moments I get to spend with them.
… for my husband. He’s so patient with me and has been my biggest cheerleader for years.
… for my sister, Meg. She radiates joy that only comes from the Lord. It’s been a delight to watch her grow into a mighty woman of God.
… for my sister, Dawn. She brings so much joy into our family. She can make us laugh harder than anyone.
… for my in-laws. I’m so grateful to have a good relationship with my in-laws. Billie, Grace, Georgia, Betsy, Grandma Goodwill, Nancy, Bob, Linda and Memaw and Pappaw Lowry make my world a brighter place. They’ve always accepted me with open arms.
… for my job. I am thankful for the opportunity to be able to get up and go to work every single day.
… for the people I work with. These women and men are amazing! They love and fight like a family and for that I am grateful.
… for the opportunity to go to school. As a non-traditional student, I am grateful the desire in my heart to pursue an education was not extinguished by my obstacles.
… for my home. I’m so grateful for the home we live in and the security it provides our little family.
… for my church home. Southland does so much for our community and has taught me how to become the hands and feet of God.
… for my high school friends. There are a few of us that meet regularly and I am so grateful for the friendship with them. They bring me so much joy.
… for my best friend Britt. We’ve been through a ton together and she still hangs with me.
… for my life group. These two girls are absolutely amazing! They have been such a huge part of my life for the last two years.
… for the friends I’ve met through Haiti. These women and men have helped feed a passion in me.
…. for the friends I’ve met at school and through church. I love seeing a group of people with common interests come together.
… for my friends in Haiti. They shower me with love each time I am there and make me feel at home.
…. to be continued.
Recently, I read an article on WebMD that talked a lot about the body image of women.
The article explained that “with a positive image, a woman has a real perception of her size and shape and feels comfortable and proud in her body. With a negative body image, a woman has a distorted perception of her shape and size, compares her body to others, and feels shame, awkwardness, and anxiety about her body. A woman’s dissatisfaction with her body affects how she thinks and feels about herself. A poor body image can lead to emotional distress, low self-esteem, dieting, anxiety, depression and eating disorders.”
Ladies, I hope we learn to understand that who we are comes from what’s inside of us more than what we look like compared to a Victoria’s Secret Model. We should treat our bodies with love and care because the Lord intends for us to safeguard his creation. It has little to do with how much we diet, etc.
I’ll admit that my weight and appearance have often times made me feel depressed and anxious. I had to realize those negative thoughts were strongholds in my life and choose to break them. It’s time we learn to love ourselves, ladies! It’s time we learn to speak life into our circumstance instead of chanting death.
When all else fails, look in the mirror each morning say something uplifting like:
You are beautiful
You have the prettiest smile
You are capable of great things
Debunk negative body images with some powerful self-talk. Let the critical dude in your head take a vacation and invite the cheerleader that’s been patiently waiting step up to the plate. You’ll be surprised how good you’ll feel!
We have to break these cycles for our friends, families and our children. I am choosing to stand up and be proud of the short little body that God blessed me with and embrace my inner cheerleader! Who’s with me?
Oh and P.S. for those of you that are interested in sweet treats (in moderation of course) check out my blog post over at the sweet Miss Kelley’s The Grant Life
Several months ago, I read Lisa Terkeurst’s book Made to Crave. Let me tell ya, it rocked my world!
Lisa talks about her lifestyle in a way that makes us Jesus girls (I think that’s what she calls us) understand how our struggles with weight rests in our spiritual lives far more than we give it credit for. We are made to crave God and not our food. She talks about how she overcame the stronghold of food and how she changed her life in order to be a better steward of the body God gave her…. and she encourages us to do it too!
I would encourage every woman to start their healthy living journey with this book, it is inspiring and reminds us of the true mark. Our journey to a healthier life rests in the fact that we desire to bring honor to our God. It’s so much more than our pant size ladies…
Rush over to her website and sign up for the 21 day challenge and open your hearts and minds to a new you— the perfect you— the way your Father intended.
Here are some really inspiring scriptures that were embedded into this beautifully written book:
1 Corinthians 10:13: “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”
Lamentations 3:22-24: “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
James 1:3-4: “The testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”