Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hope Deferred

Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.
Proverbs 13:12

Painting to come...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Just Breathe

Living with chronic anxiety, some days I literally have to remind myself to breathe. I've caught myself holding my breath and being tense a lot over the past few weeks between the personal struggles I'm having and the holidays. I'm so happy this year is ending. A year ending means a new one beginning. It's not that each day doesn't represent a new beginning in and of itself, but there can be something significant in marking the end of a year, especially one that has been a struggle. I'm not one for making New Year's resolutions, but I do find myself being more contemplative and reflective this time of year and have been known to set a few goals.


So this week, I have today to work, tomorrow 6 hours and then I'm off work the rest of the week. I'm going to spend a large bit of that time off rearranging a few things here at home, more importantly moving my work desk to a basement office and full dedicating the room I'm presently in to my art endeavors. If I make any goals for myself this new year, it's going to be the goal of digging down and paving a way to getting all those creative ideas and urges out on paper, on canvas, in other artsy things I've had on the back burner for so long. This next year in my life will be dedicated to (finally) establishing myself as an artist and getting my feet wet in the art community here in the KC area.


Another common practice I've noticed in the online creative community is choosing a word, Just One Word, that will be your focus word for the coming year. I've actually done this but my word ~peace~ kind of stuck with me for about 3 years. I think it's time for a new word and I have a few swimming among my thoughts. Perhaps before week is out, one will surface that I can be intentional about .


What do you think?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Beautiful Mess

I found this song recently and keep listening and reading through the lyrics. It so resonates with where I am in life at this time, in this place.
I need to preserve it here so I can be reminded of the beautiful mess that's inside.

It's inside all of us, you know. The beautiful mess of creativity, the desire to create whether with words or paints or music. Or maybe it's just the creating or recreating of your life. It's there inside you, a beautiful mess.

We need to make ourselves dig down deep, deeper than ever before and give it birth,
so we can share that beauty with the world.

Listen, read, let the words sink in.

Far far, there's this little girl
she was praying for something to happen to her
everyday she writes words and more words
just to spit out the thoughts that keep floating inside
and she's strong when the dreams come cos' they
take her, cover her, they are all over
the reality looks far now, but don't go

How can you stay outside?
there's a beautiful mess inside
how can you stay outside?
there's a beautiful mess inside
oh oh oh oh

Far far, there's this little girl
she was praying for something good to happen to her
from time to time there are colors and shapes
dazzling her eyes, tickling her hands
they invent her a new world with
oil skies and aquarelle rivers
but don't you run away already
please don't go oh oh

How can you stay outside?
there's a beautiful mess inside
how can you stay outside?
there's a beautiful mess inside

Take a deep breath and dive
there's a beautiful mess inside
how can you stay outside?
There's a beautiful mess
beautiful mess inside
Oh beautiful, beautiful

Far far there's this little girl
she was praying for something big to happen to her
every night she hears beautiful strange music
it's everywhere there's nowhere to hide
but if it fades she begs"oh lord don't take it from me, don't take it"

She says, "I guess I'll have to give it birth
to give it birth
I guess, I guess I have to give it birth
I guess I have to, have to give it birth
there's a beautiful mess inside and it's everywhere

Just look at yourself now deep inside
deeper than you ever dared
deeper than you ever dared
there's a beautiful mess inside
beautiful mess inside

Monday, December 6, 2010

Walking in Grace

When I walked out the door this morning for my 5 mile walk, it was 30 degrees. By the time I got back 2 hours later, it had warmed up to 34 and I was actually sweating. No heavy clothing. Just tights under my usual lightweight jogging pants, long sleeve T-shirt and a fleece hoodie. I started out with gloves but had to take them and the stocking hat off after a while.

I love my walks: neighborhood sidewalks to the park, asphalt walking trail around a couple of ball diamonds, woodchip trail through the woods and along a creek, another rocky trail that requires a little climbing, and then through the neighborhoods back home. Just enough variety to keep me from being bored and to give me a good workout.

I needed this walk today. I've been feeling under the weather lately, both physically and emotionally. So much to think about lately, weighing options, wrestling with emotions, considering consequences of every course of action. Fighting the temptation to hibernate and sleep takes all my energy.

So on this walk today, as I entered the woods, I determined to slow down a bit, take in my surroundings and pray. I asked God to give me a deer. I often ask for deer when I walk through the woods and He often provides because I think He knows how much that makes my heart smile. But there were no deer today. Instead, as I was following the part of the trail that runs alongside the creek, I stopped and peeked through the trees and saw this:

I had to climb down over a few rocks and found a perfect place to sit and just take it in. The water has begun to freeze as it spills over the flat rock slabs, as has the top layer of the pool of water below. But you could still hear the water tinkling down and the way the light was playing off the icy water was mesmerizing. I sat and listened and watched a small school of fish swimming below the ice. I prayed and meditated and listened for a good 20 minutes before the ache in my backside told me it was time to pry myself off the cold rock I was sitting on. But even with that cold ache, I felt lighter somehow, like a weight had been lifted.

I'm feeling very grateful for these tiny gifts. These times when God reaches down and gently touches my life, knowing just what I need at just the right moment. It isn't always what I ask for or in the way I expect, but if I slow down and pay attention, listening, asking for His presence, He is always there, as if He has been waiting for me all along.

These are sacred moments, these times. They are Visions of Grace.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Life

Watching the movie, Eat, Pray, Love and heard these words, so profoundly fitting with who I am, I had to find them and post them here so I don't forget. And ponder whether this is the woman I truly want to be:

"...I disappear into the person I love. I am the permeable membrane. If I love you, you can have my everything. You can have my time, my devotion, my ass, my money, my family, my dog, my dog's money, my dog's time--everything. If I love you, I will carry for you all your pain, I will assume for you all your debts (in every definition of the word), I will protect you from your own insecurity, I will project upon you all sorts of good qualities that you have never actually cultivated in yourself and I will buy Christmas presents for your entire family. I will give you the sun and the rain, and if they are not available, I will give you a sun check and a rain check. I will give you all this and more, until I get so exhausted and depleted that the only way I can recover my energy is by becoming infatuated with someone else."

"I have a history of making decisions very quickly about men. I have always fallen in love fast and without measuring risks. I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and then I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism."

From Eat, Pray, Love

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I haven't had the motivation to do much of anything lately. In fact there have been more than a couple of days in the past week that I stayed in my PJs all day. Today looked as if it was going to be another one of those days where the hours passed, minute by minute with me doing absolutely nothing.

Then my sweet daughter called, knowing how I'd been feeling lately, and told me to be ready to go in 20 minutes. I reluctantly obeyed for I have learned not to argue with my headstrong child.

We went to Aiden and Kolbe's brief "graduation" ceremony (preschool) and they were thrilled to have an audience. Then Kelley and I ducked out alone and had lunch at Panara, a favorite for both of us.

It has been such a joy these past few months to experience this new friendship with my oldest daughter. She and I have pretty much always gotten along well but lately I've been challenging myself to be more open and honest with her about my life and it has brought us closer than ever before. I feel like I can talk to her woman to woman and trust her with my confidences. She is a remarkable young woman and a very conscientious, loving mother. And I'm very proud of her.

After lunch, I came home and was so tempted to just lay down and take a nap. But I had promised my daughter I would get out and walk today, something I haven't found the energy for in a couple of weeks. I procrastinated as long as I could but finally managed to get out the door around 4:30. I knew it was going to be dark before I got home. It usually takes about an hour and 40 minute for me to complete my 5 mile route.

One leg of my route takes me on a trail through the woods. I was a little apprehensive about it because by the time I reached the trail, the sun had set and darkness was coming, especially with the remaining light of the day being shielded by all the trees. But I pressed on and completed my usual walk. It was quiet and seemed even more so with the darkness.

But the most wonderful part of the walk was near the beginning as I reached the peak of my walk, the highest point, and I saw this spectacular sunset. The photo doesn't do justice, taken with my phone, but it was wonderful. I stood in awe for several minutes before continuing on.

*taken with my phone camera*

This small gift is enough motivation for me to begin again.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Getting Healthy

I've been focusing so much on my health lately, there hasn't been much time for expressive thoughts to post here.

Focusing on physical health. Have lost 20+ pounds over the past few months and still losing. I'm walking a LOT now, most days up to 5 miles a trip, and loving that! Preparing myself physically and mentally to be able to continue the walking as the cold weather comes.

I'm trying to take better care of myself mentally and emotionally, too. Focusing more on rest rather than pushing myself to be DO'ing all the time. After the whirlwind of Haiti and the art showing, I'm needing some down time, especially with the holidays upon us. (Thanksgiving in 3 days!)

I'm letting go of some things that have been draining me of life. Moving toward things that lift me up.

It's been good. I'm feeling hopeful that this life is going just as it should for me.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Reality Check

Ten Things You May or May Not Know about Me:

1. I love deeply, forgive easily, loyal even when that loyalty is not deserved. I wear my heart on my sleeve and may offer you affection and words of love before you are comfortable with it but that is only because I believe love is a choice we make every day, with every person we meet. And I choose to love and really struggle with letting go.

2. I have a dark side that very few have seen. I'll leave it at that.

3. Aside from that, I am very open about my life and who I am. This has been a learned concept for me. I used to be very self protective but that makes for very superficial relationships. But hiding who I am only results in fear of being found out, so I choose to let you see my failures as well as my successes. In fact, I'm probably more comfortable sharing my failures.

4. My life is ruled by my heart, intuition and perception. This can be a bad thing because feelings can change from day to day. But I have a gift for discernment. I will know when something isn't as it seems. I may not always choose to listen to that still small voice inside, but I know.

5. I can forgive anyone for (nearly) anything. I've learned that forgiving doesn't necessarily mean forgetting. I can release any hurt that is caused and choose not to hold a grudge but that doesn't negate the consequences and sometime that means I don't have to put myself in a position to be hurt again.

6. I am the Queen of Procrastination. I put off things until they absolutely must be dealt with claiming that "I work best under pressure," which is of course, a lie. I've lost opportunities because of it. I pay my bills late sometimes. My house isn't always tidy. I lack self-discipline always thinking tomorrow will be a better day.

7. I have an anxiety disorder. I've lived a life based on fear most of my life - fear of judgement, fear of rejection, fear of abandonment. I've worked hard to learn how to deal with it and now strive to live my life out of love. Medication helps. Stress relievers like exercise, eating healthy, doing art help, too.

8. I'm an introvert. Meaning that when I need my batteries recharged, I need solitude and will often withdraw from family and friends in order to reconnect with that part of myself that gives me strength. Sometimes that means long walks in the woods. Sometimes that means locking myself in "my room" with music and paint. Sometimes that means going away for a day or a night by myself. I need the freedom to do that.

9. I'm a social advocate. My heart is broken for the plight of the poor and oppressed. I give money to the homeless man standing on the street corner (not my business what he does with it). I do not judge people for their life (or lifestyle) choices. We all come to the place we are in life through differing circumstances and who knows what choices I would have made if I were in your shoes. My dream would be in the city or in a third world country and live among the ones I've been drawn to reach out to, to better understand, to be a friend, to stand alongside and work together to overcome. I LOVE stories about those who have overcome!

10. I am a Christian. Okay, you probably already know that. But my walk with God is based on grace and relationship and not on my ability to follow rules and religion. This means that my life may not always look like your preconceived idea of a Christian. I fall, I fail. I'm far from perfection and will not pretend otherwise. I won't push my beliefs on you but if you ask, I will freely share about my faith because it is the most powerful thing in my life.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Going Under

Ever feel like you're just going to drown? Various happenings over the past couple of months have left me feeling weak and vulnerable, my heart bruised, raw and exposed.

I'm fighting the temptation to begin building walls.

I know that isn't a good place for me to live.

So as I made a trip into the city this morning, I drove by the house I grew up in, a place where I always felt safe. I visited the cemetery where my parents are buried and sat in the grass by their grave markers, trying to remember what it felt like to be a young girl who had parents to kiss all the hurts away and arms to hold me when I was feeling scared.

I miss that today.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Pro Deo

The name means "For God."

Pro Deo Youth Center was established about a year ago by Andy and Kylie Ewing in Lee's Summit, MO. Andy is a Lee's Summit police officer and began building relationships with the teens in his community. Those relationships grew and eventually led to inviting kids to the home he shares with his wife.

I had an opportunity to visit their home this evening with a group from my church. We provided a simple meal of sloppy joes and chips and cake for around 30 teens and young adults who came and went throughout the evening. The Ewings open up their home every Tuesday evening to any kids wanting a free meal and a place to hang out with friends. Most of the youth stayed and played cards, video games and ping pong. It was loud and busy and alive. Each time the front door opened and another teen or two or three entered, Kylie greeted them with a smile and a hug, always asking how their week has been or asking about various challenges she knew they had been facing.

I talked to several of the kids there. Most were in school or working. Many had big plans for their lives. Others are struggling. There was one young mama with a 3-month-old baby. Some are homeless. Some don't have supportive families. Some are societies outcasts. Judged for their appearance with piercings and tattoos and black hair and such. Often judged without the benefit of even a conversation. Skateboarders. Hair stylists. But they all gather in this home, that has been opened up to them in the spirit of God's love, and they feel welcome and cared for rather than shunned and judged for the life choices they have made. The Ewings are providing them with a "family." A place to belong, even if only for one night a week.

And isn't that what we all need? To feel loved and a place to belong? Even more so for teenagers and young adults who are living in a time of such chaos and uncertainty, trying to find their place in this world. I'm so thankful there are people in the world like the Ewings who have made the commitment and sacrifice to reach out to kids. They are the kind of heroes we need more of.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Beautiful Things

I am a child of God, saved by His amazing Grace, given freely out of His love for me.

I don't deserve it. I am far from perfect. I am broken, lost, unworthy. I've made a mess of my life time and time again. I've fallen so many times and have been unfaithful to the only One who has always been faithful to me.

Yet, He lifts me up again and again. He welcomes me back with arms wide open, cleans me up, helps me find my way, and loves me like there's no tomorrow.

Grace. Given freely, undeserving. Amazing.

It's there for all of us, wherever we are in life. We can come just as we are. We don't have to wait until we get our lives cleaned up. He wants us to let Him do the cleaning, allowing Him to bring healing.

I'm feeling so grateful for this unconditional love tonight. Thankful that even with all my weaknesses, I know He still loves me and will still make something beautiful out of my life.

Heal my Heart

Before I left on my trip to Haiti, one of my prayers was that my heart would be open to give and receive and to allow myself to feel what ever emotions my experience conjured up without shutting down. I didn't want to close myself off to what I was seeing just because it was hard and hurtful to see. I think that's what compassion is - allowing yourself to feel the hurts others are experiencing.

When I came home, my heart was full and I needed to find a way to express what was there.

Brokeness and pain, yes.

But also healing and hope.

And Love.

This series of heart canvases is the result of that. There are others still there, waiting for the opportunity to come to live with canvas and paint and text. These are the ones I've completed.

If you want to see more details and closeups, please click on My Art page. I'll continue to update that page as new pieces are completed.

Thank you to all who take an interest. Feel free to contact me if you want to make a purchase or have any questions!

Peace and Grace,

Friday, October 8, 2010

First Friday!

Thanks to my sweet daughter-in-law, I get to display some of my art work at one of the midtown restaurants, Bulldog, for First Friday in November! I'm so excited!

I spent the better part of the day yesterday painting and got 3 more pieces finished. I'll post pictures later.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Let the Healing Begin

A line has been drawn in the sand. He says, "this day you will choose." Your very life weighs in the balance of that choice.

Pray. Close you eyes and listen. Let the healing begin today.

Because of His Grace...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

10 Things: Gratitude

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12

I wish this were true for me. I am struggling today and not feeling very content. So this is an exercise in gratitude.
10 things
I am grateful for:

1. A simple breakfast of oatmeal with dried fruit and walnuts.

2. A brisk walk in the woods.

3. Grandbaby love.

4. Clean, warm water to shower in.

5. Chamomile tea with honey.

6. Children who love and support me, no matter what.

7. A couple of good friends whom I can share even the ugly stuff with.

8. Opportunities to be creative.

9. Prayer.

10. God's unconditional love.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Is There Any Hope for Haiti?

Many believe there is not, that they are a lost cause, that the country as a whole is in the predicament it is in because of the practice of voudoo and that God has forsaken them.

But I saw the hope and felt the presence of God there. In the eyes and smiles of the children, in the day-to-day drudgery of people seeking out their basic needs, in the worship songs of a church service, in their prayers, and in the discussions with others who have commited themselves to working there.

A friend from Global Orphan Project forwarded a link to this article. Read it and then tell me, do you believe there is hope for Haiti? And what is your responsibility now that you know of their needs?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Thoughts of Haiti

We had a Haiti team meeting last week, the five from our church and two from another church we partnered with on our trip. It was great to get the seven of us back together to share stories and laughter. But we also got to the business of voicing questions and searching for answers in one another's thoughts and impressions. Haiti is so complex. We've all talked about the many, many layers of issues and the too few resources and lack of leadership needed to resolve any of them. Who are we, this small band of God-seekers, that we think we could possibly have any impact on a country that has been living in abject poverty for so very long?

What I heard in this meeting is that we all feel our hearts have been pierced with a vision of hope for Haiti. Our hearts have been broken over the beautiful faces of children and mamas and pastors. We have been encouraged by others we have met along the way who share the same vision. Our hearts are open to God's Spirit and we are willing to go where he leads us, wherever that may be and in whatever capacity He may call us. Our hearts are full, we have fallen in love and we won't be discouraged. We are committed and we know it will take many other hearts and many other hands and feet to go and stand behind us and pray to make this happen.

We watched the
video during our worship service in church today. I've watched that video a dozen times and I still sob every time. I want to go back. I need to go back. I'm ready. After church, we had lunch with Wes, an amazing young man who has partnered up with Global Orphan and has made the committment to live in Haiti. He shared about some of the difficulties he's encountered in living there a few weeks now. Listening to him only made me want to be there all the more.

Please pray that God will prepare a way, that He will go ahead of us and lead us. Pray that we would keep our hearts broken and yielded to Him. Pray that others will hear not just the words we share but that they will hear our hearts and God's voice and that they too will catch the vision.

Peace to you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

New Mercies

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;

they are new every morning;

great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Monday, September 13, 2010

Follow Me

“Walking in the deep woods wasn’t what I thought it would be. But I learned something about myself. I went with a map. I went with plan. I had a focused destination and I walked fast and determined. When I got to where I was going, I was disappointed. It wasn’t what I thought it would be. But there was a clearing and a bench, a place to sit and rest and reflect. As I sat there pulling spider webs off my arms and plucking sticker burs off my socks, I realized this is how I have lived most of my life. Planning, charting my course, going my own way. The result is rarely satisfying. Yet I continue to do it again and again.

God speaks and I listen to His quiet voice: “Follow Me.”

Yes, Lord. I need to follow your path. Follow your way. I need to seek after you and bring my needs and my desires to you and trust you. Your way is always the better way.”

One week before the trip to Haiti, I took a 24-hour personal retreat at a place called Shantivanam so I could prepare spiritually. This lesson was one I felt God wanted me to remember for the trip. It certainly rang true while we were in Haiti. It turned out that the plans we thought we had were not God’s plans and I admit it was difficult to accept that at first. But I remembered this lesson and prayed. I felt my spirit, my heart surrendering to Him and His plans. Because His way leads to Everlasting Life. His way leads to salvation. His way brings peace to those who follow.

Thank you Lord for showing me how much you love me by preparing my heart for this trip. And not only for this trip but for the rest of my days with You.

Haiti September 2010: Video

This video is was put together by Jonathan Klee. He's a great photographer and videographer. He loves the Lord and the children of Haiti. It was a blessing to accompany him on this trip.

Haiti Project - Sept. 2010 from Perception Funding on Vimeo.

Jonathan has a ministry called Perception Funding and works to help those called to do God's work raise the funds needed to carry out their mission.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Haiti Day Four: Church and Kaliko

So I'd like to invite you to church with me. We'll be in a large open air concrete building, no air conditioning, no fans, near 100 degree temperatures. You'll be sitting hip to hip on hard wooden benches with no backs and at least one or two kids hanging on you or sitting on your lap. The service will be almost entirely in Creole. Oh... and it will last 3-1/2 hours. Any takers?

That's exactly what we did Sunday morning and guess what? In spite of every thing I've just told you, it was wonderful and one of the high points of this trip. The music and singing were lively. Everyone clapped and lifted their hands and danced. And they were very prayerful. And they wore their Sunday best. And it was packed. And when we let out, there was another group waiting to get in for the second service.

I wish I had pictures, but I just didn't want to disrupt the service and the worship. These people have a heart and a love for God like nothing I've ever seen. They may be the poorest nation in the Western hemisphere, but they are rich in spirit and I admire them for that.

After church, we left Gonaives and started the long drive back to Port au Prince. We had early morning flights to catch. We drove for nearly 4 hours and stopped at a place called Kaliko Beach Club.

It was beautiful and on the Caribbean Sea. It was hard to believe we were in the same country of poverty and destruction and garbage everywhere. We walked in the sand, some went swimming, dinner was a wonderful buffet. We had our final bead ceremony on the beach. I caught myself almost feeling guilty. But I think this stay was intentional, to teach us something. Haiti was once called the Pearl of the Caribbean. It was a beautiful, lush, tropical paradise. And there are a few places where you can really get a sense of how beautiful it could be there again with the proper care. Haiti is a country full of contrasts.

Haiti has been used and used by others until it is now seemingly all used up. It's time to give back. Time to take care of the people there. Time to take care of the children there and raise up a new generation who will love God and will love their country and the people there and who will fight to rebuild and make it what it once was.

I have been blessed to be a part of this team that went. It was hard. Probably the most difficult thing I've ever done. But in my weakness, God can do great things. And He did. He did a great work in my heart and I know I will never be the same. I thought I was going to Haiti to work and give, but I truly received so much more. We went to love the children, but the love they gave us was immeasurable. Haiti, in spite of the poverty and destruction and trash, is a beautiful, soulful place.

God is there.

I'm certain of it.

I can't wait to go back.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Haiti Day Three: Lutheran Church, MaPou and Fayeton

So after spending the morning at Bienac, we headed off to another area of Gonaives. We visted a parcel of land that is owned by the Lutheran Church in Gonaives and who is working with Global Orphan to establish another orphanage in the area. This is a large lot with plenty of room for the planned clinic, houses for boys and girls, church and school and possibly a trade school. That seems to be the model for Global Orphan and I think it's a good one. If there are going to be lasting changes made in Haiti, it needs to start with the children, giving them a healthy life, giving them a good education and teaching them a trade in order to support themselves and provide for their families. Teach them about God and have a church that will reach out to the community and draw others in.

This building, we were told, will be the site of the clinic. here. We seemed to attract the attention of some of the neighborhood children while we were there.

Next, we went to MaPou (pronounced ma-poo). This is a village north of Gonaives. Driving through the village, you could see that it was more rural, actually a very nice area. The orphanage there has several buildings, including this very spacious church/school building.

Some of us stayed inside and colored with the children.

Others were outside playing a little soccer with the older kids.

Some of us got rather attached to one or two of the children. Actually most of us did at at least one of the orphanages were visited. It was hard not to let your heart get captured by one of these precious ones.

Doug fell in love with this tiny girl. Her name was Daska.

It seemed everywhere we went on this trip, we encountered others from the States who were there to help. It was just remarkable how God orchestrated that! The wonderful thing about that is we all were able to share our ministries with one another and encourage one another and commit to pray for one another. Doug happened to run into a fellow who is from the same church as his son in Indiana.

Our next stop was Fayeton which I think is another village just outside of Gonaives, though I can't find it on any map so it could be just the name of the orphanage. It also was very spacious and included large buildings for housing, church and school. I'll just let you look these a few photos of the children there.

This spunky little girl will be a model... she wanted to pose for shot after shot!

Joseph Volcy, the kids love him!

We did a lot of this. Love this shot.

A new friend, Schaun Colin. He taught me what it means to be real and brave.

Marsha Campbell, our leader from Global Orphan. I learned from her as well... a heart full of love, patience, keeping a positive attitude even when things don't go as planned. Love her.

One of the mamas coloring with the kids. Some of them are still such little girls at heart .

Frank with his lap full of children. Frank has taught me what it means to have a servant's heart.

And Dr. Jerry was especially attached to this little guy.

I'll leave you with this final shot. If this doesn't break your heart for these children...

Tomorrow is Sunday... we'll be going to one of the local churches, then traveling back to Port au Prince.

Haiti Day Three: Return to Bienac

Yesterday I shared with you how let down we felt after our visit to the Bienac orphanage. In retrospect, it is by far the orphanage that needs the most work. And it is close to the heart of a couple of our team members. And... it is the place we thought we were going to be spending most of our time. But our plans are not God's plans and that turned out to be a good thing. Still, we were able to go back first thing Friday morning to spend a couple of hours.

We cleaned up the play area and we were able to remove a lot of the scrap building supplies and garbage, picking up things like broken glass and tin can lids. We cleared out some of the big rocks. The kids all helped and so did a couple of the mamas. They seemed glad to do it. Some of the guys who came with us were able to cut some rebar that was still sticking out in a few places making things safer for the kids as well.

After cleaning up we had more play time with the kids. The young man in the photo above is Wes Comfort. I fell in love with this kid as did many others on the team. He just graduated from Baker University and was recently hired by Global Orphan to work in Haiti. When I think of the things most young people his age are doing in their early 20s, he is making a huge sacrifice and is excited to do it.

It is a dangerous thing to wear sunglasses when you are visiting the children. They are fascinated by them and all of them want their turn to wear your glasses.

Then of course they want their pictures taken with the glasses on and its easy to lose track of who has your sunglasses! I did eventually lose mine but they were only cheap $5 glasses so it was only a small sacrifice.

This is the outdoor kitchen.

And these are the young women, the mamas, who cook there.

And this sweet lady is Antoinette Chantille. She stole my heart. She was so child-like and loved playing with the children. She smiled, a lot, at me. And hugged me.

And when she asked me for my earrings, I didn't hesitate to give them to her. Such a small gift made her so, so happy. I'll remember that on my next trip, to bring small gifts for the mamas. They work very hard to provide for these kids.

After spending a couple of hours cleaning and playing with the children, we were able to leave and there were no tears this time. It felt good to give a small something to the kids, cleaning up their play area and making is safer. Playing with them, running and laughing. In that respect, they are just like children anywhere. They love to laugh and play.

Three more places to visit this day.