Thursday, December 29, 2011

We're Goin' to the Chapel and We're Gonna Get Married...

I am a sucker for weddings!  I love the white gowns, I love the anticipation leading up to the special day, and I love the commitment that follows.  My wedding day was by far one of the BEST days of my life.  I hope every bride is able to look back on her special day with fond memories as they struggle to fight the smile that forms when remembering this oh so special occasion!
I loved finding the perfect dress.  I loved sharing it with my girlfriends for the first time!  I loved telling everyone about Trey and how I couldn't wait to be his wife.  I loved celebrating with so many precious friends and family.  I am so thankful for where Trey & I are today but, I would go back and do our wedding day over and over again if I could.  Not only did I love having a wedding but I love going to weddings as well which is why as I sit here and write this I am struggling to hold back my excitement...
Early tomorrow morning Trey & I along with several others are traveling to the area of Muraille Lacee.  We will drive many hours and when the car can travel no futher because there is no road we will get out and hike for 2 hours.  The hike was originally supposed to be 8 hours but a few days ago another path was found, the Lord is gracious!  We are traveling to Muraille Lacee to witness a wedding for 91 couples!

Not, 91 people, but 91 couples!  Pastor Jean-Claude Smith is a pastor of Williamson Church, affiliated with Baptist Haiti Mission.  Pastor Smith and others from his congregation have been traveling to Muraille Lacee for several months now performing revival services for this area because there is no church.  Living together outside of marriage, and young girls mothering children has become quite common in Muraille Lacee.  Pastor Smith & others from Williamson Church have been faithful in bringing the gospel to this area.

MANY people have begun a personal relationship with the Lord in Muraille Lacee and now desire to commit their families to the Lord and enter into a covenant marriage relationship before Him.  This weekend will be a HUGE celebration and an amazing testimony to the people of Muraille Lacee.

The wedding ceremony is said to begin on Saturday morning.  Tomorrow will definitely be an adventure for Trey & I.  Our tent is ready and our toilet paper is packed.  We have no idea what all is in store for this weekend.  Pray for traveling safety.  Also pray that we would be an encouragement and be able to assist Pastor Smith and others who have been planning this event for quite some time.  I look forward to reporting NEXT YEAR about all that happened this weekend :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

"Camera Grabbing" Attention!

Psalm 121:1-2
"I lift up my eyes to the mountains, where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth..."
A few nights ago when I stepped outside I was AMAZED by the masterpiece my Lord was creating in the sky.  I quickly ran inside to grab my camera to try to capture just a taste of His beautiful handiwork.  Every time I would snap a picture and plan to walk inside I would look up again to see the colors & clouds rearranged for another breathtaking shot!
It was after many attempts to stop looking at the sky that I realized I was being wooed by my Creator.  At the end of a full day I believe He was so pleased to know for the first time that day He had my FULL attention.  As I stood outside and gazed at the sky it felt just like my Father was creating this masterpiece just for me!  What a blessing it is to be a child of the King.  My heavenly Father shows Himself to me day in and day out.  May I always show Him the "camera grabbing" attention He so richly deserves!
LIFT YOUR EYES today, how is your heavenly Father wooing you?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Bright & Colorful Kitchen Spaces!

After opening our Christmas presents I am proud to announce our kitchen is looking a little different these days. You'll have to check out the post when I gave you the welcome tour to our house to really appreciate this new and renovated look!  In preparation for Christmas Ms. Patti & I went down to Petionville searching for a bike for Trey for his Christmas gift only to find they were incredibly expensive and only came in little boy sizes.

We made a quick stop into a furniture store. It felt like Crate & Barrel in Haiti! They were even serving freshly made coffee (I was so excited and I don't even like coffee!) with fun Christmas music playing in the background. Our "quick trip" into the store changed when I saw the cutest kitchen table. Trey & I have been keeping our eyes peeled for a kitchen table since we have arrived. We have been told if you ever see anything in Haiti you like, get it then because odds are pretty good it will not be there when you return.
Thank you Mamaw Peggy for the Christmas gift that "fit just right" and enabled us to get this new look for our house!  After our Christmas lunch with the other missionaries at BHM Trey was hard at work putting together our table and chairs.  He was surprised by the table and is excited at the idea of looking for his belated gift, the bike, as well.

My mother-in-law made curtains for our 'ol KY home when we first got married.  They traveled over ocean to make it to our mountainous, tropical, Haitian home.  After getting our new table in the kitchen I was pretty motivated to get our kitchen curtains hung as well.  They were a little bit too long for our windows so some sewing was in need.  I have only recently mastered the art of sewing on a button.  Lucy, Patti's mother who is here visiting taught me the fine art of the sewing machine yesterday.  She was oh so patient with me and didn't make fun of my not so straight lines.  A project that should have only taken an hour or two lasted the entire afternoon.  But, I do believe it was well worth it and am loving our new bright space!
Thanks mom for the new scarf, I love it! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Jwaye Nowel (Merry Christmas)

Enjoying the sunshine for a bit this afternoon

Jwaye Nowel Tout Moun!  Merry Christmas Everyone!  I hope at the close of this Christmas day your hearts are full of joy and peace after a day of celebrating the birth of our Savior.  As I write this our Christmas tree lights are on, our cinnamon spice candles are lit, and Trey is resting on the couch beside me with a book in hand.  It has indeed been a good Christmas day!

Many of you sent special packages in the mail and Christmas cards to us this holiday season.  We have been so encouraged by the love you have shown us from across the ocean.  We are so thankful for you!  We are also incredibly thankful for SKYPE!  We have loved being able to chat with our families this weekend and still feel connected even though we have had to be apart.

Get some rest this evening, drink hot chocolate & watch one last Christmas movie.  After tonight it is on to planning how you're gonna lose all that weight after your Christmas goody indulgences.  Isn't it great that even though we may be entering back into the "regular routine" soon, we still get to celebrate our Savior every day!
Posing it up in front of our Christmas tree today after cleaning up all of our Christmas packages.
Thanks Kyrk & Deborah for letting us borrow your tree this year while you were gone, we have loved it :) 

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I Wanna be "Meltable"

I am aware that a lot of my recent blog posts have consisted of food in some form or fashion.  Let it be known, I have not moved to Haiti to become Paula Dean.  However, I do want Trey & I to have a fantastic holiday season with all the "Good cheer!" We all know a lot of those good holiday feelings are a result of the tasty treats we eat.  It is for this reason I have found myself with quite a few baking projects this week.  I made Oreo Balls to surprise Trey tonight.  I began crumbling cookies 8:30 this morning and after a few hours of freezing and some time of battling microwaves, stoves, and white chocolate bark I find myself sitting in the kitchen with a terrible mess and some very UGLY Oreo Balls.
I'm ashamed to even put up a picture of what they were supposed to look like.  However, I want you to receive the full affect of how "off" my Oreo Balls actually are.  Here is what I was hoping to see when I finished my baking adventure...
Pinned Image
I admit it, I've missed the mark on this one.  I followed the steps and put in the efforts and finished with a big wad of mess.  As I write this I am suffering from a severe sugar high from eating a lot of messed up attempts and licking one too many sticky fingers, my feet hurt, and my sink is overflowing with pots and bowls hardened with white chocolate.  I do not share all this information to complain to you, okay so maybe I do it to complain just a little.  BUT there is a bigger reason too.

The inside of the balls turned out just fine.  It was the melting of the white chocolate that caused the issues.  I first put the white chocolate bark in the microwave in 30 second intervals to prevent burning and still get the bark to melt.  On my third 30 second interval the chocolate was BURNT!  I decided to try again, I placed another piece of the white chocolate bark into a plastic bowl and placed it in the microwave.  The first 30 second interval and the bowl cracked!  It sounded like a shot was fired inside the microwave.  It was clear after this, NO MORE MICROWAVE!

I decided to boil water, place a bowl on top of the boiling water and slowly warm the white chocolate bark.  It still would not melt!  It turned into a thick icing consistency but the longer I stired and waited, it remained the same.  I needed to dip the oreo balls into the MELTED white chocolate.  An hour into fighting with the stuff to melt I became so frustrated.  I tried all I could to melt the white chocolate.  I changed my melting methods SEVERAL times and waited oh so patiently but still NO MELTING!  I gave up on melting the white chocolate and having a presentable dessert.  My efforts were not enough.  In the midst of recongizing this defeat the Lord instantly turned this into a teaching moment for me.

As I grow in my relationship with the Lord everyday I know He is shaping me and molding me to be more like Christ.  Oh the patience of my Lord to work with me day after day hours on end.  There are so many things I simply do not understand.  So many area's in my life I AM NOT MELTING.  He wants to use me for His purposes.  He has a plan and it is being fulfilled each and everyday.

I am so thankful for a Lord who does not give up on me and leave me in the pot to harden.  He works with me day after day hour after hour.  It was through this reminder this afternoon that I can boldly say I do not want to be like the white chocolate bark that was too stubborn to melt.  As He changes my physical location and I experience a variety of different situations each day I pray I will melt and spread!

Psalm 139:13 says, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb." 

The same God who created my most inner being is still working on me today!  I am so thankful for the reminder today to stop fighting the shaping process of my Creator.  I desire to RELAX and become meltable!

Note: After many conversations with "expert" chefs and studying the box that my White Chocolate Bark came in I am left with no good reason as to why it would not melt.  Maybe the Lord just really needed to communicate with me His desire for me to stop being so stubborn and melt already :)

Monday, December 19, 2011

'Twas the Week Before Christmas

-I wrote the blog below for the Baptist Haiti Mission blog today.  I wanted to share it with you all as well.  Hope you enjoy!

'Twas the Week Before Christmas 
'Twas the week before Christmas and all around the world, presents are being wrapped for all the boys and girls.

Children are playing and singing with friends, with eager excitement that it will be Christmas when the week ends!
 As you finish your shopping, baking, and traveling plans, don't forget about the families and children all over the land!

In Haiti the Christmas traditions may be different than you own, however the name of Jesus Christ is still being made known.

You can make this Christmas special for a Haitian child today!  You can help us change their lives a variety of ways!

$25 a month sends a child to school.  You would equip them with a variety of tools!

As you finish your to do list, check it again, would you give a gift to a Haitian child this Christmas and enable their hopeful future to begin?
 In this Christmas season as you prepare to give gifts to friends and family we ask that you consider giving a gift to a child in Haiti.  Our child sponsorship program has been in existence for many years.  We depend on your support in order to provide school uniforms, books, basic health care, and one meal a day to the children in BHM sponsored schools.

Many families in Haiti do not have the money to send their children to school.  It is crucial for the development of Haiti as well as individual children that they receive proper training in their formative years.  Help us expose children to the Word of God and equip them to read the Word as well.  Begin sponsoring a child today, visit:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

One Week Away...!

I'm sure you are wondering who decorated these amazing looking Gingerbread Men...well wonder no more, it was ME!  I must warn you at this time it is crucial to not become jealous of my insanely artistic abilities.  Spending this Christmas season in the Carribean I had to make a "surfer" Gingerbread Man, note the little man in the blue shorts :)  I am incredibly excited that Christmas is only one week away!

This time next week we will be talking about what a wonderful Christmas it was and waiting to do it all again next year.  This is my first Christmas in my entire life to spend away from Corbin, KY and my sweet sweet family.  It is a bittersweet time.  I am so thankful for the family the Lord has blessed me with in Trey and our new friends here at BHM.  This season of life where it is just Trey and I is a season to be treasured.

We are learning so much about one another and growing in our relationship everyday.  As we quickly approach CHRISTMAS DAY I wanted to challenge you to not miss this special time.  In the midst of the travels, the baking, the visits with sometimes challenging family situations, EMBRACE every moment.  Enjoy having your kids home from college.  Enjoy still having parents and grandparents around to celebrate with.  Enjoy snuggling on the couch to a great Christmas movie.  Enjoy the mess that gets created in the kitchen due to all the treats being prepared or all the people in the house.

We are enjoying making new Christmas traditions for just the two of us this year that we know will be carried on for years to come.  We are enjoying seeing how the Christmas season is celebrated in a different country.  We are enjoying listening to Christmas music!  We are eagerly anticipating opening packages sent in the mail from loved ones back in the states.  We are enjoying reading the Scriptures in anticipation for the day so many people set aside to celebrate the birth of our Savior!

I say this as a reminder to myself and to you, in the last week before the Birthday of our King, Do NOT miss it!  Embrace the little moments.  Sing the songs, wear the Christmas colors, eat the goodies, praise our Savior!

Wherever you are, BE ALL THERE, live to the hilt every moment you believe to be the will of God. -Jim Elliott


Thursday, December 15, 2011

Haitian Cooking Lesson

We have officially been in Haiti for 3 months and 3 days!  Trey & I along with the other missionaries here at BHM eat dinner together every night.  Each night we eat fresh bread!  This bread is made by one of our sweet cooks, Nadine.  Since we have arrived I have wanted to learn to make this homemade bread.  For the past few weeks I have done quite a bit of "desk" work collecting stories for our BHM newsletter.  I passed Nadine this morning and asked her if she would be making bread today and she said yes at 2:00 p.m.  The plan was made and I was so excited.

It was a lot of fun working with her and I think she really enjoyed getting to teach me.  She only speaks Creole so it was a great hands-on Creole lesson for me as well.  I brought a book with a Creole dictionary in the back for some added assistance.  As she made the dough she would explain each step to me and wait for me to write it down.  I would write the explanation in English first and then write it in Creole to make sure I got it correct.

At different steps in the baking process we would have to wait for the bread to "monte" rise.  I learned a lot about Nadine today, I have had brief conversations with her here and there but it was nice to spend some time together this afternoon.  Nadine is 42, she is a single mom of three girls, 19, 16, and 15.  She loves the Lord and is truly a joy to be around.  We talked about a variety of things this afternoon.  She told me how much she loved Jesus and that He was everything to her!

We discussed wearing skirts "jip." We talked about her daughters.  She asked me all about my parents and family.  We exchanged smiles and laughter and struggled through sentences at times.  It was definitely an enjoyable afternoon.  I told her I would be making bread soon and I would let her know how it goes!  Today Nadine was my Creole teacher, Baking instructor, and girlfriend.  Say a prayer for Nadine today and the other precious single mom's of Haiti who are working oh so hard for their families each day. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Boys Will be Boys

The child sponsorship program of Baptist Haiti Mission seeks to provide children with their uniform for school, one meal a day, and the funds to attend school.  This program comes alongside the family and enables them to send their children to school.  One of my FAVORITE things to do here at BHM is to go out with visitors from the U.S. and other areas when they come to Haiti to meet their sponsored child.

The excitement and smiles from the kiddo's at the school warms my heart.  I love seeing them in their uniforms and listening attentively to the instructions from their teachers.  However, after every visit I am never surprised to discover some unique pictures of the little boys.  It never fails that at least one boy in every classroom enjoys putting on a show for the camera.
 They stick out their tongues, they give bunny ears to the person in front of them, they cross their eyes, and the list continues.  If you look at the picture below, the little man on the far right was definitely working hard to entertain me one afternoon.  I didn't want to encourage him to carry on but it was oh so funny!  There were teachers trying to to tell him to tell him to sit still and look forward but the excitement of the camera was too much.  He changed facial expressions so many times for me in an effort for me to take his picture.  I pretended to take a picture of all the students behind him but I think he knows he won and made it on the camera in all his glory.

 I enjoy the spunk and personality that boys offer.  The longer Trey and I are married the more I see the many differences between boys and girls.  I must admit, I would not smile and laugh as much as I do if it were not for Trey.  He adds an entirely different element to my life and for that I am oh so thankful!  He too is very similar to the boys in the school...always entertaining in every picture...
 Thank you Trey for your joyful heart and bringing so much spunk into our family.  Oh I cannot even imagine how our little boys will behave one day on and off camera!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas...

We have been without internet in our home the past couple of days.  No internet means no blogging.  I know it may sound strange but I really missed it!  However, lack of internet meant time for the hands to work.  Without further delay I would like to show you some splashes of Christmas in our little Haitian home.
 Here is our very own hand made advent calendar.  Each picture has a number on the front of it.  During lunch everyday we take off the corresponding number and see what fun little thing we will do to make the day special as we prepare for Christmas.  I made up things that would apply to us as a family and wrote them on the back.  No worries, I have forgotten the order the events come in so each day is still a surprise for me too!  On our first day celebrating advent we...
 Strung popcorn and hung it on our Christmas tree!  I will admit I was a little apprehensive about this task.  Haiti is not the most rodent free country to say the least.  The LAST thing I want to do is invite these little creatures into our home.  However, due to the moisture up here in the mountains things become stale INSTANTLY (or so it seems to me).  If any little creature wanted to chow down on our tree I doubt he would enjoy it and I could almost guarantee he wouldn't invite his friends to join him.  Yesterday our fun Christmas activity was to eat a tasty Christmas treat.
 Thank you Pinterest!!  While Trey was at the office trying to fix the computers I put in a Christmas movie and made this Cinnamon Roll cake.  It was NOT from a box!  I am pleased to announce that it was soooo good.  Trey came into the house right as I was taking it out of the oven and was VERY surprised.  He could hardly wait for it to cool before he had to have a piece.  He said it was like eating the middle of the cinnamon roll with every bite, every bite was the best bite.  Now if comments like that do not make a wife want to bake goodies for her husband I do not know what does :)  Finally, my favorite little dash of Christmas in our house...
The picture above is our coffee table.  The centerpiece was made by my father-in-law for us last year.  There are 25 holes to place our candle on as we move Mary and her donkey each day on their journey to Bethlehem.  I love our handmade advent wreath.  My mom has sent us a devotional by Ann Voskamp to do each day of advent that corresponds with this wreath.  We do this at lunch as well.  I love getting to light the candle every night.  I love knowing my mom & mother-in-love have this special wreath in their homes too.  To the left is a handmade scripture card by my mother-in-love.  And at the right is our Haitian nativity scene.  Although Christmas in Haiti is not quite as cold and sparkly as Christmas in the U.S. the anticipation of the birth of our Savior is as strong as ever!

One last story to close:
This morning at church two of the ladies who work with the children during the service pulled me to the side to ask me if I was coming to the children's Christmas party on Christmas day.  They explained to me there would be games, singing, and food.  The children and their parents will come to church for this fun party.  I told them we would love to come and asked how I could help.  They told me we would be singing all kinds of songs and they would get me a list with the words next week (so I can practice in Creole).  Towards the end of the conversation they asked me one more thing...

They said they were in need of having someone come as Santa.  They explained that it was important that Santa be "blan" (white) and asked me if I knew anyone.  I wanted to laugh so hard because I knew they were hoping that I would volunteer Trey.  I couldn't do that to him there in the moment, I told them I would see what I could do...needless to say I think we are in store for a very eventful Christmas day.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Labour of Love- Andrew Peterson

In the days leading up to the celebration of the birth of our Savior I love thinking about how it must have been many years ago for Joseph & Mary.  I'm sure they each experienced a great amount of fear as they trusted in God and held fast to one another.  Along with the fear I'm sure there were feelings of eager expectation as they too awaited the birth of the Savior!  With friends and family members in the middle of pregnancy I am so intrigued by the blessing of carrying a baby.  I cannot even imagine what it must have been like to carry the Savior!  Below are the lyrics to the song, Labour of Love by Andrew Peterson.  I would encourage you to find the song on Youtube and listen to it while you read the lyrics.

STOP: Go find the song and then return to see the words :)

It was not a silent night
There was blood on the ground
You could hear a woman cry
In the alleyways that night
On the streets of David's town

And the stable was not clean
And the cobblestones were cold
And little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
Had no mother's hand to hold

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love

Noble Joseph at her side
Callused hands and weary eyes
There were no midwives to be found
In the streets of David's town
In the middle of the night

So he held her and he prayed
Shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb
He was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the faith
That could make the mountains move

It was a labor of pain
It was a cold sky above
But for the girl on the ground in the dark
With every beat of her beautiful heart
It was a labor of love
For little Mary full of grace
With the tears upon her face
It was a labor of love


Monday, December 5, 2011

Some of the Many Blessings in Haiti

 Luke 18:16, But Jesus Called the children to him and said,
 "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them,
for the Kingdom of God belongs to such as these."

Last week I traveled out to a medical clinic with a team that was working with BHM.  There were so many children and families at the clinic.  Above are some of the pictures of the kiddo's I took while I was out.  I can't help but look at them everyday!  I wanted to share them with you as well.  Pray for these special blessings in Haiti.  Pray they will grown in their knowledge and understanding of Jesus Christ and one day enter into a personal relationship with Him!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Welcoming the Morning

True confession, sometimes I simply do not like the morning.  Why? You may ask.  I may have had a restless night and the thought of beginning another day so early is just not at the top of my list.  Perhaps there is a task or activity to be done in the day that to be quite frank, I do not want to do. Or maybe I do not feel well physically and struggle to even remove my head off the pillow.  Honestly, I simply love laying in the bed.  I could continue with the list, I do not have a problem coming up with reasons to not necessarily enjoy the morning.  A few days ago I read this quote by Baillie on Laura Dawkins blog:

Forbid that when all thy creatures are greeting the morning with songs and shouts of joy, I alone should wear a dull and sullen face.

I have thought about the quote above quite a bit.  I am so quick to allow my temporary feelings to affect me and ultimately lead me to sin.  The Lord is faithful and His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23)The entire earth is full of the Lord's creatures (Psalm 104:24) How wonderful are His works!  Yet, how often I allow my present circumstances to distract me from the blessings of the Lord.

I doubt I will ever be fond of the roosters that begin around 5 a.m. every morning.  I don't think my body will ever scream "Yipee I love the sweet sound of my alarm telling me to get out of my warm cozy bed beside my husband whom I love." However, just because this situation does not feel good to me does not give me an excuse to be short with Trey, lazy in my morning hours with my Savior, or idle with my time in the remainder of the day time hours. 

Psalm 20:12-14, "So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.  Return, O Lord! How long?  Have pity on your servants!  Satisfy us in the morning with your steadfast love, that we may REJOICE and be GLAD all our days."

It is crucial for me to take my thoughts captive and turn to praise in the morning hours when I know I am the most vulnerable.  I find it so beneficial as I lay in bed in the morning after the alarm sounds to immediately begin to whisper prayers of thanksgiving to the Lord for His faithfulness through the night.  Psalm 121:3,"...He who keeps you will not slumber."  I am thankful that I can rest peacefully all day and night because my Lord never slumbers.  I also find it helpful to hit play on my praise music ASAP to ensure that my thoughts stay directed toward the Lord as the feelings of the morning increase :)  For all you "Morning People" out there, I admire you!  Although I am not by nature a "Morning Person" I am thankful for my Savior who has made me a new creation so I too can praise Him in the morning!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tis the Season!

Happy first day of December!  I love love love love love the Christmas season!  I am working on a newsletter right now for BHM while listening to Christmas music.  I love reflecting on the birth of our Savior.  I love singing about Him as a child who came to save the world!  What a precious gift that completely changed the course of the world forever!

Over the past few days I have been "inspired" to do a few different Christmas decorating projects.  I wanted to share with ya'll some of the ways we are going to be doing our first Haitian Christmas.  I have never celebrated Christmas in a place where there was no chance of snow.  So, in order to get the Christmas season off on the right foot I knew our home was in need of a snowman.  Yes it is POSSIBLE to have a snowman in Haiti...
Although he is quite unique, he provides a great amount of spunk to our kitchen.  It also helped me clean off some of the clutter that quickly develops on the refrigerator.  Not to worry, it will all begin to accumulate again after Christmas when the "snow" goes away.  Hope this brought a smile to your day!