This is the Stuff - Francesca Battistelli

January 31, 2011
Happy Monday Loves!
I didn't do such a great job blogging last week but work was crazy and life outside of work was crazy as well. Lots of new, fun, and exciting things going on that I will be able to share shortly! I just wanted to stop in to say hello and share this song! I heard it this morning on the radio and it was the perfect start to my Monday! It is a great reminder that although things don't always rarely go the way we want them to, there is a reason for it and God can use you even when things are crazy.

Type Tuesdays: Dear Typography Poster

January 25, 2011
As promised, here is a themed post that I'm pretty sure I'm going to look forward to every Tuesday. I love everything about typography. When I go to a restaurant, for the first 10 minutes I'm not looking at the menu to decide what I want. I'm critiquing the font choices and styles. I love this poster I found on The Birds and The Beast shop. It totally describes why I love typography and the fact that many people don't know/care/pay attention to how influential a type choice actually can be. It's pretty awesome. 

Typography, I love you. Thanks for all that you do. :)


Thank You Monday!

January 24, 2011
I came across this little dear thanks to From Portland to Peonies. She shared this little thank you note to Monday. It's part of a collection of thank you notes from Thx Thx Thx: A thank you note a day. It's such a fun and simple site. I love that she takes the time to say thank you to the smallest of things. Reading through them I chuckled because there are things that I am thankful for but have honestly never taken the time to even notice that I am thankful for them! Just thought I would share - enjoy!

P.S. Doesn't Monday have a much better ring to it if we think of it as being ours? I thought so.

Happy Birthday Corky Ree!

January 22, 2011
I can't believe my little Corky Ree is 23 today! We are getting so old! We have fought the majority of our lives but for some reason we still love each other. I guess that's the special thing about sisters - no matter what, you're stuck with each other! :) I love you Cork and I hope you have a great birthday!


Five on Friday

January 21, 2011

I could not be happier that it is Friday. This has been a short week thanks to MLK on Monday, but it's been a cold and snowy one here in Ohio and I am ready to relax with family and good friends! I've decided that since I don't usually have a lot of time to post on Friday's I'm going to make a themed post every Friday, called 'Five on Friday'. I'll just post 5 things that are on my mind or that I'm excited about! So, here's the first five for our first Five on Friday :)
  1. Going beyond the Five on Friday posts, I've got some other ideas like 'Wow God Wednesdays' (thanks for the idea K-Love) and 'Type Tuesdays' - since I'm addicted to typography, just to name a couple!
  2. Tonight I'm going to dinner with my family for my sister's birthday (which is tomorrow). I can't believe she's going to be 23 - that is just crazy!
  3. Meeting up with friends after dinner to relax and forget about the part of my life that happens between Monday and Friday!
  4. I am feeling totally uninspired lately. I hate the design of my blog at the moment (just a template from Blogger) and for some reason the header is blurry. I looked it up and it seems I'm not the only one having this problem, so hopefully they figure out the bug soon!
  5. How wonderfully cozy does that picture look? Last weekend I stayed in the entire weekend, so I'm trying not to be old this weekend and actually leave the house. But man would it be nice to put on my slippers, drink some coffee, read some books, and just stay in my warm house? :)
Hope everyone has a safe, warm, and fun weekend! :)


Haiti: Day 7 - 01.05.11

January 19, 2011
I can't believe I am on a plane right now headed back to Ohio. We just left Miami about 30 minutes ago (and about an hour and a half late I might add). We again, woke up before the sun. Our ride to the airport had to take us before he started work for the day so we were there about 4 hours before we needed to be. We played lots of cards. Once we got to Miami we had a 4 hour layover, so again we played lots of cards. And more cards - since like I said, we left late! But that's OK because the group was really fun and I wasn't quite ready to be back to normal life yet.

This trip has been amazing, just like I knew it would be. I feel so blessed to have been given the opportunity again - and so soon. I know its only a matter of time before I am back. The next trip I want to go to the House of Blessings. It's actually the orphanage where Woody was raised. How amazing that Woody was an orphan and now he is making a living for himself and serving the Lord. The orphanage is in Callabasse where Woody, Julio, and Nana are from up on the mountain. Good thing it is close enough that we could still go to Prosper for a day or two to visit! I just love that village so much.

Last night we slept on the roof of the Vet Training Center. The stars are just about a million times more beautiful and a million times more bright than at home. It's pretty much impossible to NOT see a shooting star. I'm not even sure how many I actually saw, I just stopped counting after awhile. Bryce had a cell phone and people from home were sending him updates on the Sugar Bowl. Go Bucks! I'm so happy they won and finally beat an SEC team! Obviously it was nice knowing the score but if I hadn't known until I got home - that would have been OK too.

This time around I thought about home a lot more (versus last time when I didn't think about home at all) because we felt more connected. It was easier for people to call home, which was a good thing don't get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with calling your loved ones back home. But it did keep giving me reasons to think about home. What's everybody doing for new years? What's everybody doing for the game? And so on and so on. It was a little bit harder for me to stay in the moment every single moment, but again not a bad thing. Just different than the first time.

I hope I come home with a better attitude and I continue to grow in my relationship with the Lord. I hope one day its as easy for me as it seems to be fore everyone else. It's a daily battle - maybe it always will be. One thing is for certain though - I know the Lord loves me and I love him and I know I want to be in Heaven with him when its all said and done.

We have about an hour left in the flight and then the drive home from Columbus. I hope my mom is at the airport waiting for me! I miss her! I'm going to try and take a nap though - goodnight!

Haiti: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 
Read about my first trip to Haiti here.

Haiti: Day 6 - 01.04.11

January 16, 2011
Today we went to the orphanage. It was really good to see Marie and the kids again. It was also so good to see that they were sleeping inside. They all had beds and sheets and it looked more like a place to live, so that was really good to see. Last time I was kind of struggling with the fact that although they had been through a lot it was August after all. Why were these children still sleeping in the courtyard? It just didn't make sense to me. When I walked in to the orphanage, Marie hugged me and said thank you so much. When you came last time you "woke me up". She said she had decided she was finished with everything and had felt defeated, and didn't even know why to try anymore. All we did is clean (a lot) and paint (a lot) but it gave her the motivation to keep going and it reminded her why she was doing this in the first time. Obviously this made me feel extremely guilty. Of course she was tired. Taking care of these kids is hard enough with all of the problems they have and then on top of that an earthquake comes in and destroys where these kids are living. Its enough to make anyone want to give up. Ah, she's amazing - that's really all I can say.

During tonight's devotion we had to share where we had seen God this week and what we were going to take with us and how this trip was going to affect our lives at home. I think for me, again, is my attitude. The joy these people have is incredible and like nothing I've ever seen. They don't let their circumstances affect that. I said I felt kind of ashamed that I have already been given this lesson once and haven't done much with it. I'm aware of it now, which I guess is the first step - but now I have to act. I've had an attitude probably since the day I could talk (I'm sure my Mom would agree with me) and I don't think I'll ever lose the 'tude completely, but I do need to watch how I let it affect how I treat others. So that's the goal! Wish me luck! :) 

Haiti: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 
Read about my first trip to Haiti here.

Haiti : Day 5 - 01.03.11

January 15, 2011
I'm at the Vet Training Center in Port au Prince. I'm so sad. I cried (of course) today as we drove away from Prosper. I can't believe we already left again. It feels like we just got here and now I'm already leaving them. We finished the pastor's house. All that is left is a back door and some shudders for the windows. We left enough money with Art for them to be able to purchase those. It feels so awesome to know that I was a part of something so great. There aren't many things that mean more to a person than a home, and that's what we (along with our amazing church) were able to give Pastor François.

Pastor François & I 
I felt kind of useless again today. We stayed up at the church to watch the house being completed & again, there wasn't much for me to do. That is until I decided to help the women carry up water for the concrete. Yeah - as helpful as I was being, it wasn't my smartest decision! How in the world they carry 50 lb buckets up a hill on their head is beyond me. At first they wouldn't let us help them carry the water, so we would just help them lift the buckets up on their heads. Lemme tell ya, that in itself is hard. Eventually, after they had made many tiring trips, they let us help. I didn't even attempt to carry it on my head because we all know how that would have ended up. It was exhausting and the most work I had done all week, but I'm glad we got to help.

Art came in the afternoon sometime and we all said our goodbyes. Those are never easy.  I taught Kenda how to say I love you. I'm pretty sure she has no clue what it means but she just kept saying I love you, I love you, I love you. It was adorable. Once we got to the training center we went on a walk to get Coke like we had done the last trip. It was yummy, of course. They even had Cokes and Sprites for us at dinner time so we got double the caffeine! Kinda gave me a headache after going all week with only water! Tomorrow, we are going to the orphanage. I'm excited to see the progress Marie has made since we were here last. Pastor Steve said when he came in November it was so much better and we would be really pleased, so I'm excited for that.  

Haiti: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 
Read about my first trip to Haiti here.

Haiti: Day 4 - 01.02.11

January 14, 2011
It's Sunday, so we went to church this morning. I love going to their church service. I love all the singing and dancing and the praying out loud. It's awesome. It was much more pleasant temperature wise this time around. Today, while I was sitting there I was so thankful it wasn't as hot as it was in August when I was here. Kenda of course found her way to my lap - which made me a little hot, but seriously how can you tell a little kid they can't sit on your lap? No way!
After church we just played with the kids and hung out with everyone. Pastor François had his goat killed for us. Yup. That's what I said. He had his goat killed for us to eat out of appreciation. Although, I completely understand what a huge sacrifice this was for him and that he was showing his appreciation for what we have done for him - it really was not necessary. Really. The worst part is that we have seen this goat all week. The guys even took a picture with him before he was killed. Even worse - we saw the goat be killed. It was kind of hard not to watch, but after the first stab - I was done watching. It actually tasted pretty good, but just the thought of the goat being killed along with the guys talking about how good the heart tastes were enough to make me sick. It was hard for me to even get my rice down (which was very good). Just another life experience. I mean, how many people can say that they've had a goat killed for them? Because I can! :)

After we were done with lunch, we went on a walk to get coconuts and mangoes! One of the boys climbed to the tops of the trees, barefoot I might add, to get us all some! I'm not big on the coconut milk, but it's still fun to do. The mangoes on the other hand... so delicious! The sweetest, juiciest fruit! Once the boy was done chopping the coconuts down he slid right down the trunk like it was a fireman's pole! It looked like it had to have hurt, but of course it didn't phase him!

Tomorrow we are leaving Prosper. All that is left to be done on the house is laying the concrete floor. I'm so sad and so not ready to leave. The last time we left, it was sad but I KNEW we were coming back and I knew we were coming back relatively soon because we already had plans to build the pastor's house. This time, I know I will be back but I'm not so sure when. Ugh, don't want to think about it! The important thing is that we will be back! 

Haiti: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 
Read about my first trip to Haiti here.

Haiti: Day 3 - 01.01.11

January 13, 2011
Happy New Year! It is so awesome to be starting a new year in such a beautiful country. Bringing in the new year is all about a fresh start, and what better way to start fresh than serving God? Last night the church service that was supposed to end at 2 AM did not end at 2 AM. They were singing and dancing all the way until 4 o'clock this morning. As awful as it sounds, I am so glad we didn't have to stay for the whole thing. We were all exhausted and I don't think we would have even made it! But it was an awesome experience and I am glad we were there.
Pastor François’ house is just about finished. All that is left is to pour the concrete floor in two of the rooms and that will be done Monday morning before we leave. Tomorrow is Sunday so after church there won't be any work, just having fun. Today, we walked through the village again. We spent a lot of time at Kenda's house. Her mom is only 22, but she is so nice. She braided my hair but she didn't try to put them in corn rows - thank you Jesus. She just smoothed it out and put it in a low pony tail and then braided the ponytail into two braids. Not a way I would have chosen to wear my hair, but such a better look for me than the corn rows.
Kenda is such a little pill. I love her so much and I love that she always wants me to hold her, but man does the girl have attitude. I think that might be why I like her so much - I can so relate to the 'tude. Today, another little girl was hanging on my legs and trying to get me to pick her up and Kenda started squirming like she wanted to get down. So, I put her down - and she picked up the biggest rock that was near us and went to throw it at the girl who was hugging on me because she was jealous. haha It's pretty funny, but man - well, like I said, she's a pill!

Art came to the village today. It was really good to see him! He just came to say hello and check on the progress of the house. He'll be back Monday afternoon to pick us up. :( I so do not even want to think about leaving. That is the last thing I want to do. Well, I'm super tired and morning comes early thanks to the animals!

Thank you for this day and for letting the progress on the house move quickly. Thank you for another year and the blessings you gave me. Thank you for people like those here in Haiti who praise you so highly even after all they went through in 2010 - how they aren't bitter, I'm not quite sure. Help me be open to the lessons you want me to learn here and help me to have a better attitude when I get home. Love you so much, AMEN!

Haiti: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7
Read about my first trip to Haiti here.

Haiti's Quake - 1 Year Later

January 12, 2011
One year ago today, Haiti was hit with the most devastating natural disaster the country had ever seen. The earthquake only lasted 35 seconds but it changed the people forever - physically and emotionally. It's a year later and you would think there would be more progress, but there is still much more to be done.

This is a little video I did to share photos from the last trip my church, Germantown First Church of God, took to the village of Prosper in Haiti. The first time around we were building pre-fabricated homes for victims of the earthquake. While we were there we noticed that although the Pastor had been given a pre-fabricated house, his home that took him 30 years to build was right next door, destroyed. We decided to raise the money to rebuild his house and this video shows our time there and the Pastor's house completed.

This last trip to Haiti was of course a little defeating at times, but it was also a little comforting. Although there is still much more to be done, in just the few short months that have past since my first trip, I could tell a difference. In August when we drove past the tent cities, I just felt sick to my stomach. You see thousands of "tents" and thousands of people living in close quarters and you just think, "how are these people ever going to get out of here"? In January of 2011, I could tell that those same tent cities I drove past before had gotten smaller. They are still there and are home to many Haitians, BUT - that number is shrinking. In August we drove by buildings that had crumbled and saw so much rubble. In January of 2011 there were still pancaked buildings and there was still rubble, but I could see a difference. The amount of rubble on the side of the roads has shrunk.

Haiti is not back to where they were before the earthquake, (a third world country) and they will probably never be as well off as we are in America, but there is progress happening - no matter what the news tells you. Do your part to help these amazing people and this beautiful country, no matter how big or small that may be. Go on a missions trip, donate money, support a charity, send clothes, or just take 5 minutes out of your day to pray for them.

Haiti: Day 2 - 12.31.10

January 10, 2011
I can't believe its New Years Eve. This past year has been so amazing and has gone by so fast. This has by far been my least glamorous new years but I wouldn't change it for anything. Today, I went on a walk through the village and I finally remember why I'm here. It was so nice to see more of the people and to be able to interact with them. Tonight during devotions I shared that yesterday I kind of struggled because I was pretty useless when it came to building the Pastor's house, but I know that's not why I'm here and today just confirmed that. These people are so happy we're here and you can tell that just by showing up you've brought them a little bit of hope. I don't know about you but I can't think of one person (besides my mom, but mom's don't count) who is happy when I just show up. It was really refreshing and I'm glad I've found my place again!
Tonight, we finally got to shower! With a bucket filled with 1 gallon of water. I never in my life thought I would think of those shower camping bags as a luxury, but nonetheless - here I am thinking that very thing. We still showered in the Pastor's house. The walls are up but the roof has yet to be put on so we showered underneath the stars. Such a beautiful sight! I'm pretty sure I still have shampoo in my hair though, but honestly, who cares? There was a community church service held at the Prosper Church of God. It started at 8 and is supposed to end around 2 AM. Kenda fell asleep in my arms. I love that little girl, but man is she dead weight when she's sleeping! My arms are so tired! We just left (it's about 11:30 PM). Because it's going so late we had to move our things out of the church and the men are sleeping outside and us 4 women are sleeping in the cooking house. Right before we got to bed Woody tells us to be careful because their are rats. I was like you're joking right? He didn't seem like it was such a big deal, but HELLO, I don't want to be sleeping with no stinking rats! I need to hurry up and write this so I can hopefully fall asleep quickly and not wake up until morning!!

I still can't get over the church service we were just at. Although we were all pretty tired and having a hard time keeping our eyes open - the Haitians were singing and dancing and thanking God for the past year and lifting up 2011 to him. I don't think this needs to be said, but 2010 was not, in my opinion, a good year for Haiti. Starting in January they were hit with a 7.2 earthquake. Followed by 40 after shocks reaching 6.0. Then there were the spring rains that brought mud slides. We've all heard about the Cholera (I've got some interesting news about that - I'll share in a minute), presidential election chaos, the riots, Hurricane Thomas. Ok, seriously, need I go on? Does that sound like a good time to you???? It makes me feel so guilty that even after they have been through all of that they wanted to be in church praising GOD for the things he has done for them. I'm ashamed to say that never in my entire life have I once thought about going to church on New Years Eve. I want to get dressed up and go out with my friends. Definitely something to think about. Thank you Haiti.

Back to Cholera. Once we got here we were informed that if we were infected with the disease we would not die. We would have flu like symptoms and that's about it. For starters, our immune system is a lot stronger than the Haitians. And secondly, when Haitians get diarrhea they quit drinking water in hopes of drying it up. Cholera dehydrates the body and all that needs to happen is more fluids need to be taken in to flush the sickness out. It's so sad that so many people died from Cholera because they didn't have this knowledge or a clean enough water source. But it does make me feel better, not that I was too worried to begin with, about the whole situation.

Well, it's been a long day and as I mentioned before, their might be rats joining us tonight so I need to get to bed ASAP before they show up to party! Goodnight God! Thank you for this amazing trip, these amazing people, and the amazing year you've given me. Please be with our group and help us to get some sleep and be rested for tomorrow. I LOVE YOU! AMEN!

Haiti: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7
Read about my first trip to Haiti here.

Haiti: Day 1 - 12.30.10

January 9, 2011
I can't believe we're finally here. I'm back in Prosper and I'm already exhausted. It was a long day of traveling - well 2 days of traveling. We were supposed to leave from Columbus on the 28th but our flight was canceled because of snow on the east coast. Thankfully we were able to get our flight information switched around & were still able to come. We left for Miami on Wednesday night and didn't fly out to Port au Prince until Thursday morning. Once we arrived at the airport in Port au Prince it was so calm and everything went smoothly. There was an actual roof unlike the piece of tin semi covering us in the pouring rain last time. Woody was one of the men to pick us up at the airport. When he saw me he said Stephanie! and gave me a hug. I was so glad he remembered me and it was so good to see him again! Driving to Prosper, it was neat to be able to recognize things I had seen the first time I was here. 

Once we got to the village I got to see Julio and Nana. I'm so glad they're part of the Haitian work group that is here. I've missed everybody so much! I have seen a few kids I know from before but I still haven't seen Wenchi. Oh how I miss that little boy. I've tried asking around for him but the little girls he was with last time just shake their head. I'm really hoping they just don't understand what I'm trying to say. I also haven't seen Jesiluh - I'm pretty sure she moved so I will be sad not to see her.
I'm already missing the group from the first trip. Everybody from this group is really nice and I know this is going to be a great week, I just wish the others were here to experience this as well. There are 10 people from our church and 3 from a church in Morehead, KY (Dr. Phil's, from the last trip, church). Dr Phil's son Matt and a mother (Melissa) and daughter (Bri). From our church its me, Ricky, and Jon returning and 7 others. A husband (Bryce) and wife (Sheree) and their son (Clay) came. I've seen them at church but don't really know them so it will be good to get to know them. Eric Brown and 2 of his sons (Byron & Ethan) are here, and Jason Pilkenton is here too! Should be a good and fun week!
I brought a couple jump ropes for the kids to play with and it is so fun to watch them play. I don't know how they jump so many times, with bare feet, on the rocky ground. It's incredible. And they just love it. Absolutely love it. They laugh and sing and it is just seriously the best thing ever.
The men got right to work once we got here and I feel extremely useless. The first time around there was lots of sealing and painting of houses and that is a job I can handle. Laying block - not so much. It was a long day of watching and feeling guilty for not being able to do more. Tonight I asked Ricky if he cared if I walked through the village tomorrow and he said that would be fine as long as I didn't go alone. (Even though I would feel completely comfortable going alone.) So I'm extremely excited about getting to see more people from the village.

Well, it's been a long 2 days of traveling and it's going to be a very early morning, I'm sure!

Dear Lord, thank you so much for the safety you gave us while traveling and for letting this trip actually happen considering there were so many things working against it. Please help me to find my place here and see what it is you want me to do. Thank you so much for this opportunity and just help me to bring hope to these people and let them know that I love them and you love them so very much. Please be with Mom and help her not to worry about me as much as she did last time. Give us all strength to get through the long, hot days. In your name we pray, Amen.

Haiti: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 
Read about my first trip to Haiti here.

Hello 2011

January 8, 2011

Grandma Shirley's Yo-Yos

January 7, 2011
I get to cross another item off my 101 in 1001 list! My Grandma Shirley passed away this past October and the family went through her things and got to take things that were special to us and things we wanted. Amongst all of the stuff I found a box full of yo-yos my grandmother had sewn years before. They were made out of lots of beautiful fabrics and I was so happy I found them. This was our families first Christmas without Grandma Shirley and for the gift exchange I wanted to do something special. I decided to take the yo-yos she had made and use them to make a pillow. It turned out to be one of the best gifts in the gift exchange - even got a few tears. I included a little note with the gift saying that I hope "whenever you look at this pillow you think about what an amazing and talented woman she was". I think the pillow turned out great and although this may be a little selfish, I gave away my least favorite yo-yos because I want to make a pillow for myself. Must add that to my neverending to-do list! :)

*I entered this into a DIY contest over at Somewhat Simple.

Back From Haiti!

January 6, 2011
"For greater things have yet to come & greater things are still to be done in this City"
I can't believe another trip to Haiti is already over. It was just as amazing as my first trip and I feel so blessed to have been able to go back so soon. It was so amazing to see everyone again and see how all the kids had grown. Two people that I was really looking forward to seeing, Wenchi & Jesyluh, had moved from the village and I'm really disappointed I didn't get to see them, but it was still such a great week. I'm going to be sharing my journal entries and pictures again this time within the next few days, but for now, I'm just trying to recuperate and heading to work in the morning! A one day work week? I'm pretty sure I can handle that! :)

P.S. I know Christmas is over but I'm too tired to design a new header & it's really cute, so for now, the ornament stays! :)

Haiti: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 
Read about my first trip to Haiti here.


January 4, 2011

O - H - I - O


P.S. I'll be home tomorrow! Can't wait to share about my trip!

Why Hello 2011 :)

January 1, 2011

Happy New Year! 2011. How is that even possible? For the record, I'm still in Haiti. This post is only possible because I wrote it before I left, which means - technically it's still 2010, but whatever, right? You get the point! I hope you've enjoyed all of the recaps from past years! It was a lot of fun for me to read through them again and take a trip down memory lane as well as see how much I've changed! I'll be back home in a few days (on the 5th) and can't wait to share about my trip! I just know I'm having an amazing time right now! haha :) Hope everyone had a terrific and safe New Years Eve!