language learning.

I am eager to learn to speak Creole. Books, CDs, and apps have been purchased through the years…flash cards have been made…”repeat after me” style practice has been implemented through the Pimsleur approach as I drive to and from work. And yet I struggle to learn. I lack the discipline needed to master a second language. Just last night I have recommitted. The desire is here…the longing to have real conversations with my friends, staff and students in Haiti is so great. I need to find a Creole speaking partner here in my community to guide me in this new journey. Hoping and praying for a language pal…and discipline…and for the neurons in my brain to start making connections from English to Creole.

To all of my bilingual, multilingual friends-bravo! You are brilliant. I am in awe of your ability to hold words and phrases and intelligent thoughts….and then express them fluently in English, Creole, French, Karen, Thai, Hmong, Spanish, Zinza, Swahili, Hebrew….

A big shout out to my fantastic interpreters, teachers, friends-Gladimy, Falaune, Jonas and Jonas. You are my heroes.

Haitian Interpreters

And to all of the students that show up in schools across the world, knowing their native language and acclimating to the language of the school-hooray for you! The patience and determination it takes to master a second language eludes me…yet these little learners jump in and out of French-Creole OR English-Karen-Thai as they seek to converse with different groups. Simply amazing to me.

Cheers to these three beauties that arrived in Minnesota from Burma/Myanmar via Thailand refugee camp when they were in grade 5.


Karen girls grown up

Mwen vle aprann. Mwen vle pale Kreyol. Orevwa. Bon Nwit Zanmi mwen.

friday night rant.

There should probably be rules about posting my thoughts on a Friday night when I am tired from a long week, having hit the happy hour favs at Ray J’s, but here I go.

Secondary traumatic stress is the emotional duress that results when an individual hears about the firsthand trauma experiences of another.

I have seen and heard so much trauma this week – there are individuals experiencing REAL trauma.  Hard stuff. Painful. And then there are the people that support those facing the trauma.  The family members, caregivers, teachers, therapists, social workers, behavior specialists, and school administrators…that feel the pain – that empathize and create solutions. These folks need our tender loving care.  They are strong and in-control…making decisions and care plans and picking up the pieces of a scary sad life. So…love the people in your life and save a little extra space for those that are in care-giving spaces.

And then…how about that Kelly Clarkson song on American Idol?  What????  Be still my heart. Check it out here:

Piece by Piece.png

Pretty much started my morning in tears, watching this raw emotion, as she sang on the venue that gave her such a bright future, reflecting on the love a parent has for a child – and the staying power that she has for her babes in contrast to the loss that her father experienced, leaving her as a young girl. Wow. Brave. Vulnerable. Love it.

And about my niece.  Hmmm. I have some pretty awesome nieces and nephews.  All of them. Love them so much.  Sweet Faithy has tossed her life experience into the worldwide web, sharing her courageous journey and real teenage vulnerability via this sweet blog:


And finally. Politics.  This is NOT something I often choose to discuss.  Not even in safe places.  But really?  Trump?  I LOVE America.  And these candidates are the best we have? It all makes me just a little sad.  A little like I want to pack up my bags and move to another country.  Who in their right mind says things like this?

  • “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems…they’re bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”
  • “I will build a great wall – and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
  • “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn’t lose any voters, okay? It’s, like, incredible.”
  • “I love the old days, you know? You know what I hate? There’s a guy totally disruptive, throwing punches, we’re not allowed punch back anymore. … I’d like to punch him in the face, I’ll tell ya.”
  • “We won with poorly educated. I love the poorly educated.”

We cannot be serious to consider this man as a leader of our nation?  Can we?  Just looking for a little LEADERSHIP – wisdom, discernment, respect, class.  Can I get an Amen?

Signing off.  Feeling a little bit better getting that off my mind.  Happy Friday my friends! xoxo


loving & living life.

Okay…the Africa vacation video created by Dax Shepard and Kristen Bell was a viral sensation this weekend…and I have to admit I was smitten.  I mean seriously – how cute are they?  Exploring the African plains, dancing, singing, playing the air flute and looking all cute. Dang. Loved it.

Kristen Bell and Dax Shepherd - Africa

{image via hello giggles – video via youtube}

In fact, I loved it so much, I decided that I needed to live large myself and capture some video footage of me and my cutie boy. Duh…of course, right?   Our sweet young friend Si Poo joined us as our “videographer” as we headed to Colby Lake for this plan!  [We treated her to dinner in payment for her fantastic filming skills – and for not thinking I was completely crazy!]

dinner reward

And then there is that husband of mine, that just rolls with it and jumps into the adventure.  Good times.  Many laughs. Sadly, we did not have quite the same choreography, lighting, editing skills, or creative flow as Dax and K did.  I mean really – how many shoots do you think they took????  Did they even see Africa?

So I messed around with some instagram pics and an easy editing program – animoto trial – to capture the sweet little adventure Bob and I get to share in this life journey.  Enjoy!  We did.  :)

back to business.

Wow. What a week.  We soaked it all in and have now returned to our work of teaching, nursing, doctoring, ministering, painting, running a craft store, filling pharmaceutical prescriptions, supporting school staff and living the life of retirement…and for our four students on the trip – they are back in class.

Our school in Haiti welcomed us in with open arms, kisses on the cheeks and creative greeting signs.


We experienced so many “good moments” together and share a common love for our students. And now business is back to normal in the hands of some incredibly kind, smart, creative, hard-working and caring individuals.  Thank you so much to the staff at ANA Primary School!  We are grateful for you all! Mesi Anpil.  Until next time.




from one world to the next.

There were so many sweet intersections that occurred between my ordinary world back home and the crazy-cool events of the day. I am always in awe when things align the way they do…not really even surprised by it too much anymore.  I have figured that this is just the way God likes to work, huh?

Event #1 – Teacher Seminar.  This is what I am trained to do…paid to do in real life. And then I get to share a little of my thinking here with teachers that are eager to learn, willing to collaborate, think and consider ways to apply the ideas in their classrooms.


Event #2 – FaceTime Conversation. My friend Amy and her boy Gefte were able to connect today with his father and brother here in Haiti.  There was a whole mess of emotions with that chat.  The awesomeness of being able to have technology to create this moment, the heartbreak of what it means to relinquish parental rights under very difficult circumstances, the joy in seeing family – Gefte’s smile and “love you dude” to his brother…wow.  The complexities of having families in two places and making the most of it all. Hmmm.


Event #3 – The Parental Presentation.  The teachers toasted our team with a grand gesture of thanks – cake and champagne.  There was gratitude shown to our parents for sharing Lori and me with them here in Haiti. So humbled. So honored.  And then there was that fantastic pop of champagne that hit the ceiling!  Good times.


Event #4 – Neighborhood walk.  I love a good “drop-in visitor” that is willing to show up when I may still be in my jammies.  In fact, I have a pal that has been known to show up with her own coffee and hop right into my bed if I still happen to be there!  Not everyone feels that way – most prefer to tidy up and prepare for their guests.  Well, today we found a few friends in the neighborhood that welcomed us into their homes unannounced with open arms – hugs and I love yous and thank yous as well. We were allowed to drop in.  We returned to the home of Sebastien and were greeted with a “Bonswa Madam Sara!”  We visited Bradley and his cousin Richardson – we met Samuel and Nolbi’s family.  And as we walked through the neigborhood, more and more friends joined us.  By the time we returned to the school, we had enough pals for some serious soccer action.  Such a perfect way to spend a Saturday!


Event #5 – Pizza and football-very common in my household.  So, following a very full day that included much painting, tidying up, computer prep, shelf building and plumbing, the team enjoyed a completely chill evening with conversation, dinner and the Patriots vs. Chiefs game on the big screen at Pizza Amore. Such a gift. Bon Nwit!



productive day.

There are really no words….or maybe there are just too many words for today.  We hit the ground running, and there are just not enough pics on my camera, so I can only share a very small glimpse into the fun we have had here at A New Arrival Primary School. There was a finance meeting and a teacher meeting – complete with receipt documentation and conversations about hopes and dreams for our kiddos.  The computer lab was buzzing with activity. Plumbing projects have begun, the painters are rolling, a bookshelf is nearing completion.  And the kids. It is really just about the kids for me.  There were hugs and songs and stories shared – crafts were made, sewing lessons with 5 and 6 year olds, and Mr. Realdsen has returned as a physical education teacher – doing calisthenics and soccer games with the assistance of a Creole interpreter.  So much good stuff today.

My heart is full.

The Whole Gang

finance meeting



Mr. Craft Man

Coach Realdsen

Cutie Pies