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.

WelcomeSign

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.

Roselaure

CarlineRockNoselieTechLabSaul

EdelyneElodieNataschaCooksEmmanieseRosithaJonasAltagraciaBeaudlaireAmenika

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.

TeacherSeminar

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.

FaceTimeGefte

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.

ParentalRecognition

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!

NeighborhoodBoys

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!

PizzaAmore

 

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

computer

crafting

Mr. Craft Man

Coach Realdsen

Cutie Pies

kozefò trip preparations.

5 days til my next departure to Port-au-Prince with a team of 24.   There have been many conversations with staff on-site – mostly through Facebook Chat…

FB Director Rock

FB Teacher Jonas

We are planning and packing and preparing for this next adventure.  Our group includes a fantastically eclectic group of folks – some returning – many new travelers.  There is a large group coming from the church that my sis Eliand I grew up in – where our parents worship and we still celebrate every Christmas Eve.  Eight in our group are in there 60’s-70’s…I think.  Courageous, generous souls that desire to grow and learn and give of their time and talents. My sweet nephew Eli – really the initiator of this Haitian connection, having been adopted from Haiti and having lived at the very site of our school will be part of our group – traveling with his parents and BOTH grandparents.  Now, how cool is that?  My dad’s cousin Bob will be joining us from Boston; my sister’s childhood bestie and Kozefò board member Amy will make her first trip to Port au Prince; a random conversation lead to the sister of a new co-worker joining us; a Minnesota-Florida fellow will be connecting with us in Atlanta; a local Woodbury couple will be returning and bring their middle school-aged twins this time.  So many great folks!

We have a fun-filled itinerary planned, with the understanding that there needs to be flexibility and a willing spirit to see where the path may lead.  Check out our plans and keep us in your thoughts and prayers!

Trip Itinerary

 

 

one word 2016.

“My One Word” challenge is simple: lose the long list of changes you want to make this year and instead pick ONE WORD. This process provides clarity by taking all your big plans for life change and narrowing them down into a single focus. Just one word that centers on your character and creates a vision for your future.” http://myoneword.org/

I have been selecting my one word for the past few years: possibilities, peace & joy, learn, treasure. My sister jumped on to the  adventure this year choosing FUN as her word…anyone who knows her, knows fun.  They also see generosity, creativity, compassion, love and more. Moments with her are always top notch – real, rich conversations…spontaneity…laugher.  I am hoping to share some serious FUN with her in 2016!

sisters one word

 

As for me, I am selecting the word…

one word 2016

I have been puttering around my house in jammies ALL. DAY. LONG.  Happy New Year to me. Being comfortable is where I am for 2016.  Choosing to be comfortable in my own skin – to say yes to the things that matter and no to the things that don’t. Other areas that I hope to gain comfort this year include…

  • living life in this middle generation – with aging parents/in-laws and young newlyweds that still seek advice at times
  • sharing experiences in Haiti with others [comfort is sure to grow with additional team trips this year]
  • my new job – 6 months in – still learning something every day – figuring things out
  • fitness – letting go of any hopes to be a runner again and simply be ok being a walker :)
  • owning a “less is more” mentality – simplify – declutter – organize
  • clothing/shoes – comfort, sensibility (so intrigued by the minimalist wardrobe movement)

Cheers to a new year! Choose your word and let me know what you select.