Austin || Texas.

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Y’all. I can start a sentence with “y’all” because I’m a Texan, right?

Great.

I love Texas. I love the heat [call me crazy], the hill country, DFW, rivers, tea, BBQ, bluebonnets, camping, & the list goes on.

This past time home from Haiti, I spent several days in Austin to work from our Mission of Hope stateside office & connect with the wonderful staff family stateside.

Amanda & Matt were there too, which was so fun! I love getting to be in the states with these friends from Haiti, because we just get each other. We share the desire to sit in a coffee shop for 3 hours because we can. And we understand the joy of being able to simply drive around at night. I know, it sounds a bit weird…but all of my Haiti friends get it.

We had so much fun with the MOH Staff, & had incredible friends that fearlessly led us around Austin.

It’s such a great city!

Below are a few highlights of the trip (captions are above the photos).

“hopdoddy” – great burgers!
Kendra Scott’s flagship store is beside it.

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Famous Amy’s – the dark chocolate flavor was on point.

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this wall is so perfectly “Austin” cliche…& I love it. No shame.
left to right: Cammie, Amanda, myself, & Jess.
Cammie & Jess are 2 of the many amazing staff that work in the Austin office!
(Thanks for taking our picture, Matt. This seems to become a theme this trip…ha.)

IMG_3057After this, we walked 4 miles around downtown…because “oh, the Capitol is just right there!” Ha. We clearly under-exaggerated justttt how far it was. Nonetheless, it was a beautiful night with sweet friends walking around a great city!

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The Capitol.

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I loved exploring this city with these 2 dear friends!

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Below are several hilarious photos that we took on South Congress while exploring all of the wonderful spots. Matt loves being our photographer so much, that he took 37 photos. Isn’t that brick wall perfect??

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Uncommon objects was full of wonderful (hilarious) things!

Uncommon Objects
“The Science of Facial Expression” – If the title of this book & this photo doesn’t summarize our friendship, then I don’t know what does.

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lovely details at Toms coffee shop.
Have I mentioned that coffee shops are my love language?

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string lights & live music? yes, please.
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My dear dear friend Liz! I LOVED getting to see her & enjoy the best salad of my life at Bouldin Creek Cafe with her & Jess.

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Cammie, Jess, & I went downtown for a run around Lady Bird Lake with my favorite dog, Stanley. It started out bright & sunny…& then a massive storm hit. So…we embraced it & ran in the rain. Stanley wasn’t phased. We finished the night off with a healthy dinner at Juiceland.

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These are the highlights: coffee shops, delicious food, rest, great friends & community. It was a great way to wrap up my time in the states & to be rejuvenated to go back to Haiti. I’m excited to be back in Haiti for the fall, & hope to be blogging a bit more – I’m not going to make any promises though. 🙂

Colorado Weekend

A few weekends ago I went to Colorado to visit friends!

Sweet Joy. Homegroup friends for years – so glad we got to have lunch together!

Katie! Friends since middle school.

the most perfect to go coffee stop!

Katie and I did the Incline – a mile of stairs, straight up the mountain!

the “stairs” are old railroad ties

a little ways up the mountain

not quite there yet…

at the top! Success. This was followed by a 3 mile run down the mountain – so great!

The next day we went hiking and found some snow to play in!

Katie stopping to look at flowers

Colorado, I could get used to you.

What a fun, beautiful, relaxing weekend!

Psalm 96:4a // For great is the Lord and most worthy of praise.

Disneyworld & the Experience Conference.

We went to Disneyworld, and it was awesome. This was the first year for the Experience Conference, and it was actually held at Disneyworld. Being in one of the most “magical” places, worshiping Jesus with over 1,000 fellow believers – it was perfect. AND, I got to see the castle! Being able to hang out with the rest of the creative arts team was lovely, and missing a week of class – I’m not complaining one bit. Here are some pictures!

Coronado Resort – beautiful!

Grant and Jerry…being Grant and Jerry.

Jerry’s “Organized Creativity” Breakout

*such a posed picture. ha!*

LEGOS!

EPCOT!

I was so excited to see the castle.

GFC Creative Arts Team/Family!

Night of Joy at Disney!

Grant and Jim – the founder of a wonderful organization – Eyes of Faith.

If you can’t tell, this was our first time to Disneyworld! I didn’t get a lot of pictures of the conference, but it was a great one.

Haiti July Trip // Part 2

This post will have pictures & stories from Sunday thru Wednesday (the last half of the trip). Looking back at these pictures is stirring my heart and filling it with even more joy!

Sunday morning we went on a tour of the Mission, to see new projects and developing buildings around campus. Then, we went to church! One of my favorite things about church is singing with fellow believers in a different language! Creole verses, English choruses…it’s breathtaking. After praise and worship, we went to children’s church with the kids. Children’s church was a lot of singing, dancing, and Bible stories; full of fun! Then we ate lunch at the mission and then went to 2 other locations (Leveque – where the 500 homes project is, and Bercy). We were able to go to these earlier this year during our spring break trip, and seeing the progress in just a few months brought tears to my eyes. So much has been built. Lives are being changed, and people are hearing about Jesus Christ. People are being invested in, and cared for. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s the Gospel.

These are the 2 school buildings at Bercy – they put a roof on the week we were there!

Maddie and this precious boy!

Rob & Megan looking at an old boat

Miss Katie loving on children

LEVEQUE!! There are over 150 homes built now! When we were there in March, there were around 30.

I was able to hang out with this beautiful little girl last trip, and I got to see her again! My heart breaks for the way the other people in the village treat her because of her disability. Look at that smile. She is BEAUTIFUL. I would love if all who read this blog would take a few moments and pray for her. Pray that she would feel the love and acceptance that she has in Christ. Pray that the Lord would send people to remind her that she is valued and loved. Pray for her safety, and ultimately that she knows Christ Jesus as her Savior.

Maddie and Woodnie (I got to hang out with Woodnie last trip too!)

It was so great seeing kids that I got to play with on the spring break trip!

Dinner at Gwo Papa Poul’s (Big Daddy Chicken).

Sunday evening we had a night of worship led by Jean Marc, one of the awesome boys at Village of Hope. He is full of joy!

Monday morning was VBS (pictured in the previous blog post) which consisted of holding lots of sweet kids, running around playing games at sports, going to Bible story time, community health, craft time, and lunch! Sweet memories. Monday afternoon I got to visit with the women that run the 3 Cords business at Mission of Hope. That was amazing. These women are amputees from the earthquake who are now able to have a job with dignity & provide for their families. In Haitian culture, amputees are often ostracized, but these women are empowered! They make the most beautiful headbands, purses, flower clips, & greeting cards. All of the women that work there are either amputee women, or they support an amputee family member. These girls are crafty, and so funny! I helped Sencia finish up some headbands and tie the tags on them while visiting with the others. These ladies are encouraging, and full of joy. I was so busy laughing with them and tying headbands, that I didn’t take a single picture. haha good thing I’ve got the memory locked down in my brain.

Tuesday morning was VBS again, with more loving on kiddos. Tuesday afternoon, the Mission sent us to Wahoo beach for lunch and to hang out for a couple of hours. We were able to spend a lot of time with Gary and Cynthia – two of the sweetest people I’ve met. They just retired this year, and have a love for the Lord, and His people! They were so encouraging, and I hope to see them again soon.

Me, Cynthia, Gary, Lisa, & Allison!

Us girls

Gary & Cynthia!

Lisa has got the model pose down!

adore these women.

lunch, YUM.

prettiest view, ever.

We got back to the mission and this sunset was waiting for us.

Tuesday evening was a night of worship at the church…prayer and singing, and saying goodbye to amazing people that I met that week. Tuesday night I went to sleep to the sound of the most wonderful rainstorm…it was pouring!

Wednesday morning we woke up super early, went to the airport and flew back to America. Haiti, I pray I’ll be back soon.

Haiti July Trip // Part 1

The first trip to Haiti (spring break 2011) was AMAZING. I absolutely loved it. The second trip (July 6-13th 2011) was EVEN BETTER. How is that possible? How can it get better? Well, I would love to answer that question.

If I could describe this trip in one word, I would say, “relational.” We had VBS Monday thru Thursday mornings, from about 8:30am-1pm. It was such a sweet time of loving on kids from surrounding villages and orphanages. There were over 300 kids when we were there! I heard that the next week there were over 500! Awesome, right?? The very first day of VBS I held the same little girl the entire time. I’m pretty sure my heart melted a little bit.

Some more fun VBS pictures!

Rapping at the start of VBS. too. cool.

Besh with his “mask” made out of a water lid.

Sweet Samuel. VBS wiped him out – too much fun!

After VBS on Thursday, we went to a local village, Simonette and played soccer with kids on the beach and skipped rocks into the ocean.

Looking at Allison’s pretty tattoos!

silly boys playing with a soccer ball!


On Friday, we went to the ocean to swim with the kiddos from Hope Village (the orphanage at the mission) and it was so much fun. They had beach balls that they would stick in their swimsuits and use as floaties haha! Surprisingly, it was fairly chilly because of the wind, so lots of the kids wanted to be held in the ocean. We didn’t mind. I hung out with Esther most of the day…love that child!

sassy little Esther! 🙂

the orphanage dog, Kenzie.

Me, Allison, & Cynthia holding our sweet babies!

playing jacks with rocks.

So much joy.

On Saturday, we went to Titanyen to a kid’s Bible study that a woman in the church hosts each week! There were about 50 kids in her yard, and she was giving TOMS to several of the kids. It was so sweet getting to see their faces when they received their shoes. We spent a couple of hours there with them.

TOMS!

The kids love Lisa!

goofball.

this cutie has some of the best expressions!

Peter!

Melanie lovin’ on the kids

beautiful.

Rockin’ Lisa’s hat! haha

Well, that concludes Wednesday through Saturday! I’ll be back with the rest soon!

7 DAYS!!

In 7 days, I leave for Haiti again! 🙂 I.am.so.excited.y’all. I am ready to see all of the lovely folks at Mission of Hope: Haiti, but I am SO SO ready to help with a local Vacation Bible School that they will be having in the surrounding communities. I want to hop on the plane right now!

We (Lisa, Allison, and myself) will be there for a week. Lisa and I were on the same trip over spring break this year, and I KNOW she is just as excited as I am. Allison is Lisa’s niece, and I’m eager to meet her and share this experience with her as well.

FACT: It is *cooler* in Haiti right now than it is here in Texas [can you believe it??] – Crazy!

FACT: I will be spending my 20th birthday in Haiti 🙂 Dream? Yes indeed! [Last year I was in Australia when I turned 19…I’m thinking I should try to make it a tradition to be out of the country on my birthday. haha I kinda like that idea.]

FACT: Once I am 20, I will no longer be in the same age category as Justin Bieber – adios teenage years! They were fun, but your time is up.

FACT: I have a lot of packing to do.

FACT: Bears eat beets. Bears beat Battle-star Galactica. [Fellow Office watchers – thank you for laughing at this one 😉

This is a card that I gave out to prayer partners for the Haiti trip we went on over spring break, and I would love to share it with all who read this!

*note: the spring break trip was in March…which is why the card says March 😉 haha