Cupcakes and Sunshine: March 2016

Thursday, March 17, 2016

overwhelmed




Words and pictures will never be able to describe how our trip to Haiti was. You go with intentions to plant growing seeds in a nation, and the nation ends up planting these growing seeds in you. Hundred fold.

Indescribable. 


I think God tells us to “GO” for a reason. Go into all the world.  Go and make disciples. Let them Go. Go in the strength you have. Go, stand and speak. Go for us. Go. 1544 times.

I think one of my biggest prayers for this past week was God, how can I take what I have learned in Haiti and bring it back home? Last summer when I visited Haiti, my main realization was not how poor Haiti is, but how poor we are here- in spirit, in faith, in family, in joy, in love. Our time here is so short and I know that when we are looking into the eyes of Jesus, financial riches will be nothing compared to the rich lifestyles of the hearts of those I met this past week when I returned to the country I love so very much. Poverty takes on a new definition when you think about it. 

We are so very caught up in daily distractions, we don’t even see the beauty of God’s creation right outside of our front door. Our lenses are too foggy to go.
I’ve come to realize- I’m overwhelmed.
(our guest house in Oban, Haiti)
 
On our final day in Haiti, we woke up with the sun and had a bumpy drive from our guesthouse in busy Port-Au-Prince to the airport. Perfumed in the sweet smell of bugspray and sweat, we hopped in the bus with tired eyes and waved final “au revoirs” to those outside our windows. We arrived at the Haitian airport, passed slowly through the security lines, and grabbed coffee. After a sleepy two-hour flight, we landed in Miami and proceeded to go through customs and security again. During our four-hour layover in Florida, we grabbed quick lunches and more plane snacks and our whole team napped between the blue cushion seats at our gate.  



We hopped on another plane and landed in Atlanta right before dinner time, finally grabbed our luggage and headed to our vehicles. Our team agreed that queso and salsa were the answer to a day of sleepy travels. Exhausted, we decided upon Pancho’s and were greeted with large baskets of salty tortilla chips and what seemed like the longest menu list. So many choices. The tiredness and overwhelming sense of overstimulation set in. Drinks. Appetizers. Small. Medium. Large. Sides. Sauces. Salsas. All the restaurant noise. Lights everywhere. Noises from all angles. And then a three-member mariachi band paraded around our table and played a long, fast tune. Our tired team passed delirious laughs and looks to each other. And the long, loud mariachi tunes just kept on playing. So much noise. 

And then boom. It hit me. 
This is how we live each day. So much noise, it’s overwhelming. Everywhere we go here. It’s like a 24-7 mariachi band circling us from all angles all the time. (which…I have nothing against mariachi bands….I usually find them quite enjoyable. Just in the moment it was quite overwhelming.) We wonder why we can’t take our present and focused thoughts back with us from Haiti and then realize it may because we have 126 new emails, 9 different social media accounts, 12 Netflix shows to-watch cued in our brains. A preponderance of stores to choose from, hundreds of options for dinner, 14 text messages, 32 envelopes in our mailbox. 28 pairs of shoes, 22 nail polish colors, 52 t-shirts.

4 different email accounts, 5 different classes. Tall, short, grande, venti. Light roast, medium roast, dark roast. So many choices. So much noise. Overwhelmed.

Even in our quiet time- so much noise. I have six daily devotional books, five bibles, and so many journals I can’t even count. And I'm lucky if I can find more than 15 minutes of quiet time each day. Why are we covering simplicity with so many distractions? Jesus gave us His word, told us to follow him, and love others. So simple, yet, so hard here. 
During our week in Haiti, our trip leader Stacy had us write a word on a stone that describes what we learned from the week- just a reminder to take home with us. My friend Amelia wrote the word "Renewal" on her stone, and I think it's a word we can all benefit from and be reminded of. 

I've been feeling overwhelmed, but this past week has renewed me, refocused me, and recentered me. How can I take what I learned in Haiti and bring it back here? Well, I know it isn't going to be easy. But I'm hoping to make some simplicity changes mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We've complexed the most greatest of loves, and instead I want to be overwhelmed by His presence, His grace, His love. I know spending seven days in Haiti isn't going to vastly change that nation. Or our nation. But our God has done big things in seven days before (Genesis 2:1-2) and I think God can plant seeds for growth and change. And this joyfully overwhelms me in a renewed way.

Monday, March 14, 2016

pure joy- hearts full and haiti!


It's a bit surreal to think that just a couple days ago, I was in Haiti. It's nearly impossible to find words that sum up such an incredible week. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but I think an experience is worth a million.

For the seven days we lived in the village of Oban, Haiti, time was slow as molasses- the days were sticky and hot- but we were able to absorb every single moment. These are the good days. These seven days were some of my favorite I've ever had.

So full of love, my heart wants to burst! 


So full of joy and hope and happiness. So many smiles and laughs.


Joy came in the morning, as each day was a
new one to look forward to.
pure joy.


And distractions were few
and prayer was abundant and Jesus' presence
was all about us.


Which it is always,
but sometimes we just need to stop
and be still and recognize
His carefully crafted handiwork.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10


Our family was not only our extraordinary team, but our brothers and sisters that we got to meet for the very first time when we visited the schools each day.



We taught them new words,
and they taught us new words.
But His word captured us all.



Live a life that is worthy of the calling He has graciously extended to you. Be humble. Be gentle. Be patient. Tolerate one another in an atmosphere thick with love. Ephesians 4


These are my people. And those are my people. And we are all God's people.  The love that bought us- it's all around. 



We woke up before the sun on one of our final mornings in the village and walked with flashlights in hand and flipflop feet down to the ocean. 


We watched the sunrise and sweet Hannah was baptized- forever free! 

Full, full happy hearts. 


This girl has an incredible passion, love, and heart on fire for Jesus. Love your story and so happy He knit our stories to align in this place this past week! SO INCREDIBLY THANKFUL FOR YOU HANNAH! 


It's crazy to think that before this trip, we only knew each other's names, and now I can't imagine life without these friends- both American and Haitian. 
  

My first trip to Haiti last summer, my heart hurt for days. I craved these sweet smiles and brown little hands and kisses. Goodbye was hard. And more bitter than sweet. But returning this time was different. It was hopeful and exciting because I knew there wouldn't be a goodbye.




I may be back home now, but a piece of my heart will always be in this special place. See You Soon's are a bit better.  :)

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