Haiti

Laundry

I have been rather MIA from the blog the past two weeks, sildenafil but I’ve been really sick :( On Monday I suddenly got a horrible stomach virus at school and spent the rest of the week curled up in bed feeling miserable. I’m doing a lot better, in fact yesterday I was feeling great, but this morning I woke up with an upset stomach again. I am just ready to feel better!

Yesterday I worked on disinfecting my room by washing all my clothes, sheets, and blankets. As I was lying in bed last night, surrounded by clean-smelling blankets, I thought of when I was in Haiti and we sent our laundry out to be cleaned by some Haitian women. We put our gross, dirty clothes in garbage bags with our names on it and brought it down to a man who picked up the bags one by one and told us how much it would cost by how heavy it felt, generally around $5. When we got out clothes back, they were incredibly clean, cleaner than they ever would have been if we had thrown them in a washing machine. We were so impressed that these women had gotten all sorts of dirt and stain out of clothes simply by using homemade soap, washing them in the river, and drying them on rocks.

Sometimes when I think about my time in Haiti, I can’t believe that I actually went there and experienced what I did. It’s a different world, one I found myself longing for last night. It’s a simpler world. One filled with a lot of difficulty and obstacles, of course. But also one where I felt at peace with myself, with my world, with God.

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Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies and the Best Christmas Present You Could Give

Recently I posted a list of ideas for Christmas presents. I love giving Christmas presents and think it’s wonderful to give people things that they’ll love. But I also think that it is very important to remember what the real meaning of Christmas is, information pills the real reason we celebrate. Here are some Christmas present ideas that are very meaningful, and will help many people in need this holiday season.

1. Compassion Sponsorship

Compassion International is an amazing organization. Several people in our church work for Compassion and have seen first hand what they do for children living in third world countries. Sponsoring a child costs $38 dollars a month and provides them with food, clothes, education, and spiritual foundation. About a year and a half ago, I started sponsoring a girl who lives in Kenya. She is almost exactly my age and her name is Fresiah. I get letters from her and write her letters. Several times a year (birthdays, Christmas) you can give a little extra to pay for presents. Last year, Fresiah wrote to me, telling me what she bought with the money I sent her. She bought things like clothes, cooking oil, wheat, matches. It was pretty eye-opening to see what she got for Christmas, compared to what I ask for. I would encourage everyone to consider sponsoring a child.

2. Compassion Gift Catalog/Baby Survival Gift

If sponsorship isn’t for you, or you just want to give a one time gift, you can go onto the Compassion website and give a one time donation that will provide prental care, ongoing health care, infant survival training, the support of a local church, and much more for moms and babies. This is an incredible way to help save the lives of both moms and their babies. You can also check out their gift catalog and buy things like vaccinations, African Drought Survival, or a gift that will help a child live until age 5. These are amazing, life-changing gifts.

3. World Vision Gift Catalog

There are many organizations that allow you to buy gifts for families around the world such as goats, chickens, cows, etc. World Vision has a lot of options for giving, all at different prices. You can buy a rabbit, a small gift that will provide a family with food, all the way up to a dairy cow for a woman, a gift that will keep her independent and out of the sex trade. I thought for a long time on what gift I wanted to give and decided on a gift that offers hope for sexually exploited girls. When you give, you can give in honor of someone else and World Vision will send them a card, telling them about the gift. But even cooler than that, you can buy someone you love a present like a bracelet, necklace, silk scarf, or travel mug and coffee, and the money you spend on that gift will go towards helping others in need! Seriously awesome. Go here to check out all the things you can buy :)

4. Northwest Haiti Christian Mission

As many of you know, I went to Haiti last summer on a mission trip (you can read about my experience here, here, here, and here :) I had an incredible time and it really was a life-changing experience. I went to Northwest Haiti Christian Mission and saw first hand the amazing work they do for children and adults. Right now, they are trying to raise enough money to send one million meals to Haiti for the holidays! One meal only costs 5 cents which is crazy. I can personally speak to the work and authenticity of this organization as I have seen it first hand. I would really encourage you to give to help feel people in Haiti. And as an added bonus, anyone who gives enough money to pay for 400 meals (only $20!) will be entered into a drawing for an iPad 2! :)

I hope you guys consider giving to one of these amazing organizations!

You can also make many people happy by giving them these chocolate chip cookie dough cookies :)

I couldn’t decide which mug I liked better so I used this pink one and the red one..what do you think?

These are cookies that taste like cookie dough. Cookie outside, cookie dough inside. Umm yeah. Pretty amazing. These are different than if you make regular chocolate chip cookies and just underbake them a lot. The outside is firm like a regular cookie, but the inside stays gooey and raw. The flavor was delicious and they stay good for several days (just heat them up in the microwave for a few seconds and you have yourself a nice tasty cookie dough cookie!).

I hope you’re having a wonderful week and get to spend a lot of time with loved ones :) Do you have any plans? Any special Christmas traditions? I’d love to hear them! I’ll be sharing more of my Christmas preparations and traditions soon.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 stick butter, softened/room-temp
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix sugars and butter till creamy. Add egg and vanilla and mix till combined.
  4. Mix wet into the dry. Note: it will appear there is not enough liquid for the amount of dry ingredients, but continue mixing. It will form into a dough, it will just be a firm dough. I used my hand to mix it all together.
  5. Gently fold chocolate chips into the dough, without overmixing.
  6. Refrigerate dough for at least 20 minutes before using a small cookie scoop to scoop out dough into small mounds. Roll each mound into a ball and spread evenly on a baking sheet, leaving roughly 2-3 inches between each ball.
  7. Bake balls for 10-14 minutes, depending on how set you want your centers. You can use a thermometer to make sure the centers are 160 degrees F, or you can be daring and dangerous like me.
  8. Let your dough balls rest on the baking sheet to cool at least 5-10 minutes. Or not ;)

Source: The Chic Life
Enjoy!

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Things I Am Thankful For This Thanksgiving

I am so incredibly blessed and have more than anyone could hope for. It’s often so hard to remember to take time and just be thankful for all that I have when life gets crazy and stressful things happen. While Thanksgiving isn’t my number one favorite holiday (I’m kinda more of a Christmas person if you hadn’t noticed ;), disinfection it is the perfect time to just pause and give thanks. Here is just a short list of just some of the many things I love having in my life:

1. Jesus- Jesus is awesome. He puts up with me even when I ignore him or say mean things to him. He’s pretty much the coolest. Yep.

2. My Parents- They’re crazy and sarcastic and will spontaneously break out into song (well my mom mostly…Ooooooooklahoma anyone?). But that’s what makes them them. They’re supportive and wonderful and I am very blessed to have them.

3. My Siblings- They’re annoying kinda sometimes all the time…but they’re amazing :) I don’t know who I would be if I wasn’t a big sister. I love them and they make my life much happier.

4. The rest of my family- My grandparents are such an important part of my life and I’m so thankful that we live close to them and that I get to be a part of their lives. I am thankful for all my extended family, ampoule the many people (who may or may not actually be related to me) who love me and are so amazing to me. So many people have been positive influences on me and have formed me into who I am today.

5. Clean Water- Going to Haiti made me even more thankful for all the clean water I have access to. When I was there, resuscitator I had to be careful of all the water I came in contact with, from what I used to wash my hands, shower with, drink, or brush my teeth with. Right now I’m just a couple steps away from the kitchen sink, the bathroom sink, and the water dispenser in the fridge. It’s something I take for granted everyday but I shouldn’t. There are so many who don’t have access to clean water, or water at all.

6. Food- Well food is probably why you’re here at this blog! I am so thankful for all the wonderful food I have access to and my parents who let me cook and bake pretty much all I want. I have struggled a lot with my relationship with food and still have a hard time with my self esteem and eating. But I should never hate the thing I am so blessed to have, that so many have to go without. So on Thanksgiving, a day that is often just as much about food as it is family and thanks, I will be sincerely thankful for the food I have access to.

7. My body- I rarely give thanks for my body but I really am thankful that I have a healthy body that works. I have my health and I should never, ever take that for granted. I am also thankful for medicine and prescriptions and vitamins and everything that helps keep me going.

8. My house- I love my house! And my room. I am so grateful my family has such a wonderful place to live.

9. School- Yes, even school makes the list. I like learning and school can be ok ;)

10. My stuff- I’m really grateful for all the things I have. My laptop, camera, phone, books, bed, and clothes are all things I’m blessed to have and so thankful for.

11. My puppy- My dog, Fenway, is cute, fluffy, and most definitely not a dog. He is allergic to beef but eats chocolate all the time. He’s loud and pees on people when he’s excited, but he really is the sweetest dog ever.

This is just a small list of all the wonderful things in my life that I could not be more thankful for. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and are surrounded by people and food you love. :)

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Break my heart for what breaks yours <3

I was part of the Restore retreat at Northwest Haiti Christian Mission. It was pretty cool because we would spend all day serving others, population health doing VBS, pharmacy hut to huts, neurosurgeon feeding programs, playing with babies at the orphanage, etc. But at night, we would all get together and spend some time in worship. It was a great chance to re-group and process what it was we were experiencing. It is hard to take in everything you’re seeing and it can be really overwhelming so it was a real blessing to be around other teenagers and people who were experiencing the same things you were. We would also have devotional times and were encouraged to pray and journal. One thing we were encouraged to pray was “God, break my heart for what breaks yours.” The prayer was to really see the hurt and pain around us and to be broken hearted for our Haitian brothers and sisters. Because the thing is, the conditions in which most Haitians live are not ok. People should not have to live like they are forced to. We should be appalled that people in the world are living like that. But it’s hard to focus on other people when we’re in our comfortable homes and the hurting people of this world seem so far away…

But I believe we have a responsibility to the people with which we share the earth. We have a responsibility to our Hatian, African, South American, Asian, European, Australian, and American brothers and sisters. We have a responsibility to help others who are hurting. I speak from a Christian point of view but even beyond that I believe everyone has the responsibility to help their fellow humans. We share this earth with 6,905,551,213 people, more than that by the time you read this post. We share in many of the same struggles and hurts and yet we are scared to look around and take in what’s really around us.

I was talking to another person who has been to Haiti before and she said that she found that when she talked to people about her trip, they seemed almost unwilling to hear about it. I think that because we’re all a little scared to hear and see what is really happening around us in this world we live in. Because there is something so wrong about how so many people live and if we knew how they lived, then we’d probably feel uncomfortable about it. So we turn away from the hurt in the world.

It is hard to understand the pain in this world. It’s hard to allow yourself to see it. But I think when you do allow yourself to see it and then do something about it, you’ll never regret that you did.

I got sick when I was in Haiti. I felt lousy and tired. It was a billion degrees outside. It was dirty. The food and water tasted weird. Transportation was unreliable, unsafe, and not enjoyable. I saw malnourished babies and toddlers and broken adults. I saw beaches and streets covered in trash. But I will never regret that I went to Haiti. And now that I’ve seen Haiti, I can’t just stay at home anymore. I hope and pray that I will never be content to just stay at home and live my comfortable life. I hope that I will always allow God to challenge me and push me and take me to different countries and places and experience more of his world and meet more of his children. And I pray that you will feel challenged to go beyond your comfort zone. Not everyone has to leave the country- there are hurting people everywhere. But I hope you do branch out…listen to God and allow him to break your heart for what breaks His. You will never be the same.

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Tout Bagay Deja Byen

While I was in Haiti, visit this I was mainly at the mission in St. Louis. But my group spent a couple of days in a small village called Beau Champ which was one of my favorite parts of the trip. It was out in the middle of nowhere- it took us 3 hours to get there by tap-tap cart through rivers and streams and dirt/mud roads. There is a small mission in Beau Champ. It’s surrounded by beautiful mountains and goats and sheep and donkeys. We walked through the market one day and there was a huge space that served as a donkey parking lot!

At the mission, ambulance there were a lot of painted signs that said “tout bagay deja byen” which means “everything is already ok.” They sang a song about that too, where the lyrics were basically “everything is already ok because our God sits on the throne.”

Think about what they’re saying: everything is already ok. Not “it’s going to be ok” or “it would be ok if we had x, y, and z” but it is ok right now, as it is. That attitude is almost unfathomable to me. These people who have pretty much nothing are ok with their lives. They don’t have houses, clothes, food, clean water, medical care, and they’re saying that everything is already ok?

Yes. Because they know that God sits on the throne.

And even though things are hard and painful, one day they will go to heaven and join God by that throne.

Tout bagay deja byen.

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