Posted in Mission Stories, Personal Stories

Magdala’s Photos Part 3!

Diane Cornelius (The Wedding Lady) took Magdala to her store on Sunday! I know I just posted pictures but these were too cute not to post! It wasn’t enough to just see the wedding dresses – Magdala wanted to try one on!! LOL!

It has been such an honor to host her these past 2 weeks. I won’t see her again until December 27th but I’ll make sure to upload the rest of her pictures at the end of the month so you can see all her adventures!

Posted in Mission Stories, Personal Stories

I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles…

A friend bought the girls bubbles a few days ago. They’ve been biting at the bit to blow those bubbles with the babies!  BUT – the last time they did it in the house – the floors were so slippery the babies fell. After much begging and promising to clean up the mess – I let them blow away!

Each of my girls has their own style but I really enjoy watching Malaya. Malaya really admires each bubble she blows.  Each is a different size but they ALL reflect an amazing ray of colors. Some pop quickly while others linger and dance in the air. Some bubbles leave the wand with several friends – while others are little stragglers – all by themselves. Depending on how slow or hard she breathes; she can create a dozen little bubbles or one really large one.

Recently, I received some hard news and found myself teary-eyed. Malaya knows her Mother’s heart and asked me to blow bubbles with her. She told me they would make me feel better! I was eager for my mind to drift away from my circumstances – much like those bubbles. Trying to exhale through my tears, I started thinking, “Even though my breath is important to starting a bubble – I have no idea where it will go or how long it takes to pop. I can only watch and see what happens.” Of course, the bubbles have no life if I can’t keep blowing.

The principles of blowing bubbles seem to apply to so many circumstances in life. “Keep trying. Keep blowing.”  These words are much like 1 Timothy 4:15-16: “Be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them, so that everyone may see your progress. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” (NIV) Again, the Lord is not looking for me to start out in a roar of wind…he is looking for my endurance in this race.

I am still trying to see the rainbow of colors that Malaya seems to see in her bubbles.  I know God keeps His promises (Gen 9:16) because He loves us with an everlasting love. Through his Everlasting love, I can see that this world is not all black and white and there are beautiful colors to be enjoyed. Through his Everlasting love, I get to notice the uniqueness of each person I meet, each friend I have, and each beautiful child God has given me. And like Malaya’s bubbles, I have no idea where any of these experiences and nuances will end up, but I am grateful to be part of the “dance in the air.”

And, through the mercy and grace of Christ  – when the bubbles of life “pop” – He breathes through me and I start again.

Posted in Mission Stories, Personal Stories

Magdala’s Photos Part 2!

These are pictures from Magdala’s camera over the last week! Her first time to the states – I love to see the USA through her eyes!

She almost cried when she went to Cracker Barrel! She said this looks just like the porch of the Granmoun home! I told her that’s where we got the idea from!

Gail McMonigle took Magdala for a few days this week! She loved visiting Ohio and going to the zoo! On Monday she’ll be headed to St. Louis to spend time with Dr. Lillpop’s team. She’s quite the little traveler!

Would you believe that Magdala, Jacques, and Jose were up at midnight at Walmart for Black Friday? Talk about your adventure! Jacques and Magdala wanted a laptop that was on sale. So they were there from Midnight until 5am! She told me the lines there were worse than any line she’s seen in a Haitian clinic!!

Posted in Personal Stories

Silent Night…..Yeah Right!

Every year our family does a Christmas picture for our Christmas cards. As you can imagine – it’s quite the production with 7 kids! This year was NO exception!

We had everyone over for Thanksgiving Dinner. It was truly an honor to have my brother, sister, parents, Magdala, Jacques, and Momma Gigi at my table! It practically took ALL of us in order to pull off this year’s picture afterwards!

Everyone says Jose and I are never in the photos! So this year we decided to do a Nativity Scene picture! In our house  – the tree and manger are never far apart! So we combined our two favorite things for this year’s pic.

Now I want you to know that we laughed until we cried tonight trying to get this done!

The “sheep” wanted nothing to do with the picture. It didn’t help that the costumes were too small.

One of our Wisemen – Gigi – was having NOTHING to do with her hat!

Seriously….the sheep wanted nothing to do with the picture!

And One Nearly Got Away….

Gabriel decided to break out in prayer…hoping the madness would stop!

Our poor little Angel – Malaya – had her arms sticking straight out for about 10 minutes!! For a moment we thought she was really flying!

But as you can see on her face – she was tired of holding up her arms!

I am looking through all these pictures and I can’t help but LAUGH OUT LOUD!! It’s absolutely a circus! If you could just see the filmstrip – all 30 pictures back to back – you’d die laughing too!

So be looking for our Christmas Card this year! If you don’t normally get one that’s because you never give us any money!! LOL!!

Posted in Mission Stories, NW_Frontpage, NW_Relief, Personal Stories

First Boat Delivered to Ka Pa Fu…

I am so HAPPY to report that Saturday we delivered a boat to the fishing village! This village was struck by tragedy when they lost all their boats and fishing equipment from Hurricane Tomas. While their homes survived with minor damage –  their livelihood was washed to sea.

For several weeks we’ve been checking on them – crying with them. We knew they were hungry – especially now that they can’t fish. We tried to get Feed My Starving Children Food from St. Louis du Nord but we’re 6 hours away, the rivers were impassable, and parts of the road were completely washed out. I felt like this precious little village was suffering right in front of us and there was absolutely nothing we could do.

The boat has been ready to sail since last Tuesday but the waves were too rough. Despite our best effort it wasn’t until Saturday that we were finally able to deliver it to their village!  We are starting to build a second boat right now.

This is Jocelyn’s Report:

I left at 5:00 AM. There were only 5 people there. There were two young men and three ladies. I thought that was very strange. I asked where everyone was but they were out searching for food.  So I waited for  the village leader (Kenken) to show up. I told him that we wanted to give him this boat in the name of the Haitians from the Mission’s Mole Church. He cried. Those around him cry too. They were very grateful. They kept praising God for hearing their prayers.

They were already loading the boat to go out and fish before I walked back. These are the pictures I took. I hope they’re okay.

Pictured Below – This young man’s papa lost his boat from the hurricane. He said his father is too old to fish but everyday the two of them would go out together. His papa had his boat for over 10 years. He cried and cried when he lost it. He wasn’t at the village that day because he was out searching for work so he could feed the family. I can only imagine how excited he was when he saw it later! To God Be ALL The Glory!

Posted in Personal Stories

Tree Trimmings…

Now some of you may think it’s way too early to decorate a tree!! Well you haven’t met an Owen then! If we were in Haiti, we would have had the entire courtyard decorated before Halloween!

My family LOVES Christmas! When we were little, dad would take all of us kids to the “country” and we would chop down about 20 trees to make a winter wonderland in our yard! Often – the people never knew we cut down their trees! 🙂

Come Thanksgiving – you saw the entire yard ablaze with lights! My parents have about 50 small bushes – each had two strands of lights on them  and each bush was in a different color. They looked like little gumdrops!  We had a Santa train, helicopter, and  gingerbread men sliding down a slide and swinging on a swing! We had a light-up village with a church! Lights in trees that were 20 feet tall!  And most importantly –  a life-size nativity scene!

You thought the Griswold’s had a ton of lights (Christmas Vacation Movie)! That was nothing! 🙂 When we lived in Calhoun, Ky – we had a house on main street. We actually plugged our Christmas lights into the street lamps!

So when I say I LOVE Christmas!! You have no idea how far those roots go back!!

Posted in Personal Stories

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year…

What an adventure! It normally is every time we fly to the states. I was so grateful for two additional adults – Magdala and Miss Beth! Not sure how we would have made it through the 18 hour day without them! But we are home and ready for the missionary convention – AND –  Christmas!

I woke up this morning feeling incredibly blessed! My entire family is here! Even little Gigi! We got to bring Magdala (St. Louis du Nord’s Campus Manager) to the states for the first time. She’s a lifelong friend of mine! She was such the little tourist! She must have taken 25 pictures of the airport! (I’ll post some tomorrow).

My parents drove two vans for over an hour to pick us up in Louisville!  What a welcome! The kids were running to them in the airport. Even though it was so late at night – all of them were chasing their nana around the baggage claim area.

We pulled into our house and what did we see? The carpets/kitchen floor CLEAN! A beautiful 9ft Christmas tree lit up! There were games under the tree for the kids and candy canes hanging on it. A beautiful oak table in our kitchen! There was my favorite candy on my bed!

I told Jose we would need some milk for the babies. We opened the fridge and it was full of food including 2 gallons of milk!! Our food pantry full with cereal, snacks, chips, cookies, bread, grapes, oranges, apples, and drinks!


After a long day of travel the  kids really enjoyed the freedom of today! The babies were running all over the house! The girls were playing with their barbie dolls! Gabriel was playing with the new games! Gigi has been playing with a light-up turtle nearly all evening! Sweet little spirits in this place!

I look around right now and I can’t help but see – 7 beautiful children, a husband that can’t be beat , a fridge full of food, a nice comfy bed, a tub full of “hot” water (no bucket baths) and a beautiful, clean home (for now)!

Just so crazy happy right now!! Love, Love, Love – this time of year! 🙂

Posted in Mission Stories, NW_Frontpage, Personal Stories

Temper Tantrum

But it greatly displeased Jonah and he became angry (Jonah 4:1)

We see Jonah throwing a temper tantrum in Chapter 4. The problem was God decided to be God on His own terms and not on Jonah’s terms.

I have been frustrated with God over the last several days – especially as I hear about the scene happening not only in St. Louis du Nord – but all around Haiti. Cholera is striking the young and the old. Hurricane Tomas has taken the livelihood of a small fishing village. …Disaster after Disaster. I’m tired of it. I think most of us missionaries in Haiti are ready to fall right to the ground – kicking and screaming. We are ready for Haiti to catch a break.

We are pouting and for good reason. We have decided (subconsciously) that God is missing the big picture here. We are putting Him in a box. We are telling him that we don’t understand. We want a bargain basement God – one that comes at a low cost. We want to haggle with Him.

Have you ever dressed up in your favorite outfit? You KNOW you look hott!! So you ask your husband – How do I look? Now you’re not really asking for his opinion. You already know how you look. You just want his stamp of approval over what you know to be true! You just want confirmation of what you already know. We’ve already wrote the script. We know what our hubby is supposed to say.

This is EXACTLY what we do to God. We have the script written and we’re just asking God for His stamp of approval on what we think we know.  As everything around me feels so unsteady – I’m seeing that we must trust God. We have to fully believe He is able and fully capable of being God. That He’s GOOD at His job.

Psalm 145:17  17 Everything God does is right—the trademark on all his works is love. (Message Translation)

Jeremiah 29:11 11 For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. (New Living Translation)

You see we have to have firm faith in God. We have to remember He has the entire world in His hands as He sits on His throne.

Exodus 34:6 God passed in front of him and called out, “God, God, a God of mercy and grace, endlessly patient—so much love, so deeply true—loyal in love for a thousand generations, forgiving iniquity, rebellion, and sin. Still, he doesn’t ignore sin. He holds sons and grandsons responsible for a father’s sins to the third and even fourth generation.”

I have to tell you I read all of that and yet still struggle to understand what has happened in Haiti this year. It rocks me to the core some days. Priscilla Shirer’s Jonah Bible Study has helped me draw so many parallels to what’s happening here. Today I was reminded of Job.  Please read some selected verses from Job 38 (Message translation).


God Confronts Job –Have You Gotten to the Bottom of Things?

1 And now, finally, God answered Job from the eye of a violent storm. He said:  2-11 “Why do you confuse the issue? 
   Why do you talk without knowing what you’re talking about? Pull yourself together, Job!  Tell me, since you know so much! 
Who decided on its size? Certainly you’ll know that! Who came up with the blueprints and measurements?
 How was its foundation poured, and who set the cornerstone, while the morning stars sang in chorus and all the angels shouted praise? And who took charge of the ocean when it gushed forth like a baby from the womb? That was me! I wrapped it in soft clouds, and tucked it in safely at night. Then I made a playpen for it, a strong playpen so it couldn’t run loose, And said, ‘Stay here, this is your place. Your wild tantrums are confined to this place.’ …

 Job 40   God then confronted Job directly: “Now what do you have to say for yourself?  Are you going to haul me, the Mighty One, into court and press charges?

Job Answers God

3-5 Job answered:    “I’m speechless, in awe—words fail me.    I should never have opened my mouth! I’ve talked too much, way too much.  I’m ready to shut up and listen.

So what do I think about the overwhelming poverty, the deaths due to cholera, and the natural disasters that seem to plague Haiti in rapid succession? I can only borrow from Job.  While I may not understand it – I should have never opened my mouth! For I have no case against my God.

Posted in Mission Stories, Personal Stories

Pictures From Today’s Visit to Ka Pa Fu…

Here are some pictures.

You can see on this house that the water-line is about 2-3 feet high. The sun has been drying it out – but most the homes had flooding. What little they had in the homes was ruined.

You can see some of the roofing damage in this photo. Everything sort of blends in together. Some of the homes still have rocks on them. This is after they’ve spent the last several days repairing.

Jose said the ocean was incredibly rough today. We can only imagine what it was like during the hurricane.