Sunday, July 31, 2011

Love for Haiti

Matthew and I recently returned from a mission trip to Haiti with Adventures in Missions. I can not begin to try and explain all we experienced in Haiti. We experienced something that can only be explained through your own experience of it. When you take away all the luxuries we have in the U.S. it's easy to feel God, hear God, and see God. There's just no denying that. I'll just try to give you a quick snap shot of our trip via poor quality photos. :)


A typical street in Carrefour, Haiti where we stayed for 6 days
(near Port au Prince)
There's no trash system, so there's trash everywhere!
Eventually the Haitians burn piles to get rid of it.
This was a local market trash/rotten food pile.

Tent cities are all over the place. They represent areas where buildings once stood before the earthquake hit. They have even set up mayors for these "cities"
Our team was estrogen-heavy, but these are three of the 5 guys with one of our wonderful translators. We are forever grateful for our translators! (L-R: Chris, John, Tyler, and Ronnie)

Our team came from all over the U.S. from California to Colorado and Connecticut to North Carolina. Some veterans were more prepared than others. I was highly jealous of the tent and air mattress seen in the back of this pic. (L-R) Kim, Kyllie, Allie, Lauren, Rachel, & Chelsea. Ashley and Kaylie are missing from the room.
Megan in the middle of the two Lisas. Our team was a true family. 
My roomies for the week- (L-R) Danielle, me, Reina, & Sarah= the other Georgia girl. 
Reina and Richard were incredible. They were on their honeymoon!!!
Our leaders seemed to avoid the cameras,
but I snagged this one from crazy Tifany giving directions.
Liza and Tifany were incredible leaders!
I had the humbling privilege of walking into one of the few schools in the area.
This is what it looked like 18 months after the earthquake.
There's no public school system in Haiti. Everyone has to pay.
The men there said that they trust in God's grace to have this school open in the fall. 
The teacher usually stands here to instruct.
I almost lost composure thinking about how much I take for grated my education.
This family belonged to the church we worked with. They sell random items out of their home, seen here, to make a living. I bought a children's book written in English!
Another family's home with some stuff they hope to sell or exchange for other necessities. 
The little boys adored Matthew. They couldn't get enough of him! (but who can really?)
See... he wouldn't let go of him for anything.
We were walking through their tent city at the time.
We put on a few vacation bible schools with the church and tent cities.
The kids had never experienced anything like it.
They LOVED all the songs, games, and activities.
Who could have imagined that stickers would be as precious as gold.
Word got out the the "blancs"(white people) would be doing VBS.
Everyone came for the fun time!

The video below shows me asking each child what his/her name is in Creole. They really loved posing for the camera. It was as if they were movie stars! :)
Another little boy desperate to remain attached to Matthew.
It made me tear up!
Still in full grip of his new playmate.

And he's still thankful to have his hand. 
The pastor's family made us breakfast and dinner daily.
A staple was rice and beans and something like french fries, but the main dish varied.
I couldn't bring myself to eat the fried fish. Matthew was a little more adventurous. His little meal had its tongue out just for him!
Every night our group shared our testimonies outside.
I don't know how anyone could deny God's existence after hearing some of the true miracles that have taken place in all these people's lives. It was a precious time!


There's SO much more I could talk about, but Matthew and I just hope we can carry the Haitian perspective with us forever. It was humbling to feel so loved by people we just met. We wanted to love on them, but they truly loved on us and changed our lives for the better. God amazingly gave us His eyes while we were there. We weren't disgusted by Haiti at all, but fell in love with it and its people immediately.  I pray you remain encouraged by what God is doing in this world, and know that nothing is too difficult for Him!

Bond ye beniw~ (god bless you)

~Truly BlessedBuster

Thursday, July 21, 2011

DONE!

I did it!  I finished grad school. I'm officially a Master! I can't believe it! This year has flown by so quickly. It's really true --you can do anything for a year (even move in with your parents, liquidate your savings, change careers, and plan a wedding all while obtaining a Masters degree).  I mean at this rate, I should go and see if I can make it in the Big Apple Circus for a year. I think I could do it.
Well, I'm so thankful to everyone who encouraged and supported me along the way. (I'm not sure why that sounded like a valedictorian speech, are there even valedictorians in grad school? whatever, it came from the heart!) I'm so blessed, and SO happy not to be juggling work and school any longer. If God could get me through the craziness of this past year, I know my first year of teaching won't be too bad. Hopefully...
Truth is, I've been having dreams that my first day of school is like a preview for Dangerous Minds. Except I'm not nearly as tough as Michelle Pfeiffer. Maybe I should pack some Butterfingers and Snickers just to be safe.

~MasterBuster

Monday, July 18, 2011

7 years ago

My husband-

I can't believe that 7 years ago today, I met the love of my life. I met a man that God designed perfectly for me; a man that would change my life for good; he would come alongside of me and grow in God's love with me. A man that can still make my knees weak and my heart sing; a man that humbles himself to trust God first and love me second. I met a man on a beach that would turn my world upside down, and then bring me straight back up to stand in awe of my creator. 

I was blessed enough to meet my best friend at 19 years old. He would know me and understand me like no one before. We would laugh harder, louder, and more often than anyone ever had. He would pursue me, adore me, and show me how to live life simply and spontaneously. 

Seven years ago, I met my other half. I met someone as imperfect a myself. Someone that can be just as stubborn and silly as myself; someone slow to speak, and quick to listen. Someone who would challenge me to be better, stronger, and more dependent on my creator, rather than on myself. I met a man whose heart is as big as the sky, and who looks to that same sky for wisdom. I met a man who would balance out my weaknesses as I balanced out his. 

Seven years ago, I met someone that I truly love more than coffee!  Enough said. 

I am so blessed that 7 years ago today, I met my husband, Matthew Taylor Smith, whom I adore and will cherish all the days of my life. 

Since I'm still high on wedding fumes  (it's probably all the hairspray from that day still lingering), and since I am headed to Athens tomorrow, I thought I'd add more wedding pictures that I just received from my friend Anna (who is also still high on her own wedding fumes!). Thanks A!!!!


~  CC

Friday, July 15, 2011

In love with a two teeth man

I have to admit it. I'm in love. I can count on both hands the number of times we've "hung out." I haven't seen him in several months. He's lost some hair since we first met, and he only has two teeth. Plus, he probably doesn't remember me all that well, but I can't help it. I'm in love. Yes, I'm in love with a two teeth man, errr  boy that is. Before you call my husband to tell him how horrible his new bride is, tell me you aren't in love after looking at his pictures:








I love my nephew!  

~Auntie CC

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Bride Barbie

One of my best friend's wed last weekend! Matthew and I went down to be a part of Anna and Chris's big day in Charleston, South Carolina. It was a great way to spend the long 4th weekend. We, the bridesmaids, kept calling Anna, Bride Barbie. I don't know if it was the blond hair, the beautiful dress, or just how gorgeous she looked, but Anna definitely looked like a barbie doll going to her wedding. I am so happy for the Shugarts! And since my camera is currently dead, I have opted to steal  borrow pictures from a more talented photographer--another bridesmaid, Heather Caraway. Check out her blog.   Thanks Feath!  Hope my shout out brings you some business too! :)

I mean really---it was ridiculous! AMAZING!
She was Barbie even without the dress!
Congrats roomie!

I didn't know they made specialty hangers
She was just glowing with happiness!



Congrats Mr. and Mrs. Shugart!  Can't wait to visit Charleston again soon!

~CC