Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Splendry Contributors Wanted

The fun website I participate with, SPLENDRY is currently looking for new contributors of all ages! Here's the info.

I have enjoyed getting to document and share these with readers.  

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Village

Heartbeat for Hope visited our friends in Ghana again in June 2015.  Here are some trip highlights:

The supportive fam
The H4H group for 2015

One of the primary reasons we went over in June was to check in on projects in the village of Ayikai Doblo - a rural area 10 minutes outside the capital. Last year we and a college group from OC refurbished an unused building near the school into a library. Until then, the school had no books at all, no desks for studying, and no teaching materials. We were able to paint and stock the library getting it up and running for them. In between trips they added this sign - such a nice gesture!
Inside the library

The Kinder block that has been painted and we provided windows and doors to protect from the elements. The teachers have done an amazing job decorating the classrooms and utilizing the manipulatives purchased last year!
Another part of the Ayikai Doblo outreach was to bring nutrition bars and clothing for desperate families. We gave the items to the evangelists of Heritage College preaching school (where we stay while in Accra) so that they could deliver them to their villages as outreach. This is Lawrence delivering to a family in Ayikai that we met last year.
Susie Lartey is attempting to teach me how to make one of the bracelet designs they teach at the women's training centers of Hope Creations. I would need a lot more training and practice...not my forte.

Next, we traveled to Hope Training Institute to see the progress of the literacy building that H4H funded - completely raised by Amy Hubble through Hope Creations.
This was a gigantic snail in one of the classrooms. Had to document this - it was bigger than my entire hand.

Our group - Amy & Chelsea met up with us here - in front of the literacy center construction.

Literacy Center now

They surprised us putting a revised version of our logo in the floor of the large classroom. I just love this, and it's so special.

Then, on to Village of Hope to see the kids!
This was our first time meeting Ernest & Richmond, two of our newest sponsored kids. They. Are. Precious.
Salamatu & Vida - just after we left they took and passed the 9th grade exam and have been accepted into High School for next year! That is a huge accomplishment!

Josphine & Michael Sarpong are non-residential kids that we 'adopted' into the H4H family a couple years ago when their mother (who is a single mom to 5) was ill and it became too much for her to afford to send her kids to school. They completed 9th & were accepted into Hope College on VOH campus and are doing so well.

Definitely a highlight of our trips is watching the house mothers make homemade bread for the week, and then sampling it, of course.

This year, my very favorite, and most special thing we did while in Ghana was have all of our sponsored family (minus 2 who are older and not on campus anymore) to our guest house for a devo and birthday party. We shared a lot with each other and just hung out. I just loved it. These kids are fantastic and it is so neat to be building relationships with them and seeing them grow up into strong, Christian young people.

 In October, the VOH director, Fred Asare, invited me to write some personal thoughts for their newsletter. I was honored to be asked.
14 of our 16 sponsored kids. I can't wait to go back.

Monday, February 08, 2016

Any "Home From Disney" support groups out there?

We have survived our two weeks back from Disney. I am just now feeling like we are back in our routine (if we must be), and recovering from withdraws. We are already making a countdown to our next trip and the boys requested a 30 day stay. We'll have to talk about taking out a loan for Disney as that gets a little closer. 

Our pre-trip planning sessions are a must, and the week before Grammie gives out gifts to open on the days leading up to the plane - and this year Mickey cookies the size of their own heads to go with them.
The boys packed their own bags - Simon's priorities are his puppies. Duh. (and apparently his driver's license)
Plane-ready Dude
Can't board fast enough to get to his Pluto hat he has planned to purchase for months.
Thankfully for all of us, our room had a perfect Simon-sized bed so that no one else had to get trampled in his sleep path.

We love the Caribbean resort stocked with faux beaches in January.

It didn't even take a full day before this kid located his souvinier that he proudly wore every day and slept with every night. We all of course were just as excited for him because at four year old puppy wannabe with a Pluto hat with hanging ears is just as cute to everyone else, right?
My kids discovered the art of pin trading this year. They had Mia as their fabulous pin trading etiquette & know-how expert to guide them on their way. It quickly became a family quest to find the pins for each of the sets they wanted to collect. We were all obsessed. We are all awesome.

When you take a group of 10 to Disney it is likely you will develop a reputation among the park employees when boarding rides and requesting restaurant reservations. I won't say what kind of reputation. We will stay in our Disney bubble of denial that we were all just as magical to experience for them as the the trip we came to experience.

I don't even care how scary I look here because it's Disney and these kids were a blast.

Lucas at his happy place...
He actually took a real, smiling picture with me! Only at Disney.

Belle's Castle feast. It took a lot of restraint for me not to burst into the songs of my childhood here.

Simon completed Jedi Training. His attitude toward this was willing, yet indifferent about his new 'abilities'. Eh.

We love Disney. The older the kids get, the more fun Disney becomes. These four were Disney pros and I want to thank them for letting 6 Disney-crazed adults tag along again. Until next time.