Saturday, December 31, 2011

Good-bye 2011

2011 was one heck of a year and I’m welcoming 2012 wholeheartedly.
But before I do I want to reflect on this past year…

2011 was an interesting, eye opening, and life-changing year.
One I’ll never forget.

It was…good, hard, trying, sad, fun, and adventurous.
It was filled with love and full of some heartache.

I learned a lot.
I did a lot.

I grew.
I changed.

I saw the worst in myself.
I saw the best in myself.

I'm grateful for everything I experienced this year and for all the people who were a part of my 2011.

Post that reflect 2011:
What It’s All About
One Year Ago
Lights. Camera. Action.
The Long Journey Home
Shell beach
Why Now?
22 Months + Lessons Learned

Favorite photos of 2011:
Celebrated one year in Peace Corps

Alter Ego party

St. Patrick's Day

Being home and seeing my cousins

I loved meeting baby Reggie

My 25th birthday with good friends

Attended my first Indian wedding and ate curry out of a leaf

Shell Beach-- most amazing thing I've ever done.

Flew to Kato and hiked a waterfall 

Spent 7 days in Tobago with awesome friends
Ate amazing shark sandwiches 

Celebrated our 2nd Thanksgiving in Linden


It sure didn't feel like Christmas but it was a good day spent with good friends. Becky and I baked a lot of cookies and made homemade pumpkin cinnamon bread and eggnog.  We watched Elf and Home Alone.  And early Christmas morning Becky and I went to church.  Most of the day we were welcomed to spend time with Guyanese families, which was nice.  Then at night we had our little gift exchange.

Christmas morning gathered around the tree

For breakfast we had our pumpkin cinnamon bread and sparkling cider

On Christmas Eve we were wildly surprised by the presence of Heather Claus....
Heather Claus enjoying homemade eggnog

Who doesn't love mustaches?

We all had to tell Heather Claus what we wanted for Christmas

On Christmas Eve two kids came by Becky's with a monkey. Becky took the monkey and let it climb all over her then she put the monkey on me, which was creepy...hence the face.

All in all, it was a good last Christmas in Guyana
Becky's handmade Nativity

Friday, December 23, 2011

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas!

I can't believe it's been 2 years since I was home for's hard for me not being with my family at this time of year. 
But luckily, this year I'm spending the holiday with some good friends in Region 3.  
I'm headed to Becky's house for some cookie baking, Christmas music listening, crafting and laughter.   I'm sure it's going to be a very random Christmas but it will be one I'll never forget.

I hope all my friends and family enjoy this special time of year. 
I'm missing you all!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


I had the opportunity to help Chelsea with her Food for Healthy Babies program.  She had the idea to develop a program for at risk (malnourished, under wight, or who may be HIV positive) babies. Basically, it's an educational feeding program focusing on introducing solid foods to babies. We developed lessons on feeding baby with a cup and spoon, doing food demonstrations on making porridge, fresh fruit juice, homemade baby food (which they had never seen before),  and baking healthy snacks (focusing on the importance of feeding baby with wholesome foods instead of packaged snacks), and parenting with love (making meal time fun for baby).  Overall, although we ran into some errors, the program was successful and we enjoyed the time we got to spend with cute babies and friendly mothers.

I just love these little ones!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Changes are a-Comin'

As I am beginning to wrap up my Peace Corps service...I've been working on my Description of Service (DOS), summing up everything I've done since arriving in Guyana, and it has been a little overwhelming remembering everything and finding the right, concise wording.  But it's also been a good time to reflect on my life over the past 22 months. 
However, all of this thought about my time as a volunteer also has me thinking about the changes that are going to happen so soon. And I'll admit, as much as I am looking forward to returning home, I'm getting a little nervous...what's my plan? 
 And while I'm going back to old comforts I'm a little scared to leave the safety of Peace Corps. 
But truthfully, I'm so excited for the changes that await me.  I can feel it in my bones that the change my life is about to encounter is going to be so amazingly awesome.  
I feel confident that I have gained the strength I need to start the next chapter of my life and I'm just so ready to take this new breath of life. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

From the Heart

My heart feels heavy with unspoken words. It's healing and still full of emotion.
Although, I feel strength radiating from within me there are words I need to share...

It was a good dream, great even.
You and me and the thought of forever.
I believed it to be true because I wanted you.
I wanted us.
It has been a hard but refreshing realization
to know life doesn’t always work out like we hoped it would.
But I have faith there is a bigger plan for both of us.
I need you to know I’m grateful for the time we spent together,
for everything you taught me.
You showed me what it means to love another person
and for that I’ll always carry you in my heart.
I believe you are my soul mate because you awoke my soul.
You cracked my heart open allowing new light to come in.
Thank you.
I forgive you
and wish you happiness.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Alphabet To Live By

I stumbled across this and love it! I think we all need to live life by following the ABC's. How cool would it be if little kids grew up learning the alphabet and rules to live by this way?

A: authenticity - be real, be yourself, speak your truth.

B: beauty - is everywhere, we need to open our hearts and our minds to find it!

C: compassion - take the time to care for others, ask how someone is and listen.

D: daring - be brave, take risks and have adventures!

E: extraordinary - think outside of the ordinary, go above and beyond mediocre!

F: funny - be funny, see the funny, laugh at yourself, don't take things too seriously.

G: generosity - be generous with your time, your love and your abilities.

H: happy - keep it simple, tune into what gives you butterflies and you will know happy.

I: intuition - listen closely, sit in silence, don't talk too much and you will truly hear.

J: joy - feel the joy in each and every moment, joy is in everyone, learn to release it.

K: kindness - the simple act of kindness has the power to change lives.

L: love - use the word often, you cannot have too much love, the more the merrier!

M: memories - our most precious gift from one generation to another, share them often.

N: nice - be nice, always, expect nothing in return, feel the inner and outer glow.

O: organised - it really does make life easier, make some lists and
break goals down into pieces.

P: passion - discover your passion and follow it, don't do anything without your passion.

Q: quiet - meditate, remove yourself from the noise of life for at least a few minutes a day.

R: reflect - don't dwell in the past, simply reflect with an open mind and be gentle on yourself.

S: self care - do at least one thing a day that nurtures YOU.

T: thoughtful - consider others and what you can do to make them feel loved.

U: unique - look for the thing or the person who stands out from the trend.

V: vivid - life is filled with color, and color improves our mood, live in full color!

W: wonder - always look at life through the eyes of a child, see everything as a miracle.

X: xtra - develop a career that is true to your passion and always do that little
bit xtra every day.

Y: youthful - the feeling of youthfulness need never fade, hold it tightly in your heart and never let go.

Z: zany - be a little silly, don't be afraid to be different.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

{Love} Incubus

I have waited
dined on ashes
swung from chandeliers
and climbed Everest,
and none of it's gotten me
close to this.

I've waited all my life
if not now, when will I...

We've been good
even a blast
but don't you feel like
something's missing here?
Don't you dear?

I've waited all my life
If not now, when will I
stand up and face the bright light?
Don't hide your eyes...
It's time.

No umbrellas
no sunglasses
hell and hallelujah everyday.

I've waited all my life
if not now, when will I
stand up and face the bright light?
Don't hide your eyes...
It's time. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

22 Months + Lessons Learned

I have learned a lot in the 22 months I have been in Guyana. I've not only learned about another part of the world, culture, and way of living but I've learned a lot about life and myself.  I'm just so grateful for this experience, it has truly been life changing. 

The important lessons I've learned along the way...
You can only have expectations for yourself and no one else.
Everyone has their own opinions.
Take the time to get to know people.
People will surprise you.
Be happy with who you are, always.
It’s okay to be alone.
It’s okay to cry and to be upset but you have to find a way to eventually let it go.
It’s okay to tell people no.
Failure is a part of life but don't get discouraged
It’s important to stick up for yourself.
People don’t always see eye to eye, and that’s okay.
We don’t live in a perfect world. It can be cruel and unfair.
Allow yourself to feel emotions.
Express yourself in any way you can.
Be open to new things and new ideas.
Don’t turn your back on people.
Be comfortable in your own skin.
Laugh at yourself.
Laugh at something everyday.
Be polite.
Say you’re sorry.
Don’t hold grudges.
You create your own happiness. 
Always tell the people you love that you love them.
Be grateful. 
Don’t go to bed mad.
Write it down.
Forgive others. Forgive yourself. 
Find something beautiful in every surrounding.
Sing and dance even if people are going to laugh.
Family is important.
Know good things are coming your way every day.
Know yourself.
Accept yourself.
Follow your intuition.
It’s okay to plan for the future but live in the moment.
Turn to God.
I am much stronger than I ever believed.
I am who I am.

You gain strength, courage, and confidence by
every experience in which you really stop to look
fear in the face. You must do the thing which you
think you cannot do.
-Eleanor Roosevelt

Monday, December 5, 2011

December 5th.

Happy December!
I can't believe Christmas is only 20 days sure doesn't feel like Christmas around here. But I'm hoping all of you back home are getting ready and excited for this special time of year.  I must admit I'm craving everything Christmas right, eggnog, fresh baked cookies, Christmas lights, decorating the tree, listening to Christmas music, shopping and wrapping presents, hot chocolate, and cold weather {maybe even some snow}.
Last week, during the election period nothing happened except it took the government 3 days to announce the new presidency and we stayed home all week. Let's just say a lot of sitting around took place, but that's okay.

With only a few weeks left in Guyana I'm looking forward to...
A night of baking goodies with friends.
Spending Christmas in region 3 with Becky and Princess.
Celebrating the arrival of 2012!
COS conference.
Packing and cleaning.