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Death. Life. Run.

Time has really got away from me. There are 16 days left in 2014 and this is only my third post of the year! I just might have to resolve to do better at blogging in the new year!

I have been running a lot lately. The last time I trained for a half marathon was 2010; I was living in America and I was not a believer, well not a follower at least. The last time I trained for a half marathon I was running with the Team in Training and raising money towards cancer research. I ran for Todd, a piece of my heart who lost his battle with cancer.

This time around training has been a bit different.

I am training on the trash covered streets of Port-au-Prince, Haiti as opposed to the snow covered streets of Rochester, New York.

I am training sporadically, depending on time and heat and where the latest riots are taking place as opposed to the regimented group training I remember from 2010.

And this time, I am running for life, not death.

I am again running with a group, or more for a group. This time I am running for TeacHaiti, a non profit in Haiti, a school started by my good friend, Miquette McMahon. A group of us are running to raise money for TeacHaiti.

This time I am running for education, for life.

Since moving to Haiti life has changed me. I have stumbled across many organizations here that breath life into not only the people of this country, but also those of us who have come to call it home. So many of them who are involved in education in one way or another.

Some organizations have taught me exactly what I don’t want to be involved in, while others have shown me how to live.

I am running for education.

Education is knowing and loving (and being immensely loved by) the midwives at Heartline Haiti, who have taught me how to be a better woman, who have so much love and affection for the women of Haiti, the mommas and essentially the future. The midwives who educate women on breast feeding, caring for a new infant and even contraceptives and the rights we have as women, as humans.  Education is learning I have value.

Education is what I do as a teacher at Quisqueya Christian School. It is standing in front of my classroom in my Senior Transitions class, in front of my seniors and tell them to stand up against peer pressure. Not to be the norm, but to be the change. To stand firm in your faith, to go out of your way to love, to forgive and to live. It is the education I am gaining from knowing them, teaching them; from loving them. Education is seeking after wisdom.

“My mouth will speak words of wisdom; the meditation of my heart will give you understanding.” Psalm 49:3

Education is breaking the cycle of poverty. It’s knowing there is something better out there, something more. It is having a dream, wanting a better life-a better life for yourself, a better life for your children. Education is more than going to school and learning, it is knowing you are beyond blessed for the opportunity to go to school, to learn. Education is finding life in the wisdom we seek.

“and he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills” Exodus 35:31

Education is life.

Education is knowing there is more to this life, knowing Jesus died on the cross to wash away my sin. Knowing Jesus loves me, knowing God is looking out for me, knowing the Spirit is breathing life into me. Education is value, it is wisdom, it is life.

This time, I am running for life. I am running for education and whatever that might mean to you, but for me, it means life. For me, it means coming to Haiti. It means realizing there is freedom in my beliefs, there is freedom in Jesus, wisdom in education and life in wisdom.

As I ran my six miles yesterday, I found myself needing to recall the reason I am doing this run. In the heat, struggling to put in the miles, to wake up early, to run up that hill (because everything is up, even when you are going down, you’re still going up). I remembered my education. The life lessons I have learned, the life I was born into where education was not an option, but a requirement-given to ALL. Haiti is so different. Education is not for all. Freedom is not for all. The gospel is not for all; it has not yet reached every house hold, every ear, every soul. I took so much for granted growing up in the states, but Haiti has taught me so much.

“The one who gets wisdom loves life; the one who cherishes understanding will soon prosper.” Proverbs 19:8

I think its perfect this run is happening around the Christmas season. Its perfect I am running to raise money for TeacHaiti (click here if you want to help me do that). It’s perfect that it’s hard and challenging and even up hill as so much of life can seem to be. It is perfect that this time I am running for life, not death.

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13


Snap out of it!!!

I ended up not having much of a Thanksgiving and I started feeling sorry for myself last Thursday. My family was together in NY and my sister in law was sending me pictures, I was missing home more than ever before.

This longing for home made me start second guessing myself and my future choices!!! I am in a major decision making time in my life right now and smack in the middle of it I start thinking to myself ‘well I miss home and family and friends, I guess it’s time to go back??’ WHAT?!??  SERIOUSLY?!?!

So I miss some peeps that I saw a month ago and will see soon for Christmas, and that means I have to feel sorry for myself. Snap out of it!

I sort of feel like a hypocrite, I have so much to be thankful for and because I wasn’t able to have a traditional Thanksgiving means I forget about all that?! Come on!!! Snap out of it!

Thanksgiving day/weekend is a great time to spend with family, and I am sorry I missed out on that. BUT, I have a lot more to be thankful for and I need to remember that! The entirety of my life has basically been one series of fortunes and blessings after another. Not to say I have not had struggles and hardships, but even those times I must remember to be thankful-for if it was not for our difficulties we would not be strengthened.

Here I am, less than a week after thanksgiving reminding myself to be thankful. I am out of my slump and back to the reality of the decisions I have to make. Thankful for the doors open in front of me and the opportunities that lie ahead…

Thankful I snapped out of it!


Home Again.

For those of you who know me REALLY well you know my favorite movie of all time is The Wizard of OZ, I love the books, the movie, the life lessons-all of it! Sometimes I feel like Dorthy, off on this incredible journey that happened to her, meeting incredible friends, overcoming struggles, but ultimately making it to OZ and home. Unfortunately for me coming home is not as simple as taping my heels together-first of all I don’t have Ruby Red slippers and second, well we all know it just doesn’t work that way.

I travel back and forth to Haiti and the US, calling each place home. I grew up in a small town in upstate NY, went to college in Rochester, I drove often between my mothers and fathers house, grandmas, the lake; yet wherever I laid my head at night I always knew I was home.

In the book, Glinda told Dorthy she always had the ability to go home, it was with her all along; all she had to do was think real hard and say those magical words “there’s no place like home”-and the ruby slippers helped of course! Well I don’t have to think real hard, I just make home wherever I am. I suppose as corny as it is ‘Home is where the heart is.’

As long as I do my best to keep friends and family in my heart whenever I am away, I know them will always be with me- wherever life takes me. NY will always be home…and so will Haiti. Work is here, friends are here, family is here-life is here. Home is where your heart is and it sure is good be home!

Starkey follow up in Cap Haitien, Haiti!



My job is amazing; I’m beyond lucky-I’m blessed and fortunate. I am repeatedly in exciting situations and around amazing people. The last two years in Haiti have been amazing, I continue to be in disbelief of all I have been able to do and see. Last week I returned to Cap Haitian to do a follow up on the students at the Sister Augusta School for the Deaf who received hearing aids back in February.

The trip came together and I finally had the chance to fly with MAF, Missionary Aviation Fellowship, it was a long time coming and they exceeded expectations. They were personable and real, not to mention they have pretty cool jobs themselves. I got to sit in the front seat of the plane again and they offered to fly next to the Citadel-it was beautiful! Not to mention the random act of kindness the pilot took care of for me in Cap Haitian ( I probably shouldn’t document my silly mistake so I’m not going to) I would like to say thank you to everyone at MAF you went above and beyond, I wish I could repay you for all you do! From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

When we arrived at the school we were met for a third time with a warm welcome! Looking around I noticed almost all the students were wearing their hearing aids! A few that weren’t, had them packed in their bags ready to take home, of course some had long elaborate stories of how they lost theirs! Before Jamil and I started working I sat down with some kids waiting to go home and chatted with them. They were so happy, so animated-so SMART! It made my heart smile to just sit and watch them.

Visiting with the kids after school!

The goal of my trip was to check in on the school and the children, listen to how things are going-revisit education related to their aids if necessary. Everyone seemed to be doing great! There were a few kids who have lost their hearing aids, this is normal, a hearing aid is a new responsibility for them; first or third world-deaf or hearing-Haitian or

Adding a little heat to fix his wonky tubing! #thirdworldtricks

American, they are still KIDS! Others had been caught in the rain or their hearing aid broke and needed to be sent to the Starkey lab to be fixed for one reason or another. Whoever was having issues we tried to figure it out; batteries, broken aids, and children who were no longer hearing from working aids.

There were a handful of children who had hearing aids that were working just fine, however they were no longer able to hear out of them. This means one thing really-their hearing is getting worse. I’m not an audiologist and I have no right to tell them this was the issue. I simply told them the truth, your hearing aid is working fine, but you are not hearing out of it-we will do our best to figure it out.

The whole trip was a success! We were treated with such hospitality, had the best dinner-and breakfast! Everyone is always so kind and happy to see us! At the end of the day we got chilled coconuts and a straw-the joys of being in the Caribbean! I got hugs and fist bumps, and one of my favorite kinds of smiles-the shy smile. Before leaving Jamil and I walked around the whole campus. We saw everything from math class to woodshop and embroidery lessons!

Embroidery Class

Wood shop class!

Working hard!

Thank you to everyone at the school for their hospitality! On the way home we were able to fly again with an organization who trains pilots here in Haiti! This time I planned ahead so I didn’t have to flag them down on the runway!

Flight lessons!

I have had some amazing opportunities in Haiti, but one of the best things about it all is knowing at this very moment I am in the center of Gods will, doing God’s work. At times there are unknowns about life, the act of faith is easier said than done. Tomorrow is not a guarantee; the path is lit one step at a time. I trust God is in control and He continues to prove it by the amazing plan he has laid before me day after day.

Chilled Coconuts!


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