Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Update and POLAND!!

I wanted to update you all with some things I've been doing and some exciting things coming up this fall!!

A month ago, I moved in with some friends who needed some help with their little man while they work. It's been a great opportunity to learn more, as he has a health condition I was not familiar with until he was born, but also I exchange my services for room and board. This experience has stretched me in numerous ways, but the main way is financially. At first I was still using up some of my spending money I put aside while nannying, but now that money is non-existent. I've just had to trust that I'd be fine. On that note- if you need a babysitter, I'm willing! Keep in mind I may request help with gas, but otherwise my rates are highly negotiable, as I have no income as of now:) I do have some savings, but all of those are going toward graduate school, which I've started working toward recently. 

I was unable to secure a spot as a Child Life intern for the Fall, but that opened a door in a cool way. I basically said, "well, if I don't get one, there's a trip to Poland with Mosaic I'd love to do..." Well, that door flung wide open for me almost instantly. Mosiac is the church I've been attending since late last fall and have gotten increasingly more involved with over the months. They hook into global and local organizations who need volunteers to do any number of things and send out teams frequently to help out. I'm a big fan of sending out short-term volunteers to help with a long-term mission, as I was on the long-term end while on the ship. I know how it feels to be bogged down with work, but to get a breath of fresh air when new blood- vibrant and ready to work- came. 

Mosaic will be partnering with an organization called Proem in Poland, which does incredible work to help the local communities not just spiritually but also in tangible ways. Two teams were sent this summer to help out during 'Kontact', where they were able to help the government complete projects to help those in need in their communities. Our team, which will go in December, will do something different, but right up my alley. They do a yearly production that is like a live nativity, but way cooler.- for theatre-y people it's a lot like the stations of the Cross. They set up a village at their camp and throughout the village, there are peddlers roaming, stations to stop by and check out, and just an overall ambiance of fun. People come from all over Poland to see the production and this is the third year. We expect over 10,000 to show up to the event over the 3 weeks the production will take place. Our team will be there the first week to help set up the village and get everything running smoothly- props, costumes, sets, acting, etc. and we will also be able to participate in the first week's activities. Needless to say I'm OVER THE MOON to be able to use my degree to help people not only have fun but learn more about the times Jesus was born into and follows through his life, death and resurrection. I am so pumped about this! 

See what I mean at:

Our team has been preparing by meeting monthly, each of us were given language CDs, which we can use to learn some of the local language- I personally know 0 Polish but am excited to learn!! We've also been fundraising. Here's where you come in. First and foremost, we need prayers. Our team of 8 will surely face challenges before, during, and after this trip, so I ask that you keep us in your prayers. There's a lot to be done before and during the trip that we cannot possibly do on our own strength. Pray for protection for each of us, that we can raise the funds to go, and that we will be used as much as possible to open people's minds to Jesus and the true reason for the Christmas season. Secondly, As I mentioned above, finances are tight and I am currently making $0, as I've been giving my skills in exchange for rent and food. I still have necessities I have to pay for, and my savings number goes down a little bit weekly- especially as I'm about to pay for this semester of school with no financial aid or scholarships available to me. I ask that you'd consider giving. Not everyone is called or able to go abroad- whether it's just not something you have ever wanted to do, whether there is a medical condition keeping you back, or life circumstances, but I ask that you'd consider supporting me. We're given the opportunity to touch tens of thousands of lives- how amazing is that? Okay- my PSA is over;)  Regardless of whether you chose to give or not, I will keep you all updated on how we are doing and the exciting things that are taking place! Below are some links you can check out about Proem, Mosaic, and the trip I'll be on. Check it out! 

My fundraising deadlines are as follows:My financial deadlines are as follows:
August 10th- $1150 Due
September 6th- $500 due
October 12= $400 due

These donations ARE TAX DEDUCTIBLE. You can give on line by following the directions below. If you'd rather mail a check, email me at or if you'd like to support me through prayer only, please let me know there as well.

 Donate online by going to:
2) DO NOT LOG IN!!!!
3) Click “Forms” located in the top right hand corner
4) Click “Donate to Poland 3 Service Trip”
5) Select the person to whom you want to donate to in the first dropdown box.
6) Enter the amount you wish to donate
7) Click “Finish and Pay”
8) Enter in your billing information (This is a secure website and all donations are tax deductible.)
9) Click “Submit”

Thank you and Merry Christmas... in July:):) 

Monday, May 12, 2014

In which I talk about food.

I have been endeavoring to find new techniques to cook my food to make it as nutritious as possible, while making it easy on myself. I took pictures along the way so I could share it with you. My blog is gonna be a food blog today;) 

Step 1: Put chopped onions, celery, and baby carrots in the bottom of the crockpot.
Step 2: Rinse a whole chicken, TAKE THE GIZZARDS OUT and store for later.
Step 3: Pat dry and cover in your favorites spices- I used old bay. 
Step 4: Cover and put on for 8 hours(if you have time time.... if not 6 is fine. The longer the better).

My Chicken after 8 hours- It was falling off the bones:)

I had some for dinner- the veggies on the right are from the bottom of the pot- so yummy!! On the left are roasted sweet potatoes- YUMMM!

Once the chicken has cooled off a bit, take it out of the crock pot and separate the chicken. Separate the meat from the skin, cartridge, bones. Add in the gizzards.

Add in mirepoix (carrot, onion, celery)- I like mine from Trader Joes pre-chopped for ease.

Fill close to the top with water and put on LOW for 12-24 hours. I did mine for 24. 

Strain and use in place of chicken broth- this stuff is SOOOO good for you! Makes amazing chicken noodle soup- use whole grain noodles(boiled in this of course), the chicken and veggies from the pot- easy and good!!! Full of GOOD fats and nutrients that the bone, skin, cartilage and organs released to make your body happy. I know I know- organs?? I won't eat them straight, but I found out recently my grandma uses them in her gravy every single time and I've been eating that my entire life... got my southern roots and it turns out they're amazing for you!!!:):):):)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Don't Survive- THRIVE.

There are times when I look at my life and go, 'Man... I'm letting my life pass me by...' I struggle just to get through my day-to-day tasks and sleep or watch tv when I'm free from those tasks that can drag me down. Then, there are times when I am so deep in thought and wonder how I can be so content letting life pass by- feeling under accomplished and like I need to do more with my free time.

You may be reading this and saying, “And this is coming from the girl who was in Africa for 2.5 years...”. True, I was. Do I regret not putting myself out there for 2/3 of that time- yes. I look back and say to myself, “Self, what were you doing watching movies all the time and resting so much?” It is true that I needed a lot of 'bounce-back' time on board- especially during my 1.5 years as a receptionist... those shifts kill you. And true I did get to know patients and worked off ship, but I feel like I could've done a lot more. I could've gotten invested in an off-site place each country we went to. I also feel like I'm probably being hard on myself. But then I look at my current life situation and go, “I do not like this...”

I'm in a weird transition phase, but when is anyone NOT in one of these phases. I recently took on going to Children's and volunteering and volunteering at my nephew's school, which are certainly awesome and filling up my 'free time' a bit more. But, there are times I am about to burst at my seems thinking, 'COME ON, GET UP AND GET YOUR ACT TOGETHER!!' There is so much I WANT to do, but don't. I want to go camping. Alone. By myself in the woods. I want to travel and see all of those I love so much around the US and the world. I want to go to Guinea and see my kids. I want to absorb as much knowledge as possible. I want to be an amazing person and advocate for those who have no voice. I want to have a connection with God deeper than ever before. I want to redesign my room so I have a place I WANT to be, but also keep it clean and tidy. What's holding me back? Me. I am. Fear. Uncertainty. Resources.

Truth is... these are all sad excuses. Truthfully the only one I'm not sure if I could make happen is the camping... I just do not feel safe being alone out there without any safety net- if anyone has ideas please let me know- I'm dying to go camping!! But the other things- I do have a great safety net of finances. I'm afraid to use them. But, I also think it's important to visit those I love and foster those relationships that I miss so dearly. I'm dying to go to Colorado to see my ship nieces, big sister and brother. I've never been to the mid-west and this is such a great excuse. I'm dying to go to Seattle to see some great friends and experience the city. I'm DYING to go up to California to see family, but also explore Nappa Valley. I want to go to huge national parks and explore and have some fun. I want to go to Guinea when the ship is there to visit, but more-so to see my kids at Lazare's orphanage.

This week has been eye-opening to me. So many times I was stomping my feet in my head saying, “But I dont wanna!!!!” But, a friend was in need and I knew that that was to be my top priority. Forsake myself and my precious sleep(I love sleep a little more than is normal), forsake my fear of spending money, and be present. It has been a tough, but oh so rewarding week. Spending time with these dear friends, meeting their sweet baby, who I plan on spending hours and hours with over the next few weeks, and supporting them. I've been the supporter of families and kids in hospitals before, but never friends. It's such a different experience. One I needed to have, but not an easy one- especially when nobody expected it. Thankfully this sweet baby was born to a STRONG family, who will prevail despite the challenges. His prognosis is EXCELLENT and I can't wait to see them come out on top of this.

Last night I had a conversation with my friend, and the dad of this precious baby, that really got my wheels turning. So much so, I hardly wanted to go to sleep, because it had me thinking. The conversation went something like this: How much time to we spend as a society DISTRACTING ourselves from the things actually going on around the world? How many things pull us away from the pressing issues of our very own society, yet we are blinded by these THINGS that mean nothing in the grand scheme, but are fun. They're things that draw us in and suck every last ounce of energy we have left into them- books, movies, television, our phones. They blind us to the terrible things our own government is doing to us, let alone the atrocities occurring around the world that we could HELP PREVENT. Yet, we don't care, as long as we have the next Divergent series book, the next season of Parenthood uploaded to Netflix, movies we can rant and rave about, music that we find compelling or disgusting and express why, and our favorite shows at our fingertips.

We should instead be educating ourselves and putting our minds to good use. Sure entertainment is a great thing in small doses, but we COULD be reading books from the past that warn us about the future they saw that was rapidly approaching and going to destroy us. The books that warn us about the very things we are currently battling in our own country... With that, I've decided to go ahead and read some of these books. My friend gave me a good start of ideas, but please if you have a book that you think is important to the way we view our society, please send me the name. I want it and I want to read it... Here's the beginnings of my list...

  1. A Brave New World
  2. 1984
  3. Animal Farm
  4. The Giver
  5. The Long Way Home

I need more- so PLEASE send me ideas!!!! Books that are non-fiction and about social justice issues that are well written are books I want to know about as well.

I literally felt like I might implode if I didn't write this out... with that, I'm now going to resist the urge to watch my tv show in bed and zone out... I'm gonna go work on my messy room... with my tv show in the background. I'm hoping that I can slowly wean myself off of these distractions and FOCUS on the things that truly matter. Instead of just surviving, I want to THRIVE. I've been thinking lately, “What legacy do I want to leave?” Now I'm turning it to you- what legacy do YOU want to leave?

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Shredded Heart

Do you know how it feels to have your heart in a billion places? It literally feels like my heart is all over the world with all of these people and in all of these places.

Monday, March 24, 2014

An update from the Land of Michelle

Man, how the times have changed. It's been a while, so I thought I'd do a quick 'me in a nutshell' post and I hope to update this more often.

Since my last post(in September), life looks very different for me.

In the fall, I worked on my Child Life practicum at Children's National in DC. I was able to complete rotations in the General Unit, Radiology, and Neurosciences. I learned more than I ever could imagine! I was only placed in my first choice rotation once, but my coordinators always seemed to know better than me what the best choice of unit and supervisor was. It was incredible.

Juggling my job at Target on top of my Practicum was overwhelming, as many days were about 17 hours long, but I had enough short days to counter this. I was cross-trained at the Starbucks in the store(all run by target employees and management). Had it not been for Starbucks, I would've quit a lot sooner than I did. I applied to Internships, but the places I applied failed to mention on their websites that they would NOT be accepting people who had not COMPLETED their Practicum. Major set back, which was hard to take, but I kept pushing on.

In October, I was able to take a vacation to TX to see two great friends of mine from the ship get married, which also meant I got to see one of my ship families. We had an AMAZING time, as I was able to spend two nights with my 'nieces' at a friend's house, who I hadn't seen since I left for the ship in 2011. I also got to see my sister, Ashley, who was living in Richardson at the time. It was a great trip overall.

When I returned back to my little room, I was told I needed to move out due to a family emergency of the friends I was staying with. So, I moved home. The first few weeks were great, but now that I'm settled in, the clutter has come along with it and I am now working on re-organizing and decorating my room, as I'll more than likely be living there until the fall. I want it to be my safe haven, not my junkyard.

The holidays came and went with little notice by me, since work was so insanely crazy. I had quite a few culture shock moments, as I missed my friends from the ship and remembered both what I went though last winter, as well as the joys of the season last year. I was not able to enjoy my family and my surroundings this year- soaking it up as I wanted to, but I simply had no choice. I also heard back from the internships for the Summer- out of the four I applied for, one was not offering, and the other 3 said no. Another set-back.

Then came the completion of my practicum, which was extremely bittersweet. Saying goodbye to my incredible supervisors and new friends, as well as patients, was difficult, but I was looking forward to the next step. Things didn't exactly go as planned. I was seeking a nanny job, found one, but it fell through. My 'out' of Target fell out of my grasp literally the day that I put in my two weeks notice. I decided to keep that 2 weeks in place and revoke it if needed. Over those last two weeks, I realized I disagreed morally with the treatment of the employees by management, but also the use of our resources. I knew this was the time.

I went to my sister's in North Carolina the day after I quit, which was an adventure of its own- driving STRAIGHT into that big snowstorm we got in February. We got there after 12 hours on the road and spent some much needed time with my sister, Heather, and her little family. We also celebrated my nephew, James', FIRST BIRTHDAY!! Crazy!

I thought I'd end up with weeks of time on my hands with nothing to do except focus on my applications again, but that's not how it happened. Almost immediately, a friend contacted me about a babysitting job for a day or two. This turned into, “Hey, can you watch our son almost daily?” Of course I said, “YES!!!” Because of this awesome friend, I was able to gain multiple jobs, which has CERTAINLY put me in my element. I love my job!

I also found a new church, which is amazing and meets me right where I'm at while challenging me. I've had a few moments of insecurity, but I have to remember that relationships take a lot of time and work. I'm reminded that God is the same no matter how my circumstances change. It's a huge comfort to me.

Right now, I am in the process of working on Graduate School applications, which I'll work on while I wait for an internship and in-between my internship and my exam. I'll need a masters by 2022 and it doesn't necessarily need to be in Child Life, since I'll hopefully be grand-fathered in by then. I'll go for my Masters in Teaching with dual certification in Theatre and either English or Early Childhood, which will help me out greatly have an edge on my competition in the Child Life realm. I'll apply for internships for the fall around the USA- I have 20 picked out and will be working on those once my PRAXIS and Grad School application is finished.

So...that's me for now;) I'll try to do better with posting. If you have questions, let me know and I'll post the answers;)