In need of a good purge.

So I am at that point of the year when I want to throw away everything in my closet and start over, ala What Not to Wear style.  I literally want to give it all away.  Part of this is from gaining back the weight I had lost that required me to buy skinnier clothes (sounds good but you still have no clothes to wear).  Part of this is that I am in no way fashionable nor trendy, but I see other people wearing fashionable and trendy things and think, “Oooh, I wish I looked like that.”  Part of this is that most of my clothes are old and mostly t-shirts of weird bands.  And part of this is that I obtain a real joy from giving/throwing things away.  It is strangely peaceful.

This is what it looks like.  I get tired of my drawers/cabinets/closets being cluttered and overflowing with junk.  I ignore it for 6 months.  Then, I finally have a day of complete disgust and frustration, where I  pull out a garbage bag and start stuffing it with everything I do not need right at that second.  I may need it next week, but right now, I am so glad to be throwing it in the bag.  Also, it is easier to throw it away than to find a real home for it. Then, I forget I have thrown it away and a week later spend an hour looking for it angrily until I figure it out or just give up.

I may be one of the least organized people ever.

The funny thing is that I come from a family of extreme cleanliness and organization.  My mother and sister are probably a little (maybe more than a little) OCD.  Their houses are spotless and seem to repel dirt and dust.  I remember my mother dusting nearly every day.  You never had to worry if someone unexpectedly stopped by, because it was always clean.  Mine on the other hand has a forever layer of dog hair covering everything, places you would never dream dog hair could make it.  I don’t think I have ever made a meal that didn’t contain a white hair. (Sorry anyone who has ever had to eat my cooking.)  I gave up a long time ago. My desire to lay on the couch is much greater than my desire to have a clean house.

So back to the clothes.  I have no idea how to go about this rationally.  I know I should not literally throw away all my clothes and start over, mostly because I really don’t like shopping and would have to wear the same jeans and t-shirt over and over because I could never pick out anything new.  Also, maybe I should just try to start cooking again and stop eating out all the time.  I might actually fit back into those pants in a month or so. And also, I am super cheap.  Like really, really cheap.

I always see those moms that are so elegant and trendy in day to day life, and I wonder who has the energy to do that.  Who can make their hair look that nice ever, especially just on a Tuesday?  Not that I am wearing sweatpants everyday. But really, you wear heels to go to the park?

What might be a compromise then?  Nicer than old jeans and t-shirt but less ridiculous than cute dress and heeled boots.  Someone give me a makeover.  Or just some style advice.



By now, most of you know that our good friend, Mindy, suffered a major stroke on Friday.  After being misdiagnosed and sent home, she was finally admitted Sunday afternoon.  She is in the ICU at Vanderbilt Hospital, and the doctors are doing the best they can to treat her.  Right now, she developed an infection, and the doctors are trying to figure out what it is in order to treat it.

Her three boys (Kyle-6, Micah-2, and Wesley-2 weeks) are doing fairly well, considering the circumstances.  There has been a rally of support to care for them and the whole family.  It truly has been a glimpse of the body of Christ this week.

For everyone, there has been a range of emotions this week, from fear to anger to guilt to sadness, even some joy.  It really is a rollercoaster.  Most of the time, it just feels too heavy to bear, too heavy to find hope, too heavy to see God.  But then, suddenly there will be a break, a wave of peace that sweeps over.  Maybe it is in some much needed laughter or a few hours of good rest.  Maybe it is in the sweet little snuggle of a new baby or an excellent dinner from a friend.  For me, it has come from our friend Lillian’s awesome organizational skills, knowing that everyone is having their basic needs met.

For the past few days, I have felt God whispering something to me over and over.  Then last night He sang it to me.  Do you ever have a time that you feel like a song at church is meant just for you?  That was last night.  It was a song by the band Gungor, and the chorus says, “You make beautiful things.  You make beautiful things out of the dust.  You make beautiful things.  You make beautiful things out of us.”  But it isn’t until later in the song that His message was repeated to me.  “You make me new.  You are making me new.”

Allister put on this same cd yesterday, too.  It is full of this same message.  “Jesus, you’re the one who saves us, constantly creates us into something new.  Jesus, surely you will find us, surely the Messiah will make all things new, will make all things new. ”

Over and over He keeps telling me, He makes all things new.

Revelation 21:5  And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He *said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

So this is my prayer.


I pray that you do what you do best.  You take the broken, damage, degenerated, painful parts of us, and You make them new.  You are a God of healing, body and soul.  I pray that You continue to raise up the body of Christ to wrap their arms around this family, to be their strength when they have no strength, to pray when they cannot pray, to cry when they cannot cry, and to meet their needs.  I pray you keep showing us that You are here, never leaving her side.  I pray that her life, even in the hospital, will be a great testimony to Your love and glory.


One amazing thing I have seen over the past few days is everyone’s ability to see and meet needs.   Normally we wait around until someone asks for help, and then we ask how we can help.  Or we ask if we can help, only to have the person to say they are fine, even though they are definitely not.  What I have seen here is different.  It isn’t waiting.  If someone sees a need, they meet it.  No questions.  Because sometimes, a person doesn’t know they need help until they are completely overwhelmed.  We don’t want anyone to get to this point.  There are so many needs.

So here are a few ways you can help.

Most importantly, you can pray.  Pray for Mindy, for healing and strength, for her body to fight hard.  Pray for the doctors, the nurses, everyone who has a role in her care.  Pray for Kevin to have strength to make it through another day, for energy and love and encouragement.  Pray for her boys, that they will be surrounded in love and support.  Pray for their families, as they care for the boys and as they have to go back home, that they will have peace and love surrounded them.  Pray for lots of continued help.  Pray for a band of angels to surround her at all times. Pray for all the things that we can’t remember to pray for.

Secondly, you can keep up to date on her condition and the family’s here. You can also leave comments and prayers here as well.

Also, if you want to help with day to day things, like groceries, mowing the grass, praying at the hospital, bringing meals, we have a Care Calendar set up.  Please email me, and I will send you the log-in information.

Finally, if you feel led to help financially, you may send monetary donations and/or gift cards for groceries or VISA gift cards. We’d love for their medical expenses, legal fees, family travel, etc. to be completely covered. You can send assistance to the address listed below.

Donations for Mindy, c/o Lillian Boeskool, PO Box 953, Brentwood, TN 37024

But please keep praying.  Your prayers mean more than we will ever know.  And thank you for showing me the body of Christ.

It’s been awhile.

Yes, it really has been a ridiculous amount of time since I last posted.  I just haven’t really been able to write about Guatemala yet.  I keep writing all the wrong words, typing things out, then realizing that it is all wrong.  But I think I’ll get there eventually.

In the meantime, we are waging a war against allergies and asthma in our abode.  My son Allister has never had asthma before.  Then suddenly, boom–asthma.  Overnight.  He’s always had trouble with allergies, but we’ve always been able to manage them.  Not this month.  His body has decided it hates everything outdoors and in. So we are fighting back, trying every immune-boosting, natural remedy (and a few not so natural ones when we get desperate enough) that we know about.  It may seem ridiculous, but I am trying very hard to keep him from steroids and breathing treatments.  I really feel we need to figure what is causing this and how we can change it.

That being said, we are just not getting enough sleep around here.  That combined with our first time homeschooling (we started last week) makes for zero blogs.  Homeschooling is awesome, by the way.  It also would have been impossible to send him to school right now with all the coughing and lack of sleep.  For that I am very thankful.

So I am going to ease my way back in, little by little, trying to remember how to write, trying to remember if “awhile” in the title should be “a while” or “awhile.”  I think I am correct.  My brain doesn’t function well without loads of sleep.  But hey, we will be getting a new bed soon!  It is on its way.  Hopefully, that will lead to more restful sleep and more coherent blogs.

If you have any tried and true allergy remedies, send them my way.  We are hoping that something will work soon.


On my way.

So after an hour and a half of sleep I left my house this morning at 3:45am to catch my 5:30 am flight.

I am a little tired.

But I am a lot excited. 

In about one hour I will board my plane in Atlanta and begin the three and a half hour flight to Guatemala City.  My gate is filled with people who either look to be going home or to visit loved ones. There are only a few of us who seem to be tourists. Even this early, it is filled with smiling faces, people expectant, people ready to be home. 

As I am leaving home, I am feeling a lot: joy for this incredible opportunity, sadness to leave my snuggle buddies, pain (this chiropractor is killing me), a little scared of what’s to come, and just plain tired.  I wonder if these people aren’t feeling the same.

As I leave, I am praying that my words be few, my arms be wide open, and my heart be big.

And the winner is…..

Mindy Harkins!!!

Congratulations on your $300 photography package from Lillian B Photography.  I am super excited for you.  It comes at a perfect time!  Only 40 more days until the baby!

What I’m doing in Guatemala.

So I realized that I haven’t talked much about what I will be doing in Guatemala.  I am super excited about it, and I want to share it with everyone.

Sunday morning my flight leaves the Nashville airport at 5:30am.  It is a totally terrible time to fly, but it means that we arrive in  Guatemala city at 11am, which is pretty amazing.  On the first day, we will be going to Mama Carmen‘s orphanage, which houses approximately 60 children, from infant to 17.  There we will be passing out supplies and having craft and play time with the kids, as well as teaching them some Bible stories.

Monday, we will spend the morning back at Mama Carmen’s playing more with the kids, then we will be heading out in the afternoon to a state run orphanage, Hogar Solidario, which houses approximately 300 girls.  Here we will pass out supplies and play with girls. This will be a very different orphanage from Mama Carmen’s though, very institutionalized.

Early Tuesday morning, we will leave for the city of Xela, the second largest city in Guatemala.  It is a four hour, windy trip through the mountains.  Outside of Xela is the orphanage where we will be spending the remainder of our trip.  It is called Cerecaif and is home to approximately 60 children, ages 4-16.  Cerecaif was the dream of a couple from Mexico who gave up their lives there to give a much needed home to the children of Guatemala.  The orphanage is now run by their two daughters, Lourdes and Teresa, who carry on their work by caring for 60 children, day in and day out, not just giving them a place to stay, but making them a home.

Obviously, as anyone would,  these women need a little extra help from time to time.  We will be going and doing some practical things: painting, sewing sheets, cooking and giving cooking lessons, laundry (They do laundry for all 60 people by hand.  By hand people!), giving haircuts (that’s my job).  Some of the women are going to be doing some special things for the girls, such as doing their nails and some basic makeup, and teaching them to make jewelry.  Then, most importantly, we get to play with these super amazing kids and teach them about the Jesus.  Overall, I pray we will be able to be extra hands and feet for these sweet ladies, that we can take some of the burden off of them for a few days and that we can just share Christ’s love with them and the kiddos.

We will fly back Saturday morning, super early again.  I’ll be home by probably around 4pm.

If you are interested in keeping track of where we are and what we’ll be doing, you can check either Orphan Outreach’s blog or their facebook page.  I will definitely be posting a lot of pictures when I get back, as well.

As for now, I am finishing up my preparations.  I have one suitcase already packed full of toys and supplies for the kids.  I am working on some clothespin dolls to take to them today and trying to get Allister packed to leave tomorrow to go to Memaw and Papaw’s house for the week. I am trying to fully comprehend what I am getting ready to do.

For those of you who pray, please pray.  For the trip, for my team, for these kids, for these women who sacrifice themselves daily to care for these children.  And maybe a little pray that my back won’t die along the way (as it feels it may right now.)

Thank you for your support and love and prayers.

Raffle time!

In order to help me with a little last-minute fundraising, my fabulous friend Lillian has donated a $300 photography package for one lucky lady or fellow.

So here is how this will work.  Each “ticket” will cost $20.  The more “tickets” you purchase, the more chances you have to win.  (So if you donate $40 you get two chances, $60 for 3.  And on and on.  Super simple.)  All you have to do is donate through the Paypal link on the bottom of the page. You have from now until Friday at 3pm to enter (though, obviously, you can still donate after that.)  On Friday, we will put all the names in a big hat, and one lucky person will get the prize of a lifetime.  Yup, her pictures are that good.

This is what the package looks like.  It’s a $300 credit with $100 going toward the sitting fee (the cost of the photo session itself) and $200 toward print credit (the pictures themselves.)  You can definitely buy more pictures, too!  She can help you figure out some great ways to spend the money.  Check out her mad photography skills  here.

Now that you know how awesome she is, what are you waiting for?  Sign up, people.  Tell your friends.  Tell your Congressman.  Okay, maybe just your friends.