All 30 children were sitting patiently as they called their name one by one to get their Christmas present.
Trinity Baptist Church had families pick a child to buy a present for at New Hope Coban children´s home.
You could see nothing but smiles filling the room and each child bubbling with excitement.
As soon as all the gifts were passed out they were all allowed to open their present!
One by one they pulled out their gifts slowly and with care. Eyeing each find as if it were a foreign treasure they just dug up.
They each had a card with a family picture inside so they could see who picked out their present.
Every child received slippers & pj´s.
The ruffling soon subsides and a few tears run down their cheek.
One of the older girls, Florida, raises her hand and asks to speak.
¨Thank you so much for our gifts. I know there are alot of children who will not get this. I just wanted to let you know that I am very gratfeul for this and may God bless you.¨
All the children then stuck the picture of the family they received and stuck it in their Bible to pray for them always.
Some of these children have no family.
My words can barely do this scene justice. We have so much to be thankful for this Christmas.
Hug the necks of your family and cherish the memories you make. If you have someone that loves you, food on the table, water to drink, and a roof over your head this holiday you have everything one should ever want or need.
God blessed me by getting to see the true meaning of Christmas this year through spending it with his angels.
Now, I get to share this special moment with you.
Merry Christmas & God Bless
Follow your heart.
Be true to yourself.
Be true to your passion.
Do what you wish in your wildest dreams and let no one discourage you.
Use obstacles to fuel your strength for what´s to come.
Others will project their fears on you. Let it propel off of you like a drop of water hitting a hydrophobic coat.
When you walk with purpose and passion and compassion for others the light will brighten your path.
When you walk with love in your heart you project love and receive it.
Love those who feed your soul.
Love those who feed your mind.
Write down your dreams, wishes, desires, and watch them manifest through belief and faith.
Detach from all materialism.
Cut the chord of unhealthy habits and people in your life.
When you are being the best YOU no one can shake your confidence, your faith, your happiness.
Keep love in your heart no matter how many times you are hurt.
Happiness, love, compassion, understanding, and peace come to those who stand strong in their faith and follow their heart.
Be authentically you without fear of others thoughts.
Keep your eyes on the heavens.
Keep your heart full of love.
Keep your feet in the light.
Stay true to yourself and watch life unfold before you like never before.
May God bless your journey.
This post is going to be completely foreign to readers who have never traveled outside of the US or experienced culture in a third world country. You are missing out and I am going to tell you why…
I sold all of my stuff, quit my career, and flew over to Guatemala ¨solo¨to volunteer at a children´s refuge for 3 months in the mountains of Coban.
Why? I wanted my soul back and I found it along with my passion.
Corporate America stole it. After college all I wanted to do was make money. I paid my way through college with Hope Scholarship and worked my butt off to pay off what that didn´t cover. After a summer internship in Orlando at Fox35, which was awesome, I had a nice student loan to pay off as well. I got a job in outside sales immedietly after I left the nest and hit the ground running. I swung like a monkey grabbing each better new opportunity that came my way and landed into a great career. I had an amazing job, making great money, a fun social life, and everything you would want to achieve at 25 years old.
I had what i like to call a ¨come to Jesus moment¨during that time.
A wicked routine that´s easy to fall into…
Week: Work – 8 to 6 (for someone elses vision)
Weekend: Typical bar hop scene with friends, dance, drink, and be merry
I started noticing the same people doing the same things every weekend. It´s like I jumped outside of myself and did the V8 pop to the forehead. WAKE UP! I didn´t want to be that girl at the same bar with the same people every weekend. I didn´t want to work for someone else. I wanted to live a healthier lifestyle. I wanted change.
I lost my PASSION and I needed to find it. So I did what any person in this generation does to lift their spirits… googled inspirational quotes, read inspirational books, and did some soul searching online.
I lost sight of who I was and what I wanted. I took my life back into my hands and made some drastic decisions that left my friends and family thinking I had ¨fallen off my rocker¨(sorry if you don´t understand my southern idioms)
It was a slow progression to a new life but that´s all I needed to light a fire under my bottom.
Ok… now that you got the back story how in the world does Guatemala come into play you ask?
GOD. Yep. GOD. I´ll say it one more time for the non believers. GOD.
I would tell this juicy part but I´m saving it for MY BOOK!
Now, back to why Guatemala is awesome.
1) Guatemalans are the most hospitable and kind and humble people I have ever met. The rich and the poor. BOTH. The village people will invite you in and offer all they have which isn´t alot. Families are closer and spend more time together.
In the states a stranger is a stranger and if you see a random person walking around your yard you´d probable call the police instead of invite them in for dinner. Family time is cut in half due to the work load for most parents and less time together.
2) I love how with the upper class families it´s not frowned upon for kids to live at home through college. They don´t have student loans because their parents help them and during that time they save up for a home of their own. Most move out when they get married and by that time they have cash for their first home which they can pay for up front.
In the states unless your parents were successful enough to foot your college most likely you will have a student loan. After college a mortgage. Let´s face it America runs off credit. Most people live off of that sadly. The neverending debt that compiles until you die of stress because you can´t catch up. Companies lay off long time employees because they don´t want to fork out what they´re owed in their benefits package. Doctors are overworked and underpaid (the people that save lives). Most entry level positions pay 30K and after taxes you are eating Ramon noodles or calling your parents if you had that luxury. I love how companies are ONLY hiring temps because they don´t want to offer full benefits. Great job America you are single handedly hanging yourself.
3) Having lunch with Guatemalans is an all day thing and very enjoyable. No one is glued to technology. They genuinely enjoy their company, stay engaged in conversation with no interruptions, and lots of laughter. It´s normal to have a 3 hour lunch. OH AND THE FOOD IS FRESH! NO PRESERVATIVES. The soil here is rich and every farmers dream come true.
Go ahead and check out the cancer stats in the world. America is the one of the highest. The importance of money has diminished the quality of life meaning our life source… OUR FOOD adding in preservatives. Fast food don´t even get me started. Natural and organic will save your life literally. I started eating clean 2 years ago and juicing vegetables. I cured my LIFETIME migraines that I had since I was 3 years old. I cured my sinus infections which are now nonexistent. I have not been sick because I eat really clean. Oh and I quit drinking alcohol. Healthy feels great and I love this lifestyle.
4) 7Q to 1 AMERICAN DOLLAR
Need I say more
5) The scenery is breathtaking in all parts of the country: Balck sand beaches from previous volcanic eruptions, Mayan ruins- some of the oldest historical sites in the world, Lake Atitlan which is magical, and my favorite children´s home in the whole world, New Hope Coban, where the children are angels and I´m convinced is heaven on earth.
After my 3 month stint volunteering in the country my perception of life as I knew it changed forever. I saw death in America and life in Guatemala. I saw children full of laughter and smiles who had NOTHING. I saw village people with less than the homeless in America but more than the richest. I saw a poor country whose people live off of necessity not materialism and quanity and credit. I see people who LOVE with everything in their being and give ALL THEY HAVE to complete strangers. COMPASSION. LOVE. RAW AND REAL LIFE. That´s what I want. Organic and natural not processed or preserved.
America was no longer the land of opportunity but the graveyard of debt, stress, and obesity.
I urge everyone to volunteer abroad in a third world country at least once. Jump outside that bubble and open your eyes to a new world. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. You will leave to help others who will end up helping you.
“The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s funny how the older I get the less stuff I want. Christmas used to be my favorite holiday as a child because it meant lots of toys! Now Christmas is my favorite holiday because of the special people I spend it with and the memories I can make.
This Christmas was a bit different. I didn’t get to spend it with my family in the states. Instead I got to spend it with 30 beautiful children who own my heart at New Hope Coban children’s home in Guatemala.
My husband and I wanted to bring over a gift for each child at the home, ages ranging 3 – 23 years old. Unfortunately, we couldn’t fit a lot in our bags due to our month stay so we had to be creative. I suggested going to the Dollar Tree and for US$40 we were out the door with a toy for each!
Yes, we bought Christmas for a WHOLE children’s home for US $40 bucks and it was the best $40 dollars we have ever spent…
Tonight we decided to give the kids their presents early and their reactions were priceless.
I picked out fake mustaches for each child because lets face it they are AWESOME and who doesn’t appreciate a good fake mustache?
We had each child put on their mustache before they received their gifts and we all laughed until our faces were sore and our stomachs hurt.
The older boys got Whoopee Cushions because every boy needs this in a lifetime. THEY LOVED THEM and laughed and laughed and whoopeed until they couldn’t breath.
Each child hugged our necks for their gifts which made it worth every cent. The gratitude they show is so great that we can all learn from them.
Isn’t it amazing that for US $40 you can give a WHOLE children’s home a Christmas full of love and laughter and smiles?
Today just made me personally reflect on my previous Christmas holidays and this one by far reigns supreme.
I challenge you to look outside of yourself and help someone in need this holiday season. Brighten someones day with a selfless act by giving a gift out of love without the expectancy of a returned favor. The Dollar Tree has some wonderful gifts that are bound to make anyone smile and it’s well worth every penny.
Happy Holidays from New Hope Coban Children’s Home (Heaven On Earth)
May God use you as a light in someone else’s life this season.
MANY BLESSINGS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT 🙂
It’s back at the children’s home in Guatemala, New Hope Coban, my little slice of heaven on earth. This time accompanying me, Mark AKA computer genius, my husband who is going to work his magic in their lab.
We flew in yesterday greeted by my good friend “Pochis” at the airport. He saved my life last time I was in Guatemala. Everything from doctoring my leg after a motorcycle muffler burn to a little stomach bug I caught after enjoying some sausage (not recommended for newcomers) – but tasted amazing. The people here treat everyone like family and are the most hospitable and kind culture I’ve got to experience to date.
Barcelo, the hotel we stayed at, was very nice. Beautiful Christmas decorations welcomed you into the lobby and throughout the halls. The breakfast buffet was to die for! The food here is amazing and fresh everywhere you go. Mashed up black beans you can expect with every meal which is their Guatemalan staple AKA Frijoles.
We caught the bus Monja Blanca at Central Norte to Coban. A breathtaking scenic 5 hour ride throughout the center of Guatemala. A few rock slides were spotted and village people in colorful attire lined the road side when traffic was backed up selling snacks and juice.
Papa Cristian (Father and Founder of New Hope Coban Children’s Home) greeted us at the bus stop to transport us to New Hope, MY FAVORITE PLACE ON EARTH! I was overjoyed to see him and could barely contain my excitement on the ride to the children. Once we arrived each child came up to give us a big hug and meet the newcomer, Mark. They each had a big smile which immediately warms your soul I don’t care who you are! They can melt a glacier with their smiles and hugs.
Today’s focus for Mark was to strengthen the WIFI throughout the home and to repair their computer lab.
Starting out today they had 3 working computers and by the end of today we are expecting to have 7 working computers for the children. A very important part of our contribution today was a credit card-sized single-board computer called the Raspberry Pi. This device was developed in the UK by the Raspberry Pi Foundation with the intent to promote teaching basic computer science in schools.
Mark is planning to teach some of the older children how to write code using a programming language called Python. They will be able to control the Raspberry embedded device once they learn the basics of programming and basic electronics. Our primary goal is for the children to creatively come up with new ideas and ways to utilize the Raspberry Pi building an electronic creation of choice to improve their living conditions.
If you would like to learn more about the Raspberry Pi click below:
We are very excited to see how this technology will make a difference in the children’s lives at New Hope Coban. We are embarking on bettering communities in third world countries through an affordable technology that can build New Hope and a brighter future for children everywhere!
As most of you already know I am running a marathon to help raise funds to give the children at the home New Hope Coban in Guatemala but my efforts alone are not enough which is why I’m reaching out to you. These children have sincerely captured my heart during the 3 life-changing months that I spent with them. They are in need of a new facility so that the home doesn’t have to turn down more children that are in need. Please help me help these children in giving them a chance at a better life. It would mean the world to me and absolutely everything to the children.
Please donate (any amount is appreciated) to support these children
You can definitely feel the love in the short documentary about the home above. What the children go through before they enter the home will absolutely break your heart and it’s within our power to make sure that no child has to be turned away because the raised funds will provide more living space, educational resources, medical facilities and so much more to better the lives of the children in need. I will be keeping you updated on how these funds are being used by the home in the upcoming months.
Thank you so much for your support!
Sneaky beats that make you figuratively do backflips in your mind… coming in hot from under the Eiffel Tower.
FAUL, a new up-and-coming Dj/Producer, will captivate your spirit with his jazzy deep house compilations.
Catch him if you can by checking out his world tour dates! (Sorry America – still pending on the list)
Follow This Paragon
This year has been a beautiful time of growth and change for me personally and professionally.
I left corporate America and my career behind, sold my car, and all of my possessions earlier this year to fund a mission trip to live and work for 3 months this summer at a children’s home in Guatemala. This journey changed my perception of life, family, and unconditional love forever. I had found God, a new spiritual family, and a passion to serve God’s children.
I came back after spending 3-months at the home. As soon as I arrived in Atlanta I had to start all over from scratch. I got a job, a place to live, a car again just to realize that this was not where I belonged anymore. My experience at this children’s home had changed me. Conversations with most people were very difficult. When I wanted to talk about humanitarian work or new projects most people just cared to talk about where they were going out this weekend, what movie they were going to see, or the new outfit they just bought although this is meaningless chatter that I once would have gladly chimed in to. This change made it seem like I had lost my taste for normality. I didn’t fit in anymore. No one understood. I was no longer interested in this life here.
I made the decision for the second time this year to sell everything again so I could do humanitarian work full time as a career.
My new found passion was the children’s home, New Hope Coban, and to continue my humanitarian work. I wanted to help take care of all my new little brothers and sisters I fell in love with and help them build the home to grow and save more children from the jaws of poverty.
The difference between this home and a typical orphanage is that the children are not kicked out at 18 years of age. They are offered a chance to stay at the home as long as they would like. After they receive their certification at the trade school in Coban most of the older children choose to come back to help with the little ones as they are treated like one big family.
I learned that the infant mortality rate is an overwhelming 70% due to children suffering from malnutrition and as they age the likelihood that they will complete school dwindles significantly. The children’s home hit full capacity in August of 2013 and for the past year unfortunately they had to turn hundreds of children away.
I will be running my first marathon, the Disney Marathon, in January 2015 to help raise funds for construction of a better Children’s home for my new little family. This home will be able to house more children so that more lives will be saved from horrifying conditions and in turn be given education, food, spiritual guidance, and an eternal family full of unconditional love and support.
My goal is to raise $1000 for each mile. Please help share this story to shed light on my efforts so we can save more children and give them NEW HOPE for a brighter future.
Donate – https://www.youcaring.com/Run4NHC
Follow and Share
Everyday you are given on this planet is a blessing. It is an opportunity for you to try to be a little better than you were yesterday.
A few years ago I decided to start putting that statement into action. I made a choice to be the best version of myself daily. I looked at it like this: I will mirror what I would like for my future children to become. I mean if that doesn’t knock home for you I don’t know what will. Act and be who you want your future children to become. If you don’t want children then act and be who you would want to see.
Sometimes that means letting things and people go that aren’t good for you. The reward however is worth your life.
I recently sat through a seminar based off the foundations of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
One of the questions really sits heavily on your self worth and makes you reflect deeply on how you want to be viewed from those you love:
“Imagine 20 years from now and you are surrounded by the most important people in your life. What types of things would you like to hear them say about you?”
Just take a moment and actually write out your answer.
I love this exercise because it allows you to actually see what your deepest desire for change is. If your loved ones don’t view you this way then make it a goal to acquire these characteristics that you admire. It is possible.
This also got me thinking about how I want to be remembered after I’m gone.
I personally just want to inspire others to live a life of passion and purpose and actually emit the light they wish to see in others.
Anything is possible though if you truly believe in yourself.
What will your legacy be?
Love & Light