Wisdom Wednesday

What Difference Does it Make? Part 3: Food Distribution/Cultivation

Have you ever seen pictures of kids who were so hungry that their stomachs were bloated? I honestly didn’t think those people existed…until I got to Haiti. Some children (however, not all) are severely malnourished and in need of care.

Some children have red or yellow hair to show their lack of proper nutrients.

Some children look like they are 5 or 6 when they are really 10.

But the child who broke my heart the most had a disability that could have been prevented.

On our first day in Haiti, we went to the children’s home to help feed some of the special needs kids. Most of these kids were in wheelchairs, suffering primarily from cerebral palsy. They were happy to be fed and to interact with us.

One child called me over with his bright smile. I walked over to his wheelchair and touched his hand. Suddenly, he took both of my hands and picked himself up out of the wheelchair! I didn’t expect him to stand. While holding my hands, he walked with me around the playground. When he got tired, someone helped me pick him up and put him back in his wheelchair.

In the dining area of our camp, there were bios about the special needs children at the children’s home. The bios included their birthdays, where they were found, their medical conditions, their likes and dislikes, and special informatiom about them. My eyes scanned for my new friend. When I found his bio, my eyes widened with shock. He had been found on the street. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy…and a muscular condition due to severe malnourishment.

What my friend had could have been prevented. All he had to do was eat a little bit more than nothing, and he might have been able to walk without help.

In Haiti, we were able to distribute food. Because of the donations of generous people, we were able to buy enough rice, beans, oil, and fish to feed 639 families of 5-6 for 2-3 weeks. We also had some rice and beans left over. Each time I handed a bag to a needy family member, I was grateful that one more family was blessed.

You may be thinking, “OK, you fed 639 families. Big deal. What about the other thousands of families that need food?” Honestly, I had thought about this myself. We had handed out food from a locked church building because we knew that there were much more than 600 families out there. Even after we handed out bags, we had people crying through the windows (In English), “Hey you! Please give me food.” We had to turn our backs because we simply did not have enough resources to feed everyone.

But quickly after I thought about the hundreds of families who we were not able to feed, I realized that we used what we had to help a community. We did what we could, and that’s all that mattered.

If we all did what we could, more bellies would be full at night.

There has been a controversy about whether to simply give food to people in third world countries or teach them how to grow their own food. After seeing what I have seen in Haiti, I think that both are necessary. Where we served, the ground was rocky. It is difficult to plant anything among the desert-like soil. As a result, much of Haiti’s diet is imported food. However, organizations such as Plant With Purpose ( plant trees in areas where vegetation can be grown. According to the organization’s website, one can sponsor a village so that vegetation could be brought there.

If food is something you enjoy, think about ways to fill the stomachs of malnourished people in third world countries.

Wisdom Wednesday

What Difference Does it Make? Part 2: Clean Water

I don’t know a feeling more uncomfortable than being thirsty. When I want water, I want it now. I’ve recently discovered that my body needs more water than I had thought. By increasing the water I drank each day, I had less headaches, less anxiety, and less stomach problems.

In Haiti, I contracted a small cold from playing with coughing toddlers all week. Thankfully I did not get sick until I was back at home. For a few days, I have had a fever, a sore throat, a runny nose, and a headache. While battling this cold, I thought about remedies. My parents would always tell me to drink lots of liquids so that I can flush the germs out of my system. It is easy to get rid of a cold here. Take a cold shower to reduce the fever. Drink water to flush out the germs. Take vitamin C to boost the immune system. Sleep. The cold should last no more than a week.

But then take water out of the equation.

I thought about the kids at the children’s home. Did they have enough water to fight their colds? What about the kids who did not have running water in their homes? What would they do if they had a cold? How would their lack of water affect their well-being?

When thinking about the most basic needs of humans for life, most will agree that water is of highest priority. However, many areas of the world do not have access to clean water. There are plenty of ways to bringing clean water in a community. Digging wells and creating water filters are popular means of sanitizing and acquiring water.

While in Haiti, we had the opportunity to see a well that took water from 200 feet below ground and provided clean water for hundreds of families. Considering that people were alive where we were, I am confident that they have access to an adequate amount and quality of water.

Several organizations work in Haiti and in other parts of the world to provide clean water to thirsty communities. Thirst Relief International ( has a wealth of information on their website about the importance of water and what they are doing to help. Their focus is specifically on providing clean water. There are other organizations such as Samaritan’s Purse and UNICEF that do not focus on clean water but include it in their programs.

Research ways you can help improve the quality of water in the world.

Wisdom Wednesday

What Difference Does it Make? Helping Those in Need (Part 1)

I spent this past week in Port au Prince, Haiti working with a non-profit organization.  We loved kids at several orphanages, did construction, and distributed food to needy families.  This trip has raised a lot of questions in my mind about how we can help Haiti, and even if helping Haiti is beneficial to the people.  Having come back with a new perspective, I will be writing several articles about the needs that I saw, how we can help, and how effective our help will be.

Before I went to Haiti, I felt inspired to sponsor a child.  I had gone to a concert, and one of the band members talked about child sponsorship.  His message stirred a desire in my heart to research.  I found many organizations that worked in Haiti and in other countries that needed clean water, food, shelter, education, and medical care.

Going to a third world country where many children apparently needed money, I had a lot of questions.  If I give forty dollars a month to an organization, how much of that money is going to help a child?  Will the child even know that I am giving money?  Isn’t it better to support organizations that are mentoring children and teaching them rather than throwing money at them?

In Haiti, I had the privilege of staying at a children’s home.  I was happy to see that although these kids did not have parents, they were content and they were clearly loved by the workers there. After talking to some of the kids for several days, I noticed that what they really needed was attention.  The workers of the children’s home were doing an excellent job, but there were so many kids and so much work to be done that they couldn’t give every child one-on-one attention. I wondered how we could get all these children to have the attention that they need.

One of the women on my team and I made friends with the older kids.  Most of them were about thirteen years old.  We asked them their names. One young man wrote down his name on a piece of paper.  Then he wrote his last name.  I thought it was strange that, though he was an orphan, he still remembered his last name.  “This is the name of my sponsor,” he explained.  “This is her last name, and so it is my last name.”  Tears welled up in my eyes.  I tried to hold myself together in front of these teenage boys and girls.  All the teenagers at the table started to write down their sponsors’ names.  They boasted about their brothers and sisters in the United States. My heart was filled with joy for them.

I asked them a few questions about their sponsors.  They told me that their sponsors wrote them letters and sent them pictures.  Some sponsors even visited their children.  A few of the children also had two sponsors depending on their needs.  As the children shared about their sponsors, my question was answered.  How can we provide one-on-one attention for these children?  Give them a sponsor, and show them that people across the world care about their health and well-being.

As soon as I got home, I went online and found a child to sponsor.  I am now sponsoring a six-year-old girl from one of the poorest cities in Haiti.  I know that my sponsorship will help her get an education, a free meal at the school, and help with her living conditions.  It will also show her that she is loved and that someone cares about her.

I encourage you to research sponsoring a child.  Whether you sponsor a child from Haiti or from another country, you will build a lasting relationship with that child. Organizations like HOLD the Children (, World Vision (, Compassion International (, and Mission of Hope Haiti ( provide education, food, water, and care for children through sponsorship.  Think about what kind of child you would like to sponsor (age, gender, country), what needs break your heart (food, water, education, etc), and what organization you think can meet this child’s needs.  I encourage you to do a lot of research.

To sponsor a child, you can give anywhere from 20-50 dollars a month.  If you have a tight budget and you want to sponsor a child, you may have to sacrifice a little bit.  However, by making a small adjustment to your budget, you can change a child’s life.  In Haiti, I saw the positive effects of child sponsorship on numerous children’s lives.  Starting Monday, I will be writing about the ways that child sponsorship (in addition to other projects) specifically improves the well being of the community.  Feel free to comment on this post with questions or comments.

Wisdom Wednesday

Take it Off and Leave it Home

Would you rather be in the scorching heat without an air conditioner, or in the freezing cold without a heater?  Most people I ask would rather be cold, but I would much rather be hot.  Personally, it is easier for me to cool off than to warm up.

For example, when I go for a walk, I cannot wear a jacket.  I get too hot, and I have to take off my jacket.  Then I have to walk around with a jacket in my arms. It makes me more hot and less happy to be walking.

Today is among the first crispy cool days of the season.  I decided to go for a run in sweat pants and a jacket.  As soon as I began to run, I knew that I had made a mistake in my choice of clothes.  I started to sweat, and my once comfy clothes became a burden that I did not want to carry.  Instead of running as long as I usually do, I only ran around the block.

For me, wearing clothes that are too warm are a distraction for me as I run.  For someone else, it could be the wrong choice of shoes that slows him down.  For another, her long hair could be tossed around by the wind, blowing in her face and getting in her eyes.

We all have a reason for being on this earth, for this time in history, and for a specific purpose.  However, we face many distractions in our lives that cause us to lose sight of what God really has for us.  Fear, doubt, and love of money are just a few of the things that keep us from living to our true potential.

I could have just left my sweatshirt home today. Sure, I would have been freezing cold until my body made enough heat.  But the tiny discomfort would have meant nothing when I ran as much as my body needed in order to be healthy.  Next time, I will remember this day and know that I can run a lot farther when I do not have heavy clothes weighing me down.

What is holding you from running as fast and as far as you can?  Take it off, and leave it home.  It may be uncomfortable at first, but you can run without it.

Wisdom Wednesday

What is Your Destination?

Recently, I made a goal to run three miles around my house.  To me, that was more than I could physically do at the time.  However, I decided that if I practiced, I would eventually build up the endurance to run a full three miles. I set a destination, and started on my journey.  I walked a little bit to warm up, but then I started to run.

When I go running, the journey is not always smooth.  Sometimes, I step on a twig and it offsets my balance.  Sometimes, when it’s raining, I may hit a puddle and get water all over my legs.  Sometimes, a car cuts in front of me, and I have to stop what I am doing and wait for the driver to move.

That day, it was hot, sunny, and crowded.  I had picked a part of the day where many people usually go out and run errands.  I focused on dodging the cars, and it limited my ability to run to my full potential.  I had to stop at a stop light in order to cross the street.  Of course, my fatigue also kicked in, so I was very distracted.

When I got to a certain point on this journey, I slowed down and started walking.  I congratulated myself for running as far as I did.  I continued to walk in order to regain my strength.  By the time I had reached a certain point, I had enough energy to run the rest of the way home.

At home, I checked how many miles I had run.  According to my map, I had run 2.39 miles, much more than I thought I could run!  I could not believe how far I had come.  Suddenly, my fatigue and my dodging of cars no longer mattered.  I had come very close to my goal.  I told everyone about my personal victory.

As I am running this race called life, my goal is to finish the distance that has been set before me.  However, I sometimes trip on a rock and fall flat on my face.  I make mistakes, and I feel the weight of my imperfections.  When this happens, I have two options.  I could either let this failure stop me from trying to finish, or I could get back up and try again.

In the past, my failures have crippled me.  My mistakes have caused me to forget that I am running a race, not trying to avoid getting hurt.  However, sometimes now I look back and see how far I have come.  Focusing on my victories rather than my failures has actually helped me to keep going.

There are lots of distractions when running a race.  You may be running behind someone, not able to catch up.  You may trip on your shoelace or an acorn could fall on your head.  You may be tempted to take a water break…and not want to try again.

But let me encourage you by telling you that it is never too late to get back into the race and try again.

If you’re running a race, and you trip on your shoelace, keep running. Your goal is to win the race, not run without falling. When you win, no one will remember your failures; they will only see that medal around your neck and know you are a champion.

Do not forget your destination.  Your mistakes may tempt to distract you, but do not let them stop you from finishing what you started.

Wisdom Wednesday

Running From Anxiety

Apparently, my greatest strength is my ability to think. However, I have always believed that thinking is my greatest weakness. I think, trying my best to control the world around me. My thoughts turn to worry. My worry turns to anxiety.

I wake up in the morning, thoughts swirling in my mind. How can I see “Now Hiring” signs on every corner and yet not have a job? 

I open my eyes. I slip out of bed and walk downstairs to eat breakfast. What am I doing with my life? 

I eat my breakfast and clean the dishes. How can I pay off my loans if I have no money? 

I walk to the bathroom and brush my teeth. What makes me think I can travel the world? 

I tie my hair into a ponytail. Why can’t I just be happy? 

I open the door, letting the sun hit my face. Why can’t I stop THINKING? 

I start running.

Suddenly, I only have three thoughts in my mind: my breathing, my stride, and my destination. Breathe in, breathe out. Don’t tense up your muscles; don’t hurt your knees. Run to the end of the block and turn left. I feel the sun on my face. I wave at the mail man as I pass his truck. I focus on my breathing, making sure I push myself without going over the edge. I feel the strain on my muscles and it motivates me to keep going.

I stop worrying about the future. My concerns don’t matter anymore. All I can think about is making my goal for the day. When I run, anxiety disappears. Running from my feelings may actually be a good thing in some cases.

Wisdom Wednesday

In the Rain

I slipped my shoes on and opened the front door. My mom looked at me with a confused look on her face. “Where are you going?” she asked. “Oh, I’m going for a run,” I replied casually. “But…” As I opened the door, I realized why my mom was concerned. It was raining. Why would I go for a run in the rain? What if I slipped or got a cold?

Regardless, I wanted to run, so I decided to give it a try. I found a street near my house and started running. Normally, if I run at all, I only run about three blocks in one direction, and then I stop. So I only planned on running a few blocks.

However, for some reason, I had a desire to keep going. The rain was refreshing to my skin. I wasn’t that tired. I didn’t stop. I focused on my breathing and kept going.

I ran all the way to the end of the road. I thought I was done, but I felt the desire again. Keep going. Running reminded me of the mile run that I had to complete when I was in middle and high school. I could never completely run a mile, let alone in the thirteen minutes in which we were required to complete it. With the new endurance and strength I felt, I wondered why it was so difficult for me to run when I was younger. At that moment, I had no problem running for a long period of time.

I turned the corner and ran to the end. Keep going. I ran for one more block. Keep going. One more block. Keep going. One more block. I could feel my legs getting tired. Keep going. I could see my street in front of me. As I gasped for air, I set a new goal for myself: run to the street and stop.  The wind and the rain kept me cool as I pressed on toward my destination. With the last ounce of energy I had, I pushed to the end.

My heart pounded, my legs shook, and my head spun, but I had done it! I walked home, catching my breath, thankful for the strength that had gotten me all the way around my neighborhood. When I arrived home, I checked the map on my phone to see how far I had gone. Normally, when I went for a run around the neighborhood, I had thought I could only run 1,540 feet (three blocks). However, that day I ran 1.46 miles, plus the distance I walked back to my house!

So, what did I learn? My biggest enemy is me. I put limits on myself that distract me from my true potential. When I had stopped listening to the voice that told me to give up, I realized that I am capable of much more than I had ever thought.

And…I learned this in the rain, when the sun was hidden, when most people would choose to stay inside.

Wisdom Wednesday

New Series: Running

Between writing a book (yep, it’s happening!) and having a crazy amount of things to do, I have not put much effort into my blog. However, I still need more practice, and I have had a few ideas for this page. Some of these ideas may actually make their way into my book!

Lately, I have gotten into the habit of running every morning. I used to walk, but these past few days I have been able to keep up a stride. In the rain, during windy days, and on hot mornings, I have learned different life lessons while running.

I am going to write an article semi-weekly, most likely Monday and Friday. I used to bust out an article a day, but I can’t guarantee that anymore. So enjoy my musings! Come back Friday for the first article about running: Running Far in the Rain.

Wisdom Wednesday


Every day,  I go for a walk around my block. Sometimes I will find coins on the ground. While I was walking,  I thought about all of the financial burdens in my life. How was I going to make it? Which job opportunities should I take and which should I reject? Do I have to push myself beyond my limit in order to barely make it? What am I going to do?

Suddenly, I noticed a shiny object on the ground. It was a penny, but it was beat-up and rusty. I was amazed that I was thinking about financial difficulties at that very moment, and I found money. I knew this meant that God would provide for me.

The first penny I found
The first penny I found

God whispered to my soul: Keep going. I walked a few yards down the road. I was shocked to find another penny…and a quarter! With me, you are worth much more. I picked up the new penny. This penny was actually more beat-up. The quarter was shiny and definitely more valuable than both pennies combined.

God doesn’t just want to bless me financially. In that moment, God showed me my worth. I am not just a beat-up penny; God is with me, and he calls me new.


Wisdom Wednesday

Climbing the Ladder

We pack into the van like sardines and drive to the field. Most people in the van are eagerly awaiting the chance to go on the zip line. Some already made the decision not to go on, while some are already deciding what they were going to do to make it more challenging. I, however, keep quiet while I secretly beat myself up about being scared. How could I be scared of something I did before, and loved?

I used to enjoy going on high ropes courses. The thrill had been scary at first,  but as I climbed rock walls, did adventure courses in high school, and slid down zip lines, I began to enjoy the feeling of being high in the air. Suddenly,  one year, fear began to consume me. I became so scared that I didn’t want to do anything. I yelled at myself for being so weak and stupid, but my self-condemning thoughts did not take away the pain I felt.

But today,  I made a decision that I was not going to let fear stop me from doing what I enjoyed. I still wonder why God allowed fear to creep into my life (or maybe it was my own weaknesses), but I believe today that God is going to do something different.

Finally, the van pulls up to the zip line site. The supervisors of the camp explain the rules to us,  but my ears are clogged with the reality that I actually have to stand up against my fear. I can’t believe I’m actually going to do a zip line after being so afraid for such a long time. Someone will definitely have to help me.

As my friends tighten the harnesses around their waists and legs, my head begins to spin. I watch as one person after the other races down the zip line with such ease and confidence. Why am I freaking out so much? Why can’t I be confident like my friends?

Finally,  someone hands me a harness. My friend ties it up as I breathe slowly. Strapping on a helmet, I walk up the hill with two of my friends. For a moment, I feign excitement, forcing myself to be glad that I am finally going to do what I have avoided for years.

Once I reach the top of the hill,  I tell myself not to look down. Still, the chance to see a beautiful view is tempting. I look down, and my stomach turns. There is a man at the top of the ladder waiting for me. My friends are waiting on the bottom, cheering me on with each move I make. My other friends are below me, taking pictures and waiting for me to go down to the bottom. God is beside me and within me, pushing me forward. However, I cannot shake the fear that creeps inside of me.

The scariest part for me is climbing the ladder. Once I get on that platform, I will be fine, but the ladder heavily shakes as I inch my way to the top. I am ready to give up as my heart pounds in my chest. With encouragement on every side, I ask God: “What do you want me to learn from this?” He says to me, “I am helping you.” Just as God tells me that, I hear voices. I turn around and see that three more of my friends came up to support me. With each step I put my faith in God, pressing beyond my anxiety. My friends cheer with me, giving me joy as I push myself.

Finally, I reach the top. After feeling such an adrenaline rush, I can barely breathe…all I can do is weep with relief. The man on the platform clips my rope to the zip line and tells me to go whenever I am ready. Without even thinking, I slide off the edge and extend my arms out in complete freedom and full surrender. I go on the zip line two more times, each time with more at ease.

I learned two things from this story. First, I learned that I want to grow without suffering. On this Earth, the Lord promises that we will suffer but that he will be with us (John 16:33). James writes that trials produce perseverance, character, and then maturity (1:2-4). The ladder represented my suffering. I just wanted to fly, but I needed to overcome my fear first (which definitely was not easy!). I had to give control to the man belaying me up the ladder, the rope leading me down the hill, and my Lord who promises to uphold me when I fall (Psalm 145:14). I had to fight my fear instead of passively letting it drag me down.

But I also learned that I could not do it alone. That is what brought my fear in the first place. I learned that I had an inability to climb because I thought I had gained the ability to do it on my own. However, I still needed the encouragement of my friends. I still needed to be dependent on God. And I still had access to friends who cared about me and a loving Father who is faithful and trustworthy.

No matter what ladders I will have to climb, I know that God will give me the support that I need through friends and through his comforting Spirit. And when I make it to the top, I can look down and enjoy the blessings that God has given me.