It has been awhile…I am sorry.
A little backstory…
I really thought once I had a new beautiful home for all of my words that I would write ALL the time. Sharing my musings, travels, lessons, tips, etc. as I had always tried to do…but NOW more officially (read that as professionally).
Naïve I am. #facepalm
As soon as I got my new home for my blog launched as part of a NEW website to share ALL the things I was moving into, I got busy. As in, REALLY busy. I had travel (Italy and France), a book proposal to complete, a consulting company to launch, a possible non-profit to launch, and as part of all of this NEWNESS…I started bouncing weekly between two cities as I maintained my day job (the firm I co-founded back in 2012) while also launching all of this new stuff. In my defense, I was writing - microblogs on Instagram (click HERE) and my Facebook writing page (click HERE to follow me there), and of course I am in the middle of writing an ENTIRE book (which let me be clear is RIDICULOUSLY HARD).
Frankly. I am exhausted just writing it all out.
I am also EXCITED.
I will tell you why…because I am writing this apology post from a wooden desk in a little bed and breakfast called The Farmhouse Haiti located in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.
Yes! I am on my first assignment for a consulting client. I was hired to come down to Haiti and capture stories (photos + pictures) about the artisans and businesses my client is purchasing from (as a wholesale client) to sell in their new store in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The opportunity to visit Haiti Design Co, Life SA/GOEX, Papillon Marketplace, and solely focus on photography and collecting the stories of their amazing artisans - well, this is my dream come true. I have spent a lot of time the past three days (I am halfway through my trip) simply pinching myself and looking up to the heavens thanking God for giving me this opportunity. Please feel free to do a full search of my blog under the word “Haiti” (you can easily click on the tag on this post to see a list) to read ALL of my words and admiration for this country, its citizens, and their simply ridiculous amount of talent that leaves me in awe. Talent that also puts a strain on my pocketbook because I have never been to Haiti without leaving with bags full of art, pottery, jewelry, and metalwork.
I hope you will take the time to click on the links (embedded when you click on their names in the paragraph above) to these fantastic businesses in Haiti that work everyday to grow their firms, create jobs, and develop a skilled + independent workforce.
Economic development here, just like in the states, is the key to so many of the problems that hold this country back. Jobs help put healthy food on the table, send kids to school for an education, and keep families together. The most haunting statistic in Haiti is that 80% of the children in orphanages across Haiti are actually “economic orphans” meaning one or both of their parents are still living, but for economic reasons (some complicated and some simple - like they cannot afford to feed their children) they place their children in an orphanage. NO parent wants to make that horrific choice. Not in the states. Not here.
There are also success stories - LOTS of them - that we do not hear in the states. Stories of families reunited. Stories of children aging out of an orphanage and getting into vocational-technical schools (instead of going straight to the streets and being on their own). An example is the Transition Academy where they learn life skills before entering the “real world” (my friend Caleb below who turned 18 this week, which means he has “aged out” of the orphanage, will be joining the Transition Academy this fall). There are also stories of artisans becoming true masters of their craft and being able to launch their own entrepreneurial ventures.
Being here in Haiti this trip, for the first time solo, has been eye-opening in so many ways that I could not have anticipated. It has also left the INFJ in me seeking solitude daily to decompress from the sheer volume of words, sights, noise, and information being thrown at me.
In fact, yesterday - in the middle of an anxiety-ridden struggle with writer’s block - I paused and created a Spotify playlist (click HERE or HERE to check it out) and laid on my bunk bed and just worshipped God.
After a couple of hours, I found the perfect place to write - a picnic table under a tent outside of The Farmhouse Haiti - and suddenly the words came. Praise the Lord.
So…as I this morning reading James 4 before watching church online, I was struck by the words afresh and took these notes:
- you do not have because you do not ask God
- you ask and don’t receive because you ask with the wrong motives (read that as heart)
- the spirit (read that as Holy Spirit) that God put IN US (emphasis added by me) envies intensely (read that as seek God’s will, not man’s), but he gives us more grace (read that as not simply grace, but MORE grace).
- submit yourselves to God
- resist the devil and he will flee
- come near to God and he will come near to you
- wash your hands, purify your hearts
- humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up (made me think of #facedown - the book I am writing)
I feel like yesterday was an exercise for me in walking out James 4 working on this storytelling project. I hear you God. Loud and clear.
In my Bible on James 4, there was a post-it note with the following scribbled on it “success or influence? an influencer shares their gifts” and it pierced my heart all the way through. I want to humbly share these gifts that God has given me with others to point them to him. I want to be an influencer for Jesus. Period. Full stop.
I want to be an influencer for Jesus.
So…today I am taking a day of R E S T to refocus my eyes clearly on God and his heart. Tomorrow there is work to do - a LOT of work to do. Today belongs to God. I am meditating on him, asking him to put his heart in mine, give me his eyes, his words - break my heart for what breaks his - teach me his will and his ways. This world doesn’t need Heather, but it does need Jesus.
So from the beautiful country of Haiti, I wish for you a relaxing + intentional Sabbath with Jesus, your family, and friends. Pull out that hammock and take a nap in the sunshine, under the trees. Make a pitcher of lemonade and then go sit a spell in the shade. Curl up on the couch with a blanket and a book. Whatever brings you to a place of rest - do THAT. God is THERE.