Adventures in beauty 

My daughter has been obsessed with getting a curling iron.  That’s right, even though we have two girls in our house, we have not, to this point, owned a curling iron.  Ever since I grew out my two-layered, carefully sculpted/teased/sprayed to perfection “mall bangs” in the early 90’s, I have neither owned nor used a curling iron. Kind of like I did a barn-door in the opposite direction. I used to get teased by friends and family when I was a teenager about how much time I spent on my hair.  Now I just blow it dry and that’s the end of it.

Because here’s the thing that I have now realized:  I am really bad at doing hair.  I am all thumbs when it comes to french braiding, no matter how many times I practice.  When I do two piggy tails on my daughter, it turns out acceptable, but there is always one that is higher than the other, and the part in the back is all skewed, giving the impression that I forgot to put my contacts in before I did her hair.  I was never able to do any of those super-cute little girl hairstyles on her.  In fact, when she was a toddler, I kept her hair cut short in a cute little bob so that it was easy to care for, with minimal tangles and no need to do fancy stuff with it.  I can do a basic ponytail. I can also do the very popular ponytail-half-bun variation in which you don’t pull the tail of the pony all the way through so as to give the impression of a messy bun, but really it’s just a ponytail that gave up right before the finish line.

Leah has more money in her bank account than me, because it turns out that if you save your $7.00 of allowance per week for almost your entire childhood because all you can think of to buy with it is candy, but your parents won’t let you buy candy, you end up being Bill Gates.  So she decided that she wanted to use some of her money to buy a curling iron, in an effort to attain the coveted “beachy waves” that all the cool girls are wearing now.  I couldn’t argue with that, so we headed over to Walgreens the other day to buy a curling iron.  The previous weekend, she had been visiting family, and Aunt Jen had curled her hair beautifully, so she was set on getting the same kind of curling iron that Aunt Jen had used.  Never mind that Aunt Jen has some supermodel qualities that I will never have.  Leah had so much confidence that I was up to this task, I kind of felt sorry for her.

So this curling iron.  I’m looking at it, and it doesn’t have one of those push-lever things, like in the 80’s.  You’re just supposed to wrap your hair around it by hand and, um, not burn yourself.  What?  Oh, but it comes with a 3-fingered glove to use on your “wrapping” hand, so that’s helpful for the clumsy gals like me.  I tried to convince her to get the push-lever kind, but she wouldn’t have it.  I also thought an iron with a nice wide barrel would be good for those coveted waves, but no.  Aunt Jen used THIS one, we must get THIS one.  Thirty bucks later we are back at home, and that lever-less, narrow-barreled thing is warming up on the counter.  I think I heard it laugh an evil laugh at me.  Maybe that was my imagination.

I tried so hard you guys.  My supermodel sister-in-law even sent me a tutorial video with a drop-dead gorgeous twenty-something beauty blogger, which I watched dutifully.  I did everything she told me to do, I swear.  Here is the inspiration, and the outcome:


Versus reality. So, so close…


Then I tried to do myself, just in case.  And it turns out that when I use a curling iron, my hair ends up looking almost exactly like it did in Haiti, when exposed to 100% humidity.  Also a lot like Monica Gellar on Friends, when she went to the Bahamas.

Beachy waves?

“Haiti hair”

Monica can’t help it. “IT’S THE HUMIDITY!!”


I give up, man.  I just can’t do it.  I will never be a beauty blogger.  I will never have beachy waves.  My child will have to learn to do her own hair.


Going back to Haiti in 2017!

Hello friends, both near and far!  I am so excited to give you some updates about some things up ahead for me in 2017.  Those of you who have been following my blog likely remember my trip to Haiti last year.  I am very excited to let you know that I will be going back again this year!  And I need your help!

After my trip last year, I was given the opportunity to join the Advisory Board of Directors for the International Mission Foundation.  IMF currently partners with ministries in five countries, including Haiti, to provide support and resources to various ministries already active in those countries.  Though the Foundation itself is relatively new, the people involved with IMF have worked for years building partnerships and alliances with various ministries in each of the countries.

I am on the medical advisory board committee, and one of our goals this year is to set up a school-based primary health care program for the children in Chambon.  IMF has a long relationship with this community and has worked with them in the past on other community development projects.

Over the course of time, the community of Chambon has expressed an interest in having medical services more accessible to their village.  It is a very rural community, without easy access to a health care facility.  Our goal would be to help this village develop a community-based health program.

For the first phase of the program, we are going to start with the children enrolled in the Valley of Hope School.  Many of these children receive educational sponsorship through IMF, and we hope to have more sponsored in 2017.  (If you are interested in sponsoring one of the children, you can learn more here.)  Our team will set up shop for a few days at the school and offer well-child checks, preventative health teaching, and treatment of simple health problems (like minor infections, anemia, de-worming medication, etc.).  If we identify any complicated health problems or chronic illnesses, we hope to help families get referred or make connections locally for ongoing care.


Valley of Hope School

There are several underlying principles that are guiding us as we undertake this project.  First, we believe that the community of Chambon is its own expert on its needs and local culture.  As such, we think it is very important to co-create a sustainable project with them, rather than administer health services to them.  We believe it is vital that the community be involved with each step of the process.  It is easy at the outset to think that we have so much we can teach them and do for them.  But we really want to approach this carefully, knowing that we also have much to learn from our Haitian friends.  Second, we are committed to handing this project back over to the community.  We are starting with the children, but we hope to expand the program in the future to include adults.  We hope to make some good connections with some Haitian health care providers who can partner with us to take care of the needs of this community in a culturally sensitive manner.  This community has expressed a desire to eventually have a free-standing health care facility of its own.  This is a big dream that fills my mind with lots of questions about logistics!  But we will take it one step at a time, with God at the wheel.

So, how can you help??  If you are interested, there are so many ways you can get involved!

  1. Travel with us!  We especially need pediatric nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and physicians.   Since this phase of the program involves working with children, pediatric or family medicine experience is required.  If you are interested, or know someone else who would be interested, please let me know!  Our trip will take place July 1-7, 2017.
  2. Sponsor a child at the Valley of Hope School.  A sponsorship of $47/month covers the cost of educating a child, including tuition, uniform, shoes, school supplies, teacher training/salary, and a daily meal.
  3. Stay tuned!  We are in the process of applying for some grants that will hopefully help us to collect the medical supplies and medications we hope to take with us.  There will definitely be opportunities as the trip gets closer to donate either supplies or money to put toward supplies.
  4. Last but not least, pray for us, and for Chambon.  There is a lot of work to do, and July will be here before we know it!