Monday, February 18, 2013

#OlioHop for #CharityCauses

Helping Others Visualize What's Needed to Go from #Sad2Smiling

I was excited to be invited to join February's newest #OlioHop on Myself and 9 other bloggers have been joined together for Monday's #OlioHope to use olioboard to demonstrate our charity projects to possible donors and others interested in helping our cause. Olioboard is a free online tool that allows users to create 2D and 3D visual boards called moodboards to show how a room might look with furniture, accessories, lighting, rugs and many other interior items that can be selected and placed in the virtual room. You first choose a background and then begin to search for items that you would like in the room. Olioboard makes it so simple to shop with several different ways to select items included on the site and a convenient browser clipper that allows you to choose any item of the internet you want to use.
I am pleased to be showcasing my dreams for a future orphanage that I hope to help build this December in Onaville Haiti. The before shot is of the empty concrete room much like many of the structures I saw when I visited Haiti in December 2012. I also included some photographs on the before board from my recent trip to Haiti. The actual orphanage we visited, as well as the future site are featured on my before moodboard.
I realize that I'm Dreaming Big for my orphan friends in Haiti. There is no way to furnish this orphanage with our limited budget of $100k furnish as well as build the way I have designed it with the finest items available to me. The only way to do this #oliohop I decided  is to just dream as big as I can. I imagined that my connections on twitter with super stars like Kathy Ireland, Nate Berkus, and Oprah Winfrey have found out about Help 4 Haiti's new orphanage project in Onaville Haiti and decided to donate a million dollars or two to our cause Help 4 Haiti New Covenant Mission.
Help 4 Haiti began about 3 years ago right after the earthquake occurred in Haiti. My father went to Haiti about two months after the earthquake took place to try and help rebuild and minister to the people there. After my father returned he began sharing his passion for helping those in Haiti to rebuild and have a better future. We began Help 4 Haiti on Facebook and soon after started a twitter account @HaitiOrphanHelp. Our mission is to help feed and support 175+ orphans in Haiti. We are seeking partners to help us in this mission to sponsor a child for $35 a month.  In December 2012 I was a part of a team of 6, that included my mother, father, brother and two friends from our local church Blake and Erin, who were able to return to Haiti and continue the work my father began. It is a trip that changed my life and has given me a new perspective on the things that really matter. My husband and I have been supporting an orphan in the orphanage that Help 4 Haiti supports. I cared about Haiti before I went there and I thought I had compassion for the people there. But until I went and visited and met the people of Haiti, I realized I didn't really have much compassion after all. I will never forget the day I met Youcanlove Delva(the boy I support in Haiti) or how I felt when I thought that the picture I had been praying for was a real actual little boy. He is 10 and very little for his age. But he is strong. He grabbed a hold of me and hugged me and didn't want to let go. I didn't want to let go either. If you want to read more details about our mission trip please visit my previous blog post Letter to a friend about Hope4Haiti2012 Mission Trip. While visiting Haiti, we were told that our orphans are being asked to move from their home in Croix-Des-Bouquet, Haiti. Thankfully Pastor Estecuer Olistin of New Covenant Mission Baptist Church in Haiti has been given land to build on in Onaville, Haiti. We were able to visit the new site and see that the foundation has just begun to be built. Pastor Olistin explained that for $100k he can finish building and furnishing the orphanage. It is Help 4 Haiti's new mission to help raise the money needed to accomplish this dream and to return in December this year to help build the new orphanage.
I thought about what kind of theme I'd go with if money were no option. I've always wanted an explorer or adventurer room for my own son, so I began to build the new orphanage dreams around this idea. Thankfully my mom Nancy Chalmers, has been an interior designer for over 30 years. I am so blessed to have been learning the craft from her all my life and working with her at Niche by design for the last 4 years. I asked for her help on this project because I know if we had the opportunity in Haiti to make this dream come true, she would be the one I would ask to make sure each detail in the room was perfect. I chose a bedroom setting to show how it might look in our dream orphanage. Even though this is a dream board I still wanted to achieve functional elements of design as well as incorporating things that would stimulate the children's minds. I wanted to include things that would help them to want to explore and learn and grow.
Can you see the smile on the girls face I chose for my board? I hope one day to see the smiling faces of the children I met in Haiti this past December again soon. It is my dream that we can help create a future filled with hope for these children. I know by myself I can't help the thousands of orphans in Haiti, but I can help one. You can help too, by choosing to join us in our cause.

There are three ways you can help

  1.  By donating towards building the new orphanage in Onaville, Haiti 
  2.  Giving $35 a month to help house and feed an orphan 
  3. Consider going back with us this December to help build the new orphanage in Onaville, Haiti
Donate online to Help 4 Haiti: 
To see more examples of how to use Olioboard's free site to showcase in either 2D and 3D what your own #CharityCauses might need from potential donors, please click on the other 9 real world #CharityCauses that these 9 other designers in the hop with me are working on by clicking on their blog links below! 

#CharityCauses #OlioHop 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentines Day with a 13 year old?

Sean 2 days old
My son was born two days after Valentine's day 13 years ago... He has been my sweet Valentine present every year since that day. This is the first year, that I remember, that he's asked another girl to be his Valentine. I'm sure I'm not the first mom to have to tell her son that he will always be her Valentine no matter what another girl says... I could see from his expression that he was really hoping she would say yes. He hasn't been throwing a fit or in tears like I might have been at 13, but there was a hint of disappointment in his voice when he told me "Well she said no mom, so I guess no Valentine this year"  What a silly 12 year old girl to not take my sweet handsome boy up on his offer...
For my son it is a bit of a let down, but for me at least it is one more year that my baby remains my best Valentine gift ever! I'm sure in a few years I will look back on this year and wish I was his only love again.
So I hugged him extra tight this morning on the way out the door and reminded him he is loved... Any other suggestions how to cheer up his teenage heart? I want him to be happy today and enjoy his birthday coming up in two days. We are headed to the beach for his break, so I'm hoping once we get there he will forget all about silly Valentine let down.
Sean,  My baseball player! 
I was about to share this on Facebook when thankfully, I remembered my son is also on there as well as most of his friends. I imagined what an embarrassed boy he'd be if he read that I was telling everyone about his first mini heartbreak... So before pressing post I thought better of it and decided to turn a Facebook post into a short blog. Y'all won't tell him will you? LOL!
I turned to my blog to share because this is one of those moments as a mom I don't want to forget. I want to hold on to his childhood a little longer and I am trying very hard not to totally freak out that we are suddenly in the teenage years... Some days it's like he was born yesterday and on others it feels like it was so long ago. So for this Valentine's Day, and maybe even my last one, I get to keep on being my baby's only love.
Our Home Made Valentine's Day Cards
I pray I teach him how to love well. I pray my husband and I show him how loving couples behave. I hope beyond hope that when my son does finally get his Valentine to say yes that he picks a Princess worthy of my little Prince Charming's love.
 Tell me your Valentine's Day stories with your kids in the comments. Thanks for reading and may your day be filled with love and chocolate!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Preparing for a Mission to Haiti | Guest Blog post for GoGirlfriend

I am honored to have been asked to be a guest blogger for GoGirlfriend travel website. Thank you again so much Julia Rosein for asking me to do this seriese to share our story of our mission trip to Haiti this past December 2012. Read the blog post here on
Preparing for a Mission to Haiti | Guest Blog post for GoGirlfriend
Map of Haiti
Map of Haiti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)