Thursday, December 31, 2015

the best of 2015

These kids have my heart and I feel completely blessed to have been given a spot in their lives!  
And just like that it's time to wish in another year!  I hope you enjoy looking back at some of my favorite pictures from 2015.  I tried to narrow it down to just ten of my favorite pictures but after awhile I just accepted the fact that it was impossible to choose just ten=)  Thank you for joining with me on this journey.  So many of you support me financially, in prayer, and follow my blog.  I feel blessed to have been given the opportunity to live this life in Haiti and I can't thank you enough for helping make it all possible.  Wishing you a wonderful New Year!
There is nothing cuter than a baby in a laundry basin!
My kids got to experience playing on a big grass field for the first time and this picture pretty much sums up just how amazing it was.  
Friday afternoon's with these three are anything but quiet!  LOVE getting time with just them- we spend lots of time running around the playground playing all sorts of games.  My babies are growing up and this year I've felt it more than ever.  Trying to soak up all these fun and crazy moments while they still think I'll cool enough to play with=)
Loved getting to decorate for Christmas with my girls!
Friday nights are spent playing games, watching movies, and eating fun snacks with the kids in the children's home.  I look forward to this time with them all week long.  
My dear friend and coworker, Francoinise, got married over the summer.  This is something that she had been dreaming about for such a long time.  Feel so blessed to have been there for her big day!  
Absolutely everything is an adventure with this crew and oh do we have fun doing the little things.  They love to visit other friends and of course stopping to buy suckers, crackers, and bags of water is always a highlight too=)
I just wish I could bottle up all the sweet moments from this year with my boy.  He has my heart and I'm not ok with this growing up thing anymore!  
Daniella was my date to multiple wedding this year.  Love my girl!
If this road could talk it would tell of many of the struggles and joys from 2015.  I have laughed, cried, and wanted to scream really loudly on this road.  This road has given me lots of space to pray for my littles as I walk to and home from the village.  I'm thankful for this space that gives me time to process and pray. 
This pictures pretty much summarizes this sweet girl!  She is FULL of spunk and sass and yet is also one of the kindest little girls ever.  She has me wrapped right around her fingers and I'm ok with that=)
This pretty much sums up my afternoons in the village and I wouldn't want it any other way!  I am SO blessed to call them mine and to have this spot in their lives!
The the last few months with this little guy have been filled with such JOY.  Fado is finally gaining weight and strength.  The Lord is using this little guy to show me that even when things seem too messy and risky that I am called to be bold and not safe.  The Lord has BIG plans for this kiddo and I can't wait to watch as he learns to fully walk, run, talk, and start school!  
Behind every child in the malnutrition program is a story that is filled with brokenness and just a lot of hard stuff.  And yet, in the midst of all the "heavy" there are these sweet moments that the Lord uses to show me just how faithful He is. 
It's hard to think that a baby this small could have had such a big impact on so many people.  Watching Kenciana's momma fight for her has been an answer to so many prayers.  This baby girl is now laughing, smiling, and is actually chubby!  
I am so thankful for this friendship.  This sweet momma has shown me so much and has been such a sweet reminder  of the Lord's faithfulness.  It doesn't matter how much or little she has she is constantly pursuing the Lord and sharing with me where He is working in her life.  I consider it a complete blessing to call her my friend.  
My kids are growing up and oh how creative they have become!  I love Saturday mornings and getting to watch as they pretend to load up on the moto to head off to market to buy me lots of goodies.  
This has been a big year for this sweet girl!  She now smiles and has the cutest little laugh!  And she is walking and talking too!
This sweet baby girl has rocked my world.  At first I really struggled with allowing myself to actually love this little one because of all the "what ifs'."  In a way that only the Lord can work this little one managed to wiggle her way right into my heart though and looking back I just can't imagine what we ever did without this little one.  Saina is always full of joy and there is nothing sweeter than cuddling this baby girl.  

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

christmas party!

Look at how handsome they are!  
 Oh if you could have heard all the chatter and BIG plans that the children were making for the school Christmas party!  For weeks the students talked about who would sing, dance, and do different skits in the program.  The girls talked NON stop about what dresses, socks, and ribbons they would wear.  And oh they talked about the meat they would get to eat and the presents!  The kids were pretty excited to see those presents that each would get to take home!!  This party was the talk of the village!  One momma told me her daughter was ready to get up and dressed at midnight because she just couldn't wait any longer=)  So thankful that our school isn't just a place for lessons but that we also take the time to celebrate and have a fun day just for our students.  
The school was literally PACKED!
The yummy meal!!
Davidson refused to stop eating his chicken so I could take a picture=)

Saturday, December 19, 2015


LOVE this picture of Rose!  She had SO much fun decorating the tree!
There is something about it just being the month of December that has left me homesick for the "normal" of the Christmas season.  I miss actually going Christmas shopping with my family instead of trying to pick things out online.  I miss hearing Christmas music on the radio and driving around looking at all the beautiful and yet tacky lights.  And I feel like I should be spending my Saturday's baking all sorts of Christmas goodies with my sisters and nieces.  Instead, though I'm living in the Caribbean where it's still sunny and in the 90's absolutely every day.  While not having cold weather and snow is a BIG blessing it just doesn't help it to feel like Christmas.    
I decided that this year it would be fun to decorate my house with the kids and to do some things that would hopefully help it to feel a little more like Christmas.  There was this part of me that was SO excited to do some of the "normal" Christmas activities with my littles.  Decorating the Christmas tree with Rose and Chilanda was so much fun.  Rose spent a lot of time looking over each and every bulb before placing them all in the exact same spot on the tree.  Chilanda and I both tried to show her how she could make the tree beautiful by placing them all over the tree but Rose just wasn't convinced that we knew what we were talking about=)  In my mind I thought it would be super cute to get a picture of all my kids with the decorated tree.  Instead of getting that picture though it's been a constant battle to keep the bulbs on the tree and keep track of who's turn it is to turn the tree lights on and off.  I also thought it would be fun to make a Christmas treat with them and yet the kids really just wanted to eat hot dogs instead.

Many of the moments I had pictured have been filled with a lot more chaos than I ever envisioned and yet they have also been filled with lots of laughter and really big smiles.  The first thing they do when they run into the house is turn off the regular lights so they can plug in the little tree and then turn on the other two strands of Christmas lights.  They then proceed to turn them all on and off at least a hundred times because it is just that amazing seeing them all light up.  The decorative Santa now has a braided beard and actually hasn't been able to just be decorative at all.  They have had so much fun playing with that Santa and it has been so sweet listening to them talk all about his jacket, shoes, and hat.  And even though I'm craving Christmas candies, I don't mind making them hot dogs because I know just how much they love them.  It still hasn't felt quite like a "normal" Christmas and yet it has been a lot of fun creating new memories with all my little friends.  
Santa before he got his beard braided=)

Sunday, November 22, 2015

photo updates

This baby girl is pure joy.  She loves absolutely everyone and is constantly smiling.  She is the most fought over baby in the village too- doesn't matter who is holder her another person always swipes in to steal her=)  Saina is such a sweet little blessing!
Oh I just want to bottle this sweet moment up and never forget just how sweet these two are.  They are both full of sass and yet they still love nothing more than climbing on my lap to cuddle and discuss everything from school drama to when I'll be getting more catchup.  Love them=)
And a complete flashback- my Davidson really always has been a little charmer=)  Just look at those CHEEKS!  I'm not sure where the time has gone but Facebook reminded me (this picture was taken 3yrs ago this month) that my baby boy is no longer quite so little.
The kids found some rope and decided to make a swing!  They laughed and laughed as they attempted to push each other higher.  The swing also provided a good lesson in learning to share and take turns=)

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Every Friday my older kiddos come to campus for Brigade (Boy/Girl scout/AWANA type of activity). While the older kids are at Brigade the younger three come to my house to play.  We build block towers and create masterpieces with crayons while in the house and of course hot dogs and popcorn are usually involved too.  Towards the end of summer a team came and worked long hours to help transform a once uneven dirt field into a level soccer field that has grass.  This week I told the kids that we were going on an adventure and as soon as we got to the grass I had them take off their shoes.  Rose and Natamara instantly started running (more like hopping) through the grass while Davidson claimed it hurt his feet and refused to move from my side.  The girls couldn't believe how soft it was and started rolling all over the ground.  Davidson yelled at them that he would be telling their mothers that they were rolling on the ground=)  We (everyone but Davidson..) had so much fun running around chasing a ball and honestly just collapsing on our backs in the "forest" as the girls kept calling it.  Even though this space will eventually be a soccer field, for an afternoon this little grassy oasis became a spot for my kiddos to run and explore.  And a place to laugh and experience a field of grass for the first time.  

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November newsletter!

The November newsletter has been mailed!  Click on the link below for the web version of the newsletter.  Let me know ( if you would like to feel extra special and receive a copy in the mail!

To donate financially- click on the link below!
*Select under staff support Brooke Smalley*

And just in case you want to see more photos- click on the links below!

You can also follow me on instagram: smalleybrooke for more photo updates and stories!

Monday, October 19, 2015

I promise I haven't forgotten about having a blog.  Every time I sit down to write a story or update I just stare at the screen.  I finally decided that I would share with you some of the people that have been on my heart a lot lately.  Some of the people who I have been praying for and that in so many ways have rocked my faith by getting to walk with them on this journey.  
School has been back in session for almost two months and some of my little friends are having trouble focusing in school or learning their lessons.  Each of them love school and they want to be there.  It's just hard.  It's hard going from an environment of little structure to one that is completely structured and in a different language (school is taught in French).  It's hard learning (and remembering) lessons when you haven't eaten yet that day and possibly only ate once the day before.  And it's hard for the mommas, grandmas, and caregivers to help the kids with their homework when sometimes they are unable to read and write themselves.  So one of my prayers has been for the school children to be blessed with parents/caregivers who are daily encouraging the kids to learn and study.  That the parents are blessed with work in order to provide for their families.  And that the children would be able to focus while in school and that their little minds would be able to learn what is needed in order to continue progressing in school.  
Esaie is in the malnutrition program and has an amazing momma.  She is always quick to help teach and encourage the other mothers at appointments and calls me (sometimes daily) with updates.  This momma has other children that are doing well and she has said multiple times that Esaie has struggled since he was little with one sickness after another.  There was a point in our relationship though that she literally rocked my world.  In normal conversation she simply stated that if Esaie is still alive in December he will be two years old.  My heart literally dropped the moment I heard the words "if Esaie is still alive" come out of her mouth.  My instant response was out of anger that she would even think about him dying over the next few months.  After I took a few breaths though I was filled with compassion for this momma.  She has been fighting for this little guy from the day he was born.  She has chosen to fight for him even when the dad left, when they didn't have a home or roof over their heads, and when he has had sickness after sickness.  This momma has still chosen to love her son but in reality she also knows just how frail and sick he is.  This momma was being honest with me and it was in that moment that I knew I had to pray for wisdom in knowing how to love and encourage her.  When admitting a child into the malnutrition program I never know if it's the parent/caregiver or the child that I'm really being called to serve.  Yes, the child has immediate medical needs but sometimes it has so much more to do with learning to meet that parent right where they are in the mess of life and letting them know that its ok to fight and keep going.
 Kerley has had a special spot in my heart for quite awhile.  If' I'm being honest though it's his momma that has truly captured my heart and that has been the one I have felt such a huge burden to pray for.  Kerley has many medical problems that have caused him to be malnourished and very developmentally delayed.  In order for this momma to to care for Kerley she must be in the home with him.  She is such a sweet momma with this little guy and truly loves him.  And yet, if she is at home with Kerley she is unable to work and earn an income.  If she doesn't work outside the home then she isn't able to care for her other children which means that she is unable to send them to school and provide for their needs.  No matter what this momma does or chooses she is not caring for someone in her family.  Kerley's momma has been very open with me in seeking advice and wisdom on what would be best for not only Kerley but her entire family.  We have cried and prayed together multiple times and I'm always left feeling torn for this momma.  My prayers have been for this momma to have a support system that would step up to love and serve her well.  That she would be blessed with an opportunity to work so she can provide for all of her children.  I don't know what any of that looks like and yet I know that we serve a very big God and that none of this mommas story is too small for Him.  Praying with and for this momma has challenged me in so many ways.
Sweet Fado rocked the world of myself and several other of my nurse friends over a year ago when he was initially diagnosed with severe malnutrition.  It's never easy walking with a momma on this journey and this story was filled with lots of ups and downs.  Fado was recently re-admitted into the malnutrition program.  My heart breaks for this little guy.  In the worst way I want to see him thriving and reaching developmental milestones like a normal two year old.  Oh how I want to see this little one not only learn to walk but run and cause all sorts of trouble.  I want to see this momma empowered to fight for her son. In so many ways I'm also fighting against the desire to hide and pretend like Fado isn't as sick as he is and just how messy that can make relationships.  So one of my big prayers has been that I would be bold and willing to be firm and fight for Fado.  Another prayer has been for wisdom in knowing how to care for Fado and how to love and encourage his sweet momma.   
I feel honored to have been given a spot in each of my kiddos little lives.  Each of them is such a blessing in a different and unique way.  These children are the future of not only Chambrun but of Haiti.  I'm constantly praying for wisdom in learning how to best walk alongside their families.  I desire to see these children loved and encouraged in their homes.  And oh how I want to see each of them get to go to school and do well in school.  I pray for each of the programs that NVM has for the children from Brigade (Boy/Girl scout, AWANA type of activity), youth group, choir, Sunday school, and others- that these programs would be a safe place for the children to grow in their relationships with the Lord.  I'm also constantly praying for patience and energy (for some reason the kids never lack energy..) as I learn to love and serve each child in the way that s/he needs most.  These children have blessed me in ways they will never even know and I consider it a honor to get to pray for them and to live life with them.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

four years!

Natamara and Davidson- they don't fit that easily on my lap anymore!
 Four years ago today I got on a plane headed to Haiti with a one way ticket.  Little did I know back then just how hard this life would be.  How much this little place (and its little people) would challenge and change me.  And how my faith would be stretched and grown.  I also didn't know just how in love with this place I would become and that I would literally gain another family.  This journey hasn't been easy and yet I am thankful that the Lord has truly blessed me with calling Haiti my home.
Look at those cheeks on Rose!!  
Oh have these kids grown up!  My Chilanda (pink pants) will be 15 this month!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Why wouldn't Davidson's afternoon snack be bread and coffee!?  Ironically enough, his grandmother sent him home with me after he finished his snack=)
Friday afternoons are never dull or quiet in my house!  These three had fun wrestling with the blanket on the couch and then cheered like crazy when they saw I bought a new bottle of ketchup=)  It's the little things in life!  
A friend sent me some packages of pock rock candy!  LOVE doing fun things with my friends here!  Watching the expressions on their faces as the candy "popped" in their mouths was priceless…we laughed a lot that afternoon!
When you are four and you stub your toe it's a pretty BIG deal.  Thankfully we were able to find a piece of plastic to tie around her toe before it got too serious=)  Not sure if my years in nursing school were geared towards this or not..ha.