Sunday, June 17, 2018

May newsletter!

The May 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!

May Newsletter:

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Sunday, December 31, 2017

the best of 2017

One of my top memories from 2017 was the birth of Douvens.  Oh how this little one has rocked my world and yet I wouldn't want to change a thing because he really has brought so much laughter and sweet moments into our family!
In what seems like a blink of an eye 2017 has come to a close.  This year has been filled with so many ups and downs and yet as I look back I can't help but be thankful for all that He has blessed us with.  I am thankful to live in a community that loves and supports me and one that has shown me what it truly means to live a life of faith.  I hope that you enjoy looking through some of my favorite moments from 2017.  Wishing you a wonderful New Year!  
Douvens first Sunday to go to church!  This was a morning where the women
of the church truly loved and supported me in a way that only the Lord could orchestrate.
So thankful for a community of people who have loved my little family over the last year. 
A little one in each arm is the best way to live life!
The shocked look on Douvens face is pretty much priceless because this little one
had no clue what family he was being "blessed" with!  
It's pretty much been a year long challenge to see just how many people we can cram into
our friends car!  My kids LOVE Adam's crazy driving and getting to go on all sorts of adventures!
Just a snapshot of what life is like swimming with my crew!
The pool is for sure one of our favorite places to go and the kids have become fish!
2017 was a year of watching this little ones cheeks grow--Douvens has captured all our hearts!
So many of our "roles" and just life in general changed in 2017 and yet I'm thankful that
these are my people and that even when it doesn't make a lot of sense- I get to call them mine. 
This has been a year of starting new traditions and I know that having an Easter egg
hunt was one of the kids favorites--especially when they found out one of the eggs had
some money in it!  Love the community we get to do life with!
This is what I pray my space will continue to be- constantly filled with kiddos.  A
place where we play games and scream and yell because well everyone seems to be a tad bit
competitive.  A placed where the counter is filled with cups and the sink is always filled with dishes. 
Because even in the midst of the chaos--this is what the best of moments are made of. 
I promise you I have more than one chair in my just wouldn't be nearly
as much fun if we didn't all sit together!
I do a whole lot of walking on this road with my kiddos.  We talk about
everything from math facts to some really hard stuff.  I'm thankful for this space
to process and hear from the hearts of my littles.
Over the course of this year Saina went from being a little baby to a girl!  She has
so much spunk and personality and LOVES all the new little babies!
We spend so many hours around this little table playing games, eating, and just
having fun.  So thankful for my crew!
This picture pretty much sums up so much of life.  On this day I tried to slip into the village
without the kiddos seeing me.  I wanted to visit a new mom and have a chance to talk with her about
hew new twin baby girls.  It wasn't but a few minutes when I turned around and noticed this behind me--
oh how I love each and everyone of them!
I love that visiting friends in other villages nearby is a favorite of all my kiddos.
These long walks give lots of time for all sorts of silliness on the road.
I consider myself completely blessed because I get to do life with each of these women.
These women have a faith that is lived out in both words and actions.  They inspire
me and they encourage and love me in big ways.  I'm so thankful the
Lord has placed each of them in my life.  
Douvens is a complete water baby!  He napped like this for a long time!
Saina, Mirlande, and Mirolta are three of the cutest little girls ever. 
Love that I get to hug and kiss them everyday. 
This was the more "us" Thanksgiving picture!  I just wanted to get a cute picture with the kiddos before
leaving for the Thanksgiving meal we were having with several other families...and this is what happened.
 Oh so thankful that this life is for sure not dull or boring!
Afternoons in the village are my favorite- and this pretty much sums up what life is like most days. 
There is always a fight over who sits where on my lap and everyone has a story to tell.  These kiddos
are growing up SO fast and I feel so blessed to get to be here with them!
Thankful that I got to do 2017 with these two- so much change and transition has happened and yet this girl hasn't stopped fighting or working hard towards everything in front of her.  Oh so proud of her!
All dressed up for the Christmas party!  I have SO many more pictures that are more "perfect" with the
kiddos actually looking at the camera and yet this one pretty sums up what life is like with this gang!
This is a moment I want to freeze- a moment where all my kiddos were decorating the house
and life just seemed so perfect.  These little traditions have been something we all look forward to!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Merry Christmas!

 There is something extra special about celebrating the Christmas season with kids.  This year has been so much fun because the children were SO excited for December to get here so they could start decorating.  A few extra kiddos joined in on the decorating and it was pretty precious just sitting back and watching as they all helped each other get the house looking absolutely beautiful (and completely tacky!).  I've tried to make it a tradition to add new decorations to the bin each year and this year one of the new items was stockings.  My kiddos instantly put them on their feet which had me in tears laughing as they pranced around the living room stringing lights and decorating the tree.  I finally told them that the stockings weren't really meant to be worn on their feet but rather that they are typically hung up in your home and treats are placed in them.  They instantly wanted to know where the treats were and I realized that I hadn't quite planned everything out as much as I should have.  They keep me on my toes that is for sure!  
Nothing sweeter than little ones around the tree!
Even the window got decorated and looked quite fancy!
All dressed up for the Christmas party!
Another highlight in December is the school Christmas party.  This is an event that the children literally count down for and get SO excited for!  The Christmas party is an event where the children have the opportunity to get all dressed up and each class performs a song/dance/skit in front of everyone.  There is always a lot of music and of course dancing too!  The children are also fed a big meal and each child receives a present.  One of the preschool classes got whistles which I'm pretty sure the children didn't stop blowing from the moment they received them--their teachers had so much more patience than me--haha!  This day is one that the children know is all about them.  It's one where they are free to simply have fun and oh does it make my heart so happy just to watch them! 
One of the highlights of the party--the food and most importantly the meat!!
Watching the children remember and get excited about our little traditions was something that made this season extra special and fun.  Reading through the Christmas story and hearing their questions and thoughts was something that filled my heart in ways that only He can.  I love getting to celebrate with my kiddos and this year has been one that I know we will each remember.  I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and I pray that this is a season where you feel His presence.  
My Christmas blessings!

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

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*

Friday, September 1, 2017

Six years!

 Six years ago today I boarded a plane to live and serve in Haiti for what I thought was going to be one year.  Little did I know that this place would become my home.  The people my family.  And the community a place that has captured my heart.  I feel extra thankful and blessed to have been given the opportunity to live this life and to watch as the Lord works in the lives of those around me.  Each year has been filled with lots of laughter, tears, and hard/sweet moments and yet looking back I wouldn't change it for anything.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

little women

I don't know exactly when it happened. And I don't know if my heart was or would have ever been ready for the sweet moment of realizing one of my littles is not so little anymore. Saturday mornings are always some of my favorites with my kiddos. On this particular day I remember forcing myself to get out of bed. It was one of those mornings that I really wanted to hide under the covers and shut out the world, butI had promised the kids that I would be in the village that morning and keeping my word is something that is so important to them. So on this morning I forced myself to walk to the village all the while telling myself that I would just make it a quick visit. Run down and say some "good mornings" and then head back home.
When I arrived in the village I was greeted (or practically barreled over..) by the kiddos who were pretty excited for a morning that was free to play and explore. Rose quickly informed me that she wouldn't be ready to leave right away (there went my quick visit plans) because she was going to cook some rice. I had to hold in the laughter because the idea of Rose (7yrs old) cooking rice was just too much. I don't remember if the kids pushed me down to a spot on the ground to sit or if I just gave in to the reality of "this will be awhile", but sitting down was one of the best decisions I made. As I sat there I watched as my "baby" girl moved in and out of the kitchen space. The other girls jumped in to help and before long one was off gathering water, another sticks and charcoal for the fire (because why wouldn't they use real fire to play with!), and one was sent to get oil and salt from one of the older women. I laughed because I knew there was NO way these little girls were going to get a portion of the oil and salt and yet they did. I was in constant shock as I watched the girls cooking. They fanned the coals just like the older women do and they mashed the garlic and onions like every other woman I know does. When I squinted my eyes really tightly it was like the Lord was giving me a glimpse into these sweet girls lives ten or fifteen years from now. My little girls were no longer little and instead I saw little women sitting in front of me. 
The amount of rice made was no more than two cooked cups but you would have thought it was an entire pot full. Spoon fulls of rice got dished out to every one who helped and even the littler kids got a portion.  I even got my fair portion of the rice and was super surprised at just how good it was:) I secretly wished I had paid more attention to everything they were putting in that pot because it was that good.
This sweet morning in the village reminded me just how much my kiddos are really watching everything around them. They are growing up and these moments I have with them are going much too quickly. I'm so thankful that they pulled me into staying longer than I had planned and that in watching them play I felt the Lord really impressing on my heart just how special and unique each of them are. And how these moments I have with them are so much more than what they sometimes seem like in the day to day.  

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

April newsletter!

  The April newsletter has finally 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*

Instagram (this is updated much more frequently!): smalleybrooke

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

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Happy Easter!

In the middle of a season that just feels extra hard I'm thankful that there is the hope that comes with Easter morning.  As I read through my devotions during this season of lent I was consistently reminded of how God used (to me) seemingly impossible situations to bring about redemption.  He took things that were beyond broken and put them back together.  Yes, it's easy for me to get overwhelmed at the injustice in front of me and at how I hate watching the hearts of my kiddos get pulled in different directions.  And yet, this day reminds me to hold on tightly to the Hope that only He can bring.  It reminds me that in Him all things are made new.  I'm thankful that this Easter Sunday was one spent with my kiddos and the other missionary families on campus.  I'm also thankful that I was able to talk to my family back home and that I got to see lots of pictures of my nieces and nephew looking all cute as they hunted eggs too.  Sweet new traditions were started this year and so many fun memories were made!  
Rose and Davidson LOVED searching for the eggs!
Rose found a money egg and couldn't stop giggling!
She has BIG plans as to what treats she wants to buy!
Discovering that the eggs were filled with candy led to LOTS of squealing!  
Douvens looking chubby and adorable!
The kids table at our Easter lunch!