• sarah@healingeyes.org

Author Archives: Healing Eyes

Don’t worry..I have your back

After arriving late to the boys and girls club due to my Jeep being indisposed again. Yes my Jeep is my thorn in my side but it is teaching me patience and to roll with calamity. I took her (aka Jeep) to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles today for registration renewal and it was not as awful as an experience as I was prepared for. The inspector was nice and charming, the people inside were cordial and the wait wasn’t terribly long. Now the system of calling your number (which is handwritten on a piece of scrap paper) was a bit illogical but all in all it worked out. I still like to call this place 2.5 world country since it really has a lot of idiosyncrasies to it. All the St Croix readers will understand what I mean:)

Sadly I failed the inspection test:( my reverse lights were not working. So it is at the mechanic for that and also to see why my radiator fluid is slowly disappearing and why there is a greasy residue below it. I hope its not oil.

But I am not going to complain because as my anxiety level was rising because of the Jeep I got a wonderful email today from a supporter who wants to help out with my Jeep Expenses. So YAY! Don’t worry..Be Happy Now! yes I did just quote a caribbean type song…I think I am allowed to though.

Last night I thought about how I could quit this mission. What it would take to return back to Michigan and get a job, settle down and be normal. I really was close to throwing in the bag since the pressure of succeeding is weighing heavy. Having to find a CPA and tax experts, liability insurance, 501c3 status, board of directors, fundraising, it’s all enough to make me think I can’t do it. It’s too much and I am too broken to continue.

But

With a single email from a Michigander I feel like I can keep going and it will be ok. I will not end up in a cardboard box! Timing is everything I guess.

The kids today were ‘behaved’. Yes, behaved! One of the boys said, ‘Oh your here’. One of the girls apologized for calling me Mean because I guess once I arrived the kids were saying ‘Miss Sarah is here and she isn’t coming in to say hello to you.’ and so that one girl said I was mean. But later she apologized because I did come in and say hi to her. These kids are so attentive to my comings and goings.

Three boys needed me today for Social studies and spelling words. Two of them like to cheat off each other and so that was a challenge. As always he called me ‘mommy’. So weird.

Later on we worked on bracelets some more. The boys counted them and we have 213 so far! They are so proud of their work and excited to think they are helping kids in Africa. It seems counting also is a way to keep them from being wild and crazy, allows them to see their accomplishment, and teaches them math. Picture this…2 boys counting bracelets while kids are screaming and running around doing several different things, an adult is screaming out names for pickup, and I am just standing there watching the magical rhythm of this club. I still don’t understand how yelling out kids names and showing anger towards them when they don’t respond is at all a positive experience for them.

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Healing Eyes

A look back and a Stove

It would be nice to say I have moved on and learned to deal with grief and loss.

it would be nice to say it does get better over time.

It would be nice to say that I don’t miss how I used to live.

It would be nice to say only good things about how wonderful the kids are and how they are touching my heart…that they fill the void of losing a husband.

It would be nice…

But let’s be honest, as I try to be transparent and honest on this blog, grief sucks and the upcoming 1 year anniversary of Andy dying really stings. Giving up my belongings, my house, my cars, and even my puppies to move to an island to show love on other’s people’s kids makes it all worth it. Can I sound anymore disgruntled and bitter? I could but then what would that solve? Would it bring Andy back? Would it allow me to go back and get a ‘normal’ job and buy a house? I am now on a path that I can’t turn back from. Maybe over time I can get a bit of it back but really no matter how I look at it that life is gone. My mind can keep playing it over in my head how it could be different but the same. Nope it’s gone. I made the switch from blogging about grief and widowhood in order to change the direction to the mission. Truthfully you can’t really separate the two, the one made the new path. Now crazy part…can a stove really break a person? Yes, I mean a STOVE. A minor convenience of a house but can it cause a person to change paths in order to have it back.

Some of you may not know but I moved and now I can’t cook my comfort food, I am cutting back in order to last longer for the kids. If I can save a dollar here and there in order to stay through the school year than the Stove must go. Warm and gooey tuna casserole, delicious lasagna, oh a spicy chicken rice bake. I miss my remodeled kitchen that Andy and I made together, its beautiful tile backsplash and quartz countertop hand laid with love. The fake slate linoleum flooring we sweat over while pushing out each air bubble so it was perfect. The piddle spots from the dogs. Or that time when I was on the phone talking to his palliative care doctor about the meds and they were all scattered on the countertop while Andy was passed out in the other room.

I’m told it’s bad to relive the past memories, drudging them back up is a set back.

I miss my STOVE and Andy hugging me while cooking.

Sometimes its not the inconvenience of not having something, or the complaining of missing something that’s the root of the problem. It’s the memory of what is gone and can never be as it was. Stove or no Stove, Food or no food, that one year mark is fast approaching.

Healing Eyes

Expect more from the least

What would my job description be now if I had to explain it to others?

I just got back from taking 4 kids to the movies and I had only thought it was going to be 3 but once again another kid snuck in. It seems to be getting easier to get the kids after school now. It feels like I am making progress with their mothers finally which makes me think. Perhaps I should try harder to get to know these woman that work hard to provide for their children. Yes i could think the opposite and assume the reason why they let me take their kids out to the beach or movies is because they don’t want to do those thing. Or. Perhaps its because they need to work a lot in order to put food on the table and give their kids a place to stay. It may not look like the best lifestyle to others looking in but once you really start to look you can see how much they care for their kids and how much more I have to learn about their stories too.

My new job description is going to be relationship builder to those with the least of things. Maybe I”ll find that its not quite what I think and they have a very rich life measured in another way.

After the movie I ran into a boy from the boys and girls club, he recognized me first of course. Then I a mother caught my eye and said ‘Hi Miss Sarah’. It seems I am starting to be noticed more. She was interested to hear more about my trip to Africa coming up and how she can help. Maybe God was right when he said I needed to seek out others that I wouldn’t have originally assumed to want to give. It’s always the people you don’t expect that step up. I better be careful what I ask for as now I am afraid I might get an abundance of supplies to bring with me to Africa. I’ll just have to pack nothing for myself and wear only 2 outfits in order to have room for all the gifts.

My wish is that others could see what I see here. Experience what I am feeling. Above all know what it is to Give Back and step outside your comfort zone.

Tomorrow I got sweet talked into agreeing to taking the girls to the beach/pool again. Perhaps it will be hard to say goodbye when the day comes. Whatever am I to do!

Healing Eyes

The Gift of Isolation

Healing Eyes

Loud and Clear

When a child is hurting or hiding something they won’t say much. In some cases the child shuts down and doesn’t say a word to anyone. I’ve been fortunate to have a little girl talk to me a couple times since meeting here. Today she audibly said something that made me giggle. Normally when she speaks its inaudible and at most you can kinda hear a faint whisper in your ear. I mentioned her earlier when she whispered, “I miss my parents”, to me. Today she blew me away when she almost let her wall down enough to yell something out to me.

I told my girls we were making snowman in class today and she overheard me mention that. She is in the primary class and not mine. She grabbed me on the way in and mumbled something and then she repeated it LOUD and clear, “I want to make a snowman!”

Moments like that make it feel worth it. I even got her to smile a bit and learn how to make rubber band bracelets. She was very persistent in learning even though she kept messing up. Finally she made a bracelet and than a second one. When I told her they are going to Africa she threw her arms together and whined with a very sad pouty face. Me and the other kids explained to her that sometimes you have to Give to receive and this time she needed to give. Eventually she understood..I think.

I think sometimes we all want to put our arms around our chest and sigh that life isn’t fair. Why can’t I have it or why does some things come easier for others. Being content with what we have is hard and hopefully these kids are learning something about sharing and letting go.

Pastor Abe vs 4 girls

Pastor Abe vs 4 girls

Healing Eyes

Milestone for Healing Eyes Inc

Well I did it! I clicked the submit button and now I wait…wait…and wait…to hear if I am approved.

My 501c3 application is in the hands of the IRS now and I’ll need as much prayer as I can get that the application gets approved and that it goes smoothly from here on out. It’s all fine and dandy to go off and volunteer to help kids but then there is the paperwork and the taxes and the paperwork eeeeek!

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  • Another quick update. I am now fully stocked with Rubber bands for the kids and we have a wee bit over 100 bracelets made for Africa Mission trip. It’s so great to see everyone gathering around to make this happen. Yay! Rubber bands!
  • The Africa trip is fast approaching and I just extended it by 3 days in order to visit an orphanage in Soroti. Pray the planning and preparation goes smoothly. Getting nervous. If anyone wants to make a last minute donation and get a tax write off please contact me ASAP so I can get you the mailing address. My deadline to pay is by December 13.
  • Mosquitos are quite irritating this time of year and I am hopeful I won’t get the chikungunya virus going around.
Healing Eyes

What’s a Squirrel?!

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Why does he keep calling me Mommy?

Made the Squirrel craft today. I figured screw trying to pick only the easy crafts with the Boys and Girls club because of the chaos there. We are going to use glue and get messy! The kids loved the ‘thankful squirrel’ craft and most of them survived the trip home I hope. This one boy really wanted to make one after he finished his homework so I gave in because I am a softy for him. We sat together and worked on it one-on-one and he is proudly showing off his squirrel in the above photo. At one point i was getting faint from lack of food and the yelling kids so he shared his cheetos and cheeze crackers with me. See God provides:)

Squirrel

Showing off their Squirrels. One Kid thought it was a beaver.

 

The kids are still excited for my Africa trip and enthusiastic to make rubber band bracelets. Today I ran out completely, they just devour them. Hopefully tomorrow I can find the new shipment of rubber bands at the post office. It’s so cool to see how much the kids want to be a part of something and to be noticed for their accomplishments. We have a little over 100 bracelets made so far!


Got to take 5 kids to the beach on Saturday and it was quite an adventure again. Piled them up in my jeep and gave them another day to remember, for me and them. At the end one of the new boys I just met didn’t want to leave me, he kept trying to sneak back into my jeep when I turned my back. I wish I could put into words the day but perhaps the photos can speak for themselves. I’m making some big leaps towards meeting the mothers of these kids and I wonder if somehow I can grow those connections and not just the kid ones. I mean the adults matter too and perhaps that’s a piece forgotten on the island here when the kids get all the photo ops and special programs.

 

Healing Eyes

‘Break’ away to succeed?

Break up the hardness of their hearts. Sometimes hearts have to be broken to be cleaned up, made fertile for something to grow. Perhaps chipping away at hardened stone will produce beauty underneath or maybe the stone is too think to ever break through. Can a life be like a field needing tilling? Clear out the hard rock to produce soil. What will be done with that soil?

Yesterday Johan said, ‘Hi Mom’, very casually this time.

I have been in a funk this week, memories of Andy mixed with feelings of failing. I was working on my application for 501c3 status today and half way through Legal Zoom submitted it and now I am locked out. Two hours of heads down work and rationalizing what this non-profit is going to do and how its funded and then it’s all gone. I can’t call and complain since the office is closed for the holiday, I am entirely helpless while I wait to yell at someone at Legal Zoom for making an awful website. So much red tape and hoops to jump through and fees after fees to try and do what we are supposed to do. Help others. I am thinking it’s purposely daunting for the very reason to undermine trying to start something good.

In 6 weeks I will travel to Africa to see what I am up against. I still need my yellow fever shot and to come up with another $1700 bucks to do it with. I’m not terribly worried about the cost, more worried about staying healthy enough to get my yellow fever shot. Really want to bring supplies over with and get others excited about stepping in to help. The kids at the Boys and Girls club make me smile with there enthusiasm for helping make bracelets. We have about 100 made so far and they are demanding more rubber bands. Next week I hope a shipment arrives fast enough…these kids are so amazing on how they want to help.

What happens to us when we grow up that makes us lose that selfless desire to help? Is it all the stuff we can buy instead, like the crazy cheap plasma TVs the day after thanksgiving. Me and Andy bought TVs, the bigger the better, we were happy. I’m afraid when I go to Africa I am going to see so much sickness and helplessness that I’ll come back even more driven to make every penny count. But then will I just go crazy trying?

It’s so quiet here right now.. a calm before the storm. I am worried about failing at this non-profit thing and finding more directors for my board of directors that are a perfect fit. Proving to the IRS that I have a valid plan when I am scared that I don’t because it makes no sense. I see a book on the floor about How to Form a Non-profit…it has so many big words in it, it’s so confusing. I have my board meeting on Monday with my three dedicated members and I am supposed to have an agenda and go over bylaws and legal stuff and nominate new directors….all so foreign and insane.

But the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth, and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful.

It’s the journey, not the end goal… right?

September 15, 2012: I referred to being chipped away and not wanting to be shattered…under too much pressure. Was that the beginning of the chiseling of the stone to get at my heart.

Healing Eyes

Truth whispered through a giraffe

Today a giraffe spoke for a child in pain. You know how sometimes it doesn’t make sense why things happen to you or why we have to suffer so much? There is a sadness that lingers and how we try to shove it down so others won’t feel awkward around you because in truth that smile masks the truth.

I told my friend on the phone today, “I want to give up. It’s too much, too hard, I’m not the right person for this.”

There is a little girl that doesn’t speak, she keeps her head low and doesn’t smile much. Once and awhile you can get her to whisper Yes or No but she will revert to shaking her head to respond instead. I’ve been memorizing how to make Giraffes out of origami so that I can make a little girl smile. Today I pulled out the paper and made a giraffe for this little girl and we used the giraffe’s to talk. I made up a silly story about 2 giraffes walking thru a valley and stumbling upon a teddy bear (her sister had a little plastic teddy bear that magically appeared). The giraffe’s got mad at eachother and she hit my giraffe with hers and so I made my giraffe lay his head down in sadness. She then nudged my giraffe with her’s to say sorry and comfort me. Then we walked into the valley again making the giraffes play together. Her giraffe got very sad and she put her head down on the picnic table. We tried naming the giraffe and she didn’t like any of the names until finally she agreed on the name Twilight (this was only through a method of saying names until she nodded her head yes). Then she came around the table and sat by me and we tried making the giraffes sing but she wouldn’t agree. I thought she was trying to tell me a song she liked but after repeated attempts for her to whisper in her sister’s ear what she was saying I gave up. Then I asked her one more time to whisper into my ear. She did and I couldn’t understand. She tried again. “I miss my parents”. She wasn’t trying to tell me a song she was telling why she hurt. That was all she said as she laid her head on the table and sighed. All I could do was put my hand on her back and try to comfort her without scaring her off.

I don’t know what her family life is like or who takes care of her. Not sure what she meant by that but she was very sad. So I am very sad too. My smile is my mask to others. She hasn’t learned to mask her sadness yet, she chooses being mute instead.

Afterwards I went to the other club for their thanksgiving meal. I didn’t belong. I always stick out. Sadly I found out Miss Sarah was killed yesterday by a friend, she was ripped out of her hermit shell and killed. I feel bad for Angel who liked her little hermit crab so much she named her after me and was going to paint her shell pink.

I am sad.

Healing Eyes

Tale of a hermit crab

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Anyone can be used to create change. Someone dies and then a new path appears. Conversations with unlikely people reveal a truth about human nature. On a beach in the caribbean discussing losing loved ones and then being thrown into a different path of self discovery.

Holding a conversation with a teacher while a small girl uses me as ghoul in a game of tag. She clings to my arm and waist saying, ‘save me’. Then I say, ‘from what?’  Somehow I became the ‘safe zone’. A girl that keeps to herself and now two days in a row she is clinging, hugging, smiling at me. I ignore her and she keeps coming back. Another boy is gone, off to Canada with his dad and his half sister is left behind sucking a lollipop. I think how is she going to walk home without her more sane brother. Yet she smiles, it’s normal for people to come and go.

A girl yells out for me and squeezes me, says I am her favorite person, that she only comes because of me. She doesn’t like sleeping at home so she stays at her grandma’s…she has forgotten what her house is like. She brought a hermit crab in an empty water bottle and pulled her out, said her name was ‘Miss Sarah’.

A boy who doesn’t listen to authority and is stubborn every time smiles and shrugs at me at the same time. He won’t make bracelets because there are too many kids, then later he comes up and hands me one that was fallen on the ground. He’s a quiet thinker, patient, and silent. A shy mouse too stubborn to come out but really inquisitive to his surroundings.

Two kids gone…don’t know what happened to them, a brother and a sister. The girl was energetic and hyper while the brother was withdrawn and sad.

The boys from the catholic school always there first and so intelligent. Well mannered and dependable to help out. My little helpers. I explain to the one small one I have a plan and I need your help. I want to make as many rubber band bracelets as possible to bring to Africa, can you kids help me. He runs off saying, Miss Sarah is here and we need to make bracelets for kids in Africa. Like wildfire it spreads and by the end of the afternoon I now have about 70 bracelets made and no more rubber bands.

God put a whisper in my heart to ask those with the LEAST to help out with my Africa mission. They will want to help and they will gain the most from helping. Do it. So I step out of my comfort zone and listen and this afternoon the kids crowded around me asking what is a missionary, where are you going, will you come back?

It’s the time of giving and the kids understood. It was so cute and refreshing to have them join in my mission. They thought it was cool that they could make something for a kid in Africa. One kid said be sure to tell them there names so the kids knew who made each bracelet.

I repeated the words Africa and missionary so many times today I might actually be fooled into believing this is for real.

Top it all of with the conversation with the teacher about going to Africa and how she thought that was amazing. That she thought I was doing something good and that even here in St. Croix she saw the difference with the kids. An outside perspective finally, affirmation of a job well done. So many lonely days and nights for these kids but she gave me the hope that I can keep going on. That it’s not crazy. She wants to live vicariously through my journey, to meet someone who actually is going to GO she said was awesome. I told her when I first met her I didn’t like kids…she remembered that and laughed as we both noticed the little girl clinging to me since I had unexpectedly become ghoul in a game of tag. I hugged the girl and let my shield down…finally I let me shield down and let myself love again. I’m not retarded with kids…I’m not poison to them…I can be a ‘mother’. Ahhh I’m crying as I just remembered what Johan told me today, he said…’Miss Sarah, you are my mother’. I asked him what he meant, that maybe he meant to say he liked his mother or his mother said something. But no he said, “Miss Sarah you are my mother’. This boy hugs me every day from behind and I casually say Hi Johan. Every time I see him. He even listens to me when I tell him no. The kids listen to me and I am so soft in my speech.

We went through over 1,000 rubber bands today in less than 2 hours. I am now out! If that’s not like the fisherman story where Jesus filled there nets with an overwhelming amount of fish…I didn’t expect to run out of rubber bands today…these kids amaze me!

What am I to do? I need more rubber bands ASAP:)

and I’m falling in love with kids I will eventually have to say goodbye to. and what about Africa…I will fall in love there too… my heart will just have to handle it… Period!

Healing Eyes