Friday, October 30, 2009


I'm in NEW ZEALAND!!!! And my first glimpse of the Southern Alps was truly breathtaking...other people on the plane must have thought I was psycho to take so many pictures through a plane window, but the snow-capped mountains were truly gorgeous!

BUT, first things first. I must recount what happened today while I was home alone with the pets (and inadvertently locked in the house). I'd spent a quiet morning with Yoda, the cat, and Belize, the dog - unpacking, organizing my room, doing a little yoga. The cat had begun to act a little funny, slyly crawling around the kitchen counter and by the stove hood. I didn't think much of it, but did wonder what he was up to. I had just begun to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich when Yoda spastically sprung a paw up to the hood and brought it down with a rat in tow! The cat had just literally snatched the rat from somewhere inside the corner of the hood. Yoda jumped down to the floor with the little rat in it's mouth, squeaking all the way. I stood there dumbfounded. I had not a clue what to do! I was afraid to look over the counter to see whether or not the rat would set himself free. I just kept hearing muffled squeaking and the cat adjusting the grip. I thought to get the cat outside, but then remembered that the door was locked and I had no key. So here I am, stuck in the house with a cat...eating...a rat. I was pleased
when the squeaking finally stopped, grateful that cat didn't want to play with his dinner long. At this point, I continued making my sandwich so as to keep from watching the murderous event take place, even though I had lost all appetite. I tried to get the cat out the kitty door, but he wasn't too keen on moving with his meal and I didn't want to push the subject as he kept growling with the dead rat hanging from his mouth. He did take it to the corner of the kitchen where the crunching commenced. Little did I know that after the squeaking came the crunching...of rat bones! I had to turn the TV on to drown out the sound...and utilize techniques learned in my nursing profession to keep from hurling the food I had yet to eat. I cleaned the blood up from the floor where the rat lost his life and proceeded to the living room to try my hand at eating my pb and j. When Yoda was all done, I peeked in the corner to check out the remains. Guts, a foot, and a tail. That's what he left behind. I'll be honest, I didn't touch any of it. I just couldn't bring myself to clean that up - plus I needed some proof so my house-family would believe me when they got home!!

Speaking of house family, I must tell you that they are just the kindest people. Michael and Karen and their kids, Theo and Holly have welcomed me into their home without even knowing me. I've been given a cozy room and been shown the ropes of the house. It's been a joy getting to know them and my time here has only just begun! Theo said I could stay when he found out I had red chucks just like his. And Holly let me beautify my toenails the first night I was here (after 6 weeks of walking, they desperately needed it). Wonderful people!

I feel much better leaving you on that note.

I'm attaching a few pictures of my time in Syd to this post as I didn't have them on my computer for the last post. You'll see why I've fallen for the jacarandas...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Has The Weeping Willow Met It's Match?

It's called the Jacaranda and is peppered all over the landscape on the East coast (well, ok, Brisbane and Sydney anyway) It is incredible. It's purple flowers are in full bloom now. Just about everywhere you turn, whether in the city or in the mountains, you can see these lavender beauties. They're from South America...and I'm hoping they're found in NZ too. (Pics to come soon.)

The past few days have been spent exploring's beaches, architecture, gardens. I spent a morning walking through the Botanic Gardens, then walked along the coast from Bondi Beach to Bronte Beach. Both were beautiful. Note, however, that walking barefoot on the rocky/sandy/sometimes paved coast walk will do a number on the bottom of one's feet! They recovered before a dinner with my lovely hosts here in Syd at a Thai restaurant and drinks at Clock in Surry Hills. I had a late breakfast in Darling Harbour yesterday in the midst of massive downpours. It was absolutely lovely - a covered deck seating allowed me to be in the midst of it without getting a bit wet. In between downpours I strolled through the Chinese Gardens - they were free for the day! - and then decided to dry my feet while watching a movie (Couples Retreat...ha, I know, a funny choice to watch by was entertaining and prompted more than a few laughs). I managed to catch the late service of Hillsong Sydney and called it a day! Today was another rainy day, so after grabbing some chicken noodle soup at a little bakery (yes, I grabbed dessert too...chocolate hazelnut cake, if you must know) I meandered through the Rocks area of downtown, noting some quaint pubs and shops. Thus ends my journey through Sydney. One final note on the city...sitting on the bottom level of the train is glorious - I can see everyone's shoes as the train pulls out!

Some thoughts (pros and cons, to be interpreted as you wish) regarding solo traveling...

+I can go wherever I want to go - if I want to see something again or linger for awhile or take 27 pictures of the same thing, no one is there to argue.
-Putting sunscreen on my back is virtually impossible - I haven't asked a stranger for help...yet.
+/-Without a set plan I can happen upon some amazing things, but on the flip side, there are times I feel like I'm just barely missing something huge.
+There is lots of time for one of my favorite sports: people-watching.
+I can linger in a bookshop until my eyes hurt.
-Sometimes I just desire a conversation with someone who knows me, and I don't want to engage with my own thoughts.
-Being plagued by indecision is easier to kick when you're with someone - it's the little things, for instance, deciding where to eat or where to sit or where to pee, they can be easier with a buddy.
-Getting dessert with a friend is great because you can get two different things and share...when it's me, I can only try one thing on a menu of enticing delectables, much to my chagrin.
-Sometimes I just want to be silly, and although I could be silly by myself, I think it would draw unwanted attention. :)
++No one is here to judge the health value of my meals...meaning dessert can be (and often is) the entire meal.
+No one will think I'm strange for analyzing a sweet treat (ie. taking pictures/notes) for future recreating reference.
+I have affirmed that I love taking pictures - so I must buy a "real" camera (you know, the ones with a lens bigger than the actual camera) and then travel around the world again, taking real and official pictures...ha!

Back to Brisbane tonight to enjoy one more day with the Aussies!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Random Act of Kindness

This'll be a quickie, but wanted to share with you a story that happened today...

Somewhere between Cebu and Brisbane, my camera charger went on holiday - without me and without telling me where. My camera died just before heading to Sydney, so I knew soon after arrival I would need to try to locate a charger (and I was quite fearful of how much this endeavor would cost me, but I needed a camera...) So I headed out this morning to conquer Sydney, or a bit of it anyway. I was sent to a store by my friend here. A couple amazing things happened! One, I had no trouble at all finding the store. Secondly, the man who asked to help me walked straight up to a charger and then asked for my battery to make sure it worked (more service than the one place we tried in Brisbane for sure!). It worked! But thirrrdly, he gave me a discount. Just for the heck of it. A $90 AUD ended up being $58 AUD. He said he thought it was on sale, but I'm virtually certain it wasn't. He walked me to the cashier and told her the new price. As she checked me out, she mentioned that that was a really great price, and she said "he can do that, he's the owner." Crazy! I'm not sure why he felt the urge to help me out, but I felt really blessed. First off I had a charger for my camera...and secondly it didn't cost as much as feared! It definitely put a bit of a bounce in my step.

After getting the camera sorted out, I headed into the city to take in a few sites. The Sydney Harbour Bridge, the famous opera house. Next I took a ferry to Manly Beach - a great little spot with a couple beaches, some old cool homes, etc. I walked around for a bit, then laid on the rocks on the beach to cool off. Loved every minute of it. Ended up catching a bit more sun that anticipated but am grateful for the beautiful day.

I just finished making peanut butter cookies - first baking since I left the States! It felt quite good to bake again. So come on over! :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Potato Potahto, Tomato Tomahto

As my friend Bill said today, I am now being dished back all the fun I poked at him for his British accent...the Aussies are quite keen on pointing out the "wrong" things I say in my purely American accent. Well deserved, I suppose! I am well into my 5th full day here in Brisbane and am anything but caught up on sleep. There's too much to do! I hit the ground running upon arrival Thursday morning: catching an early breakfast, stopping at Bartley's Hill for an overview of the city, and getting a city tour from Joel, my friend here in Brizzie, all before settling at his house. A couple hours to recoup and we headed into the city for a quick bite on the South Bank (my first Australian kebab) and then met one of his friends who joined us for a viewing of Julie and Julia. I was a bit tuckered out from a rather sleepless night on the plane, but stayed awake through the entirety of the movie. Maybe it was the Malteses that were being thrown at me (like Whoppers), or maybe it was the large amount of caffeine consumption, really though I think it was because it was a great movie. We headed up Mount Coot-tha next - what a view! The overlook provides a stunning view of the city - it is huge (just under 2 million) and the lights are spectacular.

Friday was a beautiful day - every day here has been actually. Sunny, mid-70s, a light breeze. I first went to window shop at a shopping centre with Joel's fun sister - we bonded over cooking/baking and loitered around several bookstores. It was strange to be back in a place where my skin color was in the majority and where poverty isn't screaming at you from every street corner. A part of me felt more at ease, but a part of me is still unsettled knowing what exists even though I don't see it on a day to day basis. Next Joel took me to the Roma Street Parklands, a park in the city full of lovely trees, flowers, wildlife. We then stopped at the Queen Street Mall (not another shopping mall, but a market area of sorts...a street of shops, musicians who are "busking," etc. where no cars are allowed) before heading to dinner with a group of friends at a Himalayan restaurant. It was my first experience with authentic Himalayan food - we had a few entrees, family style. I'd for sure do it again!
Saturday night was an interesting experience - I went with Joel's brother, Isaac, and a few others to "the Valley" - an area full of clubs, bars, a few brothels on the outskirts. Wait, wait,
don't worry - we didn't go to party. We actually evangelized to people on the streets. Isaac and his friend go every Saturday to help spread Christ's love and Message. It was a unique experience - spent time prayer walking through the streets, praying over certain buildings, initiating conversations with some, buying meals for a few homeless, giving out water to those who needed something a little less stiff, checking on several already passed out to make sure they were ok. The group of three I was in also went to the Lounge - an area where a handful Aborigines hang out. It was sad to see young kids, some under 10, drinking and generally up to no good. We brought a cooler of pop and chatted with the kids. Isaac is clearly building relationships with these kids. It ended up to be a late night, finally turning out the light as the sun was already starting to rise, but grateful for the experience and encouraged to see light in an area of darkness.

Needless to say, a Sunday afternoon nap was in order. I slept well with a tummy full of homemade butter chicken, a traditional Indian dish, and Tim Tams. I then headed into town to meet up with a relative...of sorts. Susanna is in Brisbane with Campus Crusade for Christ and just so happens to be my uncle's niece. It was a delight to meet her, sharing stories of times with our cousins - it was strange to discover we "share cousins" but have no relation to each other. We rode the CityCat which is a ferry stopping along the South Bank in the center of Brisbane. Some cool views from here.

Since then I've enjoyed a meal of French crepes, a walk through the Botanical Gardens (which, at this point, appear to be rather dead) where Bonnie and I perched ourselves in a tree for awhile and people-watched, and hiked in Mount Nebo and Mount Glorious. I have yet to spot a roo, but I did find it interesting that the mountains are filled with palm trees - a new site for me! I played Tarzan (well, Jane I guess) on a few cool branches and enjoyed seeing the differing ecosystems of the US and Australia.

A few more adventures to be had here before I head to Sydney on Thursday!


Saturday, October 17, 2009

From the Land Down Under

I'll be honest, it was a bit of an experience getting here. I could make the story quite long, but will inform you of just a few of the things I learned...

1. Overweight luggage is NOT fun.
2. Trying to lighten weight of overweight luggage in middle of Filipino airport is even more NOT fun...I was rummaging through frantically searching for heavy things I could wear - traded my chucks for hiking boots, wore a couple jackets, put books in my carryon (BAD idea)...
3. Delayed flights are not always a bad thing...I would have missed my flight due to aforementioned rummaging had it not been for the divine intervention of a 1.5 hour delay (they even gave us free lunch...that's right CSC more opportunity to eat Jollibee...mmm.)
4. The Cebu Airport is NOT joking when they say 7 kilos total weight for your carryon. Due to checked baggage excess (I dropped the weight down from a $200 charge to a $116 charge), I loaded my carryon bag with a couple books. BAD idea. They weigh this too and won't let you through if it is over. Who else does this? I've not seen it before. They've never had a problem with my carryon bag and my "purse" which is actually quite heavy.
5. Prayer works. As I continued to get more desperate (I didn't want to start chucking things into the trash, but didn't know what else to do!), the workers were starting to feel more and more sorry for me. First off we don't speak the same language. Secondly, I probably looked a bit frazzled as I realized I would either have to throw things away or somehow call my family to come all the way back to airport and pick some things up. After offering the weigher guy - the only thing standing between me and the plane - some pesos to "please just let me through" another guy walked up, they discussed, and finally just let me go through. Me with my carryon luggage totaling 21 kilos...yes that's 3 times the approved limit weight, thank you very much.
6. Free lunches are blessings after nervewracking events.
7. Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs is a funny funny man.
8. Skyping with family in Hong Kong airport can aid easing any lasting nerves.
9. Briskly walking laps around terminals at HK airport is easy due to it's size...but note it will draw many strange looks from other travelers as you pass them for the 5th time.
10. Free carts to sit your carryon luggage on and push around the airport are crucial to a pleasant layover experience. I am appalled at my previous stupidity in denying myself the luxury of this great feature.
11. Going through overweight luggage experience can easily make one oversensitive to luggage. Man in elevator at HK airport said, "It's too big!" when I stepped on. I went instantly hot and said, "I'm sorry, what was that?" to which he replied, "The airport. It's too big!" Ha, I guess not everyone was noticing the piles of jackets on the cart.
12. Keeping track of sleeping pills even throughout luggage rummaging is key. I had not, so when it came to "lights off" time on the plane, I had NO idea where they might be.
13. Sleep is more likely to come when eyes are covered. Will check "comfort and convenience" baggie provided by the airline next time BEFORE the duration of the flight...provided eye mask would have worked significantly better than sweatshirt sleeve or free blanket (yes, I put it against my face...I can't believe it...I must have been really tired).
14. Tim Tams and Flight of the Conchords do wonders to brighten up a morning.
15. Seeing overweight luggage wind it's way around baggage claim conveyor belt after almost 24 hours of seperation is quite like a glorious reunion.

Ok, well, there you have it! All that to say, I made it to Brisbane with luggage in tow. The first couple days have been great - more on that soon. Right now, dinner is calling and I am not about to ignore the call.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Goodbye...Or Until I See You Again?

Oh dear. My time here is coming to a close, and I'm none to happy about it. These two weeks have flown by. I have been filled with such joy as I've gotten to know the kids, the workers. It takes many willing and kind hearts to make this place run - and after two weeks here, it's obvious that CSC is filled with love. The kitchen is always busy (lots of mouths to feed!), the nursery playroom is full of energy - toys, music, laughter. The older kids are so great with the young ones - taking time to hold them, help them learn how to walk, sing about the Lord to them, teach them to dance. Then there are the women who work in the laundry room, others who clean, others who help maintain the beautiful property. So many who give of themselves daily to make this place not only a safe haven for these children, but also a home filled with love, teaching, and encouragement. The Lord is clearly working here and it is a joy to witness.

It has been such fun getting to know everyone here. Their kindness in opening up their lives and homes to me leaves me grateful. Always a smile, a hello. I know the past 30 years hasn't been an easy road to walk down for those involved with CSC, but the Lord's strength has carried them through! What life experience they have. They have seen great sorrow and yet continued great joy.

So tomorrow I fly to Australia. I know it will be a great time as well, but everyone that makes CSC what it is - they hold a dear place in my heart. So the question is, is it "goodbye" or is it "until next time?" If I had my way...well, I think you know what the answer would be. I will be praying for an opportunity to visit again...if they will have me. I am eager to see if/how the Lord will orchestrate seeing this place again.

Off to the land of Oz.....

Monday, October 12, 2009

Glory Reborn

Disclaimer: this post is about the birthing center I visited this week....those readers not medically inclined may be bored with the medical jargon, but there's nothing too graphic, don't worry.

So on Thursday last week I went with Marlys to Glory Reborn (, a free birthing center nestled in the heart of Ceby City. As we walked up, I saw at least 20 pregnant women sitting in chairs to the side of the clinic, some there for education classes and some there for a prenatal check up. The clinic is in an old apartment building. They have two levels of small apartment space. I found myself having to get used to the "openness" of things here - front door stayed open, windows open, mere curtains seperating me from women being triaged, most people barefoot as people here leave their slippers (flip-flops) at the door. We were greeted by a friendly staff woman when we entered. We then waited for Hillary to come show us around. Let me introduce Hillary to you - she is, in a word, amazing. She had a strong vision for this birthing center after a mission trip to Cebu 10 or so years ago. She moved out here with her husband in '03 to start this place from the ground up. Since opening they have successfully delivered over 1700 demises or maternal death. Praise God! Through the tour and lengthy discussion with Hillary, here are some things I found out...

They deliver about 37 babies/month. No epidurals for these birthing ladies! If they really really want something, they can have Demerol IM. For repairs, lidocaine unless a 3rd or 4th degree, in which case they revert to something stronger. There are four doctors that work with the clinic - they are staffed at a hospital, but will attend high risk deliveries at the center. The place is run by midwives and nurses, the head midwife lives in an apartment adjoining the center.

Screening is significant for patients they accept. They like to know all history possible, significant things being HIV, Syphillis and Gonorrhea, previous pregnancies/deliveries, the usual stuff. They rarely choose not to accept a woman - really only two cases: if you're greater than 7 months and/or a VBAC unless she's has a previously successful VBAC. The women are also dischared from the clinic if they miss 2 appointments. Hillary informed me that word gets around the communities fast - you want to get in at the clinic, and you MUST go to your appointments. Rarely do they have to discharge women. Good medical care is hard to find...and free good medical care is virtually impossible to find...these women learn quick. (Oh, there were days we all wished we could discharge at Presby..."I'm sorry, you'll have to go to the OTHER hospital because you've not attented all your prenatal appointments. Thanks and have a great delivery.") At one of the city hospitals, there are three patients to a bed. Then add in the "helper" to care for the patient - usually a family member or friend - and the babies...that's over 9 people to ONE bed. At the federal hospital we went to today, there are 5 laboring mammas to a bed. Next time you have a patient complaint about the TV remote not working, inform them they could literally be sharing a birthing bed with 2-4 other laboring women, in a room full of beds. The wards here are literally a huge room with tons of beds, some curtains, and women all over. No birthing suites here! At the center, there is one small room for deliveries - two beds and two monitors, and one small room for postpartum moms - two beds as well.

Initial tests include a CBC, T&S, GBS, and a UA. STD's are tested on an individual basis. *Important note - the rate of their premature babies is significantly reduced when they treat STD's during pregnancy. The mom's all received their prenatal vitamins free from the clinic, and they are also told to bring with them to each appointment one cheap item from a checklist - a syringe, bulb, cord clamp, etc. - so at delivery they have the few needed supplies already there.

They do care for high risk patients. Lots of women have GDM. Preterm labor is rare. They will vaginally deliver breech babies, unless it's the first of twins. They have had 100% success with their my three years of L&D I saw a few successful turns (maybe this is because their babies here are 5-6 pounds at delivery?). If complications during delivery, they will be referred and taken to a private hospital (they used to refer two hospitals, until they found out the women they sent were being turned away if they were too this same hospital the patients were given a list of anesthesiologists they had to call up and bargain a price for them to come in and to the c/s, if no one agreed, there would be no c/s...can you imagine?!?!). If they deliver vaginally, they stay at the center 24 hours, c/s deliveries stay at the hospital 3 nights. They will do pitocin drip inductions at the center - but not for primips. Continuous monitoring for inductions. They will also AROM - monitoring for 30 minutes after, I think. Intermittent monitoring if everything looks ok.

Hillary also informed me that condoms are never used here and the Filipino mentality of acquiring HIV is: I'm in the clear as long as I don't get pregnant. Sheesh!

So there you have it. No whirlpool tubs, no epis, no MAC, no 4-SERV, no JCAHO, no fetal demises, no labeling speci hats and barf canisters...just lots of babies! (Sounds kinda good to me...kinda.)

Hope things are well at good ole' Presby Birthing Care...miss you ladies!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A glimpse.

Aaah! There's so much to update you guys on! Every day has been fun, busy, hot, exciting. Each day is a learning experience - times full of joy, times of witnessing tragedy. I am trying to take in everything. My days have mostly been filled with helping out at the shelter. Marlys (Paul's wife) has been taking me around the city to see a few things and to run some errands (no Walmarts to stop at...) for stuff for the new house (opening soon!!). It's helped me gain a little perspective. It's taken me awhile to get acclimated here. Things are so different from what I'm used to seeing. In the afternoons, once the kids are out of school, I hang out with them. They play together in the quad area between the houses - soccer, table tennis, rollerblading, swinging, babies learning to walk, lots of laughing. I've been learning some of their games - banana split is one of my favorites. Try to picture a crazy version of rock, paper, involves spreading your feet - you eventually win the game when the other person can no longer stretch any further...the kids have an advantage being that they are soooo flexible....but I'm bigger!

Yesterday we went to one of the homes that four of the kids are from. We were checking in on the mother who has 10 children, some still at home. I use the word home because house would not be appropriate. We weaved our way through a maze of hut after hut, little square plots built up with scraps of metal and cardboard and cement. Lines of laundry hung all around. Water ran through the paths as it was raining that day. As we walked by some huts I could hear TVs, music, people cooking, babies crying, roosters crowing (they train them to fight). The smell was unidentifiable - basically the smells of so many people living so close together...often almost unbearable smells. We stepped into this mother's home (the father is nowhere to be found) and she reached for mine and Marlys' hand to lift them to her forehead - a sign of respect. As we talked with the mother (well, I listened mostly, I don't speak Cebuano) I observed children and the hut. A shy four-year-old clinging tightly to her mom, a fourteen-year-old boy watching TV, a sixteen-year-old daughter who is four months pregnant. A mouse ran down the wall - I had to bite my lip to keep myself from running. Clothes strung up on a wire to dry, or maybe that is their permanent spot. Cement floors, wood and metal walls. A sense of safety and warmth nowhere to be found. As I said, four of the children are living at the shelter - thriving, getting food, and education, learning to love the Lord. A stark contrast from the hut in a sea of huts.

I left there with the weight of trying to understand my life, our lives, in relation to theirs. Why is it this way? What do I do about it? How comfortable am I going to feel tonight as I lay my head on a soft pillow in an air conditioned room? The Lord and I are still conversing about these questions. I probably will be chewing on them for the rest of my life.

More to follow soon. There's a day waiting to be seized!

Oh, and for my Birthing Care followers...soon to come is commentary on a birthing center I toured yesterday!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Maayong Udto!

That means "Good day!" in Cebuano. One of the many things I am learning here in Cebu. I arrived safely on Wednesday morning, local time. The plane rides weren't bad - Qantas Airlines is the way to go! They were the friendliest of staff (not to mention the great Aussie accent) and it was the nicest plane I've been on. Slept for about 5-6 hours, off and on. Drank tons of water to help kick a cold I felt settling in my chest mere hours before leaving London (seems to have disappeared now...praise God!). Saw the most amazing views from atop the clouds - there's something about that vantage point I love. When I checked in, the lady asked if I wanted a window seat - I could've kissed her! (Would have if there wasn't such a swine flu scare...) It does make for better sleeping arrangements. Speaking of the flu...almost everyone in the Hong Kong airport was wearing masks and everything was in Chinese - first time for me that English wasn't the language of choice. Just a few things to kick off two weeks of entirely new territory, but that was only the beginning...

I was greeted by a familiar face, my first-cousin-once-removed (heh- from here on out to be known as cousin), Paul, at the airport here in Cebu, which I was entirely grateful for after the long journey and realm of the unknown. I was quickly introduced to the rules of the road...there are none. Apparently anything goes and no one will stop you. When there are cars, jeeps, taxis, children, scooters, and animals on the road, what else would you expect? Paul first took me to the shelter to meet staff and children...what a treat! It's a beautiful place - the buildings, the staff and workers, the children. I am now settled in Paul and Marlys' home. I have met so many people and feel so welcomed.

I am beginning to understand a bit more of my discontentedness in Charlotte. There was something nagging at me. Something giving me a sense I was too comfortable in my life. After my time in London, I thought a city teeming with busy people was something to wrap my brain around...boy was I in for a surprise. What a change this is. A city still teeming. But oh so vastly different. Sketchy dirt roads, poverty just about everywhere you look, armed guards at banks and restaurants. There are positive things too...amazing fruit, beautiful mountains, and most importantly children at the shelter who are eager to engage. I'm not sure I can find adequate words for what I've already experienced in just a day and a half. My heart is already breaking and mending and breaking again and growing 3 sizes too large (if I was in Whoville). With children who come in abandoned, malnourished, suffering from diseases and all kinds of abuse, who's heart wouldn't break? But it is quickly mended when I play a game with a child or share in laughter with them or be read to by a young girl or sing Taylor Swift with a group of girls. This breaking and mending. How does one process? Only God knows what affect will it have. All I know is my heart is in for a wild ride.

Stay tuned for pics and more stories. In the meantime, check out the website for the shelter ( and Oprah on Friday - a segment at the beginning involves a reunion from the shelter!!!