Saturday, May 30, 2015



May 10th we celebrated Mother's Day in America. I was blessed to spend mothers day with my mom this year for the first time in a few years. The following is what I wrote about my mom this past mothers day. 

I am blessed to have the most wonderful, supportive, caring & loving mothers. I may be biasedMy mom has always encouraged me to follow my dreams & God's call on my life even when it took me thousands of miles away from a foreign land...with tropical diseases! She has nursed me back to health countless times...instilled in me a strong work ethic...demonstrated what a compassionate, servant heart looks like...My mom has put up with ALOT from me...even through my stubbornness she has loved me. She has been my role model & set an example for me of what it is to be a Godly women and a loving/caring mother. Well...honestly I could keep going BUT for time and space reason...Thank you mom for EVERYTHING!!! I LOVE YOU!

Tomorrow is when Haiti celebrates Mother's Day. 
To celebrate mother's day in the outreach families. Presifue, Carlos, & Stephanie planned a picnic on the beach for all the families. It was a time full of love, laugher, fun activities, good food and great fellowship. Fun was had by all. The kids even made their mom's a little gift.

I wish I could have been there to help celebrate these amazing outreach mom's. Each of these mothers have chosen to go against the cultural norm. They have chosen to believe in & fight for their children who have special needs which is the opposite of the culture. These mom's make daily sacrifices for their children. Some walk or travel hours to come to outreach each week. They are STRONG...PASSIONATE...LOVING women. They are a daily inspiration to me! I have been blessed to get to know each of them.

I want to take a minute to say HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to each of our Miriam Center Staff. Each of them have become mothers to the 38 children that live with us. They not only care for and are great mothers to their biological children at home but when they are at the Miriam Center working 12 hours shifts they have chosen to see each of these children as their own as well. Each of our staff have made sacrifices to care for and love each of the children as their own. They are some of the most DEDICATED...HARDWORKING...LOVING...PASSIONATE...CARING...STRONG...HUMBLE women I know. I learn daily from them and I am so blessed that God has allowed me to serve alongside each of them!

OH, KY, IN, PA 3 week Road Trip

I just got back from 3 weeks on the road stopping in 4 states. I took this trip for multiple reasons. The following are just a few of the reasons
~Go to NWHCM warehouse
~Go to a Rotary Club Dinner in IN
~Drop 6 50lb bags of supplies/luggage off to individuals/groups coming into Haiti this summer
~Visit many friends/supporters along the way!I

I started my road trip by spending 2 days with Meg Ladyman in Indiana. Meg is the professor that invited me to go to Nashville, TN to the National AOTA convention and then came up to NYC with me to the Adaptive Design class.  Meg helped me get access to board maker (it was quite the ordeal to find someone who had the disk & would let us use it). One of the highlights of our time together was attending a Rotary Club dinner. We were invited to the dinner by Bill Farrar who is the founder of Fountain Of Hope. It was so wonderful to meet Bill & many of his board members. I also  got to hear Indiana Colts quarter back Andrew Luck speak. After the dinner It was wonderful to talk to Bill & Meg about their upcoming trip into Haiti. The Miriam Center is blessed to have Bill coming to put a water filtration system in and for Meg (an OT) and Kristen (a ST) come to work with our kids for a few days. Bill has been to Haiti on 25 trips and it was a lot of fun to share stories! Check out Fountains Of Hope's website by CLICKING HERE
Meg, Bill, and I

I got to spend a day at Northwest Haiti Christian Mission Warehouse in Zionsville, IN. I had never been to the warehouse before. I was able to spend 9 hours sorting through supplies, making piles of supplies & equipment that would be most beneficial to get into Haiti. It was helpful to see what was at the warehouse. It was also so wonderful to catch up with Sam, Kenny, and Mary Beth throughout the day. 

I ended the day Going out to dinner with Courtney (former director of MC) to one of my favorite restaurants Texas Roadhouse. I then was able to spend the night at her house. We tackled fixing and installing a washer & dryer into her apartment. We could have been a comedian show...the success was worth it. For the first time in 3 years Courtney can do laundry at her house!!! Sweet Success!!! Add handyman to my list of
Courtney and I

 The next morning Courtney & I got up at 6:30AM YIKES!!! lol Many of you know I am not a morning person. It was worth it though I got to start my day meeting this handsome young man that Courtney works with. He was full of Joy and giggles this morning. I also got to see his really cool school that is a Conductive Education classroom. Thank you Courtney for letting me meet This special little man and his school!

Courtney then took me to one her favorite stores to find educational/therapy toys called Once Upon A Child. I found a few good items to take into Haiti. She then took me to her "Happy Place" for some super fun creative time at the Pottery Shop she works at. Courtney showed me how to make cool pottery out of shaving cream and paint! Coolest technique EVER!! So fun! I made her a Mask ad she made me a Mug that I can take back into Haiti to use for my Tea :-)

 I then drove up to White River Christian Church to spend the afternoon & day. My time there Started with lunch with Brooke, Misty, Tammy, & Karen all who have come into Haiti in the past. I so enjoyed catching up with each of them. Excited for their church to bring a team to Haiti on October! There team is going to try to bring some of the supplies & equipment that is at the warehouse into Haiti. 
I Then I got to see their special needs area at the church. They have 3 classrooms. That evening I got to sit in on their adult class. It was so fun to participate & interact with each of the people in the class. My highlight was some of the women wanted to go to the "concert" aka worship in the sanctuary. Watching them sing their hearts out...priceless!!! 
Earlier in the evening I also got to watch Brooks Young Athletes Class similar to a special Olympics introduction class. This class runs for 8 weeks and  Brooke takes 12 children with special needs at a time between the ages of 3 and 8 I believe. They work on different sports skills. Each child has a 1:1 buddy to work with them. It was really awsome!!! (2 of the pictures below are from this)
That night I was blessed to be able to stay at Brooke's house. I got to see the nursery that is all ready to welcome Marshall in a couple week. The next morning it was wonderful to have breakfast with Brooke & catch up a little more before I headed out of IN to OH. Before leaving town though I was able to catch up on some paperwork and then meet up with Leah for a late lunch. Leah is one of the OT students that have come into Haiti on 2 occasions to do internships under me.  I am so proud of her.  Her passion, heart & servant attitude for children with special needs and all that she is doing here in the states & has done around the world is so inspiring!!! She did 2 summers in Ukraine working at a summer camp for children with special needs and works at a center now that she teaches swim lessons & yoga classes for children with special needs. She has completed 1 year of OT grad school  and  has 1 year to go!!!So thankful we had time to catch up!!!

After lunch I headed down to Cincinnati OH. I arrived around 6:30 in the evening & didn't have plans to meet up with friends till 9. So I found a starbucks where I could get on the internet and work on Haiti stuff while I waited. I met up with Kim & Todd Porter, Deb Taylor & her daughters. I loved hearing about their last trip to Haiti. 

I Spent the night at Deb's. It was so wonderful to meet her family as I have heard so much about them over the years. We may have stayed up to 3AM talking ;-) In the morning she volunteered to take a wheelchair in for Minushe (we made sure it would fit in a duffle bag first) and took some outreach purses to try to sell for me by hosting a purse party! Thank you Deb!

I then headed to the other side of Cincinnati to spend the day with Gail & Carol who lead Krazy Hope For Kids Neurology Team. They were heading to the Miriam Center in just a few days and I was able to help them pack their bags. We had so much fun packing and it was so good to catch up with them. These Gals are experienced packers!! So much fun to help them!! The evening I got to spend with Gail catching up, meeting her grandchildren & her husband. So wonderful to put faces to names & stories :-)

That night I drove down to KY where I spent the night with Jennifer and Wayne. Jennifer is a PT who has come to Haiti multiple times & its always a privlidge to work alongside her & learn from her. Wayne is a photographer & has taken some wonderful pics of our kids while he was in Haiti. Sunday Morning started by taking two 50lb packed supply bags to Lakeside Christian Church who will bring them in this summer. 
Then I went to Crossroads with Jennifer and got to help her with her 1st & 2nd grade Sunday School. I also enjoyed going to church & lunch with her and Wayne. Thank you Jennifer for taking 1 50lb bag of supplies for me!

My afternoon was spent with Rolgard, Erin & Micah. So wonderful to catch up & watch Micah play...he is one funny kid! Thank you for taking a bag in and for dropping 1 off for Mike to take in smile emoticon

I got to end the day with Tore, Shawn & their family. I so enjoyed catching up with everyone and dreaming about our future plans in Haiti with Tore! Tore is in Haiti for the next 6 months. So excited to see what God has in store for her! (unfortunately we forgot to get a picture :( BUT here is one from Haiti a few years ago :-)
Monday morning I got to see Dave Wickstrom. Dave comes into Haiti with the surgery teams. During our time together I learned more about what he does to Advocate for people with disabilities in Kentucky through independence place. He has such a heart for helping people. 4 days after my visit he facilitated the opening of the first ever in the world Beep baseball field for the Blind. So wish I could be there for opening day! The park is fully accessible every piece of it! I got to see the drawings for an amazing playground that will be put in this coming year. Keep up the amazing work you are doing Dave! (Also forgot to take a picture together) BUT here is one from the opening day of Beep Baseball. 

I then Headed to Columbus, OH to meet up with Sumi. Sumi is the new director of operations for Made Known. Her family is from Columbus and she was packing up the rest of her belongings to finish moving to Denver, CO. It was so wonderful to have a chance to talk, brainstorm, and vision plan for the future together. I am excited to see what God has in store for her at Made known and I look forward to working alongside her. 
I finished the evening driving to Toledo OH to spend a few days visiting with friends I got close to while working their the past few months. I stayed with Mary Lou and Mike who became like my "Toledo Parents" while I was living & working there. MaryLou was one of the front office staff at the clinic I was working at. They own a really neat second hand store called Springers Way. They also have a shipping center out of there store. Their lunchroom became my "office" to work on Haiti stuff while I lived in Toledo. It was so wonderful to spend the evenings with them over the 4 days I was in Toledo. Unfortunately we didn't get a picture of all 3 of us...
Every day I was in Toledo I got to spend some time with Andrea and the kids. Andrea graciously opened her home to me (a stranger) back in November. I lived in her basement during my time in Toledo. Andrea became a great friend and her children became like my nieces & nephews. I sure will miss them while I am in Haiti! So wonderful to spend a few days catching up & spending time together. Epic Fail is that I don't have 1 picture of just me & Andrea...

While in Toledo I got to attend the girls awards ceremony at the church. So proud of them and all the hardwork they put into Rainbows. 

My last day in Toledo Andrea had a wonderful breakfast & time of fellowship with many of my friends from Toledo. Thank you Andrea for having us all over at your house. It was so great to spend some time with Beth, Elizabeth, Allyson, & their kids. 

Aunt Autumn is going to miss all these kiddos ALOT! 

While in Toledo I also got to Jayme who my last few weeks in Toledo I became close to. She is the therapist that was hired to be the permanent OT at the clinic to take my place when I left. I got to meet up with her, her husband (who was home on leave from the military for 14 days), & her daughter who I have heard so much about. It was so wonderful to have lunch with them! 
On my way to Erie, PA I was able to stop in Cleveland OH to see Emily. Emily was in my OT class at Gannon, was my thesis partner, in a few Bible Studies with me in college...the list goes on...the long short a wonderful friend of mine for years. It is hard to believe we graduated 5 years ago!!! YIKES! lol It was so wonderful to spend time catching up with her and her 2 sweet little girls. Unfortunately I missed taking a picture of us together but here is a photo taken at her youngest daughters first birthday party the day after I visited. What a wonderful family!
I got spend memorial weekend up at our family camp on Lake Erie. I had a wonderful time enjoying my camping family! I got to not only enjoy the fellowship but yummy camping food as well.
I was also blessed that my best friend growing up was up at camp with some of her extended family. It was so wonderful to spend some time with Autumn & Aaron as well as meet Aaron's side of the family. 

Sunday we celebrated my parents 35th anniversary. What better way to celebrate than with a family game of kickball after a full turkey dinner at Mom was all time pitcher & stacey was all time line judge. The last inning of the game it was pitch black...the game was saved by the ball. My dad kicked the ball into the tree & popped it!

Some Epic Quotes from the game
-if you hit the pitcher your dead
- brad hit a home run & he needs an inhaler...he's wheezing
- it all fun & games till someone has a heart attack
-everytime you make me laugh a pee a little more
- brad if you get me home (Rich) I'll give you a big wet kiss!!! (Dad kicked & popped the ball)
Team #1- Autumn, kacey, Jim
Team #2- rich, Maggie, Brad

I had a wonderful Memorial Day at Miracle Mountain Ranch Open House. So wonderful to see so many friends, spend time with my aunt and brother. 

I enjoyed watching vaulting, hearing sermon on the mount, seeing roping and the sawing competition. Mostly enjoyed catching up with so many friends.

This evening got to hang out with my brother & his friends enjoying some delicious ice cream
Ended the night picking up a deer someone leaving the ranch hit for possible might be a redneck tongue emoticon

One of highlights was finally meeting JeffGin Gerde & her family in person finally smile emoticon so wonderful to talk about Haiti with them. Their daughter Megan Gerde has moved to Haiti as a missionary over the past year smile emoticon looking forward to meeting her on my way back into Haiti in June smile emoticon

Tuesday had a wonderful day in Erie catching up with some college friends. I got to spend early afternoon enjoying a walk at Presquile with Cara. Hard to believe 9 years ago we were on a walk together at an Adelphia retreat which is where my call to Haiti came out of! 

After our time together I enjoyed a beautiful view to do some Haiti paperwork at a picnic table for a few hours. I had a wonderful evening with Cheylan Exler & David Exler. So wonderful to catch up & walk down memory lane a little. I feel truly blessed to have such wonderful friends who support my crazy calling & slightly adventurous life! We forgot to take a picture but here is one from when I was home in July of last year.
Wednesday I had such wonderful day catching up with more of my college friends. It was so wonderful to catch up with Rachel Dombrowski, Nick Dombrowski, & meet their son Joseph. 

It was nice to visit Gannon for a few hours & catch up With many I worked with when I worked in the provost office during my 5 years at Gannon. Always love surprising Stacie Burket at work 

smile emoticon I got to spend the afternoon with Amy HatchCaleb Hatch & finally got to meet their son Drew smile emoticon
Drew found some new independence while I was there, realizing he could run away from his mom to another room :p He thought it was so funny!!! (Again forgot to get a picture of us....) 

I Also got to Hang out with Julia for a while.

Ended the night watching the movie The Theory of Everything. Such a good movie definitely recommend it!

I also enjoyed some absolutely gorgeous sunsets during the few days I was in Erie

Thursday morning I got up, packed, & worked on some Haiti stuff before heading to Boardman OH to run all my errands. I finally made it home at 7PM Thursday night. What a wonderful but busy 3 weeks. I got to see so many friends...share what God has been doing in my life as well as hear what God has been doing in there lives. So thankful for the 3 weeks!!!