what makes life beautiful?

Happy Tuesday from Ghana! Yesterday I blogged and shared many pictures from what has been going on behind the scenes at PNN! if you missed out click here 

…and for those who have enjoyed it part two is coming soon!

Today as I was thinking about this journey and my life I had this one thought that I knew was worth sharing.

What makes life beautiful is the faces around you.

People that are either so close to you, your family, friends or people that you might not ever thought you would get to chance to meet. What makes my life beautiful is the people I share it with. These people give me inspiration, they give my life meaning, and purpose. They push me to be better, even without realizing it. I can’t explain the level of joy I feel working with these kids everyday. It amazes me to think about our bond, our connection. I grew up in a place where I never lacked, in fact I had everything I could have wanted or imagined. I had a bed to sleep in, a roof over my house, parents that loved me, siblings to play with, not one  worry or care as a child. I was free to just be a child, I had an imagination to play, educational support and opportunity. I had everything because I had a mother and father who dedicated their life to better mine, to provide for me in every way they possibly could. God has truly blessed them to also be a blessing to all around them. My parents taught me compassion. You know compassion is taught, if you raise a child to mock others they will go their life without feeling compassion. To any parents reading this I can tell you that you can teach your child about something, but if you aren’t living it, your child will never grow to accept or understand it! I learned that growing up by learning through my parents actions, which are more powerful than just speaking about something. Both are important, but you must practice what you preach! I am learning how much my kids at PNN absorb and how it is so much action based, and a direct reflection of the attitude you show!

My mom always taught me to think about some of the things people were going through on the other side of the world, and the things going on right in our backyard, in our own country. My  mom was so active visiting me in my school and all the children whose parents weren’t involved in their lives grew to love my mom. She loved them, I think it broke her heart to see kids whose parents lacked and couldn’t give them the love and attention they deserved. She would bring toys and things for them, tell them they are special. She was a light in their life. I saw the way they looked at her, and the joy she brought to their day. On field trips they all wanted to sit with her on the bus, and I always was happy to see them enjoying her, and the attention she gave them. I learned through example, it was never something my parents sat me down to tell me. They lived it.

She would show me clips from the 700 club of them providing help all around the world, I would just stare at the television screen amazed and horrified by what I saw. But experiencing it yourself is a different story altogether. You can’t just change the channel, it is right in front of you, and trust me you can’t turn away from it. My mom encouraged us to think about what we had, and remember and donate to those who had nothing. And as a child





I felt compassion for these children and families, these people I had never met. Every holiday season we would pack christmas boxes, and I would only dream of seeing the faces of the children who would be receiving them. I thought about these children, I wrote notes to them, I prayed for them. Even as a child I cared and my heart ached for those in suffering with no-one or nothing to care for them. To be with them, or love them. My mom would rather donate to an organization than receive a gift. That is my mom, and even those who really know her might not even know that, because it is not something she speaks often about. And I am totally blowing her cover;)

Anyone who really knows my parents knows that they never buy anything for themselves.They don’t feel the need to take for themselves, they feel the need to give. They taught through example it is better to give than to receive. A lesson they might have not even been conscious of teaching us. Yet my brother, sister and I learned just by observation. They encouraged my passion as a young child, they allowed me and supported my short term missions trips. My first trip was in middle school we went to the South after Hurricane damage. We spent the week rebuilding homes and getting to interact and bond with the local community whose lives were affected by the hurricane. This was one of my first and many trips to come. God was preparing me, God was working within the deepest parts of my heart. Giving me such a love for people, especially children. This week was far more rewarding than any trip or vacation I had ever taken. It was all about the faces that surrounded me. I saw people who had nothing, yet we could bond and relate to each other. The thoughts raced through my head thinking about what was waiting for me back in New York, all that I had, and remembered these families who lost everything. This was a thought that would only grow, this was a thought that changed my life as I knew it.

So today I choose to share this thought with you. Life is best lived when you choose to invest your time in other people. To help and give to those who you don’t expect a thing back in return. That is the most rewarding part of this life. That we ourselves can be a blessing and a gift to someone else’s life just by giving ourselves. In the end it will only inspire you and make you better. God will bless and multiple it. What makes my life special are these people. What I am asking of you today is not to drop everything and go on a short term missions trip or move across the world. But I pray for all who read this that God would work in your heart, and not only work but give you the desire of your heart to go out and be a blessing to others. To go out and enjoy life with other people. To sit down and relate to someone who couldn’t be more opposite than you. I can tell you from experience these are the moments that will change your life. From a child in the Southern part of America that gave me his only hat, to the little girl in Mexico whose feet I washed after we played in the mud for hours, to the hundreds of children in Brazil that I had the chance to meet at orphanages hugging and loving them because they were so desperate for affection. Now I am right here in Ghana bonding with children in rural villages, I can tell you where you are does not determine who you can relate to. It should only push you to move to the places that are so unfamiliar to you so you have a chance to makes these kinds of life changing connections.

Life is best lived in the presence of helping and getting to know others


what makes life beautiful is the faces around you.



Like these two beautiful faces, one of my best friends from college and our sweet Vida. These girls seriously make my life bright! They’re bond was so special, Vida loves Mary, and Mary loves Vida. Watching them bond the first day was special. As different as they were and where they came from this is a true and pure example of what life is all about! You two are deeply loved!

More to come, stay tuned 🙂


2 thoughts on “what makes life beautiful?

  1. Good Morning!

    I just finished reading your second post. It is so true that joy is found in giving of yourself to others. It’s so encouraging to hear how the children are being impacted with the simple daily interactions of affection, patience, discipline and compassion. Things that we sometimes take for granted. My prayer is that as you continue to invest your life in these children that you also will see the fruit of your labor. May the Lord continue to fill your life with His spirit……”for is not by might, nor by power but my Spirit says the Lord!”

    Psalm 18:28,29. You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
    With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.

    Blessings, pat


  2. Great story. You are doing such an amazing job and it was so good to read how you have lived a purposeful life from a young age. Blessings indeed!


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