Sunday, May 2, 2010


I haven't seen my ENTIRE family since Christmas (or longer for some), so coming into this weekend I was little nervous. Their lives have changed and so has mine. Will we all still mesh well? Will it be awkward? Will I have to answer tons of questions or speculate whether Haiti will ever recover?

My cousin, Amanda, married funny guy, Kevin, yesterday. And it was such a blessing to see everybody in one place, at one time, to celebrate one life-changing event. It reminded me just how important family is, and how, even when miles and earthquakes and time separate us, some parts of life stay the same. The love never changes, just the circumstances surrounding it.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cranium Kids: employer.
Mesquite, TX: current location.
It's complicated: relationship status.
Mexican: comfort food.
No idea: future plans.

I wake up each morning with a new, crazy idea in my head. At least I think it's new, until I get out of bed, get ready for work and realize "Viv, you thought this exact same thing yesterday... what is wrong with you?"

My new job is awesome. Teaching 2-5 yr. olds how to use computers doesn't sound very enjoyable, but it is. "Ms. Vivee, your shoes are very nice." "Ms. Vivee, my clicker finger hurts, can I borrow yours?" "I don't feel like saying vocabulary today, Ms. Vivee, can we just skip to the game?" The kids I work with are so adorable and innocent. None of them know, or could understand, about my experience 2+ months ago. It is my escape each day, and I get paid for it... what could be better?

Moving back home has been an adjustment for everyone involved. Especially with no car. My parents have been super supportive and understanding and have given me space (and the use of their cars). However, because I overachieved and didn't like my alma mater until my last semester and graduated a year early, none of my closest friends are home. So I'm alone. At least I don't have to worry about what I'm going to do when I get off work!

I wanted to write "my emotional stability has increased in the past four months" but that isn't true: I have no stability, besides my job. I no longer have total security in my faith or beliefs. Things I saw, and things I had to do, in that soccer field the night of the earthquake have changed me in ways I cannot explain to myself or anyone else. I'm struggling and taking it out on people I love, which is what always happens right?

Applications for Physician Assistant school open in the middle of April, so that's my plan for now. Don't know where I'm applying but hopefully I can figure that out within the next month or so. I am employed in the DFW area until August, so I will be here until then. After that, who knows...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


The earthquake changed millions of people's lives. Drastically. Hundreds of thousands lost their lives and many will never have the proper burial and their families may never get closure. Homes lost. Limbs lost. Old lives and ways of life are gone.

What I am going through is so minuscule compared to the Haitian people. Yes, I have no idea where God wants me or what He wants me to do, and I'm grieving: for everything I have seen; things I had to do the night of the earthquake and the days and weeks following; for the Haitian people who lost everything in that fraction of time... but I had the opportunity to get out of the chaos and come home to a different brand of crazy.

I knew that no one here would understand. Their lives weren't changed at all. Maybe their hearts were softened for Haitians and they donated money or goods, and maybe even went down and helped for a few weeks. I wasn't expecting people to empathize, which made the move a little easier. If you have low expectations you will rarely be disappointed! But I was totally embraced by my Texas support system. Very few people expected me to be pre-quake Vivien. Most people knew I was dealing with emotions and feelings and thoughts I had never dealt with before, and gave me the space I needed.

Transparency is an important part of community. I have never felt comfortable sharing my pain and sorrows and heartache with the church I grew up at. Too many people have witnessed me deal with pain and have thought "she is dealing so well." I have dealt with grief and extreme/intense pain before, but nothing like this. On Sunday night, while speaking at my church, I was overcome with the need to tell them that I was broken. That I was going to be completely honest and open with them about my experiences in Haiti, and that probably would make them uncomfortable. Total, brutal honesty is not a common thing in church... which seems ironic to me. Church should be the place where we are most open and broken in front of people. So I was. And the outpouring of prayers, tears and support from everyone in the sanctuary was overwhelming. They even cancelled the business meeting, which might have been the first time in Baptist history.

God is using this time and my experiences to teach me about openness and complete reliance on Him, even though I thought I had been that way before the earthquake. I wish I knew where I would be a year from now, or even next week, but I am learning to accept that I have absolutely no control and that Someone who loves, and cares about, me more than anyone else is in total control.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Two weeks

It is weird thinking back 13 days to pre-earthquake time... I was unpacking my bags from Christmas break in Texas, playing soccer inside with Isaac and Hope and Noah, watching Batman movies and answering tons of questions in the middle... life has completely changed. And I'm not injured or homeless or wondering where my next meal is coming from. Life in Haiti was full of difficulties and challenges and sadness and sorrow and hope before January 12, but now it seems there is more hope than ever before.

So many miracles, and signs that God is here, are happening at the Heartline clinic, and there are so many other clinics operating around the country... hope is alive here. And it's growing.

Haiti will be restored one day, hopefully better and more stable than before. I have no idea when it will happen. Some people are saying years from now, others give no timeline at all. I do know that Haitians are resilient and have a much greater sense of daily thankfulness to God than I do. Maybe that's why I was sent here to be part of this... to learn to be thankful to Him in everything. In the ups and downs, not just the ups.

I am thankful to be in Haiti today, to experience this life-changing event and thankful to know God is changing me through this. I am thankful for a place to come home to every night and to have people here who are all experiencing the same things as I am. I am thankful for supportive family and friends in the states. Most of all I am thankful for a Savior who never gives up on me or anyone, who saves the wretched, weak sinners and turns us into new creations made for His work on earth. I am thankful to be a woman in the kingdom of God.

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Blessed is the understatement of my life right now.

The last major aftershock happened at 2ish this morning. It was massive. But we are still here.

Worked at a clinic the night of the quake and the day after. Can't tell you what I saw or how many people I sutured up.

Please continue praying for those still trapped, those suffering with wounds (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and those who lost loved ones. Also pray for supplies and those trying help.

We can feel your prayers and are very thankful for them. If you want to donate somehow or help in some way, please go to or or the red cross. We need diesel, water, food and medicine (like Lidocaine, Tylenol, NSAIDS, etc) and medical supplies (gauze, tape, hydrogen peroxide, betadine, suturing equipment/tools).

I am saved by grace through faith...

Monday, December 28, 2009

From afar

I returned to Dallas last Monday and haven't stopped whirling. Until right now, a week later. Only two weeks left then back to Haiti and the kids I miss sooo much!

Within this first week, I got to enjoy meeting new family and had some official Mema's cinnamon rolls. Received games to bring back to Port and a new scarf... which obviously isn't needed where I live.

Got to see a friend from London and my Marine friend back from a second tour in Iraq/Afghanistan. It was weird: all three of us overseas in such different situations. Cool and good, but weird.

My oldest brother lives at home again, so it has been a fantastic people-watching exercise in my own living room.

I have only had to bite my tongue about 400 times to keep from screaming 'YOU ARE SHALLOW' and 'GOD IS SO MUCH BIGGER THAN YOUR VERSION OF HIM'. Four hundred isn't too bad for my town, so I'm counting my blessings.

I saw snow on Christmas Eve and had to wear a sweater to my grandparents' house on Christmas day... a first for me on both accounts. I'm missing my hot weather home.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

You're a $%##%*&ary?

I had a Haitian adventure on Saturday.

Corrie and I got into a car with a guy we knew a little bit and a guy we didn't know at all. We told them we just wanted to escape Tabarre for awhile and see different parts of the city. We were gone all day. Went up to the mountains. Walked inside a fort. Stopped in a village and ate plantains. Went somewhere super high and took pictures at sunset. The guys bought us flowers. It wasn't relaxing like we had hoped but it was so much fun.

On one of our stops, we got cokes in a place where missionaries wearing bonnets can be commonly found. Our newly met friend was talking about Haiti and why he loves his country and how he hates going to America, etc. He continues to say, "what, you're a missionary or something?" with some expletives thrown in.

I have never been stared at that hard in my life. Even as a ghost living in Haiti.

We left pretty quickly and piled into his car, only to turn on the radio and have music full of dirt spewing from the speakers.

It was interesting to say the least. Especially when he told us, while speeding through town with no lights on, he wants to become a pastor because "they make the money!"

I bet he hasn't read Pagan Christianity.