Lisa Leonard Designs

Archive for the ‘adventures’ Category

hello home {the best!}

May 11th | adventures, dominican republic

Hello friends! We are back home and soaking up lots of extra cuddles and family time. We had a great time in the DR–very productive with some fun and even a little bit of sightseeing! It’s beautiful and I love the DR–but there’s no place like home, right?

Today I’m sharing pics of our time last week and saying hello to a brand new week. Join me?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***

Hello Altos de Chavon. It’s an artists colony with incredibly stone work. Truly breath-taking!

Hello finding love. It’s everywhere.

Hello time with my love. So thankful for him.

Hello stone steps–so much detail.

Hello hard working rhino.

Hello golden flowers, golden sunset.

Hello church built 50 years ago that looks thousands of years old.

Hello breeze through the palm trees.

Hello nighttime at the marina.

Hello little star twinkling above the trees.

Hello fresh fish. Very fresh. I don’t think I’ve ever had such fresh fish.

Hello delicious. I wan’t sure how to eat it but I figured it out.

Hello all done. Yum.

Hello color and light.

Hello laundry and emails. {I’m always saying hello to those!}

Hello snuggling with my boys. So happy to be home!

Hello sipping an extra cup of coffee to fight the jet lag.

Hello needing a day off to get the house in order.

Hello new designs to photograph and share with you!

Hello getting back into our rhythm with eating good and exercising.

Hello to YOU! It’s a brand new week with beauty to be found. What are you saying hello to this week?
Leave some hellos in the comments section or link your own hello monday post there.

hiking bishop’s peak, san luis obispo

May 8th | adventures, san luis obispo

Last weekend we hiked Bishop’s Peak off Foothill in San Luis Obispo. It was harder than I thought! It’s do-able, we just took our time. Steve carried David in the backpack. At the end, we all had a huge feeling of accomplishment!

Going down was a little scarier than coming up. So good for us to stretch ourselves and try new things.

It’s Friday and we are heading home to the boys. I absolutely cannot wait to see them. What are you weekend plans?

hello hiking, hello happy

April 20th | adventures, hello monday

We’ve been wanting a really good backpack for David for years. We’ve researched online, debated and waited. And yesterday we finally broke down and bought one. The one we got–a Deuter kid carrier II–is big enough for David. {It holds up to 48 pounds and he’s about 40 pounds} He was comfortable and happy. It has shoulder straps so even when Steve slipped one time, David was secure. It’s an investment but so awesome. We headed up to Montana de Oro to try out. Why didn’t we do this sooner? We had so much fun! It was a gorgeous day–the sunshine on our shoulders, the birds chirping. I can’t wait to go again.

It’s Monday and a brand new week with beauty waiting to be found. How about some hellos?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***

Hello exploring our own backyard and seeing things we haven’t seen before.

Hello moving and stretching and laughing and getting out of the house!

Hello laughing and climbing trees and running ahead on the trail. Matthias would prefer to stay home and play video games and draw–but we dragged him outside and he had a blast. Listen to your parents–they know best! ;)

Hello chillin in the backpack. David loves to be outside. He was happy the whole time!

Hello tree climber. I knew you had it in you!

Hello cross trainers instead of heels. Feels good.

Hello little quail perched in the tree.

Hello breath taking views and feels overwhelmed by God’s creation.

Hello blooming flowers and blue skies.

Hello butterfly with painted wings.

Hello family and being together. Hello connecting and talking and making memories.

Hello sunscreen and water and potty breaks.

Hello stepping away from my desk and email and the to-do list.

Hello lots to do and energy to do it.

Hello getting ready for SNAP! Will you be there? I can’t wait!

Hello groceries and menu planning.

Hello feeling refreshed and thankful.

It’s Monday! A fresh start and new beginning! What are you saying hello to this week? Leave some hellos in the comments or link your own hello monday post there!

 

the beauty of the dominican republic

February 19th | adventures, dominican republic

I am surrounded by beauty.

the beauty of fresh fruit.

the beauty of a little girl’s smile.

the beauty of a cottage with gingerbread trim.

the beauty of eyes that sparkle.

the beauty of perfectly mismatched tiles.

the beauty of colorful clothes drying on a line.

the beauty of friendship.

the beauty of flowers growing past iron bars.

the beauty of twin sisters.

the beauty of a breeze that blows through the flag.

the beauty of a hillside with uncountable steps.

the beauty of a woman walking to work.

want to be part of something beautiful? consider sponsoring a child in the dominican republic. it will make all the difference in this child’s life.
{and the necklace pictured above, is a gift when you sponsor}

we fly home tomorrow night. i have more to share with you next week. i’m leaving part of my heart in the DR but i can’t wait to squeeze my beautiful boys!!!

I’m fine, thanks.

February 18th | adventures, dominican republic

Before this trip, I had already traveled to the Dominican Republic three times. I’ve traveled to Guatemala multiple times. I’ve been to the countryside in Thailand. I’ve seen poverty and heartache.

So when Compassion asked me to come to the Dominican Republic, I said yes. I want to understand the people more deeply. I want my heart to fall deeper in love with the DR.

But I didn’t want to get too attached. I didn’t want to get too emotional. I didn’t want to be too broken.

As I packed my suitcase for the trip, I was determined to be strong.

“I already know what I’m going to see”, I told myself. “There will be hard moments, but I need to hold myself together.”

These trips can be overwhelming and heart-wrenching and exhausting. “But I’m fine”, I assured myself. I’m not going to let my emotions get the best of me.

And then we went to visit Elsa, who is a grandmother to Jazmin, and her two grandsons. Jazmin was born with a disability. She can’t walk or talk. She can’t chew food. When she was born, her mother didn’t want her. She is completely dependent on her grandmother to care for her and meet her every need. When I saw her curled up in the corner of the couch, I longed to hold her in my arms. With her grandmother’s permission, I scooped her up and I melted into a puddle of tears.

And I wasn’t fine.

All I could think about was my sweet David and how very loved and precious he is to me. What if we lived here on this mountainside? What if there were days I had no food to give him? What if I couldn’t afford medicine when he was sick?

Jazmin, you are worth three plane rides, a bus ride and a climb up steep stairs.

You are worth crying hot tears and being a complete mess.

You are worth cuddling and kissing and loving.

You are worth having my heart shattered into a million pieces.

You are worth every diamond, every pearl.

Each and every child is worth it. You are worth it. I am worth it.

Because of Jesus, each of us is worthy.

Tell a child she is worthy today. Open your heart and let yourself be part of something truly amazing. Click here to sponsor a child through Compassion.

* * *

Want to read more? Ruth, Bonnie, Holley and Bri are all with me in the DR. Such beautiful hearts and beautiful stories. Click on their names to read their words and hearts.

the lump in my throat

February 17th | adventures, dominican republic

Today we visited with Josefina and her daughter, Hilde. They invited us into their freshly painted home with wall patched together with brick, found wood and cardboard. Their entire home is smaller than a typical bedroom in the US.

While I’m here in the DR, I want to learn first hand how Compassion is impacting lives. I want the mothers to tell me how life is different now that their child has a sponsor.

When Steve and I asked Josefina to tell us how life is different now that Hilde has a sponsor through Compassion. Her response was, “Everything is different.”

So we pressed for more specifics.

“Can you give us specific examples of things she has now that she didn’t have before?”

This single mom with deep dimples and tired eyes, responded, “Now she has shoes. Now she has food to eat. Now she can go to school.”

Oh. Wow. We let it sink in.

Every minute of everyday of Hilde’s life is different.

Hilde literally has shoes and food because of her Compassion sponsor. Daily life is livable because of the resources provided through Compassion. And the future looks different because of the education, training and opportunities available to Hilde through Compassion.

 I asked her mom, “What do you want for Hilde that you couldn’t do for yourself?”

And she looked back at me with tears in her eyes.

And that lump came up in my throat. Because I am a mom, too. And I want every good thing for my children. And we cried together. Because life is hard. And being a mom is hard. Being a mom in poverty with very few resources is even harder.

I gave Josefina the necklace she is wearing. She put in on and told me, “No one has ever given me gift like this.”
She touched the necklace around her neck and I knew it was something truly precious to her.

As we turned to leave, I commented on a rag rug laid over a plastic chair.

“This is lovely, did you make it?”, I asked.

She picked it up, folded it into fourths and put it in a plastic bag. She put it in my hands and gave me a tight squeeze.

Josefina, who has so little, gave freely and without hesitation. I felt the lump in my throat and wondered why I am so hesitant to give when I have so much?

* * *

Friends, I tell you this story only so that you can know, without a doubt that sponsoring a child through Compassion, changes a life. I don’t want you to feel one ounce of guilt. I only want you to know that you can come alongside a mama and help her care for her child.

You can change a child’s life today. You can change their future.

You can be part of something truly amazing and beautiful.

Click here to see children waiting for sponsor.

a mother’s heart

February 16th | adventures, dominican republic

Today in the Dominican Republic, Our Compassion team leaders took us to visit a CDSP {Child Development Sponsorship Program}. This is the flagship program for Compassion and probably what they are best known for. You probably already know that you can sponsor a child for $38 month. Steve and I sponsor Joeli and we can’t wait to meet her later this week.
I expected the kids to be friendly and affectionate–and they were. So fun! I didn’t expect to be so moved by one mama I met. I didn’t expect to see Compassion so directly changing individual lives. Read on for more.

How cute are these girlies? Yep, they latched on to me quickly and stole my heart. We sat together and sang as the program started. Heart-melters.

Steve made friends, too. The kids adored him. He’s very lovable.

We brought necklaces to give as gifts. Here, I’m pictured with Veronica {on the left}, the CDSP head and Ana, a tutor {on the right}.

Homes are built with mostly found materials and are small, cozy and clean. There is sporadic electricity and often no running water. Beds are often shared by siblings and parents. This isn’t an easy way of life, but today I experience families full of joy, hope and love.

I passed out stickers and had an army of children happy to take them off my hands–and stick them on their foreheads. So silly!

Dominicans take pride in keeping their clothes clean. Even those in extreme poverty brush their teeth and hair and put themselves together.

This group of boys was playing by the river. The DR gets a lot of rain and this river swells a few times a year and floods the nearby homes.

Homes are brightly painted and the texture and color is breath-taking. And kittens and puppies are everywhere.

Above is Lisbeth, her mother and her younger brother. Lisbeth has a sponsor through Compassion and it has been life-changing. 18 months ago their home burned down after a neighbor knocked over a candle. Compassion helped them rebuild a new home, with concrete floors instead of dirt. The home is more stable and dries more quickly after a flood. Lisbeth receives medication, food and training through Compassion. Her mother says the emotional support that Compassion provides, especially during the crisis of losing their home, gives her hope.

I asked this single mother what she hopes for, for Lisbeth. She said she wants her to be obedient and to thrive. She wants her to be whatever she wants to be. Lisbeth wants to be a doctor when she grows up, and with Compassion, that goal is significantly more attainable.

I looked into this mama’s eyes and saw my own heart. A heart that simply wants every good thing for my children.

She doesn’t want my pity. She doesn’t want my charity. She wants someone to come alongside and say, “I get it. I’m a mom, too.” Sponsoring a child through Compassion directly changes that child’s life. It means the future looks completely different. It means today they will have the food, vitamins and medicine they need.

Click here to see children waiting for a sponsor. They will melt your heart. {and that necklace above is a gift when you sponsor!}

And if you want to see kids with special needs, waiting for a sponsor, click here. How cute is Damarisell {she has epilepsy}. Rensy has sass! Love it. She is visually impaired.
Chanelys is adorable. She has a speech impairment and medical needs.

Want to get excited? So much is happening! To see kids being sponsored while our team is here in the DR, click here.

hello color, beauty and light

February 16th | adventures, dominican republic, hello monday

We are in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic! It’s wonderful to be here. Steve and I are traveling with Compassion, International and we are looking forward to seeing a different side of the DR. Yesterday we walked and walked and walked some more. We explored the city and saw all kinds of color, beauty and light. It’s Monday, how about some hellos?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***

Hello flag {bandera} hanging from the mirror in our taxi. There are flags all over–so much national pride.

Hello tree with a heart-shaped knot. Love is everywhere.

Hello palm trees, ocean and warm sun.

Hello colorful kites. It’s carnaval here and people dance and party in the streets.

Hello obelisk in the center of the city.

Hello walking with a box of chips on your head. That takes skillz.

Hello walls painted with every color of the rainbow.

Hello sidewalks with heart-shaped designs. Love.

Hello to adventures with this guy.

Hello city by the sea.

Hello living out of a suitcase and trying to be low maintenance.

Hello scorching sun and life-giving breeze.

Hello sipping some of the best coffee in the world.

Hello missing my boys.

Hello kids that are looking for sponsorship. You can change a life–more details here.

Hello heart that is falling even deeper in love with the DR.

Hello Compassion, thank you for taking us on this journey.

Hello sharing it with YOU!

Hello brand new week with beauty waiting to be found.

What are you saying hello to this week? Leave some hellos in the comments or link your own hello monday post there.

headed to the Dominican Republic

February 13th | adventures, dominican republic

Hello friends!

Steve and I are headed to the Dominican Republic today with Compassion International. This will be my fourth trip to the DR in 9 months. We’ve been expanding our production there and creating jobs in a community that desperately needs them. This trip will be very different though. Instead of spending our days in the workshop, we’ll be visiting children, families and seeing Compassion at work. I love the Dominican Republic and I’m excited {and nervous} to experience it in a new way.

We sponsor a little girl named Joeli who lives near Santo Domingo. And we’re going to meet her. I can hardly wait! Joeli has special needs which, as you know, is close to my heart. I hope she’ll let me squeeze her. I really want to.

And guess what? Anyone who sponsors a child is going to receive the necklace pictured above. We are absolutely thrilled to team up with Compassion International.

Friends, the only reason we are able to go on this trip is because of YOU. This community cares about people. This community believes every heart matters. I am so thankful for you.

Please journey with us on instagram and follow along on the blog.

It’s going to be beautiful and messy and sweaty and emotional and I want to share it all with you {well maybe not all the sweatiness}.

Click here to learn more about Compassion.  Click here to get to know kiddos who are waiting to be sponsored.

Do you sponsor a child through Compassion or another organization? I’d love to hear about it!

hello cambria, hello 2015

January 5th | adventures, hello monday

Well, friends, here we are in the year 2015. So futuristic sounding.

Last week we had my twin sister, her husband and my nieces in town. It was such a good time. The cousins played plenty of video games, played at the park, we ate out, had epic boggle competitions and just enjoyed each other.

We spent Friday in Cambria. It’s about 45 minutes up the coast from San Luis Obispo and it’s gorgeous. The mountains meet the sea and it’s breathtaking. We ate lunch at Moonstone Bar and Grill and then walked the path alone the ocean. After a little park play, we headed home for pizza and a movie.

It’s a brand new week and it’s a brand new year. How about some hellos?

***Hello Monday is where I greet the new week with an open heart and a fresh perspective. It’s a new beginning–and there’s so much to be thankful for! Join me by leaving your own hellos in the comments section or linking up a hello monday post there!***

Hello color. I love coral and yellow together.

Hello cousins. It’s awesome to play, lounge, fight, create and be silly.

Hello sweet moment with daddy.

Hello walking in the sunshine. Good for the soul.

Hello houses on cliff. I’m not sure I’d like to live that close to the ocean–but wow, their views must be gorgeous.

Hello seeing, capturing, creating.

Hello blur. Love the hazy memory created by this pic.

Hello loves. My twin sis and her husband have twin daughters. {My older brother has twin daughters too.}

Hello sweetheart. We are taking time to talk and dream and listen. We want to love each other better in 2015. We want to grow.

Hello swings and slides.

Hello epic synchronized swing jumping. Awesome.

Hello twin. We are identical–which means we were once the same egg that split into two. I literally feel like she is part of me. She understands my heart like no one else.

Hello back in the car and on our way home. Pizza and lounging with blankets and popcorn while watching a movie made for the perfect end to the day!

Hello back to school today. Kids are moderately excited. I am THRILLED. I kinda love our regular routine. Breaks are super fun and then I love to get back into the schedule.

Hello thinking about goals and dreams for 2015. I have some share tomorrow.

Hello groceries, emails and laundry. Always more to do.

Hello cleaning the house, tucking the Christmas decor away for another year and breathing in the simplicity.

Hello listening to David tapping out sweet tunes on the keyboard.

Hello to YOU! It’s a brand new week and a fresh start. What are you saying hello to this week? Leave some hellos in the comments or link up your own hello monday post there.