Storytelling. Share your story.

I started this blog 5 and a half years ago with no intention of anyone ever reading it, I just needed to get some stuff out and it was a way of sharing my story.

At the time, I was telling my story constantly, everyone wanted to know my story (or at least the part of my story that got me on prime time news on multiple news channels. The "Local girl survived the earthquake in Port Au Prince, Haiti".) Churches wanted me to share about what God was doing and how I saw God working. Schools wanted me to come and talk to their students about my story. I told my story all the time...

...how I was in an unfamiliar country after a mission trip after my team had returned to the U.S, and through a strange turn of events I was volunteering for a few days at a burn clinic until I returned to the states...
...how we had gone to visit a school in the morning and it was just like any other day...
...how I took an afternoon siesta and was awoken by vigorous shaking...
...how I tried to get down off my bunk bed and ended up pretty much getting thrown to the ground and not being able to get my feet back under me again...
...how after the shaking stopped I reached for my phone to text my mom and say nonchalantly, "well, I think I just experienced my first earthquake." But I didn't have any signal...
...how I had no idea that what would transpire over the next 72 or so hours would cause me to tremble and cry and nearly shut down completely every time anything shook or rumbled around me....
...how I had no idea the magnitude of what had happened until I realized I didn't have signal and I looked up and listened...
...how I could see the huge cloud of ash covering Port au Prince and I could hear screams in the distance...
...how the next couple of days I worked in the clinic that became a hospital...
...how I assisted with a brain surgery without anesthesia, I scraped debris from a woman's head and face and filled a bucket with what I removed....
...how I cared for burns that were worse than I ever care to see again...
...how I worked on a woman for hours and hours until finally holding her head in my lap as she took her last breath...
...how I wept for her soul, when I realized it should have been me who didn't make it, me who knows Jesus and knows who holds my future, but I had no idea what her future held.
...I shared my story of how when I tried to sleep and closed my eyes all I could see were the people I had worked all day in the clinic on, and I could still feel the ground shaking about every 20 minutes. Each time imagining the roof falling on me and inflicting one of the wounds I had just spent hours tending to.

*this post includes an email written to my dad that day during the most raw moment of my entire life to date*

For about 6 months I shared my story constantly, people wanted to "grab coffee", hear about my story, and know what they could do. I told them about Haiti, and about that time, about how my experiences were making me excited to go to nursing school one day. But I don't think I told many people that I struggled with severe guilt because I survived. I didn't tell them that even 6 months later I would wake up crying when the train would go by my house at 3a.m. and my bed would shake (which I had never noticed before in the 4 years of living in that same room), They didn't know I called my mom every Monday afternoon like clockwork sobbing so hard I could barely breathe because I just couldn't do another Monday because that meant it was a whole week until the weekend when I could drive home and sit on the couch with my mom and dad and just cry if I needed to. I didn't share that part of my story with everyone. Some people knew some parts of it, but most didn't.

I've been thinking a lot about my story recently, about how I always want people to know the good stuff. Like I said, I started this blog almost as therapy, 6 months after the earthquake and the amount of people who cared about the earthquake in Haiti drastically diminished. I needed some sort of outlet, and I was able to share my story here. I just sat down and would write. Whatever came out wherever the words led me, much like I'm doing tonight. Then, after a while I would start "writing" all the time, in my head, just waiting till I could get to the computer to dump it all out. My story changed, I moved back to Haiti, I lived there, I blogged all the time, I figured people cared, I cared, I wasn't busy, I didn't have any reason not to write. Then my story changed again and I totally stopped writing, I had all the reasons not to write, I frequently wished that I wrote more, but now I have this weird feeling that my writing needs to be edited, clean, and flow nicely, but most of all it needs to be interesting. I think that prevents me from even sitting down to write. My mundane life isn't interesting to anyone else, so at the expense of my mental health sometimes, I don't write because I don't feel like my thoughts are important enough to be solidified in the internet stratosphere forever.

But this time of year always brings reflection, probably because of the new year and everyone wants a "fresh start". I always think about a fresh start, and wouldn't that be nice, but really I just want to keep living my ever changing story. The earthquake was my story 6 years ago today. It still is my story, but there is a lot more to my story now too, and I'm realizing that all of it needs to be shared.

I've been thinking about my story recently because I've been thinking about Peggy's story. Peggy is our dog, we adopted her about two weeks ago. She is about 5 years old, white and brown German shorthaired pointer. She loves to play fetch and will play for 3 hours straight if you let her. She snores when she sleeps and dances when we come home, she stands on her two back feet when she's too short to see stuff and its stupid how cute she is. Daniel and I just love her and think she's adorable all the time, except when she pees on our rug. Peeing on rug = not adorable. When I look at Peg I see her story in her eyes. I know its there. She's lived a tough life, she's been a mom, she's been out on the street, and I don't think she has always belonged to a family who loves her. I am always learning about her. I wish she could tell me her story while I pet her super soft ears. I wish she could tell me how she got that scar and tear on her left ear and why she walks with a limp sometimes. I love her and I don't know her story. Dan and I love her right where she is, peeing on the rug and all. I wonder how much life she has lived and why that makes her act the way she does. I want to know her story, but knowing it won't make me love her any more or less. However, knowing might help me to love her better.

(I know you are all dying to see a pic of Peg, so here you go!)

I think so often I am scared to tell my story, not just about the earthquake, but about my job, my marriage, my faith, my insecurities, my hopes and dreams. I'm worried about what people might think, that they might see I don't have it all instagram filtered perfectly, or that they will think my story is boring. I like to think I don't really have those fears, but I think I do. I think that, among other reasons is why I haven't written in so long, or why I only write seldomly. But recently I've been so comforted by knowing that when I share my story, whatever it is, whatever is going on with me right then, it won't make people love me any more or less, but it might help them to know me better, and I might be able to love THEM better too by sharing.

So that's my encouragement for the day. Share your story. The good, the bad, and the ugly.
My story today is so different than my story 6 years ago, but I wouldn't change any of it, I pray that I will just keep on living my story, and sharing my story as it comes along.


Beauties & Babies

Do you ever have one of those moments where it feels like everything is just “Working”? you woke up early without your alarm, drank your whole cup of tea before it got cold, your hair looks good, it’s sunny and 73*, you went on a five mile walk in your healthy body, cleared your mind of stress and anxiety lurking in the corners, you stopped by a friend’s house unannounced because you were walking by and couldn’t wait to share what a great day you were having, and just word vomit all your hopes and dreams in their lap, and then on your walk home you just had enough energy and excitement to run the last bit (and LIKE IT?!?) In that moments you feel like you can dream for your future, see clearly what it is that you are passionate about, and your thoughts are not clouded by doubt or fear or whatever other lies you let rule your mind? That afternoon for me was Thursday, August 20, 2015. I felt so energized. But that energy I had cannot carry me through forever, so I had to act.

Recently I posted on social media about my last day at work. It was bittersweet to leave that job that shaped me as a nurse, and the co-workers turned dear friends, but I am even more excited about what is to come. I’m moving toward what moves me. Women move me. I care about women, I care about health, and I care about being a woman who moves other women. It’s hard to be a woman, but it’s also one of the things I’m most thankful for. A woman I follow on Instagram posted the
the picture above, and I think it is so true, when women encourage and empower other women it empowers and encourages them too, and allows them to continue encouraging and empowering more women.

So here’s the long and short of it. I am transitioning out of being a cardiac nurse to being a Women’s Health Advocate/Cheerleader/Educator/Encourager. (That’s the title I just came up with for myself.) 
  •  For my “day” job (which will actually be my night job) I will be working at John Peter Smith Hospital here in Fort Worth in their Labor & Delivery department. 
  • The rest of my “nurse” time will be spent continuing to volunteer at the Fort Worth Pregnancy Center, empowering women to make informed and healthy choices about their unplanned pregnancy, and giving them all the loving support they need to do so. 
  • Also, I have started working with Beauty Counter. It is an amazing company that I’m learning so much through being a part of, and guess what?! It’s mostly women empowering women to make healthy choices! Are we seeing a pattern yet?  (More on Beauty Counter later)
  • Additionally, I’m planning to move forward with my yoga practice and become certified to teach. My girls and guys at The Yoga Project have changed my life in ways I didn’t see coming, and I want to be a part of that life-change too. 
  • And I would really love to start writing/blogging again because, for me, that brings about a lot of positive mental health in my life.

I’m making dreams for the future, dreams of how I’ll spend my time, how I’ll impact, encourage, and empower women, and mostly dreams of who I’ll meet and how what they will teach me. It’s too easy to become insecure and full of comparison. I do that every day. We have enough people telling us we are doing it wrong. Someone needs to encourage and tell us that we are doing it right. So I’m both excited and scared. Of course, I’m terrified about working nights, I hate staying up past 10PM. I’m definitely concerned that I’m going to miss my husband all the time between me working nights and him being in medical school. But I’m thankful he’s supportive. Sure I’m worried about learning new things, changing from the private to the county hospital, being responsible for the freshest lives on the whole planet, and making new friends. I definitely feel inadequate when I go in to inform a scared girl or woman of her results pertaining to an unplanned, unwanted pregnancy. Of course I’m worried that through being in a direct sales company people will think I’m being judgy or salesy instead of informative, educational, and caring. Or that people won’t want to be around me because I talk about woman stuff, use woman words that no normal people are comfortable with using. I’m definitely scared to start my blog back up, I mean can I even write (seriously, I used the word woman/women and encourage and empower literally every other word in the second paragraph of this post! Seriously, have I ever used a thesaurus?) who even cares about what I have to say? (Hi mom!) My life isn’t as cool as it used to be 4 years ago when I lived in a developing country, spoke another language 24/7 and had no indoor plumbing. And of course I get insecure when I think about talking to women about their health? Who wants to listen to me? I am far from having the perfect body, balanced hormones, and an all clean GMO free, organic, solar powered, super productive life. But hey, we are all in this together. And I pray that as I walk this journey of life that I do it giving grace and living under the grace that my Heavenly Father has given me.

So that’s my brief update about life. Hopefully, if all goes as planned, I’ll keep up with the blog and you’ll hear more about my job, my life, my marriage, the food I’m eating, the yoga pose I’m working on, and maybe how I decorated my mantle for Fall.


Progress!!!! This is the first time I've pushed the "Publish" button since January of 2012, and even that was basically a re-blog of an old post. This is kinda the first original post since I blogged regularly in 2011, but I made progress I hit that "publish" button!



Today marks the two year anniversary of the most horrific day of my life, and the lives of over a million others.

Its been two years since the 7.0 mag earthquake struck Haiti and shook her to the core. As I think back to that day two years ago, I try to fight tears. I try to fight thinking about the faces of the people that came to us for help. I try to fight the feeling that at any moment I could hear that low grumble of the earth before it begins to shake me down to the very core of my soul. I thought at the time that the earthquake itself was the most scary, and the most damaging, but I had no idea how the earthquake and the events of that day would haunt my life. I had no idea how much I could learn about myself, the Lord, people, compassion, selflessness, fear, and peace.

Today, I've tried to preoccupy my mind with other things, but I feel that to ignore this day completely would be a shame. God caused this to happen. He has been faithful through it. I've posted some links to my story from that day. Its too painful to write out and re-live over again, but as much as I remember the pain, and the horror of that day, I am reminded of God's faithfulness, of His steadfast love, and His unfailing peace.

Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, and followed my adventure of living in Little Guinea may not know that I started the blog for the sole purpose of writing down the earthquake story, and processing through for therapy. I started writing on the 6 month anniversary of the earthquake and re-lived those days. It quickly became hard to write about, and I decided to just write things as they happened.

This blog is just one of the ways that God has been faithful. All the stories in it came about because of Him, and the fact that you are reading them is directly related to the earthquake as well. Today, pray for the country of Haiti. Pray for their hearts. And above all, walk in God's peace.

To read some of my first posts about the quake itself click the links below:
Part 1
Part 2 (A lot of you may have received the email included in this post.)
Part 3


Old Friend

Its been a while since I've written. A very long while. I can't really pinpoint the reason for this.
Being busy?
Being lazy?
Not having thoughts?
Not wanting to have thoughts?

I really don't know. But today, for some reason I really am missing this old friend. Maybe its because I'm missing home in Ti Guinea? That's when me and the writing obsession really fell for each other? Maybe its because it was this time last year that I found out I was moving to the country that I loved, to do something totally unknown. I have tears in my eyes, and running down my face as I write this. Part of me is wishing it was last year and I am about to embark on the most incredible journey of my life. Having no idea the people that I'm about to meet...The people who are going to steal my heart, teach my heart, break my heart, and heal my heart. I miss them. Today especially, I miss them.

This morning as we sang in church, I couldn't stop thinking about the Sunday that I woke up with a headache, skipped church in the village and went up to the mountain to pray and to spend time in prayer. I couldn't stop seeing the valley in my mind. Hearing the kids yelling my name, "Norell! Norell!", as I tried to disguise myself and have some alone time with Jesus. I miss the way that the village broke my heart. I miss the lessons that I learned through small conversations with old men, with young girls, with old women, and with little ones who weren't yet old enough to talk.

This year I'm about to embark on another journey. One that looks very different than the one last year. I sit here missing the past, yet looking forward to the future. The same nervous feeling in my stomach, fear of the unknown. The Haiti adventure was one that took my breath away so many times. It was painful, it was hard, but it was so incredibly beautiful. The adventure I'm about to begin will be tough, but I think it will have its joys. The one thing that I know is why I'm going. I'm going to nursing school, to learn, so that eventually (hopefully) I can move back to Ti Guinea, and help the women that I already love. I can see their faces when I close my eyes. I can hear their giggles and smirks when I pronounce words wrong, or hug them and tell them they are beautiful and that I love them. This journey is unknown just like the last, but hopefully, it will end in the same place, with the same faces.

My heart beats is for the women of Ti Guinea. For the women of Ba Limbe, and the other surrounding villages. My dream is to love them, to teach them, and to live with them. I have many thoughts on how I want to accomplish this. Health education, women's health, midwifery, general education and skills training, etc. but, lest I get caught up in the details, I'm just envisioning these women. Their faces, their names, their stories.

I miss my old friend the blog. I miss living with the people who inspired its stories. When I started writing, it was a blog about me, but how foolish I was to not see that this is about their stories. But more importantly, its about God's story in all of us. How He is weaving our hearts together. How He is satisfying us.

 Its so easy to look to other things for our satisfaction. Its easy for me to look towards the future and say that once I finish school, get married, and move to Haiti I'll be ok. But I know that's not true. There are so many things that I look towards for fulfillment that will never satisfy me. I'll never be "ok" unless I look to Christ for all the fulfillment, joy, and satisfaction that I need. He's the reason that all these things are good. I am so undeserving of the blessings that he has lavished on my heart.

I hope that me and this old friend will get to spend more time together. That I will spend more time writing, because the lessons I learn while writing are just more undeserved blessings from Him.


Ok, so I realize I'm not doing a super good job of keeping up with the 3 Things I'm Thankful for, Thursdays. But I'm going to try to do better, I promise!

But this week has been great, so I feel like I should blog about it.

So here goes.

1. I'm thankful for the Lord's timing. After a lot of waiting, many tears, and lots of stressing....I got into nursing school!!!! Praise the Lord! He is so good to me! I got accepted to UT Health Science Center in San Antonio! I am still waiting to hear back from a few other schools, but I am looking forward to starting in January. I'm so excited that I'm finally in and I can't wait to start this new chapter in my journey!

2. I'm thankful for having some time off! Last night as I was falling asleep I decided that it would be a stellar idea to just take a road trip up to Dallas on my way to Austin this weekend. Let me explain... I'm going to Austin this weekend with Kylie to see my sweet friend, Caidee and her husband Jordan. Kylie decided to leave for Austin today, and so, not wanting to be left home alone, I decided to road trip up to Dallas to see Daniel and some other friends before heading to Austin on Saturday. It worked out perfectly because I had food that was getting ready to go bad in my fridge, and so I brought it and we made leftovers.

3. Lastly, I'm thankful for the cold weather! It had been feeling so wonderful these days... especially in the evenings! I even wore a scarf today!! It was magical!

That's all for now. I'll try to be better about keeping up from now on!


Thankful Thursdays

Three things I’m thankful for Thursday.

Thankfulness is something that I think everyone can use more of. Especially me. I have so much to be thankful for, but I don’t always take the time to sit and think about it. I saw a sign the other day that said, “What if you woke up today with only the things you thanked God for yesterday.”  Many people save their thankfulness for November around Thanksgiving, but I’ve decided to take some time out of every week to thank God for His gifts, whether big or small. Significant, or insignificant.

I must admit. The “Three Things I’m Thankful for” Theme is not a totally original idea. One of my best friends, and roommate of 3 years started it. Except her “Three things” is on Monday. So I’m giving Kylie the credit for the idea! You should check out her blog, "Polka Dotted Days" too! (For real, check it out. She's super funny!)

Last Wednesday night, as I was laying in bed and throwing myself a little pity party, I decided to snap out of it and be thankful! And so was born, the weekly ....

(...Except, at the time I didn't have internet, so I'm just now posting it... I'll work on getting it on the right day!)

1.       These guys! Gersan and Betty Valcin are my other set of parents. They have truly been such a blessing this past year, and have been so wonderful to do ministry with. Gersan is the optimist I hope to be one day, and Betty is full of wisdom and truth. I’m honored that they call me their other daughter, and I’m so blessed by their hearts!

2. Electric tennis racquets. (Ok, I didn’t say each of the things I’m thankful for were going to be earth shattering…)These things are a for-real, a lifesaver though. They provide an effective way to kill mosquitoes, and make it a fun sport, all at the same time. I am not as effective as some people with the racquets, as is evidenced by my thoroughly  bitten legs, arms, and face. Betty could totally give Venus and Serena a run for their money with her mosquito killing tennis skills though.  (please ignore the crazy eyes and the bad web-cam quality photo)

3.    God’s plan. Through many tears last night I thanked God for His perfect plan. I am back, or rather, still in the land of Inbetween. But I’m so thankful that I can remind myself “all things work together for good to them that love the Lord.” That God has got whatever is going on in my life under control and He knows what’s coming even though I don’t.  I’m thankful for His plan. I’m thankful I can trust Him. And as much as I fight and cry and wish sometimes, I am thankful He’s in charge.

...And so begins the Thankful Thursdays! Thanks for the inspiration, Kylie!


Changing The Look And Enjoying The Little Things

I think my blog is having a bit of an identity crisis. I don't think the blog, or rather, the author, knows what to do with a "Haiti themed" blog, while living in America.

It makes me feel weird to talk about anything on here that doesn't have some deep spiritual meaning, or some great story from my friends in the village. So I've decided to do a little updating. I've wanted to write this post since May and haven't really done it correctly, so its just sitting in my drafts.

I want to enjoy the little things. Today! The things that otherwise may go unnoticed, the things that may or may not have real deep meaning. I want to enjoy things today! Not tomorrow. Not next year, but today. God has put me in today to enjoy it and learn from it.

Life happens today. Here: wherever I am
Doing what I'm doing (however frivolous it may seem)
Celebrating the little blessings just as much as the big ones

I am not forgetting about Haiti or my time there. It brought me to today. And today may lead me back to Haiti, but I don't want to miss life by looking at yesterday or tomorrow. 

My name is Noelle Faith. I need that daily reminder that He is faithful, yesterday, today, and forever. He is faithful in the little things. So I'll enjoy them today. And then I'll share them with you! 

This blog will be about the little things:

Who I'm with
What I'm making
When life happens
Where I'm going
Why I'm laughing
How I'm doing



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