Thursday, June 25, 2015

Back Home

I had a chance of a life time. Working as a program developer and coordinator for EartH2O in Costa Rica these last 5 weeks has taught me so much. A mixture of beauty, travel, and work and to add that I got paid for it all. Kind of hard to believe. I have met so many people across the globe, learned so many cultural and business lessons it is really surreal. I would tend to say that I have learned so much and experiences so much in the last couple of weeks that I feel as if I have been here for 3 months. I am sorry for only blogging about my time in CR minimally. That just means you will have to ask me in person ;)

I'm sitting here now in the airport waiting to board the plane. As I am doing so I am thinking about all that I have learned, all that has changed since I have been away from the states, and all that has changed me while away. Time flies, yet time still changes things. To think that I will be returning to my grandma and college friends getting married, friends having babies, and friends continuing to graduate programs. Life's a roller coaster, seeming to never slow down.

I am so ready and excited to come to Texas, California and Oregon to see the people I love and cherish. I am thrilled to start a new beginning and life out of school. Thanks to my time abroad I know my own visions have matured, my cultural perspectives shifted, my spiritual walk strengthened, and that I as a person have become stronger.

I love you all. Thank you so much for following me on this journey and keeping me in your prayers.

Con Amor,


Saturday, June 6, 2015

pH and Water

Yesterday while preparing presentation material for students I found myself on a learning rabbit trail. One of the activities we will be doing is taking water samples at various locations along Costa Rica and measuring for the basic water quality parameters of Dissolved Oxygen (DO), turbidity, temperature and pH. In so preparing a brief lecture on the importance of these parameters I got stopped by pH as I chose to look more into the importance of pH in water.

I found out a couple more details about pH from being curious. Guess I had apparently forgotten about them in my chemistry class. First off, being that the pH (potential of hydrogen) scale ranges from 0-14 (0-6 being acidic and 8-14 being alkalinic) the pH of our bodies should normally be 7.35. This means that our bodies are slightly more alkaline than acidic.

The importance of pH and our human health is surreal! When we eat more acidic things, aka soda, fried meals, salt, and greases our pH levels drop. When we eat more alkaline foods our pH levels rise. It must therefore be a system of balances. What I learned from my research is that it is better for our bodies to be on the more alkaline side. Why? Well, diseases, viruses and bacteria thrive in acidic environments and CAN NOT persist in alkaline environments. Think of the average American diet, where consuming sodas, fries, fried chicken and chips is the norm. Now think of how acidic that person's pH level is as a result. A Coca-Cola soda for example sits on the pH scale as 1.5! It takes a lot of water and green vegetables to rebalance that level.

How does water play into all of this? WELL LET ME TELL YOU! Water sits on the pH scale as neutral at 7.  The more water we drink the more we are able to neutralize our bodies and for better health stay away from the acidic scale. However, many people turn to bottled water as it is the most convenient commodity around. But there is one problem with bottled water: it is most times acidic! How? Well all of the chemicals from the bottle itself over time leach into the water itself increasing the sources acidity. Furthermore when water sits in a container for a long period of time it looses oxygen and becomes heated. The heat impacting the stagnant water actually breaks the hydrogen and oxygen bonds in the water creating free radical hydrogen molecules not connected to the other HO molecules. Since H are + , these free radicals increase the pH of the water (see diagram above on the left column to visualize how added H+ decreases pH).  Therefore when drinking bottled water, most of the times you are actually contributing to the acidity in your system. (Different bottled water brands have been different levels of pH most around 5 and 6 but some going as low as 3 and 4 on the pH scale).  When water is oxidized, oxygen molecules are able to reconnect to the free floating hydrogen radicals thereby reforming a stable H2O molecule--decreasing acidity in water.

Since it is the acidic environment that disease, bacteria and viruses inhabit it is important to maintain a level of alkalinity in your system. Alkaline water has been proven to actually cure diseases!
Here is an example chart of the foods that can improve and harm your health based on the pH scale. Helpful:

You should at least be drinking half of your body weight in oz. of water.
When we however are conscious of what enters our body, we are in turn being mindful of the pH scale--and there are benefits!

Friday, June 5, 2015


This last Sunday I had the opportunity to go out sailing on a small catamaran with some friends.  It seems like everyone here around the lake are friends or are connected in come way.  The boat we went sailing on was a friend of JPs. Lake Arenal is a beautiful and pristine lake. I am amazed of how clean the water and beaches are. There are hardly any boats on the water and very few docs. It is as if this lake is untouched--something unheard or unseen within the pollution and overuse practices of the 21st Century. 

My opportunity to be on the lake, and this beautiful Costa Rican lake at that, is a reminder to me of how the Lord has blessed me in so many ways. As if I haven't been blessed enough, I felt as though this was something extra special. The air was fresh, water clear, and no other people out on the water. Its amazing how God speaks to us when away enjoying His beautiful creation. Just had to share!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

2 Weeks in Costa Rica

Greetings all!

Just a quick update. So I have been in Costa Rica for the past two weeks.  For those of you who don't know I am currently working for the Earth2o Program ( This is a sustainable study program taking place in Costa Rica. It is a new program that has some previous reputation and establishment. We are however now creating the program into an institution. What is my part in all of this? I am developing and coordinating the upcoming 12 - day program for students touring in Costa Rica. The focus of the program is focused on water resources.

How did I get here? Well in January 2014 I was a student on a Green Renewable Energy Education Network (GREEN program) taking place here in Costa Rica.  Part of that study abroad program was develop a capstone project--aka an innovative idea based off of all that I had learned on my trip. During that trip with a group of 4 of us, I presented my capstone project called "the BLUE program." As much as my team enjoyed and were passionate to learn about renewable energy, we were more passionate about our water resources. So our BLUE program was to create a similar study abroad program we were on, however focused more on water resources and its local and global issues.

After that presentation JP (one of the program owners, also owner of the Lake Arenal Hotel) invited us all to work on such a program. Over the past 1.5 years I have kept in touch with JP to create such a program.  (Here is the link to check out the hotel where I am staying:

So here I am now in Costa Rica working on developing and coordinating our upcoming Water's Program. This 12-day trip is apart of the new Earth2o Program/ Institute. So far this has been a really great opportunity for me to learn about coordinating and planning, advertising, business, sustainability, renewable energy and of coarse WATER RESOURCES! And its only been two weeks! So thankful for the opportunity.

Here is a high side view of the lake where I am staying at. This place is absolutely beautiful.

Pura Vida,


Friday, May 22, 2015

My Last Day at CCA

My last day in class with the kids of CCA was so sweet. All of the teachers had made me a card. Not only that but I received so many cards and pictures from many students of the school. Fifth grade decided to have a going away party for me. It was a surprise to me! During my time with Fifth grade one of the sweetest things one of the girls said to me before I left was, "Your are so special to me, and you have made a big impact on my life." This really touched me to hear this.

After my party with fifth grade I promised third grade that I would throw them a party. So when I walked into the room with the cookies and punch I had made I opened the door and was welcomed by a big "SURPRISE!" They kids had put balloons all over and had made signs to put all over the walls. Then we ate the snacks I had made. Then I gave them individually the cards I had written for them. I took this as an opportunity to speak identity into them. One by one they would come up and I would tell them and their classmates the good character qualities that I saw in the them as a form of encouragement. This was a really impactful time for all.  After this time we watch a video I had made of them all. Garret had given me a good worship song for kids called, "WE WONT BE QUIET." I had them learn this song in English and we would have fun learning new words and dancing around. One day I had video taped them dancing and singing to this song. I promised them on my last day that we would watch our class music we did! They absolutely loved watching themselves on the screen. All in all it was a fun and joyous goodbye time. I received so many hugs, and notes to last me a life time! I really am going to miss these kids. They will forever be in my heart.

Me and my fifth grade class. The girl in front of me Melissa was the one who took the lead in throwing this party for me. She was keen on doing it and I appreciated her for that!

All of the cards I had written for my 3rd grade class: a means for encouragement.

Last picture with my 3rd grade class. 

Me and Ms. Mierdna (3rd grade teacher)

Final Lessons in Nicaragua

Rebecca and I created a Volunteers book for all volunteers at CCA to write about their time and experience. Here is what I wrote in my pages:

During my time here at CCA I have served as the 3rd grade English teacher and also computer teacher for 3rd through 7th grades. I worked on an English curriculum for 3rd grade. For computers I also workd on a curriculum, set up a computer display, pushed to see a lap top be used in the computer lab, got the projector up and running, put in a white board, prayed relentlessly for new computers, and painted a colorful keyboard in the computer lab with Kristie Beavert. I was fortunate enough to be able to hand over my projects and ultimately class to a new Nicaraguan teacher--Mr. Giovanny. It is encouraging to see it all in his hands and to continue even after I leave CCA. The above are only the projects I performed at CCA. My experienced here however has been marked by so much more.

It has been really cool over the past 4 months to see how God had developed a passion for me to have a <3 for 3rd grade and for computer classes. The vision I had for computers was -- "Inspire through Technology." Technology is so important to the advancement of any country. But we here at CCA have the opportunity, through a Christian lens, to teach computers and t oshow these kids how technolgy can be fun, purposeful and honoring for Nicaragua and furthermore for Christ's kingdom. And through this vision I cam to recognize a greater thing. While God gave Barry and Susanna a vision for starting CCA, He gives all teachers and volunteers visions to better things within the school. What will be your vision?

The greatest thing I have learned while at CCA is the importance of relationships. For a good portion of my life I have been racing full force ahead, working hard in school and by this sacrificing relationships in order to accomplish my goals. But the funny thing is God works quit the opposite, we actually need others. We need the help of others, we need their affirmations, we need their accountability, we need their advice and wisdom, and we need their skills, we need their different personalities-- WE NEED ONE ANOTHER. We need one another, not only for ourselves, but for the glory and for the work of the LORD.

While in the In2House I got to live with many different cultures and also age groups--Koreans, Niccas, Brits, Americans from ages ranging from 19-75. One of the greatest experiences was when Auntie Joyce (beautifully and wonderfully aged), asked me (23) about any areas of her personality that need critique so she could strengthen her weaknesses.  I had been going to Auntie Joyce for advice and input many times, but her receptivity to my youthfulness amazed me. This experience was an example to show how that despite culture, age and background we are a body her to sharpen one another to become better in Christ.

I have come to find that we all hold something unique to share with our body, and if we don't embrace and reach out to
the talents and gifts of others then we as a whole won't go as far. We need to also be willing to be vulnerable with one another. Taking time to first build relationships should be the first and most important task before trying to accomplish any sustainable project here at CCA.

When you can learn to die to yourself for the benefit of your community, and ultimately for the will of the LORD, then there you will make a difference.

Picture of the colorful keyboard that Kristie and I had painted in the computer lab.

Class room set up after my time here. Now Giovany is able to use a projector, has a lap top to use, and the student's computers are as up to date as they can be ;)

Safe Trip to Costa Rica

First of all I just wanted to say that I am safe here in Costa Rica. Thank you to all of my family and friends who had been praying for safe travels for me. I came to find that many of you were far more worried about my safety than I had thought. With this I would like to take the time to better described my trip crossing the boarder.

The trip was smooth sailing with no glitches. I took a Ticca Bus, a bus much like our American Greyhound, ran under a professional Costa Rican travel service. With that being said, the service was accustomed to taking their customers across the boarder and helping us all with those processes. Rebecca took me to the bus stop at 7:30am, and my bus left at 8am. From there it took 2 hours to drive to the boarder. We spent about one hour at the boarder.  There our passports were processed and we had to take all of our luggage off the bus in order to go through a security screening.

During this whole process I had met a white lady from Alabama who spoke English. She has a family in Nicaragua and was familiar with all of the processes. I stuck with her and her family for crossing the boarder. It turns out that they actually lived in Dolores, Nicaragua, the same town I had been living in at CCA! She said I looked familiar. Anyways because of this relationship the whole transition was not stressful, and I felt like I was traveling with family.

It took about another 2 hours to get to my stop in Cañas, Guanacaste, Costa Rica (I arrived at approximately 12:30pm). There was no formal bus stop here so I had to ask the driver to let me off here. Because I didn't have a cell phone I asked a man on the bus if he would let me call JP who was on the other end to pick me up. The man was very kind, and even though I offered to pay to use his phone, he refused. Because of the man's kindness I was able to talk to JP and let him know exactly where I would be dropped off according to where the bus driver had described. Upon being dropped off, JP was there within one minute.  It was all smooth, no glitches, and completely safe. From Cañas we drove 30 minutes to Tileran.

Again thank you for your prayers. I was confident that my God was protecting me the whole way through, and here beyond.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalm 23:4