I am going to try to keep this short and sweet tonight.

Mainly, because Denise told me I needed to go to bed.

Denise, Sam and I are starting to walk at 6 am in morning.

For those of you who did not know, a majority of MJC girls live in the same neighborhood.

Super nice if you need a partner to help you get in shape.

As Sam says, the month of May is “Loose 10 lbs month”  and I am all about that.

Honestly, it will be nice to unwind for and hour and a half and just walk.

Its been a long couple of months for me and really challenging my New Years Resolution of “Balance.”

I have never been good at letting work go of work. If it needs done then I want to do it now, not later.

So needless to say, that means a lot of late nights and work on weekends.

The good side of that though, is its not called work if you enjoy it, right?

Besides, I feel like the season started for all of the fun charity events.

Yesterday, a group of  us attended the Salvation Army Appreciation Dinner

where Matilda Jane received the “Queen of Hearts” Charity Award.

I felt so honored to accept it on behalf of Matilda Jane.

Tomorrow, Mindy and I and a few other MJC girls will be attending United Ways “Power of the Purse” event.

I was on the board of this event and I am excited to see it all come together and raise funds for literacy.

And to top off the month, Chelsa’s friends are hosting a Charity Event in honor of her next week.

The funds donated will be donated to Cancer Services wig room.

Chelsa and I went to “Friends for Lunch” a few weeks ago and that was the first time I had been there.

Walking into that wig room, and knowing how important something as simple as a wig is, completely made me tear up.

I look at Chelsa everyday and see such beauty in her short hair cut,

but as a female I can only imagine how tough something like that can be when it’s not a choice.

Okay I think I am going to end on a good note. It is now 11 pm, and I have a long day ahead of me.

I will end with this photo of my FAVORITE two boys.

Romeo and Gordon!!!!

Thank you Kiara and Denise W.  for getting so many great photos of my little man.

I can not tell you how much I needed this last week.

Not only did I get some unexpected news last week, but my poor romeo had to be rushed to the Emergency ER.

No worries, he is fine but it is amazing what one photo of the sweetest face can do to the heart.



PS. Don’t Forget about the Auction going on through Hyena Cart. Here is the link again. 10 AMAZING auction up for grabs and all proceeds go to Habitat for Humanity.


Jacki - May 9, 2013 - 2:47 pm

Aww Kayla! Sweet boys you have! Have a wonderful weekend pretty girl!

Mama Hope - May 8, 2013 - 11:27 pm

Hi, Kayla! I miss you! *giggle* I love you! Your sweet far away boy! And I love your “let’s eat something … Hmmm . Sofa-nope! Bed-nope! Table-nope! Pills-yep!! Sleep tight!

Brittney - May 8, 2013 - 11:23 pm

Hope you ladies have a great walk tomorrow!


I’ve been planning this blog post in my head since before we even boarded our first flight to Kenya almost two weeks ago. This last trip was unlike any of the other trips I have taken to Africa and I knew that I wanted to take my time to really processes everything and use the right words before I finally started sharing about this trip.

First, it was by far my favorite trip to Kitale, Kenya. I got to travel with three of the most amazing, passionate and talented women I know. There seriously aren’t even words to describe how much I admire Jenni, Jami and Denise W. Seriously.

On this trip we spent our time photographing, interviewing and talking with 86 girls that we plan on playing a part in helping change their futures. We spent all day with the girls listening to their stories, hearing about their struggles and needs and how we can play a part in helping them. Going into this trip I knew this was going to be one of the most emotionally challenging and draining experiences of my life. If you know me, you know that I am not very emotional, at all, and I don’t often let myself get upset and certainly don’t let anyone see me when I am upset or breaking down. But, I knew I was going to have to quickly get over that because there was no way I was going to be able to talk with these girls and listen and take notes while they told their unimaginable stories to us and not let it effect me. Before heading out on this trip I knew I needed to mentally prepared for all it had in store..but when I was being honest with myself I knew there was no way to actually be fully prepared for all that was in store.

So, girl after girl all day long they would file into the small classroom with us at the Seed’s Academy and sit down infront of a few of us and tells us about their life. While every girl’s story was different they all seemed to have at least a few things in common; no parents, lack of not only food but clothing, a safe living environment and a good education. The girls ranged anywhere from age 3 to 17. And they are all living in situations that my mind can’t even fathom. They have been forced to grow up way too quickly and carry responsibilities that I have may never face in my entire life. They are 86 of the strongest girls I have ever met in my entire life. And now that I know their stories and their dreams I want to do everything I can to make them happen. I want to use every ounce of my energy informing everyone I can and pointing them in the right direction to also make a change.

Each night we would head back to our lodge for dinner and would finally get to breath and break down our thoughts with each other. Which really meant the other girls talking and me listening while I tried processing my many many thoughts in my head. Yep, that’s me, always trying to figure things out on my own..let me tell you, it’s probably not the best way to keep yourself sane. Seriously. Being home and being alone and finally dealing with all my thoughts hasn’t been easy. Not knowing what to do with them I finally decided to start journaling and writing them out hoping it would help me clear my head and think without it being so overwhelmed and clouded. So far the journaling has been treating me well.

We did find a few hours of time throughout the week to stop by the orphanage and hang out with the kids that we have already fallen in love with on our previous trips. And that was the best surprise of the whole trip. It was really nice to get to just hangout and spend time with the kids without there being anything planned or scheduled out. On our last couple trips we came prepared with different games, devotions and activities each time we were with the kids but this time, since we were spending almost all of our time interviewing and we didn’t think we were going to get more than one evening with the kids we were able to just do whatever. I spent more time talking to and getting know some of the teenagers that I bonded with before this trip and spent A LOT of the time snuggling and holding the little babes that hold a large chunk of my heart.

As you already know, I plan on moving to Kitale in August. I will be spending my days with the kids continuing to get to know them and learn their stories and share them with you guys and strengthen the bond that we all have with them..there is a lot more to what I’ll be doing but I’m sure I’ll get to share the details with you guys soon! The past few month have been pretty overwhelming for me. It was finally starting to sink in that I am moving away from everything constant and familiar about my life. I wouldn’t be spending my days with some of my best friends in the whole world in the Platinum room everyday and I would be leaving the very comfortable life that I have worked hard for and pick up and move halfway across the world to live at an orphanage. I am moving to a country that I have never spent more than two week in. And on the surface it may sound a little crazy BUT with every trip I take I fall even more deeply in love with not only Kenya but with the children and people I meet there.

The overwhelming love I have for the children can’t even be put into words. I wish I had a really great way to explain it but it’s impossible. Once you’ve fallen for Africa there is no going back and I have fallen so hard that I want to spend the next chapter of my life devoting every part of me to changing the lives of the girls we just met, with the children that I haven fallen in love with even more on each trip, with the city of Kitale and everything that I hope for it to grow up and become and to continue to share that love with all of you and hopefully trick you guys into loving it even a tiny fraction as much as I do!

I’ve told so many people this, but I wish I had the money and opportunity to take every single one of you there. Even if it was just for a day, cause there is absolutely no way that you wouldn’t fall in love with the people and children. And once you’ve fallen for them you want to do everything you can to make a change in their lives.

I could honestly go on and on for a lifetime about Africa and all that it has done to my life but I’ll cut myself short today and share more next week. Promise.

Hope I didn’t bore you too much..sometimes I tend to ramble and all I talk about is Africa but I can’t help it, it’s my love.


Oh, I almost forgot..a lifetime dream of mine has been to take a motorcycle ride and what better place to make that happen than in Kenya?! Yep, in seconds another dream came true on this trip! Even though I am not sure if most people would count this as an actual motorcycle..especially because we went beyond slow but it works for me and I am checking it off my bucket list!

Cheri - May 8, 2013 - 2:53 pm

I love reading your posts about Africa, and love this one the most. It is so amazing what you girls did this week. I can not wait to hear about the changes you do make in their life. What a great spirit you have.

Robin Wilson - May 8, 2013 - 2:37 pm

I haven’t met you yet. But I am sure that we will be meeting soon. My family of ten will also be moving to Kitale. Our move is scheduled for late August or early September. We will also be working with Seed’s! So very excited for you and can’t wait to meet you!

Gran - May 8, 2013 - 2:07 pm

Kiara, your love and heart are more than 100% in this. My love and prayers go with you on this journey and I look forward to seeing and hearing amazing things that happen all along the way. God has certainly opened a door for a plan that you are ready to undertake.

KimE - May 8, 2013 - 10:06 am

LOVE, LOVE reading your blogs on Africa. You have such an amazing soul that will do great things in Africa!

Robin Amstutz - May 8, 2013 - 9:32 am

I just love to see where God is taking you on your amazing journey of life. I will be praying for you and all the children at the orphange very day that you are gone. I love you and am so proud of you for helping others!!!! MOM

jami - May 7, 2013 - 10:52 pm

I feel beyond blessed to have spent last week with you in the place that tugs at your heart so strongly. You belong in Africa. You were meant to change the world. Even if it’s just a small corner called Kitale. This was truly the Best. Week. Ever. Thank you for being such a bright light for young children, the underprivileged, and women around the world. Love you and your beautiful soul more than you know! Hope to spend a week in Kitale with you again someday. XOXO

Hope Boyce - May 7, 2013 - 10:52 pm

I love your heart and, even more, that you are following it! Carry on!

Candid Keepers #408


Stacie Hamsley of Leesburg, GA

Favorite Place:


Q:  Please tell us a bit about yourself.  Where are you from and where are you now?

A: My name is Stacie Hamsley, I am a Trunk Keeper in Leesburg, Georgia.  Yup, I’m a Georgia Girl born and raised! I live here with my AMAZING hubby, Keith and our three incredible kiddos, Reese, Ella Kate and Cannon, who just turned one.  We are a military family.  My husband has been in the Georgia Air National Guard for 14 years and just commissioned as an officer this past year.  He is currently away training for the next nine months…basically making me a single mom of three!  Yes, our lives are crazy!!  But we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Q:  I always love to hear about the incredible husbands that support the crazy schedule of a MJ Trunk Keeper.  What makes your so special?

A: What doesn’t make him so special?  He is my rock!  We have a BLAST together and support one another’s hopes and dreams.  We have been married for eleven years and I fall more in love with him each and every day.  He is my best friend, my soul mate and an AMAZING father to our children!  

Q:  My favorite thing to talk about is my kids.  Tell us about YOURS.

A: Awe, my kiddos, my pride and joy!  Reese, my first born, will be ten in April.  She has the BIGGEST heart for others!  I love that she is so compassionate and accepting.  She’s super smart…and you can usually find her with her nose stuck in a book.  She makes me so proud! Ella Kate, our sweet middle child is 6.  She is so spunky and silly and fun…..this child never has a care in the world!  She is such a free spirit!  You will usually find her playing jokes on her older sister or tumbling around the house.  She loves to snuggle and is a mama’s girl for sure!  Cannon, our baby boy!!  He just turned one in February.  He is defiantly the baby of the family and has brought so much love and laughter into our lives. 

Q:  If you could wear one item every day, what would that be?

A: Finns, hands down!  My FAVORITE pants EVER!!!!

Q:  How did Matilda Jane find YOU?

A:  My husband was coming home from a 4 month deployment and I knew I wanted updated family pictures.  I’ve always been one to search for that PERFECT combo….and was on the “hunt”.  I came across a post card from the Field Trip collection.  It was LOVE at first sight!!!!!

Q:  If you could have lunch with ANYONE, who would it be and why?

A: As simple as it sounds, my husband.  He is away so much and with three children, our time alone is RARE! 

Q:  What are 5 words your friends would use to describe you?

A:  Five Words?  Let’s see….Independent, Creative, Outgoing, Trustworthy, Fun

Q:  Besides your family, what are you most passionate about?

A:  Planning!!!!  Photography….design.  I am a crazy planner….but LOVE anything where I can use my creativity.

Q:  Share with us just ONE very important thing you do to try to leave this world a better place.

A: Try to teach my children to live a life full of compassion, love and laughter…and how to pay if forward.

Q:  What store makes your heart go pitter patter when you shop in it?

A: Oh my….that’s a tough one!  I LOVE to shop!  BUT, I’d have to say Alice and Jay in Sasser, Georgia.  {www.aliceandjay.com} I LOVE their simple, unique, and fun style!!!  You are guaranteed to walk out with a head full of inspiration and a huge smile on your face every single time you visit!  …and in my case, an empty wallet!   

Q:  What do you value more?  Possessions or travel?

A:  Travel!  Travel equals memories, and those can never be taken from you.

Q:  If given the opportunity to have the day to yourself, how would you spend it?

A:  On the beach, with a fun fruity drink and a good book!

Q:  If you could crawl into the pages of any book, what would it be and why?

A:  Gone with the Wind.  I LOVE the old southern charm!  Guess it’s the Georgia Girl in me!

Q:  Good Hart is a special place for Denise.  What place do you hold dear to your heart?

A:  Home is where the heart is!!  Of course, my home is wherever my family may be.  Our lives are so crazy, and we never know what tomorrow holds.  As long as I have my family with me, that place will be dear to my heart.

Melissa wood - May 6, 2013 - 10:28 pm

Best tk eva!!!!! Love love love!!! Go Stacie!