01 August 2015

New Spaces

Hello all you fantastical creatures.

I will no longer be blogging on this wonderful webspace that for so long has occupied my heartspace.

We have created our very own website, which I will be blogging on (much more regularly than I have been in the past.


You can check us out here...

Please let us know what you think about our website. We would love to get your feed back.

With Love,
Your Vagabond, Malialani

18 May 2015


Vagabonding now is different.
Much, much different.

Oaxaca is beautiful. The colonial feel of the cobblestone mixed with the brightly colored buildings and edgy street art on every other corner is something so very different. Our neighborhood is old, but seeing a revival of sorts. We have a lavanderia, a tortilleria, and, claro, a barbershop bar called Barberia Krampus. You read that correctly - a barbershop where he does haircuts and close shaves and you can have a cold beer. There are coffee shops, a wood-fire pizza restaurant, an organic grocery and cafe, and more. Our apartment is nice, furnished, and the perfect mixture of small enough that we can always see our mischief-making son but still have separate rooms. We are trying to live in this small corner of the world.

"And there are a new kind of nomads, not the people who are at home everywhere, but who are at home nowhere. I was one them." Robyn Davidson

Everything is an adjustment. We are acclimatizing, getting used to, transitioning. And it is so different this time around. This time I have to account for a husband, for a son, for a daughter. For nap times, for feeding, for snacks, for toys, for time outs, for bad behavior, for good behavior, for language school, for homework, for playtime, for sunscreen, for sunburn, for bug bites, for owies, for water, for bedtimes, for all of the things.

The weather is hot. The Spanish often goes over my head. The time zone change, the culture shift, the food differences, the apartment hunting, the street vendor browsing, the taxi driver conversations - these are all things that I know, that I love. But it is a different world when you have a family. If it were just Marko and I, there would have been changes, but they would have been minimal. But a family nomadic lifestyle is an entirely new world.

I am slower to absorb this culture shock than I have been to others.

It is hard to figure out how to best go about immersion when you have to tote around a little red headed girl who can't walk. It is hard to imagine browsing in a mercado when you have to worry about your two year old disappearing into the crowd. It is hard to keep track of snacks and of meal times and water bottles when it's not just your stomach that informs you of the need. It is hard to think about which papers and which toys you will need at the immigration office in order to best satisfy the government and your two year old. It is hard to wear your four month old daughter in 30 C heat.

It is much easier to prioritize in familiar place with familiar people and familiar things. But it is, for me, much less rewarding.

Yuriko, Cynthia, Juan, Delfino, Rosi, Jomas, Eduardo, Pedro, Rosa y Lola - this is the beginning of community. It takes time to build, it takes hard work. It is inconvenient, it is exhausting, it is frustrating. But it is worth it. And it is better to do with a family. They create opportunity, both to explore and to rest. They create a loving safe space to be yourself in. They provide moments of the utmost love, joy, frustration, anger, hope, laughter, strife, wonder. And I am so glad to be here with them.

I couldn't do it without them.

07 November 2014

The Stupid Dumb Truth About Why I'm STILL Fundraising

I really want to start every blog post off with "Here's the thing..." but we will get to that in a minute.

Firstly, thank you for all of your words of caution, support, love, and weirdness. It is always nice to be heard - even if you were just venting and weren't quite expecting to cause such a raucous... 

Now, here's the thing.

I do not wish that I hadn't posted my last blog, nor would I change one word (not even the swearing). Because it was my honest, heartfelt cry of that moment. And let me tell you - the week only got worse from there. Our two year old is pushing boundaries, as they tend to do, and getting his two year old molars. Marko was laid off and I discovered more things that have fallen behind due to my computer crash at work. It was a week.

There were a fair amount of people who gave me insightful advice about reconsidering our pathway - but there were also a number of people who were like "Then why are you doing it?" or "It sounds like you didn't actually think about your life choices.

I don't know how to respond.

Why am I doing this? Because I feel called to it. No, that might not make sense, but if I gave up on everything in life that was difficult - what kind of life would that be?! I would definitely not have my two year old. I would definitely not be pregnant again. I would definitely not be married. I would definitely not have deep friendships. I would definitely not work at my job - or any job for that matter. I would definitely be a depressed, shallow, human being incapable of change.

Hard things are typically the things that shape you into a better human being than you were before. They grow you, transform and empower you. Trials create perseverance.

But knowing doesn't necessarily make it easier in the moment.

And sometimes we get to vent.
On the interwebs.

As to whether or not I think about my life choices. I think about them a lot. I pray about them constantly. In the month of October, I prayed and considered my life choices constantly. I don't necessarily feel the need to constantly update people about that.

A time when I didn't consider my life choices was when I was a high-functioning member of society my senior year of high school. I was severely depressed, on all kinds of substances, and no one knew. Because I didn't talk about it. I was the lead in the Spring Musical. I was on Leadership. I was the Prom Queen. I was told just the other day what a "treasure" I was in High School... I was confused.

Guys. Don't judge people by what you see. Or even what they vent on Facebook or Blogger. Instead, have deep conversations as you walk in relationship with them. Even if you don't understand what they are doing through. This is important. Because while I was just venting - sometimes there is a deeper need for conversation. Don't dismiss it and don't try to judge people in that one window you see them through.

We are still fundraising.

We are still fundraising because it is the path that we have chosen, it is still what we feel called to, and through this season in the desert - we will be transformed and learn.

29 October 2014

The Stupid Dumb Truth About Fundraising

My family's Underwood has been on display in our home for over forty seven years. It is the one my dad used over the years for taxes, I used to practice upon, and our kids played with.....quite an artifact! K.W.

I haven't written.

And I don't just mean published - I haven't even written anything.

I just can't.

I have been all consumed by the support raising process. Fundraising. Development. "Friendraising." You can call it whatever you want, it remains the same. And I am exhausted. Beyond exhausted. I don't even know what I am anymore.

Exhausted is what my toddler makes me when he wants to have a dance party for 30 minutes straight (dance parties with Rory involve a lot of running, jumping, and dipping low). Beyond exhausted is where I am living with fundraising. Enervated maybe? No, I think I have hit a stage beyond what the English language allows me.

71 Churches Contacted
20 Covenant Camps Contacted
6 Church Invites
2 Supporting Churches
30 Individual Supporters

I can't even tell you how utterly depressed this makes me. I have emailed every church within our conference and then some that aren't. I have tried to make it clear what we are going to do, even though I am unclear of it myself. I have read every book and just addressed 60 envelopes to people I don't really know, but knew me as a kid. I read blogs and advice, try to think of "creative fundraising methods," whatever that means. Emailing, reading, re-emailing, googling, calling, writing, addressing, labeling, stamping - I do this shit for hours upon hours.

And then?

I cry. I feel like this maybe isn't what I am supposed to be doing. I feel like maybe I am absolutely out of my mind. I feel like if this had been the right path, it would have happened for us already. I feel like a failure, like I'm not doing something right. And I literally don't know what else to do.

But here's the stupid part - the extra stupid part, anyway - I also don't feel like I'm allowed to let it go. Oh yah, you read me right. As soon as I sit down and cry and vent and think, "Maybe this is the end of this dream," I just a swift kick in the spine (literally) that reminds me that I don't get to quit. It's not that time, at least, not yet anyway.

I still believe in what we are going to do. Sure, I feel called by God to it, but you don't have to believe in God to understand it.

We are going to Oaxaca to learn about the people and the culture and walk with them as we try to figure out a way to eradicate poverty through education and sustainability; what that entails and how we can make it happen together.

It's not that complicated. Yet it seems damn near impossible to get anyone on board with that dream. And I don't know what else to do. I just don't. Every time I ask for advice, I feel everyone very genuinely telling me to do all of the things I have already done - sometimes out of the goodness of their hearts and sometimes out of other places...

There really is no point to any of this except to say: I haven't written. And I don't know that I will for awhile. I just don't have it in me. But I love you all and hope to be back to you soon.

04 September 2014

Autumn Activism

I am realizing more and more... it is not enough wish things were different.

So, what can be done? Because I often feel small and overwhelmed by the world and all of the things happening in it. I am just one person. You and I are just two people. But I also have Margaret Mead in the back of my mind..."Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Here's the deal - we live in a broken, fallen world. But we cannot expect anything to change if we are not willing to change. So... what to do?

William Pitt challenging William Wilberforce to look beyond the impossibility of ending the English slave trade in "Amazing Grace."
And isn't it lovely?

1. Have an opinion - not just the opinion of your parents, friends, coworkers, etc. Have one of your own. Educate yourself by not only listening to others who share your opinions, but also those who disagree with you. Make sure you have an open mind and hear what others have to say.

2. Educate yourself - constantly. Read articles and blogs, listen to the news on the radio and television, try to branch out from your normal go-to places of information to seek out new concepts and ideas.

3. Share - if you find it informative, odds are someone else will too. And with the amount we are inundated by vanity based posts on social media? We can always use one more source of knowledge over one more selfie.

4. Object - don't just let things happen, be a part of change. If you see or hear something that shouldn't be happening whether it's bullying, slut shaming, racism, sexism, ableism, a wrong statistic, an ignorant comment - make sure you say something. Don't wait for someone else.

"All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." - Edmund Burke

5. Give - your time, your talents, and your treasure; volunteer, donate, write articles, share companies that do good things, expose companies that do bad things. Go and see with your own eyes, support those already doing amazing work around the world and in your own backyard.

6. Use your purchasing power - for good. They say if you want to see what really matters to a person, just look at their bank account summary. And it's true. We put our money where our hearts lie, and our dollars move and shape our world so spend them on companies and ideas that move and shape well.

7. If we are thinking, we are winning. Flobots basically sums up all things. If you are challenging what you know, if you are asking questions, if you are looking at the world around you instead of just your own life - you are winning. You are creating a world in which people must have answers for their actions and reasons for their doings. You are creating change.

We have the power to create change or we allow change to happen through our passivity. Remaining ignorant is no longer an excuse in an age where information and answers are just a click away.

In case you need some inspiration... here are some things I am semi-obsessed with right now:

You can't arrest an idea.
'Cause it's awesome.

Because our generation needs to be challenged.

An online store that posts about products that do good in the world.

Feed Projects
Feeding kids for a full year - and you get a trendy bag.

Providing employment and education for women and children through the creation of cool products that you would love to have in your closet.

hems & fringes
All the time.

And this.

Sympathy is no substitute for action. David Livingstone, Missionary to Africa

So get out there and do something.
Me too. ;)

27 August 2014

Toddler Eats

So, we primarily make all our food from scratch. We have always been pretty "granola," but after reading 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker? Our cooking from scratch increased dramatically.

Most of our purchases are "whole foods" - meaning our grocery list is primarily organic fruits, veggies, and bulk items with some milk, eggs, cheeses, and meat on occasion. We bake our own bread products and try to avoid things that come "ready made." However, just because that is what we primarily purchase, does not mean I am not above purchasing Annie's on a week where our lives are crazy (or when I am desperately craving cheese powder on mediocre noodles). And if my favorite organic wraps have a sale sticker slapped on them? I buy two or three. If we are out and about, I try to have snacks on hand, but the world doesn't end if we stop at our local coffee shop for a chai tea and bagel.

On top of being kind of obsessed with clean eating and the like, I am cheap. Partially because I just am, but mostly because we are on a tight budget. With Mark and I working part-time jobs, fundraising, a toddler, and another tiny on the way? We are having to great creative with our spending - or rather, our not spending.

So, what to do about food for littles while still attempting to be a frugal-whole-foods-er?

I should preface this with the fact that I am blessed with an eater. But here are some of the things that are regularly lying around my house in small dishes.


Roasted Chickpeas
I buy chickpeas/garbanzo beans from the bulk section, which is unbelievably cheaper than from a can, but it also means you have to soak them at least overnight before they are ready for cooking.
Take 1 cup or so and soak in them in 3 cups of water anywhere from 24-10 hours before I want to cook them.
Next day drain the water, pay them dry, toss them on a cookie sheet with edges or in a glass baking dish (so they are lying flat and not stacked) with a little olive oil, mix them around with your choice of spices. We do a little salt, pepper, and cayenne because my crazy son was born to live in Mexico, but cinnamon sugar is really good, or you can go with curry powder, chili powder, and turmeric or any blend of spices that you love.
Then throw them in the oven at 350F. You have to keep an eye on them, especially if you are soaking and not using canned chickpeas, because they are all different sizes and depending on how long you soaked them. But just occasionally check and stir them around and eventually they will start to look golden brown and if you pop one in your mouth (careful, very hot) it should be crunchy - like a corn nut!
Once they are done, just put them in tupperware and they keep for awhile - at least, they keep for about a week. I couldn't tell you if they last longer than that. My son gobbles them.

Fresh/Frozen Fruit/Veggies
When it's in season, fresh fruit is the way to go. Lots of good for you things and it's sweet! So you don't really need to spend too much time trying to convince your kiddo to chow down. We are lucky enough to live somewhere that has a pretty decent fruit season, so I purchase as much as I can and then freeze what we don't go through. Peaches, nectarines, berries, figs, pineapple, mango, etc. all hold up pretty well and are a nice cold treat.
Carrot and celery sticks are great, grape tomatoes cut in half, corn, snap peas, bell peppers - Rory likes to dip in ranch/other salad dressings, but he also will just eat them if there is no dressing available. Rory also really likes frozen peas and corn. I cannot for the life of me tell you why. Try it on your children?

Dehydrated Everything
We went big this Summer and purchased a dehydrator. We are semi-obsessed with Laura Miller, Sidesaddle Kitchen, and Raw Vegan Not Gross - so a dehydrator was definitely in our line of thought.
Dried bananas, pineapple, mango, and plums! Zucchini, kale, sweet potato, and squash chips! Jerky!
Rory is a big fan of all of this. Some fruit for his sweet tooth, some crunchy for his veggies, and the kid absolutely adores jerky.
We have not had a lot of time since the arrival of our dearest kitchen appliance, but I will let you know how further recipes turn out. I am very excited to try Not Chicken Nuggets. It's on my to-do.

Sweet Potato Fries
Cut up a sweet potato or yam (it doesn't matter). Toss in a glass baking dish with olive or coconut oil. Add salt if you want. Throw in the oven at 350F, occasionally mixing around until they are how you like them - for softer, take them out sooner and for crispy, wait a while longer.

Toast, Half Sandwiches, and Other Bready Things
Like I mentioned, we make our own bread. So it doesn't concern me for Rory to munch on toast. Our favorite place ever, The Grainery, has so many options it will make your head spin. We actually considered getting a wheat grinder and just purchasing organic wheat stalks. Then we decided we probably didn't have the time...
If you feel like you don't have the time to bake bread? Get a bread machine. 5 minutes of your time and 3 hours later you have a fresh baked bread loaf. Don't have a bread machine? Put an ask on Facebook. People just don't use them for some reason and are more than happy to get rid of them. I got two before I even knew what was happening. I use it once a week - maybe twice in one day if our menu for the week is kind of bread heavy or I want to freeze a loaf for a busier week.
Avocado toast - toast + mashed avocado + a little salt & pepper if you want.
Egg salad sandwich - piece of bread + egg salad (hard boiled eggs, mustard, a little olive oil, salt & pepper) + some lettuce chopped up into small bite sized pieces.
Melted cheese - piece of bread + cheese (+ sometimes we do a little onion) in the oven on broil till melty.
PB&J - piece of bread + peanut butter + jelly
Braided cheesy bread - Mark makes this, I will find out the recipe at another date. Cause it is magical.

Omelet Bites
Make an omelet! Put all your favorites in, whether it's just cheese or one million veggies, but make sure it is thicker and holds together well so you could pick up a bite with your fingers. Then cut it up and serve it to the small one.

Pumpkin Pie
Yah, you heard me.
Lessen the sugar and make your kiddos pie. I have two in my fridge right now, thought I will admit they were definitely not made from scratch. I needed to get rid of several things in my pantry... But pie, especially Pumpkin Pie is a great way to get them some great vitamins. I am determined to find the perfect from scratch recipe this Fall - I will let you know how my quest goes.

So, saimin is like top ramen but from scratch and 100x better.
Veggie stock, saimin noodles, and whatever veggies you so desire (leeks, carrots, celery, and bell peppers are my go-to) all thrown into a pot until the noddles are done. Then break an egg into the boiling water, turn off the stove, and stir it up with your spoon to get that awesome Asian soup egg that my husband literally cannot seem to accomplish. Maybe you just need to have it in your blood? Add salt and pepper as you so desire. Drop in ice cubes and let the tinies at it.

Frozen wild caught fish fillets are actually not too expensive. So defrost and throw in a pan with some coconut oil or homemade teriyaki or whatever and then give a small chunk to your little with quinoa or rice. Here is fish tip: fish? Should not smell or taste "fishy." Ever. If it does? It's bad. Good fish should have little to no smell and melt in your mouth almost like butter. True story.


You'll notice that I'm not the most specific recipe writer, that's because I'm not the most specific food maker. I use my fingers rather than measuring and often just kind of wing it. It drives my chef husband a little bonkers.

Also, I will add some pictures - my internet doesn't seem to love me at the moment.

Maybe another day I will do more specific recipes, but this is more of an inspiration post. If you are a recipe person, just follow me on Pinterest. I am constantly making the recipes I post there. Seriously, it's how I meal plan for the week. ;)

26 August 2014

Let's Be More Than Overrated

People of the internet, I apologize for my lengthy absences.

I have no excuse except life. Life happens.


See the pretty life?

I read an interesting blog  the other day about how this generation is the most overrated - by ourselves and others - and here is why we are supposedly the most overrated: we like the idea of saving the world, giving aid, helping others, etc. more than we are actually willing to do anything about it. 


The truth of the matter is - this is probably true. We think that liking the Invisible Children page on Facebook, or posting graphic bloody pictures of the Israel Gaza conflict all over the internet, or sharing ALS Ice Bucket Challenge videos is going to create real change.

(shared with me by the lovely Lindsay Belsha)

I'm not saying these things don't have the potential to create some lasting effect. Maybe someone saw that you "liked" International Justice Mission on Facebook and decided to check it out and came to the realization that they would like to work for IJM! But probably not.

And while I am glad to see that the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge has shifted to dumping water on your head and donating... we are still putting one cause above another when we dump clean water over ourselves while a large portion of the world goes without.

If you are passionate about helping rid the world of ALS? Try learning about the research being done and share articles with new information. Or give to the foundation and share that you did so and why with your friends on social media.

I understand that we love our kitschy things that make giving to charities seem cool - but giving to charity is cool regardless. Regardless of whether your friends know, regardless of whether you had to look silly doing it, regardless of how many people you got to give. And raising awareness makes you the coolest kid on the block. Even if you are completely dry.

For instance, here is something I am passionate about.


Malaria is a preventable disease. As in, those 700,000 deaths do not need to occur because we could stop them. And I am passionate about spreading that knowledge. So here is your infographic, and you can donate here, or try over here, or even over here.

I am also passionate about education.


But even more important than the level of education reached, is the type of education received. In places where AIDS still runs rampant, it's important that we are educating protection and awareness. There is always education needed surrounding Malaria! And lowering the infant mortality rate, the access to clean water, women in business and micro-enterprise loans - the list goes on. And on and on.

Let's not be an overrated generation. Let's put our personal lives, our politics, our nationalities aside for the bigger picture - our human brothers and sisters, our world. Let's raise money, raise awareness, put our time and talents and treasure into something more than ourselves. Let's use social media to create real change rather than passive-aggressively touch on important issues.

I am the first to admit, I need help. I need reminders. I need grace.

But that should never stop me from trying again.

And it shouldn't stop you either.

So, what are you passionate about?