We do live in the very northwest corner of the United States but this winter we spent some time gathering sun rays in the Southwest corner of the United States and Mexico.

About a year ago our Critter Girl then fifteen years-old asked if she could receive a unique gift for her 16th birthday and Christmas, her request…. a service trip. Repeat a fifteen year old asked us for this gift, wow!

My husband’s family grew up with Gordon & Susan Carter’s family, who now are in retirement (but they do not rest, they work non-stop) running an amazing charity called, Charity Anywhere, so I knew who to contact to set-up the trip. The charity builds houses and beds, plus offers dentists a chance to provide dental services with equipment and the charity also helps supply food and fulfill other needs in South and Central America. I took my oldest two daughters and my oldest daughter called the trip, “Life changing!” She was correct!!

We saw homes that looked like this:

The charity does not have any employees so nearly all the money we paid went towards supplies for the construction projects. We built homes that looked like this:

At times we were waiting for measurements to happen or parts to arrive or decisions to be made so I took the chance to do what-else clean up a little garden, filled with cactus and other desert plants.

Although, the family’s house we were rebuilding basically blew up from a propane tank exploding, a tiny garden survived and I felt like it was something that could still bring a tiny bit of joy. I hope I was right.

If you are at all interested in taking a service trip especially with teens I recommend Charity Anywhere. Keep in mind that the trip teaches patience which is something we all need more of and you will eat the best tacos of your life.

Here are a few more pictures of beautiful plants we discovered in Mexico and Arizona. Enjoy and get ready because it is almost time to start ordering seeds for 2018 growing year. Midnight Gardener has been eyeing his garden catalogs😁.

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