An ABC book for the kid in all of us

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My Heart Smiles in Guatemala!

Hola!   Where in the world has My Heart Smiles been lately? IMG_1873IMG_1879

Recently, I traveled with two of my Marquette, MI, friends, Patty Barton and Anne Jackson, on a Voluntour trip with the Hug it Forward Organization to help build a bottle school in a Guatemalan village called Los Potrerillos. IMG_1900There were 26 voluntourists (from Sweden, China via Paris,  Zimbabwe, the U.S.) working for several days, side by side with the wonderful people from the community in constructing a school for their children. We helped mix/carry cement for the roof frames, sorted bottles into large bags, and tied bottles to the frames.

Plastic water bottles stuffed with trash are tied to chicken wire in cemented wall frames.  The people of this community showed their commitment to this project by collecting and stuffing 6,500 bottles prior to our arrival.

IMG_2447.JPGAn amazing fact: we were the first foreigners to ever visit their village! (I’m still trying to wrap my mind around that one!) They trusted us! They opened their hearts…celebrated our arrival, lovingly welcomed us, gave us a tour of their village and made us feel like family. Of course, there was time to engage and play with the children! Great fun!

IMG_8901IMG_2397 An extra humongous bonus!  I felt honored to have an opportunity to read My Heart Smiles to the village children and adults…with the help of my roommate, Gabriela Mares (Fresno, CA) who translated it into Spanish!  I’m blown away that the essence of my book’s message joyfully transcends any language barriers! It was fun and humbling and exciting to witness and participate in! It all simlpy proves once again that we are all “One!” We all want to feel good, be uplifted and uplift others! Needless to say, My Heart still Smiles whenever I think about sharing my book in Guatemala!


Some copies of My Heart Smiles and a copy of Colleen O’Hara’s beautiful short parable on forgiveness, The Butterfly Woman, were gifted to the children’s principal and teacher to start their new school library! Who knew just 4 years ago when this book (which was only going to be for family and friends) was launched, that it would travel the world!  I believe this is the 8th country that I know of where it is being read! Amazing! It just keeps getting “gooder” and “gooder!”

Needless to say, we all went there “to give” from our hearts and found ourselves “receiving” much much more in so many ways! New friends! Their smiles, their laughter, their dedication, their hugs, forever etched in our hearts!  My heart is so full of appreciation and love!  Flying Life and Loving the Guatemalan View! Diana