Saturday, October 19, 2013

I pray... even when there isn't much to say.

Yes. Sometimes I don't even know what to say to God. So I just sit there in his love and absorb it.  I just talked to him for a bit. I said I am so sorry for all the horrid things I have done. I've acted like a piece of garbage. When I am a precious daughter of the most awesome lover of all time. I was like "God... just hold me. I don't even have words to say. .. I don't even have rational coherent thoughts at this point.... I'm just... here. And I love you... or I'm trying to learn how to. But u are so majestic, and your love and grace are unfathomable. I am only a sinful fleshly human. And I cannot comprehend. Please just scoop me up in your arms and envelope me in your love. Please god just..... BE With me. I'm sorry for my failures, and I am sorry that in some unimaginable way.... your absolute total complete magnificentness is just... there. And my small mind can't understand or see it all. And I just... fail to be as motivated and inspired as I should be in my circumstances in life. Lord I beg you for enlightenment. We beg you for clarity and motivation. And wisdom father because YOU KNOW how desperately we seriously need that from you. Abba, father, .... please just hold my hand and stroke my hair and forgivingly, .. mercifully... please I beg you to just cover me in love and wrap me in yourself while I sleep and prepare to try again tomorrow.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Just arrived at the Cincinnati/Kentucky airport, of course as soon as I finished the following post earlier before my first flight,  I went to click "post", screen went black, computer died, couldn't find an outlet and they made me get on the plane!  So here it is : ) , next flight leaves for Paris France in 45 minutes!

Flight boards in 20 minutes!!!! Drinking this cool lime refresher from Starbucks and praising God for all the support I raised! Every person who donated or prayed or supported me in any way is such an angel and a vessel for the Lord.

still fundraising, here is the link!

Robby Florence- You were my first supporter this trip and you have always supported me since we met!  I think we should plan a Mexico trip in the Fall, I miss doing missions with you!

Elizabeth Hardin-I'm so glad I met you, I haven't seen you in ages yet you continue to bless me from afar and I appreciate you and your compassionate words SO MUCH.

Mr. Creighton-The way you supported my artwork and my cause brought tears!  You are such a beautiful soul and have been a major blessing to my life in ways you do not even know!

Sharron Goodin and family- Your support has been so crucial to this journey, I hope you enjoy my artwork and I really appreciate you being willing to so readily support me when we have NEVER EVEN MET!  I am so happy to know someone who is so on fire for Christ and I am thrilled that you chose to so generously be a part of this adventure with me and Jake!

NANA!Hallie White- beautiful lady, thank you for helping me out, I crave your company and your laughter and I cannot wait to see you when we get back, your kindness and support has been SUCH A BLESSING LOVE YOU!!

Alex and Katie Wolpert- you guys have inspired me since I first met you in Bolivia and it has truly been a blessing partnering with you on trips!  I am so glad to have met you and am thrilled to have your support  yet again! Love you guys and I appreciate your love, donations, and prayers!

Mr. Jefferey Hanks-You have been such a blessing and SO GENEROUS! Thank you for thinking of me and for your beautiful compassionate heart!  I love that you are so willing to help us and we have to get you on one of these trips with your awesome skills!

Mom and Dad- I LOVE YOU!!!!! You guys are the best most amazing supportive admirable loving parents in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE!!!!!!! I cant wait to see you when we get back, thank you for loving us, supporting us, donating, feeding us, taking care of us, giving us crucial reminders, and for taking us to the airport!! Thank you for babysitting Nugget I cant wait to see you when we get back!!!!

Lamar and Kaye Thomas-Thank you for your endless gifts and love and generosity!  You guys are true servants and we have learned so much from you, you are always a joyful presence in our lives! THANK YOU!

Stephanie Snyder and Matt Dobler- aka #2 and Dobler- Thank you for supporting me!  You guys are an inspirational duo for me and I need to have more of you in my life!  I love you guys and am so SO very appreciative of you supporting my trip! LOVE YOU and see you when I get back!!! Hope Luke is doing good!!

Mercedes!-Thank you for your love and compassion, you will be missed on this trip (my african roomie!) but there will be other trips and opportunities to reunite!  Thanks for the nice wishes and thoughts, hope to see you soon!

Kristen Herndon-Thank you for offering to help out and for thinking of us, we love you and hope you have a great 3weeks!

Dana Frady- your kind words and support and willingness to promote me and spread the word were crucial to this fundraising and trip, thank you for always being an inspiration and support!

Kaitlyn Tokay-THANK YOU for always encouraging me to follow my dreams, dealing with my shenanigans, inspiring me with your positive attitude and motivation, and for being my friend.  Thanks for promoting my cause!  You are sweet and I am happy to return the favor if need be.  See you for a diving date when I get back!

Anonymous-Thank you for your one hundred dollar donation.  I love that you are so willing to support this cause and I thank God for your generosity and selflessness!

David and Libba Hicks- Thank you for supporting me!!!! you are so selfless and generous and kind and I appreciate your support so greatly!

****I haven't received/been notified of all donations sent to the organization, so if I haven't thanked you or mentioned your gifts, please forgive me!!!  I appreciate those gifts I do not know of yet and THANK YOUUU!!


Thursday, January 10, 2013

CameroonTrip GOFUNDME page!

Freedom, Gift Wrapping, Art, Cameroon!!

So..  below is essentially a life update and a support letter, that I sent out in all my Christmas cards and wanted to post on the web as well.  December flew by, the Wilderness Camp Life faded quickly, and I was rushed into a whirlwind of volunteering for 02A!  I gift-wrapped with a fury almost every day in December, sometimes I was the ONLY VOLUNTEER!  It was hectic but I got a weird rush off of speed wrapping interesting shaped packages (tennis raquet, spatula, basketball, football, bbgun, giant helicopters, frying pan) with a 30minute wait, presents everywhere, and the line getting longer.  I work well under pressure, that is precisely why I enjoyed serving for like 7years in restaurants, I was overworked and underpaid but the constant speed multitasking gave me a rush and sense of accomplishment!  Anyway, I wrapped so many presents, Orphans to Ambassadors fundraised some good money for projects this year, I got to work with my soul mate every day, and daydreamed about Cameroon constantly.  All the while starting my business, preparing for Africa, moving, preparing gifts, Christmas cards and support letters!  Oh yeah, and there was that one week in December where Jacob and I went to Seattle to do the Orphans To Ambassadors GALA Fundraiser.  That was fun! 

Had a wonderful Christmas and New Years with loved ones and am PUMPED about 2013!! 

The fundraising is going slow, that's part of why I'm posting this, I still need a lot of help on that!  However, I've managed to get my art business going on Etsy, and have fundraised a good bit through that, and will be posting more about that soon!  

Leaving for CAMEROON in EIGHT DAYS!!!!!!!


     Hi!  I wanted to write you and update you on what God is calling me to do in my life!  After several months of prayer, I left my job at the wilderness treatment center to pursue more ministry.  I am planning to return to Africa on another Orphans To Ambassadors trip, January 18th through February 8th, to Fundong, Cameroon.  We will be implementing 3sustainable solutions to the Harvest Children’s Home, an orphanage of 56 boys and girls.

     Our team consists of Jacob Hanks, my soul mate, Orphans to Ambassadors project leader and first part-time employee, Michael Lowe, Engineers without borders rocket stove expert, and myself.  All three of us did identical projects in Rwanda in May so although with different variables I think we will make an excellent team and the projects will go smoothly and efficiently!

    My last trip with Orphans to Ambassadors was supremely rewarding in so many ways!  We did the same three projects in Rwanda as we will be doing in Cameroon: chicken coops, rainwater harvesting systems and rocket stoves, at a boarding school of over 400 girls.  We got to teach the girls about sustainability and our projects, show them how to do construction work, dance, play, and talk with them, and worship with them at their church service!  I really bonded with the girls as well as the staff, and some masonry workers in the local community that helped out.  I felt God’s presence every day there and I felt that the work we were doing was meaningful to the girls and community! 

     For now I am volunteering, gift-wrapping at the mall every day fundraising for Orphans to Ambassadors 2013 project budget, and in my tiny bit of spare time I will be working on starting my online shop at: beautiful where I will be selling different types of art God has inspired me to create! I am thrilled to be going back to Africa with such a wonderful organization, and I am excited to see what other ministry opportunities will arise for me this upcoming year!
     I strongly believe that there are two kinds of missionaries, those that go and those that send them, the trip wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of others. Even small gifts multiplied by many will get me there to fulfill the calling. I took a risk in leaving a job with a steady income to follow Jesus, and now I am responsible for raising $1700 to cover the cost of the flight and visa.  I am more than confident he will provide!

     I ask that you prayerfully consider partnering with me in this ministry opportunity.  First, I ask for your prayer support. Second, I ask that you consider giving a financial gift of any size. If you decide to give financially (your gift is tax-deductible), checks can be written out to:  Orphans to Ambassadors International; 126 SW 148th Street     Suite C100-26     Seattle, WA   98166. (Please write Stephanie Braun in the memo line.) Or go to to make an on-line donation with a credit or debit card through PayPal.

     I trust that God will work through this team, and that we will greatly impact as well as be impacted by, the individuals we serve.  I appreciate your support!
There are no orphans of God! Blessings and Peace!

Stephanie Mauvlyn Braun

ps-How cool is this guy right here? We were working on the high efficiency rocket stoves using clay and he took a lump of clay smushed onto a broom stick and I turned around and he had a clay flute.  Cool guy.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Reflections on a Year of Nature.

Hi!  Long time no write!  Ive been living in the woods for the past year working at a wilderness treatment center for teenage boys.  Reflections:  The frugality and the greenness of it all was great!  Working in four day shifts with two days off and showering and eating 90% of meals there was great for my budget!  I love how the high intensity and deepness of the job made me focus on so many things I would miss outside of camp.
The close contact with nature was beautiful.  I saw beautiful little lizards everywhere in the spring. The skies were always heavenly morning and night, and I saw tons of spiders and insects I had never seen before and I could just really connect, and feel that God was a beautiful artist creator who had intricately planned every living thing.   In the crazy aggressiveness and stress of the job I didn't have time to be concerned about normal things, technology, my appearance, what the rest of the world was doing, but I did find that nature was a great escape for me!  If I had just been cursed out or threatened, there was always a lizard or butterfly, beautiful clouds, or playful squirrels to observe and grin at.  I found that the wilderness was therapeutic for the boys as well.  I had many bonding moments with kids, asking questions about animals or plants or just observing.  God walked with me and romanced me through the battlefields of camp!  Hiking up to the shower house at nights(not many of them!) was spooky at first, seeing golden eyes in the woods and hearing rustling of leaves, but those hikes became my time to walk with God.  I imagined him holding my hand, protecting, reassuring and stargazing with me.  There were rarely times where there wasn't a magnificent moon and a spectacular glittering sky that took my breath away. There are certain moments that stand out in my mind.  Being on the canoe trip and observing thousands of red and yellow spiders that literally made me shake because they were so pretty and so scary to me! (Didn't help they were falling on us and crawling in our boats constantly!)  The canoe trip down the Edistoe was remarkable, even at night and even in the swamp areas, they were beautiful!   When I laid down after a hard day in my cot and put the front tent flaps up, it started to sprinkle and the rain was misting into my tent onto my toes!  It felt like God was putting little kisses on them. When I saw squirrels relentlessly playing games everyday with each other!  It was amazing.  I saw a lot of beautiful nature out there and I grew closer connected to God and my soul, I felt more myself breathing so much outside air and soaking in the woods!

I just recently quit this job to do ministry and as I sipped this coffee I wanted to reflect on how good it felt to live outside!  I miss the sun beating down on my skin, the cool breezes, but being as its winter now I am not missing the frozen ears, toes, nose, and fingers, wearing so many layers you can barely move, and washing my hands at a frigid water spigot!  However, I do miss the deep winter sleep I got there in the cold!  unmatchable! I realized through this experience this year that sometimes living simpler and greener is better done... outside. : )

Thursday, May 26, 2011

100 things by next summer

As a recent graduate who was just relieved of numerous huge responsibilities, I decided that I need to get on the things I have been wanting to do in AGES but didnt have time, because I didnt even have time to sleep, while in school, running numerous organizations, volunteering, internship, various jobs, and so much more going on.  I have new responsibilities of course: hello student loans! but I plan on sprinkling the things I long for in life and things I have been meaning to do throughout the year amidst my required duties.  I am in the process of making a list of 100 things I would like to do by the end of next summer.  The list will evolve of course, some things are simple and wont require much time, but others will require a lot of time and investment, and if I do not complete everything, I will mark my progress and add them to the next list!  : )  I know everyone makes lists like this when its new years or they are dying, but I am of course inspired by GRADUATING AFTER 6 INTENSE YEARS of UNC Charlotte and my recent graduation, as well as all this sunshine I am drinking in. : ) Thanks God for sunshine and inspiration.

Another part of adding this list is so that my friends and networks of awesome people can help me achieve them or join me in this journey!  this list will be edited relentlessly and I will track my progress. : )  Im just trying to add spice to my life and stop putting a lot of my personal goals on a backburner for the mundane responsible life.  I dont want to live like you are "supposed to". what does that mean anyway?

Here is my list so far.

1)Read the whole bible (or as much as I can!)
2)Get back into playing piano
3)Memorize an awesome song on piano
4)Have the honor of having something I have written published. somewhere. anywhere.
5)Plan my own mission Trip to Mexico at least once (this summer!!!!)
6)Learn to play guitar (who wants to help?)
7)Become more fluent in spanish
8)Contra Dance on a regular basis
9)Return to Cochabamba Bolivia at least once with Childrens Impact Network(this summer!)
10)Become better at Salsa!!
11)Become an expert Bachata dancer!
12)Run at least 500 Miles
13)Get my merengue on occasionally.we will just make this one to make dance a regular part of my life.  I learned this week that I truly enjoy waltz, contra, and merengue, and did them all for the first time this week!!
14)Learn how to tie a tie without watching a youtube video or asking help from friends. (seriously Ive tied a hundred ties a hundred times and still need assistance)
15)Bike at least 500 miles. (step 1=get bike)
16)write 100 poems.
17)get my CNA license renewed (its been expired since 2007)
18)Learn how to tell military time effortlessly. (Ive been taught 50 times. I just set my phone to military time as an aid in this )
20)100+ blog entries amongst my various blogs : )

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dumpster Delicacies.

Hello. Im Stephanie. I have been dumpster diving for 11 months. 
This entry is a compilation of random photos of dumpster finds, adventures, and activities and what dumpster diving is according to wikipedia. : ) ENJOY!

dumpster pie

dumpster pepper plants

found this warm melting cookie in a recycling bin..

dumpster cakes!! mm mmm!

I never had a full fridge until I started diving.

fridge packing is like tetris.

Dumpster diving (known as skipping in the UK)[1][2] is the practice of sifting through commercial or residential trash to find items that have been discarded by their owners, but which may be useful to the dumpster diver.

Copper thieves stole the stores refrigeration unit. it was a great dive night!!!!!

The dumpster diving term originates from the best-known manufacturer of commercial trash bins, Dempsey, who use the trade name "Dumpster" for their bins,[3] and the fanciful image of someone leaping head first into a dumpster as if it were a swimming pool. In practice, the size and design of most dumpsters makes it possible to retrieve many items from the outside of dumpsters without having to "dive" into them.
The practice of dumpster diving is also known variously as bin-diving,[4] containering,[5] D-mart,[6] dumpstering,[7] tatting, or "recycled" food.
A similar term is binner and is often used to describe people that collect recyclable materials for their deposit value.

Kaitlyn Tokays Pet. aint he cute?

dumpster newspaper coaster.

Traditionally, most people who resort to dumpster-diving are forced to do so out of economic necessity, but this is not the case today.[citation needed] In Vancouver, Binners or bottle collectors search garbage cans and dumpsters for recyclable materials that can be redeemed for their deposit value. These binners earn on average $40 Canadian per day for several garbage bags full of discarded containers.[8]
The karung guni, Zabbaleen, the rag and bone man, waste picker, junk man or bin hoker are people who make their living by sorting and trading trash. A similar process known as gleaning was practiced in rural areas and some ancient agricultural societies, where the residue from farmers' fields was collected.
Some dumpster divers self-identified as freegans aim to avoid their ecological impact by living exclusively from dumpster dived goods.

Artists use discarded materials to create works of found art or assemblage.[9] Students may use salvaged high tech items in technical projects. Still others may dumpster dive just to indulge in their curiosity for unusual items.[10]
Dumpster diving, used in support of academic research, is a tool for garbologists, who study the sociology and archeology of trash in modern life. There is a major outpost of academic garbology at the University of Arizona, directed for some decades by William Rathje. Others, because of their profession, may use dumpster diving as a method of procedure for private investigators, police, and others seeking information and material for official purposes.

we left this dumpster wagon in a friends yard as a gift. it was appreciated. we think....

By reusing resources destined for the landfill, dumpster diving becomes an environmentalist endeavor (and is thus practiced by many pro-green communities). The wastefulness of consumer society and throw-away culture drives some individuals to rescue usable items (for example, computers) from destruction and divert them to the less fortunate. Some see it as their only way of making any money or getting some needed goods in bad economic times.
Irregular, blemished, or damaged items that are still otherwise functional are regularly thrown away. Discarded food that might have slight imperfections, that is near its expiration date, or that is simply being replaced by newer stock is often thrown away despite being still edible. Many retailers are reluctant to sell this stock at reduced prices due to the belief that people will buy it instead of the higher priced newer stock, that extra handling time is required, and that there are liability risks.

Arguments against dumpster diving often focus on the health and cleanliness implications of people rummaging in trash.[11] This exposes the dumpster divers to potential health risks, and, especially if the dumpster diver does not return the non-usable items to their previous location, may leave trash scattered around. Divers can also be seriously injured or killed by garbage collection vehicles. Further, there are also concerns around the legality of taking items which may still technically belong to the person who threw them away (or to the waste management operator), and whether the taking of some items like discarded documents is a violation of privacy.

Dumpster diving is practiced differently in developed countries than in developing countries. In many economically developing countries, food is rarely thrown away unless it is rotten. In countries like the United States where 40-50% of food is wasted, the trash contains a lot of food.[12] In many countries, charities collect excess food from supermarkets and restaurants and distribute it to the needy. Dumpster divers, Karung guni, Zabaleen, and rag and bone men in these countries may concentrate on looking for usable items or scrap materials to sell.[citation needed]
In the United States, Canada, and Europe, some bakeries, grocery stores, or restaurants will routinely donate food according to a Good Samaritan Food Donation Act, but more often, because of health laws or company policy, they are required to discard food items by the expiration date, because of overstock, being overly ripened, spoiled, cosmetically imperfect, or blemished.

As proof to publishing houses of unsold merchandise , Booksellers will routinely remove the front covers of printed materials to render them destroyed and the remains thrown in the dumpster. Though readable, many damaged publications have disclaimers and legal notices against their existence or sale.
Residential buildings can be a good source of clothing, furniture, appliances, and other housewares
Some consumer electronics are dumped because of their rapid depreciation, obsolescence, cost to repair, or expense to upgrade. Owners of functional computers may find it easier to dump them rather than donate because many non-profits and schools are unable or unwilling to work with used equipment.[13] Some organizations like Geeks Into The Streets, reBOOT, Free Geek and Computerbank try to refurbish old computers for charity or educational use.
Sometimes dumpsters may contain recyclable metals and materials that can be reused or sold to recycling plants and scrap yards. The most common recyclable metals found are steel and then aluminum.[citation needed]
Often, dumpsters can be an unintended source of information. Unwanted files, letters, memos, photographs, IDs, and other discarded paperwork (or their digital equivalents) may potentially be found in dumpsters.

dehydrated dumpster orange necklace. I taught a green art class for kids and also do crafts with kids i tutor. they LOVE making necklaces out of recycled materials.  Thats because kids are still creative and true artists. The world tries to take that away from them every day though.......

dumpster food can spice up the cubicle life around lunch time.....

I LOVE giving people dumpster flowers.



The last Supper.

Because dumpsters are usually located on private premises people may occasionally get in trouble for trespassing while dumpster diving, though the law is enforced with varying degrees of rigor. Dumpster diving per se is often legal when not specifically prohibited by law. Abandonment of property is another principle of law which applies to recovering materials via dumpster diving.
Police (and possibly other) searches of dumpsters and like discards are also generally not violations; evidence seized in this way has been permitted in many criminal trials. The doctrine is less well established in regard to civil litigation.
Companies run by private investigators specializing in dumpster diving have sprung up as a result of the need for discreet, undetected retrieval of documents and evidence for civil and criminal trials. Private investigators have also written books on "P.I. technique" in which dumpster diving or its equivalent "wastebasket recovery" figures prominently.
  • In the United States, The California v. Greenwood case in the U.S. Supreme Court held that there is no common law expectation of privacy for discarded materials. There are however limits to what can legally be taken from a company's refuse. In a 1983 Minnesota case involving the theft of customer lists from a garbage can, Tennant Company v. Advance Machine Company,[14] the owner of the discarded information was awarded $500,000 in damages.
  • Dumpster diving in England and Wales may qualify as theft within the Theft Act 1968 or as common-law theft in Scotland, though there is very little enforcement in practice.
  • In Italy, a law issued in 2000 declared dumpster diving to be legal.
  • In Germany, the contents of a dumpster is the property of the owner of the dumpster so taking items from a dumpster is technically theft. However the police will routinely disregard dumpster divers due to the zero value of the items - there is only one case known of an actual prosecution: the thieves were arrested on assumed burglary as they had surmounted a fence and the supermarket owner made a complaint on theft later.[15]
  • In Canada, The Trespass to Property Act - legislation dating back to the British North America Act of 1867 - grants property owners and security guards the power to ban anyone from their premises, for any reason, permanently. This is done by issuing a notice to the intruder, who will only be breaking the law on return. A recent case involved a police officer who retrieved a discarded weapon from trash as evidence; the Judge ruled it as legal without a warrant, so some have speculated this is enough backing for anyone to raid garbage.[16]
  • A Belgian dumpster diver and eco-activist nicknamed Ollie was detained for a month for dumpster diving accused of theft and burglary. He was arrested on 25 February 2009, for taking food out of a dumpster of AD Delhaize in Bruges. His trial evoked protests in Belgium against restrictions of taking discarded food.[17][18][19]