Saturday, July 31, 2010

Who wants to go to Cancun and Playa Del Carmen with me in February or March???

Here's a video from our friend Pastor Doug in Playa del Carmen who is building an incredible ministry in the Mayan village of Chan Chen.

I'm in the beginning stages of forming a team to go in February or March to work with Back 2 Back Ministries with orphans in Cancun, do some work with Pastor Doug in the Mayan village of Chan Chen AND also experience some awesome beach time and personal growth time. WHO WANTS TO GO???

Friday, July 23, 2010

What is a Butterfly?

“Tell me Sir, what is a butterfly?” asked Yellow the caterpillar.

'It’s what you are meant to become.

It flies with beautiful wings and joins the earth to heaven.

It drinks only nectar from the flowers and carries the seeds of love from one flower to another.”

“Without butterflies the world would soon have few flowers.”

“It can’t be true!” gasped Yellow.
“How can I believe there’s a butterfly inside you or me when all I see is a fuzzy worm?”

“How does one become a butterfly?” Yellow asked pensively.

“You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”

“You mean die?” asked Yellow.
“Yes and no…What looks like YOU will die, but what’s really you will still live.”
“Life is changed, not taken away. Isn’t that different from those who die without ever becoming butterflies?”

(From the book "Hope for the Flowers" by Trina Paulus)

God, I don't want to live falsely, in self-imposed prisons and fixed,
comfortable patterns that confine my soul and diminish the truth in me.
So much of me has gone underground.
I want to let my soul out.
I want to be free to risk what's true, to be myself.

Set free the daring in me…
the willingness to go within, to see the self-lies.
I'll try to run away, but don't let me.
Set me on a journey toward wholeness.

I'm scared, God. Make me brave.
Lead me into the enormous spaces of becoming.
Help me see your face shining in the night of my own soul.
Help me to break free and risk becoming the person you created me to be.

Tomorrow I may regret these words, but tonight I speak them,
for I know that you're somewhere inside them…
I know you love me and won't leave me alone in their echo.

(Adapted from a prayer by Sue Monk Kidd)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

I Wanna Set The World on Fire

A couple of years ago I made this video as a way to express a prayer to God that I couldn't seem to put in I used pictures. Most of the pictures are mine and are from mission trips to Mexico and India. I meant this prayer from the bottom of my heart and I kind of forgot about it until today.

I'm amazed at how 3 years later all of the things I was asking God for were set in motion that day and are starting to come to happen! Pay attention to your dreams. God has put them there for a very special reason!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Mexico Update

Hello Friends!

As you know, Trent and I are hoping to do missions work in Mexico (specifically the Riviera Maya) some day soon. We went in February to start the process of figuring out what we are supposed to do and are planning on continuing to go back until something develops. We were thinking we were going to have to start our own missions agency, which we have no idea how to do, but are trusting that God will make a way.

Well, God has made an amazing thing happen! My good friends Matt and Julie Cooper are opening a second site of Back2Back ministries in Cancun to serve the orphans and the children who are left to raise themselves while their parents work 12 - 16 hours a day in the hotels. These kids are being preyed on and used in human trafficking and Matt and Julie are going to move to Cancun to help fight against human rights violations. Now Trent and I don't have to figure out what we're supposed to do in Mexico, we have an awesome organization that will be in place that we can bring teams to without having to start our own!

B2B is the mission organization I worked with in Monterrey, Mexico when I took teams of high school students on mission trips. We are very excited to be able to partner with friends and a mission agency we love and trust! My favorite part of taking those teams to Mexico was watching the transformation that happened in just one week when kids were removed from their comfort zone, removed from video games and cell phones and were able to focus on and serve see that it's not just about us in here in America...there's a whole world out there that needs us to get out of our bubble and help! Amazing, amazing things happened in people and changed them forever! That's what I hope to have a part in someday soon!

Family Christian Book Stores has offered to match any donations they receive up to $15,000. Could you find it in your heart to help Matt and Julie with their move so they can get started right away in this global fight against human rights violations? $5 turns into $10....$25 turns into $ get the idea. Any amount will help them and it will also help us (The Rajski's) in our mission.

You can read more about Back2Back or make a donation at . Trust me, there isn't a better mission organization out there...I'm so excited to get the opportunity to partner with them and hope that you will help!

Love and Peace, Lanette

P.S. I'm hoping to form a team and be one of the first to go to Cancun to help Matt and Julie get started. Let me know if you're interested. We'll do some mission work and we'll do some vacationing and sightseeing too!

New Back2Back Ministries site in Cancun!

Blog post by Julie Cooper, Back2Back Ministries
(See the original article HERE)

This fall, Back2Back will be expanding, by opening a second site in Mexico, specifically in Cancun. Staff will help in the fight against human rights violations against children and provide “care for today, hope for tomorrow” to orphans in need. Below, Julie Cooper, who will be heading up this site with her husband, Matt, explains how the idea began:

My husband, Matt, with two siblings from San Jose Children's Home in Cancun, during a visit to the area in March. I want to share with you a little bit of the story behind us going to Cancun. This won’t cover every angle but mostly that which involves us personally. In the fall of 2008 one of our SMCA (the school on campus) teachers held a fund raiser to help an organization that works in areas where human rights are being violated. I was interested to learn more about this organization so I visited their web site to see what kind of work they were involved in. I was struck by an article about the great need in Cancun and how poor and street children are at incredible risk there. It just kind of became a burden to me. I thought a lot about the kids and their needs and began to wonder if Back2Back could maybe someday be “back to back” with the work that was going on in this city.

Later in the fall of 2009, Back2Back decided that it was time to branch out and begin work in another Mexican city. By this time, I had shared with pretty much everyone what I had read about Cancun. However, back in the US office while researching options, our team was unable to find even a word about Cancun on this organization’s web site. Apparently, they don’t even work there! Whatever it was that I read over a year ago, was clearly God’s way of bringing this area of Mexico to our attention. Many associate Cancun with beaches and hotels – not with the thousands of children in need. Some are living in children’s home but many, many more are at home unsupervised while mom is gone twelve hours a day trying to earn a living working in one of the hotels. Older kids often turn to the streets. Below is first-hand insight into the situation in Cancun, as reported by Chris Hawley, of Republic Mexico City Bureau:

Cancun is a place of brilliant turquoise waters and cool white sand, tropical breezes and icy margaritas, glittering hotels and immaculate streets. That’s the Cancun seen by some 4.6 million visitors a year, making this tiny island one of the world’s biggest tourist destinations, a major source of cash for Mexico and the model for new resorts from Tunisia to Thailand.

But there’s another Cancun just beyond Kilometer Zero, the place on Kukulcan Avenue where the vaunted Hotel Zone ends. And things are not so idyllic there. It’s a city of 500,000 struggling with the social ills of a frontier boomtown: crime and poverty, drugs and gangs, political unrest . . . It’s a place of gritty “superblocks” where hotel workers live in cinder-block houses, and of even poorer areas where squatters build shanties out of scrap wood and old advertising banners.

“If the tourists knew where we live, they’d understand what Cancun is really like,” said María Eternidad Jiménez Orinano, standing in the door of her scrap-metal home in the Tekach neighborhood.

Back2Back will work to meet the needs of the children in the area and offer opportunities for short-term mission teams to partner with us as we serve.

God has worked in His own time and I am encouraged by that as I think about the obstacles that still stand in our way. I’m going to write about it in my journal right now, so that next year I can look back again at our Faithful God who supplies all of our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus and see how He was again faithful!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Video Story about our trip to Mexico

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day 2010 - Powerful Video

Facebook users click here to view video
In a world filled with hate
we must still dare to HOPE

In a world filled with despair
we must still dare to BELIEVE
-Michael Jackson-

You can’t wait for the world to change,
YOU must do something about it

Stay with the video all the way to the end - it's worth it!!

We can all make a difference if we work together!

10 Easy Things You Can Do To Help Save The Planet

So you want to help the environment but think there’s not much you can do?

Below is a list of just ten things you can do in and around your home that will help.

1. Take a four minute power shower

2. Take reusable bags with you when you go shopping

3. Turn off lights and appliances at the switch when not in use

4. Sign up to Green Power with your electricity supplier

5. Buy the most energy and water efficient appliances you can afford

6. Put your food or plant scraps in the compost or worm farm

7. Look for products without unnecessary packaging

8. Walk, cycle or use public transport when you can – and leave the car at home

9. Grow plants native to your area in your garden

10. Go green when you clean

Read the entire article from "Sustainables" HERE - it has click throughs that explains each item on the list

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Today is Cancun's 40th Birthday

Today is Cancun´s 40th birthday! And still the youngest city in the entire country… It's hard to believe that it's only been around 40 years. 20 years ago we went to Cancun for the first time, so we've known it half it's life - lol.

Here are some interesting facts:

Kaank'uun is a Mayan name that means “nest of viper snakes” (yikes!)

Cancun was a desolate island inhabited by a small group of Mayan fishermen.

In the 1970’s the Mexican Government decides to build a tourist destination funded by a 27-million dollar loan from the Inter-American Development Bank. During the 70’s there were hardly any tourists in Mexico.

Today Cancun has over 27,522 hotel rooms operations, hundreds of bars and restaurants, exclusive golf courses, marinas, eco parks, museums, shopping centers, cultural richness, entertainment, and more.

You can read the entire article and see a very cool slideshow of old pictures of Cancun HERE.

Article provided by

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Beauty in the Mayan Riviera

Here's a montage of my best shots from my photo shoots in Mexico - Sit down, relax and ENJOY!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Live Every Day Like It's Paradise!

My step Father-in-law Hank DeValk passed away last Tuesday after suffering from Alzheimers. He was a great man – a gentle and kind man with a quiet dignity, a positive and happy attitude and a laugh that would light up the room. Having him in my life was such a blessing and I’m so grateful for the time we got to spend with him.

Hank and Emma spent the winters in Naples, Florida and every year my family would take a trip down to visit them. You know, you never really know someone until you live with them for a period of time, and I felt like I really got to know Hank during those visits.

Hank would always wake up happy and smiling. He would come out of his bedroom dressed, shaved and looking so sharp for the day. He would come out to the lanai where we would be drinking coffee, whistling all the way. As soon as he would see us he would get a big smile, tell us good morning, then look around outside of his lanai and exclaim “Just Another Day in Paradise”. He would stand there for a little bit and take it all in – the grapefruit and orange trees, the water flowing by in the channel, the groomed palm trees in his yard, the pelicans flying by – he savored and enjoyed it all and that is how he started his day.

I’ve adopted that saying, “Just Another Day in Paradise”, and I have it hanging outside our door at our cottage. It’s just 5 words, but through those 5 little words, Hank taught me a lot . . .

Choose Paradise - It doesn’t matter what you’re going through or what struggles you have, waking up in the morning and starting your day with a positive and happy attitude can make a big difference in your life and in the lives of people around you. We can choose to live every day like its paradise or like its hell on earth – I choose paradise and hope to spread that around to people.

Stop and Notice -There’s paradise everywhere, all around us, if we would just take the time to look around and notice it. Stop and take time to breathe it in and enjoy all of the beautiful moments that happen every day.

Your Extreme Self - A teacher that I love, Erwin McManus, says that as we get older we become “extreme versions” of ourselves. Meaning that as we age, our true essence comes out more and more. You’ve seen older people who are bitter and mean, right? That’s an extreme version of who they were when they were younger – there was a little bitterness there, and as they got older it grew until it became extreme. You’ve probably also seen elderly people who are very gentle and kind too, that is an extreme version of what was important to them when they were younger. As Hank’s Alzheimers progressed, there were some symptoms of that terrible disease that were not him. But mostly what oozed out of him was kindness, love and respect. When he was at his worst, he still was so sweet and grateful, always quick to say thank you for whatever it was you were helping him with, even if he didn’t remember your name. One of Hanks last acts of kindness when he was so weak was to rally up enough strength to bring Emma’s hand up to his face and kiss it. I want to be very aware and very careful of what I carry with me as I age. I want my “extreme self” to be extreme with good and loving things, not bitterness or selfishness.

No Regrets - Hank’s 3 children did not live close to him and there was some concern when he married Emma because his wife of 55 years hadn’t been gone very long (understandable). No one from Hanks side of the family attended the wedding. The first time both families were all together was at his memorial service last Saturday. They had lost 9 years of time and building memories with their father … and not just any years, his final years. I learned a very big lesson from this – I want my friends and family to know how much I love them and value them while they are alive. I don’t want hurt feelings and disagreements to come between us and fester. I don’t ever want there to be regret when it’s time for someone I love to end their journey here on earth. In deep, connected relationships there is pain and risk – but even though it’s hard, I’m going to commit to pushing through the mess, have those tough conversations and work hard to build memories and connect with my loved ones on a deeper level.

Integrity & Commitment - Hank was the kind of person that if he said he was going to do something or said he would be there, you could count on him. It seems like we have lost this kind of integrity and commitment. Come on people – if someone cares enough to invite you to something, then GO! If you say you’re going to do something, then DO IT! And for heavens sake, if someone takes the time to invite you to something, could we have some manners and at least RESPOND to it instead of ignoring it? Be a person your friends and family can count on. We’re all so wishy-washy, it’s just a shame (myself included). The older generation had such great manners and respect for people. I think it’s time we learn from them and get some of our manners and respect for other people back.

Happy Hour - I learned the beauty of “Happy Hour” from Hank. When we were in Florida we would always have Happy Hour – a glass of wine (or for him it might be a little scotch on the rocks) and some shrimp cocktail or some kind of snack. What’s valuable about this is not the drinking – we could have had Diet Coke or Iced Tea and it would have been just as good. It was about stopping what was going on for a little while, connecting, telling stories and having fun together. How great would life be if we would put “Happy Hour” into practice more? Again, it’s not about the cocktails, but about doing some thing that makes us happy . . . spending time with people we care about laughing and enjoying each other.

I still have a lot to process through all of this. I’m so grateful for every person that has crossed my path because through them there is always something to learn. Right now I am processing what kind of friend I plan to be and who I want/need to invest in for a deeper relationship. It is so true that in tough times you find out who your friends really are.

Thank you so much to my friends and family who supported us through the last week. Gary and Donna, thank you for being more than friends to Trent and I, you are like family. Uncle Bruce and Dani, thank you for taking time to be there for us, we love you and appreciate you. Debbie, thanks for the phone calls and the offer to help, it meant so much. Thank you Beth and my Mom for checking in on me and making sure we all are doing okay.

Thank you, Hank, for teaching me so much about life in such a short time. I promise I will live every day like it IS another day in paradise, no matter what my circumstances.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Toy Drive for Needy Children of the Yucatan

Here's one of our Charity Projects we are partnering with while we're in Mexico. The town of Akumal has organized a Toy Drive every Jan. 6th in honor "Three Kings Day" - here's more info from their website:

"Día de los Reyes Magos, “Three Kings Day” or “Epiphany”, is the most special day of the year for children throughout Mexico, and historically portrays the arrival of the Wise Men in Bethlehem bringing gifts to baby Jesus.

However, many children in the Mayan rural villages have never experienced the joy of receiving a toy from the Reyes Magos. Help us change this!!

This past January 6th, vacationers brought a toy to donate, money was collected to buy toys, and over 500 children received a special gift from the Reyes Magos which they normally would not have."

If you would like to be part of this project, we would be happy to shop for you while we're down there and deliver your toy(s) to Akumal. (We are not taking toys with us. Instead we will purchase them while we're down there because the American dollar is pretty high right now AND because of the high cost of taking extra luggage on the airline.)

Let me know if you're interested in participating and I will take care of the rest! Message me at .

The kids will be soooooo happy and grateful for your support - you can make their day and let them know they are loved with just $5 or $10!!

Akumal Toy Drive web page -