Praise and Prayer

Hey All!!

A lot has happened since I last wrote. I’m not quite ready to give all details, but to assure your peace of mind, I am still alive (ha ha)  I have some praises and prayer requests I want to share with you.

PRAISE GOD…

  1. I’m alive and well and am physically healthy!
  2. I got to celebrate with the April DTS school as they graduated
  3. We have working water, electricity and yummy food
  4. I’m learning to trust God and lean on him in ways I never imagined

 

PRAY FOR…

  1. The safety of our base
  2. Inward Peace and hope in myself
  3. Me, that I will get continual rest I need and make wise choices on getting sleep.

Thank you for the prayers. I will share more stories and adventures soon!

><>Heidi<><

Happy Halfway!

42 days here! 42 days left! I made it halfway!!!

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I’m having a bittersweet moment.
I am so thankful to be here. But I do miss home, with green grass I can run on, arms of my mommy that give the best hugs (I love you!!), crazy conversations with my younger brother that always make me laugh, the smell of cows and the taste of home grown chicken or beets.
But I know I’m not done here yet. There’s so many more sunrises I need to see, so many more laughter and giggles from children I need to hear, so many more lessons I need to learn, so many more people to meet, so many more stories to write.
And I have 42 more days to do all that. I have 42 days to make sure I don’t waste, wishing things away. I have 42 blessed days that I can capture and turn into memories.

><>Heidi<><

Getting Out of my Comfort Zone

Looking around, life feels the same with minor changes and locations during certain times during the day. But when I look at the pictures I had before Hurricane Earl came through, I see how green everything was. Leaves are now brown, red, ugly yellow and falling off the trees. The once white sand is now sprinkled with brown roots, dirt and drying sea grass. It use to look so clean. Now trash litters everywhere. Shoes are a common item that people seem to loose in the ocean.

At first, I was okay with it. It didn’t change much for me. I still had food and water. I could contact family and friends. In fact, I still think that way sometimes.  I have to get creative in knowing where to go when I want a quiet time that doesn’t include the dock or the palapa. Or sitting in the sand that sticks to everything. But my comfort zone was still here. I’m fine with life.

Then I looked around at the staff here at YWAM. I realized, these people have been here years. Some 2 years, some 4, some 7. Some have been born and raised here on the island. Friends call this home. And they were seeing it turn upside down. The beautiful turned ugly. The places they frequented often were torn and broken. The environment went from lush to mush.

Belize isn’t a place I could call home yet. It’s dear to my heart and I love it here. But I have yet to consider it a place where I’m truly comfortable. Looking around though, I am hurt at all that my friends are seeing. I wish I could help more in cleaning this place up. I feel sorry for the speakers who have to visit and see all that we’ve been through. Why would God have this happen to such a beautiful place. And while I’m here? What can I learn from this time?

Listening to my friends here, I have heard so many stories. And suddenly, today in fact, it hit me. During our time here, we have been slowly stripped of everything of comfort. The wind, the bugs, the cold showers, sand getting everywhere, mice, lack of transportation, all these things I, and others, have been learning to live with. But we can go a step deeper. The dock was a huge comfort zone for many of us. It was the place we could cry, we could pray, we could tan or swim or fish along that lovely dock. And within one night of wind and rain, it’s gone. The Palapa, could it speak, would share so many stories from people all across the world. Of how God has used them, what he’s teaching them, the laughter, the heartache, the community and family that sat under it’s roof. And now we have to use a back door to get into the kitchen.

Whether it was God’s plan or not, I have had places I love, stripped away from me. In a way, it’s like sitting in a cold room, with a warm fuzzy blanket wrapped all around me, and someone came along and pulled it off, leaving me shivering and wondering why they’d do such a thing. And thinking on it, I think I’ve come up with a personal reason.

Since getting here, I have been a hardcore introvert. I would avoid people except at meals. I would read and write by myself. Most of my free time I was inside my casita chilling by myself, or on the dock chilling by myself or somewhere away from people…chilling by myself. I didn’t open up much to the people around me. But since Earl stopped by, I’ve come to find myself opening up to people here. I’ve stuck around after a meal instead of leaving right away, and stuck up conversations with people. I’ve been finding myself bored with reading and writing (took a close month and half to figure that out) and now I crave people, so I check out the snack palapa and see who is around.

I don’t believe that God brought the storm about to get me to talk to more people. But through this hard time of losing places that I dearly love, I can find a new place to love. I never went to the snack palapa before this storm. I avoided it like a disease. Now I have to go there because it’s next to where we eat and the last few places I can sit and write. As to talking to people, I think this is God’s way of saying that I need to stop hiding in the corner and be more open. Get out of my comfort zone of being alone, and try being in fellowship with others.

God teaches everyone things in different ways. All this kind of hit me today, so I’m still thinking through this, and have yet to really practice my social skills. I’m sure I’ll still have many days where I end up reading or writing in my room. I’m still going to have days where I avoid the snack palapa, or people in general. I like being by myself and it helps recharge me. But forcing myself to change ways of life, to be creative, to be open with others and share in this stressful time, it’s not a bad thing. And I’m finding that I’m okay with this. I’m happy with this change. It’s uncomfortable at times, but it’s not bad being out of my comfort zone.

A random side note that kind of connects the beginning of this, about YWAM going through a hard time. When people of God go through hard times, it’s usually meant to tear them apart. But still we stand. Through God we have not fallen completely. I believe he’s not done with this place, not done with YWAM here in Belize. He has so much more in store for these people and this land. If you would like more information on helping or supporting through this hurricane, here’s a link:

Help YWAM DP Rebuild after Hurricane Earl

Continue to pray for me, and everyone else. We’re getting over a stomach bug and this place is still a mess. But God’s working. We have Joy through this.

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

><>Heidi<><

Calm Amidst A Storm

Before I begin, I’d like to thank everyone for praying for me and the staff and students here at YWAM! We have felt your prayers and seen them in action. God is good.

Tuesday morning was kind of a freaky calm. Here in Belize, we usually always have wind. People began to murmur that this was the calm before the storm. It didn’t scare me, but it did excite me. Being from New York, we got snow storms. But I’d never been near a hurricane or tornado that I could remember.

After talking to more people, I knew there was nothing to be nervous about. If people who lived here for 6 years, or 7 years, or even the Belizian people weren’t nervous, I didn’t need to be. I was calm. And I had peace.

Wednesday, Earl (who was still just a tropical storm) began to pull the waves into the ocean, then release them onto the beach in large blows.DSC_0486 Students and staff had fun watching them slowly make their way higher up the beach, then sink back to usual height. The reef, which can be seen at a distance, had huge, huge, huge waves (I tried to capture some, but it was a little tough as they were so far away)DSC_0489 Any coast along Florida, or Virginia will get waves this big. But we all found it fascinating as they were so big and beautiful the way they rolled back and forth. They were also so loud we could hear them from shore.

By Wednesday evening we had rain and wind. Lots and lots of wind. 20160803_181927We didn’t stop watching the waves, as they began to crash over the small gardens. The 20160803_182052guys worked through the day to board up windows and take boards off the dock. They worked really hard on that, making sure to keep the buildings, and us, safe from harm.

Due to the high winds and rain, and possible flooding, everyone from Beach Row (that’s my row!) were moved back to either Garden Row or Pool Row. I roomed with a girl Ally that night. We had a curfew of 9:00PM Wednesday night. By this time, Tropic Storm Earl had been upgraded to a hurricane. He was due to hit farther South though, towards Belize City.

That night, I fell asleep fairly quickly. The wind howled. The rain pelted from the sky, hitting the earth and it made floods all along our sandy paths. Tree branches flew everywhere, along with sea grass and trash from the ocean, floating through the flood waters and blowing in the wind.

And Heidi slept like the world was at peace.

I woke up the next morning around 5 and glanced outside to see the once peaceful world kinda upside down. A tree had fallen down and landed on a Casita. (Thankfully no one was in that Casita) Staff checked things out, then slowly brought us to the main room, the Sand Room to give us an update on what had happened.

Our lovely dining palapa, where we ate our meals together, dined as a family, it’s roof caved in the middle, making it hard for staff to figure out how to get us breakfast that morning. Our beautiful dock that many of us had first stepped on, cried on, prayed on, worshiped God on, sang songs on, heard stories on, that beautiful, amazing dock was gone. Part ended up on shore, another part by the boat house leaving half hanging in the water. Trash and sea grass were everywhere. Three trees had fallen, not counting the couple palm trees that had fallen over.

But we had much to be thankful for. Everyone was safe. No one was hurt. We had our health.  We had damages, but it was not the worst that could happen. And we could reach out to others through this and share with them why our place was not damaged much. One story is personal. Here on Beach Row, three Casita’s were being used. One had flooding, another had a tree fall on the roof,  and the three casita’s  before mine had torn shingles. (That’s the first thing to go, the roof).
And my little casita, the one that was right in the path of wind and rain. The one that should have floated away with any flood waters that came through, was firm and secure. It was bone dry inside and the worst that we have is a shingle that’s slightly twisted. I thank God for the people who were praying specifically for our little house here in Belize.

The past two days we’ve worked on cleaning this place up. It’s going to be awhile until we’re fully there. I still help out with the kids and turn around to help wheel the trash and sea grass into piles. Together we’re helping each other through this. There is peace among us, though we have a storm, we have much, so much to be thankful for.

Lastly, I wish I could post some pictures of damage (such as the missing dock) but we’ve been asked to refrain from that at the time. I know not everyone has a Facebook account, so no promises that this link will work, but I’ve been told that YWAM Destination Paradise will be posting some pictures. If you would like to see them, go here https://www.facebook.com/ywamdp/?fref=nf OR visit my Facebook page and see if I reshared the link. (Unfortunately, you gotta have an account to see that) If/when I get permission, I will post some pictures.

For now, we know that God is in control of our lives. We’re alive and well and he’s working in our lives still. He’s not forgotten us, he’s loving on us each and every day.

Much love to all!

><>Heidi<><

  1. Dear friends and family,

I wanted to let you know that a fairly big storm is headed our way…and yes that may include a hurricane.

Please join me in praying for the safety of the island and the protection and safety of people here at YWAM. I have heard that the main part won’t hit us, but we will be the getting a lot of wind and rain.

First, I don’t want you to panic or be worried. I’m informing you so you will pray and ask God to protect his people. Secondly, I am not worried about this at all. I have complete peace and am confident nothing bad will happen. This doesn’t mean being stupid and trying surfing or walking around while coconuts are flying through the air. But I’m sure God’s hand will be on his people. Thirdly, due to so much wind and rain, I may not have wifi or power to let you know how we survived the storm. Again, don’t panic or worry! Once I’m back on, I’ll most likely post on Facebook, then again on here. If it’s been a week since you hear from me, check with my mom (haha hope you don’t mind mom) as she’ll be the first person I would contact depending on how bad things are.


Our Heavenly Father is watching out for us. No matter what happens, he is still a good God who loves his children.

I love you all and am thankful for each one of your prayers! God is listening!

><>Heidi<><

Photo Gallery #2: Nature

There’s many different kinds of animals. Lizards of different shapes and sizes. We have several lizards (including the large one pictured below) that live in our walls. There are also snakes. I saw one getting attacked by two birds (also pictured below.) I was heard that it the snake was probably just another kind of garter snake, harmless to humans, but so beautiful.

Along the beaches there are dozens of little snails, attached to the rocks. They have such beautiful colors, dots and stripes on them. Under the rocks there are little brown crabs. Crabs here also come in different sizes, shapes and colors!

Belize also has beautiful sunrises, sunsets and stars. So many stars here! I didn’t have a tripod, so I apologize that my stars aren’t that easy to see. One other picture I have posted is the moon reflecting off the water. It’s so beautiful being outside at night…when the wind is high enough to keep the mosquitoes away!

Enjoy God’s beautiful handiwork and artistic design.

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Baby lizard
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Medium sized lizard basking in the sun
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Gecko that lives in the ceiling.
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Giant lizard that lives in our walls. (We hear him scratching occasionally)

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snake trying to scare the attacking birds away

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Bird that was attacking the snake
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Sunrise over Caribbean sea
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Moon through the palm trees
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Moon over the Caribbean sea

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Stars
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Little brown crab
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Snails on a rock
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More snails

But God is Faithful

“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you…the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.” Hebrews 13:5, 6

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning we have about 30 – 45 minutes of worship. Every so often, there’s special worship days. A few days ago, the moon was out and it reflected brightly on the water. A dozen or so of us gathered on the dock and had a night of worship. We played music on a speaker and praised God in the dark. And again tonight, YWAM had a special night of worship.

I crave every second I can get in worshiping God. At home in New York, I only have one day of ‘worship’ which is Sunday. To have 3 days a week, plus going to church here in Belize, and then another one or two times at night, I fall even more in love with the God I serve.

The past few weeks since being here in Belize, I have sought God on several things. I came with questions and needed answers and in the past 24 hours, I have been told so many things my brain is still trying to unscramble everything. Nothing was spoken in fire and thunderstorms. But that still, quiet spirit of my Father has been resounding in my soul. His voice calls and as his daughter, I listen.

During worship this morning, I really sensed that God wanted me to trust him with something of the future. For me, placing certain things in his hands is a challenge. I don’t like giving them up. And in this season of my life, He’s asking for it, not just half-hearted, but complete surrender.

As I sat, listening to the music, half singing, he brought to mind all the times I’ve placed other things into his hands.  I had to trust him that he would show me whether to apply to Mission Nanny. Then trust him when he told me what three places to choose. And trust him again when he told me to prepare for Belize. And trust him for funds, tickets, and prayer support. I had to trust that he wasn’t bringing me into a war zone, or into an unwelcoming environment.

But God is faithful.

Every area that I placed in his hands, that I have sought him in and talked to him about, he has seen me through ever step of the way. Oh, I will admit it wasn’t easy. My walk with God never is. I was nervous months before I knew where I was going and cried my heart out because of it. I’d never flown on a plane (out of the country) by myself. And I had trouble with customs. (Goodness, that was very nerve wracking) Plus I thought I lost my suitcase. I felt silly asking people what buildings to enter and where to go and how to do this or that. And then I got here and got sick.

But God is Faithful.

I am here in Belize, and I am alive. There are no guns or raging wars, nor any hostile people here. I had nothing to worry about, nothing to be anxious about. He’s provided my every need, and gone above and beyond anything I ever expected. He turned my fears to joy.

With all this being explained, let me get back to this morning. Once he showed me how he had been faithful, I realized that I can surrender my future to him. He can take my hopes, my dreams, my plans and hand them to him. And he will turn them into something I never imagined. Something I never thought I’d ever dream possible. His plans are so much bigger then mine and I’m willing to give up my small dreams, for his huge adventures.

I went through my day with all this in the back of my mind. This evening, we had our special night of worship. I was pretty excited and praised God for what he’d shown me. I felt like I was on a mountain and all I wanted to do was spend the rest of the night worshiping God.

It was getting close to being done, when we sang a song about being in valleys. I don’t remember the exact song, but it hit me hard. I had to sit down and calm myself. Something my pastor at home has told us many times is that after a spiritual high, we will usually go through a spiritual low.

Because of the situation and what I’m placing in the hands of God, every worst possible situation raced through my mind. The future which suddenly seemed to be so full of light and hope and possibilities was now turned upside down. It was dark, hopeless and nothing seemed to be as possible as I thought it would be.

I was honestly super scared. I was terrified and wanted to snatch back everything, and take it back in my own hands. I hated the thought of having it in his hands, where I couldn’t control it or see what he was doing with it.

But God is faithful.

I have nothing to fear. Because Christ has already promised me that he will provide for my needs of the future. The one who has named the stars knows the number of hairs on my head. The one who spoke the world into being is my Father, he has a personal relationship with me and loves me and wants to be close to me. He wants this. And I’m learning to willingly give my future to him.

A verse from Proverbs 31 came to my mind while I sat there on the floor. “…she can laugh at the days to come.” And while I can’t exactly laugh at the dark, scary days that seem to be looming around the corner, I can smile, because I know I’ll be safe. God will walk beside me. He’ll hold my hand if I’m scared. If I can’t make it, he’ll carry me. He’s not going to let a valley keep me from his love, and I don’t need to worry that it will either. If I let it, I can come out stronger through him.

There was so much more that came to mind while singing. But this was the most important part of my day. And I am excited to see how God brings me through this.

But God is faithful.

><>Heidi<><

Daily Routine

I thought it would be good to share how I serve down here and what I do with my time. While  I would like to give a day-by-day schedule of what goes on here, it’s a little more complicated then that, as I don’t have 9-5 hours. So bear with me as I may jump around in my explaining.

Weekly schedule
Breakfast is 6:45 am – 7:45 am. Many days I *try* to get up at 5:30 and head out to the dock to have my quiet time. It doesn’t happen every morning, but I’m fairly consistent with it.
Monday/Wednesday/Friday I’m with the kids from 7:20-8 am. At 8, we head to worship. That ends a little before 9am. I am then with the kids (roughly) from 9 until 4:30 pm.
Tuesday/Thursday I start at 8 (as there is no worship) and go until (roughly) 3:30 pm.

Lunch is at 1 until 2 pm. Everyone eats together in the palapa, so I usually have an hour to eat and then I’m off again. (Unless it’s Tuesday, then I have to leave at 1:30) It’s a good time for me to talk with people and catch up on what they’ve been up to that morning.

Dinner is 5:30-6:30. After that time, I’m usually free to do anything, except once or twice a week when I hang out at the house while the kids sleep so Alyssa and Israel can go to meetings.

Activities/schedule for the Kids
While I’m with the kids, I usually have an hour or two to spend time playing with them. Faith usually gets much of my attention during this time. We play with her train set, have snack, spin in circles, hid in a box, sing songs, do puzzles, sort shapes, and read books. Josiah is pretty content and will follow us around and grab toys (usually cars) and stick them in his mouth. From about 10 – 12, the kids take a nap and will wake up any time after 12.
In the afternoon, I have them another hour, before Josiah lays down, usually around 3pm. While he’s napping, I take that time to do things with Faith that is harder to do because of Josiah. We’ll go outside and play in the sand. We’ve found some hermit crabs a few times. We’ll color together (She’s in the habit of calling every color pink or purple…) or we’ll do painting, or I’ll let her watch a movie.

Free Time
Being the introvert I am, I find myself spending a lot of my free time on the dock or here in my casita taking it easy. I read books (currently I’m going through Every Woman’s Battle by Shannon Ethridge, The meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller and Life As A Vapor by John Piper)
I will also write! I have two journals I’m currently writing in. I have a third that I write in to keep notes from the books I’m reading.
Occasionally I will go into town. I have been twice and love seeing people and buildings, other then sand, palm trees, water and more water! People around here ride in golf carts (maybe I’ll explain that more another day) and the price for things in here in Belize is a 2:1 ratio (I think…) For example, if it’s priced as $20 Belize, then it’s only $10 American.
Along with the golf carts, I’ll have to tell about my Sunday church adventures (I have fallen in love with the church here in San Pedro) And once I get pictures, I’ll tell you all about it!

Here are pictures of the fun I have with the kiddos!

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Faith coloring
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Snack Time!!!
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Playing with a hermit crab
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Playing in the sand
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Josiah, always content!

And that is a rough, weekly schedule of my life here in Belize!

><>Heidi<><

Between Fleas and Wind

Before I start out, don’t worry, I do not have fleas 🙂

In the book The Hiding Place by Cory Ten Boom, she and her sister, Betsy are sitting in their flea infested room, reading from the Bible, and praying, thanking God for all things… Cory writes,

“I looked down at the bible. ‘Yes! Thank you dear Lord, that there was no inspection when we entered here! Thank you for all the women here in this room, who will meet You in these pages.’ ‘Yes,’ said Betsy, ‘Thank you for the very crowding here. Since we’re packed so close, that means more will hear!’ She looked at me expectantly. ‘Corrie!’ she prodded. ‘Oh all right. Thank you for the jammed, crammed, stuffed, packed, suffocating crowds.’ ‘Thank you,’ Betsy went on serenely, ‘for the fleas and for-‘ The fleas! This was too much. “Betsie, there’s no way even God can make me grateful for a flea.’ “Give thanks in all circumstances,”‘ she quote. ‘It doesn’t say “in pleasant circumstances.” Fleas are part of this place where God has put us.’ and we stood between the piers of bunks and gave thanks for fleas. But this time I was sure Betsie was wrong.”

Cory later found out that due to the many fleas, the guards didn’t come into their room to do regular inspections. If the guards had, they would have found the bible that Cory and Betsy used to share with the women in their room.


I, like Cory, couldn’t figure out why God would want me to be thankful for things such as the winds, here in Belize. They roll off the coast in gusts and bursts and toss my hair in my face. While I eat, it blows my hair in my mouth. walk it whips it around. Sitting or reading outside, it always blows strands this way and that. It’s hard to keep napkins from blowing away off the tables. When I read a book or write in my journal or read my bible, pages are always blowing and I have to hold them down with my arm, or hands. Why would I ever want to be thankful for the wind???


I got my answer earlier this week. The wind was dead. I thought it would be the best day ever. I could do anything with my hair and it wouldn’t blow everything, I could eat with a napkin by my plate, not under my plate. Hey, I could read and write and not have to hold the pages down with my arms.

I got up for breakfast, only to discover bugs flying around me. During breakfast we were getting eaten alive by sand fleas (similar in size to gnats, but bite) and mosquitoes. I ate quick and made a dash back to my Casita. Bug spray helped a little, but not much.

Learning to be thankful in all circumstances, especially with the little stuff, such as wind or fleas, causes me to see God in a different light. He does protect those he loves. Maybe not in a comfortable way. Maybe it’s hard to see at first why little things such as fleas or wind or sickness or pain are placed in our lives. But for me, I’m going to praise God through it and learn to be thankful for the wind.

><>Heidi<><

Photo Gallery #1: Favorite Places

Here are some pictures of my favorite places at YWAM. For a little back stories on some of the pictures:

  • Casitas are the little rooms we all stay in (some have bunk beds, where my room has 3 separate beds) each with their own bathroom.
  • The Dining Palapa is open to air. The only downside to eating outside, is all the wind.
  • I like to go out onto the dock in the early morning and read the bible, pray and write in my journal!
  • Because of all the paths that have sand, I don’t wear shoes anywhere!

Enjoy the beautiful scenery of Destination Paradise, San Pedro Belize, South America!

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My Casita
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My little bed and desk in my casita.
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Directly outside my Casita
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Dining Palapa
The dock where I like to have my quiet time.
The dock where I like to have my quiet time.
Other end of the dock.
Other end of the dock.
Heidi on the dock!
Heidi on the dock!

 

Heidi on the dock
Heidi on the dock
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Casitas (Mine is the 1st yellow)
Palm trees and Casitas
Palm trees and Casitas seen from dock
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Dive shop (Red flags with the white strip means a dive shop) This is also the one that I went snorkeling with.
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Beautiful clouds