Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Single Story

Yesterday I came here and dumped my summer stories of adventure and travel in the U S of A.

I forgot to add the specific joys of the waterpark. 

Paige had been gifted season passes for herself, her little boys, and my three teens. (Isn't that a great kindness?!?) 

Because going to the park only two times more than pays for the season pass, I bought Phoebe and Lydia season passes as well.  

The waterpark is a thing of wonder. I felt like it was the best place on earth because they were generally pretty chill about rules and regulations.  I have never been to a park where a kid was allowed to go down a slide on the lap of an adult.  When the little kids can't do anything with their parents it is the dumbest ever, but this water park was NOT the dumbest ever. They even allow people to bring in their own food and beverage. I like this but I also question this a bit, only because when you can bring in your own alcohol, what is to keep a moron from drinking so much they take the lazy river to new levels of lazy and just die in there from alcohol poisoning?  

Don't get me wrong though, the park closed at 6pm every night and they had many signs telling people to stop drinking their adult bevys at 5pm.  That hour to get your head on straight before you drive home is prreeeeetty important and the park is serious about that. 

"No drinking for an ENTIRE 60 minutes before you drive." - -  That's how much we care.  <GAH>!!!!

On the last day we were in El Paso we went to the water park (again).  We threw our lunch in a cooler.  The bag of ham was frozen solid.  We could not get it to thaw out fast enough so I went and set it on a table a few tables over from where we were sitting in order to get it in the sun.  

Everyone in my family knows everything about everything, which is awesome.  

So, one person that knows everything said, "You can't put that ham there!"  

Another person that knows everything said, "She's making it thaw out faster."  

A different one that knows everything said, "It's fine. WHO WOULD TAKE A RANDOM PERSON'S HAM????"

Who would take a random person's ham?

That's who.

If you are ever in El Paso, TX that water park is worth visiting. 

* * * 

The better (real) part of this blog is below ... I posted this on the day of the riots and want to share again.

Whenever Haiti heats up politically, people watching it unfold from far away are often led to believe Haiti and her people are generally dangerous and to be feared. I’m hoping you’ll hear me out. That is not the case. Generally and by and large the people of Haiti are not violent or unkind at all. I have seen hundreds of acts of generosity, sacrifice, and kindness in our time as the guests in Haiti. These events are not usually the average man or woman burning or looting things. (It is political powers and BIG money and other motives behind the curtain that drives the instability. There are people that need Haiti to stay poor and broken so they can stay rich and get richer.) The real Haiti is full of people that would take you into their home, feed you, shelter you, help you, while sacrificing their own bed and limited funds to do so. They’d do it everyday and even while their country burns around them.

This is what I beg you to read and watch today ...

"Show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become." — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Monday, July 16, 2018

Blogging is dead: A lengthy cranium upload

I sit down to write this with an elevated level of irritation directed only toward myself. 

When writing a blog post was in fashion, we all did it.  I did it.  I felt better much of the time because processing things in writing and telling the stories helps my mental stability.  Yet, I don't do it often lately and thus am often teetering right over that thin line.  Luckily, "stable" is a relative term. 

I can go read about our life in 2006 and read about things that I have no memory of at all. I can smugly sit and be so.very.pleased that I have that record to look back upon. I can do that. I do do that.  Noah used to pee in the corner of his bedroom instead of in the toilet when he was three.  He used to dump bottles of shampoo down the drain.  I only know that because it is written in the annals of history.  I spelled that with two 'N's -- stay calm and mature. 

Back to my irritation.  I have not written most things down in at least a dozen months. I won't remember most of 2017-2018 and won't be able to look here for help recalling it all.  Praise be, Instagram is the new micro-blog and much (not most) is stored there. 

The volume of events and challenges in the first 53% of 2018 could be placed into a 40,000 word novel without any effort at all.  

Today I am going to attempt to write a review of the first half of 2018 along with specific details for my kids about the trip we just took from Florida to the far west side of Texas.  When I am dead, I want them to know we went on a road trip and remember me fondly due to all the soda I let them drink. 

Here we go ... 

2018 began with our whole tribe in Haiti for an after-Christmas family reunion. We had all three grandsons here at once,  we had the adult daughters and their adorable husbands here. It was mind-numbingly good if you forget about the vomiting and diarrhea at the back end (see what I did there) of the time.  We took a family photo that week and I look at it every day. 

By mid January things took place that changed the trajectory of the year. 

Stress and pain defined every moment of mid January to May.  I am very on purpose not going deeper than that. I know that sentence is poorly formatted. That is how I want to say it. 

In review of the entire five months, let it simply be said, we have learned a lot. Hard times are teachers. Harsh, unlikeable, teachers  just like Miss Trunchbull only less gentle. 

I will fast forward a bit.

On June 1st Troy declared we were going to begin 2018 all over again. A do-over of sorts.

Fresh start weekend was kicked off by taking the kids to Jacmel, a beautiful southern coast town that we last visited in 2009.  It is weird to live in Haiti and never see a lot of Haiti but that's what I have done for more than a decade. This is not a blog post of my complaints though, so I commit to you, I will stop there. 

Jacmel in early June was a blast.  We had an amazing time with our tribe, we stayed a weekend in a fun house overlooking the bay. I posted a lot of the photos on Instagram and the highlight for most of us was the hiking and time jumping off rocks at the Bassin Bleu waterfall. It was a vomit and diarrhea free weekend and those always stand out as excellent. There was one bat in Lydia and Phoebe's room, but that made for some excitement and not rabies, which is an event I've already lived. I don't think we need to do that one again.

The five kids finished school on June 15.  We moved the location of their school in February and they rolled with it like the champions that they are.  They had been in the same location since 2011 so it was weird to do school somewhere else but I think everyone actually likes the new location better. It means they sit in traffic less hours per week.  Their beautiful teacher is coming back again next year and I felt insanely grateful to her for her love of teaching and her heart for them  -- but also that the kids did not have to go through yet another goodbye and another loss of someone they love. That stuff comes with the territory living here.  We love when we don't have to do painful goodbyes. (Or when we can put them off for a year or more.) 

On June 22 the kids and I said goodbye to Troy for a bit and we all went to the airport to fly off to Florida. KJ is the best friend of most everyone in this family, we were so grateful we had Maternity Center coverage so that KJ was free to take a break with us.  We had all been looking forward to June 22 for many months. 

The kids are all about minivan transportation and we picked a really lovely Dodge Caravan at the Alamo lot and started out on our journey. The minivan was trusty. We put more than 3,000 miles on it in the period of 21 days. We pumped gas in Florida, Alabama, Louisiana, Texas, and New Mexico. 

Our first stop on the journey was to see our friend Winifred. She is a good friend and was a nurse at Heartline for many years before moving to the USA and getting married. Wini fed us dinner while we caught up a bit. After we left Wini's house in the Orlando area we drove to Tallahassee to sleep.  I thought we were going to sleep in Pensacola and researched the wrong city in advance so we got to Tallahassee without knowing where the nearest donut place or thrift store was located. RISK TAKERS, all of us.  

After a quick sleep we set out again. We found the donuts and a GoodWill to grab some books and a cooler for the mini van.  

The cooler purchase was one of the more exciting parts of the trip for KJ and I. It meant we had ice and cold brew coffee and creamer at ALL TIMES.  What a feeling of safety those liquids provide us. We don't need a lot, just constant access to coffee and ice.  God Bless you and Keep you, GoodWill Retail Store and Donation Center of Tallahassee.  May you reapeth what you soweth.

We drove again and listened to podcasts together. We went to check in to an AirBnB house in Montgomery, AL. It was fun because it was a pretty worn-out place and we had to use a wrench to turn on the shower --- we felt quite at home.  I appreciate things that are not perfect and rather enjoyed the challenge and process of getting the water to turn on.  You know what?  It was not a wrench.  It was a pair of pliers.  I apologize for that inaccuracy. 

The reason for two nights in Montgomery was because we wanted to visit these two places:




I think I speak for all of us when I say, there is so much to process and consider after reading and viewing and seeing all the history and facts presented at the museum and memorial.  I assume we will be unpacking that for months or years.

I posted dozens of photos on Instagram of both places if you want to see more.

We left Montgomery to drive to Selma.  We stopped and walked across the Edmund Pettus bridge.  We continued on to Shreveport, LA and stopped to sleep in a fancy hotel that we booked last minute for an awesome price.  My kids in a fancy hotel are a lot of entertainment.  They are so impressed by everything.  People around us seem pretty impressed with them too. Their plastic sacks and various backpacks with their stuff hanging out everywhere is good times for all.  I always ask them to diminish in size and perhaps find a way to become less noticeable while in hotel lobbies. Inevitably that means somebody will trip and fall or spill an entire Coke on the floor of the lobby. 

The next day we went to Dallas.  In Dallas we saw Britt and Chris and Gideon in their final hours as Texans.  We spent time with KJ's family in Dallas and we stayed at an AirBnB near downtown Dallas that blew Isaac's mind.  He gave a tour on social media and discussed the amazing sink hose and other high-end features.  

After Britt and Chris left for Minnesota we headed out toward El Paso.  On that drive it was the first leg of the trip we did without KJ.  My kids seem less pleased with life when it is just me.  I don't really take it personally except on occasion when I do.  I guess KJ is way more fun than I am.  We went to the vast metropolis of Odessa, TX and jammed all into one room with a king size bed.  I found out via an online poll that most people rent hotel rooms and sneak extra people into the room beyond what the hotel wants or "allows".   I was able to justify that choice based on dozens of people telling me that they grew up shoving many animals and humans into one hotel room. 

From Odessa to El Paso we drove 80 freaking miles an hour and had people passing us.  We had discussed letting Isaac drive a bit because he got his permit in TX last summer, but he was not having it once we saw what a freakin hurry everyone is in in that part of the world. 

We arrived in El Paso to find the Gonzales family waiting for us. They had prepared air mattresses in every spare corner of their home and gone to Sam's Club to buy all the large family items of food.  The next few days we ran errands and got people the glasses they need and bought the shoes they need and laughed at Graham and Abner and swam and ate and ate and played.  Doctor Jen joined us and we went to fireworks at Fort Bliss.  My kids told me that every 4th of July prior to this one was lame and dumb -- but finally we found fireworks that pleased them.   I actually had to point out that there is a slight difference between private citizens buying fireworks and lighting them at home and the U.S. Government doing fireworks at an Army base.  They thought they were making an apples to apples comparison.  Such simple little third-culture-kids they are. 

Troy flew in late on July 5. We "caught up" at an undisclosed location before going to Paige's house. Va va voom.  Air-conditioning and advanced romance are a winning combination. 

Oddly, Troy got out of Port au Prince just in time because by Saturday all the flights got cancelled and he would not have gotten out.  I was so glad he made it.

On July 6 we headed to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  In New Mexico we met up with Jen's husband Josh and KJ flew in too. We went to see Troy's long time friend, Matt, as well.  

Matt lives in Santa Fe and gave us tips about where to eat, shop, hike, swim, and disappear into a relaxing temperature controlled space for the rest of your life. 

On one of the hikes Phoebe and Lydia had diarrhea (see the theme with us?) and were weak so Troy and I had the pleasure of carrying them down a mountain. I felt so freaking young, strong, and badass that day.  The following day my knees screamed for ibuprofen and I felt much less young and strong.

On the last day in New Mexico Matt took Lydia and Phoebe to see a local horse ranch, Lydie scored a cowgirl hat and loved seeing the ranch that works with veterans to help with PTSD. 

After Santa Fe we drove south to White Sands Nat'l Monument and went sledding in the dunes.  Paige and Graham came to meet us there. Many (Josh) were skeptical and did not think White Sands would be fun.  Many (Josh) were converted that day.

KJ and Paige dared us (Troy and I) to do dumb things and we did. Mark this down:  Nobody DARE DARE us -- we WILL DO the dumb thing. 

The adults all did what the kids said to do and we all left covered in sweat and sand and dislocated shoulders.  We laughed much and experienced incontinence together there in the dunes that day.

After White Sands, we took the three car caravan back to El Paso.

The next day Jen and Josh flew home to Minnesota and the rest of us did errands again.  

Getting Hope her TX driver's permit ended up being harder than donating a kidney or becoming a U.S. citizen.  I am pretty sure that Texas has a real fear of 16 year old drivers.  They act like giving a permit deserves the same scrutiny as choosing a lifetime partner or being approved to adopt another human being.  

Hope just stood back and watched it all, wide-eyed. She is seriously wondering if she can even ever be qualified to live her life without an advocate.  I assured her, no.  You won't.  All of us need an advocate when it comes to entering a government office and trying to do business.  None of us were born for that shit.

Troy and I went with Graham to buy him a bike. It is pretty crazy how fast we forget what it is like to manage a three year old boy in a public place. He gave us all he had and we departed that Walmart in need of caffeine.  One of the highlights was when he told us, "Mojo and Tito, my mom never buys me any jackets. Can you buy me one, I am cold."  

On Thursday night we heard that it was possible Haiti could have a second round of demonstrations and political upheaval. Long story with many details made short without any details, we scrapped our plan to drive back to Florida and booked flights home. We decided not to bring Phoebe and Lydia home with us as had been the plan all along.  Paige and Michael rallied and said, "No problem. We got this, guys."  So far, they are proving to be much better parents than Troy and I.  I am hoping Paige gets all the teen angst handled and all the puberty drama wrapped up before I see them all next.

El Paso Summer 2018 Tribe (Plus Paige and Michael)

That might not seem like a big deal, but now Lydia and Phoebe have tasted freedom and they won't ever want to spend a summer in Haiti with me again.  I have lost my chance to keep them from knowing what the big kids get to do with their summers away from Haiti. I have no babies anymore. 

* * *

I am going to sidebar for a moment here.  Go off-road with me, if you want.

* * * 

Recently I began (note the use of the word BEGAN which has nothing to do with finishing) reading a book called "Mistakes Were Made but Not By Me".  It is a fascinating look at human behavior. 

Specifically it takes a look at the way we use justification to helps us with our cognitive dissonance. 

The description on Good Reads says:

Why do people dodge responsibility when things fall apart? Why the parade of public figures unable to own up when they screw up? Why the endless marital quarrels over who is right? Why can we see hypocrisy in others but not in ourselves? Are we all liars? Or do we really believe the stories we tell?

Renowned social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson take a compelling look into how the brain is wired for self-justification. When we make mistakes, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right -- a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong.

Backed by years of research and delivered in lively, energetic prose, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-deception -- how it works, the harm it can cause, and how we can overcome it.


I have been thinking about this book a lot.  I have been thinking about my own self-justification habits. I also recognize that I judge other people for theirs. (Admittedly NOT cool.) 

Since the unrest in Haiti began I have observed as some people posts on social media about how important it is they come to Haiti in spite of any warnings made not to do so.  

I saw some funky theology about God's protection being promised because the good work planned is so important.  

Full Disclosure: That's a rough one for me to read. Maybe that person did not know people doing good work in Haiti got crushed to death by buildings in 2010, etc, etc, etc.  If nothing scary or bad happens to people doing good work, it must mean a whole crap-ton of us are doing some very sub-par work. 

(I digress. This is not about bad theology.) 

I have watched others post on social media about how dangerous it is and how important it is they get out of Haiti now due to perceived (and real) danger. 

Simultaneously we have one group raising money to COME and one group raising money to LEAVE and it seems it is a BOTH AND situation.  In the same week people must come and people must go.  

It is not too dangerous. 
It is too dangerous. 

***The book I mentioned explains exactly why this happens. ** 

People hate cognitive dissonance and they create narratives to help them do what they want to do  -- they might feel a bit bad about what they want to do - or just uncertain of it  - so rather than dig into the confusion or lack of peace the feel, they create peace with justification and their own narrative.

So - to clear up my own cognitive dissonance when it comes to Haiti this month ---  let me say this -

I wanted to come home to Haiti after being on vacation for three weeks. I don't feel afraid to be in Haiti  -  that is not to say I would have felt that way had I been in the middle of an store that was looted.  I wanted to be at the Maternity Center and with the people we love here. I wanted to know it was semi-stable here before my kids came back. I don't have anything for them to do in the summer and if they have to "shelter in place" things would get so boring for them so fast. 

I decided to leave all my kids in America not knowing enough about how things would be in Haiti.  I don't at all feel good about being away from my kids  (especially the two I think are too young to be far away) but it was what I decided in the moment I had to decide.  I don't know if I was right or wrong.  I am trying to tell you -- I FEEL COGNITIVE DISSONANCE.  I am glad they are having a blast in Texas.  I am sad to be away from them too. Maybe it was dumb to leave them. Maybe it wasn't. Maybe later I'll think it was a good decision. Maybe later I will wish I hadn't done that.  After the earthquake I had regrets about my decisions in the middle of the trauma. It's life, regret comes with it at times. 

We are glad to be here with the brave and wonderful employees of Heartline. You can tell they thought we would not come back.  Everyone has been happy we are back in Haiti and I can imagine it would feel scary as an employee to wonder if your job is going to remain or if the unrest will close down a ministry or destroy an employment opportunity.  

Additionally, I brought a lot of bacon home from the USA and now I want to eat a lot of it in one sitting and I am working on my justification of that now. 

* * * 

Back on the main road now ...

I am hoping Haiti remains calm and "stab" (stable in Kreyol - not a knife stab) so that in the first half of August the tribe can begin to return home to be with us before we go entirely crazy with sadness.  

We took 47 photos of the dogs yesterday and allowed them to be on our bed. That just cannot stand long term.  We need some kids here. 

We already had a baby at the Maternity Center since arriving home Saturday. We also got to go get a mom from the hospital.  The update is here on the Heartline blog on the two high risk situations from a week ago. 

Things are eerily calm here now. It creeps me out how this house feels without the fab five. 

Troy is planting lavender and marigolds. He bought pots and soil today. KJ is growing mint and making cold-brew coffee.  I am not growing or making anything, but I did hand carry that mint plant back to Haiti and then handed it to KJ to keep alive. Mojitos and Coffee are yours if you wish to visit us.  You will have to ask Troy what the heck he is doing with his plants.

We have abandoned all the rules of moderation when it comes to ice consumption while the kids are gone.  We are buying and using as much ice as we want. We will do ANYTHING we want in the ice department.  As soon as a child returns to the island, we shall immediately return to the scarcity mentality. 

That is it for January 1, 2018 to July 16, 2018.  The three week trip from June 21 to July 13 was so much fun and Isaac, Hope, Noah, Phoebe and Lydia are road tripping champs.

In order to title this blog, I had to ask if getting rid of information in my head is an upload or a download.  KJ and Troy said it is an upload. If you disagree, speak with them. 

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Local Labor - A Better Idea

When we first moved to Haiti more than 12 years ago, we were totally naive and unaware, like most folks are when they change cultures and countries.  

We were not special and it seems we are all equally dopey and in a position to learn a whole crap-ton.

It is never that people plan (well, I hope not) to do unkind or ignorant things, it is simply that good intentions often fall short.  

Intending good does not necessarily equal doing good.

In our time here we have watched and been a part of many cringy situations, you know the ones I mean.  

I speak of the things we observed and/or participated in that made us have shame, grief, and perhaps a very large tummy ache.  I will spare you (read: ME) the painful examples today and try to get to the punchline.

Our philosophy about serving/working cross-culturally and missions has changed a ton due to what we have experienced in the Haiti School of Hard Knocks.

When it has been within our control, Troy and I do not choose to have local workers replaced by short term missions groups.  A group from North America can come tour and say hi, we love that, but we really don't want you to take a job from anyone. If the job you are offering to do can be done by a Haitian, we want to give them that opportunity.

Boss Samuel 

As Directors of Heartline, we commit to attempting to use a local crew to do any work that needs doing.  On occasion, we run into situations where the local laborer won't be able to do exactly what we hope to do. 

This is usually due to construction practices or materials and skill-set available. However, for the vast majority of projects, we desire and prefer to provide jobs to laborers in the local economy.  

In our minds Heartline Ministries does not only offer maternal health care etc. etc., we also offer jobs to talented and hard working Haitians that want to work.  

The Maternity Center currently employs 12 beautiful souls full-time.

** ** ** ** 

Recently long-time donors and friends of Heartline Ministries wrote to say that many years back they had come to Haiti and done some projects.  

They wondered about coming again in 2018.  

We took a risk and told them the truth of what was needed.  We shared that the outside of the Maternity Center was in rough shape and was painted two or three different colors.  We went on to tell this couple that the project was a big one but more importantly it was one that could provide jobs. 

Samuel has a crew of 6 that work with him. 

Because we need donations to do this work, it is a fine line to walk to take a risk and tell donors "No thank you, please don't come but would you consider spending your airfare another way?"  

Sometimes (out of fear I suppose) the truth has never been shared with the donor.  We decided maybe they did not know we had the option of hiring a crew that would be thrilled to work on the Maternity Center for a week.  

Long story shorter, they sent their airfare dollars and Samuel the Painter and his crew worked for six days and transformed our peeling and unmatched building into something quite snazzy. 

See our teal blue with white trim and red accent. Might not work in Minnesota, but it looks pretty great in the Caribbean. 

Below are all the photos.  More than simply showing you their excellent work, and the beautiful repainted MC, I would like to encourage you to ask and consider how we can all do better when considering a short term mission trip. Can the work you might be doing while you visit provide a job for someone?  Wouldn't giving a materially poor mom or dad a job and some much needed cash that they themselves earned feel great?  

(Yes. It feels great. Ask Samuel.) 

I especially want to thank our friends that gave for this project.  Thank you for trusting what we shared and hiring local labor. 

This was a huge encouragement and gift to us all.

Front Gate is bright red now ... LOVE

The before situation - 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Sisyphean State of Mind

My last post one whole month ago ended with a CLIFF HANGER about a 54 year old that thought she was pregnant.

She was not.  
* * * * * 

Tribòbabò - a Creole/Kreyol word that is fun for all to say.  

Go ahead and say it like this with me:  Tree - bō - Bob - Ōh.

It means every which way - this way and that way - and all around everywhere. 

There is a dog that lives in our neighborhood.  

His situation is dire.  

This dog has an entire extra set of balls that hang off of the inside of one of his thighs.  

When you enter our neighborhood there is one long straight street that goes to the far end of the neighborhood.  There are two possibilities to turn left and three opportunities to go to the right.  If you don't turn you hit the end of the neighborhood in less than 1/4 mile.  

None of that is really all that relative to this story about the dog with auxiliary balls.  I guess I just want you to be able to imagine that this dog with extra balls seems to live somewhere in this relatively small neighborhood and he seems to mainly be around when I drive in and out of the neighborhood - he is tribòbabò. 

He makes me see him almost daily. Seeing him makes me super embarrassed for him, for me, for us all.   

* * * * *

Later this week, on Saturday to be exact, we will find on our calendars that the date is March 31, 2018.  

Believe me. We will.

With the passing of that day, so passes the first quarter of 2018.  

I know without a doubt that I have expended 2 years worth of stress and gained three face-lifts worth of wrinkles getting through the first quarter of this year. I'm angry at injustice and angry at broken systems and weary of so much BS and sadness.

Bob Hamp, a kind and gentle counselor and teacher guy in Grapevine, TX said this:

I can only hope that Bob Hamp is right.  I hope my anger is normal. If Bob is wrong, someone please come get me and get me off this island and DO SOMETHING to fix me.  

* * * * *

This is Steph meeting with Guerline, a Midwife. 

Stephanie is 16. In August of last year Stephanie was drugged and raped by her cousin. Her Aunt drugged her. As in the mother of her cousin and the sister of her own Mom.  

Now a baby is due in May. 

These sorts of things are not reported in general.  Steph for sure did not report it, she simply arrived to the Maternity Center fifteen weeks pregnant, confused, and afraid. 

When abuse or rape are reported, we have come to understand that the young woman will be asked to tell the story over and over and over and over again to different interviewers and lawyers and most of them will be men. Those men will pick  and choose minor details and tiny discrepancies and it is enough to make a young woman feel totally powerless.  

2018 is the year we have learned a lot about the "system" here.  It is really not a system, it is a failure to be a system.  Learning about the non-system has not birthed a lot of hope or joy in me. 

I do know this, to quote Rachael Denhollander, a survivor of abuse. 

Obedience means that you pursue justice and you stand up for the oppressed and you stand up for the victimized, and you tell the truth about the evil of sexual abuse and assault and the evil of covering it up.

 Then she kicks it up a notch with this ...

That obedience costs. It will cost to stand up for the oppressed, and it should. If we’re not speaking out when it costs, then it doesn’t matter to us enough.

* * * * *

Last night I listened as my kids agreed to play a game of modified flashlight tag (modified because all the flashlights are broken or lost, per usual).  I eavesdropped on them I heard them begin the game.  

There was the usual figuring out the rules and such. When it came time to decide who would "be it" to start the first round, I heard Phoebe say, "Put your foot in!"  

She began, "Bubble gum, bubble gum, in a dish, how many pieces do you wish?"  

It might have been the Moscow Mule or it might have been ACTUAL authentic hope and joy, but I looked at by friend, KJ, and said, "Do you hear that? They are starting a game the same way we started games 35 years ago.  Maybe some things are sensible and good in this world?!?" 

 * * * * * 

Have you heard of Sisyphus? 

In Greek Mythology we learn "he was punished for his self-aggrandizing craftiness and deceitfulness by being forced to roll an immense boulder up a hill only for it to roll down when it nears the top, repeating this action for eternity." 

Tasks that are both laborious or futile are therefore described as Sisyphean.  

I bought myself this watch on Amazon because it makes me laugh and then also because it helps me take vitals on moms and babies at the M.C. 

* * * * * 

This particular blog entry has gone from the silly and weird to the dark and depressing and back again. 

Just another day in Haiti and inside my mind. 

Let me conclude with some random good things:   

  • Easter is coming.
  • We had two healthy babies born at the MC. LOTS due very soon. Ready for storm.
  • We love the new nurse we hired at the MC - she's awesome. 
  • Isaac and Noah have two very good friends coming to visit them on Thursday. 
  • Soonish I will see Gideon, my 3rd grandson and celebrate his Birthday. 
  • The swimming pool has been out of order for a long while and will be filled back up on Thursday.
  • We lost power every night for about six weeks and we finally have remedied that and have had several nights of electricity all night.  Fans are life. 
  • Stefanie, the teacher that came this school year, has agreed to teach next school year. In my opinion this is one of those beautiful undeserved gifts that God gives. We cannot believe how much our kids have learned and loved learning thus far with Stef as their teacher and leader and mentor and friend.
  • We have decided to include the hot-flashes I am having into the tours we do at the Maternity Center.  The crowd seems to love the fountain of spurting sweat and at times you can overhear gasps of impressed approval (I assume this is what is being communicated) as my head and arms spurt liquid while I speak of the maternal mortality rate in Haiti and the work happening at our Maternity Center. 
  • In March Noah turned 14, Britt turned 28 and our son in law will be 32 tomorrow. March is the only month we celebrate three of our tribe in one month. 
I do not know why this post changed font sizes like this.  File your complaints with Sisyphus.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Be Kind to the Older Ones - They Might Even Remember It

"Ooooh, to be young again."  

That is a thing old people think.

I think that now.

I am ten, maybe  eleven months into the hormonal shift that is happening to me and I feel like I cannot even vaguely recall a time when I was young. 

The children I am raising tell me that there was a time when I remembered things well and even seemed smartish.

I don't recall it.
They do.

Recently I sat down and lamented that I had no idea what to give the kids for dinner.  My best girlfriend, KJ, said, "I just put that leftover ham in the oven". 

I said, "Oh my gosh, that's great. Thank you so much."

I sat in the chair, rocking and thinking.
Fast forward eight or nine minutes.
I said the same damn thing again ...  "I don't know what to give the kids for dinner."

KJ burst out laughing.

I forgot about the ham in eight and a half minutes.  It's horrifying, really.  I know it is not funny to joke about dementia but I worry about my short term memory a whole freakin lot right now.  I do things like that way so very often.

This afternoon I was all done working for the day. I was putting random things from the refrigerator on the table and calling it dinner. Suddenly I decided that I needed to move a piece of furniture out of my house and over to the house where Stefanie (the kids' teacher) lives.  This is how I operate now - my mind changes to something new and I follow it.

I loaded up the shelf and headed out.

On the road I ran into the guy that does the yard work and such at the Maternity Center.  He said, "A friend of Rachelle is here looking for you."  I know a few Rachelles and had no idea which one he meant. I said, "Okay, where?"  He motioned for me to talk to a man and a woman standing in the street together nearby.

I said hello and the man said, "You delivered my wife Rachelle at your clinic and we have a friend that would like to know more about the program. She needs information."  As he said that he motioned to a gray haired lady next to him. 

I said, "You need information about our program?"  She nodded. I said, "Okay, but we are a clinic that works with pregnant women. Is someone you know pregnant?" 

She looked at me and said, "You know I cannot tell a lie. I am the one that is pregnant." 

I did my best dramatic act and fell backward a bit and said, "YOU are not the pregnant one! You're an old person." 

(It takes one to recognize one.)

She informed me that she is two months pregnant and that she is 54 as of today.

I told her to come see me tomorrow. 
We shall see if this is true.

My problems with forgetting things might seem really small after tomorrow's meeting.