Sunday, September 30, 2007

Anger and other things...

The weekend that was to be the last hurrah before 7! -- has turned into a weekend of questioning God, crying, and generally freaking out.

I don't want to be unfaithful ... I just want to be honest.

So here it is ... I am so pissed.

For months we have looked forward to this weekend where we would get away and talk and ... you know. And for the last month we planned our big meal out to eat and all the romance and talking we would do. So, to say that I am having a big pity party is sort of an understatement. What is worse then that though, is the fact that my husband is absolutely miserable ... I am unable to fix it ... and that ticks me off too.

We walked into our hotel room yesterday and drew the curtains. Since that time Troy has only left the bed to be sick in the bathroom and is in a lot of pain.

I know that God sees us. I know that for whatever reason we're going through another trial ... and that He gets it. But I am still mad about it. It is not fair. Troy needs a break. Did I mention it is not fair? I know God is big enough to handle my tantrum. I know this too shall pass. Someday I will get it. Maybe.

I don't know this for a fact, but both Troy and I really feel that he has Dengue Fever again. We've done the Dengue thing before and know what it looks and feels like and this is very similar. The bad news would be that Dengue lasts many days. The good news would be that God could heal Troy of all affliction in ten minutes if He so chose.

There would be no way to confirm it is Dengue without lots of lab work, we've not yet decided to do that. Tomorrow will be the day to decide all of that. Mainly, Troy needs to stay hydrated as best he can. Yahoo news had this article out today. If you're visiting Haiti don't skip the mosquito repellent. It is not worth it.

So, I started the day off calling our Pastor and I know our church and many others are praying for him/us. Thank you for that. I wish I could tell you that he is better tonight, but he really is not. Please pray that he will stay hydrated and ultimately that he will be well enough to be with me for our C-Section on Thursday morning. Britt is set to be the back-up, but of course we all want Troy to be well and be there when his daughter is born.

It is okay for those of you more faithful than I to preach to me ... I need to hear it ... You can let me have it. For tonight I am just honestly admitting that I am beyond discouraged and upset.

Tara

Request

Troy and I got to our hotel yesterday afternoon. He has been having bad headaches and body aches and now is vomiting.

Please pray that whatever it is passes quickly and that the rest of the family stays healthy. The week ahead is a big one, we're just asking for quick healing for him and protection for the rest.

Thanks-
tara

Friday, September 28, 2007

BFF

At the airport Wednesday night Phoebe knew Paige right away. Paige is not only a big sister, but she is Phoebe's stylist and friend.

No Can Sleep

I'd rather not be awake. In better circumstances (physically) I might toss on some running shoes and hit the road for an early morning run. But .... no, that seems like a bad idea since when Amie and I went on a brisk 2 mile walk (okay, it was not really all that brisk) it caused blisters that are still not healed. That, and the massiveness of my gut is causing poor balance and precarious walking conditions.

Troy seems not to notice that I toss, turn, toss, turn ... Sigh heavily and walk circles around the kitchen table. I am happy for him. REALLY. I am.

He did his first check-in with the mission today. Peter said all things were under control and only one person is interested in stirring up trouble right now. If the glass is half full, one trouble maker is nothing to worry about. The guy Peter is referring to can be blamed (or thanked) for bringing Troy from a place of not wanting to leave Haiti --- all the way to a place of dying to get away - and all in a period of a few days.

Troy is super impressed with the shampoo aisle at Wal-Mart, the smoothness of the roads, the availablitiy of all things, and the wonderfully cool temperatures. He is fighting Haiti shopping mentality. This mentality tells you that if you see something you want and or might need in .... Oh, say, 6 months ... well -- you BETTER BUY IT NOW because there might never be another chance. He kept saying, "Hey, we might need this!" He stood like a deer in headlights looking at all the stuff we might need, wondering .... Will Wal-Mart still carry this item in two months? Should I buy now? What if glue is no longer available ... or deoderant, or orange juice. Carpe Diem.

I pointed out that this Haiti-shopping mentality could cause a person to go into deep debt in the land where everything is available at all times in seventeen locations in one square mile ... and that he maybe ought to simmer down and adjust a bit before he starts shopping for things to bring back to Haiti. He agreed. In the end one stick of deoderant was purchased and Troy is trusting the system, going out on a limb assuming that deoderant can and will be found again.

Tonight's insomnia left me bored enough to clean out old blog posts. I found this rat obituary that I wrote many moons ago and never posted. I think the rat that I wrote it for never died and I felt it dishonest to claim he had. I must have been really bored (or unable to sleep) on this day as well.

Mel Warehouse Rat 2004-2007
Died of apparent bread overdose.
Survived by wife, 250 children and a large extended family whom all wish to remember him as a good father, husband and friend. "Mel" worked as a tireless leader in his community forging new and innovative ways to get into the mission house. He is credited with patenting the laundry room window entry-route and had it not been for the fateful night when a deranged missionary spotted him sitting on the dryer he would have used that same laundry room window for years of undetected entry and exit. He came close to providing his entire community with pancake mix from mission pantry - enought to last a lifetime.
Proceeded in death by other mission-house rats -
Cousin rat killed by visiting missionary Jan 06
Brother rat killed in Livesay bedroom by blunt force trama to the head Feb 06
Mother rat trapped by glue trap but ultimately killed by shovel to the head March 06
Friends killed in Feb 07 one body never recovered and assumed to be rotting under cabinet, one body found behind stove, apparent death by poisoning.
The family of "Mel" would like to request memorials to PETA.

Have a great weekend everybody!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Daddy is here, daddy is here, daddy is ...

TIRED!

The large fan club is busy cheering and being excited about Troy's arrival. We got to bed at 1:15am, Noah found out Troy was home first at around 7:15am. The word spread fast after that. We welcomed him to America by going too many places, running too many errands, and attempting to manage four children at a sweaty swim meet. Phoebe hates swim meets, or the yelling at swim meets ... she cried at the start of every race. Good times.

I could not stop laughing at poor Troy as he came down the escalator at 11:45 last night. He had Phoebe on his back, a huge carry on that he purchased in Haiti ... so of course it was high quality ... and was broken and rigged together with some sort of bungee-cord device --- and a diaper bag that was bursting at the seems. He was essentially carrying 60% of his body weight. Phoebe has grown a ton in the last month, I am actually shocked that a child can be that chunky. I need to get a weight on her.

In the end, we did not dance at the baggage claim area when we were reunited. Sorry to disappoint. Troy wore those super sexy polyester pants and the medallion though.

Phoebe seemed a little overwhelmed by it all. She reached for Paige first at the airport. By this evening she seemed more "at home" and not as glassy-eyed.

My Aunt and Uncle came to visit today, tomorrow we'll see lots more friends and family at a big football game ... then we ( T & T ) have big plans to disappear for a day or two and see what it is like to talk without children or poor phone connections causing any issues with our communication. We've got some catching up to do.

We will try to post a few photos in the next day or two. We SO appreciate all of your kind words and prayers. Thank you!

With much love from all of us in MN

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Tick tock tick tock

Troy called while pacing the PAP airport with Phoebe waiting to board the plane. I have not heard from him since then, hoping he is in Miami and all is well. He had a SUPER LONG lay-over there. At least we know Phoebe has socks for the long layover. :) I am envisioning them at Chili's eating a giant U.S. Beef Hamburger. Hopefully Phoebe shares some of it with her daddy.

While I doubt the reunion will look exactly like the Jib-Jab video -- maybe less fancy moves --- and probably no disco lighting --- but there will be tears. Just hearing he was headed this direction made me cry today. I worked hard to keep my game-face on this last month ... it feels good to let down the tough-guy act and just cry like the big baby that I am.

The little kids are getting the partial story of when their dad gets in to town. They would never fall asleep if they thought he was coming tonight, so we're not so much playing up the fact that he will arrive late tonight, but more that he will be here in the morning when they wake up.

Lisa (bestfriend from all the way back to 5th grade) met up with us for some errands and lunch today. I grew up camping with Lisa's family. Her mom and dad just retired and moved "up north." This is a very MN thing to do, it just means they are no longer in the Twin Cities greater metro area. "Up North" sort of encompasses 80% of the state of MN. I enjoyed learning today that her mom drives into the nearby town to use the wireless internet in a hotel parking lot. I chuckle thinking of Jill in the van checking her email and blogs. In Haiti they call that 'Degaje' - Who needs internet when you have a free hotel option? It might get cold come January though ... and at that point you'd need to take serious note of the fuel used to heat your vehicle while stealing --- ah-hem, I mean borrowing, Internet.
;-)

The goal of our meeting was to make the day pass quickly. We used her Costco membership to get Phoebe plenty of diapers and some formula. Costco really is an amazing adventure in and of itself. Isaac, Hope and Noah made it easy for me and just asked that for Christmas they could have one of everything in the toy section. Those kids just give give give I tell you. (Begging drives me nuts -- it is easy to live where there is nothing to beg for -- year round.)

I enjoyed introducing Amie to Lisa last weekend. One of my favorite moments was when Lisa, in a serious tone, offered condolances to Amie on the passing of NASCAR great Dale Ernheart (or however you spell his name.) Poor Amie never got a break from being teased about her southern roots. She claims to hate NASCAR, but I don't know if I believe her.

Isaac asked when *I* might lose a tooth. I assured him it would not happen until we up and move to North Carolina ... and at that point it would just be a way to fit in with the locals. Man I feel punchy. I'm alienating our NC contingent ... I better go busy myself with something other than teasing Jill and Amie.

Britt, Paige and I are taking power-naps before we head into MSP late this evening. HURRAY!!!!!!!! If we end up breaking into any sort of dance, we'll have the girls video it.

Late EDIT - 7pm Central - They are in Miami. Phoebe hates sitting still but ate a brochure to make herself happier. Troy went with Buffalo Wings rather then a burger. When I asked him what he would do to pass the next hour or two he said that Phoebe has on red, white and blue but has pink barrettes on the ends of her braids ... he was planning to switch that out and make her look like the total USA package.

Who is that man, and what has he done with my husband? :)

Stream of Semi-Consciousness

Ok, I said I would blog, and the internet is up, so here is what my feeble and tired brain has for you this last evening in Haiti for a while...
This afternoon I went and filled the drums of diesel so that there should be enough to last while we're gone. I had a chance to stop and meet Clessia, Peter's new daughter.


She is a doll, and has her father's tall head. Peter was proud to show off their new place - a room he's fixed up in a building that his aunt owns on her property - it's up the highway a little bit in St. Ard. This is a big improvement because they were previously living on his uncle's property in Luly, and that uncle is heavily involved in voodoo and an all around bad guy. During one of the uncle's recent ceremonies, he dug a hole in the yard and buried a goat ALIVE in it...to ward off evil spirits and appease the good spirits.

(supporters of 'multiculturism' and sensitivity to all peoples/beliefs : good luck with that one - especially since you're probably PETA members anyway)


Oh, and the main motivating factor that prompted the move was that the uncle was concerned about a baby being on the property, as the 'spirits' may come and try to take it for a sacrifice.


I'm glad they got away from that, as it was a constant stress for Peter and his wife.


He has been putting all his time and money into fixing up the new place because his mother and sister are coming from the States this week to visit him and his family. They will meet Clessia, be here when Peter's son (Nakim) gets dedicated in church, and visit Haiti for the first time in many years. After I left their house, Peter was going to the barber so he could look good for his mom. I wish I was going to be here to meet her.




On my way home, I started crying thinking about Peter's family of four living in this one room. I still at this moment can't comprehend having the joyful spirit that Peter usually has. If we can get a box of cornflakes to them or a jar of peanut butter, it is practically an occasion to celebrate in their household. Gotta stop, it's crying time again.
God is in there. God is showing us so much from our lives here... showing us how much we have to be thankful for, and showing us people who are thankful and joyful while having absolutely nothing by the standards we are used to.
Peter has God-sized joy, and for that I am thankful and sometimes envious. Please pray that he would also have wisdom and love and all the other fruits of the Spirit so that he can take care of the mission and all the responsibilities here while we're away.
Time to sleep and go back to America in the morning. I can't express the strangeness and range of emotions I'm feeling right now.
By the way, Tara is the most amazing person on the earth today. It's official, and I thought I should let you know.

At the end of one month alone taking care of a two person household, I'm ready for a break and feeling torn up and burned out. She does this times six, soon to be seven, times over and doesn't get a break. I love her and appreciate her more than ever. I have a whole new understanding of the laundry that is done and the meals that we eat and the plans that are made....and that's only after taking care of a baby who A) doesn't wear much and B) doesn't really need a 'meal' prepared and C) doesn't really have a busy or difficult schedule to manage.

I'm so glad we'll be back together again soon.
-TL 2 in Haiti

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Found the socks. Two pairs. Take that naysayers.

Question - How do you wash the sheets you sleep on tonight and have them dry by the time you leave early tomorrow morning?

After Phoebe is in bed I will attempt to blog more... after I finish packing, clean up the house, organize a few more things for my absence, and figure out this sheet conundrum.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Countdown Has Begun ...

The news around these parts is all good. We're anxiously awaiting mid-week to finally be hugging & seeing Phoebe and Troy ... and wishing we could drug ourselves, only to wake up and find it 11pm Wednesday night -- so we can go get them. We're hoping everything happens in fast-forward for the next 48 hours or so.

Random things in no particular order ...

~Amie left. She should be back in NC any minute. We had fun just doing nothing. As long as we were not talking about her not being in Haiti, Britt leaving for school in a few months, or the kid coming in less than 10 days, there were not tears. We left the kids for two of the days and stayed at my parents house while they were out of town. It was quiet and relaxing.

~ Britt got TWO jobs today. One is a nanny job for our good friends the Vik Family one day a week, one is the lifeguard job she wanted at a nearby community center. She is pretty excited about both developments. No more begging me for gas money. That makes me pretty excited too!

~Paige was in charge of five kids for a few hours last night. Isaac, Hope, Noah, Aidan & Porter all report that she will be an excellent Mom someday. Being the odd, yet lovable gal that she is ... she took it upon herself to bathe all five of them after taking them and two dogs for a walk around the neighborhood. She has full command when given the opportunity to take charge. The goofy thing is, she only likes to be in charge of everyone with no help. If a mom is around she is uninterested in all of it. She is probably the most anxious for Phoebe to get here, they are roomies. I know Amie is going to mock me for this, so in an effort to beat her to it ... here is a photo of the set-up of Phoebe's crib. Amie thinks this is some sort of child-safety hazard. ????? I think it is great that Phoebe can bake cookies for us all night long and we can trust that nothing will burn with her closely watching over the situation. The hazard will be: Too many cookies baked by Phoebe = weight gain for all! Saftey Schmafety.



~Isaac said lots of silly things over the last few days. My favorites were:
1. When seeing 'Bear,' Tina and Matt's dog, knock Hope over -- he said, "Bear, don't you know you should not knock down a lady?" 2. While sitting down to the table that Amie and I were sitting at he said, "Soooo, what do you two ladies want to chat about?" 3. He lost a tooth last night, because I was gone he did not get paid. Today in the car he said, "Mom, are you the tooth fairy?" I said, "Do you want the truth?" He said, "yes." I said, "Yes, I am." He said, "Noooo, you are NOT Mom. The tooth-fairy lives in a castle!" (insert DUH tone of voice) (He did not really want the truth.)

~ Went to the Doctor today, everything is dandy. I asked if 7! is going to be a honkin big baby, the Dr. seems not to think so ... But I am not convinced. I discussed my main fear with him. Amie thinks I will blog about it, she is wrong. It is pre-surgery advice. I don't like it. We will leave it at that. I am getting all the baby stuff together, Matt got the bassinet down tonight, I searched for the tiny baby-girl items I brought from Haiti for 7! to wear ... actually, searched ALL evening ... still have not located them but at least I know where they are NOT located. Sigh.

~When I emailed Troy to give him the update about the appt and told him the pre-surgery appt is next Monday --- he ACTUALLY SAID, "That is next week already?"

Uh.

YEAH, IT IS "NEXT WEEK already!"
WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN????
He explained that so much is on his mind, he sort of forgot the reason for the return to MN, etc, etc, etc. Apparently for me 'Absence makes the heart grown fonder' and for him it is more along the lines of 'Out of sight out of mind.' I assured him that once he saw the size of me it would be difficult to remain in lala land any longer. Dork.

Ames and I caught a bit of Britt's meet on Saturday ... the only time we thought to take a photo.

Troy is going nuts trying to get everything done in time to depart. He reports that Peter and his wife have safely delivered their baby girl, he will try to post photos of her tomorrow. She was born Saturday, I think. I asked him to find some socks for Phoebe to wear on the airplane because she is not used to cold ... He thought maybe finding socks would be the straw to break the camel's back ... So, no socks it is. ;-) She will live without socks; I will not live with a broken-backed husband. :)

Linkage

From our meeting with Tess last week to discuss all things Haiti and all things children, Marcia took way better photos. I need my Troy and some camera talent. (Troy - check out the pics of your kiddos.)

Check:
http://providenceinhaiti.blogspot.com/2007/09/ericksons-1-vs-haiti-2.html

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Paying attention to how you listen…
By Pastor Clint Loveall, First Presbyterian Church, Spirit Lake

I don’t think I’m alone, but that doesn’t make it less frustrating. After being out of town a few days recently, I returned to the office and started catching up on everything… phone calls, schedules, meetings, and email. That’s where it gets ugly; 692 emails, more than 100 a day. I could tell you I’m that busy, or that popular, or that important, but those are all lies. The truth is about 685 of those emails I don’t want, didn’t ask for, and don’t need. It’s the usual culprits… an online degree, cheap medication, be rich, be, uh, “better,” meet people I don’t already know, etc…

This junk email gets a great name, “spam”, which is probably an insult to our friends up in Austin , but the image of a gooey, smelly, meaty substance gumming up the works seems to fit. Email spam is so common that most people buy or download a “spam filter,” (another great visual), which sorts out the emails you want from the ones you don’t. They work pretty well but inevitably the “spammers” find a way around the filters and occasionally the filter puts something you actually want in the “spam folder.” But it helps, and for the most part catches the things that have no importance.

I have a good friend and mentor who sometimes talks about “listening to your life.” He means that God speaks to us through our experiences when we take the time and have the desire to listen, and that the scope of our journey on planet earth says something we need to hear. Frederick Buechner says the same thing this way, “Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: Touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of God because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.” I love the idea, and I embrace it fully, but just between us, I wish I had a spam filter for my life. Something that sorted out moments filled with importance and separated them from all the regular stuff that’s just empty advertising. I could use the help, to be honest, because I’m afraid I miss some great moments only to realize later that an opportunity was staring me in the face and I blew it. Someone who needed a kind word, a friend who was hurting, a stranger who I could have helped, a lesson I needed to learn, words I should have kept to myself. I’m afraid that I fly past a lot of God-moments. I’m also afraid I pay too much attention to the spam. It’s flashy, it makes good promises, it’s exciting. Sure, it’s junk, but it’s shiny junk and sometimes it catches my eye. Too often, the things that I think matter really don’t and the things I ignore really do. The sacred and the superfluous are can be difficult to sort.

After explaining a parable one time, Jesus told his hearers, “Pay attention to how you listen.” I don’t know if I get all of what that means, but it has to partly be that we should work hard to hear the right things and not be diverted by the spam in our lives. Think of it this way; God is going to speak to you today. Seriously, the Lord God, the Almighty, the Alpha/Omega is absolutely going to speak to and through your life today. Among all the voices that call for your attention and ask for your time, one of them will be God’s. The question is, will we hear it? Will we pay attention to how we listen? Will our cup be running over with goodness and mercy, or will our inbox just be running over?

It’s frustrating, but here’s what I think I know about God. Outside the occasional burning bush, God generally speaks softly. God whispers often and shouts rarely, probably so we have to actually be trying to listen in order to hear. Too often we are walking around waiting for the thundering voice and missing the divine whisper. God speaks to us constantly we just don’t listen very well, possibly because we’ve already decided what we want God to say.

God wants to speak to you today, and it may not be what you expect. It will be subtle and deep and powerful, probably not loud and flashy. It may be only a whisper among the spam, but of everything in your life, it will be what you most need to hear. So pay attention to how you listen.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Night Things

1.
Amie is here! She made it safely and without throwing up. She HATES to fly. So far she has said "Dag - gum - it" and something about "fixin" to do something. We plan to have lots of fun at her expense over the next few days. Who says, Dag gum it in the year 2007!!!!???!!!!!

2.
The little girl known as 7! is a maniac. At night I actually wonder if she might cause me to wet the bed. The kid is having a dance party on my bladder. Sleep is elusive.

3.
I won't be blogging for a few days. I am spending all my energy trying to understand what Amie is saying when she speaks. OH, and enjoying her visit.

4.
It cannot be said too often. Thank you so much to all of you who so graciously and kindly support us in prayer, encouragement, and in numerous other ways. I really cannot believe in less then a week Troy will be here. It HAD to be prayer combined with God's mercy and grace that made the month disappear as it did. Troy and I never snapped at each other, never exchanged terse words ... even under the separate stressors we were feeling -- we stuck together well from across the miles. We know you had us covered and we are really -- REALLY thankful for your intercession.

May God Bless you and the events of the coming weekend!

I'm fixin to get some sleep now.
-Tara

Thursday, September 20, 2007

On Not Knowing

The more we think about Haiti and all that has happened since we first learned where to find the country on a map back in 2002, the more we think Haiti is God's tool to change our hearts and help us grow. Not help us know; but help us grow. Our experiences over the last few years have challenged our faith and shaken us individually and as a family.

I don't suppose that Haiti is unique in this way, I would venture to guess that most any intense cross-cultural experience could teach the same lessons and bring about changes.

The change has meant knowing less. The change has meant being okay with knowing less.

Maybe that sounds stupid. Let me try to explain.

Things used to be very black and white for me. Either it was right or it was wrong. (Almost) everything had a clear-cut answer in my mind. My opinions were solid, my views did not have room to move, I knew a lot. Name a topic, I could tell you with certainty what the "right" opinion was and I could tell you why it was the "right" opinion. There were not too many things I did not have figured out. Whether it was politics, hot button issues of our day, faith, famine, you name it ... I had an answer.

While there are still things that I feel strongly about and believe in with passion, most of what I knew five years ago ... I no longer know. I know much less today then I did in 2002.

I think it is where God wants me. I think He probably got tired of my righteous opinions on all things and just wanted me to learn to say, "I don't know ... But God knows ... And that is enough."

There is freedom in not needing to know it all. There is freedom in recognizing that not all things are so easily discerned. Life does not come in a nicely wrapped little box. Not knowing does not mean not caring. Not knowing does not mean weak faith.

It may make some squirm a bit to hear me say this. That is okay. The change that has taken place is something that we would not trade for anything.

Very few people leave a place like Haiti without serious questions. The contrast between what you thought you knew and what you see drives you to your knees. Concern and love for people totally unlike yourself begins in a place like this. Your anguish over the injustice of it all causes you to call on an all-knowing Sovereign God. It causes you to think. It causes you to not know what to do. It leaves questions unanswered. It changes you. It is changing me.

Having unanswered questions and knowing less has not made me feel less intelligent, less important to God, less capable or less faithful. Knowing less has caused me to seek Him more. I truly believe that is what He wanted from me all along.

You don't have to have all the answers, you just need to know The God who does.


~Tara

P.S. (Remind me of all of this when I forget it in a few weeks ... or months.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2007



Briefly this evening ...

Troy was waiting to pick up the boss-people at the airport last time I talked to him. Phoebe was trying out a new thing where she throws things she does not want. Somehow he ended up with Moutain Dew all over the place... Maybe 10 month olds should not have Mt. Dew?

Tess is super-cool. (Photo above) The kids all gave her the stamp of approval. They also acted more wound up then usual so she got a fair sampling of their personalities. Please continue to pray that this all comes together. Tess is doing this for almost nothing at all, as a ministry to us and in turn to Haiti. We continue to pray for proper management of her Graves Disease and that all the details for January will fall into place. We are basically waiting for Britt to choose a school so we know what date she will be settled in and ready to start, and we also need to replace our renter by January 1. Once those two things are nailed down we will book return tickets. Troy is booked round-trip, the rest of us are not. We're anxious to see how God will work it all out.

Phoebe has a consulation scheduled that won't break the bank. The original one that we scheduled was crazy expensive (they were hesitant to give info over the phone but told me to plan on it being $1,000) but after using your tips and advice we found a Dr. who can give us a better idea about what is going on without causing us to skip dinner for two months. The people we spoke with all seemed to think it would be better to see her sooner rather then later. Thank you for all your suggestions.



I have shared with Isaac that there are more then a few gals interested in calling themselves his wife someday. He would like to meet all of you. :-) He plans to be a Pastor or a golfer -- or a soccer player on the same soccer team as Jesus. Do you want to withdraw your daughters from the competition ?

Things could get weird ...

Everything is coming to a head. Troy is insane with responsibility and may or may not get time to say much during his last 5 or 6 days in Haiti. He told me today that the pressure of getting everything done is heavy and things keep going wrong and adding to his list. He and Phoebe are headed to town to prepare for the arrival of Lifeline leadership and a couple of other gentlemen. He called to find out if the white dress with the hula dancers on it had a matching bottom ... I found that highly entertaining and very cute. He has a lot to say about the importance of making Phoebe look good, but I'll let him tell you. There are rules and expectations that he must meet while single-parenting his baby girl. It is all new information to ME - but he speaks with authority so he must know.

As the emotional head-over-heels wife I would humbly ask for prayers for him. It has been a tough month getting the school open, getting caught up on many time-consuming tasks, dealing with huge needs that Haiti presents each and every day ... added to trying to train trustworthy people to do some of his tasks while he is gone. He is currently fighting boils of some sort (brought on by stress no doubt) and is just generally ready to sit down for a rest. I am anxious for him to sit, rest, sleep and eat some of his favorite foods. We're busy planning those trivial things and refusing to feel guilty about any of it. Deciding his first out-to-eat meal is no small thing. No mistakes will be made.

One of the more difficult things about the last 20+ months has been the lack of weekend breaks ... real, true breaks. You're sort of always "on" in a place as desperate as Haiti. It is nothing that can be changed and I am not even complaining, if *I* needed help as a Haitian and there were people who might be able to offer it -- well, it would not matter if it was 11pm or Saturday - I would come and ask too.

I just know Troy is tired and I know he needs a break. 7! was not our plan, but the break from ministry Troy will get because of the 7! is a really nice perk. He can thank our daughter for appearing when she did - at some point in the future.

Please pray for Peter as he takes over many responsibilities and for our leadership at Lifeline as they fill in where needed until we all get back to Haiti.

Later today the kids and I are off to meet with Tess E. Tess is the young lady who plans to come to Haiti and help our family with the crazyness of early 2008. We're planning to give her Britt's room. She will help with the three baby girls (Phoebe, 7!, and my sister's baby) and also back me up with homeschooling Hope, Ike and Paige. Her Mom and Dad are linked on the link list as "MN/Haiti Friends Blog." I am planning to sedate everyone before we meet her so she thinks they are incredibly calm little children and signs on the dotted line.

My close friend, Amie is coming to be with me this weekend from N.C. I will be adjusting to her southern-speak for the first day, but after that it will be all "hey ya'll" and "git me some grits" and just good fun. I am glad for the distraction and looking forward to it SO much. She will help make these last days of seperation from my sweetie drag less. I have not seen her in 2.5 years. Yee-haw.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ode to Isaac, By Paige


Five words that describe Isaac: Joyful, loving, caring, hyper, lovable.

Isaac is very joyful, he does not get down much. He is also very good at helping you when you are down. He will almost always make you laugh no matter what. He gives compliments and encouragement.

He is so very loving, he will tell and show you that about a hundred times a day. You will never feel unloved around Isaac.

He is also caring, he cares about you and your feelings very much. He would never do anything to hurt your feelings.

Isaac is so hyper. His joyfulness added to his hyperness is sometimes almost overwhelming. But it is still a good thing.

Last but not least Isaac is very lovable with his amazing smile and great characteristics. He is an awesome little brother and I am truly blessed to know him and be able to be his big sister.

Happy Birthday Ike!

(As the photo was being taken after school today he said, "Here is the six years old!")
We think he meant: Here is the SIX YEAR old. ;-)

P.S.- Happy Birthday to Nikki Petersen today too!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Link Love

We told you about Jen's move to Ayiti ... just wanted to give you a heads up that she is a blogging fool and is linked on our link list now. Check her out.

I also thought this post about her was pretty good.
Go here.


Hurray for the good Doctor --- and selfishly, I must say that having a friend - who is also a Pediatrician - living just 90 minutes from me and my tribe of many - WELL, it feels pretty darn good (or it will in a few months.) When the fever hits the tribe maybe the panic and spazzing will be lessened from here on out.

We're still praying for you Jen!

Phoebe




It is official. She is walking. Her mommy missed it.

Hurray for you Phoebe! Way to make those thighs work for you.
(10.5 months old)

Not much to report Stateside



This past weekend was the all-cousin weekend. Cousins came to visit us and brought treats and dinner on Saturday. (Photo) We met more cousins for lunch on Sunday. We went and picked up a crib for Phoebe. (Thank you Barb and Barry!) Later, when we pulled into my parents house Hope said, "Hey I remember this place, we have been here before." I think she thought we were at another random location and did not realize we were going to Grandma and Papa's house. She was last there 20 months ago, but she still remembered. :)

It is cloudy and dank in Ham Lake, Minnesota today. The little kids don't understand that sunny days are not the norm everywhere in the world. Noah said, "When will it be sunny-time Mom?" He means, when will it be DAYtime. Sunny means daytime -- anything else means it is still night. He is a Caribbean boy now. I finally convinced him that it IS actually day time right now, but that in MN sunshine is not a daily guarantee.

We are in big-time count down mode. The 364 day wait is over for Isaac. Tomorrow is his 6th Birthday. He will be bringing treats to his class and then we're having a small party for him tomorrow night.

Paige and I and Troy are pretty pumped up about her standardized test results. Each year she takes a test to help determine curriculum for the next year. I think as a newer homeschooling mom I feel mainly nervous and inadequate when it comes to her education. We are just starting our third year of homeschooling. There are SO many people skeptical of the homeschooling option. A lot of people can be just plain rude about it. The feisty side of me constantly fights telling those people to 'stick it'. I have never understood people worrying about the choices I make for my own children, because I don't spend ANY time worrying about what other people do with their kids. It is my job to parent my kids, not any one elses.

It is a challenge to ignore the opinions and do what you know God is asking you to do. The results came in the mail this weekend, we're THRILLED with Paige's amazing improvement in one year. I guess we don't totally stink as teachers after all. Woot PAIGE for your hard work!

Before I go, this is a long shot ... but it cannot hurt to ask. Does anyone know a Pediatric (or not necessarily Pediatric) Opthamologist that I might be able to call and talk to the real, live Doctor? I need to get an opinion and questions answered about Phoebe. I am finding that nobody will talk to you over the phone. I have to make her an appointment to come in for a consultation and screening. That is fine, but it would be nice since she is uninsured (not legally our child) to get some clarification before we start in on the huge Doctor bills. If you know of someone who might be willing to speak with us FIRST and give initial adivce, please let us know how to make contact. Phoebe's eyes often (not always) "track" separately, we're wanting to use this time when she is in the States to see if we can help her with it.

Thanks -
tara

Sunday, September 16, 2007

News From La Digue

Not much going on here...it was a quiet weekend...which is good because Phoebe and I are both sick. We've come down with some sort of flu bug and have been laid up/throwing up for the better (worst?) part of two days now. Phoebe seems like she's better this morning, I hope I'm close behind her. We had a strange night with little sleep, and after rocking her to sleep finally at 3am, the power went out and she woke back up. We didn't make it to church today, which made me really sad because it was my second-to-last chance to be there before leaving...and I had friends I'd planned on giving rides to and meeting there. Planning on laying low for the rest of the day and hoping to be ready for the opening of the rest of our schools and feeding centers tomorrow morning.
Love to our peeps in MN,
T&P

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Photos And Oswald's Thoughts



There are times in spiritual life when there is confusion, and it is no way out to say that there ought not to be confusion. It is not a question of right and wrong, but a question of God taking you by a way which in the meantime you do not under stand, and it is only by going through the confusion that you will get at what God wants.

In Luke 11:5-8 Jesus gave the illustration of the man who looked as if he did not care for his friend, and He said that that is how the Heavenly Father will appear to you at times. You will think He is an unkind friend, but remember He is not; the time will come when everything will be explained. There is a cloud on the friendship of the heart, and often even love itself has to wait in pain and tears for the blessing of fuller communion. When God looks completely shrouded, will you hang on in confidence in Him?

In Luke 11:11-13 Jesus says there are times when your Father will appear as if He were an unnatural father, as if He were callous and indifferent, but remember He is not; I have told you - "Everyone that asketh receiveth." If there is a shadow on the face of the Father just now, hang onto it that He will ultimately give His clear revealing and justify Himself in all that He permitted.

Luke 18:1-8 - "When the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?" Will He find the faith which banks on Him in spite of the confusion? Stand off in faith believing that what Jesus said is true, though in the meantime you do not under stand what God is doing. He has bigger issues at stake than the particular things you ask.

-Oswald Chambers


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Friday, September 14, 2007

Happy Weekend


Hope and Ike are back at school. Today was purple day ... we all agreed that most kids would not have purple to wear and not to worry about it. It was 40 degrees when we got up this morning so they chose sweatshirts. It is so cute how excited they are to get their backpacks on and go.
The other night when we were praying for Troy and Phoebe I asked the Lord to be with Troy and Phoebe and to keep them safe, then I prayed that He would be with us and help us too. When I finished Isaac said, "Well, is Jesus in Haiti with Dad and Phoebe or is He here in America with us?" :)

Britt got her photo in the local paper. (above) It said something about "Britt and the rest of the Rangers team took 9th ..." which is kind of funny for a girl who has been on the team for less days than any other swimmer. She was sheepish about it and said she would not blame the other swimmers for being annoyed.

Noah is spending the day with Grandma Livesay. At first he was mad about it and wanted me to stay with him all day ... but when we got there and he saw the toys, his Grandma AND TWO DOGS --- two new dogs to chase... he was totally indifferent to my departure. I have never seen a little boy that loves dogs and cats so much.

One of the dogs at Grandma's house is the dog that once belonged to us. Noah has no memory of "Farley" (named after the late, great, Chris Farley) because we had to give her to Troy's parents when Hope and Isaac came home from Haiti. Farley did not really dig having little kids come into her house and take away her spot as the baby. Since that time she has been spoiled rotten by Troy's parents and is a fat, fat Cocker Spaniel. She also now has only three legs ... which is not really all that funny on the surface --- but for whatever reason it entertains us. Noah did not notice the missing leg until I pointed it out this morning. He barely said goodbye when I left ... which for him is amazing. He usually flips into high-drama mode at the mention of being separated.

Paige and I are at the library. She is currently studying for a spelling test that will be given to her in about 12 minutes. We're planning to stay here and do school until it is time to go to swim practice.

This morning we learned that our renter ... you know, the WONDERFUL renter that I never want to lose --- well, she is buying a house later this year. When I talked to Troy he was all positive and unaffected ... which is really nice --- but maybe a tiny bit annoying too. What if a girl just wants to commiserate a bit?
Troy said, "Hey, I think it is great that she is leaving now when we are in MN to screen and find a new renter and deal with the whole thing." (I love you Troy - you are rock solid. Someday soon I will learn to be more like you -- just not today.)

After I hung up Paige asked what he thought. I repeated what he said and she said, "How can he always be so up and positive? If someone told him the sky was falling he would just say -- Yeah well at least we know that it is falling ahead of time!"
I am SO glad that God is in BOTH Haiti and MN (even if Isaac is unsure) because I need His peace to help me with the new prospect of finding someone else to trust with our home ... or making a decision if we need to do something other than finding another renter. Another decision ... you know how I feel about that.

wwwwaaaaaah wah.
Wishing you all a great weekend.
Love, your friend,
Debbie Downer

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Don't try this at home

I finally gave in and bought a French Silk Pie. No such excellence in chocolate-pie-goodness exists in Haiti. I dream of French Silk Pie. I made it more then two weeks before the big break-down. It is my favorite food group. Just as I feared, I ate three pieces in three hours and now I want to hurl. Uuuuuugh.

I had my OB appt today. I learned that in about 2 lbs I will pass Troy up and officially reach maximum density. That was BEFORE I ate the pie. The rest of the appointment was uneventful. Troy, go eat a few dozen pounds of lard please.

Last night my parents took JUST me to a nice dinner. The time was spent flipping in and out of the ugly-faced-cry. They seemed to think that I am still mostly sane. I gotta believe that under better hormonal circumstances I would cry less and be less fearful. I am working on the fear part and recognize that my fear is not really only new-baby-related. I am feeling nervous about Britt being so far away and on her own soon, nervous about getting back to Haiti and needing to homeschool Hope and Isaac and Paige while having the baby brigade too. I just feel unable to be everything to everyone all at once. The concerns are indeed somewhat rational, but the worrying and fear are counter-productive --- so I find myself attempting to grab the reigns and knock off the stinkin-thinkin (Stuart Smalley fans???) and move forward in HIS strength, not my own.

After the Zoo yesterday I broke down crying when Noah was being a pill and disobeying me. Isaac came over and said, "Oh Mom, you need some love because you are just so pregnant." Then he hugged and kissed me. Isaac is the ultimate encourager.

Tonight Hope had a really good question that begs an answer. She was eating dinner and she said, "Ma, why do they call it Cottage Cheese when it is mostly just cottage?"

Hope and Ike are psyched because this is a three day week for Kindergarten. They get to go again tomorrow! They attend full day (9-3:30) on Tues - Thur - and every other Friday. It really seems to work for them. So far they have only wonderful things to say about school, the teacher, the kids, and what they're learning. Hurray for that!

~Tara

Troy ... I want to hug you. (I would be careful not to crush you.) That dancing video is really not that far off -- I miss laughing at your masterful moves, I think you should demonstrate your skills on video for real. Noah got a hair-cut today. It is sort of Ryan Seacrest but with an attitude. He looks more like you now. Love you. Miss you. Kiss Phoebe for us.

Yesterday's Zoo Photos for Troy









Noah wanted there to be a Rhino, Isaac was wishing for Dinasours, Hope seemed content with the experience. Paige was generally indifferent.

Sara Groves - I saw what I saw

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Drinking Problem?



Troy sent me this photo with the title "I think she has a drinking problem."

As he has attempted to manage the mission and his active 10 month old baby-girl, the need to degaje (just make something work) has happened numerous times.

Here Phoebe was exhausted from missing nap and clearly she is about to waste away and cannot miss a bottle ... So Troy made her a bottle at the water cooler, handed it to her and went to the gate to deal with whatever there was to deal with. When he came back, this is what he found.

;-) Some would call it neglect, poor parenting, unsafe ... not me. Good work babe. Napping can happen anywhere, nobody said a crib is the only place a girl can catch some zzzz's. My only question - WHERE are her capris that match that shirt? ;-) Kidding ... I am only kidding.

Tonight I am determined not to pad around the house from 1 to 3 am --- I have a plan to combat the insomnia ... not with Phoebe's method of hitting the bottle --- but with actually pulling out my Bible and reading. Bright idea, huh?!?!?! Yeah. It did not occur to me last night. Troubling, isn't it? What should I read ... God's word OR crap on the Internet. Certainly the sleep deprivation has fogged my bettter judgement. Or at least that is the excuse I am using.

We are all pretty pumped up for tomorrow. We have a trip planned to the Como Zoo in St.Paul. It is a pretty fun and decent zoo that also happens to be FREE ... which is right in our price range. Woot. Remember Hope asked if we could go to the jungle when we got back to Minnesota ... well, she meant the Zoo and tomorrow her wish will be granted. *I* like this zoo because it is small and easy to navigate and we will be able to see everything in under two point five hours ... meaning we are back long before nap time.

Both Hope and Ike enjoyed another great day of Kindergarten today (they go two and three days a week alternating) and I enjoyed when the teacher called me to tell me that, 'They are such amazingly KIND children." My heart was warmed. Troy is rubbing off on them. ;-) I also enjoyed seeing the booklet of the kids in their class. It was put together so the kids could work on learning names on the non-school days. Isaac had told me there was "one other brown kid -- maybe from Haiti" -- but Hope had corrected him saying, "No he is sort of brown but he is from here I think." They showed me the kid; he MIGHT have some Italian genes. Maybe he has a great-grandpa in Chile - at best. They are funny little people ... but they are right, their class is very blonde hair - blue eye, sort of Scandinavian Barbie looking kids ... so this kid does appear "different." I love to hear them think it all through and see things through their eyes.

School's In Session


School here at the mission officially started yesterday. The year is off to an inauspicious start. Half of our other schools that Lifeline sponsors did not open on time...(one had a funeral for the director's sister-in-law, one director apparently had better things to do this week, and one just decided next week would be better)...they've received encouraging letters from me as of today, pointing out that in order to continue supporting their schools........................they should probably open the school. It is normal here for the school year to have a slow start; many families don't have enough money for the books and uniforms required until a month, sometimes two months after the year has started - and sadly sometimes not at all, so they wait for the next year to see if they can scrounge enough. That isn't the case here locally, but that's because Lifeline provides all the books and the uniforms and other needs are subsidized.

No matter how hard you try - you cannot overcome cultural differences. Case in point - my 'home' culture has expectations of planning ahead and being prepared in advance of forseeable events. This culture has no such notion. Yesterday, the day school opened, the director of our on-site school reported that there are some textbooks he doesn't have yet, and he's not sure who is teaching second grade. Hello? Excuse me?

I was in Port au Prince with this man two times last week getting books...last year we had similar issues so I've been on him for A YEAR now to get more organized and prepared...during a third trip to Port by myself I called him to verify we were all set and there wasn't anything else needed for Monday's opening...ten minutes into the schoolyear he had a list a page long of other things we need. And when the needs list is handed to the white man with the money tree growing out back, everything is an emergency. I was nice, as I now understand how things work here, but once back in the office I gave a silent scream and shook my fists in the air for a minute.

As a director of a school, I assume one of the most important jobs would be to "direct" the school. Part of "directing", in my mind, would be making sure that each class actually has a teacher. I'm no expert, but that's my line of thinking on the matter. Apparently I am wrong. I knew we had made some changes to the staff for this year, I gave my suggestions, oversaw the contract procedures, and signed off on the whole deal. I was feeling pretty good having all of this taken care of a week before school started. Shortly after, however, the teacher assigned to the second grade went AWOL and another new teacher was chosen to replace him. What the director failed to mention to me is that then that replacement decided not to teach, and therefore we started school one body short in the teaching position. Oh well, no one else seemed nearly as stressed about that as I was, and by the end of the day it was all worked out. This fourth-string teacher actually seems better than the first three options...and he's actually showed up for the first two days now, so that's good.

A flood of parents have come in recent weeks seeking help with money for uniforms, shoes, schoolbags, bikes, books, you name it. I've done what I could to find those who were truly needy and used up what resources we had available to help. I thought that was done. Wrong-O, Mr. Missionary. Did I mention that planning ahead wasn't necessarily a strong suit around here? For the last two days there has been a constant stream of people coming - to sign kids up for school a month after registration ended, to request a change in our school's uniforms, to ask for money for other back to school items, etc. Again, we're doing what we can. Most of them have been able to get help, fortunately, but as you can probably tell by now - it's wearing me out a little teeny bit.

The cooks and the food issues are a whole other story, just more of the same...for instance - after telling them that school would start Monday, and then finding out that some schools weren't starting, everyone was on a different page as far as how much food to cook and where to send it and it took ALL DAY to straighten it out. You would have thought that the sky was falling over La Digue's canteen. I eventually solved the problem to everyone's liking when I assured the cooks and reminded them that even if we did send food to a school that wasn't open yet - there would still be hungry kids around to eat it. Sure enough, all the buckets came back empty at the end of the day.

The final fitting act of the sorry first school day - the piece de resistance - happened when the director left on his motorcycle carrying two of our teachers on their way home. At the end of the driveway, they lost control and wiped out - all three and their bookbags sprawled all over across the dirt road. Fortunately, no one was badly injured. I seriously considered closing the school and trying again next week like the others.

Today was a little better...but only because there weren't any motor-vehicle accidents. Otherwise, it was pretty much the same. Give us a week or two, and we'll get it all ironed out....and I guarantee I'm the only one around here who will be stressed out until it is.

T

One more thing...

Troy called around dinner time. The little kids all got to talk to him briefly.

Isaac got on the phone and said this ... (word for word)

"Hi daddy, it is Isaac - remember? You know, your number one son ... The brown Haitian guy."

We now return you to your blog about Haiti.

Troy? It's all you.

While you were sleeping ...

I was not.

And that is why I am going slowly crazy.

Topics Googled this early morning:
1. 7th Child
2. How often do children have Colic?
3. How can I tell if my baby will be easy?
5. Pregnancy Insomnia
6. Babies conceived in January - are they super-duper nice little babies?

I learned almost nothing.

78% of women experience insomnia during pregnancy. So, there is that. This is the singular piece of information that seemed like it might be accurate.

I was hoping to find more useful information. If there were something out there that said, "The 7th child is always a perfect angel," I might be able to go back to bed and fall asleep peacefully. But no. There is nothing that says that. Not anywhere. On the bright side I did not find anything that said 7th children- have worse diapers, more frequent bowel movements, more crying jags, cost more to raise, do more time behind bars, or are generally a terrible problem for their parents.

Here is what I did find. Take a look at these gems, useful pieces of information, are they not? (And, the main reason the Internet is called the InterNOT by my husband.)


"Rayid has been formulated over the last 25 years in America by Denny Johnson. It is an ongoing evolving system that began as an accurate, original and unique way of reading the eye. Because of the popularity of Rayid in South America where most eyes are very dark, Denny formulated another original method of consultation. This is the remarkable system of Rayid birth order.

Combining birth order with the iris has created perhaps one of the most powerful tools available to understand an individual. The main purpose of Rayid is to assist the individual towards his/her potential by maximising the genetic gifts.

Rayid birth order is a very accurate indicator of personality type and the likely life path of an individual. By understanding the different birth order positions you learn about yourself and your children. Each child is unique and needs very different parental guidance from other siblings. By understanding birth position you can assist your child to reach their potential by bringing out their innate gifts. This knowledge is truly exciting. There are six different types of male siblings and six female sibling types. Boys one to six in the family each have unique personalities, interests and gifts. Girls one to six are all very different from each other as well. If there is a 7th child it will behave like the first etc. By understanding birth order one understands yourself and/or your children." (7th child behaving like first is a good thing ... if true.)

OR

"Vaz da Silva created a complex formula—he calls it his "Trinity" or "Triune" equation—to describe this phenomenon of Otherness found in seventh-born children. Simply stated, the equation shows how the seventh born child is removed from the family since his or her birth disrupts the Trinity pattern (two groups of three children have come before it). The last-born is therefore not fully connected with the social world. Its association with the number seven means that the child shares its existence with the realm of the dead, since in Iberian folklore the last seven years of a person's life are spent between living and death. By assigning the first-born the position of godparent to the last-born, the older sibling brings the youngest closer to the family and aids in the child's integration into the land of the living." (This guy also says 7th children turn into werewolves.) (Isn't this wonderfully valuable and credible information?)

AND...

Flavor Flav expecting his seventh child - Flavor Flav (real name William Drayton Jr.), 47, founded the hip-hop group Public Enemy in the '80s. (Hey, if Flavor Flav can do it ... certainly T & T can!?!?!?!!!!)

OR

Malcom X was a 7th child - In African mythological culture it is believed that the seventh child will emerge as a leader of his people. (Dad - did you know Malcom X was born in Omaha, Nebraska?) (If you are not African can your child emerge as a leader?)

OR

Somewhat unrelated but still located based on these life-changing google searches-

Charles Darwin's 7th kid, "Frank" was a botonist. Frank's mother and the wife to Charles, (Emma) was a devout Christian. (No equal yoking there!)

Lastly - still totally irrelevant ...

The Number 7

The number 7 is equally sacred amongst Islamic, Christian and Jewish religions. According to Jewish and Christian mythologies it took six days to create the world with the seventh day being the holiest day - a day of rest. The Bible, Zohar and other religious texts also recommend that fields were to be left fallow every seventh year as means of allowing the earth to regenerate itself. Some Christians believe the number 7 represents the seven levels of hell.

It is Hebrew tradition to mourn for a period of 7 days as well as celebrate holidays by lighting a menorah: a 7 branched candelabra.

The number 7 is associated with the colors violet, purple and plum.

7’s gemstone is amethyst.

Flowers associated with 7 are irises and deep purple roses.

Some common superstitions about the number 7 are:

* If your date of birth can be reduced to a single number that can be divided by seven then you will have a particularly lucky life.
* Shattering a mirror brings 7 years of bad luck.
* If you sing before 7 am then you will cry before 11 am.
* Wrapping her husband’s belt 7 times around a tree causes a woman to become fertile.
* The seventh child of a seventh child is said to have psychic powers.
* If you wash your hair on the 7th day of the month you will have trouble with the law.
* It is unlucky to get married April 7th or December 7th.
* If you dream about the number 7, you will soon meet a soul mate.


I already have my soul mate. Now what? I don't need to dream. I just need to sleep.
~tara

Monday, September 10, 2007

Bon Voyage Jen!

Tomorrow, September 11th our friend Jen Halverson is moving to Haiti. She is a Pediatrician that we enjoyed meeting about a year or more ago. She is from the great state of MN and will be residing in Haiti for the next 9 months to work with St. Damiens hospital in Tabarre. Please pray for her as she settles into life in Haiti and her new postion in the E.R. there. She is a super-cool chick, is very smart, and already knows Creole so things should go well for her. Prayers are still always appreciated.

I can barely sort out what I think about anything -- it is imparing my ability to write. Also, Noah refuses to sleep through the night and his wake-ups along with my dicomfort/insomnia are making me feel too tired to write something intelligent or funny. And, our internet is not working in our apartment ... so you see -- my excuses are many.

I spend the afternoon at the house we own (or the bank owns) yesterday. Our renter is great, I never want her to leave. When she does leave we have big decisions to make. I don't want to make those decisions anytime soon. Being in the house we first bought together and going through our crap just makes me all confused about everything. I hate that "stuff" can do that to me. It is just odd to see your whole previous life packed into a storage room.

I have some photos of the girls on the dock at the house. Once I have internet downstairs I will add them to this post.

Troy, this is getting too long now. I miss you so much. I cannot wait until you are here.

~Tara

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sophia

Sophia and her Grandmother came to visit us this week. Sophia has returned to live with Gran again now that she is healthy and walking. Thank you so much Licia and Lori for your hard work and dedication. Sophia had been staying at the Cazale Rescue Center for about a year.
Here she is before:
and after:
She's still full of sass and attitude, and not that into smiling for the camera...let alone at all. She has a special place in our hearts after having her in our home for a while last year, and we're so happy she is thriving now and back with her family. God is so good, and it's a great encouragement to us to see the success stories like this one.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Hope

We temporarily live north of Minneapolis/St. Paul about 30 miles. In a lovely suburb oddly named Ham Lake.

Today as Hope and I left the University of MN campus (not as white as Ham Lake) she said. "So Ma, there are a few Haitians here huh?"

I said, "Why do you ask, did you see someone that looked Haitian to you?"

She said, "Yes, down here today I saw a few."

All people of African descent are from Haiti ... at least according to Hope.

:-)

Dear Troy,

You should blog because I have nothing interesting to say. I wish the phone would work, I cannot hear a single thing you are saying. Just another reason you should blog. We're missing you guys.

I went to the U of M today - for a swim meet Britt was in. The lady at the door thought Hope was my biological daughter. I am still trying to figure that one out. ???? How?

What is going on in Haiti? How is Phoebe?

We love you!

T- B - P - I - H - N - 7 - Nutdog

Friday, September 7, 2007

Strange Story

Hope, Isaac, Noah and I all went into a grocery store together. Hope and Noah were riding in the cart, Ike was standing next to me helping me push. We were headed down the dairy aisle.

Out of the blue this kid, maybe 5 or 6 years old, standing with a cart in front of us looks back at us and says "You frickin people..." His mother slapped her hand over his mouth and picked him up to carry him further away from us.

We all looked at each other in disbelief. Noah said, "Mom, did that kid just say frickin people to us?" I said, "Yeah, he did. Strange huh?"

Hope said, "He is a bad boy."

Isaac said, "Well, he might be a bad boy but he might be a good boy just doing a bad thing." (Isn't he full of grace and mercy?)

Then the three of them had a discussion about what would cause a kid to lash out at them. They reasoned that his mom taught him that or that the devil did. It was an entirely entertaining conversation. We have this Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis book about Adam and Eve. They are very focused on the devil and the role he played in tricking Eve.

We did not see the kid again during our shopping. But he sure provided lots of material for discussion and speculation.
:)

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Enough Already

By Britt:

Ladies and gents of the blogosphere, I have a very important announcement to make:

We are going to tell you the sex of '7.' Why now, you ask? Well we (Paige & I) figure that my mom has done a superb job thus far of respecting our wishes - that this one little something be kept secret for a while. But honestly, I've had enough already. Look at the polls! I think the Michigan team is cheating. ;-) You cannot vote if you actually know seven's gender!

Also, in light of recent days and my mother's publicized denial of her fourth unplanned pregnancy .... that will indeed yield a BABY at 8am on October 4th ...... I think it is high time to shine some light on the situation. Nothing against the opposite sex, but if you really knew our boys you would know that two is the perfect number & maximum capacity for this family.

'7' will be my fourth baby sister. I'm trying to convince my mom that maybe God believes in "saving the best for last." :D Here is an interesting facts about the number 7:
  • 7 is the number of spots on the common ladybug
    • I thought that this is a good illustration - my mom being the ladybug, each of her kids being a spot ;) Maybe I've just discovered a new nickname!

Paige has always been a big fan of the show "7th Heaven." In the past she has said that she would someday like to have her very own 7th Heaven (with her playing Annie Camden, not 2nd oldest Mary.) I would never admit to liking that show at one time and definitely do not share Paige's dreams of being the next Annie Camden or Tara Livesay, but it is kind of ironic how we are about to have our very own 7th Heaven. Peanut is a way cooler dog name then "Happy" though. And did you know that Matt the oldest kid became a doctor? Weird.

7th Heaven is the highest realm of Heaven in Judaism. It is synonymous to bliss and extreme happiness. That sounds awesome, doesn't it? Mom - EXTREME happiness! What could be better?

I am sure that '7', like my other three sisters, will be a gift - a sweet, well-behaved, calm gift. I love all of my siblings (this post is not meant to be boy-bashing in nature) but it's unfair to let you all go on thinking that '7' is a boy. I'm sure she's offended in the womb. Maybe that's why she never stops moving - you've upset her with your misled assumptions and male name ideas. ;)

So there you have it folks, now my mom can use the feminine tense when referring to '7' in posts for the next 27 days. She is 'she' or 'her' only. We have our secret-giving limits, you know. Names cannot be revealed until after delivery. ~Britt (Paige too)

Men At Work




Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Nut Dog and Nuts


The good news:
Nut Dog will never have a crisis pregnancy. I will never have to deal with unplanned Dingo-Mastiff puppies. She is barren. As of today her reproductive options are seriously limited. If she wants children she will need to get a homestudy done and adopt.

The bad news:
The vet charged $70 more then he quoted. The Vet and Avis ... don't use them ... AND, Peanut does not understand that the cone on her head is bigger than her head and she smacks into walls and things. She got stuck on the knob on the kitchen cabinet and seemed to not have any solution for getting unstuck. She is doing well other than that. She is the nicest dog ever. She acts like nothing changed and is not being weird about her new temporary home.

Troy made a good point on the phone tonight. In Haiti people beg for money and you feel the constant pressure of that decision. In America they just take it from you. He thinks maybe being asked is better than being taken. I concur.

Above, to the left, is the dog loving Britt during her portion of the drive. That photo was taken somewhere between Chattanooga, TN and Champaign/Urbana. To the right, Paige, Britt (and Noah) -- not having their senses assaulted by old ladies showering nude in the Junior High locker room. Cute little swimmer girls, aren't they?

I need to thank you all for not telling me I am dumb to be nervous. I appreciated the nice comments. But mostly I liked that no one said, "Oh you idiot; I have 16 kids and no husband, I live in a van down by the river and I am pregnant with triplets and you are stupid to be nervous. Get over it."

No one even said it was odd to be scared. Which is good because odd or not, I am scared. As much as I researched and googled it -- I cannot find the statistics about what percentage of babies are bad. 1 in 7 - 1 in 20 or even less??? I am not sure what the odds are. Here is hoping my lucky streak is not over.

Troy remembers Noah as being a difficult newborn. I don't. Maybe that is a good sign. Maybe I already had my one bad baby. The odds are improving.

The one fact pointed out to me that I have neglected to focus on in recent days ... God makes no mistakes.

I actually did not plan Britt. A senior in High School usually doesn't. I did not plan Paige. A divorced young mom of one usually doesn't. I truly did not plan Noah because we had two brand spanking new wonderful little Haitian Sensations and we thought we were infertile. So, this pregnancy makes four kids that I did not plan. Basically, our adoptions we planned for and actively sought ... pregnancy is something that I am incapable of planning.

Surely God knows what He is doing ... like you so kindly and gently reminded me. (You do know, don't you Lord?)

Anyway- thanks for understanding and allowing it to be vented.

Cute things said today-

Isaac- "Mooooom, Noah just called me fat!"
Me- smiling
Isaac- "I am not even pregnant!"

Isaac- "Mom, Noah is harassing me." (Had no idea he knew that word.)

Me- (ranting a bit) - "Guys, WHY do I need to get mad and raise my voice before you'll listen? Are you not capable of listening the first time I ask something?"
Isaac (answering my rhetorical question)- "Absolutely!"
(sadly, I think he is right)

Noah- (To Troy on the phone) "Hi daddy, I yove you sooo much. Is Phoebe there? Can I talk to her? Can I hear her say 'Da Da' - I miss you daddy. Are you in Haiti? Okay bye daddy." (drops phone runs to next activity before Troy can even respond)

Goodnight all.

Thursday --- HAPPY BIRTHDAY Laura Livesay!!!

I am not blogging today...

... but if I WERE going to blog, this is what it would say...

I got used to the idea of being pregnant. I did. It took time. There was some denial, a lot of denial ... but I got there. I do feel quite pregnant. I accept pregnancy.

The problem:

I have never gotten to the next step. I don't feel like we can do another baby. I feel panicked when I think about trying to add a newborn into the mix. I have enough on my plate as it is. I like sleeping at night. I like my family the way it is right now. I am scared silly for this. What if I never get to go for a run again as long as I live? I might never read a book again. What if this is a really difficult baby. I have had six nice babies, certainly statistically one in seven babies is a bad baby.

I hate watching that dumb ticker at the bottom of the blog because it just keeps shrinking. Whose idea was that anyway?

I don't know if this is normal or if I am a total head-case - both seem possible. Someday I will have to tell this child that I had zero confidence in my ability to parent him/her well.

Most pregnancies result in a baby, I know this
on some level ... I just never made the mental leap during THIS particular pregnancy. And now that it is closing in on me. I feel crazy-nervous. Not excited. Scared.

This is where I am. I would offer up apologies, but that seems silly. It just is what it is. So, that is why I am not blogging today:
the things I am thinking could lead to harsh judgement of my state of mind. It is better to leave all of this in my head and NOT let it out on the world wide web. ;-(

Fuh - reek -
ing - Out,
trpl

Silly Girls

I liked this story.

Paige and Britt walked into swim practice the other day. The pool has open lap swim for the "older" ladies and gents prior to their practice time.

Paige (who stands around talking to naked children in Haiti all the time) was totally scandalized and says to Britt under her breath, "They shower NAKED!?!?!??!?!"

Britt, being a bit more mature says, "Yeah ... that is typically the way it is done." Then as Paige continues to stir in her discomfort over the saggy old naked ladies, Britt says in Creole "Paige, ou ap gade konsa kek jou nan fitir!" which means- 'Paige, you are going to look
just like that someday!'

Paige shook her head in disbelief and walked away.

They have a way to communicate without anyone else knowing what they're saying. Creole is not so widely used in mid-Minnesota. It's a secret club.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Thank You

Telicia Pierre (also known as Madame Felius) - and I made this video for all of you who provided for her surgery through prayer and financial giving. It was a blessing and a testament of God's power for her, for the community, this mission, and our family. She is doing great, starting to walk with her walker, and hoping to be back to work soon.

Peter is interpreting for her in the video.


Thank you all so much!

First Day of School

Proud as peacocks ... these two are kind of a big deal!

Troy, the teacher is in the turquoise. They were meeting all the other kids in the lobby of the school. The class is about 20 kids, more boys than girls. Paige told Isaac to be careful about hugging or kissing strangers and that some girls might be offended if he tells them they are beautiful too often. We want him to be him ... we just don't want anyone slapping a sexual harassment suit on the poor kid. It should be interesting.
Well, I have 100 jumbled thoughts that need processing --- mainly I just don't think I know how to "do" this fast paced culture all that well anymore. This entry will jump around, following the way my thoughts are working right now ... forgive the unorganized spewing.

Hope and Isaac went to Kindergarten at 9:15. Britt and Paige went to swim practice a bit ago. I pick one group up at 3:30, the next at 4:30, plan to see the last one around 7pm after she does her own errands. It's just me and Jack-Jack and we really don't quite know how to handle all the coming and going and rushing about. Britt has her own set of wheels and that makes me nervous in and of itself. (In the photo below Isaac spotted me, he thought I had already left.) :)
Being used to having all my kids in one place, almost always with me, it is a serious adjustment watching them all head their own directions. Paige is struggling a little bit I would say, but the rest of them seem to be taking it in stride. It has only been a week, maybe this will feel pretty normal to us by next week? It's just plain ODD having such MOBILE and busy kids.

I did not cry dropping off Hope and Isaac. As we walked in the building I got teary, but I pulled it together before any liquid left my eyes. I honestly feel so unready for the baby (mentally and physically) and unready for Britt to go to college ... and since all things are relative, it was not that hard to send Hope and Isaac off -- it is smaller on my scale of concerns and hormonal issues.

Britt is job searching, she only has two classes to finish to officially meet her high-school graduation requirements. She is hearing from the four colleges she is interested in that they will offer her the final information about loans, scholarships and details by mid-October. Once she compares that information she and I will go visit her top choice and get it all nailed down. She had hoped to know sooner than that but because she starts in January she will still have close to three months of knowing where she is headed, before she actually has to head there. She will end up in Texas, Indiana, or Florida --- just a SLIGHT difference between her geographical options, it is good she has learned to be flexible. If only her mother could be so calm.

Paige thought I kind of gypped her by not mentioning this was a milestone day for her too. She is officially a Junior High student. Her books came in the mail before we got here and she is off to a good start as a 7th grader! Congratulations Paige ... here are your props. We are so proud of you honey.

After a week here ... I have many observations, random and obvious, interesting and not.
  • TV is so trashy. Some of the shows are shockingly bad. Not having TV is a nice thing.
  • News is depressing. Not knowing about weird things happening in public restrooms with US Senators is just fine with me. Too much news is not very helpful. Again, not having TV is a nice thing.
  • Advertising works on kids. Things that did not exist in their little minds just last week are suddenly necessary to them.
  • People drive fast.
  • Ankles do not swell as much in cooler environments.
  • Given the opportunity, Hope, Isaac, and Noah will all eat one pound of grapes EACH per day. I wish I were exaggerating.
  • Real milk is really good. (Except Noah still won't drink it. Haiti and Carnation ruined him.)
  • There really is something LEGITIMATE to the cold culture - warm culture thing that Britt posted back here. People move and interact in totally different ways.
  • The USA sells weird things that don't make that much sense to me. What are multicultural markers? Are the regular ROY G. BIV ones intended for only one race/ethnicity?