Friday, November 30

Live from Texas on Paige's 13th B-day

Older and wiser Paige and I are headed out for a day of fun together. We have our list of items needed before the trip home in January and we're determined to make headway. Most of the items are summer items, hopefully being in TX will make finding sandals for all the growing feet a little bit easier. She has been swimming and shopping, two of her favorite things. The temps are perfect, about 78 each day. Tonight Grandma is taking us all out for a birthday dinner.

Troy reports that yesterday was a breeze and the four little ones and Britt were all being cherubs for him. Dad is taking them to a Vikings game this weekend and Britt gets to go to a Wild hockey game. It is apparently about four degrees there. So sad we're missing that.

The other day Hope and Isaac were asked to share about Haiti in their Kindergarten class. They only have a few days of school left so the teacher wanted to give them a chance to tell their classmates about it. I asked them what they told the kids. Here are their responses.

Hope - I told them about the watermelon and the tomangos (mangos morphed with tomatoes - she cannot keep it straight) and the plantains. I told them we have a big house there.

Isaac- I told them that we live by three beaches and it is always hot there and we have a swing set.

I asked - Did you tell them anything about the kids in the feeding program or talk about how the people there live? Did you tell them that no one has electricity or running water?

Isaac- no
Hope- no

Isaac- But I did tell them that lots of the kids are naked sometimes.

I said- Oh, did the kids think that was funny or weird?

Isaac- No

I said- Oh. huh, that surprises me I wonder if they wanted to know why the kids are naked

Isaac- uh, yeah! - they KNOW mom (insert duh voice) they know the kids don't wear clothes because it is so hot. (more duh tone of voice)

It is very interesting to me how oblivious kids can be. I also think it is wonderful. They see what they want to see and for now the fruit, the beaches and the playground are all they need to see. If they don't dwell on the negative it is fine with me.

~~~~~~
Wanted:
Big old suitcases or duffel bags --- they don't need to have wheels - the lighter they are the more we can pack in them. If you have one that could easily be picked up (in twin cities) or mailed to us, please let us know. We would likely be too unorganized to get it back to you very soon so only offer things you can part with. We are happy to buy them from you.
We have 14 allowed pieces of luggage and lots of supplies to try and get back down there - we are actually looking for about 8 to 10 big bags.

Wednesday, November 28

Reporting on multiple things

2 - Cavities
0- Tears

Hope and Noah have to go back next week for their fillings. Advance Family Dental and Mom Livesay -- Thank you SO VERY much for your kindness and help. (Troy's mom holding Hope in second photo. The photo where the batteries died.)

Britt has moved into her own stage of mourning in recent days. I started crying a year ago, she waited until now. To each his own. :) She hates to think about leaving her siblings and especially feels sad that Lydie "won't know her." I know that our house in Haiti will never seem the same without Britt. We won't even pretend it is possible. BUT, I also know that God's grace is sufficient to get us through the adjustment period and it won't be too long and we'll be getting Britt from the PAP airport for her summer visit.
Jen checked baby Annie over and thinks she looks and sounds great. The miracle of what a mom does for a baby seems so much more real when you think about how sickly and ill Joceline was and how little she had in the way of food, medicine, or medical care. With all those strikes against her and living in a tiny cinder block house --- her body still protected baby Annie. It's crazy.

In other exciting news - my girl Paige is turning the big One Three 13 on Friday. How weird to have another teenager in the house. Last year I wrote about Paige's story here.

We are headed south later today and Paige will celebrate 13 at the very southern tip of Texas with her grandma Porter, her aunt Tina, and her mom. (Lydie too of course.) I talked Paige into speaking with me at Christ Harbor, the church we've been invited to share at on Sunday. I'm far from a confident public speaker, Paige does pretty well.

Troy and Britt will hold down the fort with the rest of the crew for a few days. I would expect exactly zero blog reports from them and I am guessing that Paige and I will kick back and play and not be near the computer very much either.

Tuesday, November 27

Invasion



Our best wishes go out to the good people at Advanced Family Dental. They need all the warm thoughts and patience they can get because 7 out of 9 of us are headed their way.

Troy's mom works there and has taken it upon herself to get the entire teeth-possessing portion of the family in for appointments TODAY. I believe from 2pm until closing time we will be taking over their office.

For some of us it has been a few years without a cleaning. We're hopeful that the cavity report will be nil.

A girl can hope.

Bullying - MK style

While most five and six year olds are teasing each other for predicatable things ---- like boogers or poo, mine are teasing each other about passports.
Overheard a few days ago-

Isaac- Phoebe gets to go back to Haiti with Dad. She is going first.

Hope- Yep, she does. I get to go with Mom though.

Isaac- Oh, who do I go with?

Hope- Well, you don't have a passport so you're not going.

Noah- WHAT????

Hope- Yeah Noah, you don't have one either. I guess you guys can't come.

That Hope is a beauty. She comes across like a little angel-child, soft spoken and sweet. It's all a ruse. She has a sassy mean side just like the boys. I suppose she has to in order to stay in the game with those two.
*Late edit - I must have been tired. Issac is not sassy or mean. Ever. So, I better fix that so as not to ruin his squeky clean rep. He is by far the nicest person in our family. :)

Monday, November 26

Introducing

Annie Grace
5 lbs 8 oz
18" long
Beth says Annie is doing well. Mom is doing fairly well too, still in the hospital. Thanks for praying for them both. We continue to pray for protection for them both and for Annie to grow big and strong so she can keep up with her big trucker cousin Phoebe. :) This is more confusing than Isaac can really grasp right now, so for now he just knows that he is related to this baby and that she will be a part of his family. Congrats Tina & Matt!

photos from thanksgiving day

Above, Dad & Mom and their Grandkid Posse. Below, The Cleary Family -Matt, Tina, Aidan and Porter

Continued Prayers for Joceline

Isaac's sweet little birthmother had her baby girl in Haiti last night. This is her 8th child.


She is in the hospital now and getting IV for dehydration. Please be praying for her and the baby today.

Joceline still wishes to place this baby for adoption. (Back story is available by clicking the link in the first sentence of this post.) Lord willing, Tina and Matt will adopt her. The baby would then not only be Ike's biological sister ... but his cousin by adoption!


We're hoping to introduce you to our newest family member soon.

Sunday, November 25

What happens when Isaac is unsupervised and gets his hands on a camera - a small sampling




Photos are property of Isaac Livesay, Copyright 2007

When Children Pray ...

I usually cope with hard times by being sarcastic and making a joke of it all.

Yesterday was one of the most difficult days in my long and distinguished parenting career. By the end of the day I had three sick: Isaac,Noah, Phoebe. The night before I slept exactly 17 minutes between Noah's frequent vomiting and Lydia's frequent eating.

This morning I sat in a quiet spot waiting for the troops to wake up. Hope came out first, she said her throat hurts but she is still okay. Isaac appeared next with a joyous annoucement. He said, "Mama, I slept so much and my sickness is gone!" Then Noah came out, he was crying and he said, "I'm sad - I am still sick." (He looks terrible, judging from his appearance I would say he is diagnosing himself correctly.)

Hope said, "Oh Noah, I want to pray for you." She came over and set her hand on his back and prayed the sweetest prayer I have ever heard. I won't ever forget it.

She totally blessed me . Today is a new day. May God grant the sweet prayers of a child and may this family be healthy soon. Amen.

Saturday, November 24

More Tunes

While I would really enjoy delighting you with detailed descriptions of all of the vomit I've cleaned up in the last 48 hours, I'm making a conscious (and kind) decision to spare you. Suffice it to say that I've found it necessary to hold a mirror under my nostrils to see if somehow someone vomited inside my nose. It's that bad.

Maybe you're bored with the songs, the lyrics, the things we do when we have nothing spiritually insightful or remotely wise or interesting to say. If so, sorry - becauses today we're serving more of that. Troy listens to this song and says things about the amazing "production value" --- I listen to it and think, 'how can a person come up with such crazy-good lyrics?'

I love the "I see" part, the references to Nate Saint and Mother Teresa and all the others are so good. I'm astonished by her song-writing talent.

We'll find you again when the vomiting ends and the mighty hunter returns , until then please enjoy the song ... or at least give it a chance. :)

~Tara (for the hunter, the pukers and the rest of the tribe)




When The Saints
by Sara Groves

lord i have a heavy burden of all i've seen and know
it's more than i can handle
but your word is burning like a fire shut up in my bones
and i can’t let it go

and when i'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought


i think of paul and silas in the prison yard
i hear their song of freedom rising to the stars

and when the Saints go marching in
i want to be one of them


lord it's all that i can't carry and cannot leave behind
it all can overwhelm me
but when i think of all who've gone before and lived a faithful life
their courage compels me

and when i'm weary and overwrought
with so many battles left unfought


i think of Paul and Silas in the prison yard
i hear their song of freedom rising to the stars
i see the shepherd moses in the pharaohs court
i hear his call for freedom for the people of the Lord

chorus x2


i see the long quiet walk along the underground railroad
i see the slave awakening to the value of her soul
i see the young missionary and the angry spear
i see his family returning with no trace of fear
i see the long hard shadows of Calcutta nights
i see the sister standing by the dying man’s side
i see the young girl huddled on the brothel floor
i see the man with a passion come kicking down that door

i see the man of sorrow and his long troubled road
i see the world on his shoulders and my easy load


chorus

Friday, November 23

Friday Fun



The two lovely ladies are gone. They set the alarm for 4am to get up and go shopping. Neither of them have anything they want to buy. They just wanted to see what all the hype is about. We've never gotten into the whole day after Thanksgiving shopping thing. Paige envisioned running into the store when the doors opened at 5am ... Like some sort of competition. She wondered if she would need to push old ladies and small children out of her way to get to the deals. I think they're both a little nuts but they have been planning this day for weeks. As excited as Paige was, I am hoping the early morning wake-up does not lead to short tempers and sisterly snapping/fighting in the late morning.

Troy is in Nebraska with Dad and Matt. Dad has taken the guys on a two day hunting trip. They are all giddy and excited to walk around in the cold for hours and shoot at birds.

I will have none of any of that nonsense. I am staying home and working my magic in the laundry room.

Happy Friday after Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 22

Don't assume a conspiracy when incompetence explains it all

Many moons ago (in May of this year) a fellow missionary asked about shipping something to my parents house. The idea was that when my Mom came to Haiti to see us in June, she would hand-carry it to Haiti for him - she would arrive in Haiti BEFORE the wife's birthday and the husband would then come to Lifeline to get the gift. Oh it was a beautiful plan.

He was VERY excited because this was a surprise for his wife. When a man takes time to think ahead and get a gift to a country with no mail system in time for his wife's birthday ... well --- come on -- that is nothing short of amazing. That man deserves a medal.

A day or two before Mom was to come down, the husband checked on the package. I in-turn wrote to check on the package. The news was not good. I told the husband, "I'm sorry, it never showed up at their house." I then emailed the parental unit AGAIN (and again) and asked "ANYTHING???" They assured me no such box ever arrived at their home. They called their mail carrier, they did what I asked --- but they stuck to the story ... NO BOX arrived here FOR YOU Tara!!! Sorry.

I had to tell the above-average-birthday-planning husband that it appeared his gift had been stolen from the mailbox because no one had seen it. It was a sad day. I felt bad. The husband felt disappointed. The wife learned that her husband had attempted to give her a super-great gift on time ... but that a thief in suburban Minnesota had ruined it. She even blogged about it here.

We all threw up our hands in frustration, complained about life being unfair, and moved on without the excellent and expensive birthday gift.

Today, fully six months later, I sat at my mom's dining room table working on some paperwork when she came down the stairs and said, "Look at this box I just found - it is unopened - I was looking for ink for my printer and found it --- What is this?"



I am pretty sure my jaw dropped to the floor.

That super-duper-good-planning husband took a wrong turn when he brought R & C Porter into the equation.

I would love to explain to the husband and wife WHAT IN THE HECK went wrong. I have spent considerable time trying to decide when the train left the track ... and I've got nothing. No one remembers it coming to the house, no one remembers moving it up to Mom's office where she found it tonight, no one remembers putting it into her storage cabinet behind her desk.

It should be no mystery to me why I feel crazy unorganized. I am the off-spring of people who don't remember things - really basic things. I come from people who can receive a package, carry it into their home, put it in a cabinet, and then have zero recollection of having done so. I am doomed.
`
To C. Rolling-
On May 18 your package arrived in Big Lake, MN. Since that time it has been sitting in a dark corner cabinet untouched. My entire family sits on a throne of lies. What can I say? I love them in spite of their Alzheimer's.

We're all going on record as incompetent package receiving agents. I am guilty by association.

I do not know if you bought your bride a new Ipod or not. I am awaiting your instruction to know what to do with it. Bring it back to Haiti on Jan 1? Ship it to someone responsible? Sell it and pay you back for it?

Let me know before I, or they, have a chance to lose it.

Credits-
Blog Title - a Quote - John Goodman

Wednesday Night's Haitian Babes Reunion


(Above L to R) Hope, Phoebe, Bekiana, Nadia - Bekiana was adopted from GLA and Nadia from COTP

Below is the beautiful Thimjon family - MN friends AND the winners of the Las Vegas contest - proud, excited owners of the new Sara Groves CD. Well, Nadia is not really all that excited.


The fabulous Vik Family- Troy's best friend from High School, Nikki also went to school with Troy, some of our very closest friends -- with their two kids Bekiana and Gabriel

We enjoyed a fun evening at the Vik's house. We brought a reduced group of kids that allowed for chit-chat and some catching up.


Second proud winner of CD - "Polly" from Missouri

Wednesday, November 21

Thanksgiving Greetings from our littlest Pilgrim


We're thankful for each one of you. We're thankful for our family. We're thankful for our friends.
We're thankful for our many, many blessings. We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

With much love from our family,
T & T and Tribe

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Tuesday, November 20

Happy Thanksgiving from a couple of turkeys



These two turkeys were asked a few questions at school today. Their teacher recorded the answers.

Q. How do you cook a turkey?

Ike- First we get the turkey from the store. We bring it home and cook it in the oven on hot for 7 minutes. We also have chicken with the turkey. We eat our Thanksgiving dinner at the table.

Hope- First you go to the store to get it. Then you put it in the oven at 18 degrees for half an hour.

Q. What are you thankful for?

Hope- For birthdays.

Ike- I am thankful that we have Thanksgiving.

And no, we don't have chicken with our Turkey. The problem is, the boy does not know the difference between the two. Hope got sick in the cafeteria during lunch today. I asked her, "Where did you throw up?" She said, "In my hands, I did not want to get it on the floor."

She seems totally better right now. :) I have her training all the other kids to catch their vomit in their own hands. She's proof that it can be done! Puking in your hands also creates less laundry. (If we're eating turkey cooked somewhere between 7 and 30 minutes we might want to be ready to catch some vomit.)

A post with no true point

Recently my friend wrote me an email with the subject line "A woman on the edge." She expressed concern for me and wondered if her visit to our house the night before had been too much. I assured her it had little to do with her visit and more to do with not enough sleep and my undying and constant urge to be "caught up."

Some people are motivated by money. Some by power. Others enjoy a pat on the back and are motivated by the praise and thanks of others. I am motivated by a finished job. What that means: I do not feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction unless I FINISH something. I can start and finish a run. That feels really good. I can start and finish a book ... Like that too. Sometimes I start and finish an entire French Silk Pie. That feels less good.

Here is my issue today: I can NO LONGER start and finish cleaning. I can no longer start and finish laundry. There is no satisfaction day to day in my position here as chief executive officer of all things dirty and smelly. It won't ever be done. The minute the last load gets folded -- BAM, Noah spills sticky juice all over or Lydie spits up. More laundry. More cleaning. No satisfaction can be found in a finished job -- when in fact it cannot be finished! I am focusing all of my frustration and rage at Eve. Had she just stayed away from that ONE tree, we would all be naked and I would not be in this maddening situation. She'll hear from me personally one day.

Yesterday I went for my six week post baby checkup. I knew I was fine and thought about cancelling, but it occurred to me that leaving for a few hours with only LB would be fun. Or so I thought. First, the ladies in the lab brought up Britt leaving for school and asked how I was doing with that. We found out - not so well - in that moment anyway. I love to get together with virtual strangers who draw blood and test urine and weep with them. Good times.

After the cry-fest with the lab ladies we went to the lobby of the medical building to fill Lyd's belly with milk, which would insure us against a fussy baby on our stop into the grocery store.

As I walked aimlessly around Super Target deciding that I still don't want to look at clothes, I broke into a terrible sweat. I felt faint and totally weird. I decided I'd better grab my groceries and get the heck out. The spins got worse and I was actually wiping sweat off my face. I grabbed some beef jerky to see if eating would help. About that time Lydie started wailing. Not soft, newborn baby crying, but loud, I am so ticked off wailing. I rushed around grabbing things we needed and shoving jerky in my mouth. When I got to the counter and unloaded stuff on the belt I looked up to see that I had chosen the slowest moving Target employee of all time. Blind and with no training what-so-ever I could have rung the items faster than her.

Lydie screamed through the entire painfully slow check-out process while people all around us shook their heads and whispered. The crying was loud and persistent enough for a large handful of onlookers to begin to fidget in annoyance. One mom said to her children when they asked what was wrong with that baby, "Maybe the baby is hungry and wants to be fed." At that point I felt just about defensive enough to say, "UH- YEAH - I DID THAT!" I'm not Britney Spears. Thanks for the stellar advice though. We paid the slowest cashier in history and assured her that now was not the time to open a Target account and we sprinted to the truck so little Miss Piggy could eat. I still don't know what the deal was with the profuse sweating episode, accompanied by the spins. It was very weird.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The plan for returning this tribe to Haiti is coming together. You can feel free to begin to pray for a unseasonably warm Minnesota New Year's Day. Troy and Phoebe leave that day, and if we're lucky the dog will go with them. American Airlines tells me I need to bring Peanut the large, needy dog and cross my fingers. They say if it is not "too cold" the dog will be allowed to go with Troy. The lady I spoke with could not tell me what exactly "too cold" would be for a Mastiff. There are rules for certain dogs, but Mastiffs were not on the list. Bringing that dog to America may prove to be one of the stupidest things we've ever done ... and that is no short list.

The second wave of Livesays will leave on the 8th, flying with that wave will be Tess and 'Dokte' Jen. After that the last of us will get Britt settled down in Waco and we'll head to Haiti from Dallas on the 14th. It feels a bit imprudent to be booking every last ticket without knowing what the deal is with the house, but the other options all stink - so imprudence won out. Your follow up question might be, 'But what if no one has rented or purchased your house - how will the payment be made?' And the answer to that would be: We'll all find out together - an adventure of sorts. Won't it be fun?

And now, in closing ... a sales pitch. Available for sale, most any household item you could ever want. Name it. Are you redecorating? We have LOTS of themed decorating items. If you want more information on either our fishing stuff OR our Ski-Lodge/warming house stuff - shoot us an email. We're also selling some furniture at excellent prices. Photos available of most items.

All proceeds will be used to pay for my pre-college move grief counseling and Peanut's ticket back to Haiti.

Monday, November 19

Which one of these is doing his own thing?

Photo taken yesterday as we left to go to church.
Lydia Beth and Phoebe Joy were dedicated to the Lord yesterday. Our Pastor prayed a beautiful prayer for them and reminded us what miracles both of these baby girls are. Lately, in the thick of things, we've forgetten to reflect on how very cool their stories are.
God writes the very best stories!
Noah tried to stress us out numerous times, before, during and after the service, but we remained cool as cucumbers in spite of his very best efforts.
Score one for the parents.

Props from the Prez

Happy National Adoption Day.

Adoptive parents, GO HERE for some love and encouragement from George and Laura.

Sunday, November 18

Upside down & Backward

As a general rule we do things the stupid way. We like to be an example to the masses of how NOT to do things.

In the past, we made totally stupid large purchases, dumb financial choices, and used questionable judgment when prioritizing what we did when we had a little extra cash. Let us just say that we had a few fun vacations back in the day. Oh, and we owned some pretty dumb vehicles. The vehicles alone are an entire post. Stupid stupid stupid. The upside down part of the title comes in here.

All of this is just to say, it sort of figures that we have done the moving away thing backwards too. Most people enter the mission field after selling all their stuff and unloading their mortgage debt. They take the huge leap of faith. We went another route and were cautious (read: chicken) by keeping all our crap and renting out our house with all our stuff stored in it.

We speculated that we could make it a year in Haiti and even if it was awful we'd have a house to come back to after we fell flat on our faces.

Then God went and confused us with how exciting it was to work and live in Haiti and how fun it was to learn more about pressing in and seeing Him work. Now that we've established that we can survive in a culture that totally perplexes us, we are left with a house filled with belongings to unload ... and we're grieving the "stuff" two years after moving away from it all. Dumb? Yes. I think it is dumb and backward.

Troy and I did a fairly odd little marriage communication dance over the last three months. I kept asking what he thought about the house and he kept sort of ignoring my need to make a decision because he had no desire to sell. He makes decisions with indecision sometimes. Thankfully, I am a submissive wife, so patient and kind that I just quietly wait on him-- forever and ever and ever and ever - if need be. cough. cough.

SO, for weeks it was listed as a rental only. In those weeks no truly interested renters were found. Just last week we finally made the leap to put it on the market. We both came to the place of letting go and agreed that it is God's house (well, and the bank's house) and we need not hold on to it for the sake of comfort or a safety-net. Today, a renter called interested and instead of being excited, we're thinking, "a renter? we want to sell this place!" Troy speculated that maybe God just wants us to be willing to let the house and stuff go and now that we are He won't actually have us do that. WHAT??? Uh-uh. No sir.

Lord God, please ... I am half insane already ... don't mess with my head. I'm serious, go ahead and sell the house. Don't further confuse me.

We're anxiously waiting to see how God will resolve the whole house dilemma. We're also conscious of the fact that this is the sort of dilemma two-thirds of the world would LOVE to have. We own a home. Most people worldwide live in make shift "homes" that don't offer them any sort of financial safety or investment opportunity. Sometimes it takes considering those facts in order to gauge how easy our problems are and how truly blessed we really are.

Saturday, November 17

Family Pics


Today we went to our friends house. Tom and Mary raise Emu (not sure on the plural of Emu - Emi?) The kids got to see the birds and the horses. We brought the entire family and once again questioned why we ever do that. Slow slow learners. Phoebe and Noah should have been voted off the traveling team today.



Trip Photos

A view of Lake Mead - Britt, the hat choice was for you. Hair unwashed, still looking not that nasty.
They are building a road - it will cross the river at the Hoover Dam - to us the road construction was every bit as amazing as the Hoover Dam itself.
This is John/Jack and Jess at Red Rock Canyon. They are the sugar daddies that brought us to Vegas. Thanks guys!
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Friday, November 16

digging out

Let it be known ...

When you leave for vacation and leave your troubles behind, they do not go away. They wait for you to come back. They laugh in your face. They scoff and they mock.

If you have emailed (as long as October 27th ago) I do have an intention to write back and answer your question. If it is really important and your answer is needed NOW -- just tell me to answer you NOW.

If you gave us a wonderful baby gift, we are not ungrateful ... just unorganized. We want to thank you, we intend to thank you --- but it just is not happening very quickly. Sigh.

If it makes you feel any better, you are not the only things being neglected. My hair is still mostly unwashed and under a baseball cap. I'm hoping to build in time for a shower prior to the dedication service at church on Sunday. I found my oatmeal from 8 this morning in the microwave tonight at 9pm. I am neglecting many things, including the most important meal of the day.

Lydia slept TWO ... count them, TWO three hour intervals last night. Add that up people, that is SIX hours of sleep split into only TWO parts. If you were praying for longer sleep, please get more specific. Please request one six hour and one four hour interval with one twenty minute feeding in the middle. That way I could get other things done and sleep. Maybe then you would get your thank-you note for the gift you gave us two months ago.

more digging to do before bed, must go.

Home


An independent accounting firm was brought in, they conducted a drawing for the second CD. The name drawn was blogger name, POLLY. Please email us your mailing address so we can send out your prize. TL7inHaiti@yahoo.com Congratulations! To the left you'll find a photo of our goony friend Luke. We met Luke in Haiti, we loved him from the moment we met him and he entertains us a lot. We're anxious for the day he moves his family to Haiti so we can get together and pick on him. This photo shows his initial reaction when he heard he won't be receiving a Sara Groves CD. Thankfully most of our readers handle loss much better than Luke.

We were in the airport and the air much of the day, we came home to many nice comments ... and we appreciate that. We don't want it to become a "bash the offended" event at all --- not our intention. It is true that different things will offend different people -- and it is never our plan to upset anyone. Sometimes it happens anyway. The main thing is; we want "our story" to be about an amazing God who does amazing things with regular people with regular sin issues. He gets the glory because He makes all things good. He wore the chains so we could be free.

We enjoyed chatting with a lady on the airplane who absolutely refused to believe we have 7 kids. She asked if Lydia was our first. When Troy said, "No, seventh," she got all nutty and animated ... even turned around to tell her friend what the silly man was saying. In the end she seemed convinced that the story was true because as she got up to exit the plane she said, "I will be praying for you." And we didn't even tell her all that much about Noah.

Regarding the alternate contest, none of our family or bridal party remember anything about our wedding. It bored them to tears or something. ;-) It's okay though, it just means one less prize to send. The passage that Britt read, 1 John 3 - we won't be sending any of the whiners (that we love VERY much) a CD.

Friday we are moving a bunch of stuff out of the house to a storage locker. Saturday we are making some rounds visiting people we have not had an opportunity to see since we returned. Sunday both of our baby girls will be dedicated at church, we're pretty happy that it worked out to have them dedicated while we're here and surrounded by our home church family. We're happy Phoebe is here with us to BE dedicated.

You Did That For Me

by Sara Groves

I don't have to cry anymore • I don't have to worry about what's in store • I've walked that road exhausted and poor • I don't have to cry anymore • • And I don't have to know it all • I don't have to be so proud and stand so tall • I climbed that mountain only to fall • I don't have to know it all • • You did that for me • Oh, you did that for me • You wore the chains so I could be free • Yeah, yeah • You did that for me • • And I don't have to be ashamed • Hang my head or shoulder the blame • Wondering if my life's been in vain • I don't have to be ashamed • • Oh, you did that for me • Oh, you did that for me • You wore the chains so I could be free • Yeah, yeah • You did that for me • • Man of sorrows • Well acquainted with grief • Drug down to the city dump • Spread eagle on a cross beam • Propped up like a scarecrow • Nailed like a thief • There for all the world to see • • You wore the chains so I could be free • Yeah, yeah • Oh Lord, you did that for me • Oh Lord, you did that for me, You wore the chains so I could be free •

Thursday, November 15

not intended to offend

We're flying home in a bit. We're anxious to see our kids. We will get all our talking in on the flight, as we know that the constant noise at home allows for little of that. Sometimes, if things get really noisy, we just instant message from one side of the room to the other. Communication takes on a whole new meaning when raising a bunch of rowdies.

I have been trying to figure out how to write about this ... without sounding defensive or annoyed. I don't think it will work, so forgive me if there is any hint of either of those things. This is an attempt to clarify.

Recently we learned that this post offended someone. They disliked my honest use of a word that described how upset I was. A complaint was lodged about it - we heard about it later when it made its way back to us.

We sort of toss off the traditional title of "missionary," in that we are not willing to be placed on a pedestal or be considered spiritually superior or holy. Sometimes missionaries are like that. But not us. We desire to grow, we're in process. We want to be who we are and we want to share our true feelings. We would really love to say that life is all sunshine and roses and it would be great if we could truly tell you that our lives are perfect and we are not big sinners and we never mess up or get angry. But that is just one honkin lie. I write most of the blog, Troy writes occasionally. I tend to be the sassier of the two of us, and I also have a bit more of a temper. I struggle personally with always using good language. I admit, when angry or hurt, a cuss word will escape my lips. I don't think it is good, but it is true. I'm trying to do better, sometimes it works.
`
We never know what will offend someone and what is acceptable. Our commitment is to tell the truth about where we are, the truth about the awesome and forgiving God we serve ... who loves us in our messy grime, and to not try to be someone that we're not. We're just writing as if we were talking to you. Just being us. It is important to note that while we serve with Children's International Lifeline, technically as self-supported or non-salaried "employees" of the ministry, what we say and how we relate and our opinions may or may not match up with their position.

Lifeline is a ministry that has been doing some super cool things in Haiti for many years ... with various missionaries throughout those years, and as with all things of this nature ---- it is God working through people --- it is not the people making things happen - it is THE GOD making things happen. God has to work a lot harder when He works through us.
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We are two average people, raising an average group of kids, sharing normal emotions and thoughts. We like to laugh, we like to tease, we enjoy sarcasm. In addition to the goofy things, we hope that what you see when you read this blog, is our sincere desire to trust God, to love Him, and to experience all that He has for us as He leads us along a path that is revealed to us only bit by bit. Please don't be offended by us being us. The Lord will deal with us on all of that.

We appreciate that you read. We're never out to offend.

You're all winners in our book!

Contest Over.
The effort shown was impressive. We've decided to give the people who guessed it right FIRST a Sara Groves CD AND then there will be a drawing for a second CD for all of the rest of you who got it right. The Thimjon's of Minnesota were the first to get it. We will throw the other names in a hat on Thursday night and let you know who wins the second CD.

Our friends asked us about going to Vegas back in July or August. At that point we were very hot, hungry for good food, and pregnant. Initially I believe Troy said something like, "Vegas? We cannot go to Las Vegas ... Sin City? People won't dig that at all!" Then they offered us their frequent flier miles and the hotel and BAM, all of our reservations about being judged went out the window. Free trip? Heck yeah. Judge if you must. ;-)
`
In the end we decided not to worry about anyone assuming we would be gambling their support away. For the record, we are totally perplexed by gambling and more than anything, Vegas is kind of sad and empty. What can be uplifting about people sitting in front of slot machines night after night losing their retirement, savings, and their pride? I just don't get gambling. I see no upside.
`
We did get to go to Red Rock Canyon, The Hoover Dam (former president clue), and on a tour of a chocolate factory. We spent lots of time people watching (this is -after all -where trailer meets glamour) and looking at amazingly designed hotels and shopping malls. It's very much the anti-Haiti. We kept wondering what Tipap would do if he saw what we were seeing. The lights (with round the clock electricity!) alone would blow his mind.
`
In addition to all of that we ate a lot; sometimes at buffets. (Vegas is all about gluttony ... why not have a buffet available on every corner?) Troy and Jack and Jess watched a huge hotel get blown up, Lydia and I are far too sensible for that. We slept. There was also a Vince Vaughn sighting, with photos to prove it. We slept in every day. That was my favorite part.
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The contest was fun ... we were entertained by it anyway. I (Tara) am from Omaha, Nebraska ... born and partly raised there. I liked those guesses. Mrs. Incredible, Corey, you win the prize for worst guesses. We'll send you a certificate or something.
`
We have some really cool photos of Hoover Dam and this amazing road they are building -- but we need a faster connection to load multiple photos, so we'll get those posted later.

Bringing Lydie B. to Vegas ... it was interesting. It was sort of taking the "Vegas Baby!" thing very literally. She was so good, but of course drew lots of attention. My favorite thing was when Troy started being smart about it when people asked about her. After they asked how old she was, he would offer a dead-pan response of, "six weeks - she's a big gambler." Her troubled look in this photo pretty much sums up her thoughts about sin city.

Troy is thinking about gathering a group of investors to buy property and build the first missions-based casino. The money spent in one of these unbelievable hotels could stamp out hunger and poverty in no time.

Wednesday, November 14

Alternate Contest

Nine fun-filled, adventure packed years ago I married a super-kind, very giving and all around wonderful guy... Easily one of the happiest days of my life. God has been gracious to me and has blessed me in many ways; Troy Livesay is just one way He's done that. I am thankful!

Whiners Contest - (for those who knew where we were on our trip and could not play)

What Bible passage did the then 8 year old Britt read at our wedding ceremony nine years ago tonight?


Anyone who gets the correct book and chapter will be entered into a drawing for the CD. Contest closes at the same time as the other contest. (10am Central on Thursday)
Today we met up with my Uncle and Aunt. They came to get us from our hotel and we went to their house for brunch and then they took us for a tour of a local tourist spot. We had a fun time visiting with them and catching up on their kids and grand kids.

We ate at The Cheesecake Factory last night. We had never been to one. I got the best piece of cheesecake ever created (White chocolate Carmel latte) and ate two bites at each of Lydie's feedings throughout the night. It's not exactly a recommended technique for losing the last ten pounds of baby weight ... but it was yummy.

We've got one full day left of enjoying only 1/7th of our responsibilities and we're hoping to make the most of it.

Monday, November 12

Real Prize Contest

THE CONTEST- *see end time

Our friends Jack and Jess gave us a gift of a trip, they invited us to get away with them. We are on our four day getaway together with J and J and Lydia.

Guess where we are.

No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. You must be 18 years of age at the time of entry with a U.S. or Canada mailing address. To enter you must leave a comment with a way to identify you so we can notify you if you win. Sponsor assumes no responsibility for entries it is unable to process due to inadequate information .One entry per person. Children, relatives, and close friends of the Contest Sponsor, or any of their affiliates are ineligible. If more than one correct entry is received a random drawing will be held. Entries will be received until 12:00 am, CST on Thursday, November 15, 2007. All completed entries become the property of the Livesay Haiti Weblog. Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel, terminate or modify this promotion if not capable of completion as planned. Winner will be notified via blog announcement and the prize will be delivered on or about November 22, 2007. Odds of winning depends upon number of eligible entries received. Except where prohibited by law: entry constitutes permission to use winner’s name, hometown, voice, likeness, photograph and any statements regarding this sweepstakes for editorial, public relations, promotional and advertising purposes. Entrants understand that Sponsor is not liable for injuries, losses, or damages of any kind arising from participation in this promotion and acceptance, possession, and use of prize.

THE PRIZE- Sara Groves new CD

Inspired by people around the world enduring incredible hardship and those who minister to them, Sara offers this artistically compelling and emotionally charged album. Her insightful view of the Christian experience is expressed in songs like "You Are Wonderful," "Childhood," "When the Saints," "Honesty," "Song for My Sons," "The Long Defeat," "Love Is Still a Worthy Cause," "Abstraction," and more.

Sara Groves is along the same lines as Sarah McLachlan, if you dislike this style of music you've just won a Christmas gift to give away to someone who does.

Entries will be moderated/posted as quickly as vacationing will allow. One clue will be given per day.

Day One Clue: Western Hemisphere Day One BONUS Clue: USA Day Two Clue: West of Minneapolis/St. Paul Day Three Clue: Buffet Final Clue: Not a premiere vacation destination for babies.

Answer revealed Thursday morning.

Friday, November 9

The Long Defeat

Finally ... a way to describe the "place we are in" when it comes to the whole Haiti vs. America question.

The Long Defeat is a Sara Groves song and when we first heard it a few years ago we were all: "YES YES ... this explains it!!!"

An Internet friend wrote and said she honestly wondered if we would get back to America for our furlough and maybe change our minds about returning to Haiti. I appreciated her honesty and the question. WE also wondered if being here would confuse us and make us long to be back in the States on a permanent basis.

At lunch last Sunday my Uncle asked us if Haiti is home ... if we saw ourselves as lifers. I burst into tears, not because his question was bad, but because it is so hard to explain the place we're in when it comes to Haiti. I think I said something like, "Yes, I see myself in Haiti and yes it very much feels like home." I followed that up with, "and I hate feeling that way."

I do hate feeling that way because it is not sensible to feel that way. So much of what we do in Haiti feels futile. Why love a place where you feel like you're treading water and never getting anywhere? Why choose that place over being where your family and close friends are?

It takes someone much more poetic than I to explain this whole conundrum - loving a place that often drives you nuts. I know we're weird to some of our friends and family. I have experienced that people even take it personally sometimes that we choose to live so far from them. I understand it making no sense to you because it makes very little sense to me. I don't know what God is doing. I don't know how long He'll do what He's doing.  I just know that I am good with the long defeat. 




I have joined the long defeat
That falling set in motion
And all my strength and energy
Are raindrops in the ocean

So conditioned for the win
To share in victor's stories
But in the place of ambition's din
I have heard of other glories

And i pray for an idea
And a way i cannot see
It's too heavy to carry
And impossible to leave

I can't just fight when i think i'll win
That's the end of all belief
And nothing has provoked it more
Than a possible defeat

chorus

We walk a while we sit and rest
We lay it on the altar
I won't pretend to know what's next
But what i have i've offered

And i pray for a vision
And a way i cannot see
It's too heavy to carry
And impossible to leave

And i pray for inspiration
And a way i cannot see
It's too heavy to carry
And impossible to leave
It's too heavy to carry
And i will never leave

Some of the girls ...


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Excitement All Around


It's hard to tell in this photo from this morning, but it is snowing a little bit in MN. This is THRILLING to Hope, Isaac and Noah. They haven't seen snow in almost two years and they're going to make sure everyone knows how wonderful and beautiful the snow is. They left for school in big winter coats for the first time this fall.

There is a decent sized pond in the backyard. Isaac said, "It is frozed and I can go skate on it now!!!!"

We immediately launched into the lecture on how dangerous it would be to go out on the ice right now ... we tossed around words like death and drowning that would scare them from attempting it. The lecture was serious and heavy. At the completion we hoped to get some sort of acknowledgement or sense that we'd successfully scared the crud out of them. Isaac and Hope looked at us wide eyed and nodded in somber understanding. Aahhh the sweet satisfaction of a lecture well receieved ... our satisfaction was short-lived.
(Prince) Noah on the other hand angrily said, "Aaawww, WHAT? Isaac knows how to skate? No fair!! I don't know how to skate!" (Throws himself on the floor to pout.)

We expect to see him falling through the pond by mid-day.

~~~~~~~~~~

All the big-time bloggers do these crazy give-aways ... true prizes, not just the crud we offer up, such as winning a "Kennedy" post (examples of Kennedys here and here) or winning a week taking care of our kids. Real prizes. I am attempting to come up with a contest that will offer a real prize ... I am competitive and I don't want these big-time bloggers to have any unfair advantage. (Thinking I might know where Noah gets his attitude about unfair things.)

As soon as I come up with the fabulous prize, we will enter into our first real contest. Let the excitement build.

Happy Friday.

Thursday, November 8

Lydia Beth Five Weeks


Dear Sleep Deprivation,

You will not get the best of me. You will not.

You may win a round or two, you may cause my mind to be fuzzy, and my patience to be short, but you will ultimately be defeated.

So what if you caused me to miss helping Isaac get his Kindergarten project turned in on the due date. So what if I have not corrected six of Paige's writing assignments. So what if I did not remember to bring Britt her work clothes even though I set them in a place where I would trip over them as I left to meet her. So what if I used a tube of lotion on my toothbrush this morning. So what.

You have won a battle. I will win the war.

Game On,
Tara
Cell phone located ... found inside of adult shoe in a closet. Phoebe takes the rap.

Wednesday, November 7

video
HELP! Our cell phone has gone missing. Gone. If you're trying to reach us on it, we suggest another method. It was here this morning. It is not here now. We're blaming Phoebe but have no proof.

Weird Things - Weird People

Last Wednesday night Troy had all the kids over at my Mom's house. I was gone with Britt. The only person home was my brother in law, Matt. The doorbell rang. Matt answered it. The lady at the door said:

"Hi, I am from the gray house (points to house) and I just wanted to bring this over for the kids from the Continent. They know who I am. Tell them they can take it back to the Continent to share with their friends."

She left a bunch of candy for them, turned and headed back to her house for another glass of whiskey.

"The kids from the Continent?" I am trying to get Isaac to tell me how this lady knows him or why she thinks he lives in Africa ... but so far it is a mystery.


~~~~~~~~~
The next weird thing is our kid. After Britt's party Noah went home with my cousin Shey and her family. They pointed out that Noah has a British accent. We thought about it and said, yeah, he does say some words funny. Well, something happened to him while he was over there. EVERYTHING he says sounds British now. It's like you're talking to the Queen and not Noah. I found this explanation. Apparently the boy has suffered a stroke. It is SO WEIRD. The way he speaks has changed dramatically over the last few weeks. We all walk around mocking him ... which is the way we show love. A kid from MN that lives in Haiti that has an British accent. How odd can he be?
~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last night we had total control of our children. Sure, it was because we took only three of our children and went to dinner at our Pastor's house, but we still had control. Paige, Isaac, and Lydia were voted on the "go to Pastor Rich and Karen's house" team. We agreed that it was an odd division, not one we had tried previously ... but definitely a winning combination. Sometimes divide and conquer means leaving a lot of people home. We talked, enjoyed a yummy meal and had a chance to update the Mission committee from our church. Thanks Brittany for taking care of the British boy and Phoebe and Hope!
~~~~~~~~~~~
This week we have the last two swim meets for Britter. We'll meet with the Realtor to figure out how to aggressively price our home to sell and decide about all of that. We're taking photos of a bunch of furniture to put on Craigs list. (Email us if you're looking for gently used furniture.) AND THEN, early next week, Troy and Lydie B. and I are taking off for a few days. Some friends blessed us with a trip, they booked us on their frequent flier miles and we're going away with them for a few days. The trip happens to fall on our 9th wedding anniversary. Now that the big boy says that the bugs are almost all dead, we may even sleep in the same bed ... a bold move for sure.

Tuesday, November 6

This Post has no Title

Question:
To all families with many little kids, do you EVER feel like things are in control? Just be real with me. How many years did it take to feel controlled? Are we talking a year, or five? Is it even possible ever again?

I saw a photo from this weekend where I appear to be 55 instead of 35 and now I realize that the sleep deprivation is catching up with me. Lydia is on the eat every two hours plan ... we're desperately in need of a new plan. We'll sit down and go over a new plan with her sometime this afternoon. I'm proposing every four hours during night hours.

We're shopping for a few items on-line to get onto the sea container that will ship to Haiti on December 15. We found a Craigs List crib for super cheap and are looking for a dresser or two. You can buy dressers in Haiti, if you're not picky about wanting the drawers to slide open you'll be thrilled with the purchase. In the past we've used Rubbermaid bins for dressers, but now that the numbers are getting out of control I think a dresser might help keep things more organized. Wishful thinking maybe?

If you've been reading for awhile you know that Isaac's birthmother is due to have a baby on December 9th. (Basically anytime now.) That baby girl would then be adopted by Tina and Matt. (Sister and BIL) The word from Haiti is that the birthmom is not very healthy. She is pretty weak and anemic, even with the efforts to get some vitamins and iron into her. If anything happens to her she leaves six kids without a mom. Please pray for her health and the health of the unborn baby. Pray for Beth McHoul who is really our only contact with the birthmom right now, she is tracking the pregnancy and will be the one to help the birthmom when it comes time to deliver.

Troy is on roids now. Not only is he bulky and so much stronger, he is also getting some relief from itching thanks to the steroids. The Michigan folks brought him this cake this weekend, it is a mite cake. A larger, edible version of his friends living beneath the skin. Having fun at the expense of someone who is miserable is surely one of the greatest joys in life. (Family motto: We tease because we love.)
The Doctor tells Troy that the bugs are dead now and just need more time to "shed." Lovely visual isn't it?

Monday, November 5

The Britt Show

video

(This is 10 minutes long - I expect only my Mother to watch all of it.)

Music: You cannot lose my love - Sara Groves - Remember Me - Mark Shultz - When you come back down - Nickel Creek

Sunday, November 4

The Uncle who preaches ... talking to Britt (the graduating class) seated on left side of photo.
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Dad, Uncle Rick, Nikki, Sam, Aaron (the singing cousins) and Aunt Dianne above. As a general rule, Dad does not smile for photos. He is not mean in real life. Only in photos.
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Pals Family Posse above, sorry we did not get more photos of friends and family who were there ... or we took a photo and it was bad so we are being merciful by not posting it.

The group that traveled from afar to attend (above.)

Three generations below.


Troy and the Michiganites.
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