Thursday, February 28

Phoebenator & Lyders ... large and in charge


The taxes are finally done ... (I know many were laying awake wondering) now onto the FAFSA ... Britt, we're lovin' and missing you -- thought you might like to see that Lyd has gone a little red with her hair color. :)

photos - or the lack thereof


Sorry the photos have been so few of late. The uploading takes so long that it only allows for one here and one there. Above is a new photo of Annie Grace that Jess took. Annie is in Port until March 6th and Jess is taking care of her again. Tess is missing her and we're both surprised at how much she has changed.
Cute baby you got there, Matt and Tina!!! (I think she looks less like Ike now though, don't you?)
Other things ...
  • Convention starts today
  • Jen has been sewing some wounds and seeing lots of kids in the clinic
  • Team is all doing well and the last 3 people arrive today
  • The weather is really beautiful here now
  • Phoebe had a growth spurt and got a bit taller and thinner ... she still has a temper and seems much more 2 than 16 months - we're waiting for her to lose the temper too.
  • Noah is counting the days until he turns four ... we're inside of the week mark now so it is the non-stop topic of conversation.

Tuesday, February 26

Catch 22



Lately there are so many things going on in my head, I find it difficult to ever grab onto them and write.

Sharing cute Livesay kid stories is easy, writing about Haiti and thoughts on things happening here is much more difficult.
`
It is as if my thoughts are a carrot on a stick ... Dangling in front of me - but juuuust out of reach. I never get to truly chomp on them. They are there ... floating around ... but without ever catching up to them I cannot fully express myself well.

In reality there are 100 carrots on 100 sticks ... and it all gets muddled and intermingled and no sense can be made of it. It is all connected in some way ... But not as easily as a dot to dot puzzle. Putting it together requires concentration and writing ability that I don't possess.
`
I think we're at a crossroads in many ways. We're at the two year mark and things that once seemed really important to us when considering Haiti and the needs now seem less important; and vice versa. We've grown a bit. We've got much more of that to do. We understand some things sooo much better, yet other things still totally perplex us.
`
We're spending time really thinking about the future and what we believe in and what we want to do with our lives. So much of the first year was spent running in circles not understanding the culture. So much of the second year was spent understanding more but needing to watch and listen and learn. The learning phase continues. There is always more to learn and more experiences needed to mold your approach and temper your charge. The trick is balancing it all with love, mercy and grace. So often the frustration of it all kicks your butt and leaves you wishing you'd done better.
`
And as is often the case here, some times doing what you think is right amounts to zero change and more than occasionally, no tangible result at all can be seen.
`
Often times people will say "that is just a band aid" or " you should do it this way" and often they are right. So much of what all humanitarian and missions do here is indeed a "band aid." We've never sat looking around at the efforts being made and said, "Oh my gosh - look at all of us - we are saving this village or that area from X Y or Z." Not at all. There are even days when you really truly wonder if the efforts being made might be pointless. Some people will tell you it is better than nothing, others will say give it up, go away. Both of them are right, Neither of them are right.
`
So much of what the world reads and knows about Haiti is statistic based. I noticed the other day that Jen commented that statistics don't move people to care. Stories, real live humans, the intersection of lives ... that is what moves people. I can blabber on and on about how poor Haiti is - give you ratings and ranking. But who really cares?
`
If I tell you about my ongoing and tortured thoughts about a young boy who died last September maybe it will seem more important. Statistics are just numbers. Jean was a real live person.
`
When we first moved here plenty of things disturbed me. Each situation and each little child can break your heart. The sick kids, the disabled, the mentally ill and the elderly break it and then stomp on it. Most of it we've grown a bit numb to, but some stories just plague me. I need resolution of some sort and it cannot be found.
`
Jean was born into a typical family. His mother had many children; too many to care for really. His father had another woman/wife and other children. He became ill as a young boy and eventually it was discovered that he was HIV positive. There are many unknowns about how it all occurred but what we do know is enough.
`
We know he was terribly sick and could not walk for many years. We know his family did not know how to deal with him. We know he was neglected. We know he was angry. We know he was difficult to work with. We know he hurt physically. He had terrible sores and skin problems and often great pain. We know he hurt emotionally. He was teased, ignored, used and abused. We know the options for him were slim to none. We know he died around the age of 17. We know he deserved better. Changing his reality never happened. What was offered to him was not enough.
`
His story cannot be packed up nicely and put away. It's an ugly story of a sad existence.
`
Jean died while we were on furlough. He would have died had we been here. As I see his brothers and sister, nieces and nephews I wonder about it all. Do they feel the anger and helplessness that I feel when I think about his life? What do they think? It must feel good to not have to see it anymore.
`
One of the most heartbreaking things for me is to see the way these situations are such a part of everyday life, every family has their Jean story. No one rails at the injustice ... It is their way of life. The lack of resources is such a constant truth and reality that no one even expects to find a Doctor, find medicine, find good options. I will never reconcile that.

I see kids being raised without anyone truly taking responsibility for their care. It is like they subscribe to the "it takes a village" philosophy -- but to the extreme- in that - the whole village knows who the kids are but often times there is no true "responsible person." Three year old kids wander around alone. A year here with an aunt, a year there with Grandma ... How do they feel loved or secure?

Then there are the less serious frustrations --- not less frustrating, just less serious.

Last year we had a huge amount of clothing piled up that had been donated. We sorted through it and got rid of the things that we would be annoyed to see in a garage sale. (Editorial- I don't know why people give junk for Jesus - but we do. Why give Jesus the junk? )

We thought long and hard about how to distribute the clothing. We prayed about it, we considered all that could go wrong. We knew it was important not to just toss it out and have mass confusion. It also seemed wrong to let clothing sit in a warehouse when people could be using it, enjoying it. After literally months of thinking it through we had a team help organize a nice store type setting. We had a room of kid clothes, a room for women and an area for men. It was all folded or hanging and easy to choose from. We recognized that giving it away would mean that the first ten people might take all of it, regardless of the need, and then maybe go sell it. That would leave many angry. We recognized that selling it for too much would mean the neediest would not get anything. It was a tough decision. Troy joked about carrying up the mountain and leaving it to whatever lucky person found it ... just to be done contemplating the options. In the end we sold it for a tiny amount. We limited it to five items per person, hoping that more could benefit. We tried to think of every way possible to make it go well and make it be "fair." The small amount of money would benefit the church and would go into the church offering. We felt good about our plan. The sale began. The plan proved to be full of holes. People were upset they could only get five things. People were upset that if they had five kids we would not let each kid they brought with them pick five things too. (That was not allowed the first day of the sale.) There was pushing to get into the rooms. People were mad that the employees of the mission had looked first. People tried to cheat the system. It was not fun. It seemed that no one was happy. We cried at the end of the third and final day of the sale.
`
That story is more than a year old, and I have never had the heart to share it. It exemplifies all the ways things can often go here. You try and try and think it might be helpful or good ... But then you find out you're dead wrong. I cringe every time someone hands us a bag of clothing. They look at me like I am a jerk for not being thrilled with it, but I know something they don't.
`
None of the frustrations mean people should quit caring or quit trying. I don't believe that for one second. The mandate to care for the poor, the widow ... the orphan. It is clear. It is just good to note that there is no set formula for what is right and what is wrong when attempting to DO SOMETHING about poverty. Of course there are 99 great arguments against hand-outs and of course there are 99 beautiful reasons (read: real live people) to give.

I guess what I am trying to say is this:
You really cannot do anything without constantly checking your motives, praying and asking the Lord for clear direction, and making a ton of mistakes.

We're ready for another year like that.

:)
I could have skipped the whole thing and just jumped to the point.
God Bless you on your journey too,
Tara

Hebrews 12: 1-3

1Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Wise old Hope


At the end of the day, when the medical team from Boston left, they came up to meet the kids and to say goodbye. We chatted for a few minutes and helped them figure out who was who.
`
The kids had been in the warehouse where the brand new kitten is learning about her new life as supreme mouse and rat catcher extraordinaire.
The three muskateers were petting her and playing with her and running around the rat filled warehouse chasing her. Each time they came in the house I asked them to wash their hands. For whatever reason, real or imagined, I get paranoid about Haiti animals and touching them ... yes, yes, I know that in reality I cannot make the kids live in a gigantic vat of anti-bacterial hand solution -- and that the germs will indeed get on them ... but I can at least require a hand washing after touching un-immunized animals. Can't I?
`
A man on the medical team had a handful of Starburst that he passed around. As he left he stopped down where Isaac, Hope and Noah were playing. He gave them each two Starburst. I walked down shortly after him to find Isaac and Noah unwrapping and shoving the Starburst into their mouths as quickly as humanly possible. Hope stood staring at hers in her hand. I looked at her questioningly. She said, with great wisdom and authority, "It is pretty gross to eat those candies after touching the kitty and playing out here. *I* am going to wash my hands first." Then she gave the slow blink accompanied by the slow left to right head shake... As if to say, my brothers are sooooo terribly simple.
`
Paige named the kitten and Hope hates the name Paige chose. Hope refuses to use that name and is calling the kitten Lydia instead. I don't care what anyone calls it - as long as it kills rodents.

Monday, February 25

Linkage & Legalism

Lately I am experiencing "legalism" in new ways. One form of legalism in the religious sense says that I need to act a certain way and speak a certain way in order to be "good" and "acceptable" to God and other Christians. Certainly legalism says that even though you cannot BE good, you must LOOK good.

I don't buy this lie for one second, but lots of folks do. I don't want to fall into a trap of appearing to be something that I am not. Some folks are easily offended and dislike honesty and openness. At times that makes blogging difficult because it asks me to be someone else and to write things that are not necessarily "me" things. It asks me to be dishonest about who I am.

I cannot do that because I am a BAD faker ... but I thought that an old (*she* is not old, but I know her from long ago) junior high friend sort of nailed it ... and I like what she wrote so I am linking to her today.

I would like to suggest that God allows for all sorts of personalities and He loves us and knows our hearts. He created us (not from a cookie cutter) and that means ---He allows many unique ways of expressing our love for Him and for others. I don't think He is nearly as legalistic as some of us.

Not into fake,
Tara

Go here.

The Tall Girls


The ladies are back; loaded down with candy, magazines (thanks Mariah) and other goodies. Troy was bummed no one brought him "man things"... it was all girly stuff. Chocolate, flavored coffee creamer, cereal ... Clearly he is not paying attention! *WHY* would they use their precious bag allowance for man things?

A one day medical team is on the way to LaDigue. Those who are here are working on a variety of projects. Ten more arrive tomorrow. Have a great Monday!




"Faith is deliberate confidence in the character of God whose ways you may not understand at the time.”

Oswald Chambers

Saturday, February 23

Death & Taxes

Say you have twelve billion things going on. Say you think to yourself, "Self I don't know when I started feeling old - but boy do I." Imagine that each night you throw yourself down on the bed and are snoozing 18 seconds later.

That is Troy.

He was not so thrilled to be reminded that Britt has a deadline to meet for financial aid stuff and that he is required to do 2007 taxes in the next few days if she is going to have the information she needs. Taxes are a terrible assignment on the best day. Agreed? Maybe you wonder, "Why don't you do them, Tara?" Assuming you want an answer to that question I would simply tell you that one spouse does the taxes and the other one - does not. Our roles were long ago defined and we're too old and set in our ways to redesign our system. Plus, taxes make me cry.

The kids are all doing well (sorry to the worried Grandmas in the crowd) and at least four times in the last week I thought, Huh, that is funny - I have to tell that story to someone. But as mentioned in the previous paragraph we are feeling old and that information is no longer stored in my head. They were all adorable things. Trust me.

The not cute thing that has been happening involves 2am and Noah. Most nights he wanders into bed with us carrying two dinosaurs, six matchbox cars and his Dinoco car. He claims there is a spider on the wall of his room. It would not be so bad if he came with less toys and if he did not have sleep apnea the likes of a 350 pound adult man. I've spent many nights contemplating just how difficult removing adenoids and tonsils can really be. Surely I could take them out for him and give us all a better night's sleep. He thrashes around trying hard to wake up Lydia, who unfortunately still rules our lives with her lame sleep schedule. I had her trained better and to the point where she was getting up only once before she got sick. But since then it is like she knows that she can play the, "I almost died on you" card and that means I will get her up at the first peep again and again, all night long. She basically owns me right now. Nice for her.

Tess and Jen return on Sunday. To say that we are excited about their return is a major understatement. The next few months will be spent finding them husbands so they will never be able to leave LaDigue or us. They're both very tall, which severely limits the prospects, but if it is the last thing I do I will find a couple of 6'2" eligible Haitian bachelors.

The three week team run is officially half complete. The next bunch arrive on the 26th and 27th. There are a few folks staying for the duration of the three weeks. The first team was a medical team. They departed yesterday. The next phase of the mission team extravaganza begins later this week. If you've been reading long you'll remember that last year Lifeline hosted a convention -- the convention is upon us again. It's the event that calls for the killing of a cow ... And all sorts of other excitement, including singing at 4am. Britt really loved that last year, I am sure she is crushed to be missing the wake-up calls.

Speaking of Britt, one of the comments asked about her. I think she is officially experiencing her first rough patch in college. Chemistry has been difficult for her. That bums her out. She has been more homesick but also has not been feeling well. She has had a lot of dizzy spells and headaches. She went to a neurologist appointment yesterday. We're hoping his ideas will help her. We all miss her a ton. Isaac likes to lay it on thick and often asks her, "How come you're never coming back?" She is coming back. Not until May, but we are already counting the days.

Truly, truly ... when the taxes are done and when things are calmer (or the version of calm that most people call crazy) we will catch up on the photos and stories from weeks past.

~Tara

Tuesday, February 19

Update

Sorry for our absence. Things are busy; lots of people coming and going from the mission. We're still struggling with patchy internet, but when things settle down -- we'll try to post some stories and photos. As always, thank you for your prayers and encouragement.

Love,
The Livesays

Saturday, February 16

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQ -


I want to adopt from Haiti. Ideas?

We don't have any one organization we recommend. Adoption has slowed way down post earthquake and we're uncertain about the process going forward. We suggest contacting orphanages in Haiti by email to find out more about specific programs. (A google search will bring you many results.)

Missions and NGOs have worked in Haiti forever - nothing seems to change, why are you bothering?
It is our desire to be where we believe God called us; even though it makes no sense at times. We don't need it to make sense as much as we need to be obedient. We don't believe that you quit just because you don't think you'll "win." For whatever reason we think God has asked us to love our Haitian neighbors, so that is what we are attempting to do. This question can best be answered by going to this post.

How long will you stay in Haiti? We moved here in January 2006 and we are trusting God to make our future clear, at this point we take it one year at a time and know we want to be here for the next few years at least. It seems quite feasible that we could be here long term, but we try not to get ahead of God. 2011 is a big year for us as we dig into some really exciting work and pray that God allows the Haitian people to be treated justly by their Government and by those of us trying to work along side them. We don't know what our future holds. Ask us again in a year. :)

Aren't you afraid - we hear Haiti is dangerous. What about illnesses and your kids? Sometimes we are fearful, yes. But most often we feel very safe. We believe that the safest place in the world to be is in God's Will - not easy - not "safe" in the traditional sense ... and we cannot deny that He brought us here. Could something bad happen? Have bad things happened? Yes, of course... But bad things can happen anywhere in the world and we don't want to live in fear no matter where God plants us. Yes, we do get nervous about Dengue and Malaria and some of the Tropical diseases, but for those of us who have had them, we have always recovered well after treatment.  There have been some incredibly challenging things ... our kids have been hurt and sick - we've wanted to run away at times. We are no different than anyone else - we fall flat on our face and cry and grieve and get angry over things that happen (and often cannot share them here) - but God seems to show up again and again and He provides healing and ways to keep going.

I want to move to Haiti/think God is calling me there. Please tell me what you think I might need to know.
We can only speak from our own experience. We are sure we cannot confirm or deny your desire or call.  We can tell you that you will face adversity.  We assumed wrongly that following God and going to Haiti might mean total protection.  In the five years since we moved we've faced assault, Dengue Fever (X3 cases) Malaria (X12 cases) Meningitis (x2 - 1viral and 1 bacterial both leading to hospitalization) trouble with understanding culture, stealing, curses placed on us, co-laborers hurting the cause (and their families and ours) by involving themselves in totally inappropriate behaviors ...  and the list goes on ...  

The point of this is not to gripe.  The point of this is - we STILL want to be in Haiti and we are still happy and thankful for all the good that happens in our lives each day. God carried us through every hardship and while it sounds trite, it is also true -- God is faithful. The point of that list is more to tell you that your call needs to be bigger than all the hardships you WILL face. Lack of electricity and bugs and heat will be the least of your hardships. Haiti is described by people who have worked all over the world as a very difficult and complicated place.  So many factors are at play, suffice it to say there are not many things that are cut and dried. An Ambassador to Haiti once said, "In Haiti I believe nothing that I hear and only half of what I see."  We suggest that you confirm your call by visiting for an extended time, by talking with your pastor and close friends and by reading and researching. Some of what we have done in Haiti (once considered helping) has actually not proven to be helpful. We ask that anyone considering coming to Haiti either full time or part time really examine their motives and expectations. Haiti will kick your butt either way, but honesty about what drives you to work with the poor can only help you as you prepare to come. If you wish to read a great book to understand more about the ways our good intentions actually hurt the poor - read  "When Helping Hurts" it is a good starting place.



How did you know you should move to Haiti ?
We met when we were 21 and 24 years old. I (Tara) was a single mom of two beautiful little girls. When we started dating they were 2 and 6 years old.

During that time of our lives, both of us were very much struggling and running from God. While our reasons for running from God were different, in some odd way they bonded us together and we tried to help each other figure it out. We were searching for truth, answers, and especially healing together.

Two years later, in the fall of 1998 we got married. Our focus in life was very much all about us. We spent most of our time and energy figuring out how to make more money so we could try to achieve status with new cars, a nicer/bigger house, and vacations - the typical things people in our age group wanted. We worked hard and were able to experience a lot of what we thought would bring us happiness.

By the time we celebrated our third anniversary we both desired to add to our family. We had experienced two painful miscarriages and had been denied an opportunity to adopt from Columbia. We were hurt and angry that children did not seem to be God's plan for us. (Which is now weird to say as we fall into bed happy and exhausted each night from the truck-load of kids that belong to us.)

We had never settled into a church, we always hopped around from church to church and refused to call one of them "our church." We did not connect with other believers. We used our anonymity as a way of not having to be accountable. We actually tried not to make church-friends. This also allowed us to easily stay stuck in our anger and hurt.

One winter night we were watching TV together and I asked Troy what he thought about getting on the Internet and doing some more adoption research. We spent the rest of that evening staring at photos of orphans from all over the world. God used those photos to stir in us a desire to attempt again to adopt. The next day we made some calls, most specifically to ask questions of an agency that helped place Haitian children with adoptive families.

At the time neither of us could locate locate Haiti on a map with any certainty.

Two months later, in April of 2002 we visited Haiti for the first time. We found it to be a beautiful, sad and difficult place. God made it clear to us that two children in the orphanage were to become OUR children. We began the process of adopting Hope, then three months old & Isaac, who was seven months old at the time.

During the adoption I (Tara) went to Haiti six times in six months. Troy was able to travel three times. Each time our love for the people and the country grew a little bit. We started to feel much less nervous and worried about our safety and way more excited and at ease/peace. At the same time we began to seek God more. Our faith was tested, we grew. We began praying together regularly. We started looking for a church to settle into and desired the accountability we had run from in years past.

Hope and Isaac came "home" to Minnesota late in 2002. We continued to think often about Haiti and the impact the things we had seen had made on us. We talked about wanting to go back and serve there "some day."

When we adopted our children God also planted the seeds for our future here. We just did not know at the time that the future was not too far off.

Over the next three years our conversations often brought us back to Haiti. We had a surprise baby (Noah) in 2004 and determined that we would probably be smart to wait until our kids were grown before we could even try to visit Haiti again.

Each time something would stir up the Haiti discussion we would simply tell each other that parents of five children do not belong in ministry in Haiti. Rationally we knew that there are plenty of empty nesters or newlyweds that could go to Haiti. We would also reason that we really had no formal training. Troy is not a pastor, neither of us had done any sort of cross-cultural coursework in college. We talked about trying to take some classes that would help us in the future ... Because certainly God could not use a telephone man/Dad and a sales manager/Mom in Haiti.

We thought our excuses for putting it off were very solid -- and honestly they were, but God made a point of getting our attention and at least asking us to test Him on our rationale for waiting.

One day I got an email from a friend, this friend had no way of knowing anything about our desire to go to Haiti OR our excuses for not going. Her email said, "Hey check these people out. They are moving to do ministry in the Ukraine with TEN kids."

I showed the email to Troy. He reluctantly said that yes, maybe if that family could drag ten kids across the globe, we could at least test God on our "Haiti thing."

Slowly but diligently we started researching ministries that might need help. We sent dozens of emails to different agencies on the ground in Haiti. We asked what they needed, what sort of training they required, what sort of specialized degrees we might need. We wrote to families that were already serving in Haiti, especially if they had more than a couple of kids. We asked 100's of questions of many people.

I was training for a marathon at the time and was involved in a on-line running group. I had been reading the posts from that running group for months. One day during that time a lady posted about running in the heat. She said, "I hear you - that you're experiencing lots of hot weather this summer in the USA and that makes training difficult. I have been training for marathons in Haiti for many years. Our weather here is only hot."

I contacted the woman who wrote that post, I told her that we had been praying about Haiti and that we had a connection through running too. She was excited to hear from someone who loved running and Haiti. She said she had never posted a comment on the running group before. The connection was instant between us. She invited us to meet them and stay overnight with them if/when we decided to come to Haiti.

All of the research led to a fact-finding trip to Haiti in the fall of 2005. We saw the mission where we now work and we met the marathon runner, Beth, who God placed in our path for a reason. Our friendship has been a blessing since day one. Lydia is named after Beth. (Lydia Beth)

When we returned home we knew God would need to clear some pretty significant obstacles if we were going to move. We wrote a list of those obstacles. It was a LONG and complicated list. We said, "If God clears these things, that means we are supposed to go." We fully expected most of them would not happen. We never thought He would make it possible. We actually thought it was dumb to even move on the first few things because to us some of the middle things seemed totally out of the question.

In the next four weeks, one after another, the list began to dwindle. In less than 60 days we packed, sorted, and cleaned. Our house rented for the full payment amount, our small credit card debt was paid off, our oldest two daughters got on board and wanted to go, we got permission for them to move from their biological dads, our stuff got moved and stored, and the full dollar amount we needed to live in Haiti each month was raised. All of this happened in 58 days.

At that point it was hard to deny that God's timing was not "when our kids are grown" but rather "now." The list of obstacles had nothing left on it. The only remaining obstacle at that point was our own fear of stepping into the unknown. We knew we needed to do it afraid. For us it was less about some great leap of faith and more about being obedient to what was so clearly a "God thing" --- we're not all that faithful.

We moved to Haiti in January of 2006. It has not always been easy, at times it has been terribly daunting -- but it has been exciting and it has been filled with God's provision.

The number one thing each one of us can say - God is stretching us - individually and as a family. We have all grown and changed a lot in the past five years. We have much more learning to do and we're blessed to get to do it in Haiti for this season of our lives. We're excited to see where He will take us next. We feel privileged to be here, it is no sacrifice to be where God places you.

You mention 5 kids. We count more than that. Explain.

We moved to Haiti when Britt was 15. Noah was 21 months old, he was the baby of the family. After we had been in Haiti a year we took placement of Hope's new-born little sister (Phoebe) to adopt her and keep her with Hope.  Within a few weeks of that we learned there would be another baby coming in October of 2007.  The same fall that Britt left Haiti to start college in Texas we had Lydia and became a family of 9.  Since that time Britt has married Christopher Bernard, a great young man that she met in Haiti in our first year there.  That makes Troy a Father-in-law, which is pretty hilarious and fabulous. It also makes us a family of ten.  

Questions not covered here? Write us at tl7inhaiti@yahoo.com - we'll try to answer within a week.
God does not give us overcoming life; He gives us life as we overcome. When the inspiration of God comes, and He says - "Arise from the dead," we have to get up; God does not lift us up. Our Lord said to the man with the withered hand - "Stretch forth thy hand," and as soon as the man did so, his hand was healed, but he had to take the initiative. If we will do the overcoming, we shall find we are inspired of God because He gives life immediately.

-Oswald Chambers

Friday, February 15

Cast and Crew

If you are a new reader, a little more about us and the people we work with and mention frequently.

Introducing the players:

Troy-The Dad, Husband and Jack of all trades, master of none. He likes to play guitar and sing and he has a good sense of humor. He is described by his children as "the best Dad ever in the whole world." He is generally the most well-liked person in our family ... he is nice, very nice. He blogs on occasion. If given a day to do anything he wanted he would golf - but not all that well. Troy loves working in Haiti and is willing to tell you that it often feels futile. Troy's newest adventure has been beginning to learn some basic dental-procedures in hopes of doing a little dental work in Haiti. His long range goals include dental training.

Tara-The Mom, Wife, assistant to Troy and seasoned butt wiper. She is a distance runner in a place where distance running kind of sucks. If given a day to do anything she would go for a long run, meet a friend for a gigantic cup of coffee, and go out to a fancy dinner with Troy, the cutest guy in all of Haiti...possibly even the greater Antilles. Tara works with Heartline Women's Programs - she is a certified midwife and helps with the various programs at Heartline  Maternity center.

Paige-
Is 19. She is a big sister, a friend and a funny girl. She speaks Creole so quickly the Haitians tell us she sounds Haitian. Given a day to do anything she wanted she would go horseback riding. She is the only person in the family that spends any time on hair and clothes and looking good. None of us understand it. She is gifted in many ways and blesses us with her servants heart. She is text book TCK (Third Culture Kid) -she now resides in Texas and will be getting married in January 2015.

CREW-
Isaac-
Is 13. Is beyond happy, he finds everyone wonderful. (Think Buddy the Elf) Most people think he will be some sort of diplomat or a pastor. He is a people person. The official Livesay Family Representative. He was adopted eleven+ years ago and is a source of great joy to his parents. Most people who meet him comment on the joy he exudes. He loves amusement parks. If he meets you, he'll love you too.

Hope-
Is 12. Is all girl. Was adopted eleven+ years ago. Is most certainly the easiest going and most cooperative child in the family. She is not as chatty as most of the kids but she is always thinking. She loves to dress up, draw, read, sing and dance and watch musicals.

Noah-
Is 10 and never stops talking. Never.stops. We don't even know how he fits time in to take a breath. He is either an angel or a devil, he seems to think there is no room for anything in the middle. Hugs are his love language. He is incredibly tender and affectionate - just don't make him mad. Hot headed ... or "passionate" depending on who you ask.

Phoebe Joy-
Is 8. She loves her food and has a complex personality. She and Hope share the same first-Mom. She is also incredibly silly ... but also very shy around anyone new. She does not trust most people and dislikes crowds. She might be our most introverted.

Lydia Beth-
Is 7. A surprise baby, born in October 07. Lydie is opinionated. She is either VERY happy or VERY angry. We almost lost her in January 08 (to Meningitis) and have never looked at her quite the same since. She is our ornery little miracle girl! This is the first child to ever send us looking for parenting books at Barnes and Noble --- she was sent to earth to make sure we remember that we know nothing about parenting.

Geronne & Jenny-
Geronne is the glue that holds the entire thing together. Gift. Friend. Helps with all household chores and is a second mama for our kids - she lives with us and is a key reason we ever have the ability to do anything. We love her and think of her as family. Geronne's 15 year old daughter Jenny is an 9th grader and lives with us too.

Peanut & Hazelnut & Chestnut -
Our giant guard dogs that double as our boys' best friends. Chestnut is our tiny dog that makes us miss Paige less.

Britt- (24)
She left Haiti in 2007 she left the cast to further her education at Baylor University. She graduated December 2010 but going on to higher education, currently working on her masters in Public Health. Given a day to do anything we KNOW Britt would chose to hang out with her super fun little brothers and sisters in Ayiti!

Chris - (28)
Britt and Chris got married in January 2009 - That makes him our son-in-law - we feel SO old based on that - yet we're really not terribly old. Chris and Britt live with their two dogs in Waco, Texas.



PEOPLE WE WORK CLOSELY WITH IN MINISTRY:
John and Beth McHoul-
Founders of Heartline Ministries - boss people - friends and mentors - we work with them and their programs and live very near them.
Beth Johnson (KJ) -Midwife at Maternity Center, in Haiti full time
Dawn and John - Heartline Guest House Managers
Jimmy & Becky Burton -
Teachers and amazingly talented ones at that.  They teach five to five Livesay kids each weekday.
Wini - RN - amazing Haitian woman that we are blessed to work with
Nirva - another talented RN at MC
Agathe - acts as a liaison between the cultures - teacher and key part of the programs
Cherline(Andrema) - maybe the most valuable player at Heartline ... incredibly invested in her country and the programs and able to do everything!
Dokte Jen Halverson-
Works with Heartline (and Providence Ministries)- lives with us when she is working in Haiti. We love Jen and enjoy having her in and out of our lives.

There are others ... but these are the folks most often mentioned on the blog.

Thursday, February 14

Thinking myself lost

Today I made an airport run with Lydia. After the airport run we went to hug Beth M, my dear friend, and have very strong and large cups of coffee with her. Lydia enjoys a good cup of joe in the morning too. We had an awesome time visiting with Beth and seeing the new house that will be the headquarters of their Women's Program. I was shocked that John has AIR CONDITIONING in his new office. He claims it is for the computers, but that sounds like a likely story to me. This is the guy who did not let me live it down when I was pregnant with Lydie in July and Troy purchased a one room A/C unit for me. I never heard the end of what a 'jerk-wimp-baby' I was. Look who has joined the cool-kids club now!

After my visit with Beth I got in the truck to head home. Everything seemed fine and I was buzzing right along, when I realized I had been in deep thought and had no earthly idea where I was. This is a problem. Everthing looks alike. To differentiate one cement painted building from another is impossible. I thought about calling Troy but what would I say? "Honey, I am lost. I am by the long long wall with painting and graffiti, on the left and on the right there are ladies selling things, ahead I see more walls of cement, behind me there are ladies selling things and walls of cement. Where am I?"

After about five minutes of a bad, bad tummy ache I figured out where I was by spotting a big Catholic church (an ACTUAL land mark). I was just short of melting down when the church appeared, crisis averted.

Later on I was behind a bus. Suddenly I thought someone was shooting at us, when the front tire on the bus literally exploded into pieces and flew through the air. The fact that a single vehicle makes it anywhere on these roads is.... nothing short of miraculous.

The first wave of the team did arrive safely, the second wave arrives tomorrow.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, February 13

More C.S. Lewis

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy,
the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."
Photo: Scott Tanner - Hiking in Haiti

Linkage & Rental News

edited 3pm

Go here for a good James McDonald post ...

or here for another ...
(posts worth checking out/considering)

I don't have too much time, but wanted to say Hi and tell those of you who might have prayed that the house we own in MN would rent/sell --- THAT IT IS RENTED! The renter is a single guy, no kids no pets, no smoking. He is nothing like us -- the house will be fine! :) (We are heavy- heavy, 3 pack a day smokers.)

(That was sarcasm.)

Hurray for another answered prayer. The timings is interesting, we are 100% thankful for this answer. A huge financial burden has just been lifted. Thank you Lord for answering our prayer. (That was not sarcasm.)

God is moving and shaking things up in our lives right now, it is making for an interesting week. Interesting is good. Right?!?

I hope your week is interesting too, and is filled with His peace and His grace.

with love,
tara

Tuesday, February 12

Volume Check


"God whispers to us in our pleasures,
speaks to us in our conscience,
but shouts in our pains:
It is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."
~C.S. Lewis~

Photo Credit: Scott Tanner

Monday, February 11

Follow Up


We feel the need to clarify. Sometimes it seems the tongue in cheek and sarcastic way we write ends up being misunderstood. Never our intention of course. It is not that groups/teams/visitors are a bad thing. Of course not!
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As a matter of fact, we just came off of a week where we were totally amazed by and blessed by a team from MI (as we stated in numerous posts).
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It is that *we* struggle to be a tight family unit sometimes when teams are here.(For all the reasons I already stated.) Please, don't read more into it than what was shared. It is about our weakness and our need to press in and rely better on God - we know that.
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My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (II Cor 12:9)

A.M. fast internet photo post :)

Attn Britt:

Two photos for our FAVORITE Bear ...

Two photos of 2/3rd of the baby brigade and their fearless leaders ...

Jen gave Lydie that haircut ... Now we know why she is a Doctor, not a stylist.

Sunday, February 10

Bloom in a Pressure Cooker


The Satellite is unable to talk to our dish many hours of the day. The positioning is messed up enough that at certain times, the two just cannot speak. My understanding of the whole thing is rudimentary at best. Basically, we (along with the birdog) have fixed anything that can be fixed and we're left with patchy Internet for now. At night it is almost unusable, which really messes with our ability to prioritize poorly, misuse our time, and stay up until 1am farting around on-line.

How can we perfect our addicitve behaviors without Internet? The photo to the right was Troy's reaction to the findings. He was not pleased that I caught it on film. He'll be less pleased that I posted it.
My family knows me well enough to read between the lines and sense an increased stress level of late. They are indeed onto me. I am stressed.

That cheesy refrigerator magnet that reads, "Too blessed to be stressed" - we don't have that magnet.

Our cheesy refrigerator magnets say, "Whatever God asks you to lift, He gives you the grace to carry" and "Bloom where God plants you!"

So, we "lift" and bloom! as best we can - reminding ourselves, with patchy success, that God offers grace for all of our stress and shortcomings.
But, it feels as if we have never had a chance to settle back in and find our groove; and that is getting to me. Week one in Haiti was the expected and understandable chaos of unpacking, reconnecting with kids I had not seen in a week and enjoying having my sister here. Week two was spent in a PAP hospital. Week three brought the team from MI. There was never a stretch where we said, "this is our new normal." There has not been time to lay down roots let alone bloom!

And now, on Tuesday, we begin the marathon of marathons.

Our USA boss will be here along with 40 guests over the next three weeks. The 40 are not here all at once, the group size varies week to week between 9 and 22 people. Because our first month back here was less than what I had hoped, and we never found a groove; I feel unprepared to put on the hostess face right now. My hostess face cannot even be located! I did manage to make up most of the beds yesterday, but nothing more than that. I have just one more full day to convince myself to rally, put on a smile, act "hostessish" - to bloom -- and then it is show-time.

The truth is, sometimes the daily things required are more than we can do well ... okay, not sometimes -- most times. So to add to the regular daily duties feels just short of impossible.

As has been the case since the day we arrived in this crazy-land, the most formidable challenge, day to day, is having any semblance of healthy boundaries. It only gets more difficult when under the pressures of visitors. We tend to struggle to get along when groups are here. (This being the reason I warned Tess and Jen about a possible fight.) It makes sense of course, the added responsibility means even less time to take care of each other and we end up sleep deprived, ticked off and emotionally drained. Having company does not allow for a crabby day, a bad day, or a lazy day ... And you know, that is okay for seven days - but 22 days is a long time to be friendly around the clock. I don't believe I can be June Cleaver that many days in a row. These lucky 40 folks will find out I guess.
All of this is simply to say, that the next three weeks could use some prayer coverage... Or, A LOT of prayer coverage. Thank you.

We continue to be uber thankful for our own Nanny McFee; the fabulous Tess. I have been so happy with the way she jumps in and tells the kids what to do without worrying about me or Troy. Noah thinks he might marry her someday. I think it is a fine choice. Demi and Ashton did it.

We will miss Tess terribly for the next ten days as she takes off to go meet her family for a long-planned vacation in Mexico. I am preparing myself to say goodbye without weeping and gnashing of teeth along with grabbing at her ankles - in a desperate attempt to hold her here. We'll see how that goes. :(
For the most part blogging is an outlet, I enjoy writing. I just don't know that I will have much time in the coming weeks ... I apologize in advance if you end up staring at the same post day after day.
Until we "speak" again .. Be well .. and bloom! ;)

Friday, February 8

Day One

(pretty cute medical staff - wouldn't you say?)
the clinic officially had "hours" today. dr. jen and paige both seemed pumped to be down there and there was no shortage of kids to see on afternoon one.


the internet is still the internot much of the day. if there is internet over the weekend i will ask paige to share more about her role as an assistant and maybe jen will get time to give the medical perspective on her blog.

can you imagine where you live, if today for the first time in your life a clinic opened up that was less than a 30 to 60 minute walk for you ... this is big. thanks to God for His timing and provision. the people here experience challenge none of us can even come close to imagining.

(Britt- That is Teega on the table, needed stitches in his head.)

friday night in la digue is not too rowdy. tess is making tacos and we're hoping to figure out a way to convince the connection to allow a download of LOST. we all have absolute crazy-crazy schedules for the rest of the month of february, blogging will continue to be light at best.

thank you so much for your prayers!

tara
(also troy-paige-tess-jen-isaac-hope-noah-phoebe-lydia-annie & peanut)

Thursday, February 7

post it quickly before the connection is gone


One photo posted. I am nothing if not persistent. If you remove the Haitian staff and people from our family from this photo, the remaining people only made it as far as Miami yesterday. They literally pitched a tent and slept in the airport. (They had a tent and sleeping bags and they made use of them.)
`
Yesterday Jen planned to see one baby, but ended up seeing a few people because word spreads and people tend to travel in packs. If you get an appointment it makes sense to bring your sister, niece, cousins and friends. One adult woman showed Jen a bad breast issue. Jen said it looked to her like someone thought they were removing an abscess but instead cut into a milk-duct. Ooooowwwww. Jen is not going to be getting into the breast abscess business. She is a Pediatrician. She will see children and in addition to that she will do wound (stitches and burns)care. We all agree that it is best for her to stick to what she is trained to do, and do what can be done well only. There is such an enormous need here that the temptation is always to try to be everything to everyone. But that compromises the quality and pretty soon you're doing a whole bunch of stuff sort of half-butt. It feels less daunting to start with some parameters. Thanks for your prayers for Jen, she will have a ton going on once the hours are set and the word-of-mouth machine begins to work.
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Troy and Jen are on a medicine buying run today. I think they took the older, wiser; Zach along to help them.
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Paige has already identified herself as a valuable player in the clinic setting. For a couple hours a day she will screen patients and do an intake type form with them. Jen said it was clear to her right away that Paige could be a huge help. I believe Paige has been offered $1.00 a day in payment, to which she excitedly proclaimed, "$1.00 a day is A LOT for someone with no place to go spend it!!!!" Next time you see her, she'll be filthy rich. ;)
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We had a nice time with Dr. Mark Fulton last night. He shares a sarcastic sense of humor and has lots of Haiti medical experience. We picked his brain for a few hours before allowing him to head home.
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There will be more photos when the birdog finally makes something happen with this goofy Internet problem.
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We're anxiously waiting to hear that Laura M. gets her adoption visas ... is she does not she might come spend the weekend with us -- but for her sake we hope she is on a plane out of here.
`
Time to go get ready for another exciting day of Kindergarten. I have a whole new appreciation for Kindergarten teachers everywhere. Meanwhile, Tess is determined to get Lydia to take a bottle. Lydia is determined to NEVER take a bottle. In the absence of television and sporting events, this competition between Tess and Lyd is proving to be entertainment enough.
have a great day!
tara

Wednesday, February 6

If I could ...

... I would post cute photos of:
  • Tess reading to Noah
  • Jen and her first patient in the clinic today
  • Troy with his head in his hands fighting with the Internet (not really cute ... more along the lines of sad)
  • The entire Michigan team as we sent them off this morning
  • Noah and Paige and friends at the beach the other day
  • Isaac and the new basketball hoop - showing his skills

But I cannot. Sorry. Did I mention I LOVE having a fast and reliable Internet connection? I DON'T love this. (I will try to get one or two to post - but expect nothing and be happy if something appears.)

Troy has gone to pick up Mark Fulton for dinner. Our plan for the night- to make fun of Mark and then go to bed early.


Tuesday, February 5

InterNot

Troy is using this thing called a "birdog" trying to reposition the satellite and get us back in the correct alignment. Today he learned that the birdog is out of date and in order to make it work he would need to download new settings in order to update the birdog. Downloading typically requires decent internet, not just thirty seconds here and thirty seconds there. And *there* is the rub.

In past days I have always tried to get photos to go with my posts and have waited, sometimes hours, to get the dumb thing to post. Highly annoying. The lack of Internet points out our reliance upon it. I personally would give up refrigeration before I would give up Internet.

Today we were given some down time by the team. We spent the time talking and relaxing beachside. It was a wonderful treat and my first four hours away from Lydia in ... oh, like ... forever. It was nice to get away. Thank you Lighthouse team for allowing the mini-getaway.

I think one of the main reasons we SO appreciate this particular group of visitors is that they don't come down expecting to save the world, save Haiti, or even change it. They come open to whatever God has for them ... even if it means nothing tangible or visible happens while they are in Haiti. They come here open to Haiti changing *them*.

On our afternoon off, we vowed not to talk about the kids. We should have vowed not to talk about work and the next few weeks too. We're mostly just warning Jen and Tess about what a fight looks like between T and T --- so when it happens they won't be afraid. It seemed wise to warn them as we enter into many weeks of increased workload and visitors. The fight will happen, it is just a matter of when and where. :) Jen says she will hide when it happens, and Tess says she has seen enough in her 23 years to handle it.

Mom and Dad .... You'll be pleased to know that I told them about your Burger King chicken sandwich fight of 1984. It was an illustration they both enjoyed. I won't share it on the blog, I am saving it for my tell-all book. ;)

We're sending 13 people back to the frozen tundra of the greater Grand Rapids area tomorrow. They will be returning home to you, a little tired, a little sunburned, a little sore, but a lot blessed.

We feel the same way. :)

Fat Fat Fat Tuesday

Some have asked why the short, boring blogs of late? Two reasons - 1. lack of internet 2. lack of time and maybe even 3. lack of good attitude .... I am so anti-complaining that if I feel that a post might lean towards complaining .... I figure it is best to skip it.

(I am nervous about the coming weeks and the amount of things that are supposedly going to happen ... and nervous about how it will affect my husband and kids --- lets just say that sometimes the work in Haiti will eat you alive and leave you in a place where you struggle to remember what it was like to talk to your husband or sit down.) Done complaining.

Troy is currently in the driveway arguing with a guy who bailed out on a job before it was done and now refuses to finish unless we pay him more. A contract was signed and he was paid a lot already .... But the whole idea of a contract meaning something seems to be lost on him.

The team continues to work hard and accomplish all sorts of tasks. They are a great group of people that we truly enjoy. They head back to Michigan mid-day tomorrow. Jen and Troy hope to go on a medicine shopping spree and find a bunch of stuff for the clinic. Tess and I plan to feed, change, rock, and entertain the baby brigade.

The price on the SuburDen dropped this week ... if you were tempted before ... it just turned into an even better deal. We can put you in contact with our friend who has it if you're interested. Anyone??????

Monday, February 4

Monday night, 7pm, still don't know who won the Super Bowl, still don't feel like I am missing anything.

The Michigan team has all but finished the work in the clinic. Let us just say that lots and lots of folks painted in the clinic, but only THESE FOLKS finished the painting in the clinic. We (Jen voiced this too) were so blessed by the way no job was too icky or too menial for them, they just did what needed to be done. It was refreshing!

Lydia has only TWO antibiotic injections left and then she is homefree! We're happy for her and happy for us!

I was excited to get to talk to Britt a couple of times today, she sounds great. It seems like a really long time ago that I left her in Waco.

That is all I have for tonight. :)

Sunday, February 3

Plan your work, Work your plan - or Not


The team left at 6am to head north about two hours by donkey. Paige represented our family, as Troy needed to lead worship in Port au Prince today. I did not get a chance to see the team before they left but assume they were all bright eyed and ready to go. Troy and Isaac took off about the same time -- the rest of us are being lards and resting at home. (Resting = Cleaning, folding, taking care of babies, doing schoolwork, and getting on the dreadmill for the first time in weeks.)

Troy checked, checked, and re-checked (even sent someone to the business to ask them face-to-face) to be sure a business he needed to visit for team supplies was going to be open yesterday ... Only to get ALL THE WAY INTO PORT AND FIND IT CLOSED. He said he gave a fist pump to the sky in anger and quickly got over it ... Boy have we (and when I say we I mean HE) come a long way in two years.

If only this sort of thing were not the norm here. The lack of planning, follow-through, commitment to one's word, urgency, and customer service ---well, it can sometimes make you want to rage and beat something (or someone.) But, it is all for nothing because it won't change anything and Haiti is certainly not going to react and fall in line just because some high-strung white guy throws a tantrum when a business that said they would be open decides NOT to be open.

If only we could recapture the hours wasted driving to Port to do things that Port/Haiti would not allow. Karnaval (Mardi Gras) is upon us now; those businesses won't be open until at least Wednesday. (Insert heavy sigh of begrudging acceptance.)

The well thought out plan WILL NOT be executed in this land. No sir.

Speaking of well thought out plans, we're hoping that Jen might soon be able to use her wicked-smart "dokte" skills. There are a few things that she would really like to have on hand that we hope to figure out how to get ... Then we'll be ready for her to roll and see patients.

Right now she can do wound care and sutures but we have not let that word out onto the street quite yet. Once it is known that an able-bodied-doctor-person is here, the machete cuts will start showing up right and left.

Please pray that we find the items we need and that the looooong drawn out wait for the clinic to open will come to an end. Pray also for the right staff to be hired and for provision and leadership to arise quickly so that the clinic can keep running well for the long term.

This is one of those frustrating things for us. The need for a GOOD clinic is SO enormous, yet we have no clue how to turn a lovely building into a well-run clinic. God does not send the equipped ... We're proving that rule in regards to this clinic. Getting from point A to B has not been easy at all. BUT- God sent Jen for a reason and we're hopeful that she can get things with the clinic headed in the right direction in the coming months.

(Photo Credit on second photo, Marcia Erickson)

AAAGH!

I just wrote, then lost, a crazy-long report about yesterday, about Karnaval and the issues it is creating, about Haiti frustrations ... about the clinic, Dr. Jen, the plans with all of that ... and now ... I am too crabby to reproduce it. It was really good too. ;-) I am persistant, but not nuts ... a half hour gone and nothing to show for it! Now I must go clean.


Boo Haiti Internet.

Tina and Matt - For you- photo of Annie with her big cousins taken this morning-

Saturday, February 2

Little Sisters

A post for the Grandmas-
Phoebe is showing much more interest in Lydia lately. As long as you're overseeing the activity closely - assuring that the loving gestures don't turn into violent gestures it is super cute watching them together. This weekend Phoebe turns 15 months and Lydie turns 4 months. We weighed them recently- P is 25 lbs and L is 14 lbs. :)

Friday, February 1

MI TEAM


I am trying to get a team-photo to post ... Hoping it works.
Today SO much was accomplished. Jen led the charge to get the mess in the medical clinic sorted out, everyone was game and were all a big help in making sense of the stuff that was sitting and waiting to be sorted and organized. It was a totally overwhelming job but everyone stuck with it and made great headway. A small explosion in the fire pit caused a grass-fire but Lance (team member from MI) called out the LaDigue volunteer fire Dept, and within minutes things were back under control.

Saturday there is Pastor's training, some construction plans and more work in the medical clinic planned. We'll try to load photos during the day, for whatever reason uploading seems to work a little better during the day.

If you're a newer reader and need to figure out who all the people are (no Troy does not have three wives) that live/work here, there is a link on the left giving you the low-down.

Have a Great weekend!

On-Line Editorial

Photo Credit: Scott Tanner

The unfunniness of our apathy
1 Feb, 2008, Mukul Sharma

A 1970s song by Elvis Costello & The Attractions goes : So where are the strong/ And who are the trusted?/ And where is the harmony?/ . .. What’s so funny about peace, love and understanding?
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One could say it represents just another facet of the old hippie mantra about spreading universal compassion and dismiss it as misplaced and mawkishly sentimental.
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But, really, is there anything so hugely hilarious about such humane qualities that a lot of us actually have to giggle our way out of their consequences instead of embracing them? Like, what did that fleeting flower-power movement want besides a little more empathy to be around?
Writing in the Washington Post, the psychotherapist and business psychologist, Douglas LaBier, says that “empathy deficit disorder” (EDD) is a pervasive but overlooked condition with profound effects on the mental health of individuals and society.
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That people who suffer from EDD are unable to step outside themselves and tune into what other people experience. “Unlike sympathy, which reflects understanding of another person’s situation, but viewed through your own lens, empathy is what you feel when you enter the internal world of another person. That kind of connection builds healthy relationships, an essential part of mental health,” he writes.
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According to LaBier, there’s a scientific basis to this too. Recent research shows that the capacity to feel what another person feels is hard-wired through what are called mirror neurones in the brain.
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Functional magnetic resonance imagery has shown that brain regions involving both emotions and physical sensations light up in someone who observes or becomes aware of another person’s pain or distress. In fact, some neuroscientists consider this to be one of the most important findings in the last decade, more so as it’s directly linked to feelings of empathy.
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But when the desperately poor people in the Caribbean nation of Haiti, for instance, are reduced to eating mud laced with a bit of salt and shortening because they can’t even afford a plate of plain rice, it makes no sense for the rest of us to be proud of possessing such a brain.
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Social evolution in that case has proved only too self-defeating for our own emotional well-being if we can read news reports like this and are still able to move on with our lives without concern. How’s that so funny either?
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Editorial on the Editorial:
The idea of there being an actual disorder called EDD ... Well, that might be a bit over the top ... But I do agree that being able to read news like this and yet remain apathetic is totally perplexing! Call it EDD if you want, I call it icky.

(If you have not read the story called, Poor Haitians Resort to Eating Dirt, please click on the link above.)