Friday, May 30, 2008
Overheard in the kitchen earlier today:
"Oooohhhh Lydie. I love you. Thank you so much for this experience you're giving me!"
(cooing - grinning)
Mom of Isaac-
"What experience is Lydie giving you?"
"The experience of having a baby OF COURSE! I just love this experience!"
Someone taught Isaac the word experience this week. He is looking for ways to use it.
Hope you all have some great experiences this weekend.
Thanks for reading!
We were sitting around as a family chatting ... Reflecting on the past and then dreaming about the future.
"Wow, you guys have no home of any sort in the USA now. You really truly are Nomads."
(side note: by definition, We are really truly NOT Nomads - we would need to move more frequently)
Troy says- "Yes, and I find it kind of freeing."
Tara says- "Yeah, well I find it kind of frightening."
Britt thinks a moment, then says, "I just want you guys to know - you always have 350 square feet in Waco, Texas that you can call home."
It is nice to know your kid will take you in if you're ever in need. Here's hoping it never comes to that. A kind offer in theory; but not too sure how it would play out in reality.
Paige would like to point out that today she is officially 13.5 years old. (we don't do half birthdays in our family - but maybe she thinks you do)
Britt is already gone, her flight is early today. :( That visit lasted two blinks. Boo.
(running to bedroom, throwing self on bed, curling to fetal position, crying an ugly faced cry)
To distract myself from a life-crushing self-pity party over Britt's departure, I was up early reading this site.
(Normally I would distract myself with an over-priced cup of coffee, a giant chocolate covered donut and some shopping for things I don't need or even want ... but none of that can be found in LaDigue.)
This site is hilarious. Well, maybe I better clarify ... it is hilarious to me. I recognize that there are plenty of folks who cannot laugh at themselves, so this blog that pokes so much fun would be a stretch. Because I believe sarcasm to be the forgotten spiritual gift, I think his blog is awesome. I've been told that sometimes the things I write are border-line offensive. If you agree, and you come here simply to see if I will offend ... then you won't like this guy at all.
For anyone doing fundraising for a short-term trip ... this is good. We might try something similar and that honest on our next fundraising letter. I think it would totally work. (Uncle Rick, check out that post!)
For anyone unsure of the rules when writing about spiritual things, go here.
I've been working on a post about this idea of "being offended" - like it is something that happens to you and we have no control over our response (false) ... but so far- it is too offensive. Once my editor (troy) tells me I am articulating my thoughts in a clear- yet non offensive manner, we'll post it... it could be a while.
Happy Friday to you!
PS- To Kristen H. props and THANKS for the "SCL" hook-up/heads-up!
Thursday, May 29, 2008
It seems impossible that it is June already.
The kids (our kids and the school kids) seem set on doing things for the sake of doing things. Everybody is acting out. Noah ended his day by spreading shampoo out all over his bedroom floor yesterday in a zig-zag pattern. We ask "WHY Son, why?!?!?!?" He has no answers for us. His plan to blame Phoebe back-fired terribly when we pointed out she was asleep, trapped in a crib, on the other end of the house and had been for quite some time.
All shampoos and lotions are under lock down once again.
"Otherwise, it's just malfeasance for malfeasance's sake."
-Dwight Schrute The Office
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
One of my favorite things about Troy's love of photography is the direct benefits I receive. I am amazed by his eye and really enjoy his Haiti photos -- but I also get to document my kids' growth without getting totally stressed out going to the JC Penney's Portrait Studio. That whole experience of dressing your kids, hoping no one spits-up on their clothes or ruins their hair on the ride to the studio ... I loathe that experience.
Plus, I don't have to listen to their rip-off package schemes. You know, the package that allows you to chose one crappy pose for $9.99 but if you want anything from the set of decent poses it is $169.99 plus your right arm. Outside of those reasons, neither Penney's or WalMart or their Portrait Studios have found their way into this market. We wait ever so patiently.
So, late this afternoon after naps I asked the kids (and Troy) to humor us with 30 minutes of posing. These are a few of my favorites. Once Annie was added into the mix, things got a bit more difficult. Phoebe proved that surly, teething 18 month olds and photo shoots don't mix all that well. In most of the photos she has ice in her mouth to keep her happy. One photo (below) with cousin Annie added in turned out decent. There are some other really great shots of smaller groupings, I'll post those for the Grandmas very soon.
Isn't Troy good? (The artsy one on the couch is my favorite.)
This week Britt and I shared one of Haiti's strangest experiences together - golfing in Port au Prince. This time, it was even stranger than usual. It is always a nice change to see grass in Haiti, especially this much at once, and right now it is very green from the recent rains.
The beautiful Petionville Club Golf Course was in fine form - fairways were being mowed, as usual, with a push-mower.
Here's where things got really strange. Actually, it happened on the first tee. After I had completed shanking three balls out of play (that's not strange at all) we descended to the ladies' tees for Britt. She tried to settle in and get used to having an audience with the caddies standing there. Her first attempt was a whiff that we quickly decided was a practice swing.
Monday, May 26, 2008
if you've been reading for any length of time; you've watched us struggle with questions about the point of being here and the desire to JUST KNOW what the point is!
we flip flop between:
- saying and truly believing that being here is where we know God wants us - therefore the tangible and intangible results are irrelevant AND
- why be here if we're unsure what sort of success and what sort of true impact is being made - maybe this is both idiotic and pointless
i was blessed to see some small- yet- tangible things this weekend. even the littlest things can encourage when sometimes it feels like you're swimming in a sea of problems and you're totally unsure that anything being done matters.
we went on a walk over to barbancourt. i love this walk because it is on a narrow path through plantain tress with water running along side of the path, as you look up you seen green mountains and blue sky; it is beautiful. early in our walk we visited Tipap's house. he has built a nice little home in a shady spot among the mango trees. he seemed genuinely happy to see us and encouraged by our visit. along the path we ran into Tiroy. he was happy to talk to Britt and show her how perfect his toe looks (or the place where a toe used to be) and he thanked her for her help last year. there is no getting around the fact that we are the outsiders, therefore in the littlest things there is encouragement.
additionally, we have been blessed to see how excited Jeronne was when we asked her if she would help us out for about five hours a day, Monday through Friday. she is helping with Annie and our other kids too, as well as daily chores. she seemed thrilled with an opportunity to make more money and i think she knows that she is a huge help to us. she is an amazing lady, we're happy it worked out for her to help in the mornings.
i grinned this morning when she asked Noah to come over after breakfast and have his hands and faced wiped off. he knew what she was asking and Noah said, "Merci Jeronne" - and a little thing like that is encouraging. i sincerely hope that Jeronne will help the kids and i move forward with our creole - it is important to me that we all speak the language fairly well some day - not just Troy and Paige and Britt.
one on one relationships are important to me. maybe that is why these little things matter.
we're feeling more and more convicted to focus our attention on areas where the impact could possibly be longer range. we're feeling called to working with single moms, orphans, and projects that will impact individual lives and are more than a handout. it is all quite overwhelming at times ... and it is in those times that we need to remember to keep laying it down. it is not ours to carry. God sees and He hears and we'll keep giving it back to Him to deal with.
Lastly, Jen has posted some cute pics and final thoughts on her time in Haiti. AND, Troy and Britt have funny stories to tell about their day in Port today, they'll get on that tomorrow.
what should i do?!!??!
not sit here.
i peeked in to paige's room to find her, noah, isaac, and hope asleep. annie and lydie and phoebe are down.
this has never happened before and may never happen again. i need to choose wisely.
hope you're having a good day off (if you're in the usa.)
Sunday, May 25, 2008
- A coffee maker uses 7 amps (therefore brew it, then turn it off)
- An electric fry pan uses 10 amps (therefore make your pancakes quickly)
- A fan uses only 1 or 2 amps (therefore you can cool down without getting anyone too worked up)
- How much is involved in using electricity wisely (Duh - I had no worries, the bill was always under $100)
- How Diesel costs matter (Diesel used to be a thing that I thought only over the road truckers cared about)
- The value of solar panels and batteries
- The importance of planning out your laundry duties
A person walks into a room and turns a light or fan on, and then rounds the corner and heads to the bathroom ... A certain guy walks by, sees no one in the actual bedroom portion of the room ... BAM - The person is very likely to have the lights and fan turned off while they are using the facilities. But only because Troy is an electricity Nazi. At the end of each day we get to hear the rundown on who he busted that day. Today he got Britt once, Paige once, and Isaac twice. If you lived with him, you would withdraw your Facebook friendships. I know you would.
Britt and Lydie are having a great time together Britt has a thing for Lyd, and has since day one. She gets to golf with Troy at the famous Petionville course this week, climb to Petit Bwa with Paige - they last did that in August of '07. She is also doing some wound care for the patients that Dr. Jen had been seeing. Today she took stitches out of a dog bite and worked on a burn. She said it is very fun to be here and able to work again.
The mosquitoes are horrific right now, as you can see two of them found Lyd's head in the night. Dumb bugs. I woke up with 8 new bites. (Jen & Tess - we remembered the Chloroquine without your prompting. We're all grownz-up.) The house full of runny noses and red eyes seems to be heading toward winding down ... well, except Troy seems to have the man cold version ... no further comment on that.
It is really odd to look back at old blog posts from a year and two ago ... I try not to because sometimes I think Huh, I wish I had not said that or wow, I don't feel that way anymore! I guess it proves we're all on a journey and things change, even without us knowing it.
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Today as I laid Lydie down for nap and she grinned at us, Hope said, "That is such a crazy baby you adopted Mama" I said, "What?" Hope repeated her statement. I said, "I didn't adopt Lydia honey." She gave me a blank look and said, "Oh, huh!?" Isaac chimed in with kind of a "sorry about your luck" tone of voice and said "Yeah, well ... what do you call it when you're not adopted?" I love that these kids view adoption as a superior way to join a family. So wonderfully cute.
Lots of catching up to do here with our oldest baby girl. The crowd of siblings cheering on the porch as we drove up the drive earlier today could be heard throughout LaDigue. The excitement and fanfare matched that of an astronaut returning from a long space journey.
(The Message) A letter from Paul, Silas and Timothy
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Our three school-aged kids got to check out QCS today. It was very fun to see their excitement as they/we think/pray about attending there next year.
Paige, Isaac and Hope are all hoping to make the switch in the fall - now we wait to see if the finances fall in line with that desire. Paige gets the high priority, although Isaac loved it so much that he might talk his way into a spot. I kept saying "If you come here - IF buddy- we don't know yet honey!" And he kept saying "WHEN I come here" and "I love MY school." He told the teacher we met with that he "Can't wait to see her again." He is big into the power of positive thinking. How wonderful to ignore reality and lives in a happy Isaac-bubble. I envy the boy.
Isaac's oddness aside, I will say that the day that I thought I could home school three and have three babies (and Noah) and still handle laundry and administrative mission duties was a day of delusional thinking. I must have inhaled too many Port au Prince diesel fumes or something. It is time to explore plan B. Thankfully, Paige is on track and has not fallen behind. That felt good to all of us. Isaac is ready to be a 1st grader and Hope will probably take her beautiful smile to Mrs. Ackerman's class and give Kindergarten another shot. It helps that she is the size of the Keebler Elf. We think that having them in two different grades will also be good for both of them.
If you would, please pray that the plans and finances to switch the kids from homeschooling to QCS will come together.
Above is just one example of the many ways Haiti laughs in the face of safety measures.
Last week when Jamie and Aaron Ivey needed to put their kids on a motorcycle to return them to their temporary home in Cazale, Jamie said "That was really hard - because I am more of a five point harness type of Mom." - I chuckled at her comment and have since recognized that something about this culture's complete disregard for safety measures has led me to be a very laid back Mom. Maybe too laid back. Choking hazard you say? We scoff at you. Popcorn for babies! Strangulation? Here is some twine! Suffocation? Play with this plastic bag. Car accidents? Here baby, hang out the window and get a good view.
I am mostly kidding, but the reality is -- this is a safety concern-free or non-fearing culture. Putting a baby on a motorcycle is not something they worry about. I don't know what that says about us and I don't know what it says about them. I only know that there is no market for car seats here. Not even used ones.
After we dropped the four Minnesotans at the airport, we met with John and Beth this morning. We had a nice time catching up after an incredibly busy few months. We're so thrilled with the success they've been experiencing with their Women's Program. It is fun to watch them and see the way this ministry is meeting a real need in their area.
I think it is easy to get caught up in vision - and building on ideas and dreams - but it is hard to actually see a vision through to the point of a successful program - I give them props for doing what is necessary. They put their nose to the grindstone, their shoulder to the wheel, their nose to their shoulders where the wheel grinds ... or whatever.
I just like that they did more than say "lets have a womens program" they saw their dream through to this reality. Haiti needs more of that.
John and Troy exchanged stories about staying calm in Haiti traffic. The true test of what sort of person you are -- might just be getting through a day of Delmas traffic without losing your temper. We all agreed that the white guy going ballistic on a tap-tap driver might not be a good representation of the love of Jesus. Sometimes I think there is no greater testing ground for patience. Some days we pass and some days we fail. Our hope is always to improve on our pass/fail ratio. :) Patience *IS* a virtue you know. ;)
Britt - please call us sometime Wednesday. We want you to bring us strawberries!
(photos taken by Ericksons)
Monday, May 19, 2008
I got so much more sleep without Internet though. That was nice too.
I got tagged for this meme by Ruth last Thursday.
1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.
What were you doing five years ago?
May of 2003 ... huuummmm. I guess I was:
1. Adjusting to life with four kids. Hope and Isaac had been home from Haiti for about 7 months. 2. I was only working part-time a couple nights a week.
3. We were starting to draw plans to add 800 sq feet to our house.
4. I was loving every minute of every day and enjoying my new kids and
5. having fun getting to be a stay-at-home-mom for the first time ever
What are five things on your to-do list for today (not in any particular order)?
1. Make Internet work (by asking Troy to make Internet work)
2. Write emails to a bunch of people that are waiting on replies
3. Check bank balance
4. Get kids ready for Tuesday
5. Laundry (on my list every single day)
What are five snacks you enjoy?
2. Sam's Club Cajun Trail Mix
3. Chocolate (anything but dark)
4. Chips and Salsa
5. Crisp Apples
What five things would you do if you were a billionaire?
1. The first thing - I cannot say - it would ruffle feathers. But I would SO do it.
2. I would support a bunch of good people doing good work around the world - I would take away all of their fundraising headaches in one fell swoop
3. I would buy a massive swimming pool with slides for Isaac
4. I would go on some sort of amazing trip with Troy (just us)
5. I would pay off my ancient student loan debts and then pay for Britt's college (and maybe the rest of the kids too) ;)
What are five of your bad habits?
2. Staying up too late on the Internet
3. Caffeine and more caffeine (because of #2 - vicious cycle)
4. Jumping to conclusions
What are five places where you have lived?
1. Omaha, NE
2. Brooklyn Park, MN
3. Buffalo, MN
4. Zimmerman, MN
What are five jobs you’ve had?
1. Waitress (over and over and over - varying cuisine and atmosphere)
2. Amoco Gas Station Attendant (received a marriage proposal while at that job - help!)
3. Medical Sales (I sold tight socks, also known as "Compression stockings" which are indeed a medical product - who knew?!) (Hard job. Five State territory. Did.not.like.it.)
4. Catering/Banquet Sales (working with lunatic brides day in and day out)
5. Wedding DJ (don't ask)
What five people do you want to tag?
(Feel free to ignore the tag if you are busy. M' pa gen pwoblem avek sa.)
As it turns out – blogging without internet is a bit challenging. Internet is seriously a major part of our existence in 2008. At least three times a day we’ll be talking and someone will say, “I don’t know – google it.” (And there is the rub.)
There seems to be no true hope of internet being restored anytime soon. We’ll start going other places because the mission business cannot happen without internet and being disconnected from news, family and friends feels very weird. We will get back to emails as soon as we can, I promise. Currently I am on an 11 Mbps connection, whoa!! And I don't have an hour per email that would be required to open them. It is all very circa 1994.
Tina and Aidan and Deb and Elise (Tina’s sister-in-law and niece)all arrived safely last Wednesday and have had a nice visit. They actually leave very early tomorrow morning already.
Tess’ parents and Mr. Halverson all left a few days ago. The hotel Livesay is about to empty out and slow way down. Jen and Tess will be heading back to Minnesota on Thursday. Their time here is up. I could go on and on and on about the five months that Jen and Tess lived in LaDigue. Rather than do that here I will speak to them privately – through an ugly faced cry. Suffice it to say that living with people that are not your family could go terribly wrong. Troy and I both had some nervousness about how it would all play out. In the end Jen and Tess fit into our family like they were meant to be a part of it. The friendships we built mean more to me than either of them can possibly understand. We will miss them.
The clinic will be closing. That is sad too. We really hope that the money will be raised to open it. We found a Haitian Doc that is willing to run it, we just need to fund it. Jen worked for free for five months, making it all possible. There is no doubt that the clinic is needed. The people of LaDigue will miss Dokte Jen.
Yesterday a guy came to the gate with a hole in his neck. I could not even believe what I was seeing. He did not speak, he only motioned. He had a note and some information written down. He said he had been like that for three years, that he was trying to get to Cuba for medical help and wondered if we could pray for him and/or help him financially. The whole thing made me very sad. I don’t know how the guy is living like that. I have a photo but it is terribly depressing. Pastor Rony asked us to pray -- Jen and I did that and Rony gave him a little something and we said goodbye. It did not feel like enough.
On the personal front things are ... how shall we say ... uh ...not that good. I woke up with one eye swollen shut. I was flipping out and asking Troy if I looked terrible. Troy, being a liar, said "you look beautiful." Then Noah walked in the room and informed me that I looked like a monster. At least our son tells the truth. I have photos of it for posting - to prove it, but my stone-age connection won't allow it. You're probably better off not experiencing the horror of it all. Add the fat eye to the fact that Lydie is officially a bottle-fed baby ... and things are a bit "owie" right now. I lead such a glamorous life. Try not to envy me.
The mission is very quiet today, as we all observe Flag Day. Quiet is nice every once in a while. :)
Tomorrow Paige, Isaac, and Hope will be taking some tests at the Christian school in Port - maybe I will find some Internet to use and update you on the monster-eye and other situations. Thursday we'll be weeping as Tess and Jen head North and happy-crying when Britt comes in for 9 days. We can hardly wait to squeeze our Britty.
tara for all of us