Friday, July 31

Filed Under- "That's Different"

1. A 14 year old Haitian boy wearing a Kenny Rogers T-shirt

2. Running along minding your own business, looking up to see a goat spurting blood out of its neck and flailing around dying just two feet to your right ( and screaming out of shock)

3. Being told that your running shorts, that you wear to run in, are "offensive". (Because you should apparently run in heat and humidity wearing a shin length skirt and a bonnet. Or better yet, a Burqa.)



Also...
  • Killed the 15 miles. Bam. Done. and Done.
  • Have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 30

Link to News

In the News today:

Hopes dim for missing Haitian shipwreck victims

1. I cannot imagine being so desperate to take this kind of risk. Sad.

2. I cannot imagine writing an article where I thought this was a super important quote to include (or new information) - "the more time the human body spends in the water, the opportunity for survival grows less," said U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 1st Class Jennifer Johnson. (Thank you Captain Obvious!)


In Other News:
Paige and Tina are in the air! Hurrah!
I am in my (late) middle thirties. :)

Wednesday, July 29

A Franciscan Benediction


May God bless you with discomfort

At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships

So that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,

So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,

So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness

to believe that you can make a difference in the world,

So that you can do what others claim cannot be done

to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

Amen Amen Amen



Let it be true in our lives lord.

Tuesday, July 28

Bullets of Busy


  • Troy is kissing the auto part that arrived just in time to save our buns with a team that arrives tomorrow. Working out transportation for teams is always an adventure (which is the nice way to say it is always a big hairy mess). We have a large truck on loan, we're using it while other missionaries are out of the country. We are paying them for the miles we put on it ... but Tipap dropped motor oil all over the air filter a few weeks ago and then NO replacement air filter could be located in the USA or Haiti. The clock ticked toward July 29 and Troy's nerves were beginning to show. We wondered if 12 people and 26 bags would fit into a six passenger car if we removed all the seats and stacked people like wood. We've seen crazier things packed into small vehciles. Then, like manna from Heaven, this glorious item arrived to the island - it matters not how it got here --- we're just happy it did. And now, the team that never knew how close we came to not having transportation -- once again has transportation.
  • Today we hopped in that borrowed truck to go pick up the 20 chairs we ordered to go with Beth's new giant table. We headed north. A friend from out that way called to inform us that he had stopped to check on our chairs. It turns out the man who made them finished them last week, knew we would be coming, yet decided to sell them for a little quick cash in the last day or two. Even though we paid him in full six weeks ago. And he promised them to be finished by July 1st. So, no chairs for Beth. That kind of thing does not even give a rise in heart rate anymore - TIH - and that is how it works here. Deal with it or go slowly insane.
  • Randy (World Wide Village) arrived with two Teen Challenge Board Members today. They are here until Monday. We're hoping their trip will be productive. They are two houses away and my kids will be raiding their rooms for candy/treats when they leave. Or, maybe before they leave.
  • A team from Michigan arrives tomorrow (the team that once again has transportation) and Troy will be taking them south to Petit Goave on Thursday. They come back to Port next week to work with Heartline for a day before they head back home. Troy sort of needs to be in three places at once from Thursday until Sunday ... I will enjoy watching him figure out how to do that.
  • Thursday the greatly anticipated arrival of a super star named Paige takes place ... along with my sister Tina. Isaac, Hope, and Noah have not stopped talking about it for two days. It happens to be my birthday and I find the timing of their arrival to be a perfect gift. The poll on the blog seems to indicate that I will now be in my late thirties. Bummer. I'm not suggesting anything. But your vote could change me back to my mid thirties, the way I prefer to think of myself.
  • Friday we are going to complete a 15 mile training run. (Yes, scared.) My left hip hurts thinking about it ... but avek Jezi epi avek glace nou kapab (with Jesus and ice we can) ...I hope so anyway.
  • Noah was our entertainment on our failed ride to go get the chairs today. He was waxing theological with all sorts of observations about God. The highlights were quickly written down before we forgot ... Here is what we learned: 1. When Noah gets to Heaven he is planning to bow down to God (he demonstrated for us in the truck). Seems so logical for this particular child, it warmed the cockles of our sweaty hearts. 2. He is hoping that God has both hot water and a swimming pool. But, if he had to guess he figures maybe hot water is realistic but not the swimming pool. He really liked that hot water at Britt's wedding. He thinks that Florida is really onto something offering that to its visitors. 3. He is very anxious to "see what cuh-whoa (color) God is". When I asked what color he *thinks* God is he said, "ye-woh" (yellow) in a matter of fact tone. Then we went on to other topics. A few minutes later he said, "The weason I say God is ye-woh is because He is a twezow (treasure) and a twezow is usuawy (usually) gode (gold) and gode is like the cuh-whoa (color) ye-woh." Who knew I had such a deep thinker on my hands? Also, any speech pathologists heading this way?
  • Troy is mostly known as "Mr. Choy" here in Haiti. The "Tr" combination of letters is not an easy combination for native Creole speakers. Mr. Choy is going to start a reocurring column on the blog called "Mr. Choy's Texts" - in this column he will share some of the best (funniest, oddest, etc.) text messages he has received. I am hoping he will get to this in the next few days. They are truly wonderfully entertaining. Right now we get them from people we have never heard of ... his cell phone number seems to be making the rounds. Incidentally, I am Madame Choy. No one texts me.
  • A pregnant lady showed up at my house late morning. She was looking for the Women's Program and ended up four blocks away at my house. I still don't get who directed her our way. I had her hop in the truck with me and we went over to the right house. I talked with her a bit and learned she is due at any moment (two days ago technically) and that she thinks it is a girl (but does not know that) and that she does not want to keep the baby. I wrangled John in and asked him to do his thing. Troy has shared with me some of what John says and I always thought it sounded great and was so important. But sitting and hearing John say it today - I felt deep sorrow for the 19 year old mom. John does not want people placing babies if he can help them find a different way. All of you who know John know he is one peculiar dude ... but when it comes time to be serious and deep --- he shows up. I love that about him. I listened as he explained to her that the baby would not see her, would not know her, would not speak Creole, might never come back to Haiti, etc. etc. Then he said "That's not good, right?" (Sa pa bon, no?) He tried to help her think of ways to keep the baby. She said she understood all of that but that she could not keep this baby. John told her to go get her papers and come back to talk again. Maybe something will change for her in the coming days. John asks them to come back a few times in order to keep them thinking things through for a longer period of time. Toward the end of our conversation she let it slip that her Mom does not know she is pregnant so getting the papers out in the countryside might not be so easy right now. So many here lead such heavy lives. Be praying this young mom makes the best decision for herself and her baby.
  • Thank you THANK YOU for continuing to sponsor the Medika Mamba Marathon ... 66 days until race day. Things are looking really good for making the 26K goal. The Chiropractor is out of the country for four more weeks, I am praying I can stay injury free during this time without her help.
  • That is all.

An Incongruent Picture


One of my least favorite things about traveling between two worlds is the way it stirs up things that make me feel slightly insane and angry. I love a chance to go see my family and enjoy the "perks" of "home" - don't get me wrong. It is just that every time I go, I end up feeling frustrated with what I see and hear.

I don't want to be the judgmental jerk that walks around ticked-off , I truly don't ... but sometimes I am that person anyway. :(

I overheard conversations in Dallas last week that totally annoyed me. It just happened to be Dallas, it could have been anywhere. I was in a Chiropractor's office where people in the waiting room groaned and moaned over how inconvenient their lives were and traded woeful tales of traffic and long waits to be seated for dinner along with other equally horrible trials.

They were generally clueless about the beautiful office they sat in while waiting for their late-morning massage before they stepped back into their $40,000 car and jetted off to lunch. Their lives are just *so* hard!See. There it is. The angry sarcasm.

I know I am unloving to be disgusted with these types - but I don't yet know how not to be.

Admittedly, I have a way to go before I love ALL my 'neighbors'. My love sort of stops short of reaching the spoiled and whiny. I mostly want to punch them in the head. Thankfully, I have much restraint and instead I just sit and stew silently and then write mean things about them on the internet later.

We all complain at times, I am guilty. I am talking about something different. I like nice things too. I enjoy convenience just as much as the next guy. It is the larger thing that I often observe that bothers me.

I have no problem with fancy lifestyles, people should be free to live large with their own money if they so choose .... but I have a problem with people who don't care about others, won't see suffering, don't ever consider giving to a cause other than their own, never offer to help the down-trodden and don't have an attitude of gratitude about their own abundant blessings.

It seems to me, that in general, people are spoiled and expect everything to be easy.

When I went into my appointment, we made small talk while the Doctor made me straight. She had no idea where Haiti was (she was big enough to admit that to me) and no idea what the challenges are here. I never offer much more than a shrug and a non-answer in those situations. How do you sum this up in 30 words or less? But I digress ...

The fact that I flew on an airplane to see my daughter and was even sitting in that 68 degree, beautifully appointed Dallas Chiropractic office, waiting for a much needed adjustment - made me more fortunate than about 98% of the world's population. I felt so blessed to be able to go get help with my pain. I *am* SO blessed. I have never been hungry, unable to get medical care, or without clothing and my basic needs met. I don't understand why I escaped so much hardship and pain and poverty - I just know I did.

But like Carrie said in her post ... I am mostly preaching to the choir. If you're here reading, it is likely that you're not looking the other way when it comes to the forgotten and hurting in the world.I want the "haves" to KNOW about the "have nots" - and more than that I want them to CARE ... and more than that I want them to ACT. I want them to desire to use their blessings to affect change for many desperate places and people. I want them to get it!

I guess I wonder- when will we as a society, be less concerned about the newest car, boat or toy and stop obsessing about looking young, vacation spots, trendy clothing, and great hair ... When will we stop buying into the lie of the marketing that tells us that we must have everything in order to be happy or successful or important.And when will we invest in and care about hurting people in a hurting world as our first priority?

Monday, July 27

Noah covers Cake

video

Noah performs a wide variety of musical stylings ... including songs released a full decade before his birth.

Enjoy his cover of Cake's "Rock N Roll Lifestyle" off of the Motorcade of Generosity album released in 1994.

Sunday, July 26

Sauna Suit Sunday

Some people pay good money to enhance their physique and boost their pectorals ... And even go so far as to wear a Sauna suit to bring about increased calorie burn.

And some people keep their money and just carry around loads of babies in 100 degree heat all day.Greatness *is* within. ;)

Saturday, July 25

Marketplace


I'm not sure we'll ever love the process of purchasing fresh produce. The open-market is a proving ground. If you don't know what you're doing, it is best if you stay far away. Paige is the best negotiator in our family, and seems to be the only one who enjoys the game of bartering.

You must be in the right mood or you'll just end up ticked off and completely flummoxed. Even with a solid knowledge of the language the prices seem to vary widely- both day to day and vendor to vendor.

Our kids love fresh fruit, but some days Daddy just won't pay the price being quoted ... This photo was taken on a day he walked away empty handed.

Canned peaches in syrup kids?

Thursday, July 23

The {dream} Team


When I finish a 13 mile training run tomorrow (Friday) morning, I will be done with 8 of the 18 weeks of training. I will have logged 160-some miles- and Lord only knows how many hours of sweating and smelling. It feels good to be so close to the half way point in the training.

I want to take a moment to introduce my marathon support team. There are four key players that daily help keep me moving in the right direction.

The Kids-
These kids are motivation. Early on, I wondered if it would motivate me when I was having "poor me" thoughts on the running path ... or on the days I wished I never hatched this plan ... but I found out it does. I hate that these kids suffer. Injustice is something we can all fight. Their eyes and their stories motivate us and we can do something. Thanks to each of you who has.

Troy-
Is the sweetest man on the face of the earth. Hands down. He is encouraging me every single day. He makes sure the kids are covered when I need to be running and says nice (and sometimes even untrue) things to me to keep me motivated. (I am a machine - Or so he says.) He nags me to get to bed early before the long runs, he nags me to get up and get going ... And he gives excellent calf rubs too. If Troy was indifferent or unhappy about this, I could not do it.

Beth-
As far as I know, she might be the only human being on the earth to have trained for a marathon in Port au Prince, Haiti. (6 times I think) Maybe there were native Haitian runners, but I don't know that for certain. Beth has trained for multiple marathons here in all seasons and is one person I know totally gets the mental and physical challenges of training in this city/country. She is doing as many runs with me as we can make work, often the long runs on Friday because the moral support is huge to me ... and she knows that. She is one of my closest friends in the world and I admire her endurance in running, in life, and in service to Haitians. She is a pro.

Tina-
My little sister started running the same time I did in 2004. We ran two marathons together in 2005. That ended my marathon career until now. She has just completed her 9th Marathon. She *is* a machine. (For real.) She would tell you that running became therapy for her.

It bonded us together in 2004 and 2005 and created a deeper connection as sisters and friends. With her blessing and permission I want to share an abbreviated version of her story.

We were both born in Nebraska, but spent most of our childhood years in Minnesota. It is just us two girls, our Mom and Dad. My sister Tina was assaulted at the age of 12. Like most victims of sexual crime she chose to keep it a secret and shame and confusion began to engulf her. She turned to alcohol and drugs to numb her pain. For years no one knew what she was suffering from and did not know how to help her. It led to years of pain and destructive behavior.

When she was 17 she had a baby with her high school boyfriend. After much wrestling and praying, her daughter was placed for adoption. It was not an easy decision at all, but one she felt a certain sense of peace about because she knew it was what was best for her daughter at the time. Tina knows grief and pain that most of us won't ever know.

The family that was blessed to adopt my niece stopped sending photos more than 10 years ago. That hurts. (This is the reason I will nag at and argue with almost anyone who refuses to send birth families photos - that is just selfish. It is easy to send photos anonymously and without birth families "finding" you.) A photo to reassure a mother with a hole in her heart is not too much to offer.

Tina and I were not very close during the years that followed the birth of her daughter. We were both running from pain and making bad choices and neither one of us knew how to relate to the other. Or, maybe we only knew how to deal with our own pain and not each others.

Troy and I introduced Tina to Troy's college roommate (Matt) and friend in 1998. In 1999 they married and have since added two gorgeous little boys to their loud family.

In 2007 I called Tina from Haiti to tell her that Isaac's birth mom was going to place the baby she was carrying and really wanted the baby to stay connected to Isaac. Tina and Matt were thrilled and eagerly agreed to adopt the baby due in November. Before we really knew - we knew it was a girl. It made the story come full circle. 15 years after placing a daughter, Tina (and Matt) felt peace about beginning the process of adopting a daughter. (And Matt is adopted as well.)

Eighteen months later, they are still waiting on their daughter ... we all want her to leave here and go to her family in MN. We wish she were not spending this time with her crazy cousins ... but instead that she could be with her silly big brothers.

Tina will be running with me on October 4th. By then, it will be her 11th Marathon. She has promised to carry me if need be, but guarantees that my bod will cross the finish line. Tina is running in honor of her daughters. The one she lovingly gave life to many years ago and does not know, and the one she hopes to start a new chapter of life with soon.

I cannot express how important her presence will be to me on the first Sunday in October. She is raising these funds too, because I would be too chicken to do it alone. I have Beth to get me through the training pain and Tina to get me through race-day woes.

Not to be forgotten:
Thank you to Dr. Cheryl for her help keeping me running as straight as I can.

Thank you- Jenny K of MN, Gail G & Shannon H of CA, Amy D of SD & Michelle C of IN for sending me gels, Gatorade, cross-training ideas and running gear. I am using the stuff every week and I thank you for your generosity and thoughtfulness.

Tomorrow I run further than I ever have in Haiti and further than I ever have in heavy humid heat. Thank you- Troy, Beth, and Tina, and readers for the boost of love and support.

The 26K is going to happen!

Modern paraphrase of Matthew 25


"For I was hungry, while you had all you needed. I was thirsty, but you drank BOTTLED water. I was a stranger, and you wanted me DEPORTED. I needed clothes, but you needed MORE clothes. I was sick, and you pointed out the BEHAVIORS that led to my sickness. I was in prison, and you said I was getting what I DESERVED."

-Richard Stearns, The Hole in Our Gospel


From left to right: Dieuvlet, Peterly, Jonny, Gilderson

(These four boys are all living in the RHFH Rescue Center, receiving Medika Mamba, and trying to gain weight and recover.)

Wednesday, July 22

YeeHaw


I left Saturday for a quick trip to Dallas, TX. I am home again. I did not say anything before going because I wanted the three days to be blocked off for time with Britt and Paige. I know that sounds jerky but it is hard to say "No, I don't accept your offer to meet for coffee, speak at your church, or go out to lunch." I have offended before so I was trying to have boundaries without offending. I get about ten days a year with Britt so I wanted it to be a girls' bonding time.

We ran some important errands. We met a super gal who will be moving to Haiti in late August to help with our kids and do some homeschooling for us (more on her and that soon), and we shopped and shopped some more. Troy let me pick out my own B-day gift a week early. I now own cowboy boots. I have wanted them half my life. So that is pretty stinkin exciting. Is it not? Yes, I plan to wear them in Haiti. Hot is hot is hot. Boots won't change that.

On the way to the airport we stopped to fill my empty duffle bag. The rule is: never leave allowed luggage sitting on the table. Packing the full allowance is a must once you understand how hard it is to get things down here ... and how expensive they are. The goal was to buy about 50 pounds of stuff and get it in the bag easily.

As we packed an odd assortment of things including: strawberries, grapes, peanut butter, coffee creamer, diapers, crackers, cereal, wipes, sippy cups, etc. in the middle of the parking lot - Britt said "Some people don't do things like this."

What? Really?

I find nothing odd about walking into WalMart and walking out with 50 pounds an hour later and packing a duffle bag in a store parking lot. I also think throwing my arms in the air and doing an end-zone celebration at the American Airlines counter when a bag weighs exactly 50 lbs is a normal way to respond. The agents always act like it is not all that normal. ??? I don't get that. They must not understand victory. Or maybe we left 'normal' a long, long time ago.

The travel home had its usual annoyances and entertainment. The most annoying was the TSA woman who let 23 bags just like mine go by and then told me that I would have to go back to check mine because it was too big. The lady before me had an identically-sized bag. I find the ever-changing and ambiguous rules and enforcement of those rules to be maddening. I argued with her - made it fit in the metal box thing to prove she was wrong - felt vindicated and acted generally mean toward her. Don't mess with this kind of crabby after two hours of sleep Mrs. TSA lady at the Tampa airport.

On the plane to Port au Prince all rules are out the window. People call five items two and argue with such vigor and passion that the airline employees eventually break down and say, "Okay - your carry on suitcase, your giant mall shopping bag, the shrink wrapped stack of hats, and the trashbag with twine around it only count as two items. Have a nice flight." Then they announce all the rules over the loud speakers while no one listens and no one cares and everyone does whatever they want.
Good times I tell you, good times.

Four flights arrived at noon today. It was total madness. A lot of funny business happens with people bypassing immigration and I always wonder if anyone even knows who is in charge. When my guy told me to go to the back of the 200 person line because I filled out my card in red ink, I decided to embrace the culture and just flat out refused. I stood there and refused ... he kept pointing for me to go to the end of the line. He said he did not have a new card. I ignored him some more and then walked away toward the baggage claim even though he had not stamped my passport. That worked, he relented, handed me a new card and let me fill out a new card on the spot. I do not know why it must be this way ... but that is how it works. Whoever is the biggest jerk with the best ability to act undaunted and disinterested gets what they want. Refuse to do what you are told - bam - you get your way. It is kind of like living life in puberty and pushing to see what you can get away with. It is madness. To make it all just slightly more stressful, I was carrying a year of rent that we owed our landlord. (Most people who rent in Haiti are required to pay a full year in advance.) Carrying a lot of cash makes my tummy churn even in controlled environments. You can imagine what it was doing today.

My bag came around the carousel dripping bubbles. The giant bottle of dog shampoo I bought busted open and soaped up half the airport. The Cheez-Its were smashed into tiny crumbs (but Troy ate them off a spoon so no worries) and everything had a layer of anti-flea bubbles on it. But it got here. The strawberries were a hit. Noah thinks I am a super-hero for bringing that to him.

Everyone missed me and acted like I was gone for a lot longer than I was. I missed them too. It is good to be home.

Saturday, July 18

Saturday


The week that was - it is no more - thank-you Lord.

  • our fixed car started to break again - thanks to Ken for helping re-fix it
  • the generator broke - not just a little - a lot - now fixed
  • edh left for 56 hours straight - that was not nice
  • we snapped at each other here and there and there and here
  • phoebe broke the new water cooler (we just replaced the old broken one after a year of thinking about it) well - no, she broke the cold side - we can still have hot water to drink whenever we need to warm up - for cold you have to go to John and Beth's house
  • lydie threw more valuable items into the toilet - that's just what she does
  • bought curriculum then found out we were scammed - very long and creepy story - they hung up on troy when he asked why he had to pay shipping on books that never shipped ... it is all in the fine print of course
  • ran 12 miles in 70% humidity - rocked it. Ran the last mile only twenty seconds slower than the first mile
  • saw a major drama unfold with a new baby, an abusive dad, and a mom who needs a lot of help - think things are on the upswing finally - for now she resides at Heartline
  • brought four new prego ladies into the pre-natal program - all less then 15 weeks pregnant so we have time to get them healthy before they deliver :)
  • had a mom tell Beth her plan is to abandon her baby at General Hospital when it is born (we'll be working on that with her -- BAD plan)
  • troy went round and round with our least favorite scam-artist trying to get things out of him that are long over-due - futile, frustrating, and foolish
  • brought 6 ladies for lab work - only to find the lab closed :(
  • one of our HIV ladies was incredibly sad this week - the sad that permeates a room - she has chickenpox and is pregnant and is living with the HIV secret - i wish we could fix it for her :(
  • got scammed/cheated at the gas pump - got to see troy very mad which is always a treat
  • changed shirts over and over and over night and day - i challenge any one of you to a sweating contest - i will crush you with my superior sweating skills
Huge boost to the Mamba Funding ... THANK YOU to the 13 that gave in the last 48 hours. Have a great weekend. Show them the money. Merci Anpil !

Wednesday, July 15

Renald Update

The Medika Mamba Marathon Sponsorships have dropped off a bit.

It is July, I know people are busy enjoying summer - I get it. But- I am asking you to please re-post the information on your blogs, facebook and myspace as well as talking to friends, churches, and groups about this life-changing product. PLEASE consider sponsoring this cause if you have not already done so, we really need and appreciate your help.

You all remember Renald. He came to the Rescue Center on June 3rd. Renald was unable to gain weight up until June 18 because he had so many worms to get rid of and was quite ill. Most of the food he ate the first two weeks came right back out.

Once he improved enough to keep the Mamba down, Renald has been receiving Medika Mamba multiple times a day. June 26 (about 20 days ago) was the offical date that he really started to get a few tablespoons each day. On July 14 he weighed 18 pounds even. (He started at 13 and a half pounds.) He has not yet reached goal weight for his age but his progress is astounding. We think by the end of August he will be to his goal weight and then some.

Before on the left & mid-treatment on the right:
I cannot wait to see his graduation photos, he is already a new kid after less than one month!
Please get involved and help other kids be healed, renewed, restored, and changed!

New Music

Our friend, fellow adoptive parent from Haiti, and talented musician Aaron Ivey has recently released a new album. It includes fresh renditions of beautiful hymns, stirring corporate worship songs, and some beautiful reflections on adoption and missions.

AARONIVEYbutton

I bought mine before he offered to give me one if I put this on the blog, so it's a legit recommendation. ;) If you would like to preview a sample of his amazing musical stylings live at the Livesay house, click here. Seriously though, it's a great album.

From aaronivey.com:

The new full-length album centers around God’s faithfulness and beauty, and the church's response to injustice, poverty, and orphans. The 10 song album reflects a heart for the Kingdom of God here and now, between the beauty and the chaos.

With the current release of “between the beauty & chaos,” Aaron and bandmates explore the reality of living in a world that contains both beauty and chaos. Released in June of 2009, the new full-length album contains songs centered around God’s faithfulness and beauty, as well as songs dealing with justice, poverty, and adoption. Songs like “Pieces” and “Amos Story” have surfaced through Aaron’s experience with adopting two children from Haiti (Amos and Story). Other songs, such as “Let Your Kingdom Come” and “The Name” have been an extension of the band’s ministry inside the local church. Since late 2008, Aaron has served as one of the worship leaders at The Austin Stone in Austin, Texas.

Sunday, July 12

Review

 
  • Geronne's daughter Jenny is visiting for the month of July. She is 10 and very soft-spoken and sweet. She has lived with her paternal grandmother most of her life. Jeronne believes this is the best arrangement for Jenny. It is very uncommon for a mother to raise all of her own children in this culture. (But Jeronne only has one child.) It seems terrible to many of us but it is the norm here. Some days I want to embrace the culture and send one or two of mine to their grandparents to be raised.
  • Jeronne likes to spoil the kids. The other day she brought home a bunch of bottles of King Cola. There is no liquid product with as much sugar as King Cola. I am sure of it. Noah already has one tooth rotting out of his skull so I try to limit his sugar food, especially in the evening. Troy was splitting a King Cola for the boys one evening when Jeronne walked in and said, "Oh, Noah can drink a whole one by himself, that is what I give him. He does not need to share." Troy explained he was not so much splitting it because they boys were not capable of drinking an entire soda -- but because drinking an entire soda makes them insane. And, it makes their teeth ugly. Jeronne thinks we might be breaking their spirits with our strict and terribly oppressive ways.
  • Updates on the Women I wrote about last week- The 63 year old does not have an absorbed fetus from 18 years ago. But she might have cancer. For the majority of the population Cancer means death. Not a lot of Chemo being offered in the sprawling corrogated tin communities. In better news, the sick baby looked great on Tuesday and Mom seemed to have a whole new outlook on him and on being his Mom.
  • Not much to say about last weeks running. I logged the miles. I did all four runs in my neighborhood following a 6/10th of a mile loop around and around. One guy says something to me every.single.time.I.pass.him. Some days that is like 13 times. I may just need to ask him to save the conversation for a time that I am not dripping wet with music in my ears. Two runs were average. One was really hard and one was really great. C'est la vie. For cross training I tried Yoga. I would never let anyone see even a tiny glimpse of that hour of my life. Even the guy on the dvd seemed to be laughing. Downward dog? This week my training calls for 3 - 6- 3 & 12 mile runs. Only the 12 makes me gulp, but I have finally given in and realize that I cannot just wake up at 5:30 on long run days. I need to be to my running location and in motion by shortly after 5am ... if I would not lard-out when the alarm goes off - I could (in theory) get 5 miles in before the sun was even up.
  • The plan then is this --- don't be a lard on Friday morning. Get. Up. and. Go.

Photo from Cazale, Haiti ~ RHFH Rescue Center

Our Favorite Texans


Paige is visiting her MARRIED sister for the first time ever. I asked her yesterday if it was weird, she said "not too weird". Isaac is a little ticked that he was not invited on the trip. I told him "When you get older you will get to go visit Chris and Britt during the summer too." He said, "Mom, it seems like older never comes. I have been 7 for so long."

More later ... time for church.

Wednesday, July 8

The plan for July


Since we started writing in late 2005 I have always really enjoyed blogging. It has proven to be a great way to preserve memories, communicate with friends, family and strangers and vent and process some of the odd and difficult things. It if fun to share the silly kid things and it helps to process the rest in writing.

When I click on an old post from '06 or even '08 I am amazed at how faded the memories have become already. We're very thankful to have this written record for ourselves and our kids to look back on someday. Blogging is also free therapy and we don't want to lose our therapist. :)

Having said all of that I still often wonder if my ego is in check. I want to be sure blogging is not something I do for the wrong reasons. I *never* want it to be - look at me, I am kind of a big deal . We don't believe that or want to come across that way. I pray we do not.

Sometimes the encouragement provided is hugely important but I wonder if it would be better to not rely on the internet for encouragement. I am unsure. I only know that I don't ever want this outlet to be what defines us or builds us up. It is always a little odd to us to hear that our blog is liked - We're humbled and thankful that you find something worth reading here.

For the next three weeks we've decided to dial back our time on the internet. While it is the single source of outside entertainment at night, and the main way we communicate with loved ones, we still feel the need to re-group and spend a bit less time on it. The work, the running, the kids ... they all seem to be demanding more right now. Less writing, less reading, and time better spent.

The plan for now is to go to one written post a week (not sure which day) possibly with a few photos as filler in between the weekly written updates. The reasons above are key, but also important ...

Paige took on a special project a few weeks ago. She left earlier today for three weeks with family in Texas and Minnesota. We want to take over her incredibly worthy project while she is away. I am so in love with Paige's heart and have seen some big things in her life this year. She is brave and strong. She has touched and inspired us (and others) with the love and commitment she has shown and we want to continue her work for her. It's a full-time gig that requires much attention and we want to be fully engaged with it. To do that we need to write less often and reduce our time on-line.

(And right now the internet is so spotty and slow, it's very convenient timing!)

Thanks again for following along, supporting with prayer and encouragement, and caring for Haiti. We hope you're enjoying a fabulous summer.

Tara & Troy and Tribe


A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones. He who listens to a life-giving rebuke will be at home among the wise. He who ignores discipline despises himself, but whoever heeds correction gains understanding. The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
Proverbs 15:30-33

Monday, July 6

Children of Haiti

Children are our most valuable natural resource.
-Herbert Hoover
When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments;
tenderness for what he is, and respect for what he may become.
-Louis Pasteur

Sunday, July 5

It's all in the past

Last week was the week of odd and sad situations ... highlighting just a few of them...

  • A first-time mother came to Beth and the OB Doc on Monday. She had been coming to class at Heartline for about 6 weeks. Up until Monday everything had been progressing normally with her pregnancy. But on Monday she was a clear case of pre-eclampsia. Heart tones on baby were good but Mom's bloodpressure was through the roof. In the USA you'd be admitted to a hospital and they would try to save your baby. Most times they would succeed. This Mom was given the best that could be done for her here (which is not a lot) and on Thursday her sister informed us that the baby had been born dead on Wednesday. She said it was a good sized baby girl. We asked where the baby was and the sister said they had thrown it in the ravine. We sent for the sick mom and had her carried in. She was despondant and obviously in emotional pain. The exam was necessary and some membranes were removed and she was put on heavy anti-biotics. We drove her back home and someone came to carry her back into her house. It was very, very sad.
  • On Friday a Mom came to the one-day clinic we did with the Texas team and had a 9 pound 9 month old. He was burning up with fever. She seemed unable to comprehend how much danger her son was in. The Docs were able to diagnose pnemonia and get the little boy, JeanPeter, started on injectible and oral antibiotics. He was listless and very sick, Mom and baby should return Monday for a follow-up. We are all hoping he is okay.
  • My favorite lady of the week was a 63 year old woman who insists that she is pregnant. Upon further questioning we came to understand that her husband died 18 years ago and that the baby has been there all this time. She mentioned that her last-born child was in his early 30s and that it has been 23 years since she reached menapause ... all that math did not work well with the baby in her womb for 18 years but she was so certain no one knew quite what to say. She says she has an ultrasound picture to bring us and that she will be back on Monday or Tuesday with it. She wants surgery to remove the baby. A hospital here told her that is what she needs. She was so adorable and you cannot help but feel total respect sitting with a woman who has lived 63 years in Haiti.
  • Paige had a riding lesson Wednesday. I got into it with the French instructor. He was being king of the world and got to the point where he was being so mean and condescending that I found it intolerable and I asked him why he had to be so rude, why can't he teach without bringing his student to tears. I cannot stand what a big deal he thinks he is. We've officially asked to work with only the other teacher, a very kind Haitian man who never brings tears or frustration. At the end of the lesson the French guy said "Your mother does not like me - but it does not matter - *I* am the instructor!!!" Uh. Wrong. It does matter dude. I don't give a crap about your title or heritage. You're fired.
  • I am over 85 miles in total training miles. July is bringing its own special love to the training game. And by "special love", I mean hell. Friday's run - Wow. It was 95 degrees less than 4 miles in, before 8am. I could feel the humidity smothering the life out of me. I managed to keep my feet moving for the full 10 miles, although there was a huge and ugly war in my head during miles 5 through 8.5. You can see from the graph that I slowly but surely died - and then got inspired to finish strong. Continuing to train - one run at a time.
  • The two birthmoms both had appointments at the Embassy. Phoebe and her Birthmom had DNA ordered. Phoebe's mom said she was born in 2007, when in fact she was born late in 2006. I find it highly annoying that birth parents are supposed to know things that very few people in this culture keep track of - ever! Why would a person struggling to survive who does not pay attention to the date of their *own* birth ever pay attention to the birth-dates of 8 children? I could ask 10 people when one of their children was born and 9 of them would shrug and give me their best guess. "I don't know, I remember it was hot." At least the questions they ask at the Embassy make no sense, and therefore we were assured it was indeed a government agent we were dealing with and not some evil imposter.
  • There are now 14 people living here, plus our friend Megan (photo below with Paige) is here overnight just for a night. Two were supposed to have left by now - but - no - they have not yet done that ... don't ask. A guy on the Texas team said "Wow this is a spacious house!" pause. "But I guess with 13 people living here it is not quite as impressive." Either way, I truly hope to bring the numbers down soon.
  • On the 4th of July I asked Troy to get a bunch of pics of the kids ... obnoxious quantities were posted to please the grandparents - the rest of you will need to find it in your heart to forgive us.

little girls rule this roost

lydia 21 months
(she can be all four seasons in one day)

annie 19 months
(mischievous times infinity)
Phoebe 32 months
(all that and a bag o' chips)

little men

Three's Company

isaac 7.75 ~ hope 7.5 ~ noah 5.25
I

Saturday, July 4

July 4th Quote


I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it for I shall not pass this way again.
~Quaker saying

Thursday, July 2

Carrefour

Haitian Proverb:
Pito ou travay pase ou mande.
(Better to work than to beg.)


(Thanks to Amie Sexton for the photo)

Wednesday, July 1

"If you have come to help me you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together."

- Aboriginal activists group, Queensland, 1970s