Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Purging Travel Thoughts

Being with Britt and Chris was truly wonderful. I am incredibly proud of them both but maybe even more so of Chris who is juggling a lot of responsibility - and is still guy-smiley. I am so glad I went. It helps to be able to picture them in their surroundings. I love those newlyweds and I think they're doing great!

It hit me on the ride to Dallas how much Britt grieves the loss of her siblings and her time with us here. I knew how I felt about letting go of her, but I think I now understand her hurt too. She enjoys her role as big sister and feels sad to be missing out.

Saying goodbye to her (remember I do not excel in this area) was horrid. I feel sorry for the guy that served me at the TGI Friday's at the DFW A Concourse - you could tell he wished he did not have to come talk to the sobbing, snotty, ugly-faced lady in his section. I tipped well to try to make up for it. Poor fellow.

I used a miles ticket, which means you have really bad choices and get stuck with an overnight in Florida. When they give you something free, they want it to suck so you don't want more things for free.

Sleeping in the Fort Lauderdale airport is not possible. I layered all the clothes in my carry on (five shirts two pants) and still got hypothermia inside the building. I am 100% certain the area hotels cover the expense of dropping the air conditioning to 45 degrees to try to force more business their way. It is a conspiracy, I know it. I prevailed, though. No hotel got my money.

I slept from 1:15 am until 2:42 and it was totally relaxing and awesome*. The wood bench was so inviting, the massive industrial vacuum coming by acted as white noise and the workers emptying the trash and talking about me in Creole was super-relaxing too*.

At 3am I considered breaking the meat and cheese out of my cooler bag to lay on that and try to warm up. At 4am I gave up and just started walking in circles to stay warm. When I got in line to get rid of my bags again at 4:30, I learned that I am not very polite in an airport after no sleep. Some woman jumped my case for being in the wrong line and "cutting" -- I assured her there was nothing more in the world that I wanted to do in that moment than to BLESS HER*!

It turns out that I could not cut in line because they don't check Port au Prince passengers in the main ticketing area. They do it downstairs off to the side. I can only speculate it is because there is much packing, unpacking and re-packing that happens when people come back to Haiti. No one in their right mind is coming back here with one ounce less than 100 lbs of something good.

I must have looked horrific ... the puffy eyes, the layers and layers of clothing ... something ... Because the guy that finally helped me re-check bags at 5:39am (not that I was watching the clock) decided to upgrade me to first class. It was then that I figured I would for sure see someone who supports our work and they would think I spend their money on first class airline tickets and other super fun things and they might think I went to Disney World too and I would fumble and be awkward trying to tell the story of how I got upgraded without even asking ... and it was a free ticket and I only went to see my kid and ...
But that did not happen. So that was wasted worry. I tend to be tortured when tired.

*not true
I drank 72 ounces of coffee between 6am and departure time ... which meant I could stay awake and enjoy my HUGE reclining seat in row 6 with the other fancy people - and the hot towel that came with it.
It. was. awesome.
While I am operating on just a couple hours of sleep, as unwise as it seems, I am going to make a MAJOR confession. I know I have friends who will be offended, but I feel the time has come to finally admit publicly ....

I hate matching t-shirts for mission team members. Truly. A lot. I feel sad for people every time I see it. These folks made me frown at gate F6 today. They went to Jamaica all yellow and matchy.

Troy likens it to what Vince Lombardi said about being in the end zone: "Act like you've been there before!"

Aaaaaahhhhh. That felt good. Off my chest.

And now, I am home...Where people are sick and the bugs are thick. (Troy is not better yet. Lydie has something.)

I did not find the mosquitoes to be so horribly insensitive in Texas, I don't understand what sort of terrible upbringing these Haitian mosquitoes had. They have so much unresolved anger.

Hopefully a night of solid rest will make angry bugs and illness seem like a tiny little thing tomorrow. I can hope.

~Tara

Monday, March 30, 2009

Vedette

Vedette is one of the women in the Heartline Women's Program sewing purses to be sold at www.haitiancreations.com.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

An Open Letter to a Tropical Disease - From Troy

Dear Malaria,

Words can not adequately express how I feel about seeing you again right now. (No words suitable for public consumption, anyway.) I guess I shouldn't be surprised that you made your appearance while I am here caring for a large tribe of little people without my wife - you've always had impeccable timing like that. 

I apologize for not recognizing you immediately upon your arrival yesterday - I hope you were not offended that I mistook you for a bad case of indigestion from the midnight quesadilla I whipped up. You didn't seem too upset when you woke me up at 2am after wrapping me up in sweat-soaked sheets, though, so I guess you're ok with this. 

Thank you for the reprieve you gave me today during the day while we went about our business - nice of you to sit idly by while I entertained all the guests and kept the children happy. Seriously, that was really nice of you.

I'm not sure where you had been all day, but you sure returned all hot and bothered. Excuuuuuse me for ignoring you and not medicating until after the kids were all in bed. You should really lighten up.

So when you planned your visit - did you know that I would only have liquid chloroquine on hand in a child's dose so that I have to drink 4 ounces of that disgusting concoction? Hmmmm, something tells me that you did. 

Unfortunately for you, you can't stay long as I have many things to do and need to be better by the time my Tara comes back. You are a crappy companion and she's not the most compassionate person when it comes to a sick husband. ;) 
(That wink is not for you, Malaria.)

I hope you enjoy the baby bottle of syrup I just swallowed - I know I did not. But I will rest well knowing that you're getting your eviction notice...right up until I wake up soaked again and having dreams of things like homicide and other disturbing images...so nice of you to bring that lovely slide show with you whenever you visit. 
For your information - I didn't have enough options readily available for measuring by the ounce - just one liquid measuring cup and a whole bunch of baby bottles. 

If I knew where Tara's shirt was, I would try it on for you right now...since I do not I'll just give you the gist of what it says:

Malaria, you suck.

You don't have to go home but you can't stay here.

Sincerely,

Troy R. Livesay


Edit-
Troy is delirious (clearly) and he *meant* to say that he has the most AMAZINGLY COMPASSIONATE wife on the face of this earth.  Forgive him  (the way I will) - chloroquine does crazy things to a person. ~tara in TX

Friday, March 27, 2009

Birthday Bears


I (tara) am in Waco, TX with my favorite Bears: 1. Britt and 2. Chris and 3. Zoe for the weekend. I came to see their place, celebrate both of their March birthdays, run a half-marathon with them and soak up their cuteness. I am doing all of that. We're bummed that the race forecast is looking cold and windy. The course is very hilly so it could get ugly for some of us who are getting on in years. :(

I head home to the tribe on Monday. Troy seems to have things under control there. He is either Super Man or an awesome faker. He sounded cheery and sent mushy emails without any complaints or reports of problems.

I am a very bad leaver so there were tears when they dropped me at the airport but Noah broke into a prayer for me on the spot. He recently told Troy that "Mom is the cryingest Mom in the Wold" (no R in world). I just hate goodbyes. That's all. No matter who it is, I hate it. (I guess I don't often say goodbye to people I dislike.)

I attended class with Britt yesterday. In the Lifespan Development Psychology class we learned nothing. I could teach that class. ;) In the Microbiology class I learned a lot. We were learning about HIV. I attempted to blend in, but I think I was conspicuously old.

That's it from Texas. Happy Weekend.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Stand



I am still struck by how much everyone is trying to do and how many things we're pushed to be involved in. On top of raising a family and going, going all the time, every email and world issue demands we take a stand!!! The pace of daily life is mind-boggling, add in technology and the ability for everyone to get to your in-box with their !HIGH PRIORITY! information ... it is enough to drive you over the edge. (And I live in a slower paced environment than most!)

In one month I might get emails asking me to respond to issues of: the killing of harp seals in Canada, abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, poverty, the changing curriculum in the public schools, the endangered rain forest, AIDS in Africa, the persecuted church, child abuse, boycott this and boycott that, the global food crisis, the dust on the top of pop cans is going to kill us, the changing face of modern culture, environmental causes, politics and more politics ... and on and on and on it goes.

How can I (or you) possibly be informed and active in a bazillion areas --- and do I (or we) even have to be? I cannot even keep track of the issues let alone respond to them all!

It is not that I don't care - trust me, injustice keeps me awake at night - but I have determined that God calls us to certain things - not all things.

By not weighing in on each issue, I am not failing. Call me ignorant or weak or even lazy - but most days I don't have time to wipe all the butts and make everyone in *my* house feel loved and protected - and those are the issues/people I have direct control and influence over. I also understand that not everyone reading is called to respond to the issues I share about in Haiti. Some are, some are not.

I cannot and will not fight for Canadian Harp Seals or any other important issue until my God, my husband, my children and and my neighbors are loved. In that order. (Just the first two commandments - love God, love your neighbor ... after I master that, *then* I will see about taking up another cause, debating theology, or explaining why I feel what I feel about X Y or Z.)

More than anything I want my priorities to line up with His. I want what I believe to actually be reflected in how I live and love. I don't think His ways require me to respond to every issue on this globe.

When people try to get into debates about theology or the "correct" stance on a particular issue - Troy likes to say, "As soon as I get the first two commandments down, I will worry about the rest of it." He does not mean to be disrespectful, he is seriously trying to say that he is prioritizing his causes. Cause number one - love God and cause number two - love people. If that is what we all did - none of us would have time left to argue.

For me, this means deleting about 9/10ths of the petitions without signing or forwarding - and ignoring requests to write my Senator. Are there worthy causes that I ignore? Yes. Does that mean I don't care at all? No. But I choose instead to attempt to love those I have direct influence over and seek Him and seek Him and seek Him while I try to find small pockets to be still and listen to Him speak. (And sometimes I beg Him to speak.)




PS-
I have nothing against Harp Seals. They are very soft and fluffy.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Giving Birth in Haiti


I despise sensationalized news, I truly do. So please know I don't post stories or links to stories unless I believe they are close to totally accurate and not hyped up. If you've not read this story, it is a good and accurate one.

Then see this photo journal.

This story and hundreds others like it - are the reason that Heartline desires to open a full-fledged birthing center (there needs to be a prettier name than "birthing center" but that's all I've got today). "A center in which to birth"??? ;)

Lisa Buxman a certified midwife and Beth McHoul, currently training to become a certified midwife, desire to offer a safer place for women to deliver ... the need for this is huge. Heartline will only make a dent in the overall need but it will matter and it will both improve and save lives.

Medical professionals who've visited here or live here currently will all tell you that they have seen how important this work is. Lori at Real Hope for Haiti has delivered many babies and saved multiple lives by just being there and available. There are doctors volunteering and doing grass roots type stuff all over Haiti ... one baby and one woman at a time.

The big name organizations are seeing larger numbers, but the single doctors and nurses and midwives serving quietly throughout the island are doing important work. We're so thankful to them for their service ... the need is great! Please consider how you might be the answer to helping change the statistics ... come along side Beth and Lisa and Heartline to help them help Haitian women deliver safely. We have not yet reached the 15K to receive our matching grant, but we're getting closer.

Rain

"The best thing one can do when it's raining is to let it rain"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Nineteen Years ago today ...

... This beautiful girl appeared on the scene. We're thankful.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BRITTANY RACHELLE!!!!!
XOXO
We love you,
Mom-Dad-Paige-Ike-Hope-Noah-Phoebe-Lydia

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kid Pics by Paige


Paige has become interested in photography and spent some of her afternoon photographing her fan club. (Or at least the core group of her fan club.) Most of her subjects cooperated, but not everyone loved it. Click on the photo to make it larger.


Friday, March 20, 2009

Matt Redman Song



Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death
Your perfect love is casting out fear
And even when I’m caught in the middle of the storms of this life
I won’t turn back
I know You are near

Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on
And there will be an end to these troubles
But until that day comes
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You


And there will be an end to these troubles,
But until that day comes,
We´ll live to know You here on the earth.
(And I will fear no evil)Yes, I can see a light that is coming for the heart that holds on,
And there will be an end to these troubles, but until that day comes,
Still I will praise You, still I will praise You.


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Food/Culture

The other night Troy made the most beautiful and delicious angel hair pasta with mushrooms and artichokes and other fancy-Troy-like ingredients. It was light and healthy and very yummy. Some of us were quite excited for the break from the usual house specialty ... a box of noodles avek jar O' Prego.

I told Jeronne to come in and eat with us plllease. (She is stubborn and likes to clean up after us while we eat - annoying!) She mentioned that Troy's food was "belle" (pretty). She tasted it. She stopped. She mixed it around. She tried it again. Her face said it was missing something and I could tell she was wishing for the Famosa Haitian Ketchup.

While I find that to be odd, I understand that when it comes to cultural norms, food is one of the last things each of us would let go of or change. For the same reasons I get to the USA and order a huge fancy salad or ask my Mom to make her Pork Chops or Lasagna; Jeronne loves her Spaghetti noodles and ketchup. I read recently that studies show that immigrants that are interviewed a decade or more after leaving their home country will almost always say food is what they miss the most about home. It is such a huge part of who we are and a major part of our memories.

It took us two years of living here to stop wishing daily for cows milk. Breaded Pork Chops remind me of my Mom. That was one of her specialty items. If I am thinking of her house and reflecting on childhood dinners, that is the food that pops into my head.

Just think, someday my sweet children will be grown and as they pour their bowl of Honeycombs they'll reminisce and say, "Oh .... how these make me long for my wonderful Mother. She sure could put out a box of cereal!"

What is your favorite comfort/Mom/home cooked food?

For those who have lived abroad or spent considerable time away from "home" - what foods did you miss the most?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Seen in a Haitian home

Drivers Education homework
This leaves one to wonder where the page is that teaches about ignoring all rules and driving on the wrong side of the road (or on a sidewalk) while laying on the horn and screaming. That must be for the advanced drivers only.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Full Sunday

Our group from Austin, TX + Mark from CA.

Troy talking with E. Turnbull. - above
(Tina Schlorf and Lou Schlorf) - Minnesotans working at Baptist Mission - below




Today was full and wonderful. Church was great, lunch was fun, our trip up the mountain was awesome. Two vehicles went up, two came down. We had a great time at the Baptist Haiti Mission. We met the legendary Turnbulls, we hung out with the Schlorf family, we toured and played with kids at Wings of Hope ... we're exhausted but very, very blessed.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Edy with one D


Phone conversation:

Tara-
Hi Edy, Troy has been trying to reach you all day.

Edy-
Oh yes yes. Here it is the problem. The battery is my phone is died. I cannot charge today. This is the point.

We're waiting on that magical insurance check to appear, Edy is involved. After he takes his cut we should be able to get a really nice roll of duct tape. Edy will be able to design and buy more bumper stickers. Because *that* is some effective marketing.

~~~~~

Most of our plans for today ... yeah, not so much. But the team had a full day anyway - just not what we planned. Troy has invited Aaron over to hang out and talk smack on the porch and then sleep over ... which is just weird but I really think Aaron is going to leave Jamie with the team at the guest house and stay here for a slumber party.

Are they odd? Yes. I think so. These are little bug zapper rackets. Everyone who comes here LOVES them. They make killing mosquitoes so very satisfying.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Team


The team from Austin, TX arrived and are settled in - for family wondering, they are all good. Troy and I entertained ourselves at the airport by asking Alexis (the guy we use to help with bags) to hold this sign for Aaron who is traveling with seven girls. We were maybe more entertained than Aaron.

We've got a full day planned tomorrow. Visiting some ministries with Aaron's ladies and seeing Britt and Chris for a couple of hours ... trying to manage sickish kids ... hoping all vehicles operate well and things go according to plan. (I like to kid myself sometimes.)

Public Service Announcement


GROUND BREAKING STUDY!!!!!!

After extensive research stretching over a two-year period ...

our findings indicate -

That the number of children you have in your home DIRECTLY correlates to increased instances of illness (in your home).

Not a problem. Thank us later.
Now you know.


~~~~~~

We're off to pick up a bunch of Texans and get them settled into their guest house for the night. The Iveys brought a group down that will spend three days under our unstable direction before they head out to Cazale to be with the oh-so-capable Zachary family.

Noah is up and down - a bit manic with fever - then no fever - then tears - and back to manic.

Hope is lots better.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Broken & Grateful








Tuxedo in the closet, gold band in a box
Two days from the altar she went and called the whole thing off
What he thought he wanted, what he got instead
Leaves him broken and grateful

I passed understanding a long, long time ago And the simple home of systems and answers we all know What I thought I wanted, what I got instead Leaves me broken and somehow peaceful

I keep wanting you to be fair But that’s not what you said I want certain answers to these prayers But that’s not what you said

When I get to heaven I’m gonna go find Job
I want to ask a few hard questions, I want to know what he knows
About what it is he wanted and what he got instead
How to be broken and faithful

What I thought I wanted
What I thought I wanted
What I thought I wanted
What I thought I wanted

Staring in the water like Esops foolish dog
I can’t help but reflect on what it was I almost lost
What it was I wanted, what I got instead
Leaves me broken and grateful

I’m broken and grateful I want to be broken and grateful I want to be broken, peaceful, faithful, grateful, grateful I want to be broken, peaceful, faithful, grateful, grateful

(Song: What I thought I wanted, Sara Groves)

**Hope is getting better - it seems like the antibiotics are starting to help her infected gland in her neck. She has had two doses of three for Malaria so she should be much better tomorrow. I know that Grandmas and aunties worry a lot so I wanted to update. We had an odd power blip this morning that totally locked up one of our computers -- so we were not on line to update until now. TIH.

The depth of those lyrics speak to me. I have always liked this song because I believe that it is possible to be both broken and grateful. I feel like I live in the conflict of that unusual place ... Feeling both despair and brokenness along with hope and gratitude. They don't seem like they should go together, but they do.

Does that make any sense at all?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Why must it rain?



For whatever reason, it seems like once there is one battle to fight then all of a sudden there are multiple things going on. We've had some pretty big things to deal with lately (spoken and unspoken) and the crap just seems to pile on. I know we are not alone. I know we are loved. I am just simply reporting that both Troy and I feel really heavy in our hearts lately and we will not turn down any offer for ramped up prayer covering.

Today's things we can share ...
  • Hope has been struggling with fevers and exhaustion and tested positive for Malaria today.
  • Dr. Jen is also helping us with another issue Hope has on her neck.
  • Someone stole our credit card numbers and managed to use it to charge $3,700 at Valerio Canaz, a fancy furniture store near the U.S. Embassy. Rude! We're closing it down which of course is a total pain in the butt. When we told the store they refused to care ... so while our intent was to help them not lose merchandise when our bank is not going to pay them, they acted like idiots and did not get what we were trying to tell them. Whatever.
  • Somehow when I was paying a bill the mouse toggled down and selected the wrong account to pay the bill from ... I did not notice I had bumped it ... I finished the transaction. That account had no money - it is an old one that we have not used in many months. The people at 5/3rd Bank were informed of the simple mistake. It cost them nothing, they did not cover the payment or anything. But they did charge tons of fees and then when I told them once again that it was a simple mistake ... they rewarded me by sending it to collections. I am nothing if not stubborn and they will never see that money. This is my public announcement that Fifth Third is not very nice or forgiving. If you work there and have enormous amounts of power, please talk some sense into your employer.
  • The mosquito population inside of our house has now exceeded the population of this entire country. I wish I was exaggerating.
  • Lydia is cutting molars and she hates everyone. Yes, even you. She did learn her first sentence though: "I want more." She says it 600 to 700 times a day.
  • Our schedule gets insane come the weekend and we'll need to all be healthy and ready to roll. We have a team to help and guide Friday through Tuesday.
In more entertaining news:
  • Phoebe came up to Troy and said, "Troy, I pooped." He was busy and glanced back over to what he was working on. Not one for great patience, she turned around went to Jeronne and said the same thing in Creole. She gets it. This begs the question though: Should not a child who knows to speak a different language to a different care-giver then also know to poop in a toilet? Apparently not. Luckily I LOVE buying and changing diapers and never ever want to be free from them ... we're on year 7+ right now - why stop this party?
  • Last night at family prayer time Noah was the self-appointed prayer ninja. As one person finished he would call out, "Anyone else - who's next?!?"
  • Isaac prayed for "everyone in the world to be safe" Why limit God?
  • The boys are into fighting with these light saber StarWars toys --- Noah always gets to be Luke Skywalker. Noah then declares that Isaac is "Dark Vadow". Sometimes Troy gets to be Yoda.
  • Annie is dangerous on the trike. She gets on and tries to run over anyone in her path. Last night she laid Lydie out flat by running straight into Lydie's legs. None of us were too amused. The babies seem to love each other a lot ... that is, right up until they do something incredibly violent and terrible to each other.
  • Tonight was my favorite Hippie's birthday party. His love language is junk food so we put together some of that for him. Even though he is getting on in age, no one ever accused John McHoul of leaving the 60's behind.
  • Jeronne does not speak English, but she sings it. She now knows all of the words to "I could sing of your love forever" from our Baby Praise DVD. :) It is very cute to hear.
  • Britt and Chris report that they are having an awesome time serving on the North side of the island. Britt is thrilled to have recovered her Creole and all of the things they told us on the phone last night sounded very exciting.

HIV/AIDS





It shocks me how ignorant many people in the developed world still are about AIDS. The stigma is still real in 2009. When we moved here it was probably the number one odd concern tossed at us by skeptics. "Oh, Haiti? There are a lot of people with HIV there. Will you be safe?" One woman (who knew Britt used gloves and was very careful) actually suggested that Britt might have it from working with patients with wounds. Seriously, that is just total and complete ignorance. If you fear Africa or Haiti because of this reason, please head to the library or google it or something. It's time to come out of your cave. I'm sure many of you think I'm nuts - but there are A LOT of people that believe total bunk about this disease.

I find this video to be both convicting and powerful. Facing HIV/AIDS is not something I had to do in my pre-Haiti life. I never thought much about it. If I did I certainly was not too terribly sympathetic.

There was one boy in LaDigue that died of AIDS while we were living out there. Jean was 17 or 18. His body withered in the three years we knew him. Watching the way others treated him was the hardest part about watching his disease.

Since we began working with the Women in the Heartline program we've seen multiple cases of AIDS. I no longer think of people affected as "those people". In truth they are people just like you and me. Some understand how they got the disease, some do not. All of them are afraid and all of them are devastated.

Recently a woman in our program named Marie Jo tested positive. As we told her that news for the first time I could see fear and disbelief setting in. Marie Jo said she did not think the test was right. We encouraged her to re-test. She went for three more tests, each returning a positive result. It was heartbreaking to see her countenance change as she began to let that result settle into her soul. We spoke with her at length and agreed with her that it seemed not to make sense. She told us that she wanted to marry the man in her life to make a family for her baby and to get her life on track. She was married in December of 2008 and she had to test then in order to get her marriage license. At that time she tested negative. Now three months later she tests positive. The man she married currently tests negative. She is right, that is confusing. We wondered aloud with her if maybe the December results were mixed up or the test administered incorrectly. She is scared and heartbroken as she faces giving birth in a few months and telling her husband that the positive test is the correct test.

Our nature is to want to place blame. If there is fault maybe then it is okay to write them off and let them fend for themselves ... or at least that is how it seems the logic of many works. If you were sleeping around you deserve it...You're to blame.

I like the part of the video where the Pastor reminds us that Jesus did not ask the blind man how he became blind. He just loved him. I recently came face to face with the darkness that is HIV as I took a friend of mine in Haiti for a test. Wondering and waiting for results was torturous as time ticked by slower than it ever had.

It would never occur to us to say to someone diagnosed with Cancer, "Well how did you get it - were you using unsafe cleaning products? Weeeellll then. Uh-huh. It is your fault!" Could we ignore our smoking friend diagnosed with Cancer? Would we walk into a hospital room of a dying man with lung cancer and shake our heads and point our fingers? If someone we know causes a major car-accident by speeding through a red light would we tell his wife "Sorry we cannot help you - it was his fault - deal with the consequences."

Who is to blame? To me that is an irrelevant question. The question should be, how can I respond with love?

This is real. Our response must be real love.

Monday, March 9, 2009

LAUNCHING !!!!!


We are SO very excited about the brand new Heartline Women's Program Website. The site primarily focuses on the Sewing School and the products the ladies are sewing. As time goes on we hope to add in more stories and information about the other three branches of the Heartline Women's Program along with ways you can partner with us to love and serve them.

Let me introduce you to the Moseley Family. Bill and Dominique and their five children have long desired to play an active role in helping Haitian women and children. About five months ago they contacted us with their amazing offer to build a site and handle all of the USA side of the sales and shipping of purses.

They are passionate, kind and wonderful people who are truly making a difference. They have found a way to use their gifts to help Haiti and all of us working with Heartline. We're grateful for their partnership. It is now possible for you to contact them through the website to learn about hosting parties and also to read more about the ladies who sew and buy a one of a kind bag.
Also, as of tonight we have $5,400 of the $15,000 needed to receive the matching grant. This is a huge opportunity for us and we truly need your help in order to do more to help the women in our community. To donate to that cause see this post and click on the hearts.

Lastly, we love getting emails and notes from people all over. Many ask questions about moving a family to the mission field abroad or more about our story or some history. Often questions are about adoption. We try to answer those emails but sometimes we get behind - A lot of times actually. This is totally impersonal and I hope it does not offend - but on the left side of the blog there is a "Linking You" section. There you will find a lot of the answers to those types of questions. As far as adoption, we wish we had the magical answer to make adoptions easy. Our own adoption is at one year plus in the exact same place. That is not to draw sympathy, it is simply to say we have no insider information or advantage. It is a tough road and we pray for all of you on it.

Thanks for reading and for your emails. :) We're sorry if we missed getting back to you.

Reminder


Isaac must have known this message would be important for us today.

(One of Paige's Favorite Songs)
By Shawn McDonald



As I sit here and think
About all that You've done
About how You gave me Your one and only Son
And I'm trying to fathom
All that You are, but so far, Lord
You're so beyond me
I fall down in reverence
And I fall down in fear
And I'm asking You, Lord, won't You please draw near
Won't You open my eyes
So that I can see
The way that You are working in me
All I need is Your love
To come and fill this heart of mine
My heart is a desert that has gone dry
And I need Your love to carry me by, by, by, by, by
To carry me by, by, by, by, by
To carry me by
And I lay down my life
And I put it before You
All that I am is in Your hands
And I'm not going to question, why You're so faithful
Why that You give me the blessing that You have
Let the glory be known, let the glory be shown
Lift You up unto the throne
You are my God, You are my King
To You I give, I give You everything
All that I need is Your love, my God

Sunday, March 8, 2009



Love without courage and wisdom is sentimentality, as with the ordinary church member. Courage without love and wisdom is foolhardiness, as with the ordinary solider. Wisdom without love and courage is cowardice, as with the ordinary intellectual. But the one who has love, courage, and wisdom moves the world.

~Ammon Hennacy


Giving Hope Ink


The other day I picked Hope up from Kindergarten. When I squeezed her I noticed she felt kind of puffy. I set her on my lap and saw her jammie bottoms showing out of her navy blue uniform skirt. I asked, "Why are you wearing full pants under a skirt?" She said, "Mmmmaaaaa, I don't like to have to change after school."

The p.j. pants above were bunched up under her skirt ... and voila! she walks through the door of her house and is back in her P.J's.

She is a funny one.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saturday Bullet Points


  • Lydie and Phoebe went cruising the town. Don't write us about the missing car-seats... Noah was driving, that should worry you more.
  • We had a great evening with Britt and Chris here. The married grown up kid thing still seems slightly surreal to me ... Our visit went way too quickly of course and now they're gone to the north side of this island. I gave my son-in-law a haircut, which was totally odd for me but it looked pretty good when it was all said and done. I am Troy's stylist but have never tried my mad-skillz on anyone else. We will see them again next Saturday when we get them from the little airport back over to the big airport.
  • They brought in lots of cereal, crackers and cheese. (Yes the 20lbs from February was gone already. A bunch of lards live here.) Tonight we had offered a variety --- cereal and popcorn for dinner - a hit with everyone.
  • I ran 12 miles with Beth Friday morning and it might have been my favorite Haiti run ever. We talked and laughed and cried and enjoyed a perfectly cool and breezy morning. I have been having trouble squeezing running in this last week so I had no faith I could do 12 but we did it! I am not even sore today. I am pretty pumped about that. Basically, I am trying to tell you that I am a finely tuned machine.
  • Paige went to the Orthodontist today.There is an Orthodontist from Colorado that comes in every six weeks. He has been coming here for 26 years. Crazy! But Man - that is some seriously expensive metal. She gets her braces in April. We're asking Isaac and Noah to get off their butts and get jobs and pitch in. Ike is applying with the UN - maybe pushing papers or something safe. Noah is going to try the U.S. Embassy. If he finds out he is not disinterested or apathetic enough to work for the Government - then he is going to see if DeliMart might hire him as a cashier. As a last resort they may just go together and sell fruit from the trees in our yard. I'll keep you posted. Paige's crooked teeth depend on them.
  • There is this man on our favorite running route that is mentally ill. He always tries to stop us and points at the corrugated tin wall and tells us to read it. We usually just say hi but don't stop. Last week he said, in English, "You need to read this about your President". We stopped and let him point at the cement wall where there was a bunch of chicken scratch but no words. On Friday he said again, "You have to read this!" The poor guy needs help that cannot be found here. It makes me sad.
  • The estimate to fix the truck was $1800 usd - Troy likes repeatedly slamming his head into walls, therefore he is going to turn it into "insurance" and see what they give him. In a few months when he still has zero of the dollars he will ask Tipap to figure out a way to fix the truck with some duct tape and baling wire. Until then the truck looks bad enough that people seem to steer clear of us. The day of the accident I took entertaining video and photos of Troy and the chaos on one of the busiest streets in PAP but I cannot figure out how to get them off my phone now that Lydia has dipped the phone in the toilet. Sigh. You would have loved them.
  • Lots of people at my house are fighting some fever & cough thing ... the snot is flowing freely from many noses and the crabby babies seem to multiply at certain times of the day. Even Britt found the 6pm dinner-time noise levels to be a bit off-putting. If we could take the hours 4 to 7 pm and remove them from our lives ... things would seem much less insane and overwhelming.
  • Jeronne and Tipap are off tomorrow. Troy is playing guitar at church. There is a going away party for C.K. after church. Everyone is supposed to bring a dish to share. Cereal anyone? My plan is to attend the church of "keep them alive and survive" here at home.
~I just realized this post is unusually sarcastic. If you don't do sarcasm - I am sorry, you're missing out!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Generous Jesus


If you've read blogs about Haiti for very long you've likely heard both negative and positive things about the culture, the people, and the country itself. At times it is easy to fall into a trap of seeing only the negative, the insurmountable and the difficult.

Troy and I work hard to see the good in people and to see past culture and poverty to the heart of God's people. If we can set aside our frustrations, we can see much good. Sometimes God even helps us see it .... Last night He did just that.

Yesterday I asked Jeronne if she would be willing to wash Randy's clothes so that when he returns to Haiti in two weeks he can use them. Jeronne of course said, "yes no problem". I gave her the five U.S. dollars Randy left for her to do his small amount of laundry. She seemed happy for the chance to make a little extra.

Last night as we got ready to sing to Noah and give him his gifts Jeronne came up to Noah and said in Creole - "Noah, I did not have time to buy you a gift but I want to give you this." She then put the five dollar bill in Noah's pocket.

Five dollars to you and I is not a lot. In the Haitian economy it's much more. Jeronne was our example of generosity and love this week. We are humbled by her example.

There are many websites and locations where you can go read about Haiti and learn that "The average person makes $1 a day." It is as common as reading "The poorest country in the Western Hemisphere" when you read any description about Haiti.

Over and over again we see ministries quoting this statistic about the $1 per day the average Haitian makes. *SOME* of those very same ministries are the ones PAYING $1 a day. We are not suggesting they need to pay a wage that does not match up with the economy, but we are suggesting that to go on and on about the poor Haitians who only make a buck a day ... And then turn around and pay them $30 for a month of work is both ugly and wrong. It makes me very angry.

If a ministry claims to be here in Haiti to "be Jesus to the people" then they ought to start by taking a good hard look at how they treat their employees. I am pretty sure Jesus would not say "what is the least we can pay them?" - something I hate to admit I have heard a mission leader say. Jesus is not cheap. Not my Jesus.

My Jesus is generous and I want to be too.

Luke 12:48 (New Living Translation)

48 But someone who does not know, and then does something wrong, will be punished only lightly. When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Gimme Five

  • Presents: unwrapped, played with, fought over, put away
  • Cake: eaten without ice cream because Noah has lived here long enough to not even care or like it
  • Maturity level: seems about the same
  • Cute factor: very high today because he did a lot of checking in the mirror to see if we were serious that he looked different today
  • Goals: He has none outside of eating cake which he achieved earlier tonight
  • Digicel: still the best third-world marketing geniuses of all time
  • Britt & Chris: get here tomorrow at 4pm
  • Party #2: happens when they get here
  • And Now ... Marvel at my cake-decorating skills:

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


  • March 5th is the GOLDEN birthday of a very special boy named Noah Matthew!
  • We have been having a tough week so little time or energy for blogging.
  • We got in a car accident on Delmas Monday. When Troy angrily jumped out of the car I said, "Honey be calm - be careful." Noah said, "Ma, why did you tell Dad to be careful?" I said, "Dad is angry and he needs to be careful because we are in a foreign country." Noah looked at me like I was a total idiot and said, "MA - we are NOT in a foreign country!" He then said, "There are not that many foreigns here Mom." He sure told me.
  • The medical clinic went really well today.
  • We are still asking anyone with a desire to help Haitian women and children to consider donating to the matching grant fund.
  • Sorry this is so lame and short. It's all I've got for tonight.
  • :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

News


Published: Tuesday March 3, 2009 MYT 8:11:00 AM
UN chief and Bill Clinton to visit Haiti

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and former U.S. President Bill Clinton will visit Haiti next week to promote international aid for the Western hemisphere's poorest country, the U.N. peacekeeping chief said Monday.

Alain Le Roy told reporters that when he visited Haiti a month ago, non-governmental organizations and "100 percent of the politicians I met" praised the 8,000-strong U.N. peacekeeping mission in Haiti known as MINUSTAH for improving security, especially in the capital. He said he went to once off limits Cite Soleil where people told him they were able to walk in the streets day and night.

"Clearly it's a fragile situation in Haiti," he said. "There are still lots of difficulties ... (but) we think Haiti is winnable, and we consider that it's important to raise awareness."

He said the secretary-general "wants to raise awareness on Haiti _ to see that there must be more assistance to Haiti."

"He intends to go to Haiti with Bill Clinton on March 9-10 ... mostly to raise awareness of Haiti and to show that the U.N. and other partners are very concerned by the Haiti situation, and we consider it's time to use the security brought by MINUSTAH to raise assistance to Haiti," Le Roy said.

He said there will be a donors conference for Haiti most likely on April 13-14 in Washington chaired by the Inter American Development Bank.

Haiti was devastated by four hurricanes last year and is preparing for Senate elections on April 19.

- AP

Photo taken in Jacmel, Haiti

Sunday, March 1, 2009

South Side Report



We had a great 28 hours in Jacmel. The travel was less than smooth but we got there ... eventually. The whole feel down there is much more "chill". A person could get used to that. We stayed at a place with a stunning view. (Cap Lamandou)

We got locked in a bathroom on the way down. The funniest part about it was that the gas station employees could not have cared less. They actually shrugged and said, "You'll have to stay in there, we don't have keys." They weren't kidding. Troy had a leatherman and freed us from the bathroom after only a few minutes. Noah and Paige were the kids voted on the Jacmel travel team. They had fun in the pool together and tagged along with us for part of the time.

We visited a small AIDS orphanage, an orphanage and church called Calvary Chrisitian Church, and a Haitian family that is caring for a adorable little girl with Cerebral Palsy.

Cheri Kay Sessions (in the gray Diet Coke shirt) is an amazingly talented Physical Therapist and it was an honor to watch her work with three patients with varying degrees of brain injuries. I have known CK for three years but my eyes were opened to who she really is while watching her work. I knew she was talented and smart, she has helped both Troy and I with back problems in the last year, but with the CP patients she is in her element. Both Pat and I were bawling, it was heartbreaking to see these beautiful little ones trapped inside bodies that won't ever be functional or "normal". There are so many sad things to see here, I don't want to get to the point where strength and beauty such as we saw during the therapy sessions does not move me. It was both horrible and wonderful, beautiful and ugly and incredibly moving, I wish you could have all been there.

CK will be leaving Haiti soon and I know without a doubt there are dozens of people who will miss having her here. Pray for her and the two children she is adopting (one pictured with Leann Pye and one pictured with Paige) as they FINALLY go to the USA after more than three years of fighting through the adoption system ... praise the Lord for CK's endurance and ask in your prayers for visas for them - that is all they are waiting on now. After that they are Michigan bound.

We have a lot of great Jacmel photos and will post them as we're able in the coming days.

Coming up this week:
The kids are back to school!
Visiting team provides one day medical clinic at Heartline!
Noah Livesay turns five!
Aaron Ivey is coming over!
Britt and Chris come for one night on Friday!
We end many sentences with exclamation points!!!!!!