Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"I know God won't give me anything I can't handle. I just wish he didn't trust me so much."

-Mother Theresa 

Today was one of those days that occur every so often wherein I walk around muttering under my breath and asking the good Lord why in the world He allowed such half-baked, unprepared, mentally deficient people to become the providers and authority figures over more than an average number of helpless children.

No, really, why?

As we pulled into our driveway late today I could tell that the next few hours might be challenging. My attitude was ... how shall we say??  ....  "edgy",  and we were behind schedule. I scrambled to make the dinner that Paige requested, begged everyone to be responsible and do their homework without me having to crab, plead, and bribe. I told Lydia and Phoebe if they didn't fight I'd feed them dinner. Troy took off to go to the Harbor House to check on those 8 teenagers and 8 kids and see how things were there. Time got away and all of a sudden we're eating dinner at 7:30.  (We usually eat at 5:30 and go to bed at 8p)

Exactly zero of six kids got any one on one time from either of us tonight. I cannot confidently say that the homework is done well or even at all.  I asked them to wash butt-cracks, arm pits, and feet and at this late hour can neither confirm nor deny if they succeeded at that.  

We're in a streak.  It's not a winning streak.  We're staring at too many needs that we only half meet. There have been too many nights where all of a sudden it is after bedtime and we're not where we need to be with homework, human interaction, helping one another, and probably even some other H words that don't come to mind right now.

We had bright ideas about doing special Advent devotions with our kids. (As in every night.) Tonight made night two in a row without devotions.  I believe Troy actually said "It is too late, this won't work."  (I did not disagree. They were already cornholio and we hadn't read one single word yet.)

"Advent" means something different here. Advent at our house is a time when the kids are anticipating the arrival of capable grown ups to run the show and create some order.

It could be a long season.

When I plopped down to answer emails and lament our cruddy parenting ...  I was pleasantly surprised by two things.

One, this fun photo Evan posted that he took at the Harbor House.

Two, this note was sitting on my desk -
"Hey mom here is a dollar it's from me Hope. 
I give you permision to do anything you want with it. 
love Hope"

Suddenly everything seems better.


We love YOU Paige !

On this day 17 years ago a precious gift was placed in my arms.

On a crisp Minnesota day, surrounded by my parents and sister, Paige Noelle entered the world shortly after 11am.  I am deeply grateful that an unplanned pregnancy that started out as difficult and even shame-filled at times, turned into one of the very greatest blessings of my entire life.

Isn't that just like God?

Faithful. Redeeming.  Healing.

Thank you Lord for Paige's life.

Without a doubt our days are filled with more laughter and greater joy because of Paige.  She has been an example to us of what it is to love and serve the hurt and broken with humility and grace. Additionally, she is unbelievably patient with her younger siblings and for that we are very thankful. We don't know how she does it, we only know she manages to make it look easy. We think we have ourselves a gem.

To our favorite seventeen-year-old:
There aren't enough words to tell you how proud we are Paige - you bless us with your beauty and kindness  Truly.Truly.Bless.Us.  We enjoy your company. We love your sense of humor. You are such a special young woman. It makes us lie on the floor and cry ginormous rivers of tears to think of the day we send you out of here ... so let's not do that today.   We pray today (and always) that your future is filled with more and more opportunities to use your gifts and that the year ahead is overflowing with an abundance of love, peace, and joy.

Love and Prayers,

Mom and Dad

More photos from Paige and Heather's birthday party Saturday night:

Just Dance in the driveway  ... For all ages!

Encore presentation of Troy's lament ...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Linking & Listening

I'm home with three little people today instead of at Tuesday Women's Program. 

Noah had a rough night last night causing us to call for a sick day and keep him home. He's not quite sick enough at this very moment to warrant his being here. But as soon as he senses I am suggesting he read or do a little homework he suddenly feels quite near death. Funny how that works.

We think he's currently sporting the same hair as Luke in the television show Modern Family. Since Troy is often compared to Phil Dunphy, this just seems right. (We love Phil!)
  • Keight one of my favorite hilarious people that I know via email pen-pal friendship (so far - because next year we are running at least 13 miles together on some occasion - mark my words) on family planning and God's grace for moms - Family Planning.
Every year like clockwork late November rolls around and I can feel myself being pulled away from my regular compulsive desire to see what the world is up to via the internet.  I like how predictable this has become.  A tradition as it were.

In general I like December to be a month of less speaking and more listening; the kind of listening that will still my soul.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Baby News

Dani delivered a healthy baby boy that she named Dudley last week.  She labored well. The birth went very well.  After she gave birth her blood pressure sky rocketed.  Thankfully everything is back to normal now. She is pictured here with her mother.  Heather says this grandma is totally on-board when it comes to breastfeeding.  Dani and Dudley are doing well. We'll see them again tomorrow.

Next due - Leslie ....  due end of November.

Our favorite almost ten year old girl, Hope, had a day off of school for Thanksgiving break and begged me to come to prenatals.  She loves being in the thick of the action and willingly ran around acting as our gopher and jumping in with lots of questions.  She asked me last night, "How many days until Christmas break?" She wasn't asking because she wants out of school. She wants to come help again and is figuring out the next chance she'll have.

You may remember a few weeks ago we asked you to pray for Fifi.  Her sugar test came back 4X higher than normal levels. Something miraculous happened with her.  She now has zero sugar issues and her fundal height has reduced by more than 5cm putting her back into totally normal ranges.  We're thankful for these answered prayers for Fifi. As of this moment it appears she will be able to deliver with us at Heartline.

Last night Fana (pictured right) delivered her new baby boy at home.  She did not call to tell Beth she was in labor.   Today she came in with her son.  They will be staying in the post-natal area for a few days as she recovers.  We're not sure yet if she wanted to deliver at home alone or if she just couldn't find a phone and a vehicle to get to us.  Please pray for no infections and protection from germs for Fana and her new son.

To see an updated list of the ladies in the program and have an opportunity to pray for them by name, you can go to this post.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving Thanks ~ Haiti Style

I'm a few days late checking in to report on the happenings of the fourth Thursday of November, Two-thousand and eleven.

The table above is the spread that was laid before many short and long term Haiti visitors and residents on Thursday afternoon.  Beth McHoul prepared not one, not two, not three, but FOUR turkeys.  Who does that?!?!

I've never made one.single.turkey. in my entire thirty-nine year life.  To have reached this advanced age and be able to say this .... I'm sure this means something not good about me.  However true that may be, I have no problem being a total failure in this area.  Embrace the suck as they say.

Our Thanksgiving was a lot of fun.  There was no shortage of food, friends, or funny kids.

The kids and teachers (thank you J & B!) all worked on a little presentation for Thursday.  Paige has student council duties and over-saw the production and practice and memorization of the material.  The kids had in mind that they would present this for about 25 Heartline people that they know fairly well.  In the end there were close to 70 people and we wondered if the kids would want to bail on the plan.  The numbers in the room didn't seem to intimidate them; they went for it with gusto.  (Posted the second half of "You might be celebrating Thanksgiving in Haiti if ..." above.  To see full version see Hendrick Blog.")

Our "Black Friday" was spent at Womens Program and then painting, cleaning house, and decorating a cute little Christmas tree. We are getting ready for a birthday party for Paige and Heather and worked as a family to paint over three years of finger-prints. Hope can be trusted with a paint-brush.  Paige on the other hand, has some room for improvement.  We stood in exactly zero lines, attended zero sales, and got pushed zero times while fighting for zero good deals.  Thank.Goodness.  As our Tejas friend Thad so aptly stated:
"My favorite thing about Black Friday is how 
it's just like every other Friday
 if you choose not to be a crazy person." 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

~ blogiversary six ~

It was six years ago this week I figured out what the heck a blog was and later published post number one  - thanks to a friend's prompting.  Having never kept a journal it was a little bit weird to go from keeping no record of anything to keeping a record on the stinkin' internet. At that time we were packing our belongings and moving forward into the great unknown.

Predictably, having a blog wasn't the cool thing by the time we got on board and started ours.  We missed it by about a year. We're usually late to the party. This was no different.  To further prove this point; Troy opened his Twitter account under pressure and was always making fun of it and the friend that talked him into it - but then there was an earthquake and he actually needed it. This too has been a theme of ours -- mocking right up until we join.

There are not many things more awkward than a blogger blogging about blogging or a tweeter tweeting about tweeting.  There is just something so very inherently wrong with that.  Gag.

Unfortunately it I cannot be stopped.
So, here we gag go.

When we started this blog we never could have believed that eventually people other than our parents and best friends would read it. Never. (as in never-ever) That still blows our minds.

November 2005 version of us
We've changed a lot these last six years. (Outside of the most obvious change - adding the last two girls to the family.) We don't feel like we know those 2005 people all that well. We think it is mostly change for the better, but we'd be the first to admit there have been some chinks in the armor and that we didn't so graciously weather every storm. There are definitely some dark-moment statements I'd like to take back.  We always wanted this to be real; for that reason the angry and/or hurt posts remain in the archives.

Because of this silly blog thing that was started to document "our year in Haiti", we have met some beautiful people, some of our most treasured friends.  Dr. Jen, Marcia & Greg, Joanna T,  Aaron & Jamie and Tex, and the others that I'm currently offending by not listing. Who knew that occasionally deep and lasting friendships are born from an email that starts "I stumbled across your blog and ... "

The sweet encouragement we've received from friends and strangers alike has been its own grace-filled gift.  Knowing how many lonely and searching people there are out there, I've often wished each one of them could have some of your gentle voices speaking truth and life into their pain.  After the earthquake I was literally speechless multiple times as I read note after note of prayers and love and understanding. There was a 48 hour window wherein that communication convinced me we weren't forsaken or alone.

I've had a sense lately that outside of telling the individual stories of the beautiful souls that live here, I've become a broken record.  I shouldn't need to write too often because I have already said everything that repeatedly swirls in my head at least 100 times before. Most of what I wrestle with today is stuff I wrestled with in the first year here.  Most of what I cannot reconcile now I could not reconcile then. The theological, emotional, spiritual, and physical struggle of the the last six years could best be summed up in a few sentences:

There is injustice in this world.
There should be something we can do about injustice.
Sometimes little things can be done.
Many times not nearly enough can be done to truly change anything.
It is frustrating. No. I mean like REALLY frustrating.
It makes a person feel crazy at times.
We need hope. (Jesus)
Hope is all we have.
The only thing we can do is act in obedience and try.
The results of the trying any of us do - aren't our business.
Hope is coming for us.
We believe.

See how simple that was? And all in less than a hundred words.

Instead you'll find scores of posts battling those realities and trying to undo them, solve them, explain them, fix them, force them, destroy them, lament them, and accept them.

Our original goal of documenting our life here and sharing it with our family has been reached. We've documented it. And then some.

The most thrilling thing to come of this blog was when we learned that it is possible to engage readers in the stories and lives of the Haitian people, regardless of how distant and different their lives are.  The first time we asked you to support a project financially we found out quickly that the readers of this blog are invested and not simply here to read, but to act. To pray. To rally. To serve. To give.

I'm thinking that it's pretty tacky to wish ourselves a Happy Blogiversary ... That's not what I am here to do.

It is appropriate on this week set aside for giving thanks that we take an opportunity to thank those of you who have been reading for many years, that we thank those of you that started praying and caring and following along when you heard about the earthquake, that we thank all of you that have encouraged and prayed and given of your resources to help the tenacious people of this little island.

We're thankful for the way God has used you.
Happy Thanksgiving!
We have much to be grateful for today and everyday.

the livesays

Thou hast given so much to me,
Give one thing more, - a grateful heart;
Not thankful when it pleaseth me,
As if Thy blessings had spare days,
But such a heart whose pulse may be Thy praise.

~George Herbert

Monday, November 21, 2011

an iphone photo dump

I took this photo for Jen, my favorite vegetarian

more for Jen (mmm, bacon)
Just outside of school one day  - nothing like fresh morning air

on a date with Troy

happy ballerina Phoebe

checking out a new baby at Heartline

Joanne and Ricardo (Harbor House)

subtle messages from children

many things I don't understand about the world, now many plus one

Geronne getting ready to make her amazing Pikliz

some lards i love

snow in Haiti!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

"The cross must be raised again at the center of the marketplace as well as on the steeple of the church. I am claiming that Jesus was not crucified in a cathedral between two candles, but on a cross between two thieves; on the town garbage heap, at a crossroads so cosmopolitan they had to write His title in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek ... At the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble, because that is where He died and that is what he died for and that is where churchmen ought to be and what churchmen should be about."
- George McLeod

Thursday, November 17, 2011

hold me god

I've been sitting against a cement wall all day long. Waiting. Hoping to find out if there is a place for me in that house. I see other young mothers live here.  I am pregnant. I don't have a place to sleep.

People tell me that the house if full. People tell me the house is for younger mothers. People tell me I can't sit outside the gate waiting all day. They say I won't be able to have a spot, no matter how long I sit. They don't know I have nothing else I need to be doing. Why shouldn't I wait? Maybe they will decide to let me in.

I'm afraid. I don't want to be pregnant. I don't even speak to the father of my child anymore. His mother does not like me. I can't go back there.  They don't want me there.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The women on Tuesday tell me to take care of myself. They tell me I am too old to live in the house for young mothers.  Today I feel old.  But I am only 22. They ask if my aunt in LesCayes will have me. I don't know the answer. They ask me about friends that I have. I'm thinking it over. I don't know what I want to do.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Today I had blood drawn before the class.

A few other women did too.

Today my life changed.

They told me they did many tests. 

They said I have three things.  

I heard them.  

Did I hear them? 

The third thing they said... 

Did they say what I think they said?  

I am trying to process.

"I have SIDA?" I ask them. 

They tell me I heard them right.  

I get up and try to leave.  I want to run.

They grab me and ask me to sit down . To listen.

A few women touch my back while I hold my head in my hands and sob.  

I cannot hear what they are saying.  I cannot listen right now.

They keep repeating things.  They say I found out early.  I will not die.

I want to die.  I don't have anyone that wants me.

They say they can help me find a program.  They say medicine will help me not get sick.

I can't tell anyone this.  I don't want anyone to know.

I knew he was with many women.  I always knew.

My head hurts.  I ask for medicine.  My

They say I will not die. They say it is not the same as before. 
I can't hear.  I can't think.

The door opened. Someone came in the room.   I don't lift my head to look.

It is quiet. 

Minutes pass.

I don't look up.

I hear her quietly say, "I have SIDA. I have had it for a few years. I take medicine.  I am not sick.  They will give you medicine at a program. You won't be sick if you go. You will live."

I listen to her.  

I don't look at her.  

I keep my head down.

I listen. I cry.

The white women say "Thank you." "Thank you for talking to her  - you have courage."  I look up. I see the woman with SIDA.  She was in class with me today.  I have seen her face before. She has tears running down her face too.  She gets up to go.

I have so much to decide.  So much to think about.  Where should I live. Who can I tell?  Maybe this is not true.  Maybe they are wrong.  I hope they are wrong.

They say come back tomorrow. 

They tell me I need to go for another test.  They say that they will pray. 

I get up to leave.  I don't know where I am going. I can't even think.

They pray.  They tell me they care. They ask God to hold me.  They ask God to help me. They say that He sees me.

I need Him to hold me. 
I need Him to help me.  
I hope that He sees me.

Please hold me God.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Transracial Adoption

A Vision Test, 
By Amie Sexton

Love is colorblind.

Do I hear a resounding “AMEN!”??? You might regret it. There are two things you should know before jumping on this bandwagon.

1.) 99.9% of the time this statement is made by white people. If you hear an African American use this comment (without an excessive sarcastic drawl and much rolling of their eyes) you are the exception to the rule.

2.) It is one of the most misguided statements commonly made by white people, many of them adoptive parents.

Let me quickly point out that I have spoken these words myself in times past. So has Tara. (Yes, Mrs. Livesay- I’m dragging you under the bus with me. =)) It is based on this personal experience and the outgrowth of it that I am willing to share my thoughts with you now. Let’s delve into the phrase more deeply.

Is love colorblind? I believe what we have here is a classic picture of good motivation followed by crappy methodology. Good intention meets bad interpretation. The notion behind colorblindness is just as simple as you might expect: to be blind to color. But one trip to Wal-Mart with your Haitian, Ethiopian, Ugandan, African American child yields extreme evidence through bulging eyes and double-takes that your and your child’s color difference is easily identifiable.

It is only convenient for a majority race member to flippantly (no matter how well-meaning) discount color in this way. White people don’t have to think about being white…it is what it is. Unless they happen into a room, party, neighborhood, or country in which they are the minority. The average white American will never walk into a department store and wonder “will I be followed around and accused of shoplifting today?” You assume this will not happen to you. No, no, wait. It’s worse than that. You don’t have to assume it won’t happen. You don’t have to even waste half a second considering it. It never has to enter your consciousness.

Hispanics and African Americans do not share this luxury of NOT considering it. I have witnessed blatant and abusive racism first hand. And at the Goodwill for crying out loud! I get that stealing is stealing but seriously? Is it really worth it to let your stereotype destroy another human being over a $3 pair of used jeans? Anyway. Without arguing through 200 years of history, the simple reality is that whiteness has natural benefits. Benefits that no one had to march for, beg for, or be lynched for. The freedom not to think about race if we don’t want to being numero uno on the list of benefits.

Furthermore, to say that love does not “see color” is as ridiculous as saying that because I love dogs they are all exactly the same to me. Suppose you stood before me with a Great Dane and a Chihuahua and I insisted that there is no difference between them –that I am blind to their genetic traits. Any one of you would argue my insanity in a court of law because clearly one of these dogs is a 210 lb. mini-horse and the other could be mistaken for a rat. My love for dogs does not change my ability to recognize their distinct attributes. My love may allow me to impart affection to both critters equally regardless of their size but it will not cause me to ignore what is obvious. And taking it even further –if I insist these two creatures are practically the same in every way and therefore I cram my Great Dane into a crate made for a toy breed I’m no longer just ignoring the difference but overlooking their specific needs and inadvertently causing damage.

Have you seen Avatar? The Na’vi tribe greets each other with the phrase “I see you.” Simple but heavily loaded with meaning. New Age nuances aside, it is explained in the movie as deeply significant and referring to the very essence of the person. I see who you are and all there is to know and love about you. We could take a lesson from the overgrown blue people.

When your adopted minority child looks in the mirror he/she sees black, brown, peach, yellow, tan, etc. skin looking back. For that child to hear us say that our love is “colorblind” can be far more hurtful than any of us would dream. What we mean is that our love for them transcends color and ethnicity. But what they often hear is “I don’t see part of you.” We so desperately want to affirm our children in the security of our unconditional love that we miss the point. What if Tara came to me tomorrow and said, “Amie, I’m going to overlook the fact that you are a red-headed freckle factory and continue loving you anyway”? Besides how completely ironic that would be given our shared features, it would also hurt me deeply because the very nature of such a statement implies that my traits are unbecoming and undesirable and something to be overlooked in order to find me acceptable. Our children want to be accepted because of who they are –inside and out- not in spite of it.

Love that overlooks is belittling. Love that acknowledges is accepting.

Bottom line: love is not colorblind. In fact, God (who is love) is not colorblind. And now the bigger questions are: How does God see color? Does the world see it the same way? Do we? And how do our, the world’s, and God’s views of race affect our adopted children? 
 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Part II

“How does the world’s view of race affect our children?”

I’ve written and backspaced a gazillion opening lines.  Turns out there is no perfect segue into a post about race and racism.  It’s a very touchy subject.  And the sheer weight of controversy surrounding it should be counted as proof positive that –despite the opinion of many- it still exists.  As Angie commented in the previous post, it is perhaps less overt but no doubt alive and well.

Much like the misguided “colorblind” references we’ve already discussed is the equally misguided belief that racism is a thing of the past and as long as a person works hard they have completely fair and level opportunity to live the American dream.  And just as it is foolish to disregard our physical differences, it is incredibly short-sighted to dismiss hundreds of years of history and its residual effects.  Years of abusive, destructive and oppressive history—and I’m not merely talking about slavery.  But since you mentioned it…;-)

One of the most disheartening attitudes we frequently encounter is the “It’s been 200 years, get over it already” mentality.  Sigh.  Consider this.  Just a week ago our nation celebrated is 234th year of independence.  Celebrated it.  Because what happened over 200 years ago set into motion the wave of events that continue to define our country today.  What if I propose that we should all just “get over it”?  I’m willing to bet that I would be verbally destroyed by masses of intensely patriotic people.  People who have an emotional, almost spiritual connection to the history of the US would come out in droves to put me in my place.

Likewise, in less than a generation we will be 100 years beyond the Holocaust.  Which of us would dare to say, “It’s been almost a hundred years; can’t we move on already?”  It’s just plain crazy to even imagine such a notion.  Yet we expect the entire population of African Americans to blink away their suffered past and relegate it to a once a year educational emphasis.  Really?  But for the sake of this post, let’s assume that most people are at least willing to acknowledge the travesty of slavery.  Even so, it is the years that followed and their continued impact which are too often discounted. 

I hold the belief that what slavery did to the black man’s physical being; Jim Crow tried to do to his spirit.  Shackle.  Degrade.  Devalue.  And in many ways it worked.  Whites have often scoffed at the depth of involvement played by black churches in the Civil Rights movement.  It makes perfect sense to me.  Even though it was wrapped in legislation, this was a battle to dignify the soul of a people.  The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 elevated the enslaved communities to something more than household goods and furniture but it did little to improve their standing among their fellow man.  The Civil Right Act of 1964 was another step in the right direction but no…they are not over it because no law enacted by Congress a hundred years ago or forty years ago can change the hearts of men.  And what’s more, if you’ve adopted a child with brown skin…he/she will experience both the best and the worst of what this nation’s tense racial history affords.

The world sees color.  Sometimes it is for the good.  But this is hardly the rule.  And we needed to examine the ripples in the waters of history if we want to help the next generation ride the swells of the present currents.  As we acknowledge our children’s differences, we would also do well to prepare them for the reality of racism. 

My daughter may one day be followed through a department store under suspicious eyes, not because she has done anything wrong but because the world sees her through sin-tainted lenses and responds in kind.  My son may be pulled over by the police for no apparent reason or someday be heartbroken because the girl he’s fallen for has a daddy with no intention of letting a “colored boy” date his daughter.  My bi-racial babies may spend much of their lives torn between being “too black” or “too white” even though they know that who they are is defined by Christ.  I don’t want any of my kids to become cynical and grow up expecting the worst but God forbid that they should ever come home asking “why didn’t you tell me?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


theoretically romantic
Yesterday was our thirteenth wedding anniversary.  Around 11am Troy called to lament that he couldn't think of anything fabulous to do to celebrate.  So many of the options would involve driving in a lot of stress-making traffic and didn't seem worth the effort. We agreed that if we expected fabulous we'd be disappointed and instead we decided to expect nothing and be surprised no matter what came of our night.

Learning about expectations takes time, but if Haiti has taught us anything it is that most of our anger, sadness, depression, or angst is caused because we had ideas about how things should go.  We decided to drop all of that, therein making the anniversary celebration that much more free to surprise us.

Troy and the kids got home from school.  I had set a table and chairs in our room and placed the only glassware we own on it hoping that we might be able to dine alone at some point in the evening. If nothing else it looked very romantic.  Geronne watched me carry the table up the stairs and thought I was weird.  I did my best to explain that we were just trying to do something different.  Troy entered the room and cheered at the sight. Just looking at that table made us both happy. 

We went about making spaghetti for the kids and working on homework with them. Around 6:30 we came upstairs and sat down at the table with our most elegant china plastic bowls of spaghetti and started talking about funny memories from years past.  Right at that moment the city power went off, but without expectations that didn't disappoint us.  Troy poured a glass of wine. Noah knocked and complained that he couldn't find his plastic whistle (recorder) to practice for school.  He knocked again to say that Isaac was going to come tattle on him.  Tattling on someone who is going to tattle is a more advanced form of annoying your parents, some kids never reach this level.  Moments later Phoebe began one of her epic screaming melt downs because the boys picked a DVD she didn't like.  We took turns leaving the beauty of the candle lit table to go deal with the children. 

About the time everyone settled down for the night Paige came and threw herself on our bed.  Troy left to go grill a steak he had saved for this special night.  Troy, Paige, and I ate steak together. Side dishes were neither prepared or desired. Troy said, "This is just like our wedding night when Paige melted down over not being able to stay with us at the end of the dance." Paige said something like, "See, I am here to help you recreate your memories. You're welcome." 

Before Paige departed for the evening she provided Disc Jockey services and played a few of our favorite songs while we danced and laughed like hyenas in our increasingly warm and stuffy room. 

It was a truly enjoyable night and I  laughed so hard and had so much fun that my cheek bones are sore today.  A Happy Anniversary indeed.

troy missing from his chair to help noah
precious little dj paige

exploring the options

At some point or another the discussion about security takes place. It might happen five minutes, five days or five years after you've relocated.  For some people it is more reactionary than it is precautionary.  Others of us passively choose - by not choosing.

Ridiculously high walls or just high walls? Razor wire or the far more decorative shards of glass? Motion lights or save on electricity? Intimidating giant dogs or regular sized less intimidating dogs?  Guard or no guard? Armed or unarmed?  12 hours a day or 24 hours a day?  Private security or the guy you know that so desperately needs a job?

The choices are vast and complicated.

If you are wondering where we landed ...

We decided that despite popular wisdom we wanted to take a unique approach to our security sitch.

We have chosen to use an unusually intense, scrappy and squishy novice to protect us. She is in uniform and always armed with an infrared Nerf gun, for intermittent night shifts. What she lacks in size, she makes up for in attitude.

It is in the intermittency and unpredictability that her true power lies. One never knows when she is on or off duty.  This creates an extra element of risk and uncertainty setting the intruder off-balance immediately.  It's a fool-proof system.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

dedication day

This tangible picture of love and acceptance, forgiveness and redemption was a beautiful sight this morning.  

While I cannot emphatically speak to the condition of any heart except my own, I know I have seen changes and growth in many of these young ladies.  

Being a part of a larger body saying to them "You are loved" was moving for me, especially as a former teen mom myself. 
Each evening one of the teen moms texts me.  It has been fun because texting in Kreyol forces me to improve and look words up. Usually it is just a good night message or maybe a sweet "I love you".  We've come to expect the phone to ding around 9:30 each evening. Tonight she wrote - "Thank you for everything you all do for us."  We texted back - "We love you. We're so glad God put you here. Have a good night." 

Her reply was - "Good Night - Psalm 121".

 1 I look up to the hills.
      Where does my help come from?
 2 My help comes from the Lord.
      He is the Maker of heaven and earth.
 3 He won't let your foot slip.
      He who watches over you won't get tired.
 4 In fact, he who watches over Israel
      won't get tired or go to sleep.
 5 The Lord watches over you.
      The Lord is like a shade tree at your right hand.
 6 The sun won't harm you during the day.
      The moon won't harm you during the night.
 7 The Lord will keep you from every kind of harm.
      He will watch over your life.
 8 The Lord will watch over your life no matter where you go,
      both now and forever. 

If the only thing the Harbor House accomplished in the time the young women are with us is to convince them they are deeply loved by a God who desires to see their pain redeemed and their lives transformed and that (as this Psalm says) their help comes from Him, we'll all count that a precious gift. Only He can write stories that beautiful.