Monday, April 30, 2012

By Hope Livesay

"Life is a journey a real journey once you are born it starts and when you are a baby lots of things are happening I mean you learn things and maybe the first things you say are "dada" "mama" and your brothers and sisters names but they do say it in a wierd way and when you are a todler you could go in kindergarten and learn a lot of things that you did not know before and from kindergarten you go up and up and up I mean first grade second grade third grade fourth grade that kind of stuff so as you can see it really is a journey and when you get older you maybe will get a boyfriend and then get serious and get married wait a few years have children be grandparents and then be really old and then before you know it your dead and you are up in heaven how beautiful"

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

We're troubled by how fast the jump is between having children and being grandparents ... that part of the journey seemed too short. Could it be some sort of foreshadowing?!?!

Before you know it you are dead.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

lazy weekend wrap-up

While taking a break from slaughtering gargantuan swarms of angry mosquitoes, Troy shoots at rats as they scurry to and fro on the roof of the bird house next door.  As you can see, spectators gathered.

We helped at the birth of Nora Etienne. Meet the brand spankin new 6lb 11ounce baby girl born to Astride at 11:18pm Friday night.

Sunday a whole family outing ...

We watched some TV, played a little soccer, read a bit, ran a bit, and laid around like lards a lot. We had church at home which is always a sweet time of conversation and questions. We talked about all sorts of things. The kids offered sweet prayers for their aunts and uncle, cousins, and grandparents. Isaac thanked God for the "courage and strength" Troy displayed "dealing" with the kids while mom was gone. :)

On our ride to the family outing the kids were telling us about a recent disappointment and change in plans. I said quietly to Troy,  "Our kids are learning to be pretty flexible." Noah always a skilled eavesdropper shouted, "MOM, OUR LIFE IS ALL ABOUT IT!"   (flexibility) I can't disagree with the boy.

We have a chore called "poop duty" at our house. This job rotates between kids over age 5 and means scooping poop off of the cement and into a pile of dirt on the side of the house. Everyone hates this job. Hope is especially cantankerous when her turn rolls around. 

Our yard has two very large and productive mango tress. For most people mango season is a reason to celebrate.  For us mango season doubles as a season of indescribable dog diarrhea while our large Mastiffs enjoy way too much fiber all night long. Each morning we wake up to the aftermath of their drunken Mango parties. Poop duty stinks even worse during Mango season. 

That's the weekend wrap-up.  
Look out, here comes May! 

linking you ...

The Resurrection and Wounds that Won’t Heal  

(click link for full article)

By: David R Henson

Some wounds do not heal.

"...But, the wounds no longer bleed, either. When Jesus touches his friends, he does not leave bloody handprints on their cheeks, nor do crimson footprints mark his trail in the Palestinian sand. When he ascends, blood does not pour down on the upturned faces of his friends watching him disappear.
This is the promise of the resurrection — not that we will no longer be wounded. No, we will always be wounded. Between hunger and poverty, war and terror, abuse and hate, our world will make sure that none of us escape unscathed without wounds that do not heal.
But as people of the resurrection, our promise is that our wounds will not always and forever bleed us of our lives, our vitality. The promise of the resurrection is not the assurance of a life without wounds but a life in which our wounds, even if they define us as they do Jesus, do not bleed us. The promise of the resurrection is that, eventually, after the bleeding stops, our wounds, while they won’t ever heal, might just begin to heal others."

Friday, April 27, 2012

reason 573 to love Haiti ....

...As if we needed another

Photo courtesy of @HaitiTravelGuy

Two ladies in labor right now - (please pray) Roberta is being transported now because she is a bit too early.

There are tons of updates today - Some of which I missed sharing when they happened, and some of which took place while I was gone ...

  • The $5,900 for the Bakery equipment for John McHoul's 59th Birthday was all raised!  Thank you to all who gave! 
  • We're also happy to report that in the midst of protests and trouble our friends at Maxima were able to get the bakery building constructed early this week. (Photos below) More info on the Dutch company that built the bakery-house will be coming soon.
  • We will keep you posted as the men's program begins to take shape. So far we're thrilled with the outlook and praying for God to bring the men that will most benefit and grow from being offered this sort of opportunity.
  • The rainy season is upon us in Haiti. The roads are a mess, the mosquitoes are insanely thick and vicious, everything is muddy and gross.  The four bug racquets we got in the USA are in strategic locations throughout the house and we are taking these nasty disease carrying fools down! Game on.
  • Babies born 4/2 - Faphane had a girl, named her Roberta. 4/10- Loudia had a girl via c-section 4/15 - Guerda had a girl AND Nadege had a girl later that same day 4/21 - Andrelie had a boy ten minutes after arriving.  
  • The twins (Vitana) are doing well and continue to gain weight.
  • Sewing school women will graduate in about a month.  They are working hard to reach the requirements and pass the class. 
  • One of the things many of you prayed about after reading this post has become much more clear and we're finally working with a diagnosis to a health situation. We're hopeful that it will further resolve in the coming weeks and months. Thanks for praying.
  • Troy has been dealing with the Harbor House for a long time without very much help from me. He needs more time to spend there then the average Haiti day will allow. We're praying about that program and thinking it is time to make some changes there. We're learning that some of our goals are ridiculous or culturally inappropriate. We admit that some of what we hoped could happen isn't realistic. Please PLEASE pray for the Harbor House teen moms and for clear direction and growth and change in that program. (Names of the seven women currently there are: Sergeline, Joanne, Fedline, Alloune, Leoni, Mirlene, Faphane) Much more on this later. 
  • Jimmy and Becky and Livesay kids have TEN school days left after today - that will wrap up an awesome 2011-2012 school year. The Burtons will head to TX for the summer.  There is some anxiety about how we'll keep everyone sane all summer long, your brilliant suggestions (that will work in Haiti) are welcome.
Due Next:


Thursday, April 26, 2012

left coast fun (trip review)

After we enjoyed about 72 hours in TX and got to see Britt and Chris and Austin friends, we headed left.

Our trip to CA had three main goals ...

1. Meet Kim, the lovely gal that is going to allow Paige work with her and her horses and learn about therapeutic riding this summer.

2.  Look at some ridiculously expensive and just regular expensive colleges. Try to get an idea of which type of school Paige thinks she might wish to attend. Compare CA schools to TX schools.

3.  Be with Sarah and Sarah and Jen and Joanna while doing 1 and 2

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

We enjoyed many quotable moments along the way both in CA (and TX). For the sake of posterity, a few of my faves ....
On tours of the campuses these things were said:

"That right there is where there are cash machines. That's like where you can get money and stuff." (helpful, like, information right?)

"So like right here is where you can check out DVDs of your favorite shows for free. That's like a really great feature and stuff."  (not free by the way - but don't tell the college senior that)

"You will enter a rose bud and leave a rose."  (winner of the cheese award)

"We have non-committal take outs - so that's really great." (That's what regular people call "dating" in most places)

"It's expensive to go here, but you know, pay a little more upfront and the activities are very inexpensive.  For $15 there is a yacht trip and you can dress up with your friends and go out on a yacht for an evening each fall. It's really great and so cheap!" (tuition at that school was 50K a year)

"It was great, during my freshman year here we went on a medical missions trip. It was to Ensenada, Mexico. We got to pull people's teeth! They don't care who pulls their teeth down there, they are just happy to have their teeth out." (that brought discomfort and fidgeting for a few of us and a hardy chuckle from two Dads on the tour -  Paige said that was the "ho ho ho I'm rich" chuckle - that made me laugh uncontrollably)

During the portion of that time talking about mission trips Paige noticed that on the sign with the list of ministries the school partners with that it said "Horses for Healing". Paige asked, "Do you know what Horses for Healing is?  Our guide reached into the dark corners of his mind and answered, "Yeah, I think that is when students go and take care of horses, maybe put bandages on them or something like that."  We had a pretty good idea that probably wasn't accurate. (Similar to what is commonly known as an 'asstistic', a statistic pulled from the...) We all had to be sure not to make eye contact with one another so we wouldn't start laughing at the poor guy and his made-up asstistic.

The numbers:
  • 10 -   Number of schools visited (6 private, 4 public, 1 a junior college)
  • 36,000 - Number of students at largest school visited
  • 1,300 - Number of students at smallest school visited
  • 34 -  Number of times things were described as "free" (not so coincidentally also the number of times I leaned over to someone next to me to say, "They mean included in tuition and fees - they don't know what free means.")
  • 2 - Number of times a person in admissions had no idea what or where Haiti is
  • 1 - Number of giant 30 foot Jesus' we saw on campus
  • 5 - the number of women with Paige at a couple of the schools
  • 3 - the max number of women Paige ever had to take on a campus tour at once
  • 1 - the number of schools that chose to pray for Paige and her future after meeting with us
  • 15K - Number of dollars required for Freshman year at cheapest state school if in-state tuition could be granted
  • 50K - Number of dollars required for Freshman year at the "second most prestigious Christian university in America"
  • 3 - the number of eye rolls from our group over the use of the word 'prestigious'
  • 1- the number of times during the 'prestigious tour' that Sarah D. thought she was possibly being offered a Prestige (Haiti's beer) only to be crushed when she understood she was mistaken and needed to listen better
  • 1 - Number of admissions counselors that shouldn't have their job in one CA school - the goal of admissions should be to seem like you give a care 
  • many - Number of times $ seemed overwhelming and community college seemed like a no-brainer
  • too many - Number of times I wondered if there is any way to stop the arrival of 2013
Because we crammed 10 schools into a quick trip we were able to see small and large schools, state and Christian schools, hoity-toity and average joe schools.

I don't think the disconnect we felt at times is abnormal. In general we feel a little bit like aliens. It was silly to expect this to be different. There isn't much of anything we can do to fix it at this point. It became evident that a few people that truly "get" Paige and her unique experiences will be important to her wherever she ends up going.  Paige is normal, like many kids her age she enjoys fashion/clothes, music, facebook, hanging out with fun people, etc.  She is not normal in that she has zero sense of entitlement to an easy or perfect life. Paige knows what suffering is, and what is inconvenience; there is no confusing the two. When she stands in line listening to people griping about the long line she wouldn't commiserate but is more likely to be the one thinking, 'If you only knew how amazing it is that we can come spend money in this store, eat everyday, have a million choices and how awesome of an inconvenience this line is ...'  and even though she values that insight and knowledge of the big picture, it can be a very lonely place for a teenager at times.

We now have until November/December to decide where she wants to apply. She has some ideas and preferences but has not arrived at any concrete decisions yet.

Paige is planning for the bulk of her summer to be spent in Los Angeles and is moving forward with the plan to work with Kim and learn all about therapeutic riding.  She is very excited. Her joy last night after spending a day with Kim was evident and contagious. While in LA she will live with Sarah O. and Sarah D. ('the Sarahs' as we affectionately call them while noting they are indeed individuals).  They have all sorts of things they plan to see, do, and accomplish together. I have informed them that a weekly written report will be required to document Paige's Excellent LA Adventure.

We took the red eye out of LAX last night; arriving home at 9am this morning.  I love flying into Port au Prince. The heart-swelling-peace that washes over me is always a reminder of how God has made this nutty place our home in more ways than one. We failed to accomplish more than just getting here today. I wanted to go to Prenatal program and see the ladies - but wanting to didn't get me there, I fell asleep for a bit and decided to stay with the little girls for the afternoon.

We're so thankful that we were able to go see and do so much. We had so much fun. We visited with a lot of people we love along the way.  We later realized that all the people we were with are gifts that Haiti has given us .... besides Britt every other person (including Chris, our son-in-law) we were with are in our lives because of Ayiti.

in Waco at B&C's house w/Jen and Britt

in Austin at the Ivey's house with Chandler, Jen, and Jamie

in Austin with Kristi, Lisa and Harold

in Orange County with Sarah O, Kristen, Jen, & Sarah D.

our third culture kid at APU

in L.A. a bridal shower for Joanna T. with the Sarahs and Jen
meeting the summer co-workers

Troy is receiving our accolades and commendation for handing an insanely difficult amount of duties on his own without ever once making us feel bad for being gone and having fun.

I can honestly say I wouldn't want him to leave me with Haiti variables and five kids for more than a few nights.  He is so gracious.

When he gets home from meeting(s) with the Harbor House gals we plan to have some sort of ceremony and crown him the King of Awesome.
This calls for the kind of Prestige that doesn't make us roll our eyes.  :)
To Troy! Hear, hear.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

death to the fun wrecker

car ride to color run
Do the words "Color Run" mean anything at all to you?

The Color Run (google it) is a 5K run where no time is kept and not much actual running happens. Along the course powdered paint colors fly in the air and the runners get covered in multiple colors. All the participants seem to  show up to have fun, not to compete.  (Gah!)

When I first heard of the color run I thought, "Well, that sounds ridiculous."  Troy joined my sentiment when he said, "That's not a thing."

As it turns out, we were right and wrong.

It is a little bit ridiculous.

It is a thing.

Sarah D., a friend of ours, is an incredibly talented and artsy person.  The color run is pretty much the greatest thing her mind can conceive of outside of Heaven (although at one point during the run right as I was thinking "I'm going to die in this yellow cloud of paint smoke" I heard her excited proclamation "this is what Heaven will be like!!!").

When we gave Sarah the dates for the college trip, she asked us all to do the Color Run with her. She signed us all up and covered our entrance fees. Everyone agreed. In my heart I was  -   how shall we say? - 'unenthusiastic'.

When I arrived to LA and saw the crazy costumes that color-loving artistic and fun Sarah hoped we would wear, I had to fight with the fun-wrecker deep within and coach myself not to be the jerky stick-in-the-mud that won't participate. I marveled at the enthusiasm of the other participants and shriveled in shame as I watched as Jen Halverson willingly agreed to put on a pink tutu.

The thing is, I love Sarah.  She is one of the most giving people I've ever met. When she is in Haiti she thrills and wows my children with her magical art skills and genuine interest in every piece of art they create and every word they say.  Sarah is love.  Whenever she visits Heartline everyone feels that love. I speak for all of us when I say, Sarah blesses us.

CR4D - Color Run 4 Dornbos

Sarah O, Paige, Jen, Fun-wrecker-no-more, Sarah D.

trying hard not to be entertained

wha? so maybe there was fun being had

I knew I needed to kill the fun wrecker and do this silly color-filled non-competitive and just for fun event because Sarah is love.

Having done this, I can tell you that your children would LOVE this race event.  It is coming to a lot of cities this year if you want to be the most awesome parents ever, here is your chance.

Thankfully I have these good friends to teach me to lighten up and to help me smother the up-tight hater of frivolity deep within once and for all! 

In Haiti the smoke clouds are considerably less colorful.  This non-toxic colorful smoke seems to be the way to go.

Monday, April 23, 2012

just another manic monday

For those keeping track of Haiti and the news here - you already know that there were some problems around Port au Prince today. Our family and all of the Heartline family are safe and sound.

The condensed and incomplete version is this: some police officers have been killed under questionable circumstances over the last couple of weeks and had planned a strike that was 'officially' to begin tomorrow... the strike was rumored to only include traffic police. As far as we know roadblocks and barricades were erected in many areas around town by community members showing 'solidarity' with the police. 

Last night rumors began circulating and escalating as they always do here, and by this morning the streets were fairly empty on our side of the city.

One of the largest and active barricades (from what I hear) around town was the one erected a few yards from the Heartline property where the children go to school, some staff are housed, and the bakery is being built - the building being erected today of all days. 

view from the front gate of the OK Corral this afternoon

The construction crew for the new bakery and all of the building materials fortunately arrived ahead of the barricades. We were not so fortunate on our trip to school. 

After passing many vehicles and pedestrians hurriedly headed in the opposite direction, I rounded the corner at the last major intersection and paused upon seeing a large box truck blocking the road. The driver was being forced by some agressive men to park the truck sideways, meanwhile the back end of the truck had a flood of people and goods flowing out of it as all tried to get out of harm's way. I glanced around and saw the street vendors that were still around packing up and rushing off of the sidewalks and street. After speaking to a few people and hearing of the tires on fire beyond the parked truck, the rocks being thrown at passing vehicles, and the rumors of gunfire I decided to turn around and head the other direction with the rest of the traffic.

We spoke to everyone already safely inside the walls at the property, and professor/teacher/Mr. Jimmy put it best when he said: 'Maybe we should call off school due to civil unrest today." I was relieved as I think I could have talked my way through the blockade myself, but was a bit leery of trying to pass with the kids in tow and/or leaving the truck parked along the side of the road. 

The kids were excited to have an extra day off until we got home and realized that their aforementioned teacher and I had already discussed what work needed to be accomplished. The cheers quickly turned to jeers as I printed off their work for the day. 

Eventually rains late in the afternoon calmed things down around the city - all of the other Heartline peeps got where they were going sooner or later - there is much more news to be found elsewhere on the internet regarding the day's events, so I won't expound further here. 

Tomorrow will prove to be another interesting day in Haiti - just like every. single. other one.

Pray for Haiti - for Port au Prince - for the police and government - not just because of the problems today, but because like every day, everywhere, for everyone - God is at work redeeming and restoring a very broken world and using you and I to make that happen...and our prayers are a powerful tool in seeing that through.

the things we've handed down II

It was early in the morning. We had our passports and boarding passes in hand. We stood in line waiting to place our items into plastic bins and remove our belts and shoes in order to gain approval and passage by the good people of the transportation and security administration.

There is something about that line and the people barking out orders in a tone that says "you're a moron" that sets a person on edge.

I stood nearby as the woman working our line asked Paige, "Are all of your cosmetics and liquids pulled out of your purse?"

"Yep." Paige flatly replied.  I raised my eyebrow.  I knew her purse was filled with cosmetics and that she had not removed them. Paige smirked. We proceeded to put the rest of our loose items into bins and push them toward the scanner.

Once through the line we gathered our shoes and loose items and put things back in their place.  I could sense Paige gloating.  "You really showed them, didn't you?!?" I said.

"Yeah I did! See. They say you have to have your liquids and makeup out but then they cannot even tell that you didn't listen to them. I won."

Oh Paige.

A chip off the old block, that one.

Isn't that an interesting little peek at our souls?

The things we are advised to do, ultimately for our own good, are the things we rebel against.  I do this most days of my life in some form or another. I rebel against things that would be good for me, trying to prove just how much I don't need those things.  Only one problem.  It doesn't work for long. I need to talk to God.  I'd be better off buried in His word more often.  Unfortunately I walk around self-sufficient and thinking, "See. The suggestions are dumb. I don't do rules. They're not for me. I'll win, I can do it my way."

That works well -- right up until it doesn't. 

I know Paige comes by this rebellious spirit quite honestly (and I'm sorry). I'll add it to the list of the things we've handed down.  I'm traveling all over the place with my ornery traveling partner this week and enjoying her entertaining (yet flawed) logic again.

Looking for more fascinating reading?
Here: TSA has a blog.
(Keep an eye out, Paige could be featured soon.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

college schmollege

Eight schools visited; Paige up and decided to test out of college and stay home with her parents forever and ever and ever and ever.

true or false

Friday, April 20, 2012

everything is bigger in texas

I come check the blog each night hoping Troy has said something about something going on in Haiti; I find only things of little interest that I posted.  It's kinda sad.  (For me and for you.)   It is almost like Troy is working, handling a household in a challenging place, taking care of five kids and their massive need list, and once in a while trying to eat and sleep and bathe.  I guess writing about his day isn't making his to-do list. 
... in Tejas - Paige and Britt and a giant tree in Baylor's science building

The state of TX is all at once disturbing and fabulous.  They've got space here.  Lots of space.

We're alternating between laughter (like the crazy kind where the laughter is disproportionate to the thing that happens but your emotional side is so amped up that you gotta put those emotions somewhere) and tears in Texas. It actually does feel scary and unknown and impossible difficult to think of the kid leaving someday. If she wasn't so darn likable this would be so much easier.

We're realizing that the "Third Culture Kid" thing is not a small thing.  Her reality is Port au Prince. Her paradigm is not that of the average junior in high-school. It changes most of what she experiences. It means even the way college campuses are all about pedestrians and tons of people walking freely and safely and having the right of way seems kinda crazy to Paige. Suffice it to say pedestrians don't have rights or safety in Port-au-Prince. We're laughing with/at her a lot. We've seen four schools so far. We have one day left in TX before we head to CA.

From earlier today...

 "I have many observations about the state of our society at large based solely off of the things they focus on during the campus tours. I'd risk offending and expound if it weren't for the fact that American generosity allows me to work and live in Haiti. For now I'm developing my theory as each tour has a common thread. I am measuring and weighing my words. "

I am reflecting on the three "official" tours we have had so far.  It seems like the point is to sell a "college experience" more than a "college EDUCATION".  If I were to come in as a foreigner that knew nothing about the American higher education system I would leave the tour thinking that the four most important things about choosing a school are:

1. The food
2. The comforts and accommodations of the housing/dorms
3. The recreational facilities and options (HELLO - HOW can I possibly go to a school with no rock wall?)
4. Sports and sporting events

The tours have literally been 90% about food, housing, and entertainment. I keep waiting for someone to tell me about the academics -about the quality education - about the depth of character that will be built - the integrity .... the amazing professors ... something.

The tour guides keep saying things are "free" ... I am fighting my tongue and forcing myself not to be 'that guy'.  (Am I the only one that thinks the large student fees and large college tuition plus room and board is real money that is really being paid and therefore things aren't so much free as they are "covered in your fees and tutition"?) They say:'tickets to sporting events are free'.  I think: 'tickets to sporting events are included in your $20,000 + a year cost'.

I sometimes get myself into trouble saying this stuff out loud. It isn't meant to put anyone on the defensive. (And obviously, it is simply ONE observation based off of my limited experience. Ignore me!)  I guess it's just a function of leaving a culture and then coming back to see snippets of it.

I'm not attempting to be offensive, it is more of a head-scratching moment for me right now.  Do American parents care that much about how nice the stinkin dorm room is and how many options their kid will have for dinner?  Is a wide variety of food choices and a large bedroom what our 18 year olds need the most? Am I the only cynical curmudgeonly jerk that doesn't get it - or is that weird?

(For the Baylor junkies, we did not tour Baylor because we already know Baylor and Britt showed us around more. Don't be upset, the tours I am talking about were not at BU. Sic em!) 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

this is advertising?

There are many things I don't understand about the world.  This makes many plus one more.

In the Fort Lauderdale airport there is a very real looking wax man behind glass that promotes the city and welcomes people to Fort Lauderdale.  (The sign on the wall says so.)

Wax people? Wearing frumpy clothing? Promoting a beach-front city?

Monday, April 16, 2012

early grieving

This week two of us are taking off on a college scouting and summer planning adventure. Troy and the fabulous five will continue on as usual in Port-au-Prince while Paige and I jet-set and tour (a tiny part of) the world.

Paige is finishing up her Junior year in a few weeks. Jimmy and Becky Burton have done a fabulous job of helping Paige work hard this year to fill in gaps on her transcript and prepare to take the SAT in early June. They have committed to return to teach the kids again next year and see Paige through her senior year.  What a gift to us all!

Truthfully, we are horrified by the speed at which this day has arrived. It was just a few moments ago that Troy was patiently arranging the seam of Paige's socks just-so over her fat little toes before dropping her to preschool. Paige's ongoing refusal to agree to just stay with us forever and ever and ever has been one of the bigger annoyances of 2012.

2009 tomfoolery 
We'll be visiting universities in Texas and California and meeting a woman that is offering Paige sort of an internship type of arrangement to work with horses and learn more about therapeutic riding this summer.  Paige has some pretty fancy-pants plans in the works for her June and July. We simply cannot understand why California with fun friends, beaches, surfing, horses, and adventure sounds more fun than summer in Port au Prince with us. It's a giant mystery for sure.

The number of people/places we hope to see and things we hope to accomplish on this college trip is quite intimidating.  Dr. Jen agreed to come along with us. (In her other life she plays a career and college counselor.)  My organizational skills are decent, but hers are epic. Jen's presence as a second driver and planner will allow for me to do more grieving, lamenting, whining, and thrashing about on the ground.

2007 the day Lydie arrived
I vividly recall doing this trip with our oldest daughter Britt in 2007. It was less than thrilling for Britt that I was visibly pregnant with Lydia. I probably felt worse about it than Britt did. There really is no way to suck in a tired, old, grand-multipara uterus. Trust me, I tried.

That event marked the beginning of figuring out how to release a child into the big bad world without ending up in an institution with locked doors and no windows.

It stands to reason that if I pulled it off once, I can pull it off again.

Surely I can pull this off again, right?

Let the early grieving begin.

(Troy's mocking Adam Sandleresque song from late last year all about this very thing)

brotherly love

We're so grateful these two like (love!) one another so much.  Due to ridiculous roads, even more ridiculous traffic jams, busy and unpredictable schedules they don't get a chance to do a lot of socializing with other kids ... They need to be friends. Thank goodness they are the very best of buddies and the big brother is infinitely kind and patient with the little brother.

photo courtesy of Paige

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Prenatal Care in Haiti

Graduating from Early Childhood Development Class at 6month mark

For most women the months of their pregnancies are some of the most memorable, intense, challenging, and wonderful months of their lives.

When a woman enters the Heartline prenatal program she is often a little bit intimidated and quite unsure of what to make of us, the program, and the things we teach and share.  Understandably so, many women are skeptical of us in the beginning.  Old-wives tales are a part of every culture; this one is no different. It takes time to build trust. It takes time to build relationships.

Women in Haiti are not at all used to being given so much information about their health. When we do medical histories on the women most of the women that have had medical procedures in the past are not able to say exactly why they needed the procedure. So little information is shared; it is not uncommon for a woman to have no idea why she needed a C-Section. We make sure to allow plenty of time with the women during their consultations to explain each test, each outcome, and each plan we make with them. We want them to know everything about their health and pregnancy that we know.

During the months we have with the women before the baby is born much of our time is spent preparing women for what they can expect during labor and delivery.  Many of the women in the program are about to become a mother for the first time. Statistically, giving birth in the undeveloped world is risky business. They have only the experiences of others to base their legitimate fears and hopes upon ... almost every woman we speak with in Haiti knows someone that died within a short period of time after giving birth.

For those that have had babies they delivered at home or in crowded hospitals, the experience of delivering at Heartline will be an entirely new thing for them, not at all a part of their current paradigm. Our hope and our goal is for every woman that comes through our program to experience both quality care and authentic love, tenderness and attention.

The women get to know us; they get to know one another.  The classes each week become a time of learning and community, laughter and encouragement. Faithful attendance is what we ask of them, most eagerly comply and arrive bright and early on class day.

The women know that we post their photos and ask you to pray during their pregnancy, labor and delivery. They appreciate being covered in this way.

This morning Guerda is in labor.  This page has been updated recently with new women in the program.

Thank you for supporting Heartline Ministries Prenatal and Early Childhood Development Programs.  We're blessed, honored, and humbled to be allowed to walk with these ladies through such a special and important time of their lives.

"You can give without loving. But you cannot love without giving." 
-Amy Carmichael, missionary to India

Thursday, April 12, 2012

live out the situation

Posting songs and pasting in quotes and other people's words is the 'mysterious' way to say what we're feeling ... Without actually saying it.

Let it be known, the recent lack of new posts with original words and unique content written by the people of our tribe doesn't mean there is nothing to say.

No, no, quite the contrary.
There's stuff to say but so much of what is going on of late is still sort of unanswered and unclear.

It is easier to post song lyrics than it is to try to write sensible words out of so much confusion.

The larger problem with walking through times of challenge and confusion is that we're faced with a choice ...

Be confused and challenged- graciously, exhibiting faithful patience...
Be confused and challenged- ticked-off, self-sufficient and totally impatiently. 

I excel at the latter.

This quote was shared by my nugget-sharing friend Sarah-

"The word 'patience' means willingness to stay where we are and live out the situation to the full, in the belief that something hidden there will manifest itself to us." -Henri Nouwen

I've been waiting for some stuff to sort itself out and I've been fighting against Henri's advice to "live out the situation to the full".  I don't want to 'live it out' so much as I want to be done already.

I don't need to over-share on this one. I really don't.  Apparently there is a thing called 'restraint'. Sometimes it's called for; or that's what people tell me. Because I was born an over-sharer that cannot keep a secret to save my life, deciding to keep something private is a lot like deciding to stop breathing air.

The problem with half-sharing (as opposed to over-sharing) is that it seems like it is a ploy for attention, even when it not.

"Hi! See me over here dropping only morsels of information in an effort to make you curious."  "Look look! I'm melancholy. But I cannot tell you why. You'll have to wonder forever and ever." 


There is one guy in Haiti that excels at only posting mysterious stati (status plural?) on facebook - we call him "ambiguous stati guy".  He'll go down in the annals of history along with "greatest disparity in couple size" and  "rice-cake girl" and other people we've met and named by their unique quirks.

Well, now you see I'm no better than ambiguous stati guy. I'm just telling you how helplessly  impatient (and frustrated) we feel in our current situation and I'm pretty much leaving it at that.

There is one thing though ...
I don't think crappy and hard things happen because "God wants to teach us patience."  People say that to me and I just stare at their lips and think, "Yeah. No." And then I wonder why people always go around telling each other what God is doing and teaching and I wonder why I never know what God is doing but so many people around me do. And then sometimes I want to punch things.

I think crappy and hard things happen to us all because the world is a ginormous jacked up mess full of trouble, sin, injustice, and every evil thing. I think there is hope anyway.

I think there is war going on around us all the time, it may feel intangible  - or invisible - but it never stops. Never. I think there is hope anyway.

I think the war we cannot see is more real than the things we touch, taste, see and smell. I think there is hope anyway.

I think shit $%&# happens that is painful and hard and sometimes even horrible because of that war. I think there is hope anyway.

I think we learn from it by default and sometimes we end up getting a little more refined and a little more patient, and other times we don't.

I think either way, there is no choice but to live out the situation. 

song of the week

we were pressed on every side
full of fear and troubled thoughts
for good reason we carried heavy hearts
it is good to come together
in our friendship to remember
all the reasons hope is in our hearts

hallelujah hallelujah
Christ our joy and strength
hallelujah hallelujah
Christ our joy and strength

now with patience in our suffering
perseverance in our prayers
with good reason this hope is in our hearts

hallelujah hallelujah
Christ our joy and strength
hallelujah hallelujah
Christ our joy and strength

oh we saw the face of Angels
many good things well secured
for good reason this joy is in our hearts
hallelujah hallelujah
Christ our joy and strength
for good reason joy is in our hearts

Saturday, April 07, 2012

the saturday sort

Waiting ... 

"...And as much as I hate that Jesus didn't power up and come off the cross and "wow" people, or say to his disciples "now's the time, grab your swords", or do some spiritual jujitsu .... Once in a while I am grateful that our faith leaves space for Saturdays-the unanswered questions, the impossible hopes, the disappointment and frustration and sense of betrayal. If only for the fact that I can know I am not alone.  We're Saturday sorts of people." 
-Sarah Dornbos

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

weird on wednesday

painted on the back of a tap-tap (not to scale)

these are painted every 30 feet all around a UN base,
they have recently been painted over with red paint,
someone must have clued them in on their unfortunate translation error

danger: assemble legos at your own risk, wrist guards strongly encouraged