Monday, September 23, 2013

spinning plates

It is a busy life, this America life. Like every person reading this, we're trying to keep all the plates spinning. People in America just run their ever livin heads off. That's how they roll. You have a social life and you have all sorts of promises out there and you just gotta keep moving. I don't write much, because when I sit down to write a plate falls. I'm thankful to be here getting things accomplished, spinning these plates. I am also desperately missing the joys and challenges of the Haiti plate spinning. (which is different better)

I am hoping to recap the last two-ish weeks for the sake of remembering and documenting. I mainly want to formally update those of you that financially support us, as I believe you are owed an update on how the time away from Haiti is being spent. 

Paige is getting established here and doing well with her class load and working quite a few hours. She moves to her own place next month. We are doing the longest goodbye of all time, we know this. We thank each of you that allowed us to be near her during this season of great transition in her life. Thank-you for loving Paige with us when you said "yes" to supporting us while we are here in 'Merica with her. 

We are homeschooling the five youngest kids.  We go to a Co-op each Monday where the kids are given a chance to hang with other kids and they get their work for the week. This has given us an even greater appreciation for the work that the Burtons have done teaching our kids the last two years. Teaching five grade levels and five unique personalities is something they make look easy -- but -- no. Lies. Not easy. 

Troy and I share this responsibility, attempting to give each other breaks away at the library to do our own studying. I am teaching Math. I only teach the two youngest. There is something cruel and unusual about this ... But also - something so very just. I deserve it. I am impatient and bad at Math. I had this coming. A brilliant young woman named Caroline has been teaching the older three kids Math. Her skill and patience with the older three points out my ineptitude with the younger two. Humbling doesn't begin to describe it. Both Phoebe and Lydia like to pretend not to know things they know - in order to see how long I can keep my cool. I get it. I know this is a test and those turkeys 

Troy is taking Anatomy and Physiology and Chemistry. He pretends that he will fail before he takes the tests and then comes home with 98 test scores and annoys the heck out of me. He has classes two days a week. Taking these classes is laying ground work for some longer range goals he has. For a reminder on his situation and hopes/dreams regarding dentistry and Haiti, see this post. 

I am inching toward sitting for the North American Registry of Midwives exam. The test is offered a couple times a year. I hope to take it early in 2014. I turned in a huge stack of paperwork to them and await their reply at this point. I am studying whenever time allows. I have had friends ask for an explanation about all of this, I am happy to explain for those interested. There are different ways to become a midwife. There are nurse midwives and then there are certified professional midwives. (Different levels/paths of training.) Obviously, I've mainly worked in Haiti where the needs are great and the health-care options not so great. Because of that, I get to learn extra and for that I am grateful. I have had wicked smart teachers slowly teaching me the nursing parts even though I am not a nurse and won't hold that title. As far as the certification I am pursuing, it is this:

"A Certified Professional Midwife (CPM) is a knowledgeable, skilled and professional independent midwifery practitioner who has met the standards for certification set by the North American Registry of Midwives and is qualified to provide the Midwives Model of Care. The CPM is the only midwifery credential that requires knowledge about and experience in out-of-hospital settings. Most CPMs work in private home or birth center based practices throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Providing continuous care for women throughout their childbearing cycle..."
To each person that sacrificially gives to allow us to work and love and live in Haiti --- thank you for seeing how important this time would be for us in the USA and for standing by and approving this semester away. As always, we hope you'll feel free to contact us with questions and that you hear and feel our gratitude. 

We're all students all at once - it is a little bit chaotic.

A quick photo and words recap of the last two weeks ...
first day of homeschool group
birthday date with mom and dad
big sister, Britt, brought cinnamon rolls for birthday breakfast

We took Isaac out to Texas Roadhouse for steak for his birthday dinner. He asked the waiter, "So, is your applesauce pretty good?"  The waiter said, "Yes, it is, very good." Isaac knew he wanted steak no matter what, that's why he chose the restaurant he chose. The waiter came up to take the order and Isaac said, "I'm gonna go with that applesauce you told me is good" I said, "Buddy, you gotta tell him about your steak too, he doesn't know you or that you are here for steak." "OOOOH! OKAY - Got it!" he said.

He was all questions and hilarity at dinner and by the end of dinner he had a list of things he wanted to google research they were:
1.  Which states is it legal to have a pet alligator?
2.  What are the lyrics to the Texas Roadhouse Birthday song?  (because it is so good!)
3.  The store named 7-11  - why is it named 7-11?  

These two clowns are playing a sport for the first time in their lives. (Another super sweet gift of being here for a bit, kids are getting to do some special things.) In case you cannot see the obvious when you look at this photo,legitimate athletes right here:

Troy and I had three nights away together in TN.  We stayed at a gorgeous place in the Great Smoky Mountains owned by friends that work in Haiti. We visited The (legendary) Farm Midwifery Center. (This means nothing to some people and everything to others. Feel free to be confused or impressed accordingly.) 

We had time and space and the peace and quiet enough to have conversations we had long needed to have.  It was a short but very sweet. Troy headed back to the kids and his classes after the weekend and I stayed to work with a Doctor that we met after the earthquake.  I got to observe prenatal visits and a bunch of other things and attend hospital births with him. I enjoyed every minute of my time there. It was a great learning experience. 

The Farm
 (Top photo in stained glass dome is at the farm too.)

Troy did not believe in me, so this happened. 

This past weekend we were at 'The Idea Camp' in Austin. While we were at the conference Isaac, Hope, and Noah spent time with friends of ours and came home exhausted from so much fun and activity. They keep thanking us for sharing our new friends with them. 

At the conference we enjoyed seeing friends and meeting people we've long communicated with on-line but never had the joy of meeting. Troy did the speaking part because I had determined that I felt too weepy. He was merciful and said I could say one quick thing and then just sit there and look adoringly at him. So much for no tears; Troy ended up crying through his whole speaking thing. 

People really seem to love when men cry. I feel like he should take that show on the road. 

When Troy was speaking (crying) about Haiti and the tension of living in a fractured place of joy and sorrow and brokenness, the heart of what he hoped to share is found in these words from Henri Nouwen after he said, 
"Don't put the cure before the care":

Real care is not ambiguous. Real care excludes indifference and is the opposite of apathy. 

The word care finds its roots in the Gothic Kara, which means lament. The basic meaning of care is ‘to grieve, to experience sorrow, to cry out with.’ 

I am very much struck by this background of the word care because we tend to look at caring as an attitude of the strong toward the weak, of the powerful toward the powerless, of the have’s toward the have-not’s.

And, in fact, we feel quite uncomfortable with an invitation to enter into someone’s pain before doing something about it.