Monday, October 31, 2016


Troy pretended to enjoy in-line skating and bought himself a pair of used RollerBlades in order to take me on a date skating on October 13, 1996. (Free dates were the way for underemployed 21 year old Troy and single-mom 24 year old Tara.)  He will readily admit, this many years later, that he skated around Lake Rebecca behind me so he could check out my butt. The 20 year anniversary of our first date passed without our acknowledgement earlier this month.  

The next weekend I invited him and he agreed. We went on an eight hour road trip to Omaha, NE with my girls (then almost 2 and 6 years old) to visit my aging grandparents.  

In Omaha we fell hard for one another.  My Grandpa Porter (may he rest in ornery peace) thought we were idiots and basically told us so. 

We made out in the KinderCare parking lot and listened to David Wilcox on our long drive back to the Twin Cities.   

The next weekend we crafted this amazing McDonalds French Fry costume with our BARE HANDS - in the day and age of no Pinterest.  We made that costume without help, folks.   

Twenty Year Anniversary Celebration of that costume is today.  (If you wish to duplicate, you can buy foam, cut it in strips, paint it french-fry yellow, find a box, paint it red and throw an M on it, find a cute little kid and shove them in the box.) 

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I write about dog uterus removal and parasites that cause diarrhea and ruined underwear for my entire family with much more gusto and bravado than I do anything serious.  

All mockery is fun, even self mockery.   

On occasion, I find myself writing about more serious things. It happened yesterday.
Today I have a vulnerability hang-over from my quarterly post at the website, A Life Overseas. You can read it here.  Since I have the dang hangover already, I am pointing you to that post.  The hair of the vulnerability dog in virtual form, or something like that.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

All Glamour All The Time

I sent Isaac down the street with the dead cat that sunrise of Monday morning revealed to us.  

I suppose getting rid of the cat on Monday or Tuesday would have been a nice idea, but Troy did not choose to facilitate removal in a timely manner, therefore I stepped in to manage the situation.

Somehow the same Mastiff that was septic and just about dead only one week ago, managed to end the life of a cat while we slept Sunday night.  

It seems as if Hazelnut the Mastiff feels better. 

As I watched Isaac walk away with the bag extended far from his body, I thought, "Well, there goes Isaac, down the street with a dead cat in a bag.  That's real weird."

Back in the 80s in the sixth grade play at Park Brook Elementary School, I played Becky Thatcher. I wore a dress my Mom sewed for me and one of my two lines was, "Whatcha got in the bag?"  

Tom (or maybe it was Huck?) says, "Dead cat", to which Becky Thatcher says, "Watcha gonna do with it?" 

My Dad used to love to repeat my two lines in the sixth grade play over and over and over to me.  Used to, as in on multiple occasions over and over for the last for 30 years. I suppose he did so because mockery is our love language and because it was my theatrical debut and who can forget such thespian grandeur. (?!)

As it turns out, my role as Thatcher was not only my debut; it was also my swan song. 

Sometimes talent goes undiscovered.

Isaac took the cat down the street and around the corner to the Maternity Center this morning because Wednesday is trash day at the Maternity Center and because I made him take it. 

before removal of rotten gargantuan uterus

Last week we gave the trash man an eleven pound, nasty beyond belief, infected and rotten dog uterus.  Today a dead cat.  

The trash man signed us on as new customers very recently and took three months payment as a deposit knowing full well about the placentas that were to come. These other items are bonus items. I think he is probably really really glad he landed our business. 

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Completely unrelated to rotten uteruses and dead cats, last night Noah puked a far greater volume than his stomach could ever even feasibly hold.  I don't understand exactly what happened there.  

He woke me up around 12:30 to tell me. I fumbled in the darkness and found some glasses. Lord knows I wouldn't want to miss seeing his stomach contents. 

As I was cleaning it up and stripping the bedding he held his tummy with one arm and his nose with his other hand and asked me if maybe he should do the cleaning. 

I convinced him I was born for the work of vomit clean-up and he need not apply for a job I excel at and have decades of experience performing.  I finished stripping the sheets and left the worst work of removing the chunky parts for the morning.  

Rest assured I sprang from my bed this morning, excited to finish the job and get the sheets into the washing machine.  

Wednesday can only be described as wonderful when it begins with the smells of dead cat and vomit.

Moments ago I sat down after waving Troy and the three kids that were not walking a dead cat down the street, and not lying in bed sick, off to school.  

I picked up my coffee, sighed deeply at the bizarre nature of life, and scratched my neck.  As I did this, I found, perched upon my clavicle,  an identifiable chunk of the contents of Noah's stomach. 

It is all glamour all the time, this life.

(Dog Uterus photos available upon request.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

One-Uppers - Natural Disaster Edition

Beautiful Haiti 

We have been running non stop from task to task and haven't yet taken the time to write much about the passage of Hurricane Matthew.  The short version is this:  Port au Prince did really well and the storm did not cause damage to very many homes in the densely populated area where we live. We stayed near home and waited for the storm to pass and kept our kids home those days. Thankfully their teacher travels and she came and did school with them at home. 

The bad and really overwhelming news is that the damage caused to the south west corner of the island is unimaginable. Many lives, homes, and all the crops have been lost. Cholera is starting to spread in that area. Many areas have so many trees down that they have been unreachable since Tuesday the 4th of October when the Hurricane passed over our island.  

The good news is this:  It seems we all learned a lot from the 2010 Earthquake.  Faith-based groups and larger NGOs mainly seem to be working together really well right now.  People are trading information, supplies, and equipment and setting aside personal or mission agendas in order to quickly respond to the needs.  That part is really beautiful to see.  It appears that any group interested in their own agenda only will quickly be left in the dust, this is about cooperation and a response driven by the needs and desires of the Haitian people. That is our commitment. 

Today Troy is leaving his role of logistics coordinator and headed on a flight to Dame Marie to help a friend get set up treating water out there.  I was able to go to Texas for three days to see Graham and Paige and Britt (and my parents too!) for a quick birthday celebration for Graham. It was weird to be away from home when I knew Troy was working his buns off trying to keep everything going, but we always try to prioritize family and the trip was planned and felt important.  Graham is a package of joy and he delivered much therapy to me in the form of laughing, dancing, kisses, and funny conversations. On the way home from Florida I was listening in on conversations around me as Haitians and Americans compared notes about what they were hearing and seeing in the South. It made me think of this old post I wrote at A Life Overseas and I need to laugh right now.  Maybe you do too.

(Most of our Haiti and relief-work updates right now will be on the right side of this blog in the Instagram Feed.)


by TARA LIVESAY on JUNE 2, 2014
For some reason 2014 is the year that I cannot seem to formulate many serious or deep thoughts when discussing my “life overseas”.  I would like to believe it is simply “a season”, and not some major personality flaw.  
With a virus spreading like wild-fire, life in Haiti has been especially rough for the last several weeks, it doesn’t appear that it will let up anytime soon.  My husband and I are walking through new things with our adult kids that we launched not so long ago while trying to be present with the five we still have at home.
Things just feel a little more intense than usual. Maybe laughing at myself (and you) is my favored way to remain positive.
When things get rough, find something to laugh at, even if it is yourself.
A few years back there was a skit on Saturday Night Live based on a character named Penelope.  She was the person who was always driven to one-up everyone else, in every situation, even when it was to celebrate how much more miserable she was than everyone else.
Perhaps you stated that your relatives came over on the Mayflower. Well, Penelope’s came over a month before yours did on the “Aprilflower.”
You got in a bad car accident yesterday? Penelope had been in three that very day.
She was often not even invited into a conversation, but still, she would interject and get the spotlight and out-do all other stories being shared with her over the top competitive one-upper neurosis.
I get a kick out of the way humanitarian workers, missionaries, and expats can come off a little bit like Penelope without even lying or trying.  Sometimes we scroll through our Twitter or other social media accounts and see our friends in the developed world airing their legitimate grievances and we nod in agreement.  Often times the Penelope in us comes out.
Now, remember, most of us are being totally honest and not necessarily trying to be a one-upper, but by default and by life circumstance, we just ARE.
Here are some possible examples,
A pal in Minnesota says, “I have been so sick with this nasty cold for more than a week.”  Expat/M/HW says: “Yeah, I have had Dengue Fever, Cerebral Malaria, and Chikungunya this last year, being sick really stinks.”
Your little sister says, “Please pray for my daughter to do well in marching band try outs, she is very nervous.”  Expat/M/HW says: “Yeah, my daughter is getting on a puddle jumper in a few hours to escape civil unrest in our country and she is nervous (about being shot) too.”
Person says, “Oh my gosh, our hot water broke and it has been a week without it!”  Expat/M/HW says: “Yeah, we don’t have hot water (like, ever) – I hear that!”
Your aunt says, “The storm took out our power and we have gone without power for three days!” Expat/M/HW says: “Yeah, our batteries and inverter got stolen and the generator is on the fritz too, we won’t have power for six to nine months – we have to fundraise 5K first.”
Friend says, “Oh.My.GOSH. I sat in traffic forEVER today on the way into the city.”  Expat/M/HW says: “I totally understand that. I do that every day of every month of every year. As a matter of fact, last night I slept in traffic.”
Brother says, “I paid $4.20 per gallon for gas this morning, how atrocious.” Expat/M/HW says: “Oh, gasoline? We haven’t had any here in three weeks. I would love to pay $4.20 for some.”
Co-worker says, “The grocery store was totally out of my brand of Greek yogurt, I was so bummed.” Expat/M/HW says, “The country I live in never built the store that had refrigerators for Greek yogurt. So, yeah, also bummed.”
Your buddy says, “We went out to eat and it took 45 minutes to get our food! Can you believe that?”  Expat/M?HW says, “We did too, there was nothing available on the menu so we had warm Coke for lunch.”
While the truth may be that your day-to-day inconveniences consistently trump those of your friends “back home”, I advise you to leave your Penelope responses in your head.
If you do,  you will always have friends.
Is it ever hard to offer others your sincere empathy or a listening ear when the complaints seem smallish from your point of view?  
Do you bust out your Penelope on them, or hold your tongue? 

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LINK to Hurricane Relief Giving ONLY HERE  -
Prior to the hurricane’s landfall in the southern provinces, thousands of Haitians were still living in temporary camps set up for displaced people following the 2010 earthquake that killed over 200,000 people. The region has also been ravaged by a devastating cholera epidemic. The number of cholera cases will dramatically increase without clean water and sanitation.

Heartline Ministries and partners are committed to the following principles:
  • Locally sourcing and purchasing all food, supplies, and other emergency materials.
  • Working through well-established and trusted grassroots organizations led by local Haitian leaders.
  • Adhering to the SPHERE universal minimum standards in humanitarian response.
Please Help Now:
  • Pray. Please pray for safety, protection, and relief assistance for victims of this disaster.
  • Give. Please help us respond quickly during the critical first hours and days of this response.
  • Follow. We will post real time updates to our FacebookTwitter, and Instagram pages. Please follow us there to stay connected.
A note to faithful Heartline Ministries donors: The children and families served through Heartline programs are counting on your continued support. We appreciate your ongoing, regular giving that funds our existing ministries.

To donate by check, please make checks payable to Heartline Ministries and designate "Hurricane Relief." Mail to:
Heartline Ministries
P.O. Box 898
Sunnyside, WA 98944

About Heartline Ministries
Heartline Ministries has been working in Haiti for over 25 years. Based in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, Heartline Ministries works to strengthen Haitian families and prevent children from becoming orphans by empowering Haitians with education, employment, maternal and infant health care, job skills training, and Christian outreach. For more information, visit

Stewardship is of utmost importance to Heartline Ministries. We are committed to excellent financial management of the resources entrusted to us. Donations will be used for emergency relief and long-term recovery efforts in response to Hurricane Matthew.