Monday, February 22, 2010


My grandfather and his wife are in town for a doctor's appointment for him. He goes to the VA hospital, so when he has appointments, they drive over and spend the night with my parents. We all went over there for dinner tonight. Lance and Luke had Cub Scouts so they just ate and ran.
But the girls and I stayed for a while and visited. My kids love Granddad and Granny Edna! And Edna is so good with my kids. She's been a great addition to our family. They had fun tonight putting together puzzles and drawing. I love this picture...
Dad, Edna, and Hope putting together a puzzle.
And Sara and Granddad

I am so grateful that my kids know their Great grandfather. I wish they could have know Grandmother, but they do talk about her. Sara was only 9 months old when she passed away. But even Hope talks about Gigi. She loved her grand kids so much.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Most Important Things

This is one of the proudest moments of my life...

And tonight, Luke started the New Believers class at church. There is a separate class for parents. We are given tips on how to encourage our children in their faith. Two things really stood out tonight. Luke was given a box. It's just a plain cardboard box with a lid. His "homework" is to decorate the box. It's his spiritual keepsake box. We are to put different mementos in it throughout his life to mark his spiritual journey. I LOVE that! One of the reasons is to give him markers to look back on as he grows. I was saved when I was 7, just like Luke, and I had a period of doubt when I was 15. I couldn't remember much about my salvation experience because I was so young. The idea of the box is to give him things to remember this time by. Some ideas of things are his written testimony (which he is working on this week), the cup from his 1st Lord's Supper, etc.

The second thing that got my attention was the conviction of the Holy Spirit on how I am modeling Christ in my life to my children. They are learning from me what it means to have Jesus in their lives. What am I showing them? Am I modeling Christ when I yell at them? when I get aggravated at drivers on the road? when I lose my temper? when I don't pray as much as I should? when I neglect my Bible? when I'm easily frustrated? Lord God, restore unto me the joy of thy salvation!

And tonight, my sweet, sweet Sara prayed for some friends of ours who are leaving this week. They are moving to Indiana to become Home Missionaries. The kids and I got home from church after a reception sending the Hansens off. We sat down at the table to eat a quick bite and Sara prayed for us. "Dear God, thank you for the food, thank you for our family. Please help Chandler to be safe in Indiana. And please help them to tell everybody about Jesus. Amen." :)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Go USA!!

Lance is on call this weekend, and he's been gone most all day. The kids and I have been at the house making the best of it. We have a clean house (woo hoo!) and we had a great dinner. Lance made it home in time to eat before I had to put it all up. I hate eating without him. Especially when I fix a big dinner. But, oh well. Such is life.

We've been watching the Olympics quite a bit. Luke is really getting into it. Who knew?! Tonight, he made 3 signs for each of the big kids. They had a great time watching speed skating and bobsled tonight. It was hysterical. They were screaming, "USA, USA!!" Then, "AMERICA!" I took some pics. They are with my phone, so they're not great, but you get the idea. :)

Their signs. Luke did them with a pencil, so it's hard to see the writing.

Cheering the bobsled team!

Even Emma got in on the cheering!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Things That Make Me Smile

Sara had a playdate with a friend from church today. Every time her friend has bring a friend day at her gymnastic place, she asks Sara to come. Sara loves it. Then they go to Chik Fil A for lunch. Hope and Emma and I ran some errands while Sara was at the gym and then we met up with Sara at Chik Fil A.
After lunch, the girls and I headed to PetCo to get some new fish! We've had a fish for a couple years. We've gone through several fish in that time period. Ha! But we the one that we've had the entire time is a sucker fish. He's 7 in long! The only other fish in the tank is Luke's invisible catfish and he stays hidden all the time. We've been telling the girls they could pick our some fish and today was the day. They had so much fun. I smiled the whole time in the store because they were having so much fun looking at all the animals. Here they are enjoying the birds!

After dinner tonight we got the kids bathed, put Emma to bed and then the rest of us piled on the couch to read a book. We've done a few times the past week and we are all loving it. We're reading some of The Magic Treehouse books. I have been the one reading, but tonight we let Luke read. I smiled the entire time! He is amazing! He is 7 1/2 years old; in the 2nd grade and is reading on a 5th grade reading level! He is such a good reader. He reads with inflection and really tells the story.

He's having some problems concentrating on getting his work done at school so his teacher, principle and I came up with the idea of letting him read to some of the younger grades. He is going to his 1st grade teacher's class and reading to her class as a reward for getting his work done. He's doing a great job at it. I'm so proud!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

What to Say??

Not much going on around here right now. Last night Hope had a sleepover with my Mom. My Dad is out of town on business, so she is had Hope last night and Sara is there tonight. It was so cute this morning. I didn't sleep well last night, so when Luke got off to school, I went back to bed to wait for Emma to wake up. Sara was watching TV. My Mom has our garage door programmed in her car, so she just opened the door when she brought Hope back. I heard the door open and Hope run into the living room and yell, "SURPRISE!!!" and then start laughing. For whatever reason, that made my heart smile. She is so full of life!

Sara cracks me up. I don't know where she came from. I swear if she didn't look just like me, I would say she wasn't mine! This was her bag that she packed on her own to go to Mom's...

Her pajamas are folded neatly under her shirt. Then her jeans and socks folded on top. Then she put a stuffed animal on top of all of that. She is a hoot! When I pack, I just throw everything in and zip it up! Ha! I can't wait for her to get a little bigger and she can pack my bags!!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy Early Valentine's Day!

My sweet parents had us over tonight with 2 other couples that are some of our closest friends for a Valentine's Dinner. It was wonderful! They served us and Mom had the table formally set all decorated in red. The menu was amazing. Pork loin with cranberry chutney, twice baked potatoes, glazed carrots, green bean bundles, salad, and individual heart shaped strawberry cakes for dessert.

My parents are the best! They wanted all of us to have a nice dinner at no expense and to be able to visit. I am blessed with the birth family that I have. My parents are Godly people and just love people. They are an example of service and getting to know the world around you. They are constantly meeting their neighbors and taking them food and just ministering to those they come in contact with.

I love my Momma and Daddy!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

End of the Journal

It has been such a blessing to be able to share Lance's journal the past few nights. When I read through it the first time, I was in tears. I'm going to try to balance the blog now with the everyday of our lives and the life changing experience that has been Haiti. It is definitely not the end. We know that God has called us to continuing missions in Haiti. Our plan is to both go in late spring when the Port Au Prince airport is open again. I'm really excited! And the ministry that Lance worked with has secured a house for all teams in the future. The kids know that we are both going back the next time. They are fine with it. I assured them that it won't be as long as we were in Thailand and they smiled. (Glad we have their blessing!)

So now is the adjustment back into everyday life, with Haiti being a part of that life. The girls had their Valentine's Parties today at MDO. All three big kids sat at the kitchen table 2 days ago and addressed all their Valentine cards. So cute. Hope wrote her name on all 14 cards by herself! She just sat there and did all of them one at a time. She did better than Luke! Ha! He's a little ADD at times and I kept having to redirect him. Sara, forever the perfectionist, wrote all of her friends names and her name and folded every single one. Good memories.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Haiti Day 6

2 February 2010

I would like to tell you of the glamour of this trip. I would like to tell you stories of us sweeping into remote villages or destroyed urban areas and saving hundreds of lives, or that each day we arose as the sun greeted us with renewed strength. That all went as planned and nothing was wasted.

The truth is that the area was filled with the smell of burning plastic water bottles, diesel fuel, dust, and the occasional smell of rotting flesh. The nights were filed with the sounds of C-130's and malaria carrying mosquitoes. We were able to help many wounds that left untreated would pose serious threats and will likely now heal. Many who would have lost the use of limbs all together will likely regain some use. This week, orphans will be clothed and fed. They will receive medicine for malnutrition and parasites because of a providential meeting with a UNICEF official, but most of the people we touched left our tent with persistent ailments for which there is little chance of getting medicine for cure or relief.

My prayer is that our presence gives a sense of legitimacy to the local church. That these people would wonder why a group of Americans would come to this place at this time to help them, and that this curiosity would lead them to the body of Christ. For it is the realization that the God of heaven loved me enough to come here to this broken world that once lead me to the body of Christ. It is only in Christ that they will find healing and ultimate relief from this life's sufferings.

Should we go?

Without question the answer is yes for many reasons. First, we are commanded by Christ to care for the poor and orphaned. Second, without the preaching and testimony of the local church, these people will be lost. A thought that is more unimaginable for me than a life in tin houses, is a life without hope and truly without Christ, whether we are American or Haitian, we are without hope without Him. Third, my life is changed forever. I will never again eat a meal without thinking of these people. When I lay my head on my pillow, my mind will travel to the children with smiling faces who tonight sleep on dirt. I will be more thankful and mindful of the hurting than ever before.

This place is a disaster in every sense of the word. Transport is unreliable, logistics is complicated, and plans change sometimes by the minute. Be prepared for this.

I do not know what plans God has for Haiti. Over and over the Scripture is filled with stories of change. In Ninevah, the king said, "Who can tell what God might do with a repentant, changed people." I will want and hope to be a part of His plan. I pray that the Glory of The Most High be seen in this place.


Monday, February 8, 2010

Haiti Day 5

1 February 2010

Long ride back to the Dominican Republic today, but tonight I had dinner with good friends. We laughed and enjoyed the meal. We spoke of home and our lives there. We remembered our wives and kids and were thankful for those. Tonight in Port Au Prince, sweet little boys and girls will go to bed hungry in a tent if they are lucky, or the ground under the stars if they are not. Today they have hauled water, washed their clothes and bathed in the ditch. They have had little to eat, while some have had nothing at all.

While I am happy to be here, a part of me now will always be there. I wish there were a way to protect them, feed them, clothe them, comfort them. Tonight I feel guilty and I suspect that every meal for some time I will feel guilty. I will feel for these when I lie down in my warm bed at night, when I take my warm shower in the morning.

Lord help me not to forget. Teach me to find ways to help. Keep me mindful of these and make me a better father and husband. Keep me mindful of my blessings for who am I and what is my house that You have been so good to me.


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Haiti Day 4

31 January 2010

I am continually amazed at these people. We were at a church service this am. You could feel the Spirit of the Lord with these folk as they sang and lifted their hands toward heaven. These people who have nothing worth singing about in our eyes have found joy in God. He is all they have and it is enough. Most of the people in the crowd here slept under the stars and they still show up to church dressed better than most of us.

The slum on the river was difficult to see but the people continue to be amazing. They laugh and play. The favorite toy of the little boys is a hoop with a stick to roll it with. They cannot imagine the world I am from.

It is hot tonight and the mosquitoes are bad. I am in my tent with a belly full of beef jerky and grilled chicken; tonight too many children sleep under the stars.


Lance thought this little boy was cute. Most of the boys had a rim of some sort and a wire or stick with a hook at the end. He had stroller wheels and a long stick! No chance of his wheel falling over! :)

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Haiti Day 3

From Lance's journal

PAP Haiti 30 January 2010

Spent all day in the campground surrounding the church. The thing that was the most striking to me today has been the futility of the situation here. This country is a literal mess and not because they had an earthquake 2 weeks ago. The streets are filled with trash, the smell is overpowering at times; to our American sensitivities it is almost unbelievable. But in all of this, the children still play, the people still smile. They keep clean despite a lack of resources. It is a wonder. The people we saw today have, for the most part, lost something; a house, their lively hood, etc. The people we see tomorrow had nothing to lose in the first place. They live in tin shacks not affected by the quake. The only running water is from the creek that runs beside the group of shacks. This place is unimaginable to most. Part of me almost wishes it still was for me.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Haiti Day 2

The following is Lance's journal entry on day 2. I am amazed that over 700 people read the blog yesterday. Praise the Lord. He is making the situation known in Haiti!

Port Au Prince Haiti 29 January 2010
Incredible to think we are actually here. It is like a lot of other disasters in that when you see it, it is hard to understand why one house falls and another stands. Much like a tornado in Arkansas. The children today were precious, one looked very much like Hope. Others just wandered around looking at us. When you live in a world where you have little to nothing , it's not a big deal to a child when the little you have disappears. You still play, you still laugh, you still bathe in the same creek, you go back to the same tin shack. They cannot imagine my world and until today, I could not have imagined theirs. It does seem to way heavier on the adults, but still for some of them they are still selling the same produce or trinket on the same street corner only with a little more rubble.

Downtown around the palace is an utter disaster. It is unlivable and those people seem lost. I pray that they may find Christ to guide them home.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Haiti Day 1

The following is Lance's first entry the night they got to Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. It is a letter to me. They left for Port Au Prince the next morning...


It's hard to believe we are here. What a wild January this has been. But knowing that God has called us here, makes it even wilder. I found an old mission statement I wrote for my life when I was in Graduate School, it was comforting to read this, because it feels like I'm doing what it says. I am so grateful for your prayers, as I sat down in the plane today at XNA, my anxiety left me, and I was calm in a way I rarely experience. I knew at that very moment you were praying for me. It seems odd tonight that I am in a Best Western. This room could be in Rogers, AR, to look at it. But tomorrow, the world will be upside down as we move into Port Au Prince. I have a feeling that I may never be the same again, and I am ok with that. To know Him and make Him known, to have the opportunity to be His hands and feet. I am unworthy for sure. I pray for His anointing, not just to heal wounds, but to heal hearts in Him name. I miss the kids already, but I see their faces on every child that I see in the news. I go here because I would want someone to come to them. I go here because Christ came from heaven to a broken world for me.

In His Love,

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Oh Happy Day!!

Well, I have to apologize for not blogging last night. But I was otherwise engaged. This is why!!!

The smile on his face was joy to my soul!

My sweet, sweet, friend Ruth came to the airport with her 3 boys so she could watch my 4 kids at the baggage claim and allow me a brief moment with Lance when he got off the plane. That was the best hug I've ever gotten in my life!

The kids were waiting at the bottom of the escalator with signs for their Daddy! (Ruth brought her camera and took pictures. They were far better than my phone camera pics!) Thank you Ruth! I love you!

I don't have much to say tonight except that I am so happy to have my husband home. A changed man. You can see it in his face. This experience has affected us so deeply. It is not a passing, once in a lifetime thing. We both have felt the Lord calling us to missions in Haiti. Not to live there as missionaries, but to go and bring relief and aid throughout the years to come.
And here is a special treat. Lance is a writer. His words just flow and are so moving. He has written me several cards and letters in our years together and each one is beautiful. He doesn't get to journal nearly as much as he would like to. But when he does, it amazes me.
When he left, I told him to journal something everyday. No matter if it were just 2 sentences. He did and when I told him that over 200 people a day were reading my blog the past two weeks, the first thing out of his mouth was, "Maybe you could put my journal on there." I was surprised that he would open his thoughts up like that. He is a very private person. But he is a person who wants the situation in Haiti known and not forgotten.
So the next few days I will be blogging Lance's journal from the trip. One entry a day. I want my children to know what their father did and why. And what he was feeling when he did it. Let me tell you that when I read it, my heart was humbled and broken.

Monday, February 1, 2010

One More Day!!!

This is what came to my door today.

And each of the kids got a balloon bouquet tied to a bag of Hershey's Kisses. Thank you Lord for the man you blessed me with!

The funny thing is that they were all supposed to be delivered Friday after he left on Thursday. The cards all said. See you soon. Love, Daddy (or Lance for me!) But because of the weather, today is the first day they could get them to me. It was good though. It amped up the excitement about Lance coming home tomorrow! Woo Hoo!!

Lance called me this morning at 7:40 to tell me they were heading back to Dominican Republic. He forgot about the time change. It was 9:40 DR time and he said it felt like noon because he'd been up so long.

He hasn't said much about his feelings or emotions this past week. I'm sure that will come when he gets home. As a doctor, he has learned to disassociate from the sadness that comes with the job. It is a defense mechanism that he has to have or he couldn't do his job. But he comes home and then he allows himself to feel the emotion. He is such a tenderhearted and caring doctor. He's going to be processing the past few days for weeks to come.

They made it safely through all the checkpoints along the road. The government was much more strict as of yesterday because there were several church members arrested yesterday at the border trying to take dozens of children out of the country. I can't even get started on that. I'm so angry. I totally understand their intentions. Anyone with a heart would want to take as many children as they can to a better life, but some of the children still had parents. And they didn't have any paperwork for the children. They were basically trafficking children. Albeit with noble intentions. All it did was make adopting Haitian children that much harder.

All that to say, Lance and the team made it to Santo Domingo in about 7-8 hours. Not bad.

Tonight my friend Leslie called and asked me if the kids and I wanted to go to dinner. Her husband is our friend John who is with Lance. We took all of our kids to IHOP. The kids loved pancakes for dinner! And then some sweet, sweet friends of our treated us to some really good ice cream!! Jimmy and Dawn own several Cold Stone Creamery's. They live in Branson, but own the one in Rogers. Dawn had offered us some ice cream this week to give us a distraction, but with the weather the way it has been, tonight was the first time we could take her up on it. Dawn, I know you're reading this. I love you!!

So this is my last night alone without my best friend. I cannot wait to feel his arms again!