Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Haiti Day 3

I'm tired! Today, we spent the day working at an orphanage building a dorm for the kids. A team before us had started it and we are going to finish it the walls this week. It was HARD physical labor! My hands ache, my arms ache, my back aches. But it feels so good! The kids have been sleeping in tents since the earthquake. To know that they will now have a safe home is so amazing.

We were getting the water for the concrete and mortar from a creek that runs through the orphanage property. It is a disgusting, filthy creek. Trash filling the creek. The threat of cholera in our minds. And here we are arm deep in it, filling buckets of water to build walls for these beautiful kids. Someone pointed out the irony that we are using the water that is laced with death to make a home that is filled with life for the children.

What a thought. Death is all over this country. Still fear from the earthquake. But these kids are smiling, happy, and so excited about their new home. It is such a stark contrast. Once again you see the glimpse of hope for Haiti. The children that are being taken care of by those who love God. Who love their children in their care. These children are being taught about the love of God and seeing it in action by the vast amount of American teams coming to help them all because of the love of Christ. I hope and pray that they will see and understand that He is the reason the Americans are coming. That they will come to a saving knowledge of Christ and become leaders in their country. That is the hope for the future of Haiti. Embodied in the smiling, beautiful faces of the children.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Haiti Day 2

We found out after we scheduled the dates for this trip that we would be arriving the day of Haiti's elections. Ooops! Had we known that, we definitely would have picked different dates. But, one thing that God has been teaching me over the last year is that He is in control and all I have to do is give myself fully to Him and He will direct my path.

We did that for this trip. We kept trying to find the right dates to plan the trip and the only dates that would work in Lance's schedule were these. God definitely directed our steps. And He has proven Himself faithful.

We arrived at 4:00. It gets dark at 5:30. It takes 1 1/2 hours to get from the airport to the house. We left the airport around 4:30 and we were at the house at 5:25. There was NO traffic and no people in the streets. It has NEVER been like that. In all of TNM's (Thirst No More) trips to and from the airport. On our way, we saw a riot protesting the elections. We were able to divert and drive around it at arrive to the house before dark. Definitely the hand of God.

There was some violence in downtown Port Au Prince last night. Two people were killed. We are up in the mountains in a town called Petionville. There hasn't been any violence near us. And we don't expect any. We stayed in this morning until we knew what to expect. And once again, that was God's plan. The staff with TNM has been overwhelmed with all of the donation's that teams have been bringing. The basement was full of supplies that they couldn't get to, and there was a lot of organizing and fixit projects that needed to be done that they just don't have the manpower to get to.

We were able to do that for them this morning. The pharmacy/office has been totally reorganized. The basement is cleared out. And all the supplies have been gone through and organized for easy distribution. God's plan for us today.

After lunch, we were able to go to the orphanage that we will be working at for the next two days. We are going to finish a building that was started a couple weeks ago. This orphanage is run by a Godly man who is making a difference in these children's lives. TNM has a brick press that makes earthquake resistant bricks. It is an amazing thing. It uses, dirt, concrete and the rubble from the quake to make these bricks that will build houses that are safe.

The children at the orphanage are so excited about their new house. 28 kids are living in a 20x20 room. Sleeping on a concrete floor. Why. That's the hardest question for me to reconcile. Why. My kids are in double beds. In a beautiful home. No worry for food. So many toys that I wrestle with it being sinful. That is the hardest part of Haiti for me. The abject poverty of the people, especially the children.

But, it all comes full circle to my first thought. God is in control. He has a plan and He will make it come to pass. He love the people of Haiti far greater than I do. That is what I take comfort in. His ways are not my ways.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Beauty From Ashes

I'm not normally an over the top, emotional person. I don't like making outrageous hokey comments, but right now, I feel like my heart is whole again. When we left Haiti in June, I told Lance that I left a piece of my heart here. It's back with me again.

The people, the land, our friends that live and work here. Amidst the chaos that is Haiti, there is hope. Hope because I know that there are people here that are working to make Haiti a better place. We are just a small part of that of that vision.

I am giddy with excitement right now. I'm running on fumes because of the chaos of my week before we left. But right now, I can't sleep. I'm so excited to be back in this land. Excited to reunite with friends. Excited to hug my Haitian brothers. Excited to see what God has in store for us this week.

This country helps me to understand what God meant when He said He will make beauty from ashes. I see it here. And I can't wait to see what He has in store for us tomorrow.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Birthday Sara!

Happy Birthday to my sweet, sweet Sara! 6 years ago today, she came into our lives and I had no idea how special that little 8 lb, 6oz bundle was going to be to me! Sara is such a little lady. We always say that she's a 25 year old in a 5 year old body. (now a 6 year old body!) We don't get a whole lot of alone time just the two of us, but when we do, it's like I'm out with a friend. She loves all things girly and she's good to have around to give me fashion advice! ha!
Sara is the momma of the crew. We joke that when Luke is 12, we can leave them alone at the house with Sara in charge! ha! God knew that I was going to need a lot of help with this family and He gave it to me in Sara.
This year, she had a Tea Party Birthday. We had her party yesterday. There is a cool place in our area that is a tea room/restaurant. They use mis-matched china and tea cups, table clothes on the tables, and they have a dress up section for girls to play with. It was so much fun! I bought all of the girls purses, necklaces, rings, silly bands, gloves, and bubbles to dress up for the tea party. And they had tea cakes, and lemonade in tea cups. It was all so girly! Right up her ally! :)

The Birthday Girl

With her sisters

The cakes. I had fun making them!

I LOVE this picture!

Opening presents

Mom reading "Fancy Nancy" to the girls

Then today, we went to Chuck E. Cheese. Where a kid (and mom!) can be a kid! ha! Some friends met us there and of course everyone had a great time!

Loving being 6!

Nathan was trying to climb inside the bowling game!

Dixon, Hope and Emma

Feeding tickets. She literally won 300 tickets today by herself!

NO Deal! ha! Luke loves the "Deal or No Deal" game

The whole crew! (except Emma really wanted Sara's lip gloss and wouldn't turn around!)

Happy Birthday Sara. You are a light in my life. I love you so much. You are a joy to everyone who knows you. Daddy and I are so proud of you. You are a beautiful person, inside and out. You are fun, kind, caring and so so sweet. I can't wait to see what the next 6 years have in store for us!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

I Wanna Rock & Roll!

On Sunday night, Luke had the experience of a lifetime! He went to his first concert! Our church sponsored the Hungry for Love Tour with The Afters, Leeland, and Sanctus Real. Lance and I had been talking for about taking him to his first concert and then this opportunity came up. It was perfect! VIP tickets were only $25, so that's what we got. And we got front row seats! Plus, he got to meet all of the bands. It was really cute, because a lot of the band members are dads and Luke was the youngest person in the meet and greet line. They all were so nice to him and gave him a little more attention than all the teens in line.

The Afters


Sanctus Real (minus lead singer Matt), he was sick and resting his voice.

Which leads me to the coolest thing of the night! Some close friends of ours are good friends with the drummer from Sanctus Real. After the meet and greet, James and Ruth headed to the tour bus to visit with him and on the way out, Ruth grabbed Luke! He got to go on the tour bus!!

Hangin with the lead singer Matt

Hangin with Mark, the drummer

Can it get any better than this?!?!
I told Luke that he peaked at age 8 with regards to concerts! Never again will there be VIP tickets, meet the band, front row seats AND get to go on the tour bus!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Fall Review in Pictures

I finally bought a new card reader and can upload some of the pictures of our fall! Whew!

In October, we went camping in Branson with some friends of our. We stayed in a great campground that had all kinds of fun activities for Halloween. The kids had a BLAST! One day we drove up to Springfield to visit Bass Pro Shop. They had some fun activities for the kids.

Luke roped the "calf" on the 4th try!

Everyone got to stamp a leather key chain

Oh MY! A bear!!!

Aaaah! A wolf!

On Saturday night, we got to go trick or treating at the campground. And ride a hay ride. But the funniest thing was Luke at the haunted house. He wouldn't stop bugging me about going through it. The campground had posted that it was "strongly PG," but that didn't detour Luke from wanting to go. We didn't make it past the first spook and he was done! ha! It was a blood and guts kind of haunted house, ick. So I started hollering for the kids to not scare us and let us through. After we got out, Luke said, "Momma, I didn't like that. It wasn't PG. It was PG 13!" haha!

3 cute fairies,

and a handsome cowboy!

Fun on a hayride!

Then a few days later, we went on Luke's field trip to a drive through zoo in our area. It is the coolest place!

Ewww! I cringed taking this picture!

Later in October, Sara had her first field trip. Hope, Emma and I had a lot of fun going with her. We went to a corn maze and pumpkin patch.

Love my girls!

Cool Cow Train!

I love this picture!

Then came Halloween! We had so much fun at our church's Trunk or Treat!

My little Green Fairy


Look closely for Luke! ha!

Mom's booth was face painting. The girls' loved it!

No caption needed! Ha!

And the final stop on our parade of pictures...

Toyland on the Square. Lance and Luke didn't get to go because they went hunting for the first time at our deer camp. (and unfortunately, no deer) But the girls and Mom and Dad and I had a lot of fun!

The girls got to meet Barbie!!! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Overwhelmed and Some Potty Words

It's been a while since I've had the energy to blog. Just sitting down and gathering my thoughts takes mental energy that I haven't wanted to exert. We've had a busy fall and I have lots of pics to post. I'll get to that hopefully tomorrow. I've been trying for a couple weeks to get on top of my house. It was starting to take over! Today, all of the kids rooms and closets are cleaned and organized! Woo Hoo! But. (and big but!) my room is a disaster. Hopefully Friday it will get done. On a positive note, my closet it clean, so that is one less thing to worry about. :)

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly this house can get out of control. I've been having a little bit of a pity party lately, because it gets so frustrating to constantly work in my house and it never look like I did a thing. Oh well. I'm trying to embrace it and not stress so much about it. It is what it is. This is my life right now. And I don't want to miss out on the impromptu duck, duck, goose games with my daughters and their stuffed animals because I was cleaning the kitchen.

Now, for a funny story from today! :) This afternoon when I picked up the kids from school, Luke told me he was reading the book, "Holes." I told him they made a movie off of it and he asked if he could watch it. I was thinking about the wrong movie when I told him that I didn't think he could because it had cuss words in it.

Now fast forward to this evening at the dinner table. Someone brings up the topic of bad words and I hear my precious, almost 6 year old daughter, whispering s*** to herself! Imagine my horror! I looked at her and asked, "what are you saying?!?!" She froze. I was totally and utterly confused! Luke then tells me that the girls asked him what cuss words were. He was scared that he was about to get in huge trouble, so he starts saying, "I didn't want to tell them! They wouldn't stop asking!"

He tells me that he told me them that cuss words were words like shut up, crap, and s***. Now, in his defense, the sweet boy has never said that word. He heard it as school last year and asked me about it. We had a talk about really bad words and he hasn't used them.

So, needless to say, the girls and I had a talk about not saying that word EVER! Once again, fast forward to tonight on the way home from AWANAS. The kids and I are having a good talk about holding each other, as a family, accountable to better behavior. We all were telling what we needed to be held accountable for. Luke said his (mouth, getting angry), Sara said hers (sassy mouth), and then Hope starts saying hers. Doing what she's told, not getting mad a Luke, and not saying bad words like s***. Hahahahaha! What do you say to that?!

She also told about some kids at school saying bad things like poopy hole (hysterical). So then Emma chimes in and yells "shut up!" I about choked! Hope started laughing at the fact that Emma said shut up and Emma then says, "Poopy diaper, Hope!" I couldn't do anything but laugh. It was the worst words she knew! (but she did get a stern talking to!)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Paci Free!!

This is my big girl! Not a baby anymore. I have mixed feelings about it, but definitely the happy ones outweigh the sad ones! We've been trying to figure out when we were going to take it away from her. Luke is the only other one of our kids that had one. And being a first time mom, I was pretty anal about his paci! ha! I took it away from him at 12 months except for nap time and bedtime. Then at 18 months, we took it totally away. He was our only one, so I could handle the crying for 3 nights. But with Emma, number 4, it was a lot harder!

So we've let her keep it. I've been wanting to take it away, but haven't had the guts to do it! :) But this morning, when I went to get her up, and took her paci, I noticed that she had chewed a huge hole in it. That meant bye bye paci! I told her we had to throw it away because it wasn't safe for her.

I warned her on the way home that she wasn't going to have her paci for nap time, and she started crying, "My sassy! My sassy! Hope, I broke my sassy!" It was so cute!

When we got home, I told her that if she went to sleep without crying, she could pick out a piece of candy when she woke up. I hugged her and closed the door. She started WAILING! "My SASSY!!!!" I walked back in her room and told her no candy if she cried and she stopped immediately! Didn't hear another peep! Ha!

And tonight, as I put her down, she whimpered for a second, "My sassy." I told her it was gone and if she didn't cry, she could have some more candy when she woke up in the morning. Not another peep from her!

Proud of my girl! So the mixed feelings. Lance and I were talking tonight. We're not sad that we don't have anymore babies, but sad that she's not a baby anymore. I don't know if that makes sense. She's growing up and that means not much longer til we can't hold her, can't pick her up and tickle her, can't throw her up in the air, and can't fly her on our feet in the living room. :( But! On our way to no more pull ups, more independence, carrying on conversations, hiking without carrying, no strollers. Woo Hoo! It's so hard to see my babies grow up, but with each age, they are so much fun. So Emma is growing up. Sad, but exciting. She is so much fun right now. She has the funnest personality! I can't wait to see how her personality develops!