Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How about you?

The thing about having a passion for something, is usually one wants to share that passion.  And we want others to understand this passion, and adopt it as their own, usually.  Ever talked to a homeschooling mama?  Or a mom devoted to public education?  How about a vegetarian versus a vegan?  What about a passionate Harry Potter, Twilight, or Star Wars fan?  There are many things that others are passionate about, and I get it,  great for you.  Then when it comes to something I'm passionate about, I get all crazy.  I want to convince YOU why it should be your passion too.  Then, when it inevitably doesn't become something you're passionate about, I get all hurt and judge-y.  This is wrong, and I'm sorry.

I'm so thankful for a God who gives me freedom.  Freedom to choose what things in life to be passionate for.  I'm learning, through some great Godly mentors in my life, that these things that are important in my life, those passions of mine, must go through a filter of sorts.  Those things that take my time, effort, attention could be good BUT...

-  Will it lead to freedom, or to slavery?
-  Will it make me a stumbling block, or a stepping stone for others?
-  Will it build me up, or tear me down?
-  Will it only please me, or will it glorify Christ?
-  Will it help me win the lost, or turn them away from the truth?

and most importantly, Is it my passion, or is it God's passion?

So, what am I passionate about?  Loving those who are hurting.  Destitute.  Hopeless.  Alone.  Helpless.  And I can confidently say that I know God is passionate about this too, because God is all about love.

This puts me in a tough spot sometimes.  I know that this is a God inspired passion in my life, and He wants it for all who call themselves Christians.  BUT... it will look different in each person's life, and I have to be okay with that.  In a round about way, this is related to how I feel right now about Christmas, and more specifically... Christmas spending.

So.  I promise not to get all soap-boxy and judge-y.  I'm simply presenting my passion to you.  Take it or leave it.  Would you consider learning more about this alternative approach to the All-American Christmas Spectacular?

{Resources for Christmas Shopping that Gives Back from Rage Against the Minivan or a post I did a few weeks ago}

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Friday, November 18, 2011

True Love

Buddy Boy has been asking for some snuggle time in the evenings.  I was worried that he was growing out of this, but here he is, almost seven and still wanting some mom lovin' even when just hours earlier he pretended to be embarrassed by me at school.  As we snuggled on the couch, he told me, "I bet you don't love me as much as I love you, cause' that would just be impossible."

 Before I even had a chance to get teary, he burped right in my face... but also had the decency to blow it in the opposite direction of my nostrils.  That, folks, is true love in boy language.
How is it even possible this picture was taken two years ago?!?  

Monday, November 14, 2011

This and That

Every once in a blue moon I check out the google stats about my blog... how people found our blog, what country people are from who visited, search engine phrases that someone typed that led to a link to this blog.  Here are the weirdest search engine phrases this month that someone typed that led to this blog:

1.  "No fruit."   Probably because of this post from last year.

2.  "My husband is awesome."   Probably because my husband is awesome.

3.  "Lumberjacks rock my world."  Probably because of this shindig... lumberjack isn't normally a part of my everyday vernacular, nor do they rock my world.

This girl is one now.  I haven't written anything about it yet because I'm still living in denial.  And she's walking.  And that makes me sad, because I love her little baby self.

 Photos by the amazing Christina Hendrick Photography

And these Crazies just make me laugh.  They're nutty.  Here's some Transformer that I don't know the name of but Buddy Boy knows everything about, Fancy Nancy, and some cute recorder flute playing little fancy baby... on Halloween night.

Happy Monday to you!
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Gift Guide With a Purpose {2011}

I am very much a non-technology person.  I don't have a cool phone.  I don't text.  I don't understand what in the world a gigabyte is.  But the one thing that I do like about these here interwebs, is that I can be a part of helping someone across the world, whom I will never meet, provide for their family.  The internet can help a person sell their wares to a huge global market, it expands the opportunity to earn money outside their own communities, and we get to participate.

Would you consider purchasing a Christmas gift that also gives back to someone who is working to provide life's basic necessities?  We all know that the CEOs of Target do not need more money.

I really love handmade.  The more unique and one of a kind the better.   Here is a short list of where we have purchased gifts this year.  I encourage you to read the stories about each company when you visit their websites.  And if you are in my family, prepare yourself to LOVE your gifts this year!!!

If you're local to the Phoenix area... you can pick this up at The Grove Coffee Shop

If you have another suggestion for a fair trade, socially responsible, place to make a purchase, please leave the link in the comments.  You can give a unique and amazing gift, and feel good about how that money is being used at the same time.
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Sunday, November 6, 2011

Haiti Update

It seems like I've been at a loss for words for updating about our trip to Haiti, and our moving plans.  I can't guarantee that this post will sound pretty, or even well thought out, but I figure that I at least need to write something.

Gary and I traveled to Haiti on October 17th.  With us was Paul Gunther, our Missions Pastor from church, and Heidi, who works with Food For the Hungry (FH from here on...).  Other than getting the building plans approved for the church in Lespinasse, we didn't really have a clear plan what our trip would include.  Ultimately, it was for me to visit Haiti and make sure I didn't have a total freak out and change my mind about the move.  Also, so we could work out a little more clearly what we would be doing when we moved there.  Fortunately, I didn't freak out, and we feel like this trip only confirmed our desire to move to Haiti full time.

Day one was mostly a travel day.  When we arrived, the field liaison for FH picked us up from the airport and took us to the guest house to drop our stuff off.  Now before we get to that part... I just want to touch on the driving in Port-au-Prince.  Gary had told me that the driving was crazy, roads were nuts, people everywhere, yada, yada, yada... and frankly I just underestimated him.  It was bonkers.  No rules free for all, with lots of pedestrians and games of chicken while passing into oncoming traffic.  We spent the rest of the day visiting the FH offices and walking to Hot & Fresh for dinner.  I ate a questionable "cheeseburger".

This is Bonita and her baby Wilda.  Bonita was in the middle of braiding Wilda's hair when we arrived at her house, and the baby did not like it one bit.  I think she was happy that we arrived so she could have a break.  Gary visited them in March when Wilda was just a few weeks old.  

Day two was one of my favorite days.  We headed out of the city up to the community of Lespinasse.  It is quite the drive.  We had a paved road about half the way, then it was some of the roughest driving I've ever experienced in my life... while high on a mountainside... with not a whole lot standing in the way between us and that really long fall down.  I popped some Dramamine, so it was kind of fun.  Once we reached Pastor Felix's house.  We had some introductions, I got to use the the four creole words that I know, then we were off to visit some of the community members' houses.  For the next three hours or so, we sat under the tent that serves as the church, with members who serve on a committee of community leaders.  It was fascinating and exciting to sit a meeting that was entirely translated back and forth between English and creole, to work together planning a building project that will serve as their church, community center, and medical clinic.  I'm so excited to be a part of what God is doing here!  
 This is Wilfred, Bonita, and baby Wilda's house.  

 Meeting with community leaders about their building project

Day three was spent briefly at The Good Neighbor Orphanage in Port-au-Prince.  There are thirty children who live and go to school here.  Johnny, the director, has purchased land to move the children to a bigger facility to house a few more children.  During the next year, the construction will continue and they hope to move next October.  They will keep this location to continue schooling some local children, as well as having church here for community members.  Currently, they host a college student for a few months here and there to teach English at the school.  English instruction isn't consistent, and only for a few months at a time if they're lucky.  Gary spoke to Johnny about the potential for me to teach English at the school, and for Gary to help around the orphanage with kids and the move.  We will be working with Johnny in the coming months to figure out how we will plug into working here as well.  After we left the orphanage, we drove back up to Lespinasse, stopping for lunch at the Baptist Mission.  What a view!!!    We spent more time with Pastor Felix and his family, then headed back down to PAP.  We met up with some of the in-country personnel from FH for dinner, and experienced the craziness of what happens when a downpour hits the already crazy streets.
The chair is bad.
Baptist Mission

View from our table at lunch
Baptist Mission

We're in this man's house.  He has five children.  My bathroom is bigger, and yet he smiles.

The next morning, we woke up early, literally to the rooster next door crowing (the same rooster, incidentally, who crowed all night regardless of the time), and headed to the airport.  A little bonus, we got upgraded to first class from Port-au-Prince to Ft. Lauderdale.  It felt a little wrong, but the guilt faded pretty quick once they served me my hot towel (what are you supposed to do with it?!?  I had a Wedding Singer moment) and the newest episode of The Office.
Such dorks... us unable to hide our excitement in first class.  It was like a second honeymoon.

Since being home, we have met again with our church leadership and have decided to proceed next month with more meetings, plans for a January visit, fundraising, etc.  Also, we have a more clear move date... "Summer 2012"... a little vague, but will have to do for now.  We continue to seek God's guidance in all of our decisions, and to not let fear dictate what we know God is asking us to do.

Thank you so much for joining with us with your prayers and reading this little blog!

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