A Lovely Noise

Friday, January 15, 2010

About 25 years ago, I had the privilege of spending a summer in the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It changed my life, and it continues to effect me to this day. The people I met and the vision God gave me that summer will live with me forever.The news of the devastating earthquake that hit Haiti has emotionally hit the hearts and minds of many Americans, and the pictures (especially of children) have brought us all to tears time and time again. Yet, as I went on with my daily life taking care of my own healthy children and teaching ballet to more blessed ones, my mind still drifted back to those whom I met so long ago and fretted over their whereabouts. At one point, I started to weep as I watched, like a movie playing out before my eyes, my little ballerinas dancing to the praise song, "Lovely Noise." Their carefree attitudes and pictures of health reminded me of the stark contrast I faced in Haiti as I held babies and children who were receiving medical attention.

I remembered how shocked I was that many of them walked around naked until they reached the age of puberty, and so many of them had tiny, thin arms and legs extending from bodies swollen from malnutrition. As a 16 year old, I had to quickly get over the fact that a naked little boy covered in scabies would cling to me as he received a needed vaccination. Upon my return home, I was cautioned not to have close contact with my family for a while since I was infected with scabies due to my service in the Haitian medical clinics.

Many of the mothers whose babies I held were not much older than I was. So, my mind wanders to the thought that most of those I met, if they are living, are probably now grandmothers. I wonder if they know where their children and grandchildren are. Are they mourning today? Are they worried, anxious or are they in danger? I did as much for them as I could when I was young, and now that I'm older and they are older, I owe it to them to try to make a difference on their behalves. I owe it to them to make a "lovely noise."

The Orphanage Called Canaan

Galatians 6:9-10 ~ “So we must not grow weary in doing good, for in due time we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, whenever we have an opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who belong to the family of faith.”

Please find below a a letter from a ministry team which my church, Mountain Brook Community Church, supports...The Canaan Orphanage and the Haiti Nourish Project. We are currently sending money, people and resources to these who are already organized and working to help with the horrific devastation further weakening Haiti. You may already have a way to help the Haitians...and you may already be doing something. However, if not, I urge you to click on the Canaan sign photo above or on the links to the ministries' websites within the letter and give, and please keep these missionaries in your prayers. Their work was already difficult...now, it's an almost impossible situation. All of your donations will go to help the people of Haiti, and their websites are updated frequently to keep you posted of progress and needs. In addition, I will post changes and updates on my blog as I receive them. As we all seek to make a "lovely noise" on behalf of the people of Haiti, more and more will see the Light of the World which will not only heal their land but their hearts as well.

January 15, 2010

Dear Friends of Canaan Community,

We come to you today with a heavy heart. Everyone in the world has seen the horrific images coming out of Haiti. This earthquake registering 7.0 has ravished the country, leaving Port-au-Prince in shambles, thousands dead, and close to one million people homeless. Haiti has always been a county with many needs and now they need us, the body of Christ, more than ever.

As you may know, Canaan did not suffer any damage from the earthquake. Three of our children were in Port-Au-Prince, but survived by the grace of God. We prayed and waited for news, and slowly, it came back that they were all safe. However, some of the family members of the children here have been lost. Our hearts are broken for them.

Last year, Hurricane Hanna left parts of the country in despair. We handed out food and medicine from the $15,000 you gave. As of the time of this writing, our website has collected approx $12,000 to help in the relief efforts. We are writing to ask for your help.

It is impossible to know how we might be called to serve in the coming months. By the time you receive this letter, Ric Bonnell (a pediatric ER doctor from Texas who is a good friend of Canaan) will have arrived in Haiti with his medical team. We anticipate people coming to stay in Canaan as they migrate north. Our main concern will be money for food, fuel and medicine. Port-Au-Prince was the financial and political center of our country. With it in shambles, what will happen to our economy? What will the next few months or years entail?

God is working through this place. Canaan has a fully established medical clinic with nurses on the ground and doctors rotating through on a monthly basis. We have a malnutrition clinic that has served over 400 babies through the Medika Mamba program. One of our children is attending college (Erve Joseph) in the US. We have students earning their GED. We have 90 children that are being loved every day. Please continue to pray for our team as we deal with the emotional trauma and the devastation consuming this country. Pray for wisdom as we begin to help, serve, clean up, find loved ones and bring aid and healing to our people.

Canaan is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations can be given online through paypal at http://www.canaanorphanage.org. We will continue to update our efforts, upcoming relief trips and stories of how God moves in the midst of this tragedy online at http://www.canaanorphange.org and http://www.haitinutritionproject.org/blog/.

Thank you for your support of this ministry. Thank you for your prayers. God help Haiti.

To God be the Glory,

Your Family at Canaan

The Disection of My Purse

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

When the rest of my world seems topsy-turvy, it sometimes makes me feel better just to organize my purse. Yes, I carry a big purse...I gave up the notion of carrying small hand bags about the time the third child showed up. And yes, I don't usually carry an expensive purse. I like to change purses fairly often. So, it just doesn't seem right to retire a $200-300 bag after only a couple of months.

My favorite aspect of carrying a large handbag is all the stuff you can get in it. I've even been known to stuff in a comfy pair of shoes! Yet, what makes a large purse most efficient is to divide it into categories and store belongings in fun, eye-catching ways. When I'm looking for a purse, I of course want it to look stylish, but I'm also looking for pockets and its ability to coordinate with a variety of outfits. But the inside is an entirely different story...

Thanks to Emilie Barnes, I learned to organize my purse according to my needs. For instance, my Mickey Mouse bag (surprised?) contains my personal items such as makeup, a folded hair brush/mirror, a compact toothbrush and incidentals. Of course, I have my bright red wallet which holds my ID, money and credit cards. My NYC Transit Authority zippered bag houses those "business" items that tend to get lost such as membership cards, receipts, coupons and my checkbook. And then, I have a slender Clinique (free!) pouch that holds pens, Sharpies and sharpened pencils (in case a child needs to do homework) and a tiny pencil sharpener. The bright pink pouch holds an extra set of contacts, a case and solution, and then the other items are my "never-caught-without" items such as my digital camera, sunglasses, keys (on a D-clip), a compact umbrella, my iPhone and Altoids.

It's as they say "not rocket science," but it sure brings a smile to my face and makes my life easier by having fun purse accessories housing my essential on-the-go items. One of my favorite lines to hear from my kids, "Of course, Mom has it...it's in her purse!" Whatever "it" is, I can usually find it in my purse!

Disney's Give A Day Get A Day for 2010

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Why God Made Moms

These answers were given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions:

Why did God make mothers?
1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
2. Mostly to clean the house.
3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.

How did God make mothers?

1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring.
3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He just used bigger parts.

What ingredients
are mothers made of?
1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the
world and one dab of mean.
2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.

Why did God give you your mother and not some other mom?
1. We're related.
2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.

What kind of little girl was your mom?
1. My Mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
3. They say she used to be nice.

What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
1. His last name.
2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?

Why did your mom marry your dad?
1. My Mom makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Dad eats a lot.
2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.

Who's the boss at your house?
1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goofball.
2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She sees the stuff under the bed.
3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.

What's the difference between moms & dads?
1. Moms work at work and work at home and dads just go to work at work.
2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause
that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.

What does your mom do in her spare time?
1. Mothers don't do spare time.
2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.

What would it take to make your mom perfect?
1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.

If you could change one thing about your mom, what would it be?

1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
2. I'd make my mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Tuesday's Tip: The Fly Lady

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Throughout my wife-ing (may not be a word) and mothering years, I've been on the lookout of how to make my job more efficient and easier. It was a difficult transition for me going from a corporate environment where goals, jobs and positions are definable and measurable to the more loosely-defined job of staying at home and managing the household.

In the process of finding my rhythm (and confidence) as a manager of home and kids, I realized my shortcomings...one of which was my huge character flaw of perfectionism. I thought that perfection was attainable, and I made myself and everyone else miserable by trying to achieve it. However, God patiently continued to work on me and led me to a resource which you may find helpful as well...The Flylady. Through her book, Sink Reflections, and her website, God made me realize how truly sinful my lofty aspirations were and gave me some very practical ways to accomplish my goals without going crazy or driving others to the brink!

Read through her website taking particular attention to the encouragement of "Baby Steps!" That one piece of advice has been (and continues to be) one of my hardest lessons in life. Also, notice the Control Journal...I like to call mine my Home Manual. Although I have to revive it occasionally, I consider it to be what helped save my sanity as a home manager coming from a corporate world. I understood the concept of a manual, and I took off from there making a notebook for every occasion or circumstance including Christmas, Manuals/Warranties/Receipts, Kids' School Forms & Activities, etc. I believe that is what is so refreshing about The Flylady...sure, she has products which you can purchase. However, she is all about teaching you the best way for you to manage your home, family and yourself.

As for me, I continue to struggle with lessons God taught me 15+ years ago as a new mother, but what I have learned is that the journey is all in the plodding. Blessings on you as you muddle your way through your journey. It's all about "Baby Steps!"

My Family Members Are Firm Believers In Magic!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Despite being firm believers in truth and The Truth, I love the fact that my husband and four children seldom question some aspects of childhood such as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy. Even though we raise our children with a firm belief that magic always has an explanation, we certainly ascribe to the philosophy that there is only a breath of time between childhood and responsibility. Therefore, a solid imagination and belief in what seems magical is not only fun but truly healthy. As our children age, it seems that they don't make a big production about a crisis of belief in that which seems magical...they simply evolve from magic believer into magic maker.
Yet, what will always perplex me is how my beloved as well as those who carry his name continue to believe in the mystical forces around our house. They're firm believers in the magic that causes the toilet paper to supernaturally appear on the holder; the fairies that pick up shoes and transport them through the air and set them down neatly in their closets; or the spell-binding of all tricks, the way that dirty, smelly laundry beautifully transforms into sweet-smelling stacks of folded clothes waiting for each of them in their respective rooms.
So, until I develop the patience and backbone to teach my dear ones the explanation behind these feats of the fantastic, I am doomed to carrying the burden of the supernatural secrets alone. Oh, for the gumption to share my magic!