The Abyss Known As "The Sock Basket"

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Everyone has little skeletons in the closet or those habits we wished no one knew. For me and my housekeeping (in)abilities, it's the beloved Sock Basket. I guess it's because after washing, drying and folding an average of three loads of laundry per day...I just don't have it in me to meticulously separate the socks and find their sole-mates. (Gosh, I love a good pun!) So, every sock in the house (that gets washed) gets relegated to this makeshift purgatory until someone has the guts and the time to rummage through the maddening process of finding two socks that match.

In fact, this dirty little secret has such far-reaching effects on our family that I have actually seen family members in public either in mismatched socks (gasp!) or no socks at all! My husband and children would rather risk ridicule than dive head first into the sock abyss to find their socks...let alone take the initiative to actually sort all the socks (double gasp!). Once while watching one of our favorite TLC reality shows, my one-and-only princess noticed that the lady with ten children also proudly owns a sock bin -- which simultaneously happens to be the bane of her husband's existence and a serious complexity for her housekeeping skills.

So, I'm calling for all those who have an idea on how to calm the storm or at least keep the waves from overwhelming the twelve bare tootsies in my house. Yet, before you go off on how to tackle this monster, let me give you some sock statistics so that you can accurately advise:

* Six family members -- four of whom are male (major sock wearers).
* Everyone participates in some kind of sports/activities, and most participate in several different sports requiring different types, lengths and colors of socks (i.e. running vs. basketball)
* Also, everyone has "fancy" socks for church or dress-up occasions, and then, we'll just leave out the girls' dance tights, hosiery, etc.
* By my best conservative estimation, each person has an average of 20 pairs of socks (x 6 family members x 2 socks per pair) = 240 socks in the sock basket!
* The abyss does not include "team" socks (the long, colored ones) for sports such as soccer, baseball or volleyball....we have a drawer full of those under the dryer!

There you have it! One of my biggest housekeeping nightmares...I feel so much better just coming out with it. And if it can be helped or better yet, solved? I will consider the risk of my embarrassment well worth the effort. Maybe I can start a sock-basket support group. "Hi, I'm Andi, and I have sock issues...."

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, 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 We will continue to update our efforts, upcoming relief trips and stories of how God moves in the midst of this tragedy online at and

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's in her purse!" Whatever "it" is, I can usually find it in my purse!