Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Last Post on Haiti

I debated whether I should even bother with this last post on Haiti.  It's been almost 2 months since we arrived home, and it is somewhat of old news.  I have sat down to write this many times and have simply not found the words.  We finally had our missions presentation on Sunday and it has motivated me to write.

First of all, I MUST share about our presentation.  I chuckle every time I think about it!  There were at least 6 churches represented.  It may not seem unusual at all, but it is...at least to me.  I grew up in a super conservative Mennonite church and quite frankly thought they were a little "off"  on their believes and as a result I had very little respect for them, even though they teach the fundamental basics and are believers.  This church, called The Old Bergthalers, donated $8000.00 to GLA...money collected at one service!  This church is small and I'm guessing has a regular attendance of about 80-100 people.  Many of their members came to our church...as in one of the most liberal churches in our area!  Do you get the picture?  Picture men with neatly trimmed hair...no facial hair...dressed in dark long sleeved shirts and dress pants...women wearing dark dresses and head coverings...and then picture men with long hair and beards/goaties, dressed in jeans and sporting their favorite teams' T-shirt, and women wearing jeans, make up and all kinds of jewlery!  Oh, the contrast was BEAUTIFUL!  But, the most beautiful thing of all was that everyone was there for the same purpose... to worship GOD!!  Almost makes me burst out in joyful laughter!  Needless to say, my eyes have been opened a little more, and as a result I am a little less judgemental and a little more loving and accepting!  :)

This is our team after a VERY long and dirty day.  We drove 1 1/2 hours to Port Au Prince to unload a cargo container.  After unloading heavy playground equipment, 1200 2x4s and many other items, we drove back to Fort Jacques...another 1 1/2+ hours of driving..standing on the back of the cattle truck, dodging wires and branches and having Watson, our driver, scare the cr*p out of us! (He was a great driver for the most part, but on this day he drove around a hairpin curve at about 50km/hr with a water bottle in one hand and cell phone in the other!)  

That's Watson on the right...a big man...but Martin out worked him by a long shot!!

A few locals were watching and apparently kept talking about how hard and fast we worked...especially the women!  I now understand the concept of "running on Haitian time"...it is a slightly...actually a lot different, than running on "Mennonite time"!

There is a LOT of garbage in Haiti due to a lack of organized garbage disposal.  Most nights we could smell the putrid smell of burning garbage...yuck!
There are some sights I did not get a picture of, but that will be forever etched into my memory.  It was on one of these garbage piles that I saw a young man seated comfortably, scrounging for food.  :(

On our last day in Haiti we finally had the privilege of visiting the Toddler House.  Visitors are only allowed to spend a short time at this house.  The kids crave adult attention and "bond" very quickly and it ends up causing a lot of heartache.  As much as I understand and respect this policy, I was disappointed we could not spend more time with the older kids.

This was painted on the wall in one of the girl's rooms.

Martin's heart melted when this little one extended her arms to be picked up.

Grandpa Phil...as we called him...handing out candy.  One of the older boys (whom I had made a connection with earlier) came up to me with a huge grin on his face to show me what his little heart candy said,... "Marry me?".  I got a good chuckle out of that one!  A few minutes later he showed me one that said " I love You!".   I smiled at that one too...but it really shows how much these kids need a stable, forever family.

Little Miss K touched my heart to the core.  She arrived at GLA a few short months ago and spent the first months at the Main House and had recently been moved to the Toddler House.  Her eyes looked empty, lost and hurt.  When I picked her up, her entire body was limp and lifeless.  I pray that someone will soon step up to give her and her little brother a forever family.  (Yes, I have checked into adopting from Haiti, but Saskatchewan is currently closed to Haiti)

The kids at the Toddler House all attend school.  These kids were about to begin classes for the day and within a matter of minutes I had them singing "Jesus Loves Me".  Even though we could not understand much of what the other said, we could communicate enough to sing the song...how cool is that!!!???!!!

These 2 boys attended the church service on Sunday and followed us all the way to the Main House.  They desperately wanted some money...and how could we resist??

I was continually amazed at the incredible spirit of the Haitian people!  They were clean, well dressed and happy.  This little girl saw me taking pictures from the truck and immediately hammed it up for the camera!  I absolutely LOVE this picture...it sums up the tenacious spirit of Haiti!

I do know that we will be planning another trip to Haiti for next spring, although it is unlikely that Martin and I will travel this time.  My brother Dave, an experienced framer and concrete worker is planning to go...who knows...perhaps I can convince a few of my other brothers to go as well...I'm pretty certain that the 7 of them could have a building built in no time at all!

Monday, March 19, 2012


Wow!  What an unusual day!  The power was off for about 7 hours and we have freezing rain and thunder and lightning.  Our local schools closed down shortly after lunch and our boys headed to their in-town billet for a bit until they got in touch with us (our phone was not working).  We've been keeping warm by using our wood stove. Thank God it's not super cold out...only about -8 with the windchill.   I thought I would be cooking on the stove as well, but around 5:30pm the power came back on...just in time! 

Spring appears to be here...for good I hope!  We have been enjoying every possible moment outdoors.  I took the girls out one morning to break some ice.  I remember it being one of my favorite things to do as a kid...trying to stand on the ice without it breaking and having it slowly sag under my body weight and then the pure joy of stomping on it to crack it!  Malia has never done this before and the next 3 pictures tell the story...first a "Look Mom!  We could skate on this!"...

...to "Oh! Oh!" 

...to a look of shear dismay!  Malia seriously thought she had done something bad by breaking the ice.  After I reassured her that was indeed the intent, she had a blast!

Raina held on to my hand for dear life and was happy as long as she could do that.

But, cried when she fell...I'm such a horrible mother...couldn't resist taking some pictures before I helped her!  ;p

And who can resist finding the biggest piece of ice and breaking it over a rock?!?

Eventually Raina found a puddle that suited her more...and couldn't resist touching it!  :)

I LOVE spring!  It is so full of life and one can not help but become energized...and smile!...I think my girls have something to do with me smiling...LOVE my life!!!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Pics Especially for Kathy....:)

So I feel almost guilty posting these pictures.  They are all winter pics and I so do not want any more winter.  However, my lovely sister, whom I miss an awful lot, was bugging me for not posting more pictures of our kids as of late...so here they are!

Martin and I took the boys skiing to Table Mountain recently...we had a blast!  And it even snowed the soft fluffy snow I love so much!

Skiing at Table Mountain (it's really NOT a mountain at all, but in here in good ole SK it is the closest thing to it!) is not nearly as beautiful as skiing in the mountains, however, the runs are good... and challenging enough for us...and the view is beautiful...for not being in the mountains.

We had very little snow this winter, and the majority of the snowfall fell at the beginning of March.  It was the kind of snow I was waiting for all year...fluffy and soft...and heavy...and sooo much fun!  The boys had a challenge clearing the drive.

We cleared our dugout this year and spent many hours skating.

It was Malia's first year on skates and she loved pushing the pail around...she was very proud of herself!

My sister Eve and her kids came over during our February break to skate and have a wiener roast.  I'm really not a fan of hot dogs, but must admit they do taste pretty good cooked over an open fire!

Raina had a blast kicking the puck around...we may finally have another soccer player in the family...

I promise the next pictures will be of spring...I do have some, but I have yet to download them onto my computer...it's acting up...again!!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Adopted For The Second Time

Our precious Malia asked Jesus into her heart tonight!

Tonight we read about Lazarus and the rich man...how the rich man saw Lazarus in heaven and wanted to join him there.  We talked about how we can enter heaven.  I asked our kids if they would go to heaven when they died.  Our boys answered "yes", saying that because they have asked for forgiveness, love God and live for Him they can be assured of spending eternity in heaven.  Malia certainly wanted to go to heaven, but knew she had not asked Jesus into her heart.  We have talked about this before, and tonight she prayed for forgiveness and asked Jesus to live in her heart!  And she understands completely!  When asked why she can now go to heaven she replied, "Cause I love Jesus and obey Him!".

  Malia has been adopted for the second time...the most important adoption of all!  I have always understood the similarity between God adopting us as His children and people adopting orphans. One can not speak of one without thinking of the other.  I know how thrilled God is when we become His children.  I've experienced the joy and thrill of having 4 children join our family!  Inspite of knowing and understandin all this, I am once again in awe of God's great love and mercy for us!

"I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth!"  3 John 1:4


Have you ever had one of those days where by lunch time you're asking yourself "What was I thinking?".  I'm having one of those days.  I'm in the middle of baking buns...all 11+ dozen of them... along with a double batch of cinnamon buns! I used all the pans I have and even resorted to using disposable aluminum pans.  Both ovens are going at high speed! I'm running downstairs every 10 minutes to put another pan of buns into my downstairs oven!  Seriously!  What WAS I thinking??? I REALLY NEED my dream kitchen NOW!  I know my boys will be happy...they've been begging for cinnamon buns...and I really did need to bake buns...But, all I want to do at the moment is read for a few minutes and then crash for a nap!  Alas, that will NOT happen! 

Instead I will try to catch up a bit on blogging...between running downstairs and to my kitchen to take another pan out of the oven...:) :)...yeah!  I'm working hard to keep smiling!  :):)

I promised a picture of how I styled Malia's hair for Valentines Day.  It looked simple enough, but I'm sure whoever came up with the idea did not consider little Asian girls with fine, straight hair!  It worked, but took a little creativity in order for it to stay in place!

Someone was asking for more pictures of my kids...here is the latest family picture!  Ha! Ha!  Don't ya love how Martin's head looks like a hedge hog?  We had so much fun enjoying the snow that finally fell last week...and it's almost gone...as are the snowmen!

OK, so here's one picture of Raina...and I promise to post more in the next few days.  I checked on Raina one morning, thinking she was awake.  She wasn't.   Thinking it was the perfect opportunity for a cute photo,  I snuck off to get my camera, but by the time I came back she was ready to get out of bed!
This little stinker has become a master at unbuckling the straps and untying double and even triple knots!  Almost every night she takes off her boots and bar, places them to the side of her crib and then dozes off to sleep...can you see the boot in the left hand corner of her crib?  On the nights she doesn't do this, it is the very first thing she does on awakening...can't say I blame her!

Monday, March 12, 2012


I'm back to blogging!  I have so much to tell you...everything from more about Haiti to Malia's Valentine's Day hair to fun in the snow.  However, today I MUST share about the most exciting news of all!  I am an auntie again!!!!
Approximately 10 years after beginning the adoption journey, 2 proposals that fell through, and almost giving up, my brother Jiggs (yes, we do call him that, even though his given name is Jacob)and sister-in-law Eva FINALLY have a baby boy!  Linden Ryan Jacob is 18 months old and is the cutest, sweetest boy ever!  He totally reminds me of Eva's younger brother...cool how God works!

Jiggs and Eva will celebrate their 17th wedding anniversary this summer.  They would have loved to start a family almost immediately, however God had other plans.  Jiggs and Eva began the adoption process by putting their names on the domestic adoption list here in SK.  However, they realized it would take a very long time, so they began the adoption process to adopt through the states.  I believe it was back in 2004 or 2005 that they had 2 proposals from the US.  Both fell through.  The first child's parents were married and already had 2 children, but felt they could not afford a third.  Our hearts rejoiced with Jiggs and Eva...And yet we grieved for the parents, knowing the difficult position they were in.  In the end the parents decided to keep their baby.
A short time later, they had another proposal...for twins!  The mother was single, and it didn't take long to realize that this woman was only looking for someone to pay for her living and medical expenses.  Jiggs and Eva refused to send unnecessary money and decided to back out.
There were many times that Jiggs and Eva felt like giving up...but they continued the journey...and I'm so very thankful they did!

This past week we had a shower for them. What a celebration!  Many people attended...even aunts and cousins we rarely see!  I think the whole world must be celebrating with Jiggs and Eva!

I know this isn't a great picture of Linden, but it really shows Eva's excitement!  She simply glows!

Linden loves putting everything in his mouth...including toys still in the package!

The cake says it all!  We're so thrilled to have Linden join our little world!!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A Simple Question

How can one phone call be so difficult?  It should not have been difficult at all.  No one was hurt or in danger, and yet I procrastinated...an entire week!  All I had to ask was "Would you mind coming to Malia's "Grandparents Day"?" I knew what the answer would be... of coarse the answer was "Yes!  I would gladly attend!"  But...it just seems so unfair that my kids have no grandparents to attend recitals, tournaments, and Grandparents Day.  Yes, they do still have Martin's parents...but they are old...and hard of hearing...and can hardly understand English anymore.  It would be difficult to find a ride for them.  They would feel uncomfortable and out of place.  So we resort to finding a loving aunt or friend to fill that gap...and yet it is never completely filled.   I hurt for my kids...being the only ones without Grandparents...are they going to feel left out?... or worse...unimportant?  Will it be a reminder of all they have lost?  Will they grieve, as I do, on those occasions when a loved one's absence is felt so strongly?...probably not...but still I cry...and feel a tad bit cheated...
I know that  tonight I will hold my kids a little closer, pray a little more...and thank God for people like Auntie Jean and Auntie Ruth!