Friday, August 10, 2012


First things first.
As a shout out to my dear niece Kassie who,as of last week, is back home enjoying the rural south, endless Jason Aldean tracks, the use of wifi with her iphone, and bagels...
I had to share some of her photography bloopers with you all.
 I'm not jealous at all that she has bagels!

Ok, so maybe it was less about her lack of skills and more that I forgot to tell her about how my fancier-than-me camera works. Maybe it's because I hardly know how it works myself.

It's all about focus my friends.

 You'll see what I mean when you see these pictures.
My Canon focusing element works by flashing a tiny red dot and you need to put that dot on the area you want the shot to focus on. 
Kassie didn't know that. I did not tell her.
So she just aimed and shot.
Should have been fine right?

Let this be an example to us all about the consequences  when we lack focus in life. 
Mommas, ladies,friends,people, you can't just aim and shoot and hope for the best. 
Know your Maker. Know His purpose. In histroy. In you. In your life and those you love.
Live this life on purpose.

Or you could just live the way that sweet Kassie takes pictures (again,not her fault, but funny nonetheless)

The outcomes are disturbing.
Not to say anything about the nice man in the background. But he is in the background...and shirtless...and I'll stop there.

And this one...
Yeah...enough said.

On that note,
the simplicity of our life here has demanded that we evaluate the purpose in all that we do. When you are busy with many tasks and many relationships, you often don't have to evaluate the purpose in these actions. In fact, you rarely have time to evaluate them,even if you wanted to. You may have tumbled into this kind of life. If you're American, it's not hard to do. Or perhaps you make purposeful choices to keep yourself so busy, keep your mind so occupied,that you don't have to feel so discontent and wonder at it all.
Being here is both simple and complex at the same time.
I have no car. The kids each have only a small backpack of toys. I don't have my favorite foods or kitchen gadgets or Target. And we're all in 600 sq feet of space,with basically no yard. Shoot, the kids don't even technically have a bed.

Our life is both uncomplicated and very complicated.

For Noah, he has benefited GREATLY from getting to focus on doing the work that HaitiLove demands. At home, he has many more complex responsibilities and relationships. Not to mention when we can't meet our support requirements, he finds odd jobs to do. This is very helpful financially and I've always marveled at his ability to find a way to make money in almost any situation. But it takes time away from doing the work that directing HaitiLove demands. As you can imagine, it has been terribly helpful for him to just simply DO his job, without all the swirling demands and complications. Again, it's not that it's easier, it's not that he works less. It's just focused.
For me, I have lost some distractions and gained some new ones. I have very little control over the routine of my day at this point. If a friend offers to take us to the grocery store or have us for dinner, we most often choose to take them up on the offer. Partly because we don't have competing responsibilities and partly because we want to use this time to build relationships and see what God does with that. With that being said, my week usually revolves around what other people want to do. I am often at the mercy of those around me with greater resources than I (i.e. neighbor yells down that she's running into town to the grocery store and invites me. Regardless of my plan for the day, I will be jumping in the car and riding into town to avoid having to walk another time.). At times, it seems our time is filled with meaningless time consumers,simply because they aren't things we purposed for that particular day. But I've had to remember to let God shape my days and be open to what it is He's doing in every moment. 

Sure, I planned to do this thing and now we're doing that thing, but as long as we're doing God's thing, it aint no thing.

Through this attempted availability,we have met the most interesting folks. 
Let me just say this. 
I grew up in Alaska.
I moved to Las Vegas while a teenager.
I have lived in Amsterdam and Santa Cruz,California.
And I now live in what could be called rural North Carolina.
I'm no stranger to,uh, well, strang-ers.
The places I've called home aren't exactly home to your "average Joes."
But never in my life have so eclectic a group of people called one place home.

 Seriously,though, the good news is that Noah and I love meeting new people.
I actually married Noah because he could effectually run for mayor if he so pleased. Well, it's not the ONLY reason I married him. But he's very likable, honest, intelligent and socially capable. People really like him. I really,really, like him.
It's probably the honest part that has kept him from political pursuits.
Regardless, we are totally in our element getting to meet new people together. He's my favorite guy to go places with. We've had a blast meeting friends from all over the world and from all walks of life, here.
 Aslan's bday dinner

local cook out

We spent one day with some great neighbors form Cuba and Argentina.
She made us tostones (fried plantains)and Salami sandwiches,hot dogs,etc.

They wanted the boys to come play in their pool.
It's not often a family of 5 with 3 young children resides in the neighborhood. People have been lovin' on my boys in all their own little ways.

 We came to the Dominican with non-swimmers.
Haddon has absolutely taken to the water, which is no surprise because he's my risk taker.

 He cannot get enough of it.

Aslan,on the other hand
He is more of a talker and less of a doer.

In this photo Sandi (our neighbor and sub-family) tries to talk Aslan into putting his face underwater for a few seconds. Aslan draws out the conversational element and ends with a few second dunk up to his eyebrows,face only.
Haddon....not so much an issue

After a number of attempts by their dog to make Shepherd's sandles a chew toy, he decided this was the only wise option.

It was at one such outing where we were meeting new people that I had to sit back and crack up at my eldest son. 
The kid is hilarious. Get him around kids his age and he's all kinds of shy.
Get him around adults, of any kind really, and you can't shut him up.
He gravitates to adults and I just sit there and pray he won't say too many things to embarrass me. 

For instance, in the photo above.
This guy was a quirky retiree, who lives here with his wife. He and Aslan were talking the whole evening and my ears perked up when I heard Aslan say, "Has anyone ever told you you're pretty weird?"
In his defense, I had heard bits and pieces of the conversation and I think the guy had both prompted this response by saying something along the lines of ,"people think I'm kinda weird sometimes"and I think he enjoyed this comment from Aslan immensely more than one would expect. I wouldn't be surprised if Aslan picked up on how much he liked being "weird" and was trying to compliment him. 
Regardless, I tried to handle it without embarrassing Aslan or his new friend, while still trying to redeem the moment.

Than there was the moment at his brithday.
I asked Aslan what his greatest fear was. It was in reference to the table conversation and I expected the answer to be what it had been previously (which was "marrying the wrong person." I find this to be amusing. This boy is terrified of marrying the wrong woman. At 7 years old.I'm hoping this comes from a sober understanding of the weight of who you marry and it isn't a response to seeing his father being married to me;)
Instead of giving this expected answer, he loudly exclaims to the whole table, "Oh, my worst fear is my parents fighting!"
Nervous giggle.
I'm honestly not exactly sure where that came from.
I mean it's not that Noah and I don't ever argue, but it's more along the lines of me being ridiculously sarcastic while Noah tries to rationally make his point heard.
Yet now all present at the table are surely picturing Noah and I as raving lunatics behind closed doors,throwing things at each other and screaming at the top of our lungs.
"Missionaries,huh? It's always those folks who are closet crazies. They seemed a bit too normal for this place," they ponder.
Ahhh, humility comes in all shapes and sizes. I have a feeling my 7 year old will bring a good dose to us in his lifetime.

Again, Aslan entertains the over 50 crowd.

As a quick side note. I am technically challenged and part of the reason I blog so little is because it takes me sooo long to get my pics from iphoto to the blog...and THEN I have to write. Anyway, for those of you who can't afford any fancy editing software, I have found this cheezy site, to be helpful for making photo collages. If not that, you can head over there and remake the mall photos with your best friends when you were 15,dark lipliner and foggy purple background included. I say go for collages.

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