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Archive for October, 2011

accessories. . .

it is no lie that i like to match.  i realize that most people like to match their clothes, but i like to match my shoes, hair things, earrings and truly any other accessories.  this is just a little reality about my life.  so i was pretty excited to find the sandals in the picture below, because when i bought them i was thinking about the dress i could wear them with.

although i was pretty excited about the shoes, i was more excited about the venue where i purchased them from.  i went to an art show this weekend that was just awesome!  when you bought your entrance ticket to the art show, your ticket stub also had free cell phone minutes, a free drink tab and a tab for $150 goudes off your first purchase.  i was impressed just with that.

as we wondered through the art show, i was just more and more impressed and actually more and more filled with hope.  there were such creative pieces of art, jewelry, housewares, shoes and many other things.

seeing the things that haitian people are capable of making just really made my heart happy.  so many days going down the street and seeing the poverty, the trash, the mud, the lack of sewage starts to wear on you.  so seeing such beautiful creations brings hope and joy to my heart.

so although i absolutely don’t need matching accessories, buying some fun things this weekend helps support a haitian artist or shoe maker and that brought me joy.

 

 

 

 

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beautiful days. . .

the last few days have just been absolutely wonderful. . .

friday a few of us worked around our schedules and took off to the beach. it was a beautiful day of time together and really just enjoying the beauty of haiti. sometimes amidst so much poverty, hardships and trash you forget about the natural beauty around and a trip to the beach just renews that reality.

yesterday a few of us went to an art show. yeah, i said an art show in haiti and honestly it was one of the best art shows i have been to! it was such an encouragement to my heart to see and be a part of something so well organized and beautiful here in haiti.

so really the last few days have just been beautiful!

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highs and lows. . .

tonight at dinner it was just the four of us that are living and working here at heartline, and we talked about the highs and lows of our days.  these pictures are the representation of my highs.  today i got to work with the jewelry ladies again, i hadn’t seen too many of them yet and it was good to see their faces.  the last week or so we have had lots of rain and so it is hard for them to get their beads dried and varnished and so they haven’t been able to produce as much.  but the last few days the sun has been out and shining, so bring on the beading!!

we made some really great stuff today and i am trying to get a little more creative and come up with different styles and it was fun to see the end product.  this is a super cute necklace that ritza made.  she is super shy and didn’t love having her picture taken, but her shirt matched the necklace and really she is such a beautiful girl!

the other high of my day is spending time with the other melissa here.  her and her husband are running the guesthouse here at heartline.  she is a very sweet spirit and it has been fun to get to know her.  the high from today is that i want to start running more seriously and she does that, so she is giving me pointers.  today we ran/jogged/walked (i can’t really give myself too much credit!).  we were out the gate and going before we realized that we had almost the exact same outfit on.  same name, same outfit and almost the same height.  (she of course is just a bit taller than me!)

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you know the saying, “the proof is in the pudding?”  i don’t really even know what that means except something like, you must have some kind of test and you can’t really know the results until the end, or until the pudding is finished and set up i guess.

i am going to say that with heartline’s women’s program, the proof is in the chubby babies!!  i even looked up the word chubbiness so that i would spell it correctly because i think that is exactly what is going on with all those babies – chubbiness!!!)

today was child development class, mother after mother came through to have their blood pressure checked and their babies weighed and mother after mother had smiles on their faces and their little ones are not so little.  they are CHUBBY!

this is little ilene, who i delivered three months ago.

 i know many programs that function in developing countries like haiti look at numbers and statistics and review input versus output for productivity.  heartline and their womens’ programs really just look at a different measure, they look at women who are empowered, who are educated and who believe in themselves to be good moms.  these women interact so well with their babies and you see a difference, they have bonded early with their babies and you can see it in how their babies are seeking interactions, in their smiles and laughter.

these are happy healthy moms and babies and it shows!

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there is a very special pregnant lady who is staying here at heartline’s birthing center.  she lives too far away to be able to make it in time to deliver her fifth child, so since she is close to delivering she is just staying here with her precious little son emmanuel until her new little baby girl is born.  for a little bit of her story, please see this blog post. http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/2011/10/mama-emmanuel.html she is one of the sweetest people that i probably have ever met.  (we had some fun earlier this evening taking pictures and emmanuel took some pictures of me and his mom, but they didn’t exactly have the right angles to be included in this blog, but it was entertaining for him to use a camera!)

this morning her son emmanuel was walking up and down the aisle at church during worship (he is four, who really wants to sit still in church!!)  anyway, as he did that, john mchoul (the pastor) was also walking up and down the aisle and at one point just put his hand on emmanuel’s head and said, “this is emmano” and began to tell a little bit of their story.  the story that some of his siblings had died in the earthquake and that he was pulled from the rubble, that his nose had really not been in the right place and he had had multiple surgeries.  as john said this i heard in the distance the haitian church across the street.  the pastor was chanting, “God is faithful, God is faithful, God is faithful.”  tears sprung to my eyes as i thought about the truth of that statement.  God is faithful!

mama emmanuel is very ready to have her baby, she has reached that point that i think most women arrive at where they are just finished being pregnant.  i checked on her tonight and we were just talking and she was telling me as a newcomer to her story some of the details of her life.  she was telling me how many children she lost in the earthquake, how beautiful they were, how they had been such curious children always wanting to be learning or singing or something.  she told me as she affectionately rubbed emmanuel’s head that they had all been such good friends.  she shared that emmanuel now sings and plays and seems happy and she knows that his joyful spirit is from God so that he won’t be sad.  i had to look away from her gaze when she said “the Lord gives and the Lord takes away, I bless His name.  He almost took emmanuel, but gave him to me for a little longer.”

i would really appreciate your prayers for this mother.  i can only imagine what emotionally she is going through in preparation for this new little one to come into her life.  i wonder if she is remembering her other children’s births.  i wonder if she is remembering them more as she begins to prepare to welcome this new little life.  i would just appreciate prayers that her delivery of this new little one will continue to show the truth of the statement that, “God is faithful!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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led in triumph. . .

this morning i read this verse.

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place.  2 Corinthians 2:14

my first thought upon reading that verse was about aroma’s.  the way things smell, the way that influences so many things in our lives.  i thought about how at my house in kansas city my roommates complain at times because almost every dish i cook seems to contain onions and garlic and that does not give a sweet aroma to our house!!  just recently i purchased a pumpkin spice candle, because even i was getting tired of our house constantly smelling like garlic and onions.  once that candle was lit for a while, there truly began to be a sweet aroma. . . the wonderful smell of pumpkin spice filled our home.  (that candle may have also been the cause of me drinking a few too many pumpkin spice lattes from starbucks, but fall only comes once a year right!)

okay, back to the verse, my mind this morning contemplated the fact that we are to be a sweet aroma of the knowledge of the Lord everywhere we are.  the thing about smells is that you really can’t escape them, you really can’t block them out, the permeate whatever space they are in.  that is what we are to be as followers of Christ.  we are to permeate where we are with a sweet aroma.  my mind this morning just dwelt on that fact for a while and that seemed like such a gentle, soft thought.  then my mind was struck with the idea that we can in way generate this aroma on our own.  i think our own spirits are not sweet aroma’s, but when left to our own desires and ambitions our aroma’s are probably rather caustic and harmful.  so i wondered where this sweet aroma can originate from and the beginning of the verse says it so clearly; it is through being led by Christ into triumph that this sweet aroma begins to emanate from the depths of our being.

i can remember times in my life when i have not always been led by Christ, times when i feel that i know what is the best route and i know where and when i should do things.  those times do not produce a sweet aroma in my life, those times do not allow others to bask in the presence of the knowledge of the Lord in my life.

i am encouraged by the fact that following Christ will lead into triumph.  i have to believe it will lead into triumph over. . .

hardships,

discouragement,

pain,

disappointment,

frustrations,

death.

allowing Christ to lead us will lead to the beautiful things in our world,

encouragement,

peace,

joy,

love,

life,                                                                                                                               and the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Christ.

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during the few days that i was at northwest there were babies being born everywhere.

okay, technically not everywhere, they were being born in the birthing center and for the most part the moms made it into the delivery room.  so i am exaggerating about babies being born everywhere, but there were LOTS of babies born, at least every few hours there was a baby being born, or getting ready to be born!!  i realized on the second night as i looked up at the sky, that it was a full moon.  that explained a few things about the baby boom that was going on and making for a very full maternity.  i don’t really understand, but for whatever reason there are just lots of crazy things that go on with full moons and lots of babies being born is one of those things.

there are a few other things that i don’t really understand.

there are a few things that my heart just can’t really make sense of.  here are some of those things. . .

the first delivery i did the last couple days at northwest was because a mom had been complete for a long time.  for those who don’t know, when you are complete, your cervix is totally gone and you should start pushing and deliver your baby pretty soon.  this mom had been complete since 9 in the morning and i was checking on her and it was 9 at night.  so it was either she deliver pretty soon or we were going to need to start getting her ready for a c-section.  for whatever reason her body was just not doing what is was supposed to have done to get her baby delivered.  i pushed with her and we turned up her pitocin to make her contractions get stronger, longer and closer together!!  at 10:10 a baby was born that absolutely did not want to breath.  as i put this lifeless little baby on the mother’s stomach i just asked God to please not let this baby die, but wasn’t sure that wouldn’t be the outcome.  after a few forced breaths with an ambu bag this little girl started breathing and we kept her on oxygen, but the next day the mom went home with a screaming healthy little one.  i am extremely grateful that this little baby girl started breathing, but i don’t truly understand why. . .

another delivery was for a mom whose baby was born extremely overdue.  her baby also did not really want to breath well and we had to work to get him to decide that he was going to open his lungs and take a breath of clean fresh air.

the hardest delivery was a mom who had WAY too much amniotic fluid.  when her water broke the nurses said that is just went everywhere.  i wasn’t in there for the waterfall, but i was there for her delivery and there was still tons of water.  usually that medical problem goes along with other fetal anomalies and so in some way i was thinking there could have been something wrong with this baby, but i wasn’t exactly ready for what happened.  the baby was born and she was obviously preemie.  you could tell because her skin was so soft and she was little, but then i saw her face.  her mouth was a severe cleft lip and palate and her nose was completely deformed and to the side.  one of her eyes was non-existent and the other was not normal.  her heart was beating and she was taking gasping breaths.  i dried her off, weighed her and asked the mom if she wanted to see her.  the mom said, “i see her, but i don’t really understand her face.”  i told her, “i don’t understand either.”  i wish i could have told her more or had some other answer, but really i just don’t understand.

we had many good and healthy deliveries in the midst of these that i am telling you about, but the last delivery i was a part of, i walked in right after the baby was born and the nurse was working hard trying to get this little one to take some breaths.  the cord had been wrapped tightly around the neck of this little one twice.  i looked over at the mom who had just delivered as she almost lifelessly looked at her baby, i am sure wondering if she would hear a cry or if her little one would be dressed and placed in a box and sent away to be buried.

i truly don’t understand why one baby breaths and one doesn’t.  why one develops normally and one doesn’t.  why one is born premature and one won’t even come out for weeks after the due date.

i don’t understand why someone who wants children can’t.  why some teenage girl who makes a mistake ends up with a baby she doesn’t want.

i can’t make sense of it all.

there are a few verses that i have to rely on in regards life and breathing and the timing of it all. . .

But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, “You are my God,” My times are in your hand. Psalm 31:14, 15a

Lord, make me know my end and what is the extent of my days; Let me know how transient I am.  Behold You have made my days as handbreaths, and my lifetime as nothing in your sight; surely every man at his best is a mere breath. Psalm 39:4-5

So teach us to number our days, that we may present to You a heart of wisdom.  Psalm 90:12

 

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