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the thorns. . .

have you ever noticed how scripture can be so applicable?  perhaps different seasons of life, different circumstances and a verse or passage that you have read over and over again, all of the sudden has a new meaning or takes a new light.

for anyone who does not know, i am recently engaged.  i am engaged to a wonderful man.  along with that recent engagement has come many new thoughts, ideas, worries, stresses, plans, you know the drill.  how easily you can become entangled.

then the habit of reading scripture comes into play in life.  even reading things that you think are so familiar, that is when in happens.  something stands out to you and you realize that it applies differently this day than perhaps the last.

the parable of the sower.  how many times have i heard this parable, since a young child, sermons, campfire devotions, bible studies.  i have heard it, it is a familiar story.  but, the other day when i read it, i realized something new.  this part stood out to me, “and as they go their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity.”  luke 8:14  those things are the thorns of life.

those things are thorns that just spring up as you are going about your day, your week, your life.  for me those things are normal things, budget planning, looking for houses, scheduling my work hours.  but those things can become so much more than just normal when you allow worries of this life to overtake you.

those things that normally you do need to process and figure out, budgets, housing, vehicles.  all of those worries can so easily become more than that as you forget that the Lord will provide.  He will take care of those details.  i have to remain true to the things of eternity and “accept the word with an honest and good heart and work to bear fruit.”

i need to not allow the thorns of life to take hold.

i am grateful that scripture is true, no matter what season of life you find yourself.

Haitian Style Cooking

My fiance’s sister Nirva was here to visit.  So I thought it would be a good idea if she taught me how to make food a little more Haitian style.  So we had to first of all make sure there was enough oil.  Haitian food uses a pretty good amount of oil.

We went to the store for some other essential items, such as hot peppers.  Along the road on the way back Nirva picked out an awesome watermelon.

So after a few hours of cooking, cutting things up, juicing, frying, pounding, chopping and doing things the Haitian way, we had a wonderful dinner.

I am grateful for such a beautiful afternoon and evening.  I made a cake (from a box, so not as complicated as everything else that was going on in the kitchen).  But we were all too full to even try it.

We will have leftovers for a bit!!

the wrong direction.

We have a few moms who are close to delivery here.

Guerda and Wisline are both older moms.

Their babies are not so much cooperating.

Their babies are not coming in the right direction.

Their babies are transverse.

This whole transverse thing adds a few more risks.

Perhaps the mom will not go into labor because the head isn’t pushing on the cervix.

The water can break and the cord comes out instead of the head.

The shoulder of the baby comes instead of the head.

Basically, babies need to come head first.

Say a prayer that these little ones get themselves in shape!

today was a good day.

today was a simple day.

lives were saved today.

a group is here visiting from colorado.

today 8 of them went to give blood.

the blood they gave will save a mom who perhaps just had a baby.

the blood they gave will perhaps save a woman in surgery.

the blood they gave will perhaps prevent a child from becoming an orphan.

the blood they gave will surely save lives.

i so appreciate their willingness to give.

if you are visiting Haiti, this is a SIGNIFICANT gift you can leave for this country.

consider giving blood.

hope is stronger

i am guessing that most people have seen the hunger games and that many have even read the books.  the books are intense, perhaps not the best work of literature ever, but they are entertaining.  i have to admit that i finished reading the series extremely quickly and it left me thinking about many things; government dominion, oppression, submission, revolution, all those types of thoughts ran around my head for a bit (honestly, maybe a couple hours).  but, really the scene that has stuck with me and the words that have continued to run through my head are from the scene with president snow and the game master (can’t remember his name).  president snow is angered that the game master  has allowed katniss to show so much independence and almost flagrant disregard for the games.  he states to the game maker that

“hope is the only emotion stronger than fear.”

i have to admit that each day here in haiti and many times in my life in the states, especially at work in the metro hospital where i work, i see situations that are so broken, relationships, situations and circumstances can seem beyond repair.  sometimes things seem hopeless.

recently, i have been walking through some very heavy times with friends as they are leaving the organization where i used to work here in haiti.  that is a situation full of broken people, broken lives and many broken hearts.  hope can be hard to find in the midst of grief and pain.

today driving i was looking at the shacks that provide some form of housing for so many people and just thought about how hopeless their lives must feel.

sometimes honestly, things just seem like too much here.  haiti is a hard place.  what do i tell a new mom who tells me she hasn’t eaten in a couple days?  what do i do as i listen to stories of broken relationships?

i have to know and believe that hope is stronger than fear!

i have been reading and re-reading this verse recently.  “now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

i am not sure about you, but i see and know many times fear can be overwhelming.

sometimes life and issues, problems, brokenness, sin, helplessness, pain (really the list goes on and on) can become overwhelming.  but the truth is, hope is the stronger emotion.

this hope we have, it is not some cheer yourself up, pep talk, positive thinking hope.  it is from the God of HOPE.  He will cause us to abound in hope and that hope will allow joy and peace to reign in our hearts.

this is one of our moms in our child development program.  she had her first baby later in life, she is educated, she is a teacher.  a few weeks ago after we had a really great interactive class, she told me, “i love this time of learning, because every week after we have class here, i go home and have class with my neighbors.”  she is a woman filled with hope.

 let us invest our lives in hope.

it is stronger.

it is true.

(photo by beth mchoul)

good friends and good food.

makes life extremely enjoyable.

i am sitting here in my house and wondering how in the world is it already friday.  where did this week go??  i will try to share some of the highlights and actually remember even in my head what in the world happened this last week!

sunday – turned out to be a pretty chill day for me.  i had decided to stay home from church just in case a mom who had some early-ish labor symptoms over night decided to go into labor.  she didn’t go into labor.  so instead i got to have a great chat with my mom for mother’s day.  we hadn’t really talked much recently with me being in haiti.  when i hung up the phone, i noticed we chatted for 86.22 minutes.  whoah!  we had a lot to catch up on.  i am extremely blessed to have a mother that loves me and my siblings so selflessly.

(this is my mom and i at the plaza lighting this last year.)

monday – still trying to remember what happened that day.  i think i caught up on e-mails or something like that?

tuesday – i got to spend most of the day with a very special friend of mine.  maureen and i worked together at northwest for more than 10 years and she is one of the most special people in my life.

tuesday i also got to see and hear that another little girl i delivered was named melissa.  she is a cutie.  i am glad that my dad picked out such a good name for me and that people like to name their little ones the same name.

wednesday – i took a trip to leogane.  i am hoping to work with an organization called Midwives for Haiti helping set up a training program for nurses to become advanced birth attendants.  here is their website if you want to check them out.  i will write more about that project and trip soon – http://www.midwivesforhaiti.org/

lets just say it was a long trip through traffic and it ended with me just walking a few blocks through nasty street water because there was another vehicle stuck in front of us and i couldn’t handle being in traffic and road blocks any longer.

thursday – always fun to have prenatal program.  i really enjoy getting to do prenatal consults and wondering about what these women will be like in labor and as moms.  it is fun to hope for the very best for them.

thursday night i made dinner and shared it with some great friends.  then off we went to a worship night at another couples house.  we made a few wrong turns and although i had been there before i am so directionally challenged and haiti streets and landscape all look exactly the same to me.  we did find where we were going and arrived a bit more than fashionably late.

friday – fridays are usually family planning day and i work for a little bit of time with the ladies who make jewelry.  but this friday was an exception.  it is flag day in haiti, so it is a holiday and therefore, no beading ladies.  also we are having a small crisis with our family planning program in that we can’t find depo-provera to purchase from any of our normal sources.  so. . . instead today we did new OB exams.  we took a group of new women into the program last week and this week got to know a bit more information about them, physicals, lab tests, medical and social histories.  so many different stories and so many different lives.

last week when we took in new women, it really seemed as though we were giving them $2000 gift cards or something.  they were all so excited and what a blessing to know that they are that happy to have a great place to come learn, grow and have a healthy baby.

tonight, the plan is to make taco’s for dinner with friends.  this week has been a bit of a blur and hopefully this weekend will bring a bit of rest and relaxation!