I made a trip to Raleigh and back this week, just one quick night away. The reason for my going was the Kids Exchange consignment sale, but I really just wanted an excuse to hang out and see my mom and a few of my siblings. I got to crash on the couch of my friend Tasha and hang out with her for a night and I even ran into a few dear friends at the sale...so it felt like a mini reunion trip.

I even managed to squeeze in a few minutes with some of my nieces and nephews.

I got bike helmets and soccer cleats and homeschool supplies and all four kiddo's summer wardrobes...all for about 1/4 of the price I would have paid for new.

I am especially excited about the summer clothes for the kids as we left every last stitch of clothes in Haiti (other than what they wore home, obviously!) and hated the thought of starting over paying full price anywhere.

We will be needing those summer clothes as we have finalized the dates for our summer in Haiti again this year! As soon as our school ends we will all be headed to Haiti for the Summer as a family.

Today I head out, yet again, to Tennessee this time. Ella and I are going to help out my best buddy Briana and her kiddo's for a week while her husband is out of town.

We are in the process of creating a mailing list of all our friends and supporters and those who are just plain nosey. Yes, an actual physical mailing list...as in paper mail that comes to your mailbox. Who knew people even did that anymore?! If you'd like to get our newsletter (it'll only come 4x's a year so don't worry...we aren't going to suddenly inundate your mailbox!) click here to sign up.

I may or may not have a bet going with Jeremiah to see how many people we can actually get to sign up. He is the big picture guy, I am the live-in-reality lady...and our bet might involve a bra and a certain bugs bunny tattoo. I'll let your imagination do the rest...

Happy Saturday everyone!

I woke up early this morning, as usual.

The house was quiet.
Closed up.

I started the coffee, pulled out my books, grabbed my favorite blanket.

I fixed my coffee and settled into my favorite spot.

It's a routine that is deeply ingrained. If I miss due to sleeping in, travel, sickness, etc. then my day just doesn't ever feel right. Sorta like I've gotten dressed for the day only to realize hours later I forgot...my pants.

These past few days (for some reason I just can't put my finger on) I have been feeling desperate for the Lord's presence. I've been feeling like I'm underwater trying to gulp for air and He is my air.

Like every relationship, my walk with Jesus has its ebb and flow, I've learned to remain faithful in the ebb and know that the flow will return. But these days, my life is nothing but flow. I feel so vulnerable, so desperate, so ill-equipped, so inadequate...in my calling as wife, mother, and missionary.

In my neediness and inability I am seeing that, apparently to God, weakness is the new strength.

But it's not that I'm growing stronger.
It's not that I'm following 5 steps to a better life.
It's not that I'm trying harder.
It's not that my kids have decided to stop talking back.
It's not that my husband can instantly read my mind now and has become an uber communicator.
And it's definitely not that I have finally gained control of my emotions.

It's that He is my strength. 

And I'm clinging to Him with everything I have.

The week was survived.

Only one child threw up and there was only one slightly traumatic dentist visit.

Not too shabby, eh?!

Jeremiah gets picked up from the airport tonight...woohoo!

We didn't talk all week other than a quick exchange of "Everyone here is okay, everything okay there?" Therefore, I am excited to hear all about his week.

It was rather rainy and yucky here all week, but thankfully today the sun is out and it is beautiful!

I sent all four kids out after lunch and not a one has stepped inside since. It is way past time for Zoe's nap...but I hate to break up a good thing. I'm pretty sure I will regret this decision come dinner time, but for now I'm enjoying my quiet, my hot cup of chai, and actually finishing a book I started this week!

It's the little things, people.

Happy Friday!

Yesterday was a hot mess of activity getting Jeremiah ready to leave early this morning for Haiti, but as I write this he is off and on his way and today will be a much quieter day.

Or not.

There is the whole I have 4 kids thing.

Jeremiah's entire checked bag consisted of:

1) Appox 20 books to keep building the HFHM library.

You know I'm a sucker for books =)

2) Fertilizer

3) A big black box (which is a new computer for UTWWK's van which went kapluey only 1 day after Jim and Debbie's return.)

Not suspicious looking at all.

I have all four kids scheduled at the dentist this week and decided to call in some reinforcements to help with that and the week in general, so my sister and brother, Cate and Caleb, are on their way to be my helping hands until Jeremiah gets back.

Assuming he does make it back and isn't detained for carrying suspicious looking terrorist fertilizer and black box luggage.

This is the first of what promises to be many trips this year, and I have to admit that I am super excited for what this year will bring and what we get to be a part of. Sometimes it just wells up in me and I feel all giddy and wish I were alone so I could do a little freak out dance but then I realize its just my kids around me anyways and so I go ahead and do a little freak out dance and they just look at each other and shake their heads.

True story.

And because I've had several people ask, here are some specific ways you can pray for us:

- For a productive week for Jeremiah as he has a long list of items to attempt to accomplish in a very short amount of time as he works with his parents to organize and lay a lot of the framework for the upcoming year. Writing the words 'productive' and 'Haiti' in the same sentence seems crazy...but hey, crazier things have happened.

- For myself to have energy and creativity with the kiddo's.

- Continued provision for our family.

As always, thank you for praying for us!!!

**I first wrote this post in 2010, just days after the earthquake that devastated Haiti. I mourned for an entire nation and for a sweet little boy we had just befriended. Today, 5 years later, I still mourn for a nation that has become more than a "project" to me. However, I don't mourn as one without hope.. Living among 40 of the nations jewels, the kiddo's at HFHM, has filled me with hope and expectation for what Jesus can do in this broken yet beautiful country.

And because I'm a momma who lost a little one and I know the powerful healing it brings me to remember her life, I want to remember the life of the lost ninja warrior that made such an impact on me.**

I want to write about Peterson.

Because I know it is easy to look at all the news stories and pictures and just be overwhelmed by the tragedy and all the people in Haiti affected by the earthquake.

Yet most of the people remain nameless to the vast majority of us.

Peterson's life was not just a number...

When we first arrived in Haiti and made our way to Sherrie's house one of the first kids to greet us was a skinny boy in the gangly stage that all school aged boys hit.

He was missing his front teeth and had the most sparkling eyes.

And mischievous smile.

Jeremiah quickly realized that he had an instant companion in this boy.

Peterson stuck by our side the whole time we were there and wasn't afraid to lend a helping hand during our construction project.

Ok, maybe not helping so much, but he sure added to the fun!

After about half a day he warmed up enough to show us his ninja look...

You know, the kind of look that just sends chills down your spine because you know he is about to unleash all fifty pounds of his ninja fury onto you =)

Then he got his buddies got into the ninja act too. Now we were really worried...

Finally, the fury was loosed and an epic battle ensued =)

He had friends.

He had a mom.

He had siblings.

Toki, one of his younger twin brothers.

He will be missed.

Luke 12:6

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies?
Yet not one of them is forgotten by God.

The holidays are over. Finished. Caput. A memory.

The decorations are put away, the Christmas carnage has found a home, the goodwill pile has been given away, and only the icicle lights on the porch remain.

(I've decided that since we live where nobody sees us that we can leave them up as long as we want. We aren't those people if nobody can see it, right?)

Real life began again this week.

Except our real life is sort of a new one for us. Uncharted territory.

I'd be lying if I said that I wasn't nervous. I am.

I am having to hourly check my feelings against the truth. I am having to be intentional about being thankful (because I've learned that gratefulness eats up anxiety for lunch).

If you had told my 25 or 30 year old self that I'd become a self-supported missionary at the age of 33 I'd have told you that you needed to lay off the weed.

Then again, if you'd have told me at 18 that I would be a mom to four, homeschooling, and finding a satisfying hobby in gardening I'd have probably told you to enter a mental facility. Those things were not on the trajectory I had charted.

I love it that God does that...For I know that it has made me dependent on Him, creating intimacy, which is the source of my greatest fulfillment in this life.

So, here goes...

I've got a day ahead that is filled with school and helping my husband prepare for his trip back to Haiti next week. We are excited that he will get to visit with those 40 kids we poured our lives into last year as well as bring some supplies and lay a lot of groundwork with Jim and Debbie for the upcoming year.

Here's a link to a video of the kiddo's at Have Faith Haiti Mission enjoying their Christmas day. I know we loved getting to be a apart of their celebration, if only by sending presents and letters. I know that several of you who read this blog also sponsored kiddo's, so I thought I'd share the video for all to see.

Happy Friday everyone!