Saturday, July 28, 2012

Wipeout

My shower was interrupted by Maddox screaming "Mommy, Mommy!" over and over again at the top of his lungs just outside of my door. The way he was screaming I could tell that it was urgent to him, but assumed it was probably just a fight between him and his sister that I would have to referee. So with a robe secured and a towel on my head I opened the door to see what was the matter. Tears in his eyes he told me the hole in his mouth was hurting. I had him say ahhh and could see that his back molar was coming in. Poor baby. Fortunately I had some orajel and with just a dab he was pacified. He curled up on my bed with his blanket and I couldn't help but let him get away with sucking his thumb. He's still so little, and yet is getting so big. How much longer will I still be his best friend and comforter?

I wanted to do something special for the kids, so I called Mitch at work to see if it were alright if I bought the wii game WipeOut from Target, the price of $30 seemed fair, but he told me to check out GameStop, who had it for $18! We've had our wii for a few years now, played it like crazy the first year, but let it gather dust until recently. The kids have really enjoyed playing Mario, but I thought it would be nice to let them have something new. I also picked Mitch up a game that he requested, 007 GoldenEye. This Wipeout game is so fun and so funny, and it's a great game for a family to play together.


Maddox also reached a milestone today, he counted to 100! I always knew that he could, but he just wouldn't. He was annoyed by me blow drying my hair, so I told him if he counted to 100 that I would stop ;)

P.S.

We went to Shipwreck cove water park the night before and Skylar brought a friend. We had so much fun! :)


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Days Like Today Make My Heart Smile : )




Not that it was a perfect day, the kids still fought, I had to remind them at least a dozen times to clean their rooms, I yelled a few times, and not every room ended up spotless by evening, and yet my heart is still smiling.

Our morning started out slow, like it usually does on summer mornings. For breakfast we all had something different while dad was away at work, a pop tart for sissy, oatmeal for my stinker, and cereal for me. Lunch is usually the same, always a pb&j for my sweet boy, soup for my princess, and a tomato from my garden sandwich for me. For dinners I have a different additude:


As the kids ran wild today as they usually do, I tidied up, tended to my garden, planned for dinner, and sanded an old bed that was recently passed down to me by my grandma. This bed use to belong to my uncle when he was young, but now I am sanding it down to paint it white, to make it new for my daughter. Sanding a bed in 90+ degree weather is something that I would have never of taken the initiative to do before my work in Haiti. I would have considered it "mans work", kind of like mowing the lawn, but now since I want it done and I know how, I am actually proud of my work! I'm hoping to have it complete before her birthday, just a week and a half away.



After dinner the kids played a game of checkers and then we all enjoyed a another chapter from Treasure Island.



Days like today make me want to freeze time, freeze these moments when Maddox still sucks his thumb and snuggles his mommy, freeze the moments when Skylar still wants to help in the kitchen and the kids fight over who is going to say the blessing first, and who I am going to tuck in first, but I kiss them goodnight, and laugh at the days to come.

My wonderful day ends with my loving husband and a glass of wine and I look forward to tomorrow's blessings.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Our 7th Wedding Anniversary

Last Monday was my and Mitch's 7th wedding anniversary. 7 years ago we made vows promising to love each other forever, entering into a holy covenant before God. We have had our fair share of ups and downs, but each year has been a blessing! Marriage (and parenting) has taught me so much about grace and forgiveness, and in order for a marriage to last, you'll need lots of it! For grudges are damaging, and life together is too short to hold on to them.

This year we were fortunate enough to have a week and a half long celebration! From a beach day in Haiti, to a tag along business trip with my husband, that included dinner out every night for 4 days :D, to a wedding for my sister in law, who was actually married by the same pastor that I was! I am so blessed to be married to the love of my life, an excellent father and to a man who loves and spoils me.

Here we are on our anniversary at one of my favorite places, the Cheesecake Factory.


And just a few days before at the beach on our last full day in Haiti.



And then here's a photo 7 years after our wedding day, with our children and the pastor who married us at Mitch's sister's wedding.



Our daughter was the flower girl, our son the ring bearer, and our nephew was the sign holder. The wedding was beautiful, Brianna the bride was beautiful, and everything went as planned for her special day. This wedding was a perfect way to end our week and a half long anniversary, and I pray that God will bless Brianna and Cory with many blissful years together.


Our Vows 7 years ago:


I, Mitch take you Candice to be my wife. I will cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow and forever. I will trust you and honor you. I will love you faithfully, through the best and the worst. Whatever may come I will always be there. I come into this union, letting go of my deepest fears and embracing all my faith, and if I doubt, I will remember this time and why we came together this day. As I have given you my hands to hold, so I give you my life to keep, so help me God.

I, Candice take you Mitch to be my husband. I will cherish our friendship and love you today, tomorrow and forever. I will trust you and honor you. I will love you faithfully through the best and the worst. Whatever may come I will always be there. I come into this union letting go of my deepest fears and embracing all my faith and if I doubt, I will remember this time and why we came together this day. As I have given you my hands to hold, so I give you my life to keep, so help me God.

Exchanging Rings


(Mitch to Candice) I give you this ring, as a symbol of my commitment to you and to our partnership in life. In the eyes of God, I thee wed and say to the world, “this is my wife.”


(Candice to Mitch) I give you this ring, as a symbol of my commitment to you and to our partnership in life. In the eyes of God, I thee wed and say to the world, “this is my husband.” 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Week Is Not Enough

While in Jacmel my days were filled with a mixture of compassion and adventure. Even the transportation was something to experience. Traffic laws don't seem to be followed, and the right away seems to give way to first come first serve and whoever can beep their horn the loudest. Our means of getting around was by a "tap tap", an old pick up truck with benches welded on the bed of the truck for sitting, pictures below. This was fun!




On Thursday of last week Mitch actually got to drive the tap tap!


And I forget what day it was, but I got to ride on the back of a "moto" with Jean Mary to make a water run for my team.


A first for me on this trip was visiting the river. This river is used for bathing, laundry, taking your livestock down for a drink, and I saw numerous people walking back and forth with buckets of water for at home use. This river is beautiful...this life is hard.


Their church with Sunday worship and Tuesday night prayer is another experience that I won't ever be able to get enough of. The harmony of voices in song and in prayer have you drop to your knees in worship and it's a beautiful feeling to be praising God alongside your brothers and sisters in Haiti, and yet I know that this small preview is nothing compared to the symphony I will experience in heaven, but for the time being I am in awe, and so I worship the Most High God together with my brothers and sisters. When the Tuesday night prayer service was over, an elderly lady approached me to give me a kiss, and in English she said, "God bless you".


This same church uses it's building to feed the hungry children of Jacmel through a sponsorship program. Children gather here everyday to eat and play soccer in the yard. Just $30 a month provides these children with a meal, an education, and health care.


To paint a picture of what their home life is like, Pastor Lafleur told us a story from his childhood. He said there were times when he and his brothers and sisters went days without food. All his mother could offer him was a hug when the hunger pains came and a glass of salt water. This mother had a choice to make, either buy food or send her children to school. This woman valued education, for she had only been to school one day in her life because her father couldn't afford it. She wanted to break this cycle for her own children so she would tell him "eat your books today so that you can eat better tomorrow". Pastor as a young child studied hard and he was always the first in his class. The school would reward the top students with a small amount of money or a jar of peas. On one Good Friday his family had no food to eat, but that night with the money he earned from school and the jar of peas his mother was able to buy some coal to heat up the peas and that is what they had for dinner.

This life in Haiti, it is tough, and what is $30 to us?

Another program that Restoration Ministries offers is a chicken leg milk day. $400 provides a chicken leg in their beans and rice with a glass of milk for the 450 kids that are currently being sponsored. Thanks to Elena Bowling's vision and LifeSong Church, we were able to raise money and watch these kids enjoy a rare occasion of a chicken leg, my prayer is that this meal won't become so rare to them.



One day after lunch as I was sitting on the ground painting little finger nails, a child came up to me with a sour cherry for me to eat. I smiled and said "mmmmm", but with that small sound children ran to gather more cherries, before I knew it I had a least 5 children hand feeding me, stuffing my mouth with cherries. Mouth full I tried to motion for them to stop, but the cherries kept coming, and I'm laughing. Finally I motion for the cherries to be put in my hand, I then offer the cherries back and the children laughed and ate the cherries.


Our mornings were spent working and our afternoons were spent at the feeding program and playing with children. I miss it, I long to be back.


I met one little boy 2 years ago, only a year older than my son, he reminded me of Maddox when he would suck his thumb. 2 years later and now fluent in English I asked him, "Ilikie, do you still suck your thumb?". Unashamed he answered "yes!". My husband then asked him, "aren't you too old for that?", Ilikie's precious reply was, "not for that".

Ilikie is in the blue shirt below.


My friendships were made in the teens who live in this small community.


From left to right in the picture above is Vladimire, Stallacia, Steve, and Wichnel. Beautiful, smart and funny. So smart that I can see great things for them in their future. They are not their parents, but strong maturing adults with with a bright future. These 4 (and many more!) are loved by and supported by many.

On my last trip in April of 2011, Wichnel was teaching me Creole, but being the young and michevious guy that he is, he slipped in a phase, "alle poo poo"...Well when I repeated it, it was just hilarious to him, and since I'm a sucker for potty jokes it was funny to me too. Only in April of 2011 it was just him saying it, when I came back last week, not only did he remember, it seemed that all of the children, especially the preteens and teens would greet me with, "alle poo poo" lol. This went on all week long :)


I miss the children and the families of Jacmel. Their impact on me is far greater than any brick that I layed while I was there, and one week is simply not enough.

If you would like to sponsor a child please visit RestoreHaiti.com

To read other posts from my week in Haiti, please click on the following links:

Home From Haiti
Building Homes and Relationships in Jacmel

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