Friday, July 30, 2010

Are You Nervous?

Last night as we were at the dinner table Sofia asked me, "Mommy, are you nervous about going to Haiti?" Those of you who know me know that I've done a lot of travel in my day - alone. Drop me off in any city in the US or Canada and I'll be able to make my way around. I even navigated Norway twice as a teenager - no parents.

The US, Canada, and Norway are not third world countries. No matter which city I've gone to, I've always been able to swing by a Target to pick up any items I've forgotten - toothbrush, hairspray, a t-shirt. I realize Haiti is going to be different. There will be no Target on my ride from the airport to Children of the Promise.

We're very honest in our house so I wasn't about to hold back. My response - "Yes I'm nervous, Sofia. I'm nervous about leaving you and Henry."

I'm nervous because I'm a control freak. I want to know when they wake up, what they're eating, if they are happy...and I want to be able to hear them breathing at night.

We'll be able to talk a couple of times, and they can text me all day. But I'll go to bed at night and not be able to hear that all-comforting breathing. Ten days in Haiti is going to force me to let go. And to trust that all will be well.

I'm not nervous about Haiti. The bugs, the conditions, being safe. Remember that peace I've got? It's still holding strong. When I think about Haiti I smile. And I cry. The tears are mostly happy. I cannot wait to meet the babies. If you haven't looked at them in a while, their pictures have been updated Click here.

Do you think I can bring Wilson home with me? :-)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

What's Your Exit Plan?

We're just 6 days away from the pizza dinner fundraiser benefitting Children of the Promise. I made an announcement at church, and my family hosted fellowship after the service. I'm thankful to attend such a wonderful little church that supports my trip to Haiti. Many people were asking about the trip, what they could donate for the fundraiser, how I felt about going.

After the crowd cleared, and gentleman walked up to me and asked, "What's your exit plan to leave Haiti?" I said, "I've got a plane ticket and someone from the orphanage will bring me to the airport." He responded, "No, I mean, what is your exit plan?"

It took a few seconds, but I finally realized what he was asking me. I touched the top of Henry and Sofia's heads and said, "This is my exit plan."

Ten days will be a long time to be away from my children. Ten days is not nearly enough time to spend in Haiti.

This trip really has nothing to do with me. In my short visit I'm not going to make a difference. The children and nannies won't remember me. I, however, will be changed for the rest of my life.

God put this on my heart for a reason. I understand part of that reason, but I know much of it will be revealed to me during the trip. This is a long-term commitment on my part. Ten days isn't going to make a difference to Children of the Promise. Coming back and sharing the stories, planting the seeds, getting others to support the babies, and scheduling the next trips with others...that will start to make a difference.

My exit plan is Sofia and Henry. My exit plan is also knowing that I can go back to Haiti.

Monday, July 19, 2010

222 Acts of Compassion

I wasn't going to post until after the fundraiser, but I'm about to burst and can't wait any longer.

Today I came home from work to 2 very large boxes addressed to Handbags for Hope. I know the world is filled with amazing, compassionate people, but it surprises me each time a box arrives. Both boxes were from people I've never met. One came from Virginia, the other from Washington. Talk about covering the country!

Inside the box from Virginia was a thank-you note from a woman named Jennifer. She was thanking me for collecting and distributing the bags. I find that amazing. She's the one who sent the bags and paid the postage.

The next box was from Amy in Washington. Inside the box was a card with her blog listed. Here it is: Acts of Compassion Amy is doing 222 acts of compassion. Why 222? Her daughter was born on 2/22. A military wife, mother, can read more about her on her blog.

The world is filled with love, compassion, giving, gentleness, kindness and more. Just think if we started a movement. How many acts of compassion would you commit to? It doesn't have to be formal. It doesn't have to cost money. It doesn't even have to take a lot of time. Here's what you could do:
* make a commitment to laugh and play with your kids (instead of nagging)
* find the positive in someone before pointing out a negative
* pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru
* if you've got it, donate money to someone who has found a cause they are passionate about
* find a cause YOU are passionate about
* sponsor a child through Compassion International
* smile at a stranger
* get to know and understand a different culture
* bring your neighbor a meal
* send a note to a friend - for no reason
* become a foster parent for rescue animals
* attend a pizza fundraiser on 7/31 in Hudson, WI and bring tons of cash (just had to)

I could go on for pages with ideas. It doesn't take much to plant the seed. Your act of compassion will spread more than you could ever realize.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Evan Almighty

Sofia and I are hanging out this afternoon while her little brother takes a nap. We turned on the TV and started flipping through the channels and landed on one of my FAVORITE movies - Evan Almighty. It's one of those movies that no matter where it's at when I find it, I'm going to watch the rest of it. (I've got it recorded and could watch the whole thing...but it's more fun to happen upon it at random times.) I love this movie because of the message.

I can still picture the afternoon Sofia and I went to the theater to watch it together. At many points in the movie I was crying. Here is my all time favorite part. It's Morgan Freeman, who plays God in the movie. In this scene he's playing Al Mighty and is serving fish and chips to the family:

Let me ask you something. If someone prays for patience, you think God gives them patience? Or does he give them the opportunity to be patient? If he prayed for courage, does God give him courage, or does he give him opportunities to be courageous? If someone prayed for the family to be closer, do you think God zaps them with warm fuzzy feelings, or does he give them opportunities to love each other?

It's interesting how God responds to prayer. There are certain things we ask for, and certain things he gives us. At the time it may not be what you want. But it's exactly what's meant to be.

With God, all things are possible.

p.s. When I die, I hope Morgan Freeman REALLY is God and meets me when I arrive.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Holy Discontent

This whole God thing isn't new to me. I was raised good 'ol fashioned, potluck loving, stand up sit down kneel, brush your teeth and go to Sunday School Lutheran. We don't like to pray out loud, we don't talk about faith, and we don't always understand scripture, but we believe in God and heaven. Just don't ask us to explain it. (Sorry all you Lutherans for lumping you into this - but I'm one of you.)

It wasn't until a few months ago that I started praying. I mean REALLY praying. My work takes me to the other side of the cities so I get up quite early. Toss in a new running routine and my alarm now goes off at 4 am during the week. While I don't really enjoy running, I've decided to take my health into my own hands. I don't want to be one of those people who blames heredity or 'bad luck' for my poor health while popping pills, eating like crap and sitting on the couch all tired. But that's for another blog.

4 am is my time. I hop on the treadmill, try to clear out my mind, and start running and praying. First I give thanks for all He has given me. Next I pray for those in need or who are weighing heavy on my heart. Then I close it all out with, "Lord, please let me know what it is you want from me." As you know, all that praying business led to my postcard and this trip to Haiti.

The pastor at my church has heard many stories about my early morning prayers and the resulting Haiti postcard. He has walked with me on this journey to Haiti, even taking the time to write one of my recommendation letters to Children of the Promise.

On Thursday he handed me a book: Holy Discontent by Bill Hybels. I just hit an amazing section this morning. Let me share:

"We were all created to do good works. I was created to do good works. Just as confidently, I'm here to tell you that you were created to do good works, which explains how I know that you have a holy discontent banging around in your brain somewhere - if you're alive and kicking today, then there is a specific work that you are expected to do. There is a set of tasks with your name on it that God has given you to accomplish, and long before you actually arrived on the scene, God planted certain seeds in your soul that he remains whole-heartedly committed to watering, growing, and making into something meaningful, if you will let him."

It just struck me. God has been gearing me up for Haiti. He planted the seeds a long time ago. It took the post-earthquake coverage of Haiti to stir up the holy discontent in me. I've had all I can stand of starving and dying children, babies without parents, and people without hope that I'm going to work to raise money, collect bags with toiletries, and spend 10 days rocking babies and helping out those who have given their lives to these children.

When I accepted the postcard, God made some amazing things happen. Money for the trip, a place to volunteer, people donating money for the babies, an awesome company donating handbags and toiletries, and an amazing father for my own babies so I can leave them for 10 days knowing they are loved and well taken care of.

I get it now. Thank you Pastor Brian for the book. The door is open and I'm letting go and hanging on for the ride.