To Haiti I Go

“On some positions, Cowardice asks the question, “Is it safe?” Expediency asks the question, “Is it politic?” And Vanity comes along and asks the question, “Is it popular?” But Conscience asks the question “Is it right?” And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do it because Conscience tells him it is right.”

I’m going to Haiti on Wednesday. It’s nearly impossible to imagine as I sit here in my living room watching the Today show and drinking my coffee. Still in my sweatpants, I can hear my kids playing and laughing together. I’m already starting to feel that separation in my mind. How do you rectify the two worlds? 

I remember this feeling before we left to go to Ethiopia to pick up Tomas and Binyam. Having been there once before I knew what was about to hit me and so I struggled the week leading up to our trip with staying present. When you know your whole world is about to be rocked how do you stay focused on enjoying the present day? 

I started with the Martin Luther King Jr quote for a few reasons. Obviously today is the day we celebrate his life and legacy but also because that quote kind of stood out today. 

So many times in the last few weeks I’ve felt the urge to back out of the trip. I kept thinking that a sane person wouldn’t be going to Haiti. Of course I feel safe there, but as safe as I feel now in my sweatpants on my couch? Well no of course not. Because there are so many unknowns. 

And I’ve done all but begged my Facebook followers to donate money to buy stoves. $20 for one stove. That’s a coffee date with your best friend, a movie with your husband OR a stove that doesn’t make a family sick in Haiti. A job for someone in Haiti. Donating $60 will enter your name in a drawing to have your chance to go to Haiti AND give 3 families stoves. Every time I went to post I hesitated for just a second and asked, “Is this popular? Will they get sick of me?” It lasted for a minute but I admittedly still thought it. 

But then of course, to combat the doubts I ask “is it right”? Not the actual going to Haiti but the act of annoying my friends and family for donations, the act of putting myself in a position to be moved, to be broken and to see heaven meet earth. And of course the answer is a resounding “yes”. 

I think the tension I feel in my stomach is simply God working. He’s preparing me to not only see the brokenness of of the world but also in me. Trips like these have a way of holding a big ole’ mirror in front of you and revealing all the areas you fall short. 

So I’m going to Haiti. I’m going to see for my own eyes the amazing work The Adventure Project is doing there. I’m going to see how they use local partners to empower their own people. I’m going to see brothers helping brothers and sisters helping sisters. I’m going to see healthy kids who were once sick. I’m going to see so. much. more. And I can’t wait to share it with you. 

Will you pray for me? Will you send positive vibes, light candles or dedicate your meditation to the trip? Will you donate? While there, we are drawing the name of the person who wins the next trip to Haiti (remember all it takes is you donating $60 OR you encouraging enough people to total $60). I want to pull out your name. Because you blog readers have been with me for so long and through so much. I want you to get your chance to be changed as well. 

So donate today. It’s said constantly where our money goes, so too goes our heart. Let your money and your heart go to the Haitian people still reeling 3 years later. I’ll be able to tell you all about it in a few short days. 

Off to work really hard at that staying present deal. On a day like today, I’m constantly reminded how blessed I am by my life. To have the kids that I do and the family that I do. To have the opportunities I do. So, so thankful. 

Heeey

I have this friend since second grade, when we talk on the phone (every couple months or so) we open with “heeeey” (pronounced like “hay” with the “a” drawn out). Every time I can hear her smile-and I’m sure she can hear me smile as well-and then we pick up where we left off. The “heeey” is our way of saying, “I’m sorry it’s been so long, we have 10 kids between us, life is bound to go too quickly.”

So…heeeey.

I think the best way I can summarize what’s been going on is with bullet points.

-The big 3 are wrestling. My dad was a good wrestler, as was my brother. I come from “a wrestling family”, as it were. If you live in Iowa and you say you are from “a wrestling family” you automatically get a little more street cred. This state is crazy about its men in tights rolling around with each other. Because I’ve loved my little brother so intensely for as long as I can remember I used to hate watching him wrestle. It’s just so intense, it’s just so vulnerable. Weeeell, it’s way worse as a mom. Boys had their first tournament last weekend and I really did feel like I was going to throw up all day. It is insanely hard to watch them get beat at something. I’m nowhere close to a helicopter parent but in those moments I see why it’s an epidemic in this nation-in many ways it’d be so much easier to shelter my kids from experiencing that for as long as I can. Instead, I sign them up for another tournament this weekend. Builds character, right?

-We got a new kitten. Made the mistake of going to a friend’s house who lives in the country. Their farm cat had 7 farm kittens. Say what you will but dammit if the sight of all 5 of my kids begging me for another cat isn’t impossible to say no to. Zach finds it just as difficult, thus: Evie D. (“Evie” for Z’s grandma “Evelyn” and “D” for my grandma “Delores”.) She’s sassy and fun and funny just like our grandmas. Oh, and we brought her home on New Years EVE. It’s just the perfect name. πŸ™‚

-I took the GRE. Yeah I did. I decided to apply to grad school. It’s something I knew I wanted to do since I was in college myself, but I’ve loved raising my kids so much. Now that they’re in school it’s just good timing. I’m going for my PhD in Communication Studies, hoping to one day teach at the collegiate level. If I get in then I know it was as good a timing as we thought, if not, there’s always next year!

-Christmas was amazing. Many times on Christmas Day I looked around me and thought “I never even thought to dream this big.” That is how good life is right now. It’s busy, and it’s crazy but it’s good. This year we did the “Something you want, something you need, something you wear and something you read.” Then a gift from Santa and some stocking stuffers from us. I LOVED it. By nature I love things simple and efficient, so that fit the bill extremely well. If you’ve been looking to downsize presents in order to focus on more important stuff, I can’t urge you enough to do something like it.

-I’m going to Haiti in just over a week. After Wine to Water Jody asked if I’d like to go and see just how good The Adventure Project really is. Um, yeah. Many times, particularly as money is always tight around Christmas, I’d say to Zach, “Honey I just won’t go to Haiti, it’s fine.” And God love him, he consistently said, “It doesn’t matter, you have to go, Tesi. I won’t let you not go.” Sweet Jesus I love that man. So I’m going. I am really, really excited.

So much more has gone on, obviously, in the last few months. But as I rang in the new year with my kiddos, my hubby and my sister/brother-in-law I couldn’t help but realize just how great this year was. We had our struggles, boy did we! But they were worth it. Because we’ve come to 2013 and we are stronger and happier than ever.

We have no idea what 2013 holds for us but we are excited about life. We are thankful for it. And I’ll take that any day.