Sunday, April 29, 2012


The Oregon/New Orleans team leaves in the morning. They have been faithfully working in the clinic this week, even though they haven't had many patients. We've had some very unusual weather; it has rained off and on all stinking day for most of the week. The sun came out to tease us yesterday morning, but the clouds rolled in about an hour after the clinic opened.

Anyway, this post is not about the cold and rainy weather we've been having, but about my friends. There were several familiar faces on this team, and it was so good to fellowship with and serve alongside them. One friend is veteran mom who gave me lots of advice about parenting ,and she also loaded me up with a bunch of baby clothes. I really enjoyed my talks with her, and hope I didn't monopolize her time! The other friend is just a couple years younger than me and totally sold out to God. She is crafty and funny, and most importantly she speaks truth into people's lives. She helps in her church's youth ministry and loves playing with the babies who come through the clinic, so you know we have a common bond.

I generally have mixed feelings about teams. They throw off my routines and schedule, and by the end of their time here I am tired--they just wear me out (in a good way, though). But I'm really sad to see this team go. It feels like they just got here a couple of days ago. Thankfully we have Facebook to stay in touch, and the team from Oregon will be back in November.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Student Writing: Thank You

I haven't posted a student writing in a while. I guess I haven't saved anything recently. But today one of my 12th grade students caught me after class. He asked me a question and then said, "Oh, this is for you." as he pulled a note out of his pocket. I was curious to what was inside, but he was already talking to some friends. This is one of the reasons I love my job. So sweet. Click on the picture to see it a little bigger.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

This post may not be family friendly. Just a warning.

Well, I wanted to write something good today, but my 7th grade class changed all that.

They made me angry.

Really angry.

So angry that after I left the class I speed-walked up the hill to the school yard and then all the way up to my computer lab. I was beyond miffed. I wanted to throw something, or punch them all in the face. (Don't judge me!) By the time I arrived in the computer lab I was huffing and puffing and I had to use my inhaler to be able to breathe normally again.

I guess 7th graders are the same everywhere. They all obtain the ability to royally piss off adults.

Friday, April 13, 2012


(or  this post could be called "Lessons in God's Faithfulness," but that's only if I decide to be a good student.)

I'm having a hard time focusing on God's faithfulness right now. It's supposed to be my theme for the year, but I haven't spent much time dwelling on his faithful ways.

Instead I keep worrying about what's to come or what might come. Because, you know, that's really helpful.

We recently gained a new monthly financial sponsor, and that brought our level of support up to 69%. I was feeling pretty good about that. That's only 31% more that we need, and I thought surely we could raise the rest before the baby comes. Then we would be set.

However, some things on the horizon make me think our budget is likely changing--and not in a good way. One of my renters in Mishawaka is moving out in June. And I don't know if the other one can find someone else to share the house with. I can't sell the house because it appraises for about $5-8K less than what I owe on it.

If we don't have two renters in the house, there is no way we can afford for me to visit my family in the States this summer. That thought brings instant tears. I miss them so much. Everybody was together for Easter, and I cried reading my mom's e-mail about the antics of the little cousins at the restaurant. And if I don't go this summer, I don't know when I'll see them again. Who knows when we'll be able to travel after the baby is born.

Do you see the downward spiral I get myself into?

Why is it so difficult to trust that God will faithfully provide what we need? There are so many examples of his provision in the Bible, in history, in my friends' lives, in MTM's ministry, ... and even in my own life. But it's like I get blinded to the truth of God's faithfulness by all the "what ifs".

When will I learn to let go of the what ifs and cling to the Great I AM?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Calculator Class

The team from Illini Life Christian Fellowship that I talked about in March brought 24ish (I can't remember how many exactly) graphing calculators with them to leave for the school. They spent some time each afternoon that they were here showing the students how to use the calculators. I popped in and out of the class just to make sure everyone was behaving, but tried not to spend too much time in there. It was ridiculously hard math, and I am an English teacher for a reason. 

Mr. Jay teaches physics at a public high school in the States, so he was in charge of teaching the lessons.

Here I was wrangled by the students into "helping" them with the calculator. Notice the look of utter confusion on my face.

And here's Kirk, a smarty pants who is getting a masters in something math/science I can't even say it's so complicated! He was a really nice guy, but when he started talking about science or math, I just zoned out.

All pictures are courtesy of the Illini team. I imagine all of these photos were from Matt Phebus and his fancy camera, but I don't know that for certain.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Back to School

After three weeks of not teaching any English classes, I have to go back to work today. The last two weeks in March my students were taking exams, so I didn't any English classes to teach. And this past week was the equivalent of spring break--there's no school during Holy Week. And because Haitians are serious about holidays, we get Monday off too. Just for good measure.

So today I'm back in the classroom. Here's what my weekly schedule looks like. Most days I don't start teaching until 11:20, but I like to be there around 10 just to organize myself and have time to chat with various people. However, Tuesdays are my get-out-of-bed-as-soon-as-the-alarm-sounds days. That 8:50 class comes a lot sooner than it should!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Blue Paint

Here's a sneak peek of the blue paint that will be used on the outside of the elementary school. the mural on the preschool has been there for several years, but the blue on the 5th and 6th grade was added a couple of weeks ago. I think it looks great. Now, if we could manage to get the rest of the school painted I wouldn't be blinded by the hot Haitian sun reflecting off all that white paint! ;)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Art Class

Here's a little preview of our art class. Yesterday we dabbled in oil pastels and today we did charcoal portraits. The best part of art class is they are letting me do the projects too! I haven't been artistic in a while, and it feels nice to draw and color again. My students even think I have talent.

Our instructors are some students from WA state.

Half of the class, drawing faces for the charcoal drawing today
More pictures of specific pieces of art work to come!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Student Writing: e-mail

Here's an e-mail I received earlier this week. Isn't it sweet? It's from one of my Philo (grade 13) students who will graduate in June.

hello miss smith how are you i don't hear you .thank you for your prayer ask God to make me succerfull in july next in exam, i count on you .say mr arold i send hello for him may God bless you.thank you for your  message.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Baby/Pregnancy Update

Some peole have asked questions about the baby and my pregnancy, so I thought I would answer them on the blog for all those who are curious. I promise not to share anything gross or inappropriate, but I also won't be offended if you skip out on the baby/pregnancy stuff.

due date: we're due somewhere around Sept 22nd, first it was the 19th but the doctor changed it to the 25th based on baby size at our last appointment. However, my calculations put us due on the 22nd, so that's what I'm sticking with. ;)

how far along: right now I'm 3 months pregnant

morning sickness: I have mostly had just the feeling of nausea, with a few bouts of actual throwing up now and then. I didn't get sick until week 8 and by week 12 the worst was over. Now I feel pretty good, but occasionally have to suck on hard candy to avoid throwing up.

cravings/aversions: in the beginning I craved fresh mandarins, and avoided pretty much everything else except popcorn and grilled cheese. I still eat a lot of bread and sandwiches, but I still can't handle much rice, spaghetti, or things that smell like garlic or oil (which is pretty bad since those are staples in Haitian cooking!).

weight gain: due to nausea I'm down 16 pounds. Baby is healthy, so no worries. But it also means I don't really look pregnant right now, which is disappointing. I really want a baby bump!

birth/doctor: We have a really great doctor here in Petionville that we've been seeing. He does an ultrasound everytime we go for an appointment, so I really enjoy that! He speaks English and is a very respected doctor among the expat/upper class community. I'll give birth in a maternity hospital in Petionville. It's about 20-30 minutes from our house, so it's not too far away and the nurses are very well trained. And it will be significantly cheaper to have the baby here than in the States.

I think that about covers it, but if you have more questions feel free to ask them in the comments.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Student Spotlight: Jean Ricard

This is from Sept 2010, but it shows his personality
Jean Ricard is the 10th grade class president this year. He is a natural leader and holds the respect of his classmates. It's interesting to watch how the class dynamics change when he's in the room. The students are more on task and better behaved when he's around. In English class he often spends his time helping the other students because he already understands what we are doing. His English is very good.

Jean Ricard is a new addition to the computer class this year. He is a quick learner and remembers nearly everything he sees on the computer the first time someone teaches him somthing new. For example, a couple of weeks ago we learned how to make columns in a text document. While most of the class needs to be reminded every time they want to make columns, Jean Ricard has never needed a refresher lesson.

Jean Ricard is also a self proclaimed artist. He writes a lot of poetry and even writes songs. For the school wide quiz bowl competition he was chosen to find a theme song. Instead he wrote one! He's constantly asking to type and print his poems in the computer lab... so much so that I've had to limit him to one poem every couple of weeks.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Rainy Season

The rainy season in Haiti is generally April to June, with hurricane season immediately following until the end of October. However, rainy season started about a month early this year. It has been raining, mostly at night, multiple times a week since the beginning of March. The good thing about rainy season starting sooner is that we need the rain. The farmers need water for their crops, and we need rain water to fill our cistern.

The unfortunate and unavoidable part of rainy season is the mud. I had forgotten about how much mud can develop overnight! The short cut I take to get the guest house hasn't been completely dry in a looooonnnngggg time and some days it doesn't seem I'll make it to the guest house without falling in the mud. Thankfully I haven't fallen, or lost a sandal, in the mud yet!

I guess the point of this post is to say this: If you're coming to Haiti this spring, bring your raincoat! And bring shoes that clean easily!

Monday, April 2, 2012


I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by life today. I have a running list of things we need for the baby, another list of things we need to do before we can even start the application for Arold's visa, and yet another list of "essential items" I want to buy because, well, they would just make life easier. Today my lists are staring me in the face and taunting me with the knowledge that I have very little control over anything on them.

And then, this song starts playing in my head, reminding me that I don't have to worry. That God is faithful. That I have not been left here alone. 

What it boils down to is I just need to calm down and trust that the Lord God Almighty is faithful.