Loco LL

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Duck You!

Not thank you, not tank you, but "duck you" is my daughter's new words. I was trying to teach her to sign thank you, and out came "duck you." Her favorite word is "DUCK!" and she always says it wish such passion behind it. She can be in the middle of nursing, and she looks up to me and exclaims, "DUCK" and then goes back to nursing again. So, it's no surprise that she says "duck you" instead of thank you. I am just glad she doesn't say some other 4 letter word!!

Monday, January 28, 2008

A Winter Sort of Thing

We went to see an amazing show by some amazing friends of ours on Saturday night. We have some incredibly talented and creative folks around here. It was called a "Winter Sort of Thing." I honestly thought it would be a cheezy play about snow and what not. Well, I was so wrong. We loved it and the kids loved it. It was about snow but it wasn't cheezy AT ALL! It was about these kids that were all psyched about snow days, no school, sledding, and hot chocolate until it just never stopped snowing. So they were on an adventure to find "greener pastures" so to speak.

We have some friends in Tajikistan who really are living this. It isn't so laugh out loud funny like Saturday night was either. Laura just delivered her 4th child at home with no medical care what so ever and then a week or so later the cold set in. They really need it to warm up in the worst way and they are the lucky ones. Please read their letter and say a prayer for the Tajik people.

Dear Friends and Family,

Just another quick update to let you know how we are doing in the current weather crisis. All of Tajikistan is basically frozen. We have received news from co-workers in the north that the situation there is much the same. We are in our third week of a deep freeze with the latest news being that this is the worst winter since 1936! More people have run out of fuel (coal or wood) and are cutting trees to warm themselves and cook with (esp. in the village). The other source of fuel is cow dung mixed with straw, but it is impossible to mix and dry in this weather. Now the water in the canals and rivers are becoming so frozen that there is barely any electricity being generated at the hydro-electric power stations, they estimate if the weather doesn’t warm up soon, the entire country will be without any electricity by Feb. 4th.

We continue to find ways to stay warm, but it is costly to say the least. Propane heaters are the biggest blessing for us right now, along with our generator since our village (along with most others) now have zero electricity. Would you believe one of our biggest ministries right now is charging our neighbors cell phones for them! Many elderly and babies are dying from the stress of the cold. Two very good friends of mine have grandmothers that may pass away any day. We saw a group of men walking to the graveyard carrying the body of a tiny baby wrapped in a blanket on Wednesday. One of our closest and most beloved neighbors died on Tuesday. His family is having to do all the funeral rituals without electricity and limited firewood for cooking the huge meals they must provide for guests coming to mourn (guests numbering into the hundreds over a period of a week). This particular neighbor was a voice of reason and stability in our community, his influence will be greatly missed.

(A note: I typed this yesterday—today was supposed to be warmer, but it is actually the coldest day yet. We heard news last night that in our friend’s village on the other side of the city many people have also died from cold related things. A baby died in our old apartment complex from the cold and the parents carried the baby’s body to the government offices to register a complaint about the cold and lack of gas and electric to keep the cement apartments warm. Last night a cart pusher from the bazaar crawled into a tandoor (brick bread oven like I have) to stay warm and froze to death there. They found his body this morning and had to break the tandoor apart to get his frozen body out. It is not that 5 or 10 degrees F is that cold, it is that we do not have the resources to handle it here.)

We are so thankful, that though we have not had running water for almost three weeks, our outdoor hand pump continues to work and provide water for more and more people. Also our sewage pipes have not burst. This is a real blessing as others have had their sewage pipes freeze and often burst. Many of the apartments are without sewage as the pipes have frozen and the sewage has backed up into many homes. In the local Turkish school, one worker said they could hear the water and sewage pipes bursting at one end of the building at the same time workers were trying to repair pipes on the other end!!!

Today’s task is giving all the children good baths. So school is not the priority today as I pump and try to heat water to wash the girls. Trinity is suffering from a painful rash on her back and arm and we hope a good scrubbing will slow it down a bit! Please pray for her healing as she is really uncomfortable.

We know that everyone is starting to get really warn out from the cold and the extra problems it brings. The extra time it is taking to keep the house warm, food cooked and clothes and people washed is amazing. J continues to keep up with the meetings and discipleship, as well as try to keep the office going, with all the extra work January always poses. He amazes me as I see him take the present stresses on with grace and joy. I know the Father’s hand is really on our home right now because we are always finding something to laugh about and are keeping our sense of humor in the midst of everything. Having Him as the centre of our home is what makes all the difference.

So keep praying for us and for the whole country. We know when the thaw does come it will be many weeks to get everything back to normal. Pray we can find a good person to fix our pipes quickly. We don’t know if our electric pump needs to be replaced or not, but we hope not. We also don’t know if our pipes are broken in only two places, or if there are places we don’t know about. It is a good time to be a welder/plumber in Tajikistan! J The vegetables that are the staple here have mostly frozen, the potatoes are like water balloons, we hope new produce becomes available after the freeze, since everything seems pretty much ruined by the cold. We live in a land that doesn’t usually need cold-resistant varieties of anything.

A side note---besides the prayer we need for the present situation, would you please pray for the Lord to bring us a good homeschool teacher. We could really use one and it would be such a blessing for the girls and me. We are managing to keep up with the basics, but it would be a great ministry to our family to have a teacher.

Okay, thanks for listening to me whine J, we really are all doing okay…and we know it is because of your prayers. I still feel like I am living in the movie “ The Day After Tomorrow”—but hopefully this will all change soon and I will feel like we are living in the movie “Every Day is a Sunny Day in Tajikistan” (which is what it usually is).

Bless you all,

We Rejoice in His Faithfulness,

Laura for all

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Finding Contentment in a Discontent World

On my previous blog, I talked about how contentment has been a recurrent theme lately in my life. In many areas of my life, I can truly say that I am closer than ever to finding this contentment. I have grown not only content, but thrilled to be a mom of 3 girls. I have become content living in a city like Philadelphia which is quite different from Wilmore Kentucky (where we lived before). I am content with the low salary (in American standards) that we live on which keeps us from buying too much stuff. I have become content with a messy house (at times). I am content with the cars that God has blessed us with. I can't tell you how many comments I get, even from friends that are like minded to me, that I should get a new car. I have become content with our lack of closet space, drafty house, unfinished projects, and toilet that you have to turn the water off to every time you finish using it.

Yes, I have my moments, even with these things, that I feel discontent, but for the most part I am getting to the point where I don't even think about them as inconveniences or something to complain about. I feel good about using cloth diapers, wearing a thick robe around the house instead of turning on the heat, and having a mound of recyclables that I have to drive to a specific location at a specific time once a month because our city isn't taking all the items they should be. I feel good about all of the light fixtures in our house having CFC bulbs and having a daughter who reminds me to unplug my appliances. I feel good about the fact that my children watch tv only a few hours a week and when they do, they understand that the ads on tv are trying to make them discontent. Yes they truly understand this concept now. Yeah!! I feel good about the fact that we only have one tv in the house (and it's in the basement) and I could care less about HD. If our tv doesn't work in 2009, then that will be great for us. All the more reason to get rid of it.

Of coarse there are way more things that I desire to find contentment in than there are things that I have found contentment in. Chris didn't even know that I blogged about contentment and he ended up preaching on it this past Sunday. He talked about how we all breathe in the smog of discontent in our society. We are constantly being told we need better cars, tv's, bathrooms, stainless steel appliances, or even worse is how we are told we need to look a certain way. Have you heard of the show "what not to wear." Why do we get sucked into a show where two people decide what is appropriate to wear and what is not. For one thing, they are always telling the ladies to wear these high heel shoes. Well I have really bad feet and I am in complete agony wearing those pointy high heels. How is it considered beauty to make your feet do things they were not meant to do. I could go on and on about that. Why are we sucked in to believe our body needs to look a certain way to be beautiful. This is something that nearly every woman I know struggles with. As a mom of 3 beautiful girls who most likely will have 3 very different bodies and styles, and personalities. I feel it is a responsibility of mine to find contentment in my own shape. If I am allowing the discontent to control me, then how can I raise my children to not only know that the ads on tv are trying to make them want toys but also trying to make them want to look a certain way. Alexa is already asking me if I can whiten her teeth!! I need to be happy with my thighs, as dumb as it sounds. Ladies, you know what I am talking about. We need to learn to love our curves and not let society tell us they are too big (or small)!

After Chris preached, one of the ladies raised her hand and told us about this website that I think everyone should take the time to look at. It is the story of stuff We went home and watched it and our kids watched it with us. What a great visual on where our stuff comes from and where it goes. And how government works with corporations to get people to buy more stuff. And as we all know, things are not made the way they used to be. Corporations are purposefully making things not to last so that we have to buy more. Where does the stuff go?? Please watch the clip. I think if folks were more aware of this system that is so destructive to our world they would begin making small changes in their own lives. And it's contagious. My friend watched it after I told her about it and then she told someone else about it and now that person is telling lots more people about it. The more people start to make these small changes and learn contentment with what they have, the more we can change the world (not to sound like a cliche, but it is true)!!
The picture I posted is one I took a few years ago at my parents rivah house. I love walking around there and taking snap shots of what makes the rivah unique and special to me. In recent years, we have modernized the place a little bit. But I remember when we popped popcorn on the stove, when we all hung out on the porch rather than in the air conditioned rooms, and we would hang laundry on the line. Well, now we have a microwave, air conditioners and we take our laundry home to wash. Have you ever thought about how modern conveniences keep us from enjoying simple beauty. Just a thought.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Contentment and Gratitude

So, have you ever had one of those days that everything just seems to be going wrong. I guess we all have. And we wish we could just crawl back in bed and start over. Yesterday was one of those days for me. It started with my washing machine breaking a leak when I needed to wash the kids school uniforms. I tried all day to get a hold of my neighbor who is a plumber to have him look at it. I stayed home in case he came by. I needed to shop for groceries for our out of town guests coming tonight but decided to do it after picking Chris up from the airport. Yep, these things always happen when the husband is out of town. My friend Joyce offered to let me use her washer. So the plan was to pick up moriah at 3 from school, run to the dry cleaners to get my duvet and then start a load at Joyces before Alexa got off the bus and we had to go get Chris. i was going to go get Chris and get back in time to take Alexa to Joyces to finish my laundry and watch her daughter for them while they took Alexa, and their other 2 girls to gymnastics. Joyce had a speaking engagement to get to so I would pick them up from gymnastics and take her 3 girls to one of their neighbors.

BUT then the snow started. SO, i got worried chris would be delayed. AND my van tire blew after going to the dry cleaners!
AGGHHHHHH...I said forget the laundry, went home and called joyce who offered to let us drop off alexa before going to get Chris in case he was delayed and she found a back up babysitter for their daughter. Meanwhile, Alexa gets home and has 15 minutes to do an hour worth of homework and she isn't ready at all for her 2 tests tomorrow.. and she tells me she got in trouble because she didn't have her math homework today since she left it at jahairas house yesterday. Well, I dropped her off, feeling pretty angry. It took me an hour to get to the airport an an hour to get home. chris was on time.
Meanwhile, joyce called to let me know gymastics was canceled and she was just waiting for me to pick Alexa up, so we ended up making her late to her speaking engagement!! ughhhhh!
we get home. our neighbor finally comes home and looks at our washer which now does not have a leak in it!!!!???? embarrassing.!!!!
Chris worked on homework with Alexa while I ran out to get stuff for dinner tonight and pick up her homework. Then after putting the kids to bed he went out to fix the tirein the snow and rain. Then he comes in to tell me one of the bolts is stripped and he can't change the tire. We called our road side service who came and couldn't get it either. Chris was standing in the rain/snow for over an hour and he is sick. I was supposed to have to work today so, the plan was for him to take the kids to school on public.
Well, if there is ever a good phone call to get at 5:00am, it is from Einstein Medical Center when you are scheduled to work. I jumped out of bed when I heard the phone ring and answered joyfully. Yep, I was canceled for today! WHEW! Couldn't be better timing for that. I took the girls to school this morning and Chris is still sleeping. He doesn't have much of a voice. We will have the van towed when he gets up. And I am going to cross my fingers, say a prayer and do some laundry.

So, in complete retrospect...I feel pretty bad about complaining and stressing so much yesterday. My washer isn't leaking now (though it might do it again), my tire blew in front of my house and not on the highway on the way to get Chris in the snow, and I got off work today. Alexa had extra time to study and feels better about her tests, and I am going to be able to make a nice dinner for tonight. When I crawled back into bed at 5:00 am I couldn't fall back to sleep for a while because I just kept thinking about all of the things we forget to thank God for. And after I yelled at my kids yesterday because of my stress being out of control...well, I had a lot to apologize for this morning..and a lesson learning in contentment and gratitude.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Happy Birthday to India!!

I can hardly believe that it has been a year since this little girl made her way into our lives. I can't imagine life without her. I have been so sad these past couple of days realizing that she is not a baby anymore and this ends a very precious chapter in my life. And yet I have so much to be thankful for this past year. I have loved every aspect of it. I hope that as we move into the toddler years with India, that we will be able to say the same. Good luck with that, right?! So far she is already climbing the stairs every chance she gets. I took her to the doctors today. She is officially 20 pounds so no more infant seat. So sad.

We had planned her party for months. We decided to have a birthday benefit for the orphanage in Bangalore India that our friend started 10 years ago. WE are hoping to go visit in a year. We had indian food, decorated indian and dressed indian. We also had a slide show of our India what was so sweet. I will post it if I figure out how. Does anyone know how to post a power point link?

Here is my dad holding India. She stayed awake the entire time and loved all the food. She ate an entire plate of sag paneer!!

We had a table set up for people to write letters/draw pictures for India at different ages. Thanks Brix's for the idea. If anyone wants to do this, let me know because we have a few ages left.

Some of our friends tried Indian food for the first time and I also made elephant sandwiches for the less daring.

The cake was so amazing. Jahaira made it all. Even the elephant and little girls are edible. It was tasty too. Thanks Jahaira!

My aunt connie came up for the event. We all loved having her here. We hope she visits again:)

We had a craft table for everyone to make paper mache/collage type things to take home. Not sure what to call it, but there were some really beautiful projects that people did.
All in all, it was a good turn out other than a few people getting lost trying to get to camden NJ (sorry ya'll), and a good friend being in the hospital during the whole thing:( But we raised some money and even a few people are planning to "adopt" (sponsor) a child from the orphanage. We sponsor a girl Alexa's age and it has blessed us so much. I hope more people will catch the vision for it. They are such amazing children. If anyone is interested in hearing more, let me know.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Merry Christmas!

So, I am finally blogging about Christmas. We had an eventful time in Richmond with my brother getting engaged to my future sister, brittany and my girls are excited to have a new cousin, Christany. Chris drove them around Richmond seeing the tachy lights, and they ended the tour in center city under the big lighted tree where he proposed. I am going to be in the wedding in May. Brittany is an awesome girl. I just hope she can put up with my bro:) I also got to hang with my other brother who hadn't met India yet. John lives in san fran and only comes around once a year. It was good to see him. We stayed in Richmond a week before we head up to Indiana.

We had a whole week in Indiana as well. It was cold, but we just had more time to relax and hang with family. We all loved seeing the cousins and Casey and Hayley. We did our traditional taking "old grandma" out for mush too. We got snowed in and stayed an extra day.
On our way home, we stopped in Columbus to see our good friends, the Langleys who were visiting family from Lima Peru. Somehow we didn't get a picture of their beautiful new daughter, Natalia. It was so great meeting her and seeing how well they are doing as a family.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Tired but Tagged

I am about to got to bed after a long 13 hours of work and a wonderful reunion with old friends and i thought I would just check a couple of friends blogs. Well, evidently I have been "tagged with a 'meme" by meesh and maria. So, since I was the first on the list of michelle's and according to maria, I need a break from the kids, here it goes:


-loving my husband more now after 11 1/2 years than the day I met him, and learning to love him more as a partner
-loving my three daughters; they are all so different and I love each of their little unique ways
-raising my girls to be strong and confident women in the knowledge of Gods love for them
-natural childbirth, breastfeeding, cloth diapering (you know, all that granola mom stuff)
-racial reconciliation
-traveling/ cross cultural experiences


-take my whole family to India to hang out with one of the coolest people I know and all of her 50 kids
-See my girls fulfill their passions in life
-be a midwife
-retire and buy an RV and travel with Chris to live in our daughters driveways, annoying the crud out of them but being able to see my grandkids whenever I want
-run a marathon
-get better at photography and maybe make a book
-learn contentment
-love better

8 THINGS I SAY OFTEN: this is bad

-Moriah, stop it!
-Ale-Moriah stop it!
-Ind-Moriah stop it!
-That's ridiculous! (my kids say this now)
-Where did my baby go? (meaning she is so big now, not that we lost her)
-hey mama
-i need a massage
-i'm so tired

8 books I have read recently (and by recently, I mean 2007):

-The Hawk and the Dove by Penelpoe Wilcock
-Redeeming Love by francine Rivers
-The Gift by Richard Paul Evans
-Midwives of an unnamed future
-Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Paul Brand and Phillip Yancey
-Siblings without rivalry by Faber and Mazlish
-Captivating by Staci Eldridge

8 songs I can listen to over and over:

-Typewriter Tip Tip Tip from Darjeeling soundtrack
-wild child - enya
-blessed to be a witness- ben harper
-shower the people you love with love - james taylor
-all i need is everything- over the rhine
-Jesus Christ- Woody Guthrie
- O holy night by anyone
- Redemption song sung by bob marley


-fun to be around
-good listeners cause I can talk
-good talkers cause sometimes I just like to listen
-just being real and honest
-messy houses:) and lots of kids because then I know there is an unsaid understanding between us
-likes to talk about other things besides kids because yeah I do need a break sometimes
-similar interests (cooking, walking, scrapbooking, nursing, etc)


-Chris, because you would have fun doing it and make everyone read it
-Alexa, because you would get to practice writing (well, typing)
-Rachel (I told you, you need to blog)
-Hayley (because I want to know all that stuff about you)
-Beth (because I know you get bored at work)
-Monica (because i love reading your stuff)
-Daphne (because your blogs make me laugh and I like your book suggestions:)
-my mom (yeah right)