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Loads Of Fun: Laundry Room Makeover

It all started back in April.  I asked for a bigger laundry room, and my smiling husband began the “weekend” project of extending the laundry room and shrinking the powder room.  It has taken… well, a few weekends.  It is finished, minus a new window which is on its way, and a touch-up here and there.  The powder room only has a few more pieces of moulding and a paint job before it is finished.  Here is a look at the before and after pictures.

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The shelves are from Ikea.  The baskets are from Target.  The moringa tree is from Haiti.  The floor was free from a job Matt did almost 8 years ago.  It has moved with us and finally found a nice home in the bathroom and laundry room.  There were only five extra tiles left over.  How is that for perfect fit?  The trim work was done by Weldon Carpentry.  The wall paint was free-cycled and turned out to be the perfect shade.

Each of the four youngest children have five baskets.  From Left to Right they hold: 1-Snowsuits/hats/gloves in winter, swimsuits and towels in summer.  2-Sweaters/sweatshirts.  3-Shirts.  4-Pants/shorts.  5-PJ’s, underwear, and socks.  The top five shelves hold my rag basket, vacuum bags, Matthew’s running clothes and gear, gardening gloves and seeds, and tablecloths.

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I am so very thankful for a laundry room and am thrilled to keep our family clean and clothed!

 

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My Perfect Normal

 

Tonight as I sit and sip my Bavarian Wild Berry hot tea, I am plunging into the memories of the past week.  A wonderful weekend with my sisters and sister-friends.  These girls knew me way back when… I never wore shoes, lived in mango trees, and seldom took a shower.

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Can you tell which ones are blood-sisters, and which are sister-friends?

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As I was thrown back into “normal”, I’m starting to swim again.  Before, I was gulping for air, unsure of where to put my feet, and had forgotten how to tread water.  Pennsylvania is vastly different from Haiti.  There are some things I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully put into words.  My heart has a hallowed pondering ground, where thoughts between me and the Lord reside.  I’ve been asking Him to give me the ability to come back and 100% accept and take on the responsibilities given to me today, here, and now.  It’s not worth my breath to compare myself, my life, or my experiences with any other person.   I am realizing how perfect my crazy, messy, full, busy, joyful, loud, spontaneous, and beautiful life is. It is just as it should be, and is custom-made for me by our Creative God.

This week was full of perfect examples.   An empty box, full of clementine peels, stashed in the living room.   Betty sitting on the kitchen floor, pink jammies covering her sweet piggies, reading out loud with a tiny pile of pretzels beside her.  Being called into the living room, in the flurry hour of supper-making and evening rowdies, to see the amazing sight of all five kids on top of Matthew’s back.  Are we heavy, Daddy?  Schoolwork, flips on the trampoline, haircuts, beautiful shows by the sun while I’m driving, painted nails, a lost tooth, oats in the hair, on the face, on the floor, spills, fights, apologies, notes, special deliveries, and more punctuated my normal week.

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Today Elsie was crying about a sore tooth.  After calling the dentist, I was able to come in right away.  It turns out my mad scheduling skills forgot about her and Jack’s  check-ups for over a year.  Thankfully, found out there was nothing wrong with her teeth except super sensitivity, was able to schedule Jack for tomorrow, and earned a pair of silly glasses as a reward.  Ironically, yet another child has an already-scheduled appointment the next day.  I think that’s a record for us. Three kids, three days in a row to the dentist.

Since this happens to be my birthday week, so far the icing on the proverbial birthday cake was my Ikea date yesterday with Mom & Heidi.  Mom brought mugs and teabags, I ordered chocolate cake and other yummies, and we sipped hot tea at the cafe, then enjoyed ourselves at Ikea for the afternoon!  Tomorrow I will be three times the age I was when I was one year older than Nadine is now.  Yep.

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Bright Hope

I can’t shake the chill from my fingers.  This is the umpteenth time I’ve warmed up my daughter’s heart-shaped rice bag and snuggled it close.  Was it really a week ago that my legs were burning as I bushwhacked my way up a thorny hillside to behold a sight so beautiful it made every scratch worth it? DSC_6488 DSC_6516-001 Was it really only a week ago we were on the beautiful Haitian shoreline, snorkeling in the ocean, and crisping under the Caribbean sun? DSC_6582-001 DSC_6597-001 I remember our last night there but it collides with my today so jarringly, I wonder if it really happened?  Ocean breezes collide with winter chill.  Adventure seems to have made way for monotony.  New sights have been replaced by similar surroundings again.  As clichéd as it is, last week feels like a dream.

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My body is jet-lagged not from time, but weather.  It’s impossible to write even a summary of our week in Haiti.  I could go through my journal and tell you each thing we did or ate, but I don’t think that would be profitable.  I’d rather reflect on the ways God worked in my heart and showed Himself to me. Before leaving, our entire family was plagued with the great throw-up bug.  In between washing sheets and blankets and every conceivable surface, I attempted to pack.  How it got done is only by God’s grace.  I had pictured myself cleaning our house and leaving it pristine and tidy, with love notes tucked in different places for Matt to find while we were gone.  I left the house a complete mess.  Not one single love note, not even scribbled on the mirror.

One of my worst fears was getting sick while we were in Haiti.  The second our plane landed, Nadine threw up.  The day after we arrived, I was hit with terrible diarrhea.   I prayed for God to take it away and He did, just before we left on our first outing into the village.  The next night I was hit with a fever and went to bed shivering and sweating all night long.  The next day we traveled to the Moringa field where CPR-3 is working.  I was not about to let a fever get in the way of  the day. The moringa tree is literally a miracle from God.  Check out the amazing benefits it provides, here.  Revelation 2:22 paints a little picture of Heaven and describes another miraculous tree:  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. DSC_5533-001 This verse implanted itself on my mind the entire day we chopped down moringa trees.  I ate their leaves and prayed for healing from the fever.  The whole day was a blessing.  We sweated and learned more about each other, and eventually I did get well.

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God took my worst fear and showed me that His grace is sufficient in our weakness.  I felt His care through my team around us, encouraging and caring for Nadine & me.  There are many fears that throw themselves at us each and every day.  This week I was reminded: you are still here, because God wants you here.  Not that I feel as if I was facing death, but many are, and we never know what tomorrow may bring.  If we rest in God’s promise of now, and do not fear what we can not see, our hearts can be at peace.Haiti Day 6

That is enough to jump for joy and be full of hope.

Strength for today, bright hope for tomorrow;
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand besides.

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Touches of Love

Healing as been a recurring theme this week!  It can never come unless there is something unwell!  Throw up on the couch.  On the kitchen floor.  On the bed.  In the bowl.  It’s been everywhere, and is magnified by the number of tummies feeling its effects.  Yet today, I can praise God for healing.  Full suitcases, healed bellies.  He is so good.

My geranium is in full bloom.

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This morning at breakfast Elsie climbed up next to Elijah at the table, laid her head on his shoulder and sweetly said his name.  Ji-jah.  Sometimes we only need to hear our name to know we are loved.  When God says my name and rejoices over me with singing, I know I am loved.

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I love this sweet little girl with hot pink fingernails, who keeps tripping over herself because she has her shoes on the wrong feet.  I will miss my babies this week in a heart-ache kind of way.  Great is our God who watches over His children.

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I’ll see you on the other side of Haiti.

My foes are many, they rise against me
But I will hold my ground
I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm
My help is on the way, my help is on the way

Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, His promise is true
My God will come through always, always

Troubles surround me, chaos abounding
My soul will rest in You
I will not fear the war, I will not fear the storm
My help is on the way, my help is on the way

Oh, my God, He will not delay
My refuge and strength always
I will not fear, His promise is true
My God will come through always, always

I lift my eyes up, my help comes from the Lord…

song by Kristian Stanfil that has been on repeat this week in our house.