Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Friday, November 26, 2010
Originally posted December 2, 2007
I love Christmas lights. I mean I REALLY love them. That probably came from my dad. He loves Christmas lights and when I was growing up he was a snow plow driver. So he was out driving all over our township at all hours of the night during the Christmas season plowing roads. (I grew up in New Jersey.) Every Christmas Eve after the Christmas Eve service at Three Bridges Reformed Church, we would pile into the station wagon, turn on Christmas music and drive around looking at lights. My dad would save his "favorite" houses to show us that night.
After Nick and I first bought our house about 5 years ago, one of the great joys for us was putting up Christmas lights for the first time. That night we walked around the neighborhood and looked at other people's lights and commented about how ours were better. :)
We were pleasantly surprised by how many people had lights up, so one night we decided to count to see how many people had lights up. The next weekend we decided to walk again and this time we tried to guess at how many people would have lights up. This sort of escalated in the weeks that followed. Each year we've added new "rules" to the contest, and have improved our methods of counting.
So, in case you are wondering, YES! We DO realize we are dorks. But let me share with you the guidelines, rules and procedures for the Nightly Light Contest.
Prior to embarking on the walk, we both silently consider our guess for the nightly count, count to three and say it at the same time. (This may seem juvenile, however, we had some conflict in our family with one family member-- who shall remain nameless-- who had a habit of constantly just waiting for his wife to make her guess and then guess one over.)
We have a set "loop" we walk, with only a little bit of overlap to get to the loop. So, on the way to the loop, we only count on the RIGHT side of the road. Once we reach the loop, we count both on the left and the right. When we've finished counting the loop, we continue with the right side rule until we get back to our cul de sac.
We've recently acquired a "clicker" to keep an accurate count of houses. This has become necessary since we now have small children on the nightly walk who like to distract us and are not very good at counting, so we found ourselves floundering in certainty as to whether or not we had an accurate count. It has worked out well. Tonight Nia tried to claim our number was not right and we showed her the clicker and used our newly coined phrase, "The clicker doesn't lie."
We do NOT count a home until we are passing the driveway of said home in order to not "get ahead of ourselves" and forget whether or not something has been counted.
When passing a cul de sac or side street, we wait until we can see all the houses in the cul de sac and add all the clicks for those houses at once.
There has been a lot of discussion as to what "counts" as a holiday lights. We've come up with the following parameters.
- Any outside lights for the purpose of holiday beautification DO count.
- Any outside lights not specific to the holidays (ie. lamps on a walkway) do NOT count.
- Outside holiday decorations (wreaths, etc) do NOT count, unless they are lighted by a light specifically designed for viewing that decoration. (ie. a spotlight on a holiday display DOES count, a porch light does NOT.)
- Inside holiday lights visible from the outside do NOT count UNLESS the primary purpose of the inside lights is for external adornment. For example, a Christmas tree visible in the window of a home doesn't count. However, lighted candles in the windows DO count.
Lights can ONLY be counted if they are on.
Lights can ONLY be counted when you pass that specific driveway. For example, if you pass a home that has lights up but they are not on, you may not count it, even if you notice later that they ARE on. You may however, wait outside a home to see if lights will be turned on. (Hypothetically, of course.)
The nightly winner is the person who is closest to actual count. If the actual number is evenly in between the numbers guessed by the participants, the participant who guess the higher number will be declared winner.
In theory, you would keep track all season long (each person's guess and the actual number) and determine the seasonal winner. Interestingly, two years ago, I (Gwenn) was the winner in terms of how many nights I was closer, HOWEVER, Nick was closer overall in terms of numbers. (Meaning the nights I was off, I was very, very off.) We have since scrapped keeping track of winners.
I think that's it.
That's the tradition. I know-- pretty dorky-- but LOTS of fun.
PS-- Nick was the winner tonight. I guessed 32, he guessed 39. The actual number was 48.
(Nia guessed 20-- she's not very good at this game.)
Edited to add:
So this is no longer relevant now that we live in Haiti, but perhaps we could play a similar game with houses that have electricity vs. houses that do not... hmmm. With modifications we could maybe make this work.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
View Overall Haiti Cholera Epidemic Map in a larger map
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
- One DVD
- A scooter or skateboard
- One other toy (Barbies for our smaller 4 girls, MP3 players for our older kids, and walkie-talkies for our two little boys.)
- For our live-in staff members, this year we wanted to get them one nice gift rather than several small ones. (That's the digital cameras.)
- We're getting pocket knives for the security guards. (Just wanted to be clear those weren't for the children!) :)
- Part time staff will each receive a small gift like an umbrella or a wallet.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Sunday, November 7, 2010
J-man has pink eye.
How many people in our house will be infected before this is all over? 16 people live in our house and we have three other day/night employees--- so the upper end would be 19 people.
Extra points for mentioning the names of who will get it second, third, fourth, etc...
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Today Nick was adding all our kids names and birthdays to his facebook and the following (light-hearted... not serious) conversation ensued:
Josiah: Why isn't daddy doing MY name yet?
Me: Well, you're last because you're the baby.
Josiah: I don't want to be last.
Me: Well talk to your dad about that. If he'd let me get another baby, you wouldn't be last any more.
Josiah: (walks over to Nick) Dad? Can we get another baby so I won't be last?
Nick: Why don't you tell your mom that I said if she can find another baby, we can get a baby so you won't be last anymore.
Josiah: (walks back over to me) Mom, dad said you can get a new baby!!!
Nico: We gettin' a new baby?!?!?
Nick: Sure, ask your mom about it, she needs to find us one.
Nico: (eyes light up as if he has got it figured out) I know it! She can get one at Pinchinat! There's lots there.
Oh my word. It was so funny.
(Maybe you had to be there.)
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Had a great drive into Port. Josiah slept the whole way and Hugues had brought his ipod along. (Seeing how Nick's got stolen -- like pretty much everything else good we've ever had) and mine got drowned in sweat one morning when Nick was preaching and had it in his pocket. (Yes, it's THAT hot.) So it was my first time with music in a long time.
I chose Sara Groves (one of my VERY favorites) and just SANG MY BRAINS OUT! It was so great.
Pretty much every song hit me at the heart and I even teared up as I sang along... here are some of my favorite quotes:
- If I were honest with myself, if I were standing at that tree, my mouth and my hands would be covered with fruit-- things I shouldn't know, things I shouldn't see. Remind me of this with every decision, generations will reap what I sow...
-I've been painting pictures of Egypt, but leaving out what it lacked. Cause the future feels so hard and I wanna go back. But the places that used to fit me cannot hold the things I've learned. Those roads were closed off too me while my back was turned.
- I will not let this bitter root grow in me. I will not let you leave that legacy. But it gets so hard when pain is all I see...
- So much of what I do is to make a good impression. But this journey is my own. And so much of what I say is to make myself look better, but this journey is my own.... Cause trying to please the world, it was breaking me down, breaking me down. Now I live and I breathe for an audience of one... cause I know, this journey is my own.
- May the first song that I sing, be praises to my God and king.
- You wore the chains, so I could be free... you did that for me.
- It's been a hard year, but I'm climbing out of the rubble.
I really could go on and on. I sang my lungs out for like 3 hours. It was a beautiful time of worship for me. Well, 2 and a half hours. And then I got lost trying to find the hospital and got really pissed off and apparently forgot about God. (I have a tendency to be swayed by my surroundings I'm afraid.)
The appointment was... well, frustrating. I walked away literally in tears (but come on, that's not saying much...) Not mad tears, just really sad tears. I was trying not to cry in front of the doctor but I think I few tears might have slipped out. Here's what we did learn. Well, take a look at the diagnosis:
Fever of unknown origin.
Uh, yeah. I went in with that diagnosis. :)
They did do another urine test (which was all negative.) Ruled out any hepatitis/liver concerns. And put in a PPD so we can check for tuberculosis in two days. They actually said that they think tb is their most likely guess. I think they are wrong. I see no evidence (other than the fevers) of TB. Yes, we live in Haiti. Yes we are exposed to things like this, but I think he would be sicker. And I think they were visiting American doctors who have been treating Haitian patients for the last week and didn't consider that our living conditions are a bit different than most of the patients they are seeing. Either way, we will know in 2 days I guess. :) (Btw-- as much as I want an answer, pray it's not TB. That's an 8 month treatment...)
My main frustration was that they couldn't do ANY of the blood work we needed done. They didn't do anything to check on his heart (other than listen with a stethoscope and get a pulse ox reading) I suspect that there is a hidden infection somewhere. Getting blood work would help us determine that, but it seems to be IMPOSSIBLE to find a lab who has the supplies to do give us the answers we need.
The only other suggestion (other than taking him to the states) is to get some more malaria smears when he is febrile. When they checked him at the hospital the other morning, he wasn't running a fever, and apparently that matters.
However, Josiah is sleeping soundly. (And he has been since he fell asleep in the car at about 1 this afternoon... I suspect he will sleep through the night... man I sure HOPE he will!) He's been fever-free since the middle of last night.
So... here is what I know.
He's healed or he's not.
We will know more soon or we won't.
In the mean time, God is giving me the grace for this minute.
And his grace is sufficient for me, for his power is made PERFECT in my weakness.
So here I am again, asking for grace on behalf of Josiah (well, and me too)... a manifestation of favor, mercy; clemency; pardon, favor shown in granting a delay or temporary immunity, the freely given, unmerited favor and love of god, the influence or spirit of God operating in humans tor generate or strengthen them, and the condition of being in God's favor as one of the elect.
Join me in this prayer.