Living The Life That God Has For Us....

God's Plumbline Ministries is called to repair devastation in the lives of God's people allowing restoration both physically and spiritually. Providing creative solutions for employment, education and life skills allowing God to repair and restore hope.  Empowering each community to establish a secure foundation both inside and out, while keeping in tact God given talents and uniqueness, not focusing on man's ways but God's ways.  Developing working relationships within social and economic circles, working hand in hand with community leaders to bring the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Traditions and Transitions

My kids have been counting the days until we would be back in the States for Christmas. Last year we had Christmas in Haiti, so this year I wanted them to experience some of our different family traditions. One of those traditions is my dad's homemade chicken noodle soup. My grandmother taught him how to make the noodles from scratch and he is the only one who knows how to do it. As we sat and ate bowl after bowl I considered asking him to teach me this tradition but had second thoughts since it takes a whole entire day to make the noodles. Dinner was really special since my dad has been so sick and now he is well. (Thanks for the prayers!) It was also special because my grandfather, who is ninety, was brave enough to get on a plane and come to be with us for Christmas. As we prepared to eat our soup my grandfather prayed for us, another tradition. It's a funny one because he talks so softly we never really know when he is finished so we all keep looking up from time to time to see if he has finished. This year, the first one ever, he talked so loud we didn't have to peak.

Santa has been coming several times a day filling each stocking with small wrapped gifts, very important tradition. As we drove in the car a few days ago the radio was playing a clip asking kids "What is Christmas really about" of the kids in the interview said.."Transformers". Parker said, Is that what he really thinks? We all laughed. Knowing that Jesus is what Christmas is about.

As we enjoy the many different traditions, we are also dealing with different "transition" issues.

Crazy things like...

- forgetting you can brush your teeth with the water in the bathroom

- it is not necessary to know what sockets work in the evening so you can use the hand mixer forgetting we have power 24/7

- no need to walk through the house shutting off every light thinking we are wasting inverter and won't have a fan at bed time

- I don't need to cover up my hands while I am sleeping so the mosquito's won't bite me in the middle of the night

- you can randomly stand in front of the fridge with the door wide open not needing anything and just look

- yes, they have celery in the grocery store....every day

- you can have two kinds of lunch meat and cheese in the fridge and eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner

- you can have white milk, chocolate milk and egg nog all at the same time

- you can really upload photo's on the Internet

- you can take a grocery list to the store and buy everything on your list

- you can drive seventy miles an hour on the free way and every car only has one person in it

- you can leave things plugged into the wall here for hours at a time and nothing will happen to them
It is an odd thing to live in two different worlds and they are both "normal".....

Friday, December 19, 2008

Christmas....Just Getting Started

We will be spending Chirstmas in Atlanta...we are just getting started with all the crazy family traditions needed to make this trip "fun"! Lights, shopping, whipping cream right out of the can, not just once either, wearing p.j.'s until noon drinking coffee, our favorite foods, friends and family.
Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Marjorie a.k.a Sheila

Everyone meet Marjorie a.k.a. Sheila.
Marjorie is me when I am not here or me when I am here at times. She is almost always on the same page with me and/or is one step ahead of me. She has been a great help in making the sewing program successful.
John called one day and said, Sheila, I have someone I would like you to interview to be your assistant, she is a friend of Junior's and went to school to be an accoutant. When she is at work she can be soft spoken. I know now that this is not the case because a few weeks ago she was asked to speak about the ladies retreat at our church. She stood with such confidence and said, Good Morning Church.....
Suddenly she had this very strong and confident voice. I was thrilled and did a little cheer from the back saying - hey, she works for me! (Thanks John!)
About two weeks ago Beth and Shelley started a Sunday school class for the ladies at church. I found out that she told John on Monday morning she didn't want to come because she could only see "gran moun" at the table. That means "old people". She just happened to be talking about Beth and I. When John busted her on Monday in front of me she quickly said she meant to say "mature".
Old or mature, black or white, that is what this program is about. Bringing hope to Haiti. It isn't about me staying forever, it is about finding really wonderful, strong Haiti women who can replace me and build upon the foundation we put in place together...building something that will stand on it's own with out me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hand Made In Haiti

This weekend we started having "official" purse parties. We have shipped out hundreds of different purses to several different ladies in the States along with the new video talking about the women's program and sewing school. It is fun to see all the different ideas coming together. Some have posted all the bags on Facebook, others are doing it at home serving appetizers, while others are selling them at work. It works just like a Tupperware party but fifty percent of the sales go back to the ladies who made the purses so she can support her family. It is a really simple idea that has taken on a life of it's own. I am so pleased with how many people want to help our ladies be successful. This is a real way to build a network of people who can bring change to the nation of Haiti one lady and one bag at a time. It builds relationship with the ladies. You are taking a personal interest in her and her life. It's working too. These ladies are buying their own sewing machines, paying for their children to go to school and buying stoves with money still in their business accounts.
So, if you see someone with this logo in her know it was hand made in Haiti by a woman who is working toward a better life.
Coming soon to a party near you....

Friday, December 12, 2008


Today as we drove to the baby shower for Fritz and Magalee, Maddie and I talked about leaving for Christmas. She and Parker have been sending weekly shopping lists to my mom for food she should have ready in the fridge i.e. egg nog, white milk, chocolate milk, turkey lunch meat, pepper jack cheese and sour dough bread for starters.

As we drove she said, I am going to miss seeing all the adventures in Haiti. Like the tap-taps, guys laying in the middle of the street changing tires, dodging all the pot poles as we drive, the ugly paintings for sale everywhere, people washing themselves in the gutter, cow pies in the middle of the road, goats every place you look, the smell of burning trash everyday, Baby singing in the morning and Rosemine playing her sax everyday. Pretty soon we started laughing! None of these things seem like you should miss them but they are part of our life here.

I asked her where she would rather live? Haiti, she said. It is always interesting and you never see this stuff in the States.

True, very true!

How It Really Works

Late Tuesday morning Suzanne came to me and said, we don't have thread for sewing the bags, we will need to go shopping. I have learned that shopping for thread here is only done as a last resort. The thread is poor quality for many reasons. It can be old, or it has been sitting out in the rain, humidity and heat for who knows how long and really ends up not being worth the money we spent to buy it. Suzanne wrote out a list for me as I was telling her, I just don't have it. I know she could hear me, she was only about two feet from me, but my words didn't seem to matter she just kept writing.

Uummm - Hello!! I don't have it. For those of you who want to know the truth about our program...this is how it works!
It always makes me laugh when John says, we are big time missionaries! I am not sure what that should look like or feel like but we are the kind that have to pray in thread and fabric!

Here is what an answered prayer looks like:

Wednesday morning Suzanne didn't say a word to me about the thread. I had remembered her list and told her I was meeting Ginger for dinner with Tara. I had never met Ginger and she had never met me. She had met Tara at a dinner in Minnesota and was coming to do some paperwork on her adoption. She sent me an email saying she was going shopping for fabric with her mom and girls and would be coming soon. It has happened time and time again. I never know what people are going to bring but it is always a treat to see what we get in. Thursday morning was better than Christmas here! Everyone stood around Ginger's suitcase cheering! The fabric was wonderful! Bright, new and everything we needed!

Oh! Suzanne's list.....I crossed off every single color with the exception of yellow and sent it home as a "thank-you" note for Ginger's mom who couldn't make the trip with her for health reasons.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

strong vs weak

I have been thinking about strong vs weak a lot over the past week.
Last Tuesday we opened Pandora's Box so to speak when we started teaching on domestic violence.
I don't think that there is room in poverty for weak women.
The weak just don't make it. The fight to make it everyday.
I often ask myself if I could live the life they live? Without any hesitation I say no and don't want to ever be in the place where I have to find out if I could or not. I think to be a woman here you have to be strong beyond what we can understand. From an American stand point it makes teaching about domestic violence hard. I mean, really, what do you say? Go to a shelter, call the police, get counseling, stay with a friend. There are no shelters, no church programs, counseling for what they would say and staying with a friend when they all have too many children and all live in one room anyway - right.

So now the box is open and once it is open you can't shut it!

Last week we read a story about an abusive relationship and did some role playing afterwards.
In the roll playing Tara and Marjorie started fighting about getting home late from shopping and getting beat for it. When we asked questions about the situation being good or bad, the whole room said, she should have gone earlier in the morning so he wouldn't be mad at her and hit her.

You could feel all of our hearts sink, holding back tears as we took a deep breath understanding we had a lot of work to do.

One of our mom's and former sewing school students came to us and told us her heart breaking story about her "husband" beating her up leaving bite marks all over her body. Why? Because her daughter had a small amount of swelling on her arm from a routine vaccination. This is all very normal but he wanted her to got the hospital, she was going to try a salt compress first.

When I was a teenager my mom used to work at a hot line for domestic violence. As our mom told her story I could hear my mom's funny way of saying... that's what you get for thinkin' rolling around in my head. It was all to familiar, she had crossed an invisible line with him. A line that is blurry and moves. She would pay the price for doing what she thought was right and thinking on her own.

It seems unfair and overwhelming to me to add this very real problem to the list we are already working on. STD's, HIV, lack of education, poverty and no jobs. We have asked the Lord to make this house a light house in our neighborhood and it looks like that is just what He is doing. We will continue to tell ladies the truth, look for programs already in place here in Haiti and take this one step at a time.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Marley and Me - The Original Version

I have never read the book, "Marley and Me" but I think about Marley here in Haiti when ever I see the book and say, oh, I should get that for Beth. I never did.
So today when I saw that they are doing the movie version, I was thinking - hey, wait a minute, we have the original version of Marley and Me.
When we first went to John and Beth's for dinner, I will be honest, I thought Marley looked like he could eat Parker. After all, Parker was only three. This was the same visit that I was talking to Beth about all my fears about being in Haiti with a three year old that was always putting rocks in his mouth and going outside with out his shoes on.
She said, just de-worm him when you get home.
Duh, why didn't I think of that? Ummm....why would I have thought of that. Who de-worms their kids in the States? Not me!
While we sat and visited I panicked becasue I hadn't seen Parker for awhile. I went to look for him and found Parker outside with Marley playing in the swimming pool that John will never put water in. Marley, the two hundred pound Mastiff was baby sitting Parker and playing ball.
From that time on Parker has always wanted his own Marley. We lived on a golf course in Florida. I could just see this two hundred pound dog chasing golf balls scaring everyone off the course.
Well, now we have our own version of Marley. But, our Marley's name is Harley (Marley is the Papa).
Thanks for the good name Maddie.
Yes, I am guessing he too will weigh close to 200 lbs when he is grown.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

High Five

Do you think you can high five God. I am! I have been praying about something (I can't say just yet what it is) for a really long time. I got an email today out of the blue and I am given God a high five. I can't say that all the details are worked out, but I can say, Wow! God really was listening to me and everything I was saying. I will try not to look like the Cheshire Cat while I wait for all of the details to be worked out.
Don't you love it when you say...Lord, I need something from out of the clear blue as a confirmation and bang it happens!