Thursday, June 7, 2012

I'm a mess...

The first time I traveled to Haiti in 2010, our group leader told us that his prayer was that God would mess us up. I just returned from my 3rd trip to Haiti. I left on short notice, with not much time to prepare mentally or physically. Something very unexpected happened to me - something I had not experienced before. I don't think any amount of preparation could have prepared me for this.

My first two trips, I came home physically exhausted, sleep deprived but after a few days, everything was back to normal. Not that I wasn't a changed person each time, because I did experience things that altered my perspective and shook me a little. But something happened this trip that completely wrecked me.

I went to Haiti to "help" my friend Mickey set up her house, to meet with a building contractor and hand out sponsor letters to the kids. The night we handed out the letters, one by one, we saw anxious faces turn to smiles as they learned more about their sponsored  families through a letter and a photo.

We brought hand made bracelets for each of the kids, so I was busy placing bracelets on each child and preparing them for a photo opportunity to bring back to their sponsors.

Martial, the boy our family chose to sponsor, was one of the last called to step forward for his letter. I didn't have any expectations on how he would react. I thought he probably would think it's cool that he knew his sponsor and that I was there at that moment to share the news with him. But I was too wrapped up in all the motions of presenting the letters to prepare for Martial's reaction. After he opened our letter, he did appear happy after he discovered that I was his sponsor. We took our picture together and made our way over to Firmin for translation of the letter.

While we waited our turn, I placed my arm around him, asked him if he was doing good and he instantly buried his head in my arms and began to cry. I was completely taken off guard by this reaction. It felt like something grabbed my heart with a firm grip and ripped it out at that moment. That's all I know how to describe how I felt. I was so touched by his response and the authenticity of the moment - feeling the joy of his heart being poured out through his tears and his emotions.

I was a wreck! I was also very upset with another young boy who happened to see our emotional moment together and decided to make fun of Martial for crying. Not good!

Martial let his guard down. He tried to hold back, especially after getting teased, but he could not contain the  joy and excitement he had knowing I was his sponsor. This boy had real genuine love for me and I fell in love with him. My heart fell for him the first time I heard his story but never did I expect this kind of instant bond between the two of us.

Martial lost his father when he was 3. He was with his mother during the earthquake when their house collapsed on the two of them. Martial and his mother were both buried in the rubble. They were found several hours later but his mother did not survive.

Martial is one of 14 children who has been taken into a home with already 6 kids. He lost everything he had the day of the earthquake. I can't even imagine the pain he has suffered through all of this and then to have to share a mother and father with 19 other sisters and brothers? I'm sure part of his response to me sponsoring him was an outlet for him to grieve his loss. I'm sure he felt safe letting his guard down, knowing there was a mother figure there to comfort him in his sorrow and to let him know it is OK to cry.

That night Mickey and I walked back to our house with our hearts bursting with emotions from the events that took place moments before. Our hearts were overflowing with joy and love for these kids. I shared through my own tears with Mickey how Martial cried. I also witnessed Mickey and her sponsored child's emotional moments together. We both held back tears, just talking about our evening.

I went to bed with my camera, flipping through the pictures from that evening and cried myself to sleep.

The rest of my time there, I spent as much quality time as I could with Martial. I was able to learn more about how he spends his time at the orphanage.

Let's just say, this young man really knows how to work hard! He cooks, cleans, hauls 5 gallon pails of water and does ALL of the ironing. He goes about his chores without complaining.

I recognize that if a child is going to be in an orphanage, this particular orphanage is about as good as an orphanage gets. The kids are well taken care of, they are fed, clothed and go to school. But what is lacking is one on one time with a parent. Pastor Firmin and his wife manage the household of 20 children well. However, they can't quite possibly give each child all they need emotionally.

I know that part of Martial's response to me was spurred on by his wanting a way to grieve his loss and his craving for a mother. So, I suppose you can say that he may have responded this way to just about anyone. However, as egocentric as this may sound, I believe that God sent ME to be the one for the very purpose of being there to comfort, bond with and grow my love for this young boy. Our family had chosen him but without him speaking the words to me, I know that based on the love he showed me, God had been preparing his heart for me. No doubt in my mind - God matched us together.

The day before I left, I was having a difficult time trying to figure out how I was going to tell this young man, that I shared so much with, that I was leaving the next day. On this day, he was a little guarded and slightly standoffish, so I suspected he already knew. Then Magalie asked me to go to market with her to buy chickens (live chickens!) and asked Martial to come with as well.

On our way to the market, I was fighting back tears thinking about how appreciative I was that Magalie asked Martial to join us. She did this for me. Once out the gate of the orphanage, Matial asked me through Magalie if I was ever going to be coming back to Haiti. My heart sunk. I can imagine this question took a lot for him to ask. Then he asked if I would come back in June with Mickey. Magalie shared with me that they had told him that I would be leaving the next day. I made a promise to him that I would be back but I didn't know when I would be back.

Then for the first time, we used Magalie to translate our feelings for each other back and forth. Through Magalie, he told me how he was very sad and that he would miss me very much. I told him the same and not to be too sad because I was going to come back. I was overwhelmed with emotions as we shared our feelings towards each other, both of us choking back tears. As hard as it was, however, I am grateful that we had this conversation together.

The day I left, I just happened to remember that Martial was making a bead necklace earlier in the week. It was the only one I remember him making. I pointed to my neck hoping he would understand. He instantly ran off and within seconds he came back with the necklace and placed it on my neck. We cried together at that moment and had one last picture taken together. The last good-bye, before I left the orphanage for the last time, was painful!

More than a week later, I am still a mess - painfully missing my "son" in Haiti, feeling full yet empty at the same time.

My friend Mickey stayed in Haiti for a few more days. She reported to me that Martial missed me a lot! I told her that I have been a mess since I have been back. Mickey understands - she was there and she knows all about how God can mess a person up.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Five remain!

It's been a very long time since I've written an update about anything. We have been overwhelmed with working through details to come along side one family in Haiti. I wrote about this family a couple blog posts ago, right after returning from our vision trip to Haiti. Fast forward to today and families from our community have joined efforts and set up a ministry to help support a vision that God is showing us.

Our ministry is called Bread to the Nations. For several weeks after returning from our trip to Haiti, we wavered back and forth about whether we should set up a non profit or not. Then out of the blue, the chairman of a local non profit called and invited us to share with their board about our ministry to see if it makes sense for us to become a ministry under their umbrella. Ultimately, the board approved us becoming a ministry under them, allowing us to use their 501c3 status and offer our donors tax exemption. We had a little paper work to fill out with the state and within a week, we were officially a new ministry.

Our first step to starting the ministry was to set up a sponsorship program. The purpose of the sponsorship program is not only to satisfy their basic needs but also to give families an opportunity to begin relationships with the kids through letter exchanging.

We kicked off our program and launched our new ministry at an event last Saturday. We now have 15 of the 20 kids sponsored with 5 waiting to be sponsored. $120 per month will fully sponsor one child. This amount covers food, water, school tuition, uniforms and supplies and clothes. You may also partially sponsor a child for $30 or $60 per month.

Two of the five children remaining are sisters. They lost their mother in the earthquake. While she was feeding her daughters, an iron fence fell and killed her. They are the sweetest little girls and it just kills me to know that they both are still waiting. Two children are the pastor's kids, his beautiful daughter who is gifted in music and loves to lead worship at church and his youngest son who is outgoing, cheerful and very active. The fifth child who waits is a precious young boy who has a sister in the orphanage as well. The two of them are now in their 4th orphanage and hopefully their last.

We are looking for those who are willing to take a leap of faith, join us in our ministry and make a difference in the life of one child for as little as $30 per month. If you think you may be that person, please leave your email in a comment (I will not publish any of these comments!) and I will email you more of the details.

Please consider this opportunity! We would really like to see all the kids find sponsors soon so we can move  onto the next phase, which is rebuilding their home.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Next Steps

We went to Haiti to learn more about an "orphanage". But when we got there, we soon discovered that it was not an orphanage but a very large family. Pastor F and his wife had 6 biological kids and have become a family of 22 since the earthquake after taking in 14 more children. I don't believe they had plans to run an orphanage or to grow their family before the earthquake. They were praying about coming along side kids in their neighborhood, but they didn't know the earthquake was going to happen, so they didn't plan for their life to be changed in this way.

However, right after the earthquake that left thousands of children without parents, they saw the need and they responded.

Not only have they taken in 14 extra children since the quake, but they have been living in temporary shelter, first in tents in their back yard and now in plywood structured, tarp covered, dirt floor rooms.Their home is not livable.

It felt a lot like camping to me. This style of living would make me very uncomfortable. I probably wouldn't last too long but this family of 22 has been living with their circumstances for 2 years!

The reason we called this a vision trip is because there was a strong possibility, after we learned more about this orphanage that we would, at the minimum, make some short term commitments to come along side them. Yes - it requires more accountability but it also serves a purpose that I can justify.

After returning to the U.S., I have been asked several times, "What did they have you do there?"

But our purpose for being there was not to "do" things for them. The purpose wasn't even for us to tell them what we think they need. The purpose of the trip was to first hear their dreams and vision for the kids, their orphanage and church. Then, decide how we can work together to help them achieve their vision.

We left telling them in the end that we would like to begin with helping them rebuild their home. There is an urgency to this - they run the risk of being shut down because of their dirt floors. We would also like to help them not ever run out of food again.

The interesting part is that Pastor F told us not to set a timeline on raising funds for a rebuilding project but to work with God's timing. He said that timelines are man's creation.

Since home, we have been in the process of having conversations and sharing their story with others. Soon we will be laying out a fundraising plan. Stay tuned!!

This is all very exciting stuff!!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Day Trip

Our first full day in Haiti, we took a one hour tap tap ride to a near by city. Our fearless leading and American pastor, Dan drove. The tap tap was owned by the Haitian pastor. Just before taking off, our team was briefed on the shape of the tap tap.

What we learned before we loaded into the back of this very sketchy form of transportation, is that when you let up on the gas, it dies. Also, there is no radiator cap and at least one of the wheels had only 3 lug nuts. Oh - I guess I didn't know about the lack of nuts on the wheels until we arrived safely back home that day - one of several times God spared my anxiety.

We had plans to use the tap tap more throughout our time there but after our Friday day trip, the tap tap no longer started for us. We found out, however that the day after our team left, it miraculously did start. I believe God's hand of protection was on us.

The purpose of our one day trip was to spend time with a friend who runs an HIV clinic. Our team arrived at her gates at the same time as two young men arrived asking to be tested. She has these simple tests that work much like a pregnancy test. She takes a small sample of the patient's blood, puts it on a strip where we watch the line disappear if it is negative for HIV. Very interesting stuff.

After she took care of her two patients, we walked down the street with her to purchase a few eggs from a small store. Then we returned to her home for a spaghetti lunch and learned more about her ministry and the surrounding area.

Next, she walked us to a nearby orphanage where dear friends of ours are adopting 2 girls. Our team was able to spend some time loving on the children and bringing gifts from their adoptive families. Most of the children in this orphanage, all but 3 (I believe) will be joining their forever families very soon. I can't wait to see them thrive and grow once home.

From there, we traveled to another orphanage run by an American couple. They had 56 children, some of which were available for adoption as well. Our team was very impressed by the set up and management of this orphanage. The American couple felt the Lord's prompting to sell everything, move to Haiti and take in kids. They arrived 4 years ago with just a few bags and very little funds, living in very primitive conditions, trying to navigate their way into the Haitian culture.Hearing their story and the obstacles they had to overcome to get them this far, made my jaw drop a few times. Truly a great example of living by faith.

We had plans to visit one more orphanage but we didn't have enough time. Pastor Dan decided that it would be best that we get back before the sun sets. Sounded like a good plan to me given the shape of our transportation. We did make it back safely to the orphanage and guest house that evening. PTL!!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

The orphanage

Our main reason for our vision trip to Haiti was to focus on an orphanage that our family has been advocating for a few months. We first learned about this orphanage through a connection I have in Haiti. Steve and I eventually came to the realization that if we were going to continue a relationship with this orphanage, we would need to plan a trip to visit the orphanage.

Fast forward and now we are home from one of the most amazing and challenging experiences of my life. I'll attempt to describe some of our experiences. However, I remember riding down the mountain in the tap tap on the edge of a ravine when one team member said to me, "There is really no way to describe this, is there?" It's true that you almost need to be there to really understand and appreciate the complexity of it all.

Our first day began at 3:00 a.m., when our team members woke up to prepare for our flight to Miami and then onto PAP, Haiti. By the time we landed in PAP at 4:00 p.m., we were exhausted. At the PAP airport, we were mobbed by the official men helping with luggage.We tried our best to pile our bags in one area and guard them. It took all the strength we could muster to load our luggage onto 4 carts, push our way through the crowd and head out the door.

We were followed by the men in red shirts who insisted on helping us. I had two men with both sets of hands on my luggage even though I really didn't need their help. It was overwhelming to say the least.

I was relieved to see 3 men, Pastor Dan, our interpreter Pierre and Pastor F. waiting for us at the end of our road. After a quick greeting, they guided us to the rented tap tap and Trooper that was brought to transfer our team and our luggage.

We continued to be overwhelmed by the men with the red shirts, who were forcing us to allow them to "help". But through the confusion, we all managed to get the luggage and ourselves loaded into the two vehicles. The men from our team road in the back of the tap tap with Pierre and our luggage and the women road with the pastor in his vehicle. I must say I was very anxious about being separated by my husband and each time I lost sight of their tap tap, I grew even more anxious. We traveled through rush hour traffic for a little over one hour before we arrived safely to the gate of the orphanage.

Once inside, our tired bodies were greeted by several smiling faces, hugs and kisses. The warm welcome made me feel instantly at home and for the first time comfortable since we landed in Haiti.

The pastor's wife brought a meal of spaghetti to a picnic table. We each served ourselves spaghetti and sauce from large sized pencil containers used for the serving bowls. I thought to myself, what a very practical use of a pencil case. The food was yummy, seasoned with Haitian spices.

The pastor was aware of our team's concern about food safety, so before we began to eat, he told us not to worry about the food and that being there is doing God's will and when we do God's will, God will protect us.    He assured us that we would not get sick. Somehow I knew that through his confidence and assurance, that the Lord was speaking these words of protection through the pastor. He prayed a blessing over the food and we all ate. Other than some minor tummy issues that were quickly cured with pepto, non of the team members had any digestive problems. Based on the courses we ate, there is non doubt that God's protection was covering our health. More about the food in another post =)

First of all, our team quickly learned that this was not an orphanage at all. It was a family - a very large family! - a mother and a father with 19 children, with the addition of 1 to make it 20 on the day we left.

We could not tell the difference between the kids in the "orphanage" and the pastor's biological children. All were equally cared for, loved for and treated like family.

This is the same orphanage that I wrote about several months ago that has gone on several occasions without food for days at a time. They live in temporary shelters on dirt floor. They have a two burner stove that runs on propane. There was a makeshift bathroom in the back of the compound and a rooster roaming the grounds. It felt like camping to me.

All the kids except the pastor's children were orphaned due to the earthquake. The pastor's family grew by 13 children after the quake. Some children lost both parents, some lost one parent but the living parent is not able to provide financially because of the devastating affects of the earthquake. Despite their living conditions and their tragedies, they are all happy! It's evident that they have the joy of Christ reigning in their hearts.

On Saturday night, we threw a party for the kids. The pastor's wife made a big feast. There was popcorn, ice cream, soda and trail mix. We brought each of the kids a gift from the U.S. The youth from our church raised $400 to purchase these gifts and other items needed by the orphanage. They also wrote cards with their pictures attached. The night of the party, the pastor read the cards to the kids as they sat attentive around the picnic table excited to meet new friends from the U.S. through a picture and a card.

The next day when we were looking over the cards with the kids, they remembered the ages and names of their new friends from afar. It was the beginnings of new relationships forming.

On Monday we got the pleasure of visiting the kids' school. It was a school with 400 children. The classrooms were divided by half walls. We followed the principal from one classroom to the next, seeing familiar faces. Each time we visited a classroom with the pastor's kids, each of the kids stood up and waved. In two separate classrooms, the pastor had 5 kids!

After our tour, the principal brought us to his office. This was a very special moment for our team to witness and one I will never forget.

In Haiti there are only private schools. There are registration fees and monthly tuition expenses. Despite not having the funds to enroll the kids in school this school year, the principal gave the pastor grace and allowed the kids to begin school with the expectation that the pastor would pay sometime during the school year.

Having any kind of debt weighs heavy on the pastor because the Bible discourages debt. But when you experience times when you are unable to feed a family, there certainly isn't money available for school tuition fees.

Hearing of this need, friends of ours gave us the cash that would cover the total school fees outstanding for this school year.

So in the principals office, our team was able to look on as the pastor paid off his debt to the school. We saw the records of the loans and amounts he still owed. Then we witnessed the principal cancel all the outstanding debt on paper. It was truly a monumental moment.

This experience was among many that our team was able to witness first hand the pastor giving us a reason to trust him.

There is so much corruption in Haiti. Many people are hesitant to help financially because they are fearful of whether the money would be used for the right reasons. But this orphanage was different. Our instincts told us that this is a pastor we could partner with and trust. He was the real deal!

We have an opportunity here to be used by God to make a difference in the lives of those who are the future of Haiti. What a blessing to be able to partner with a Godly family with the right motives and the best interest of the children in mind.

I will write again about the next steps that we are pursuing with our new friends. It's exciting! God is good all the time!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Home from Haiti

We are home from our vision trip to Haiti. I find myself short on words to describe the experience. When someone asks "how was it?" I don't know where to begin or if I get started, I don't know where to end.

For now, I will start by saying, this was a different experience than my last trip to Haiti. Last time, we traveled with a group of 16 of us. Everywhere we went, we had at least 4 translators and a AIM team leader with our group. I had no fear. Other than a couple rainy nights in a wet tent, I hardly ever felt uncomfortable.

This time, we traveled as a team of six. We had our fearless leader, Pastor Dan with us most of the time and part of the time one translator. This time, I felt like little mice running around Haiti, feeling a bit more fearful and more uncomfortable. This time we immersed ourselves slightly more into the culture.

We went with an itinerary. Our days were all mapped out. However, after the second full day, God took our itinerary away - He had other plans.

We were scheduled to take the tap tap up in the mountains to visit Pastor F's church Sunday morning. This was going to be one of the highlights of our trip and an important excursion because we are looking at helping Pastor F build a church and rebuild his orphanage - pretty much the focus of our trip. Him and his family were looking forward to our presence at the Sunday morning service.

But God had other plans. The tap tap would not start that morning. After prayer and discussion, we decided to walk to our interpreter, Pierre's church. Once there, we were able to catch the last half hour of his service. Usually a worship service in Haiti lasts about 3 - 4 hours, so we were very late. Despite being late, Pierre was thrilled and surprised to see our team. After the service, we walked Pierre home, met his wife and child and prayed over them in their home. We were blessed! It was the right thing for our team to be doing Sunday morning. From that point on, Pierre and his family will always have a special place in each of our hearts.

The pastor and his family were so disappointed that we did not make it to their church that morning. However, in Haiti, there are always several opportunities to attend church throughout the week, so we decided we would rent a tap tap and go Monday evening.

Now being out in the mountains in the evening hours gave me slight hesitation but I thought well, the pastor would discourage us if he thought there was any danger.

So our team set off up the mountain side in a tap tap. Our security was the pastor's 10 year old daughter and 12 year old son. The tap tap was able to bring us only as far as to a bridge that crossed over a river.

10 year only "L" took Steve's hand and gave him a reassuring smile as she led us all across the rickety bridge and up the mountainside through what appeared to be the poorest of the poor in Haiti. Walking a narrow path, past tarp roofed homes and many many stares, was probably one of the most uncomfortable moments of our trip.

After about a 5 minute walk, we arrived to the temporary church structure. There was no electricity in sight anywhere around us as the sun was setting. But the church had a generator, which produced light and sound, so it was like a little "city on a hill" or a light in much darkness.

Outside the church, we saw poverty at it's worst in Haiti. Also, I'm quite sure many of the people we saw had never seen a white person.

The service we attended was a prayer service. They prayed for our team. We sang worship songs. We were blessed and felt welcomed.

During the entire 2 hour service, I had the pleasure of holding the youngest member of the orphanage, little "B", who snuggled into my shoulder and napped. "B" stole our hearts. She is a gorgeous 10 month baby girl with a beautiful personality. As I was holding her close and snuggling her tight, "L", grabbed by elbow to get my attention, pointed to a woman in the next row over and said, "B's mommy!" At the same time, B's mommy was looking right at us!

This was B's birth mom looking at the white woman snuggling with her baby. It was the most awkward moment for me of our trip so far. The rest of the service, my heart broke for a mother who could not provide for her child and made the ultimate sacrifice to give her a better life. I had heard her story already... 5 other kids at home, not knowing where their next meal will come from, all suffering greatly from malnutrition. I wondered what was going through her mind.

When I wasn't thinking about B's birth mom, I was praying that somehow that tap tap would be parked right outside the church so that we didn't have to walk that crazy and scary strip back over the bridge at night.

Well, God answered my prayers. The tap tap was backed up to the church. I found out later that evening that I wasn't the only one praying for that to happen.

Outside in the tap tap as little B was passed around, her birth mother approached our team. Pastor F's wife, introduced us to her. She greeted us each with a gentle hand shake and a warm smile. She also got to hold B, hug her and snuggle with her. It truly was an interesting moment to watch this interaction. Life seemed so unfair at that moment but yet she was happy for her daughter's life.

Once our team was all settled in the tap tap, our driver began heading down the mountain the other direction, crossing over a huge rock pile first. Our trip down the mountain was an adventure. Let's just say, we were literally on the edge of a cliff and the road had so many pot holes and was so uneven that I'm quite sure it would not even meet the standards of a low maintenance road in the U.S.

But we survived to tell the story and joke about it later. The entire trip was full of adventure. This is just one story of many.

Some of what we experienced and learned while in Haiti is so terribly heartbreaking. There are children who need to be rescued from bondage. Slavery and trafficking of children is alive and thriving in Haiti. Being aware of this is one thing but actually being a witness to this injustice, has rocked my world.

The culture there is one that's difficult to understand. If a child is late for school, they get a beating. Physical punishment of children is quickly handed out and widely accepted. I stood by a Haitian woman who was shouting at a 12 year old girl with a strong hold on her chin and arm. I asked her what she was saying to the girl and in her broken English to me, she said, "I told her she is nothing but trouble, that she is a bad bad girl!" This was as a result of the 12 year old girl refusing to stay with her because she wanted to come with me. She was treated horribly. But God is good and this 12 year old is now in a safe haven. I'll share more about her story in another post.

I could go on and on because there are so many more stories. I guess that means many more blog posts on the horizon.

I can't wait to tell you about the orphanage where we spent most of our time, building relationships and making forever friends. Another blog post coming soon!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Turning a New Leaf

We had a great 2011!

I'll be brief because I realize that it's been a very long time since I have blogged.

Olivia took up a new passion. She is now taking theater classes and hopes to be in a local production this summer. Avery continues to work the mats and the bars in her gymnastics classes. Lauren is deep into the ski season, actually it is almost over and they are now just able to ski on snow. Samson LOVES his preschool and music classes. He also continues to impress us with his dance moves, mostly break dancing.

In 2011 our family also became part of a new church plant in our community. We have been blessed with many new friendships.

After several months of advocating for an orphanage in Haiti and almost throwing in the towel, I am now taking a team to the orphanage for a vision trip. I had the opportunity to share their story in church one Sunday morning and after the service I was overwhelmed by the number of families who wanted to come along side me. 10 days after I spoke, we had airline tickets purchased for a team of 6 of us heading there TOMORROW! After we booked the flights, we had only 6 weeks to prepare. I'll write about our trip when I return.

At the same time we were making plans to travel to Haiti, Steve was wrapping up his most recent employment with a local printer. He is one of the 6 going to Haiti. What another blessing to be able to share this experience with him.

Please pray for our team going to Haiti, the people we will be coming in contact with and for our families who will be waiting for us back home.

Steve has been in transition for at least a couple months already, giving him opportunity to be home more, which has been great for family bonding. We are closer as a family than we have ever been. He hadn't realized how much he was missing at home until now.

It's always exciting to turn a new leaf. The adventure in not knowing the next steps can be exciting too but also a little scary. We don't know what the next thing is for our family and sometimes we can grow impatient waiting to find out. But we are at peace knowing that God's plan is the best plan for our lives and his plans are well worth waiting for.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Expressions from a four year old

I haven't blogged for a very long time, so for now, I thought I would share some cute expressions from Samson's perspective.

When we were driving in the car together, just out of the blue Samson said, "I want to milk a cow!"
First I laughed because I thought, where did that come from? There was not a cow in sight and he all of a sudden wants to milk a cow? Truth be told, I've always wanted to milk a cow too. We may have to find a dairy farm soon to satisfy this urge.

One morning when we were in a hurry, I told Samson, "Quick! Get your shirt on! We have to go now!" Samson's reply back? "I will go as quick as a dog chews." I don't have any idea where that came from.

One day when he was racing his sister Avery upstairs Samson said, "The last one up has to eat cheap candy corn." This statement in itself is bizarre but to add to that, it wasn't even Thanksgiving season when you may have candy corn around in the house. He has one goofy imagination.

The other day, when he stepped out of the bathtub, he had a wet washcloth wrapped around his waist and said, "Mommy! I look like Jesus!"

We are also going through a phase of making up jokes. I remember when my girls were the same age and loved to make up jokes. They have all told jokes that don't make any sense and are so silly that they make us laugh anyway. But I don't know if they know they are not really that funny.

That's all I will share for now. My next post may be titled something like, "Turning a new leaf" because our family is waiting on the next thing. We know what ever lies ahead, we are going to be blessed but I have to admit, I am a bit fearful of the unknowns. I'll update soon!