Saturday, August 13, 2011

Ridiculous contraption at 0500, the 5hr Hospital drive (1way) and a new oven..

Woke with the roosters at 0500... sun was almost up anyway... and I woke up with a crazy idea -- "I thought to myself, we don't have to buy one, we can build one."... and I went off to see what David thought.

At 0615 Amy, Kim, Jess and the two Sarahs (journalists from central CT and friends of Kim's), along with Dr Franco and Manu headed out for a 5 hour drive to a government hospital to help a number of patients there.  One of the physicians from that hospital contacted Dr Franco yesterday to see if he could come provide additional support for some patients there with a variety of ailments -- cholera, premie babies, victims of the January 2010 earthquake still in the hospital were among those Amy Kim and Dr Franco assisted.

I remained on the compound with the GoHaiti staff and the kids and I decided to begin work on the up and coming soccer field.  The idea I had when I woke up was to weld together a weed cutter hand tool. I'll post an actual picture of it soon, but it looks somewhat like the one pictured below... only much more primitive. get the idea...
Upon finishing this contraption, Duvall and I spent the next couple hours chopping down the weeds in the field.  Before we had to break due to the heat, we cut down approx 100ft x 100ft section of thick grass, shrubs and weeds by about 10:30a it was over 100 degrees by then and too hot to continue... so we'll reconvene our weed chopping when it cools down some.

After David finished welding the weed cutter he left with Josin in a Tap Tap to go get a larger stove top with three huge burners.  When they brought in the new stove top I thought the ladies that work here would jump out of their aprons they were so overjoyed!  This stovetop will save so much time and energy for all the food they have to prepare for the children (they have only had one small oven until now) and for any volunteer teams that come from now on.  What a blessing!

David and Josin got to work right away installing it, but after realizing they needed two more hose clamps -- additional to what they'd already got -- they had no other choice but to go out again... another 2hr venture.

Well, Kenni just came in to tell me food is ready... I'm sure our evening will be just as exciting.  ;)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

power obstacles...

Generator threw a rod today.  
Too bad no one here owns a boat, we could use it for an anchor.


I would just run over to Home Depot and rent one... or better yet just turn on the power but...

We just don't normally have obstacles to overcome do we?

What would you do without electricity?

Still... Life is Good.  We'll make do.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What to expect - For Anyone Traveling to the Port Au Prince Airport in Haiti

A quick guide for anyone traveling to the Port Au Prince Airport -
As a caveat to this information - This is current as of August 2011 -- Things change in Haiti all the time so be sure to ask clarifying questions of the organization you are working with prior to your arrival. 
            Just prior to landing, you’ll receive immigration/customs paperwork.  Fill out the paperwork as completely as possible.  Make sure you have the correct address from the organization you're working with.  

2.        When you land, you'll walk off the plane onto the runway and walk 100' to the bus.  It’s a city bus type and will take you to about 400yards to a large building where you’ll walk in to you'll be guided onto a bus to take you to immigration and baggage claim.  This is a converted aircraft hangar it’s a large area without many walls.

3.       You may be asked for the paperwork before you get your bags, but then again they may not ask for it. Continue into the building and you’ll see people surrounding the baggage conveyors on the right.  This will feel chaotic to most Western travelers, but just go with the flow.  It's normal.

4.       Make sure to get several luggage carts first – you’ll need them and sometimes there aren’t many available.  It didn’t cost us anything to use the carts. 

5.       Then, get your group together in an area to collect your baggage.  MOST people should stay in that area with your carry-on bags and pack the checked luggage on the carts when you get them.  Then a few members of your group can grab your bags from off the conveyor.  – This is not an expedient system, but it works.  There were nine of us (including 4 small children) and we got all of our luggage - even though it took about 2hours from the time we arrived until we left the baggage area with our luggage.

6.       When you have all your luggage packed on the carts head toward the exit.  STAY TOGETHER – NO ONE SHOULD LEAVE THE BAGGAGE AREA without the rest of the group.   You are not more than 30ft from the exit to your rear if you are facing the conveyor belts. 

7.       The guards at the exit may or may not ask to review your paperwork.  If they ask about meds or other supplies you have with you fine you'll need your proper documentation, but if they don’t ask just keep walking out toward the parking lot where the vans/taxis will be waiting.

8.       THIS IS WHERE YOU WILL bombarded by insistent requests from drivers wanting to help you with your carts of baggage to take to their vehicle.  Some will even try to say that they are there to pick you up.  Again - there is NO danger, but you will have to be pretty aggressive with some of the drivers depending on their response to your request not to help.  

9.       If the person you're supposed to meet is not right there as you exit the baggage area, - don’t panic :) .  Just DON’T let ANYONE push your carts or carry your bags if they are not a prearranged person to pick you up.  Continue to your right, down the open air tunnel/walkway toward the parking lot and we will meet you there at the end of that walkway if we don’t see you before. 

10.   Once you reach the end of the walkway you should see the people who are there to greet you or to meet your prearranged driver.  Tips for drivers who load all of the luggage Depending on what they do, we tipped each of the 4 guys, 5.00each after the van was loaded.  

I hope this is helpful.  

5:30am goat chase... and someone squeezing the chickens!

Started today with the boys chasing goats at 5:30am!

...and Kenni waking up and struggling to figure out what that crazy noise was and the following is the interaction between she and Amy in their room.  Kenni wakes up and says, ""What is that 
noise?"  " I say, "just the chickens." She says, "Those are no chickens, it sounds like people are 
outside getting squeezed to death." 

Yep!  Welcome to Haiti!  

You can read Amy's post about today's adventures too --

I must say that my wonderful wife was up with them at that hour, but I was still attempting to sleep  but heard the boys running around with the goats.    I think it may have already been in the mid 70s or 80s by then so they were sweaty at breakfast but their pancakes sausage and bacon went down fast due to their early workout. 

After breakfast we hung out, prayed together, planned the day, encountered the regular unforeseen Haitian obstacles (today I think it was “O, we’ve got the generator… later on… Oh, hey the guy with the generator can’t come… still later... but we found another friend with one to use.)  -- 
Then David Ojeda and I discussed a design for the bunk beds and I sketched out a design and jumped in the “tap tap” (that’s Haitian for a late 80’s or 90’s style Isuzu mini truck with a colorful elevated bed cap with benches in the back – taxi looking thing.)  Tap Taps are great fun!
I think it was only about 5-7 miles… maybe less to get to the large Lowe’s equivalent – but it took us about 40mins to navigate the earthquake damaged roads and joyous and overcapacity Port au Prince streets to get there.  Once we arrived, Dr Franco and Kim went with our driver to make the internet payment for the month.   David Ojeda and “Mahano” browsed the store and purchased the supplies we needed for the bunk beds, window security bars and the frame to build the movie screen.

Now, to get your head around this picture the following items –
1 – 20 ft. strip of metal bar .25” thick
8- 12 ft. pieces of 1x4 lumber
4- 10 ft. pieces of 2x4 lumber
2 – 20ft. pieces of ½” thick iron re-bar
a couple boxes of assorted other hardware 
Got that?

Additionally, did you catch we were riding in a MINI Isuzu pick up truck?  I have no idea what the exact dimention of the pick up bed was, but it can’t be more than 5.5ft…. You had to be there to really appreciate it, but we loaded ALL those above items in the truck successfully and drove off.  To make things just a little “safer”, we bent the steel bar and steel strip in half so only about 5 feet of the ends were sticking out of the back of the truck.  So we drove off with our feet planted firmly on the steel bars attempting to prevent the metal from sliding out while our bodies were contorted around the wood beams sticking halfway out of the front of the bed, resting on the top of the truck over the driver’s head.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the truck… we were laughing all the way back to the compound…. What made matters even worse was the dreadful screech of the metal ends dragging on the rough pavement/dirt roads as we drove that perious journey back to the  GoHaiti property. What a ride!
I’ll try to post some pix later. :)

By the time we got back it had been a great half days’ work.   That’s just how it is here, but we got what we needed.

We unloaded the truck and had to do some repair work on the generator and David went to work rigging up Kim’s hammock which I think now will be the most coveted spot on the property.  All the kids had a relaxing turn in it listening to an incessant treatment of Michael Jackson greatest hits… but they keep playing one song over and over again.  Oh well…

Sasha has reconnected with her friends she met in January and she’s just kinda picked up those relationships where she left off. 

TK and Ashebir are having a blast playing with a ton of new very lively friends and their billion matchbox cars have been a classic hit with the rest of the children too.

Kenni is also enjoying being able to take on some more special responsibilities carrying and feeding some of the babies.  She’s great with young ones… just like her Mamma.  ;)

Tonight we had a great dinner of fish, potatoes, carrots, rice and good ol American Coke Cola!  After dinner the kids returned to their water play in the treated water that had been filled in the small inflatable pools. 
By the time we got all the kids dried off and cleaned up all of us were ready to call it a night. 
Lots more inbetween, but it was a full day. 

Can’t wait to start work on the first bunk beds and security windows tomorrow.  They will each be models for the others we’ll build next week.  We hope to build 4-5 beds and 3-4 security windows depending on how much money is available.   It’s awesome to be a part of something that is so needed for the long term success of the ministry here.
As I’ve been processing about today’s experiences, I continue to see areas in my life where I can be more patient and not be so focused on my own agenda.  Sure, we need to be focused and “drive” toward measurable goals and achieve results… but I think the condition of our heart and mind through the process is just as important than achieving the results we’re moving toward.  I know I need a refresher course in patience and selflessness more frequently. 

So… how about you? 
Here’s some questions I’ve been reflecting on tonight …
Do you like to server others? Why… what’s your real motive?  Is it healthy?   By what… or Whose standard? 
How would you respond to some of what we’ve encountered today in Haiti? 
Would it be with more patience, understanding and flexibility?... or not? 
Why would you respond the way you would? 
What has helped you learn to be more generous with your time or more flexible with your agenda?


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Headed to Haiti soon... all of us!

(This article was written by Alicia Yost from The Middletown Patch.  The full article can be found here -- )

The Zipf family is no stranger to world travel. After all, they’ve criss-crossed the globe from Hong Kong to Ethiopia, in most cases working tirelessly to help the poor and orphaned.

And they don’t just do a country lip service, they make lasting investments. They’ve adopted two wonderful boys from Ethiopia and often talk of plans to move there in the hopes of furthering their efforts in being the voices and agents of change.

Back in January, Amy, the matriarch of the family, traveled along with their 7-year-old daughter Sasha to Haiti. They spent their time working in a medical tent and trying to make a water filtration system out of five-gallon Lowe’s buckets fashioned into water filters.

The trip was gripping for Amy who says people are still in desperate need of medical care that is not readily available. So much of Haiti is still in shambles after a catastrophic earthquake that rocked the country on Jan. 12, 2010.

That was 18 months ago and yet people are still living in tents and children are still living in overcrowded orphanages and eating porridge for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“These people are practically in our backyard," says Zipf. “It’s less than a four-hour flight from New York.” Upon return, Amy immediately started making plans to go back to Haiti, this time with her husband and four children, ages 10, 7, 5 and 4.

On Aug. 8, they are partnering with an organization called Go Haiti and heading back to Haiti, where they will work for three weeks. They will be supporting orphan care, helping to build and service a medical clinic, supporting a new agricultural project, helping to access clean water and helping to build a sustainable organization in hopes of making an eternal impact.

They hope that this trip will “help their children understand the global nature of our world and encourage them to advocate for people and change. Also, to experience life in a way that is beyond ordinary.”

They family hopes that their trip will be a great success and is looking forward to making a long-term commitment by both continuing to work and encouraging their family, friends and community to not forget the beautiful people of Haiti.


IMAG0332 by pzipf
IMAG0332, a photo by pzipf on Flickr.

such a goofball!


IMAG0334 by pzipf
IMAG0334, a photo by pzipf on Flickr.

so suave and debonair


IMAG0340 by pzipf
IMAG0340, a photo by pzipf on Flickr.

sand castles at Hammonasset


IMAG0346 by pzipf
IMAG0346, a photo by pzipf on Flickr.

fun with sparklers and friends at Hammonasset St Park!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Unexpected worship experiences today... at home with my sons.

I had one of the greatest worship services today at home with my sons.

It was due some to an unexpected breakdown of our car this morning.  Amy left at 5:30 this morning to head to her clinical at Yale and came back promptly 10mins later.  Our car broke down so she had to take the van.  I was able to get the girls a ride to church this morning with a dear friend, but there was not enough room for all of us.  So I stayed home and did some reading and praying while the boys played.  But, as I've been here this morning I've felt a bit discouraged.  I still haven't gone out to assess exactly what's caused the power steering failure - or what caused some unknown part to fall off from underneath the car.  I've felt like there's been one obstacle after another in trying to get all of our family to Haiti this summer.  We had a plan a few months ago... it should have been seamless... but so far there have been several cracks in the plan.

I am confident God is in control and I am confident in His leadership and guidance for me and for my family... but these last few weeks have been difficult.  

However, today - a bit half-heartedly viewed a short film called The Butterfly Circus.  Truthfully, I wanted to stall a little more from assessing the car because I'm fearful of what kind of problem I'll find and - more specifically - how that repair cost will affect our family.  So, while sitting here at the kitchen table with my boys on my lap I watched the film with them.

You need to watch it too...

I'm now headed out to check on my car - with a renewed perspective. 

Bless you today

Unexpected worship experiences today... at home with my sons.

I had one of the greatest worship services today at home with my sons.  

It was due some to an unexpected breakdown of our car this morning.  Amy left at 5:30 this morning to head to her clinical at Yale and came back promptly 10mins later.  Our car broke down so she had to take the van.  I was able to get the girls a ride to church this morning with a dear friend, but there was not enough room for all of us.  So I stayed home and did some reading and praying while the boys played.  As I've been here this morning I've felt discouraged.  I still haven't gone out to assess exactly what's caused the power steering failure - or what caused some unknown part to fall off from underneath the car.  I've felt like there's been one obstacle after another in trying to get all of our family to Haiti this summer.  We had a plan a few months ago... it should have been seamless... but so far there have been several cracks in the plan.  

I am confident God is in control and I am confident in His leadership and guidance for me and for my family... but these last few weeks have been difficult.  

However, today - a bit half-heartedly viewed a short film called The Butterfly Circus.  Truthfully, I was stalling a little because I'm fearful of what kind of problem (and further financial burden) the car repair will have on our family.  So, while sitting here with my boys on my lap I watched the film with them.

You need to watch it too... 
I'm now headed out to check on my car - with a renewed perspective. 

Bless you today

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fat Lip

I was scolding Ashebir for something he did... and he required a bath.  I was trying hard to be patient and was exhibiting it on the outside for Ash's sake but internally I was mad.  Then, when I was drying off Ashebir he said, "Daddy wassat?"... as he pointed in my mouth... I was really puzzled and thought it was a subconcious means of diverting my frustration with him... I was short with him and said, "I don't have anything in my mouth."  "He said, no...wassat?"
When I was in second grade, I was ice skating on a basketball court turned outdoor neighborhood ice rink.  They were a brand new pair of skates and I got a little too sure of my self - as I sometimes still do today - and as a result of showing off, I slipped and fell.  I fell hard.  In the fall, I smacked my chin on the ice, resulting in my two front teeth biting through my lower lip.  With blood dripping down my face and coat, I walked to a nearby friends house who called my parents, who then took me for an ER visit.  I left with four or five stiches in my mouth above and below my lower lip.

Ashebir wasn't asking about anything inside my mouth.  He was pointing to the scars that he saw.
Wounds create scars.  Some you see, others you don't.

I needed his reminder today.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

God's testing - a reflection of Grace

Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and said, "Because this nation has violated the covenant I ordained for their ancestors and has not listened to me, I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations Joshua left when he died. I will use them to test Israel and see whether they will keep the way of the Lord and walk in it as their ancestors did."
Judges 2:20-22

Where are be disobeying The Lord's best for us? Even though there are consequences He tests us through the process. It is another testimony to His Grace.

Chase Him!
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Enticing relationships

I was reading Deut 11-13 this morning and I couldn't help but think about so many teenagers and young adults I know who believe they want a "Godly" relationship - dating or marriage - but because they begin with the wrong expectations and qualifications of someone they wish to date or marry, they end up unfulfilled due to unhealthy concessions. 

Check this out -
Deut. 11:18-23 "You shall therefore impress these words of mine on your heart and on your soul; and you shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. "You shall teach them to your sons, talking of them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road and when you lie down and when you rise up. "You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your sons may be multiplied on the land which the LORD swore to your fathers to give them, as long as the heavens remain above the earth. "For if you are careful to keep all this commandment which I am commanding you to do, to love the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and hold fast to Him, then the LORD will drive out all these nations from before you, and you will dispossess nations greater and mightier than you.

I am not advocating for simply just learning the information, or going through the motions. Just changing behavior is meaningless... it's a heart condition that changes everything.

Later in Deut 13 Moses continues to plead with his people as he stands with them on at the edge of the Promised Land.  He knows due to his disobedience that he will not be permitted to lead them into Canaan, but Moses refuses to allow his people he loves so dearly to reject God and be consumed by self-dependence.

He continues in Deut 13:6-8 --  If your very own brother, or your son or daughter, or the wife you love, or your closest friend secretly entices you, saying, "Let us go and worship other gods" (gods that neither you nor your fathers have known, gods of the peoples around you, whether near or far, from one end of the land to the other), do not yield to him or listen to him. Show him no pity. Do not spare him or shield him. 

In the Old Testament people who dragged others in the wrong direction were stoned to death. 
Even though we do not stone people to death today, the adamacy of God is the same.  Do not be enticed by or lured into an idolatrous unhealthy relationships.   

If you are not married and in the middle of this kind of relationship tension, I beg you not to compromise.
If you are already married to someone who is not recieved life in Jesus and pursuing God's best with you, continue to pray and be the Godly example as shown in passages like Daniel 6, Prov. 31 and Ephesians 5.

It's true that no one is perfect but if your hearts are built on two separate foundations, (or both built on an unstable one) what's built on those foundations will not stand together.

Strive for God's best for your life and relationship.  Chase it down... in relentless pursuit.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What entices you most?

This morning I had to go to the bank to make a deposit. Before I went inside, I was sitting in my van making a few phone calls about arranging some details for worksites for The Hartford Project, a local summer missions outreach to the city of Hartford. As I was jotting down some notes from the phone conversation I had just had, a brown van speeds up toward me and jerks to a halt parking awkwardly near me. (The van was like one of those used for small company deliveries – however, it had no markings or company logo, and had no windows on the sides or rear.)

Before he stopped so abruptly, I thought the guy was going to plow into my driver side door, but he did parked awkwardly facing me with his driver side front corner bumper just feet from my van door where I was seated, behind the wheel of my van.

As you might be, I was a bit taken off-guard especially when the other guy slammed his van into “park”, proceeding to roll down his window and motions for me to hurriedly do the same. I hesitantly pressed the button to lower my window, and the driver starts with this story-

Driver: “Hey man, do you live around here or are you familiar with this area?”

Me: “Yeah, a little bit. Why?”

Driver: “Do you know anyone who wants a stereo surround sound digital audio system for a home theater for really cheap!!??” My buddy and I got two for the price of one and we’re trying to sell this other new system we have in the back of the van… We just sold the first one over at [names a local restaurant]. We have to be at another appointment in about… [Glances quickly at his watch] in 38 minutes so we gotta get outta here quick. We just saw you sitting here, and thought since you’d have the room in your van to haul it, we thought we’d ask you if you wanted it. If you want to look at it go ahead - it’s in the back [motions to the rear of his van] and brand new in the box already to set up. Do you want it?! Brand new it’s worth 4300 bucks, but we got it free and if you want to buy it right now we’ll give you a deal.

Me: [extremely skeptical and cautious… yet attempting not to out-right accuse him of burglary] … “I donno, I don’t know if I want it… I don’t think I know anyone else who’d want it right now either. How much are you talking?”

Driver: Awww… A few hundred bucks. How’s that sound?

Me: No thanks. See ya later.

Driver: Speeds off.

During the “pitch” he gave me, the driver pulled out an envelope of twenty dollar bills. Then he actually began to joke about how much the restaurant owner paid for the first system and spreads out the stack of twenties that he claimed he got from the sale of the first system. Supposedly the cash he pulled out amounted to $1800.00 in Twenties. He assured me I wouldn't have to pay even that much.  The driver continued to brag about the sale he’d just made but assured me that all I needed to pay for the second brand new system was 300.00!
Maybe if I hadn’t been scammed before… or maybe if I felt like I could somehow justify spending 300.00, or if I had the room for a “movie-theater-quality surround sound audio system” I might have bought it. But as soon as those two guys sped away looking for their next sale (or victim) I was relieved I would never see them again.

Have you ever been faced with a “deal you couldn’t refuse?” … Or a deal you THOUGHT you couldn’t refuse?

WHY was the deal you saw, heard about or read about so good you couldn’t pass it up? Whether it was a SilverBullet Food Processor or a “steal” on Ebay - What did it pique inside of you that you just couldn’t walk away? Why did it entice you?

What is it that entices you most?  What steals your attention?

I am a bit ashamed to admit it, but I am enticed by stupid things too...

This passage in Deut. Chapter 8 reminded me of what should I should be enraptured by… What I should be most compelled by?… What should consume all my attention?

Remember how the Lord your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord. Your clothes did not wear out and your feet did not swell during these forty years. Know then in your heart that as a man disciplines his son, so the Lord your God disciplines you.

Observe the commands of the Lord your God, walking in obedience to him and revering him. For the Lord your God is bringing you into a good land—a land with brooks, streams, and deep springs gushing out into the valleys and hills; a land with wheat and barley, vines and fig trees, pomegranates, olive oil and honey; a land where bread will not be scarce and you will lack nothing; a land where the rocks are iron and you can dig copper out of the hills.

When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the Lord your God for the good land he has given you. Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. -- Deut. 8:2-11

Lord, please help us... help ME.. be careful NOT to forget You - ever.  To put our life’s attention on You and to observe your commands - because of the incredible work that You have done in the transformational work of Jesus Christ! Please, God help us show others how incredible a life with Jesus really is... that even though that this world will never be perfect... what's most enticing... is REAL Life with Jesus.  -I ask this In Your Name, Amen.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Deut 4:29-35

But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him.  For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.

Ask now about the former days, long before your time, from the day God created man on the earth; ask from one end of the heavens to the other. Has anything so great as this ever happened, or has anything like it ever been heard of? Has any other people heard the voice of God speaking out of fire, as you have, and lived? Has any god ever tried to take for himself one nation out of another nation, by testings, by miraculous signs and wonders, by war, by a mighty hand and an outstretched arm, or by great and awesome deeds, like all the things the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your very eyes?  You were shown these things so that you might know that the LORD is God; besides him there is no other.

/// I am claiming this powerful message today! My ongoing natural inclination is self-dependence in the battles I face - (while attempting to disregard my selfishness.) My prayer today is for a greater surrender of my life regardless of the terrain of the battlefield or the magnitude of the opponent.- Run hard after the Victor! 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A letter from Ashebir

Ashebir is now 4 ½ years old - Most days we feel like we’re making progress, some days we don’t.  It'll be a year next week (2/23) that he's been home with us and even though he understands MOST of what you ask of him, there are still things he doesn't quite get yet.  That said, he's been through a lot in his young life and even though his whole self is weaving intricately and intimately into our lives - his confusions, fears and inhibitions still surface.  They manifest in hits, bullying, shrieks, random flying objects, screams,  etc.   The truth is that inappropriate behavior... is inappropriate behavior... but it's not easy some days to balance patience, grace responsibility and genuine love.  I (Amy and I) NEVER want to discipline out of frustration or just give in to an important “battle” that I (We) shouldn’t because it feels easier in the moment… but to be honest, he’s exhausting sometimes.  Further more, this doesn’t feel as valiant as some make it out to be sometimes.
We have to choose to love him… to pursue him.  To chase after his heart and to embrace ALL of him… his entire mess.  He didn’t cause it but he’s responding to it… I often wish it would manifest as a practical, and thoughtful discussion.. and just maybe it would go something like this: 
“Dad, do you have a minute?” … Sure Ash, what is it? 
Well Dad, I just feel like life is out of control for me… I’m scared, I’m anxious, I’m frustrated, I don’t always understand what you and Mommy expect of me or how to explain what I want sometimes.  I feel like there’ s this big hole inside and it hurts… I notice the pain some days more than others, but it still makes me feel bad.  I think I’m still afraid that my family will disappear some day when I least expect it… or that I’ll have to move somewhere else for some reason.  I don’t know how to explain it really… I know you and Mom love me, but some days I’m not sure I FEEL the same way about our family that Kenni Sasha and TK do.    
I’m angry.  I’m angry because I don’t really understand why I’ve lived in so many homes with different people who tell me what to do.  Who do I trust?! 
I feel like I just started to get to know the kids in the other house before I came to live here with our family.  I was just beginning to understand the talk around me when I lived with all the other kids - but even that was different than where I lived before that… and now there are even more new things – I’m just beginning to get the hang of this.
Small things that are out of place bother me.  I like things to be in their place, but I don’t like anyone else to tell me to tell me where to put the things I have.   
I don’t like animals that I can’t step on, or that aren’t behind thick glass.  Maybe it’s because an animal scared me before, I don’t really remember.   
I hate sharing too.  Ok, so I’m getting better at it, but… I don’t want to give up something I have control of.  It’s getting a little easier for me, but I don’t like it when I have to leave home to go somewhere else and when I’m somewhere else, I don’t like to leave there either.
I’m jealous of TK sometimes too… especially when he comes up with some random game to play – When I am finally convinced to play, I don’t want him to play… HIS own game! (Yeah, I don’t get it either.)  Or.. when he picks up a toy I haven’t played with for a while and he starts playing with it - I want it and it makes me mad when I can’t have it.  I think I’m beginning to understand that I can play with it later but I still have a hard time with it. 
Sometimes I feel left out.  
Sometimes I just get so mad that I scream as loud as I can and try to kick, bite and even spit.  But those times… even though I don’t mean to hurt you or Mommy or my teachers -I’ve just reached a point that I don’t know what else to do.  Maybe it’s that I don’t understand that you and Mommy are trying to help me the best way you know how… and I just don’t get it yet. 
I love my Teachers and my classmates a lot, but seriously…  sometimes I don’t really care what number comes after 6… 7… or 8!  It doesn’t matter to me if “the car” is “blue or red,” or if “the chair” is “green or brown,” or if the picture is of a “bird” or a “tiger.” 
And speaking of school days! - When I come home from school, I think the difference in routine disrupts me.   Don’t get me wrong, I love my school, we have so much fun there and my teacher there has helped me maybe even more than she knows … but It’s still hard changing from being at school to returning home where I don’t have the same structured environment.  So when I get home, sometimes all I want to do is beat up TK, eat bread and butter or watch Remember the Titans. 
The other night when I was screaming and yelling because I wanted all six saltines left in the cracker sleeve, and you said I could only have two at a time – I just get really frustrated with things like that… When I can’t explain exactly what I want or when I don’t understand why I can’t have what I want.
But Daddy... I want to trust you, I just need your help to do that.
I know you love me Daddy… Is it hard to love me sometimes?
I want to be loved by you so desperately Daddy…  I want Mommy to love me too!  I just don’t know how to always act lovingly.  But… I like to pray with you and TK at night and thank God for our Family.  I love my warm bed and my special blanket from Great Gramma Zipf.  I wouldn’t know what to do without it. 
I like trucks and reading books.  I like building things with legos, I like coloring, scissors and glue and I like to show you and Mommy what I make at school or how tall I can build the Lego tower.  I like sitting in your lap when we read books.  I love Mommy a lot.  She takes care of me and let’s me make big messes that I don’t have to clean up right away.  She makes great food and she makes sure that I’m safe and gives me lots of kisses… I just pull away after a few of them because I don’t like to sit still very long unless I’m watching a movie I like.
Daddy, Thank you for not giving up on me.  Thank you for bringing me home.  Please be patient with me… it’ll be worth it.  I love you and Mommy very much.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Highlights from Amy, Sasha and their team in Haiti

Friday morning Jan 15:  

To put it in perspective, the 11 member team left Thurs morning in two waves from JFK and all arrived in Haiti about 1500 Thursday afternoon.

Amy writes:  
 “The internet is sporadic at best but we're having a great time.  Sasha loves it here!  It’s so much like Ethiopia it took my breath away at the airport. 
We did a Med clinic yesterday [Thur. 1/14].   

We helped diagnose high blood pressure, malaria, congestive heart failure, diabetes, viral infections, etc.  We went to the orphanage on Thursday as well and held a beautiful little baby boy. Breaks your heart.  We took pictures of the kids eating their porridge for dinner.   I was crying so hard I could barely take pictures.  So hard to believe we are so very close to home and the need is so great.  Off to work at the clinic again this morning.  We have tons of pictures, will try to send some soon."