Life As I Know It Now
It’s pretty much been radio silence over here lately. Or the past six months… When did I last write??? I have a lot of blog posts written in my mind, but they don’t seem to make it onto the screen as often as I would like. And then I internally kick myself because I feel like I’m failing, but I know I’m not. It’s just this season that I’m/we’re in. It feels like there’s always something more important that pops up and I tell myself writing needs to take the back burner for now. And then now turns to weeks and months.
I’ve also been thinking so much about the whole blogging world and my place in it. When I started writing back in 2005 it was still kind of a new thing for a lot of people. I honestly didn’t think anyone would actually read, and stuck a little one line on the bottom of my email signature to let people know that I had a blog. I remember how excited Chris was when we found out I had about 75 people reading every day. Now it’s like 3. Hi you three! Thanks for hanging in there with me!
I love reading blogs, but I’ve noticed this thing happening in the past two years. It’s like the blogging world spiked a bit and now people are having to reassess things. When I started writing it was purely for fun and for my own journaling of life in Haiti, then life as a newlywed, then as a new mom… You get the idea. It was fun. I needed to let it out. And I think it was that way for most people. They didn’t think anyone would read. Then the blogging world morphed into this thing where photos had to be top notch, and people started writing editorial calendars, getting sponsors, and it became business. It feels like so many have gotten caught up in that and are starting to step back and wonder what happened, because it’s not what it used to be.
At the same time that this was happening there were some hard things going on for us on a personal level and mission level. It was everything that was going on for us. We were getting so much criticism and in an effort to protect ourselves and the organization I just pulled back from writing much that was personal online. We worked really hard to not fuel the rumor mill and do what was right during that time, but so much felt unsafe, mostly because it was all happening back at home and we were here in Haiti. It was like living in this vacuum and not knowing when it was going to reverse and blow back in our faces. So many months of sleepless nights, stress, worry. Throw in legal issues, trying to finish an adoption in an incredibly corrupt country, an earthquake, and a pregnancy… The counselor that we saw in the midst of all this didn’t run away, thankfully, and reminded us that we were ridiculously resilient.
And we were. But life hurts sometimes, and you might not always know how to lick your wounds well and move on.
I think for the most part we have, but in full on confession mode (we’re already in, might as well go for the deep end) I think I hurt more than I thought I did and this place where I used to love to write felt unsafe or like it was too much work all the sudden. Where I had loved to come and connect, I felt paranoid. Sigh. So complicated.
In the years since, where I feel more normal, my heart still desperately wants to write, and I feel God stirring that in me. I’m working to reprioritize things to make more time for it, but there’s this question rolling around in me – what is this going to look like now?
And the hard thing for me is that I want to do all of it, but without all the pressure. I want to write about my kids and life as we know it, so our family has this journal type thing to look back on. I feel like I’ve missed so much in this area since I pulled back. I want to write more about Haiti, but I struggle to be aware of what’s interesting, because 11 years of living here. I want to write about the hard things and the good things, and not play the comparison game or worry about judgement. I want to write about things that are important to me, because my heart stirs for them and because people tell me I need to. Most of all, I want to have fun with this again. I want to love it. To need it. To process with it. To enjoy it. To just be honest and real, because this girl has been hiding under a rock for too long.
I want to remember how much fun it was for me. It was connecting and sharing and just being. And heck, I got to write for Esquire US and had my posts featured in the Russian print magazine! Did you know that they did a multi-page spread of my blog posts after the earthquake? It was pretty cool.
So, in an effort to get back to the heart of where it all started, this is life right now, in no particular order…
~Alex is in the process of losing his teeth. He lost his two top ones in the past week, so of course like all good parents we’re making him say all the ‘s’ words. All the time. That kid has staying power like nobody’s business. He let the second tooth dangle in his mouth for no less than 5 days. I finally couldn’t stand it anymore and told him I just wanted to hold onto it. With a piece of toilet paper. Because it was dry. Then I may have quickly given it a slight twist. And then he may have freaked out for a nano second, until he saw the tooth in the toilet paper, which then resulted in ridiculous joy. So, win?!? He has a couple more that are wiggly on the bottom, and I’m sure they’ll be gone before our vacation this summer. I’ve already told him he might have to ask to borrow his grandparents dentures at this rate. Six slithering snakes swam switfly….
~Olivia is growing up faster than I can even handle right now. She’s nine. We have to worry about things like deodorant and changes in what types of undergarments she needs, of which she is unaturally excited. Makes the whole process easier I guess… (I’m seriously making faces as I type this. While I sit in a restaurant. With people. Just let that sit with you for a minute.) Yesterday I locked her dreads up again. They’re getting long. Her legs are getting long. She’s taking more initiative and being more responsible. I just can’t handle it. I have no idea how we got here. Wasn’t it last week that she was saying all the ‘s’ words through the gaps in her mouth??? I’m pretty sure she’ll be leaving for college next week at this rate.
~Life in Haiti. It’s always complicated and hot and just life. This past week my
exciting not exciting thing has been fighting with our accounting. Because nothing is ever easy here. I say that all the time, but it’s true!
Case in point – in the past month I’ve finally figured out that the issues I’ve been having to fight with each month with the accounting program are probably not anything I’m ever going to be able to fix. And because I value my sanity and because the PC that I’m still doing the accounting on is almost dead, it seems prudent to finally switch over to doing everything on my Mac (she jumps for joy). We have been using 3 currencies in the accounting, and it doesn’t play well with the system. It deduces me to tears at times. So we made the decision to switch over to only tracking in US. I got everything to get set up online and realized that not only does it not work the same as the desktop version, I couldn’t actually import my files at all because of the multi-currency settings. I couldn’t get another nonprofit discount on an accounting program from techsoup.org until June, because I had just bought a product, so I sniffed around, found the desktop version from another supplier and ordered, assuming, like most of the world, that it was a digital download. And then I got a shipping notice. As in hard copy. Going to my address in the US that I wouldn’t be at until this summer. Let’s not mention that my computer doesn’t have a disc drive. Oh yes, let’s do mention that. Because it meant that I had to go buy another copy that was a digital download. And now I get to go through the process of setting everything up. Anyone want to come and do my job? Anyone? No one. Oh… ;)
I know people sometimes think the missions/expat life is glamorous. Yes, it’s so glamorous. I sometimes even wear earrings to work because it’s so glamorous.
In all honesty, I’ve been feeling really overwhelmed and pulled at work these days because of snowballing projects just like that. I start on one thing because it seems simple enough, then it morphs and becomes this huge beast of a project and everything else on my to do list for that week gets pushed aside.
Out in the yard we’ve been making good progress on our guest house. The roof is on, the guys are stuccoing the walls, I went to Port and bought tile and interior doors and toilets and priced other things out because we’re pushing hard. We’ve also been looking for a Funding Development Intern, which is exciting but also a bit stressful at the same time. Our AGM retreat is coming up this summer and I have stuff to get ready for that, and I need to completely revamp all of our promo materials in a completely new program so I can get them printed for this summer, so that feels stressful too. Basically I’m one person, and our entire Admin department. No complaints, just my reality. Sometimes I wish I was an octopus with six more arms. But then I would also be smooshy, so maybe that wouldn’t be so nice…
I’ve been working through a Bible study with a group of lady friends here and it’s been so good. It’s the Beth Moore “Entrusted” if you want to check it out. I’ve really been feeling like I need to be studying more and I’m excited about some of that because I feel like it might pour out here more too. Not sure what that might look like but I feel some stirring there.
And, you’ll be ahppy to know that I have finally made and painted my under sink cabinets. Okay, so I did it literally six weeks ago. Maybe this week I’ll install them. I know I’m procrastinating because I’ve built them three times, and even though I dry fit them there’s this part of me that is stressed that they won’t fit. So I do nothing. I’m ridiculous. This week! Though we might miss the view of the garbage can…
So that’s life around here as of late. I know I need to work at writing shorter, bullet point posts sometimes. That would probably help my writing block and the vast gaps of time on here. Goals! Goals!!
Tomorrow is a holiday here in Haiti so we’re long weekending it up, but I hope you all (all three of you) have a great week.