This (little) girl…

This (little) girl…

Just like her big sister did last month, this little girl celebrated a birthday last week.  6 years old.  Time seems to pass even more quickly with each year.  This little girl of ours was a whole 13 days late… and when she decided to make her appearance into the world, she did so with force and intensity… a bit like a freight train, in fact. From 6 cm to having a beautiful baby girl in my arms in less than 25 minutes… over...

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Global People

Global People

Tears… welling up in my eyes and beginning to stream down my cheeks as I read these words.  Head nodding… as these truths strike so many cords for our family individually and collectively.  Heart rejoicing… that we’ve been privileged with this life in which God has blessed us to be a global people. By now you probably have no idea what I’m talking about but hopefully your curiosity is peaked.  Head on over to A...

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This is Madagascar…

This is Madagascar…

We’ve been back in Madagascar for 2 weeks… the journey was quite the adventure– one which you can read here.  No matter how many times we return back and forth, there’s always an adjustment.  When returning to the States, the adjustment is to smooth roads, cleanliness, blending in in a crowd, speaking English at all times, understanding cultural clues, helpful sales people, and general efficiency.  Those are all good...

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The Full Story

The Full Story

I haven’t been posting much lately, or posting practically at all for the last 6’ish months.  Our days have been busy with fundraising and all the State-side work that comes with “home assignment”.  And truth be told, life for me… my life, is a bit uninspiring when in the States.  Life can be pretty uninspiring when in Madagascar too… but it’s different.  I find Madagascar inspiring– the people,...

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How to Send a 20-foot Container and Not Go Crazy….

How to Send a 20-foot Container and Not Go Crazy….

Boxes.  Totes.  Purchasing.  Receiving donations.  Sorting.  Packing.  Itemizing.  Applying value for each item.  Numbering.  Taping itemized list and box number.  Zip-tying.  Packing Truck.  Driving Truck to Sacramento.  Unpacking Truck into holding container.   94 boxes/totes later.   All of these are awaiting to be packed on a 20-foot (or maybe 40-foot) ocean freight container which will then be shipped across the world to Madagascar....

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Heartline in Haiti

Heartline in Haiti

Earlier this month, Jamie and I (sans kiddos), traveled to Haiti with our awesome new teammates, Neal and Danielle Carlstrom and their wee one, Jolie.   Though our time was short in Haiti (Tuesday morning to Friday), our time was rich– full of learning, conversation, encouragement, ideas, prayers and oh so much more.  The major goal of our trip was to visit the Heartline Maternity Center, one of the maternity center’s that...

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3 Countries and A Familiar Outsider

3 Countries and A Familiar Outsider

We’ve been back in the States for close to two weeks now.  It was smooth sailing across the world on each and every leg of travel.  The 10-hour drive from our home in Mahajanga to the capital city of Tana.  The 11-hour plane ride from Tana to Paris.  The 11.5-hour plane ride from Paris to Los Angeles and the 3-hour traffic-jammed drive from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara.  Smoooooth sailing.  Honestly. Done back to back, this journey half...

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It’s time…

It’s time…

It’s mind-boggling to us that in less than 8 days, we’ll be on the first leg of our journey back to the USA for the fall.  It’s only been a year since we were last in the States for the main purpose of completing my midwifery license and taking my certifying board exams.  In reality, one year isn’t very long to be away from the States.  In reality, one year isn’t very long that we’ve been back in Madagascar...

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Around Here

Around Here

Around here, life has been intense.  Our days have been beyond full and our nights of sleep sometimes a little a lot too short.  Around here, our minds have been swirling with the need-to-do’s, the want-to-do’s, the must-do-nows, and the emergency-do’s.  Around here, our bodies sometimes feel like they are keeping up simply with the force of adrenaline and a little afternoon caffeine. Around here, our hearts have been heavy...

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A Photographic Journey

A Photographic Journey

Over New Year’s we went to Antananarivo for some cooler temps, some fellowship with other English speakers, some play, some work, and alas, some shopping.. though shopping for stuff like Oatmeal and Sundried Tomatoes is not necessarily what I consider exhilarating shopping. The beauty of this rugged landscape that is Madagascar never ceases to amaze me.  Every time we make this 10-hour drive, I stand in awe of God’s awesome creation...

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A Little Taste of Paradise

A Little Taste of Paradise

The kids having been asking me to bake lately.  In fact, Gavin and Eliana both attempted to bake their own renditions of dessert yesterday… for Gavin it was chocolate pizza and for Eliana, it was chocolate cake.  Of course the measurements were all askew and Eliana was heartbroken and distraught when her cake came out of the oven still in liquid form.  I promised, “tomorrow we’ll make chocolate chip cookies!”  Squeels of...

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Antananarivo

Antananarivo

Antananarivo, try saying that fast 10 times.  Antananarivo or Tana for short, is the capital city of Madagascar and is where we recently spent a week over New Years for business but also play and fellowship with other English speaking friends in the missionary community.  Some people despise Tana while others seem to enjoy it.  We enjoy it in somewhat small doses.  Like most capital cities, especially in developing countries, Tana is a city of...

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Is it Christmas???

Is it Christmas???

It’s the afternoon of December 20th.  Christmas is 5 days away…. so technically 4 more days until Christmas. Have I done any shopping?  No. Have I sung any familiar Christmas hymns in church?  No.  Have I done any holiday baking?  No.  Have I seen any Christmas lights glittering the neighborhoods and lighted trees, dotting the streets?  Sadly, no.  The truth is, it’s haarrrrrddddddd to get into the Christmas spirit here....

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Market Day

Market Day

Tuesday is market day in our house.  There’s nothing really special about why Tuesday is the market day other than the largest deliveries of fresh produce arrive on Tuesday and Friday mornings at the market that I shop at.  Of course, when I say “market”, I don’t mean the clean, nicely manicured, air conditioned market with music overhead, lots of lights and a shopping cart to tote all our soon-to-be purchases in.  I...

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A sickness and a prayer…

A sickness and a prayer…

You may have read about our doozy of a Thanksgiving last week… if not, my last post will give you the back story. I was sick.  Sick as a dog.  5 full days of raging fever, intense body aches, and extreme fatigue… and that’s all.  No respiratory symptoms, no GI symptoms, no rash.  In fact, this bout of illness put the bout of Malaria I had in 2001 to shame.  Or maybe time has faded my recollection of the intensity of malaria....

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Holiday Doozies

Holiday Doozies

Celebrating major American holidays and living in Madagascar somehow just don’t go together very well… or maybe we just haven’t found our groove with them just yet.  In fact, the last 4 holidays we’ve celebrated in Madagascar have been doozies… starting with Christmas, then New Year’s, Halloween and most recently, Thanksgiving.  Some more have been doozier than others. Christmas of 2011 was bad, real bad....

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An Anniversary… of a sheep’s butt

An Anniversary… of a sheep’s butt

You read that right… Jamie and I had our 10-year vodiondry anniversary November 2.  Vodiondry in Malagasy is literally translated as sheep’s butt, so yes, in fact we did celebrate our 10th sheep’s butt anniversary!  Or in other terms, we celebrated our 10-year anniversary of when we got married Malagasy-style.  The name for this Malagasy wedding ceremony between the families… you guessed it… sheep’s butt or...

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Part of the Solution to Poverty…part 1

Part of the Solution to Poverty…part 1

“Part of the solution to poverty is doing whatever it takes to get your heart to stay with the poor.”  ~Ann Voskamp Back in July when we were still in the States I had all these thoughts swarming around in my head.  Thoughts of extreme poverty and extreme wealth.  Of injustice and justice, of ignorance and knowledge, of faith and action. We had just come from 2 impoverished countries (Madagascar and the Philippines) and then landed...

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THE LIST…

THE LIST…

I last wrote about our ten, make it eleven, 50-pound checked bags that we toted across the world to Madagascar from Santa Barbara.  You may be asking yourself, what in the world do you pack that takes up 550 pounds??  Well, I’m glad you asked. For starters, there’s always the clothes.  Clothes here take a big time beating.  Massive stains, holes from moths, stretching due to line drying and the persistent tint of the red dirt of...

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Pack, Travel, Unpack

Pack, Travel, Unpack

The days leading up to our departure from Santa Barbara were a little hectic…. an all-day softball tournament, 3 church services, and a wedding…oh my.  And that was just the 3 days before we left. In the 2 weeks between my midwifery licensure exam and our departure, I was the faithful and persistent shopper whereas Jamie was the faithful and persistent packer… I’ll take my role anyday over his.  Though I must admit, I...

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Sunday Fun

Sunday Fun

There isn’t an overabundance of fun activities for kids here in Madagascar.  Thankfully though, we live on the northwest coast of the island where the days are hot and the beach is close.  As a mom of young kids, this lack of activities is definitely an unwelcome challenge.  No zoos, no parks, no natural history museum or sea center.  We do have 1 scant playground for which we’re thankful.  The other thing we’re incredibly thankful for is the...

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Preschool Graduation

Preschool Graduation

Two weeks ago, Jamie wrapped up Sekoly (preschool) with the kids, Isabella (5), Eliana (3), and Oliver (3).  We celebrated this milestone for all of them with a little graduation ceremony.  They sang their favorite songs, showed us how they know their letters and the sounds they make, showed us the world map and where their hometowns are as well as Madagascar, and presented their parents with the last 6 months of their artwork and letters...

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Gavin’s Birthday

Gavin’s Birthday

It’s still hard to believe that last Sunday we celebrated Gavin’s 1st birthday!  He’s a sweet, fun-loving, quiet little guy, his eyes twinkle and he brings smiles to all he meets!  He loves to stand on chairs, open and close the dryer, take all the tupperware out of the drawer and sit in wash basins.  During church on his birthday, he took his first steps unassisted!  He’s trying to master this skill daily.  I keep telling him to slow down but...

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A taste of home…

A taste of home…

Last week we received our first guests from the States… friends, Nolan and Elizabeth Hunt.  For the year or so before we left, they also lived in Santa Barbara, attended the same church, we were in Bible study together and they often babysat for us.  How precious was their arrival!  It was a colliding of our two worlds, our Santa Barbara life and our Malagasy life.  They came bearing gifts… ALOT of gifts and so we had a suitcase...

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HOUSE!

HOUSE!

OK, so this is NOT our house… in fact, it’s NOTHING like our house… this house is in the remote village of Mahabana that we’ve been going to for the last 12 years… HOWEVER.. we DID GET THE HOUSE we were hoping and praying for!  If you don’t get our newsletters, here’s the story behind the house.  In March, we traveled 13 hours to the northwest coast and large city of Mahajanga where we’ll move to in the beginning of July. ...

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Easter- Malagasy style

Easter- Malagasy style

Easter here in Madagascar is celebrated a little different than in the States… no dyed eggs, Easter bunny or candy stuffed in plastic eggs, but that’s not to say there’s not a party.  The town of Antsirabe where we currently live is the party capital when it comes to Easter celebrations here on the island.  It consists of a week-long street party, complete with street vendors selling clothes and food, bounce houses and train rides for the...

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Money Matters

Money Matters

Money is an interesting thing here in Madagascar.  Though we have been paid for medical services in the form of livestock, fruit and/or vegetables before, this quite obviously is not the standard.  Malagasy money has quite the history of changing on several occasions.  For example, when we lived here before, we used the Malagasy Franc (MGF) but in recent years, the currency has returned to the pre-colonial Ariary.  The Ariary is 1/5 the amount...

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Special Guests & Birthday Celebrations

Special Guests & Birthday Celebrations

    Our long-time good friend and main ministry partner, Josy, left his wife home with their 3 kids and made the 15 hour drive to spend a few days with us and our 3 kids.  It was fantastic!!  We learned something new with our time together…. kids are kids wherever they are and whatever culture they’re from.  Josy felt like he was transplanted back into the chaos of the three small children that he left behind and that chaos was replaced...

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