Saturday, September 13, 2014

Play-doh Fun

Years ago, I broke out Play-doh for the kids thinking it would be a blast. But like every one of you has experienced I'm sure, I spent the entire time fishing it out of little mouths and picking it up off the floor. It was far from a blast. 

Today I thought I'd try it again, and we had so much fun! I had 4 little containers of Play-doh originally, but it's been so long since we'd used it that 3 of the colors were hard as rocks! So we only had one small container of orange, but it split and expanded quite nicely. 

As is usually the case, they started out wanting to do exactly what I did, or rather wanting me to make for them exactly what I'd just made. But little by little they gained courage and creativity and started cracking me up with the things they thought of all on their own.

I love watching them try new things and take pride in what they've created. If you haven't heard me say it lately, we've got some pretty precious kids around here! 

Trying her hand at a circle
The snake-- surely the most popular Play-doh creation of all time
Figuring out some textures on the table

Vigi being Vigi. :)
(#2, dad!)

Can You Count the Stars?

There's a song that never fails to make me cry when we sing it in church. Well, not the whole thing, I guess, but the last verse especially gets me. 
  1. "Can you count the many children
    In their little beds at night,
    Who without a thought of sorrow
    Rise again at morning light?
    God the Lord, who dwells in heaven,
    Loving care to each has given;
    He has not forgotten thee,
    He has not forgotten thee."
  2. When I really stop and think about the fact that God can and does count the many children in their beds at night, that He knows their names and their needs and their hurts and their histories, that He hasn't forgotten them, my mind is blown. 
  3. People always act shocked when I know the names, birthdays, stories, and hearts of all of our little ones. And it shocks me that it shocks them, because to me it's like, "Of course I know those things! They are my life and my work and my heart. How could I not know those things about our kids?"
  4. Which makes me wonder how God must feel when we don't think He's big enough or cares enough to know His children all by name and hurt and hope and heart. I know the overwhelming task it is to me with our small number of children, and so when I look at the vastness of God's children around the world, I am blown away by who He is and how He works and how huge His love is. 
  5. Psalm 121:4 reads, "Indeed he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep." What a reassurance; what a promise! I love being able to tell our little ones with full assurance that God is with them, always. He's never sleeping, never dozing, and there's never a time when He has forgotten them, even if it feels like it. 
  6. He's that good, and He cares that much for us. I guess that's something worth crying some happy tears about. :) 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Swim Days

As winter continues to make its exit and the heat returns, we dusted off the old baby pool. The babes were thrilled to be back in the water today! 
The big boys were the first ones out after their nap, and the whooping and hollering could be heard from most of Zambia, I'm sure! They loved getting to use the hose to keep filling the pool up. 

Shockingly, we had no criers today! They all just went merrily around dumping buckets of water on each other's heads and laughing uproariously. 

The littler squirts just kind of splashed around in basins to get warmed up to the idea. 

And after an afternoon full of unbridled joy, the water went to good use in the garden. :)

Welcome back, summer. We've missed you!

(That's #1, dad. :)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Busiku update

I wanted to update you all on Busiku. Many of you may remember her, but here is a link that will catch you up if you don't. Busiku Goes Home

It had been awhile since I'd seen Busi, and I was honestly quite apprehensive about how I'd find her. Every doctor who has ever seen her has talked about her short life expectancy. That combined with how far they stay out in the bush and the lack of cell coverage made me nervous that something may have happened to her health that we hadn't gotten word about yet. I'd had this pit in my stomach for awhile, and today we finally found time to make the trek out to see her.

She. Looked. Beautiful. She giggled incessantly. She drooled just like last time. She stroked my face like it was the funniest thing in the world. She was pushed around by her cousins as she screamed like a wild woman. She had lost 1,000 new teeth since the last time. She was happy.

So I was happy. Her life will never be easy and it probably won't be long. And there are so many parts of her story still that would break your heart. But boy oh boy did God ever put a sense of joy and total oblivion in her sweet body to shield her from all that's going on in her and around her, things that she'll never have to know about. He's sustaining her precious life and allowing so many people around her to feel joy just by being around this angel girl.

Tonight I'll sleep easier. I'm not really sure why. Nothing has changed today for her, but for me I got to see another real life example of God's goodness and sustenance, and it makes me feel like everything just might be okay in the world after all. :)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Rich days

The last few days I've been feeling this overwhelming urge to just slow down time, to somehow record and remember every little happening in these rich, full days. I always love the babies, but for some reason right now I'm so totally overwhelmed with their sweetness, their growth, their innocence, their beauty, their intelligence, their resilience. Everywhere I turn it's something new that they're doing, a new tooth, a new word, a new dance move. And they won't slow down, and I can't keep up. And I'm missing things! Milestones! Things that matter! 

Just today
Seth mastered writing the letter 6. 
Watupa's first tooth came out at 4 months!
Priscilla stood alone!
Wendy made it through a whole language class without falling asleep. 
Jonah crawled out of his bed all by himself. 
Biggie wet his pants 3 times in ONE class. 
Memory is grinning. 
Evelyn can't make it through a massage without rolling over and crawling away. 
Lulu stuffed so much of her cake in her mouth she almost lost it all. 
Chipo wanted nothing to do with his. 
Susan's decided she NEVER wants to be put down. 

And I could go on and on. I'm so full of them. So proud of them. So shocked by them. So worn out by them. So blessed by them. Each of them. They all have a story, and a place, and a special place here that no one else could fill. 

And they go on to their villages leaving huge gaping holes. Class isn't the same without Maleele's hopping up every couple minutes to do whatever he feels like. James isn't there to steamroll anyone who comes across his path. All of Rita's gang are temporarily lost without their bossy leader. And somewhere in the world, they are out there saying and doing and learning new things, too. I wonder what those things are. I pray all those little and big things are being celebrated. 

God is so good to us, and I'm just having one of those days when I'm so keenly aware of it. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Where have you been Wednesday

Hello again dear friends of mine. Here's a little piece of what's been going on around here lately!

Sesa boy has been hard at work on his alphabet. He's mastered his upper and lower case alphabet!

Happy 4th birthday Ruby!
We've had the chance to see some of our kids back in the village lately, which is always so encouraging (and bittersweet!) to us!
Aaron is doing great and wanted NOTHING to do with us!
Maya and Marissa came for a visit with their grandmother!
Princess and Prince are full of spunk and smarts and also wanted NOTHING to do with us!
Shelley is starting school now, and she's happy as can be about it!
Watupa is the giggliest, dimpliest 3 month old ever.

In the ongoing saga that is Helen's hair, she now looks like a precious 70 year old woman. 
Florence is healthy and happy and healed, and we can't get enough of her sweetness.
We are still awaiting the results from Jonah's biopsy, but he's getting a little stronger every day in the meantime. Please keep praying with us for answers for him!
Priscilla spends all her time laughing, talking, and standing these days. She answers questions in class now with the right answers, and hearing her say, "God did!" is the sweetest sound imaginable. 
Mercy is back at the Haven now, but before she went, she'd spend hours helping Mati wash the dishes and other tasks. They're in love.
Binny's found his cheeky side. And we kind of love it.
Boyd turned 1! (and continues to gain weight by the hour...)
Our little lady Chabilo is moving all over town and never stops smiling. 
Chabonwa continues to explore and manipulate anything you put in his path. He's started running up for hugs and squeezes lately, which is progress for him.
Evelyn is pulling up and crawling all over the house. She's a total mess.
Fellow walks and runs! (so fast that he's blurry!)
Gilimo is crawling and pulling up, and has the best dimples around.
Joel picked out this nail polish all on his own and insisted on having both hands painted when I tried to stop at one. He communicated all of this, which is so fun!
Katie plays dress up!
Lulu is without a doubt the chubbiest child we've ever had here. It's unreal. We even have to medicate her in her fat rolls! :)
Ozzy is walking! (and drinking, the little multitask-er!)

I hope you all have a great day today! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Volleyball Tournament

Today we had a volleyball tournament for all of our staff at the Havens, which includes over 80 people. The Harding Speech Pathology group is here right now, and so they agreed to watch the babies for us while everyone came to the appreciation party for a couple of hours. Such a kind gesture! We had each of the houses play each other, and the winning team received a cake and some talk time. It was such a fun time of fellowship and relaxation!
I refereed most of the time. It brought me back to my volleyball coaching days!
Haven 3 Team

Haven 2 team

Haven 1 team

Eric's House and Alice's House team

Watching games until their match

Fun with friends

Winning team with their cake 

2nd place team with their cake

Warming up

Edinan mid set!

Even Mama played!