Sunday, February 27, 2011

The rat strikes back.

'Diana, get your Keens on.'
This statement is never a good sign after 10pm.

A sticky trap scuffle. A sleeping sister. A beaming headlamp. A wooden broomstick. My helpless pose on the couch as Sarah summoned Jay and John to the rescue. It's not a night I will quickly forget.

It ended in a bloody battle. One that I relive each time I step out the door, but I'll let the picture do the talking.

Once again, thanks to a roommate who snaps into action and some handy neighbours, the story ends happy and we all went to sleep before midnight. I like to think that I was the victim, but in the end, the rat took the title.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The speck.

I just spent the last 15 minutes digging into the crevice of my big toe. Let me explain.

Yesterday afternoon I took a walk before the sun went down, and found myself weaving through thorn bushes that grow bountifully through the dry mountain soil.
It's not the first time one of those thorns has trekked home with me, and yesterday was no different. Every time I stepped a certain way on my return home, the pain shot through my foot and eventually I had to sit down in the dirt and squeeze it out with my fingernails.
The initial discomfort was gone so I didn't think a thing of it until just this afternoon as I was walking barefoot around my apartment.
About every 5th step or so, that similar sharp prick made itself known and I found myself limping around my kitchen in order to avoid the discomfort. Before long I retrieved a sewing needle and studied the underside of my foot. I couldn't see a thing, but when I put pressure on the sore spot I knew that I hadn't fully removed the thorn the day before.

After a little poking under the calloused part of my toe, there appeared a brown speck of a thorn wedged into my skin. When I extracted it, the tiny sliver was lost from my fingers before I could even get it in the garbage. So now, besides that fact that you all think I'm a wimp, let me get on to the point of the post.

The thought of such a miniscule speck interfering with my comfort and ability to walk made me think more about the other specks that dig into my mind and throw my peace and initiative way off. There are so many petty things, discouraging regrets, or pointless concerns that crowd my mind on a daily basis. Insignificant as they are, they affect me just like the speck. They cause me to limp around and concentrate on my discomfort rather than what joys and blessings surround me. And the longer they stay, the more infectious and painful they become.

I need to be more deliberate of taking out the 'needle' of truth and extracting these specks of doubt and lies from my heart. It's not enough to ignore or pull out just a part... sometimes it means even getting out the peroxide to fully heal. I can testify how little specks weasel their way to the forefront and cloud my clarity and perspective, just as my whole body cried out for relief when I stepped the sore spot.

I am thankful today for the reminder of the pain and power of the speck, but mostly I'm thankful for the wonderful comfort and healing that can replace it.

Come to me all you who are tired and have heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Accept my teachings and learn from me because I am gentle and humble in spirit, and in Me you will find rest for your lives.
~ Matthew 11:28-29

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

And then there were 7...

In between fresh brewed coffee, paper airplanes, a mouse hole in the window screen, hot showers and dusty feet, this week has included some fun highlights in the school realm.

First off, I have a new grade 7 student!
Zach Malmstrom has joined our class as his family has moved to Haiti for the next year to serve at the Clinic of Hope. Rick (his dad) is a paramedic and will be taking over Grant's position, and Liz (his mom) is a nurse so she will be assisting with teams and other needs in the clinic. Zach's older brother Jake is also here doing his schooling through correspondence and assisting around the mission. We are excited as a staff to have their family join us here! Please follow them on their blog and keep them in your prayers as they transition into this new life with us.

Our week also kicked off with a sweet valentines day party with Bailey and the Johnson kids. For those of you who don't recognize those names, I'll do a brief summary. Brad and Vanessa Johnson who are the directors of the mission returned to Haiti in December for the remainder of their children's school year. They have 4 great kids - from youngest to oldest, JD and Georgie (both adopted from Haiti), and Beau and Jaima (their biological children). Bailey is their teacher and also a great friend of mine. It has been wonderful having them here this term!
So to commemorate their new classroom and Haitian school term, the kids and I headed up to their stomping ground and celebrated the day of LOVE with music, cookies, games and crafts! Here's a few snapshots of the day!

One of the games that was full of laughs... Pin the heart on the boyfriend - Ana's turn :)

Caleb pinning the heart on the girlfriend!

The girls making valentine crafts

Be our valentine?

Last but not least, (ps - this news is far more deserving of a post to itself, but I can't put this off any longer) I have great news that my year support has been fulfilled! Thank you to everyone who has partnered with me thus far and for your sacrifices in helping me serve here in Haiti! Once again I marvel at the generosity and blessings I have received from you all. It is truly a gift to my heart! Thank you for being my 'home team'.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Peter Bradley Adams sings,
If I wander till I die, may I know whose hand I'm in.

Sometimes I feel like a wanderer.
I flounder around like a fish. My brain is scattered with a million random thoughts. I try to attach myself to something stable. All the time searching for an identity. Something to be known by. I want to be recognized and understood.
When my life becomes about being known I feel like I'm on one of those mouse wheels. Spinning and spinning, but never truly going anywhere. I strive to get in people's 'good books'. But what are the 'good books' anyways?

Lately I've been thinking about the concept of being known, and valued. How we as humans spend our whole lives on that fleeting purpose and no one ever really finds it. I was stumbling and stammering about the meaning of it all as I watched the sunset tonight, and the Lord gave me an important truth.

Life is not about being known.
Life is simply about knowing the One who knows me best.

Catching a glimpse of the love of the Father.
Understanding the grace of the Saviour.
Grasping the power of the Creator.
Resting in the freedom of the King.

It's like touching the tip of the iceberg and looking down to the endless depth of the ocean. God is totally unfathomable. We are a speck in the infinite universe. My small, simple mind can't even begin to comprehend all that our God is. It's not about us. Period. And yet, God is about relationship and wanting to be known by us, His people. Day by day and step by step, He gracefully reveals Himself in majestic ways.

All I have to do is stop the rat race. Take my mind off myself and my agenda to be known, and focus on who He is. May I be reminded to live - not to be known better, but to know the One who knows me better than anyone ever will. Live to know whose hand I'm in.

Oh that we may know the Lord, let us press on to know Him.
Then He will respond to us as surely as the sun rises, or the coming of rains in early spring.
Hosea 6:3

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Never smelled sweeter.

It started out as a musty smell in the corner.
Every once and a while when I would fill up my cup at the water dispenser I caught a whiff and I would remark to Sarah and our guests how something wasn't right.
As the days passed, the smell spread further out and Sarah and I did a full scour of the right hand corner of our apartment, where the scent first originated. We ruled out smelly sneakers, expired foods on our pantry shelf, and any other random odour we came across from items that had been lost months earlier. We concluded that either our fridge was radiating out toxic gas or we had a decomposing rodent in our midst. Both options were less than thrilling.
It wasn't until Cheryl came over yesterday at lunch that we uncovered the truth. She noticed the smell and it wasn't long until she was peering into the electrical outlet above our shoe mat and identifying what once was a... tail.


Somehow - this is just another one of those 'only in Haiti' moments - a mouse had climbed up our wall and for some unforeseen reason wedged itself into the wall where our electrical outlet was. Maybe it was trying to hide from bully mice (there's been reports of mouse wars happening in our kitchen cupboards after dark), or maybe it just wanted a cozy bed. Needless to say, it didn't last long there - we all figured it got zapped and that was the end of it.
Now the task was disposal. Fortunately, time was on our side as Broc was on his lunch break and I snapped him straight into action. Sarah was on backup with the headlamp (you can always count on her to step up). We retrieved a screwdriver and I braced myself for the smell impact with my finger on the trigger of the air freshener. After pulling out what was left of the mouse, Broc scraped some more remains off the wires and took the dustpan of pure reek out of the house.
Our baffled faces turned into rejoicing when the mouse made it's final exit!
Thanks to a brother who fixes doorknobs, refills water gallons and even has the stamina to take out decomposing mouse. I am a lucky sister!

Today's goodbye wasn't welcomed (let's face it, they never are), but I am thankful for the 2 weeks of memories filled with waterfalls, sing-offs, mountain summits, and crazy Haitian mice.
This apartment has never smelled sweeter.