A Sprint or a Marathon?

When Chris and I first started dating, we stayed up until 2am on a regular basis talking and getting to know each other.  He would groggily walk out the front door and I'd crawl into bed for a few hours before getting up with the kids between 5 and 6am.  I remember explaining my lack of energy to a friend of mine who inquired, "Are you planning on this relationship being a sprint or a marathon?"  I immediately thought, "Marathon!" but realized that I couldn't keep up the pace.  Something had to give.  Chris and I quickly adapted to a new routine that involved more time together on the weekends and less on work nights.  We started into our marathon pace and have been jogging along ever since.

Last school year, I sprinted and I sprinted HARD.  It was the year I did everything.  Well, not everything, but it sure felt that way!  I tried to work around Cadence's school schedule by working from home from 5am until 6:30am and then going into the office from 8am until 2pm.  I was supposed to be finished work at 2pm, but I usually ended up working in the afternoons because there was always something I had to do.  In addition to working, I was a room mom for Cadence's class; I served on the board for my professional organization; I began couponing and even tried to run a frugal parenting site; I focused on raising money for my summer mission trip to Haiti; I attended soccer practices for two children; and, since I wasn't busy enough, I trained for three half marathons.  I did all of this while still trying to keep up with all of my stay-at-home-mom friends when it came to cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and executing Pinterest projects and while trying to keep up with seemingly everyone I had ever known via Facebook.  I was attempting to run a marathon at a sprinter's pace.

This school year, I'm slowing down to the jogging pace that I love and therefore some things are going to have to go.  My children and their activities definitely are not going anywhere and I wouldn't trade them for the world, but that means other things will need to be adjusted.  Other commitments, hobbies and interests that have previously been very important to me will need to go to the back burner for a while to make room.  I'm giving up on trying to keep up with Pinterest and I'm going do the always-dreaded Facebook housecleaning.  ;)  I mean, who really knows 350+ people...?  :)  Please don't take offense.  It is time for me to regroup and focus on what needs my attention the most.  It is time to start my marathon pace especially since this school year is already proving to be a tough run.

Haiti - Day 5

We met for our usual morning prayer on the roof and then headed to the Restoration house for breakfast.  We had spaghetti with sausage that was similar to a hot dog.  There was no sauce, but it was really good!  We also had pineapple, scrambled and boiled eggs, bananas and bread with peanut butter.

I went back to the hill by the castle to carry the sand and gravel down the hill.  I made several trips and then stopped to play soccer with some of the local children.

While I was talking to some of the men the soccer ball came in my direction.  I tried to kick it back but it went off of the side of my foot and fell about 20 feet into a huge canyon full of trash.  I felt terrible!  One of the kids climbed in after it.  He pulled his shirt over his face to protect himself from the bugs and slowly maneuvered his way to the ball.  He had one foot on one ledge and one foot on another.  The ball was about 5 feet directly below him.  He inched his way down until he was in a full split.  He tilted forward until he was upside down and reaching above his head.  He just barely reached it.  He wanted me to take his picture so I did.  He threw the ball up and the kids cheered.  I think I'm banned from playing soccer now.

We had hot dogs, fried potatoes and spicy cole slaw for lunch.  After we ate, we went to the church for the feeding program.  I met Rose again and we spent the afternoon in the church yard.  She drew the a flower in my journal and wrote that she was 8 years old.  I wrote that I was 30 and she was shocked.  I laughed!  We sat in the back of the tap tap and took pictures.  She took several of me and I took a lot of her.  I taught her how to do Chris's "metal face" and took her picture.  I can't wait to show that to Chris and the kids.  We have pictures of our kids doing that since they were babies.  It's sort of an inside family joke now.  :)

That afternoon was spent in the lobby talking with the rest of the group.  I really enjoyed the time that we spent together.  It's amazing how five people that were once almost strangers to me can become some of my close friends in such a short time.  :)

That evening we went back to the Restoration house for dinner.  We had a stew with beef and carrots served over rice.  After dinner, Pastor Lafleur surprised a couple on the other team with a beautiful cake for their anniversary.  It was such a sweet gesture!

After dinner, we went back to the church yard.  There was a toddler walking around in just a t-shirt.  No diaper.  The adults were rehearsing in the church, so the baby was on his own.  I picked him up and he snuggled up against my neck.  I asked how old he was and found out that he was almost exactly the same age as William.  I snuggled with him until it was time to go back to the hotel.

We met for our devotional and then headed off to bed.

Haiti - Day 4

We woke up this morning just before 7am.  Thankfully we had running water!  Unfortunately, there was no time to shower.  :(  We tried calling home but there was no wifi.  We met on the roof for prayer.  Then we went to the Restoration House and had eggs, bread, peanut butter, pineapple, banana and coffee.  It was great!

After breakfast, Pastor Lafleur discussed the tasks that we were to complete.  I chose to work on the hill by the "castle" house.  We hauled gravel, concrete and cement blocks down a very steep hill on a pat that was about a quarter of a mile long.  It was very hot.  At least yesterday we were able to take breaks in the shade, but today was just sun.  There were two small shady spots, but even they didn't seem to relieve the heat.

After a few hours we headed back.  The walk through the village was pretty.  The hard work was totally worth the view.  On the way back someone pointed out what they thought was a catholic church.  I peaked into the "church" but didn't see a cross.  I said that I didn't believe it was a church and returned to the road.  We later found out it was a voodoo temple.  I'm glad that I didn't have any part of that.  A few other individuals stepped inside and took pictures.  That worried me a little.

I was tired after lunch and could have easily taken a nap, but it was time to go to the feeding program.  As soon as I stepped on the church yard, I felt Rose grab my hand.  She has the most beautiful smile.  She pulled me around the side of the church and asked me to paint her nails.  I gladly so so even though it meant painting over yesterday's manicure.

Other children started to gather and Rose tried to make them go away.  She told them I was *her* sponsor. I gave Rose some stickers and a piece of candy and told her I was going to give some to the other kids.  They crowded in.  There were probably 60 or more surrounding me.  I told them to get in a line.  A gentleman came over and helped control the chaos.  After the majority of the kids received a treat, the man told them we were done.  Rose zipped my back pack closed.  As we walked away, there was a little toddler about Liam's age wearing a t-shirt and diaper looking at me with huge, hopeful brown eyes and a cupped, outstretched hand.  How could I say "no" to that?  Even the man who had been helping me said "Awww..... baby."  I reached into my bag for one last sucker.  It was great to see him smile.

I was fortunate that day, to meet Rose's family.  She lives with her aunt, grandmother and cousin.  Her mother died when she was a month old.  That broke my heart into a million pieces.  In my mind, she had a mommy that loved her very much and she went home to her every day after school.  I could tell that her family loved her but I was very sad that she didn't have a mom.  I enjoyed speaking to Rose's family about her.  I learned her clothing size, shoe size and other information that I didn't previously have.

After the feeding program was over, we went back to the hotel and everyone was excited to hear about my meeting with Rose's family.  It was awesome to share my story with them.  That night, at the Restoration House, we had what can only be described as liquefied Cinnamon Toast Crunch for dinner.  It was good but hot.  Looking back, I'm not exactly sure how I feel about hot porridge when it is so hot outside.  :)