Wednesday, January 31, 2007

We got your back, Troy!

The design is ready and the silk screen company is on stand-by with our t-shirt order. Just say the word and we will mass produce these puppies plus buttons, coffee mugs, hats, beer coolers; you name it! You thought Mandela had a following?! We won't let them take you without a fight!

(Don't worry, Tara -we will hold off the national protest until he's been in there long enough to meet blog requirements. Then, we will spring into action.)

It's the Little Things

In the past year of reading the Livesay's chronicles of Haitian living, I've noticed a pattern. To survive and even thrive as they have, it seems you have to reduce your scope a bit and celebrate the little things. For example, a 99 degree day versus 102; party time! Finding one can of diet cola; worthy of rejoicing. (Tara, you can correct me if I'm wrong -as though you were waiting for permission ;-)) And now I'm thinking that maybe God's timing for Isabella is a partial training ground. He is using her to get me into the mindset of rejoicing in the tiniest victories.

Sleep in any small but consecutive number of hours is huge! Four straight hours and I am a new woman, ready to conquer the world.

Poop. After two days of constipation (Isabella,that is) the mere sight of poop in the diaper is cause to hoot and holler. I find myself breaking into spontaneous songs of praise -"Praise the Lord. Bella got the poopies out..."

Floor space, a rare sighting these days, does my heart good. It means something was there and has been moved...progress measured in square inches. Never mind that the new location may only be two feet to the left of the old location. Little things, remember?

All together these moments of celebration maintain the small thread of sanity that I am clinging to. Speaking of sanity, Chris Millender (the Lord bless you and keep you) just left with my three oldest in tow. Isabella and I have the house to ourselves and endless boxes to fill. Of course, I end up doing most of the work -she's a bit on the lazy side. ;-)

Getting busy...

Monday, January 29, 2007

Public Service Announcement

Recent studies* have indicated that prolonged sleeplessness may be directly linked to an inability to produce entertaining web posts. Please join us in the fight against BWI. (blogging with insomnia)

Remember, friends don't let friends blog tired.

Send contributions to MABB -Mother's Against Bad Blogging.
*based on the study of one tired mom, one sleep confused baby, and one pitiful excuse of a blog.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Initial Shock Over here's the rest of the story. None of you were very far out of "the loop" so there isn't much to catch up on.

After preparing last October for an adoption placement that didn't work out quite the way we'd anticipated, and then more recently deciding that God was leading us to uproot to the mission field; we made the assumption (and you all know what that means) that God had closed the door on adoption for now. We had discussed several times that we needed to notify the adoption agency that our circumstances had changed and that it may be best to take us off the "waiting families" list. Praise God, we are slow and He is Sovereign.

We got the call on Monday night and picked up our little bundle of sunshine on Thursday morning. And to think that some of you spend 9 months getting ready for this, pshaw! ;-) We are trusting that since God chose to give us two of our hearts desires at the same time, He must have a plan!
The big question many are asking is "how are you handling a new baby and preparing to move to another country?" Well, let me tell you. It takes diligence, self-discipline, impeccable organization skills, and complete focus on the task at hand.

Too bad NO ONE in this family has those qualities! We are living in utter chaos...
(the People's exhibits A & B)
Trying to downsize and de-clutter while adding a new human and all the trappings that go with her is challenging. (read: insane) The good news is Miss Isabella is allowed a diaper bag as a carry on in addition to our normal baggage allowance. I can just see it now-
FAA Agent: Ma'am, what is this?
Amie: It's my daughter's diaper bag.
Agent: Can you explain a few of these items?
Amie: Sure!
Agent: Is this a crock pot?
Amie: Uh, no sir. It's a, um, portable baby bottle warmer. Never leave home without it!
Agent: And the blender?
Amie: Portable baby food mixer.
Agent: Stereo system?
Amie: Portable bedtime music.
Agent: Size 9 1/2 tennis shoes.
Amie: We expect her to grow into them any day now.
Thinking ahead...always thinking ahead! =)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sweet as Pie

We are thrilled to introduce to you our most recent blessing; a God-sized surprise delivered in a very small package!

Isabella Joelle Sexton
Born on January 13th, 6 1/2 lbs.
Placed with us on January 25th!

Say "hello" to the nice people, Isabella:

"He grants the barren woman a home like a joyful mother of children.
Praise the Lord!"
Psalm 113:9

Well, "sweet as pie" she is! But have you ever eaten so much pie that you just couldn't sleep at night? We're working on it but prayers certainly can't hurt. =)

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Making Room for God

January 25th from My Utmost for His Highest:

"When it pleased God..." (Galatians 1:15)

"As servants of God, we must learn to make room for Him -to give Him 'elbow room.' We plan and figure and predict that this or that will happen, but we forget to make room for God to come in as He chooses.

...The way to make room for Him is to expect Him to come, but not in a certain way. No matter how well we may know God, the great lesson to learn is that He may break in at any minute. We tend to overlook this element of surprise, yet God never works in any other way. Suddenly --God meets our life --'...when it pleased God.'

Keep your life so constantly in touch with God that His surprising power can break through at any point. Live in a constant state of expectancy, and leave room for God to come in as He decides."

-Oswald Chambers (italics Amie Sexton)

God does have ways of surprising us. About the time we think our hands are full, He adds something that is so big we can't even begin to handle it without Him. So, while we thought our plate was overflowing, God decided we have room for more:


Stay tuned...

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Timing is Everything

Most non-American cultures pay little to no attention to external time constraints. They do what they do when they do it. They get where they're going when they get there. But here in the states, we are seriously time sensitive. We get up by the alarm clock, we punch in at work, we have scheduled lunch meetings, we punch out, we set the VCR for our favorite shows, and so on and so on.

You could argue that this is necessary in order to accomplish the most for the Lord and to avoid chaos. That's noble. But if we are honest with ourselves -don't worry, I'll be honest on your behalf =) - it's all about control. We like living by the clock because it gives us the sense that we are somehow dictating the events of our days. Then, just about the time we've got it all planned out...God steps in.

Suddenly, we see ourselves for the feeble, frail, and utterly helpless creatures we are and are faced with two options. We can:

A) throw ourselves on the floor, kicking and screaming the hours away in devastation over our loss of pseudo-power (we've done this before. It's not pretty)


B) surrender our plans to the Lord and take each day as it comes trusting that if He can handle the creation of the universer in 7 days, He can probably handle our measly 70+ years on earth.

We are trying to embrace "B" though confessing that we often find ourselves revving up for a good tantrum. We've been asked by several of you, "when?" Here are the answers as best we can tell...

When will get to Haiti? In His time.
When will our house sell? In His time.
When will Smudge find a new home? In His time.
When will we take care of the 8,000,000 details staring us in the face? In His time.

We have some goals and possibilities but even in the last two days God has shown us that He is under no obligation to meet our expectations. And yet, He is quite capable of exceeding them!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Tim's First Blog

I never understood blogs. I never wanted to read blogs. But now I'm reading the Livesay's blog religiously. I'm reading OUR blog religiously! I check in just to see what my wife wrote--how weird is that? I could just TALK to her. Hmmm...I might try that next time.

Anyway, the work around here has begun. The kitchen floor is torn up in preparation for new tile (sorry no pic due to dead camera batteries), there are cardboard boxes all over the house, and we've got more to do than could ever be done. The children are reacting to the chaos in different ways:

Nathan - worry, occasionally whine, analyze everything
Mamoune - dance, sing, focus on self
Isaiah - acts happy and clueless but his underwhelming behavior betrays his emotions

I won't tell you how Tim and Amie are handling the mess.

Tonight we watched "Cheaper By the Dozen." Here's a hint: If you're planning to move soon, don't watch "Cheaper By the Dozen." The whole premise is that moving stinks, parents who change things stink, and anywhere but home stinks. Needless to say, I had to do a little "Hey, moving to a third world country where we could all get sick and there's no more TV and everything will be different WILL BE FUN!!" counseling.

Not sure if they bought it.

Well, nobody said this would be easy. Can't wait to see what Amie writes tomorrow...

Monday, January 22, 2007


I have spent most of my life perfecting the art of avoidance. I avoid exercise. I avoid large mirrors. I avoid plates while eating cheesecake -it's so much better straight out of Ron Millender's spring form pan! And topping the list -I avoid scales.

How fitting that my life should suddenly be consumed by two things: pounds and inches. Let's do a little comparison, shall we?.

50 lbs of peanut butter is A LOT of stinkin' peanut butter.
Only 50 lbs of clothes is not very much.
50 lbs of marshmallows is a smores lover's dream.
Only 50 lbs of books is a home school mom's nightmare.
50 lbs of Entenmann's chocolate donuts is a perfect midnight snack.
Only 50 lbs of shoes could be cause for a mental breakdown.

But I'm taking it all in stride. I purchased two new sets of sheets for the boys bedrooms to be shipped down in the housewares bin. Did you know that by removing the cardboard fillers and product labels you can save a whopping 1.2 lbs?! Can you see me swelling with pride? Every little bit counts. Let no space be wasted!
As long as they don't make me stand on the scale we should be okay. Otherwise, we'll have to pay the $25 surcharge fee several times over.
(side not to the Duncan's: The IMB is mean. Fight the system! We believe in you.)

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Just for Fun

Tim celebrated his 34th birthday on January 5th. In our house, birthdays get you a special breakfast and the right to be called King/Queen for the day. We had great fun with this and here he is in his regal splendor -

The blue and green hair was purely for Amie's entertainment. =)
We love you, Tim! You are the world's best Daddy and best husband.
We'd follow you anywhere!

Back to the Future

Sometimes in order for people to fully grasp where you are going, they need to know something of where you've been. Most of you know that we have been to Haiti multiple times, that we adopted our daughter from Haiti, and that we have felt a connection to this country for a long time. But it's worth reiterating.

Many of you know that the other couple we will be working with are friends of ours, which lends itself tremendously to our excitement; but I thought you might want to know exactly how this friendship came to be.

Once upon a time...

There was a small, faraway land called "Mountainous". In this faraway land were many children in need of homes. Across the sea in another great and prosperous land were three beautiful fairies named Krisella, Tarafia, and Amielina who wanted to help the children of Mountainous find loving families through adoption. Each of them, in God's timing, began working with the same adoption agency. But the three fairies soon realized that lurking in the shadows was an evil presence; a wicked sorcerer who ruled by fear and deceit. Krisella, Tarafia, and Amielina began praying together daily and cried out to God to help them overcome evil with good and to protect the precious lives of the Mountainous children. Because of their willingness to stand for Truth and with the help of many more good fairies, the evil queen was driven from the land. And Krisella, Tarafia, and Amielina became the best of friends!

Okay, enough with the storybook version. You know the kind of friendship that just clicks? Even though you live miles away and you only see each other every couple of years, the minute you're together it seems like no time has passed? That's what these ladies are to me. And now, here we are about to be neighbors with one of my best friends. And who knows, maybe God has plans to bring the three avengers back together again. =)

If you haven't already checked out the Livesay Weblog -you should. We can't wait to live and work along side this family. Aside from knowing that we are walking in obedience, this is the best part! It's almost as if there is a sovereign God of the universe orchestrating on our behalf to accomplish more than we could ever ask or imagine. hmmmm.

Saturday, January 20, 2007


As defined by Webster:

"exaggerated usually inexplicable and illogical fear of an object or class of objects"

Apparently Mr. Webster was not known for his compassion. There's no love here. No understanding. "Exaggerated, inexplicable, and illogical" are not words I would use to describe myself. Well, actually, exaggerated may be right on the money but inexplicable? illogical? NEVER!

My shark phobia (mentioned in an earlier post) is anything but! Allow me to demonstrate...



Need I say more? Yet for the sake of naysayers and hecklers I must needs continue. I am not someone who is unwilling to face my fears. I recently toured the Georgia Aquarium and stood within 5 feet (and six inches of glass) of a massive whale shark. Yes, I know they eat plankton, smarty pants, but it was a small victory none the less. "baby steps, get on the elevator." (for fellow Bob fans out there)

And what's more, I held a shark in my bare hands. While visiting Emerald Isle, a nearby fisherman pulled a small "black tip" shark out of the water and allowed my husband (with great pleasure) to bring it over and show me. Given his size and vulnerability being out of the water, I decided this was a great opportunity for me to put an end to the ridicule of some (Steve Jeffries) and take the bull by the horns, er... um, the shark by the fin, in this case.

I stood triumphantly holding what up to this point had been a placid creature waiting for Tim to capture the moment on film when suddenly the vicious beast began thrashing about wildly and chomping his massive jaws in the air. (that would be the exaggerated part of me coming out) Despite my best efforts, well, the picture says it all:

And so, after completely traumatizing both myself and the shark, we released the small, blood hungry feind back into the ocean. Last we heard, he has matured to adult size and is tracking a migration pattern toward the small island of Hispaniola. Hey, I saw Jaws 4 -The Revenge. It could happen. ;-)

*We do apologize for having broken the previous arrangement regarding Amie in bathing suits. We will do our best to avoid further breaches of contract. -the management

"Having a Moment"

This is a phrase we will be using a lot in the coming months. It describes a moment of unexpected emotion, specifically sadness.

Tim "had a moment" with the weed eater yesterday. All those years of dutiful service together: weeding, trimming, edging. It's a partnership that has proven its worth time and again for our family. The men reading probably understand this. (sigh)

I "had a moment" while packing away trinkets and decorative pieces from the bedroom -the bedroom that I have been painstakingly perfecting for almost 13 years -and labeling them with yard sale stickers. The women reading probably understand this. (shrug)

The funny part is that we've never considered ourselves to be materialistic but as it turns out, we really like our stuff. And partly because the stuff represents a place -home, and our home represents memories and those memories are of people who we love very much. You'll have to excuse me, I think I'm "having a moment" right now.

ugh. Fortunately, they don't last long.

We are so blessed and so excited! But change is still hard.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Banana Boat to Haiti

I'm not sure that I've ever seen a banana boat but I imagine something like this.

And while we are on our way to Haiti, those of you who know about my (Amie's) shark phobia will know that this is not how we will get there!

For our first post, I thought we could begin by telling you what you will and will not see on this blog. Let's start with the not's:

1. There will NOT be a lot of fluff.
2. There will NOT be an overuse of platitudes or Christian cliches.
3. There will NOT (Lord willing) be any pictures of Amie in a bathing suit!

"What will there be?" you ask. Well...

1. There will be honesty. It is in fact the best policy.
2. There will be reality. We are real people going to a real place to serve a real God!
3. There will be sarcasm in heaping spoonfuls. It's an acquired taste so keep coming back. ;-)
4. There will be amazing stories of God's faithfulness in the midst of incredible, exciting, and even scary circumstances.
5. There will be amazing stories of God's faithfulness in the midst of boring daily life.

We are just a normal family (normal being relative) who have the grace of God being dumped on our heads daily, though we sometimes fail to recognize it. We are beginning our journey to work in Haiti with Children's International Lifeline and are excited to see how God will provide for our every need.
Oh, and by the way, if you have previously read the Livesay Blog (our friends and soon to be co-missionaries) and you've come here hoping to find some deeper level of spiritual awareness and thought provoking insights without all the sass or edginess... stop reading now! You will be disappointed.

Photo credit -Troy Livesay