Have a Ball in PNG!

Okay, so this is a little bit last minute, but I WANT YOUR HELP!!

Max & I are off to PNG in just one week

We’re hoping to get to spend lots of time in the village helping to connect with other mothers and children, making new friends and also helping to provide education and training on basic primary health care and caring for children.

We are SO excited.

You may have heard that while I’m really excited, I’ve been struggling a lot!! Wrestling in my heart… in a good way!

The ship is stocked with medical supplies but I wanted to bring something along for FUN. Because fun and community and friendship are part of our basic human needs. And because I want to teach my little boy about generosity and friendship while we are there.

So here’s the deal, we want to collect balls to give to our new-found friends!! Since we’re flying in, we’ve found some flat packed blow up balls for $5 which will be perfect. We know they will go over so well with the kids there!!

Would you consider sponsoring a ball for $5?!

All you have to do is click here and you can donate via credit card. In the “recipient” category, simply type “HOOVER BALLS FOR PNG.”

Thanks heaps for bringing health – and FUN AND HAPPINESS – to the kids of PNG!!


My Heart Is Aching.

I’ve been struggling. A lot. Packing for PNG has never been so hard.

On the one hand, I have to “plan for the worst”… and plan for everything. I’m a sort of simple traveller: “We’ll pick it up when we get there,” “We’ll only buy it if we need it.” But this time there is no Walmart. There is not even a corner store. This time, what we have is what we’ve got – bar maybe a village shop that sells coca cola and chicken biscuits.

And even that is not so bad, except this time, we have a child.

Someone gets a bug bite? Or a scraped knee? Or a sunburn? Or nappy rash? Or some rumbling in the tummy? We’ve gotta have it all.

I’m an organised person. I like to be prepared. So even though I’m packing a lot more than I normally do, this isn’t even the real problem.

Because its not until I’m  actually putting Max’s hat to shade him from the nasty sun and his rubber boots to keep him from getting the intestinal worms (which are epidemic in PNG and causing malnutrition, stunted growth and minimising mental capacity in children) into the suitcase that my heart starts to break.

The picture in my mind starts out cute. My happy little man running around all cute in his gumboots and smelling like coconut sunscreen… and then I see the dark-skinned, bare-bottomed babies running with him, open sores with festered flies, bloated bellies from worms or malaria.

This is not an if. This is not a possibility. I’ve been there before. This is their life. This is what is happening today. This is what it will be like in just a couple of weeks when we arrive.

I don’t know how to stand there with my little man as protected as he can be (this coming from a fairly relaxed mother!), and watch them suffer? I can’t bring boots for them all and yet I will be choosing each day to put those sweet plastic shoes on the two feet I kiss every day… possibly to the detriment of another child.

Its been a challenge for my heart, and yet I know that it would be just as wrong to give those shoes to another and not do my very best to look after my own child.

Injustice sucks.

And even though I feel heartbroken and challenged and frustrated, I’m using the pain as a catalyst and asking God to help my heart understand in new ways. I’m allowing my heart to explore… to learn to love deeper, to learn to listen more intently, to consider how I can help.

I don’t go naive… I go understanding that they will teach me lessons too. These strong, beautiful women have a lot to teach me.

And I know that regardless of his conscious memories, this trip will shape Max as well. You can’t experience something like this and not be the same. I’m being deliberate to take action that will teach him generosity, friendship, community and service… in simple ways that his tiny mind can comprehend.

These have always been the reasons we are going; but as the suitcase gets heavier and the realities sink in, the resolve becomes stronger.

One more week…!

Ship Shape

We’ve been spending the past few days down at the water. There’s been a little of this:

(Entertaining a toddler beside the wharf)

And a little of this:

(Walks along the wharf)

And a lot of hard work, sweat, hammering, sawing, and beautifying.

The results are stunning. Check out the new lounge on board:

With the ship being up in PNG for 6 months this year, we wanted to make it more liveable. The bunks are tiny and people need space to chill out, relax, and recharge. And trust me, this new lounge is really the ultimate place to hang out and refresh. Max & I are well aware. We’ve been bringing lunch down to Jared on a regular basis, enjoying some family time sliding down the wood floor on bean bags and tracking Jared’s progress as he gets our medical ship into… ship shape!

We waved them off yesterday as they sailed and word has it that its so smooth they started working on painting “our” cabin.

Yep, we renovated a little cabin and built in a cot for the three of us. Its all happening in three weeks and we are SO excited!!


We Cannot WAIT To Meet This Guy!

Believe it or not, in the midst of floods and cyclones and first birthday parties, we’ve been making preparations to take our first family trip to Papua New Guinea.

I know, I know! “Taking a toddler on that ship for weeks on end?! What are you thinking?!”

Well, we’re thinking we’ve invested a lot into this ship and we really want to be a part of the business end of this hunk o’ metal! On top of that, I’ve had a deep, deep love of PNG since my first visit at age 19, and Jared has a heap of friends he’s looking forward to seeing from his first advance trip now a couple of years ago… and this ship could actually use some of our help!

Besides, we do what we do as a family, and we’re super eager to show Max what he’s been a part of – to have from his earliest memories the experiences of helping others, learning about other cultures, and being okay with sleeping in a tiny bed and taking 2 minute showers and doing one load of laundry a week. (I actually wish for this many weeks, but somehow I don’t think this is exactly how I anticipated my wish being granted!!)

Honestly, when you meet some of the people we’re looking forward to meet, you will understand… it really is the least we could do! A few weeks (our itinerary isn’t quite confirmed) really isn’t much when you see what those weeks will most definitely equate to. We can’t wait to meet this guy (and maybe some of his friends):

This Cyclone Yasi Update Brought to You by The Hoovers

Well, we don’t want this to turn into a weather blog but we really wanted to write and ask for your prayers with this weather! As you know, the storm on the weekend (Cyclone Anthony) downgraded and did not cross the shore with much damage at all. (Yeah!)

We are now tracking another cyclone – Yasi. Its a good thing that Jared & Max prepared on the weekend as we were already ready for this storm!

my hunk-a-spunks

This storm is significantly larger, and in fact, possibly the largest storm to ever hit the Queensland coast. While it does not look like the eye of the storm will hit us, we will have a lot of rain and wind. Many people have been asking us whether we will be evacuating. Our house and ministry centre are actually located along a big hill so we do not need to evacuate at this time! (Yeah!)

We live in that white circle surrounded by blue!!

In fact, we have prepared fully, flashlights, matches, portable stoves, candles, board games, water, food… and even some comfort food! 😉 (Which was on the list of things to have available!!)

The rain and wind have started and there is anticipation and caution in our heart – we must be wise and prepared. But we are not afraid! We are bunkering down in our home within the next hour where we will stay until the storm passes. This is the safest way to ride it all out and we’ll look forward to some cozy family time!

We appreciate your prayer for our family, for our ministry centre, and for the communities of North Queensland.

We anticipate losing power sometime today or tomorrow but will endeavour to keep you updated as we can. Don’t get worried if you don’t hear from us! We will most likely be just fine enjoying dunkaroos and card games!


The Hoovers

Adventures of the Stroller Brigade

I’d been waiting 10 long months for this:

Love Snuggling With Papa

And this:

Wrestling With Uncle Luke

Oh how I love those Brittan men. They didn’t disappoint. Watching my boy snuggle and play with his Papa and Uncle Luke made my heart soar.

Washington, we have arrived.

And how about those Brittan girls? Yes, there was dancing. There was singing. And there was copious amounts of candy. There were memories and laughing and a few tears here and there (mostly from laughing.)

There were two hour sessions at the gym. (And 45 minute ones, thank you very much.)

And there were cousins.

Loving the drama

Oh those cousins. Max learned how to colour, ate all kinds of new foods, got sick from eating said foods, and learned that sometimes if you want to keep a toy you gotta squeal or push a little bit. I know, I know… he’ll learn sharing. But until then, surivival of the fittest kid under 2 is pretty hilarious.

And so are 6 kids in strollers being pushed through crowded holiday sale aisles at Nordstrom rack by 3 skinny model looking girls and their big sister.

The “stroller brigade” we were dubbed. We got smirks and smiles but mostly smiles. I mean, the kids are pretty much the cutest ever… as long as they were fed rapid-fire doses of Cheezits and Kix. With double packed pockets in every mommy’s coat, there were plenty of smiles to make up for the fact that the stroller brigade was not armed with a reverse beep and crashed into a rack or two.

Thank God for the play area at the mall.

And for snow. And sledding… behind the ATV.

Auntie Bek's Got the Giggles

For Christmas parties and Christmas plays and Christmas lights…

I love me a gaudy Christmas Light Show

And date nights.

And mostly for family. And unconditional love. And making memories and cuddling nieces and nephews. And long talks with mom and dad. And pretending like we lived there and never left.

It hurt to leave. But we are cherishing the memories we made and looking forward to the future. Good things are in store. Stay tuned.

My Little Snowman

Until then, stay out of the way of the Stroller Brigade. 😉

Can You Guess Where We Are?

Wind. Pizza. Socks… (er, Sox). Did that give it away? Bulls… Cubs…

Yep, we made a mad dash to Chicago on the way to Indiana to meet Jared’s relis!

And, like any good tourist would do, we woke up, ate a continental breakfast at the motel and scoured the brochures in the lobby for a good idea on how to spend the day.

The boys planning our day

I have never seen my husband so excited as he was about this card.

Lincoln Park Zoo. Always Open. Always Free.

“We’re going to the zoo,” he triumphantly declared! And off we went.

Despite the fact that this zoo is like a giant park in the middle of the city, it was freezing (literally) and snowing and the place was absolutely creepy and empty.

Ahhh... body heat

We decided to brave it anyway and we are oh so glad we did. What an amazing day! This place is the best and having an entire zoo to yourself is … ummm … awesome. The seal show was more like the seal chat as we huddled up with the zoo keepers.

And the lions? Yeah… when no one is around they really like to show off and roar super loud.

And the baby? Well, he thought it was cute to roar back.

Pretty sure the lion won the roaring contest. But I think the mommy and daddy were the real winners because what mommy and daddy doesn’t love to watch their kid being ridiculously cute roaring at a lion?


And how’s this for adorable?? These two couldn’t keep their eyes and hands off each other. It was seriously hard to pull ourselves away from the window and if it wasn’t nap time, we might’ve stayed there all day.


And while Max slept, we took a visit to Africa, and Australia, and the great North West and even the North Pole. We learned about animals we’ve never heard of and marvelled at our Creator.

Finally found the giraffes

We made mad dashes through the snowy outdoors into heated buildings and frolicked like two kids in love and laughed when we caught two other kids in love making out in the aviary. (Ooops… maybe we didn’t have the entire zoo to ourselves!)

And we ended our day like any good Chicago tourist would… with a pizza.

Pepperoni Rocks My World

Pepperoni Rocks My World