Oh Come All Ye (UN)Faithful

Its been one of those years. Big. Awesome. Challenging. Wonderful. Hard.

Its been one of those years that takes it out of you a bit. Like the end of a marathon… when you know you’ve accomplished something great… but it feels like you’ve just taken a massive beating.

Not that I would know, having never run one. But I ran a 10k once and in the midst of feeling like an Olympic Champion receiving a gold medal and giant bouquet of roses as I dab at my tears and listen to the Star Spangled Banner, I also felt like I’d been run over by a truck. So I can only imagine what you’d feel like after a marathon.

And what I imagine is a little like how I feel.

Good. Awesome. Great. Weary. Crusty. Dry.

And that’s why singing my baby to sleep as we road-tripped across the home of that Great Star Spangled Banner was the best thing I could ever do.

Christmas carol after sweet Christmas carol – or should I say amazing worship song after worship song – my heart melted. And was restored. And refreshed.

I rejoiced. Silent tears fell remembering that silent night.

My heart craved heavenly peace – and the One who gave His life for it.

I remembered that He does call us to come… the faithful… and the unfaithful.

Because He wants us all. He came for us all.

My heart is singing and I hope with all that is in me that THIS Christmas – this joy in my heart – will last all year.

Yes, pleas

Yes, please. I'd love a bit of that Heavenly Peace!

No One Likes to Sit Next to a Crying Baby

My travel buddy

I was expecting dread, dirty looks, the evil eye, and not-so-subtle sighing.

So imagine my surprise when after 13 hours in the air in a small and confined space, I was greeted instead by… reliefdelightsmiles… and statements of overwhelming gratitude for my awesome parenting (which I refer to as “luck” and “the grace of God”)?

Evidently, no one likes sitting next to a crying baby. But when the baby doesn’t cry (at all!), people are very very happy. I mean, SERIOUSLY happy. Its like their dread gives way to a waterfall of gratitude and joy.

My little Max is an exceptional traveller.

Overall our trip, was amazing. Profitable. Insightful. Worth it.

We met some amazing people – like these guys, who run a garment factory in Cambodia where people who have been trafficked can have a paying job and rehabilitation services. And  these guys – who ship medical supplies all around the world… and maybe even to Papua New Guinea?!

And we launched the very first Not For Sale DTS. Anyone know someone with 6 months to change the world? Send ’em our way!

We were reminded of the 27 million people around the world who live in slavery. The ones who are making products that you and I get at bottom bucket bargain prices…

Maybe that whole underground railroad, abolition thing isn’t quite over yet.

We don’t want to be radical. We want to be smart.
We don’t want to be condemning. We want to be responsible.
We don’t want to be naive. We want to seek truth.

We’re not hopping on the bandwagon… we’re asking questions… learning… and remembering that the whole “set the captives free” thing is a bit more literal that we realised… but way too important to ignore.

Thickening My Skin

Let’s face it. I’m not the first to do this and I certainly won’t be the last.

But for me? This is an adventure. An unknown. Something that could go really really good… or really really… ummm… adventurous.

Tomorrow I board a plane… (done that before)

with my baby… (done that too)

without my husband… (yes, done that as well)

for a 13 hour flight… (no, haven’t done this combo before!)

If Max was one of those sleepy babies, I’d be smokin’… but he’s not. He’s one of those life of the party kinda kids… and there is every chance in the world he will want to party for the entire 13 hours surrounded by all kinds of weird and wonderful people!

But I’m doing it.

And I’m doing it for something a lot greater than me.

We’re heading to the Global Forum on Human Trafficking. We’re only in the country for three days. That means that we’ll be travelling almost as much as we’ll be staying put.

But you know what? Our exhaustion will no where near compare to the people we will be learning about.

The ones who get taken from their mommys and daddys and put on big planes and into dark rooms with selfish men who have their way with them…

The ones we just might get to help save.

Our time… our sleep… yes, even our sanity… is well worth the lives of these precious ones.

In the words of my doctor, I’m bracing myself for the humiliation of a crying baby on a big plane and thickening my skin so I’m not bothered by the glaring looks just in case he decides  to keep them awake… and getting ready to go hard core for three days… (thanks to Julia and Amy for watching their little nephew!)…

Because I – no WE – are getting ready ready to save some lives…

And we are going to laugh and enjoy every minute of it!

Have Baby... Will Travel

My American Boy.

Last week, Max & I headed to Brisbane to make him an American.  What a trip we had. If I had been doubting my faith in humanity, it would’ve been 100% restored after our trip. People were so, so kind.

I realise now that Max may never again sleep on an airplane unless he is totally sedated. Mr Social just can’t help himself. See people; will play. Fortunately, the flight attendants and fellow passengers were just as eager to play peekaboo with him as he was with them. He was in top form and we all had a good laugh… even though it was hours past bedtime.

We had breakfast for two on our very tall balcony.

I had the most amazing view:

Max got his fill of his favourite past time – people watching – as we sat on the streets of the great, big city. He delighted in giving little waves, big smiles and “hiiiiiiiiiiis” to the people passing by and my heart melted as grown men in expensive suits could not walk by without stopping – yes, stopping – to smile back, say hello, and stroke his cheek.

It was rush hour. They were busy and important. But he was irresistable.

And I think he did just as much for their hearts as they did for mine.

The lady driving a bus thought so too. Stopped at a light, she opened her door just to play peekaboo with the happy little boy sitting on the brick wall next to his mama.

Be still my beating heart…

We had challenges. Like the minor mommy meltdown that occurred when we landed and I found out that the train had left (there were no more coming), the only rental car with a car seat would cost $120 for 24 hours, and a taxi with a car seat would cost $80 (one way)… and include a two hour wait. Umm, hello. Its 10p and bedtime was more than 3 hours ago. There were tears. And there was a very nice man who helped… we made it and we didn’t have to hitchhike.

We had victories. Like becoming an American.

We ran into friends… and friends of friends… and people we worked with long ago. (We felt famous.)

We made sweet memories… like playing ball on the floor of the PNG Consulate (yes, we decided to run some work errands while we were at it).

And we relished the moments… like walking down the street and watching a bride being walked down the aisle by her daddy…

And sweet sleeps on mommy’s chest…

And blow out poos in the middle of the city without a bathroom in sight.

We laughed hard. So hard the camera phone kept getting blurry. And we stayed awake the entire plane ride back. Laughing some more.

Oh how I love my American boy.