Saturday, December 31, 2011

a review of 2011

2011 was a tough year on me.  Lots of hopes and dreams and not a lot of fruition.   A lot of trust in God, a lot of being obedient, a lot of tears, a lot of heartache.   I am praying that 2012 is much easier on me emotionally.  I am praying that God shows me more "whys" instead of "because I said so." I am praying that God reveal himself to me....  Here's to a better 2012!

Here is a look back on some of the happy times of 2011.  
January - Cannon turned 7

February - Pine Wood Derby

March - 2nd Annual Spring Break Oklahoma Tour 

April - Easter

 April - Grace turned 4

 May - Opened the pool, lots of swimming this summer!

June - Big kids went to Kamp. Cannon's 1st year, Kay's 3rd year.

August through October - Lots of football!

August - 2nd, PreK & 5th grades

October - Celebrating Kay's 10th bday 

 October - Happy Halloween!

November - updated kids pictures

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December 1: World AIDS Day, a borrowed post

This post was borrowed from The Farmers Wife Tells All. This family just returned home with their child from Uganda. Today, December 1, is World AIDS Day. A day to bring attention to the disease that is one of the main cause of orphans in Africa.

I wrote this post in April when we visited Uganda for the first time. Our day at the AIDS hospital there is seared in my memory, and I feel like an appropriate way to acknowledge World AIDS Day is by stopping and recognizing that people live with this illness that ravages bodies and robs lives. This illness that is so easily treatable and preventable. Please, take a moment with me and walk in their shoes.

Today we visited an AIDS hospital. That is something I think every American should do. This particular hospital is free, so many of the people there could not recieve care elsewhere. The largest source of funding for this place is the US government. This was really interesting to me in light of the budget battles going on at home. If there is anywhere money needs to be spent, it was there.

The reason we visited this particular hospital was to carry the message that we are Americans who are open to adopting an HIV + child. In this country, HIV+ orphans are the true "least of these." It is unimaginable to people here that families would want to adopt them. But the truth is, in the US, you give your HIV+ child medication twice a day and they visit the doctor 2-4 times a year. The end. Yes, there is stigma to deal with and yes, it is a serious, lifelong illness. But it is one that can be managed. Many docotors say it's easier to manage than diabetes.

Anyway, the first thing we were told is that the patients are treated by number, not name. This is due to the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS here.People have to keep their status a secret, and the use of numbers is a safeguard for the patients. Nonetheless, I can't imagine being treated medically as a number. It was clear from the beginning that these people are ashamed of their status. In most areas we've visited, people look at us and smile and maybe say hello. These people looked the other way if I smiled at them or looked at the ground and avoided eye contact with anyone.

Each section of the hospital we were taken to was full of people waiting for medications or to be seen by a doctor. Looking at the full benches of waiting people and knowing the small number of doctors available, I decided I will never again complain about waiting in a doctor's offiice. People arrived early in the morning, and I realized they would probably spend much of their day there.

The pediatric inpatient unit was heartbreaking for sure. We looked through the glass at a little one lying in a bed with his mother standing over him in the intensive care unit. He was listless and very sick. At this hospital, although it's free, parents must stay with their children the entire time they are being treated. They sleep on the floor under their kids' beds and are expected to help clean and perform other work during the day. For this reason, few orphans are seen here as inpatients, because there just aren't parent figures to stay with them during their care. Some babies' homes send the Mamas (caregivers) to stay with the children there, but that puts a strain on the homes as well. Because of this, many of the homes do not even take in HIV+ children.

The outpatient kids' area was much happier. Here most kids were just waiting for medications or routine checkups. There was a nice play area outside where the kids could run around while waiting to be seen. One little girl looked at Jon as we walked through, gasped, and said, "Mommy, look!" It was so cute.

What I saw mostly in this place was a lot of people doing the best they could with the very limited resources they have. When I looked at the patients, I just got a sense of how very wrong it is that this disease has devastated this continent while so many of us are oblivious to it. I saw suffering but also a lot of resilience there. It was truly a life enriching experience and I would encourage anyone who has the chance to visit an AIDS unit. Even locally in the US. These people need love and they need to know that Jesus has not forgotten them and isn't afraid of their illness.

"For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

“Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

“And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ - Matthew 25:35-40