Foret d’Pins

The Haitian Pine Forest!  Sixty-five degrees and fresh pine air awaited us at the top of the mountains, a welcome change to the hot and dusty streets of Port-au-Prince.  It is a rare day when we load up everyone in the middle of the week along with a big bag of muffins, Pringles, and some chocolate bars (that may have melted  beyond the point of eating).  Ahh, but that is what we did on Ash Wednesday, a day when all of the stores and schools are still closed in Haiti because of Carnival. The beauty of God’s creation surrounded us and at every turn we stood in awe and wonder at the One who made it.

Immediately as we hopped out of the car to hike up a trail through the pine trees, the kids spotted wild strawberries covering the ground.  They started picking and eating the strawberries.  As soon as they cleared out a patch, they went looking for more.  They were delicious, but only enough to whet the appetite for more.

There is no way these wild strawberries would ever truly satisfy my family of eight, but the kids were determined to try!  Strawberries are a coveted item amongst my kids. We found a 2 lb pack of imported strawberries at the grocery store for the bargain price of $13 just the other day.  Needless to say, we didn’t buy the imported ones.  I am pretty sure they didn’t taste as good as the wild ones anyway.

Other cool things we found on our trip to the Pine Forest:

Hannah's five leaf clover

Agave antillarum (as best as I can decipher)

Flower stalk of the Agave plant, close to 12 feet high!

As we were heading back near the end of the day.

I cherish these moments with my family.  I love the joy of hiking through the forest.  I adore the One who makes life worth living.

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Monopoly

It has been almost two weeks since my husband went to the States to have some minor surgery.  He took with him our sweet three-year-old, Callie girl.  I have missed them tremendously and I am looking forward to their return later today!

I wish I could write an amazing list of all the things I accomplished while they were away.  I wish I had gotten way ahead in my kitchen, but that isn’t quite accurate.  I wish I could say that all the laundry is washed, dried, and put away but it isn’t.  I wish I could say that the kids really advanced on their school work, but they just kept up with the regular assignments.

What we did do, however, was absolutely worth every second that was spent.  We honed our Monopoly skills.  We played for hours.  Christa, 11; Hannah, 9; Wilson, 7; and Jett, 5  and I spent much time rolling dice and moving our tokens around the board.  Jett was a great partner for me.  He stuck with me throughout almost all of the game, only running off momentarily here and there.  Wilson was most impressive to watch.  He did a great job counting money, buying properties, and going to jail (which he did quite regularly).  I was most impressed with his long attention span and his dedication to the game.  He didn’t ever want to give up.  It was a great time of learning skills of game playing.  We all practiced  speaking encouragingly with each other, taking turns patiently, losing gracefully, and winning humbly.  I purposefully determined to be in the moment with my big kids, knowing that these days are fleeting. I tried not to be consumed with all of the billions of things that I could have been doing.

Well, there is always tomorrow to work in the kitchen, do the laundry, and take care of life.  Today, I am thankful for the time I had with my big kids (some  games are best played without the three-year-old sister running around).  I am thankful my husband had a successful surgery and is healing properly.  I am thankful that our family will all be together for dinner tonight.  I am thinking tacos…and chips and salsa. 🙂

Join us for Gratituesday at Heavenly Homemakers!