Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I need help. You know I do...

I've been sorting through the 3,941 photos that have been compiled from everyone who went to India with my husband, in order to create a hardbound photo book. Yes, that was 3,941, thankyouverymuch.  And yes, I am crazy.
You see, I'm having a really hard time narrowing down my perfect idea of a cover photo.
I am normally the most decisive person I've ever known.  Give me six choices, and I'm good with ten seconds to decide. 
For some reason, the same doesn't seem to apply for 3,941.  I'm not really sure why. 
It seemed like such a simple task.  Choose one. Only one.  And like that one the best.
Only, I can't choose...

So will you help me?  Don't scroll up- just yell out (Or in your case, type in comments.) the first one that struck you in this grouping of photos.  Seriously, don't look back up-  I want your gut reaction here.

Thanks peeps.  You know I love ya.

Frazzled and drowning in a sea of photos,

(Photo credits go to the talented Emylee B.)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

The Faces of India

I'm giving you an abbreviated tour through the hundreds (yes, I said "hundreds") of photos my man took, on his recent trip to India.  We are in the process of publishing them into a hardbound book, so I'm just picking some of my personal favorites to show you.  (I'd have Adrain guide you through these, but as you can imagine, after missing two full weeks of work, he's a little bogged down right now. Since that's the case, I'm going to include some random quotes from his emails while he was there.)  Adrain traveled to Pune, and Indore, India.  He taught a discipleship training class, and preached in an Indian church, as well as volunteered at several orphanages, visited a couple of leper colonies, and encouraged those who are living/working in the red light district.  He also played cricket with some children, and got to participate in a baby dedication. 
This was a photo taken of the children in one of the homeless camps.  I'm going to say this a million times, give or take, but aren't these faces incredibly precious?   Adrain wrote, "We went from one orphanage to a boys home for children of lepers.  There are about 60 of them, and I got to play cricket for the first time.  I'm pretty good.  I hit one over their building.  I felt bad because I lost that ball, and the other day when playing with the children of prostitutes, I tossed a ball onto a roof top.  Both times there were spares, but still...The kids were amazed by the hit.  Lots of chatter about the great American cricket player.  That might be a slight over exaggeration."

Here are some boys doing what boys do.
This was one of the first photos Adrain took.  I love everything about it.  This isn't going to make much sense, but I love the quietness of it.  Though from the sounds of it, the roads were anything but quiet.  Adrain said they called the taxis, "Heaven-mobiles" because every time they got in one, they figured they were on their way to heaven, in a hurry.
This precious little face gets me.  I love the angle Adrain shot it from too.  Like he was just looking down at one of his own babies. Precious.  Did I say that yet?  Because I think it's precious.  Adrain wrote, "Another amazing day.  Yesterday, we were able to tour what is known as the Orissa camp.  It's about 3 acres that's being used to build facilities for orphans and families taken from their home in Orissa due to persecution.  There are 125 boys and 50 girls.  The project is due to be completed in about 2 months.  As we were touring the facilities, they told us about their vision to buy two acres behind the property and build a school for the orphans and the surrounding village.  The problem was, that the landowner didn't want to sell and was asking too high of a price.  I just felt we needed to pray about it right then and there.  We did, and today, out of nowhere, the landowner called to make a deal on the property and sold it to the group.  God is awesome."
The team visited a camp for deaf children.  I don't know the specifics of this photo, but something about the brightly clad figure, all alone in this long hallway feels like I'm somehow intruding on a quiet moment.  (Or rather, Adrain was intruding.  I'm just observing.)  I think Adrain really enjoyed his time there.  He has such a special place in his heart for all children, but especially those with disabilities.
Bright colors are everywhere.  I love the rooster in the back! 
 This is an assembly at the school for hearing-impaired children.  Notice how the boys are on one side, and the girls are on the other.  
These are the brightest blue eyes I have ever seen.  I told Adrain these were "National Geographic Blue." 
The children at the school for the hearing-impaired all wore red socks.  Adrain just stumbled upon these shoes outside the meeting place, and snapped this photo.  
More of the darling children from the school for the hearing-impaired.
Adrain was just outside of an orphanage for children with/affected by aids, when he took this photo of children heading home from school.
 This one makes me go, "Awww," every single time I see it. I love the fact that she's carrying around a baby doll.  And that there is one bright red chair in this courtyard.  It's sweet and sad, all in one, to me.  Adrain doesn't understand why I love this one, but I think it's the Mama in me.  Little girls are little girls, no matter where they are... 
I could take this one home in my suitcase.  I really could.  Look at the expression in those darling big, brown eyes.  I wish I knew this little guy's name. 
This is another one I love.  There isn't a lot of extra "fluff" in this room as you can see.  But these red flowers in the window grate are so homey.  Like someone took the time to be intentional where it couldn't be missed. It's beautiful. 
Oh, this face!  A hint of dimples.  What will you grow up to be, you precious boy? I wonder what he was thinking when Adrain bent down and took this photo.  You can almost look right into his soul.  Precious, I tell you!
One of the things that made Adrain the saddest, (and there were several) were the fact that he saw women  laboring under heavy loads of bricks all over the place.  There were women older than our parents hauling loads of bricks up and down stairs. 
Groups of orphans performed some songs and drums for Adrain's team.  He loved it!  I don't have photos, but apparently several of the team members Adrain traveled with took a group of 180 orphans to the zoo.  The Zoo! Can you imagine?  Two children overwhelm me!  I can't imagine 180.  (And they didn't even lose one.)

Adrain wrote, "I am listening to an Indian wedding down the block.  I had my first good night's sleep last night, and got a full 6 hours.  I hate the caste system but am amazed by the courageous testimonies I am hearing."   He shot this photo from his hotel window, late that night.  Look at the amazing bright colors!  I would have done just about anything to be there.  I'd have tried to make Adrain sneak in with me... only I'd have been the white girl with blue eyes, so my sneaking might  have been quickly discovered.  But wouldn't this just have been a blast? 
While Adrain was in India, a group he was with received some Christmas boxes from Samaritan's Purse.  The idea is, that you purchase small items, tuck them into a shoebox, and the group Samaritan's Purse delivers them all over the world to children.  Adrain said he'd never seen anything quite like it.  These children literally have nothing, and some of them have never received presents before.  This little girl just captured my heart completely, as she hugs a little stuffed monkey to her heart. 
Whenever I feel like complaining about my neighborhood... or my home... or my lack of "something"... it might do well for me to remember just how very much I have.
This mother looks so young and perhaps even weighed down by the weight of her load?  Adrain said her child never stirred the entire time he was there. Again, the Mama in me related to something in this photo.  Maybe a sense of, "been there, done that?"  Anyway, just look at the joy and spunk in the little face of her daughter. 
One of the last places Adrain's team visited was a Leper colony.  Adrain was overwhelmed with compassion for these precious people who are considered outcasts.  He wrote,"What an amazing time at the leper colonies.  It was incredible praying over them for healing.  Wait till you see the pictures.  One of my favorite shots, is of me shaking a man's "hand." It was more of a stump.  He actually brought both stumps to my hand.  He was so thrilled someone would be willing to touch him.  My other favorite is when a young man came to me and pointed toward a building and said "Foto", so I followed him into one of the dwellings.  There was the sweetest, saddest looking lady you have ever seen.   She did not come to welcome us or see us during the group gathering. It was his mother.  I shook her hand, but she wouldn't look up.  She was so lost in her shame. But then, I knelt on the floor in front of her, and grabbed both of her hands in mine.  I told her how beautiful she is and how Jesus loves her.  Then I asked to take another picture and she let me.  Even though she is not smiling in the picture, she was when I showed it to her."
Adrain took amazing photos, because his compassion leads him.  Even in our own country.  He is always the first to stop and offer help to people with flat tires or emergencies.  And he will hate that I shared this, but he never fails to purchase a burger for a homeless person, and often takes a minute to ask their name and hear their story.  I have never met another person who has every ounce of my respect, more than my husband.  He lives each moment of his life with the purpose of being intentional.  He inspires me to be unafraid in my faith. I feel blessed to know him, and I get to be his wife besides all that.

I'm so glad you got to see a peek into what he did on his trip.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Do you Seder?

After many of you commented, "Uh...Lemonade Makin' Mama?... What's a Seder Dinner?" (I'm paraphrasing) I realized that, being the supreme non-Jewish, non-expert, on all things "Seder," I needed to take it upon myself to non-enlighten you. (Ahem.) Which basically means, that after this post, you may know less about Seder than when you began. (I never claimed to be an expert.  At least on this...) 
My BFF is Jewish and she doesn't seem particularly offended that I participate, host, or basically have no clue when it comes to Passover.  I do try to be respectful of the traditions set before me.  (If you want to know more about a traditional Seder Meal, click here.)  We celebrate it in our family, because the ceremony itself is full of rich symbolism that we relate to, from our Christian viewpoint, during Easter.   
I like to put my own stamp (pun intended) on this meal...
And little boxes filled with macaroons make my guests smile...
Getting ready to prepare our favorite food in the Seder meal.  Charoset.  Yummy apple-y, cinnamon side dish.
I love it when everything is organized and ready to go.
Dangit... Adrain stole my camera.  He took multiple photos that will not be seen in this post, up to, and including photos of my hiney. Men.
Festive candles...
So... um... when you're shopping for Seder, and you have no idea how much Matzah bread to purchase... and you see a huge case of five boxes... yeah... don't buy it. I'm pretty sure one box would be sufficient for a party of eight. I now have enough unleavened bread to supply a small church for a year.
This was my first experience with cooking a lamb shank.  I don't even know if it was supposed to be cooked for the Seder plate.  I'm like the blind non-jew, leading the curious. In other words, don't listen to me because I'm clearly no expert.
I will say... that you know it's a good party when the table top gets trashed by the end of the night.

Of course that could have just been the four glasses of Seder wine talking...