All posts tagged: #haiti

Poop on Christmas

Our Christmas is going down the toilet.  And it’s a good thing. I’m always trying to figure out ways to connect with my 11 year old son. I made it through the Thomas trains phase, the Matchbox cars phase, the Dinosaur phase, and the Pokemon phase. Now we’re in some weird tween boy limbo. He recently asked if he can start hunting. Except for Star Wars, Harry Potter, and a very occasional chess game, we have little in common. Most of our conversations are me nagging him about homework and hygiene. It’s kind of sad. On New Years Day when we voted for Haiti as our 2015 Family Compassion Focus, the kids all declared what they were looking to do there: “Something with kids!” – Greta “Something with chickens!” – Zoë “Something with toilets!” – Caleb Over the next several weeks we got the laptop out at breakfast and researched the country and it’s hard history. We studied it’s weather, people, and natural disasters. We read aloud from more than 30 different websites to learn what different nonprofits are doing …

World Changer Wednesday – Danielle

Do you think beauty can change the world? Let me tell you about my friend Danielle. She creates beauty. Her paintings capture vivid colors, haunting beauty, and secret tenderness. They have been featured at several galleries and art shows. But she also went into my kids’ classrooms with her easel and paints, letting 5 year olds touch her work and asking them to help name her pieces. She designs beauty. She can see potential everywhere. Clients want her to make their homes and offices inviting, artistic, and practical. This is easy for her. But even as the expert she extends grace and confidence as they participate in the process. Clients are empowered and grateful when they see their ambigious ideas come to life. She celebrates beauty. Whether it’s at the Art Institute, renegade craft fairs, or a garage sale, she finds amazing things. She appreciates lines, colors, form, and function. She loves when a piece has a history. This year she found all these things in a new place, and it has changed her. She can’t stop talking about it. Introducing …

Welcome, New Friends!

Many of you are visiting here today because you heard me on Ali Eastburn’s Heroes of Generosity podcast. It posted on Tuesday, 10/20/15, and I’m humbled to be a part of it. If you haven’t heard it yet, you can hear the podcast directly on Ali’ Eastburn’s website. (It will be on iTunes, soon, too.) We talk about family, generosity, compassion, and the crazy things we do for love. We laughed a lot during the interview and I hope you’ll laugh along with us as you run errands, commute to work, do the dishes, or work out. Ali Eastburn is World Changer. Eight years ago she heard God asking if she might be willing to sell her wedding ring to give an entire village clean water. That radical generosity birthed a movement and the organization With This Ring. Over a hundred water wells have been built around the world because people sold their wedding rings, heirloom jewelry, and chose not to have fancy weddings so others might have their first taste of clean water. Please listen to Ali’s …

Ugly Americans

I closed my eyes and sighed. The plane was full of monsters. Bright orange monsters overfilling their seats and the plane with noise, girth, disrespect, and lots of camo. “Mare-see?? Speak english! We can’t understand you! Yuk Yuk!” “College? We’re rednecks! [Back slap] We don’t need college!” “I’m preaching the word in that village tonight, right?! Alright!” I scooted closer to Greta in her window seat to put as much distance as possible between me and the mission team sitting in front, behind, across and next to me. Their shirts said Agape Jesus Love in comic sans font. I never felt more sophisticated in my life. Sigh. We all left the plane in order and went down the short hallway to immigration. All the orange shirts were in front of me. They were so loud. I’d been up since 3:45am. Me: “What brings you to Haiti?” Orange: “It’s my 5th trip. I love it here. We’re here to help folks in the North. We’re gonna teach ’em how to plant food. We brought seeds last time, but …

The Haiti Chicken Dance

Greta and I walked to the bus stop this morning. She was tired and cross and refused soft hugs. We waited in silence under the bright stars. After a minute she reached for my hand and I squeezed it tight. The bus pulled up. She let me hug her twice and said, “just a very small Chicken Dance today, Mama” before climbing up the steps and watching me out the window. The last time I flapped my wings we were high in the mountains of Haiti. Greta and I did the Chicken Dance with the students, teachers, and community at the Haiti Partners Children’s Academy. Here are some pictures: Here’s the video! https://youtu.be/Icbti-SXILM Never in a million years would I have dreamed up this silly story. I’ve been laughing and shaking my head about it for almost 2 months. I dance in the dark at my daughter’s bus stop. I pledge to do it in a chicken suit and let it be recorded if people donate to Haiti Partners. Over $10,500 is donated! Greta and I fly to …

World Changer Wednesday – My Greta

What is your dream for the kids in your life? That they will be rich, famous, loved, healthy?  That they’ll have good jobs or get married? For lots of reasons, I’ve had to die to lots of dreams when I think about my kids’ futures. Now my main hope and prayer is that they will be lovable and loving World Changers. That they will understand God’s love for them so fully that they can’t help but shape their lives around that relentless truth. Greta and I got back from Haiti last night. We went there to Chicken Dance. When Greta was so sad about going to her new school in our new town in a new state I did a little Chicken Dance in the dark at the bus stop. One day she told me to “do it bigger!” so the whole bus could see and smile with her. She wanted to share it. That’s Greta. She wants joy for everyone. She agreed to share it with the whole world by recording it and putting it online …

Why Haiti?

Greta and I are in Haiti, visiting the Haiti Partners Children’s Academy.  What a gift it will be to listen and learn here today. The first time our family felt moved to try something compassionate was after the earthquake in Haiti in 2010.  So much has happened since then.  To read how and why we ended up in Haiti now in 2015, here are some links: My Family’s 2015 Family Compassion Focus Compassion Catapult – The Earthquake in Haiti Contagious Compassion – The Earthquake in Haiti Called to Compassion – Since the Earthquake in Haiti Chickening Out Bad Dancing Here are pictures from my husband’s trip to Haiti in 2007. Here are pictures from our family’s spontaneous fundraiser for Haiti after the earthquake in 2010. In ended up raising $34,000. Crazy. I am unfolding the idea of Surrender throughout the month of October. I look forward to sharing more stories when we return from Haiti. You are loved. © Aimee Fritz and Family Compassion Focus, 2015. 

Heat

Tomorrow Greta and I go to Haiti. We are so excited. I expect to learn a lot. I expect it to be life changing. I expect it to be very hot and very humid. It is the number one thing I am stressed about. — A HISTORY OF AIMEE & HEAT —  December 1995 – Austria (previously shared here) Chris: “I would love to do economic development in Cambodia, Thailand or Vietnam.” Me: “I can’t do that. It’s too hot. I’m afraid of it being that hot.” Chris: “But what if that’s what God calls us to do?” Me: “I don’t think God would call us to do that. I never even want to move to the South in the States. It’s too hot and gross. No way.” March 1997 – Oak Park, Illinois Chris: “Aim, why are you so stressed out today? What’s wrong?” Me: “I’m thinking about the summer. It’s going to be so hot here. We have no air conditioning.  What are we going to do?” Chris: “There’s still snow on the ground.” Me: “But it’s …

Bad Dancing

I am not a good dancer. I thought I was. As a girl I would leap down the hallway and imagine my outstretched legs were parallel with the floor. I was a swan, a deer, a sugar plum fairy. I did the positions and barre work in class, but my favorite was always the free dance at the beginning. The classical music would crescendo and I just knew I would be discovered. The teacher would gasp and say, “Aimée! You’re a star! Darling, you’re just too good for the rest of us.” Instead one day I was really going for it, spinning and leaping, imagining the stage, and the teacher said, “Aimee. That is NOT ballet. Enough. Please come to the barre.” I lowered my chin and joined the class. From then on, that woman, and ballet, were dead to me. When it came time to sign up for the next session my mom pointed above the desk, “The sign says, ‘We Dance for Joy!’ Do you dance for joy?” Flat and resolute I said, “No. I …

Chickening Out

We moved to Georgia this summer. I’m not going to lie, it’s been pretty bad. Swampy, sweaty, constant heat. Unexpected, urgent home repairs. Money flying out the window. Three inch bugs strolling across the floor. Pervasive loneliness. Quiet resentment. Good times. For weeks my kids asked me questions I couldn’t answer about starting their new schools: Who will I eat lunch with? Will anyone be nice to me? What if I get lost? What’s my teacher going to be like? What’s it like to ride the bus? I tried to make a safe place for their constant worries, point them toward hopeful thinking, and pray with them about their worst case scenarios. It was exhausting and scary. By the time the First Day of School came on August 6th I was totally wrung out. I had nothing left. I even threw up from unprecedented anxiety that day. I think that’s called the bottom of the barrel. Now we’re are slowly finding our new normal in the predictability of a school routine. Backpacks and outfits are set out the night before, …

Haiti Partners 2

Haiti Partners is featuring Family Compassion Focus for Part 2 this week (Part 1 here). Our family is honored to be known by such a kind, hard-working, respectful organization.  We are going to have a great year working together!  Please read the post on their website here – you’ll even get a preview of my husband’s crazy fundraising idea at the end. As you read, I hope you will remember that our little family is a mess. We are broken, weak, angry, and confused so often. But somehow we’re still learning about compassion and how to love others. And receive love.  Maybe our blatant problems and brokenness are the key to compassion? Maybe that is what leads us to Jesus. And then right back out to the problems and brokenness and mess. Help us, Lord.

Haiti Partners

We are deeply honored to be included on the Haiti Partners website today. Partnering with them after the earthquake in 2010 changed our lives forever. After reading the story in this link, please roam the rest of their site to learn how they partner with Haitians to bring sustainable, life-giving, respectful change through education and empowerment. We are excited to learn from them again this year. © Aimee Fritz & Family Compassion Focus, 2015

Grace and Effort on MLK Weekend

Last week I cheerily encouraged all of us to move forward with our Asking, Listening, and Researching for the Family Compassion Focus we’ve chosen.  I admitted my family needed a January Checkpoint, too, because we hadn’t started either.  And then I shared my sunny, hopeful plan for a cozy family time of learning, something like Little House on the Prairie, but with the internet. Wow.  That did not happen.  You guys, it didn’t happen at all. On Friday my kids didn’t have school.  I don’t remember a lot of that day except for many loud children running around constantly asking for snacks and more screen time.  I struggled to show Compassion to the people I call my own.  It would have been ridiculous to suggest that my kids use the laptop for researching Haiti instead of playing another hour of Plants vs. Zombies. On Saturday I had a mini nervous breakdown from the nonstop noise, entropy, and expectations ricocheting all over my house.  So much Effort required.  So little Grace to be found.  There was a lot of misdirected anger …

Called to Compassion – Since the Earthquake in Haiti

[Part Three of a three-part story about what happened when my kids decided we should “Help Haiti” in 2010.]  Recap of the previous two posts about Compassion and the Earthquake in Haiti:   Five years ago a catastrophic 7.0 quake struck Haiti.  My five year old twins heard about it and wanted to help.  This was new.  We tried to listen and equip them to try something.  We did a little bake and craft sale with a $500 goal.  Our friends, neighbors, school, church, and facebook community responded with lavish generosity.  We became a bridge for sending $33,000 to Haiti that year.  It was completely unexpected.  [For the full scoop read “Compassion Catapult – The Earthquake in Haiti” and “Contagious Compassion – The Earthquake in Haiti.”]   Whenever people hear this crazy story they have lots of great questions: Why do you think this happened? Why did your kids want to do something? Why did the school want to help?  Why did you keep saying Yes? Why was it so contagious? Why did it get so big? I have the same questions. I think these are deep Soul questions.  Based in …

Contagious Compassion – The Earthquake in Haiti

[Part Two of a three-part story about what happened when my kids decided we should “Help Haiti.”  Catch up on Part One, “Compassion Catapult – The Earthquake in Haiti“]   Five years ago Haiti was leveled by a 7.0 magnitude earthquake.  Thousands upon thousands of people died, went missing, became orphans, lost their homes, and lost everything.  When my five year old twins heard about it, they declared that we were going to help.  We had never done anything like it before. Our family was catapulted into a new way of thinking with their declaration .  We spent our free time making cookies, bread, and Valentine ornaments to try to help a family in Haiti rebuild their home. Our lives looked really different for three weeks – all our playdates, evenings, and weekends were about making and delivering things with our own hands to help people we didn’t know.  In the end, friends donated $7678.31  – more than 15x our original goal of $500.  Amazing, humbling, and exciting. But somehow not enough. The week of the earthquake I happened to be walking …

Compassion Catapult – The Earthquake in Haiti

[Part One of a three-part story about what happened when my kids decided our family was going to help people in Haiti.] Five years ago, on Tuesday, January 12, 2010, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. I heard about it on NPR on the way home from picking up my kindergartners.  The breathless reporter on the ground described the crumbled buildings with people trapped inside, the dazed children alone in the streets, and the catastrophic injuries (read a summary of the devastation here).  In typical NPR fashion you could hear her boots crunching on broken cement, people crying, and sirens in the background. When she said something about the children there being so vulnerable, and I looked at my bundled up kids singing in the back row of my deluxe minivan and teared up. The kids asked what was wrong. I told them there was an earthquake in Haiti, where Daddy had been two years ago, and that lots of people were hurt, and lots of little kids needed help. We …

Listening

In January we are hoping to ask questions and research our Family Compassion Focus.  We will slowly gather information to make a broad foundation for a year of loving and serving new people in new, intentional ways. You are asking so many questions.  Asking your kids to help.  Asking your partner for ideas.  Asking the internet for links.  Asking yourself to try new things.  Asking Facebook friends for connections.  Asking the librarian to give you the right books.  You’re doing a lot of talking, a lot of doing, asking all these questions. Are you listening? Are you listening to your partner when they share worries about doing a Compassion Focus, trying to figure out how to fit one more thing into their busy days? Are you listening to your kids when they ask really hard questions about human suffering, the character of God, and why there are “bad guys”? Are you listening to your heart when it beats faster?  When you feel it all the way in your ears?  When you read something so intense …

My Family’s 2015 Family Compassion Focus

How Team Fritz kicked off 2015: 1.  Bacon and chocolate cake for breakfast.  Paul Simon’s Rhythm of the Saints in the background.  Chris’s coffee in his new mug.       2.  Asked a delightful list of questions including: what food do you want to try? what dragon do you want to slay? what famous person would you like to meet?  how far should we bike?  *Note: less questions next year.  I did too many questions.  Chris at one point said, “we’re losin’ ’em.”        3.  Chose and illustrated our Word of Year.  Greta is going to spend the day coloring her mandala, because she’s grateful for mandalas.    The words chosen were Peace, Danger, Persistence, Accomplishment, and Grateful.   4.  Reviewed, discussed, and summarized our brainstormed list of Family Compassion Focus ideas.  Chris is great at leading meetings.  Caleb is great at hopping around while almost breaking things.  I will someday be great at letting my kids be really loud and happy even when it feels so early. 5.  Voted for our …