Saturday, April 23, 2016

Team Chari: HUSH

On Friday nights Nyasha leads a group of men seeking a deeper relationship with Jesus.  This means that he gets home later than normal and I have a little bit of (very exhausted) down time after I put the girls to bed.  Tonight, Ru was at a sleepover with her cousins and Viv fell asleep early after a busy day of playing with her friends.

I decided to take the little bit of extra time to veg out and watch a movie on Netflix.  Nyasha really dislikes scary movies and since I was alone to choose whatever I wanted I got sucked into a movie called Hush.

This "thriller" was about a deaf, mute woman who lived alone in the woods.  A man with a crossbow decided to kill her best friend after she stopped by to visit.  He then came for the deaf woman.  This movie is NOT a thriller.  It is a 1 hour and 21 minutes of PURE TERROR.

Nyasha often calls me in the middle of the day for some random bit of information.  This week he called to see how to spell Amish for some odd reason.


I often ask Nyasha how to maneuver some ridiculous situation that hopefully would never happen.

Tonight when he got home I had about 15 minutes remaining of stomach wrenching viewing enjoyment.  I asked him, "Babe.  If a killer were to come to our house, what would I do? I am so unprepared."

SERIOUSLY. WHAT WOULD I DO?  I find a healthy fear of the killer is imperative.

He looked at me as if this were the most normal of all conversations (for which I love him dearly) and he said, "Nothing, Lucy would protect you."

(Lucy is a 9 pound Jack Russel that is afraid of clouds.  I am not even kidding, she is so afraid of rain and thunder that if it is even cloudy she will hide under beds or in closets just to be protected.  She in no way makes me feel safe from the killer.  Hopefully no killer is reading this because now he will know that the dog's bark is worse than her bite!!!)

I laughed and pressed, "No seriously, what would I do?"
He replied, "I think what might be a better thing to consider is why on earth you insist on watching scary movies and tv shows about killers."

Honestly, I am so attracted to shows like Criminal Minds (which I happen to think is one of the most well written shows of all time, except for the decision to kill of Shemar Moore, but I am a few seasons behind so I haven't gotten there yet.) and movies like this ridiculous "Hush."  They cause me great distress while I am watching, but I am so intrigued by watching things about killers.


But now it's bedtime and I have watched a scary movie about the killer and I am too wound up to sleep.  Nyasha is right, I may need to reconsider my choices in entertainment.

What is your go to tv show or genre of movie if you are in control of the remote?

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Farewell Dear Mentor: Good-bye to Dr. Purvis

Dr. Karyn Purvis.  Her name is mentioned in our home as often as the name of our children's grandparents and with as much fondness.

When I decided to call Zimbabwe home, I knew that I would need help honing my skills.  Yes, I was a social worker.  Yes, I was a therapist.  Yes, I worked with kids who struggled deeply with their addictions and emotions.  But Zimbabwe was new territory for me.  The losses that the kiddos here had faced was not new territory for me personally but it certainly was professionally.

When I emailed some former professors and mentors about what to read and who to let shape my work, one name was consistently first on their lists: Dr. Karyn Purvis.

In 2007, I picked up that first brand new copy of The Connected Child and highlighted every page.  Within a couple of years living in Vic Falls, it was tinged with red soil, highlighted in several different colors and dog eared.  That book passed through countless homes, huts and offices from Monde (a small village about 13km from Victoria Falls) to Kadoma (a small town about 130km from Harare.)

As I sit here early this morning, mourning the loss of Dr. Purvis, who is with Jesus after a long battle with breast cancer, I know that I am not the only parent or professional who is grieving today.

Almost exactly eight years after my feet touched the red dust roads of Zimbabwe for the first time, I was blessed to spend a week learning and being trained by Dr. Purvis and her team.    A few years before I had attended an empowered to connect conference and after a brief conversation with Dr. Purvis and a few emails I knew that I needed to carve out the time to be trained in TBRI.

In God's perfect timing, Nyasha and I got married 6 days before that training was to begin.  Less than two weeks before we had been trained by the Monroe's, who are deeply impacted by Dr. Purvis.  We were trained in Empowered to Connect at Tapestry and the hopped in the car to drive from Texas to California to get there JUST in time for our Tuesday night wedding!  I will never forget Dr. Purvis's sweet acknowledgement that I was spending my honeymoon in a room full of practitioners, all wanting the same thing: to offer healing to the kiddos from hard places.

Before Nyasha and I headed back to Zimbabwe, my feet touching Zimbabwean soil for the first time as a wife, she pulled me into a strong but gentle hug and affirmed me in a way I will never forget.  That hug, did what Dr. Purvis did best: it healed.  She said several things that I have tucked away in my heart and then as she let me go, with tears in her eyes she said, "Baby girl, this speaks volumes about your marriage.  The sacrifices you both have made will shape your family's legacy."

Honestly, as much as we would have enjoyed a longer honeymoon... our family needed what she was teaching.  We cling to her wisdom and truth like a life raft in the difficult days.  "I've never met a child who can't come to deep levels of healing if you understand what they need." Those words from Dr. Purvis encourage us to set aside disappointment and frustration in those moments and to keep trying to understand.

Today, we say good-bye to Dr. Purvis.  Today we lose the earthly presence of a mentor, who will be recognized in the cadence of a mother's voice, the bend of a father's knee as he crouches to make eye contact with his kiddo and in the healing sessions of thousands of practitioners around the world that she tirelessly poured into.  Her influence is magnificent, God has blessed her with a legacy of hope.

Today, Dr. Karyn Purvis went home. To Jesus.  To a place where all of us "kids from hard places" experience complete healing.

I will miss you. I am grateful for this life you have lived.  You have taught me so much about being a child of God, a mom, and about being a trusted adult. More importantly, about always pursuing my own healing journey.  Thank you for sharing your heart and wisdom with the world.

Wise words from our beloved Dr. Purvis:

"Tell your children 'you are precious, you are valuable, and nobody else is created like you.'"

"You cannot lead a child to a place of healing if you do not know the way yourself."

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mommy Might be a Therapist if.... (Lessons of grief from our family.)

So this week when I headed out the door to a training session my girls were curled up on the bed reading a book together.  I didn’t think much about it, but as I started to savor the sound of Ru’s voice reading to her little sister, I had to laugh. 

“It can be hard to say good-bye to someone you love. It is normal to miss them very much.” She read from the book.  I giggled some more at my realization: she was reading one of my work books.  A children’s book for grieving kiddos, called “I will miss you.”  Ruth rarely asks to read these books… usually she will ask to when she wants to have a conversation about her birth mother but doesn’t know how to start.  After I laughed at our big girl, who says she wants to be a flight attendant, but seems more suited to be a counselor, my heart swelled with joy and gratitude.  My big girl wants my little girl to understand her grief.  She was sharing her emotions and it was Sweet. Beautiful. Growth. 

Ru's book choice for today
 This evening after dinner Viv was showing off her shinny pink shoes and her new walking skills. Ru called to her, “Come Vivi let’s connect. I have a craft planned for us.” Oh my very full mommy heart. 

As Viv got tired and a bit grouchy, she started to get frustrated and tried to whack the dog who is constantly tripping her.  Ru said, “Viv is afraid of falling and when she is afraid she is a fighter.  I am not, I am freezer.”

This is a snapshot of a day in the life of our family.  The big sister is simply doing what she has seen for years.  I am so grateful for those who have modeled attachment and connection rich parenting for us.  I am so pleased with the fruit.  Some days are excruciatingly hard but even they are totally worth it!

If you are looking for some kids books to help with grief, loss or adoption themes please check out some of these:

I Miss You: a first look at death by Pat Thomas

The Invisible String by Patricia Karst

God Gave Us Heaven by Lisa Tawn Bergren 

I am Brown and My Sister Isn’t by Robbie O’Shea

All Bears Need Love by Tanya Valentine

A Mother of Choco by Keiko Kasza

How I Became a Big Brother by Dave Moore

If you are a parent of a child that has experienced loss, take heart beloved friend; it is so very hard when you are in the midst of redemption and being a part of the process with your precious child is a gift for both of you.  You are not alone and my prayer for all of us is that God will equip and empower us to just do right by our kiddos.  Thank you Jesus for healing.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

That Time I Felt Like The Worst Missionary Ever.

Ru and Viv outside the church we were ministering in

Sometimes ministry stuff just doesn’t work out the way we plan.  
Nyasha and I had been invited to speak to a gathering of women and youth about 40 minutes outside of town.  We were going to be speaking about addiction, how it impacts the security of families and how people related to or in community with alcoholics can help.
In order to arrive on time, we needed to leave Saturday morning around 9:00.  Since the place we were speaking at was near a game park, we decided we would pack a picnic lunch and take the girls to see some animals afterwards. 

Friday night Vivi didn’t sleep well--she is teething terribly.  Our poor little girl has several teeth coming through and is struggling through the pain.  She is biting all of us at any given moment, she is clingy and whinny and some nights just can’t sleep.  Friday night she was awake from about 1:30-5:30 intermittently crying and wanting to play.  Nyasha and I took turns sleeping and doing baby duty.  I love that man, what on earth would I do without him?

He left for work Saturday morning at 7:30.  Vivi and I were asleep, he decided to let us rest.  I woke up startled and disoriented at 8:45!  FIFTEEN MINUTES TO GET ALL THREE OF US READY AND OUT THE DOOR.  That is an impossibility.  We did the best we could and got on the road a few minutes late and Nyasha got stuck at work and wasn’t able to come with us….

So now we are running late and I am on my own with both girls! We did our best to try to follow the directions, but we made a few wrong turns before we made it to our destination! This could’ve been a nightmare, but the people I was scheduled to speak to were so gracious and wonderful!

Because we were running late and they were running late, I ended up having to speak during Viv’s nap time.  Ru was doing a great job playing with her little sister while I worked, but Viv had enough and I still had about 10 minutes to go.  Ru brought her to me and because she was uncomfortable, in a new place and overtired, she wanted to nurse.  So there I was with a baby trying to rip my shirt off and a room full of people with their eyes on us, listening to me speak.  I apologized, made a joke about how grateful I was that this was taking place in Zimbabwe and not the USA and continued my talk while I stood nursing little miss Vivi.  There was one pastor that was especially stone faced.  I just knew that he was struggling through my nursing on stage!

Honestly I wanted to curl up and die.  I just couldn’t believe this was happening.  We survived the next ten minutes while I distractedly finished up.  Vivi fell asleep and I put her down in her car seat.  There was a queue of people to chat before I left.  One of the first people was the stone faced pastor.  I couldn’t believe it. He affirmed me in such a rich and kind way.  And then THIS:

“You are a real missionary.  In my lifetime, I have met many people here to help, but what you are doing is practical and loving.  I so appreciated how you shared with us.  And I wanted to let you know not to feel bad about nursing your child in the middle of our time.  You were attending to a need without dropping the ball on your responsibility.  That was such a picture of how we must learn to minister to others. Jesus often ministered to people on His way elsewhere. I was really touched by that. Thank you so much.”

I love this picture, I have the same one with Nyasha and Ru!!
The girls and I made our way to the game park and had such a great afternoon.  Ru and I were thrilled to have some time alone to chat while Vivi slept and then when she woke up we all giggled as Vivi squealed with excitement every time Ru pointed out an animal

She wanted Vivi to love this tortoise as much as she does.... but she totally wasn't into it!

Look Vivi! A GIRAFFE!

What a gorgeous day for a game drive!
We had so much fun with the lions! Viv kept roaring at them!

Sometimes ministry stuff just doesn’t work out the way we plan.  Sometimes it is better.