Friday, March 21, 2008

World Water Day

March 22nd is World Water Day, as designated by the United Nations. They decreed 2005-2015 as the International Decade for action, or "The Water for Life" Decade. It aims to promote efforts to fulfil international commitments made on water and water-related issues by 2015, placing a special emphasis on the involvement on women in these efforts.

Water is essential for life. Yet many millions of people around the world face water shortages and a daily struggle to secure safe water for their basic needs. Millions of children continue to die every year from preventable water-borne diseases. Water-related natural disasters such as floods, tropical storms and tsunamis exact a heavy toll in human life and suffering. And all too regularly, drought afflicts some of the world’s poorest countries, exacerbating hunger and malnutrition.

Have you heard of the Millennium Development goals? These goals, agreed to by all 191 United Nations Member States at the Millennium Summit in 2000, set specific targets for educing poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women by 2015. If you have received a copy of the paper I wrote on the poverty in Niger you will see these goals used as benchmarks to judge their progress and problems as a country and ways to address these needs with our work in Niger. (If you haven't read it and want a copy - email me).

Regarding water, Governments agreed to reduce by half the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water by 2015, the year to mark the end of the International Decade for Action: “Water for Life”.

Improving access to safe water and sanitation is critical not only to reducing poverty but also to reducing maternal and child mortality and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other major diseases.
More than 2 million people in developing countries, most of them children, die each year from diseases associated with unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.

So why do I care so much? Well, a lot of the work Paul and I are going to do in Niger revolves around development work and water plays a big part in that. We are partnering with Samaritans purse to help buid bio-sand water filters to bring clean waters and health education to families. You can read about this awesome project here:

Watch the video on that page. It's pretty amazing.

I will also be teaching about health and nutrition in Niger and water and hygiene plays a huge role. Last fall I designed an e-course, intended for workers going to countries like Niger, to be able to understand the importance of water and how to recognize, treat and teach others about Diarrhea and Dehydration, both of which are linked to poor water quality. You can take a few minutes and learn this information by looking at the e-course I designed. (It's still a work in progress so feel free to give me feedback!)

Water is Life e-course:

I encourage you to take the time today or this week to look into the importance of clean water, and lack of it, around the world. Appreciate and be a good steward with what you have access to. And maybe even think about supporting water and health intiatives across the world, be it our work in Niger, or many other of the worthy initiatives that are out there.

You can make a difference.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A joint birthday party!

Bennett's birthday was on the 5th and Arielle's is on the 28th, so we decided to have a joint birthday party with a whole bunch of kids to celebrate!
We booked my mom's playschool room and got an hour in the gym next door with a private coach for the kids.

Having snacks and cupcakes with some of their friends

Playing with Great Grandpa and Grandma

An up close of the fruit flower bouquet Paul and I made.

So then we headed over to the gym side where the kids all ran around and burnt off all their sugar energy for an hour. There were trampolines, obstacle courses, a giant foam pit and other apparatus. All the kids (and parents!) loved it!

Paul and Bennett

Doing a floor routine. Arielle didn't quite know what was going on but she followed the actions with the other kids and looked so priceless!

Arielle and Dad in the foam pit.

The chaos of the foam pit!

Bennett climbing up part of the obstacle course.

Arielle hanging off the bar. She held on real tight and even lifted her legs up and down. She held on for a long time, her little muscles tight and straining, and she wouldn't let go!

Bennett making his way out of the tunnel at the end of the obstacle course.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Are you on my list?

I love that you read our blog. So many of you who follow our journey know you can always come here to see and read what is going on in our lives. But did you know there are newsletters too? As we've been speaking at churches, to groups and to individuals we try to remember to tell you to send us your email address so I can add you to our mailing list for when i send out prayer updates, ministry updates, etc. So here is another REMINDER!! If you would like to get our newsletters and other emails from us, please send me your name and email address (and maybe a brief note where we know you from or you are reading from) to our email address, which is
If you found us by accident and we've never met face to face, you can still get our newsletters! Drop us a line and I'd love to meet you!

Oh yeah, another side note: We didn't always have the chance to hand out all of our information. If you are interested in more information on the state of poverty and the need for development in Niger, I have a paper I wrote I can send you that is easy reading but makes the situation clear. I also have information on the types of projects we will be doing to meet those needs, costs associated, and how you can contribute financially to our Work special fund to partner with us in meeting those needs in Niger. Let me know in you e-mail if you would like me to send you this information!

We look forward to hearing from you!


Thursday, March 06, 2008

A sense of homelessness

For 8 months now I have been without a home, and yet always had a place to put my stuff. I am learning what home means, how to create it in my heart and with my husband, and to truly value the fleeting instances I see and feel home. I have felt grieved, adrift and in despair at times over this lack of home. The emotional aspects of home have surprised me. And yet I continue to learn. We are not meant to feel at home here, we are always to yearn for heaven, our eternal home. I have new insight into what that means and rejoice that my eternal home is there for me. I shall never be unmoored and homeless for very long. This life is but a breath.

"To be rendered homeless—whether by hurricane, poverty, or choice—is to be deprived of not simply physical shelter but emotional refuge. Home is where we return to, where we stop and rest and think, where we piece together the new pictures in our minds and try to make sense of our planet. Without home, we are unmoored.

And it's a literary lie that you can never go home again. Somehow, like a boomerang, most of us do. It may take a lot of trying and time before we get there. It may be a different home, it may be a home we build or rebuild, but it is home nonetheless: a physical place, a family or friends or both, a community."

- Mark Jenkins, Outside Magazine, January 2006

"All who wander are not lost" J.R.R. Tolkien

Be thankful today for your home, the people who make it home, and the strength it gives you. And please pray for many around the world who leave theirs, who recreate it elsewhere. And never lose sight of your eternal home and yearn for it.


Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Our little boy turns 3 !!

March 5th was Bennett's third birthday! It's hard to believe how fast time has gone by and to see the bright, curious and funny little boy he has become. Here is a photojournal of moments and memories where we celebrate the special little boy God brought us 3 years ago!

You were born at 1:51 in the afternoon and Dad and Grandpa and Grandma Hebert were there at the hospital to greet you immediately. We instantly fell even more in love with you.

You were so tiny! Here is your feet and dad's feet when you were only a few weeks old.

This is still one of my all time favorite pictures of you. I love how it captured your wink, the shining eyes and love of adventure. We have quite a collection of pictures of you in cowboy hats over the last 3 years!

Here is a few of your supermodel shots to show to your girlfriends when you are 21 and we let you date (haha). We had a wonderful studio day and had so much fun taking pictures. You stole the show!

You took full advantage of moms job and spent several afternoons throughout the year at the firehall - taking pictures, climbing on the trucks, the driver even drove around the block a few times with you "driving" on his lap. You loved to go and play with the equipment and dress-up.

And who could forget your very best furry friend Sanka. He used to guard over you at night, lay next to you during the days, let you pull his ears, throw his ball, dress him up and pounce on him. I have never known another dog who is as good with children as Sanka. I know you love him very much.

When we moved to Quebec last fall you still really liked your soothers. We called them "sus" which comes from the french word for soother. DO you even know the english name for them now? You just call it your "sus". One day you decided it would be neat to take the scissors to the tip of your soother and cut it off. We had been trying to wean you off the soother, so we fully embraced this idea of yours and we went around and gathered up all the soothers we could find. You sat on the washing machine and we handed them to you, you cut off the tips and said bye sus! to each one as we threw them in the garbage. Of course an hour or two later you wanted us to go buy new ones, but we held firm and reminded you that you cut them all up and they were gone now. You haven't used another soother since!

You have grown to be fun loving, crazy and you laugh lots. You are silly and make us laugh, smile and you give us joy everyday.

You have embraced your new role as brother to Arielle with such joy and love for her that it makes me so thankful. You only had a few weeks of acting out when we adopted her, and then decided you would much rather have her as a friend than a foe. She is your best friend and you are so good to her. You make sure she is always taken care of, has snacks, toys and love from you. You are an awesome big brother!

So here we are today. These are from your birthday. You had such a fun day making crafts, going to the big playpark with Papa, eating hamburgers, having cake (your favorite part i think!) and opening presents. You are such a wonderful little boy. I know you are excited to move to Africa to see giraffes and make new friends with us. Your little joyful personality will be a wonderful way to get to know new people and build relationships with them. You are a big part of our team and I can't wait to see you grow, play and live your life to the fullest. I love you. Happy Birthday Buddy Boy.