Friday, July 31, 2009

"Out of the Mouths of Babes"--A continuing series

January 2007
Haley-age 2
Location:  Reykjavik, Iceland

Haley is starting to regress with potty-training and is starting to have lots of accidents in her plastic panties. 

 The other day to help her Colby says, "Oh NO, HALEY!!!  I have to go potty!  What should I DO?!"

Haley looked up from the book she was flipping through,  calmly responded, "Rubber panties," proceeded to go find some in her room, handed them to him, and went right back to her book.   

Thursday, July 30, 2009

"Out of the Mouths of Babes"--A continuing series

January 2007
Haley: age 2

Setting:  Sitting on a lava rock looking out into the Atlantic Ocean in the outskirts of Reykjavik with Haley at my side and 7-month-old Darcy in my lap.
"Mommy, may I please... throw Darcy into the Ocean?"


I'll give that a score of 10 points for composition, and -10 for content.  

November 2006
Haley: age 2

I let Haley Jane carry a little green, Gideon pocket New Testament to church yesterday.  It must have made an impression.  Today she marched right up to me and asked, "Where the Holy Green Bible At?"

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bed Rest and Brainstorms

This week has been spent 90% in the horizontal position.  I am taking it easy this evening after being in bed the entire day.  It's interesting the things you think about when you are too tired to be fully awake, but not tired enough to be in deep, REM sleep.  Those are usually brainstorming sessions for me.  So...I came up with an idea.  I have a journal where I have recorded the language development of my kids since it's such a fascinating topic to me.  Recently, I went through it and thought that I would share some of the cute things Haley and Darcy have said over the years.  I'll post one every day for the next few weeks under the title of "Out of the Mouths of Babes--a continuing series."  These posts might only be funny to me, but hopefully it will bring a smile to your day.  If nothing else, this series will remind me to celebrate the gift God has given me in Haley and Darcy.  


Haley was on the computer skyping (is that a verb?) with her Grammy and Papa last weekend, describing to them her first camping trip.  The conversation went like this:

"Haley, what did you think of camping?"

"Well, the first night we got there it was good.....that's because no one had a cold or a miscarriage yet.  But then it got bad because Daddy got a cold and Mommy got a miscarriage.  But, I didn't get a cold or have a miscarriage....(Chuckling to herself)....Well, actually, I CAN'T have a miscarriage because... I can't have a baby.....And I can't have a baby because.....(wait for know it has to be good.....) well, I don't have a residence permit."  

Monday, July 27, 2009

Coffee with a Cause

Our friends at Pillar Church have been busy doing some really great work in Indonesia. Just last month they sent a team that is helping to establish and supply a much needed Orphanage there. Clint Clifton talks about the work in his blog post here.  Read all three updates, they are really worth reading.

In the fall our friends will be opening up a coffee shop that will also serve as the base of operations for a new church start in Locust Grove, VA, lead by Jonathan Davis. The coffee shop will actually serve coffee harvested in Indo where they are doing work and raise funds and awareness for the orphanage and other similar projects around the world. It is a seriously exciting venture. You'll have to read more about it at Kevin's blog here.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Middle of the Night

How do you shield your children from the reality of death?  Do you pretend it isn't a fact of life and ignore it?  Do you guard them from thinking about it and constantly divert their attention to juvenile things?  Or do you talk candidly about it, helping them think about it in a healthy way? 

The reality of death is really everywhere.  You really can't teach your kids Bible stories without running into this theme rather quickly.  Disney films don't even try to hide the fact that people pass away, even if it is always the villain.  Going to museums forces you to talk about people who lived a long, long time ago.  "And, then what happened to them, mommy?"  Oh, yes...then they passed away.  Of course, Mark's death has had a big impact on us all.  Haley must have heard us talking to different people about it and thinking about it in the quiet hours of the night, because at 12:30 one night she scratched at the door and came in looking tearful.  

"What's wrong, Haley Jane?" Colby asked as I laid still, pretending to be asleep.

"I've been thinking about something a lot and want to talk to you."

"Okay...."  She climbed in our bed and continued talking, a little choked up. 

"Do you remember the skeletons in the museum?  There was a big one and a little one."

Darn...why does she have to be so astute?

"I know that people die when their hearts stop beating.  So....I'm just wondering which day that is going to happen to me."

She finished her sentence and starts to cry.  "Can you sleep with me in my bed tonight?"

I squeezed my eyes shut and rolled over close to her, empathetic to her pain. How could I comfort this little prototype of me when the reality is that life is full of pain and loss?  How can I possibly help her face a future that is littered with unknowns?  How can I help her answer questions about God that I still have? 

"Haley, I have a question for you..."  The crying softened as Colby began to talk quietly.

"Did you give yourself life?"


"Well...what do you mean?"

"Did you make yourself alive or did God make you alive?"


"God gives life and takes away life, and it's not for you to worry about."

Colby went on to talk about the mystery of God's sovereignty and the beauty of the gospel--how deep all our sin is, and yet how much deeper the love of Jesus is to take on Himself our punishment.  A sweet peace came over the room as she listened to his calm, confident voice assuring her that Jesus had conquered death and we really had nothing now to fear.  When he finished talking he offered to go to her room to cuddle her until she fell asleep.  

"I don't need you to come now....  I'm not going to remember everything you said tomorrow--but I'm okay now.  Good night."  

It was really interesting.  She couldn't promise that in the morning she'd be able to articulate everything he had said, but somehow the truth of his words created a pillow of trust that she could lay her head on that night.     

Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies;  and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?"
John 11:25

So, I wrote that post a month ago, but never published it.  This last week I have been thinking a lot about that conversation and how comforting it is to know that GOD ALONE gives life and takes it away;  we really can't change anything by worrying about it. After we got home from Greece, we found out that I was pregnant.  Surprise!  It was fun to think about life with another Garman, and Colby was confident that God would bring balance to our home with some testosterone.  I was sick in the mornings, couldn't fit into my skinny jeans anymore, and was just trying to do everything right.  We had planned to go camping 4 hours away, and even though I was nervous about it, I didn't want to spoil the party by backing out. 

 Unfortunately, I can't go into every detail at this point (which I normally do to adequately paint the picture), mainly for the sake of my male audience comprised of single, innocent, young boys (Does Noah still read blogs to practice reading?  I'll spare him and Bobby-O if he is reading...).  Here are a few things that I remember happening:

1.) Blacking out and hyper-ventilating on the floor.  Looking up to see Colby, Dagny, and a doctor who happened to be there towering above me like giants, as I floundered on the ground like a fish out of water.  Yelling, "I can't see!!!" to which Colby responded, "That's because your eyes are closed."  (Its okay to laugh;  I can laugh about it now).

2.)  Okay, I guess there is really nothing else funny to write about it.  I lost the baby on Saturday and it was really traumatic.  My first reaction was, "The Lord gives, the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord..." Since that moment, it's been a struggle to continue to trust God's goodness and His love,  but He has been walking me through it.  I'm surprised by how aware I've been of God's presence this week and how comforting it is just to feel Him so near.  This heart-break has been a reminder of all the people who are going through equally if not more devastating circumstances than me.  It's allowed me to be in prayer for them more fervently, and for this I'm thankful.  I haven't cried or really felt sad about it since Tuesday which is when I read THIS.  Derek is our "boss" and our friend, and he just lost his mother to a disease she had been fighting for almost 30 years.  Reading about this woman's relationship with God, her enjoyment of life despite her circumstances, and her ability to trust God's heart really encouraged me to not give in to a pity party.  God offers us help in the midst of our pain, and His presence really is enough to get us through if we turn to Him instead of blame Him.  


Friday, July 17, 2009

First time for everything

We are off to a weekend of camping four hours away (north).  In Iceland, they don't make bonfires when they camp, and it will never get dark tonight, so this should be interesting.  To add to it, this is the first time we have ever taken the kids camping and it's supposed to be cold this weekend.  I have packed thermals and winter gear.  Pray for us...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Colors of Midnight

Photographic moments by Colby Garman

Saturday, July 11, 2009

I am being forced to blog against my will...

Colby really wanted me to blog this story (it happened last month), so I conceded…even though it reveals my character deficiencies:

We finally discovered an Icelandic running website that advertises different races around here, so Friday night we decided to go to an evening race in the outskirts of town. We both wanted to compete which meant the girls were coming with in the jogging stroller. The 9K race started out on a very narrow trail, so Colby and the kids were literally in last place for the first mile in an effort not to hold any one up. The kids could not understand this and the whole first mile I heard behind me, “Daddy…You’re NOT winning!” Daddy, WHY are you letting everyone BEAT YOU?” “Why are you running this race if you’re not going to win?” (Haley, of course), and Colby’s response as he dodged jagged rocks and horse poop on the hilly, bumpy trail, “We’re just out here to have fun, guys.” It was hard to run because I was laughing so hard. The second mile, the trail widened so that he was actually able to pass people. Again, from behind I hear: “Yay, Dad! Get the purple one!!....Yessss…you did it! You beat her!” Colby had to apologize for the girl’s offensive comments to everyone he passed.

Meanwhile, somewhere between mile 2 and 3, I began to get warm and took off my fleece jacket. I waved to Colby who was behind me, and yelled: “Can you pick up my jacket?” He nodded, and I dropped my fleece thinking how convenient it was that he was behind me and could cover the girls up with my coat. At the 6K mark, the light rain began to come down harder and I was glad that the girls had my coat to protect them. (Later Colby told me of Haley’s comment at the 6K mark: “Daddy, let’s just stop this race. You said we were out here to have fun, and we are NOT having fun anymore.”) The race ended. It was the first time in my life I beat Colby in a race, so I greeted him at the finish line and asked for my coat.

What are you talking about?” he replied, annoyed that I had even considered dropping it for him to pick up. Oh, great. Now what was I going to do? I had just run 9K and the coat was probably another 5K trip to go and get. The rain began to beat faster. I scanned the crowd until my eyes met a teenage boy with a bike. Perfect. I’m not sure he totally understood my dilemma, but regardless, off I went with his bike through the bumpy, hilly trails navigating around horse poop and jagged rocks. Now, when I’m running a race I usually just follow the person in front of me, clueless to my surroundings. I didn’t think about that detail until the trail I was on split into multiple trails and I didn’t know which one to take. I followed an arrow (surely from the race), continued for a long time, dismounted my bike, and hiked up a steep hill that led me to…someone’s driveway. Okay, don’t give up hope...I must have taken a wrong turn. Down the hill, retracing my steps, I try another trail. The rain is now falling faster and harder, and the temperature is plummeting. My hands are numb and frozen as they grip the handlebars. Okay, any minute now, and my coat will be right here. I kept riding, mud splashing up my legs, following the trail I thought we ran on. After ten minutes the trail ended at a horse farm. At this point, I was completely drenched and shaking from the cold. I started crying. Not only was my coat lost because of my reckless irresponsibility, but now I was lost out in the back hills of Mosfellsbær, on the verge of hypothermia...and even if I did find my way back, who knows how long we would have to wait outside in this weather for the bus to come! I crouched under a tree and put my hands under my armpits to regain some feeling, all the while cussing out the Icelandic “summer” weather and myself.

Back at the ranch, the awards ceremony is over, prizes have been handed out, race officials are closing things down, and Colby and "teenager-bike-boy" are looking around, wondering what has become of me. Colby described the next scene as the most pitiful sight he has ever seen. I came riding the bike over the hill, soaked to the bone, blue lips, and shaking…he just shook his head as I returned the bike to the poor, confused boy. I went inside the gift shop that was hosting the race to thaw out my hands in the sink and the workers, horrified by the site of me, gave me a 9000ISK ($75) Icelandic wool sweater. We tried to pay for it, but they wouldn’t have it. I was so humbled. In a situation where I deserved to reap the consequences of my stupidity, here I was met with mercy and grace. We got a ride home from a race worker, I thawed out in the shower for over an hour, ate a bunch of soup, and laughed till my sides hurt with Colby who replayed the story over and over again, recounting every detail, all evening. The end.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Our trip is finally documented...

See the rest of the pictures from Athens, Corinth, and the island of Agistri HERE.   

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


When I first came to LU as a freshman, I was a declared missions major.  I was going to Ecuador as a single woman missionary and I didn't need no man.  After my first week of freshman orientation in a classroom full of boys, my advisor Harvey Hartman gently counseled me to find another major.  He thought it would be wiser for me to find a trade to bring to another country, and after much praying and thinking, I switched my major to ESL (a brand new major at LU).

ESL teachers were in such high demand in 2001 after I graduated, that I was able to get a job immediately even though I didn't have a teaching license (all I had to do was have a successful year of teaching and take a class, and I could get it easily).  I had a love/hate relationship with the elementary school I taught at.  The principle, Ms. Jessie's philosophy was that kids shouldn't be doing workbooks all day (which I agree with), therefore I had ZERO curriculum to work with when I arrived (a little extreme...).  Everyday I would wake up in a panic, because I constantly was forced to create some lesson plan out of thin air.  It was stretching, but I became more creative, resourceful, and learned more than I ever would have if I had just been handed a curriculum manual.  

The last three days I have been thanking God for Ms. Jessie.  Last month our Icelandic teacher told me he had started running ads for the English class I was going to teach in his back room.   I laughed and told him that I didn't think it would work out.  I was wrong.  We landed on Friday night at midnight and on Saturday and Sunday I was working on lesson plans and decorating my classroom.  My students are great.  I ask, "What's your name?" and the only response I get back is..."What's your name?"  I feel like I'm with little robots, repeating everything I'm saying. If it weren't for Haley being in the class with me, no one would talk;  she is a great teacher's assistant.   Colby is now a stay-at-home Dad (for 3 hours a day, that is), and I rush out the door to work every morning.  Haley LOVES school and I'm glad she's getting to meet some new little friends through this.  Darcy, however, is going through a mild depression.  She screams when I leave and refused to change out of her pajamas today (at least she didn't stay in bed and eat ice cream all morning, though).  I think she'll be okay... 

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Fourth of July-Iceland style

It was our first Fourth of July not in America (obviously), so it was a little disappointing when I looked at the calendar after I woke up. However, we stumbled upon a little Fourth of July celebration put on by the American Embassy here. Singing "This land is your land, this land is my land," with the folk band, face-painting, balloon animals, bounce houses, and free food was all I needed to put me in the festive spirit. We met some new American friends which was the highlight of the day.

Free Audiobook: Crazy Love, by Francis Chan

Every month Christian Audio gives away a free audio book. All you have to do is go to the website, put the item in your shopping cart and use the coupon code for the month. This month the code is JUL2009 and the book is Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Chan is a Pastor in CA and several people have recommended the book to me, but I have not yet read it. Now I'm going to listen to it instead, and so can you. Here is the link.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Back Home

Wow, it's nice to have internet access! What an amazing time of refreshment we had. It was so great to be around lots and lots of people from our company (try 1,000 of them), walk outside without a coat, hear crickets, and see a dark night sky again. Click HERE to see more pictures of where we stayed our first week in Evia and the first part of our trip to Athens. More to come soon....