A Haines Home Companion: Go a Different Way


After Haiti, I slept for two days, and then we celebrated Easter. The night before Easter I was an idiot and told the boys that I wouldn’t be filling their baskets with unethically-made crap that they wouldn’t use. It’s not that I wasn’t giving them a basket, but it was just going to be a different kind of basket. I don’t think I was super clear about that part. Word to the wise, when you get home from witnessing great poverty, don’t think your children will understand when you decide that they’re looking forward to something unethical and unhealthy. At Easter all they understand is that chocolate is good. Not having chocolate is bad. It’s simple math, and apparently I forgot. I caused much weeping and gnashing of teeth.

I had to hug and kiss them all about 40 times a piece to get them to sleep. I had to say “trust me trust me” just as many times. I had to apologize and assure them that I didn’t think they were rotten human beings.

The next morning we served them breakfast and then they had baskets with chocolate from Ghana and bracelets and metal crosses from Haiti. They were so happy, and we had a beautiful day. But Lord have mercy on my soul, I almost blew it.



Also Sunday at church, Ian drew me this eagle with teeth.


Then after Easter I left for Q in Nashville. I’ll report more about that on another day because I learned some fascinating things while there. Then I drove to Alabama (God’s country) for my mama’s birthday, which was a lovely time. Alabama had exploded green. The roses and blueberry bushes were blooming, and the hostas were yellow.

On my drive alone back to Arkansas, the miracle of my healing was tested. I turned early after Memphis to get on my usual country road, and it accidentally turned into more country than even I could handle. After heading south for far too long, I turned right to drive parallel to the interstate. Then just as buckets and buckets of rain started to fall, and I found myself deep in bottom land, I asked Mrs Siri to please help me get back to the land of the living. She told me to turn right again, and that road was chert. There was not a house or a barn or a tractor in sight, and the rain beat down so hard that the road was sloshing up on the roof. I was driving 10 miles an hour and laughing as Siri turned me again and again onto another mud road. The delta was filling with water in a hurry, and the electric poles were bent to the side from the wind. Lightning was sparking down everywhere, and there I was the lone human, laughing. But I made it.

Then I saw that I was very low on gas a mere 45 miles from Fayetteville, so I again turned off the interstate toward the old highway thinking a gas station would be there. I think it turned into a loaves and fish situation because I was on empty nearly the whole way. Old Hwy 71 is a gorgeous drive. The Ozark mountain-side was bright green and lush and jagged and overlooking Lake Fort Smith where steam rose from the water.

Something about that drive hit me hard. I was about to enter back in to my real life away from Haiti and fancy conferences. I was zigzagging the mountain and going slow. I turned the air conditioner off. I wanted to be hot. I wanted away from the signs and to feel the wind. Note to self, remember how good it actually is to go a different way.

I returned home straight to dear friends who are enduring a great deal of grief. Our community lost a good man, so we did what you do when you love people. We sat and ate and cried and laughed.

During that time with friends, I experienced something I haven’t experienced in a very long time. One talked Seth into playing a new song he had written, and we watched him play all the complex and gorgeous parts. I know my eyes bounced from his moving hands to his face, but other than that I’m not sure what I was doing.

When the song was over, after all the Ooos and Ahhhs, everyone felt passionate about telling Seth just one more thing, that his wife was in love, that I was making eyes like I could lick him straight off a plate for dessert.  I laughed, but truly I wanted to melt beneath the couch in pure, hot-faced embarrassment. Evidently, Seth and I are an expressive couple.

We may as well embrace it. Our next Marriage Letters topic is coming up this Monday! Join us as we write “How We Co-labor.”

Now for some recommended reads:

From BecomingMinimalist.com

Tsh Oxenreider is blowing it out of the water lately. I feel like she’s writing more and more into who she really is. I love it. On The Art of Simple, she writes about The Powerful Difference Between Organizing and Decluttering. I’m thinking through it all very carefully as I prepare for my Garage Sale. She links to Becoming Minimalist from that post as well, and I am major digging it.

Also on her personal website, Tsh writes that You’re Allowed To Take A Blogging Break. If you know me, you know that I am all about blog breaks from time to time. She writes, “I’ve found that when I don’t comprehend what Jesus means to rest because I’m not actually experiencing the benefits, that’s a clear indication for me that I need to put on some breaks. Life is not as it should be, in this case.” Hey, y’all, LISTEN TO THAT!

Something else you should know is that my friend Kristen Welch has written a book called Rhinestone Jesus, which is a hilarious book title. If I know anyone more legit than Kristen, then it’s hidden to me. Get her book.


Then in the chill-out-about-being-perfect department, you should read The Nesting Place. Also just look at the pictures. I mean, The Nester makes decorating a house look as easy as throwing together a good salad. Get her book.


Lastly but not leastly, my friend Timothy Willard hates it when we use -ly words. If he reads this post, it will make him gag. That has nothing to do with anything, but I must say that he and Jason Locy got the prettiest book cover of all time. Home Behind the Sun is going to be one of those books that makes us see differentLY. I’ll hint more at the words of it next week, but I think everybody needs to go ahead and get his book.



About me


The Water, the Waffles, and the Birthday Ukulele (A Haines Home Companion)
October 26, 2013


Tsh Oxenreider
Reply May 2, 2014

So I'm reading through this post in my Feedly all innocent like, and then I see my name jump out, and I suddenly feel all flushed, like in junior high when the cute boy looks at you.

Thank you, dear friend. I'm honored.

Reply May 3, 2014

OH MY, those pictures of your boys make me weepy. I miss those faces.

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