Friday, April 29, 2016

scavenger beauty



Our upcoming move has brought a renaissance of awareness to my eyes.  I am remembering one of the deepest lessons for me when arrived in this land.  It is a lesson that time has eroded. 

Beauty is all around me.  Seeing it, is a choice.  

This country is a land of such intense contradictions it can hardly be described in words.  It is one of the most beautiful places on earth, with people winsomely created. And yet, the poverty is real. Many have called it an "assault to the senses."  I am not exaggerating to write that I can hardly recall one truly beautiful sight that wasn't also accompanied by an overwhelming stench, a trash heap, or a heckler.  Photography can crop it out, but reality won't. 

I have to look with eyes ready to see.  

Isn't this true for so many other areas of life too? The person with prickles.  The job with that down side. The fellowship with that one thing. 

I am beginning to realize that being a scavenger for beauty doesn't mean that I am closing my eyes to what is real.  It means that I'm trying to awaken my soul to the reality that dwells beyond this one.  We see in a mirror dimly.  But the reflection of beauty points to a deep, rich reality that will never fade.  Faith looks for a land that is yet to come. A place where we will be truly awake.  

There, we will find the beauty we've spent all this life longing for. 



















Thursday, April 28, 2016

VBS



It's VBS week over here.  And, whew.  Whew. 

Last year, we started attending an English speaking local fellowship. Compared to the first 3 years of an intense kids-room every Sunday and a lot of language I just did not understand, we are much more in our element now.  It's been a good shift for the boys.  (And for us.  It's still shocking to me when I walk out of a sermon having actually learned something.  Second language preaching is just hard to digest.) They have their own class on Sundays now and love it.

VBS is enough to throw me back into some serious culture shock though. My most memorable moment of the week was when I realized that the children's lesson was on none other than David and Bathsheba.  It was a rather unedited version. I actually don't think that the guy teaching has young children. Thankfully no one has yet inquired about Uriah or the pregnant Bathsheba.

We meet every morning from 7:30 to 9:30 am.  Yep.  Seven-thirty a.m.  I am still bleary eyed when they start up the rockin' music as we walk in the door.

How do morning you people even function?

Most of the leaders are young professionals, and they start work around 10 a.m.  They have been so sacrificial in serving this week.  The boys are enjoying it. I am grateful.

But I won't pretend I'm not looking forward to a week of lazy summer mornings when this is over though!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Work


David is working on our visa. Silas is, apparently, writing a book. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

thirty-six


I celebrated thirty-six this weekend.  The boys, as always, took good care of me.  They even sent me out on Sunday to take a few photos…something that's hard to do when your arms are full of kids.



This is, for very simple reasons, one of my favorite seasons of life thus far. It has been a year of bounty in many ways, most of all in my own heart.

I am grateful.




Friday, April 22, 2016

90 Years

Maybe I have just a tiny obsession with the royal family.

If you didn't see BBC's 90 years in 90 pictures this week, take a look!

That's a lot of history in one lifetime. 

Thursday, April 21, 2016

A Season of Change

Jude rode the bright green rocking frog at the playground on the day we signed our lease.  He was 17 months old.

Besides a brief stint in the US, we've spent four and a half years in the same apartment.  My neighbors have become my friends.  The shop workers know my children by name.  The nooks and crannies of our complex have become our backyard.  I've watched some of the kids' friends grow from child to teenager.  This is our home.  It will ever remain in my heart as yet another example of God's faithfulness.  


This is not the country that I would have chosen to settle in.  But, by God's grace, it has become a place of bounty and beauty. 

We are in a season of change.  It's been coming quietly for a few months now.  This week, our departure was finalized.  David is transferring to another position in another country.  There will be a new language, a new culture, a new house, a new school.  By the end of August or so, my life will look very little like it does right now.   

The reality of this is beginning to settle into my soul.  It is bringing a deep grief over the loss of this place.  A place I have grown to love.  A place where I have grown in love. 

It doesn't mean that this next adventure won't be exciting.  I think it will.  The same faithful God who sustained me through this adventure, will sustain me through the next.  I'll tell you more of those details soon.  But for now, I'm sad.  And I'm going to let my heart walk through that sadness.  




There are enough memories here to fill a childhood.  It will be hard to say goodbye. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Monday, April 18, 2016

Day One

We're on Day 1 of summer vacation.  The government announced on Friday that the schools would close early in light of the current weather situation.  It's just too hot to be safe. And so, those last 2 days of quiet were replaced by books together,  building blocks, an early morning trip to the basketball court, and the promise of a loooooong summer together indoors.

I don't know how homeschooling moms make it through.  Full admiration and respect.

I'd like to say that we'll be cuddled up on the couch reading books to make it through this heat.  But so far it seems more likely that there will be wrestling matches, car races and a lot of arguing over whose feet belong where.

You know what I love about having little kids? Kids who demand attention.  Babies that need a bottle or a new diaper right now, right away. It's driving that compulsive task-oriented tendency right out of my heart. These little people are my main job. And they are so worth it.




Friday, April 15, 2016

Friday Five

It's Friday.

The week slipped away from me.  Here's what's going on lately.

1. It's been two years since Jess went to be with Jesus.  I can only imagine the grief her family feels as the years continue to pass.  I read this article written by Nancy Guthrie entitled What Not to Ask Someone Suffering and found it so helpful in knowing how to communicate with others better in their seasons of loss.

2. The heat is bringing a fresh awareness of the poverty around us here.  (In case you haven't read, our country is experiencing a pretty intense drought and intense weather at the onset of the summer. The next 2 months do not look promising.) It's difficult for us to push through triple digits day after day, and we have access to water, a/cs that we can turn on, a cool building, a car to drive places, etc.  But when you drive past a tent made of tarp and see little faces peeking out, well aware that water is not flowing into spider-man bottles in their fridge…it's hard.  Poverty is always hard.  Extreme heat and drought piled on top of that make it intensely difficult.  I understand that from the other side of the world this will sound really lame…but let me be honest, the reality is, on this side, it's very difficult to know what to do to help.

3. Not everything, of course is heavy over here.  The mangos are in the trees.  They're still green, but the promise of their juicy goodness awaits.

4. The boys are finishing up the school year.  And I am looking around me, wondering what on earth I'll do with them all summer.  We're going to try to even out some of the culture-kid problems around here and focus a bit on America. Our big summer goal is to learn the pledge of allegiance and the 50 states. Let's see how we fare.

5. We'll end on Asher.  He is at such an amazingly sweet stage.  And a reckless one.  Today he was found on top off a friend's dining table, pulling over the flowers. He loves to eat my make up and destroy my spice cabinet.  He has a seriously hilarious habit of picking up objects and using them for the original purpose.  To give an example, I found him in the bathroom recently with my hairdryer -- very obviously trying to dry his hair.  He puts caps on his head with he finds them.  Picks up forks and spears things. He jabbers into the phone like he's saying something serious. And combs his hair whenever the brush is around.  I tried to get him to do a full object demo on video…but he was a little distracted.  He's cute anyways!

video

Hope your Friday is full of grace…for the big and the small details in life! 

Monday, April 11, 2016

Cowboys

A Bedtime Conversation 


Silas:  Mom, what do you want to be when you grow up? 

Me:   I think I'll be a mommy.  Or a wife?

Silas:  No, mom.  Not a mommy or a wife. Something else. 

Me:  What are you going to be?

Silas:  An astronaut.  No. A cowboy!!!

Me: A cowboy.  That's fantastic! You could work on PopPop's farm.

Silas: No, mom.  Cowboys have to live in the desert.  So I can't be on PopPop's farm. I'll have to go to the desert.  

Pause.

Silas : I'll miss you, mom. 

Me:  I'll miss you too, Silas.

Silas:  Mom.  Why don't you be a cowboy too?  We could be cowboys together!!!

Me:  That sounds amazing.  I would love that. I'll be a cowgirl.

Silas:  Ok.  Great, you be a cowgirl and I'll be a cowboy.  You can ride a purple horse and I'll ride a blue horse.  And when we want to go fast, we can say "Giddiup." Except, you don't like to go fast…so the purple horse can just kind of be slow.  



So now it's all set, folks.  When Silas and I grow up…we're heading West.