Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Saturday, June 30, 2012


No, I didn't die from heat stroke.  Although, today it seems possible.  Having grown up solely in the South, I am still not at all a fan of the heat.  It never bothered me much until we moved to Mexico.  Stepping outdoors there could be likened to stepping into an oven.  Since then, I am increasingly against the heat.

When we began discussing Africa as a life plan, I must admit that hot temperatures came immediately to mind.  Certainly, I could deal with it.  But, I don't enjoy the heat.  In fact, on the contrary, I loathe the heat.  I sincerely believe I should've been native to northern Russia.  Nevertheless, I accepted that it would be hot, and tried to buy into the idea that it would be "dry heat."

But, God has such a way of working all things out. The assignment about which I am dying to tell you but cannot yet is, as you may have seen here, in the mountains.  It is cool there.  Cold, in fact.  I love cold.  We are really good friends, me and cold.  I love all things having to do with cold: blankets, hot cocoa, fires, snuggling, sweaters, and I am even becoming a fan of soup.  I am giddy that we have been led to a place where we shouldn't often deal with sweltering heat.

Speaking of our assignment, we are ready to take it!  Our 'advisor' if you will, is out of the office until late next week.  At that point, we should be able to finalize it and then tell you all about it.  I truly feel a calm about it and I'm really excited!


Friday, June 15, 2012

In the Middle

Over the last four years of my life I have tried to prepare myself for leaving nearly everything and everyone I know.

It was during this time of the year in 2008 when I began to understand how vastly my life was about to change.  Jonathan and I were writing and were set to meet face to face early next month.  Both of our parents had basically given us the "go ahead" and we were tentatively talking wedding plans in the semi-near future.  While I was dreamy and excited about my new life with Jonathan, I began to grieve the life I was leaving behind.  My beloved parents and brothers, precious little sisters and a few close friends were the focus of my grief, as I, at 17, tried to prepare myself for leaving them permanently.  I started cherishing each day more than I ever had before.  During our engagement, I was giddy about our upcoming wedding and devastated at the reality of moving away.  Two nights before our wedding, I sobbed as as I packed for our honeymoon.  Stress?  Maybe so.  But, it was also the result of months of trying to grasp what was coming next... A life very far from anything I had ever known.  The high level of emotion surrounding our wedding might also explain my dad and me sobbing during our father/daughter dance.  I wasn't ready to leave him.  How could I be?

When we left for Mexico in January 2010, I genuinely thought it was for good.  We were only planning to be in that specific area for nine months, but upon returning we never expected that it would take us a over two years to get redirected into a permanent full time ministry.  I expected we might spend a few months back in the States and then somewhat seamlessly transition into our next assignment.  After that, we would be away for the rest of our lives, with occasional furloughs in between assignments.  The Lord had other plans, and I can see now many of the reasons why He has taken this time to grow, mold and prepare us for the future ahead of us.

It was in July of 2010, while Jonathan and I were still in Mexico, that my parents decided to adopt Caleb.  At that time, I honestly thought I'd barely ever know him.  I figured he would always hear about his big sister, a missionary who lived in a faraway land with her husband and son.  I assumed he would know me, possibly even meet me, in a Skype window.  But, the Lord had even those details worked into His miraculous plans for my life.  I suppose God knew I would need this time to build a relationship with my little brother, invest more time in my growing sisters and cherish the priceless friendship I share with my parents.  

At the end of our nine months in Mexico, I felt like I was making strides in my attempt to acclimate myself to life in a foreign culture.  Since we've been here (in my hometown no less) it has been hard not to get used to the cushioned life we all enjoy.  As I anticipate leaving again, I find myself cherishing seemingly insignificant things like shopping in my favorite grocery store or eating at my favorite restaurant.

It has been like a dream to be here in the States for nearly two years.  Yet it has been bittersweet the entire time, knowing we were only here temporarily.  Each time we visit our families, I wonder how many more times we'll get to see them before we leave.  As I spend time with my close friends, I ponder the few months we'll have together before I move around the world.  I find myself writing at the end of each family related blog post something like, "we truly cherish this time together and know it will be an encouragement to us when we are far away and lonely."  Often times, I end up erasing the last part of my posts because it seems to go without saying.  I love family.  I don't want to leave my family.  I wish I could pack up my entire family and take them with me.

I truly feel stuck in the middle of excitement about our calling and the future ahead of us and grief over what and who we are leaving behind.  At times, it feels backwards to be tirelessly trying to raise our support because the more that comes in, the closer we are to leaving.  Don't get me wrong, I want to go!  I daydream constantly of what my life may look like in five or ten years.  I wonder if we'll all be fluent in some obscure African language or if I'll be able to make a delectable pot of lamb stew.  But, I also wonder how lonely I'll be on days when the reality of living on the other side of the world weighs heavy on my heart.  I wonder what kind of friends we'll make there and how we'll see the Lord at work.  I wonder what kind of exciting events like weddings and births we'll miss here and only get to experience through pictures.  I also wonder how many funerals we'll miss and to whom we'll never get to say goodbye.  I dream of my children growing up African.  Yet I wonder how they'll feel hardly knowing their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.

I am excited.  I am ready to go.  But will I ever be ready to leave?  How do I prepare for the day when I'll be standing in an airport with my husband and son, waving goodbye to those I love the most?  I cry just thinking about it.  How will I take Kyle from my mom's arms for the last time?  In my head I know it's not like we're dying, but in my heart I sometimes feel that way.  Jesus will sustain me, I know.  My beloved companion and dear son I do get to keep with me and for that, I am grateful beyond expression.  But, for now you'll know better how to pray for our family as we are in the middle -between here and there!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012


You may remember our friendly neighbor I posted about a few months ago.  Well, about a week after I wrote that post, she disappeared.  Earlier that week my (human) neighbor mentioned that her daughter was trying to find a home for the kitty.  I'm assuming that is what happened to our feline visitor.

Now we have a new neighbor.  Four actually!  A busy little mama bird made her nest in our next door neighbors wreath.  I must admit wreath envy.  I have a wreath on my door, too, and I took slight offense that the mama bird didn't chose my wreath to make her nest in.  But, I forgave her when I decided that my wreath wasn't as equipped with the fanning twigs ideal for building her nest.

She laid her four eggs in there just a couple weeks ago.  It has made for a great science lesson.  I had no idea that eggs hatch so quickly and I really didn't know how rapidly little, scrawny baby birds become plump and feathered big birds.  It was barely a week ago that I noticed the four skinny, fuzzy necks stretched above the edge of the nest, mouths gapping open begging for food.  Now they look as if they are not far from flight.  The wreath which supports their home is flimsy (maybe she should've picked mine but, I digress), and their weight is already making it rotate.  Late last week I tilted it back up so that the nest was nearer the top center of the wreath and would be less likely to topple over.  I've been checking on it regularly since then.  They're ugly little things, but I'd rather the nest didn't fall out of the wreath and leave me burying four dead little birds.  Plus, Kyle would be devastated.  They are his best buds at the moment.  He is constantly whining at the door to go see the "birs" and squeals like a baby (oh yeah, he is a baby) every time he sees them.  The birdies are probably terrified when they see Kyle's head pop up over their nest.  He doesn't mess with them, though.  He just looks, squeals, giggles, smiles at us and looks back into the nest.

I wonder if Mama Bird is as proud of her babies as I am of mine....


Saturday, June 9, 2012


If we finalize an assignment (possibly this week), this could be our next home: (no, we aren't signing on because it is pretty, but that doesn't hurt.)

Pretty neat, huh?  You can find me in one of these....

....Maybe not.  Maybe so.  Not sure about this part.  But the landscaping is almost enough to make up for it.  I'll keep you posted.


None of these photos are mine; I stole them off Google.