Tuesday, March 05, 2013

good morning

why cashews are so expensive

Apparently we have a cashew tree in our yard.  I wasn't aware of this until a couple of weeks ago when it started dropping these little suckers all over our yard.  It is amazing to me that the tree has to produce this whole fruit just to come up with one little nut.  It explains why cashews are so expensive.

back but not home

A month before we got the e-mail inviting us to the Philippines we put an offer in on a new house.

We love our little house in Spokane, but there are times that it indeed seems well, little.

We've committed to adding to our family through adoption and our little house just can't handle a family of 6, plus company that is always rolling through, plus trying to have our door open to Moody students and events.

We could barely fit 6 around our table.  It sits in a nook.  I call it our dinning nook.  It makes is sound cute and cozy, don't you think?  Our nook has one end of our table against the wall and if we have more than 5-6 people around it we have to pull it out from the wall which leaves half of it hanging into the living room and then the light that used to hang over the middle of the table hangs over the head of the person sitting between the table and the wall.

And Kellan's room.  Well lets just say that we know lots of people that have a bigger master closet than Kellan's room.  It makes me claustrophobic just thinking of putting bunk beds in there.

It was a God thing that the offer fell through on the house we were intending to buy.  There is no way we would have packed up a brand new-to-us house and moved halfway around the world.

We did pack up our house though before we left Spokane.  Down to the last washcloth and toothpick.  We decided that if God used this year to move us back overseas then we would be ready to go and if He used this year to move us back to Spokane we would be ready to look for houses again. It sounded like such a great plan back then.  It's back to Spokane we go.  

So while a piece of me is excited to be heading back, the fact that as of this time we have no where to physically go back to can cause me just a tiny bit of stress.  Right now our house is being rented out and we'd like to keep it that way if at all possible.  So when we pull into town we go.......where? A hotel, an apartment, a friend's basement??  As excited as we are to get "home" it feels like we're not going home, we're just going back.

I started looking at houses online in an effort to torture myself.  I of course found one I liked and had already mentally hung our pictures on the wall and last week the house listed as pending.  As in almost sold.  Punch to the gut.  After a week or so I realized that I wasn't so much in LOVE with the house, but I needed a place for my mind to go when it pictured us back in Spokane.

Right now when I picture us stepping out of our car, the picture in my mind just goes blank.  When I picture getting out of bed, it goes blank.  When I picture walking through the front door, it's just blank.  It feels like such an exercise of faith to just let it be blank and not fill it up with what I want to make happen for our family.

I know God has a plan for where He wants us to live, just like He had a plan for that house to fall through.  It's just having the patience to wait and see what He gifts us with.

i can

This year has definitely thrown things into my path that I thought I could not do.  And I've had to get over telling myself that I couldn't do them.

For example, either my children repeat a grade or I quit telling myself that I can't do the home school thing, put my big girl pants on, get my act together and carry on.  I had to find a way to make it happen.

Quite honestly, I don't think this happens to me very often at home.  There are so many ways to get around doing things that I don't really want to do. Or think I can't do.  There are so many supports that are just not available over here.

This year has been a real challenge to the CAN'Ts that I have set up in my mind.  It has completely amazed me how different things are when I realize that I don't have to repeat "I can't" over and over in my mind and instead tell myself "I can" and then figure out how to make it happen.

I can be my child's advocate.  I can deal with her reading disability.  I can help unlock her dyslexic brain.

I can take care of myself and push myself in new ways.  I never thought I would EVER be a runner, here I am. It's been slow going, but at least it's going.


My child has a split personality.  Her student personality and her daughter personality.  They are two completely different beings.

The school personality flips out, yells, rants and raves, stomps around.  I bet you're getting the picture.

The daughter personality snuggles up, wants to paint nails and then make cookies and just can't get enough time together with me.

The differences are like night and day.

Recently I've realized how much I struggle with the two.  Not so much in the fact that they both exist.  My struggle comes in how fast one personality can flip to the other.  In how they are so completely separate.   In how one personality has no bearing on the other.

There are days when I have had student personality yelling and me and less that 5 minutes later daughter personality asking me if I want to cuddle up on the couch and watch Little House on the Prairie with her.  I think, "Don't you get it?  You have to PAY for the way you have been misbehaving.  I don't want to see you or be around you.  I am still trying to bandage up the wounds you just inflicted upon me.  You can't just pretend like the last 2 hours of hell didn't happen."  But that isn't how she works.  When student personality is done, she is gone and the new daughter appears. Done.

There is part of me that thinks that the daughter personality should pay for the sins of the student personality.  I think, if the student personality is going to give me a run for her money and see how far she can push me before I snap and kill her, the daughter personality should know that she needs to clean her room, talk to me real sweet, kiss my feet and generally steer clear of me for at least a couple of hours to make it up to me for all of the ugliness previously displayed before she even considers approaching me again.   I guess in my mind, that would show me that she GOT IT.  That she messed up and she was sorry.  I know, I maybe need counseling.

This had been bothering me for weeks.  Every time she would flip, I would get mad.  Here is sweet daughter personality trying to love on me and I'm steaming mad that she is being so sweet.  I was really struggling with the concept of her having to PAY for her bad behavior.

Granted, we do have consequences for bad behavior.  There has been lots of puzzle setting going on around here because after a warning you loose your electronics for the day.  And that is only consequence #2, the list goes on. Consequences were fine and good, but I wanted to know that she KNEW she had done me wrong.  I wanted her to cry and tell me how horrible she was and how wonderful a mother I was and how she would never be so mean again, and on and on.  Wake up from the dream, right?

However, the Lord is good and helped me put this in a spiritual perspective.  I guess the student personality could be like when I walk in the flesh and the daughter personality could be like when I walk in the Spirit.   I know. This is getting deep.  Hang on.

It really made me question whether or not I believe and act like I have to make it up to God when I mess up. Or can I confess, be done with it and move on.  Not move on like it never happened, but move on as in not sit in a pile of guilt and shame for days or weeks or years. Not sit and grovel at God's feet for something that is already done and paid for.  Forgiven.  As far as East from West.  Can I be DONE, like my daughter is DONE?  Hmmm.....

So, no, I don't believe that I have to walk around on egg shells before my loving and gracious God before He would restore our relationship.  So maybe I shouldn't do that with my daughter.  Just like with my daughter, there are often times consequences that follow my foolish behavior, but it isn't anything that breaks the unity in our relationship.  Embrace the grace offered, learn the lesson and be DONE!

So then I started praying that the Lord would confirm this through His Word to me.

Enter me starting to memorize Romans 8 (thank you Ann for inspiring me even though I haven't gotten very far).

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,

Wait a minute,  NO condemnation, or just no condemnation when we are behaving? NO condemnation as in God doesn't hang things over my head and make me pay for my stupidity or selfishness?

because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.

Free?  Bring It!  Let's be DONE!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

making lemonade

Today we decided to make lemonade.  From lemons.  Construction was going on and it was LOUD at the house.  The neighbors were burning and you would have thought the entire town was on fire and the smoke was on a direct path.  There wasn't even a way we could escape it in the house.  I often wonder if we had a smoke detector IN our house, how many times it would go off a week.  A few, I'm guessing.  We had to leave.  So off we went to the hangar.  We took all our school stuff, but didn't get much done.  And I suppose that is okay with me.

 And looking at these pictures makes me so glad that I gave Kellan a haircut a few days ago.

just a day

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

passivity, i kick you in the butt

Ohhh my.  Passivity is one of my weaknesses, my bad habits.  It is amazing that I can get out of bed and get myself dressed in the morning.  If Jason ever dies, heaven help me.  I am totally that lady that doesn't know how to change the batteries in my kids toys because I can let my husband to it and so I leave it up to him.  There are many examples of this and it is unfortunate that I am writing after 10 at night because I can't think of any at the moment.

The irony is that Jason is also passive.  Which is why we don't go on vacations with just the 4 of us.  We only show up to big family vacations when we are told to and everything is already planned for us.  We don't do things on the weekends and we hardly ever go on dates.  We're always waiting for the other one to do the planning.  Thankfully, with the exception of planning fun activities for our family to participate in, we are passive mostly in different ways. That is the only reason my kids ever have toys that work that require batteries.  Or chargers. Or, now that we are here, transformers to cut the electricity in half so we don't blow up our appliances.

The move over here has made me extra passive.  I've retreated into a protective little shell called my house.  Actually it isn't really my house, it is just where we live for a year, but we will call it "my house" for the sake of the story.  Honestly it does not provide quite enough shelter from the outside world, to which I am specifically speaking of the 18 construction workers that are in front of "my  house" everyday peeing all over the place.  I somehow manage to deal with it. It's a miracle.

I think it is safe to say that I hate (my kids just got hot sauce in their mouths for using that word) driving here.  I hate "my car" which is like driving a cross between a monster truck and the Titanic around town.  In my head I call "my car" a monstrosity, but I will save that for another post.  My second week here driving on my own, I hit a trike (a motorcycle with a cab) and it was enough to keep me from driving for quite awhile. About 6 months. I can hardly handle putting a dent in our own car, but I certainly can't handle ruining someone else's car.  For awhile I even made Jason drive me to the grocery store every week.  I'm sure that made me even more dear to his heart.  He must love having to babysit his own wife.

As a result of my passivity, the kids and I mostly sit at home all day.  We do school, the kids fight with each other, the kids fight with me, we watch movies, and when we are really desperate we read books.

When we decided to come here we thought that it would be a great experience for our family.  A great experience though, I have recently concluded, requires leaving the house.

So I patiently waited for Jason to come up with an amazing way for us to do something to serve those around us here. To get our family out of the house and experience life here.  I'm stupid passive like that.

I have graciously allowed him 6 months to come up with a fantastic idea on his own of something for us to do together as a family (so that I would be off the hook for driving) that would be meaningful for the kids and not require knowledge of the local language. Easy peasy!  I would allow him to make the arrangements on his own and then to drive us to wherever it is that we would go that would help make this year a great experience for our family.  I figured he was the head of the house so it was his call.  I even mentioned the orphanage in town a couple of times just to help him along a bit. I'm super helpful like that.  Helpful passive.

The man is busy though.  He doesn't sit in the house all day twisting his hair and wishing that there was a Target around the corner that he could go and walk around in for a few hours a week.  And I mean every week.  Alone.  With a bag of popcorn.

Today I decided that maybe, just maybe, it was time to kick my passivity in the butt and write the darn orphanage and see if there was any way we could help out.  I mean I've only been thinking about it for the last 10 months or so.  And if I have to drive us there myself, then I guess I will drive us there myself.  Time to put my big girl pants on and live my life.

I just pushed 'send' on the e-mail this afternoon.  We will see where it will take us.  Hopefully out of the house and towards a bigger, more compassionate world view for us all.

Monday, October 22, 2012

oh ann

Have you read One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp?

If you haven't you better crawl out from whatever rock you've been living under and buy it now.  Right now.  Go to Amazon.  Now.  And don't forget her blog.  

This woman has words.  She's a modern day prophet.  

There are days when her words speak from the page and they sit like salve, healing a spot that I didn't know needed healing.  Some days there are words that are like the hydrogen peroxide we've been pouring over our scrapes and cuts and bug bites.  Burning, stinging, bubbling up the bad in order to clean and make new.  

This came out of her recent blog entry,  "Why You Should Smile Right Now."   

These words have rolled around in my head for days.  Confronting my actions.  Knocking heads with my reactions to two specific small people that live in my house.  

Why deprive myself of joy’s oxygen?
The swiftness and starkness of the answer startle.
Because you believe in the power of the pit.
Do I really smother my own joy because I believe that anger achieves more than love?
That Satan’s way is more powerful, more practical, more fulfilling in my daily life than Jesus’ way? Why else get angry?
Is it because I think complaining, exasperation, resentment will pound me up into the full life I really want?
When I choose — and it is a choice — to crush joy with bitterness, am I not purposefully choosing to take the way of the Prince of Darkness?
Choosing the angry way of Lucifer because I think it is more effective — more expedient— than giving thanks? than living joy?

It hits me hard.  How can I think I can use my anger, my frustration, my disappointment to pound my kids into seekers of joy, proclaimers of truth, and lovers of good, let alone good behavior when they are arguing with each other or complaining about school.   Yelling should produce patience between my kids.  Threatening should produce joy in learning. Bribery should produce a feeling of pride in a job well done.  

In what world does that add up? 

There are days when anger certainly feels more practical.  It seems more effective.  It appears to work so much faster. It is such an easier sword to wield than encouragement or patience.  

But, how often do I crush joy in my home?  Let me rephrase that.  How many times in a day do I crust joy in my home?  I don't even want to count. My kids would probably tell you that there are days I let my anger fly around like a whip.  Somewhere in my head, I've believed the lie that I can pound my kids into good behavior, into the wonderful sweet kids I know they can be.  

Lord help me.  

Cynicism isn't strength and ranting doesn't rejuvenate and frustration can never accomplish what Faith can.  

Does my life testify to my belief in the power of complaint - or the power of Christ.  

I speak cynicism and my kids speak complaint.  No wonder. 

It's a wonder though that God confronts. He gives us the chance to change and to grow.  

Thank goodness for grace. 
Thank goodness for the chance to try again. And again. And again. 

And when my kids complain for the 35 time of the week about doing their word sorts and it's only Wednesday, God is giving me the chance to choose joy.  To choose it for myself.  To choose it for my kids.  Practice living it out.  These words just keep rattling around in my head.  

I think about how thankful I am that this year I get to be sojourners of joy alongside my kids as we live and learn in this sticky sweaty jungle paradise.  We're learning.  Slowly.