Monday, May 24

Why does it have to be SO hard?

I don’t know even know where to begin.

My head hurts, a sure sign of stress, a new symptom for me which started the day my daughter died. Several hours after her death, a severe migraine enveloped me, and I struggled with them for that entire first year. Since then, it has been my first clear sign of stress, even before I consciously realize it.

I’ve been complaining to God lately, I will admit. My life seems to be a whirlwind of chaos, difficult relationships, tension between work and family, questions about our near future and cultural misunderstandings. Lately I feel as though I keep stumbling in the darkness, and as I fall I expect hands to hold me up, but there is nobody there. This hurts the most, that the support I hope to receive, is absent, silent, or even defensive at times.

Why does it have to be so hard?

I asked God the other day, feeling full of self-pity and disappointment. And God has shown me, in various ways, his answer. Steve and I have been reading a chapter a day from the Bible; we are currently going through Acts. I am constantly amazed by the faith of the apostles and Jesus’ disciples. Although they were continually harassed, put into prison, even stoned, they remained strong in their hope and faith. Their own church leaders were part of the harassment. If anybody had reason to question God, they certainly did! And yet, they counted it all joy to suffer for Him. I’m not saying that I’m suffering for Jesus, but that their faith alone is an example to me. The Bible tells us that trials can help our faith grow, help us to mature, and refine our trust and hope, whether they're from God, or people.

That is exactly how I feel…like I am being refined. The other day, I realized one of my errors, a sin. It is idolatry. I had been putting people in the place of God. I had expected them to be like God, to act like God, to be there for me in all situations, to have limitless compassion, patience and understanding.

Impossible! Only God can do all that. And therein lies the hidden sin, my idolatry. I had put people in the place of God.

It is so easy to do. To expect people to be perfect, in any and every way. It creeps in and before you know it, the expectation is in full bloom. No wonder why we are surrounded by resentment, disappointment, envy, and bitterness. We are continually let down and we curse those around us, including God, and wonder why we aren’t more understood, given more grace. But how much grace do we extend to others? As much as we expect ourselves? Hardly. Not even close. Grace is a hard thing to wrap your hands around, difficult to accept freely, even more difficult to release to others.

Pray with me, for me, that I could learn to give as much grace as I expect, or even more, that I could give as much grace as God has given eternity.

Thursday, May 20

La Lluvia

As I contemplate my words, I'm listening to the sounds of a downpour on our roof.....that is a sound I will truly miss.  Rain on a tin roof.  It is INCREDIBLY loud.  So loud, at times, that you cannot even hear yourself think, or talk.  Or your hubby talk.  Or your kids scream. 

It was disconcerting, at first. 

The sheer sounds like a pumped-up waterfall noise machine.  But it is absolutely amazing to fall asleep to.  And with the rain comes the cool weather...ahhh.  I've had to dig through my closet to find my t-shirts and long sleeve t-shirts. 

But the rain ALSO brings water...water into our kitchen.  Here you can see our little patio, where we hang our clothes, and where the rain falls down into.  The trouble is, when it rains here, it POURS.  It never just's all or nothing here.  And if it pours long enough, our little drain spouting just can't handle the volume of it all.  So it comes up, down the hallway, and drops down into our kitchen.

And this is where we get to work.  Like a lot of Nicaraguan homes, our kitchen has a drain (most rooms that have a remote possibility of flooding have some sort of drain built into the floor).  It's hard to tell in the picture, but Steve is standing in an inch of water, furiously trying to direct the water towards the small hole next to our oven.


There are a lot of things a mom has to clean up...spilled cereal, explosive baby bottoms, crayon writing on the wall...but one of the the WORST things to clean up has to be puke. Especially explosive puke. And it's even worse when there are several puddles around the house. Like there were today. Ugh.

BUT...that's about all I can expect with 3 sick little boys. Even Zach's is in on it, so you KNOW it's bad, since he almost never gets sick.

Even our housekeeper is sick! She called in yesterday and said she was taking off until Monday. So I'm back to the sole and wonderful profession of motherhood, at least for a few days. Let's just hope everybody gets better soon. Please pray for us.

Wednesday, May 19

Funds for Adoption

We have a lot of passions, missions, Jesus and yes, adoption is one of them.

There are only 2 days left. Yep, two days..until the $10,000 in 20 days program ends. What is this about? you may ask.

This is a chance to help 26 families raise funds towards their adoptions.

Give $100, $25 or even $5. If it sounds intriguing to you, or you are passionate about seeing abandoned children get into a good home, check out the link at right.

Mil Bosque

Below are some photos of kids at the school in a community called Mil Bosque, where we handed out over 50 MCC school kits. Mil Bosque is one of the farthest communities in which we work, and until very recently, was quite difficult to access by vehicle. It had normally been a 1 hr hike from the main road. But now that the road has been redone, we are able to drive up to the area in the CIEETS truck.

Steve also made a ferrocement tank for the school, since the water only comes on every 2-3 days. By filling the tank when the water is on, the school is able to have water for the students the days that the water is shut off.

For more pictures, see the photo album at right.

Tuesday, May 18

San Juan del Sur

We finally made it to San Juan del Sur! San Juan is a big tourist destination, and we had heard from several people about the beaches and the fun little town that it was...and so, after 2 1/2 yrs of living here, we finally made the almost 4 hr trek south to the Pacific coast with our friends Seth and Sarah.

The bay at San Juan.

We arrived Friday afternoon and checked out the beach in the bay. The boys loved the waves and sand. After eating a delicious meal at a nice Mediterranean restaurant (the woman totally surprised us by bringing out little animals, paper and crayons for the boys, how fun!), we checked into a nice little hotel. I had met the hotel's owner the previous weekend at a women's retreat, and she had mentioned that she loves children and that her hotels give children special attention. The small pool, books and children's movies were a testimony to her love of children.

Saturday we went to a nearby beach, and played in the waves and checked out the tidal pools, finding little crabs that ran quickly across the rocks at our approach, and collecting seashells. The undercurrent was fairly strong, so we didn't wander out too far into the water.

Sunday morning we went to another beach, a smaller beach but just as beautiful. The waves were nice sized, but with less of an undertow. You can see Seth and Sarah riding the waves below.

The weekend was fun, although a bit tiring, since Nathaniel developed a nasty cough on Friday that kept him awake both nights, and both Steve and Sebastian came down with fevers on Saturday and Sunday. But we're glad we went and were at least able to see San Juan before we leave the country. And the boys definitely enjoyed the ocean!

Friday, May 14

Don't turn your back!

One day Sebastian was just taking steps here and there and all of a sudden, he was off! Now there is no stopping him. He suddenly switched gears from crawling, to walking everywhere, and he is into absolutely everything. With 3 kids, I just cannot keep my eyes on all of them, at the same time.

This is what happens when I walk away for a few minutes. Seb loves to take all the books off the shelf. I'm lucky I found him when I did, or the shelves would have been completely empty.

I also found him playing in the potty last week, twice. As well as eating the cereal crumbs sitting in the dustpan. I think that's even grosser than playing in the toilet!

Yes, they keep me on my toes :)

More artwork from Zach

Monday, May 10

Masaya Weekend

Some highlights from our weekend trip to Masaya two weekends ago (I know, I'm a bit behind on things)

We are standing in front of the Lagoon Masaya.

A view of the fortress Coyotepe, from one of it's 5 main towers, built over 150 yrs ago. The fortress was eventually turned into a prison, where both prisoners of war and political prisoners were tortured, sometimes to death. We toured the first two levels underground, seeing the tiny cells and solitary confinement, in which the guide turned off his flashlight and the darkness was so black, you couldn't see your hand in front of your face. The third floor is not open due to landslides.

Our main reason for heading to Masaya was to celebrate a friend's birthday. She invited over 50 people and hired a mariachi band to was beautiful.

Before the party started at 3:30, we headed to the market to pick up last minute items. The barrels are full of different grades of rice.

Damaris and I take a shot in the sweltering heat. The heat and humidity was intense...everybody showered before the guests started to arrive.

If you would like to see a lot more photos of our weekend, check out the link to the right.

Thursday, May 6

The only ones left...

Do you see anything interesting in this photo? Keep looking. What do you notice?

Here's a close up look. Notice anything? is just socks?

We had all 6 lines full of clothes. Absolutely full. And since two of our lines run over our main hallway, we felt like we were living in a tent at times, dodging sheets, jeans and towels. But after 2 days of brilliant sun, they were dry and ready to come down, which I gladly did.

But I just couldn't bring myself to bring down the socks. I know, it seems weird. But this isn't the first time. Just ask Steve. Back in the States, when I was staying at home, I enjoyed doing laundry. Throw the clothes in, a little powder and wham! clothes are done. Easy enough. And folding wasn't an issue either.

EXCEPT for the socks. I always left them in the bottom of the laundry basket. and Steve would eventually run our of socks and searching around, find them all still sitting in the basket. He quickly learned that I really did not like to fold socks. I can't explain it. Call me crazy.

But Steve learned to live with we would sit side by side on the couch, me folding his big jeans and him folding my little pink socks. Yeah, we make a good pair.

Wednesday, May 5

New Style

check out Zach's new style...

He's pretty proud of losing his first top tooth.

Losing his teeth is actually going really well. I remember thinking about this, years ago, when his teeth were coming in, with a sense of horror. I wanted to order tranquilizers, THEN. He was a horrible teether...I seriously think we went through bottles and bottles of ibuprofen, from the time he was 6 mo until he was 2 yrs old. It was awful...and all I could think about was how bad it was going to be when his teeth were ready to fall out.

But you know what? It's actually gone really well. He is very excited about his teeth coming out. I think it helped that a lot of his friends started losing their teeth before he did, and it was seen as something "cool". He started asking when his teeth were going to come out. He started wiggling them all around and "helping" them to fall out.

After Zach lost his first tooth, Nathaniel kept pointing to his teeth and showing me the teeth that had "come out" as well. He did this for at least a week, but finally realized that he hadn't lost any. I just told him, You're time will come, soon enough. don't be in such a rush to grow up...I just want to enjoy you as you are!