I hate mold.

We drove hard for four days in order to walk into our house in Mexico by about 1am.  Walking in our house for the first time in five weeks was less than pleasant.  The dank air, water stains on the floor where the rain leaked in, mouse poop all over the girls beds….

We plopped the girls on the futon and went to bed.  I had to force myself to sleep and not think about the mountain of work I had before me in order to make our home livable.

The next morning, feeling anything but refreshed, I did my walk-through of the house and assessed the damage.

Fuzzy mold on walls—-blasted it with bleach.

Dusty smell of furniture and rug—super-soaked it with febreeze.

Mouse poop on beds—stripped beds and began the never ending laundry routine a mountain behind schedule.

Killed about 12 spiders in the first two days.

Prayed I wouldn’t find mouse poop in the girls’ dresser drawers.  Then prayed that I wouldn’t find mouse poop in EVERY dresser drawer.  Then brought the laundry basket in the room and emptied every single drawer.

The next night I was EXHAUSTED to say the least.  I went to bed feeling like I had taken about two steps on a 1,000 mile walking journey that would be my life for the foreseeable future.

THEN our landlord knocks on our door at about 10pm and informs us that the river is rising and that we should send the girls upstairs to sleep at our neighbor’s apartment while we put all of our belongings up high because there’s a very good chance our house will flood.

It turned out okay—we only had a little water come in and only a few houses in town were severely flooded.

Having to face everything that was under every couch, bed, shelf…everything was a bit frightening but actually ended up being somewhat of a blessing in the end.

The next day was spent cleaning every corner of our house and facing every scary place that I would normally want to avoid after being away for a while.  I never know what creatures may have found a home here while it’s been vacant.

It was spiritually healing in a sense, to face EVERY dark place in our home and overcome it.  As I’ve mention to many before, I believe there is a real paralell between the state of my home and my spiritual/mental/emotional health.

I am now slowly getting a handle on things.  My attitude is improving and I am jumping back into the flow of life here.

This is a very real aspect of life on the mission field and I just thought I’d share.  I’m not trying to complain or show you how tough I am.  I am not.  I am hanging on by a thin thread.  This is life at the moment but Praise God that He is lovingly strengthening that thin thread for me and will pull me up out of my puddle of self-pity and despair.  Okay, that sounds super dramatic…my point is that I have choices to make every day (we all do) and that’s when He pulls me up.  Basically I have to choose to LET him hoist me up out of this!  I’m learning and growing….slowly at times but I am choosing to persevere!

Playing in the yard in Idaho this summer.

Playing in the yard in Idaho this summer.

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Place of Peace

I desire that my home be a place of peace for my family and for anyone who enters.

Sometimes I get WAY too focused on the externals.  I want the front room to be tidy and homey and comfortable.  I feel like crumbs on the floor and shoes scattered everywhere and crooked couch blankets just alter the orderly, peaceful atmosphere that I would like to have.

What I miss is that in my OBSESSING over the physical look of the house I am adding stress to the atmosphere.

I love to put the kids down to bed, walk out and take a deep breath in a nice tidy,  peaceful living room.

This leads to me sometimes acting like a psycho running around barking orders at the girls to hurry up and pick up their junk.  I’m often sweating and out of breath by the time I go tuck the girls in.

I hate turning into such a crazy person just for a little order.  It’s not worth it.  That’s what I decided tonight.  I have GOT to chill out.

So here was my break-through—ready?  I didn’t let the time pressure me!!  I usually want them in bed at 7pm on the DOT.  This evening I just relaxed as they put away their things and I straightened things up a bit.  Then while they were finishing their dinner, I even got to mop the front room floor.

They were in their beds by 7:20.  And everything was FINE!  The world didn’t end.  And why haven’t I figured this out before???

It just feels so good to let go of this contraint and pressure and urgency of the clock in order to keep connected to the hearts of my children.

neighbor 033

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Teacher’s Day

Saturday was Dia del Maestro (Teacher’s Day) here in Mexico.  In the U.S. there is Teacher Appreciation Week which was last week, I believe.  I’m just sharing because it’s not too terribly late in case you want to make a midnight run to Walmart!  I figure if I bring in a little something first thing on Monday morning I won’t seem COMPLETELY clueless.

I saw this amazingly cute idea on a fun blog I read called Peace, Love and Applesauce.  So I tried to copy it :)

These aren't nearly as amazing as the one on the blog link but the girls are so excited to give them to their teachers.  Both of their teachers are pretty into wild makeup and nail polish....I realize those woudn't be typical items in a Teacher's Day gift :)

These aren't nearly as amazing as the one on the blog link but the girls are so excited to give them to their teachers. Both of their teachers are pretty into wild makeup and nail polish....I realize those woudn't be typical items in a Teacher's Day gift :)

When you flip over the containers, you find another compartment here.

When you flip over the containers, you find another compartment here with some sticky notes and a marshmellow rose.

On a completely different subject--WHILE I was writing my last post about the flowers, Molly was coloring her little heart out during rest time.  As soon as I finished she ran up to me (of course having no clue about any of the flower vision or anything) and handed me this picture!!!  AH!  It touched me.

On a completely different subject--WHILE I was writing my last post about the flowers, Molly was coloring her little heart out during rest time. As soon as I finished she ran up to me (of course having no clue about any of the flower vision or anything) and handed me this picture!!! AH! It touched me.

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Retreat Thoughts part one

This past weekend I had the wonderful privilege of going to a missionary womens’ retreat in the city.

It was great getting to meet other ladies living similar lives as well as just to get out of the house, enjoy some quiet time with the Lord and relax some too.

I feel like I got so filled up and got so much clarity in different areas of life but got one especially awesome vision I want to share.

I so desperately want to love my family well and be content in my calling.  I asked the Lord for some insight in that area and I am just THRILLED with what He showed me.

First of all–

My children are flowers.

Aaahh!!!!  I just love it.  It speaks to me so much!  How do you care for flowers?  You can’t be harsh with them, you can’t force them to grow–you have to provide a favorable environment and lots of tender loving care and encouragement.

Sunlight—which I take to mean the light of the Lord in their lives.  Opening up heaven for them so they can bask in His love and warmth.

Water—I just think of quenching their thirst…for knowledge, acceptance, love, whatever else.  This one is not super clear to me yet.

Fertilizer—Food!  This one is helpful to me as I spend hours a day between planning meals, shopping for food, making meals and cleaning up after meals.  Sure I could give them packaged, fast, easy food but they wouldn’t grow up as healthy, hearty and beautiful.

Soil—I think this is prayer.  I just want to cover them (their roots, I guess:) with prayer.  Giving them some solid ground to be rooted to.  A good, strong foundation.

As if that all wasn’t cool enough, He then proceeded to give me a picture of my house as a garden to tend to.  Wow…how much more pleasant a thought is that?!!!
Gardens need weeding, pruning, tilling, bug plucking, etc.  However, it’s not usually viewed as a great chore for those who are into gardening because it’s so worth the effort!!!  That is how I am to view my home.  It takes a little work but it is to be a beautiful, restful place of peace to ENJOY!

I picture myself flitting through my garden, putting away a thing here, wiping a counter there, gently caressing the petals of a sweet little flower face, pouring into them water and nourishment while dancing through my beautiful garden, enjoying the peaceful atmosphere.

More and more insight keeps coming from this illustration from others who I have told this too.

At first I was pretty embarrassed about this—it seemed so cheesey and silly.  However, I felt like I should share it at the testimony time on the last day of the retreat and many women ended up coming to me afterwards because they could relate or because they even had more to add to it!!

One woman told me that she thought pinching off little pests was spiritual warfare—squashing any strongholds that try to latch onto our childrenEaster 2010 003--revisedEaster 2010 001--revisedMay 3 10 007--revisedMay 3 10 050--revisedMay 3 10 033--revisedMay 3 10 042--revised. Another mentioned that sometimes the outside petals get a little roughed up through hard times in childhood but when they are opened up as mature flowers, those outside petals are on the very bottom and are not even visible.

One mentioned that it spoke to her in that flowers are easily bruised and wilted with harsh treatment.  Another thing that came to me as I was thinking about times I’ve been too harsh, towering over them and shaking my finger….I pictured myself standing over a flower and blocking its sunlight.  Like I’m taking it upon myself to bring about repentance when the Lord is already there–sometimes I just need to get out of the way.

Another woman mentioned that flowers are beautiful when they’re young and tender but that the older, more mature ones smell better!!!  You can try and draw your own conclusions.  I took that to mean that maybe with maturity, there’s more depth or character :)

Anyway, you can see that there are so many layers to this and I am so grateful for the picture!

It was such a blessing to me and to a few at the retreat, I just thought I would share it with anyone here in case it may be a benefit to you as well!

The other sweet part of this was that He gave me a specific flower as a representation for each of my girls.  As I was telling this to Chris—he knew each flower or had a picture of each flower for each girl in his head!  So awesome.  I’m now studying a bit about each flower and how to care for it and receiving even more insight into the care of each of my childrens’ souls.

I can’t explain my joy and excitement over how much the Lord cares about our measly little lives :)   He is so willing to be involved and speak to us!


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Confession

I’m really on a role here.  Not sure why but I just feel like spewing all my problems on the internet so there’s no way for me to go back to pretending everything is fine.  Hopefully it works. :)

There are so many ways to deal with stress in our lives and I’ve noticed something in mine recently.

I think the Lord has given me this crazy perspective on my own life in recent weeks where it feels as if I’m looking at myself from outside.

When things get tough, I tend to run away and pretend that there are no problems.  I’ve watched myself, over and over again use the computer as an escape from the stress of my days.

It’s pretty predictable at this point.  As soon as the crying starts or the whining about not wanting to pick up toys…as soon as I face any obstacle in training my children or tackling a big cleaning job I sit down at my computer “just to check”.  I am rarely at my computer for long periods of time but it’s in those moments that I am drawn away from my children.

I emotionally withdraw from them while I take a peek at email and that ONLY makes the whole situation worst….let me tell ya.

This is a huge confesssion here:  I look at my children lately and can tell that they are lacking attention.  They are misbehaving and acting like children who don’t have an attentive, loving mother.  It breaks my heart that MY own children are appearing to be in such a state.  How they must feel when I turn to facebook to escape from them.

I love my children so much it hurts and I can’t stand what I’m seeing lately.  I can’t stand it.  How could I have let this happened?  My own children?  My life calling is THEM.  How could I be so bent on avoiding them when all I ever KNEW I wanted to do in life was be a wife and mother?

When they are falling apart emotionally is the greatest opportunity for me to demonstrate the Father’s love and compassion.  They need me to guide them through these times….not run away because of my own fear of….I don’t know what…conflict?

It has become a bit of a habit and is probably going to be quite the task to overcome but I am so ready.

This confession is for the purpose of starting my day off right.  I want to take advantage of every opportunity to connect with the hearts of my kids, not shut off from them when they are emotionally frazzled.

I want to change this today.  I am vowing….Oh, I hope I’m ready for this…to stay off of facebook and email and blog-reading during the day when the kids are awake.  I am going to allow myself, for now, to be on the computer during rest time in the afternoons but will try to hold that losely and see if I can handle it.

God’s grace is sufficient.

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Rambling…

I had an epiphany today.

Chris plays soccer every Sunday in a local league and we almost always go to watch.  We usually show up quite late and I’m often kind of grumpy and tend to drag my feet about the whole thing.

Today, as we were walking up to the bleachers it hit me.  This feels like junior high all over again.  (I went to a jr/sr high school…so I had to deal with a lot of upper classmen as a 7th grader)  It felt like walking up in front of everyone and wondering if people are talking about you and what they are saying.

Here, people don’t try to hide the fact that they’re talking about us.  We stand out a little bit.

A lot.

We are definitely the center of attention for a minute or two (which feels like 20 minutes).  I always hear “Mira!  Son Cuatro?  Puras mujeres!”  (Look!  There are four?  All girls!)  And usually get whatever english words people know—most commonly “Ehy Bayby!”  “Oh miy Gode!”  “Wot is yur naime?”  But I am usually in such a zone that I don’t even look up.  Sometimes I feel so mean but I am often so embarrassed and  just want to be invisible!

Anyway, back to my epiphany….

I realized that I am still somewhat paralized by what I think people think.  Did you get that?  I’m pretty sure what we’re dealing with here is a head case….  I can only speculate what they are thinking.  I don’t even know IF they are thinking anything that has ANYTHING to do with me.  And why on EARTH would I want to spend my time speculating such things??

I see that my hesitancy toward Chris’s soccer games has everything to do with those first few minutes when we are the “talk of the town.”

I actually have to take a few deep breaths and try to remember a few things to get through these moments.

1. People are almost always pointing and talking about my children…the fact that there are four, and they’re all girls…and they’re very white.  Not me.  Well…I am pretty white but that’s beside the point.

2. They’re just curious about who we are and what we are doing in this country.

3. They are not looking at me thinking that my clothes suck or that I have a bad complexion…oh wait—this is a jr. high flash back!!

4. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHAT EVERYONE THINKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

One of the hardest things about living in a foreign country is the standing out.

There’s no rest…no break from being on stage.  I feel like I live in a glass house.  I can’t walk across the street to buy some eggs without being noticed.

Hold on….I think I’m taking us down a different path but maybe I’ll just go with it.

You know what I want more than anything?  I want to go to the grocery store and not be noticed.  Whenever we’re up in the states I take the opportunity to stroll up and down every isle and just soak in my invisibility.  It’s very theraputic.

Here, I have to work up the energy and get myself in the zone just to go to the grocery store.  I have to be ready to answer if we live here and for how long and what we do here and where we are from and if our kids speak spanish and if I like it here and if I ever go back to the states and how often and if our kids go to school here and if I paint my kids’ hair…Every time.  I’m not kidding.

If I’m going wrap up this post sometime this century, I suppose I should come up with my conclusion.

*About the soccer game stage fright— I have to realize that I worry too much about what people think.  I need to be content in who I am in Christ.  Definitely something I’m working through and this was just another example in my life.  It’s nice to know why I’m so anxious about going to his games.

* Hmmm….the living in a glass house thing….not sure there is a solution.  I guess I need to embrace it and thank the Lord that I’m NOT invisible and be grateful for the many opportunities I have to connect with other souls.  How sad would I be if I could go about my life every day and never talk to a stranger.

It would be a nice break for a while.  I’m a little afraid that if I did live in my home country it would be a real struggle for me to break out.  I firmly believe that this life is about relationships.  Our relationship with our Creator and our relationships with other people.

So why am I complaining?  :)

The end.

For now.

My neighbor's little girl and my baby on the back steps.

My neighbor's little girl and my baby on the back steps.

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Thinking…

I’m learning so much about myself lately.  I’m feeling extrememly introspective…hence the silent blog :)

I’ve been thinking about:

*How we’ve moved into a new phase of life and ministry with the mission training school leaving the country and starting schools in the U.S.  Now that it’s just our small team left down here!

*How I didn’t even realize all the amazing memories and growth that had happened while living at the mission base.  And how I will forever cherish all the good memories and even hard times about community living.  I will post more about this another time, I’m sure.

*About how I’m tired of being such a people pleaser.  It’s exhausting.  I just want to say what I mean and mean what I say and not worry about whether or not it is going to offend someone.  I don’t want to be mean….just real.  I want to give myself the freedom to have an opinion.

*How I have hindered my own self in my job.  I spend so much energy being overwhelmed keeping up with the kids and the house…feeling that if I can’t get it all done right, then I don’t even want to put much effort in.  It’s really lame and I’m tired of it.  It’s not an impossible task.  I have to believe that I am capable.  I always dreamed of being a mom and wife…why am I not embracing it fully?

*How I’ve embraced this personality that I’m not sure is even me.  Compared to my husband, I’m kind of impulsive, and unorganized and extroverted.  However, I’m not sure I have realized how much I NEED to be, and have the ability to be organized.  I actually REALLY like order….and always have.  I have a suspicion that the root is lack of discipline in my life.  Yes, I have trouble staying on top of things but I DON’T like it that way!

I also have found myself CRAVING alone time whereas before–I CRAVED being with other people…I seriously got a high from hanging out and being around friends.

I appear to be kind of sporadic and okay with chaos and impulsivenss….but I’m dying.  For real…whatever I’ve been doing—-it’s not working.  I constantly feel like I can’t get a handle on my life and I think it may be because I’ve believed that this is WHO I AM.   Chris is a little on the extreme end and we’ve always thought I was the other extreme.  I’m wondering if I could be somewhere in the middle.  Not a neat-freak who has to sweep and mop under my fridge once a week or scrub tile with a toothbrush but someone who appreciates a few labels and containers that hold exactly what they’re supposed to hold and nothing more.  A place for everything in my house, neatly folded towells, nicely made beds, an organized fridge, a menu plan and a schedule!!!  I want to run my house…not have my house run me.

Okay, these are just a few thoughts…I’ll stop there.

I’ve discovered that I tend to shut up some when I’m thinking because I’m normally so terrified of being judged.  I don’t want to open up and put things out there until I’ve sorted through it some.
This, however, feels freeing.  If you read this all….wow.  Now you know a little more than you wanted to know about what is going on in my head.  Oh and there’s more coming, I’m sure.3-30-10 022--revised

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Spring Parade

The girls' school put on a Spring parade last week.  Here's Lauryn on her float.

The girls' school put on a Spring parade last week. Here's Lauryn on her float.

Here's Molly on her float.

Here's Molly on her float.

Each parent was supposed to bring two big flowers made out of tissue paper in order to decorate the floats.  I misunderstood...and that is why you see each of my girls holding real flowers.  Humility is good.

Each parent was supposed to bring two big flowers made out of tissue paper in order to decorate the floats. I misunderstood...and that is why you see each of my girls holding real flowers. Humility is good.

Here Lauryn is starting to realize how UN-SAFE this situation is!!!!!

Here, Lauryn is starting to realize how UN-SAFE this situation is!!!!!

Don't worry....Chris walked right behind her float through the whole parade.

Don't worry....Chris walked right behind her float through the whole parade.

She was happy about that.

She was happy about that.

Jenna and I followed Molly's float the whole time.

Jenna and I followed Molly's float the whole time.

Then Jenna got offered a ride on one of the floats, which was wonderful since it was a loooong parade.

Then Jenna got offered a ride, which was wonderful since it was a loooong parade.

My sweet little butterfly.

My sweet little butterfly.

Each class had a King and Queen.

Each class had a King and Queen.

The best part was watching this lady....

The best part was watching this lady....

and her husband (in front of her) who was blind in one eye and walked iwth a cane....

and her husband (in front of her) who was blind in one eye and walked wth a cane....

walking alongside the floats the whole entire parade, catching every single piece of candy that was thrown out by the kids.  They were racing other little kids to the candy on the ground.  I witnessed her make one little boy give her a piece they had both been going for!!

walking alongside the floats the whole entire parade, catching every single piece of candy that was thrown out by the kids. They were racing other little kids to the candy on the ground. I witnessed her make one little boy give her a piece they had both been going for!!

It was hilarious!  A little sad...kind of strange....but definitely hilarious.

It was hilarious! A little sad...kind of strange....but definitely hilarious.

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Oily Activity

About a year ago my mom helped me get set up to start making all my own lotions in order to avoid questionable ingredients and unwanted chemicals.  Well...I've gotten lazy and have just been using the oils by themselves as a moisturizer.  I also add some essential oils sometimes for fragrance as well as different health benefits.

About a year ago my mom helped me get set up to start making all my own lotions in order to avoid questionable ingredients and unwanted chemicals. Well...I've gotten lazy and have just been using the oils by themselves as a moisturizer. I also add some essential oils sometimes for fragrance as well as different health benefits.

The girls have been BEGGING me to make them their very own facial oil.  So, that's what we did the other day!

The girls have been BEGGING me to make them their very own facial oil. So, that's what we did the other day!

They sniffed every essential oil I had.  Lauryn decided she wanted to add sweet orange oil to hers.

They sniffed every essential oil I had. Lauryn decided she wanted to add sweet orange oil to hers.

And Molly decided on lemongrass.

And Molly decided on lemongrass.

I (with my lovely manecure) did the mixing and pouring.

I (with my lovely manecure) did the mixing and pouring.

Then we decided they needed some stars on them.  (And since the chore charts have fallen by the way-side....we happened to have an abundance of stars!!!)

Then we decided they needed some stars on them. (And since the chore charts have fallen by the way-side....we happened to have an abundance of stars!!!)

The finished products.

The finished products.

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Things I’m Loving

This book is really challenging my thoughts about what I think is healthy and what is not.  It's also inspiring me to do keep it more real and homemade, though!

This book is really challenging my thoughts about what I think is healthy and what is not. Especially when it comes to my vegetarian tendencies. It's also inspiring me to keep it more real and homemade, though!

This candle makes my whole house smell like Jasmine Bamboo.

This candle (a gift from my father-in-law) makes my whole house smell like Jasmine Bamboo.

This awesome "trapper keeper" that holds all my essential oils!  My mom brought it down for me when they visited.

This awesome "trapper keeper" that holds all my essential oils! My mom brought it down for me when they visited.

This is what I was using before----a dingy old shoe box.

This is what I was using before----a dingy old shoe box.

Microgreens!  So easy and such an easy and fun way to get more vitamins.  You can go here to read a little about it and go here to order a kit.  We just plant some veggies seeds like broccoli and radish, wait a few days until they look like this, then snip them off onto our salads, soups, or whatever.  They are very tasty and super nutritious!  (another thing from my mom)

Microgreens! So easy and such a fun way to get more nutrients in your diet. You can go here to read a little about it and go here to order a kit.

I always cringe when I have to use cooking spray for my waffle maker or when making muffins.  I can't stop thinking about all the chemicals it must be made of.  So, again--thanks Mom!---I feel much better about this organic coconut spray oil.  It does have soy lecithin but it states under the ingredients that it doesn't have chlorofluoracarbons...don't worry--I don't know what that is either but I'm sure it's bad.

I always cringe when I have to use cooking spray for my waffle maker or when making muffins. I can't stop thinking about all the chemicals it must be made of. So, again--thanks Mom!---I feel much better about this organic coconut spray oil. It does have soy lecithin but it states under the ingredients that it doesn't have chlorofluoracarbons...don't worry--I don't know what that is either but I'm sure it's bad.

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