Friday, July 18, 2014

This is life

I keep starting a post, sitting on it and then deleting it and starting all over.  This is my 3rd draft in the past week.  Things have been different lately.  A good and bad kind of different.  See the problem is, we're missionaries.  And we're supposed to have it all together, or it seems that way at least.  Well, like many of the secrets I'll let you in on, we are far from perfect or having it all together.  Oh so very far.

In fact Bart and I have had some pretty knock down, drag out fights lately.  Not talking to each other, yelling, bickering kind of fights lately.  And the kids.  Well, when things are messy in our marriage, it just overflows right into how we treat the kids.  Sure, we try to mask it and do things they will like or whatnot.  But most of the time, we just end up yelling at them and taking things out on them.

So lots of apologies have ensued in the past few days.  Mostly from us, the adults, not the kids.  Though they have required a fair amount of apologies.  I think we were a little too optimistic about moving to Florida, like somehow it would be a fix-all and all of our woes would magically disappear.  Of course, we're not quite that crazy, but we were really hopeful that Florida would look different than it has.

But oddly enough our problems just came right along with us.  Jumped right in the car and followed us here.  How rude.  I'd like to think we were somehow escaping from the life we had left in Ohio.  Escaping the pain of all of the turmoil from Venezuela.  Escaping the bad habits we had formed not having housing.  Escaping the hard transitions.  Escaping the emotional upheaval that has become our lives.  Alas, that wasn't an option.  Shoot.

Now we're dealing with all of it.  Maybe in not so healthy ways.  Our kids have developed a love for Taco Bell, to which I say "FINALLY!"  There are lots of ways to try to avoid our problems.  Food, movies, being busy running errands or learning a new city.  But they just keep creeping on up on us.  Not nice.  But fair I suppose.

See we need to work through these things.  Bart and I were just having a conversation about forgiveness last night.  What does it look like?  How do you know when you've actually forgiven?  What if you see that person again?  And what about the triggers?  All of these things we need to continue to talk through and process.

This time here has felt oddly like a vacation.  How do you avoid that when you have a view of the pool from your place and have access to Disney?  We're trying to figure out how to have a schedule with the lack of any kind of schedule.  Ministry partner development is 100% our goal right now.  Yet it's challenging figuring out how to do that with no schedule, a vacation-like atmosphere and no people to physically meet with.  Phone calls.  Yuck.  That sounds terrible.  But it's the hand we've been dealt.  So we do the best that we can with what we have.  A lot of times that's what life is.  You put one foot in front of the other.  By faith.

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Sunny Florida?

I'm pretty sure it's rained almost every day we've been here.  It might have something to do with that hurricane (is it even a hurricane?) off the coast.  I'm not really sure, but it has been pretty stormy.  So welcome to stormy Florida.  Luckily we don't really care.

We've been able to get some time at the pool a few times when it's been nice.  We finally decided to put water wings on the kids and have them try them since they had never used them before.  Game.  Changer.  It was great.  They did awesome!  Leah took A LOT of warming up to them, but eventually she got the hang of it and went crazy.  It was really fun to see them so happy.

The transition has been a lot harder on all of us than we anticipated.  Noah is still having a pretty hard time and throws a lot of fits.  Leah is still being super defiant (did I ever share the story about her hiding from us in Kohl's?).  It's not all sunshine and giggles in our house, that's for sure.  So we're taking it all in stride.

We did do something fun though with the kids.  We designed a photo album of Venezuela pictures.  We let the kids pick a lot of the pictures and told them they would have it to look through whenever they missed Venezuela or felt sad.  We're hoping it will help with some of their emotions and help them communicate a little better.  We're trying to help them express what they're feeling, even if it's being mad at us.  Maybe this will help.
If we look at both Jeremiah and Jesus, we learn pretty soon how living for God does NOT equal personal comfort.  Living for the Lord and becoming increasingly uncomfortable go hand-in-hand.  When you and I take our lives and add "with God" to them...we find ourselves saying and doing things we would have never done without him.                                    -Pastor Tim Farrell, from the church we attended this week
Dependence, humility, simplicity, cooperation, abandon--these are qualities greatly prized in the spiritual life, but extremely elusive for people who live in comfort.             -Yancey
These two quotes resonate a lot with us right now.  We've noticed our tendency to want more, feel like we need more and just have an overall sense of entitlement.  We really want comfort right now.  We want things to feel easier.  And it's almost been a bit comical to watch as random things go wrong here. Like our dryer being broken, water leaking into our place soaking the living room and our bedroom carpet and missing things from our suitcases that we're positive we packed from Venezuela.

God is redefining our comfort.  He wants us to rely on him, regardless of how comfortable we try to make our lives.  So we sit back and we take these things as they come.  In our worst moments we yell at each other and treat each other badly.  In our best moments we laugh and say things like, "it feels a little bit like living in Venezuela."
And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  Matthew 6:27 

Saturday, July 05, 2014

We made it!

We did it.  We made it in about 15 hours of drive time.  The first day was a little more eventful than we would’ve liked.  Leah ended up throwing up twice, but never really said anything until after she did it and wouldn’t even attempt to throw up in anything.  Just all down her lap.  Wonderful.  She had thrown up the night before we left so she must’ve had something bothering her.

That was not fun to clean up when we stopped.  But we managed.  We were able to get past Atlanta the first day and kind of crashed at the hotel.  No one wanted to hang out or swim or anything.  Let’s just go to bed.  No arguments there.

The second day was shorter and no vomiting, so hands down it was better.  We made it to our place in Florida around 2:30 in the afternoon and had a few people to help us unload which was very helpful.  The kids were even super excited and helped bring in a lot of things.

The last few days have been getting settled, unpacking, going to the store, etc.  We watched fireworks out the kids’ window last night because we didn’t have the energy to care that much if we actually went to them.  And our kids hate loud noises so they didn’t really care to go to them anyway.

All in all, we’re starting to feel settled.  We don’t have any kind of routine.  The kids are trying to figure out the bunk beds in their room.  The first night Noah woke up because he had dropped his pooh bear that he sleeps with and wouldn’t get out of bed because he didn’t want to wake his sister up.  The second night Leah woke up distraught and scared of the bunk bed.  I told her we’d talk about it when it was light out and she never brought it up again, so we’ll just see how it goes.

We have a lot of little things to figure out, like car registration and getting new licenses.  We need to get things set up with utilities and figure out all of those details.  Our dryer doesn’t work so we need to figure out how to get that fixed.  Lots of little things to take care of.  Today we finally have internet, so we can catch up on things that we haven’t been able to do.

So for now we will just try to get acclimated to a new city and a new routine.  We feel really blessed to be here.  Our place is great and better than we could’ve ever imagined.  We feel a little spoiled.  But we have noticed some strange triggers in our hearts over the past few days, so we can definitely use prayer in healing.  One day we know that the triggers will be fewer and less of a hold over us.  We’re just waiting for that day.
Bart didn't have much of a view out the rearview mirror
This was my cargo.  Vomit and all (sorry no pictures of that).
My passenger seat had some necessities
So far they are loving bunk beds.  I am not a fan
since we've had leaking diapers and
vomit (from the boy now---what on earth!?!?!).