What a Year!
It's been a year full of ups, downs and lots of learning. There have been days I've longed for home, and days we have also been quite content. We've lived a lot of life through our watchful eyes in wonder and sadness, with love and understanding, and have learned to offer an abundance of grace as we have received the same.
A year of major growth in many areas of our life...We've been stretched. Our children have really been stretched and we've all experienced some major growing pains. Such is life, I suppose. What would our journey really be without growth and change.
The kids (3 of them at least.) and I had officially been here one year with the start of the month. It's been hard on my mama heart to leave 2 behind, and be so far away, and I hate to say it, but we haven't always done it as well as we all hoped. All in all though, our experiences here in the desert have been good, and we've come to love and understand this region of the world in a way we never could have, had we not been here to experience it for ourselves.
The biggest thing I've learned in all of this: We all have the same hopes and dreams for our children, families and futures. We all want our kids to be kind, and accept others. Though we have different faith, it's equally as important to them as my faith is to me, and what the media portrays of both sides, it's radicalism, and nothing more. I have learned more about myself during this journey, most of it good, and some of it revealing my tendency to worry, especially for my children; it's something I am working on, as I well know, no amount of worry can change whatever may come. My eyes have been opened to deep hurts and concerns that we hadn't yet faced head on this past 6 years as we waded through a process of grief that constantly shifts each day. The sadness and weight of hurt that burdened our kids hearts just as deeply as ours that are now manifesting in ways that have left us ill prepared to handle, at times.
We are still a work in progress, and just like everyone on this planet, have things we must continue to work on, to better ourselves to be the best version of who we were created to be.
My post may seem heavy, and as I write this, I do feel a burden of heaviness that flows from my thoughts. We've come so far, and yet, I know there is much more journey ahead with mountains to climb, valleys that will feel endless, and still waters that will bring calm our souls. Each day we embrace for the gift it is; a new start, a new day to forge ahead with purpose, hope and eyes that are open to see clearly the hearts of those all around us.
It's been a hot and uneventful summer. My thoughts have been filled with days of searching for purpose in our journey, and each day has become more clear to me as I seek and pray for answers. We are blessed beyond measure, and so grateful for every new day, to become better than who we were the day before.
Learning to revel in the little things as the days pass by...
Today's little wonder: Little voices filling our home as play and laughter fill our home.
And here we are, adding to the next day that will become a part of the next year, that I will do all I can to learn from and remember the important things , so nothing may be wasted.
A year in the desert.
Aug 16, 2016
What a Year!
at 3:27 AM
Jul 27, 2016
Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.
No matter how many times I say it, I can't wish it away. There is so much wrong with this, but, alas, it is what it is, and it's here until November.
It's getting Hot in here....
at 7:32 AM
Jul 24, 2016
I have a prayer in my heart that continues on repeat, day after day, moment by moment, like the continuous crashing of waves.
It's for my children, both grown and growing, a cry of my heart so to speak.
Over and over we are reminded that around any corner there may be trouble, or a mountain we must climb to never allow defeat. Those same corners can also hold immense blessing and joy. We don't know what is coming, we don't know whether the next big thing in our life will be something to celebrate or something to mourn, and at times, the thought of this can be overwhelming.
My hope and prayer as we navigate through life for my children is that they never stay on the ground defeated when they fall. That they will get back up and brush of the muck and keep pressing on, in perseverance. No matter what lies around the next corner they rise up and take those corners with courage, knowing that whatever may lie ahead can be met with strength and and a steadfast spirit that will win through the good, bad and ugly. That they may be able to push aside fear and face whatever is ahead of them with sound mind and a forgiving heart. I know there will be hurts and things that seem so very heavy to carry along on our journey, but through those things they will be reminded that they are not alone, not meant to carry burdens on their own. That they can and will be victorious, if they so choose.
Forgiveness... That's a big one. Forgive others and you will be free. Do not allow anger to rule in your hearts, and see that there is always something to find that is good and allow themselves to be free from what can crush the spirit, as anger can do. That they will never be so caught up in their own plans that they can't see there is something better waiting on the horizon for them, if they would just look and see that they can bend, and not be stuck just because of something their heart wanted didn't come to fruition. That just because it seems a door may have closed, does not mean that it closed permanently, and being patient and not pushing can potentially swing the door open to something they could have never imagined.
When things go well, that they always remember to be grateful and embrace every single moment in thanks and wonder. When things don't go as they'd hoped that the remember to do the same and learn what they can from the experience. That they always look at others with an empathetic heart and a willing listening ear. That when they look at the people around them, they don't see what they are wearing or driving, they just see the hearts of others, and they show love in their responses.
In this world we have seen trouble both around us and in our own lives. These experiences have molded us into who we are today. We are not the same that we were before. In some ways we are better and in other ways we feel broken. My hope is that we remember we are not the definition of our past mistakes, but we become better and learn from them, that we don't stay in the valley, and see that there is a light ahead and press towards that light, and become a brighter light that shines for others to see.
As a mother, my heart wants to bind up all the wounds our children have felt and toss them into the bottom of the ocean, far away from us, never to be seen or heard from again. I know that this is impossible, but mothers would go to many lengths to at least try to smother the burning heat of those flames of life's hardest trials.
Above all these things, that they never feel without hope. That they realize when the going gets tough, there is always, ALWAYS, hope and something is waiting around the next corner that can bring more joy and blessing than they could ever possibly know. Open, forgiving hearts find that there are still good things in life worth experiencing. A closed, angry heart cannot receive the goodness that is still to be experienced. There is still beauty in this world, and if we look hard enough we can see it. It may not be what we had planned, but sometimes our plans aren't as great as what is on the horizon. Be willing to work hard, love, forgive and then be willing to receive abundantly greater things than even your heart could desire.
That is my hope and my prayer. Press on my loves, with all that is in you.
at 2:59 AM
Jul 13, 2016
We are just over here melting away with the long summer.
Good glory it's HOT!
Most expats book it out of here as fast as they can, but us?? We're just over here, like, "Hey! Look at us melting!"
It's great fun! You should join us, and share the fun of sweating over every possible inch of your person. Smelling like something in a back alley, and also wearing clothes that are sweaty wet, is what we do here! It's the way of this land.
My belly sweats! Who knew this was even possible!?!? Feet sweat, too! (even in sandals.) Slippy sliding along in our sweaty sandy shoes. Sandy, dusty, sweaty feet prints on the floor, hair matted to your neck and not a cool shower within hundreds of miles. Water that is either hot or scorch your skin till it falls off, is the norm of the land, during summer.
Even the ants look for refuge in the coolness of the air conditioning inside. Aside from sweating, ant killing is always on the agenda for the day. These little buggers are mean and nasty and like the taste of our sweaty flesh. We make great sport of hunting the bugs before they hunt us. :)
We're the cool house, with a bounce house inside, because outside just isn't happening. So, when bouncing commences, the windows and doors start shaking, squeals of delight and sometimes screams of little squirts mad at the bothersome sister/brother that has just taken things way to far. (I would seriously hate to be our poor neighbor..) If our windows and doors are shaking, the unlucky family that lives next to us has to be hearing the same things we are. Those poor souls.
As I said, most expat families have vacated this desert land, and will return late August/September, just in time for the major humidity onset. It's quiet around the compound. Much more quiet on the roads. Less busy, and less chaos. It's somewhat nice to be some of those that remain behind, just to experience this short time of stillness. Unfortunately, it means we will be melting the summer away, while we wait out the heat for what will come this November...
Until then. We perpetually smell like sweat. Glorious!
at 6:11 AM
Jul 4, 2016
The days are long and the years are short.
That's how the saying goes, and for the most part it's a pretty true statement. How the years rush by like a comet zipping through the sky, and the days that seem endless turn into a blur of seasons that pass without warning in the blink of an eye.
It happens without fail, day after day and year after year, leaving me wondering, if it's possible to go any faster than it already has.
Then it happens, and the little's aren't quite as little as they once were, and you realize how quickly it happened; that what will seem like no time at all, they will be grown and leaving the nest.
The summer brings sunshine and heat like nothing we've experienced anywhere else, but with that comes the dawn of two L'il nuggets birthdays, giving way to a new world void of babyhood, and toddlerisms and into a land of rowdy youngsters, eager to learn and assert more independence than any of us are ready for.
She is a delight! Full of soooooo much life and wonder in everything she does. She is LOUD. Something I find rather frustrating at times, as it seems she knows one volume, and that is yelling everything at the top of her lungs. (So thankful for those beautiful working lungs, but she could tone it down a bit. LOL) Volume control is a daily topic around here. She is funny, a great big sister, and wants to learn all there is to know around her. She continues to bring our family so much joy!
Then there is this little guy:
This one, oh my! Are we in for a ride with him! First of all, he's hilarious! And now, he is 3! Gracious, that also happened very fast! He is also loud. Good times in this house! He is a happy little guy with a great love of milk, with his daily declaration of, "me loves my milk!" Yes, I know, he needs a little help in the grammar department, but I do know he's not leaving for college referring to himself and whatever he likes as "me like that, mom!" He's super smart, takes things apart, is STILL a button pusher, (much to my dismay, at times) loves to get his haircut with his Daddy, likes to go places and do things, and makes us laugh with his daily Asherisms. He's all boy, and tackles and wrestles his Daddy on a daily basis. Growling as he talks and says I love you is commonplace with this one. The happiest boy I know, and still blessing us on our journey, every day. What a boy!
What a great gift these two L'il Nuggets have been to us. Sadly though, these precious days are quickly passing us by, and before we know it, they will no longer be these little precious pies we so easily tote around in our arms.
It's hard to believe the distinct differences in where we are in our parenting journey. 3 big kids, 2 well on their way into the throws of adulthood, and another knocking on that door after one more year of High School. I can say without hesitation, I didn't think it would happen so fast. So, we are doing all we can to take each moment in and savor it, in an attempt to hang on as the days and years fly so quickly by.
Blessed, beyond measure.
at 7:39 AM
Jun 26, 2016
There's a fire burning.
On the horizon, it's burning brightly, with a heat so intense it can be felt from great distance. It's a promise of hope for tomorrow in a dry and barren desert, among the lost and broken, it's taking over, and like a wave after wave from a cool ocean, it's bringing refreshing and relief in the driest of lands.
Hearts are opening, healing and being led towards the greatest light of all. One by one, being drawn in to hope find a freedom they've never known before and a purpose renewed. It's a promise being fulfilled. A love greater than any other. A hope that reaches beyond the greatest of all hopes.
What I am witnessing here in the desert has opened my eyes and heart to things that may be harder to see in my own home country. People from all walks of life, the many countries represented too numerous to count, but all created for the same purpose, with the same hurts, wants and needs, but all with different abilities, who all have a story of their own. Stories of growth, hurts, desires and needs, but all longing to be loved, accepted, and a part of community, to eat, drink and share life with one another.
We are all so very different. The differences here are visible, but overlooked when you just look at the heart of people who are searching for their purpose in life.
To be light and love to those who may not be regularly shown either of those things is a great privilege and honor that I take very seriously. In this time, my heart has grown. There was already a burden for others, but it's grown, and I can't help but be moved to tears when I stop and really look at the heart of those around me. I am thankful for this time, and this experience. Even in all my own despair, I know a love that brings a peace beyond all understanding, and I pray that through that I am truly a light in a dark world. That is my prayer.
Look at the heart of people. Look for ways to love, even when your first inclination is to be judgmental. Stop for just one minute, and think outside of yourself, and ask the questions: Am I a light? Am I showing love?
Don't let our differences get in the way of being a person that is kind and shows love. We are called to be love. We aren't here just for us. We all have a purpose.
Love your neighbor. You may be surprised at the change within yourself if you, just for a moment, think of the people around you as more than just a person in the way, a car to be in front of, a mother with her loud kids, and an elderly person moving slowly and holding you up. People matter, not things. The way to change our nation, is to show love, even when we think it may not be deserved, after all, even when we are in our ugliest of times, we are just crying out to be loved.
Our cities, neighborhoods, nations are all crying out for the same thing. Instead of keeping up with the Joneses for a bigger house or more expensive car or possibly the latest new gadget, can you imagine what would happen by changing a mindset of being things oriented to people oriented? If we don't model this, our children will not learn how to think outside themselves. Our world will continue to be filled with stories of devastating things with no hope or light in sight. What if our focus was being a helper, and kindness, doing something for someone just because you see a need, and not because it was asked for. Let's start looking for the good that is still around us, and talk about it. I'm growing weary of all that we see in the news on social media talking about who wronged us, instead of looking for good things around us. Our focus has to shift. I see that more clearly than ever.
I cannot say this enough: Be a helper. Be love. Be light. Be kind. Be everything you want others to be to you.
It's happening here. Let it happen where you are. Make it happen where you are. Let the spark turn into a wildfire, that spreads so fast, it can't be put out....
I see a fire on the horizon. Hearts are changing. Love has called us, and Love has won.
Nothing, is more important than this.
at 1:50 AM
Jun 5, 2016
For the last few weeks, I've been getting a little pick me up, so to speak.
I've had a date with an IV drip, to pump me back up with iron. Who knew the reason I was feeling so incapable of so many things was because my iron was just too low for proper function?
Her too! We have been a mess!
Hoping to find the underlying reason for this issue in our lives so we can prevent this 4 week long treatment from becoming an ongoing treatment, but also glad to have this as an option for helping us to feel human again. For some reason we aren't absorbing iron they way we we are supposed to...
That black bag of goo is giving me a new lease on functionality that I thought had flown right out the window, forever!
I'm making light of this, but it can be a major issue, low iron can shut down organs and is incredibly important in the function of the body. I will list just a few of the symptoms that I was experiencing that sent me seeking answers.
Shortness of breath
Brain fog, forgetfulness, unclear thinking...
These were the major things affecting me and there were days, I literally thought I was dying.
Did you know that low iron can be cause of depression?? Who knew?
Get yourself checked people. It's not worth the consequences of letting yourself feel off.
I was desperate for answers. I went from fully functional and able to be super mom, to feeling like I was going to die and unable to do the simplest of things without much effort. The low hit fast and unexpectedly at a time I wasn't prepared for it. (Consequently, while we were in the middle of a major life changing move last year.) On a sad note, a friend of ours recently lost a friend and co-worker from complications of low iron and her organs shutting down. Our prayers are with her family. This is serious stuff, folks.
One more infusion left for me, and then, hopefully, I will be able to maintain proper levels and not need this again.
Excited to feel fully functional, very soon! :)
at 1:28 AM
May 17, 2016
We are at two very different stages in boyhood in our family.
It's a strange place to be, with a toddler and a 19 year old, and living half a world away from the big boy. What a life.
This morning, something struck me as so very significant in where we are in our journey.
This sweet little one wandered in with his blankets to crawl into bed with Mama and Daddy for a little snuggle time at 5am.
And then while we were sleeping, a world away, our oldest son made a very grown up decision to serve our great country.
We are at two very different places with these two boys.
There are things I wish I could go back and change for our oldest son, but, I know we did the best we knew to do, we loved him, pushed him to be his best, encouraged him, cheered him on when he wanted to try new things. We were far from perfect parents. There were times we really messed up, but we did our best to correct our mistakes, in hopes that he would learn with us. Look at him, making adults decisions, to better his future, serve his country and become the man any parent would be proud of!
First off, as I look at this picture, I couldn't be more proud. Second, after nearly a year of being away from his family and not always doing things the easy way, I have to say I am pretty proud that he doesn't look like a slouch...Collared shirt, tucked in, hair isn't too long...proud mom moment right there! ;) Third, he's confident and steady and making solid plans for his future. This is a big deal after an overwhelming fear had tried to consume our entire family in the dark days following the loss of John Carter 6 years ago. It hasn't been easy, and we've fallen, many times, but we never admitted defeat, and always got back up and pushed through to prove no amount of darkness would hold a single person in our family down. Fourth, that we (he) got to this place. It's hard to explain, but that we are even talking about this right now, is a pretty big deal. I hope he knows how proud we all really are of him. There aren't adequate words, and since I am far away, I hope he can feel it from afar.
Last but not least, he's the 4th generation on his fathers side to serve our country and 3rd on my side of the family! Pretty awesome, if you ask me!
Then there is the little guy....
So young, full of life, happy, a blessing as his older brother is to us, as well, but at an age where nothing in life is a worry. The years will go quickly, this I know all too well, and I pray that this boy will radiate with confidence and direction all his days, and that his father and I always seek to do what is best for him and prepare him for a bright future.
Our children are God's greatest gifts. I am thankful for each one and hope and pray that they will seek His guidance and be light and love to a world in desperate need.
One in his young boyhood and one entering his manhood.
I am in awe.
at 1:13 AM