Friday, April 8, 2016

I Stopped and Watched the Bird Bath

I miss Africa. I miss Cameroon. I miss Bamenda. I love my now life as bagging lunch mom, soccer mom, early morning carpool mom, volunteer mom. I know I am where God wants me to be for now.

But I need to slow down.  Oh too quickly I have jumped back onto the American trap of thinking that I am what I do. On mission, Pete and I had time for a cup of coffee out on the veranda before work. We had time to watch the kids play with Ruth the goat and her babies. We laughed as they climbed the tree for mangoes trying to avoid the ants. I miss our vacations to the beach and our long walks along the shore.

Today as I was multi-tasking-making dinner, making lunches, emptying groceries, doing laundry and returning phone messages, I glanced out the window and saw a robin in my bird bath. The heavy rained had filled my often empty stone bath. I paused to watch how gracefully she bathed, how free and fun she was, how beautiful her red belly was. And after her another bird jumped in for a bath.  A thought popped in my head that only old retired people sat and watched birds. But why such a silly thought. Aren’t we all called by God to “just be”.  To enjoy what God has put in front of us. To just be at peace. To be grateful for a moment. To just breathe in God’s love.

I don’t want to lose the gift that God gave me in Cameroon to treat time as a gift not a burden. Cameroon taught me to stop and greet everyone I see. To enjoy it moment for what it brings. I learned that time does not need to control me. I learned that it is not a sin to say “it can get done tomorrow”.

The dishes need to be done, but just for today, maybe I will let them wait and have a cup of tea and look out and watch the birds for a bit.


Tuesday, February 9, 2016

House Blessing

We are officially settled in our new home. After five months in Batavia we had a party and blessed our new home. We had over fifty people including kids. Luckily our basement is now completely finished and the kids had a ball playing with toys and the fooze ball table.

Our dear friend, Jim, led the prayers of blessing over the house. His theme was that our house was a sanctuary. A safe place, a holy place, a protected place, church, a shelter. With so much of the world, their home is barely a shelter, not safe and not protected. We are so blessed to have the physical things that make our home a sanctuary, but the spiritual part of this is up to us to create and maintain. We need to have our house be a holy house, one that our family and those entering the house can experience God’s love and grace. I pray that as we strive to have a house full of love, laughter, peace and hospitality, we can have others feel safe, at home, and loved here.
 Yet, even as we plan our life here in Batavia, we are uncertain of how long God will have us here. With Pete no longer working for Alpha, we wonder what God’s next step for us is. I feel a bit like the Israelites who left Egypt for the Promised Land, only to find that they were in the wilderness. They would travel until God said to pitch their tent and they would stay until God said move. Then they would pick up their tent and journey until God said stop, and they would stop.

Honestly, the idea of picking up my tent again is scary and I feel weary at the thought. But I know that God has never yet given me something that I can’t do and that hasn’t been a blessing in the process and in the end. Some days I dance alongside God on this journey and others I just put one foot in front of the other.

God is faithful, God is good, God is trustworthy. We ask for your prayers as we enter yet another transition. I frequently pray Romans 5: 3-5. We can rejoice in times of suffering, because God is molding us into his likeness. We are growing in perseverance, character and hope in Him.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Land of Plenty

We have been back in the states for 12 weeks. In that time we have been to Cape Cod, to the Chicago area to buy a house, to Estes Park, to California, to South Beloit IL, and then finally into our new house in Batavia, IL. The kids are well into school and Pete loves his job at Alpha. I am in two bible studies and an Alpha group.

Our reentry has been quite hectic, but most enjoyable.  One of the things that is hard to take in is how much is available. Shopping is still overwhelming to me.  The number of cereals, cheese choices, isles of coffee flavors. There is even a cold case for fresh dog food.

But is not just food.  The choices in shoes, trashcans, toothpaste, holders, zip lock bags, lamps, colored pens, notebooks, laundry detergents. It is hard for me not to get overwhelmed by the choices when I shop. I miss Rosie’s little shop which is the size of my walk in closet now.

We were richly blessed with furniture donations from family and church contacts. Yard sales and estate sales quickly finished off our needs list. It was astounding how much we gleaned from others abundance. I felt like Ruth going through the fields behind the workers, feeding myself off their extra. We each have 3 winter coats thanks to the generosity of others. We also quickly got 5 bikes and have been enjoying the bike trails especially along the river.

I am a bit nervous for Christmas as the hype here for Halloween is huge.  Before Oct 1st yards were full of skeletons and ghost and creepy monsters.  The stores are packed with costumes and household decorations and enough candy to keep dentists busy for the next five years.
It is hard to “keep it simple” with so much available.

I am still thankful for my dishwasher every day. I still hate to do laundry, but love that I can be typing this while the machine does most of the work. It is easy for us to take for granted how blessed we are. There is a lot of road construction and slow downs here and it always makes me smile when people complain - if they could just see how road construction is done in Cameroon.

I miss the Cameroonian sunsets and the goats frolicking in the yard.  I miss seeing Emily climbing trees in her bare feet. I miss Friday Fellowship with the other Missionaries and I miss Margaret who I did a radio show with.  I miss the smiling faces of my students and I miss the waterfalls.

Yes, we have “plenty” here in America. But only God can fill our hearts with what we really need.