"Home"

The view from our driveway
Landing in Central Oregon felt more like 'coming home' this time than it did last time we came back in 2013. The scraggly trees, the rocks and fields and hay. And oh, the mountains. It's really amazing, actually, that the entire population of the US doesn't up and move here just to wake up every morning and see those mountains!

We have had moments of culture shock, as expected. So much skin being shown. So much PDA

Omara at Tumalo Falls
even in church, where people hold hands (gasp!) and stroke each other's backs (the scandal!). So many options at the grocery store. I've spend literally hours inside Fred Meyers, just wandering the aisles to look at everything. The kids are amazed at dish washers, and that people would just throw away bottles and cans worth 5cents. Gluten-free communion. A sun that won't set until 9:30pm and then wakes up at 4:45am. 
Ethan playing in Elk Lake, in the Cascade Mountains

We've eaten our weight in Oregon berries (strawberries and blueberries) and Washington cherries--with a touch of Angel Food cake and whipped cream whenever possible. And tortillas, and non-stinky cheese...amazing! I really could go on and on, but only a few of you will actually understand the pure joy that can be achieved by simply pulling a meal together on the fly, with no tears or sweat. Unfortunately the washer seems to be shrinking our clothes a little bit--especially mine and Chad's. So annoying. But that's totally a different issue, right????

Anya and Isaac having a real snow-ball
fight after swimming in Elk Lake
Each of the kids has asked when we'll go home at some point this month. And every one of them was referring to a different home in a different place. The farm we're on now? The house we own but have never lived in? The house we're going to live in but have never been to yet in North Carolina? Kenya? Omara keeps getting confused and asking, 'Is this Kenya or America?'. She knows we live in one and visit the other, but she can never remember what each is called.

Chad and the kids hiking Smith Rock
I have twinges of sadness over how hard it is to answer the 'home' questions. My heart sometimes cries, 'my children shouldn't have to be so confused about what home means!' But then I listen to some of the narrow conversations going on around me (because I can understand EVERYTHING now, because it's all in English! It's almost overwhelming!) and I remember how great their world-understanding is. I saw an 8th grade graduation with 1 African-American in the class, and I remember how good they are at relating to people different than themselves. I watch them react in awe to smooth roads, and efficient gas stations, and short errands, and clean parks, and I remember how good it is for them to appreciate the blessings that so many take for granted.
Anya owning the mountains!

The only photo proof that I was along for
the fun. Pardon Isaac's cut-off head!!!
We have stayed in the Central Oregon area, not even making it to Portland or the coast, and not making it up into Washington. I am grieved that we couldn't see everyone, and do everything, but these weeks have been short. The kids--unsettled by the lack of routine and the multiple transitions. Chad and me--physically and emotionally exhausted from the past 3 years. So we stayed put, mostly, and we drank in the beauty and the new-again wonder of the Northwest, and we readied ourselves for the next step in Raleigh, NC.

This is a new adventure...living day by day without knowing more than a few months ahead what God's plan might be. Not that I always knew. I just thought I did. It was easier to pretend that life was predictable and steady and I had the "power" to plan. Nothing has really changed other than my consciousness of my dependency, and of my poor future-vision. So I keep moving forward, trying to enjoy each day and live in the moment. It's easier to do here than...uhem...some places we've lived recently!!!!






 

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