Showing posts from 2017

Grass is grass, no matter what side of the fence it's on

So I discovered I still had some lurking 'premeditated resentments,' and I didn't even realize it until it was too late!

I assumed that setting up house would be easier in America than it had been in Kenya.
I assumed that emails telling me to pay my bill would pay my bill if I obeyed and clicked HERE.
I assumed that hot water heaters were electric.
I assumed that $80 in kooky-sounding flours would allow me to bake again, gluten-free.

Instead, we discovered the sellers had just cut the hoses close to the tap when they couldn't get the old washing machine tubes off. At midnight, after a week of VBS, Chad said, "Let me hook the washer up real quick for you." We all know those are famous last words! The twist of a wrench, the snap of metal, the spray of hot water, and Chad's calm voice calling out,

"Miriam...we're doing this again!"

And the saddest part was, I knew exactly what he meant. I gathered up the same towels, which I had washed and fol…

Water falls on the just and the unjust...

Just as I said last week, Tuesday turned into Wednesday. I LOVE it when things are predictable!

At 10am, most wonderful friends showed up at the church, and we drove up with a 17-ft Uhaul. By 11:30 we were all loaded up with no place to go. Closing wasn't until 2pm. But God.
God is an expert at blessing with most unexpected blessings, and the old owner of the new house texted our agent and said, 'go ahead and move in whenever you want, as long as you're sure you're actually buying the house at 2pm.' As long as I'm sure????? Wild horses from the hills of Yakima couldn't keep me from signing those papers at 2:00!!!!! Pshaw!!!
So we drove over to the house, and everything we owned (minus a few boxes at our friends' where we had been living) was unloaded and put in the right rooms by 1:30pm! God knew my heart's desire was to sleep there that night, and He made it possible. 
We went to our signing all sweaty and nasty--figured they wanted our money, not…

All ready but not yet

Today is Tuesday. And in the wonderful way of the world, that means tomorrow is Wednesday. And Wednesday is when we close and move into our new-to-us house! I'm just a tad excited!!!

I've spent the last few weeks trying to keep myself sane with Internet sales, Craig's List, and my new bff, Ikea. And when I wasn't browsing possible purchases, I was getting my nesting-needs out by helping our friends-and-hosts organize their cupboards and sun-room and garage. Anya joined in and she emptied out an old shed to turn it into a play-house, and we built new patio stairs with reclaimed wood and a pallet we found on the side of the road. I always swore I'd be more crafty if only I had a Home Depot, so now I get to try and live up to my ideal self!

The storage area of the church now contains 2 couches, 4 beds, mattresses, towels, bedding, boxes of books and baking dishes. Two tables, 12 chairs, and winter clothes. Boxes of donated things I haven't even looked through yet.…


Greetings from Ohio!

We were able to stay in the Raleigh mission house for as long as we needed it, and I had planned to stay for several more weeks. I reasoned it would be easier to revel in established relationships and familiar activities for a little longer, rather than jumping into new ones before we had our own space to move into. But I underestimated a few things...

One: my kids are far too experienced with transition. After a rough, emotionally charged few days where I was bewildered at every one's foul moods, Isaac, at age 8, eloquently explained, "Mom, I don't ever want to leave Raleigh. But since I know we have to, I just want to go now!"

Two: there is no such thing as pacing yourself with packing and cleaning when the adult:kid ratio is 1:3. It's all or nothing. I started slowly packing, and the kids immediately reacted to things 'disappearing'. And don't even get me started about cleaning. Any parent knows it takes minutes for kids to un…

Finite Disappointment

I read another great quote this morning, this one from Martin Luther King Jr. "We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope."

I don't even know how to characterize this past week. Some new friends invited us to go with them to their beach house for a few days. We had just been praying we'd get a chance to take the kids to the ocean once more, but it didn't look like it was going to happen. Then God blessed us through His people. We were so excited!

Then we got a call from Omara's doctor. She'd been complaining of abdominal pain over the past year but lately it had been increasing. I took her in to see a doctor, expecting a minor intestinal issue thanks to Africa, but quickly discovered she had only gained 1 pound in the past year. At 6 1/2 years old, 35 lbs is a bit...little bitty. So we drew some labs (at my insistence...but who is keeping track!). Those labs came back positive for Celiac Disease, an autoimmune disease that leads t…

Moving, and moving on

During a time when it has seemed that life was put on hold, someone suddenly skipped over the 'play' button and went right to 'fast-forward'. On Friday we drove to Ohio, on Sunday the church voted resoundingly in favor of calling Chad as Pastor to Crossing Community Church, and on Monday we went into contract on a new home near the church. We had driven a car-full of packed suitcases and boxes up to Ohio, in what I like to call optimistic planning...but I refused to unpack the car until the vote came in--I may be optimistic, but I'm no fool!

Monday, I drove back to North Carolina, Chad followed on Wednesday, and on Friday I flew out for Kenya, to pack up or sell every earthly belonging we had that wasn't in either the pathetically few boxes now sitting in a garage in Ohio, or sitting in a different garage in Oregon.

The trip was uneventful, other than a few funny anecdotes appreciated most by those who fly frequently. The TSA man who had to specially x-ray the…

Premeditated Resentment

I intentionally set my expectations low for my 40th, given that we are in the midst of high-stress transition, far from family and close friends. When things started out so good (sleep, flowers, chocolate caramels, lunch with new friends...I mean, really!) I felt down-right chipper and let it go to my head.

Then the phone call came. All you parents with children who struggle at school know the dreaded phone call. Kids were in his face pushing him about why he wasn't doing his work. He ignored them. They pushed harder. The teachers did nothing. He responded with a "fun-fact" that was interpreted as a threat. The principal agreed that it wasn't really a threat, but he "had to" give at least a 1-day suspension.

We weren't upset at our poor kid--we gave hugs and love and reassurance. But it didn't matter. The 12-eyed beast otherwise-known-as-shame had already set up house, and it managed to suck us all into that place of tension and angst.

I was a bi…

It's all good...

The amazing thing about life is that it keeps on going, no matter what it leaves in it's wake. Peaceful blissful times move on; confusing painful times move on.

My big 4-0 came and went in the middle of everything else going on. It seemed strange to be celebrating when so much is uncertain, but it's not every day you become a quadragenarian! I enjoyed the first half of the day very much; sleeping in while Chad got the kids to school, having unexpected chocolate and flowers arrive from coworkers, and a lunch with sweet new friends. Then school got out and life whacked me back into reality. I had no idea that asking my kids for a group photo with them would be such an unreasonable request! But there it is again. Bedtime finally arrived, life moved on. And I got a chance to celebrate again on Saturday with U-pick strawberries with happy kids and a good friend, and again on Monday when the kids went back to school and Chad and I could have a real date at The Cheesecake Factory!

Grieving as one with hope

"Please help our son pull himself together so we can be back to Kenya!"
It was a heart-wrenching prayer that started back on December 5, 2015. Counselors had just informed us that he needed more than we could get in Nairobi. It triggered a road of bewilderment and step-by-step following through some of the most twisted and confusing paths that we've ever walked. Chad cried out, one day, "We just played hard all season, and now we're being benched for the big game! It makes no sense!"

"Please, give us the tools to help our son thrive in Kenya!"
The crooked path took us to Raleigh, NC, a place where we had zero connections. A place where God provided a community, great schools, great counselors, and healing in areas we didn't even realize we were sick. It helped us cry out an equally heart-wrenching prayer that showed our growing understanding of our son's needs; understanding that he wasn't acting out of spite or purpose or sabotage. Tha…

Alphabet Soup

I re-read my latest blog, The Crooked Path, and wondered if I did a disservice to the missionary struggle by not "showing my work" from the months leading up to this point! The last thing I want to imply is that we're trying to decide if we want to go back to Kenya, or suggest that we're asking God if He's released us from Kenya because it's hard there and we're done.

Our hearts are in Kenya. We love the people. We love our jobs. We love our co-workers. We love being given a part to play in what God wants to accomplish there. In some ways, it feels like we were MADE for it! Of course there are hard parts about it--have I ever mentioned the traffic?--but there are also so many blessings and gifts, and it's home.

So why the crooked path? Why the questions?

Do you remember reading my thoughts on calling and how it was time to put my money where my mouth is? It's been awhile, for sure. For those who aren't sitting on the couch hanging on every w…

The Crooked Path

Everyone knows crooked paths conjure up images of dishonesty, or evil. No one wants to be on the crooked path. No--we want to be on the straight and narrow.

Grudgingly we accept that sometimes the straight and narrow might split and we're stuck momentarily at a cross-roads. We don't like that either, of course. Making decisions one way means turning away from the other way, and we just love having our cake and eating it too. And why not? Why would you have a cake  you weren't planning on eating? I've never understood that one. And I've never enjoyed cross-roads.

I thought I was at a cross-roads. Back in the US on Stateside for 12 months. Back in the US to get help for our son. And after that...a cross-roads. On one side, a return to Kenya. On the other, staying in America.

On one side--indescribable traffic, cultural stress, best friends, impossible school lunches, a deep sense of meaning, water shortages, eternal sunshine, adventure and instability and travel.