Looking Forward, Enjoying the Present

I thought this week I’d let pictures do the talking.  Please enjoy a gallery of some moments we’ve captured in the last month.  We are savoring the present as we look ahead to our move to Costa Rica this summer.  A new update letter is hot off of the press.  Click <here> to catch up on our global launch, or hop over to our Newsletters tab.  It’s so good to have you with us on the journey.

Praise the Lord; praise God our savior!  For each day he carries us in his arms.  Psalm 68:19

The Escalator Escapade

We inched our way through the ribbon maze, checking our watches every minute, praying furiously for our connecting flight to be delayed.  The older two E’s were tired of maneuvering their backpacks and wheeled carry-ons.  Our arms were weary of the same, plus hefting the youngest.  Finally, bags emerged from the x-ray tunnel and shoes were shoved back on feet, just as our flight was scheduled  to pull away from the terminal.

Ready, set, go!  Off to find the gate while Houston flaunted it’s size.  Quick, quick!  We know you are tired, just keep going and we’ll sit for hours once we get there.  You can do it.

Then we came to the escalator.

Normally the anchor duck in our family line, keeping count of the ducklings ahead, I leapt on first.  Elijah and Eliana got on a few steps behind me.  The stairs began to rise.  I held my breath as Elijah’s bag tottered and fell down onto him.  Over-balanced by a stuffed backpack, he fell backwards onto his sister.  She, likewise, toppled over onto her bag, and they all went down in a heap of domino helplessness, arms and legs flailing like a pair of up-ended turtles, all the while being carried rapidly up to the next floor.  Matt bounded up to get feet and luggage wheels back in touch with the stair treads.  My respiration resumed.

Then the worst.

From 20 feet above, I saw Ezekiel, just 3 years old, standing alone and unsure at the bottom, afraid to get on the moving belt.  Stair after stair passed by as I barked panicked encouragement while a traffic jam of strangers looked on behind him.  Get on, Buddy, get on!

Then the angel appeared.

A man gently picked him up and put him on the escalator.  Up he rode, safely delivered into our arms, which were now very glad to carry him.  Laughter and tears had to wait until we reached our gate.  Well, the laughter did, anyway.  Happy tears don’t slow you down much.

Praying hack and slash the whole way, we continued to trot the concourses and finally charged up to our gate, finding it blessedly crammed with people.  Great news, our flight was delayed–a mechanical issue.  They would know more in half an hour.  Relief washed over us.  Fatigue and full bladders chimed in, and we trundled gratefully to the restrooms.  As the adrenaline faded, peaceful thoughts of contentment made way for some wondering: how long would it take to begin the last leg of our journey home?  I looked at Eliana over the soap and warm water, and chuckled out another prayer, “Lord, thank you so much for delaying the flight so we could make it.  Would you please speed things up now that we are here?”

Before we even reached our seats in the waiting area, God’s heartbeat of love for us sounded again.  The loudspeaker announced, “Ladies and gentleman, the mechanical issue has been resolved.  We will now begin boarding. . .”

The 3-E's at the Airport

“He tends his flock like a shepherd:
He gathers the lambs in his arms
and carries them close to his heart;
he gently leads those that have young.”

Isaiah 40:11

Thank heaven for that.

Remembering to Breathe

I’ve been flopping around like a fish on the sand the last few weeks.  Motivationally bipolar, I’ve alternated between feverish bouts of productivity and crawling into a mental hidey-hole with a good book and better chocolate.  There’s been a lot to celebrate.  About two-thirds of our house interior was treated to a hip new shade of paint thanks to a slew of hard work and helpers.  Two trunk loads were surrendered to Goodwill along with my best intentions to hold a garage sale.  An entire van load (seats removed) of treasure was packaged and priced for a kids’ consignment sale.  Ezekiel’s 4th birthday was ushered in with much rejoicing, brownie sundaes, and the humorously needful instructions, “Swallow your spit before you blow out the candles, sweetheart.”  But my spirit has been stifled for want of water and fresh air.

There’s no excuse for it, really.  Bibles outnumber the people in our household by at least 3 to 1, a different translation available for every day of the week.  My iPod is loaded with anointed worship waiting for me to push play.  I have a full stable of my favorite blue Papermates and open country in my journal.

Why do I make time to sort out the laundry but neglect my heart?  Then why am I surprised when my attitude becomes brittle and my downtime fails to refresh?  I know better.  So why do I suffocate myself, thinking that my to-do list enables me to defy spiritual gravity until I find myself gasping and coated with sand again?

My mother-in-law showed me her name engraved in silver the other day, eyes lit up with new-bible excitement.  I caught a whiff of something sweet in the air:  my first love.  I remembered the joy of opening the word and diving into His promises, His love for me in histories, His presence hovering over phrases.

I knew it was time to put the schedule back in God’s capable hands and gaze upon His beauty.  Time to take Jesus up on His offer to be rest for my soul when I’m weary and burdened.  Time to soak off the sand in living water and inhale the fragrance of His grace, to quit pushing out leaves and let Him grow some blossoms within me.

IMG_3451

Let all that I am wait quietly before God,
for my hope is in him.
 He alone is my rock and my salvation,
my fortress where I will not be shaken.  Psalm 62:5,6

My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8

Join the Conversation

We are so glad you stopped by.  Please find the “Comments” icon circle under the “Date” circle at the top-left of each blog post.  Feel free to share your thoughts or just say hello.  And while you’re here, check out the slideshow on our Home page, too.  Blessings on your day!

Wonderful and Difficult

Four nights ago, we flew back  into Omaha, NE, drove through the straight, flat, clearly marked streets, and stepped into our generously large home.  The house and our minivan were immaculate, thanks to the amazing global workers who enjoyed a sabbatical rest here while we were away.  I say “were” because we do have three children, after all,  who are reconnecting with their toy kingdoms after 5 weeks of enjoying people, bugs, sticks, playground equipment, scooters, and sloped sidewalks.

It is wonderful to be home.  Air conditioning eases away the local heat wave and neighborly noises, both human and creature.  We have enough space in our home to entertain kids in the basement and still be able to accommodate nappers in the upstairs bedrooms.  Anointed worship and teaching at Lifegate fills our hearts, along with hugs from so many loved ones in our church family.  Knowing the language, I can banter with a stranger in Wal-Mart about which garlic to buy in the produce section.  Sale prices on meat and dairy here in the prairie suddenly seem wonderfully reasonable.  In Atenas, Costa Rica, cheddar is $8/lb., boneless skinless chicken breast is $4/lb., bacon is $10/lb (pity my husband, folks), and milk is $4 a gallon.  I have two chest freezers and I know how to use them when good sales or garden harvests come along.  Our parents are each an easy 35 minute drive away, no Dramamine required.  The internet connection works from any spot in the house, at all hours of the day, without a trip to the front porch, trek to the escuelita up the hill, or sitting at the poolside concrete table and benches.  Okay, the poolside gig was pretty nice except for the parade of small ants venturing over myself and the computer.  Phone calls with friends make laundry duty a happy chore while shared language and culture make the flow of communication easy to navigate.

It is difficult to be home.  Life behind closed glass windows can feel a little small.  I miss listening for the call of the toucans (the Keel-Billed Toucan’s whisper song is what we heard) in the morning and the constant serenade of birds, bugs, and the occasional gecko chirps.  The mowers, weed-wackers, and assorted machine-shed noises are left behind unmourned, though.  I miss the mild weather that makes open windows and tiled, covered porches such a mainstay of Costa Rican homes.  I miss the glorious sounds of thunder and rain.  When I was in grade school, I loved to look at the geographical rainfall maps.  I would dream of living in the wettest areas.  Costa Rica, nestled in the skinny area between North and South America, is in one of those magical dark blue areas I longed for.  It logs an average of 80 inches a year, most of it between May and November.

I miss the simple delight in breezes and sunshine when laundry is on the line, and the victorious feeling of beating the afternoon rain by getting my clothes back under cover.   I want to hug the children at the Home, see their cheeky smiles, and have Eliana teach me half of their names again.  I have many kisses piled up to give to the right cheeks of the ladies who work so hard at the home, making a family for children who have lost theirs for a time.  I miss the new friends we made in other missionaries who call Atenas their home and gave us such a warm welcome.

It is wonderful to be back, and a little difficult, too.  Which just shows how blessed we are to be able to serve, love, and be loved in two special, yet different, places.