Finding the Floor

We are winning the battle.  The 8 days since our move to Atenas have been filled with sortie after sortie on boxes, dirt,  and clutter.  In a climate with windows open most of the day, even the stuff we are regularly using gets coated with grime.  So, of course the things we had in storage all needed a good scrub.  Add to that the “conquering instinct” within me that wants to clean each nook, corner, and shelf before any of our stuff touches down, and you have an idea of our busy week.  The opposition’s one last stronghold is the office/school room.  Today I will launch an offensive to neutralize the area.  Every day, we take more ground, and liberate more of the floor in our house.  Freedom feels good.  Our nest is becoming cozy.

We’ve stormed some beaches in the ministry arena, too.  Matt has led (and driven) his first two teams on their beach outing, and gotten up to speed on the children’s therapy needs in the Home this week.  With three heaping carts between the two of us, we bought the groceries for the team arriving today, and packed out the car with farmer’s market produce.  We laughed about me practicing yoga in the car because the sack of pineapples filled up the passenger foot room.  I spent some quality time sorting the pantry in the team cabin, and got all sorts of inspiration for shopping lists organized by store aisle and price comparison expeditions.  Things are going well and we are making a difference here.

2013-12-28 La Paz Arenal 047 tilt crop 2 cwebWe still have bumps, though.  While we’ve been living in Costa Rica for over 10 months now, changing houses, cities, and assignments —all at the same time—is its own brand of culture shock.  This morning, when my glasses got bent out of shape, I did, too.  What was a 5 minute drive and a 5 minute fix in Omaha, is an unknown undertaking here in our new home.  We got a lead on a place to try and scouted it out, but they were closed.  Without a schedule posted on the door, or a phone number to call, we’ll try again next week.  Hopefully, my gaze can get straightened out before our visit home in August.

We’ve come a long way.  We are settling into a rhythm of where things go around the house, and how to pitch in around Hogar de Vida.  The smell of baking bread has christened our kitchen.   Seeing the curtains from our Nebraska house flutter in the Costa Rican breezes does something sweet in my heart.   Our footsteps are beating some paths to familiar ground, but our toes are still nudging around in many areas.  We treasure your friendship and prayers as we walk through this transition.  There is still more floor to find.





From Here to There

Something shifted yesterday.  It happened somewhere between putting my KitchenAid on the counter for the first time, and figuring out that the $6 painting scored from departing missionaries was going to look great in the dinette.  Maybe it was finding those two inches to scoot the sofa over, giving us a bit more space to pass behind the armchair to the hallway.  It could have been discovering that my Rubbermaid canisters and some spices will work on the shelf built for–but unable to accommodate–our microwave.  I know the cup of chai on the sofa and the strategy session with Matt helped.

Somewhere along the morning, the house we are moving into in Atenas became home.

Last Saturday, bright and early, after 9 months of language study and 2 complex final exams, our transition to Atenas began.  We followed the lion-share of our belongings down the highway, praying along the miles for dry skies.  And that the twin mattress on top wouldn’t succeed in its ambition to learn to fly.  I ran bucket brigade when the 6″ capped pipe protruding from the wall where the fridge goes (that we were told we could trim back) turned out to be a pressurized water line, rather than a drain line.  Our awesome neighbor hack-sawed a padlock to gain access to the house’s water shut off valve, and built us a wall-hugging cap with its own shut off.

2013-12-30 La Paz Arenal 043 cwebWhile incredibly grateful for the miracles–a dry transport, a re-roped mattress, a now-dry kitchen floor, a house full of things to help us do life–I was also exhausted on every level.  Our comfortable furniture (a rare find here) was uncomfortably large for the living room.  The piles of boxes and sudden appearance of appliances made the 1,050 square feet feel very small.  Every conceivable surface needed to be cleaned.  I knew that God would settle my heart over time.  I knew that we would find places for everything and joy in the house God had given our family.  But sometimes the space between the dreaming and the coming true is hard ground to travel.

Back in San Jose for the kids’ last week of school, I continued to pack, pray, and process.  Our language school house feels barren without all of our family’s comfortable things, and that has helped to point our focus toward the place the Lord is planting us.  Yesterday, under cover of the school day and a play date, Matt and I loaded up the car to critical mass and head to Atenas.  And the Lord moved.

The walls were in the same places, but the space in my heart expanded.   We still have a mountain of scrubbing and sorting to climb, but I’m starting to appreciate the view again.  Today the kids close their books on this school year.  This weekend we begin life in our new home.  And because of the Lord’s gentle, patient work within me, that feels like a great thing.