Friday, January 20, 2012

Guilt Free Laundry

For the last year and a half, Jeff has been 'home'. He left his job in May of 2010, to start preparing for moving to Nicaragua. Since May of 2010, I have had the twisted notion that we have been on 'vacation'. Of course language learning and cultural adjustment hasn't felt like vacation...but I had been accustomed to Jeff working full time. So the fact that he was 'home' meant he was on vacation. Even though I knew this was not the 'reality'...I functioned like it was. I would put off chores or begrudgingly do chores feeling like I was missing out on the precious time we had "off". Odd, I know. Actually, it really messed up my routine. I LOVE my husband, he's my best friend...yet, he was on my turf ALL DAY LONG. I have done laundry with the guilt of not taking advantage of 'the vacation time with Jeff' for over a year. Crazy, I know. The mind (okay, my mind) is an interesting thing.

However, this week, Jeff started "working" at the university (vet school) in Managua. He is no longer on 'vacation' in my mind. I was able to do laundry guilt free. I have my 'turf' back AND he has a new role/work that he enjoys...we have returned to the 'roles' God intends for us to have. Routine. Balance. Guilt-free laundry.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

School Shopping

We are gearing up for the start of school. This time last year, we were translating the list of school supplies and wondering what eskimo paddles and milk erasers were and where to find them. This year, we walked into the school supply store and felt much more confident. However, lest we become puffed up with pride...God always has some lessons in humility up his sleeve.

After shopping for about 45 minutes in a store that felt over 100 degrees, we are checking out at the cash register. A sweet employee approaches and starts her "speech" on what I find out later is about a discount membership. After her spiel...I embarrassingly tell her that I am so sorry - but I didn't understand anything she said. Humbling. She repeats the important parts...I get the gist. Now I have to give her my phone number. In Nicaragua, a phone number is given two numbers at time. Okay, I can adjust to that...but numbers are my biggest weakness. Kicking myself for not memorizing my number by twos...I start the attempt on the phone number. Pitifully after 4 numbers, I give up and go one by one...which earns an "silent exchange" between the girl at the register and the membership girl. Then, she tells me that I need to get my picture taken for the membership card. Fabulous...because I've been sweating for the last 45 minutes and I am having a bad hair day...really bad. Humbling (in the vanity department). She motions for me to stand in front of a door...but of course I missed something because I open the door to some store room which earns several chuckles from the employees standing around. Humbling. The success of school shopping is starting to fade. The photographer shows me the picture, I cringe and mumble..."está bien" (it's okay).

Trying to remember that language learning is life-long, I tell myself that I successfully found the milk erasers, eskimo paddles, and myriad of other supplies. I thank God for the progress I've made and resolve to learn my phone number by twos.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Update to the last blog post. Andrew (10 years old) loves reading our blog. You should have seen him when he read the part about the "boxer-clad gringo". After I explained what "boxer-clad" meant, he laughed for a solid 3 minutes until he couldn't breathe and was crying. Even now, as he reads over my shoulder, he is chuckling...and now lauging harder. I guess he can envision better than you, what that image would look like...yes, it would be funny :)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Burglars Beware!

I (Jeff) am very thankful for the varied responses that I have received to my last two postings. I have received the suggestion that I should be even more open in sharing our experiences and others encouraging more caution. Regarding my musings on security, I have received comments of "right-on", and also "you are off base". Because of the variety, I went back and read what I wrote, and I got stuck staring at the picture of the padlock. I smiled because I had just read a note encouraging more caution and I thought about what kind of an experience a burglar would have...

Back yard scenario: Scale a 10 foot wall covered with razor wire. Break your ankle dropping 10 feet into our concrete backyard. Say hello to our ferocious Rottweiler while being blinded by our motion sensor lights. Begin breaking outer bars to door (the ones with the padlock). Once through bars, break down interior door with 3 dead bolts, and greeted by a boxer-clad gringo wielding a stick and a Maglite. And no, I won't post a picture of that :)

Front yard scenario: Get past the two guard stations and the 3 guards. Scale the chain link fence. Say hello to our dog, and repeat the above mentioned lights, bars, dead bolts, and scary man in boxers.

My home security philosophy is to take every reasonable precaution possible while placing my ultimate trust in God.

Short of having the Depelter Turbo from the movie "Over the Hedge" (currently banned by the Geneva Convention) we are as secure as can be. Now, the hard part is trying to get into the house when your kids have to use the potty after a road trip.

Thursday, January 5, 2012


In light of my (Jeff's) recent resolution, here is one of my mental works in progress...

I am occassionally asked if my current life circumstances are less safe now than they where before. I could give the simple answer "yes, they are less safe", but it isn't that simple. I could also give the seemingly spiritual answer and say... "The safest place in the world is in the center of God's will". In addition to not being able to find that verse in the Bible, it has not been my experience nor was it Jesus' experience either (the center of God's will took him to his public execution). I think that part of my difficulty in answering this question, lies in my definition of, and in my pre-occupation with, safety.

Jesus didn't share this preoccupation of mine and his definition of safety was different than mine. He said "Don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Mt.10:28 NLT. Apparently God's safety conerns are different than mine...spiritual safety is more important than physical safety. Also, Jesus had a different priority ranking of safety than mine..."For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame." Heb. 12:2 NIV. Apparently the promise of future joy out-ranked current safety.

My thinking could be wrong at this point in my life, but this is how I would summarize my thoughts: God is the ultimate source of my safety, but my physical safety is not his ultimate concern. I would do well to determine and pursue what ultimately concerns God, even at the risk of personal safety. You know what? I am kind of OK with least personally, but I begin to squirm when God and I begin to talk about how this applies to my family. I am glad that God didn't squirm when he chose to not make the physical safety of his only son his ultimate concern. I have space to grow here. I am glad that God is patient with me.

"He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose."
-Jim Elliot

Monday, January 2, 2012

I Resolve to...

I (Jeff) don't like to make resolutions. The self-righteous part of me will tell you that I don't like them because I don't want to risk breaking my word and so I will just "let my yes be yes, and my no be no". However, closer to the truth is probably that I don't want to fail at something. If I don't resolve, then I can't fail. Good sound logic. Good plan.

Well, I am going to go against my fail-safe plan and make a resolution. It is a subjective resolution so I am still safe because failure can't be measured if the resolution is subjective. I still have sound logic. Good plan.

Here it is...I resolve to be more honest in blogging. There I said it. So now you are asking..."have you been lying in your blogging?" Well, yes and no. No, because I believe everything presented has been truthful. And yes, becuase there has been so much more that I wanted to share and didn't. I can think of at least 2 reasons why I hold back:

First because I like nice neat little packages. If I have a mental "can of worms" on a subject, and there is no lid in sight, then I am not going to mention cans or worms. I just don't like to bring up a problem until I have at least one viable solution or answer. This plays out in my blogging, in that I do not like to bring up messy things like wealth, natural disasters, racism, or the sovereignty of God unless I have a well threaded lid to put on it at the end. The reality is that I don't have the wisdom to have the answers to all of these things. So then , my new resolution is to open some cans of worms without lids in sight, and if my audience has the wisdom to offer me some lids, I will gladly accept.

Secondly, due to my varied audience, I tend to not share all that is on my mind. I am a hard-wired people-pleaser, and so I try to be ultra careful that my words will not offend anyone that could possibly read this blog. The problem is that our readers include: family, mentors, strangers, Americans, Nicaraguans, supervisors...really the whole world and so the opportunity to be misunderstood is vast. I resolve to take the risk of being least until the first person writes back saying that they were displeased with something I wrote. When that happens, I will have a good cry, break my resolution and wait for next year.

Sunday, January 1, 2012


And just sayin'...

Being in a place of obedience results in JOY.