Well, well, well…and we’re back!
Apologies for not writing since, May?
But, here we are, back at it again.
So, to do a brief catch up:
June: we hosted a Merge team up in the mountains as well as celebrated five years of marriage and hosted some friends in our home.
July: We left for the United states where we spent two weeks doing Merge team trainings and CHIC and then we were able to have our last two weeks just with family, enjoying family meals, walks, and talks.
August: We came back to a Merge team that partnered in a rural church in Guachala and hosted friends at our house.
September: Hechos 29 came to Ecuador and we were able to help out the first week with interpreting, I also made and canned salsa with friends, we hosted some friends in our home, and were able to start taking pottery lessons!
October: We celebrated Richard and my birthday, had Merge meetings, went to Guayaquil to visit the family, got really sick, and hosted some friends from the USA.
and now, November.
We are in full, Merge team planning for next year mode with emails and skype meetings, and church board meetings as well as Richard will be teaching for a week in Acts 29 school.
We’ve been busy but I know that is no excuse not to blog (or send out newsletters).
So, here’s to starting again!
“See” you in a week!
P.S. This is wisdom right here ^
1. coffee dates with my husband
2. this book
3. flowers in the house
4. hosting and breaking bread together
6. meeting new friends and hearing their vision
7. baby kittens
8. spending time with dear friends
9. the morning light (always KILLS me!)
10. learning to cook new foods
11. exploring new trails
12. when little ones take selfies
13. a creaking gate
15. reading by the fire
16. trying on and wearing sweaters
17. this coffee shop
18. writing about my memories at my grandparent’s old house
19. wind in the curtains (and windy days…..HEART!!!!)
20. bing cherries
currently: drinking coffee and eating the last of the chocolate from Sweden (sorry, Richard!)
reading: Advent goodness
hearing: the tick of the kitchen clock
dreaming: of a white christmas (really)
singing: “i’ll be home for christmas“
watching: dancing with the stars (ahh, I want to get back into dance so badly!)
eating: lots of homemade bread, christmas cookies, and sauerkraut
drinking: ‘BUCH and not enough water
looking forward to: Christmas with our Ecuadorian family
thinking about: rhythms and routines
hoping for: SNOW on Christmas day
missing: family and baby spinach
loving: the holiday busyness
discovering: non-verbal cultural cues (always forever)
crafting: sneaky christmas gifts as well as knitting wash clothes
baking: chocolate chip cookies for our wednesday night bible study in the mountains
writing: christmas cards and this journal
needing: more sleep
wanting: more sleep and rest
reliving: memories from this time last year
debating: if i should take a shower….nah
smelling: A SIMMERING POT OF CHRISTMAS AND pine!
crying: over this video
learning: more about balancing ministry and daily life
deciding: not to let the little things throw off my day
praising: god for the mind-blowing, life-changing: “you will find a baby…..lying in a manger”
planning: January Merge trips and a get-a-way adventure!
Feeling: the heat from the fireplace and bittersweet
5 minutes are up!
What have you been: reading, hearing, seeing, dreaming, singing, watching, eating, drinking, looking froward to, thinking about, hoping for, missing, loving, discovering, crafting, baking, writing, needing, wanting, reliving, debating, smelling, crying, learning, deciding, praising, planning, feeling these days?
I’d love to hear!
Back from the coast!
And back from an incredible week in Mejia!
We spent 10 days in the community of Mejia which is a couple hours from the coast. We were there with a team from my home state, Minnesota!!!! which made it an extra special week, especially since some of the team members are dear friends of ours!
The team was from New London Covenant church from New London, MN and partnered with the church, Jesus La Vid Verdadera in the small town of Mejia.
Mejia is another town that was greatly effected by the earthquake in April 2016. Many homes were destroyed, including the pastor’s house.
One of the beautiful ministries the church started there was helping rebuild some of the homes in the community of Mejia that were completely destroyed by the earthquake. The really cool thing is that it wasn’t just the church community in Mejia that was involved but a church community in Cayambe (over 7 hours away) that came down many times in partnership with the church in Mejia to help rebuild homes. We LOVE this!
It’s so beautiful when two local churches, whether in the United States, in Ecuador, or anywhere, partner together in bringing God’s kingdom here on earth in tangible ways. So beautiful!
And the really neat thing is that, two of the families, who’s homes were destroyed and were rebuilt, thanks to the local church in Mejia and Cayambe, were able to host members of the team from Minnesota that came down (as we all stayed in host homes).
I was able to talk with one of the families and they said it was truly a gift from God to be able to host someone in their home when, after the earthquake, they thought they would never be able to again.
Along with staying and connecting in host homes, we helped rebuild the pastor’s home. Because of a really rainy season, many streets and homes in Mejia were flooded, especially the pastor’s home because of a really low foundation (along with it just being unsafe to live in because of earthquake damage).
We also visited different surrounding communities, helping out with a children’s program, participating in two youth nights and the women’s ministry night, and at the end of the week, we rented two big buses and went with our host families to the beach!
I am not sure if it was because the team was from Minnesota or because Richard and I have really connected with the Mejia church community (both, actually) but there was such a unity and joy that week! (well, and let’s be honest, Jesus has everything to do with that!) We so, so enjoyed each and every person from the Minnesota team and the Mejia team.
We ate lots of fish, lots of plantain…we laughed A LOT (literally tears from laughing so hard), shared different cultural games with each other, made rice crispies together, we cried together, prayed together, worshiped together, sweat together, shared our stories, had a couple hospital runs at 2am (everybody is fine!), and were able to create such deep, great relationships that there were many tears when the time came to say goodbye (but just a goodbye for now!).
Truly, a restful, joy-filled, unifying week.
starting a fire in and enjoying the warmth of wood-burning stoves
visits from friends….Evelina from Argentina!
baking (it’s been a while)
lighting candles in the morning
my sweet students and staff
blasting this song in the car while MOVING
also listening to christmas music
creating music (more on this soon!)
and what the snow does to the trees (truly a winter wonderland!)
Today’s Monday favs:
1. first day back at work and seeing my sweet (sometimes crazy) estudiantes!
2. getting back into that sweet routine (finding the delight in it, and learning to be fully present in it)
3. starting new year changes (steadfastness, prayer, joy, spanish, piano)
4. better self-care (rest, creativity, books, walks, time, etc.: healthy mind, body, spirit)
5. the power of words (speaking truth, recognizing lies, speaking truth)
6. pottery time!!!! (#3 and #4)
8. the sound of pen on paper (so missed, so welcomed)
9. morning tea, midmorning joe
10. being organized
11. sun filtering in through high windows and crossing my work table
12. my job (spanish all day, children all day)
13. listening to sherlock holmes (audio book babes)
14. sneaky joy letters (sending and receiving)
15. my co-workers from spain (ONE WORD: VOSOTROS) No me digáis!!!!
Feliz Año Nuevo!!!!
For me, it’s always the dreaded blog post, the dreaded Facebook post, the dreaded Instagram post, the dreaded whatever-type-of-social media-post, that being, and decidedly titled,
“Summarizing 365 days of my life in two (maybe three) short sentences (or paragraphs if I’m feeling nostalgic)”
I’ve always had a hard time encapsulating a year as we move into the next one.
I’ve always had a hard time summarizing 365 days of living, experiencing, breathing, eating, laughing, crying, yelling, singing, whispering, dreaming, feeling, listening, hearing, learning, unlearning, failing, triumphing, growing, stretching, opening, closing, creating, taking, breaking, and all that is this….life. Living.
I can’t summarize it. I can’t encapsulate it, properly, that is.
Or maybe, I just don’t want to.
Maybe it’s my reluctance to let go of the year and all that has happened (the joys and sorrows) and embrace a new year and all that will happen. Maybe it’s growing a year older, now three years married, now 29, now not anymore in Minnesota, in the United States….change can be really hard for me.
But, like I mentioned in my previous post, I am learning to intentionally enter into and be apart of the changes and different seasons of life. And part of that process is, I think, not forgetting the past seasons, but learning and growing from them, carrying certain “experiences” over to the next season (or year) or choosing to leave them behind. And to do that, we must remember, we must reminisce, we must go into the hard places, the glory places, the sacred and holy places of life.
I think it’s okay to ask, “why’s”. And I think it’s okay to grieve that which is no more, that which will not enter into the new year or new season with us, even if we so badly want it to. Yet we can’t stop there, we can’t lose hope. We also need to enter the spaces of the past year that were holy and hard and remember….and recall, His faithfulness, His peace, His active love and sweet and gentle grace.
I suppose it’s a healing thing to do, that’s what people tell me at least, and I am finding that to be true.
So, I won’t let the new year, and all that has happened in the year we are leaving, hinder me from doing the hard work of being present, nor will I let it slip out of memory without recalling and remembering, without purposefully holding on and letting go. Nor will I let the year go without being grateful and giving thanks for another year, no matter how hard, how good, how lost, how grounding it was….I will choose to give thanks and I will choose joy and hope for the things to come.
So there, I did it. I wrote a “Farewell 2015, Hola 2016” post.
p.s. watch out, I did my summarizing in pictures…..