23 October 2011

Home "improvements"

(Side note: I'm feeling better. Thanks for the prayers! Now on the more important things...)

There are a few things that are better about the new house:

1) Getting in and out of the gate is a one-man job...provided there are no four-year-old children standing in front of it. (We live across the street from a school.)

2) I have nice neighbors.

3) We get a lot of city power. Seriously.

But the best thing...the best thing...is the shower. Don't misunderstand me, now. Since long before I moved here, I have been a member of the Society for Scalding H2O Which is Ever Ready...yes, that spells SHOWER (mostly). I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a missionary who isn't a member. We should have a fan page on Facebook...but it might be misinterpreted.

At first, we were being cheap and unplugged the water heater when we weren't immediately using it. However, since then, we've figured out that the water stays warm, even when the power goes off. A warm trickle down your back is better than a cold trickle down your back. When the power is off, the water pump doesn't work. We should hang a sign that says "This shower brought to you by gravity." It's a pretty great invention, really.

The only hitch in my giddyup is that I'll wait as long as possible...to see if the power comes on...to get hotter water. Contentment really is illusive, isn't it?

Happy almost-Monday.

P.S. Pictures are coming. Soon-ish.

12 October 2011

99.4 degrees

That's my temperature.

Because I'm sick.

Like, for real, sick.

I'm achy.

I have a headache.

My throat feels like someone scraped it with a rusty something. 

I feel the need to be pitied.

And the best way to know I'm sick is that I am watching M*A*S*H re-runs with the blanket I bought in Mexico is wrapped around my shoulders.

Oh, I'm drinking Gatorade, too. (That's just for you, Mom.)

Prayers appreciated.


07 October 2011

His Song for Me

I was going to blog about something else entirely today, but this is too good to keep to myself.

At the top of this blog, it says "A chronicle of God's faithfulness." That's true. This is a record, a testimony, of what God's done for us and who He is.

The background to this post is that I've been discouraged. There's a lot of reasons why, which I may go into later. But I'm discouraged. I don't want to be. I'm trying not to be, but I am. One of the ways I fight discouragement is through worship. While I wash dishes or cook dinner or exercise, I listen to a podcast or music that gets my head right again.

Today, I was gone for an hour and a half to Bible study two houses down the street. In that time, someone broke through the window I'd just re-screened to steal my iPod off the dining room table. My old iPod, with a scratched screen. It wasn't even an iPod Touch, people. It was old school...but it was mine.

I cried.

Then I felt dumb for crying over something as stupid as "stuff."

Then I cried again.

Maybe it's because it made me feel unsafe. Maybe it's because it was so petty. Maybe it's because I'll miss the worship and the podcasts that kept my head right. Or maybe it's all of those, paired with my previous discouragement. I don't know.

But here's what happened next...

Still crying and angry, I pulled my Kindle off the bedside table, intending to read the Bible for a while, but instead, I opened up a book called Trusting in His Goodness. The first thing written on the page was this:

One of the ways God delights in you and expresses His love for you is in song. It's not just any song. Imagine the exquisite beauty of the sound when the very Creator of music sings over you. Every other piece of music is a feeble reflection. God sings over you and is committed to you. 

I couldn't make this stuff up. And although I couldn't hear it, I knew it was true. God took a moment of brokenhearted discouragement, however silly, and showed me His love all over again. It's a daily love, you know. The kind that can heal all hurts. The kind of love that knows each and every one.

And today, I heard the symphony of God's love for me all around, even without an iPod.

01 October 2011

Remembering Her

I used this picture as a teaser a few months ago, promising to tell you more about my trip to Minneapolis. Much like this picture, it was glorious.

Traveling to and from Haiti is always an adventure, I’m finding. As we have already covered, I don’t do culture shock well, so that’s a factor. But 30 hours of travel time and 5 airplanes (including one that didn’t fly) were a factor, too… I don’t love traveling by myself, and immigration agents make me really nervous. (It’s my country—why can’t I just come in?)

But it was so worth it. 

This is my grandmother. It made her really, really happy that I came. It wasn’t cheap to send me, but she’s been there for me my whole life. Like, literally. The school concerts, the soccer games, the plays, all of it. So with David’s blessing, I did my best to “complete the set,” because all she wanted for her 90th birthday was to have the whole family together. 

And so together we came. I don’t remember who said it, but at the time, we commented on how nice it was to be together, celebrating something awesome. I caught up with family I hadn’t seen in over fifteen years. I laughed with aunts and uncles. I read books to my first cousins once-removed. I walked to ice cream with my parents and my sister and my cousin. We played a ridiculous game. We toughed out the rain and cold for family photos (taken by the fabulous NoemiPhotography). We talked late into the night. (I told you it was glorious.)

And on Sunday afternoon, when some family had gone for a walk (and some were napping), I sat in a lawn chair in the sun with my grandmother. I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure time slowed to a stop for us. She wasn’t quite the woman she’d always been. After all, ninety years take their toll. She couldn’t see the birds in the yard, so I described a few to see if we could identify them. We chatted a about life in Haiti, past family functions. I got to hear her infectious laugh.  

Then, time resumed its normal speed, and the people napping woke up and the people walking came back. I threw things back into a suitcase (including some rhubarb I was praying made it through customs) and headed home. Over the next two weeks, I settled back into life here with the husband I love.
And then she died.

If you didn’t feel prepared for that, I’m sorry, but I wasn’t prepared for it, either. The doctors say it was a heart attack, but I just think she was ready. She had known and loved Jesus for a long time. She got to love on all of us one more time. Her eyes were failing, and her ears, and her lungs…ninety years. For twenty-seven of those, she was there for me, and I’m grateful I got to hang out with her that weekend. 

My family celebrated her life today, minus me. But I’m there in spirit. Today, I remember her. You can’t encapsulate a woman like this in one blog post, so it’s tempting not to try…but I think I must.

She used words like “maven.” She had the patience to sit with me and my sister while we fed the ducks for the millionth time or sewed plastic canvas projects for my mom, her daughter-in-law. She believed in using all the cookie dough…no snitching from the bowl. She went places like China and Micronesia…and yet, when others walked out, she stayed. She delighted in being part of our lives, however mundane.

She read with me. She read in front of me. She fell asleep reading, God only knows how many times. She took the time to read this blog (once she increased the font to a readable size for ninety-year-old eyes). She had access to the secret world of the library, behind the desk (I was consumed with jealousy over this). Before I could even see over the counter, I remember going in and asking to see her, as if it was totally normal for all grandmothers to be found in libraries.

She did not abide pretense or politeness when the truth was better. When I was five, I greeted her and a friend with the information that my cat peed on the rug and my daddy slept in his underwear…and she loved it. She laughed out loud and wouldn’t have dreamed of scolding me. When she thought I shouldn’t get married at twenty, she told me so. When I visited her while I was in college on a break, even when I didn’t know what to say, she still appreciated it and told me so.

Part of me feels betrayed that she left…I have more life left to live, after all, and I’ve never had to do it without her. But I have hope left, too, and it’s holding firm to the belief that she lives in God’s presence. I don’t know if she can see me. In fact, I highly doubt it. But I don’t doubt the promise of God, that she’s living a life eternal, because she trusted in Jesus Christ.

But I still miss her. 

Thanks for your prayers for my family.