Wow! I turn my back for a second and April is over? Just like that?
What I’ve Been Doing . . .
If we’re friends on Facebook or In Real Life, you already know that Todd and I joined a group from our church on a missions trip to Haiti from March 30-April 6. I can’t believe we’ve been back for a month already. How does something so monstrous and life-altering just recede into the past like that? I still haven’t completely processed that week in Haiti. The first few months of 2016, a lot of my anxiety centered around the fast-approaching trip to Haiti. You didn’t know that, unless I told you personally, because I don’t talk about our trips online until they’re over. (For all I know you might rob our house while we’re gone!) Anyway, I was afraid to leave the kids for a whole week. I’ve never left them for that long and for some reason I think I have the ability to protect them from every danger and evil in the world, better than anyone else.
Wait, there’s a name for the kind of person who thinks that way.
Oh yeah—control freak! Ugh.
I was also scared to die—on the plane, or in Haiti. This isn’t the way I want to live, people. But there it is. My fears were so real, I finally talked to a counselor about handling them. That helped immensely. Sometimes I convince myself I’m clairvoyant, but the truth is that many of my fears have nothing to do with my future. They stem from trauma in my past. For instance, I had a miscarriage before my pregnancy with Eva and I’ve always been afraid of losing her. Reminding myself that the reason for my fear lies in the past, not the future, helps disperse the panic. And since I don’t want to be controlled by my fears, I went on the trip anyway. Amazingly, we survived. So did the kids. Sometime I’ll write more about it. About the people we met and the stories we lived. How I’m so glad I obeyed God’s call and went with Todd because I would have really missed out if I’d given in to my fears.
Beautiful, beautiful kids! I fell in love with them!
So we came home from our missions trip and promptly began a kitchen remodel. Because my kitchen, which is bigger and better than a lot of houses in Haiti, just wasn’t good enough for me.
Even though it has running water. Hot and cold.
I knew it would be hard to reconcile this. The timing of our trip and our remodeling project just had to coincide. I’m not going to try to defend our decision. Nobody is asking me to, anyway. All I can tell myself is that we saved for years to make this space work better for our family and I think coming home from Haiti to this project helps me keep a little perspective. Maybe it keeps me from becoming a raging perfectionist who wants the best of everything. I hope I wouldn’t become that person anyway . . . But I think having been to Haiti helps keep me in check. It reminds me to pay attention to how we can save and give even in the midst of this.
Ask me what it’s like to live in the middle of this mess!
On that note, we’re attending Financial Peace University at our church right now. We’ve always agreed with and followed a lot (not all) of Dave Ramsey’s principals, but we’ve never taken the class before. And we’ve had varying degrees of persistence with his methods. Hoping to find a little more motivation now that we’re actually taking FPU. Again, though . . . the kitchen renovation. Already underway.
What I’ve Been Reading . . .
The kids and I read The Horse and His Boy and enjoyed it immensely. We’re more than halfway through Prince Caspian now. This series is just so good! Generally speaking, classics become classics for a reason. There’s a wonderful section of this book, in which the four Pevensie children are following Aslan, but Susan is having trouble believing he is really there. Lucy can see him, but the others can’t. They have to trust and follow Lucy. Susan holds back her trust the longest and she is ashamed when she realizes he was there all along. I love Aslan’s words to Susan at this point.
. . . the deep voice said, “Susan.” Susan made no answer but the others thought she was crying. “You have listened to fears, child,” said Aslan. “Come, let me breathe on you. Forget them. Are you brave again?”
“A little, Aslan,” said Susan.
He might as well be talking to me. This is exactly how I felt after coming home from Haiti. And just what I heard God saying to me.
On our trip, I read The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes. I typically love historical fiction, and this book enlightened me about the anti-Chinese sentiment in the Pacific Northwest in the 1860’s. It was interesting enough that I was able to ignore the turbulence while we were flying, but I could only give it three stars. The book juxtaposes two stories—one historical, one modern-day—and I just couldn’t connect with the modern characters. Their story felt forced to me.
After I got home, however, I came across a cheap used copy of The Fault in our Stars by John Green. I can understand some of the criticism of this novel, and I totally foresaw the “plot twist,” but I couldn’t put it down. I guess this shows that, for me, the characters make or break a book. I felt like I knew Gus and Hazel and I cried through the last few chapters. Seriously, people, why can’t I find a book with a happy ending? Are all the happy books shallow or something? I’m taking recommendations for uplifting, heartwarming, yet deep, well-written novels. Anyone?
I feel like a broken record lately, constantly complaining about how crazy busy our life is right now! I’m trying to embrace the crazy times. Being busy is good. It can mean we are embracing life and loving each other. I also realize that my mental health requires some time for quiet, reflection, and writing. I’m praying about what I can let go in order to meet that need, knowing that our family will benefit from a calmer mama. In the meantime, though, this life is good. I’m thankful for every second of it!