Sunday, May 31, 2015

Jet Lag

He was such a perfect America. 

Safe & Sweating

We made it! We're back in the land of curry and hot air.  

The boys did amazingly well on the flights. Asher barely cried. The boys only wrestled a little. We lost one suitcase en route but it's already been delivered to our door. Mercies at every turn. 

Tomorrow I am supposed to drive to meet a friend. That will be the truest test of cultural readjustment. 

Jet lag is killer, folks. 

Goodnight from the far side. 

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Fly Away

If I settle on the far side of the sea, even there....

Monday, May 25, 2015

The big FIVE!

Jude is 5.  He's been planning his Spiderman party for about a year now.  And I really think it was all he hoped it would be.  His cousins came, including the Georgia extension.  Aunt Lindsey loaned us a pretty sweet water slide. Rebekah made balloon swords and flowers. There was a piƱata.  A little brother in Batman attire. Races (with an obstacle coarse) arrange by Dad. Cake, ice cream, and plenty of fun.  

Wow.  I can't believe that he only entered our world five years ago! I cannot imagine life with out this guy! 

Happy 5th Birthday, Jude! 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

We will feast

My mom and I drove down to the farm today.  We talked about old houses with wrap around porches.  We stopped at Bakerman's Bakery and bought fresh cookies. We hugged a few cousins and aunts.  We drove through the winding roads and talked about farms with my Dad. We sat in my grandmother's living room and worked to make Asher smile. We walked around her dazzlingly green yard buzzing in the year of locust.

My Mamaw came home from the rehabilitation center yesterday.  And I went to tell her goodbye.  To take one last picture of her with her great-grandson.

This afternoon, we booked tickets to fly out next Thursday. Seven thousand miles of flying.  It was the last blow in the finality of this next season.

There is a part of me that doesn't want to leave.  I have been so comfortable here, in this place where I make sense.  Where no one stares at me while I walk through the grocery store. Where my children blend into the mass of other wild boys running through parks and playgrounds.  It feels easier. I'm in my homeland.

But in the midst of packing these trunks for another three years in a foreign land, I've been thinking about Christ and how He left His homeland. Where He reigned and ruled in spectacular glory.  Where every comfort was His. A sacrifice so great my understanding can't even comprehend it. And He identifies with me even in this weakness.  This small sacrifice. And His promises for me are full in this obedience.

This evening, hubs was folding laundry and listening to Sandra McCracken's hopeful song We Will Feast In The House Of Zion. My ear caught the words. Words banking on a homeland we will never leave. The home that every longing I feel in these days will satiate.  My true homeland. In that place, friends, we will feast. And weep no more.

We will feast in the house of Zion  
We will sing with our hearts restored  
He has done great things, we will say together   
We will feast and weep no more

Thursday, May 21, 2015

55 to 113

We went to the zoo today for some cousin time. It was 55 degrees! It felt like winter!

Hubs checked the temperature in the city we will land next week. It was 113 degrees at 6pm. 

I just can't get excited about that. 

At least we won't be cold. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Hello, visa!

Asher's visa arrived. We're hoping tickets will be purchased within the week. It's looking hopeful that June will find us on the other side again. 

It's getting real. 

Hubs loaded up 6 suitcases full of stuff tonight...with the promise of more to come. I've given up on traveling light.

In the midst of packing up, we're spending all the time we can with those sweet cousins....and getting all the ice cream we can out of PopPop. 


Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Reader

I admit I was a skeptic....

...but we're just halfway through and I'm a fan. You know I'm not an educator, so take what you will, but I like the book. It's just what we needed. We officially have a reader on our hands! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Memphis together

We had visitors this weekend before the Mother's Day festivities.  Bonnie and Justin, friends from our season in Louisville, came down with their sweeties.  We showed them a few of the city sights: The Peabody ducks, the new Bass Pro, Beale, and the wonder of Shelby Farms. The kids had a great time together.  And it was so refreshing to talk and ask questions and process a bit together. 

When we made our big move "up north" Bonnie was the first person who really befriended me.  We worked in the same building and she would stop in my office to say hello on her way down the hall.  She could just as easily have kept walking.  What she didn't know at the time was that I would go home every afternoon in tears because I was so lonely.  David and I had only been married a few months and we didn't know many folks in that city. It was a small kindness…that was the beginning of a friendship that's stretching seven years now.  

She is a sister I have watched suffer many sorrows over the course of our friendship, sorrows that she has used for the glory of Jesus.  A simple hello to the new secretary on the hall…turned into a long gift of friendship. 

Thanks for stopping by! 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother's Day Review

We did our best to enjoy Mother's Day in the same city with our sweet Moms this year.  Plenty of family meals and picnics to go around this weekend.  Asher pulled a six hour stretch of sleep on Saturday night just for me.  My boys took me on a Mother's Day hike Sunday afternoon and we spotted a momma duckling and bunny rabbits….in the city.  

Here are a few pics:

Since we were physically present, I did some serious crafting for the gifts this year.  Grammar now has a "Garden of Grandchildren" apron with lots of little handprints on it.  (And a few more to add later.)

My sister and I made a "Tweet" Heart painting with all the little footprints in our families. Love the way it turned out.  I kind of want to make one for myself now! 

Grateful for a day to celebrate our Mothers!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

unguarded gifts

May is here. Our calendar, the one we printed to organize this season, ends at May.

It seems like the minute I turned the page on that calendar, a wave of sorrow swept over me.

I don't want to leave my sister.  My sweet sister who just turned thirty this weekend. Or those precious nieces who love to play with my boys.  I don't want to have to look my mother in the eyes in that airport again.  Or drive away from my father's farmhouse with old tulips and memories. Or take my squishy baby from the arms of his grandmother.  I can't think about how sad I will feel when my boys tell me they'd like to spend a morning with Grammar and I know that it is impossible…and will be for three long years.

These are healthy things to mourn.  I need to mourn them.  That is a part of an open, healthy journey. But I also have to bring truth into the tears.  I have to acknowledge that obedience to God includes sacrifice.  And this is part of my sacrifice.

I was watching all these cute cousins play together in our driveway last week. My mom had given them a set of little horses and a stable.  There were plenty of horses to go around.  A couple of the kids were galloping through the yard, neighing and stomping with a horse in each hand.  Their horses were dancing and eating grass.  Then I noticed that all of the other horses were in the hand of one child.  She was clutching them tightly, guarding them from anyone who might be interested in trading. It was an act of childishness I've witnessed in any number of scenarios with almost every child. It was very obvious that the only child not enjoying the gift from NanNan was the one keeping a tally on the goods, afraid to lose her share.

 I stood there watching and felt the whisper of truth.

The more I cling to what is here - all the things in this place that have been source of enjoyment and refreshment in this season - the less I will or even can enjoy them.  I can't guard gifts from my Father and still be joyful and free. He is the ultimate Giver.  He has given me enough here.  And He has enough for me on the other side as well.

Gratitude is the path to contentment.

And gratitude doesn't stockpile.  It just gives thanks for the gift, the provision of the day, the blessing of the moment.

Pray for me, friends.  That these last days here would be filled with unguarded gifts.  And that I would have a heart to receive them freely and freely offer them right back up. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

Happy Feet

The boys were enrolled in Happy Feet soccer this spring on Saturdays. Their older cousins were the inspiration for this serious interest. I admit we were pretty impressed with the Happy Feet fun and age appropriate approach to the sport. Jude was a Blue Shark & Silas played for the Red Rhinos. The boys loved it! Here are a few shots from their final practice and "game."

Friday, May 1, 2015

Asher at Two Months

Asher is two months old this week.  I cannot imagine life without him.  Isn't it funny the way children do that do a family - change the dynamic so beautifully that it's almost impossible to remember life without them.  We're all in love.  Let me give the details I know I'll forget in years to come:

STATS: He weighed in this week at 14 pounds, 1 ounce. He's perfectly juicy.  He's 24.5 inches long and his head circumference is 15.5. He's in the 90th percentile and above for everything but his little head. He's wearing 3-6 month clothes and seems to already be tugging at the end of the 3 month feet.

SLEEP & SUCH: Round 3 has been so much more laid back for me. There have been no attempts on my part to get out of nighttime feedings.  And he's got the chunky thighs to prove it.  I won't lie.  The little guy cuddles up with me most of the night.  He usually sleeps pretty well until about 4am when the inevitable baby grunting begins.  I'm not planning to make much of an attempt to get him on much of a schedule until our return to South Asia.  The impending 12 hour time difference is enough to make me hold off. The kid is not much a crier, unless he's hungry or has tummy troubles.  But when he does, it's with a whole lot of gusto.

TRICKS: He's got a great smile. And he'll flash it at anyone who will take the time to pay him some attention. He is seriously sweet and his brothers adore him. He's rolling just enough for me to be nervous around the changing table.

FAVORITES: He loves those brothers. Recently I found Silas kissing him straight on the mouth.  Germs, son, germs! Silas is always waiting for an opportunity when my back is turned to love on Asher in some extreme way - a full body hug or head snuggle.  Jude loves to hold him and sing.  It is serious sweetness. He was fussy one evening and I asked Jude to "babysit" while I got Silas out of the tub.  Asher cried the whole time while Jude put his pacifier in his mouth. I heard some smooching and counting amid the noise. At the end, Jude announced to me that he'd given him one hundred and twenty-two kisses.  Oh.  Brother-love! Like a true Dawkins boy, Asher is also quite fond of the great outdoors.

Happy 2 Months, Asher! 
We love you!