2 m.

2m

I crunched out through the dry grass of our backyard and opened the rusty hook. The house came with a shed out back. Within the shed spider webs drape what might someday help me start a garden. Rolls of fencing and stakes twist with green hose. I rip a shovel from the dusty webbing. I drag it out to the bushes. Dead leaves of last year’s flowers lie motionless. Sticks of leafless seedlings protrude from the tan brush. A curious urge to clear out the deadness overtakes me. I lift the shovel and bring it down in a fast hack near the base of the tiny trees. I expected to only see dirt. I didn’t expect a surprise. Pinkish purple catches my eye. I lean down and see healthy bulbs growing through the piles of death. I hack and hack. I uncover more and more.

Death.       Life.       Growth.       Cycles.

Things look bleak. The landscape of grays and browns possess a chilling beauty. Yet they do invoke a sense of gloom. I am suddenly struck with the correlation with my own life. Old dried up patterns, now challenged, and being hacked at. Hope for new things poke out under all the death.

Two months have passed. In this land where the seasons change we watch the plants respond. I watch my heart, too, respond to the changing seasons of my life. I mourn the death of the passing. I scrape away the dried up cover. I let the tiny little evidence of growth I see poking through my character give me hope for the new yet to come.

 – – – also, this was my 1,000th blog post. hm.

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Used To

I used to know it all.

I used to teach.

I used to read profusely.

I used to watch tv shows.

I used to write.

I used to take pictures.

I used to jog.

I used to converse in Spanish.

I used to be Angiecita.

I used to kiss people.

I used to be a missionary.

I used to live close to close friends.

I used to take buses and taxis.

I used to be warm.

I used to eat Salteñas and good fruit.

I used to suffer in silence.

I used to think the work was enough.

I used to know certainty.

I used to delude myself with auto-sufficiency.

I used to expect, anticipate, and envision.

Now the idea is that I get used to the new. 

Get used to a constant achy lost feeling.

Get used to displaced and misplaced and erased.

Get used to the glance of pity.

Get used to the empty questions.

Get used to cold.

Get used to unspectacular routine.

Get used to uncertainty.

Get used to doubting and second guessing myself.

Get used to BIG.

Get used to TOO MUCH.

Get used to SPEED.

Get used to being loved by family up close.

Get used to the familiar acceptance that wells up when I hear dear ones say Ang’.

Get used to an over-abundance of good.

Get used to polite.

Get used to crying every day.

Get used to hundreds of gifts that furnish our home, fill the kitchen, and clothe us.

Get used to a drive instead of a walk.

Get used to advocating for my soul and well being.

Get used to the default “easy”.

Get used to my cocoon of not-yet and not-anymore.

Before we moved to the States I asked my children to share their greatest fears and their greatest hopes. Had I been in my right mind I would have carefully transcribed that conversation like a dutiful stenographer. I didn’t. Now I trust the Fates to remind me of their thoughts when I need to remember them.

One of the kids said that their greatest fear was that when we got to the States that all that happened in Bolivia these 13 years would disappear, or not matter. I understand that feeling. In all our unsettling settling things look muddled. We feel shaken. Memories mix up with emotion and remembered reality morphs.

We passed the 40 day mark since leaving Bolivia. Six weeks is all; that’s single digits my friends. Gratitude abounds in the midst of the many moods. The goodness God has poured out is undeniable and comforts me.

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Week One in the Big O!

One of the nicknames of my hometown, which I have returned to, is The Big O! (With the exclamation mark, thankyouverymuch.) One whole week has passed since we began our Big New Life in the United States of America. I have come full circle. Getting re-acquainted with the place where DaRonn and I grew up has been fun. Showing the kids around and introducing them to Stateside life has been interesting. Adjusting to the new unspoken expectations has been rough.

We have noted that people in the U.S. compared to people in Bolivia:

Worry about safety a ton more – seat belts, mandatory car insurance, car seats, a disinfection wipes station for the shopping carts at the front of the store, and a very visible presence of well-equipped law enforcement officers all around town, just to name a few.

Have so many more options – huge menus, restaurants everywhere, shops full of shelves full of varieties of every type of thing you could want to buy, channels on tv and on the radio, religious expressions, styles, and employment for a wide range of ages and abilities.

Are SUPER generous with their resources – thrifts shops, homeless shelters, relief aid programs, free stuff on curb-sides and craig’s list, abundance of donations of VERY nice things from perfect strangers, sales and clearance items, and volunteering of their time, not to mention so many gifts of brand new things.

The Midwest is     S…P…R…E…A…D…   O…U…T.

The land sprawls. The ribbon of roads and highways stretch long and wide. The spaces between dwellings feel vast. The immense forests and parks preserved in these borders make me swell with pride.

At first when I began maneuvering in this spread out place I thought of all the space as wasted. My thoughts stopped short. I remembered the reoccurring theme for this season of my life. No, this is not waste, this is healthy. I am regaining the margins which I allowed to be eaten away over time. The corrosion of busy-ness crept in, cramming out breathing room. Reparation begins with the creation of margins.

Margins. Yes, I am letting the margins grow once again.

Margins of time. Margins of space.

Margins for thought. Margins for belief. Margins for health.

Margins to tend my garden. Margins to be still. Margins to breathe.

Margins which allow me to fall in step with the unforced rhythms of grace.

Margins which enable me to be kind, gentle, and faithful.

Margins which suck me down into the plushy, over-sized, purple swivel lounge chair and swallow me up for spontaneous sessions of solace.

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The Big O!

Oh! I had almost forgotten what a livable life looked like.

Oh! There is hope for restoration.

Oh! My God, my Emmanuel, thank you

Removed. 

For a long while I hung my head in shame assuming that God was removing us from our “post” in Bolivia as a punishment for misbehaving. Maybe there is some truth to that, but I think my thinking was skewed. More and more, as I watch this transition unfold, I think He removed us to demonstrate His Goodness and Grace.

This evening I watched my precious nephew wriggle and wrestle and resist the sleep his weary toddler body needed. His mama wrapped him up and rocked and rocked; he finally fell asleep. I smile now as I think about God watching me over the past few years fight and fuss against the rest He knew I needed. Submission to this season came slowly. I am grateful as I look back and see God’s patience with me as He pulled me closer and closer to Him. My, how I pushed against those arms! My, how He rocked my world! Finally I fell…

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airplane over cochabamba, bolivia, january 2015

“This is NOT home.”

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on the wall of the house we are staying at

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