Thursday, May 20, 2010

Caught in a Whirlwind

For those of you who keep up with this blog and were praying for us, we decided to accept the call from our sending agency to move fill the need in Western China. They want us there by September. That means we have to have financial and medical clearance by July. That means we have three months to get it all done and get there.

Yes, I am a bit unglued, stressed, overwhelmed, get the picture.

But I am excited, too. I know that if God wants us there He will make it happen. It is an undertaking of huge proportions, nonetheless. If we do our part to make this plan happen, we are going to be some crazy-busy people. So you may not hear much from me. It is also likely that this blog will be shut down when we move. But I am looking into ways to have another one that is a bit more secure. I'll let you know.

In the meantime, we can definitely use your prayers. I'll try to update you on occasion and maybe even have some non-moving related posts to share.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Hatching of a Heart

I am an Appalachian girl. There are good things about that, but there are downsides, too. We tend to be stoic people, keeping our emotions bottled up until too much moonshine combined with an insult to our kinfolk stirs us to fightin'. But my family is one of the stoic ones, not one of the fighting ones. We don't often show emotion, even to those we love the most. Sometimes we don't even know how to deal with it inside ourselves.

I go through most of my life like this, emotionally reserved, even keel, not expressing or expecting emotional openness. I suppose that is why I am prone to depression and don't find it easy to make deep friendships.

But there are times when even I cannot keep the sadness and the beauty and the joy of life from slipping in and breaking open my heart. It is a slowly widening crack, as my Maker gently and lovingly pries open the shell around my heart. As he helps me to open up, I am learning to invite these emotions into their proper places. Most days they still feel like strangers, but sometimes, like this week, I know that they are finding in my heart a place that could be home.

As I accept the sadness of a missionary hero of mine (and dear family friend) dying of cancer then turn around to watch Linus belly laughing at his daddy and brothers, I wonder if my heart will break from the opening, from the stretching and growing and making room. As I watch Hobbes on a perfect May afternoon, picking strawberries at my in-laws' and eating them straight from the patch (See that lovely photo at the top of my blog?), I wonder if my heart can hold the beauty and heartbreak of it all. I think it is too much.

But I am trying, trying to open my heart and hands to accept life and to live it fully, to allow myself to feel deeply and truly. Maybe just maybe, this heart will hatch one day.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

These Feet Were Made For Walkin'...

Somehow, in this insanely busy past month, Baby Linus became Toddler Linus. I almost missed it. I mean, I knew he was starting to walk and getting braver every day, but I was so overwhelmed and exhausted that I almost forgot to celebrate when those cute, curled up toes decided it was time to conquer the world. I certainly didn't manage to get video of it. I do have video of some of his early steps, so I guess that's good enough.

But walking is not the only way he is growing up. We are down to two nursing sessions a day, sometimes one, and while I thought he might hold on for a while longer, it seems like he may be ready to wean. I had a rare peaceful moment with him today. As we lay on my bed, him feeding and holding onto my shirt and me stroking his cheek, I knew that this might be the last time like this, even if not the last time he nurses.

Linus has never been one to nurse to sleep or want to cuddle. He likes breastfeeding, but he usually does it quickly and hops up to play. Even as a newborn, he nursed right after waking and preferred to go to sleep on his own in his crib later. For the most part, I have been very thankful that my third wanted to go to sleep on his own. It made life much easier for me after having had two who needed lots of help going to sleep. But now that we are at the end, I wonder what I missed. Nursing him has always been a distracted business, with one or the other of us busy paying attention to Calvin and Hobbes. There has been very little one-on-one time in these breastfeeding months.

So as he feel asleep this afternoon, one hand holding mine and the other clutching my shirt, I treasured it. I looked at those sweet toes, curled up under his feet after a morning of wandering the playground. I stared at his body becoming long and lean with the work of walking. And I cuddled my baby. He may be beginning the journey to boyhood, but when he is asleep and those feet are at rest, he is still my baby.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Mother's Day Giveaways All Week

My friends, Catherine and Farrah, over at DuPage Mamas, are hosting a lot of giveaways this week. If you live in DuPage County, Illinois, or know someone who does, visit their site to register. Some of the giveaways are not local, so we can all enter those!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

An Excuse

Not that I need to give one, but here is my excuse for not writing much lately. Really, it's a call to prayer, if you are the praying type.

In the midst of three trips to Tennessee in three weeks to see my Grandma before she died and to attend her burial and the worship service celebrating her life, we got an e-mail and phone call from our sending organization for Asia. They are asking us to consider a huge shift in our plans that involves moving to another, more remote city where Daddy TwoSquare will work at a software startup whose founder is going on home assignment for a year. It is a strategic work with an important minority group focus, and if the company folds, the folks working there could lose their visas. Even if they don't, the work they are doing to build trust and to live with integrity there could be jeopardized.

Seems like a no-brainer, but it comes with a lot of cons for our family, including a limit on our language acquisition for that first year. Our original plan involved doing two years of full-time language study with very little work or ministry, living in a much more accessible city with more foreigners, and having an overall easier adjustment. This new option is in a city that I love dearly, but it is a hard place to learn language because of the work schedule my husband would have and because of the strong local dialect.

This only needs to be a temporary situation, and we can return to our original plan after the year is up. The reality, however, is that we are unlikely to want to uproot our family and move to a new city to start the cultural adjustment process all over. We can turn back to full time language study in this city after that year, but the language program is far inferior to the one we were originally planning to attend.

As you can see, I have a lot on my mind. We are praying a talking and discerning with wise counselors. If we decide to go ahead with this, they want us to try to get our support raised and be there as early in the Fall as possible, hopefully September. It is overwhelming, to say the least. But it could be exciting.

I may not be around these parts much, or I may turn here a lot to process and cope with the insanity. I would appreciate your prayers. And if you have a heart for Asia and want to learn more about what we are doing so that you can pray more specifically, I'd be glad to contact you. Just e-mail me at twosquaremeals[at]gmail[dot]com. I just can't post more specifically here for security reasons.

I am overwhelmed and exhausted and emotionally frayed, but now I am off to get a lunch packed and watch Calvin's soccer game.