Monday, February 15, 2010

School Days

This morning Sophia went to her first day of pre-school. Even writing it makes her sound all grown-up. I'd be tempted to mourn her baby days if this opportunity hadn't been such a minor miracle. After all our family only arrived in Dallas a week ago. How did we stumble on a Christian pre-school that took her admission immediately, at a reasonable rate and even suggested we use their clinic as our primary doctor while were in town? It's a simple answer-- God.

If we hadn't been living like urban nomads for the last year the ease at which this all came about (during a record Texas snow fall I might add) might have gone over my head. I've tried to enroll Sophia in pre-school before and the waiting lists alone were daunting to me--even for a mom's day out program. I rarely know where our family is going to be month-to-month so sign-up sheets terrify me.

The result of our unknown expeditions has been a lot of mini homeschooling (she's only three) and sight seeing, using whatever museums were available locally. In fact, we're heading out tomorrow to get our third library card in three different states in one year. (Don't worry we don't abuse it--I'm a HUGE believer in the library system)

What surprised me about our recent endeavor was that no one batted an eye lash as I explained our unusual situation. "That's our ministry, we help you through transition." Remarked the lovely administrator of the Wycliffe Child Care Center at the International Linguistic Center ACROSS THE STREET from my mother-in-law's house. Of course it's no coincidence that we're here since God is in control of all things and Nate's mom works at the center. But leave it to missionaries to have perfected a transitional system! Even though we're raising a third generation, global nomad, it still knocked my socks off at how smooth it's been for us.

Picking Sophia up this afternoon I was smothered in hugs, painted pictures and cut outs. She proudly informed me, "I can come to this school EVERY day, Mommy!" I think we'll start with three days a week. I'm not sure mommy can handle being all by herself, but I'm so thankful Sassy has such a great place to grow!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Psalm of the Traveler

'No one's going to believe were in Texas!' Nate remarked as I scurried to catch a picture of a curious llama saying hello through the window (I'll save you from the picture of the backside of a llama.) That was yesterday, and now there's at least four inches of snow on the ground and it's still coming down!
You can imagine how grumpy I was waking up this morning to see that I haven't really escaped winter after all and this was the attitude that I took to my devotional.
1 I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

2 My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

5 The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

7 The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

8 the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore Psalm 121:1-8

The more I studied it the more I realized that it was the perfect Psalm for this unusual day. The Psalmist (a fellow traveler) and I are both at the mercy of the elements, far from home, in need of a reminder that God is in control. He is my Protector, the Creator of the sun, the moon and even the snow. He is watching over my life, my coming's and going's, even the slippery road's. This morning, I got on my knee's in attempt to shed my grumpy, ungrateful attitude and thank God for his protection and his creation but especially for loving me and watching over every step this wanderer takes, snow and all.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Southern Sojourn

“Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things – air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

“For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

Hitting publish on my last blog I realized I'd encapsulated all the places we'd been but none of the magic that made it thrilling. Our latest trip has been an old school road trip with long stretches of road and time without excitement. It's been one of our crazier ventures simply b/c we only needed to fill the car and go. Even days before we left as I was procrastinating packing I wondered why we were leaving AGAIN? These thoughts get overwhelming when I'm trying to pack for a trip full of unknowns-when are we coming home--no idea. Where are we going--have only a slight idea. What will it be like--no clue? So why do we do it?

We love coming home to our mid-west enclave of cherished friends and family. But a brutal winter and family needs far away weren't the only thing that was drawing us back to the road. An inner restlessness, that old North wind that stirs up my imagination or the Holy Spirit calling us onto some type spiritual adventure, Nate and I both felt the need to move. The best way I can explain it is like physical problem solving, when my body is moving my spirit is processing.

Despite the unknowns and the misgivings, I've learned to trust Nate's leading especially when God's impressing the same peace into my heart. Leaving Iowa behind in the dead of night, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee began to roll past our window with the welcome warmth of day. Something else happened and continues to happen much to our amazement. Inspiration has trickled in through the long hours of talking and listening. We also listened to others journeys and found hope. Stone's into Schools by Greg Mortenson, sequel to Three Cups of Tea, bled personal experience with amazing development practices into our minds and souls still reeling from our intense journey through Africa.
The road is like a bridge between yesterday and tomorrow, the space between real life and our dreams. In a time of constant connectivity it's the silence, the mountain top experience where God can whisper. These past few days we've seen God smile on our sojourn, old friendships renewed, life celebrated, family cherished, heart ache spilled and softened. I even see hope in the flat tire that waited until we were safe in the arms of family here in Dallas.

The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.” –Samuel Johnson

Sunday, February 07, 2010


This last week we did 24 hours worth of driving in 72 hours!
Early Wednesday morning Nate, Sophia & I headed to Chicago to pick up Auntie Minga! Great help on a road trip with a three year old! Sophia's such a trooper, I tried to put her to bed and then put her sleeping in the car but she was SO excited! She couldn't sleep until we got rolling (at midnight!) Complete with kids neck pillow, blanket and eye mask from our last international flight--the minute we got on the road she was out! What a pro!

Chicago to Atlanta late Wednesday. Thursday onto Fort Benning, Georgia to celebrate 'Unca Banga's' graduation from Officer Candidate School and his promotion to 2nd Lieutenant! What a privilege to express our support for our troops! Talk about motivating!

Thursday night we said goodbye and hit the road (sans Minga) heading toward Texas. Sophia knew her favorite cousin Hannah was at the end of the road nothing would get in her way.

It was a strange experience to road trip after so much flying! We still have the chops thanks to lotz of audio books (new recommendations coming soon!) our newest addition a portable DVD player loaded with Backyardigans. Admittedly, it hasn't been warm in Dallas since we landed Friday, but I'll take 43 and pray for an early spring. It's been a blast to hangout with cousins and celebrate with our hosts Linda & Eric Darjean, Eric hails from Louisiana. Go Saints!

Monday, February 01, 2010


This is the first thing commanded of me
To love You with all You've made me to be
Living a life pleasing to You
Be humble in all that I do
With all of my heart
With all of my soul
With all of my mind
I love you Lord
With every part of me
Lord I will worship Thee
All that I'll ever be I give to You
~Words & Music by Dave Fife


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