What we miss most...

I have like three blog posts stashed away that may or may not make an appearance, but I decided to move ahead with some other thoughts I had rolling around in my head.

I have already noted many times either on my Facebook page or in emails or even on this blog that I get really homesick this time of year. I LOVE autumn. It is my favorite time of year. I love everything about it...the smells, the colors, the sounds, the pumpkin spiced lattes from Starbucks, the cooler weather, KC Chiefs football...the list really could go on endlessly. As much as I love living in the land of the "eternal spring," I miss the changing seasons...and most especially fall.

Being a missionary, though, is filled with lots of waves of homesickness and loneliness. There are times that I am sure all of us would say that life is wonderful and great and we love the work we are doing. We are feeling inspired, and we are seeing God change lives all around us. We always miss our family and friends back home, but we are focused wholly on the cross, so we are able to rejoice that we were counted worthy enough to do whatever mighty work God has called us to do. But, there are other times that we just ache with longing for our "homes" back in whatever country we come from. We miss our family and our friends and our church and our language and our country, etc. Then, on top of that, we start to miss the little things too...like autumn or libraries or Target or pumpkin spice candles or shopping for school supplies. It could be anything, really. The point is we miss those little things that others back at our "homes" often take for granted.

Well, this weekend I was riding one of those waves. I was feeling rather homesick for my family and my friends. I was feeling like December was forever away (next trip to visit the fam.), and I was starting to stress that we may not be able to get a visa for my sweet son to go with us again...which in turn was making me feel like I deserved the right to throw myself a pity party. I was longing for some fellowship, and mostly I was just missing my mama and Saturdays at home with her. We would drink some coffee and if I was lucky eat some pumpkin bars with the windows open and fragrant candles burning in the living room. It was a sweet picture, and I missed her dearly.

So, when my hubby came down on Saturday afternoon with a small package from my sweet friend Laura, I was so excited. I then opened the package and wept. I really and truly wept. There were no little tears clouding my eyes. No folks. I wept...big, fat, blubbery kind of tears streamed down my face. Before I tell you what she sent me, let me tell you that this sweet friend just had a baby 7 weeks ago. Her hubby is in seminary, and they both have to work part time. Now, I have a 9 month old baby, so I remember how hard those first few weeks are and how tired you are and how completely consumed you are with your new life and your new baby. So, the fact that she took the time to go to the post office and fill out that silly little custom form and then pay to send me this package, totally blessed my socks off. I am pretty sure it could have been a fraction of what it actually was, and I still would have cried. However, all of this information along with the contents is what brought on the hard-core weeping.

So what was in it, you ask?

Well she sent me a book by my most favorite author, John Piper called A Sweet and Bitter Providence. Books in English are hard to come by for me as there aren't many of them here, and when I do find them, they are usually pretty pricey. Trying to bring them from the states when I come is also hard because they are heavy, and I usually am needing every extra pound for all the necessities. So, this was such a wonderful blessing for me.

She also sent me some fall decorations and some PUMPKIN SPICE candles as well as some other fall fragrances. They are burning in my room as we speak....or or ah..as I type! ;)

Hence, the weeping.

Okay so maybe some of you aren't quite as mushy as I am and are wondering why I took the time to write all of this. First of all, I did it to once again thank this precious friend of mine. I already wrote her personally, but I felt she needed another shout out for her thoughtfulness and all around awesomeness! :)

Secondly, I just wanted to encourage all of you out there that know other missionaries or even friends that for their jobs or school or whatever are living far away from their homes to take the time to look for small ways to bless and encourage them. I know life is busy and stressful and really a lot of you already have more on your plate than you can handle as it is. But, just stop and imagine having all of those stresses and busyness without close family or friends living nearby or at the very least a church family. Imagine doing all of that without all the small little conveniences that we grow so accustomed to having.

Please hear me correctly. This isn't to say that missionaries have harder lives than "normal" people (what are normal people anyway...aren't we all called to be missionaries??...another topic for another day) or to compare "sob stories" so to speak. I am so blessed to be doing what I am doing, and I am sure that every missionary on this planet would probably say the same thing. All I am trying to say is that sometimes we just need those little reminders that the folks we love at home so much haven't forgotten about us and that even the small little sacrifices we are making haven't escaped their notice. God used my dear friend Laura this weekend to remind me that He cares for me and for my family. After over a month of battling illness after illness with my children and watching more and more money being spent on doctor's appointments, medicine, special food, etc., I was just feeling a little discouraged and "needing my mommy" so to speak. I felt like Laura kind of sent me my Mommy in that little package. Of course, it wasn't the same as hugging her or my sweet Daddy, but she sent me a little piece of home, and it sure blessed me.

I am done with my little soapbox now. Sorry I was so long winded today. For those of you that know or support other missionaries, there is a really great article about ways you can bless them without even having to send them anything in the mail. Check this out from the Desiring God blog. Just click HERE.

I so appreciate each and every one of you...those that I know and those that I don't know. Thank you for your prayers for my family and for me. Thank you for your sweet emails and Facebook posts and comments on here. You have no idea how each of those things truly do bless me.


Raising Little Women (and Men!)

So those of you that know me well, know that I LOVE to read...really and truly, it is one of my very favoritest things in the whole wide world. I love books and my house is filled with lots of them now and I still have plenty that I left behind (sorry Mom and Dad). I am not really sure when this love affair with books began, but I know it has been there since I was quite young.

Short anecdote: When I was about 4 and my sister was 2, we were playing in our little playroom. I was an "organized player" and my sister not quite so much. Anyway, she dragged all of my wonderful books out onto the floor, but then moved on to play with something else. When my dad came up and saw the mess, he said in his loving but gruff papa bear voice, "You girls clean all this stuff up before you come down for lunch or I am going to throw it all in the trashcan." So, what does my sister do, she gets the trashcan and starts THROWING AWAY MY BEAUTIFUL BOOKS...sorry didn't mean to yell, but seriously, she started throwing them away. I, of course, went into hysterics over the loss, and my dad learned a very valuable lesson about my sister that day. She would rather throw it all away than clean it up! :) Thankfully she has grown up quite a bit since then...right Ames?

Well, unfortunately, my life these days doesn't make reading a very easy task. My days are just too busy. Some have suggested that I use books on tape...but no offense to those of you that love books on tapes, but they are very blaahhhh to me! I love the smell of books and the sound of the page turning and just how the letters look on the page and well, I just love my books, so as long as God grants me the gift of sight, I will choose my big ole' bulky books. Thankfully, I am a very good multi-tasker, so I have figured out how to squeeze short minutes of reading in during activities like loading the washer, cutting vegetables, curling my hair, nursing the baby, etc. I am sure there are a lot of other things I could also be doing during those moments, but I do so enjoy getting to go on all kinds of adventures and meet all kinds of friends while caught up in the pages of my latest read...or sometimes my latest reads as I have been known to be reading several books at a time.

My latest book is an old favorite, Little Women. I say it is an old favorite, but really I don't think I have really read the book in its entirety. I think when I was younger, it just wasn't quite exciting enough for me. However, as a Mama, I having been finding lots of little gems as of late buried in this classic. I love how God does that too. He uses something very normal and He uses it to teach us more about Him or about serving Him or loving Him or in my case, He has used it to show me areas that I can be a better Mama to my littles (and not so littles in the form of my teenage girls).

The next few excerpts are taken from my latest readings, and I think they quite speak for themselves. I do thank you all for your encouragement after my last post. Your words really helped, and I must say God has used this little book to help as well. I hope you are encouraged...

All of these excerpts are taken from Marmee (Mama March) talking to Jo (the second daughter) about how she is learning to overcome her sin of anger.

"Your father, Jo...helped and comforted me, and showed me that I must try to practise all the virtues I would have my little girls possess, for I was their example. I was easier to try for your sakes than for my own; a startled or surprised look from one of you, when I spoke sharply, rebuked me more than any words could have done; and the love, respect, and confidence of my children was the sweetest reward I could receive for my efforts to be the woman I would have them copy."

"If I don't seem to need help, it is because I have a better friend, even than father, to comfort and sustain me. My child, the troubles and temptations of your life are beginning, and may be many; but you can overcome and outlive them all if you learn to feel the strength and tenderness of your Heavenly Father as you do that of your earthly one. The more you love and trust Him, the nearer you feel to Him, and the less you will depend on human power and wisdom. His love and care never tire or change, can never be taken from you, but may become the source of life-long peace, happiness, and strength. Believe this heartily, and go to God with all your little cares, and hopes, and sins, and sorrows, as freely and confidingly as you come to your mother."


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Some bits and bobbits about this blog...

This blog is mostly just ramblings by yours truly. I talk about my ups and downs being a wife, mother, and missionary in Guatemala. I have a tendency to get off on "soapboxes" as those who love me say but it is my desire that this blog can be a place of encouragement in each of your pilgrimages with Christ. At any moment if this blog becomes more about me than about Christ, than it will be done and over...so please help me stay accountable. To God be all the Glory, Honor, and Power!

Books I am currently reading...

  • Eight Twenty Eight
  • Interrupted
  • The Connected Child
  • This Momentary Marriage
  • Unbroken

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