Thursday, June 25, 2015

Season of Lasts

We’re living in the reality of the conclusion of our Haiti chapter. Every day now it seems like it’s the last time we see this friend, or go there, or do that, and we are experiencing a lot of mixed feelings.

Some things I really don’t mind seeing or experiencing for the last time! Like the other day when our neighbour burned several months of trash on the street outside of our house, and no matter how many windows I tried to crank shut, billowing clouds of noxious smoke poured through every nook and cranny, making it almost impossible to breathe. Then when I headed outside with Alexander on my hip to talk to him again, he had already disappeared out of sight. I remember thinking to myself that this may be the last time I have to deal with it, so not to worry about it.

Or the other night, when at 10:00 p.m. Jason and I decided to have a late night snack only to see tiny baby cockroaches crawling all over the exterior of our refrigerator trying to get in. As I grabbed the swatter and vainly tried to smack them off, Jason commented “Those all will grow up to be big ones you know?” I remember turning to him and saying; “Well at least I won’t be here to see them!” and for a moment, I was glad.

So there are times when I’m excited to be leaving! Especially when I itch all over due to countless mosquito bites, knowing that any one of them could cause some mysterious tropical disease, or when I see in the mirror that none of my clothes fit anymore thanks to a drawn out battle with a parasite. But other times I’m sad.

I’m sad when I think of the friends we leave behind, the finality of goodbye, that this is the end of an incredible season of our lives where we learned so many valuable life lessons, and the fact that everything about our lives will change and nothing will ever be the same. I’m sad and just a little afraid of what the future holds. Change is hard for me.

God know this about me though, and  has comforted me with the words in Psalm 90:1-2 LORD, thou hast been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. Though everything about my life may change, He never will, and He will continue to be my dwelling place regardless of my country of residency.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Blog Post 500: Jumble

I’ve sat down behind the computer a half a dozen times this past week wanting to blog, only to get distracted or give up due to slow internet. Words have been building in my brain however, and space is limited, so it’s time to let them go. Although the internet is still pitifully slow, there are emails awaiting replies, and household chores and packing that need to be done, I need just a little time to declutter and reorganize my mind.  On the upside, I am certain I will be much more productive by the time I’m finished!

This past week Jayden finished Second Grade. This fall, God willing he hopes to transfer from the American Second Grade system to the Canadian, Grade 3. Embarrassingly, I still have not taken the time to look at his marks online, but I imagine he did well. (What happened to the good old-fashioned report cards anyway?)

Since his school here in Haiti runs from middle of August to end of May, he is going to have a loooong summer. 104 days to be exact! To keep my vibrant boy busy, I’ve come up with a simple homeschool schedule, of Bible, math, science, journaling, reading, and life skills. Life skills include simple cooking, cleaning and learning some of the basics on how to take care of his two younger brothers.   So far so good! 

While I often felt I couldn’t relate to Jayden’s personality and likes and dislikes as he is very much his father’s son, Justin, my middle boy is definitely a mini me. I totally see myself in his large eyes, his eating habits and palate, personality quirks and space bubble. This has made me laugh on more than one occasion and gives me a little more understanding and sympathy for what my husband has to put up with on a day-to-day basis. 

Justin is also my responsible one and is always quick to let me know if his two brothers are misbehaving or doing something potentially dangerous; which happens more often than I would like to admit.

Alexander celebrated his first birthday yesterday. It seems like overnight he turned from baby to toddler. He walks, he babbles, he plays with his brothers and can communicate (sometimes a little too clearly) his likes and dislikes. Seeing the changes makes me both happy and sad. It’s neat to see how rapidly he is progressing, but sad that suddenly my baby is not a baby anymore.

 While Jason has been busy flying, organizing team activities for the five guys that are here, and busy pre-selling our furniture and household goods, I’ve been busy packing.  Let me back up; two years ago I became a minimalist. When I looked up a definition online I found this: “It’s a way to escape the excesses of the world around us – the excesses of consumerism, material possessions, clutter, having too much to do, too much debt, too many distraction, too much noise, but too little meaning. Minimalism is a way of eschewing the non-essentials in order to focus on what’s truly important, what gives our lives meaning, what gives us joy and value. “

Since then, I’ve gone through our home several times and already sold or given away anything that we had not used or worn in the last six months. One of the minimalist mottos is: “If it’s not useful or beautiful, don’t keep it.”

This has helped tremendously with packing and sorting as we have a lot less things than we did two year ago. However, since we are only taking suitcases back and space is limited I now have to go through everything and decide what is easily replaceable (casserole dishes, coffee pot, toaster, tea kettle) and what is not due to sentimental value or cost (paintings, cutlery set, Legos, souvenirs, books, etc.).

Obviously we can’t take any larger items like furniture, but it feels strange selling my living room rug and imagining it in someone else’s house, and other people using our dish set, table and chairs, etc.. It’s not that I’m really sad about it; it’s just kind of this strange feeling that I can’t put my finger on.

As I’ve been working, I feel God gently reminding me through scripture, what truly has value, and where my focus should be.

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? Matthew 16:26

Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:
But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:
For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
Matthew 6:19-21

Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:)for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.Matthew 6:31-32

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33