Monday, May 24, 2010

Counting up from #61



61. Resting (mostly) peaceful in the hollow of His hand as we wait for His provision in HIS timing.
62. Walking the dog in shirt-sleeves and jeans.
63. Taking the time to process, cry, dream with my daughter.
64. Allergy medicine.
65. Kleenex.
66. Margin in life.
67. Friends who believe in us and what we do enough to support us financially.
68. Surviving a day in the English room without my lovely coworkers to keep me company.
69. My visa!
70. A phone call with an offer to help junk the car, and good news that it is not as complicated as I thought.
71. My son's tender heart.
72. My husband's patience with me.
73. Grace, in so many shapes and sizes.
74. Quirky people.
75. Hope for a good landing place in Chicago.
76. One ticket bought.
77. Payday, and the many generous people who make that possible.
78. The roof over our heads.
79. God answering one of my Friday-morning-out-loud-in-the-car-stressing-on-the-way-home prayers as soon as I got home.
80. Grown-ups who value my daughter's13-year-old friendship.
81. A daughter who trusts her parents to make wise and careful decisions for her future, even as she grieves the losses.
82. A better exchange rate.
83. Phone calls from friends (and the hope they will call again tonight since we weren't at home. :) )
84. Babysitters who understand, and give comfort hugs.
85. Having to wait.
86. Being at the end of my own capability to do anything about a situation.
87. Blackberry chats with wonder boy on the bus.
88. Generous friends who lend us their car (It's worth counting more than once!)
89. Knowing the church will carry on just fine without us.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Next Step


Old Steps, High Tide, originally uploaded by BURŠ˜BLUE.

We have a little more than a month left in Madrid.

Such a simple statement, but it comes with many, many issues.

God is good, and He has been taking care of things one step at a time, never too early, never too late.

~a medical appointment in time for my visa interview
~a clinic to get immunizations also in time for said interview.
~an uncomplicated visit to the embassy to complete the final steps and interview for my visa.
~a passport stamped with an immigration visa (and mysterious sealed envelope that I must present to immigration authorities upon entering the US. Along with my chest X-ray. Who knew that immigration officers knew how to read X-rays? :) )
~an easy solution to how to junk the car, along with a gracious, kind offer of help in the process.

Now that we have the visa, we can look for tickets. But we are waiting for God to provide the funds for the tickets, as well as for our final payment for school.

The money is always the sticking point, isn't it? In my experience it's the thing that can make me lose my trust, incite panic, worry, fear.

So far I'm doing OK with sitting in the hollow of His hand. I look back with faith at all the other times He has (ALWAYS) provided for us. We have never been homeless or hungry.

We have seen Him confirming this decision to follow Him into a new adventure time and time, and time again. Pieces falling into place, connections made. Quietness and peace in our spirits.

So I do my best, to do the next thing. But it has to be the next thing that I CAN do. I look for apartments online. I look at schools. The school that we prefer has a very small geographic area that guarantees admittance. I stare at the satellite image of those blocks and wonder if our future home is there.

I search instead for what is available in the general vicinity, and then I check on those schools.

Housing seems mysteriously absent in the preferred area, and I wonder if I am missing something.

Perhaps we will have to wait until we actually can walk the streets in the neighborhood, or for a few more weeks until July 1 is closer.

I can look at schools online, but perhaps I need to walk the halls, meet some people there, watch my kids' faces react to the possibility.

So for now, I do the next thing I CAN. I help my daughter sort through clothes. This is good for both of us. For while this transition has been, for me, a long to-do list with many steps to accomplish, for her, it has been dwindling days to the mark of the end of the only life she has ever known.

I stop looking at ticket prices and bank balances and credit card balances and available apartments and schools.

I stop, to hold my daughter and let her cry. I stop what I cannot control for now, from here, and do the next thing I CAN.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Counting from #48

holy experience


48. Massive banks of poppies in morning light.
49. A husband sitting in the passenger seat to fix the passenger-side mirror just so.
50. American customer service at the embassy.
51. The promise of a visa soon to come.
52. Pollos Alcala with more than 20 people.
53. More and more "big" things crossed of my "before-we-move" list.
54. Watching my community group members teach us about the fruit of the Spirit.
55. My husband's grin when he finds a place to watch NHL online.
56. Chocolate cobbler that was so yummy (and easy) I made it two nights in a row. And I don't even like to bake.
57. Giving my son his Lego back. It's really meant for younger kids, but he didn't really want to sell  it, and nobody at the garage sale bought it :)
58. A responsible daughter who practices her music stuff without any prompting from Mom. She makes lunches too! :)
59. Finally some warmer weather and sunshine.
60. Facebook chats with friends from high school.

I was bad this week at keeping track, so I know if I sat here longer I would think of more, but it has made me motivated to keep better track this next week.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Counting

holy experience


A flowery umbrella
Friends in Chicago who who are excited we are coming, and are willing to help us apartment-hunt from afar. (You rock, Kristen & Dan and Theo!)
Baptisms and weddings in July!!!
SCC's last 2 albums
The million shades of green in spring
Clean sheets
Letting others take the empty seat on the metro.
Bus rides through Madrid
The shuffle feature on my MP3 players that seems to be able to read my mind sometimes.
Hoping and dreaming of good things ahead
Having a winter coat to pull out of the closet when the weather goes back to being cold.
People-watching.
Seeing God's redemption is so many different situations.
Watching young men give their seats up on the metro.
Watching women stare the ones who don't straight in the eyes.
Being able to pray with the kids again in the morning when I drop them off at school (when we were taking the bus we did not have enough time.)
Little games the kids and I play in the car.
Mother's Day presents, cards and croissants and chocolate napolitanas.
Sunday afternoon spent with friends.
My hubby taking care of all my immigration paperwork.
Having all my stuff ready with a day to spare before my appointment at the embassy.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Finally, the counting continues

We finally have some direction (still can't share completely until we get the OK from the powers that be) about our future, and I cannot describe the change in my spirit. I am a bit embarrassed about how paralyzed I became in the face of ambiguity and uncertainty. Something I hope will change the next time I have to go through that.

Last week, even before the clarity came, I told myself that I REALLY needed to continue the counting to 1000. I have felt unable to articulate gratitude lately; even if I noted things in my head or heart, I seemed unable to count them out loud.

And then of course, Ann's post today drove the whole point home yet again (I have wondered lately if Ann's blog is, right now, the voice of the Holy Spirit in my life.)

So, in no particular order, because they are only written in my mind, the counting continues...


6. Blossoming trees bursting forth in pink and white froth.
7. The fragrant slide of coffee beans into the grinder in the morning.
8. My son's exuberant singing in the shower, without fail.
9. Being able to text/chat with loved ones far away for free.
10. Walking by my daughter's room in the morning and hearing her pray out loud about something on her heart.
11. The experience of our car breaking down yet again.
12. The resilience of my kids as we began taking the bus to school, meaning we had to leave the house at 7:15 and returning at 5:45 p.m.
13. Watching my daughter pull out her big 'ole Bible on the bus and read her daily chapter without any embarrassment at all.
14. The fact that she is more diligent about her Bible reading than her Mother.
15. Celebrating happy memories of my Mom with laughter, and tears on the 20th anniversary of her death. (April 26th) 
16. Generous friends who are lending us their car during the week.
17. A change of pace at school, with cultural week, and the chance to spend my whole workday coloring :)
18. Friends who are thankful even when I cannot verbalize my own gratitude.
19. Going to church like a "normal person."
20. Watching my husband get excited about being able to listen to ice hockey online.
21. Observing God's work in the lives of my family.
22. The chance to watch our kids participate in track and field day with their school.
23. Old friends coming to visit (ESTEMBOKAS, that's you, baby!)
24. People who believe in us.
25. French toast and bacon for dinner, and a hubby who makes them.
26. The "internets" ;} which make apartment-hunting and job-hunting much easier from another continent.




holy experience


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