El Salvador Part 1

I’ve been struggling to put into words what I experienced last week.  There is so much spinning around in a a whirl-wind type storm that I can’t quite get a grasp on it.  I will try. 

Stormy
Extreme Poverty
Love
Torrential Rain
Mud
Bare Feet
Hospitality
Care
Protection
Smiles
HOT!!!
God
Saturday: I traveled out of the country for the first time, passport in hand, excited to get my first stamp!  I did not know what to expect upon arrival.  I had no experience on which to draw upon.  I knew that I was traveling with a group of 16 that I had a very small aquaintance with.

  I didn’t have a best friend, or my husband, no one to open up completely with to share my fear with with upon landing. 

It didn’t get any better as we piled into two vans, our luggage in a pick up truck to drive 2 hours through rain flooded roads.  There do not seem to be any traffic lights in El Salvador…. I saw one later in the week… just one.  Laws of the road seem to be up to the discretion of the drivers.  When we got to our hotel, it was about midnight (2 am our time) and we were greeted with a hot dinner by our hosts!  With a little trepidition I attempted responding to questions in Spanish, hoping that I didn’t say an insulting wrong word.  The food was delicious, but not as delicious as crawling into bed and sleeping.  It certainly didn’t hurt that we were lulled to sleep each night by the crashing of Pacific waves right outside our window.  What I discovered of my fears the next morning?  Uneccesary.  What I found the next day was immediate friendships, a faithful God and people who would become like family.

To Be Continued… (because blogger isn’t loading pictures anymore for me right now)

Life {God} Turning My World Upside Down

Do I have a million things to do today?  Yes.
Do I desperately want to go lounge on the floor with my loves and sprawl out with a stack of books? Yes.
Do I have a big messy living room to clean up? Yes.

But that’s life.  It happens, in abundance around here.  There will always be a mess, there will always be fun to be had, there will always be a list of things to do.

However, if I don’t write this out, it will be plaguing my brain and messing with my brain and patience the rest of the day. 

Six months ago, I was going about life.  Normal, every-day life.  And loving it.  I had my routine, I was living in my bubble, comfy, cozy bubble.  I was momming.  I was wifeing.  Then a figurative giant tack popped my bubble and left me flailing.  For a while now, my church has been supporting a chuch in El Salvador in a town that has been hit hard several times by hurricanes, mud slides and flooding.  And in January, the missions director announced that there would be a trip coming up in July and if anyone was interested in going and serving, let him know.  POP!  I knew in that very moment that I was to go.  You may doubt God speaking out loud to people, but I am not a crazy person, I do not hallucinate, I am not on any medications that would possibly mess with my mind.  I was told to go.  And so I signed up.  I was in the midst of parenting, caring for my husband, being in college, taking my daughters to dance etc. etc. etc. I started going to all of the meetings and doing all of the paperwork, shots, passports necessary to leave the country.  I have followed all of the steps outlined for me.  It was easy.  Everything went perfectly.  With a significant degree of surrealism.

Then the trip got moved for me from July to June.   Leaving the day of my three daughters’ very first ballet recital…. This may not seem like a big deal, but my children take up almost every thought in my day.  They hold the strings to my heart, my sanity, my world.  My life is devoted to them.  So to miss a week in their lives and the FIRST time they will dance on a stage….hurts.  But I will obey clearly spoken commands from God.  When Jesus called his disciples, they got up and left, they didn’t wait until after ballet recitals.  They went and followed Jesus down his road and went on the greatest adventure of their lives.  I have been thinking all along that I was going to go and serve and do whatever is asked of me.  And I will.  But I keep hearing the same thing from seasoned missionaries, “You will never be the same.  The people will change you.  God will change you.”  And while my heart is still hurting over turning my kids over into others’ hands, I am thrilled that I get to do this.  I cannot wait to have my world rocked.  I cannot wait to leave my bubble and most especially, to obey.  Who am I to tell God no?  Seriously picture me standing if front of God, him saying, “Mari, I would really like you to go and serve.”  and me responding with, “Sorry God, I’ve got a ballet recital to go to….sooo….I’m not gonna’ be able to do that….at this time… check my calendar next time.”  I laugh when I imagine it.  Its ridiculous.  Jesus was beaten and pinned to a cross for me, and I’m putting up a fuss about one dance??  So in two days I will go and obey.  And love it.  And tonight?  Tonight I get to revel in the brilliant talent of my beautiful daughters at their dress rehearsal, while pretending that its Saturday and I’m at the real show, and be prouder than any Mom who has ever entered the theatre before tonight.

I’m going with my church, Church of the Open Door, Open Door, Open Door, Open Door {just messing with a friend and his red flag}  🙂

So next time I post it will be a new story.  From my new world.  With pictures.  It will be pictures from El Salvador interspersed with pictures from my costumed daughters twirling on stage, as my two new worlds collide.

On Motherhood

I have had days when Alex walks through the door and I run to him like water in a dessert.  I look into his face, smile, give him a kiss, take a step back and simulate (with I’m sure very bad charade moves) a factory worker putting their card into the punch machine, making clear to him that I have clocked out for the day.  I even make the sound of the punch machine.  Sad but very true.  I actually do this some days.  Days when the children follow me around and empty what ever cabinet, drawer, basket, bin, tub, trash can, shelf…. that I have just cleaned up.  Days when all I hear is “Mooooooom, she just touched my cheek!!”  or “Mooooommm, she just followed me upstairs and then downstairs!!!”  or I kid you not, “Moooommmm her apple has more red on it than mine!!!” or a particular favorite, “Mooooooommmm, did you just see the way her eyes looked at me???”  Or the most unfathomable, “Mooommm my dress not spinny ANUFF!  I DON’T WANNA WEAR SHORTS!”  And please do not miss the implied drawn out “moms” and the clear exasperated tones and the seriousness of offenses.  These are capital offenses to my daughters.  Lord God help me when I have 3 teenage daughters on my hands.  No really God.  I am going to need oodles of divine intervention. 

Which brings us back to the door… after I get my turn at him, my three girls rush to the door shouting with only what can be explained by you envisioning a little girl finding out that Cinderella is real and is going to have a real ball in which they have been invited and get to sit next to her for dinner.  “Daaaaaaadddddyyyyy!!!”  Full on giggles, kisses, laughter, non-stop chatter about their day…. as I take another step back and say “You have GOT to be freaking kidding me!”  as he says with his dimples staring at me, “They’re so happy, what’s wrong with you?”…….

Is it possible that children are more brilliant than we give them credit for?
Is it possible that they act  more cute than bad just enough to keep us parents around?
Is it possible that they know that they can control us silly parents?

My one year old son has complete understanding that he can be vinegar for several hours, make me wish that kids came with a 100% satisfaction gaurantee return policy (I’m an in on way serious here, I would never trade my son… but I have my imagination), and in one single moment make me want 20 more of him.  Last night was just such a night.  I had read “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” at least 127 bazillion times yesterday.  He is the youngest but inisists on continually bugging his 3 year old sister and delights in making her scream.  He loves to throw anything…. anything….into the toilet.   You get the point.  Yesterday was one of THOSE days.  So here I am putting him to bed as quickly as I can, I lift him up into my arms to lay him down in his crib, and all the sudden he lays his little head on my shoulder.  Magic. I am a sucker for a good snuggle.  So I slow bedtime town instantly.  And with one little chubby handed pat on my back the entire day is wiped clean.  So I stand there and think, “how could I have considered putting him to bed without singing to him?? I must be crazy, he is so sweeeeeettttt!”  And once again the heart is bursting with love that threatens to explode and cover anyone nearby in a gooey lovey mess.  I’m telling you, children are master manipulators.

Notice how our heads make a heart?!  That’s my life.  Completely, 100% in love with my children who occasionally give me a run for my sanity.  Who completely have me seeing hearts everywhere.

Dental Heaven

I will freely admit that to write about my oral health could be construed as a bit eccentric.  Can a 27 year old woman be considered eccentric?  Ok, so dental heaven may be a little over the top. I may be writing a post that most will find as absolutely ludicrous. “Why Mari would we want to read about your oral hygiene?” Well, maybe you don’t. But this is my party and I’ll write what I want to.

For 27 long years I have not enjoyed brushing my teeth. Seriously. I do it. Regularly.  Dutifully.  I’ve never had a cavity. However, I’ve never enjoyed doing so. It was an irritating daily task that I simply put up with.
I preach the importance it to my kids.  In fact in all of my pregnancies it literally made me vomit to do so.  It was simply a matter of not liking my toothbrush.  Not liking my tooth paste.  Many, many, many types have been carefully tested, tried and rejected  (although my frugality does not allow me to throw anything out until I’ve finished it no matter how unpleasant).  I’ve tried just about every variety, brand and flavor of paste.  I’ve tried almost every toothbrush, including electric.  Not one ever game me that amazing satisfaction that you see on the commercials.

Until last week.  Not only did I discover paste heaven, but yes, in the very same week discovered brush heaven.  Yep, love at first brush.  The toothpaste was the perfect combination of mint-flavor, strength and foaminess.  Don’t you just hate it when it doesn’t fizz and foam???  Am I the only one???  And the brush…. oh my.  Not too hard, too soft, too small, too big…. No annoying handle.  Not only did it have the perfect bristles, but as you brush the inside of your cheeks and gums get the most delightful yet gentle scrubbing from the back of the brush head, also a tongue scrubber.  The handle has a wonderful little rubber gripper and it comes in a lovely shade of yellow and orange!

Here it is, my lifelong search is over.  I now look forward to brushing my teeth!

I am not being compensated, coerced, or requested to say any of these things.  It all comes from my own neurosis about tooth brushes and tooth paste.