I’m Cheating.
This week was blah.  We got back from vacation.  Immediately we all got colds, and are a bunch of Groucho Marx’s {get it… tee hee…our last name is Marks…nevermind}.  So since I was gone last week, and last week was totally awesomeness from start to glorious finish…. I’m posting last week’s instagram pictures.  Yep. Cheating.

Flowers from my girls

On our 2 day drive to Florida I made my husband humor me and pull off to see the world’s 2nd Biggest Pencil 🙂

We had REAL southern BBQ at Sticky Fingers Smokehouse in Savannah.  Where waitresses call our blondies, “adorable towheads” with big grins, and y’alls, and earn a big tip.
Savannah is gorgeous y’all.  And I can’t wait to go back.
Then we got to Disney World. Which in case you were wondering, really is magical. Now you know. This was a dream come true trip for us.  Loved it.
Ah-ma-zing food!
And Tinkerbell!
Ate at Restaurantasauras. I couldn’t make that up if I tried.
Cooled off in awesome fountains
Took adorable photos
Remembered that we love each other. A lot.
And braved roller coasters and Yetties at the same time!
And finished it off perfectly with one glorious day in Siesta Key.

THE talk before THE talk

See this girl?

Beautiful no?  She’s 8. And evidently, what my OBGYN did not tell me, when she placed this sweet babe in my arms, was that eight years will literally disappear before you can say “bob’s your uncle.” {who came up with that weird phrase anyway?}  And the other key piece of information she left out was that when a girl turns eight, she… well, starts getting emotional beyond all reason.  I didn’t, so she surely gets this particular piece of genetics from her Daddy.

So a few months ago when I realized that her bouts of irrationalism were in fact a bit of a regular occurance… each month…. I had to face facts that sooner than I would ever dream, I will have to have THE talk with her.  No, not that talk.  The one that comes before the ONE.  Puberty.  Its an ugly word really.  Why can’t someone come up with a word that doesn’t make every muscle in my body tense up? I actually want to throw up a little.

I know babies.  Backwards and forwards. Toddlers, not a cinch… but manageable, pre-schoolers are so fun.  Do anything for 8 years straight and you will acquire some level of know-how.  But teenyboppers, tweens, pre-teens?  Terrifies me. 

I’m ridiculously unprepared for this.  But my girl, she just keeps on growing. I hear that happens when you feed them regularly. I read a ton of pregnancy and baby books.  So I guess that is the route I’m going to have to go for this also.  I’m a big proponent to mommy’s having a huge amount of maternal instinct. We absolutely do.  But this particular area is a little lacking in me.  I just don’t like to talk about it. 

My question is then, {SOS blogger world} what books would you recommend?  My dream is to raise all three of my girls to be Godly, pure, LADIES.  Not amish, but ladies.  HELP!!

Who Says?

El Salvador is beautiful.
The land is beautiful.
The mountains are beautiful.
The ocean is perfect.
The flowers are perfect.
I could write up a big long post about what we did.  And so I don’t get accused of being a “poverty tourist” (a horrible person’s word for “missionary”), I will give a quick rundown in the next post of what we did.  But mainly, I want you to see what I saw.  A beautiful country, that could only be the work of the Divine Creator.  More than that, it is a country of beautiful people. 
They are strong.  And resilient.  And loving.  They persevere in extreme circumstances.
They are Moms and Dads who love their kids.  They are aunts and uncles who take care of their relatives.  They are grandmas, and grandpas and husbands and wives. Sons and Daughters.  Brothers and sisters.  Neighbors.  Community at its best.
Who says they aren’t perfect just the way they are?
Would money and infrastructure improve their lives?  Yes.  But it will not improve WHO they are.  They are stronger than you and I. 
Last Spring our power went out for 8 hours.  We had no lights, t.v., computer, microwave, and oh dear did we bellyache about it.  My neighbors and I stood outside and talked for the first time in weeks, about whether they had power or not, did they call the power company, when do we think it will come back on?  Because with electricity we can hole up in our homes and ignore each other some more.  We think we have it better?  This is better?
Last year I came away loving the people, but wishing that their livelihoods could be better, their falling down buildings could be rebuilt, and for goodness sake put in some clothes washers and toilets that flush toilet paper.  How ignorant I was.  Machines and air conditioning are nice, but in many ways the people of El Salvador are far superior to us very blessed, very spoiled Americans.
We are different for sure.  The beauty of it all is that, we are exactly the same.  We both have a deep, core need for God.  There is no life, no hope, apart from God.  For any of us.  They might make $5 a week, and we may spend $5 on a cup of coffee, but we are exactly the same.  We all rock our babies, and cook for our families, and go to work to provide a home.  And we all need God.

El Salvador 2011 from Mari Marks on Vimeo.

The song in the video is by Anthem Lights. Check them out, they are fantastic!

Just in Case…..

…. you thought I forgot….I didn’t.  I have several El Salvador posts in mind.  I will tell my tale.  But right now, all my pictures are sitting safely on a hard drive.  In Alex’s laptop.  In his office.  And the other ones’ I want, are on a memory card of one of my team members.

In the mean-time, I am doing research for the up and coming Orphan/Adoption Advocacy ministry branch of the Church of the Open Door Missions vine.  I have A LOT to learn.  I’m already itching for my next missions trip!

We are leaving on our family vacation in one week!!!  Yahoooooo!!!! 

So, if you think of me, please keep me in your prayers.  I feel like the days slip by into the mist.  I don’t ever end the day feeling like I did everything I wanted.  I’m discouraged.  I want to spend every second with my kids.  I want to keep an immaculate house.  I want to read for fun, read for research, and read to my kids.  I want to go on dates, and play with my friends.  I want to exercise, and bake and consequently exercise some more.  I want to finish all the little projects that never seem to get done around my house.  I want to breath in the Holy Spirit and bask in my salvation as I stare at the blue sky or a flower in my garden. And if I should happen upon a nap…. most of my happiness would be complete.
But prayer request number 2 is for some heart healing.  I’m consumed by heartache and  can’t see the sun for the clouds.

p.s. Marla Taviano if you are reading… I’m almost done with your new book and will be sending you some questions for a blog post soon!

Back from El Salvador

Alright, technically I have been back for almost a week.  That is really hard to believe.  I feel like I was just there a few hours ago.  I’ve been diving back into my family’s Summer life head-first.  We like to cram in as much fun as we can before the government makes me send them back to school.

I apologize for the lack of posts while I was in El Salvador.  I really, truly set out to post often and share the trip with you while I was on it.  But as it turns out, it was way more important to spend my free time in relationship and fellowship with the people there.  And since there wasn’t a lot of free time to begin with…. no posts.  I’m still trying to process everything mentally, spiritually, and emotionally.  But the minute I feel able to write a post on it, that will do our mission trip justice, I will.

So for now, I give you my week in photos with my treasures.

Together again.  Oh sweet reunion

 A Perfect Summer Day is made up of a book in a tree-house…..
 …….and a sister to share it with
 It also doesn’t hurt to have access to a fantastic pool

An audience for the first ever Marks Family Obstacle course

 Happy InstaFriday. 🙂