Its Complicated

Hello to you from El Salvador! I didn’t realize when we moved, that I would write less…. I guess what I didn’t factor in was going from being a stay at home mom/wife, to being a part time employee and full time teacher (homeschool), in addition to still being a wife and mom.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me recently how we are doing. How are the kids doing? How is it living in another country for almost 18 months now? Are you coming back? Are you staying? Do you miss the United States? 
I don’t know that I can ever fully answer these questions. It is nearly impossible to help you understand all the feelings involved in all those questions. 
If I say I miss the United States, that implies that we don’t also love it here. 
If I say that it is difficult to live here, that implies that it is easy in the United States. 
If I say the kids are very happy, that doesn’t explain just how very complicated it is for their little hearts. 
We were recently having a family meeting to discuss how everyone is doing. And my little Addison put into words what no one else could. It was incredible to me that she could analyze her feelings so succinctly. 
“No matter where we live now, I’m going to be sad. If I live in the U.S. I’m going to be sad for missing our friends here. If we live here, I’m going to miss my friends and family in the U.S.” 
We are of course going to try and help her see that it is a win/win, not a lose/lose. For to be loved in multiple countries is a great thing, and not a sad thing. But how do we do that, when we often feel the same way as her???
Here is truth. This isn’t an exotic vacation. Its the tropics, and its beautiful, but its hard. Glennon of Momastery uses the word “brutiful.” That’s what this is. Beautiful and brutal. 
We live every day with the hearts, histories, tragedies and triumphs of people in our hearts and minds. Some things are hard to let go of. So we try to let God be the God of those hard things. Because who can live with all of that in our heads all the time? And at the same time, we desire to have them let us into their hearts and minds, to be able to bear part of their burden for them. To know that someone cares. 
Some days it is as simple as wishing I could just go into Target and find what I need at a reasonable price. Or waking up and thinking, wouldn’t some nice, cool, Ohio, Autumn weather be nice right now???? Or wouldn’t it be nice not to sweat today?? Or, how amazing would it be to hug my nieces and nephews and have coffee with my grandma today?  I cannot even speak of being in the same room with my siblings and my parents without tears. Or holy Moses what is with these enormous beetles all over our door???!!!! Tarantulas…. there are no words. Don’t even get me started on bike rides and libraries with millions of books!! And pretty puhleeeeezzzeee stop posting pictures of your Disney World trip on Facebook! (just kidding we are happy for you and not the least bit jealous… a little). Oh Bath and Body Works how I miss you and your coupons, (I never had a shoe or purse vice, I had B&BW).  And then there is imagining watching Donovan in Little League, or Addison in dance recitals.
As you see, its complicated. Feeling many things, at the same time.  Ha! That all just spilled out suddenly 🙂   The thing is we live here. This is life right now. So to answer your questions:
The answer, as much as we can figure, is to find the joy. If this is a short season, or a long season of living here then we find the joy. The joy in today. 
*I can think of our friends.  I visited one of my closest friends last night. Just for a bit. She is a gift to me, and her husband is a gift to Alex. Two people that in 13 years of our marriage, we feel closer to, than almost any other people. I love her baby, and she loves my kids, without reservation. I said three times that we had to go home to bed, and she told me 3 times not to say that again and stay.  So to have that in our lives….. 
*The puppy that has been a healing balm for my little girl who struggled with this more than the rest. 
*The daily sunshine. 
*The little boy I gave birth to who is the most hysterical person I’ve ever met. His facial expressions, booty dances, taunting sisters with nakedness, laughter, schemes, hummed theme songs, teasing his dad, the way he says so many words fantastically wrong… the list goes on and on. Joy.
*Last night it was in the car, “Mom, I have a lot of ‘uhspicion’ that Layla is going to try and scare me while I’m sleeping tonight.”
*When I miss church due to a migraine and I receive 10 texts from people wondering where I was. 
*Pupusas
*Avocados 6 for a dollar. Helloooo guacamole every day. And on a sandwich, and with rice, and with eggs… just yum. 
*Fresh Papaya. 
*Worshiping in Spanish, which always makes me think  of Heaven where we will all worship in different languages.
*The adorable little boy Christopher, who just giggled uncontrollably in my arms as I picked him up and swung him around. 
*Friends on missions team coming to serve and visit. And insist on me giving them a wish list for my family.
*The girl in our sewing program who used to be angry all the time, but now she is smiling all the time. She is incredibly proud of her sewing accomplishments, and I am even more proud of her. 
*All of the beds going out to families who may be sleeping on the ground. 
*Tiny little people who right this very minute are eating a plate full of healthy, delicious food!

*Hugs from  tiny people who yell “Mari!!!!” when I come into the nutrition center.

So I don’t have the answers. Not short ones anyway. I don’t know when we are coming back. I don’t even know how I feel from 1 minute to the next. But I do know about joy.