Maybe Tomorrow


I go to an orphanage, torn in my heart whether I actually want to do it. Fighting the feeling. I procrastinate and I stall.  Maybe tomorrow. But I get in the car.

“But you’re a missionary!”  you think to yourself now.

You might even now be asking yourself, “Isn’t that what you went there to do? Stop complaining, you asked for this. You are being paid, by other people, from their salaries to do this exact job.”

I go to the orphanage and they are excited to see me. And I them.  My jaw hurts from smiling so hard.  I hold the baby with no muscle tone at 1 year close to my beating heart and never want to let her go.  That beating heart in so much pain because I know how this came to be.  Wanting nothing more in the world than to take both of them into my heart and home and love them as if I had carried and birthed them both. Her 15 year old mom looks on, as I hold her baby with all the experience 4 babies has given me.

I leave the baby house to go visit the older kids.  Kids who have endured horrors no child should, and now live in an institution. They run up and ask for Alex and my biological kids.  They smile and group hug me, even though I’m a lone visitor for the day.


They forgive me for not visiting in so long.  Illnesses had me away for a few months, but they welcome me back.

You think, “You’ve haven’t been in months? What have you been doing? You’ve let them down like every other adult in their lives.”

I get back in my car amid 15 kids watching me leave. Again. I roll down my window and shout an “I love You!”  I shut the window and I can breath again.  Breaths coming in gasps.  I drive home to my husband and my kids.  Nothing can break the images running in my head and the pressure on my chest that remains after relinquishing her. I can still feel her heavy on my heart.


You are probably thinking, “Why do you even bother? You will just keep hurting them by coming, and going without them. Just stop.”


And that voice, questioning me and my inaction, and my inability to give these kids families?  It kicks my emotional ass all night long.

It was mine all along.  The voice telling me I’m not enough.  Questioning me. All me.


{photo credit: Samuel Rivas}

The only respite, the gracious quiet voice that comforts deep in my soul.  The voice that is not mine.

“They are mine Mari. Not yours.  Consider the lilies of the fields, and the sparrows…do I not love them infinitely more than you? Do I not weep for them with more tears?  This is not yours to fix.  They are yours to love. Feel it, and go back.”

I’m a missionary in El Salvador.  Some days I yell at the people I love, and lose my patience.  Dogs get into bathroom trashes (where all our TP goes), and food burns to pans on stove tops whose only setting is high and medium.  Floors need mopping every day, which is annoying and I let it do just that, annoy me. Some days I don’t want to go do the hard things.  Missionaries are just people.  We’re real, and fallible.  But that Father, who will never fail a single one of us, He is mine too.  And full of grace.  So I can grant myself grace.  But maybe tomorrow.



Mega InstaFriday Yo

{Whatever to the title. Its midnight.  I don’t know people. Its just…. oh well.}
Last week was epic. My sister. My sister’s family. My sister’s brand new baby. Being at home in Iowa. Going to the church I grew up in and seeing old friends and youth pastor. Iowa State Fair. Deep Fried Pickle Dog. Cousins playing together. Epic.  The only thing that would have made it any better is if all my siblings were there and a unicorn ran by.

I can see that its been a busy Summer because I am taking time to sit and write about once a month! This whole year has been something else.
As the school year approaches my mind is jam packed with lessons I’ve learned about God, my faith, grief, my children, friendship,  the skunks that have invaded my street who spray every night, and total utter surrender to The Higher Power and HUGE, MONUMENTAL, LIFE CHANGING decisions.  But those are stories for another day soon.  Hopefully you come back after that cliffhanger.  🙂

To get back into the swing of things I’m linking with Jeannett for InstaFriday. Its a very good place to start. I’m Marijmarks if you want to follow along on our crazy adventures.

First I made a lot of jam…. it may be a smidge fermenty…. in which case I have invented Blackberry Wine Jam. Yum!

Then we had a picnic/movie night in the living room.  Clearly Brando knows which child to sit in front of to score a bit of dinner.

What else do you do right before you leave town for a few days?  Doesn’t everyone drop the laundry and cleaning, put up a fort and play Lord of the Rings Monopoly? No? Just us then?

Oh Firstborn. Please slow down. I love you and your quiet ways more than you will ever know. You make me immeasurably happy.

This chicken and I, we get each other.

For Papa Dan. 🙂

Miracle. So in love. Baby Zeb you stole your auntie’s heart.


I don’t think Addison likes him at all though…..

Or Layla. She’s all “Meh, I could take him or leave him”…. 

Forget it. We adore him. Tried to sneak him home.

See my entire family hanging precariously from a teeny tiny itsy bitsy claw on a wire?

Cousin love

So glad that one cop didn’t see me,  in my boredom, taking a picture out the moon roof. But it was 25 hours of driving in 4 days time.

Throw in a 4 year old in a fedora with big blue eyes, who says I’m the prettiest mommy in the city {just the city mind you} and I’m talking epic proportion week y’all.

Plus! There was that day my children held a python…… and it didn’t try to bite off aforementioned son’s face.  So there’s that too.

Put me in your feed readers, subscribe, bookmark whatever.  Because you don’t want to miss the upcoming pearls and/or marbles of wisdom!  Happy InstaFriday to you.  Bless you if you made it all the way through that rainbow, pudding pop, glitter, tinkeriffic week.  Life gets real around here.  But we choose Joy.

life rearranged