#sosnicaragua

This hashtag began 13 days ago. Thirteen days ago, this country felt very different than it does right now. I’m not entirely sure how to write about the events that have gripped Nicaragua. It feels strange to share my opinion about it, since after all, I am not Nicaraguan.  While this is very much my home, is not my home country, I am a guest here. What I see, know, feel, hear and experience here is from the sidelines and not spoken in my native tongue. There is so much I see that I don’t understand, and probably never will. Instead of trying to write about a very complex situation, with layers that I hardly even understand myself, I am going to refer you to a well written article about it in The Economist.

Click here to check it out. The title sums it up well, “Riots threaten Nicaragua’s autocratic President”.

I find myself with so many mixed emotions. I am heartbroken for what I have seen and heard. But I am also proud in a way I have never been before. My daughter is Nicaraguan. She was born here. This is her country, and these events will forever be a part of her story and the history of her country, as it will be for her fellow countrymen. I am praying for this country that has become our home, for the country we love, the people we respect and treasure. I am praying a peaceful solution/outcome is possible.

 

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A new spot.

I have found a new place I want to hang out. Not a new, cute coffee shop, or delightful corner at a restaurant. My new place is going to be my closet That is, of course, if I can get over the smell of Brandon’s shoes. I mean really, no one should be wearing shoes without socks, especially not in a warm climate. But this is happening, regardless of that, um, minor set back. I’m not on an organizing kick, or having typical girl trouble picking out an outfit for the day (why is that so hard sometimes?!) Nope, it’s going to be dual functioning, half closet, half new place where I’m going to commit to meeting with Jesus. I’m going to start meeting with him the way Priscilla describes how her grandma meets with Jesus. “The way she’d meet with any important friend-faithfully, personally, punctually.”

I used to have a little nook in my closet. I watched the movie War Room about two years ago, and it took me a little bit to get past the warm cheesyness that I only like on my pizza. But once I did, man, it did something to me. I wanted that kind of prayer life. So I started making changes. I created a little spot in our guestroom closet in Katy. I say little, it was huge because of course even the closets are bigger in Texas. This was the place I went to for my quiet time. I cleared one wall of rubbermaids, and beneath the adorable hanging onesies, I started writing out prayers and posting them there. New prayers, old prayers. The cries of my heart. Thanking the Lord. Begging the Lord. Praising the Lord.Reminding the Lord. Reminding myself. It was a beautiful time in my life, but I immediately stopping going into that closet when my third was born. I lost all ability to find a spare moment for myself, and when those rare moments came, for my sheer survival, I slept.

However, my youngest daughter is now one. One whole year has gone by with zero time in my prayer closet. I’ve still been praying, but not nearly as regularly, and not at all strategic. And my prayers more so feel like a desperate cry. Please help me____. Please forgive me for ______ again. There is less thankfulness than there used to be. Less time just basking in His presence, and more so a feeling of just doing it because I am desperate and need Him. Which, of course, being desperate and needing Jesus isn’t a bad thing. Hello, that’s life. That’s real every day life if you are breathing. But I feel like I’ve been in this state, this pure survival mode mentality, for just a little too long. It’s almost as if the crisis has passed (ie the mayhem that was packing up life in Texas, living out of a suitcase for 3 months, and moving internationally with three little kids) and I’m still in survival mode.

It’s time to breathe. It’s time to form new habits and disciplines that my heart, mind, and body need in order to not just survive, but thrive.

I ordered Priscilla Shier’s book, Fervent, over 4 months ago. I re-discoverd it when I cleaned out my nightstand. Is anything more delightful than finding a book you’ve wanted to read just hiding and waiting for you? Okay, maybe money. Or a new nail polish. Oooo or earrings! Anyway, I digress. The book is amazing. I’m only on chapter 3, but I have a feeling it’s going to be a game changer for me. The way Priscilla talks feels like she’s speaking right to me. She’s sassy, strong, and determined. She isn’t messing around, and her desire in writing this book is to help others figure out how to find their own “Battle Plan for serious, specific and strategic prayer.” Ya, I’m going to say an emphatic YES to this.

I’m still working on Jennie Allen’s Dream Guide for the year, click here to check it out. Because man I just love it. But every time I sit down to dream and think through the year, I can’t seem to come up with anything. So, I’ll be patient and wait for that. Because right now I’m tempted to just put whatever comes to mind down, just so I can fill out that blank white paper staring back at me. But I will not succumb to my own peer pressure. I am not going to make goals that I’m not convinced are what I need to be doing for the year. So I’ll wait.

In the meantime, I’m starting the prayer closet. I’m pretty sure any time spent alone and undistracted with Jesus won’t be time wasted. Oh! And I also got a treadmill for Christmas. Does it mean I’m getting old, or am just boring, if I am really excited for this? I haven’t found my rhythm in working out yet here in Nicaragua and I have a sneaking feeling it’s messing with my mental well being! I need to get some stress relief in! I need some time to pound the preverbal rubber, and get some endorphins released!

So cheers to starting new things. Here is to creating new disciplines and habits. Here is to saying, um yes, I’d like 2018 to be different. I’d like to be a stronger, wiser, more passionate, kinder, more loving, version of myself. Who is with me?

The Front Seat Husband

I just wrote an article for a lovely online magazine and adorable shop called Charming House Market. Click here to check it out.  I think you will find what they have created to be well, charming, and it’s also a fun place to shop! They have a blog too, and that is where they just published my article! I’m so excited!!!!

 

Since the birth of my firstborn almost five years ago, my husband has slowly moved from the front seat of my mind, my day, and my routine, to barely hanging onto the rear bumper. We said ‘I do’ almost fifteen years ago, and while my love for him has only deepened through the years, it’s recently that I’ve come to see this slip from his rightful place in the lineup. I think it’s because he doesn’t need me to dress him, bathe him, feed him, wipe him, fix his hair, or brush his teeth. And that means his needs come last to the other three in our house who cannot perform any of those tasks on their own.

Sure, everyone says it will change. As my kids get older and they don’t need all those basic needs met by their mama, I’ll have plenty of time and energy to give to my husband. In theory. Because I have a feeling that I’m forming some bad habits. And while it’s 100% true that my kids are young, and at very needy ages, does that mean my husband and I just have to put each other on hold for the next year? Or Two? Because, while I don’t have any children over five yet, I’m pretty sure kids don’t get any less needy, their needs just change over the years.

And that’s okay. I am their mother, and it’s my job to take care of their needs. A job that, most days, is kind of the best job ever. And I am busy filling the storage on my phone with videos of them and creating any sort of art with their handprints and footprints because I am aware that these precious ages where fun is had collecting rocks as we walk around the block, and being completely enthralled with bubbles isn’t going to last very long. But I fear this season has been longer than just a season, and it’s taking a toll on my most favorite person.

But change is possible. And I think this particular change has to start in my heart and mind and move into what I say, think, and do. I have to stop thinking that because my husband doesn’t need me to feed him or dress him that he doesn’t need me. My children, even at young ages, need to see their daddy being loved on, being made a priority, above them. Even if it means they are ignored sometimes. Or told to wait. Or served last at the dinner table, while they squirm and use their utensils to serenade us. And to keep up good habits, like “table time”, a magical time after dinner when we send the kids off to play on their own, for ten whole minutes while we talk about our day.

It’s almost as if the daily grind and routine, as inconsequential as it feels, is exactly where the change needs to occur. Because every parent knows regular date nights are a necessity, but since that usually only occurs once a week if the stars align and budgets allow, I think the greater concept of date night, of putting each other first, of serving one another’s needs regularly, needs to happen on a more micro level.

What have I done, today, to show my children that I love their daddy? How did I, today, demonstrate to my husband that he is special and thought of? How did I speak to him, today, in front of the kids, neighbors, and these four walls? Because those are the moments that make up a lifetime together. The minutes that turn into days, that span months and years, that ultimately decide what kind of marriage we are making. The good news is; tomorrow is a new day, a brand new chance to get my heart right before the Lord and ask the Holy Spirit to fill me afresh so I can, indeed, love and serve my husband in way that I cannot possibly do in my own strength. And I will take it one day at a time until new habits begin to form and the love of my life knows he is loved by me, not because I tell him but because I am now showing him. Every. Single. Day.