A nest of crap.

A foul smell has been waffing through our house. Not all the time, only when the breeze comes in from a certain direction. I cannot figure out where it is coming from. It’s been going on for about a week now. At first I was pretty sure it was rotten eggs. Since we don’t have a table and chairs yet, we just eat outside and when we make a mess it’s easy to clean up. That works fine and dandy until you sweep up scrambled egg bits into the grass. Oops. But Dora, or as I like to call her my -saving-grace-how-on-earth-did-I do-life-and-three-kids-without-you, is pretty sure it’s a rotting animal on the other side of our wall. (more about Dora and her amazingness to come)


Until today.


We have three little baby birds living on a column right outside our back patio. They are kind of the cutest things ever. Sitting in that nest all day, just poking their heads out with their teeny tiny mouths open waiting for mama to bring them worms. Mama. Oh how I’ve never thought much about that mama bird. From the moment the sun comes up, mama bird is flying back and forth from that nest. All.day.long. I would know, since I am home, inside, playing with my kids on that back patio. All.day.long. Just when I think I’m busy, catering to the demands of three little kids, I sigh to myself when I watch this mama bird. She flies into this gorgeous pink tree right about 8 feet away and sits there. She makes sure all is clear and then she brings her loot to her babies. They chirp chirp chirp and gobble gobble gobble up whatever she has brought them. Then, she’s off again. Back and forth all day.
But I digress. The point is, I’ve figure out where the smell is coming from. Have you ever wondered when baby birds live in a nest, where does their poo and pee go? Me neither. Until now. They poo and pee inside the nest, and that is why there is a rancid smell that makes its way into our house when the breeze comes from a certain direction.


And then it occurred to me. Is that not just like life? I sort of feel like it’s a metaphor for how I’m living right now. No, I’m not literally living in my own nest of crap. But rather, spiritually speaking, I have crap I’m not taking care of. I’m just wallowing in it. I have unrepentant sin, and heart issues that I’m not dealing with. And it’s starting to smell. Ever since we’ve arrived here I’ve been smacked in the face with some issues and I think I’m just trying to ignore them. I’ve tried coming before the Lord, several times, and well, I hate to even admit it, but it’s like my heart isn’t in it. I’m sort of acting like a child. Maybe even a like a little four year old I know. Like when said four year old is unkind to her brother and I ask her to apologize and she mumbles, ‘sorry’ as she keeps playing. It’s a little different when she stops playing, and looks her brother in the eye, and asks, ‘will you forgive me?’ And then gives him a hug after. I think God is trying to show me, every so gently, that I am just mumbling ‘sorry’.


So I find myself on my knees before my Creator. And the calm and healing that comes from that repentance and subsequent restoration is pretty amazing.


Just wanted to share in case you needed to know you’re not the only one sitting in your own nest of crap. I think a lot of us are. Some of us are so used to our nasty smell, that we hardly smell it ourselves anymore, even though others around us might be gagging when the breeze hits us just right.  (sort of like people who don’t wear deodorant… ?!) So, I’m glad I fixed the problem. Both the actual bird problem (two flew away and the third baby bird just need a little, um, encouragement) and my own issues too. Even though I am still my sinful self, I am washed clean once again and I am so thankful I serve a God who forgives me again and again.



I am home.

We are no longer homeless. Or wondering nomads. Or a family in transition. Or whatever you want to call it. May 1st we packed up our house and had it shipped to Nicaragua. Then we packed 8 bags full of things we thought we couldn’t live without for 3 months, and drove from Texas to New Mexico, then on to California. It was a delightful but whirlwind visit, the benefits of seeing loved ones thankfully outweighing the cost. And I’m not just talking the financial cost. I am specifically referring to the pleasant way children act when they are A. out of their routines, B. hyped up on sugar and extra attention and C. staying up way past their bedtimes and skipping naps too often! Six week of that and we flew to Nicaragua and we stayed at a furnished place on the beach to bide our time until our stuff arrived via container.

Not a bad idea in theory. Who wouldn’t’ love to kill some time at the beach while waiting for their household to arrive? 100 bites on the five of us combined, living in dense humidity and heat and this mama had to raise the white flag. Up it went, and off we went.

So we moved into the house we are renting. Why risk trying to make another place work?  Yes, we shocked our land lady when we called to tell her we’d be moving in without our stuff (she was like, ummmmm, what are you going to be sleeping on dear?) And we explained that a tile floor sounded better than where we were. I’m only kidding-mostly. A friend dropped off twin blow up mattresses and the two younger kids are each in pack n plays and Eliana has a sleeping bag.  We moved in last week, and the day we arrived our landlady came to greet us. She lives right next door to us, so she popped in to welcome us. Then she came back with a real mattress. Yes, she is just that nice. Then later that afternoon she came back with plates, silverware and banana bread. As she scanned my kitchen she was like, ‘do you have anything to eat?’ and I said yes. (peanut butter and jelly, what else do we need?) Then she offered the kids the banana bread and they ate it like they hadn’t eaten in a week. I sheepishly smiled. Then it was time for Audra to eat, and since we didn’t have a chair to sit on I just stood there and fed her. She smiled at me, and once again left our house and returned with two chairs. I just laughed. Partially out of the absurdity of it, partially because she was so sweet and if I didn’t laugh I’d pry cry.

Sigh. My heart is thankful. We still might be living in suitcases, but I am home. I might be flipping eggs with a wooden spoon and knife cause I don’t have a proper spatula, but I am home. I may have just severely overpaid for laundry because I can’t seem to find a laundry matt and can’t hand wash our clothes anymore because it’s been raining all week and things aren’t drying out and are starting to smell, but I am home. I did buy a wok from Costco and made a mean stir fry tonight, cause I am home. I have fans and the weather is amazing, and I am home. We have an avocado tree dropping like 5 a day, and I am home. I did go for a walk with the kids a few days ago and met one of our neighbors and it was so nice to say yes I live here and it’s nice to meet you, because I am home.


Thankfully we had that blow up mattress! Because Eliana, who rarely wets the bed, did two nights in a row. So that meant I tried to wash her sleeping bag by hand and it didn’t dry cause it was raining the next day. So I put a few sheets down as a bed, which she pee’d through the next night. Crap. Then I remembered we had that blow up and when Brandon finished blowing it up for her she sat on it and looked me right in the eyes and said, straight faced, “mama. This bed is so nice. It’s not like the ground, the ground is really hard” (Oh sweet thing!!)IMG_3019IMG_3016




Last Tuesday was pretty rough. So much so I couldn’t really bring myself to write about it. I’m not sure why exactly. I think part of me wants to think I’m tough. Part of me wants believe I can do anything. Part of me doesn’t like to admit when something has kicked me in the shins and I just wanna scream out obscenities.


Let me just paint you a picture. Come. Journey back with me. It started like every day has since we’re arrived. All 3 kids up at 5:15am. (Need I even say more?) By about 8am I was dripping sweat. I kissed Brandon goodbye while trying to not curse his lucky fortune of getting to drive an hour in air conditioning to the capital. Mid-morning rolls around and we’ve got to get out of our 20×20. I buy spray us all up, and off we go. Nothing more delicious than when you’re already dripping with sweat and bug spray, and then you strap a baby to you. We lasted about 20 minutes before we were overcome by mosquitoes. So back to the house we all ran. I am trying to remove one soaking wet baby from me when I hear another scream out. Like a I’m really hurt this is terrifying scream. I look up to see the thick and heavy tree stump that makes for a wobley coffee table has fallen on Eliana’s achilles. I too let out some sort of gasp and run over to her. I manage to lift the dang monstrosity off of her, and she is now hyperventilating.  I see blood, and naturally my mind goes to worst place. I panic. I cannot call Brandon because today his big to-do in Managua is getting us phone numbers. Thankfully I do have internet, so while holding pressure on her leg with ice while she continues to cry I send an email that reads something like “Eliana. huge gash on leg. Call me ASAP”. ( I probably should have been a bit more accurate on my medical assessment… Because, in fact, it was a large scrape & bruise not a gash, of which apparently there is a big distinction. So when Brandon got my message and called me one hour later, he was ready to take us to a hospital.) Oops. I’m telling you, I don’t do great in medical emergencies.

Thankfully, she was fine. It could have been so so much worse. We then ate lunch, played, and attempted to take naps but no body could sleep because it was 100 degrees with 100%humidity, and zero breeze. So after an hour of trying to keep everyone in their beds and give myself a moment to sit, I just gave up. Now I had 3 cranky kids who, bless their hearts, just wanted to sit in my lap. All at the same time. So there we sat, 4 tired and hot bodies, just staring at each other.

Later that afternoon, Brandon arrived, and we went down to the beach. The place that is just a one minute walk but feels like a different world. It’s a place where there is a breeze, and also therefore, minimal bugs because of that blessed breeze. We ordered two beers, and put Audra in the hammock, and watched the kids play. Sigh…

Until, that same scream. This time it was from Hudson, my non dramatic child, and my heart froze. I jumped up to see that he had fallen from where we were all sitting (a little deck above the sand) about 3 feet up, into cactus. Yes, 3 sides have sand but he fell into the side with the cactus. Poor baby. And oh my goodness, it could have been so much worse. He got it all in his hands, and wrists, and was bleeding.

We walked home, and wearily showered everyone and put them to bed. Shortly thereafter I too went to bed.

I see now that it was just an extra-ordinarily rough day. It doesn’t mean we don’t love the beach, the woods, the bugs, the log tables. It just means that on this journey of moving back to Nicaragua we are going to have good days and bad days. It’s not any different for every single person living on this earth.  But this rough day,I think somehow, in my heart, felt different. These tough days feel more like a defeat. It feels deeper, like I’m questioning my sanity. And I thought I was tough, but perhaps I’m less tough than I think. I feel pretty soft these days, and I’m not just talking about my post baby squishy spots.  It’s been over 3 years since I’ve lived here and I think I’ve forgotten what a struggle just existing here can be.

But for real, if there is any part of you feeling an inkling of pity for me, don’t. The next day the property manager came to check on me and after hearing the dramatic re-telling of that table squishy, cactus eating day, she hugged me while I cried. Then the next day she had a lady come and clean our little rental and the last hour she was here she watched all three kids and I went and got a massage. On the ocean. Listening to the waves.

I guess life isn’t that hard after all.