Autumn

I did not know when I left my house in Villa Obregon six months ago that I would not be returning. I did not pack up my Christmas ornaments, my journals, my kids’ favorite books. I did not say goodbye to friends. I did not give away extra pots and pans, tupperware, or clothing to my neighbors in need. I stood on the curb and kissed my husband goodbye, telling him we would see each other in a few weeks in Virginia. I took a last glance at the plants on the balcony, leaves lit by the just rising sun, and wondered how many would make it through the sweltering summer and how many I would need to replace upon my arrival home in six months.

Six months have passed and our lives are on a completely new path now. We are staying in Virginia where Ben can work a solid job that will pay our debts. Where we can take the kids to the library and watch them experience snow. Where we can enjoy the crisp fall weather, wear wool socks, grow vegetables and own chickens. It is so much of what we have been dreaming about. We knew that we were coming up on the time to leave Mexico. We knew from the beginning in 2011 that we would not be there forever, that it was a time to enjoy and that one day we would go back to four seasons and chopping firewood and frost on the windowpanes. I have longed for that life.

But I have also loved our life in Mexico. I love the ocean and the beach. I love the people we have served at our cafe and the friends we have made around surf boards and restaurant tables and yoga mats. I love that my kids both learned how to swim and can handle a boogie board in the waves. That they have seen the briny miracles: a whale tail slap the water, dolphins dancing in waves, baby turtles crawling out of their sandy nest, the sun rise and set over the ocean. I feel those miracles make up some of the marrow in my bones and I love that we have shared them. It is hard to walk away from that goodness.

I will be the first to say that our life in Villa Obregon was far from ideal and I am glad that we are moving on. It is not how I wanted the move to happen and there have been tears and sleepless nights as we struggle with making this decision. On hard days we wonder if it is the right decision. I think it is.

These days my little family piles into our minivan and drives to look at potential houses to make a new home in. We go to fall festivals and truck pulls and rodeos. We play on playgrounds and hike around the woods. I am slowly accumulating winter coats, boots, fleece lined jeans. The kids ask once a week if it will snow soon. We say goodbye to Papa in the morning and hug him in the door in the evening light. Ben and I talk about living in America again and how we can stay involved with the poor and the immigrants. The days are cool, we have had plenty of rain and grey skies, and the giant wolf spiders are getting cozy in our closets and boots. We hear the geese honking and watch little yellow leaves fall from the trees. Autumn is coming. There is goodness here.

 

My Prayer Comes Before You

We are getting ready to open the cafe next Monday. Paint, stain, nails and hammers, coffee orders, boxes, clip boards, all move around at a breakneck speed as we try to get organized for another season. Our fifth season. One would think that we would have figured out by now how to start the season without chaos but somehow it just doesn’t happen. However, opening three days a week for the month of October is a pretty soft opening. We are starting to see a few more white faces around here but it is still very quiet. Other than my neighbor who is grinding rust off his metal door for the 10th day in a row…

I am excited about starting the season. Ben and I did a trip to the big city to buy the things that are too expensive or impossible to find in our little town. The first big shopping trip of the season is always a bit stressful because we don’t really have money to buy the things we have to buy but it is also really exciting because it means that soon we will have paying customers in the door. It’s not just us, either. The highway is getting lines newly painted, hotels around town are repainting and repairing, the abarrotes, or local grocery stores, are beginning to stock more exotic things like ginger and lemons. Soon they will have salted butter and blue cheese; be still my heart! I kind of love this time of year. The excitement is building as people anticipate the return of friends and, let’s face it, money. As much as I hate it, it’s much easier to live with it than without it at this point.

So I am excited about gearing up for the season but there is also a part of me that is nervous, shying away from the hustle-bustle. I remember the moment last year when I decided I could stop thinking about the fear that had troubled me and I willingly closed the door on it. I didn’t think about it or sense its presence during the whole season. But as soon as that season was over, fear was back with a vengeance. This season I can feel myself being distracted from the spiritual journey and I want the distraction. I don’t want to sort through the questions I have; I don’t want to feel the burn of muscle straining up switchbacks. And that scares me. I know that I crave more than anything to be in a safe, open space of freedom and joy, but I am afraid of the work that it will take to get there. I am fighting to create a space each day for “the journey.” I try to silence the busy enough to allow breathing space and, more importantly, listening space. Although my first instinct is to say there is not enough time to stop, I know there is and I must learn to protect that time now because it will only get harder.

I have been enjoying a couple different musicians and this poem during the last couple weeks so I’ll share them with you. Maybe you will be encouraged in whatever place and season you find yourself in.

Audry Assad and United Pursuit – don’t just listen to one song, many of them are really encouraging.

Also, I would just like to take this moment to remind anyone who has forgotten that I have an amazing husband. He is so encouraging and he listens to me and stills me when I need it. I love you, babe.

winding down

Yes, life is slowing down for us a bit. I am ready for the change of pace! It has been a fun and hectic season at the cafe and I can look back on it with a smile. We only have a few more weeks to go and then we’ll be closing up the doors and I’m sure we won’t know what to do with all the time!

Even last week Ben and I were looking at each other, unsure of what to do with our evenings. We went out a few times to the beach for the sunset, to a corner cafe, to a new restaurant for a shared bottle of sangria. Lovely. Ayden and Willow are having more books read to them, more block castles built and knocked down and rebuilt, more cuddles. I am letting Ayden make more messes. He enjoys the grater and he will grate anything and everything he can think of. Which has resulted in some pretty scuffed up toys.

march 044 march 055 march 058 march 060 march 063 march 082 march 087

But now we are sick again. Yes, one of our employees received the flu shot, got sick, came to work, and infected us all! Thankfully a friend had just brought us a couple of his chickens so there has been soup simmering on the stove for days now. Our counter has been littered with all the paraphernalia that goes along with colds and flus: the garlic press full of garlic, the fresh ginger with the grater nearby, homeopathic tablets, GSE, fruits high in vitamin C, sippy cups and bottles of echinacea tea. We’ll beat this thing yet!

march 074 march 077

Willow has a new tooth, the first one! She is also standing really well and will even balance for a second or two on her own as long as she is holding something in both hands. She has learned that she can close the door by crawling after it and leaning on it with one hand. When she gets angry she can throw one of the best fits I’ve seen. It is so pitiful but sometimes so funny. Willow loves watermelon.

march 079

Ayden just keeps us laughing or crying. He loves to sing and he puts his whole person into his songs. Today he scribbled on a piece of paper while sitting with Ben who was writing out a to-do list and later, when Ben was getting ready to go out to run errands, Ayden made Ben stop and find the piece of paper he had scribbled on. Once it was found, Ayden unwrinkled it and showed it to Ben while directing with both hands the way he needed to drive in order to get to a certain place. He had drawn Ben a map. We are constantly surprised by this little guy. Ayden’s favorite fruit is blueberries.

The cafe is slowing down, we are letting go and relaxing, the weather has been remarkably cool, and the ocean… she is starting to show her untamed nature, throwing wild waves up on the shore. We are moving into a new season.

march 065