Wonder

It’s been a rough couple weeks for us. We have been busy, distracted, challenged, and stressed. I have not been sleeping well for that last few days. It’s been good but rough around the edges. There are many reasons for this that I won’t go into now but I need to tell you that so you can picture today’s beautiful moment. I am sitting on the porch in the shade with a naked Liam nearby, the kids have climbed up a tree and are playing a game involving Star Wars characters. I am reading an article in the New Yorker and Liam is playing with beer bottle caps (Under my supervision, of course. It’s dangerous to leave a one year old alone with beer bottle caps: perfect choking hazard. That’s when Liam is most content though, with a choking hazard. So…).

Liam suddenly looks at me and makes one of his cute, one year old noises. I put down my magazine and look at him as he smiles then throws his head back and lifts his arms, making that adorable “look” noise again. I realize he is recognizing the wind that has just picked up and is blowing the trees all around us. I smile and laugh with him, throw my arms up and say “WIND”! He smiles, arms still overhead, and starts to clap. He is experiencing the sensation of the wind on his skin, in the trees blowing above him. Nothing else. Just experiencing wind. I tried to keep him in the moment as long as I could. It was like freedom for me, that one moment of sheer joy in a natural, everyday occurrence. Why do we cease to enjoy these simple pleasures?

I was reminded of an evening in Melaque when I was sitting down by the ocean watching the sunset. Little Ayden was sitting beside me playing in the sand. He was building something with sticks and bits of shell and plastic bottle caps he had found on the beach. It was summer when the waves are big and boisterous, the only sign of some disturbance out on the open ocean. Suddenly a huge wave crashed, sending spray up onto the beach where we were sitting. Ayden stopped what he was doing and looked up, squinting at the mist hitting his face. He looked at me with the same joy and recognition: that briny ocean water was hitting his face and he knew what was happening. It was no longer just a sensation he couldn’t explain, he was connecting the ocean wave’s spray with the sensation he was feeling on his skin. I had the same response I did today with Liam. The world seemed to pause as I recognized a sensation, the little miracle, that was taking place for my child.

There are no pictures only memories to hold onto and hope they last. But these little moments remind me… There are miracles all around. Just stop. Recognize the small wonders.

 

What to do when you can’t take one more step forward. . .

you take one more step anyway. That has been the last few days for me. Most of you know the story, but as I look back through my posts I realize that I never did get the story written and published here. At the time there was too much uncertainty to be able to spend the time in the details. There was only this. So for those of you who need a refresher…

In October of last year while I was traveling around the U.S. with the kids and Liliana, slowly making our way to Mexico, Ben and his father crossed the border into Mexico with a new coffee roaster and other equipment. They didn’t declare the equipment and were soon caught by a customs agent who promptly confiscated everything. They took the truck, the trailer, and everything inside. After a few painful and confusing days it became clear to us that we had made a huge mistake and there would be no simple solution to the situation. Now, almost a year later, we are still in a lawsuit with the Mexican federal government for the items that were confiscated, the truck and trailer which remain at the border as surety, and to battle the fines which amount to way more than we are able to pay.

I do not want to go into all the emotions and thoughts that have followed in the wake of this event. The embarrassment, bordering on humiliation, of telling our friends and family, our investors, that we had been cocky and cavalier, foolish. The uncertainty about even filing a lawsuit; after all it was our fault. The fear and anxiety about our future and the debts we have accrued. The months of depression and short fuses, unkind and explosive words. We don’t have to go over all that. Ben and I do that enough. Late at night when the kids are asleep and we’re having a glass of wine, relaxing in the relative cool of a tropical summer, we circle back to it again and again. Even last Wednesday night we went over the details, picking away at it like a scab on a wound that refuses to heal.

And after a sleepless night with little ones fighting coughs and sore throats, it was thrown back in our faces on Thursday morning. It is surreal to realize that life as I know it could be changed in an instant. I am ashamed to say that it took me a full 4 days to pull myself together, to stiffen up my upper lip, to put on the brave face and get back to business. Why is it so hard to throw myself on the mercy of Christ? Why can I not slip into the safe arms of a God who has promised victory through trials? I want to be there. I know there is rest there and fresh beginnings.

It’s not like I haven’t seen the faithfulness over and over again. All of the difficulties surrounding this situation have been surpassed by the incredible grace and mercy of Jesus. All the tough days have been balanced by incredible, fun days. The ugliness of the emotions and fears eclipsed by the radiance of the beauty that is this gift of life.

Reality is one thing and another depending on where you are looking, on what eyes you are using. This song was sent to us as an encouraging freedom-melody today. This was our afternoon of 3 bouncing, sometimes crying, promise.

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This was our dinner out. See that ocean; I live there. That stud of a hubby sitting next to me – 8 years and still growing strong!

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Reality is sometimes a great, big pachanga and sometimes it’s one foot in front of the other. And often it’s a bit of both.