Here's my 7 Quick Takes for this Friday, February 25th. I'll share more pics of the last 9 months, while I'm at it...
- HOMEWARD BOUND. It's interesting to be heading back to Texas. There is a bittersweetness about leaving here several months earlier than we'd planned. I'd hoped to get a little more language under my belt before returning home for a visit. I only recently stopped having "I-hate-it-here-we-should-move-back-to-Texas" moments every 6-months or so... in fact, I have even grown to enjoy living here over the last 12-18 months. So there's a weird sense of it being both wonderful and a (teeny) bit sad. Of course, we're VERY excited to see family, so that will be awesome.
- Plans for our time in the US- As I think of what we'll do with our 9 months in the US, we have all kinds of do-able and potentially wild ideas. I'm thinking of getting an Entertainment book. We're also looking forward to getting great homegrown meats, cheeses and other treats to enjoy during our time there. We're considering Six Flags season passes for us & the boys. There's talk of a round-the-country Amtrak trip. On that one, I can't decide if it'll be awesome, or if we're nuts. And I'm not far from joking when I say that within the first 36-hours or so, I plan to buy a 2-pound block of cheddar cheese, and that our family could consume the whole thing in about 3-minutes flat. Our oldest son said the other day, "let's make a deal that we have to eat bacon in some form every single day while we're there." :) Maybe not every day, LOL! ... but often. There are some treats that leave me just about salivating... this is what 4-years of deprivation does to a person, LOL.
- Friendships overseas are different (even if it's with other Americans!). Tomorrow, we'll reconnect with a family we were very close to (and churched with) for more than a year here. They're passing through, and it will be special to see them. One thing I've noticed with friendships overseas is that it seems like they are in a constant state of flux. It seems like just about the time we get close to someone, they (or we) have to move. And then, because we live in somewhat of a transit/intermediate city, there are people who pass through that we see very irregularly, but get to host in our home for whatever time they get to stay.
- Moses is eating more, and doing more, than I remember any of our other children doing at this age. Walking around furniture, waving bye-bye, doing sign-language for all done, eating 2 bananas (or 7 food cubes!) at a sitting... he's a little miracle! I love him so much...
- I said this to a friend the other day, and she laughed at me, but it's really true: from our vantage, it doesn't seem like we have a crazy amount of children. It doesn't feel anything other than normal. Granted, our normal is different from other people's normal, but really... it doesn't feel excessive. In fact, we rather like it. I love that our kids have playmates at the ready. I love that when I pull out a book, or am teaching a concept to a younger child, the older children who have already done that thing or read that book, get all happy about it and encourage their younger sibling. I love that we have a family culture... ours includes tickling (requested by the kids!), Cosbys, memorizing scripture passages together, goofiness, cooking together, family-hide-and-go-seek, and more... but it's fun to have things like this to share with so many people. Yes, I know that these 4 boys will probably eat us out of house and home come 10 years from now, and yes, I know that we'll have to be more creative about how to get these kids to college, but I love our family.
- Do you know about Sir Ken Robinson? This talk by him, called "The Element", gave Doug & I a lot of food for thought... both for *us* and for how to guide our children as they move towards adulthood. I particularly loved the video (included in his talk) by Blue Man Group. The talk is about a variety of things, including educational systems, the joy of being "in your element", and how we learn. I've been thinking lately about the differences in culture and lives that caused the pioneer era to produce a rash of inventors and creative thinkers, vs. how kids are currently being educated (like the Blue Man Group guy says, like a train of empty cars that we just "fill up" and then move down the track). Anyway, lots of interesting thoughts were flying after listening to that lecture.
- A few interesting links/posts on various topics:
There are more ebbs and flows to relationships overseas, and it has taken some getting used to on my part. I really miss the long-standing, steady, dependable nature of relationships that I had in Texas, but there are moments of depth and really spending time together here (for example, hosting people, even entire families, in our home for several days or longer) that we never had in the US. And it teaches you to go deep, quickly, if you really want to know someone, and to make good use of your time together.
I guess I'm just sharing this for some random woman out there, who has some "different" or unique desires for your family... maybe it includes more kids than normal, or homeschooling, or foster-parenting, or something else that seems unusual from the outside... I just want to encourage you that different can be really good. Really great, actually.
- Embracing motherhood.
- Here's a GREAT post by Catherine that sums up a lot about how our culture views family.
- Another post about day care, since my mention of it a few weeks ago caused such a stir.
- Have you been reading this love story? While it's very long, their story shows God's sovereign hand, and I think it also highlights many of my concerns with overbearing, controlling parents.
- What makes a house a HOME?
- Write an anti-Psalm. What an interesting way to really see the meaning of a psalm.
ENJOY! Have a great weekend!