HAPPY NEW YEAR!
I just opened my computer (for WORK!) for the first time in about 5 days. That feels amazing! I’ve had a great quiet week spent mostly at home with Magdalena. Today marks one year that I have been back in the DR since my sabbatical/maternity break and it feels like it’s flown by. I can’t believe we’ve been in our home since last January. When we first moved in I was very excited at the “abandoned” lot next to the house which came with the house and which the landlord assured us we could use however we would like. I had grand plans to plant a billion things and have a veritable farmers market made of our very own homegrown food. Those who know me well understand that green things and growing things bring me great peace and satisfaction. I used to love the fresh cut flowers from my yard all throughout my house in the US.
As far as my big “farming” plans…well.. yeah right. A baby and a job and ministry and a husband all reminded me that I can barely keep our dishes washed every few days.
However- I have puttered several times in the “finca” (field) and have had some help from fabulous Guesthouse Gardiner extraordinaire Carlos as well as Monchy’s Uncle Juan. And this week I am happy to report that although we don’t have a farmer’s market, I can walk/stumble over the rocks in our finca and enjoy banana trees, okra plants, pumpkins, corn, some sort of string beans, sugar cane, yucca, guandules, guayabas (guavas), basil, mint, rosemary, aloe and several palm trees. We harvested bananas, several pumpkins, a few cups of guandules, many many guayabas, 5 ears of corn, the herbs, and are waiting on the rest. I also hang my laundry to dry in our finca amidst our budding crops and enjoy wandering around checking out the progress (or lack thereof!) made.
The past week Magdalena and I spent several days in the finca or in the front patio cleaning, raking, shoveling and planting again. We got dirty and hot and then ate chocolate popsicles bought from the ice cream man while lying in the green grass. It was Magdalena’s first popsicle experience and honestly some of the most wonderful days that I can remember. Just me and my girl puttering around. It was a great break from work and ministry and everything else. And I can already see a few green sprouts popping out of the earth from where we planted. There is such joy in seeing growth. And my heart wanted to burst watching my beautiful girl sit on my lap in the grass with her hand on my arm, dripping chocolate and sand and dirt all over with the biggest grin on her face. She’s grown. And so have I.
Christmas and the holidays tend to be SO hard for me here. I miss all of MY traditions, my history, my people, my culture..and tend to resent everything else. And yeah, there were some hard days and nights. But there was also Magdalena with her eyes sparkling in front of the Christmas tree and reading the Christmas story to her and hearing Monch read it in Spanish. And honestly, maybe for us Christmas just means being together, digging up some weeds and putting NEW LIFE into the ground. Maybe I’ve needed to pull those old bitter weeds out of my heart and put some NEW LIFE into my faith. I’ve needed to pull out some work weeds and enjoy NEW LIFE in the Child Nutrition Program and driving the lovely mountain roads in El Cercado. I’ve needed to plant some seeds watching others do stuff that I used to enjoy and take pride in doing. God is FARMING me, you guys. He’s pruning me and planting me and watering me and cutting me down sometimes. And it’s GOOD.
I’ve needed this week. To celebrate a baby in the manger- YES. To look forward to 2018- YES. To put the computer away and play with my Madi- YES. To watch God at work in my heart and marriage and home- YES.
Here comes 2018. I’m going to struggle with boundaries and balance and work and home life and everything that comes with living between two worlds. This is LIFE and I am who I am. But I will also try to wander through the finca letting my hands touch the little yellow flowers on the guandules, smelling the rosemary while I’m watering, waiting and hoping that the hummingbirds will come to my feeder and red climber flowers, laughing at my husband as he plays with our girl, enjoying the quiet prayer time that I get to have with Magdalena while I’m nursing her before she goes to bed, tearing through the books that I still love to read, cheering on the sports teams with Monch, all the good stuff that comes with on my wild spectacular ride.
I love that I get to be here. I love this ministry. But man, I love this LIFE. Thank you Jesus for all of it. May 2018 be a year of GROWTH for you!