I snapped this picture after the first frost. I was amazed that something so damaging could be so beautiful. Then I got to thinking...frost is a natural occurrence. I think that my life should be "frostless." But difficult times are just part of life. Some people seem to be able to live a pretty sheltered, uneventful life. But, is that life?
The inner city definitely is NOT my comfort zone. I struggle at times here--sometimes I want to leave, BUT I am growing and learning and being challenged. That's life. I think I'll stick around and see what else God has to show me.
Ana tried on my wedding dress the other day. (My mother in law kept it for me all the years we were overseas!) She declared that she loves it and will wear it at her wedding. I hope she remembers this when she gets a little older!! At least I have this picture for the slide show :)
So I finally downloaded some photos off my phone... I'm so far behind it will be impossible to catch up! But, I will share the highlights. Ana was asked to me the flower girl in our pastor's daughter's wedding. She had lots of fun getting dressed up and walking down the isle!
The ring bearer was also from our church. They had a lot of fun together while they were waiting!
We tried a fancy hair do. Her hair was so long, it didn't stay in that well. Oh well!
The academy at Shepherd is at least 85% Hispanic. Because of this there is a real need for ELL instruction (English Language Learner). My time overseas and my returning Spanish should aid me. I'm enrolled at WGU (Western Governor's University) in the ELL endorsement program. I'm really excited about the way the program works. You pay by six month terms. If you are motivated and accomplish a lot in the six months, you are not charged any more tuition. There are no cohorts and group projects. Wish me luck! Hopefully within a year, I will have finished!
It's hard to believe that we've been back in the States for two full years. I've learned a couple of things...
-Your biggest fears are meant to be conquered. One of my biggest fears was driving--I hadn't driven in twelve years and living in a big city means big roads :) After Matt's stroke I was forced to drive everywhere showing me that my fear was no big deal! I'm now a pro. at zipping around the interstates.
-Bloom where you are planted! God has something for you to do wherever you are. Although this is not the place I would have picked, I can honestly say I am content here! God has used me in some interesting and challenging ways. There has been a lot of growth here.
-Let God break your heart for where you are. Every place has needs-some of them extreme. Be of use.
-Learn. I'm taking every opportunity to work on my Spanish. I joined the worship team--it's been a stretching experience. Sometimes I play piano and sing harmony in Spanish. Talk about brain overload! Sometimes the Spanish pastor asks me to play a song I don't know, but God helps me along. I'm excited to be adding an endorsement to my teaching license so that I can help our students struggling with English.
-My kids are kids from hard places. It's challenging to look at life through their eyes and try to understand why they feel the way they do. It's hard to be kind when they aren't--but I am the adult! It's extremely difficult to attempt to love when you continously face rejection. There are days when I've told God, "I want out!" God doesn't call us to easy tasks. You learn from pain and tears. I'm just praying that I stay teachable and humble.
-Inner city life- Yes! There is a lot more crime, but there is so much need here. I love my community. We all look out for one another. My neighbor comes over and borrows eggs and milk. We sit out on our front porches and watch our kids play. There is a diversity here that encourages my soul.
-Old houses- They are a lot of work, BUT I take intense enjoyment out of saying, "I restored/refinished/painted that! (I hope to post some pictures soon.) Matt has been doing an amazing job refinishing the many old solid wood doors in our house.
To sum it up...life hasn't been easy, but God has faithfully seen us through some extremely tough situations. We pray that as we seek HIS will He will see fit to prosper our family in the years to come!