Feb 26, 2017

Man holes without covers

We didn't even see it coming though we were accustomed to swerving to avoid them. In the case of months of prolonged rain, an unexpected placement on a side street and high grass growing in the gravel along the street, this one was completely obscured from view. The danger hiding beneath met the right front tire of our van with a jolting thud, violently jossling the contents of its interior with the force of a shark bite. A man hole without a cover, it wasn't what we expected.

Often times man holes lose their covers here.  Every other day there is a new gaping hole  right where your car needs to drive. I don't know why, but they just seem to disappear frequently. There were manholes everywhere on the streets of Puerto Plata, the city on the north coast of the D.R. where we lived for 2.5 years.

To further complicate matters, driving in the D.R. is as if the game frogger and police academy had a baby. Trying to cross the road + trying to decide what is a danger and what is not =
stopping suddenly for the 3 year old crossing traffic with a bag of eggs, but speeding up for the BIG MAC truck that appeared out of nowhere while creating a lane to let it narrowly pass as you count the driver's nose hairs because the encounter was that close.  

If you are driving between the lane lines, your tires pass right over the covered man holes. (The concept of staying between the lines is rather fluid here.  Drivers pass on all sides, even in the lane of oncoming traffic, turn without blinkers, stop suddenly without notice, park in the middle of a lane, swerve repeatedly, drive at night without lights, and will turn two lanes into 5 often, etc.) Did I mention FROGGER?  Things are always popping out from an unknow location - especially MOTOS! Motos are a major form of transportation here, and moto drivers tend to have an invincible mentality, turning out into traffic without even looking, darting across multiple lanes of traffic, weaving in and out of stopped cars, etc.

In our case on that day on a random small side street of Puerto Plata, what popped out nearly pulled us under. It wasn't because we didn't know the danger or were wreckless, we simply did NOT know it was there. It was hidden, out of sight. One minute we were driving along and the next we were scratching our heads because we were in a hole.  Can you relate?

#suckerpunch

Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we can not avoid man holes without covers, unexpected life moments that knock the wind right out of our chest. Those "what just happened?" moments where disappointment, dispair and hopelessness concoct a plan to blot out joy.

But God.

He sees us. He loves us. He is neither dismayed, startled, nor in a quandry about what to do next. His hands are not tied by our wheel that is stuck 3 feet deep nor our empty pocketbook that mocks us in the face of needed repairs. No, God is not discouraged. He is not fretful. He tells us in advance that nothing, NOT ANYTHING, can separate us from Him.  He sees the #suckerpunch and says:

Come to me.

I am near.

I will cover you.

You are mine.

Yes, "man holes without covers" can cause quite a jolt, and without Him I would never want to be in one. But with Him, I know that I'm NOT stuck.


Just an example of a man hole with out a cover on a wide side street. The man hole we drove into was on a gravely side road where high grass was all around it. On this road, it is easy to avoid these because the road is wide, not full of traffic, and the hole is clearly visible (well, during the day!) 






Dec 5, 2016

Rats, ticks & other fun stuff

If you've been following along, you already know about  ALL THE RAIN and the flooding in the D.R. While we have had a little bit of sun here and there in the last week, EVERYTHING remains saturated. We've already talked about the mold. Mold is old news. (Not really, but a girl can dream!)

Like a dog on the street, the water has no where to go. And with that comes some *extra special features* of living on an island. Besides the the mold, there are *other* things that are thriving, multiplying and seeking higher ground with the *added bonus* of major breeding grounds for mosquitoes (NO!!!!!!!) And may I just add, unlike the Texas Gulf Coast where I grew up, where the mosquiteos are all plump and swarmy like, the mosquitoes here are dainty and few, but very, very viscious because they cause things like tropical diseases (read "and other fun stuff!" here): dengue fever, chikengunya, zika.  Who knows what new funny named mosquito causing problem will pop up next.

I don't want to alarm you - as if the mold post wasn't enough already, but if you are reading this you are still hanging in there with us: thank you! So our *newest special features* include thousands of ticks of all varieties climbing on our walls. We can't spray our yard because it is too wet. We've treated our pets but they are still covered, etc. The walls look like they are moving because, well, they are! Ticks are climbing towards the sky like our walls are an escalator to heaven. When I walk around the porch, I leave a bloody trail because I've popped ticks like I'm walking on bubble wrap. True. Story.

And then there are the SUPER rats . . . . that seem to have found a comfy and dry home under my kitchen cabinets. GROSS - on SO. Many. Levels. I am deeming them SUPER because they seem to be resilient to poison - what? I'm about to unload every peppermint essential oil vile I have onto cotton balls to see if what they say is true . . . that rats are offended by the strong smell of peppermint! Peppermint essential oil has saved me from critters on other occassions - so I am hopeful.

I am not sharing any of this with you as a complaint as I am truly grateful to be where we are and sharing the grace and love of Jesus with others. We live a life of daily adventure in the D.R. and I like it that way. Every one of you out there has *special features* and *other fun stuff* that you are dealing with too. It is my hope and prayer that whatever you are dealing with in your life - that you will struggle well. The struggle is real, but how well we wrestle through it is up to us, and often times the wrestling means surrendering it, laying it down at the foot of the cross. The Lord dispenses fresh mercy with the dawning of each new day so we are equipped to not just manage, but thrive . . . kind of like those SUPER RATS. Ha.

Dec 4, 2016

Gracious Tempest: When a song reaches in and massages your heart

I love it when a song touches your heart in a way that you feel like it was meant for you in that moment . . . when words are bent so beautifully and poignantly that they reach in and massage your heart. I ran across this song the other day and it TOTALLY BLESSED ME, especially in a season of literal flooding and complete saturation! Yep, still raining in the D.R., though we've had at least a little bit of sunshine peak through, but I digress. This song took me right back to the place where I want to be: spiritually submerged in the grace of my loving Father!  Have you heard this song?


"Gracious Tempest"
by Hillsong Young and Free


Your love towers over me
Gracious tempest in the sea
Surround me like a storm

Let your tide of mercy rain
Let it flood my heart again
Surround me like an ocean

Your love is crashing over me
It's surging like a raging sea
Immerse me in the wonder of Your love

A downpour of unending grace
Consuming all my reckless ways,
My sins submerged
Your love has saved my soul
Your love is like a storm

Your love is crashing over me
It's surging like a raging sea
Immerse me in the wonder of Your love

A downpour of unending grace
Consuming all my reckless ways,
My sins submerged
Your love has saved my soul
Your love is like a storm
Your love is like a storm
Your love is like a storm
Your love is like a storm




Do you have a song like this that is speaking to your heart these days?