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?



Dec 1, 2016

A moldy situation

When you don't blink twice about baking the ants in your cake mix and then serving said cake to your friends,

When things like, "Oh look, a _________ (rat, tarantula, mouse, etc. - pick one or insert your own normally horrifying creature)," roll off your tongue just as normally as "Today is Tuesday,"

When you put your mostly wet clothes away with 95% humidity in the air and it doesn't bother you (because if it did you would have unraveled a long time ago!),

When your clothes, purses, shoes, ceilings, walls, furniture are covered in (*gasp*) mold and you know that there is no use in bothering with containment,

When you've suspended reality of your former-pre-cross-cultural life and traded it in for an alternate, current, very different reality, you know you are living the dream of missions.  Being a missionary can be a very moldy situation. Bare with me.

Mold is bad, right? (And we aren't talking about cheeses here!) Yes, but in a wet, tropical climate it is a reality that we contend with on a daily basis. We stare mold in the face and say, "Oh look, mold is growing on my shoes," while wiping it off and then putting the shoes on and walking forth in the name of Jesus to do His work.  It's not that we don't recognize that mold is bad, unhealthy and nasty. It's just that we have to learn to not let it keep us from thriving.

It's a moldy situation in the sense that it is necessary to come to grips with living with, struggling through, thriving amidst something what was (or currently is if you are reading this from North America) a negative buzz word and minimizing it down to an everyday reality that is normal, and then figuring out how to move beyond it.  Not everything can or should be minimized or made normal, but some things have to be.  Otherwise, we would all be rendered useless.

 I'll admit that I want a FIX when there is, say, a plague of tarantulas surrounding and invading my house/life, but that isn't always possible, likely, doable. And, sometimes the Lord is calling me to lean on Him to thrive amidst it all and not just survive, fetal positioned up in the corner. I am fairly certain that the lack of ability to "fix" things is sometimes a God send, pushing us deeper into relationship, reliance and trust in Him.

In an instant world where there is almost always "a guy for that," (that's the expression we use here when we need to find a way around a problem for which there is not an obvious direct route), especially in North America where there is access to a fix for almost every problem, we've grown accustomed to making our own way. We are mostly self-sufficient, self-reliant problem solvers - until we can't be (insert minion emoji banging head against wall here.)

There are some problems that can't be eliminated (apart from God), that don't have a "fix bugs now" button, that are way bigger than us, that are constant battles (i.e. mold), that require God to handle. Sometimes, we have to look mold in the face and admit, "I can't do anything about you, stinking mold. You are here and so am I. Lord help me!" and then move forward with the grace of God to the best of our abilities. God can handle any moldy situation in life, and He can equip us to deal with it, move beyond it, etc. He is awesome like that :)

You may not be a missionary or relate to what I've said about serving your friends ant-infused cake, but there is most certainly some "mold," in your life, a problem that you can't "fix" that maybe God is calling you to hand over to Him. Whatever your mold, God is able.