Making Home

I couldn’t help but smile when I saw it.  During the official welcome of our family in an Hogar de Vida staff meeting, I glanced down at my sandaled feet.  Little white freckles peeped happily back up at me.

There was flour dusting my toes.

I didn’t even brush it off.  My heart was so content with our welcome and the baking spree that had decorated me.  That morning my mixer had labored over wheat bread for our family, cinnamon rolls for the meeting, and rolls for the team’s dinner.  I was tired, but happy.  This is what I was made to do.

That feeling has warmed my heart many times over the last few weeks.  We’ve hosted three teams from pickup to drop off, shared meals and the story of God’s work in our lives, shopped, cooked, cleaned, sanded, painted, and learned names to match beautiful faces.  On the trail behind us are a good many “firsts,” marking out the path to the feeling of “home.”  I have carried a one month old new arrival from the house tia’s arms to a medical eval, feeling the flutters of first-mom jitters all over again.  We now know just where to put the glass in the refrigerator to catch the condensation runoff that’s supposed to be routed below, and where to get our favorite produce at the farmers market.  We can see the work the Lord is doing here, and the difference that it makes every day.

Familiarity has paved the way.  Evenings spent reading books aloud on our couch, early mornings hanging laundry.   Goodnight kisses, Spanish greetings, movie nights, and bright sunrises.  My running shoes have ventured out to tread the hills, and my lungs have caught up.  Joy has come again.

We are home.

Learning Preschool

Hola Amigos! The title of this entry is Learning Preschool because that is what I have been doing! I’m not teaching at the escuelita so much as listening to the Lord show me how to pour life and love into the children in two 55 minute sessions a day. Even that sounds far more noble than what it boils down to in real life. Figuring out how to work my limited Spanish into directions like “Put the toy away”, “Where does this go?” has done wonders for my motivation to learn Spanish. We reference our dictionary several times a day, and the Lord reminds us of words we once knew from high school daily. We start and end each session with a hug, and that has done wonders for me and for the children. I had career highs and lows today. The Low was when a sweet girl threw a tantrum over putting the rompecabeza (puzzle) back on the right shelf and had to be carried to a time out (the first one I have enforced at the school). But we hugged afterward and did some special time together and all was well. The High was when one quiet boy laughed so hard with his friend about knocking down a tower of blocks that a line of drool cascaded down to the table and stayed hanging there for about 5 seconds before he recovered and wiped it off on his shirt. The Lord is using them to teach me far more than I’m teaching them. In the process, I am learning what kinds of things I can logistically work on with them, in a way that’s orderly and fun.

Today was our 7th day here, and it ocurred to me while we were praying with the kids before bed that if we were on a 10 day team trip, we would only have three days left. I was struck by how glad I am that we have three more weeks here. I’m not ready to think about home yet. The Lord is giving us special opportunities to have conversations with the people here. They are truly wonderful, and so patient with our imperfect Spanish. The Lord’s presence is sweet here at the Home of Life in the place and in the people.

I’ve tried a few batches of baking so far, with decent but less than perfect results. Some angel left an oven thermometer, so while baking a batch of scones I realized that the mathematical conversion of 375 degrees farenheit to 190 degrees Celcius enters an electrical Bermuda Triangle in the cabin’s oven. Now I know that 240 degrees Celcius is the right setting for that temp. I also tried making yeast rolls completely by hand yesterday, and learned some things to avoid for the next batch. They still turned out nice enough that there was a little jockeying for the last one at dinner tonight. It’s been fun, and I look forward to perfecting the baking process down here, making good tasting mistakes in the meantime. Have a delicious day!