Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Shouldas

Shoulda Woulda Coulda

It’s easy for me to feel bound by what other people think. It just hit me this morning that over my lifetime, many people in authority over me have had plans. They feel it necessary to tell me of these plans.

You should.

You could.

Hey, you should consider becoming an artist.

You should write a book!

Could you promise me you will get a PhD? (strangely enough I got that one twice)

You could write a book! I would totally buy it.

You would make such a wonderful natural childbirth educator or doula!

And while I would probably do okay at these things and enjoy them… what don’t I enjoy? I know they mean well, but theirs are not the plans that matter.

You see, God has planned my days. Each and every one of them. He’s planned yours too. There are good things laid out for us to do. And I have felt called to do good things (though no one has ever said, “Hey! You should be a Bible translator!”). Why don’t people say:

You would be a great homeschooling Mom!

You could raise godly kids!

You could attend to your needy child with beautiful patience and endurance!

You would be good at coming up with yet another healthy dinner!

You could scrape all the grime right off toilet seats!

Yet these are the plans, the calling, that I live. We are called to something higher than what human eyes can see. We are not bound by what others think. Motherhood and household management deserve a better reputation.

Doesn’t pay overtime.
Little short-term return.
Huge long-term gains.

“A wise woman builds her house,
but a foolish woman tears it down with her own hands.”
Proverbs 14:1

Build your house. Don’t tear it down. You are doing one or the other.

I often have to stop what I’m doing and remind myself to ‘build my house’. Not with wood and nails, but with wise words, contentment and endurance. So to all you ladies out there, I invite you to join me today in building your house. That will look different for each of us. Build your house.

This is God’s plan for me right now. I’m throwing out the shoulda-woulda-couldas.


I feel like I have had precious little to put into our yard, but God has been gracious.  In the back there is a stand of banana trees that, in addition to producing far too many bananas (once they do), produce the most wonderful flowers.  Anyway, here is a taste.  you can sort of see the different stages as the flowers are more and less mature, with the ones at the top already being pollinated, and ripening into bananas.

Where the Wild Things Are

Well, a HUGE thank you goes out to all who prayed us through a very long, but very smooth trip across the globe. Many people helped us pack up, Grandma and Grandpa put in lots of last minute babysitting, etc. Even the ticket agent checking our mountain of luggage was pleasant. The people waiting ‘forever’ in line behind us where totally supportive and even told fun stories of growing up in Zimbabwe. You just never know how God will provide. This was likely our smoothest trip yet!

I still do not recommend two consecutive overnight flights with a long Heathrow layover in between, but we seem to have mastered the art of getting a napping couch in a busy airport. =) Besides, we got to meet the police squad in between snoozes after Joel left his backpack unattended on the other side of the couches. =)

There was a classic moment of panic when the policeman, who strolled up with Joel’s bag, asked me for ID. I don’t know if it was the fact that I hadn’t slept more than 3 hours in the past 27, or that we had walked several miles to get to the napping-couch-section with 3 kids in tow, but I couldn’t come up with my ID for anything. Kent had our passports, and he had gone to the security desk to inquire about the very bag elusively floating between two tall policemen and myself. It was a bit surreal. “I know this looks bad, Officer, I just can’t find my ID right now.” Strangely enough, I could recount every item INSIDE the bag and could probably give an approximate replacement value… Mommy brain at its best. Fortunately, the police had pity on my groggy self and the repentant 6-yr-old at my side and gave us the bag anyway. Grace.

We are back to Where the Wild Things Are! Home in Congo. Our yard had gorgeous 6-ft sunflowers all over, our basil looked more like a bush, and the marigolds spelling ‘welcome’ had grown waist-high! I LOVE being warm! Our kids are thrilled to romp in the backyard in sandals and shorts and we are eating as many mangoes as possible. =)

In the past 4 days, we got mostly unpacked, got a swing up in the loquat tree, welcomed our two puppies to their new home, got a little sunburned and failed miserably at sleeping on a schedule. Our house is very dusty and many things are needing to be done to get us back in working order, but we are safely and happily home!

Even had 3 monkeys up on our roof this afternoon!

Adios amigos!

Sorry this past month has been so crazy, and words so few.
We are packing up and weighing bags.
Our overnight international flights leave in 3 short days.
The ‘stuff of our life’ carefully divided into 50-lb. increments.

God has used this past few months for his glory. He has loved and showered us with blessings over and over. He has answered some medical questions for us. We (once again) leave behind some precious new friends knowing that we will see them all again one place or other.

It’s always hardest to leave our family. They pay a higher price than we do. I’m getting a tougher skin, having done this a few times now already. What turns me back into a puddle is watching my kids’ tearful goodbyes. I read somewhere that if you feel pain upon parting, it is the proof that you have loved well.

So my kids have loved well and been loved, and while it feels like an end, it is just the space between chapters. This chapter is about written, and the next one is coming soon.

Goodbye homeland, land of sunbreaks, land of berries, land of connectivity and electricity, land of English-speakers, land of snowy mountains in the distance. See you again in a couple years. Sunshine – here we come!

We appreciate your prayers for us 5 traveling through 10 time zones with our 17 pieces of luggage. Next post will be from the other side of the pond!