Tuesday, February 25, 2014

New Reality

Well, we made our first multi-day trip out to our new home. We were welcomed by lots of kids coming to play everyday, almost all day long, it was great for our kids and for us to get to know our neighbors a little bit more. Lots of neighbors came to visit and drink terere with us. During our five days we began to experience a new reality, a reality that could either cripple us or encourage us to learn and except that this is the way things are... 
The reality of thorns...they are everywhere and on almost every plant. Which means where ever you walk you will get thorns in your shoes or in your feet. I am currently in the process of collecting many pairs of tweezers to have with me at all times. 
The reality of animals...they are new and exciting, some are nice and some are not. The chaco leaf footed gecko below is a friendly fellow, we currently have one in our house, he is about 6 inches long. My only beef with him is he poops every where but I like to think he keeps other bugs out of the house.
We find these black headed parrots beautiful and wonderfully new but for our neighbors these birds destroy the crops and thus destroying their food source. 
Butterflies as far as know are harmless, we are enjoying the amount of butterflies that we see.
This little guy is called a yarara...he isn't really little...our neighbor saw one in our driveway that was as big around as an orange and 9 feet long. We have yet to see any snakes but we have seen dead ones while driving and the slither marks in our yard, so we know they are out there. 
The reality of the weather...the weather rules out here, this has been a new thought for me. Its not very often that when it rains in the states that life stops, well here it does. The rain makes the craziest mud I've ever seen, you can't drive after a hard or long rain, the roads are closed until they dry or if you do attempt it out 4 wheel drive is needed along with everything you need to get your self out of the mud if you get stuck.
The sun is hot here! I sweated more than I ever though possible. I love it when the wind blows and I am so glad our little wooden house cools down (even if its just a bit) at night and that we have little personal size fans to use at night to sleep. 
The reality of health...we are gonna get sick, we are gonna get thorns in our feet, we are gonna get bit by bugs and burned by the sun. My first aid kit continues to grow, as I add more things like tweezers, sunscreen, snake bit kit, kid and adult pain meds, anti-itch cream, bug spray, eye drops, instant sugary drink mixes and much more.
The reality of dirt...it is everywhere! When the wind blows the dirt covers everything, when the wind doesn't blow the dirt covers everything. The kids sweat and the dirt sticks to them, there is no keeping clean. They have to be bathed twice a day and clothes don't come clean...I'm pretty sure even Tide couldn't clean these clothes. Crazy bugs live in the dirt, some only come out when its wet and others live in it when its dry...good clean dirt doesn't exist here.
The reality of the unknown....is just part of life...but it's how you handle it that will either allow you to continue on or give up.

The reality is... there is nothing we can do to about the thorns, the animals, the weather, the dirt, the bugs, the sickness but accept it as part of our new life. 

Here are a few stories from our trip...
After our 3rd day of living in our new home Jon and I were becoming overwhelmed, the kids were dirty all the time, they had so many red swollen bug bites it was crazy, they weren't sleeping well cause of the heat and all the new sounds of the woods (window are left open all the time). Jon and I were starting to lose perspective. We had to take a step back and think about how we grew up....Jon grew up with rattle snakes around and thorny bushes, I grew up with lots of dirt and black flies...that was just life and we did just fine.

On our last day before heading back to town I started to get more and more grouchy, I wanted AC so badly that I couldn't think strait anymore. I had to stop my self and remind myself that this was where I was and this was how it was and me wishing for something else over 24 hours away was just going to make life harder for everyone. I really had to guard myself against wishing for things to change or be different. When its hot its hot, when its cold its cold, when it rains it rains and to be okay with it. Its easier to deal with the heat and the bugs when you know you can't get away from it and you can't change it.

All the things that I talked about above are just part of life. But if you let it, it will make your life miserable. I have also found my attitude is being watched by my kids and by my friends and neighbors. What am I saying to my kids when I complain? What does my face say to my neighbors whom I can't speak to yet? It has taken us 10 years to get to this place and it could all be gone in a second if I forget that the reality is that God is in control...that He uses the hard times to grow me and teach me, to grow and teach my kids, to encourage my friends and neighbors. The reality is that I am to learn to be content in every situation. 

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

New Chapter

The month of January was a bit emotional for me as we prepared to leave our life in the city and move once again. We had lots of goodbyes to say to people...
Our pastor and his family 
Our friends who gave us a beautiful picture that was painted by a family member. 
More friends from our life group 
Our pastor saying a few words at our goodbye party...I was trying not to cry in this picture 
I went and had ice cream with my dear friend, it was nice to just sit and chat with her. Normally when we get together it's at her house or mine and it's always so busy we feel like we don't visit as much as we'd like. So this was a special time for us. 
Finally, the day came and we packed all the last minute stuff (including dog and cat) and drove 293 miles to our "new home" in the Chaco. Praise the Lord we got there with almost no problems!
Our friends followed us up and they were able to get these pictures, that's our truck as we entered town. 
When we got to our final destination, Jon kissed the ground! 
So, here it is the Paraguayan Chaco.
We love it here! Of course being a country girl myself, its wonderful to hear the birds singing all day long and to hear the wind in the trees. The kids are so happy to dig in the dirt. Some of the first things I've learned about living here is you get dirty pretty quick, its hot but not humid like was in the city and almost everything that grows here has thorns. But its beautiful, right now there are a ton of white butterflys all over and there are flowers and fruits that grow here. I am looking forward to getting to know more about this new place we call home.