Amish for a week or so?

Courtesy of flickr

Today Matt and I were listening to NPR while making breakfast. There is so much chatter devoted to the potential R. candidates that I’m on overload. I’ve found some great comic relief lately that keeps me up at night giggling as I think about the absurdity.

Apparently Mitt Romney made $42 million last year, or was it over two years? Either way that is a serious buttload of cash. I told Matt that we should just become Mormon because they pay their missionaries a helluvalot better. Also, in terms of community the Mormons have it down. They create great community ties and the stay at home moms do a lot of cool crafts! Then I decided that I was no more likely to become Mormon than I was to buy a dozen Persian kittens and live in a dark room with all of them. So I decided if it’s community we want in our religion we should just become Amish. Matt’s reply was, “Babe, you’re about five life choices away from becoming Amish as it is”.

Occasionally he drops a comedy bomb that makes me laugh, I’ll admit. And that one was sort of funny. So as Matt sees it I’m:

1. A technophobe- It’s true. I can email and write drafts but when it comes to applications and all of the ‘things’ this computer can do, I curl up into a ball and begin to rock back and forth while holding my knees to my chest. I’d be ok with paper and pencil for the rest of my life.

2. Committed to simple living- Now, I’m not out there washing clothes in the wash tub but I do enjoy a good line dry from time to time.

3. Committed to slow food-Down with animal hormones and what have you!

4. I like to wear hats- This needs no further defining

5. I enjoy a nice long skirt from time to time (I think he was fishing on this one)

I would say my number five would be more that I don’t really like to have my photo taken. I do think I could do the Amish gig for a while. And if the “fit hits the shan” they are likely going to be the most prepared of all of us.

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Day 30: Matthias!!!

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This was the plan all along, to save the best for last. There were many days during this project that Matt would say, “So you still haven’t written about me yet” and it was all I could do to not yell out, “Look, I’m saving you until the end so I can bow out with a bang!!!” Here’s my bang!

I love him deeply. Matt told me he loved me over five years ago and I can’t imagine being with anyone else. Sometimes I love him painfully like when we’re watching a movie where the couple looses the other to illness or an accident. I picture my life without Matt and I lose it every time. I shouldn’t even think about it but if I lost him I honestly don’t know what I would do. He’s my family and I love him desperately.

Marriage is interesting because it’s both amazingly divine and unbelievably annoying and exasperating. One minute they are the most attractive, funny and desiring person you’ve ever known, the one you want to spend ALL of your time with. The next minute you could be asking yourself if there is a secluded cabin that you can escape to for about a week just to stare at your OWN mess or not have to kiss a prickly, unshaven face.

This past week Matt has helped out around the house and with the kids in ways that I’ve really needed him to since I’ve been in a lot of pain (tooth issues) and it’s reminded me of how involved he is in our marriage. Some husbands check out when the wife needs them the most.  He adds a strength and a beauty to my life that would never have been here if I had stayed single or married another.

When Matt and I started to like each other I had noticed a lot of mature changes in his life  which made him more interesting and attractive to me. After we started dating I told him that I had seen so much growth and goodness in him lately and he said, “You know why? Because I knew that I liked you but you’d never even consider me if I didn’t get somethings in my life sorted through”. To which I thought, “Good answer, brutha! You’re going to make a damn fine man for me!”

I can see the tender father and the giving spirit of Claude and the compassion and dry humor of Francine in their firstborn. This is what they’ve created: a loving, tender and compassionate father and husband who drops the stupidest puns you’ve ever heard into daily conversation, then laughing at his own jokes.

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He engages with our kids as they are growing little humans. He plays with them and puts down what he’s doing to throw or toss them and make them giggle. He comes home and the house is alive again. The kids yell, “PAPA!!!” and overwhelm him with sound and touch; squealing and pushing to be the first to be held.

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He’s never slept on the couch because he’s never needed to. Every argument, even the bad ones, end with calm after the storm. He’ll always walk away and think about what was said rather than dig his heel in the ground in order to remain  unmoved …that’s my job! He’s the man of peace in this house and the steady form that I need as I stress about all of the little details of life.  He gives me peace and the gift of touch, one that I take for granted. I don’t feel that I ‘need’ to be touched or loved but when it wasn’t a part of my life I longed for it so much that I would sometimes cry. Now touching and gentleness is mine and I almost forget it’s there. Yet, I’m so thankful today that he’s that way. He’s the toucher and the giver. I’m the helper and the doer. Every morning our first encounter is a long and intentional hug. Usually I’m limp and unaffected until caffeine comes into contact with my bloodstream. But I notice it; I notice him. I notice that he lets me sleep in every morning as he wakes with our little, early risers. I notice the dishes, the trash, the kitty box, the times I go out alone to get refreshed, the little gifts, the emails and the phone call every day from work. I’m always watching and thinking, observing him as he plays with our kids or plays his new piano.

I’m watching, my love and I like who you are. You impress me!  Your art is beauty. What you have made is lovely and slick. Well done, babe. I’m celebrating you today because you are worth my posting.

Let’s have 50 more years together to love, annoy, tease and create a life together. I have saved the best for last!

Sincerely,

Your Lady

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Day 10: a new beginning

Wedding in Madison

Wedding in Madison

I’m writing a day early because I’m usually a day late. So in my high “J-ness” I thought I’d get a jump start on tomorrow. Today I left a meeting place with a community I’ve been a part of for the past nine years. When I say, “left” I don’t necessarily mean that it’s a cutting off but there is a closure to what this part of my life has been. I’ve been in a missionary organization for the past 15 years and today was my announcement that, as of the end of March, I won’t be working/volunteering with them during this season of my life.

This has been a two year process for Matt and I in terms of moving in a new direction. We both have a passion to impact the world but Matt is not a typical missionary type who goes to other countries to ‘bring people the good news’ so this hasn’t always been a good fit for him. For me it’s been a difficult fit the past four years, since having kids. The time factor has been a deciding element but the tension is also that Matt and I want to impact the world but we really want to do it in the ‘real’ world with devices like technology, law, justice, and engaging with those who will never enter the church. So this decision to move on has been based on a new path that we are finding but this path has been hazy and unclear. There is no one who has put their print in the ground before us and made the way clear. So in a sense we are forming a new path and this is a bit daunting. What if we get lost or don’t know where to go next? This is the age old fear: the unknown!

At times our years in Madison have been painful and discouraging as we’re working out who we are and what is going on with us. It’s not always been rewarding or encouraging; it’s sometimes been lonely and frustrating. Today I spoke about my decision to a group of people, most of whom I have known for the past nine years, some a bit less. I wasn’t sure how the day would end up. Would I break down and cry? Would I even know what to say since things still aren’t clear? Would I just get nervous and end up stage diving into the crowd for no apparent reason? The last one I was pretty certain was not going to happen but you never know what you’ll do under pressure. It’s like when you are asked to share in front of people and you have these bizarre thoughts of taking all of your clothes off in front of them just because you’re nervous. Maybe that’s just me…..

I drove home with my kids as the sun was setting, remember the meeting with my friends. I felt so grateful to have been a part of this mission for 15 years and a part of this community for the past nine. The encouragement was clear that my presence mattered here and that it had some effect in the lives of people. It’s easy to feel forgotten when no one comes around anymore. I think my jokes in between encouraging speeches kept me from getting emotional. It was genuine and not just nerves. I really had a good time. I finished well, and Warren didn’t have to give me his shirt! I even got cake and a pot of tulips.

I came into YWAM at age 19, I’m now 34. I was a new Christian from a crazy home and my DTS was foundational in my formation. I am so grateful to have done that type of school so early into my faith. The 15 years of work have been stricken with poverty yet I’ve seen more of the world than most of the rich and powerful. I have felt lonely at times yet I’ve acquired friendships with some of the most amazing people that were ever created. My worldview has been shaped by Americans as well as Western Europeans, East Africans, Indians, Kiwis, Koreans, Chinese, and women….not just men. What a life! What an amazing 15 years for me!!!!

For my years in Youth With  A Mission…. I am thankful

1994 DTS in Maui- foundational

1995 trip to Juarez after a year of wanting to be in YWAM again

1996 working here and there with YWAM teams

1997 Hallelujah! I get to go back to YWAM full time. Kona here I come. SOW. Outreach to China, Philippines, Macao and Hong Kong.

1998- Staff DTS in Kona. Outreach to Korea

1998-1999 move to Colorado and meet some of the raddest staff (Dan, Misha, Randy, Svea, Tav) Staff DTS, lead team to Amsterdam and Germany, Pioneer The Network School, staff Mission Adventures. First time teaching in DTS in Maui and Honolulu

1999 move to the UK to work with The Factory. Invaluable friendships (Katie, Tre, Trent, Vero, Philip, Marie…..the list goes on) Met Matt! The Gathering in Hungary, awesome outreach to Finland, get to go to NYC for the first time. Teach with Philip somewhere….

2000 move to Madison, WI to do the SOTB.

2001 Staff SOTB Outreach to Norway, begin teaching in DTS in Honolulu, Colorado and BC

2003 Connexity conference in Malaysia. Staff SOTB, Matt and Tracie fall in love, outreach to Kenya

2003 Married- pregnant, staffing DTS!

2004 HAS in South Africa (Life changing, never the same)

2006 Staff Access, outreach to Jamaica with two kids

2008 work with BSN (Bible School for the Nations)

With Oliver in South Africa

With Oliver in South Africa

Teaching in MN

Teaching in MN