The trees don’t lose their leaves during winter in San Antonio, and I wore shorts twice this week. Can Spring arrive if there hasn’t been a winter? Yes. It is subtle, requiring astute observation, keen awareness. It is very much like watching your own children grow. It can just happen and shock and be the full heat of summer if I don’t pay attention, or the details can be counted, gathered and make sense.
The hot bitterness of the black coffee I drink just made me pucker. I’m wide awake on the one morning of the week that it is ok to sleep in and I’m not sure why. But, I like to be alone with God in a sleeping house. I feel his hug and reassurance. Last Saturday morning I awoke at my friend’s house in Katy. I got to be the official babysitter for Anna Grace and Abigail Anthis. Their parents took a night in town at some fancy hotel. I support dating your spouse. Craig and I have had a date every week of our marriage, and whenever we can get an overnight we grasp it.
When the girls woke up they snuggled with me on the couch while we giggled and made a plan. After our chocolate chip pancakes, we set out for Katy’s itty bitty farmer’s market. I never miss the opportunity to visit a farmer’s market. I would have taken them to the big one in Houston, but we were pressed for time. I have happy memories of buying orchids there.
After purchasing a catnip based mosquito repellent, giant carrots for the horses, and some harvest bread we went to Target for some craft supplies.Shopping with the girls was enjoyable, so much unlike toting around boys who refuse to tolerate my looking in the girl aisles. Girls have comments about what they see in terms of likes or don’t likes and they know why, but boys view a place like that as a maze for hide and seek no matter how old they are.
At the kitchen table in the Anthis home we got deeply involved in creating things of beauty. Isn’t that what girls do? Anna Grace colored pictures and slipped them into the new art binder we made. Abi made cards for friends she missed. And together we worked on cutting and tying Kirabo Seeds tags for the necklaces I sell to raise money for the orphanage. I assured the girls that they were working as missionaries by helping me with this project. The five year old puffed up her chest, sighed and said,
Abi and I have a ripping sensation when we are separated. So when her parents came home she scowled. I reminded her that she and I had an 8:am date in the third row at church the next morning. Everything in me sighs when I go home to Kingsland Baptist Church, it is my family and I miss them. I understand there will never be another church that makes the same kind of home in my heart.
I spent the next evening at my friend Jackie’s house. I love her Colombian family and we had some good laughs at her kitchen table and interesting talks. But nothing was as much fun as hovering with Jackie over the whelping box of their chocolate lab’s three week old puppies. We spent hours marveling at God’s gifts to us, discovering nature in action. It is mesmerizing to see the maternal instincts of mama with the babies, and to watch how the puppies respond to her and each other. The tired look in her eyes as the babies suck her empty. Snuggling a furry pup up close and taking in their distinct puppy smell is an experience that ranks highest on my favorites. Jackie has three dogs. I don’t know how she is going to make it through the heartache of letting these four beauties go. She is their “abuela”( grandma).
It couldn’t cross my mind to tag one of them as my own because I know raising a puppy is full time work for a year and a half. Puppies are serious commitments and hardwork that pay off with a lifetime of enjoying a great dog. And I have one of those. A puppy in my life now would cause me to drown for sure. (a stabled horse is a different matter though…)
Last night Craig and I enjoyed the local Thai restaurant. Have you ever had TomKhaGai soup? I promise you it is the best tasting food you can put in your mouth. It is a must try food. This weekend I have cloistered myself at home to take in as much family time as I can get because next Saturday morning I will wake up in Kampala Uganda. It’s going to be a busy adventure there in a criminal court room, rewarding work to begin our new orphanage, and wonderful to see my Ugandan friends/family again. But oh my heart is going to ache missing my family back here. Two weeks is a long time to be separated.
I think I’ll get started on the chocolate chip pancakes for my own kids. I hope your weekend is full of family moments that string up into happy memories, little pearls you can hold between your finger and thumb. I need to hold my kids tightly this weekend, make sure they know how much I love them, and admire the luster God has put in their eyes, memorize them as they are right now. I am feeling strangely sad, even drippy at the thought of leaving them. I suppose this is because I sense danger on this trip. I’ll be relieved when Abdul assures me that he’s arranged for my safety.
Craig and I discussed last night how fast and hard the enemy has come up against us since we began working for orphans in Uganda. Craig’s mom assured us that means we are doing a great work for the kingdom. We’ve never been this far outside of the boat before. It’s true with God anything is possible, He will protect and keep us safe from the schemes of the enemy. I cling to the promises of God with everything I’ve got. And it makes me smile when I remember amateurs built the Arc, and professionals built the titanic. I might not know what I am doing, but I’ve got God giving me instructions. We are not going to sink. But sometimes I get stuck on the cabin fever and stink in the ark, the storm, forgetting that the dove is coming. I have to keep my eye out for that dove, it is like watching for Spring in the South. It’s like watching children growing up under my nose. It always happens.