Friday, October 24, 2014

Deciding Factors, Part 1

The following is an email I sent out as an update to ALL 9 MILLION of my family members (read: 11). The situation I share about below was emotionally charged and intense and became a decision point in my life. While admittedly email isn't a great way to update the ones I love with something as sensitive as this...it is TERRIBLY efficient.

There's just SO MANY of them. *winky face*

This is called: Deciding Factors, Part 1

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12/1/11

So someone tried to break into our house today - while the kids and I were inside.

I was in the kitchen facing away from the back door when I heard two really loud whacks on the back kitchen door (which surprisingly didn't break). I screamed really loudly; had those super fast thoughts of "was that John fooling around?" and then "no way, he doesn't want to break the door!". 

After I screamed the person ran off the back porch into the yard. I ran to the door, flung it open and yelled "HEY!" and some other equally fruitless things like "get outta here!" and "you'd BETTER run". He looked like a kid, shorter than me and he ran FAST into the alley and then down to the street. 

I called John first (luckily he was just back from a field trip and was able to take my call though he wasn't off yet) and almost didn't call the police because I thought there was such a slim chance they'd catch him. But reason got the better of me. I called it in, gave a description and they sent a guy over. The police guy searched the neighborhood a bit before he came by and was very kind and reassuring.

I hadn't walked around the outside of the house or backyard until I was showing the police around. Safety-wise, there were a couple things that, when fixed, will be a stronger deterrent to this happening in the future (as per the police and I agree). A chunk of our back fence was knocked over in a summer storm and we hadn't nailed it back in place. Its how the kid got in and out of our yard. Our back porch door had been left wide open (Justy and Scouty later confessed that they had done that earlier. Justy went outside and couldn't get it closed and Scout said it was too cold to go help him. We've changed the emphasis to ALWAYS shut the door, no matter the weather). We'll also install a more formidable lock on that door. And it ends up that the stupid middle school sized burglar used our child's shovel (about 3 1/2 feet tall) to take the whacks at our door. The door is missing a chunk of wood about the width of my finger. Thank God the dummy missed the glass and happened to hit the smaller panel of wood in between the glass.

So, Scouty and Justy seem ok and not frightened at all. The baby didn't even cry when I screamed. That's gracious. I felt like I had to explain to them, though, "this never happened to Daddy or I when we were your age." Its like I want to explain what's normal because maybe they don't know. Nonetheless, they seem graciously calm about it.

This is the first time I've thought "how much would an apartment cost somewhere else?"  I'm not making any plans just yet, but....I guess the needle on my gauge shifted a little after today. I mean, someone trying to break into your house while you're in it? That's LUDICROUS! I don't live in freaking PETEN [back when we lived in Guate, Petén was frequently terrorized by guerilla groups, very unsafe]! (I think I'm past denial and into the anger stage). I mean, that's missionary stuff!

I haven't cried, but you know me; it'll all go into a little "cry" tank that will be tipped over a week from now when I find that cheese isn't on sale and then I'll collapse into tears.

You heard it here first.

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This situation made me rethink my values. My values are directly related to my faith. I took a hard look at certain elements of my faith. What do I believe is true? What is unshakable about God? What is shakeable in my values and why?

I had a lot of thinking and praying to do.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Blinds Perspective (get it?)

I'm in the middle of another adventure. This one is called "Moving" and finds me 106 days later still living in my parent's basement.

Outwardly it is relatively calm. I send my children to school, I keep after the little ones still at home, our dinner table is a little bigger and I have a few more hands to hold the baby while I make dinner or listen to stories from the school day. So much about this is Gracious; captial "G", Christmas-wish-for-a-family, lottery win level Gracious. Any turmoil thus far is hard fought in the dark arena of my mind and emotions. And there has been a notable struggle. This has been much longer than I expected and there is no relief on the horizon.

But my stories from this present tense of my life are a little stranger than I expected and it seems we will have quite a few that will begin, "When we were living at my parent's...." I want to remember this one about perspective.

I went to open the blinds on our bedroom window and the twisty rod that tilts the slats open and shut was...missing. Just a little empty plastic nub near the top of the blinds with no rod attached. It was classic slapstick comedy. I reached without thinking to... an empty spot in the air. Frown. Pause to look at my hand in empty space. Slow pan up to the empty nub where the wooden rod should be attached.

"Ah."
This has happened before, I recall, in the room my 3 children share (ages 12, 9 and 4 sharing one room, bless 'em). It seems the boys get a little "energetic" and pull too hard on the rod that twists open their blinds and when I am finally made aware of this (though my own discovery and not because they told me, heavens no!) my eyes subsequently fall the the floor and surrounding area beneath the window to hunt a dropped, thin, wooden rod.

And that's where I go wrong. It always takes me a second. Because then it dawns on me: these are boys we're talking about. I shouldn't be looking for a wooden rod, I should be looking for the last place I saw my boys dangerously wielding a thin wooden sword, or light saber or walking stick, etc.. And today I recalled a half-memory (the automatic mechanism of remembering what your children were doing nearby while you were actually trying to work) from the same morning when my 4 yr old son asked if he could stir his oatmeal with the tip of a comically long, thin, wooden stick.

Who am I and what is my life that it didn't even occur to me at that moment in the morning to ask myself, "where did he get this stick?"

Eureka! Easily recovered in our teeny shelf/fridge/table area of the basement. The exact wooden stick with the empty slot on the end waiting to be reunited with the plastic nub that attaches to the mechanism that opens my blinds.

See? Perspective Shift saves the day (and the cost of repairing my parent's blinds). There's a lesson in this story, I'm sure, I'm just too tired to find it right now.