Thursday, April 30, 2009

I Used to be Funny...

One day I will write a book entitled,I Used to be Funny. I was, ya know. At least I thought I was and my friends thought I was and even my parents thought I was. So it must have been true...OK...wait, I guess I should change that title to I Thought I Was Funny...or I Was Funny, Wasn't I?

I don't feel funny now. Everyone thinks my brother is hilarious. He is sometimes. But, occasionally, as he is stealthily roping in his unwitting audience to "set'em up and knock'em down," I notice him slide his eyes toward me as he silently documents his source. He's using my stuff. That's OK. I'm not using it.

But to be honest, people tell me that I actually AM funny now. Well, not ME, but the family dynamic of 9 people under one roof just lends itself to humour sometimes. What's not to laugh about? Large families aren't really like the ones we see in the movies. There are no whistle calls like the Von Trapps had (although I love that idea), or impromptu let's-order-9,000 pizzas-because-our-parents-aren't-here parties like in the modern version of His, Hers and Ours, but you'll find our address in that valley between organization and chaos, turning left at "Holy Cow, I Can't Believe You Said That!"

We follow the rule of two for the most part in our family. We take two cars most places, allow two items from the dollar menu, two cookies in your lunch and we bought two washing machines to help keep pace with the dirty clothes pile. We dine together at two tables and a team of two unloads and loads the dish washer.

If you go anywhere, especially in an airport, you take a buddy along with a radio--not so much for safety, but for those who are directionally challenged. I'm sure you can identify with the feeling of your international flight boarding and suddenly realizing that you've only counted five of seven children. You know that mango-sized ball of fear in the pit of your stomach when you don't know if your sons are on the up-escalator to the $7 airport hot dogs or still in the Hong Kong terminal? I (being the over-protective, ridiculously doting mother) take comfort in the deedle-dee Motorola beeping of the radio signaling that my child (using his best drive-through voice)is on the other end, ""


My husband would prefer the uncertainty of swirling radio static.

"Maybe the kids are in Singapore. We'll meet up at baggage claim."

Admit it; that's funny.

I think humour is a commodity more valuable than gold. I'm not kidding.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Plan B

I knew that keeping up with a blog in addition to everything else that life brings would be a little challenging, so instead of updating it weekly as I had originally planned, it's more like a monthly thing. Oh well! My ten year old son asked his five year old brother this morning, "Oh? You don't have a plan B?" No, Ben didn't have a "plan B" but he can write a "B" and recognize one. That's about where I am---right there with the kindergarteners. Who has time to write a Plan B when Plan A is so full?

Last night my newspaper reporter friend, Susan, called for an interview. She found me on facebook several weeks ago and decided that our family story was interesting enough to grace the "Faith" section of the Salisbury Post. Susan and I had worked together as camp counselors during our college summers back-in-the-day when neon sweatshirts and legwarmers were the quickest way to proclaim our originality and independence (as long as everyone else wore them, too!) Don't try to deny that you had a headband collection and purple reflective lens sunglasses b/c I probably have pictures of you. Ok, well, that was probably me standing beside you, but you have to admit that Duran Duran and Yes were awesome even after you gave your flourescent sweatshirt to Goodwill. (If you need to pause for a cup of coffee here or put the cat out this is good place...)

Are you there? Stay with me's going to get better. Anyway, after the interview concluded, Susan asked, "Wendy, do you realize that you have SEVEN children...SEVEN?" I chuckle to myself b/c questions like that along with "do you know what causes that?" come with the territory. I used to get really irked when people I didn't even know would inquire about my personal life choices, but that was back when I had a romantic notion about childrearing and a blood-pact with perfect parenting doctrines--whole foods, home birth, breast feeding, fresh air. I had a "right" to be offended, didn't I? I mean, these are all really great things.

Well, "that was then, this is now" is a phrase that comes to mind.

I'm not saying that I don't believe in a good routine and conservative discipline principles, but now I am more discerning about what really matters. I mean, what REALLY matter. What? Does it matter that Ben (5) goes to school wearing the socks and pants he wore yesterday or is it more important that he dressed himself? Or, does it matter that our kids have never been on a sports team b/c everyday life for them is a team effort? or should we busy ourselves keeping them busier? These things keep me up at night...

But, as our pastor likes to say, "after all the water has boiled out of the pot" what is left? Only the essentials. The essential thing, the anchor, the tether, the lifeline becomes only one question---Do our children know Jesus? Everything else is fluff. Ball teams, clean clothes, nutritious food, happy days---great stuff---but being a good parent is not the same as being a Godly parent. Am I being a Godly parent? Whew! That's much harder than keeping the kids' physical and social needs met. Now, you're really getting personal. I'm a little bit irked now.

So, I'm back to spiritual kindergarten rereading Galatians 5:22-23, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." I'll have to write that in my to-do notebook..."1) become a better parent 2)start with self"

Monday, April 13, 2009

Midwifery Links

Just in case you're wondering about the midwifery links on this blog...No, I'm not a midwife, but I have taught childbirth education on the mission field for many years. I've also attended 20+ homebirths (not including my own) as a student midwife. I love and support the whole idea of birth being family-centered and blessed by God, our ultimate Midwife! As I grow older and (hopefully) more discerning, I see many correlations between the process of birth and our spiritual growth. One day, when the time is right, I will become a qualified midwife, but until then, I will support "good birth" through teaching and writing.

Return to Service in Papua New Guinea

Some call it "the land of the unexpected" and some call it "paradise", but we call it "home"-- Papua New Guinea (PNG), that is. PNG is the world's second largest island just north of Australia, in case you didn't know. Go ahead and admit didn't...and neither did we until 1998 when we began our journey toward overseas missions with Wycliffe Bible Translators. After mission training at Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JAARS) which is the support arm of Wycliffe Bible Translators (located in Waxhaw, NC, USA), our family left for overseas service in Papua New Guinea in July 2001.

We lived there in the beautiful eastern highlands region on a mission center called Ukarumpa. Ukarumpa is the world's largest mission center and home to a diverse population of missionaries and skilled national workers. At last count, there were over 18 nationalities living there. They are all there for the single purpose of supporting directly and indirectly the work of Bible translation, so that the gospel of Christ Jesus can reach those who haven't heard.

When we returned home (Atlanta, GA) in 2006 to prepare our oldest two sons to acculturate to the US for a successful transition to college, we thought we were finished with overseas missions service. We assumed that we would just slip into another equally meaningful role while Stateside, and continue to live fulfilled lives. However, as time passed, it became obvious that our true calling was still waiting for us in overseas missions. We felt it, our kids felt it, and the needs overseas kept expanding.

Long story short...(read our two latest newsletter links for details)...we reactivated our mission status in August 2008 and prepared to return to mission service in Papua New Guinea with Wycliffe Associates, a sister organization to Wycliffe Bible Translators. Currently, we are wrapping up our family's paperwork to begin living in Papua New Guinea. After a long delay in processing Benjamin's passport (who was born in PNG), we now have everything ready to send off to Washington, DC and Papua New Guinea for visas and work permits. We also need to finish gathering financial support for a summer departure (see newsletter for more information.)

This blog is to extend and highlight the information that appears in our mission newsletters. We look forward to your responses! Check back often, as this is updated regularly. May this blog bless you and encourage you!