Monday, November 22, 2010

Back to India

Our good friends R & K returned from India this August. K came busting through the trees to meet us at the park for Gavin's fourth birthday. It was like no time had passed. Her contagious smile, excitement to be around people, doing her little dance of joy and handing out hugs. R and the kids were close behind. The kids seemed a foot taller and R seemed, well the same, smirking at how excitable K and I were and commenting on how cute I was as a pregnant person, just because he knew I'd want to hit him for it. It was great to see them both and like no time had passed.
But it had passed. It had been two years since they had moved across the world to spread the gospel to people in India who did not know the love of Jesus. Two incredibly long and short years. Years in which they had traveled to places I've only heard of and seen things I can't comprehend. Years where jobs had changed and our family had caved to the American dream of the minivan. Years in which kids had grown taller and changed drastically.
But then they were here. We got to go out to dinner, play games, eat brownies, have a girls night, eat brownies, talk on the phone, and eat brownies. For three months, I was easily able to reach them by phone. We chatted after church on Sunday and we hung out together. My kids grew to know and love them (who wouldn't...K is amazing with little kids and well, R taught my son of the art of dart gun wars and is now his personal hero, much to my chagrin). My husband and I had a sense of contentment knowing they were living just down the road. Even though they were busy meeting up with friends, visiting family and sharing about their mission, there was a huge comfort in knowing they were just 5 miles away.
Friday night we had our last dinner with them and yesterday at church we hugged good-bye. My throat started to hurt, my eyes welled up and the ache of missing them began to set in. I'll be honest, I know for both of us life goes on. It's busy here with three little ones and from the sounds of it, Indian life is very busy with people and activity. But when I need someone to ask parenting advice from, when I have a question about the Bible, when I am need someone to hold me accountable, when I want to vent or to share a story of something lame I did that is too funny not to share, but too embarrassing to tell most people, when I need prayer, when I need brownies and laughter...I miss them terribly. I love these people.
It usually happens at night, at the end of a long day...Shawn or I will turn to the other and say, "I miss R & K." The other will say, "Me too." And we'll just lay there for awhile talking about how much they have brought to our lives and trying to convince ourselves that India needs them more than we do. I think my head knows that's true, but I am still trying to convince my heart.
It was so fun to have them here. SO great for my kids to KNOW the people in the picture we pray for. To ask for their kids to come play and to talk about them with the excitement we have. It was, as K would say, "a sweet season".
And so I am trying to be thankful for the time and not consider the loss that comes this Friday when they board the plane. Afterall, I am not the one headed back to India. I am not leaving all my family and friends. I am not entering a culture and world so far removed from this one and so challenging. I am trying to remember this and pray for R & K, as their transition is a thousand times harder than any of their friends back home. But still...I will miss them. I am so proud to call them friends and proud of the calling they have and they're fortitude to follow Jesus, no matter where He asks them to go.
They will be back in a year and a half. Yes a great deal will change, but I have a feeling the key things probably won't change at all and that comforts me. Plus, I still have my calling card and can always remind myself, a year and a half really isn't that long...especially in the scheme of eternity, right?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Listening to Words

My kids have been testing me and I think I am beginning to get an inkling of just how much God loves us and how often I must break His heart each day. The boys have been in constant disobedience, not listening to my words or heeding my advice. They are not getting along with each other well and they are often treating each other very poorly. They are making decisions that hurt themselves and have consequences that they do not like. They are being disciplined and rebuked quite often. I keep saying, "PLEASE listen to my words!"
I wonder how often God is saying this to us..."PLEASE LISTEN! Life would be so much better if you did." I know it wouldn't be all roses and sunshine (afterall, we do live in Washington) but I also know there would be less need for discipline and rebuke. I wouldn't cry out in frustration so much, I wouldn't get shocked when things didn't work out and I would treat others the way they deserve.
I think to myself of all the things we do to take care of our kids. To bless them. To treat them. To try and raise them right. And I think of how their little 4, 2 and 0 year old selves have no idea the lengths we go to and the sacrifices we make in order to make this happen. I think of how far God went, sending his only Son, to try and make things right...and how my 32 year old self has no real comprehension of the sacrifice He made. It is beyond me.
But I am beginning to get an inkling,just an inkling, of the great love He has for us and how much He wants the best for us. I am starting to understand how our obedience blesses Him, how listening to His words makes Him happy, because He knows it is for our best. How thanking Him for all the things He has given us, pleases Him and warms His heart.
I can say, in the midst of the chaos and difficult days at the Ryan house, I am grateful that I have been learning more about God the Father...the Ultimate parent. And hopefully, I will do a better job listening to His words as I ask my kids to listen to mine. Because where else will they learn it?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Hard weekend

It was a tough weekend at the Ryan house. A week where, try as I might, the kids don't seem to want to behave and I don't quite feel like the mom I want to be. Shawn was gone on the annual football trip, Gav was on his asthma meds and I was attached to a breast pump due to loss of milk (I got the flu) and Amanda has some weirdo rash we can't get rid of. Lovely. (Amanda also doesn't seem to be gaining weight like they want her to, but proceeds to spit out half of what she's fed, so who knows what to do there. She seems developmentally great and looks healthy, so I am letting that go for now.) was one of those times where I just sat down in despair, feeling as though all I had done for three days straight is discipline my children. NOTHING was going right. I was doing my best to be consistent, but I finally broke and called my friend Stephanie crying...
"Just tell me I'm a good mom."
Oh bless Stephanie...she came through with a friend pep talk like no other and gave me a few words I think I'll be clinging to for awhile..."It's only been four days, they won't remember these four days."
Kids are resiliant and I think I forget that. They remember the train we took them on, they remember the pillow pet they got, the games we played and the special things we do. Sure, there are times they remember a punishment we doled out, but is that so bad...if sitting on your bunk bed for 30 minutes while your brother got to play games helps you remember not to throw the game pieces at your brother's head, PLEASE remember!
I think, as moms we can get down on ourselves for not having a day full of all positive reinforcement, arts and crafts, healthy snacks and hugs in between. I don't know where that reality is, but somehow I have a picture that days should go that way. My days don't. Yesterday we had chewies for snacks, no crafts what so ever and a quite a few corrections had to be made. However, I can say...there were hugs in between. And for now, in this season, I think I'm going to be proud of that.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Calling it good

Now, with three, we are settling into a little routine. What I am finding with this routine is that there is little time for mommy and what time mommy does have, she is more likely to plop down in front of the TV, read a book, or fall into bed, than to attempt productivity. Overall, however, we are getting the essentials taken care of. Here are a few of the things we are proud of:
-We can get out the door and to appointments by 8:15 am if necessary.
-I have managed to refinance the house and take bids on and order a new furnace within the last two weeks. This means lots of paper work, phone calls and appointments, all without locking the children up to accomplish it (:
-We have all (including mom and dad) made it to the Dr. at least once if not twice in the last two weeks and I have remained relatively positive and sympathetic.
-I think I have finally managed to correct the craziness with our medical benefits and I have successfully saved myself money by calling and discovering I do NOT in fact have to pay the bills!
-I have written up meal plans/recipies/ and grocery lists for up to four weeks
-I have exercised every morning for 10 days in a row (for those that know my laziness tendencies, this is a miracle unto itself)
-Brayden has been wearing underwear out of the house and staying dry!
-Amanda has been sleeping through the night for the last week and a half...YEE-HAW!

Here are some of the things that have fallen to the wayside:
-The bathroom has been cleaned once in the last three or four weeks
-Not only have I been reheating old coffee, just to get some, I find myself using whatever to stir in the creamer. Today it was the medicine syringe, yesterday the end of a ballpoint pen.
-The children are not bathed as often as they used to be...I refuse to count the days anymore (I believe this task falls exponentially with each child)
-Last night we told our son who was crying to brush his teeth, that he couldn't...yes we are that desperate to get them into bed.
-I have started to let Brayden play with playdough all by himself...this is huge for my cleanliness issues.
-I haven't changed the kids sheets in forever and when Gav had a wet night I actually considered leaving them on, because they weren't that wet...only for a second though, but still, YUCK!
-I have been sporting a mom ponytail that I am not proud of, far more frequently than I would like.

All in all, I think the pluses are outweighing the minuses. I think it's going well. I am sad I have not found as much time to document their progress. I am lucky the pictures have been uploaded, but not developed for a long long time. I don't get on this here blog nearly as often as I'd like and Amanda's scrapbook...oh wait, I haven't even gotten her one yet! But the kids usually have smiles, and are clothed, fed and loved on a daily basis. I"m calling it good! Here are some recent pics...