Monthly Archives: October 2009

Valeria.

Our dear, sweet friends from Bolivia are here again for a visit. Pablo lived in our city years ago, going to Bible School day and night, and eventually returned to Bolivia to become pastor and teacher at our bible school there. God has blessed the work there, and knitted our hearts to those of the Bolivian people, even those whom we have not met yet. Pablo is like family. His sister, Carolina, is a dear friend. His wife, Pamela, is a sweetheart. I have been looking forward all week to their arrival and hugged them with joy as soon as I spotted them this evening at church.

(I must admit that part of my anticipation in seeing them again, has to do with having Pablo play piano on the worship team. Man, that guy is gifted. I never fail to be inspired to get off my lazy behind and practise playing piano when he is around. He is not only talented, he is a worshipper – and his music is pure ministry to God’s heart. I long to be able to play like that.)

When Pablo lived here, he was a twenty-something bachelor. Now he is married, and father to the two cutest little dark-eyed, chubby-cheeked, curly-haired children.
I met his eldest, Valeria, two years ago when she was a contented little baby a few months short of her first birthday. Jenna had fussed over her with all the maternal feelings that a three year old could muster. I can still see her bending over Valeria’s carseat, “talking to the baby”, whilst stroking her cheek. (Pamela left some comments on the Jenna page, you can read what she said about how Jenna loved on Valeria at comment number 9.)

Now Valeria is a gorgeous little madam, almost three, who has her mommy and her daddy wrapped around her little finger.

I am in a quandry as to how to handle Valeria. I can see that my hubby is too. In one sense, we want to stare at her and lap up all her toddler sweetness, because we are missing the unique little mannerisms and movements that so many girly-girls around the age of three have in common. Did you know that little girls have a similar way of tilting their heads when they are intent on charming you, they have this singular little bounce when they run, their hands are often poised in quite the same way? I try not to stare at toddlers, but sometimes I can’t help it (hubby says sometimes he wonders if people mistake him for a pervert when he cannot help but stare). I see Jenna in girly toddlers, so often.

I saw Jenna in the body language of Valeria this evening, as she tried to coerce her daddy into going somewhere with her. And later, as she threw a temper tantrum. 🙂

To stare or not to stare. At some point, staring too much either alerts people around me of my longing or causes feelings to rise to the surface that are best controlled in public, so I have this very ambivalent response. Stare, or ignore. And whichever response I choose, I cannot help but be painfully AWARE.

Oooohhhh. So I sit here tonight, having been reminded by another sweet girly girl, of the little one that isn’t here with us right now. And as the tears roll down my cheeks, I post this little lament. I miss Jenna.

I reach for Jenna’s picture and stare at that sweet little smile, look into those expressive eyes framed by those gorgeous eyebrows. I smile into them and as I always do, I remember that she is very much alive still, just not in a place where I can touch her and draw her close. So I do the next best thing.

I take her picture, and cradle it close against my heart.

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Stepping up and stepping out

I am LOVING the fall weather that unexpectedly dropped in on our corner of the US. It is my favorite time of the year as far as weather is concerned, with Spring running a close second. It seems that I can never quite enjoy spring to its fullest though. It coincides with one of the busiest seasons if you are a school teacher. Plus, things always seem to thwart my spring enjoyment. Like the year we spent almost our entire spring (it is short here) cooped up in a hotel thanks to a house fire. Or the year we moved during spring and I was too busy packing and unpacking to enjoy the outdoors. Or last year, when the sky seemed wide and empty and time seemed to last forever and the birdsong reminded me too painfully that Jenna was gone.

Yup, I like Fall. I love the Thanksgiving Holidays, and the way that the weather slowly turns colder until we can make cozy fires in the fireplace and burn spiced cider fragranced candles. My students at school love it too – on Wednesday I taught two of my four classes outside.

I am enjoying my classes this year. I am blessed to have my own classroom – it makes a huge difference, and I feel slightly more organised as a result. I say ‘slightly’, because I still don’t feel organised enough (I wonder if I ever will?). I took on an extra subject this year – Earth Science for sixth grade, and together with helping the middle boy adjust to being at our school for the first time, I have my hands full. I only feel now, after 6 weeks, that I am starting to get my stride.

My journalism class is wonderful. I have half the students I had last semester, and it is so much more manageable and so much less frenetic. We have two weeks to go until publication date, and almost all the articles are ready for layout! That is a first. Hubby says he can install Publisher on my school computers for me – so, instead of me going nutso once a month, I can teach the students to do the job themselves! Now I just need to get the man in my classroom and to work on those machines…

Otherwise…I’m doing fine. Challenged to ‘step it up’ where responsibility is concerned. I was talking to God the other day about how tired I was of going around the same old mountains again and again and again, and he reminded me in his tender, full-of-mercy way that everything I want requires some kind of sacrifice from me. I need to remind myself that the things I long for so much are there for the taking, provided I am willing to invest the time and the effort required. Do I want more of Jesus? I don’t need to try harder, I need to make time for his presence more. Do I want growth in my marriage? I don’t need to resign myself to the status quo, I need to put down my own needs and ask Jesus to help me to minister to the hubby better. Do I want to be a worship leader? I need to pick up my guitar more. (Duh)

OK, so it is so simple, but I often tend to think that everything in life should just happen automatically! (Double duh)

When I look at my life I see so much wasted time and opportunities. But there is a grace stirring in me, and I know Jesus can redeem even my failures and use them for his glory. Sooo…here’s me, stepping out…