Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Good Ol' Dose of Keepin' it Real

A pre-field photo, for old-times' sake

Let me begin by asking you to bear with me. Please hear my heart behind the words that are to follow, and know that this post is simply intended to be a means for you to get a glimpse into the current reality of my life here in Costa Rica.

The literal meaning behind the two words Costa Rica (Rich Coast) conjours images of tropical lushness, extensive beaches, and luxurious foods that tantalize the palate. Lest I negate the truth, Costa Rica does offer those very facets. And while we have taken the occasional weekend (for R&R) that allows us to indulge in those facets, our daily life is not centered around them.

Being called to something beyond what I ever expected is, in and of itself, an incredible blessing. I can certainly relate to King David when he said in 1 Chronicles 29:14: "But who am I, and who are my people, that we could give anything to you?" Paradoxically, I find myself in the middle of what I'll call hard. Now, I know that hard does not equal wrong. I also know that hard does not equal bad. Hard does, however tempt me to throw in the towel and head "home". And I do know, as well, that hard is real; hard is not easy; and hard does bring stress.

In pre-field training we were given a stress inventory entitled "The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale". On that scale, there are a number of events listed that have been identified as stressors. For each stressor the test-taker can list the number of times each event has been experienced in the past 12 months and multiply that number by the stress value assigned to the stressor. Once totaled, the sum of those stressors provides a number that assesses your current stress level. In training we were told that the average missionary falls between 600-900 points. Having just completed the assessment, I have found my stress level to be at 937. Severe stress is identified as having a point value of 300 or more. Hard, indeed!

I am not asking you to feel sorry for me. I am not asking you to understand. I am simply sharing the current reality of the life to which we've been called. Being in the middle of hard, is...well...hard. This endeavor is no vacation BUT it is good!

Ants in the Sugar Bowl
by Elizabeth Givens

"So send I you
To ants in the sugar bowl,
To things that fly, creep and crawl into the house,
To uncertain water, sporadic electricity.
To long hours, sweltering heat, exhausting days,
To uncomfortable vehicles, crowded jeeps, smelly buses.
To noisy, early mornings,
To rice, rice and more rice.
To poverty you didn't believe existed,
To masses of people like you have never seen,
To know and work with people who have never known comfort,
So send I you, and I expect you to adjust.

So send I you
To people who will give to you from their poverty,
To friends who will embarrass you with their generosity,
To pastors who will entertain you from their lack, with beauty,
To hungry, receptive, questioning people who want to know God,
To study, to teach, to learn from your study and teaching,
To prove your own motives, values and beliefs,
To learn about yourself and the culture that has reared you,
To know God and to understand more deeply dependence upon Him,
So send I you.

Are you going? I'll go with you all the way."

Yes, I find myself in the middle of hard. And hard is just where I'm supposed to be!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

When It Rains, It Pours

When the day looks like this:

And this:

Then you can nearly bank on the fact that this is coming (Turn up your speaker volume so you can hear the rumbling thunder!):

YouTube Video

An when that occurs and it's rainy season in Costa Rica, landslides abound!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The View From Here

Serious multitasking is going on in this casa! Ever tried studying for a big Spanish grammar test while baking and frosting cupcakes?

Let's pray there's scientific evidence out there that proves that baking increases retention of Spanish. Sounds good in theory, right. *ahem*

For those inquiring minds, these cupcakes sound dynamite! Chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes (yes, there's homemade cookie hidden dough hidden inside each cupcake), topped with cream cheese frosting. And they are awaiting the addition of a small chocolate chip cookie as a topper.

I used the following recipe and will let you know what popular opinion says after our "Sweet Meet and Greet" for our language schools' current students and teachers:

Oh and I guess I'd better plan on letting you know of test results as well. A woman's got to have priorities! Pray for me.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, October 3, 2011

Hollywood or San Jose?

I owe the title of this post to my sister-in-law, Ellen. Sista' is workin' it, even in a developing country!

Loud colors? Check.
Fiery red nails? Check.
Cool shades? Check.
Brothers sighing at her diva-ness. Check, indeed!

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad