Monday, February 14, 2011

25 Truths and One Lie

On the drive to church this morning we may or may not have seen the following;

1. A cow tied to a tree
2. A lizard as long as my leg
3. Hundreds of black butterflies
4. 1 dead boonie dog and several live ones-one which tried to chase our car for a short distance
5. A Chinese school
6. A family sharing breakfast in the back of a driving truck
7. Two shirtless, bare-headed men with flip flops riding motorcycles
8. Fresh fish for sale on the side of the road
9. An outdoor swap meet
10. Two beautiful bays
11. Kmart
13. A rainbow
14. A burned-out building
15. A BMW dealership
16. A car driving against traffic on the wrong side of the road
17. A billboard advertising a ‘miracle crusade’ this weekend
18. Dense jungle
19. Huge goats
20. Chicken lean-tos and chickens in a front yard
21. Random roosters strutting along the side of the road
22. A bright purple house
23. A Mormon church, Catholic church, Baptist church, Lutheran church, Episcopal church, ba’hai faith center
24. A veteran’s  cemetery
25. A Louis Vuitton store
26. Two McDonald's

Which of these is a lie? I will leave it to your discretion.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Midweek Maunder

Maunder: to move, talk, or act aimlessly or idly

Am I just a word geek or does anyone feel excessively pleased when they put their finger on a word which perfectly describes their current state? Maundering is exactly what I am fixing to do as it is late and I am tired yet feeling the need as well as the desire to write something about life in the past couple of weeks.

It has been raining a LOT. For about 4 days the weather cleared up considerably but today it was back to the rainy, soggy, steam room weather. This new bit of rain has included lightening which is a beautiful thing to watch. The huge clouds that collect in the seemingly endless sky are beautifully formed and vividly colored in dark gray, blue, and purplish hues with occasional streaks of light which illuminate parts of the sky and the water below. I would love to watch a more dramatic lightening storm out over the ocean from a safe, dry, elevated vantage point some time. By the way, just in case any of you picture us gazing at the ocean from dawn ‘til dusk or stepping out of our front door and strolling a few yards down to the beach, you are picturing us in our retirement home, not our present home. Though we are on a tiny island, there are many places which do not afford a view of the ocean. Granted, a short drive down the road offers a beautiful vantage point overlooking the gorgeous, sparkling blue, warm water (read; plug for you coming to visit us). We are not close enough to walk to the beach. At least not with three kids and the equipment necessary to facilitate a successful beach trip for said three children.

The neighbors are on a vacation and the kids are on a forced hiatus from playtime with them. It has been good for them to rely solely on one another as buddies this past week and it has been fun to see what the two of them have contrived to play. There has been an excessive amount of dress up, many puzzles worked (most begun by both, abandoned by Bubs, finished by Mads), a zoo in Mads room on one occasion, bubble blowing wars, and an extensive set up outside on the patio which included practically every water-safe toy we own as they played under the shade of an umbrella with their water table. It is precious to me that my children are friends. This does not spare them from the inevitable spats and sibling rivalry, but they ‘get’ each other and continue to develop a chummy little bond which, I pray, will be an even greater source of much enjoyment and blessing in the future.

Baby girl is coming up on 5 months this next week which I can hardly believe! She thinks that it is grand to get up early in the morning which puts a bit of a wrench in some of my early morning plans. Still, it is hard to be frustrated for long with a chubby, smiling, bright-eyed little bundle that commonly waits expectantly on her back while clutching her feet with her hands (latest trick) and makes happy shrieking noises. She continues to be an absolute joy and delights the kids to no end. Bubs calls her “my little sweetheart” or “my little sweetie”. Mads speaks baby talk to her in a tone and style which I have finally recognized as one which is patterned precisely after the way in which I often speak to her as well. Hence, my daughter sounds like a bit of an idiot and I have resolved never to talk baby-talk again when within earshot of anyone but a baby. I seem to have my father’s tendency to bequeath ridiculous nicknames which seem to come out of nowhere. It is my fervent hope that she does not remain ‘Beano’ (or one it’s other many variations) forever.

February fifth marked month number three of being on island. In some ways it feels much shorter and in other ways, longer. Our greatest prayer was answered two weeks ago as the Lord led us to a church body which we have felt undoubtedly called to be involved with. Two and a half months of floating was beginning to take a toll on us and the overwhelming assurance we felt as we left the service on our first visit to this church was an incredible blessing. I really need to dedicate a whole post just to this issue, but for now I give glory and praise to the Lord for this tremendous gift!

I think we are all continuing to adjust fairly well to life here with ups and downs sprinkled throughout our days (as with anyone, anywhere!). Bubs still continues to wrestle a bit with the concept of moving. As I continue to get to know him, I think he is a kid who thrives on permanence. He asked me just yesterday what kind of hotel we are living in and wanted to know when we would go back to our house in Monterey. Whenever we go through this routine, I remind him that we are in our new home and that the home in Monterey is no longer ours. He then asks if this is our home forever and does not receive the inevitable response well no matter how many times he hears it. When we talk about life beyond Guam, I do not have much to offer him except for the hope of God’s plan for our family. This concept can be hard enough for me to entertain most days-how much more so for a permanence loving four year old?!

On an extremely high note, I just discovered that we have a recently-opened Yogurtland of our very own! We have yet to go and partake of its delicious offerings, but simply the knowledge that it is here on this strip of land with us is a delight. The term ‘island fever’ is beginning to develop into a completely new and understandable reality. In the first few weeks of moving here and meeting people, one of the first questions I asked everyone was “How do you like living here?” Without one single variation, I received a favorable response with the caveat being the island’s size. I have heard many people speak of their impending need to get off the island for a bit, many times included in the same sentence in which they inform me of the length of time which has elapsed since their last getaway. The little and familiar things such as Yogurtland help to assuage this feeling of being far away or trapped. In light of this, it sounds both pathetic and shallow to confess that some of my happiest moments here have involved eating out or walking around in a familiar restaurant or store.

Being the privileged US citizen that I am, and coming from an area which boasts of endless shopping, entertainment, activities, etc… I am rather spoiled in many ways. One thing which I will NEVER take for granted again is the simple (not so simple, in this case) pleasure of ordering something and having it delivered. Online shopping here is much more prevalent (understandably so), but you would think that Guam is another planet from the hurdles that have to be cleared in many cases to simply place an order. Everything goes smoothly until I reach the one dreaded box in which I have to select my state. Scroll, scroll, scroll….nope. Not in the US options with the other US territories. The next step is to then ascertain whether or not the company in question offers International shipping which may or may not be accessed in the same spot. In the case that it is not, this requires filling out the same information all over again before reaching the dreaded box which, in this category, is Country. Scroll, scroll, scroll…nope. Let’s just say that I am slowly becoming an expert on many things related to online shopping and customer service representatives. It is also an excellent exercise in patience since I do not get enough of that with three young children.

I leave you with a quick description of my current state; I am the only one awake as it is after midnight. I bought some Swedsh Fish at the BX tonight because buying candy is a must when you take your son on a date. I do not generally enjoy candy like that, but after about 10 pm I lose the ability to make good and rational decisions. This means that I have a belly full of Swedish Fish which I ate simply because they were next to me and I was tired. As I type, the air conditioning is blowing continuously with a familiar rattling sound that is annoying when you pause to actually listen to it. Intermittently, the chirping (yes, you read correctly) of geckos can be heard from outside and though I know full well that they are not in the room with me, I cannot help but glance around the room occasionally just to make sure. I am in a state which PJ can pinpoint simply by looking at me and is very amused by. This state is the feeling of being exhausted and in need of bed, yet reluctant to give up the precious quiet time which is afforded by sleeping children. This state is also a reluctance to go to bed because going to bed means that I will all too quickly have to wake up and begin another day which I currently feel far too tired to imagine doing. It is a vicious cycle and feels like a lose-lose situation. Whenever I reach this state, it makes me think of Ecclesiastes. So, that sums me up for now. Typing, candy eating, gecko-watching, bed-yearning, bed-resisting, Ecclesiastical-thinking me.

Enough maundering for one night.