Bye Felicia.

At first I thought I would be saying this today, but it turns out I’m on the receiving end of this phrase. Let me go back to explain…

Before homeschool started this year Jeremy and I talked {at great length} about our options for school now that we are in Mexico. We talked about the bilingual school in Rosarito (too expensive), continuing homeschool and the boys going to a public Mexican school. Jace was happy to go with the flow and continue homeschooling. Ryan begged to go to Mexican school. Looking back I’m not actually sure why we just went ahead with homeschooling- I faintly remember phrases like “keeping them together” and “learning more Spanish first” being part of the conversation. 

Fast forward to two days ago. The first day of school for everyone in our parts. (Home) School itself was great, Ryan was rough. Day #2: Jeremy witnesses the full assault of a homeschool day gone bad in every way. Bad on my part for reacting like a wild person & bad on Ryan’s part for being less than outstanding {confrontational, mouthy and flat out rude}! Jeremy, bless his heart, was like, “I don’t know how you do this. Maybe Mexican school would be better.” I’m instantly reminded of the conversations we had before starting school. Ryan’s response, “Yes! This is what I want!!”


We went to the Bodega, sized him for a uniform and called to meet with the school Director. This morning, Jeremy, Panchita (the Open Arms Psychologist – who deals with the schools daily) and I went to the school with Ryan (in full Mexican school uniform). The smile on his face was beaming! His eyes were saying, “Bye, Felicia!” {I might or might not have sent a few memes to very close, non-judgmental friends with this exact phrase!}

Within 10 minutes, Ryan was in his class, sitting front row and smiling from ear to ear! It was surreal: there was no long list of forms to be completed, no waivers to be signed and it was basically the opposite of every school in the U.S. For example, we needed to get him a desk. Yes, a desk. A school desk, for him to sit in…because they didn’t have one. And the fact that, you know, they only speak Spanish. (Although his teacher speaks a little English and one other boy in his class speaks a lot!) He goes to school Monday through Friday (if the teacher shows up and it’s not raining…yes, seriously!) from 8am to Noon. He will ride the bus from school to the daycare in the mornings and afternoons. The school is 5 minutes from the daycare, all the friends he has at the daycare go to this school  and that’s good – for me! 

At home, we will continue reading and math instruction. Jace will have full homeschool for now. Although he did come up to the office to tell me he is considering attending the Mexivan school too. Lord, help me! 

Jace’s face says it all (he was upset all morning that Ryan left for school!

As I write this, Ryan has finished his “Mexican homework”, told anyone who will listen that he’s going to the Mexican school and asked to wear his uniform everywhere (dinner, the store, back to the daycare…every.where.) Can I be honest? I do not know if this is THE best thing for him, I don’t know if it will cause problems for him mentally or physically and I don’t know if it’s forever. I do know that I wish I had been as brave as he is for my whole life. I know that not all kids get this experience. I know that God made him {every part of him} and He has a plan for His life. 

Panchita and Ryan (ABOVE) after his first day:)

With that said, I pray every day I don’t mess it up. Can you pray with me?

I want a quesadilla. (And other emotions.)

We have been in Mexico one month and four days, but who’s counting!! We were so happy to have family and friends come down when we moved to help haul & set up everything we needed before groups started arriving. 

It’s hard to write about what this month has been like because it’s been high up and way down and crazy busy all wrapped up in a little mess of a bundle that is our family, our life in Mexico.

We have managed to get through our first Father’s Day where Jeremy wasn’t with all of the kids & his birthday (the first in many years we were not at my parents pool surrounded by friends & family.) Those two days were a blow, although no one would have picked up on it. However, I’ve been married to this man of mine for 16 years and I could tell. It was hard. It hurt. And there was nothing that could be done but to get through it. We bandaged the wound by spending these at the beach surrounded by friends (old and new), bbqing and smiling, but it wasn’t easy. So there’s that.

It isn’t all hard days, but there are hard days. Ryan had a breakdown because we had no shredded cheese for a quesadilla (full on screaming, crying breakdown), which I am almost positive had nothing to do with a quesadilla at all but rather emotions he hasn’t dealt with. Jace, poor sensitive Jace. Some days he is on His game, in his element of dolling out love, lending a hand and encouraging everyone, but other days he is a crying mess who can’t go to sleep alone. Jeremy and I are coping. With the boys and ourselves. As much as it caught me off guard, we are in transition as a couple too. I don’t know what that even really means but it feels like making a new path & a new normal…it’s a lot. So keep the prayers for our family coming. We need them. We feel them. 


The work is good. Although there is a fine line between “the work” and just life…everyday there are kids at our house for dinner, the boys are constantly playing out front with kids from the neighborhood and the daycare and the work continues long past “work hours”. Sometimes work is running errands and working on administration stuff in the office. Other times, it’s interpreting for a dental clinic and running a Scout Camp for the kids. You never know. There’s always a plan for the day but at any time (like every day) the plan changes (because it’s life) and you find yourself doing something totally different than what you planned on doing. It gets easier for my Type A personality to do this as each day goes by!  


This month collectively, we have been troop leaders, teachers, administrators, errand runners, clean up crew & go to people. Personally I have been an interpreter, cheerleader (literally I helped girls learn cheers 🙃), dance teacher aid, VBS coordinator, group host, tour guide, nurse, medical transcriptionist, food server, and chaperone. Jeremy, by my calculations has served as the head Open Arms Troop Leader for Scout Camp, activities director, Sports Coordinator, mechanic, repairman, plumber, construction worker, group host, bus driver, lifeguard and mover (of all heavy things by anyone within a two mile radius). 


So, there’s that. Want to pray for us? Please pray about Jace and Ryan’s school for this fall. I’m considering options (aka freaking out about their reading and costs of great curriculums) and pray that Jeremy and I would find our groove as a couple here. Oh! We’re only half funded. If you can throw in a prayer for that – it would be much appreciated!!!!

We are so grateful for every prayer, every dollar and every opportunity to share Jesus through our lives!!

If you want to see more of our daily life, friend me on Facebook or Instagram!


Greetings From Baja!!!

We are spending a month in Mexico! We have been here since March 17th and plan to leave back to Visalia on the 20th of April. So far it has been an adventure:

– Jeremy went to Camalu (prepping for the dedication of the second campus on April 2nd)! They are working early mornings and late nights (like painting by cell phone lights late nights!) The boys and I have been praying like crazy for him, the other workers and the event! We miss him and will be joining him tomorrow!

  

– I made my first “states run” (going to the US to run errands). It sounded much simpler than it turned out to be! De (Heidi’s mom) assures me that one day I will be able to do it without phoning or texting every half hour with questions! Oh, and I left he boys at the daycare while I went and with Jeremy not being anywhere close it was their first time spending the day without one of us here! They lived!! Woohoo!!

  

– My mom and Garrett visited for a week so we tried to do some fun things, like the beach and Garretts 18th birthday celebration. It was one of many birthdays he has spent in Mexico but harder for me now that he’s an “adult”. They left by train (I managed to get them there 6 whole minutes before the train left!)

  

– We had our first holiday in Mexico… Easter! We cooked a full Easter meal with one 9×12 baking dish and a toaster oven! And we had guests…Nemi & Mary (the American Missionary Interns) joined us! 

  
– Tomorrow the boys and I venture 3 hours south to join Jeremy and the rest of the Open Arms team at our second campus in Camalu. We dedicate the facility Saturday with the OA staff and family, community, guests and future OA kiddos! This is a huge testament to God working in His people to provide, build and serve here in Mexico!

  
– Our days have a rhythm we have drifted into. It’s definitely a different kind of life. Simple & lovely despite the hardships and poverty. One of the moms tried to take her life last week with her children at home. I got the job of picking them up to bring them to that care while she recovered physically and mentally. Their resilience astonishes me. They smile, laugh and go on. One of the girls told me she prayed with her mom and told her God will help her. I almost asked if she would pray for me: her faith was a light! 
– One of the boys in the daycare is harassing my boys. They have been turning the other cheek and trying to be sensitive to him acting out, but they are almost fed up. Pray for the little boy: his home life is so bad it shows through his relationships and aggression. Pray for my boys that Gods love would be bigger than their natural reactions.
– We have done everything from construction, office work, working with groups and taking trash to the dump to cleaning the dorms, painting and electrical work! And sometimes we hold sweet little babies!!!

  
Thank you for your prayers! With God they get us through the trying moments and days. 
Our Hope Is In Him!

Oh, me of little faith.

We did it. We jumped in. A huge step toward our move was selling our small family business. I’ll spare you the number crunching, but basically we took a loss. We still owe on the business and didn’t break even. We did however spend an evening at the kitchen table figuring out how we could sell everything we own to make up for it. 

And we figured it out. So it’s done and now we are in Mexico for a month. Right now Jeremy is in one place (Tijuana where our missionary life first began!) and I’m at Open Arms. This has not been easy. Yesterday….well, it sucked! Like went to bed with a headache, sucked! 
I woke up this morning and my first thought was, “His mercies are new every morning…THANK GOD!!” And then I got a text that said the very same thing. God really is good and cares about the fact I almost had a nervous breakdown because of keys. 

  
As I was drive to a place I had never been to pick up kids who barley know me for Open Arms, I was talking to the Lord about yesterday and {begging} asking for mercy for today (I was already on this morning) and realized what is happening! I have been on auto pilot. 

Everything in my life is easy to do (not situations or sometimes the circumstances) but what to do about them and the things I do in ministry every day, autopilot. I just didn’t realize it until my auto pilot no longer applied and I was steering all on my own (yesterday was a disaster people!!). I realized that I have been running on my own strength for a long time. Not out of choosing pride but out of getting caught up in the daily routine and knowing what was coming next and exactly how I would handle it. Yesterday was the end of all that.

I couldn’t do anything right on my own yesterday and I saw that my autopilot was me! That really doesn’t work out well when you are doing things you have never done, going places you have never been and have a language barrier. Did I mention I almost had a nervous breakdown?! Ya. 

  

Despite all that happened, it feels good…I need God. Like, really need Him. And maybe I haven’t been operating like that for a time. But the not knowing, being clueless, and flailing feels good today because I’m not on autopilot! I’m all snuggled into the arms of the Lord today and it doesn’t matter if I don’t know or I end up looking like an idiot in the process because I’m right where I need to be: in the Shadow of His wings!

I’m breathing easier, feeling better and enjoying the chaos, the unknown today! Pray for me, who knows what tomorrow will bring! The only thing I know is His mercies really are new every morning!!!