It's so intimidating to try and explain what's been going on when you haven't done it in awhile and you are very behind. As in ----->ME<------ Let me try and give you a LONG (and still inadequate) synopsis.
Oh, holiday season. How I used to love thee when I was a nieve and silly teenager, content to flit through the house on two weeks off from school, helping with the Christmas cookies and doing my gift shopping at Walmart. I can just hear myself sighing and rolling my eyes every time my mom stomped through the house in an uproar because she misplaced the tinsel. Times have changed. Now I am a mom. And a wife. With responsibilities (many imagined). Now I force myself to do silly things like make more Christmas cookies than anyone could possibly eat and stay up until 3 am wrapping presents. I think African Christmases, while not as glittery and festive, are slightly better for my (and consequently my husband and child's) mental health.
I digress. And get waaayyyy ahead of myself.
This is what I did for Thanksgiving:
What's that? Looks like I started a fire? Involving Thanksgiving dinner?
DING DING DING!
I may or may not have accidently set my dear MIL's oven on fire and almost burned the house down. It was not the smartest thing I've ever done. It will also remained burned in the memory of my inlaws as the "day the daughter-in-law almost burnt down the house but was saved by the fact that the dear father-in-law went out and bought a new stove and installed it so that the apologetic and sheepish daughter-in-law could get Thanksgiving dinner on the table by 5 o'clock." Bless them. Really. Even my mom said, "If that would've happened in our house everyone would've been screaming at each other and it would've taken two weeks to install a new stove." Gotta love them Schwertfegers. So glad I married one :)
Shortly after that fiasco I started preparing myself for Christmas. People talk about those who don't have good priorities and who get mixed up in the baking, the gift-buying and wrapping, and the visiting and forget to remember the Reason for the Season. Those people are talking about people like me. That's why God sent me to Africa. So that I wouldn't have a choice but to SETTLE DOWN over Christmas.
Really? It was a joy to be home. It was SO good to be with our family/friends and let Sunda experience Christmas. But it's all so much. By the end of the day, Sunda had a crazed look in her eyes and just kept saying, "Open 'nother present, Mommy?" It was just such a good lesson to me about how much work it takes to produce the Christmas that I'm "used to." I think my standards will definitely lower in the future. Mainly because it's JUST NOT ABOUT all that stuff.
So grateful for these people:
The day after Christmas we loaded up the car and started out for Florida! We left West Virginia at 2:30 in the afternoon and arrived at my mom's doorstep at 8am the next morning. We kept thinking that we would stop...but we were too excited. We thought for sure that Sunda would sleep the WHOLE way there. You know what happens when you "think for sure" that a kid is going to do something.
This picture was taken in Georgia. At four o'clock in the morning. Don't know if you can tell by her scrunched up face, but she is definitely and completely...awake. And I am holding an energy drink in my hand. The first one I've ever drank. It made me feel like I was having a heart attack. From now on I'll just rely on the 16th verse of "Herman the Worm" to keep me awake on roadtrips.
After arriving in Florida, we visited with my family and then set off the next day for our ministry's "One Tribe" Conference. It was held in Cocoa Beach and was so well done. A truly a life changing event. It made Jake and I both itch to get back to Zambia. The conference was 4 full days of kick-you-in-the-bum preaching and awesome worship. It was wonderful. We're so grateful for the family that we have with everyone who works with Overland Missions. Sunda stayed for the first two days, but then Gramma Marsha and the fam came and rescued her. She got to spend the next two days at the beach, and then at home...getting spoiled by Gramma.
Sunda's favorite "Overlander." Our director's son, Keiro.
After a delightful New Years Eve spent on the beach, Jake and I rushed back to my mom's house so that we could wake up with Sunda the next day. Since then, we've been enjoying our time with the Florida family. It's been so wonderful to be with my mom, Riki, Henry, and Jayne. I'll post a picture of all of us as soon as I get one.
Notice the mom cut? I finally succumbed. The ponytail was driving me crazy.
As for Sunda, she's been blessing us everyday with her delightful, loving self. However, this soon-to-be-three-year-old has also been displaying her strong and opinionated personality quite often these days.
A rare occurence in Sunda-world lately. There's just too many questions to ask to waste time napping during the day or sleeping through the night!
Every picture I have of her is in motion. Bless her heart. Love that girl.
After all of that, let me say this: We're officially returning to Zambia on February 5th. We'll be in Florida for another week and then we're off to speak at a youth retreat in PA. After that it'll just be packing, and preparing until we leave for another year of living the dream. Can't wait to get back to Zambia. I hope it misses us as much we miss it.
Thanks for sticking with this MONSTER post. I promise I'll try to keep up more often!