Thanksgiving is….stability for me

by mendibpng

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As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I see thankful statuses on Facebook. I love that focus because I believe being thankful is an antidote to a lot of things: self pity, greed, bitterness, etc. It makes me get my head out of my own concerns and helps me to look beyond myself.

One of the things I’m most thankful for in recent months is stability. I have so much to say about stability that it’s turned into two posts, so please bear with me. The first one is about me, because I naval gaze rather easily, and the second one is about my kids.

The life we’ve chosen/been called to includes a lot of travel between our village and Ukarumpa, the center where our kids go to school and where Ben is involved in academic training. If you’ve followed our blog, you’ll know that our wise administrators suggested we have a good six months out of the village to avoid burnout. Ben has plenty of project work to do from here, thanks to cell phone coverage and internet connection in the village, so we knew we could follow that advice while still being involved with our project.

Having been without stability for a while, I had forgotten the benefits to my mindset:

I’m not constantly packing and planning for weeks at a time. In addition my normal tasks, if I know a village trip is coming up I will spend a lot of time with my Village Food spreadsheet:

  • counting up how many of each item is needed
  • factoring in ‘extras’ who might be eating with us (visiting consultants and construction workers, team lunches, etc.)
  • deciding where to buy it from and filling out the purchase request form for Wewak (if bought in Ukarumpa, I pay $2 more per kilo to bring that item, so sometimes I ask the regional managers in Wewak to buy my rice/flour and other bulk items)
  • buying and dehydrating veggies, black beans and ground beef in massive quantities, making sure that things like broccoli and green onions don’t go into the dehydrator when we have guests because they smell bad when they are drying!

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(above) I had time to make bagels with Noah yesterday on his day off of school. (When I’m in transition I don’t really feel at all like doing ‘extra’ tasks like this!)

Another perk of stability is having time to ‘reclaim my house’ as my sister calls it. I’ve gone through our kitchen and bathroom and removed all unnecessary items. I went through baby/toddler toys and gave away three huge bags of things to a local friend who has small grandchildren.  We had so many village trips in the last year that there were times when we didn’t even unpack our bags because there just wasn’t time.

A third benefit for me personally is that I actually have one morning a week to myself to do whatever I want: spend time in prayer or journaling or just ‘being.’ I haven’t had this for four years and it has really helped me find myself again.

And finally, I have been able to help friends who are leaving (we’ve had four families leave in the last month!) and be there for some who are here and struggling. In crazy transition mode, I am not really able to do much outside of keeping my own family going. Added to that, I have time to run with a friend three times a week, go to the sauna, meet with close friends every week and hosting playdates with moms and preschoolers here and there.

I am thankful that Ben is able to work remotely so that these six months of transition-free time were possible. I am thankful for the mental and emotional peace that comes with having a time to do the things I mentioned above. And most of all, I’m thankful for the sweet times of communion with God and the spiritual awakening I’ve had these past few months, more so than any other time in my life. It hasn’t all been easy or even pleasant this whole time–I still get dangerously tired at times, and we still have outside stressors to navigate–but overall it has been the best six months I’ve had in well over four years.

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2 Comments to “Thanksgiving is….stability for me”

  1. I’m so thankful, with and for you. And I think all those really happy, relaxed smiles at the Carnival reflected the whole family’s gratefulness, both for Fun times and stability.

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