December 31, 2011

The Blog Liveth! As do we: in our parents’ basement! (Wait. What?!?)

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:31 am by Tamara

What’s with the siren song tempting me to start every blog post with “Well”?!?  (Or, worse still, an apology for taking so long to post.)  Both options are about as exciting as watching grass grow.  I stop my ears, siren song of well/sorry!!

Anyway.

We’ve been in Colorado almost two months now, and life is still pretty up in the air.  We haven’t signed a lease on an apartment yet, mostly because Adam’s job situation is still in progress.  He’s been working two jobs, but we’re really hoping he can get one better paying job (and actually have time to do little things like, you know, sleep and eat).  He had a preliminary interview with a school bus company and they told him he has to do another interview in January, but if he passes the background check, etc, he’ll get hired.  That’s very good news, since they pay significantly better than his current job and he would have regular hours (YAY!) instead of never knowing what his schedule will be from week to week.  The only downside is that the training doesn’t start until February, and we won’t know until it ends in March whether he can get full time hours right away or only part time.  But, even if he’s only hired part time he’d make almost as much as he’s making full time at his job now, so we’re really praying it will work out!

At any rate, we’ve decided it’s best to wait and see what happens before we sign a lease.  The cost of living here is pretty high; we could afford a decent one bedroom off what Adam is making now, but we’d really prefer two.  He also could end up driving a route on the other side of town from where we are now, so we need to know that before we can decide on a location.  Or there’s always a small chance he wouldn’t get the job at all, so we don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch.  So many unknowns!  So, for the time being I am forcing myself to be patient and wait on God’s provision until we’re confident we’re making a wise decision.

I have mixed emotions about the whole thing.  On the one hand, I am SO thankful that my parents are graciously letting us stay with them.  There’s a stereotypical horror story about staying with your parents, but our experience couldn’t be farther from that stereotype.  They’ve been gracious and encouraging and helpful and non-meddlesome, and have done their best to give us as much privacy as possible in a house that really wasn’t designed for two families.  I’m also thankful for a chance to pay off our moving expenses and save for a deposit on our apartment so we don’t have to take it out of our savings.

On the other hand, I still really, really miss having a place of our own to call home.  No matter how gracious your hosts are, living out of a suitcase in a room without four complete walls gets stressful.  I also get a lot of fulfillment from creating a homey home environment, and it’s discouraging to not have a place where I can do all the wife and mother things I enjoy so much.  I LOVED being a stay at home mom after Bear was born, and I just ache to have space where I can create order and beauty and functionality in our own little world with our own little routine.  And last but not least, no matter what the circumstances, telling people that you’re living with your parents never makes you feel like you’re doing especially well in life, so it’s a bit of a blow to my pride….

On a little side note here, I have to say how it still amazes me sometimes that I get so much joy and fulfillment out of being a stay at home mom.  I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but I was afraid I would chaff a little–miss “ministry” and “stimulating conversation” and “freedom” and all that jazz.  It’s not that I love those things any less than before or am any less passionate about them, but I think it’s that motherhood has been so much more wonderful and awe-inspiring and fulfilling than I ever dreamed possible.  There’s probably a whole other blog post in this topic, though, so I’ll just leave it at that for now.

Anyway.

I suppose I’m learning (or at least wrestling with) a lot: blessings, thankfulness, perspective, patience, humility, etc.  There was a picture that was all over Facebook this Christmas that put things in perspective:

I have to remind myself to mentally replace the right side of the picture with my “stresses” lately, whether that’s a picture of a home, new clothes, a computer that works better, or whatever.  It seems obvious, for example, that we “need” a two bedroom apartment, until I think of the thousands of families living in one room shacks or on the streets or running for their lives from war zones and genocide.  And I could make similar comparisons with all my issue right now.  I am definitely blessed.

So, all that to say, not much has changed, except (hopefully) some of my mindsets and attitudes.  I could probably get this tattooed on my forehead:  Colossians 3:15 “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful.”

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July 18, 2010

Human/Sex Trafficking

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , , , , at 11:19 pm by Tamara

I’ve started doing research lately on human and sex trafficking.  The knowledge that children are forced into slavery and prostitution not only around the world, but in the UNITED STATES, shocks and infuriates me.  In fact, Atlanta, Georgia, just a few hours from here, is one of the top three cities for sex trafficking in the world.  Statistics show that there are more people in slavery today than ever in history, and yet we act like this ended with the Civil War.

I don’t know yet what I’m supposed to do about this, but I know I’m supposed to do something.  We’re commanded to “Learn to do good; seek justice, reprove the ruthless, defend the orphan, plead for the widow” (Isaiah 1:17), and that command is just as real today as when it was first spoken.  So for now I’m researching, praying, and planning to speak out what I learn–and praying for courage to do whatever God tells me to do next.

“ Tolerate not evil against humanity.  And when thee is powerless to do anything else, speak with vigor.  Protest!”

—Daniel Anthony, father of Susan B. Anthony

October 20, 2009

Hosanna

Posted in Watermarks in Progress tagged , , at 9:10 pm by Tamara

In the movie “Hotel Rwanda,” there’s a bitter, disillusioned quote by Joaquin Phoenix’s character, a journalist, who says that even if Westerners do hear about the atrocities happening in Rwanda, all they’ll do is say “That’s so awful!” and then go back to eating their dinners. That piercing challenge and condemnation is my favorite part of the movie.

Today I heard about how soldiers in Guinea, Africa, stormed a stadium of protesters and then murdered and gang-raped a still unknown number of women. They reportedly stripped them and then raped them in broad daylight, shoving guns into some of the women’s vag—s and then shooting (I’d be more graphic, but I’m pretty sure our internet filter would block me from my blog). Guinea is a primarily Muslim country, and one woman interviewed reported being told that “Women belong at home, and if you want a political protest, we’ll give you one.” They said this as they beat and repeatedly raped her. It’s feared that many of the women victimized are too afraid to come forward and seek medical attention because of the cultural and emotional shame.

I wondered if I should give a warning before this post. But WHY? Shouldn’t we know? Shouldn’t we care? Shouldn’t we DO something? And WHAT?!? What can I do?

As I sat down to write an update, my brain was schizophrenically bouncing between the mundane details of my life and the things I’ve been researching about human rights, refugees, immigration, etc. I decided the other day that I need a new topic to dig into and gnaw on. Islam has been my “topic” for years now. I’ve read everything I could get my hands on, talked with countless people about it, done presentations, befriended converts from Islam, gone to Islamic countries…. But I’ve been noticing lately that all the new books I pull off the shelf about Islam sound…like something I’ve already read. I know I’m not even close to knowing all there is to know about Islam, but it’s all starting to blur. So, I started praying, “what should I plunge into now?” And *bam!* up came refugee issues. Now where should I go with this? Human rights issues? Effects of war on third-world countries? Immigration and asylum policy? I think I’ll research them all. If my stomach and soul can handle it.

Oh, God’s grace is so deep. Why doesn’t He destroy us all? How can He stand to watch us do the hideously evil things we do? After just a few days of reading about these issues, I feel sick. And then yesterday I read Ephesians 2:4-7 “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Why, Lord? How can your grace and love be so deep? And how can I have such a shallow understanding of them?

I don’t think we “go back to our dinners” because we don’t care; I think comes from a feeling of helplessness. I know I feel helpless. I’m outraged and horrified and broken over what just happened in Guinea, and what’s happening in countless other countries. But what can I do? I don’t know. But I’m determined to find out. You can probably expect to hear more about this in the months to come. At least I sure hope you can. I don’t want to go back to my dinner. God, help us to defend the helpless in your name. Hosanna, Lord! Deliver us!