Friday, September 23, 2011

Shesa Goin' Home!

At the end of our last furlough, in March, we said goodbye to Sarah. Our eldest daughter has been in the U.S. for the past six months. It's been a difficult but wonderful time for everyone. I can't even begin to describe the experience, but I will say that the wonderful did balance the difficult and the difficult even turned out to be wonderful.

Caleb, for example, has stepped up and proven that he can write a curriculum for a kids' class and run the class smoothly -- even when there's a bit of mutiny amongst the younger siblings. Evie proved that she was not the sole contributor to the messy room which she and Sarah shared.

Meanwhile, back in Oregon, Sarah got to experience the joys of American culture: youth group, public library, Dutch Brothers, zumba, financial aid and car insurance.

The original plan was a six-month stint in the U.S. and, "Then we'll see where God leads." During that time, she was working to save money for college and pay her expenses. She also applied for financial aid to be able to attend the local community college this fall. However, none of us really had much peace about college.

All summer we prayed, "Give us peace, God. Your will be done."

So, September came with no financial aid in sight. Our response: Relief. Our daughter is coming home. I'm a bit excited. Maybe my motives are a bit selfish; I love having a partner in the kitchen, I miss her guitar-playing, She's my favorite Spanish dictionary.

Yesterday, I was reading an article in Reader's Digest. [Sidenote: I used to love that magazine, but this issue has more advertisements than the Superbowl, all the depth of a kiddie pool and the journalistic value of a first grader's book report.] The article, ("They're Baaaak!" October 2011, p. 37) began by stating that 85% of the college class of 2011 was moving back home. Intrigued, I continued reading.

By the time I finished the half-page article, I was ready to throw the whole magazine in the trashcan. Reader's Digest's recommendation for parents whose college-age kids are returning home: "Remember, when kids leave high school or even college, they are not adults. Between 18 and 23, they're entering the last and most difficult stage of adolescence: trial independence."

*Pause here to re-read that quote.*

What a crock of over-ripe fertilizer! Reader's Digest just lost a reader.

Reader's Digest, the company which popularized the word "teenager" in a 1941 issue, has now extended teenagerhood into the mid-twenties.

I'm sorry, but in our house an 18 year old is not an adolescent. "Adolescent behavior", in fact, is discouraged after the age of 10 or 12. Of course, the kids are all still growing and learning and making choices and sometimes mistakes, but as a general rule we try to move our kids from childhood to adulthood with very little time in that adolescent limbo which the American culture calls "the teen years".

With that said, let me tell you about Sarah's decision to move to Mexico in December. She's not coming home because of "failure to launch". Nor is she returning because of a lack of funds and inability to enroll in college or pay for car insurance. Although both of those were issues, they really had no bearing on her decision, other than as confirmation of God's plan for her at this point. Sarah is moving to Mexico because it's where God is calling her. And we are very excited.

Sarah's future is wide open. She left our home-nest to test her wings and found them strong. In fact, to borrow a phrase from Isaiah, she has trusted in the Lord and has risen on wings like an eagle.

School is still in the plans, as are mission trips, a journey to Europe and only God knows what else. We're all trusting God for His timing and direction.

And did I mention that we're excited?
Isaiah 40:28-31
Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Yet Another Benefit of the Bi-Lingual Life

I just got back from a little shopping excursion with my mom-in-law in Chico, California. We had a great time -- went to Costco again. I didn't see the Vitamix guy this time, so I managed to keep my longing for over-priced kitchen gadgets in check.

Christmas decorations are out. What's up with that???

Anyway, we also stopped in at my favorite herb and natural food store -- it's very "Chico": Lot's of tie-dye, lots of hemp. While Mom picked up her stuff, I meandered over to the herbal book section. I thought I might find something interesting in the reduced section.


All the Spanish books were on sale 50% off! WOOT! WOOT!

I bought them all. Well, not ALL of them. Only four.

I'm so excited to share with my friend Luz! I've been translating stuff for her, but this will be so much nicer. At least one of them is written from a Christian perspective (rather rare in the herbal sub-culture), which makes me very happy, too!

While I'm not Mrs. Organic, I do see a lot of value in healthy eating. And while I'm also not anti-doctor, (I honestly haven't set foot in a doctor's office in years...unless you count when we took Andrew to see the local doctor, but that wasn't his "office"; it was his front porch.) I see a lot of value in understanding disease, medicine and how doctors arrive at their diagnosis. To that end, I read a lot about herbal remedies and healthy living. Can't hurt, right?

There has been very little that has come our way, in matters of health, that I haven't been able to handle with prayer, my herb books (and the herbs that go along with them) and some common sense. I can't wait to dig into my new books and see what else I can learn. In fact, I think that's what I'm going to do right now.

Just for fun: What's your favorite herbal or home remedy? What's the first thing you do when you start to feel like you're catching a cold?

Monday, September 12, 2011

On the Road Again

Determining to post at least once before I get home and find myself, once again, months behind, I hereby post a few pics of our last two weeks of travel.

We've passed through Arizona and Southern California and today we leave Grandma and Grandpa's house to head to Oregon. Squeal!!!! I'm a little excited about seeing my daughter again! I just think six months is a long time.

The other day, I was considering how many hours a year we spend in the car. So far in 2011, we have spent -- on furloughs only -- 160 hours traveling. That doesn't count the 20 or more hours a week we spend in the car as we travel around Mexico. That also doesn't include the other 45+ hours we still have ahead of us this trip.

Needless to say, as a family we have discovered many ways to pass the time while driving. I wanted to share these shots of Jessee. This is his new travel-pasttime:

He was really focused on the casting on. I'm looking forward to seeing his finished product. What really caught my attention, though, was the title of the book he's using to learn the manly art of knitting.

Can you read the title? It's a bit dark.

The book title: "Knitting with Balls".

I would say that the title is a bit, um, brash, but I thought it very funny. And hey, if it helps my guys pass a few hours in relative peace, I'll accept a bit of off-color humor!!!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Family Vehicle

La Familia Aguilar

Ages ago, I mentioned that the "Family Vehicle" in Mexico was significantly smaller than the family vehicle of the US -- even though family size is the same or larger here. To those of you who didn't believe me: Oh, you doubting souls!