Friday, July 26, 2013

A Backyard

We have longed for a backyard for what feels like forever.  There are not a lot of backyards in the San Jose/Heredia/Alajuela Metro Area.  Some city planner realized years ago that this mesa (valley?) we live in had limited space and divvied it up into miniscule plots so as to be able to squish as many people as possible in between all the beautiful mountains.  Or so it would seem.  At any rate, most people here seem to value more house-space than yard-space, so not many houses have yards left, even if they started out with one.  We feel lucky to have the little green patch that we do right now.  It needs a little TLC, and we'd love for it to be bigger.  But.  We love it for what it is.

It has a cas tree that is about to be laden with cas.  And aloe vera--the biggest one I've ever seen.  The whole space can be weed-wacked in about 10 minutes.  Since our dryer is out of commission, we can hang our clothes out and they dry fast (if it's sunny).  It's big enough for a kiddie pool, a rope 'swing', reading books, and a little patch for the kids to throw seeds into.  You can even throw a ball back there--though not too high--we've had to retrieve three balls from the roof/gutter so far.  

Laundry (pila) area
Roofed clotheslines
How I actually like to dry the clothes (but I still miss the dryer, for the record)

Makeshift closet/storage area/bodega (red door is to the guest room)

Yay for sun and water!!

Reading with friends who visited (note the aloe vera on the back wall)

Changes Changes Changes

I checked the blog today and realized it's been about 3 months (!) since our last post.  Wow.  A lot has happened here since April.  I'll give the sped-up version of things.

In April, the SI-CR office was relocated from our home to a house near the language school that we partner with.  It felt strange, but right, to not have the office buzzing upstairs above our heads.  God provided just the right place for the new office.  It's the one I had mentioned and many of you prayed for, with a big meeting room, a storage room, kitchen, small office space, etc.  Thank you for praying with us for this!  We are still in the process of unpacking and organizing the spaces in the new office, but it has already proved to be just what we as an organization needed.  

In May SI-CR hosted a training time/retreat for our staff, plus the staff from Nicaragua.  We even had a family from New Zealand here that is headed to Fiji!  It was quite the international event!  Recently, we welcomed two teams (from Reedley, CA, and Indiana) who were both great groups.  They were able to help break in the new office and be guinea pigs in how to run things from a place that was not also our home.  Both groups served alongside our staff in the five ministry sites, participated in devotions and evening activities, and stayed with host families.  We also welcomed two summer interns (Jonathan, and Cinthia, who was a semester student this spring), and five new staff! Three of our new staff are North Americans, two are Costa Ricans.  Talk about some quick growth!!  

On June 25th, Sawyer turned seven!  7.  I think all I did was blink and my 10.5 pound baby boy turned into a big kid.  No other explanation.  Here's some pictures of his special day:

About a week and a half ago (*month ago*), we Dixons moved, too.  Yep, it happened.  We are settling in, unpacking, trying to stuff our things into two closets and a few kitchen cabinets, and ENJOYING having some green space again!  

Taken from the side of the front, at night.  Parking.
It is not the house of our dreams.  I feel like I have to say that for the sake of being honest.  God definitely led us here, we feel we are supposed to be here, and we even LIKE it.  But, I can't say that I am super excited about it like I wish I was.  I wish God had provided the PERFECT thing for us.  Perfect as in my definition of perfect.  But he didn't.  I know there are lots of things to learn from that, and I'm learning them.  Slowly.  The house IS growing on me, and I've been praying like crazy about my attitude and disappointment that we haven't been able to buy, that the yard isn't bigger, etc. (I mean, honestly, I have issues).  The more we unpack, and the more shelves Jeff builds to put all the things we unpack, the more at home I feel, and the more I can see the benefits of this new place.  And, it's funny, because in some ways, God answered some very specific requests that I had:
*There is a window in every room.  The ventilation isn't great, but the natural light is amazing.  I can even see green out the kitchen window!  
*We have green!  Not a lot, but enough.  It's enough for the kids to play, get dirty, plant bean seeds, and hang a rope from the tree and swing.  There's a city lot across the street, too, that we can take advantage of.  
*The floor plan makes sense to us, for the most part.  
*The kitchen is big enough for several people to be in all together at the same time.  Granted, there isn't nearly enough counter space, but Jeff and the guys at the wood shop are remedying that.  
*We have a guest room.  Right now it's a storage area for bins and boxes and random stuff, and it may or may not have a couple of leaks, but it's GOING TO BE the guest room.  
*Our new house is about 5 blocks from the new office--well inside our geographical 'circle.'

The Backyard
3 kids in one room + bathroom

We are rich in children's books.
Overall, I really am thankful.  Thankful to be moved.  Thankful not to have to scour the internet and run around looking at houses like a crazy person for awhile.  Thankful for green.  Thankful that the kids are adjusting well to sharing a room and sharing smaller space in general (they've had their moments of needing alone time and space that we just don't have here, but overall. . .)  Thankful for our cas tree and our giant aloe vera plant.  Thankful to see the clouds and sky.  Thankful to be close to the new SI-CR office.  Thankful that I can trust God that this home IS where he wants us for now, and  that he will provide the next one, too.  Thankful for my husband.  Thankful for my kids and the work I see God doing in each of them.  Thankful for all he is doing in SI-CR.  Thankful for new staff.  Thankful for all of our amazing staff.  Thankful for great teams and the communities we work in.  Thankful for all of our faithful supporters and prayer warriors that are so vital to all that happens here.  Thankful for a God who helps me be content and thankful and changes my attitude faithfully and patiently.  

*****  Now that more time has passed and I am FINALLY publishing this, MORE has happened.  Olivia also had a birthday, number 9, (see pics below), we have put our guest room to use 3 times, and are hosting a mixed team from The Well Church in Fresno, and Bellvue Christian in WA.  We are blessed.

How did this 9+ pounder become a 9 YEAR OLD???