Thursday, July 11, 2013

One Year In.

It's been a year since we've been back in the US.  I've kind of lost my blogging voice.  In my other blog (that is now shut down), there was always so much to say.  China, language learning, culture, our sweet foster son, the international school, Bible studies that were held in our home.
Now we are back in the US and have a new and different life.  We have had many changes- our daughter has gone off to college, we left our beloved foster son in China where he is awaiting adoption, we live in a part of the country that is new to us.  None of the changes have been easy for us. It's been good...but it's been very hard. There is has much to process but the processing has been very internal.
I came back from China thinking that it would be easy to find a new ESL job.  I thought that with an MA TESOL and experience overseas, employers would snap me up.  What it didn't know was the ESL is a saturated market in Portland....and there are plenty of people with the same or more experience than I have. So I have a job in a small language school that I like but don't love.  The pay is low. It's what I want to do, but not the circumstances or hours that I want.  I am thankful but it's hard to be lowest on the totem pole at age 51.
So I haven't been blogging but I've been journaling like crazy.  I've used two books to help me reflect.
The first one is God in the Yard by LL Barkat.  This is a great series of quiet reflections as a woman steps out into her yard every day for a year to be still and reflect.  I really enjoyed the questions that she asked and the many things she made me think about.
Now I am reading Making Manifest by David Harrity.  You an buy this much more cheaply at  David Harrity is part of this online publication and I am not quite sure how to describe this book!  Here are a few lines from it.
God is making and remaking, creating and revising-in creation, through Incarnation, and into new creation; God is reimagining the whole of this created world. The heart of God began beating in the Incarnation and has pulsed in the world since Creation.  The Incarnation.  Word made Flesh.  God has come; Language has skin, Construction is the ultimate result of our words.  Christ, then, is God's ultimate poem, God's ultimate workmanship- poemia in Greek, which is where we also get the English word poem.  Poetry is the richest use of our human language: carefully crafted words rendering powerful experience, telling the story of human condition...Our words, designed- fleshed out.
The subtitle of this book is "On Faith, Creativity and the Kingdom at Hand."  It is part devotional, part creativity work and part poetry writing.  It's very challenging to work through.

What else have we been into?  Well, bird watching for one!  At and around our feeder we have a flock of goldfinches that comes regularly and maybe two pairs of Grosbeaks.  We also have the usual chickadees, varying kinds of sparrows, mourning doves, hummingbirds, rufous towhees, robins, Stellar Jays and more

Here is a badly shot picture of a kestrel on our fence, hoping to snack on some songbirds.

We've enjoyed going up the Columbia Gorge and seeing views like this.

We also have a garden plot across the street from our church.  It's been wonderful to get our hands dirty and see the tomatoes and peppers grow and the beans start to crawl up the poles.

Banana Peppers

Tomato and Pepper plants with marigolds to keep the bugs away.

Elisabeth is in the Philippines for the summer, working at Kids International Ministries.  Before she left, she gave us this.

It included her passport, itineraries, contact information and a picture in case she was kidnapped.  Very comforting.  You can follow her adventures at Elbe Goes

So bit -by-bit, we adjust. We think, we pray, we read, we talk.  We second guess our every decision and then feel sure we are making good decisions....until we aren't sure.  The first year back in country is a year of adjusment...but I think it will take more than a year until we feel sure and centered again.

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