Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Raining!

  Well, I awoke at 2 am this morning to the sound of thunder. I was really disoriented and thought I was back in Arkansas. Couldn't believe that when I shook the sleepiness off that I was hearing thunder here in Texas! Then I listened more earnestly and heard the sound of rain hitting the window. Oh how desperately we have needed rain. After spending two weeks in Arkansas where they have had more than their share, I have been hoping and praying that the Lord would see fit to send some of that heavenly water down on Texas. I have laughingly said that there are just too many politicians in Austin and all their hot air just sucks the moisture right out of the sky. I'm guessing the state legislature must be on vacation and now is our chance to get some rain. I grew up in West Texas where it didn't rain a lot but oh when it did, it was a "toad floater". I guess that expression came from the horned toads that would be found floating in our alleys and culverts.  Anyway, I was just recalling the scripture that says, "God causes it to rain on the just and the unjust" and it reminded me that just like rain that falls we are living in a spiritual desert of sorts in America. People seek after their own gratification rather than serving their fellow men (and women). Just recently I have met a group of people who are either headed to AD to teach or are already there. They are giving up everything comfortable and familiar to go to a place where they will be able to teach children and young people English in order that these students may be more equipped to function in a global community. All are making a sacrifice, whether it is to leave nice homes and good jobs or just family members and friends who are dear to them. I am so glad I connected with this group of peeps who are all waiting with great anticipation the opportunity that is set before them. I regret that for now I don't get to join them but know that I will be able to follow their adventures in AD while I share my "not quite so exciting" adventures in Arkansas. So I close by giving you these words from Robert Frost who said, " I am not a teacher, I am an awakener". May that be true of all of us. Just as this long needed rain will awaken a parched land, let those of us who teach awaken those our lives touch.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Slowing down...well not much

Hope this day finds you believing that God is good! Sometimes we can't see His working and other times we see His hand in everything we touch. In the past two weeks of my mom's rehab in a place that could have been one of the most depressing of our lives we found that God will sometimes use the toughest of circumstances to show his Almighty Hand. If you are in a place where you feel that God isn't even listening as you seek Him know that is a lie from the pit of hell! He is there but sometimes He moves in the silences in ways we could seldom imagine. As my life took a "left turn" on the road to Abu Dhabi I choose to believe  that He has the best in store for us, even when it wasn't our first choice. In the past two weeks I have been given so many opportunities to minister but had I been wallowing in my own self pity I might have missed what was right in front of my face.  There was the greeter at Walmart who expressed her concern to me about the likelihood of going to jail because of a bad choice, a lovely young mother and her son, Liam that I visited with while picking out fruit, another young family whose daughter Madison proudly recited for me the verse she learned in Vacation Bible School. Yeah, it takes me a LOT longer to get errands done but what blessings I would have missed if I had just been rushing from one task to another and not taking the time to be the conduit for a little more joy in someone's day. My tasks eventually get done but how much richer I am for the experience. I'm finding that here in Arkansas, much like where I was headed in AD, family is important and most people don't really get in too much of a hurry. Now it's back to Texas to get everything done to make the transition to our new home. Just as much work as going to AD but MUCH less paperwork!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Well, It's a New Adventure...but a "God thang" for sure

Howdy ya'll,
   This post is coming to you from NW Arkansas. Any of you ever make dumb statements like "I will never..."? You can fill in your own words. Well long ago...I guess 30 years or so ago when my mom chose to marry my stepdad and then they moved to Arkansas, I casually said, "Please don't tell people when you come to Texas that I'm from Arkansas". I am a Texan in every sense of the word.  Heck, I bleed red-white-and blue Lone star flag blood! Then several years ago I went to Indonesia and fell in love with Muslim people and their culture. So fast forward to my opportunity to go and teach in the AD school system...and I wanted to be in the most remote part of the emirate, Al Gharbia. A lot like where I grew up in West, dry, nothing but sand! Well, then my mother-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and passed away in only 18 days after going into the hospital. I screamed in the shower the day that she went home to Heaven, "WHERE ARE YOU GOD? THIS IS SO UNFAIR!" The day of her funeral, my mother had a stroke and the prognosis was not good. My stepdad has Alzheimers so he iS not going to be all that is needed. Al (my precious hubby) and I dropped everything and rushed to Arkansas. Now it is clear that while my mother will recover, it is going to be a long slow process and she is 80 years old and still fiercely independent. Dad's disease takes him away from us a little more every day and it is difficult to understand how a loving God could allow this to happen to a man who is probably one of the smartest people I've ever known (with the exception of my oldest son, John). However, now he is much less serious and lots of fun, especially when we're looking for something and trying to figure out where the most logical place is that my mother would have put it! One example was the other day when my mother (by phone of course) was absolutely sure there was a package of bacon in the freezer and dad and I were "diving" head first into this top load freezer trying not to make my mother any more angry than she already was! We found the bacon and I even cooked it for breakfast! It's official, I stink at cooking! Thank you Lord for the husband you gave me who not only loves to cook but does it VERY well. I have so much to be thankful for that this little detour from my going to Abu Dhabi seems challenging but I know that while I don't know what the future holds, I know WHO holds the future! So while my new adventure is Arkansas not Abu Dhabi, my brother pointed out that, "Hey, they both start with A" and at least I am headed the right direction, EAST. So please stay tuned for more stories that will make you laugh and cry as I am finding this process of living has a great deal of both. Blessings to all who follow Him because they know where he's going...and also to those who like me, haven't a clue but we are held in His hands!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Counting Blessings

Today's blog has really nothing to do with the journey to AD but much more about the journey called life. Just a few days ago now we were told that my wonderful mother-in-law has stage 4 lymphoma. She was given one to three weeks to live and so now we wait with her as she finishes her life on this earth. As I reflect over the past amazing 17 years that I have been blessed to call her my mom, I have cried, laughed and experienced the entire range of emotions. I am thankful that the Lord has allowed me to be here even though it is a difficult part of the journey. I remain excited about all the adventures we are about to experience in Abu Dhabi and somehow I feel that mom will be with us in all our adventures. I hope that when I come to the end of my own journey that I will be surrounded by friends and family and know that I did my best to love everyone to the best of my ability and leave a legacy that will live on after me. I hope that those of you who still have your parents will tell them how much you love them and even if you are far away you need to take the time to let them know how special they are to you. I know that my friends will be more special and I will make sure to take the time to tell others how much they mean to me...those back home and in my daily life. Be sure to count your blessings today!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Riley's the name, procrastinating my game

Okay, so here it is May 12th and I haven't packed or sold a thing. Been too busy...yeah right! I read with envy every night the postings of my fellow adventurers having their garage/craigslist sales etc. and long to be "on the ball". I have to pack up my classroom at school as well. Allergies are terrible, mom's still in the hospital, oh the list of excuses just goes on and on!

So, after many months of drought, it's raining here in central Texas. Gonna turn over a new leaf today and get busy cleaning out! Already started in my classroom. Trash can is full and I'll get a bigger bag to fill up in a bit. Why do I have such a hard time purging when I know I need to "get r done"?

Hope you find these words encouraging if you're like me and would rather work on your blog than work on the purge! TTFN as Tigger would say!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The adventure begins...

Well, it's official! I'm off to teach in Abu Dhabi, many thousands of miles away where the sand meets the sea. So the title of the blog, "Sandy Feet".  I actually came back from a walk on the beach with my wonderful daughter-in-law and realized my feet were covered in sand...see picture...I began writing in my new journal that day.
Life is not about the destination so much as the journey and every journey begins with that first step. Nobody ever gets anywhere without taking that sometimes challenging first step and many times when you walk a long road your feet are gonna get a little dirty! But what a story that dirt can tell!
So in the next few months there will be:
tears of people and things familiar to me
laughter at memories shared
anger (at myself) for too much procrastinating
excitement as I being another phase in this great adventure called LIFE!