Have ticket, will travel

This week I finally picked up my ticket to fly to Quito. The airline's office was in an industrial office park. Of course there was no parking in the lot (the crabby security guard blew his whistle at me when I parked there.) so I had to park on the street about a block up, right on a curve. Kelly and I were pretty sure we were going to get broad-sided while we were backing out, but thankfully the fireman driving the huge truck stopped in the middle of the street to talk to someone on the sidewalk. With that nice wall of protection we zipped out and headed to our next destination.

Now that I actually have my ticket in my hot little hand, I'm starting to get very excited. Four weeks from today I will be in the sky (with my packed lunch, can you believe they charge 15 euro/$20 for this?)

Now I can start dreaming about all the stuff I will try to cram into 11 days! Of course there will be lots of baby cuddling, (my nephew Emiliano) trying to see as many people as I can, eating all my favorite Ecuadorian foods, (don't even get me started down that path!) going to a few of my favorite places, visiting Mom's grave, watching a billion movies with my brother and whatever else we come up with.

I cannot think of going back to Ecuador for very long without getting choked up. I mean, really, how can you not get attached to a place like this? I miss the green. There are mountains here in Madrid, but everything is dry, dry, dry.

Cotopaxi Posted by Picasa

Quito Posted by Picasa

Quito Posted by Picasa

I admit it, when I was growing up and my parents would be presenting slide shows of Ecuador while we were on furlough, I almost always cried when I saw the pictures and heard the music. Yeah, yeah, I cry during Hallmark commercials too, and when I watch people reunite at airports.


After Katrina

I have a hard time imagining what the people in the southern US are going through right now. Today while I rode the air-conditioned train into Madrid, people did not even have enough water to drink. While I sat in my friend Kelly's awesome new apartment (which God gave her) people were sifting through what was left of their homes and belongings. While I took my time wandering around Carrefour (like a super Walmart) people were trudging through nasty water trying to get to higher ground, to somewhere where there might be food, water, a working bathroom or transportation out of the worst nightmare they could imagine.

It's times like this when I feel so helpless. Sure, my financial donation will help. A little. Thankfully we're already used to paying more than $4.50 a gallon of gas. But what I would really like is to open our home to someone that lost theirs. Or go down there and help pass out food. Or drive a bus full of people away to something, somewhere less horrible.

My friend Mary inspired me to join this group of bloggers trying to get people to help however they can. My friend Jenn is doing what she can to raise money to give.

There are loads of organizations out there where you can give. So many it's hard to know which to pick, but check out Samaritan's Purse as a good option.

My week has been full of all manner of insignificant things. I hope that I am thankful for each of them.


This World is Crazy

It seems like the world has gone a bit crazy (more than usual) in the past couple of weeks. Planes crashing, flooding in central Europe, fires burning out of control in Spain and Portugal, a hurricane that has New Orleans 80% under water and looters going wild, more flooding in China....

Life on this planet is always a crazy ride, but it sure seems like it's gotten thrown into a higher speed.



Water Music and an Afternoon Ramble

The past few days have been full of bickering children, pools of spilled milk in random places, huge stacks of laundry sitting in the living room that need to be put away, and a completely crashed computer. You get the picture.

This afternoon the kids and I met our friends Sarah, Ivan and Sam for a picnic and such. It was great; just what I needed to get me out of the basement, from in front of my computer. The kids had a ball and hopefully got rid of some of their bickering energy. Tomorrow will tell I'm sure!

After our lunch, Sarah and I sat in the shade and watched the four kids play in a babbling little stream. Just enough water to get little boys wet and muddy without any fears of drowning or being swept off, never to be seen again. I enjoyed sitting on the bank, surrounded with patchy shade and ferns wagging in the breeze, watching the kids play.

Meg is part hummingbird, part goat. She took off her shoes and socks and flitted around effortlessly, slim little white feet clinging to rocks. Funny girl. She's actually really good at climbing.

Nic began as a fussy little worrier. A "cracket" was going to hurt him, he was going to fall down, etc. He is such a city boy! Anyway, at one point he just decided that he was going to get his shoes wet and when Mom didn't object, he became King Kong, happily tromping up and down the stream. By the time we left there were not very many dry spots on him.

At one point, I got disturbed that the little sticks and pine cones I was throwing into the stream were getting hung up. (Of course that means the ones that were actually landing anywhere near the flow of water!) I got up with my stick and got busy cleaning out a channel. As I cleared twigs and sodden pine cones and muck, I could hear the subtle changes in the music the brook was making. For some reason, this resonated in a special way to me. I cleared out some debris, and I moved a couple of rocks that opened up a small tributary where no water had been flowing before. I felt like that's what God has been doing in my life. We've been clearing some debris, and maybe things will flow better now. And He is opening up channels that I never expected.

We came home wet and muddy, fingers stained with blackberry juice. Most of the ripe ones along the path had already been eaten, but we risked little prickles to find a few treasures hiding under leaves.

It was just what I needed today.