3.26.2010

The Very Worst Prayer Card


Alrighty, due to some technical difficulties (and me not being a technical person, like at all), I had to fix the pics with stupid screen shots. It's ghetto rigged, so totally not as cool as it was when I first put it up, but you'll at least get the idea. Sorry I'm lame. :(

Ok. I need your input. I've mocked up a few ideas for our new prayer card. But I'm just not sure which one we should go with. Which do you like best? I am totally open to your ideas and suggestions...


There's the "Traditional" prayer card:

Or, for people who would rather not have some random family plastered on their Fridgidare, we have the "Scenic" card which I may call the "I support ugly missionaries" card:


For hipsters, we've got the "We miss IKEA more than we miss our families" card:


And, of course, some missionaries don't have kids, so here's a "Very Happy Christ-Loving Couple" card, featuring a very happy, Christ-loving couple:

In keeping with the flavor of this blog, I thought this was a good one. The "White Trash Bumper Sticker" prayer card:


And, of course (my personal favorite), the "Missionaries are like freaking Super Heroes so show a little respect!" card:


Now, seriously, which one would you want on your fridge? ... or in your junk drawer? ....or under the floor mat in the back seat of your car?

Which one would you be least likely to throw away?

Which one might encourage you to engage in our ministry here by actively praying, or giving, or sending us extraordinary birthday presents?...

I need to know.

An interview. And other news...

So, check it out. Carrie, from Perfectly Imperfect interviewed me for her blog! Neat-O! Read it, and other cool stuff from the life of a missionary/mom in Eastern Europe, here.

And, I've been working on some Prayer Cards that are totally gonna blow your mind! ...oooor get me fired. Not sure.

I'll be posting them for your opinion, hopefully, later this afternoon. So come back later and check out The Very Worst Prayer Card.

Ok, I don't wanna give it all away, but the following photo ~of El Chupacabra demontrating the complete and total innappropriateness of this skate deck (which does NOT belong to any member of my family)~ may have been used:

I know, he's crazy sexy.

3.22.2010

There are skeletons in the closet...in the bathroom...under the stairs.


We live in a funny, sometimes stinky, little house. I love it, mostly.


My bedroom is super weird. It’s like 25 feet long, and it goes from being about 9 feet wide at one end, to about 14 feet wide at the other. All the electrical outlets are on one side of the room, and there are two overhead lights with switches about 12 feet apart. It’s funky.


Only two of the rooms have closets. And (you may remember) we converted the itty-bitty office space down stairs into a teeny-tiny bedroom for our terribly syndromed middle child. There’s no hot-water tank, no city sewage, no a/c, and the plumbing isn’t properly vented (which basically means that, on occasion, farts come out of the sink drains). Sometimes lightening arcs from the electric heaters to the metal window frames in the showers. And there’s no water-pressure on Saturdays because everyone in the neighborhood is doing laundry. The lights dim if anyone within three houses uses a power tool. Oh, and when the wind catches the tin roof it sounds like a train running through the living room - but that usually only happens in the middle of the night.


We pay $700 a month for this architectural masterpiece/olfactory deathtrap. Try not to be jealous.


By far though, the best, and most intriguing, part of the house is the downstairs half-bath - an obvious structural afterthought. Hidden behind a very narrow door is a potty so small that El Chupacabra cannot physically use it without either wedging his head tightly between his shoulder and the ceiling, or cramming his knees painfully against the wall. The “sink” is made from what I’m pretty sure is a tiny, shallow drinking fountain basin. And at the far end is another door, an even smaller door, that opens into a closet under the stairs.


This bathroom sees very little use. Mostly because it’s creepy and dark and it smells like mushrooms. But also, because I have a strict “No Pooping Downstairs!” rule. (I just really hate the idea of somebody taking a dump so close to the kitchen and, also, I think it’s rude to fill the main living area with your butt stench.)


Welcome...my door is always open. I know you can’t wait to drop by.


So, can I tell you something?


My life was an open book until I started writing a blog.


That’s ironic, right?


The thing is, I would still be happy to tell you everything. I like to think I have no secrets. I believe in living confessionally. And if you and I were to sit down and have coffee or whatever, I would spill. I would tell you about how and where and when I struggle, I would dish about depression, and how I suck as a Mom, and how my husband deserves a better wife. I would show you all my hurts the way a child shows off stitches, and I would tell you how I got so deeply wounded and about how and why the scab keeps coming off - but also how, albeit slowly, it is healing from the inside out.


I would also tell you how I’m growing and changing. How I’m learning more and more everyday what it means to be restored, healed, perfected. And if we were sitting across a dinner table, I wouldn’t be afraid to tell you about how my Spanish accent is pretty kick ass, or how I’m getting to be an awesome cook, or about any of the million minor triumphs that help get me through a day.


But what I write must be carefully weighed. And I hate that.


I hate that I worry about what will happen if our supporters don’t want to support missionaries who struggle with...*gasp*... sin. Or what if I write about my stupid little successes, and it’s interpreted as arrogance. What if being too open hurts my family because someone pulls their financial support.


Truth be told, my heart is just like this funny, sometimes stinky, little house. Full of janky rooms that make no sense. It’s messy, and unkempt, and the beds aren’t made. And there are no closets to hide junk in. And sometimes, quite frankly, it smells like farts, cause I carry a lot of crap around that I really ought not.


And then, one day, I became a missionary who writes a blog about her retarded life, and I added a room, like an afterthought, a skeleton sized closet, at the back of the bathroom, under the stairs. A place to stash the garbage that might be frowned upon, or misunderstood. A place to put things that I will only tell you when I can see your face.


Can I tell you something?


I believe, whole heartedly, that Jesus Christ, himself, wades knee deep in shit to save me.


Not that he did. But that he does. Because I am not yet wholly restored, I am not fully healed, and not nearly perfected.


Jesus doesn’t show up with a “No Pooping Downstairs!” rule. He doesn’t care how bad you stink up the place. He’s willing to stoop down and climb around in that scary dark closet, the one full of skeletons and secrets and all that junk you think is so awful.


Jesus will never walk away. Jesus can handle your crap. Jesus will never. pull. your. support.


(Oh and...

Dear Supporters,

All is well. No worries, there’s no sin here! We’re good. Real good! *wink wink*

Much love,

Jamie the Very Worst Missionary)

3.18.2010

Sorry, you missed it.

I was totally gonna start out by saying that I almost died yesterday, but you know when something horrible happens, like when a plane crashes or something, and someone says, “I took that same flight just three days before,” implying that they almost died, and you respond by saying “Oh my gosh, thank God you’re alive!” but you’re actually thinking “Oh my God, you’re a self-obsessed idiot!” - yeah - I didn’t wanna be that guy so I changed my mind and wrote something totally different and it was all kinds of awesome and you would have 100% LOVED it, but then my stupid freaking ( <--- totally not the word I’m thinking) computer did this thing where it turns the whole screen dark and tells me in english and 30 other languages that it must be shut it down immediately and if I don’t do it the Earth will be hit by an asteroid and I will be personally responsible for the end of the human race. Then it gave me the bird and spit in my eye. Oh, and it erased the funniest and most inspiring blog I have ever written. Ever.


So. Sorry you missed it.


I blame Satan.


and Steve Jobs.


3.14.2010

I really, really do.

Sometimes.

While I'm visiting you.

I look at the clock on my cell phone and wonder how much longer.

It's not because I don't want to be there...







...with you.




I love you.










I really, really do.

It's just.

~I'm starving and I can't wait to go eat lunch.~

I usually have this thought less than an hour after handing you a banana and a piece of bread which likely will be your biggest meal all week.























I love you. I really, really do.

It's just.

I love me... more.

And I pray everyday that God will send you someone better than me.

Or that He'll send a better me.






3.11.2010

Come, Follow Me; The VWM on Twitter


So this is kind of a big deal (in a -not a big deal at all - sort of way):

You will notice, if you scroll down and look, somewhere over there -------------------)>

that the VWM is finally on Twitter.

So, if you would like to make the day of a really crappy missionary, go click it, and become a follower.

I promise you will not be disappointed. (ok, that's a lie.)

But, this is true:

I'm planning on picking a fight with El Chupacabra tonight so that he will call me a "Total Reject" and then I can say "Well, all my FOLLOWERS don't reject me, so there!" and then when he says "You have issues." I can pull up my Twitter account and say "And THEY don't care! MUAHAhahahaha!"

It's gonna be AWESOME!

And then I will Twitter his response for your personal enjoyment. You're welcome.

But the thing is, if I only have, like, 4 followers, then this whole plan is pretty much crap. So come on, help me stick it to El Chupacabra. Won't you join me in the fight against mythical creatures that leave piles of man hair in the sink for their wives to clean up?

Come, follow me, and I will make you.... Um,.. I will make you... I dunno... but it's good.










3.09.2010

The one where she says "Pubes"

El Chupacabra ran downstairs recently and, as he slipped out the front door, he said, " Hey, I left you a present in our bathroom." And then he was gone...

Naturally, I thought it would be a massive turd.

But no.

It was so. much. worse.

The only thing that would have made this better would have been if he'd added a note that said:
Don't feed it after Midnight and NEVER get it wet!
Oh, and, just in case you missed it, THERE'S A BEARD IN MY SINK!

Ok. So, we have an ongoing debate in our household as to the specific nature of beard hair. I believe, whole heartedly, that beard hair is actually pubic hair as it arrives during puberty, and shares aaaalll kinds of consistencies with other hairs that arrive during that same time.

I think I'm speaking quite accurately when I say things like, "Um, there's a pube touching your fork." or "Whoops, ya got some popcorn stuck there... in your pubes."

El Chupacabra doesn't think I'm funny. Like, at all.

He says that I'm crazy because he believes that hair is associated with the region from which it comes, and not the era in which it arrived.

Obviously, he's wrong.

BUT - since..*ahem*...I am a very nice wife, and I value our relationship more than a little tiny debate about wether or not it's technically correct for me to refer to him as "Pube beard the wiry Pirate" or "PubyMcGee", or any of the other brrrilliant monickers I have for the Pubezilla growing on his nether region... I mean, like the nether region of his face... (names that I would love to share with you, but which would, undoubtedly, be frowned upon by a few well meaning Christians who feel intensely convicted on my behalf), I have deferred to his opinion. Yes - I. have. deferred.

So now I just call ALL hair, "beard" hair, like, "Man, the boy's shower is all full of 'beard' hair." And, yes, I do use finger quotes when I say "beard". Always.

Anyway, problem solved.

Some things just aren't worth fighting over. Especially the things that we can't or won't have the answers to in this lifetime.

I see people - Christian people - in these wild debates, arguments really, about some of the stupidest crap, and it always makes me wonder what God thinks about that. I mean, about us, treating each other like sh..dirt because we're so focused on being right, and on sharing our great wisdom with others throughout the course of our miniscule, and relatively very short lives, that we've forgotten what matters and what doesn't.

I dunno. I just feel like some of our very strong opinions might be better left as questions, to be saved, and asked of the only One who speaks not out of opinion, but Truth.

I have this picture in my head of heaven. Everybody always talks about the questions they have for for Jesus - I LOVE those questions! I imagine that there will be a very long line of dead folks, waiting patiently to find out if dogs go to heaven, or if Adam had a belly button. And then you'll have those guys that always argue for Calvin, or against him. You'll probably have a whole lot of people with questions that start "In the Bible, what exactly did you mean by....?" And a bunch of conspiracy theorists wanting to know if they were right about butt-probing aliens, or computers with eyes, or the government making us eat tiny robots in Raisin Bran, or whatever.

And then you'll have me.

I will wait as long as I have to. I'll have an eternity to get the answer to my question. When my moment comes, I will walk right up to Jesus, motion toward his golden, flowing, kinky beard, and I will ask, "So, is that, like, pubic hair... or what?"

Your turn. What will you ask?

I would never...


I'm pretty sure there are rules about these things.

Missionaries are only supposed to tell you about how hard it is to be a missionary. We prefer to emphasize the difficulties of living in a foreign land. We want to make you think that you are the lucky one, and you should be glad we came here so you wouldn't have to.

And by all means, we are never, ever, ever supposed to post an amazing picture of where we live. A picture of the clouds rolling down off the top of a volcano, with trees coming into bloom over a field of glossy green coffee plants. Of blue skies and sunshine, and a day that is so obviously an 80° day that it might make people who are trembling from cold in other parts of the world weep with envy. And I'm sure it would be even more insensitive to mention that said photo was taken just 15 steps from the missionary's front door.

There might be a missionary out there, somewhere, that would - for example - do something like this:

DON'T BE JEALOUS JUST BECAUSE I LIVE HERE! HA!!

But, I doubt it.

That would be incredibly rude. Terribly, terribly rude. Inexcusably rude, really.

I mean, sheesh... some people...

What kind of missionary would even consider doing something like that?...



3.04.2010

Wishing VS Pooping: A More Effective Approach

Since the arrival of my little niece, Charlotte, just a few hours ago, I have wished for a thousand things.

I wish I was there... I wish I could hold her... I just wish I could meet her... I wish I could hug my sister... I wish we lived closer... I wish I could smell her new baby smell... I really wish I had a Starbuck’s hot, venti, skinny, vanilla latte in my hand (What?! I do.)...


I’m the queen of wishing for the impossible.


When my kids were small they started wishing for stuff, too. And it drove me absolutely nuts! Mostly because they would look at me with sad, droopy eyes and “wish” for things instead of asking for them directly, like this - *sigh* “I wish I could have a cookie.” And the response was always the same, “Well, then you should try ASKING for a cookie, and see what happens.”


I don’t know why they kept on wishing, it never really worked for them. As they got older, I got increasingly aggravated at being approached like an invisible Fairy Godmother every time one of my kids wanted something. I was starting to worry about their future. Can you imagine a grown man quietly wishing for a raise in front of his boss, or subtly wishing aloud that his girlfriend would marry him? An adult sadly wishing down the price of a car to the dealer?


That would be ridiculous... not to mention embarrassingly wussy.


Then one day El Chupacabra said something that all but put wishing to an end in our household. I don’t know which kid was wishing, nor do I remember what it was he had wished for, but I do remember that El Chupacabra looked right at him and said flatly:


“Son, wish in one hand and poop in the other. See which one fills up faster.”


And, after an hour and a half of hysterical laughter, the depth of those words sunk into my bones and changed my life forever. ....um...or, they should have, cause that’s brilliant stuff right there!


His point was that if you want something, working for it -not wishing for it- is the way to go. Even if that work is as simple as asking directly. And the other part of that is that if you keep trying to fill up on wishes, you’re going to be left feeling pretty empty.


And he’s right.


The truth is, I can sit here and wish that I had been there when my sister squeezed out this kid, and I can wish that I was holding a squirming bundle of niece in my arms right this second, but I will still be in Costa Rica, and she in NorCal. I can wish and wish and wish that I will wake up tomorrow and there will be a Starbucks barista standing next to my bed ready to hand me a steaming caramel Macchiato... It ain’t gonna happen.


And if I spend too much time wishing about it all, my life could start to feel very, very empty, and then I might get very, very bitter, and I could even forget that I really like my life here in Costa Rica, in fact sometimes I love it, and I could easily dismiss the truth that it is my honor to be here.


So instead of whispering my longings to the universe today, I will say them directly to God. I will be proactive by praying for this new baby, my sister and her family, and I’ll resist the urge to be inactive by wishing I was nearer to them.


I have to admit - I’ve been wishing too often lately. Wishing for more money. Wishing I could change certain things. Wishing to heal a few deep wounds. Wishing that I wasn’t paralyzed at times by this overwhelming life I’ve found myself living. Wishing for a certain overly expensive coffee chain to show up and make it all better.


I've been doing too much wishing, and not enough pooping... er...you know what I mean...


Is there something you’ve been wishing for that you could, instead, be proactively working toward? Or is there a wish on your list for something you can’t change, and it’s leaving you empty?


3.03.2010

BitterBitterBitterSweet

My sister is having a baby.


No, I mean, like right now, as I write this, she’s checking into a hospital to to bring a teeny, tiny baby girl into this world. My niece.


My heart is a floppy rag of emotions.


I am overjoyed, ecstatic, elated at the thought of the child who will be taking her very first breath in a matter of hours, the one who will be stretching her limbs for the first time, and looking into faces, and finally hearing the unmuffled voices of the family that welcomes her today, her birthday.


My little niece. It makes me smile just to think of it.


And then my eyes fill with tears and my heart breaks with the reminder that I will be meeting her for the first time through photos. I will watch her grow up in a series of still shots and 40 second clips. I won’t be there tomorrow to hold her warm little body in my arms, to press my lips against her silky forehead, to marvel at her perfect little baby feet.


These are the moments that hit me hard. These are the times that make me crawl into bed and pull the covers over my head and say to God that being a missionary sucks balls.


And I feel comforted because I know that God knows, far better than I, what it’s like to be separated from the ones you love, and to long for them with all your heart.


Welcome to Life, baby girl. I long to be close you...