#235 – Family Pictures . . . Change is on the Horizon

It has been quite the week. 

Okay, let’s be honest, it has been quite the last few years.  I am sorry I haven’t written the last few months; I just haven’t felt like it. It’s completely true.  So true that my hands have swollen up, not even allowing me to adequately write in my daily journal.  I finally had to resort to using an AWESOME app called “Day One” to keep a daily gratitude journal, just so I could keep my life in perspective.  (Go check it out, they even offer voice recording, pictures and voice transcription)

So, why have I not felt like writing lately?  Well, I’ll be honest.  I have been terribly afraid.  Our lives were painful while we lived in the Belen house.  Issues kept coming up, yet we didn’t have the resources to get through the issues without what seemed like a MAJOR struggle that seemed to always cause some battle wounds.  Once we started making some progress (selling our house in Utah, getting our family car back from the mechanic after 10 months of it being in the shop, and then being able to spontaneously take a DREAM family vacation) I didn’t want to jinx it.

I know, I know.  That sounds terrible but THAT IS HOW HARD living in the Belen house was for us all.  Shortly after we moved to this new location, I started to go through the grieving process.  I wondered what was causing it?  But my dreams at night were clearly telling me that I was traumatized by our stay in Belen, and I needed to “let it go!”

I suddenly started to look back at our time in Belen, as if it had been like a concentration camp.  As if our family had been locked away for 3.5 years, only to now be set free . . . but was it just another trap?   So I kept my mouth closed for the first month (we moved on August 15th – our Homeschool Anniversary and Costa Rica’s Mother’s Day) and have been just living in a “wait and see” mode.

Now after 6 weeks of living here, I am finally being put into a position that I feel the need to talk.  I need to express what is happening inside of me and all around me.  Like what happened just this morning . . .

My new view from my office (my bed).

I LOVE the hydrangeas that are landscaped beautifully throughout this property. 

As I was taking my time this morning to get out of bed (it has been one busy week!), I heard the most beautiful birds singing outside of my window.  I stopped and closed my eyes so I could take in their sounds.  We are no longer living next to a BUSY freeway or industrial neighborhood with his factories, busses and cars speeding by.  We live in a tranquil part of the higher lands of Costa Rica where flora and fauna are in abundance and the sounds of nature can easily be heard.  Yes, we also happen to be in the path of airplanes taking off from the airport, but that is only a few times a day and the sound actually reminds me of the hot summer days of my youth in Utah.

Breakfast in bed . . . thanks Curly Cook!

Next came a knock at the door.  It was Curly Cook.  She wanted to share all the fun she, and the two other littles, had had this morning while they got to “trot” the property owner’s horses.  She then shared how much fun she is having on this property and that although she is missing her friends in Belen (Katie and Alana), she has made two new friends (daughters of 2 maids that work in the family houses, here on the private property we live on).  She shared how she has permission by Pelé (the personal assistant to the property owner) to play in the hay that is stacked in the barn and how she and the two girls are pretending that the lose hay is a swimming pool.  Then they climb to the top of the hay bales and JUMP with all their might, into the swimming pool below.  It sounds enchanting and much like a “proper childhood” should be.  It makes me happy to hear that my kids are so happy and enjoying their lives daily, just with what is all around them.

After my delightful breakfast in bed, I realized that I didn’t want to record THIS experience just anywhere.  I NEEDED to record it on my blog.  

But what if the enemy reads it?  What if the enemy sneaks out and attacks us again?

Have you ever read “The Hiding Place”?  It is a book written by Corrie Ten Boon.  It is all about her experience living in concentration camps during the Holocaust.  It is a power book about faith, determination to do what is right no matter the outcome, and forgiveness.  After our time in Belen, I am realizing that I need to forgive the traumatic and painful suffering we experienced and do as many freed concentration camp survivors did and “let it go” by being brave to live EACH NEW DAY, no matter what the enemy may plot to do next.

So today, I am going to share something special with you.  I am going to share something that I am SO GRATEFUL I was prompted to do before our lives got terribly busy.  It happened just after our trip to Florida in June.  We had just come home from a FANTASTIC VACATION as a family to DisneyWorld/Epcot, NASA, Legoland and the Orlando Florida temple.  I felt I now had the energy and the courage to face the dreaded FAMILY PICTURES.  

My family doesn’t enjoy getting their pictures taken, so I couldn’t use just anyone to photograph us.  AND . . . I couldn’t just set up a tripod and do it ourselves.  We needed someone who could keep us chill and happy, and that person is my good friend Sofía Morales.  She is AMAZING!!  My entire family had a blast and I am excited to share with you what she has done.  (PLEASE DO NOT TAKE THESE PHOTOS FOR YOUR PERSONAL USE – Except for family!)

Whitti Homeschool – 2018

Joy Boy – 2018

GingerSnap 2018

El Gringo – 2018

The Infinite Family!

Daddy Daughter Time!

Sometimes family life can feel this way.  But look, there is STRENGTH in working together!

Curly Cook LOVES this picture! 

If you’re happy and you know it . . . JUMP FOR JOY!

This one is for Kayleigh!

El Gringo Homeschool Graduation picture – “Time to set sail!” – 2018

El Gringo Mission Picture – “I’ll Go Where You Want Me to Go, Dear Lord.”

I don’t have to ask, I already know, these pictures are amazing!  I love looking back at them and remembering that special day.  We were all feeling self conscious, in one way or another, but by the end of our photo session at Playa Blanca (that got interrupted several times because people wanted to talk to our AMAZING photographer and ask if they could have a turn too), we all felt grateful for having had this experience.

Now, looking back, I can see the tender mercy that this photo shoot was for me.  For these pictures were taken while we STILL lived in the Belen house and we STILL weren’t sure what was “next” for our family.  (El Gringo hadn’t started his mission papers yet and a week after these pictures were taken, our family car BLEW UP AGAIN).  Life still was a mess but hope was on the horizon.

This is on my friend Reyna’s wall.  I loved it so much, I asked her if I could take a picture of it.

After watching the Family Devotional video today, “Spiritual Whirlwinds”, I realized that this is just life.  We are on a journey and the ups and downs are here to make us stronger than we EVER THOUGHT we could be.  I can honestly say that I AM a MUCH stronger woman than I was before moving to Costa Rica.  I can also say, now that El Gringo has sent his papers to go on a mission (and 8 weeks later opening them, finding out that he is going to the Argentina Resistencia Mission that includes “THE JUNGLE”) I have been prepared for THIS DAY!

I am nervous and my heart is weepy for all that comes next but I am strong and I WILL DO THIS!  So, thank you Belen House for EVERYTHING we learned while living under your roof and for keeping it together enough to keep us safe from the whirlwinds that hit us.  Hopefully our roots are deeper than we realize and our strength will keep up, as new whirlwinds come and go.

Thanks for listening,

  1 comment for “#235 – Family Pictures . . . Change is on the Horizon

  1. Allison Owen
    September 28, 2018 at 2:00 pm

    Beautiful…simply beautiful. Your words and the pictures! Amazing! Love you all!

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