We've had the loveliest day, with our good friends, Beth, Charlie & Emily! Beth is just wonderful. She is someone with whom I can be honest, particularly about the struggles and challenges of motherhood, which is such a relief! Mothering is one of the most important, most difficult, and least supported and acknowledged roles in our society. Here in the USA, there's a lot of competition between mothers to look good and have everything very much under control. This creates a void of nurture and comfort for mothers, which we need. So hug a mama today and tell her she's doing a wonderful job!!
Eowyn and Coco wanted me to put their pet snail on the blog. The snail's name is Sally. Everything they name is called Sally! They want me to have another baby and call it Sally!! Our friend Sally is very excellent and would be a brilliant choice of person to name a baby after... IF...!!!!!!!!!
I love mothering my dear little Eowyn and Cosette. I think I must be the most privileged person in the world to be family with dear Bens, Eowyn and Cosette!!!! I'm so enjoying getting back into our routines and rituals, spending time with each of them, teaching Coco to ride a bike and Eowyn to do really difficult jigsaw puzzles! They are adorable. I am very proud to annouce that 1) COCO IS POTTY TRAINED 2) I AM OFFICIALLY AN IRISH CITIZEN!!
The sand in this picture we brought all the way from North Carolina. Would you believe, Seattle doesn't have real sand?! In sand-pits at children's playgrounds, the poor little darlings build sand-castles made of gritty gravel. And what's more, they don't even realise there exists a lovely, soft, delightful substance which feels like heaven underfoot, because the word 'sand' is already accounted for. Another word which has an entirely different meaning here than my understanding of it is 'summer'...
SAM!!!!! 'Twas a pleasure to meet such an adorable wee lad today!!
I am really enjoying spending time with close friends here in Seattle. Today Katie and I had a lovely relaxing catch-up, and early in the morning, Nikki and I walked around Green Lake, talked and prayed. It was a healing, nurturing time for which I am thankful. Laurel and Melissa bounced around this evening for a bridesmaid dress fitting. Laurel is so excited about marrying Christofer in 10 days!
I find Seattle's gray weather (yep, it's freezing cold here. Anywhere else in the world, this would be called WINTER!) very difficult. Every time I return from being away, my soul aches with a deep sense of not belonging, of missing 'my people', with whom I have a long history. Yet today, and the wonderful friends I spent it with, was so comforting. Even though this place isn't my 'home' in a heart sense, the people here whose stories and lives I share are superb.
...AND RELIEVED!! We drove all night long to avoid overheating the poor, tired engine, in 3rd gear as the transmission is on its way out, and thanks to Jesus' wonder, we're all at home! Eowyn and Coco love dancing on the common at the bottom of our hill. Our hill is abundant with ripe fruit trees, of which we are oft partaking. Bens has a new disguise... We love you all! Thank you so much for following our adventure with such interest and delight!! Love, Megs
Awed by the sacred presence of enormous Sequoias, each bearing the wisdom of two thousand years, I tiptoed through the forest. A loud crash alarmed me, followed by another. A wizard in the bushes? The leaves parted and a long, white nose peeped out, followed by a black, furry body. IT'S A BEAR!! Stretched out, eagerly fossicking in the undergrowth for hunny, the bear moved passed me. I froze. The bear looked at me. Our eyes engaged. Love, fear, horror, hate, delight, connection. Big black eyes, looking at me. The bear sniffed the air, paused a moment registering my unique, invisible scent, and resumed snuffling along looking for hunny!!
(Now we just have to make it all the way back from Imperial Beach, California, to Seattle, Washington... Ptolemy, our minivan, is making all sorts of bizarre bumping banging noises which are making Bens rather worried ... Tinkerbell, our camper trailer, is doing wonderfully. The adventure shall unfold ... what ever is going to happen???!!!!!!!!!!!!)
The Pacific sparkled blue and serene, beautiful people basking on the sandy beach, chic villas lining the shore, into the hazy distance. Beyond this perfection, the high barbed-wire fence marking the Mexican border, and the silhouettes of the city of Tijuana, rambling, squashed, overflowing, other.
We went to Mexico yesterday. I am still processing the experience. The contrast at this border between the USA, big, luxurious, clean, shiny, and Mexico, crammed, smelly, crowded, dusty, left me feeling as if something wasn't right. I can't pinpoint what. At a simple level, it's just not fair. We have in common our humanity - my idealism wants that to mean we share a lot more in terms of creature comforts than the inhabitants of our planet actually do.
Arriving in Uganda, I had a long plane ride to get used to the idea of being in the Third World. Arriving in West Africa, the long Atlantic crossing was an in-between world where I could muse the sphere awaiting me. Arriving in Mexico yesterday, there was no buffer zone, no preparing, just a border, a sudden realisation that my context had suddenly and dramatically changed, and that the edges of my normality have physical lines and tangible barriers - in this case the Mexico-USA border at Tijuana.
'Twas so lovely spending time with Deanne and Rachael today, and meeting Eric. They are such gracious, humble, adorable sorts!! We went to Shadow Mountain Community Church with them, and the talk was about self-obsession, and really challenged me! Afterwards, we had a delightful and yummy lunch, surrounded by enormous, gargantuan geese!! They actually honked!!!!!
Meg's sister Rachel and her lovely Thai man Victor are engaged!! Hoorah hoorah!! Bens' sister Kat and and her dear Jim are engaged!! Hoorah hoorah!!! We are very excited, and look forward to celebrating with them all, and with Laurel and Christofer the day we return to Seattle!! Have a look at the lovely pics on Rachel's blog!! Bens just said it's been 18 minutes since I said I'd be just 5 minutes more!!!!! Off we go!!!!!!!
California is state number 33 for the trip, and Mexico country number 2!! Here are the terrific Triplat family!! Matt, along with Bens and me, and Richard, are amongst a small elite of people who've been asked to leave OM's ships... It creates quite a jocund bond!!
We're off now to revel in the wonder of gigantic sequoias (trees!) I love trees. And forests. And worlds. And you! One of the best things about this road trip is the closeness and love which grows between Bens and Eowyn and Coco and me. I am very thankful for them. And I am thankful for God whose creativity and wonder I am discovering in the natural beauty of this big land, and in the people we've been honoured to spend time with.
Eowyn, Coco and I loved it; poor Bens hated it... Probably because we spent most of the time in the ten pools at Bellagio, our hotel, whilst Bens played Blackjack ten different casinos on the Vegas Strip. Everywhere one went music was somehow playing, and very soft mists of water being blown gently upon one's neck. I love luxury!!! We had a seven course meal, with wines paired with each course, which was magnificently sumptuous and also somewhat intoxicating!
A thousand years ago, the Anasazi people lived in these incredible cliff dwellings, living normal, everyday life somehow like mine, in us all being human, and yet beyond my knowing, centuries separating us and mystery shrouding the ruins remaining...
Oh dear... The pictures never seem to order themselves in the manner intended by me. Though I may be their author, there is a certain random chaos to the way they arrive on paper...or on blog! The Mississippi River had a strength and magic which was almost tangible. We were about to dive in for a refreshing dip when a jovial voice behind us said: "You're not from around here, are you?" (I love Southern accents! I actually found myself speaking with one whenever I engaged in conversation with a Southerner!!) "Naaaaw," I drawled in response. "The undertows are so strong that your children would be dragged miles downriver and fished up covered with mud, brown, even with their life-jackets on..."
Richard and Rachel Sharp and Litia and Hudson Frisbee are wonderful old friends we met on board MV LOGOS II in South America. OM is the organisation to which OM belongs, and we visited its US headquarters in Georgia. It was a lovely reminiscence and inspiration!