Yes, we're still alive. Just caught up in the vortex of readjustment to normal life -- no, not normal life at all. We spent two weeks house-sitting for some dear friends who live in a great location in central Austin, then took a quick holiday with Tim's family, and are now back out in the country staying with his parents. All of our stuff is in boxes, suitcases, and small piles. Any semblance of organization seems to be eluding us. I spend more time than I'd care to admit trying to find things. Success is decidedly mixed.
In many ways, fitting back in to our life here has been rich and sweet. In other ways, it's complex and overwhelming, and I've found the re-entry to be bumpier than the adjustment to life in England was (perhaps because this adjustment comes with the added awareness that instead of the grand adventure just beginning, it is over). When I feel myself wobbling (daily), I escape in my imagination to my cycle route along the River Cam, and to the relative smallness and simplicity of life over there.
Then I have to pray the same anchoring prayer that sort of became my mantra all year, ever since I became torn in two: Lord, thank You that I am right here, right now. Grant me today's supply of grace.
Meanwhile, a few little glimpses of what's been happening:
Ian and his cousin Ashley turned 14. Fourteen! That's solid teenager-hood right there.
On his birthday, we took Ian on his looooong-awaited pilgrimage to the Lego store. He has become a passionate Lego builder in the past year, and has developed a whole community of online Flickr friends who share his interest and creativity. It's been very, very cool to see that develop, and to wonder what that might lead to in his future.
My friend Megan threw a "Mess-Fest" for her nine-year-old's birthday. She's the kind of person who can pull off truly insane fun like this without ever raising her voice or seeming flustered. Amazing. And here's something for your mental Rolodex: When your children have whipped cream in their hair, even after it's rinsed off, riding in the car with them will you have sniffing for sour milk.
(It's sad the way that fourteen year old of mine has no idea how to enjoy himself. Clearly unsocialized. Please send help.)
Our future brother-in-law, Alex, came to dinner and we had a gourmet cheese-fest. There's a long story behind that, but the central thought here is that Alex has been a friend of our family for a couple years, and while we were abroad (read: independently of any possible maneuvering we could have done), he met my youngest sister … and now they're getting married!
Our niece has been spending lots of time with us. She and my girls get along like a house on fire, and I'd say they've been making up for the year spent apart. What a blessing.
The girls and I spent a week of mornings prepping and serving snacks at Truth School, which is something our church runs for the teenagers -- lots of Bible study with some recreational activities woven in. I love doing this kind of service. Seriously, I really like just rolling up my sleeves and doing something that puts smiles on lots of faces and -- this is key -- doesn't involve much decision-making on my part.
Other than that, I've been trying to prepare for the school year (as set by our co-op schedule) and although that feels quite complicated in our current situation, two things that have been helping me get my head, if not my physical organization, in the general direction of the right place are the Scholé Sisters site (love it!) and Sarah's lovely book and audio companion, Teaching from a State of Rest. Highly, highly recommended.
And that's it for now!