Monday, November 22, 2010

What do they hear?

I can hear most things that go on inside of my neighbors homes. Our home sits very close to the other ones on my street and everyone lives with open windows and doors trying to cope with the heat. So, I hear. Lots of things. I hear the daily calls to my elderly neighbor from her children. They call to check in at least twice every day. I hear the neighbor on the other side of my home as she prepares breakfast, lunch and dinner each day. I hear as she cleans the dishes from the meal she has made. Across the street there is a large family from the East. They have many generations in the home. This afternoon I heard all of the kids laughing and playing, singing songs together. I hear cars that come and go. I hear babies cry. I hear parents correct. You get the idea. So today, I started thinking. What do my neighbors hear from my home? What do the things that they hear say about my family? They hear the dog, the laughter, the frustrations, the phone, the tears, the cooking, the music. They hear our life on some level each and every day. Just as I hear theirs. The same is true in your home. Sure, you may not live as I do with windows and doors wide open. Those that live around you can still hear. They may "hear" differently than my neighbors do. They may hear with their eyes. So, what do they hear when they look at your family? In your conversations, in the things that are important to you. Makes you think, doesn't it.
I am pretty sure that there are no wrong or right answers here. Just pondering and evaluating. And perhaps changing of tones that need to occur. At least in this home.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Bocas Del Toro Family Get-Away

Trinity wrote her thoughts about our recent family get away. Enjoy!

9 hours and 2 boat rides from the bustling city of Panama sits a small island where the fastest means of transportation is a bike. The 9 hour drive is dotted with villages of the native Embera people. They live simply with no running water or electricity but an obvious love for colors and fresh fruits. Our small wooden boat arrives at the island of Bastimentos and we are welcomed by a group of local islanders. There are no roads on this island just winding walking paths to enjoy. One of our greeters makes some of the best fresh fish ever tasted. We are so humbled becuase while it seems that these people have so little, they share with the newcomers as if it is just a way of life for them. Our home for a few days is a cabin overlooking the ocean and we drift to sleep hearing Caribbean music being played throughout the town. We awake to the sound of the rooster. Our first morning has sprung on this beautiful island. We begin the day with fresh pineapple and strong coffee. Yet another boat is taken to a neighboring island and we explore the new grounds on bicycles. The streets are flooded with people who stand watching as the Children's parade sweeps through. This is the time of year they celebrate their Independence. Freedom is a beautiful gift. As we ride, we see new sights, smell new smells and are reminded that most people in the world do not live like we do. They live simpler. I would argue maybe even better. That night, we're back on our host island and fall fast asleep after a busy and full day. Early the next day, the soft rain is hitting the roof and we stumble out into the brisk, wet morning. A small covered boat arrives to take us on what proves to be an amazing adventure. The rain lightens even further as the small boat enters the realms of Dolphin Bay and the gentle creatures come up towards the surface of the calm water. We stare in amazement at the beautiful creatures God has created jumping within reach of our small boat. In time we bid our new friends farewell and travel farther towards a small restaurant out in the middle of the ocean. There, we dive and see all the beautiful sea life God has made with such creativity. The playful fish circle around our legs as we reach out, trying to touch them. All different shapes and sizes, every color of the rainbow. Later, the boat travels to a small opening in the forest trees. The old, careless dock stretches 5 minutes into the land and brings us to a beach covered in tiny red frogs. We spend a few hours there in the roaring waves. We dig in the soft sand searching for treasures. The tiny red frogs dance around the island as we play. God is so creative in his creating. That night the whole family lays in hammocks as we talk about the way that God has led us to this place. The bumpy roads, the turbulent boats all seem worth it. Life is a gift meant to be enjoyed. We are grateful for it.