Days are long, weeks are short and months fly by.   Time.
Our days start when we hear the ladies raking trash in the park around 4:00 a.m.  Around this same time, our electricity goes down and we start to sweat.   I press my imaginary snooze button for another 2 hours.

Around 6:00 a.m., our puppy starts to whine and want to go out.  For some reason, Alex doesn’t hear her.   I drag myself from bed, pick up Lily and put her out on the porch and start some water to boil for coffee time.

We have a butane stove, so even when the electricity is out, we can heat water and cook.   Now, when the boat doesn’t bring butane and we run out of that … tough cookies.  Well, really,  no cookies!

Coffee time …  if Americans have recently visited, we might just have some Starbucks ground coffee.  If not, we have Maya Gold or the like.  Surprisingly good.   A dear friend sent us a french press back in the fall after hearing that we make coffee through a cheesecloth strainer.  We fell in love with it… and it broke.  Someone accidentally dropped it on the ground and yikes!  no more carafe.

We searched online for a shatterproof carafe and larger french press – we need LOTS of coffee to get our morning going.   We found one on Amazon at a fair price and brought it back from our visit to the US.   LOVED it.

One morning, a few weeks after our return,  I heard this crack, creak noise when I poured in the hot water.  My plastic, shatterproof carafe was splitting and cracking and drops of coffee were spilling out.   Strainer time.

But, I digress.  This post was going to be about the illusion of time.    How about the illusion that I can write a blog post about only one topic…  or the illusion that a day here can ever be adequately described from brain to words-written?

Oh…  time.   I ‘steal’ time to sit on the back porch and visit with Jesus.  We walk through the stories of His life here on earth;  the way He treated ordinary sinners like me; the way He loved women and men regardless of their skin color, social class or age;  the way He pointed to His Father and gave Him glory, honor and praise.   This time of day is essential.  I need an example to follow, you know.  Left to myself, my time is chaotic, confused and colorless.   When Jesus shows me how to value my time, the seconds are vivid and valuable.

Around 7:00 a.m., my littlest ventures out on the porch, demanding in his voice that it is ‘my time’.    If I’m lucky, I can get him to go back to bed saying ‘When the electricity comes on, we’ll have some breakfast.’   Otherwise, he sits down on the step next to me and begins to talk non-stop about Legos, Davy Crockett and dog poop.

Around 7:30 a.m. the electricity comes on and we are ready to fire up our day.   Most days, breakfast time is simply cereal.  Arlee whips up our powdered milk.   We have Corn Flakes topped with a bit of special cereal to add some fun.    If I feel like we need some protein, one of us will cook up some runny eggs (Arlee) or scrambled eggs (Alex) or omelets (me).    If a boat has recently come in, we might have fruit, too.  Family time.

Jobs are next… water filtering, laundry, washing dishes, tidying rooms… preparing for school.  Work time.

And the day is off… folks start knocking on our metal pull-down door, kids start school, phones start ringing, I start bouncing from one thing to the next … I feel like I’m in the middle of the Groundhog Day movie most days.   Is it coffee time again?

Alex heads out to do whatever it is missionaries do and I corral the mustangs for school time.   On any given day,  learning means different things.   Today, I reminisce on my very first homeschool day ever... 4 years ago.  We studied Ancient Egypt that day and time has brought us 'round to this chronology once more.  Some books are the very same as they were back then;  some new friends to round out a middle-school student's experience. 

When I find myself eager for a few minutes of ‘down’ time, I might try to venture back to my porch.   Within 10 seconds, my troop is out there sitting around me and staring, wondering if it is a safe time to talk to Mom or not.

Lunch ‘time’…  tortillas and beans or tortillas and cheese or tortillas and tuna or… well, you get the idea.  Tortilla time.

Afternoons... my time is spent on the tyranny of the urgent;  the most pressing.  If nothing presses too hard, I’ll head to Mama Tara’s and read with the kids or just ‘spend’ time with them.   Then I’ll swing by House of Hope on my way home to see some folks visiting from the States.  Gringo time.

Arriving back home, I sit on the back stairs.   The clouds, the breeze.   My kids circling me once more.     Aidan explaining what he's learned about wood-working today;  Arlee talking fast about a movie she watched at a friend's house;  Adam showing me affection;  Aaron riding his bike downstairs.  Di, visiting and talking fast about how much homework she has;  so much still a girl and yet so much of a woman.  Priceless time.

Soon… it is dinner time.  By dinner, I’m pretty much toast.  I sit there at the table most nights wondering if the time I ‘spent’ was lived well.   I look around at the faces of my family.   Hmmm, did each one have enough of my time that day.    I wonder how much more time until bedtime?   But then, my sweet husband reminds me that it is Bible time… and I’m renewed by the thought that this dream we had to spend time most nights in God’s Word with our kids has happened.  We pray for specific friends and family back home.   Time-worthy.

As my head hits the pillow, I’m aware that we’ve been back from our visit to the States for 2 months already!   Time.    My friend, my enemy, my scorekeeper, my critic.  Time.


Denise said…
Some things are constant regardless of culture--not tuna and tortillas, but SOME things. Some day I need to just re-read though these blogs and make a list of all the little questions I have about your days. Thanks for making me laugh out loud several times in this one!

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