Thankful day forty three

When one is transitioning back to life in their home country (for us the U.S.), it is surprising the things that become REALLY exciting. For the kids – parks, goldfish crackers, Pirate’s Booty, fresh berries and libraries are all at the top of their lists. Matt is delighting in an abundance of Mexican food. And I love the endless sidewalks and the vast, colorful produce section of the grocery store.

Today Matt bought us a new vacuum. And I am over the moon with excitement. I didn’t know I could get so excited over an implement of cleaning. I am thankful for this moment of delight!

And even more thankful that he is willing to vacuum the house!

P.S. As a result of the 6 floods and a bedbug scare – we moved out of our apartment to a quaint little house owned by Pasadena Covenant Church. The outpouring of support from the church and extended family to help furnish this house, as we transition, has simply been amazing. I am VERY thankful! And grateful we get to stay in Pasadena.

Thankful day forty two

Today I am naming what (in my mind at least) is a new category of thankfulness – defiant thankfulness. In the face of all that is going wrong and bad in the world and in my life right now (namely, 6 leaks/floods in the first three weeks of living in our new apartment), defiant thankfulness says there is something good in today. Some moment that I can grasp on to and say – yep that’s good, that lightened the load if only for a moment.

Today that moment came as Matt and I were exchanging stories on video chat of the various things going wrong within our cars. Our car here in California has a window that broke last week, was fixed and now today leaked rain all over the backseat of our car (not funny). Our car in Ghana (according to Matt) has an electrical problem that causes the horn to randomly honk at other drivers, which has led to some people yelling at Matt and wondering why he’s honking at them. Meanwhile he is throwing both hands up in the air to show them he’s not responsible for the car honking. Oh I couldn’t help it, I was bent over laughing my head off at this! I didn’t even know horns had an electrical component to them – I thought it was all manual (and for good reason!).

I really could just see the scene playing out on the roads of Ghana. In a situation something like this:

I returned back to our apartment to find our 6th and most recent leak all over the kitchen floor. Ugh! Mopped it up, again and then again. And I moaned over it.

Then I took a lovely, rainy walk (my happy place) with these three jokesters.

And still hours later am chucking over my hubby’s own challenges.

Defiant thankfulness – it is sweet to savor.

Oh and if you are the praying type, please pray these leaks and floods would cease. My deepest thanks.

-joy

Thankful day forty one

Today I am thankful for a walk amidst the fall colors. The bright colors (that still surprise me with their brilliance),

the fallen leaves,

And the energy of my boy who loves to run and jump!

It was delightful and soothing to this jet-lagged, weary self.

Thank you Lord for the enjoyment of this colorful, cool season!

Thankful day forty

Today I am SO grateful for the many hands that packed, sorted, weighed, carried, drove and helped us get our things into bins and through the airport. Whew!! What a process. I can only begin to describe God’s provision – our good friend here offered to drive bags to the airport for us and then the airport manager accompanied us through the entire airport and helped smooth the VERY challenging process of transporting 12 bins, 8 suitcases and 5 backpacks through the Kotoka airport.

We are on the plane and now we can relax.

It is so very sad to say goodbye to our friends and favorite places here.

Instead we shall “Yษ›bษ›hyia bio” (pronounced yeh- beh-she-uh be-oo), which means “we shall meet again.”

Thankful day thirty eight

Today I am thankful for another opportunity to go to Makola market.

This time I left the children at home with a trusted sitter and took my good friend, Priscilla, as a tour guide.

It was bright, colorful, busy and full of things to look at. And this was a quiet day at the market! *

I enjoyed this seller’s artful vegetable display!

A little video footage to show the movement!

This was a redemptive experience of Makola (I’ve since learned that many Ghanians don’t even take their children to the market – whoops! rookie mistake taking mine last year). I could relish in the busyness, marvel at the movement and engage in some small buying with a trusted friend speaking Twi to the sellers (English works but Twi is better).

This was also a bright, shining moment in my week. It’s been a HARD last few days of life here.

God knew I needed a bright spot and a friend. I am thankful for this day and thankful for Priscilla!

* cultural note: I’ve been told Wednesday and Saturday are market days. If you go to Makola on those days there will not be space for your feet on the ground. You might actually be suspended in air shoulder to shoulder with others. (That is how busy it is!)

Thankful day thirty seven

(I wrote this post a few weeks ago…but have struggled with the right time to share it. Tonight as I sat in a bible study of young Ghanaians and we reflected on slavery and a God who is loving, merciful, powerful AND just – it seemed appropriate.)

Today I am thankful to see a part of Ghana I have never seen before. It is a part that most Ghanians have visited and probably the area most tourists come to see.

The kids and I got the opportunity to tag along on a work trip for Matt and welcome a small group of pastors from the U.S. We came 3 hours west of Accra to a place known as Elmina. Trivia fact – it was originally named “La Mina” (the mine) by Portuguese explorers who found it and established a gold trade with the local population. This castle is the largest and oldest structure in sub-Saharan Africa. It was built to house gold and later became one of the locations where captives were held for weeks or months before boarding ships as part of the trans-Atlantic trade slave.

I have read and heard much talked about these slave castles and it was good to visit one.

Good to see and hear and remember.

It is a part of Ghana’s history and a part of U.S. history.

It was sobering to see a church smack dab in the middle of the castle.

Yep, that’s the church – right in the middle of dungeons for 1,000 people. Huh?? It makes me think while churchgoers were worshipping, could they hear the screams and moans of the prisoners below?

I don’t know.

It is hard to fathom.

The cries of these people.

They must have been heard.

I know God heard them.

He hears them.

In the most desperate and dark of places

God sees and hears.

I am deeply glad for this truth

and deeply saddened for the suffering in this world.

Come Lord Jesus come.

Thankful day thirty six

Today I am grateful for a sense of humor and resilience that living here has nurtured in me.

I set about my kitchen tonight making dinner only to notice some black specks floating in my brown rice as I added the water.

Bugs.

Ugh!

And no time to run to the store.

Well…at least I know they float. ๐Ÿ˜†

So I poured lots of water in.

Poured the water and said bugs out.

Laughed and congratulated myself on sorting out the problem.

And now to cook my rice.

This is not my first time with this, folks! ๐Ÿ˜‚

P. S. Don’t tell my kids. They won’t take in nearly as much stride as I just did.

But they did have fun on Halloween!

Thankful day thirty five

We are in the US for a few more weeks and enjoying access to things we do not have in Ghana.

Today I am crazy grateful for the library.

I was just in awe of aisle after aisle of free books we could check out and read!! What a resource!

As a homeschooling family with enthusiastic readers, I am ALWAYS searching for more books to use as resources. And it is NOT easy to get books in Ghana. I bring what I can fit in suitcases from the US and then everyone who comes to visit brings us another stack. And thank goodness for Kindles!

We have found one used bookshop.

And that’s our best version of a library! We buy a stack of books every 6 months and plan to donate them to the literacy center when we leave.

The experience here at the Merced county library was so exciting and overwhelming two of my kids were brought to angry tears that we couldn’t check out every book we found. (Yep, there ARE limits!). I am also thankful for the kind librarian who took pity on us and let us check out a few extra books!

Here are some of them!

It is amazing the simple things that bring us joy these days!

Happy reading!

Thankful day thirty four

Today I am thankful for the life of my grandmother, Roberta E. Hill, or GM as I always referred to her in writing.

I am thankful that last summer I was given the opportunity to fly back from Ghana and spend a week with GM as her health changed.

I am ever so grateful that all my children came to know and love their “great grandma”.

She passed away on June 1st, 2018.

We feel the loss.

Today I am grateful that our family could come together and cry, weep, laugh and remember GM…together.

Remember the 65 years of marriage she and my grandfather (or GP) celebrated shortly before his death.

Remember her love of music and travel.

Remember her love and devotion to caring for her family.

Remember some of her quirks that were so uniquely her…and chuckle once more.

It is truly the end of an era for me. An end of escaping to the safety and rest of Arizona and into the care of my grandparents.

And I will miss it deeply.

I cherish the memories.

I am so grateful for them.

Last summer as the kids and I said goodbye, my mom led all of us in reciting Psalm 23. It was beautiful and apt to get to recite it with my kids as part of the memorial.

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow you all the days of your life and you shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”

Amen

Thankful day thirty three

Today I am grateful to have an adventure with my kids. (Matt’s still working and will join us later.)

I am grateful to be well again and have the energy to take on this crazy idea of mine.

I am grateful for the extended layover that allowed us to spend this day in New York City.

I am grateful I got to take my kids to see the Statue of Liberty,

And Ellis Island,

And the 9/11 memorial.

I am grateful for the courage in myself to take this on. And I am grateful my kids are older and now experienced enough travelers that we could handle this together. (Because honestly three jet-lagged kids, one tired mom, and one sprawling new-to-us city could really spell disaster at almost any other time in my life as a parent.)

I am grateful that through the challenges of our lives, we are growing.

I’m also grateful as we giggle together and marvel at all the small things we are being reunited with – drinking fountains!, trains, Doritos, English Muffins, bagels, graham crackers, fresh strawberries. It is really a delight.

And I’m grateful to have such a hands-on history lesson to add to our homeschool and life-learning. ๐Ÿ™‚