Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Best Year Ever and The Year of Provision

When 2011 was on the horizon, Daniel and I had the mutual prediction that it was going to be "The Best Year Ever," and it was.

In February, I bought a car in Honduras. 

In March my mom came to visit and we threw Daniel a fun birthday party. 

In April, I got engaged on a beach in El Salvador.

In May my sister came to visit for a whole month!
That's Mal, back row, left side, at my
shower in Honduras.

In July I got married!

In August, Daniel and I moved into our first place.

(Hmm.. I need to find a picture of our house!)

At work in 2011, I finished a difficult teaching year and began an amazing one.

Overall, 2011 was amazing.  It earned the title, "Best Year Ever."

Now that we're in 2012 I've been trying to name it, too.
I've decided to call it, Year of Provision.
In 2012 I've been learning to stop worrying and let God truly have the control.

At the end of February I was almost robbed and then I wasn't.  God provided a way out. 

And the most recent act of provision was Daniel's visa!  Our final visa appointment was on Monday, and we were pretty nervous about it.  It was so difficult to get in touch with the embasssy, so many of my questions were unanswered before we went.  I wasn't sure our paperwork was all correct.  However, not only did things go smoothly with the appointment, but on the VERY DAY of our appointment they had changed the cost of the visa--about $170 less than what we had been told.   Considering the fact that we were basically broke at that moment (having just splurged on an incredible Semana Santa trip, in addition to taking out money for the visa and other visa requirements, the money was extremely helpful!
It wasn't until later that I really stopped to consider God's hand in all of it.
I had been reading and rereading and rereading the Beatitudes in Matthew in the days before our appointment, and had paid particular attention to the verse, "Do not worry about your life."  After Monday, I understand why that verse stuck with me.   And as we now try planning our move to Florida, I'm repeatedly struck with this anxious, nervous, "what if" feeling, and yet I know that I shouldn't be.  I know that the God who provides safety and Visas and unexpected cash will also provide jobs and a house and all the other stuff we'll need come summertime.

So bring it on, 2012, Year of Provision!  It's all going to work out.

Have you ever stopped to consider what you would title a current or past year?  If so, what year and what name?

Monday, April 16, 2012

Corn Islands, Part 2

About a kilometer away from our hotel on Big Corn was an incredibly gorgeous beach that, apparently, no one liked to go to.  The water was clear and gorgeous, the sand was soft, there was no trash...and yet, the tourists tended to prefer another, more restaurant-filled, beach instead.  This was much to our delight, since we got the run of the place.  We spent our first day at this beach, after checking into our hotel at around 8:30 a.m. (hooray for early flights!), along with several other of our days.  
At our favorite beach, Long Bay. 

Where is everybody?

Our spot

Daniel really loves the underwater camera. 

I made a few friends along the way.  
I guess I should mention that, aside from the amazing beauty and friendly people, I don't have a whole lot to share with you about the trip.  This is not the place for someone looking for an eco-adventure or a lot of night life (although, admittedly, we didn't really seek out the latter...).  If your idea of a great getaway is laying around ALL day in paradise, reading... then Big Corn is great!

Little Corn Island, on the other had, we found to offer a bit more for the tourists.  This was the place to find the scuba divers, the hippies, the backpackers, the expatriots who made excellent food, and the snorkeling tours.  The island is small, and there are no cars.  We arrived to a muchacho, Mizael, holding up a sign with our names on it. He led us past the divers, hippies, backpackers, and restaurants, then cut across the jungle-y part of the island to the tranquil coast on the opposite side.  After a short hike through the sand we reached our awesome, rustic, beach cabaƱas.

Over all, this trip was unforgettable.  I can't believe it's so undiscovered, and yet that's exactly what I loved about it.  

Monday, April 09, 2012

Corn Islands, Part One

Tomorrow I go back to work for the last nine weeks of school! I can hardly believe that we're in the fourth quarter and the end is near.  

For those who are keeping us in your prayers, Daniel's Visa appointment at the embassy is in ONE week, on Monday the 16th.  Please pray that we have everything in order and that all goes well. 

And now I shall recant the gloriousness that was our past week....but in parts. As you may know, Daniel and I went with three of my friends to a place called Big Corn Island in Nicaragua.  To get there, we first travelled by bus to Managua, Nicaragua.  Around 3:00 in the afternoon on Saturday, we stepped out of our rolling refrigerator (aka TicaBus, with central air) and caught our first glimpse of Nicaragua.  It wasn't a flattering first impression.  Aside from the sweltering heat, I recall barefoot boys begging and offering to help us with bags and a pair of skinny pigs rummaging through trash.

We were not there yet--just at the border. After passing through customs-part-one we got back on the bus and headed on our way... or so I thought.  Really, we just crossed a bridge and stopped again at another checkpoint.  Parking in a line of vehicles waiting to be fumigated, our bus gave an abrupt shudder and turned off.  Seconds later we could hear the driver, now outside, shout that the bus broke.  I'll skip ahead (past my unreasonably hopeful optimism that it was all just a misunderstanding...) to the part where the bus person informed us that we had to wait there until they could send another bus from Managua (at least 3 hours away..)  Let me just summarize by saying that there is not much nothing to do at the border of Nicaragua.

The beginning of our wait... still in fairly good spirits (and
still trying to pretend it wasn't actually happening)

A little big later, boredom had set in even further.  

Nighttime at the border.  Not fun. 
The surprising highlight of our stay at Nicaraguan customs was when a bus full of fellow Pinares teachers, en route to Costa Rica, rolled in.  Sadly for them, they told us all about how their bus had broken down only an hour into their trip.  However, unlike ours which died in a fairly civilized place, theirs decided to stop in the middle of nowhere, where they were forced to sit on the side of the road for THREE hours waiting for a replacement.  Eeww....

Finally, around 7:00, our new bus came for us and we reached Managua around 10:30.  We checked into a hotel that was far too cute for our meager six-hour stay.  At 5:00 a.m. the next morning we trekked to the airport, gallo-pinto breakfast in hand.
"Gallo Pinto" is the Costa Rican/Nicaraguan
name for rice and beans... and it's oh-so-yummy!

The national flights terminal at the airport

Our boarding passes

Friends on the trip.  The girls were Cara, Sarah, and Stacy.
Let me just say that it is lots of fun introducing yourself
to people when most of your names rhyme.  We changed Stacy's
nameto Farrah by the end of the week, and Daniel became
Ezra, too... for consistency, you know.  

 Finally, after an evening and a morning of far too many lines and far too much waiting, we disembarked our small plane and stepped onto the most beautiful island I've seen!  

More to come!