It’s been a week here in Northern Virginia and things are going well! Nothing is like I expected, but it’s been fun finding new things, rediscovering America pleasures and blessings and watching the kids learn about new things that many people take for granted.
This first week has not been bad at all. While we wait for baby C to be born, we’ve been running kids to several classes that their mom signed them up for. Faith has gymnastics, ballet/tap and swim classes. Josiah has swim and ‘gymnastics’ (Zoom Around the Room) Both children have had bad moments and good moments in each of their classes, (or missing class because of colds) but both are warming up or absolutely love them, which their mom, dad and I are all thankful about.
My tasks currently are helping in the morning with dressing, getting them into the van for classes, entertaining the opposite child who does not have class (unless they are playing on their mom’s phone, then I sit, mesmerized by the
child who is in their class) We get them back into the car, drive home and sometime get lunch or sometimes just head them towards bed for a nap. They fall asleep in the van pretty quick, so I have tried to keep them awake. Josiah is harder to keep awake then Faith. Anyways, during the afternoon I spend time reading, writing in my journal or watching movies until about 3:30 or 4. Alyssa texts me to let me know when the kids are up and I either go the main floor, or stay in the basement (where my room is located) and where the kids have a bunch of trains, puzzles, books and coloring stuff.
It’s been a week, but transition is going well. Like I said earlier, there are a lot of things that are here in the states that I use to always take for granted or never really noticed much until now. Things like hot water. I sometimes feel guilty for taking a nice, steaming hot shower. I never had a hot shower once while I was in Belize. Things like wearing pants or sweaters and not being covered in sticky, smelly sweat. Socks, shoes, sidewalks, mailboxes, leaves, wind that is cold and doesn’t blow my hair everywhere. It’s strange, but I’m still getting use to sleeping on a soft bed because I can’t feel board planks through the mattress. I actually have a dresser, closet and space to spread all my stuff. I have 4G internet that is faster then the wifi in Belize. There are stools, leather chairs, comfy lazyboy recliners, or couches that I can choose from while I read and write. Stairs! I love stairs and these stairs have carpets. Now all I need is a super-duper (footed PJ’s) and I’ll be all set! (They are the best thing for sliding down the stairs. And yes I’m joking on the footed pajama’s, I don’t actually want them.) There’s things like drinking hot tea, eating cake and ice cream, or even just being able to walk into the kitchen and open a stocked fridge and pantry. Driving/riding in the car with a seat belt. (golf carts don’t come with those) Or buckling the kids in car seats. Stoplights. San Pedro island has 0 stoplights. Teaching the kids to stop, look, listen and hold hands when crossing the street. They love running on the sidewalk, playing with chalk and taking walks. I enjoy taking walks through the crisp, autumn air as well, and I find it’s great exercise.
There’s probably so much more that I haven’t mentioned. There are times where things surprise me, where I have a moment of reverse culture-shock. Thankfully though nothing has been really bad or overwhelming. I’m super thankful for being able to be transiting with the Esquivel family and it makes returning to the states easier. I love what I’m doing and how this week has made my future weeks look. Nothing will always be easy, especially with the new baby coming soon. But it’s an adventure, exciting and new paths and something completely different from the little island in Belize. (Below are several pictures from our walks around the neighborhood)
I’m so thankful for where I’m at. And for grapes, ice cream, cake and tea!
Many people have been asking what my next plans are. Simply it’s this: to Nanny Faith and Josiah again!
Who would have guessed….heehee
There are still a lot of unknowns, such as scheduling, what I’m doing, how does life look, etc. But there are some things that I do know. For the next 3 months, I will be living in Washington D.C area. (About 20ish minutes outside the capitol) I will be helping in running Faith and Josiah to classes (which I’ll try and update about later). And also, the new baby! Faith and Josiah are going to have a brother! I don’t know how much I will care for the new little guy, but I hope to at least help out a little with him.
I left Belize on the 18th and headed to Florida. After seeing my amazing boyfriend for a few days, I just flew into D.C airport today where the Esquivel’s picked me up. The kids were asleep in the car, but once Faith woke up, she was overjoyed (literally) to hear my voice (as I was sitting behind her) She couldn’t stop giggling, the little cutie. It was one the best ways to be greeted to a new area.
I’m looking forward to all that this season will bring but am quite nervous as well. A few prayer requests I have are: – Finding my way around the D.Carea (It has been awhile since I’ve had to figure out my way around a new area, especially when driving)
– Transitioning well (A lot of reverse culture shock can happen…)
– Health (My head hasn’t been doing well with all the air pressure from flying.)
– Wisdom and Guidance as I continually help in raising these two kids (It’s tough knowing how to raise kids who have just gone from the beach and island to roads and houses)
– Safety as I drive with/without the kids (Like I mentioned before, I have no idea where anything is, nor have I driven in a vehicle in the past 3 months)
Right now that’s all I have. I’m super excited about this though, especially being closer to home. There so many changes from Belize and even New York, but I will try and get into those another day.
Thank you everyone for the prayers, love and support.
Until next time,
For once I’m not writing in the Air conditioning, away from flies and mosquitoes. I’m staying away from my comfy bed that has a fan blowing straight on me and sitting on a hard bench, slightly hunched over on a too high wood table, a whisper of a breeze and watching tiny ants crawling all over my computer screen. There are plenty of bugs out here that keep landing on my fingers and though I’m in the shade it doesn’t stop the humidity from making me sweat a little. And this is the real thing, the reality that I’m leaving in just a mere 7 days.
Every time I try and tell someone that I’m leaving, not just to visit the states, but to actually leave with a one-way ticket, I feel as if they don’t understand what I’m feeling. This is my second home. It’s like a piece of my heart and I’m ripping myself away from it. The thought of leaving such a beautiful place makes me so sad. But just the other day I was talking to a friend, and she said that we need to rejoice, be thankful and grateful. And I think that totally summed up how I feel. I am extremely grateful for all that I have been blessed with here in Belize. And I while I’m sad, I don’t want it to be everything I’m leaving, but everything I’ve learned, seen and done.
Therefore, this is a post about things I’m thankful for, but also a bit of a walk down memory lane and the little things I will miss, but am so thankful for during my time here. There’s little things and big things, so hop the traveling train through Heidi’s time in Belize. We have no idea where it may take us…
From the first moment of stepping off Tropic Air, I had no idea what I was in store for. Especially since I was dressed in a hoody, jeans and the high heat was suffocating me. The ride to Youth With A Mission Destination Paradise (YWAM DP) base felt so long and I couldn’t stop staring at all everything. We were clearly not in the country anymore. Upon arriving at the base, I met strangers, who are now friends, people who have helped me through so much. I discovered a land of sweat and joy, saltwater and love. A land that I would forever hold deep in my heart.
Living in Belize, on the small island of San Pedro, is not just to nanny two adorable, sweet, carefree children. (Though that’s the main reason I came) Living in Belize is getting up early to catch the sunrise. It’s walking barefoot everywhere that when I go to my home away from home for a visit, I forget to put on shoes when I head out the door. Belize is a culture of joyful people, amazing food, and country like no other where no one else has tortillas that are as good as Belizian home baked ones. Belize is a place where it’s normal to catch a water taxi to get a ride home. It’s a place where I can jump off a dock, choke on salt water and do it another 10 times because of a child’s screams of delight. And there’s so much more.
For me, Belize is so special because of the YWAM DP base where I have learned to step out of my comfort-zone in so many new ways. It’s a place where Christ has show me so much, taught me more then I’ve learned before, and showered me with love and grace that goes deeper then the Caribbean Sea. It’s a place of amazing leaders, people who aren’t scared to get their feet a little dirty, or share their dark secrets. It’s a safe place, a sanctuary where one can run and never be judged, only guided and lead in love. It’s a place where I’ve come to know as home. H.O.M.E : Happiness Outside of Mommy’s Arms. (Yeah, yeah, I know, arm’s doesn’t start with an E) Either way, it’s true. That’s where home always was, where my family was in NY. Then I stood at the edge of the nest, took wing and flew, to discover a new home.
So. The things I’m thankful for the most? The things that I’m going to miss, but will rejoice about getting to experience? The little things? Let’s see what we can come up with, starting with my feet….
I’m thankful for the sand. The white sand that gets everywhere. It sticks, especially when there’s been a rainstorm or if I’m sweating. It comes into the casita’s. I don’t think I’ve ever had clean feet here that was free of sand because the moment I step out of the shower, it’s on the bottom of my feet again. “Dusting” off my feet at night before climbing into bed helps a little, but the little white grains always decorate my blue sheets. Not the best color to bring here. The water, which can be different colors, depending on the day, is always fun to walk in. It cools me down, the waves coming to shore are slow, but calming and relaxing.
I never liked getting dirt on my legs and arms. I am thankful for little hands though. I’m thankful for little fingers that stick their hands in the sand, dumping it, smushing it, stomping on it, then putting their beautiful, sand covered hands all over my back and arms as they trip and catch themselves on me. (eww) I’m thankful for the way they want to sit in my lap, and for the way I’ve allowed myself to let them, though they are sand, water, sweat or food covered. (Well, the food has limits) I’m thankful for foot prints from sand or cement dust that go up my shirt as the kids try to climb me and flip. And from both sand, dirt, dust or food, I’m thankful for a washer and dryer that I can clean my clothes.
I’m thankful for the food. While chicken, rice, beans, chicken, rice, tortillas, chicken, rice, salad or chicken and rice can get boring, I’m thankful that there is much, much more food besides that. I’m thankful for fresh watermelon, pineapple or papaya. I’m thankful for the eggs and pork (oh, I love, love, love the
pork) I’m thankful for food like fry jacks, soup, park tacos, ice cream or freshly squeezed watermelon juice. (It’s totally a thing here…who knew!) I’m thankful for simple things like beans and rice, and complicated things like nacho bar where I have no idea what I’m suppose to do with all the food.
I love the smell of salty air. The mouth watering aroma from the kitchen. Fresh coconut. It may sound weird, but I like the smell of the mosquito fogger (a machine used to keep the mosquitoes away from base.) I love the smell of freshly washed babies after a long swim in the ocean. I’m thankful for the way I can smell so many things and how it instantly reminds me of my Belizian home.
I’m thankful for the bird calls. The unique tweets and calls between mates. I’m thankful for the small crash of the waves as they come up onto shore. I’m thankful for the wind in the trees. I’m thankful for the squeak of the dining palapa door, that is so loud in the morning and I’m afraid is going to wake up the whole base. I’m thankful for the thump of the dock under my feet, and no matter how silent I try and be, the one board always groans under my weight. I’m thankful for children’s squeals, laughter and tears. I’m thankful for their words and manners, and attempts at speaking new words and sounds.
I’m thankful for the hugs of people around me. I’m thankful for the people who know that physical touch isn’t a huge thing for me, and will do it anyways, just to get a smile out of me. I’m thankful for the people who make time to talk to me, joke with me, spend quality time and share part of God’s heart with me. I’m thankful for people who don’t have to say anything but smile at me and make me feel so loved. I’m thankful for the way I can see them helping each other, the way I get to see them selflessly drop everything and do everything they can for others. I’m thankful for people willing to buy me a ticket on the water taxi, people who buy me pizza or write me notes of encouragement. I’m thankful for people who I can do life with, who I can share struggles with. People who I can call more then friends, who I get to call brothers and sisters.
And last but not least, I’m thankful for the way I can see things, the colorful, bright, cheery colors that God has placed all over this island to display his beauty. I’m thankful for the green palm trees at every corner. I’m thankful for red, yellow and green almonds. I’m thankful for brown leaves that make me feel like it’s autumn in summer. I’m thankful for large coconuts, medium and tiny baby coconuts. I’m thankful for one fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. (okay, I’ve actually only seen a blue fish….) I’m thankful for large ones like the barracuda, small ones like sting rays that are hard to see, and tiny baby fish like the yellow and black striped that Faith loves to try and catch. I’m thankful for black and white birds, red birds, yellow birds and the way they are different sizes from pelicans to hummingbirds. I’m thankful for flowers that are vibrant red, yellow, pink and orange. I’m thankful for the colorful paint that people use here. Blue, yellow, red, gold, purple. You name it, and it’s probably here. I’m thankful for the green, blue and white in the sea. And of course, I’m thankful for the colors I see when I wake up to watch the sunrise. I’m thankful for color.
I’m sure there is so much more I could be thankful for. There is so much that I can write about and how this place has left little footprints on my heart. But I think that I’ve gotten my point across. In leaving Belize, I’m leaving so much that I’m thankful for, so much that I can look back on in the future and rejoice that I experienced and discovered. Syracuse NY will always be my first home and Belize my second, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make a new one. Which is why I’m looking forward to going to Washington D.C in just a couple weeks. I’m so excited to live in a new area, meet new people, try new things, and see what God has in store for me. I may be leaving behind a lot, but I’m looking forward to what I’ve gotten and what God can do with my future.
The past couple weeks, every few days I’ve been getting up to see the sunrise. The sun comes up around 5:30-5:40 AM. To get up, dressed and out the door in time to see the color before the sun actually hits the horizon, I try and get up by 5:00 and out the door by 5:15. Many mornings I am tired, but getting to see all the colors, the beautiful yellows, pinks, red, orange, gold all mixed together, is so worth it. Here a few I’ve captured and edited to enhance the coloring.
Last summer and winter, I really enjoyed getting up early to see sunrise. Since April, when I started nannying, I haven’t taken the time to get up. Part of that was because I wasn’t sleeping well. Part of it was laziness. Part of it was new schedule. But recently realized that I am actually leaving soon. I wanted to be sure that I made an effort to get up and watch the sun slowly rise from behind the Caribbean. It’s a special time for me, is full of special memories and moments, between friends and my Heavenly Father.
The one thing that I find most fascinating is that the sky is always different. There’s never the same cloud structure to catch the light and color. The waves of the ocean sometimes capture red, sometimes gold, sometimes a beautiful orange and yellow mix. Every sunrise is different. Everyday is new and unlike any other morning that has already come.
I think that the sunrises will be the one thing I miss most about Belize. It’s a struggle to actually get up out of bed when I’m still sleepy. Or finding my way around a dark casita with half asleep eyes. Or walking all the way from my house to the dock. Or just the fact that I have to get up so early. But through it all, it’s very worth it. The smell of salt water, the quiet wind, the ripple of waves and waited anticipation of what the new morning will look like.
I am looking very forward to coming back state side! My flight is to leave on September 18. I’ll be taking a short vacation in Florida to visit my boyfriend, then I’ll be flying up to Washington D.C area to join the Esquivel family and begin another new adventure!!
I have been wanting to write for awhile but due to complications, it just never happened. Finally here I am, with a blog that will hopefully work, full of stories and pictures! The past couple weeks have been different. Very different. I thought I would try and give a little inside on what has been happening with me and the kiddos and catch you all up on nanny life.
To summarize, about 3-4 weeks ago, Faith got heat rash and due to that the kids and I have had to stay out of the hot humidity and stay inside the house where there was A/C (Other then meal times, where we would have to go outside for lunch) We wanted the rash to completely heal and staying indoors was the best way to do that. I thought it would be one of the easiest things ever. After about a week later, I was helping push a sailboat out of the ocean and hurt a muscle in my upper leg. I was thankful to have to be inside so I wouldn’t have to try and hobble over the rough sand trying to keep up with these two. Three days later I thought I was all better, but found out real quick that it was not better and took another ten days of taking it easy, stretching and not letting the kids jump on me, for my leg to stop hurting. Two weeks ago we had rain for a couple days. I was quite glad to be stuck inside. And now, mostly recently, we have had no wind. Without wind to cool the island, the temperature is much more real, and the mosquitoes come in swarms. Literally. Once again, I’m thankful to have to be stuck inside, where there is air conditioning and the only bugs that fly around are the few lucky ones who make it through the door.
Of these past 4 weeks, the first week was great. We played with puzzle, trains, cars, playdoh, minnie mouse and stuffed animals. We colored with crayons, drew with markers, traced our hands, painted shells, painted on paper, painted on our hands, cut paper, glued pom poms on paper and covered paper and each other in stickers.
And then, we did it again the next week.
And again the next week. And again the next week.
I finally was getting so bored of playing with the same stuff and running out of things to do, so I started trying to get creative with things. We have tried playing human train where I them on my back and carrying them from the livingroom to the bedroom and back again. It’s a workout for me and they both really enjoy the ride!
There is a building here on base called the Sandroom. (I heard at one time it was full of sand, hence the name) It’s a large, open, spacious room where the YWAM community has worship three days a week, movie nights on the weekend or other large celebrations. During the morning the students have their classes held in the Sandroom. Because it’s in out of the sun and heat, I began taking Faith and Josiah over on Saturday’s (when there were no students) to play in there. They ride their scooter, draw with chalk, or just run, scream and get out energy that has been hard to release in the house during the week. Faith has already asked several times yesterday and today we we could go, so I know she loves it a lot.
There are a lot of other things that we’ve been learning how to make fun, and how to get creative in our play. But finding new things has been tough. I get lazy and don’t follow through on the things I was going to do. The kids don’t like what I worked hard to do for them. Attention span for them or me doesn’t last long. But I’m finding that, at the end of the day, it matters most that I’m spending quality time, loving them and helping them love each other.
Overall, I’m doing really well! These two crazy kiddos are so fun, and I wouldn’t trade my life for any other. It’s not easy and I’ve had quite a few days that drag by. But it’s rare when I wake up and don’t want to spend time with the kids. I look forward and I’m so thankful, so, so, so, so thankful that I get to be blessed to help raise these two. (Enjoy the pictures, but I apologize for them being all over the place, that is something I haven’t really figured out how to do yet)
This past week I’ve had a heavy weight lifted from my shoulders. I’d been overly worried about my future and was stressing out over silly little things that I really couldn’t change. I still have 5+ months of nannying, no peace of where my future is heading, dreams that seem bigger then life, and no way of knowing what the next year, much less, tomorrow will hold.
This week, two kids that I nanny showed me they are already farther ahead of me in trusting and being fearless. And neither of them are older then 4.
It was Monday, when I got done with breakfast. I had some time before I needed to watch the kids before worship, so I sat down with my prayer journal that I started and decided to think through everything that I was worried about and stressed about. I was telling God how frustrated, worried and upset I was about the future.
I really wasn’t getting anywhere in my thoughts so I opened my journal, not sure what I was going to write. That’s when it kind of hit me. I realized I should be trusting God through this and worrying wasn’t trusting him. I’m now reminded of the verse Psalm 119:105 “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” I think that it really spoke how I felt. It’s dark all around me and all I have is a small flashlight to guide my feet along the path. I have no idea what is ahead of me on the path, except a few feet.
Back to Faith and Joe who taught me this, up close and personal. With most children, they are dependent on their parents (or me their nanny) They can eat on their own, but they need someone to buy the food, prepare it and set it before them. They can sleep, but need people who know they are cranky and need a nap. But in many other ways they are quite independent, trusting that those who love them will take care of the things they can’t, such as laundry and dishes and leaving them no worries for tomorrow. Never once have I ever had Joe come up to me and say that he’s worried he won’t get food tomorrow. In the moment he’ll grunt and say ‘Mo! Mo!’ (more) But they trust those around them and don’t let stress fall on their shoulders.
Faith has been practicing her balancing on some logs that have rolled into sea. Along with that, recently she tried to walk on a 4-5 inch edge of a wall. She gets nervous when she feels like she’s falling, (no more then a 4 foot drop) but otherwise, she has the biggest smile on her face, giggling and laughing, fearlessly trusting me. I walked beside her, hands at the ready to catch her should she fall, but not actually touching her, just encouraging her to keep going, that she was doing awesome.
While walking next to her, I felt like it was exactly what God was doing with me. I felt like I was walking on a balance beam, afraid I would fall. I was worried that he wouldn’t catch me, that while I’m walking on this dark path, barely able to see three days ahead of me, he would leave my side. And it was such a lie. He wanted me to rely on him, trust that through I didn’t know anything he already knows. He’s right by me as I walk, encouraging me, telling me to keep going. He’s ready with his arms wide open to catch me, hold my hand and keep me upright.
Josiah is teaching me to lay down my worries and just live life. He’s such a great sport at going with the flow and is fairly content to follow me and Faith around and do his own thing. But if there’s one thing he loves to do, is hang out with his dad, or favorite hero, (another staff member) Jason.
Recently we’ve had a lot (like a lot) of seagrass from
sea floating up to our shores. I don’t know whether it’s wind change, or Cuba just likes to drop a lot of bamboo-like-sticks and garbage into the sea, but our beach is not very beach like right now. Israel and Jason, have been trying to clean up the beach and keep it from piling up. Faith and Joe are always eager to see their dad when he is out working and to help him and Jason fill their wheelbarrows, carry it to the pile that is twice their
height, dump the contents and go back to do it all over again. They love to use the rack (because the pitchforks are too sharp to use) pick up sticks and put them in a pile and put trash in a bag. Joe especially finds this fun. Joining the big boys and helping out is one of his favorite things, especially if it’s with his dad and Jason.
Neither child let’s themselves worry about whether they will get in the way. They don’t think they are too young or that the wheelbarrow is too heavy. They don’t let people tell them they can’t do that (Trust me, I’ve tried) They still try again, and again to do whatever they can to try something new, something fun, something adventurous.
I’ve found that in trusting God with my future, that I can live fearless. I have to be smart and use my wits, but I can try new things that I’ve been wanting to give a try (such as drawing, using oil pastels, pressing flowers or sharing my heart through letters) These things usually turn out horrible, or not quite as I tended (especially the oil pastel painting) But I don’t stop. I keep trying and learning how to do better. The big one I’ve been relearning over and over again is to love these kids by letting them do what they want. Not in a spoiled way, but letting them spend time outside even if it’s hot and humid. Or playing with playdough for the third time that day. Or letting Joe try painting for the first time. (This one they did great on and we had so much fun!) Or letting Faith climb up me again and again while we listen to christian music blaring and it makes my arms and ears hurt.
I can fearlessly trust that God has my back through life. He’s working everything out. It’s not wrong to plan, it’s not bad to know what’s happening or have set goals. But ever since I handed over the purses of worry and dropped backpacks of stress, I’ve felt a freedom that I haven’t felt in weeks. I don’t have to be planning where I’m going to live, what I’m going to do or where I’m going if it causes me to worry and stress out more then I should. I can live in the here and now, fearlessly trying new things and trusting God with the life he’s blessed me with.
I’m home in Belize again, to my little yellow Casita with bright red and light pink flower blooming all around it. The sky is cloudy, the sand is wet from our last rain shower, and I sit here, on my bed, full of memories and happiness from my time spent at home in New York.
I had photos of me standing in the grass, me standing on railroad tracks, me with my boyfriend, me with family, me with friends, cows, hills and valleys, trees, grass and a number of other random things that I did. Unfortunately, I got a new phone and didn’t save all my photos from home. BUT! After looking on my computer for photos, I found a few pictures that I had saved to post on here! Look at me, so happy in the lush, green, amazing soft grass. How I missed you, lovely grass.
My time home was wonderful. I’m thankful to be able to catch up with family. Playing games and laughing, sitting and talking about computer games we use to play, running around in rain trying to find a hidden Frisbee, giggling with my sisters over secrets, it was simply wonderful. My younger siblings are all growing up and I couldn’t stop staring at a few of them because of how much they’ve changed in the past six months. I’m going to miss you all so much, but I love you all (A, E, C, T, S, J, M) And I’m really glad I got to visit. Mom, dad, thanks for the talks, for loving me and checking up on me. To my older brothers and wives, I missed J&J a lot, A and E, thanks for dinner and N and D thanks for sharing what’s going on, it meant so much to see you all, and I don’t think I can express just how thankful and happy I was to be home and see you all.
I am also super, duper thankful to have gotten to spend time with my friends. Sharing stories over ice cream and walks. Seeing their beautiful faces and how their lives are changing. Walking around school buildings, getting the longest hugs ever, comparing phones, shopping, eating chicken speedie for the first time (apparently it’s a NY thing and I didn’t know it….) covering drive ways in chalk, getting bubble tea and walking around SU campus. I had a lovely, beautiful time with these gorgeous girls and love that I can pick up right where I left off with them, no matter how long we’ve been apart. You girls love me so well, through thick and thin and I’m so blessed to have your listening ears and loving souls as I pour out life problems and troubles. LOVE YOU ALL!
And lastly, to my boyfriend, Devin. I’m so thankful to have have been able to spend a week with him. For all the talks, the hugs, movies, hikes, late night walks and helping me get my hair cut (oh yes, I got my haircut) I’m so glad that you were the one to be there when I got all 13 inches off. And I’m glad that you like my hair short and continually tell me that you like my hair when I’m still not so sure about it. (In the world of hair, it’s still long….in Heidi’s world of hair, it’s short!) And I would also like to clarify, in case anyone wondered (Ahem-mom-cough), My hair is in fact sun-kissed! I have not dyed nor do I intend to dye my beautiful brown hair. Yes, it is slowly getting a little lighter due to tropic living.
Now! Onto other bigger and better things that I have been dying (not literally) to tell everyone! Alyssa and Israel, Mom and dad of Faith and Joe, are expecting baby number 3 in October!!! (Insert drums, trumpets, claps, cheering, exploding confetti and Heidi jumping a thousand feet in the air) Because of this new addition, the Esquivel’s will be traveling to the USA in September to have the baby. And much to my excitement and joy, I’ll be traveling to Washington D.C area with them!
I’m so very excited for this new change. It will be exciting taking walks with the kids through towns and villages. We can go to parks, watch the leaves fall, maybe even see snow! We can go to the library and I can fill their precious minds with facts and stories. They’ll take some swim and gymnastics classes. There’s so much opportunity to help these youngin’s grow and explore the world more! There’s just so much I’m excited about and it will be thrilling to walk through this new adventure with them.
For current news, I’m still picking up rocks to look for crabs, pulling snails off the sea soaked rocks and watching these two kiddos as they run after lizards, yelling at the top of their lungs. We’re bandaging booboo’s (well, my booboo after cutting my foot on a rock) and looking for shells in the water. The kids hold hands and spin together. We discovered that Joe-Joe loves playdough. Faith loves bubbles. They drive cars and trucks around, they ride their scooter. They build with blocks, train tracks, they squeal with delight over tickles, trapped animals and hugs they give each other. I’ve tried taking pictures with them and found that Faith loves to click the button…resulting in pictures where I looked like a confused, lost bunny. Faith’s curls though….She’s got beautiful hair! It’s amazing to me, how I’ve been here only a week and there’s so much that’s been happening!
From one of the last times I wrote, I was having trouble with potty training and listening ears. Since I’ve returned, Faith has had little to no accidents. And Josiah listens like a true soldier! (I don’t expect that to stick too long, but I sure am thankful he stops when I tell him to!)
Watching life through the eyes of these children, enjoying the little stuff in life, it’s so enchanting. While it hasn’t been too hard to transition back into nanny life and loving these two adorable children, it’s difficult in other ways. But being back is good and I’m learning to trust God through the good and hard times. He has blessed me so much and I’m super thankful to be living the amazing, glorious, messy life here in Belize. Changes may be coming, but for now, I’ll be content where I’m at.
After spending three months doing the Discipleship Training School (DTS) then transitioning to three months of nannying, I’m finally taking a short, sweet vacation away from the Belizian shores to arrive HOME!!!! I’m super excited to see my family and friends, walk in the grass, eat fresh fruit and veggies, sit in the soft grass, drive a car, lay down in the green grass, take a hot shower, roll around in the lush grass, go shopping, jump in the grass, share everything I’ve been up to and dance in the soft, green grass. (I’m slightly excited about the grass!) Speaking of sharing what I’m up to though…..
Due to me being home less than 2 weeks, I may not be able to get out and see as many people as I wish. Therefore, next Sunday, June 25, I will be speaking at Syracuse Alliance Church, my home church (service starts at 10:30, though I’m not exactly sure when I’ll be speaking). It won’t be anything too fancy, just me explaining what I do, how long I’ll be doing it, what you can pray for and a small surprise around the corner. I hope that I’ll get to see you there!
Love in Christ,
As I nanny, I love to watch the joy, struggles and expressions of these two precious children. Sitting beside them as we sing songs in the back of a golf cart, smiling as Faith screams my name with a look of pure happiness, seeing them play by themselves with contentment, watching Joe get the biggest grin on his face as he sees an airplane. There is so much we can learn from children. And here’s a few lessons I’ve learned from Faith and Josiah.
Lesson #1 – Slow down For a woman who likes to walk fast, get places on time and quickly, this one is hard. But well worth it. If Faith, Josiah and I set out to hunt down some snails by the rocks, I have to be ready to stop five times so Joe can collect sand to put in his bucket. Faith will want to check out a corner under the deck where hermit crabs like to crawl. Joe will have to stop and climb the palm tree stump. Faith will want to play with sticky sand (where the water washes over the beach) Most likely they will find trash along the way and I’ll have to dispose of it. Sometimes they get side tracked by lizards and big iguanas, running after them while screaming at the top of their lungs then giggling as the poor creatures scurry away to hide. Or sometimes the distraction is a beautiful, yellow and red flower that we’ve never seen before.
For me to slow down may mean that I need to look at my surroundings as I walk. How often have I walked past these beautiful flowers and never seen them because I was too busy heading towards the next step of my day? How often have I missed the crabs in the sand because I was too busy checking my time and thinking of what to do next with the kids? How often have I missed the opportunity to stare at the sky as it begins to say goodnight and thank God for a beautiful day? I’ve missed a lot of time the past two months and I’m slowly beginning to find new ways to slow down and live in the present of this beautiful environment I live in.
Lesson #2 – Try new things! Faith is at my favorite age of all children, a bright beautiful 3! She is learning to be independent (which sometimes means I have to allow her to crawl around on the rocks without me holding her hand) And she’s learning to use her words to express how she’s feeling. (mostly this is when her brother pushes her or is lovingly squeezing her tightly in a bear hug and she doesn’t like it.) But she’s also at that age where she loves to do new things, and try to do them by herself. This includes playing with a kite! Nearly every day this week we have had a breeze…okay more like miniature hurricane (even that is an overstatement, but it’s been very windy. Too windy to fly a kite, but Faith would excitedly come to me and ask if she could take the kite out. And usually without much complaining about how windy it was, I would follow her outside and we’d fly her kite.
The joy that this girl carries is indescribably. But watching her do something new, the way her eyes crinkle really small, her smile gets bigger and brighter then the sun and her dimples appear on command, that is the enthusiasm I want to feel every time I do something new. Even though the wind kept knocking that kite onto the ground and I’d have to help her get it in the air, her smile never faltered. I want to be so happy trying something new, that even when the storms of life try and knock down that new situation I’m in, the new job, new lifestyle, the new kite that I want to fly, I want to be smiling through the hard time and bad times. And even if it doesn’t work right away, it’s hard or my kite keeps falling out of the sky, God can help me pick it up and help it fly again.
Lesson #3 – Communicate (worries and fears) I feel that this is a huge one that I’m constantly being reminded of every season of my life. My life verses are Philippians 4:4-9, but especially verse 6: “…do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Josiah is still learning to communicate with me and his parents. But when he wants something, he lets us know. Or when he doesn’t like something he lets us know. That may sometimes be communicated through tears, pushing, the sound “m-o! M-o!” (more), throwing toys, sign language or shaking his head yes or no. He’s becoming very expressive, which I’m thankful for, though not always in the way he chooses to express what he’s feeling. But no matter if he wants more cheerios, a toy his sister has, or things aren’t going his way, he makes sure I know. When he’s so in love with Faith he has to give her a giant hug and smother her, or if he sees a bird, boat or plane, he stands next to me, sharing in the joy of what he sees through pointing and exclaiming “dah! dah!” over and over again. This child communicates the good and bad. He may worry about me not feeding him more, but he’s willing to express that to me.
Looking at this child’s lack of words, I look at myself and wonder how often I actually communicate to God how I feel about situations. This past week I’ve been getting horrible sleep and while I’ve been trying to just live and survive through lack of energy, never once did I go and tell my heavenly Father how I felt about the whole situation. I relied on him to get me through the day, but I never prayed, never communicated, never thanked him through the trials. It may or may not have made my situation better, but that shouldn’t have stopped me from truly expressing my emotions I was feeling through the struggles. Not only lack of sleep, but how many other cases have I had the past two months that I never stopped to talk to God, whether it was through nods of my head, laughing at the silly things that happened through the day, or just letting myself cry and pour my heart out.
I’m sure there’s many other things that I could find through these two children. But these three things have been the ones I’ve been taking to heart most recently (some in the past week recently!) Having had 3 months of amazing God time (during my DTS from January – March) constantly growing, and learning new things, the past two months have been a struggle. But I see now that God is still teaching me to slow down. He’s showing me how to do new things through him. He’s stretching me in hard, not easy to bend places. He’s teaching me to speak up in new ways. Growth is never easy. I read once, for a seed to begin to grow it needs to break. I’m learning that it could include breaking old habits and letting new ones grow.
I’m sorry I haven’t posted in awhile, I guess I feel that every day is the same routine of going outside, looking for hermit crabs, getting a snack, playing outside again, taking a nap, getting lunch, going outside once more and then my day is over. Though it’s quite more complex then that. I’ve been doing well, loving life and learning so much. Here’s a few examples.
This past week, the kids got gifts from their grandmother who came to visit. For Faith she brought small Minnie Mouse dolls and accessories. Faith loves Minnie Mouse and so much of our time where we use to go outside to play has been indoors. She loves to play that her little mouse friends go to the store and buy clothes. Or they get dressed up and go to a restaurant to eat pancakes. Occasionally, crocodiles (aka: little brother) will intrude upon the game and disrupt everything. Faith is slowly learning to share her toys with Joe and gets better every day at using her words to express how she feels when Joe does come around trying to play. Other then Minnie Mouse, Faith loves crocodiles (that aren’t her brother) but either her, me or our imagination chasing us. Hi
de and seek are another favorite. While Josiah is napping, I try and take Faith out to hunt for crabs under rocks, or hunt down shells in the water. Water is a whole other issue that I don’t always know what to do with. Faith loves to put her hands in it, step in it, splash in it and before I know it, she’s swimming in it! So I have to try and keep her from going too deep, but also letting her have fun by walking or looking for shells in the sand under the water. The struggle is real sometimes.
Now Josiah. I love this little sweetheart a whole lot! He’s got the cutest smile, he loves to play in water, look for hermit crabs, dig in the sand, drive his trucks around, and so much more. He’s a super active little guy, loving to chase his sister and give her hugs but running in general is something he loves to do a lot. And sometimes he runs away from Heidi. Especially when he’s not suppose to. He has turned the corner of a special age where he is deaf to all commands other then “come, it’s snack time!” I’ve already had some fun moments of having to chase him down because he didn’t listen. And
when I say fun, I mean me yelling his first and middle name while sprinting after him and gently bringing him back where he belongs. I looked online about how to get kids to listen and a lot of things suggested being more positive (say things other then ‘no’ or ‘don’t do that’, such as “Show me how you’re gentle” or “What if we play with something else.”) I’m not sure how to change the “don’t run away from me” when he doesn’t even follow my “come back here now.” But we’ll see if my change of words and trying to help him express himself more can help him listen to me better. Or maybe I just have to wait for him to turn another corner while I continue chasing him as he leaves my side.
Me myself and I. I’m doing really well. I got to see the other students from my DTS (Discipleship Training School, they were away on outreach in Samoa and the Amazon!) a couple weeks ago and it was so lovely! I have missed them and it was great to chat and hear how their time in the other countries went. They had some crazy wild stories! I will miss them, as they headed home a week ago, but I’m excited for them to continue living for the Lord and following him as they head in different directions. During the past month, homesickness comes and goes. Knowing that I will go home one day helps, but if I become too focused on thinking about it and planning too far in advanced I forget the present and become discontented with life where I’m at. Being with these kids and the whole family is such a blessing though. I’m learning a lot and while it overwhelms me and
makes me wonder if I’m doing the right thing, usually by the end of the day a bittersweet feeling sets in as I leave the kids, and I kind of wish I don’t have to, even though I will see them again in another few hours for dinner. God has blessed me with so much and I’m so thankful to be here.
Through the joys and struggles I’ve continually been taught that God is faithful. He’s the rock I can stand on, the one who give me strength. He’s the one who helps me take a deep breath and not yell or get angry. He’s the one who teaches me to be patient with baby steps and patient while kids eat and patient during their fights. As you can tell, Patience is something that he’s really been teaching me and it take a lot of practice. I blow my top more then I should. I’m not perfect and never expect to be. But slowly I learn and grow and I’m thankful for this new season of life. I wouldn’t want my life any differently.