14 January 2015

2 Things I Love About America & 1 Thing I Love/Hate

What I Love

Driving through the redwoods
1. Driving
I must love driving if I've put my family through over 3,500 miles of road trips in the past two months: 2,500 miles down the California coast to San Diego and back up the freeway, then later to Central Oregon and up to Eastern Washington.  The well-maintained roads, cheap gas prices, drive thru food and coffee and free audio books from the library have made nearly every day of our road trips a pleasure.  Our kids are fantastic travelers, even in their car seats, so there’s been very little crying.  We have two more small overnight trips: one to Astoria and one to Hood River.

2.  Collaboration
Acting casual during a Lahash staff meeting
I haven’t spent a lot of time in the Lahash office, but those days are full of meetings.  I totally understand that many people find meetings dull and counterproductive, but as one who works from a home which is more than 10,000 miles away from my coworkers, I so appreciate the opportunity to exchange ideas and brainstorm with my Lahash colleagues.  Also super valuable are the phone conferences with our Mama Maisha co-founders, the Grahams.  Being able to talk freely on a good connection without signals dropping or awkward pauses makes it so easy to compare ideas and make decisions.

What I Love/Hate

Convenience food
First, a confession: I am eating and feeding my family convenience food.  My boys have probably eaten their weight in chicken nuggets in the past two months.  It’s a little bit of a chicken-and-egg thing; convenience food enables me to GoGoGo! all day long and feed my kids within minutes of arriving back at my parents’ house.  (God knows how many days I’ve reached home in Shirati after a whole day on a bus willing to pay dearly for a bag of frozen chicken nuggets.)  On the other hand, if I know that it will take at least 90 minutes to make dinner for myself and my family, I am far more likely to wrap up a meeting or a project to get home in plenty of time.  If I only used a drive-thru or a bag of frozen processed something on those rare occasions that really required it, I could have a love-love relationship with convenience food.  Unfortunately I allow those conveniences to override my best judgment of what my family and I should eat.  Ironically, most of the time I’m in Africa I am dreaming about the amazing food I will cook when I reach America...ugh….  Another example of not giving my best intentions the energy and resources they need to succeed.
Eating garbage (not the diaper)

Let me close with an epiphany I had a few days ago.  I've often felt sorry for myself because *sob*I don’t have many good friends in Shirati.  I've often asked people to pray for me in this respect, but I just realized that many of the women who are praying for me to find a good community of friends never really get time to hang out with their own community of friends!  Everyone is so busy, especially moms of little kids, and super especially moms of little kids who also work or home school.  If you have a mom of little kids in your life (or in your home!), push her out of the house to go get coffee or happy hour with a friend.  Ladies, let yourself be pushed out of your house, sans kids, to get a little community, a little time to just be you in an honest, healthy way.  Laugh a lot, cry a little and be blessed!

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