Thursday, April 5, 2018

Sweet to be home!

My first look outside in the morning makes me happy.
The trip home takes 36 hours, door to door. I slept maybe 3 of those, between layovers in San Francisco and Narita (Tokyo). We get to our house in Bandung at 4am, unpack, and zip up the empty suitcases, storing them away for next time. Then we make up the bed with fresh linens.

I pull a sleep mask over my eyes and fall into a comatose sleep at 5:30, from which W wakes me at noon.

"Time for lunch." What? I missed all the morning prayers and the neighborhood waking?

Ah, it feels so good to have the warm tropical air on my skin, hear the cicadas rasping outside, along with the rustle of potted plants on the teras. The bamboo wind chimes click the approach of a thunderstorm. Home sweet home.
The amarylis border continues to flower
Monday, April 2, 2018
It's our last day in Seattle. We wash the beds, cram the last few items into our suitcases, and weigh the trouble we're in. Every piece of luggage is at capacity. How does that happen?

We're bringing along a suitcase for a friend plus four of our own. We've packed a few foods we won't get for a year (Costco brownie mix or a Trader Joe bag of olives, anyone?), a few clothes, and all the paper plates we'll need for movie nights. Those will last at least half a year, I'm guessing. With 70-80 people showing up, we go through paper plates quickly. The quality (a Dollar Store score) is so much better and holds up to the heaps of food on them, but I hate the thought of all that garbage.

Kinsey (6) and Levi (4) come downstairs to our basement suite. Soon, Isaac (2), cheerful after a nap, joins them. They "help" and play until Levi exclaims, "Oma, I think I wanna go to the bathroom. I'm going to throw up."
Tucking himself into the pillows heaped on the floor as we wash bedding
Saying goodbye to these kids is the hard part
"Ok, you know where it is." He runs for the toilet, vomits right beside an open suitcase, and continues on to the porcelain throne.

"Good boy!" I tell him. (He missed the luggage.) I wipe it up, thankful for painted concrete floors that are clean in an instant. I pat his back as he empties his stomach.
Minutes before his stomach rebels
He says, "I think that's it," smiles at me, and toddles off upstairs to his mother. Oh, the joy of being a grandma. Up he goes.

Poor Levi is sick the rest of the day, sleeping with cherubic face in the dining nook. The others swirl around him to shout and play, but he's oblivious. He rests - and has passed it to his little brother by the next day.

Kinsey and Isaac continue playing. Melissa brings the baby down for a hello. My head is already moving to the next days' travel and I can feel that I'm not present anymore. = A constant challenge for a person who lives in the future like I do is to live in the day ...

Melissa cooks delicious prime rib and burgers - oh my!, with sweet potato fries, asparagus, and other parts of the feast. I don't know how she manages 4 kids, her home, and still cooks this well. It's wonderful to sit around the table together one more. We pray a farewell for protection and blessing on their home and ours before we head downstairs.

We're asleep just after 7pm, preparing for the 1am alarm in the morning.

Tuesday and Wednesday
We make the bed, wipe the floors clean, put the last washed dishes away, and close the suitcases. Merlin comes for us - heroically - at 2am. He drops us at SeaTac and cheerfully drives off, hoping to sleep a few hours before his breakfast meeting. That's a true friend.
The landscape we leave behind on the Pacific coast
Our first flight to San Francisco is only 2 hours but the layover is 5. I walk 4 miles through each wing. It's going to be a long day and I might as well get moving before we sit and sit.

The longest flight is to Tokyo - 11-ish hours. Enroute, we cross the dateline into Wednesday. In Tokyo, we relax with a 3-hr layover before one final flight of 7 hrs to Jakarta.

We drive to Bandung in the wee hours of no-traffic-wow-this-is-amazing and arrive at in our gate just after 4am. The driver hops out at the bottom of the hill; his motorcycle is being repaired so he walked to get the car. But we don't want him walking a mile down the hill from our place in the middle of the night.

The dog goes crazy with joy. Bark bark bark. All the neighbors will know we're back, if the security guard who lifts the bar to the neighborhood doesn't tell them in the morning.

As we unpack, it's still dark. The morning prayers start. Our hearts join the calls for peace and ask God's blessings upon this nation and its lovely peoples. We're home and asleep by 5:30am. W wakes about 8, but I'm out like a light - until he wakes me at noon.

Ah, nasi goreng (fried rice) and the broccoli we blanched and froze. Good to have some food stored in advance. The familiar tastes so good.
First meal home includes mangosteen (imagine cherriy, lychee, and grape flavors combined)
This afternoon, we have just a few things to put in their place and suddenly, we're settled back in. The month in Seattle always passes quickly and is both hard and joyful work. Upon return, we always are happy for the short itineration. We may not have time to relax when we're in Seattle. But we also don't have to store furniture, find a new place to rent, and we are up and running in Indonesia within a day. Jetlag is another matter ...

We can't wait for tonight's study - Dr. Hanna is hosting a supper and then we'll open the Book with friends again. We are eager to see everyone - and see what God has for us in this next year.

Read more:
*My heart, O God, is steadfast, my heart is steadfast; I will sing and make music. Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn.

I will praise you, Lord, among the nations; I will sing of you among the peoples. For great is your love, reaching to the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the skies. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let your glory be over all the earth. Psalm 57:7-11 NIV (This is one of my favorite songs - click on the link above to listen. Thanks, Tillie.)

*You have been my help, and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy. Psalm 63:7

*Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:22

*(this prophecy about Jesus was recorded by the prophet Isaiah about 700 years before Jesus' death and resurrection)
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. Isaiah 53

*Do you not realize that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? Romans 2:4
*Jesus Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:2
*The One who was born of God protects them, and the evil one does not touch them. 1 John 5:18
Moravian Prayer: Dear heavenly Father, during this season of resurrection, we lay aside the fear of death and embrace the freedom from the bondage of sin, a lesson beyond our ability to comprehend! Savior of the world, thanks be to you for your gift beyond measure!
God of infinite kindness, when we find ourselves unable to see in the darkness of trouble, teach us to turn to your life-giving light. There may we find clarity for the present and hope for the future. We offer you thanks and praise that you name us your children. Enfolded in your loving arms, you sustain us throughout our lives. Protected from evil, we sing with joy-filled hearts. Amen.

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