March in Pictures

Here’s a look back at March in pictures.

A chilly morning truck ride to Lima for school*
Harvest season has been in full swing for several months now. Carts line up at the weigh stations in the morning, waiting to unload their sugar cane.*
My college roommate came down for a week!
Kindergarten learned about outer space and made name rockets.
Lots of visitors this month. Scott even came out for a day of fun!
We wrote letters back to a class in the States who sent down some Christmas goodies for our room.
Our love for reading is growing!
Stacy brought a super cute mosaic craft for the kids.
Recess fun – Estefani and company
The class hasn’t stopped asking for Chicka Chicka Boom Boom since Brett’s glorious rendition of the book.
The students continue praying each day. Edward’s sweet smile never goes away, even with his eyes closed!
The kids are beginning to control their bodies – an accomplishment that will never be seen on a report card, but it’s such a huge deal!
“He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” with Katie and Anllelo
Beautiful, giggling girls from 3 different bateyes.*
My two cuties enjoying a Sunday afternoon at home. *
And last but not least… my two cuties enjoying a Sunday afternoon at home. And yes, one is pantless.*

Beautiful reminders of God’s faithfulness and blessings.

*Photo credit: Rachel Roberts

Say Cheese!

Something is missing in kindergarten – teeth! First, there was Yafreydi. (Katie wrote about the lost tooth experience here.) In January, Scarlette and Yorjeni joined the ranks of the toothless. When I came back from furlough, I noticed Beba’s big gap! The gummy grins are tiny signs that our kiddos are outwardly growing and changing. So thankful to be a part of their lives, missing teeth and all!


Anticipating Thanksgiving and Learning to Let Go

The pumpkin roll is in the oven. The pasta salad and guacamole are both chilling. The veggies are cut, and the potatoes are ready to be peeled and mashed in the morning. The pumpkin layer cheesecakes are cooling on the stove. The deluge of food held at bay in the refrigerator will undoubtedly flood the kitchen if I dare open the door. (Before you go thinking WonderAng made all that food by herself, accolades must go to Katie, Scott, and Yuleisy for their hard work prepping this overabundance of pumpkin-y goodness. I sure hope “accolades” and “sharing-my-turkey-and-stuffing” aren’t synonyms in the thesaurus…)

For the record, I am super-duper excited about Thanksgiving. I love food (see above paragraph). And games. And laughing. And getting an extended weekend to mentally recharge my brain-dead self.

But one of the things I’m most looking forward to is simply spending some time with my babies.

I don’t think I truly understood the plight of the working mom before becoming one. Since moving to the Dominican, I have added the role of teacher to my repertoire (yes, I did just say “repertoire”, and yes, I do think I deserve a cookie for saying it). In all seriousness, one of my biggest struggles has been figuring out how to balance work and family. There are days I can’t seem to cast off the guilt that comes with not accomplishing everything on my daily docket. I just want to cook dinner for my family and clean my house and keep up with the laundry and spend time with my husband and bathe my kids and have perfectly planned kindergarten lessons and exciting activities and a seamless curriculum and…

Then reality hits. And I realize that where I want to be and where I actually am as a wife, mother, and teacher are on completely opposite ends of this spectrum that I call my life.

I look at the Proverbs 31 woman and then look in the mirror and think, “There is no way I’ll ever be that.” I fall so short. When I get to the end of the day, absolutely exhausted and with so little crossed off my to-do list, I can’t help but let the frustration and apprehension and worry take reign for those last few moments before I drift off to sleep.

But thankfully, God’s been sharpening me and growing me over the last few months. He’s been showing me that my mind’s dial has been turned to the “wrong-thinking” position and that my perspective has been bent. I’ve recently been learning how to release the insecurities and regrets and feelings of not measuring up. I’ve been challenged to quit comparing myself to others and to just complete the tasks God has for me each day instead of looking to finish the jobs I’ve assigned myself. Some days I do better than others at finding this mental balance. I hate that I often give certain situations over to my Savior, only to later take them right back out of His hands – as if I know how to better handle them than He does. It’s been painful, this chiseling process. Letting go is a hard lesson to learn, and I don’t think I’ve aced it yet.

I know that I want to let the Lord have control of every area in my life – even in this battle of the mind. I’m praying that this Thanksgiving weekend allows me some moments to just reflect. Maybe while I’m scarfing down a second third piece of pumpkin pie, I can remember once again the amazing blessings I have in my family and in the opportunity to work here in the Dominican. I want to be able to share the testimony Jesus gave of His time spent in this world: “[Father,] I have glorified thee on earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do” (John 17:4, KJV).

The little stuff (or maybe it’s the big stuff after all)

Sometimes I feel like I only write about the big things going on in our lives – the difficult struggles, the huge joys, the deep pain, the answered prayers. I thought I’d just share some little stuff from the week – things that have made my heart happy in the midst of the ‘daily grind’.

The kids are starting to lead out in prayer! I almost cry when I hear one of their little voices sounding out the typical “Señor Jesús, Te damos gracias…” that starts their conversations with Jesus. Marcia, Sonia, Chiquito, Nika and Yeanny have all volunteered this week.

Yeifrey has been exceptionally “roller-coaster-y” recently. I feel like I walk on eggshells with him – that he may explode at any moment. This week, I’ve really seen him searching for some extra love and attention. Each day during writing practice, he grabs my arm and says, “Miss Angela, please just stay…”

Sonia led her entire small group during center time today! We were short-handed when we first started centers, so I just gave her the little worksheet and told her what I wanted. I asked her to explain to the others how to match the color names to the crayons. I’d look up every once in awhile to check on them, and they were staying on task better than any group so far – without a teacher there! Sonia is one smart little gal. So proud of her.

I’d be lost without my helpers in the classroom. Our Dominican teacher Mery seems to know the days I have no strength. She leads the kids with confidence and creativity and energy. Kurt interacts and plays with the kids – he’s recently taken on the task of helping struggling students learn to write their names. Gabe has been great about doing whatever I ask him to do. And Katie fills in all of the gaps to keep things moving throughout the day. Prepping notebooks and pouring juice and dishing out hand sanitizer and talking with kids in the corner aren’t the most splendid of ways to spend one’s time. But in my mind, those humble jobs are the very ones I imagine Jesus rewarding someday as we stand before Him.

Recently, I’ve just really felt the presence and closeness of the Lord in the classroom. I don’t know who all is praying for us, but I can attest that God has been helping me personally as of late. Days are still chaotic, emotional, and draining. But through the struggles, I can feel my Savior’s gentle leading. He is so very faithful – even in the little stuff.