it has been so strange and wonderful to be here. strange, because of the emotions and memories attached to this place from growing up/ high school, yet I am different. and wonderful for so many reasons. this is a large country, arizona, large spaces, large stores, broad room in houses, long roads, and lots of parking. the mindset is a little more conservative, the growth environment more wholesome for children... huge, new shopping centers are to be found in the middle of cactus and shrubbery; one walks into a wal-mart as big as a football field and is greeted with that distinctive cold blast of air that reminds me of so many sweet past days.
the house we have landed in for the summer is a beautiful, original, ranch-style home filled with artwork and decor that speaks of the rural life, love for indigenous peoples, and the embracing of the desert.
ah, the desert! it has been hot and hotter most days... the cicadas buzz about us all day and most nights, desert animal life is abundantly seen in the early mornings and evenings. deer, rabbits, gila monsters, quail... we feel rural, close to nature, where the heat is bigger than us. we can only lie low in the shelter during day, and cope with the immensity of it in humility, realizing our littleness before this force, an expression of God.
we are reminded about how vulnerable we are, finding poisonous insects in the house almost daily. assasin bugs (kissing bugs) seem to love this house as much as we do. there was one encounter with a scorpion, as well, and spiders are frequent guests.
we are surrounded by good old friends. the girls i grew up with of the graham household have grown up and started their own families; there is a peppering of them around this house. (just kidding! two of them live in this neighborhood. one of my best friends, Omi, with her family (3 little ones in the same age ranges as ours) lives in the next house down, and her sister Emi (married to Jonathan) lives in the next house up. mama and papa graham still live in the same house, the one just to the east of us. so we are surrounded! the grahams are a very loving, inclusive bunch. it was they who did so much to make our move here possible. seeking out employment and housing opportunities, and doing all to make us comfortable. now that we are here we feel immensely loved, taken in, included. we have gone on walks, joined them for a family potluck, enjoyed saturday morning at starbucks together, and just hung out at each others houses. we left sparrow with them today as they were out in town visiting their grandmothers, etc. she has the BEST time with omi's daughter danielle! she came back to me all smiley and excited. she got a cough drop, and ice cream, and got to ride in a vintage car, and danielle's van has a dvd player!!!!! wow. what a special day for sparrow. i thought the girls might miss all the outings to the parks, and... golden does still say "park!" when we get into the car, but i think they have found it is MUCH nicer to have friends as neighbors than to go to a new park every day...
golden is potty training; for a few days she was stuck in the stage where she was afraid of the potty and wouldn't voluntarily sit on it. now she does better, but only with #1. she's so cute; she says, "pee pee coming!" we realized too that it would be much more time efficient to buy one of those plastic mini toilet seats that goes over your regular one. that way we won't be cleaning the potty out over and over... (golden pees almost as much as i do. yesterday i had a record 15 times!)
we have found a potential house to move to when our time here runs out: it is right up the drive! it would be so nice to have a close move, and also to get to stay near our friends, though you may have gathered, we are *slightly* far away from town... the house we are looking at has super super cheap rent, and the washer and dryer are right in the kitchen! cloth diapers will finally become an option! three bedrooms will feel like such an amazing luxury, plus there is a whole little apartment attached! we do feel spoiled, excited. Lord, keep us fiery for you, bless our h0me and family to be a beacon for you!