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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Puzzle pieces.

I just submitted a petition to graduate.  As of June 13, 2011 I will hold a Master’s Degree in Special Education.  Lest you think I’m bragging, please allow me to elaborate.

Twenty four years ago (ouch) I graduated from high school and went off to college, not knowing anything about who I was.  Or who I wanted to be.  I landed myself into a MOTHER of a depression during that semester.  I ended up spending inordinate amounts of time at the local cemetery (It was OLD, and I love history, so it’s not that big of a stretch).  By November I had lost 25 pounds and could barely drag myself out of bed in the morning.  At Christmas I made the decision not to return, which, in retrospect, probably saved my life.  I honestly don’t believe I would have come out of the second semester alive.

Over the next 20 years, I got married, had three amazing kiddos and kept sliding.  You’ve heard it said that when you hit bottom, there is only one way to go.  I can attest to the fact that you can crawl around down there for a LONG time before you look up.  About 5 years into my marriage, I finally got a tentative grasp on my depression, began to put my marriage back together and emerged from what had been a very long, very dark fog.  When you’ve been in the dark for a while and suddenly the lights come on, it takes time for your eyes to adjust, and you are naturally hesitant to open them.  That was me for a while.  I was afraid if I opened my eyes, I would see something I didn’t like.  Or worse yet…someone would look into them and see something that THEY didn’t like.  We went back to church, and I discovered that the God that I had been running from was right there, waiting for me to finally settle down and listen.

Jump ahead to 2006.  We are now on the mission field in Quito, Ecuador.  We have a fourth child.  Our marriage is strong, and I’m not talking to the flowers in the wallpaper anymore.  In my heart, I’ve always regretted not finishing college.  I think somehow I thought I was less of a person because I didn’t have that diploma to affirm who I was.  In February, I began earnestly seeking a way to go back to school.  I filled out several preliminary forms, and one day the phone rang.  The next thing I knew, I was enrolled in college, ordering books, and feeling completely overwhelmed.  How does one manage four (actually, at that time five, but that’s another story) children, a husband, a full time ministry, a full time job, and be a full time student?  By the grace of God, and a very patient family, I managed.  It took me 3 years and 11 months, and I finished it.  A Bachelor’s degree in Education.  At this point, I was 39 years old, working at the school, and had come to the realization that what I wanted to do when I grew up was to work with Special Education kids.  My Patrick has more learning issues than I can count, and he’s not the only one.  I made the decision, just three weeks after graduating with a Bachelors (which was, honestly, more than I ever thought I could do) to try and get my Masters.  Another 19 months of constant homework, juggling family, work, ministry and just life in general.  As of today, I am three classes away.

There have been a lot of changes in me over the last 24 years.  Here is what my overly-caffeinated mind has come to realize.  When I graduate in June with that degree, it’s going to be pretty cool.  I’ll feel pretty good about it, and I’ll look forward to putting it into practice in the classroom.  BUT.  It’s not who I am.  It’s one little piece of the puzzle that makes up me.  I’m still scattered all over the card table, but I’ve got the edges together.  The outline is there.  And I’ve started filling in the middle.  One piece at a time.

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.”  Psalm 139: 13-14.

“I know that full well.”  That’s a tough sentence to handle.  Do I know it full well?  Maybe “I know…I think”  No.  It has to be full well.  Half knowledge and partial truths don’t get to the big picture.  So I will choose to know it “full well”.  And I’m going to celebrate that knowledge.  I’m going to celebrate that degree too.  It’s part of the big picture.

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Motherhood

Last week, the kids were off school for a combination government holiday/teacher conference thing.  Heather and Kristina are pretty good at entertaining themselves, although it does get a little expensive.  PATRICK, on the other hand.  I tried, like a good mother, to limit the amount of TV that he watched.  We played games, read stories, and I did make him clean up his room.  That took care of Friday, and left us with 9 more days.  By Saturday morning, Oliver was checking the classifieds to see if he could afford to move out.  Patrick had wrestled him, pulled his ears, poked, prodded and just generally aggravated the living daylights out of him.  Oliver is a rather sedentary dog, and all of this activity was about to push him over the edge.  Since Dan was out of town, I was responsible for entertaining Patrick, and presumably I wasn’t allowed to put him on eBay.  (Believe me, next time Dan goes out of town, I will clarify this.)   I heard the word “Mom” approximately 9,567 times.  In one day.  Followed closely by “why”?  And when he got bored, he tattled.  On his sisters.  TO his sisters. On the dogs.  TO the dogs.  By Wednesday I was hiding in the laundry room talking to the birds on the wall calendar.  We don’t have a yard to play in, and even if we did, it’s been raining pretty much non-stop since Christmas, so sending him outside wasn’t an option, and all three dogs had to come inside, since Charlie is a mud magnet and Chloe is a princesa, and neither of them could be outside in the rain.  Oliver is always inside anyway because he’s so neurotic.

I tried to be a good mom.  I tried not to allow the electronic babysitter to take over.  I lost.  Patrick watched pretty much every Disney movie we own.  He watched three of the Star Wars movies.  And he’s developed a fondness for “I Carly” and “Hannah Montana” that would be alarming…if I were a better mother.  Add to this the fact that I didn’t cook…ONCE…the whole time Dan was gone.  Yup.  Patrick got McDonalds twice, the Chinese place twice, and a lot of cereal.  My mother-of-the-year award is in the mail.  I’m sure of it.

This morning, I had him out of bed 15 minutes early.  Back to school.  And I need to remember to buy his teacher flowers.  She’s a saint.

New beginnings

Yes, I’m back.  In May of last year, my email account was hacked, and I literally lost my online identity.  My emails, my Facebook and my blog were suddenly just gone.  It’s an eerie feeling, almost like being erased.  I wasn’t going to restart my Facebook, mainly because I have the ability to lose hours of time on there, but I found myself desperately needing to, for the oddest reason.  On Dan’s profile, it used to say “Married to Cyndi Maloy”.  That went away when my Facebook went away, and it bothered me.  Greatly.  Suddenly, he was just “married”.  To some unknown person.  I had to put myself back in that place.  When I restarted Facebook, I had to add friends all over again.  I quickly realized that this was a bit of a new beginning.

As I was contemplating re-starting my blog, I went to the old blog site, and low and behold, not only was MY blog gone, but the whole blog thingy itself had disappeared.  I don’t think that it had anything to do with my issues-I’m sure it would have happened anyway.  Discovering that made me realize that I really could start completely over, and it would be OK.

I’m still me.  There are a lot of things that haven’t changed.  I still live in Ecuador-some days happily and some days because there are no flights out of here that fit my budget.  Fortunately those days are rare.  I still work at the Alliance Academy, in the library.  For someone with a word addiction, it really is the perfect job.  My Spanish is still mediocre and I am still debating whether or not I really care what my house looks like.  We still have three dogs, but the cat has moved on to better accommodations, outside the city where she can climb trees and catch mice.  The neurotic hamster died, but we still have the neurotic dog, so there is a balance.  Dan has made dire threats if I bring anything else into the house that requires nourishment, so I’ve decided not to push the issue.

Parts of me have changed.  Or wanted to.  In July of last year, I turned 41.  Turning 40 didn’t bother me, but 41 kind of undid me.  I took a good look at who I am, and began to wonder if it was who I wanted to be.  (Before you panic, I’m not deserting Dan and the children to run off and find myself on the top of some mountain somewhere.  I’ll do my soul-searching on the couch.)  There are parts of me that I’m OK with.  I’ve come to grips with my weight (I’m leaning on the fact that this body is a temple to the Lord.  If He wants me to lose weight, it will become a lot easier, and will involve chocolate.)  I finally got my college degree, twenty some years after leaving for all of the wrong…and right…reasons.  I’m about to finish a Master’s degree in Special Education.  I have a great marriage to a great man.  Those of you who knew me 15 years ago know that this is a miracle of Biblical proportions.  I have great kids, though I tend to attribute this to the work of the Lord rather than anything I’ve specifically done.  Those are things that, for right now, are OK.

Some things aren’t OK.  I’m a grouch.  There are lots of things I could attribute this to, but the bottom line is…I’m a grouch.  I get frustrated when things don’t go my way.  Sometimes I get frustrated when they do.  You see the problem here.  I need to be more flexible.  One would think that, as a missionary, flexibility would be my middle name.  One would be wrong.  I spend a lot of time worrying about what other people think of me.  My identity should be in the Lord.  My heart knows this…my head hasn’t caught up yet.  I have spent the last 41+ years trying to be what everyone else wanted me to be, and I’ve never figured out who I wanted to be.  I decided that this year I would focus on finding out who I am in Christ, rather than who I am in the world.  Not that I don’t care what people think anymore (Some miracles are really too much to ask for 🙂 but I’m trying desperately not to dwell on it.  I have also come to grips with the fact that I am pretty much a card-carrying introvert.  I realize that I was born this way, and that I will probably never be anything close to an extrovert, but I am trying to be a little more social and dispel the unnecessary rumors about my mental state.  I’ll probably always prefer the solitude of my own thoughts, and I’m learning to believe that since the Lord created me that way, it must be OK, but I can stick my head out of my shell occasionally and greet the world.

I will use this blog to keep you updated on our ministry, and our lives, and the funny things that happen in our world.  The only way I maintain even a tentative grip on my sanity is to laugh, so if I put something on here and you’re horrified because it doesn’t seem at all funny, please remember that I look at the world through a different filter.  I can either laugh, or end up sitting in the corner decorating pillowcases at the Home for the Bewildered.  At least for now, I’ll choose laughter.

“On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of laughter, sing yourselves into his presence.” Psalm 100:1 (The Message)

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