Friday, March 28, 2014

Reflections on the slow life: Grama Di

This is a guest post by my mom, Diane Huisman. What I love about this post is that she so accurately describes why moving back to the United States, while so exciting to me, is so terrifying. I have spent the last four years living a very slow-paced life. I'm not sure I am ready to return to the rat race!

When Wendi and John and family left our home after the birth of Hannah, I'm not sure if I was sort of depressed or just having trouble adjusting to getting back to our regular routine.
She spoke often of the beauty of her present home in the Azores as did my sister (Connie who lived with them for a time last year) and the many pictures she sent me.
I really had no desire to travel overseas on my own and knew that within the year they would be back in the States.  

I remember on different occasions envisioning sitting on her balcony with my Bible and coffee overlooking the beauty and enjoying the peace of where they lived.  I had such a desire to just 'be' but put the thought out of my mind because financially and time wise it didn't seem possible.  

I must admit that it took some convincing for me to even go to the "other world." I had thought, I'll have to make my porch time here in my own yard. God had other plans and worked things out.  I was apprehensive because I wasn't real comfortable with flying overseas alone but felt that this was an opportunity I could not pass up. I was nervous but knew I would be so sorry if I did not take the opportunity. So I decided to go for it. He took care of all the details on the way.

I met a wonderful young man and his mom-they made sure I got where I needed to be. I never got to say good bye to them which I was disappointed about. So thankful they were there.  Precious!

Finally got to the island of Terceira to a warm greeting from my darling kiddos.  How awesome to get their hugs and kisses.

And then to experience the beauty of the island! O my stars. 

A ride on a road alongside the water. Straight ahead is Split Rock.

I loved riding down the streets and seeing the towns and the water all around us....

Needless to say it was very busy there with 4 little ones but I was able to get out for walks. Each day I took one of the kids to the "Red Cafe" for a little date. They'd pick and ice cream cone and we'd walk to the beach and sit for awhile.

Walking around the corner to go to dinner at Buzius -- this was a windy nite!

I got to experience a couple of neat restaurants. At one of them, Quinta do Acores, there was a special moment where Isaac turned and said, "I love you Grama Di." Isaac doesn't readily do that and it brought tears to my eyes. Sat and watched Frozen about four times. Hugs and kisses and games and cuddles and "wesltes" (wrestles) and hide and seek and walking to the neighbors so the kids could play with their kids ... and every time I looked out the window I saw amazing beauty. 


I had some times that I could go and sit on the 3rd floor balcony and talk to God.  It was wonderful!  I just sat there and said "God I know you have some revelation for me, I am ready to hear it!"  I didn't sense anything unusual or special but so enjoyed the peace and the beauty and felt that He was ministering to my Spirit ... teaching me to rest.

It was tough for me to really be able to relax. I am so used to moving and doing.  I am so used to rushing here and there. How much am I missing in the moment

because I'm thinking about the next place to be?

A leisurely day at "Duck Lake" with the youngest of my six grandchildren

Now I have arrived home after a wonderful visit with my daughter and grandkids in the Azores

Too quickly it was time to come home. I hated to say good bye but really did miss the USA. It was a two day trip back. A special Florida friend had loaned me her iPad so I was able to listen to some wonderful music and hear great podcasts during my travels.  

Beautiful Azorean hydrangeas which were just starting to peek out! Soon, I am told, the island will be covered with them.

I felt like I was busy with Wendi and the little ones, but then I landed in Fort Lauderdale and headed home on I-95 at 5:00 in the evening. 

O my goodness.  I spent ten days on two-lane roads -- roads that seemed like there was only room for one car but allowed for two .... yikes!)  I saw ONE traffic light ( I have a picture of it!)

There is the traffic light!! AMAZING!!

I-95 was INSANE!  I couldn't believe all the cars and the crazies that HAD to get ahead of everyone else.  It was almost suffocating.

From the moment I got home my schedule was full. Work the next day, some other activity in the evening. Friday I had to go to Costco for some groceries and I literally had to stop and say to myself  "there is no need to need to rush...."

I didn't feel like I had a major revelation on that balcony, but since I've been back I have felt God saying"slow down."

The only traffic jams on the island are in the form of cows! They use the main roads to move them from pasture to pasture so they can often jam up the roads.

George and I sat and talked one morning before work and we both said, "Something's got to give. We cannot keep this pace."

At Wendi's there was dinner at home. Eating out was a special treat.  No fast food places to quick grab something. 

Wendi is home schooling her boys but it wasn't a huge deal.  She would spend maybe an hour total a day doing some workbooks.  I watched them play and imagine and run around outside and they are reading!!!

An afternoon field trip -- plenty of time for fun things when you aren't rushing from place to place

Everyone was not on cell phones. (I didn't have my phone for 10 days and survived!!!)

Here in the States I talk to people who have kids in school and then come home and have hours of homework.  When do they play?  When do they dream?

There, people talk to each other. I saw COMMUNITY!  Wendi's neighbor cut her hand ... contacted Wendi and Wen could step in and help with the kids.  Another friend came and sat with the kids so Wendi and I could go to dinner together.  We spent a morning at the park, exercising and enjoying each other.

Mianna, Wendi's friend who helped babysit one night so we could have dinner and then spent the following day having a delightful picnic with us in Angra.

Look at these views of Angra

So beautiful

Beauty while we were at the park

It has me thinking, now that I am home.

The pace has to stop.

I listened to a message this morning about INTIMACY.  How can we really know each other when we are running here and there.

When we have intimacy with our spouse, we shut the door.  We are in secret.  We know each other ... the secret things.  

I have felt God saying"I want you to shut the door!  I want to share things with you and I want to know your heart!'   

I am a servant.  It is my passion to serve those around me-to make their life easier.  To bring a smile to their face but I want to bring a smile to HIS face.  I don't want to be busy working FOR Him that I don't really enjoy Him!

How can we reach out and love our family and touch those around us if we are constantly running.  I can get impatient with the car going the speed limit in front of me, because I want to get some where more quickly?   

I found myself even in the Azores, stopping and saying to myself.. ".are you enjoying the moment or thinking about the next thing to do?"

Most everything closed on Sunday and Mondays over there.  People learned to plan their lives around that.  Here in the states most everything (except Chick Fillet) is open.  We go, go, go.....

It will hit some week ends and we are so exhausted we totally crash.  I think we need a Sabbath -- a time to reconnect with God, family and friends but it shouldn't be to the point that we are too exhausted to enjoy time together.

Such beauty from the third floor

The view from the third floor balcony

He's been giving me some ideas on things-planning a head a bit, letting go of some time wasters etc.  Since being back in the states I'm feeling more peaceful.  Instead of looking for something to do while George is at work in the evenings, I can come home and just 'be'.   

Thank you Wendi for the wonderful opportunity to share your life and your babies.

It's going to take reminding myself and working at not slipping into some of those old habits.

You are an amazing wife and mother.  What a great friend you are to those around you.

So very thankful to have you as my daughter and friend.  You teach me alot!

I am also so very thankful you will be living in the good ole USA!!!!  

See you soon!!!  Love you all so much!


Anonymous said...

What an awesome post, Diane! Wendi, I think one thing that will help is that you are moving to TN. It is a state with a much slower pace from what I remember when we vacationed there.

Julie E.

TAV said...

Oh, how I wish I could slow life down!! I so often feel like I'm running and drowning. Glad you had a great visit!!

Anonymous said...

Well said, Di! You left a blessing on the place and all you met!
See you soon:)

Anonymous said...

I loved this...and as I adjust back to Chicago from 2 monhts overseas...have many emotions as I read this...I would like to be able to print it up -not sure how w/ fb/pics but i enjoyed this so much -thnx for sharing it Wen! Aunty Jan PS (we would have chosen TN in a heartbeat to live -it will be slower paced than Fla or Chicago...except everyone will be coming to visit you!