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A Day in the Life

May 31, 2014

Recently, a well-meaning friend asked us what we’re doing right now.  We gave him (or her, I honestly can’t remember who it was), the run down: we’re raising the last bit of our ministry support, working on our house (it’s an investment!), and beginning the sorting/packing process to be able to return to Congo.

“No, I know all of that,” he/she said.  “What do you DO each day?  I mean, what does all that actually look like.”

And I realized she/he was right – this is probably a mystery to most.  Some days, it’s a mystery to me!  What do we DO all day?

So, I thought I’d outline a typical day to amaze your socks off.

There’s a problem, though.  That T word there…”typical.”  While we’re traveling, like when we were in WA, there was no such thing and people got that.  Now, though, as we’re at our “home” in Idaho, it’s harder to grasp the lack of typical.  So, as I outline this “typical” day for you, please keep in mind that by the time you read this, I will have forgotten what this “typical” day looked like, in exchange for a new “typical.”  Ok?  Begin.

7am:  My alarm goes off because I’m motivated to rise before everyone else and have a peaceful shower time.  However, within minutes, Amelia has crawled in bed for her morning Daddy cuddles.  It’s a must to begin the day well.  Axel has slept through the night for three days straight, at the time of this writing, and, so far, he’s good to go until 8 or 9.

8am: We all sit down for breakfast, minus sleeping Axel.  I make any variety of things – pancakes, waffles, oatmeal (a favorite for the kiddos), Dutch Babies, eggs and sausages…we have cereal only on the rough mornings.  Thank goodness for cereal.

9am: We have moved on to the first task of the day – emails, Facebook, dressing little ones, feeding Axel and planning the day.  If Matthew needs to make a run to the hardware store for something for a house project, he goes at this time and tries to take a little one or two.  We also review the calendar just in case we scheduled anything for the day and completely forgot about it (this happened once…it was a sad day…sorry Pastor Rick) – ministry partnership (this time of raising our financial support for our ministry) is not a 9-5 job, so sometimes there are 8am coffee dates, sometimes there are dinners at 7pm…everything else happens on everyone else’s schedule.  It’s fine, but it makes a routine a little harder.

10am: Snack time for Levi and Amelia!  I work on dishes, laundry, Mommy-ish things that are fun like helping Axel with tummy time (he’s sitting up all by himself now, yay!) or doing puzzles with the bigger ones.  This might be my only “downtime” with them for the day, so I try to make it count.  Matthew is usually doing ministry partnership paperwork or working on the house, depending on the day and the schedule.

11am: I get lunch ready and Matthew works on either house stuff, which could be fixing it up, or sorting some stuff to go.  Axel goes down for nap #1.

noon-ish: Lunch!  This takes an hour or so.  We plan out the afternoon, especially during nap time.  It’s vital to get something done during this quiet time!

1pm: Nap time begins!  Party!  I mean, shhhhh…  I am known to make some phone calls to potential supporters, catch up on some emails/facebook messages, write thank you notes, sort paperwork, or do some sort of research for future living needs.  I might run an errand while Matthew does his own thing and the kids are all sleeping.  There’s no set tone to our day, but there’s always progress made…

3pm: Kids wake and lately it’s been snack and outside time (well, Axel stays inside with me…mostly).  Keeping them outside is a different story, but the air and dirt are great for them and they love it.  This week’s project for Matthew on the house has been cutting out our two basement bedroom windows to make them legal egress.  So, once completed, our little investment goes from a two-bedroom to a four-bedroom.  Cha-ching!  The cement cutter guy came a few days ago and did a great job.  The new windows will arrive shortly, but meanwhile Matthew is digging window wells, framing in the window holes, and will install the new windows.  Interspersed in between the manual labor, Matthew has been focusing on his French course.  I sit with him when I can, but more often kids and house chores keep me from being able to sit too still.

4pm: Time to get dinner started and clean up anything I’ve left undone (paperwork, laundry on the table, etc.), though I suppose I intersperse dinner prep with continued work…

6pm: Dinner-to-bed marathon.  You parents with little ones know what I’m talking about.  This time period conveniently falls into the same block as the Best Time to Call People block.  6pm here means it’s 8pm on the East Coast.  Studies show that between 7 and 9 are the best hours to actually reach people on the phone.  So, we aim for 8 (after kids are in bed, before you’ve shut your brain off).  We trade off making phone calls and keeping the bedtime momentum going.  Of course, that’s not to say our kids are difficult to put to bed – actually, they’re super easy.  Clean up toys, PJs on, teeth brushed, story read, lights out and we don’t see them again for twelve hours.  But, somehow, this process still takes 45 minutes.

8pm:  Axel is winding down and heading to bed a little earlier each night.  His food needs of late have been out of this world, but if that’s what he needs to sleep through the night, I’m more than willing (thank goodness he’s started solids and he’s content to take a bottle -or two- of formula)!  We make the last of our phone calls and Matthew usually heads out to clean up from the house work of the day and make necessary notes of things to do in the morning.

9pm: Dishes, French lessons, blogging (obviously not regularly, but this is the time block for it), more emails and Facebook, West Coast/Alaska phone calls, writing a prayer letter, sorting things, and more laundry.

10pm: Matthew and I make notions of heading to bed but, instead, find funny things on the Internet and wine and chocolate (that’s practicing for France, ya’ll).

11pm: Head to bed…suddenly realizing there’s so much left to do!!!!

I realize when we write it all out, it doesn’t seem that exciting, or even that productive.  However, like I tried to state earlier, there is no such thing as a typical day.  One day we may head out to run errands as a family, usually stopping at MAF HQ and seeing all of our friends there and chatting with folks, especially our Ministry Partnership Coach, who keeps us accountable for our time spent getting to the field both by being in touch and through our weekly time sheets.  Another day we may have doctor appointments (a lot coming up in the near future!) to get us ready for life without a regular doctor.  Then, sometimes, we work on one big project as a family, such as sorting clothes, going through boxes in the garage, working on the house or making our yard nice.  Many nights we have people over for dinner, or go to someone’s house for dinner.  Like your days, each day for us is different.

So, if this doesn’t fully describe our current life, it’s because I can’t.  I can’t really, fully, answer the question our friend asked. We feel like we have all the time in the world to visit with you, get to know you and share about our ministry, but we also feel immense pressure to hurry up and get ready, have our house and things in order so that we can leave soon.  Trying to balance both is a little wearing if we let it be.  We are thankful for the Lord’s grace and that this process of living in balance of being in the present and preparing for the future is only temporary…someday, soon, we’ll put down some roots.  And make that yard nice, too.

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