Teacups in the Jungle

Life stories from a missionary mama

As we entered the United States last week the immigration officer looked at my foreign passport sticking out from a family of American passports and so he asked how many days I planned to be here.  I knew the number well and told him 89. He nodded approval, stamped the papers and so started my countdown as a British citizen in America waiting to return to the Philippines. This is our life.

We have now been here 7 of those 89 days and in just two days (Wednesday 3rd July) we go to the first doctor appointment of many in the next few months. All leading to THE day when we take Izzy to L.A. for surgery. Counting, waiting and dreading the day that has brought us to this point. We still don’t have a date for the surgery, but that doesn’t stop me counting. For those of you who have been asking, we may know more after Wednesday and I will let you know then. Thank you for your prayers concerning all these details. We really appreciate it.

Today though, may just be the start of a new countdown for me. Today, we are finally over jet lag. The kids both slept through the night and were up at a normal hour. Izzy has discovered that without a mosquito net she can actually get out of bed when she wakes up, a new concept for her and her Mama! We ate turkey sandwiches on delicious rye bread, with sliced fresh avocado and huge red tomatoes. My dear husband and Izzy went to the store and returned with some beautiful roses and an iced coffee as little “just because we can now” gifts. We enjoyed the time together today as a family, the space and peace of this lovely home we are living in and I even had some time to myself here in the back yard to think and read and write. It has been a lovely day. A simple day and yet one to be so grateful for. I could so easily miss seeing days like this when my mind’s eye is always on the next doctor’s appointment.

Learning how to arrange flowers. Not something we do too often in the jungle!

I think Izzy is having the same problems but from the perspective of a two year old. Every time we have got into the car this week to go somewhere, we are not two minutes down the road when Izzy says, “Mama are we here?” To which I reply, “Yes, Izzy we are here.” She seems confused as to why then are we still driving and I remind her she is meaning to say, “Are we there yet?” With all the traveling and moving around we have done in the past months she is always wanting to know where exactly we are going and how long is it going to take. However, in all the wondering, she is missing the joys of being “here”. As we drive through some beautiful areas she doesn’t notice the big red windmill on the way to Auntie Connie’s house, the rolling hills and oak trees which make the terrain here so distinctive and even the circus tent on the side of the freeway! So many things can pass us by when we are focused on one thing in the future.

Maybe she has been watching her Mama too much.

Well thankfully just 7 days into the 89 days God has brought some things to my attention. This is not the way He wants me to live these next months or any month at that. Yes, we are here in California so Izzy can have this surgery but I think God has a lot more in store for me/us than to just sit around waiting with a date hovering over our heads. 

“This is the day that the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.”

I want to be grateful for this day (every day) as a gift from the Lord. I want to be present for all He ordains to bring my way. The people we may meet, the rest we may receive, the quiet times and the new experiences. I do not want to assume these 89 days are just for Izzy to receive healing from infections when maybe the Lord has plans for some cutting away and healing to do in us too. There may be things that we may need to see, people to open our eyes to and a renewed vision we need to be aware of. I want to live each day not according to a countdown but instead counting it all joy to know and walk with Jesus, right here, right now. I don’t want to miss the, “simple joy” days in this stage of waiting.

So I am trying to lift my mind from the calendar and the counting. I want to praise God for the blessings, for they are many. Here are just a few sweet memories and moments in these past 7 days.

Izzy cheered out loud and shouted, “Jesus gave us water” when I turned the faucet/tap on in the kitchen sink the first day we were here at the house. After weeks of no water in our house in the jungle we really praise God for simple things like water in the house.

Izzy and Judah have enjoyed discovering all sorts of new fruit to taste for the first time. Instead of mangoes we are now eating strawberries, peaches and blueberries all bought from a local farmer’s market. Delicious!

Feeding the fish in Grandpa’s pond has been a highlight in Izzy’s day. Sweet.

We got to be at our niece’s birthday party for the first time in 10 years. Special.

Having two babies in the seat of the cart/trolley as I stroll around Costco. Surreal.

The options for dinner! Amazing.

I made a cake with every ingredient on the list. No substituting. Remarkable.

On July 3rd Danny’s sister and three kids fly in from Colorado for a month. We will all finally be here together for one special month. We are looking forward to celebrating freedom and family together on the 4th and I know there will be lots of picture taking as we try to capture these precious memories in frames for forever.

So despite the circumstances we have so much to be thankful for and I aim to take it one day at a time. With the waking and the wonder of a new dawn I look forward to the light that God will reveal to me in His Word. I am planning to finally read my wish list of books and most of all I am just excited at the thought of seeking God and meeting with Him daily on this little back patio; asking Him to teach me and show me new and wonderful things about His glorious Self.

89 days of opportunity which I don’t want to miss for the dreading of one.

Grateful for today

So delicious. 
Enjoying frozen yoghurt with a cousin for the first time!
Finally some friends she can’t boss around! 🙂

Cooler California evenings.
Exploring Grandpa and Grandma’s garden.

Judah meets Great Grandma and Grandpa!! Love. 🙂
She spotted a squirrel! 
Tight cuddles from the little man.

Kisses for Papa. xx 

6 thoughts on “89 days of opportunity.

  1. Deb says:

    Sorry that Izzy has to have surgery but so thrilled for you all that you can be here for it and be blessed with all the extra family time. I love your perspective on things. Once again, you have inspired and challenged me. Thanks.


  2. Hi Debbie! Thank you as always for your encouragement. Looking forward to seeing you in person rather than just in the “comment box!” Hope you are well. Pip.xx


  3. I enjoyed and appreciate your post Philippa. Recently one of Chris'caregivers told us she can no longer help Chris and I for her normal six hour shifts. It has required me to forgo my normal tasks that I would get done during those hours and to be there double duty for Chris. The Lord has been sharing with me something similar to what you wrote about. It is not about all the “To-do's” and future stuff. Yet instead, the NOW. The Moments together. Listening to what else He may be calling us to. I love the way you paralleled Izzy's car ride and being anxious for the destination yet “missing some of the journey”. Thank you
    : )Michele


  4. So happy you are experiencing the joys of Central Cali this time of year! Love that place! It was also a comfort to read about the new things you are experiencing while adjusting to being in the States for awhile. I can relate! Loving the summer fruits: berries, apricots, peaches… oh my!


  5. You guys are such an example to us Michelle of real servants of the Lord. I am glad I could offer any words of encouragement to you and I am praying for you and Chris tonight. Tell him Danny and I say a big hello. Love to you both and God Bless you. Pip.


  6. Hi Mary! Yes….lots of reverse culture shock! The plastic containers are all so hard to throw away them seem such good quality! Hope you have a great summer. Hugs up to you in the North!


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