Wednesday, March 22, 2017

March 4, 2016

Going back through my journal and remembering all the feels has been so beautiful. To see how faithful God was in our journey over the past 14 years, it's too much to write, really.

A few final pictures of our family trip to MP...


In the taxi on the cobblestone streets of Cusco

Cathedral in Cusco on the main Plaza de Armas


Boys doing their homework in the airport since they missed a couple days of school.

Homework in the airport!


We still don't know what's ahead next year, we wrote to the Ethiopia field and they have confirmed that there are some options for our family, but it's a long process if that's what we decide to do. So many things going through my head, can we leave Peru after 14 years and start over with a family of 6? Are we honoring God by staying in Peru when we really can't afford it, or is God giving us an "out" by opening up a new location for us? Are they both God-honoring decisions? Does He trust us to choose? Do we trust ourselves to choose for our family? How will it affect our future and our kids?

#unknown
#change
#letsdothis

When faced with so many choices, how do we know what to choose?


I'm sticking with the fact that I know God is faithful. He may not make our path totally clear, but He will give us the courage to step out and be with us. I want to offer up my comfort and easy life as my grain offering to express Thanksgiving.  Leviticus 2:4


Traveling with kids--it's all that.

#cloudkingdom #noscreens #snacks #sugarydrinks #wrestlinginairports #nearlymissedourflight #toohot #toocold #fightingoverwindowseats #exhausted #content #lovemyperu




You can see Brandon nearly sleeping at the table...this is after our day at MP and we were exhausted! A good exhaustion though!

Aguas Calientes from our hotel room...which by the way, this was our 2nd hotel room and had a view of the valley!! Gorgeous.

I love this picture. It encompasses the reality of Peru, the buildings, the dirty river, the daily life of people we've come to love.

Waiting in the train station to head back to Cusco.Tired, but happy.

Hiking along the trail, loving the view of the valley below. Revelling in the fact that we had made it this far!

My love.

Machu Picchu and traveling with kids

It ended up being a beautiful day, the clouds stayed away enough to get some great pictures!

The Krohn gentlemen

When the kids were little, we stuck the boys in these windows...we wanted to recreate it, but Brandon has now outgrown the window!! 

Lazy llamas

My partners in crime!

I walked with Jonathon & Nathan to the Inka Bridge, it was a great little hike and such an amazing way to protect their fortress. If the plank was gone, it was impossible to continue on the trail (though it looks like you could just climb down in the picture). 

Jonathon & Nathan walking with me on the hike

Such a fun part of MP culture--the llamas.

Machu Picchu!!!

2/29/16

#familyvacation


#machupicchu

#pursueadventures




We surprised our kids by taking them out of school early so that we could travel to Machu Picchu as a family. We have been there a few times before when the kids were small, but we really felt that if we were going to leave Peru, we needed to get the kids back there to experience part of their heritage of growing up in Peru.

We didn't tell them where we were going. We took a taxi to the airport with our suitcases and when we got up to the check-in counter they saw the flight was going to Cusco. They started guessing, but we have to fly in/out of Cusco when we go to Abancay also, so they were guessing that as well. We had wanted to get resident tickets to MP because it was cheaper, so when we got to Cusco Jeff went to stand in line and the resident tickets were all gone. It ended up working out great for us in the end because we still got cheaper tickets (because we are residents and the 3 youngest kids have Peruvian citizenship) but we got the really nice tourist train! It was gorgeous, we were all excited and ready for a new adventure.

We took the train to Aguas Calientes where we stayed the night to get up in the morning and catch the bus up the mountain. Our hotel was a dive, but we gathered in one room and watched The Martian on Jeff's Mac--all crunched into 2 small beds. Good times.

The next morning we had to get up fairly early because, in order to climb Machu Picchu Mountain, you have to get there during a certain time period--it takes a few hours to climb and they close it mid-morning so they can get everyone off the mountain in the afternoon.

#hardesthikeintheentireworld

It was like a gazillion steps all going up. Brandon hiked ahead and the rest of us trailed behind. It was drizzly and sometimes slippery, but we kept trudging along. We couldn't even see MP from the trail because it was so fogged in. My sweet Sophia was a rockstar! She just kept going and going, sometimes getting teary-eyed, but oh so brave. People would see her and say, "If she can do it, we can do it!" She was an inspiration to everyone that day.

We got to the top and it started raining! The clouds had opened up a tiny bit so we could catch glimpses here and there of MP, but at the top it was nothing but rain. We had a snack and then headed back down...about half way down the sun started pushing through the clouds and by the time we got to the bottom it was completely clear.

What memories we had with our kids. They spent all their lives living in Peru, minus the one year furlough we took in 2010--Peru is home to them, and MP is part of the heritage of the Incas, the Quechua, and the beautiful people of Peru.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sometime between 1st and 2nd semester...Africa happened.

I mentioned a few posts ago, that we had been struggling with our future. We knew something had to change with our situation...and sometimes I think people wait around for God, expecting him to speak to them in dreams or billboards. We've always believed that God gave us brains for a reason; if things were pointing us to possibly look into other options for our family, then we needed to walk out on that limb and take a step of faith.

What did that mean? Did that mean we needed to take our kids out of school and put them in a different school? Did that mean we needed to raise more support and move closer to the school so we wouldn't have to commute? Did that mean we needed to work more so we could afford to live in Lima? Or did that possibly mean we should look for a new location of ministry? As in, an entirely new location...

A few years ago, Jeff threw out an idea for our family...I remember it clearly because I was aiding in the 2nd grade classroom and I came into school one morning and said, "Jeff has lost his ever loving mind. He was looking at Seminaries to teach at in Africa!"  I assumed he was a bit crazy and left it at that, but funny enough, every so often it would come up again...and when we were feeling some of that despair of needing a change, but not knowing which direction to head, Africa came up again.

Because it's in our nature to do crazy things, we started by looking through the SIM Needs list, looking for locations that would provide Jeff with a teaching position in a Seminary and me with a teaching job, but also where the kids would get a decent education. We weren't about to pull them out of a great school and then plunk them down in a place that wouldn't meet their needs either.

One place had all the things we were looking for. It was Ethiopia.


February 4, 2016

#pursue

#balance



Here were a few goals I made for myself:

"Rest" on Thursday will be devo and journal writing. When the kids are in clubs after school, I will use that as my planning time.

I will go to bed before 10pm on school nights. I will not do more than 1.5 hours of work at home on week nights.

#boundaries

#limits

#strength

January 18, 2016

The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst

I've wanted to read this for a few months and finally decided to start it over the break. It's been revolutionary as my heart and mind prepare to make decisions I'm not ready to make. In light of our tiredness, Lysa encourages us to make decisions that will not bankrupt us emotionally, financially, physically, or spiritually. Amazing.

I don't know how to be a full-time working mom and wife and not bankrupt my family. There has to be a balance somewhere, but I'm not sure how to find it. How do moms who work outside the home for 8+ hours a day find time to have a solid devotional life, time to exercise, time to prepare meals, clean the house, do laundry, etc. without bankrupting their families?

"Our decisions aren't just isolated choices. Our decisions point our lives in the directions we are about to head."

Are you telling me it's impossible to do all the things I'm doing?

"Once you've jumped into the raging river, you've diminished your ability to make decisions. Trace the river's path BEFORE jumping in!"

What do I need to release? If I say "yes" to this, I will have to release something else...


January 14, 2016

Here is what I wrote in my journal on January 14, 2016. (By the way, I don't actually journal, I just dabble in writing down my feelings every once in awhile. I have always aspired to keep a journal, I envy those who have logged hours of writing.)

#pursue
Adventures ahead--transitions in all their glory. We are burned out, done in, and numb with the decisions that must be made. Packing up our house to move back to the States on June 14th with NO idea of what's to come. Stressed out in an understatement.

My word for the year is PURSUE.

I will pursue peace, happiness, godliness, truth, contentment, purpose, and family. I'm committed to trusting God in all things. I will put my hope in Him, trusting He will make our way clear or give us the boldness to step out. Waiting to hear from Wheaton Furlough Homes to see if we even have a home next year. Then I focus on packing and finishing the year well.

"When you search for me, then you will find me, if you pursue me with all your heart."
Jeremiah 29:13



 RECAP: So Jeff and I had decided over the summer (Peruvian summer) that we would be leaving Peru at the end of the school year to take a year of furlough (read: rest) in the States. We didn't know, at that point, if we would store all of our things in Peru or if we would come back and move closer to the school after our year away. Things were just so up in the air for us, if we stored, we would have needed a storage unit or some place with enough room for furniture...but what if we didn't come back to Peru, what were our options then?

The first semester of school was rough for me, I was getting up at 4:15am every morning and then getting into bed after 11pm. I had so much prep for the classes, on top of just doing the wife and mom thing. Add in the commute and you can see how we were getting overwhelmed with life. How I was getting overwhelmed with life.

But something clicked for me over the summer holiday. Jeff and the younger boys were gone to Arequipa and when it came time for me to choose a word for the year, "pursue" was what stood out to me, based on the verse from Jeremiah 29:13. I needed to be intentional. I needed to pursue, truly pursue the things that were important to me. So I made the decision that I would be done with the late nights, I would give myself a limited time to work on school stuff at home and then be done (even if I wasn't really done). I decided I would start journaling a little, trying to record my thoughts and see how God was working in our lives.

Seeking perspective when you are physically, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted is life changing.





Saturday, March 18, 2017

What happened to 2016??


 I'm not going to apologize for not keeping up with this blog...for the entire year of 2016. Life happened, people. The Krohns were on the battlefield and nearly lost the battle. We only commuted 7 miles each way to school in Lima, but it took approximately 30-90 minutes each way. I was teaching full-time with all new classes, some of which didn't even have lesson plans or developed units. And then we moved continents for goodness sakes!

I'd love to tell you the ways I rocked 2016, but I was actually a hot mess. Like for the whole year. Previous posts might have alluded to the ways I was failing, or at least the ways I was falling...I'm not going to lie, it was something I hope to never repeat. I was exhausted, not momming or wifing very well, and really not even surviving very well.

 So many variables converged at the same time, variables that have no business converging...ever! Between teaching all new classes, our commute, various issues at the Seminary for Jeff, his PhD writing, kids becoming teenagers, hormones, and the unexpected things that inevitably happen when you live overseas (like our washer and dryer spontaneously combusting into flames, and how we had to evacuate our house and our neighbors had to call the fire department one night at 10pm!!!!!)...we knew something had to change in our family.
A couple years ago, when we were feeling strapped financially and being stretched emotionally, we began throwing around ideas of serving in other locations. Lima is expensive, you might think that because it's a developing country it would be cheap to live daily. Not so much. Along with the normal costs of housing, groceries (for a family of 6), gas, utilities, extra-curricular stuff to do as a family, there are also educational costs. I didn't get paid to work at the school, we got some tuition deductions, but not nearly enough to make it work for us financially. Especially not considering how much work I did and the hours I put in.

So...added to Jeff's frustrations with some ministry things and our ever growing tiredness of the commute and crazy city life, we began looking into other locations within the SIM world. We looked for places we could engage more in our gifts/passions, where there was a good school for our kids, but someplace that we could also financially afford.
This actually took place over a period of a couple years, but we didn't really share with anyone that we were looking for a new location, because we weren't even sure it was the wisest choice for us as a family. Who up and moves their family to a new continent after 14 years in one place? Who tells their 15 year old that he has to leave his friends and move to a new place? Was it a mid-life crisis, or was it a prompting from God that grew from very specific circumstances in our lives?









Tuesday, January 12, 2016

2016: My year to Pursue

My word for 2015 was Purpose. I had decided on NYE to keep that same word for this new year and continue in my quest for Purpose: to do everything with a purpose, for a purpose, and on purpose. But as I've been seeking rest and solace the past couple of weeks, I've decided to change the word that will define me this year.

My word for 2016 is Pursue. My heart's desire for this year is to be a pursuer of Godliness, happiness, fullness, family, rest, and purpose. In my tiredness and emptiness, I haven't been able to fully live, enjoy, or appreciate life. I've been consumed with certain responsibilities that have stolen my creativity. I'm doing so many things that I'm not passionate about, that it has taken me away from doing the things I AM passionate about. It's a tricky balance, one that I'm not managing very well. The balance I seek won't come overnight, but it will come.  Psalm 34:14 says to "Turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it."

If I want to truly heal this year, I must be a pursuer of all things good, true and holy. I must spend more time doing the things I'm passionate about, and less time doing those things which expend all of my emotional energy. I love teaching. I'm passionate about teaching, but sometimes the extra responsibilities that come with working in a school drain us from getting to actually be good teachers. If you've worked in a small school, you might know what I'm talking about--there are so many extra things we must involve ourselves in, we end up spending our time on those things and very little on what we actually love doing...teaching. I haven't quite figured out how to balance responsibility with passion, which is one reason I'm slowly burning out. Which is why I end up working 18-19 hour days and trying to survive on 5-6 hours of sleep per night.

This year I'm determined to pursue rest, balance, passion, happiness, and holiness. I hope that by pursuing these things, I can be a better me. A better teacher. A better wife. A better parent. A better friend.

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

Pursue.
In the car again, on our way to the beach.

Outskirts of Lima, a city I love.


Christmas Day football in the park, our family tradition!



Saturday, September 26, 2015

This season will end...eventually

I'm cranky. I'm irritable. I'm tired. I can't seem to get ahead. It feels like an endless season. It's like the movie, Groundhog Day, but not as entertaining.

When we decided that I would go back to work full-time so that we could afford for our kids to go to an International School here on the field, we knew it would be tough and tiring. What we didn't expect was that we would also be experiencing missionary burnout at the same time. Burnout is serious, you guys. It's debilitating and crippling because it doesn't allow for clarity or focus. Trust me, you cannot make good decisions in the midst of burnout.

We began feeling burned out last year, around January, it started as an extreme fatigue which led to a serious lack of motivation and irritability about even the little things. The crazy thing is that Jeff and I both began experiencing it at the same time...blessing or curse in itself, depending on the day. We began talking through how tired we felt, how unmotivated we felt,  and our basically "sick of everything" attitude. We prayed. We cried. We kept moving forward.  We asked friends to pray for us, and while we received much encouragement and positive thoughts from friends, the symptoms lessened, but the underlying issue still remained.  We were nearing the end of the school year, which for a teacher can be crazy, and while this certainly didn't help my fatigue, I knew we were heading to the States for our summer break to connect with family, friends, and supporting churches. I wanted the light at the end of the tunnel.  I wanted this season of stress to end. I don't know how you get through burnout other than leaving the field and seeking rest.

Unfortunately, we had already made commitments for this school year that wouldn't allow us to leave the field for an extended period of time or find true rest. We had just 5 weeks in the U.S. for our "furlough" and we knew going into it that we would not be rested when we came back to the field. If I can stop for a minute and plead with you to understand that furlough does not equal rest. Furlough is not a vacation. A short, 5-week furlough while traveling in the car for 5 weeks straight across the U.S. with 4 kids is not rest.  Is it fun? Yes, some of the time. Do we get to see more of the U.S. than other families? Yes, most of the time.  We catch up briefly (too briefly) with friends and family, but we stay in multiple houses and sleep in multiple beds. We pack and unpack multiple times, we stop at multiple rest stops and gas stations. We might laugh, read, listen to English radio stations, and soak in the beautiful country that we love and miss, but life decisions cannot be made in this inconsistent environment.  We are usually on a schedule that only allows for 1 flat tire, a few quick meals in the car, and checking into hotels after midnight, only to have to be on the road again by 6:30am.  I haven't even mentioned the financial implications of furlough. Woof.

Cue the end of the 5-week furlough and beginning of a new school year. We are not rested. I am still tired. I'm still irritable. I'm not in a healthy place and I'm struggling. I'm teaching nine K-8 Computer classes and two 6th and 7th grade English classes this year, and no, I can't seem to get ahead. This season of fatigue and fogginess has resurfaced, and I want to throw the towel in. I don't want to be in this season. It's kind of sucky.

I know there are people praying for us. Praying for me. I know that in my weakness, He is strong. I know in my heart what I don't feel in my body. I know that "God will make this happen for he who calls you is faithful." (I Thes. 5:24)  We've been on the field for 13.5 years; we are not newbies, we are not unfamiliar with burnout. I also know we are not in a healthy place and since something needs to change, we have decided, after speaking with our mission, that we need to return home (to the U.S.) for a year in what will be an attempt for Jeff to finish his Ph.D and for me to seek some physical, emotional, and spiritual renewal. I can promise you, this has not been an easy decision for us to make.  We have a high-schooler, two middle-schoolers, and one in elementary...they are not thrilled to be leaving their home, school, and friends for a year.  Life overseas can be fickle. It's a tricky place to be...needing a break, not getting a break, trying to make life-impacting decisions without having the mental capacity to even decide what to make for dinner after a 13-hour day. Are we coming back to Peru after our year in the States next year? We don't know. We can't make that decision right now.

So I ask myself, how can I find that place of hope here and now and keep moving forward? How can I finish strong? I'm trying to dig down into those deep places of my heart, the solid places that remind me WHO I belong to, and how much I'm loved.  The places that remind me that I do love my husband. Those places that remind me I do love to teach, and I do love Peru and the people I serve. The places my kids have touched with their laughter and love. That deep place where my soul sisters live...the friendships that encourage me, love on me, lift me up, and help me set one foot in front of the other and keep walking. I've appreciated reading about fellow soul sisters who are living and raising families overseas at http://www.alifeoverseas.com/. I am not alone and I find deep comfort in that. I am not my emotions. I may be exhausted and want to throw the towel in, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  I am brave and strong. I am loved. I will cling to the hope that this season will end...eventually.

Are you in what seems to be a hopeless and endlessly long season of life? What are you clinging to? Who are you seeking out to walk this journey with you?