Sunday, June 11, 2017

Find what matters

I recently read a blog about busyness and was reminded of how much "craziness" affects my life. It's not just the missionary me, all our lives are in constant transition as our children grow and develop their own opinions, as we experience unexpected twists and turns to our finances, or the death of a loved one or the addition of a family member. How do we stay rooted in the midst of crazy? How do I reduce my stress level in the middle of chaos?

We push ourselves to the point of exhaustion on many levels. Americans are living in a culture where we don't take the time to rest and get refreshed. Even our vacations are so filled with activities that sometimes we return home and actually feel more tired than when we left! We take vacations because we want to get away from our normal life, from the day to day busyness of work, family, and responsibilities. Yet getting away from all that means we only have that much more to do when we get back! It's like a constant cycle of work, vacation, work and we are always looking ahead to when the next vacation will be and where, and how much it will cost. It's exhausting!!!

What is the cost of chaos in our lives? What does stress do to our physical bodies, our emotions, and our spiritual lives? When we are tired, we don't want to go to church, we don't want to be around people...or maybe we want to avoid our responsibilities and so we cram too much into our day so we can take our minds away from what is causing us stress. Or...maybe we are simply not engaged with the things we need to focus on and are filling our days with emptiness.

I recently read this and think it defines my life completely: Many of us feel stress and get overwhelmed not because we're taking on too much, but because we're taking on too little of what really strengthens us.

This is me! I am so overwhelmed by the things that don't give me strength, that I fail to have the energy to put into things that matter. Like prayer. Like service. Like my family. Like reading God's word.

George Mueller said in his book, Release the Power of Prayer, "The Christian Vocation is to be in prayer, in the Spirit, at the place where the world is in pain, and as we embrace that vocation, we discover it to be the way of following Christ, shaped according to his messianic vocation to the cross, with arms outstretched, holding on simultaneously to the pain of the world and the love of God."

I want to be engaged in the pain of the world along with the love of God. I want to make a difference. I want to shine and pursue and have purpose in what I do. I want to help my kids to understand that they are not entitled to a life of ease. I want them to find what matters, to invest in people and things that matter, to travel and serve others, and to find peace in the midst of chaos.

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?


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!!!





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.


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



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.




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.)

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?