I’m not a nomad.

Of course, I love traveling and experiencing new cultures, meeting new people, etc. But I like having a spot. I like having somewhere to go back to, a space that is mine in which I can be completely myself.

So naturally, moving four times in three months hasn’t been easy (my fourth move will take place in two weeks!).

In many ways I felt like Matagalpa was finally starting to become home to me. I was getting to know people and becoming more confident in my surroundings.

Then God brought me back to the States. Now, in many ways, I feel out of place here. I can’t quite put my finger on what it is – but sometimes it frightens me, and I wonder if I will ever find my home.

As these doubts arise, God whispers to me. He tells me that He is my home. That no one place on earth can contain His love for me. That the more I see of the world, my heart will expand and I won’t be able to be satisfied in a mere place.

I don’t want to be without a home – which is why my home, my Savior, goes with me wherever I go.

“I will say of the LORD, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ ” (Psalm 91:2)


A Bend in the Road

This past week has been hard. Hard because God wanted to show me something that I didn’t want to see.

It reminds me so much of when Melissa and I realized we were going to move. We were up on the roof – and we wanted security, so we talked about signing our lease on that house for a year. Then it became six months. Then, somehow, God told us we were moving in a month.

So we moved. And when I thought I was going to be flying out of Managua on April 30th, God made it increasingly clear that I was going to be heading home sooner than that.

And all of a sudden we realized I am flying home on Thursday, giving me three days to mentally and practically prepare for moving back to the States.

Things happen sort of quickly around here.

I am looking forward to being back in the States. I’m excited to see many people I have missed, and I’m glad I’ll be able to resume my Lyme treatments.

At the same time? I can’t believe I’m leaving home to go home.

Today I walked around the city, buying gifts for family members. The shops were starting to open, early in the morning. People lounged on street corners, talking and laughing (and staring at the blonde gringa walking past). I love the color and the bustle of Matagalpa. I love that I can go talk with the vegetable vendor we like, Jorge, then give a wave and a cheek kiss to a waiter that knows us. I walk past the grand, white cathedral and the pigeons on its steps on my way to a favorite coffee shop. I know my surroundings now and I love them. I’ve taken the bus back home so many times that the bus attendant knows me and where my stop is.

I love sitting on our porch, talking with our repairman, Freddy. I make him coffee, and he brings me traditional Nicaraguan treats – “pan de maiz,” because he knows I can’t have wheat. We rock in those wicker chairs and talk about different countries and our families and our aspirations. I love that I can now communicate with people and actually converse – in broken Spanish, yes, but I can understand them and they can understand me.

This small part of the world has a big part of my heart. I haven’t quite known how to blog about life here, because – in so many ways it’s so normal to me that I don’t know how to describe it. I could tell you about the boy vendor who comes on the bus every day trying to sell caramelized peanuts. I could tell you about the woman with the stone staircase into her cement house who makes tortillas, or the man across the street from her who repairs shoes by hand-stitching them. Or the lady across the street from the main park who makes and sells enchiladas, gallo pinto, and salad every evening.

I’ve come to care about and, in some ways, identify with these people. But I know God’s timing is perfect – that He is walking alongside me, holding my hand, and pointing things out that He wants me to see. So, for now? My time in Nicaragua is over, but I may come back. All I know for sure is that I look forward to the future and fondly remember the time I spent here. And God is never false to His faithfulness!


In Which We Start to Explode

It started that day up on the roof . . . that day when God gave us a brilliant, gigantic rainbow. We had talked about renewing our lease for a year, then for six months. And then? We realized we were moving, and we had no idea where.

In the following weeks we continued to believe that we would move, and we felt like God continued to confirm that belief. However, after a time we started to lose track of how many houses we’d seen. We named some of them . . . “Modern House,” “Cave House,” “Blue House,” “Poop House,” etc. (Poop house?? Yes. Inhabited by pigeons.) We wanted a couple of the houses, but it always fell through.

Since our lease was up on February 20th, we wanted to have a house by the 15th in order to have time to move. We had finally exhausted all of our options and things seemed at a standstill. We were reconsidering, thinking maybe we could renew our lease for a month.

But one night I heard God say, “I have a house for you, and it’s gorgeous.”

I doubted – maybe I just thought I heard him. The next morning he said it again, and all Melissa and I could do was wait.

Valentine’s Day. A day of red and white, of hearts, of commercialized love. February 14th. Eight hours before our deadline. We pulled into the driveway and saw the Valentine from our Papa, as he chuckled at our delight and whispered that his love is permanent and unconditional.

Both the children’s home and the women’s rehab center will be run from this home. We knew this was going to be a year for expanding and exploding, but we didn’t know how it was going to happen.

It’s happening. And God says . . .

“Happy Valentine’s Day.



“Settle down, it’ll all be clear
Don’t pay no mind to the demons
They fill you with fear
The trouble it might drag you down
If you get lost, you can always be found

Just know you’re not alone
‘Cause I’m going to make this place your home.”

– Phillip Phillips, Home


Mistaken Identity, Stolen Shoes, and Sunburns

Melissa and I had been wanting to get to the beach for a while, and we realized this past weekend was a perfect time to go, since my classes are beginning this week and Darling is starting school next week. We are so glad we went! I got to experience my first bus trip in Nicaragua and staying in hostels every night. We also loved sharing Darling’s joy in her first sight of the ocean – she wanted to play on the beach from sunup to sundown! Some adventures included taking the wrong bus, being mistaken for Melissa’s daughter (three times. I repeat, three times), and Darling and I having to ride the bus and walk the streets of Leon barefoot! (Our shoes were lost/stolen at the beach, so we had to buy more on our way back home.) As much as we loved the beach and resting at the hostel, it felt sooooooo good to get back to Matagalpa again last night, getting our favorite nachos, sleeping in our own beds, and drinking hot, flavorful coffee. Right now we can hear the noisy, out-of-tune singing from a church in the city, and it is one of the most familiar, welcome sounds. We’re thankful for our time away – but it’s good to be home.








At times it doesn’t seem so strange that I live in Nicaragua. I get up, wash dishes, brew some coffee. Check Facebook, maybe sit on the porch for a bit. Eventually I’ll get a pot of oatmeal going, or bacon and eggs. Some days I’ll make those pancakes we love – the banana oat ones. Many afternoons we walk or drive down to the city to get paperwork done and buy groceries and maybe get nachos for dinner. Everything seems so normal that I sometimes have to contrast it to my life in the States in order to get perspective.

Sometimes God gives me that perspective – like last night, when Darling and I started walking into the city. We got to the corner of our street and I stopped. The sun was setting over those distant mountains, and once again God whispered . . . “Thrive.



Every day this week I’ve been remembering things in glimpses . . . maybe you’d like some glimpses, too?

I can still taste the strawberry-lime smoothies that we sipped that crazy Friday afternoon as we realized Melissa might be adopting Darling.

I remember the exhaustion of waking up every hour the night before our trip to Managua.

I laugh at the memory of hurriedly brushing our teeth in the car on our way to the Department of Family.

And we walked between buildings and Darling and I stayed behind at a playground while Pablo and Melissa went on ahead . . . and I sat down on a swing and realized, “This is it.”

I sat on that swing and Darling scampered about, asking why we couldn’t be with Melissa. An old woman came up to me and I found out her name was Grace . . . and as I prayed for God’s grace, I heard Melissa’s voice and everything had gone so smoothly.

I remember sitting in the parking lot at the mall as Melissa called her parents. Darling and I had a pillow fight and laughed, but my head throbbed and it was hot and I wanted to breathe the mountain air of Matagalpa.

Then that adventure of finding the police station . . . complete with someone pointing one way and another pointing the opposite way, with a horse stubbornly trotting in front of us, with a construction crew in the middle of the road, and with the cheers we all let out when we came upon a huge police station in the middle of nowhere.

We went back to the conference room with a man whose green eyes shone kindness and gentleness, and as he rose to turn on the air conditioning for us, he pulled a lollipop out of a bowl on a table and presented it to Darling.

And when we realized how high in command this man was, we were grateful we hadn’t known it before.

When it was all over and we started to get back into the truck, Melissa and I clung to each other . . . the excitement and joy and amazement and exhaustion started to set in and we laughed and wanted to cry.

Then, when we stopped for dinner and that food – just simple, Nicaraguan rice and beans, shredded beef, and plantains – replenished us and eased our aching heads until we could breathe our mountain air of home again.

In remembering the beginning of this week, Melissa and I look at each other and realize how mind-blowing it is to see our Father work. And he’s nowhere near done . . .

He’s telling us: expand, explode, and thrive.

“Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ ” – Psalms 126:2


When Worlds Collide

Some days I wish I was with my cousin, eating salted caramel ice cream, and laughing until we physically can’t stand. Some days I wish I was sleeping in my full-sized bed with my dog snoring on the rug next to me. Some days I wish I could see all my coworkers again and laugh with them like we used to every night.

And then an 8-year-old girl, my Nicaraguan niece, creeps into my room with her comforter wrapped around her. She crawls into my bed and covers me with her blanket, giggling and pretending to snore. We climb onto the top bunk so we can touch the ceiling and we bring pillows under the comforter so we can hide from a tiger.

That’s when I know that I’m happier here than anywhere else. It’s when I see that God is giving us gifts upon gifts because he loves us and lavishes us with that love.

And then he gives us this gift . . .

Would you pray for us tomorrow? Especially Melissa and her Darling 8-year-old? We are so blessed.