We returned to Spain from our time in Texas with bittersweet emotions… so happy to get back to Spain and back to our work and our friends and family here, but also it is always tough to leave friends and family behind in Texas and say ’adios’ until the next time we get to come Stateside.
We left on a sunshiny day and a small tropical storm was floating around in the Gulf. Just three days later, Category 4 Hurricane Harvey began his assault on our beloved homeland. We have amazed and been deeply saddened by the news reports that continue to scroll across our news feed.
One of our sons (Ryan), lived in Corpus Christi and evacuated as Harvey upgraded to a Category 3. Both he and his girlfriend Sara are staying in my mother’s home for now. On Wednesday (before Harvey hit), they had been given 30 days notice that their apartment building had been sold and they were being evicted as the new owners take over the building. Now, evacuated and with no apartment to return to, they are permanently seeking a new life and living space in College Station. This is a time of upheaval, transition, and grief for them as they leave the place that has been home for many years (10 years for Ryan, and a lifetime for Sara).
Miles and Hattie and our yet-unborn granddaughter Lily ♥ (news flash!!!) live in the Montgomery area. Their apartment building’s bottom floor was reached by an over-full Lake Conroe, but they did not have to evacuate. They have, however, lost work hours due to being cut off from road travel—work hours that this young couple CANNOT afford to lose! It takes every penny to pay the rent and doctors and buy groceries. There is not enough each month, and there certainly isn't any extra. This is a time of great stress for them.
In the midst of all of this, it is so hard to be so far from Texas and our loved ones. As care and counselor people, it is hard not to be there to listen to stories and help people navigate their feelings and grief and all that comes during these times. As hospitality people, it is hard not to be there, opening our doors to others and doing all that we can to feed people, provide for people, and care for those who need a safe place to land and regroup and recover. This is what we DO! And it’s so hard to not physically be THERE to DO IT!!! *silently screaming*
It is, however, warming our hearts to see so many of our friends and neighbors rising to the occasion and doing just that… serving and loving and caring for their neighbors. Some of YOU, our partners (we already knew you were the best!), have been in the big fat middle of this crisis. You have gone down to affected areas and physically rescued people. You have literally opened your doors and given up bedrooms and seats at your dinner table. You have made your homes and businesses places of hospitality and giving. You have taken donations of goods to distribution centers. You have personally gone out to serve the rescuers and those in staging areas. YOU ARE AWESOME! We knew you were! And the fact that you are serving makes us both proud and makes us feel, in some way, connected to our greater Texas family.
Your heart should be touched to know that your Spain friends are concerned for Texas. News reports of the storms and devastation have gone international and our friends are watching. We have had many of our Spanish friends contact us and ask about you. Everyone here knows that we are Texans—we don’t even remotely hide it! We wear our Texas heritage like a banner! Actually, it is a literal banner… we have a Texas flag hanging on the front porch of our home in Spain! Several times each day, friends have sent us texts to check on our mothers and our families. Those who have met some of you when you have come to visit us in Spain have asked about you by name. They have seen photos of flooded churches and homes and they want to know that ‘our people’ are okay. In a very real sense, they consider you brothers and sisters, family in Christ. You are being prayed for and loved. Please know that!
Continue on, Friends. Continue serving. Continue loving your neighbors. Continue to take care of each other. Know that you are loved!!!
In my USA life, I was a teacher in Texas for 15 years. I was also a professional photographer, a soccer mom, a horsewoman, and the neighborhood hospitality queen. I did "Joanna Gaines farmhouse style" before Chip and JoJo were even a thing - we restored an 1884 Victorian farmhouse in small town Texas and did shiplap walls until I thought I'd go crazy. I taught at NASA, scuba dived with astronauts in training, and studied animals at Sea World for educational purposes. I've tried just about everything, because I have an insatiable need to know if I can do it! Never underestimate a Texas girl in cowboy boots!
In 2006, my husband Billy and I became cross-cultural workers (CCWs) with TMS Global. For five years, we served in three rural Quechua Wanca villages in the Andes of Peru. And when I say rural, I mean RURAL - like no potty! I spent my days in Peru learning to live a Quechua lifestyle in a rustic adobe house - cooking Peruvian foods, sewing with Quechua women, raising my chickens and goats and pigs, and planting my gardens. Now I live my life in small town Spain, serving other cross-cultural workers via teaching and training and care, and helping displaced people to navigate their new reality in Europe.
I'm passionate about fostering personal growth, growth in community, and growth in The Kingdom. Walking alongside others and helping them to use their unique design, their gifts and strengths and maximize their abilities to fulfill their God-given purpose - that's what makes my heart sing!