Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A new experience...

There seem to be quite a few new experiences these days in the world of a first time (about to be second time) mommy, missionary, wife, furlough traveling woman. And although I know you all love (or at least tolerate really well :) hearing about the craziness that is Nathan... tonight the new experience was just for me as a person... as a child of God.

Nathan and I made it to my parents house safe and sound yesterday... exhausted, but safe and sound. We were so blessed every step of the way to have people sitting around us, in line around us, and in the general vicinity of us that were kid friendly. Meaning, they didn't look at me as if I was putting them out by traveling alone with my two year old, and most of them were so happy to talk to Nathan, high five Nathan, blow kisses to Nathan, and anything else that would keep him entertained, so yes... very blessed was I!

However, the new experience happened tonight at church. I blogged earlier about the anticipation of being able to be a "normal" participant in church for a few months and also how I was looking forward to worshipping in my "heart language" again, but I truly had no idea what lay ahead. As I sat there in what felt like a true multitude I felt a little schizophrenic... mind you, I'm pretty sure I'm not a diagnosed schizo, nor have I ever recognized those tendencies in myself :) But tonight standing with Nathan in my arms and worshipping I was so overwhelmed... I can't even think of words to truly explain it.

My mind was bouncing around like the ball in a pinball machine trying to understand what it was truly feeling. If I had to explain it in image form it was as if there were all these me's... each one feeling something so so so different. The first me was so enjoying the true privilege of being able to worship in English, among brothers and sisters and without any true work responsibilities at the same time. The second me could not help but want to run up front and try and "help" (alright alright I said "help"... not lecture :) everyone understand what a true gift they have been given in being a part of a body that it able to worship freely together every week... I just wanted to "help" everyone understand what they've been given and not to view it as a chore but a true gift. The third me was aching for our teammates who have yet to come home on furlough... wishing that they could have been standing right beside me, singing praises to the God who has carried us through the past two years. And the fourth me ached for our Bolivian brothers and sisters... I imagined what my sister Leticia would think and feel sitting beside me. Leticia and her family worshipped in Cochabamba for years all by themselves. They on so many occasions have expressed to us as a team what it means to their family to have the fellowship of our families and the new church body in Cochabamba. So my heart could only imagine what she would have felt sitting among her American brothers and sisters of such a great multitude... hearing their many many voices raised in praise to the God she has worshipped for years, whether alone or with a body of believers.

As I held Nathan and he clapped his hands in praise as we sang the tears ran down my face. I am blessed. There is not one Laura who wins out over them all, but a melding of them each... and while there is such a mixture of joy, guilt, responsibility, and longing... they together result in an individual who will treasure these next few months of being blessed by her brothers and sisters stateside, while remembering in her heart that her Christian family is not bound by geography, or genealogy, but only by the blood of Christ that covers us all. What a new experience it was to be so so so full of so many different emotions, but it is each of those emotions that make me who I am, that explain better the journey God has brought me on, and the path that I and our family continue down. God bless and Good night... more stories from the road to come :)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Will the packing never end?

Please know that the photos to follow (the first two at least) were in no way posed, prompted or elicited. Just my precious two year old showing what I think all of us are feeling inside about what it takes to furlough pack for a growing two year old (never knowing what size he'll be in next week) and a pregnant mommy (never knowing what size she'll be in next week)... so hope you enjoy :)

Can someone please tell my mommy that enough is enough already?

I'm starting to worry about this woman!!!

What photo shoot is complete without a new picture of Daddy and me? And this one's even better because Daddy let me play with his basketball!

Friday, October 12, 2007

The verdict is in...

Well, we went, we saw... we conquered!!! And it looks like Nathan is going to have to work on his sharing skills, as he'll soon be sharing all his old clothes with a new little BROTHER! I am so excited! I really wanted another little boy, for us as parents because we love the one we already have and for Nathan since they will be so close in age, to have a little brother to go through life with.

Thank you so much to everyone for all your prayers! I didn't have a chance to down orange juice on the way (long story about an impromptu ultrasound visit to another doctor) but apparently Starbucks coffee works wonders too (thanks to Aunt Emily who keeps us stocked!).

Now my only job to finish in the next few days is looking back through Nathan's baby clothes to see what we lack. I know we'll be bringing back lots of onesies (since the maid at our homestay stretched out all his baby onesies handwashing them in our first months here... I think Nathan could probably still fit in some of them if we really tried :) Good night and God bless you all, my friends and loved ones... and my two little boys :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Unruly even in the womb...

Okay, so we went, we saw, we did not conquer :) We have a beautiful healthy neuter of a baby, who was sitting so pretty, but so low that nothing could be seen. This child is testing mommy's patience even in the womb :)

Now normally this would not be a big deal... we'd wait 'til next month and try again, but oh yeah... we're leaving on Monday. And you see... an ultrasound here that just cost me a whopping $15 would not be such a steal in the states!

So we're going to give it another try tomorrow. I know it sounds a little petty and impatient, but please be praying that the baby's decided to reposition itself so that we can know what we're carrying before heading home. It would be really nice to prepare... to know whether to pick up just a few new blue onesies... or quite a few pink ones to start a new collection.

(Funny side note... Nathan went into the ultrasound with us and apparently thinks that the uterus on the ultrasound resembles the cave on his Little Einsteins DVD... so for almost 5 minutes all this kiddo said was cave... cave... cave... oh my goodness, the things they associate)

Fickle Fickle Laura

Yesterday I was singing Bolivia's praises as I walked out of the beauty salon with one of my American friends. For less than $10 I walked out with a fresh manicure, pedicure and haircut. Now tell me that isn't something to sing about!!! It was a good morning of relaxation and fellowship and I was grateful to be in a place that allowed all that fun at such a low price...

Fast forward to this morning. We all got around and had a relaxing morning at home just the three of us, continuing to pack and get organized... but also anticipating our Dr.'s appointment at lunchtime. You see today was the day... the day of truth, the day of finding out if Nathan's going to be a big brother to a sissy or a bubba.

But as happens in this life, I was disappointed. Our radiologist had an emergency and could not make our appointment. Reality check, this could happen anywhere, I am fully aware of that. There were even times that it happened with our doc in the states. Emergencies happen in the medical world. But for some reason today I could not get past the blaming the disappointment on Bolivia. Cause it's definitely the country's fault as a whole that I do not know at this very second whether I am carrying a boy or a girl, right? Well it made perfect sense to me in my hormonal frustration standing outside his office. And at that moment I was so thankful my voice of reason (and no, not Jiminy Cricket) was standing beside me with our son, reminding me that everything is okay, will be okay, and is not Bolivia's fault.

What a fickle fickle woman I am... and how redeeming our God is. After the fog from the frustration cleared and I remembered what our radiologist suggested I do... I was able to run down the street to a local hospital and make an appointment with him for later today. Regardless of how it turns out, whether we get in or not, whether this little peanut cooperates and shows us what "it" is... I, Laura Elizabeth Bull, do solemnly swear to remain calm, collected, non-tearful, and non-blaming of Bolivia :)

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The reality of going home…

I am a slow processor… not as in challenged, but as in I tend to put off processing those things which will be hard to face until they stare right back at me… challenging me to step around them or simply face them. One of the things that I have been side-stepping for awhile now is the fact that in going home, there will be things that have happened that we will have to face, have to process, and have to grieve.

Gary and I have experienced what seems like to us, a great deal of loss in our two families over the past two years. It is truly hard in the moment to grieve, so far from your loved ones. It’s hard for the loss to be truly real. But in going home, there will be one less place at the table, one less Christmas gift to prepare, one less voice heard, and that is the reality that I think I have so carefully tried to avoid.

But none the less (as happens with reality) here I sit, staring face to face the reality that loss has happened. Inevitably we will go to visit graves, we will have conversations, we will shed tears and deep in my heart I know that in the end it will be healing. But my heart in this moment says, can’t I stay with my head stuck in the sand for just a moment longer? I pray that Gary and I both have the strength to process for ourselves, but also to be the support for our families that they will need as they relive their losses with us once again. We always covet your prayers, and as we travel, prayers will be needed on so many levels, this being the one closest to my heart tonight.

Saturday, October 6, 2007


And the countdown continues…of course the primary countdown is counting the days until we get to see family and friends… but the secondary countdown, well it’s a countdown of the days until we are able to pick up Sonic at the drop of a hat… run through the drive-thru at Taco Bell (or Bueno, which ever sounds better at the moment)… go to our favorite consignment shops for Nathan hand me downs… run to Wal-Mart at midnight (just because we can)… and partake of that beautiful glory we like to call Starbucks.

It will be a glorious time for the Bulls and we are sooooo looking forward to it. There is something comforting about being able to take Nathan to a park where I won’t worry with his every step if he’s going to fall and cut himself on broken glass left behind, being able to go and walk in stores or a mall with a feeling of security that you just don’t find here, and most importantly being able to worship with those we love and cherish… in English. I cannot express how my heart is looking forward to singing those precious songs that comfort our souls and hearing a sermon without translating in your brain every other word spoken.

I know I sound dramatic, but I had no idea what a sacrifice that would be in giving up worshipping in English on a weekly basis with a large body of believers. It’s a sacrifice that’s been so worth it and I wouldn’t go back for a second, but it makes our homecoming that much sweeter, the promise of worshipping our Almighty God in our native tongue… can’t wait to see you all, hug your necks, hear your stories of the past few years, and enter into the presence of God together! God bless!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

I love my Dust Buster!

Seriously, how did mommies make it before the amazing invention of the Dust Buster? In the packing of all our most precious items to be brought to Bolivia with us, I made the decision (for better or worse) to leave all electronic appliances. Let me just tell you that as Nathan became mobile, more and more active, and more and more messy I was kicking myself that I did not bring a Dust Buster.

When my family made the trek to Bolivia last year to celebrate Nathan's first birthday my mom packed a treasured Christmas present of a Dust Buster for her daughter and I have never been so excited to be reunited with one of my most favorite and valued appliances!!! She also packed my Crock-Pot (seriously what was I thinking when I didn't bring these two marvels?) and we have enjoyed many a Sunday lunch from the Crock-Pot. They both use a fairly large transformer to be used (about the size of half of a normal shoe box), but it is so so worth it to lose counter space!

This morning as I was dust busting crushed cereal from the carpet... another blog post in and of itself... I was remembering how blessed we are to live in the age we do... and how blessed I am to have a mom that's willing to give up valuable luggage space to bring her daughter treasures from afar :)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Confessions of the borderline obsessive compulsive :)

For those who know me well, and I mean really well, they can tell you that I occasionally have some obsessive compulsive tendancies. It's not something that's across the board (you can ask Gary about that... although some days as far as house cleaning goes he probably wishes it was :) but none the less there are a few little quirks to Laura Bull.

One of those comes in the form of eating habits... and not just any eating, but candy eating. When enjoying the num-nums (you gotta love Nathanisms) of Skittles or M&Ms I am known for eating like colors together. You see the correct way to eat these yummy treats is in pairs, as in two hard candy shells at a time, but not a green and a red, or a brown and a blue, no... all pairs must be eaten in like colors. It makes a little more sense in the context of Skittles since the colors do actually indicate different flavors... but I am fully aware that there is no logical explanation for the M&M eating. I am proud to say however that I have recently been able to move past the craziness just enough to partake of these two candies at the movies (dark movie theater = the inability to see the colors being eaten and we cannot have cross pollination regardless of environmental situations).

This morning I Nathan was munching on some yummy M&Ms and at one point to speed up the distribution process I put a handful on the seat of a chair for him to have easy access to (in my defense, it was a little handful as they were the mini M&Ms). I wasn't paying attention at first, but I started to noticing something very interesting, the M&Ms were disappearing in colors... first the greens... next the blues... then the yellows, followed by the reds and then leaving the browns. How seriously funny is that? My child is just barely two and already crazy like his mommy. I guess I should be thankful that at least we now know he's not color blind :) and that he can apparently group like colors together, but I still think it's a little quirky and reminds me even more clearly that this precious little man is definitely mine, and for that I am so thankful :)