Tuesday, July 29, 2014

One Family's Refuge Ranch Adventure: Guest Blogger - Dyan Current

Our Family, the Current Family, ready for a wedding in Mexico that we attended with the Zaragozas!

Our family was privileged to spend two weeks at Refuge Ranch this past June. It took about two minutes to fall hopelessly in love with every member of the Zaragoza family. During our stay, Refuge Ranch became home to us. The five of us kept busy helping out as staff at the Ranch while there. 

During the majority of the week, Don and our 12 year old sons, Don and Darrel, did LOTS of manual labor. They cut and bent rebar, dug footers for the new home, cleaned the trash bins out and hauled the trash to the dump...and got lots of blisters on their hands! Don actually wore through a BRAND NEW pair of LEATHER gloves! 

Don and the boys digging footers for the new main house!
Cutting rebar...
...and now to bend the rebar!
Our sons were excited to see their arm strength increase....all their buddies were at sports camps all summer....but the boys certainly did not miss out on strength training! They also did not miss out on soccer camp! During every break time in school...and after school, you could find a majority of the boys around the yard playing soccer! 

Don, Leo and Miguel practicing their soccer technique.

Danielle, our 7 year old daughter, and I did not partake in too much manual labor but we were exhausted none-the-less by evening time! Well, at least I was!!! Danielle doesn't get exhausted too often! Every morning after the kids were off to school and the house quieted down a bit Julie would give me several projects to work on throughout the day. Since she knew I love to organize she gave me the challenge to organize the family's toys, movies and school files. I also worked on weeding the small garden that is by the kitchen. Danielle and I worked on the kids 'TV watching' chart....a clever idea to try to control how much TV the kiddos watch. 

David was thrilled because his name got included on the new TV chart....
and Mommy Julie is thrilled because the chart is so much better now!
The first week that the Current family served at the Ranch, most of the Ranch staff was on an Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusade, so I even got to help cook!
I had brought a few crafts to do with the kids during our stay. Once I got those out several of the kids would ask each day "When is activity time? What will we do for an  activity today?" I had been so happy with myself to think of a few crafts to bring down....and then quickly noted that if ten children or so (some of the kids are just 'too mature' to do crafts!) want to do a craft EVERYDAY...that will eat up a LOT of supplies!! I sent out a facebook plea to my friends asking what I could do with my meager supplies I had left! We ended up painting rocks with nail polish (a big creative hit!), making play dough, painting metal washers with nail polish...and making duct tape crafts (with fun patterned duct tape that I had brought down.) Several of the kids thrived during this craft time. Lots of creativity! 

Fidel, Ruth and Danielle working during craft time!  To say that the kids loved this time is a huge understatement!

Alejandro really blossomed during craft time!  It served as a great motivator for him to hurry up and get his school work done, helped keep his endless energy directed in healthy ways and gave him an opportunity to truly shine!
Julie mentioned while we were there that she was just grateful that her kids had someone else to love them and whom they could depend on because she and Victor just can not do everything on their own with such a houseful of kids. 

SO....it's not about the bending rebar or making play dough. What this 'mission' was about was LOVING. This big, beautiful, real family let us into their lives. We all fell in love with each other even with our messed up morning hair or when milk was spilled all over the breakfast table or a kiddo had a melt down..we still loved.

Danielle and Angie

Miguel, Josiah, Darrel and Don playing an incredible board game!

Ana and Danielle
Darrel and Josiah discussing Nerf guns....serious conversation!

Joce and Don making quesadillas for the family!

Joce and Dyan

I would encourage you to come see Refuge Ranch. Come serve. Come love. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Wanting to Be Like Daddy

I first began writing this blog on August 7, 2013, two days before Danny was hospitalized for his heart surgery last year. Obviously, during his month long hospital stay in intensive care, I did not finish working on the blog nor publish it, as all of our attention was focused on our next 15 minute visit with Danny and the doctor's reports...and hoping, praying and striving to bring Danny home! The blog lay there awaiting its final revision and finishing touches when Danny passed away on September 8, 2013. Next Tuesday, July 8, we will celebrate the 10 month anniversary of Danny's passing and, today, I finally had the valor to finish this blog. The tears flowed, several times, but I thank the Lord and praise Jesus for the four years we shared with Danny, for the love given and the love received, for the lessons imparted and the lessons learned!

I peeked through the cracked open door to spy on Ana and Danny’s activities in his bedroom. The sight before me warmed my heart and marveled my mind. Danny was lying on his back on the floor, scootched up under his tricycle, yellow construction worker hat on head, wrench in hand and a very serious look on his mechanic’s face. Ana sat patiently next to him, with the toolbox at hand, waiting for his next request. He glanced up at me and responded to the questions in my eyes: “I’m fixing my bike like Daddy.” He was positioned just like Victor when he works on our vehicles and, since the tricycle is Daniel’s preferred form of transportation, well, he was just keeping it all tuned up and ready to roll!

Mechanic Danny and Assistant Ana

A few days later, bath night rolled around. Feeling relaxed, and with time to spare, I poured a generous amount of shampoo into the bathwater, much to Danny and David’s delight!

Bubble bath time!

I pulled out the long mirror and two popsicle sticks and announced that I was going to teach them how to shave. You should have seen their faces! Mom, teaching them how to shave? Daddy does that! I filled their cheeks and chins with bubbles and showed them how the popsicle sticks worked like razors…and they took off with the idea!

These two situations made me reflect about wanting to be like Daddy. It was so clear how much Danny desires to be like his Daddy (Praise the Lord he even has a Daddy to want to be like!) and it made me wonder how much I want to be like my Daddy! My Heavenly Daddy!
Do I strive to imitate him as Danny did? Is my striving to imitate him a source of joy for me? Danny’s imitation of his father is a game, it’s play, it’s fun and enjoyable. Have my efforts to imitate my Heavenly Father become burdensome, religious, cold and robotic or can being like my Father be as fun and free as child’s play? He did tell us that to inherit His kingdom we need to be like children.
“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive 
the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” Luke 18:17
If you noticed in the video, David didn't imitate Victor, (Victor doesn't shave his arms!) but he did imitate Danny. There is a point where David turns and looks at Danny and then proceeds to copy him as he learns the finer art of rinsing one's “razor”. (Granted, this is after David spends over half of the video just looking for his “razor”, which he had dropped somewhere into that sudsy abyss!) You see, sometimes Jesus just seems too far away to imitate, so we need others to whom we can look..earthly fathers, spiritual leaders, friends, who can reflect Jesus for us until we can see Him for ourselves. Just as Paul said to the new believers in Corinth:
“Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” I Corinthians 11:1
Danny’s imitation was so imperfect, but gave Victor and I so much joy. Is it truly “perfection” (a lack of errors) Christ is seeking? No! Christ calls us to completion and sanctification, but not in order to gain his love, nor approval, nor appreciation, nor in order to be a delight to him.  We are already that!
“For the Lord takes delight in his people.” Psalm 149:4

“He brought me out into a spacious place;
 he rescued me because he delighted in me.” Psalm 18:19
Is it possible that God smiles while seated on his throne as he watches our simplistic, and childish, efforts to be like Him…no matter how imperfect, but with a heart that desires to be like him?  Just as Victor and I smiled at Danny's efforts to be like his Daddy?  Could it be that it’s not so much the actions that come oh so short of his perfection, but the heart behind those actions that matters?

Oh, to be like my Heavenly Father!

All of the hoping, praying and striving for Danny to come home while he was in the hospital worked...Danny went home! To be with his perfect, Heavenly Father! The One who loved him from before conception and will love him through all of eternity! Thank you, Danny, for being a special little boy who wanted to be like his Daddy and who reminded me how much I want to be like my Daddy, too! Say hi to Jesus for us (or Lord, say hi to Danny for us)...hugs and kisses sweetie and we'll see you in the Lord's perfect timing!