So, to continue on my thoughts on yesterday...
When I came home last night from doing errands, there was a party at our building. That is a pretty common scene. One of the women said they had just planned it that day to surprise one of the ladies for her birthday and would I want to come. So, I decided to go for awhile. John and I have gotten to the point where we get invited to most of the neighbor parties now. We usually try to go for at least a little while, but it can be challenging. I am fairly competent with Spanish, but they get to talking so casually and so quickly, and poor John is done after, Como estas? There is also an interesting dynamic in that we are very highly respected by our neighbors. It is flattering, but it can also make us feel like outsiders, set up on some sort of weird pedastal. We definitely feel under observation much of the time. For example, about a month ago, our downstairs neighbors had a horrible plumbing, flooding mess in their apartment, so I made dinner and took it down to them. According to the teenage girl who lives there (and is the building "informant"), when I left, all of the women gathered around to open the food to find out "what white people eat."
Anyway, last night, as I sat there looking around, I realized it was only the women hanging out together. A man or two would float through, but it was "girl time." Some of the time, I just sat, but I stuck it out for the evening and bonded with these women in a way I haven't before. By the end of the evening, there were just a few of us from the building left really talking, and it just felt right to really be sharing life together. That was after they had taught me the Spanish words for underwear and thong! Fun times! :)
Today, my neighbor kids came over for the weekly arts and crafts time I have with them. It is the last one before school starts, so all 12 of them piled into the living room today. After the art project, I let them decorate sugar cookies. Letting kids loose with cookies, frosting, and sprinkles is like letting a wild tiger loose in a butcher shop. They would look at me with wide eyes and say, "We can put whatever we want on them?" Well, in most cases, that meant put it ALL on!!! I had to include a picture of one of the girls' creations because, as you can see, individual cookies can hardly even be distinguished; it's just one giant blob of frosting and toppings! :)
As I was wiping up random globs of frosting, I couldn't help but feel like I was smiling right along with our amazing Creator! Joel (our pastor) was just talking Sunday night about us being created in the image of God who is amazingly creative. There is something in us as humans that longs to release that. For so many, art and crafts and such are a luxury that gets shoved aside in the struggle to make ends meet. Seeing the kids take such delight in doing the projects is a joy and a pleasure. They don't even know yet that they are made to reflect the image of God, but I can see the glimpses of it. Even in the blob you see pictured, it just struck me in this girl's enthusiasm to just extravagantly "go all out" with her cookies. It just seemed such the heart of our Creator saying, This is the extravagance with which I created each of my precious children. I held back nothing. I went "all out."