I think that when one leaves their home country, it is natural to want to cling to various elements that help to carry "home" with you to your newly adopted country.
Certain things in life define you. How many cooking shows have John and I watched where the contestant will state to the judges, “This is me on a plate!” In our lives there are a few items that actually help to describe us, or at least to open up a window for others to more fully understand us. In fact, a person can go a million miles in one direction and it seems that with just a smell, song, photo, experience, or a treasured item, he can be brought back full circle to who he really is at the core. For me, back in 2004 on one of those late night packing sprees, I decided that an old crusty horse bridle needed to, without question, make the grade and to be packed into a box bound for Europe. Why? Who knows… but at the time this core defining object, as John found out, was not to be questioned.
It sounds silly that old crusty horse bridles and pointy cowboy boots were important at one time in my life. But I think that when one leaves their home country, it is natural to want to cling to various elements that help to carry "home" with you to your newly adopted country. For some expats that might be food recipes, photos or pieces of cultural clothing that bring home closer. For me, my horse bridle and boots remind me of my country-born roots and help to keep me humble.
May I share with you through photos how the Lord has graciously allowed me to find joy in (or adapt to) the area He has called us to serve in these past 16 years? Only a gracious and loving God would take a young family and place them in a city ministry where the Chicago-born pastor could flourish and where the wife with deep country roots could have access to the surrounding villages where the culture is steeped in centuries of breeding and raising one of the oldest horse breeds in the world. Welcome to the Camargue region in France.
… and even though my surrounding culture might not always understand this gray-haired pastor’s wife’s need to wear her comfortable cowboys with her skinny jeans, I wear them anyway and feel at "home." ... and that old crusty horse bridle? It is still around after 16 years, adorning my garden and reminding me of my roots and where I belong.