Friday, March 28, 2008

taking a break

I worked for a while and am now taking a break to think, pray, read some Scripture, and rest my back. It's been rather humbling to even HAVE a back problem, I am used to just doing what I want to do and now I have to limit myself! :( I hate that...but oh well. ¡Así es la vida!

Something that's been on my mind constantly in the last few weeks has been what our future ministry will be. For various reasons I won't go into here, we haven't been able to move forward very quickly...and Miguel is not yet sure of God's leading. Well, yes, there HAS been progress, just not at the pace that I would like to see! LOL I guess I'm impatient. I definitely do NOT do well in "limbo-land". Anyway, Miguel likes to discuss and consider and research all kinds of different options, even "wild" ideas and for some reason that is very scary to me! I think some of it has to do with a fear that he'll decide he wants to do something that I don't want to do and then maybe he'll talk me into it!!!!

Every time I start to get a bit freaked out and pray about it, though, a tremendous sense of peace comes over me as I feel God speaking to me..."Peace, rest, trust and I will give you the desires of your heart". Today I looked up "plans" on Biblegateway (an awesome website, btw) and one of the many verses that came up was:

20 Listen to advice and accept instruction,
and in the end you will be wise.

21 Many are the plans in a man's heart,
but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:20-22 (NIV)
I am so thankful for God's Word and how He speaks to us through Scripture! I know in my head that the Lord leads us, but sometimes it's hard to know that in my heart...it's very reassuring to know that whatever Miguel and I plan, it will ultimately be the Lord's purpose that prevails in our lives as we follow His leading. I can't wait to find out what it will be!

moving....again?!

I just realized a few days ago that our family has not lived in the same house longer than three months for about 2 years now!!!! It appears to be our lot in life to move often these days...although I'm trusting that God is working in and through us, I do confess that I find it difficult to know what He's up to with all this moving!

We didn't really HAVE to move this time, we are choosing to move because we've been offered a house rent-free...and that's hard to beat! While we've really enjoyed the house where we've been living, paying the rent every month has put a strain on our budget. God was faithful and provided, as He always does, but it seems like He was also nudging us to take the offer of the rent-free house now. The ironic thing is that we won't be in THAT house too long either since we will be able to move back in our church's missionary housing sometime this summer...and after that, it's off for regions yet unknown!!! So we have more moves to look forward to...sometimes I ask God if I can please just stay in ONE mansion for eternity, or at least half of eternity...please?!

Seriously, though, I am very thankful that this particular move has been relatively stress-free as compared to some of the other moves we've had. I'm learning a lot about how to pace myself and not push things when I begin to feel tired or down in my back. I am also learning that it is NOT worth it to try to continue to pack while the kids are fussy...then I get fussy and nobody is happy and someone is bound to get hurt. My sister Liz came down from Springfield and took Micah and Gracia over to Grammy's house for a couple of days, and that was a huge help in reducing the number of wee ones around here. Jojo has been pretty happy to have Mom and Dad more to himself and not have big brother bossing him around so much. :) LOL He and Jkaile have been playing very well together and they've been entertaining each other.


Miguel is working again today and will most likely do the final cleaning tomorrow. I am going to meet Mom and Micah and Gracia over at the new house sometime this morning and she wants to help me set up the kitchen a bit. We might sleep over there tonight if we can kind of get things organized a little, if not, then we'll be fine over here. I don't think that I can do too much over here this morning before I go, however, I'm tired and feeling quite unmotivated...maybe a couple more cups of coffee will do the trick!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

a snake in the window


In 1980, my parents joined the Nukak tribal church-planting team in Colombia. Because the Nukak were still rather hostile to outsiders, the missionaries decided to build houses in the middle of a small lake for security. The house on the left was our house for 5 years. I have all kinds of memories from our time at the lake, but during my Grandad's funeral a few weeks ago for some reason I was thinking about the time there was a snake in the window.

My grandparents went to visit us one time there, so before they came, we went over to the small floating house (the one on the right) to get it ready since it had been vacant for a while. We discovered that the house was full of bats! That was pretty exciting, getting all those bats out from under the bed, bats flying everywhere trying to find the windows. I think there was a bit of screaming by us girls....once we got the bats out, we started to air the bed and were rather surprised to find a small anaconda curled up under one of the pillows. It had several lumps in its belly, so I guess it was helping to lower the bat population...I think we just threw it out the window.

Once my grandparents arrived, they didn't feel comfortable sleeping over in that house by themselves, so I stayed over there with them. One night, I was brushing my teeth at the kitchen sink and gradually realized that I was looking at another anaconda stretched out across the windowsill! It was brown and blended right in with the wood, making it very hard to see. My Grandad got a paddle from one of the canoes and killed it. They were so amazed that both my grandparents had brushed their teeth before I did and never even noticed the snake right there in the window!
I don't remember a whole lot more from their visit, but I'm sure it had a huge impact on them! I remember him retelling that story so many times. :) I'm so glad that they were able to visit us there in Colombia, since that way they related a little more to where and how we lived.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Words of Encouragement

I have always loved keeping a diary and journaling...to me it's like praying, a way to express thoughts and feelings....really, just whatever comes to mind. I often include Scripture or quotes from books that are meaningful to me. The other day Miguel came home with a beautiful notebook and I've decided to make it into my Words of Encouragement book. It won't be so much a journal as a place to record Scripture, thoughts, quotes, etc. that have been encouraging to me. Last night I was looking for some verses that talk about praising God to start off with and I came across Psalm 103. This passage blessed me and I hope it will bless you as well.


Praise the LORD, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
Psalm 103:1-5 (NIV)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

grocery bags



a stuffer


a folder


Inevitably a stuffer will marry a folder.
Oh boy!

Can you guess which is which?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Little Debbie




Yesterday morning I was digging through the cabinets looking for a quick "breakfast" to give the kids to tide them over on the hour trip to Grammy's house (I wanted to leave quickly and skip the whole rigamarole of sit-down breakfast) and I found a box of Little Debbie Donut Sticks (I know, I know, not the most nutritious food, but a special treat for once in a while). So I handed those out and off we went...okay, I will admit to sampling one myself...they are really good!!! We will definitely NOT be keeping these around the house.


On the way home, we pulled up beside a Little Debbie semi-truck and it had a huge Little Debbie logo and pictures of different snack cakes on the side. The kids were so excited, pointing and screaming and I was showing Jojo that it was the same picture on the box...then I looked up and the two guys in the truck were looking at me and laughing about the whole thing! So I held up the box of Donut Sticks and they held up their box of Oatmeal Creme Pies and we gave each other thumbs up before the light turned and we went on our separate ways...so there you have it, Little Debbie bringing folks together on the road. Nothing like connecting with complete strangers over snack cakes!!!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Easter eggs

Today is Tuesday, only 4 more days until Miguel gets home...in the meantime, we're doing pretty good! I know that because I am feeling creative and bold and am coloring Easter eggs with the kids. :) If I were completely overwhelmed, I would be just surviving and not attempting anything extra, so this is very encouraging to me.

Anyway, I boiled up 1 1/2 dozen eggs the other day and have been thinking about creative ways to decorate the eggs. I saw a magazine article that had some really cute and simple Easter eggs, but unfortunately I only remember that they colored egg shells and then crushed them to glue on the other colored eggs. This morning, the kids and I sat down to blow raw eggs so we could color the shells. Each of the kids had their little bowls to blow into and I was helping them. Everything was going swimmingly and I was so proud of myself when blam! Jojo squeezed his raw egg a little too hard and a fountain of egg went flying up in the air 3 or 4 feet! It was quite impressive! Things went downhill from there because then he tried to clean up the egg on the table and just ended up sweeping it all into his lap...sigh. Then it happened to Micah, minus the egg fountain and big mess. So I shooed them away (they had done their share anyway) and worked with Gracia, who did hers very daintilly (I have NO idea how to spell that word) and with no mess, fortunately.

The kids are still enjoying watching videos in the van, BTW! :) It kept Gracia and Micah entertained for several hours yesterday since they found a DVD that they hadn't watched in a while. It's not that I WANT them watching that much t.v....I just need a break while Miguel is gone. I've noticed that when they watch too much t.v. they get grouchy and restless, so we've been limiting how much they can watch each day and encouraging them to find other things to do that develop their minds.

This morning some friends came over to pick Micah up for a sleepover...he was absolutely thrilled. He is also invited to spend Thursday night with the Underwood twins, so he's going to have a pretty special week! And will be extra tired this weekend, no doubt. LOL It's good for him to be spending time with his friends, since he's homeschooled he doesn't necessarily see other kids every day.

Jkaile is awake from his nap, so I'd better go get him out before he thinks that I have forgotten about him!

Jkaile

video

I have started feeding Jkaile a bit of food, mostly just banana and other fruit. I've been hearing him say something with 3 syllables that sounds sort of like "ba-da-da" and was trying to get him to say it again on film. As you can see, he just wanted to eat!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

tricks

Here I am, a mission trip "widow" for a week...left at home with four children ages 7and under!!! It's a good thing that I have a few tricks up my sleeve for when things are getting a bit crazy around here. Things started unraveling during naptime when nobody wanted to stay quietly in their beds. Since I don't sleep well while Miguel is gone, rest time is rather imperative for me! I finally took Jojo upstairs with me after running down a couple of times to deal with him...and by then the baby was awake. Sigh. So I nursed him and rested some more, but then he got antsy in the bed and I had to bring him downstairs and that was the end of my rest time. While the kids were watching a movie in the living room, they found a spider under the coffee table and took it outside using one of Jojo's plastic Easter eggs (camouflage colored-what will they think of next!). I was busy writing a letter and vaguely heard Jojo talking about washing his egg, but it wasn't until I started smelling a very strong shampoo smell that I realized that Jojo was in the bathroom washing his egg unsupervised. It wasn't a pretty sight...water and soap everywhere and he got one of our books all wet (that Micah had left next to sink). I envy babies, because, as you can see, when they are upset they can just let it all out!



Okay, well, I will admit to a teeny, tiny tantrum and then I put myself in time out to calm down (any ruining of books is a BIG deal to me! otherwise, water on the floor and sink is just another day). The kids kept squabbling, being loud, not watching their movie so I finally had enough and threw them out of the house! To play outside, that is. And that's when I remembered one of my tricks! We have a large van and the back seat makes out into a bed, but the kids have never seen it down. So I went out there and put the seat down and now they are happily playing and they are OUT OF MY HAIR. :) I can't even really hear them! It's wonderful...a few minutes of peace. haha Now they want to sleep in there tonight, which they could if the van was pulled into the garage, but I will be very surprised if they actually do! I think they will be too scared and there's NO way I'm sleeping out there with them! I love my own comfy bed too much for that!

Miguel is, BTW, in Mexico. He went as a translator for one of the youth teams and I'm sure they will have a great week. They left Thursday night on a chartered bus and he called me about an hour later to say that the bus had already broken down...then I got a text message yesterday afternoon that they had made it to El Paso. That is one LONG trip and I'm glad I'm not on it! It made me tired just thinking about 24 hours on a bus. With 10th through 12th graders, no less! Miguel will do fine, he's still a teenager at heart anyway. heehee But I'm sure he will be happy to get back home to the fam by next Saturday!

Thursday, March 6, 2008

fellow missionaries

Today we had lunch with an older couple who spent quite a few years in Venezuela as missionaries with TEAM.  Their son and his family go to our church, which is how we met them.  We ended up spending all afternoon at their house, it was so good to share experiences with someone who knows Venezuela!  They had lived in a different part of the country and had a different ministry focus, but felt that common bond that is usually there between fellow missionaries.  I really respect this couple, they are in their 70s, I believe, but are still going strong in their ministry to Hispanics through their church.  They truly have so much to offer younger missionaries like us because they have so much experience and wisdom to share!  I hope that we can spend more time with them in the future and maybe some of that wisdom will rub off on us!  We need all we can get! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Baking Bread

I made bread today.  I made a double recipe so that the kids would have some dough to make their own little creations.  As I watched them rolling their little dough balls, it reminded me of when I was little and my Mom would make bread every Saturday morning.  We were living out in the tribe in Colombia, at the lake.  Mom would bake the bread every Saturday morning and the house would smell so good!  Often, we'd make cinnamon rolls for Dad, too.  Anyway, Mom had the cutest little miniature baking pans and we would each get a bit of dough to make whatever we wanted.  I probably made cinnamon rolls every time, but I can't remember. One of my great sadnesses in having a yeast intolerance is that cinnamon rolls are now off-limits.  :(  It's so depressing.  I have discovered, however, that canned cinnamon rolls like the kind you get in the cold section at the grocery store do not have yeast, but instead use baking soda.  So I can get my cinnamon roll fix that way....or sometimes I make a biscuit-type dough and make cinnamon bread that way.  I think the smell of home-made bread and cinnamon rolls is like the ultimate comfort food!  After the kids were done forming their breads, I cleaned off the counter with a soapy sponge and let them "write" on the counter for a while.  Soap suds on the counter leaves a pretty good surface for playing around and they really enjoyed themselves (until they started fighting over the sponge, sigh).  But for the most part, they enjoyed making the bread and playing in the soap and I enjoyed watching them.  I was touched because I was enjoying them so much...sadly, it hasn't always been that way.  I have struggled in my role as a Mom and in the past two years have been under quite a bit of stress that has made it more difficult for me to enjoy my kids.  I am so thankful that God is working in my heart and allowing me to rest for these months so that I can get back on track!  Thank you, God!