Monday, September 29, 2008

Turning Four Years Old

This is our John Michael (aka Jojo) and today was his 4th birthday! We celebrated it yesterday since today was a school day...unfortunately, various members of our family are a bit down with a stomach flu (myself included), so he got a store-bought cake and not much 'to-do' (no invites). But I don't think that he minded, he seemed to enjoy being the center of attention. :) He and Papi and Micah put together the K'nex car he got and he was very happy with a little Lego kit that he got as well. Then we looked at pictures of Jojo when he was a baby; I had forgotten about some of them, so that was a lot of fun! :)
He did get some special 'perks' this morning, such as cake and ice cream for breakfast! Mom wasn't much in the mood for cooking... And we reminded him throughout the day that he is now four, not three. Tonight as Miguel was helping him get ready for bed, Jojo decided that he didn't want to wear a pull-up to bed now that he's four. Miguel reminded him that he would have to hold his pee-pee and it might be hard...Jojo thought about that for a minute and then said, "Okay, maybe we can try again when I'm 61." LOL!
Happy Birthday, Jojo! I love you!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Making Coffee

Last year, while on 'home assignment' a generous lady at our church gave me a Gevalia coffeemaker. It's really nice and I like the fact that's it's programmable (is that a word?). We have been enjoying it very much and even brought it with us to Mexico. And then, one morning last wouldn't work. It had worked the day before, so we're not sure what happened! In doing some research, I found out that these are $100 coffeemakers, not really the amount of money we'd be willing to spend on a replacement. And for costing that much, you'd think it would have lasted a little longer!

In reviewing my options, I could do one of the following:

1. Quit drinking coffee...yeah, right!
2. Drink instant, I don't think so...although I do like a good Venezuelan 'café con leche' with instant Nescafé once in a while (heat a mug of milk, add a tsp. of Nescafé and sugar to taste)
3. Get the coffeemaker fixed...hmmm, definitely a possibility considering that they fix anything and everything down here!

4. Get a new one (Gevalia is offering a free coffeemaker with the purchase of 2 half-pounds of coffee!)

5. Switch to using a different kind of coffeemaker, like a french press...I've been thinking about that for a while

OR, I could just keep doing what I'm doing now, which is pouring hot water through the filter and coffee grounds in the coffeemaker and putting it into a thermos to keep it hot....very similar to how I used to make the coffee...I remember when we first arrived in Venezuela, a coffeemaker was very high on my list of things to buy...I couldn't imagine how I could live without one! Miguel apparently had other priorities and the days went by and no coffeemaker. Another missionary lady helped me out, however, by giving me what reminded me of a small fishnet, only the net part was a white cloth. I wasn't what to do with it, but then my sister showed me that it was a "coffeemaker" in itself and how most Venezuelans make coffee...heating water and pouring it through the net with the coffee grounds in it. I found out later that they even have coffee 'stations' complete with a ring for the net, hooks for the mugs, sugar bowl, and coffee pitcher. At first, I thought it to be rather "primitive" and inconvenient, but gradually I found myself getting used to it and then even preferring the taste of coffee made that way!

Nearly three years later, I was still making the coffee with the net every morning, well I'm sure I'd had to buy a new one by then-and they were definitely cheaper than an electric coffeemaker! It just goes to show that some things I think are so important may not be! And that there are many different ways of making coffee...I found out later about french-press coffee brewers, expresso makers, and other interesting ways of making coffee found all around the world. Which is why I didn't freak when this coffeemaker quit working on me...perhaps I've learned my lesson? As related to coffee, anyway!
I would be interested in hearing how you make your coffee!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


An update on the sharing of the testimony last night...I did it and praise God that He gave me the words to say! I was nervous at first, but then I was okay. And yes, I did cry, but that was okay, too, I think there were quite a few others with tears as well! Many of the ladies told me that they appreciated what I had to share and that it meant a lot to them that I was willing to be so open. And one of the ladies also told me that she thought I did a very good job at not oversharing, but being prudent and careful with my words. So thanks be to God for using me and today I am at peace.

In the last week, I've had 3 different bad dreams on different nights. One of those nights, Miguel woke me up since I was apparently I was talking in my sleep. I'm glad he woke me up because it was a scary dream! But, I'm very thankful that each time I was able to wake up, pray, and ask God for help. The one night I had Miguel pray for me, which was pretty special since he's usually not exactly awake enough to do that! I have taken the opportunity after each scary dream to search my heart and confess any sin that comes to mind or just spend time in prayer. I feel like I am having victory in this area and that my heart is generally more inclined towards God on a daily basis. Thank you to those who have prayed!

I will extol the Lord at all times;
his praise will always be on my lips.
My soul will boast in the Lord;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
Glorify the Lord with me;
let us exalt his name together.
I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
he delivered me from all my fears.
Those who look to him are radiant;
their faces are never covered with shame.
This poor man called,
and the Lord heard him;
he saved him out of all his troubles.
The angel of the Lord encamps
around those who fear him,
and he delivers them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.
Fear the Lord, you his saints,
for those who fear him lack nothing...
The righteous cry out and the Lord hears them;
he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:1-9, 17-18
I have always loved Psalm 34; it is usually very comforting to me. When I was five years old, my Mom taught me a song using the first four verses...I think it's the first song I ever remember learning, which is maybe why it is special to me as it relates to those memories. :)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What to say?

As one of the new members of this field, I have been invited to share my testimony and jouney to Mexico at the ladies' meeting tonight (along with the other "new" ladies). The thought of sharing my testimony makes me nervous and has caused quite a bit of anxiety...what to say? It was encouraging to review a couple of other blogs and find out that I am not the only one who is faced with this "dilemma" of what to transparent and open should I be? Public speaking is not my favorite thing to do in the first place since I feel very self-conscious when everyone's focus is on me (why my chosen profession is a teacher is a mystery! but somehow that's different...). And the last few years of my life haven't been very pretty...a lot of struggles in my walk with God, in my marriage and ministry, as a Mom...and while yes, circumstances were difficult, I don't think that all my choices were good ones as I struggled to deal with life. Instead of being open and honest about things, however, in the past I've tended to put on the mask of "All is fine" when all has NOT been fine underneath.

I think one of my biggest fears is rejection...what people will think of me. Will I sound immature, petty, self-centered, whiny if I share about my struggles? Another concern I have is in how much to share...not everyone needs to know all the "gory details" and I certainly don't want to cause any disrespect to my husband by oversharing. I also know that if I share anything more on the personal side, I will probably cry. I don't know why I am so embarrassed by tears in public, but I am (it's something that I'm working on...).

So anyway, I have been sorting through my feelings and fears...separating the legitimate from the rest. And it was neat that one of the topics at a devotional I attended this morning was rejection! The teacher was pointing out that rejection really isn't the main problem, rejection is merely the byproduct of each of us "playing God", setting standards, and then judging whether others have met those standards or not. It boils down to whether I'm living by other people's standards or God's. Where do I find my well-being? What a relief to know I don't have to accept the "rejection"...I don't have to "live" there! Rejection is fueled by fear and who uses that? Lies and Fear are tools from the Other Side to get us down...and besides, all the while I'm focusing on what other people may or may not think (which is really a self-focus), that is time lost from focusing on Christ. One time Miguel gave me some advice..."It's not all about you, Becky!" I don't think I appreciated that at the time, but he was so right. :)

Okay, you caught me rambling, what to say? The question is not so much what do I have to say, but what does God want me to say? I like what He has to say in II Corinthians 1:3-5:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our troubles,
so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort
we ourselves have received from God.
For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives,
so also through Christ our comfort overflows.

God HAS been a comfort to me and I'm so grateful for His compassion towards me! I have come to thank God for my struggles because without them, I wouldn't have come to know the depth of my need for Him every day. And if sharing some of what I've learned will encourage even just one lady tonight, then it will be worth it!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

What's for lunch?

Venezuelan soup...Mexican style! I made a traditional Venezuelan soup with beef and vegetables (onion, garlic, cilantro, bell pepper, carrots, potatoes, & yellow squash) in a clear broth. Add lemon, red chili sauce, cream, and corn tortillas for the Mexican flair! Delicious!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Romance is knowing that Miguel is thinking about me while we're apart!
(Miguel is home and all is well.)

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Dreams and Weakness

I had a really terrible dream last night, the kind that wakes you up in horror and cold sweat. I dreamed that we were at someone else's house and that I found that Jkaile had fallen headfirst into a hole filled with water and that he was already dead when I pulled him out. In my dream, I just screamed and screamed...and at that point, I'm very grateful that I woke up to the realization that it was only a dream. I had disturbing dreams night before last as well...where over and over I found myself in various stages of undress in front of groups of people. :( I hate those kinds of dreams because the feelings of deep shame and embarrassment tend to carry over and plague me throughout the day.

And that got me to wondering about my dreams, because this is certainly not the first time that I've had these kinds of dreams! In fact, it seems to happen more often than not. :( I'm not one to be thinking that every dream has an interpretation, etc., but I wonder dreams are one of the Enemy's tactics to attack me when he knows that I am vulnerable? I wonder if he uses exactly these kinds of dreams because he knows that they are the kind that provoke the most negative emotions in me? I really don't know, but I would be willing to take a bet that he uses whatever he can to get me down!

So this morning, I'm taking "stock" of myself...I'm still feeling the effects of what was probably a mild case of bronchitis that I had a couple of weeks ago, so physically am still not doing so hot. Last week was hard for Miguel and I, we continue to struggle with ministry decisions and the effects it has on our relationship. We are still new to Mexico and while I believe that it's been a relatively "easy" transition (as easy as it can be, anyhow), this has still be a huge adjustment for our family. And Miguel is gone for a week to a seminar, so I am alone here with the kids. It's a struggle for me to care for them and to get enough rest so that I can be pleasant and loving and the Mom they need me to be (I confess to failing in that particular area yesterday!). And as I've thought about the past few weeks, my time with God has certainly suffered as I struggle to get into a regular routine and adjust to our new schedule.

A verse has come to mind often in the past couple of days, so I finally looked it up today so I could memorize it again...

But he said to me,
"My grace is sufficient for you,
for my power is made perfect in weakness."
Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses,
so that Christ's power may rest on me.
That is why, for Christ's sake,
I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships,
in persecutions, in difficulties.
For when I am weak,
then I am strong.
II Corinthians 12:8-10
I tend to just get really, really down on myself for my weaknesses and failures (self-contempt) and it's hard to think about delighting in them! But according to these verses, the more I recognize and admit my weaknesses, the more Christ's power can rest on me! Wow! What a comfort for me today! I so needed to hear that...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Trying my hand at painting

I do not claim to even BE a painter, but this year, I've had this strange desire to paint! I've never really had any training and always thought that because I couldn't paint this or that like someone else...that I didn't have talent. I think I'm finally at the point in my life where I can just have fun with it and not take it too seriously whether I am "good" at it or not. :) I just enjoy creating something, whether it be with words or paint or other things (like paper maché). And it's a great example to my kids as it encourages them to be creative as well!

So here are a couple that I've done recently...the first is just a scene out of my head. There are a lot of mesa-type mountains here and I just love the way they look. They remind me of the tepuys in Venezuela. The second picture is of Fish Mountain, as my friends call it, a hill close to where we live in this part of the city. Someone has put painted white rocks on the hill in the form of a fish, supposedly claiming this area of the city for Christ. Very interesting...we haven't actually gone up on the hill yet, but our friends climb it to look for rocks, cactus plants, and for picnics. We are looking forward to getting up there one of these days!!!!