Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Recipes for a Venezuelan meal

Okay, we'll start with the arepa con carne mechada since that picture loaded first...

Arepa-the Venezuelan "gordita"

Arepas are made from a pre-cooked corn meal that is generally available at Latin food stores in the U.S. It might be hard to find in other parts of the world outside of Colombia and Venezuela. The most popular brand in Venezuela is the Harina PAN, a bright yellow package that is easy to spot in the stores.

I do not measure the water that I add to the corn meal, but I would say that recipe should go something like this:

2 cups corn flour
1 tsp. salt
3? cups of warm water (I think it's about 1 1/2 cups of water per cup of corn meal)

I add the water and then continue to mix the dough for a few minutes since the corn meal tends to soak up the water...sometimes I get it too hard and have to add more water after it's 'set' and that's hard. Anyway, the mix should be somewhat easy to handle, not too sticky and wet, but not so hard that the sides crack when you form the arepas.

Make a ball with the dough, then gradually start flattening the ball to form a cake...I generally just grab a handful and make them all relatively the same size. Fry the arepas on a griddle with a little oil until browned and crispy on both sides.

Colombians eat their arepas with the meal like bread, but Venezuelans cut them open and stuff them with many different kinds of fillings, ranging from butter and cheese to scrambled eggs to beef, pork, or chicken. The arepa in the picture below is stuffed with shredded beef, called 'carne mechada'.

Carne Mechada

Boil beef (chicken, pork, or other meat could be substituted) and cool, then shred
--For seasoning, add salt, garlic, onion, etc.

Sauté chopped onion, garlic, cilantro, peppers, and tomato in oil
Add the meat and simmer; add a little bit of the beef broth if needed to keep the meat moist
For added seasonings, comino and/or adobo can be used.

Meat cooked this way is also great over rice or to accompany beans!

Arepa with carne mechada
Venezuelan Potato Salad
Salt to taste
Optional ingredients: boiled eggs, onions, pickles, chopped cilantro
Boil the potatoes, carrots, and beets. Sometimes I just throw the potatoes and carrots in the pot together and then peel afterwards. Or, the carrots can be peeled and chopped and then boiled, but that's a bit more work... The beets can be boiled whole, but it doesn't take as long if they are cut up in several pieces. They do tend to lose their color, but adding a bit of lemon juice will help.
Peel and dice the potatoes, carrots, and beets. Add mayonnaise and salt. Sometimes I add garlic powder for extra flavor. I also like to grate onion and then add just the onion juice-it avoids the crunchy burst of onion, which Miguel doesn't care for. If you add the boiled eggs, onions, or pickles, chop first...

Venezuelan potato salad, fried plantains, and arepa with carne mechada (cheese on the side)
I really commend you if you are still reading!!!! This is turning out to be a loooong post...maybe I should have broken it up. Oh well. I did want to add a note about frying plantains...
Tajadas (fried sliced plantains)
Venezuelans love their fried plantains (plátano)! They eat them nearly every day. Generally, tajadas are made from ripe plantains. Just peel and slice at an angle, then fry in oil. I have found that the riper the plantain, the more greasy they get...the exception to that is when I've used coconut oil and then they don't seem to be as greasy. To avoid frying, sometimes I sauté the tajadas in butter or a little oil and that seems to work pretty well, too.
There are many ways to cook plantains. The green ones are best fried like chips, with salt. I also like to add green plantain chunks to soups, but I think that's an acquired taste... The riper ones can be boiled (with or without the peel-cut each plantain into several pieces), roasted on the grill or in a fire (with peel-poke holes to allow the steam to escape), peeled and baked in the oven (they can be cut open and lined with cheese or slathered in butter and brown sugar!), etc. I've even had a sort of lasagna once that had fried plantains instead of the noodles! We eat them raw (ripe, only!). :) I guess the possibilities are endless...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Soup Recipes

Okay, before I write about anything else, I'm going to work on posting some of the recipes I promised...I had to make them up, which is why they are rather vague; they aren't really written down anywhere in my kitchen, although I'm sure that different ones could be found on the web. Let me know if you have any questions!

Sopa (Soup)

--1 lb. (1/2 kilo) or so of beef-stew meat with bones is good and it doesn't hurt to have some fat on it!

--beef buillion cube(s)-I like the kind you can get in the Latin food section of the grocery stores...Knorr brand or something similar

--salt, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin


--garlic cloves




--Optional ingredients: sweet potato, yellow squash, corn on the cob (cut into smaller "rounds"), small red/yellow potatoes, green plantains.

I like to fry the meat a little in a bit of oil, adding chopped onion, garlic and cilantro. Add the desired amount of water and the buillion cubes and then throw in the chopped carrots and potatoes. Other ingredients, such as the squash or sweet potato can be added later since they don't need to cook as long. Check for flavor, you might need to add more salt or another buillion cube and remember that as the soup cooks, it will tend to get a bit more flavorful as everything mixes together (Miguel always says I tend to go heavy on the salt!).

Anyway, to serve this soup a la Mexicana, add sour cream (or crema), lemon juice, and hot sauce with a side of corn tortillas.

One other note about sopa...we found out that 'sopa' in Mexico contains 'fideos' (soup noodles), so this kind of soup would technically be called 'caldo' (broth). Interesting...we didn't know we'd been misleading people as to what we were going to serve!!! Oops.

Chicken Soup

Chicken soup is a variation of the above, using pieces of chicken instead of the beef. I generally use a whole chicken cut up and leave the pieces "as is" instead of deboning. Boil the chicken with the onion, garlic, cilantro, and seasonings, then remove it from the broth while the carrots, potatoes, etc. cooks. Chicken soup is definitely better with the pieces of corn in it and the squash adds a good flavor, too. Chicken soup fixed this way is called 'sancocho' in Colombia and is a favorite for the weekends and cookouts while on 'paseo' (outings to the country on Saturdays or Sundays).

Saturday, October 25, 2008

On Fear

I always jump at the chance to do a Beth Moore study, so I was pleased to hear that some of the ladies here were going to do the Patriarchs study this year. We started late, so are just now starting on week two. Last Thursday, we watched the video for Session One and as usual, Beth speaks to me...or rather God speaks to me through Beth!

The title for week one is Leave Your Country, rather appropriate for missionary ladies, don't you think? The point that stuck out to me was on fear. As God speaks to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua (and others), He tells them "do not fear" (Gen. 15:2, 26:24, 46:3, Joshua 1:9). Beth points out that "God does not tell people who are not afraid to NOT be afraid"! Point #2 in the video notes states: Those God uses greatly seem to greatly battle fear. Therefore, we may battle fear but we must not let it win.

Beth mentioned that she herself had a stronghold of fear and having been released from that stronghold. I relate to having a stronghold of fear. Just because I have committed to spending my life in full-time ministry doesn't mean that I have no fears about it...I fear death (either mine, Miguel's, or my children, or loved ones), suffering, hardship, conflict, sickness, other people's opinions, making a fool of myself...and on and I wonder, do I have a stronghold of fear? I don't know, but I have sensed God working to free me from the grip of fear. I think, though, that I tend to view the presence of fear as evidence of a lack of trust and was very reassuring to know that experiencing fear is normal (I'm in good company there with the patriarchs!) and that what matters are the choices I make in the face of I allow myself to be paralyzed by my fears or step out in faith to believe God and have it be credited to me for righteousness? I pray that God will make my faith my testimony...that I believed God!


Yesterday we celebrated Micah's 8th birthday (it's actually on the 30th). He invited the boys from his class and they had a lot of fun. At the end, we sent them all on a treasure hunt to find the big surprise, a trampoline!!!! We'd been thinking about buying one for a while and finally just did it. It arrived yesterday morning, so it was fun to include it in the party...although it would have been even more fun to have been able to set it up beforehand...oh well. Miguel and I finished putting it together this morning and it's so much fun to see the kids out playing on it.

Reading the instructions.

Everyone helped take all the pieces out of the box.

Okay, now what?

Yes, I'm reading the instructions!!!!

Micah, Jojo, and Gracia enjoying their new toy.
(Gracia's face was painted at the Fall Festival last night...that's why it looks a bit odd.)


I decided I needed to find some better pictures of the peppers so you can see just how similar they are...

Ají dulce

The habanero peppers that I bought.
Today I made a pico de gallo with chopped tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, vinegar & water...I added 1/2 of one of the habaneros and it was pretty spicy! Very, very good on the carne asada (grilled beef) that we had for lunch. I also made some guacamole, but left out the habaneros so that Micah could enjoy. :)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

A case of mistaken identity

One of the most important ingredients used in Venezuelan cuisine is the "ají dulce" (literally, 'sweet pepper') really adds flavor to soups and sauces. So I was pretty excited to find some at the store yesterday. I began chopping them for a chicken dish, but thought I'd try them to see if they were hot or not. I took a bite and wham! Yeah, they were hot! I didn't think it would be that bad, though, so I chopped just a little bit and added them to the chicken. I cooked some rice and then served supper. Immediately, the kids began reacting to the food with complaints of how spicy it was! I served ice water and encouraged them to "do their best". But as Miguel and I continued to eat, we realized the food WAS pretty spicy and the more we ate, the spicier it got! So Gracia and Jojo both got to eat some rice-and-milk-and-sugar instead. Jkaile was happy with plain rice. Micah persevered, but had to drink a lot of water and could only eat the chicken, not the sauce...Miguel finally asked me, were those habanero chilies? I said, "NO!" But that got me thinking...finally I went and looked at the receipt and sure enough, I had mistaken habanero chilies for 'ají dulce'!!!!! Habaneros are pretty much the spiciest peppers around and here I was serving them to my kids! Oh goody, what a Mom!

Habanero chilies

Ají dulce
You will notice that they are about the same size and shape...and colors as well! The Habanero peppers shown are yellow, but can be green, orange, and red...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Recently I have been checking out Beth Moore's blog, The LPM blog. I like the way that Beth talks on my level and how she can relate to us regular people even with all the success that she has had in her ministry. The last couple of paragraphs from her most recent post really encouraged and lifted me up today! I hope it's okay to post these words here because I wanted to pass them on to someone else who might need some encouragement as well...

"And yet there you are. Doing the thing. And doing it faithfully. Getting down on your knees at some point every day. Reading the Scriptures. Asking God to help you know Him. Living it out in your homes (is there any harder charge?) and in your work place and communities and finding yourselves wounded and wondering from time-to-time if God knows you’re alive. There is no such thing as serving in obscurity when you belong to Jesus. He is attentive to your labor. He is attentive to your CRY. IT MATTERS. Sweet Thing, there is no one on Earth God notices more than you. He knows that the atmosphere He’s entrusted to you is not the easiest place on the planet to serve and, yet, day in and day out He sees you doing the thing. He knew you would. That’s why you’re there. He didn’t bother entrusting it to a light-weight. He knows you may go weeks between true soul-encouragements. Thank goodness we have the example of the man after God’s own heart, who, in 1 Samuel 30:6, was surrounded by bitter people who couldn’t see past their own problems to regard how he’d tried to help them. There, we’re told that David encouraged himself in the Lord. Yep, you can do that. When not one single soul bothers to encourage you, you can just go right to the Lord and encourage yourself. How ‘bout that? Speak to your own insides and say, “Why so downcast, oh, my soul? Why so disturbed within me. Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God!” As alone as you may feel, every time you praise Him, some ten-thousand angels jump in the chorus with you and your song becomes a symphony.Stay faithful, Darling One. STAY FAITHFUL! Every ounce of your effort and every drop of sacrifice are poured like anointing oil on the feet of Jesus. “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.” Psalm 32:8"

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Horses on the street

Miguel came home with the camera and the horses were still wandering around, so we got some pictures. The dogs have barked at them all day! You will notice in the pictures that the streets in our neighborhood aren't paved. And we live in an industrial area, so we have businesses beside and across the street. There are a lot of houses on one side and an elementary school on the other side of an empty lot behind us. It's an interesting arrangement, because usually the houses are very close together and one gets to know the neighbors quite well! I've felt rather isolated from our neighbors, although we do have the Bible School students that live upstairs and downstairs...guess they are our neighbors for now! :)

Our house is there on the right behind the big block wall.

One of the horses grazing in front of our house.

Another horse meandering down the sidewalk across the street from our house.

One of the horses was tied in the empty field down the street. From what we've observed, perhaps this one is a little less tame?

Odds and Ends

Here are a few odds and ends...

1. Sometimes people ask what are some of the differences between living in the U.S. and living in another country...and it's hard to describe. So one of these days, I would like to write about that. But for now, here's one example...right now the dogs are barking like crazy because there is a horse grazing right outside our front gate. There is an empty lot down the street where several horses are often left during the day. This seems to be pretty common, large animals wandering around. I would take a picture, but Miguel took the camera to the office today.

2. Walking, Day 2: I am sitting at the computer with ice on my thigh. I'm not sure what I did, exactly, but it hurts to walk. Cathy wasn't able to walk this morning, so I got out the ipod and bravely walked the kids to school...I was going to do a few rounds by myself, but wimped out because of the pain and just came straight back home (about 1/2 mile...still not too shabby!). I am forcing myself to rest today so that maybe I can go out tomorrow (rats, I can't do do any laundry today! woohoo!). Apparently walking while pushing the jogging stroller with 2 little ones is harder on me than I thought! Miguel didn't have to be at the office until 9 this morning, so he was able to keep Jojo and Jkaile for me...but he can't always do that.

3. Miguel has decided that it's time to potty-train Jkaile! More power to him. Jkaile is just now turning 15 months far, he's gotten him to poop in the potty twice, which seems to have been somewhat of an accident. I'm not sure that Jkaile really knows what's going on, but he'll sit on the potty as long as he's suitably entertained. :) I'm skeptical, but maybe it will work!

4. I have been trying out a deoderant alternative...I wasn't too sure at first, but it seems to be working quite well! Traditional anti-persperants contain aluminum and clog pores, which I don't think is very healthy. But other deoderants that I'd tried didn't work! My sister had been telling me about a natural deoderant that uses mineral salts that are also antibacterial agents (they eliminate the bacteria that causes body odor), so I decided to try it. I think that the one I'm using has potassium alum. Anyway, IT'S WORKING!!!! Amazing.

5. CoffeeGirl has a good post this week about cross-cultural humor. I remembered a joke that we found kind of morbid, but that Colombians always thought was absolutely hilarious. It goes something like this: There were two little chicks, one was a lucky chick and the other unlucky. Good things always happened to the lucky chick and bad things to the unlucky chick. One day, the lucky chick got very sick, so the Mama Hen killed the unlucky chick to make chicken soup for the lucky chick.

Yeah. Not very funny to us, but apparently the irony of it is what is funny to them? And also, like someone commented on CG's post, death is somewhat of a joke in some countries? Interesting. Culture differences fascinate me, so I find things like this very interesting.

6. I had forgotten to mail in my request for an absentee ballot!!!! Not good. I did that this week and hopefully can receive the ballot by email as allowed by Arkansas so that I can participate in the general election. Both Miguel and I are following the election coverage on a daily basis, but neither of us are exactly thrilled with either choice. There are so many issues to think about during this election, but both of us agree that abortion is one issue where we will not compromise our standards. And that's about all I have to say about politics...

Monday, October 20, 2008


I found a walking buddy! Another mom who would like to make a few rounds around the park in the mornings after dropping the kids off at school. I absolutely hate exercise for exercise's sake, so this is very awesome to be able to walk with a friend-it is a much greater motivation than simply walking by myself. Cathy is married to one of my childhood friends I grew up with in Colombia, so it's a neat opportunity to get to know her better...we also both have kids in kindergarten and second grade.

So, walking report, Day One: I think I hurt myself.

Saturday, October 18, 2008


I have been struggling with a bad attitude all day.

There, I've said it. I'm a crybaby.

All I really wanted to do today was go back to bed. I don't feel that great, I'm super-tired, but probably most of all, I'm simply tired of taking care of everyone else and their needs all week...don't I deserve a break!!!???

Unfortunately, Miguel's plans for the day didn't exactly coincide with mine and it turned out that he was gone all day, and now will be out all evening as well. And I have struggled with being mad about that all day long. I knew I was being grouchy and feeling sorry for myself, but I kept hanging on to what I perceived as my 'rights'. But God kept whispering to my heart, gently drawing me away from my self-centered sinfulness towards a more godly perspective.

I began thinking about my "trash bag policy" see, Miguel is really good at taking out the trash for me, but not very good at replacing the bags. I often found myself angry with him for not replacing the bags instead of thankful that he had taken out the trash! So when I would notice that there were no bags in the trash cans, I would focus on the positive by lovingly thanking Miguel for taking out the trash (he quickly caught on that it usually meant that he hadn't remembered to replace the is now a family joke). A grateful and thankful heart will have no room for selfish, critical attitudes.

The honest truth is that Miguel is an amazing husband and father in so many ways, and he helps me out on a daily basis a lot more than many husbands and fathers! He deserves some fun and a day out once in a while-I should be happy for him...besides, who am I to judge whether he made the right choice by going out today? Yes, it's been a rough day, but I managed to rest a little this morning and even get a decent nap this afternoon while my 3 youngest were napping. In the end, God has given me grace to make the choice to build up my house and not tear it down.

The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands
the foolish one tears hers down.
Proverbs 14:1

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Just Walk With Me

During our "home assignment" time last year, I attended as many classes and Bible studies offered through our church as I could since I really needed to recharge and renew. One of the classes I took was called "Interrupted Expectations" and really was a life-changing event for me. I experienced a lot of healing there and was introduced to the whole concept of grieving the losses of life. The class was based on the book Recovering from the Losses in Life by H. Norman Wright. Since then, I've been reading materials about the subject in the hopes that God will use me to encourage others. I don't think I have much experience yet or am even very good at it, but I continue to learn and pray that God will give me wisdom. The following is from the book Walking With Those Who Weep-A Guide to Grief Support by Don and Ron Williams. It's not extremely eloquent, but spoke to my heart.

Just Walk With Me
I have a problem. I want to tell you about it. No, I really don't. I'd rather keep it to myself; handle it alone. I do think it would be good for me to share it with you, though. I don't want to because I'm afraid of what you'll say or how you'll act.
I'm afraid you might feel sorry for me in a way that makes me feel pathetic-like I'm some 'poor thing'.
I'm afraid you'll try to cheer me up. That you will give me words, or texts or prayers that tell me in a subtle way to stop feeling bad. If you do that I'll feel worse (but hide it behind my obedient cheerful smile). I'll feel you don't understand. I'll feel you are making light of my problem (as if it can be brushed away with some brief words of cheer).
I'm afraid you'll give me an answer. That this problem that I've been wrestling with for some time now and about which I have thought endless thoughts will be belittled. You can answer in a half-minute what I've struggled with for weeks?
I'm afraid also you might ignore my problem; talk quickly about other things, tell me of your own.
I'm afraid too you might see me stronger than I am. Not needing you to listen and care. (It's true, I can get along alone, but I shouldn't have to).
What I'd really like is if you would "just walk with me." Listen as I begin in some blundering, clumsy way to break through my fearfulness of being exposed as weak. Hold my hand and pull me gently as I falter and begin to draw back. Say a word, make a motion, or a sound that says, "I'm with you." If you've been where I am tell me how you felt in a way that I can know you're trying to walk with me-not change me.
But I'm afraid...
You'll think I'm too weak to deserve respect and responsibility...
You'll explain what's happening to me with labels and interpretation...Or you'll ask me, "What'ya going to do about it?"
PLEASE, just walk with me. All those other things seem so much brighter and sharper, and expert. But what really takes love is to 'Just Walk with Me.'
I'm sure, what I want is people who have a Shepherd as their model. People who in their own way bring to others an experience of: "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want...Yes, even when I walk through the valley, You're with me (walking with me)."

Got a picture this time!

Company again last night...a great excuse to have one of our favorite Venezuelan meals! Same menu as the other night and we're doing better at keeping batteries in the here you are:

arepa con carne mechada, queso, ensalada de papa y zanahoria con betabel (remolacha), y tajadas
(arepa with shredded beef, cheese, potato/carrot salad with beets, and fried plantains)

close up of the arepa
Recipes to follow soon!

Too funny!

I was putting away some clean laundry yesterday and found this in the boys' closet...which explains why Micah did not have his glasses on at school!
p.s. Can you tell which state we're from? Go Hogs!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

My Gracia Girl

I have recently posted about Jojo's birthday and then Micah and was feeling like Gracia was a bit left here are some recent pictures of my girl-my one and only!

Some ballerina moves.

Playing with the camera one day taking close-ups.

Gracia has such beautiful eyes!

Deja vu

When baby Jkaile was born, it was a definite deja vu! He reminds us so much of Micah, our first, in many ways. And when Micah was the age Jkaile is now, we were also living here in Mexico...which further strengthens that feeling! These days, it's rather ironic that both of them are getting their front teeth at the same time...Micah for the second time, Jkaile for the first. :)

Micah with his sports glasses, showing of his new teeth! It's been over a year since he lost them...definitely a different look to get them back!

Jkaile is so cute! He mouth still looks rather lopsided since the second tooth isn't quite out as much as the other...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jaguar hunt

It was so dark that I couldn't have seen my hand in front of my face if I had held it up. My younger sister Liz pressed her body up close behind me. The light from my Dad's flashlight had faded into the jungle blackness several minutes earlier as he went to check the trap. I was beginning to regret having agreed to go out on a jaguar hunt with was a relief to see the beam of my dad's flashlight shining through the trees as he returned to where we were huddled on the trail. I resolved to bring my own flashlight the next time!

We followed my dad further down the trail to a fallen tree that hung out over the creek that ran close to the houses of the missionary outpost. Earlier in the day, my Dad had hunted and killed a monkey to use as jaguar "bait". He'd dragged the monkey carcass around in the jungle and then left it hanging in a tree on the opposite bank from where we would sit waiting for the jaguar to appear. My Dad had noticed the jaguar tracks in earlier weeks and and since the tracks were relatively close to the houses, he was concerned for our safety. And rightly so, since jaguars are pretty dangerous predators. We'd heard many jaguar stories from the tribal people...

After settling ourselves in a row on the fallen tree, my Dad turned off the flashlight and we began to listen and wait. Jaguars don't really roar like lions, they make a sound like a coughing moan. Sometimes we would tell visitors that the jaguars were roaring in the jungle when it was really just the howler monkeys...Dad always got a kick out of teasing people!

The jungle has many sounds at night. I could hear night birds calling, chirping crickets, and the soft sounds of the moths beating their wings against my clothes as they were attracted by the salty sweat. Our ears strained, however, to hear the jaguar...even though I wasn't really sure I wanted to hear it! Every now and then Dad would shine the light around to the other side of the creek and down into the water. Since it was dry season, the water level was very low. Many creeks in the jungle have high, steep banks and the tree where we were sitting was fifteen to twenty feet above the water. One time when Dad shone his flashlight into the water, we saw the orange glow of alligator eyes.

After about an hour or so, there was still no sign of the jaguar and suspense was building. I imagined what it would sound like if Dad shot the jaguar with the shotgun as he sat next to us. We didn't talk much as we waited, listening in the night. All of a sudden, the log we were sitting on shifted, dropping straight down about five feet. Boy, did that pretty much scare us witless! Even Dad was pretty startled! It was amazing that none of us fell off the log into the creek or that the shotgun hadn't gone off accidently. I don't think any of us would have appreciated being dumped down into the water with the alligators. I spent the rest of the time out there with one arm wrapped tightly around a small tree and the other around my little sister.

We never did see or hear any sign of the jaguar that night and we never saw the jaguar tracks close to the house, either. And I never went out on any more jaguar hunts either!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

More paintings...

I decided to go ahead a post some pictures of some other paintings I had fun doing...

I took this picture on my comforter so I could see how well they match...I have decided where to put them yet...

Black circles of different sizes on white cardstock...circles made by dipping different sized lids in paint.

Black and red circles on white cardstock...same lids.

White circles on red background...I love the texture of the red paint in the background (hard to see in the picture).

I had some red and white paint left over so I did some swishes on a piece of cardboard. It's not really anything, just fun to experiment. :)

Pictures in my room

I finally did finish the paintings for my room, although I'm not entirely happy with the result! It's sort of like good news/bad news...

good news: I really like the way they turned out and they give me something to look at. The colors really match the comforter well and I love the reds and yellows. I had a lot of fun painting these and would like to experiment more with this kind of thing. A friend suggested mounting them on pieces of wood to make them stand out a bit from the wall...that sounds like it would be cool!

bad news: As you can tell from the second picture, they are kind of small for that particular wall! I think I need to do about 6 more and put them in a block or something, they are just kind of lost there in the middle of all that space! Also, some of the red blocks in the painting on the left turned out kind of pink...the paint was being stubborn. :( And then, I noticed that the paper I used for the painting on the left was actually not quite a big as the others...sigh. Oh and learn. :)

I have a picture of them in a more natural light, but then the paintings weren't actually as clear.

I am very pleased with our bedroom...this is one of the few times that I've managed to have it be ONLY a bedroom! Usually it's a bedroom/office or a bedroom/storage room or even a bedroom/baby nursery...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A good laugh!

It's always a good thing to get a good laugh on...they say it's good for your health! :) Well, this time, the laugh was at Miguel's expense...I really got him good!

You see, while I was cutting up the beets yesterday for the potato salad, I noticed that one of the roots I had cut off really looked like a rat's tail! So I tucked it under the refrigerator with the "tail" sticking out and was going to call the kids and scare them with it...but since I was busy, I promptly forgot all about it and went on with the meal preparations. Later, as Miguel was sweeping, getting the house ready for company, he saw what he thought was a cable sticking out from under the he bent down to push it back under the fridge and realized that it was NOT a cable! So then he was looking around for a shoe or something to kill the "rat"...the funniest thing is that I didn't really realize what was going on until he stood up and turned around with the thing in his hand and I realized that he'd been inadvertently "had" by the "rat"! One look at my face and he knew I'd put it there on purpose! He's always complaining that I'm messy cook and tend to drop a lot of things on the floor (hey, but I can whip up a good meal in 30 minutes!)...but I couldn't blame that one on anything other than what it was...a great practical joke, even if it wasn't really meant for him!

So this morning as I was nursing the baby before getting up out of bed, I remembered the "rat" and started laughing...and then it just struck me as more and more funny and I must have giggled and laughed about that for nigh onto 30 minutes! Miguel wasn't particularly amused at being laughed at, especially at 6 o'clock in the morning but he was a good sport (I'm a little worried about revenge at this point, though).

A couple of observations about this 1) Miguel was really calm about the whole thing! If that had been me, I probably would have made some sort of noise about away, freaked out?! and 2) It felt really, really good to have a laughing fit...I honestly can't remember the last time that happened! I am naturally a very happy person and love to laugh, but there hasn't been a whole lot of that in the last few years...praise God for healing and laughter!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

International company

One of the things I love about our ministry is the variety of people that we get to meet! For instance, over a Venezuelan meal at supper tonight (arepas stuffed with shredded beef, fried plantains, beet-potato salad, and brown sugar lemonade), I found myself rather amused by the different backgrounds each of us has:

Miguel: Venezuelan, now U.S. citizen, resident of Arkansas also has spent time in Colombia, now living in Mexico

Becky: American, family from Oklahoma, MK from Colombia, now Arkansas resident, also spent time in Venezuela, now living in Mexico

My kids: Venezuelan-Americans living in Mexico

Guest #1: Austrian missionary to the Philippines, currently visiting Mexico

Guests #2 & 3: Texans, missionaries in Latin America-most recently Paraguay, studying Spanish in Mexico on their way back to Paraguay

And all of us sharing a common bond in Christ!

Posted below is a picture of an arepa stuffed with cheese...
just in case you were wondering what those might look like.
I really wanted to take a picture of the arepas I cooked tonight, but alas!
No batteries for the camera...
The arepa is a food staple in Colombia and Venezuela,
made of a pre-cooked corn flour.
Most people there eat them every day!
Since we can't get that kind of corn flour here,
they really are a special treat for us these days (there is a Latin food store
across the border where we can buy it).
In Venezuela, it is common to stuff them with many different fillings,
including shredded beef, chicken, or pork-also scrambled eggs,
cheese, tuna, deviled ham, boiled quail eggs, beef tongue, etc.
Add to that some garlic sauce and you have a wonderful meal
for breakfast, lunch, or supper!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Mom

My Mom is an amazing person! She would tell you otherwise, but it's true...she's amazing! I'm thinking about her a lot this week because she and my stepdad, John, just went back to the mission field to continue her work there. And although my Mom has spent 30-some years on the mission field already, this will be a first for John! Here's a picture of them taken a few weeks ago...

I was born while my parents were in missionary training and my family moved overseas when I was 16 months old or so. They worked in various ministries until they finally joined a tribal work in 1980, where my Mom stills ministers. My family has had some amazing experiences, some of which I hope to post here (I did write one post about the snake in the window). My dad passed away in 1999, ironically back in the U.S. (not to make light of it, but I think quite a few people were sure that one or the other of us would die on the mission field!). About a year later, my Mom went back overseas to continue the work. She persevered in that work for several years, traveling back and forth from the field to the States to take help take care of my grandparents in their last years of life.

During that time, she reconnected with John, a friend of both my parents from high school. John has been a pastor in a small church for more than 20 years and had recently lost his wife. A rather whirlwind romance ensued and they were married in a small ceremony a few months later. John has been so good for Mom, and I daresay that she's good for him, too! It's been neat to see how their relationship has grown and it's nice for my sisters and me to know that Mom is being taken care of...John was a little nervous about inheriting 5 new daughters (and sons-in-law) and 20 grandkids, but so far, so good! :)

Both Mom and John felt like God has been leading them to return to the mission field, so earlier this year John retired from the pastorate and they began preparations to go back. They flew out yesterday and are now getting settled into Mom's apartment in the city. I am so proud of both of them and I'm excited to see how God uses them in their ministry. It would be nice if we could manage to serve in the same country (hey, at least we're in the same hemisphere!), but oh the meantime, we both have Vonage phones...thank goodness for technology!