Saturday, August 28, 2010

party time

So it was 11:39 p.m. when I turned off the light tonight and said to Eric "I love going to bed, so why do I always do this? - I stay up too late."
He said to me "Because you like tranquility."

A very true statement.
Being an introvert and a night person makes for long, quiet evenings.
I love love love being with my kids but I long for time to myself.
I long for solitude and silence.
Time where I am not constantly getting run over (figuratively and literally).
But I sure do need my sleep.

Maybe, you think, isn't being in bed the ultimate in tranquility?

Well, let this night be a perfect example:
11:41 p.m. Cade comes into our room
First words out of his mouth: "Where is Lucy?"
That is because he knows that Lucy often ends up in bed with us (me) in the middle of the night. He told me at bedtime (and for the last few nights) that he wanted to sleep with me because he was scared. I told him that he needed to fall asleep in his own bed first and could come in if he woke up. He said "But what if Lucy gets there first?" I told him we would work it out if it happened.
Somehow he beat her to it.
But that wasn't the only sleep issue.

It is hard to fall asleep to the Macarayna - extended version.
Yup, another party.
The music was (is) pretty loud but we did have our window open.
Eric finally closed it.
It was amazing what a difference that made.
Because it made none.

Maybe if I hang out on the computer a while longer I'll get so tired that I will fall asleep in spite of party time on Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa.*

*That is the name of our street..... I think in English it means: Party like it's 1999.

The Chronicles of Narnia

"I'm sorry," said Lucy. "You don't mean it was? How could I - I couldn't have left the others and come up to you alone, how could I? Don't look at me like that... oh well, I supposed I could. Yes, and it wouldn't have been alone, I know, not if I was with you. But what would have been the good?"
Aslan said nothing.
"You mean," said Lucy rather faintly, "that it would have turned out all right - somehow? But how? Please, Aslan! Am I not to know?"
"To know what would have happened, child?" said Aslan. "No. Nobody is ever told that."
"Oh dear," said Lucy.
"But anyone can find out what will happen," said Aslan. "If you go back to the others now, and wake them up;and tell them you have seen me again; and that you must all get up at once and follow me - what will happen? There is only one way of finding out."
"Do you mean that is what you want me to do?" gasped Lucy.
"Yes, little one," said Aslan.
"Will the others see you too?" asked Lucy.
"Certainly not at first," said Aslan. "Later on, it depends."
"But they won't believe me!" said Lucy.
"It doesn't matter," said Aslan.

This little gem is out of the second (I repeat, second book... as in the second one that you should read.... after the first one, which is The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe) book, "Prince Caspian". Once again filled with fabulous gems teaching me so much about life, Jesus, His ways and His power.
I could write for a long long time about several different things on this little section alone. There are all kinds of nuggets of goodness in here!!
The one that stands out the most to me at the moment is the last line that was quoted.

"It doesn't matter," said Aslan.

Lucy knew she needed to do something she didn't want to do because, in part, she didn't want to do alone - with out her friends, family. At first she thought she couldn't do it alone, but with one look at Aslan, she knew that she could have.
Sometimes, well, most times, it really stinks having to do the right thing when no one else will do it. Or if everyone else thinks you are crazy. Or to speak the truth when no one will believe it.
But when you know it is right, you know that He is with you and it really doesn't matter about the others. It would be great if they believed. It would be great if they followed too. It would be wonderful if they saw that you weren't crazy but believed the truth for what it is, whether it made sense to them completely or not.
Usually that doesn't happen.
Often we have to go alone.
Maybe, just maybe, later they will see, too.

Lucy said "But what would have been the good?"
That didn't matter either.
We don't need to analyze. We need to obey.
(sounds like something I tell my kids)
It is about faith.
Trusting that God has the best in mind for us even if we don't understand the reason or the possible result.
Just like I want my kids to have faith in my instructions. Because I want what is best for them. I want to protect them. They need to trust me.
I need to trust Him.
It doesn't matter what others will say. It doesn't matter what others will do.
It matters only that I

Thursday, August 26, 2010

cardboard boxes

So we bought these appliances, right? Fridge, stove, microwave.
They come in big boxes.
Really great boxes.
So the day we got our appliances, we also got a space club house. The moron part of me never took a picture of the kids making it and playing in it. It really was quite something and they had a ball.
The space club house lasted about a week. Then the novelty wore off.
That's okay.
I wasn't sad (except that then they started going a little more crazy in the house....).
In fact, I was glad, because then I could make things!

So what do you do when you have lots of cardboard, leftover fabric and not a whole lot else? You make bulletin boards!
The first ones, for Cade and Mia, are three layers thick of cardboard and covered with extra brown curtains that were left in our house. The only thing I had to buy was the green rick-rack. They have a blue and green ribbon pocket and painted clothes pins to hold some extra papers. Oh, and of course, are embroidered with my lovely machine - gifted to me by my darling friends and former business partners (Thank Rach and Beck!!!).
The next picture is from Lucy's room - sort of a memo-board chair rail. It goes the length of one wall in her room. And the fabric is leftover from her sheet set - when my mom made a duvet cover from the flat sheet. It also has painted clothes pins (and I bought some ribbon).

I love the challenge of making stuff out of limited resources.
It's a whole lot of fun - have always enjoyed that.

But I still really do miss Michaels!


Fruit #10: Uvillas

These little grape sized gems are really quite fabulous. I saw via the internet that they are actually common in parts of North America, under the names of cape gooseberry or ground cherry. Now, I am pretty sure that I would have known if I have had them before, because they really are yummilicious!
They are mildly tart, sweet, thin skinned, firm yet soft and juicy. An absolutely must try.
Now they are really good all on their own but I felt like baking a pie.
So I did.
The only problem is that we snacked on so many of them while making pie crust that I didn't have enough to fill the pie! I made it anyway and it was pretty good.... although I added a little too much sugar for my taste.
Should really have taken a picture of the pie.
Since you don't have to wait until you come to Ecuador to try these, you really ought to go and hunt some of these down.
I don't think you'll be disappointed.

just for my mom

For dinner last night.... grilled mushrooms, red peppers, zucchini and asparagus.
See mom, I do eat my vegetables!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Fruit #9: Guanabana

Somehow, when I was going through pictures the other day, I must have deleted my other picture of this lovely large fruit. So we are simply left with the one of it sliced open. It's really too bad because this baby has some beautiful pokey parts. Sigh.... sometimes I'm not real bright.
Guanabana, also known as soursop, is a pretty big fellow.... close to a foot long. It is a near relative to the previously mentioned cherimoya or custard apple. And it tastes pretty much like it too.... rather yummy.... actually, it is a little better, in my opinion. And looks like it, but bigger with spiky things on it (you don't want to snuggle with it). And the inside texture is like it too... sort of creamy, custardy. And the seeds are like it too.
The weird thing is that you can take one bite of it and that bite is flavorful but then the next bite has very little flavor. Odd. But the flavorful bites are definitely tasty.
Guanabana seems to be used mostly for juice (absolutely delish!) and in yogurts, ice creams and such.
It is my new favorite yogurt flavor. Definitely a need to try item!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

kitty adventure

Maddy has been begging for a kitten for quite some time now. It actually started before we left Costa Rica... but that didn't really seem like a great time to get a new animal. For some strange reason, she couldn't understand that....
She is really good at thinking about the present.

Well finally the father figure gave the go ahead. He must of softened up at the hospital. Maybe Maddy slipped him something in his IV.

I figured that it would be a good idea to get all the needed stuff first and then get kitty the next day (being today). Logically, yes?
One would think.
But then one would be wrong.
So today we head out again after church (btw - We walked to the mall yesterday, and again today. Loving that - beautiful weather, great exercise). We went to the pet store. I asked about prices, gender, immunizations (yes, all in Spanish..... I'm getting there) and then Maddy picks out a horribly cute, fluffy, orange girl kitty and says "Hi Nolly" and starts cuddling her, happy as a.... a girl and her new kitten. I go up to pay for Nolly after a while (Maddy is playing and cuddling with her). THEN, after a good 5 minutes, the lady tells me that she just remembered that "Nolly" was already sold to someone else.
No more kitty.
So we take a taxi to another mall.
They had some very fluffy kittens there. Very cute, too.
$400 Persians.
No thanks.
So they call another store, they have "common" cats and we walk there.
They are cats, not kittens. Not fluffy either.
So we catch a taxi to head home.
I figured I could ask the taxi driver about a pet store. Yes, he knows of one.
We drive there. No pet store anymore.

Once we arrive home, drink some water, comfort my daughter, have Lucy trample on me for a bit, I remember that there is a pet store within walking distance from our house. So off we go again....
Well, there is a pet store where I thought, but it was closed. The kids ask about it, so I go to the door and read the sign, pointing to it.... the sign says that it is open Monday through Saturdays. As I point, I accidently touch the gated door and set off the alarm.
A very loud alarm.
Very loud.
We left.

Yes, the whole kitten thing has been quite an adventure.

So if you are reading this post, please pray for a cute, cuddly, fluffy, playful yet snugly, girl kitten (and cheap, while you are at it) and quick!

Oh, I forgot.
Yesterday, after we got the stuff for the kitten (including an aluminum tray as a litter box and a kitchen utensil for a pooper-scooper), we took a taxi home. At a stop light, a lady, selling dogs, reaches in the taxi window to me, holding a little puppy.
She asks $20 for it.
I say no thanks.
She asks $5.
I say no thanks.
(Now, I have been begging for a dog.... just not one like that. But the dogs I want are $200, so this would have been a great deal.... and of course, it being a puppy, it was quite adorable.)
She says "regalo", which means "gift".
I look at her in shock.
She starts to let go of the puppy ..... yes, just about dropping it in the taxi, right as the light turns green and the taxi pulls away.
She quickly pulls her arm out, including the dog.

I'm a little, okay, scratch that, a lot sad about the whole incident.
I'm pretty sure she was selling (or giving) the dog so cheap because it was sick (it looked very droopy) and/or she couldn't sell it and now would have had to feed it. Feeding it is an expense. An expense she probably didn't want.
While it may not have made a certain someone in my family very happy, I wish she would have dropped the puppy in my lap.
Now the puppy might not ever have a home or food...
or a life.
But I really can't think about that.

Christmas in August

It has been a bit of a rough summer for the kids, as you have already been told. Daddy being in the hospital certainly didn't make things any better. So what do we do? We have Christmas in August, naturally.
The other day I declared to be Christmas day for our family (minus presents, of course). The kids got really into and had a great time. They made approximately 2 million snowflakes and paper chains, threw them up all over the house and set up Santa's sleigh in the family room (with eight lovely reindeer, aka: chairs) while we listened to Christmas music (something I pretty much want to do all year long anyway!). Then we made two types of Christmas ornaments, watched Christmas movies and finished off the evening with our traditional chocolate fondue.
The best part of the day? The unknown Christmas gift: daddy came home from the hospital!!

Friday, August 20, 2010

pretty little things

Could they possibly be cuter?
Um, no.
So, I've been making things for the house over the last few weeks... enjoying being creative. The problem is that either my projects are very time consuming and tedious or I can only go so far because I don't have access to the supplies I need. But at least I am able to create.
Well, this week, with it's stresses of having my lover-boy in the hospital, I really needed to make something and finish it. That is a sure stress reliever for me.
I can just get lost in a project, even if it is just for half an hour, and then I have a pretty little thing when I am finished.
This headband was just the thing.
Maddy got a hand-me-down dress from someone and didn't really like it. So I kept it anyway, figuring I could make it into something else.
Originally I thought I'd make it into a dress for Lucy, but I have done a few of those lately (made a skirt of mine into a dress for her and another skirt into a dress for Mia - both super cute, I must admit!). So, I decided, for the purposes of my therapy, I would chop it up and start by making bits of it into a headband.
I've seen a few of this style on websites and such and they looked pretty cute.
Of course, I think I could wrap a rubber hose around my kid's head and it would be cute.
Well, it probably would be.
Lucy is quite thrilled to have this little hair accessory.
Now Mia and Maddy want one too. Other colors of course.
I am quite happy to do this. Problem is, now I have to try to find cheap headbands to use.... I guess I am back to the dilemma of not having the supplies at my disposal.
We'll see if we can come up with something.

he's home!

Picture of cards made by the kids. And they each donated a stuffed animal to keep daddy company and to comfort him.

Who's home?
Eric... husband of mine, father of four
Where was he?
In the hospital.
(well, probably - that is what they think, anyway.... and what he is being treated for).
Yes, he was in the hospital for four days (remember, he was sick on our anniversary?... it got SIGNIFICANTLY worse!!). Many, many people prayed and God answered. He got better quite quickly over the last 24 hours and so they sent him home. He still is taking medication, of course, and we won't have the results of the typhoid testy thingy for several days (..... a lovely ordeal of removing some bone marrow from his sternum. I should have him be a guest blogger on here and tell you all about it. It sounded super fun!! Like high school, but funner!) but they are treating him for it anyway because it is so yucky (a well-known medical term to describe illnesses).
Some of you may think I am a lousy wife because I did not mentioned it sooner (it may explain why my previous entry was a smattering of Psalms 18). Well, pretty much all I was talking and writing about for the last week was about how Eric was doing.... aside, of course, for saying things like "Lucy, stop waving those scissors in Mia's eyes" or "What in the world did you get in your hair now, Cade?".
Blogging has been sort of an outlet for me, and I didn't need to "outlet" more about what my poor husband (and children) were going through.
Now that he is home, however, and he can field (to some degree - he still feels pretty poopy) the calls and emails himself, I feel released.... yes, even ready to enjoy, to tell my 10 followers the events of the past week. Okay, I realize that most of you already know since I emailed and/or talked to you about it....
I mentioned what the children were going through ("Children", by the way, just came out. It sounds much too formal, like they aren't mine or something. Or like I have a nanny and only see them in the evening after they are scrubbed and tubbed and adequately fed.
Anyway, the kids....
They have had a very hard week. As you know, they have had a pretty miserable summer - being bored out of their minds, friendless, somewhat confined, aliens in another country... all that rot.
And then this.
They just saw how pathetically ill their dad was - he looked and sounded (and smelled.... did I say that?) absolutely horrible, then went to the hospital - a scary place in their minds - so the whole thing was pretty tragical. To them the hospital is a place where people look like they are about to die and have tubes coming out of every place imaginable, and then some places that you don't (maybe even shouldn't) imagine.
So yes, they were very worried.
The blessing in it all was there was much fodder for conversations about God being in control. And God making daddy's body, so God knows best how to care for his body. And how we often don't get why in the world God allows people we love to get sick (and worse), but we know He is Good and so we have to trust that He knows what He is doing. And that He is so very much bigger than we can imagine, and His "brain" is so much more smarter than we can even try to think about, so we just get to work at trusting that He knows best.
But they were still worried.
And it showed in their actions, treatment of each other, emotions, and in pretty much everything. Poor babies.
But now we get to praise God that He choose to heal daddy.
Good times.
(Normally that phrase would be said sarcastically, but not in this case.)
We may have some difficulties ahead. Eric could relapse. It could be something else that they have to treat differently. Or it could be all over. But right now we are just happy that not only is he home, but he has his sense of humor in tact (well, he thinks he is funny....), and a smile on his non-pasty, non-gaunt looking face.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Psalm 18 - a smattering

I love you, O Lord, my strength!
You are my Rock, my Fortress, and my Deliverer;
You, my God, are my Rock, in whom I take refuge.
You are my Shield adn the horn of my salvation, my Stronghold!
I call to You, O Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and I am saved from my enemies!
You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning;
You turn my darkness into light.
With Your help I can advance against a troop;
with You, my God, I can scale a wall!
As for You,my God, Your way is perfect;
Your Word is flawless.
You are a shield for all who take refuge in You.

Monday, August 16, 2010

friends.... yahoo!!

We have friends!
And it is wonderful.
Our great and glorious friends from language school (in Costa Rica) are here and it has been so good! Their son and daughter, who are close friends of Mia and Cade have been hanging out with us quite a bit while mom and dad have the incredible privilege of shopping for hours and attending meetings (insert sarcasm - it is never fun, at least in my opinion, to have to buy all your life essentials and do lots of orientation and paperwork all jam-packed into a few days....exhausting). Fortunately they have had a bit of time in the evenings to hang out with us too. They are truly a blessing to have around. We love them!
In the meantime Eric is being a real stick-in-the-mud. A party pooper, if you will. Something about fever, chills, sweats, aches and all that baby stuff. What a whiner. All he does is lie around and sleep.... and change is clothes every few hours because he keeps sweating through everything. He is producing a lot of laundry for me. Awfully selfish, don't you think?
Okay, but seriously, the man is really sick and I am getting a little concerned. He isn't sick very often but this one is a doozy. It started on Friday, our anniversary. I thought maybe he just didn't want to hang out with me for our 16th so he was faking sick.... kidding. Anyway, he has been getting progressively worse over the last few days. Poor little thing (or big, as the case may be). The timing is a bit of a bummer, as our friends are here but at the same time I guess it is good timing since they are both doctors and can give us wisdom about taking care of him. So far we are professionally advised to bring him in to the hospital if it all keeps going on today, especially if it gets worse.
Possibly malaria?
He was in the jungle twice already, so it is feasible. We'll see what happens.
Don't worry if it is.... it is very treatable.

In the meantime, I will mother six children, take care of my infirmed husband, keep the house spotless (as usual) and entertain our guests in the evenings.

Do I have your sympathy?
That's what I am going for....

Saturday, August 14, 2010

wonderful neighbors

What do these three pictures have in common?
Our wonderful neighbors.
They are our biggest blessing here so far, I believe.
They live in the house right above us so we get to see them fairly often and they get to hear us all the time. Pray for them, they have to endure a lot of noise pollution!
They are missionaries as well and have two kids - ages 11 and 9 (the kids have been back in the States all summer though, so have not had the privilege to meet them yet). They are great people!
And they have been so great to us: Taken us grocery shopping (as we are still with out transportation - other than taxis and bus, of course), offered to help us get all the stuff we need to get our licenses, censos (official paper type thingies we need here), and all that rot, taken us to "Vulqano", an amusement park (we had intended to go on the gondolas with them but the line-ups were insane and was pretty expensive since we don't have our censos yet), and on top of all that, gave us a bag of coveted chocolate chips and a jar of peanut butter. Now that is thinking about others before yourselves!
I've always said that I think I could live almost anywhere, as long as I am surrounded by wonderful people. God knows that and has, once again, abundantly provided.

By the way, I am sorry about the pathetic layout of some of these posts. I can't for the life of me figure out how to move stuff around so it all makes more sense. Sometimes I can have all the pictures together and all the writing on the side, sometimes it doesn't work. Whatever the case, I'm no computer geek and can't seems to fix it!! Aesthetically disturbing!!

my new favorite accessory

I've never been partial to rubber gloves. Just haven't really used them much in my life - I guess I have just always dealt with rough hands after cleaning, washing dishes, etc. They just feel kind of icky and restricting or something.
But no longer.
Now that I am washing dishes - many, many dishes, two or three times a day (sounds like I am whining, but really I only do sometimes), I have a new found appreciation for these beauties. Plus the dish soap is pretty harsh (no Palmolive here, folks!.... I am not soaking in it!!), the water extremely hot and the dry climate, it all makes for a painful operation after a while.
They may not be the most fashion forward item, but they definitely go with everything. And who can beat sunshine yellow? Just puts a little joy and light into the whole process, you know?
And the best part of it all? It brings the song "Moon River" to mind each and ever time I "snap" them on. Thank you Dr. Rosenrosen.*

*Bit of a Fletch reference here.... If you haven't seen the movie, don't bother pondering it too long. And no, please don't take this as a movie reference, even though it is absolutely hilarious.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Fruit #8: Maracuyà

A lovely little fruit known as passion fruit. Why passion? I have no idea. But I suppose it is appropriate that I have randomly selected this fruit for the day of our 16th anniversary - ah, yes, what passion....

Anywho, this is one tart little gem. I would recommend eating it straight only to those who like to suck on lemons. It has a lot of pucker power - perhaps that is the part that is related to passion??
It is very very sour but in a fabulously delicious way. It is usually used for juices, jams, sauces and such... so yes, I guess it is saucy.
Hmmmm, passion, tart, saucy, pucker power... It is all becoming much more clear.
I digress.
Maracuyà is related to the aforementioned granadilla and has the same type of peel and flesh only the colors seem to be reversed. One is snot and one is passion? Can't figure out how those are related.
Yah, so anyway, we tried it straight with a little sugar on it. It has a wonderful flavor but even though I like tart stuff, grapefruit and such (even without sugar), I think I would stick to using it in the saucy manner. It just brings too strong of a sensation in those points of the jaw... You know what I mean? When you think of or taste sour stuff and you set that feeling in your face and you start salivating? I'm having that right now as I write.
Time for a new topic.
Or maybe later as Maddy is hounding me to give her a turn (there is always a line-up).
Oh, photos compliments of her, again.


Yesterday afternoon, while painting a bulletin board outside, I hear (everyone in the neighborhood could hear) a lady wailing.
Not crying, not screaming, not talking loudly - WAILING.
As in crying out words incredibly loud.
In Spanish, she was saying "I don't have work; I don't have money; I need help; I have four children." Over and over and over again. For a good 10-12 minutes.
Right away I started praying. I really wasn't sure what to do and Eric wasn't home. It was encouraging to see two or three people go to her and talk to her.... although I guess I don't know what they were saying. I'm assuming the best.
After a few minutes, I gathered up a package of rice, dried beans, some cans of corn and a little bit of money, walked it down to her and talked with her a little.

A situation like that is hard. It is really hard to know what to do. I believe that what I did was what God called me to do in the situation, so I felt comfortable with it. But generally speaking, it is just hard.
There are so many people who truly need help, who really don't have work and have a very difficult time providing for their families. And quite likely, this lady is one of them.
The thing that makes it difficult is the method. First, it seems that she plunked herself down on the sidewalk, with a "sleeping" child in her arms, in a good neighborhood, and went from no sound directly to wailing.
I wish I would have seen how she arrived.
And her son. Even though she was extremely loud, he never stirred. And when I went to talk to her, he looked more dead than alive..... like he was drugged. He was completely and totally out.
That was what really got to me. I know that drugging children is a common thing with people begging on the street (I don't know if it is here, but I know it is in other areas of the world). It makes it easier to do their "jobs" and evokes more sympathy.
So what do you do?
What I want to do is what Jesus would have done.... you know, like the overused '90s WWJD? What Would Jesus Do?
You certainly don't want to encourage these actions yet you definitely want to help.
These people are stuck in a horrible situation, whether they are trying to cheat people, pretending to be something they are not or simply using the methods they feel are most effective to get what they need or want. It doesn't matter if they are trying to live their lives to survive or to get more by cheating people. The fact is that they have a deep need. They may lack food and possibly other things to survive. But worse, they need Someone to save them. To save (or better, to help) them from their physical situation, but to save them from their emotional, mental and most importantly, spiritual situation. And there is only One who can really do that. Most simply put, they need Jesus.
Don't we all.
What Would Jesus have done?
The only thing I know for sure is that He would have loved her. He would have had compassion, regardless of her motivation or what her sins were. He would have helped and healed.
I am so thankful for Him. He gives wisdom when we ask for it. And I think He gave me wisdom here.

I will continue to pray for this lady and her children. Please do too.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


Yes, success.
Albeit small, it was a success.
They were good! Definitely not the best I've ever made, but pretty tasty.
My family has finally released me to use the bag of chocolate chips that our wonderful neighbors gave to us.
Hopefully this wasn't a one time thing.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Fruit #7: Cherimoya

Known in english as the custard apple... and that would tell you its approximate size - kind of like an apple.
The outside is like tough leather and has these scaly looking things - although they are all connect. What I mean by that is you can't actually lift up a scale like you could with an artichoke.
The inside is off white, kind of a cream color with very large black seeds. The flesh is indeed custard
like - as much as a fruit that has to have some fibrous stuff in it can be. It is creamy smooth yet with some grit... although the grit is fairly fine.
Like the tomate dulce, it isn't a flavor I could really compare to something else. It is sweet, mild and creamy. The part that is close to the peel is a little bitter.
You just scoop out the flesh and chow down. I like it, Maddy is indifferent and no one else (like usual) would try it. Where is their sense of adventure?
And, by the way, these photos are compliments of Maddy. What skill.

what is it?

Let's play a game.

What is it?

6 people use it to watch movies.
3 use it to watch television shows.
1 uses it to watch sports.
5 use it to play games.
2 use it to blog.
3 use it to read other blogs.
6 use it to see places and maps from around the world.
6 use it to talk "face-to-face" with friends.
6 use it for movie or video making.
2 use it for translating spanish.
2 use it for learning spanish.
5 use it to take goofy pictures.
6 use it to store and edit their pictures.
2 use it for finances.
3 use it as a calculator.
6 use it to listen to music.
3 use it to find and acquire music.
1 will use it to work out to.
4 use it to email.
2 use it to shop.
2 use it to write newsletters.
2 use it to connect with supporters.
4 use it to get coloring pages.
1 uses it to get ideas to keep their children sane.
3 use it to listen to sermons on line.
3 will use it for homework.
4 want to use it to read ebooks.
2 use it to store important information.
gets a mere 4 - 8 hours of rest every 24 hours.

and it is quite possible I am missing somethings...

What is it?

Our very reliable, wonderful, but oh-so-exhausted Macintosh laptop computer.
Poor thing.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

loco guys and pasty girls

Yesterday six of the guys from Casa Gabriel came over for lunch.... Man, can they eat! I'm sure we could have kept bringing food out and they would have kept eating it. Might need to increase our support level if we want to keep having them over for meals!
So great having them here. What a privilege to know them and get to work with them.
But they are insane. Or at least some of them.
These guys love to jump off of things - almost anything. Or jump over things. And they seem to do it with not-boring regularity. Yup, crazy. At least they had enough sense to feel a bit of fear when jumping off the roof... but they still did it.
It was a great afternoon - watching them risk life and limb. Great entertainment. They are just so much fun to be with. And if you check out facebook, I have about a million more pictures posted there.... including our kids with their imitations (fortunately they realized they were smaller and not as experienced.... although Cade is pretty gutsy).
I'm getting the feeling that there will be "never a dull moment" in this ministry! We are blessed!
(And why "pasty girls"? Well, just look at them!! The girls look half dead - or at least very unhealthy, compared to these guys. I guess that is why a tan makes you look more healthy, even though it isn't....)

tomate dulce

Fruit #6: Tomate Dulce
Translation - sweet tomato or also known as tree tomato. My guess, because I'm so very smart, is that it grows on trees.
First of all, let me say, that this is a beautiful fruit. The reddish mottled outside is so pretty - love the color. But the inside rocks my world. Look at how the seeds are laid out. It is so gorgeous. And the color - to die for.... and the drop of juice coming off of the one sliced open (on the right side). Seriously beautiful fruit.
I think I am going to slice it up, dry out the slices and see how they look - might be really pretty Christmas ornaments (So you probably think I am a psycho. for even thinking of that, but hey, that is just how God made my brain. If they look fabulous, I'll show you I'm not crazy, and if they look like wrinkled, dried up nasty pieces of grossness, I won't tell you or bring it up again to protect my dignity.)
Okay, so moving on....
The peel is like a tomato but it really doesn't taste like tomato. I don't even know how to describe it - can't really parallel it to anything else I know. But it is tasty! The peel is bitter - recommend not eating that part, the orangish part is mild in flavor, and the stuff around the seeds is pure deliciousness....I ate the seeds too.
Maddy doesn't like it - she's just weird (think I might need to find a new sampling partner....).
Highly recommend this tasty treat!

Monday, August 9, 2010


Cotopaxi at sunset. Breathtaking.

I haven't been here for a little while.
I've been scared. Scared off of my own blog.
You see, in the last week or so, I've received several emails about what I write. Good emails. Emails that have been wonderful, appreciative and encouraging. It has been completely overwhelming and it has scared me.
When I finally decided to take the advice and start a blog, my goal was to bring glory to God. I figured why bother doing it if that isn't the goal. Of course, I put in a bunch of randomness as well and babble on about many other things. But in the end, I want Him to be exalted. The crazy thing is, that from what many of you say, that is just what is happening.
For some bizarre reason, God has chosen to use my blithering. How incredibly humbling.
At first, even though it is humbling, pride set in. I thought I was quite something. I made two attempts at writing and trying to be really profound. Then I realized, or God showed me, that I was no longer trying to glorify Him but myself. So those attempts weren't published (they were about Narnia) - and good thing they weren't because they were ridiculous. That is what happens when I try to speak for myself and not for Him.
I was humbled.
So two days ago I wanted to write this but in my humility I became proud. I thought to myself: Wow, I am really writing this with humility. Look at me being humble. I am really good at being humble.... and of course then that was just pride again.
That happens to be so so often. Augh!!! Just when I finally do something without pride, I get proud of myself for not being proud and then I just end up being proud again. Kind of like what Paul was talking about - I don't do the things I want to do and the things I don't want to do, I do.
It seems inevitable that my pride is somehow going to take over and try to rob the glory that obviously belongs to Christ. There is simply no way that my ramblings and musings could encourage someone, especially spiritually, on my own.
I'm scared that I am going to write too often with pride or simply write to glorify myself - I'm sure that will happen time to time - I am fallen. I am scared that I'm going to write a bunch of heresy or that what I write will offend someone (probably already have done that). I'm scared because I feel like I have a responsibility. Yet, we all have a responsibility with everything we say and do. What I need to do is just keep giving it over to Him. If I maintain the original goal, then it is just up to Him, and He will deal with my missteps.
So I am writing to say that I am back on the wagon, so to speak. I love being able to write about our journey here in Ecuador (Eric thinks I've turned into a complete blogging geek - both he and I never thought this whole blogging thing would "take"). I love writing about what God is showing us, teaching us, allowing us to enjoy, allowing us to struggle with. And it is even better knowing that there are a few of you whom are enjoying the adventure with us.
God is so good.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

we do not lose heart

"Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles, such as trying to acquire your drivers license in a foreign country and needing to get a million different things done first, take a three week driving course, then drive with insanely crazy drivers all around you and do a written test in a foreign language, are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."

2 Corinthians 4:16-18, italics mine

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Oh, Narnia, I love you

This really doesn't have anything to do with our life and work in Ecuador.
Is that okay?

One of the greatest pleasures I have each day is reading to my kids. Especially reading chapter books.
I love the time together, snuggling up and getting into a good story line.... ending a chapter right before bed, wondering what is going to happen in the story when we read the next day. Love it.
Mia and I just starting reading The Chronicles of Narnia. The best books in the whole wide world, as far as I'm concerned. In fact, that is why I wanted to name Lucy, Lucy. I know I have read the whole series through at minimum 12 times and I think that is a modest estimate. And it is great because I have four kids! I've read them to Maddy twice already (she has officially outgrown the mom-reading-to-me-before-bed-stage... sniff, sniff). But if I read it to each kid twice through - that is definitely six more times I get to read them - out loud.
And there is nothing like reading it out loud. I'd read it out loud to myself but my family already has enough concern over my level of sanity. I don't get all crazy trying to give each character their own voice or anything nutty like that, but I feel it more when it is voiced.
I'm thinking that if maybe we have two more kids or so, I can get another good three to four readings out of the deal. Good idea, right?
The stories are just sumptuous. Scrumpdilliumptious, even. No matter what age you are - they are just darn good reading.
Just a warning: Some day I might just go off about how recent publishers have changed the order of the books to be chronological. No, no, no!!! That is not how they are supposed to be read... but that is another whole topic.
But then the whole thing of the spiritual significance. Oh my goodness, could it be better? Love the pictures of Christ through Aslan. There is a very good chance that in the next few months (or however long it takes us to get through them) you would be reading a great deal about these books.
Today we read (from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe) chapter eight, where they first introduce Aslan. Susan asks if Aslan is safe and says "I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion." Mrs. Beaver replies with "if there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than most or else just silly." And Mr. Beaver says "'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you."
That is God. And if we don't have our knees knocking when we meet Him, or think of meeting Him, I think we are just plain stupid. We must not really get who He is.
He isn't safe. I mean, in terms of Him being our Refuge, our Protector, our Shield and Comforter, yes, He is more "safe" than we can imagine - if we belong to Him. We are safe to be real and honest with Him. But I think I, along with the vast majority of the world, have a way way too cavalier attitude/picture of Him. We don't fear Him, and that is a scary place to be. In many ways, God isn't safe. If we don't claim our forgiveness under Christ - we are not safe at all. If we don't regard His ways and Holiness, safety should be one of the furthest things in our mind. His judgement is just, but safe? Hmmm, I don't think so.
I'm sure many people are very uncomfortable with talk like this as the word "safe" is exactly what they think that God should be. And again, keep in mind how He is safe. But I think mostly people aren't comfortable with this talk is because we just want to talk about His love, His mercy, His grace, the gifts that He gives and how amazing it is that we can have a relationship and friendship with Him.
It always comes back to balance in my books. We have to hold both in equal view. We can't focus on either. God is like the ultimate Father (well, not just like him, He IS the Ultimate Father). The best kind of father plays with his kids, laughs with them, talks with them and shows his love for them by enjoying them and allowing them to fully enjoy him. But the best kind of father also wants to train their child to be a responsible, respectable adult. The best kind of father wants to keep their child from danger, not necessarily from pain, but from damaging danger. So that father disciplines when needed. And when the child disobeys, they are afraid to have their dad find out. Their knees knock together, so to speak, because of the respectful fear. They don't feel safe in many ways. And if the child has complete disregard for their father - trouble! Yet the child of the best kind of father would know, deep down, that they are safe because they are sure of their father's love for them.
If the father just instills fear in their child - bad. If the father just plays and talks with their child - bad. Both are needed.
And both are ultimately found in our Ultimate Father.
In the end, I kind of feel like Peter, who says about meeting Aslan "I'm longing to see him, even if I do feel frightened when it comes to that point."

Monday, August 2, 2010

Ode to my cousin day

I have decided that today is Kristi Rae Neufeld Jacobs Day at our house.
My darling cousin.
She has been visiting in California and have not been there to enjoy her. Sigh.
Anyway, that is not why it is Kristi Rae Neufled Jacobs Day. It is Kristi Rae Neufled Jacobs Day because today we borrowed a dvd of the first season of Full House. We watched 4 episodes. And whenever I think of Full House, I think of my darling cousin: Kristi Rae Neufled Jacobs (I usually simply call her Kristi, or Kiki Rae, but this is so much more fun, don't you think?). I also made chocolate lava cakes today (tasty, but not very lava-y) which also make me think of Kristi Rae Neufled Jacobs, because together we made and devoured my first chocolate lava cakes. Good times, let me tell you.
All that is needed now is to go buy a truck-load of bikinis and track down some episodes of 90210 and the day would be complete. Since I don't have access to such joy, I will simply call my children by the names of Brenda, Donna, that other blond girl and Brandon (or something of that nature).
Here's to you Kristi...Love you and miss you!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

a little ditty

I found the cord
I found the cord
Thank the Lord
I found the cord!!!!!!!

It was under a pile of Eric's clothes. Sheesh.

beautiful morning

This is the beautiful volcano, Cotopaxi, as seen from our roof top (also can be seen from the house, but it so much more breathtaking up there). Can you say LOVE?
This morning I woke up with a headache and a grumpy heart. I noticed, however, that it was a glorious day outside, stepped over to the Cotopaxi window and had an almost cloudless view. Instantly God brought His glory to mind and things started looking up. He simply reminded me of His amazing glory through this teeny tiny picture of His power.
I really really really (could add a few more of those "really"s) wanted to go to church - I miss church so much. So even though Eric is still sick, I left him with the kids and walked to church myself. And it was so good.
They had a worship concert with a band called "Gedeon". It was about 2/3rds in Spanish and the rest in English (for the math challenged, that would be 1/3rd). Great worship songs. Also had a 5 minute message/testimony and the cutest 15 year old Ecuadorian boy getting baptized... He and Maddy are going to get married in 10 years - or at least I hope they might if he stays so in love with Jesus and is as sweet as he seems. Prearranged marriage is okay, right?
Anyway, my soul is filled. God knew exactly what I needed and abundantly provided.... Him. I needed a great big dose of HIM, and that is just what I got.
So good.