Tuesday, April 30, 2013

bad influence

I didn't realize what a bad influence I am on my kids until Eric got back from his trip.  While he was gone I made up several different songs on several different occasions.....  When he got back, they shared all of the songs with him.  Hmmmm.   Perhaps I'm not "mother of the year" (shocking, I know).
I cooked beans that one day - I think I mentioned how they made the house stink so bad.  Well, when I was cooking them I also taught the kids the little ditty "beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot".
Another day we were talking about the school musical that some of Maddy's friends were in (they did Godspell - it was great!).  She told us that one of her friends complained that another one of their friends, Bobby, kept sticking his butt in her face on stage.  I said "How, Bobby doesn't have a butt?" (he is very very skinny.... but an extremely nice and fun guy, so we don't hold it against him).  The kids thought that was pretty funny, so encouraged by their laughter, I started singing "Bobby, the buttless wonder...." to the tune of "Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer".  We heard that song for days afterwards.
Finally, one other day, the kids and I were walking to school and were talking about hippies.  They were wondering why anyone would want to be a hippy (no, I have no clue as to how or why this conversation came up).  For some reason I started saying "Hi.  My name's Hippy.  My mom's Hippy, my dad's Hippy, even my dog's Hippy.  One day, my momma said, Hippy, why don't you ever do the peace sign?  And I said, I do!  See?" (the original is "Chubby" instead of "Hippy" and "why don't you ever smile" instead of "do the peace sign".  And then you squish your cheeks together and smile...).  Well, later that day, they were saying this little what-ever-it-is ('cause its not really a song I guess) and came up with several other versions.... and laughing hysterically.  I again did my foul thing as a mother when one of them said "Hi, my name is Cheese....."  and I said "Why don't you ever cut the cheese?"... followed by cutting the cheese noises.  Yes, I'm so mature.
 Some versions:
Hippy - giving the peace sign:
Cheese, cutting the cheese:
A close relative of Cheese, is Bean (made up by Cade):
Lucy's "Hi, my name is Starlight...."
She did the whole, my mom's Starlight, my dad's....  and then said "Starlight, why don't you ever kick a soccer ball?"  WHAT?  Mia, Cade and I went into fits of laughter trying to figure out where that came from.  Then Mia suggested "Starlight why don't you ever shine?"  Here they are shining:
And another of Cade's:  "Hi, my name is Disco Ball...."
"Disco Ball, why don't you ever shake your booty?"  "And I said, I do!  See?":

So, after all this, I think its best for Eric not to ever leave again.  They are not safe with me.

In other news....
Is vanity nurture or nature or neither?
For the past few months the vanity of one certain 7-year-old (almost 8! yikes!) has been steadily increasing.  She takes a very long time in the mornings deciding what to wear and can often be found laying out entire outfits to see how they look.  How does this happen?
She also had a very small, pale red dot on her face for a few days and wanted concealer on it every morning.  Of course there often hair issues often as well.  My outfits, hair, etc. fall under her scrutiny almost daily, too.  Considering she believes a hot pink shrug, coral skirt and dirty, worn out Ugg-type boots is the cool thing to wear, I'm not putting a lot of stock in her critiques!
At least getting ready for school every morning isn't dull.  No, definitely not dull.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Thursday, April 25, 2013

morning journey

After walking the kids to school this morning and working for about half an hour, my mild fever and not-so-mild-cramps called me to just go home.  As much as I didn't want to, I needed to go to Holy Mary first.  Also known as "Santa Maria".  A coworker always refers to this grocery store as Holy Mary, so I thought I'd give it a try.
Anywho, perhaps it was the fever, but I went against my better judgement and pulled out my phone on a few occasions to document the various interesting occurrences on my journey.  Bits of life that are common out here but pretty much not at all common where we're from.
Like this pedestrian over-crossing.  Parts of it were bound with caution/danger tape.  It has been like that for months.  If you look closely at the right side - that green supporting beam is no longer connected - it is rusted out or somehow severed from the part that was cemented in.  They also used the tape at the top - several meters up above traffic - but someone just tore through it and everyone still uses it - including me.  The reality is, if you want to cross the street (and it is a common thoroughfare) - a very busy street with four lanes each direction of fast moving traffic - you will just have to risk your live.  You either cross on street level and risk getting hit or you cross above and risk having the shaky and now unstable over-crossing crumble beneath you and you fall to your death.

After I bought my groceries, the goat man was there!!  I was pretty excited.  While I have seen him at a distance once before, Eric has talked about him several times.  I guess he often hangs out in the Casa G. neighborhood.  He walks around on the streets with his goats.  People will just come up to him, give him some money (we don't know the cost), and he will take out his cup, milk one of the goats, and give the milk to the customer.  The customer drinks the milk, lets out a satiated sigh, and hands the cup back to the goats milk vender.... and on they both go with the rest of their day.  Yum.

 Further on in my journey home, I finally took another picture I've been wanting to take for a while now... the liquor lady.  First, let me explain that it was about 9:05 a.m. when I took this picture.  This lady has her cart out on this side street regularly.  The cart has about 12 different liquor bottles as well as juices and flavorings.  You just go up and order your pleasure and she'll mix up your early morning cocktail (or shooter of straight liquor) right there for you.  Sometimes you get to take it with you, but sometimes you need to enjoy it right there and return the glass for the next customer.  I guess it depends on the supply of disposable tumblers.  Whatever the case, she is conveniently located

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

shandia 2013 - high time

I really hate it when we've had an incredible time somewhere and life is busy so that I don't get to documenting it right away.  And there is so much that you want to say and tell and all that but it is almost too overwhelming to take the time to do it all.  I'm just tempted to let the pictures speak for themselves and say nothing.  But I know I'll regret it later and I know I will also make some people a little unhappy if I don't give a little explanation at minimum.
First I just have to say that the week the team from our church comes is definitely the highlight for me and I believe for our family.  It is so amazing getting the chance to see people we love and people we have heard about and having the opportunity to serve with them.  This year I was beyond thrilled that my amazing friend Veronica - and her entire family - came.  While I naturally longed for way more time than we could have, every second with her was rich and wonderful.  I can't believe how blessed I have to have incredible friends like her.
With this week also comes going to the jungle to do work and ministry.  I come alive there.  For some reason I am way more unreserved with my Spanish... I chatter away with all kinds of people (poorly, but I still feel that freedom).  I go crazy with awe at watching my kids serve and interact and also use their Spanish much more and with greater freedom - they in many ways come alive there too.  I often get frustrated with my and their shyness when ministering here in Quito.  But in Shandia, it seems to melt away.
There seems to be something that blocks us when we are here - I really don't know what it is.  We love the guys we work with but as much as we adore them, there is something here that intimidates or blocks us.  Eric and Mia are good.  Cade has started to have more "moments" (especially when he plays Wii with the Casa G. boys!  I think he likes it that he is better than them!!). They make me smile and laugh, and I love love love being around them, but I'm so reserved.  It drives me crazy especially because I can't really put my finger on it.  For the kids, I don't know, but for me, maybe I just don't feel cool enough or good enough.  Okay - this self-evaluation is another whole blog post....  Sorry for babbling.
One thing I like about serving in the jungle is the manual labour.  Doing some hard, physical labour in the jungle is also so refreshing - I always love that.  It feels so good to work the body and work it hard, especially while doing it alongside of both people from "home" and the amazing local people.  And then the play time and more formal ministry time is also so rich.  Seeing this community who have so many people already passionate about Jesus and seeing others willing to learn.  It is hard to beat.
In normal circumstances when I am in heat like that, I shrivel.  The heat drives me crazy.  Plus I am just a gnarly, sweaty mess (I don't glow, I don't perspire, I am sweat.  I'm a big time sweat - er..... not a sweater, by the way...  I just sweat way more than a female should be allowed).  But there - I hardly notice.  It is a place I long to go to.  I long to serve at.  I long to have our family serve there.  It is real.  It is rough.  It is uncomfortable in a very comfortable way.  I LOVE it.  
I would be very happy (yet scared spit-less and feeling incredibly inadequate) if God had our family working there much more often.   I actually suggested to Eric while we were there that perhaps we should move there....  but I'm over that part.  Yes, we'd do it if God called us to that, but I might go a little batty after months and months of sweating.
So back to that week.  I'm probably just going to run through the stuff quickly, otherwise I'll be writing for hours and this will never get posted.  I'm sort of an all or nothing kind of blogger.
These first few pictures are when we did some work on the pathway to the new training center.  Clearing brush and branches, laying dirt and gravel, raking and stomping (packing the path) and moving bricks (a job the girls did - very slowly.... there were plenty of large bugs hiding in the stacks of bricks so there were a lot of shrieks and "ewwww"s).  Of course the village kids were right there with us, having a great old time.

In between some of the work one of the young village boys caught a chicken.  Nina decided it would make a good pet until it pecked her in the mouth.  It is hard to see, but her mouth is bleeding.  Thankfully she didn't catch any infectious diseases!

Some of the girls took a break occasionally to play with the kids in the cover of the training center.  Of course the kids eat it up!

Cade seems to love the physical labour as well.  He works like a banshee.  I get pretty proud of his work ethic.  He's out there hauling and dumping and shoveling and grunting.

A big part of what goes on when our team comes is bike repairs!  Shandia already knows Karl, the bike guy.  Karl has been going to Shandia for many years and he spends most of his time fixing all of the very well used (and most definitely abused) bikes.  So when Karl comes, the bikes all come out.  This time around he also had Scott to do repairs - Scott also knows what he is doing.  Those poor guys fixed bikes for days.  It was a labour of love, that is for sure - fixing bikes for Christ!  And when they were done, some of the bikes they had already fixed came back to get something else worked on.  These kids are hard on their bikes!!

Our kids also love the attention from the students that come from our church.  While the team really comes down to serve the people in Shandia (and surrounding areas), they bless us as well.  They play with our kids and love on them - making them feel special.  It has a huge impact on them.
Bug spray and sunscreen - very very important, three-times-daily, process.
The informal hang out times with the kids is the best.  Playing in the river.  The river is surprisingly cold and feels amazing after getting so hot and working so hard.  The guys, however, must have such sore arms at the end of it all - first they are shoveling and hauling wheelbarrows full of dirt, then they are heaving kids in the water for hours.

Usually there are some kids who do more rapid-riding, but not many did this year.  Apparently Cade and Mia missed it, so they decided to just do it themselves.  Their trip went a little awry, however, probably due the to size of the tube.  Cade ended up solo and Mia ended up with some bruised shins.

Spa treatments are always a highlight and I think never cease to make the village kids wonder why in the world everyone smears mud on themselves.

Cade didn't bother with the mud and went with some of the boys to throw stones instead.

The team did several teen nights as well.  After the first one kids came from a bunch of the neighboring villages as well (so I heard.... I had to leave to go back to work while the rest of the team stayed for three more days.  I was rather bitter.  I'm over it now.  Almost.).

I was pretty impressed with Maddy's brute strength going against some of these rugged jungle girls in the games.  She was laughing like crazy (loved that) but still held her own!

One thing you often find in poorer areas are people who have received hand-me-downs and a lot of the time, they have no clue as to what their shirt says or means.  It is surprising how often it happens.  The photo below is a perfect example...

We tried to get him to stand to the left of Karl, without Karl noticing, for a photo (we made three attempts) but either I was too slow or Karl was too quick (or our buddy didn't quite understand that he had to be on a certain side of Karl for it to work).  Oh well.  Everyone had some good laughs in the process.
On Sunday our youth pastor preached and a bunch of people helped with Sunday school.

The kids are awfully unruly so Gina told a little story about an animal and how they were supposed to keep their mouths quiet like this animal.  Cade liked to be up there helping show everyone when to be quiet.  At times it felt like perhaps we were at a rock concert instead, but I had to shake that out of my head....

This picture is precious to me.  It is Veronica and Camila (I think that is right).  I remember Veronica telling me, before we ever even thought of coming to Ecuador, about meeting Camila and talking with her.  They had a conversation - through two translators about Camila's memories about Jim and Elizabeth Elliot.  Camila spoke in Quichua, one of the locals translated it into Spanish and then one of the team translated it from Spanish into English.  I was enthralled by the story of that time and it drew me to Ecuador.  I also know that was an incredibly rich and powerful time for Veronica.
So much richness happened during this time in the village.  It was great to have the family come back to Quito (where I already was remember.... yes, still a little bitter... maybe a little more so than a few paragraphs ago) and have the kids talk about their friends back in Shandia.  I love that they have their buddies there.  And hopefully we'll be able to visit them soon.