Monday, June 30, 2008

House keeping

This is a funny anecdote I found that I can really relate to..

Unexpected guests were on the way, and my mother, an impeccable housekeeper, rushed around straightening up. She put my father and brother to work cleaning the guest bathroom. Later, when she went to inspect it, she was surprised that the once-cluttered room had been tidied up so quickly. Then she saw the note on the closed shower curtains. It read "Thank you for not looking in the bathtub."

...I gotta remember that! :oD

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Trip to town

We had such a nice excursion to Xela today, on account of some business Daniel needed to attend to. There is a nice mall there, with a food court that features Dominoes Pizza, Torta Loca (I know you've never heard of that one), Burger King, Subway, Pollo Campero, Chinito Veloz (the "Quick Little China man" - that name cracks me up!), and TACO BELL, where we bought our lunch.

(Oops - you can only see Johanna's hair sprig over Joseph's left ear... Oh, and Joel's nose and cheek next to Jessica's elbow... Okay, so we didn't get everybody in this one.)

After the business was taken care of, we headed for home, stopping along the way at a new nursery we spotted. They had some beautiful flowers and shrubs, and I liked the variety of herbs available. We picked up a rosemary plant, and a spearmint for about two bucks apiece - a steal! Nearby was a nice backdrop for a photo. Aproveche!

Then on to San Juan. We pass some pretty scenery on our way home, that I think you will enjoy...

Planted fields and mountainside.

I wonder where this road leads to?

A nice, shady house. I imagine it's a bit on the cool side.

HEY - how'd this pic get in there? This is the not-so-pretty entrance to San Juan, the little town we go through to get to our house. It looks a lot prettier from a distance, as you see below...

This is the view of San Juan from our house (which is on the left). I love our peaceful little corner of Guatemala! It's always good to come home.

My Brother and I

We've been spending some quality time together recently. We love to work on projects together, and with his hard work and my brains, we get a lot accomplished!

My time spent with my Brother is always a pleasure. When other duties call me away, it is with reluctance that I leave, but I always look forward to seeing him again.

I always thought he probably enjoyed spending time with me, too, but I think I offended him the other day. We were at work again, making some things for the church, when he just jumped over and bit me!

I sat there, not a little stunned, and stared at my wounded finger. This had never happened before! He didn't say anything, but just sat there.

My husband heard me yell, and rushed to get some first aid items...but first we had to take pictures. My finger didn't hurt much (it was numb), but 1/3 of the needle had broken off in my nail bed. It was an astonishing sight to see! Should I post one of the pictures? Nah, better not.

My Brother still has not apologized, nor explained what I did to merit such treatment. But in the spirit of Christian love, I've already forgiven him.

Post Script: I weighed in my mind whether or not to post a bloody picture, but since this one has just an itty-bitty bit of blood, and since Mom and Nina asked, I'll post it.

Warning: If you are a little squeamish, just don't scroll down. But I don't think it's that bad.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Homeschool Fun

It is raining almost every day, and with the abundance of rain comes an abundance of toads! I guess this got the wheels turning in the mind of Daniel, who happens to be our school principal. In some biology class he took during his junior high and high school career, he got to dissect a frog. Do you see where this is heading?

So a few nights ago, he and the children caught a couple of those toads outside with the intent of dissecting them for a homeschool biology project. (Notice I said he and the children are doing this. I wash my hands of this one. And I made them wash their hands, too, as soon as they came into the house.)

Then they had these poor toads, frantically trying to leap out of the jar. What now? How to, umm... euthanize them? Not knowing what else to do, they stuck them in the freezer.

I bet you don't have Frosty the Frozen Frog in your freezer, do ya? And I bet you don't even envy me. :o)

Anyhow, frigid froggies pose a problem. Ya can't dissect 'em. So the Principal is looking into obtaining a preserving solution to put the toads in. He asked around, and it was suggested he ask for formaldehyde at the only place in Xela where they use the stuff... the mortuary.

This saga is not over. I will keep you posted, as I'm sure you are all on the edges of your respective seats. I know I am, but I'm not leaning in too close.

Post Script: For those of you in the know about toads and frogs, we are aware of the difference between the two, even if we sometimes use the words "frog" and "toad" interchangeably. It's just that "froggy" is so much more fun to alliterate than "toad". :o)

Froggy foto credits to my favorite fotographer, Daniel!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Busy, busy

I know, I know, your life is busy too! But that's my excuse for not posting in a week. Indulge me? :o)

We have been making preparations for the first Sunday meeting of the Iglesia Bautista La Esperanza on the 22nd. That's this Sunday. Woo-hoo!! Chairs and other furnishings are in place, and Daniel and Pastor Oto are building a wooden pulpit. Songbooks are being printed up, and I'm making up some visitor information cards to help us in our visitation. I still need to sew some curtains for two windows, as well as a couple of table runners.

It's all so exciting! It feels almost like preparing for the arrival of a new babe.

In the midst of this, we are also helping a church in Xela on Sunday mornings and Wednesday nights while their missionary is in the States this month. And we continue our regular activities in the church here in San Juan on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

I told you we were busy! But there's nothing else in the world we'd rather be doing. Pray for the new work!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Johanna's birthday

Today Johanna Joy turned four years old! She was our first child born in Guatemala, and she has added to the joy in our home ever since. Her Grammy came to stay with us when she was born, and at that time made up a song, "Johanna Joy, Joy, Joy, Joy" to the tune of "I have the joy, joy, joy, joy, down in my heart..."

She is very aptly named, and her cup seems to be perpetually full to the brim. :o)

She's a little princess, and a little mommy. She talks all the time about what she wants to do when she's a mom some day, and she is always by my side in the kitchen when I am cooking.

She is also our resident "critter" expert. Roly-polies and ladybugs rarely escape her notice, and she loves to let them crawl all over her hands. Hence, the ladybug-in-the-grass birthday cake:

Among her presents were a bug catcher/keeper, and this dress that Jessica and I sewed for her:

We're so glad God gave us our sweet Johanna Joy! Happy birthday, Tootie!

Monday, June 9, 2008


Another big event that occurred during Furlough 2007 was when our oldest child had to get glasses. Jessica was having trouble reading road signs that we could see well ahead of time. Walking past an eyeglass store one day, she did a free quick-test, which verified our suspicions that her eyes were weakening. Getting her a pair of glasses was such a relief to her...

Something about glasses on her face made her look so grown-up!

If you wear glasses, do you remember when you first put them on? I do. And I loved them. I loved being able to see everything so clearly! If I was ever called "four-eyes" I don't remember it, because I was just so thankful to have those wonderful glasses. Of course, that was back in (ahem!) the '80s, so those BIG lenses were popular.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Guess who came to visit?

First Alma blew into town from the Pacific. She stuck around for a few days, then left in the night. But right on her tail, Arthur blew in from the Caribbean, and it seemed to us (right in the middle of it all) that it was all one big rainy party!

That's Mexico on the left, the Yucatan Peninsula at the top, and Guatemala in the center.

Five or six days is a long time for the children to be couped up in the house, so whenever the rain would let up, we'd run outside and play for a little while.

There were some new creatures to investigate...

This was one of the itsy-bitsy toads. At night, his HUGE brothers and sisters and cousins and the occasional GRANDPAPPY toad, are all over the place. Also...

This fellow dropped in for a visit. I think it's a heron, and we don't see these too often up here in the mountains. I'm pretty sure he's on his way north for a Florida vacation.

I've been out to check on my garden, which seemed close to flooding, but we built up the beds enough that the plants are still high and ...well, not dry, but not floating away, either! :o)

With the rain comes what the locals call the mayo malos, the illnesses that tend to flourish at this time of year. Daniel and I both have felt the effects of being "under the weather", but are feeling so much better now.

I've been juice-fasting for my health's sake, and am really enjoying it more than I thought I would! Flo, a fellow missionary who lives a few towns over, gave me this workhorse juicer:

It's an Acme Juicerator. I had no idea how old it is, but I called the phone number in the user manual for customer service, and a very nice lady answered who told me it is a residential number now. She said they've had that number for 20 years.

So it's old. And in excellent shape! It runs so smoothly, is easy to clean, and gives me almost two cups of juice for three regular-sized apples. I'm loving it.

Monday, June 2, 2008

When illness comes

I've been in bed for several days, sick with what turned out to be an intestinal infection. Being down for any amount of time, as any mother knows, is difficult for the whole family. I think with all the housework, schoolwork and ministry tasks that inevitably pile up, a woman tends to feel like time in bed is wasted time (unless she is advising another woman to rest ;o) But down time doesn't have to be "wasted" time. Here are some practical ways to make it profitable:

Pray. Prayer is a daily thing, but how often does a wife and homeschooling mother have this much time on her hands to just talk to God? Talk to Him about the things that have been pushed back in your mind, that you haven't brought before Him; the things that cause you stress or fear (and might have caused your illness). Pray for your husband, especially if he is picking up the slack in the household duties; pray for each of your children, or better yet, pray with each of them (unless your illness is contagious). Of course, pray about your infirmity. Ask Him if there is something He wants you to learn right now. Ask for cleansing of your body and spirit, and for healing. Pray for others in your life who have needs, and pray for missionaries. It's amazing how much better you feel when your focus is on praying for others.

Think. What is going on in your life? If you are feeling up to it, down time can be valuable time to think about priorities and make sure things are on track. Do you have personal spiritual goals, or goals for your children? It's surprising how clearly you can think when you have rested. Instead of worrying about how high Mount Washmore is growing in your laundry room, try to think of a better system for keeping it caught up when you are well. Write things down, so that you will remember them later.

Don't think. Not to be confusing, but there are some things to avoid thinking about when you are ill. When you are not feeling well, it is easy for the devil to affect your thoughts. Give this over to the Lord, and don't let your mind become filled with thoughts of doubtful or dark things, or regrets from the past that are already under the blood of Jesus. Also, don't dwell on all the stuff you were fretting about when you got sick. It will still be there another day when you are strong enough to face it. Right now you need a break.

Read. I like to stick to the Bible and other helpful books. Hopeful, lighthearted topics are nice. If you're nauseated, you probably don't want to read about when wicked Queen Jezebel was pushed out her window, and when she landed... Well, you know how that ends. You get the idea. Proverbs 16:24 Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

Listen. Listen to God. And listen to your body. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, and your Creator equipped your body with helpful signals that tell you what you need and what you don't need. Instead of automatically popping a pill to mask pain or discomfort, pay attention to it and address the real issue, not the symptom.

Rest. I saved the most obvious one for last because it balances them all. Physically, your body needs rest so that it can set to the task of healing. Spiritually, we all need to rest in the Lord, trust in His goodness, and experience real peace.

Illnesses can occur for all sorts of reasons: poor diet, stress, exposure to extreme elements or to other sick people. But if you are a child of God (and even if you are not), nothing touches you without His consent. Therefore, there is always a divine purpose for the illness. God may be getting your attention about something, whether physical (such as what you're feeding your body) or spiritual (such as sin or bitterness issues). He may be teaching the family more about pulling together and nurturing one another. He may simply be cleansing your body of toxins that have been building up inside. It is important to take time to recuperate, and experience the cleansing, inside and out, that is the benefit of having suffered an illness.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. III John 1:2