Monday, September 29, 2008

What to do when the lights are out...

The power has been out for the better part of the day, and we couldn't help but wonder if it had anything to do with the protests going on in town. It would blink on briefly from time to time, but mostly we just did without. So I'm posting quickly, while we have power!

I gave up on getting laundry done, but I did fire up the one thing that functions without electricity: My gas oven.

I (heart) my gas oven!

We had some strawberries on hand that were a bit past their prime, so I made three loaves of Strawberry Bread. It turned out so moist and good, I thought I'd share this delicious recipe with you.

Strawberry Bread

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour loaf pans.

3 cups flour (I used half whole-wheat.)
1 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 T cinnamon

Combine these ingredients, then make a well in the center. Then add...

4 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups oil

Combine well, then stir in...

1 cup chopped pecans
16 pkg frozen strawberries, with the juice
(I used fresh, not frozen, and added just a bit of apple juice for moisture.)

Pour batter into two or three loaf pans and bake at 350 F for 40 minutes (three loaves) or up to 60 minutes (for two large loaves).

The recipe included a glaze to drizzle over the top, but we found that entirely unnecessary.

...I also made two apple-cheese pies, not to be confused with cheesecake. Didn't have a recipe, so this was just an experiment. I'll probably post about them once we've tasted them!


Every once in a while, we have demonstrations and protests here in Guatemala. Usually what happens is that the government wants to pass some legislation into law, the small guy opposes it, government doesn't listen to Small Guy, so lots and LOTS of Small Guys (which make up the majority of the population) get together and block off the roads, set things on fire, make some speeches and do some chanting. Unfortunately, this is usually what has to happen for the Small Guys to be heard.

Well, today the Small Guys are out making their voices heard.

The government is trying to reform its system of identification for all citizens. They want all of the local governments to turn in their records so that they can be incorporated into the new digital system. Some local municipalities are rebelling, refusing to turn over the paper records, and inciting the protests on purpose.

There is good reason for the government's proposed reforms. There are serious problems with corruption in the system: it is too easy to obtain bogus ID's, and thus drug traffickers, baby traffickers, illegal aliens, etc., can move about the country easily. Also, illegal voting occurs during each election. At least for the present, I think a new system would be beneficial.

The Small Guys argue that they are poor and can't afford to pay for it. Local governments charge the people a yearly fee that, here in San Juan, is only Q8. (That's a little more than a dollar.) If the new system is adopted, the fee here will go up to Q60 (eight bucks). Daniel makes a good point: People here walk around with cell phones, wear the traditional woven outfits that cost hundreds of Q's... They can probably afford the extra Q52 per year.

The greater and more legitimate fear is that if Big Government knows them, all the lands they own, how many children they have, etc., that the information can be used against them, and those things can be taken away on a whim.

In light of the end times, we think their fears could become reality some day.

Pray for Guatemala.

Photo from El Quetzalteco, a local newspaper.

Recreating the "big bang"

Did you catch this when it was in the news recently? The Large Hadron Collider, a huge $10 billion project, was built deep underground on the Franco-Swiss border. They built the collider hoping to recreate the "Big Bang" and unlock the mysteries of the origin of the universe. It is the work of 2,000 scientists from around the world.

...All this to prove that the universe came into existence by pure chance, without the hand of an intelligent Designer/Creator. Does anyone else see the irony there? ;o)

Monday, September 22, 2008

One comment I read from my previous post about that wacky Canadian abortionist doctor (no offence to Canadians in general) reminded me of another issue that I want to post about.

That issue is Sarah Palin's candidacy for vice-president of the United States.

Mrs. Palin seems to be a decent person with good, conservative values, as far as politicians go. But there is one nagging flaw in her character: her willingness to choose to be vice-president, or governor, or even mayor, or anything else over her God-given calling to be a Keeper at Home.

Palin's name on the ballot has really complicated things, in my mind. Daniel and I are all set for the election with our absentee ballots on the way, but I do not know if I can cast my vote at all. To vote for McCain/Palin is to put a woman into authority over many men ("But I suffer not a woman to...usurp authority over the man..." I Timothy 2:12) and also place her under the authority of a man other than her own husband. ("Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands..." Ephesians 5:22)

...And to vote for the alternative candidate is unthinkable.

I would love to hear your comments.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Happy nap

Joel almost always wakes up like this: rosey cheeks, happy smiles, and ready to spend a little cuddle time with Mom.

So, the socks I was mating get set aside, and I get to relax for a bit with this delightful baby in my arms. Ahhh, motherhood.

It's wonderful!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Doctor's warning!

Yesterday I read this article from the Los Angeles Times. The headline says it all, really.

Canadian Doctor Warns Sarah Palin's Decision to Have Down Baby Could Reduce Abortions

UH oh. We don't want that, now do we?

Seriously, who doesn't want fewer abortions? Even pro-choice people say that fewer is better. I mean, they don't want to sound Pro-Death or anything. Not out loud.

Evidently, this audacious doc gets a bit anxious when a high-profile, "successful" woman chooses to give birth to a baby that they knew before-hand had Downs syndrome. Has our culture fallen so low that the docs are nervous that more women will ruin their lives by choosing to let their babies live, instead of getting abortions?

Does she look like she regrets having that precious baby? I think not.

Here is a quote from the article:

In her widely-viewed acceptance speech to the Republican National Convention and a TV audience of some 37 million last week, Palin did not refer to her baby's birth as a decision or choice. "In April," she said, "my husband Todd and I welcomed our littlest one into the world, a perfectly beautiful baby boy named Trig.

"From the inside, no family ever seems typical. That's how it is with us. Our family has the same ups and downs as any other, the same challenges and the same joys.

"Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge. And children with special needs inspire a special love."

Thank you, Mrs. Palin, for injecting some sanity back into this world.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In memory...

Remembering the victims of the 9/11/01 terrorist attack on America.


Unbearably Torturous Infection. If you are a woman and you've ever suffered a urinary tract infection, you'd agree with me! That's what I've been battling lately. I'm not one to take antibiotics too willingly, so I've done lots of research about treating UTI/bladder infection/cystitis naturally.

You may not need this information right now, but some day you might. Just remember it's here, and you can pull it up again by clicking on the label "health naturally" at the top of the right-hand column.

The first thing I learned is that there is a lot of confusing information out there. I thought I needed to acidify my system to make it uninhabitable to bacteria. The fact is that bacteria like the acidic environment!

The human body has a delicate pH balance that must be maintained in order to stay disease-free. When our pH levels are low, the body is too acidic and prone to infection. One writer put it this way: We are 80% alkaline and 20% acid. Our diet should reflect that.

Here is the list of the best tips I found for treating a UTI without antibiotics:

*Drink a lot of fluids, such as herbal teas and water. Avoid sweetened fruit juices and other sweetened drinks.
*Cranberries and blueberries contain substances that inhibit the binding of bacteria to bladder tissue. Drinking unsweetened cranberry juice regularly seems to help lower the risk of UTIs.
*Try to eliminate potential food allergens, including dairy, wheat (gluten), corn, preservatives, and food additives. Your health care provider may want to test for food sensitivities.
*Eat antioxidant foods, including fruits (such as blueberries, cherries, and tomatoes), and vegetables (such as squash and bell peppers).
*Eat more high fiber foods, including beans, oats, root vegetables (such as potatoes and yams), and psyllium seed.
*Avoid refined foods such as white breads, pastas, and especially sugar (which are acid-producing foods) and eat mostly fruits and veggies (alkaline foods).
*Eat fewer red meats and more lean meats, cold-water fish, tofu (soy, if no allergy) or beans for protein.
*Use healthy cooking oils, such as olive oil or coconut oil.
*Reduce or eliminate trans-fatty acids, found in commercially baked goods such as cookies, crackers, cakes, French fries, onion rings, donuts, processed foods, and margarine.
*Avoid coffee and other stimulants, alcohol, and tobacco.
*Drink at least 8 glasses of filtered water daily.
*Exercise at least 30 minutes daily, 5 days a week.

You may address nutritional deficiencies with the following supplements:

*Grapefruit seed extract, 100 mg capsule or 10 drops in water or juice, three times daily, for antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral activity.
*A multivitamin daily, containing the antioxidant vitamins A, C, E, the B-complex vitamins and trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium, zinc and selenium.
*Vitamin C, 500 - 1000 mg one to two times daily, as an antioxidant and for immune support.
*Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish oil, 1 - 2 capsules or 1 tablespoonful oil one to two times daily, to help decrease inflammation and help in general health. Cold-water fish, such as salmon or halibut, are good sources.
*Probiotic supplement (containing Lactobacillus acidophilus), 5 - 10 billion CFUs (colony forming units) a day, for maintenance of gastrointestinal and immune health.

I hope you never have to go through a UTI. But if you do, I hope this information will be as helpful to you as it has been for me.

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