Saturday, May 30, 2009

Impromptu photo session

This was after having church Wednesday night. We cleared away most of the chairs, gathered the children around, and asked Hna. Beatriz to snap a few photos for us. None of them came out perfect, but we had fun!

Oops! The littlest wasn't looking...

Nobody was ready for that one. Not even the photographer. (Amateurs...)

This time the camera was on video, and nobody knew it at first...

Daniel says, "It's on video." I react, and then Hna. Beatriz says, "What happened??"

Here we go:

That's the best we could do! There's the whole family, May 2009.

Friday, May 29, 2009

May Birthday Photos

We sang "Feliz Cumpleaños" to the birthday people at church. Jillian accompanied on guitar. (She is becoming quite the musician!)

This is Sister Beatriz, one of the ladies who helped me serve sandwiches, chips and cake. She started coming just a few weeks ago, and just jumps right in wherever help is needed. What a blessing she is!

Here is a close-up of Jillian's cake. It was so much fun to make for her, and she really liked it. It was chocolate with cream cheese and strawberry filling. We put nine candles on her cake, Oh my!

Nine things I love and admire about our Jillian:

1) She loves the Lord, and loves to be in church.

2) She uses her voice and her music to serve God.

3) Her sweet smile.

4) Her friendly disposition.

5) She shares her things.

6) She does her schoolwork well.

7) She helps with the chores, and does especially well caring for the animals.

8) She takes a stand for righteousness, and encourages it in others.

9) She has a sweet, tender heart.

Just can't believe you're already nine years old, Honey! Happy Birthday! I love you.


My hubby's birthday was the next day, the last May birthday in the family. By the time it is his turn he is all caked-out, so he likes to have something different. Cheesecake is always a hit! (Those are peaches and kiwis on top.)

I made a huge one, because some friends of ours were there with us. They have been coming over almost every week to help Daniel work on the roof. All Daniel wants for his birthday is to finish that roof!

And now, thirty-three things I love and admire about my hubby:

1) He works hard all day, and then makes time for family fun at home. What a man!

2) He is a type-A, go-getter kinda guy. SO unlike me.

3) His smile.

4) His laugh.

5) His muscles. *sigh*

6) He loves me even when I'm unlovable.

7) He is a faithful Christian, and desires to please the Lord.

8) His preaching.

9) His singing.

10) His leadership.

11) How he plays with the children and loves to delight them.

12) The silly songs he makes up to make us laugh.

13) The new verses he adds to songs when he doesn't mean to, ha ha.

14) He's a sharp dresser.

15) He's a godly man.

16) He still does sweet things for his mom, and honors his dad.

17) He honors and respects my parents, too.

18) He brings home little presents "just because".

19) He is thankful.

20) He gives God the glory.

21) He appreciates my cooking.

22) He pitches in with the housekeeping.

23) He helps with the children.

24) Yep, he even changes diapers.

25) He is always looking for way to serve others.

26) He is willing to stop by the side of the road to help someone in need.

27) He maintains a pretty good balance between truth and mercy.

28) He is a do-it-yourself-er, and a quick learner.

29) He takes care of his family and considers our needs first.

30) He does most of the driving. There are situations when I am SO glad!

31) He delivers babies.

32) He builds roofs.

33) Sometimes he even cooks!

I know you can't believe any man could be that perfect, but he really is all that and more. I love you, Sweetie! Happy Birthday!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Recent Earthquakes

We've had two good tremors lately. One happened during church last night, and one happened early this morning (about 2:30 a.m., local time). It has got me to thinking about emergency preparedness, and as I lay in a quaking bed this morning, I wondered what we would do should the house collapse.

I'll be looking up some safety and survival information, as well as packing an emergency kit today. Meanwhile, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind my fellow Believers of this:

3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

8 All these are the beginning of sorrows....

I challenge you to read all of Matthew 24 today.

Know the signs of the times!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Catching up

I've been away for a few days, mostly due to illnesses and morning (strike that - ALL DAY) sickness. We've had two more birthdays since my last post, and I did manage to create some goodies in the kitchen for my beloved husband's and daughter's birthdays. I simply cannot resist such fun opportunities to delight them! Photos are forthcoming...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Food on Fridays ~ Froggy Cupcakes!

The froggy cupcakes we made for my son's birthday were really easy.

First we baked up 24 cupcakes, filling them only halfway full of batter to prevent them from running over during baking. After they were cool, I spread each thick with green frosting.

For the eyes, we cut a large marshmallow in half with kitchen scissors and stuck an M&M onto the sticky side. We painted the tops of the marshmallow eyes with green food coloring, but I think it would look better dipped into green sugar.

We stuck the eyes onto each cupcake, and drew a silly mouth on with pink frosting squeezed from the tip of a Ziploc bag.

These were so easy to make, and it was fun to arrange the eyes and mouth to make different froggy expressions! When birthdays come around here, I start looking for fresh ideas for cakes, and I find all sorts of fancy cakes online. But the ideas I really use (and that the children like the most) are typically simple ones like this one. :o)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Joseph Turned Seven, Guatemalan Style!

Yesterday was our Joseph's seventh birthday! It gets more difficult every year to hide anything from him, but we were able to pull off a couple of birthday surprises for him.

His big sisters helped me make cupcakes. I needed some kind of animal theme, and the ickier and slimier, the better.

Frogs! Perfect.

Lotsa frogs!

Jessica's adding the eyes. She and Jillian take special pleasure in preparing surprises for others! They also made him some birthday cards, and a storybook written and illustrated, with the main character being Joseph himself. :o)

We took our froggies and an urn full of hot tea to church with us in the evening. We so much enjoy attending the church here in San Juan when we are not in La Esperanza at the new mission. There were hymns, an excellent sermon on praying fervently, and some special prayer time.

After the prayer service, Pastor Oto invited Joseph to stand before the church so that we could sing to him. This video shows the rest... Enjoy!

SEVEN things I love about Joseph:

1) He throws so much energy into everything that he does!

2) He loves his family, and frequently tells us so.

3) He is a good artist.

4) He sings with all his heart, and has already written some songs about the Lord.

5) He's all BOY, and some day I know he'll be all MAN. (*sniff*)

(Here's Joseph mixing concrete, con mucho gusto!)

6) He loves to be Daddy's helper, and works so hard to please him.

7) While it's hard to get him to read anything else, he really enjoys reading the Bible at Family Devotions!

I love you, my boy! Happy Birthday!

Monday, May 18, 2009

200th Post!

Thanks, Tereza for the ideas!

Seventeen months and two-hundred posts ago, This Pilgrimage began. I wondered (out loud) what I should do to mark this occasion, and settled on reminiscing a little about how I came to be a blogger.

When we first came to Guatemala in 2002, I relied mainly on email and telephone to keep in touch with friends and family back in the States. I was content for a while, emailing photos and updates on the family, but as I began to learn that there was more to the internet than email, (I know, I was waaay behind the times. Still am...) I started to look for ways to post our photos and updates online so that our people Up North could just click there.

It took me a little bit of digging to find this, but This Site ("Tammy's Bulletin Board") was my first attempt at it doing that. Don't laugh! Hey, it was free... :o) I set up a page for each family member and intended to have running updates on each page. But I quickly learned that wasn't going to hand over that much free space, ha ha.

So I started looking around for other options...

...And I learned about blogging! In September 2005 I started our first blog,"The Daniel Coates Family", and boy did I have fun with that. My friend and fellow missionary Tori helped me get going, and she has been a blessing in that way several times since. (Thanks, Tori!)

That blog covered it all, ministry stuff, family stuff, all kinds of stuff. By January 2008, I realized we needed a separate blog for family, and the first is still maintained for ministry. Thus This Pilgrimage was born. I asked God to help me with it, and use it however He sees fit. It is about the path we take, following Him. Thanks for coming along!

So that is my blogging story! It's been fun and inspiring. It has frustrated me and stretched me. It has worn me out at times, and kept me going at other times. Overall, I love blogging, and appreciate all of my readers (whether you comment or not). Thanks for stopping by. :o)

Monday Musings ~ Walls and Building

That seems to be the theme around here as we are trying to finish the top of our house! It was just a flat concrete terraza with a half-wall, and when it rained the water just sat there, causing dampness and mildew in the rooms below. So we are completing the walls with wood and adding a graded roof to throw off the water. I can hardly wait until it's done! Right now, it's cold and wet up there on the terraza, but soon it will be a dry, habitable place.

I think you will agree that there's a lot of peace, safety and comfort within walls. Think of the ark that Noah built, wherein his family found shelter and safety from the storm of God's wrath. Can you imagine the security they felt within those walls? They had been carefully built according to God's specifications, a sure ticket to safety. "And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of..." said the Lord, and "Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he." What if Noah had taken some shortcuts when he built the ark? I'm sure the Lord would have spared their lives in spite of it, but they might have been bailing water for several months!

I think of Nehemiah when he saw the sad state of the walls of Jerusalem.

And I arose in the night, I and some few men with me...and viewed the wall...

Then said I unto them, Ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste, and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.

(from Nehemiah 2:12,15,17)

What is the state of the spiritual walls of my own family? I know that as a wife and mother, I have the power to build them up and make my home a safe haven.

"Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands." Proverbs 14:1

Is there an area of the wall that's a bit broken down and sadly neglected? Shall I just sit and shake my head, despairing at the state of things? What did Nehemiah say? Come, and let us build up the wall! I will arise today, and build!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Trash or Treasure?

Look at this nifty old tea kettle my girls found! Someone had left it in the creek behind our house, and they fished it out and brought it home.

We cleaned it up and heated it on the stove to dry it thoroughly. The enamel is chipped in several places and there are dents in it, but doesn't it have character? I thought it would look cute in the space on top of my kitchen cabinets.

Our Guatemalan friends will think we are crazy when they see an old tea kettle decorating my kitchen.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Announcement

With the whirl of everything that is going on around here, I've hardly had time to think, much less blog! But in spite of the busyness, I have been taking time to lie down for a nap just about every day. It's necessary. I'm wiped out! After all, I am growing a new little one!

We expect the new arrival sometime in December.

I think this is a good time to also unveil my new blog, Curiously Wrought. I hope you will stop by and bookmark it, if you enjoy pregnant musings and discussion about natural childbirth, homebirth, and waterbirth. All that and probably a lot more will be on my mind in the next several months!

Blessings on you all, and thanks for sharing in our joy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


We really enjoyed the church meeting in La Esperanza tonight. Daniel preached on "The Last Words of Jesus" (see Mark 16:15). We have a new neighbor who moved in next door earlier this week, and she came with one of her daughters. Ruth (the mother) has many needs; we hope to be a blessing to her, and that she will come to know Christ soon.

There are visitors - missionaries - in our home this week and next. Bro. Bob Stevenson calls himself a carpenter for Christ, and he is helping us with our roof situation. He and Nalani are such a sweet couple, and we enjoy having them with us! Everyone gets up early, works all day, and sleeps well at night.

For our family, May is a big month for birthdays. The first May birthday is this Friday. I'll be 34. That's thirty-four. Four and thirty. Just trying to get used to it.

Otherwise, there is not much going on, except that the sun is coming up earlier and EARLIER. I mean, it's light outside at 5:30 a.m. (So my husband tells me. I do not know this first hand.) We don't do Daylight Savings Time here in Guatemala, so it gets dark around 6:30 p.m.

Mother's Day is coming up! Be sure you do something special to honor your mother, and if you are a mom, I pray that you have a sweet day in the Lord on Sunday. Blessings to you all!