Monday, November 30

Let is Burn, Let is Burn, Let is Burn

Seems sort of surreal…listening to Christmas music, seeing the lights and decorations go up, and then heading to the beach in 90 degree weather.

All in all, we had a good time at our beach getaway 2 weeks ago. We invited our Nicaraguan family along and the kids really enjoyed themselves. The food, weather and beach were spectacular. We enjoyed watching the waves crash on the shore at dusk, picking up starfish and feeling the squishiness of shells as they peaked their toes out. The kids enjoyed “chasing” the waves, only to have the waves chase them back!

After several applications of SPF 50 and SPF 70 sunblock, we all still managed to get a decent sunburn, especially Zachariah. He has a raccoon sort of look on his face and a nice shade of red on his back. Hopefully the burn on his face will clear up in time for his graduation this coming Sunday.

I and Abby spent a good 2 hrs riding the waves and talking…and I have the sunburn to prove it!

There are lots of things to do on the beach! Play in the sand, build sand castles, sleep...

I was also able to brush up on my basketball skills again and did a decent job of not looking too shabby for not having played for over 10 yrs.

The only tough spot was that Sebastian was sick and had a fever with cough the entire weekend. Our first day back we brought him to the doctor and she promptly diagnosed him with bronchitis. So he’s on his first round of antibiotics and seems to be on the mend, slowly but surely.

Monday, November 16

Work, Work, Work...all we do is Work!

The above picture is the guys "working"...actually, they are taking their lunch break in one of the many places they've stopped over the years.

Looking over the last several blog posts, someone might be tempted to think that all we do is party around here! So in order to clarify, I’ve decided to talk about some of the work that we (well, mostly Steve) has been doing around here. My work at the office is pretty fact, I think my work at home is a lot more exciting, so I'll just keep my office work to myself :)

These last few weeks, Steve worked on putting together a botiquin (veterinary supply box) for each of the communities. This included researching common diseases and their medicines for both the rabbits and goats, buying and testing out a tattooing system, visiting a few veterinarians here in the city for some suggestions, buying all the medicines and vitamins and boxes to put them in and then finally distributing them after recommending to the farmers that they organize themselves in how they are going to use the boxes. It is meant to be a sustainable box, meaning that every time somebody buys a vaccine or vitamin, payment is received and then used to buy more of the same.

We shall see how it goes. One of the issues that we have struggled in learning to deal with here involves the management of money, or shall we say, the lack thereof? The majority of people have the mindset of, We’re eating and drinking today, for tomorrow we die. And if we don’t die tomorrow, then we borrow on credit whatever we need because we might just die the next day. And so on. As you can see, there is no consideration given to savings or future planning. This has been tricky in several areas of Steve’s project and we still struggle with knowing how to handle this wisely.

Taking water samples from sources in the communities. All of the water sources came back positive for fecal contamination.

Steve has also spent several days out in the campo visiting families, looking over their animals and talking with them about any issues that may have come up. Getting out to the campo can be an adventure in itself. This past Friday, the mud was so deep, he had to jump off and literally walk it up through the muddy trail in order to reach the farthest community. He enjoyed himself, but was pretty sore the next day.

Visiting a house in the campo. You can see the one wall is in the process of construction. Mud and cane are used.

We’ve also done some brainstorming sessions on how to better use Abby’s time wisely (Abby is the short-termer here with us). She is finding out that anything that you try to do in the campo invariably takes twice as long as it does in the states, or even here in the city. She has a lot of interesting and wild stores about life in the campo, you can check her blog at right.

Friday, November 13

Nathaniel´s 3rd Birthday

C´mon! You´re going to have to hit it harder than that to get the candy out!!

So many candles, so little air!

I love the Spanish name for´s literally translated ¨motherinlaw tongue¨, haha!!

So here is my 3rd cake as a professional cake maker :)
time to make...4 hrs
time to eat...15 minutes

Here are a few pictures from Nathaniel´s 3rd birthday. It was fun to have everybody over and I enjoyed testing my new hobby skills as cake decorator. The kids especially enjoyed the pinata..I´m thinking I might have to learn how to make them so we can continue the tradition in the States!

Tuesday, November 10

How Beautiful is The Body of Christ

We really enjoyed our time at church this past Sunday. As overseas missionaries, we feel truly blessed to find a church where we can relax, feel encouraged and challenged. It can be very difficult to find a church group where you belong, where you can not only give but receive as well. It hasn’t been easy. Not that we’ve always seen the great need to go to church. This is a tough stage of life. Having young kids makes going to church particularly difficult. It’s easy to say, “I’m so tired, the kids are grumpy, and it’s just so much work to get everybody ready to go.” Plus, I spend the majority of my time taking care of the kids…doesn’t really seem worth it! I will admit there have been a few seasons in my life when I thought that church was a conspiracy to gather all the believers and kill the joy and passion for God. A place where judgmental hypocrites came together, sang a few songs, gossiped about each other’s clothes, their houses and kids and then invited one another over to tea, where God was relegated to a place far away and out of reach. One certainly didn’t talk about Him outside of church. There were times that I felt like my relationship with God only needed to be fueled by quiet time with Him, and then if I found time to be with other Christians, great, but if not, I didn’t lose too much sleep over it.
But things have changed. I am beginning to see even more clearly the need to come together with other believers, to worship with them, to hear another’s perspective on God’s word and to pray with and be prayed for. What about alone time with God? It is a definite must. God wants a relationship, a personal relationship, with each and every one of us. Not 1 hour on Sunday, not 1 hour at small group. A relationship. And a relationship takes time. Nothing can replace that. However, there is also something quite special, uplifting and encouraging about being with other believers. When we were worshipping and singing this past Sunday, there were moments that I felt I was standing at the throne room of heaven…my spirit was so filled with His presence. Hearing the pastor talk about Jesus as the true vine and remaining in Him, it was a good reminder to me, to not lose heart, to not just “do the minimum”, but to stay connected with Him. And when a young lady came and prayed for me…the encouragement I felt is something I cannot get sitting in a room by myself.
Is going to church hard? I will be honest, yes. It has been a hard journey. It is hard to walk into a church where you know nobody, everything is strange and the language is different. I probably only hear about 10% of the entire 2 hour worship and sermon. The rest of my time is spent watching the kids, keeping them in their chairs, helping them go to the bathroom and nursing Sebastian. But God has really blessed me with those few precious moments…15 minutes out of 2 hours seems like enough. And there is such an amazing spirit, standing in a room full of believers, all singing their hearts out to God. I dare say the angels look down in awe.
I’d like to share a particularly meaningful song that brings me to heaven in an instant.

Yo te busco, yo te busco
Con fuego en mi Corazón
Yo te busco, yo te busco
Recibe mi adoración
Te anhelo, te necesito
Te amo más que a mi ser

I look for You, I look for You
With fire in my heart
I look for you, I look for you
Receive my adoration
I long for you, I need you
I love you, more than I love myself

Saturday, November 7

What are Little Boys Made of?

Running, jumping, yelling, wrestling, tickling, baseball, cars, crash, bang, boom! When I’m not at work, these are what my days consist of…silence is a rare treat for me, and usually by the time I have found it, I am too tired to enjoy it and sleep right through it! Why did God give me 3 boys? This is a question I have been asking myself lately. I see my girlfriend’s little girls and how docile they are…they are so quiet, I hardly know they are there! Why can’t my boys just sit and color, or sit and play quietly? Do they HAVE to smash and crash everything they touch? Do they HAVE to jump off the table, the couch, the motorcycle? God has been teaching me a lot about contentment, about enjoying my kids for who they are, and how to shape the will, without breaking the spirit. It is no small task. The amount of energy they consume…and create, can be magnificent at times. Even little Sebastian wiggles and rolls and squeals every chance he gets. Changing his diaper has turned into an Olympic sport. I can already see he wants in on the action and is dying for a chance to show how fast HE can run, how far HE can jump and how LOUD he can yell. My house is a constant source of entertainment, and with the number of looks and stares from strangers passing by on the street, I’m considering charging a per minute rate. But this also has its challenges.
Being an introvert, I have found that I really need to fight for my time away, my time of solitude, my time to talk to God, to listen to His voice. Otherwise, my energy levels drop precariously and I’m embarrassed to admit that I turn into a downright grouch! My husband is great at helping me, and reminding me, of the importance of my alone time. Priorities…I can’t take care of my family if I don’t take care of myself. Strung out and living in a world of frustration is no way to live. This has been a hard, but good lesson for me. It is a lesson that I am continually learning. I once read about a woman’s perspective on this. She said, Honey, one kid will take all of your time. Two kids will take all of your time. Three kids will take all of your time. What is her point? That no matter how many kids you have, they will always take all of your time…but only if you LET them. Being a great mom does not mean that the kids have all of you, all the time. Quantity does not mean quality. After I have some “me” time, I’m amazed at the difference I feel in myself, how refreshed and “ready to go” I am. Well, it’s late. Almost 9:30…and I’m really tired. We played magical beds, with the 3 boys in and out of our bed last night. I’ve enjoyed the past half hour of quiet…and I hope you enjoy some pictures of our family below.

Wednesday, November 4

Girls Night Out...or Should I Say In?

We women have to stick a fellow MCCer, Sarah, has started up a Girls Night, in which we get together and make jewelry, paint our nails, and talk about our husbands, kids, work, or anything that happens to pop into our heads at the time.

It's usually held in Managua, since the majority of the team lives in the Managua area, but since we've added a 5th member to our family, getting around has become significantly more logistically difficult. So the team graciously decided to have the girls night at my house, while the men took the kids and went off to do whatever it is that men do.

I invited my friend Ruth to come over and paint nails, since she is a diva when it comes to creating fancy designs on nails. Most of the ladies had their turn at getting their nails done and then wandered over to the jewelry table to make earrings or necklaces...I was impressed with some of the creative designs around the table.

From L to R: SALTers Amanada and Melissa, Sarah (designer extraordinaire and donater of the majority of the jewelry), her hubby Seth in the background, Angela (our country rep), Vanessa (4 month intern) and Diana (YAMEN, from Columbia)

From L to R: Abby tries to decide which color would go best with her skin tone and match her clothes, while Beth watches Ruth paint her toe nails.