Monday, July 30, 2012

The Mission Part 2

I want to start by saying that I am thankful to Ruth...who came each morning to dress and feed the kids and take them to my mom so Randy was freed up to work. I'm also thankful to her for taking the kids to Great Wolf Lodge on Thursday-Saturday, they LOVED it! I am thankful to Bob for inviting Andrew and I and for his interest and investment in missions throughout the years. I am thankful to my Mama who watched the kids and fed the kids and cared for the kids each day while Randy was at work and then let our VERY big and VERY hairy dog stay with her while the kids and Randy were at Great Wolf Lodge. I'm thankful to Randy for sending us on the mission trip with his blessing even though it complicated his week. I'm thankful for him taking such good care of the younguns.


One of the issues that has really touched my heart over the last year or so is the poor.  I went through a Bible Study with Linda earlier this year and we studied James which touches on the poor and our responsibility to them.  We also went through Randy losing his job and being unemployed for 7 months last year which also made me more sensitive to the needs of those around me.  In addition, Randy and I have been studying Randy Alcorn's book Money, Possessions, and Eternity in our Sunday School Class.  Then I went on this mission trip.  It was my first time out of the United States and it was a trip to a third world country and I must say the standard of living was shocking.

Randy and I were blessed with a lot financially at a young age.  Over the years, however,  the Lord has seen fit to continuously decrease our financial means while increasing our family size.  So with less money and more people it has made us have to make some big changes in our life and our lifestyle.  Yet when I visited Guatemala it humbled me.  We have soooooooooo much.  Our less is sickeningly much.  Really we have too much.

So one of the lessons I take away with me is how materially blessed I am and with that blessing comes a huge responsibility.  I am a steward of all the Lord entrusts me with.  Am I to save up as much as I can so I can have a secure future? Am I to save it all so I can leave a huge hunk to my kids?  Am I to live as a minimalist? Am I to spend it all because I can't take it with me? 

God talks a lot about money in his word.  A lot.  We are going to one day give an account for how we save or spend or waste or invest our money.  I have been convicted.  I do not want to give an account one day and say....well I hoarded a lot of money so I would never have to worry about finances.  I always had enough.  I also don't want to give an account one day and say.....I spent it all.  I lived it up.  We had really cute clothes.  We had a lot of fun.  I do want to be able to be able to say I helped people.  We lived a nice life and we were happy. We invested not only our lives but our money in things that will last. 

So I was pondering all this and we finally arrived home and as we were debarking the airplane Bob got a phone call saying Ruth and Rhonda were in a bad car accident.  Their car had flipped on the freeway 4-5 times and that they were being taken to the hospital in an ambulance.  What?  They were coming to pick us up.  We had just talked to them on the phone in Atlanta.  Wow!  In an instant life can change.  Praise the Lord they had on their seat belts.  Praise the Lord for the guardrail that kept them from rolling into oncoming traffic.  Praise the Lord for his protection.  Then I had this thought occur to me,  life is a one shot deal.  This is not a dress rehearsal.  Life will be over in the blink of an eye.  No warning.  Each choice.....  Each action........  Each decision.........  Each reaction......could be my last.  How do I want to go out?  With my pockets full.......indulging myself.....or helping others......
I'm just sayin'.  Life really will end one day.....soon.
This is our one shot.....I want to live on purpose. 
I don't want to wish I did things differently when I am called to give an account for the way I lived.

One other thing that I must mention about this trip is what a blessing it was to serve with my son.  I was so proud of him.  He worked hard.  He didn't complain.  He thought of others.  He developed character.  It was a demanding week in many ways yet when he was squeezed I was proud of what I saw.  He is a blessing.  I'm so glad we got to share this experience and that we have these memories together.

This was a wonderful experience!  So thankful I got to go!


Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Mission

We arrived in Guatemala City on Saturday afternoon.
We were surprised to see some familiar sights!

However, we also saw many sights we were not accustomed to seeing.

Look at those prices!

Luckily it's not dollars!

Our first stop was Antigua.  It was beautiful.  We saw local women making fabulous fabrics.
We had lunch at a lovely restaurant and got a chance to have a long visit with out sweet hostesses:
Vicky and Cheque

LOVE these two!!!!

They are BLESSINGS!!!  Cheque's story is an amazing story of overcoming unbelievable odds and the power of Christ.  I love hearing how a Christian doctor invested in a little Guatemalan cripple and how God used him to lead her to Christ and how after she came to know Christ and became a doctor in the United States she then went back to Guatemala to minster to others.


Our first hotel was BE-U-TI-FUL!
It had a lovely courtyard.

CRAZY Cousins!

We spent Saturday and Sunday exploring the city.
It was so interesting!

LOVED looking at the architecture!

My favorite part of the trip was getting to know the people and visiting some of the locals homes.
Tyler and Andrew LOVED getting to know James.
He was so kind to the boys.

Cheque had us for dinner at her vacation home.

Everything was beautiful!
She served us a delicious lasagna with bread and salad and tiramisu.

This is her gorgeous courtyard.

On Sunday while touring Antigua,

we learned the safe....and the NOT safe places to visit.

The picture below is of a pilas....which is where the Guatemalan women wash their clothes.
So thankful for my washing machine!!!
We are blessed!

I really enjoyed exploring the city.
The artistry was amazing.
Their attention to details.....was exquisite

We visited a museum and learned about Hermano Pedro, the only Guatemalan saint.

Andrew had fun climbing on the ruins.

We stopped by the butcher.....but we didn't buy anything.

We saw the milkman

One of the most shocking sights was this:

They had armed guards EVERYWHERE!
Gas stations, neighborhoods, McDonald's, Hotels.....Guatemala is evidently a pretty dangerous place.

We left Antigua on Sunday and made the 3 hour trek to Quetzaltenango.
Once we arrived we headed to Cheque's Mama's house for dinner.
She lived in a 200 year old adobe house.
It was beautiful!
Mama Mimi didn't speak a lick of English but she sure did love on us and have a gift for hospitality...

and a gift for cooking!

Mama Mimi and her helper Nina made a DELICIOUS paella for us.

Saturday and Sunday were lots of fun....

Now before you start to think this was a vacation....let me assure you, come Monday morning we began to work....and we worked HARD!

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were full of WORK!
The goal was to get the roof on the mission.
We sanded.

Dr. Roberto and Mr. Grossman were busy fixing the machine.

The guys moved trusses.....many, many, MANY, many, MANY times!

We made adobe bricks....which involves lots and lots of shoveling!

We plained boards....lots and lots of boards

The guys moved adobe when a storm threatened....each adobe brick weight about 150 moving them is not easy.
Especially because they were not yet they can crumble not only do they weigh a lot....they also must be handled gingerly.

And we were ever so thankful for the "Amen Privy"!!!

What a blessing!

And then my camera died!
But we also painted, and stained, and varnished.
We swept.  We picked up rocks and took them down to the road to fill potholes.
We burned trash.
We worked very hard and long days.

We met new amigos.  We tried to speak Spanish.

It was an amazing trip....and yes we did get the roof on!

We spent Saturday traveling home.
It was a long trip....but oh my was worth it!

That is a snapshot of our trip and tomorrow I'll tell you some of what I learned and how God has used it in my life......but this post is already entirely too thank you for your patience and good night!


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Update on me

I'm going to try to update on my health about once a month.  I'm doing this as a way to hold myself accountable.  So since I last wrote there have been several changes.  The first has been my medication. For those of you who didn't see the earlier post I have hypothyroidism and I have neglected to take my medicine for the last few years.  I will stay on the higher dose until I go to the specialist at the end of the month.  I suspect at that point I will have to have some more blood work and  more decisions will have to be made. 

I have also joined Weight Watchers with a friend of mine.  As of yesterday I have lost 11.8 pounds.  I'm averaging about 3 pounds a week.  I'm very excited about the weight loss.  I'm not exercising much at all...I'm just not ready to try to fit that into my schedule.  I am writing down everything I eat and going to the meetings and sticking religiously to the plan. 

How do I feel?  I feel like I am waking up from a dream.....or coming out of a fog.  Life seems clearer if that makes any sense.  I am a bit overwhelmed at the fullness of my days....but I think that is better then being numb.  I feel like my plate is very full.  I know people want more from me....and I know they want it because they love me....but I don't have more to give.  I don't call people.....I don't hang out much.....I'm terrible at initiating time with friends.  It's not because I don't's just because I'm exhausted.  I wish I could do better but in all honesty I'm not sure that I can do better right now.  I feel very stretched.  I feel very spent.  I feel very sleepy.   But at least I'm feeling.....that's a start!

So....keep praying for me.  I'm glad that I am focusing on this and trying to get it under control.  I'm glad I'm on medication and have such wonderful doctors.  I'm glad I have friends who want to spend time with me even if I'm a pretty rotten friend in return :)  Please pray for the mission trip.  Andrew and I are leaving on Saturday and will be off the grid for a week.  I'm very excited and nervous.  Pray for Randy...he's got the crew....and his mom and my mom.....they are helping while he's at work.  Pray for this to be a wonderful experience for all of us.  Pray I will keep focused on my goal of being healthier.

That's about all!

Monday, July 16, 2012

It's a Pirate Life for Me

It's Pirate Week and we have the Red Beards....

and the Blue Beards.....

The competition has been fearce....

We've been outside a lot

Playing all sorts of Pirate Games:
Treasure Dash
It's a Pirate's Life for Me Obstacle Course....
Pass the Cannonball
Cannonball Attack...
Cannonball Blast...

Do you notice a theme?

All this outside play has left me with some hot and thirsty little pirates!

I did let them come inside a little
We made pirate hats from newspaper...


We snacked on blue jello with gummy fish and Nilla Waffer Island Cookies

Snack Time!

These girls LOVE each other!

and spent a lot of time sitting in a bucket....

They said it was their boat!

The highlight of EVERY week....


Nothing like a little swim to cool off the hottest days!

They hunted for buried treasure!

Made Candy Art
Blue sprinkles + Gummy Fish + Baby Food Bowl=Candy Fish Tank=Happy Kids!

They burnt off lots of wiggly energy and seemed to have a bunch of fun....I bet they slept well too!

I know I did!

Ready for Day 2!!!


Friday, July 13, 2012

Our Not So Busy Week

This was a rainy week.  I didn't have any camps going on just the daycare kids so we decided to go on a field trip to PetSmart!
All the kids had fun
Lincoln LOVED it!!!
He kept yelling "OOOOOO"

We saw fish....

and birds
and cats, and dogs, and mice, and gerbils, and lizards.....
Such a fun outing.
Mindy walked away with a new leash and collar and bone and doggie treats!

Happy girl!

The rest of the week included

Board Games....

and lots of inside play...

While I was making lunch I heard the kids playing "church" in the den.

Jackson was the preacher.
He was telling his congregation.....
"Jesus rose from the dead the next day and that is why we are all here today: To worship him."

It was very sweet.

It's been a full week....but not overly busy.

Andrew had an orthodontist appointment.
Lydia had a dermotologist appointment.

My baby is getting to be such a BIG girl

Starting to do so much!

She had her very first....all by herself.....sleepover with the Lilje's.
She LOVED it and stayed the whole night!
So neat to watch her come into her own.

Looking forward to an unscheduled weekend!
Going to use it to get ready for camp.....It's Pirate week....and we've got a full house!

It's going to be a fun one!