Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dinner at Home

I am my mother's daughter;  I love to cook.  There isn't a part of cooking I don't like, except maybe cleaning the burners if something spills over.  As we finish putting the final touches on our new semi-temporary quarters, I figured I'd share a few photos from our first dinner on our new (borrowed) kitchen table.

All set and ready.  We are so grateful to our generous friends for loaning us their table while we are here.  Eating from a table sure beats eating on the floor.

One serving of fresh broccoli steaming, naturally, since I'm the only one of the two of us who will touch the stuff.  I just can't convince Jono that it really IS yummy!  

Four servings of smashed potatoes cooking in another pot.  No, that's not two for J, one for Mom, one for Kyle.  It's one for Mom and Kyle and the rest for J. 

Chicken Cordon Bleu in the pretty green baking dish my Grandmama gave me for Christmas.  Before you get too impressed, I must admit to buying the chicken ready-made.  My favorite grocery (Aldi) sells these little packages of yumminess for 99 cents a piece.  Can't beat that.

As usual, I have lots of help in the kitchen.  And eating my food.

Can you guess who's plate this is?

After cooking for 9 months in Mexico using a toaster oven, two electric burners, a microwave, and about 3.5 feet of counter work space, I feel like my tiny apartment kitchen competes with Paula Dean's. Basically, I'm in housewife heaven with four burners, a full size oven and enough space to cut potatoes without knocking half of them on the floor.   

We demolished this meal. 


Friday, December 17, 2010

Deposits, fees, deductibles, money suckers.....

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine life could cost so much.  How do people without a reasonable amount of liquid cash live in this world?  As J and I are trying to get settled in for some unknown period (approx 9 months?) of time, in order to have a baby and proceed with a mission board, I am astounded at how much MONEY everything takes!

We went to sign an apartment lease this morning.  There was a $35 application fee.  That is actually quite low compared so some $200 worth of fees we were told about at other apartment places.  But, really, an application fee?  Wait, you want to charge ME to sign my name saying I'm agreeing to pay YOU hundreds of dollars a month to have your roof over my head?  What kind of crazy world do we live in?  Who in their right and reasonable mind came up with the idea of a fee to charge someone filling out an application?!

While we were signing the lease, we were informed that we're required to pay a $600 security deposit.  Goodie.  I get to hope for the next 9 months that I keep the place clean enough to get my $600 back when I move out.  I promise I'll try my hardest.  I do understand this deposit (and at least it was that and not a FEE) and somewhat grudgingly signed the check.

Ahhh, utilities.  Yes, we all use them.  We have no other choice.  So I called the gas company and spoke with the kindest customer service agent.  Really, she was a doll.  She even waved the $150 deposit after she spoke on the phone with my dad (he has a perfect credit report and has used their service for years) who agreed to cosign for his married daughter and pay if we aren't good for the bill money.  Good thing HE trusts us.  Dear lady did tell me NOT to run the gas unless the electricity has been turned on.  So, I called the electric company.  She told me we needed to come into the office to fill out the application. 

I bet that means I get to pay an application fee. 

Before I hung up, she told me that I would need my Social Security card and driver's license.  Oh, and $500 for the deposit.  Um, excuse me, did you say five HUNDRED dollars?  Isn't that like 6 months of electricity anyways?!  Fortunately, we have good credit and they are going to run a credit report to see if they can graciously wave the deposit.  Jonathan even called back and a different lady told him it could either be a $200 deposit or a $500 one.

You mean we get to choose?  Hmm, wonder which one I'M gonna pick.  

Then there's the refundable $10 membership fee.  Wouldn't having refundable and fee in the same phrase constitute calling that a deposit? Regardless, after that we can either pay $65 to have the electricity turned on today (Friday) or $40 for next day service, which in our case means Monday since they don't flip the switches on Saturday or Sunday.  So, J called back to see how much it would be to turn it on Tuesday.  Same thing, $40.  Obviously, it's not a "next day" fee it's an "anytime" fee.  Seriously?  You want to charge me at least $40 to just TURN my electricity on?

Can I just come down and and flip it myself? 

What kind of money sucking game is this?  I think you have Boardwalk AND Park Avenue.  And I'm stuck in jail.  I quit.

Now we're looking into medical insurance.  We can't get anything to cover Kyle until after he is born.  They say we are declined since we're "expectant parents." 

So, I can just see it now.  As the Dr tries to hand Kyle over to the proud daddy, Jonathan is going to say, "Sorry, can't hold him right now, gotta run find some wi-fi to buy his health insurance!"  It's almost humorous; but, it's NOT!  We're looking at "cheap" plans.  That means we get to pay $185 a month and then still pay for everything else out of pocket up to $10,000 for Kyle if he gets deathly ill.  Jonathan better stay fit as a fiddle, or we're out another 10K.  If we were so bold as it try to get a smaller deductible, we'd be forking out $600 month.  What kind of poor newly weds have money for this kind of stuff?  No wonder people wait ten years to have kids.  Good thing I'm covered on my dad's insurance, or we'd really be up a creek.  Thanks, Obama.  Although I don't agree with it, it sure is coming in handy right now.


So, basically, our entire savings is either caught up in deposits or on hold in case we have to use it to pay our insurance deductible.

Oh, I forgot to mention, when I go for my first Dr visit (yes, I said first.  I'm 7 months pregnant and have only seen a Dr one time in Mexico) they are going to take a $225 deposit in case there is stuff my (dad's) insurance doesn't cover.   With their prices, I can't imagine $225 is going to go very far.  But, whatever.

(That's the sound of the money coming out of our bank account.)


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

I Knew I Loved You

For any of you who were at our wedding and remember that Jonathan and I danced to Savage Garden's I Knew I Loved You, you probably made the connection then.  It's no secret that Jonathan and I were very much fond of each other before we ever met face to face.  However, that feeling was not something new to me.  I have experienced this unusual occurrence six different times thus far in my life.

Although I cannot remember well what I felt when my family adopted my sister, Lacy, when I was four years old, I am told that I spoke of her often during the waiting process.  As much as a four year old can love someone she had never met, I assure you I loved her like that.  My mom likes to tell about the time that I told her we needed to "pray for our baby."  That was certainly my first encounter with loving someone I'd never met.

(Lacy's referral photo)

I do remember distinctly the love I felt for Holly before I ever met her.  Before she knew I existed, I yearned for her and loved her beyond understanding.  I was immediately drawn to her, the moment I saw her picture on the flyer from our adoption agency.  During the time we waited to bring her home, I wrote letters to her.  I specifically remember crying as I wrote, as I longed to meet her more than I could explain.  I plan to give Holly those letters when she is old enough to read and comprehend the emotion held in them.   I was 13 years old at that time.  Watching my parents and Ryan walk towards me with Holly in the Atlanta airport is something I'll never forget.  After months of waiting to meet her, it truly felt like a dream to see her precious face.

(The first picture of Holly I saw on the flyer from the agency)

Similarly, I cherished Maggie Rose before she ever came home.  The decision to adopt Maggie came almost exactly a year from the time my parents came home with Holly.  I didn't, however, have any trouble loving Maggie in spite of the fact that Holly was still brand new.  I longed for Maggie and I remember her home coming well, again in the Atlanta airport.  

(Maggie's referral photo)

When Jonathan and I were introduced, within weeks I knew I loved him.  Some people thought I was crazy and a few were so bold as to tell me so.  But, loving someone without meeting them was something I knew well.  After we had the approval of our parents to pursue a "relationship", if you will (more like get married), I remember feeling that I was really close to him, although we were thousands of miles apart.  As with my sisters, we never spoke on the phone before we met.  And like with Holly, I wrote him letters.  Long letters.  Only, this time, unlike Holly, he wrote back.  Oh, how I loved him.  And still do.  More now than I did then, although I wouldn't have believed it if you'd try to tell me it was possible.  So, there was no more fitting song for our first dance than I Knew I Loved You.

(The first time Jonathan and I met - in the Houston airport)

Tonight as I rubbed my rapidly growing belly, I thought of how much I love this child growing inside of me.  This is not a new development, but it is an increasingly strong emotion.  I am certain that in the next 15 weeks until he is due, I will grow to love him more deeply than I could ever imagine.  

(My baby)

Right before we found out we were expecting, my parents began discussing another adoption.  I can't say I was terribly shocked, yet on the other hand it wasn't something I was expecting.  And this time, it's a boy!  I look forward with great anticipation to meeting my brother, Caleb, in another airport I'm sure.  He will be welcomed into our family with open arms.  I love him and he doesn't know I exist. 

(Sadly, I cannot post a picture of Caleb.  But, he's cute, I promise!)

As Jonathan and I dream of our future and the many plans the Lord has for us which we do not yet know, we constantly speak of our desire to adopt.  I am having a hard time waiting to see what God has in store for us, but I am certain that it will involve love.  A lot of love.  And I pray that it includes multiple more chances to love someone sight unseen.

"I knew I loved you before I met you, I think I dreamed you into life;

I knew I loved you before I met you, I have been waiting all my life."

Monday, October 25, 2010

Devos with Jade

I am fully aware that I have about a four track mind right now.  The vast majority of my thoughts are consumed by but a very few things.  Baby, kitty, food and sleep - pretty much in that order.  My husband reminds me of this quite often.  Thus, you may be seeing some very clear patterns in my blog posts.  Do forgive my repetitiveness.  If you are bored by hearing about the baby growing in my belly, my intense need for extra calories, or my adoration for a certain black feline, you might as well check back in about 5 months for posts about things that might interest you more.  I will ask tomorrow about whether or not I am allowed to bring a camera into Christ Central, so I can post about what we've been able to do there as we wait for answers regarding future ministry options.  If that would interest you more, do check back.

That being said, I will proceed with my purpose for writing this post.

I've never been one to make New Year's resolutions.  They never seem to work out too well for me.  But, as January rolled around for 2010, I made the resolution, or commitment if you will, to read the Bible every day.  That may sound like no huge task to many of you.  However, I will admit to letting life get in the way far too often in recent years.  Being an unashamed nonreader, it is not, or I should say was not, my most favorite thing to do.  I now very much look forward to climbing into bed at night and snuggling up with my Bible.  I am even enjoying reading the Old Testament.  

Many times in the past I have started to read the whole Bible through, start to finish.  I have failed every time.  If I ever got much past Genesis 17, I'd be surprised.  I used to just hop around the New Testament and Psalms.  Growing up we did family Bible studies regularly during the week, and always read from both the Old and New Testaments.  So, many of the stories I am coming across are familiar to me, however some of them have been brand new.  In an attempt to not start in Genesis and fail again, I started in the New Testament and bounced around book to book until I finished everything except Revelation.  I plan to do an in-depth study of Revelation, as it is a very detailed and at times difficult to understand book.  Now entering into the middle of the Old Testament, I am really appreciating reading about the kings and Israel.  During my time in the law books, I had to add a little joy in my reading so I read Psalm at the same time.  

It doesn't hurt that I have a sleepy little reading buddy.  Sometimes she comes and curls up with me as I read.  Other times, I have to scoot her over and out of my spot so I can get in the bed, too.  Regardless, she is attentive occasionally and I believe, learning as much as can be expected.

More typical is a position like this one:

However she wants to learn is fine with me.  I'm still trying to get her to fall asleep on it, hoping that maybe she'll absorb some into that fur brain of hers. 

At the very least, she's pretty.

That's all for now, folks.  My baby really likes banana pudding.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Belly Jumps

Mmmmm...... The sweet feeling of baby thumps and bumps and jumps.  I look forward to climbing into bed at night and feeling my little guy - as that's typically when he is the most active, naturally.  Something tells me nothing will change after he makes his appearance into this world.  I might as well kiss sleep goodbye.  And I love sleep.

It really is spectacular to feel his little movements.  Sometimes I can't decide if I want to laugh or cry or pass out.  Yes, I said pass out.  Anyone who knows me well knows that I feel light headed and pathetic at the pretty much the drop of a hat.  The thought of something alive inside of me well......Is just a little freaky.  Fortunately, I have made it thus far (blood work and all) without keeling over.  We'll see how long this lasts.

Sensationally his movements have changed a lot since I first felt little "flutters" as they call them at nearly 18 weeks (almost exactly 4 weeks ago).  Now it feels exactly like little Morse code tappings.  Tap tap.  Tap. Pause. Tap tap tap.  If I could come up with a way to teach him Morse code, I could be rich and famous.  Feeling sure that someone has already thought of that and failed miserably, I've decided against wasting my time.

Kyle (it still feels weird to refer to him by his name although, I am trying to quit calling him "the baby") seems to really like hot chocolate.  And apples.  Actually, fruit in general makes him wake up and squirm about.  Okay, okay the truth is, he likes pretty much everything I feed him.  I'm such a great mom.  (That was said with much sarcasm.)  I am particularly proud of his affection towards hot chocolate.  It probably had something to do with all the marshmallows I stuffed in the top of the mug.  Regardless, he went crazy and giggled as it felt like my innards moved from one side of my belly to the other.  That'll probably be the last time I drink hot chocolate right before bed for a while.

Already practicing for his celebrity status in our house. 


Monday, October 18, 2010


It certainly isn't hard to see that October is the most beautiful month of the year.  Okay, I know that statement was full of opinion.  However, I believe it to be true.  Fall is by far my favorite season.  I have thought many times about how wonderful it would be to live in fall year-round.  Sadly, I think it would lose some of its magic if it didn't come and go, so I just try to soak it all in while it's here.  There is nothing quite like a warm mug of cider or a freshly roasted s'more!  I love to fill my lungs with the crisp air and faint whiff of burning leaves.  Why, yes, I could go on for paragraphs about the many reasons I have deemed fall my favorite season; but in a nutshell, it comes down to this: I love everything about it.

I also just happen to have the perfect October accessory.  Not long after we were married, Jonathan surprised me with a precious little kitten.  She is completely black, ignoring the occasional white hair that pops up here and there. (I think I've counted about five in over a years time).  She also plays the role quite well as one of her favorite pastimes is to run around the house with her tail as fluffy as it'll get and her back arched.  I get my fill of laughs when she goes into demon cat mode.  Needless to say, I enjoy her company and have thanked Jono many times for her.


During this time of the year, I also thoroughly enjoy listening to Celtic Thunder, a quintet of Irish singers.  Their debut CD is my favorite. Many of the songs just beg for a cozy robe and someone sweet to cuddle up next to.  If you've never heard any of their music, do check them out.

"What, Mom? I was just stretching my face."

So, grab a quilt and a mug of something warm and tasty and snuggle up to someone you love.

I think I will, too.  Happy Fall ya'll!


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Well Balanced Breakfast

I feel like all I do these days is eat, think about eating, or plan what I'm going to eat next.  I assume that it's normal, but if not, don't tell me otherwise.  

After we found out that we're expecting a BOY, we popped into Sonic for a little celebratory treat.  However, I don't believe my strawberry-orange cream slush counted towards my necessary 5 fruit/vegetable servings for that day. 

Bummer! Oh well, I made up for it this morning at breakfast.  While my darling husband ate a bowl of ramen (aka the poorest excuse for human food ever created) for breakfast, I enjoyed a well balanced meal which consisted of:

Strawberries and grapes, half of a cinnamon raisin bagel wearing a little cream cheese (protein) and honey (natural sweetener, naturally) and a small glass of apple-raspberry juice.


Yesterday we went to the grocery store to stock up on healthy foods for this hungry bear, I mean mama.  Now when I want a snack (which is about 5X a day) I can reach for a fruit cup, an apple with natural peanut butter, some wheat thins, apple sauce, trail mix, raisins, carrots or a little hummus..... instead of the cookies or Captain Crunch. 

I read somewhere recently about what I should and shouldn't be eating during my pregnancy.  The book said something along the lines of, "before you take a bite, think about whether or not it will benefit you or the baby."  Talk about a major guilt trip every time I get the whim to eat a spoon of ice cream or a chunk of the maple-walnut fudge Brad bought me. 

Now off to weed through all the clothes that my 19-weeks body is rapidly outgrowing... I dream about lunch...


P.S. If you're interested in a ministry update, hop on over to J's blog

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Day in the Life

Sometimes in life you really have to laugh to keep from crying.  We have had our fair share of those experiences this year.  I figured I'd let ya'll in on a few of them from the last few weeks.

About a month ago, when Jonathan returned from the missions trip with Cristo Te Ama to Mazahua, the water heater wouldn't light.  Figuring that the gas was just out and having no way to fix it, he took cold showers.  When I arrived back from SC, I took cold showers. Well, I took 2.  Then the water went away completely.  After checking out the cistern in ground, J found that the water was below where the pump reaches.  We tried for 2 days to figure out how to get the city water to fill up our cistern by turning knobs and valves, but we had no luck.  In the meantime, Jonathan started bringing up 2 buckets of water (from the very bottom of the cistern) at a time.  We rationed the water, as we didn't know how long it'd be before the cistern filled back up. Plus we live on the third floor, and it gets really old climbing stairs with buckets of heavy water.  It is a good thing we used it sparingly, because the cistern didn't fill up for 6 days.  Bathing with buckets is an art.  If your head is shaved, like my husband's, well, it's not so difficult.  But, when you have a mop of hair like I do, it really is a tricky job.  We would dip the cup in the water to wash everything but my hair. Then, we had to tag team to finish.  I'd dunk my head in the bucket, upside down.  Then Jonathan would lather it all up.  I'd dunk my head back in while Jonathan tried to get all the shampoo out. Then I'd put in conditioner, since it was an upside-down tangled up mess, and dunk back into the water full of suds.  After we got the water dirty from bathing, we could flush the toilet.  I wonder how many people know that if you just poor water rapidly into a toilet, it flushes.  I didn't know that before we came here.  In fact, any time we used water - washing dishes, faces, hands, brushing teeth etc - we dumped it into the back of the toilet to create for ourselves "a flush."  We also took advantage of all the other toilets on the third floor.  Probably about day 2 Jonathan went around to all the bathrooms to count how many "flushes" we had left.  Each toilet still had one flush ready in the back of the toilet from before the water went out.  Needless to say, this went from funny to ridiculous pretty fast.  At least it didn't matter anymore that the hot water heater wouldn't turn on, cause we had no water to heat.

During the time the water was out, our overhead lights/fans went out.  This was undoubtedly the least of our worries.  We kept the bathroom and closet lights on and eventually pilfered a lamp from another room.

After a few days of living (and smelling) like cave men, I told my mom it could only get worse if our A/C broke.  The next day, the A/C unit (1) cut off.  When I cut it back on, it sounded like a jackhammer.  The noise was inescapable, especially since the unit is directly above our bed.  Jonathan assured me we would NOT move to another room just because the unit was making noise.  So, I put in my earplugs and fell asleep.  About 2.5 hours later I woke up because the noise had increased and my earplugs weren't cutting it any more, only to find J next to me lying on his back with his hands behind his head (that means he's mad).  Chuckling on the inside, I convinced him to move to another room.  He was delirious after laying there for hours trying to fall asleep with the jackhammer above his head.  None the less, we moved to another room, and found that that A/C unit (different type) was also making an obnoxious noise.  After waiting with (stubborn) Jonathan for about 20 minutes, I finally talked him into moving to yet another room.  At last, we found a room where the A/C worked and didn't sound like heavy machinery.  This is the room we are still in now.  The new problem is, we can hear all the music from the night club next door.  I simply cannot imagine how loud the music must be inside that place, if I can hear it loud and clear in my bed.  The bar is open every night except Sunday until any time between 3-6 AM.  I've lived long enough to know that almost nothing good happens at that time of night and you can only imagine the stories we've heard about what kind of things go on next door.  Absurdity.

A/C units are expensive down here and because our original unit was making that horrific noise, we were told to turn it off.  You can't imagine how hot it gets in that room with no A/C.  Our refrigerator barely works to begin with, but with it so incredibly hot and humid in the room, it had to work double time.  I threw so much food out those few days.  I tried to convince Jonathan to throw the meat out of the freezer which wasn't cold at all, but he cooked it instead.  It's really a miracle we never got sick off that meat.  Now that the A/C is kinda fixed in there, the fridge is working at its regular 1/2 speed.

Well, the water heaters still don't have it together yet.  We can't for the life of us keep the water heater on in the room where we are now sleeping.  So for showers, we go to the other room where the water heater works but the A/C sounds like a jackhammer.  Then last night, the water went out again.  It has been on and off since it got turned back "on", but it usually comes back on within a couple hours.  Well after Victoria, there's no waiting for a shower cause we never know if we've got ticks or who knows what else on us.  Even though there's "no" water, it really means there's no cold water coming from the roof, but there is still one hot water heater's worth of hot water.  Confused?  Oh well.  We tried to shower with the scorching water.  Ouch!  In an attempt to save what little water we had and not burn ourselves, we turned the water off.  So, Jonathan combined some cold, slightly dirty, old water from a bucket still in the shower and some hot water from the faucet, and poured it on my head to help me get the shampoo out of my hair.  Ridiculous.

Last but not least, the Tahoe we are borrowing doesn't have reverse.  "Doesn't have reverse?" you ask.  Nope, no reverse.  That creates a huge problem.  The reverse went out about 3 months ago.  Well, first the forward went out.  So we paid for a "new" gear box and unbeknownst to us, this one came equipped with no reverse.  So, every morning, J pushes and I steer out of the car lot place we keep the cars at night.  We've learned that if I hit the brakes as soon as the back wheels hit the curb, J can run and watch for a space in the traffic on our busy road and I am able to keep some momentum to continue out of the "drive way" (with an extra push or two from Jonathan or the nice guy who owns the business next door).  We have also learned that we must park where we can pull through or continue forwards.  Well, last night we found ourselves in a packed parking garage in a corner with no way out.  We usually have no trouble finding a place to pull through here, but last night was an exception.  So, Jonathan with a bum ankle has to push me out of this predicament and we end up making at least an 8 point turn around.  Although, I'd never have the strength to push that huge vehicle even if I wanted to, being pregnant means I have less to offer in the way of help.  I was laughing to keep from crying while Jonathan was telling me, "This is not funny!!"  Any pride we may have brought down here is gone now, because we get the most hilarious looks from people as I steer and Jonathan pushes me around in public places.  Finally, we got out of that sticky spot in the parking garage and decided to just pay the parking man to let us park in illegal spot.

Don't ever take for granted turning on your faucet and having warm water come out - or any water for that matter.  And please, never forget how important reverse is. Really, it makes life so much more enjoyable.  There are many, many things I will never think of the same way again, but these are some of the ones that make for hilarious stories.


Friday, August 20, 2010


Yesterday was all dreamy and wonderful.  Today reality hits.  I must go get this blood work done so the Doc can check it before we leave Mexico.  I am terrified.  I almost passed out in the middle of the night just thinking about it.

Last time I had blood drawn was not quite two months ago when we got the pregnancy blood test done.  Even thinking I had a sweet little baby inside didn't help.  I sat down in the chair and cried.  Looking at the counter next to me, I noticed two sizes of vials.  In the caddy there were three rows of "small" vials and one row of "big" ones.  I just knew she would grab the big one.  She did.  Then the darling lady wanted to show me she was using a brand new needle.  However, she didn't warn me she was about to stick a huge (everything seems bigger when you're scared) needle right in front of my face.  I cringed out loud.  J says I even shoved my hand in her face.  (Pure instinct, I promise.  I'm really not a terrible person and I know she's just trying to do her job.)  She then proceeded to tell me that if I didn't stop crying the blood wouldn't come out.  What a ridiculous story, but I fell for it and tried to slurp my sobs back up.  To "keep my mind off of it" I asked Jonathan to tell me a story.  Poor thing, he had to improv an interesting story to keep me from passing out.  So, he starts in about the bamboo trees outside.  It was a valiant effort, but to no avail.  I was going.  All of the sudden J sounded like he was across the building.  And those black eye shields starting coming up.....

Fortunately, I didn't knock all the way out.  I did, however, feel like a zombie the rest of the day.  Last time we only checked to see if I was pregnant.  This time, the Doc is checking for like five different things.  I actually haven't counted all the check marks on the referral slip.  I don't really want to know.  I just hope it doesn't mean we have to take a vial for every single thing he's checking for.  

Today I will not look at any vials or needles.  They can show Jonathan all they want, but my eyes will be closed.  If they'd let me lay on the floor, I would.  Anything to be more relaxed and less terrified.  

This is what you call procrastinating. 


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Baby Saint

In case you've been hiding out under a rock for the last month and a half....

We're gonna have a baby!

(For the purpose of not making our baby sound like an object, I will refer to "it" as "him" in this post.  However, we do not yet know the sex of the baby.)

J and I went to the Doc for the first time today to check out how Baby Saint is growing in there.  Looks like we are going to have our hands full.  This came as no surprise to me and really only confirmed what I've already been expecting.  He was swirling and twirling around so much the Dr. could barely catch his heart beat.  But, alas, we were able to hear a few little beats and it made my eyes sweat.  Actually, they started sweating when I first saw how active he is in there!  At 12.5 weeks I can't feel anything except nausea, and I had no idea he'd be bouncing around already.  It really seemed like we were looking in on a pre-birth aerobics class.  I'm just going to pretend he's getting all his energy out now and will be a precious, tranquil angel when he makes his appearance. 


The Doctor said everything looked perfect.  I thought, "Yay, I'm a good mom!"

Needless to say, Jono and I are excited, even more so now after seeing him.  The only screen I was really able to understand was when the Dr focused on the legs.  When he said, "This is the face." I thought, "That looks like a grainy alien."  And when he said, "Those are the feet." I thought, "I don't see anything except blur."  But, I caught the legs.  Little scrawny things they are. 

Although I'd like to say, "I can't wait to meet our baby," it wouldn't be a truthful statement.  The truth is, I'm glad we have to wait.  I feel like I have so much I need to learn.  I only know how to take care of 2 year-olds and kittens.  Bring on the books; I have so much to cover these next 6.5 months!  J assures me if I can just get the baby out, he'll take care of the rest.  But, I'm not so sure..... He appears to be lacking some of the necessary equipment.

For now, I think I'll just sit here and stare at the picture of our baby.  It makes my eyes sweat.  I might just sleep with it tonight.  

(You can click on the picture and make it larger if you're so inclined.)

"For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them."
Psalm 139:13-16 ESV


Monday, August 16, 2010


This is a post I have had nearly finished for months.  But, for various reasons I have put off posting it until now. I hope it gives you a glimpse into the lives of so many people in this country.

There are stray dogs everywhere down here.  They are in the roads, on the side of the roads, picking through trash, hobbling along with broken limbs, broken tails, manged, flea infested and starving. As a dog lover, and animal lover in general, it is hard for me to see these poor creatures day in and day out. Though some of them look healthier than others, for the most part they appear pitiful, miserable and sitting on deaths doorstep.  I almost feel relieved when I see one dead on the side of the road, because I know they aren't suffering anymore.
(This is a dog we see often which is covered with some sort of bug/disease and often bloody and twisted in the middle of the road gnawing at himself.)
So, after being here a little while, I dumped on my mom all the terrible things I've seen with these dogs.  And though sympathetic as she knows how much I love animals, she told me, "Just wait until you see children like that."  Thanks, Mom, for putting it into perspective for me, and preparing me for what I had not yet seen.
The last village we went to in Chiapas was called Maiz Blanco (White Corn).  We parked on the side of the road at the foot of a mountain, to walk across a bridge over a small stream.  Seeing a few buildings near by we figured one of those nice places was the church we were going to.

We walked right past all those buildings and continued on up, up, up.... 
As has happened many times before in my life, I was hilariously unprepared to climb a mountain wearing flip flips and lacking bug spray.  I ended up jogging up the path in an attempt to keep the mosquitoes from consuming every last drop of blood in my body.  I had one of those itchy bug bites on my arm for well over 2 weeks.  Fortunately, so far it seems that none of the many mosquitoes that managed to land on me while I ran had malaria.
When we reached the village the families came out to meet us.  They obviously don't have cars, as there was no road up to their village, and I wonder how often the women and children get down the mountain.  They told us the men work with crops.  Somehow I doubt that the children go to school.  Devora told me later on that the Mexican government has, "forgotten Maiz Blanco."  I guess they don't get any help from anyone, and obviously aren't making it very well on their own.
Again, we had packed a bag full of goodies for the sweet ones and hauled it up the mountain with is.  We also had heavy blankets in tow to give to the mothers for winter. We were shocked to see the way these people live.  Though we've seen some pretty rundown places, I don't know that I've ever see any like these.  The children were playing in the dirt.  They were filthy.  Their skin was dry from the sun and being unable to bathe.  They had snot encrusted on their faces.  Covered in bug bites and bugs (gnats, flies, etc), they looked so pitiful.  I was reminded then, of the pathetic dogs I see everyday, and how insignificant their suffering is to the way these poor children live.
(This little boy was covered in gnats. Here he is wiping them out of his eyes.)
After Jonathan shared a message with them, I got to hand out the gifts.  I can imagine it had been a while, if ever, since they received a gift.  I've said previously that the poorer the people were, the more excited and appreciative the children became.  Well, these children topped them all.  I wonder if they'd ever had Crayons, or a baby doll.  One of the little girls obviously had a mental disability.  When I handed her a few things, she became so incredibly excited - almost to the point of crying.  She just wiggled with joy as she sat in the dirt.  I was so taken aback and wanted to reach in the bag and grab her more, but in all honesty, I do not know that her precious heart could have taken it.  She was beside herself with excitement.
(The girl in the purple is the one who had the mental disability.  You can't see her joy in this picture, but the other little girl is expressing hers pretty well.)
Though I know what these people need is not a gift, nor running water, it does bring joy to my heart to think of brightening their gloomy lives with a small gift.  There is a local pastor who ventures up this mountain regularly and is ministering to these 'forgotten' people.
As we were about to leave, two men from the village came walking (stumbling) up the mountain.  It didn't take me 10 seconds to figure out that one was sickeningly drunk and the other had seemingly been drinking.  It infuriated me to think that these women and children live in this manor helpless, while the men drink their sorrows away with what little money the family has.

I don't believe I'll ever forget that day, that village and what I saw there.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


I love Peeps. Thanks to my dear friend, Kaylee, I, like most Americans, got to eat some Peeps for Easter.
But, I want to know how many people have ever met a Peep.


This little chicky was really active. He just wouldn't stay inside his yard. Not sure how he ended up pink. Really, I hope 'he' is a girl! If not, it could have been extremely damaging to his ego.
Oh, the things we see....

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

"For to Such Belongs the Kingdom of Heaven...."

After drying off from a morning in the waterfalls, we got back into our cars and started off to the next village. When we pulled in, the children of this church were already there waiting for us. There were lots of them, too! It was magnificent to hear these precious ones sing - they sang with all their hearts! Their voices echoed through the building, really an unforgettable sound!

Waiting to get the service started.

Devora and myself with the little girls. They were adorable! I tried to talk to a few of them but they wouldn't say anything. Slightly bashful, yes, but they were probably more perplexed at this white girl speaking Spanish. I guess they thought I looked a little funny....
I love that little girl near the middle in the back laughing and covering her mouth! They all just giggled the whole time!

The little boys lining up for a picture with Brad and Jonathan.

After pictures and songs, Jonathan shared a message with the children. The kids always listened so intently to Jonathan. They probably thought he looked a little funny, too. Then we gave out the gifts.....

Because there were so many children here, we opted to take a few items out of the bags for each child. There were a lot of other churches awaiting our arrival, and we knew this church would have wiped us clear out of the back packs! So, we created a large goody bag, and I had the privilege of choosing a couple things for every girl. We had to do this on multiple occasions because the churches had so many little ones! What a blessing!

Really, I liked it this way. We were able to choose things specifically for a certain child. It's pretty obvious that the tiny princess in the fluffy dress and sparkling head band really isn't that interested in jacks and a bouncy ball. No, she would be much more pleased with the lipgloss and glittery flip flops at the bottom of the bag. And this way, we got to see the children's faces light up when they saw what we chose for them! It brings tears to my eyes to just think of it.

"If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:11

Bradley got to do the same thing for all the boys! Looks like the little guy with the frisbee is pretty excited!

Pondering all these things in my heart,

Friday, April 23, 2010

Las Cascaditas

A little refresher - the Lord knows we need it sometimes.  This was one of ours during our time in Chiapas.

After we left Paradise, we drove through a valley between loads of mountains to get to these little waterfalls.  J, Brad and I seriously thought we were lost right before we parked the cars and got out - only to hear the rush of waterfalls in the distance.  Such a sweet sound, I think!  So, we walked down a path a little ways and found this nifty spot.

I don't know the name of the place, hence the blog tittle : The little waterfalls.

Behind the waterfalls, my dear husband discovered, was a cave.  It wasn't very big, but it was dark and slimy.  It took me a minute to get up the guts to go back into it, but J helped me and I screamed like a girl the whole way through.  I was just sure some snake was going to pop out right in front of my face to greet me and welcome me to his home.  I probably would've passed out.

None the less, once through, we sat under the falls, wishing we had brought shampoo since there was never any guarantee that the next place we slept was going to have a fully equipped bathroom. Actually, come the think of it, the next place we spent the night, we bathed with buckets of ridiculously cold water

These 'pools' were pretty deep and the bottoms were all rocks, which made the water even more clear.

There was also a big rock, about 8-10 feet high, to jump off of into that big pool of water in the picture below. Well, the rock isn't in the picture below, it's farther to the right, but the pool of water is. Oh whatever...

Do notice the pole going across the top of the photo.  When we jumped off the rock we had to dodge the pole in order to not hit our heads.  Fortunately, no one hit their head.  Also, notice Brad about to fall.  The rocks were really slippery.  Again, thankfully, he didn't fall and hit his head.

'Twas positively wonderful.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

True Friendship

I got a note in the mail Friday telling me I had a package waiting at the Post Office.  Yippie, my first mail in over 4 months!!

My dearest friend, Kaylee, sent me a happy!  It was stuffed with Easter candy (since the Easter candy down here left something to be desired), hair accessories, socks, tea tree oil, and a few other things....

True friendship spends more on the shipping than the contents.  

Munching on slightly squished, minimally melted, decadently delicious jelly beans....


Friday, April 16, 2010


That was the name of the first village we went to in Chiapas.  It was a little different than I had imagined Paradise to be, but it was quaint, and honestly larger than most of the villages we visited.  Upon arrival, Jonathan asked where the streets of gold were, to which Inmer replied : "Somebody stole them."  I think that pretty much explains it.  The people there were very hospitable; the church members were waiting for us when we arrived.  We spent the night at Reina's house, a young lady from the church, on an air mattress we had just purchased from Wal-mart in the last large town.  Having been warned that we may end up sleeping on the floors of churches, we decided this minor purchase could make the trip much more enjoyable.  It also kept our hosts from offering their own beds and in turn, them sleeping on the floor.  All in all, a decent purchase.  We should have, however, sprung for the electric air pump because it took Jonathan, Inmer and Bradley 30 minutes each night to blow the thing up with a bicycle pump.  Who knew?

The next morning we went to the church; Jonathan shared a short message and then we gave bags to the children.  It is really remarkable - children who have so little, are pleased with so little.  All the older boys received soccer balls, which made then indescribably happy.  

(A sweet little girl with her pink goodie bag)

The bags are all filled by churches in the States and brought down by Phil and Marianne - the American couple we are working with down here.  For girls, the bags consisted of anything from clothes, Lip Smackers, crayons and coloring books, to soap, shampoo, lotion, toothbrushes & toothpaste, hair accessories, flip flops, dolls, Barbies, stuffed animals etc...

(Happy girls!)

For boys, the bags typically included a soccer ball, pencils and paper or coloring books, yoyos, socks, again hygiene items, calculators, frisbees, toy trucks and so on. 

What a joy it was to see the smiles on the children's faces when they opened their bags.  Some of the children were so sweet, they would just sit there until finally one of us realized they weren't going to open their bags until we told them they could.  You would've thought it was Christmas.  Really, it was like Christmas to these children.  And the farther we got up into the mountains, the less the people had and the more excited the children got!

(Bradley, myself and Inmer in Paradise.  I didn't want to show them up with my massive muscles, so I kept my arms hidden.)


P.S. If you are interested in filling any of the bags with treats, please contact us.  We can always use more!