December 3, 2013

nice to meet you, i'm mrs. grumpypants

I asked my Facebook fans (really my friends, but it makes me feel special to insinuate I have fans. Ok, I didn't insinuate, I said it) what they would find interesting to read about our lives here. 

I read the responses. Really I did. But today isn't a day to write about the fascinating little bits about living in a 3rd-world-country. Now's not the time to share the darling little habits my neighbors - and all the coastlanders in Guyana - have. 

No, today is a day to lament and cry a little.

But just a little.

Today, for the first time, I wanted to go home. "Home"  as in the USA. We normally don't use the word "home" in reference to the States, because Guyana is our home now. But today it's feeling less like home and more like… hard. 

There is nothing earth shattering about my struggles here. Honestly, they'd probably follow me to the US if I decided to tuck my tail and whimper back to Oregon. I'm honest enough with myself to realize that. 

And I don't want to go back to Oregon. As much as I love it (shout out to the Pacific North West!), I have no desire whatsoever to live in the US. This summer on furlough over and over I heard, "Wow, you're so brave to raise your children in a place like that!" To which I reply, "I think families have to be brave to raise their children in the US!" 

And I'm not that brave. 

Raising children here isn't really all that different. These's just less secret chocolate for those moments when I need to hide in the bathroom and breathe deeply. There's a lot less STUFF. Toys, clothes, junk. My children have exactly 3 sets of toys (wooden blocks, kitchen toys, and cars) and a few other random toys. Oh yeah, good ol' Mr. Potato Head made the flight too. 

There's also a lot fewer modern conveniences here too. Things like take out, one-stop-shopping, and 24/7 electricity. 

Add in mosquitoes, 90 degree heat daily, no storage or organization in my house, and the result is Mrs. Grumpypants. Sigh. 

Tomorrow - or later this week - I'll start sharing more about our lives here. Tonight, I'm going to crawl into bed under the big net and read until sleep takes me away. 
Read More

December 2, 2013

teach and play

A dear friend of mine asked me for ideas to do some early pre-school activities with her almost 2-year old. I wrote this post a while back about teaching preschool in the jungle, and lots of the ideas are the same, some are different. 

Honestly, at 2-years old, the most important thing is to make it fun, don't push it, and go at the child's pace. Children learn so much through play at this age. Simply sitting on the floor and building block towers/coloring/driving cars for 10 minutes is some of the best interaction you can give a toddler. Don't overthink it. Really. 

So, dear friend, and anyone else needing ideas, here you go:

Designate a table or shelf where you can collect items throughout the week. Themes would be colors (all red objects), nature (pinecones, leaves, etc.), shapes (all square objects), etc. 

Get a large rubbermaid that is about 8" tall. Like the ones made for storing things under the bed. This will be your sensory bin. The theme ideas are endless. Search Pinterest for ideas. My kids always loved the sensory bin.

Read, read, and read. When you're not reading, listen to audio stories/audio Bible/etc. Classical music and children's music is also great to have on while they're playing. Become friends with the librarian. 

Color, paint, mold, and draw. We always have an art box. Invest in as many art supplies as your budget allows. Water color paint, finger paint, crayons, markers, glue sticks, pipe cleaners, etc. etc. etc. Get washable everything. I stick with Crayola washable. Do art projects often. Pinterest is your friend. Construction paper, stickers, googly eyes, etc. Play dough is ridiculously easy to make. 

Have a variety of things available for little hands. Popsicle sticks, pom poms, pip cleaners, pony beads,  etc. Cut up construction paper in little rectangles to be "money." Kids can keep themselves busy for hours with the weirdest thing, no joke. Keep treasures like empty TP rolls, canisters they can use, etc. 

If you have a spare book shelf or 2, make a mini in-house store. Use empty packages from your kitchen. Let him stock the shelves, shop, buy things, bag things, etc. A play kitchen will also be a big hit. There are lots on Pinterest to make yourself. 

Play lots. Whenever anyone asks you what to get him for his birthday, Christmas, or just because, tell them you want learning/educational toys. Don't buy plastic, battery operated toys - go for the classic wooden toys. They'll last longer, you don't have to buy batteries, and they foster creativity. There are some awesome toys out there. Melissa and Doug, Plan Toys, Woodkins, etc. Don't underestimate the learning power of playing. 

Spend as much time outside as the weather allows. Play in the dirt. Play in the water. Play in the sand. Kids are washable. Own outside toys like gardening toys, trucks for the dirt, water toys, etc. Make a water sensory bin in the summer. Let him get dirty. Get dirty with him sometimes too. Make nature art. 

Feed him. Include him in the cooking process. Let him pour and mix and stir. Yes, it takes 8 times as long to cook with a toddler, but it's worth every minute. Talk to him about what your doing too. This is a good place for early math skills as well as fine motor development. 

Have fun, fun, fun.
Here is my Pinterest board for more ideas. 
Read More

December 1, 2013

pinkie swear

I live in a world without Safeway, Krispy Kreme, and Starbucks. If I want something, I have to make it. If anyone ever needed Pinterest, it is me. 

After spending nearly a year in Guyana, I fancy myself somewhat a Suzy Homemaker. I can make almost anything - and usually I can make it well. My bread is quiet good. My cinnamon rolls are great. My tortillas are worth every labored minute. 

I am pretty handy in the kitchen, I'm organized(ish) in my house, I keep a dandy routine/schedule for my family, and I feed my family mostly healthy meals (minus my recent addiction to Snickers bars). 

I'm not gifted in any of the homemaking arts. None of this comes easy to me. In fact, a year ago I didn't know how to make soup. A year ago, I had no idea people could make virtually everything they [I] bought at Safeway. It has been a process, and I'm still a far cry from, say, reaching the culinary delights of my extremely talented sister. But I'm getting there. 

I am going to make an effort to write more about our lives here in Guyana and the things we do in everyday life that are things we'd never do in the States (like wade through 6 inches of rainwater, catch frogs in the washing machine, and make sure the bug net is tucked in). 

I'm haven't been goo about writing since we got back from furlough and moved to Georgetown, but here is my solemn promise to think about trying to write more. Pinkie swear. 

PS I just wrote a guest blog post here about putting more Jesus in Christmas. 
Read More

October 12, 2013

699 penny lane

This is our house. 699 Penny Lane. Want to come for a visit?

We have been in back in Guyana for a week and a half now. It's been... interesting, to be sure. It's certainly different than living in the jungle, but it's not all bad.

Here are some highlights of our first week and a half as Georgetown residents:
= We bought a fridge, washing machine, kitchen table, and chocolate.
= Samuel has decided he needs to eat no less than 4 bananas per day.
= Amelia picked out a kitten from the pound after our cat ran away.
= Todd has been trying to figure out the wacky water system here at the house.
= I have made friends with a lady that drives her truck around selling produce/bananas everyday.
= We have started preschool in a very lazy fashion.
= I made smoothies and them popsicles. I'm very well liked around here.
= We got internet set up at home and we both got cell phones. Hello, world!
= I finally made my first every homemade play clay
= We have spent several hours in our favorite taxi driver, Smokey's car looking for a Smokey-approved fan.
= We have made friends with our next-door neighbor who has hammocks. The kids ask to visit daily.
= We have all been needing 2 showers a day. In the morning and at night. It's super hot here.
= Todd is happy to be back in an airplane engine and not up front preaching.
Read More

August 28, 2013

just finish

Running the Spartan this year helped me prepare for the wrapping up of our furlough. This is how I feel:

Just finish.

We have been so very, very blessed this summer in so many ways. We are thrilled that we are so close to meeting our financial goals. We are self-supporting independent missionaries. What that means is that we don't get a paycheck. We don't have church funding. We don't have any income. We share the needs we have and are supported by those who feel  impressed to support our project and our family. To those people we are so grateful.

But blessings come in many different forms. Some people have blessed us by opening their homes to us. Feeding us. Encouraging us. One of the biggest blessings is when people pray for us.

Our project benefits also, as we have hundreds of Bibles that have been collected in the Seattle area. These Bibles will be shipped to Guyana as funds are available and will go into the interior to people who would not have access to Bibles otherwise. We can't wait to share the Bibles in the jungle.

We can't say thank you enough to everyone involved with supporting us.

We have only 2 church visits left, and then our summer of travel, speaking, and presenting is over. We would love to return to the jungle as soon as we are done, but we still have some hurdles to jump. We covet ongoing prayers in this matter.

It is to wonderful to be back in my hometown of Walla Walla! So many friends and family we don't see often enough. And I've said it before and and I'll say it again - Walla Walla has some of the most beautiful sunsets on the planet. I feel so blessed to be able to experience them again.

Thanks again everyone. :) Blessings!
Read More

August 9, 2013

dance, little one

My Dearest Millie,

Life is very short. I have you for an such a small amount of time and then you will be spreading your own wings. My heart hurts tonight. What a wretched world we live in. If I could make a world for you, it would be so lovely. We would swim instead of drive, eat yogurt for every meal, and you would have a whole closet full of sparkly tutus. You would dance instead of walk. You would dance whenever your heart needed to let of your sometimes explosive energy. If I could make this world safe for you, you would never have to wait for me to catch up to you so you can cross the street holding my hand. You would be able to take nature walks to explore all that your heart wishes -- at your own pace. 

Oh dear one. There is so much hurt in our world. So much anger and spite. So much evil. If I could protect you from it you would never know the injustice of having something taken from you. You would never know the violation of someone breaking in and rummaging through your earthly treasures. You would never know heart break, or pain, or fear, if only I could protect you. 

Take heart, small one. Someday all I hope to shield you from will, in one way or another cause you to want to stop dancing. You will learn that trust can shatter and your heart is more fragile than fine China. People won't only disappoint you, they will wound you to the core of your soul. But take heart, my love.

This world is not only a place of nightmares. Our world, ugly as it can be, is a stage for the most beautiful ballet. Just when it seems all hope really is gone forever, remember the beauty of what lies inside your heart in that one little chamber no human can reach. That place that Jesus claims as His own inside you. When you throw your arms out, dizzy from spinning, remember His arms. 

Once nailed to a piece of timber, His arms are still open wide. Ready to embrace. Ready to take the lead. This is what will prepare you to dance in Heaven. Learn to follow Him through the forest of trials and soon, sweet one, you will follow Him home. 

Love you forever and always,
Read More

July 28, 2013

intervention needed

I have a serious illness. I'm not sure if there is a cure. It's called mommybagitus. I started developing symptoms about 4 years ago, and it's just gotten worse.

To the point of needing an amputation.

My symptoms were so severe, that in a store today I realized the sad truth; I need to see help. I need intervention.

Help me.

In no particular order, here is what makes up the 80 pounds I carry around daily:

1 spiral notebook
1 thriving Family magazine
1 pair sunglasses
1 child's photo book
1 package dried apricots
1 container teddy grams
1 bag cinnamon bears (in my defense these have only been in since yesterday)
1 medicated nasal spray
1 saline nasal spray (I recommend this over the medicated one. In case you were wondering.)
1 play phone
2 packs of crayons
1 car, 1 tractor and 3 trucks
2 baggies of treats
4 baggies of snacks
1 set Wikki Stix (if you have children you NEED wiki stix. Trust me.)
1 package Ricola drops
1 package thank you cards
1 journal
4 go go squeeze
2 clean, empty baggies (you never know when you'll need one)
4 packages of emergen-C
1 red robin card
3 pens
1 hand sanitizer bottle
5 dinosaurs (2 blue, 2 green, 1 yellow)
1 pack sticky notes
2 diapers
1 diaper cream
1 pack diaper wipes
1 onsie
1 short-alls
1 pair little girl panties
1 mac power adapter
4 tampons
1 chapstick
1 mac lipstick
1 travel Advil (for all the back pain I have carrying all this crap around)
2 hair ties
1 small Bible
1 fat handful of tissues
1 hairbrush
1 broken clip-on earring (this one baffles me. Never saw it before.)
1 bacon mold ice cube tray (I'm not kidding)
1 pile of papers, receipts, and old church bulletins
and, one the very bottom, 1 wallet

In my defense we've done nothing but travel for the past month and a half.

I know. I'm pathetic.

After taking everything out though, I am proud to tell you that for at least the next 10 minutes all that is in my purse is the diapers, wipes, tissues, sunglasses, and wallet (and all the little girly necessities in the little zipper pocket.

Just one more reason that motherhood has been training me for the Spartan.
Read More

July 24, 2013

how to teach preschool in the jungle

I have so many friends with small children who worry that they aren't teaching their children. They're not reading yet. Not counting yet. Not doing long division yet. 

They fret over not having a curriculum or a program or a plan. They don't think they can do it.

Chin up, Mamas! Put aside your reservations and hesitations and listen to me: YOU CAN DO IT! You CAN teach your children! Without them even realizing it. And you don't need anything fancy to do it. I promise.  

The following ideas are mostly things I do in our own jungle preschool. Some are things I can't do in the jungle btut wish we could. If I can do preschool in the jungle, you can do it anywhere! 

1. Read, read, read to your child! Read books, newspapers, magazines, cereal boxes, road signs, words to songs, and more books. Become friends with the librarian. Build your own mini library (I love thrift stores and yard sales!).

2. Go outside. Make patterns with pinecones, leaves, and rocks. Use flowers to teach colors. Make shapes out of blades of grass or sticks. Count bugs. Make leaf rubbings. Start a rock collection. Or a leaf collection. Or if you're really brave, a bug collection. 

3. Cut up old magazines. Cut out words and letters. Cut out pictures of animals and people. Make up stories with the pictures. Glue letters or words onto paper. Let your toddler practice cutting and glueing with the rest of the magazine. 

4. Buy basic art supplies*. Children love art! Let them paint, color, stamp and draw when you can't think of anything else. Color on cheap paper plates. Paint rocks. Use dry-erase markers on the mirror. Cut up colored paper into squares and let them glue them into a design. Make yourself an art box of supplies, recycle things from around the house visit the dollar store. Empty cereal boxes have hidden canvases inside them. 

5. Print off ABC printables. Look on Pinterest, there are so many good sites out there dedicated to free preschool printables. Print them off, put them in plastic page protectors and into a notebook. Bam. A writing book. Use dry-erase markers for endless fun. 

6. Look in your pantry. Put baking soda in a pan and let them use a dropper to drip food coloring and vinegar into the baking soda. Use cornstarch and colored water to make goo. Make your own bubbles. Make your own play dough. Make your own modge-podge. Again, Pinterest is your friend when you need ideas.

7. Make cookies. Make bread. Make ice cream - you don't need a fancy ice cream maker. Let the kids do the scooping and pouring and measuring. Talk about it. You just might teach fractions without realizing it. This whole, half, quarter thing is an early math skill they can totally get. 

8. Teach things like alliteration, opposites, and rhyming using what you find in your house and yard. They will not only think you're the most clever person alive, but they will think it's hilarious. Find a bunch of items beginning with the same letter and make up a story using them. They won't even know they're learning. 

9. Study your child. What are their interested? Do they love animals? Google them and learn about them. Do they love music? Listen to as many different kinds as you can think of. If they love cars, use painter's tape on the floor to make roads and parking lots for red cars, blue cars, etc. Use their interests to your advantage. 

10. Make a play area. You don't have to spend a lot of money on a play kitchen if you have cardboard boxes and markers. Or shop at yard sales or craigslist for deals. Try goodwill for dress-up clothes or premie baby clothes for a dolly. Use an end table for a tool bench. Put clean,empty food containers on a low bookshelf and they have a store.  Children learn through play. Play with them. 

11. Be kind. Teach your child to look for opportunities to help others. Write cards to people to encourage them. Buy flowers for a neighbor. Leave a note in the mailbox for the mail person. Cheer up elderly in a nursing home. Deliver a meal to a new mama. Get creative. Teach them early on to be on the lookout for ways to spread cheer. 

12. Now put it all together. You can do a few things each day, or just one thing a day. Start with A and work to Z. Or start with red and work to purple. Or put all the letters in a jar and let the child pick out the letter to work on each day. Don't set expectations. Have fun and let your child go at their own pace. If you set out supplies to make a butterfly and they end up with something resembling a dead dragon, it's ok. If your child is having fun they are learning. 

*Our art supply box includes:
Washable watercolor paints
Washable tempra pants
Extra paint brushes
Washable crayons (thin and fat)
Washable markers (thin and fat)
Dot markets
Washable stamp pads
Glue sticks
Glue bottles
Glitter glue
Colored pencils
Loose glitter
Magnets to stick on projects
Empty toilet paper tubes
Old scratched CDs
Construction paper
Coloring books
Collect things as you go. You don't have to get everything at once. 

Early childhood education doesn't have to be ridged and structured. You can use what you have where you are. 
Read More

July 23, 2013


I am running a race.

A few weeks ago my sis-in-law told me she wanted us to run the Spartan Race with her. My first thought, yeah right! Then I went online and started watching the videos. And I kinda wanted to do it. Then I really wanted to do it.

But then I got sick, and I couldn't train. Boo.

So with 2 weeks before the race she needs to know - are we in or out?

The Spartan isn't really about running. Yes, you run, but it's more of an overall strength kinda thing. You crawl up a muddy hill with barbed wire above your head. You climb up walls. You move heavy objects.

I kind of feel like motherhood has prepared me for this moment.


So we agreed and began running and strengthening our muscles. I ran a mile yesterday, did 30 pushups (on a low wall, come on now, I haven't done a push up since high school), 30 sit-ups and 30 jumping jacks.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a tad bit sore.

Ok, maybe a lot bit sore.

For those who don't know, I've had several hip rebuild surgeries, my latest being a total hip replacement. It was a long and hard recovery because of the damage to my hip. I have hip dysplasia and my bones just kinda wear away, and I needed a hip replacement at 20, I waited until 29. By the time my doc got in there, it was unrecognizable as a hip joint. It was pretty bad. The recovery was seemingly endless.

But, here I am. Recovered.

And for the first time in just about my whole life, I'm able to run. Well, "able" is a relative term. Running is not intuitive to me. I can't just hit the road and take off running. I still at times have to go through the steps of how to walk in my brain. Even walking isn't 100% intuitive to me. Running is a new challenge.

Ever since I knew I was getting a new hip it had been my dream to run a marathon. Post surgery I've been advised by every health professional not to take up running. So my goal has gone from marathon, to half-marathon, to a 5K.

Enter the Spartan.

I'm only going to run one race. That's it. Just to be able to say I've run a race. But not just to say it, to do it. So I can know I can do it. If I'm going to run, it might as well be a good run.

So, August 4th I will be at the Spartan Race in Washougal, Washington. Running. I won't be first. I won't even be in the top percentage of finishers. My goal isn't to win. It's to finish. Even if it takes me all day, I'm going to finish. I'm not in the physical shape I wish I was in, but my hip is strong and so is my will. I'm determined. I'm excited. I'm a bit of a dreamer.

This is the year for making dreams come true.
Read More

July 15, 2013


Since we have been asked, I'm posting this list we made while we were in Paruima of things we wished we had. We will be shipping some more barrels and will have lots of luggage to fill. 

Kitchen Items:
  • Nice knife set (chef knife, paring knife, bread knife)
  • 2 x air bake cookie sheets
  • Hot pads/trivet 
  • Airtight storage containers
  • Metal dish drainer 
  • 3-5 cup measuring cup
  • Knitted dish rags
  • Kitchen scissors
  • Strainer
  • Under-counter paper towel holder
  • Grinder (for grinding nuts/seeds/etc)
  • Rolling pin
  • Tortilla press

Home Items:
  • Good clothes pins
  • Lighter wands
  • Floor rugs
  • Good laundry line
  • Welcome/mud mat
  • Dr. Bronner's
  • 12v LED home lightbulbs
Food Items:
  • Almond/cashew/soy butter (NO peanut butter)
  • TVP
  • Powdered soya milk
  • Pure maple syrup 
  • Treats
  • Nuts (NO peanuts)
  • Egg replacer
  • Brewer's/Nutritional Yeast
  • Powdered buttermilk
  • Brown rice
  • Freeze dried fruits and veggies
  • Tortillas
  • Dried fruit
  • Vanilla extract 
Children's Wish List:
  • Coloring books
  • Construction paper
  • Black socks
  • Children's aviation headsets
  • Children size garden tools
Preschool Wish List:
  • Left-handed scissors 
  • Preschool printing paper
  • Art supplies
  • Writing notebooks
  • Dry/erase board and markers
  • Activity books
  • Craft supplies

Outdoor Wish List:
  • Hummingbird feeder
  • Garden tools
  • 2 + adult camp chairs
  • 2 + children camp chairs
  • Weed wacker
  • Outdoor toys
  • Hose

Medicine Box Wish List:
  • Throat Coat tea
  • throat drops
  • First aid spray for pain/cuts
  • Emergency medicine supplies
Mechanic Wish List:
  • Engine pull cords
  • Carburetor rebuild kits
  • Air filters
  • Spark plugs
  • Spark plug tester
  • RPM meter
  • Tachometer 
  • Cylinder piston ring compression tools
  • Valve spring compression pliers 

Misc. Wish List:
  • New MacBook Pro cover
  • Filter cloth 
  • Underwater caulking/glue 
  • Rechargeable AA and AAA batteries 
  • Honda generator 
  • Solar attic fan (12 v)
  •  Tarps
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Computer speakers
  • Extra batteries or battery grip for 6D
  • Rain cover for 6D
I also have an wish list started if you care to see it.
Read More

July 8, 2013


Here are my top 10 excuses for not blogging:
1. Children
2. Traveling
3. Children
4. I've had a cold
5. Children
6. Laziness
7. Children
8. Traveling
9. Children
10. Children

Actually, there are 11 excuses. My more valid excuse is that I'm using the time I would be blogging to write. I'm writing... I'm writing (this is almost painful for me to admit) - I'm writing a book! Gah! It's something I've always said I want to do someday. And here I am, fulfilling my dream!

I'm going to try to write more on my blog, but in the meantime, know I'm spending good time writing a book I hope you will enjoy someday. :)

Also, I found this last bit of journal from the jungle:

May 16
I am home in Paruima. We brought out a GALLON of ice cream and chocolate sauce. It was such a delight to see everyone's excitement! 

May 22
Me: "What did the bat do when he fell on the ground?"
Millie: "Just sat there."
Me: "For how long?"
Millie: "I don't know. About a half hour."
Me: "What was he doing?"
Millie: "Just sitting there. Hanging out."
Me: "What did he do when he got up?"
Millie: "Just flew around, checking things out."

I haven't journaled since we returned from our last trip to town. Let's see - in the past week we've been doing our thing - teaching our classes, Todd has fixed the tractor again, repaired some buildings, and done some general maintenance things. I now wash all laundry by hand (cloth diapers included. Ew.). We're starting to prepare for our trip back to the States. It's baffling how quickly the time has passed. 

May 27
Salt and toothpaste. The breakfast of champions. Or toddlers who are up before parents. Sigh. 
We have been sick here. Though I am feeling much better today, I am weak from not eating the last 2 days (I tried, I promise. I did nibble on toast and the chicken noodle soup Hubs made). I missed a trip to the beautiful falls that my family went to, along with all the other missionaries here. We will try to go again next weekend. 
Now I have the task of getting the house back in order after 2 days of being in bed. 
Today I begin packing. We are leaving Paruima in 10 days. I think we're all in denial. I can't believe that in 2 weeks from today we'll be in the States again. I can't believe how quickly this trip went, and how much I'm already looking forward to returning. So much has happened in the short 4 months we've been here. I pray our time in the States is short and passes quickly. We hope to be back in Paruima in September for classes. 
Our sloth has visited us again, though he was quick to climb trees this time. :) I love seeing him!

Millie had her first bee sting today. Let the records show that all involved survived, even if only barely. 

May 28
Millie just discovered Sam's spine, so we were talking about it. 
Me: Everybody has a spine.
Millie: Everybody?
Me: Well, all humans. All people have spines.
Millie: Even boys???

Millie to Sam: You're such a clever little boy.
Millie to me: I leaned that from you. 

I would write what Sam says, but mostly it's a lot of dancing around and talking about airplanes, frogs, and tractors. Such a little boy. :) He's currently running in circles naked. 

It is Tuesday and I have been sick since Friday night. I'm officially over the whole being sick thing. Wish my body would get the memo. It's getting old fast. 

May 29
Millie brought me flowers in hopes that they would make me feel better (my first bouquet from her!) last night - and it worked! I was able to get back to my class today and start to regain control over the house (that part is going to take a few days). Sigh.

May 30
I gave my students a test today. It is so discouraging looking at them. My kids are great, they're the cream of the remedial crop - but oh man… teaching - or rather them learning - certainly isn't happening overnight. 

I'm struggling with failing. It seems to be constant. It's wearing me out. I'm getting a little caught up with the if-only's. If only I had more energy. If only my kids could pick up their messes. If only… Sigh. If only I had time to write without children climbing on me…

May 31
Sometimes, every once in a while, about once a month, I feel like a rockstar mom. This afternoon for snack, I made popcorn, served leftover juice, and shared a bit from my cadbury bar. Might not sound impressive, but it certainly rocked with my kids. Now, I would be washing the dishes (they've piled up since breakfast) but we have no water. The husband is up working on something up there, so I'm guessing (hoping) that he's just disconnected something. I found out the water was off after Millie called me up for a wipe. Oops. 

Read More

May 10, 2013

jungle life - April/May

Day…. something… 
I have no idea what day I'm on. Perhaps I should have been keeping track by date instead of numbered days. Anyhow, here we are. We went to Georgetown thinking we'd be gone a week at the most. 3 1/2 weeks later, we landed on our little grass airstrip in Paruima. Our trip to town was trying, enlightening, hard, and rewarding. Today is Monday April 29th. We have been home a week now. And what a week it has been! I have not been journaling this week but hope to get back on track. I'll just give a few highlights. First off, I am now teaching English at the Academy here (the academy is using DIIC buildings right now so I don't go far). The other missionary who was teaching the English class had her hands full so she broke the class into small groups and gave me 6 lovely students to teach. She gave me the best behaved children on purpose - for which I am very grateful! 

We finally got to see our first sloth - well, my first 2 sloths actually. I'm so glad for this and have been wanting to see a sloth ever since I arrived in the jungle. Unfortunately they were up in the canopy and I didn't get a very close look or very good photos. But, still, it was a sloth sighting. They are very good at hiding, so even though they don't go fast, they're still hard to find and easily lost in the jungle. 

As ashamed as I am to admit it, I went to the village for the first time (I mean instead of just going to church and back). Christine gave me the tour, I met more people, and got to see 3 of the 4 village stores. It's such a darling village. I just love it. 

Yesterday I filmed/watched a tooth extraction and an infection draining. Sorry, that's probably not something I should talk about in polite company. Both were interesting and the tooth extraction was a teaching tooth, so someday I might be able to pull a tooth if the need would arise. 

I taught my first Sabbath School class, though it was very impromptu and I wasn't prepared at all. I guess the teacher and some of the older kids went out visiting in the village (or something?) and when we got there it was all the younger kids just sitting around. So guess who became the default teacher? Hahaha. It was fine. They got felts out for me and I told them the story of David the shepherd boy. And then led a pitiful song service (pitiful because it was mostly me singing. I can't sing.) and prayer. I felt awkward because I didn't really know what to do. But we survived, and made it almost to the end of the sermon before the wee one melted down, and usually we don't hear more than 5 minutes of sermon it seems. 

Our biggest news in the last week is that Millie is officially a big girl! We had a little party to celebrate, I made cupcakes and she got a present. Millie doesn't sleep with her paci anymore! We're still in the process of it getting easier, but she has been paci-free for 3 nights now! It gets a little easier each night. The first 2 nights she slept in our bed (seriously it's like sleeping with an octopus) and last night she went to sleep in her own bed again. Progress! 

Sam found a crayon somewhere. I keep them picked up, so I'm not sure where he got it. It's a blue crayon. My computer screen is now example A why toddlers should never be allowed to run around with crayons. Sigh. This is why I only allow washable crayons in my house.  (PS - It actually came off very easily. Phew!)

April 30
"Mama, let's play buying. You will be the buyer and I will be the beeper."

Last night we heard the sloths whistling to each other again - I have not seen them yet today but I do hope they are close by and will grant us a better look at them. Last night was the 4th night Millie went to bed without her paci. I do see it getting easier but it's still hard for her. 

I have been struggling for the past 3 or 4 days with fatigue. I don't feel ill but I'm so tired every moment of the day I feel like I could lay down and sleep for a week. It is hard for me to find the energy to do the basic things required of me. Though I did manage to make bread today and pan of cinnamon rolls. Still my house is sadly in need of a cleaning, which I have neglected to do for several days now. Sigh. 

May 1
I imagine that when the plagues were upon Egypt, there were frogs in their beds. In this way I can relate to the Egyptians. That's right - a tree frog was in my bed, jumping around looking for the exit. 

Also, I have been in Guyana for 3 months today, and I just saw my first snake. In the yard. Where my kids play. [insert very unhappy scowl here] It was "just passing through" as our friend James put it. He tried to kill it with his cutlass (and missed, it was very fast) and the snake got mad, coiled, and poised to strike. Ugh! Right in the short grass! It was dusk and that's when they come out, so that makes me feel a little better. James didn't think it was poisonous but wasn't sure. UGH. 

The plane came today and brought goodies from our barrels. The joy of the barrels will be renewed every time a bit comes out on the plane. I think it's more fun this way. In todays bit, there was a jar of Nutella. If that's not joy, then I don't know what is. :D We also got the rest of our cloth diapers and cloth wipes! So glad for that. I'm hoping we now have enough to not have to use disposables. 

Those who know me and my aversion to chemicals will be surprised to hear this - I love bleach!!!! I honestly haven't used much bleach in my life, but here in the rain forest, where there is lots of rain, there is lots of mold. Our shower was looking… um, I don't really want to admit how bad it looked. Let's just say it was pretty bad. Anyhow, I couldn't get it clean, no matter what I tried, so I broke down and used some clorox bleach spray cleaner. Amazing! I'm very proud to report that my shower is now white again. And the sink. And the toilet. Bleach made a friend today. Me. 

May 2
Hubs and I never took a honeymoon. We just didn't have the money I guess, I don't remember if we had another reason. But, we certainly had the honeymoon phase. I remember when it ended, when life resumed and the newness and excitement wore off. We went through the same thing here in Guyana. It was new and exciting and perfect in our eyes. 

Our honeymoon phase has ended. Yesterday I had a crash-course in some of the spiritualism that goes on here. Witchcraft. Animism. Satanic forces at work. We knew there was a measure of this going on, but it's a little more real today. A little more personal. And not one person in the village, it seems, is free from the bondage of fear.

Now I'm not sure what to do with this information. My first reaction is to hightail it outta here and pretend like we don't really feel called to work here. But that would be a lie. Neither is it what we are to do as Christians. 

"Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you my be successful wherever you do. Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:7-9

Deep breath. Smile. God's got this. 

May 3
I have never been so terrified in all my life. One moment I'm listening to the tropic storm bounce around top the jungle, watching the flashes of lightening and hearing the rumble that follows. I'm almost asleep. Then it happened. The loudest, most terrifying sound I've ever heard in my life. I'm not sure if our roof was hit by lightening or if the thunder crash just happened over our house. Either way, I'm pretty sure God was talking to someone. It was SO loud. I shook so hard my body was sore. 

Lightening storms rank right up there among the top 3 things that terrify me. I also hate fireworks. Both made loud noises and start fires - which is the real reason they scare me so much. I hate loud noises, and fire is easily my biggest fear. So last night, when it seemed I was IN a thunder cloud, it's easy to say one of my top terrifying moments in all my life. Todd woke up from a dead sleep throwing his arm over me to protect me from what he thought was the roof crashing in. The kids slept right through it. 

May 5
My scream echoed through the valley. I could hear it carry, but I didn't care. I screamed again for Christine to come quick. I ran from the upstairs deck trembling. I grabbed my camera and ran out the door, shouting to Sam to put his boots on and come outside. I ran around the house to the back lawn, and sank to my knees, (still screaming for Christine) about 2 feet away from what I had only dreamed I'd see from afar. Slowly and unafraid, the baby sloth crawled even closer to me. It took about 10 minutes to stop shaking with awe and excitement of such a rare and amazing sight. I knew what I was experiencing was something very few will ever see. I was taking photos and videos that I knew I would treasure for a long time. Today was one of the most amazing days ever! :)

The sloth hung out with us for about an hour, before darkness fell and the little guy disappeared into the brush. Though it's probably frowned upon and I might get scolded for this, we pet it. And picked him up. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking of keeping him. Everyone kept reminding me that I don't know the first thing about sloths, but it was a baby all by itself. It needed me, right? I was sad to see his little rear end slowly move into the brush and away from me. 

May 6
Todd left home this morning while it was still dark. He and Clifton trekked the mile-long muddy trail in the rain with head lamps and backpacks. Shortly after the sun peaked over the mountain, I heard the plane take off. Todd will be gone until Thursday, he had to go to come training thing at the airport to get his security badge. So the kids and I are on our own for the next few days. 

The sloth is nowhere to be found. He's a good little hider. I hope he found his mommy. 

May 8
"You're teaching me how to cook."
Me: "Mmhmm."
Millie: "I'm going to learn how to cook all by myself."
Me: "Yep."
Millie: "I'm going to be just you when I get big."
I smiled at Millie at her statement but cringed inwardly. Just like me? Yikes. I don't want her to be like me, I want her to be better than me. If I'm who she's going to want to be like I'd better be someone I want my daughter to be. I want to raise my voice less and smile more. I want to be more like Jesus. I want to love like Jesus. Cause that's who I want her to be. 
But she DID cook today. Baked actually. Well, I did the baking, she did the pouring and mixing. We were blessed with some packets of muffin mix from town and I let her make them. Just add water. Sounds right up a 3-year old's alley. She loved it. I need to remember to shoo her out of the kitchen less and let her help more. I get caught up on efficiency and cleanliness sometimes. Both of which are irrelevant to a 3-year old, I've discovered. 

Single parenthood is hard. I don't know how single parents do it for longer than 3 days. Which is exactly how long I've been solo parenting and I'm not sure how long I can go on. So tired. Need sleep. Sigh. Kudos and hats off to parents doing this indefinitely. We found out yesterday Todd won't be back on Thursday. Sigh. His class will go until Friday. Todd said he's going to try to come back out on Friday, but honestly I don't have high hopes. I'm thinking Sunday at the earliest. Sigh. I love my kids dearly and we're really doing fine, but I am tired and would like a break to refill my patience bank. The meter's a little low. (Is that the right kind of 'meter?' I have a feeling it's not but my brain is sleepy). 

It's a very rainy day today. Currently the road [read: trail] that goes up the hill is being transformed into a river. My kids are going to get cabin fever. After quiet/nap time, I'm going to be very brave and let them go splashing in the road-turned-river. I think. I actually don't mind the wet and the mud and the mess, but it is a chilly day. I even have a sweater on! Rarely is it cool enough for me to be in a sweater at noon (which is the time, if you were wondering). 

Read More

April 17, 2013

April 6, 2013

life in the jungle - march 2013

I know, I know. If I get any more grief about not posting on my blog I'm gonna get a black eye. Here, at long last, is my mission journal for the past month:

Days 27-33 were spent in GT

Day 34 - Tuesday 
I didn't end up coming home until yesterday. We were a full week in town. I didn't write about it, because it's Georgetown, and there is nothing good to write about GT. It's pretty much a scaled down version of Manila without the upscale/posh shopping districts and neighborhoods. Nope. GT is a loud, smelly, trashy, rubbish bin for for most part. Very different from the peaceful home I'm now sitting in.  

Today I woke up after a rough night. Samuel woke up sometime around 3 am and declared it party time. Today both children have been grumpy and didn't nap. It will take a few days to adjust to having the family all under one roof again. 
Waiting for the plane

The flight yesterday was bumpy. Very bumpy. I've been very blessed with smooth flights most of our mission career. I can think of only 2 or 3 flights out of the dozens I've been on that were rough. One of those were so bad we were forced to turn around and land on southern Mindoro. But, we are home again and bumpy as it might have been, it was a safe and otherwise uneventful flight. 

Day 35 - Wednesday
I watch Christine's little boy, who is about 6 months younger than Sam, everyday now while she teaches. It's fun to have 2 little guys nearly the same age together. 
New friends

Day 36 - Thursday
[Insert blank look here]

Day 37 - Friday
Christine came over for lunch and stayed the afternoon. We baked together for Sabbath potluck. We both made bread, I made rolls and cookies also, and she made cinnamon rolls. It's going to be a great potluck. Hehehe.
Samuel discovered the cookies

Day 38 - Sabbath
The sermon today was very good. At least I'm presuming so because of all the "amen"s. We understood little of what was said, but were still blessed by all the smiling welcomes we received. The mile-long walk home was hard in the hot sun, but we made it and potluck was as enjoyable as we had anticipated.

Day 39 - Sunday
We visited a local farm this morning. It was about a mile and the sun was hot. I have a deep respect for the people who make their lives here in this harsh climate. Todd helped to weed a field of beans for a while before it was nap time (for Samuel at least). After lunch Millie and Papa went to meet the plane and I made brownies.
She's got it so rough here - nap time.

Day 40 - Monday
Haystack supper with friends and chocolate no-bake cookies for supper.

Day 41 - Tuesday
I finally am getting to work on pumping out video. Well, kind of. I'm importing video, but my computer is already under 50% so I'm not sure how far I'll actually get. I've taken a fair amount of video, but this is the problem I'm having - not enough power to do anything with it.
Little ham

Big ham

Todd and Brother Shadrack are crossing the river to look for tall enough bamboo to make a latter so Todd and attach some more solar panels to the roof. You know, so I can get some work done. On a side note, I'm sitting in my hammock with my laptop in my computer working on video. Sure beats sitting in an office any day!

Day 42 - Wednesday Woes
I have managed to catch my first jungle illness. Sore throat, headache, aching back, joints, and body, and fever. Boo.
Samuel keeping Mama company in bed

Day 43 - Thursday 
Fever down to 100 and headache is gone. Still sore and weak. But I manage to get bread made, forgetting it twice when I left it to rise. We have large bread.

Day 44 - Friday
I didn't believe Laura when she told me today was Friday. Where did the week go? I am better today but still weak and a little sore. I managed to make the trip to the plane with Christine and James to see Christine and baby Kadin off to town. I also managed to make potato soup and apple crisp.
Resting in the shade of the wing

Day 45 - Sabbath
We found out last night that there is to be no church today. Strange. They're doing this thing where everyone goes out and visits backslidden members and shut-ins. Good idea. I'm not sure I was up for the hike to church today anyhow.
Instead of church, Papa made Millie a boat

It floated for about 5 minutes before sinking

Day 46 - Monday Miss
Today I taught my first DIIC class. I was a little shaky and rusty at teaching, yet I still enjoyed it.
Samuel likes Mama's bread

I tried making edos for the first time. Edos are a local potato-like root that has a pleasing taste. The thing about edos that no one tells you, is that you should wear gloves when preparing it. There is this very slimy substance that oozes forth from the edos that upon contact with the skin, makes ones hands itch horribly. The itching didn't last very long, but no amount of hand-washing helps. It was not the most pleasing task I've ever done, preparing the edos, but the result was nice. I was making cutlets, which call for potatoes. Having no potatoes, I tried them with edos and when we were sitting down to eat them with some barbecue sauce, I must say they tasted remarkably similar to Mc D's chicken nuggets! There were no chickens in my cutlets to be sure - just in case you were wondering. We are still
If you look closely you'll see a 6ft+ wingspan on this vulture

Day 48 - Tuesday
It felt so natural to be in front of a class today. I guess teaching is like riding a bike… with a bunch of people watching you. I am in love with our little class of 5 DIIC students. I love teaching them. I fear I'm going to have a hard time giving them back to their teacher, Christine, when she is back from town. I think they like me too.
Our little "koipetuck"

They asked me several questions about myself today and asked if I can still teach them when Christine gets back. They spent a few minutes of our class today trying to think of what class I can teach them, just so I'm still their teacher. It's a thought that warms my heart and I will confess that I am praying for just that.
Some of my poser students helping with the rebar

Day 49 - Wowser Wednesday
The sun is going down and I am out on the deck watching. There is something magical about sunsets here. I used to think Walla Walla had the best sunsets on Earth, but Guyana sure is coming close. Here it's like being in the sunset. The color is all around and even the air seems rose colored. It's one of my favorite times of day. My other favorite is when the sun is rising. Magical, I tell you.

I taught the students today. I mean, I actually taught them something new and I watched their faces experience Jesus in a new way. It was even more beautiful than the sunset before me. I have been teaching the story of the good Samaritan this week, telling them there are 2 reasons Jesus told this story. We've spent 2 1/2 days going over the more traditional, "go and do likewise" meaning. We've looked at who our neighbor is and what it means to love them. But I kept telling them that is only one of the 2 meanings of the story. And when it was finally time to learn the second meaning, I saw it on their faces. And when I drove my point home that this story isn't just what Jesus wants us to do - but it's also the story of what He has already done - they were silent. And the looks on their faces is something I'll never forget. Rarely do I get to share Jesus like this. I like it.

Day 50 - Thursday 
My kids had a quiz today. My DIIC kids that is. 

Day 51 - Friday
I made tortillas for potluck tomorrow. For the love of Pete someone send me a tortilla press. Hehehe. Making tortillas for potluck is a lot of work. Making tortillas for anything is a lot of work. Truly a labor of love.  I spend the better part of all day making them when I make them. But it's oh-so worth it. They are so yummy. I used my last precious bit of flour to make them.
Consider yourself warned - a little mosquito is no reason to throw out a tortilla

Day 52 - Sabbath
This is one of those days I wonder why we bother going to church with 2 small children. Sigh. But potluck was good, and we did game night, which was good. Popcorn also was good. So overall, a good Sabbath.
A "kangaza"

Day 53 - Sunday 
I spent most of the day working on video production. I filmed just about everything there was to film. I have much more to do, but I feel good about what I got done today. Standby for DIIC video on youtube. :) 

Day 54 - Monday
Most of the photos I take tend to be of fun stuff. When I'm working, I'm all business. I don't always think to take photos when I'm working (not that anyone is anxious to have a photo of me sitting editing video for hours on end). But I want to assure the world we DO work, I just don't take photos of it.
Todd reinstalling the seats in the mission plane

We are still adjusting to life here. Adjusting to the climate, culture, and country was easier than adjusting to the dynamics of working in the mission field - the isolation, the work, the people, etc. We're still finding our way. Some days are harder than others. Today wasn't an easy day.

Day 55 - Tuesday
The plane came today with food supplies for our family. Finally I have flour and sugar again (I've been rationing for the past 2 weeks). We also got treats. I really like treats.
Watching the guys unload the plane

Todd and the kids on the grass airstrip

As I write, Samuel is also having a treat - watching Curious George. Millie got to go work with Papa (they are helping build the cement pad for the internet equipment that we hope to have out here at some point). I wanted to do a little computer work so in went George. :) I'm working on both an email update and a paper letter to mail out.

Day 56 - Wednesday
Cookies! Bread! Chocolate! I'm a little deprived out here. :) Praise the Lord for treats in the jungle. Hehehe. Today I've made no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookies and I'm also working on my first attempt of artisan crusty bread. I'm also packing for our flight out tomorrow to town.
Millie can write her name!

We have a to-do-list a mile long, and we're going to try to get back out here as soon as we can. Aside from needing to use internet (Todd needs more material for his class and I need to work on our summer schedule more), and I'm hoping to mail letters. But the most exciting part of this trip will be getting our barrels finally!!! All the wonderful things that people donated to our family, to the project, and to the village are almost here! Not to mention food (which is very, very exciting for us with our very limited menu here). I'm excited to have clothes (I'm really at a loss as to why I thought it was a good idea to only bring half of what I needed to have and ship the rest in the barrels). The arrival of our barrels is going to be a very exciting event!
Millie and Mama checking out our barrels!

Some more photos:
Full moon in the Jungle 

Millie's first tractor ride 

"Tickling" a big ol' grasshopper

Showing me his ouch 

Lovin on Frafa


 Sleeping on the mission plane

DIIC campus from the air

I will try to upload more in the next day or 2. For now, it's nearly midnight (see what I do for you?) and I'm sleepy. :) 
Read More
cas anderson (2016) . Powered by Blogger.