Saturday, October 30, 2010

all saints' day

i have never been a big fan of halloween.  when our children were little, we 
bought lots of treats and had a movie night.  i know, it probably sounds like 
cruel and unusual punishment to not let them go trick or treating, but i just
couldn't feel great about sending them out on  a night dedicated to ghouls 
and goblins.  especially, when i believed in them.

brazilian hibiscus
it never bothered me that other people wanted to celebrate this holiday, since 
that wasn't my business, but it sure upset everybody else that i didn't want to 
participate.  sheesh, you would have thought i was abusing my kids!

it seemed better to celebrate something positive on the following day, all
saints' day.  not as thrilling, of course, to the average 10 year old but still
inspiring.  we talked about those who laid down their lives for the sake of
the cross or their loved ones.  we read stories about paul and silas in prison
or stephen, peter, and john.

corrie ten boom and john wesley were heroes and saints worthy of our
remembrance and remember them we did!  

we also had a dress up trunk that the kids repeatedly dipped into for dress
up at all other times of the year.  you might say they tricked and treated
for a different reason most days of the year.


"the thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy; I came that they may have life,
and have it abundantly."  john 10:10

Thursday, October 28, 2010

on our way to the beach

our trip to the beach was like a dream.  it is not possible to adequately describe
the verdant jungle covered mountains, skirted by clouds and mist.

we passed so many thousands of containers at port santos, the  largest
port in south america,  it looked like a container graveyard.  each of the
containers was large enough to store a small house.  in fact, some of the
shacks along the road were much smaller than the containers.

the beauty of the jungle juxtapositioned with the extreme poverty was troubling.
these poor people have to pay the most outrageous prices for basic necessities,
which i will share about more another time.   please pray for them.

i was also disconcerted by the animals.  "their cows look so strange."

"mom, those are yaks."  whatever.

then, we turned a corner and saw the ocean.

the sand was so soft and compact that bikes and vendors abounded.

competing with the grandeur of the ocean were the extraordinary, exotic
flowers.  i didn't know that orchids could grow from the trunks of coconut
trees in a symbiotic fashion.

it all still seems like a dream.


"when the Lord restored the fortunes of zion, we were like those
who dream."  psalm 126:1

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


well, after a week in brazil, the only word i know is "obrigada" . . ."thank
you!"  it expresses what is in my heart to hans for taking me to see our
daughter, hailey, and to the Lord for watching over her.

it's difficult to find the words for the relief i felt at seeing her contentment
and pride in her adopted country.  she was so excited to show us their
lovely home, the precious children she cares for, and the language school
she is attending.

after a gigantic feast at a brazilian churrascaria (steak house), i thought i
could never eat meat again.  we spent our first evening enjoying the warm
early summer breeze from their back porch, listening to the strange wail of
an "X-files" bug and the songs of the parrots above us.

when it started to sprinkle, hailey jumped up to gather in the wash from
the clothes line.  yes, they hang out the laundry, because electricity is so
expensive.  that is something i have never done.  then, we loaded up her
bag and kidnapped her for four glorious days at the beach, which i will
share about in a few days.

"obrigada" to all who visited hailey's blog and left such sweet encourage-
ments for her.


"thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"  2 corinthians 9:15

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ouch! watch what you say to me!!

dear emily,

i approached target, and a wave of grief washed over me.  as i began
sinking under it,  i heard myself say,

"silly woman, what in the world is wrong with you?"

"well, i always come to target with the girls, and i just miss them so

"uh huh, and do you remember why you are here?"  i can be so

"just picking up some things to take to hailey."  i muttered.

"i'm sorry, what did you say?"

"picking up some things to take to hailey, sir!"

"exactly.  you should be rejoicing.  now stop feeling sorry for yourself."


so i feasted on one of target's delicious all beef hot dogs, barely able to
finish it and remembered wishing i could have another just six weeks
ago.  another reason to rejoice.  :)

it made me think about how important it is to encourage my self-talk
every now and then.  "there is a time to weep but also a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance." (ecclesiastes 3:4)  my emotions
get so mixed up that i have to speak to them, too.

yikes!  i'm starting to sound schizophrenic.

i'm going to take a blog break, but it would thrill hailey, who blogs
about her brazilian experiences, if you hopped over there to say,
"hello! or ciao!" in portuguese.   well, really it would just thrill me.


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

waitin' for the car wash

when our son max was only three or so, i took him with me to drive through
the car wash, thinking he would get a kick out of the giant scrubbers, multi-
colored rubber strips, and soapy water.

wrong.  it terrified him.  i guess he thought it was attacking us, which is totally
understandable, since he always knew the fourth of july fireworks were aimed
straight at us.  don't even get me started about the circus or the rodeo!

but, i digress from the car wash.  hans has been doing an informal survey and
maintains most women will wait until the car in front pulls completely out
before we enter.  we, apparently don't understand that the wash is set to dry
the first car while foaming the second car.   uh huh.

before he could further explain the brilliant engineering of automatic car washes,
i interrupted.  "i have noticed that most men will practically push my car out
while it's still my turn."

reminds me of little boys who can't wait their turn for the water fountain.  :)


"i am waiting for the Lord, my soul is waiting for Him, and my hope is in
His word."  psalm130:5

Monday, October 11, 2010

health and fitness

dear emily,

a couple of weeks ago, i attempted to share my fitness regime and ended
up talking about cheesecake instead.  this post, however is as serious
as a heart attack.

one month ago, i made a sober self, size, and well being assessment.  i
was still heartbroken at my last child hopping out of the nest all the way
to brazil and tending to my heart with a huge scoop of vanilla haagen
dazs and chocolate syrup every night.

as i stepped away from my calorie laden addiction, i made a firm commit-
ment to myself:
  • no more ice cream fiestas after dinner
  • as many fruits and vegetables as i can stand
  • low carb for dinner
  • drastically smaller portions but every 3-4 hours during the day
  • lots of exercise, weight training, and water 
    at first, it was very uncomfortable.  i made myself stop eating even when
    i still wanted "more, please."  but, amazingly, just one month later i am
    enjoying satisfying and nutritious meals but am no longer able to eat 
    large portions.  my stomach now tells me, "no more, please." 

    i am also adjusting to my new life with hans, which includes bike rides,
    long walks, travel, and very soon a trip to brazil to see our sweet daughter!  

    and yes, my jeans fit quite comfortably again.  no way, i'm telling  the size!


    "on this mountain the Lord will prepare a feast of rich food for all
    people, a banquet of aged wine- the best of meats and the finest
    of wines."  isaiah 25:6

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    how to cook without a cookbook

    dear emily,

    one of the trickiest parts in raising five children was the 
    cooking.  breakfast alone required a giant skillet, a dozen eggs, 
    an entire package of bacon, 16 ounces of cheese,  one loaf of 
    homemade whole wheat bread, a carton of orange juice, seven 
    knives, forks, spoons, plates and glasses.

    it was tempting to say, "and a partridge in a pear tree."

    dinner could be daunting, and i resorted to a great deal more
    'assembling' than fine cooking.  to make matters worse, i didn't 
    seem to be able to follow a recipe.

    if the book said, "sautee the onion for 15 minutes until sweet
    and tender, i would think, "an onion can't really be all that

    when my friends would say, " don't you just love julia child's
    cookbook?", i would stare blankly at them and wonder, "who in 
    the world is julia child?" 

    forget about that "joy of cooking book."  "for the white cream 
    sauce, go to page 27.  add the sauce to the roasted pheasant on 
    page 1,378."  it gave me carpal tunnel to complete any recipe.

    one evening while hans let our little sinners run all over the local
    mall, i spied the holy grail of cookbooks.  "how to cook without
    a book."  the author preached about a foolproof gospel of saved
    ingredients to usher any soup or pasta sauce into heaven.  it was 
    the answer to all my prayers.

    here's the basic formula:

    sautee one onion.  season, please.
    add one pound of meat
    one pound of vegetables
    one pound of a starch (potatoes, rice, pasta, etc.)
    one quart of stock (chicken goes best with chicken, etc.)
    add any spices or seasoning in your cupboard.

    simmer as long as you want but less than one week.  :)
    this wonderful book has easy formulas for many dishes,
    but the soup has saved my life.


    "oh taste and see that the Lord is good!"  psalm 34:8

    ps.  what in the world is going on with the font and
    how do you underline, again?

    Tuesday, October 5, 2010

    the art of simplification

    last night as i went through my mental prayer list i thought, "if i can't
    remember all the people who have requested prayer, then i have let too
    many into my life."

    google image

    i don't even know if i agree with that, but in my exhaustion it made
    sense.  if someone is not important enough to recall them in my
    prayers, then i shouldn't have let them think i would pray.

    the tricky part is that i now have as many friends here, that i have
    never seen, as i do in my day to day life.  last night as we were putting
    groceries away, i heard myself say, "my friend joan posted the most
    beautiful photo of a budding flower that looked just like a candle to
    celebrate her anniversary."

    hans didn't say it, but i know he thought, "does she have a friend
    named joan?"

    "yes!  she lives in australia, and i visit her almost every day."

    i was starting to sound like our daughter hailey, who when three
    had imaginary friends named sarah and ashley.   ashley smoked
    cigarettes!  :)

    my point is that i am going to be more purposeful in my visiting
    and praying . . . and promise of praying.  then i won't feel guilty
    at night for perhaps forgetting someone.  i will just be convicted
    of all the other terrible things i do!


    "let my prayer be set forth as incense before You, the lifting up
    of my hands as the evening sacrifice."  psalm 141:2

    Sunday, October 3, 2010

    a fake and a fraud

    i'm not a party girl, more of a wallflower, but we have hosted three
    parties in as many weeks.  i feel like roadkill.

    before each event, i have great intentions to clean my house from
    top to bottom and bring order to my chaos but always end up
    stuffing papers, shoes, and pillows into my office.

    at the last party, and i mean the very LAST party,  my friend walked
    into my dump office and came back to the table with a challenge to
    my sainthood.  :)

    "you are a fake and a fraud."

    "what?"  i thought she was referring to the fake four carat canary
    diamond on my happy finger.

    "i read the post about your beautifully ordered office, and what i just
    saw is a mess!  you are misleading your gentle readers."

    whew!  the ring is safe for another day.   the office is . . . well,
    just an office.


    "but everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way."
    I corinthians 14:40

    Saturday, October 2, 2010

    50 push ups for me!

    my friend margaret, at single and sane, wrote the most inspirational essay
    on the beauty of not being too thin.  it was music to my chubby ears, as
    it is apparently a tiny bit healthier to be a tiny bit heavier.  woo hoo!

    this coincided with my first two weeks of a diet and almost sabotaged it,
    but i held firm to my new standard.  no cheesecake after midnight.

    i also walk everywhere i go . . . in the house and am really into pushups,
    especially the orange cream ones or the victoria secret ones.

    honest to goodness, i was going to write a serious treatise on my lifestyle
    changes, but it all of sudden started to seem so funny.  today, after trying
    on too many pants that were still TOO tight, i spotted a tiny sign at the
    bottom of the dressing room mirror.

    "we want you to be beautiful."

    well, they should have dimmed the lights.


    "all is vanity."  ecclesiastes 1:2