Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Blessed By This Blog Post

Just encountered this blog post from a link shared on Ann Voskamp's site. I could relate in such a real way. This truly is my life (minus the pregnancy and nursing parts!). I had to share the article here before turning the light out. Utterly profound...

If I had to pick one word to describe motherhood, I think that word would be “transforming.”

The days of a busy mother are made up of millions of transformations. Dirty children become clean, the hungry child fed, the tired child sleeping. Almost every task a mother performs in the course of a normal day could be considered a transformation. Disorder to order, dirty clothes to clean, unhappy children to peaceful, empty fridge to full. Every day we fight against disorder, filth, starvation, and lawlessness, and some days we might almost succeed. And then, while we sleep, everything unravels and we start again in the morning — transforming.

Days of these little cycles add up and suddenly you see a big transformation. A nursing infant has become a boy on a bicycle, a baby bump has grown into a toddler, and children have been changed into brothers and sisters.

Then there is the kind of transformations that we do — not because we work at it, but because we were created to do it. You eat your lunch, and your body transforms it into nourishment for a baby. Taking something too big for an infant, and still finding a way to feed them with it — with the goal of growing them up to do it themselves.

Pregnancy and nursing are only a small part of a child’s life though — and this cycle is clearly not only a physical one. It is the spiritual cycle of food that is so much more important, and so much less talked about. Christian mothering is a constant cycle of nourishment — both physical and spiritual.

We Apply What We Believe

In the same way we take the food we eat and make it into something the baby can eat (and our bodies simply do this without us willing them to), so we take what we believe about God and the gospel and faith and life, and we apply it in the places that seem too little for it.

Imagine yourself in your kitchen trying to make dinner for a group of little kids who are tired and should have eaten a half hour ago. Imagine that things are going wrong beyond that — maybe you are out of something you assumed you had, children are fussing with one another, and maybe your littlest is still at the age where they come stand on your feet and pull on your pant leg. Bonus points if you are wearing maternity pants and this little person is actually capable of pulling your pants down. You are hot, you are tired, and you are sick of it.

This is no time for a gospel presentation. There isn’t time. There isn’t anyone to lead the discussion around the felt board, because you are still scrambling to figure out dinner. This isn’t a time for a gospel presentation because it is a time for gospel application. This is a time to take the grace that God has extended to you, and feed your children with it. Apply what you believe about God’s mercy and kindness and long suffering towards us, and pour it out to them — in a form they can believe in. Unrest like this is just like a baby crying for a bottle — only what they need is spiritual milk. They need you to feed them, not with a lecture, but with application.

You Have Everything You Need

Mothering is a job that is full of difficult moments. Diapers blow out in stores when you have too much in your cart to just walk out. Sudden carsickness can leave you pulled over on the side of the road wondering just how much can be done with half a bag of wet wipes. You need to take what you believe and apply it to these difficult moments. Does the Bible teach us that God is disgusted by our frailty? That he doesn’t want to carry our burdens? That he doesn’t have the energy to deal with us?

The good news is, you don’t need to have been through some elite mother’s training camp to apply the gospel in your life. You need to believe. Trust God, give thanks. Laugh. Believe — and that will feed your children. Rest in God, and your children will learn to. Extend God’s kindness to you, to them. Forgive them the way God forgave you. You have everything you need to spiritually nourish your children, because you have Christ.

The gospel is not just something to talk about Sunday morning while you are in clean clothes and the kids are looking orderly. It is not limited to quiet times and reflective moods. It is something to apply while you are in a difficult position in the back of the car trying to buckle a child up who is playing the kazoo and needs their nose wiped.

God is not above these moments. He is teaching us, and leading us, and refining us, in them. He wants to see our faith in action. He wants to see us feeding our children with the grace that he has given to us.

Mimic the Gospel

Of course, this side of heaven we will not do perfectly. Harsh words will be spoken, patience will wear thin. Frazzled mothers will act frazzled. And when this happens, our own sinfulness does not detract from the power of the gospel, it illustrates why we need it. Do not use your own mistakes as an excuse to wallow about what a bad mother you are. Repent, seek forgiveness, get it right, and move on. Believe. Be forgiven. Extend that forgiveness, that belief, that joy, to your children.

As you go about your daily transformations, set your heart on the truth. Mimic the gospel in what you do. Bring peace, bring order, bring joy, bring laughter. Bring it because it was brought to you. Give, because it was given to you. The gospel is not too big to fit into little situations. It is too big not to.

Rachel Jankovic is a wife, homemaker, and mother. She is the author of "Loving the Little Years" and blogs at Femina. Her husband is Luke, and they have five children: Evangeline (5), Daphne (4), Chloe (2), Titus (2), and Blaire (5 months).

Brown Paper Packages Tied Up with Strings...These Are A Few of My Favorite Things!

We thought perhaps they were lost - but now they're found!
We thought perhaps they were stolen - but now they're here!
We thought maybe they were just delayed in coming - apparently so...two months delayed in one case!

But God is faithful and has answered our prayers. In perfect timing, might I add!

Not just one...
Not just two...
but FIVE all in one day!
AND a letter from a sweet younger sister in the Lord!

Three of the packages were from my family (thanks a million Mom and Dad!) containing a re-supply of the vitamins and natural immune-boosting supplements that I am going through pretty fast AND a new batch of ProActiv which I am desperately in need of as the dusty Bolivian air has wrought havoc on my skin.

Two of the packages were from a friend, who, when she saw our handy-dandy toothbrush system in one of the blog posts, wanted to contribute travel sized toothpaste to our cause. It just so happened that, a couple days after she emailed me about this, the ministry she works for (Care Net Pregnancy Center) where I also used to work, received a generous donation of travel sized toothpaste...that they couldn't use. [smile]

Guess who my friend thought of instead?

Thanks, Brittney and Care Net! As you can see, we get pretty excited about toothpaste around here!

The Bible says, "As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country."

In that case, today, I've been basking in Niagra Falls.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Best Ever Banana Bread

Banana bread is one of my all-time favorite goodies to bake! This recipe, our family standard, has been a hit with tías and niños alike here at Casa de Amor House II. Yesterday, a little buddy and I made a double batch and it was delicious as usual! Just wanted to share the yumminess with you...

2 eggs
1/2 c. oil
1 cup brown sugar or honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. ripe bananas (or regular bananas cooked on the stove top)
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Mix wet ingredients in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients. Pour into greased muffin tins or bread pan(s). Bake muffins for 20-25 minutes. Bread will take 45 minutes-1 hour usually. A knife inserted in the middle should come out clean when done.

Let cool and devour!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Sunday!

"I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God;
for He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation;
He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness..."
- Isaiah 61:10 -

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Passing Along the Inspiration

As I recover from another round of stomach trouble, I took some time during my restful morning today to read Ann Voskamp's blog. Having just finished her book, One Thousand Gifts, and longing for more of the beautiful, poignant, inspirational writing she has shared with the world, I am delighted to find that her blog is like a continuation of the book...so there's really no need to close the cover and stop reading after all! The pages continue at: aholyexperience.com and are even complete with lovely photography and additional, helpful links.

I was especially blessed by this post giving inspiration for a cozy, history-filled, beautified homeschool room and this post about simplified homeschooling. I know I'm not a homeschooling mom yet...but it never hurts to store up thoughts for the future! :)

One more thing.

This video, a feast for the eyes and for the soul, as it describes the whole message of the book, is a must-watch.

The Many Faces of Little *D*

Saturday, August 20, 2011

A Peek Into My Kitchen...

Today, the cooking adventures continued! I must say, for a girl who's never been particularly keen on spending time in the kitchen except when absolutely necessary, I have discovered a newly awakened joy in food preparation lately. Is it the desire to create a taste of home? The motivation for healthy goodies? The outlet cooking and baking provides for creativity? Perhaps all of the above.

This morning, as I (slowly) woke up and thought through the day's forthcoming activities, I felt a strong desire to take on the cooking duties for the day, thus freeing my partner tía for other responsibilities and making sure leftovers would get used effectively!

Considering that our leftovers consisted of a bowlful of pasta not quite generous enough to feed 16, pizza seemed like a logical (and not too complicated) lunch to prepare with it. I also knew we would need dinner, and since we are trying to feed the children something fairly light for supper, French toast casserole sounded like a new, tasty idea to try.

Having only one can of pizza sauce in the pantry, I got online to search for a sauce-from-scratch recipe. I was quite amused to find that the first three recipes I clicked on called for canned tomato products. Doesn't anybody else consider the words "from scratch" to mean from real, whole tomatoes? Finally, I found a recipe that looked promising and possible. Next, I searched for French Toast Casserole and quickly came upon a recipe using simple ingredients that even I have here in Cochabamaba.

Armed with these new recipes as well as one for our family's favorite pizza crust, I headed downstairs to begin operation pizza deluxe.

The sauce-from-scratch took awhile to prepare as skinning and de-seeding 12 tomatoes is no small task, I learned, but I must say, the effort was worth it! The sauce turned out scrumptiously! (I've included the recipe at the end of this post.)

Next, it was time to make the crust and sauté the veggies. [Note to self: when making anything with yeast, always remember to use warm water. It makes a difference! Okay, so maybe my crust didn't rise like it usually does at home, but it was still tasty.] On our veggie pizza, I included carrots, onions, garlic, bell peppers, spinach, cheese, and some leftover chicken I discovered in the fridge. Now that's what I call supreme! :)

I also discovered half a pineapple in the refrigerator desperately needing to be eaten, so it was only logical to make our second pizza a Hawaiian one. Let's here it for using up leftovers! With a personal stash of lunch meat ham thawed from the freezer, pizza number two was set to go!

In the middle of pizza making, the children needed their mid-morning snack, so I quickly whipped up a batch of stove-popped-popcorn. As you can see, my morning of cooking was turning the kitchen into quite the disaster-zone! I usually like to clean as I go, but alas! we had no running water inside for most of the day. That might help explain why it seemed like I used almost every dish in the house for my culinary adventures!

At last, lunch was ready! All this for the sake of using up a pot of pasta. :-)

And the verdict is...


I got a kick out of watching the children's delight upon discovering that one of their pizzas actually had pineapple on it! Apparently, they've never seen that kind before. And the ham was a special treat!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I had a dinner casserole to prepare and a mountain of dishes to tackle!

If you would like to know the secret to cleaning a kitchen-turned-disaster-zone with no indoor running water, let me know. Believe it or not, it is possible! :) Welcome to missionary life.

A newly formed mountain of clean dishes...with a cherry on top for good measure!

French Toast Casserole ready for the dinner hour.

Feeling like a real Suzy-Homemaker, as my mom would say. :) And praising the Lord for the joy of preparing food for a household of precious kiddos!

Here are the recipes of the day:

Homemade Tomato Sauce from Scratch:
(makes enough for 1 large pizza)

About 12 plum tomatoes, seeded, skinned, and pureed in a food processor or blender
1 onion, chopped fine
2 tablespoons of oil
2 tablespoons garlic
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tbsp salt
1/2 tablespoon red pepper
2 tablespoons minced garlic

Heat your oil in an 8 quart pan. Add your onions–we want to sweat them until they are transparent. This should take about six minutes. Then, add your garlic. By now, your kitchen should be filling with a delectable aroma–excellent!

At this point, we want to add the tomato puree we made, along with the sugar, salt, and red pepper. Bring the whole mixture to a boil. Then reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, as the sauce thickens. The sauce should be pretty smooth when we finished, provided we did okay during the food-processing.

[Katrina's notes: I used black pepper in place of red and garlic powder in place of the minced garlic, since I had already included the 2 tablespoons chopped garlic. I also added Italian seasoning to taste. Lastly, I pureed the sauce after I had cooked it to give it a finer, less chunky effect.]

French Toast Casserole

  1. 5 cups bread cubes
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 1 1/2 cups milk
  4. 1/4 cup white sugar, divided
  5. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  6. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  7. 1 tablespoon butter, softened
  8. 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly butter an 8x8 inch baking pan.
  2. Line bottom of pan with bread cubes. In a large bowl, beat together eggs, milk, 2 tablespoons sugar, salt and vanilla. pour egg mixture over bread. Dot with margarine; let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle over the top. Bake in preheated oven about 45 to 50 minutes, until top is golden.
[Katrina's Notes: I was not here for dinner, but from what I heard, this recipe was a winner with the children! They kept asking for more! We will definitely be making it again, only I think I might triple the batch next time instead of just doubling it. Oh-so-easy!]

Friday, August 19, 2011

Cooking Adventures

I was elated when I encountered what I thought to be whole wheat flour at the supermarket up the road. Based on my past experiences, such a discovery is pretty rare in foreign countries.

Alas, when I opened the bag yesterday to do some baking, much to my dismay, I learned that it was white flour after all! Apparently, flour labeled as "wheat" simply refers to the fact that it is derived from the wheat plant, thus distinguishing it from yucca flour or some other type.

Oh well. Even though I can't bake with wheat flour, I am grateful I can still buy whole wheat bread!

On another note, I have been looking forward to baking some corn muffins with a favorite recipe from home, so I picked up a box of cornmeal the last time I went grocery shopping.

At least, it was supposed to be cornmeal.

It was located on the baking aisle and came in a yellow box just like the kind at Walmart! There was an unfamiliar Spanish word on the box, but I assumed it referred to the "meal" part of cornmeal.

Try "starch."

Yes, it's true. I now have an entire box of cornstarch in my baking cupboard that I have no idea what to do with! Historically, I believe cornstarch has been used to relieve diaper rashes, but considering that we have no babies living here at present, I think I'll be going on the hunt for recipes instead. (If you have any favorite baked goods that call for cornstarch, please let me know! I have plenty of it.)

I have to admit, those corny-carrot muffins I so looked forward to making just didn't taste the same made with white flour (instead of wheat) and lacking cornmeal. They were a bit on the bland side, so in an attempt to redeem them, I slathered butter and honey atop their golden peaks. Much to my delight, my hungry brood of youngsters scarfed them down with relish. They even complimented my baking skills and exclaimed with glee that I was a real cook!

I had to smile. :)

My last cooking adventure about which to tell you didn't even really involve cooking. Today, we celebrated the birthday of one of the staff tías, and by default, I was elected to decorate her cake, despite my protests that I'm not very talented in this department. Nevertheless, with the help of some fluffy white icing and cheerful candies, my humble decorating attempts brought a smile to our dear Tía Anita's face, so I was satisfied.

The not-so-corny-carrot muffins can be seen pictured in the top right-hand corner. :)

Happy tears.

A Bolivian tradition.


A Budding Salonist

So back to boys. While it's true that they like mud fights and fort-building, I also discovered yesterday that THIS little boy enjoys another type of activity: hair styling.

What do you think?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Days in Ukraine

For those of you who follow the life and work of my sister and brother-in-law over in Ukraine (or for those of you who would like to), here is the link to their latest blog post which in turn has a link to the latest photos my sister has been snapping this summer. It was great to get a pictorial update! And of course, seeing my niece's adorable smiles always makes my day. Can't wait to hug that little chubber in January!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Through the Lens of Little Boys

Lately, I have been learning that when you are a little boy...

...nap-time really means an opportunity to build a fort out of blankets draped all around the bunk bed.

...in the process of putting away clean dishes, bowls were meant to be worn on the head and pot lids become steering wheels of invisible vehicles complete with sound effects.

...sticks = swords.

...getting ready for bed does not mean putting on pajamas and brushing teeth; it means wrestling on the ground and beating each other up with stuffed animals.

...bandanas were meant to be worn around the waist, knees, elbows, and wrists as you assume karate poses and try to look tough.

...old bicycle wheels transform themselves into mushrooms as you cook up delightful delicacies in the backyard after being inspired by a movie about a rat who learned to cook. (In which case, sticks equal cooking knives used to help with food preparation.)

..."helping" do laundry really means playing with the hose as you use it to fill up the washing machine and "helping" do dishes really means playing with running tap water as the dishes to be rinsed stack up all around you.

...burping is hilarious.

...food was not always meant to be eaten; sometimes throwing it across the table at your neighbor is preferable.

...bungee cords make great swings when attached to tree limbs at either end.

...the most fun activity to do at the local park is play in the ditch and throw mud at each other.

...taking a shower means rubbing soap over your belly and legs and then declaring yourself "clean."

...bedtime hugs and kisses are still desired as you're tucked in for the night.

...the world is a wonderful place full of adventures waiting to happen.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Free Viewing of Stirring Christian Film

Perhaps some of you have heard of a recently released Christian film entitled Divided. Well, today I discovered that it is available for viewing online for free until September. I just finished watching it and was thoroughly impressed by the content and the quality! This film contains a stirring message desperately needed by our generation! As it explores the controversial topic of the modern youth ministry, it's message is delivered graciously with conviction and thorough research to support it. Please take an hour from your day to watch Divided, or turn it into a family movie night. I feel certain you will be blessed by the way the Lord's Word is exalted, and perhaps challenged to re-think youth ministry!

Official Divided the Movie (HD Version) from NCFIC on Vimeo.

(You can click on the "X" shape in the bottom right-hand corner to blow it up.)

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Little Miss *S* has a Birthday!

Sometimes sweet and sometimes sassy, Little Miss S is growing up...and learning how to grow in the Lord's ways. It's hard to believe she turns 7 today! She seems so much older at times. We celebrated her birthday by going out to dinner last night with her younger siblings. It was a fun time!

And delicious, might I add. :) I had the best hamburger - tasted like a Fudrucker's with a homemade bun. Afterward, we all split a small brownie and chocolate ice cream sundae.

Chocolate mustaches for all!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Latest Dose of Melissa Cuteness

I just received this video today, compliments of my sister and brother-in-law in Ukraine. It showcases my niece's latest antics and accomplishments. What she lacks in hair, she certainly makes up for in smiles and wrinkly-nose cuteness!

Friday, August 12, 2011

All Good Things Come From Above

"Holding my head in my hands, I ask it honest before God and children and my daily mess: "Can we really expect joy all the time?"

I know it well after a day smattered with rowdiness and worn a bit ragged with bickering, that I may feel disappointment and the despair may flood high, but to give thanks is an action and rejoice is a verb and these are not mere pulsing emotions. While I may not always feel joy, God asks me to give thanks in all things, because He knows that the feeling of joy begins in the action of thanksgiving.

True saints know that the place where all joy comes from is far deeper than that of feelings; joy comes from the place of the very presence of God. Joy is God and God is joy and joy doesn't negate all other emotions - joy transcends all other emotions.

Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!

...Thankfully, God never gives what is deserved, but instead, God graciously, passionately offers gifts, our bodies, our time, our very lives. God does not give us rights but imparts responsibilities - response-abilities - inviting us to respond to His love-gifts."

- Ann Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts

August 4, 2011

146. A view of the starry night sky that nearly took my breath away

147. A soft and sweet newborn to cuddle

148. Mrs. Baldwin's colloidal silver gel to put on chapped hands and knuckles

149. God's provision of eggs in a baking pinch!

150. Children's artwork made with love

151. The eyes of a child - windows to the soul

152. Brownies that turned out to be a sweet success!

153. The joy of looking forward to making well-loved recipes from home

154. The discovery of whole wheat flour at the grocery store

155. Watching formerly abandoned/street children play "house"

August 9, 2011

156. Catching up with Mom on the phone yesterday after three weeks of no communication

157. Hearing of God's wondrous works in China!

158. Orange sunrise muffins fresh out of the oven

159. The delight of giving tastes of yummies to eager little people

160. Beholding gratefulness

161. New friends at church

162. Cool breezes

163. Mountainside beauty

164. The rich, velvety pink and purple colors of a bougainvillea in full bloom

165. God's patience with me

166. Spiritual discussions with the older children after watching the Train film at a church fellowship

167. Volleyball under the palm trees

168. The coming of travel sized toothpaste from God's provision at Care Net!

169. A taxi driver's extra kindness and care for our crew during night travel

170. Encouraging phone conversations with two very good friends

171. My niece's adorable smiles

172. A Spanish book from which to study

173. Granola bars baked with Sara

174. Getting the stomach bug on my days off!

175. A return to health

176. Chatterboxes whose constant prattle reminds me to be grateful that they can at least speak

177. Fond memories from RGBI as another school year starts

178. Water

August 11, 2011

179. Baby dimples

180. Newborn coos

181. Green salad sprinkled with a confetti of colorful veggies

182. Hymn singing to sick babies

183. The discovery of a favorite cook book at House 1!

184. My Ergo baby carrier

185. Pacifiers

186. Babies sleeping peacefully

187. Toddling steps and outstretched arms

188. Provision of a ride home with Tío David

189. New light bulbs

190. The smell of freshly baked bread

191. Warm sunshine

192. Gifts of snack foods in the grimy fists of children eager to share

193. Flowers worn in the hair

194. Refreshing cool patches in shadows cast by towering trees - a taste of forest!

195. Twittering birds in the trees

196. Childlike fascination with a small broken bird's egg

197. An obedience lesson learned

198. Heaping bowl-fulls of fluff white popcorn

199. Water from a container outside to supplement our lack of water in the house today

200. Sweet sleep

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

A Busy Day at the Baby Home

Casa de Amor's newest arrival

Only a couple weeks old!

Cute and snuggly!

Praising God today for my Ergo Baby Carrier that got a lot of use as I cared for the four little sickies in the isolation room. They were happy for several hours and then all decided to cry at the same time...for a long time. I found that by putting one in the Ergo and holding the other, two out of four were happy!

Pacifiers...another wonderful invention. This little guy finally quieted down right before I left for the night.

And she slept peacefully after being cradled in the Ergo.

Whew! What a day!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Orange Sunrise Muffins

This morning it was my turn to bring a refreshment to the ladies' Bible study I am a part of. I thought about baking our family's favorite banana muffin recipe, but the hostess had baked banana bread two weeks ago, so I thought something a little different would be preferable. However, I love muffins and was excited to try out the new muffin tins I had purchased at the local supermarket! Orange muffins sounded like a winning idea, especially considering that we always have oranges on hand here at the house, so I went on the hunt for an orange muffin recipe on that trusty website, allrecipes.com.

As you can imagine, there were a multitude of recipe ideas listed. After reading ingredient lists and reviews, I settled on an old Mennonite recipe. It seemed to get the best reviews and it contained ingredients I could easily find here in Bolivia. Before making it for the ladies' Bible study, I whipped up a trial batch this past weekend for the children and tías here. The muffins were DELICIOUS and a big hit with all my eager taste-testers!

Since the recipe is so yummy and can be made quite healthfully, I thought it was worth sharing with you all!

Orange Sunrise Muffins

2 cups flour (I used white, but read a review saying wheat works too...looking forward to trying that!)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar (I used honey with great success)
2 tablespoons grated orange peel
2/3 cup orange juice
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs

Optional Topping (definitely delicious!):
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (I used white sugar since we don't have brown sugar here)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine wet ingredients and orange peel. Dump flour on top and add dry ingredients. Mix everything together thoroughly. Pour into greased muffin tins or baking cups. Blend together topping and sprinkle on top of muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

I actually baked the muffins and then added the topping. The first time it worked beautifully. This morning though, as the pictures show, I couldn't get it quite right and even after three attempts, it turned out lumpy. So I think next time, I'll do as the recipe says and put it on before baking. :)

Hope you all enjoy these as much as we did!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Today's Nugget

"It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, saith my soul; therefore will I hope in Him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh Him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord."
~ Lamentations 3:22-26

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bolivia!

Today is the 186th celebration of Bolivia's independence. In honor of the occasion, a few of our children participated in traditional folk dance presentations at their school this past week. They did a great job, and it was fun to watch them look so Bolivian! :)

Friday, August 5, 2011

Stirring Words Profound in Wisdom

"What is this that I feel sitting here, coursing through me relentless, hot, ardent? I have to seek God beauty. Because isn't my internal circuitry wired to seek out something worthy of worship? Every moment I live, I live bowed to something. And if I don't see God, I'll bow down before something else."

"God is present in all the moments, but I do not deify the wind in the pines, the snow falling on hemlocks, the moon over harvested what. Pantheism, seeing the natural world as divine, is a very different thing than seeing divine God present in all things. I know it here kneeling, the twilight so still: nature is not God but God revealing the weight of Himself, all His glory, through the looking glass of nature."

"Why am I out in this evening field, lying under moon? Is eucharisteo opening the eyes wider, the heart deeper? Is this paradox - that giving thanks for what is, creates an appetite for more - not for more things, but for seeking more of God to give more glory?"

"I look down at the stained skirt of my apron, washed in moonlight. And I think I can stand here? I think I can brave this Beauty? Not an empty, tinny beauty but a Fierce Beauty, Flaming Fire who burns through the thick masks and leaves the soul disrobed. I am naked and I am right ashamed. I know how monstrously inhumane I can be. Raging at children for minor wrongdoings while I am the one defiling the moment with sinful anger. Hoarding possessions while others die of starvation. Entertaining the mind with trivial pretties when I haven't bowed the head and heart in a prayer longer than five minutes in a week. My tongue has had a razor edge and my eyes have rolled haughty and my neck has been stiff and graceless and I have lived the filth ugly, an idolater, a glutton, and a grace thief who hasn't had time for the thanks.

'God blesses those whose hearts are pure for they will see God.' (Matthew 5:8) What am I doing out here? I am filthy rags. Is sight possible? I've only got one pure thing to wear and it's got Made By Jesus on the tag and the purity of Jesus lies over a heart and His transparency burns the cataracts off the soul. The only way to see God manifested in the world around is with the eyes of Jesus within."

"I was lost but know I am found again, Jesus, and I know what I want: to see deeply, to thank deeply, to feel joy deeply. How my eyes see, perspective, is my key to enter into His gates. I can only do so with thanksgiving. If my inner eye has God seeping up through all things, then can't I give thanks for anything? And if I can give thanks for the good things, the hard things, the absolute everything, I can enter the gates to glory. Living in His presence is fullness of joy - and seeing shows the way in."

By Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts

Thursday, August 4, 2011


Today I tried my hand at baking for the first time at a high altitude. As I watched the brownies cook, I thought they were going to be a flop. But it turns out they were a sweet success!