Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Book Notes: The Happiness of Pursuit

by Chris Guillebeau

First I would like to say that it has been a long time - LONG time - since I have read a 283 page book. In high school I read 250 pages a WEEK, but those days are no more. I felt every one of these 283 pages as my children and life swirled around me. But it was my quest to finish, and I did it.

My favorite quote from this whole book the author says about his own quest to visit every country in the world, "Just like that. It was done."

"Once you start done the road to an adventure, you don't always know where you'll end up. Coming to the end of a quest brings lessons too. The story doesn't always tie up well." In my experience, sometimes it just ends, and confusion sets in for a time until time a Heavenly hand gives perspective.

"The path to the summit consists of repetitive movements, but it is precisely the arduousness of the task that makes the accomplishment an epic one."

"The lesson is to know your own motivations. That way, you'll keep going even if no one else cares."

"Why produce the largest symphony of all time? You do it for the same reason John F. Kennedy offered for visiting the moon - not because it's easy, but because it's hard."

"...the creative team (at Pixar) embraces mistakes and failure, with an emphasis on making the mistakes as quickly as possible. As soon as they identify the mistakes, they're then able to fix them - but the point is to not shy away from the initial failure." ("Be Wrong As Fast As You Can," New York Times Magazine, January 6, 2013.

"We overestimate what can be done in a day and underestimate what can be done in a year." (my paraphrase)

Quotes in the book by other people:

"Every one of our films was the worst motion picture ever made at one time or another."
- John Lasseter, one of the founders of Pixar

"It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn't matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over."
- Paulo Coelho
"This is my story. No one can take it from me."
- Alicia Ostarello (dating quest in 50 States)

The quote that haunts me the most is this one...

"It's better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don't."
- Steven Kellogg

My Thoughts

When I finished this book, I felt like my brain was full. There is a deep longing in my heart to reach the end of my life and look back, knowing that my pursuits have mattered to the kingdom of heaven and made a difference here on earth.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Most Fun Kid Fort in the World

My sister and I make awesome forts. Especially in case of monster attacks. There's a door included, with a rope holding on to it to pull it closed and a sign that says, "Go away monsters. Come in kids."

It's a little secret hideout.

It's a spin area for kids. Another kid can spin them from inside the closet.

The bed is for jumping.

Guest post by Raccoon.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Word of the Year 2017

Having just ended some tumultuous elections in the U.S. between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, I have an election of a different sort on my mind. What will be my next Word of the Year?

And the candidates are:


That's it so far. Rare for me to be short of words. Ha ha.

Stretch myself to finish my book and have it ready for outside eyes.
Stretch myself to try new things.
Stretch myself for a possible new phase in our ministry.
Stretch my children as we perhaps travel more and experience new things.
And it wouldn't kill me to be a little more active physically too. :)

I thought of GROW, but so far, STRETCH is ahead in the polls.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday's Sermon

Sunday is my favorite day of the week, except this morning I woke up tired from yesterday's party. I teach Sunday School, and the Lord had some extra grace for me today because my two littlest ones were absent. Teaching a class of almost 2 to 11 year olds can be a bit challenging, but today was a breeze. Everyone sat in their chair. No one fought. No one hit their neighbor. No one cried. It was nice. And we started planning our Christmas party, which was great fun.

Here is Byron's next sermon, enjoy!

Saturday, November 12, 2016


Today we were invited to the special 15th birthday party for the daughter of a friend. Byron led the ceremony and gave the blessing for the girl turned young lady. Kitty was enraptured as soon as we walked in because everything was PINK. Raccoon wanted to know why guys don't get a special party when they turn 15.

It was fun getting all dressed up, and I was so proud of the kids. The invitation said the party started at 3 pm, so we were there at 2:45. An hour and a half later, the party started. But I have not lived here for 20 years in vain, so I was well prepared with snacks and games. Once the party started, there was a ceremony with symbolic items such as shoes, a ring, a crown, and a Bible.

After all the blessings and prayers and words of good will towards the birthday girl, came the kids' favorite part - mariachis! They are a small band dressed in traditional Mexican clothing that sing ballads and old dancing songs. Kitty loved all the bling on the girl's skirt, and she played the trumpet! Racoon liked the bass (huge guitar?). I enjoyed experimenting some of Ecuador's culture with the kids. And the fact that a few years ago, the kids would not have had the patience to make it through a 4 hour party. They're growing up!

The first guests to arrive!

The symbolic items to be given to the birthday girl

Kitty was overcome with delight when she saw this cake.

Dancing to pass the time

Her favorite pink dress, an Easter gift from Grama

Posing with the birthday girl

The Mariachis!

Raccoon danced with a friend of Byron's. 

Time to go home!

Friday, November 11, 2016

This Man

... has been by my side for the last 15 years. After some rough years in the middle, praise be to God that I can now say that our life together is sweeter than ever. Except... when did we get to be so old!

Raccoon took the picture at the party (see tomorrow's post) so it's a little blurry, but he did it with much enthusiasm since he is now the proud owner of his very own camera!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Family Portrait

We actually took this picture on Saturday (two days in the future), but I am backdating my posts to have one a day for Nablopomo. My blog, my rules. :)

The picture was taken by a 10 year old, which is why my expression is so anxious. Trying to smile in between saying, "Push the button harder," is not easy. Ha ha. It took so long to take the pictures that mostly our expression say, "Did you take the picture yet?" Of course in the stress of trying to get the perfect picture, they are anything but that. They do, however, prove that we are all dressed up and clean at the same time. :)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Dream Houses

The other day my mom wrote about different houses that had caught her fancy over the years. This house is one that caught mine.

If you see my post from yesterday, that is what most of Quito looks like, cement as far as the eye can see. But El Carmen is an old hacienda (ranch) right in the middle of the city. We pass it each time we drive to South Quito. Although much of it has been destroyed or vandalized, it still holds some of its Spanish charm. I have daydreamed about being able to buy it some day and leave it as is, an oasis of green in a gray world.

The day I took this picture, I found out that the land is owned by the city, and an underground metro station is already underway just to the right of the arch. But all is not lost. The city intends to turn the original buildings into a museum, so at least it will be preserved. Someday when they are done, perhaps the kids and I will take a leisurely stroll around the grounds. From now, we can only look in from outside.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Quito, Ecuador

The mountain region of Ecuador is beautiful, with snow covered volcanoes and lush green peaks everywhere. But the city of Quito, while it has its charm, is mostly not beautiful. At least not the parts where my husband and I work as missionaries. I snapped these pictures out of the car the other day on our way to visit our church in South Quito. Someday I will be homesick for these sights perhaps. But right now, it makes me wonder if I really do ever want to move back into the city.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Kitty Photographer

Remember a few posts I did about Raccoon taking my camera in July and November of 2013? Well now I have a new junior photographer. Here are some finds among the many blurry shots of our tile floor.

Early morning sun

Her favorite toys on a shelf in her room

Three year old feet, awwww!

There are a multitude of shots of our cat, Jingle Bell.

He finally couldn't take it anymore.