Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving with Family

Wonderful day. So much food. After the King and I took the kids to the park I felt like this:

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

When Doubts Arise

Life feels a little uncertain right now. But I have no doubt that the Lord has stored up good for us and it is coming. We have leapt out in faith in the past and are leaping again.

I hope, as a writer, that I will also make the leap. See this post on my writing blog if you're curious.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Raccoon's Idea of Christmas

Last year, I focused more on doing special things with the kids and they received many little gifts throughout the month and one large one on Christmas. Raccoon's face fell when he saw our tree on Christmas morning and he asked me, "Where are all the presents?"

His one request for this year was lots of presents, big and small. I do think about materialism and knowing the true reason to celebrate and being thankful and all that, but seeing his little disappointed face last year made me want to do things differently this year. I remember the excitement as a child of seeing a big pile of packages under the tree on Christmas morning. Raccoon gave away over half his toys before we left and he's collecting change in an old juice jug at this very moment to help the poor. So I think he's got it, and will be okay even if he does get a little spoiled this year.

Thankfully, we are in the US, where stuff is easy to come by. Hello Dollar Tree. While the kids were distracted, I piled things into our cart. I ended up with 64 items consisting of some things we needed for the house, a few decorations, and lots of little presents for them.

When we got home, Kitty fell asleep and Raccoon settled in with a movie, so I smuggled the bags in from the car and dumped it all on the bed. I sorted and counted. They are 6 and 2 so there must be the same number of gifts for each, of roughly the same size.

Okay, here is a confession. As a child, I loved wrapping presents. Tonight, after about 10 presents, I peered at the large pile on the bed and wondered... do I really have to wrap them all? Where did all the fun go? Why do I just want to go to bed?

Ha ha. I am apparently an introvert in all areas of my life except present wrapping, and then to be trapped in a room by myself with yards of paper and piles of presents turns me into Scrooge.

My solution? I put everything into bags and will continue later.

Dear Raccoon,

There will be a huge pile of presents under the tree this year, even if I do have to wrap And someday when you're a daddy and your little boy or girl looks at you, maybe you'll remember this Christmas as one of your favorites.


Sunday, November 22, 2015

It is not okay...

...for there to be an us and a them, a "those people" or a "that group." I watched a video tonight from Samaritan's Purse about the Syrian refugees and it was heartbreaking, especially the children. What if that was us? Some day we may be in need and who will help us then?

There is just us.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Drinking Fountains

My children, every time they see one of these wonderful inventions.

Then they look like this... 

(I may just be having a little too much fun with my picture-themed Nablopomo. Ha ha.)

Friday, November 20, 2015

It's the Little Things

There is soap and toilet paper in every bathroom, even hot water. Youtube videos load seamlessly. So many choices stare back at me from every side, even at the thrift store. I find myself fascinated by TV commercials. I don't know any of the people talked about on TV. Cars stop and wait for me to cross the street. I left the car unlocked while the kids and I were at the park. It smells different, fresher without the smog and dust. The cashiers are friendly. It gets dark at 4 pm. My children wake up at 4 am, feeling like it's 7 am. Raccoon complained that these are the worst nights ever because he thought he had to stay in bed until it got light out around 8 am. The sun didn't shine today until noon. We were the only ones at the park. Car seats are not optional. The houses here are warmer than our cement house in South America, but outside it is much colder. We were wearing winter jackets and snow pants at the park today and saw a woman yesterday (same temperatures) wearing capris and a light sweater. Raccoon and Kitty got three vaccinations each and nary a fever.

The kids asked to go home today. Raccoon wants to buy a dog and Kitty wants to go to her favorite play place. They were easily distracted, but here is not home, not yet.

Foods I've missed: raspberries, seaweed, countless varieties of almond milk, turkey bacon, hummus, cereal, pistachios, seedless grapes, and dried mangoes.

It's the little things that let me know that we're here, in the US.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


Kitty's face when she found out that in the US, car seats are not optional.

Raccoon when he found out that Kitty needed 5 shots and he got to watch.
Then it turned out that he needed 3 as well.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Culture Shock

In the bathroom...

My daughter enthusiastically pulls out several toilet seat covers and wraps up her latest treasure. Her beloved tissue paper was not in her carry on and she is relieved to find that the US has plenty available.

Kitty, that is not a wrapping paper dispenser.

Culture shock is...

...not knowing what things are.

...not knowing where to find things.

...not knowing how to make things work.

...feeling every emotion, sometimes simultaneously



Tuesday, November 17, 2015

We Arrived!

Seeing my parents is the best thing ever. No matter where they move to, it feels like home if they are there.

Monday, November 16, 2015


Today is our last day in our little house on our land. Our Castle on Lighthill. I may or may not say good-bye to a few of my trees, as well as half the neighborhood. The kids and I have already said good-bye to our favorite mall, Raccoon's secret hideout, and many, many friends. Raccoon keeps saying, "Good-bye for a year!"

And to ward off the sadness, a few pictures. Say a prayer for us tonight as we travel.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Colossians 3

This chapter has been my anchor lately.

"Seek those things which are above."

I'm trying, Lord, I'm trying.

This turtle is just because Raccoon has decided to collect all things turtle. 
Kitty is still all about make-up, nail polish, and bling bling.

P.S. Today is our last church service in Ecuador for we're not sure how long. I may have more to say afterwards, but I am selling my computer, so will be disconnected for a bit.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Two Days and Counting

These pretty much sum up how I feel:

How many days left?

Can I go to sleep yet?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Playing Together

Raccoon and Kitty are at a great age. Kitty is now just old enough to be fun to play with, as well as being old enough to drive Raccoon crazy in a way only a sister could. Sometimes they play, eat, or watch the iPad peacefully. The King and I have even caught ourselves sitting on the couch - together! - and talking. A miracle. But then after five or ten minutes, the complaints begin.

"Moooooommmmmmmmmmmy! She hit me!"
"Waaaaaa!" (that's Kitty)
"I didn't do anything."
"She hit me again!"
More "Waaaaaa!"

My classic question... "What were you doing when she hit you?"
"I took her toy" or "I wouldn't let her touch my _____" ad infinitum.

I will say that Raccoon is honest to a fault, even if it means telling on himself.

Me: "Kitty, no hitting. Raccoon, stop teasing her."

Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

Here is the illustrated version:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Feeling Sad

Today the sad has won over the happy. I went to a neighbor's house to give her some of Kitty's shoes for her niece. When I hugged her goodbye, I told her how much her friendship has meant to our family and that I probably wouldn't see her again before we left. She said she might come up to our house on Monday, but if she doesn't it's because she's too sad. Just writing this makes tears come to my eyes.

The kids and I did our last lunch out and shopping, saying goodbye to our favorite mall. Kitty helped me put together some candy/snack bags for the airplane tonight with the loot. Raccoon won't be able to have candy again for a long time, or random treats, because of his corn allergy. It's so much harder to feed him safely in the US.

We went to see a piece of land today that my nephew-in-law and his wife (our new downstair tenants) want to buy. It was a gorgeous, green oasis at the bottom of a valley. I felt like digging a hole there and crawling in, except that the bugs were terrible. I walked to the edge of the next lot over, expecting to see a merry stream running through the bushes.

Instead it was a deep chasm, the river so far down I couldn't see it at all. My grief over leaving is like that. It seems shallow at first, but I'm afraid that if I get too close, I might fall in.

(The line of trees past the fence in the second picture, that's where the chasm is.)

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Not-So-Typical Thankfulness

It's November, so the "I'm thankful for..." lists start popping up. Besides the traditional ones, family, house, food, etc., I would like to propose thankfulness for some not so widely recognized things.

1) Indoor toilets

2) Running hot water

3) Zippers and velcro

4) Religious freedom

5) The Scientfic Method

6) Inventors

7) Antibiotics

8) Artists

9) Our created world

10) Jesus

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Far From Normal

My children are about to experience something wonderful and terrible all at the same time: furlough. Being an ex-MK myself, I know the pain and the joy firsthand.

The thing about parenting is, once you have more than one kid, sometimes you just can't get it right for everyone. Surprisingly, it's my change-hating baby who has grown into an adventuresome little boy, and my mellow baby who has become my home-loving daughter.

Hang on, chicos, it's going to be quite the ride, but totally worth it. Five days to go.

Monday, November 9, 2015

I Am Not A Tree

I like change, I really do, but the last few days before we move to a different country for an unknown period of time have been too much even for me. I am not a tree, but sometimes I wish I was one. Ha.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Orphan Sunday

Thinking of my baby girl today. Praying for all those in need still out there.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Thinking of You

This is for a dear friend who has just received terrible news, twice in one day.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The Funnies

I love to laugh. So I thought I'd post some of my favorite pictures, mostly from my Facebook feed. Okay, all of them from Facebook.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Nablopomo Prompts

from BlogHer:

Monday, November 2 What was the one toy that a friend had that you wished you had when you were little?

Tuesday, November 3 What did you think was the coolest job in the world when you were younger? Do you still feel that way now?

Wednesday, November 4 When you were a kid, did you want to have the same job or a different job than your parents when you grew up?

Thursday, November 5 What is the most important lesson you learned as a child, and who taught it to you?

Friday, November 6 What was your biggest fear as a child? Do you still have it today? If it went away, when did your feelings changes?

Monday, November 9 What is the first thing you do every single day (I mean, after you hit the snooze button)? When did that step in your routine begin?

Tuesday, November 10 What is the hardest part of a big project: getting the energy to begin, finding the time to work on it, or feeling down that it's over?

Wednesday, November 11 What was the last thing you fixed or built?

Thursday, November 12 If you had a personal assistant who would do your most dreaded tasks, which items from your to-do list would you assign out?

Friday, November 13 Describe your ideal day off. What would you do with your time?

Monday, November 16 Pretending you have the expertise to make the product a reality, what do you wish you could invent?

Tuesday, November 17 What is one place you need to see to feel like your life is complete? 

Wednesday, November 18 What do you hope people remember about you after you're gone? 

Thursday, November 19 Where would you want to retire if money wasn't an issue?

Friday, November 20 What do you hope happens by the end of this year?

Monday, November 23 What do you do better than anyone else?

Tuesday, November 24 Who is an expert you admire and why?

Wednesday, November 25 Do you think it's better to be a recognized expert for one thing, or known to be really good at lots of things?

Thursday, November 26 If you're celebrating Thanksgiving today (or even if you're not!), tell us about the best cook in your family.

Friday, November 27 What's the best purchase you ever made?

Monday, November 30 What do you like to do to celebrate an accomplishment?

Monday, November 2, 2015

What happened in 2015?

Not many blog posts, apparently.

Normally I'd boost my count a bit with Nablopomo, but not this month. I'm switching my efforts to the ridiculously fun (I hope!) Nanowrimo. But it may spill over here a bit, it's hard to say. Once the writing gate opens in my life, there is often a flood. I may even peek at the Nablopomo prompts and see if they inspire me.

What does 2016 hold? A move back to the US, deciding whether or not to continue homeschooling Raccoon, and a lot of traveling. Every time I see a blogger put that she wants to post more, she often stops altogether. So I will not say that.

But I live a better, richer life when I process things through writing. I have stopped journaling and blogging, and my life is poorer for it. Writing helps me to stop and appreciate things, and to remember what is important. So I will think about posting more and put "more blog time" on the vague list of "Things I Want."

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Saying Goodbye Sunday

Today we are off to visit a church we helped plant many years ago. I am excited to see the almost finished pastor apartment on the second floor, and to once again connect with our friends there. Spending the day away from our live volcano is also a plus.

This post is a bit of a placeholder as I expect to have additional reflections upon my return. To be continued...

I did enjoy today very much. It was amazing to see a body of Christ where 3 years ago there was nothing. Now there is a full church and a second floor pastor apartment. Thank you, Lord. The pastor and his wife gave our visitors some very touching gifts, traditional man and woman outfits, and then dressed them up. It reminded me that there are connections all over the world as Christians, and we truly are a family.

After the service, we went to a park with giant-sized playground equipment. It was fun to feel like a kid again, crawling and climbing all over the place. Raccoon continues to be fearless, while Kitty is interested but hesitant.

I am 13 minutes past my designated bedtime of midnight, so off I go after a very happy but tiring day.