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.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Byron's Preaching

We have started a new church in our home. On Sundays, I like to reflect on the sermon, but now I can do something even better... post the sermon!

This is Sermon #7 Bendecidos (Blessed). You can find the first six online here if you'd like.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 5, 2016


When we came back for our 3rd term as missionaries in 2014, I bought a bunch of fruit trees, plopped them in the ground with a bit of fertilizer in the small hole, and thought that was that. Three years later, we have seen a few skinny fruits, but mostly we are still waiting. My friend in the neighborhood says I need more fertilizer, so I am now indebted one banana bread to another neighbor for two sacks of guinea pig poo.

The other complication is that it hails several times each October, right after the September rains when everything is in flower. This severely limits how many flowers survive to become fruit. In the Bible, it talks about giving the firstfruits to the Lord, but mine were so sickly that I felt bad giving them away. Here's to a better crop next year!

This is my pine tree and beyond a guaba tree.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Homeschooling Again!

Today's post about Julia Butterflies is over on my homeschool blog

But here's a picture too because this feels a little like cheating. Ha ha.


(from Wikipedia)

Thursday, November 3, 2016

A Maine Rock Garden in Ecuador

Shortly after we moved into this house in 2010, my mom came for a visit. She made this rock garden for me as a labor of love, fighting to claim the ground from the grass, and I have kept it up (with much help!) ever since. In Maine, the fields are surrounded by walls, made from the rocks the farmers take out of the ground. Ecuadorian soil is not rocky, so we bought a dump truck load instead. 

I inherited some money from my mother's mother, who I called Whizzie, which Byron and I invested in this land. From the moment we purchased it, I wanted to do a memorial garden. My brother-in-law, who helps with the gardening sometimes, calls this the Inca Walk, but to me, it's more like Grandma's Garden. Whizzie helped me buy it, my mom helped me build it, and I planted it with marigolds in memory of my other grandmother, Joyce, who used to line her driveway with them every year.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Adopting Animals

Before we came back to Ecuador, I promised my husband, Byron, that I wouldn't accumulate as many animals as last term. We had 5 dogs, 3 cats, 15+ fowl, fish, and I don't remember what else. It was a lot. When we arrived, we had one dog that someone was taking care of for us. One.

Two months later, we now have 4 dogs, 1 kitten, 1 fish, 6 chickens, and 50+ soon-to-be butterflies.

These are our two newest arrivals. Aw. I just can't resist!

Candy is a female, large breed of dog. We saw her one day just up our road a little. We threw her a piece of bread and went home. A few days later, my mother-in-law told us that she saw a skeletal dog at the bus stop (a few miles from our house). I just knew that it had to be the same one. My husband hummed the theme song to Paw Patrol as my mother-in-law, the kids, and I drove off in our truck to rescue her. A dog that thin and still alive deserves a second chance. We coaxed her into the car with some bread and my mother-in-law gave her a little extra shove. Thankfully, she's very nice and gentle. A month later, she looks like this:

This is Jingle Bell, a small male kitten who spent about a week meowing outside our house. We caught him twice and he ran away again twice. The third time, he stayed. Now he's everyone's favorite.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Nablopomo is here again!

This year has been one of much upheaval and rebirth in my walk with Christ, my marriage, and my family. The more going on in my life, the less I'm on here. But this month, I'm attempting (attacking?!) National Blog Posting Month (Nablopomo) and National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo), so here I am again.

Where have I been? My husband, two kids, and I spent 9 months on furlough in Washington State, then we returned to Ecuador in August. This was the time that we almost didn't come back, but we had left some things undone in our ministry and personal life, so here we are. Welcome to my home!

This is our house. We're hoping to finish it, inside and out, this term.

For now, this 0.5 acres is our home.

The view from the chicken pen out back.