Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Holman Nativity

Thanks to Jennifer for this idea. She did it with the kids at her orphanage and we stole her idea.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The US Doesn´t Have Everything...

Last night we went out to dinner with our dear, dear friends the Carl and Glenda. They moved to Coch a couple of weeks before we did to be with and help out their daughter (our friend Jennifer) who started an orphanage here. So we´re kinda like foxhole buddies. We´ve gotten really tight, really fast. I don´t know what we´ll do when they leave our little foxhole. We truly enjoy their company. Anyway we had a great time out at dinner as usual. Afterwards we went out for ice cream and were walking around a plaza in town. We were looking at and listening to the singing Christmas lights. The music is not syncronized so personally I think they sound just like the screaming eels in The Princess Bride....truly. Anyway. Carl said something to the affect of "You won´t find these in the US". That started a quick conversation about things that the US doesn´t have.

Of course I love America, but there is much to be said for living in a place that isn´t so corrupted by perfectionism, efficiency, tort law, and materialism.

  • Like here in Bolivia we can have any kind of fireworks anytime we like to celebrate anything from a birthday or a futball victory to Christmas or Tia Maria´s recovery from her hangnail surgery or even just because we had a few extra bolivianos (our currency) to spend. We all agreed that is just plain ole fun.

  • Also we don´t have to hurry up and eat when we go out to dinner. We can sit at the same table all night and no one will be upset. Not other patrons, no the waiter, no one. In fact we have to find our waiter to get him to bring the check.

  • We can buy juice in a plastic bag. In fact the other day Joe got some take out chicken and ordered two liters of lemonade and they gave it to him in a plastic bag. Less waste. Here´s his pic with that lemonade.

  • When we have a traffic accident we can usually work it out between the drivers without having to call the police. If you are driving in the left hand lane and you need to turn right, no problem. The other drivers will be looking out in case you do.

  • You can carry anything you want from a living room suite to three goats in a taxi across town for 1.50.

  • You can set up a booth selling newspapers, cokes, or whatever you have in the middle of the traffic circle.

  • If you want to have a private party and you need some extra room all you have to do is park your car sideways on the street, set up some tables, and have at it. The people who are driving down the road will figure it out and go down the wrong way on the opposite side of the street. (This even happens on four lane roads.)

  • You can stop and eat lunch in the middle of an intersection (literally IN THE MIDDLE) where someone has set up plastic table and chairs.

  • If you have a party, you can crank your music as loud as you want for as late as you want. All the neighbors let it slide knowing that they too will have a party soon.

  • You can cram more than 20 people in a small van (think: shared taxi) and go across town for 25 cents.

  • Sick? Need some meds? Go to the pharmacy and get whatever you need over the counter from pain killers to antibiotics.

  • Want to open up a restuarant? Open up your garage and set up some tables. You can cook it all in your own kitchen.

These things and many more we can do. Personally, I like this way of life.

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

We had a down pour on Christmas Day and our house flooded in the afternoon. Here are some of the pics of our excitement....

The Bucket Brigade trying to get the water level down so it won´t flood our living room anymore.

Towels soaking up the mess.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures!! (guestblog by Joe....who meant to upload this to his blog not mine)

As I posted on my facebook (make me a friend if we are not), my kids accidently plugged the powerstrip that our entertainment and gaming systems (xbox) were on into a 220 outlet. It fried everything.

I just heard the kids upstairs. They dug out the old atari that we have and hooked it up and are playing pitfall harry. They are having a blast...and Denise can beat them! (She was pitfall Harriet when we were dating, unbeatable in the forest).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas Adam

Today Seth called to wish us a "Merry Christmas Adam". That is what our family calls today...the day before Christmas Eve...because Adam came before Eve. Get it? Anyway, I hope you all had a Merry Christmas Adam and will have a wonderful Christmas Eve and a great Christmas Day as well.

All I Want for Christmas...

My how things have changed. You know what two of my children (one of them a teenager) asked for as Christmas gifts this year? Yep, that´s right......PopTarts. Now PopTarts are considered a treat and a luxury. Something that was pretty commonplace for us in the States has risen to Christmas present status. Shhh! Don´t tell them, but we bought them each their own box (at almost $5 a box!).

Coffee Mates Christmas Party

I meet with a great group of gals as often as we can for coffee and conversation. Usually it´s about twice a month unless one of us needs it more. :^) I am so grateful for these friends who have really been a treat to have in my life this past year. They are all missionaries too and I feel like they understand what I´m going through. I´m the newbie missionary of the group even though I´m by far the oldest. :^) They´ve been there for me through good days and bad ones too. Thank you, girlies. I love you!

My friend, Angie, calls us ´caffinaries´ so as to not be outdone I came up with a name for them too. These gals are my ´coffee mates´.

We all got together last night at my house with husbands included for a Christmas party. It was lots of fun as usual carrying on with them. We missed Beth and Kevin who are in the States for Christmas and Julie and Josh who weren´t able to make it. I´ll show you pics of them another time.

Me and Joe

Laura and Gary

Tyson and Carolina

Angie and DaRonn

Daryl and Dan
And now for a tour of our Christmas decor.....

Update on the Tadpoles

Joe checked out the situation and found out that they were mosquito larva that were growing in our outside sink. Welp, at least they weren´t in the house. :^)

Joy Became a Christian!!!!

Hip Hip Hooray!!! Joy became a Christian...on my mom´s birthday no less (December 5). Cool present for Grandma.

Joe and I had the great priviledge to talk to her and pray with her about this big decision. You can read the story on his blog. ( Now we´re looking into when and where she can be baptized.

Today she was leaving our room and before she closed the door she said "I love you and God, but God the mostest".

Monday, December 22, 2008

"Did You Know We Had Tadpoles In Our Sink?"

A quote heard from Joy just a minute ago. Joe is checking it out now. Will update the findings later.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Some Fun Pics

Here are Joy´s Christmas tree decorating sweaters and scarves here. :^)

Jake has been lifting weights. This is cheaper than going to the gym.

Hope and Patience looking out of my bedroom window.

James Bond in Bolivia

Well Joe and I finally went to see the newest James Bond flick. For those of you who that think you saw Bolivia in the movie, you didn´t. It was filmed in Peru, Chili and Panama. Bolivia wouldn´t let them film here. I wish they would´ve because you would´ve been impressed with the view from the La Paz airport. It´s the highest international airport in the world at over 13,450 feet of elevation. The drive down into the bowl of La Paz is truly breath taking.

Anyway, back to the movie. I won´t comment on the political aspects of the movie. I wanna talk about the physical parts of the movie. There definitely are NO roads here that look like those. The roads in the movie were wide, paved and had painted stripes. Haven´t seen those here. The taxis and the buses in the movie were all clean and without wild paint jobs and the blessings of Pachi Mama and/or the Catholic church. That´s different. Also, no one was trying to hawk their wares. And every thing was really clean. Very different.

I found a Panama travel website that was upset that Panama was used to represent Bolivia. The author said Panama City was a boom town and Bolivia is an economic mess and they are nothing alike. You can read more of the comparison for yourself here:

I find it amusing that they didn´t want to appear to be like Bolivia in any way. Pretty funny stuff.

I love Bolivia....warts and all as they say. I hope one day you all will get a chance to see it for yourselves.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Missing Seth

We are all missing Seth....especially now at holiday time. Kids growing up and leaving home is really hard...especially when they are so far away. We´re hoping that he will be able to come for a visit really soon. It´s not the same without him. Paish pretends to talk to him on the phone all the time and Joy says that he is her best buddy. The other day Joy asked when we were going back to the States. We know that the little ones don´t even really remember the States, they just hear us talk about it. So, Joe said "What´s in the States?". Her simple answer was..."Seth". Enough said.

I Told Joe This Morning.....

I wish I was a baby.
  • People will do all manner of things just to see you smile.
  • When you are upset it´s everyone´s business to get you happy again.
  • You get to wear comfortable clothes all the time and even get to go out in your jammies.
  • Everyone "oohs" and "aahs" over your every little accomplishment.
But very best of all....
  • Everyone is happy when you eat a lot and sleep a lot!


How do you like what I found in my bathtub last week? It´s an alacran in Spanish or scorpion in English. Either way I must admit that I find it hideous. I´m sure God had a purpose in making these creatures, I just don´t know what it could be.

Just this morning I found another one. It was in my bathtub too or to be more clear I should say that it was in my bathwater when I got out of the tub. YIKES!! Yep, when I got out of the bathtub, I saw him floating. Joe said it´s a good thing I take hot baths. He said I probably boiled it. I´m just thankful that I wasn´t stung since it can really hurt. So far no one in the family has been stung as far as we know, but last week Hope was stung by something in the grass. It was very painful and swollen for a few days. Maybe she´s the first one in our family to have a Bolivian scorpion sting. I would be happy to opt out of my turn. This ´scorpion season´ time of the year really gets to me especially since our mattress is still on the floor. Yes. Still. We shake out our sheets every night....just in case. And now the kids are wearing shoes outside (more of the time anyway). They are also checking their shoes before they put them on as this is a favorite hiding place for scorpions. So far they haven´t discovered any others. I guess the ones in our house just prefer to hang out in my bathtub. I think I´m becoming a shower person.

Día de Acción de Gracias

That is the Spanish name for Thanksgiving. Literally, it means "day of the action of thanks". I like that. It implies that there must be more to our giving thanks than just saying ´thank you´. There is action that shows our gratitude. If you think about it that´s what the first Thanksgiving was all about. The pilgrims invited the Indians to share a feast of the bounty God provided. It was a celebration. It was giving thanks to the Indians for their part in helping the pilgrims survive, but most of all it was a time for them all to give thanks to God in a special way for providing for their needs and even over and above their needs. They were thankful and they showed that gratitude with action. I pray that my gratitude will also be one of action. May my life show that I am thankful. Feliz Día de Acción de Gracias!

Here are some pics of us celebrating Thanksgiving in Bolivia:

Joe holding Mercy.

Caleb peeling potatoes.

Jake dicing onions.

The girls were so excited about the turkey that they just sat by the oven and watched it cook.

Ben and Josh goofing off while waiting for dinner. That Josh can pack quite a punch.

Wow! Look at that! We actually got a turkey in Bolivia. A dear friend bought this sweet gift for us and boy was it good!

Yum. Yum.

Lots of good food.

Look at all I have to be thankful for!

Time to eat at last!

Then comes the clean up and the party after the party...

Joe is ¨the Man¨ doing the dishes.

Lots and lots of a tiny sink. What a guy!

Jake caught me and Joe dancing in the kitchen.

More fun in the kitchen.

¨Thanks, Mom, for the dinner!¨

Look at this handsome crew of kitchen help! How come Joe is the shortest?

Joy and Paish in Daddy´s lap watching ¨Journey to the Center of the Earth¨.

Mercy´s all tuckered out.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Denise Doesn't Know I Posted This...yet

Denise put a couple of photos of our children and their babysitting skills....
I guess it is genetic.


Flowers from Ben

A couple of weeks ago Ben, Caleb, and Jake climbed to the top of Mount Tunari (the highest peak in Cochabamba at 16,563 feet). I´ll post some of their pics later, but for now I want to tell you a story about Ben. When they came home he brought me some flowers and said they were for me from the top of Mt. Tunari. "Wow!" I thought, "He was thinking of me when he was worn out from all that hiking, then he carried them all the way back down just to give them to me. What a good son!". Later he saw me taking a picture of the flowers and he asked if I was going to put it on my blog. I told him I was. Then he got a sheepish grin on his face and confessed that they were from the tree in our front yard. The little jokester! He´s so much like his dad! Oh well, he did bring me flowers from the front yard. He´s still a good son. I guess I´ll keep him....just to help me laugh. My dad once said that Ben is the funniest kid he knows. I think he´s right.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Long, Long Ago in a Country Far, Far Away

Twenty eight years ago last Friday Joe and I went out on a date for the very first time. Whodda thunk that we would end up like this?

* With eleven kids
* Missionaries living in South America
* The happiest married couple I know
* Serving our Lord together

You never know how one day could change your life forever. Take advantage of every moment you have and live life to the fullest.

I´m so thrilled that I said I would go out with that cute blond headed boy that I met in high school. I love him more now that I ever have. He´s the best! (and cuter now too!)

BTW, the pic is not our first date but one a couple of years later.