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.

100 Posts!!!

According to my "dashboard" this is my 100th post. Yea! It´s been fun blogging and keeping up with you all via the internet. As a missionary I am so glad to live in a time when we can have such good communication all over the world. I am encouraged every week through emails, phone calls, and internet communication. I hope you all realize how much it blesses me for you to keep in contact with me. I´m glad you´ve been able to walk a bit of the journey with me. It´s fun having you along. So, thanks, my friends.

Jake´s First Time Leading Worship

Jake has been on our church´s worship team for a few months now. Right now the ´normal´worship leader is out of town so Jake is filling in for a few weeks. He´s doing a great job if you ask me and of course I´m totally unbiased even though I am his mom. :^)

Here´s Ben running the slides for the church service. His ministry in the church is putting together all the worship and sermon slides and then running the program during the service. Caleb does the same ministry for the Youth Worship on Friday nights.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Faith Took Babysitting Lessons From Caleb

Here she is trying her hand at it. :^)

Actually, she is a big help with Mercy. She even likes changing dirty diapers. She is going out to help out at Casa de Amor this Saturday. Casa is an orphanage started by our friend Jennifer about 6 years ago when she was only 20 years old. Quite an amazing gal! Faith is really looking forward to helping out with all the babies there.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spring Thanksgiving

As most of you know in the Southern Hemisphere Thanksgiving and Christmas are in the spring and summer instead of in the fall and winter like I´m used to. It´s been hard to adjust to. I think I will always consider November and December to be in the fall and winter. Today was wonderful because since it is now the rainy season we had a very hard rain which cooled everything off. It reminded me so much of fall in Virginia minus all the beautiful fall colors. I actually hope that it rains on Thanksgiving so it will seem more like Thanksgiving and maybe we could even use our fireplace. That would be nice. Last Christmas was fun because we could ride the bikes we got, but it was a little different wearing short sleeves and getting sunburned on Christmas Day. We´ll see what this year holds. In the meantime I´m starting to plan our Thanksgiving feast. Someone gave us a turkey and we´re excited about that. Turkeys are very expensive here as they are considered a ´gringo´ thing since Thanksgiving is an American holiday. An average sized one costs about $50 and we need a big one for our family. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving celebrating traditions with family and friends. I know my Dad will be watching the Cowboys. We´ll be thinking of you all and creating some new traditions of our own. Things might be different here in Cochabamba than we are used to, but we have plenty to be thankful for!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Update on Joe´s Facial Hair....

I just realized I never wrote a blog about whether Joe kept the goatee or not. Thanks for all of you who weighed in with an opinion. In spite of all the positive comments on it he decided to shave when I told him that I liked kissing him better without it. :^) Then about 3 weeks ago I asked him to grow it back since I really like the way he looks with it. He did as you can see from the pics of his first Spanish sermon and the one above. Isn´t he handsome? Now the goatee doesn´t bother me at all when we kiss, but it does bother his other girl (Mercy).

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Joe's First Sermon in Spanish

Our pastor and family took a much deserved vacation a couple of weeks ago. He asked Joe to preach for him while they were gone. Joe decided he wanted to preach in Spanish and not have a translator. This was his first time to do that. A big deal. Now our pastor and his wife are going to a conference in Venezuela so Joe will be preaching in Spanish again this week. Our church has one Sunday morning Spanish service and one English service; we also have a Sunday night service as well as a Thursday night service. So what this means is Joe, being Joe, plunged right in. He went from never preaching in Spanish to doing 6 different Spanish sermons and 2 English ones within a couple of weeks. Crazy boy. He did a good job and I´m very proud of him. I'm still at the "My-name-is-Denise-I-have-11-children-I-don't-speak-Spanish-very-well-but-I'm-trying" stage. That's okay because once I get to the I have 11 children part of the conversation they don't hear anything else I say. :^) Actually whenever we tell anyone we have once (the Spanish word for 11....pronounced ¨own-say¨) children they just think we don´t know our numbers very well. So we end up saying....¨Yes, eleven, ten plus one¨. But I digress. A missionary friend asked me to speak for a few short minutes this week at a parenting conference for young moms in her church. Joe has inspired me and I´m going to give it a shot in Spanish. You can definitely pray for me!!

Before the service we were goofing around. Here´s Mercy´s first Spanish sermon....