Monday, May 02, 2011

Today as I was in the car from 1:00 to 3:30 picking up both kids from different schools across town from one another, I was complaining in my heart and thinking how I can’t wait until school is over and for next year so our lives will slow down, etc., when I was convicted about my bad attitude and remembered what a privilege it is for my kids to not only attend school, but to be able to put them in private Christian schools this year. I once showed Rachel a video of girls in Africa who don’t get to go to school because they have to get water for their family every day. When she would complain about school I reminded her that she GETS to go to school and that not every girl does. I guess I needed that reminder, today, too.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spinach-Strawberry Salad

This is so yummy. Strawberries are just going out of season here, but we have eaten this numerous times this spring and the girls just loved it.

1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced/chopped
12 oz fresh spinach, torn into bite sized pieces

1/2 c. toasted sliced almonds (opt)
1/4 c. salad oil (canola or sunflower)
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp minced green onions
1 tsp. salt
Dash of tabasco sauce
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar

Prepare strawberries and spinach. Mix remaining ingredients together in food processor and serve on the side.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. (Acts 17:26-27)

I love those verses. Especially the part about God knowing our times and places. At the moment, we have no idea where we will be living or what we will be doing 3 months from now, but I am strangely (?) at peace about the whole matter. I say strangely at peace because I am a chronic worrier. Typically I would be worrying about where we will live and how we will earn money and where our kids will go to school. But ever since we made the decision to return to the U.S., I have been completely at peace. It helps that we do have a temporary place to stay, but that is temporary and I have absolutely no idea what comes after temporary or how long temporary may be. On the one hand, David is excited because he feels like the possibilities are endless and that we are at a crossroads where he can try something new. He is leaning heavily towards going back to school, but is also exploring a few other possibilities. Thankfully, we have zero debt, which helps.

And there is the matter of schooling for Rachel. Last night I was contemplating options and starting to get a little worried, but then I just reminded myself to trust the Lord and remembered that He loves her and has also set her times and places. I'm staying tuned with you to find out how that situation turns out!

You know how sometimes a verse you read at a seemingly random moment will keep fluttering in your head for days on end? But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that (1 Tim 6:8) has been one of those verses for me lately. I was thinking about it yesterday and thought it interesting that Paul doesn't say if we have food, clothing, a house, good schools, health insurance...fill in your blank...we will be content with that. Simply food and clothing.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Bop Turns 4

Last Saturday was Bop Bop's birthday. We began the day with a family outing to a local churreria, where we had churros and chocolate. Later at home we celebrated with a mini party including a specially requested monkey cake and of course, presents.
This is the best we could do. I made a chocolate cake with white cream cheese frosting. Then David freehanded this monkey with chocolate icing. Impressive, huh?
Rachel helping him read his card.
A new bus (from Grandma and Grandpa).
And this awesome superman costume from Uncle Herb and Aunt Maddie. (With his very own umbrella from mommy and daddy).

Monday, April 26, 2010

The joys of my life

My little girl celebrated this milestone yesterday. Her first lost tooth. It had been wiggly since the first of April, yes more than 3 weeks! David had tried pulling it several times but it never would come out. Yesterday Rachel and I had gone to a baby shower and while there, she came up to me and showed me how wiggly it was. The lady sitting next to me (another ECA mom) offered to try and pull it out so with paper towel in hand, she twisted it and voila! Rachel was thrilled. And of course she was even more excited about the Euro she found in her tooth fairy pillow this morning.


And we have been working on memorizing this passage for a few weeks. I am so proud of my little boy! Here is the text he is quoting.
Stand up and praise the Lord your God, who is from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, and may it be exalted above all blessing and praise. You alone are the Lord. You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them. You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you.
Neh 9:5-6

Friday, April 23, 2010


This has been kind of a down week for me. I was saddened by the news of the death of a sweet girl I used to know. She died of breast cancer at age 36, leaving her husband and 2 little girls. Then I found out that another amazing couple I knew in college have separated/divorced, which just leaves me grappling with the fact that it really can happen to anyone and made me want to guard and cultivate my marriage like never before. And we were informed by one of our most faithful supporters that they were no longer able to give financially. In all, quite a discouraging week.

This morning before Rachel left for school, we read Psalm 116 (we started with Psalm 1 and have read a psalm every weekday morning before she leaves for school). Psalm 116:15 says "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." I love that verse. And it was timely that Psalm 116 is about the compassion of the Lord and how he hears us when we call to him. The psalmist talks about crying out to the Lord and the Lord heard him in his distress. It didn't say that the Lord made him happy or immediately took away his trouble, but that the Lord had heard him. The Lord protects us and is unending in his compassion. I needed that reminder.

I have been reading to Rachel in the evenings from Revelation. The other night we read in Chapter 4 the description of the throne of God and the 24 elders who fall down before him, laying their crowns before him saying, "Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created."

This morning after I pointed out Psalm 116:15 and we talked about how God sees Leslie's death as precious and valuable. I was able to remind Rachel, too, that the awesome thing for Leslie is that now she is in the presence of God and his throne and she understands him fully now in ways that we cannot. She is able to witness the sea of glass and able to join in with the 24 elders as they worship Him who is the holy and almighty God.

Monday, April 19, 2010


It's been a while since I wrote anything about my sweet little girl. I can hardly believe she is almost finished with first grade. This has been such a wonderful year for her. She has thrived in school and we regularly hear good reports from her teacher and other parents. But besides growing in maturity and academics, it has been a joy to watch her deepen in her faith and understanding of world events, missions and basic Biblical knowledge. The other night before bed we told her she could pray for whatever she wanted. She prayed, "Dear God, we pray that you would end the wars that are going on in the world and that the people would be happy and have peace." I have no idea where that came from!

A few weeks ago she had a bad eczema attack, which we suspect was an allergic reaction to something she ate. We have an appointment with an allergist next week to see if we can have her re-tested and find out what she is allergic to. We haven't had her tested since she was a baby.

At school, all the kids refer to her as "Little Red." There is a 3rd grader who also has red hair and she is "Big Red." Rachel loves her nickname. And the other day she came home very excited that her substitute p.e. teacher had called her "Carrots." I'm so thankful that she likes the nicknames and is not embarrased of her beautiful red hair.

And one more very special thing that happened last week. Like every other elementary-aged girl, she has been wanting an American Girl doll for as long as I can remember. She has read almost all of the books and most of her friends have them, but I would never spend that much money on a doll. So a year or so ago we had gone to the home of some missionaries here whose kids go to ECA. They have a teenage daughter who had the Josefina doll. Rachel had so much fun playing with the doll while we were at their house. The other day, the teenage daughter called to say that she had been thinking about her doll and how she had outgrown her and really would love it if she could give it to Rachel. Of course, I said that Rachel would be thrilled. So the next day, Hannah brought her Josefina doll to school along with several sets of clothes and doll accessories.

I told Rachel how special it was that Hannah had given her the doll, that it was so much more meaningful that it came from someone she knew and who had already loved Josefina for all those years. I also told her of God's faithfulness to us, yet again, and how when I was pregnant with her I remember wondering how in the world we were going to afford a baby, and yet I looked around our tiny house that was filled with everything we needed and knew in my heart that if God provided all this for us, how much more would he provide for his little child. And he did provide. We were overwhelmed by the blessings he poured out on us and had everything we could possibly need and more. And here is just one more example of his provision. Not only did he give Rachel the doll she had been wanting for so many years (at no cost to us), he added in the special benefit of a relationship with Hannah, a new bond between them and a special blessing to the giver.

God is so good.

Here she is with her new Josefina doll. Rachel is dressed as Felicity, another of the American Girls who happens to have red hair. Fitting, isn't it?

Thursday, April 08, 2010


Ok, so more than a year ago David’s parents suggested one day that it would be fun to meet us in Paris over spring break.  Having never been, of course I was thrilled at the possibility.  David’s family spent a year in Brussels, Belgium, for a year when he was 16 as they were studying French before moving to Africa so they had been to Paris several times already, which was great because they knew the language and knew their way around.

So we found a cheap flight on Easyjet (a no frills European airline) and we met them at the airport on Saturday and found our way to the apartment we had rented through (wonderful website!) and got settled in.  Renting the apartment was the way to go.  It was so nice to be together and have a kitchen rather than staying in separate hotel rooms and having to eat out all of our meals.  I would highly recommend it and can give you the vrbo # if you are interested. 

DSC_0049(our apartment is above the brown storefront, next to the bakery)

Once we were settled in we took a quick stroll around our neighborhood and a quick trip to the grocery store.  We were within walking distance from Notre Dame Cathedral and the Siene River. 

Sunday we went to the Louvre Museum, one of the largest museums if not the largest in the world.  We spent most of the day there looking at the Mona Lisa, French 18th century art and the most interesting of all – the Egyptian and Greek sculptures and statues.  In college I only took one class of Art History and unfortunately it was towards the end of my college career or I very well may have minored in it.  I absolutely loved it.  Studying philosophy and the ancient cultures of Egypt, Greece and Rome is something I really loved and putting it into the context of their art and civilization made it all come together for me.  I never dreamed I would one day see it in person.  It was also fun for me to show Rachel some of the Egyptian artifacts and hieroglyphics because we did a brief study of that in our homeschool geography last year.  Louvre_03Louvre_08Louvre_23

Monday we ventured to the Eiffel Tower.  It was a gorgeous day.  We didn’t climb up into it but it was still cool to see it in person.  It really is an amazing piece of architecture.  After a nice lunch of steak and frites (french fries), we took a tour boat down the Seine, which was nice because it explained a lot of the buildings and sights as well as some history of the city.  Living in Europe makes me wish I knew more about world history.  I’m not sure how I missed that class in school, but anyhow.  I’m always learning.Eiffel_Tower_05Eiffel_Tower_09Eiffel_Tower_21

Tuesday we went to Luxembourg Gardens, where we found an amazing playground that the kids loved, of course.  We did a lot of just walking around seeing the sights.  Jardin_du_Lux_06Jardin_du_Lux_13

Notre Dame was amazing, of course.  I can’t tell you all the history of it but it was neat to again see in real life the famous rose window, flying buttresses and towers that I have only seen in books.  Because it was Holy Week there were services going on throughout the week and when we walked through, there was a lady singing and the acoustics made it such a beautiful experience.  I could have sat and listened for hours, probably.  So reverent and so beautiful in such an amazing building.  Truly one of my most emotional and favorite moments.


Early Wednesday morning we took a high speed train to Brussels, Belgium, to spend the day.  It was a long day with a lot of walking

but again I was delighted to see another city with its own distinct architecture, food and culture.  David’s parents have pedometers and at the end of that particular day, they registered over 18,000 steps! 

Thursday we went to another cathedral in Paris, Saint Chapelle, which was built by King Louis (later deemed “Saint Louis” FYI).  It was so beautiful, surrounded by stained glass windows which depicted the entire Biblical narrative.


  Thursday evening we took advantage of our babysitters and David and I went out to dinner, which is very rare for us these days.  We found this nice little Italian restaurant on the Champs Elysees near the Arc de Triomphe.  It was a lovely evening.

Friday we went to the Museum D’Orsay, which houses the largest collection of French Impressionism art, my absolute favorite period.  We saw original works by Renoir, Monet and Van Gogh among others.  Interestingly, both Rachel and Mathis recognized some of them from their “Baby Monet” DVD and Rachel knew some from other art books she has seen.  I love love LOVED showing her the art and looking up close at the brush strokes and detail that one doesn’t see from a print.  It was amazing.  And she loved it.musee_dorsay

I never dreamed how beautiful a city could be.  I never dreamed that I would one day get to go.  I never dreamed how much I would enjoy sharing it with my family.  I never dreamed how  rich the experience of seeing in person things I had only seen in books would be.  What an opportunity! 

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Sunday we went to the international church in Madrid and sent the kids to Sunday school as usual. When we went to pick up Mathis, he came out with his coloring page, which had his name, "Bob" written on it. I imagine the conversation went something like this.

Teacher: "What is your name?"
Mathis: "Bop Bop."
Teacher, thinking to herself, "Bob Bob? He must mean Bob." and proceeds to write Bob on his page.

A few weeks ago at the dinner table Jesse asked him if his name was Mathis and he said, "No, but people call me that."

So Rachel has been sick with a fever and sore throat for the last two days and we camped out on my bed and watched Leave it to Beaver, which she had never seen. She loved it, of course, and I found it entertaining on a new level, having a little boy of my own. In the pilot episode, Beaver's teacher calls him to the front and addresses him as "Theodore," and he corrects her, saying his name is Beaver. She asks if that is given name and he replies, "Yeah, my brother gave it to me." In the end, she agrees to call him Beaver. It makes me wonder how long Bop Bop will be Bop Bop. Maybe forever. :)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

On trusting God…

I’m still working through Jim Elliott’s biography, Shadow of the Almighty, and because it is so rich I am taking it in small doses.  I admit that all I really knew of him I had learned from reading books by his widow, Elisabeth Elliott.  I knew her side of their story and I knew of his famous martyrdom while attempting to share the Gospel with the Auca tribe in Ecuador.  But reading this book has given me such a deeper insight into the life and thoughts of a man who was far from perfect and would not consider himself a hero, yet who valued the Word of God above everything else and who, for our benefit, was an excellent journaler. 

One of the first stories is set while he was a student at Wheaton College and had been offered a job as a business manager, which he turned down.  “After a long session of prayer my mind became settled, and I found peace in believing it was not the Lord’s will that I take it.  Yet I still cannot set down reason for the decision save this, that the Lord showed the psalmist the way of life, evidently by him simply lingering in his presence (Psalm 116:11).  I waited for Him and somehow the answer came.  I trust it was of the Spirit.  ‘A man’s heart devises his way.’ said Solomon, ‘but the Lord directs his steps’  My heart has devised to serve him.  I must leave the next step to Him.” 

The quote he is most famous for is one he wrote in his journal years before he set foot in Ecuador, “He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep for that which he cannot lose,” but there are so many other meaningful and profound things he thought and wrote.  I found it interesting, also, that after he graduated from college, he did not have a job so he moved back home to Oregon to live with his parents while he did odd jobs and waited for clear direction from God.  He talks about how others were talking about him and criticizing the fact that he didn’t have a job yet, but he left the vindication to the Lord and continued to do the next thing until the way was made clear, which incidentally was several years later.

He was focusing on 2 mission opportunities – one in India and one in Peru, when he “just happened” to hear of a letter from a missionary in Ecuador…But he believed that the way would be obvious when the time came, provided that he continued fulfilling the duties which stared him in the face.  As George MacDonald wrote, “obedience is the opener of eyes.”

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