Thursday, December 29, 2011


December 13, 2011

Today Ginny said good-bye to single digits!  We celebrated with a Christmas theme.
Well, let me back up ‘cause there was a lot of prep work involved.  First, there were the (almost) 150 Christmas cookies we baked and decorated.

He's eaten too much icing!

Then we made the cakes.  A HUGE thanks to Jessika, our intern who helped with the Christmas and birthday decorations and brought us candy canes!

This is the actual cake. 

This is the “overflow” cake.

Next, we made and assembled the treat bags.  We included pumpkin bread and the 2 types of cookies we made (sugar and gingerbread).  I typed the recipes out on cute Christmas recipe cards.

And put together a banner. 
It worked out really nicely that our SIM annual conference began the day after Ginny’s birthday, so most of our team mates were in the city for her party.

We decorated with lights, ribbons, tinsel and Christmas ornaments.

We grilled yule logs (hot dogs) and ate red and green jello and red and green apples off of Christmas plates.  We drink red and green punch.

It was very festive and very fun.

These are the recipes we included in the gift bags.  Click on them to make them bigger.

Monday, December 26, 2011


For these I am thankful (#30)
The Christmas season  

It is hot here.

Very hot.

Where we live there are no crowded shopping malls, lighted houses, or stockings hung or decorated Christmas trees.

No one is checking off a gift list and running to the mall for last minute items.

Christmas carols are not heard over PA systems.

It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t showing down here.

Newspapers, magazines and catalogs aren’t bursting with “must have” ads.

Does it feel like Christmas?

Yes and no.

To us adults, we have spent 3/4th of our life knowing only a North American hustle and bustle Christmas season.  It is hard to switch gears.

But to our kids, this is what they are familiar with.  When it starts getting really hot and the watermelons start showing, the kids get in the Christmas spirit.

And with all those distractions of lights and parties and new dresses and bigger and better in North America, our children are very content with a low-key season and I am so thankful.

In our house, we do put up a tree (no free ones here), hang up our stockings and decorate the house.....somewhat.  We bake cookies and breads to give away (and eat ourselves).  We will have a special Christmas Eve dinner, light fireworks and watch a new family movie till mid-night (as tradition).  We were thrilled to be asked by some new Paraguayan friends to spend Christmas Day with them.       

It's always fun pulling out the ornaments.

Christmas lights are the same no matter where you live!

When Julia saw herself in the Christmas ball, she began to clap and dance.

Saturday, December 24, 2011


For these I am thankful (#29)....

December looks a bit different in Paraguay than in North America.  Instead of snow, we have heat – like 100 degrees of it.  The weather isn’t too conducive to hot chocolate and sitting in front of a fireplace.  Instead, we eat watermelon and sit under the shade of the mango trees sipping even more terere.  Instead of jackets and boots, our children are running around shirtless and shoeless and in search of water in which to swim. 
Because we are living in a land-locked country, we have to look for creative alternatives to keeping cool.

Our dog LOVES water.

The kids waiting to throw wet sponges at the adults.  They were ruthless!


That's where my boys get it from!

Staying cool with watermelon.

 Car washin'

Even Julia joined in.

Then she got tired and sat in the car washing water.

Friday, December 23, 2011

For these I am thankful (#27)...


As you have probably figured by now, I love my camera and I love looking through the lens of a camera.  I love being able to chronicle our daily activities in pictures.

For these I am thankful (#28).....


I am so thankful that God has allowed us to bless other missionaries all over the world.  It truly is more blessed to give than receive.

For these I am thankful (#26)...

We spend a lot of time together as a family and you know what?  We LOVE it.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

For these I am thankful (#23)...


I have not always been a fan of homeschooling.  In fact there was a time when I considered myself such a failure at it.  I couldn’t wait to put them in a school while on furlough.  And I resented God a bit for “forcing” into a homeschooling situation.


So the fact that that I can honestly say that I am so very thankful to be homeschooling my children is a HUGE testament to God and his faithful patience with me. 

I love spending time with my children.  I love our flexibility.  I love learning with them.  I love bringing up everyday examples to illustrate their lessons.  I love being able to teach to their individual learning styles.  I love that they can go at their own pace.  I love that I get to read to them.  I love that we can all do history and science together.  I love that Jeff can teach Ryan math.  I love that Ginny and Joshua do math on the computer.  I love being able to teach Godly character traits alongside their lessons.  I love hearing my children memorize scripture as part of class.  I love having a daily bible class.   

For these I am thankful (#24)


In my down time, I really enjoy reading good books whether it is Christian fiction, a biography, a classic children’s book or a homeschool how-to book.  My children are also becoming avid readers and I am so thankful that they can lose themselves in a story.  Ryan and Joshua love mysteries and historical fiction and Ginny loves animal stories.  As a family, we always have a family book we’re reading through.  In November we read through a book of martyrs and now (in December) we’re reading an advent story.  Some of our very favorite family books are missionary biographies.  The Cross and the Switchblade is next on our family reading list.

For these I am thankful (#25)....


One thing that I love about life on the mission field is that we can minster as a family.  Our children come with us to mobile clinics, they sit with us at church, they go visiting with us and they spend time praying for the salvation of those we minister to.  I am so thankful that we have “jobs” that we can easily have them tag along.  We have seen their faith grow as we pray together for lives to be saved, people to be healed, friends to come back to church and for our own finances.    Missions is so real for them and I am so thankful.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


For these I am thankful (#22)...
There was a time in my life, before moving to the mission field, when I believed I would shrivel up and die without interaction with friends.  I have since been through many times of just plain loneliness and I have survived...I have been sustained by Jesus.  He should be all I need, after all (oh the great many lessons I have learned on the field!).  Non-the-less, I am extremely thankful for friendships: old and new, near and far, English speaking or something else.   
I am also thankful for the friendships my children have.