Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior... Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth—everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.... “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, so that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor will there be one after me. I, even I, am the LORD, and apart from me there is no savior. I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—I, and not some foreign god among you. You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God. Yes, and from ancient days I am he. No one can deliver out of my hand. When I act, who can reverse it?”
Isaiah 43:1-3, 7, 10-13

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Random Thought

I have been struck several times in the last couple weeks that these last 3 months have been the longest time in the past 4 years that I have not been pregnant or nursing or both. Amazing!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Pray Continually!

Why is it so much easier to worry than to pray? Maybe it's human nature - for sure my human nature. One of my new year's goals this year was to improve in my prayer life - especially considering that this is the age my children are learning to pray, I felt I really needed to step up in this area myself. I especially wanted to focus on the aspect of praying continually - I want my children to know they can come to their Heavenly Father with anything and everything - that He sees every concern and is interested in our daily lives. This has been quite a challenge for me, seeing as I generally resort to worrying rather than praying. However, I truly feel the Holy Spirit is working on this area with me as several times in the last few weeks, as I've been worrying about something, I feel the prompt to PRAY instead of WORRY. Revolutionary! Although it really shouldn't be. Here are some of the things I've been worrying about in the last couple days that have turned into prayer...

-my children waking each other up super early (as in 5:30 - way too early for mom to wake up happy): Pray!- that their fears/discomfort will be stilled and they will sleep peacefully, waking up with healthy, rested bodies.
-concern over a church member's estranged relationship with his wife, and frustration over the way he's handling it: Pray! - that God will work in them to love and forgive one another, and that He will show them His will.
-worry over where we'll have the national family camp this year: Pray! - that God will lead us to a place that will meet our physical needs so we can minister to the spiritual needs of families around Bolivia.
-concern over weird diapers (this may sound strange, or gross to you, but after being through countless rounds of amoebas with Eliana, any strange looking or strange smelling diaper gets me worried): Pray! - for the health of our family, that we would be wise in our lifestyle and so be able to help prevent these things, and that, should these battles with stomach yuck come, the treatments would be able to do the trick.
-worry over unknown budget changes: Pray! - that God would give us and our sponsoring church wisdom and we handle our finances.
-daily team interactions and upcoming team retreat: Pray! - that God would continue to work in our team, that we would live out Col. 3:12-16 in order to better demonstrate His love and glory in this place.
-my children's individual fears (Michaela's fear of swimming now after a scary experience in the States, Eliana's fear of dogs): Pray! - that God would give me wisdom as a parent as I help my children overcome these fears, and that He would protect them from physical harm, and that He would give them courage to face every aspect of life.
-disappointment over a new friendship that is ending that hardly had a chance to begin: Pray! - that God would bless Kate Callahan and her family and their ministry as they move to La Paz, and that God would provide relationships in my life that would bring Him glory and meet my needs and the needs of others.
-thoughts about the possibility of starting a women's prayer group: Pray! - that God would give me wisdom as I consider the logistics of beginning this, and that when it begins, that He would use it to deepen His relationship with many women, and our relationships as sisters in Christ.

All in a Day's Play

It's amazing all the things we do (or our children do by themselves) to entertain our kids during the day. Here's a look at what we did today...
Wake up at 6:00
Play with baby sister
Play pillows (meaning take all the pillows off the couches and jump/waller in them)
Make breakfast together
Watch TV (while mommy has God time)
Play dolls and house (while mommy works out)
Look at pictures
Play Candy Land
Play pillows again
Play the piano and sing together
Eat a snack
Blow bubbles outside
Draw with sidewalk chalk
Play cars with baby sister
Eat lunch
Play "the game" with daddy (in other words, wrestle with daddy)
Read books
Take naps
Play with baby sister again
Play outside on the playground with Daddy
Go over to Nathan's house to play
Watch TV (while mommy puts baby sister to sleep)
Read books
Sing songs
Go to sleep at 9:00! It's been a long day!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Favorite Unposted Pics

Well, I had a few pictures I didn't get a chance to post from our furlough trip - some of my personal favorites - so here goes.

Smiley Jana

Blue-eyed Michaela

Poor Eliana! She got a mosquito bite right next to her eye and her little eye swelled almost shut no matter how much Benadryl I gave her! I felt so bad for her.

Mama and her girls

Sister fun

And of course, furlough wouldn't have been complete without some professional pictures done of the girls. Here's some favorite shots. (By the way, I highly recommend the studio we used, called Portrait Innovations. They did a fantastic job with the kids, had a wonderful $10 package, no sitting fee, and printed the pictures within the hour. Thanks, Donna, for the recommendation!)

Friday, August 22, 2008


Well, Jana had a lot of "firsts" while we were in the States (even her first ice-cream, thanks to her dad and Uncle Rusty on the sly!) - so I thought I'd do a blog just on what she's doing these days. She's now 6 months old: self-weaned to a bottle (and holding her own bottle), sleeping through the night some of the time, eating apples, pumpkin and cearal, rolling over both ways, sitting up, grabbing her feet, and loving tummy time! She is such a wonderful baby - seems more serious than the others - but is so easy-going.

Tummy time

Sitting up

First cereal with Nana

Feet grabbing

First sweet potatos

Monday, August 18, 2008

Furlough Highlights - Take 9

Well, this will be my last posting on our furlough happenings. We spent the last week of our furlough by taking some vacation time with my family. My parents found a lake house for rent right on Lake Huron, a couple hours north of Detroit in a small town called Port Sanilac. My sister and Rusty and their little boy Alex drove up from Memphis - so we were all together! The first time in 3 years. It was great to meet Alex finally and to spend some much needed time relaxing and being together. We got to see lots of pictures from Laura and Rusty's trip to Angola, celebrated my brother's birthday, played lots of games, and spent lots of time outside in the beautiful weather with the kids in the water and in the sand. Josh and I did have to make a trip into Port Huron one day (but we were able to leave the kids with my parents - yeah for grandparents!). We found out that the Bolivian government had denied our permanent residency application, and in order to get back into the country and be able to start the process again, we had to apply Stateside for a special visa. So we spent all day getting all that paperwork worked out and mailed off, plus a new yellow fever shot for me (since I had left my yellow card in Bolivia). But - God is good - we sent our passports off on Tuesday and had them back by Saturday. That must be a record for Bolivian paperwork! Anyway, you can keep our visa situation in your prayers as we will start the application process again this side for our permanent residency. Enough of that sidenote - here are some pictures. Sorry for the multitude - there were just so many good ones I couldn't decide which ones to share.


Playing in the sand

Water and sun

Reading with Nyanya

Uncle Matt and Jana - my brother is so good with the kids and developed some kind of 3rd child rapport with Jana especially.

Land ho! They had this great park in Port Sanilac with a ship on the playground.

Reading books with Babu

Nyanya and the grandkids

Building sandcastles with Daddy

Jana and Auntie Laura

Jana and Uncle Rusty

Daddy and his girls

Cooking with Nyanya

The beauty of the sunrise

Furlough Highlights - Take 8

My parents took us one day to Greenfield Village in Detroit. It is one of the greatest living museums I have ever been too - it has working farms from the old days and houses from nearly every time period in American history, including the Wright brothers store and the courthouse where Abe Lincoln presented some of his cases as a lawyer as well as Thomas Edison's workshop (fascinating!). Not to mention lots of stuff for kids to do and live demontstrations of glass blowing, pottery and smithing. I highly recommend the experience as well as the Henry Ford museum that is right next door to any travelers to Michigan.

Feeding the ducks

Riding the 100 year old carousel

Babu and Eliana on the carousel

From the gazebo on the green where they also have old time fair type games for kids

A conversation with one of the live museum workers

Buying a "hobo" lunch

Riding the train

Friday, August 15, 2008

Welcome back!

Well, I have a few more blog posts about our furlough time - but I wanted to post this one while it was still fresh. You know you're back in Bolivia when -
1) Your life flashes before your eyes 3 times on the way to the hotel in the taxi.
2) Your 3 year old asks you where the seatbelts are in the taxi.
3) It takes you 3 days to take out and change money.
4) You arrive home to a gas shortage (meaning the gas cans we use for our stove, hot water heater, heaters, and dryer are not readily available).
5) The power goes out twice for long periods of time the first week you are home due to high winds. Which, by the way, means no power for our water pump and therefore no water!
6) You get your water flitration system tested before using your water again.
7) You can't go to church on Sunday due to an obligatory voting day to see if Bolivians want to kick their president out. On voting days in Bolivia, it's illegal to drive - I think it must be to help cut down on the possibility of protests and rioting. By the way - the president stays. Read the Forbess blog for more detailed information.
8) You eat fresh papaya and pineapple for breakfast the first day back.
9) You are seriously depressed when you get back into the car to drive for the first time.
10) Your children entertain themselves wonderfully (allowing you time to unpack) the first few days by reaquainting themselves with every toy in the toy box.
11) Your children all have runny noses due to the change in climate - from warm and humid to dry and cold.
12) Your grass is nearly dead from the lack of rain.
13) You keep forgetting not to flush the toilet paper down the toilet (sorry, this may be too much information for you, but here in Bolivia toilet paper is thrown in the trash can - otherwise the toilets clog up.)
14) You are met by your wonderful teammates at the airport.
15) You come home to a very clean house because someone's been taking care of it the whole summer.
**One lesson I've learned from my global wandering - culture shock never ends! It's always there no matter if your coming or going - staying a few months or a few years.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Furlough Highlights - Take 7

It was so nice to end our furlough time in Livonia, with my parents and our other supporting congregation, the Livonia C. of C., where my dad preaches. We enjoyed many delicous meals and visits in people's homes, great worship services and times of fellowship in small groups. We also took a day to drive down and visit my grandaddy's gravesite with my grandmother - which was a special time for me since I wasn't able to make it back for his funeral last November. Here are some pictures of our time in Livonia.

With the Fralicks - we sure enjoyed their pool!

The kids enjoyed playing at the Brophys.

Visiting Grandaddy's gravesite

Grandaddy's marker

4 generations - Grandmother, my mom, me and the 3 girls

Playing with Uncle Matt

Dinner with the Williamsons. Carol bought a few little girly things at the dollar store for the kids. They loved them!

Boating with Josh's aunt and uncle, the Baileys. What a lovely time we had!

Furlough Highlights - Take 6

We traveled from Estes to our alma mater - York, NE - where we had lunch with Josh's grandparents. We then stayed a couple days in Seward with my best friend, Rachel Barnacle and her hubby Bryan, and I thoroughly enjoyed our catching up. I got to meet her precious little boy for the first time, we had a reunion among a bunch of my college buddies, and we went to one of the best zoos in America - the Omaha Henry Dorley zoo. We even took in my first 3-D IMAX movie while there (although the 3-D was a little too scary for Michaela; we had to take off the glasses after a screaming fit about 30 seconds into the movie!) Thanks, Rachel and Bryan, for such a great time.

The kids with their great-grandparents

Precious Corban!

My college buds

At the aquarium - one of the most amazing parts of the zoo!

Rachel and I

Michaela in the "rainforest"

Monday, August 11, 2008

Furlough Highlights - Take 5

Well, the Marcum family is actually back in Cochabamba (we arrived safe and sound with all 3 kids and all 7 bags on Thursday), but I wanted to finish posting pictures of our furlough.

After Wichita, we traveled to Estes Park, CO for Josh's Sikes family reunion. His mom's family rent out the biggest cabin in the YMCA every other year. There are usually around 200 people present at the reunion, and we enjoy nightly devotionals, horseshoe tournaments, and the beauty of the Rocky mountains. The girls got to play with countless cousins (or were the 2nd cousins, or 1st cousins once removed - I can't ever keep all that straight!) We even got to take in a rodeo. I didn't get to do quite as much visiting as I would have liked - much of my time was spent running after toddlers - but all in all, it was a great time!

We went on a short hike with all the kids.

At the rodeo - one of the best I've seen actually!

Can we say "bed head"?

Josh's grandparents celebrated their 60th while we were there.

Here are Josh's grandparents with all the great grandchildren that were present the last morning.

Our family picture