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

Friday, February 27, 2009


You learn a lot of new things living in a different culture. Being here in Bolivia has taught me all of the Catholic holidays and the great importance of those days. Here in Bolivia, Carnaval is a very big deal. For those US readers, Carnaval coincides with Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday. It marks the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the beginning of the Catholic period of fasting and mourning before Easter. Here, it is celebrated really for about 2 weeks before hand - sometimes the whole month of Feb. 2 Thursdays before Carnaval, they celebrate Dia de Compadres - Guy's Night Out. The Thursday before is Dia de Commadres - Girl's Night Out. Unfortunately, these are usually nights for partying and getting drunk - our church plans to put a healthier slant on them. The whole season is a time for fun and games - specifically water fights. It's a great time to make a dime on the street. There's all kinds of people who sit around making and selling water balloons on every corner. Everyone, especially the youth, go around with water balloons and water guns in hand, ready to pelt the best targets. This year, they actually had to call the police on a gang of about 30 teenage boys who were terrorizing the main street in town. But usually, it's all done in good fun. The day of Carnaval the water hoses and buckets come out and people drive around in pickups just trying to douse whoever. And the Monday and Tuesday of Carnaval are national holidays. There is a huge cultural parade in Oruro with elaborate costumes and dancing. It is really a very syncronistic holiday for those who are familiar with the word. Some churches refuse to have any part of it. We, on the other hand, have chosen to bring out the good involved in the holiday. As such, it has now become tradition to have a water fight for the 'young at heart' here at our place. This year to tell you the truth, we kind of forgot to plan it, until the youth approached us a couple days beforehand. So it was kind of thrown together, but I think everyone had fun. We had about 20 people out Sunday after church, roasted hotdogs, played water balloon volleyball with sheets and capture the flag with water balloons, and a devo following. It was fun (and Michaela really discovered what Carnaval is all about - espcially with Daddy's new toy - a water gun) - although I completely lost my voice afterward due to a bad cold and such a long day. I didn't get a whole lot of great pictures of the water fights - to tell you the truth, I feared for my camara - but I hope you enjoy what you see.

Poor Jana!

So in my last post, I mentioned that Jana had sprained her arm.... Turns out, it wasn't just a sprain. While playing with her daddy on the floor, she lunged over his legs and her arm got twisted somehow underneath him. (It really wasn't Josh's fault!) She woke up in a lot of pain several times during the night and the next morning. I called the dr. and took her in for an x-ray. It was obvious that it wasn't fractured, but when I took the x-ray by the pediatrican, he said it didn't look quite right. He sent me to an orthopedic doctor who noticed right away that it was dislocated. He said we could do it the quick way and pop it back in or put her under anethesia and do it. After waiting for 2 hours, I opted for the quick way! Not to mention that I think putting an IV in a baby is worse than popping an out of place joint back into place. She had to be in what they call a cast here (really, it was more like a splint) for 2 weeks. The stupid thing kept wanting to fall off and we had to rewrap it several times - not fun. It's amazing to me how quickly she adapted, though. She was crawling around and cruisng like normal within a couple of days. Roland Bowen, who was staying with us for a few days, said she sounded like some kind of strange monster coming down the hall - whishk - thunk - whishk - thunk. She got it off last night and is a very happy baby.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Jana's 1st Birthday Party!

Generally speaking - birthdays are a BIG deal here in Bolivia. Cake, clowns, prizes, candy, gift bags, themed decorations, lots of invitations, loud music - the works basically. They typically start about 2 hours late and last a long time. And I've decided after a bad bout with food poisoning after our last birthday party experience, they can be dangerous. All that to say, we usually don't buy into the birthday party craziness. But (all you parents out there will understand this) - what you do for one, you end up feeling like you need to do for all. And since we had a big party for Michaela's 1st, and one for Eliana's, well - there you go. To salve a guilty conscience, you plan a big party for Jana too. Well - to be honest, that's not the only reason! Since Grant Bull and Malakai Forbess were each born within 2 weeks of Jana, we (the mothers) decided that we would throw one big party for all of them. Logistically and financially simpler. And it is a great ministry opportunity too - you get to invite a lot of people who might not feel comfortable coming to chuch service yet - and they get to interact with our church members. And it is a great way to honor those people who have been important in the lives of our babies so far.

So plan we did. Winnie the Pooh won the theme. Simple but colorful decorations. We served salteƱas (a Bolivian pastry served mid-morning), cake (we each made and iced 2 cakes - much cheaper than ordering them), sodas, chips. My wonderful husband planned the games - although to his detriment he chose 2 balloon popping games that made one of the birthday boys have a melt-down (sorry, Laura!) Gary put together a slide show of the kids first year - which made this mommy cry of course. And Jeff led a beautiful blessing over our 3 kiddos. All in all it went very well (although we were almost late to the celebration due to car trouble - why does it always have to happen on the worst days?!) But I am very glad it's over too. No more big birthdays until they start wanting to have them! Thanks, Laura and Katie, for all the work that made it wonderful.

And now - what I know you've all been waiting for.... An update on the birthday girl. Jana is speed crawling everywhere, eating everything (she wants nothing of that disgusting pureed baby food - no, thank you - give her the real deal), pulling up, finally beginning to use the walker, has 5 teeth, loves playing with her sisters and her daddy and being outside, says Bye/Hi (I can't really tell which one), waving, clapping, sleeping through the night, weaned to regular milk, very attached to her pacifier, climbing stairs, pulling hair. She had a shiner for the birthday party from falling down a couple stairs outside (on her daddy's watch, I might add), and a sprained arm today from wrestling with Daddy and her big sisters. She is a joy in every sense of the word. It's amazing how your love for your kids just keeps growing and growing. I am truly blessed. Happy Birthday, Jana! Enjoy the pictures.

The guests

The blessing for the 3 birthday babies

The games

The cake

Daddy and his little girl

The big sisters

Mama and her baby (I can't believe I now have no children under 1!)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

This is a note I posted on facebook after being 'tagged' by several people. I know that I have some blog followers who are not facebook members (namely, my mom. Come on, mom, you've just gotta get an account!). This is posted here for them.

1. I am an addict: to a cup of coffee and Bible reading in the morning, snuggles from my kids, hugs from my hubby, and a real cup of Kenyan chai in the afternoon. I jealously horde my stash of Kenyan tea and spices. It's kind of hard to come by in Bolivia.
2. I never dreamed that I would have 3 girls in 3 years. There have been some tiring moments in the whole process, but I love being a mom, and have enjoyed every stage of my kids' growth and development.
3. I love to read. And I have a special place in my heart for children's literature. I dream of collecting every Caldecott and Newbery winner and of authoring a children's book.
4. I love to travel. Some of my best memories are from family trips. However, traveling has lost it's glamor now that I have to do it with 3 kids.
5. I wouldn't trade growing up in Kenya for the world, and am glad that my kids are having a similar experience. Sometimes I wonder, though, why exactly I decided to bless/curse them with the TCK complex.
6. Cooking is a hobby for me and I am eternally grateful to my mom for teaching me how to cook 'from scratch' and for giving me a multitude of wonderful recipes and to my wonderful friends the Harrolds who have provided me with so many amazing Pampered Chef novelties.
7. There ar 4 things I greatly dislike about living in Bolivia: the buearacracy involved in getting any type of paperwork done, driving (specifically the crazy way they do round-a-bouts), the never-ending unsolicited advice you recieve about raising your kids (namely all the things that you are doing wrong), and the fact that my husband and kids are always getting stomach parasites.
8. I feel more comfortable living outside the United States than in it. Although I miss the convieniences and cleanliness.
9. I never had much of a sense of American pride until I taught American history to 4th graders for 2 years. We really are part of an amazing nation.
10. I miss teaching - but not grading papers or parent/teacher conferences.
11. A combination of perfectionism and a slightly OCD husband require me to keep a very clean home.
12. The first and only guy I ever dated and kissed was my husband.
13. I love Indian food, and miss greatly our favorite Indian restaurants in Memphis. I cried unexplicably like a baby the time my husband ate my Indian food leftovers that were in the fridge. Keep in mind I was 5 months pregnant.
14. My husband and I both grew up within 50km of the equator - just on different continents.
15. I don't like playing sports or watching sports (probably because I am not a very coordinated person) - but I love watching the Olympics. I cheer for America in everything except the track events. Then it's Kenya all the way!
15. I have swum in 3 of the 4 oceans of the world and been in 17 different countries and every state west of the Mississippi except for North Dakota. I would love someday to visit the Northeast part of the US, Japan and Australia.
16. I find it difficult to have the desire to make deep, lasting friendships. Mostly because I don't like saying goodbye and because it's hard to maintain friendships long distance.
17. Facebook, blogging and email are a social, emotional and sometimes even spiritual outlet for me.
18. I wish I had more time for 'me' activties: reading, playing the piano, running.
19. There are many things I love about living in Bolivia: the people, my fresh fruit market, the amazing terrain, our home.
20. I am not much of a pet person, but I loved the dog we had in Memphis. His name was Moshi and he was Mississippi hound dog mutt. We ran together 3 or 4 times a week and he weasled his way into sleeping in the house with us. I cried when we had to give him away before moving to Bolivia.
21. I have taught/worked with children with autism, blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, learning disabilities. It wasn't easy, but there were some fulfilling moments too.
22. I have become of fan of mystery/crime solving shows. With 3 kids, it's really hard to make it through a movie in one sitting. A show is just about the right length.
23. I have learned from being a parent that every child/parent is different and needs different things at different times. However, speaking on a personal level, I would never change the experience of natural birth or of breastfeeding. Both have been amazing experiences for me.
24. My relationship with Jesus is biggest reason of who I am today. He continually shapes me and forms me. He is the reason for the joy in my life and for my overcoming the daily struggles and sins in my life.
25. I have no idea where God will take my family from this point in our lives but I look forward to growing old with the love of my life.
26. This is extra! If I could go see any person in concert, it would be the Dave Matthews Band, hands down.

Monday, February 09, 2009


I just successfully uploaded my first video to the blog - the last time I tried it didn't work! Anyway, I just wanted to say that usually Jana crawls much faster than this - it is hard for me to keep up. Here she seems to be enjoying a 'Sunday stroll' :) Enjoy!

On the Move!


A couple of weeks ago, we got a phone call from Josh's folks. Josh's dad said, "Do you think you could find us a hotel in Santa Cruz? We're coming to Bolivia today!" What a great surprise! They were planning on making a trip in March, but bumped it up due to some unplanned extra vacation days from James' school. They spent the first week in Sucre with Jenny and Erik and the team there, and then the whole family came down for a few days to Coch. to stay with us. We had a great time together for 5 days (family time on the mission field is always a treasured experience), and ended up wishing that Nana could've stayed a few more days like she'd planned. The girls loved having time with their grandparents, Uncle James, Tio Erik and Tia Jenny, and cousins. We had a beautiful day out at the golf course, went shopping together, and celebrated Jana's first birthday. Happy Birthday Jana!

Jana's 1st birthday - cherry cheesecake!

Silly Michaela!

Loading up for our outing at the golf course - we had 12 souls in our Land Rover!

Enjoying some 'guy time'

Fun in the pool at the golf course

Look at all those grandkids!

Prettied up for church

Stand off with the dog

Jana and one of her birthday presents - her very own pair of walking shoes.

Papa and his grandgirls

Nana and her grandgirls