Friday, July 29, 2011

Girl Talk

I was down in the village of Esperanza with CDF today speaking with about 40 girls from age 8 to 16 about the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children and sexual abuse.  We covered the definitions of sexual exploitation and sexual abuse and then addressed the medical, social, emotional aspects of the issue and broke into small groups for a time of discussion.  The girls were put into 2 large groups from ages 8-12 and 13 & up to cover the medical and emotional issues.  It was a long day, but a productive one.  We have no idea what the girls took away from it all.  The most important message that was stressed over and over again was that if something had already happened to them it was not their fault.

I was not scheduled to be a speaker today...I was just supposed to be a small group leader.  But I got asked to share my personal story of abuse so I did.  I had to tailor it so that the little ones could understand and that was a first for me.  One young lady shared with me in the small group time about a friend of hers that had been exploited.  I was grateful that my story led to her opening up to me.  And it was evident on the faces of others that they had stories to share but were not quite ready.

Tomorrow we will be presenting to Sunday School teachers and Children's workers here in Belmopan and giving the same talks.  Tom will join us and speak about the importance of counseling.  We aren't sure how many there will be at tomorrow's session.  But the plan is for 40 again.  And we expect it to be mostly women.

We have heard that there will be a small group of ladies coming from the Mennonite community and we are very excited about getting the chance to work with them.  It would be great if doors were opened through them that would lead to us being able to do a seminar specifically for the people in Spanish Lookout.  Please keep CDF and this work in your thoughts and prayers! 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Good news from afar!

We finally heard from Spencer today!  He is doing much better this week.  For those of you who don't know, Spencer is our youngest son, he is 21 and is with YWAM Kona on a mission trip in Togo.  He got sick shortly after arriving and had to be treated for malaria.  They have a very slow internet connection there in Togo and to get online they have to go to an internet cafe.  One of the team members said that it took her 45 minutes to log on to Facebook because the connection was so weak.  And they only get the opportunity to be online once a week.

It was such a relief to go on Facebook this morning and see a message from Spencer.  He is still having problems sleeping so please keep him in your thoughts and prayers.  He is also struggling to raise funds.  If you would like to help him with his expenses in Togo please send me an email or let me know in the comments and I will give you his donation info.

joy & blessings,

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Thought for Today

  May we always remember to carve out time to replenish our bodies and our spirits.

Linking up with:


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

My friend Joann recommended this recipe... this is going on the menu this week.  Looks yummy to me!

Okinawan Takoraisu (aka “Taco Rice”)

just click on the title to find the recipe

This looks good too
No Fuss Chicken Salad
click the title for the recipe

So, what's going on your table this week?

Linking up with For The Love Of Blogs

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hi, I'm Alida and I watch reality TV!

seriously.  It is my guilty pleasure.  And there seem to be more and more of these shows to choose from than ever before.  For me though, there are just a couple of shows that I hate to miss.

I am a big fan of Amazing Race. It is not on in America right now.  However, Amazing Race Australia is on and I love it!  This is the first season and it is incredibly exciting to watch.  They have gone to some amazing locations... last week they were in Israel and one of their tasks was to walk the Via Dolorosa while carrying an 80 kilo cross.  They had to find one of their clues at King Herod's winter palace and I truly appreciated how the father and son team took time to stand and take in the sights at the Wailing Wall before heading on to their next task.

I also enjoy Food Network Star.  This week I was such a geek that I was on Twitter following the hashtag #star and answering all of the questions and making comments during the show.  Tom is such a good sport to let me take over the tv and be on my computer at the same time.  The contestants had to do a new take on traditional dishes like lasagna, meatloaf, or shepherd's pie.  Two of the dishes stood out for me.  The first was Vince's take on lasagna that he called Lachonga.  He took lasagna and wrapped it in a tortilla, deep fried it, and then topped it with sauce.  Ew!  The judges were not real thrilled either.  What did look good to me and got great reviews from the judges was Jeff's take on pork chops and applesauce.  He made a pork chop sandwich with apple slaw.  Yummo!  All of the contestants got to do a 3 minute cooking demo on Rachel Ray's show.  It was fun to watch.

okay.  So I bared my soul regarding my guilty pleasures on TV...what are yours?!!  

Friday, July 22, 2011

fruit from the yard

One of the stalks on the plantain tree in our front yard fell over.  We were told that it needed to be cut off so that the tree would continue to grow and bear fruit.  So when Tom went outside with the saw and a machete I ran to get my camera and followed along!

plantains fresh from the tree

Trimming the tree

There are a few more stalks about to fall over with fruit.

When the fruit falls off the tree it is not completely ripe.  Many people go ahead and eat them then.  They are used as a starch like a potato. It takes another 3-4 weeks for them to completely ripen and be soft enough to eat like a banana.  So we have not tasted them yet.  I am planning to make jam when they are ready.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Dinosaurs can be so rude...

Ever have a day when you felt like your best was not good enough to please someone else?  I wonder if that's how this poor dinosaur feels.  If he could open his arms any wider I think he would.  But, he can' he doesn't...and the best he could do was rejected by someone he loves.

When I saw this graphic I laughed.  Then I started wondering how many of us are guilty of this behavior.  It may not be something said with words but maybe it's in the way we look at someone or how we react to them that communicates the message that their best wasn't good enough.

Not long ago I wrote a guest blog post for my friend Cyndi.  I blogged about being afraid to speak and thinking before speaking.  When I was working on it I thought long and hard about the power of words.  I thought about saying things the right way and having the courage to express myself.  I wrote and then rewrote several different variations before I hit the send button on that post.  But when we speak we don't get to delete or retract the words.  Once they escape our lips they are gone. And we have to deal with the consequences of of those words.

I pray that I will continue to be cautious with my words...whether in print or in real life.  And that my words will bless and encourage others instead of making someone feel as if their best is not good enough.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thought for Today

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It's the rainy season here in Belize...sometimes it rains a lot and sometimes just a little.  
This photo was taken on a not so rainy day in our front yard.  
After the months of heat and fires because it was so dry, we are grateful for the rain!



Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

I just started reading The Help.  And so far so good.  One thing I enjoy is noticing what kind of food they talk about in whatever book I am reading or movie I watch.  My first cooking experience based on a movie was making beignets inspired by The Princess and the Frog.  They are pretty yummy!!

Now I am ready to tackle caramel cake.  It was mentioned in the first chapter of The Help.  I have never tasted a caramel cake but since caramel is one of my favorite flavors I am willing to give it go...and I am sure that Tom won't mind helping me eat it.

The author, Kathryn Stockett, provides a recipe for the frosting click here and I found that a few bloggers like Jen & Company and Alpaca Farm Girl have already posted recipes for the cake.  Even Paula Deen has a recipe but I don't think I have enough butter in the house to make hers!

There are even some cupcakes inspired by the book made by Cupcake Project.  And 20/20 did a story on the book and sampled Caramel Cake  This is a tough decision as to which recipe to try.  I may have to break down and try more than one of them.

A strong contender is this one from  It looks simple and simple works for me.

I think it might be time for slice right now!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Why did the land crab cross the road?

Tom and I would sure like an answer to this question.  Seriously.  

After a fun day in Belize City enjoying the final Harry Potter film at the Princess Hotel & Casino, eating dinner at Tropicolada (which by the way has the BEST shrimp quesadillas in Belize) and stopping off at a supermarket to pick up some things we can't get in Belmopan, we started the hour long drive back home.  And just as we got to the cemetery on the road out of the city we hit our first crab.  Literally. 

After that Tom was dodging them as they scampered across the highway.  At one point though they were so numerous we just rolled up the windows so we couldn't hear the crunch.  EEEW!  We laughed and joked about the whole experience.  But, honestly, I was freaked out by the sheer numbers of them.  We saw at least 50 of them during the first 15 minutes of our drive home.  

It was one of the most surreal experiences we have had since arriving here.  And not one I hope to repeat anytime soon!  

Have you ever heard of such a thing?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Weekend Update

We are headed to Belize City for a day of doing nothing!  We plan to eat lunch, catch a movie and just chill.

Peace, everyone and have a great weekend!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Take Time to be Holy

I am not a preacher and I don't even play one on TV.  So it feels weird for me when I get asked to speak at church.  At the last leadership meeting we decided on a three week rotation.  Tom, Ritchel and I will take turns doing the Sunday message.  Ritchel spoke this past Sunday.  Tom is speaking this coming Sunday which makes next Sunday my turn.  So I have been praying and reading and trying to discern what to talk about.  I read over my notes from the last time I spoke and decided that part of the message might be an interesting blog post so here goes:

As a child growing up in church we sang a hymn called "Take Time to Be Holy". It was written by William Longstaff in 1882 and he was inspired by a sermon that he had heard based on 1 Peter 1:16.  Let's look at the lyrics:

Take Time to Be Holy
Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His Word.
Make friends of God’s children, help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret, with Jesus alone.
By looking to Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
 Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
 And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow the Lord,
 And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His Word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
 Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
 Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.

Look at the first line of each of the verses:

1. Take time to be holy, speak of with thy Lord.
2. Take time to be holy, the world rushes on.
3. Take time to be holy, let Him be thy guide.
4. Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul.

The author was inspired to repeat the phrase "Take time to be holy" in each and every verse.
I like that repetition.  It reminds me that we cannot put our faith in a microwave and expect it to be ready in a few minutes. It takes time to develop a deep relationship with God.  Just as it takes time to develop deep relationships with other people.

In Hannah Whitall Smith's book "The Christian's Secret of a Happy Life" when speaking of spiritual maturity  she says "we cannot hope to reach this maturity in any other way than by yielding ourselves up utterly and willingly to His mighty working."  And Ann Voskamp says “moving too fast creates a spiritually slow heart. Slow the mind down. Focus. And the spiritual heart will race with joy and thanksgiving".

How I long to have a spiritual heart that joyfully races with gratitude.  I need to slow down. I need to yield myself to His fine tuning.  We all need to slow down and tune in to Him.

I keep thinking about our spiritual lives being a marathon and not a sprint.  It's not about how fast we can go it's about enduring through the entire course.  These words of another childhood hymn come to mind "the race is not given to the swift, the race is not given to the strong, but it's given to the one who keeps pressing on".  Let us all press on toward spiritual maturity and trade our desire to have it all right now for the tenacity to endure the process of growth.  All it takes is slowing down and allowing transformation to happen one day at a time.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Thought for Today

This photo was taken in Russia in the forest a few hours outside of Krasnodar.

One of the joys of a Russian church picnic is the entertainment.  Slavic had us all in stitches when he fed the cows as they wandered through our area looking for food.  The joy on his face is priceless.  

May your days be filled with love, joy and laughter!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

I keep hearing good things about The Pioneer Woman.  And I had a friend give me this recipe to try of hers... looks mighty tasty, I know .  You can find her recipe here>> Best Chocolate Sheet Cake Ever

Whenever I think of chocolate cake it always make me think of Bill Cosby and his classic joke about eating chocolate cake for breakfast.  

I love this...and I think I want some chocolate cake and a cup of tea with cream for breakfast!

Monday, July 11, 2011

CDF in Benque

This weekend we were down in Benque to do a presentation for the Child Development Foundation.  The conference began on Friday night and ended Saturday afternoon.  Tom and I both spoke on Saturday along with several other speakers.

I made the mistake of forgetting my camera on Saturday so I don't have many shots from the day.  There are a few that I took Friday night.

Church of the Nazarene
Called to Holiness

Evangelical Temple
Church of the Nazarene

Jadine translating  into Spanish as Diana speaks on Gomer and Hosea 

Break the Silence Poster

We had 20 people the first night and 25 the next day.  I have a lot of admiration for the people who attended the weekend.  This is not an easy subject and not one that most people would want to give up so much of their free time for.  It felt like a good weekend for us.  And for CDF.

I hope you had a good weekend...  I would love to hear about it!

Friday, July 08, 2011

Man at Work

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Tom enjoying his studio time and the benefits of his labor!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Sell Tacos! Not Children!

The Child Development Foundation (CDF) is sponsoring a talent contest here in Belize.  And the motto for the contest is Sell Tacos!  Not Children!  It will be interesting to see what the kids come up with.  The contest is open to youth 13-18.  If you are here in Belize you can call 822-0101 for more information or send an email to

This weekend Tom and I will be going to down to the village of Benque to speak at a CDF conference to help bring awareness to pastors and community leaders.  We are only two of the speakers on the schedule and since we are going to a Spanish speaking community we will have translators working with us.

I will be speaking on the Spiritual Affects on Survivors of Commercial Sexual Exploitation and Abuse.  And Tom is speaking on How Effective Christian Counseling Helps.  We are excited about this opportunity and hope to have a good turn out in the area.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

Smoked Turkey is very tasty, right? The other day we were out shopping and saw this in the deli section.  I had to grab this photo with Tom's cell phone because I was experiencing sticker shock!

Can you imagine paying $70.15 USD for 9 pounds of turkey? 

We couldn't it is still sitting there at the store!

Monday, July 04, 2011

The joy of transformation

The big wall at New Life Ministries used to look like this:

Then the men came together and got to work on it

And now the youth are taking their turn!

And one child's thoughts stood out for me...

A year ago we were getting off a plane from Moscow.  We landed in Dallas and spent a few months in the states before moving here to Belize.  We are amazed at what we have seen here over the past ten months.  And the transformation that we see in this building is just a small reflection of the growth we are seeing in the people.

Tom spoke yesterday at New Life on "How People Grow".  One of his points was "Change is good, but growth is better".  He told us that change may simply be superficial or may be poorly motivated.  But that growth is a process designed by God to restore us to His image.

Meditate on that for a moment.  What comes to mind for you?  

For me I can see that growth trumps change.  I can see that there is a difference between making a change in my behavior and truly learning a new principle which leads me to maturity.

Friday, July 01, 2011

close encounters with a frog...

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We saw this frog in the driveway last night... I didn't have my camera with me so this was taken with Tom's cell phone. It was not easy for me to get close. I kept thinking any minute he was gonna hop on me and torture me somehow.  I know I outweigh him but he had a look about him that said he could take me!