Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Exterminator...

 
 

We've been battling ants in the house for several weeks now.  So Tom decided to get serious.  He purchased the chemicals and the sprayer and got to work.  Never thought he would get to add exterminator to his resume!


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Embrace the boundaries of today...




When our friends Ed and Linda visited us on Valentines Day they showered us with gifts.  One of the gifts that Linda had lovingly picked out for me was the devotional Jesus Calling.  This little book contains a reading for each day of the year.  The style of writing in this book is fascinating. And perhaps in some circles it might even be controversial. It is written as if Jesus Himself is speaking to the reader.  There have been days when this writing style unnerves me. Other days it is exactly what I need to hear Him say.  Today's reading focused on keeping our eyes on Him. 

 Worry takes our focus off of God and puts it on our circumstances.  

I see grave danger in focusing on what might happen tomorrow.  Most of what we think might happen or could happen...never does.  Focusing on the worst case scenarios so we are not disappointed can bring a sense of relief when we get to the other side.  But, what does it do to us in the present?  

For me personally, it deprives me of the joy of trusting in Him.  It drains my energy and fills me with unwanted and unnecessary stress. Due to my fibromyalgia any stress that I create in my own head over what might happen translates itself into physical pain.  Living with chronic pain reminds me each day to live in the reality of 'what is' instead of dwelling in the 'what if' that could be ahead in tomorrow.  


So do not worry or be anxious about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will have worries and anxieties of its own.  
Sufficient for each day is its own trouble.
Matthew 6:34 Amplified Bible



I am reminded in scripture that each day has it's own troubles.  I don't need to add tomorrow's trouble onto my plate for today.  My desire is to embrace the boundaries of today, let go of the worries for tomorrow, and live in quiet trust that He holds each day in His hands...so I can let go. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sweet surprises...


This weekend we had visitors from Michigan.  They left behind a few bags filled with vitamins, aspirin, tylenol, peanut butter, nutella,and so on.  We gave the majority of it away to others at church and a bag went to the men at Freedom House.

But this one treat stayed at our home...and I'm so grateful.  A container this size would cost close to $50USD.  A luxury item that I've looked at but never purchased.  

To celebrate I made up two batches of pancake batter, regular for Tom, and gluten-free for me.  Thanks Tim and Mike for this yummy blessing!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Horsing around...

 
 

You never know what you're going to see while driving around Belmopan!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Just crocheting leaves...

Tom's been sick this week and today it was my turn not feeling up to par.  I've been in bed all day and was getting bored so to help pass time I decided to get started on my Easter tree.  My crocheted leaves are almost done!

I wonder if I'll be able to find floral wire here in Belize so I can attach them to the tree branch I'm using?  Oh well...I'll be sure to post pictures of whatever I come up with!


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The meanings of words...

As a preteen I struggled with missing my grandfather deeply.  But even at the age of 12 I understood that his death meant something different to my mother and grandmother.  Years later when one of my brothers was tragically killed by a crush injury when he was just barely into his 30s the words 'grief', 'loss', 'sadness', all took on new meaning after his death.

Even a word like 'comfortable' is comprehended in a different way after living abroad for almost eight years. Creature comforts, like a really good pillow, air conditioning, or an ant-free home, turn from simple pleasures into luxury items I daydream about.  Feeling comfortable is no longer a given...it's a priceless treasure when experienced.   

The word 'joy' has changed for me as I've gotten older.  Times of hardship have caused me to appreciate joy. Joy is deeper and more lasting than mere happiness.  Whenever I hear people on tv or in a movie say "I deserve to be happy"....I smile and think to myself I would much rather have joy in my life than happiness.  

As I continue to ponder words and phrases that mean something different to me now than they did 30 years ago I also have to consider God's word.  I understand better today how ALIVE scripture truly is.  I see things that I didn't see before...though I may have read or meditated on a passage a thousand times...today it's brand new. 

And when the affliction is over and the burden has been lifted and the trial has been faced...I can always find something to be grateful for.  I can glean from my new vocabulary and praise God for a few more puzzle pieces being filled in.  

I can lift my head and know that He holds my hand through each lesson, as He impresses them on my mind, and we talk about them on the way, as I lie down and when I rise up.  I can try to share what I have learned just as I try to learn from others.  But, there are some words that just won't have the richness and depth they are due until we are face to face with their true meanings for ourselves.  




Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What's for dinner?

Potatoes, onions, smoked turkey sausage, fresh dill, and snow peas equals yummy!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Memories from Jaguar Creek...

Last week CDF had the opportunity to work with the highschoolers from Belize Christian Academy.  We covered a variety of topics including; Child Abuse, Help for Abuse, Sexuality from God's Viewpoint, Sexually Transmitted Diseases, and Making Good Decisions About Relationships and Sex.



The students worked hard taking notes, participating in small groups, and making their presentations... 




 


And they played hard during the lunch break...
 


We are grateful to Pastor Jerry, the board of Belize Christian Academy, and the staff for supporting this event.  And our prayer is that through providing a safe environment to discuss difficult topics like this...that a lasting impact will be made on the youth from this school..and that it was a life changing event for at least one student!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Cruise Ship Day...

Yesterday was a gorgeous day...


 Perfect for braving all of the road construction in Belize City...


Just to spend a few hours with friends from California!

Wednesday evening Tom and I drove up to spend the night in Belize City.  We got up early the next morning to meet Ed and Linda as they came off the cruise ship.  It was a great day.

We were able to show them our beloved Belmopan, our home, where the church is building, where the AA meeting takes place, and our favorite place to shop for souvenirs (Art Box).  Our hearts are filled with gratitude for all of the prayers and support and encouragement we have received from them over the past eight years.  And it was a joy to be able to show them what their prayers and encouragement have helped us to achieve.

Our day felt like a taste of the reunion we will all have with friends and family when we are all reunited in heaven!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

For my Valentine...

Special thanks to Meesha for painting this portrait for our 31st anniversary.

It's just the two of us again.  We don't own much anymore after all of our losses from our last move.  But, one thing has been clear over the past 31 years...all we need is us. Happy Valentines Day, Sweetheart!




Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Lean in...

As we drove away from the airport, away from Spencer, away from the days of having our two sons tucked safely into our nest, I clearly heard the words "Lean in" whispered in my ear.

I kept seeing these gnarly looking trees bowing at the Caribbean's edge as if taking a sip of it's life-giving power.

My word for this year is Embrace.  I thought that meant that this year would be a celebration of accepting new things, people and places into our lives.  Now what I am sensing is that this is a year of Embracing Him and Him alone no matter what comes my way.  A year of Leaning In to Him to meet my needs.  Not just the physical needs but the emotional and spiritual ones.

The first scripture that came to my mind was Proverbs 3:5.  But, when I read it in the Amplified version it said:

Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind 
and do not rely on your own insight or understanding.  

Lean on?  I thought I was supposed to lean in?  And then it hits me...

I have to lean IN to Him to be able to lean ON Him

I cannot lean on Him from a distance.  I have to move in close.  And close to Him is where I need to be right now...and always.

Through the changes that are inevitable in life, through the different seasons we pass in and out of on life's journey, and the trials we may face along the way...the best way to get through it all is with Him.

I cannot speak as one who has it all figured out.  I can only give witness as one who is still learning and growing and doing my best to Lean In.


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tasty Tuesday...Arepas

 
 
 
 
 
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Last night we had breakfast for dinner!  We do this from time to time just because it's easy and with just the two of us easy is best.  This recipe comes from The Gluten-Free Bible.  The cost of the flour here in Belize was only about $3.37USD.  I was thrilled to find it in our local store.  I thought I was just buying white cornmeal so you can imagine my surprise when I read through the recipe and then looked at the flours in my pantry and discovered that I had actually purchased this specialty flour.

I will definitely be making these again...Tom and I both thought they were very tasty!


Arepas
1 1.2 cups instant corn flour for arepas (also known as masarepa, masa al instante, or harina precodica)
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 to 2 cups of hot water
1/3 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (I used half cheddar and half Monterrey jack)
1 Tbsp butter, melted
Fillings: scrambled or fried eggs, cheese and salsa

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix flour and salt in medium bowl.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups water.  Dough should be smooth and moist but not sticky.  Add more water by tablespoons if needed.  Add cheese and butter.  Knead until dough is consistency of smooth mashed potatoes.

2. Preheat heavy skillet or griddle over medium heat.  Grease lightly with butter or oil.  Break off a piece of dough about the size of an egg, roll the dough into a ball.  (If dough cracks or seems too dry, return to bowl and add additional water by tablespoonfuls.)  Flatten and pat into 3-4 inch round disc about a 1/2 inch thick.  Immediately place in hot skillet.

3. Cook arepas 3 to 5 minutes per side until browned in spots.  Transfer to baking sheet.  Bake 15 minutes or until arepas sound hollow when tapped.

4.  To make breakfast sandwiches, split arepas b piercing edges with fork as you would English muffins.  Fill with, eggs, cheese, and salsa as desired.  Makes 6-8 arepas.

Note:  Arepas are best served warm; day-old arepas are best toasted.  Arepas may also be frozen for future use. 

----------------

Alida's notes:  It took 1 1/2 cups of hot water plus 2 Tbsp for me to get the right consistency.  It is hard to regulate the temp on our oven so mine actually baked at 400F for 15 minutes until  they were golden and sounded hollow when I took them out of the oven.  I had a little trouble with sticking when they were in the cast iron skillet before going into the oven.  I may try my non-stick skillet next time.  I am looking forward to making these on a regular basis.  They could be used to make egg McMuffin type sandwiches with sausage or ham.  Such a great gluten-free alternative to English Muffins.

Monday, February 11, 2013

three see yah laters and one farewell...

So far this year has held several goodbyes.







  
Nathan left after a four day mini-vacation with us in Mexico, Meesha left after eight months here in Belize, Spencer left after living here for 16 months, and Tom's friend Marcus passed away after only 43 years on this earth.  Saying 'see yah later' is easier than saying farewell. and yet each parting leaves a sting of loss.

I know that there will be some sweet and joyful times ahead in this year...but for now...we are feeling weary of all the letting go.    

Friday, February 08, 2013

Two men and a lady at work...

 
 

Spencer and Tom digging a trench and Harley supervising!
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Wednesday, February 06, 2013

But God...


The following is an excerpt from my talk at the CDF Women's Conference last weekend:

Our suffering through abuse was not part of his original plan.
Abuse happens because there is sin in the world.

Someone else's sin may have caused you pain and despair
But God will show up to bring us through the pain.

Someone else's sin may have left you feeling as if no one really cares about you,
But God will take care of you. Allow Him to show you the depth of His love for you.

Carrying the burden of someone else's sin may have left you feeling alone and rejected, 
But God will not abandon you.  He will walk with you through every pain and every struggle you face.

Living through the heartache of someone's sin may leave you feeling as if you don't have a purpose.
But God will give your life purpose and meaning.

I find hope in the phrase But God...
There is a power in these two simple three letter words that can provide the change we need in our thinking
and inspire the healing that our souls are longing for.

Are you all familiar with the story of Joseph found in Genesis?  He was beaten by his jealous brothers and then sold into slavery.  Which led to him being falsely accused by Potiphar's wife, which led to him being imprisoned, which lead to being forgotten about until eventually he was brought before Pharaoh who put him in charge of the land of Egypt.

In Genesis 50:20 Joseph says “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”  

Whatever pain you are going through, whatever struggles you have faced in the past, please know that God can redeem it and He can bring hope and healing and purpose in your life.  And once you realize your purpose...you will have a new reason to live for Him!

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

a walk after the rain...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Spencer asked me to go for a walk with him yesterday.  This is our final week having him here in Belize with us.  So I grabbed my camera and off we went.  Not sure how long it will be until he and I get a chance to spend time alone together again.  Gotta cherish the moments as they come up!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Keeping our eyes on Him...



On Saturday Tom's friend Marcus passed away.  He had been sober for 7 months but the damage that was already done to his liver could not be overcome.  Today is the wake and tomorrow is the funeral.  As we grieve the loss of Marcus,  work in the counseling office, continue the repairs on the house, deal with various crises that present themselves throughout the week, and prepare for Spencer to leave Belize, we are feeling overwhelmed.  

Please pray for us that we will keep our eyes on Him and not on our circumstances.

Friday, February 01, 2013

Modeling Godly Relationships

Our conference begins today February 1st and ends on Sunday February 3rd...it's not too late to join in!

Our topics include:
Who or What is the Center of your Life?
Ages & Stages: Healthy Discipline of Children
Glorifying God in your Marriage
Glorifying God as a Single Woman
Establishing and Maintaining Healthy Boundaries
and 
Hope for Survivors of Abuse

Call us at 633-7010 to register.  You can come for a day or for the whole weekend...hope to see you there!