Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!!!

I wish you the Merriest Christmas ever...
may you rejoice in the birth of Christ and be filled with exceeding great joy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Silent Monks Singing Halleluia

I remembered this video from last year and thought you all might enjoy it...I sure did!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Thought for Today

Each year Cayo Christian Academy in Ontario, Belize does A Walk Through Bethlehem.  
Spencer and I were impressed with the skits and the scenes this year...the kids did such a great job!  

May we each be as obedient to the Lord's will as Joseph was.

linking up with:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

One of our stops on the drive down to Maya Beach last week was at a Mennonite bakery just off of Hummingibrd Highway.  It is a quiet little family run place where you can get some freshly baked goodies, have breakfast or eat lunch.  While we were there we could hear hymns playing and someone back in the kitchen singing along.
Jesus said "I am the bread of life"

walking up to the front porch...

We chose to pick up some cinnamon rolls and banana bread to take with us.

on the way home we stopped again and decided to try out the lunch menu...

there was a soothing brook just behind the building...listening to the mini waterfall added to the atmosphere

I had a ham sandwich and Tom had salami...and we both enjoyed the plantain chips!

There was a huge Tonka truck in the dirt along with a tractor, a semi truck and a fire engine. 
 What a perfect place for a little one to play.  

and there were enough flowers around to keep the butterflies coming and going.

I am  thinking it will be a tradition for us to stop whenever we see the OPEN sign 
if we are traveling on Hummingbird Highway!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Lola's Art and more gifts...

One of the places we visited while on our vacation was Lola's Art.  

Lola Delgado was born in Belize City in 1959 and she opened her first gallery in 1992.  Her paintings are inspired by the daily lives of those in her community.  She lives in Seine Bight, a Garifuna village, just outside of Placencia.  If you are ever in that area make sure you take time to visit her. Lola will be happy to chat with you as she works on her latest creation.  

Her studio and gallery

samples of her work

Not only does she paint but she has a great sense of humor as well...

The prayer:
Dear Lord, I pray for wisdom to understand my man, love to forgive him, and patience for his moods. 
Because Lord, if I pray for strength, I will beat him to death.  Amen.

Driving through the village of Seine Bight gave me a deep sense of gratitude for all that we have.  Yes, we suffered the devastating loss of our belongings. None of our boxes made it from Russia.  And yet in spite of that we still have more than many people had there.  We live in a home with running water.  We have a toilet.  Electricity.  Cable TV and internet access in our home.  We are wealthy in comparison.  We saw houses that looked as if they would topple over in the next strong wind.  Well worn clothes hanging out on the line.  Very few cars or bikes.  And yet many of them had waterfront property.  They can swim daily and eat seafood regularly.  And they have each other.  It is peaceful. Serene.  Filled with the laughter of playing children and chatter from people on the street.  And as you drive by you also become part of their entertainment as they people watch.  Taking note of all the tourists in the area.

Lola told us it was exciting when electricity came to the village.  Now they have internet access as well.

We have so much to be grateful for...

453.  indoor toilets
454. washing machine
455.  cooling fresh breezes
456.  the love of family
457. the kindness of neighbors
458.  knowing many of our neighbors by name
459.  growing up in America
460.  being able to travel about this country
461.  having a car
462.  being able to afford gas
463.  butterflies
464. hummingbirds
465.  the sound of waves on the sea
466.  coming home to a house scrubbed clean by Spencer.
467.  having food in the fridge
468.  not panicking when the electricity goes out
469.  candles and matches
470.  the impending celebration of the birth of a King.

joining Ann Voskamp and the gratitude community:

Friday, December 16, 2011

the 30th anniversary party has to end...

Today we will leave Maya Beach, head back to Belmopan, and real life.  

We were blessed with the gift of five wonderful days of serenity and calm.  We didn't plan or do a lot of site seeing.  The only goal for each day was to try and count the waves.  Celebrating our 30th anniversary here on the shores of the Caribbean Sea has been one of the best vacations we have had in a long time.  We stumbled upon this place back in February when Tom's parents came for a visit.  All we really knew was that the food was excellent and the view from our table was divine.  We decided that day that this would be the spot we would come back to and it didn't disappoint.  And we are ever so grateful!  

So it's goodbye for now to the hotel...

and we will miss sitting on the beach...

and walking along the shore...

and hearing the sound of the waves...

and watching the sunset.

And just so you know...It is only an hour and 45 minute drive from Belmopan to Maya Beach and that includes a stop at a Mennonite bakery for cinnamon rolls and banana bread along the way!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

you know you're in a beach city when...

the convenience store owner's cat, Snowy, is allowed to rest wherever she pleases...

and someone's dog comes over and lays down to take his nap in the shade of your beach lounger.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

thought for today...

Maya Beach, Belize

May He still the storms and hush the waves in your life, in your heart and in your mind.  

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Now, we know we do...

December 13, 1981

To have and to hold from this day forward,
 for better or worse, for richer for poorer, 
in sickness and in health,
 to love and to cherish to death do us part.

couples group pool party in Costa Mesa, California  
married 10 years

team teaching at the Bridge in Dana Point
married 15 years

swimming with dolphins in Kona, Hawaii for our 20th anniversary 2001

playing games at our 25th anniversary dinner in Krasnodar, Russia

trying to figure out the timer on our camera in Maya Beach, Belize for our 30th.

Thirty years ago 
December 13, 1981
 At the wise old age of 18 we thought we knew it all... 
 how much we've learned since then.
We've seen that God's plans for us are far better than our dreams for us.
We've undergone growth and change individually that deepened our bond of unity.
We've experienced hurts deeper than expected. 
 We've been blessed with joys greater than anticipated.
We've realized the immense riches of a life lived together.
Thirty years ago, we thought we loved each other. 
 Now, we know we do.

~Alida & Tom

Monday, December 12, 2011

Belmopan Christmas Tree Lighting 2011

Spencer and I went early to get seats and enjoy the food in the carnival like atmosphere at the tree lighting ceremony.  Last year Tom and I began our first Christmas season in Belize with this event. It was exciting to feel like a veteran while explaining to Spencer what the night would be like as we drove over.  The National Anthem followed by an opening prayer offered by a pastor from a local church.  Children of all ages performing and public officials making it clear that Christ would be in our Christmas celebration.  Churches and individuals selling food, desserts and sodas to all who came with money to spend.  Everything from Turkey dinners to Black Fruit Cake were available to enjoy.  

We purchased 6 garnaches, and some soda for $2USD, and then settled in our seats to take it all in...

a few members of the Belchoral Society

Mayor Simeon Lopez

a school choir

a baby's first Christmas

let's dance!

not as big as last year's tree

but just as beautifully decorated

finally lit!

440.  having one of our sons with us for the holidays.
441.  seeing familiar faces among the hundreds of people there.
442.  being recognized and greeted!
443.  tasty food...garnaches!
444.  tennis shoes, flip flops, wrinkled choir robes and children singing out carols with gusto.
445.  babys dressed in holiday colors.
446.  our second Christmas in Belize.
447.  five days off to go to the coast to celebrate our 30th anniversary.
448.  Spencer being here to keep an eye on the house and care for the dog while we are away.
449.  time to reflect on the gift of relationship as we sit on the beach counting waves.
450.  hearing testimonies at church in English, Spanish and Mandarin.
451.  the incredible diversity among the people in this country.
452.  eating a tasty fried chicken dinner for $2.50 USD following the service.

joining Ann Voskamp and the gratitude community:

Friday, December 09, 2011

Where's the line?

I was reading blogs last week and came across this song over at Mandy's blog.  The message and the words really hit home for me and I immediately posted the video link on Facebook then I went in search of the words.  And of course I had to learn more about the people who wrote the song and the singer Becky Kelley.  Her father got the inspiration from his 4 year grandson's question at the mall and with help from a co-writer this is what they came up with:

Christmas time was approaching
Snow was starting to fall
Shoppers choosing their presents
People filling the mall

Children waiting for Santa
With excitement and glee
A little boy tugged my sweater
Looked up and asked me

Where's the line to see Jesus?
Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday
Why don't we see Him more?

As I stood in amazement
At this message profound
I looked down to thank him
He was no where around

The little boy at the mall
Might as well have had wings
As the tears filled my eyes
Thought I heard him sing

Where's the line to see Jesus?
Is He here at the store?
If Christmas time is His birthday
Why don't we see Him more?

Where's the line to see Jesus?
He was born for me
Santa Claus brought me presents
But Christ gave His life for me

In the blink of an eye
At the sound of His trump
We'll all stand in line at His throne
Every knee shall bow down
Every tongue will confess
That Jesus Christ is Lord

(Repeat Chorus)

Where's the line?
Where's the line?
Where's the line for the Lord?

And here is the video of Becky singing:


Thursday, December 08, 2011

the blending of souls...

Last week I wrote about my reaction to the church in Kentucky deciding to ban interracial couples from membership. That was on Thursday.  On Sunday the church held another vote to affirm that they welcome people of all races in their fellowship.

One of the things I didn't talk about last week was the cost of staying silent.  There were 40 people at the church that night. Only 15 people chose to put their opinion out there. Perhaps there were people on the opposing side who stayed silent. It takes courage to speak up. I know that...I understand that. My post was not an easy one to write.  I risked people telling me negative things about my marriage or my children. But, I spoke up because I felt compelled. Because this issue touched the core of my family. That post went on to be featured on Women of the Harvest's Writing Blog.  And for that I am humbled.

However, for those church members in Kentucky, their silence was costly.  This tiny little church in Pike County made international news.  Blogs, news stories, Facebook and Twitter posts all commenting and expressing their opinions on the actions of the church.

News of this vote to ban interracial couples from membership caused the National Association of Free Will Baptists to put out a statement regarding their position.  It caused the publishing arm of the denomination to put out a downloadable Bible study on racism. And for that I am grateful.

Here is an excerpt from the study:
How are we supposed to treat people that are different from us?
Treat them as someone created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). Treat them as someone for whom Christ died (John 3:16). Treat them like you want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). God also expects His people to seek justice and confront oppression (Deuteronomy 16:19; Isaiah 1:17; Jeremiah 22:3). Anything less is sin.
 In the conclusion of the study I found this statement:
In many ways our time on earth is a rehearsal for our time in Heaven. God has given each of us time to prepare for the eternity that lies ahead. Revelation 7:9-10 makes it very clear that Heaven will be filled with people from every nation, tribe, and tongue. Do we live like we believe that? Is our rehearsal on earth reflecting what will happen on the grand stage? 

My friend, Cyndi, recently began a network called Blended Souls. It is a network of Pastors' Wives and Ministry Wives... a gathering of "sistas" from various Christian denominations and ethnic backgrounds. Blended Souls Network was created to support women in their role as the wife of a pastor or ministry leader, so that they can worship and pray together, network with one another, and embrace cultural differences for the “soul” purpose of giving honor to God.  The network's desire is to reach out to wives from every tongue, tribe and nation.

I am excited to be one of the prayer partners for Blended Souls and I would love to invite you to join the network.  Just think as this grows it will be a slice of what heaven will look like!  If you would like to be added to our Facebook group you can leave me a note or send me an email.

If there is an issue that burns in your heart my prayer is that you will not keep silent.  May that burning propel you into action.  To bring light where there is only darkness, to bring justice where injustice is found or to bring healing where healing is needed. And above all... to bring honor and glory to God.  

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

thought for today

I was out running errands yesterday and saw this guy in the parking lot.  So thankful for the zoom on the camera.  I don't think I would have been able to breathe if I had actually gotten that close!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Tasty Tuesday

What I found:

Last week on our trip to Spanish Lookout I found candy corn...
which means I can finally give these a try!

What I am still looking for:

Hopefully, closer to Christmas Eggnog will show up in one of our stores so we can enjoy this:

What I plan to make this week:

I found this recipe on Pinterest...I am so grateful that bananas are never hard to find here!

*Click on the links under the photos to find the recipes.

What treats are you thinking of for this week?