Friday, August 31, 2012

Why would a ten year old girl commit suicide?

There is tragic and truly sad news coming out of the Orange Walk district. The reports I am getting say that a 10 year old girl from San Lazaro village committed suicide by hanging herself. Multiple reports are that the primary school girl was found hanging by her mother. It is truly a tragic and sad situation.  ~Patrick E. Jones

I saw this horrific news on Facebook last night.  There were well over 100 comments made on this story.  A few were expressions of condolence for the family.  Some wondered if it was linked to some type of abuse. A few even sounded off about how it could be a murder and not a suicide.  Most were in shock that a ten year old would think to do something like this.

What kind of trauma happened in the brief life of this little girl that caused her to lose all sense of hope?  Was it a lack of love?  Or because of physical or sexual abuse?  Was it related to depression?  Was she being bullied? All we can do is speculate until more facts are released for this case.  But it left me wondering...just how common is suicide in children?

I searched for statistics on child suicide and discovered that it is the third leading cause of death for children aged 10-14.  Doesn't that boggle your mind?  Back in 2011 the Ministry of Health in Belize put together a suicide resource pamphlet teachers.  However, most of the discussions here are centered on teens and not on younger children.

Suicide prevention was discussed at a Mental Health Conference in September last year.  In May of this year counselors from Orange Walk Technical High School spoke with the press to discuss suicide in adolescents and it was reported that the number of suicides for 2012 at the time was five.  While compiling information for this post I could not find any stories or statistics related to young children committing suicide here in Belize.

As we wait for more details regarding the death of this ten year old we pray for families whose lives have been affected by suicide here in Belize and around the world.  For children to find hope in the midst of despair.  And for families, teachers, counselors, and all who work with children to be vigilant to any signs that a child might be at risk.

Won't you join us in prayer?

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Anatomy of Walking...

It has been 16 days since I started walking.  So I have 84 days to go to complete the challenge!  

So far I have lost three pounds and gained a new appreciation for health and strength.  I saw this graphic on the Everybody Walks blog and discovered even more benefits of walking.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

thought for today...His Provision

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. 
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for You are with me; 
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. 
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 
Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, 
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Psalm 23, TNIV

linking up with:

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

tasty tuesday

Avocados and peppers

Yesterday I went over to meet with a friend and when I got there her husband told me that I could not leave without taking home some food.  They called the avocados "pears" and showed me their huge "pear" tree in the yard.  Then I was told not to use the pepper seeds but to take them outside and just sprinkle them around my yard and make sure that I water them.  

When I got home I made guacamole with one of the avocados that was ripe.  I can hardly wait until the rest of them are ready.  I have six huge ones.  I will also need to make a pepper sauce or use the peppers in salsa or something so that nothing they passed on to me goes to waste.  

Each time I try to bless this family they turn it around and bless me.  And I am awed by their generosity.

Monday, August 27, 2012

more precious gifts...from ruts to rainbows!

         Gratitude is a healing force and the more we practice it...the more real it becomes in our lives.                                                                

Gratitude is not my first thought when I come to a rut in the road and yet the ruts and the rocks are a part of daily life.  Yesterday as I was walking I realized that each rut I walk around or step over makes me appreciate the paved roads and the smooth paths.  And as I recall the gifts throughout the week I can be grateful for the rough spots and the calm days.  Because I know that they both serve a help me to grow. 

And growth is a gift that I can add to my list...

911.  the path I walk each day and the sights I see along the way

912.  heading home with a sunset view

913.  following through with a commitment even when I don't want to
914.  how much calmer I feel when my walk is complete
915.  listening to songs recommended by Nathan and his friends
916.  leading worship at the CDF retreat

917.  enjoying the time with those who attended the retreat

918.  brainstorming ideas with the group
919.  everyone's voice being heard
920.  planning out the ministry year together

921.  the view from the mountain  top home where the retreat was held

922.  our little car having four wheel drive that allowed us to make it to the top.

923.  beauty in the skies after a brief rain fall

924. muffins decorated by a seven year old who wanted them to look pretty for us...

925.  finding old photos of Nathan and Spencer with a similar pose

926.  memories of Nathan and Spencer that bring a smile to my face and joy to my heart
927.  the blessing of family
928.  Pastor Dan's message of encouragement yesterday.
929.  lunch with Spencer and Meesha

930.  yesterday's rainbow
931.  acknowledging that life's lessons are in everything from ruts to rainbows...and all is part of His grace.
joining in with the gratitude community:

Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

30 minutes a day for 100 days...

Last week I joined in a challenge with some of my friends to walk for 30 minutes a day for 100 days. Today is Day 9.  It's not complicated...but, it's certainly not easy!  I don't always feel like going.  And yet, I like how I feel when I get back home.  

At first I didn't think I could follow through with this commitment.  It is the rainy season here.  And then when the dry season comes it will be way too hot to get out there and exercise.  However, the reality is that it will always be rainy, or hot, or I'll be too busy, or I'll get sick, or something.  So I decided to tough it out and just do it.  

I am doing this to get fit but also to lose the extra pounds I am carrying around before I turn 50 next year.  I want to develop a lifelong habit of daily walking and this seemed the best way to get started. This won't be the last you hear of my 30/100 commitment.  I will keep you all posted and I hope you'll share what you are doing with me as well.  If you decide to join me that would be great! 

So, how often do you exercise and what do you do? 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

thought for today...Praise without ceasing!

Reading in Revelation this past week I came across this passage.  It struck me for the first time that the creatures who are crying out are covered with eyes.  They can see everything around them as they continually give praise.  And out of all that they see...the only thing, the only One worthy of praise, is Him who sits on the throne.

How much do we see around us that we cannot take our eyes off of?  How frequently does what we are involved in take us away from praising Him?  I know I am guilty.  It is easy to get caught up in the newest gadget, or project, or my to do list.  It is so easy to 'worship' problems, or fixate on a loved one's situation, or commit to another ministry opportunity, or obsess on what is going on in politics around the world...that I take my focus off of Him.  

Last week I began walking each day for a minimum of thirty minutes. As I walk I notice my surroundings.  All around me is life.  The trees, birds, people, animals, and plants, that I pass all cause me to think about life.  Specifically life in Him. Life because of Him. Most days I walk in the evening as the sun is setting.  When I turn to come back there is a place where the splendor of Him who sits on the throne overwhelms me.  God's paintbrush coats the sky with brilliant orange-gold fire that causes me to breathe deep with wonder.  And all I can do the rest of the way home is give Him praise.

 Let's all take a look around us...see what His hand has created...and give Him praise!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tasty Tuesday...

One dish that I have been missing since I first went gluten-free is lasagna.  But, thanks to Pinterest I learned that I can just use my lasagna recipe and replace the noodles with thinly sliced zucchini.  What a great idea!

We will definitely have this was very tasty!!

Monday, August 20, 2012

the gift of exercise...

I am shocked that I actually typed the words gift and exercise in the same sentence.  It hasn't always felt like a gift.  I used to say "I hate to sweat." I am still not thrilled with it.  But recently we saw a commercial where the tag line was "strong women sweat".  Tom is quick to remind me of this each time I make a comment about sweating.

Last Wednesday, because of a challenge issued by a friend, a group of us made the commitment to walk for thirty minutes a day for 100 days.  Today will be day six.  94 more days to go.  One day at a time is all that we are one day at a time is how this challenge has to be met.

I am grateful for the benefits that I have already received from walking everyday...and for many other gifts that God has blessed us with throughout the week!

890.  better quality of sleep
891.  time to unwind
892.  witnessing incredible sunsets
893.  seeing more of our neighbors and our neighborhood
894.  feeling more relaxed
895.  enjoying a sense of accomplishment each day
896.  feeling stronger

gifts from family time...
897.  time with Spencer
898.  time with Meesha

899.  finding a place to take Nathan next time he visits
Belize Iguana Project
900.  movie and popcorn night!
901.  time out on the back patio enjoying the breeze and conversation

gifts of ministry...
902.  an English speaking 12 step meeting here in Belmopan
903.  a teen that called on their own for counseling
904.  a local teacher telling us of the need for more training on how to spot trafficking here in Belize
905.  writing for the CDF blog
906.  tweeting for @cdfbelize
907.  seeing counseling clients make progress
908.  a supportive missionary community who are willing to refer to one another whenever possible
909.  Dan's message yesterday at church
910.  praying over a family who is leaving to go back to their home country of Taiwan

What are you grateful for?

joining in with the gratitude community:

Friday, August 17, 2012

What's on your prayer list?

I designed this graphic for a blog post I wrote yesterday for The Child Development Foundation.  You can check out the blog by clicking here.  This list of 7 ways to pray is not exhaustive by any means.  But, these are the ones I have personally focused on lately.

Several news stories on Twitter and Facebook and in our news here in Belize have weighed heavy on my heart this week.  Stories of children and young women being sold, violated or exploited kept me on my knees.  There is strength in praying together and I invite you to pray with us over some of the news stories that were in the Belizean headlines this week.

click on any of the titles to read the full story

Convicted Sex Offender Accused Again

Belize Child Prostitutes Called During School

13 year old child claims 21 year old man had sex with her

So what's on your prayer list this week?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

thought for today...Trust.

This is a perfect scripture to meditate on when life does not make sense.  When we first arrived in Belize we knew we were supposed to be here but we wondered why we had to leave Russia.  Our understanding was limited.  We had to trust...wholeheartedly.  We had to keep taking the next indicated step and wait for it all to make sense.

We had AA Big Books and some Al Anon literature donated for meetings here in Belmopan.  The plan was to get those meetings going as soon as we returned from our time in the states back in July.  Tom started looking for a location where the meetings could be held here but was running into a few obstacles. 

On our get away to San Pedro we met up with a guy who is active in AA there on the island.  He connected Tom with the AA people here who do Spanish speaking meetings.  They were looking for someone to help with an English speaking meeting!  I am looking forward to getting together with their wives later on this week to start Al Anon.

Trusting in God has led to many divine encounters like this one.  We trust, we leave the details to Him and He straightens it all out!

So how has He made your paths straight?

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Tasty Tuesday or the Tale of the Fried Chicken

I zoomed out of the parking at lunch time yesterday to find a quick meal for us during the Anti-Trafficking seminar.  I went to the first Chinese restaurant I saw and asked if they had fried chicken.  Fried chicken is a very popular dish here in Belize and most Chinese places sell it and usually costs about $5BZD (2.50USD)

guy behind the counter: yes, we have fry chicken.  What you want...4$, 5$ or 6$?
me: what's the difference in size?
guy behind the counter: oh well, the 4$ has some chicken, the 5$ has more chicken and the 6$ has even more chicken!!
me: O...kay...

I just love this country! 

Monday, August 13, 2012

still counting the gifts...

We are back in Orange Walk Town to do the Anti-Trafficking seminar that was postponed last week due to Hurricane Ernesto.  Because of our time away and the hurricane scare I didn't post my gratitude list like I normally do last Monday.  It was not a matter of not having anything to be grateful was a matter of timing.  

God's gifts continue to grace our lives.  And I continue to write them down and give thanks...

869.  God's protection over Belize during this hurricane season.
870.  daily reading from One Day At A Time
871.  wisdom and insight from the book Not a Fan

872.  eating gluten free gets easier as the months go by.
873.  finding gluten free crackers at Reimers Health Food Store in Spanish Lookout

874.  swapping business cards and chatting with a young woman in San Pedro leading to a divine encounter with a survivor of child abuse in need of counseling.
875.  laughing with friends after a dinner party.
876.  being a part of a supportive expat community.
877.  being reminded by a courageous young woman that  "I'm not defined by the circumstances of my present." 
878.  time to read and reflect on the lessons God is providing.
879.  Tom finding a venue for an English speaking AA meeting here in Belmopan.
880.  safety while driving on the highways here in Belize.
881.  flowers blooming because of all the rain.
882.  two eggs in the nest outside our bedroom window.
883.  phone calls and text messages from our sons.
884.  watching our young men grow and mature.
885.  celebrating their successes with them.
886.  baking mistakes that turn into yummy treats.
887.  having such great coworkers at CDF.
888.  treasures that I can ponder in my heart.

889.  gratitude for the times He has carried me and for those times when He had to drag me for a while...

joining in with the gratitude community:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Thursday, August 09, 2012

memories of sunny days...

As I write this rain is pounding, lightning is flashing, and thunder is booming.  It is so loud I need the closed captioning on the TV just to know what is being said.  While we were spared any damage from hurricane Ernesto this is still the rainy season and it is also hurricane season.  With that in mind I am even more grateful for the time we had to explore more of this beautiful country.  

We received an incredible gift from some friends of ours last weekend...a two night get away at the Belizean Shores Resort in San Pedro on Ambergris Caye. Here is just a glimpse of where we were.  
view from the water taxi as we arrived...

walking from the dock to the room
seeing the room for the first time
I totally loved seeing this...
we had plenty of space
and a great place to hang out!

Swimming, reading, watching the Olympics, hanging out with our friends, dinner in town, kayaking, sailing on a catamaran, learning a new card game, attempting to snorkle...and so much more.  We crammed in as much fun and relaxation as we could from our arrival on Friday evening to our departure on Sunday afternoon.  It was so hard to leave and we can hardly wait to go back!