Friday, September 28, 2012

It's that time again!

Tom starts teaching the counseling class again at Belize Bible Center tomorrow.  We are eager to see how many students return and if there will be any newcomers or not. 

Tom is excited about this quarter.  He enjoys teaching about character and developmental stages.  This is the fourth semester of the six semester course that began last year.  Soon there will be more trained counselors to work in churches and various places throughout Belize. 

During the break between semesters some construction took place at the center.  It looks like the new classroom is almost ready too! 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

thought for today...His Protection

 Whether we are crossing a bridge or making it through a challenging life event...
when He charts the course and blesses the way we are safe in His hands.
linking up with:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Where do your tortillas come from?

There are several vendors around the city who make their own tortillas to sell from their homes.  Most people charge 50 cents a pound.  When I went to get corn tortillas yesterday the woman I buy from didn't have any made.  So I had to wait.

When she went to another room to make the masa (dough) I took a photo of her work station.  
 The cut-out bleach bottle holds the plastic circles she uses to shape the tortillas.

The metal comal that she cooks over has a fire underneath.  The first thing she did was add more wood to the fire.  After that I saw her take some corn to another room and when she came back she had the dough all ready to mold and shape into tortillas.

Some day when my Spanish gets better I will ask her to explain her whole process to me.  I was fascinated with watching her and her daughter work so quickly.  She told me it would take 15 minutes to make two pounds of tortillas and she was right!  

Monday, September 24, 2012

Before the parade passes by

We had two parades here in Belmopan last week.  On Thursday evening there was the Take Back the Land Christian Parade.  And on Friday the Citizen's Parade was held.  I had heard that the Citizen's Parade was going to start at 10:30.  Assuming that meant 11:00 I left home home just after 10:30 thinking that I would have time to see them line up and then begin walking.  I had more time than I expected.  The parade didn't get underway until closer to noon.

Getting over there so early meant seeing what happens before the parade passes by.  

The University of Belize float...

 the Peace Corps getting set up...

 other participants chilling out before the long walk begins...

soldiers ready to go...

a smart businessman selling plantain chips to the gathering crowd

Riders kept their horses busy until it was time to line up...

Children played in the dry drainage ditch...

when the police finally arrived we knew it was almost time for the parade to start!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Take Back the Land...

Here are a few memories from the Christian parade last night in here in Belmopan.

I didn't get a chance to check my camera battery before we left the house.  Many of my photos are blurry.  But, I chose to share a few shots anyway just so you could get an idea of what the parade was like.  

We stood outside for two hours watching the crowd slowly gather before the parade actually reached our location.  It was a treat to see so many familiar faces in the parade and in the crowd.  We were called out to, hugged, and given a few fist bumps as the parade went by!  

After the parade came another hour wait for the fireworks...we decided to pick up a late dinner and come on home.  I was able to see the fireworks from our back porch so I didn't have to miss anything! 

Today there will be more parades throughout the country...Belize is now 31 years old.  Mercy, it sure feels strange to be older than a country!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

On the road again!

The rocks on the road shift and groan as I walk along.  Being out in the fresh air early in the evening is priceless.  And lately it has become one of the highlights of my day.  I don't always realize how tense I am until I get on the road, my shoulders relax, and the stress for that day melts away.  When I get back home I am covered in sweat, breathing a little heavy, and am overwhelmingly calm.

Today is Day 36...and I am still putting one foot in front of the other!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

thought for today...Shout, Rejoice, Sing!

His comfort and compassion are indeed worthy of praise!

I suffered through sadness and grief this week over the discovery of yet ANOTHER vital item that was among the boxes we lost in our move from Russia to Belize.  I am grateful that God's compassion has kept me from feeling the weight of the losses all at once.

There are days when I don't even think about it, days when that is all I think about, and then moments like Monday when it slaps me in the face out of the blue.  As I breathe in deeply and hold my head up and try to move on...I realize that it still stings. 

Only His comfort and compassion help me through the inconsolable times.  

Today I choose to appreciate all that God has done and the numerous lessons we received from the loss of those 34 boxes.  Right now I can gaze upon the setting sun, be comforted by the cooling breeze, and breathe out my gratitude for His compassion.  

And and in this moment...
 I can shout with the heavens, 
rejoice with the earth, 
and sing with the mountains
about the goodness of the LORD!

linking up with:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chhole Gravy

Meesha made Chhole Gravy for us the other day...and it made me fall in love with chickpeas!
Now we have to see if we can find all of the ingredients here in Belize to make it from scratch.

Monday, September 17, 2012

inhale love...exhale gratitude...

 Inhaling His love and exhaling gratitude for all that He is 
and all that He has done restores calm and balance to the soul.  

still counting His gifts...

953.  Meesha spending the weekend with us.
954.  introducing her to some of our family's favorite movies.
955.  walking and chatting with Tom and Meesha 
956.  Indian food for dinner.
957.  Pastor Han's message Sunday filled with grace and love.

958.  my new bookcase...made from reclaimed Hobeo wood
 by Winston and Terry of EnterChange Workshop in Roaring Creek.

959.  appreciating the character of the wood and the craftsmanship of EnterChange Workshop.
960.  getting my books off of the floor, table, nightstand, and various places around the house.
961.  getting the chance to chat with Erin on Facebook after our Skype attempt was unsuccessful.
962.  being inspired by Pinterest to crochet a few baskets.
963.  getting closer to my goal of walking for 100 days!
965.  letting go of old habits to make healthy new ones.

966.  birds in the nest outside our bedroom window.

joining in with the gratitude community:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Good times...

Archaeological Museum, Istanbul, Turkey 2010 
Make sure you get out and collect some moments...

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

One day closer to my goal!

Today is Day 30 on my way to 100 days of walking!

This past month has not been easy.  I still don't like sweating.  I still face days when I don't want to go.  I have had to walk in the rain a few times.  I was followed by an annoyingly loud barking dog one day.  And did I mention that I still DON'T like sweating?!  But, the good things are; I don't question whether I am going out or not anymore.  I have lost five pounds.  My posture has improved.  And I feel incredible when I'm finished!

 As I was walking the other day I realized that: 
I prefer to see how far I can push myself over trying to get away with the bare minimum.  

One day at a time!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

thought for today...Victory!

Heybeliada Island off the coast of Istanbul, Turkey 2010

Back in late February of 2010, we embarked on what we thought was a routine visa renewal, the lure of cheap airfare and the recommendations of others, led us to Istanbul as the place to wait for our paperwork.  We ended up stuck there in limbo for two and half months.  Just a few weeks into what we thought would be a three week trip at the most...we were dealt a harsh blow.  Tom's work visa would not be renewed and we would no longer be able to live in Russia.  We felt defeated.  We could not understand what God was doing or what direction He was taking us.

All we could do was pray and wait.  

Each day we would leave the dreary little rental apartment to explore as much of Turkey as possible.  We had no idea how long we would be there or if we would ever be in that part of the world again.  So we tried to make the most of this heartbreaking situation.  

On this particular day Spencer and I boarded the ferry to check out Heybeliada Island. 

I packed our guidebook, some snacks, water, and my cellphone, which served as the only camera we had access to on our trip.  I wanted to sit on the beach and read.  Spencer wanted to hike.  Reluctantly I agreed to the hike.  I wanted to stay on the well marked paths.  Spencer wanted to wander off and see what was on the other side of the trees.  

This was the view we were rewarded with for stepping off the path...

Spencer went out even farther than I dared to go.  

His curiosity and desire to experience life to the fullest led him down the mountainside a bit to get closer to the edge of the cliff.  He only stopped because I was screaming my head off for him not to go any further.  

I was still trapped in the limitation of what I could see and what I thought was safe.  

He was 19 years old that day...just three weeks before his 20th birthday.  I am grateful that Spencer forced me off the well worn path and further up the mountainside.  And I am grateful that I got to see his victory stance that day.   

We won't see victory if we are afraid to move beyond our comfort zone.  

Victory for Spencer came as he walked out to edge of that cliff.  He moved slowly... but step by step he went... he raised his arms in triumph...and then went even further forward.  He told me he felt exhilarated and close to God.  I was in awe as I watched our youngest son challenge himself to do more.  

As we made our way around the island I felt challenged to get a bit closer to the edge...
It is by clinging to God, and not our old habits or fears, that we are led to victory.  

May you follow Him all the way to the victory He has for you!

linking up with:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

How do you know if eggs are fresh?

 There are times when the eggs we get just don't seem quite right to me.  I need to remember this!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Celebrating two years in Belize!

Two years ago, on the 6th of September, we arrived in Belize.  From February until September of 2010 we lived out of suitcases.  We spent February through early May in Istanbul, Turkey waiting on our Russian visas.  We made it back to Krasnodar, Russia just in time for Tom to walk Olga down the aisle at her wedding on my birthday.  Then we had to pack up, sell our apartment, and say our goodbyes before leaving in July.  We traveled throughout various states in the USA as we reconnected with family and friends after five years in Russia.  We said goodbye to Spencer as he left for the YWAM base in Kona, Hawaii.

It was wonderful to arrive in Belize and immediately feel as if we had finally come home.  Home to a place we had never been.  But at that point in our lives...home was where our suitcases were.

Thinking back on that first taxi ride from the airport outside of Belize City all the way to Belmopan I remember Tom trying to bargain with the guy the same way I used to haggle with Russian cab drivers over the fare.  The disadvantage was not understanding just how far he had to go and not knowing the high cost of gas.  It turned out that we paid a fair price...and I am grateful for that cabbie's integrity with not taking advantage of us like he could have.
And it was funny that just like so many of the Russian cab drivers we rode with...this man immediately drove to a gas station to get enough for the trip before getting on the road!

We drove so fast all I could manage to snap were blurry photos of all the trees along the way.  He pointed out a few landmarks and told us about the devastation Hurricane Hattie caused so many years ago.  We were enthralled with the lush green countryside and the modest homes made of wood or cement that dot the landscape along Western Highway

Tom got us checked in at the Bull Frog Inn and we very pleased to find a simple but comfortable room equipped with amenities we dearly appreciated... namely air conditioning, WiFi, and a clean bathroom!!

We had no idea that we were arriving during September Celebrations.  This time of year there are many events  throughout the country as they count down the days until Belize's Independence Day later this month.  We saw from the beginning the pride that Belizeans have in their country.  Today is a holiday celebrating the 214th Anniversary of the battle of St George's Caye when the settlers here in Belize successfully battled against Spanish invaders.

 We are grateful that God brought us to Belize and look forward to however many years He grants us here!