Tuesday, March 26, 2013

My Kitchen Rules

I've been watching a "new to me"cooking show from Australia called My Kitchen Rules.  It's fascinating so far because I'm seeing new recipes and I'm learning to speak Aussie!

Phrases like:
Don't muck it up!
I don't want to stuff it all up.
I'm chuffed!
Let's tuck in!

There's always something new to learn and seeing the various cities around Australia has been  fun too.  If you can find the show I think you'll enjoy it...I'm seven episodes in and totally hooked!

Monday, March 25, 2013

The world is mine!

I just got my new passport and according to the U.S. Department of State, the world is mine now! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

What's in the news in Belize...

Accused Of Helping A Human Trafficker

Last night, 7News told you about the arraignment of 43 year-old Salvadoran Irma Hilda Alaz Azmitia, the woman who was suspected of orchestrating a human trafficking operation through the PGIA. Well today, a Belizean woman was taken to court for allegedly assisting Alaz Azmitia in her operation.

As we told you, Azmitia was busted with 4 minors - 3 boys and a girl, and an 18 year-old female at the Phillip Goldson International with false Guatemalan passports and counterfeit US Visas. When the authorities were called in, the minors were interviewed about Azmitia's operation, and one of the boys revealed the identity of 50 year-old Belizean Francisca Flores, a resident of Belama Phase 2. According to the boy, an adult placed him in Flores's care while he waited for other travel arrangements. According to the boy, he stayed at her house up until March 14.

As a result, the Immigration Department detained Flores, and questioned her, who admitted to them that she did indeed provide lodging for the child. She was subsequently charged with harboring a person to remain in Belize illegally, and she was arraigned today before Magistrate Adolph Lucas.

She pleaded not guilty to the charge, but admitted a second time to the court that she did harbor the child. She said that she didn't know that he was in the country illegally, and that a man who she knows called her and asked that she take care of him for a short period of time.

Magistrate Lucas granted her bail of $1,000 but ordered her to surrender her travel documents to the court. She was able to meet bail, and she must return to court on April 22, 2013.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

colorful craftiness...

 Found some craft supplies at Dakers today...

and I made a couple of tie-backs for the dining room window...

I'm looking forward to playing around with the rest of these letters!
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

the sting of Spring...

The first day of spring should be a day of joy.  But, for me, it's a mixed bag.  You see March 20th was my younger brother's birthday.  If he had lived Bruce would be 46 years old today.  Even though it's been many years since his sudden death in a car accident I still think of him on this day.  He was a playmate, a co-conspirator in the childhood escapades of the Wright 5, and he often got in trouble with me when our mother thought one of us was bothering the baby. 

I don't have a sister or a daughter.  I grew up with four brothers.  So quite often when I think about my brothers I also think about my sons.  I spent last night tracking our son Spencer's flights.  His first plane took off from Dallas and went to London.  Then the second flight was from London to Mumbai.  Hopefully, he is safe in Mumbai now and is on his way to Pune with Meesha to meet her family.  I started thinking of Bruce as I was watching the progress of Spencer's flight on the computer screen.  

Bruce has missed out on so much.  So many life experiences, new inventions, and time with family.  When I think of the adventure that Spencer is on I cannot help but be happy for him.  I am thrilled that he has found a best friend that he cares deeply about.  Thrilled for all that is to come in the future for the two of them.  It just feels strange to celebrate on this day.  

I keep reminding myself that my little brother is now part of that cloud of witnesses that Paul talks about.  And perhaps he is aware of all that is going on for us.  Perhaps he knows about all of the nephews he was never able to meet.  And that he is part of that crowd waiting for the rest of us to get to the finish line.  At least I choose to think about it that way...because it gives me comfort to know that he is still a part of my life...no matter how long he's been gone.  

Monday, March 18, 2013

Praying fervently for the children...

The Belize Sex Offender Registry reported that two little boys went in to the police station in San Pedro with their mother over the weekend to report a case of sexual abuse.  The boys are 6 and 9.  Here in Belize when a sex crime is committed against a boy it is called an Unnatural Crime.  

Aren't all sex crimes against children unnatural?  

I'm not trying to make a political statement...just a human one.  Children should not be the objects of anyone's sexual desire.  It is heartbreaking each time we hear about a new case. I keep thinking about the ones who are not being listened to, the ones who are too young or too afraid to make a report, the ones who are trapped.  No child should have to face sexual advances from an adult...ever.

Please join with us in prayer for the children of this country and for children all around the world who are suffering from current or past sexual abuse, sexual slavery, and sexual exploitation.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

What's in the news in Belize?

These are just a few of the stories making headlines here in Belize:

The Mauling of a Monkey
7 News Belize
A foursome of high school aged schoolboys and their teacher face a penalty of one thousand dollars or six months in prison for the illegal hunting of howler monkey - which is a protected species in Belize. As we understand it, the Forestry Department is trying to put together the charges and expect to file those before the end of the week. And while public opinion may be split - because after all boys will be boys - the video we've seen fo the assault on the monkey is truly appalling. This was capture don someone's cell phone as the young men tied up the monkey after they had already felled it with slingshots and dragged it into the compound. It shows them terrorizing the already brutalized animal with impunity. We note that the law states that hunting means quote, "to kill, take or molest by any method and includes attempting to kill, take or molest by any method any species of wildlife."

Cop/Chess Teacher Accused of Exploiting a Child
7 News Belize
Tonight, 50 year-old Special Constable Santos Carvajal, a resident of Fairweather Street, is at prison tonight after he was taken to court for allegedly having sexual relations with a 12 year-old girl.
According to police, the girl reported that sometime in the month of November, 2012; she visited his home, and he was supposed to teach her how to play chess. Upon arriving at Carvajal's residence, she sat in a chair in the hall area of the house and waited for Carvajal to start his training.

That's when Carvajal allegedly made advances toward her, professing his love her, and then, he reportedly disrobed the child and had intercourse with her. As a result of this report, police arrested and charge Carvajal with carnal knowledge, and he was arraigned before Chief Magistrate Anne Marie Smith today.

Carvajal pleaded not guilty to the charge, but due to the nature of the offence, he couldn't be granted bail. As a result, he was remanded to prison until his next court date, which is scheduled for April 25.

We note that he is the second Chess Teacher being involved in child abuse. In 2009 US Citizen Robert Snyder - who was teaching Chess in Belize - turned out to be a fugitive on the run from authorities in the USA where he was a convicted sex offender accused of preying on his young students.

Mother and Step Father Charged in Disturbing Carnal Knowledge Case
Channel 5 News
In a most disturbing story tonight, the stepfather and mother of an eight year old girl have been detained by police for the crimes of Carnal Knowledge and Abetment. On Monday, the minor along with her aunt, visited the Belize City police station and reported the alleged heinous crimes. The minor complained to her aunt that she has been experiencing pain in her stomach and vagina and when questioned, she reported that her step-father had sexual intercourse with her. A medical examination was conducted on the minor; it certified that she was carnally known. The child was admitted to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital for further attention.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

God opens the flowers...

There is a rhythm and cadence to life that we must learn to fit in with. 

In my season of Embrace there is a sense of being called to accept 'what is'.  "Face life on life's terms" as the recovery saying goes.  There is so much to learn about God's timing.  And so much to learn about when to speak and when to be silent.  When to forge ahead and when to wait and see.  

I have been spending more time in my Al Anon books preparing and being reminded of recovery principles.  We see a great need here in this area for this type of support group.  Beginning with an English speaking group and then adding Spanish and even German.  It would have been ideal to start back when the English speaking AA meeting started. But we didn't have a meeting place available back then.  Recently a space was offered to us...it wasn't my ideal timing...but, obviously it was God's.  

Having a head knowledge that His plans are not always the same as mine is not the same as truly acknowledging that His plans are not always the same as mine.  And it's important that I fit in with His desires.  It's imperative that I follow His lead and not step out of rhythm.  There is not much value in forcing things to happen before their appointed time.  It just causes unnecessary stress and heartache. 

This doesn't mean that I won't set goals or make plans...it just means that as I make decisions I want to be more sensitive to His leading and pay less attention to my own neediness.  My praying needs to come before my planning. And listening instead of doing all the talking in prayer will help me get a better grasp of His timing.  

May I always remember that God opens flowers without forcing the buds...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It's working!

Last night's rain gave us the opportunity to check on the new drainage system.  It came down pretty hard and for a long time so it seemed like the perfect time to get out there. Tom and I got dressed and went to check on how well it was working.

Tom in his rain gear!

As we walked out to the fence it was hard to see clearly what was going on...

So we had to go outside the gate and zoom in...
It might seem like a boring or ridiculous thing to do...but, it was actually fun for us to see the water pouring out of that drain pipe!  We still have some areas in the yard that are low lying and we noticed pools of water in those places.  But now we know which areas still need the soil to be built up.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Trench is done...

On Saturday our neighbor, Armando, came over and finished off a project that we started last month. He trenched alongside the fence, out toward the ditch near the street, then laid the pipes inside the trench, and finally buried them from view.

Now when the rain comes it will drain from the gutters into the underground pipes...

and end up in the ditch for all the run-off water.

Hopefully, this will work to keep water away from the foundation of the house.  We had an excessive amount of rain this year and have heard that many people in different villages around the country experienced the same problem we did with tiles buckling.

 We still need to get our bedroom floor fixed and have the house painted.   Fortunately, we have a bit of pipe left over that Tom can take back and exchange for some tiles to replace the broken ones that we couldn't save.

The home repairs are coming along slowly but surely...all in due time!

Friday, March 08, 2013

Belizean Beauty...

 The beauty of Belize in bloom fills me with joy...

This photo was taken out at Jaguar Creek a few weeks ago when we were there for the Belize Christian Academy Retreat.  I walked around with my camera during the break and this flower caught my attention.  The ones in our yard are a dark burgundy.  This bloom is a gorgeous shock of pink from God's paintbrush!  

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Easter Tree Devotions...

As Easter approaches my desire for this year is to have a more hands on devotional.  With our nest empty again we have extended times of quiet throughout the day.  My little tree is sits on an end table next to my chair in our living room.  

Each time I glance over at one of the ornaments I am reminded of a name or attribute of Christ.  Today the one that stands out the most is Love.  I keep thinking of Christ being the embodiment of the Father's love for us.  And it is this love that I desire to be rooted and established in so that I may have power, together with all of the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the Love of Christ.  And I want to know this Love that surpasses knowledge--so that I may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Can you grasp the magnitude of God's Love for each one of us?
Does the thought of Christ's sacrifice remind you that God is Love?

I, for one, am still trying to take it all in...
and to Embrace this Love more dearly.

Each day until Easter I will continue to add ornaments to the tree so that I can further study and meditate on each word. I am truly looking forward to all that this upcoming holiday holds for us.  I know there will be mourning from Good Friday until Resurrection Day...but we do not mourn as those without hope...because there will also be a time of celebration when Sunday morning dawns!

May your journey to Easter be filled with the awe and wonder of learning who Christ is.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Belizean chocolate...

Spencer bought me some of this chocolate before he left for the states.  I am so very happy that it's gluten free...but sad that it's all gone!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Florida...

A week ago we had the blessing of meeting Tim and having him teach one of the sessions of Tom's Christian Counseling class at Belize Bible Center.  His teaching left us relaxed and peaceful as he shared how to build our joy capacity and experience the life the Christ came to give us.  It's always a pleasure to connect with friends of friends and have it all turn out so well!

Just yesterday at church we had two teams visiting from the US.

Students and some of the faculty from Widener University in Pennsylvania were in attendance along with a group of students from the University of Florida.  The team from Florida shared dramas, dances, singing, and testimonies, along with a puppet show for the children following the service.  Three of the students from the University of Florida will be staying in Belize for the next three months as interns working out at Prayer Mountain.

 We look forward to seeing more of them and hearing about their experiences here in Belize.

There is so much to do, see, and be a part of here in Belize.
No matter how long your visit...you won't regret your time here!