Friday, April 19, 2013

It's Friday, let's grab a coffee!

Since we can't sit face to face, and cafesito hour is nearly upon us, let's just pull up a chair and talk over a cup of Costa Rican coffee, virtual style.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you how the simple act of having just hung Brody's freshly washed curtains has me dripping sweat. Who needs working out when you live in the tropics? ;)

If we were having coffee I'd have to tell you about the fact that after I'd taken down Brody's curtains I went back into his room to find two demolished, minuscule eggs that must have fallen from said curtains. Gecko eggs in fact. How do I know? Well I'd then have to tell you about the poor little gecko fetuses we found on the tile floor, and about how that turned into a pretty cool biology lesson for the kids.

If we were having coffee I'd tell you how thankful I am for the breeze blowing on me as I type this blogpost. There's something incredibly amazing and refreshing about home styles here. It feels as though we live outdoors even while inside.

I would also spend some time telling you about the book us staff ladies just started reading for book club. It's called "Dancing With My Father: How God Leads Us into a Life of Grace and Joy." Don't you just love it when a book meets you exactly where you're at?

Oh, and speaking of books, I'd also have to mention that one of my very favorite scents is that of books. I could never go completely virtual with my library because I'd miss that smell too much. The best smelling book as of late? A VERY old copy of "Little House in the Big Woods" that we read as a family.

As I near my final sip I'd spend some time working through the emotions of having recently celebrated one of the most exhausting and gratifying Easters ever. I'd tell you a part of the "best ever" is the image of Ashlyn painting her orphan-friend's toenails, and how it brings up, over and over, in my mind's eye, a picture of love and service that I'll never forget.

Finally, I'd tell you how thankful I am for this time in Costa Rica - for the good, the bad, and even the ugly. It is all so much a part of who I am now. I can't imagine not having been here, right now, for a time such as this. I often wonder how I'll look back on this time and how I could possibly begin to qualify and quantify just how it's changed me, grown me, stretched me, and increased my view of our amazing God.

Coffee and thankfulness. They go together well!

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

These Are the Days

This morning started out normally enough: early to rise, breakfast of homemade banana bread, the juiciest of pineapples, and yogurt (keep this menu in mind as I proceed). The kids had just finished clearing their morning dishes from the table, and Brody and Ashlyn had headed out to lounge in the hammock in the backyard till school started. I was at the sink washing dishes, which so happens to be a chore I don't mind one bit.
As I watched the two littles perform their normal kid antics, I heard Ashlyn's voice, full of shock, yell, "What's Lucy doing?" I looked up and out the window above the sink to see Lucy squatting to accomplish her morning duty in the backyard. What I failed to miss at first glance was what Ashlyn's sharp little eyes had spied. "Oh mom," she screamed, "I'm going to throw up!"
I emptied my hands and leaned forward in an attempt to get a better look at what was so horrifying about Lucy's very normal activity. It was then that I glimpsed it, the very non-typical neon green string, that was very much NOT a normal part of this normal dog activity. Within moments, Lucy seemed to finish up, and quickly began to jaunt away from the scene of the crime. As she did so, something stretched from her backside toward the ground. As her distance from the scene increased, so did the tension in the neon green string. Now taut, something attached to this green string jumped from the ground and slapped the unsuspecting Lucy on the haunches.
Commence the dry heaves and wretches that so often proceed an all out vomit fest...from both Brody and Ashlyn. As Lucy ran, helter skelter, to escape whatever was pursuing her and slapping her as she ran, Brody and Ashlyn came rushing toward the back door threatening to evacuate their stomachs. Ashlyn made it further than Brody, who ended up losing his just-eaten breakfast on the threshold of the back door. I heard Ashlyn make it around the corner into the hallway and it was there that I heard the tell tale splatters on the tile floor.
As I rushed to assist Brody at the back door, Lucy met me as she continued her attempted escape from the neon green assailant. And then the horror, oh the horror! The duet that met me on the threshold was the thing nightmares are made of. Brody, still in the midst of projectile vomiting, with Lucy standing beside him, soiled, neon green sticky frog glued to her side, string still trailing from somewhere deep inside.

It is worth mentioning that for the last few weeks I have had Proverbs 31:25 up on my fridge, as a constant reminder to myself, "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come" (NIV).
Touché, Lord, for in that very moment I began laughing like never before. I was laughing so hard that big ol' tears streamed down my face. Meanwhile the retching and vomiting continued in surround sound, Brody before me and Ashlyn behind. All the while Lucy tried to make a mad dash into the house to hide under the kitchen table.
I did all I knew to do in that moment. I shut the back doors. I shut the doors. And I laughed. Oh, did I ever laugh. The situation was unbelievable. Truly, truly, truly unfathomable. Oh if only I could have kept that door shut and not faced the reality of what awaited me on the other side: the clean up and the extrication of the stretchy green frog from the backside of our dog.
My one-day-a-week house helper snapped me from my reverie of insanity, having come running in alarm at what must have sounded like nothing short of pure pandemonium. I retold the story the best I could through giggles, snorts, and dripping eyes. You should have seen Liliana's face. I saw shock, horror, alarm, hilarity, disgust, and a whole other gamut of emotions pass over her face as I spoke Spanish words I've yet to use together, recto (rectum), jugette elastico (elastic toy), pegado (stuck), and vomitando (vomiting). Sweet lady she is, she half-whispered that she would help. "No," I told her, "no, this is my job."
I'll save you the details of untangling the stretchy poo-covered frog from Lucy's long fur. I'll also save you the details of the extraction of the string from her innards (suffice it to say that stretching, poo, and being slapped in the hand, rubber-band fashion, were involved). I'll save you the details of the vomit clean up. I'll save you the details of the smell. Lawdy, the smell!
Horrific as it all was, this is one story to remember. Epic in proportion., outlandish in details, and like no other story I've ever heard. Indeed, "these are the days I'll remember" (cue the 10,000 Maniacs song)!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, November 12, 2012

Monday Funday

You know you're getting used to Costa Rican earthquakes when you hear things going bump in the night and assume it's the cat/giant rat (you choose, since it's still unknown and my sanity hinges on it being a cat) in the kitchen.

(Did I tell you about the apple pie remnants and bread crumbs that were discovered with accompanying giant holes in the food stuffs' protective wrapping? Oh and how about the guard dog, aka Lucy the Shih Tzu *cough, cough* who slept through two nights of invasion by whatever LARGE animal made those holes?)

But wait, the kitchen window had been closed, so the darn menace must now be bouncing off the window pane instead of sleuthing through the unscreened window.

You sleepily urge your now-roused husband to use his bedside piece of bamboo to go do his manly duty, which of course has to do with defending the home-front with said bamboo. You hear the unlocking and unfastening of every lock and slide on your well-barricaded back door, and then silence...

Brave husband returns, having found nothing, and chalking it up to "the big one that got away". Husband snuggles back into bed, only to hear a similar ruckus, this time with something falling into the kitchen sink.

Repeat process, including the bajillion unlocking and unfastenings, and again hubby comes up empty handed.

The next morning you receive the following email from your husband and feel a bit like your children may be in harm's way:
"By the way that was an earthquake last night at 2:30pm...not a cat running
into the window like we thought. :-)"
I mean, other parents actually woke their sleeping child to evacuate their home. Zack heard as much in the office this morning. Us, we were busy defending the house from "invaders" while our home's foundation was being shaken. If that's not bad enough, further evidence from an 11-year-old confirms your doubtful suspicions regarding your children's well-being, "Oh yeah mom, I remember waking up and my bunk bed was swaying back and forth".

Heh, they say, all's well that ends well?

And I'll keep you posted on the nighttime kitchen sleuth. That should be another fun tale!

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

I find myself sitting outside at Lighthouse Acadamy, a private Christian school in Guachipelin, where the kids, despite being homeschooled, have been welcomed into the after school clubs. In the field below me I can see Brody and Ashlyn giving their all in a game of baseball In the room down the hall to my right sits Garrett, in the chess club. Immediately before me is the basketball club, with balls dribbling and drills occurring at regular intervals.

And I just realized.

I just realized that I am the only Gringa sitting here. Around me, are only beautifully-locked heads of black and dark brown. Around me is skin much darker than mine. Around me I hear nothing but Spanish. And...I don't feel an iota uncomfortable!

I pray the same for Garrett, Brody, and Ashlyn. These kinds of setting can be intimidating, honestly. It is, however, in these very settings that we have the opportunity to experience the fact that His grace is enough. When we feel like the minority, when the Spanish becomes overwhelming, when we realize that we're "out of our element", it is His grace that whispers, "Trust me, you're right where I have you and there's no better place to be"!

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Oh, the Paradox!

Yep, i feel as though this sunset photo (taken from our backyard) sums up our life here in Costa Rica:

I give you "Beauty and Razor Wire",

And I wouldn't have it any other way!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The Stuff that Childhood is Made of

Rainy season dugout bamboo canoe races!

YouTube Video

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

A gift of the unusual type

Have we told you about our new neighbors?

Have we mentioned the way they've opened their arms to us though we are some of the very few non-family members on our block? Have we told you how Gabi and her husband walk with us as we exercise, patiently talking with us in their native tongues, truly giving us a glimpse into their hearts and lives? How about how Raul graciously weed-whacked our entire yard so that Zack didn't have to continue tediously chopping away at the edging with his machete?

Then today, a neighbor brought us a truly Tico gift we'd never received and may never receive again: Guaba.

Want to know how it tastes? Come and visit and we'll treat you to a taste first-hand. Till then check out this link for some very interesting insight into this highly unusual fruit:

And till you taste the guaba in person, know that the only thing sweeter than the fruit, itself, is the feeling of being welcomed into the culture of our new home!