Saturday, July 31

El Salvador Day 1

We made it safe and sound. What a long day. It started at 4a. It’s now 8p (10p my normal time).

El Salvador is even more beautiful than I expected. We passed several mountains on our 45 mile drive from the airport to the hotel. There is also a giant volcano in the middle of the city.

So beautiful. 

This is going to be a good week. 

Friday, July 30

i leave tomorrow

During devotion time the other day with the girls the question to be answered was...

"what is God like?"

the middle babe's answer: God is like a super hero because He has super powers. He heals us and saves us. He's brave and strong. He's really nice. He loves us no matter what. all the time.  He's awesome.

the oldest babe's response: God is kind of like a super hero. Except super heroes only come around when you need them... God is always with us.

wow. I don't think I could have said it better myself.

God said, I will not in any way fail you or give up on you or leave you without support. I will not in any degree leave you helpless or forsaken or let you down. (or relax My hold on you) Assuredly not!  Hebrew 13:5 (amplified version)

This is just one of the scriptures I am holding onto as I head off to El Salvador.

I leave first thing in the morning. We will be ministering at an under aged girls prison, a government sponsored orphanage, a feeding center and several impoverished neighborhoods. We will return Monday August 9th. I'm not sure if internet access will be available or not.

Your prayers for this trip are appreciated!


Wednesday, July 28

just like spongebob...

We went jellyfishing.

That wasn't the original plan though.

Mom found a new beach online. It was so beautiful.

For some reason the jellyfish were horrible though There was another mom out there teaching the kids how to hold the jellyfish.

Did you know that you could hold a jellyfish upside down & not get stung? Did you know that you can't get stung on the palm of your hand or the bottom of your feet because there are no hair follicles?

We didn't... but now we do.

By the end of the day all the kids on the beach joined in the adventure. They were jellyfishin'... just like sponge-bob. I know they found at least 50!

It was a fun day.

Tuesday, July 27

nutty parmesan crusted fish recipe

Everyone knows that fish is really really good for you.

Unfortunately noone in our house really likes fish that much. (actually the more we've eaten it the more it's growing on us.)

I like to add lots of flavor to take away the fishy taste.

This is by far my favorite fish dish so far.

-1/2 cup of chopped nuts (I've used walnuts, pine nuts & almonds... cashews, peanut & pistachios would be good too I'm sure.)
-1/3 cup bread crumbs
-1/3 cup parmesan
-1 tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary
-1/2 tsp. salt
-1/8 tsp. pepper
-2 tbsp. olive oil
-1 1/2 pounds of fish fillets (I've used fresh Mahi Mahi, Talopia & catfish)
-2 tbsp. dijon mustard
-2 cloves minced garlic

1) preheat oven to 425
2) cut fish fillet into small portion sizes (or large if you want. I like small because you get more breading on each piece)

3) combine nuts, bread crumbs, parmesan, rosemary, salt, pepper & olive oil in a medium sized bowl 

 (rosemary- strip needles from the stem & chop up)     

4) mix dijon mustard & garlic in a small bowl & then brush on the tops & sides of the fillets. 
5) cover baking sheet with foil & spray with cooking spray. 
6) dip coated fillets in the nut mixture. Place fillets on baking sheet & then sprinkle the remaining nut mixture on top to make it even thicker. 
7) place fillets on greased foil & bake for 15 minutes 

The oldest babe loves this recipe but the younger 2 don't. I think it's the mustard...  so I always cut a few fillets in strips, dip in meted butter & nut mixture. Then fry in EVO oil.

(homemade fish sticks) 
They love it! 


I've linked this recipe to...

Blessed with Grace



Monday, July 26

stories from mexico

The oldest babe has been resting quite a bit. We've been milking stories out of her. Last night the hubby and I had a very refreshing time with her in deep thought and conversation as she reflected on the trip and what is meant to her. My sweet girl is becoming a sweet young lady. I'm so proud of her and blown away by the depth she has at such a young age.

She told us about a sweet older gentleman that she got the opportunity to spend some time with. When he was younger he was involved in the spanish mafia. He confessed to the group that he had killed several people during his time in the mofia. He was so grateful that they were there because it was a group of american missionaries... just like them, that had visited him when he was younger. That group meant so much to him because they had introduced him to Jesus. The Lord had awakened his spirit and changed his life. He thanked them with tears in his eyes for their labor of love. He was so thankful that they were there to share the hope of Christ with the younger generation.

Her favorite encounter was with a young 7 year old girl. She was able to converse with her with the help of a translator. She asked the little girl if she could change 1 thing about her country what would it be. The little girl went into detail about how she desperately wanted more for her family. They were very poor and had next to nothing. She just wanted her parents to be provided for and happy. My babe said she couldn't help but cry when the little girl asked her what her country was like. She had only a one word answer... selfish.

She told me that she went to Mexico to help the people of Matamoros... but what she didn't expect was that they were going to help her in ways she never imagined.

She said she is trying to put in words what exactly happened inside of her while she was there. She's still working that out. I know that the trips I've taken have changed my life in ways that I still can't fully comprehend. Just like her though.... the desire to continue to make a change is still burning strong.

I leave for El Salvador Saturday early in the morning. Her stories have gotten me that much more excited about what we will encounter while there.

It's going to be good.

Unfortunately, she left her camera in Texas. Hopefully they will find it and be able to ship it back to her.

For now though here are some more photos of India...

(the families were so sweet and hospitable) 

(one families home.. their only shelter) 

(India is mostly a Hindu nation... but we were able to visit a Christian house of prayer) 

Saturday, July 24

my sweet girl is home

My sweet girl is home... safe and sound.

We had lunch at my parent's house... where we sat around taking turns asking her lots of questions.

Poppaw's was the most intriguing.... "did you feel the surge when you went through the time change?"

That funny guy.

She is tired... but deeply impacted. I can tell.

Looking forward to more of her stories and seeing God continue to stir her heart more & more.

Friday, July 23

can i pee in peace... please

(mom gives the babe a new doo) 

You know... it used to be said that the bathroom was my little quiet happy place in the house. The one place for me to get away and find  peace and quiet.

So much for that notion.

This little baby has become quite the adventurous little explorer. Quite needy as well. Maybe it is the teething.

All I wanted to do was take a mini bathroom break. That's all. That's not too much to ask, right?


The little snotty nose, drooly, teething mini person sat outside the bathroom door crying... "mommy, mommy. I want you."

She wore me down. I opened the door. She crawled up onto my lap as I finished my visit to the potty.

Too much info? Sorry... that's motherhood.

and it's worth every minute!

Besides invading my privacy & stripping me of my dignity... her newest hobbies include eating all things wax and creating beautiful sharpie masterpieces throughout the house. 

It's awesome. This age is fantastic...

Maddy update: 
She is back in America. I have talked to her a few times since she got back to the mission headquarters.  She is having a great time. 

She knows my mom is quite the worry wart. When she crossed back over the border she called and left her a message... "mimi, I'm not dead & I don't have malaria." Mom was happy. 

When I spoke to her she said. "mom, all I can say is... God bless America." I think she's happy to be back on American soil. 

I pick her up from the airport in the morning. I can't wait to get my hands on her. 

homemade bedroom door sign

According to Olivia this is the best craft ever. So I thought I should share how we made it...

Trace line & then cut inserts a little bigger than the traced line. 

Olivia made 3 inserts: 
-Please knock
-School time 
-God time 
She colored the inside of the plaque with the words "welcome"... 
for when the inserts are not in. 

Next she colored the inserts & the outside of the plaque.

Next glue around the edges of the uncut piece of poster board & place the colored outside piece on top. (don't glue the top part bc that's where the inserts slide in)


For such a simple craft Olivia has really been enjoying this. 

Tuesday, July 20

our stories

This morning I met up with my favorite mother of 5. She home-schools her children and she helped me get my home-schooling paperwork together to send to the county. I'll be home-schooling Madison this year! (much more on that soon) I'm very excited & can't wait to blog more about it.

Then my very sweet neighbor had us over for lunch. Having good neighbors is so wonderful. I love my neighbor... & not just because she feeds me... often. I love her sweet spirit & her generous heart. Our girls had a painting party while we sat and chatted. She shared some of her story with me. I think I have a tendency to ask way too many questions. I hope I didn't pry too much. I just love learning about people. I love to hear their stories. Do you know what I mean by that? We are all so different & we all have a  story. I love to find out about people's past... I love hearing stories of others journeys and what has brought them to today. Our past is what makes us who we are & I love hearing about that. We all have a story to share, don't we? It's taking the time to talk, listen and hear all about it that is special. Those times are precious to me. I love moments like today.

We chatted while our kids painted everything but the paper. She was so sweet about it too... "oh., let them be kids". So we did. Then we cleaned up later. They had fun, we had fun. It was nice.

Speaking of stories... I finally finished "My Love Story" post. Since this story is such a huge part of who I am I decided to create a little tab just for it at the top of my blog. Of course my love story is an on going journey, but for now... @ least the post is complete. Enjoy!


Maddy update...

We FINALLY got word yesterday that everyone is happy & healthy. They painted a new church and have been involved in a lot of children's ministry. I checked & it has rained a bit in the part of Mexico that they are in. They are camping & I wonder how my little diva is holding up... in a tent.... in the rain. I'm sure she is fine. I pray that she is so much consumed with the experience that all of the inconveniences are second thought.

Today was their last day of ministry. Now they get to celebrate & have a little fun. I know the beach & a water park will be involved. Have fun Maddy-Poo... you deserve it!

(Maddy on the left. Photo courtesy of Global Expeditions FB page) 

I see this picture & it makes me want to hug that sweet neck of hers. Saturday... come quick please.

Friday, July 16

world missions

I remember a video that was played during one of my very first visits to my church. A mission team had just returned from Africa. The video was a recap of their experience. The images on the screen had me captivated. It literally took my breath away as tears filled my eyes. At that moment I knew that something like that was in my future. I knew that world mission was something that would be a part of my life.

I got my first opportunity in 2005. I went with a mission team to Chennai, India. 

A trip to another nation like this changes you. I came back a different person. The things that I saw and experienced took a part in making me who I am. You see images on TV and hear stories... but until you touch is, smell it & look into the eyes of this other world... you just don't know. I often say that we all need to experience this other world. This planet would be a lot different... that's for sure. Or at least I'd like to think it would. 

(each orphan had a trunk & in it was their only belongings) 

India was so amazing. The people were so precious. On our visit we did manual labor at the sites of many orphanages. We also brought over book bags with personal hygiene items and a few small toys for many of the village chldren.

Most importantly we brought the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. 

The children were so precious. We would sit and play with them. We didn't speak the same language... but it didn't matter. The girls would run their fingers through my hair and they loved rubbing my skin. They would feel and stare at my hands then giggle at each other. I was confused until one of the orphanage workers told us that they had never seen white people before. 

Could you imagine? 

I have so many stories from India to share & I plan to. 

I'm going to El Salvador in about 2 1/2 weeks. I know that this trip will produce many more stories of it's own. 

I'm not exactly sure what my future holds... only God does, but I know in my heart that this other world will be a part of it. 

I can't wait for the adventures ahead and I also can't wait to share the stories either. 

Thursday, July 15

our favorite summer hang out

The kids and I had a great day at our favorite summer hangout.

The theme park.... Fun times.

We did something new today. We went up on the top of this thing...

It's a 1/3 scale replica of the Eiffel Tower. It was a little scary, but we had a fun time. I wish I could have captured Reece's expression. She was amazed the entire time. I did manage to get this shot...

It was so pretty up there.

(this is the coaster I blogged about here last year) 

(whatever you do... don't look down) 

I love going to this theme park. When I was a little girl my parents used to take me & I remember how magical it was back then. It's so cool to see the girls making their own memories on some of the same rides my brother & I used to ride together. One of these days I'm going to dig out my old pictures so I can scan and share them.

We even got to see a show.

Olivia was mesmerized by the pretty dancers. She decided she wants to be a theme park dancer when she grows up.

They did do a great job. I was just trying to figure out how those girls were doing all that jumping & hopping around without peeing on themselves.

They obviously don't have 3 kids... just saying.

 Good times for sure.

What's your favorite summer hang out?


Maddy update: I have not heard from her, but I did get word that they arrived at their project site yesterday safely & they started their work today.
(sleeping on the bus. photo courtesy of Global Expedition FB page)