March 30, 2010

Pilgrim's Progress... en español

Years ago I read The Pilgrim's Progress, the second most translated book in the world.

"A Christian allegory written by John Bunyan and published in February, 1678. It is regarded as one of the most significant works of English literature,[1] has been translated into more than 200 languages, and has never been out of print.[2]" (read the rest of Wikipedia's fairly extensive summary here).

My husband is not a big reader. The only book he ever reads is the Bible (not a bad thing), and that only after his conversion. Maybe he's read a few other books, but he's not what you would call a reader. Nonetheless, I wanted him to have his own copy of The Pilgrim's Progress, so I was able to find it on Amazon in Spanish. It took him a while to get around to reading it, but eventually he did. He raves about it. And this from a non-reader.

Well, that inspired me to finally pick it up again, this time in Spanish. WOW. It is excellent in English and just as excellent in Spanish. But don't take my word for it, read it for yourself, if you haven't already.

Here's an excerpt of Chapter I: (first in English...)

"As I walked through the wilderness of this world, I lighted on a certain place where was a den, and laid me down in that place to sleep; and as I slept, I dreamed a dream.
 I saw a man clothed with rags, standing in a certain place, with his face from his own house, a book in his hand, and a great burden upon his back. I saw him open the book, and read therein; and as he read, he wept and trembled; and he cried out, 'What shall I do?'" (read more)

(Second en español):

"Caminando iba yo por el desierto de este mundo, cuando me encontré en un paraje donde había una cueva; busqué refugio en ella fatigado, y habiéndome quedado dormido, tuve el siguiente sueño: Vi un hombre en pie, cubierto de andrajos, vuelto de espaldas a su casa, con una pesada carga sobre sus hombros y un libro en sus manos. Fijando en él mi atención, vi que abrió el libro y leía en él, y según iba leyendo, lloraba y se estremecía, hasta que, no pudiendo ya contenerse más, lanzó un doloroso quejido y exclamó: — ¿Qué es lo que debo hacer?" (lee más)(lee más con dibujos)

There is also a children's version of the book, several movie versions, an animated movie version, even a YouTube video.


March 29, 2010

Why ESL Is So Important

I could make a very good case for why learning the language of whatever country you're in is extremely important, but, because we are currently in the States, and for illustration purposes, let's just use English as our Second Language here.

Which brings me to my story.

Many years ago, when we were newlyweds, Tony did not speak much English. We used to have tons of fun with it (when it wasn't annoying and extremely inconvenient, that is). I remember living downtown, coming home from work, and heading out for a run. Back when I actually ran. Now I jog. Tony would hop on my bike and follow me through the streets of center city. I would slalom in and around all the professionals walking down the sidewalks, agile and light on my feet, and Tony would be on the bike behind me smiling and calling out to me, "Laaaadyyyy" in a really thick Spanish accent. Looking as annoyed as I could, I would roll my eyes in impatience and exasperation and almost shout, "Would you leave me alone?!? I'm NOT interested." He would smile some more and continue following me saying, "Ladyyyy...". I would then pick up the pace and try to lose him, with people staring after us wide-eyed and eyebrows raised. It was hard not to laugh!

Well, after that we moved to Argentina, so his ESL came to a halt. We moved back on 9/11 (yes, we did) and he started all over with ESL. Because we spoke Spanish at home, it was pretty slow going. But, that's another post.

One day I dropped him off for work. He wasn't feeling well and had a cold, so he popped into a local pharmacy before heading into work. With his sparse understanding of the English language, he proceeded to buy a cold remedy for himself. About 2pm, I received a phone call at work.

"Hi, honey, how are you?"

"I feel terrible."

"Oh, what's the matter?"

"I don't know, I feel horrible."

"Is it just the cold?"

"I don't know. I've never felt this bad before."

"Did you eat lunch?"

"Yeah, I just had a huge bowl of pasta."

"Oh. Well, what's wrong? How do you feel?"

"I don't know... I feel so tired... I don't know, just bad."

"Did you take anything?"

"Yeah, I stopped by the store and bought some cold medicine."

"Oh. Well, sometimes they can make you feel groggy. What did you take?"

"I don't know, I just bought whatever was there."

Ohhhh.... okay. Hmmm. Now I'm curious.

"Well, what did you take?"

"No sé. Just some jarabe (cough syrup)."

Hmmm, "Okay... what's it called?"

"Ay, no sé, (mumbled something unintelligible)."

"Well... how do you spell it?"

A moment of silence as he fumbled to find the bottle.


Why ESL is so important.

March 28, 2010

Peep and the Big Wide World... en español

Peep and the Big Wide World is a site designed to engage early learners in a comprehensive science program, and it is hard to imagine how it could be more engaging! Activities and games are anchored in a daily video about a newly hatched chick named Peep and his adventures in the “big wide world”.

With appealing graphics, dramatic musical accompaniment, and narration by Joan Cusack, the videos are extremely well done. Closed captioning is available for anyone who needs it. The closed captioning also means that the videos provide excellent practice for beginning readers.
I used to say, "Hey, kids, wanna watch Peep?", when I needed to get something important done with no interruptions (usually just dinner). I always thought it was purely entertainment, but turns out it's educational, too. Especially if you choose Closed Captioning, they can read the words as they are being said. Sounds like a good reading program to me!
NOW I come to discover it's in Español, too! (Also click where it says "mas videos" to see more). This is great if you want to brush up on your Spanish, or if you're teaching someone else Español. A nice break from the books, and great practice in training your ear to a foreign language.

The videos are short, approximately 10 minutes long or so, and the humor is even appealing to adults. Check it out next time you need to make a phone call without someone interrupting you a million times. They'll be glued to the screen, I guarantee it. And you can count it as school if you want.

March 27, 2010

Who Is This King Of Glory?

(turn off bloggy music to view:))

Examine the argument for yourself: Jesus: Liar, Lunatic, or Lord? (a basic summary of a great exploratory book on the identity of Christ: More Than A Carpenter by Josh McDowell)

March 26, 2010

Adventures in Washington, DC

Our "fantabulous" trip to DC was quite possibly the most distastrous weekend vacation of all time. Here is what happenned, in a nutshell:

Let's see... purchased defective cell phone for trip, had to exchange said phone, so left late, forgot directions, had no time to charge or activate new phone, therefore stood-up old college roomie I was planning to see, museums swamped with entire population of East Coast, children not listening, baby screaming, baby only wanting to scoot on dirty floors/wet ground picking up old food, children whining, children running off in museum wanting to see everything all at the same time, can not discipline in public, dinner too late=migraine, check FB at hotel to send apology message to old college roomie only to find stepfather died AHH! :(, worried about mom, can not call from hotel OR cell, wake up with migraine, oh well off to zoo, entire east AND west coast at zoo, hot, children not listening, baby scooting on dusty ground picking up more food, screaming baby, hungry, thirsty, attempt to eat at restaurant on way back to hotel, baby so tired and screams entire time, bad parent stares from everyone within 50 mile radius, more migraine pain, meds not working, back to hotel, try last resort migraine medication=bad reaction, call 911, last straw for husband who begins pulling own hair and saying "What am I going to do? What am I going to do?" as he throws pillows in attempt to pack bags for unplanned ER visit, about to faint or die not sure, tongue lolling out of mouth, EMT assure me I am not dying, decide to stay at hotel, Monday pouring rain, pop only Tylenol now, smile!, bag plans and tour DC by CAR, get lost, husband forgot map of DC, me too, illegally park to get gratuitous pic of White House, attempt to leave town for home and end up in VA a little out of the way, now caught in rush hour, sigh... at least headache gone now and the kids said they had a GREAT time in DC. :)

Well, that's good, because WE didn't. Tony is still having fun doing his impersonation of me calling 911 on myself. With no help from him, I might add. We laugh about it now.

At one point during the mayhem I looked at Tony and just shook my head. He said, "Well, we'd better get used to this because we'll need to be prepared for all sorts of things allá (meaning Argentina). It'll be ten times harder than this." I know he is right. I momentarily and somewhat seriously reconsider this whole missionary thing.

There were so many great photo opps to be had, but nursing my pounding head took presidence, so we really didn't take many at all :( .
So glad to be home. The funeral was more than sad. Maybe I'll write about that a year from now, maybe not... we're all still licking our wounds and trying to recover.

"Behold, all souls are mine..." -Ezekiel 18:4

[Check out our next attempt at an enjoyable weekend in DC here]

March 15, 2010


I just listened to Part VI of this series entitled "Radical - What the Gospel Demands". I am so inspired by it and like it so much, that I put a permanent link to it on my sidebar. It's not revolutionary, it's just plain Bible.


March 14, 2010

Calling and Kisses From Katie

Read this inspiring blog entry today. And since I am always greatly encouraged when I read this young missionary's site, I thought I'd share what she wrote about being "called":

She writes:

'Francis Chan wrote, "How we live our days, is how we live our lives." I had to read it several times as I let it soak in. Because it is true. So often we find ourselves waiting for a specific moment, a specific call, something special. For what? How we spend our days... that will be our LIFE. Because today could be it. If Jesus came back today and said, "Let's go!" would we be ready? Would we be doing what we want to be doing when we meet Jesus? People say to me often, "You are so lucky that you found your calling, that you know your purpose in life." This statement boggles my mind. I AM so blessed to live the life that I do. But it isn't rocket science. God did NOT part the sky and shout out to me, "Katie! Serve my people." I read it in His word. You can too. We can all see as plain as day that Jesus says the number one commandment is to love the Lord and love your neighbor. I happened to move to Uganda and love those neighbors, but that is not the point. As believers, we should already KNOW our calling; it is to love the Lord and love our neighbors by caring for them in whatever broken state they are in. When He said that "the poor will always be among us" I don't think he meant that as an excuse not to worry about it but as a reminder that there is ALWAYS a neighbor, no matter where we are, in a worse condition than we are. I can only believe that God created us to make this world a little better. That he designed us in love to show that love to others. I just don't know what everyone is waiting for.'

Check out her blog here or at the link above. It is very inspiring. :)

What encourages me when I read her story is that she was only 19 years old when she left. By herself. Little to no specific training. No college degree. No seminary. No mission organization. No specific plan.

I wonder how much support she had. I wonder how many people agreed with her. I wonder how many people tried to talk her out of it. I wonder how many people told her she was crazy. I wonder.

March 12, 2010

Puchero (Argentine Country Vegetable Soup)

I can't remember the first time I actually had Puchero, but I do remember when I learned to make it.

We were living in our tiny, two bedroom apartment in downtown Buenos Aires, 10 years ago now. I was a new Mommy and my husband wanted Argentinian, and only Argentinian food, for dinner. Problem was, I'm American!

Anyway, he explained to me what to do. Go to the corner vegetable stand and just ask for "vegetables for puchero, please". They would know what to give me.

We live in the States now, but Puchero is something we still love to eat. It's SO healthy and SO naturally flavorful, we crave it at least twice a month in the winter. That said, yes, it's primarily a winter dish. I never want to cook up a pot of soup come mid-Spring to early Fall. But that's just me.

So here are the ingredients (in typical Argentine vagueness - just use enough for the amt. of people you are feeding. You can omit anything you don't like):

--potatoes (peeled or not, cut in half or not, according to preference)
--sweet potatoes (cut in half, I don't peel these)
--whole carrots (cut in half they are easier to serve)
--one small or medium butternut squash, cut in thick rounds
--one onion, whole
--corn on the cob
--celery (you can leave leafy part on if desired)
--fennel with leafy part
--a bunch of parsley, stems and all, cut in half or thirds
--chicken (any cut you wish) OR
--beef on the bone (whatever you like, just on the bone, gives more flavor)
--eggs (cracked and dropped in at the end, or added whole at beginning and peeled later)
--small soup pasta (if desired, I don't like it with pasta myself, although hubs loves it this way)

Some people, as you can see in the above picture, vary it up a bit and add garbanzo beens, string beans, cabbage, even zuchini if you like. Recipes vary from family to family.

DIRECTIONS: Bring large pot of salted water to a boil, add everything, simmer 1-2 hours (if using pasta, add last 10 minutes). If not hard-boiling your eggs, drop the cracked eggs in last 10 minutes. Adjust salt.

SERVE: Serve soup first. This is delicious with bits of greens and egg floating around in it, sprinkled with parmesan cheese, pepper, even a dash of lemon juice (sounds weird, but it's delicious!).

Serve vegetables and meat second. You can do as in these pictures, let everyone serve themselves the veggies they like plus some meat. OR you can eat it like we do, make everyone a personal mashed veggies on their own plate (potato, sweet potato, a carrot, piece of squash, maybe an egg) mashed up really, really well with their own fork (hey, it's country food), drizzled with some oil (I like olive), some lemon juice (trust me!), parmesan cheese, and salt. Oh. My. Word. You will love it! Leave the meat and corn on the side.

Tony recently told me this is poor man's food. Definately country food. Whatever, it is SO healthy. You will feel full, yet not weighed down. It's also a good detox food and great cleanser.

Let me know if you try it!

March 11, 2010

Training Indigenous People to Help Themselves

Steve Saint's (son of martyred mission Nate Saint) organization, i-tec , does just that!

Pastors with no dental experience learning to do dental work in less than 10 days, sharing God's compassion and spreading the gospel in the process! This is great because it helps native peoples all over the world depend less on missionaries and outside help, enabling them to care more for their own needs and the needs of their people.

So, of course, light goes on in brain. Another great, and I think feasible, idea! Love it. :)

(Check out i-tec's YouTube channel for more of their awesome programs here , here , and here :))

March 9, 2010

Quick Copy-cat Post

I read this inspiring post on another blog today. Much too good not to pass on!! :):)

My Banner Is Clear
The inspiring commitment of a young African pastor from Zimbabwe

I am part of the fellowship of the unashamed. I have Holy Spirit power, my die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I'm a disciple of Jesus. I won't look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed, my present makes sense, my future is secure. I'm finished and done with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, worldly talking, cheap giving, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need pre-eminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don't have to be right, first, tops, recognized, or rewarded. I now live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, am uplifted by prayer, and labor by power.

My face is set, my gait is fast, my goal is heaven, my road is narrow, my way is rough, my companions are few, my Guide is reliable, and my mission is clear. I cannot be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded, or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won't give up, shut up, let up, until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must go till He comes, give till I drop, preach till all know, and work till He stops me. And when He comes for His own, He will have no problem recognizing me-my banner will be clear.

March 6, 2010

Dead Missionary Blog

"I felt the sweetness of divine things this forenoon; and had the consolation of a consciousness that I was doing something for God."

- David Brainerd, missionary to Indian tribes of NJ,
journal entry Sept. 26, 1746
days before his death at 29 of Tuberculosis

Read his entire journal online... at his blog?

March 5, 2010

Earthquakes continued, The Toba, and Carceles

Just read a very distant internet aquaintances's blog (we wrote to them once or twice years ago) that the 8.8 earthquake in Chile was felt in Patagonia. Specifically in Bariloche, one of the places we have been considering for our home base. We actually corresponded with this ex-patriot, American couple for a little bit a few years ago. Even then we had been considering moving back to Argentina, specifically to this area, and I found them on the Internet. Gotta love the Internet. They were very helpful in giving an update on the present economy, cost of living, how to make the big move, etc.. It's funny, I guess this idea has been in the works for years. What's funnier still is that recently I prayed, "Oh, Lord, if this is what you are saying, please confirm it every day!". One day, after almost a year, I clicked on their blog to read this! It was one of those "whoa" moments. I've been having a lot of them lately.

Anyway, yesterday I was doing some research online about Argentina (I should know all this by now... but, whatever, I like to read). BBC online has some country profiles. On the Argentina page was a link to an article on the Toba, the forgotten people of the Impenetrable Forest near the Paraguayan border (see little red dots on this map). Years ago we were watching a show, via DirecTV, on the Toba. The poverty they live in is extreme. Tony just stared at the TV saying, "We need to go help them. How I would love to just go and help them. Everyone's forgotten about them, no one helps them." All I could think was, "Well, I'm not going back there, so I don't know how that's gonna happen". Deep down I knew I was in the wrong; I was being selfish, or fearful, or just plain stubborn and unwilling. But I couldn't change how I felt, I really NEVER wanted to go back to Argentina, definately not to this hot, steamy, disease and poverty-ridden place with my children. So I did the smart thing and just remained quiet.

Such a great helpmate, aren't I?

A couple of years later a new show came out, "Carceles" (translated "Prisons"). Great. This one was hard core. The reporter goes into the prisons of Argentina to talk to the prisoners about their fears, their worries, their guilt, and their repentance (ha, if any). Again, Tony just stared at the screen saying, "I wish I could go there and talk to them. Amazing what sin will do to you, huh? How I would love to just talk to them about Jesus..." or something to that effect. This time I thought, "Yeah, but, that's CRAZY. You don't know if you'd come out alive! That interview guy is really risking his life going in there. They could totally kill him!". I mean, it's not like American prisons. No guards, no dividing wall with a telephone, no cameras, nothin'. Now that's dangerous. But this time I just looked at him and thought, "What is my problem? Look at him. What if this is his calling? What if he actually is called to this kind of dangerous stuff? Oh, Lord, if so, you are going so have to perform one. big. miracle. You're going to have to change my heart. I don't want to stand in the way if this is from you."

I don't know when it happenned, but it did. I honestly shake my head everyday because I can't wait to get there. I'm probably the one who is most shocked. I'm sure I am, because I know myself. Do I really want to go back to Argentina? How can I actually want this? This is WEIRD. What is going ON??? But I really do want to go. It is weird, even for me. But as Tony likes to say, "Time to apply all we've been learning!". Haha. I'll say.

Maybe I'll never go to the Toba, but I do know that if we lived in Argentina, Tony could go. Maybe we could all go, but if not, Tony could easily go. Or round up a group of people to go. Take some food, some clothes, the gospel of LIFE and HOPE. I'm sure he'd never be the same if he did. I'm sure neither would I.


March 3, 2010

A Day In My Life

My fellow bloggy friend recently posted her "A Day In My Life", and once a year I try to do this for our homeschool log anyway, so here goes:


6:00am  - Alarm sounds. Hit snooze.

6:10 - Snooze sounds. Turn alarm OFF.

6:30 - Hubs gets up. Oops, didn't wake him at 6 like he asked me to. SO tired, but drag my aching body out of bed, lurch downstairs, and attempt to get coffee without having to have a conversation. The hubs is talking before his eyes are open. Laughing, cracking jokes, asking me questions. You'd think he'd figure it out after 12 YEARS that I only grunt before coffee.

6:30-7am - We sit, talk, drink our very cheap not so great coffee (I love you/miss you Starbucks), and read our Bibles. Tony wants to pray. We hold hands across the table and pray.

7am - Time to get the troops up. We have Co-op classes today.

7:15 - Hubs leaves for the gym before work. I wake Big A and ask him to get in bed with the baby (who I transfered to our bed at 3am when she started screaming bloody murder... I know, we do everything wrong). He does, and I jump in for a quick shower.

7:30 - Baby wakes up, I hear her from the shower. Rush to get dressed. Wake up M. Rescue baby from falling off bed, get her ready, send kids downstairs to eat.

8:00 - Everyone finishes up breakfast, start rushing to get out door. Realize I never ate. That always happens. Grab something quick.

8:30 - Finally get loaded in car, and we're off. SO glad we don't do this everyday!

9-1:00 - Gym, Music, Art, Science classes. Mommy's in nursery for 4 hours trying to keep Peace Baby from kissing and hugging all her little baby friends who don't want to be kissed and hugged for 4 hours. This from a baby who hated affection when she was little.

1:20 - Baby passes out on way home.

1:45 - Baby wakes up screaming bloody murder when placed in crib to continue nap. Sigh. I never get a break.

2:00 - Still sighing... attempt to unpack a little. Why is this house a mess?? Kids watch video, baby tired and cranky. Attempt high chair and bribery snacks. Seems to work.

2:30 - Shortest video ever. Yes, Big A, you may watch another one. I check email, etc.

3:00 - I remember all the clothes I'm supposed to fold... they're upstairs, and out of sight is out of mind! Big A asks to search YouTube for Carcharadon Megalodon videos. Sure, I say: 30 minutes, that's it.

3:30 - I take back computer and look for dinner recipe. Never made London Broil before... Start dinner.

3:30-5 - Make dinner, kids wander off to entertain themselves. Yes, dinner takes me hours to make, esp. with baby.

5pm - Bathe baby. She screams when I take her out 30 minutes later.

6:00 - Staring out window now, where IS he?? Get rest of dinner ready.

6:30 - Papi finally home, hand off baby, and we dive into dinner, starving!

7-8:00 - Sit at table and chat about various things. Send kids off to shower. Baby passes out nursing at the table, she's exhausted after only sleeping 20 minutes all day. Me too. Bye, don't wake up, love ya!

8:00 - Hubs is so kind to help clean up kitchen. Enlists Big A's help. Wow, it is SO much faster when 3 people do it! Wondering how to have this happen every day.

8:45 - Kids are reading books in LR while Papi watches his dose of soccer for the day. Decide to research some more about Patagonia, Mapuches, etc.

9:30 Kids go to bed too late, I beg to be left alone for a bit, just a bit!

10:00 Hubs goes to bed. Ah, silence! A beautiful sound. :) Time for bed, I am exhausted!

March 2, 2010

The (Mapuche) People

So, I said I would post video of the people... here's Part I of a seven part movie we are watching on YouTube. It's about the Mapuche people of Chile and Argentina.

Üxüf Xipay - El Despojo (Pueblo Mapuche) 1/7

Only thing, it's in Spanish. They all seem to be. Worth the view, nonetheless.
Still looking for something in English...

The history in this video series is amazing. The Mapuche use to own 30 million acres of Patagonia. In the early 1900s the President of Argentina had many killed, pushed the rest off their fertile land to the peripheries of the arid desert, and many fled into Chile. That's why there are only 200,000 in Argentina, but 1 million in Chile. The Mapuche now only own 300,000 hectares of the 30 million. Sounds like American history.

Hebrews 11:1 Faith

The Bible defines faith for us. To quote the King James,

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." Hebrews 11:1.

Oooo, evidence. I love that.

Years ago my Brazilian friend gave me a Bible in Portguese. I can't remember which version it was because I gave it away, but I do remember that I just loved that verse in Portguese. It used the word "guarantía" for the English "substance". So, to me, it read:

"Now faith is the guarantee of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."

Guarantee? I just LOVE that. When I looked that verse up online just now in Portuguese, it gave me "certeza" instead of "guarantía". So, the Portuguese NIV reads like this:

"Ora, a fé é a certeza daquilo que esperamos e a prova das coisas que não vemos." Hebreus 11:1

Can't find my Portuguese/English dictionary, but "certeza", if I recall correctly, means "certainty". Ooooo, certainty! That's niiice.

The Spanish (RVR version) translates it much the same way:

"Es, pues, la fé la certeza de lo que se espera, la convicción de lo que no se ve."

I love that, too, because to me that reads, "Now faith is the certainty of what is hoped (or waited) for, the conviction of what is not seen."

(Okay, I just said "love" four times. I can't help it.)

So we have faith as being:

and proof (I forgot that one, the Portuguese goes on and uses that instead of 'evidence')

Isn't that just RICH?

Anyway, I share all that because this is just one of those times in life that I find myself in complete faith. I don't doubt we are going to Argentina. I can't explain it, except that I have faith. I know we will be in Argentina sometime, maybe next year. I just know. I'm certain of it. God has given me the faith, and that's my proof. It's evidence of what will happen. It just is. The end.

Sometimes we wonder out loud where the money will come from, and we pray it in of course, but I'm not worried in the least about it. Isn't that weird? I can see it with my spiritual eyes. I just can. That's the wonderful, beautiful, amazing thing about faith. "Pues, es don de Dios" - it's the gift of God (Eph. 2:8).


March 1, 2010

Research, Research, Research!

Doing more of what I love to do: research :D

This is a video I found on YouTube showing pictures mainly of southern Patagonia set to Mapuche music  (don't forget to turn off bloggy ambiance music on right :)):

Need to post some of the people next... Stay tuned.
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