January 30, 2011

"It's no good to sit up and take notice if we just keep on sitting." ~Unknown

January 25, 2011

DC Road-trippin'

So we went to DC again this past weekend. Call it "checking off one more thing on the all-the-things-you-want-to-do-before-leaving-for-the-mission-field" checklist.

The kids had been asking to go back to Washington, DC since our absolutely disastrous fantabulous trip last spring. They kept presenting their case: "Before we go to Argentina, can we go back to Washington, DC?"; "You know, before we move to Argentina, we should go back to DC!"; and still, "I really want to go back to the Smithsonian and see the dinosaurs and buy something at the store there you know like that T. Rex since his tail fell off last time so I now need to get a new one - I could use my own money!?".

So, before we spent the last of the blessed Christmas bonus on bills - and because time obviously aids amnesia - we said yeah, that sounds like fun.


We figured it just couldn't be any worse than last time. And it wasn't. It was slightly better. Slightly. And I am now not leaving the house with these kids until they are all over 10. And that's final.

But let's start with the good news...

Expedia.com is my new best friend {gratuitous plug}. We found a killer 4-star hotel for the price of the cheapest dump in DC. Wow, what a place! Everyone was SO nice to us. It was, "Hello, Mrs ---, how can I be of assistance to you today?" and, "Don't worry about that, Mrs. ---, we would love to give you complimentary movies for the kids during your stay" (renting a movie in your room cost 16 bucks!) and, "It's all taken care of Mrs. ---, can I get you anything else today?". Yeah, I could SO get used to that. The kids asked wide-eyed, "Can we live here?" lol!

Grand Hyatt Metro Center Hotel in downtown DC - see the floating grand piano?!?

and it even had a POOL (God save me!) -
and this is what happens when you try to get baby
to stand STILL for a photo...

So we got up early Saturday, Day One, and drove straight to our first stop: The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. My kids are obsessed with dinosaurs and Ice Age mammals - and with the 18 other museums, all free, which make up the Smithsonian complex - the only one they wanted to go back to was this one.

visiting our old friend the Giant 15-foot Ice Age Ground Sloth
Evolutionists beleve it lived during the Pleistocene.
Creationists believe it lived during the post-flood Ice Age, some 4.500 - 3500 years ago. 
the huge monument to evolution that assails visitors upon entry to the Dinosaur and Fossil Exhibit -
I say, "what-ever!"
Ice Age "terror bird", 4-5 ft. tall

 And since I love rocks , I was thrilled when the family agreed to peruse the Gems & Minerals Exhibit of the Museum of Natural History...  oh, happy day!

gems are rocks, too :)
the world's largest cut topaz (in rear), and the largest perfectly pure cut quartz crystal in the world!

the Hope Diamond

wouldn't mind playing dress-up with these blings!
I'm not a huge wearer of jewelry, but the Persian turquoise in this crown was
SO radiant and SO pure it appeared almost liquid and translucent, see?!?

Day Two: Museum of American History. Lots of boats, trains, cars, and transportation stuffs...

I really couldn't tell you if it was great or not; I spent most of my time trying not to lose 3 kids in the semi-dark interior.

Since the kids were driving me looney, especially the pre-teen with the perpetual black cloud which seems to hang over him as of late, the highlight of the whole weekend for me was leaving them with Merciful Husband and going out with my old college roomie, Abbie. 

Oh, to walk ALONE (translated quickly) several blocks down the street from our hotel towards Chinatown, at night, in the city, weaving in and out amongst all the young urban professionals out for a night on the town, was just glorious.

And you just can't have a bad time with Abbie. She is funny, smart, confident, and always the talker with a million stories. We had a blast reminiscing of our wild and crazy days repelling, hiking, hot-spring dipping studying at the University of Montana. And here we are, 17 years later! Me, stay at home homeschooling mom; she, successful lobbyist on Capitol Hill.

Day Three we visited the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (sorry, no pics, I was wiped). To say it was my favorite, or that I liked it the most, sounds inappropriate. But it was, and I did. I kept telling the kids that in order to not make the same mistakes in the future, one must know and learn from history. To think that entire TOWNS were wiped out, all because the majority of their inhabitants were Jews. I never understood the hatred some have for the Jews. What did they ever do to anybody? It never made sense to me. Still doesn't. The utter depths of the depravity of human sinfulness continues to confirm to me the absolute need of a good and merciful Savior.

It also happenned to be a "March on Washington" weekend for pro-lifers. We figured it out by the 100s of 1000s which swarmed the Mall, pro-life signs in hand, pro-life shirts and sweaters donned, the plethora of nuns and priests walking around. Turns out a friend of mine was there, but we didn't even know it! Check out her March for Life post for some great pics!

Finally, we rounded up Day Three with some disappointing pics taken with my crappy camera. I take back any good I ever said about it. It's just not workin' for me.

this coulda been an incredible picture of the Capitol at dusk - WAH!

see what I mean??

The Most Important Issue We Face Today

"But the most important issue we face today is the same the church has faced in every century: Will we reach our world for Christ? In other words, will we give priority to Christ's command to go into all the world and preach the gospel?
Or will we turn increasingly inward, caught up in our own internal affairs or controversies, or simply becoming more and more comfortable with the status quo? Will we become inner-directed or outer-directed? The central issues of our time aren't economic or political or social, important as these are. The central issues of our time are moral and spiritual in nature, and our calling is to declare Christ's forgiveness and hope and transforming power to a world that does not know him or follow him. May we never forget this."

~a little Q&A with Billy Graham

January 21, 2011

German Chocolate Fudge

{The kids loved this.  I, personally, prefer homemade brownies (much more fudgey) - therefore wasn't sure this was even blog-worthy. But, hey, we have a road trip coming up and, as every good mother should, I need a good stash of bribery food in the car. No mind that it will backfire on me when the sugar kicks in...}



2 C semisweet chocolate chips
12 (1oz) squares German sweet chocolate (easily found in the baking section)
1 (7oz) jar marshmallow creme
4 1/2 C white sugar
2 T butter
1 (12 fluid oz) can evaporated milk
1/8 t salt
2 cups chopped pecans


Combine chocolate chips, German chocolate, and marshmallow creme in large bowl.

Combine sugar, butter, evaporated milk, and salt in skillet. Bring to boil over medium heat. Cook for 6 minutes, stirring constantly.

Pour over chocolate mixture. Stir with wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in pecans.

Spread in buttered 10x15" pan. Let stand until firm. Cut in squares.

January 20, 2011

White Chocolate Oreo Fudge

This is sick good...



16 Oreos, broken in chunks, divided
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2T butter
2 2/3C white chocolate chips
1t vanilla


Line 8" square baking pan with aluminum foil; grease. Place half of broken cookies in pan.

Melt in saucepan: butter, chips, milk. Stir over low heat until chips are melted. Remove from heat, stir in vanilla. Pour over cookies in pan. Sprinkle with remaining cookies. Chill in fridge for 1 hour. Cut into squares. Swoon as you try not to eat too many. Prepare for sugar-induced insomnia.

{gratuitous prep photo}

January 17, 2011

blogs, blogs, and more blogs

So, it's going on a year now that I've been blogging. It may have taken me 9 months to first discover my Stats button and a year to figure out what an RSS Feed is (ok, I still don't know) - but it's been a blast.

And since I LOVE to read (it's a real problem), I've quickly and easily been sucked further and further into cyberspace via the blogosphere. Thanks, Blogger. Really. Because now I'm pretty sure I couldn't live without the Internet. To think a couple of years ago everyone used to get mad at me because I never checked my email.

So, here are a few blogs that have caught my eye. This is a short, uncensored, very eclectic list - probably reflecting my somewhat recovered and reformed life as a tree-hugging hippie:

SortaCrunchy - she stole my bio, totally
Holy Experience - spiritual food for thought, written deliciously
StoringUpTreasures - a so real mommy blog
What Christians Like - speaks for itself, a man blogger (most bloggers seem to be women)
TheSparklingMartins - hippie unschooler
small things - Catholic homeschooling crafty photog mom
The Croslands Are Crazy - encourages and reminds me we're not crazy, because the Croslands are crazier
Aurajoon - she's beautiful, has a perfect house, takes perfect pics, and didn't get fat when she got pregnant - I hate her
In Search of Whales - another man blogger, God's saving grace is written all over this guy's life
My Political Exile in Argentina - I like her wry, worldly sense of humor and pics
Rocks In My Dryer - just ROTFL... (that's "rolling on the floor laughing", for all you that spend less time on the Internet than I do)

January 14, 2011

a revelation

Last night we were sitting around the table after dinner when one of the kids looked up and asked Tony out of the blue, "Are we rich or are we poor?"

Firstborn looked sideways at her and said, "We're rich, don't you know that? Look at everything we have."

To my surprise Tony said, "Actually, we're poor."

I have always told them we are rich. Turns out Tony always tells them we're poor. Poor confused kids!

So he told them to get out their Bibles and look up Matthew 19: The Parable of the Rich Young Man.

Luke 18:18 refers to him as a ruler.
They each read a few verses out loud about this man who had great possessions. I watched as Tony asked them some questions, then told them about a rich man he knows who doesn't give anything to anybody. With all his millions, do you think helps the poor? No, he is selfish. He often refuses to pay his workers for the wages they have earned. But then he goes out and buys and $180,000 Lamborghini and shows his workers, "See my new car?"

As we sat there and let God's Words soak in, I think we all had a revelation.

We don't need to take everything with us to Argentina. We don't need to take anything.

We don't need all this stuff. Selling it and giving to the poor would be a Biblical way to deal with all this stuff. It burdens us, anyway. How freeing to just land in Argentina with the clothes on our backs. It's certainly a lot less to worry about. 

So... anybody want some stuff?

We have lots of it. You can keep it for us until we come back - if we come back.

Here's a really great clip that sums it up nicely:

January 12, 2011

More on the Mapuche of Northern Patagonia

Did I ever mention how God has hooked us up with some really amazing people?

When we lived in Argentina, 10 years ago now, I began reading the Bible, surrendered my life to Christ, and started going to a little tiny church tucked away on the second floor of a building in busy, congested downtown Buenos Aires.

A friend of a friend of a friend who had been on stint (CCC lingo for short-term missions) in BA hooked me up. The pastor of this tiny gathering of believers turned out to be the Director of Campus Crusade for Christ for all of Argentina and Latin America. He was so humble I didn't even know who he was at first.

Later he told me his testimony: he had been a street kid, someone shared the gospel with him, and he got saved in a fire-and-brimstone kind of way when he was 18 years old. Long story short, he is now heading up an amazing ministry to college-aged kids and minorities in his country. He is also bilingual English/Spanish, a grandad with his lovely psychologist wife, and is reaching not just the college students, but the less-reached minorities of his country (including the Mapuche) through short-term mission trips.

As I write this, they are in Patagonia at this very moment on a mission trip. We also received the Facebook invite to go - wish we could've!. I am so jealous. Wish we were there.

Here is some information about the Mapuche I gleaned from their Mission Site (en español).

It is amazing to me to think how the Mapuche live. And to think how I live. And to think of going there to be with them, to help them. Dare we think it?

"The Mapuche (people of the land) are basically spread out over three provinces: Neuquén, Río Negro and Chubut [northern Patagonia]. Some live in the cities, but the great majority live in very isolated communities. In some cases, some communities can only be reached by four-wheel drive or by horse. Poverty is the common denominator in these parts. Although in some communities the government has provided housing, they still remain poor. The majority make a living by raising animals or vegetable gardens.

In Neuquen Province there are 46 Mapuche communities, only 18 of which have electricity, and only one, running water. They have neither medical nor dental attention, and have only a small health outpost with one nurse for 50 families which are spread out over 320km² (124mi²). Winter temperatures can reach -26°C (-15°F), which kills many animals, and consequently leave less possibilities for food. The entire situation of these people is very difficult, but it's nothing compared to the spiritual drought. In Neuquen Province there are only two communities that have a local church."

Incidentally, we've been communicating with one of YWAM's Patagonia offices, the one located nearest the Mapuche. They gave us some very helpful information about the region, as well as offered to pray for us as we prepare to leave. So sweet. Part of their calling, they said, is to reach the Mapuche.


January 11, 2011

Jesus In Every Book of the Bible

A little encouragement for your day... He was, and is, and will forever be.



January 10, 2011

Thank you :)

Here's a post I wrote 11/17/10...

I want to thank any and all of you (I don't know who you are) who prayed for me when I shared a couple of month ago how I was struggling with our upcoming visit to Argentina this spring. (UPDATE: who knows if we're even going, everything seems so up in the air right now).

Not long after I wrote that, I was in church - we were singing songs of praise, I don't know what we were singing about exactly - but the message had been on repentance. As we each took a moment before the Lord to search our hearts, I asked the Holy Spirit if there was anything I needed to repent of. Nothing initially was coming to mind. I mean I've been completely set free of all the "big sins" in my life. I don't abuse drugs, or alcohol, or smoke anything. I don't lie, cheat or steal. I'm faithful to my husband, home, and children. There are no addictions that rule my life, or anything really obvious to me. I look pretty good from the outside - in a Pharisaical kind of way. What's there to repent of - I'm good, Lord, right?

But the thing that kept coming to my mind was this trip. And Buenos Aires. And my husband. And that I will. not. go. Forget it, Lord. He can go by himself. Will everybody stop asking me?!

There have been a couple of times in my life where I can say I have clearly heard the voice of God. Not an audible voice so to speak, but His voice nonetheless. It is as clear as the noon day sun is bright. It's unmistakable.

As I bowed my head, and prayed, and waited for some specific conviction to come (because remember, I'm good, nothing to repent of here), I heard Him whisper, "Chris... I want you to GO. I want you to serve ME... Here... in Patagonia... in Buenos Aires. Where-ev-er I send you."

I hung my head in shame, tears falling. And repented. Forgive me, LORD. So rebellious..., I'm still so rebellious.

I was greatly convicted of my selfishness, of wanting things my way, of not wanting to follow the Lord wherever He leads - even if it's Buenos Aires: a place I can't stand, is very dangerous, and I try to avoid like the plague. I was convicted of not trusting Him, of taking my eyes off Jesus, of lack of faith, of unbelief, of putting conditions on following Him; which I do. Of not respecting my husband's decisions regarding us (I know better, of course). Of wanting to push my own agenda. Of wanting to nurture my own affinities. Of not believing that God can keep us safe there also.

(UPDATE: talked to Tony's niece in Buenos Aires this weekend and she said, "Yeah, my friends with little kids, when they stop by a little shop to pick something up and their kids are playing right there at the entrance, they can't take their eyes of them because some crazy can run by, pick the little one up, run off before you can catch him, and you never see them again...)

Yeah, going there is a stretch for me. Understatement of the year.

So... thank you for praying.

For strong-willed people like myself, surrender can be the hardest thing. I am being tested again and again and again. I never learn, apparently.

The Lord has much He wants to do in us, through us, if we will just surrender. After I shared with Tony my quite miraculous change of heart (because, isn't it a miracle?), he said, "Yeah, you know, my sister said, 'Tony, if you go to church while you are here, I will go with you. But only if you go with me. I promise you I will go."


I see. Now, I see.

But please continue to pray for us. My kids are so not street smart: one is a space cadet and the other is always running off. My baby is everything to me. I don't know what I would do if anything happened to them.


January 5, 2011

Never Stop Preaching the Gospel, and Don't Forget the Homeless!

Someone dared enough and cared enough to share with this guy, and now look who the LORD had mercy on.


(forgive the commercial in the beginning :))

January 4, 2011

The Amish: Legalism versus Freedom in Christ

I just watched this BBC special on YouTube, Trouble in Amish Paradise. It was not only extremely informative on how the Amish live, but on what they actually believe. A clear picture of legalism versus freedom in Christ. And it is SO encouraging to see that there are true Amish believers. Beautiful.

This is a 6 part YouTube series, about 60 mintues total, but really worth the watch if you have the time.

January 3, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

I never have any. I figure if I want to make any changes, I can do them now instead of waiting until some far-away date that holds no special power. I learned as a teenager that New Year's resolutions were useless anyway because I always broken them, so what was the point?

Ah, but this... THIS is a good stuff. If Tony and I have anything in mind for this coming year it would be this:


"My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed, but that now as ever I may do honour to Christ in my own person by fearless courage" Philippians 1:20 (MOFFATT)

My Utmost for His Highest. "My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed." We shall all feel very much ashamed if we do not yield to Jesus on the point He has asked us to yield to Him. Paul says - "My determination is to be my utmost for His Highest." To get there is a question of will, not of debate nor of reasoning, but a surrender of will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point. An overweening consideration for ourselves is the thing that keeps us from that decision, though we put it that we are considering others. When we consider what it will cost others if we obey the call of Jesus, we tell God He does not know what our obedience will mean. Keep to the point; He does know. Shut out every other consideration and keep yourself before God for this one thing only - My Utmost for His Highest. I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone.

My Undeterredness for His Holiness. "Whether that means life or death, no matter!" (v.21.) Paul is determined that nothing shall deter him from doing exactly what God wants. God's order has to work up to a crisis in our lives because we will not heed the gentler way. He brings us to the place where He asks us to be our utmost for Him, and we begin to debate; then He produces a providential crisis where we have to decide - for or against, and from that point the "Great Divide" begins.

If the crisis has come to you on any line, surrender your will to Him absolutely and irrevocably.

~from My Utmost for His Highest, January 1

"Fearless courage..."

The crisis has come on a line, on many unexpected and painful lines already. I know for me in 2011, the Great Divide has begun.

"I am determined to be absolutely and entirely for Him and for Him alone. "

I have a feeling that determining to be our utmost for His highest this coming year will be harder than we expected. But the Shepherd leads on, and Him must we follow.

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