April 29, 2011

Take a risk for Christ

I love this. Francis Chan illustrates risk vs. safety so. well.

April 27, 2011

and the countdown is on

We decided on a departure time: September.

We don't have an exact date, but at least we now have a timeframe.

We'll see how it all unfolds. Any number of things could happen to keep us from going in September, but at least now we are shooting for something. But once we give our 3 months notice on the house, there's no turning back. Argentina or bust.

Tony and I just realized the other day that we only have a couple hundred dollars in the mission fund (a little ratty envelope where we keep cash marked "mission fund") to do this. We don't have our tickets, or the money for tickets, we don't have the money to ship our stuff, or the car, or... uh... anything. And we don't have a savings or retirement or investments to help us out. Or a job waiting there yet either.

So, uh, yeah, I think we're a little bit o' crazy. I think you have to be a little bit o' looney to do what we're doing - or you just wouldn't do it.

If we are out of our mind, it is for the sake of God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. (NIV)

If it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to God. And if we are in our right minds, it is for your benefit. (NLT) ~ 2 Cor. 5:13

April 21, 2011

The death of a dream, and other preparations

Aphid damage... wah

My dreams of a little backyard homestead have died another painful death this year. With great sadness, I decided to ditch the garden dream (just for this year). I lost half my seedlings to aphids, anyway.

The arugula and collard greens survived, though.
baby arugula :)

I guess aphids don't like arugula and collard greens.

baby collards

Hopefully I can pick the Backyard Homestead Dream back up again next year, on yonder Southern Hemisphere. Better luck next year.

Other than that, we've been VERY busy. Besides packing up our whole house, buying the Mission Mobile, figuring out Paypal, writing letters, and even compiling an email list for people who want to receive monthly/bi-monthly newsletters after we leave.... there is so much more going on now that I'm finding myself with less and less time to post.

We have been busy talking with the bank, figuring out how to do our taxes abroad, trying to sell our other two cars, learning how to sell stuff on Craigslist and eBay, finishing up the school year, wrapping up the kid's classes and sports, attending tons of birthday parties (a lot of people were born in April!), lunches and dinners with friends and family, oh and don't forget Easter's coming! - and then there's doctor's and dentist's appointments, yard sale prep, fundraiser meal planning, field trips, and oh tomorrow's my birthday but, hey, who has time to celebrate?

And it's probably going to get even busier from here on out!

April 16, 2011

What is a leader?

Leader = one who takes initiative for the good of others.

The best definition ever.

April 15, 2011

The Cost of Cars in Argentina


Just check this out: the going rate for Ford Econoline vans in Argentina, aka our beloved Mission Mobile.

(just divide by 4 to get the dollar amount).


A 1981 Ford Econoline for $10,500.

No joke.

A 1995 Ford Econoline for $24,000.


Oh, and my favorite - a Classic '67 Ford Econoline for.... $8,000???

I don't know whether to laugh or cry.

So basically, if we don't take a car, we'll never be able to afford one there. Ever.

Oh, Lord, make a way...!

A Homeschool Day 2008

Amidst the packing, I've come across a lot of homeschool stuff my kids did years ago. Here is what a "typical" homeschool day looked like 2 1/2 years ago [I could never go outside by myself for over an hour now, leaving the kids inside, since now we have a toddler! *sniff*]. The kids were 5 and 8, and I was 7 months pregnant. Ah, the good ol' days...

A Homeschool Day - October 3, 2008

We started our 4th year of homeschooling this year at the end of July, and with great enthusiasm. As usual, the enthusiasm fades within a month or two, along with my plans to use the curriculum I designed myself for the entire year. This is what it looks like now:

7:30am  Tony and I wake up and are able to talk over coffee and pray before A gets up at 8.

8:00  Tony and A help themselves to leftover pancakes while I collect the dirty laundry - wash days are Mondays & Fridays [Ha. They are every day now.]. Tony takes the clothes down to the basement laundry because, at 7 months pregnant, the basket's a bit heavy for me now.

9:00  Tony leaves for work. I wake up M. Both kids come downstairs to help with the laundry. I am training them in as much as possible so they can be a help and a blessing when the baby is born.

9:30  A makes hot chocolate for himself and his sister, while I prepare breakfast for her and for me. We finish breakfast and clean up.

10:00  I ask A if he would like to put another load of wash in with me, since he seems to enjoy it. But he decides to do his Math instead.

(I rarely look anymore at the week by week lesson plan I designed this summer. The longer I homeschool, the more I relax. Oddly, though, my expectations increase.)

M sits quietly (at least today) on her bed doing some Math game that came in a BK Kids Meal. That'll probably be her Math for today. Since she is already 2/3rds of the way through her Kindergarten Math workbook, she's well ahead of the game and I don't worry. Since she is quick in Math and loves it, she will most likely start 1st grade Math after the baby is born in December and we start up again in February.

(Which is why I love homeschooling: you teach the child, not the grade - slowing down or speeding up as needed or desired, always making an attempt to foster a love for learning. Not cramming information down their throats so they can spit it back out for some test and a grade, only to forget it later.)

11:00 A is still working on his two pages of Abeka 2 Math. He's a great reader, but Math is torture for him; therefore, for both of us. Although he can do it, he just doesn't like it. Fortunately, I was recently encouraged to find out that Abeka is typically a good year/year and a half above grade level. So, doing their 2nd grade math puts him at least on grade level for 3rd grade Math.
I take advantage of the fact that today A is doing Math at his desk in his room, instead of at the dining room table, to hang up a peg/hook on his closet door I've been wanting to get to for over a year now.
Clothes dryer buzzes, so I head downstairs to check. Jeans are still damp, so give it 15 more minutes.
We finally finish Math. A is as happy as I am.

11:15  Finally get a shower (!) while kids go into living room and read library books on their own with no prompting from me. M sings and talks to herself and "reads" on the sofa. A is on the floor surrounded by books.
We did a lot of work this week on our History Timeline, so taking it easy today.

11:45  Begin folding laundry as kids read and play in living room. Later they will fold their own clothes.

12:00  Check email. A asks for a turn on the computer, so they both watch "Hawk Wasp vs. Tarantula" videos on YouTube (gross!) as I make lunch. Wonder to myself when the "Venemous Arachnid" stage *shudder* will pass so we can move on to other animals. I leave the unappetizing scene.

12:45  M's turn on the computer - she does a Sesame Street Reading Games CD as A looks on.
Since they are occupied, I decide to go outside and harvest our carrots, some tomatoes, and butternut squash from our garden. As I rinse the mud off of the vegetables, I think how I should have involved the kids - but they have loved and worked and learned in the garden for six months now, and Mom needs some time alone with just the wind. Ahhh....

2:00  To my surprise it is almost 2 when I come in. The kids finally eat the lunch I had left for them on the table. I grab some tea, some vitamins, and the rest of my lunch. M looks over a book I had read to her and reads aloud some of the words she knows. A peruses a book or two as well.

3:00  Finally leave for errands. Buy eggs, drop off books at library, and run into someone at the supermarket. Chat for a while, as kids work on their patience. :)

5:00  Arrive home - kids help unload car. A requests to mow lawn with the manual push mower Grandpa gave him. His new favorite passtime, and exercise I definately encourage my more sedate boy to do. He leaves strange, windy strips of cut grass all over the lawn.

6:00  I get dinner started and M convinces A to come in and watch a video. This is great down time for all.

7:00  I sit to rest my pregnant feet, write about our day, and work on the blanket I'm crocheting for the baby.
It was a good day. Always shooting for a balanced week in schooling.

*I don't know what happened after 7:00pm, since I didn't write that down. Tony must have come home and I probably passed out by 9.

When I read this I was struck by two things: 1) 12 hours without a break seems too much for a pregnant lady. 2) My life seemed so relaxed back then. It was... niiiiice. Ms. Baby has for-e-ver changed that. Our homeschooling days are not quite this warm and fuzzy (or quiet!) anymore. AT ALL.

But they are still good. And I'm still glad we do it.


April 14, 2011

Donate button

I finally added a Donate button to the sidebar, see -------> ?

Several people have asked us how they could go about giving if God touched their hearts to do so - and since we are not into asking people for money (or maybe we're just afraid to ask, who knows) - we wanted to at least provide a way for people to give if they feel so led. So, voilá -there you go: a Donate through Paypal button. :)

And for the curious (because a question we hear more and more frequently is, "So, how are you going to do that financially?"), Tony will probably only be making about $1000 a month working in Argentina (and that's a "decent" average salary). We hope he earns more, but it may be even less. And since Argentina is expensive anymore, that won't go much further than it would here.  We're preparing mentally for bare bones livin' - you know, living sacrificially for the gospel and all that. So, in case you wanted to help support our work there, now you know how to do it - and that we'll really need it!

For the local yocals: you may make a tax-deductible donation with receipt by giving to our mission through our local church - just make sure you write "GO Fund: Argentina" in the Memo line. Thanks!

***We appreciate any support, whether it's financial or prayer or spiritual/moral/emotional, because I can assure you we're gonna need it!***


April 13, 2011

Meet Big Blue

Or "The Mission Mobile". Or whatever we'll end up calling her.

Ain't she pretty??

We prayed this puppy in. After recently paying off all our credit cards, we were able to hoard the rest of our income tax return (God's saving plan for the poor, I call it:)) to go towards preparations for the big move.

Tony wanted to take a big van with us so we could pile all the kids in, any equipment or supplies we'll need (like JESUS film projectors etc.), and still have room to stuff a small village in there, too. And we do, check it out:
Okay, so  you can't see it really well, but the first row of seats is missing. There's this huge wide open space there, perfect for stuffing equipment in. And I'm sure we'll eventually have plenty of "how we fit 25 people in our van" stories. We really like it like this. It works out great because the kids can be all the way in the back seat whining asking for something, and I can just shout back, "I'm sooo-rrryyyy, I can't heeeeeaaaaar yoooouuuu!". No really... It even has a hitch on the back. We're sure that'll come in handy for something.

The back seats fold down into a bed which could sleep all three kids, and there is still room for us to sleep where the seats were! Stellar. Tony is very happy with it. He loves the '94 Ford van we have now, but this one is newer with 60,000 less miles. We prayed long and hard for God to lead us to the right car, and the Man was sure that this was the one. Now we're getting rid of our other two cars, 'cause we need the money!

So, assuming she's not a lemon - and Lord-willing - we'll be shipping her down to Patagonialand.


*To understand why we decided to buy and ship a car as opposed to buying one there, check out the prices on this site (just divide by 4 and you will get the price in dollars)for what you get = crazy!

April 12, 2011

The packing has begun!

  I decided to start with the girls' room... maybe because it seems the most overwhelming?

I keep muttering over and over to myself, "How do you eat an elephant, Chris? One bite at a time.
One bite at a time... one bite at a time, Chris... one bite at a time... yeah, one bite at a time..."

 Boxes and baskets and piles are everywhere, making my recovered OCD act up.
But thanks to my clothes organization system (a la  Complete Tightwad Gazette),
 - the sanity level is manageable. As manageable as it can be under the circumstances, I guess.

April 11, 2011

nothin' more attractive

...than a man who prays

April 8, 2011

Expect Great Things, Attempt Great Things

"Expect Great Things from God, Attempt Great Things for God." ~William Carey

"William Carey was the pioneer missionary of the modern missions movement. As a young man he found himself in a church where the leaders did not believe the Great Commission applied to them. They told young Carey, "When God chooses to win the heathen, He will do it without your help or ours." Of course, William Carey was appalled at this statement, and he did all he could to refute it. In response he wrote a small book entitled, "An Enquiry Into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens." How's that for a title? Here was his point: In order to reach non-Christians in other countries, we must cooperate, get ourselves organized and plan strategically for these ventures. In the years that followed Carey's book, many missions organizations were formed which sent missionaries all over the world.

We can learn much from William Carey's passionate desire to see the Gospel go to the ends of the earth. The motto of his life was this: "Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God." God has a great plan to save individuals from every people group in the world. (Matthew 24:14)." [source]

"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.
Set your affection on things above, not on things of this earth.
For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." ~Colossians 3:1-3

"...they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them..." ~2 Cor. 5:15

April 7, 2011

How To Make a Header

All three kids have the flu right now, and it's strangely quiet around here. I don't think it's been this quiet in YEARS. I'm rather liking it (the quiet, that is). Tony and I have miraculously escaped illness so far.

But, I'm sure now that I wrote that, I've sealed the deal - tomorrow one of us will go down for sure.

In the quiet, I have been having fun making blog headers! Thanks Courtney for explaining how! I never could have figured it out myself.

Here are few headers I've made so far over on Photobucket.

And, of course, this one...
{those are Tony and his brother's feet!}

...that's looking dorky, small, and off-center up there in my header... which, if Blogger would stop spazzing on me, I would be able to remove and resize. One handed, with napping toddler on my lap. Because I'm a Mom. And I'm totally bored, and not used to having free time, or a baby that actually naps. For two whole hours! So, being forced to sit, I'm making headers.

April 5, 2011

Changing Education Paradigms

Every parent should watch this video. Whether your kids go to public school, private school, homeschool or no school, this video is INCREDIBLE food for educational thought. If you have a child or know a child that has been diagnosed with ADHD, you might want to watch this.

We need to change the way we view education, because education and the world have changed.

April 4, 2011

Moving right along... Part deux

Things are still moving right along in preparation for the Big Move. It is wild and amazing to see it all unfold.

It makes me think of this song (allow me to be weird for just a moment...)...

And we feel just about as happy as Kermie and Fozzy, too!

Let me tell you why... (and by the way, I should let you know that Tony says that when I open my mouth he trembles for fear of what I'll say next. That would be because of my incredible social ineptitude, I'm guessing. I admit it's true, I often share things that are better left private, but some things must be told. This, I believe, is one of those things).

Allow me to share with you how amazing our God is.

This week we've been fasting and praying. You know, just feel like we should. I always hesitate to say, "Oh yeah, I'm fasting," or, "Yeah, fasting today!" because I don't want it to come off Pharasaical or anything. But it's important to note that prayer and fasting makes things happen. It always amazes and encourages me to see the connection between 'fasted today' and - BAM! - 'answered prayer' tomorrow.

You see, we need God and we need Him to do all this for us, because there is no way, zippo zero, we can do this (missions thing) by ourselves. So we set our minds and bodies to fast and pray asking the Lord to do this, and please do that, and Lord we really need you here because there is NO WAY we can do that over there so would you please?

So to my story...

Someone who just made the move to Argentina from the US gave us a number to call of someone else who could maybe help us. This contact is in the shipping business. Tony called him, told him our story, and asked for a quote to ship our belongings. The guy talked to Tony for a while, asked us a lot of questions, then
proceeded to give us tons of fatherly advice on moving overseas, humanitarian helps, and the like. Since he's 78 year old, is in the shipping and moving business, and has moved overseas several times himself, we listened.

After talking for over an hour he then said, "Listen, I'm not a Christian. I'm Jewish. But I believe we should all help, no matter where we are. So I'd like to help you. Do me a favor, from here on out, don't worry about shipping your stuff. I'd like to do it for you for free - or as close to free as I can get it. So don't worry about it anymore, don't waste one single moment worrying over how you will get the money to ship your stuff."

............{mouths gaping open}

Tony and I looked at each other, gaping, and me with this look like, "Did he just say what I think he just said?". Tony shook his head in the affirmative. I burst into tears. Tony hung his head in gratitude or disbelief, or both.


(We're hoping his offer is genuine... guess we'll see!)

In other news...

We also {finally} received a response to our inquiry at the Jesus Film Project. The idea is to get hooked up, if possible, with everything we will need to take with us in order to show the film there (we are thinking Mapuche, high up in the isolated mountain villages, kids, slums, neighborhood outreaches, VBSs etc.) . The email I received was from the Director of the Jesus Film Project in Latin America. I noticed in his email he also CC'ed someone else - someone I know - the director  of Campus Crusade for Christ in Argentina! The very same guy that pastors the church I went to in Buenos Aires 10 years ago!

Out of 40 million people in Argentina, we know the same person?!?

God is AMAZING! He has so hooked us up. I could not make this stuff up if I tried. It's like it was His plan that we return all along.

All that is going on in our lives right now reminds me of the story in the Bible where God commands the Israelites to cross the Jordan. The Jordan was overflowing its banks, probably looking impossible to cross. God only parted the waters after the priests placed the heel of their foot in the water. Only after they obeyed and started walking it out did He then show his power and glory.

He asks us to do the same today: Trust. Have faith. Obey. It is then, and sometimes only then, that we see his power and glory.

"...for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders..." ~ Joshua 3:5

April 2, 2011

...and more books!

Some more used book sale books to take with us: easy readers for when Ms. Baby begins to read, science, literature, classics, geography, picture books, missionary bios, and even a few for mommy!
And one for my fledgling library collection... check that copyright out!

I am happy. :)

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