Wednesday, November 6, 2013

New Devotions

So, we are beginning the book study "My Experience with God" at the birth center.  We share what we are learning on Fridays during devotional time. 

I actually had the workbook and had gone through the first couple of lessons some years ago, but re-reading it now at a different time and place in my life has been as if I had never seen it before.

The first lessons are about our walk with God and knowing how to follow Him.  I really enjoyed or was drawn to the realization that we don't need to know the complete will of God for our lives before we begin to walk.  The idea of Abraham leaving his home and beginning his journey is not new to me, but re-reading how he really had no idea of where he would be resting his head that night was eye opening to me.  Especially at this moment in our walk.

With the end of our ministry in the Calzada C of C and the beginning of a church plant in the north of the city, there are many uncertainties.  Reading of how He is in control of the big picture and want us to only take the first step has been refreshing.  I don't have to worry about the "what-ifs" and can just focus on what God is doing now right around me.  Just that small step is enough to get me on the path of fullfilling His will!  How peaceful is that!!!

I also was drawn to the well-known idea that we are made to be His tools.  I don't know how many times I have heard, read of the illustration of the potter and the clay, but this time it just seemed to fall in place.  We are formed by Him to serve His purpose, then He uses us in the way He sees fit.  This weekend I was talking with a very dear dear friend of mine in Toluca who has also been going through a very difficult time understanding what God was doing in her life.  As we were talking it was like a veil was lifted from my eyes and I could see meaning in the past year and the trials.

For the past couple of years we had been feeling torn in ministry.  Feeling it was time to move on, but always seeing someone who seemed to be a reason to stay.  It seemed we were back and forth, back and forth, but never could truly discern what God was calling us to do.  Then last year my health became a priority over ministry and in the end we were asked to leave because of our decline in participation.  I admit I was angry and still believe that what the brethren did was not right.  Instead of rallying around us in our time of need, they rallied against us and in the end kicked us out.  Now in hindsight I can see how we were so unsure for so long, that maybe the only way He could get us to do His will was through these drastic means?  If He needed to use my health as a means to fullfill His will in getting us out of an unhealthy situation, then Heme Aqui. 

Of course I wish we could have avoided the losses, but we are now excited about the future and ministry, and we can't wait to see what He will do with us now!  We are hoping it will be something a little less painful! :)

Day of the Dead in Toluca

 So, while Aaron and Hubby were in Mexico City at the National Boulder Championships, Emily and I spent time with our dear friends Betty, Roberto and family in Toluca.  Our first day we went downtown to the annual "Feria del Alfeñique" which is held during the Day of the Dead Holiday.  I really have no idea what the word "alfeñique" means, but it consists of booths and booths of little sculptures made of mazapan, sugar, chocolate, and gummy candy. 

You can find sugar or chocolate skulls with beautiful flower decorations and have your name piped out in iceing on the forehead. I have always loved the different figures, and the deer and sheep are my favorites. My cell phone doesn't take the best pics, but you get the idea! (I uploaded a couple from the internet via google images)

Mazapan bread baskets, chicks and hens, and flowers.
 The deer, goats, and sheep!
Emi with the caskets... they have little sugar skeletons inside!

I had to have a chocolate skull and Emi is nibbling on the leg of a little goat.
After picking and eating our victims, we did a little clothing shopping.  I really enjoyed some girl time with Emi, Betty, and Alin.  Emi is at a fun age, becoming a young lady, but still wanting mom time.  I treasure every moment!
I googled Alfeñique... it means "a paste made of sugar".  There you have it!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mexico City

Aaron won 3rd place in the State Boulder Competition! Yay! He is a strong little string-bean, let me tell you. That kid is all muscle!  His winning is awesome and he is now eligible for the National Boulder Competitions like last year.  The downer here is that the competition is in Mexico City.

I came to Mexico at the ripe old age of 19.  Took the bus many times to Mexico City where I got pick-pocketed and groped a couple of times on the Metro (Don´t tell my mom! She would freak!).  I also rode the bus from Toluca to Oaxaca, doing the bus, metro, bus through Mexico City several times on my own.  I didn´t think twice about it (except wanting to find the offenders and to beat them) and consider myself quite adventuresome.

However, since I have had children my adventurous spirit has dwindled.  Taking trips has become a stress factor.  It isn´t the traveling with children.  Even traveling on my own has added a certain level of ¨freak-out!¨ A couple of years ago I traveled to a Women´s Retreat in Honduras, and even though I was with other missionary women my stress level was to the roof and I practically found myself in a touristic frenzy trying to get on through customs and making connections.

And so, as the date draws nearer, my anxiety level rises.  If they could only knock me over the head and wake me when we get there!  Or better yet, wake me when we get back!

  • Job 31:4 ¨Does He not see my paths and count all my steps?¨
  • Psalms 91:11 ¨He will give order to His angels about you, that they guard you in your paths.¨
  • Proverbs 3:6 ¨Recognize Him in all your paths, and He will make straight your way.¨
So I have decided to start up my blog once again.  I have neglected it for ..... forever.  So, today I sat down with excitement and worked on changing the header, sprucing up the format, and adding a new background... as you can see the only real change that worked is the new header. Sigh.  I am just not techy at all!

Oh well!

There are so many things that have happened in the past year + that I wouldn´t know where to begin!  I think the easiest would be make a list of major events...

  • Began Midwifery school (you already knew that)
  • Aaron won National Rockclimbing Championship Nov. 2012
  • Lost a pregnancy of 1 month
  • Was diagnosed with a lime size cyst on my only ovary
  • God removed that cyst! YAY!
  • Became pregnant again.
  • Four months of bad nausea, vertigo.
  • Got Hep.A
  • Lost our 16 week old baby girl.  
  • Named her Sarah.
  • Began having Anxiety Attacks.
  • Caught my first baby as a student midwife!
  • Our family suffered a drastic change in ministry and are now planting a church!
  • Spent a great summer enjoying family.
  • Kids got to go to summer camp, and although Aaron hated us all the way there, he asked to go back next year when we picked him up!
  • Am realizing I need bifocals :(
  • Kids are attending Oaxaca Christian School (6th and 9th graders!!!! YIKES)
  • Am towards my 2nd year of Midwifery studies.
  • Have spent very little time at my sewing machine :(
Mmmmmm..... I think that pretty much sums up the big things that have been happening.  Some bad, some good and some GREAT!  Content with seeing God´s hand in each of them!

Hope to get this blog going once again!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Reflections of this year's Homeschool

the school year is fastly coming to an end! i really enjoyed this year with the kids at home. i know they have had moments when they missed school, but all i needed to do was mention the tests, homework, pressure of feeling up to their level, and they were once again content. school was good for them on a social level, but i defintily see a difference in their progress and stress level being at home.

we had a good year. i am loveing Charlotte Mason! at the beginning of the year i was excited but a bit leary as to the effectiveness of such an open way of learning, but over the time i have seen the benefits of narrations, transcriptions, open nature studies, etc... i am sure that many would have done things differently but i see several benefits to what we did and how we did it. just a couple of the advances I have seen are:

has read more books this year than the last couple of years put together!
has found an interest in science
has improved his handwriting GREATLY!
continues to do well in math. (better than mommy at times)
feels confident that he understands what he reads and can reproduce the information he has learned. (at the beginning of the year they would narrate what they had read and I would write it down as they told me. one day after the exercise with aaron, he looked at the page of writing and said, "Wow! I understood ALL THAT!" he was suprised that he could actually narrate a page of information!

has GREATLY improved her confidence in reading! YES YES YES!!!!! this was my #1 priority for her! if she didn't get anything else out of this year, at least she got rid of the idea that she wasn't as good as other readers!
she has enjoyed reading books like Pipi Longstockings and the Littles
has gotten rid of that ridiculous idea that she is dumb!! (thank you Jesus!)
has improved in math skills
loves art and has found new ways to express herself artisticly.
enjoys narrating what she has read or learned

there are several things i would like us to improve/add next year.

i think one of the main and resounding things would be record keeping of:
books read
narrations given
learning activities
if not on paper, at least blog them for future reference.

i would also (and plan on doing it) buy a nature study guide to have a little more structure on what we have learned and when.

next year looks to be alot of the same wonderful learning. as i mentioned above, i plan on buying Anne Comstocks book on nature study. we will be using the teaching textbooks for math, and continue with narration, transcription for english and spelling. i played with the idea of buying a Charlotte Mason book on transcription, but when i looked at it, it seemed to be just what we did this year! we will continue with the Mystery of History which has been soooo interesting. i think learning cronologically is the best way to learn history! so much easier to put things in their place and remeber more or less when it was that things happened. and having the bible events included right along with world events is a big bonus!

i was tempted, VERY TEMPTED to go back to the A Beka route. their glossy, colorful workbook pages and beautifully designed posters becon to my perfeccionist side, but the idea of just doing workbooks and more workbooks everyday and having everything sooo structured kept me from pressing the "add to cart" button. i might look in to their music dvd's since our great music teacher is moving back to the USA. we'll see.

i am thanking God for this great year, and pray that next year will be equally or more successful!!!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Midwife? Really?

You know, I am not inclined to anything medical... I get light headed at the THOUGHT of blood. My husband has to revive me with rubbing alcohol if I cut myself... and to see my children in pain or bleeding...

So HOW IN THE WORLD would I even think of becoming a midwife?

In December a friend of mine told me about the opportunity to learn to be a doula. SHE told me that a doula was someone who would take vital stats during prenatal visits, then could help with follow-up visits on how to care for the babies. That sounded right up my alley. I love babies, I have a heart for new mommies, so I decided to sign up!

In January we had our Doula training course, and we were blessed to sit at the feet of an experienced midwife and learn all about the birth process. We learned to take blood pressure, temperature, do a urine analysis, check pulse, and even how to do CPR on a new born! The course was sooooo interesting, and I had never seen birth presented in such a natural, non/scary, beautiful way! (My own experiences with birth were borderline traumatic with c-sections and faulty anesthesia.)But during the time with our guest midwife I realised that, and I know this is gonna sound really dumb, God created us with a natural and beautiful gift! Giving birth lost all it's scariness, and I was amazed to see how completely perfect the whole process really is!!!

By the end of the week I was hooked, and was even ready to seek out the closest midwife school and sign up!

OK, I have a tendency to want to run before I even learn to crawl... I know! It's a big defect I have. If I realize that I can do something, I have a tendency to jump in and start doing it. No doubts or second thoughts.

So, since January I have been volunteer/working two days a week at the new Christian based Natural Birth Center called Casa Compasiva. A couple of days after my birthday in March I attended my first birth as a doula, and was the support for the birthing mommy. It was the most amazing thing I have even witnessed!

We are now in May and we just had an INTENSE 3 day seminar on how to use the ultrasound to calculate dates, growth, amniotic fluid, and check placenta size, position and health. It was also amazing!

I haven't been so excited about something like this in a long time. I really feel a strong calling to further my studies and next year enter in the midwife training course. In the meantime my "favorites bar" on the lap-top is now full of natural birth sites, midwife blogs, and birthing videos. I have several books I have been reading, and even Emily is "getting into" my new interest. We recently had an in depth talk about babies and pregnancy, and she wants me to deliver her own babies someday. But first she has decided that she needs to marry a Christian man whose parents were twins so that she can have twins too! :) I told her she needed to pray on that one for awhile!

Please pray for me on this new journey of learning! I thank God for my hubby who has been 100% supportive in everything! I feel so blessed to have found a new way to serve Christ through serving others!

The Doula/midwife/doctor team for Casa Compasiva's first birth

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Lessons I learn : Patience is a virtue

I am NOT patient. Not very often that is. Today God taught me a lesson, and not in the usual trying way. I see it as a lesson in love...

So, I was grocery shopping in the vegetable section when two dirty, messy, beautiful little girls a bit younger than my Emi walked past me. They were speaking dialect, and walking up and down the fruit aisles. They stopped by the lemons and began to fill two small bags. A couple of the round, green fruit tumbled down the sloping pile and rolled across the floor to my feet. My heart cried out... "buy them SOMETHING!" So I approached the two, noticing the looks on the faces of other clients as they watched this odd interaction. It's not everyday you see a "gringa" and beggar children chatting in the middle of the fruits and vegetables seccion of Chedraui.

I asked them if I could buy them some mangoes, and they smiled shyly and nodded. I picked out 5 of the juiciest mangos. It didn't seem enough, though. "How about chocolate milk?" "Do you like chocolate milk?" They looked at each other and spoke something I couldn't understand. I then realised that they didn't know what chocolate milk was, so I offered them juice instead. The smiles came back to their faces and we walked to the fruit isle. I asked them how many, and one of them said 5. '"For mama and hermanito." When I turned around the other girl had disappeared. "Where is your sister?" The remainig girl nervously said "comida". Soon the sister was back at our side. She had a take out box of chicken wings, a kilo of tortillas, and a liter soda in her arms. I then realised that they had been sent not only to buy lemons, but to purchase their meal for the day. Chicken wings, tortillas and soda.

We checked out quickly, I paid for their original purchases also. I shook their hands and wished them a good day. "God bless you!"I said, and they were off. I held back tears all the way back to my shopping cart that was still waiting for me next to the mangos. It felt good, but soo futile with all the need we see everyday.

This is where the patience came in: I finished my selections, met up with the kids and Jorge who were off in other sections of the store, and headed to the front of the store. We used a different register than the one I had used earlier, and proceeded to check out. After unloading two weeks worth of groceries, and getting them bagged, Jorge handed the checker our bank card BUT the card swiper thingy wouldn't work. Denied, DENIED, DENIED it kept saying. That's bad enough, but with each swipe there was a loud BEEEEEP anouncing our supposed lack of funds to all within earshot.

I am quite suprised with my reaction here. I am NOT well known for my calmness in situations as these. There are usually huffs and puffs and at times unkind words that escape my lips... but this time I calmly walked over to a peanut vendor, bought some sugar coated peanuts (quite yummy by the way) and offered some to the senior citizen in charge of bagging the groceries, and to the checker who were now waiting while Jorge went to the ATM to get money. For what seemed like AGES we stood eating peanuts until my hubby appeared with the dough.

We finally paid for our purchases, thanked the checker and the grocery bagger and headed for the exit. Half way to the door, one of the other baggers stopped me. "Mam," he said. "I saw what you did for those little girls, and I wanted to congratulate you for your human compassion." And he didn't stop there... "I also saw your reaction right now and can tell you have a heart of love." This is where I got REAL TEARY. "Thank you for your example and God bless you!" he said! The only thing I could musster to say was a very squeeky "Gracias"and a big teary smile.

The lesson in patience you ask? If I had reacted as my usual inpacient, bad attitude self, this man who had been watching me would have said, "What good did it do for her to show charity on those two non suspecting girls, and then be horrible to the poor checker girl and grocery bagger." My early good deed would have been canceled out by my latter bad attitude.

I truly believe the Spirit moved me to these actions so that I could realise the importance of being consistent in our attitutdes. God showed me the importance of patience in a beautiful, graceous way! Thank you God for your lessons of love!!!!!