Friday, December 21, 2012

#2 Feeling Pain through Poetry (Getting to know a girl named Carrie)

I usually write poetry when I'm really upset about a subject that is not yet confrontable. They aren't happy go lucky...but it's what I do to get my thoughts out. Here are some poems I've written, they range from 1-4 years old
The Judgement
why do you judge me?
what is it for?
once vulnerably standing
now face to the floor
am I better here?
I felt better out there
I've locked my soul in this little dark place
so your blinding light won't bury me in shame
why should I have shame because of you
deal with your own convictions
it's not me, it's you
with my luck you'll read this a moment too late
you've already judged the "food on my plate"
something so little you've made so huge
and now you're wondering
"Oh what do I do"
I'm not apologizing for who I am
where I come from
or my life plan
although it may be different from yours
we're all Christs children of whom he adores
so take a minute
step down from that horse
you're too high up to steady the coarse
and this
oh this
it's what I do to deal
with you and you and you
and all the pain I feel
so here's a thought
look at you not me
because I'm not perfect
and don't claim to be
I know you just need something to busy your life
to forget YOUR problems
to forget YOUR life
but why don't you stop knocking on my door
because in the end YOU"LL be on the floor
how sad it must be to live your life
judging me in The Body of Christ
He Drinks
He drinks...he drinks...and then he drinks again
the glass he holds on to his only lasting friend
his drinking buddies are good for one thing
just another drink
but when the alcohol runs out, they're off the scene
silently we sit by biting our tongues
wanting so much to say something, but nothing comes
we want to spend time with you, we miss our friend
but he won't know until his heart mends
one day he'll look back and see all he missed
but until then, he takes another sip
the pain is too real, so he'll just hide
behind a beer glass that's fogged from inside
it slowly poisons him, but he thinks it's fun
playing roulette with this loaded gun
what will happen, what might it be?
as this feeling inside he tries to flee
what is the fate that might land him one day?
maybe sooner than later...I dare not say
then we'll be left with the pain in our hearts
knowing we would have said something, if we were smart
so I know he's out there
and we're stuck in here
wishing he knew the love that we fear
Those who live by the sword
An attack on our Country, has started a war
thousands have died, what was it for?
sitting in an office, doing their work
while men out to kill, wait in the lurk
Heroes went out, to fight for broken lives
they died in this battle, leaving husbands and wives
children who are missing a parent or two
parents missing children, who've become forever blue
and who is this enemy we fight with such pride?
who makes his videos and never ceases to hide
bravely these men fight, to protect where we sit
day in, day out fighting, never able to quite
the thousands of lives effected that day
have continued to be, 10 years as we pray
10 years is long, some forget why WE don't hide
comfortable in their home, thinking, "Oh, it's just pride"
for every action there must be a consequence
so to me what happened makes perfect sense
you see, we're in a war which was started by him
and like many, he has died, my attitude's not grim
I won't apologize for my feeling of gratitude
for the men who defended our Country, the red, white and blue
see to me it's not a question of love and grace
he got what he put out, an end to this chase
maybe our true feelings really do come out in war
like who believes are rights and freedoms are worth fighting for
so please keep in mind as you sit in the house you chose
that this morning you peered into your closet and picked out your clothes
remember on the way to your job today
you picked the radio station or music to play
watching the television channels you enjoy
with the children you decided to have, that bring you such joy
spouting off what you think about our President
and criticizing how our military takes action and time is spent
remember that how you got that freedom of speech
is from our military fighting to keep freedom for each.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

#1 The Perfect Day (Getting to know a girl named Carrie)

Hey there people being so far away from everyone often times I feel like I'm becoming a memory. I feel like my friends I used to know are changing as am I, but I have no idea of how or why. I don't know what's going on in their heads. Let's get right down to it...everyone could say they would e-mail me and let me know how life is, but life is busy and after the first or second e-mail you have other things to do...I totally understand. So I've decided to put together a series called, Getting to know a girl named Carrie. You can read this if you like and if not no problem. I will be posting different things that you may or may not know about me throughout the year. I will try to do one a week in between my other posts...but that is no promise. I miss everybody and hope you enjoy getting to know me.
Let me give you a run down of a normal day in my house so I can then explain what "The Perfect Day" would look like. I'm usually up sometime between 5:30-6:00am. I try to get up around 4:00-4:30 for a quiet time or workout, but that never happens. I usually get up and make the bed and get ready for the day. Then I start a load of laundry to soak while Preston an I have our hour coffee time, while I'm putting on my makeup. Most of you have heard me say this before but I suggest an hour of alone time with your husband on a daily bases. Preston and I have done this for years...even when he was a manager at a restaurant and would get home at 1am then have to leave for work at 7am. Even when we were pie bakers and we would have to get up by 4am to bake all the pies. This is a very special time that says I love you enough and care about what we have enough to make time for you. When coffee time is over Preston starts breakfast and I either start calendar time with the kids or have a quiet time. We eat and have family devotion and then the school day starts around 8:00-8:30.
I start the school day off with Raymond and at 11:00am we have an hour of teaching Joe and Caroline. Between 8:00-11:00 I pick up/clean bathrooms and hang clothes. At 12:00 we eat lunch and take a break. At 1:00 pm Raymond and Joe start back with school. Usually around this time I'm watching Judge Mathis and Judge Judy while ironing so the kids are working on things they don't need help with. Around 4 school is over and I let Caroline watch a series on 3-4 min learning programs on youtube that teach her about the alphabet, colors, counting and so on. Around 5:00 the kids are taking showers and finishing up projects for school if they have them. I start dinner at 5:00pm every night and it's usually on the table by 6:00pm (unless we have homegroup, then we eat a big lunch and snack for dinner). After dinner, it's time for clean up...the kids wash dishes and clean the kitchen mess as well as their rooms and the school room. Then we all either read or watch a little television depending on what they want...or what we want. All kids are in bed by 8:00pm. By the time they go to bed I'm usually exhausted and fall asleep on the couch by 9:30. It may not seem like a lot, but believe me, teaching is a full time job which can be draining, but I really do love it.
"The Perfect Day", for me, would have four extra hours so I could get everything done that I normally do and then have some extra "selfish" time for me. Also, I would like to add that "The Perfect Day" would not consist of me having headaches, which I have almost every day, sometimes so bad I'm sick to my stomach and have double vision.
The first hour would be spent on a quiet/bible reading time. I would love to read more of the bible and write sermons. I might also sometimes spend this time on listening to sermons so I get a better feel of how to write them and the different styles of preaching. I enjoy writing as well as listening and reading, so this first hour would just be dedicated to the Father. This would be a time of doing the things I enjoy with, through and for Him. I should really already be doing this, but often times I let life or Judge Judy get in the way...just being honest.
The second hour would consist of an entire uninterrupted hour of cleaning house. Preferably one room from top to bottom until it's spotless and beautiful. This may sound weird to you, but cleaning is a necessity here with all the dust constantly coming in. With the constant heat, headaches and everything else I'm doing during the day it's hard to clean like I need to. Granted I wouldn't need an hour every day for this, but on the days that I wasn't cleaning we could have a family/recreation time. So this hour would do double duty depending on the day.
The third hour would consist of an uninterrupted QUIET workout time. Whether it be an upbeat workout to get my heart racing or a slow workout to calm me down. This is something I want to have energy for, and need because as I get older, believe me when I say, I'm needing it. It can help with aches and pains I'm sure. Also, some time to myself working out may calm my nerves a little and would help me feel good about myself and my body. Not that I have huge problems with that, just that I know how good it feels to be in shape.
And the last hour...aaahhhhh...this hour would, again, be an uninterrupted hour of reading/studying. I would start off by studying an hour of Spanish a night, but when I had learned that I would switch to reading books. I prefer historical nonfiction (especially wars, historical leaders, historical events and the people effected by them) but I love many different kinds of books and would read whatever I had. I would read until I fell asleep and would get the much needed 8 hours of sleep...depending on how good the book was.
So there's "The Perfect Day" in the eyes of me. I hope you enjoyed learning something new about me. I would love to know what you would do with four extra hours, or what your perfect day looks like. Feel free to leave a comment telling me.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

A Change in Tradition

"Jesus is the reason for the season", raise your hand if you remember this phrase (okay, you can put your hand down now...I can't really see it). It's so funny how much I actually think about Him being the reason for the season these days. When I think of how much I'm missing family this time of year and just the traditions we have in the States, I often have to step back and think about how much about me this season isn't. It just seems like I got it stuck in my head that Christmas, and even Thanksgiving for that matter, are supposed to look a certain way...and if they don''s not really the Holiday Season. It is though, no matter what is going on in my life, Christ was born and that should be celebrated with complete joy and happiness. Last year it was so hard for me to enjoy the season. On Christmas morning I didn't even put on makeup (which, if you know me, means I'm depressed)...I just sat on the couch in my pajamas all day and stared at the television. That doesn't seem like much of a celebration to me. It just sounds depressing. We tried to take the traditions from the States and continue them here, which just isn't realistic. So this year we decided we needed to do something different.
Many of you know how our Thanksgiving went from our post in Big Picture Missions feel free to read if you haven't already. Usually this time of year we would be making hundreds of pies and by Wednesday evening I would be exhausted, but brining a turkey non the less. Thursday morning, as was tradition, Preston would run out and buy donuts and we would have our first glass of eggnog and donuts while watching the Macy's Day Parade. Usually I would also be preparing food in the kitchen and we would be at a designated family members house by 2ish (we alternated years one year with my family and one year with Prestons family). Then when we got home still exhausted from pies and now a day filled with family I would go with a friend, Shayla Parker, to catch some Black Friday deals. To be honest, I just liked being out in it...I know I'm a freak. It was the true kick off to the season for me. Half the time I didn't even really buy anything that I couldn't have gotten later, but it was the excitement of it all. Seeing all the decorations, meeting frazzled people, laughing at the people who didn't take the needed last glance in the mirror before running out the door, having coffee with my bestie while falling asleep in an isle...good times. Then getting home and taking a nap, if the kids would let me, and in the evening setting up the Christmas tree. Then going to the store and everyone picking out a new ornament, and returning home to decorate, while listening to Christmas music, with the kids while Preston and I had a glass of Lambrusco. It's so funny how quickly I got caught up in what a season is "supposed to look like" to make it a season worth celebrating.
Living in a different Country and trying to recreate these "traditions" ended up causing a funk that seemed to get deeper and deeper with every breathe I took. It was unrealistic for me to think everything would be the same, but for some reason I thought it would...or maybe I didn't really think about it at all which is why it hit me like a ton of bricks. Well this year that is changing, we are making new traditions and truly remembering the reason for the season. Also, I just want to throw in that I miss cool weather in the winter...or just having seasons at all. Do you know how hard it is to describe seasons in a place where there are non? (okay, that ADD moment has past, moving right along then)
This year our Thanksgiving traditions started on Monday when we went to the store to get the necessities for our Festivus Pole. We got the idea for a Festivus Pole, obviously, from Seinfeld.
The below quotes are taken from Wikipedia
Frank Costanza: "Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reached for the last one they had, but so did another man. As I rained blows upon him, I realized there had to be another way."
Cosmo Kramer: "What happened to the doll?"
Frank Costanza: "It was destroyed. But out of that a new holiday was born: a Festivus for the rest of us!"
Kramer: "That must have been some kind of doll."
Frank Costanza: "She was."
We don't actually celebrate Festivus which I have found people actually do...but we needed a new tradition that was affordable and still kept true to our need for filling the house with pretty Christmas decorations. A tree just isn't very realistic for us here. First of all they are REALLY pricey and bulky, second of all I'm quite sure they are a haven for mice and scorpions. We figured a Festivus Pole could be decorated like a tree but was small enough to move around and sweep under. Plus, who wants to wake up on Christmas morning, grab a gift, and get stung by a scorpion...NOT ME.
all the items needed for an amazing Festivus Pole
The new traditions continued on Tuesday when I rode the bus by myself for the first time to get the ingredients for the eggnog I would be making. Wednesday evening I made eggnog, since you can't buy any here, and we went to the store to get all the ingredients needed for our Thanksgiving feast (and a box of American Donuts for the morning).
Recipe will follow at the end of this post
Thursday morning when we got up we had our eggnog and donuts while watching the Macy's Day Parade
When we were finished with that we got dressed and took some Christmas pictures
On Friday evening we decorated our Festivus Pole while drinking Carlo Rossi mixed with Gingerale...since it's $15 for a small bottle of Lanbrusco here
We hung the stockings mom and dad brought when they came in February on random nails in our livingroom
Then we made another random decoration and hung lights. I must say this year has been great.
Cooked Eggnog Recipe
8 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
16 ounces (1 pint) whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. nutmeg
In stand mixer bowl, beat egg yolks until they lighten in color. Gradually add the sugar and continue beating until completely dissolved. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, over high heat, combine milk, heavy cream and nutmeg and bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and gradually temper the hot mixture into the egg and sugar mixture. Return everything to pot and cook until mixture reaches 160 degrees F. Remove from heat and pour into a pitcher.
This recipe was inspired by Alton Browns recipe on the Food Network

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Test of Faith

When we started this walk into "Wonderland" it was quite the adventure. Leaving everything we had known for so, friends, culture, language, our church...and moving into a new adventure of life that God was calling us to. It's so exciting when you hit that point because you feel like you've arrived, that you're at the place God has called you to, so what more is there really? Now your living out the true calling! I remember the feelings I had a year ago...sadness muffled by the excitement of it all. I mean, how could we be sad? We are going out to do the Lords work. Then I remember arriving in Nicaragua and meeting the people we would live with for 3 weeks for the first time. I remember a feeling of gratitude towards them, that the longer I'm here, grows in immensity. Liz and Jed Brien, who never asked for a single thing, but opened their house to strangers...they fed us, showed us around, helped us find a car and a house. They explained Nicaraguan life and the ups and downs that come and go. Fast friends...and the wonder of it all is they never asked a single thing in return! Since we moved, distance has kept us apart...but we are forever indebted to these friends of ours who God so graciously put in our lives, with the help of Melissa Radliff (Thank you Melissa).
As this year has past the "adventure of it all" changed from "adventure" to life. We learned rather quickly that we hadn't arrived at anything. In fact it seems like God is working on us more than ever now. Everything changed in a blink of an eye. There are days when I wonder what I'm even doing, if anything at all. When we moved here all I knew was English so the opportunity for friends never, until recently, really presented itself. I felt so alone. I was in this house and felt so utterly helpless. I remember Preston leaving to go to the church or to go do some work and thinking, "What am I going to do if somebody comes by the house? (which happened often) What if something happens to the kids? How will I get help?". I remember having to get used to the fact that nobody understood me and I didn't understand anybody and my only friends were Preston and the kids. Poor Preston, all the pressure was on him, because he knew way more Spanish than I did. Now, looking back, I know that wasn't as much as I thought it was.
We have learned a lot about people since we moved here. We've learned that when you're a missionary (I guess that's what you call us...we just followed Jesus here) you are not seen as one in the place you arrive. I mean, what if someone came to your home town and said, "I am a missionary and feel like God has called me and my family here." what would your response be to that? I think that everybody is called to serve wherever they are, so why does it have a special name when you're serving in another Country, or anywhere for that matter? Why ARE some people called to serve one place and other people called to serve another place? Do culture and government borders have any relevance to God when He's calling a person to go somewhere? Did the Nation of Isreal NEED a forenier named Ruth to unlock the blessings God had in store for those people. Couldn't He have just used an Israelite woman to start the Davidic line?
We have learned that many people think EVERYTHING is "cultural", if I never hear that word again in my life it will be too soon. It's true there are many cultural differences...Happy Birthday mariachi bands at 3 or 4am, constant fireworks, people walking for a funeral and holding up traffic in respect for the dead, being called whitey almost every time somebody I don't know addresses me, people trying to take advantage of us because of the color of our skin, being an hour late and still being early, no a/c, buying only what's needed for a day or two, no animal rights...this list continues, but these are a few. We understand the culture that we have moved to, not all the time, but most of the time. When we talk to people in the States they don't think we understand the "culture" that we are living in. On the same token, when we try to tell someone that something they are doing, here, just isn't biblical, again, we don't understand the culture. I've never in my life known so many people to use the word "culture", as a cop out, so often. Your "culture" should not go directly against what the bible says to I wrong in this thinking? When somebody stands in my house and lies right in front of my face, then turns to me and says, "it's ok, it's cultural", I'm supposed to say, "OOOhhhhh, ok then"? No, I won't do that, because if that's a part of your culture, it's a part that you need to change in your life. Why? because it's biblical!
I try to have patience but I also feel alone in the fact that many people who have been here on short term missions trips feel like they know my surroundings better than me. It's like a teenager who regularly goes to summer camp, and feels that they need to instruct the new counselors. Here's the thing, those counselors have already been trained. As have we, the difference is the person training us happens to be Christ. I just think when you follow the calling on your life, your provided with the appropriate training...this doesn't mean we are perfect, but it does mean we have a supernatural understanding and wisdom that we didn't have before. Don't you believe God can provide that? This is where the loneliness comes in.
Let's talk about the bible for a second shall we? Noah had the great and wonderful task to build an ark. I often think of Noah during my days here. How hard it must have been on him and his family, to daily be mocked. Do you think it was culturally relevant for him to be building an ark? These people had never seen rain! But as he continued God gave him supernatural training as he needed it. He spoke to Noah, He gave him wisdom and knowledge. Do we not believe that that same God can't effect us in similar ways today. I know I do, even if that makes me the object of ridicule and mocking.
Here's the thing, when I tell people we followed Christ here and, as of now, we rely fully on God prompting the hearts of those, who can, to support us, people don't understand. When I try to explain it, it brings further confusion. Some people just don't understand why we can't just get a job. It's simple...tent making opportunities, like Paul, right? Wrong, we aren't Paul, we our Carrie and Preston. We don't follow the calling He has on the lives of others, we follow the calling He has on our lives. The bible is meant to help us to be more Christ like, to help us know the man who died for our sins...not to provide a formula for life. Our "mission" here is to simply serve Nicaragua, the second poorest Country in this hemisphere, while asking nothing in return from these people, not money, not title, nor recognition. If a "workman is worthy of his hire", and you "don't muzzle the ox", then we refused the right to "earn" a living, and again, trust that our provision comes from the hearts that the Holy Spirit has touched. Most of you know Preston and I. You know that we aren't normal. Nothing will change that. Why? Well, we believe in following Christ in the way He directs us to. Sometimes that looks different, ok...a lot of times that looks different! Is different bad?
When John Wimber planted The Vineyard, it looked different. People were drawn to it, because he was following the Holy Spirit into a whole new way of life. Carol Wimber, his wife, didn't even believe in the gift of tongues, until she was awaken one night, with the Holy Spirit on her, speaking in tongues. He had a belief that to live as a Christian, you lived a life following Christ. In all the sermons I've seen of his, and I've seen quite a few, never did he say, "but make sure it's culturally relevant". What I did get from his sermons is follow the Holy Spirit wherever he leads you, no matter how different or stupid you look. We're talking about a man who would write an entire sermon, then, the Holy Spirit would fall on him, and he would throw the sermon away and preach on something entirely different, because, after all, it wasn't his was Gods ministry. We're talking about a man who came home one day and decided to sell all of his belongings, because he felt that that is what he needed to do. We're talking about a man who, in the beginning, only knew the chapter of John and led people to Christ through that. Do you think he cared about culture or looking different? I don't. Some days I think about John...I wonder if he would be encouraging us now. I like to think he would.
The truth of the matter is this, I have leaders in my life. God, Christ, the Holy Spirit (3 in one as it were), my mother, my father, my mother-in-law, my father-in-law, John Wimber (I watch the sermons) these are the people I turn to. I was raised by two amazing people who followed Christ places that didn't make sense. I've watched them be hurt and tormented by people, and still give EVERYTHING that they have. These were my examples. My in-laws too. My Father-in-law who gave up a good paying job and became an artist and worked for himself. Both of these families have come through trial and tribulation and the entire time have fallen on God as their rock. Misunderstood, mistreated, misread, they continued come hell or high water...and never has God forsaken them. These are the people who molded us, who taught us, who continue to encourage us...and who pull us up from the depths when we need it most. Encouragement, love, believing, holding us from afar, praying for us...these are the people who help us continue when we feel like there's nothing left. Who remind us of the many reasons we're here. Who make us feel like followers, not failures. And this is who I blame for giving me the passion to follow Christ with all my mind, body and soul!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Fill 'er Up

As many of you already know, Preston and I have been trying to sell our car. The reason we got Petrona (Our VW Bus) was to sell our car in order to come home for a visit and pay off the dentist (long story...I will explain in another post). We were asking for $5,000 for the car, then we dropped it to $4,800. We bought it for $5,000 and have only been driving it for about 7 months...although a bus had sideswiped us in it! One day the Lord really fell on Preston and let him know that we would be practically giving the car away. That it had been a blessing to us when we needed it and now it would be a blessing to somebody else. A couple days later I had a check up at the dentist office, and he asked about the car. We told him that we would be willing to sell it to him for the remainder of the dental work we owed plus $2,000 so that we could come home for a visit. That night we met him and he took us to his house/church. Apparently my dentist is a Pastor as well, his wife is in the States talking at conferences about leadership in the church. He and a few people from his church were telling us about the value of leadership and sowing into the leaders you have...and how it grows the church and leads to the reproduction of disciples. They were telling us about the apostolic and discipleship making calling God has on their church. Preston and I really loved talking with them about everything God is doing and really felt like God had brought us to this dentist, his house, to make the sell of this car...for a major reason. We just aren't quite sure what that reason is yet. We can really see a friendship growing here and are excited to see what the future holds with this relationship. So there is a very shortened version of the sell of are car and what went into that. And now for Petrona...
Oh, Petrona...she's definitely my girl! When I haven't worked out for a couple days she does me the favor of running out of gas or breaking down so that I can get off my butt and do some work. Or if I'm really hot, again, she has the courtesy to do me the same favor so I can produce more sweat which in turn will cool me down IF a small gust of wind should come...really pushing her gives me vitamin D from the sun, exercise, a tan...See...What did I say? Petrona totally wants to see me healthy and tan! The funny thing is, when she does break down or run out of gas I never really feel hopeless or mad in any way. Even though we have no a/c and 3 kids with us when it's happening. I'm always giving her "at a girls" when shes running smoothly to try to encourage her to continue on this wonderful path. I have really gotten used to the fact that no matter what when you get in Petrona you really never know what is going to happen. I'm sure our friends here think we are completely nuts for selling are good car with a/c for so cheap and using Petrona as our only vehicle, we have been told many times that we are crazy. The thing is, nothing we do is off the cuff. I know it may seem like we're just crazy kids living this crazy "missionary" life style...but we really do pray and listen for what we should do next every time we make decisions. Listen, when we knew we would be living in Nicaragua we always envisioned we would be in something like Petrona, and were very blessed that we had the car for the time we did, and are even more blessed that we could pass that on to somebody who needs it and grow a relationship. Nothing bad has come from the many mishaps with Petrona, in fact we have met amazingly nice people who are always ready and willing to help us in any way possible. I remember the day Preston took me to see Petrona for the first time...I knew that she would be ours and she was going to be something special! And man is she ever. She has taught me the peace of Christ because in every situation with her I have this unexplainable peace. I could go on, but continuing to talk about our bus like a person might actually start to freak some people out and you may even think that in the months we've been here I've completely lost my mind.
So here's the story most of you probably came to the site to see it goes...
Yesterday started much like any other day. I peeled myself out of bed at 5am completely drenched in sweat because of the awful hot weather right now. I splashed some water on my face and did my workout. When I was done with that I started on the mountain of dishes from the day before, I was just too tired to actually do them the night before. I took a shower and prayed that God make the water cool enough so that I wasn't still sweating when I got out (no such luck). As I got dressed I gave Preston a kiss on the cheek and let him know it was time to get up and start the day. Every morning we start the day with an hour coffee time...this is something we've done for years and will continue to do forever. As we had our coffee I hung the clothes on the line to dry. Like I said, a typical morning...although, this wasn't a typical morning because today was the day we had been invited by Doug and Julie Effinger to come spend the day with them at their beach house. We are definitely beach people so we were all over that we just LOVE the Effingers. So we got our bathing suites on, grabbed some towels, sunscreen, ibuprofen (the waves can be brutal and I'm old) and snacks and piled into Petrona for the long journey to the beach. On our way we stopped off at the corner fruit stand to get sliced fruit for breakfast and stopped at the store to get sandwich stuff for lunch. We pulled Petrona into the gas station to feed her big ol' belly. We had just put some gas in the day before so we only put about $10 in. Petrona doesn't have a working gas gauge so Preston marked a stick and that's what we use to see how much gas she needs. Then we were off!
On the way to the beach there wasn't very much traffic even though there was a little road work here and there. We coasted down toward La Boquita (the beach) admiring the beautiful Country we are living in. I looked out at all the hills completely dry and brown and Preston and I discussed how dry it is right now, and how there must be a lot of wild fires out here. You see, people who live in the Country and in the City burn their trash, so some of the places we passed were completely black as far as the eye could see...that made me think wild fire. We were enjoying the drive, it was going well...the roads were smooth everyone and was in a good mood. The occasional, "Are we there yet?" chimed from the back seat, and was usually followed up by some kind of singing or giggling. We continued on past the turn for La Boquita because the Effingers beach house is in a more remote location. At one point a wasp or bee flew into the bus and ended up stinging Preston. We got pulled over once, but once the officer saw me fanning the kids with a flimsy piece of paper, he had pity on us and let us go. A couple more insects with stingers appeared here and there, I was beginning to think there was some kind of nest hidden in our vehicle. The road changed from paved to dirt, dirt to rocky, rocky to potholed, back to dirt and this cycle continued for a while. At one point Preston looked at me and said, "Hmmmm, maybe we should have gotten a little more gas". I remember thinking, well that's not something I want to hear...the last gas station was miles back. Finally, we got to the beach house. We asked the Effingers if there was a gas station anywhere near by, they let us know it was about 25-30 miles away, back in town.
The day was beautiful. We talked, laid in hammocks, ate lunch together, talked some more, went swimming, surfed some waves, sat in rocking chairs, talked some more...Joe and Doug took a walk along the beach and talked while Preston and Raymond road the boogie board and surfed the waves, Caroline just would run in the water then run out with this cute little silly laugh. When we came in (which is an open porch right on the beach) the kids built stuff in the sand and Caroline made sand was fabulous...and all the kids were FULL of sand. As the sun started to set we were longingly looking out at the water thinking, "I WANT TO GO BACK IN!" but we had to head back while we still had some light. We all agreed that we had to do this again, and next time we should stay the night. We showed Doug and Julie how cool Petrona was, Preston checked the gas and said, "There should be more then enough to make it to town"...we all piled in and started the journey home. Doug told us to call if we had any troubles, but we were pretty sure we would be fine. As we drove away I remember thinking, I wish this day never had to end...little did I know it would soon feel like it never WOULD end.
As we started the drive back to town I was thinking, "What was I thinking this morning when I didn't grab a shirt to change into?" The tied knot in the back of my super cute swimsuit was digging deeper and deeper into my back. I could feel a bruise starting to form. Every time I wear this suite I have this problem, you'd think by now I'd just grab an extra shirt. Then my thoughts went from that to a small prayer about Petrona not running out of gas in the middle of nowhere, especially now that it was starting to get dark. Just about this time I hear a spu-spu-spudering sound. Insert Preston, "Oh man, what's happening? come on Petrona....what's going on?" spu-spu-spu...dead! At this moment all I could think was, "Man, I wonder if we're going to eat dinner tonight because I am so hungry right now." This was immediately followed up by an urge to start laughing uncontrollably. It took everything in me to hold back, because I knew if I let lose Preston really might think he married a crazy person, we weren't at the, "this is such a funny story" point of this "adventure" yet. We were about 15 miles from town, we were in the middle of nowhere, it was dark and Petrona had run out of gas. We called the Effingers 3 times but figured they weren't getting service or something. We were in front of some kind of ranch, so we pushed Petrona further off the road and took the 3 tired kids out of the van. I could see a bunch of small fires off in the distance from behind the gate of this ranch. We saw somebody with a flashlight and tried to get their attention, but no such luck. So, we stuck out our thumbs and hoped for a passing car to pick us up. The boys were all too eager to hitch a ride, I kept having to pull them back from the road and tell them to stand behind me. The cars flew past one after another, but nobody seemed to want to pick up a hitch-hiking family of 5 at night. At one point Preston said out loud, "Lord please just send a vehicle to pick us up" I'm talking seconds after Preston uttered these words a truck passed and stopped...Preston ran up to the truck and they agreed to take us to town. We had a bottle that would probably fit $5 of gas in it, so we all piled into the back of this truck. As I got in, the tailgate nearly fell off and I thought, "Oh, great these people are going think I'm completely destroying their truck and kick us out!" The trip into town was a long one, about half way there I started wondering how we were going to get another bottle to put gas in, because what we had would not be enough. The truck we sat in was a work truck and was full of some kind of white sand. Periodically the tail gate would fly open and sand would fly into all of our eyes. At one point Preston put his hand on my leg and said, "I'm sorry honey". I just looked into his eyes and thought to myself, there's not a person in the world I would rather be living this life with. How lucky am I? It doesn't matter what life may throw at us, as long as I have my best friend by my side, it's just another adventure. At no time during this was I scared...just hungry. Then, the truck abruptly came to a stop but we weren't in town and there wasn't a gas station in sight. Thoughts of having to walk the rest of the way ran through my head, but fortunately the driver was being dropped off and his wife took over. When we got into town, the woman dropped us off, and all I could think was, "Thank you God for getting us here".
Now Preston only had $200 cords on him, which is about $10. We walked to a gas station (the woman dropped us off a couple blocks from one) and hoped that they took credit...they didn't. Preston went looking for another bottle to put gas into, and a store owner was nice enough to give him one he had lying around for free. Our plan had been to buy the gas with credit and pay a taxi, if we could find one, to take us back to the van. The gas station didn't take credit, so Preston put $120 cords of gas in a container and went to a nearby clusters of mototaxis. He asked how much it would be to take us back to our van and nobody would go lower than $200 cords. It was quite a ways out (15 miles or so) and exactly the amount both of us thought it would be, so we asked if there was a place with an ATM nearby. Fortunately, there was another gas station near by and Preston was able to get money out and fill the other bottle. The ride back to the van was a long one in the little mototaxi, but felt shorter than the ride to the gas station. Caroline and Raymond fell asleep and Joe was in and out. At one point Preston started to laugh and again I was reminded we are a match made in heaven. I told him about having to hold back when we ran out of gas and he was appreciative that I did. We were a small distance from the van and could see fire in the distance, it looked like a forest fire. Visions of an out of control fire engulfing our Petrona went through my head. Suddenly, we saw Petrona, she was fine! We paid the mototaxi driver, no sooner had the money touched his hand and he was gone. I put the kids in the van and Preston and I put the gas into her. We pushed her into a position where she could get gas. Finally...she started and we were on our way back into town to get more gas. Preston was wondering why the gas seemed to be gone so quickly...I just figured she was a gas guzzler. We got into town and as we pulled in front of the gas pump she died. We put gas in her and started driving out of the gas station. Spu-spu-spu dead! Preston fiddled with the engine...nothing! We tried push starting a couple times...still nothing. A taxi driver and the guy at the pump tried helping a couple times, but they gave up. I went to the door, got in the van and thought to myself...I'm just going to sleep here tonight. Preston looked at me and said, "Come on, let's push." then he looked behind us and said, "Oh did the guys who were helping leave?" I nodded yes and sluggishley sauntered to the back of the van to push again. I started pushing and just then a man came up from behind to help...she started! I thanked him and we continued home. We made it all the way to the front of our neighborhood, accidentally sideswiped the guards car but there was no damage. We made it home. No I did not make the kids take a freezing cold shower, I let them go to bed all sandy and gross! Preston and I took showers and collapsed. Preston made some dip and we ate chips and dip for dinner...WHAT A DAY!
MEET PETRONA...take a look at her insides
Preston checking the gas
The back
The back seat...we just discovered that this isn't actually bolted down. It is our goal to get it bolted down and seat belts for the kids.
This is how we lock the back door
The front seat
None of these gauges actually work
This is our review this time we have no side mirrors, but we hope to get some one day :)
This is a common position for Preston...this is the actual moment he realized the carburetor gasket is bad and she's leaking gas

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


WOW...these past couple of weeks have been quite eventful...sometimes it seems like the week is over before it even begins! I have so much to talk about that this really is an "all-in-one" kind of blog post. And the heat...OOOHHHHHHHH the heat! it's been pretty dang hot here, and I hear next month will be worse. You know when you walk outside in Texas this time of year...and you walk straight into a swarm of gnats? Or fly season when they seem to be everywhere? That's what it's like with the mosquitoes here right now. I mean they've always been here, but I will sit down and they fly up like dust particles...I'm not joking. I light coils, plug in raid and spray...still our skin is looking quite lumpy from the many bites we've gotten. I've been sick for the past 3 or 4 days...I'm pretty sure it was a parasite because when I started taking the medication, I started feeling better...parasite medication is disgusting...yuck!
On the up side though, we have been doing a lot. Last week I got a chance to snap some pictures of the English class we do at our house...the kids on our street come and Preston teaches them English. I just teach them songs like...the hokey poky and head, shoulders, knees and toes. I'm sure they think I'm crazy hahaha
This handsome young man raising his hand is David...he lives a few houses down and his mom runs a store out of their house. She will be coming over this week to learn how to make pizza. She told me the last time she made it for her husband the crust was so thick that he wouldn't eat it. We have short conversations because my Spanish isn't very good, but I like her a lot. I pray blessings on this family all the time.
The girl with her head down to the right is Gabriella. The first time she came to class she was crying because she didn't want to be here, but since then she has warmed up nicely. Her mom is from Honduras and her father is from Korea (I think)...she is so sweet...and her little brother runs over to our house all the time and squishes his little chubby cheeks up against the gate. I just love that!
Here's a shot of all of the kids! Raymond, Joe and Caroline normally join in the class and learn some Spanish. They enjoy Tuesday's and Wednesday's so much
I really like this kid...I can't remember his name right now and Preston's at a church meeting or I would ask him. He says, "Hi" to us every time he sees us
Of coarse I had to get one of Preston teaching in there...he's so dreamy!
So the past few weeks really have been crazy and I've learned a lot...especially through our homeschooling experience. One thing I learned is I can't do everything. Another thing I learned is everything doesn't have to be perfect. I broke down and got the kids and for math. That coupled with the hooked on phonics math, spelling and reading...has been amazing. Here are a few pics of them doing one of the hooked on phonics math games together. (Please note I know the photos you are about to see aren't the best in the world, but they were working together without fighting which is pretty cute...also, Caroline's hair is special and I thought the world should be privy to such an atrocity)
As some of you may know my 30th birthday is less than a week away. I started working on Preston aboout our "need" for a sewing machine quite some time ago...and subtly hinted here or there (on facebook). Anyway, I knew that this could save us money on things like clothing and such...and as a plus it would give me a creative out. I would look at sewing projects on Pinterest and long to be doing them myself...yeah I know...I'm a freak. Well, imagine my surprise when Walter and Susan Bennett from the Conroe Vineyard offered to get it for me. This week, the day I got sick, I purchased said sewing machine. It felt like the best day of my life. I just imagined all the possibilities of thing I could do with it. Hemming pants, sewing holes in shorts and jeans, making pajama shorts for the kids, possibly making a dress or two for Caroline. I was so determined that I braved the Oriental Market with our friends Donnie and Eva while sick to my stomach. It was fun...Eva introduced us to the man who she got all the fabric from her wedding from and he ended up giving me the 2 yards of fabric for FREE! I was ecstatic. I did learn a few pattern is what you draw on a newspaper and cut out yourself. When I've asked about patterns people look at me like I'm crazy. Also, I learned that cotton isn't everywhere, I'm not exactly sure what kind of fabric I got, but I know there wasn't any cotton. Here is a picture of the glorious sewing machine...I can't thank the Bennetts enough.
The next lesson I learned came today when I was actually well enough to start sewing. I had a pair of Preston's jeans ironed and pinned to hem them (along with the long list of jeans that I was going to hem stacking up in my head:)...I learned quite quickly that you need a more durable needle for hemming jeans. I discovered this when I pushed on the peddle to start my first sewing job and the needle broke. Luckily I had bought some at the market. I went and got the fabric and started on the pajama shorts for Raymond. With a few clicks of the mouse I discovered how to thread the bobbin, needle and thanks to to make a pair of pajama pants/shorts without a's what I ended up with
I know they aren't perfect but I did learn a lot on my very first sewing adventure...EVER IN MY LIFE! I had tried sewing before, but the machine would never work for that I have one that works...I'm so excited.
Okay, so I will end on this...this is why I have the best and worst husband in the world!
I was craving cream cheese danishes, so he made them...and now he won't stop. Seriously day I ate four of them...
Dear God, please forgive my gluttony...P.S. Please make my husband stop making me be a glutton.
Yours Truley,
Carrie Kolb