Thursday, December 27, 2012

"O Christmas Tree" - An Original Version

As I was standing and staring at the box the Christmas tree came in, and wondering how I was going to to fit that tree back into the same box, I heard Martha say, "Daddy...Mommy's breaking up the tree!!" (Job's comforter!)  I finally had to enlist Matt's help, and we ended up putting the tree into one of our large Coleman bags, and sending the box to recycling!  I think I'm going to write my own version of the song "O, Christmas Tree."  I believe it will go something like this.....

"O Christmas Tree" 
by Sarah McKendree

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree, 

My children loved to see you!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Our first Christmas in Peru!
But now you must be stored away,
My daughter thinks I'm breaking you!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
My children loved to see you!

Helping Mommy with the tree!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
We loved your lights and ornaments!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
We liked to open all the presents!
Did you really come in that box?
I wonder now how you fit there!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
We loved your lights and ornaments!

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How did you fit into that box?
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How DID you fit into that box!?!
More help for Mommy with the tree!
I've pressed and squashed, but you don't fit!         
I even had my son and hubby help!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
How did you fit into that box?

O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Now you're finally stored away!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
Not in a box, but in a Coleman bag!
This Christmas was a lovely one,
Filled with family, friends, and fun!
O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree,
He fits into the box better than the tree!
Now we say "¡Chau!"* until next year!!  

*("Chau" - pronounced "chow")                        

Thursday, December 20, 2012

"Can we open the presents now, Mommy?"

"Can we open the presents now, Mommy?"  Martha has asked me this question several times a day for the last few days...ever since the presents started appearing under the tree!  Ian hasn't said much about it, though he has tried to poke at the presents once or twice!  I still have a couple of more things to get and then we'll be done...So we are counting the days until we can open the presents....
 Remember I told you about the "Chocolatada" they have here in Peru to celebrate Christmas?  We have had two recently - one with our Deaf Church in Callao, and one with the Dorm Girls here at Efata.  Here are some pictures with the Dorm girls - they are all Deaf and just as sweet as can be...a little ornery, but sweet!
We filled them up with Paneton and Hot Chocolate - and had a grand time!

Olga (the girl next to me in this picture to the left) is coming to stay with us for the Summer (Doesn't that sound so weird - Summer in December?!?  But that's the blessing of living below the equator!)  We are all looking forward to having Olga stay with us for Christmas and for the Summer!

We have already had a wonderful Christmas season, learning anew the Christmas story and seeing it through the eyes of the Martha and Ian.  
In the three verbal languages that I know (I would sign it to you too if I could, but you can't see me...) I would like to wish everyone a Maayong Pasko, una Feliz Navidad, and a Merry Christmas to all!!!

Saturday, December 15, 2012


Our first Christmas season in Peru...
We (okay...I) set up the tree on Thanksgiving Day - actually it was in the evening after Martha and Ian had gone to bed!  I wish I could have captured the moments when the kids saw the tree the next morning!  It got even better when they saw it with the Christmas lights turned on!  We have had some "tempting moments" concerning the tree - you know...little fingers, pretty lights, and fascinating ornaments!  We decided to make our own ornaments this year.  We have bought a few, but most of the ornaments are homemade.
This is definitely a year of firsts for us.....Martha had her first Christmas party at school, this is our first Christmas in our own house with our own tree, our first year of fun family Christmas traditions, and Martha and Ian's first Christmas program.
Martha got to hold the star - she did a great job!  Of course, the longer the program went, the lower the star got!  I just couldn't get over how "grown-up" she looked up there on the stage with all the other children!
And although you can't see him, Ian got to play the part of Baby Jesus.  One of the Peruvian girls, Sarai, carried him in and laid him in the "Pesebre" (Manger).  He laid there so still, I found it hard to believe it was MY son lying there!  I had several people ask me if it was Ian in the manger or a doll!  Oh, if he would only be that still at home!
This Sunday, we are having a "Chocolatada" with our Deaf Church in Callao.  What is a "Chocolatada"?  I guess the best way to explain it would be to call it a "Hot Chocolate Party."  The hot chocolate they make here is really yummy - it has cinnamon and cloves in it.  They eat "Paneton" (paneton is bread with dried pieces of fruit in it) with their hot chocolate.
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

A Present for Jesus

Ever since Martha was born, we have talked to her about how Jesus wants to save her, how He died just for her sins, and how He wants to live in her heart.
Over the last few months, we have talked to her about salvation in a more personal way.  Although she was understanding all we were telling her, when I would ask her if she wanted to ask Jesus into her heart, she would say, "I'm not ready for that yet, Mom."  I would then ask her if she would tell me when she WAS ready, and she would promise me that she would.
Recently, in our Family Bible Time, Matt has been teaching us about when Jesus was born.  This past week, we have been busy making Christmas ornaments from salt dough.  We have given many of them away.  We have also been talking about what each of us could give Jesus for His birthday this year.  The other night Martha said, "I could give Him my heart!"  We were thrilled to hear her answer that way, but we thought perhaps she was simply repeating one of the suggestions that Daddy had made about what to give Jesus.  We have also been listening to "Christmas Carol" by Patch the Pirate.  We have been listening to a little bit of it every night after supper.  Last night, "Jamie" (the orphan girl) got a new family and got saved!
 When we finished listening to and talking about the story, Martha said, "I'm ready, Daddy.  I'm ready, Mommy.  I've decided."  Matt and I looked at her, then each other - we were both surprised!  I was sitting at the table thinking, "Now what do I do????"  Then I came back to my senses and went and got my Bible.  In the meantime, Daddy asked her, "Are you sorry for your sins?"  She was very sure and firm as she replied, "Yes."  With Martha on my lap, I opened my Bible and once again explained salvation.  She clearly understood, and asked Jesus to live in her heart!
Her prayer (actually prayed in three parts) went like this:  Martha:  "Dear Jesus, I'm sorry for my sins. Amen."  (Mommy:  "Did you ask Jesus to forgive you?") Martha:  "Dear Jesus, please forgive me for my sins. Amen."  (Mommy:  "Did you ask Jesus to come into your heart?")  Martha:  "Dear Jesus, please come live in my heart. Amen."
I wish you could have seen the glow on her face.  She wanted to hug everything!  Now she is learning to not be ashamed or afraid to tell people that she asked Jesus into her heart.  After we had called and she told Grandpa, and we had tried to call Pappy, the next person Martha wanted to tell was "Tio Frank."  How I wish you could see right now, the beautiful moment that is now forever treasured in my heart and mind - the moment when she signed to Tio Frank that she had just gotten saved!
Her face (if it was possible) lit up even more when I explained that now her name in written in The Book of Life and can never be erased!  What a beautiful and precious Christmas gift Martha and our entire family has received this year!  And I know it is even more beautiful and precious to our Saviour!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Picnics and Parties

 Martha came and asked recently if we could have a picnic.  I'm not sure what prompted that inspired idea, but it sounded like fun - plus it was an easy supper idea!  I made tuna sandwiches with avocado slices on them.  All four of us LOVE avocado!!  I had some "special" cookies that we packed in the bag with our sandwiches, and since I didn't have any chips, (I wasn't sure how you could have a picnic WITHOUT chips, but we managed!)  We used Ritz crackers instead!
I made a thermos of hot chocolate and had a little thermos for water also!  What a blessing to have paper plates, paper cups, etc. on hand already (and it meant NO dishes! Can't you see my big cheesy grin that the thought of NO dishes?!)  I was scrambling in my mind to think of what I could use for a picnic basket, when Martha informed me she had a picnic basket.  I scrambled even more in my mind to think what she had that could be used for a basket, and was drawing a blank!  Martha ran to her room, and brought back her pink laundry basket (now why couldn't I have thought of that?)  Of course it meant that all her dirty clothes were dumped out onto the floor, but......well...they were dirty anyway, right?  So we managed to get everything packed in that we would need, including the checkered tablecloth!  Matt was gone to the church at the moment, so the kids and I carried our basket and "hiked" to our picnic spot!  "Hiking" meaning we walked down the hall and back again to the living room!  Matt got home in time to enjoy the picnic.  We had a great time - we'll have to make that a regular "outing" - though it was kind of funny to have a picnic listening to forest sounds on the computer and seeing the Christmas tree all set up with lights twinkling!
Martha had her first school Christmas party yesterday!  She had a great time - she was one of the winners in the cookie decorating contest!  They had a gift exchange, and Martha received her very own coffee cup!  I'll have to take a picture of her with her coffee cup and share it with you!
Opening a Gift is Serious Business!
It is a tradition here in Peru to give Paneton (a dome-shaped bread with dried fruit in it) to people for Christmas.  Martha received her very own Paneton - and opened it right away! 
Martha still has school until December 20th, but then we'll have time for more picnics and parties!
Have a blessed week!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Christmas Music....With Words, Please!

Thanksgiving Dinner with the Silvano's
(Our Language Teacher and his wife)
Our Thanksgiving Feast
Our first Thanksgiving here in Peru was good.  We invited our language teacher and his wife to have dinner with us.  This is the first time I've cooked a whole Thanksgiving meal by myself!  Matt took care of cooking the turkey - it was yummy!  When we are with my family in the States, I am normally in charge of the veggie platter, the cheeses and summer sausage, and the crackers!  I was nervous about how it was all going to turn out, but it was all done at the same time, and everyone said it was delicious!   Throughout October and November, we were writing down our "Items of Thankfulness" on construction paper leaves and saving them in the "basket."  Matt opened our "basket" and read all our leaves, and we had a great time just being thankful and just being together.
And, I kept my promise to Matt that I wouldn't put up ANY Christmas decorations until AFTER Thanksgiving!
 I am still working on making some ornaments for the tree, but this is our first official tree since we've had since we've been married!  I wish you could have seen the kids reaction to the Christmas tree - especially once I turned the lights on!!
 I turned on some Christmas music yesterday, but it was without words! Martha was very disappointed about this, and immediately requested Christmas music - WITH words!  Most of my Christmas music is instrumental, but I did have a CD with words, so I put it in, and she was much happier!  Ian didn't care one way or another - he's just fascinated with the tree!  I have to keep reminding him not to touch it, though!  He likes to see how close he can stand next to it without actually touching it!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Hugs from God

Don't you just love hugs?  And don't you just love it when God gives you a hug?  For me, sometimes God's hugs come in the form of hug from Martha or Ian for no apparent reason.  Sometimes His hugs come from a verse in the Bible read during my quiet time, Family Bible time, or just a verse of comfort brought to mind by the Holy Spirit!  Yesterday was a day full of hugs from God to me.  Let me tell you about my hugs....
     One Sunday morning a few weeks ago, when we were crossing the street to wait for a "moto" to go to the train, I happened to see a 2 Sole (our money here in Peru) coin in the middle of the street.  I couldn't stop to get it, but I told Matt about it, and he (what a Hero!) went back to the middle of the street and picked it up for me!  Yesterday (Sunday) morning, I was thinking about that, and just told the Lord how funny that would be if that ever happened again!  As we went through the turnstile at the train station, something caught my eye.  It was  on the floor by the post for the turnstile.  I picked it up, and it was 10 Soles!  I tried to hand it to the guard, but he waved it back to me.  The train was just coming into the station, so I didn't have time to explain that I had found it!  Matt and Frank told me to keep it - there was no way to find out who it belonged to!  That was hug number one....
     The Lord brought Pedro to my mind yesterday morning, and so I prayed for him.  I learned a long time ago to pray for people when the Lord brings them to mind, not just think about them and wonder how they are doing.  Who is Pedro?  Pedro is a Deaf man that came to church my first Sunday in Callao.  He had told us then that he wouldn't be back because he was moving away for work.  Imagine my surprise and delight to see Pedro come walking through the door at church yesterday morning!  I could hardly believe my eyes!  What a joy it was to be able to tell Pedro, that I had just prayed for him that morning!  Hug number two...
     On the way home, the combi was stopped at a red light.  As usual, the street vendors wandered up and down between the vehicles selling their wares.  Matt had just bought a popsicle, when I saw a lady selling cold bottles of Coca-Cola.  Now I did not NEED that Coke - but oh, how yummy it looked!  I scrambled to get 2 Soles out of my coin purse before the light turned green - I couldn't do it.  The "cobrador" (the person who collects the fare) paid the lady the 2 Soles, the combi took off, and I paid back the cobrador!  Again, I didn't NEED that Coke, and the cobrador didn't HAVE to help me out, but I believe God just reached down and touched that man's heart, just to give ME hug number three!
Waiting for the Cookies to be done!
     I hope you each have a blessed Thanksgiving week, full of hugs from God!  Happy Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

When Super-powers Fizzle

I read a book once about a lady who was often asked, "What do you do?"  When she would respond, "I'm a Mom," she heard people remark, "Oh, that's all?"  Now we all know being a Mom isn't such a simple matter.  She finally came up with the following response:  "I'm a Mom.  What's your super-power?"  
Along with reading carefully through Proverbs this month, I've been doing a serious study of the Proverbs 31 Lady.  Yes, I know....I can already hear you groaning!  I groaned too, when the Lord challenged me to study this famous Lady of the Bible.  I groaned even more when the Lord challenged me to see how I measure up!!  If ever a Lady had "super-powers" that Lady had them!  When I look at all the things She did - consistently - I find myself thinking, "How in the world did she "keep all her plates spinning?  Didn't she EVER sleep?!?"  You would think I would be careful what kind of questions I ask the Lord, but since I haven't learned yet.... I am...letting the Lord show me ways I can apply "P31 Moments" in my own life.  One of my favorite places for thinking things over has become my kitchen sink.  Now before you start thinking how good I am to LOVE washing dishes, let me assure you - I HATE WASHING DISHES!!!  But my kitchen sink is becoming a special place to do some quality thinking (when I'm not hiding in the bathroom)!  Today, as I washed dishes, I got to thinking about that quote, "I'm a Mom.  What's your Super-power."  For me, one thing leads to another in my thoughts (like spaghetti!) and I ended up with the question, "What do I do when the Super-powers fizzle?"  No sooner had I asked my question, when in my mind and in my heart I could hear the song, "We have an Anchor."  Once again I am so thankful for all the times my Mom and I sang our way through the song book!  I knew that song was based on a verse in the Bible, but I wanted to know exactly what the Bible said so I looked it up - Hebrews 6:18-20.  What a blessed fact that Jesus is our Anchor, and He always helps us - no matter which of our "super-powers" fail!  Not only does He bring Scriptures and songs to mind to encourage us, but He also sends little blessings our way - time spent making Thanksgiving decorations with my kiddos, a young lady asking for discipleship, a right answer on a Language School Test!  The second verse of "We Have an Anchor" says,
"It is safely moored, 'twill the storm withstand.
For 'tis well secured by the Saviour's hand;
Though the tempest rage and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o'erflow."
"We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move, 
Grounded firm and deep in the Saviour's love.

When our super-powers fizzle, let's hold tight to our Anchor, Jesus Christ!

Friday, November 2, 2012


Did you ever notice how many times the Book of Proverbs says, "If.....Then..."?  I haven't counted them all up, but I know there are ALOT of them!  I am reading through Proverbs this month in my quiet time.  While I was reading Proverbs 2 this morning, the Lord brought my attention to the "If...Thens."  Just in chapter 2 there are at least 8 "Ifs" - challenges with a promised result ("Then") attached.  As I continued reading this chapter, the Lord challenged me to "Prove Him."  I have always loved a challenge!
I wrote down in my Journal all the "Ifs" I could find in Chapter 2.  As I was looking for the "Thens,"  the Lord drew my attention to the "Results" - what our lives become when we apply the "Ifs" and allow God to give us the "Thens."  It was such a blessing and encouragement to me, that I wanted to share them with you!
IF I will...
1.  Receive My (Jesus') Words
2.  Hide My commandments with thee
3.  Incline thine ear unto wisdom
4.  Apply thine heart to understanding
5.  Cry after knowledge
6.  Lift up thy voice for understanding
7.  Seek her (understanding) as silver
8.  Search for her as for hid treasures
1.  I shall understand the fear of the Lord
2.  I shall find knowledge of God
3.  I shall understand righteousness, judgment, and equity
4.  I shall understand every good path
1.  Wisdom shall be in my heart
2.  Knowledge shall be pleasant to my soul
3.  Discretion shall preserve me
4.  Understanding shall keep me
5.  Deliverance from the way of the evil man
6.  Deliverance from the strange woman
7.  I shall walk in the way of good men
8.  I shall keep the paths of righteousness
Please don't think I am preaching a sermon at you!  I just wanted to share with you this morning the blessing and challenge the Lord has laid before me for this month (and the rest of my life...).  It is going to be an interesting month, but here I go....!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What colors are your blessings?

Mommy's Super Hero
(right after Daddy!)
 Do you ever feel like you are one of those circus performers with the spinning plates?  I often do, as I try to balance hubby and kiddos with language school, house keeping, and ministry!  There are days when I feel like all my plates are crashing down around my head!  Then there are days when I get that "Supermom Complex" - you know, "I can do it ALL because, after all....I'm SUPERMOM!!!"  It is usually right after THAT thought when the plates start to wobble!  Then the Lord gently reminds me that those plates are only kept spinning with His help!  And He adds blessings to my plates - which helps me keep all my plates in order and spinning!
Mommy's Busy Helper
(making a train with the
couch pillows!)
We have been studying Psalm 23 during our Family Bible Time recently.  Martha is memorizing Psalm 23 in school, so we thought we would incorporate it into our Family Bible Time!  It has been a blessing to see her and Ian understand the meaning of each verse.  We learned in verse 1 that we are just like sheep, with God as our Shepherd.  The kids had fun pretending to be sheep!  Then in verse 2 we learned more about sheep and how the Shepherd leads us where we need to go.  When we got to verse 3, Matt explained to the kids about the "staff," that tries to gently correct us and put us back on the right path - and the "rod" that gives us more severe punishment when we ignore the "staff."  I wish you could see the kids eyes get big as they see the meaning of each verse!
Cups Running Over???

Last night we talked about verse 5 - focusing on "My Cup Runneth Over"!  Matt showed them how God "pours" the blessings into our lives.  He used drinking cups that belong to the kids (I wish I had taken a picture!), and poured water into their cups.  Unbeknownst to the kids (or me), Matt had put blue food coloring in their cups, and when their cups overflowed, they overflowed with blue water instead of the clear water Matt was pouring in!  Martha immediately assumed that blessings must be blue!  We took that opportunity to share with her and Ian that blessings come in all shapes and sizes - and maybe even colors?  After all, isn't Autumn Time the perfect example of a "colorful blessing"?  We all took turns sharing something that was a blessing to each of us from the Lord.  Martha's blessing was "going to school," and Ian's was "leaves."  Matt's blessing was "his hat being returned recently after having lost it," and mine was "Family Bible Time."
I will never again think of blessings without thinking of them in "Color"!  I guess the color of one of my blessings this week would be green.  GREEN?!?!  Yes, Green - because the Lord allowed me to save money at the grocery store this week - now THAT is always a blessing!
So, what colors are YOUR blessings?

Thursday, October 25, 2012

My Cup Runneth Over!!

   I have been thinking this week how appropriate the name the Lord gave me for my blog is - "My Cup Runneth Over..."  This week, my cup runneth over - with all kinds of things!  Let me explain....
   Do you ever have one of those weeks where everything seems to go right, and everything seems to go wrong - all at once?  It has been my experience that the going wrong side usually happens because the devil is unhappy about the going right side of things!
   As some of you may know, we go to an area of Lima every Sunday called Callao.  We are helping with a Deaf Mission Church there.  The Lord has been opening all kinds of doors for us, and this past Sunday, "Our cups ran over"!  Including our family and Frank, the Deaf man who goes with us to Callao, we had 13 in church this past Sunday!  And the blessings keep coming!  I have written down the whole story on our Family Website Blog: if you would like to read it.
   Well, you know the devil isn't very happy right now - HA! HA! and I'm glad.  Glad?!?!  Yes, glad.  Because when the devil is mad (even though it means problems), it means the Lord is pleased, and that's what I want - to please the Lord!  I have learned that the devil's anger shows itself in many different ways, and never in the way you expect it.  This time, he chose to try one of his favorite weapons - discouragement.  And I had pretty much given in - sad to say!  My cup was running over, but I wasn't letting it run over with my "Whatsoever List" from Philippians 4:8-9!
   The Lord has laid a burden on my heart for quite some time about the need for good books - missionary biographies in particular - translated into Spanish.  One of my favorite books is Evidence Not Seen.  I had asked several people, including the Pastor who is the "caretaker" of her book, and everyone told me the same thing - "There is no Evidence Not Seen in Spanish."  How my heart was saddened at the thought of the Spanish-speaking world missing out on so great a treasure!  Even as I felt the Lord nudging me to translate Darlene's book, the doubts came flooding in.  It doesn't matter what the Enemy said, suffice it to say he said it, and I listened.  But I was excited and I started in with this project!  Yesterday was a particularly difficult day with our language studies, and I was in despair!  But our Lord is so faithful to bring encouragement along at the right moment!  Yesterday was no exception, and He used our language teacher to give me the "Pep Talk" I needed.  My cup was running over again - this time WITH my "Whatsoever List."
   Yesterday I was ready to give up on my God-given project, believing the Enemy's lies of being unqualified, how full of arrogance and pride I must be to take on a project like this, and all the other reasons he laid at my feet for why I should not continue.  But today, I take up my pen and persevere - knowing 100% that this project is from the Lord, and He will enable me to do the task He has given me!  Please pray with me and for me concerning this project!  I don't know how it is all going to come out in the end, but I know the Lord's hand is in it, and the end will be wonderful!
Truly, MY CUP RUNNETH OVER.....!!!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Stop Talking and Do What You're Told!"

McKendree Family 2012
"Stop talking and do what you're told."  How many times did I hear those words when I was a kid?  Now I'm a Mommy, and I hear myself saying those exact same words to my children!  When I'm talking to my Daddy, I will occasionally mention things that I have said or done exactly like he and my Mom did with me.  I wish you could hear the howl of laughter that comes from him right after I've shared one of those "moments" with him!

The other day, I found myself saying to Martha, "Stop talking and do what you're told!"  I must confess that there was just a slight edge of irritation in my voice.  She went and did what she had been told to do, and I went back to washing my dishes.  I was about half way back to the sink when the Holy Spirit smote my heart, and I heard Him saying those words to me!  I squirmed and started "talking back" to the Holy Spirit - trying hard to "help" Him see my side of the story!  Again I heard, "Stop talking and do what you're told!"  I immediately began thinking of things in my life that I have been "told" to do, and how many times I neglect to do them!  Ooooh!  How patient and loving the Holy Spirit is with us - isn't He?!

Enjoying our new 3-D Books of Peru!
Exploring Peru in 3-D!
Isn't it funny (and convicting) how God uses our children to teach us more about our relationship with our Heavenly Father?  I sometimes think I learn more from my children, than they learn from me!  How precious those "learning moments" are to me!  

So, like my children, I am (again) learning the lesson of "Stop talking and do what you're told!"  And, just like for my children, it is sometimes a hard lesson for me to remember and obey!  But praise the Lord, I have His patience and loving-kindness to help me as I learn these valuable lessons with my children!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Happiness Is....

Ian's Moto
One of my favorite books is a Peanuts book called "Happiness Is....a Warm Blanket."  I think I am going to write my own version of a "Happiness Is...." book!  I started out to write this blog yesterday morning,  but then got side-tracked with trying to figure out how to put Ian's "moto" (motorcycle) back together!  How hard could it possibly be to put a plastic motorcycle back together????  Apparently it is more complicated than I thought - or I'm having a "moment"!  Praise the Lord, Daddy walked in the door at that moment - wah hoo!!  I've seen the "moto" together enough times, you would think I could remember where all the pieces should go - ha!  Now I ask you - does this look like a complicated piece of machinery?

Our Favorite Mechanic!
But, try as I would, I just couldn't put it together again - kind of like Humpy Dumpy (Martha's endearing name for the beloved Humpty Dumpty!)  However, our fearless mechanic came to the rescue and in no time, the job was done, and I had two happy kiddos once more!  One of the blessings that I have discovered in having a 3 year old and a 2 year old is that it really doesn't take much to make them happy!
This morning "Happiness was....a moto put back together!
The Happy Mechanic and Customers!

For Martha, "Happiness is"....a bowl of popcorn...or two...or three...or the whole big container!  She reminds me of my cousin's daughter, Maria - she loves to eat popcorn too!  Wouldn't the two of them have a great time eating popcorn together?

For Ian, "Happiness is"... a hotdog!  Almost every time I start cooking, Ian appears instantly at my side - inquiring (quite hopefully, I might add) if I'm making hotdogs!  The new blender is something else that really makes Ian happy - he comes running with a big grin on his face when he hears me running the blender!

In my spare moments, I have been reading "Pollyanna."  Yes, there is a book - not just a movie!  Sometimes the book isn't as good as the movie, but in this case it is better.  It's funny what the Lord uses sometimes in your life to correct your attitudes about things!  As you probably know, Pollyanna always played "The Glad Game."  Well, we've started playing "The GAME" with Martha and Ian, and it is amazing how things look much better when you look for something to be glad about!  It really is just another way to "Rejoice in the Lord always"!

For me, happiness is....being with my little family and serving God here in Peru.  Is it always easy?  No.  Do I always meet the obstacles and challenges with joy and excitement?  No.  But when I let Him, God helps me find those little jewels of happiness.  What would you put in your book called "Happiness Is.....?

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

"The Bers" and Family Traditions

When I lived in the Philippines, I learned about "The Bers."  I always look forward to "The Bers"!  What are "The Bers"?  "The Bers" are the last four months of the year.  You know -SeptemBER, OctoBER, NovemBER, and DecemBER!!  The coming of "The Bers" means two of my favorite times of the year are close at hand - Fall and Christmas!  So now October is here, and so is my favorite time of the year!  As you can see through my windows it is still pretty gray and gloomy looking outside!  But everyone tells me it is Spring!  Since there are no fall colors here in Peru, so I decided to remedy that and put fall on my windows!  My Honey looked so pleased when I finally got all the leaves cut out and hung up on the windows.  He said, "Now it LOOKS like fall!"

The sun shone for a little while on Sunday, and then again yesterday.  It was enough sun that Martha came home sunburned!  She is a lovely shade of pink right now - what a blessing that one of her favorite colors happens to be pink!  Matt took this picture of the sun peeking through the clouds.  It was exciting to see the sun - we haven't seen it for months!  That's how our winter here in Peru is, though!  I look forward to seeing the sun again during summer!

But, back to Fall and my leaves have more than just a mere decorative purpose - oh, yes!  These leaves are going to play a major role in our Thanksgiving meal this year!  No, I'm not going to sneak them into the stuffing or mashed potatoes!  As I was cutting out these leaves, I got to thinking that I wanted them to be more than just a decoration - I wanted them to have a purpose.  So the Lord gave me a beautiful idea - which is going to become a family tradition!  Bro. Ross, one of our teachers in college, always used to say, "Thanksgiving must be practiced!"  So that is what we are going to do!  Every day one of us gets to take a leaf off the window, and I write on it one thing that the person who removed it is thankful for and sign his/her name.  I made a little "basket" and hung it on our bulletin board.  We are "collecting leaves" in our basket.  On Thanksgiving, we will open our "basket" and read all the things we are thankful for.  I am going to have to make more leaves to last us until Thanksgiving, but I am excited to have a new family tradition!

When "The Bers" come, I always long for fall colors, for picking apples from Hick's Orchard, and for drinking fresh apple cider with fresh apple cider donuts!  It is a great joy and comfort to look at my windows and see my little piece of Autumn!  And I have the fun of looking forward to reading over all our reasons to be Thankful on Thanksgiving Day!  I hope today will be a beautiful Autumn day for matter where you live!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Life as we know it!

Playing with Daddy!
Life on the mission field is never dull, as many of you know.  Most of you know that we have been going to Callao as a family.  The kids love to ride on the train, however the ride does get tedious at times.  I have started singing with the kids on the train and on the "Combi."  It seems to help, and I can't help but laugh as I listen to what I'm singing!  Ever since the kids were babies, I have always adjusted songs to make them more personal.  "Jesus Loves Me" has become "Jesus Loves You!"  Of course with both Ian and Martha song titles have changed from what I remember them!  I sometimes have a hard time deciphering which song they are requesting!  For example:  "Jesus Loves the Little Children" is often requested as "English, Irish, French, and Jew."  The other day, Martha asked me "for the black and white people song."  Since I had just finished singing "Jesus loves the Little Children" (the "English, Irish, French, and Jew" version), I assumed she wanted the same song in the "Red and yellow, black and white" version.  Whew!!  I was right!

Not only do I change the songs to make them more personal, I have started trying to fit them to our situation.  For example:  We ride "Combis" quite often.  So I decided to change "The Wheels on the Bus" to "The Wheels on the Combi"!  Now my kids will grow up thinking that's the way the song really goes!  Imagine their confusion years from now when they are in Sunday School in the States on furlough and they sing that song!  Poor kiddos!  But they love it, and every time we get on the train, they start asking for the song about "Dinosaur Jack"!  Right now, Jack is reserved for Sundays, but I have a feeling he is going to become a household name - at least in our house!

Here are some pictures of the latest amusements!  We had some big boxes left from some purchases recently and the kids had a grand time with them! I walked into the kitchen where Ian was playing with his box, and this is what I saw....Hmm....all ready for Pappy? Grandpa?....I couldn't decide, so I decided to keep him with me!

Yesterday, the kids decided they wanted to use a "manta" with their toys.  The Peruvians (mostly the women from the mountains) use a piece of fabric to tie their babies onto their backs to carry them around!  I have a "manta" that I use with Ian - it frees up my hands when we are going places - but you should see the Peruvians stare!  Martha is the one that started this...she wanted to put Elizabeth in the "manta" so I let her use mine.
 Ian, of course, wanted to join in the fun... so I used his favorite blanket as a manta, put his faithful "Oof" in there, tied it on him, and you can see the result...he was as happy as a cricket!

Today we are going to try to go up to the market to find another plastic sword...or two...or three.....
Ian's sword is such a popular item in our house, that we have decided maybe we should all have one!

So, this is life as we know it....never boring....always exciting....and above all perfectly wonderful because we are exactly where God wants us - doing exactly what He wants us to do!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Woo Hoo - Shopping!!

Something that has always fascinated me since living on the mission field - both here in Peru and in the Philippines - is grocery shopping.  Now I can already hear some of you groaning at the thought of it!  And to be quite honest, I do my own fair share of groaning when I think about going to the store!

I have come to look at grocery shopping as an adventure.  You never know what wonderful bargain you will find, or what recently "imported item" you will find!  Now for those of you who read this and live in the States, finding something imported in the grocery store doesn't mean very much - unless you have lived on the Mission Field before!  For those of us living on the Mission Field, finding an "imported item" from the States is like finding a magnificent treasure!  And then there is the added fun of shopping in a foreign language!  I am finally starting to figure which spices I am actually buying!  Woo Hoo!!

I remember how exciting it was to find Dr. Pepper in the grocery store when I lived in the Philippines!  It is still just as exciting now when I go to Wong (one of the grocery stores here) and find Dr. Pepper!  Recently we found Muenster Cheese on one of our visits to Wong!  Have I died and gone to Heaven?  Not yet, but I AM sure there will be Muenster Cheese in Heaven!

While I was at the "Caja" (Check-out) the other day, I found myself gazing with admiration at the way the clerks pack my groceries into the plastic bags.  Here they put as much as is reasonable into one bag - none of this one item per bag (like Walmart).  I am still trying to figure out their system for scanning things, however.  Just when I think I have it all figured out, they toss me a curve ball and I have to start all over again!  I am very strict with myself about how I put my groceries on the conveyor belt - all the drinks (milk, juice, yogurt drink, etc.) together, all the meat and cold stuff together, etc., etc., etc.  Then I watch the clerk start rummaging through my neatly arranged stacks, and I think, "Hey, wait a minute....!!!!"  This happened a few times after we came, then I finally started paying attention to what they were doing - what items they were putting together - to ring up and to put in bags.  I have started trying to copy their system, and going through the check-out line goes a little faster and easier - that is when I have remembered to have all the fruits and vegetables weighed in the produce department!

Before you start thinking I am some extraordinary missionary wife, let me tell you something....there are times when I really dread going to the store!  There, I've said it....I feel better.  There are times when the loud music, the staring, and the crowds really get the better of me, and I just want to go home and forget that there are such wonderful things in the world as "Imported Items"!  But like every good missionary wife, I brave it all for the sake of my dear family (and their appetites - not to mention their need to eat meals for the week!)

Have a wonderful weekend....and may all your shopping trips be adventures!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Joys and Sorrows

What do you do when people hurt you and offend you?  Forgive.  And what do you do when people take things from you?  Forgive.  How do you explain to your children why someone stole from you?  The only explanation is...Forgive.
We were recently out on a shopping expedition and the backpack we use for the kids was stolen.  It wouldn't have been quite so bad if I had not put my wallet and phone in there!  It is hard to describe that sinking feeling I felt the moment I realized the backpack was gone!  But I want to tell you how good and gracious our loving Heavenly Father is......After about 3 hours of explaining everything to the restaurant manager, the security team, and the police - we were more than ready to go home!  He sent us such kind people to help us - even the Commanding Officer at the police station took time to play with the children and their balloon!

In my mind, I continue to think, "If I had just done this, or that, or.....the list goes on!  But I remember what Psalm 18:30 says, "As for God, his way is perfect..."  He allowed this to happen to us.  Why?  To teach us.  To teach us to be more careful, to teach us to trust Him more, to teach us to draw closer to Him and stay close to Him, and to teach us the wonderful blessing of seeing His hand in it all.  We are so blessed.  We are all safe - everything that was taken can be replaced.  He even sent strangers on the train on the way home to show us His marvelous love and comfort.  They had no idea what we had just experienced, but they showed us kindness - a simple thing - just a seat on the train...but at that moment - it was a place of refuge, a place of comfort, a hug from my Heavenly Father!  Hebrews 13:2 says, "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers:  for thereby some have entertained angels unawares."  I don't know if angels look like Peruvians, but I know that those dear Peruvians were sent from God Himself to be a blessing and a help to me and my family!  What a blessing it was to be able to say to the people who came to our aid, "We love Peru.  We love the Peruvian people.  We are here to stay."  We explained to Martha and Ian that we must forgive those people who did wrong to us.  We now have the joy of praying for the salvation of their souls.  We don't know who they are, but God does.

Speaking of souls that God knows, there is a new name written in Heaven this week.  This past Saturday I got to lead Jenny to the Lord!  She is 14 years old and her mom, Yudy, is Deaf.  As fas as I know, Jenny is the first person I've led to the Lord completely in Spanish - with no help except from the Lord!

And one more thing....I am now casi (almost) Peruvian (...if I could just get that Spanish down pat...)!  My visa to stay in the country has been approved!  Please pray as we wait for Matt's and the kids' visas to be approved.  Have a blessed weekend!

Monday, September 24, 2012

"Jesus This I Know"

My kids love music - especially Ian!  I have sung to them since before they were born.  One of their favorites is "Jesus Loves Me."  I can't even being to tell you how many times I have sung that sung!  And I gladly continue to sing it!  Both Martha and Ian are avid fans of playing my piano as well!
Playing Mommy's Piano - oh boy!
Music has always been an important part of my own life.  I remember singing with my Mom many times!  I always thought my Mom was the bravest lady I knew during thunderstorms.  I can remember sitting in front of our sliding glass door during thunderstorms and singing "Wonderful Grace of Jesus" and "Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul"!  I'm not sure why she picked those two songs - maybe because of their length!  I learned many years later that she was scared of those storms, but she didn't want me to be, so she sang with me.  Perhaps that is why I sing when there are storms - not just thunderstorms, but storms in life - what a comfort music is to me!  I can also remember singing in the vehicle with my Mom.  Most of my life, we lived far from town, so when it was time for grocery shopping - it was quite a drive to get to the store!  Mom would grab the hymn book (Soul Stirring Songs and Hymns - I still have that same hymnal - it's next to my piano right now!) and head out the door with me in tow.  She'd have me pick out a song, and we'd sing.  

One of our favorite places to sing!
I have to tell you though, when you start down the musical path with your children, be prepared to invent songs!  Some parents invent stories, I get requests for song inventions!  Yesterday Martha wanted me to sing the song about "The Dinosaur."  I had no idea what song she was talking about, but she insisted, so I invented!  A word of caution about inventing songs:  Try to remember the words, if not the tune of the invented song - you may be asked to repeat it!  I now have the original song "The Ballad of Dinosaur Jack"!  It's a song about a dinosaur (see what happens when your sons gets glow-in-the-dark dinosaurs for his birthday?) who has to ride a train to Sunday School!  (Some day I'll write the words down for your amusement - if I can remember them!)

Mom is in Heaven now, but I think she must smile every time the Lord tells her, "Sarah is singing with her kids again!"  I find myself singing the same songs again and again and again - but that's okay!  Yesterday we went to Callao as normal.  I think I sung all the way there and all the way back!  Yesterday's favorites were "Only a boy named David," "Zacchaeus," and "Jesus This I know."  You're thinking, "Jesus This I know"?  This is the title Ian has given to "Jesus Loves Me."  Kind of appropriate don't you think?  He's only two, but Ian has it all figured out - "Jesus This I know."  The wonderful, simple faith of a child:  We know Jesus - nothing else matters.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Fruit Salad Days

This week has been kind of like Fruit Salad - all tossed together, mixed up, with some sweetness thrown in for good measure!  For the Deaf school children of Efata it has been a week full of competitions!  They have had vocabulary competitions, a fruit salad competition (I got to be a judge - what a yummy job that was!), and today a drama competition (I got to be the unmerciful judge for that too!  It was not without rewards however - they gave me a piece of cake as my salary!)

For my little family, it hasn't really been a fun week.  My hubby and kiddos are all under the weather - yuck!  Martha told me this morning, "I don't feel well."  So then I had to break the sad news that she probably shouldn't go to school today - she didn't want to make her teacher or classmates sick!  She brightened up immediately and said, "I feel better, Mom!"  Bless her heart, she still had to stay home!

Since these have been "Fruit Salad Days" for me, this blog will be Fruit Salad also!  I did promise recently a picture of my new kitchen clock, it is!  They had two different clocks at the store where I found this one, and I couldn't decide which one I liked better - and after all, why do I need TWO clocks in my kitchen?  So Martha helped me decide, and this is the one she chose! Isn't it lovely?  I love checking the time on my brand new "Coffee Clock"!

As I mentioned already, I got to be the judge for the drama competition today.  The Deaf children were doing ABC stories. ABC stories are unique to Deaf Culture, and as fas as I know, they've not been done with Peruvian Deaf - until now!

I wish you could have been sitting next to me as I watched the children do their ABC's and their ABC Stories in the most beautiful and expressive language in the whole world - Sign Language!  Am I biased?  YES!  What a blessing to think about these precious young people and the wonderful plans God has already established for their lives!  Many of these young people have not yet received Christ as their Saviour, but what a blessing to think of the day when their understanding will be opened and they will accept Christ as their Saviour and then decide to serve Him with their whole lives!

Have a wonderful week full of your own "Fruit Salad Days"!