Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Amazon Jungle of Venezuela

The following poems and pictures were written and/or taken by missionary friends of mine from Venezuela. I hope you enjoy them and that they can convey the beauty and appeal that the jungle has for those of us who were blessed to live there!


"With mountains standing blue against the skyline.
Rivers sparkling jewels in the sun.
A jungle 40 shades of green surrounding me
This is the Amazonas that I love."

(Poem by Sharon Dawson.
Sharon was born and raised in the Amazon of Venezuela.

She is now a missionary herself.)

"With mountains standing blue against the skyline.
(photo of Mount Duida, by Sharon Dawson)

Rivers sparkling jewels in the sun.
(photo of the Orinoco River, by Sharon Dawson)

A jungle 40 shades of green surrounding me
(photo of indian boy, by Pastor Von's Web Journal )

This is the Amazonas that I love."
(photo of Salto Para, by Clint Vernoy)

Sharon's Tree

"It stood there tall majestically
Its branches strong and reaching high
And as I climbed it, I could see
Far out across the clear blue sky
And then I knew, yes I could see
There is no other like my tree."

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Understanding Latin American Politics

It's complicated.

It is complicated by the culture and the history. All of the Latin American countries have a kind of democracy...most of the time. In spite of the independence each country has won from their past revolutions, there seems to be no method yet which has manged to provide a stable working model for these nations.

The Latin countries are much like a pendulum, swinging first to the right, then to the left. One feels blessed to live in the right place at the right time and live with freedom. If born a few years earlier or later, you will likely find yourself living under a dictatorship. The swing of the pendulum decides, chaos or peace.

The culture comes from a 'patron' mentality. The strong man, the chief, the boss. The one who will take care of things for you. You only need to do your job and mind your own business and you can be 'comfortable'. Your allegiance is to the strong man., not because you admire him or agree with him. You need him.

After the revolutions, many 'strong men' took over the countries and this provided a sense of security for the commoner. If you kept your nose out of politics, you could live a comfortable life.

Education will reveal to the populace that they are missing out on much. They will begin to think on their own and wish for liberty. And that will bring the strong man down...temporarily. When the new freedom is unable to provide for the masses the basics which were available from the strongman, they will revolt again looking for some measure of security.

And the pendulum swings...

This comes from a fundamental lack of understanding what true liberty is. Liberty can only be found and maintained under a rational legal system and a free market. Liberty is not guaranteed by democracy, which is merely the opportunity to be led by the majority through election. This has brought about much turmoil in the region and been the cause of several violent revolutions, each seeking to provide equality or a sense of security, depending on the swing of the pendulum.

Not being found politically stable, these countries are made more insecure by the fact that international markets will not invest in an area prone to be unsafe for their investments. It's only logical that investors will not submit their funds to a project which will likely be at the disposal of a future dictator.They will choose to invest somewhere else, and so, we add poverty to the mix. Poverty is never ending in this part of the world and their political law only compounds this. Poverty allows for corruption which can bring down democracy quickly. Votes can be bought. You can sell your policies to the poor for a small price.

It comes down to a flawed understanding of genuine liberty and democracy. Expecting democracy to give liberty is not wise. Remember the differences of the French Revolution, which was democratic but was a violent adventure of mob rule, and compare that to the American Revolution which was intended to bring liberty and brought forth freedom and prosperity which has been admired around the world.

History is cyclic. We must learn from the past to avoid the same failures in the future. Our own nation is experimenting with mob rule, known as democracy, and it will only lead us down the same path as it has the other peoples who practiced it.

We want genuine liberty, not just democracy. Don't confuse the two.

Coup in Honduras /Golpe de estado en Honduras

UPDATE: For the best up to date,
moment by moment coverage in English,

vez places Venezuelan military on alert for possible action against Honduras

From Free Republic


Posted on Sunday, June 28, 2009 2:13:32 PM by maquiladora

URGENT -- Venezuela's Chavez says he will act militarily if the country's ambassador to Honduras is attacked or kidnapped during coup.


Venezuelan president Chavez says he will do "everything necessary" to abort the military coup in Honduras.

Justin Sullivan Young, Inspirational

Last week I read this at The Local Malcontent and felt very encouraged to read of a young man of faith. I hope you will read it and check out the links. Especially the link to the video, A Life Worth Following.Org.

Today, I ran into a friend in Talihina, whose name I don't know. Never heard it, never asked it.

I call him "Second Base", because he played that position for the champion Red Oak High School baseball team... 2-years running, and 4 of the past five years' State champs.

It's one thing to be a member of a good team, it's quite another to be an Ambassador... for both the pastoral, placid game of Baseball, and for our pastoral and placid Creator and Savior. "2B" is such an Ambassador.

"I Never Knew~!"
This very talented young man and I connected today at the 'E-Z Mart store on the hill', in Talihina.
I asked how his ankle injury was coming; he said it was fine, he was playing for the 'Ambassadors', that his team had just returned from both St. Louis and from Omaha, the site of the Collegiate World Series, as well as playing in Oklahoma City constantly, and planning to go to Nicaragua this summer.

Who are these "Ambassadors", I asked.
Did I get an earfull~!!

The Ambassadors are an all-Christian baseball team, who play ball and share their life stories, their Christian testimonies with the fans (along with the other team). Since 2003, they have played around the mid-west for the memory of Justin Sullivan.

Justin Sullivan was named The Oklahoma Baseball Player of the Year in 2002. A catcher for the Yukon High School team and Valedictorian for his graduating class, he was a deserving young man because of his Major League talent and skill.
Because of this very public honor, Justin was poised to launch into an incredible college and professional baseball career. Justin was in the middle of praying through all his opportunities which included baseball scholarships offers to Rice and Nebraska. In addition to this, Justin was also being seriously considered by Major League Baseball as a high draft pick right out of High School. So many opportunities were coming his way. In fact, at 11:30a.m. the following day, the head baseball coach at OU left a message on Justin's home answering machine offering him a full scholarship to OU to play baseball.

Unfortunately, Justin never had the opportunity to hear that message because approximately 1:30p.m. on June 3, 2002, Justin was driving home from work with his best friend and his girlfriend. About 2 minutes after pulling onto I-44 in the middle of Oklahoma City, the back wheels of a semi-tractor trailer broke off an east bound truck, crossed the median and struck the vehicle. Immediately before the tires struck the vehicle, Justin saw it coming and turned his vehicle so that the tires only hit the drivers side. This action killed Justin instantly but it saved the lives of two of the closest people in his life. Both Josh (his best friend) and Elizabeth, (his girlfriend) walked away from the accident with only scratches.

After Justin's death, I (the author here) had the responsibility of preaching his funeral. While preparing to preach that funeral message, I discovered Justin's Spiritual Journal that he was keeping in the last six months of his life. During his last six months on the earth, he spent every day writing his thoughts to the Lord. My life was so impacted, I wrote a book about Justin's connection with God and this book has enabled us to begin a brand new ministry that has amazingly made an impact not only across Oklahoma but across the nation and around the world.

Through two, commom-ground, joys: an adoration of God and of baseball.
"What can I do to be a light in a time of darkness? Seek my strength in Christ. No longer hanging on to things that keep me from God."- Justin Sullivan 1/21/02

'Second Base' also told me this: that Justin's father tore apart all of the cherished baseballs which his son had been given for his accomplishments during his H.S. career, and made them into horse-hide, baseball-seam-braclets. They are baseball white with 51 red stitches each.

2B gave his own to me to wear.
Here's Justin's, the Ambassadors' website: Won't you please visit it, and keep up with (and root, root, root) this fine baseball team?
A Life Worth Following.Org.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoons!

A new hero has come to to save the day!
It's Super Obama!

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

It's too bad he's not around when he is really needed!

Friday, June 26, 2009

How to Handle Wire Tapping of you phone.

I read the following from Fausta's Blog this morning and it reminded me of an old post I had written about the subject.

Here is Fautsa's post in its entirety.

At BBC Mundo, Venezuela: reforma permite “escuchas” (my translation: please link to this post and credit me if you use this)

The Venezuelan National Assembly has authorized the first stage for a legal reform expanding the authorities’ powers to capture and use private conversations in legal proceedings.

The changes to the Penal Organic Processing Code (Código Orgánico Procesal Penal) include a statute ordering telecommunication companies to create “24/7″ units to process and deliver the State Attorney any information the State Attorney requests, in real time if so requested.

The Public Ministry will be able to use these private conversations, “whether they are in an area, through the telephone, or any other means.”

The measure comes in the wake of Chavez’s announcement that Venezuela will have its own BlackBerry. As far as confidentiality in communications goes, the Blackberry affords the best of all the options available in the country, but not for long.

Before it becomes law, the measure must be approved by a second review in congress, after which Chavez would sign it and it would become law once it’s published in the official government gazette…all of which are controlled by Chavez.

In the meantime, Chavez’s war on independent media continues.

This is my post from May of 2008.

("This is a work of fiction - any resemblance to actual persons
living or dead is purely coincidental...maybe".)

After leaving the jungle, we were still under investigation by the authorities. Sometimes this involved having our phone tapped. We had been warned of this and sometimes, you could hear a machine click on and occasionally, even breathing and other background noises.

We had nothing to hide and did not discuss anything private over the phone, certainly not with our lawyer. Even so, it was very irritating.

So... we embraced the situation. If I ever had a toddler in the house I would let them speak, and babble and sing to their hearts content over the phone.

Or, read scripture passages for long stretches!

Give the official listening in the 'Plan of Salvation".

Speak in PIG LATIN!!! Oday ouyay eakspay igpay atinlay???

Our favorite, when calling one another, from the market or some such place, was to speak in Ye'kwana! This is best done in low, grave voices. Oh the evil codes they must have thought we had invented! They may have assumed we were discussing the evil empire and it's plans to dominate, but we were really just discussing what items we needed from the market. Hee, hee!!!

But the most important thing of all is to speak to the officer listening in. Say "Hello, how are you? Are you having a nice day?" If asking a question to the person with whom you are conversing, ask the official what he thinks, "SO, dear official of the day, should he bring home chicken or fish for dinner? We'll have plenty so you all can come by as well! "

And, be nice! You know, like before you hang up say ,"I am not expecting anymore phone calls this evening so why don't you just go ahead and rest now, or get a coffee".

And being a good Venezuelan family, we even ended with, "Bendición?" !

Thursday, June 25, 2009

CSI: Jungle

The Ye'kwana people are very superstitious, as are many tribal people. The stories are their way to explain the unknown. Some of the beliefs are expected and one can understand why the have the belief. Others are not so easily comprehended and one has to wait until it makes sense to you, or someone in the tribe can reveal it to you in a way that a western mind can grasp. Whichever comes first.

One thing that seems universal among the tribes, is that death is never from a natural cause. Whether the death is of a new born or elder, the death was inevitably caused by witchcraft. You can explain that the baby died from dehydration caused by vomiting and diarrhea and they will believe you. They also will set out to discover WHO caused the curse of sickness to be placed upon the child, or the elder, or the healthy young man who dies from malaria complications. Someone sent a curse.

And that is when things get interesting! There are so many ways to go about discovering the murderer. Many tests to run, much evidence to study. Many, many hours of discussions around the evening fires. Eventually, it will be discovered.

We once lost a man to yellow fever. He had been very healthy until his bout with the fever. He died one night, quite suddenly. The family was devastated and it was all complicated by the fact that he was from another village. A village where there was a very powerful witch doctor related to the man. This could not be good.

The witch doctor decided there was only one way to determine the killer. The dead man's finger was cut off of the corpse and placed in a kettle of water hung over the cooking fire. A representative of each clan was called to sit in a circle around the fire. As the water began to boil, the severed finger of the dead man began to spin and tumble. This was watched very closely and with baited breath!

Finally, the water boiled off and the finger came to rest on the bottom of the pot. NOW one could clearly see who was guilty for cursing the dead man by sending the yellow fever, for the finger was pointing to the guilty party! Not the actual person, but a member of the clan. NOW the witch doctor would know which village to seek for revenge, which family was the perpetrator. He would be very busy!

The representative of the clan was not guilty as she had married into our clan many years before and could not have been involved, but she was shamed!

The next day the shortwave radio crackled with the news of the results of the finger test. Many denials, many threats, but everyone felt so much better knowing that the yellow fever was sent as a curse and unless they had an enemy, they could relax about becoming sick.

The clan that had been blamed was angered greatly by this accusation, so they requested another test. This required a family member to travel to their village to be present. Interestingly enough, I heard that this test revealed the same guilty party! So another test was to be done. This process could go on for years much as our court system allows for appeals.

Eventually, the family of the dead one will lose interest in the pursuit, send a few hexes out to pay back the murderers, and move on. The anger of the accused will slowly die down, and they will move on. It is all part of the way they deal with their grief. They need to be able to transfer their emotions to another subject in order to get through their days. If it were a Sanema, it would be a very different story as this could be traced back for generations! The family might decide to wait another generation or two before seeking revenge. But rest assured, revenge would be sought!

I witnessed many interesting procedures used in the jungle to determine the guilty parties. I should probably offer my services to the police as an expert to advise the investigators! I have observed how to examine the placenta to determine the biological father of a new born, what is used in a 'love potion', how to curse someone just by using their foot print, and other handy information.

I was even trusted with the evidence and was once asked to freeze the finger of a dead man so that his family could walk over from their village for the boiling finger test...

So, did I, or didn't I ?????

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Things I See

This is my cat.
She is very beautiful and the most 'people friendly' cat I have ever owned.
My youngest daughter took this photo of her.
Verja's Photography

This is my cat after getting left out in a rain storm. She would not have anything to do with us for several days to show us how upset she was for being disgraced in this manner!

This is the new puppy, Shichuca.
Anna, the cat, is not pleased to have to share her domain with a dog.
(Think Garfield and Odie!)
Verja's Photography

Poor puppy!
No idea what's about to happen !

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Personal Update


We are getting used to one less member in the house. Clint has turned Jewel's room into an exercise area, which is very convenient for him. It is also the guest room if we ever get any visitors.

I have been having fun with Jewel's cell phone. She left it behind for Jayde to use but several young men are intent on texting Jewel and declaring their undying love. My husband enjoys answering the texts! Jayde is annoyed by it and I find it hilarious.

I am trying to get used to cooking for only three people. How does one do this?

Don't tell my son in law, but his DvD and sound system are pretty awesome to use while watching Star Wars! His stereo is pretty cool too! We like his Bow Flex too! Shhhh!!!!!!

The grand daughters had made chalk drawings on my drive way the day before they left. Yesterday and today we have had big rain storms which washed them away. This makes me sad, I miss seeing their cheerful drawings as I walk outside. I have gone around the house and packed up any toys or books or shoes or crayons they left as well. Stuck them in a closet!

Of course the biggest thing for us has been getting our carnets and Immigration status. We can now get ID cards and open bank accounts, get a PO box and rent movies!!!

I have to tell you, winter in June and July just messes me up. My internal clock can not compute this. It just feels all out of whack. The other thing I find disconcerting is looking at the southern sky and not recognizing any of the stars. It is very odd to look up and see an unfamiliar sky. It can make one feel lost.


Since being ordained 25 years ago, my husband has performed many weddings, funerals, and baptisms, but recently he has done these here in Paraguay for the first time in this country, which is special.

He baptized 6 last month as well as performed his first funeral here. The funeral was very difficult as it was the pre born baby of young mom in a coma. The baby was only about 6 months along. We were glad they allow for a proper burial of this tiny person. The mother is finally doing better and is out of the coma but has a long way to go before being able to return home to her other child, a two year old son.

We are continuing to have the small group Bible Study for couples in our home on Thursdays. We are studying marriage and it has been interesting to see the difference in the cultural understanding of the roles each plays in marriage.

I thought Venezuelan men were macho. The Paraguayan culture really puts an uncommon value on the males of the society. This comes from the fact that in the War of the Triple Alliance, all but 10% of the male population was killed. That allowed for a margin of 7 women to every 1 male. The families treated the boys very special. Mothers, daughters all served the son and brother like a little prince and this seems to continue today.

There is a saying in Paraguay that every man can have 7 women, and if a man does not have his 7, then some other man is enjoying 14!!! but...I have observed that the Paraguayan women are very independent. I am sure this comes from the same cultural back ground. They had to be strong as there were no men. They even went into battle with their children to save the patria. I don't think one man could handle 7 Paraguayan women! It should be noted that the Christian men are very different, which is probably not easy for them culturally.

My husband continues to give seminars at the Air Base. He recently did a series on Anger Management. A Major he has been talking to has made the decision to become a Christian. We are excited for this, as well as the other 6, or so, enlisted men who have accepted Christ recently and now wish to be baptized. We have to wait for warmer weather for that!

Some of these soldiers are as young as 16. Recently they have been given permission to attend the Saturday night youth meetings at church. Normally they are not allowed off base unsupervised, but have been granted special permission to do so for this activity. They are also being taught music classes by some of the young people and one of the deacons. They really enjoy this time off of the base.

And that's what has been happening here.

Iranians continue protests

Chavez backs Ahmadinejad in dispute.

Real Clear World
From Fausta
"We send a greeting to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran't great president, to Ayatollah Ali Hamenei, and to the Iranian people. We ask the world to respect Iran because they are trying to undermine the Iranian revolution's strength."
Chávez then insisted,
"We ask the world for respect. Ahmadinejad's triumph is a victory in full order. They're trying to stain Ahmadinejad's victory, and by doing so they aim to weaken the government and the Islamic revolution. I know they won't be able to do it."

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Devil's Brew

(My husband's coffee maker. We call it THE HOLY OF HOLIES!)

What do church history and coffee have in common, you ask?

In her aptly titled book, "Coffee," Claudia Rosen explains that 16th-century priests wanted Pope Clement VIII to ban "the devil's drink." They insisted that Satan had forbidden his followers--Muslims--from drinking wine because it was used in Holy Communion. Instead, the devil provided this "hellish black brew".

The elixir made from coffee beans does in fact have a long history in Islamic regions.
--African tribes mixed the crushed beans with animal fat and molded them into balls to eat as a stimulant before battle.
--Arabs made the first hot coffee beverage, in 1000 A.D.
--Dervishes--mystic devotees of Islam's Sufi sect--consumed coffee at all-night ceremonies as fuel for achieving religious ecstasy.
--Arabs also invented the ibrik, or coffee broiler.
--As coffee lost it's strictly religious significance, the first coffee houses appeared in Mecca.

Clemente VIII,wisely, decided to give it a taste test!

"Why, this Satan's drink is so delicious," he declared, "that it would be a pity to let the infidels have exclusive use of it. We shall cheat Satan by baptizing it."

And so, I am now able to enjoy my coffee, which my husband makes and serves me each morning. Now that's romantic!

My favorite coffee is a Venezuelan blend. Cafe Madrid! We are out of it now, but are substituting with a Brazilian coffee we purchased here. My son in law recently left us some great Costa Rican coffee too.

Do you drink coffee? How much and how often? Any favorite blend?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Father's Day 2009

Thoughts for fathers.

Any fool can be a Father, but it takes a real man to be a Daddy!!
Fathers Day Quote by: Philip Whitmore Snr

"The most important thing a father can do
for his children is to love their mother."
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

"Father I will always be
that same boy who stood by the sea
and watched you tower over me
now I'm older I wanna be the same as you"
Fathers Day Quote by: Yellowcard

A father is someone that
holds your hand at the fair
makes sure you do what your mother says
holds back your hair when you are sick
brushes that hair when it is tangled because mother is too busy
lets you eat ice cream for breakfast
but only when mother is away
he walks you down the aisle
and tells you everythings gonna be ok
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

My father used to play with my brother and me in the yard. Mother would come out and say,
"You're tearing up the grass." "We're not raising grass," Dad would reply. "We're raising
boys." Fathers Day Quote by: Harmon Killebrew

One father is more than a hundred Schoolmasters.
Fathers Day Quote by: George Herbert, Outlandish Proverbs, 1640

Fatherhood is pretending the present you love most is soap-on-a-rope.
Fathers Day Quote by: Bill Cosby

It is not flesh and blood but the heart which makes us fathers and sons.
Fathers Day Quote by: Johann Schiller

A father carries pictures where his money used to be.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

The Father of the Bide
My husband our oldest daughter on her wedding day.

Blessed indeed is the man who hears many gentle voices call him father!
Fathers Day Quote by: Lydia M. Child, Philothea: A Romance, 1836

When I was a boy of fourteen, my father was so ignorant I could hardly stand to have the old man around. But when I got to be twenty-one, I was astonished at how much he had learned in seven years.
Fathers Day Quote by: Mark Twain, "Old Times on the Mississippi" Atlantic Monthly, 1874

Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes.
Fathers Day Quote by: Gloria Naylor

It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't.
Fathers Day Quote by: Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

It would seem that something which means poverty, disorder and violence every single day
should be avoided entirely, but the desire to beget children is a natural urge.
Fathers Day Quote by: Phyllis Diller

Spread the diaper in the position of the diamond with you at bat. Then fold second base down to home and set the baby on the pitcher's mound. Put first base and third together, bring up home plate and pin the three together. Of course, in case of rain, you gotta call the game and start all over again.
Fathers Day Quote by: Jimmy Piersal, on how to diaper a baby, 1968

He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.
Fathers Day Quote by: Clarence Budington Kelland

Don't make a baby if you can't be a father.
Fathers Day Quote by: National Urban League Slogan

Father of the Groom
My husband with our son on his wedding day.

He who is taught to live upon little owes more to his father's wisdom than he who has a great deal left him does to his father's care.
Fathers Day Quote by: William Penn

By the time a man realizes that maybe his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he's wrong.
Fathers Day Quote by: Charles Wadworth

Small boys become big men through the influence of big men who care about small boys.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

It is a wise father that knows his own child.
Fathers Day Quote by: William Shakespeare

The father who does not teach his son his duties is equally guilty with the son who neglects them.
Fathers Day Quote by: Confucius

Fathers, like mothers, are not born. Men grow into fathers and fathering is a very important stage in their development.
Fathers Day Quote by: David Gottesman

I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.
Fathers Day Quote by: Sigmund Freud

When a father gives to his son, both laugh; when a son gives to his father, both cry.
Fathers Day Quote by: Jewish Proverb

You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. She looks up to you. You're her oracle. You're her hero. And then the day comes when she gets her first permanent wave and goes to her first real party, and from that day on, you're in a constant state of panic.
Fathers Day Quote by: Stanley T. Banks in the movie 'Father of the Bride'

My husband with our two youngest daughters, daddy's girls!

There must always be a struggle between a father and son, while one aims at power and the other at independence.
Fathers Day Quote by: Samuel Johnson

A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child.
Fathers Day Quote by: Knights of Pythagoras

"When a child is born, a father is born. A mother is born, too of course, but at least for her it's a gradual process. Body and soul, she has nine months to get used to what's happening. She becomes what's happening. But for even the best-prepared father, it happens all at once. On the other side of a plate-glass window, a nurse is holding up something roughly the size of a loaf of bread for him to see for the first time.
Fathers Day Quote by: Frederick Buechner, 'Whistling in the Dark'

I watched a small man with thick calluses on both hands work fifteen and sixteen hours a day. I saw him once literally bleed from the bottoms of his feet, a man who came here uneducated, alone, unable to speak the language, who taught me all I needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example.
Fathers Day Quote by: Mario Cuomo

My father was a statesman, I'm a political woman.
My father was a saint. I'm not.
Fathers Day Quote by: Indira Gandhi

4 years: My Daddy can do anything!
7 years: My Dad knows a lot…a whole lot.
8 years: My father does not know quite everything.
12 years: Oh well, naturally Father does not know that either.
14 years: Oh, Father? He is hopelessly old-fashioned.
21 years: Oh, that man-he is out of date!
25 years: He knows a little bit about it, but not much.
30 years: I must find out what Dad thinks about it.
35 years: Before we decide, we will get Dad's idea first.
50 years: What would Dad have thought about that?
60 years: My Dad knew literally everything!
65 years: I wish I could talk it over with Dad once more.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

It is easier for a father to have children than for children to have a real father.
Fathers Day Quote by: Pope John XXIII

Noble fathers have noble children.
Fathers Day Quote by: Euripides

One night a father overheard his son pray: Dear God, Make me the kind of man my Daddy is. Later that night, the Father prayed, Dear God, Make me the kind of man my son wants me to be.
Fathers Day Quote by: Unknown

When I was a kid, my father told me every day, 'You're the most wonderful boy in the world, and you can do anything you want to.'
Fathers Day Quote by: Jan Hutchins

I talk and talk and talk, and I haven't taught people in 50 years what my father taught by example in one week.
Fathers Day Quote by: Mario Cuomo

"Train up a child in the way which he should go
and when he is old he will not depart from it"
Fathers Day Quote by: Proverbs 22:6

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Tweets from Iran.

Quote from Iran Tweeter: "I have one vote. I gave it to Moussavi. I have one life. I will give it for Freedom." (via @Ozark_sky)

RT from Iran: "we students do not chant death to america we want the american constitution"; #itcot #teaparty (via @daltonsbriefs)

Saturday Morning Cartoon!

A little bird told me!

I have been following a Canadian-Iranian blogger for a couple of years. Winston has been covering the protests in Iran on his blog as well as Twitter. He has even been receiving death threats on his blog lately. He has contacts in Iran and regularly updates on the situation there. Iranians have used Twitter as a major method for getting their news out to the world.

My hat is off to the brave Iranians and I pray they will be able to throw off this dictator. It is not easily done and will require personal sacrifices if it is to be effective.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Jungle Golf

Golf on the Air Strip

The Founding Members of

"The Chajuraña Country Club"

My husband started this tradition of golfing on our airstrip. Soon, we had pilots dropping in to 'drive' a few of their own. We even had Chajuraña Country Club T-shirts made up for all the 'members'. The main event was the Semana Santa Open ( Easter Week).

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Immigration in Paraguay

We just returned from spending the morning down town at the Immigration office. I always get a sick feeling when I have to got to Immigration. I dread it because we had so many terrible experiences in Venezuela. In 20 years, I only had one identity card that was actually current.

Nothing could ever be done without paying a special 'fee'. In the early years the fees were reasonable but towards the end, it was not uncommon for them to be hundreds of dollars for each person. Smugly asked for by someone in red with a poster of HIS HIGHNESS HUGO on the wall behind him.

So far, here in Paraguay, we have paid ZERO bribes or 'fees'. And today...we received our Carnets showing our status as Permanent Immigrants. We do not even have to renew it! It's really permanent!

Paraguay has a bad reputation as being one of the most corrupt countries in South America, and I suppose it may be true. It seems the corruption is higher up in the corparate level and politcs, but for the avergae man on the street, Venezuela is MUCH worse.

Just wanted to let you know we are thrilled to have this process finished!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Sweep away the Flaws

The broom pictured in my post yesterday does indeed serve it's intended purpose. It is mainly used as an outdoor broom to clean patios and yards. I have noticed that Paraguayans tend to keep a very neat yard even when they live in a humble home.

While mentioning this to my neighbor, she shared a Guarani 'wives tale' with me. It seems that the mothers and grand mothers are always telling the young girls to do a thorough sweeping of the yard, porch, and house.

This sweeping needs to be done in a methodical, meticulous manner because it will effect the future of the young lady. A girl needs to be extremely cautious while sweeping so as not to leave behind any litter or dust bunnies because each one left behind represents a flaw in her future husband.

So a lazy, careless girl will undoubtedly end up married to a man with many character flaws, where as a diligent girl will find herself betrothed to a nearly flawless man.

No wonder my neighbor's daughter gets up early and sweeps the yard almost every day. Even the sidewalk! Her husband will certainly be a saint! Personally, I am not so sure I would enjoy being married to a perfect man. I would probably leave a few dust bunnies just to make sure my future husband had a little 'rascal' left in him!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Things I See...

A Paraguayan handmade broom.

(Very 'green'!)

(Photo was taken by my oldest daughter.)

Swiffer anyone?

Monday, June 15, 2009


February 27, 1989 -- El Caracazo -- Venezuela

Twenty years ago, on the 27th of February, we had a terrible uprising in Venezuela. As I watch the demonstrations in Iran, I feel deeply for the people who only wish for peace and freedom, but find themselves in a place and time where this seems an impossible dream.

These are my memories of those days.

We had recently purchased a used, but new to us, van. The problem that day was that the electric window on the passenger side got stuck with the window down. We couldn't leave the car parked with the window open as it would be stolen. I had to ride around with my husband as he did some needed business, so that I could stay with the car to keep it from being stolen.

We went to a store where he had to run in to get something. I was sitting in the car, no keys, the window down, and started hearing the "mob". The "mob" has a distinctive sound, a low rumble coming your way that gets louder and louder. As soon as it registered with me that they were turning the corner and heading my way, I saw the stores guards quickly lowering the protective (garage type) doors over each entrance to the store. My dilemma was, I couldn't roll up my window and I didn't have keys!!! I was the only one outside. These student protest love to burn vehicles, and a van would be too good to miss! The fact that I am a North American was also inviting trouble.

I began to do some serious praying...now remember, my husband is locked IN the store and I am locked OUT of the store! An older man came around the corner and saw me as I was getting out of the van...I don't know where I thought to go, but I knew I had to get out and away from the van.

The "mob" at this point was about 100 meters from me. The man was gesturing for me to come around the corner with him. He said there was an underground drainage ditch and that we could hide there. I remember thinking, "What? Am I a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?"

At that same time my husband had begged and convinced a guard to raise the door enough for him to crawl out to me and the man crawled in.My husband ran and yelled at me to get in the van.

As we took off, the mob continued on to the store. By taking many detours and back roads we were able to make it home to our children safely. WHEW!!! CLOSE CALL!!!

We didn't realize at that time that in Caracas things were much worse! Another missionary family came over for fellowship and the comfort one needs at stressful times like this. We started hearing the tanks on the street and listened to the news. We found out that there were terrible riots through out the country due to a raise in gas prices and public transportation, and that we were under martial law.

The government removed the "guaranties" this is like the Bill of Rights being revoked. We were not to leave our homes as the soldiers were shooting first and asking questions later. The family got stuck at our house for a few days because of the curfews. But it was good to be together! After a bit, the curfew was lifted to just 6 pm to 6 am. I think this was the first time I smelled tear gas. I remember Joshua having asthma problems due to it and being afraid to take him to the doctors. We had a nebulizer at home so we treated him as best we could.

They say over a thousand people died in the Caracazo. They have found mass graves and there are still people unaccounted for. Many were shot in their homes and many were killed with stray bullets. I remember putting the kids in a corner and standing a mattress up to the window. The kids liked to hide under the bed when the tanks drove by. They thought it was a game! It is one of those times you never forget.

The looting was rampant. We saw 2 guys with a double mattress between them on a motorcycle. We saw people carrying refrigerators out of the store. Our church was in a shopping center right down the road from us. The entire place was looted, but not the church.

With all the looting and shooting and the curfews, no goods were transported for a few weeks.

I had been using my last little bit of cooking oil and was down to a quarter cup when the curfew was lifted. We had to travel to Caracas to renew our Visas which had expired during the Caracazo.

I entered one of the largest grocery stores in Caracas, and the shelves were mostly empty. On one aisle, both sides were empty, BUT I spotted 1 bottle of cooking oil. I quickly headed for it in great excitement. A man turned the corner and reached for the bottle the same time as I did. I surprised myself, by grabbing it firmly and telling him, "This is mine!!" He let go and backed off with his hands up in surrender. I was embarrassed that I had reacted that way! My husband was a few feet away and he looked to be in shock!

I turned the corner, and...I saw an aisle, both sides loaded with nothing but ...
COOKING OIL!!! The same man was picking up several bottles, now I was not only embarrassed , I was deeply ashamed!!

I learned a few things about myself that day,
1. I am selfish!
2. I am a fool!

Whenever I feel myself beginning to panic over something, I remember that day. What I wanted and needed was just around the corner, but I foolishly fought for what I thought was the only way left for me to get what I wanted!


From Gateway Pundit!

Here is G. W. Bush's message to the Iranian people in 2008:

"We have great respect for the people, and we've got problems with the government. We have problems with the government because the government has been threatening, has made decisions that --and statements that -- really have isolated the people of Iran.

"My message to the young in Iran is that someday your society will be free. And it will be a blessed time for you. My message to the women of Iran is that the women of America share your deep desire for children to grow up in a hopeful society and to live in peace."

And, Obama's response to the stolen elections and violence in Iran?
"This is a debate among Iranians about Iran's future."


Reports are circulating that Venezuela has sent anti-riot troops to Tehran to help Ahmadinejad, joining Hezbollah members from Palestine and Lebanon who are employed by the Islamic government as anti-riot police — the reason such forces are being brought in is that some of the Iranian police are unwilling to hit people as ordered and some are even joining the protesters.http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/iranians-protest-g

Sunday, June 14, 2009

The evil deed is done!

We put the kids on their flight this morning at 5 AM and they should be in Lima right now. They were excited to find out there is a Dunkin Donuts at the airport in Lima. They will have another layover in Bogata and then, on to Miami where they will spend the night. 16 hours in transit.

Then they rent a car, head to my son and his wife's place in the Tampa Bay Area for a visit with all the family there, before heading to New Hampshire where they will be based for their furlough. (Most missionaries serve on the field for 4 years and then take a 1 year furlough stateside. During the year they travel extensively reporting to the churches what has been accomplished on the field during their term. It is also a time to further your studies and re- connect with family. It is NOT a year long vacation!)

Please keep them in your prayers today as it is no fun traveling so far with two toddlers!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saturday Morning Cartoon!

In honor of the 44th President of the United States , Baskin-Robbins Ice Cream has introduced a new flavor: " Barocky Road ."

Barocky Road is a blend of half vanilla, half chocolate, and surrounded by nuts and flakes. The vanilla portion of the mix is not openly advertised and usually denied as an ingredient. The nuts and flakes are all very bitter and hard to swallow.

The cost is $100.00 per scoop.

When purchased it will be presented to you in a large beautiful cone, but then the ice cream is taken away and given to the person in line behind you.
You are left with an empty wallet and no change, holding an empty cone with no hope of getting any ice cream.

Friday, June 12, 2009

You go girl !!!

Just for the record, I would love to share a few thoughts with Letterman! As the mother of two teenage daughters, 14 and 18, I feel that this was totally uncalled for in any circumstance and that any parent ought to think the same.

Have you noticed the disparaging way young women refer to themselves these days? Using words that in my day even a drunken sailor would not utter in the company of a lady! This type of entertainment and humor only adds to the problem.

Not funny in any context, but can you even imagine if someone made such a joke in regards to one of Obama's daughters????? I would find it just as tasteless and wrong, but what about that double standard?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Corner Fruit Stand

My daughter took this photo of the fresh fruit
sold on nearly every corner.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Personal Update

Bear with me...

My children will be leaving on Sunday for the US. My oldest daughter, Jackie, (Keepin' Sane with Littles) and her family are going for a 10 month furlough, so I won't be seeing these faces for awhile! They will be based out of Nashua,New Hampshire and I am excited for my two grand daughters to be able to get to know their other grand parents. But I will miss them!

Jewel is headed off to Florida in hopes of finding work for the summer before she begins college next semester. Pray she can find a job!

My blogging will be sporadic for the next few days. I have not had time to visit your blogs. After the kids are off, I will have more time to make my regular rounds on the blogasphere. Right now, I am just trying to soak up as much time with them as possible!

In the mean time:

Historical figure dress up day.
We dressed up as individuals who were on our time line.
Can you guess who we all are supposed to be?

Mrs. C said...

OK, I was going to guess Sacajawea and Laura Ingalls. Your husband is David Livingstone. :]

Clint is David Livingstone, I am Sacajawea. Jewel is Laura Ingalls and Jayde is Carrie Ingalls. Josh chose to be Lou Gehrig. Jackie is Anna Leonowens.

Dani Joy said...
" Free as a Bird."

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

The Things I See

In April I posted about a big storm we had which brought volcanic ash all the way from Chile and dumped it on us here in Asuncion. The storm had such heavy winds it knocked out my internet tower.

A friend of mine across town was able to capture the storm in this photo.

You must remember it was midday!

Another friend took this photo of their pool after the ash had been dumped in it.
The pool went from clear to black in a matter of minutes.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Creating Curiosity

You can teach a student a lesson for a day; but if you can teach him to learn by creating curiosity, he will continue the learning process as long as he lives.
~Clay P. Bedford

(My kids called these 'Science Experiences' rather than experiments.)

This has long been my goal for my children. Although I have always home schooled my children, this philosophy could be implemented in any home by any parent. Many teachers do try to do the same in the traditional classroom setting.

This explains my personal suspicion of all packaged curriculum or the thinking that what works for one child will work for all. Every child is so very unique and born with different tastes and interests. If the parent, or teacher, can tap into this natural curiosity and direct it into a system of study, you will find an eager, willing student.

When my children were very young we would read aloud every day and they usually chose the books from which we would read. Of course I made sure to purchase books worth reading and looking at. A professor in college directed me to the book, 'Honey for a Child's Heart' by Gladys Hunt, and I found it very helpful in finding appropriate literature for each age group.

Reading aloud will open up great discussion even with a very young child. You will begin to see what captures their imagination and what subjects interest them. Take this natural curiosity a step further by implementing crafts or projects in relation to the books.

When my children were a bit older, early elementary age, I painted a time line on the wall of one of our back rooms. We began to add every event or person we discovered in our readings. Anyone who captured their attention or an event we read of, would be plotted on the time line. Young children do not always have a realistic grasp of time or sequence. This visual aid helped establish this in their minds for future use.

Another aspect of the time line was that we plotted all biblical characters as well as secular ones. In this way the children grew up realizing the Bible was a historical book with true events and happenings.

When we moved from that house into our mud hut, I was unable to repaint the time line and I found I needed something more compact and portable when we traveled in the states. I began a large notebook / 3 ring binder in which the children plotted their discoveries onto a time line which marched across the top of each page. We could add half sheets which did not cover the time line for additional notes or pictures to illustrate the events further. We also placed pocket envelopes in to hold actual specimens or larger objects which could not be pasted into the book.

Originally I had intended for each child to have their own Time Line book but found it hard to keep up with them all. I also noticed that by sharing the same book, the children would often become interested in the notations of events which had been placed there by one of their siblings. Their curiosity would be piqued and they would begin to want to learn more about it. I thought this was helpful and a wonderful means by which to expose them to new subjects. It also gave the children the opportunity to teach one another about their personal interests.

By adding in Art and Science activities to our time line we would discover some amazing things together and the children were constantly investigating on their own. This would explain some of the things I have found my children doing. Discoveries which often left me amazed at what they were capable to do by themselves, such as nearly creating a workable rocket in the middle of the jungle.

Josh sharing with his sisters something he discovered in his science studies.

Study time.

Historical figure dress up day.
We dressed up as individuals who were on our time line.
Can you guess who we all are supposed to be?

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Caption Contest

Let the good times roll!

A friend ( Pastor Von's Web Journal) has allowed me to use this picture.
The MK (missionary kid) friend has also allowed me to post it.

I love this picture because it shows the joy Micah is feeling in the moment. I know a lot of folks who are concerned and worried about our MKs not having a good life and missing out on so much... But tell me, does this kid look like he is suffering????

The picture expresses the great freedom and enjoyment one can have in their environment. Micah Jank is riding his motor bike on the airstrip with his pet parrot in pursuit. I don't think he is concerned about not owning a Play Station or being deprived of trips to the Mall!

How would you caption this phtoto?

Happy Anniversary

My son and his wife are celebrating their first anniversary today.

Check out the wedding photos HERE!

Well, Naomy, too late now!
You are officially part of the crazy Vernoy family!

Any words of advice or encouragement you would like to share
with the happy couple?