Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Today my youngest daughter turned 17.
Happy Birthday, Jayde!

Daughters are a lot like flowers.
They add beauty to your life but they also attract a lot of pests!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The BIG Move.

Yes, I am moving again. Tomorrow we are moving into a house we have been blessed to be able to purchase. We are so excited to finally have a place of our own. We are buying the house from another American couple who built it in an American style, including a basement! My favorite part is the laundry chute!

The owners are practically giving us the house as they wish to see it being used by missionaries.   It is a four bedroom house with a large open kitchen/dining/living room just perfect for entertain , which we do often!
It has a two car carport made of palm leaves which reminds us of our many years living in a palm roof hut in the jungle. The house does need a lot of repairs including  a complete re plumbing of the entire water system.

Rejoice with us as we enjoy this blessing!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The deer god

One of our concerns in the jungle was making sure we had enough protein in our children's diet. In the early years, before the solar panels, generators and battery powered refrigerator, we were constantly searching and trading with the Indians for fresh meat and fish.

One meat that the Indians were usually interested in trading with us was liver. Deer liver and tapir liver. We were glad to get it! We always pretended it was STEAK! The most yummy, prized, sought after cut of meat in the jungle! OH ,yes, my children, you get to eat LIVER! Poor children in America rarely have this opportunity! Aren't you all lucky! WOO HOO!

Since my kids were really isolated in the jungle...the ruse worked! They all ate liver with gusto! But our favorite was deer liver as it was more tender.

One day, Jorge arrived and asked if we liked liver. My husband assured him that we liked liver very much. Then, dear hubby said, in very clear Ye'kwana, " We love to eat deer liver! Our children all love to eat deer liver. Can we buy or trade for some of your deer liver????"

Jorge, opened his eyes and repeated, "Deer liver?"

Hubby says, "Oh yes! We would be glad to trade whatever you might need, for some of your deer liver for our children."

Unfortunately, the Ye'kwana word for 'DEER' is 'CAWAADI' and the Ye'kwana word for 'GOD' is 'WANAADI'. Very similar to a new language learner.

My husband had been asking to purchase a bit of 'God's' liver for our children to eat!

Wanaadi...Cawaadi.. God ...deer... a big difference

Friday, August 26, 2011

Jungle Mom for President

(a re-post from the last election cycle.)
I post this again as we are still WAITING FOR CHANGE!

Since I have recently received so many endorsements, I have decided to not only run for president but to create a new political party! I figure I may be able to get as many delegates as Ron Paul!

I will call my party 'Mom Knows Best'.

While contemplating what will be the platform of my party, I have relied upon all the decisions and skills any mother uses in a given day. The goal is to protect the family, provide for the family needs, save some money, and raise some independent kids!

So, here it is! The 2012 'Mom Knows Best" political party platform!

Protect the Family
As a parent I take my job of protecting my children very serious. Don't you? I mean, come on, if I even suspect that someone or something is going to be a danger to my children, I get out there and take care of the situation first! I don't wait to see if it will cause harm to the kids, I don't ask my neighbors permission, I do not take a poll, and I certainly don't fret about whether or not it is politically correct. Nope! I just do what has to be done!

In Venezuela I learned that in order to protect my family, I needed a BIG, TALL Wall! All around my property. I also needed weapons, bigger than the malandros! (Thugs) The walls were not to keep out my friends. Anyone invited was welcomed! The wall was to keep out undesirables and the uninvited . Basically, anyone who might do us harm.

SO... America needs walls! And guns!!! Simple!

Provide for the Family

We as parents do our very best to meet the needs of our children and even provide for their wants. We work hard, save and spend wisely to do this. It would be immoral for us to incur debts with the intention of leaving it for our children to deal with after our deaths. We may give to charity and the community, but only after first meeting the needs at home. We certainly can not give to others if we have needs at home.

Also, we raise our children so that they will eventually take care of their own needs. We do not provide for them indefinitely. When they are mature, they are able to work for their own dreams and goals. We may choose to help them at times, but they must be capable to live on their own. After all, I am going to die one day!

And, by the way, If I have a need in my home, I do not go and purchase it from my enemies just because it's cheap! Especially if I already can provide what I need. I mean, would you go buy gas from a local gang member if you had a few barrels stored in your garage!?!?! Open up our own oil fields NOW!!! Start building nuclear power plants NOW!!! Stop buying form the jihadist NOW!!! Stop buying from Chavez NOW!!!

So...America needs to meet the needs of its citizens first. Jobs at home, first. Provide for our military, first. Then give generously to those who need help.

At home, when the checkbook says '0', it means, '0'! I can not spend anymore! I need to tighten the belt, cut spending, do without some things, whatever it takes to get by, but,'0' is '0'! No matter how much I would like, the local grocer will not give me food without money. I can't go and make photocopies of money either! I can not write a check without funds! Imagine!

So...congress needs to understand this! You can not spend what you do not have! You do not accumulate debt and leave it for the next generation! Cut costs, limit spending, do whatever it takes to balance the budget. Start by allowing the citizen to keep more of his own money. If the citizen can meet his own needs, he will be more generous towards others. He may even 'hire' a few of them to work for him with the extra money. And do not print money with out funds!

Oh and... get rid of welfare! Teach the citizen to meet his own needs. Do not reward bad behavior. In the case of the truly needy, people will feel much more generous than they do now if they are allowed to keep more of their own hard earned dollars. As it stands, we see many people living on the dole who could work. We work! So should they. Simple really, no more subsidized couch potatoes!

Create Independence

As soon as able, each child should be allowed to contribute to the care and keeping of the family. This creates a spirit of collaboration, the feeling of worth, and a good work ethic for the future.

So... in our communities we need to allow the citizen to use his skills in providing for the needs of the community. Government needs to get out of the way of the innovative, entrepreneurial spirit. This will create jobs locally. These people will feel free to take risks, compete and create! Especially if they will get to keep their money!

Our children need to feel the stability of the home, the security of family in order to give the same to the community. Children reared in such an environment will be qualified and eager to compete globally. They will dare to be the best! They will keep our economy strong. They will invent and create new technology. However, if we provide everything except an education, then they will stay home and play on their xbox! Just like our teens at home. No schoolwork, no xbox! Thats what mom says anyway...

Moms make sure kids are safe, secure, and comfortable. Then we do the best with what we have. So should America. Prepare our children by allowing for parental choice in education. Allow for less taxing so that the family has more funds to invest in their own future. And by the way, Obama, I think young adults can work their own way through college! I think it would be good for them to have to do that! They might appreciate it more then! I mean, we already provide free High School education and look at how much they appreciate that!

Protect the Marriage

Nature itself shows us that marriage can only function between a male and a female. I have often wondered why people who believe in evolution and survival of the fittest don't see this as an endorsement for traditional marriage! Good grief! What are we doing? Trying to make ourselves extinct!

Protecting Life

Each life is valuable and should be protected. Period. The only life that can be forfeited is in the case of a danger to society. The murderer forfeits his own life, we do not 'take' his life. No, it is the criminal who 'forfeits' his own life. This is also true in war. The state has the duty to protect the citizen. Should an enemy chose to forfeit his life by fighting in a war...well, it's his choice. HA! I guess I am pro-choice after all!!!

And , uh, speaking of war... whenever possible, I as a mom, usually allow my kids to handle their own disagreements. If I see a child in danger from another person, then ,yes, I will intervene. When adults choose to disagree, I do not get involved, unless it is a clear and present danger to me, my family, or our belongings. Governments call this 'interests'. We do not need to be the world's police man, but we have every right to protect our interests.

Religious Freedom for All

Even politicians. Yes, they should be allowed to have faith too. I find it odd that all the ruckus was raised at Christmas about Huckabee's add that had a bookshelf which vaguely resembled a cross in the background. Duh? We are a Christian nation. Duh? He is a Christian! But the odd part is that each of the Democrat's candidates openly give speeches in churches and no one says a word.
But, yeah, everyone has the right to believe as they wish unless or until, their beliefs effect the liberty or well being of another.

History teaches us that this nation was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs. That is part of what has made us the great nation we are today. The moment we turn our backs on those principles we become just another country. Like those of Europe. But without the USA there to save us from ourselves!

So, there it is ! The 'Mom Knows Best" platform!

Thank you!!! Thank you!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Things I See...

At the super market, they sell everything but the 'squeal'.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Family of God in action.

Friend Jim was in Paraguay, South America, with a small project team from Wycliff in an indian village. On July 4, he fell off the roof and suffered a severe head injury. He was taken to a hospital in Ciudad del Este. A group of expats pulled together to help him until his daughter was able to come  and he was well enough to travel back to the US for extended care.

None of us even knew Friend Jim before his accident but we are all so grateful to see the improvement of our 'brother'. His daughter is allowing me to share these photos my blog since so many of you were praying for him.

Friend Jim on his 73rd Birthday. I am sure he has had better.

Clint helping and translating for Friend Jim.

 A South African friend and daughter, english speakers, who stayed with Jim at night.

The Queen and Prince Charming, my British friends! They cared for Friend Jim and received his daughter into their home while here. They used their knowledge of this city to much improve his care and treatment!Their car was stolen from the hospital parking lot while staying with Friend Jim.  They are two people who truly make a difference in this world.

Daughter Dawn arrived and had her own method of comforting Friend Jim who was confused and often tried to 'escape'. Can't say I blame him, considering!

 An American Paramedic came down to accompany Friend Jim 
and his daughter back  for the long flight home.

 Look at Friend Jim now...having coffee with friends!

 and walking over 450 steps at a time!

 He is receiving physical therapy daily and has a long way to go for full recovery. I am so glad to see the progress of my 'brother' Jim. It was a blessing to see the family of God come together to care for him in his hour of need.

I am so glad I am a part of the Family of God!

Monday, August 22, 2011

The World

Jayde wearing her traditional Ye'kwana face paint.

When you live in a small, closed community, such as an indian village, it is easy to lose touch with the larger world. The universe contracts and becomes the space you occupy and the people you see daily.

As an outsider and an adult, I still found this would happen to me occasionally, but for my children it could become normal for them to think the world revolved around our little village. The other villages along our river were 'foreign' like other countries even, and town, where Spanish was spoken, was down right alien. The strangest of all would be the 'gringo' people who would appear in our world from time to time.

Once, when my youngest daughter was but a toddler, we found ourselves in the village for a longer stretch than normal. We had not left the village in over 6 months and in the mind of a toddler, that was forever.

About that time a North American man and his grown son decided to fly out and visit us. When they arrived we were quite happy to visit and chat with them in English. They stayed with us for several days and were very kind and generous to our children. They had brought them coveted books and goodies from the US, so the kids were thrilled to have them as visitors.

Except for the baby.

She seemed very upset the first few days. Although normally a bubbly, out going child, she withdrew and became shy, even rude to the guests. After one meal where she refused to speak with the gentlemen, I had to take her aside and try to figure out her problem.

She began to cry and informed me that these men were speaking 'our' language! How did they know 'our' language? They we not 'our' family! Who had taught them to talk like us? Of course, this was all expressed in the vocabulary of a 3 and a half year old.

I was floored! My blond, blue eyed child thought that our family alone spoke the English language! She felt threatened that strangers, who looked a lot like us, could waltz into her life and communicate intimately with us in our family's private language! Her entire world view had been shaken, she was insecure in who she was and where she fit into the big picture.

Because of this, we learned that we had to make an effort to leave the village fairly often, every two to three months, and spend a few weeks out of the jungle and away from the tribe so that the children would not get over whelmed with the outside world. Even so, we still had times when the children would come up with something that totally blew our minds as parents.

Such as when I was teaching my daughter about the US flag and that each state was represented by its own star. She wanted to know which star represented our village.

Another daughter was learning map skills and I was called away for a few moments. I handed her a piece of chalk and asked her to draw a map of the world while I was out. Our school room had untreated cement floors, so I used the floor as a work space for the kids to do their drawings, spelling words, and even math drills.

When I returned, she had covered the floor with an amazingly accurate map of the world.

Her world.

In other words, the village.

The World

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Bury my Heart

 (From Living out a Missionary Heart)
Like soldiers on assignment before they leave for a mission, missionaries often leave a letter to a loved one at home. It is a farewell letter that’s only supposed to be read in the event of the missionary’s death abroad.

Karen Watson left for service in Iraq in March 2003. She had left her job as a jail officer and sold all her possessions to work on humanitarian projects with our International Mission Board in northern Iraq. A year and a week later, anonymous gunmen wielding AK-47’s opened fire on her team’s car while they were surveying sites (perhaps for water purification projects) near Mosul. Karen and three others were killed.

Within a few days, Karen’s pastor at Valley View Baptist Church in Bakersfield, CA received this letter, and then shared it with his congregation. Read this slowly.

Dear Pastor,

You should only be opening this in the event of my death.

When God calls there are no regrets. I tried to share my heart with you as much as possible, my heart for the nations.

I wasn’t called to a place; I was called to Him.

To obey was my objective, to suffer was expected, His glory my reward, His glory my reward ….


Cares more than some think is wise

Risks more than some think is safe

Dreams more than some think is practical

Expects more than some think is possible

I was called not to comfort or to success but to obedience ….

There is no Joy outside of knowing Jesus and serving Him.

I love you and my church family.

In His care,

Salaam, Karen

Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Things I See...

 My grand daughter cuddling with one of our new kittens.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Travels with Jungle Mom... never boring...

I was asked...

What has been your scariest travel experience?
 and I am stumped for an answer.

Its not that I have not had interesting experiences in my many travels, it is that I am finding it difficult to decide which one would be the scariest! Partly, because as I look back on each event, I now find them to be hilarious, even though at the time, they were frightening.

Would it be the time our Cessna landed on a grass strip in the rain and the water wall splashed so high we could not see where we were going until we stopped? Then we realized we were about 3 feet from the jungle trees at the end of the strip?

Or was it the time the engine cut off in the single engine Cessna while we were climbing? I did scream that time!

Or the time my daughter and I were left on a strip alone with indians who had never seen a non-indian female? They were very interested in confirming that we were indeed female...

Or when the three girls and I were, once again, left waiting in the middle of the jungle on a grass strip. The one where the jaguar liked to sun himself? The one where they killed the jaguar a few days later for chasing after an old man? My loving husband left us with his Leatherman knife, so I guess we were safe enough! (There's more to this story, but I must save some things for the book or you all will not purchase it!)

Once we needed to land on a small strip but found it occupied with buffalo. Kind of like playing that old video game 'Frogger' but with a plane and buffalo...and only one life!

Or maybe driving along the border with Colombia in an area known to be infested with FARC guerrillas? A few times we had to go in caravans and have a military escort until the military guys ended up being about as bad as the FARC.However, I think the huge pot holes on that road were by far the scariest aspect of that route.

Once, we were fording a river in a Land Rover (GREAT VEHICLES!) and we were meeting up with a ferry in the middle of the river. The car became stuck on something and the ferry moved off , dragging us along into deeper water. The back of the car, where the small children and I were, began filling up with water. I started throwing babies up to Clint in the front and then decided we should save the video camera as well. I grabbed the heavy camera case and lobbed it with all my might towards the dry, front of the car. I hit our driver in the back of the head! Obviously, we all survived and no one was harmed...well, except for the driver. He never would drive for us again.

There was that flight in the middle of the national strike.We managed to get tickets on the last flight leaving Barquisimeto for Caracas. Some Venezuelans did not think Gringos should get the last spots, even though we had tickets and they did not. Nor did it matter that some of those 'Gringos' were actually Venezuelan citizens. A small 'riot' began to break out and we were separated form our girls. The girls thought they were being kidnapped, when actually some airport workers were trying to place them in a protected spot. The, NAZIonal Guards (as some call them), National Guards, came over and began hitting people off with their machetes. We were told to, "Go quickly to gate one!" I don't remember much more. A big blurr of grabbing kids, wondering about luggage, listening to Spanish curses, and just getting our very white selves hidden away in the plane!

But truth be told, there was one trip that terrified me for the entire two hour flight! We were flying in a small commuter Turbo Prop from Puerto Ayacucho to Caracas. This plane had no lavatory facilities, and that was the problem! It turned out that I had E coli and very much needed those facilities! I was horrified I would not make it to Caracas. Those were, by far, the longest, scariest two hours of my entire life!

Except, there was that other time...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Marital Communication

This is a page from our album. My husband chose the photo of the famous Angel Falls of the jungle in Venezuela for the play on words, "You are my ANGEL and I FALL for you everyday!"

My husband once made a flight out to visit a Pemon Indian village and ended up stranded in a village without any radio to call for a plane. Each day he would walk out to the air srtip and use a hand mirror to try and signal the mining planes that occasionally (once every day.. or two) flew over the village. The Pemons had pity on him and brought him what they referred to as 'a bigger radio'. It was a larger mirror!

But that day a pilot did land and offered to fly him back to Ciudad Bolivar. The pilot was on his way to a mining town but left my husband to wait for him in Canaima, at the base of the very mountain of this beautiful fall, the highest in the world!

This is now a resort tourist area and he wandered around in his jungle missionary attire and actually discovered a satellite phone booth! So he called me.

I was in our small house in town and at that time there was still no land line phone service in that part of the town. We did have an ancient cell phone which my husband had attached a double size battery to. However, the only place to get a signal was by climbing up on a ladder under a palm tree in our back yard. Very interesting in rainy season!

Since I was anxious for my husband's well being, I left the phone up on the ladder to catch any call! It rang and he tells me he is calling from Canaima and Angel Falls.

He is in the middle of the jungle using a high tech satellite phone!

I am in a town, civilization! I am climbing up a ladder, holding a cell phone the size of a brick, which weighed three lbs., perching under an umbrella, wearing a rain coat praying not to get struck by lightning!

The things we do for love!!!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

An MK poem

 My daughter , Jayde, wrote this after spending a week at our mission headquarters  for the Enrichment Week program offered to missionary families on furlough in the states. She was 11 years old at the time and left this message on the white board for the people who made the week happen.

Life can be so tricky,
for a missionary kid,
but you made it so fun,
During Enrichment Week, you did!

We missionary kids are sometimes
longing to be normal.
But no matter who we were,
how we dressed, casual or formal,

You made sure we all fit in,
You helped us give our all to Him,
now let's sit back, bow our heads,
and watch it all begin!

Ok, so its not perfect poetry, but she expresses a common MK feeling, the need to fit in.

The Things I See...

So... that's where the cat hid her kittens!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Favorite Family Fotos

I love my family! 
Sometimes, candid shots turn out to be the best!

My oldest daughter, Jackie

My son in law, Brian

My son, Joshua, on his wedding day.
June7,2008. Lake Tahoe, California.


My daughter in Law, Naomy, on her wedding day.
June7, 2008. Lake Tahoe,California

My daughter, Jewel

 My daughter, Jayde in her Paraguayan dress

My oldest grand daughter, Elena

My grand daughter, Abbie

Grand daughter, Lexi, discovering cookies in the oven!

My husband and I cheering for Paraguay's soccer team.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I held a Jewel

Today my Jewel is 21!

Jewel was born with an attitude!

She could never sit still for picture taking!

She has always enjoyed any type of hand work.
Here she is watching an indian lady make a hammock.

No matter where she is, she will find a way to be helpful.

She is always up for an adventure.

She loved canoeing on the river in the jungle.

A rough and tumble kid!

She has always loved babies and will make a great mom one day.

Loves drama.

She learned from other cultures that there are different ways to do things.

She makes friends easily!

She has always been interested in medicine.

She would be a great nurse.

Always was a bit of a tomboy.

Very competitive.

She has become a real beauty...

And I keep wondering ,
"Where has my little, tough, tomboy gone?"


I held a jewel in my fingers
And went to sleep
The day was warm, and winds were prosy
I said, "Twill keep"

I woke - and chide my honest fingers,
The Gem was gone
And now, an Amethyst remembrance
Is all I own