Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year

'Resolved, that I will live so as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.' ~ Jonathan Edwards

Friday, December 30, 2011

On Loving God

"Our relationship to God is mirrored in our relationship with our neighbor, and our family is made up of our closest neighbors. The state of our marriage, our relationship to our kids, and our relationship to our friends and coworkers all reveal the condition of our relationship to God. If we are serious about loving God, we must be serious about loving our neighbors." ~ Nancy Wilson

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Things I See...

Yesterday we spent the day at 'La Garganta del Diablo' ( The Devil's Throat) with the kids.

See more photos on my face book page, HERE.

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Christmas Surprise

My son and his wife showed up on my door step this morning, a total and complete surprise the kids have been planning since July!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Down Town

This is a re-post of one of my first trips down town here in Ciudad del Este. Thankfully, it is beginning to feel more normal for me, and yet, I sort of miss the wonder of it all that one senses on their first steps out into the wild city of the east!

Yesterday I almost tripped over the Arab men smoking their hookah because I was looking at the Chinese lady selling the silk kimonos. But the Portuguese man called out a warning. I then took refuge in the christian Korean store.
This city is culturally ADHD and I may need to start taking some Ritalin!!
Did I mention the man playing the Steinway piano in front of the Sushi bar? He had a CD with a Sinatra song, entitled, "MAY HUEY". (My Way)

I  also found Rolex watches even I can afford! Who knew????  But I best not discuss here what the guy tried to sell us as we crossed the street in front of the protest march before the National Police blocked the road! Speaking of protests, Paraguayan protests are like a Sunday School parade compared to the ones in Venezuela. It was so calm we were already IN it before we realized what it was!

After that we walked back to where we had left our car parked...right in front of the TAXI line '11 de Septiembre'. (September 11).

Then we had lunch at a Brazilian steak house with a room full of  Chinese people.

This city, Ciudad del Este, is like the duckbill platypus of cities! As if God took all the left over fragments of societies and dumped them down here together on the edge of nowhere just to confound the rest of us!

OH WAIT! I fit right in, don't I????

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Things I See...


Doing what she does best!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Jewel is in Brazil on her way home

I dedicate this repost in honor of her as she is enduring an 8 hour layover...if all goes well!

 How I spent a year in Brazil one day!
We left our home for the airport at 4 am. Our flight from Asuncion to Sao Paolo was scheduled to leave at 6 am. All went well. Our bags were checked, we went through what passes for security in these parts, and made ourselves comfortable as we waited for the call to board the plane.

And we waited.

And waited.

Finally, we were told our flight to Sao Paolo had been postponed.

And we waited some more.

Around 10:00am  we realized we would not arrive in Sao Paolo in time to make our connection for Miami. A group of us were in this same position and the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED informed us we would be staying in Sao Paolo for the day and waiting for the midnight flight to Miami which would arrive in Miami at 9 am the following morning.

People began to complain about the delay and we were told not to worry that  the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED would take us all to a nearby hotel to spend the day as we awaited the later flight.

OH! But not us. We, as Americans, were told we could not leave the airport as we had no Visa for Brazil.
My husband began to explain that with my chronic back condition, we must be given some where to rest, at the very least, permission to wait in the VIP lounge of the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED!

Alas, this request was denied and so he began to beg for a business class seat on the 9 hour flight to Miami but the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED realizes that when leaving the country of Paraguay, one has very few options and they can treat you as they wish.

We finally arrived in Sao Paolo around noon. We all went to the counter for connecting flights as we had been told to do, only to find out that they were not prepared for us. After a four hour delay in Asuncion, no one had begun to work on our plight at all. By now we had decided to present our Paraguayan ID's rather than American passports and see if we might be included in the hotel offer after all.

One hour passes ~ by now the 10 of us in transit know each others names.

Two hours pass ~ We now know one anothers marital status, occupations, and final destinations in the USA. We are sharing food and drink as there is no where to purchase such sundries in this section of the airport unless you pay 8$ for a Coke and 15$ for a dry empanada. One would assume  that the cost of food and drink would be covered by the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED, but one would assume incorrectly.

Three hours pass ~ Now we have shared the names of our pets and know one anothers favorite colors! Still no word on the supposed hotel nor transport to and from it. The airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED seems to be annoyed that we continue to bother them with our presence at their counter.

I must say, Paraguayans are much more patient than Americans or Venezuelans. If this had been a group of Venezuelans we would have organized a general strike and march by now and teargas would be involved! At the very least we would have made enough noise to have brought the attention of the National Guard and someone would have been slapped around!

 A group of Americans would have already filed several law suits on the internet via their I phones!

Four hours pass ~ Now we are sharing life stories and deep secrets and feel a bond of kinship with one another.  We begin to say mean things about the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED in the Guarani language which they will never understand. We are now family and in this thing together for the long haul. I discover that the passive, patient Paraguayans have not bee so idle after all! They had texted home and someone was able to get the personal phone number of the President of the airport in Asuncion. They were now bombarding the President with text messages describing our treatment by the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED.

FINALLY, we can go claim our bags and then push and pull them ourselves the farthest possible distance one can while still remaining on airport premises. As we went through immigration, the representative of our group was asked, "Are you all the group  in  transit from Paraguay?" To which he answered, truthfully, "Yes" and so, without a glance at passports or papers of any kind, our group of 10 was escorted out of the airport . Our bus awaited us but we had to walk the quarter mile to it, still pushing and pulling all of our bags.

Once on the bus, the driver informed us that we would have to wait another 20 minutes for the bus to leave on its scheduled time. All ten of us glared at him and silently, bared our canines! He decided he should make an exception for us. The representative of the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED left us at this point. We did not miss him.

By the time we arrived at the now seemingly mythical hotel, we only had three hours  to shower and eat before we needed to return to the airport to check our luggage for the next flight.

We caught the bus,  we dragged our bags, we checked in as a group on our Letter of Transit. We made it to security. All the Paraguayans went through and awaited us on the other side. BUT now we, the Americans, were informed that we should not have left the airport without  a Visa for Brazil. It did not matter that the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED escorted us through Immigration knowing that we were American citizens. It did not matter that  the immigration official did not even check ours, or any of the others, documentation, no, we were illegal immigrants!

At this point my husband asked to be deported from Brazil. Deported to Miami on the soon to leave flight for which we already possessed boarding passes and on which our luggage was loaded.

We looked at our Paraguayan friends and told them to please continue to the gate and not miss their flight! But they refused to leave us! They all remained and clamored with the officials, vouching that although the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED had NOT included our names on the Letter of Transit, we had indeed been with them the entire time.

One of the Paraguayans ran back to the counter of the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED and brought an official from the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED with a revised Letter of Transit which did include our names. The security officials decided to allow us to pass through and catch our flight. I think they were concerned about detaining  angry Americans backed up by a group of not so passive Paraguayans.Perhaps they were recalling their own history of the War of the Triple Alliance and knew how persistent Paraguayans can be when they felt the need.

Now we are all running to the gate of the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED and find out that this flight has also been delayed!

Of course it has! This is the norm for the airline WHICH SHALL NEVER BE NAMED!

And that is how I spent a year in Brazil one day!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Have you ever?

Listened to the sound of rain falling upon a palm roof?


Heard the songs of howler monkeys in the jungle?


Seen a sky only God could paint?

Watched the majestic macaw soar overhead?

Fallen asleep to the sound of the river flowing past your window?

Swam beneath the spray of a waterfall that has no name?


Listened to the thunder roll across the jungle, and heard the voice of God?

Followed the tracks of a jaguar down to the creek,
hoping to catch a peek?

Walked under a moon so bright, it cast your shadow at mid night?

Stand under the jungle canopy, looking up...and see no sky?

Felt the sun beat upon you as you paddle down stream
in a dugout canoe?

Loved a child with dark, black, shiny eyes?

Swam in a current that nearly takes you away?


Eaten a sun ripened pineapple, straight from the garden?


Held the hand of a tribesman, and truly felt him to be your brother?

Smelled the smoke of a camp fire, hours before you arrive?

Been held in the embrace of an Indian grandmother, 
who "rocks" away your pain?

Eaten a fish that was swimming only moments ago?

 Had your face lovingly painted in onoto, and felt beautiful?


Had to leave it all, not knowing when , or if you would see them again?

I would like to thank  the Venezuelan jungle missionaries who have contributed  these photos. All photos are original to Jungle Mom, Don Arnold, Mike Dawson, Pastor Von, Micah Jank, and Jonathan Reed.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

My Week End

 via Facebook ~

Janus decided to eat her mattress last night. I think she is assuming this will allow her back into the house at night.
Please pray for safe travels for Clint tonight as he drives to Asuncion.
Saturday Night~
Clint Vernoy arrived safely. I should have asked prayer for those of us who did not travel out of town. We had a little 'encounter' on the way home tonight, but all is well.
 Even later~
So after our little adventure with the cops, involving a breathalyzer, I arrived home to find Janus without her collar so I could not get a hold of her to keep her in the yard while the gate was closing. Finally we made it in the house and discovered the cats had killed a bird in the bathroom and it was full of feathers and gore... and the neighbors are having a very loud party!
 Later yet~
  The girls decided to make crafts which ended up with lydocaine and bandages... and this was after all the OTHER stuff on the way home.
When I got home last night, Janus the Great did not have on her collar. This morning I noticed she had a swollen neck. I found her link collar wound up in the hammock strings and broken in three pieces. I can only assume she fought her way out of a terrible experience with the collar and hammock. Poor baby! She is getting lots of extra love and attention today.
Sunday mid morning~
I received a call from  my daughter across town telling me that Elena thought she heard a baby chicken outside and went to help it. She set off the house alarm and woke everyone in their neighborhood up early on this Sunday morning. At least now everyone knows they have a LOUD alarm! The two chickens then came into the house. One was escorted out and the other is hiding in the girls bathroom but the bulldog got in a few good bites so there was plenty of blood. Then they discovered that their dog, Captain Alice was gone. Brian  had to drive around looking for her, but she finally showed up at home on her own.

And now, off to church to see what new adventures await us!

My husband has his own excitement last night. After preaching for the all day Anniversary service of a church there in Asuncion, he was given tickets to go to the night game of our favorite Paraguayan soccer team with the Paraguayan pastor. Someone in the crowd threw a fire cracker and they all were escorted out of the stands and the game was canceled.
 God writes a lot of comedy... the trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny.
~Garrison Keillor


Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Things I See...

Janus the Great and the kitten with a death wish!
Actually, Janus is pretty patient with the kitten and we often find them sleeping together in the morning.