Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Better Reading List

Many of you, myself included, observed that the reading list put out by the BBC was lacking in depth. I, too, noticed this. Mostly, it seemed they had left out Classical literature (Classical, not be confused with Classic) and the list seemed to have several juvenile classics, which although they may provide good reading for children, it seems strange to see them on a supposed 'well read' persons list.

I am putting forth another list here which I think covers most of what the BBC list left out. I imagine that not many have read all of these. This is a compilation of several classical literature reading lists. I have read quite a few but not all, and I do hope to read them all eventually.

Classical reading List

The Epic of Gilgamesh
The Bible
The Iliad and the Odyssey of Homer
Aesop's Fables .
The Oresteia by Aeschylus
Euripidies, especially The Bacchae, Electra and Medea
The Theban Plays of Sophocles:
Oedipus the King/Oedipus at Colonus/Antigone

Lysistrata by Aristophanes
Plato's Republic and Other Works .
The Aeneid by Virgil
. Horace's Poetry
Ovid's Metamorphoses

Medieval Reading List

The Dream of the Rood
The Song of Roland

Chretien de Troyes's Arthurian Romances

The Romance of the Rose

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

William Langland's Piers Plowman
Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy
Boccaccio's Decameron

Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales and Troilus and Criseyde

Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte D'Arthur

Renaissance Reading List

Thomas More's Utopia
Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel
Shakespeare's Collected Works, esp. Hamlet
Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen
Cervantes' Don Quixote

Milton's Paradise Lost

17th and 18th Centuries Reading List

Defoe's Robinson Crusoe

Marlowe's Tragical History of Doctor Faustus
Jonson's The Alchemist
Bacon's New Atlantis
Cavendish's The Blazing World
Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress
Behn's Oroonoko

Swift's Gulliver's Travels
Stern's Tristram Shandy
Radcliffe's The Mysteries of Udolpho
Goethe's Sorrows of Young Werther

I think this list is much better, although there is quite a lot of good history that should be read as well. So what do you think?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Are you well read ?

The BBC has reportedly named these the top 100 books a well-read person will have read, but estimated most people have only read about 6 of them. If my eyes do not fail me, I have read 49 out of the 100. I can think of many more I would add to this list and some of these I would remove.

Sadly, we had to leave our books when we left the jungle so suddenly. We miss them but are trying to rebuild our library. The books I have read are in bold and my notes are in red.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (A favorite!)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien ( I read this almost every summer and have read them aloud to all my children)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible
(In English, Spanish, and the New Testament, in Ye'kwana)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (Reminds me of Obama's presidency)
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott
( Another read aloud)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare--(I've read MOST of them!)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (A great read aloud for even young children!)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell Several times, I just finished the biography of Margaret Mitchell)
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
(Another favorite)
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky ( I devoured this while recovering from a surgery)
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (If you haven't read it as an adult, you should!)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
( Another good read aloud)
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (A classic to read over and over and over...)
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (Really fun to read aloud to children)
34 Emma - Jane Austen ( I have read the all of Austen's works)
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
( Fun read aloud. Shouldn't this be part of the Narnia Chronicles?)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (Make sure to read this to your children! You will all enjoy it.)
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code
- Dan Brown ( I had to know what all the buzz was about)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (read with your daughters, and all the sequels!)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert ( I LOVED THESE! Even rented the movies)
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens ( Another must read)
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas ( My husband's favorite)
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville (Read aloud with young boys, they'll eat it up)
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72 Dracula - Bram Stoker
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (Lovely story)
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens ( Almost every Christmas up until recently)
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White ( Read aloud)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle ( I have re read these several times)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (I read it in Spanish)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas ( Good to read aloud with your children)
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl ( A must read for younger children)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo ( Read it...don 't watch the movie!)

How many have you read?

Do you have any favorites you would add to this list?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Things I see...

Paraguay seems to be the land of opportunity as far as seeing new and strange things on a fairly regular basis. Remember I told you how I had seen a naked man walking in down town Asuncion on Monday? And no, I did not take his picture!

I saw something else quite odd today.

We were driving down a fairly busy avenue which has some beautiful homes. Some of them call to mind the antebellum plantation houses of the old south. I always enjoy looking at them and today was no different.

BUT, look what I saw in the front yard of one...

The Witch Doctor's Chant

At Maweda Shodi on the Maweda River, near Chajurana.

This was written a few years ago by my oldest daughter ,Jackie.

(Keepin' Sane with Littles )

We were preparing to leave for furlough. We had furlough fever, more commonly known as Furloughitis. The symptoms of furloughitis involve cravings (for everything you can't get in Venezuela, but will be eating shorty in a matter of two months) such as Double Stuffed Oreos (my dad's favorite) Strawberry Pop Tarts (mom) Bagels and Cream cheese (me). Along with the usual Snickers, Olive Garden bread sticks, and Big Mac. Furloughitis also involves the hurried frenzy of taking all those last minute pictures for the slide presentation. You have no idea how many missionary pictures are "posed."

"Hey, Tito, can you pretend like you're making a canoe, please??"


"So I can take a picture"

"I don't need to make a canoe."

"I know....just pretend."

"You've seen me make a canoe before."

"Right....but I didn't take a picture....I told myself I would take one later."

"But I only need one canoe. How many canoes did you think I was going to make?"


My parents had the brilliant idea of recording a witch doctor's chant for the background music. My parents had a lot of brilliant ideas, usually at the expense of their children's lives. As my dad would put it, "We're young. We can have more kids if we loose one!"

Now, the witch doctor is a little old man, who wears a loin cloth constantly and occasionally puts on a shirt for special occasions. Such as coming to our house. He wasn't "creepy" in any way, or hostile, unless he was 'working' then he could give you goose bumps. He moved across the river to get away from all the people. He said Chajudana was too crowded, a bustling metropolis of 500 people. He slept in a hammock next to his dad's skull....yeah, that was creepy. I think over all though, he was more scared of us than we were of him. He thought we were way creepier I'm sure.

One day the perfect opportunity to get the background chant arose. The witch doctor was only a few houses away chanting over a sick woman. So my dad decides to send my brother (about ten years old at the time I guess) with small hand held recorder over. He told him to stand by the door, push record and stick the recorder inside the door. Just a few minutes is all I need, he said. Josh was TERRIFIED. The witch doctor was chanting, screaming, shouting, growling like a bear (all can be perfectly imitated by my brother now.) Josh told my dad he was scared, and it was creepy...and why didn't he do it. The answer was, "I'm too busy right now." But we all know he was just as creeped out! :D

My dad told Josh, "Don't worry son. You're under the Blood. Nothing is going to affect you. Now go."

My sisters and I walked with Josh to the house....well, we stopped about ten feet away and made him go by himself the rest of the way. He was muttering under his breath the whole time, "I'm under the Blood. I'm under the Blood." We watched as he stood against the outside of the house, and poked his hand with the recorder in the doorway. He recorded for a few actuality it was about ten seconds, and bolted towards us. As he was running towards us, the pastor's son, who knew we were all creeped out by the chanting, had climbed a tree that grew in the path, and just as Josh ran under it, jumped down and screamed like a panther. My brother is a white boy, but I had never seen him so pale as that day!

Josh returned the recorder triumphantly, my dad said it wasn't a lot of chanting on the tape, but it would have to do. Relieved to be all done with that horrendous task, we all went back to our school work.

If you ever see my parents slides from that furlough, listen closely to the chanting in the background. I'm almost sure you can hear "I'm under the Blood" being whispered!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Things that give me pause...

Have you ever been going about you day, minding your own business and then see something that just stops you in your tracks? It seems to happen to me a lot! But then, maybe I am just ADHD.

Sometimes when I am visiting blogs and getting ready to leave my comment, I read the words,
"Choose an identity" and my imagination is off and running...all the identities I could choose! Who should I be today? Wonder Woman? Nichole Kidman? Or maybe some historical figure like Joan of Arc? Then I figure that I am probably the only adult who gets distracted by such a thing. That gives me pause...

Every now and then, I will be reading the news and see our new President's full name, Barak Hussein Obama, and I must say, the 'Hussein' gets my attention! That gives me pause...

Then yesterday, I find out someone in the US is using our credit card. That really gave me pause...

And then when I read that the Gitmo detainees will be allowed to sue the US, well that gives me BIG pause...

BUT yesterday, we were driving downtown here in Asuncion, getting ready to park, when I see a naked man walking down the sidewalk towards me. That gave me pause... and made me stop and pray!!!!

What about you? Anything give you pause lately?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Personal Update

Yesterday was a very good day for us. We enjoyed the morning service and in the evening went to the other church we are helping, as they have no Pastor.

It was very hot last night. I found a seat directly under the ceiling fan and was literally dripping with sweat. It was well over a 100*F outside and in a room packed with bodies, I can't even venture a guess as to the temperature inside the church. Poor Clint was on the platform, directly under the overhead lights, without even a fan. He was preaching away and wiping his forehead with his handkerchief every few seconds.

But it was well worth it! This church has been struggling for over a year without a Pastor and has lost members because of it. This discourages others and they have not had a steady availability of solid preaching and teaching. My husband has been preaching regularly for the last two months and you can see the difference in the people already.

The sermon was on Faith from I Thessalonians 2:3-8. At the invitation given at the end of the service, about 20 people went forward. Most were adults and 8 were men. We are planning an evangelistic campaign in the neighborhood next month and the people are excited to invite friends and family.

Clint continues with his Guarani lessons and now throws out words and phrases all the time. The Paraguayans really appreciate the effort he is making in studying their second language.

We have been working on student and leader guides to the Marriage Seminar materials which Clint had developed in Venezuela. We will begin a small group for married couples in our home next month using this material which is loosely based on the book,'Love and Respect'. We are excited to be able to share this with Paraguayans.

Clint also has been asked to be on the board of directors at the American Paraguayan Cultural Center. This will be an opportunity to meet people and interact with a different circle of Paraguayans. I am mostly excited about it because it means we can use their English library now!!!

We finished our summer break here in Paraguay, so Jayde and I started home school last week. My last time through High School! This is the first time in 20 years that I have only one student! Now my days are full of English Comp., General Science, World History I, Math, Christian Womanhood, Bible, and Literature.

I am using new curriculum. I had to change some of my books, not because the others were inferior, just that I could not bear to teach from the same books again. I was sick of them! Jayde is excited to have brand new books which no other student has ever touched! I never realized that being the youngest in the family, she had never experienced this, but I think she will miss all the notes written into the margins by her siblings! Each one left their opinions and aggravations in many of their books, for the next student to read. Mostly my oldest daughter, Jackie, left things like this in her Algebra book!

My son liked to leave his notes written in Greek... or Elvish. Very entertaining teaching these kids!

Not so important news, but still fun, is the fact that my girls are playing on the girl's church soccer team. They have been competing and the girls are still in the running! The guys did not fair so well. Jewel plays goalie and Jayde is on Defense (full back). Both are doing quite well for their team and having a good time competing against other churches in Asuncion and making friends with other young people.

We are the 'blue team'.

It looks like Jewel is playing basket ball in this shot!

Jayde and a friend on the team.

Please continue to pray for our friends in Venezuela
who have been missing for a full week now.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


In the book 'If' by Amy Carmichael it says:

If I ask to be delivered from trial rather
than for deliverance out of it,
to the praise of His glory;
If I forget that the way of the cross
leads to the cross
and not to a bank of flowers;
If I regulate my life on these lines,
or even unconsciously my
so that I am surprised when the
way is rough and think it
strange, though the word is,
"Think it not strange,"
"Count it all joy."
then I know nothing of Calvary love.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Enemy God

I have written about the book entitled "Spirit of the Rain Forest" which is the biography of a Yanomami shaman ( witch doctor) shake (Bautista) turned preacher, who I know personally. You may be interested to know that his life story is being made into a movie! He is from the village where Mike Dawson writes about his growing up experiences in his own book entitled '"Growing Up Yanomami"

Mike's book is available for order at,

The Story: Shake (Bautista) is a powerful shaman of the Yanomamö people. He wields his power to heal and to protect his people against their enemies in this world and beyond. Tracing his life and the life of his community over 40 years of their history, Shake tells how he and his people grapple with new ideas that come from the outside world and the challenging decisions they make in order to maintain their identity and survive as a people.

Here is the theatrical trailer for the upcoming movie of Shake's life story, The Enemy God.

The Enemy God
has received great response in film festivals and special screenings over the past months.

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Find more videos like this on Behind "The Enemy God"

And here is a short video in which Timoteo and Bautista, both Yanomamo pastors from the village of Coshaloateli , Amazonas, Venezuela, tell you themselves their perspective of the upcoming movie. I have had the privilege of meeting both of these men.

The Preacher's Wife

I was blessed to be born into a family full of pastors, most of whom were Baptist preachers. This has been normal for me my entire life. I have been related to Baptist preachers in just about every familial relationship possible.

When I was born, I was born to the titles of;

The Preacher's great grand daughter
The Preacher's grand daughter
The Preacher's niece.

Upon my father's ordination, I also became,

The Preacher's daughter.

Later when I married, I gained the titles,

The Preacher's wife
The Preacher's sister-in-law.

When my daughter married , I became,

The Preacher's mother-in-law.

My son is not ordained yet, but he is already preaching, so I am also now,

The Preacher's mother.

I have several nephews also in school who are preparing for the ministry and so I have become,

The Preacher's aunt.

However, since we are Baptist, the one title I will never have is,


Which probably explains why I have this blog...

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

My Husband's Birthday Cake

If you read my husband's Face Book or my daughter's blog, you will know I have stolen this from both of them. (So sue me!)

Text written by my husband and photos taken by my oldest daughter at
Keepin' Sane with Littles

"When you get older (I am not old, my Dad is old) there are things that bring you happiness that used to seem trite. On my birthday, my oldest daughter, Jackie, said she would bring my birthday cake. She had purchased an imported cake mix at the grocery store along with the pre made Pillsbury Cake Icing. Some of you might think, those of you in the states, "that is not special" Well here it is because it comes only once a year and at over twice the price you find in the US. They brought the cake, they, because along with my daughter fixing the cake, my granddaughters also had their hands in the preparation. (LITERALLY)

The youngest had decided to massage the icing into the cake with her own two little hands to give it a more refined delicate texture. The cake was beautiful. Jackie had sorta pushed the cake back together before putting in the 47 candles (The cake would have been illegal in California during fire season!!!!) Elena and Abby were so excited to eat the cake with me, they wanted to do the cake first. But they were patient and waited for the firetrucks to leave after we lit the candles and blew them out.

1 Imported Duncan Heinz chocolate cake mix $8.00

1 Imported Pillsbury Chocolate Icing $5.00
4 boxes of Birthday candles $5.00
Imagining Abbey's little hands massaging the finished cake PRICELESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! and the taste EXQUISITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you for a wonderful Birthday.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Paraguayans love U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes

When I arrived here in Paraguay, I was surprised by the many streets, buildings, a museum, even a state and a soccer team (nicknamed los Yanquis!), which are named after the US Pres. Hayes.

I had read some history on Paraguay so I was aware that he had been the one to negotiate the dispute in regards to territory claimed by both Paraguay and Argentina in 1878. Pres. Hayes was generous to the Paraguayans and his decision allowed the country to keep a great portion of the chaco land which is cattle territory. This area is now 60% of the national territory. What I had not realized was how much he was admired here, and for all of this, on February16th, the Paraguayans celebrate a holiday for President Rutherford B. Hayes

It seems that last year a young Paraguayan girl who had been in a coma awakened and the TV station granted her a wish. She chose to travel to Ohio to see the center there which honors Pres. Hayes.

I wonder how many Americans even recognize the name of Pres. Hayes, or know anything about this bit of history in regards to Paraguay. He is such a hero to the people here that they assume he is as revered in the US, right behind Washington and Lincoln!

A portrait of former U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes hangs next to a portrait of Abraham Lincoln among other artifacts in the city museum in Villa Hayes, Paraguay, Tuesday, Feb. 10, 2009. While Americans think of presidents such as Washington and Lincoln as they get ready to celebrate Presidents Day Feb. 16, Paraguayans would focus on Hayes, where the one-term U.S. president has a holiday, a province, a town, a museum and a soccer team all named in his honor, thanks to an 1878 arbitration in which he handed Paraguay 60 percent of its land. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

So...did you know that????

Jewel's Journal

Jewel,now 18, has been recording some memories from her childhood in the Amazon jungle of Venezuela. Here is one of her latest.

Jewel watches as an indian lady makes a hammock.

Growing up, how many times did you just get totally shocked by something that later on just became expected? It's funny how as kids we appreciate and enjoy the small wonders in life. How a simple bug that we have never seen before is the most wonderful thing in the world. How you would stay up at night and watch for the stars to come out and wish on the first one you saw because even tho they told you the Tooth Fairy wasn't real there was a part of you that just couldn't be sure!
So Ive decided to write down the things that as a child I thought were the most astonishing, most spectacular , unbelievable, the most stupendous things.
In the jungle we didn't have an inside bathroom for many years, we had an out house that was just like McDonalds.......ok, because it had two stalls and that was where the resemblance ends, but I was 4, so give me a break!

Our outhouse.

Any ways back to the point, I knew that there were houses that had an upstairs and that also had bathrooms but it was impossible to have those sort of things in the jungle to my mind. It just wasn't possible! Or so I thought until I went to Tama Tama!! (A small village on the Orinoco River where there was a missionary boarding school for many decades.)
I remember getting off the plane and being tired and sweaty and so I went to the house we would be staying in. If any one has ever had a 4 year old they will know they have very small bladders and a two hour flight is very long!
That being the case, I asked the missionary lady where the bathroom was. She smiled and said "Up stairs..." I could slightly hear her continue talking but I just had to stop and ponder this new revelation, and this is what I thought, Up stairs? Did she really say there was an up stairs? Maybe she meant a loft ..yeah! that must be it, haha! There's no way she can have an up stairs in the jungle, haha! My small bladder was starting to protest so it brought me back to what I was asking before.

Our loft.

I asked her again because I kinda got lost on the whole up stairs thing. She looked at me and smiled and said " Up stairs and the second door....." my thoughts? Well mostly like this, "DOORS?????" but once again my bladder brought me back to the present and I had to ask her once again. This time she not only looked but also laughed, haha, I guess I would too! So once again she told me " Up stairs and the second door on the left." .......dose she mean to tell me that the bathroom is in the house? No way! Impossible! She pointed to the back of the house to what looked like stairs.
I looked once more at her and then slowly walked to the stairs. I looked back at my parents, seeing as how they were busy talking, and I was told not to interrupt adults. I slowly went up the stairs ,making a mental note to try sliding down the banister later, like in the movies!
Once I got to the top, I stopped with my mouth open! This was definitely not a loft! It was, with out a shadow of a doubt, an upstairs! As I slowly walked down the hall, counting the doors, I realized I didn't know which side was left and right. After taking a a few moments to figure out which side was left, I figured the best way was to do' TU TI NA NE WA MA DU DI TA'. (Ye'kwana version of iny mini miny mo!) So that done, I opened the door, and if this was a movie you would see a little girl opening a door with a bright light shinning through... and the next thing I remember is getting in trouble for sliding down the banister!

As you can see, Jewel eventually was able to take stairs for granted. Her she is in a wedding in Venezuela last year.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Annniversary

My daughter, Jackie, and her husband, Brian, are celebrating their 5 th wedding anniversary today.

They were married in Barquisimeto, Lara, Venezuela. It is very hard for me to imagine that it has already been 5 years!

They lived in the states for a year or so before moving to Costa Rica for Brian to study Spanish. Their first daughter was born in Costa Rica.

The lovely Elena!

Then they moved here to Paraguay where the baby was born at home, delivered by her father.

Jackie and Abbie moments after the birth.

The proud papa! (Mid husband?)

They have accomplished much in their short marriage!

May God grant them many more years together in His service!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Important Links for Expats

This link was shared with me by a friend in Caracas. I am so excited to find it, I just have to share it with other expats as I know how difficult it is to find enough reading material for our families. So here it is: Free online books! (THANKS LIZ!)

Some are in PDF format, some are Zip, and some others have to be converted to Word.
From classics to modern novels, very good place.
Most are in English, but there are a few in Spanish.

Here are some other links which I have found to be interesting and useful.

COUNTRY GUIDE is an evolving database of cross-cultural information about every country in the world. This user-built guide allows people from all walks of life to share essential tips with each other about how to navigate our increasingly borderless world with savvy and sensitivity. Easy to navigate and free to use.

Expat Blogs

Add your blog and photos and share information with other expats. Fun site!

Link Expats

Suppose you are American and you live in Dubai. Once you join, you automatically join the American expat network in Dubai. All countries and nationalities are represented.


A web based missionary directory. Information of all sorts!

Mission Resource Directory

A useful resource in locating and contacting mission related organizations around the world.

Missionary Blog Watch!

This is my personal favorite site with so much useful information for missionaries as well as interesting reading from all around the world. Be sure and check this out for yourself!

I know a lot of my readers are also expats, do you have any interesting links or perhaps a useful tip you could share with us?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Nichati Cherokee

A new Photo of a Younger Nichati Cherokee!

For Aunt Tommie,
This is a photo sent to me by a 'cousin' I just discovered. Truthfully, he discovered me. His grandmother shared it with him and it would seem we are both descendants of the same Nichati Cherokee. I am posting it here so that my own Aunt Tommie might be able to see it.

This is Nichati's daughter, Clara and her husband Robert Riffe. They are the grand parents of my own Aunt Tommie and my father. (Thanks Local Malcontent!)

My Aunt Tommie, My father , Jack, and Aunt Donna.

I am BLOG!

Resistance is futile!

Jungle Mom has been assimilated!

And now, I look like this!

Do you have a blog? Leave us a link?

We will come and 'assimilate' ..uh...visit you!

(and if you do not understand this are obviously NOT a Trekkie!)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Yekwanaman's Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my Mr. Right!


His age? 47

How tall is he? Perfect for me! 5'7"

How long did you know each other before you got together? We wrote letters for years! Back in the day!

What physical features attracted you to him first? His eyes

Eye color? Hazel, but they change with what he wears

Hair color? Mostly brown, a little gray coming in tho!

Hair style? He was a Marine!! High and Tight.

Normal outfit? Blue jeans and a pull over or t-shirt.

How did you meet? My friend ,Kim, invited him to a church skating party! Then she met her husband at our wedding!

How serious is it? Couldn't get much more serious! 25 going on 26 years and 4 children, and now 2 grandchildren...

The grand babies!

Are you "in love"? More and more each day!

Do your parents like him? Yes

The family at our wedding!

Do his parents like you? Of course!

Do you trust him? With my very life. Actually, I have had to trust him on several occasions for my life and my children's lives! He has never let me down!

Would you share a toothbrush with him? uh..yeah!!! I share gourds with an entire tribe!! So why not his toothbrush!

Would he let you wear his pants? We are talking figuratively, right? NO WAY!!!

Do you have a shirt of his that you sleep in? That's for me to know and you to find out!

Do you like the way he smells? Yes, well...usually!!

Can you picture having kids with him? Yes, but not again, please!

Jungle Mom and baby Josh in Barquisimeto, Venezuela.

What bothers you the most about him? hmm...that he can pick up languages so easily while I have to study and stutter!!

Does he have a temper? He does, but he rarely lets it show.

Are you happy to be with him? I would follow him to the deepest, darkest jungle....oh wait! I already did that!!!

Does he embarrass you in public? No. Well, sometimes, only because I am shyer than he is.

Does he smoke or do drugs? No, unless terere counts!

Does he have any piercings? No! Too funny to imagine!!

Any tattoos? No!

Does he have any scars that you know of? Where shall I many to tell about here. There's the canoe one, the surgery one, the drill in the hand one....

Is he a party dude or stay at home? He loves to the Christian sense!

Is he outgoing or shy? ROTFLOL!!!Never shy!!!!Never!!!

Does he love his mama? Yes. She has gone on to be with the Lord.

My in laws on their Wedding Day

Would he hang out with you and your friends? Yes. Our friends are mainly couples, but he even served coffee to me and a few of my bloggy friends last week!

Sing? Yes, changes keys a little too often, but it doesn't stop him! However he does play a mean trumpet!

Shh! here's a secret! He even took ballet classes as a child!

Brother Ed and Lil' Clinton!

Monday, February 09, 2009

The Mummy Thing

I am trying very hard to lose the weight I put on during our furlough time in the US. I am sure that the very air in the states has calories because all I have to do is step off of a plane and the pounds start adding up lickety split. (Or maybe it's the banana splits?)

I have done so many different diets in my life, some to good success, some not so great. I have tried Weight Watchers and I even had 'fat reducing massages' in Venezuela. My husband and several friends here in Paraguay all went on the Cabbage Soup diet. I stuck to my own diet but I think the entire country of Paraguay smelled like cabbage that week. I do not ever want to cook cabbage again. But I must say, they all did lose weight even if they started sprouting green leaves on their heads!

For Christmas, I informed my family that I would like to enroll in a weight loss center here as my gift. You get to meet with a nutritionist who makes you personalized menus and you weigh in every other day. They keep track of your weight loss and I have lost 7 kilos since I started the plan. This works for me because, I know how to diet, I know what to eat and what to avoid, but I need accountability.

Two weeks ago, I began the second stage of the plan. I did not really know about this part and it caught me by surprise. I call it "The Mummy Thing".

Here's what happens: After meeting with the doctor and doing your weigh in, you are escorted upstairs and shown a dressing room. A nurse comes in and proceeds to wrap you, mummy style, in wet strips of cloths. She asks where are your specific 'trouble spots' so she will concentrate the wrappings in those areas. For me, that is easy! Pretty much from my neck to my knees! These strips are drenched in some kind of 'thermo genesis' something or other, that smells like seaweed and makes you feel cold. It feels like you have been wrapped in Vicks Vapor Rub!

Then you sit in the waiting room with all the other ladies. All of us are there for obvious reasons, so you have a room full of 4 or 5 plus size Egyptian looking mummies. Our arms stick out straight, unable to bend at the elbow and we walk around with stiff legs. Trying to sit down is quite an ordeal, but getting back up after the 30 minute treatment is hilarious! I am always afraid I will be the last one left and will have to figure out how to get up by myself! If no one came and checked on me, I could very well turn into a real mummy!

All of this is supposed to break down the cellulite so that you can lose the fat faster. I have no idea if it works or not, but we do laugh a lot in there so I guess that burns a few calories! Speaking of which, a room full of laughing mummies is an experience in and of itself! Usually it is the same group of ladies as we go at the same time. They always have the TV turned onto a Venezuelan, or Colombian, soap opera. Talk about drama!

The Paraguayan ladies often do not understand the accent or idioms the Venezuelan actors use and ask me to 'translate'. Sometimes the Venezuelan actresses speak so loudly and quickly, usually while angry and in a manner only possible for a Venezuelan female to do, that the Paraguayan ladies declare not to understand a word they are saying. So I do the translating. One particular episode had the actress walk in and find her husband cheating on her.The women in the room all became animated explaining what they would do in such a case.

Finally, they turned to me and asked what I would do if I discovered my husband had cheated on me. They know I am a Christian and a pastor's wife. One girl asked me if I would consider 'divorce' in such a case.

I was so excited to answer her because years ago I heard Mrs. Billy Graham asked the exact question in an interview, and I had always wanted to borrow her answer. I had waited years to have the opportunity to use it.

Very piously, I answered, "NO! I would never consider divorce. Murder perhaps, but never divorce!"

The ladies started laughing so hard we all had tears streaming down our faces and thought we would rip our mummy bands! The nurse came to check on us, it seems we were being too rowdy. The ladies all pointed accusing fingers at me! Always blame the gringa!

And so, that is how I am bonding with some new Paraguayan friends as I try to lose some weight to improve my health! May as well have a little fun with it!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

My Brother's Substitute Brother

Too sick to find cartoons.
Enjoy this essay written by my daughter Jewel.

Josh meets his 'substitute brother'.

In my family there are three girls and one boy. Jackie,Joshua,Jewel, and Jayde.
Anyone who has a son or a brother or is a boy, will know that boys like to rough house, play war and stuff like that, but most of those thing need to be played with a second person. Usually, brothers will play them together, but since my brother didn't have a brother, he had to find a substitute with what he had at hand.

There was Jackie, who was a book worm and had no problem with ignoring Joshua. Ok, so next option is Jayde, she was the baby of the family and still little. Not much of a challenge so that left me, the girl who if ever told that girls couldn't do some thing ( no matter how stupid that thing was ) would do it! Just to prove that girls were just as good, if not better, then guys. Ding, ding, ding we have a winner! Substitute brother found!!!

I loved playing with my brother. He taught me a lot of things growing up. Like how to throw a left hook, he taught me how to play Nintendo and xbox and PlayStation. We would do lots of stuff together lots of stuff my mom and dad didn't know about.

Like one time me and my brother 'snook' (it's a word in my family!) off to the river during rainy season. It was cool and we had a lot of fun.....till we got in a fight and I got mad and wanted to swim out to the rock in the middle of the river. I forgot to measure in the difference of the level of the river and swiftness because of the thunderstorm the night before. I was quickly swept down river towards the rapids my brother was on the shore running as fast as he could to keep up with me, yelling at me to stay calm, he found a rope and threw it out to me. I grabbed on to it and he pulled me in just a couple meters from the rapids....we decided not to tell mom and dad about it, but a couple of years ago me and Joshua were talking and we remembered it and told mom and dad. Josh was 17 and I was 15 then, lol ,mom's face when we told her about it was priceless!

The last time I saw my brother he told me I was the little brother he never had.......he had me in a head lock and was rubbing his knuckles into my head!!!! After my brother let go he started to walk down the hall. He thought I had learned my lesson and would not retaliate HAAA! what ever!

I took off after him and was going to tackle him from behind but because my brother is bigger then me, I jumped so that I would get my arms around his neck....but he kinda ducked and I flew over him like Superman! Right into the wall... head first. I then slid down, still head first, and my feet sticking strait up in the air! My brother was laughing while asking me if I was ok.....I wanted to punch him but I couldn't figure out which of the three he was!
So I just glared at all three , my mom came out took one look at us and said "I told you someone would get hurt" .

At a young age, Jewel already knew how to hold her own!

Best buds!

Who needs a sled, a shovel will do just fine for these two!

Home made see saw.

G.I. Jewel

Jayde, Jewel, Naomy, Josh,and Jackie.
The polished Jewel!