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26 February 2011

El sabado

Spent a fun couple of hours this afternoon in El Centro de San Jose (downtown) with a few friends, showing a visitor around.  We stopped to enjoy a gentleman with a great voice singing Christian praise music near the plaza. We watched a spray paint artist create a new work. We wandered through the artesans market while our friend searched for gifts to take home.  I even got to play checkers (tablero) with a couple of vendors behind the scenes.  (I won! But not without help from my new friend, Jose) We shared churros on the way back (& a capuccino, mmm...).  And then we survived another bus ride, this time reminiscent of a scene out of Speed

And all that plus a morning of encouraging teaching on evangelism with the ladies from church, lunch with friends, a load of laundry complete, a trip to the grocery store, a chat with family, and amazing mongolian beef cooked by my husband.
A good Saturday, indeed.

Google Art Project

The Google Art Project is seriously neat! It takes all the technology from GoogleEarth into some of the best art museums in the world, and just like you can see what's in my backyard on Google Earth, you can get THAT close up to the some of the greatest works of art.

(which reminds me, last year we were at the Georgia O'Keefe Museum in Santa Fe, and my friend got lasered by a guard because he was getting too close to the painting. It was almost a scene out of Night at the Museum 2. WILL NOT happen at the Google Art Project!)

In all seriousness, you can see the brush strokes in Starry Night at the MoMA in New York City and the cracks in the Rembrandts at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. You can create your own gallery of favorites. You can stroll through the halls of the National Gallery in London while barefoot, with food AND drink next to you. 

Even if we can't BE there, we can still (virtually) see them all. 
Check out the Google Art Project.

Amazing Race 18

Unfinished Business.

My family isn't really a tv watching family. In truth, there is only one show that we watch, typically on Sunday night.
We tried Survivor for a while, but the kids were little and the language was raw and...

For a couple of years, it was IronChefAmerica, but after that many battles in Kitchen Stadium, the secret ingredients all started to blend together. 

Then we found The Amazing Race.
(my kids are older now- I can't really recommend it for those of you with young 'uns...)

But here in Costa Rica, we can't watch it live on Sunday evenings because we don't have cable tv. We have to watch it a few days later over the internet, typically the following Sunday. 
No problem, except when, for example, we really want to know if The Cowboys are still in the race. 
Don't tell us (Nicki)!
We can wait another week!

But if The Cowboys are out, good gravy!, I am pretty sure that Flight Time and Big Easy move into first place here...

And, here's a shout out to my older kids who immediately picked out Mike as Ned Scheebly from School of Rock. (note- I'm not recommending that one to young 'uns either!)

25 February 2011

Home sick

Just to be clear, I'm not really sick.  I just have a pesky little cold bug- runny nose, sore throat, achy when I don't take the tylenol for a while.  I took an afternoon nap, and that was a great help.  That kind of sick.

But I think it's when I don't feel well that I miss home the most. 
My bed.
My fluffy comforter.
Simply Limeade.
Kleenex.  (yes- name brand Kleenex.  my favorite.)

There's no denying-
my idol is comfort.

23 February 2011

on increasing faith

The life of increasing faith is like a circle that grows and grows until everything is brought into it, and nothing is left out of it. Every area of your existence, every plan you make, every word you utter, every argument you reason, every mood you allow to dominate you, every social situation you take part in, every impression you receive, every problem you work on, every delight you choose, every affection you embrace, every thought you entertain—is taken captive to God and His Word. It means rigorously and consciously, at every point, putting the Word of God above the word of any man, the report of any witness, or the insistence of any emotion in your heart.

- Andree Seu, Increasing Faith,

So very worth the entire read, including the exhortation as to how faith speaks, literally.

21 February 2011

Multitudes (#424- 446)

What if gratitude was as natural as breathing, because we knew in our bones that the air we breathe is grace?
Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience

424. "Faith that goes forward triumphs." Matthew Henry
425. Girls welcoming friends.
426. Unsolicited thank you's
427. Wednesday lunches
428. smooth green guacamole
429. shiny tile
430. the smell of sheets dried in the sun
431. an unexpected package
432. the book-y familiar smell and crisp clean pages of a new magazine
433. the first taste of dark chocolate
434. a day with nowhere to be
435. learning a new game, and even winning once
436. nothing lost
437. knowing how to get there
438. no temerĂ© mal alguno, porque tu estarĂ¡s conmigo Salmo 23:4
439. fresh popped caramel corn
440. sleeping on the right side again
441. type flying fast is almost as good as a phone call
442. friends on Skype
443. May the Lord make His face shine upon you, and be gracious to you. Numbers 2:24-25
444. morning sun on fuschia flowers
445. 20 minutes in the sunshine and quiet to write a letter
446. holding hands on the way back to school

on the bus

Because we do not have a car here in Costa Rica, the public bus is our primary mode of transportation. Well, I guess our feet are our PRIMARY mode of transportation, but the bus definitely comes in second. To attend worship on Sundays, we take two buses to church.  We first walk a few blocks to a stop where we wait for the first bus.  Sometimes we wait longer than we ride, I think.  Then we change buses, get on a second bus, and get off right in front of where we worship. We leave our house about an hour before the service begins, and if all goes well, we are seated with time to spare.

The second bus is the less predictable of the two.  On the way to church yesterday, we thought that perhaps the driver was maneuvering through his own NASBUS circuit, taking the turns wide and fast to move to the inside corner for the pass.  There were streets blocked off on the usual route, which necessitated more turns than usual.  We held on tight, even while sitting.

And then it came time to get off the bus.  I got off first, and thought that Tim was right behind me.  It took longer than normal, and when he did get off, immediately he and another woman exiting were in what looked like a pretty heated conversation. There were a lot of arms waving and then one of our Tico friends from church who was also on the bus got involved.  I crossed the street and waited.

The group finished, and crossed the street, and then I learned the entire story.  While getting off the bus, the lady exiting in front of Tim stopped because she lost an earring.  She bent down to look for it on the floor of the bus.  In the process of waiting for her, the lady immediately behind Tim pickpocketed his wallet.  THAT FAST!!  But, after a moment he suspected something funny was going on, felt for his wallet, noticed it was gone, and confronted the lady behind him. She denied it all, but we are sure that she was in cahoots with the lady who dropped the earring, and maybe even a third person we didn't notice at all. (note: I love being able to use the word "cahoots"...)  Yes, the wallet was gone.

But the good news? There was absolutely nothing of value in that wallet.  It had a couple of empty gift cards and a few worthless receipts. Isn't he a clever one, my husband?  Everything of value was in the wallet strapped to his belt and tucked into the front of his waistline. 

Nonetheless, it was a pretty sobering moment- that it happened that fast.  We were on a bus last week when we watched a woman have her purse stolen from her shoulder at a stop across the street from where we were at a stoplight.  Again, it happened THAT fast, in a blink of the eye.  Both incidents serve to remind us not to be complacent, and that we need always be alert.

All in all, though, just another day on the bus...

(photo credit- really taken on the first bus Sunday morning!)

18 February 2011


Isn't it fun when someone you know in real life does really neat things on the internet, and then you say, "and I KNOW her..."? 

(note- this is a great example of one way I love how Spanish works.  There's a Spanish verb that distinguishes between "I know her personally..." (conocer), rather than just "I know that 2+2=4..." (saber)  See, I am learning Spanish, really!)

My friend Marcy recently launched stylesson, a design blog that highlights design blogs.  For a girl that lives in, shall we say, a design challenged home, Marcy's site is an oasis in the desert. stylesson is filled with fun ideas, design inspiration, beauty. It's classy, just like Marcy.

(psst- can I just brag on Marcy for a moment? she sent us an AMAZING care package today- full of magazines, a brownie mix, packages of gum, and CHOCOLATE! If you want to bless a missionary familiy living outside the US, this is the recipe for success!)

The photo is one of my favorite recent posts. That scene would be in one of my best dreams ever. 

stylesson be sure to visit stylesson and tell Marcy I said hi!! 

12 February 2011

Lankester Gardens

Last week I took an afternoon field trip to Lankester Botanical Gardens in Cartago. 


Everyone should make it a point to visit gardens, no matter where you live.  I am convinced, it is good for your soul, no matter what the weather, no matter what the circumstance.

If it were my home...

Through internet wanderings, thanks to Kate at  behind the gate, I came across . This site gives a statistical snapshot of life in another country, and compares life in that place to the United States.

So of course, I had to try Costa Rica...
They tell me that living in Costa Rica, I use 85.7% less electricity and 84.15% less oil.  I think that's true, because it seems like our house is always dark!  We don't have a clothes dryer.  Our hot water heater is small.  Our stove uses propane. And we primarily walk or use public transportation here.

They say that we would have 20.39% more babies in Costa Rica. We break the rules here (but we break the rules in the US, too!) It is very unusual to find a modern Costa Rican family, at least in San Jose, with more than 2 kids.  Most people are amazed we have 5 here (and our grown-ups and grand back in the States, besides!).

There's a neat feature that shows the country size in comparison to a place in the US. Costa Rica fits in an area within southern Nebraska to central Kansas. 

Then I checked the comparison with Mexico, and the stats aren't that different than Costa Rica.
But, I had to smile when I looked at the recommended books and the list included one for NEW Mexico...  (ah yes, one of our fifty is still missing...)

Try it for the places you are, or where you have a heart for, or where you'd like to go, even for a visit.

07 February 2011

The smell of love

Aubrey at Pilgrim at Oak Ridge today asked, "what is the smell of love?"  She had earlier written of the delicious smells of love, of favorite family recipes.  But while serving, her family, her patients, she also noted that the smell of love isn't always the good things. 

What does love smell like?

For me, love smells like apple pie in the oven, almost ready to come out, and wood being cut in the garage workshop.
Love smells like freshly mowed grass and turned over soil in spring.
Love smells like windex and PineSol.
Love smells like the musty old wood in the sanctuary of my home church, and lasagna warming up before Pot Providence lunch.
Love smells like fresh brewed coffee first thing in the morning.

But I also know that love smells like stale smoke and lingering alcohol on the person at the back door of the church.
It smells like hot meals prepared in an industrial kitchen and packed into coolers for home delivery.
It smells a bit moldy, like the basement apartment of someone in their own place for the first time in years.
It smells like the mix of Eastern spices and musk  and sweat in the building full of Sudanese refugees.
It smells like a sweaty kid, flush from running crazy, but stopped in your arms long enough to avoid getting into trouble. For now.

And tonight, love smells like fresh made oatmeal cookies, made by a willing daughter for a sweet-starved mom and brother.

06 February 2011

Boca, Part 2

As temporary residents of Costa Rica, the law requires us to leave the country every 90 days in order to renew our tourist visas.  So, for the second time, we made a weekend trip to Bocas del Toro, Panama.  It took a full day to travel south to Boca.  We traveled to the border by public bus, and then walked across the border, and then took a taxi to a boat launch, and then a water taxi to island, and then another water taxi to the hotel. 

The next morning we woke up to rain, and let out a collective sigh.  Our last visit to Panama in November was during a tropical storm, and it rained in torrents for most of our trip.  But this time, the weather cleared.  Mostly.  Except that one little made-for-a-film-set-cloud-burst while we were biking.  And then, the weather cleared.

We had a great weekend.  We rented bikes and traveled along the coast.  We ate great food.  We saw amazing views. 
I might have ended my surfing career when a wave pummeled me into the shore...

I am grateful for
safe travel,
uneventful border crossing,
unexpected skype message,
a red bike with a comfy seat,
and a basket,
kids that can bike,
laughing at a downpour,
laughing at myself,
brightly embroidered pillows,
white surf,
celestial blue water,
billowy clouds,
tiny whole shells,
red ginger flowers,
only my shoulder hurts,
ice cream cones,
my own mola,
fresh pizza,
boat rides,
gazpacho and falafel,
home again.

For a full view, pictures are up in a Picasa album to puruse.

01 February 2011

February 2011 Photo Hunt

It's back.
I haven't participated in the Photo Hunt Challenge since last February, I guess...
(last February?!  It has been a year?!)

I haven't had the camera out much in January, and I'm looking forward to shooting with purpose! 

Looking at the list, I already think Something Cozy and Something Furry will be a challenge.  We seem to be lacking both here in Costa Rica...

I know that some of you might want to play along with me... :-)