Looking Forward, Enjoying the Present

I thought this week I’d let pictures do the talking.  Please enjoy a gallery of some moments we’ve captured in the last month.  We are savoring the present as we look ahead to our move to Costa Rica this summer.  A new update letter is hot off of the press.  Click <here> to catch up on our global launch, or hop over to our Newsletters tab.  It’s so good to have you with us on the journey.

Praise the Lord; praise God our savior!  For each day he carries us in his arms.  Psalm 68:19

Things We’ve Learned Along the Way

It’s been much quieter around Hogar de Vida the last few days with the team safely back in the states.  They were a great, lively bunch and we miss them.  Ezekiel is still praying at bedtime for his friend Micah that he adopted as playmate-supreme.  Monday we sorted through the food left at the team cabins and divided up the laundry.  Tuesday Matt proved once again that he is the brave one in our family by taking the bus to San Jose himself, getting us a rental car for the upcoming week, and driving through San Jose (a task not for the faint of heart, I understand) to find the language school we will attend.   I took advantage of the sunny, windy weather for a power laundry day and prepared to enjoy our friend Cherie’s company for dinner and a game of 20 Questions–global worker edition.  Today Matt has been busy planning a family outing to Arenal to see a volcano that just went dormant in the last couple of years.  I baked up some treats for the houses and learned that my recipe for chocolate chip cookies does not actually fit as bars in the cookie sheet pan I have here.  Lots of drips and overflowing edges were enjoyed  by the cook.  Tonight we hope to join the English worship group at Iglesia Biblia.  I will leave you with a rather long list and pictures of some of the humorous things we have learned as we do life here in Costa Rica.  Thank you so much for coming along with us.

Things We’ve Learned Along the Way. . .

How to make lemonade from lemons (figuratively and literally).  The literal stuff is delicious.  The figurative stuff is much more fun than complaining.  Yes, lemons are green here.

How to get to and from the airport at midnight, 3 a.m., noon, and 4 p.m.  How to  avoid the parking police at the airport.

How to salvage the good out of a fallen mango.  How to let the mangoes go bad where they fall when your kids are tired of eating them.

Close your mouth and squint when walking through a cloud of fruit flies enjoying the fallen mangoes.

How to pick up a mango covered with bees and fruit flies and throw it downhill to clear the local atmosphere.

Just a few days worth.

When Matt makes a pre-dawn sortie with a wheelbarrow and hands covered by a plastic bag, that’s even better.

How to open and close a Costa Rican window (they have wide panes of glass like blinds).

Bugs in the house are just normal, but killing a mosquito is as satisfying as always.

Big bugs can make for excellent entertainment and education opportunities.  See previous post for visual.  Rolling up a towel and laying it across the opening under the door can curtail future entertainment opportunities indoors.

The beauty of a 70 foot waterfall, 15 minutes away.

That Jillian Michaels dvds can adequately prepare you to climb 300 steps up from the waterfall with a toddler riding on your back.

Morning hugs and salutations at devos with the Hogar family can be the best time of your whole day.

Chainsaws cut flesh and bone as well as trees.  True, but we’re just teasing.  We did get to pull a running chainsaw up a tree on a rope to cut down branches, though.

There is a cleaning solution here with the name of “Terror.”  I find this completely appropriate considering what you might find when you dig into nooks and crannies around here.

The best seats in church are right by the open door to catch the breezes.  This is a sister lesson to: Sweat is normal in church. Greeting time at Iglesia Biblia is only the halfway point of worship time.  You’ve got another 35 minutes coming right up.  Someone suggest this to Pastor Sean.

Even deceased poisonous snakes can inject you with venom, so handle carefully when a team finds one measuring 5 feet behind the waterfall and brings it out for closer inspection.  Avatar-style victory cries over dead viper are optional.

Eggs here are stored outside of the refrigerator, but once they get refrigerated, they have to stay there.  When a team mistakenly places 12 dozen eggs in the refrigerator, be thankful that they eventually ate them all.

There’s nothing quite like the sound of a Costa Rican thunderstorm rolling in.  The rumbles must echo in the valley because they go on and on beautifully.

We will go to unexpected lengths to get the best internet signal available, including sitting on a sidewalk in the tropical dark, using the computer screen as a flashlight.

One day of Matt’s labor on a house in 2007 can still be remembered five years later with appreciation and affectionate hearts.

It is pointless to buy a can of pineapple for $2 when you can buy an entire fresh one at the weekly farmer’s market for under a dollar.  Whoops.

Line-dried laundry fits more loosely than what comes out of your dryer.  Whether this is an invitation to enjoy more Tico cooking or a forewarning to buy your shirts a size smaller is yet to be determined.

Surprise! Happy Birthday, Eliana!

Contrary to our teasing, we did not need to make a late night run to the grocery store to get her presents.

It is entirely possible to have a fantastic 10th birthday here.  Sticky buns substituted for birthday cake, and a happy girl got to share twizzlers with the Hogar de Vida family at morning devotions.

The Birdbath Diaries

It was one of those things that popped suddenly into my heart, that I hadn’t thought about having before, but now wanted with a romantic longing. A leisurely stroll through Mulhall’s Nursery can do things like that to you. The object of my attention: a birdbath. My kids were having fun exploring the statuary garden. They didn’t need my attention for that minute.  I wrestled with the logic of my new found affection. Surely I don’t need that. Wouldn’t it be better to take that money and donate it to some good kingdom cause? I was at Mulhall’s after all, this wasn’t going to be a spare change purchase. And I didn’t want just any birdbath. I wanted the one that is now sitting in my flower garden, compliments of my husband’s heart to bless me as I turned a birthday that ended in 5.

The romance goes way back. My parents have had a birdbath in their yard ever since I was a small child, and fine feathered friends play merrily in it to this day. Yes, I know all about the green grunge that grows on the bottom of them, because I used to scrub it out as one of my chores. My parents and I would call through the house to each other to come see this or that bird, and take delight in the Lord’s creation. Like them, I love gardening and find joy in simple things like visits from birds. Although at this point in my life, I spend too much time making meals and snacks for my children to put out food for the squirrels.  I believe what was calling to my heart was Sabbath Rest. I want to sit out on my deck with my husband and children and watch the birds take joy in our garden. I want to take the time to appreciate the flowers blooming and not just get them dead-headed. Somehow a birdbath was a memorial stone of the Lord’s invitation for me to be still and know that He is God, that He will be exalted throughout the Earth.

After the inaugural filling, my kids and I asked the Holy Spirit to invite all the birds to come and enjoy the water, to let them know that it was a safe place. And He did. In a few hours, we spotted the first to take a drink, a shiny blue-black grackle. He was so pleased by the water, he jumped in and splashed around. And many others have followed. Each seems like a special moment of celebration. Man can chisel out a birdbath, but only the Lord can make a bird to revel in it.

“. . .If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.” John 7:37