Eliana’s View: Laughter & Pink Rice

The grass crunched under the picnic blanket as the toddlers settled down to eat.  Haley snuggled into my lap, ready for some lunch after a fun morning of playing. The tía passed out bowls of food, and the kids dug in.

The lunch was simple and traditional, but delicious.  Rice and beans speckled the bowl, with some cheese off to the side.  The usual salad was replaced with a new vegetable: tiny cubes of beets.  The juice spread around the bowl, painting the rice a bright magenta.

Haley picked up a piece of cheese, and happily nibbled away.  I paused her munching every once in awhile to spoon in a bite of beans and rice.  Slowly but surely, the food began to disappear into the princess’s tummy.

Except for the beets.  

Haley sampled one piece, then refused to eat any more.  I tried to hide them in the rice on her spoon, or cover them with the beans, but she always caught me.  She would hold up her hand, inspect the food on the spoon, and pluck off the pink veggies. I could not get a single one past her.


Photo by Markus Spiske freeforcommercialuse.net on Pexels.com

Marlene, the nurse, came up to the group with a warm greeting.  She knelt and talked to the kids as they ate, putting smiles on their faces with her playful antics.  Turning to Haley, she saw the inspection and rejection process.

“Haley, why aren’t you eating your vegetables?”  My lunch buddy just grinned, pulling another one off the spoon.  Marlene leaned in close and dropped her voice to a whisper. “You wanna know something cool about beets?”  

Haley looked up expectantly.

“If you eat them, they turn your pee pink!”

Laughter welled up inside me.  I could not hold it in. One look at Marlene, and we set each other off.  Our giggles danced around the children.

We twinkled down at our Haley, and she smiled back—with a mouth full of beets.

Laughter (and the promise of pink pee) had helped the beets go down.


A cheerful heart is good medicine. Proverbs 17:22a NIV

Do you have any “pink pee” secrets for doing life?

One Thing Remains

Language.  Culture.  Climate.  Currency.  Source of provision.  Available products and prices thereof.  Food.  Church.  Profession.  With our upcoming launch to serve at The Home of Life children’s home in Costa Rica, so much is going to change in our lives over the next year.  In a moment of humorous inspiration, I sat down and made a list of what will stay the same (mostly).  It brings me comfort to recognize some stability and makes me smile over what my heart values.  Here’s a non-exhaustive, unordered peek.

1.) Our family being together.  When the Lord called us to homeschool 5 1/2 years ago, I had a sinking feeling that He was setting us up for the mission field.  Turns out I was right.  Only now I don’t feel so sinking about it.  What a comfort to already have a good familiarity with how to do school as a family before we venture out into the nations.  The kids will attend one year of traditional school while Matt and I are up to our eardrums in Spanish immersion classes, then it will be back to the kitchen table for lessons together.  We know that this call to go and serve is for our children just as much as us grown-ups.  We have seen the impact of their smiles and Spanish phrases on Tico hearts.  They have a unique anointing that’s an essential part of what the Lord is doing.  I’m so thankful to be able to walk this path as a family.

2.) God.  Life serving the Lord in Costa Rica won’t be any more spiritual than serving Him in the Midwest  but the change is certainly pressing us into His arms.  As He meets us here, we know He will meet us there.  Perhaps even more so, because we will be so much more aware of our need for Him.

3.) Rice and beans.  It’s like a Dr. Seuss book.  We eat them here, we’ll eat them there.  We’d probably eat them anywhere.  After our first global journey to Guatemala in 2006, I started our family’s exploration into the land of legumes.  Toss a rice cooker into the mix and we had some yummy dinners afoot.  Matt is no longer dubious when I come home with a 20 lb. bag of rice.  Gallo Pinto, anyone?

4.) Books, worship, and working out.  How awesome that some of my very favorite things are completely portable.  We may not be able to drive to a public library full of material in English, but modern technology can still keep us learning, recreating, and soaking in the Lord’s presence.  It’s on our heart to start a small group that gathers for contemporary worship (courtesy of mp3 files– none of our family plays an instrument).  Thank you, Lord, for Kindles, the internet, iPods, laptops, and Jillian Michaels’ dvds.  And while the sidewalks may be more of a challenge in Costa Rica, the weather certainly won’t be, so I’ll have little excuse not to lace up my running shoes.

5.) Making things from scratch.  I may have mentioned this before, but I’m a do-it-yourself-er.    If you can make something cheaper or better (preferably both) than you can buy it, then I’m game to try it.  This especially goes for food.  Lately I’ve been aflutter to learn to make the things that we love to eat here, but probably won’t be able to get there.  Chicken Tikka Masala.  Naan.  Auntie Anne’s pretzels.  You should really come over.  Company motivates me to cook.  Part of my role at the Home of Life will be to prepare meals for visiting teams, and there couldn’t be a better spot for my heart to sing.  Penzeys Spices’ motto says it perfectly: “Love People.  Cook them tasty food.”

But where there are lessons, they will be handed in (and possibly forgotten).  Where Jillian is pounding you with reps, cool down time will eventually begin.  Intriguing plots will conclude.  Recipes will be enjoyed and cleared from the table.  But one thing will remain:  Love.  The love we share with the Lord, with each other, and with the people He puts into our lives on the journey.