Thursday, January 19, 2012


Sometimes when I think about our time in the D.R., it seems like a dream, another world, in spite of the fact that we left less than a year ago. And other times, like today, I'll suddenly get a "picture" in my mind of a place. The pictures are usually a random place, maybe somewhere along a road, one of our houses, a scene from a mountainside or beach, or even a face of friends or acquaintances left behind. Accompanied by this is a sudden, sharp pain in a part of my heart I thought had healed. Today, during some quiet processing time we were able to have at MOPs, memories came rushing back and I allowed my mind to follow the memories instead of push them back, as I often do. It's different for me to just think about the D.R. vs. picturing actual places and things from the D.R. The former I can do with less emotion. But pictures evoke my emotions. And sometimes, like today, life becomes surreal. Sometimes the present seems like a dream and the past seems like reality. Almost as if I'm waiting to wake from the dream at any moment and find myself back in Jarabacoa.
The best word I can use to describe this is longing. There's no question that I left part of me behind in the D.R. I miss it. But at the same time, I don't want to go back. By that I don't mean never going back to the country. What I mean is, I know we've started a new chapter in our lives. And I don't want to go backwards. While I long for the country and people, I don't long to live there or to go "back" to a few years ago. Because that's not where we're supposed to be right now. And I want to go forward. God has done amazing things in this tough transition. Through the pain He's brought us hope. Trough our trials he's grown our faith. And while our future is still uncertain, we're excited about where He's taking us. Yet sometimes I still feel that longing, a longing just to "glimpse" Jarabacoa again. Or to go out to a favorite restaurant or food stand. Or to ride with Daniel on our motorcycle (long ago stolen) through the beautiful mountains.
Instead, I think I'll eat some pastalon (in the oven), drink some ginger tea, and look through some past pictures. And let memories aid in the healing process.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Playing Dress-up

"It won't hurt" the 2 yr old painter-puppy declared as he gave me a "shot" on the cheek. No, this wasn't a bizarre dream; we were playing dress up today. I was found healthy by the 4 yr old, except for high blood pressure (I need to eat lots of food, drink lots of water, and take lots of medicine), and needing one of my fingers cut off so he could give me a new one (he said he has a box of new fingers in his office).

The Alien
The Care-Bear

The Care-Bear attacking the alien


The fairy-care-bear attacking the jedi-alien


Super Bear!

Jumping Kangaroo

The painter-puppy and the doctor

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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Homemade Candy

I finally made some yummy homemade candy today. I've been wanting to try this, but things have been crazy between making products for my "business," finding a house and then planning to move all in one week, and still keep up with the boys. However, I finally made it (with the help of the boys) today because I want something they can trade for the Halloween candy they receive. So, because I've been asked for the recipes, here's what I made today:

Peanut Butter Balls

To the best of my memory, here are the changes I made to the recipe (I doubled (ish) it):

3-4 T natural peanut butter
200 grams dates (make sure you take out the pits before you put them in the food processor- just a tip I discovered)
vanilla extract (not sure how much I used)
carob chips (that's what I have)
salt (I have unsalted p.b.)

Almond Joy Bars:
1) I used the recipe for chocolate butter here with the following changes:
For the sweetener, I put in some stevia. First I put in liquid, but I didn't want to use too much since the alcohol gives it a strong flavor (like fake sweetener). So then I used some of the powdered herb. It still needed more sweetener, so I added some honey, but didn't have enough so threw in some maple syrup. It doesn't need to be that complicated, next time I'll just make sure I have enough honey!
2) Then, combining a few posts/ideas of this same blogger, I threw in some coconut flakes, almond extract, and chopped almonds and added it to the processor. Then I put it on parchment paper on a baking sheet, pressed the mixture down to make "bars" (or you can roll it between parchment paper) and froze it. Yummy and very rich!

Pumpkin Balls (Also called Raisin Butter Balls by Jeremiah):

Using the idea from a recipe here, I threw in a random amount of raisins (I didn't have any more dates), some pumpkin butter I'd made (or you can use pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice), and some almonds. I'm not sure on the amounts, but next time I'll use more raisins and less pumpkin to make it a less gooey consistency (though I could still roll them into a ball). Since I didn't, I put these in the freezer instead of the fridge (unlike the Peanut Butter balls).

I was able to make all three of these in a small amount of time with the boys "helping me" (i.e. stealing tastes) and still cooking dinner. Not because I have talent, just because they were that easy.

Some other "candies" I want to try:


Homemade Coconut Butter to make coconut candy (or the macaroons above)


I'm enjoying the yummy recipes on this blog despite the fact that I am not vegan (I'm also enjoying my 1/2 pig share).


Tuesday, August 09, 2011

4th of July pics (okay, so I'm a bit late)

So we're back from vacation. Kind-of. We had 2 1/2 weeks of vacation (first Michigan with Daniel's family, then North Carolina with mine) and stopped by Marion on the way back to Wheaton to drop off some things and "move-in." We've been in Wheaton for a few days doing some packing, doctor appointments, etc. and leave tomorrow evening to go back to Marion. So I'm not sure what this "in-between" time would be called.
I have pictures I've been meaning to post. These are a bit late, but here they are, starting with the 4th of July:

This year we celebrated the 4th of July in the States for the first time in years! Our Fourth of July weekend included an evening at the "Eyes to the Skies" Festival, a parade, a family cook-out, family fun, and fireworks!
Eyes to the Skies Festival:
Magic Show (Jer's in the orange shirt holding a white handkerchief)

Mesmerized by the show (both our boys watched it for the entire time- even Timmy was engrossed!)

The boys loved the bouncy thing (esp Timmy, behind and to the right of Jer)

Sitting in a real airplane

Ready to take off!

Love those lips!

Jer and Grandpa

And the highlight- the hot air balloons (hence the "eyes to the skies")

A Purple People Eater, Humpty Dumpty, and a ?Gopher/Beaver?

A panda

Waiting for the parade to start

Showing patriotism for their birth home passport country

Here come the firetrucks!

Timmy's a little unsure about the noise

And, of course, we must have a snack

Cute little American

Enjoying "American" food...

With the Petersons...

And the Gerigs

Some fun games afterward

First car ride with the boys in the newly refinished 1969 Cutless
(my mom in front, me and the boys in back)

And the "big" boys had to go too

And, of course, yummy fruit!!
Later we put the boys to bed, left them with my parents (who had seen fireworks the night before) and drove to a nearby town to watch fireworks from the convertible with Daniel's parents. It had been a long time since we'd seen fireworks!

I must admit, it was great fun to finally celebrate the 4th in the U.S. and with family! I don't take that for granted anymore! :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pictures: Finally!

Here's what we've been up to since our move back:
Haircut for Timmy

Trying new styles

Goofing around

Enjoying Parks

Rock Jumping

Chasing Birds

Watching sports with Grandpa

Playing in the sprinkler

Playing "cars"

College Reunion

Water Play
Enjoying family time

For these and more pictures, see link below:

Friday, May 13, 2011

Healing, Part II

As I mentioned in a previous post, Daniel and I both feel that this "limbo" stage is to be a time of healing. As a result, I've focused on healing in our lives. However, I fell into the trap of over-focusing on the physical healing, which led to stress, anxiety, and weariness. Because of our digestive issues coming back from the D.R., we've cut out certain foods. It took a while to figure out how to cook to our diet when I was still trying to figure out how to cook in the U.S. And far too often I found my thoughts centering about what foods I could make or what ideas I had that might "fix us." And then along with this I've struggled with my neck and back pain. However, the more I focused on trying to control my external healing, the more I ignored the internal healing, and the more weary I became.
And then a few weeks ago I went to a women's bible study (there were only two left of the year, but I wanted to take advantage of any "women" time I could get). I was put in a small group and we proceeded to watch the last session of a Beth Moore study. It was exactly what I needed to hear. This stuck out to me the most- we should never be hindered by fear and never forget the tendency to expend energy on the "lesser battle" (as opposed to fighting for our marriages, families, children, etc.). I realized that I'd been fighting so hard for physical health, that I was expending all my energy on that and leaving none for what is really important! This was the beginning of a change in focus.
I attended the last bible study meeting (a time of fellowship, eating, and large group sharing). I felt touched and amazed as I heard different women's testimonies of the way God had moved in their lives this past year. The theme of the year, "On the move" fit well with our place in life. At one point, they invited anyone who wanted to share to do so with the whole group (over 60 women). I felt God gently tugging at my heart and found myself sharing in front of the entire room! I shared with them the transition from the D.R. and the dream Daniel had, how God has put us in a place of brokenness and healing, and how God continues to show us that
He is our goal- not a future home or job, not even physical health.
God continues to remind me more and more to cling to Him.
So that is what we are focusing on right now- our spiritual healing- drawing close to Him, making Him our desire, and allowing Him to change us.


This transition thing is just no fun. Ive meant to post. And I've wanted to post. I've needed to process, but I've unconsciously (and maybe sometimes consciously) avoided it. So here's me processing.

The things I miss most about the D.R. right now:
1) People- Missing familiar faces; missing chatting with friends
2) STABILITY- We're starting to suffer from the instability of not having our own home, a regular schedule (Daniel works random days and random hours; it could be any day of the week or any hours. But he gets to choose from what's available), and of still not knowing what the future holds.
3) The mountains, the sound of cows, waterfalls, palm trees, etc..
4) Going into town and almost always running into someone you know.
5) Spanish. Listening to it, conversing in it.
6) Less varied weather- Here it's changed 40-50 degrees within the same week. In Jarabacoa it doesn't really do that in the same year.
7) Affordable eggplant, squash, and peppers. I'm really missing the varieties of peppers. I hardly even use peppers now. Surprisingly we've found very affordable mangos lately!

Things I'm enjoying about the U.S.
1) Being around family!
2) Parks, library, shopping carts that hold multiple children (one in the front like normal, and one below in a "car"), restrooms with changing tables
3) Smooth roads, sane driving, faster travel
4) LESS MOLD! I think this is helping my health. :)
5) Dr. appointments (as in, they make appointments and it's not come in whenever and wait multiple hours).
6) Garage sales! Wahooo! I can't believe how cheap we've been able to buy things!
7) Super yummy apples and sweet potatoes.

Okay, most of that was pretty superficial, but it's good to get some of that processing out. Next time I process I'll go a little deeper.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Bowing to the King

We've been here 4 weeks tomorrow. Wow. In some ways it feels much longer than that. We arrived with a sick 3 year old; Timmy and I fell sick shortly after. It's been a long time since I've been that sick. I was shocked when I felt well enough to see myself in the mirror; I hadn't realized I'd lost so much weight (which wasn't a good thing since I'd lost weight a few weeks previously from another illness). The first week and a half of our time in the U.S. I left the house all of one day. All that to say, our transition was a bit rough. Many times during the sickness I was tempted to lose hope. Had God dropped us here with no home and just left us? Where was He in all of this? And I fought Him internally. I didn't want to submit to Him and what He was allowing in our lives. But each time He restored my hope and revealed to me just how much I want everything to "go my way."

Before we left the D.R., I felt slightly concerned with our lack of future stability. We had no car, no "home", and no job awaiting us (of our own, that is). When we arrived part of me thought everything would "fall together." This is another thing I've fought. My desire was to be in Indiana by now. With a home. And a job. And God keeps reminding me that His ways are not mine. And are far greater than mine. But the wonderful thing about these reminders are that they are never condemning. They are the loving nudges of a caring Father, continually reminding me to come back to Him and trust in Him. Through scripture and words of encouragement from others He directs me to submit to His plan. And I think back to so many other times when I've fought God in an area and ended up so thankful that He had his way and I didn't have mine. And so I know that His plan will be better than mine, because it always is!

Yesterday the pastor at our church talked about bowing to the humble King. When Jesus rode in on a humble donkey that Palm Sunday He declared Himself the King prophesied in the Old Testament. But most of the people's view was too narrow- they only imagined a King that would free them from Roman rule. And when he died less than a week later their hopes were crushed. Things hadn't gone how they'd expected and desired. And I don't know, but I wonder if some of the disciples "fought" God. And I'm almost certain that all of them had questions- hundreds of questions. Until that third day when Christ conquered sin and the grave. Because He did not come to break the chains of the Romans. He came to break the chains of sin itself, to free us from guilt, condemnation, and our own sinfulness. Praise the LORD! How small my view is, wondering why I need to wait when God knows what He is doing. His timing is good. My view is so small!
Help me to bow to you daily, Lord, and to remember that You see the big picture and have a plan for us! Amen!
"'For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.'" -Jeremiah 29:11

More updates to come...