Dec 18, 2011

The Sawyer Family Chauffeur

He had forgotten an important document and ran back into the house to retrieve the papers.  Shouts of laughter and happy screaming lept through the open front door, and when he returned to the vehicle, this is what he saw.

Behold the new Sawyer family chauffeur (and hey, since we're in the Dominican where driving and traffic patterns are a little on the crazy side, this is not such a stretch. )

Yep, this is Jon's "baby," Peso, whose name reflects the currency here as well as the fact that his name literally translates "I am heavy."  He is 7 months old and Jon thinks he weighs close to 100 lbs.

And this is why Jon can approximate his weight:  because he has to lift the dog, who is aware that he is going to the vet for shots, into the van.  But the problem with this scenario in man vrs. dog is that if you leave the drivers side door open, the dog, who has been carefully hoisted into the van, jumps right up into the front seat and out the open door (X 3).  The ordeal was a bit like watching an episode of the three stooges, minus Larry.  Which is why Jon looked like this:

It is hard to tell from the side, unless you know him well, in which case you will notice even from the side his patented scowl (but in his defense, he's been carrying all the weight around our house for a few weeks now as I've been sick.  However, he does dish it out, so I think he'll be okay with my comments.)  And check out the scared look on Little Pickle's face - that's because the monster "baby" dog is getting ready to jump into the front seat.  Again.  Good times.

On the other hand, here are the elated faces of the girls whose nervous screams of joy alerted us to check outside.

And this is a moment that will forever be etched in my mind.

There is one more funny detail to this story that unfortunately has no photo (at this time).  Jon has to carry Peso from where he parks in the street to the vet clinic for several reasons:  1)Peso does not adore his leash, especially when it is taking him somewhere he doesn't want to go. 2)  Dominicans are typically scared of dogs (even little ones, sometimes) so you can imagine the fright when they see Peso coming. 3) There are caged monkeys right inside the entrance to Animal Planet, which means monkey freak out and large dog freak out.  I'm really glad I don't have to run this errand :)

Dec 15, 2011

Dying to self. Ouch.

I have made only like 3 posts in the last 6 months.  The reason?  Death.  And no, dying isn't easy. (Don't worry, I'm healthy other than the fact that I somehow got e. coli and it has had its hold on me for a few weeks).   You see, last Fall I started this *bible study with a group of fellow missionary ladies here in this town.  It was INCREDIBLE (and the other women there were amazingly vulnerable, transparent and such a huge blessing to me - so awesome!)  But it hurt.  It was painful.  The Lord convicted me sweetly and gently, and parts of me had to GO. LOTS of parts of me.  Ugly parts.

But here's the beautiful thang:  those parts were in the way, but now that they are either dead or dying (it's a process, right? some things are harder to kill than others) the Lord is replacing them with His truths, His beauty, His work.  And while His truths are all around me, it is up to me to seek them out in His word so that I will be able to discern what is good and of Him.  And oh the responsibility of teaching these truths to my children . . . with my actions *gulp* more so than my words (because frankly, our actions rather than our words either prove us a fraud or a believer).

So, just because something hurts (like dying to yourself)  doesn't mean it is a bad. And just because something "feels right" doesn't mean it IS right.  The world tells us to "follow your heart," but the Lord tells us  that the heart is deceptive.

(He who trusts in his own heart is a fool, But he who walks wisely will be delivered. Proverbs 28:26) 

Furthermore,  that our words are a reflection of what is in our heart.

(You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouthspeaks out of that which fills the heart. Matt 12:34)

Scary larry.  Time for a heart check up.  Got to make sure it us full of the Lord's love and not that other junk, which is a daily struggle for me.  That darn flesh of mine!  

Yes, it does hurt: dying.  But just like Jesus' death ultimately brought us life, when those things in each of us that need to die actually die, there is room for new life and growth.  And yes, it would be such a pity to allow those ugly parts to die and then to let other uglies move in.  Let's not even go there.  So would it be weird for me to wish you to die a little today?  That's my prayer for myself: that my flesh would be conquered by the spirit of God and that ALL parts of me would bring glory to Him.


*I highly recommend the study:  The Gathering Place: Creating a Culture of Titus 2 Discipleship by Harvest Bible Chapel in Davenport, Iowa.  It will change you and speak to you.  Promise.  You need to do it with a group of women - the sharing part is crucial!

P.S.  Sorry for the lack of photos lately.  I recently lost 30,000 of my photos!  But a month later was able to recover most of them.  I am now in the process of putting the pieces together and hope to add photos back into the blog soooooon.

Oct 24, 2011

Having some work done

I hope that when people look at me, that they can see I've had some work done.  Not the kind of "some work" like the Hollywood kind.  Not botox or a little lypo or some new hoo hoos.  Not a fleshly nip and tuck.  No siree.  I want the eternal kind of "some work" - though it can't be completed this side of heaven.  I want people to look at me and not see me at all - that kind of "some work."  I want that my life would point others to the cross - not because I'm great, but because HE is GREAT in me.

I have recently entered a season where I have been convicted by many things, and I have been on my face before the Lord about these things.  I have experienced grievous sorrow - the kind that lands you in the lap of the SAVIOR.  It has been suh-weet to sit in His lap and ask for His intervention in my life.  And He has intervened.  I LOVE that about HIM!  Here are some things I have been pondering on . . .

"Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life."  Proverbs 16:31

And to think I've been coloring over my crown all this time! (And likely will continue too!) Seriously, though, how is it that the world has convinced people that aging is ugly?  I hope I can celebrate the new lines on my face and added fullness to my crown rather than believe the lie that aging is ugly.  However, I really would like to have turquoise streaks in my hair.  Not because I'm trying to be young and hip (because I know I'm not either) but just for fun.  Because.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.'  Therefore, I will boast all more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of CHRIST may rest upon me."  2 Corinthians 12:9 

 And to think that I want to run and hide when I feel weak, though I should shout from my rooftop that I am surrendered to Christ, whose power will rest upon me and turn my weaknesses into His glory.

"Clothe yourselves, all of you, with the humility toward one another, for God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble." 1 Peter 5:5
I can throw away those catalogs with those super cute clothes that I spend too much time pining for, and wrap myself up in humility. There really isn't a more beautiful thing than a humble spirit clothed in the splendor of humility.  If you've ever been around someone like that you know what I'm talking about.

I have recently transitioned from an old photo program to a new one. I'm at that point where I am at square one with the new program.  I don't know how to do anything in it.  My workflow is slow and cumbersome, and I kind of want to revert back to my old program, because well, it's familiar to me.  I'm used to it.  I know how to do everything in it and I can do things quickly.  However, it was time for me to upgrade, and I was ready.  But upgrading can be really hard.  This is why there are no photos on this post and why I haven't posted in over a month.  I am being s t r e t c h e d.  And not just in this area, but in many areas.  Spiritually upgrading is that way.  And that's what "having some work done" is all about, being stretched, molded, worked into the image of Christ.  It's a beautiful thing.  And it hurts.  Dieing is involved.  And then, living is involved. 

"Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. "Behod, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43: 18-19

Yeah for something new!  Yeah for the Lord making a way when there is no way!

Sep 14, 2011

First Day of School 2011

World. SPinning. Too. Fast. Can NOT. Keep. Up.

You know you are behind when you are blogging about an event that happened a month ago.  Oh well because Grandmas don't care - they just want me to post already!

Getting them to pose for a picture is like trying to herd kittens. 

Current status = 3 elementary schoolers (1st, 2nd, 3rd grade) and 1 pre-schooler (pre-K3)

I hadn't been alone in three months . . . . until mid August when I  dropped off a van load of happy children, including nervous cousins who were starting their first day of school in a new country!

It appears that Scott and Meleah each have their own mini-me.  Got to love the similar expressions of each child and parent!

The whole S.Taylor family met the "magic school bus" (a.k.a. the barbie van) out on the driveway, and then we all piled out together to find our way to old friends and new friends at JCS.  The kids all put on their brave faces and found their way to their teachers and new classmates.

Biggest Taylor smiling with her teacher, Ms. Gomez.

And when the first day of school was done, they each came out with smiles and thumbs up!

Even our new teacher friend, Angela Winn, 6th grade teacher at JCS, had a smile on her face from her first day.  Thank you, Jesus.   Please pray for all of these children as they navigate through all the things that come with going to school in the Dominican, and while you are at it, please pray for their amazing teachers!  It's gonna be another good year!

Aug 14, 2011

Bucket baths, pork for dinner, horse riding in the rain, camping on a farm

Sure.  I pretty much told you everything in the title, but aren't you a little curious now? At least about the bucket baths, right? (Hold that thought . . .)

Once again this summer, part of the Sawyers had the pleasure and adventure of joining an incoming mission team, the Mt. Horeb Youth Group from Wilmore, Kentucky,  on a little camping adventure to a farm near Monti Plata.  Unfortunately (and probably fortunately!) for me, I did not go on this "adventure," but I did manage to encourage my husband to take some photos.  And never you mind tropical storm Emily who was lurking around the island at the time of the trip (though it had pretty much busted up the morning of their departure) . . . T.S. Emily still managed to make for a soggy experience for all involved.  Good times, right?  (I can say this with confidence sense I was not there and did not have the opportunity to test the fortitude of my optimism camping in the rain. . . )

So let me sum up the trip from the perspective of the Sawyer kids who went on this trip:  horses, horses, horses in the rain, dead pig = dinner, bucket baths.

And here's the dinner preparation . . .

It was a very fresh meal :)

Oh yes, there was some planting of trees and work around the farm . . .

I'm pretty sure she probably just followed people around and did one of her Little Pickle monologues, which are generally lengthy, dramatic, and VERY entertaining!

And without further ado . . . .  a drum roll might be nice . . . .

Bucket Baths!

I can say with great certainty that Jon took the right group of little Sawyers for a sloshy, soggy, camping adventure!

Aug 12, 2011

The boys and Pico Duate

So there's this big mountain near us. Pico Duarte.

Highest peak in the caribbean.  Some of the adventurous people in my family hiked it.
So, back at the beginning of the year after we learned that Super Colin was coming for a visit during the Pico trip, Jon started planting seeds about taking Tater Salad. Hello?  6 year old + high peak + overprotective mama = No thank you, delusional husband of mine.
The path is steep.

The path is on the edge.
The path is rocky.

However, as you may have already gathered, I caved.

I released my emotional death grip of over protection from my child, and agreed, yes that's right, in my right mind agreed, that this would be a really great thing (because as you know from a previous post, there's A LOT of girlie girl up in this household.)
Gracie (in her Belle princess dress + ugg style boots) walking Tate and the dudes down to load up to leave for Pico.

Not going to be offended that he took off running . . . .

His buddy, Isaiah, was on the trip too, which was very fun for him!

Tater Salad pre-hike psych up of strength

I'm told that he is standing near the edge of a pretty steep drop off . . .

Tate and fearless Pico guide Tigua.

Fully bonded with his walking stick, "Walky," which he brought home with him.

One happy camper with a happy, plastic smile :)

The stinky factor + sleep deprivation

I hear these trees were amazingly tall and  gloriously bright.  Tate knew that I would want a picture of these.

Two, little stud muffins at the very top of Pico Duarte.

The view from the top.

Pre- freezing river bath psych up after a week of stinkiness
A good time was had by all . . . . and I survived my 6 year old climbing a mountain.  WHew . . .

Aug 10, 2011

Dominican Birthday Parties

There are few things more entertaining and authentically fun as a Dominican birthday party.  For real.  Whether the affair is extravagant or simple, the celebration is always grand!  I've been to a few kid's birthday parties with my children, and I have to say that at each one I walked with a big, FAT, smile on my face.  I think that the adults have as much fun (if not more) than the kids.

There are a few social rules that I have picked up along the way that I would like to pass on to you for your pleasure:

1.  The birthday party will not start at the designated time on the invitation.   It will likely start an hour and a half to two hours past the time on the invitation.

However, getting to sit and spend time with a beautiful friend and her little dumple doodle while you watch the popcorn machine, speakers and dancers arrive an hour after the time listed on the invite is not the worst thing, right?  RIGHT!  I love this lady and her family (and I am not alone in that!)

2.  The birthday party will not be an in- and- out type of party.  Accepting an invitation is a minimum time commitment of four hours (not including the two hours you spend awkwardly awaiting the start of the party because you foolishly arrived a mere half hour late) and you will likely still leave before the cake has been served or the presents opened.

These teenagers did a great job entertaining!  They were like pros! The back up dancer girls were beautiful, colorful and fabulous dancers (however, all Dominicans can dance!  For real!)

3.  No amount of apologizing and giving valid reasons for needing to leave before the party is over will prevent the Dominican host from giving you emotional grief for such a rude and "hurried" departure (even though you were there at the stated time!)

This captures both the look of the child and the host when you have to say that we have to go before the party has come to an end.  Doesn't a five hour investment count for anything?  (NO! Insert look of disgust *here*.)

4.  The music will be loud.  The decorations spectacular.  The hospitality tremendous.  There will be laughter, shouting and dancing.  It will be better than amusing.