Jan 31, 2011

Things you can buy from your car

Dominican drive-up shopping at it's finest.  These are just some of the things that I caught on our way to Sosua last weekend.  All of these things are offered right on the side of the road - just roll down window, point, pay, receive your item and you're on your way!
Rag rugs.  I want me one.

Kites.

Avocados.  Cell phone chargers/holders.

Have you ever seen anything more beeeeutiful?

Mandarins, peanuts, grapefruit bananas, avocados, coconut, honey, juice.

Mandarin oranges.  Sooooooo yummy.  They call to me.


The whole hog.  For real.  

Chickens in a chicken truck.  

Goggle Girl

We just got back from a weekend of warmth, sand and sun at the Sosua Beach (bday present for us from our families - thank you guys!) While I have lots of pics to share, I am going to just concentrate on one tale for now: Goggle girl.

Happy as a clam on her daddy's lap.

I'd like to have those back now.

Able to leap chase lounges in a single bound. 

Protector of shovel and pale.

Destroyer of other people's sand castles.


Again, I am participating in this week's challenge from Farmgirl Paints about the rule of thirds for composition in photos. You can play along too.  She picks two photos every week that best display the lesson.  Super fun.  Just click on the link below to go to her blog and submit a photo.  Easy peasy.  Plus, she's awesome :)


Jan 27, 2011

People watching

One of my MOST FAVORITE things to do in the Dominican (aside from going to drop dead gorgeous beaches, the river, waterfalls, etc.) is watching people around the town.  I find them beautiful, intriguing, compelling and I just can't stop taking pictures of them.
Shoe shine boys Jerody & Juan.  They always ask to watch our car when we are in the grocery store, which is right behind them in eyeshot of the parking lot.  See the canola oil on the shelf behind them?  Our main grocery store is about the size of an American convenience store.   When they asked Jon if they could watch the car, he said "No, watch her (pointing to me with bad back in the car)." So we had a funny conversation that mostly involved me saying "mas despacio por favor" as in speak slower so that maybe I can understand something and then we had a little photo shoot.

Another shoe shine boy.  I don't know his name.  I think they all probably call me "sucker" in Spanish.  

Need a hat, belt, shoes or a cell phone?  He stepped right out in front of our moving vehicle to cross the street.  I was ready for him, sort of . . . . It is kind of hard to be ready - sometimes I have my camera aimed at one thing (like hat man) only to miss man with chicken and piglets in large, plastic, bulk rice sacks dangling from motorcycle handles.

He saw me see him.  It was not awkward.  We shared a beautiful moment.

Cows and cowbird chillin.

If only you knew how bumpy this road was you would understand why this picture is blurry, but still . . . . there is a little canal under the little bridge where people bathe. We have seen most of our Dominican neighbors in their underwear, or walking from the canal wrapped in a towel - all squeaky clean and such.  Again, too common to be awkward. 

I hope to someday catch his face as he is a precious little Domincan man - and always in his going to town hat.

Dominican caravan.

Waiting for her ride.

She had a baby dangling from each arm.

And still managed to text.  Impressive.

If only the driver had strapped that box to the back after the woman was on the bike.  She had to put her groceries down, do a couple of squats to loosen her jeans, hike her leg up.  It was quite spectacular.

Homemade kite = plastic bag + sticks + tape

Safe.

At the river.

 A Dominican angel to lead the way.

Jan 26, 2011

I lift my eyes up, up to the mountains . . .

"I lift my eyes up to the mountains; where does my help come from?  My help comes from YOU, Maker of Heaven,Creator of the Earth."  Psalm 121






Never has this verse been more alive to me than it is now. A south Texas girl, I never quite saw the majestic nature of mountains on a daily basis until we moved to the Dominican Republic, where the mountains are an ever changing yet immovable backdrop. The way the sunlight dances on them, and a rain storm makes a good show at hide and seek with them, silhouettes of trees with the sun gleaming behind decorate them - I have come to LOVE these mountains.  I talk to them - er, um - I talk to the Lord often while staring off into their luscious greenery. I lift my eyes up to the moments because I know that my mighty God, who was powerful enough and creative enough to design the contents of the universe, has got my back. 
And speaking of my back (can I get points here for transitioning well between topics?), it is doing a little better each day (thanks to a local physical therapist who is AWESOME!) Thanks for prayers, Rachel

Jan 25, 2011

Undesirable Circumstances + the Lord = JOY

How does the Lord speak to you when you find yourself in undesirable circumstances beyond your control? I don't believe that the Lord always causes these type of circumstances (though sometimes He may - He is the Mighty God after all) but I do believe that He always uses them! Why waste a moment, right?

I have been plagued by severe back pain for the last week and have basically been in my bed for 1 week. (Insert *&%$#$%#*#!, grown woman temper tantrum here!) But then again, how much of a temper tantrum can one have while prone?  A big fat, mental one with fists shaking towards the sky! Not purdy.

First of all, I don't have time for this!
Second of all, I have small children that require LOTS of attention!
Third of all, this wasn't part of my plan! (insert more fist shaking here!)
Fourth of all, my husband is running himself ragged taking care of EVERYTHING!

Have I mentioned I really don't like this situation?  I feel humbled, vulnerable, stuck, and like I've had a gentle reminder of how much I take for granted daily.

Actually, I should be appreciative of this experience.  In fact, I am going to Thank the LORD for what He is speaking to me right now. HELLO!  I'm not promised tomorrow AND He gives me way more than I deserve (b/c I deserve death but He gave me LIFE when He let HIS CHILD die for me)!

Lord, help me to make the MOST of every day EVERY MOMENT.  Help me to be incredibly grateful that I have a God that loves me regardless of anything and that wants me to seek Him in those moments where circumstances are not what I expected.  Help me to understand that He can handle me, fists flailing wildly, slobbery mess me. Help me to choose JOY today as I sit here with my wits about me fully capable of worshipping the Lord . . . . from my bed.

So, back to my initial question (tip: this is the part where you do a little thinking and then respond in a comment, okay? It's a two way street and we're on it together.) How does the Lord speak to you when you find yourself in undesirable circumstances beyond your control?

P.S. (Dear worried family members that may have read this, I am gonna be just fine.  Please don't spend a second worrying about this situation, but please do pray :)

Jan 24, 2011

Dreaming of cheese balls and a new blog

The Mr. had a bible study at our house last night with co-workers and some students.  One guy, Grant, brought a cheese ball and Jon snuck some into our room for me. I almost shed a tear when I bit into it.  It was THAT GOOD . . . . . OH YES IT WAS!  

I have two things to say about this:

1) Single Jarabacoa girls  - we've got some really awesome, christian guys around us! (Steve, Matt, Grant, Owen, *Chris*girlfriend*) so what you waiting for? And this is not all about the cheese ball - this is about the heart for the Lord that I see in these guys.  Yes, I did just say that.  It's my blog and I can do that.

2) I need me some more cheese ball (because I have to work hard to keep my weight up.  I have to snack late at night, eat beyond my capacity, choose foods high in calories, snack too much and on unhealthy things, etc.) Can anyone vouch for a good cheese ball recipe?  If not, I'm calling Grant!

TOPIC CHANGE :)  (Because it's hard to transition from cheese balls to blog design gracefully!)

I have blog design A.D.D.  As those who follow along on a regular basis know (Hello, Ann.  I love you for following this even if its just because of the grandkids!), I change things a lot.  This is because 1) I'm new at this. 2) I don't have a clue what I am doing. 3) I have visions of grandeur but not the skills to back up said visions 4) got no $ to pay somebody to do this for me. (insert violin music here) Help me!  I think I'm gonna have to learn html or something.  I'm like a crazy tropical flower stuck in a store bought arrangement of mums here b/c I don't know how to get this thang how I want it.  *WARNING: Lots of hair pulling experimenting about to ensue until I get it figured, which may be never.  I'm sorry to subject you to what I know is gonna be a blog design roller coaster/ blog identity crisis.  What can I say?

Jan 20, 2011

Real life inspiration.

Maimon Beach, Puerta Plata, Dominican Republic from a beach chair in the shade.
HELLLLO GORGEOUS!
Remember the pastel drawing that my father-in-law was working on when he visited us here in the Dominican last?  Last week, we received a color copy of the original drawing.

This was right before he put it in his suitcase to go back to U.S.

Thanks, Papa!  You're a real inspiration and all of us will cherish this drawing as it reminds us of our time together here!  The kids refer to the building at the point as "our castle" and think that it was really sweet of Papa to have drawn their home!

Jan 19, 2011

FLOURISH

I have ALWAYS LOVED photos.  Something about a single moment in time CAPTURED - it does something to me, FOR ME.  A funny glance.  An awkward phase.  A mishap with scissors and hair.  A time with everyone is in one place - together.  A spat among siblings.  A mom and dad making eyes at each other.  Photos remind us where we've been, objectively document how we've changed and squeeze out the very essence of who we are.  I LOVE THAT.

And while I am technologically challenged, I do love the fact that there is so much these days that can be done with photos digitally.  I don't understand but I still think that that is UBER COOL!  And what about the fact that you can "make friends" with people around the globe, via email, blogs, etc?  To connect from a far - often on a heart level -  in a "let's just bypass all the fluff and get to who we are kind of way" - WOWSERS!  Speaking of which, Becky at farmgirlpaints.blogspot.com, is taking a photography class, and she has invited her fellow bloggers to participate, practice and learn alongside her.  She is calling it

The Farmgirl Paints THRIVE PROJECT

Each week she is going to cover a topic (this week it is shutterspeed) and is inviting others to post a photo that deals with the topic by linking to her blog. She is going to pick two photos to highlight on her blog the following week, and in the end, she is going to pick her favorite photo and that lucky person will win one of her awesome leather cuffs that she is selling on etsy.com.  How fun is that?

To thrive is to grow vigorously: flourish.  I WANT to flourish.  Don't you?  What I really want is for Christ Jesus to flourish in me.  And I know that He knit me together with special threads that caused me to love the things I love.   I pray that this year He will do a work in me and unravel some of my talents that I have buried so that His mighty power, grace and mercy can be on display in my life.

So, here is the photo that I am submitting to Becky this week - I had several to choose from - but I love both Little Pickle's expression and the droplets of water suspended in air.  She was flamboyantly making some sort of soup by the way - and having tea while doing so - on this particular day.  Good times.

















I also like this one.  The water looks like one single piece of plastic or something.  Tater's little satisfied grin makes me happy, but you know he didn't stay dry after this.  


So, if you like taking photos and want to learn alongside Becky, go visit her on her blog and link a picture to her post, too.  It's gonna be fun!  I'm pumped!

Jan 13, 2011

1 (of many) reasons that it is good to live on a tropical island

I'm sorry.  For all of my friends and family in the U.S., I feel like this is a weee bit cruel.  And yet, here I am, posting pictures like this


If THAT doesn't get a comment out of you, I don't know what will . . . . .




When it was whole it was close to the size of a 5 year old head!














Consider it my passive aggressive way of punishing you for being able to walk into a Super Target and put your hands all over the merchandise.  I think both beautiful, grandiose avocados and Super Target will be in heaven - and trees full of chocolate, of course.  Anyways, it is good to be where the Lord calls you.

Jan 11, 2011

Hey, I'm talking to you

You there. Yes, YOU.

Okay - here's how it works:

1.  I:  spill my guts OR 
         reveal too much bad parenting OR 
         show you something crazy from the Dominican OR
         talk about how the Lord is working in my life.

2. You:  leave a comment relating, encouraging or reacting in astonishment.

Got it?

The silent treatment is kind of discouraging.  I know you're out there :)

However, even if you never leave a single comment, I hope you walk away encouraged, humored and with a smile on your face. God IS good even though we are all a mess, right?   (This is your cue to click on the comment button and leave a comment.)

Yes, this is me groveling for comments.  Low moment.

Jan 10, 2011

Stirred.

The crunch of coco puffs underfoot and piles of unfinished projects inspired by the new year and backed by craziness, the children return to school tomorrow after 3 weeks at home.  Weeks marked by palletes on the floor, sleeping in until 7 a.m., and lack of care for the time of day are breathing their last breath as we speak.



Garbled in the pit of my soul, swirling around in a flood of spiritual hopes and a mess of other thoughts that don't belong, I struggle to grab a hold of truth.  I know this place.  I've been here before.  The stagnant waters of my guts are being stirred.  Bittersweet stirring.  The bitter being the bit about recognizing and letting go of comfortable parts that don't belong, the sweet being the freedom that results from a lighter load and the experience of having been refined, once the process is complete - for that round.  The fire is never fun, and I feel the warmth of it, like I'm strapped to a conveyor belt whose end destination is unbearable heat.


As I type this I sit beside my baby in her high chair, who with her chocolate mustache offers me a slobbered-on cocoa puff, and her smile brings me comfort, but I still know that the warmth I feel right now from a distance is about to grow at a ravenous rate culminating in uncomfortable, intense, burning of being directly in a fire.



As a follower of Jesus Christ, this is a situation that I long for, pray about and hope for - growth in Christ -yet that I also want to run from.  The pain of change, the pain of me dying and Christ living in me is the very thing that results in joy. It is what I am meant to do daily.  Forget about myself.  Glorify God.  Simple.  Yet daily a battle awaits me, one that I will win if and ONLY IF I am armed with my faith in Jesus.  But a faith that goes beyond the surface is built upon seeking, practicing, and it is fine tuned on the bumpy roads of life rather than the smooth ones.  Oh the bumpy roads . . .


Crunch.  Another coco puff crushed into a fine powdery mist certain to be blown about the house by the breezy Dominican winds rushing in through open doors and windows.  How to take captive my thoughts that deceive me, a heart that gives way to flesh and to not believe lies - to develop godly discipline because I love the one that has rescued me from certain death, though not the fire.

When is the last time you were stirred by God?  What does stirring look like for you?

Jan 2, 2011

Trouble in paradise

 So, we went into town today to retrieve some items from the store.  Many times I have my camera with me, although the times I want it the most, I usually don't have it.  Nonetheless, there was no shortage of drama right inside our van and I captured it (yes, my children will probably need counseling because rather than being compassionate and helpful, I often choose to document these moments with the camera.)
This is a typical reaction when Jon exits the vehicle, and I then begin the "Where's daddy?  Donde esta daddy?  Daddy, where are you?" game which is wildly ineffective but sometimes gets her to wail a little more softly.


This has nothing to do with the drama, but is a better shot than the last one of our newly repainted fruit market.

This is the look of satisfaction a sister gets when she provokes her brother to tears playing the copying game.

This is the look of a guy with too many women in his life.

See the other sister in the background weighing the possibilities and previously separated by a row of seats.

He's smiling on the outside, but it really doesn't look good for him when they are both smiling like that.

Houston, we have lift off.

Pleading his case to me.


Poor dude is on an emotional roller coaster.  They are mimicking his whiny voice pleading at this moment.  

"It's not FUNNNNNNY!" he says with tears in his eyes and a smile.

Oh dear, this is trouble.  Little pickle has taken front and center to now plead her case.

Trouble in paradise, kids.


Score by Little Pickle.  Emotional victory number ?

At least his dinosaur is here to comfort him.