Sunday, December 20, 2015

Friday busy day..

Friday was a busy day. Excitment was in the air.  We had been anticipating Ben's arrival for over a month.  The countdown was on.  

In the morning, I went over to People store.  They are the ones who sell butter the cheapest.  Nathanael left at 10am.  He had to take a bus then taxi to get to the airport.  

While we were waiting for Ben, we also had to make cookies. We had a cookie exchange to go to on Sunday. To shake things up a little, friends came to help.  There were lots of cookies.  

There was dancing, Christmas movies, Christmas music and play in the pool. 

Dance party!! 

We also had a dog :)

I made the kids go out to play so I could wash the dishes.  

Ben and Nathanael walked down the street from the bus stop. Shouts and excitement ensued!  Poor Ben must've been overwhelmed. 

Of course I enjoyed going through the suitcases! Thanks so much for all you sent us.  More to come on our experiences, and of course pictures!  We are about to spend the week on Thank you notes ;)  :)  

Thursday, December 17, 2015


She was "little" when she came out.. all 6lbs 10oz of her, smaller than her sister.  The first thing I noticed about her was the two dimples on the right side of her face.  The smaller one she had has faded.  The larger one is one of my favorite things about her..

So why talk about Selah?  The Velvet Ashes theme of the week is "ponder" Selah's name just kept running in my head.. over and over

Nathanael came up with her name. Since he chose it so long ago from the Psalms, we have met or heard of a good number of girls named Selah.  At the time it felt pretty unique.  Selah is a musical term. It means to stop and think about it, or rock.. much along the same line as ponder.  Selah is a ponderer. She just loves to think about how things work, what things do, or how they can be put together.

We really wanted Selah to carry the name of a friend.  She is named after our dear friend Lauren whose middle name is Elizabeth.

Esperanza is Selah's second middle name.  It means to wait or hope in Spanish.

When we decided Selah's name we didn't realize right away that her initials spell SEED.  Now she loves that it does as do we.

I struggle with this not being a "perfect" post but I will leave it as it is.  I have really enjoyed re thinking why she was named what she was named.  To us it was very important to also consider name meanings.

She is the girl that when I stop to think about it, never stops amazing me.  I am blessed to be her mom

Monday, December 14, 2015

National Spelling Bee for the Deaf

This past Thursday was the culmination of a 4 month project Nathanael worked on. It was the National Spelling Bee for the Deaf of Belize. It was one of the first projects he was given the opportunity to help with for the Ministry of Education in Belize

Nathanael was given two lists of words with about 300 words each. He then had to choose a sign or signs for each word. He had the opportunity to work closely with Andre Craig Macool, Deaf Belizean man. Mr. Macool helped to make sure that the signs chosen fit the Belizean regional ASL signs.

After the 600 words were confirmed, and signs were agreed upon; Nathanael aided in making a video of all of the signs with their spellings.  This was sent around the country.  The Deaf and hard of hearing students studied their words by watching Nathanael ;).

You can imagine Nathanael's confusion when we visited the Cayo Deaf school a month ago.  The students pointed at him.  They signed "movie".  Finally Nathanael realized that they recognized him from the study video!  What a fun thing for people all over the country to recognize who you are.

Nathanael really appreciated being able to work on the spelling bee for several reasons.The Spelling Bee is a valuable tool. It introduces the Deaf students to vocabulary.  The exposure happens in ASL as well as English. The students also improve their spelling skills  immensely . Some of the students walked away with prizes; but all of them have walked away with knowledge. This means that they are all winners.

Nathanael had a lot of fun and hopes to participate again he following year.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Treasure Hunt!

When I was 5, a family tradition started.  Age 5 was the only year we were allowed to have a "non-family" party.  My parents made it a big production.  This is a blessing that comes along with being the oldest; getting to be the first to do things.

My father put together a treasure hunt. My friends and I followed clues through the yard trying to get to the end. I actually don't even remember what the prize was.  The joy of the hunt stuck with me.

When Abigail (our oldest) turned 5 we also had a big-production party. Not really pin-trest worthy, but still fun.  Her theme: The pirates who don't do anything.  We again had a treasure hunt.   Why?  I had so much fun when I was 5; and pirates go together well with treasure hunts?

We actually didn't do a treasure hunt again, not in my family growing up or our family now.  It was a fun tradition and I wish we had stuck with it.

A little while ago I started a different type of hunt.  I began to read Ann Voskamp's book.  I tried
to be thankful for what was around me.  I felt like I'd found the key to unlock a magic door.

Most of highschool, my marriage and especially when I graduated nursing school I struggled with depression.  I prayed about it.  I read books.  I asked God to make me joyful.

I learned that thankfulness is key.  Does it "solve"depression.. no it doesn't. It does help with  my attitude.  It does help me see the world differently.

I seek joy, and I find it.  "Working" for it makes the difference.  You see the treasure hunt isn't always about the prize, it is about the delight of the hunt.
Velvet Ashes: encouragement for women serving overseas

Sunday, December 6, 2015

What we see

My blog post is a little late this week.  Between Nathanael's work (mostly him being gone), extra church activities and regular activities, it's been a full week!

I thought it would be fun to show all of you a little of what our world looks like:
This is our house. We stay on a corner of two streets.  We live in the top of the house.  The bottom is a storage area.  A few times a week guys with a big truck stop by to pick up/drop off things to the storage area.  

This is the street that runs along the "back" of our house.  I have the back in quotes because there is disagreement as to what is the front and back of the house since we have 2 doors, both of which face  the street. 
This is a little shop directly across from our house.  The people are friendly.  We can get eggs and water, also snacks from them. We also have two other shops walking distance from us.  The children say they will miss the ability to walk to a shop and get something quickly.  

 This is the view of our house from the neighbors yard.. you actually can't see much of our house except for the palm tree. We don't see much of the people who live in this house. I think most of the time the kids are watching TV.

At one point the doorknob on Abigail and Zephaniah's room was stuck, I was trying to go around to help her but I got scared.. this ledge runs around the outside of our windows. Below me is our side yard
This is our other gate, along with the opening for the storage area.  We have a small side yard as well with plants and grass

Here is further down our street, right across from the church.  This family sells shaved oranges and a few other items outside of their house. We buy the oranges at least once a week. I like to make fresh squeezed orange juice with them.  

This is the side of the church, directly across from the other picture.  The bathrooms are in the right of the picture.  Nathanael was cleaning for a movie night. He left the windows shut. 

here is the front of the church.  We usually enter the church from the other side, the door with the keyhole is in that side :) One must walk around the church to get to the bathroom as there isn't a direct way through the church. 

This is the view of church from the back. It was set up for Movie night on Friday.  There are usually more people here on Movie night so Nancy has to take two van "runs" to pick everyone up.  I sat in back with the very young children. 

This is a street being redone.  It is close to the market where we buy vegetables as well as the ice cream place. 

of course I couldn't resist adding a picture of us enjoying ice cream. Western Dairies is a Belizean company based in Spanish Lookout.  Ice cream from them is very reasonable.  These cones were 2 $ each.  The American ice cream costs us a pretty penny (and we don't eat it!!) we saw it in the store for 65 dollars for a half gallon (Our exchange rate is 2$ to 1$ American) 

And Finally Nathanael on the street conversing with a friend from church.  This man has about an hour bus ride from a village outside of Orange Walk., A few deaf people have been attending from the outside villages. It is so awesome to see them come