Monday, December 31, 2012

2013...ready or not

New Years Eve is the time to make those resolutions for the new year.  The goals that you want to accomplish, the diets that you want to go on, the races you want to run, and basically anything that you didn't do the last year.  So, here are the top 13 things I’m aiming to sort of get close to nailing right on the head in 2013 (in absolutely no order of importance):

1.  Being more intentional in calling people.  If you know me, you think I jest, but just you wait when I call you instead of emailing, texting, or Blackberry messaging…and don’t pass out.

2.  Saying “no” to the things that weigh me down. Vague much?

3.  Reading 5 non-fiction books.  Yes, this seems like a low number…but when the reality of living in Peru gets the best of me, I love to curl up with an FBI Thriller and pretend I’m an undercover Russian agent.  Maybe I’ll lower it to 4…

4.  Only go out for coffee 2 times a month (budget anyone?)

5.  Watch less on Netflix—I admit it, I love watching an entire 6 seasons of LOST one right after the other.  Hey, don’t judge--with 4 kids, carpooling in a city of 9 million to get the boys to school, no canned goods, and paying $4.80 for 8oz of imported cheddar cheese…I think I deserve one guilty pleasure, right!?

6. Complain less.

7. Run more.

8. Count my blessings. As in really literally count them.  By writing them on a piece of paper and posting it.  I’ll be forcing encouraging my kids to do this also.

9. Build up my toolbox of things to pull out when I have to try and understand my incredibly sensitive, intense, and spirited child.  A hammer is not an appropriate tool.  I know this.

10. Seek out service projects to do as a family—since moving to Lima, we don’t see the poverty in our face as much as we did in Abancay.  We want our kids to learn to be more giving.

11. Serve others.  

12. Be less selfish with my time and dare I say it, try to be more flexible. Ahhh, just typing it out has me gnawing on my arm with anxiety.

13. Spend more time devoted to the things that mean the most to me and that I’m passionate about.

Friday, December 28, 2012

One of "those" days

Ever have one of “those” days?  Yeah, you know the one I’m talking about.  The one where you wake up thinking you will conquer the world, but you end up burying your head under a pillow crying your eyes out? Yep, one of “those” days.  It’s not so much the fact that you ended the day in tears that has you scratching your head, it’s the fact that you thought everything was going well, dandy indeed, when all of a sudden, BAM!  Out of nowhere.  Those are the sucker punches that hurt the most.  And you know, it doesn't really matter who/what caused it, it hurts the same no matter what.

So what do you do when life gets the best of you?  I tend to want to make a cup of coffee and just feel sorry for myself, but with four kids and a husband, that isn't realistic.  These moments humble me, because I see my selfishness and the mantra I say to my kids over and over plays in my head, "Happiness is a choice."

I was reading something today by Beth Moore, she can be wild and crazy sometimes, but she was right on today.  Or maybe it was just right on for me.  She was referring to James' "consider it pure joy when you encounter various trials".  I can't for the life of me, imagine instantly finding joy in awful circumstances, it's just not me.  I'm more of an Eeyore than a Tigger, so those awful circumstances take me down for the count.  But she said this, "The word 'consider' calls us to a mental exercise.  Not an emotion.  James isn't telling us to have a knee-slapper over all we're going through.  He's telling us to think, to reflect, and to esteem the unalloyed joys available to us 'whenever [we] experience various trials."  We can't purposefully dive into a garbage dump and count it all joy...sometimes we just happen to fall in.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

More of London! I can't get enough!

One way cool thing during my time in London, is that I was there 2 weeks before the Summer Olympics started!  The city officials had been busy posting signs all over the Underground and around the city letting people know the various routes to each Olympic venue.  The events themselves were literally held all over the city, so the city had to be "olympicized" to make it easy for tourists to get around, and tolerable for locals as well.  The Olympic fever was contagious, even without actually getting to go to any events!

You could swipe your cc and take a bike...only to return it in another location

Very cool post box

Genius--words painted to show you which way to look for traffic!

A view of the London Eye from across the lake near Buckingham

There were cute little Pubs on every corner!

I think I could take pictures of doors and window boxes all day long!

Parliament and Big Ben

And another clock...a super famous one!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012


There's no way I can do London justice with one post...not even 10 would do the job.  London was amazing, it was culture, history, color, uniqueness and drizzle all mixed up in one feeling of happiness. The only way it could have been better, would have been to have my family with me; so many times I thought of the fun we would have as a family--someday maybe.

Helen and I took the train into the city, dropped our things off at a friend's house and then set out to see as much as we could possibly see in just 24 hours! On my list was Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, the London Eye, Big Ben, St. Paul's Cathedral, Parliament, to ride the "double decker" buses, the Tower Bridge, and Westminster Abbey.  Would you believe me if I told you we did it--via walking, the Underground, and the bus we were able to experience this amazing city in less than 24 hours.  Our friend who offered her home, also blessed us with a night tour in her car!  She took us from one end to the other, explaining the history behind so many of the things we had seen--honestly, her willingness to take us out for a tour after we had all come in for the night is a memory I'll keep with me forever.

Enough talking already, just show us the goods!!

My crazy fetish with clocks

The Underground-"Mind the Gap"-I love it!

Palace Guards

I love this culture!

Flag is flying--Queen is home!

Cambridge--just wow!

It's humbling to be in a place where so much intellectual goodness has been.  How many times have you heard that so and so "studied at Cambridge", people like Newton, Darwin, CS Lewis, Erasmus, Wordsworth, and Wilberforce.  So you can imagine what it was like to walk through some of the Colleges where these famous people studied, worked, and laughed.  I think Cambridge was one of my favorite places to visit, it was pure academia and is a place I would love to return to with Jeff someday.

The Round Church

Monday, December 10, 2012

SIM UK and the Sea

It was an amazing week at SIM UK doing our workshop, Wetheringsett Manor is unbelievable and the hospitality shown to us by the SIM UK staff was such a blessing.  I enjoyed getting to know so many wonderful people, people whom I hope my life intersects with again someday.

During our week of training, we were able to have a day off and take a trip together to the Sea.  We went to the seaside town of Aldeburgh where we walked along the sea and also tasted their famous Fish and Chips!

Helen was one of the only brave ones to stick her feet in the sea

Fish and Chips!!!

Bury St. Edmunds

Arriving in Stowmarket and seeing all the beautiful little English houses was so much fun! I loved the doors on the houses and the fact that almost every house had a name!  I tried, unsuccessfully, to get into the drivers' side of the car a few times, forgetting that the drivers use the other side to drive. :)

Waiting with the crowd to see the Olympic torch run by

The first weekend I was able to see the Olympic torch pass through what is probably one of my favorite little English towns, Bury St. Edmunds.
I don't know why, but I love old cemeteries

A trip to England--my arrival

In July I had the opportunity to travel to England for the first time.  I was asked to co-lead a workshop that SIM UK was offering on working within Multi-Cultural Teams.  I had attended a similar workshop in Thailand in 2008, and in order to offer one in South America next year, they needed someone to co-lead this one to get more experience.  I was more than happy to go, it's a subject that I enjoy and to be able to travel made it an amazing experience.  I said goodbye to my sweet family, knowing that I would be away for 2 full weeks, and headed to the airport.  I was flying out on July 4th, going from Lima to Madrid and Madrid to London--it was winter here but truth be told, the summer weather in England was just as cold as the weather in Peru!
This was the view as I flew from Madrid to England; the best part of my entire flight was flying over London and seeing so many beautiful, green trees and parks.

One of the super cool things was that the 2012 Summer Olympics were to take place in London the end of July, I was there just 2 weeks before they were to start and everything was decked out in their honor!  The streets had signs on them directing people to the different Olympic Venues, the Underground had signs up also, directing people to the various stops they needed to take in order to see their sports.  Even the Tower Bridge had the Olympic Rings on it--a sight that I will never forget.

My arrival was a bit crazy, I was to fly into Heathrow (after flying all night long) and take the Underground to Liverpool Street Station where I would then switch lines, buy tickets, and take another train to Stowmarket where my good friend, Helen, would pick me up.  I had purchased my Stowmarket tix in advance, but I had to buy an Oyster Card at Heathrow that I would also be able to use when I toured the London sights on my way home.  So I purchased my Oyster card and managed to take my first ride on The was interesting as I was lugging my bag and it was also the start of the Peak Hours. Anyhow, I made it to Liverpool Street Station, found the ticket booths, printed out my train pass and was on my way to was super cool to pass by Olympic Stadium as well!