Thursday, September 24, 2009

Word Fun

The last several days here at Refuge Ranch we have experienced some comic relief through words! I hope you get a laugh too!

At each meal we draw names to see who gets to pray to bless the food! We had had arguments before nearly every meal because several of the kids would want to pray! For awhile, I let whoever wanted to pray go ahead and pray before the meal, but we quickly discovered that our food was getting cold during the process, so we instituted the prayer box. Everybody's name is in the box and at each meal we pull out a new name. That card then gets put aside until everybody has had a turn and all the names are put back into the box again and we start the cycle over again.

Well, yesterday at breakfast it was Ruth's turn to pray. Ruth will be 4 years old in November. After she had prayed for Victor's safety (he has been on an Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusade since last Friday) and after she had asked the Lord to help Ana stop making ugly faces at her because "Ana is too pretty for ugly faces", Ruth prepared to wrap up her conversation with the Lord. Mind you, Ruth has been a huge book kick lately! She has always enjoyed being read to, but she will now take 10-20 books off the shelf, surround herself with them and "read" away. Ashleigh, Ruth's preschool teacher here at the ranch, has further encouraged Ruth's book binge by having Ruth and Bernabe "write" their own books in school this week. So, in keeping with her unsatiable thirst for books, Ruth finished her prayer with a resounding "THE END" rather than Amen! We all burst out laughing while she hadn't even realized her creative slip!

Angie, our eldest daughter, and I were studying her science material yesterday. The book is in English and is quite challenging for her, so I make her read it out loud to me in English and then translate it into Spanish to make sure that she understood what she read. Besides the challenge of dealing in two languages, she is learning to deal with two cultures. Here in Mexico the metric system is used, which means temperature is measured in Celsius and not in Farenheit. So, innocently enough, when Angie got to the "F" abbreviation for Farenheit she proudly said "Featherheit"! I started to laugh and she looked at me rather confused! Well, they both start with "F", right?

Our newest staff member, Magda, has an 11 year old daughter, Erika, who now homeschools with us. She is also being introduced into the wonderful world of English. Last week, Ashleigh was going over English flashcards with Erika, reviewing vocabulary words. They got to the card with the picture of a watermelon and Erika proudly, and without hesitation, said "flowermelon"! Ashleigh and I started to laugh, Erika got red and then remembered it was "watermelon"! However, I have since decided that the word "flowermelon" is a wonderful word and should become a part of our English language. So, if you discover a new breed of plant or a new hybrid fruit we have a name for it - "flowermelon"!

Love you all!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fun Stuff

Today is Mexican Independence Day - like your Fourth of July! On this day we celebrate our independence from Spain - won on September 16, 1821. Normally our family would attend the military parade held in downtown Mexico City, but with Victor leaving on an Evangelistic Medical Mission Crusade on Friday, there is just too much going on!

However, our church held a special service and then a fellowship time this past Sunday where different ministries prepared traditional foods and games and we spent the afternoon together. It was lots of fun, and delicious too! Our pastor had encouraged us to dress in traditional Mexican outfits - so some of us did! I got teased by several church members for being more Mexican than the Mexicans! Victor had bought this outfit for me in Monterrey and, while several of you may recognize the outfit since it is the one I use when making presentations in the U.S., I had actually never worn it in Mexico! My kids were quite horrified that I was going to dress up, but once they saw me dressed I got their seal of approval!
Here you can see me with Magdalena, our newest staff member. We had great fun because she even wore fake braids and a traditional print skirt (we had never seen her in a skirt before!)
Now, here is a totally unrelated story! Several days ago I found a super easy peanut butter cookie recipe, so I made cookies with my first graders for school (Caleb and Jocelin). Well, my older girls got inspired and so they made more cookies yesterday. However, being one of their first attempts at cookie baking, the first batch came out a little too late and slightly burnt/quite hard! Ruth grabbed one of those cookies after it had cooled and tried to take a big bite. She promptly came up to me and said: "Mommy, why doesn't this cookie let me eat it?" I am so thankful for the moments that the kids make me laugh!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Fidel and Daniel - Putting Them Back Together

This picture was taken over a month ago when Daniel had been a part of our family for a little over a week. This was the first time that Fidel, our 8 year old adopted son had interacted with Daniel at all since he had arrived. In fact, the night that Victor and I arrived home with Daniel, while the rest of the family came running downstairs to meet their new sibling, Fidel stayed in his room. I had to go up to say good night because he never came down.

I had noticed that while we got ready for Daniel's arrival, Fidel was having some trouble assimilating the arrival of a new brother. A few days before we were to leave and go pick up Daniel, I was getting his crib ready and Fidel walked into the bedroom. He asked me why he couldn't sleep in Daniel's crib. Fidel's logical reasoning isn't one of his strengths, so that question in and of itself didn't surprise me. He can ask some pretty crazy questions! I nonchalantly explained that he was too big for the crib and that it could break. His reasoning? "Mom, I don't weigh that much!" We laughed and left it at that.

Shortly after that, I had Ashleigh go shopping for the last items we needed for Daniel. We had been told by the missionaries with whom he was living that he loved horses, so I had Ashleigh pick up a wooden rocking horse for him (and another for the other little ones in an effort to reduce the fighting!)

Later on that day, our daughter Martha came up to me and commented, "Mom, Fidel is having a hard time with Daniel coming, isn't he?" I said, "Yeah, I've noticed that, but how do you know?" She responded, "Well, because today Fidel told me that he should have had that crib, and the new ball and the rocking horse." She turned around and walked away.

I, however, was left standing there with tears in my eyes. Fidel was having a hard time with Daniel's arrival because it was a blatant reminder of all that he had missed out by not being a part of a loving family as an infant and toddler! He was wishing that he could have come to be a part of our family when he was Daniel's age and gotten a comfy crib, instead of waiting until age 7 to sleep in a bed for the first time. Wow! Talk about taking your breath away!

This is not an uncommon sentiment among our children. Just two days ago, I was in the bedroom of one our teenage daughters when she said: "Mom, I love you. You are the best Mom. I wish I could have been your daughter from the womb." Flattering, but heartwrenching. Our kids deal with regrets that they did nothing to produce. Life was forced on them and they are left to pick up the pieces and put the puzzle back together.

Thank you so much for your prayers that help them through that process and for your financial generosity that helps us walk by their side as the Lord puts them back together.

Our daughter Ana is three years old and loves the nursery rhyme "Humpty Dumpty." We have to read it every night!
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

Thankfully, this nursery rhyme does not ring true for our children! Our children have suffered fall after fall throughout their short lives - sexual abuse, physical abuse, abandonment, verbal abuse - fall after fall after fall. BUT, with the power, love and help of the King of Kings, His men (you and I) can put them back together again!

It took Fidel over a week to even acknowledge Daniel's presence, but just two months later he is always willing to help take care of Daniel and is quite attentive to Daniel's activities and moods. Praise the King of Kings who can put ANYBODY back together again!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday dinner

It is Sunday afternoon and I have decided to stay back from church and spend some time alone with God here at the Ranch. It has been a week since Julie posted and I thought I would hop on and share a bit!

I occasionally stay back from church to have some time off. Often when I stay back I will end up making something for dinner so that Rosa can have a complete day off without cooking. As it happened this time, I was planning on going to church this Sunday until I was asked to make dinner. I found out that Caleb had been asking for over a month for lasagna. I made it one time last fall for them and was rather surprised that he even remembered what it was. To make sure that he would not be disappointed when I made lasagna, only to find out that wasn't want he wanted, I ask him if he remembered what lasagna was. His reply, "Yeah, it's that food that Garfield eats". I couldn't help but smile about that! Yes, Caleb remembers. :)

However, he somehow missed the fact that it was for this reason that I was staying back from church today. So when Julie was buckling him into his car seat to leave for church he again requested lasagna (with a rather frustrated voice because his request had not yet been fulfilled). Julie informed him that I was staying home and was going to make lasagna and that seemed to appease him.

I just thought I would share a picture of what it was like to live down here on the day to day basis. Caleb wanted lasagna...and I am making it. For those of you who began reading this post thinking that it would have some great spiritual insight or story of God's work I am sorry that you have been disappointed. :)

Although, I can share that I greatly enjoy the Sundays I stay home because I spend my time listening to sermons and devoting as much time as I want to Bible study. I often feel as though I am filling up for the week ahead as my morning schedule never seems to have enough time, I always want more.

Today's insight has been the reminder of how all through the Bible (Old Testament and New Testament) God is calling His children to follow Him from their hearts. It is never about outward actions for Him because He knows that if our heart were truly His then there would be no way we would live outside of what He wants. Us as men look to the outward actions (laws, doctrine, etc.) because they are easier to follow. The Pharisees are a perfect example of this. Even with the Law in the Old Testament, God was trying to draw the hearts of His people to see Him as the only way to be free. That is what Paul means when he said that we are no longer under the law but under grace (Romans 6:14-15). It was not that we can continue in sin but we have the grace through Christ to walk away from sinning. But we have to know Him. Not know lots of stuff about Him but know Him personally.

Sorry if that sounded random. Those are just some of the thoughts in my head as I have been contemplating God's Word on this Sabbath. May you all have a wonderful Lord's day full of His presence!


Staff at Refuge Ranch