Sunday, July 19, 2009

Am I just a bad dancer?

It is festival season here in the Basque Country!! That means lots and lots of parties, and concerts and fun things going on. Last week was the Festival del Carmen in the city next to ours and I went to two different concerts. Tuesday night my friend from school, Rebecca, went with me to see Carlos Baute. Now, Carlos is quite famous throughout the spanish speaking world. He is super cute and has some really fun songs- so even though we didn't understand a lot of what was going on, it was still a great time.

During his first song some dancers came out. There were two couples and they were doing some Latin ballroom type dances. I thought to myself, this is going to be so much fun. I was enjoying  the music and the dancing was a nice addition. The second song was just Carlos and then he moved on into his third song. This is where it got really interesting. The two male dancers came out on stage wearing silver bomber jackets, no shirt and white pants/jeans. They began this dance routine that defies description. It was horrible. They were attempting a hip-hop, break dancing routine. There were a several problems with this routine: #1- the two men were never, you hear me- never, in sync. Hello- count of 8? #2-The looked ridiculous in those outfits. #3-they were trying so hard and I think that just made it worse. At first I thought they were just bad dancers, but then I started noticing that they had great technique so I then decided they were just really outside of their giftedness and training. That got me to thinking.....

Am I a bad dancer? Is this what I look like to the Lord when I am outside of my giftedness. Even when I am trying really hard to do it right. Do I just look like a moron in a silver jacket? I think that the answer is yes. Why do we try to do things that we are either not trained for or not gifted in. For me it was an opportunity in the middle of all of those people to stop and evaluate myself and my role here. Am I operating in my giftedness and strengths? Am I doing the job that God has called ME to do in  way he has called ME to do it? There may be many of us called to do the same types of things and even to technically hold the same "job". That doesn't mean that we will all be asked to do it in the same way and in the same time frame. I was just challenged to think about that and was reminded that I want to look like I am doing something I have been gifted to do and to be completely in sync with my partner and leader
 ( the Lord). Not looking like some awkward dancer wearing a flashy silver jacket.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Jon and Kate VS. The Duggars

I have to admit, I have not been a loyal follower of Jon and Kate +8, but I am still saddened by the end of their marriage. Another christian family bit the dust and that just stinks! I have been a little bit  annoyed by all of the blogging, tweeting, and facebook activity concerning this family. I think everyone is so quick to judge and place blame and I haven't heard anyone put the blame where it belongs- on Jon and Kate, and maybe not for the reasons you think. I don't think we can say that it is the fault of the show, or the production crew, the media, or even on J&K's decision to continue to renew their contract every year. I believe that their biggest mistake was in choosing not to serve and obey the Lord. Some how they just lost their way. As I have been thinking about this today I was thinking about how that family is really any different than any other family I know, other than the obvious. Two parents, some kids, a house, work, church, friends, bills, etc.... BUT, we all make choices everyday whom we will serve- and I think it is clear that they chose to serve themselves and ultimately the whole viewing world and they took their eyes off of the Lord and one another. The well being of the children is only a product of their choices as the leaders of the family. Many of the comments have been about the children and the "how could they do that to the children" Well... they did it the same way WE do it everyday when we choose whom we will serve. We all pat ourselves on our Christian backs and say well of course we serve the Lord, but do we? Are we serving the Lord while we run our children all of the world for their important activities, when we put our kids and their needs ahead of our husbands and their needs? Are we serving the Lord when we stay in our "holy huddles" and only allow our children christian friends and never minister to the neighbors who don't know the Lord we claim to serve? I don't think we are, so how are we any different than J&K? They lost their way- they started to serve themselves and the public and forgot about the Lord and each other. 
Now, lets contrast this situation with The Duggers. Hear me out on this I think Michelle needs a haircut and a dress from this decade? YES! Do I think she needs to learn about how babies are made? YES! Do I think that naming 20 children (or however many it is now) names all staring with the the letter J is a little strange? Of course. BUT do I also believe that she loves the Lord? Absolutely. Do I think she and her husband serve one another and have mutual respect? You better believe it. Two families- two different outcomes. When you look at Michelle Dugger in all of her 19?? ( I don't even know what decade she is in) what do you see- calm, loving, organized, joyful, patient, peaceful. When you look at Kate what do you see? Right. She is super organized....
I am only on the outside, I know, I haven't walked in their shoes, I know-BUT I also know that from the info I have I would rather been seen as a woman living in the fashion past with terrible hair and clothes than a woman on the edge of loosing my family. Same goes for the men- Jim Duggar is a DORK and I think little Jon Gosselin is a cutie, but who cares when your family is falling apart. I would love if a combo of these two families could be out there representing the "Christian" family to the rest of the world. The sweetness of the Duggars with some of the "coolness" of the Gosselin's. 
So what does all of this word vomit mean? It means I want to: first- serve the Lord, second- serve my husband, thirdly- know that in the process my kids will be happy, feel loved, know the Lord, and feel peaceful about their family life. I will be the first to raise my hand and say that I often miss the mark and get selfish  and forget those priorities. A few months ago Ian and I decided to adopt a family motto to help keep us in check and to give us a filter by which we can sift our choices. I pray that as we do our best to do what is says God will be honored and those who meet us will be blessed by the spirit of the Living God that dwells in us.  Well, here it is: Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good. 
       And what does the LORD require of you? 
       To act justly and to love mercy 
       and to walk humbly with your God.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


For those who know me well, you know that just typing the title of this post was painful. I detest Mayonnaise! I don't like to look at, touch the jar, smell, or put it on anything or in anything. I don't car how good something is, if I am aware there is mayo inside you can forget it. Well, as a result my children have never had any. We now live in a culture where mayo is loved as much as coffee and chocolate. They put it on everything...and LOTS of it. Last week when I was at the store I decided that I would not force my weird mayo hatred on my kids- so I bought some...and then I held my breath and used it! There wasn't any squirt mayo at the store so I was forced to stick a spoon in the jar...that was a little gross, but I did it. So what did I make? I made tuna salad. I know I went straight for the hard stuff, I think maybe I was secretly hoping they would say yuk, but no- they all ate it.  Then two days later I gave them ham and  cheese with mayo and they ate that too. Then another day or so later we did tuna again and they ate it again. Ian was home to eat that last tuna day and he said it was so good he wanted another sandwich. Now I am from the cooking school of "onion makes everything better", so my tuna salad had onion, salt, pepper, a bit of mustard, and just enough mayo to make it stick together. I made chicken salad on Saturday and while they didn't eat that as well, Ian loved and so did the nanny. 
All of that mayo talk to say- I may not ever eat any of that white stuff, by my kids will. And I consider it a small victory that I was able to purchase, smell, touch, and fix something with the dreaded MAYONNAISE!

They also ate little dill pickles with those nice tuna sandwiches:)

Giada says...

G: Mommy do you know how to count in spanish?
M: Yes, do you know how to count in spanish?
runs away
comes back a few minutes later....
G:Mommy what is pig in spanish?
M: Do you know pig in spanish, Giada?
G: Mommy we don't live in the Helltell anymore!
M: no baby, where do we live now?
G: in the pamartment!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bianca's new haircut!

Is this kid cute or what?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

culture shock....already???

We have been told that culture shock comes in waves and that the first wave usually hits around month 6. Well, we have been here for about 6 weeks and I feel like I am in the middle of it. I was sitting here last night thinking about why it has effected me so early in my time here and then it all made sense to me. I have  been feeling so sad about my dog and my house. When the screen saver on my computer comes on I just about cannot stand to look at the pictures when they pass across the screen... they are ALL of my dog and my kids at the house. We have been away from home since the end of  September, so that is like 8 months. I forget that we have been on this adventure for over 6 months. I am hitting the cycle right were I should be, maybe even a little late. Part of culture shock is that you begin to see your new surrounding in a more "real" way. Not in the dreamy way that tourists or visitors may see it. When you look at things as they really are, sometimes they just don't make sense. I know that things in he US are not perfect, but it is the only way I know-so sometimes when I look at things they just don't look right, or the process doesn't seem like it should work the way it does. 

Right now the big thing is that the language just seems CRAZY to me. Whoever said Spanish was the easiest language to learn was crazy. Those words are obviously spoken by people who haven't had to learn the language to survive. It is much different when you learn something for fun or for a school credit than when you need it to LIVE. So many words and forms and just so much of everything! I feel so old everyday, I just can't seem to make the info stick in my brain. Over the years I have had many people comment to me about how they could never learn to sew or how the sewing I was trying to show them just didn't make sense. When I am sewing if something doesn't make sense then I usually just change it, or do it another way that DOES make sense in my little pea brain. You can't just change a language to make it easier for you to command or understand. Really it isn't even so much that I don't understand, I just think that sometimes it is weird. Again, English is not perfect-it is just what I have known for 31 years.

I know that the day will come when I will go to the playground and I will be able to engage another mother in conversation about her child (b/c generally they only have 1!) or about her dog. I know that one day I will walk into a store and not be absolutely terrified that someone will speak to me and I will have to admit " no entiendo" or "repite, por favor". I know that I would not have been asked to come here if it were outside of my ability to do it. I know that the Lord IS going to open my brain and give me the ability to do it. I guess I just wish it didn't have to be this hard. Maybe, for me, I need the challenge to fully rely on God and not on myself and to really give Him the opportunity to show himself to me daily. On my first day of language class I was so excited- I got up early to do my QT first thing and I have been reading through Genesis so I opened up to where I was supposed to read next and what do you think it was? That's right "the tower of Babel"! Yeah, for real. That day I thought it was funny, but today as I look back on that I am thinking that the Lord was just reminding me that He did this whole language thing and that HE knows it is going to be hard for me, but that HE has got this! He can and will do this. I will not only learn but master this language with His help and encouragement. Our purpose here depends on it. 

Thursday, April 30, 2009

"D" is for daisy

In our morning activities I have been doing the alphabet with the girls. The little ones are doing coloring sheets and working on sounds and Bianca is doing handwriting. We also try to do some type of craft that reflects the letter of the day. Today we did "D is for Daisy" and we made daisy crowns. Adorable! I also wanted to share some of my favorite sites for any of my at home mom friends who may be looking for rainy day activites or for just some fun learning/reinforcement type things.
My two favorites are: dltk and first school

Giada is saying "Daisy Princess!!!"

Such easy supplies- colored paper for printing, scissors (I did the cutting on this one) tape and glue sticks. 

Good food

I know I talk about food alot, BUT it is my love language:) I have said many times since being here that it is a good thing I know how to cook- otherwise, I would be in trouble! Not much in the way of prepared foods or canned goods. Don't get me wrong they have them, but maybe just a few veggies in a can and that is about it. The frozen food section in the largest grocery store here is only small rows of the chest type freezers. No huge freezers with doors. There is more yogurt than frozen foods! Everything is fresh and I love it! It makes me fell so good to feed my family all fresh, unprocessed food. I feel better, and I think my body is responding well to the changes. I haven't had the opportunity to weigh myself but I know I have lost some weight. Now- I know we have an entire aisle devoted to chocolate but you can do that when  you aren't eating crap all day long. I am missing the occasional Raisin Canes and some good Mexican, but I know I will live.
I have attached some pics of my fridge and pantry so you can SEE what I am talking about. It is just amazing to me to think about what my last few pantries have looked like :(

Bread and pastry shelf

Pantry - that big green and white rectangle a the bottom is a flat of milk (6x1Litre)
Fridge! the feezer is only 3 drawers and it has only ice cream:) and meat/seafood.
We eat a bowl of fruit this big about every 4-5 days. Some may not think that is a big deal, but for my girls it is.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What is wrong with this picture?

She was so proud of herself!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Hi all! I know I haven't posted as much personal stuff here lately, but there as just been so much! It is sensory overload at all times. I think I am really going to love life here once I can get around and talk to people. Things still seem really confusing to me right now. Life moves at a much slower pace here, but is super predictable.  You may have heard how things "shut down" for siesta- it is totally true! Trying to find something to eat for dinner before 730 is nearly impossible. You can get some little tapas like things are some of the bars, but mostly nothing. Kids get out of school between 12 and 2 to go home for lunch. My favorite part is that most extracurricular activities for kids take place during those in between hours.  So while your kids go to school from 9-5 they get a nice lunch break AND when they get home at 5 they are truly done. I love that! Grocery shopping has been interesting....they have a store here called Eroski that is kind of like Target. They have everything there and the quality is pretty good.  I just don't know what anything is.  Milk is NOT sold in the refrigerator section, but on a regular aisle. The way the milk is pasteurized is different here so it doesn't have to stay cold until is has been opened. It is also sold only by the Litre and it comes in this plastic box ( like you buy chicken broth). Juice is sold this way also- all to be recycled, of course.
Did you know that chocolate was good for you?? And I am not talking about dark chocolate that is full of antioxidants. I mean good ole milk chocolate. Well, they believe that it is good for you and so they eat it on anything and everything possible. There is no peanut butter, but they have almost a whole aisle dedicated to chocolate spread. Yeah- Yummo!
Driving is crazy- I am grateful for mass transit. I will have to take a video of what has to take place just to get our car out of the will not tell the whole story. Be prepared to be amazed and amused.
 Well, that is all for now...I will try to do better keeping everyone posted on how I am settling in and new cultural experiences.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Our Beautiful new country

Hi everyone! We are here in Spain doing fine. The girls did great in the flight over and have done pretty well getting over the jet lag. This is a very late culture, so they go to bed late, like 9 or so and then sleep late. Not too bad. We are still in our one room hotel and that is kind of a bummer. We thought we had found an apartment, but that fell through so instead of moving in this week we are going to start the process over again. We really need to get in a place in the next 10 days. School starts for us on the 20th and I really wanted to find a nanny for the girls instead of them going to school. There are only about 7 weeks left and that is just hard for them to transition to school and then to a nanny for the summer. I am really praying I can find someone to come to the house. We just need to find a place first. We are moving to a Basque farm house on Monday and that should give us more room and a kitchen, but we are still having a laundry problem. We went to San Sebastian today and did 2 loads at a co-workers place, but every load takes about 3 hours start to finish and the loads are small, so that is hard. BUT- things will be better soon...the Lord is taking care of it all-just in His time and not mine.
Well, here are a few pictures...try not to get jealous:)

Monday, March 23, 2009

Still alive!

Hi everyone,
I am still here! We have just been super busy with our training schedule and life. The Lord has also been teaching me so much I have just been spending time processing it all. We are only 5 days away from leaving this country and my feelings have been all over the place. I am mostly excited and nervous with undertones of sadness and WHAT!!! It is just so wild- all of our prayers and tears over the last year have all culminated into this one huge event- finally leaving the US to make a new home in Europe. I have learned that in many ways I will never be the same. Chances are, that in 3 years when we come back on our stateside assignment I will be a completely different person. That is just so strange to me and awesome at the same time. We have learned what it truly means to live a "spirit led life", been challenged to live a life completely dependent on the Lord, and new ways to make the Christian live relevant in a culture where anything goes. I have been challenged to live a truly authentic life, one that always reflects Christ, even when his name is not known to those around me. I am so curious about this life the Lord has called us to. He has blazed an amazing trail for us all along this process, I can only image what He has for us ahead.
The girls are doing awesome- we cannot wait to get there and get them settled. It seems that we may be in a bed and breakfast for the first week or so we are there. That is fine with us- then I may get to have some choice in our apartment. As soon as we get settled we are taking the girls to Toys R us to fill their new rooms. They have been so long without toys of their own, I don't think they will know what to do with themselves. Bianca has decided that she wants her own room and doesn't want to share with her sisters. I think she has had enough of that! Too bad the little girls will prob. never get that choice...
I will post new pics of our place as soon as we get settled. We are in need of a new camera, so join us as we pray for what to get and that we get a good price!

Friday, February 13, 2009


The girls love to play "mermaids" in the tub. This is so cute!

Monday, February 2, 2009


Hooks and Ana
Bianca and her BFF and cousin Piper
me with Abby and Piper- I love those girls
I am realizing that I haven't posted about my family goodbyes. I am happy to report that it was not that bad. I think the hardest one was my sweet Abby. I guess I never thought about how hard it would be for her. I am hoping that she will turn her sadness into prayers for us. She is only 7 and a new believer, but I am hoping that this will be an early lesson in the blessing of obedience. I cannot wait for her and her sister, Piper, to come and visit us summer of 2010. My sisters both handled things alright. There was, of course, crying-but I know that it is only b/c they love and will miss us. They were both awesome while we were visiting and the girls have asked about them nearly everyday. My parents were amazing. I know that my mom wanted to throw herself in front of the plane, but she was great. She hugged and kissed us all and waved good-bye. I am sure she cried all the way home and even some when she got home, but I KNOW that she turned her tears into prayers and for that I am grateful. My dad, well, he had to go to work from the airport so we got hugs and kisses and he was off. You never quite know with him, but I do KNOW that he loves us and will pray for us. We are so grateful for technology. We have had the opportunity to talk to my family and to the Brous on skype and that is just so fun:) What we would do with out the internet- I don't even want to think about it.
In other news....
I have had some great times with the Lord this week. It has been a struggle to get up at 5 am, but I need to, I have to, or else this just isn't going to work. I need to hear from the Lord everyday and I cannot hear or concentrate if there is complete crazy going on at all times. I feel like I am just growing deeper everyday and I think it shows in my attitude. I have to say that I have been a good bit more patient than I have been in a long time, and that I am just feeling better all around. It is so good to be in the living in obedience to the Lord- if you haven't tried should!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New life

I just wanted to say, officially, that I LOVE my life.  We are here at training and it is going to be amazing. Hard work and frustrations are for sure in my future, but the Lord has been so very good to me that I know we are going to be great. Please check out our Basque blog to keep track of what is going on. I am sure I will be using this site to post any and all funny stories and strange occurrences. Knowing me, there will be plenty:)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Too many thoughts

I have so many things running around in my head that I can't get them all into coherent thoughts. So here are some key words and maybe you can put some things together and figure out what is in my head...good luck!
anxious, training, packing, thankful, friends, disappointments, excitement, loving kindness, gracious, merciful, forgiving, packing, sewing, sorting, giving, throwing, leaving, sad, happy, planes, girls, family, sleepy

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bows, bows everywhere

Just thought I would confess my obsession with bows and my girls hair. I knew that I liked fixing hair, but seriously... I am ridiculous. I bought more bows today and would have ordered more than I did but Ian was in the car waiting and it kept me under control. Now that the little girls have hair long enough for piggies and real pony tails, oh boy, I am in trouble:(

Monday, January 19, 2009

Two amazing weekends!

I have had two outstanding weekends. The weekend of the 11th our good friends the Thibideaux's came to spend the weekend with us and we had a fabulous time. We had a fun jump all day Saturdays the kids had a great time jumping all day. Well, except for Zachary, who ended up with a broken collar bone because he tried to push a shopping cart down the stairs. Whoops...
Anyway, it was just the encouragement we needed. Thanks Thib's!

This past weekend Ian and I were able to have a little get away. Ian and I have never gone anywhere alone that was not for work purposes. Never, just time away for our sanity. Let's just say we were way overdue! We needed to go finish our Visa applications in NOLA so we just made a trip of it and it was wonderful. We stayed at LePavillon on Poydras. This hotel is so beautiful and the service was amazing. When my mom and dad used to take us to NOLA when we were kids this is the hotel I would look at and just think it was the most beautiful place and that I must stay there. We had a great  time just walking around and eating at some great places and just being together for a few days. We had an opportunity to listen to some great sermons and talk about them and just enjoy one anothers company. 
Many thanks to my parents and sisters for helping with the girls. I know that they are SO much work, your willingness to help makes all the difference.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Four Little Lambes

I just wanted to tell everyone about my friend, Kami. She and her husband Nick are expecting quads!! Identical triplet boys and one little princess. They are such amazing believers and have such a great story about the Lords faithfulness I just thought I would share their blog with you. Enjoy reading about them and pray for continuing good news from their doctors.

Monday, January 5, 2009

our girls

Silly Giada

Eliana usually doesn't let you take pictures of her, so this is rare:)

Sweet Bianca

reading The Southern Night Before Christmas with my mom.

It occurred to me that I didn't have any pictures on here of my girls...bad mommy! Even worse because they are the most beautiful girls ever. They are doing awesome with all of this crazy travel. They have been so great about giving all of their toys away and letting things go. I cannot wait to get to Spain and take them on a huge trip to Toys r us (yes, they have that there). If I have my way they will get WHATEVER they want, we may have to go without Daddy:-)