Thursday, December 28, 2006

Hope You Had a Jolly Good One

Dear Friends, Family, and Voyeuristic Blog Browsers,

We sincerely hope you had a great Christmas; full of joy and cheer and memories made.


Dustin, Sarah, Sophia, Edison, Sheba, and Mittens

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Edison's Say

At long last I will make my voice heard! Frankly, I'm surprised there hasn't been more of an uproar; Mommy goes on and on about the ballet, Sophia, and of course...rowing, as if there was anything hard about it. And all the while I'm sure you were thinking; but what of the little prince? Well, let me fill you in. I've come a long way from my early days of slothful indulgence and obesity (see photo). I'm a biped now and prefer cowboy boots and jammies for attire (see other photo). I can now scale my throne (a.k.a. high chair) all by myself through a series of physically demanding contortions and many grunts. I do my part to keep Mommy busy; spilling stuff, playing in the toilet, dumping out everything that is inside of anything, and whatnot. Daddy is very impressed at how I can operate a laptop; whenever I climb up the desk chair and start tapping away, he comes in with such a wide-eyed expression and says a bunch of words that I assume are praise. I'm really into carbs, which makes me a fine Chilean; bread, pasta, crackers, tortillas, and cookies. I'm also an early-riser; I'm up and ready to go at 6:00 which I'm sure my parents love; more quality time together. Though, to expound on that a bit, I hardly recognize them at that fine hour. They're puffy-faced, wild-haired and grumpy for some reason, but fortunately, after Dad has a mug of hot stuff he seems more human. My sister thinks she's a little Mommy; she's always bossing me around and tattling, and even runs commentary during my diaper changes; as if my natural products are THAT gross. I hate baths and scream the whole way through them which is really fun because my voice echoes off the tile walls for good dramatic effect. Beyond all this; my Mommy would insist that I am a sweet little boy who give kisses and darling smiles and hugs, and that I am her precious "little man". I wouldn't say it, but that's what people say, you know.
Be sure to comment, I love attention!
Love, Edison James Gingrich

Friday, December 15, 2006

Girl's Night Out

To My Most Amiable Readers,

Last night I had the wonderful opportunity to bring my little girl to her first ballet, The Nutcracker. We got all dressed up in black and white with matching bracelets, and one beaded purse full of "chew-chew gum" and "lips" (lip gloss). Friends helped us find good seats right in the middle and then began the magic.
Sophia was rapt with attention as the dark red curtains parted and the music swelled. Then out of all directions burst forth little ballerinas in butterfly costumes. I've never seen her attention so fixed. Then came bears and then cats with long tails and claws, stretching and prowling all over the stage. And this was just the pre-presentation!
She was especially overcome to see that four of her friends were up there dancing; our coworker's children. Sophia was always the first to start clapping when anyone bowed, and she barely restrained herself from standing on her seat.
One thing did confuse her though; each time she got off her seat it went sailing up into itself. She would look at me accusingly and tell me "No Mommy! Don't do that!". This much amused an elderly lady seated next to her.
Sophia had such a good time, and it was fun for me to see the ballet through her child's eyes and reactions. She was especially astounded with my generosity of "chew-chew gum". Each time it lost flavor I'd give her a "fresh" one. Sometimes you've got to spoil them.
As the performance came to an end, they had a time for passing out awards and graduation certificates to the ballerinas. There had to have been more than seven "Sophias" that were called forth, and each time Sophia would turn to me wide-eyed and asked if she could go up. As we got up to leave a veritable storm cloud fell over my little one's countenance....
"NO MOMMY! I'm not going home! I'm going to go up there! And dancing, ME, Sophia!" Oh how mad she was; she had figured in her mind that she would get a turn too. I tried to explain that you have to take classes first before you can dance in the ballet, but to no avail. On the verge of tears she trudged along behind me. She perked up a bit in the lobby while we waited for Daddy to pick us up. Why? Because I asked her to dance for me.

Your Most Devoted, Sarah

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Dance dance dance....

To My Most Amiable Readers,

Here we are at the reception of our first Chilean wedding. Highlights of the evening for me were the ceviche de salmon, wearing a fun spinny skirt and toting a fun old-fashioned looking beaded purse, and of course, the dancing!!! Latin Americans know how to pick dance music, and every song makes your toes tap and suckers you into kicking up your heels. Wedding receptions generally go well into the morning; so we missed the cake cutting, which would've happened around four a.m. We collapsed into bed at two in the morning, exhausted, happy, and glad to have enjoyed an evening of such festive fun.

Your Most Devoted, Sarah

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Rogue Sea Lions"

Today on "In the most frightening of the recent episodes, a rogue sea lion bit 14 swimmers this month and chased 10 more out of the water at San Francisco's Aquatic Park, a sheltered lagoon near the bay. At least one victim suffered puncture wounds.
Some scientists speculate that the animals' aggressive behavior is being caused by eating fish contaminated by toxic algae, or by a shortage of food off the coast. But wildlife experts say even healthy sea lions are best left alone.
In Southern California in June, a sea lion charged several people on Manhattan Beach and bit a man before waddling into the water and swimming away. In Berkeley, a woman was hospitalized last spring after a sea lion took a chunk out of her leg.
Last year, a group of sea lions took over a Newport Beach marina and caused a vintage 50-foot yacht to capsize when they boarded it. And a lifeguard in Santa Barbara was bitten three times while swimming off El Capitan State Beach.
In Alaska, a huge sea lion jumped onto a fisherman's boat in 2004, knocked him overboard and pulled him underwater; he escaped without serious injury."

Ironically I just got back from rowing where I was pestering a huge sea lion lounging on a buoy! I would row closer and closer and he would sit up and sniff at me, indolently swaying towards the side as if planning his escape route if I got too close. Then with the agility of an Olympic diver, but with the figure of a sumo wrestler, he slipped into the water with nary a splash. I did that two or three times during my assigned fifteen kilometers, then came home and read that article. Guess I'll keep a little more distance : ).

Your Most Devoted, Sarah

Sunday, November 26, 2006


-close-up of "dreaming", oil pastel on paper
-"Isla de Paz", "Red House", oil pastels on paper
-"Sun-Fried Daisy", color photo
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Friday, November 24, 2006

Water Water Everywhere...

To My Most Amiable Readers,
Greetings!!! Your time of penance is over; I am once more at the helm of a fully hooked-up computer! Let the writings begin!
Our church family here celebrated Christ's redeeming work with three baptisms this Sunday past. This little girl is Victoria, daughter of Voni (the one Chilean who likes country music) and Gigi (my children's Chilean grandma). She's an amazing eight year old; each day like clock-work she reads the Word and keeps a journal of all that God is teaching her through His Word. She's also into animals and drawing and being tickle-tortured by Dustin.
Next we come to Mike and Marcella, the soon to be married parents of a little boy named Alan. Mike plays for the Puerto Montt soccer team; and he and Marcella are new Christians. They were both baptized as well, and eagerly await their upcoming church wedding on December 8 (they were married in a civil union a few weeks ago, as only Catholics are allowed to do both weddings at once). Mike is a vibrant, passionate person with a deep love and appreciation for Jesus' work in his life. Marcella is a flamboyant, wonderful lady that makes a spiffy lemon pie and is really good at tug-of-war.

Posted by Picasa And then there's me, the kids, the dog (Sheba), and a much-beloved swimming pool. I'm really glad that none of my underwear were hanging on that section of the line (that would have been embarassing), but if you look close there's Sophia's blue ones! Ha ha ha, she's going to rail at me someday for that.
Your Most Devoted,

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Rapidfire Update

Okay I have about two minutes to sum up these past few weeks.....we were on vacation, we explored the nooks and crannies of southern chile with Mom and Dad (pictured left)....highlights...Dad bought an ancient cannonball, Dad taught us fly-fishing, and lots of other stuff I don't have time to type...yep, also we went to Valdivia for a rowing competition and the pic on the bottom is us driving sorry so short, but hey at least it's something, your harried devoted Sarah
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Monday, October 23, 2006

Ah, to my readers...

To My Most Patient, Amiable Readers,

Due to lack of internet, this blog has caused an uproar with its stagnation so to speak, and this delay of bloggerliness, is deeply regretable but necessary until internet is restored, most likely this coming week....sooooooooooo

Have patience my dears!

Your Most Devoted, Sarah

Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Healthy Dose of Here and There

Meet little Satchel, one of ten pups born to Choco, the Hostetter's lab. If he survives he'll be our new dog as our Delgado never returned...

Who are these good looking people getting ready to eat some steaks in Argentina?? Even missionaries can dine on fine fare in Argentina where my steak tenderloin in raspberry sauce cost six dollars.... Posted by Picasa

The scene that bid us farewell as we boarded our bus to head back to Puerto Montt.....ciao to the land of chocolate and steaks!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Chilean Independence Day!

Better known as "Dieziocho", the eighteenth of September is the independence day in Chile. We got together with our "Grupo de Crecimiento" (growth group) from church to observe and participate in the festivities.

In the states we have fireworks, here they fly kites! Mike, a member of our group and local pro soccer player, got one kite to fly so high that the guys tied on three more strings so it could go yet higher! Here our leader and host for the day, Voni, proudly displays his flag.

After a lunch of grilled foods, beans, and vegetable salad we started the fun...
Mike and Marcella won the couples' race with Ricardo and Eliana coming in a close second. Dustin was disgusted with his wife's performance as she fell down as they were rounding the tree to run back. He initially tried to drag her with him, but her laughing form would not get up. A resounding "YOU WIFE!" only served to further her hysterical immobility. Sarah was heard to comment that "I can't laugh and run at the same time, especially when bound to him." Though no one doubted their affection for one another as they danced together on the lawn to country music of all things. Voni is a fan of country music, making him, in his words, "One out of a million Chileans". Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 11, 2006

Scenes of Puerto Montt

Down the street in Angelmo where craft vendors, veggie stands, fish markets, and cheese shops vie for space.

The Alerce church; alerce is a protected tree which takes a long time to grow; it's now illegal to cut it, but back in the day it was used liberally for siding on houses and for this unique church. Posted by Picasa

The view from our dining room; the land to the left is Tenglo Island and the other side is the mainland. I row through this part.

Anyways, hope you have a great day!

Your Devoted,

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Soccer in the Boat House

To My Most Amiable Readers,

I'm still sore from yesterday, though I'm not sure if it's due to the weight-lifting or the impromptu game of soccer that followed....

I think I watched too much world cup or something.

So we started kicking around a half-flat soccer ball, and there being roughly the same amount of guys as girls, we automatically fell into two teams. Now...the boat house is narrow with racks of boats on either side, and boat parts, and chunks of styrofoam, and random ropes and other hazards all over the place. So we thought it perfect for a game.

There was initially one goal, that being the open door to outside, and one poor guy guarding it. Usually the way a goal was scored would be all of us bull-rushing the keeper until he, the ball, and us erupted through the door in fits of laughter. Though a few times we got clean shots through the goal, and yelling "Goooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaallllllllllll!", we would run, fists shot up in the air through the boat house.

As for me, I rather surprised myself with my aggresiveness (like I said, too much world cup), but it seemed to work because I kept stealing the ball from the guys, and made a few goals too with the warbly music from the stereo nailed to the wall heralding my victory....

Anyways, so much laughter, so much fun; definetely a good workout too. So if I'm sore, at least it was for a good cause. We just got back now from Tenglo Island where we helped with the kid's club. Today I brought art supplies and lead the kids in drawing what they had learned about Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mt. Sinai. Very fun.

Your Devoted,

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Three and One

Well this was the month for sugar highs and shaking hands. Why shaking hands? Well, from squeezing frosting onto Edison's and Sophia's birthday cakes....hence also the sugar highs : ).

Edison turned one on the 19th, and Sophia three on the 24th. The parties were super fun; we invited friends over to celebrate with a light meal and then cake and ice cream (Turkey Hill Ice Cream!!!! Still amazes us that we can get a Pennsylvania local brand here). After opening gifts we prayed as a group over the children, thanking God for their lives and asking His blessings over them as they grow. Very sweet...Sophia prayed for Edison : ).

This is us at Sophia's party....if the big pink cake didn't give it away...

Ah...Edison enjoying his first birthday cake with gusto!!! Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 28, 2006

Away we Row!

Connie, Cote, and I....

Lined up for racing practice.... (I'm the third boat out)
Posted by Picasa All of us warming up with coffee in the weight room after a grueling run in the freezing rain. So fun fun fun!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Opening My Eyes

To My Most Amiable Readers;

Ever come to the realization that something that you've known and accepted in your head has made a sudden migration to your heart...and lay there, clear and bright in truth....maybe bringing horror, maybe disillusionment, maybe awe, maybe that "click", that "oh! I see now!"?

It used to happen to me in mathematics. I would cry almost every time I did algebra homework in high school; leaned over my homework...pressure and frustration, why don't I GET IT!? It felt like tying shoelaces with mittens should be so simple to tie them...but...AAAAHHH...stupid mittens!! But then it would come, that proverbial lighted bulb over my head, the mittens came off and I could do the task made sense...I'd smile.

To those who see clearly and discern from afar...who put your mittens on after you tie your shoes, I admire you, I am not you. I discovered today that having my husband and my children in my life is the second-biggest outpouring of wonder and blessing that God has seen fit to shower me with. See, I was more clear about the biggest one...God, His love, His presence, speaking, healing, leading, cheering, rebuking, holding me in His hands...He is my very lifeline.

I'm kind of fiercely independent. I get resentful and sulky if I'm around people for too many hours in the day and can't get away to think, alone. I love interacting with people, I also love not interacting with people for a good chunk of each day. In a way, it makes me ready for them, guess what...motherhood and wifehood, in their heady blessed reality, were too heavy for me some days...too charged with otherness, other people's needs, chatter, schedules, moods, poopy diapers, laundry, expectations.

My writings reflect vague illusions to the wear of it: "I want to be where people aren't, to run down hidden trails..." I keep up a very active imaginative side; I think if I were transported into an eight year-old's body for a week I would make for a very believable character (I love water fights, making sand castles, romping through the woods, doing handstands and somersaults in the pool). So when the "otherness" of my domestic life wore on me, I would give my imaginative side the go-ahead to daydream of cool things that might happen in my life...

And you know; they were always centered around me, for example: I'd imagine getting so good at rowing that I'd become the national champ in Chile, and then the States Olympic people would recruit me to row in Beijing, and amidst all the fanfare I would get to share the gospel in China..and then....well, I could go on. Or try this....I'll write a really profound blog article (hee hee), and someone will notice it, and it'll get put in a magazine where a major publisher will see it and contact me to.....and so on.

I guess that all sounds fairly innocent, but I think it's speaking to me now that deep down, I want more merit, more value...of a calculable, here's Sarah, she wrote a bestseller, or meet Sarah, she's an artist with a major show coming up. I knew my worth in God's eyes...what I wanted next was worth in the world's eyes. I wasn't content being not fantastic.

So here's where my mittens are coming off; I realized today that, wow, I have a husband who loves me, and whom I love deeply. I can kid around with him; he shares and knows my memories. We have a treasure of inside jokes. We can communicate with subtle facial expressions and know exactly what the other is thinking without saying a word. I trust him; we're promised to one another. There's love, there's security, there's unity.

I have children. Little happy smiles meet me in the morning. Sophia always tells me "Mommy! I wake up! Sophie wake up!", like each morning it surprises her and should surprise me too. Edison smiles with his whole body when I come in the room and shuffles over to me on his little chubby knees...when I lift him up he curls right into me, as though his body has memorized just where to sit on my hip and just where to lay his head on my shoulder. They are hilarious. And when they're sad or sick, it seems like, impossibly, I love even if love given in extra doses will heal what ails them. I even love their stinky morning breath...because it's my baby's stinky morning breath.

So, what I'm saying is, I'm blessed up to my eyeballs and have no business throwing my hopes on daydreams, on possibilities that are somehow going to redeem me from being just Sarah the housewife/missionary/mom. I'm finding out that I want to be me...not who I might be yet, but me, Dustin's wife, Sophia and Edison's mom, God's child....

Your Most Devoted,

Friday, August 18, 2006

Monday, August 14, 2006

Petrohue y Mas

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Lovely, no? Petrohue is one of the places we visited with Dustin's mom and aunt Janet while they visited. We all had such a great time; playing "Crowns", staying in cabins, driving around the biggest lake in S. America, and drinking all the tea in China to stay warm : ). How fun for Sophia and Edison to have all that attention; what a blessing that they could come!
Your Devoted,

Saturday, August 05, 2006

In Good Random Form

In rowing Friday, my friend Carmen Gloria and I went out in a double together. The sea lions were numerous and curious, approaching closer than either of us had ever seen (and she's been rowing for eight years!).

This shot, from on top of the Tenglo Island property, was taken by Dustin's mom, Marian, who, with her sister Janet, are down here visiting us for ten days. We're having good times; especially Sophia who's reveling in all the attention : ).
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Evidently she likes his driving...
Edison got his first haircut on Friday, and is looking rather dapper.


Your Most Devoted Sarah