Tuesday, January 30, 2007

To My Most Amiable Readers;
Greetings from sunshiny Chile! Well, I got real brave one day and made salmon sushi. And braver still, I actually ate it! Hee heee. Sophia liked it a lot! Here's the kids enjoying a snooze on the counter....don't ask me why, we're just weird like that.
After church we went road-tripping up to Puerto Varas where we enjoyed the beach by the lake and picnicked. I also went kayaking with my rowing friends, which was especially fun since we flipped! In bad news....Elizabeth won the kayak race..and she's a ballerina for pete's sake! We rowers were quite scandalized. Here's Sophia enjoying a bungi/trampoline type thingy. Your Most Devoted, Sarah

Friday, January 19, 2007

Skippy at The Halfway House

To My Most Amiable Readers;

Meet Skippy! To truly appreciate him, I must tell you about his miracle mom. His mom, Chacha, an active, bus-chasing, tire-attacking, Chilean street mutt that hangs out at the rowing club, patronized the family of one of the rowing kids (lived under their house). One day they decided to get rid of her. After repeatedly stabbing her with a knife, they threw her in the garbage can. The next day she showed up on their doorstep. They never touched her again.

So, three months ago Chacha had a litter of pups, most of which were given away. Skippy did not get a home. I noticed him at the club because the poor thing would try to nurse from a different mother who had evidently just weaned her own pups. He would nestle in to her when she laid down; his own mom being too preoccupied with terrorizing cars.

He was all skin and bones and very timid. One day, looking at him, I just couldn't stand it anymore. I scooped him up in my arms, to the astonishment of the rowing kids, and declared him either mine or that I'd find him a home. He came home with me, quiet and still on the long bus ride home.

I had to teach him how to eat dog food by getting it wet and mushy and serving it in his water. Gradually as his nutritional needs were met, he began to come alive. He would wag his tail instead of cowering when I came near. He even made it through his first bath with minimal trauma.

Our dog, Sheba, of course loved the company, and they wrestled together late into the night. I wanted to keep him, but knew that our small yard is not enough for two dogs. So, having friends involved in the Animal Protection group; I took Skippy to where they had an event of giving away dogs and educating the public. So hard to give him up. But a lady and her son liked him right away, and after receiving the exhortations on animal care and responsibility, they took Skippy home.
Why do I share all this? I don't know. Dustin would say I'm becoming like Gigi, our beloved friend with a passion for animals. I think it may have another root.

When I was little I loved animals so much. Birds with broken wings, stray kittens, even a bat that I found that was stunned; nothing was below my pity and love. The tears I cried when a broken-winged bird I had been giving convalescent care to finally died. How many shoe-boxes were commandeered to serve as final resting places!

Over the years my love of animals has faded. I can't really pinpoint the reason why; but perhaps it's a symptom of the hardening of heart that sometimes affects us as we age. Perhaps it's the hopelessness that comes from seeing so many sufferings in the world.

But, I think happier people we will be if we never stop jumping in puddles, swinging as high as we can on the swings at the park, stopping to enjoy the spray of a fountain (or jumping in it), actually playing Play-Doh with the kids instead of just doing damage-control, and yes, caring about animals and interacting with them. Because their real or imagined personalities are gifts to us from God; they are our companions in a beautiful, uncomplicated way.

So...that's all then, really. Here's a picture of Edison being his silly, affectionate self. Blessings my friends!

Your Most Devoted, Sarah
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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Lesson In The City

Bound and determined to get out and about, Sophia, Edison, and I hurriedly finished our breakfast, and after much scampering about looking for shoes, hats, and keys, we boarded a bus for downtown.

You see, when Dustin is in the mountains for a whole week with the truck, we don't get out much. Maybe that's my fault; it's kind of nerve-wracking shuffling two energetic little children on and off of buses, so I often find it easier just to do walks to the local parks.

But necessity is the mother of courage too, and needing some thread to do some much-needed mending, we set out.

Our first stop was to admire the beautiful Alerce church in the plaza. I pointed out the angels, the carving of Jesus, and the cross on the high steeple. In toddlerese I tried to tie-in what all the symbols meant, while restraining Sophia from terrorizing the pigeons. Onward to the post office where we sent off some thank-yous and cards while Sophia coquettishly waved at each person within eye contact and Edison yelled "CA CA CA CA GA GA LA!" as he stared at a poster featuring a bright mail truck. He's learning the word "car", go figure with a Nascar dad; unfortunately "caca" is the spanish word for, well, poo. I didn't blush too badly.

Roving about to find the elusive yarn store, we came across a man lying face down on the ground. At first glance I thought he was a drunk, passed out on the sidewalk. Looking further I saw that his hand was extended forward, grasping a little cardboard box with a few pesos in it. I was confused at this manner of begging until I saw his legs, or lack of them really. They ended mid-thigh. I don't know if this was the only comfortable position for him or it was more effective in eliciting sympathy, but the scene captured my attention. Around him cheerful, well-dressed professionals, yacking into cell phones or just striding importantly, walked right by him. What a strange world we have.

I gave Sophia some money and together we walked to the man. Sophia put the coins in the box and tried to smile at him, but it was very hard for him to lift up his head. I asked her if she wanted to pray for him, and she did. He looked up then, with a touched expression and a murmered "gracias".

Our outing continued, subdued but steadily joyful. Sophia kept bringing up the "sad man with no legs", and we'd pray for him again. After supper that night, I was holding and drying Sophia from her bath, when she brought him up again: "Mommy, Jesus will help that man with no legs?"
"Yes, Sophia, Jesus will help him."
"And Sophie help him too? And Mommy, and Daddy, and Edison, and Sophie?"

Yes, it's our job. We cannot become calloused to the suffering, the real suffering, of others. Our first step is to stop complaining. Are you reading this on your own computer? You are wealthy. Did you eat today? You are blessed. Do you know Christ as Saviour? You have riches beyond number. We cannot allow the magnitude of suffering is this world to numb us; to keep us locked in complacency. Do what you can; do more than you want to.

Did you know that for $250.00 a child with cleft palate can smile for the first time and live a normal life? (SmileTrain website) Did you know you can support an AIDS orphan in sub-saharan Africa for $12 a month, providing healthcare and schooling? (AIDS orphans website) We can change the world, we're called to.

"What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed, but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."
James 2:14-16

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Shutterbug Around the House

What did Mommy make this time?? Asian wraps....tuna tossed with spring onions, soy sauce, and wasabi; all embraced by baby spinach and tortillas....ginger sesame noodles....and fresh kiwi, por supuesto! Being always the family photographer, I turned the camera around on me and had some fun. We just got back from "once", which is a late dinner, at our Ecuadoran neighbors house. Sophia joined a massive pillow fight while we sipped down coffee shakes and empanadas. With coffee in my system, there's either laying in bed wide awake or writing disjointed blogs at 1:51 in the morning. I chose the latter, lucky you. Hee hee. Blessings!
Your Most Devoted, Highly Caffeinated,

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Works In Progress

To My Most Amiable Readers,

Greetings from sunny, for today at least, Chile! We are in the swing of summer and are enjoying the fruits and fresh air. I especially delight that my clothes are drying in one day instead of four or five : ). This has been perfect weather for the flurry of activity on Tenglo Island.

A team of four guys associated with Weaverland Mennonite Church in Pennsylvania are down here helping to construct the house which lies at the rear of the property. Dustin has been absolutely delighted by their willingness to work hard and their knowledge of construction. He also doesn't mind getting to speak English all day long! As I write this, he is contentedly crunching down some of the hard pretzels they brought us.

As for me, I've started a more intense rowing schedule; going three times a week for about two and a half hours in the mornings. I hope to be in good racing form for the Chilean National Rowing Finals in February. I pray that God will use this extra time around my friends at rowing to strengthen and deepen those relationships for the kingdom!

The kids are doing great; I'm really amazed at how fast they grow! A few months ago Edison couldn't walk by himself, now he runs, climbs the playground equipment and goes down the slides alone! Sophia loves to be a "little Mommy" to him, correcting him, feeding him (even though he can do it himself), carrying him, and generally bossing him around. Both kids are terrorized by our lab pup who thinks Edison is a walking chew-toy and that Sophia's screams mean "chase me faster".

So, that's a bit of an update on us, how are you?

Your Most Devoted, Sarah