I snapped this photo today of Anna taking her afternoon nap. This adorable, handmade, yellow teddy was given to her by Grammy when I was only 8 weeks pregnant. Having a special toy in her crib is a brand new experience for Anna... and she loves it! These past few days, when I have gone in to get her from a nap, she is usually on her pack, holding this yellow bear up in her arms... talking and cooing at it. Thanks Grammy- it's a hit! She also happens to be wearing a top that I wore as a baby... I'm so thankful that my mom kept it for my daughter! Two horrays for Grammy!


My day

Although today I had kind of a fussy, weird day- I did get to:

Watch "Baby Beethoven" from my playpen...

Go in the big girl pool that daddy bought for us to swim together...

And learn to drink from the hose...

Phew! I'm exhausted!


Something's Funny!


I woke up this morning feeling a little grumpy. I didn't sleep well last night... I couldn't stop thinking about "The Last Jihad" which I finished just before going to bed. In the middle of the night, disoriented and half asleep, I kept thinking that we were about to go to nuclear war with Iraq, and every noise I heard was the ticking of a bomb about to explode (creepy, I know). Eric informed me this evening that I woke him up at 2:30 am to warn him about a missile or something.

My point in sharing that with you is to establish that I didn't have a good night. I got up at 7am on the dot to get Anna up and start the breakfast fiasco (she just recently discovered how to spit food back out at mommy) and I was in a bad mood. To make matters worse, I discovered that Nellie had "accidents" last night in the office, and I had to scrub the entire floor by hand with bleach and water.

Eric left for church around 9:45am minutes after discovering that somehow while I was cleaning, I locked the doorknob to the office and we don't have the keys. His wallet, Bible, and phone were locked in the office as well as my spanish books and sewing machine... which I had planned to use when Anna went down for her morning nap. Frustrated beyond belief, I said goodbye to Eric, put the baby down for her nap and went to take a shower.

When I stepped into the bathroom, the first thing I noticed was the smell of mildew. YUCK!!! It's a constant battle with mold here in hot, humid, Panama and I was in no mood to clean the bathroom YET AGAIN. I did a quick once-over, took my shower, sat down at the kitchen table with my Bible in front of me. READ I told myself... and I opened to where I had left off in Acts (I'm still with ya, girls!).

Today I read about Paul being arrested in Jerusalem- for no reason, as usual- and about how he pleaded his case before Sanhedrin, to governor Felix, and to King Agrippa. None of these found him to be guilty of anything, and yet they continued to keep him. TWO YEARS Paul sat in prison, not as a convicted man, but just waiting for a judgement. He sat in a jail cell, having done no wrong. I'm pretty sure that my house, even with a stray dog and moldy bathroom, are nicer than Paul's jail cell. And yet, when brought before King Agrippa Paul says:

"Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, sayng no other things than those which the prphets and Moses said would come- that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles" Acts 26:22-23

And he continues:

"I would to God that not only you, but also all who hear me today, might become both almost and altogether such as I am , except for these chains." Acts 26:29

Paul did defend his innocence, but the majority of his speech was his testimony... about his former life as a persecutor of the the Way, and then about his conversion on the road to Damascus, and about Christ being the fulfillment of the law and the prophets. Paul ends by telling the King that he should become a Christian and have faith in Jesus Christ!

After I finished reading about Paul's trip to Rome and his time under house arrest, I felt overcome. Oh that I would have the same devotion as Paul... that I would consider myself a bondservant, and that I would be focused on the souls of others! Lord give me Your heart for the people of Panama, that I might not be concerned about petty things, but about what truly matters.


Mommy's Day Out

Panama City skyline

While Eric stayed home with Anna yesterday afternoon, I went into the city with the family we met from Texas. Since Eric and I don't have a car, it is very difficult to get anywhere, especially with the baby. So when I was invited to spend the day out and about, I accepted! We went to a mall that I had been to before, with stores that I can't afford to shop in! But we also went to a large grocery store called Riba-Smith (I have no idea why it's called that). This store has EVERYTHING! I found A1 sauce, corn tortillas, and even english muffins!!! It was the first time in my life that I actually enjoyed grocery shopping. The prices on most American items, however, are extremely high. Rice-a-roni boxes are $2.79!!! (At Ralphs I paid $1) A box of Cheeze-Itz (the regular, small size) was almost $5! So I couldn't get everything that I wanted, but still came home with some fun items that I can't get at the local store in Chorrera. I also snapped some fun pictures of the city from the terrace at the mall.

A view of the ocean


"When This You See, Remember Me"

Recently, while in line at El Machetazo, the Panamanian version of K-Mart, Eric and I met a family from Texas, who recently moved to the nearby town of Arrejan to serve as missionaries. The husband, wife, and two sons, members of a free Baptist church, are learning the language, adjusting to the weather, and just trying to adapt... just like us! It was so neat to meet and talk with another American family, and rejoice that the Lord is sending workers into this harvest of Panama.

Two nights ago, we had the family over for a BBQ. We made good ol' hamburgers, baked beans, and coleslaw. I also decided to take a chance with my crazy Panamanian oven (that's a story for another posting) and bake some chocolate chip cookies from scratch. I was soooooo excited to serve my cookies, because I had been waiting for a chance to use this precious plate given to me by Vicki Wagner. This plate, covered in USA red, white, and blue, decorated with stars and stripes, and the words: "When this you see, remember me" was given to me by the amazing Vicki just days before my departure for Panama. This plate, taken right off the wall of Vicki's kitchen, is extremely significant to me. Not only does it remind me of Miss Vicki, whom I have come to adore over the past few years, but it reminds me of home. It reminds me of my time at Calvary Chapel Santa Fe Springs, of all my dear sisters there, of all that the Lord has done in my life, and for the sweet friendships that He has blessed me with back home.

I know you don't use the internet much Vicki, but hopefully someone will relay this message to you: thank you for the plate... and thank you for giving me a piece of home and for sharing your life with me... and for all my haircuts. I miss you!


Isn't he adorable? He lives in our guestroom! He sure moves quickly, but was kind enough to stop for a photo opp!

She's on the move!


What We're Reading These Days...

This is an amazing series!!! Joel Rosenberg uses his knowledge of Bible prophecy to write this thrilling end times series. Eric is finishing "The Copper Scroll" and eagerly anticipating the release of "Dead Heat" on March 18. I just started "The Last Jihad" and am completely hooked! It is so fun to loose myself in the story, knowing that not only is it excellently written, but also based on the Word of God. Need a new series? We bought these books at the Calvary Chapel Downey Bookstore, but I'm sure they're available at most books stores. Give 'em a try!


"And God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water;" Genesis 21:19

This monstrosity is our new water tank. Our backyard, already pretty ugly for lack of any real charm (unless you consider a moldy cinder block wall charming), is now even more unappealing. BUT WHO CARES??? WE HAVE WATER!!!

Well, we don't actually have water yet. We have the tank's outgoing pipe closed so that it can fill... and since the water here is usually absent, and slow moving when present, it is taking a long while to fill the tank. Eric assures me, however, that once it is full, it will be easy to keep it that way. I personally have no clue as to how this works, all I know is there a giant blue tub sitting on an awful metal tower thing, right outside my back door.

Eric, being a typical boy, had to climb the tower the second after the installation guy left.
If this tank does what I hope it will do, then I will consider it a monument rather than a monstrosity. We'll just have to wait and see.

Meet Nellie

There are many stray dogs here... the same as any other place in Latin America. Eric and I have discussed getting a puppy so that Anna has a playmate, but had no intentions of getting a dog right away...

But, when we encountered Nellie on our way home one day, we just had to rescue her. We could tell instantly that she was a sweet and loving dog... and also skinny, scrawny, mangy, and a little fea.

Eric and I scooped her up and jumped in a taxi. The driver took us to a little veterinary clinic and we were able to meet with the Vet right away. She declared Nellie to be about 7 months old and in good health other than a skin fungus which was causing itchy sores all over her body. She gave her a few vaccines, and she gave us a prescription for special shampoo and cream. Our instructions were to give her a Benadine bath every other day and put creme on all her sores twice per day.

Our first night with Nellie went great! She slept on a small quilt next to Eric's side of the bed. She woke us up around 5am whining at the bedroom door. I took her out to the yard, she did her business and trotted right back in... as if she'd been with us all along.

The next day, Carmen and Rafael came to look at the house two doors down. When Eric told them about the dog we'd adopted, Carmen exclaimed "That's my dog!" Somehow during her walks back and forth between our house and Bert's house, she had made friends with this little scrawny street dog. Rafael and Carmen currently live in an apartment, but will soon be
moving into the pink house.

When we heard about the special bond between Nellie and Carmen, it all made perfect sense. Eric and I didn't really want another dog at this time... but we were meant to pick her up, get her healthy and then give her over to Carmen. We discussed it with them, and they agreed. They will be getting back from Costa Rica sometime this week and taking Nellieto their new house. Everyone is happy!


Agua, Agua, Where Can You Be???

We are going on day number 3, in a row, of no water. The water did come on last night, so I was able to fill up the bucket. But Eric and I used up the bucket water for our "showers" this morning, and now there is nothing, nada, zippo. I have a small jug of water from the market to use for Anna's bottles, but everything else just sits. I have a full load of laundry in a washing machine that's only half full of water. I have a sink full of dirty dishes. I have a dirty floor that desperately needs to be mopped. I have a stray dog (that's another story) whose now drinking bottled water. That same stray dog needs a Benadine bath, but that's not going to happen. I haven't washed my hands in hours. It's hot and I want Anna to go for a swim but her pool is empty.

I never realized how blessed I was to have water anytime, whenever I wanted it back in the states. I can't believe that I used to hop in the shower, turn on the knob, and water would shoot out! Now, I get into the shower, stare longingly for a moment at the showerhead, send up a desperate prayer for grace from the Lord, hold my breath, and turn the knob. 90% of the time, nothing happens. If I crank both shower knobs all the way, I can sometimes get enough of a trickle to do the job. If not, there's always the trusty bucket. Unless, of course, the bucket is used up. Like right now for instance.

But praise the Lord for all the things I do have. I am learning to be thankful for everything, no matter how inconsequential it may seem. Right now, I am sitting on my couch typing on a computer with a fan blowing on me! I have a roof over my head that doesn't leak (we had a sudden downpour about 2 hours ago, so I can say confidently that my roof is reliable), and food to eat that I didn't have to go hunt or beg for. God is truly good and His provision in perfect. I mean, I don't really want to do the dishes, mop the floor, or give the dog a bath anyway!


Settling In...

It has been a crazy couple of weeks! I will post more pics and stories later... for now, here are some photos!