Tuesday, October 30, 2012

My Town

I live on the border. Actually, I live on three borders, that's right, my city borders on Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina. I live in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay.

Today I thought I would share a few pictures of my home town.  I find the town to be very busy, like a miniature NYC, we have so many different languages and people groups here. It is never boring!

 Main streets in the center of town.

 This is the mosque downtown.

 It is a border BOOM town with thriving importation businesses. You would be amazed at the things you can find here!

 This is the town as seen from across the river.

Monday, October 29, 2012

On the road again...

 A short post today as we traveled all day from our city in the east to the capitol.

We stopped and walked through the new mall, it has a Quiznos Subs!!!!! WOW!

We stopped at the children's home, HOGAR GANAR, where my daughter will be teaching English next year. I just love that place.

We stopped and had ice cream at Lactolanda, YUM!

We stopped for lunch at Cucuruchos and bought pecan pie, apple pie and banana muffins for tomorrow's breakfast.

We made into the guest house here. I am resting with my TEN's and Clint and Jewel went out for Lomitos Arabes (shwarmas). I am not partaking as I am on a diet, you know!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

It is a life long war!

It is a tough battle which the Christian is called to fight; not one which the weak and soft might win; no easy skirmish which he might gain who dashed to battle on some sunshiny day, looked at the host, then turned his courser’s rein, and daintily dismounted at the door of his silken tent. It is not a campaign which he shall win, who, but a raw recruit today, foolishly imagines that one week of
service will insure a crown of glory. It is a life-long war — a contest which will require all our strength if we are to be triumphant, a battle at which the stoutest heart might quail, a fight from which the bravest would shrink did he not remember that the Lord is on his side: therefore whom shall he fear? God is the strength of his life: of whom shall he be afraid? This fight is not one of main force or physical might; if it were, we might the sooner win it; but it is all the more dangerous from the fact that it is a strife of mind, a contest of heart, a struggle of the spirit — ofttimes an agony of the soul.

Charles Spurgeon

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Death Stone

While living in the jungle we found it very difficult to keep dry. Perspiration is a constant problem. You are living in a steam room. Without electricity, there are no fans or AC to keep you cool. My husband found it necessary to change his shirt several times a day to try and keep dry. Since I had to do all my laundry by hand in the river at the time, I was always looking for a new super-duper antiperspirant to try.

I ordered a "deodorant stone" from a health magazine. We had to wait a few months for it to finally get to us in the jungle. On the flight day, the Missionary Aviation plane arrived with our supplies and mail. Flight day was always exciting! Not just for us but for the entire village. It was a window to the outside world.

We had not made the new airstrip in the village yet, so we had to canoe up river to the airstrip to meet the plane. The indians were always glad to help us carry our stuff down to the canoe and then back up to the house. We always shared goodies with them. And then they would sit and watch as we put our supplies away. This way, they knew what we had and what they could ask for!

On this flight day, a group of men were sitting and chatting as I went through the mail bag. I was so excited to see the order had arrived with the deodorant stone!

I pulled it out. It came in a small velvet pouch with a drawstring. I pulled out the stone. It is essentially a compressed deodorant that you use as a soap. Very little goes a long way. It looks like an egg size crystal stone.

I pulled the pouch out and began to pull the stone itself out. I noticed the men on the bench became very antsy. One man asked, loudly, "What is that?".

Ok, how do you explain deodorant to an indian from the Amazon? I tried explaining it was a soap, but the men were already wearing terrified looks and had begun to leave ...QUICKLY!

I didn't know what I had done to run them off. I kept on unpacking, but had left the stone lying on the table. Shortly after, one of the men returned, timidly. He asked me to hide the stone. I could see his fear was real so I took the stone to another room.

He was so relieved. He began to explain to me why everyone had run away. And then he wanted to know where I had gotten the stone.

The Ye'kwanas have a legend of a "death stone". The witch doctors travel to a certain mountain where there is a type of crystal which they believe has special powers. It is called the death stone. The witch doctors have to keep it under wraps, because of its power. The witch doctor will keep it in a small pouch.

You use the stone ONLY for killing your enemies. To use the stone, you pull it out of its covering and point it at those you wish to die.

Well, I had inadvertently tried to kill off half the male population that morning by showing them my deodorant stone!

I ended up having to meet with the men and explain my stupidity and swear I had no intentions of harming anyone! Very humbling experience for me and frightening for them, I am sure. Later on we could all have a good laugh about it and I count these men as my friends.

So, a little known fact about me...I almost massacred an entire village!! Single handedly!!
Scary aren't I?

You should be afraid! Be VERY afraid!

Because ,
I've got my eye on YOU!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Facebook Friday

My week @ Facebook 

  • Saturday~I blog because "Writing is the best way to talk without being interrupted." ~Jules Renard
  • Sunday~ Clint had allowed Janus the Great to come in and spend some time on her doggie bed. He then went up stairs to his office for awhile and Janus was left alone. We found her walking around with the top of the kitchen trash can around her neck like a collar. Guess she was checking out the garbage can for some food and got caught!!!!!
  •  Monday~I would like to ask for political asylum to the United Federation of Planets. Where is their embassy?
  • Tuesday~ First it was Big Bird and now its horses! ( Presidential debates, the things one hears!)
  • Wednesday~ I can't help myself! It's been building up for days now... It's time.... CANNIBAL JOKE!  A man thinks he is a cannibal. His wife convinces him to go to a psychiatrist.When he comes home his wife asks him, “So how was the psychiatrist?” The man smacks his lips and says,”Delicious!”
  •  Thursday~It's summer, just had to change the sheets because I left the bedroom windows open with the light on and my bed was covered with gnats! I had forgotten that in the summer, you know, when its hot, I have to close my windows to keep the bugs out. And yes, we have screens but these are tiny little 'no see ums'. Of course, in the winter, when its cold, I can leave my windows open , no problem.
  • Friday~ I wonder how many copies of "Where there is no doctor" we have worn out???
 And that was my week! Are you on Facebook? Let me know and I will friend you!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The EVIL treadmill

 I am writing this while walking on my treadmill. I can not  go very fast, only about 3 kilometers per hour. I do try and walk an hour each day  that I do not have hydrotherapy. On good days I walk another half hour in the afternoons. Last week I actually managed 5 kilometers! I find I have more confidence on the treadmill than I do walking about outside. There are a few different reasons for this:

  •  Because of a drop foot and numbness in my left ankle and foot, I tend to stumble and fall on uneven ground. The treadmill feels more stable and allows me to move faster with less fear of falling.
  •   I don't live in a safe neighborhood. I could easily be mugged or worse if I regularly walked around outside of our walls. It is especially important to not do the same thing at the same time in any noticeable pattern around here as it will make you an easy target.
  •  The treadmill, though not pretty, is in my bedroom where I have an A/C unit, so in the summer it is climate controlled. :)
  • Since my husband built an add on desk top, I can use my laptop while walking and this distracts me from  the actual pain I feel while walking.

  So, what do you do for exercise?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Along the roadside

Last week we drove to Itagua and along the way I made my husband stop the car and take this picture so that I could show you what our termite hills look like. This is only a medium size hill. My husband did not want to trek too far off the road to get a picture of the big ones. I think I embarrass him with all my picture taking !

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

What is Paraguay like?

 On Tuesday's I really hope you will interact with me through Q&A in the comments!

 So here are my questions for you today;

1) When you think of Paraguay, what do you imagine it to be like?

2) Do you know what city I live in?

3) Do you know anything of Paraguayan history or culture? If so, where did you learn about it?

4) What do you think would be the most enjoyable aspect of living in Paraguay?

5) Could you imagine yourself ever living here?

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

My climb, my fall, my rescue

Flying over Mt. Duida, Amazonas, Venezuela

I must reach my God! I must see His face, hear His voice. He dwells upon the mount. The mount that looms above me. I am here below, in a deep, dark chasm, a pit. Yet, I know the way to Him lies above and I must go.

The path leading up is steep and dark. Treacherous, but I must risk it, for He has placed with in my soul a need to see Him, face to face. And so, I reach upwards, searching for a hand hold. First one hand, then the other, and with stumbling feet, I try to find a path to God.

I gain a bit, a foothold here, then stretching forth my hand, I slip! Slip backward and lose my ground! Striving, grasping, but I seem to not advance at all, and yet, with the weakening of my flesh, my soul does strive still!

My very heart cries out to climb to God, but I do not seem to progress. I know He resides above and that is where I must go. There is no other place of peace. I must go! Upward, upward! Go!

At that moment, I feel the strength of my arm falter, at that very moment, I lose my grip...and fall. Down, down...I fall to the lowest place. It is as if I had not attempted the climb at all. I am filled with despair knowing I had given it my all. I can not climb to my God. There is no hope for me. I am to die and forever be here in the depths of darkness.

And as I lay there, waiting for death, broken and afraid, I hear a sound upon the path. The sound of footsteps coming down the very way I had trod. The path that led to my fall. To where I now lay dismayed. Hearing the footsteps, I feel a glimmer of hope rekindled in my soul. Upon opening my eyes, I see my God, coming down for me! He reaches out His nail scared hand for me, He lifts me up, in His strong embrace, and all my fears dissolve.

Lovingly, He carries me to the mountain top. He places me upon my feet to stand in that blessed spot. And what a view I now behold as I stand atop the Mount of God!

I feel as if sunlight is in my soul, even as I hear the thunder of a storm below. I am calm on this height where I stand beside my God, for no storm or cloud can reach me. I am under clear, blue skies that reach for all eternity. I am strong in this place! No one can harm me. I am secure, at peace with all.

This is life! This is joy! My God has found me! He lifted me up to see His face! To hear His voice!
And now, His love I know!

I John 4:19

We love him, because he first loved us.

Romans 5:8
But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Isaiah 26:4  Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.

These are thoughts I write down in my devotional journal. At times I must fight depression with chronic pain and find writing to be helpful in organizing my thoughts and reminding me of truths. I rarely share them with anyone, but decided to do so here. The mountain pictured is what was in my mind's eye.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

So... this is heaven?

 On Saturday's I will be sharing memories of our time spent in the Amazon jungle. Today I share something I wrote several years ago for The Jungle Hut.

I wish you all could meet a friend of mine from the Ye'kwana tribe. Cristina was my neighbor for all those years we lived in the village. When I first met her, she was a married woman with 5 children. A few months later, her husband died of a high fever, probably yellow fever. This made her a widowed mother of 5. Life in the jungle is hard even with a husband but for a woman alone...no hunter...no one to build the house every five years or so when it falls down...HARD!

About this same time, I had my first back surgery. This meant I could no longer do my own laundry in the river. Lugging dirty clothes down the bank and then heavy, wet clothes back up was no longer possible. Cristina showed up one morning and told me that God had led her to do my laundry for me. I had been praying about whom to hire. It is hard in a small, cashless society to hire one person over another. But this was the perfect answer, as everyone knew Cristina needed help. She did my laundry for several years.

One dry season, she was collecting fire wood, which must be collected before the rains and kept under a roof to use during the long rainy season. She stopped at my door and took off the head strap of her handmade back pack.
(These men are wearing the same style back pack.)

"WOOO", she called.
I opened the door and as she came in I could tell she was not feeling well. Now, Cristina stands at about 4'8" or so and might weigh 45 kilos. I had just watched her come in carrying a good 25 kilos of firewood on her back. Her garden was probably 2 to 3 kilometers away, so, she had every reason to not feel well!
She asked me if I could give her a "red" pill for her pain. The "red" pill was ibuprofen, the Miracle Pill in the jungle!

I went into the store room to get it for her, and when I came back out, she was sitting with a smile on her face looking around my house.I gave her the pill and began to tell her how that in heaven there would be no need for medicine as there would be no pain. And there would be no need to gather firewood, as God would provide all our needs and be the very light. I said it would be so great in heaven , to have all our needs met and provided AND , we would each have a mansion!!
Her face lit up, she looked at me and said something I will never forget. She said, "Heaven will be like your house!"

Now, my heart stopped for a moment. My house, that she was referring to was a mud hut! With a palm roof!! When you touched the walls, pieces of it fell off. Worms and cock roaches nested in the palm roof and even occasionally fell on you, not to mention the lizards and snakes! I had a generator and lights though, and a rough cement floor. I had colorful curtains, and a sink!
To Cristina's mind, this was as good as she could imagine!! (Inside The Jungle Hut)

I remember thinking, "Please God ,let her be wrong! Heaven has got to be better than this!"
And then I began to think, in Cristina's limited imagination, my home was a mansion.
What if, in our limited human imaginations, we are as far off as she is in what we imagine heaven will be like!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Facebook Friday

 I will share my life this week as posted on  my Facebook status updates.

Saturday ~ I made it! I walked 5 kilometers! Who cares that it took me 99 minutes!

Sunday~  Enjoyed singing 'There is a Fountain' tonight. It's as beautiful in Spanish as it is in English. It was so very exciting to see two baptized this evening!

Monday ~ Finished my devos, now for some coffee, then off to hydro therapy before we hit the road to go visit an orphanage in Itagua  where Jewel will be visiting for a few days.

Tuesday ~  Major storm blowing in. Expect to lose power soon and need to disconnect everything. Hope to see you all tomorrow!

Wednesday ~  I slept for two hours before the power went out (have partial power now) Then the pain from the 10 hour road trip kept my awake. Finally fell asleep for half an hour when a very loud noise
woke us up. The wind took out a large tree outside our bedroom window and we nearly lost our water tank. So.. I am thankful for two hours sleep, I am thankful for partial power and internet, and I am thankful for water! Very thankful there was no damage to the house.

Thursday ~ A good night's sleep, an hour of hydro therapy, getting ready to do a thorough cleaning of my bedroom before I head out to another session of physical therapy. Then out to do some errands, pick up Jayde from work, take her to the eye doctor and try to get in to see the neurologist too. Traveling back to Itagua tomorrow to pick up Jewel Vernoy.
Friday ~ I love road trips in Paraguay. Even traveling the same road four times in one week, you are assured to see something new and unusual. Like a sculpture of the Alien from the movies. And a knight in armor. A man driving an ox cart on the highway while texting. A well in the middle of the street! And the many things one can transport on a motorcycle! 

THERE! I bet you thought my life was much more exciting than that, didn't you? 
So tell me, what has been going on in your life this past week? 

Thursday, October 18, 2012


 I spent the day in the car as we drove to Itagua to pick up Jewel who had been visiting a children's home this week. (More about that later.)

I enjoyed the ride, in spite of my back pain, and am finding my TEN's to be very helpful for times when I am required to sit for long periods at a time.

Tomorrow morning I have an hour of hydro`therapy and in the afternoon an hour of physical therapy .I am praying that will help me through any inflammation to the sciatic nerve caused by the trip. I am trying very  much to not use any opioids or narcotic pain killers and have not used  hydrocodone at all since June 11. Pray for me to be able to continue on this path!

 I am on Lyrica which has its own challenges but is seeming to manage the pain for now. The biggest challenge is not to gain weight while taking it. I have lost 40 lbs since May, mostly due to the hydrotherapy and time spent on the treadmill. As I lose weight my pain levels decrease and my core muscles are getting much stronger. Even when I have a terrible, horrible, bad day, I seem to bounce back faster.

My biggest issue of late is insomnia. Please pray for me as I deal with this. I had a good night last night! WooT! 8 full hours of sleep. It was as if my life went from black and white to color, just like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz!

Here's praying for another good night sleep without pain waking me up!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Window View

 On Wednesday's I want to post pictures of my life here in Paraguay, things I find interesting or think you may find interesting. It just so happens that Monday night we had a huge storm come through that made a lot of damage  to our yard.

It was the middle of the night and I heard a loud 'CRACK' as a tree crashed outside of my bedroom window. I woke up and thought, "Oh! It's just another gunshot." and rolled over to go back to sleep. Then my husband discovered the tree had nearly hit our water tank  and barely missed our house. That's when I got nervous, THAT freaked me out! We could have been hit by a tree!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Tereré Time ~ What is it?

 One of my favorite aspects of the Paraguayan culture is the emphasis put on spending time with others, not just family, but neighbors and co workers. At certain times of the day, one must just sit down and share some tereré. Sipping communally from the same cup, sharing thoughts, offering advice, it's a vital part of life and relationships among these wonderful people.

I have to confess that after four years, I still do not enjoy the flavor of  tereré, I don't hate it, but its not something I would drink alone. But what I do love is the time spent drinking  tereré with my Paraguayan friends, especially outside, sitting in a circle in the late afternoon.

Tereré Time is a time to unwind and catch up with one another, a time to bond and chit chat. On Tuesdays I would like to have a virtual Tereré Time with my readers. Tell me what new in your life. Ask me a question. Encourage one another.

To get the conversation started, let me ask you, do you know what tereré is? Have you ever tried it? Would you try it if offered to you? How would you feel about sharing the same cup and straw?

Monday, October 15, 2012

A blog Schedule ~ which could change on any given day

A writing schedule for the blog, this is my attempt to keep me posting regularly. I am not great with schedules or rules, or timelines, or structure in general, so maybe this is just my way of trying to gain a little discipline. Let's see if I can manage to follow the schedule!

Monday's Mayhem ~ This will be the day I ramble about anything and everything!

Tuesday's tereré time ~ An informal chat with the readers of this blog. I hope you will get involved in the conversation!

 Wednesday; A Window View~ A day for sharing photos of my life here in Paraguay.

Thursday Therapy~ On Thursday I want to share about my struggles with chronic pain, pain medications, physical therapy, diet and exercise. I will need you, dear readers, to give me feedback and keep me accountable!

Facebook Friday ~ I will share the highlights of my week via daily postings on my Facebook account.

Saturday's Sweet Memories~ I will be sharing tribal tales of our time living in the Amazon jungle with an Indian tribe.

Sunday : Spiritual reflections ~ Quotes, devotions, hymns or links of inspiration.