Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas. We love and miss you all.

Means family preparation for Christmas 2011.
We made ornaments, ginger bread houses, and over 200 cookies. Most of which we delivered to the neighbors with a tract about the birth of Christ.
Matt 1:21 "for He shall save his people from their sins"

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Christmas Story

I thought everyone would enjoy this beautiful story of how God has redeemed two lives in more ways than one this Christmas season.  And how he used a Christian children's home to do it.  As you read the story, thank God that he is always in control, and pray for Johana's salvation.

This is the children's home we ministered in the first nine months we were in Mexico.  As you can imagine it is a challenge to make Christmas a special time of year for 30 plus children.  The home can always use funds, but especially this time of year.  I can personally guarantee that every penny that is sent to Casa Betania will be spent on these children.  So, if you are still trying to figure out what your gift to Jesus will be this Christmas, consider Casa Betania.  And here is the beautifully unfolding story of Gaby and Johana in the words of the director's of Casa Betania

One of the most amazing stories of God's love and His providence in the lives of the children we receive.

This is Gaby, she at 2 yrs. old and her two-month-old baby sister were taken by the state and placed in a children's home for infants. Through the years Gaby had been adopted on two separate occasions but returned to live in the state run home. We received 14-year-old Gaby last April. In the last several months she has given her heart and life to Jesus Christ and become such a wonderful part of our family.

We knew that Gaby had a little sister who had also been adopted but by a different family. We encouraged Gaby to continue to pray for her little sister that God would place someone in her life to share with her the amazing love of Christ and that she also might one day accept Christ as her Savior. Last month we received a phone call from the same home that Gaby came from about a 12-year-old girl named Johana. We asked Gaby and the others from that home if they knew a girl named Johana. And Gaby said yes, her sister’s name is Johana but she had been adopted. I then asked her what the age of her sister was, but she didn't know because it had been so long since she had seen her.

I began to pray for this little girl "Johana". Gaby was sure that it couldn't be her sister because she really didn't think her sister was that old, but more importantly her sister had been adopted. Last week the DIF called again about this girl and made plans to bring her here today. When she came in, we realized in fact that this is Gaby's little sister! She had been adopted twice but removed from the home because of abuse. Can it be possible that God has entrusted us with this little one also so that she might come to know Him??? God is so amazing! After four adoptions, two little sisters have been reunited in a home and it is God's good pleasure to give us the opportunity to share His love with them!!! We are so incredibly blessed!

Merry Christmas!  Now go make some cookies with your kiddos!


Friday, December 2, 2011

The Ants Go Marching One By One.

The ants go marching one by one.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching one by one.
Hoorah! Hoorah!
The ants go marching one by one;
The little one stops to suck his thumb,
And they all go marching down into the ground
To get out of the rain.
Boom, boom, boom, boom!

The song should really go "down into the ground piece by tiny piece with all my garden.  Grrr, grrr, grrr, grrr!"

mage courtesy of SweetCrisis /

All the gardening advice I have for the US says that, besides the fact that ants sometimes cultivate aphids, they are harmless. Harmless!! They have obviously never encountered the leafcutter ant, because they are NOT harmless.  They have moved in and built a MASSIVE labyrinth of tunnels under my garden.  I am not exaggerating, there must be a million or more.  

"Leafcutter ants cut leaves from plants and trees and grow fungus on these cut fragments. The ants use this fungus to feed their larvae (the ants themselves mostly imbibe plant sap from the cut leaf fragments). ...
Leaf cutter ants are limited to the arid, semi-tropical and tropical regions of South, Central, and North America, but they are one of the ecologically-dominant ants everywhere they are found. They are arguably the most well-known of the ants to the local people and foreign tourists in these regions, mainly because of their spectacular habit of carrying colored petals or green leaves in foraging lines that may stretch more than 250 meters from their nest! 
Leaf cutter ants have one of the most sophisticated animal societies in the world. This is because of their unusual method of farming (they are the only animal besides humans who grow their own food from living matter), their extremely large colony sizes (up to 8 million individuals per colony in one species, Atta sexdens), and their fantastic caste system (with ants of different sizes and forms specialized for various tasks in the colony)." The Guide to Leafcutter Ants.
This is a formidable enemy! *sigh*  
Doesn't the mere sight of this cause you to shudder, bring cold sweats, toss and turn at night?

I have tried every trick I know, every trick I could google, and even resorted to spraying commercial bug sprays into their ant hills that are a "reasonable" distance from my organic garden.  All while the leafcutter ants march on, singing there happy song, waving their thanks that I am growing such wonderful plants for them in this very dry year, and rolling on the ground laughing at all my efforts to evict them.  I have gardened in three countries, four states in the US and two states in Mexico.  I have battled, aphids, slugs, powdery mildew, drought and I have been triumphant.  I am not a novice! 

My garden is my refuge, it's where I go when I am discouraged, unfocused, tired, bewildered.  It's where I laugh and cry and pray.  It's the one of the constants in my life.  It is where, to my great enjoyment, I have produced hundreds if not thousands of pounds of wholesome food for my family.  It is my deep sigh.
Happily marching along! Hurrah!  Hurrah!

Quite fascinating really!

Sawing down the carrots!  They love their greens!

So, here's some points to remember.  All my/our efforts have not be for not, we've shared but they haven't even gotten the grand majority.  This is actually my bonus garden.  We didn't get here until the 3rd week of August and I didn't plan to garden until the spring, but hubby knows how much joy it brings me, so he and a man from our home church prepared the spot.  And finally, I've still got a little fight left and a few more tricks up my sleeve, so watch out.  For right now, the kids and I go out and spray them off the plants with water, stomp out every ant we can find and generally try to disrupt their happy march several times a day.  It's not 100% and it's a good bit of effort, but it is keeping most of the garden from disappearing under the ground. :)

One for the blackbird.
One for the mouse.
One for the rabbit.
And one for the house.

I always thought that philosophy was for other suckers.  Look who's the sucker now.  LOL! :)