Monday, January 23, 2012

We Won!

Well, somehow we won the war of the leaf-cutting ants.  I have to say, it's bitter sweet.  They were such fascinating, happy, industrious little creatures.  Now the garden seems so still.  Still, I'm thrilled to be harvesting all the beautiful produce.  

Beautiful beets!  This one was juiced with carrots and some wheat grass I also grew.  It made a very sweet juice.

I harvested most of the lettuce that was left.  Some of it was going to seed, since it's starting to get warmer.  This should be enough for our lunch salads for the rest of the week.  We've enjoyed lots of salad from this little patch this winter (along with the ants).  I was a little sad to pull it up, but that's how the cycle works.  I've planted bush beans in their place.

Lots of veggies for broths, stir fries, and salad fixn's

This is cabbage and swiss chard.  The six small squares of swiss chard are doing so well, that I have enough for green smoothies for the whole family about every other day.

The radishes are doing great.

Lena loves eating them right out of the garden.

We planted this smaller variety of carrots.  The ground can be pretty hard, so these little guys don't have to battle the hard ground to grow.

This is the first time I have even planted broccoli.  They have done really well.  We also have leeks, turnips, collard greens, parsley, cilantro, and kale.  

So, there's my winter garden!  I just started some tomato, eggplant, pepper, and lemon grass seeds for the spring summer garden.  The little pods with seeds and all their potential are sitting on my dresser in my bedroom, just days away from sticking their little green sprouts out of the top of the soil.  I'll be able to put tomato plants out in March!  And just think our friends up in Greenland are celebrating because they finally saw the sun for 10 minutes last week!  Happy to be serving God in Mexico.  Happy Gardening ya'll! 

Monday, January 9, 2012

Up-cycling Hubby's Old T-shirt

So, if we are friends on FB you probably already know I've been having issues with my back.  About a year ago I had a herniated disc and it took a good six weeks to recover.  So, with excruciating pain in the same area, I assumed I had re injured a disc again.  Some other missionaries recommended a doctor that had helped her husband with his herniated disc.  While he was doing the examination, I started to realize that I actually wasn't having the same symptoms I had last year.  I didn't have any numbness in my legs or pain when I lifted them.  The doctor assured us that it was not my disc but muscle tension, irritation and inflammation.  This was probably due to lots of hours in the car, coughing and stress.  In short he said I just needed to CHILL OUT.  The whole family has gotten a huge kick out of this and I will not hear the end of it for quite some time.  "Are you OK mom?  Are you getting stressed out?  Don't get stressed mom, I'll get it cleaned up."  You get the point.  Who can blame them, it does seem awfully silly that you can get so stressed out you cause yourself debilitating pain.  In my defense, I thought I was "handling" all the things we have going on fairly well.  If you ask me how I am feeling, the word stressed doesn't really come to mind.  Apparently, I just store all my stress in my lower back.  Anyway, praise the Lord it's not my disc and I will be good as new very soon!  :)

The doctor suggested cotton socks filled with rice and heated in the microwave, so Sam had the idea of making a whole back rice pad out of some of his old t-shirts.  It worked great and I am enjoying it right now as I blog!  

What you need:
2 large t-shirts (100% cotton) turned inside-out
about 5 k dried rice
1/2 cup lavender (optional)
thread (100% cotton)

Update:  In the comments below Glen writes, " Word of warning.  Use only 100% cotton t-shirt and 100% cotton thread.  Polyester can catch fire in the microwave. "  I haven't actually popped anything in the microwave to test this theory, but a quick internet search does seem to confirm it.  So, be sure a use 100% cotton everything.  

Turn the t-shirts inside out and lay together as shown.

Mark and pin.

Sew around the outer edges.


Turn right side in.  I actually forgot to do this and had to rip out some stitches.

Mark every three inches down the length.

Sew along the length, leaving the top open to fill with rice.

This is what it looks like after the lengths are sewn.

Fill each section with rice. 

You can mix lavender in with the rice, so it will smell nice and relaxing once heated.

Thinking.  Cute outfit!

Smelling the lavender.

Then I cut and pinned the top, turning it under.  In hind sight, it might be better to leave the bottom open and fill from the bottom and sew it up last.  Sewing the top closed with the curve and the rice wasn't easy.

And there you have it.  How to make a luxury rice pack for your back.  Just place it in the microwave until it's hot, being careful not to get it too hot.  It even forms around your neck and back!  It will possibly stop a bullet!  LOL!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Missionary School

Since we arrived in Mexico in April of 2010, we have been in our very own specially designed by God Missionary Training Academy.  We spent our first nine months in Jerez, Zacatecas getting to know Mexico and the culture.  Our plans would have included staying there for 2 - 3 years and learning the church planting ropes.  However, we discovered our research on that area had been in error and there are actually two national pastors doing a very good job of taking the gospel to their own people.  Is there room for another church in the town of Jerez, of course, but we felt God moving us to prepare for the ministry he would lead us to by attending some formal language training.  This moved us to Cuernavaca, Morelos for the first part of 2011.  We are still in contact with the national pastors in Jerez and pray for them often as the people there in Jerez have a special place in our hearts.  Recently Sam was even able to go back and visit and encourage one of the local pastors.  He was also able to visit some of the friends we had made while living there and witness and share due to our ever improving Spanish.

Pray request from this time:  For the national pastors still laboring in Jerez and for our continued improvement in speaking Spanish.

The second tailor made "class room" has been filling in for a missionary family while they are on furlough in the U.S. for a year.  Sam prayed for an opportunity just like this and the story of how God worked it all out is...well...a God thing, undoubtedly.  We are so grateful for this time, with the sweet church members here.  I know they miss their pastor greatly while he is in the U.S., but that does not stop them from working along side us.  I have been able to teach children's classes and Sam has begun to teach and preach in Spanish.

Prayer request from this time:  To do our part in returning this work to those to whom it belongs, to finish well, and try to invest what has been entrusted to us, not just return it back the same.  I have often thought of the parable of the talents, where one servant invested and returned more to his master and the other servant hid his talents, much to his shame.  It is comforting to know that this is God's church and as long as we look to Him daily, he will do the work here in Encarnacion de Diaz.

As you know from several blogs back, we have been praying and seeking God guidance about where to go after our time here is complete.  There are no shortage of opportunities and needs all over Mexico and Latin America.  When suddenly God has opened our eyes to an area we had previously been completely over looking.  He has given a passion and fire for a people group, a geographical location.  Could this be our ministry God has for us?  Could this be the people God has been molding and training us through our life experiences and education to reach.  More or less a creative access area to which we with our unique family and God's help could go.  There is certainly a lifetime of work to be done among them and no one else is going.

Where is this amazing place?  These pictures are your clues.....

Oh!  And I am so spoiled now.  Your inner coffee snob cannot be controlled once you have sipped a cup of coffee brought down from the mountain regions and then fresh roasted!  And you thought you were drinking the good stuff, because you grind it yourself!  :)