Monday, December 26, 2016

Merry Christmas

Rumi Rancho Reindeer

"There really are reindeer in Bolivia,"
said Abby to her sisters, Ellie and Olivia.

"They seem to me just a little bit strange.
Aunt Peggy says it’s because they’re open range.

I’ve seen them and they are strange indeed
Because their funny antlers are red and green."

Many kids walk far to go to Rumi Rancho to play
They hear stories of Jesus and always want to stay.

They heard that Jesus was born a long time ago
  His birthday is on Christmas day and He loves us so.

Missionaries travel the whole world wide
To tell the Good News that Jesus is alive.

He was born in a manger on Christmas day
So that we might learn of all God’s ways.

The way to heaven is still the same
Believe in Jesus, He knows us by name.

We know we celebrate because you are the reason
So Happy Birthday, Jesus, this Christmas Season.

From Rumi Rancho you can hear the kids cheer
Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!
  
Luke 2:11 “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,
     who is Christ the Lord.”

And before you go, check out this recipe all the way from Bolivia!

BOLIVIAN BUÑUELOS RECIPE:

Buñelos are a popular snack throughout Latin America. While they can be eaten at
anytime, Bolivian tradition sees them eaten on Christmas morning with syrup and hot
chocolate.

Buñuelos are a soft doughy sweetbread that is deep-fried in the same way doughnuts are
made, with a similar flavor but a slightly more chewy texture, traditionally served
drizzled with a syrup or honey. The buñuelos are often puffy with a crispy crust and air
pockets on the inside.



Ingredients:
2 tablespoons fresh yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon anise
2 eggs
2 cups flour
3 cups butter
Molasses to taste
1/2 cup sunflower oil to moisten hands

Preparation:
In a bowl, dissolve the sugar in water, add the fresh yeast, let it stand for about 7 minutes,
then add the salt, anise, eggs and flour, mixing it slowly with your hand until you obtain a
watery dough. Let the dough stand and rise twice before you start frying in hot butter or
oil.

To fry, first spread oil over your hands, take a handful of dough with the fingertips and
stretch it into a 4-inch round; rotating the dough occasionally to form a circle. When
about to fry, poke a hole in the middle, and put in the frying pan with a stick or the back
of a wooden spoon through the hole. Let it acquire a golden brown color on both sides
before retiring and leave in a colander to drain away excess oil; then put all in a bowl to
serve.

Serve with a jug of hot sugar cane syrup, molasses or honey for each person to add the desired amount on the buñuelo. Note: Some Bolivians prefer to eat their buñuelos covered in sifted powdered sugar.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Memorable Scenes

Thanksgiving was a traditional family gathering at my in-laws. The siblings came from near and far with their families. Entering the snowy driveway, we'd see the house with seven gables high on the hill. The roar of snowmobiles could be heard coming from the fields nearby––nieces and nephews enjoying Grandpa's toys. Beautiful horses galloped in the fields near the red barn. Approaching the house, we'd be engulfed by a whiff of the turkey; then Grandma opened the door and lavished us with hugs. As we'd sit down at the beautifully set table with its china and crystal, the golden turkey was the centerpiece, and the pumpkin pie was a sweet ending to the feast. It was truly a Norman Rockwell scene.

I miss those gatherings. They are but treasured memories now that many family members have entered eternity. The memories cause me to be thankful for the times past, and they make me conscious this Thanksgiving of how short my time is on earth. "Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever" (Psalm 107:1 NIV).

This Thanksgiving Day, I'll give thanks to the Lord for providing a way for me to have eternal life and for good health, family, and friends, and so many other blessings. And yes, good memories too. God is so good––enjoy His goodness––Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 17, 2016

My New Release


My new book just released. Yay! Read the back cover here:

Where was God?


Didn't He see them in the middle of a foreign country with no help?

Frustrated and exhausted, Peggy walked the mission property early mornings to slip away temporarily from her caregiver duties and meet with the Savior. Her husband suffered from a bout with shingles that left him in constant pain with no relief––not even with morphine. Months turned into years. Countless doctors tried their best but with no success. 

Where was God? Didn’t He see them in the middle of a foreign country with no help? Hadn’t they given their lives to serve as missionaries and trusted Him for their health? She wept as she sat near a flowerbed filled with daisies. 

Just then, the buzz of bees drew her attention. They danced peacefully from flower to flower doing the job God created them to do, even as a storm approached. She noticed a pattern. If bees could be joyful and peaceful in all circumstances, surely she could find a way. 

Through the thirty-one devotions, this book examines what Peggy learned about God’s intricate creation of the honeybee and how it speaks direction into our need for living peaceful, productive lives while overcoming stress and achieving joy. God is faithful always, and His creation magnifies His majesty if we take time to seek Him in everyday situations––even through the honeybee. 

Dancing Like Bees is available in Paperback and on Kindle at: http://amzn.to/2e55w5A

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Wings and Wires

 We're wireless here in our ministry. A few years ago, our son upgraded our computer technology, and we entered into the wireless 21st century. It's all dandy––until there's a problem. We'd rather be held up by the wires. Our wires could be our jobs, our spouse, our savings or our health. But, what happens when we lose those things?

I'll admit, I sometimes freak out when a problem seems insurmountable. When the wires are pulled out from under me, I get scared. My wings flutter and fail. In the last few years, I faced being a caregiver to the guy who has taken care of me for many years––my high school sweetheart and husband––now my "Golden Age" sweetheart.

I knew this illness wasn't fatal, and time could heal––but how long would it take? It's been four years since the onset of Shingles that left my soul-mate with a damaged nerve and frequent pain. He's had extreme treatments and even surgery. Although he's improved, he still has bouts of pain and may need another surgery. It's difficult to see the ones you love suffer, and even more difficult for them. Isaiah 41:13 says, "For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear: I will help you." A promise from God––He will help us through anything we face. 

It's a bit scary not having the wires under me, but it is also comforting to know I don't need to depend on the wires––doctors, surgeries or medication. I need only to depend on the One who is the Wire. He is the Great Physician.

What wires hold you up? Are you freaking out today? You can be wireless because The Wire holds your right hand and helps you!

Rest your wings!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Wrestling While Watering



"Embrace this God-life. 
Really embrace it, and nothing will be too much for you." (Mark 11:22-23 MSG)

Did I need another "job"? Not really! But, after winter in Bolivia––no snow here except on the mountaintops but cold--Spring has sprung. There will be no rain until November. As I walked around our property, my heart hurt to see our plants and trees suffering from the winter weather and a lack of water. Because of a shortage of water from the community well, this year our plants are on the verge of dying without dowsing them with water every day for a few weeks. Who could set aside some responsibilities to devote time to this rescue mission? I will! I will!  How could I foresee danger looming in the bushes and under the trees?

I hadn't an inkling how time-consuming this new job would be, but I did know there weren't many responsibilities I could ignore for two weeks. After all, clean clothes, eating, and daily chores and classes must continue while watering. I certainly could juggle my schedule for a mere two weeks while my husband and ministry workers tended to urgent ministry matters. I embraced this challenge with vigor, determined to see new life sprout from the branches and bushes.

Rising early, I turned on the hoses and set sprinklers in motion. "What's so hard about this?" thought the well-seasoned missionary now in her golden years. Well-seasoned on the mission field should translate to experienced with bugs, and golden should translate to caution, aging bones.

With my cute navy and white polka-dot boots zipped up, I headed out as the sun peeked over the mountain behind our property. What a gorgeous Spring morning. I felt like skipping and bursting into song, Oh, What Beautiful Morning until the first reality check occurred. To reach those roots under the trees, I had to bend down and almost crawl to the trunk to reach the roots so I could flood the area and ensure the water seeped to the deep-down roots. With never a thought as to what could be lurking there in the dark forest-like underbrush, I plunged ahead and soon encountered opposition to my watering job.

Ouch! It stung, it burned, it swelled immediately, yet not a critter or insect in sight. Quickly exiting the bushes, I checked my arm for stingers or bites. In the light, they surfaced. At least ten bites and one gigantic bite turning white as I felt faint. Oh, did I mention, not a another soul was on the property that day?

After wrestling with the tree, I then stumbled on a pick-like tool. It fell to the ground but not before the heavy wooden handle crashed on my big toe. Yikes, the dance I did that day resembled a rain dance I'd once seen on the Lone Ranger. Doing a rain dance would surely be easier than my wrestling and gardening dance in the muddy yard. But, onward and upward or better said, downward. I embraced the task. It would not be too much for me as I limped and itched to rearrange the sprinklers and move the hose to another tree. The latch caught my blouse and jabbed my side going out the gate––while wrestling the hose. Just a jab and not a stab. I would go on. Did I mention the open wound on my other big toe that had not wrestled with the pick-like tool? And, that toe also met with a garbage can a few months earlier and ended in a fracture. Maybe big toes just get in the way!

Although wrestling with danger, I still embraced the job. With a jabbed side, a swollen and red arm, an open wound on my good toe, and an injured black and blue toe, I determined to rescue the trees and plants. Today, tiny green leaves sprout from the tree tops and bushes and even a few flowers here and there.

If we embrace life as God tells us to, will we see eternal new life, sprouting Christians, and well-watered souls? Of course we will because God's Word says so. So go on, water even while wrestling with dangers that stand in your way. Give them a good dowsing! Be aware that while watering souls you will wrestle the unknown and the known enemy. Expect the injured toes, jabbed sides, and bites from the unfriendly world of darkness. But, know that new Christians will sprout and bud, and seasoned Christians will flourish because you really embrace life as God wants you to. Meanwhile, watch your life flourish, too!

What are you wrestling with today?

Let's really embrace life so that nothing will be too much for us.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Dancing with Ants



After church, we parked the car off the dirt road in our area to head down a narrow muddy path to Guichi's house. Guichi is our Bolivian ministry helper. His whole family awaited our arrival. They were cooking cow heart for us––yes, we love it. But, first I'd do a dance on the edge of a neighbor's dried up alfalfa field––a scary dance.

I slid out of the car into a high, hay-like area. I hit the ground and what seemed like a hundred large black ants attacked both of my legs––stinging their hearts out on my bare legs––of all the days to wear a dress, I picked this day. I landed in a hidden ant hill. The jumping and screaming missionary ant dance alarmed the neighbors I'm sure, but what did they think when Chuck began smacking my legs? I can now say I danced with ants. Hopefully, the neighbors saw an ant dance and not a missionary marriage problem.

We ran to Guichi's house. Chuck immediately gave me a cortisone shot, and I gulped down a Benadryl. I rubbed baking soda all over the bites up to my knees. There were so many bites I couldn't begin to count them all.  BTW, I am allergic. I didn't have to use the epi-pen I carry for my fish allergies. Just can't make up this stuff, and I'm a writer. Our medical experience and medical kit saved me from the epi-pen and after effects that could have ended in a hospital trip.

Thankfully, it was an ant hill and not a snake nest. I may start wearing cowgirl boots 24/7. After many years on the mission field, your surroundings are so familiar that you forget to take photos. Then, you begin to forget the dangers, too. But even though we become lax, God is faithful to protect us and give us warnings from time to time.

Do you know that ants are wise? "There are four small creatures, wisest of the wise they are––ants––frail as they are, get plenty of food for the winter;" (Proverbs 30:24-25 MSG)

One thing for sure, they enjoyed their Sunday feast of white meat thanks to their not so wise missionary neighbors.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Chasing the Wind


While drinking my tea and chomping on my cookie––I'm not a breakfast person, but I make up for it the rest of the day––I made a mental list of all I wanted to accomplish on a Monday morning. I flipped on the morning news to check about blockades in the country where I live in South America. All roads closed because of a looming problem within the country. No problem since I had no plans to head out anytime soon. Then, checked CNN to see that all was right with the world––well, for the morning anyhow. Now, what next? Should I clean those blinds staring at me or work on correspondence? I hadn't a clue the wind would soon change my course.

Jolted by a swishing sound, I paused from all the noise in my head. This noise clamored around my windows and caught my attention. Wind! Gusty wind! Scary wind! Then it ceased. And, so did my schedule.

Instantly, my thoughts soared heavenly. God caught my attention. "So I set out to learn everything from wisdom to madness and folly. But I learned first hand that pursuing all of this is like chasing the wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:17 NLT).

I set out chasing the wind. I reached for my Bible and glanced out the window. Trees bent in the wind but didn't break. New leaves budded, and their greenery etched against the blue sky. A reminder that my soul may bend but never break, and just as the leaves bud again, I too have a new beginning each day. My heart warmed, and the wind in my soul ceased. I read these words "Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy or your salvation." (Psalms 51:11,12 NRSV).

My soul relaxed. The clamoring stopped. My joy returned.

Chasing God brings joy. What are you chasing today? Do you want God to restore your joy? Chase Him!

"We must allow the Word of God to correct us the same way we allow it to encourage us." 
A.W. Tozer

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Happy Fourth Of July


Every day is a happy one when we are in our home country––even when we got food poisoning the first week of our arrival from Bolivia one furlough a few years ago. We were blessed because we had the best health care and recovered quickly.

While in the States on furlough one summer, I had the blessing of attending the AWSA conference in St. Louis and had a signing at the ICRS. What an awesome blessing from the Lord to meet amazing authors and speakers at both events. They are an inspiration to all!

Meeting my publisher, Tracy Ruckman and fellow authors of Pix-N-Pens Publishing and Write Integrity Press gave me an opportunity to get to know them personally and learn from them and have fun, too. I also met my editor, Julie-Allyson Ieron, and her mom for the first time––live and in person. What a fun time and good food!

I am thankful that God ushered me into this wonderful world of publishing in this phase of my life––the senior phase! Life just keeps getting better and better! Psalms 21:6 "Surely you have granted him unending blessings and made him glad with the joy of your presence" (NIV). His unending blessings amaze me, and the joy of His presence was evident in these three events. This is all possible because of our country and its freedoms and opportunities.

We love seeing the flags flying all over our country when we are home, and we're thankful for the freedom we have as Americans––and especially thankful for those who have sacrificed so we can enjoy that freedom. We are blessed to be Americans!

God bless you, and God bless America, land that we love! Happy Fourth of July!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Quilt Cuddles



And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; 
I will make him a helper comparable to him." Genesis 2:18

Monday nights here in Rumi Rancho are nights of laughs, lessons, and love with our "Big Kids". Our ministry is dedicated to kids, teaching practical skills and Bible to underprivileged kids in the rural area where we live. But at what age do we stop teaching those who need Christ and help for their daily lives? Our vision is never to stop teaching those who need the Savior––no matter what the age of the "kids". Our age limit is birth to death.

God burdened us for a group of young couples here in the area. These young marrieds grew up with us. Most of them were in our computer classes and our youth group here in the church. The girls, now young ladies, were in my baking classes. As time marched on they married, had babies, and grew away from church and us.

In recent years, we have seen divorce rates begin to go up in Bolivia. They are not at 50% as in other parts of the world, but the trend is beginning here too. We know the time is now to begin teaching and helping these couples, before they reach a point of no return in their marriage. They are still kids to us!

It is never too late to save a marriage. We know all things are possible with God. Some of these couples are already working on problems and recommitting their lives to the Lord. Others are close to accepting Christ as Savior.

They are our "Big Kids" now, and we are the "Old Kids" teaching them. But, we are all God's Kids––daily needing His help to have a marriage that will glorify Him. It isn't easy, but it is possible! For those of us blessed to have a spouse, let's work at our marriage every day, so we can grow old together and cuddle under a quilt with each other, not alone.

 "And now abideth faith, hope and love, these three;
 but the greatest of these is love." First Corinthians 13:13

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Hanging by a Hair





Some days, you just need a friend to pick you up. They may be hanging by a hair too, but they are ready to pick you up when you need a lift.

"Two are better than one, because they have a better return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up" (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV).

Lately, I've been blessed by those friends. When I'm in need of a flower to brighten my day, they offer it. They hold out a hand and lift me up. We "hang" together.

Thank God for friends––blessings from Him!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Rabbits Speak Spanish


Really Rare Rabbits recently released in Spanish. 
Chi Chic and Fi Fi are conejos verdaderamente extraños.





Spanish is Chi Chi and Fi Fi's first language. Now they tell their stories to children who also speak Spanish as their first language––and many their only language.

I'm excited to see my books in Spanish so many children who don't speak English can now learn about Jesus from Chi Chi and Fi Fi's Spanish version of Really Rare Rabbits