Sunday, March 19, 2017

Chuño for Dinner

If you come to my house for dinner, what would I prepare for you?

I would certainly prepare a banquet for you after traveling so far just for dinner––to Bolivia. And, for sure I’d serve a Bolivian meal. Our family loves Bolivian food, and one of our favorite Bolivian meals is Picante de Pollo (translation, spicy chicken). It’s a chicken dish cooked in a spicy tomato sauce. And, the sides are uniquely Bolivian. The chicken is served with rice, a salad of tomatoes and onions, boiled potatoes, and a unique potato called chuño. It’s a potato harvested in the Altiplano—the high flatlands of Bolivia. This location in the Andes has freezing temperatures much of the year.

Chuño is a freeze-dried potato product traditionally made by the Quechua and Aymara communities of Bolivia and Peru and is know in other countries of South America, including Argentina and Chile. It is made in a five-day process, obtained by exposing a frost-resistant variety of potatoes to the very low night temperatures of the Andes Altiplano, freezing them, and subsequently exposing them to the intense sunlight of the day––this being the traditional process. The word chuño is a Quechua word meaning ‘frozen potato’ and in some dialects means ‘wrinkled’.

And to top off the meal, I’d serve a traditional flan for dessert. I promise if you don’t want to try the chuño, I won’t be offended. It’s the only Bolivian food that I don’t miss while on furlough in the States. As for the rest of the meal, I have no doubt you’ll find it deliciosa (English translation, delicious––some words in Spanish are similar to English). I’m sure you’ll find it a meal to remember when you return home.

Picante de Pollo originated from western Bolivia 
and is characterized by its aroma and spicy taste of chuño (dehydrated potatoes).

*Chuño is the dark potato at the left of the photo.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Children's Book Contract

Molly and Me

Molly helped sign my contract. Okay, she didn't sign, but she did help me write my new children's series. She inspired a story about adoption and a forever home. My new four-book series to be published by Pix-N-Pens Publishing will release quarterly in 2018. Yay! Lots of work ahead but fun too. More details will unfold in the next few months. Look for them.

I look back over the last seven years and marvel at how God led in my writing journey. First, my children's book series, Really Rare Rabbits found a publisher. Then, my first non-fiction book, a devotional for adults of all ages, Dancing Like Bees released in October 2016, and now, four more children's books.

I am never bored for sure and extremely blessed to be used by God in this writing ministry. I delight in writing for God, and I'm going to keep on writing it down––whatever God gives me.

Then the Lord replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on the tablets so that a herald may run with it" (Habakkuk 2:2 NIV).

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Fresh Focus

"I the Lord do not change" (Malachi 3:6 NIV).

Tumultuous circumstances jolted me out of my usual schedule this week. My routine changed drastically on a rainy, Sunday morning. A call from our neighbors woke me from a deep sleep. "Your classrooms are flooding." Torrential rains caused the river over the mountain to rush into the valley irrigation ditch that runs behind our property and overflow downward directly into our classroom building––narrowly missing the house.

Shocked at the sight of 6 inches of water in the classrooms, we splashed our way through and commenced the task of cleanup. The back of our building is partially underground. While the rain pummeled, we gazed in disbelief at the water reaching halfway up the windows outside. It slowly seeped through the cracks flooding the room. Focus. Where do we start? What is most important?

All changed that day, week–-our plans, our meals, and our priorities. We focused on the task of cleanup. We worked hard and swished the water out of the building with mops and brooms––room by room. Then the scrubbing began, and the airing out and checking for damage. What a lesson for my life. Cleanup my life daily and focus on priorities. 

I'd been busy with things––people, problems, and goals. My focus had changed to earthly things not eternal things in the past weeks. Suddenly, everything changed, and so did I. But one thing hadn't changed–-God. He controlled all things, and He controlled the flood waters. Lessons come in all forms and all circumstances. God uses circumstances, His Word, and others to teach us His ways––or bring our focus back to Him. Now, water will always remind me to focus on God and His plans when hard things flood my life.

The buildings shine once more but more important, my focus changed. First and always, we should strive to focus first on God because unlike circumstances, people, or possessions that change, God never changes. 

We get distracted from time to time, and we're out of focus. But, just looking to the One who never changes puts everything back in focus. Let's adjust the lens of our lives daily, so we stay focused on God's vision––a fresh focus every day. Where do we start, and what is most important?