Thursday, March 27, 2008


We get pretty used to having something like electricity; so much so that when we don't have it, it really annoys us! It is funny that here, where it is such a common occurance to have no electricity, it still can catch us by surprise when it goes out.

Our co-missionary brought the projector here today and so we told the kids that we could have a movie night tonight. We have no tv and while we do watch movies sometimes on the computer, it is a special treat to use the projector for a movie. We were preparing for it all afternoon. We cleaned the house, made sure that supper was ready early enough...we even had a really good supper...rice with chicken and lots of vegies. The children had a room inspection (we do that once in awhile to keep bedrooms clean). The girls had 100 percent, the big boys had 100 percent and Joshua and Jonathan had about zero percent. They didn't even start their room; I have never seen it messier. Tonight as they were going to bed, though, Jonathan came to me with disgust in his voice. "Mom, it is no fair! I know why our room stays so messy!" (he says standing in the midst of toys and crayons, paper, clean clothes that somehow won't stay in their closet, and two twin beds that they had made into a cool tent.) "The other kids put all of their clothes in our room when they clean their own room! Look at that! LOOK!" And he pointed at a pair of Kaleb's socks laying on the floor of their room. Yep, THAT is why they got a zero in room inspection. Life is so unfair for the underdog.

Anyways, we were all very excited. I made a banana cake and Joel even splurged and got some ice cream! It was quite the event at the Molina house tonight. Well, just as we were giving the vegies their final stir in the pan, bang, the lights went out. What! We had already gotten the projector plugged in and hooked up to the computer. The chairs were arranged...the children were already tasting the ice cream in their minds.

Now, our electricity goes out at least once a day. Usually twice a day and we usually say, when the lights go out, "Well, at least it was after everybody used the computer for math!" or "If it goes out now it will at least be back on before dark." We often have devotions in the evenings without lights and then sometimes if the lights are still not back on I will read to the children by flashlight (we don't have candles...).

So, why the surprise when the lights went out tonight? They were out for 2 hours last night in the night and this morning when it was time to get up and they had flickered during lunch (which is a sure sign they will go out soon).

It did give us something to work on, character wise. I reminded a very disappointed Andrew that the lights will be out either way; we can either handle it happily or grumpily. We all ended up having a good supper in the dark and planned on reading our book together before bed when the lights surprised us and came on again! Everybody cautiously sat quietly for a few moments...would they *stay* on? Then YES! They were on for good (at least for a few hours) so people quickly finished their food and moved into the livingroom. Andrew started dipping ice cream and cutting cake before the lights had a chance to go out again.

The next time that you turn on your lights at home, remember that something that we take for granted so often, like the fact that we switch that switch and the lights will come on, can really help develop our character, if we let it. (smile) By the way, the cake was delicious!!!

Friday, March 21, 2008

What we are up to

Well, I have found that now that we are people with a routine, life has become much less interesting to write about on a blog. I find myself thinking, what am I thinking...who wants to read about loose teeth and moving up to the next math book (some of the exciting things happening in our house recently)?

Oh, well...for those of you who are interested...(ready Mom and Jamie?)...

Joshua, Jonathan and Anna have joined a soccer class. I am really happy that they did; even though there might be other ways to learn to play soccer, I realized after we arrived at the first class that Joshua and Jonathan have never really had to pay attention to anybody before. Well, I mean in this certain type of setting. They pay attentiont to me (at times) but sometimes I have to grab their chin and force their eyes to actually look at me before they realize I am talking to them. I quickly realized that they didn't know that when the teacher was talking they were supposed to be standing quietly and respectfully listening. Anna did great, and even though she was the only girl in the class was really holding her own (maybe because she is a girl...she seems to automatically know how to pay attention to the teacher and could follow his directions very easily). After a week of practicing at home the next class went much better. I was proud at how they stood and listened to the teacher completely before they started to do what he told them to do.

Well, and as far as math books, Alissa did finish her 6th grade math book and is about months away from finishing her 7th grade math book. Kaleb went directly from 7th grade math to Algebra I but we are thinking that since Alissa has the time we might get PreAlgebra for her so the concepts are really understood (since once she enters the land of Algebra she gets a lot less help from Mom; not that she has needed any lately).

Andrew is growing taller! He is doing well in school as well and to be honest, reminds me a lot of myself in a lot of ways. One example is that when he breaks something (which seems to happen quite often) he just laughs and says, 'Don't worry mom' which makes me sooo upset! I wonder if I drove my mom crazy when I was a child.

Kaleb had his first Chechewa lesson (along with Joel). Joel amazes Kaleb with his memory. Joel says that Kaleb learns a language just like I do (which means that Joel and Kaleb will be driving each other crazy during this class before you know it) but the house is buzzing with the two of them trying to learn the most vocab the fastest.

The neighorhood is still not super safe, but we seem to be settling into what is normal here. Somebody climbed over the fence into the neighbor's yard the other day but their guard blew his whistle and he jumped back over. Joel was outside and actually saw this all happen (he quite often will help the guard patrol the yard for a few hours each night) and he ran into the street hoping to catch the guy. He said that he *thought* he was running fast, but the potential robber was waaay down the road into a cornfield before Joel even got a few steps outside our gate. The other guards standing outside watching all of this happen warned Joel to not come outside if it happens again because sometimes there will be 4 or 5 other robbers waiting to be let in the gate when their partner climbs over the wall and opens it.

The days are getting a little bit cooler. The other night it was actually cool enough for me to wear a jacket. I found our boarding passes from Atlanta in the pocket so I guess our trip to Africa was the last time I needed my jacket. And even then I actually didn't *need* it; I just wore it so I didn't have to pack it.

So, this is routine! Yeah! I love it!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The uses of a school room

Ah, a school room. How I have longed for one! Back in Brazil when our tiny little house was bursting at the seams with all of our books, I dreamed of adding on a school room! Just the idea of having the books in a place where they could stay during meals instead of having to move them around so often in the day whenever the table was needed for something else. And even better, a place where we could close the doors so whenever company came over the complete book chaos is not the first thing they would see as they walked in the door! I really thought I could have used a school room in the US when we stayed with Jamie, simply because of the amount of our books and the lack of space to keep them in. I felt bad that our books exploded all over her house, even though Jamie didn't care.

Well, at the lake we did have a place where we could do school, but it was not a place that we could keep our books, so every morning we would pack up our books and haul them over to the school room and do school there, and at the end of the day we would haul them back home. It did have its advantages...being away from the house made me focus more on school and less on things like laundry (ok, I didn't have a washing machine so I wasn't going to focus on laundry anyways) or other chores. the downside is, of course, that those chores need to be finished sometime and if they didn't get done during the day, they certaintly weren't getting done in the evening (when the lizards started falling from the ceilings...).

So, now I have a fun school room right inside the house! Hopefully soon it will have bookshelves in it so we can put all of our books in their proper place. We put a few desks in there (I did recently haul one of them out to the livingroom to do my puzzles on...) and put fun stuff on the walls (like the list of prepositions and all of the presidents of the US in order).

My question is this...why do I do school in the living room or the diningroom? Why do I give spelling words as I stand over the stove stiring the cooking pasta noodles? I guess having school at home is not the same thing as having a school in your home. I have never tried to copy a school setting so I guess I shouldn't be surprised that we don't really fit into the mold that uses one.

I love my school room but have found that I don't use it as much as I thought I would. We like snuggling up and reading on the couch...desks keep us so far from each other; it is hard for the kids to read over my shoulder if they can't lay across the back of the couch while I am sitting there reading. We find it is easier to do math and workbooks when we can all sit around and spread our papers and books on the diningroom table. I keep the seat next to me open for somebody with questions. I do love having the spot to keep all of my school books, though. And we usually try to haul the days supply of books from the livingroom back to the school room at least once every day.

Oh, and one more thing! We heard through the grapevine that there is a used bookstore in the city and the other day Joel took the big kids to check it out. Those of you who have seen my children in the library can picture what the bookstore looked like after they arrived. I guess that the owners (an older man and woman) were so pleased to see children enjoying books in their all the years since they have opened it they were the first children to come and shop there and to sit (lay) around on the floor reading the books (which I guess was a good least it made a few people smile).

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A Thief in the Night!

Last night I didn't sleep so well. I was just dozing off when I heard some gunfire in the distance. The dogs of the neighborhood started howling to each other and I sat up in bed imagining the worst. I was peeking out of windows to see if our night guard was ok and still patroling the yard (he was). Joel told me he would stay up awhile so I could sleep...but I still couldn't sleep. Finally I think I fell asleep around 2:00am. At 4am I woke up to more gunshots and Joel was still awake so I decided that there was nothing I could do and fell asleep quickly before my mind got too busy scaring me to let me sleep again. As we understand it there is a police patrol that go around the streets of our neighborhood every night and they were the ones firing the guns at whatever bad guy they were chasing. I guess it is unusual for the bad guys to actually have guns (somebody could have mentioned that to me at midnight when I was wide awake in my bed...).

After our last break in Joel preached on Sunday about Christ returning like a thief in the night. That is how He is returning! Now, after having a thief at our house in the night, I know how unexpected it was. We were not waiting for him or prepared for his coming. We were, of course, prepared for his coming on the nights following his appearance. But I the way I am now completely aware of the possiblity of a thief in the night supposed to be the way I am aware of the suddeness of Christ's return? Let me tell you, to actually be prepared for a thief takes a lot of time and diligence and attention being paid to things that before the thief actually comes, seems trivial. What things seems trivial to me now...but I will regret the lack of attention I have paid to them after Jesus returns? Movies, books, time spent with my children...teaching them their 3R's or teaching them about the most important things that last forever? Just something I have been thinking about.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Home Sweet Home!

Well, here we are at home at last!

I am so happy to tell you about our new house! This is not the next post I meant to put here. First I couldn't wait to tell everybody about Joel's trip to Zambia. I even meant to put pictures up, but turns out he didn't take any. Then I wanted to tell about our sweet puppy Jasper that Joel brought home from Zambia. I used to have some cute pitures of him, and maybe I can ask Jamie to post some for me. He is a little fluff ball even though I know he will eventually be big and scary looking. Then I wanted to share about the great time we were having with our friends Chad and Becca Zuber who visited us from their home in Tanzania along with their 3 kids and their dog (Jasper's brother) Buzz. Becca and I had dice tournaments outside at the lake every day and I have to tell you all that I was the final winner! Then of course I wanted to tell you about the break in that we had at the lake house. That was not fun...having somebody break into your home when you are sleeping is scary and it is very annoying to have somebody just take your stuff...especially when it involves all of your pictures for the past 5 months and your tennis shoes (and your favorite Sonlight bag...). Joel might be slightly more concerned for the laptop, the phone and the camera...but I will really miss the pictures, the shoes and my good old bag (is their a country song in there somewhere???).

Mixed in with all of those posts that got pushed aside for lack of internet access or time, came the cracked finger of Joshua's that just doesn't seem to be healing (and has me kinda concerned, even now, almost 3 weeks later), Kaleb's strep throat that he gave to me (and has had me sick for the past week) and Jonathan's first lost tooth! Now I will just fast forward to the present and tell you about our move to the city.

Several weeks ago we found this great house that was for rent. We came to the city to see it and decided to rent it; it was ready now, not like the house we have been waiting for. It is big enough (now actually seems almost too big) and even has a yard!! We had to wait awhile to actually move into the house because we had no furniture. After the break-in at the lake we decided to borrow some of their stuff until we could afford our own (or until the conference being held there in June, whichever comes first) so we moved here with some beds for the kids, a stove, a chest freezer (that kind of works as a very cold fridge that freezes veggies but melts ice) and a kitchen table with chairs. Our house echos and we keep getting lost going from the kitchen to the livingroom or the bedrooms (the house is confusing at first), but we are starting to feel at home here. I even have a school room!!! I love it, and I put up a big calender for March on the wall. How fun to have a room where I can hang school stuff up on the walls!!! We need to get a few big bookshelves for the room, but even now we are very, very happy with it!

Today our good friends James and Lee-Anne (remember, we stayed at their house over Christmas when they were in S. Africa) came by and brought us what they called a housewarming gift...we called it furniture!!! They brought us furniture for the livingroom, a bed frame for Joel and me, and a water dispenser so the little kids can get their own cold water without needing me or one of the big kids to open up the freezer to get out the jug of water (which after sitting in the bottom of the fridge/freezer is more like a block of ice most of the time). So we had a wonderful devotions tonight, sitting on real furniture in our livingroom, with our sweet puppy yapping outside the window (he wasn't allowed in because he messed in the livingroom earlier), thanking God for his provision and blessings in our lives. Thanking Him for bringing us home.