Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Forgive me, it has been nearly 2 weeks since my last blog entry....

Quick update:

1. Saw Madrid / Segovia in a week. Boy am I tired!
2. Brought my in-laws back for sunny, slow paced Denia.
3. Due to a lack of internet in Madrid while on vacation, I have become disillusioned with use of the computer....I'm sure it will pass.

At Christmas time we handed out calendars that contained a Scripture verse in Spanish for each month of 2009. I was looking at it tonight as I was cooking some beef stew for the bunch, but all the while feeling rather defeated by various circumstances.

The verse for February is:

the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few 1 Samuel 14:6

I went back to read the whole story. Jonathan is given the victory because he watched for the signs from God....but more importantly he believed in God's power.

Trials are always...well....a trial. But there comes a moment right before we head over to the enemy's camp that we have to decide who's power we are going to have more confidence in. Am I more confident in the power of my God? Or do I put more stock into the power of my enemies?

Even if it's 2 against 20....I know that the Lord will act on our behalf.

A few more pics from our trip:

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Vacation, vacation, vacation

This is Bram after we put on his costume for school on Friday. He was upset because he was afraid no one else was going to have a costume on. He kept asking to put his uniform on. He livened up at the bus stop when he saw a princess waiting to catch the bus too.

The worst part of going on vacation seems to often be the night before. I'm up too late finishing the last of the packing (and inevitably we will have forgotten something). I run around trying to leave the house clean so we come home to a clean house. And then it's seemingly a mad dash out the front door in the morning...

But I am feeling much better.

Here's another pic from yesterday's Carnaval. This is the school's play yard/gym area where they held the assembly.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Madrid....Here we come....

Jeff's parents are flying into Madrid, arriving Monday morning. Since Madrid is a 4 to 6 hour drive from where we are, we took the opportunity to claim a little vacation time and "sight see" around Madrid with them.

But right now I am laying in bed with either a chest cold or the flu. I have every heater on possible, but then I get hot so I turn it off. Then I get cold, so on they go's been a whole day of that.

Bram celebrated Carnaval at school, and we were able to visit and see the costumes and the dancing. The "external relations" director approached me to apologize profusely for Bram's head bump on Monday (he fell on his way out to the school bus and has one major scratch/goose egg.). To which my answer was "He's 3 and a boy. He'll do far worse in the future, I'm afraid."

We also met another North American (from Canada) and got invited to tea by some parents from Bram's class....not to mention the various strange looks due to our "uniformed" presence. One child asked if we were pilots, I overheard one parent speculating that we were foreign military, and I'm sure the majority of the British parents were saying "I didn't know The Salvation Army was in Spain?" At this point we are more than use to it... was going to post pictures of Bram's adorable clown costume...but the camera is not'll have to imagine it.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Cold Tea Cake

I should be cleaning my kitchen. I should be starting another load of laundry so I can hang it from the line before we leave in the morning. I should be eating a balanced meal for dinner.

But I'm not. I'm eating cheese on some great crusty bread I bought at the French bakery this morning. (It's the only thing open on Sundays, and I take the boys over for a treat so they don't have to be cooped up in the building all morning. Hazard of being the pastor's kid: you are at church hours before anyone else shows up, and hours after everyone leaves... But I am eating a hazelnut yogurt...and will probably have a cup of tea before I go to bed...

Here's a great recipe I encountered this week. "Cold Tea Cake" Our congregation is primarily British expatriates, so I've been attempting to find ways to "infiltrate" their culture in order to win their hearts via their stomachs.



3 C dried fruit (I used golden raisins (or 'sultanas' in British...))

1 1/4 C brown sugar

1 1/2 C cold tea (the idea is to use the tea that's left over from tea time...)

2 C self rising flour

(I make my own 'cause it's expensive here: 1 C reg. flour + 1 1/2 t baking powder + 1/2 t salt = 1 C self rising flour)

1 egg


Mix the fruit and sugar in a medium bowl. Soak in cold tea overnight.

Mix the egg and flour into the fruit mixture. Pour into greased loaf pan.

Bake at 350* for about an hour and half.

(My loaf needed nearly 2 hours...but it tasted wonderful when it was done!)

Three Good Things:

1. My inlaws are coming for a visit! They arrive next Monday! (one week to make the house presentable...)

2. Bram was having trouble staying "accident free" at school, but last week he stayed "dry and clean" (in his words) all week! We celebrated with a chocolate Kinder egg (a hollow chocolate egg that has a toy inside).

3. I got the most beautiful, and delicious strawberries from the Friday fruit good that the boys and I have finished the kilo (2.2 pounds) in a little under 2 days...

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The Survival Instinct

Yesterday, we picked up Bram from school because we still needed to pay for his uniforms. I picked him up from the classroom, and we walked to the main office to pay at the front desk. The "external relations director" for the school asked me how Bram was doing and if he was enjoying his new school.

It is a common question lately, since he just switched out of a Spanish only system into the bilingual system of this school. It's a loaded question in its response though. Bram is doing amazingly better. He talks about school, his new friends, the stories he's learning, what he ate for lunch, etc. For the first time in 6 months, he is excited about going to school, not simply enduring. And he's actually using Spanish words in context, beyond 'commands'. Tonight he told me he makes lots of sudsy bubbles with his 'javon' (soap).

I think the major difference is the switch from "survival mode" to a comfort range that facilitates learning. In the previous school, Bram never really talked about what they were doing each day perhaps because he was never sure. He was just trying to make sure he didn't get left behind. (I think that given a longer time in the previous system, Bram would have adapted and learned the language well enough to enjoy. It just would have taken time.)

My major lesson in all of this school drama: It's amazing the difference in our personality when we're comfortable. Things that make us nervous and cause us to be unsure put us into an instinctual survival mode. We don't think or enjoy or experience, we simply survive. But when we find ourselves in a place where we can be at emotional rest, so to speak, we can begin to see the whole picture, put things to work, we can enjoy.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Brought to you today by the letter....

I've been a little behind in the blog world recently. A stomach virus made its way into the house this week, and I have been taking echinachea in between serving tea with lemon, rubbing backs, and switching to the next Larry Boy movie. Thankfully, I have not caught the bug this time.

With all the sickness, I've been cooped up in the apartment (well...except the Saturday escape to IKEA an hour and half away) but I have failed to think of something to blog on. You know, something that will earn me hundreds of comments, cause people to reflect on their own lives. You know, something really good. Really, I've failed to think of anything at all.

I'm participating in MY ADHD Me's Meme. She assigned me a letter and I am going to write 10 things that I love that start with that letter.

My letter is:

My Ten Favorite Things that Start with 'F':

(I will resist using the 'obvious' choices of friends and family, but know that I really do love my friends and family (new and old!))

1. Fried rice. I love Chinese food. I have really been longing for some "good" Chinese food, and have even ventured to try and make it myself.

2. facebook. Sad but true. I love how I can get glimpses into people's lives one sentence at a time, and I have encountered friends I thought long lost and even made some new!

3. Francine Rivers, and other authors of that genre. (Deanne Gist, Liz Curtis Higgs to name some) My mother in law introduced me to Christian romantic fiction and as long as the story is compelling I'll read it cover to cover in just a few days.

4. the Fab Four (aka: the Beatles) I practically know every lyric to every Beatles' song simply because my dad played it all the time when we were growing up. So I didn't necessarily choose to know the lyrics, but if there is a Beatles' song playing chances are I'll start singing's kind of like a subconcious thing really.

5. Food. I am developing a growing addiction to food blogs. I buy cook books mainly because of the pictures. I love trying new stuff...and I love to eat!

6. Fahrenheit. I still calculate Celcius degrees to the approximate Fahrenheit translation so I can decide in my head whether something is hot or cold...

7. Funny movies. Who doesn't really?

8. Flowers. Things seem to grow really easily in the climate here, so I've been trying my hand at keeping things alive (only one casualty so far). If I can get the boys to stop pulling the flowers off my jasmine plant we'll be alright!

9. French press coffee. I just discovered the joys and deliciousness of this kind of coffee! I love, love, love it! (Well, I love it would be hardpressed to be in a 'bad' category...)

10. Friday fruit market. Every Friday our town has its outdoor fruit market down one street in the center of town. I love it because you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, and other stuff thrown in, from local growers. I love it partially because of the freshness of everything, plus it's the place where every one in town is at on Fridays, so you end up seeing a lot of people too!

(Wow...this was harder than I thought!)