The Adventure Begins

My flights in wing pictures. Winking smile

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Greetings from Guatemala!

Well, so much happened in the first few days of my time in Guatemala that this may be quite an epistle! 😉

My parents took me to the airport early Thursday morning, September 7. I met Benj and Holly’s family there. All our flights went well and I always had someone to hold my hand while we were in the airport. 😉

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We arrived in Guatemala City at 11:30 AM. (Currently the same as Mountain Time)* From the airport we PILED into two taxis and went to the Mission (Mennonite Air Mission’s headquarters).

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Stuffing the luggage in. (clip_image003[1]: Holly)

We were at the Mission the rest of that day. Friday morning we grabbed cornbread muffins for breakfast and left about 6:30 and headed to Immigration to get Guatemalan Passports for the children and renew Benj’s. That involved a lot of standing in line and keeping the children entertained. But by 11:30 we were leaving with passports in hand.

We went to Burger King for lunch. After that we headed to the Toyota dealership and got the truck serviced. They had a very nice waiting area so we just made ourselves at home. We put the children down for naps and I even had a nap myself. Here’s a couple pictures from that afternoon:

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We were happy with some complimentary beverages and snacks. 🙂 I thought Jun made a cute little slug with a curl on the top while she was taking her nap. (Right)

Saturday we got up even earlier and headed to a friend’s place for the day. That was a much more relaxing day than Friday. She lives near the coast so we went to la playa (the beach) for part of the day. I really enjoyed that.

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We had a picnic lunch under the thatch before swimming.

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We left that evening after supper and headed to El Chal, arriving around 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning. After church we went to Stephen and Brenda’s for lunch. Then Benj’s dropped me off at the girls’ house where I am living. I had a nap and started unpacking before church in the evening.

Monday I was at home all day just unpacking, doing laundry, and settling in. Here is my first meal I cooked myself in Guatemala:

clip_image023Beans and eggs

Beans, rice, and (corn) tortillas are definitely staple foods here. I love the food, but am still adjusting from a high protein, low carb diet to a low protein, high carb diet. Have to figure out how much to eat to keep me going, but hopefully not make me too wide. 😉 I’ve been walking home from Benj’s which is about a 40 minute walk, so that is helpful.

Things are kinda getting into a pattern here with my work schedule but it’s still flexible. We have revivals this week starting Wednesday evening which will make for a busy week. You can pray for the speaker Ernest and for the town of El Chal. Pray that evil would be driven back and God’s light will shine forth!

Life is going pretty well here. I still have a lot to learn as far as Spanish is concerned but I am adjusting to the culture pretty well otherwise. I once in awhile forget to throw my toilet paper in the trash can rather than flush it (they don’t have good sewage systems so flushing it would plug things up), and I sometimes long for hot water, but these are just small bumps in the road.

God has been good. I have been amazed time and again how he has worked out small details to be just right.  What an amazing God we serve!

On a lighter note: The other day Lanet looks at my feet and says, “You have pudgy feet.” Me: “Yep.” Lanet: “That’s because they have lots of blood in them!” That is very good to know! Winking smile

Thanks for your prayers! -Rachel

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View from Benj and Holly’s house

 

*Guatemala does not do Daylight Savings, so currently we are the same as Mountain Time. After time change in the States we will be the same as Central Time.

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Catch Up—Part 4

And here we are in Virginia!

So after traveling all night to Pennsylvania and spending some time there, I arrived in Virginia Thursday night, June 8. The next day was Mother’s birthday. To celebrate, we girls went with her for lunch. I don’t think I have any pictures of that, but we had a good time.

The next day was my cousin Josh’s wedding near Chambersburg, PA. So we drove up there for the day. I was a server and did not bother to take time to take pictures. :/ They had a very nice wedding and reception and we are happy to have them living in Virginia. Smile

I began the next week trying to recover from the busy weekend. I worked at unpacking and cleaning the house. We were hostess that weekend so Darla and I had to clean the house and prepare food for that.

Homemade Bread

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The next week we began working at the flowerbeds around the house. Mom and Darla had got them planted, but they still needed some more work. I love doing outside work. Here are some pictures of what we’ve done.

First project was to cut down these peony plants and weed and mulch the bed. We got it finished just before it started raining.

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I always forget to wear gloves when I mulch so my hands end up looking like this when using black mulch.

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I dug out at the end of this flowerbed to make a spot for the birdbath. I should have dug out a little farther, but I think I’ll leave it for the time being.

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This flowerbed ended up being more work than I thought. It was edged in river rocks. We took those all out and put in new edging. Hopefully this will make for easier upkeep.

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That weekend was youth conference so we once again cleaned our house for company. We had a fun weekend with our friends and learning about our relationship with God and with our parents.

Since then I have continued to stay busy with housekeeping, cooking, flowerbeds, gardening, photo editing, and studying.

Cooking and baking are pretty high on the list of things I enjoy doing. Whether it is cooking up something for myself or feeding my whole family, I love trying new recipes. Here are a few food pictures from the summer.

Black Raspberry Delight made with raspberries Darla and I picked on the farm where we live

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If you are looking for a delicious healthy casserole for your family, look no further. This Spaghetti Squash Casserole is a keeper.

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And I always love a good salad. The perfect complement to almost any meal.

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Some trim healthy pancakes with berries and Greek yogurt. A delicious healthy breakfast.

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Two more flowerbeds done.

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So, you may wonder, has the transition back to Virginia from Colorado been hard? Since I have always spent the summer at home with my family, it doesn’t seem too different. And the transition back into church and youth life here has not been as hard as I thought it would be. That is not to say it is not without glitches. There are many little things that come up that remind me how much I’ve changed in the last 5 years and how much of a Colorado girl I have become. But I am enjoying my time with my family and having some time to recoup from the stress of school life. And I also know that God has a purpose for me here and I want to be willing to be used of Him to fulfill that purpose.

You may also be wondering, “What’s next? You aren’t teaching school in Colorado next year and surely you aren’t just going to live at home with no job for the next year.”

So in my next blog post I will address the question, “What next?”

Also I hope to do a blog post on our youth canoe trip and a visit from our cousins from North Carolina.

See you next time! Au revoir!

Poetry

So, I thought in the two weeks that I had between school ending and leaving Colorado I would have time to write a couple blog posts, but so far that has not happened. Sad smile

Today while sorting through things I came across my notebook of poems. I haven’t written in it for years. Hopefully in the future I’ll have time to do some more writing and drawing again. It makes me sad when I realize how busy my life has become and how many things I’ve pushed aside. Any, in looking through my poems I decided I should share some on my blog. I wish I would have dates of when I wrote them, but I didn’t think that far when I was writing them. They are far from perfect, but are written from the heart and may give you a window into my soul; or at least into some of the things that formed me into who I am today, considering they are several years old.

I thought I would start by sharing the most recent one in my notebook. I don’t have a title so I thought maybe y’all would like to give me some ideas. Smile

So often I am afraid

Of what the future holds

I’m not sure who I am,

Or what I want to be.

You may think

I’m confident,

But deep inside

I’m quaking.

Sometimes it seems

No one understands me–

So I keep it,

Bottled up inside.

On reading over it today it brought tears to my eyes. I feel like I have grown since I wrote this poem, but the feelings still aren’t real far away. I have definitely come to know more about who I am and what I want to be. I feel like over the past few months I have come to see myself in a new light. (Hopefully a blog post coming on that later.) And I have been working at not just bottling everything up inside. My blog has been a definite help in this line. Thanks to all of my faithful supporters! Thanks for your prayers and for encouraging me to share in person as well as through my blog.

I thought maybe “Bottled Up” for a title? What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

"If We’re Honest"

After my last blog post I wondered if I really should have written it. In my weak humanness I was afraid of what people would think. I mean so many people are going through so much tougher stuff than me. They probably think my problems are quite pale in comparison with theirs. I wanted people to read it and at the same time I didn’t want them to read it. A selfish part of me wanted them to read it and have sympathy for me. Another part of me didn’t want people reading it, because I didn’t want them to treat me differently. And so the argument went back and forth in my head. Another part of me knew that it was something I needed to do so I can move forward with life.

Some of you may wonder how in the world can I “spill my guts” on the internet. Other’s may think I enjoy doing so. For years I have used writing as an emotional outlet. Writing things down and getting my thoughts organized always helps me put my problems into perspective. In the last year I’ve decided to move beyond my journal and share my thoughts on my blog. I’ve been very encouraged by reading others’ blogs and decided that possibly sharing my story could be an encouragement to others. And I have found that it encourages growth in my life.

One of my favorite songs is “If We’re Honest” by Francesca Battistelli. It talks about how we need to admit our brokenness before we can find healing. This is so true! The part about building walls also speaks to me, because I have been there building those walls.  I love the thought of being honest not only with God, but also with each other.

“If We’re Honest”

Truth is harder than a lie
The dark seems safer than the light
And everyone has a heart that loves to hide
I’m a mess and so are you
We’ve built walls nobody can get through
Yeah, it may be hard, but the best thing we could ever do, ever do
Bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy’s waiting on the other side
If we’re honest
If we’re honest
Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not
Living life afraid of getting caught
There is freedom found when we lay
Our secrets down at the cross, at the cross
So bring your brokenness, and I’ll bring mine
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy’s waiting on the other side
If we’re honest
If we’re honest
It would change our lives
It would set us free
It’s what we need to be
So bring your brokenness and I’ll bring mine
‘Cause love can heal what hurt divides
And mercy’s waiting on the other side
If we’re honest
If we’re honest
If we’re honest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDcTvtuuVU8

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Shopping TRIP

Have you ever just felt like lying on the floor of a store and not getting up? Well, let me tell you about my last shopping trip. My sister and I were shopping in TJ Maxx and I was trying to figure out where the fitting rooms were. She was trying to tell me as we walked along. So, instead of watching where I was going, I was trying to look to see where the fitting rooms were. Suddenly I tripped, failed at trying to catch myself, and ended up lying on the floor of TJ Maxx! Here I had not paid attention that the furniture I was walking around was sitting up on a platform about 4 in. off the floor, therefore even though there was no furniture at the corner, the platform was still there ready to pitch me to the floor. So, there I lay trying to get my brains back together, not sure how to respond. To make it even funnier, there was a guy sitting in a chair on the opposite side of the aisle, but facing away from us. I don’t know if he even turned at all when I went crashing to the ground right beside/behind him! It hurt so badly I really wanted to just lay there and recover, but considering it was in the middle of a busy store I figured that would be more embarrassing yet.  So I got up and hobbled along with my sister as she tried in vain to control her laughter. Once I got my breath back, we were both in hysterics over it. I really have not laughed that hard in a long time. I wonder what they would say if I asked for a copy of their security video? 😉 I really would love to see how it looked! There had to have been an interesting expression on my face! Let me know if you see a video online of me crashing to the floor of TJ Maxx! So, my word of wisdom to you this week: Shop with caution, lest you suddenly find yourself cast to the floor.

Prayer needed!

Hey, I know I have not been keeping up this fall, but I hope you will forgive me. Right now I would appreciate if y’all would pray that I could recover my email! This summer I opened a spam email and was afraid my account would be hacked so I changed my password and enabled 2-step verification. Well, I usually stay signed on, on my computer so I wasn’t using my password. Well, the other night I went and cleared my computer’s browsing history to try to help Google work better for me. Well, that cleared out my password and now I cannot get into my email on my computer. So pray that either I can remember my password or that the Google people would actually let me recover it! Thanks so much!!

Summer 2015

Wow! I did not realize how behind I was with my blog! Sorry folks for not staying up to date!

After school was out, Connie came to Colorado and then she and I went to Nevada to visit Kendra. We were in Nevada almost a week and had a great time! Then I went to Illinois with Connie where we loaded up all her stuff since she is not returning to Illinois this next school year. We got home (VA) the last weekend of May.

Some things I have been doing this summer include: a week at Music Camp, gardening and flowerbeds, swimming, catching up with friends, babysitting, and sewing.

I really enjoyed my time at Music Camp. I took 2 classes on Elementary Music Ed. They were taught by Wendy Good. I really enjoyed them. Also, meeting many new people and making new friends was a highlight as well as singing in Choir. Till the end of the week our Choir was starting to feel like a family. 🙂

I was privileged to have my friend Andrea from South Carolina at my place the week after music camp. I don’t remember what all we did. Went swimming one day. Another day we went out for breakfast and then went shopping. I made a haul at Bath and Body. My bill was $25 dollars and it said I saved $100. 🙂 Yay! I already started my Christmas shopping! 🙂

We kept the Horst children again this summer. For 2 weeks this time. I was at Music Camp the first week, but was still able to see them almost every day. We babysat them twice this week. The twins are at such a fun stage. I love listening to them talk. Today when Dad changed into his clothes for the chicken house, there was a patch on the front of his shirt and it was kinda the shape and color of a band aid. Jennifer asked, “What is the band aid on?” Dad told her it was a patch on his shirt. Later when the twins were playing I heard them saying, “I want a big band aid.” I told them, “No, you don’t.” They said, “But Arnie does.” I told them it was for the hole on his shirt and they didn’t want one. Then I heard one of them saying, “I ain’t Arnie.” They are so cute!

Another project I have been working on is changing my bedroom into the guest room. June’s room has been the guest room, but since I am hardly in Virginia it makes more sense for my room to be. So, we switched around a bunch of furniture. In the process, all my walls and the ceiling got cleaned as well as the furniture and the floor. I am still working at putting stuff on the walls in my room again and decorating. I kinda enjoy decorating and yet it doesn’t come so naturally that I can do it in a snap. It takes me awhile to look and think and decide where and how I want things.

Tomorrow we are church hostess, so we have been doing a lot of cleaning this week. We should do it all every week, but somehow it is easy to let some things slide.

Hopefully, I will eventually get some pictures from my summer on here! But I make no promises! I never know what the next day will bring forth!