Monthly Archives: May 2010

Goodbye, squish!


That’s it.  I’ve had it.  I’m officially tired of looking at my wardrobe and thinking “wow it would be nice if those fit again…”  Or looking in the mirror and thinking “ew.”  More than anything else, I’m tired of being tired!  Yes, I realize that the sleepy part is largely due to having a 7 month old baby who likes to wake up several times every night and not having any good place to put her so she can keep herself company.  I regularly dream about what it would feel like to sleep for a full 8 hrs, uninterrupted.  I’m sorry to say I can’t even remember the last time that happened.  I would guess about a year ago…

Anyway!  I feel a little bit on the helpless side of the sleep deprivation.  But I’ve decided to assert some control over the rest of it!  I remember a day, a few months after Cloe was born, when I realized that my energy level was directly affected by my fitness level.  What’s ironic about this is how ridiculously hard it is to make yourself excercise when you’re completely exhausted!  This-morning I decided I was going to have to re-test that theory.  For days I’ve been thinking “this Monday, I’m gonna get serious.”  Then Monday rolled around.  It was only 7 am (I had originally thought I’d try to get up at 6 and have an hour before the girls woke up) but I could barely open my eyes.  Yet another long night with Brennah!  My precious husband waited for me to finish nursing the baby, then took her out and closed the door, probably hoping I’d go back to sleep and wake up much happier in an hour. 😉 But I laid there thinking “if I wait to start working out and eating good on a day that I’m not at all tired, I may never start. I have 3 kids, afterall.”  So I dragged my sleepy self out of bed and popped in a DVD my sister gave me called “Turbo Jam.”  Does the name say it all???  Yep.  The people on that video are ridiculously perky and energetic… almost scarily so.  But I told myself “if this is what Kimberly does, it’s clearly working.”  So I did it!  Well, kinda.  I did the “learn and burn” part of the video where they teach you all their moves.  I was done in 20 minutes.  But remember that’s 20 minutes longer than any workout that I’ve done in at least a year!  I finished, hopped in the shower, took all my measurements and weighed myself.

Why am I telling you all of this???  Good question.  I may regret it later when my enthusiasm has worn off.  But for now, here’s my plan.  I intend to come back next month and post my progress.  You are the thing that is going to make me get up and move in the morning when I feel like NOT moving… knowing that I have to come back and post my progress.  I’m not as concerned about losing a number of pounds as I am just getting back in shape and comfortably back into my old jeans.  Cuz new jeans are expensive!  And besides, I like my old ones.

So there it is.  I am sure that in a few days I will be appalled that I posted this on my blog.  But maybe it will encourage you?  Maybe you even want to join me in the challenge?  Everything is more fun with a friend!

One sick puppy


You may know (from our monthly updates) that we brought 2 puppies home with us in January!  The one little one (Mocha) was my pick.  She was the runt of the litter, but also one of the cutest?  Not to mention the sweetest.  She is so mild-mannered and obedient.  A few weeks ago while we were gone, she got into the remains of an animal she found up on the mountain behind our house.  My sister-in-law took Mocha to the vet after they found her up in the woods, very very sick.  She got an IV, and several medications to take at home.  She’s finally done with all of that, but still seems pretty ill to me.  She is hardly eating anything (unless I give her straight ground beef from the store… expensive!!!) and is super skinny.  Part of me wants to take her back to the vet, but I know we can’t afford that.  So I’m looking into what kind of diet would help her at this point.  Google suggests a raw meat diet, or canned puppy food.  Hmmm.

I know this is a random post.  I’m just a little worried about Mocha and wondering if anyone has ideas for me?  We’ve never had dogs before, so this is a learning experience.

What are we doing?


I’ve heard rumor that we have some friends (maybe even family??) who have said “what are Nathan and Julie doing down there, anyway?”  This makes me think that maybe I haven’t done a good job of portraying our world via the monthly e-mail updates I send out.  So I figured I would just sit down and write a  “what we do” note, to sum it all up very clearly.  At least, as clearly as I can!  Here goes.  Hold on, I need to make myself a mocha first…

Ok here goes!  So I’m sure you already know that my little family and I live in Chiapas, Mexico.  If you look on a map, you’ll see Chiapas at the veeeeery bottom of the “chili pepper” shape.  We are as far South as you can go, without running into Guatemala.  The name of our city is San Cristobal de las Casas… though San Cris is much easier!  San Cris is one of the 10 oldest colonial cities in the country… or maybe it was South America?  Anyway it’s really truly beautiful, either way.  It’s easy for me to imagine what the climate in the Garden of Eden was like after living here for almost 5 yrs.  A hot day for us is 80 degrees… most days we’re between 65-70.  We don’t really have a distinct summer/fall/winter season change here.  The big change happens between dry season and rainy season.  Typically, rainy season means that we get rain for several hours every day.  There are days when we wake up to rain, watch it rain all day, and go to bed with it still raining!  But those days are pretty rare.  Generally, we wake up to fog, then the sun comes out for a few hours.  By early afternoon the clouds roll in and we see rain for several hours… usually clearing up by dinner time.

According to Wikipedia, there are 63 languages spoken in Mexico.  That seems awfully low to me (like, 200 lower than I expected) but I think it’s due to the definition of languages.  When a dialect becomes SO different from it’s original language that the two can’t communicate anymore, we (and the organization we get our info from) call it another language.  But even at 63, people are surprised!  We all expect that if you live in Mexico, you speak Mexican!  Er, Spanish.  While that is generally true (the majority of people in Mexico can communicate basic ideas in Spanish if they’re not fluent), there is a HUGE number of people that are much more comfortable with their native language (or “heart language”).  That huge number of people is why we are here.

Something like 80% of the indigenous people of Mexico are illiterate.  That means that *even if* there was a printed Bible or evangelistic or discipleship materials in their language, it wouldn’t do them any good.  What good is a Bible if you can’t read it?  So how do you communicate the Gospel to a person that can’t read?  This is where Nathan comes in.  He (and his parents) have been working for years to get audio and video materials translated, recorded, and distributed.  You may be familiar with “The Jesus film” made by Campus Crusade. (  We’ve worked to get that made in several of the local languages here.  This is an EXCEPTIONAL tool!  Many of the jungle trips include at least 1 showing of this movie.  While some of the people may have heard of Jesus, it’s a whole `nuther ball game to watch a film about his life, death, and resurrection in their own language!

Right now, we are focusing on 2 indigenous people groups.  The Zoque (pronounced SO-kay) and the Ch’ol (pronounced chole).  One group is about 6 hrs West, the other is 6 hrs East.  This is why we’re located in San Cris… it’s very much in the middle of many different people groups!  Right now, as far as we can see and have been told, there are no missionaries working with either of the groups I mentioned.  They both have a printed Bible, but like I mentioned earlier that doesn’t do anything for the majority of the people.

Currently, we’re only a few chapters away from getting the Zoque New Testament finished, and Ch’ol is completely done!  Then, Nathan will go to a village to install water filters (you can read about this project on our website… under the Projects page and Pure Water Project).  The filters are a huge need and we have more requests than we are able to fill right now!  They provide a perfect open door for Nathan to say “hey, while I’m here, let me give you a gift!”  And when he goes back to a home to check on their filter, he brings another book or two of the New Testament while he’s at it.  He takes as much time as he needs to in each home, asking if they enjoyed the last CD, if they had any questions, etc.  I am so proud of him!  When I’m with Nathan in these people’s homes, I can’t get over how they just open up and talk him.  I love how accepting he is of everyone, and they obviously feel that too.

This brings me to my next point.  Yes, he goes to the jungle without us!  I have spent MANY hours dreaming of a travel trailer that we could all go together in.  But since he goes to so many villages, and just sleeps in his truck or a hammock that he carries with him, there is nowhere for me and 3 little girls to stay!  So for now, we stay home and hold down the fort while Daddy goes to the jungle.  He’s usually gone for about a week out of every month.  During the summer, when we have lots of teams coming down, he’s gone MUCH more often.  But we love teams, so it’s all good in the end.

Does that cover everything?  I’m sure it doesn’t.  Tell ya what, if there is something I missed or a question you still have, send it as a reply (or e-mail or facebook) and I will write up an answer post. 🙂 But this is long enough for now.  If you read all the way through, congratulations!  Here’s a cyber-gold star for you!

Letter to Heaven


Dear Billy,

6 years ago today, the world lost a really great person.  It was truly Heaven’s gain.  There is less teasing at home when we’re all together for holidays.  Less hugging, too.  I love how liberal you were with your hugs… your teasing, too!  I like to imagine that you’ve made as many friends up there as you had down here.  That you tease them as sweetly as you teased all of us.  And now you get the sheer joy of actually hugging our Lord Jesus!

I wouldn’t take Heaven away from you, even if I could.  I couldn’t ask you to leave the perfection of your new home and body.  I wouldn’t dream of asking you to give up the amazing time you must be having there, walking and talking with God face to face!  It’s hard for us to imagine how perfectly whole and happy and amazing it is there.  In fact I don’t think our little minds could grasp it, even if we *could* imagine it.  So I wouldn’t ask you to leave.  I just wish it would be possible for you to visit here.

Since you went home to be with Jesus, so much has happened here.  I’ve had 3 babies!  All girls, and all SO much fun!  You would just love them.  We talk about you all the time, and they regularly ask for “Unca Billy” stories.  Just last night Cloe asked me again about the time you caught that little hummingbird, right out of the air.  A few weeks ago she was waiting for something and said “I’ll just have to be patient like Unca Billy.” 🙂 I can’t wait for you to meet her someday.  And Gabi, when she sees your picture, says “he so handsome hu Mama?”  You’ll love her, too.  She’s a total handful, and completely precious.  I know you and Brennah will be great friends too, because she’s just like Kimberly.  I also lost 3 babies to miscarriages over the years.  But perhaps you already know them?  Remember after my first miscarriage (just 2 months before you went Home) you brought me a Selah CD?  It had a song about a miscarried baby and said “Heaven will hold you before we do.”  It adds an element of peace to my heart to think that you are there with Jesus, looking after those babies.

We moved to Mexico almost 5 yrs ago!  Remember how we used to talk about you coming to visit?  You and Nathan would day-dream about kayaking and rock-climbing down here together.  I would give just about anything for that to happen.  But now I try to just look forward to what Heaven will be like.  Knowing that you are already there makes it seem even sweeter.

I can’t believe it’s been 6 yrs since you went home.  In some ways, it seems like it’s been SO much longer.  It makes me sad that so much has happened since you left.  Other times though, it feels like it was just yesterday that we were talking up in the loft until almost midnight.  That was the last conversation we had together, and I will treasure it always.

I guess I could go on for a long time about things I want to share with you and how much you are missed.  But I will close by saying that no one has forgotten you here!  We still talk about your love for Jesus, your loyalty to your family, your great hockey skills, and so much more!  I miss your smile, and SO look forward to seeing it again.  I love you!

Tickled pink


You may laugh once you read this post.  You may think “simple pleasures for simple minds” or even “wow she’s ridiculous.”  But I’m ok with that!  Really I am.  Because today I started something that I’ve been wanting to do for years!

I started a Starbucks mug collection.

Are you laughing?  I know it’s silly.  But seriously, I’ve wanted to collect those city mugs for SO long!  The one they have for Denver is so cool.  It has a pic of the mountains, stats on the altitude and stuff… it’s just cool.  I used to travel a LOT (Russia, Singapore, Malaysia, Alaska, and all over the US) and wish I would’ve started my collection back then!!!  But better late than never, right?  I keep thinking about how cool it would be to have a shelf of these mugs.

My Grandma Zercher used to have the coolest little collection of bells.  I don’t know how many she had in reality, but in my memory there were at least 50.  Maybe it was 150?  Anyway it was a lot.  I remember being in awe of this assortment of bells that she had collected over the years.  She would patiently answer one after another “what about this one? where did you get it?”  Without ever missing a beat she would say “your grandpa bought that one for me…” or “that was a gift from my sister.”  She had a story to go along with every single one.  I loved that!  I would think “someday I’ll have a collection… of something…”  I can’t collect bells though.  That wouldn’t be very original, would it?  I’ve never been into silver spoons or glass shoes or vintage hats.  What am I into?  Starbucks.  And kids.  But I can’t really put those on my shelf… they’re too wiggly.

At any rate, the collection has begun.  I am so happy!  Not to mention grateful for a husband who, even as he rolls his eyes, says “whatever makes you smile, babe.”  He thinks it’s silly too.  But like I said, I’m ok with that.  😉

And so, without further ado, I present to you the first of my collection!

Merida, Mexico!

Great with destiny – Happy Mother’s Day!


My willingness to carry life is the revenge, the antidote, the great
rebuttal of every murder, every abortion, and every genocide. I sustain
humanity. Deep inside of me, life grows. I am death’s opposition.

I have pushed back the hand of darkness today. I have caused there to
be a weakening tremor among the ranks of those set on earth’s
destruction. Today a vibration that calls angels to attention echoed
throughout time. Our laughter threatened hell today.

I dined with the greats of God’s army. I made their meals, and tied
their shoes. Today, I walked with greatness, and when they were tired I
carried them. I have poured myself out for the cause today.

It is finally quiet, but life stirs inside of me. Gaining strength, the
pulse of life sends a constant reminder to both good and evil that I
have yielded myself to Heaven and now carry its dream. No angel has
ever had such a privilege, nor any man. I am humbled by the honor.
I am great with destiny.

I birth the freedom fighters. In the great war, I am a leader of
underground resistance. I smile at the disguise of my troops,
surrounded by a host of warriors, destiny swirling, invisible yet
tangible, and the anointing to alter history. Our footsteps marking
land for conquest, we move undetected through the common places.

Today I was the barrier between evil and innocence. I was the gate
keeper, watching over the hope of mankind, and no intruder trespassed.
There is not an hour of day or night when I turn from my post. The
fierceness of my love is unmatched on earth.

And because I smiled instead of frowned the world will know the power
of grace. Hope has feet, and it will run to the corners of earth,
because I stood up against destruction.

I am a woman. I am a mother. I am the keeper and sustainer of life here
on earth. Heaven stands in honor of my mission. No one else can carry
my call. I am the daughter of Eve. Eve has been redeemed. I am the
opposition of death. I am a woman.

~ Christianna Reed Maas, 2010

The other side of the immigration problem


As in, on the other side of the border.  It’s something I’ve been concerned about for a long time.  For some reason, it’s on my mind this-morning!  I get SO worked up when I read things in the news about illegal immigrants who think the United States owes them something.  Anything, for that matter!  Where’s the logic?  Sneak across the border, then demand free health care and education and jobs without taxes?  What???  People (like myself) who were born in the US and have generations of ancestors born in the US still pay taxes and pay (through the nose) for health care.  Why would you get it for free just because you didn’t get caught crossing the border?

I’ve decided that the problem here is flawed thinking.  It starts waaaaaay South of the border.  People here (and even further South, in Guatemala) see the US as the promised land.  Where everyone has SO much money, they don’t know what to do with it.  Every other person is a mini-star with money dripping from their finger tips.  So much so that we all spend thousands of dollars on a dog collar, millions on a house, and countless amounts on hair and beauty products.  Okay, so some of that might be true.  But I definitely wouldn’t call it a fair picture of the general population, would you??

Down here, many people have a “community” mind-set.  I’m not sure I can describe it, but I’ll try.  It’s like the whole “it takes a village” thought… but not just about raising kids.  What’s mine is yours and what’s yours is mine.  If you have a bunch of furniture and I have none, then you owe it to me to share.  You have 2 cars and I have none, so I’m perfectly within my rights to take one of your cars.

Yeah, it’s bizarre.  And hard for me to fathom.  How do they figure that if they worked hard to earn something, it’s ok for me to come and claim it?  I certainly don’t understand it.

What’s more bothersome to me though, are all the ones left behind by those illegal immigrants.  We know many women who have been raising kids and trying to survive down here, all alone.  Because at some point, their husband said “I can make so much more money if I can get to the US.”  So he and truck-full of his buddies take off, with the promise of returning rich.  Amazingly, some of them have!  But most don’t.  One lady in particular has just assumed that her husband was killed somewhere along the way because he hasn’t contacted them for 7 yrs.  Another lady decided her husband wasn’t coming back (after several years of no contact) so she remarried, mostly out of the need to survive and take care of her kids.  Then one day, husband #1 comes back to town!  Naturally, he wasn’t particularly pleased with the new arrangement.

The long and short of it is that we, the American citizens, are not the only ones suffering because of the MASSIVE immigration problem.  We are all in dire need of a solution!  When illegals are caught sneaking across the border, they ship them back here.  Where, we’ve been told, the Mexican gov’t gives them a little food and water and puts them on a bus back up to the border to try again.  What???  Will someone with some kind of power PLEASE do something???

I do not appreciate that attitude that the US owes anyone anything.  But I have come to a place where I can’t really blame them for trying to get across, either.  They hear stories of untold wealth that they don’t stand a chance of finding here.  The occasional good man would love to provide that for his family, even at the risk of losing his life. It does take a bit of valor to even attempt it.

One last thought on this.  Thanks to there being SO many illegals in the US, law-abiding Mexicans have a ridiculously hard time getting a visa to visit our beautiful country!  I have American girl friends married to Mexican men who have been trying for years to get a visa to the US.  Just so they can spend Christmas there with her family!  It’s really the epitomy of unfair.

I am so curious as to what this situation is going to look like in 10 more years.  The US is rapidly becoming a Spanish-speaking country.  US kids are getting in trouble for wearing their own flag on a t-shirt to school??  We need to start speaking out.  Unless you’re ok with the US being one great big New Mexico!