31 August 2009

Adoption Auction

Hi everyone. I'm slowly transitioning from Mexico missions stuff back to adoption details. We're working hard at adoption details, including raising funds. To offset the cost of our adoption, we're hosting an adoption auction fundraiser. This will be an online auction for about 2 weeks followed by a dessert and live auction here in Iowa. We've had several donations of items and greatly appreciate that. Realistically though, there's a need for more donations. If you have an item or service to share, I want you to be able to do so. Please let me know ASAP if you would be willing to donate to our auction. To give you an idea of some of the donations so far, here's a list:
prom dresses worn only once
· tie blankets
· hand knitted scarves
· free baby sitting
· baby quilt
· custom designed cards
· hand crafted jewelry
· antique hand quilted quilt
· framed wolf print
· acrylic painting
· silver bracelet that doesn't fit them
... hmm, i bet I have some stuff like that...especially a bracelet from an old boyfriend. Some other things come to mind as great items too:
gym memberships
· guitar lessons
· educational tutoring
· photography sitting
· photography lessons
· livestock - for a pet or for meat
· something you make - either professionally or as a hobby
· Supplies left over from something you sold (mary kay, creative memories, etc)
· that new pair of shoes or jacket you never returned
· that really cool international item you bought but don't know what to do with
These are things I think of cause they're things I like/want but don't necessarily need. Anyway, let me know. We would be much appreciated to hear back from you either way. Just to give you an update on where we're at in the process, I'll share that too. On Monday night we viewed the profile of a waiting child and will be presented to the selection committtee for him. Chances are it won't amount to anything but I live by faith, not by coincidence. I'm trusting in God's will on this, regardless of the outcome. But before we can move too much further, we have lots to do. We have to pay the remainder of our application fee. We have the contract and invoice at home to sign and return. We have to do our finger printing for our background investigation and gather up our birth and marriage certificates. We will be emailing our tax info today or tomorrow. Those we named as references are working on their surveys. After that, we head to LeGrand Iowa for the first part of our adoption education requirements. The process is moving along now and we're excited for the end result! Thanks so much for being willing to participate in our journey.

28 August 2009


Ryan is returning the favor of solo parenting for a week. This will be fun! We're having a camp out this weekend. Safe to say that we'll be tenting it inside the house. Scott thinks all 3 of us can fit in his tent. He's right but it wouldn' t be comfortable. He assured me that if we didn't fit, I could sleep on the frog's tongue (its a frog shaped tent and has a ton that rolls out of the mouth).

Also on the docket, CLEAN house. And maybe can some more tomatos.

26 August 2009


*** updated to share that I was so tired last night that I wanted to go to bed when I got home. Thank you Lord for providing the energy I needed last night. I did bathe the kids, I didn't finish Mexico TY's but I did get the cards cut that I'm adding to them. I did work on my mexico scrapbook a little. I did get one load of laundry washed and in the dryer. I ate Taco salad for supper. It was healthy and a good thing I didn't say I wanted to eat a small portion size cause I ate a ton of taco salad. The only thing I didn't do was my eval for my mexico trip. Maybe during a lunch break today.
I totally emailed a blog post last night but it didn't show up... who knows. I'm still in hiding and spending my free time working on my Mexico scrapbook.

Hubby took me on a date last night. It was really fun and very thoughtful. On the way to the theater, we listened to a really funny FamilyLife podcast. We stopped at some friends' for a short visit before walking to the dollar theater to watch The Proposal. It was cute and we laughed and laughed. On the way home we listened to the 2nd podcast from the comedian dude and laughed some more. I needed that.

We got home and had one of our late night chats about life and how I feel like I'm doing as a mom, wife and career person. It was tiring but good.

Today I need a nap.

Unfortunately, I have lots to do tonight: bathe kids, address Mexico thank you's, work on Mexico scrapbook, start some laundry, eat something healthy, finish my evaluation of my Mexico trip, and SLEEP.

19 August 2009

Blog Banner

I really need to update my blog banner. But there are more important things in life right now. I hope to have a new post up on our adoption blog this afternoon about something that God has put on my heart. Check it out.

17 August 2009


I think life is done revolving around Mexico for now. Don't get me wrong, I loved every minute of Mexico life but at the same time I think my husband felt like he was a single parent some days.

Friday night our team met for our post trip meeting. It was a good time of reflection and asking questions about the trip. Like everything we've done, it was a little rushed but I'm thankful that our leader is understanding of our need for family time and allows for the rush.

Sunday after church was a mad rush to get home, eat something, and get back to the church. Ryan baked me a cake on Saturday (while I cleaned his bathroom) and I decorated it to look like the Mexican flag. At 330 wet met Mexico City Pastor Jaime's son, Israel (and wife) at the church. They are living just 2 hours from us and came up for our evening presentation. We visited a little and headed to a neighboring town for Mexican food. We got back in time for our presentation. It was a good, but lengthy, time. After the fact I thought we should have spent more time reminiscing on Friday night rather than rushing home. As we sat through the slide show of amazing photography by Kara, I moved to sit with Israel and Paola. Watching the slide show certainly made me miss our experience there so I asked Israel if it made him miss home. It did. So much that he shed a few tears.

We were blessed in so many ways last night. Blessed to share with our community. Blessed to meet another member of the Becerra family. Blessed to connect with each other. And blessed to hear from Israel that according to what he saw in pictures and the stories he heard, that he thinks we did transform that area. I'm so blessed to have played a tiny role in that community.

This morning should be back to work as normal, right? Only its still not so normal. Thoughts of Mexico are still impacting me. Ryan and I had a little date night on Saturday (woo hoo!) and we watched confessions of a shopaholic. It was so sad to think that our culture really is like that after having been in Mexico where people have very little and where $4 is a lot of money. Within just a few hours I received 3 emails from Mexico friends and am distracted beyond mention. Oh how I wish it was 2 hours away and I could go there for the weekend!

*** A big thank you to my amazing love for being supportive and loving while I prepared for Mexico, while I was gone, and even after returning home but still busy with Mexico things. I love you!

13 August 2009

Thoughts on Mexico

How I do condense 9 amazing days into something short enough to keep your attention??? Sometimes I write on my blog as a means of journaling and having something to reflect back on later in life. For this trip, I journaled in my actual journal each day while I was gone. Let me try to capture a few things that I learned about myself, about God, about missions in general and about life in a foreign country:

There is no doubt that I like to know what's going on and what the schedule will be. It wasn't so much a control issue. Our last afternoon was spent in Mexico City. I knew the shops closed at 6pm and was eagerly awaiting the opportunity to get off the bus. After 6pm, I had no clue what was next. I'd heard that the Pastor had a surprise for us. Later, after walking, travelling by subway, then by bus, and then walking a long while more, I asked where we were going. It was closing in on 8pm and we hadn't eaten; my feet were tired and my belly was hungry. From the time we left the shops until the time we arrived at our suprise meal place (they thought we wanted American food our last day... how sweet), there was no communication about what was going on. I enjoyed the adventure but would have done so well if I knew up front that we were meeting after 8pm for supper with the Pastor.
Having a schedule helps keep me sane but so does quiet time with God. This is a constant struggle of mine as I wear many hats. I typically get 3 decent quiet times each week (when Ryan leaves to work out in the morning) and then some sporadic prayer and quiet time in between. Prioritizing time with God was awesome and I realized how much I'm missing... how much I'm cheating myself. Reading through 1 Thessalonians was a perfect fit for the week and I'm treasuring that still.
I continued to learn that I need to constantly check my attitude and also need to constantly be thinking about how I'm portraying Christ. Both of these came as reminders from Isaac when he'd playfully tell me that I needed Jesus or that I need to change my attitude.

He will use whatever means necessary to bring glory to His name. Even if its through a fun skit that has no biblical meaning. Our translator tied it back to God's love some how.
God wants us to pray for our leaders. That seems so far removed for me. Sure I know who our president is and what he looks like but I don't know him. I've never walked in his shoes or sat in his chair. One evening during our trip we were taken to the state political offices where we were taken right inside. No metal detectors, no police guards. Just people working hard at what they do. We were taken to the Senator's cabinet room where they meet to make the laws that affect their state. And while there, I took time to specifically pray for the man whose seat I was occupying. It was so personal and such an honor to do so. After our speaker, our group gathered together and did the same thing. They believe in praying for their leaders - the ones who can have big and quick impacts on their community.
God gives us love and discipline when needed. When I was struggling with my thoughts and attitude on multiple occassions, God gave me the perfect passage each time. Some of those times it fit right into where I was reading in first Thess and one time it was out of proverbs where I happened to turn. But none of those times did I have to dig and search for something fitting, God brought it right up to the surface.

I thought I knew the exact definition of missions. Turns out that I'm wrong about a lot of things, including this. Because of my past experiences, I thought missions meant construction work and VBS. Interestingly enough, I've done at least one missions trip that wasn't related to either of those. Still, I had my preconceived ideas. Missions can in fact be used to encourage the believers and support them. Not knowing the details of our trip until right before we left, I prayed and prayed that God would use me to encourage the believers who are serving there. I think that did happen (in addition to the VBS). I was able to get to know and encourage the youth and a few of the adults. It was so great one day to just sit and massage our translators shoulders. She loved it. Another evening, I massaged the Pastor's wife's shoulders. She loved it.
Missions looks differently to different people. I would have loved to participated at an orphanage with the children, and to enter into more people's lives. I'm prayerfully considering how God would have me involved in Huixquilucan missions in the future - will it be through veterinarian work and Ryan, through conservation, through children... we'll see.

[life in a foreign country]
Culture shock is to be expected. It wasn't shocking to me but that may be because I've been in those environments before. What I didn't realize was that reverse culture shock would affect me for days after returning home. I loved being in a foreign country, having to depend on God when my Spanish failed and there wasn't a translator nearby. I loved seeing how others lived, the meals they ate, the games they played, etc. What I loved most about the times I just got to hang out was playing soccer. No words needed but relationships and trust was being built. Those high school boys and girls who really didn't have anything to do with me early in the week were my little buddies by the end. I also realized the importance of patience when translating and learned first hand how understanding the differences in language can be embarrassing and funny. In the spanish language there is no "th" sound. When Isaac commented about my teeth and left the "H" off the end, he had no clue the impact of his choice of words. You can imagine. I thought it was hilarious and gently let him know to use the spanish word for teeth in the future.
When you stay in a town with a firework factory, its good to know that. Its also good to know that the loud noises in the morning are not gunfire - they are fireworks. At 5am. I still don't understand why, but that's how it was every single day.
Toilet seats are a guarantee in every American bathroom that I've been in. Not so much in Mexico. At the Pastor's house I was surprised to see no seat and only used that bathroom one time to squat and pee. It was way to much work on my lazy legs. I determined it must be a guy only bathroom. Several days later when I inquired about the toilet seat issue, Isaac explained that a bathroom for women only has no need for a toilet seat since they don't stand to urinate and get it dirty. If a guy is using the bathroom, there is a toilet seat so that it can be lifted and then put back down when a woman needs to sit. Who knew. All week I sat on a skinny rimmed seatless toilet!

To say that I had a great time is an understatement. I loved the entire experience. I loved that 12 of us girls could share a bathroom and manage. I loved that at least half of us were having monthly issues yet there were no arguments. I loved that the people were so friendly. I love that the Pastor and his family became like my own family. I don't love that I miss it so much but I love that God gave me a love for a people and a place that I thought I was only going out of obedience and not expecting to like it.

Did I mention that Sunday night we're presenting to the community about our trip? The eldest son of the Mexican Pastor, Israel (and his wife Paola), are living just 2 hours from us. They're coming up to meet us and listen to our presentation. I'm so stinkin' excited to meet them and to share with our community. Join us Sunday night at 630 at the FBC in Elgin if you want to hear about the others' stories and see some amazing pictures (a photographer was on our team). Enough for now... maybe more later.

10 August 2009

Mexico Pictures

Click here to view these pictures larger

It works out pretty well to put these here right from Shutterfly. Problem is that I didn't get to explain them. Well hopefully in the next few days I'll get a chance to share some of my thoughts from my journaling over that week and that will maybe explain some of the pictures. Bare with me... I'm trying to catch up on lots of things, including sleep :)


I'm home from Mexico and still trying to process it all. I think reverse culture shock is a bit of an issue. When we stopped Rochester for a bite to eat, I felt really akward walking on such a huge, clean sidewalk with no one and no noise around.

Would you pray for me as I continue to process the trip, seek God on how I feel He's burdening my heart, all while I'm expected to jump right back into the home and work environments that I left.

I was so glad to be home but so sad to be gone from Mexico.

Last night I got the most sleep I've had in 9 days and was even in a bed. But today I'm exhausted!