Sunday, November 23, 2008

Once Upon a Time- Paradise Lost

Being a missionary is really sort of a heartbreak assignment. When you’re on the field you miss your loved ones at home, when you’re at home you miss folks from the field, there is always change, transition, goodbyes….

I don’t think I’ll ever forget the first time I realized this, long before I realized I would be a missionary. My husband came home from class in seminary one day with the campus newsletter in hand. “I’ve found our calling!” he said.

A church of 35 people in Hawaii wanted an intern for one year. We called them and four weeks later, we were on a plane. When we arrived, we were greeted by church members, who presented us with leis and chattered excitedly using many strange words that we didn’t understand--Likelike, Kamehameha, Liliuokalani (I later found out these were street names).

Something inside me said, “You will never be as happy again as you were a few minutes ago. While you are here, you will miss home. You will fall in love with these people and when you go home, you will miss them.”

I never got over leaving Hawaii….

Friday, November 21, 2008

As the World Shrinks

I'll be taking time out tonight from a course I'm taking, offered last weekend in Phoenix and downloaded via internet, to watch Jeff at the South America Summit, also in Phoenix, also via internet.
Afterwards, they should be archiving the video here. Jeff begins speaking around minute 41.
What I want to know is, "Whassup with Phoenix?"
Go figure.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Schedule - the most boring NaBloPoMo ever!

I struggled for weeks to settle into a good housekeeping schedule. Finally, here it is:
Monday - Wash sheets and towels, bathrooms (easy way to start the week)
Tuesday - Floors
Wednesday - Grocery (sale day at our supermarket)
Thursday - Dust
Friday - Kitchen (since I'm in there all afternoon for pizza/movie night preparations)
Saturday - Iron (not that I've actually done this yet)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cam, edition 4.1

Launched today, thus officially beginning the holiday season!

Monday, November 17, 2008


On Sunday nights, I like to serve pancakes and applesauce for supper. I don't like to brave the grocery on weekends, so these are ingredients I can buy during the week that'll last until Sunday night.

Here's my applesauce recipe:

Peel, core and quarter 12-15 apples
Place in large pot with 2 cinnamon sticks, 1/4 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon citric acid (or juice of 1/2 lemon or lime).
Boil until apples are translucent (30 min?)
Pull out cinnamon sticks. Smash apple quarters with a fork.
Stir to incorporate liquid.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Very Restful Weekend

I had such a restful weekend!! It was wonderful! I had caught up all my housework and cooking. We ate leftovers Saturday noon and night. I did the boys Saturday homeschooling in the morning and slept ALL AFTERNOON!!
We all slept late this morning (church doesn't start until 10:30 here).
What a treat!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chocolate-Peanut Butter Pizza

Every Friday night is Pizza/Movie Night here at the Dunson household. This means that Mommy spends Friday afternoon in the kitchen.
Then menu doesn't vary. We do two Pineapple/Canadian Bacon, one Pepperoni, and one Chocolate, usually with peanut butter.
It's a simple recipe, I take pizza dough for one pizza and mix in 1 teaspoon of cinnamon while kneading. Bake the crust for 10 minutes or so. Spread with peanut butter and top with grated semi-sweet chocolate shavings. Bake for another 5 minutes until the chocolate melts (being careful not to overcook).
There you go! Fancy-schmancy!

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I've been going to Curves (Pronounced in Brazil: KUR - vays) for a month now.
I'm amazed at the results.
I've not dieted, except to not TOTALLY PIG OUT.
I had my first evaluation the other day. I've lost two kilograms (that's 4.4 pounds). I've lost centimeters everywhere (most places 1 or 2).
But the best thing of all is to see my body return. Little pieces of me are suddenly recognizable as what I remember me looking like (in college, the last time I had lots of time to look at myself).
It happened first on the apartment elevator. I looked in the mirror and suddenly saw a tricep. No wait -- 2 triceps!! My college arms were coming back!!
About a week later, I looked down at my knees. There were MY knees!! I don't know where they've been the past ten years or so but they certainly weren't there!!
I'm so excited!!
Thanks, Cur-vays!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My New Favorite Workout

OK, so it's not my FAVORITE, but I have to do it anyway so I might as well burn some calories.
See, in Brazil, it is imperative that you sweep (or vacuum) and mop your WHOLE HOUSE every day. So, once a week I vacuum and mop the apartment. My family takes shoes off at the door, which is why I don't have to do it every day.

Up until last week, Jeff was helping me. I would vacuum and he would mop, or vice versa. Well, in his post-shingles fatigued state, I decided to do both last week and I was SO PROUD! I did it!! The only thing was I didn't stretch out afterwards so I was REALLY SORE the rest of the week. That's when it occured to me--this has to be aerobic!

So, as you read this I'll have on my heart rate monitor and Ipod and I'll be melting the pounds away to this playlist:

Precious Plankton Dances in the Kitchen
1. Baby Got Book (Dan Smith)
2. Dragostea Din Tei (O-ZONE)
3. Instanbul (Not Constantinople) (TMBG)
4. The Heart of Rock & Roll (Huey Lewis and the News)
5. Jailhouse Rock (Elvis)
6. Escher's World (Chagall Guevara)
7. Boycott Hell (Newwboys)
8. The Pascagoula Run (live at Usc) (Jimmy Buffett)
9. The Great Adventure (Steven Curtis Chapman)
10. House of Faith (Geoff Moore & the Distance)
11. Time is... (DC Talk)
12. I Like to Move It from Madagascar (The Party Cats)
13. I'm Not Ashamed (Newsboys)
14. Twist and Shout (The Isley Brothers)
15. Jump (Van Halen)
16. Livin' La Vida Louca (Ricky Martin)
17. What I Like About You (The Romantics)
18. WHOOMP! There It Is (Tag Team)
19. U Can't Touch This (MC Hammer)
20. Walk Like an Egyptian (The Bangles)
21. She Blinded Me with Science (Thomas Dolby)
22. Who Let the Dogs Out (Baha Men)
23. Superman (R.E.M.)
24. Oh, Yeah (Yello)
25. Don't Worry, Be Happy (Bobby McFerrin) --to cool down

I'll post cardiac results afterwards.

Results (not as good as I expected):
Time 1:09, that's one HOUR, not one minute
average heart rate 106, that's 59% of my maximum

It varied greatly, between 98 and 122, depending on what I was doing.

Monday, November 10, 2008


This is funny.

Our kids do grow up with an amazing knowledge of technology these days.
On the way home from music class today, Parker and I were singing that 10 Little Indians song.
You know, One little, two little, three little Indians,
Four little, five little, six little Indians,
Seven little, eight little, nine little Indians,
Ten little Indian boys!

Parker decided to change it around a bit:
One little, two little, three little Ipods,

oh my!!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Tentmaking Opportunity

A brilliant idea from fellow missys here in PoA:

is here

I would so love to see our school filled with believers!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Once Upon a Time -- The Little Rock

Once upon a time there was a Little Rock. Bigger than a pebble, smaller than a big rock. Little Rock lived on top of a big rock in the middle of a stream.
One day, it rained upstream. The stream's water rose. And rose. Soon it was a rushing, gushing river with rapids and currents swirling all around the big rock. Sticks, leaves and rocks floated by, swept up in the current.
Little Rock stayed on top.
Little Rock stayed dry.
Little Rock was hot.
Hot and dry, a little dusty,
Little Rock had no idea the river even existed.
Poor Little Rock.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Changes in Latitude....

Sometimes it's really bizarre living south of the equator. Time zones illustrate one of the strangest realities of this...
See, we're two time zones east of the US east coast. This means that we are 1, 2 or 3 hours ahead of Eastern time.
During the US Summer months, the US is on Daylight Savings time, we are on Standard Time and we are one hour ahead. During the US Winter months, the US is on Standard Time and we are on Daylight Savings Time and we are 3 hours ahead. There is a period on either end of a few weeks in which we are only 3 hours ahead.
Weird, huh?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

High Tech Tools for Missy's part 2 -- ITunes

5. I-Tunes With the increasing spiritism, violence and perversion on TV, many of us have gotten disgusted with the tube. We had three families here rip out the cable in the same month for this reason (we didn't decide this together, each family made the decision on their own) I heard a preacher say once that Christians don't have more intimacy from God because they were, "always in front of the hellivision and all that gives them is devilvision."
Anyway, the thing is I just love to watch TV. With I-Tunes, I can legally download shows one episode at a time and only bring into my home that which I choose. I spend about $2-4 per week on kids shows and about $5-7 per month on stuff for me. I gave Jeff a show season (Stargate Atlantis) for his birthday, which got me off the hook at the last minute.

I-Tunes is also useful for other things. You can buy songs, one at a time. No more buying a whole CD to get one song. Then you can group songs into playlists and burn them to CDs to take on the road.

You can also hear 30 seconds of any song, free. This is good for culture education for the kids. Questions like, "Mommy, who is Elvis?" or "What's RocknRoll?" or "I have to investigate what is rap music for school tomorrow" can be answered with a few searches and no committments.

You don't need an IPod to use ITunes. We just watch stuff on the computer mostly. But if you do have an IPod, then you have an instant, tremendously portable way to keep the kids occupied during car trips, doctor's appointments, siblings' suzuki lessons, etc.

BUT, the VERY BEST THING about ITunes is podcasts. Podcasts are free, downloadable audio or video files that just anyone can put out there and you can download them. Many major ministries (almost anyone with a TV or radio program) have podcasts of their broadcasts. Search for them on the store under podcasts, and then hit subscribe. Every time they post a new edisode, your computer will download it automatically the next time you open ITunes.
There are news podcasts, where you can hear 1-30 minutes of news from the states. There are kids podcasts, like Sesame Street and They Might Be Giants.
There are exercise podcasts, like Pilates on Fifth.
There are humor podcasts, like Short Cummings Audio or NPR's Car Talk Call of the Week.

You can even become a podcaster yourself and put your own recordings out there for your fans to download. I'm hoping to shortly have the September Month of Prayer for the Gaucho People videos in podcast form. Podcasting for Dummies is an excellent resource for getting started.

Well, those are the high tech tools for missys that we have discovered so far. Now if Scotty would just get that transporter up and running!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

High Tech Tools for Missys - part 1

(Missy being missionary, not necessarily young female).

Our planet is getting smaller and smaller. Gone are the days (Praise God!) when missionaries packed their belongings in their coffins and sailed off over the horizon never to be seen again. Gone are the days of waiting a month to get a response to the letter you wrote yesterday. Gone are the days (I HOPE!) of annual missionary prayer letters!

In order of importance:
1. Skype If you don't know what skype is, I don't know what rock you live under, but you need to crawl out from under it. It does require broadband, but you can access it from a lan house. Free calls computer-to-computer, cheap calls elsewhere. It is actually cheaper to call Jeff's cell phone using skype than using our home phone, or my cell. Chat is also available if you don't want to commit to an actual voice conversation (or if you need to be quiet when kids nap).

2. Facebook is not much of a tool for those of us with kids still at home, but it becomes invaluable when you send a kid back for college. You can spy on them and their friends, see pictures, write notes. Of course, it goes without saying that if you have a kid on facebook, you need to be on there spying on them. And, of course, anyone in youth or college ministry needs a presence there. I have enjoyed it mostly for keeping up with missy colleagues around the country who are on there spying on their teenage children.

3. Blogging I would think blogging would be an absolute necessity for any missy raising funds and wanting to keep their ministry before their supporters. Even though as IMB missys we don't solicit funds, my husband uses his blog to solicit prayer support for our ministry. We have blogs for each of our boys to give them some writing/computer practice and to give the grandparents some photofodder. As you can see here, my blog is for mostly therapeutic purposes.

4. Strategic There are a LOT of missy resources on strategic network, but the two we have used the most are the e-groups and the missiology articles. With Jeff working on his doctorate long-distance the articles on this website have been a tremendous help! For a small yearly subscription fee, we have access to the major missiological journals.

The e-groups feature is how we send out our prayer letters. With all the SPAM blockers out there nowadays, it's very hard to convince all the email servers that you are legitimate if you're sending out 500 copies of an email message. We were getting blocked not only by our server for sending too many messages, but by the recipients servers, for looking like SPAM. So, we set up a group on Strategic networks with everyone's email and then we just mail one message to the group. Everyone gets their copy and we don't get blocked by spam blockers. There is a little bit of a learning curve, but it's well worth it to be able to be in touch with the folks who pray for you.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I've Been Tagged!!

I’ve been tagged!! Actually, I got tagged months ago by Kerri Hamilton, who is on her way to Brazil TODAY with her husband and four children to serve here in Rio Grande do Sul. So, it seems fitting to post the tag blog today in her honor.
You see, as I have a TON.of.blogs. in my reader and the writers are always getting “tagged” by one of their many hundreds of readers and finally one of them tagged ME!! Yeah!
Anyway, here are the rules:
Here are the rules:
*Link the person who tagged you.
*Mention the rules in your blog.
*Tell about six unspectacular quirks of yours.
*Tag a new set of six following bloggers by linking them

So, I’m supposed to explain 6 "unspectacular" quirky things about myself. It’s taken me a week to narrow it down to just 6…Here goes:

1. I totally don’t get video games. AT.ALL. I don’t know if it’s lack of hand-eye coordination or the terror that came from the knowledge that if that little frog got squished on the road, it was ALL MY FAULT. I have never played though a whole one or enjoyed anything about them (except for the peace and quiet I get when hubby and the boys play together).
2. I totally don’t get sports, thanks to a high school gym experience that is a subject best left for another post and, possibly, therapy.
3. I fantasize about being a long-haul big rig driver. (*sigh*) Just me in my big rig, open road, lots of GPS-type gadgets and no veggietunes on the cd player….aaahhh…. Breaker Good Buddy…
4. It took me 20 years to realize The Official Preppy Handbook was a satire. I still choose to live (or at least dress) by it.
5. Actually, along those same lines, I never really left the 80s. But, reuniting with college friends on facebook has shown me that this isn’t as quirkly as I thought it was.
6. I LOVE living high in the sky in a small apartment. Easy to clean, compact, and I can look out the window, wave at the little people below and pretend I’m queen.

I am tagging:

Tim Black
My Hubby
Lori Vernon
Bill Cook
Keri Cunningham

Monday, November 03, 2008

Easy Chicken Whatever...A Suzuki Mom Favorite

It has been said that "chicken is the canvas on which the chef paints..."
and, as any Suzuki Mom, or baseball mom, or swimmom, or bowling mom, or whatever knows, dinner prep on lesson day is rough.
Leftover night works for one night a week, but I can't squeeze two out of it. So, we have crockpot night.
One of the easiest options is to throw some skinless chicken (I use legs) into the crockpot, sprinkle lightly with Mrs. Dash, or Seasoned Salt, or something like that and cook it. High for 2 hours or Low for 3-4.
Then I pour on some sauce of some sort. Tonight it's Uncle Ben's Sweet and Sour. If I were in the states, I'd probably use a flavor packet of something.
Put it on some jasmine rice, and voila!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The buried post...

This is too good not to share. Still, I'm posting it early so it'll be buried soonest...

Saturday, November 01, 2008


It's that time again folks!!
National Blog Posting Month 2008 (NaBloPoMo) is finally here!!
I figure this should get me nicely back on the blogging bandwagon.
You can be sure that:
1. There will be a post everyday.
2. I will be cheating (backdating and frontdating and such)
3. There will be some really good recipes, stories, spoilers, etx.
4. There will be some junk.