Welcome to Panama!

{What I image a day in Panama  could be like.}Following is a story I wrote about myself doing something I only dream about:)  Enjoy!

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A Day in Panama

The rooster crowed loudly from his perch on the fence outside my bedroom window ,seemingly proud to have the ‘job’ of awakening me from my wonderful slumber each morning.

” Not already, Ralph.” I  mutter as  I groggily roll over. “Let me sleep.” I peek at the clock and am surprised to see it read ‘5:59’. ” Okay fine, Ralph. Thanks for the wake-up call.”I  say to myself as I hurriedly dress and prepare for the day. I had overslept 15 minutes and now  was paying the consequences by having a hurried morning.

” Sorry about oversleeping,” I apologize to Anna and Reba as I slip into my chair at the table to eat a hurried breakfast of hot tortillas and eggs. ” Busy days, late nights, and early mornings apparently don’t mix.”

“It happens,” Anna smiled  ,her eyes twinkling, ” Just ask Reba.”

I grin. Reba was either too groggy or too busy thinking to hear Anna’s comment and didn’t even realize her  name was mentioned.

At 6:20  we 3 staff girls walk the half mile to the Open Arms Orphanage  where our work begins .

Buenos dias, ninos“{good morning ,boys} we called to the boys who were feeding the animals and milking the two cows.

We now have 20 minutes before the children’s breakfast to get 15 little girls dressed ,combed , and ready for the day. The older ones have school at 8.

After breakfast  I make my way to the kitchen to help with the breakfast dishes . I enjoy this time because it gives me an opportunity to get to know Roberta better and also practice some of the difficult Spanish.

“What’s on the lunch menu, Roberta?” I ask as I get dishwater and tackle the mountain of dishes.

“Well, let’s see. I was thinking chicken soup, bread, beans,and mango -pineapple dessert. What do you think?”

“Is the soup with or without chicken feet? ” I ask skeptically. As I discovered soon after moving to Panama, chicken feet aren’t what I used to think they were. Seeing them float in the soups and then having them land in your bowl is way different than just imagining eating them.

Roberta grins. She , being a native to Panama, enjoys watching the American’s reactions to Panama’s cuisine. “With , of course!” Is her chipper reply. ” Can’t stand to see them wasted!”

Dishes finished I tend to the needs of the 3 year-olds. They are such a fun group to care for although some days can be quiet tiring .

“Where’s Pete? ” I ask Anna as I enter the play room. ” I haven’t seen him since breakfast.”

” Oh no! He was just here a minute ago. Where could he be?” She said alarmingly.

“You just stay here. I’ll go look for  him . If he’s outside he can’t be too far . ” I said as I left the room.

“Pete!Pete! Where are you?” I call. No answer and no sight of him . Where could he be? I ask the older boys if they had seen him around the barns ,but no one had seen him. Just as I was about to go back inside, I heard Reba exclaim,” What in the world?!Pete, what are you doing in the laundry tub? You know you aren’t suppose to be out here..”

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“It’th hot and thith feelth thoo good!Pleathe may I thtay?I can help you!” Pete pleaded.

“Pete! There you are! And just what are you doing in that tub?” I ask  ,flooded with relief at finally finding the little guy.

“I’th helping Reba wath all or clothing. Thee?I’th wathing my clothing to!He lisped ,sitting proudly in the cool tub of rinse water. There was not one dry spot on him anywhere.

“Come. Let’s go back inside and get dry clothing on you then I’ll read you a story.Okay?” I said as I lifted his dripping little body out of the tub.

“Okay! Let’th go ,Audy!”

Ten minutes later with a favorite book selected and 6 little bodies squished on the old couch, I begin reading the story of Aldo , the Mischievous Monkey for the fourth time that day. I tire of the same old story but never of the children’s giggles at the part where Aldo falls into the water when trying to fight with his reflection.

After lunch it’s nap time for the children. This is the staff’s favorite part of the day after all the little children are sleeping and they can relax or scrub the dining room floor without interruptions.

“Audy. Audy. Hold me.” A small, quiet voice begs. I turn around and see a dejected little girl walking towards me. My heart goes out to this little lass and I pick her up and settle on the rocking chair.

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“What’s wrong , Anita? Can’t you sleep?” I ask gently.

“No, Audy. I’s scared. Bad men get me when I sleep . I want you to hold me so I’s safe.” She whimpered as she snuggled into my arms.

I sing and softly rock back and forth. Before too long her long black lashes cover her big,brown eyes and her even breathing tells me she has fallen asleep.

“This dear girl, She’s faced so much in her young life already coming from an abusive home and filthy living conditions. ” My thoughts turn into a prayer.” Oh, God . Just wrap your arms around Anita and help her to feel you love. Protect her from anymore evil and please rid her slumber of nightmares. She’s yours ,Lord. Keep her safe and help her to know You as she grows older. ”

At 6:30 we girls head back to our small cottage again. Having had supper at the orphanage ,we have the rest of the evening to relax. I decided I was going to kick it back on the sofa with a cup of tea and check my e-mails.

” I wonder if anyone thought of me today and decided to drop me a note ?” I thought as I waited for my laptop to connect to my e-mail. ” Sure could use some encouragement these days. I miss home !”

My e-mails began popping up . One! Two!Three!Four! e-mails! Praise the Lord! Three of the e-mails were from friends and one was from my family.

“Hey girls! Listen to this !” I shout exuberantly , breaking the restful silence. “We , I mean I , am getting company! My family is coming down in a month , the week of my 20th birthday to be exact, and will be staying 2 whole weeks!!”

” That’s exciting!” Anna said from her hammock. ” I always wanted to meet your family. Maybe that will explain why you use Ralph for an alarm clock and ‘accidentally’ sleep in . ” She teased.

“Hey!Give me a break ! It happened only this morning and it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen again or that my family is that way. Besides, we don’t even have a rooster back home….” I was quick to interject.

” I know.I know. I was just giving you a hard time,but it will be interesting t meet your family,” she replied.

Teacup empty and the delightful e-mails read , I decide I had better get to bed or Anna will have something to tease me about ..again if I oversleep.

“Good night ,Anna and Reba,”I said as I stifled a yawn. ” I need some extra time to catch roaches for tomorrow’s breakfast. When it’s my turn to cook,I ‘m all for the quick and easy way! Don’t worry if you hear thumps and crashes. That will just be the time I’ll be after the granddaddy roach ,specially caught for Reba. ”

Reba’s blonde head shot up from the book she was reading and was suddenly very conscious of what I was saying. ” No way! ” she shivered.”Absolutely NO roaches for me! That’s 10 times worse than ishy,gishy chicken toes. I’ll have rotten mangoes before roaches.” Then seeing my grin she quickly added,” Whoops! I didn’t just say that. Never mind!”

“See-ya in the morning ,” I said as I slipped behind my bedroom door. I had much to think about .

Instead of catching roaches, I opened my journal and began recording all that God has shown me in the past 5 months. My prayers and thoughts flowed out of me onto 2 full pages of my notebook . God is good and very real ,even in the country of Panama. I sigh contentedly as I close  the book . He’s got my future in His hands and as it comes one day at a time, I’ll write more in my journal so I can look back and be reminded that I’m never alone!

The Reader’s Input

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Do you enjoying writing and are itching to share your thoughts ,ideas, or story[s] with others on a blog post? Itch no more. I cordially invite you to do a post for me sometime! I don’t care what age ,genderstyle of writing you use or topic you expound on.  Any piece of writing  {within reason} will be enjoyed! Get your name in now by commenting or contacting me!  I will be eagerly waiting to hear from you!

Are you not really into writing but would like to ‘hear’ a specific topic?  I am open to  your ideas ,suggestions, questions, or anything you would like to read on my blog and I will do my best at writing, whether it be answering questions, an explanation on why I do what I do, a book report…. you name it! I’m up for a challenge! {I think! 😉 }

 

People

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People:persons who form part of the aggregate of human beings.2. human beings making up a group or assembly or kinship.~Webster

Genders: Male and female

Appearances:thin, stout,cute, pretty, handsome,homely,short , tall, medium height, dark,blonde, or red hair, fair or darker skin ,young, old

Personality: outgoing,opinionated, shy, quiet, friendly,serious,funny, caring,bold, easy-going, cautious, care-free , responsible

Attitudes:know-it-all, cheerful, willing, servant attitude, grumpy, angry, pessimistic , optomistic, cocky, don’t -tell-me-nothin’, rude, respectful, loving,

Talents:artistic, creative, musical,writing,social …

Roles: manager, father, mother, sibling, husband, wife, minister, song leader, usher, teacher, coach, boss, employee, mentor, student….

People are different. Not one person is exactly like another. Sometimes personalities clash, beliefs and convictions differ, there are distinct likes and dislikes, different opinions and ideas arise,there are Christians and non-christians,background differences…..The list goes on . God made us this way  and  with our differences ,He   instituted the beautiful thing called friendship! The difference of another person may bring out something in us that we didn’t know we had before. Being around different people  teaches us how to better relate to them and others. Some people are harder to get to know whereas others you don’t need to say a word and you know everything about them.  It took a passing comment from a friend to show me the beauty in other people. My one friend opened up and really started talking after I started asking questions and showing interest in her life. People are interesting, sometimes confusing, and fun!

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People , as different as they are , also have  a few things in common.

*Everyone was lovingly created by a Loving Creator.

*Everyone is loved equally by God.

*Everyone’s got a never- dying soul.

*Every single person was born with a sinful nature.

*Every person has a longing , though many times stifled, to know and learn more about God and His Son Jesus.

*Every person has worth, whether they realize it or not.

*Everyone has a story.

*Everyone needs love and respect.

 

In summary.

There are 3 kinds of people.

Those who make things happen.

Those who watch things happen.

And those who wonder what happened.

 

 

 

Books!

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I love reading and am so thankful to be able to have good reading material available! Books have a way of transporting you back into another era, taking you on a trip to the poor orphans in Africa, or inspiring you to become a better person. There is one Book that is like no other in that by reading Its Words you can become a child of God . It gives comfort,peace, and shelter for the lonely, lost soul. It gives direction for the teen who is wanting to know God’s will for his life. It’s God speaking to us ,showing His unending love and mercy to us every day. I love the Bible above all books and am so blessed to be able to read it whenever and where ever I please.

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Here are just a few of my favorite books!

Some Kind of Love by Gloria Miller takes you to a clinic in Liberia, West Africa where adorable but poorly nourished  children are brought to find help and nourishment for their starving bodies. A great book with awesome pictures.

All for Love by Pablo Yoder is a great story of how a young man in Nicaragua came to know Christ. The interesting part is, is that the story was concluded in 2013  and Jose Adan’s story is not finished!

God’s Smuggler by Brother Andrew  depicts the bravery of a man to enter into a Communist country to distribute Bibles into the hands of eager Christians!

One Woman’s Quest to bring Christ to Tibet by Harvey Yoder  tells of a woman who went into undesirable conditions  to bring God’s Word to the people of Tibet who had never heard of God’s love and forgiveness.

Authentic Beauty and The Lost Art of True Beauty by Leslie Ludy are  books for teenage  girls desiring to find God’s purpose for them as young women. I thoroughly enjoyed reading them and would recommend them to any 15+ year old girl!

Angels on the Nightshift by Robert Leslie is just one of his amazing books! I am fascinated with the ‘hospital world’ and love this book full of ER incidents ;some sad and some hilarious!

Weeping for Abigail by Lily Bear  is a sad story of how young Abigail grieved her family when she turned her back on God  and  lived many years in sin. This story has a happy ending tho’ when Abigail returned to Christ and drastically changed from her former lifestyle !

Blue Christmas by Katrina Hoover is another medically- related book! Katrina goes to Haiti for a few weeks to help with the cholora patients at the clinic.

For Young Woman Only by Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa A.Rice is a book for well, young woman{only ;)}! The authors interviewed many guys from ages 15-20  to find out what makes them tick! A  great book for girls ages 15+! I enjoyed reading it because it opened my eyes to many things that I never knew before  about guys!

No Greater Love by Levi Benkert is a story of how he and his family moved  from California to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he established an orphanage and worked at finding adoptive homes for the rescued children . A very interesting story and because it involves children and a foreign country ,I loved it!

A Woman’s Heart by Ellyn Sanna is a devotional for woman. It contains quotes, scriptures , and thoughtful devotions. Would make a great gift!

the Holy  Bible by God- appointed authors is the Book of Life. As I had written earlier , it is the Book above books and is way more precious than any other piece of Literature. A must read !

As you may have noticed, there were no fiction or novels in the list of favorites! I personally don’t care for fiction but I’m not saying it’s wrong to like novels and fiction. I’m also the type of person who doesn’t like rereading a book. {Am I the only one like that??  :)}Maybe after a year or two when I have forgotten most of the details will I attempt to read it the second time!

So… the moral of this post. If you are ever wondering what I would enjoy as a gift you now know I would devour a good book any day! 😉 Just kidding; work needs to get done to sometime 🙂 I just wanted to make you aware of the many  great books that are out there to help  , inspire ,or encourage you or someone you know! Happy reading!!

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Move? NO WAY!

I hated when dad would talk of moving. Colorado. Minnesota. I  did not like the sound of those places. I was the average 12-year-old enjoying life where we were and attending the same school since my preschool days. Why move? It sounded so scary ; Meeting new people, going to a totally different church,living in a different house. Everything about it sounded so repulsive. It wasn’t for me.I liked it in Savannah New York.

Mom and dad would often take walks down our normally quite road on the gorgeous summer evenings and we children would  tag along, enjoying time with family.  One time though, mom and dad started talking about moving.That put a stop to my evening walks with them.  No way was I going to go along when all they would talk about was the great Midwest and the beautiful country of Minnesota or Colorado ; the land that ‘called’ dad and looked threatening in the eyes of a 12-year-old. I would get so nervous just thinking of moving . “Surely ,surely it won’t actually happen. Besides, dad always dreamed and talked of the great west . It’s not gonna happen this time either. ” I would try to console myself.

My uneasy feelings didn’t dissipate when mom and dad booked a flight for Minnesota to look for places. I was still ‘safe’ since they didn’t put a purchase offer on any places; a spark of hope that maybe they won’t find a place and we won’t have to move.

In September of 2010, we took a week off from school and our whole family paid a visit to Minnesota . We took our camper along and camped along the way. I remember we stopped in Chicago and bought a whole coconut that we punctured a hole in and tasted the milk. Once in Minnesota , I still couldn’t see the ‘roads with grass growing in the middle’ that mom had described. They looked like our roads in New York.  {Several months later would I only realize that MN has LOTS of dirt roads. Quite a bit different than NY.} We also met a family from the church we would attend if we moved. The only family we knew when we did move.

One more trip to MN in December, and mom and dad put a purchase offer  on a  place. We were actually moving!! My reluctance was slowly being replaced with excitement.Maybe it was all the farewell and birthday gifts or attention I was receiving or maybe I was finally being caught up in the adventure of moving 1,000 miles, either way, my attitude about it was changing. We started packing and our spacious kitchen was beginning to fill with boxes labeled with the contents or rooms they were to go into. I was relieved to hear we would still be around for the school Christmas program .

The day came in February when the trailer was backed up to our door and family and cousins were helping move boxes , bed frames ,dressers etc. out the door and into the trailer. I remember what fun it was to walk through the house without having to take my shoes or boots off at the door! By the end of that busy day , I was curled up on an old recliner under a pile of coats with a sore throat! That evening we spent the night at our Grandparents and I stayed home from church the next day with a sore throat. On Monday morning, February 22, we were headed west. It was also my 13th birthday! What an exciting way to begin my 13th year!

Make a long story short, there were many adjustments to make and new friends to meet. I missed my old friends back home.

I don’t remember how long it took ,but before too long I was feeling at home and enjoying my new friends. The 5 girls at church closest my age did a great job of making me feel a part of them which tremendously helped with feeling at home and accepted.

Four and a half years later at age 17 am I glad we moved? YES! I love it here in Minnesota ! I love the church I am now a member of and the awesome group of young people who I am with! I became a Christian in December of 2011 and since then I have been growing in my Christian walk , a little at a time.

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When it seems God is taking you out of your comfort zone or is calling you away from ‘home’ don’t shrink from it! God has a great plan in mind!  I have to wonder where I would be spiritually if my parents wouldn’t have stepped out in faith and moved us 18 hours away to a ‘foreign country’. What would I be like today if I still called NY my home? I still have lots of spiritual growing to do and I have no clue what else God will call me to in the next  years but “If God be for us {me} who can be against us {me}?”