28 February 2011

Leave it to the Foreigner

February 28, 2011 3
Do you remember the shepherd costume incident?

Well, we'll call this the face paint incident!
This week is "Carnaval" at school.  Each day the kids have a fun thing assigned to wear.

Monday - face paint

Here are my 2 little face painted gals this morning on their way to school.  Aren't they cute?

Brennan was sick, that's why you don't see him in the picture.

Little did I know the face paint was just meant to be a circle on each cheek.  Oops!
Oh well.  Live and learn, eh?

Brennan's got the whole runny nose, cough (mostly at night) and fever that's been classic around our house this season.  He couldn't be left out of the face painting fun though.  He chose to be Muno from Yo Gabba Gabba.  We've never watched the show, but my guys play the games from the show on the Nick Jr website.  Here's my little Muno!
I told him not to smile so you could really see it.  He looks really serious in this pic.  Ha!

Tuesday - 2 different socks

Wednesday - bow tie

Thursday - wear a hat including all the other things worn each day before.

We went to school in a mix of rain and snow and now it's sunny outside!  Crazy weather!

Friday - costumes from around the world and they will parade around the local park for all the families and friends to see.

Any crazy misunderstandings or language/cultural bloopers you're willing to admit?!

25 February 2011

It's Happened....We're There..

February 25, 2011 3
I knew the time would come.

It was fast approaching.

It makes me laugh a bit.

And makes me think how I was a little judgmental in the past of others.

What you might ask?

That's right.

Karis has become my translator.

My personal interpreter.

My "go get the ketchup" girl at Burger King.

Luckily, she is quick to help and is so independent and such a social butterfly that it doesn't bother her one bit!

I'm thankful for that.

And quick to thank her for her help!

I'm a little less judgmental of those moms I saw at various times while in TX.  Immigrants from south of the border somewhere.

This is the first time I've studied a language with 3 kids in tow.

Boy, does that make a difference.

So, if you've been like me and notice those kids translating for their parents.

Give them a little break.

It's hard raising a family and studying a language.

Although I do need to hit the books a bit more.

Have a great weekend!

24 February 2011

Her Guts, His Glory

February 24, 2011 4
Meet Audrea.

She was excited to be pregnant with her 4th child.  She went to her routine 15 week check up and discovered that her baby had miscarried at approximately 12 weeks.  She was scheduled to have a “routine” DNC where she went to the appointment and woke up in the ICU fighting for her life.  During the DNC her uterine wall was punctured and about 95% of her small intestines sucked out.  She now lives on an IV bag called TPN (Total Parenteral Nutrition) to survive.  She is unable to eat much at all and is unable to absorb nutrients on her own at this time. Life for Audrea will never be the same. 

She is now facing a five year life expectancy on the TPN in which her choices are to either move forward with a transplant or a rehabilitation program. The rehabilitation program gives the hope that through steroid medication and special dieting God will heal the remaining portion of her small intestine and allow it to grow and absorb nutrients without the TPN. It is our prayer that she will not need the risky transplant but instead will be able to enroll in the rehabilitation program. Right now she can not afford the program on Medicaid alone. We are hoping to help raise funds needed for this option. This family is living on donations from their church, family and friends.

This excerpt and video were taken from the website that has been established for a 5k walk/run being held on March 5 to help raise funds for Audrea's care.  It's called, Her Guts, His Glory.  Jason Castro even did a promo for the walk!

Audrea is the sister of our friend, Aaron.  Jerry & Aaron were college roommates and Aaron was the best man in our wedding. 

Audrea has been consistently in my thoughts and prayers, especially again as she recently experienced a blood infection from the line.   I just felt led to share her story with you.
Would you pray with me for Audrea and all that she and her family are facing now?  Audrea loves the Lord and has an incredible spirit through it all! 

I'm praying for you Audrea!

We serve a mighty God and He can do great things!!

22 February 2011

I Am First

February 22, 2011 3
"I'm first!"

"No, I'm first!"

This is a constant battle between the kids.  I remembered a tip from a friend and established a calendar for everyone to have a "first" day.   Had I not done this, insanity would have continued!
Ok, insanity still ensues, but by implementing this maybe we've lessened it a bit!  Ha!

Basically every three days the kids have a "first" day.  They get to pick their favorite plate, hit the buttons for the elevator, be first in line to brush their teeth or first to play on the computer, pick a show on tv, or what have you.

Some days of the month will just be a free for all.  We'll have to see how that plays out when the time comes.  I decided to make a chart assigning their days.  I planned on making a chart on the computer, but due to still updating some things on my new computer, that I got for Christmas, I couldn't do that.  So, I did a nifty handwritten version.  It's crooked and uneven, but the kids started sprucing it up with stickers they got for Valentine's Day.  Not too bad!
We'll see how this continues, but it seems to be working alright.

It got me thinking about our walk with the Lord and reminded me about a billboard I'd seen in the Fort Worth area 2 years ago when we were on our stateside assignment in Texas.

It simply said "IAmSecond.com."

Being the very curious person that I am I went straight home and checked the website.  If you haven't seen this website, I suggest you take some time to check it out.  Once I realized what this was I was shocked, amazed and excited that this billboard was all over the place.  Testimonies of how God has touched the lives of authors, actors, athletes, singers, soldiers, theologians and more.  Some of the people on there were such a surprise to me and how God had touch their lives!  And I really enjoyed the testimony of the 11 year old actress, Bailee Madison.  What a sweet, sweet girl!

As much as we need order in our lives by creating "first" day  it is also a reminder to me how important it is for us to teach our kids that it's not always about being first.

Dear Lord help me as I teach my children to make YOU, Christ first in their lives.

WE are second!

17 February 2011

The Lovebug

February 17, 2011 2
You may learn, if you haven't noticed already, that I am not a mom that is always on top of things or with it.  I tend to do thing a tad late, but hey, at least I do it eventually.  Ok, not always.  Like the Thanksgiving project I've been meaning to do for the last 2 Thanksgiving without it getting done YET!  Well, that's another story.  But we are talking about Lovebug Cookies today that I had planned to do over the weekend that instead was replaced by a large Tex-Mex feast, which was good, by the way (I'll mention that a little more at the end of this post).

I was exhausted on Monday (by the Tex-Mex feast and good company), so the Lovebug cookies were put off until Tuesday.  We got them cut out and baked. (I used a recipe from Bake at 350).  The kids helped me a bit with the cutting out.

What do you tend to do with the left over bit of cookie dough that is too small to role out?  Do you eat it? Throw it away?  Stick it on the baking sheet to cook up as a blob to eat as a "casualty cookie?"  What is a casualty cookie??  The ugly and broken ones, of course!  You know casualty cookies have no calories, right?!  At least that's what a friend and I choose to believe!  Ha!
Well, maybe ALL of you have been doing this for a long time and I finally got smart and figured it out. I came up with this little trick to take that small, last little bit of dough and press it down into the cookie cutter, like this!

 Can you tell which one is the pressed cookie?
It's the one on the right in the middle.  Hard to tell, isn't it?!  I was so proud of myself for figuring that out!  Ha!
We didn't have time to decorate that evening, so I told the kids that if we had time at our lunch break on Wednesday, we would do it then.  I got the colors all ready Wednesday morning.  They ate their lunch quickly and could not wait to start decorating!
The cookies didn't all turn into lovebugs, but that's ok.  They got creative and had fun! 
 Here is my lovebug!  Isn't he cute?!  He was tasty!

They had so much fun!  I cannot believe how much time they chose to sit and decorate cookies!  We didn't get them all done at their lunch break, but they were right back at it after school to finish up.
Look at how creative!

Oh, and about that Tex-Mex feast.  We had some friends come over for dinner on Sunday and I decided to go all out and make homemade tortillas (I can get store bought, but homemade are a treat!), homemade salsa, marinade some beef & chicken and finished up the evening with sopapillas!
I could not believe how easy sopapillas are to make!  One recipe blog I like to check out from time to time is the Homesick Texan (She now lives in New York).  I can relate to not living in the great state of Texas with good Tex-Mex all around.  So she has learned to create some of her favorites at home.  Sopapillas being one of them.
Cutting up the dough. 


 Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and serve with honey!

I made so many we couldn't eat them all, which they are no where near as good warmed over.  But we ate a few heated up in the toaster and they were still good!

So there ya have it.  My cooking/baking adventures for the week!

Happy Thursday!

15 February 2011

I Want You To Meet S

February 15, 2011 2
In areas of Madrid you will commonly find Africans standing outside the major stores or malls.  It looks as if they are holding a folder of papers/fliers to sell, but I've been told it is a way for someone to give them a donation.  By placing the money on top the folder.

I have a real heart for the Africans who come from various countries to Europe and try to start a new life.  The stories of some of them are tragic.  We have been blessed to get to know some of these immigrants.  One from Congo when we lived in Prague who has been a true friend even calling us from Congo and sending us emails at times.  It reminds me that I haven't heard from him in awhile and need to write him!
A couple of months ago I met S in front of the Carrefour we frequent (it's like a Target or Walmart).  I was by myself (Jerry was meeting me at the car) and he offered to help with my bags.  They were heavy and I was happy to have his help!  We chatted a bit about where we were from and how long we've been in Spain.  I haven't heard much of his story of how he came to Spain or his life in, I believe, Zimbabwe (I have such a bad memory).  We just haven't made it that far in our 2 minutes or so of chatting.   I do know that he has a child and has made reference to God.  I hope and pray we can have more spiritual conversations in the future.

I have often wondered how much money he is given in a day.  Is it enough for him to support a family?  We usually let him take our cart and allow him to return it for the coin inside (to use carts at the grocery store, you have to place a 50 cent, 1 or 2 euro coin to use as a deposit).  One day as I was going in I asked if there was anything I could get him.  What impressed me is that he was very gracious about it, didn't demand anything and appreciated whatever I could get.  I still asked for anything specific and he settled on some rice, peppers and tomatoes.
 The other day I came out by myself and felt badly because I didn't have any coins and told him up front that I didn't.  He said it was ok and helped me anyway.  He really has been very kind.
The whole family went over the weekend and we made up for it then.
I wish I could help ALL the Africans that we encounter going to and from different stores.  Oh, how I wish I could!  But I can pray!  And I hope you will too!

Could you pray for S?

And pray for me and Jerry as we might have opportunities to get to know him more and share the love of Christ?

And join me in praying for the Africans from various countries coming to Spain seeking a better life.

Thank you!!

14 February 2011

V Day, Barnwell Style

February 14, 2011 2
I can't say that we are an extremely romantic couple or make big plans for something like Valentine's Day.

We don't do diamonds or flowers,

Or even a card, for that matter.

We do, however, take the time to at least spend a quick meal together.

By ourselves!

That's important!!

We let the kids eat at school today and we went to one of our new favorite restaurants.

Makoto, a Japanese buffet!  Can I get a "Yum?!"
It may not have been anything big or fancy, but we simply enjoyed some grown up conversation and time to ourselves!!

What are you doing to celebrate??

Hope you have an equally enjoyable day!

12 February 2011


February 12, 2011 4

Do I have you wondering about that little number up there?

Could it be....my age?  HA!  I think you know the answer to that!


Maybe our apartment number??

How many pieces of fruit in my kitchen??


Or how many dvds we have??

Maybe it's how many pets we've owned??


Still got ya wondering??

Oh, maybe it's how many times a week I walk back and forth to take the kids to school??

Ok, ok, I'll keep you from the suspense!

Would you believe that Jerry proposed to me 17 years ago today?

We married when I was 22 and he was 23!  We are fast approaching that time when we've been together longer than not.
Happy 17 years to my hubby!

And to many more!!

11 February 2011

Ladies' Coffee Time

February 11, 2011 1
 As I've mentioned in the past we have been attending an English speaking international church.  We've attended several in our time in Europe and it is amazing to me how vastly different they can each be (of course, that's true of churches in the US too).  So much can depend on the culture of the host country, the different nationalities represented in the church, some being attended by more nationals (of the home country), people coming and going on a regular basis and so on.

It's a fun and interesting experience really.  Take for instance the ladies' coffee time I attended this morning.  The ladies in the church have decided to have coffee times based on the area of Madrid that you live in.   It was nice to meet these ladies that live relatively close to me.

We had so many diverse backgrounds and I loved every bit of time I spent with these new friends.  We had a Dutch/American, A Scottish married to a Spaniard, a Brit, an American (pastor's wife from TX), 2 South Africans, an American (from CA) married to a Spaniard, 2 - 20-something girls from CA here to play volleyball on a European circuit, an American (from DC) here with the embassy, a Swiss whose family decided to relocate to Spain 15 years ago, and me, an American missionary.  Quite the group, eh?!  Different backgrounds, different cultures, different age groups (even different states of the US) all finding ourselves in Spain, coming together in the bond of Jesus Christ to fellowship together!

We hope to do this once a month or so and I can't wait until I can fellowship again with these ladies.  Maybe next time I will remember the camera!

09 February 2011

Art of the Eskimo Yoyo

February 09, 2011 6
My cousin posted this photo on facebook recently.  I was so proud of my icicle (that I'm holding)!
That's me with my Grandma and uncles Bill, Butch & Ross at "The Homestead" about 2 hours north of Anchorage.  My parents lived there for a few years before I was born, then due to the long commute for my dad's work, they moved back to the big "city" of Anchorage and my grandparents moved to the homestead sometime after that.

In December my kids were studying about the North Pole at school. I told the teachers I was from Alaska and had a few things I could send with them to class.  The talk of the class....The Eskimo yoyo!  I was asked if I could come and demonstrate to the kids how it works.  Luckily I know how!  Not all Alaskans know how to do the Eskimo yoyo (I learned in school when we would have Eskimo week and the local Eskimos would come and show us different things about their culture)!!
I had to do a little practicing as it has been awhile since I'd gotten the yoyos out.  Want to see how the yoyo works?

I purchased Sarah Palin's Alaska on ITunes a few weeks ago and have loved watching every bit of it!  I've gotten teary eyed several times watching.  Seeing the highways I knew so well, going fishing every summer in Homer.  I went to junior high as well as attended church in Wasilla (where she lives).  We went to church with the family that owns Chimo Guns (where Sarah bought a new gun to go camping with Kate + 8), I don't know Sarah's parents, but her family was next door neighbors to my grandparents when her family first moved to Skagway, Alaska.  It's been such a joy (and a bit sad) to see home again and reminisce about that time in my life.

I doubt I will ever live in Alaska again, but I hope that one day when my kids are older we can go for a visit and I can show them my Alaska!

Guest Post Blog

February 09, 2011 0
My friend, Amy asked me to do a guest post on her blog about us and life overseas.
Amy and her family are currently living in Nagoya, Japan.  I'm so honored that she asked me to participate!
And be on the look out for similar guest posts on my blog to share the life and ministry of friends around the globe!

08 February 2011

Bedtime Bonanza

February 08, 2011 5
We've got the normal evening schedule.  Eat dinner, take baths, brush teeth, read Bible Story, say a prayer, watch Little Bear, flip on daddy's legs and go to bed.
What was that second to last one, you ask?  Why yes, flip on daddy's legs.  It goes something like this.

What form!

 Look at that technique!


  Way to hang on, B!


06 February 2011

Maybe I Am a Sweet Bread Mom

February 06, 2011 2
I think we're on the mend.  It wasn't until Saturday that I had some energy (after getting antibiotics Tuesday).  So much so that I got a bunch of laundry done, cleaned up our living area and even baked 2 different breads, Pioneer Woman's Banana Bread and a no starter version of Amish Friendship Bread.
I love Amish Friendship Bread.  I've only made it once, but I loved the flavor.  I just do not like the time it takes to get a good loaf of bread!  I couldn't believe how much this bread tastes like the original!  I will be making it again, I'm sure.
You may remember my I'm Not A Pumpkin Bread Mom where I shared how I have had quite a time getting loaf breads to work for me.
Well, I am pleased to say that BOTH of my recipes turned out with minimal sticking in the pan!  I have no idea what I did differently.

Just had to share some goodness with you!

Medical Care

February 06, 2011 1
In May I gave you a little insight into our visit to get our Czech physicals for our driver's license.
To give a little recap.....holes in the floor, 1950s church pew benches, 30 second exam for me AND Jerry, total.

Spain is in a whole different category than Czech Republic when it comes to medical care.  We've been very pleased so far.  We've mostly been seeing a Croatian born, Canadian raised, moved to Spain doctor (Ha!).  He has an office in a fairly new hospital that would be equivalent to a good hospital in the States.  We've been seeing him until this week when he stood us up!  Not sure what happened there.  Maybe we've been so sick that he is sick (ha ha) of us and didn't return our phone calls or emails.  Ok then!

Our very kind colleague got us hooked up with their pediatrician to get Brennan and Reegan in that same day.  I took one look at this doctor and knew I was going to like him.  Sure enough I did!  He spoke a tad bit of English (even saw a certificate on his wall for a seminar in New York) and took good care of our kiddos.  Had I been in good health I might have taken a picture, but I wasn't so I have none for this post.  Luckily the kids only had a cough and no infection.  By Friday Brennan had an ear infection.  Oh joy, one more thing!  Saturday morning Jerry, along with our colleague again, took Brennan to an emergency care clinic.  Again they had a good experience and Brennan is set.

Now I am fervently praying against more sickness.  I think I might go batty if we have more in our near future!


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