Friday, December 29, 2006

Fire and Water

I'm pretty excited to be getting a new dishwasher installed today. I was perfectly happy with my old one and never had a complaint about it until it burst into flames on Christmas night. After a very full and happy day we said goodnight to my family at about 9:45. As is my habit I started the dishwasher and looked forward to falling into bed. I hadn't been sleeping well, or enough, in several days. Erik mentioned that he'd like to finish a movie we'd started and I agreed. I knew I'd regret it come morning, but for some reason I didn't really feel tired. We finished our movie around 11 and got ready for bed. Erik was in the back of the house and I was turning out the lights in the front rooms while brushing my teeth. Suddenly I heard some popping noises from the kitchen and looked over to see sparks and flames coming from underneath the dishwasher! I called franticly to Erik who came running out and saw what was going on. He knew in a second it was an electrical fire and ran to the breaker box to shut off the power. I ran out the door to ask our neighbors for a fire extinguisher (which we've talked about getting several times but had never gotten around to. We have now though!) By the time I got back he'd gotten the fire out. I'm so thankful to have a husband who knows what to do in situations like this.
We were both pretty shaken up and extremely thankful that God had protected our family and our home. The house was filled with toxic-smelling smoke from melted plastic and I realized that the fire alarm had never gone off. If we'd have gone to bed just a few minutes earlier, or an hour earlier when I'd wanted to, much of our home could have burned before we even knew there was a fire. God had allowed us to be up and me to be standing where I could see it right when it happened and the only damage done was to the dishwasher. We are praising Him for watching over us, and for letting this happen so that we could see some of the areas we can make our home safer. We realized there was no smoke alarm in the main part of the house, only in the back of the hallway and in the bedrooms as required by law, so we went and bought another one. This also gave us the kick-in-the-pants we needed to go buy some fire extinguishers. And we will be careful not to run appliances after going to bed or when we're not at home.
It makes me wonder how often we come near to injury or even death and are saved by God's intervention without being aware of it. We may never know all the times He saves us, and all the little things He may use to make sure we're where we are at any given moment- even things like a silly martial arts movie! We do know that He and His angels are watching over us, but it's actually a blessing to have been through this and to be reminded of His great care for us.
(Here's the rest of the story: We called Maytag the next morning and reported what had happened. The Maytag man came out to assess the damage and confirmed that it was irreparable. The corporate office contacted us and offered to come take out the old dishwasher and give us a check for $150. I asked if that was the best they could do and expressed some surprise that given the potential damage and their excellent reputation they wouldn't offer us something more. I asked if eight years was the average life expectancy of a Maytag dishwasher (since we'd be in the market for a new one) and also noted that there was a full 20-year warranty against tub leaks due to normal home usage. This was normal home usage and our tub had certainly developed a leak! The woman asked what I wanted them to do for us and made it sound like they were already being generous. I said we'd like them to replace the dishwasher and without a moment's hesitation she told me to go online and pick out the model I wanted and they'd have it installed! It made me realize that she was doing just what she'd been trained to do- offer a small "compensation prize" and hope I'd be satisfied with it. But when I wasn't, she moved on to plan B. I was glad I pressed it a bit! The new dishwasher is being installed right now.)
Again, we are very, very thankful to God for protecting us and for providing a new dishwasher.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


In reflecting on the Nativity of Christ this year a few thoughts come to mind. I remember when both of my children were born the overwhelming feelings that came along with the brand new life snuggled up in my arms. There were the immense feelings of joy and wonder and awe, there was tiredness and relief, and there was love so fresh it almost hurt. It felt as though the world and all of time had stopped, or at least like it should have. I remember thinking about life going on outside the walls of the hospital, of people waking up and driving to work and going on with their lives as if nothing had changed. There was part of me that wanted to shout "Stop! A child has been born! Earth will be a different place because there is a new life on it!" I wanted to make everyone slow down and marvel with me that a baby had been born. The world, my world at least, had changed forever with the coming of my little ones, and in those first intense moments I wondered that others couldn't feel what I felt.
I know that those feelings weren't unique to me and I've been imagining how Mary may have felt as she lay upon the hay in the stable. Outside life went on as usual, the streets of Bethlehem overflowed with people, children played, and goods were bought and sold. But inside she held in her arms a tiny son, God's son. Like any Mama, she must have felt like stopping time for a moment, like crying out "Look! Look at my baby! Life will never be the same because He has been born." The Father looked on and felt the same way; He sent messengers to proclaim the Birth of the One whose life truly did change the course of history. And earth has never been the same.
I wonder now, how often God is speaking, even shouting at us, to slow down, to pay attention, to remember that Immanuel has come. In all the busyness of the Christmas season, my hope for both you and I is that we will stop and listen to His voice, that like the shepherds who saw the host of angels that night, we will make haste to worship the Savior and to proclaim His wonders to others.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Glimpse of Mexico

Here are some photos of our time in Mexico!

Casa Azul was our home away from home. When I explained to Peregrine that casa means house and azul means blue he was very frustrated that they were in the wrong order! He kept telling me that it should be "Azoo Casa"!

Although Peregrine didn't really do any snorkeling he thought it was fun to get geared up! We spent a lovely and idyllic day on Isla Ixtapa where the water was clear and warm. My parents watched the kids for a while so Erik and I could go snorkeling and watch the amazing fish swim about in their coral home.

This was a large iguana sunning itself on a log! Peregrine loved the iguanas so much that he wanted to "so kiss them and bring them home" to live in his fish tank. At about three feet in length, I don't think they would fit! (Although I would much rather have an iguana for a pet than a dog or cat!)

These crocodiles, and several others, were living in a lagoon near the ocean. It had been fenced and a nice deck built above the water. It was amazing to be so close to them, although we did have to stop Peregrine from climbing through the railing! Also in this area were the iguanas, flocks of white egrets, and some turtles.

A little gecko high on the wall of our casa. We always saw them outside in the evenings, and often inside too. I'm rather fond of these little creatures, and their little clicking sounds always make me smile!

Pozole is a simple hearty soup made with pork and hominy. It's a specialty of the region we we visited. Intentionally bland, it's served with a myriad of accompaniments so you can spice it up according to your taste!

Beautiful hand-painted pottery in the market place.

Erik carried Poppy in the Ergo a lot- she was happy with her ride and Erik was impressed with the carrier. This was very near to where we stayed.

This is Isabel, a lovely woman who ran a little taco stand near to us. We ate lunch there several times and although the food was good, she was what kept us coming back. She was joyful and friendly and loved our kids. If we put in a request the day before she would make us whatever we asked for. She said next time she'll give me some lessons!

I loved shopping for produce in the Mercado.

Erik saw this hard-shelled spider during his trip up into the mountains. He said it was as big as his hand. I'm glad I didn't see it!

The crab was dead, but still brought quite a look to Peregrine's face!

And a wonderful time was had by all.

Friday, December 08, 2006

There are Back Again

We're home! We had a wonderful two weeks in sunny Mexico but we're glad to be back. Thanks so much for your prayers; we all stayed healthy and safe. I'm trying to change gear from relaxed vacation mode back into "real life" and preparing for Christmas. There were lots of decorations and festivities going on where we were, but somehow I had a hard time feeling Christmasy when it was 90 degrees outside! I will post some pictures very soon.
For now I'll leave you with these. They are both edible fruits that grow in the part of Mexico we visited. You have probably enjoyed them yourself. Leave me a comment with your guesses of what they are!
Also, for those of you who were interested in ordering Erik's coffee, we're open for business again!