One year and an ibis – totally unrelated

White-faced Ibis

We landed in Argentina one year ago today! I guess we should be celebrating or something, but here we are at 1:30 in the morning, me finishing up a newsletter and Tony watching an old black and white. We are excitement exemplified.

Tonight was kind of exciting. We almost beat up the neighbors’ dogs. They bark and bark and bark and bark. The owners don’t mind since they are both deaf. We had to write them a note (Shut your dogs up. We can’t sleep!) and leave it for them. The owner came out, read the note, and Tony gesticulated to him wildly. We couldn’t believe they quieted the dogs instead of getting mad at us, like our neighbors have always done in the past when confronted by their totally nightmare behaviors. Which is good, because Tony was about to kick them – the dogs, that is. It is so bad we can’t sleep at night. They just bark and bark and bark and bark. As we stood outside at 11pm giving the dogs the evil eye, discussing what to do, I asked out loud to the air, “Why do we always have neighbors from hell? Why??

I don’t know,” Tony said. “Satan?

As we came in carrying on to each other about our newest situation with neighbors, the kids said, “I don’t know, I’m kind of used to it. They bark all the time. It’s like, familiar or something.”

What would Jesus do?, we always ask ourselves (well, when we’re thinking, and not wanting to kick dogs into next week).

I don’t know the answer to that. I really don’t know. He, Jesus, could sleep on a little boat through storms; we can’t!

(This is where I’m supposed to insert a Bible verse and get all spiritual. But after a year of trials such as these – this one being a very mild one – I really can’t say it gets any easier. Does it get any easier? Not for me. I still dream of my little farmette in the country with NO neighbors where I have my little orchard of apple trees that I wake up to gaze out upon, just me and my coffee. It’s an escape mechanism. :))





good eats: spinach pie

Tony’s working {a paid job} today.

And it’s fly season. I’ve killed two so far indoors. I grew up on a farm, so flies and fly tape above the dining room table were normal. They never bothered me until I moved here. They are disgusting, sometimes HUGE, disease-carrying pests now. I will not be happy for the next 8 months. Yes, eight months. Lord help me.

I’m supposed to be writing a newsletter today, and homeschooling. But I’m having a hard time with either one of these, so here’s a recipe instead: *Spinach Pie. YUM-O!

*If you look closely you can see the leftover cup of rice I mixed in there somewhere. I also used half collard greens/half spinach, but fell short – there should be many more greens in there; I’m notorious for not following recipes. The leeks also make this dish; I will never use regular onions again. I’m hooked on Katie’s/Marta’s recipe , it’s much better than the one I’ve used for 13 years. Thanks, Katie {and Marta!}, for sharing!

math as a form of torture

I’ve been meaning to write this big update about how homeschooling on the frontier is going after a year here and all that blah blah, but the truth is, after six years of homeschooling – I just don’t want to do this anymore.


And THIS is why: Math.

Ugh. I used to like math. Until I had to teach it.

We don’t like math anymore.

Thank God for Teaching Textbooks, or math would be completely intolerable. Teaching Textbooks is almost completely hands-off: it teaches, corrects, and grades, all without me needing to do a thing. Hallelujah. Help from me is only needed in proportion to the number and volume of moans heard eminating from in front of the computer screen.

So, because we’re doing pretty well on the math front, we might be taking a little break from the torture now that summer’s coming. Praise the Lord, because there’s only so much torture we can take.

driving on the wrong side of the road

When we first arrived here a year ago, we noticed that sometimes people drive on the wrong side of the road. They would pass us slow pokes puttering down the right side of the road and, instead of pulling back in front of us, would just continue speeding on down the left side of the road. At the last second, with a car approaching head-on and uncomfortably close the other way, they’d zip back over on to the right side of the road.

Funny how – now – we do the same exact thing.

It’s just easier to drive on the side of the road that is paved than on the side that is not. We’ve had to tighten all the screws holding the inside of our car together so many times due to the bumpy roads here, that driving on the wrong side of the road when that’s the only side that’s paved – well, it just seems like the smart thing to do.

You do get good at judging how long you can drive down the opposite side of the road directly at oncoming traffic until you have to zip back over into the correct lane.

What about the police, you say? I haven’t seen any on this stretch of road. Besides, what is so wrong with driving on the wrong side of the road in a country where laws are little more than suggestions anyway? If we did see a copper, though, I suppose we would probably refrain from this ‘brash’ manuever right in front of them. But, if one were to see us brazenly breaking what I’m guessing (just guessing) is the law, I don’t know that they would do anything. They often times just ignore things or look the other way, anyway. And if they pulled us over, they’d have to pull everyone else over, too, for doing the same thing.

Non-missions photos, Week 3: at Wal-Mart

An abrochadora [above] is a stapler. Ours fell and broke during the finally days of packing last year while we were boxing up the computer and desk supplies. I shrugged and thought, “Oh, no big deal. I’ll just buy one later.”

Dumb. Dumb. Dumb. If I had only known.

So we went to Walmart the other day for the second time since we’ve been here. Yes, there’s a Walmart here. The only one in Patagonia. I was really excited, until I actually went the first time. Tony thinks it’s just like the Walmart back home. I furrow my brow at him and remind him that it is NOT exactly the Walmart back home. Precisely why we almost never go there. Way too poorly stocked and way too overpriced for a Walmart. And with a three-year-old who touches everything, no thanks, I’ll just stay home.

But, anyway, back to my story.

Staplers, like just about everything else in Argentina, are ridiculously expensive. To find out the price of anything, we just divide roughly by 4 (4.25 if you want to be more exact) to get the price in dollars.

This stapler costs fifty dollars. A stapler, for the love of God!

Suffice to say, we never bought another one. I mean, how badly do we really need a stapler? It is probably a good guess to say that most Argentines don’t own a stapler either. I mean, who needs one that bad?

more Whale Therapy

German tourist and whale

The beach drops off pretty quickly at El Doradillo, allowing the whales to get very close to the shore. Which they apparently love, because that’s where they hang out all day, many mommas and their baby calves. When they come up to breathe you can hear the deep, hollow, resonating sound of their lungs the size of cars, and they actually watch you watching them. The mommas literally get between you and their calves. When the kids played next to the beach, they just hung out there. When Tony and I walked down to the beach, they’d swim away a little. They knew we were adults somehow. We did this over and over again, and they reacted the same way each time. Incredible.

More Whale Therapy. Important to avoid more moments like this.

R&R in Puerto Madryn

Southern Right Whale, El Doradillo Beach, Puerto Madryn

Two weeks ago we escaped for a couple of days to the beach for some much needed R&R.  The Southern Right Whales come right up to the beach and roll lazily in the surf for hours.

The whales – estimated at up to 2,000 in the gulf – are immense and beautiful, and there is nothing like a free whale watch from 30 feet away on the shore, all day long if you want it. It’s my new favorite beach in the whole wide world (and I don’t even likethe beach. I know, I’m odd). Puerto Madryn is also the nicest town I’ve ever been to in Argentina, hands down.

Here is an excellent piece on the importance of rest on the mission field, as Christians, as humans – anywhere. I wish we had been better at this our first year here.

so do not worry

a picture from a recent newspaper — where’s Tony? lol


We were out and about recently when my daughter picked up a newspaper exclaiming loudly, “There’s Papi!” on the front page.

{I have to constanly remind my kids to not scream out loud in English in public places, people stare if they do.}

And there he was, holding a camera on his shoulder covering the 108th Anniversary festivities of Neuquén, complete with the crowning of Queen Candela and midnight fireworks. He’s been working one to two days a week now at paid jobs, and it’s been great. He enjoys it and misses working a M-F job with a guaranteed paycheck every two weeks. Yeah, me too.

We live hand to mouth, day by day here, and it’s hard getting to the end of the month and sometimes not knowing how we’re going to pay the rent. But, so far, in very amazing and kind and miraculous ways, God has been good and faithful to provide, and always, somehow, come through one way or another. As Jacob said, “few and evil have the days and years of my life been.” But he recognized on his deathbed that is was GOD who had “fed me all my life long unto this day.” (Gen.  47:9, 48:15). Amen.

 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” -Matthew 6:28-34