Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Book review: Faces in the Fire, by T.L. Hines

Book review of "Faces in the Fire"

When I choose this book to read and do a review about, I hadn't read the byline: a noir bizarre story. This book was very challenging for me to read, because:
- The chapters are not in the right order. The book starts with chapter 34. I was trying to find out why, when I noticed, that it's written in an easier order to read, then in chronological order.
- The characters are very strange for me. I've never met drug addicts or professional killers quite this way in books before
- I kept thinking, this was a Christian book, but it never really showed the way of salvation according to the bible, but rather each character had to find his/her own way out of his/her own mess in life
- After reading the book, I still don't get the plot.
There are 4 people described in this book, after you're done the book, you find out there were only 3. It's all very confusing. A catfish shows up in each of their lives, and I'm still trying to figure out the meaning that this fish has for them.

The characters were very well described. You get to know them pretty good, by the time their part in the story is over.

I was a little disappointed by the book, but maybe just because I was looking for a Christian message in it, and not just word pictures.

Praying for miracles

Last week has been very hard on a lot of us here in the paraguayan Chaco.

One of my good friends, Shilo, started losing her sight in her left eye, and had to go to Asuncion for further testing and help to regain her sight. We've been praying so hard and we really want to trust in the Lord that he can work a miracle there.

It still hasn't rained and our cattle is starting to get hungry. For now we have some feed reserves and thankfully water, too. But not everyone is able to feed their cattle and the situation in the Chaco is becoming very critical.

The temperatures have been up to 46C/116F this week and still no hope for rain.

Today we are celebrating the anniversary of our colony. It's been 79 years since our grandparents left Russia to build up a new hope and home in the hot and dusty Chaco. We are thankful for the freedom we have in this country and pray for the goverment and for our neighbors here (indigenous, paraguayan, brazilian and others). We want to be living testemonies here for the people around us, that we belong to a great God.

Please help me pray for Shilo, for a big rain, for our country!

And on a lighter note, we've been having power failures this last week. And if its 45 C outside, then you really rely on the air conditioning inside. I recieved this photo in an email last week. It explains why the power goes out so often in our region.

(Thanks, Mirjam, for the pic)
In the original picture she sent me, you could see that the masts are playing jump rope. I couldn't get it to jump for my blog:)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

What I wanted for my birthday...

This is one of the things I really wanted for my birthday...

Or better yet, this:

(My sisters and I. Clockwise from top: Daniela, Me, Andrea and Caroline) This is one of the last pictures of all of us together. Love you all!
If I can't have that, then I'd like this:
I hope everybody has a great weekend! I'm praying for a dear friend and for a great big rain! Will you join me?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Birthday menu

This is for everyone who did not make it to my birthday party this morning. Just so you know what you were missing. (Note: the pictures are all taken from the internet, as I forgot to take pictures of the food I prepared)

Empanadas, with ground beef and boiled eggs.

Ranch Dip with cucumbers, carrot sticks and chips.

Bacon Cheeseburger Buns, recipe and photo from Taste of Home.

These Raspberry Bars are delicious, also Taste of Home.

Easy Tiramisu Cake, from Betty Crocker. Instead of a packaged cake mix, I use their recipe for Silver White cake. But I left out the brandy in the recipe, because I don't have any:), and because this is Brianna's favorite cake.

PB & J (Peanut Butter and Jelly) Cupcakes, from Betty Crocker. Again, instead of using a cake mix, I used their recipe for Bonnie Butter cake. These were extremly good with strawberry jam in the cupcakes and peanut sprinkles on top of the frosting.

Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese frosting, Taste of Home. I used a mixture of nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger and cloves instead of pumpkin pie spice. I also used some of the spice in the frosting. Keep these chilled, they are so good.

I encourage you to look up these recipes in the websites of Taste of Home and Betty Crocker.
Hope you liked my menu!
Thank you all for your kind birthday wishes, on phone, on facebook, in thought and in comments on my blog!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Our trip to Asuncion

These are some pictures I took on the way to Asuncion. You can tell I was excited about the rain. Too bad it didn't rain at home:(

In the background you can see the bridge that connects the Chaco with East Paraguay.

This is on the bridge. Sorry about Marv's arm in the foreground, but I didn't want to ask him to move his hands from the steering wheel, while driving over the bridge.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thoughts on housecleaning...

Housecleaning Hints

Windows: Layers of dirty film on windows and screens provide a helpful filter against harmful and aging rays from the sun. Call it an SPF factor of 15 and leave it alone.

Cobwebs: Artfully draped over lampshades reduce the glare from the bulb,thereby creating a romantic atmosphere. If someone points out that the light fixtures need dusting, simply look confused and exclaim "What? And spoil the mood?" (Or just throw glitter on them and call them holiday decorations.)

Pet Hair: Explain the mound of pet hair brushed up against the doorways by claiming you are collecting it there to use for stuffing hand-sewn play animals for underprivileged children. (Also keeps out cold drafts in winter.)

Guests: If unexpected company is coming, pile everything unsightly into one room and close the door. As you show your guests through your tidy home, rattle the door knob vigorously, fake a growl and say, "I'd love you to see our den, but Fluffy hates to be disturbed and the shots are SO expensive."

Dusting: If dusting is REALLY out of control, simply place a showy urn on the coffee table and insist that "This is where Grandma wanted us to scatter her ashes."

General Cleaning: Mix one-quarter cup pine-scented household cleaner with four cups of water in a spray bottle. Mist the air lightly. Leave dampened rags in conspicuous locations. Develop an exhausted look, throw yourself on the couch and sigh, I clean and I clean and I still don't get anywhere." As a last resort, light the oven, throw a teaspoon of cinnamon in a pie pan, turn off oven and explain that you have been baking cookies for a bake sale for a favorite charity and haven't had time to clean... Works every time.

Another favorite, I think from Erma Bombeck: Always keep several get-well cards on the mantle so if unexpected guests arrive, you can say you've been sick and unable to clean.

( I copied this post from here:

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Giveaway on my friend's blog

On this super hot day, i'll just drop in to let everybody know that my friend is having a great giveaway on her blog.

I have known Shilo for only a few short months, but she has become a great friend to me, and she makes the best lattes in Paraguay.

Another piece of good news: I had to get a mammogram done a few weeks ago, because of a lump. I got the results back, after 6 weeks wait, and it's nothing to worry about. Just a slight infection where the ribs are attached to the breast bone. I was so relieved to hear the news!

We will be going to Asuncion on November 15th to see the specialist for Brianna. She needs to have a check-up done, to see if the medication is working. Brianna, our 8 year old, had a seizure in December last year, which we thought was a fever convulsion. She needs to take her medication for at least 2 years and have regular check-ups throughout this time.

My dear Aunt Irene passed away on Saturday. She was such a wonderful lady, always smiling, even in the last weeks of her painful journey with cancer. Please pray for my uncle, his 2 sons and their families.

To everybody in the Chaco reading this: let's not give up hope that it will rain soon.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009