Friday, September 30, 2011

Public Speaking in Spanish

This past Thursday was the celebration of YA SÉ LEER for the first grade at NCA-Nejapa where our kids attend school. YA SÉ LEER translates as: Now, I know how to read!

From what we gather, first graders all over the country need to demonstrate that they can read. It is likely that the degree of demonstration varies. However, for Ella and her classmates, they spent many hours preparing for their YA SÉ LEER day. The theme was "cowboys and cowgirls". Dances were learned, songs were rehearsed, and reading was practiced. A couple of weeks ago, I asked Ella's teacher if we could have a copy of the paragraph that Ella would need to read in front of the audience of parents and teachers. (Needless to say, Ella was it seemed like a good idea to have her practice the assigned reading.) However, I was informed that each child would pick a letter of the alphabet randomly out of a basket and then read the cooresponding paragraph from a book. These readings were not the simple "Dick and Jane can run." -- or in our case -- "Ricardo y Maria pueden correr."

As the ceremonial day approached, we realized how important this actually was to the students, teachers, and the school. Parents were asked to bring a small gift as a means to affirm your child's accomplishment. There was to be a "pizza party" afterward. The morning of the event, the first graders traveled classroom to classroom, sounding their noise-makers, announcing that "I CAN READ/ YA SÉ LEER"!!!! There was much excitement! Ella even looked more excited than nervous during the parade. When it came time for Ella to read...we prayed silently as our little girl approached the podium. She had randomly selected "L" from the basket. She stepped up to the microphone and carefully read her paragraph full of Spanish words that have the letter "L". We were so proud of her!!! It served as a great example for Ella to show her can do all things (even scary things like reading in Spanish in front of an audience) through Christ who gives you strength (Phil. 4:13)...a verse of Scripture that we prayed with her the week leading up to this public speaking event. ***By the way, our friend Curtis was able to experience first hand the exciting YA SÉ LEER event.***

Enjoy some photos of the excitement....

"I CAN READ!!!!"

The Parade

Ella dancing a country jig!

The Big Moment

Ella receiving her certificate from her wonderful teacher.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Window Wednesday: Randomness

A few random snapshots of life...

The remnants of making limeade.

Hopefully this is the extent of adding a monkey to our menagerie!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Feast with a Dish of Icecream

There are a few places in the Bible which I tend to read often. I call them my default passages. When in doubt (of what to read), read Isaiah 55 or Psalm 23. Psalm 23 is one of those passages of Scripture that can conjure up a funeral scene in a Hollywood film. Yet, Psalm 23 is very much about life and being renewed. Recently, to help improve our Spanish listening skills, we've been listening to some great music en español. One of the songs by Kari Jobe that I personally love is called Gozándome which is a song about Psalm 23. Funny that out of all the songs on the CD...none of which I can fully understand (okay, or even partially understand) favorite is the one about Psalm 23.

Tonight, as I was enjoying the last scoop of "American Ice Cream" that we found in the store...I thought of verse 5 in Psalm 23.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.

In the presence of the enemy of "culture stress" or the enemy of the clock (lots to do...not enough time)...I am thankful for the "feast" of a dish of ice cream. Okay, perhaps a dish of "American ice cream" was not what the Psalmist was talking about...but I am thankful that God knows when we need some TLC.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

¡Vive La Independencia!

It has been a busy couple of weeks. We've been rather preoccupied with preparations for this week's holiday. Tomorrow is Central America's Independence Day. The last couple of weeks of school have been filled with patriotic lessons and activities.

On Monday, there was fiesta at school filled with marches, songs, and a feast of comida típica (typical food from Central America). I even cooked 'gallo pinto' for the celebration...although I joked that it was more gallo pinto gringa than comida típica.

Yesterday, all of the students and parents met at the University of Managua to conclude the celebration of Fiestas Patrias with a presentation of folk dances. Each class was represented. Andrew had the opportunity to dance in his class's folk dance called Managua Linda Managua. He did a fantastic job!

Not everyone in our family enjoys the art of dance like I do. LOL! So, while others sat through it; I thorougly enjoyed the celebration and the window into culture that it provided!

Here are a few snapshots of the day....

Andrew waiting for the celebration to begin.

Andrew dancing with his partner in Managua Linda Managua.

Ella's class representing the area of Rivas. (Ella was quite relieved to NOT be included in the presentation.)

One of the girls from the Bible Study...if I understood the meaning of the has to do with the coffee pickers of Matagalpa.

One of our beautiful little friends.

The Senior Students danced the GÜEGÜENSE.

Friday, September 2, 2011


Ella with our 7 week old puppy Luna

What is an intussusepction, you ask? Good question. It is a medical condition where one portion of the intestine is "swallowed" by the adjacent part, much like a collapsing telescope. So why am I blogging about this medical condition? Well, our 7 week old puppy had it occur about a week ago. It is very rare (I have now seen 3 cases in 10 years of practice) and it is a condition that is fatal if not treated.

It all started with our puppy (Luna) vomiting and showing signs of abdominal discomfort. When she didn't improve with conservative treatment, I did a thorough exam of her abdomen under mild sedation (she was too tense in her abdomen for an thorough exam without it). My heart sank when I felt a loop of intestines that was just too thick to be normal. I had to decide if our puppy needed immediate - major abdominal surgery at 10:00pm. I did not have the luxury of an ultrasound or x-ray confirmation. I discovered that the decision to operate was a harder decision than I thought it would be, in part because the type of anesthesia that I have available is not the safest for a 7 week old puppy that is weak and sick. We had our own emotions to deal with, but we were mostly worried about what the kids would think if they woke up to find that their puppy was dead...either because of or because of the lack of surgery.

Well, we said a prayer and went for it. Bethany was brave enough to be the anesthesiologist, surgical nurse, and surgical lamp holder (aka mini-Maglite). She is still not used to the sights and smells of surgery, but she didn't vomit or faint (she is an amazing wife!). Little Luna (all of 4 pounds) was cut stem to stern and all of her abdomen was examined. The suspected problem was found and corrected, and the intestines were pexy'd (sutured to themselves) to prevent recurrence. Bethany marveled to see all of her intestines laid out on the surgical drape, and then when they were put back in the abdomen, she marveled at the fact that I knew how to put them all back correctly. Sshhh, don't tell her that all you do is stuff them back in like putting a sleeping bag into a case...there is no wrong way to do will be our secret.

Praise God, she has made a full recovery and is doing great. Just as I was closing up her abdomen (now at 11:30 pm) I asked Bethany to take some pictures, because this was a night that we will not soon forget.

Closing her up

Andrew and Luna doing Math (a week earlier)