Monday, August 31, 2009

A Heavy Heart

Sweet Friends.
I have much to share about what is going on here in Panama which I may do later today.
My heart is heavy for my sweet friend who loves so well and never seems to be weary in loving not just her six children but all God's children.
She left TN before we left for Panama. She was heading to CA to pick up her sixth baby, Wylie. She and her husband have adopted 4 of their six.
It is week nine and they are still processing papers in CA for Wylie. She is there with her younger kiddos waiting...patiently.
Please pray for Heather and Scott for the time in CA to end so they may return home with Wylie soon. For Favor in the courts, for health for their other children and strength and continued patience.
I had not know Scott and Heather long (and sadly wish I could know them better) before I knew that these were two people who loved each other, loved their children, loved those around them and most importantly they love the Lord and are unafraid of it oozing from them.
Please pray with me for them today.
Their blog is

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Vallirosa...that would be the name of the Doctor we have visited now three times since our arrival in Panama. He is a kind man who thankfully speaks English quite well.
I may or may not have mentioned that Ro had been a bit under the weather. That would be an understatement at this point. She has run a fever many of the days we have been here, even if it has been low grade. She had a pretty good fever on Sunday and it has escalated this week to becoming a fever of 104.6 this afternoon. Dr. Vallirosa saw her for the third time and she has a pretty good double ear infection as well as a good cough and swelling around her eyes, due to the fluid infection.
She is a huge trooper, getting her blood work done last week and a shot today....not to mention that the antibiotics are not flavored.
I am asking that you join us in praying for the Lord to heal her little body that she would return to her normal self and not be in constant battle with her own body and every little sickness lingering for her to find. She is a nail bitter and I am sure that is of no help in fighting infection.
She has been a much better patient than I have been a nurse. There is only a computer for watching movies (there is one tv in the basement far far away from all other activity) and she has two other little creepers who want to be in the know of exactly what is going on with her! Tonight she was asking me to tell her a story about Jesus and then we found her singing later about how Jesus carried his own cross not just for her, but for "eeeevvvverrry oooonnee!" I wish I was that pleasant when I felt sick thanking him for dying for not only me, but for all. If I am thankful when I am not well, it is only a choice not a feeling!
We are so eager to have our comforts near and eager to be and feel some sense of settled! It comes with great news, it was much less than we anticipated. We found favor in some agents eyes, eyes we have not met! Praise the Lord for Panama following procedure!!
We are sad that our apartment in not but is almost ready. There is painting yet to be done and plumbing to be installed. We are hopeful to be in there within the week. This is hard for my type A personality to let go of some of the not so straight lines and the chunky grout lines. On the other hand I am beyond grateful for the people and the school that have afforded us the beauty of new floors, new bathrooms and many other things that will help in making Panama home...silly little things that are a big deal to me!

So here is a breakdown:
Praising the Lord for Favor from Customs
Praising the Lord that our Stuff is only hours away
Praising the Lord that Tylenol is in Panama
Prayer for Ro's body to heal and fight!
Prayer for the rest of us to remain healthy...we are all dragging a bit
Prayer for the remainder of the work left on the apartment will #1 move quicly #2 not present too much more of a mess #3 not send me (Clare) to the moon bc its not how I would do it, but don't have the time or the money....(i do know i am not perfect!)
Ro and the rest of the kiddos would be unaffected by the fact that we are scurrying to get into our apartment and are having to leave them more than we wish esp when sick...leaving our hearts behind.

There is so much more to wishing I was sitting in Brentwood Children's Clinic today!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Headline Pictures.

Pictures to Accompany Headlines!


CAR PURCHASED! Green Hyundai Terracon. Diesel. In Good Shape. Thrilled to Have Wheels.

10 Month Old Eats Toilet Paper...From Toilet...Toilet Was Backed-Up. Potty Paper. While Company Was Over. Child Smells Like Port A Potty.

Ro Askes Her Daddy Who She is Going to Marry...Pauses...."I Think Maybe You Daddy!"

Mother Can't Find Two Year Old After Checking On Her During Naptime. Mother Reading The Shack. Panic. 5 Minutes Searching. Two Year Old Found Asleep in Corner Between Wall and Dresser. Panic Diverted to Histerics. Laughter.

Dinner with Cottons. Dinner with Jordan and Lindsey. Dinner with Joel and Darby. Dinner with Cousins. Dinner with Cousins. Dinner with Matt and Misty. Dinner with Amy and Shelia.Dinner with Cousins. Dinner with 650. Dinner with Small Group. 3. Dinner with Cousins.

Clare Coaching Basketball. Grateful For Years of Practice Which Thought to be Unneccessary. Necessary. Hot. Need to Soak Aching Bones. Not 15 Anymore.

Nathan Coaching Sub 12 Boys. 20 Sub 12 Boys. Patience Necessary. Need to Saok Aching Bones. Not 15 Anymore. No Need For P90X.

3 Small Children take Cold Bath. Dinner From Microwave. Nathan Cold Shower. Clare Cold Shower. Forgot to order Tropi Gas.

Disposal. Dishwasher. Missing from Apartment. Better. Never There In the First Place. Seemingly Unnecessary.

Essie Colors on Wall.
Essie Colors on Ottoman.
Essie Tattoos Herself. Markers.
Essie Paints Herself. Lipstick. 5 Tubes. Destroyed. One Large Bathmat Rescued. Thankful for Tile.

Field Climbs Stairs. Field Rolls Down Stairs. Twice. Chairs Blocking. Now.

No Need f0r Dog. 10 Month Can Lick Floor from Fallen Food from Sisters...Never from the Mother.

Ready. Almost. Apartment. Tile. Paint. Clean-up.

Missed. Friends. Friends. Mom. Family. Paisley. Canonbury.

Missing 2 Year Old. Again. Found. Asleep Behind Couch Cushions.

Missing 2 Year Old. Again. Found. Asleep With Brother in Pack n Play.

Found. New Friends. Young and Our Age.

Books Read. The Shack. The Shack. The Noticer. The Noticer. Genesis. Exodus. Reading. The Land Between....

4 Weeks. No TV. No Target. Time to Read. Time to Talk. Time to Think. Time to Pray. Time to Spend with Others. Time to Prepare.

Marvi. Dan. Wife. Husband. Cousins. AMAZINGLY PATIENT. Giving Time. Giving. Impossible Without Either.

Stuff. Its Here. Somewhere. Pray for Favor. Customs Clearing.

Becky. Carla. Cary. Genesis. Stephanie. Avery. DD. Debra. Bella. Basketball Girls. Pray for More. Other Coach. Louis. Only Spanish.

Speaking Spanish. Not hearing Spanish. Pray for Ears that Hear. Pray for Mouth to Speak.

Homesick. This is Home. Need a Home. Soon.

Teachers. Instant Community. Awesome and Unique Community. Each Loves. Loves Children. Loves Panama. Loves Eachother. Hearts For Panama, Its People.

Joyful Learning. Preschool Co-op. Instant Friends. 2 2 Year Olds. 2 3 Year Olds. 2 Babies. Every Friday.

Support. Coming. Getting There. Pray for Wisdom. Pray for Diligence.

Still Parenting. Training up Children. Ours and Others. Coaching. Teaching.

Skype. Working Most Days. Spotty. Frustrating.

My Father. Issac's Father. Abrahams Father. Jacob's Father. He Still Is the "I AM." In Tennessee. In Panama. Never Changes Who my Father Is.

Stay Tuned. More To Come. I am Sure!

Each of You. Loved. Missed.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Zoo

The National Bird of Panama! Quite a threat from what we understand!
This was the only paved road in the zoo. The rest of the walk/stroll was off roading. It took me back to my high school days! Thankfully it had not yet rained for the day and only required minimal hosing off of the shoes and strollers.
I wish I could remember the names of all the animals. These were like small hippos with anteater faces. Interesting animals in Panama!
Just a random picture from my day...a zoo in and off itself! I am not sure whose day is longer...Nathan in the heat with teenagers playing games all day...or mine, inside with toddlers playing "games" all day? Its up for a vote!
The monkeys were begging for food at the zoo!
This was a rare moment. Ro taking it in how close she was. I asked her to turn around and take a picutre. She said, "No thank you, Its too close!" Most definitely I agree!
We are looking over the ledge at the small alligator charging our way! He just is loose in the zoo! are a few other animals!

New friends and cousins! We were so excited to have an invite to the zoo. It cost us big money for 2 adults and 5 kids...$2.25....bets the Nashville Zoo any day!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

First Days of School

Well, I have had my first days back at school in a few years, and they started off pretty good. I think I am a little stricter in my classroom management, but I feel confident that they will learn that this is in their best interest. The kids are pretty good kids and it is interesting, having so many different cultures in class. I am trying to fight making snap judgements about cultures and the attitudes of their culture that is instilled in kids. I am hoping to just love on each of them, where they are. Many of the students really don't have adults really paying attention to them as they have been raised by maids and parents that are not involved at all. I know I will learn more about this and will blog more about it in the future. The first days involved going over rules and expectations and teaching the basketball game Knockout. I was able to play with the kids and ask them questions while in line. Of course they were all rooting against me, but thankfully I held my own pretty good, even though I am embarrassed to say that I got beat by a group of 11th grade girls. I told them that they couldn't tell anyone. I am going to have my hands full with the 12th grade class. Besides, the usual too coolness of seniors, this class seems to have been pretty notorious for being apathetic and just plain poor attitudes. I feel confident that I can win the majority of them over.

I am at full speed recruiting kids to be involved in the basketball program that starts next week. I am also working on coaches, and practice gyms for the six teams that CCA has. I spent one day last week with my Irish elementary PE teacher, Simon, trying to find some gyms. It is humbling relying on somebody to translate everything for you. We thought we had found two, only to find out we couldn't use one of them. We are pursuing a few more places, and working on a practice schedule so that is what is keeping my plate full. Once we get some logistics behind us, then I hope to start working on some ways to do outreach with our sports teams. One thing, that I hope to get good feedback with is having some of the senior basketball players help coach the Sub 12 basketball teams. I think it will be a great experience on both sides.

I especially have been getting to know some of the other staff at the school and it is great starting to meet other like minded people from all over. They all have a different story and background and we look forward to getting to know them better. It is amazing how you can get along with just about anyone when there aren't a lot of choices, so you focus on similarities instead of looking at why you might not be able to be friends. It is great hearing and seeing the heart of different people and how they ended up in Panama.

Clare bought Field a walker to sit in since he started crawling. He is getting around fast in that thing. I know it is not going to be long before he is walking. He is pulling himself up and crawled up a couple stairs the other day. The girls are still having fun with their cousins, but they have been quite a handful the past week. Hopefully, we will get into a routine and schedule soon enough for their sake and our sanity. We did go to a Panamanian zoo today with another family. It wasn't quite the same as a zoo in the US. They were all animals native to Panama, and it was like they found the animal in the wild and put a cage around it. We got to see a jaguar, parrots, nellkehs (which we see everywhere and is kind of a cross between a rabbit and rat but the size of a small dog), toucans, turtles, a very large crocodile, caymans, monkeys in a cage a foot away, deer, some animal that looked like a mini hippo with an anteater face. It was a fun adventure.

We are learning how much more complex it is to getting things done here in Panama compared to the US. For example, I needed to get a simple paper notarized for our shipping of things. Where in the US, I could go to a bank and get it notarized for free, here I had to go through a lawyer and pay $20 for the notary and then the lawyer a $20 fee. That is just one example, and add to that the language barrier, and God is teaching us some serious patience and how to roll with the punches. We had dinner with a couple tonight that is working on adoption laws and the orphanages here in Panama and we were discussing the difference in our Western "get it done" culture and the "manyana" culture of Panama. It is interesting how both are in God's timing and plan. God loves us all, and there are people with both mind sets doing His work. We cant do anything faster than God's plan, and it is in His hands. I am finding comfort and rest in that.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Few Pictures

This is after a little rain shower and some homemade popsickles. You can also see pink ice cream on their shirts from a morning adventure to the terminal to get blood work and fotos for our visa...we had to wait for the doctor for an hour and killed some time with some 90 cent ice cream at 10 am! One picture you can see the humidity in the air. Field is getting his 3rd and 4th tooth and is smiling big enough for you to see! He has learned to crawl in the last week and we bought him a walker...looks like it is from 1950...but it works and he LOVES it! JD, our cousin was our entertainment today! We are sad that our cousins will be starting school in two days...I am really sad! I will post some pictures tomorrow of how the apartment is coming!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Kissisng Hand

We packed a few children's books with us to tide us over until our shipment comes and let me tell you that I have read "Llama Llama Red Pajama" and "Green Eggs and Ham" and "I have a New Potty" so many times that I have lost count. Sooo when I heard there was a garage sale of someone with kiddos returning to the states I was hopeful that there would be some books I could buy and expand our material!
The garage sale was a bit over priced, but only the Americans have them so they can sell it for more than you think they should. $2 a book. I bought 4.
I have already read them several times today, but was struck by one in particular. Let me explain.
The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn is a book about a racoon anxious about starting school not wanting to go, he likes his toys, his friends, his swing and wants to stay home with his momma. (I know how he feels!)
His mom tells him, "Sometimes we all have to do things we don't want to do, even if they seem strange and scary at first. But you will love school once you start." She goes on to tell him about the kissing hand. She takes his little paw spreads open his fingers and kisses him right in the middle of his palm. She says, "Whenever you feel lonely and need a little loving from home, just press you hand to your cheek and think, 'Mommy loves you, Mommy loves you.'" She goes on to tell him not to worry the kiss with stick.
The little racoon loved his Kissing Hand, knowing that his mother's love would go with him wherever he went. He even kisses his mother's palm as he scampers off to school to remind her that he loves her. It fills her heart.
I thought it was a cute book.
After I FINALLY got all my children down for a nap. I was feeling a bit like Chester the Racoon and wondering what I have done to myself and my children, feeling anxious about our move to Panama. I read some of the Psalms searching for some comfort, it didn't really work. Then I read about Cain killing Abel which also was not comforting as Essie tried to kill Field in the tub and then again pressing his face into a pillow only minutes later today. So again I pulled out my Jesus Calling book and it was so profound.
"Nothing can separate you from My Love....whenever you start to feel fearful or anxious, repeat this unconditional promise." "
"Be assured that I never abandon any of My children, not even temporarily. I HAVE ENGRAVED YOU ON THE PALMS OF MY HANDS."
What an unbelievable promise. I have my very own Kissing Hand. I am forever engraved in the palm of my Lord and Savior. There is no greater proof of unconditional love. I am not forsaken in the midst of my anxious thoughts.
I read both over again today to see how the Lord used a little racoon to remind me that I am NEVER separated from my Creator even when I am not wanting to try something different like go grocery shopping in a cramped store with people who assume you know their language looking for food that you can and want to eat when anything familiar is 5 times what it is at the large Publix back in the states. I liked what I had and everything around me has changed but I know the thing that does not change is that I have the knowledge that God's love for me sticks and is not going to rub off. Soooo comforting.

On another note...If you feel so led to pray for us, please pray that we find a car that is reliable and a good price. To be specific, we need a 7 seater, diesel gas, automatic, low mileage in the low teens for price....everything is more expensive here than we thought! Better to be specific than not!

All our love...and all our gratitude to our Lord whom we have the divine assurance of His Love!