Stuck or moving forward?

14 08 2013

This unique house

carhouse6417

on Western Highway in Belize has been made to resemble a colorful car – complete with wheels, but it will never move forward.  It remains “paralyzed”.  Sometimes we get stuck or maybe paralyzed with fear, not knowing exactly what the Lord want us to do or in which direction He wants us to go (although we always have His revealed will for our lives available to us in our own language in the Bible “Your word is a lamp that gives light wherever I walk.” Psalm 119:105).  We might be tripped up by things in our past, feeling unable to move on.  If this is the case in your life, I’d like to encourage you to get moving again. Take the next step.  Do the next right thing.  It is easier to steer a moving car, than one that is at rest. “Drive and go forward” 2 Kings 4:24b (OK…I admit that one is taken out of context, but I’m cramming it into this illustration) This one works, though:  “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” Hebrews 12:1. I believe that as we move forward, God will direct our steps. “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5 & 6 How does He do it? One very obvious and reliable way is by His Word!(Psalm 119:136). “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. Though they stumble, they will never fall, for the Lord holds them by the hand.” Psalm 37:23-24.  Paul says in Philippians 3:13-14 “ ….. but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Tony Evans says: “Don’t let yesterday mess up today! If you spend all your time today thinking about your failures or successes yesterday, then you will ruin your tomorrow. When today looks too long at yesterday, we are borrowing from tomorrow’s time. Yesterday is like a rearview mirror. When you go somewhere in the car, you use a rearview mirror. A rearview mirror shows you what’s behind you. You need a rearview mirror but you only need a rearview mirror to glance in, not live in. You don’t move forward by focusing on a rearview mirror; you move forward by focusing on the windshield. If you live in a rearview mirror, you will hurt somebody. But in front of the rearview mirror is a much bigger piece of glass called the windshield. The windshield shows you where you are going and that’s a lot bigger than where you have been. Don’t let yesterday mess up today, which will ruin tomorrow. While you are driving forward in your Christian life, every now and then look in your rearview mirror. Take a peek in your rearview mirror to see what’s behind you so that you don’t make a wrong turn while you’re moving forward. Just don’t stare too long.” [Tony Evan’s Stories, Quotes, and Anecdotes. Chicago: Moody Publishers. (2009). pgs. 220-221.

The Proverbs 31 woman “smiles at the future” (v25).  We can gain strength to move on and “smile at the future” from promises like this one in Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.”

Jesus says “Get up and come forward!” Luke 6:8





My Redeemer Lives

4 06 2014

In the book of  Job in the Bible (the events in which take place before 1500 B.C) 19:25-27, Job  declares, “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And He, the Last One, will take His stand on the soil. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God, Whom I will see for myself, and Whom my own eyes will behold, and not another. — He is the culmination of my innermost desire.”

Job’s affirmation of faith in the resurrection of the human body, and that his Redeemer (Who would set him free from slavery) would one day exercise judgment on earth and vindicate him, is a remarkable testimony of faith when you consider how little God had revealed in Job’s day about the future life. “Of course, this kinsman redeemer is Jesus Christ.  He took upon Himself a human nature so that He might reveal God to us, experience all that we experience, die for our sins, and then return to heaven to represent us before the Father.  He is willing to save and able to save.  One day He shall stand upon the earth and exercise judgment; and He will vindicate His own people.” Warren Wiersbe from the Bible Exposition Commentary

As our Redeemer, Jesus Christ, God in the flesh, bought us out of the slave market of sin and into His freedom by shedding His own blood for your soul and my soul.

This is why Charles Wesley wrote these words in his hymn “And Can it Be“:

Long my imprisoned spirit lay
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray,
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth and followed thee.

 

For more charts and scriptures to understand redemption and the concept of the kinsman-redeemer (the Hebrew word pronounced gaw-al’ used in Job) go to the  Precept Austin site here.

 

I Know that My Redeemer Lives  For the music to this song go here.

Who taught the sun where to stand in the morning?

MayaSunrise292match
And who told the ocean you can only come this far?

MayaMorningpan1
And who showed the moon where to hide till evening?
Whose words alone can catch a falling star?

Chorus:
Well I know my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
All of creation testifies
This life within me cries
I know my Redeemer lives

The very same God
That spins things in orbit
Runs to the weary, the worn and the weak
And the same gentle hands that hold me when I’m broken
They conquered death to bring me victory
[ Lyrics from: http://www.lyricsty.com/nicole-c-mullins-my-redeemer-lives-lyrics.html ]
Now I know, my Redeemer lives
I know my Redeemer lives
Let all creation testify
Let this life within me cry
I know
My Redeemer

He lives
To take away my shame
And He lives
Forever I’ll proclaim
That the payment for my sins
Was the precious life He gave
And now He’s alive and
There’s an empty
Grave!

Matthew 28: 5-7a The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; for I know that you are looking for Jesus who has been crucified. “He is not here, for He has risen, just as He said. Come, see the place where He was lying. “Go quickly and tell His disciples that He has risen from the dead”

1 Corinthians 15:1-6a “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time.”

What is your response to what Jesus has done for you? Belief/Faith/Trust or Unbelief/Rejection? Eternity is at stake…..

 





Mexican Tree Frog, Smilisca baudinii

26 04 2014

We stepped out of our front door the other evening to see this cute Mexican Tree frog (ID thanks to Michael G. Starkey of www.savethefrogs.com):

Mextreefrog6764

mextreefrog6761

These frogs may actually change colors depending on their location.  I think this one looks yellow due of hanging out on our yellow wall (I trust he or she was helping out by lowering the insect population at our front door – making me even more fond of him/her).

For more on the Creator of this little cutie and other animals go here.





The God of the Bible Uses Failures

3 02 2014

“One man likened his failures to the compost pile.  It’s the richest part of my garden.  It’s where I throw my kitchen scraps, lawn clippings, and all the manure I can find.  It’s smelly.  It’s repulsive, but the compost always decays into rich humus that will feed my garden next spring.  My failures and disappointments are like that.  They trouble me, but I find that failures can provide rich compost for my life IF I will learn from them.  That’s a big IF.  IF I will learn from them.” From Tom Oyler’s DTS Chapel message “Failure Isn’t Final”using as its text Mark 14:66-72 the passage about Peter’s denials.  Note how in Mark 16:7 Peter is singled out: make sure to tell Peter (called out specifically by name here among the disciples) that Jesus has risen from the dead and will appear to you. Failure isn’t final. That’s why the book of John doesn’t end with chapter 20, even though verses 30 & 31 sound like the perfect wrap up for the book.  That’s why there is a chapter 21 (see verses 15-17 for Peter’s restoration). Note that God used Peter to preach the first sermon after the birth of the church in Acts 2:14-42 (3000 converts responded to the love of God communicated with these words). God uses cracked pots! 2 Corinthians 4:7 says “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us”

“The Cracked Pot” (author unknown)

A water carrier in India had two large clay pots that hung from opposite ends of a pole he carried across his shoulders. One of the carrier’s pots had a crack in it. The other pot was perfect and always arrived after the long walk from the stream to the master’s house full of the precious water. The cracked pot, on the other hand, arrived only half full, and as a result, the water carrier always delivered one full pot and one half pot of water. The perfect pot was proud of its ability to fulfill the purpose for which it had been made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its imperfection, and miserable that it could only fulfill part of the purpose it had been made for. After two years of bitter failure, the cracked pot spoke to the water carrier, saying, “I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.””Why?” asked the water carrier. “What are you ashamed of?””I deliver only half my load. The crack in my side lets water leak onto the ground as you carry me to your master’s house. So you don’t get the full value of your efforts because of my flaw.”The water carrier felt very sorry for the old cracked pot and he said, “As we return to the master’s house today, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”Then he trudged up the hill with the two pots across his shoulders. For the first time, the cracked pot noticed the beautiful wildflowers along the path and they cheered it immensely. When they reached the master’s house, the water carrier said to the pot, “Did you notice the flowers on your side of the path, and how there were none on the perfect pot’s side? I have always known of your flaw, and I took advantage of it by planting flower seeds. I knew that, as we walked back from the stream, you would water them. And, for two years now, I have picked these beautiful flowers to decorate my master’s table. Without your being just the way you are, he would not have had this beauty to grace his house.”

Worcester Art Museum Floral Displays





2013 in review

4 01 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 55 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.





Top Blog for Belize

23 12 2013

Thanks to all who commented on this blog to help it win first place: top expats blog for Belize in 2013!!

I hope that readers will enjoy thinking about God’s Creation specifically in Belize, but also all around you right where you are (including you yourself!)

Make sure to watch this great video on Creation!





Top Ten Considerations for Bringing a Dog into Belize – It’s NOT Easy

23 12 2013

Dogs are members of our family, so where we go, they go, and they share in the adventure!

1.  If you are importing a dog from the US into Belize, you will need to have all the proper paperwork both for the airline and for BAHA (Belize Agricultural Health Authority).  (Refer to point #3 for BAHA requirements). To avoid a 30 day quarantine, you will need to have the USDA APHIS Form 7001 filled out within 7 days of departure by a USDA certified veterinarian who is licensed in your state (find one near you). FED EX overnight the Form 7001  with a check (the fee for stamping/endorsement varies by the number of animals traveling and by the number of tests required for the health certificate. You should contact the APHIS VS Area Office in your state for more information- I think I paid $37 for each dog in 2012) to your states’ USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) APHIS (Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service) AVIC (there is probably only one office in the state for the Area Veterinarian in Charge) with a prepaid return FED EX overnight envelope for them to return the endorsed form back to you. Then pray that the endorsement gets back to you before your flight! Refer to this site to answer more questions you may have.

2. While you are at the vet in the US before your flight, have them fill out the required paperwork for your airline, the IATA Veterinary Certificate For Domestic & International Airline Travel.  Be sure to carry valid proof of your pet’s current rabies vaccination (not less than one month or more than one year prior to the date of importation into Belize) with you to the vet, the airline, and BAHA.  Information for shipping a dog via United/Continental may be found here. For information about shipping dogs with American Airlines go here.  Note the ridiculously large kennel size required for international travel (the flights from Houston or Dallas are less than 3 hours).  The kennel needs to be ventilated on all four sides (we had to drill holes in our fourth side because we couldn’t find the proper brand and size of kennel at regular pet stores in the US that were ventilated on all four walls) for international travel and airlines will not accept certain brands of kennel, so be sure to check before purchasing one.  It is possible that the airline will sell one to you that meets their requirements.  You may want to check with them if they do this and it may save you a lot of trouble beforehand. Kennels need to be properly labeled, contain secured food and water dishes, with a large ziploc bag of dry kibble and a leash taped to the top of the kennel. Certain sizes of kennels may not fit in the cargo holds or through the cargo door in an upright position for certain types of aircraft, so you need to check what make of plane you have booked for your pet’s flight.  Note that airlines will refuse to ship certain short nosed dog breeds. I would recommend finding a direct flight with no connections.  You would hate for your dog to be lost on some tarmac somewhere unattended!  We drove a long way through the US to make sure we could get our dog on a direct flight from Texas.  I would also recommend that you be on the same flight with your pet, so you are there to pick it up quickly. Most importantly, the airlines WILL NOT ship a dog in the cargo hold if the temperature at either airport is over 85F (and it is very tough to find days less than this temperature in Belize).  This pretty much means that you will not be able to ship pets that are too large to travel in-cabin in the summer.   Realize that you will need to drop off your dog in the cargo area for your airline 3 hours before your flight. You will need to be ready to pay fees (probably around $US50) in addition to what you already paid for their travel fare when you drop them off.

3. To import a dog into Belize, you should visit the BAHA website . Download and fill out the application to import animal(s) into Belize. Either send your application by Fax to 011-501-822-0271 or E-mail to baha@btl.net.  It should processed in about 7 days, but NOTHING in Belize is efficient or quick, so you may need to keep on them and continue asking for the approved import permit to be faxed back to you. It is probably best to deal with the BAHA in the capitol city of Belmopan (their phone numbers are 011-501-822-0818/1378/0197 or you may try the e-mail mentioned previously). BAHA claims they will file the import permit at the airport, but when you arrive, BAHA officials there will refuse to even look for it and will say it is not there in attempt to line their pockets (holding your dog for ransom).  To avoid this, you will need to have a copy of the BAHA approved import permit in your hot little hands! You can whip it out and not have to pay a fee or bribes to get your pet into the country.  If your import paperwork is not at the airport, you will at least be charged a $B50 fine. The BAHA website says, “The Director of Animal Health is to be notified two (2) days in advance of date and time of arrival of live animals at point of entry. Veterinary inspection at point of entry will be done only during daylight hours (9 am – 4 pm). For your information, the telephone numbers of veterinarians that can be contacted are:

Dr. Victor Gongora – Central Farm- Ph: 011-501-824 – 4872/99 (Director of Animal Health)
Dr. Joe Myers – O/Walk – Ph: 011-501-322-3257 (Quarantine, Northern Districts)
Dr. Miguel Depaz – Central Farm – Ph: 011-501-824-4872/99 (Quarantine, Cayo District)
Dr. Miguel Figueroa – Belize City – Ph: 011-501-224-5230/4794 (Quarantine, Belize District)”.  I did call prior to shipping our dog and they said a vet is always there anyways (so no need to call), but we have never seen nor needed one, so I’m not really sure about this.

4. Belizean customs sets an arbitrary figure to charge you based on the value they determine of the freight (they determine how much your dog breed is worth and then charge you a percentage that customs agent determines that day). If you negotiate with them in a good natured manner, they will usually lower the fee for you. We had to pay an unexpected $277 for them to release our dog.  You will need to be ready with some cash for expenses like this.

5. You will need to consider how to transport your dog and kennel in your vehicle.  We booked an SUV with Hertz, but the extra large kennel we were required to use for international travel did not fit inside, and the SUV lacked a rack on top.  We had to go to another rental car agency that had an SUV with a rack on top.  We had to borrow some rope to tie the disassembled kennel to the roof (we didn’t want to try to drive with one hand on the steering wheel and hold onto the kennel on the roof with the other hand like you see some people doing with mattresses – yeah, THAT works!)  You may want to bring some rope or bungee cords with you (good bungee cords are nowhere to be purchased in Belize that we could find)

6. Our American dogs were used to hiking off leash in the US forests, socializing with other friendly dogs, and running up to people to make friends.  Socializing with Belizean dogs is not possible in Belize.  In Belize, most dogs are used for home protection/attack or else they are stray/feral dogs, most likely carrying disease, who commonly fight each other in the streets, especially at night. Bitches in heat who are free to roam are usually the ones over whom they are fighting.  Most people in Belize have been bitten by a dog and many are very afraid of them.  We were hiking (our dogs knew to always stay on the trail because stepping off trail into leaf litter could result in a snake bite) in what we thought was a “people free” area of the jungle and a large man came out onto the path where we were, so our dog happily trotted up to greet him.  The man picked up rocks and chucked them at our dog, claiming he was being charged and that the dog would attack him.  We kept yelling for him to stop, that our dog was friendly, but he kept right on throwing rocks.  From that point on, we kept our dogs on leash at all times.  We had several friends get bitten by protection dogs other people were walking, even when they were on leash, so it is best not to even approach dogs that look like they are under the control of their owner.

7. It is a good idea to take a “cone of shame” (aka Elizabethan collar, E-Collar, pet lamp-shade, or pet cone) that fits your dog with you into Belize, because we could not find one anywhere (they were all too small….Chihuahua sized only) to use on our dog when he was neutered.  If your dog incurs any kind of injury that you would want to keep him or her from licking and reopening, you will need to bring a cone with you from the US.

8. If you need vaccinations or grooming in Belmopan, try Sylvestre and Maylin Trejo. They may be contacted at 501-602-1033, or 501-625-7511.  Their “office” is a picnic table in their front yard (a surprise to us) but it works.  Their vaccination cards are in Spanish and we found upon returning to the US, that our city would not license our dogs with a Spanish rabies certificate.  They needed to be revaccinated in the US before they could be licensed (silly). I said, “It’s really not that hard to read even though you don’t speak Spanish.  Use your deciphering skills!  Vacunación means vaccination, contra means against, and la Rabia means rabies!” How hard is that? (As an aside, Maylin also works at the Venezuelan Institute at the intersection of Floriana Ave. and Orchid Garden where you can take free Spanish lessons – even though English is the official language of Belize, 63% of the population there speaks Spanish)

9. If you need a vet, try Dr. Isabelle Paquet-Durand at Belize Wildlife Clinic (her office is difficult to find with a very small sign just beyond the University of Belize Central Farm and a little airport across the street from Flying W Meats in Cayo on the Western Highway going towards San Ignacio from Belmopan).  She works with exotics, but treats domestic animals to pay the bills.  She has done a great deal of research about parasites.  Don’t even bother to bring Heartgard with you into the country.  Your pet will need something much stronger to take care of all the parasites in the area – Ivermectin. We used Advantix (which we brought in with us – I think you can purchase only Frontline in Belize) and did not have any trouble with ticks or fleas.  Fleas especially can be an unpleasant problem in Belize, so it is worth it to protect your dog. Thankfully our dogs stayed healthy in Belize.

10. For pet supplies in Belmopan, Reimer’s feed on Constitution Drive (501-822-2088) is probably your best bet (for food, Frontline, collars, treats, but not really for toys or good long lasting things to chew).  Reimer’s is Mennonite owned out of Spanish Lookout. You can buy American made dog food (even in the Chinese/Taiwanese owned grocery stores), or the Mennonites make their own dog food, which is cheaper than the imported stuff because of the high duty Belize charges on EVERYTHING brought into the country. (Don’t buy into the idea that it is cheaper to live in Belize than in the US – it’s not!) “Owning a dog is slightly less expensive than being addicted to crack.” ― Jen Lancaster, Bitter is the New Black.  There’s no such thing as a free dog!

However, they are invaluable companions…..

“A person can learn a lot from a dog, even a loopy one like ours. Marley taught me about living each day with unbridled exuberance and joy, about seizing the moment and following your heart. He taught me to appreciate the simple things-a walk in the woods, a fresh snowfall, a nap in a shaft of winter sunlight. And as he grew old and achy, he taught me about optimism in the face of adversity. Mostly, he taught me about friendship and selflessness and, above all else, unwavering loyalty.”― John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

- See more at: http://www.expatsblog.com/contests/724/top-ten-considerations-for-bringing-a-dog-into-belize#sthash.grOOmizy.dpuf





Feral Puppies

8 12 2013

One of the dogs that hangs around Blue Thumb Ministries had a litter of puppies. 

BTMdogs     momnpup     2pups     puupyflower

They have been begging at my husband’s door and eaten such “delicacies” as pizza and SpaghettiOs!  They also are wild/hungry enough to eat animals (possibly cats or possums) that their parents kill. Most of the puppies have been given away but one remains.  My husband calls him “Shadow”, since he follows him everywhere.  He has the unique ability to touch the tips of his brown pointy ears together on the top of his head when he looks at you. dogeartouch

These dogs have changed my husband’s morning routine so as not to run them over with the car.  He has to put his backpack in the car first, open the gate, then run around his building with them chasing….get back into his car quickly before they reach him and take off, then close the gate. Whew!  It puts a smile on his face and gets his heart going for a great start to the day.

This video called “God Made a Dog” is cute (It got the day wrong when dogs were created, but you get the gist…)








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