The tree frog that stopped by for a visit


our view


Here's the view from the vaction house at which we are staying for a few days.

Only in Latin America?


On the way to the beach we got caught in a shut down of the Panamerican Highway for the 'Lap of Costa Rica' bicycle race. Would this happen in the US?

It must be winter in the US....


When you look out your window and see an oriole visiting Costa Rica!

The Mad Hatter


Lindsay saw clips of the new Alice in Wonderland movie and knew that the Mad Hatter was the costume she wanted for Halloween. She did some research and spent a lot of time making the hat, but she totally nailed it!

An Unexpected Treasure


While taking a drive near the Turrialba volcano, we came across a little jewel of a restaurant. It's actually very family oriented with a playground area, pony ride, farm animals. On top of it all, it's a trout farm with thousands of rainbow trout from fry to what appear to be 4-5 pounders! Needless to say, the restaurant's specialties all center around trout dishes!

Jordan was fascinated with the pony and the chickens and she enjoyed feeding the fish.

Another Honduran namesake!


On August 22, our good friends, Fernando & Jannina, had their first son!  We are so happy for them!  Jannina wrote that they’d named the baby “Fernando (for his father) Enrique (for Henry).”  What an honor!  Our plan had been to visit them this month to meet little Fernando Enrique, reacquaint ourselves with his 2 year old sister, Gloria Kristine, and see just how much 9 year old Janina Michel, the oldest, had grown, but the political situation in Honduras has made it impossible.  We are so anxious to see and hug all of our dear Honduran friends again!  Please join us in praying that we will be able to visit them sometime soon.



Jordan cooking


Jordan wanted to help Mom make Lindsay's birthday cake and even help to clean up afterwards!



A friend called today to let us know about the rainbow around the sun. I managed to get a decent photo of the "sundog" or ice halo. Scientifically known as parhelion, it's a really cool site to see. You can read more about the phenomenon at wikipedia.

The struggle over Life and Death


While in the Arenal area, Lindsay and I visited the Hanging Bridges park, where we saw a number of great views and other interesting sights. The following video was one of the most exciting sights.

Arenal upon arrival


Here's the view of the Arenal volcano from the patio of our hotel room. We are told that the volcano is quite shy, often hiding in the clouds. Must be God's little gift to us today!

The ride to Turrialba Volcano


September 15th is Independence day in Costa Rica (as it is for the five countries of Central America) and is a holiday for us. I took the opportunity to go for a (relatively) long ride on my bike to see Volcano Turrialba. The first photo shows the closest I could get, as the road was closed past that point due to the drifting smoke emanating from the volcano. The second photo is looking the opposite direction and sort of makes it look like I'm standing on top of the world.

Blessed Bible Study


The past two Thursdays, I’ve been leading the first lesson of the new study chosen by our international women’s Bible study group.  The study, “Celebration of Womanhood,” is one that we received free from the author, Joyce Marie Smith, and it is proving to be great!  I was especially encouraged this week, when the question, “What does Jesus mean to you?” was answered so enthusiastically by several of the women.  Two of them  were new to the study only last week, and yet they felt comfortable enough to share freely about their faith and how they’d come to know Jesus as their Savior.  This week’s discussion easily lent itself to clearly sharing the gospel more than once, which was an incredible blessing!  Please pray that the seeds that have been planted would take root in the hearts of these wonderful women and bear eternal fruit in their lives and families.  Please pray for the four of us who are taking turns leading to be guided by the Holy Spirit. 



How We Spent our Summer


Home assignment has meant a lot of "windshield time" this summer. This little video clip shows our normal traveling "posture."

One final post....


Sorry about the gap in postings. Life has gotten pretty busy and blogging is one of the things to get pushed to the edge of the plate (or fall off). Since we’re playing catch up, I thought that I would through this last one in. It’s a sign we saw in an ice cream/coffee shop tonight while finishing off the evening. As a coffee drinker, it struck a special cord with me! (I may even have to print this and post it on my office door.)



We had some time today to play today, so we found a park with a large playground. Here Jordan can be seen climbing around. No fear!

Another Birthday?


The day after Jordan's birthday, she's still celebrating! While visiting another church, Jordan was presented another birthday cake!

Jordan's Birthday


Jordan celebrated her 3rd birthday shortly after our arrival in the States. In the first photo, she's caught stealing sprinkles from Mom's piece of cake! In the second, she's playing with one of her favorite gifts: a toy computer. (Taking after Papa already!)



Our first church visit this summer led us the northern most part of Wisconsin, near Bayfield, were these photos were taken. If you haven't been to Bayfield, you really should. ... in summer! It's a beautiful little town on the shores of Lake Superior. In the last photo, Jordan was really tired, but wouldn't give up the Teddy Grahams, eventually falling asleep with her hand still in the bag.

Visit with friends long unseen


Two days after our arrival in the US, we were able to spend some time with a fellow missionary serving on the other side of the world. They were on their way from one coast to the other and were passing very near us! When we last saw Rachel, she was a young single woman. Now she's married with two little ones! Time has flown, but the friendship formed remains.



It didn't take long for Jordan to find the dress-up clothes at Grandma's house after our arrival.

Our Veteran Flyer


Yesterday was the first time Jordan flew without her car seat. Once she got buckled in, she pulled out the safety card and started following along with the safety video by pointing to the same images on the card!

It's a Hat!


Now they're a hat! Good sense of balance though, eh?

Jordan's Earrings


What do you think of Jordan's new earrings?

It's over!


Today was Lindsay’s last day of school – finally – and mine, too.  Though I’ve had a wonderful time substitute teaching at her high school these past two weeks, I’m drained!  I love teaching, especially in the Christian atmosphere of Sojourn Academy, and teaching Lindsay’s World Lit class was pure joy.  The little “diversion,” though, served to remind me that for now my work is in my home.  Jordan did well at the school’s daycare – and even better at co-worker “Aunt Norma’s” house – but she sure missed her mommy.  Every day it’s been hard to get her out the door and even harder to get her off me once we’re home.  It is nice to be loved, but one needs one’s space, right?  This time of ½ day teaching also served to affirm my decision not to take the English teacher job that was offered to me for next year.  Maybe someday, but for now I’ll focus on training up my own little one and ministering to our team and my Bible study as the Lord leads.


Now we have to get ready to leave in 5 days!  Heaven help me!



Just Too Cute


We attended the graduation ceremony at Lindsay's school this evening. At one point, a prayer was offered up. Jordan realized what was happening, turned to Mom, said "Prayer," folded her hands and closed her eyes. It was just too cute a photo op to pass up!

It's Rainy Season...again!


Well, it's rainy season again. Actually, it has been for several days, but not as heavy as normal. Today's rain made up for it. Here's a small clip of the street in front of our office only minutes after the start of the rain. Notice the water is deep enough that the sidewalk is no long visible!

Singin' in the Rain


Recently, Jordan discovered the old classic movie, "Singin' in the Rain." It has become her all-time favorite - for the week, anyway. That's pretty appropriate, too, when you consider the fact that we are in the midst of rainy season now and lately we've had thunderstorms every afternoon!

What is it?


Have you ever seen one of those photo quizzes that show you an unusual perspective of a common item and you are supposed to figure out what it is?

The other day, I saw this and had a thought that it might cause some people to wonder "What is it?" Any guesses? (hint: leave a comment to let us know what you are thinking)

When you're done thinking about it, click here to find out!



I’ve watched enough episodes of the TV show “Flashpoint” to come to the conclusion that hostage negotiations have much in common with raising a strong-willed two year old.  Phrases like “I understand that’s what you want, and I’d like to give it to you, but first I need you to do this one thing (lately, go pee-pee on the potty) for me,” are invaluable.  The negotiator must be creative, persistent, and calm in the face of unbelievable circumstances, rising tensions, and impossible demands.  Force may be used, but only as a last resort. 


You know, I’d love to meet the guy who first made a distinction between “Housewives” and “Working Mothers.”  I’d really like to see how long he could make it alone, behind closed doors, with a strong-willed toddler!



Así es la Vida


Costa Rica is such a well developed, “modern” nation that you can sometimes forget that it really is a Third World country.  Today was not one of those days!


Now that we have our Residency Visas (Thank God!), we have to get special permission from the government to take our minor children out of the country.  We went to the Immigration Offices on Monday afternoon, as our lawyer suggested, with the papers she told us we needed, to make the request.  We should have seen it coming, really, I mean it all just sounded too easy!  We didn’t though (one of the days we’d forgotten the Third World thing), and we were surprised to learn that we needed two more things to apply for permission to take our kids out of the country.  We needed a copy of their birth certificates – stamped & certified – and passport size photos of each of them as well as the other documents the lawyer had told us about.  It sounds silly, but what can you do?  That’s the law!


So today Henry & I went back to Immigration.  We went in the morning, because the office where you request the copy of the birth certificate that they have on file is only open from 8 a.m. until noon.  We were so thankful that a friend from my Bible Study watched Jordan for us, because the whole process took 4 long hours! 


Some might call this a wasted day.  To be honest, we are tempted to do just that!  But, when you’ve lived in a Third World country for as long as we have, you learn to say, “Así es la vida” (“Such is life”)!


My daughter the hobbit


If you’ve watched the Lord of the Rings Trilogy – or read the books, this blog will make sense to you.  For some time now, I’ve suspected Jordan was a hobbit in disguise, and today’s actions confirmed it.  Less than an hour after finishing her breakfast (banana, yogurt, Fruit Loops), she asked me for macaroni & cheese, and she’s actually eating it!  “Tensies, anyone?”



Kids say the darndest things!


A couple of weeks ago, on a day that I was feeling a bit blue, Jordan asked to look at some old photos with me.  The trip down memory lane was enough to make me cry, and that troubled her.  She climbed on my lap, looking intently into my eyes, and asked, “You okay, Mama?”  “Yes,” I replied, “Mama’s just a little sad today.”  Then she drew close to my face for what I expected to be a kiss, but instead she blew a puff of air in my face.  “What was that?” I asked.  She came even closer and blew on my nose, then sat back contentedly.  “All better,” she said, “No more sad; I blow nose!”  Who wouldn’t laugh at that?




Gardens near our House


We spent most of the morning visiting a botanical garden close to our house. They have a tremendous variety of plants and flowers, almost 3000 species, on 27 acres. Their emphasis, and our favorites, are orchids. They have a number of different sections, including a Japanese garden that's under development, and one for cacti. (first photo: that's one huge cactus!) They even have 40 species of bamboo! (second photo: look at the size of that bamboo!) Click here to see a slideshow from today.



Here's a short clip of Jordan singing her ABCs.

Poás Volcano


We visited Poás Volcano today and had a wonderful day . The weather was clear, albeit a bit chilly, but that's to be expected at 8100+ ft. Being Holy Week here, traffic was extremely light (except at the end of the multilane highway heading out of town where it narrows down to one lane; everyone was trying to get to the beach!). Jordan was in a really fun mood and there weren't too many people there when we arrived.

The main crater is about 1 mile in diameter and the pool inside about 1500 feet in diameter. The water in the pool averages 105 degrees Fahrenheit because it's heated from below. There is a constant sound of steam escaping through the water, forming the clouds you see right above the pool and a constant smell of sulphur in the air.

Beside the main crater, there are a couple of paths to stroll along. We took one to another laguna that is in an extinct crater, Laguna Botos. This one isn't heated, though, and only averages about 60-65 degrees in temperature.

Also of interest is that this whole area is a dwarf cloud forest that is a product of acidic air and freezing temperatures.

You may recall that the Poás area is where the earthquake was centered that damages a large number of homes and killed a number of people. On the drive to the volcano, a lot of the damage is still visible, including one destroyed house that's perched on a the ledge formed when the land below it slide away.

The photo above is a panorama of several photos that I "stitched" together using software. Other photos can be seen in the slideshow on the right.

Reflections - Our Newsletter


We decided to include a new block on the right side with links to current and previous newsletters, in case you would like to catch up, print it out, etc.

Beach Vacation - Pacific Side


We just got back from a few days on the Pacific coast near the town of Tamarindo. The area is a lot different in look and feel from the Caribbean coast as it's a lot dryer (read "brown") and there are a lot more tourists. Given that, the beaches were beautiful and we enjoyed a wonderful time with the whole family plus one: Meghan's boyfriend, Marius. Marius joined us for spring break and was thilled that he was finally warm!!

See the slideshow on the right for more pictures.

Following in Mother's Footsteps


I know that it's probably not a challenge, but can you guess which combination of daughter-shoes this is? Yep, it's Jordan. She has this thing for walking around in her mother's shoes and today she wanted a picture of her feet in the shoes.

A nice smile from Jordan


I was playing with the camera on my phone and Jordan actually wanted her picture taken! (Normally she won't pose because she's too interested in seeing the outcome)

This one turned out nicely,

Interesting sight in the evening sky


As I was talking with the security guard outside our house tonight, I saw this sight in the western sky. I'm far from an astronomy guru, so I had to look it up online (which wasn't a really straight-forward process) and, if what I found is correct, this is the planet Venus that's in close (apparent, that is) proximity to the moon.

Isn't she lovely!


A new Marcette has arrived in Honduras!  Born on Dec. 31, 2008, she’s the daughter of our friend, Lupe, who named her Estefani Marcette.  I feel so honored!  And I’m anxious to see her for myself; I’ve never met another Marcette before!  Please pray that this little one will remain healthy and that she will come to know Jesus as her Savior at an early age.   And isn’t she just beautiful!  (I know – looks just like me, right?)



Today we went to an Orchid show with our friends and co-workers, Gordon and Norma Pike. The show was a large display from various growers showing some of the 1500+ varieties (!!) of orchids that are native to Costa Rica. As you may be able to tell from some of the photos in the slide show on the right, purple was a prevalent color!

Marcette was extremely excited to walk out with a couple of orchids to try her hand at growing (second photo).

Coffee House


Yesterday, Lindsay's school setup a coffee house as a fund-raiser for the play they will be putting on. Lindsay has been playing in the worship band and, as such, was a part of the talent show portion of the coffee house. She did a great job!

It's alive!


I did the unthinkable on Friday.  I spilled a full glass of ice water on my lap top!  I was working at the table, and I turned to see what Jordan was doing as I placed my glass on the coaster.  I know; multi-tasking isn’t always a good thing!  As you can imagined, I panicked, tried to dump the water off the computer, and called Henry at work right away.  As I waited for him to answer, the computer began sizzling (I kid you not!), and then the screen went black.  I’d killed my computer!  I felt awful.


But, there are advantages to having an IT Director in the family!  After the lap top had dried, Henry was able to get it to boot; he’d resurrected it!  It was looking like the computer itself was okay, but the keyboard was shot.  He brought a “dead” and abandoned lap top home from the office, put that computer’s battery & keyboard in mine, and, marvel of marvels, it began working as good as new!


Now you know why I married a computer geek.  (Ha ha!)


They're back!


Now that the rains have diminished considerably (not completely, mind you, as we had an all day drizzle yesterday), some of our favorite foods are back!  When the “veggie guys” came today, fresh cantaloupe, ripe strawberries, and mangos were on their truck.  Yippee!  It tastes like summer again. J


That's what friends are for.


The earthquake that shook Costa Rica like a boat at high tide on Jan. 8, was big news all over Central America. Several of our friends in Honduras emailed to make sure we were okay. Liliana, our beloved Spanish teacher, even called us that night. We felt so loved, and we were so grateful to be able to say, "We're okay!"

Another friend, Carlos, called tonight, because he'd heard that there had been other earthquakes. While that's true, the recent quakes have been so much less severe that we look at each other and say, "Did you feel that or did I imagine it?" But it still means so much to us that Carlos and other friends like him are thinking of us!

We are thankful for every one of our wonderful friends who are praying for us. May the Lord bless you for your faithfulness!

Oh, Baby!


We have exciting news from our Honduran friends!

Carlos & Wendy happily welcomed their third child into their lives on Nov. 23! Little Carla was born nearly 4 weeks early, but she & mommy are both doing well. We are so grateful to God for giving this wonderful couple the child they'd prayed for! Please pray for the family as they raise their 3 girls and struggle to make ends meet.

And Fernando & Jannina just wrote to tell us that they are expecting! We are so excited! Their oldest daughter, Janina Michell, will soon be 9, and little Gloria Kristine will be 2 in August. Each child has been a miracle baby, so this little one is both a surprise and a great blessing. Please pray that Jannina would be able to carry the baby to full term and that the baby would be born strong & healthy.

Looks like "Aunt Marcette" and "Uncle Henry" will have to make another trip to Honduras this year, doesn't it?

Mmmm, Rico, rico!


I made a surprising discovery today: Jordan likes green tea! Granted, it is flavored with green apple, but still, it’s a bit unusual. Don’t you think? I was filling my glass at lunch when she asked for some. I gave her a sip, telling her that she probably wouldn’t like it. She promptly sat back, smacked her lips, and said, “Mmmm, rico, rico!” (“Rico” means “rich,” but it is most often used to say something is delicious.) We have a tea lover in the family!

We're Alright!


Some of you have expressed concern for our safety after the earthquake that hit Costa Rica this afternoon. Thank you! We want you all to know that we are safe and well. At 1:21PM a 6.2 (Richter scale) earthquake hit the area of Alajuela, Heredia, and the Central Valley where San José (the capital of Costa Rica) is located. The epicenter of the earthquake was a few miles from the Poas Volcano.

Our family was at Lindsay’s school at the time. The building began shaking and continued shaking, as if it were swaying on a wave of water, for quite some time (40 seconds according to some reports)! We have become accustomed to feeling small quakes from time to time, mostly at night, but this was much stronger and lasted a lot longer that anything previous. We just heard on the news that this was the strongest tornado felt in the area in the past 20 years.

Reports say that two young girls selling candy to tourists on the road near Poas were killed when they were covered by a mudslide, but we haven’t heard of any other fatalities. Damage in the area around the volcano is pretty severe with dozens of homes damaged or destroyed, 100’s hurt and more than 35 KM of roads destroyed. Reports of damage in the city of San José have been minimal.

We are thankful that Meghan flew out of Costa Rica early this morning, long before the earthquake hit, and is now safely in Chicago. If anything more develops here, we’ll keep you posted.

Please pray that the Lord would protect, especially those who live in unsafe houses.

Grateful for your prayers!
Henry, Marcette, Lindsay & Jordan

A Hike to the Cross (of Alajuelita)


Yesterday was the last opportunity to really get out and do something before vacation ended and, having no takers, I decided to try to hike to the cross of Alajuelita. In actuality, there are three crosses, which you can see if you click on the link to see the album that added.

The first and most interesting thing that I saw was a sloth! Beyond that, the views were outstanding! The hike was tougher than I thought it would be (for a desk jockey), but I'm glad that I went. I ran into a group of guys at the start of the hike and they graciously allowed me to hike with them and we enjoyed goofing around during the hike. The young man who was leading the group knew the "back way" down, which yielded more gorgeous views and, after hundreds of meters of walking down the steep side of the mountain, we came to the river, which we followed back to the starting point.

A tiring day, but well worth the effort.

A Day at the Fun Park


We went to the Parque de Diversiones this morning which is a fun park kind of like a small Great America (complete with fuzzy characters walking around!). Meghan and Lindsay went one way while Cette, Jordan, and I went to the small kids section. Jordan had a blast riding the "bullet train,", the semi's, the Tea Cups, and her very first roller coaster! The older girls had fun also, but the lines were so long, they were only able to ride a couple before Jordan was worn out.