Monday, July 27, 2015


Things have been quiet at work, and I've been catching up on some reading - news, mostly, about the ongoing peace talks. I often forget that this country is at war with itself even though our work deals directly with the fallout from that war. I've heard Bogotá described as a "bubble," where it's fairly easy to avoid awareness or consciousness of the conflicts over land and the long legacy of violence that plagues the country. And yet we are surrounded by human misery. My children are keenly aware that there are many people in this city who have no place to sleep but the streets. We walk past them every day. We go to school, to work, to church, we have our routines, our Legos, our date nights. We live here. And I'm still trying to figure out what that means.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The fifth year

In honor of Gabe's birthday, here is a retrospective of his fifth year of life - 12 of my favorite photos from the past 12 months.

At a retreat center in Sogamoso

Not sure what the persona was here but just too cute!

Demonstrating a machine that makes hearts and love for the world

Alter ego!

Sweet and affectionate boy!

Loved the snow! in Harrisonburg, VA

A craft project from school - recycling!

Favorite Christmas present!

at the Children's Museum in Harrisonburg

I'm so happy I don't have to wrestle him into seat belts anymore, he does it himself!

Very interested in learning letters and reading

Pirate captain!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


Well! I ended up unplugging for much more than a week - more like a month! It was fantastic. And hard to get back into the swing of regular e-mail reading etc. But we're back at the office now, although it's been quite quiet since a lot of people are at MWC Assembly at the moment.

I'll be back over the next half of the month to post more about the delegation that came, our trip to Peru, Gabriel's fifth birthday, and more - meanwhile here are some "sneak peek" photos of all of the above.
10-year anniversary of Sembrandopaz in Sincelejo, Colombia

The community of Pichilín shares their hopes and dreams for sustainable life while remembering lives lost in a massacre ten years ago.

Feria de Huancaro in Cusco, Peru! My sister and nieces in background

Gabriel's fifth birthday and first piñata!

One of our favorite spots - the stone slides at Sacsahuayman above Cusco

Cousin time!

At a retreat center in Bochica, Colombia

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Out of Office

I'm off to the Coast with a group from Lombard Mennonite Church, so will be a bit unplugged for the next 7-10 days or so. Be assured that I will be busy, sweating, and slathered with mosquito repellent and sunblock. I'm sad to be leaving the kids again so soon, but I don't have another trip without them until September!

Friday, June 05, 2015


Besides defending my dissertation and getting the kids' visas renewed, while we were in the US I also got a new driver's license. It was crazy! My old license had expired while we were here in Colombia, but because I was turning 40 I needed an eye exam at the DMV. Well, I figured out much later that I could have had an eye exam here and had it validated somehow, but I thought I had to actually go to the DMV, which is why I couldn't just renew it online. 

So I had to take both the road and written tests again. It was me and a bunch of tiny little nervous teenagers. The written test was nerve-wracking - I had to review a lot and take practice tests online but some of the questions were really hard! Some sounded like trick questions and I would overthink them. Some things I just didn't know. But my muscle memory for actually operating a motor vehicle was fine, so the road test was super easy.

Here are a few random photos of the kids playing at the Children's Museum, but it kind of went with the car/driving theme :-)

Monday, June 01, 2015


These photos are from about a year ago, in a lovely retreat center called Finca San Pedro (just to be clear, nobody was forced to do yoga against their will). It was high and cold and I had to up my blood pressure meds. The greater part of the group hiked up to a páramo, and Andean tundra, but the kids and I and two other stayed back for a relaxing time exploring the city. 

Part of our team at the time

We are currently planning our July retreat for this year, which made me reminisce about these photos that I never shared last year (my current blog renaissance is holding up fairly well for the moment...!)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Birthday photo

Since I finally uploaded these photos off my camera, here's a picture of Valerie's birthday! We kept the same motif of happy face balloons and candles. Poor Gabriel was feeling so sick still. The big gift was the Lego set you can see on the floor. We also had fruit kebabs and lots of snacks.