Friday, November 16, 2012


Life is full of decisions to be made… what do I wear this morning?  What should I have for lunch?  Which courses should I take next semester?  And the list goes on.  Every day we are faced with decisions and choices that we need to make, and some are much easier than others, but they still need to be made.

That leads me to my latest big decision… Christmas.  What should I do for Christmas this year?  Stay in the US or go back home?  If you would have asked me 2 months ago, I would have told you with 100% certainty that I would be going home for Christmas.  In the past few weeks though, I have begun to questions whether that would be the best option for me right now, or if it would be better to stay here in the States and try to keep some kind of “normal” life going on. 

After several days/weeks of praying and talking with various people, I have made the decision to stay here in the US for Christmas this year.  I can’t deny it; I have 3000 different emotions flying around about it all!  I know I’m going to miss being with my whole family for Christmas (although one member will be coming up!), and it’s really going to be a huge adjustment for us all!  I’m going to miss all the fireworks and the “traditional” Guatemalan celebrations.  I’m also going to miss seeing everyone in Guate and reconnecting with my “family” there.  But, on the other hand, I will get to experience a USA Christmas with my extended family and celebrate with those that are here. 

Some decisions are hard (like this one was!!), others are easier, but God uses every single one to help us to grow and to build our trust in Him.  I can thankfully say that I do feel at peace with my final decision, and I’m going to make the best of wherever it leads!!  J  

Monday, November 5, 2012


November... now how'd that happen??!??!  It's amazing how quickly the months seem to fly by, even when some days seem to go so much slower!  All that to say, life is flying by!

I'm trying to think about what all has been happening in my neck of the woods lately, and all of a sudden I'm drawing a blank!!!  So I guess I'll just start with the things that pop to mind first...

I have found a church that I have been attending much more regularly, and I'm really enjoying it!!  The church is University Christian Fellowship, they're associated with a local University (hence the name), so there are a lot of college students that go there.  I was able to go on their retreat and several other activities (barn party, chili cook off, costume party, etc.) with them, so I've been enjoying getting to know people and connecting in a little more in general!!
At the retreat

School continues to go well, challenging, but going well!!  I think we're just about 3/4 of the way done with the semester... wow!  I think biology continues to be my most challenging course, but it's also probably the one that I am enjoying the most.  There's nothing like seeing how fearfully and wonderfully made we really are!!
Fire alarm at school... oops!!  

It's been fun actually experiencing fall in the USA this year!  I kind of have felt like a tourist, taking pictures of all the leaves, trees, and everything else!  Then again, I guess I am still kind of a tourist...  ;)  I even carved a pumpkin this year!!
So pretty!!

My pumpkin!!

The squirrels have been enjoying him...  ;)

Hurricane Sandy brought a little bit of fun our way, but thankfully not too much damage.  It was kind of nice to have two extra days of school off, but it was also kind of annoying to have to stay home all day!!  I got quite a bit of school done and a 1000 piece puzzle with my aunt, might as well make the most of the time!
Starting the puzzle...

Less than 24hrs later... done!!

Lots of water from Sandy!

I'm still trying to get used to this cold weather... I must still have my "chapin" blood in me!!  The frost that we had a few weeks ago was beautiful though, so once again, I went all "touristy" and started taking pictures...
Purty...  :)

Let's see, a few other activities that I've been involved in are making more applesauce (both with Sherry and my aunt), hanging out with some really fun kiddos, and baking.  I also got a really fun package from my family back in Guate when a group of ladies came back from their visit.  I must admit, that made me homesick, both for my family and the country, but it was still fun!!!!!

NY apples!!

Amazing stuff right there!  :)


Banana-Nutella-Chocolate chip cookies... yum!!

The bag...

Beginning the opening process...

Yay!!!  So much fun!!

I think that's my life in a nutshell at the moment.  Am I enjoying it?  YES!!  Is it hard?  YES!!  Do I miss my family/Guate?  YES, terribly!!  Am I feeling more at home?  YES!!  So thank you for your continued prayers and encouragements, keep 'em coming!!  :)  

And yes, I am still finding 4 leaf clovers...  :)

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Alive and Kickin'!

The other day I realized that it has been QUITE a while since I updated this thing, so I figured it might be about time to get on that!!  Being that I’m on “Fall Break” right now, might as well, right?  J

Hmmm, where do I start?  Well, first things first… it’s hard to believe that I’ve been here for over 2 months already, seriously, where does time go???  As the days go by it really is feeling more and more like “home” (whatever that’s supposed to feel like) and I’m feeling more comfortable with the “North American culture.”  
There are still so many times that I do miss the “Guatemalan culture,” but I get the feeling that’s how it’ll always be!  I guess I’ll break my life down into a few main sections to explain what all is happening…

School is WELL underway; in fact, I’m ½ way through the semester already!!  I mean, seriously, where is time going?!?!  Overall things are going really well.  I’m enjoying my classes and being challenged by the work and the other opportunities that are arising with it.  My main projects are memorizing all the muscles (not quite all, but a lot of them!!) and understanding the different parts of the body (bones, cells, muscles, muscle cells, etc.).  We just finished learning the bones… lots of bones!  I’m also working on a speech about Brittle bones disease for speech class, and a sociological study of orphan children in sociology.  Always something to stay busy with!! 
Bone studying!

Anatomy is quite "humerus"!!  ;)

Logan is running like a champ, getting me where I need to go with only minor complaints.  In fact, he even found a girlfriend… Porcha.  J
Logan and his girl.  

I had the opportunity to do some puppy-sitting the other weekend, so I finally got some “big dog” time in!  I also had two other smaller dogs to play with, which was fun.



Oh, and there’s Bentley…  J

“Other Activities”:
15 year Class Reunion-  I got to help with a 15 year class reunion at a friend’s house a week or so ago, it was fun!  Lots of “little” things to be staying on top of, but that’s what I like!  Other than the rain that decided to come, things went really well and I think everyone had a good time!

Campfire-  The church that we attended before moving to Guate has a campfire every year, and this year was no exception.  So, I was actually able to go to the campfire this year and reconnect with lots of friends and just catch up a little.  Again, it decided to rain, but it didn’t make too much difference!

Applesauce-  One of my favorite activities of this time of year is making applesauce, so when a friend asked if I’d like to help her make some, I couldn’t say no!!  We did 5 boxes of apples in about 4 hours… not too bad for 2 people!!!! 

Luck:  I’ve been on a 4-leaf clover spree lately, found 4 of them in 2 days!  No, I don’t walk around with my eyes on the ground, they seriously just “pop out” at me!! 

There you go, the majority of my life condensed down into fewer than 600 words.  In general, I’d say life is going really well and I’m enjoying being here in the States.  Don’t get me wrong, I still miss my family, my dog (Oso, not Max…), and Guate, but I’m also content here for right now.  Thank you for your continued words of encouragement and prayers!!!!  
I got a chicken!!!  Not!!

Another beautiful sunrise

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Becoming "Normal"

It’s hard to believe that week #2 of school is already over and that I’ve been in the states for over 4 weeks already… woah!!  Slowly slowly there are parts of life that are starting to feel more “normal” and not quite as overwhelming, but there are still some areas that I wonder if I’ll ever adjust to!!!  Let me break it down for you…

“Normal” Parts:

                -School-  Ok, so I’ve had two weeks of classes and I definitely know where I’m going each day and the general idea of what’s going on.  Yay!!  So far the work load hasn’t been too bad and I haven’t had any trouble keeping up, praise God!  I know there are some projects that are going to be starting soon and exams coming up though, so maybe things will get a little more difficult, but we’ll cross those bridges when we get there!  J
I decided to take my sisters to my 8:00AM Anatomy and Physiology class...  

                -Grocery Stores-  I think I can finally walk through a grocery store without looking quite so shell-shocked and amazed at the varieties… mostly.  I did go into Costco the other day (like Pricesmart, for those in Guate), and I was a little overwhelmed there, but we’re getting better!

                -Driving-  You will no longer see me driving down the street like a little grandmother, hoping not to break any speed limits/laws!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still being careful, but I don’t feel like I’m on edge quite as much as I used to be!
Logan all pimped out and representing Guate!

                -I’ve also enjoyed re-connecting with some friends and catching up with people.  It’s fun to be able to go out when I want to and make plans on my own! 

Brad showing some Guatemalan Pride!!

Just catching a ride from a 5 year old...

Clay giving me a ride!

Not So "Normal" Parts:

                -Dog-  At my aunt and uncle’s house we have a Boston Terrier, Spike.  Don’t get me wrong, I love Spike, but I really do miss my doggies too!!!  I think I’m going through big-dog withdrawal! 

                -Noses-  I’m still trying to get used to the nose on Logan, it feels quite big!!!  I’ve gotten better, but every now and then I’ll still cut it a little close…

                -Bathrooms-  Those trashcans are still REALLY far away from the toilets!!!!!!

                -I’m finding remnants of Guatemala in different parts of my stuff, which I’m not complaining about!  The other day I was walking to class though and found a volcanic rock in my backpack… now how’d that get there?!?! 

Overall I would say that I’m becoming more and more settled here in the US and it’s beginning to feel more like “home” than it had before.  That’s not to say that I don’t miss my friends and family in Guate, because I really REALLY do, but I am enjoying making connections and finding my place here in the good ‘ol USA as well!!  Thanks for your continued prayers and encouragement, they mean a ton!!!!!  J

Just a random sunrise... just because.  :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012


It’s hard to believe that I have now been in the states for over 3 weeks, and that my first week of classes is over!  Honestly, I’m not sure reality has sunk in that this is all happening, but slowly, slowly I think it will.  Overall the adjustment has gone well so far, allow me to highlight a few things…  J

School:  Ok, so driving myself to college on the first day (Monday) was a little strange.  Thankfully my mom and I had gone in ahead of time and found out where all my classes are, so at least I had a little bit of an idea of where I was going.  My first class was biology… maybe not the best class to begin my college experience with, but a class none-the-less!!  Right after that I had biology lab where we started memorizing all of the bones of the skull.  Nothing like jumping right into it!  Later that afternoon I had my Sociology class, which wasn’t too painful.  J  Tuesday brought about another set of classes, this time Chemistry, Chem lab, and speech, all of which went pretty well.  Wednesday and Thursday brought about another round of the same classes.  I must admit, college isn’t quite what I expected, but I am kind of enjoying it (so far) and not feeling too overwhelmed… yay!!  J  I have also met quite a few cool people and gotten to reconnect with friends, both from teams, and people I’ve known for a while.  Crazy who all you meet at college!! 

Housing:  Sunday evening I made the move into my new room/house and started to make it my own.  I really didn’t bring that much stuff back with me, so unpacking wasn’t too big of a deal and went pretty quickly.  I think I was most excited about opening up all my school stuff and getting all of that organized and ready for the next day!  I do have the room feeling like it’s “my” room a little more-so now, and I’m enjoying sleeping in a bed again, after 2 weeks on different sofas!  J  I’m also adjusting to having brothers and a small dog around instead of sisters and a big dog… but that adjustment will have to be a longer-term thing!! 

Goodbyes:  So, how was it saying goodbye to my mom and sisters?  Honest truth?  I’m not sure yet.  Monday evening (after my first day of school) we went out for supper together and then said our goodbyes from there.  I think I was at a point where I was just ready to get goodbyes over with, and reality hadn’t really sunk in that this was THE goodbye.  Truth is, I’m still not completely sure I’ve said goodbye to them (even though they should be landing in Guate soon!!), and I’m not sure I’ve said goodbye to my dad either!!  The great thing is that we have all the technology and can keep up to date through texting, Skype, FB, etc.  Gotta love modern technology…  J

Other little Things:  There are still a few things that I find myself being caught off guard by.  One thing is that the grocery stores still seem huge and overwhelming.  Seriously, do you need all those options of cereal?!?  The driving is also still a bit of an adjustment… I need to watch those stupid speed limits, use my turn signal, and stop at stop signs.  It has been nice to be able to just hop in the car and go do what I want though!!  Oh, and why do they always put the trash cans so far away from the toilets in the bathrooms???  Wait, I guess you really CAN flush toilet paper here!!  And one final thing that I need to re-adjust to seeing is squirrels… crazy, but true!! 

I think that about covers most of the main adjustments and things of life for me right now.  The adjustments continue, reality keeps sinking in a little deeper, and life keeps changing, bout overall it’s going well.  Thank you all for your notes of encouragement and for your prayers!!!  

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The Journey Begins

As many of you already know, my mom, sisters and I traveled to the USA on Tuesday for me to begin my college journey… yikes!!!  J  Granted, the entire trip isn’t JUST to get me settled into the US before school starts, but that’s the main goal.  So, I figured I’d give an update about how it’s going and all so far!

To start off, travels went really well.  We had no troubles in the airports, no problems with any flights, all of our luggage came in, and we got in on time.  Yay!!  It was a long day, but overall a good one, praise God!  My grandparents picked us up from the airport and we are staying with them for the first few days and then we will be heading to the area that I’ll be living. 

The first day didn’t consist of too much, but a lot at the same time!!  Abby, Risa and I walked to Walmart to get a few things, but we ended up walking around the entire store for an hour or so… there are SO many options!!!!!!  Since that took up most of the morning, we decided to head home and finish our running around in the afternoon.  The afternoon was mostly taken up with getting my car… pity.  ;)  We had everything lined up so that I would be able to get the car pretty much as soon as we got stateside, and, amazingly enough, things worked out pretty much according to plan!!  So, pretty soon I was driving away in a 2002, Silver Chevy Cavalier, who I have lovingly named “Logan.”  J  Today has mostly been more running around and getting “little” stuff done.  Oh, and walking around Weis (grocery store) and Target for an hour+ each… too many options!!!!!!!!!!!
Logan  :)

A little Guatemalan flair to my key ring!

Some of the things that we have enjoyed the most since we’ve been back are the fruits and veggies.  Don’t get me wrong, we get TONS of fruits and veggies in Guate, but they’re different here!!  We’ve been filling up on fresh peaches, fresh blueberries, cherry tomatoes and sweet corn.  Sometimes you don’t realize how much you miss those things until they’re at your disposal again!!!  The heat on the other hand… hadn’t missed that too much!! 
Fresh Tomatoes!

It’s really hard to believe that we haven’t even been here two days yet… it feels like it’s been forever!  The next days/weeks are going to be very busy, but I think they should be fun (and exhausting!) too!  I’ll try to update again as time goes along.  J 

Thanks for all the prayers, support and encouragement!!!!!!  

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Gripe, gastritis, y mocos

Woah… it’s already nearing the end of July and I am coming to realize that my time here in Guate is quickly coming to an end!  In fact, I leave in 2.5 weeks!!  How’d that happen?!?!  Anyways, I’m not going to dwell on that right now, but rather enjoy the rest of the time I have here and all the fun that comes with it! 

Speaking of fun… this past week I had the opportunity to translate for a team of nurses that were working in San Jose Pinula.  The team was from a ministry based out of Virginia called Vessels of Mercy (  We ran 5 different clinics in 5 different parts of San Jose Pinula.  Each day we had 4 stations… registration, three diagnostic tables, one prayer area and the pharmacy.  I got to help translate for one of the diagnostic tables, which was right up my alley!  J

The first day we just worked for the afternoon, but we were in a church in SJP.  This was a good day to start to see how everything was going to work and to just get into the swing of things.  I think we saw around 50+ people in the afternoon… not bad!

The second, third and fourth days we actually traveled about 1-1.5hrs into the hills of SJP and set up clinics out there.  We were in three different schools so we saw the students and parents that came in.  This was a completely different part of the country than I had ever been in, so it was fun to be able to get out and about a little more.  It was also interesting to see the differences in the peoples that came into the clinics.  One day many of the people were light skinned, light eyed and light haired… it was actually kind of crazy!  Another day most of the men and boys were in sombreros and cowboy boots with machetes strapped around their waists.  No matter where we went though, the people were EXTREMELY open and loving, which was awesome!  J

The final day we worked in a school in SJP and saw the students and families there.  It was a pretty crazy day, but none of us got bored!  We ended up seeing 144 people… for a 6 hour work day with 3 people doing diagnosing, that’s pretty good!!  In all we ended up seeing just under 500 patients!

Overall I really enjoyed the week and the interactions that came with it.  I came home each day EXHAUSTED, but quite happy too!  J  It was nice to have something to keep me busy for the week and to have one “final” translating experience before heading stateside.  Not to mention, the group was pretty awesome and it gave me some good experience in my future career!  

View on the drive out...

4th day clinic

SO many cute kids!!


Those eyes...

Final day clinic... more cute kids!!

We had an audience  :)


I'm a puddle!!

Set up a pharmacy wherever you can!

So curious!