asurprisecalling

Following our calling to the Dominican Republic


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I’m a little teapot

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First, I ask that everyone please pray for France and the families of the victims of the horrible attack yesterday.

Second, with all the chaos and pain in the world right now, I would like to share something positive and show the kindness that exists.

A few months back, I commented on a picture that one of my FB friends had posted. I have never met this person personally but “knew” her through a missionary group. She lives in China. Her post was a picture of a little teapot and a description. I love a good cup of tea and thought this looked precious, so I commented something similar to that. Almost immediately, she messaged me and asked for a shipping address because she wanted to send me a set. (For those of you that have asked, we don’t have an address so everything has to be sent to our church)

This simple, selfless act of kindness has touched my heart in more ways than she can imagine. This little teapot put the biggest smile on my face and my heart.

Why do I share this? Maybe…we could ALL be a little teapot to a stranger today! Maybe a simple, selfless act of kindness can put a smile on someone else’s face and heart today.

This is what God asked of His children…

“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me”

Matthew 25:40


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When God speaks through peppermint mocha lattes…

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” ~ Isaiah 41:10

invisible personThose close to me know that I struggle with invisibility…and now the whole interwebs know as well.  It’s a nagging childhood wound that doesn’t seem to want to go away.  It’s definitely a scar that satan uses to pull me down…to tell me that I don’t matter…and I am not good enough.

Today has been a really rough day for me.  For a few months now, we’ve been going nonstop, entertaining teams and guests, working our ministries, and dealing with numerous illnesses.  Seriously, I feel like this whacked out little peacock:

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Can you say ragged?

I know how important self-care is here on the mission field but have been too busy to slow down.  Satan knows this.  When I get rundown and tired, he wants to isolate me so that he can bully me with his mean ole words. He is such a jerk face!

However, tonight, I didn’t let that happen.  I immediately messaged the people in my life that I  love and trust.  I told them,

“Pray for me!  I am struggling with invisibility tonight and am wallowing in a huge pool of pity!”  

Each one of them sent crazy encouraging words to me, along with lots of prayers.Starbucks_Peppermint_Mocha

Earlier in the day, I had posted on Facebook how I needed someone to bring me a Starbucks peppermint mocha latte STAT…

…because that would cure my pity party and make me visible again. I am quite certain of this!

Right in the middle of the crisis in my mind, I got a message from a childhood friend that said, “I work at Starbucks and I want to send you all the things to make a peppermint mocha anytime that you want to!”

TEARS!!!

It felt like God spoke straight through her to say,

“I see you there, Tamara!  You are not invisible to me!”

God really does love me…

And He kicked satan’s butt with kind words from friends…

…and a Starbucks peppermint mocha!

You go, God!!!


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Getting a mammogram Part 1

IMG_6154Occasionally, when we go to the Capital, we will get a pedicure or get a shampoo and blow dry.  It’s a little luxury that we allot for ourselves, a way for us to experience a little of our past lives in the States.  To get a pedicure that includes that most fabulous foot massage ever is only 500 pesos…the equivalent to about $11 US.  A shampoo and blow dry is only 250 pesos…the equivalent to about $5.50 US.

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I was just thinking the other day how this country has that figured out.  Every woman feels better when she is able to pamper herself occasionally.  These prices are affordable for most all social economic groups, which I think is genius!  In the states, we pay 3 or 4 X the cost for these same services.

Do you know what they don’t have figured out?  Health care for women.  I know that most could agree that the US struggles in this area as well.  I haven’t had a mammogram since I moved here 2.5 years ago, and am at high risk for breast cancer due to family history.  I knew it was time to be responsible and get this done.  I am sure that I could have found a doctor in the Capital that would charge a little more and possibly offered a better service.  However, I wanted to understand what my girlfriends had to experience in order to get health care.

As I was talking to my dear friend, Morena, she stated that she was needing to get a mammogram too.  We decided to go together to do this….because, clearly:Friends mamo pic

She knew of a clinic in a community about 20 minutes away that offers mammograms, and it only cost 1000 pesos, which is equivalent to a little over $22 US.  I was blown away by this!  In the US, I think that I still had to pay over $200 AFTER my insurance had paid a large amount of it!IMG_6448

We made a plan to leave early on Thursday morning to beat the crowd.  Unfortunately, they don’t take appointments.  It’s a “first come, first serve” basis.  We left at 7:30 because the clinic opens at 8:00.  When we got there, we only had to wait for about 5 people to fill out their paperwork ahead of us.  Maybe I should stop for a second and explain that this clinic offers numerous services, like echocardiograms, sonograms, dental care, and braces, as well as mammograms.  Yes, that all makes sense!  Now, if they could only offer veterinarian care for my goats, and mechanical care for my truck, I could totally get into this.  One stop shopping, baby!IMG_6447

Once we got up to the front desk, the lady said “We only do mammograms on Fridays from 9:00-12:00”.  Ok, then…

Morena decides that she is going to call that afternoon to make sure they are doing mammograms the following day and to try to get an appointment.  They “don’t take appointments but are doing mammograms tomorrow”, they say.

We left today at 8:00 because the clinic starts taking patients at 9:00 for mammograms.  When we get to the front desk, the lady says, “La doctora no viene”, which means “The doctor did not come.”  That’s all…no other explanation!  She did tell us that we could come back tomorrow…that they are going to do mammograms on Saturday…

I don’t even know what to think about all of this.  I think about all the times that I have complained about having to wait 15-30 minutes for my doctor in the States…in a plush, air conditioned, carpeted waiting area with magazines and television.  If the doctor “no viene”, I got a phone call.  When you have an appointment, then they have your number to call you.  That luxury does not exist for this clinic.  It’s so hard for me to wrap my brain around it.  These ladies have to pay a lot of money just to get to the clinic…only to be turned away…and return again…and possibly again, but they do it because they need health care.

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.~~ 2 Timothy 1:7

Not one time did I see anyone get angry or share a cross word.  These women teach me everyday how to be strong in spirit, trust in the Lord, and show His love even in difficult situations.  I have so much more to learn from them!

I am not able to go tomorrow or next week, so we are going to try again in 2 weeks.  Cross your fingers, throw salt over your shoulder, and pray that we will be seen and that “la doctora viene”!


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You had me at juice…

IMG_4487This has been the best Valentine’s weekend ever!  It began by Mo surprising me with a night away together SIN KIDDOS in Santo Domingo on Friday night.  We don’t get dates very often here, so we get pretty excited when it happens.  I am afraid that we may have offended our kids a bit by peeling out of our driveway so quickly.  In hindsight, maybe we should have been a little more subtle…

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Due to some very kind people and being rewards’ members, we were able to stay at the Marriott in Santo Domingo.  We seriously felt like celebrities!

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We had lunch together and planned to have a nice dinner that night but we didn’t want to leave our room.  It was so luxurious and it smelled SO good and it had this humongous television.  I was having major cognitive dissonance!  Seriously, our two worlds were colliding!

The next day, after breakfast, we worked out at the hotel gym IN AIR CONDITIONING!  I think that I may go back and live there.

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We enjoy spending Valentine’s Day with our kiddos.  It’s just something that we usually do as a family.  In the states, we would cook a nice meal, use the nice china, sit at the formal dining room table, and wear fancy clothes.  Celebrating it here looks a little different.

When Mo and I returned on Saturday, the girls had made us the sweetest Valentine’s surprise.

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Then I made plates of sweet treats to give to my family my bible study ladies, and some of our friends in the community.

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On Sunday, Mo took the boys surfing.  After cleaning the house, the girls and I packed a picnic lunch, and went for a hike into the mountains.

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We also took our books and enos, and spent a couple of hours just relaxing where we were.  Seriously, when it was time to go, none of us wanted to leave!  Definitely something that we need to do again!

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Can you see the girls hanging in the background?

Monday nights are pretty busy in our house.  We moved our women’s bible study to 4:30 on Mondays, instead of Tuesdays.  Then, the Surf Ministry is at 6:30.  Normally, for bible study, I serve coffee/tea and some sort of sweet treat to the ladies.  Tonight, my sweet ladies got together before group and made natural juice and empanadas as a Valentine’s surprise for me.  A few of them brought gifts as well.  I could not believe it and felt so special and honored!

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This week is the week that Mo cooks dinner for the boys.  When he saw what the ladies had done, he jokingly said, “It’s because God loves you more.  My boys show up wondering what I am cooking for them!”  He cracks me up because this is one of his jokes.  Like, we are in competition for God’s love. Like, if something good happens, it’s because God loves that person more.

After the meeting, Mo told me that almost 40 boys came tonight and a couple of new boys joined the group.  One of the boys told him that he didn’t really care about going surfing. He came because he heard that he could learn more about God and the Bible.  Seriously…SUPER COOL!!!

God must love Mo more! :O)


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Dia de Amor!

out of the heartWhen we lived in Oklahoma, I was part of a MOPS group.  In one of the meetings, a woman with more wisdom than myself spoke.  She stated,

“As wives and moms, we get the privilege of setting the tone in our homes.  This can be with our daily moods or our overall attitude.  This is why it is so important to start your day with God and in His word.  We need to fill our hearts daily so that we overflow love and goodness onto our families.  Another way in which we can set the tone is decorating for the holidays.  We get to “create the holiday feel” in our homes that will hopefully leave fond memories for our children.”

Throughout the years, this lady’s words have stuck with me.  I try to decorate for every holiday.  When we moved, I only brought Christmas decorations, because I didn’t think the other ones really mattered.  Our first August here, my girls started asking when I was going to start decorating for Fall.  Not having decorations, I learned to get creative very quickly.

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I have always LOVED Valentine’s Day.  I love all of the pinks and reds that represent this holiday.  Plus, I love a holiday that celebrates LOVE!  I don’t even care that it’s so commercialized now.  I still love to celebrate LOVE!

I would like to share some of the decoration that I have made for our home on a very small budget:

First, I saw these table runners on Pinterest and fell in love with them:

I love the simplicity of this one.  (You can find it—>HERE)

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I love the lettering on this one.  (You can find it—>HERE)

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I absolutely adore this one but lack the talent necessary to make it.  (You can find it–>HERE)

burlap heart table runnerIn the end, this is what I made:

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After that, I repurposed a centerpiece from Lauren’s quinceanera:

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I really love all of the burlap banners that are the “new” fad.  Plus, I had extra burlap in my supplies.

I love this one because it feels so feminine.  (You can find it—>HERE)

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I like the polka dots on this one.  (You can find it—>HERE)

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I just combined the two things that I liked about these and came up with this:

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This burlap heart door hanger caught my eye:  (You can find it—>HERE)

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Here is mine:

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Let me take a moment to share a fabulous secret that I learned on Pinterest.  I wanted to hot glue this together but didn’t have electricity at the time.  I wanted to get it done then and not wait for the power to come on, so I sewed it.  In order to get the stitches even, I learned a GENIUS trick!  Mark your finger and use it as a guide…like this:

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Lastly, every year I like to bake goodies for the ones that I love.  Last year, I made these for all of my Dominican and “Domerican” friends and family. (FYI: American + Dominican= Domerican)

I took brown paper bags, decorated them, crocheted some hearts and filled them with sweet treats:

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I think that I will make these bags again to share with my Domerican and Dominican family here.  I enjoyed making them and enjoyed spreading some love.

I hope everyone has a very happy and loving Valentine’s Day!!!

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What are your feelings about Valentine’s Day?  What are some craft ideas or traditions that you have enjoyed?


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About last night…

Bible study groupLast night, our first night for our bible study, went really well.  (I talked about it –>HERE)

One of the ladies decided that she didn’t want to join, and sent her workbook back with one of the other ladies in the group.  This is one that I REALLY wanted to come.  When her book was handed back to me, my heart sank, and I immediately felt discouraged.  The first thought that went through my mind was “Who do I think I am trying to hold a bible study for women in Spanish?  Who am I to invite women that don’t go to church?”

Luckily, I immediately felt God saying “Don’t believe that!  Those are lies that satan wants you to believe so that you will give up.”  I know that we were being prayed for because I could feel those prayers surrounding us.  One of my prayer requests was to block satan’s lies from our (my) ears, and THAT is exactly what happened.

About that extra book…I had a name of a lady that I felt God was pushing me to invite.  Of course, that is EXACTLY who He wanted to come.  The moment I told the ladies that I had an extra book, and we needed to pray to whom it belonged, a couple of the ladies said her name!  So, after class, I went to her house and invited her.

We have English class at 6:00 every Tuesday.  We had two women show up around 5:30, and were curious as to what we were doing.  When we told them it was a bible study, they asked if they could join.  We had one extra book, from the lady that dropped out, so we gave it to them to share.  I told them that I would order another book for our February team to bring with them.

Next week, we will have 3 additional ladies joining our little bible study!  Yay, God!!!

For all you ladies that came on the June 2014 Mission Trip, you are going to LOVE this!  I was talking about using a prayer journal during the study to write down scripture, prayer requests, or things that God was saying to them.  Some of the ladies in the group made prayer journals with your team!  They began to talk about how they had been writing down their prayer requests, and how God had heard them!  One was talking about having all these medical tests run, and how they had ALL come back NEGATIVE!  Another was talking about how she had been praying for work in the community, then began to name how God had granted those request!  Praises all around!  I am getting more journals this weekend for the other ladies.

People, I am so excited!  I just know that God is going to do something wonderful through this.  In just one night, I learned so much from these women.  So many of them have such strong faith that it is contagious!  Please continue to pray for us, and please pray that the one lady changes her mind and returns.  I don’t mind getting her another book! :O)


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Our Sweet Ribo

Our Sweet Ribo

As many that follow us on Facebook know, our sweet Ribo passed away yesterday.  We are so very sad and are already missing her so much.

Many have asked what happened.  We can only speculate as to that answer.  We think that she ate some leaves that were poisonous on Sunday.  On Monday, she started getting sick so we began medicating her, taking precautions because she was pregnant.  She seemed to be getting better.  Then, on Wednesday, I walked into the goat house to see that she had miscarried.  It went downhill from there.  On Wednesday night, she still hadn’t passed her afterbirth.  A vet was suppose to show up at 8:30 on Thursday morning but never showed up.  Luckily, Mo and Lauren went to the city and found a vet to come out here.  He did everything that he could to help her pass her afterbirth, then told us to wait.  On Friday morning, our sweet Ribo couldn’t fight any longer and passed away.

As sad as I was, I became infuriated as well.  In the states, we would have had a vet at our house as soon as she started feeling sick. We would have had a vet to help IF she had the miscarriage.  She wouldn’t have gone over 24 hours without passing her afterbirth WITHOUT HELP.  It’s so easy for me, an American, to think these things.  The fact of the matter is…we don’t live in the US.   We live in a tiny village in the middle of nowhere where we don’t have the same luxuries available to us.  THIS is the place that God wanted this goat project to happen.  His plan is always better than mine, even when I don’t quite understand it or WHY.

This goat project is so important to us.  God placed this on our friend Arden’s heart several years ago, so that it might provide nutrition and/or financial support to widows in our community.  We started with two momma goats, and both of them are now dead.  It’s easy to feel like a failure.  It’s easy to feel discouraged.  We have absolutely fallen in love with these goats, and we truly believe in this project.

These two momma goats have given us 3 nanny goats and 1 buck.  These are the legacies of those momma goats to continue this project.  Next week, the buck and one of the nannies will be going to our first widow to continue this project.  The buck will be used to impregnate all the nanny goats in October.  Please pray for the widow that will be receiving these sweet babies.  Please pray that God gives her the wisdom to carry on this project.  Please pray that God’s purpose in this project comes to fruition.

I also have a selfish request.  Could you please pray for Lauren and I as we let go of these babies, and hand them over to the widow?  We are really struggling with letting them go, especially since we just lost our sweet Ribo and her quadruplets.

Ribo and her girls

Ribo and her girls

The nanny babies

Baby Grace

Baby Finn- our resident buck!

Finn the stud!