FOLLOWING MY HEART

This post was written in the car as we drove through the prairies of Eastern Montana.

 

After a couple of recent conversations with people who have spoken against following your heart’s desire, I have been thinking of just how many times God has actually led me to some amazing places and situations in my life through the desires of my heart.

I just really love how God leads and guides me. I know He has many ways to lead people and talk to them. One of my favorite things in the world to do is to sit and talk to others about how God has spoken to them or led them in their lives. I think it is fascinating, interesting, and encouraging.

Just as we think we have Him figured out and how He does things, He surprises us and does things a whole new way for us.

As I travel today through this beautiful land of eastern Montana on up to Bigfork, in the northwestern part of the state, where we will live once again, I stand amazed at how many times God has led me by the desires of my heart.

And how He has even given me little hints along the way of when He is up to something new in my life. I am still learning to pay attention to these hints that seem to “coincidentally” line up with my heart desires.

I can remember way back in the mid 80’s, when I started having a yearning to travel and see new places and live in new lands, I started by applying for a job within my line of work that I was doing at the time, I began researching places as far away as Australia in my attempt to satisfy this craving in my heart for adventure in far away places.
It was only a short time after that, that I found myself living on Mercy Ship, traveling all over Europe and beyond with the added benefit of being around other people who had a heart to hear God and follow Him anywhere.

All I knew at the time, was that I yearned to live in a new faraway place. And God took that heart’s desire and used it for my spiritual growth while at the same time fulfilling a passion. How good is that?

Later on there was this deep longing in my heart to marry, have a family, learn Spanish, which God certainly fulfilled in a short time, as He opened doors for me to leave the ship, and go and live in Costa Rica. Only He knew that that would be where I would meet my husband, settle down for 22 years and have a family. And learn Spanish!

Then there was the time I lived for five years with a desire God placed in my heart to adopt a child, when one day that heart’s desire too was realized, as God brought Sabrina into our lives.

And after twenty-something years of living in Costa Rica, God started working on my heart yet again and placed a new desire…..Montana. I couldn’t have manufactured that one no matter how hard I tried. I had never even given the state of Montana the time of day.

Yet I can still remember the moment that that desire was supernaturally dropped down into my heart. I remember where I was standing and what I was doing….and there it was – this little spark… and this desire to just up and move to Montana!

At the time, it seemed an impossibility in the natural. Yet only 1 ½ years later, we found ourselves in Big Sky Country. And like when He fulfilled my longing to travel while adding the blessings along with it of learning more about hearing His voice, which resulted in knowing Him better; Montana has opened up fresh encounters with Him, which resulted in knowing Him better. And we get the added blessing of doing life with some amazing people at our church that we are a part of.

And isn’t that what’s it’s all about anyway?

Knowing Him more intimately day after day, and through our relationship with Him, seeing His Kingdom come, His Will be done in our little part of the world, as it is in heaven.

I love that He doesn’t just give us orders to fulfill or rules to obey, but He works through our hearts and makes it about relationship and not about rules, religion or regulations.

Well so much more could be said on this subject.

And of course there are so many different ways that God guides us and speaks to us.

This is only one.

But oh how good He is to use this way, right?

Tell me… How has He led you to where you are right now?

Has he ever led you through your heart’s desires?

MONTANA :: FROZEN HAIR AND BAREFOOT IN THE SNOW

March 2012: Three years ago . . .

We flew into Louisiana from Argentina. I started working right away on Manuel’s permanent residency. And then soon after that, I started the process on Sabrina’s US citizenship. I felt like I was always filling out government forms. All this and re-learning how to live in the US again after having been gone for 30 years kept me quite busy. Plus we were home schooling still. Nicholas graduated while we were in Argentina, but the other five still needed to be schooled.

Our soon to be pastors, Ben and Carolea needed to sell their home in Indiana before going to Montana. And Ben was teaching in a school at their church and needed to finish out the semester through June. So we knew that we were going to have to wait until at least  June to go Montana, as we didn’t want to get up there before the Burdicks arrived.

Before leaving Argentina, I had asked the Lord for our own house in the states for our family that would have all the necessary living items already in it, since all our stuff was still in Costa Rica.

So I mentioned to Cameron our desire, and through her connections (again), we had a house in Columbia, South Carolina in a matter of hours. And Manuel had a job! Steven hired him to make cabinets for a house they were remodeling. All we needed to do was buy a car, submit Manuel’s residency papers in New Orleans, and visit with our family for a few weeks…and then we were off to SC for 2 ½ months.

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Our sweet house on Winyah Dr in South Carolina. Summer 2012

After our 2 1/2 months is SC, Manuel got his date for his green card interview in New Orleans, I got Sabrina’s citizenship papers submitted and Ben Burdick sold his house. So by end of July, we were on our way to Montana!

So that first year we rented a house on the Swan River, finally got to meet the Burdicks in person and started having church with them and some other folks who came from Indiana with them, as well as some people who were already living in the Flathead Valley. Manuel got a great job, as the Production Manager at a place nearby called Mountain Meadow Herbs. We enrolled some our kids in Bigfork School. Haley graduated from Bigfork High that first year. Nicholas went off to Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) in Redding, CA.

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Brennan and Sabrina enjoying the snow at our house on the Swan River

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Simon: That first winter in Bigfork at our Swan River House.

And the second year we moved to another house in a subdivision that had some other church families there, after our Swan River house owners returned to Bigfork to live, and wanted their house back.

Also in that second year…Brennan graduated from Bigfork High and Haley went off to BSSM and Nicholas came back home and started working at Mountain Meadow Herbs and with the Youth at church.

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Brennan’s graduation day. June 2014

Haley's graduation day June 2013

Haley’s graduation day. June 2013

Nicholas grad.

Nicholas’s graduation from BSSM May 2013

Manuel and I continued growing in our relationship with God and each other. We learned about a Culture of Honor. We took Sozo Training and worked in the Sozo Ministry with our good friends, Will and Leslie Van Hook. Sozo is a Greek word that means saved, healed and delivered and is a ministry that helps folks get connected to God. It is a ministry that we are still involved in and we absolutely love it and truly believe in it. We have seen people, including ourselves become transformed using the tools of Sozo Ministry. I love partnering with Holy Spirit and helping people encounter Jesus and become free.

Those first two Montana years…

It was right.

It was exciting.

It was new.

It was confirmation of what was already in our hearts.

It was hard.

It was heart surgery.

It was freedom.

It was fresh.

It was life.

It was new relationships.

It was a new culture.

It was wonderful.

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Our second home in Bigfork

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The Bicycle Brigade of Bigfork

It was… our new home.

And we stayed until June of 2014 and loved every minute there with new friends, and a new church, and new and fresh connection with Father God. Even another family from Costa Rica came up to be a part of Mountainsong Church with us as well. It was a gift for us. This family works in Costa Rica as missionaries to the Indigenous group called Cabeccars. Their names are Philip and Sao Jones and they have 4 children. Philip happens to be Steven Jones brother. And if that wasn’t enough of a gift for us, Steven and Cameron also came to Montana to stay for a year as well!

We even got a special gift of family coming up for a couple of weeks to check out our new hometown. My parents and brother, Kevin and niece Alyssa came during the magnificent Montana summer.

And that was our first two years in Bigfork in a nutshell. Though I will have to say there was quite the learning curve for a bunch of Ticos and a South Louisiana Gal in the Montana Winter. My barefoot family had to learn to wear shoes or boots outside for about 8 months out of the year. You would have thought that wearing something besides flip flops outdoors was the most painful event of their short lives. We became that family in our neighborhood as my kids continued to go barefoot over the snowy yard as they made their daily trek to the front yard trampoline.

So while Nicholas discovered that icicles form on your car while washing it in below freezing temperatures, Brennan learned that one doesn’t walk to school with a freshly  washed wet head of hair, unless you want hair has hard as cardboard by the time your reach your destination.
Manuel and I both learned about steel studded snow tires, and if you live in Montana in the winter, that a 4 wheel drive is the vehicle of choice.

And then the time came…

We knew  we needed to return to Costa Rica for an indefinite period of time, due to our house in Costa Rica being empty(our renters moved out), and needing to sell some other property, so we could buy a house in Bigfork. So we left on June 7, 2014 and during our stay in Costa Rica…

We worked on our house, visited with family, got to spend quality time with Manuel’s father before he went home to be with the Lord in August. And we were there until November 22, 2014, when we flew to La to spend holidays with family and to keep Manuel’s green card current, so we could work on his citizenship next.

Then we asked the Lord yet again for a house of our own while we waited 6 weeks until March 14 when my only niece, Alyssa was to have her wedding.

Prosperity, South Carolina!

That is the house that Steven and Cameron found for us the second time.
Manuel once again worked with Steven… and listen to this. We got to stay in a beautiful house on Lake Murray that belongs to that same family that Steven and Cameron went to Montana in 2009 to help remodel their ranch house in the Bitterroot Mountains. This is the same family that we tried to connect with when God first called us to Montana, before we had heard about the Burdicks. So interesting how God weaves our lives together.

So Manuel and I and our three youngest spent six weeks living in South Carolina and Manuel’s work was remodeling the house that we lived in. Another huge gift for us, since he didn’t have to even leave the house to go to work.

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Ben enjoying our back deck overlooking Lake Murray

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View from our deck

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Lake Murray, where we spent the last 6 weeks

I was always so happy to be able to say “I live in Prosperity” when someone asked me where I lived. I got to say that for 6 weeks and it was not only spiritually true, but physically as well!
It was during this 6 weeks without any internet, tv, cell phone service, or even a landline that we received some answers from God to some questions that we had been having. One was the ongoing question of what to do with our house in Costa Rica. Though selling seemed to be the most logical option, we never had complete peace about selling our Costa Rican home. And it was during some Holy Spirit inspired conversations with Steven and Cameron that God confirmed to us to hold on to this house UNTIL we had 100% peace to sell it.
Also during this six weeks, we received confirmation from the Lord to move on back up to Bigfork, even though Manuel didn’t have a job nor did we have our own house, since we still had not sold our business property in Costa Rica.
So we began to make plans to move our family back to Bigfork, shortly after the wedding. And it wasn’t long after that, that we began forming our own company and Manuel was offered his first millwork job from one of our friends from church.
Then the first week of March we drove 12 hours back to Louisiana, got to spend a few short days with Jared and Hazel and our 3 grandchildren, attended the most beautiful wedding I have ever been to, talked with Nicholas, Haley, and Brennan about their Montana plans, visited with my parents and other family for a few days and it was on the road again.
But this time…

We are headed northwest!

Bigfork here we come!

Our first night on the road, we spent with my older brother Wayne and sister in law Julie in their lovely home in Mena, AR.

Second night in St. Joseph, MO.

Yesterday…

The Badlands of South Dakota.

So the adventure continues…

We still don’t have a house to rent. But we have a house to stay in for 2 weeks from our good friends, Will and Leslie as they leave town for a couple of weeks.

Nicholas, Haley, and Brennan will join us in about 2 weeks after Haley and Brennan resign from their jobs in Baton Rouge. I will soon make a trip to Costa Rica to get our house ready to rent out as a vacation by owner home and pick up our poor Rain Cat that we had to leave while we wait to get settled somewhere.
And we will wait and see more of what God will do in our lives in this unique little town way up in northwest Montana.

Stay tuned…

More to come.

To Montana via Argentina

 

I think it has been something like four months since my last post!!!

Oh but I’m so happy to be back here.

So here we go…

I don’t know. I think I got sidetracked. Busy. Working on our house in Costa Rica. Cleaning. Repairing. Restoring. Praying. Listening. Living.Traveling. Holidays. School. So here we are back in Louisiana with my parents after the holidays and next we are headed to South Carolina for a 2 month stay. But that is way ahead of the story.

So I would like to continue a bit of our history. So many great God Stories. A Good God. Too good, not to share!

In my last post, I left you in Montana. It was August 2011. We had made a trip up there to see the state and visit the YWAM base… and another place.

It was a ranch that our really good long time friends,Steven and Cameron Jones, in South Carolina had helped restore a bit, some years back.

Steven and Cameron own their own Construction Company in South Carolina, and Steven grew up in Costa Rica, which is where we first met them. And how can I describe this couple to you?

This couple.

Parents to 6 amazing kids…well most of them are all young adults now.

This couple.

Fearless. Always ready to step out and step up.

I would need a whole post just to tell their story. They have an amazing story. It’s a God story. Get to know them, and ask them to tell you their story. And your life will be greatly enriched.

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Some friends are more than friends. Steven and Cameron Jones

The ranch is located in the Bitteroot Mountains of Montana and the owners of the ranch are friends of  Steven and Cameron. It was once used as a Girls home for troubled girls and later as a place for Christian Business Conferences. We only passed by the ranch, as the owners were not there at the time, so we couldn’t visit.

Anyway, while at the Lakeside, MT ywam base, we talked to many of the ywamers and prayed with a few. We were open to doing our DTS at the Lakeside Base, but after praying with one of the leaders, we felt strongly that we were to continue with the original plans of going to Mendoza, Arg for our DTS. But we fell in love with that part of Montana near Glacier Park. Actually we fell in love with ALL of Montana that we saw.

So we flew back to La with the love of Montana in our hearts and headed to the deserts of Argentina. It was exciting, adventurous, challenging, hard, and wonderful. We had made round trip tickets to Argentina to return to the US in a year. However, about somewhere into the third month or so of our DTS, we realized that we were not going to stay in Argentina for the whole year and we would not stay in YWAM either. We knew God had something different for us. Something that we had yet to experience. But we didn’t know what.

So we took about a week to get away and pray and hear God as a family to what we were going to do with our lives now! We had come to Argentina with our 6 children planning to go thru the DTS and then stay on with one of the Argentine YWAM bases and serve there for the rest of the year. And now we were unsure of where to go and what to do, having closed our business, rented out our house and uprooted our family. So we did what we knew to do….asked God.

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Here we are in front of the entrance to the YWAM Mendoza, Arg. Base

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The long path to the dining hall on the Mendoza Base

 

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Our house and classroom during the DTS in Mendoza.

 

 

We went to Santiago, Chili for that week between Christmas and New Years (end of 2011) with our only agenda … to hear God. And we were not disappointed.

That week, God spoke to us and confirmed that we were to leave Argentina early  (after the DTS) and go to Montana!

OK…there it was. Montana again.

Wow!

Montana!

Only 147,046 square miles of land to find a place to live and do what??!

So we did what we often do when we are getting ready to do something radical……

We called Steven and Cameron (who by the way, never think that anything is radical) and told them our news and asked them if they could contact their friends at the ranch in Montana and see if there was a way we could connect with them and see if that is where God would open the door for us to be in Montana. Of course they happily said they would.

But alas, they were never able to contact the ranch owner. So we continued to pray and wait and complete the DTS.

We finished our DTS in Mendoza and took a month long bus trip in a circle to Buenas Aires, Puerta Madryn, Bariloche and on back to Mendoza while we waited for Sabrina’s visa to be renewed to the US. It was an amazing trip! One that I don’t think any of us will forget. We saw some of the most beautiful scenery…from the wide wild Patagonia to penguins and sea lions to the German/Swiss town of Bariloche (which btw, we fell in love with).

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Walking the streets of Bs Aires, Argentina

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A very young Sabrina looking at a penguin

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Sea Lions

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Puerta Madryn

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Our bus broke down on the way to Bs Aires from Mendoza

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Moving our stuff over to the new bus, which also had a problem. So we changed buses yet a a third time.

 

But it was that epic moment our last night (March 2012) in Bariloche when we were feeling a bit uncertain, that we decided to skype with Steven and Cameron and we heard the news that would confirm God’s word to us once again…just when we needed it. I’ll never forget it. We were staying in the guest house of the Bariloche ywam base talking to Cameron …well actually it was whining…not them. Us.

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Entrance to YWAM Bariloche

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Our guest house on the YWAM Base in Bariloche

 

We were home sick, a bit weary from traveling on overnight buses, and facing an uncertain future. Our plan was to fly to Louisiana to be at my parents house while we waited to see how God might open the door for us to go to Montana.

So here we were…in Argentina, changing our plans of staying in the country for a year to actually packing up and heading to the states to wait for God to show us how to go to this  north western state that was 2500 miles from my parents house, and even much further from our home in Costa Rica and very different climate-wise. We were feeling a bit discouraged and overwhelmed with it all that night….when I just politely asked Cameron how their planned trip to Costa Rica with a couple they had met earlier that year was coming along. They had a team together to go down for an outreach.

And then she told me the NEWS. That trip had been canceled. They had found out just that day that,… that couple they had met at a Jesus Culture Worship Conference was actually going to go to…

Ta Daaaaa!!

 

 

 

 

 

MONTANA

 

 

 

 

 

and waan- waa – waa -waaaan. (remember the grownups in Charlie Brown shows and how they talked? That is all I heard…at least in my head)

Something something something about planting a church something something something something.

“Wait wait wait just a minute…did you say Montana??! Are you kidding me??!!Who are these people?Oh!These are the same people you have been telling me about for the last 4 months And now you say they are going to Montana?Why didn’t you tell me earlier?You just found out today?You say you have been wanting us to meet this couple I remember you saying something about that a few months ago…And these are those people??!”

This was all blurted out in a matter of seconds as Cameron just let me babble on for what seemed an eternity.

We felt…a spark…well maybe more like a flame. An excitement. Hope renewed. Joy. Anticipation.

We had no idea who these people were. But we knew at that moment we would be with them and we would be a part of whatever they were going to do in Montana. And then we heard even more.

When we were staying at the Lakeside ywam base several months earlier, we were only about 20 minutes from where this couple was going to plant the church! No wonder we felt such a sensing we would be back. They were going to Bigfork, Montana to plant a church, 20 minutes from where we spent 3 nights the summer before. We had no idea what kind of church. No idea who these people were. No idea when they would go. No idea where we would live? What we would do?

But we knew Cameron and Steven. And we knew if they were connected with them, we wanted to be too. And more importantly we felt His peace and grace and life all over this.

So we took our last overnight bus ride back to Mendoza, Argentina and gathered up our things and flew back to Louisiana to meet this couple over Skype and hear their  story. They are Ben and Carolea Burdick and their five beautiful children. We skyped with them for over 2 hours the day after we landed in the US. They were in Indiana. And we in Louisiana. And it was love at first skype!

Ben and Carolea had been called to Bigfork, Montana actually many  many years earlier. Ben had been in the airforce and he was now the associate pastor of a church in Valpo, Indiana, but had a calling to Bigfork which of course had been confirmed to them in some quite miraculous ways over the years. But that is their story. And what a story it is! You need to hear it. If you are ever in Bigfork, stop in and come to Mountainsong Church and meet our pastors. You’ll want to stay!

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Here they are …THAT couple! Our pastors now. And what an honor to be able to call them our friends too.

 

So that was it. We were going northwest. We were going to Bigfork, Montana to be a part of a church plant with Ben and Carolea and we would figure out the rest along the way. And we did. God showed us and led us. That was July 28, 2012 that we landed in Bigfork, Montana in a house we rented on the beautiful Swan River where our kids enjoyed many summer days of swimming and winter days of sledding down the hill our first year in Montana. And below is a peek at that sweet house we stayed in our first year in Montana…

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From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides you, who acts for those who wait for him. (Isaiah 64:4)

 

 

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Rich Coast Furnishings, God’s provision for us for 20 years.

Then it was early 2010.

We had just come through the adoption and now we were faced with an all out economic crisis, and our business with its 40 employees was suddenly on life support.

We were facing a big decision. Pull this 25-year-old  business back up to a healthy place or sell it.

Or as a last resort, close it down.

It was during this hard time that one day while out on the hammock in the back yard, I was having a quiet time with the Lord…that I heard Him say…. “Crossroads”.

And immediately the memory of how I had always wanted to go with Manuel and the  kids on a YWAM (youth with a mission) adventure like I had with Jared, suddenly came to my mind. It was one of those defining moments with the Lord. You know the moments of that “spark”.  Plus we certainly felt like we were at crossroads in our lives.

And the fact that YWAM has what they call a Crossroads DTS (for people who want to do a Discipleship Training School, but who are either over 30 or have families), somehow I just knew that this was what God was saying to us at the time, even though it truly seemed quite impossible.

Not only did we have a business that was struggling that we were responsible for, but we didn’t have any extra money to spend on a DTS nor airfare for the whole family. Actually we didn’t have any extra money for anything. Plus we owned a house and had animals that we could not just leave here without someone taking care of them all.

So we just began to pray about it and put it before the Lord… and wait.

Meanwhile, we needed to start making plans toward something….selling the business, or renewing permits to keep it open and taking on new clients. So it was during this time that we sought the Lord about His timing, as we knew deep in our hearts that God was up to something. We really wanted to leave that same year of 2010 to go Argentina to do a DTS and spend the whole year in Argentina after the school. It would be a big change for us, after having had a business since  we got married and only leaving Costa Rica to go to Louisiana to visit family for short periods of time.

One day Manuel and I went alone up the mountain to just pray and listen about the timing of leaving. We both felt like we heard God say 2011 and then later it was confirmed by another person. But that seemed sooooooo far away. It felt like an eternity at that time. And though we kept working and planning to sell, it was not the best time to sell a business.

September 2010, the DTS we were hoping to be at in Argentina came and went and at that time, we figured that we had probably heard God wrong on the place that we were to go, since the base wasn’t even sure if it would be having this type of DTS the following year or not. So we began to research and apply to other DTS’s in other parts of the world, such as New Zealand, since they had a family base there, and besides who doesn’t want to go to New Zealand?

Life continued, as we began to have to scale down our employees to finally just 13. I began to handle the office work while Manuel continued to work with our clients and employees. We began to talk and dream about a new style of life where we wouldn’t both be so busy all the time, tied down by running a business. And it was during one of those times when God did something pretty spectacular one night at the end of 2011.

It was one of those suddenly moments, where He just dropped a seed (thought) down in our hearts that created a great desire to just sell everything we had here in Costa Rica and move to Montana to buy some land …way, way up there in the great northwest.

Crazy, it seemed, but exciting.

And in all places, why Montana?

We had no idea.

Who did we know in Montana?

Not a soul.

Had we ever even considered visiting Montana?

Not one time.

But then later that night, we remembered that a couple of months earlier we had hosted a couple in our home, who happened to be living in Montana at the time. They had stayed at our house on their way back to Montana after having visited some missionary friends of ours. And then as we continued talking and processing this new idea, we also remembered that some of our best friends who live in South Carolina, had spent a summer or two in Montana working construction on a property that use to be a children’s home. And even we  remembered that at Christmas time, we had met an older gentleman who was visiting Manuel’s cousin, and when I asked him where he was originally from, he said Montana.

But even just those three little previous instances combined with this new Montana desire, we knew God was saying something.

So we just kind of put that thought on the back burner, since we knew we were on our way to YWAM. We figured that maybe Montana would be for one day in the by and by when we retired or at least when we were done with our YWAM time.

And a quick  fast forward to  March of 2011, we truly sensed that God was saying to us that it was time to close the business and trust Him.

Yikes!

Stop to flow of income?

Yes, we did have an income. Things in Costa Rica were starting to get better. Our business was one of the few of this type that hadn’t closed down during this crisis. We still had some clients. And actually even some new clients were now wanting our business.

Though there were several interested parties in buying the business, there had been no concrete offers. And closing the business would be no small undertaking, since we not only had investors to pay back, but we would also have to pay all the employees who were still with us a hefty severance pay.

We didn’t know how we were going to pay out our investors or our employees if we closed. We were talking about thousands of dollars. Lots of money that we didn’t have. The only thought I had, was to sell a piece of property  that we had invested in years ago, but it was in Manuel’s heart for the business to pay for the business.

But how?

The only thing the business owned at this point (since our cash reserves were all gone) was the equipment  that we used to work with and that wasn’t valued at a high enough price to pay what we owed to the investors, much less the employees.

And the idea of selling each item one by one, felt overwhelming.

Yet still, one day in early March of 2011, we felt impressed by God to set a closing date. We chose April 15, based on how much time we needed to finish up with our clients that we had already started with.

How were we going to pay the employees and investors? We didn’t know. But we set the time anyway.

 

“No eye has seen a God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 64:4)

 

And then…

One of those “suddenly” moments that only God can orchestrate…

About 2 weeks before our closing date, we got a call. It was on a Sunday morning. This former employee of ours said he wanted to buy all of our equipment and inventory and office equipment as well, …and what would we sell it to him for?

Well it didn’t take us long to come up with an amount. We told him a number that would pay off all that the business owed. He accepted and within 2 weeks, he gave us the total amount that we asked for.

We then bought tickets from Costa Rica to Louisiana to visit my family before our plan to head off to New Zealand DTS in July 2011.

Yeah, I know what you are thinking. Where did you get the money for New Zealand?

We actually left for Louisiana with only about $300.00…what we had left over after we paid our investors and employees and had bought 8 airline tickets to Louisiana.

We  left Costa Rica trusting that God would work on our behalf  to sell some property that we had up for sale before our DTS due date in July. And with this, we would fund our trip. We had one month before our due date.

However…

It didn’t happen.

As a matter of fact, we basically had just about run out of money which would have happened even sooner, had we not been staying with  my family in Louisiana.

The July cut off date for New Zealand DTS came and went, much to our great disappointment.

 

“No eye has seen a God besides you, who works for those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 64:4)

 

And then…

about 4 days later, we got an email from our realtor in Costa Rica saying that he had a buyer for our property, then only 2 days later the money was in the bank! Record time for a Costa Rica Sale. Nothing less than supernatural.

That same week, we got a letter from the base director of YWAM Mendoza asking us if we were still interested in DTS as they were going to run the school again that same year in September.

It didn’t take us too long to see in one quick swoop which direction our path was heading. We had heard God correctly the first time.

That alone gave us such joy.

We were suppose to go to Argentina.

It was suppose to be in 2011.

It was so good to see things a bit more clearly now.

But there was still…

that “Montana Mystery”.

What was that about?

 

So, as we were waiting for September DTS time to arrive, we decided to take a bit of a trip. We packed up the kids and headed to Lakeside, Montana to visit the YWAM base up there. The reason we chose Lakeside as our Montana place of destination, was because other than that property where our friends from SC had spent a summer,(and we weren’t able to connect with the owner of that place) we knew of no other places in Montana to go to. Plus it was a YWAM base. We could stay on the base for a fairly  economical price and take some time and hear what God was saying to us about Montana.

 

And He did say something…

CO, WY, MT 009

Somewhere in Montana

MT,CO,WY,ID 032

At Lakeside ywam base

IMG_1251

Our Beloved Home that we left behind in Costa Rica

But it was not what we expected.

 

 

But that, my friends will be for another day…

 

 

 

That “Montana Mystery”

A Gift and A Battle

So now you have it. The story of how I got to Costa Rica, and our bi-cultural marriage, business, kids, missions.

But how did we get from Mangos to Grizzlies?

There is quite a story there too. There is no way I can tackle the whole story in one post. There are so many neat God-stories mixed in as well. And really, I don’t want to leave any out, as they are still so recent in my memory and very impressionable to me.

It was 2009. We had just adopted our little girl here in Costa Rica after a year long battle with the court system to keep her in our home. Actually it was more of an outright war.

This little girl came into our home after 4 years of praying, desiring, praying, researching adoption, praying. Even how she came to be in our home is quite miraculous. We had been asking God to bring a child into our family…actually we were praying for twin girls. We tried to adopt from everywhere…China, Ukraine, even the States. But in one way or the other, we couldn’t or we weren’t qualified. We had already jumped through all the hoops here in Costa Rica to make ourselves eligible to adopt here. But we were pretty far down on their list, considering that we were in our 40’s and 50’s already, plus we already had 6 kids.

But then one day…

We got a call from a friend whom Manuel had casually mentioned to that we wanted to adopt. And long story short, being a friend of a friend who knew of a situation with a birth mom looking for adoptive parents, we came to meet Laura and within two weeks, our little Sabrina was born in Clinica Biblica and came straight into our home that very next day.

All was going well…

Until the adoption finalizing day, three months later.

And that is when the fight all of fights began.

All was in order. We had an adoption attorney. We had attended all the classes about adoption from the PANI (child welfare agency), had been psychologically analyzed, each member of our family interviewed, had a home study approved and even a medical. All was approved.

However, Judge Chacon had his doubts about us.

His first doubt.

Why would we want to adopt a child? We already had 6, why another one? And more than that, could we afford another child?

Another three months.

Another finalizing date and us with all the proof he asked for.

Second doubt.

Birth mother was being investigated because she lied to a clinic doctor at a postpartum check up. When asked about her baby, she said the baby had died at birth. She was reported to the authorities and now she and we were under investigation.

Third doubt.

Three months later third finalizing date. We had been cleared of any wrong doings and thought that finally this was it. However, Judge Chacon thought that our baby who was now 10 months old and long ago fully bonded with our family would be better off with a  biological family member…any family member no matter how distance. So in came the social workers put on a mission to find a biological family member to take Sabrina, and they were also required to find Laura, the birth mother and offer her financial assistance from the government to raise the baby!

I don’t know if you can imagine unless you have adopted what this is like. Sabrina was our child as much as Simon or Ben or any other of our children were. She was our ten month old baby, a sister to six siblings, a granddaughter to 3 and a niece to 5. And a very important member of our community. She was our baby girl…Sabrina Grace Lobo Sharp, even if it hadn’t been made legal in the courts here yet.

Well it wasn’t like we hadn’t been praying and fasting and asking the world to pray with us before. But now, we needed a miracle. We had been asking the Lord all along…please change Judge Chacon’s heart or remove him from our case.

Well by the grace of God we were given two very sympathetic social workers who could clearly see that it wouldn’t be in Sabrina’s best interest to have her ripped from the only family that she had ever known and placed with strangers albeit biological relatives. So, though they did their job that day, I am still convinced that they didn’t search all over the country for blood relatives, nor try too hard to convince Laura to take Sabrina back, even though they were required to contact her and interview her by the court of law.

And then after 11 1/2 months of prayer for this little girl…

One day everything changed.

It was our 4th adoption finalization court date set for 1:30 pm and just like all the other times, we were heading there with our whole family. Then around 10 am we got a call from our attorney… Judge Chacon had resigned from our case! Just like that. What did that mean? We couldn’t help but be hopeful that God was up to something.

So instead of Chacon that afternoon, we had a very nice sweet judge who said to us…”this is the favorite part of my job…adoptions”. Yay God!! And when asked why she had been put on the case instead of Chacon,she said “I don’t know. For some reason he came to me this morning and just asked me if I would take this case”. Yay Jesus!!! We knew!

So I know…you are wondering what does this have to do with going from Costa Rica to Montana. Hang on…I’m getting to that.

 

 

Baby Girl

Baby Girl

Adoption Day. Our new sweet judge and social worker

Adoption Day. Our new sweet judge and social worker

Bri Bri

Bri Bri

Papa`

Manuel’s father passed away last night.

And…well YAY GOD! He is with Jesus.

We are sad only because we miss him.

But I wanted  to share what has taken place in the last few hours. It has been an emotional roller coaster mixed with a lesson in the way some Ticos handle a death in the family.

I can joyfully share what I’m going to because the Lord has given us so many awesome gifts while we have been here in Costa Rica these last 2 1/2 months. One of them being – we had all this time to spend with Manuel’s 93-year-old father while he was alive and well.

But even more than that, he went from sitting outside in his favorite chair on Saturday morning to spending only one night in the hospital resting quietly before he peacefully went to be with Jesus.

And if God has not been gracious enough to us, Manuel and I got to share Papa’s last few moments here on this earth with him. We were able to pray with him and release peace over him and talk to him. And moments after we walked out of the hospital, he met Jesus face to face. What a wonderful gift for us from our Lord to have had these special times with him, considering we have been out of the country for most of the last 3 years.

However…

We didn’t find out that he left this world until…

later that night.

So we arrived back to Papa’s house to let Manuel’s sister know how he was doing, only to have  barely gotten into the house and hear that he had passed away. Everyone was crying and hugging and doing things that people do when they first get the news that a loved one has passed on.

And there we all were.

Until…

Another call.

Seems he hasn’t really passed away. They just want the family to all come down to the hospital, because he is more critical than before.

Hmmm. Well… Oooo Kaaaay

That was sad.

Happy.

Bizarre.

Relief.

So back to the hospital.

…only to hear…that actually he did pass away.

But the hospital personnel didn’t want to give us that news over the phone…though they already actually had…of course until they called back to revoke it.

Okey dokey.

So now what?

I suppose we all go home.

Right?

And wait for the funeral tomorrow? (they bury people quickly here)

Well no not exactly. We are waiting for the body to be released.

For it to go to the funeral home.

Right?

Uh no. It will be released, but his body will go to his house, so the family can prepare the body and put his burial clothes on …

And should I say?

OK…I will.

Family members will spend the next hour driving from pharmacy to pharmacy looking for rubber gloves, and  formaldehyde  to inject into the body.

Excuse me?

Now I did overhear that they could have had someone from the funeral home come to the house and do that for them. But in the end, seemed that the family wanted to do it all themselves.

I might add that the family did not include me at this moment.

Ooooo Kaaaaay.

I think I might  just go on home now.

Then what?

Well then they will take his body to the capilla ( a place near the cemetery) to sit with him all night, as people come and go to see him.

All – night.

Then the funeral will be the next day bright and early.

Well since I wasn’t much help (no help) last  night, surely I can handle going with Manuel and his brother to the cemetery and county office to get the grave site ready.

So we paid the $30.00 owed on the plot that had been reserved for Papa and walked out to the cemetery to hunt for the plot. That was no small feat. Lots of graves and not many names.

Finally there it was Familia Lobo Miranda. Manuel’s mother had been buried there 19 years ago. So Papa’ will go right next to her.

Right?

Not exactly. He will actually go underneath her grave.

And this is only if he has been paying the yearly fee. Because if not. Then someone else has the right to be buried there and not Papa, says the nice lady who works for the municipalidad (county). And even –  unless the family specifies it and continues to pay on it, they will bury other people in that spot in the coming years as well.

Okey Doke.

So now we were talking to Hugo who digs the graves and he says he remembers burying Manuel’s mother 19 years ago. And he remembers Papa’, since he was the one who paid him for digging the grave back then too. And it will be $100.00 to dig this grave…only because he has to dig from the side and then underneath the other one.

Ooooo Kaaaaay

Well we go to the church at 10:30 for the service and then back to the cemetery for the burial. All goes pretty well as the men carry the casket on their shoulders to the site and then lower him down with a regular old rope and then try to push the casket under the other one.

All was going pretty well…

Until… it wasn’t.

Seems that there was a metal bar or something in the way.

Okey Dokey

So after several tense moments of struggling and pushing and pulling, a couple of men just hop down into that hole and rearrange things and then slide the casket right under the other one to rest…forever.

Or maybe not.

In 5 years from now, someone else’s family might just come and have Hugo dig up this grave and place another body in this plot. I guess since Costa Rica is a small country, there’s not a lot of room for cemeteries?

Don’t ask me. I’m learning as I go here.

I write all this today, not to dishonor Papa, or Tico’s on how they do funerals or handle death, but actually it makes me wonder if we in other countries like the states are too far removed from the death of a loved one?

I mean…is it even legal to take the body from the hospital to your house in the states?

I don’t know.

We Americans pay thousands of dollars to the funeral home and have someone else take care of all the preparing of the body for us. I’m not saying anything is wrong with that; heck, I think I like that (except the part of about the thousands of dollars). But it has got me to thinking of how we view death in the states.

I think including the casket we paid $750.00 total. And it was a pretty nice wood casket.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are many private funeral homes and cemeteries around Costa Rica that you are more than welcome to spend way more that $750.00 on a funeral. And again they can do all the work of preparing the body and more for you. But not only was this a lesson for me in doing funerals another way, it has given me a different perspective on death. I mean, it is a big part of life. It happens every day. But we remove ourselves far away from it.

Why?

Is that even healthy?

Well I don’t have the answers.

Just thinking.

Wondering.

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Until we see you again Papa’, and our other loved ones who have gone before us.

 

The Wonder Years

…First comes love, then comes marriage.

Here comes Sharon with the baby carriage.

One and a half years after our  December 25, 1992  Christmas wedding in front of the fireplace of my childhood home, our little family of 3 quickly became 4.

Oh and by the way, if you are thinking what I was thinking those long ago years…that a Christmas Wedding might just sound ever so romantic, think again!

As long as you are totally ok with never ever celebrating your wedding anniversary on it’s actual day, then be my guest and have your Christmas Wedding…..or if you plan to never have children; because otherwise, take my word for it, the anniversary will always take second place to children and Christmas…as it rightly should…so say 7 people in my family.

 

…And then a year or so later, we were 5.

And then 2 years more and we were 6.

And then 3 years, and we were 7.

And then 2 years, and we were 8.

And then 6 long years, and we were 9.

But in actuality, sometime during this period we increased through multiplication instead of addition.

Jared chose a lovely wife and as of just a week or two ago, they added my third grandchild to the mix.

What can I say about those years? These years?

Wonder-ful

Fulfilling.

Satisfying.

Educational.

Joyful.

Hard.

Scary.

Fun.

Funny.

Painful.

Sleep depriving.

We were busy raising a family and building a business. My life consisted of pregnancies, babies, diapers, home-schooling, adopting, preparing meals, cleaning, and trying to keep head injuries and sutures to a minimum . With 4 boys (Jared and Hazel had long had their own family and home by this time) and 2 girls in the house, life was and is never boring.

I don’t even know where to begin with the wonder years of one baby after another. There is so much I could tell, then so much of it is a blur too. I started taking tons of pictures with Jared and Nicholas. They fill several photo albums. Then by the time we got to Simon and Sabrina…well let’s just say those pictures aren’t so neatly organized or labeled. But maybe someone could do that for me, because honestly there aren’t really that many.

I had often thought during those years, I really should write a blog and fill it with pictures of our beautiful kids growing up, like those other blogs that  I would come across when I had a few precious moments to myself. But for mercy sake, really, …how do mom’s have time to write those blogs with that many kids? And I even had a housekeeper for most of our time. I think when I had those few precious moments of free time which usually took place only in the bathroom, I wanted to just let my mind clear or read a magazine…something that didn’t involve thinking or making decisions or answering “the why” question.

Well by listening to me talk, you probably would think I’m all done now raising kids. But that is far from the truth. Even though Nicholas is now 20 and on a mission in South America, and Haley is 19 and back home from a year at ministry school, and Brennan is 17 and just graduated high school, they are all still in and out of the home. Not completely out yet.

Plus Ben is 14, Simon is 11, and Sabrina is only 5. We are nowhere near DONE.

I wonder if a parent is ever done?

Yet, just not having babies or toddlers underfoot allows for a bit more time to pursue some other interest…like starting that blog that I had always thought would be fun. Or actually looking at the idea of traveling as an enjoyable adventure as opposed to a self inflicted trauma, which is what it felt like when we had 5 kids all under the age of 9.

So yeah, so much to say about the wonder years.

I wonder where they all went.

I wonder how I survived.

I wonder what things I should have done differently.

I wonder why kid vomit must almost always contain of spaghetti?

And I wonder, will I ever get to sleep through the entire night again?

No…

Really.

I wonder.

Once they are ALL gone and married and have their own houses, then can I sleep through the whole night?…let’s see, I should be just about 70 then. Sigh.

So below are some random old pics of our family. When you’re family is this big, I can’ t tell you how hard it is to get a picture of the WHOLE family all together.

 

Him

So…where did we leave off?

Oh yeah…1991.

Jared (then only 11 years old) and I dropped down into the mountains of Costa Rica in September of 1991. Just in time for Rainy season. We lived up on the farm, in the central valley called Pasteje owned by a missionary veterinarian from Alabama.

Dr. Bob has a goat farm where he breeds high quality goats and then places them into small villages of Costa Rica and beyond. It’s a great tool for sharing the gospel and the people also get a great milk goat to boot.

I will never believe that it was a coincidence that I ended up working with a missionary that just happened to be a veterinarian. (remember how I was trying to get into Vet School?) It was to be the beginning of something so much more than me just coming to Costa Rica to learn Spanish.

Right away I knew that God was giving me a wonderful gift, starting with being part of a mission that was run by a vet who just happened to own 115 golden retrievers. Only God could have known that golden retrievers were my favorite breed of dog. OK, maybe it wasn’t 115. But there were certainly a whole pack of them to greet me that night when I got out of the jeep having just been picked up from the airport.

Then I unwrapped my next gift from God….fresh, cool air. Yep. Here I was in a tropical country in Central America on an amazing farm… and it was cool…might I even say-cold. I had been in several countries on the ship on outreaches…Dominican Republic, Mexico, Togo, Ghana where I literally sweated  my brains out. I’m going to tell you that it was so hot in those countries that toothpaste just poured out of the tube. And forget about lipstick. It became lip-liquid.

I had begun to ask God if there were not any people who needed to hear about Him that lived in cool climates. Were all the lost people just in hot humid places? So you can believe, when I stepped out of that jeep and was greeted with a fresh cool breeze, I knew I was in heaven…or at least pretty dog-gone close.

And it only got better. Costa Rica was green and tropical and mountainous, and  peaceful-like. I was in love.

I could not find one thing that I didn’t like about this country. Even with the garbage in the ditches, and the potholes, and the houses behind metal bars and razor wires… I didn’t see any of it. I was a girl in love.

Then there were the Ticos, the name given to Costa Rican’s because they place “ito/ita” at the end of many of their words, i.e. agua (water) becomes aguita (wee bit of water). Leche (milk) is lechita (little bit of milk).

And oh to listen to their sing songey spanish and experience their sweet gentle ways.

Love.

But there was still more to come…

I had settled into life here in this bright green country with it’s Rainy Season lasting about 8 months out of a year. My biggest challenge was how to get clothes dry before they started to have that wet sour smell that fabric gets after being wet for days. I was practicing my Spanish at every moment that I could when I wasn’t teaching Jared and the other MK’s school. Plus I was involved in the mission with it’s outreaches to nearby communities and in the jungle,where, by the way, I wasn’t called to since the temperatures were above 80 degrees!

Then that day… I met him.

We were having a goat rodeo in the plaza.  Ah huh, a goat rodeo.   And no… that is not weird.

A young guy who worked for Bob, Chompipe (nickname, meaning turkey. To this day, I still don’t know what his real name is) introduced us. I later found out that he had seen me at the goat rodeo and had  told Chompipe that he wanted to meet me and for him to introduce us, which he did that day in the plaza.

I didn’t see him for almost a whole year after that…though if you hear his side of the story, he will tell you that I was ignoring him. But honestly, I didn’t see him …at all.

Until…

I came back from a 3 month summer visit to my family in Louisiana, and Bob had found a different house for me to rent. How convenient (though again, not a coincidence) that it was right next door to him. And his father owned the house that I was renting.

So on that day that the rain came hard and the living room flooded from a big leak in the roof, Don Guillermo sent him over to fix the leak…and well folks, as they say, the rest is history. We were married 2 short months later…December 25, 1992 at my childhood home in South Louisiana, and the very next day we were on a plane right back here to Costa Rica.

I wish I had a picture of our wedding day to place here. But those are all packed up and stored away in a storage unit in Bigfork, Montana.

More on that later.

So here… my very own sweet gentle Tico-man:

~Manuel Enrique de Jesus Lobo Miranda~

 

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History – The first 30 years

I want to tell part of our story.

Our story of how we got here.

Our story of who we are.

But I have tried to start this post now several times and then I get stuck.

I get stuck, because I just don’t know where to start. Do I start with my marriage to Manuel? But that really isn’t where it all began.

So do I start with college?

But then I would leave out who I was…and who I have become.

So I will go way way …way back.

I will start with Louisiana. (pronounced Looz-i-ana)

Way down south on the edge of a swamp in rural Louisiana…where I grew up with my 2 brothers, I was the middle child.  One 5 years older and one 4 years younger.

We could have been “that family” when I was growing up.

You know the one.

The one that made all that money, just because they were living in the swamps of Louisiana. No, not the ones that became millionaires  because they made some fancy dandy duck call. But those other ones who lived way down in Cajun Country.

Swamp People.

That’s where we grew up. We aren’t Cajuns (at least as far as I know). But we’s Swamp People. And my mama know how to cook a squirrel or make turtle soup. She make gumbo and jambalaya too.

My daddy went alligator huntin’.

Heck, we didn’t even need to go far to get a gator. Gators lived and breathed…and terrorized right outside our back yard. I always thought that we had a fence around our yard to keep our dogs in. But I actually think it was to keep the gators out. Daddy trapped, hunted, and fished. He taught us all to do the same. Well I didn’t do  much huntin’ or trappin’.

Actually I didn’t do any.

Didn’ matter.

I wouldn’ a  made a very good hunter. He said I made too much noise in the woods. He told me Ah talked too much. And then when Ah would try my best to be quiet. He said Ah walked too noisily. It didn’ matter. Ah never really wanted to kill an animal anyway. Mah job (at least Ah believed) was ta save every animal dat Ah come across….baby birds dat had fallen out of da nest, baby raccoon dat nearly chewed mah fingers off thru da leather gloves dat Ah would use to hold em.

Yes indeed, if only dose Hollywood people woulda thought of dis show idea some 40 years ago, Ah woulda been rich and famous. Mmm hmm.

Ah actually have ta confess dat Ah have never ever seen one entire episode of dat show. But Ah imagine dat de woulda loved our family. Ah imagine de were lookin’ for a family just like ours.

Mah mah…yes em deed. Ya see what happn’s…I just a get ta thinkn’ about Louisiana…and I start thinkn’ in de accent way way …way down south. One word at a time.

 

So yeah, we grew up with Uncle Dubba J (who is actually W.J., but I believe I was at least 18 before I realized that his name wasn’t Dubba J…again due to the accent of our family). Uncle W.J. had an alligator pen in the pasture right next to ours. When we were bored, we would try to lift ourselves up to the top of the tin fence and throw things at the gators to wake them up.

We dodged dangerous cotton mouth snakes and got caught in spider webs in the woods that the strands were as thick as thread. But somehow I survived the wild animals and my 2 brothers and made it to adulthood, went to college, got a degree in Animal Science with plans to attend Vet School. However, after my third attempt to get into the school, I said to God…”Well Lord, if I’m not going to be a veterinarian, then what else is there in life??”

I dare you to just ask God a question like that. And boy will He show what else there is in life! But don’t forget to fasten your seat belt and hang on!

Somewhere during that time of high school and college, I married and had a wonderful baby boy. I loved being a mommy and spent lots of my days just changing his clothes like  a little girl does when she has a doll. Unfortunately when 2 broken people get married, it’s really hard to make a marriage stay unbroken. And ours only survived about 3 years.

So back to my question to the Lord……what am I now going to do with my life?

Sometime shortly after that question, I ended up with a book in my hands called “Is that Really You, Lord”. It was a book by Loren Cunnigham about how Youth With a Mission (YWAM)  began, but for me it was more of a teaching on how to hear the voice of God. Up until that point, I had thought that only pastors and special people could hear God’s voice. So my world got completely rocked when I realized that anyone who has a relationship with Jesus could hear His voice.

And boy did that open up quite the world for me.

Shortly thereafter, I joined YWAM  with my then 8 year old son, Jared. We went to live on the Anastasis, which at that time was one of YWAM’S Mercy Ships. We lived on the ship for 2 1/2 years and then we went to Costa Rica.

That was in 1991.

To be continued…

THAT BOTTLE

 

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I was cutting his hair the day before yesterday. And I had this thought,… Wow, would you look at that!

He used conditioner on his hair!

I could tell.

Because I could feel how soft it was and…well – Hey! No tangles to comb through! It’s the small pleasures in life anyway.

I smiled to myself.

I had been telling him he should use conditioner on those long locks of his. “If you are going to keep your hair long, then at least use conditioner and comb it everyday.”

You know… A Mom Mantra.

I have 7 kids.
2 girls and the rest are boys…..so I have many mantras…

“At the very least, make up your bed every morning.”

“Can you at least put your shoes on the shelf? And not beside it?”

“If you can put your clothes next to the hamper, it shouldn’t be that hard to put them IN the hamper.”

“Can’t it wait until I get out of the bathroom?”

Well there are more. But you get the idea.

Even that proverb came to mind. You know the one. All us parents have it memorized to give us hope when we are going through a bit of a rough spot with one of our children…”Train up a child…”

Yes indeed…if he can use conditioner, WITHOUT me asking him to!…*tear*…well you know, 17 hours of labor was all worth it!

But then…

Last night.
Lying in bed… ready to sleep. Lights turned off.

Tap, tap, tap…

“Yeah”?

“It’s Haley.”

“Uh Mom, I need some shampoo.”

In my drowsy state of mind, I said…”I’m pretty sure there is shampoo in one of the other bathrooms. I know, because I just bought a new bottle a few days ago.”

As a matter of fact, I remembered, I had placed it in the downstairs shower, …what? the day before yesterday?

“So yeah, you can use mine, but I know there is shampoo downstairs.”

“Um Mom…that bottle is conditioner.”

“What?…no that ‘s shampoo. Because I just bought it and I know, because I had shampoo on my list the other day at the grocery store.”

But even before the words ever left my mouth, I began to get that same sinking feeling. You know the one, when you just realized that you put salt in your coffee instead of sugar or the “I don’t think I turned off the oven before we left the house” feeling.

“No. Nooooooooooooooo….not again!”

How does this keep happening to me? How many times now have I gone to the store and bought a bottle of shampoo and have come home, only to find out days later, when one of my boys comes out of the shower all fresh and clean saying…

“Hey Mom that shampoo you recently bought is not really lathering up very well. But boy! It sure leaves my hair soft! …you wanna feel?”

“Hmmm…bring that bottle to me and let me see.”

“… Oh no!”

“Have you been using THAT to wash your hair all these days?”

“Uh huh”

“Well for the last week, you have been washing your hair with conditioner.”

“Did you not see that you were using conditioner to wash your hair?”

“Do you not read the labels before you squirt something onto your hair?”

“Mom, that other bottle in the shower is conditioner too, so I just assumed that this one would be shampoo!”

And so it has happened again.

Really can’t someone do something about this? Should shampoo and conditioner bottles be sold so close to one another? They look exactly alike. Come on!…Shouldn’t they be at least a different color?

You know …who has time to read those labels when there are so many flavors of shampoo and conditioner out there? And now since we are back in Costa Rica, I’m reading labels even less and looking for that bottle of shampoo that cost under $6.00.

Honestly, this is …well… quite dangerous. Isn’t it? I mean …what would happen if no one would have noticed that my kids were washing their hair with conditioner all this time? I shutter to think.

So last night….I lay awake…tossing and turning. How long ago did I buy that last bottle of conditioner? How long now have my boys been washing their hair with conditioner. Can’t they tell it’s not shampoo? What happens when boys wash their sweaty little heads with conditioner for a week straight? …in a tropical country?

I turn over…

“Babe?” (that’s what I call my Tico Husband)

“Are you still awake? That was Haley at the door. I did it again. We have one bottle of shampoo in the house for 8 people…..and 3 bottles of conditioner. How long before we can go to the grocery store again? Do you know that the boys have been washing their hair with conditioner? …..again? That can’t be good.”
Babe says, “I’m sure it works just as well.”

I love him!