Thursday, December 24, 2009

let it snow!

there is just nothing as cool as seeing my husband marvel at snow for the first time…nor is there anything as aggravating as when he sneaks inside and locks me out to be funny. grr.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

a rant(ito)

i have many thoughts and opinions that have sprouted up from being in the unique position of living in a foreign country and acculturating(think salad bowl ESL metaphor) into that foreign country but being witness to my native country`s deeds within said foreign country.and i have something to say.

i think its important to ask why and how a person comes into an impoverished country. many people have already formed this answer and often have the general how answered as well. and it usually sounds really good, polished and able to bring in donations. most of the time it is well thought out and usually focused on the people..but i have a few more questions i`d like to ask, specifically for the missionaries in, or coming to, Nicaragua.

am i positive that my mission or project i am coming to complete is not already being done by local people that i might support instead?

how can i hope to meet needs of people i cant communicate with nor understand where they come from?

why, knowing that the country i work in has high unemployment, would i not include several salaries for native people in my budget?

why do i choose to enforce my cultural norms and ideals upon the people i work with rather than try to learn and understand and work within theirs?

do i really think i have all the ability to make a difference, and that i don`t need and cherish the input and support of my native counterparts?

am i doing this project honestly and for the people`s benefit, or because it makes me look good with my various groups at home?

are my motives pure in the application of my project? is it something the people really need and want and will support?

can this project survive without me? and if the answer is no, how will i change that?

is the underlying attitude and nuances of every action Love?

i`m realizing as i write this out, im a bit bitter. i am frustrated by the uncomfortable situation we find ourselves in when good people want to do a good thing...but haven`t thought it out completely. im tired of getting angry over culture clashes and attitudes about money and work ethic and education, and im sad at seeing all the loose ends and not knowing how to fix them. im burdened by the lack of vibrant Christian local men and women ready to serve and bearing the burden with the few that do and are always called on to do all of the service/projects/quehaceres. im curious about my own culture, and how we let it so easily shape our Christianity into something that isn`t necessarily Truth.

i certainly do not have all the answers, and recognize that many of those aforementioned questions are uncomfortable and slightly accusing (hence the first person form, its always better to ask yourself the tough questions first before you go slinging them at someone else). Being of my own culture, I understand it and can imagine every angle of defense one might have in response...and I just say, we have to be Christians (little Christs), not American or Nicaraguan or Republican or Socialist or Rich or Poor or Good or Bad....He is the only thing that defines us, being that in His image and for His good purpose we were made, and I can`t make excuses for not living as He calls...not for my culture, nor my economic status, nor my project goals and objectives.

disclaimer: this is a GENERAL rant, and not directed at a specific group or person...just a stream of thought gathered from being part of and observing many different ministries here in Nicaragua...most of which are making a positive impact.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


i come stateside/home? in 10 days. i have not really begun to think about it for lack of time, but its kind of freaking me out. its hard to convey why, but it is.

i was hoping to draw out some threads of thoughts through blogging, because it often prompts a lucid moment or two, but the skipping between the two languages this evening through work has left me blank, so i`ll leave it at this.

i`m thankful that no matter how tightly wound and knotted life seems to get or my emotions or the powers that be, He is always there, ever patient and available to help me out.

its like the kid in maniac magee that undoes that huge crusty knot and wins a pizza or something. and the best thing is that Jesus shares, even when I didn`t earn it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


i realized yesterday what it is exactly that draws me to teaching, that gives it such weight and importance. no, it didnt come from seeing chubby fingers grip a broken crayon to scrawl their name, nor a flashy smile from the ornery 4th grader, nor the pleasure of listening to a child forging reading skills not only in spanish but in english (though those are some highlights) came from a late night conversation with some of the clinic team members, who include my husband, my brother-in-law and pastor and a friend. it happened rather impromptu, just a quick chat after feeding their four kiddos homemade pizza and we discussed some happenings from the week, there rose again our vision, the vision to form and heal integrally, to raise up and teach. and there it is. teaching is not just a set of questions or themes to learn, nor a curriculum you have to finish. it is the opportunity and responsibility to help form people. its the reality that the way i react to a child`s misbehavior has a direct impact on their values, formation and understanding of how the world works. that everytime i explain to G. in kinder that he may not hit his classmates because it hurts them, and that is not what Jesus wants from us, nor what we were made to do, im planting seeds of peace and kindness where neglect and busyness have allowed the weeds of sadness and loneliness to cover his heart. that when i smile and talk with a student about their accomplishments, how God has given them talents and has a plan for those talents, there`s the opportunity to support a beautiful work beginning. that when poverty, the heavyhanded teacher, leaves a child ungrateful and sour, I can look for grace and patience to redirect this student, to teach her gratitude and the goodness of the Lord.and this applies to adults, teens and children, all of my fellow brothers and sisters. to teach obedience and love and respect...because if they aren`t able to respect and obey and love me, whom they see, how will they learn to obey and respect and love Him, whom they don`t?

it`s a terrifying and thrillingly satisfying realization all at the same time.

8 days, 5 exams, 1 conference, 3 graduations, 8 send-off letters, and many many moments until the end of my first full year of teaching, in Nicaragua Christian Academy. What a ride.

Saturday, October 31, 2009


for some fun...because i felt a bit disoriented today...I started looking back through some old posts. and its just odd. its me, of course, but a different me, and it makes me wonder if i lost her or she didn´t learn Spanish or she`s just curled up in the back of the Nica survival kit, but it just feels weird reading that stuff, remembering the ways I saw and thought and processed. And the type of stress I lived under...its just very different now.

life here, life submerged in the academy, clinic, just barer.

bit nervous about that.

im looking forward to coming home in December and sharing that life there with Moi..and getting some seriously quality books and conversations.

i know this is not a bad thing...just realizing this work He started in me is not I had once imagined.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


i can`t explain how much i love mornings without least the illusion that there are no demands. we came back from La Batea last night, visiting the family as we will be stateside come Christmas, and I got to sleep in as the hot sun pierced through the palm leaves onto my pillow. I like this time because I can pretend that I have free time and that I have the space to think and dream and evaluate and consider and be thankful. Some thoughts from this morning.
-there is nothing sweeter than His presence. nothing.

-family is a precious thing that makes your eyes water and heart clench when you have to leave them, yet i am thankful for those emotions and the fact that i have those people that make me feel this way, now in two countries.

-a lack of vision is a sad thing to many tiny towns here in nicaragua are awash with alcoholism, drugs, laziness and lack of hope, due to many factors, but mostly lack of Christ and His Spirit.

-i miss good conversations in english. in spanish, they are good, but i miss the fluidity that i have in english.

-i love reading, and desperately need new books...the ones i have i am beginning to think of as friends, and i am not certain that is a good thing :)

-sugar coated cereal is the best way to wake up...even if its unhealthy (sorry Steph) (this is not entirely true, as i really enjoy scrambled eggs with bell pepper and onions and cheese and toast and lots of fruit with coffee, but the reality is there`s usually no time for that, so cereal becomes the best.)

Friday, July 31, 2009


my blogging muscles are rather withered and not audience ready, but it`s just been too long to keep waiting. so here i am. i feel more and more embarrassed to start writing each time it has been this long. i dont really know why.

there is obviously a lot that has happened. many minutes have ticked by, many minor things have been undone and redone and overdone, etc, many meals and conversations and projects and ups and downs to be had. including a wedding, beloved visitors, a finish of one semester, a move, a new winter settling in.

but i just can`t do all those tiny moments justice by clumping them into a quick pasted together story. nor do i want to. so i`ll just share the following story that has stuck with me as i travel in the cramped bus down the misty hill and in my quiet moments in the mornings.

the sun poked out every once in a while as i sat at my pollo asado post, waiting for 2 o clock to come, when I could abandon my duty of putting together plates and chasing away starving dogs. i had a date for the evening with my husband and i was tired of just sitting, sitting, sitting at our church`s bazaar. the kids that kept begging a coin were beginning to get restless and all the good used clothes had been sold off. Moises toiled over the last two measly chicken breasts, hawking them off on all the passerbyers, 2 for 30 cords! he proclaimed, winking over at them, inviting them to come and enjoy the obviously great deal. I meandered through my mind, the memories and sensations of the day lolling upon me. It was then that my attention was diverted. A local drunk and possibly crazy man had wandered over to our bazaar. He is a man that everyone knows and yet doesn`t know. He is well-known for being passed out on sidewalks or begging money or just talking to himself, but as far as his family, his favorite color, or the endless wonderings of why, are least to me. He was hunched over, slowly making his way to the barb wire fence we were using as a display rack for hats. He gently fingered the cloth of one, turned the bill of another, finally decisively pulling off a blue one. I stayed still, curious as to his next step. He then reached into the depth of his worn pockets and pulled out several 1 cord coins, counting them carefully in the weathered palm. Then he circled carefully up around my station and into the back of the area, where Lester was receiving money. He placed those 10 shiny coins into Lester`s hand, only to be surprised with the five that were returned, winking up at him. He then stood beneath the playful sun, adjusting his new possession until it fit just so over his ears. away he shuffled, down the lane and back to the street.

as we went to managua for our date that night, i asked moises if he knew the name of this man...which of course he did and said, ¨i was going to let him take it if he took it. but look how quick he is. no one told him the price or where to pay or anything. he`s not as crazy as many think.¨ and he switched the radio channel.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

good ol' usa

what a fun time it has been. i have slipped back into my country and find it quite pleasing. it's a bit shocking how clean and comfortable and neat everything is...I'm worried about driving back through Managua...but I also realize I am smack dab in the middle of high end Coloradan suburbia, and not having to work, so it's rather fairy tale like. some things i have noticed:

-i feel awkward and shy in my first language...don't know if that's just me being introverted or what, but i don't feel that way rattling away in Spanish...but as a rule, I am quieter in Spanish.

-i feel overwhelmed by places like target...i never was a huge shopper, but i felt like i needed 5 hours to make it through that store...i just wanted to look and touch and smell.

-my need to be pleasing to those around me, to draw attention and approval was faintly roused in the middle of all these events, but it was good to realize it is no longer a driving force in my life. that feels real good.

-appreciation is something best learned in absence...the real reason for fasting, i think.

-it is wonderful for me to see these people who have so much wanting to be a part of what we do...not in a lets throw money at it and fix it but more lets be a part of, lets share, lets support.

-one of the ladies i met at the event said to me, don't worry honey, God will bring that material blessing soon, you just're just in a missionary stage of your life...and i found myself not wishing for that at all. i mean, its really nice a lot of it, but i dont want to desire all that stuff again or have it managing my life. no way. and i won't go into what i thought about that missionary stage comment...just that i don't agree. but she was very sweet and well-intentioned all the same.

-it is so important to see these people doing what they do here...sometimes it just doesn't break through to what we do in nicaragua and the people there lose was amazing to have Pastor Luis see that there is a huge number of people here working to support what he does.

-getting to see my Papa for two days...really just such a blessing, being on the other side of healing.

-in the midst of it all, just missing my nica home and family. excited to go back and share it with them.

Those of you coming to the wedding will be thrilled to know that the clinic team is coming down the same week as you all, so there will be tons of opportunities to see first hand what we have been up to and the people here stateside that have been working alongside us...i'm so excited!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


GUESS WHAT: Im coming stateside!!! It is only for a weekend and Im going to Colorado to translate for my pastor...he is going to share at the fundraiser in Colorado for the clinic and feeding center and last minute, their translator fell I get to go!! Im so stoked.

check out to see their side of what is going on here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

may flowers and showers


I´ve discovered all sorts of sicknesses here in Nicaragua – stomach sicknesses that scold you for drinking that cacao fresco, gripe cold sicknesses that hang on and on and on, homesicknesses that start as an outward missing of home but then become a subtle dislike of things that are not home, stress sicknesses that just make you tired and spiritual sicknesses that weigh on your soul and make you listless.

I´m encountering a new sickness…and no, it´s not AH1N1 or whatever that thing is called now. It´s called lost footing sickness or something of the sort. I haven´t really lost my footing, I just feel like it. Maybe it is the craziness of May at my school – exams, monthly plan session, a huge fundraiser, lots of tutoring and we still have the giant holiday of mother´s day to look forward to. Maybe it’s the less than 2 months I have to prepare a wedding. Maybe it’s another bout of homesickness, realizing how out of touch I am with the people I care most about. Or maybe it’s a soul sickness, a need to get out and get quiet for a while.

I honestly think it just might be the outcome of making so many large decisions and doing life outside of the environment I was used to. It is a very strange feeling to live my life here with the absence of my family, close friends and church body. I have friends and family and church here, but it just feels different. With Peace Corps, there was at least the little US bubble you had around you all the time as a volunteer, if not in person, in mind and phone calls. But I find myself with some identity issues…I am not Nicaraguan but I don´t feel fully gringa either. And yet sometimes this distinction is important. It is just a very strange feeling, this way of living. I am not sure I can fully explain it.

Maybe it is like a lily uprooted and planted among hydrangeas. I mean, they are both plants and can relate, but a lily is not a hydrangea. Nor is a hydrangea a lily. But they can still both thrive and live in the same garden right? Even if there is not a single other lily or certainty about leaving the hydrangea garden for the lily garden?

Has anyone ever experienced this feeling before, this foreign yet not foreign transformation? Missionaries out there that know what I am talking about? I want to be clear though…just living in a foreign country does not necessarily invoke this feeling…but the integration into that community does. I´m meeting a lot of missionaries who don´t really integrate, so they don´t know what I am talking about. Maybe it is not necessarily a foreign country thing…could be a different religion or race or class thing too…who knows.

Final note: No one worry (mom or grandma ). I’m doing well actually, enjoying a lot of stuff these days. Just doing some internal processing in the public forum.

New things.

Some new things I am doing or discovering here
-I can make a pretty tasty pizza. And Moisés is actually an excellent cook. We have fun in the kitchen.

-I can´t stand prideful ministers. There is something so upsetting to me about someone who uses their position as a minister for their own glory, their own authority and power…and it infuriates me to watch them use it to control others. Absolutely infuriating.

-I really enjoy movies…if you have not seen La Misma Luna, or Under the Same Moon, find it and enjoy it…really really like that one. The new Earth movie too was really fun.

-I have a huge black rat living in my ceiling. Not a fun new discovery but a new one…sick. Working on that problem this week.

-I am getting on my feet at work and connecting with my students. It feels good.

-I am realizing how much I miss being a single classroom teacher…accompanied the first graders on the field trip…what a blessing.

-I need so much more patience.

-It is really neat to be the connection between a Colorado church and my church and see how God uses it to meet needs here in El Crucero – pray for the clinic and kid´s feeding centers we have going on here.

-Only six weeks until vacation and then two more weeks after that that I get married…don´t ask me if I´m ready. :)

-I am really enjoying reading through the Old Testament…find yourself a one-year chronological bible…it is fantastic and really helps paint a fuller picture of how things happened. The story of David and his reign is particularly encouraging.

-I´m getting fat here…WAY too much Coke, chocolate splurges and popcorn. It´s become an unhealthy and out of hand stress coping mechanism after work. I gotta start exercising again!

-I miss my mama and my closest friends…not just the people but the experiences we had.

-Learning to be grateful and receive what may come with hope and joy.

-Respect is something I have to fight for without letting it affect my confidence.

-The only thing worth seeking after is Him and His kingdom.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

bits and pieces

there is a phrase in Spanish that means consumption...consumismo. but here in nicaragua it means something else....not like consumismo, consumption but con su mismo or with your same...the idea being that they don`t really consume, they just use whatever they have because there isn`t anything else. i thought it could be neat grass-roots anti-consumerism name if anyone is interested...

had a spectacular day...just because i felt His patience, His kindness, His joy leading me through..and as i thanked Him on the bus ride home, i realized that on the surface it was not any different of a day...but the immense gratitude felt by one relying on Him and not themselves is a pretty wonderful feeling.

one of my students asked me, startled, today...Miss Ternes, what color are your eyes?? (They are hazel, greenish brown with gold flecks) and i told them that they are like sunflowers (girasol)...and then realized that was a term my fiancè used to describe them. and it made me smile.

i`m finding flexibility to be a really valuable quality...not only in body but in soul. sometimes you just gotta let things go and its ok that not everything on the list got scratched off.

He makes all things possible. and provides the means to achieve, to reach, to make it through. that is such a comforting thing.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


yep. thats me.

well, internet access is really a relative term. as in not really available. at all. and then there was the computer crash incident of this morning as i attempted to download obamas speech for an english class plan tomorrow. sometimes i forget im in nicaragua and get upset, and then i get over it.

some simple joys lately

- always having enough. be it a teeny ounce of energy to finish a plan, 5 minutes more that help me be on time, one last piece of chocolate, that last 20 cord bill that meets my needs, and always the grace to make it through.
- appreciating the cool climate that greets me after a sweaty dusty day in managua
- being called prof sara by people i dont know
- limonada con soda. absolutely refreshing
- people that go out of their way to help me and appreciation when i do the same
- someone who is constantly thinking of me and supporting me wherever i am, no matter how tired or busy he is
- a new bed
- some fantastic books involving an asian background...distant land of my father, memoirs of a geisha
- the numerous beautiful eyes that smile up at me as i pass by them at my school
- the fine frenzy
- a well-timed word from the Word
- hope of something bigger than myself
- knowing my path is already known and secure, even though there may be moments when it doesnt feel like either of those things
- simple kindness

my days are running together with the simple thread of teaching, and im exhausted. but i dont feel despair or crushed...i know this is part of the path. its like an invigorating mountain climb that you get lost on, but always knowing you were meant to reach the peak, and that you will, eventually.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

cold fingers

wow. its hard to imagine how many things can happen in just a short little month. here are some highlights...and trust me, this string of crappy blogs will end soon...i miss writing more than you realize.

christmas in la batea in a few words: ridiculous amounts of food, rain, crazy kids, beautiful landscapes, hard conversations, good laughs, culture clashing....insert story here: it was close to the end of the trip and i had gotten a wicked cold, exhausted and feverish, i awoke to blaring music. mind you, this is a tiny farming town...why on earth should there be horrificly loud techno in the street? i half realized it was a drunken and drugged up neighbor and i marched myself out into the street in my shorts and side slung ponytail, demanding in spanish who lived here in this awful house with this awful music...the guy just kind of stared at me, standing in the street until i started talking to him...asked him to turn it down, as, surprise, the whole town along with his wife and kid were asleep and didnt need to be awakened. and then he got very very upset. and began to yell at me about how we were not in the states, but in nicaragua, where we do what we want. i calmly explained to him that i had been here since may and that it was not that way in all of nicaragua and that where it was was where there were problems...i asked him again to turn down the music and went inside, finally realizing what the heck i was doing and getting a little nervous...then to my pleasure, i heard him hollering about how i needed to realize i wasnt in america but in nicaragua...and to help me learn, he played typical nicaraguan music for two more hours, while he shouted and hollered the same phrase over and over again, and shot off his pistol. I havent felt that embarrassed and yet entertained in a long time....end story, beautiful parks, a good book, and new levels of friendships. just as a start.

new job in a few words: my home, accepted, enjoyment, overwhelming, exhausting, good, where i need to be.

more writing coming internet access is blowing wide open with the new school.