Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Taking Care of Daniel

 I haven't been very good about blogging about our latest arrival, Daniel. He is doing great. He has started to really grow and put on weight. He also is much more energetic than before his heart surgery! The other day he flipped from his back to his front! He is the easiest baby I have ever cared for. If he has a clean diaper and a full belly he is happy!
Me with my newest love!
 When Daniel first arrived the younger girls had some lingering coughs going on. They were not allowed anywhere near him. Ruth finally couldn't handle it any more and put on one of these masks that Melanie left for us! She faithfully wore the mask any time she was around him!
"It's worth wearing the mask to hold him, Mama!"
 All of our kids have enjoyed caring for Daniel. I came upon Clancy taking a moment out to play with him the other day. I thought it was too cute!
Clancy playing with his new little buddy!
 And of course, Paula, likes to get in on the action. We have had to be very strict with her on how and when she can hold him. She has been a good sport about it and doesn't seem to mind obeying the rules, as long as she gets to interact with him!
  We have all been blessed to be able to care for this super special guy!

Paula on bottle duty!
We still have S. and A. with us as well! They are growing and maturing so much every day. Now that A. is walking she and S. have been playing together even more. This morning they were walking one in front of the other holding onto the jacket of the person in front of them. Super cute!! We are taking them back to Casa Uno the beginning of next month. It is going to be hard to say goodbye...
Paula, S. Ruth, and A. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Look Who's Walking!!

Our little A. has started walking or at least toddling! Each day she gains more confidence and we are so happy to have her up off her knees! I think she destroyed every pair of leggings she owns!!
A. walking with a little help from Big Bro!
A. seems happier too having achieved another milestone!
Good job, Sis!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Humintas For Breakfast

And now for a short Bolivian food experience! Some mornings, and evenings too, when we don´t feel like cooking, Rudi runs out and buys Humintas. They are kinda like a tamale, but not! Actually, if you are hoping for a tamale you will be disappointed. Tamales are more savory and Humintas are sweeter with more corn in them. They come with either plain cheese or cheese and raisins in their corn wrapping. Yummmy! Our favorite type are oven baked, but the boiled in a pot kind are yummy too. Like anything it depends on who made them.

Clara sharing her breakfast treat with A.

Humintas al Horno

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Remembering Donna Beth

A year ago today my cousin, Donna Beth Johnson Short, passed into the presence of the Lord after a short, but valiant fight with cancer. We had been in Bolivia just eight months, but I asked Rudi if we could go home for a short time for the memorial service. The price on airplane tickets was within our price range, so within three days of Donna Beth's passing we were on our way up to the U.S. Just Rudi and I could go, so the children were left in the capable hands of three of CDA's volunteers and Tia Techy. I wanted to honor my cousin by writing this blog about her and her memorial!

The morning after Donna Beth's death last year I wrote the following paragraphs about some of who Donna Beth is and what our relationship meant to me. I wanted to share it with you all on this "anniversary" of her going to be with the Lord!

Donna Beth is my "double cousin" and is practically like one of my sisters. My mother and her mother are sisters, and my father and her father are brothers. We grew up in Los Angeles, on adjoining properties. It felt like we saw them nearly every day of the week and always at birthdays, church, and Wednesday Night meetings. Her family has seven children and ours has eight. Each of us had our "own" cousin our age, except Wade my younger brother, as he came late to the party (but was worth the wait!). As the oldest in her family she was "Warren's cousin", although I think that she and my older sister Carrie were closer as they got older because of the "girl factor"!  At a family reunion about eight years ago, Donna Beth and I were sitting next to each other and she looked at my arms and gasped "Carla, you have my exact arms and hands. I have never seen anyone who had arms and hands just like mine". I have to admit that I did not think of my arms and hands as my finest virtues! But I have been thinking about that comment a lot the past few months and feeling like I have a part of my cousin with me all the time that I can remember her by. We "Johnson Double Cousins" have a lot in common with both genetics (We all can at times talk LOUD and LOTS and are ALWAYS right, of course!) and loads of childhood memories together. I know I have always been proud of being in "the club" that I was born into and to lose one of our top team members is why I am so sad. Donna Beth had to grow up at a young age because my Aunt Linda went through some very hard times and was not able to care for her family at times. Donna Beth never lost her joy or her zest for life. She really was impossible to get down for very long and had a very deep faith in the Lord that was very real. While we have lived far apart  since we have been married (both of us got married in 1995!) because of this we seldom saw each other over the past years, but whenever we got together or talked, I always left feeling loved and appreciated by Donna Beth. 
I was awake a lot last night crying and praying and just generally asking why. About six weeks ago I felt that the Lord had told me that Donna was going to live through this and not die at this time. What I was really questioning was why I hadn't heard from the Lord right. I then began to contemplate death for the believer and I thought of the scripture John 11:25 that says, "Jesus said unto her, "I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he LIVE and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall NEVER die." Of course, our bodies die, but our souls, the part that goes to be with the Lord, will NEVER die because we are His. What an amazing promise. What an amazing hope. I also began to sing the song "Because He Lives". "Because He lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, because I know who holds the future and life is worth the living just because He lives". What a beginning for my cousin, what a glorious dawning for her precious soul. While the grieving has just begun for her husband and children and those who are with her everyday, it is a GOOD day for my cousin. Actually, the best she could ever have. So while this week I lost to this earth a person who I would have liked to have held onto a little longer. I KNOW with certainty that heaven gained a precious soul that I will join one day to praise and glorify our Saviour, who made the way for us through the sacrifice of his perfect life on earth, his death, and his glorious triumph over death through his resurrection from the dead. It has not been easy to be so far away from home and my loved ones during this time. Please know that I am with each one of you in spirit. Whenever someone close to my heart passes into glory, I am reminded afresh of the thankfulness I have for our glorious hope. "...Sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him."

We left on a Tuesday night and spent the night in the Santa Cruz airport in front of the Subway and "Starlite Coffee". We got a kick out of the imitation Starbucks, only in Bolivia. 
Starbucks knock off!

Sunrise from the airplane!
We rented a spiffy little car and drove out to Eric and Meriwyn's (Rudi's sister) house.
It was incredible to see family and be able to spend some short but quality time with them. It was amazing how much the kids had grown! We did some shopping with them and also went out for Mexican food, the food we miss the most in Bolivia! It was also great to be out on their farm and enjoy our five nieces and nephews.
Jesse, Meriwyn(Prego w/ Roseanna), Leah, Haddie, Me, and Dwight 
 After being with Eric and Meriwyn and their family, we headed down to visit my brother David and his wife Jodi and family of seven! We spent some time with them at their house and then drove up the California coast together with them. We stopped at AJ Spurs for an all American Steak dinner!!
David and Jodi and Family
 The memorial was held at Donna Beth's parents home in Atascadero. The folks who own the place next door to my Uncle Allan and Aunt Linda allowed us to stay in their vacation home while we were there. It was gorgeous and had a gigantic bathroom with a shower head the size of a dinner plate. Very therapeutic
for this bath/shower starved person!!

Saturday was the day of the memorial. It was a beautiful day in every way. Donna did not want a somber occasion. She wanted us to celebrate her "promotion" to heaven! She wanted everyone to dress brightly and she wanted bright flowers and balloons. She would have loved the celebration we had in her honor. 

Donna Beth- May 25, 1967- June 8, 2013
 One thing that Donna Beth loved to say was "God is good, all the time, all the time, God is good".

A highlight for me was being able to sing at the memorial with some of my aunts and cousins. The song we sang was one that Donna Beth sang with her three sisters in four part harmony. Pictured below from left to right, Aunt Ruthie, Cousin Brenda(Donna's sister), Cousin Karen, Cousin Janeen, Aunt Jeanette, Cousin Laura, My Sister Carrie, Cousin Lois (Donna's sister), Cousin Sherry (Donna's sister), and Me! 
"Sheltered in the Arms of God"
 When Ferlin, Donna's husband, and their three children sang there was not a dry eye in the house. These children are a tribute to the great mother that Donna Beth was. It comforts my heart that my cousin, Brenda, Donna's sister is able to be a "second" mother to them. They are all doing well a year later.
Donna's husband, Ferlin, and three precious children.

Uncle Allan and Aunt Linda sharing about their oldest child!

 I wouldn't have missed being here for this day. It was such a blessing to be with all of my family and grieve and rejoice together. It was so healing to my soul.
I was able to see all of my brothers and sisters and my nieces and nephews. I didn't take official pictures of all of them, but I will share a few of the ones I took!

Derrick & Naomi with their two children Kendrick and Claire
(Naomi prego with Elizabeth)

 Another highlight was being able to see old friends. I think I talked for twelve hours straight WITHOUT stopping. It must be a world record for talking for sure!!
Me with my friend Juliana Kuelen
My Father along with my Uncle Allan and brother Chad, own a business called Ceramic Decorating Co. in Los Angeles. Donna Beth worked there for years. Some of the employees from CDC were there to honor Donna. It was fun to speak in SPANISH with them!!
Rudi with a long time employee of CDC, Reggie! R. My older sis Carrie, younger sis Naomi, Me,
and sister in law Marilee holding Vienna

Rudi packing Dwight, Eric packing Robert
Below is one of Donna's brothers, Rodney with his wife Debbie, my brother David, my sister in law Sherri, and my oldest brother Warren. 
After the memorial we actually made a very quick trip up to Oregon. We were able to visit all of Rudi's brothers and his parents. Eric and Meriwyn surprised us by driving up to Oregon, a 16 hour trip from where they live. So at one point, all of Rudi's family was together for a short, but very sweet time together.
What a treasure of memories we came away with. We knew that they would have to last us for at least another year. It was good to get back in Bolivia with our children again. I was so blessed to have been able to go back to remember my cousin, Donna Beth, and also to have touched base with our family and friends.

Heaven feels a little closer every time someone dear to me moves up! What a day of rejoicing when we all are together again!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

A Moses Play

Gracie, Clara, Ruth, and Paula
Saturdays after Horita Feliz, Gracie Scoggins, Clara and Ruth's friend, usually comes over to spend the evening with the girls. They have a grand time together. One Saturday they put together a play about Moses in the Bible. It was well costumed and acted for being such short notice! They had such a fun time doing it together and we really enjoyed watching!
                                                                          "Baby Moses"
Clancy as Pharoah
Ruth as Moses' Mother
Paula as Miriam Moses' Sister
Clara as Pharoah's Daughter
Gracie as Pharoah's Daughter's Maid
Myles as the Narrator
"Kill all the male babies"
                                                        Clancy really got into his part!!
Below "Miriam" is putting baby Moses in the river, with Moses' Mother (Ruth) looking on!
"Miriam" putting Moses in the "blanket" river!

Pharoah's Daughter and Maid coming to the river to wash!

Guarding Baby Moses

Pharoah's Daughter finding the baby in the river.

"I think I will take this baby home and call him Moses"

Presenting "Moses" to his adopted Grandfather, Pharoah!

Our Illustrious Cast of Characters!
I hope you enjoyed the play as much as we did! All of the white head coverings were provided courtesy of the cloth diaper drive!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Mother's Day in Bolivia

North Americans and Bolivians both celebrate Mother's Day in May!! My kids pulled together a spontaneous Mother's Day celebration for me Sunday the 11th! I was super blessed by their outpouring of love for me! I have the BEST kids in the world!!! Spoken like a true Mother!!
The Queen with her Chillun's

Leather Art by Myles

Jello, Handmade Cards and Chocolate!

My Banner  "Mama We Love You"

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Hello, Daniel

Elizabeth, Daniel, and Melanie
Arrival at the Boohers!

After we said goodbye to Eddie (see blog Goodbye, Eddie) last week, within a few hours we were welcoming and saying hello to our latest arrival, Daniel!

Daniel has a BIG story to his life and he is only eight months old! Ten days ago Daniel had open heart surgery to repair holes in his heart, that he was born with.

When Daniel arrived at the baby home he had been abandoned by his mother and his grandmother who was caring for him could not care for him anymore. He was severely underweight and was not thriving, to say the least! He was constantly sick and throwing up and not putting on weight. Two of our volunteers, Kaylee and Linnea took him on as "their baby". While they had him, it was discovered that he had a serious life threatening heart problem. If you want to read all about his story, Elizabeth (young lady on the left in the pic above.) has done a fantastic job of blogging about his and her story here in Bolivia. Her blog is-

Let's just say that God has provided for Daniel above and beyond, with around the clock care of qualified nurses from Texas and volunteers from Canada and the U.S.
Melanie, a pediatric ICU heart nurse, is currently staying with us until Thursday and helping us care for Daniel. We have enjoyed getting to know her as well!

It has been amazing to watch God work in this little boys life. He has touched so many people already. I know that God has great things in store for him and his life! We are honored to have a small part in his care before he goes back to CDA House 1 in July!

Thank you Kaylee, Linnea, Katrina, Elizabeth, and Melanie. You all have done so much more than we ever could have done for Daniel. May God bless each one of you abundantly for your time, energy, and care!

Goodbye, Eddie

It seems that the name of the game with this type of work is saying hello and goodbye on a regular basis! This past Saturday we dropped "Our Eddie" off at House 1 to make room for our new arrival Daniel. We miss his mischievous and busy ways and are thankful we will get to see him for sure every Saturday at Horita Feliz! We have been able to get by and see him each day since Saturday and took him to church with us on Sunday. Eddie is doing fantastic at the baby home, as we thought he would. His happy go lucky personality keeps him steady even during changes!

Inquisitive Eddie!

Superman Eddie
 Our two two year olds have always gotten along really well! Eddie is quite a bit taller and bigger than Sam. Maybe it's the two day head start he had!!
Best Buddies, "Eddie and Sam"
 Eddie has actually gotten in trouble for answering the phone... I had to take this picture of him at work!!
Hola!! Eddie Speaking!
 We brought Eddie to our home on Rudi's 42nd birthday. E. has grown and matured a lot since then!
Rudi with his birthday boy! November 2013

Rudi with Eddie May 2014
Our kids have learned from watching the motorcycle riders how to stack people on a bike! They had a real pile up the other day with all six of them on Paula's tricycle!

A Bolivian Pile Up!
 These boys love to wrestle and we loved to cheer them on! Sam was usually always on top even though he is lighter and smaller!
Wrestle time again!

"We love Tia Emily!"

 Sam and A. his sister will be going back to the baby home the first of July! Until then they will be making lots of visits to visit Eddie and Co. at the baby home...
We have been so blessed to have Eddie in our home these past six or so months. It is a lot quieter without him running through the house on the double! Please pray that God will provide a forever family for Eddie soon. His paperwork is getting quite close to being done. Que Dios te bendiga, Eddie. Te quieremos MUCHO!
Farmer Eddie