Category Archives: Link

Bee in a Cocoon

On the day we left Bolivia I got a tattoo of a queen bee on my arm. It was the third in a series of images I had placed on my arm with indelible ink over the course of one year. My first tattoo is a black lace butterfly. The middle one is a dragonfly. My bee is on top. I imagine there will come a day when the sleeve is complete with hexagonal honeycomb, a beetle or two, and leafy filigree. For now, I am content with my winged trinity.

Fourteen months after the acquisition of the bee, I find myself on my college campus listening to an entomologist give a lively lecture about bees. Dr. Roe doubles as my Anatomy and Physiology professor. She does a fine job teaching about the human body, but her passion for insects is quite evident. The discourse came about as an initiative of the garden group. Permission was granted by one of the leading Sisters of College of Saint Mary for us to run a beehive on campus starting next Spring. This will be a thrill!

Did you know that bees undergo metamorphosis in a cocoon? I didn’t. This fascinates me. Cocoons have been a reoccurring theme in my life over the last few years. I leaned in to study the images on the slide as she explained the three week transformation of egg, to larva, to pupa, to fully formed bee. The egg is laid by the queen. It hatches and is fed by nurse bees. As a larva it grows and fills up it’s six-sided cradle. Then the bees come along and cap the capsule, sealing the larva inside. What happens before the fully formed bee breaks out of this cocoon astounds me.

Did you know that inside its cocoon the bee becomes liquefied? All the cells, organs, and features that allowed that larva to eat and grow break down. “Gradually the pro-pupa becomes little more than a bag containing a nutrient rich soup,” according to this video demonstration of the process: Bee metamorphosis: remarkable internal changes. Do you grasp the sheer absurdity of this fact? The construct of a wriggling little structure becomes liquid. 

Then comes the reconfiguration. In that tiny, dark, soupy cocoon, the liquid swishes around to reconfigure and reshape into a pupa. It grows legs and hair. It’s brain and DNA formulate to give the little creature an instruction manual and purpose of life. The pigmentation of yellows, browns, and golds appear from that milky goo. It’s eyes bulge. Fragile wings grow which will allow that bee to survive and soar.

My eyes welled with tears. I am in a cocoon stage of life. This liquefied stage of a bee’s life spoke to me. In this darkness, safely capped off by my community, it’s okay if I melt. It’s okay, for this time, to submit to the reconfiguration process. It’s okay to feel like I am drowning for a little bit… because that will pass. My life is getting reorganized. I will emerge from this cocoon, resplendent and ready to fly.

For now, I need to be in a cocoon like a bee in a cocoon. 


Ignorant Bliss on a Life Overseas

I suppose the greatest form of ignorance is to believe one knows it all. But what do I know? Today I share on A Life Overseas blog about where my soul is right now. Here’s a little excerpt:

Our shiny vision statement listed everything in plural with big numbers. We knew that we knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, as they say, what our next few decades, heck, what the rest of our lives looked like.

Or so I thought.

This November 1st marks 13 years in Bolivia. So much has changed in that relatively short span of time. I miss the ignorant bliss of being a know-it-all.

Right now as I walk through the valley-of-the-shadow one of the few certainties I have is the shadow of doubt.

The trade off was too big. Home life is strained. Our finances suffer under huge debt. Relationships have become difficult. I could go on with the list of stressful situations we face; I’ll leave the rest for my skype call counseling sessions.

The ancient story of the Hebrews who clamored for a king haunts my heart. They thought they asked for a good thing…

Click here to read the rest: The Ignorant Bliss of a Know-It-All

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Realities Bolivian Women Face

Please take a moment to look at these statistics regarding violence against women in Latin America. The data on Bolivia saddens me deeply.

 (Click on the graphic for a clearer view.) Against Women in Latin America

by HSNews.
Explore more visuals like this one on the web’s largest information design community – Visually.

Efforts we specifically contribute to in order to change the realities that Bolivian women face are:


1. The way we are raising our own children with an awareness of human rights, though they live in this culture


2. The way we are raising the children (boys and girls alike) at The House of Dreams Orphanage with an awareness of human rights, helping them change their expectations even though their backgrounds attest to this struggle


3. Providing equal opportunity employment in our office, the K-12 school we founded, and at the bowling alley we own thereby breaking the stigma against women and giving other employers an example of the positive outcome of empowering women


4. Educating boys and girls at the K-12 school with morals which defend human rights


5. Giving women equality in leadership roles at our church thereby diminishing the message of a lesser role in society communicated throughout history in the name of religion


Get involved in being part of the solution. Start by informing yourself of the realities. Then consider how you can help lower these dire statistics. Pray for us as we live amongst those who desperately need hope, that we can bring the hope and salvation of Jesus Christ even in the darkest situations.


Pray for me, specifically, if you would, as this topic keeps coming up in my heart. I have some ideas of ways I want to contribute to the current plight of women in this nation, but I desire clarity of timing and direction.


A Conversation about Cigarettes, Multiple Wives, and Loving Jesus on A Life Overseas

Imagine a man native to the region where you live. He gets Jesus. Grows. Starts a church. It flourishes. The dozens become hundreds. Your little missionary heart bursts with pride to see this man so successful. The church secretary and the volunteers overlook his hot temper and his prejudice towards people of a certain skin tone because, well, the church is growing, right?

Now, put a lit cigarette in that pastor’s hand while he preaches on Sunday morning. He takes a few drags and taps off the ash in an ashtray on the pulpit. He lights up a couple more before the final benediction. How many elders, do you think, would have his butt and the butts in that ashtray kicked to the curb before the sun when down on that holy Sunday?

Do I endorse smoking? Not so much. But I also don’t endorse racism.

Which one gets overlooked and which one gets condemned? …


Read the full post on A Life Overseas: “Cigarettes, Multiple Wives, and Loving Jesus

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Who’s Side is God On? … a post for A Life Overseas


“In Iquique, Chile, at the fishing port you can feed the sea lions seafood scraps as you would feed bread crumbs to pigeons. They swim around the crowded fishing boats bobbing by the docks. Per sea faring legend each boat has a name painted to its side. One of the names caught my eye: EMANUEL. The English translation is Immanuel. We know this to mean “God With Us”.

In today’s polarized generation, rhetoric of tolerance force us to define our differences, identify with our ‘kind’, and put up with all ‘others’. When we hear that one of the names of God is “God With Us” in an unthinking moment we might assume a suffix to that name and read, “God With Us … Not With Them.”  We paint God’s name on our particular boat of beliefs, thereby excluding all the clearly defined ‘them’ who are not ‘us’. We do this subconsciously, of course.

But what if “God With Us” actually means “God With ALL of Us”?

As missionaries and international aid workers we enter a new land with purpose. Usually that purpose includes change. Usually the conclusion has been reached that a change is necessary because some aspect of the culture has been found to be, at best, lacking, or, at worst, lumped in the classification of: bad. … (more) “

The post is written to an international audience. Incidentally, EVERY one of my readers is “international” to some other part of the world. By default, this post was written with YOU in mind. Clever how that works, don’t you think? Read the rest on the original post at A Life Overseas:  “Who’s Side is God On?”


Whilst in Chile…

My dearest Bolivian friend, Alejandra, moved to Chile with her husband and their three kids last year. I told her I would visit her. So for my 37th birthday present I made the day long bus ride from Cochabamba to Iquique to spend just over a week with her and her family. I am really having a wonderful time. So glad I have an understanding and supportive husband to allow me to do this. So glad my kids are big enough to handle things around the house in my absence.

- in Chile with Ale -
– in Chile with Ale –


Whilst we go to the beach, the mall, the plaza, the docks, the restaurants, and para-sailing (fingers crossed it works out to do this) the online world carries on. A while back I wrote an article for A Life Overseas and it got published today. Check it out if you want to. Oh, and I am posting all myvacation photos and blurbs on facebook, instagram, and twitter if you want to find me in those places. Thanks!

Link to article: “My Kid Can Cuss in Two Languages” In which I say:

It’s only fair to blame Bolivia for this child’s special knack, right? The romantic tongue of this Latin people makes allowances for explicit descriptions and colorful expletives. I should expect complete cultural assimilation from my children, right? Oh that blessed blame game… like those songs that never end, they just go on and on my friend…

My kid can cuss in two languages. Not an ideal bumper sticker. Although, it could be plastered right next to the one about honor roll. My kid is on the honor roll, too. Somehow that balance doesn’t soothe me, though.


Waiting to Fall in Love

How can one know what issues one will encounter?

I could not foresee what would shake me to the core. I did not know that I would have to wait for the feelings of love.

Then this night came.

My hand went to my mouth and my eyes got big. Did I just say that? Did my lips really just form that word?


Read my whole article at by following this link: Take Hope

Chris Lautsbaugh, a fellow adoptive parent and veteran missionary, has graciously invited me as a guest on his blog today. Click on over to read the whole story. You also might like to read some of the article Chris has written on the subject of grace. “Justice or Grace?” is a good one. I especially like “Grace is not a Girly Message“.

The @ is Over at the Heart to Heart with Holley Site Today

“Somebody should do something about the orphans in our city,” says Someone persistent, insistent.

“We may not be able to help them all, but we can help some,” the reply is not so quick this time. Stare for a moment with eyes wide open into the eyes of dejection. Eyes of flickering hope.

These were the beginning whispers of a dream come true: The House of Dreams Orphanage.

Today I am so very honored to be a guest on the Heart to Heart with Holley blog site speaking about the House of Dreams in her series God Sized Dreams. To read the whole post follow this link:

Heart to Heart with Holley – God Sized Dreams

As a special thanks to the readers there is also a give away of an authentic Bolivian item over there that you won’t want to miss!