Category Archives: video

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. 


Rebirthday Photos and Video

March 28, 1985 … my rebirthday … 27 years ago.

March 28, 1996 … our engagement day … 16 years ago.

DaRonn traveled this year so I chose to spend this special morning on the top of a tall hill in our city. Since Cochabamba technically forms part of the Andes mountain range I could stretch it and say I spent the morning on a mountain top.

The morning mist lingered after a rainy night. Birds, my only companions, hunted moths and chirped an echoing chorus. Breath made visible by the low temps puffed out of my lungs in bursts as I trekked the stairs up to the statue of Christ.

The day’s breaking came slow. Traffic noise from the streets crept along like a trickle of water along a creek bed that would soon become a stream. From the southeast ridge a voice carried a song. I follow the source and laid eyes on the squatters tarp. The folk rhythm, unhindered and pure, conjured visions of a time before concrete and wires tangled the basin in it’s modernity.


The stunning creation rejuvenated me as I communed with Our Creator.

Faces came to mind as I prayed while surveying the cityscape.

As the sun rose the people did too. A group from a boys preparatory school raced to the top. A father pointed out his small children landmarks below. A business man meandered with a coffee in hand. A photographer crouched down for a good angle of a stray dog yawning awake. Friends walked linked at the elbow. Boys kicked a soccer ball around and laughed loud.

I felt my nose start to burn as the clouds dispersed. I smile at the populous and then wandered down the steps to my truck. My thoughts turned back to daily tasks. Lunch to be made. Homework to oversee. Chores to be done. I left with a heart grateful for a morning at “Cristo de la Concordia”.

Vlog Ask Me Anything

A few posts back I told my dear readers to ask me anything. Seeing as we are coming up to our 10th year on the mission field as well as fifteen years of marriage I opened the floor to find out what you are curious about. The following 12 minute video answers the 14 questions that came in. If you want to skip ahead to a question follow this general guide:

  1. [0:10] How do I start working on the mission field?
  2. How did you start working on the mission field?
  3. [1:50] How do I pack up my family and move somewhere and not have any income?
  4. How do you support yourselves?
  5. [4:20] When you started 10 years ago did you have an idea where you wanted to be at this point?
  6. Did you accomplish that?
  7. [4:50] How would you describe your role in Christ Nation Ministries?
  8. [5:10] If the ‘now’ you could talk to the ‘then’ you what would you say?
  9. [5:45] How do you fight against burnout?
  10. [7:00] How does one make it to 10 years on the mission field?
  11. [9:25] The thing you love most about living in Bolivia.
  12. [9:45] If you could be anywhere else in the world doing anything else where would you be and what would you be doing?
  13. [10:55] Do you feel you may ever do missionary work in another place in another time in your lives?
  14. [11:30] Favourite way to have your coffee.

Thanks for watching!

Vlog Just another Trip to the Post Office

Video running time: 1 minute.

Coming out of the post office I encountered a peaceful protest by hundreds of government health workers and teachers demanding fair benefits and punctual pay. What struck me as interesting is that they all had water to drink and parasols to block from the sun. Other sectors of society are not usually that careful when they head to the streets.

Almost Summiting Tunari

If you listen closely in the video beyond my jabber and the plink of the sleet you will hear the rumble of thunder. The lightening flashed relentlessly about a kilometer above our heads. Had it let up we would have slipped and sloshed through the sleet covered rocks and brush and trickling streams to the summit. No trees or buildings means the only conductors are the adventure thirsty humans gasping for air. Preferring not to fry our brains we waved a bitter farewell to the peak within sight but out of reach. This my fourth visit to my dear friend Mt. Tunari will not be my last. We’ll wait for the rainy season to taper off before we go again.

(21 sec.)

Some snap shots from our day:

Vlog Top 12 POI of Cochabamba

A personalized look at the city I live in and my top 12 points of interest. Following the video you will see the complete list with a few links to past blog posts I did about that spot. A special thanks to my husband DaRonn for helping my with the technical side of putting this together, some filming and for his cameo appearance.

Running time of video: 2 minutes and 45 seconds

1. El Cristo

2. The Botanical Gardens

3. The Market

4. Cine Center

5. The Tunnel

6. The Recoleta (where the best meat in all of Bolivia can be found at a restaurant called Churrasqueria Tunari)

7. I.C. Norte Supermarket

8. El Prado (My Flickr file of images from this area of town)

9. Divas

10. Mount Tunari (2009 summit, 2010 summit, 2011 almost summit)

11. Bowling

12. Juice Zen

Vlog Kaitlynn’s Adoption Papers are Final

The following vlog was made after a long afternoon downtown getting the final document. I don’t even care that the lighting is low, that the girls’ room and myself are a mess-o-rama, or even that the boys are playing Wii and the camera picked up the game’s music. We have the document in hand that declares to the whole world that the adoption is final.

This document, along with a special permission slip, I will take to three different government offices to have it legalized and the signatures recognized. In the middle of that legalization I will have the signatures I need to get her birth certificate. With this legalized document and the birth certificate I will be able to get her Bolivian i.d. card, her U.S. born abroad birth certificate and her U.S. passport. This is all paper work that goes relatively fast and should be done before the end of the year.

Vlog Life Goes On

We had the honor of having my dad here at our home for his 60th birthday. In the following video you can see some of the the tidbits of our celebrations on his special day. Highlights include: a choreography to the song Oh Blah Di, an appearance from the Chin Heads and the traditional singing of Happy Birthday.

We love you Dad, Opa, Abuelo, Ronn!!!

Vlog Two Minutes with my Two Year Old Kaitlynn… and some other Washington Kids

I imagine that the family and close friends will be the only ones that will want to invest the two minutes to watch some everyday antics at the Washington house. That is cool with me. The camera was just there on my desk as I worked so I pushed play without them knowing. Here they are in all their hilarity.

Yep, she’s fitting right in. My kids are wondrous!

See related vlog post:

Vlog Two Minutes with my Two Year Old Tyler