1. Generous amounts of vanilla and cinnamon are welcome additions to almost any baked good.
2. The simple fact of not owning a car lowers a person quite a bit and makes them able to sympathize with and understand a whole new world of people.
3. The body of Christ works in marvelous ways to support its members.
4. When people are away from home and family, in a stressful situation, and love the Lord together, bonding is pretty easy.
5. A good husband is a blessing of inestimable value.
6. I am quickly spoiled to having new comforts, like always having fresh pineapple in the fridge.
7. Our kids could spend an entire day on the beach without tiring.
8. When you do many things together as a family, including schooling on the same campus, you are known by your kids– good, bad, or ugly.
9. Americans use an inexcusably paltry amount of fireworks in their celebrations.
10. Adults enjoy piñatas too, even during church! (One day the kids had one during their class and after the sermon, they had one for the adults!)
11. When you move to a new place, there are new viruses and bacterias that your system is not prepared for.
12. Taking your best friends with you on a journey makes it a lot more fun.
13. In a country other than the US, watch where you step!
14. Open windows with sheer white curtains blowing in the breeze are poetically beautiful and also allow for a lot more noise.
15. When you live with open windows and share concrete walls with your neighbors, you can hear them sneeze and cough and even throw up. (see #11)
16. Seeing mountains every day lifts the spirits.
17. You can make many meals with what you have in the fridge and pantry. Novel for me, a frequent grocery shopper in the States.
18. Put a little cilantro and red pepper in it.
19. Doing something challenging together strengthens your marriage.
20. Some pizza helps everyone through.
21. People can always surprise you. Pigeon-holing them is an exercise in futility.
22. There are whole countries where women buy clothing at least two sizes too small for them.
23. The Word of God is a shelter.
24. A large percentage of language learning is confidence and the desire to communicate. Compliments and encouragement in language learning go a long way.
25. Kids don’t mind playing in trash-filled, broken-down parks, but it is a hurdle for moms.
26. Skype and FaceTime are amazing.
27. Paper mail is a treasure. A bag full of Christmas cards can really make you feel loved.
28. I was not a good friend to my pals who were missionaries in other countries.
29. There are all kinds of godly ministries for all kinds of people– we have friends who are going to help bring in American sports teams for exhibition games in order to share the gospel afterward, who will work to start children’s ministries in churches, who will set up a helicopter emergency medical system, who run an English-speaking youth group here in San José, as well as church planters, orphanage workers, social workers, and medical personnel.
30. Living on support is a humbling experience. Every time we get our financial supporters report, I cry tears of gratitude.
31. Will makes fabulous French toast.
32. We are not faithful bloggers. (I guessed at this one, but now we have evidence.)
33. Coffee is wonderful.
33. A nine-year-old who has chosen a favorite Costa Rican soccer team can be a real bridge-builder.
34. This is not new knowledge, but strengthened: God always provides. He sees us.