Thursday, August 25, 2011

Peru Following

Gracie's 1st visit to Azapampa..Sunday school meeting in the field, 2005

There has been such an overwhelming response of readers who have asked be placed on my blog alert list, I have had to create a new alert system. 

Do not worry-if you have already advised me you want to receive these alerts you have been placed on the list. No need to ask again.

What happened is that, with the built in blogger post alert system provided here, I was limited in number of how many emails could be listed to receive alerts. I have blown that number away, soooooooo.....

I have just created my own own list via my own email program. 

So bring on the Peru trip followers! My email alert list can now be as big as we need it to be. And I want everyone who is interested to receive the blog alerts!

So, once again, I remind you......

Providing internet service holds out in the mountains of Peru during our two week visit, i'll be blogging my way through this experience. I’ll be posting stories of people, the day’s experiences and lots of photographs along the way. If you would like to be notified each time I post to this  blog, email me ( and ask to be placed on my email alert list. Or, you can leave a comment here with the email address you would like me to add. 

I’ll be sending out notifications with a link each time I am able to post.

As always, comments and questions are encouraged but don't be shy....many people email them to me. It is okay to post the comments here...I will receive them as they are posted! I have it automatically set up to be forwarded when readers post comments. Also, other readers love to hear what you have to say!


Wednesday, August 24, 2011

11 days and counting

I am accepting $15 donations. $15 will purchase a nice pair of shoes for one child in Peru. Interested? Email me.
It is August 24, 2011 and as little as one year ago, I would have laughed in your face if you’d told me I would ever see the mountains of Peru.  

A year ago, I answered a very small and unassuming call to help.

Today I’m packing.

In 11 days my 16 year old son and I leave for the adventure of a lifetime. We will be heading to a mountain village in Azapampa, Peru. The plan is for us to help the people of this village rebuild and recover their homes from heavy flooding that took place in February and March of this year.
Passports are in hand, plane tickets are paid for, and bus tickets from Lima, Peru to a village 10,000 ft above sea level are purchased. And I still can’t believe we are going. Talk about getting out of one’s comfort zone, this is the mother jump.

The goal is to serve others.  Yes, we will be working hard while mixing, hauling and pouring concrete to provide stoops (small concrete porches or steps for you younger generations) in hopes of creating a primitive curb and guttering that will keep water out of the villager’s homes. Yes, we will be re plastering and painting crumbled walls from the flood. Yes, we will be providing shoes to children who live in the mountains of Peru. But somehow, my son and I can’t help feeling like we are the ones winning in this situation because of what we are gaining in return. I’m looking forward to meeting the people, hearing their stories and learning what Peru has to offer.

Providing internet service holds out in those mountains (technology is amazing isn’t it?) during our two week visit, I hope to blog my way through this experience. I’ll be posting stories of people, the day’s experiences and lots of photographs along the way.  If you would like to be notified each time I post, email me ( and ask to be placed on my email alert list. I’ll be sending out notifications with a link each time I am able to post.

My son and I, along with a few others in our traveling group, are going to be witnessing the beauty and the sadness of a foreign land and its people. We are going to be encountering the adventure of a foreign culture, its hardships,  , foods, new  languages and meeting people whom we would never have had the opportunity to meet without taking that mother jump of faith. 

Today I sit at my desk in familiar surroundings writing to you. Eleven days from now, I’ll be blogging to you from Peru. It is amazing what happens when one is really open to the possibilities in front of them.

Look at that smile! You can't receive a better gift than that.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The big yellow pill

School Started again this week and for many parents, there was a giant sigh of relief as that ‘big yellow pill’ (aka the bus!) drove off leaving many parents standing at the curb, coffee in hand, smiling from ear to ear in a glossy eyed state of surreal calm. 

Let me tell you, as your last child nears the end of their high school career,  that calm turns to an odd mix of emotion.  After high school, each year they go back to college, that familiar sense of calm begins to turn into a confusing mixture of elation at watching your children enter further into their own life adventures and panicked realization that they do not need you as much as before…well, sans the money, laundry facilities and an occasional meal.
If I have learned nothing else in my 23 year stint as a parent, in the end, it is the small stuff that matters most, I’m not screwing up my kid as much as I think I am and the little people I’ve spent the first half of my life trying to shape into individuals, will challenge me the second half of my life as I try to let them actually be the individuals I’ve encouraged them to become. (That will teach me, I’ll be the one on the therapist’s couch, not them.)
Today, with our oldest out of the house, married and raising her own beautiful  family, the middle two in college and my youngest in the last two years of his high school education I’m thinking, 'empty nest syndrome my foot, I've got this'.
As my youngest son left the house this morning for the first day of his junior year in high school he was smiling. He is looking at an exciting year with great possibilities, the likelihood of getting his own vehicle in the near future didn’t hurt his attitude either.  I wasn’t exactly in the surreal state of calm from grade school days past, but was excited to watch him start a new year with such a great attitude.

Tomorrow, I may be hatching a plan to disguise the family dog as our newest family member and trying to enroll her in school.


Monday, August 8, 2011

28 days and counting

Gracie has given me permission to share these photos with you. There are so many. So today, I will just be sharing photos of the village (Azapampa, Peru..near Huancayo in the mountains) where we will be concentrating our main work efforts this Sept. There are many places to serve but this location is where we will be working to help families repair their homes due flooding last winter. We will be pouring concrete floors, plastering and painting.

I can't imagine having to live out my daily existence in these conditions. How devastating the rains must have been for them. The first group of photos are from February of this year, right after the floods. 

mucking out houses

pasture fencing collapsing

mud is seeping into homes

plaster coming off of saturated adobe walls

mud, mud, mud

This is the road into Azapampa

waterlogged adobe walls

digging little trenches trying to stop the water from getting in houses

trench dug by the church keeping the water out

more damage

dirt floors were saturated

discouraging work

Saturated adobe walls disintegrating

One of the flooded homes


more walls falling down

the floors are getting undermined by the water

standing water everywhere

they tried to bucket the water out

I believe these photos (posted within the last week or so) are a more recent view of what the families have had to live with since the February flooding. I apologize for the varying sizes, the photos were downloaded straight from another site. 

I'll never bitch about water in my basement again!

 I have had a few people ask to be notified of new posts so that they can follow along with my trip to Peru. Anyone who would like to be added to D's Place mailing list can just comment here with 'Add me' or send an email to letting me know you'd like to be added to the email alert list. Once added, you will receive an email whenever I publish a new post. You can choose to be removed any time.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Livin' la vida loca...but lovin' every moment

This morning I opened an email from a friend inquiring about an upcoming trip of mine. As I responded to her message about how a normal person might stop and think twice once realizing they were preparing to pack up thier youngest child and schlep across the world to a foreign country with a very small and unknown support system, it dawned on me...

I don't think I've shared the fact with you all that I am headed to the mountains of Peru in Sept.

My friend asked if I was excited yet.

I answered that I have been excited for awhile. But now, the 14-day trip is only 30 days away, and I'm beginning to get a little nervous. Of course, not nervous enough to cancel the trip, but the legistics of this trip are beginning to creep into my thoughts on a bit more regular basis.

It takes me well out of my comfort zone.

Let me explain...

While I attempt to juggle being a faithful follower of God, wife, mother, grandmother, friend, boss, employee, productive citizen and decent person just like everyone else, when it comes down to it- I am really a very average person. I work hard to fulfill my responsibilites in life. I am not rich, I am not privledged. I did not come from great means and have been providing for myself and living on my own since I was 17yrs old. I am very solid in my comfort zone, in the here and now. Where anyone or anything can throw any problem, cause or situation my way. And I, with my life experiences both good and bad, will stand flat-footed and confidently brave my way through whatever life throws at me. I am confident in the outcome.

I was married at 18, a mother at 20. At 27 I had a husband, 4 kids, two dogs and barely enough money to pay the bills. To be honest, we didn't always have that. I went to college after my youngest child was born. My husband and I both work, I have two kids in college, one in high school and one with her own husband and two kids.

I live in the midwest and have only traveled to 8 out of the 50 states (and one of those shouldn't count because it was via the airport during a layover!)

Oh and one more thing....despite 6 years of Spanish and 4.0 gpa....I do not speak enough spanish to fill a cubo! (That's bucket in spanish...and I had to look it up!)
The reason I am doing this loco (spanish for crazy and I knew that one!) thing?

Well, in addition to being nuts myself, my son and I are part of a mission trip headed to Asapampa, Peru for 14 days to help a village recover from some horrible flooding issues.

The area and our liasons there have a long standing relationship with our specific church and the leader with which we will be traveling. Between this and the strong calling I feel to be a part of this mission, I am putting my faith in God that if I work to do my best through this situation- He will bring us through safely and more fulfilled than ever before. (still can't say I didn't waiver when having to fill out and notarize the death notification paperwork...YIKES!!)

I know it will be the experience of a lifetime for us both. And, I hope for my son especially, a very eye opening and humbling experience! I feel like he really needs to realize the world around him more than he does. Please say a little prayer for all of us.

With all that said...

We are SO excited!

I will be holding two Skype sessions between the kids here at home and in Peru. One with our local middle school spanish class and one with our church youth group.  I can't wait to see their interaction.


Providing internet service cooperates, I will post daily or attempted daily, blogs with updates on the people, our experiences, activities, reflections and photos  so that should be fun as well. I think I am even going to have my son write at least one post from his point of view.

I can’t wait to meet the people in Asapampa. And I can't wait to share it with you!

The mission leader, a very active lady in our church, has years of photos on her page. I will ask for her permission to post some of them on this blog, but in the meantime, you should be able to see them here  Gracie Feese under the photos link. Let me know if this link does not work for you.

I look forward to sharing this experience with you! I'll be posting a series of blogs sharing our preperations of the trip as Sept. 3 nears, so stay tuned!