First off, thank you to all of those who offered their condolences over the loss of my sweet doggie friend, Pablo. He was buried on his beach, off the side of the property next door where he used to live, and one of my neighbors made a marker for his grave. All of us have said our goodbyes in our own way. Just this morning, I finally made it over there to leave his remaining “cookies” that were in my beach walking bag I carry. It is still a frequent topic of conversations amongst us how much he meant to each of us – his presence will be missed. 😢
Other than that, I did promise a general update on my life. After returning from my stateside visit in February, the bee business in Dallas picked up, and I picked up an extra work day, so I am now working four days a week. Up until recently, we were in our peak season and it has been a busy one, so work days were pretty much non-stop all day. Things began to slow a few weeks ago and I am grateful. It’s nice to have the breaks in between calls and time to get some things done around the house like laundry, gardening and cooking.
Speaking of cooking, I’ve continued to do a lot of it! One of the main reasons is that shortly after I returned, Elaine and I watched a health docuseries online and at the conclusion, decided we were both going to go on the Ketogenic diet together. My goal was to not only lose the 15 or so pounds that I first lost when I moved here, but had gained back, plus the 8-10 pounds I gained while in the states. 😳 We both also just in general wanted to be healthier (although I have eaten better than most for years) and wanted to achieve some of the other benefits purported. Let’s just say my expectations were more than met, they were way exceeded! Never in my lifetime of yo-yoing with every possible diet out there, could I have expected the weight to literally melt off me! I felt like I barely made any eating adjustments, but easily lost 20 pounds in about 2 months, and am now maintaining an approximate 25 pound loss. The best part is, it does not feel like a diet at all – it is an easy lifestyle change. Anything you might miss eating, you can easily find a recipe for a Keto friendly version of it online. Elaine has lost about 40 pounds now, and several other friends have jumped on the band wagon, so we now all trade information, recipes and encouragement. I have noticed many other benefits of this way of eating and can’t imagine ever going back. As Elaine says, we are “Keto for life!”
Elaine, Bill, Rick and many other local Canadians are back summering in their country right now, so it’s kind of slow and quiet around here. Tag has two sets of pet sitters to look after him this time. The lovely couple for the first two months are from England and New Zealand, and the lady who arrives next week to relieve them is from Idaho. I have visited Tag several times since Bill & Elaine left, and he is really enjoying life with his new girlfriend, Patches, a stray who Rick adopted several months before he went back to Canada in May. A local friend of ours is house/puppy sitting for her until Rick returns in August, but Tag’s pet sitters have been bringing Patches for beach walks, as she and Tag would be happy to be inseparable. 😍 (Photos courtesy James & Clare, Tag’s current pet sitters)
The last thing to update you on is that after years of inactivity, I’m finally studying and re-training myself again in TPM – now known as Transformational Prayer Ministry. Many of you know that for nearly two years, I was very active in facilitating these sessions (that can best be described up as an inner-healing ministry) up until the day my mom fell and my life took a watershed turn. After that immediate dust settled, the Lord made it clear it was not time to pick it back up yet, as the next phase of my life was to be about “getting my house in order” to move to Ecuador. Once I arrived, in addition to all that I had to navigate to establish a life here, Robert was definitely the next “assignment” on my radar. Since then, it’s just been a continued process of establishing my roots.
I absolutely loved the season when I was doing TPM ministry, because it was amazing to watch God transform people from places of deep emotional pain, to complete peace before my very eyes. I always only felt like a tool in His hand and that I was so privileged to stand on “holy ground” and watch Him work. Leaving behind that ministry was truly a “laying Isaac on the alter” moment for me, and I didn’t know if God would ever allow me to pick it back up again. But there was a definite shift in some things when I returned from the US (as I sensed there would be, even before I left) and I have finally recently felt His grace to return to it. It’s been so long, that I knew I’d have to pretty much completely re-train myself. Fortunately for me, they’ve now made the process more streamlined and all the training available for free on the internet. So my latest “hobby” has been going through all the materials and brushing up on the “process, principles and purpose” of the ministry. I’m hoping to begin praying with friends both here and back home (via Skype or FaceTime) very soon. This morning on my beach walk was the first realization I had that it was nearly 7 years (7/11/11 – the day my mother fell) that I had been out of this ministry. I felt the Lord remind me that 7 is the number of completion. So I’m happy to have completed that portion of my journey and thrilled at the prospect of Him once again using me to help “set captives free.”
One final remembrance about Robert was that it was four years ago, around this time, that he visited me here (twice). The last World Cup was during that time and he was a rabid World Cup fan. We watched Belgium play a few early games the first time he was here, but they were long out of it by the time he returned and we watched the finals. This year, Belgium has currently made it to the semi-final round! They have only ever been in the World Cup 12 times since its 1930 inception, and have only made it to the semi-finals one other time, losing to both Argentina and France, to come in 4th Place. This year, they face France again in the semi-finals, and they are going in undefeated in all their World Cup games thus far. Robert would have been absolutely over the moon proud of his Red Devil team – GO BELGIUM! 🇧🇪