Saturday, May 30, 2009


Hola Amigos!

Kristin here.  
I have been sick the entire time we've been in Antigua.  Not fun.  
Yesterday was the worst by far.

I think God is "forcing me" to stop, rest, and listen.  
It's been a gift.
Difficult for me?  Yes.  Very.
I'd rather be "do-ing" instead of "be-ing".  

But, God has been speaking...

...and, I've been weak enough to listen.

Here's a quote from a book I finished this morning.  Sums it all up for me right now.

"The way of Jesus is the path of descent.  It's about our death.  It's our willingness to join the world in its suffering... it's our weakness calling out to others in their weakness."

Trying to embrace my weakness,

Friday, May 29, 2009

Papi needs some Spanish speaking skills!

OK, this brings out the LOL’s big time.  Yesterday afternoon we decided to take an early dinner at one of our favorite spots in Antigua called the Rainbow CafĂ©.  They have killer nachos.  Our plan was to eat and then walk down to the Market to browse and see who we could meet.  Upon paying for dinner, I wanted to find out what time the market closed so I asked the lady behind the register this:

“Hola!  A Que tiempo es la Mercada salida?” 

at which point she just looked at me.  Then her brow grimaced.  So I repeated with a little more determination. 

“Hola!  A Que tiempo es la Mercada salida?”  

She said she did not understand.  I found myself getting a little angry because…come on…I took Spanish in high school and I know what I am talking about here.  So I said, “Gracias.” And we left.  Kristin asked me what I was saying to her as we walked off.  I told her what I had spoken and then I tried to play the victim.  Like it was the lady’s fault she didn’t understand.  Kristin just started laughing as we dissected what exactly it was that I had said.  Turns out, I was asking her, something like: 

“Hello. At what weather is the Market exit?” 


So, looking back, the lady was more than patient with me and had tons of grace because she didn’t shame me with laughter, but tried to accommodate a gringo with no clue.

A couple of cool encounters yesterday.  As we walked around, we ran into our friend Ashley who works for Hannah’s Hope in Guatemala City.  She was giving a tour to a group that she was working with.  We chatted for bit and made plans to see her again next week.   We said goodbye, walked around the block and saw Melissa's daughter (another friend we made on our trip last year).  The little girl was playing in front of La Merced (an old and beautiful church) with her babysitter.  We stopped and introduced ourselves to the babysitter and let the kids play with our little friend.  What a treat those two “coincidance” meetings were.  

Later that night, Emma did some rooftop reporting on a beautiful sunset.  See the video below.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

There’s A Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On!

We sat Emma and Mac down yesterday to give them the safety plan in case there was an earthquake.  We noticed before we came that there were couple over the last few weeks and that talking about it before it happens, would be better.  The plan was simple, if the house starts to shake, run out of your room and into the courtyard.  Well, the plan was all good in theory but they had questions.  And the questions set off a series of more questions that initiated fear of the unknown of earthquakes.  They both were afraid to go into a room alone because there might be a…well, you know.  Kristin and I assured them that we would keep them safe and even if there was an earthquake, we would be ok. 

At around 2am local time, Kristin wakes me up to the whole house shaking.  The chandelier in each room, the hanging fern plants, trees, it’s all just rocking back and forth.  And not just a subtle rock, it was a substantial swaying.  We both ran downstairs and perched ourselves on some outdoor furniture in the courtyard right outside the kids room and… we swayed.  Back and forth for about 2 minutes.  To me it felt like getting off a ride at the fair and it taking a few seconds to get my bearings because my body still thinks it’s in motion.  My stomach swimming a little, dogs are barking all around and car alarms are going off.  Remarkably, the power remains on until an aftershock around 4am local time.  The 7.1 quake was centered, best I can gather from the internet, off the coast of Honduras.  The biggest aftershock was listed as a 4.9, the one that shut off the power.  The kids never flinched, but kept snoozing away.

This morning at breakfast over a bowl of Cookie Crisps, Emma point blank asked me, “Daddy, was there an earthquake last night or something?”  I paused.  Mac, with spoon in mouth stopped and looked at me too.  Still pausing.  I knew neither one had felt it nor would they know the difference if I were to say “No.”  But I didn’t.  I told them there was an earthquake and that mommy and daddy woke up and made sure everything was safe.  They both kind of shrugged and said “OK” and returned to the Cookie Crisps.  A few minutes later, Emma and Mac came up the stairs to our bedroom porch where there are views of four nearby volcanoes.  Volcano Fuego began erupting, as it does daily.  A plume of smoke shot straight into the sky and the four of us sat and watched. 

We are 2 days into our 5 week quest and already we have witnessed incredible things.  Thanks for riding along with us.      

“He who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.” Psalm 104:32

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Estamos Aqui! Part Dos.

We're here!  Safe and sound.

We arrived in Guatemala City around 9:30pm last night.  Our sweet friend Brady, picked us up at the airport and took us to a nearby hotel.  We crashed there over night and grabbed a taxi to Antigua this afternoon.

We found our casa, unpacked our bags and even made a trip to the bodegona (grocery store).  Afterwards, we walked home (5 bags of groceries in hand) and made "dinner"... which consisted of PB&J with a side of mac & cheese.  Not a very traditional Guatemalan meal, for sure!  But, the kids loved it regardless.  We quickly did the baths, watched a little tv, read, and now the kiddos are beginning to snore as I type.

Whew!  I'm exhausted.  :)

The house is beautiful... way nicer than our home in Franklin.  I can't wait to show you the view from my room.  It's breathtaking.
Tomorrow, we will continue to settle in... get the phones working and get out to explore our neighborhood a little.

For now, I'm going to spend some time with D, read, and hopefully get a full 6 hours of sleep... at least.

Feeling so blessed to be back... and, LOVING it!

Buenas noches amigos,

Monday, May 25, 2009

The Final Countdown...

In less than 12 hours from now, our plane will pull away from the gate in Nashville en route to Guatemala City... 

Here we will live, serve, play, and engage for 5 weeks.  We will be doing life together in Guatemala... and, we will be changed forever.  

Thanks for coming along on this quest of ours.  

And, a BIG FAT THANK YOU to all of those who dropped off donations this week!  We fit an unbelievable amount of stuff into some large duffle bags (thanks Bobby and Ryan).  And, we may be adding a third bag of donations in the morning.  All of the supplies will be greatly appreciated by the orphanages, schools, and families.  
Thank you!  You guys rock!
Ok, I'm off to finish packing...

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Definition of Emergency

Shaun Groves:

This past weekend – thanks to an e-mail from a blog reader – I listened to a sermon by Francis Chan (three times) called “Living To Display The Gospel” and was re-inspired by a new answer. In his message he told the story of how he decided to give away a large sum of money he earned. And he ended the story by saying that some people ask him if it’s wise to give it all away. “Shouldn’t you be more moderate in your generosity?” they essentially ask. “Shouldn’t you put some of it away in case of emergency?”

To which he answered, “Are you saying that what’s happening in ‘the developing world’ isn’t an emergency? …Oh, you mean an emergency that involves me. Because if it doesn’t involve me then it’s not a real emergency.”

He explained passionately and gently that God is not moderate in his generosity toward us. Jesus didn’t look at the mess on Earth and say, “Well those problems aren’t my problems so I’m staying out of it.” No, he gave all because he loved the whole world. Love says your emergency is our emergency and then it sacrifices without moderation to intervene. Love, Francis believes, doesn’t save a sum so large for it’s own future needs when someone else is in tremendous need right now.

Francis reminded me that moderation isn’t a bad thing but even moderation must be pursued in moderation. And it’s thrown out the window entirely in case of emergency. And all over the world, this is an emergency.

The emergency in Guatemala is this:

  • In 2008 there were 6,260 homicides in a country that has 12 million inhabitants. This means the murder rate in Guatemala is 45 per every 100,000. To put it into perspective, the United States has a rate of 5.6 per 100,000.  On average, 17 people a day are murdered in Guatemala. 
  • UNICEF is reporting that there could be as many as 340,000 orphans in Guatemala.  
  • More than half of Guatemala's 12 million people live on less than US $2 a day.

I don't want to live my life practicing "moderation".
I want my faith to be a verb, "an action word", as Emma would say.

36 hours until boarding time...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

New Blog...In "Bloom"

We are in the process of switching over to our new blog... so, you'll probably notice a lot of new changes in design, format, etc.  Let us know what you think.  We'd love to hear your feedback!

The reason for the new title and domain, you ask???

We live on BLOSSOM COURT.  :-)

And, since our move to this house (3 years ago) a TON of "blossom-ing" has occurred in our family. 


Job losses and gains... Darrell's father (Papaw Gip) past away... Darrell was diagnosed with cancer... Grieving... Healing... Guatemala... Serving... Relationships... Engaging... Living.  

Death and Life.  Tragic and Beautiful.  

The cycle continues...

"What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it's deadwood, it goes on the fire."  Luke 3:7  The Message 

We desire to continue BLOSSOM-ING as a family.  

Hence, the name of our new blog.  :-)

Now, ready for the sad part... ALL of your past comments have been lost in the transfer.  So, go show us some LOVE.  We LOVE comments!  :-)

Oh, and change your RSS feed or bookmarks too.  Por Favor.

It's a beautiful day in Middle Tennessee... 


Monday, May 18, 2009

7 Days to GO!!!

We leave 7 days from now... Wow!
I'm SO ready to get out of here.  Feeling the need to "detox" from all things Williamson County.  
I'm also VERY excited about spending sweet time with friends and family in Guatemala.  Serving alongside them, loving on the "least of these" and watching as God cracks open our own hearts.

Drumroll please....
Here are the friends and family that will be joining us...

My (Kristin's) mom and dad, affectionately known as "Mama Crab" and "Mike Daddy".  :-)  Super cool parents.  

And, all the way from SoCal, meet the Goodfellow Clan.  You can check out their blog and go here to read our history with them.  Love.  Them.

I will continue updating our blog prior to our departure... and of course, I'll blog while we are away as well. 


Sunday, May 17, 2009

My Sister in India

My sister ("C") left for India today for 5 weeks!  Please be praying for her...

She's going to be working with Project Rescue there, helping to free women and girls from sex trafficking.  You can follow her blog here (just know that she has to be VERY sensitive of the words and language she uses... think CIA and code names).  :)

I'm SO excited for her... and, SO proud!!!  She's following her heart and Christ to love on the least, last, and lost.

Pray for her safety, relationships, health and heart.

Thank you,


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Donations for Guatemala

Darrell and I leave for Guatemala in two weeks.  We are going to try and take lots of donations there with us, because it’s the best way to get the missionaries/ministries new supplies.  We have several large suitcases we need to fill!  I know this is last minute, but if you are local and want to help, I will be collecting these donations all week.  Our garage will be a collection center on Saturday and Sunday if you want to swing by.  Some of this stuff you may have used, and other items can be purchased for $5-10 at Target or a grocery store.  If you are running errands, and want to pick up a few items I know they would appreciate it so much.  Thank you!

Things you might have at your house: 

Used clothing

Newborn/Children's clothes

Used children’s books (picture books)


glue sticks


Candy and other treats!

Things you could pick up:

antibiotic creams (like Neosporin)

anti fungal creams (like athlete’s foot cream)

Children's Ibuprofen

Children's Tylenol

baby wipes

diapers (all sizes)

peanut butter


cold cereal

small blocks/toys

small hand sanitizers

Deep Woods Off bug spray 

Saturday, May 2, 2009

No Mo' Breakfast

This just makes me happy.


Hope you enjoy...

The Breakfast Song.

So, what's your favorite breakfast?

Friday, May 1, 2009

Coupons For A Cause

I have to admit something here, publicly.  I have recently become the biggest coupon fanatic.  I know, I know... yes, I am one of THOSE.  

I may need a 12 step even.  Hello my name is Kristin Vanzant and I love coupons.  :)  Lol.

Seriously though, money in our family is tight right now and I’ve found a way to save us loads of cash.  

Here’s an example from this week’s grocery adventure.  

*See Dad, it’s for real.  :)

Harris Teeter:

Total Bill:  $112.12

Total Out of Pocket:  $20.06

MORE IMPORTANTLY... I’ve been able to cash in on pharmacy items for FREE.


All these FREE things... we will be taking them to Guatemala in 4 weeks to GIVE AWAY.

Free toothpaste and soap may not be that big of a deal to you.  However, to some men, women and kids like these... it is a luxury.

Yes, it does take some time, planning and work... but, if I get to GIVE IT AWAY and bless others then it’s totally worth it.

Speaking of blessing others... 

I went to the dentist last week for a regular checkup.  The dental hygienist was cleaning my teeth and asked me what my summer plans were.  I began to tell her about our trip back to Guatemala for the summer...about the country, the kids, the tragedy and the beauty of it all.  Once I was finished with my appointment,  she walked me to the waiting room and handed me a box FULL of toothpaste and 4 BOXES of toothbrushes!!!

THANK YOU Dr. Kemp!!!  Wow.

It’s so fun to watch God provide.  Not only for me and my family but for others as well.



P.S.  Shoot me an email or comment if you want me to explain how I save so much every month... it’s easy and you could have more to bless others with as well.