Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My NEW Book Coming Out Soon

Back in July 2011 my book “Survive The Coming Storm – The Value of a Preparedness Lifestyle” was published.
This book is one of the few “Survival books” written from a biblical and well as practical every day perspective. I did not write that book for all the “Rambo’s” in the world. I wrote it for all the everyday “soccer parents” out there that realized that things are getting grim and that they know they are behind the 8-ball.
You can purchase this book in paperback and in Kindle at http://amzn.com/B006JA4A06
In the book I put myself and my family in the role of “Guinea Pig” and we lived and used the things that I wrote about in STCS.
We are not rich by any means, and in fact we have learned to live a pretty frugal life over the years. God has blessed us with what we have needed and also blessed us from time to time with things we have wanted. There is a difference too. But we were able to prioritize and finally get multiple years of food, medical supplies as well as arms to protect ourselves and our home.
Fast forward to today and we are facing yet another possible storm, that storm is called Ebola.
Reports are showing that the spread of Ebola is starting to become exponential. In fact, the head of the World Health Organization stated that this outbreak "is moving faster than our efforts to control it".
I am not trying to be a fear monger, what I am trying to do is fulfill my job of being a watchman. In the days of high walls and castles, it was the job of the watchman to stand upon the wall and call down into the city what is going on and what he sees approaching the city. He had a vantage point that those in the city did not have. He was able to look out upon the horizon a great distance. He could see far and report on advancements of armies and even storms. If it was within eyesight, the watchman could see it and report on it.
God states in scripture the importance of the watchman as well as his responsiblity.
Ezekiel 33:2-6  Son of man, speak to the children of thy people, and say unto them, When I bring the sword upon a land, if the people of the land take a man of their coasts, and set him for their watchman:
3 if when he seeth the sword come upon the land, he blow the trumpet, and warn the people;
4 then whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own head.
5 He heard the sound of the trumpet, and took not warning; his blood shall be upon him. But he that taketh warning shall deliver his soul.
6 But if the watchman see the sword come, and blow not the trumpet, and the people be not warned; if the sword come, and take any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at the watchman’s hand.
That is my job and I try to do my job as good as possible. I try not to be “sensational” like others out there, but also try not to “sugar coat” things so that it is more palatable. 
My latest book is going to be titled "Survive The Coming Storm - EBOLA CRISIS"
 It is my hope to have it finshed by Aug 8th and push it out to Amazon Kindle. I am going to also try to push it out on iBook and Nook. We will see. 
Please pray that this book does well and helps people if the situation arises.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

20 Wacky Ways That You Know You’re in Costa Rica

 Just like anywhere in the world, Costa Rica has its own set of quirks and norms.  Especially for those coming from North America, there are some striking peculiarities that will keep you on your toes and have you thinking, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”.

For instance, you know you’re in Costa Rica when:
1.  You pay $9 for a small block of cheddar cheese.

2.  A man in a horse drawn buggy picks up your recyclables and isn’t afraid to walk on to your patio to retrieve those couple of extra empty beer cans you forgot to bag.

3.  You get excited that your water, internet, and electricity all work during the course of an entire day.

4.  The local pulperia’s (small grocery store) credit card machine won’t work so they tell you to take your
groceries home and just come back later to pay.

5.  You buy room temperature milk and eggs.

6.  Your shower head is rigged with electricity and has exposed wiring to heat the water (AKA suicide shower) from ice cube cold to slightly less than ice cube cold.

7.  Shirts are optional.  Everywhere.

8.  Mosquito slapping becomes second nature.

9.  No one thinks it’s strange that there was a vampire bat in your house.

10. You eat black beans and rice (AKA gallo pinto) for every single meal.

11. Wild scarlet macaws watch you eat lunch on restaurant patios instead of pigeons.

12. Strange skin rashes appear in places they’ve never been before and for no apparent reason.

13. A hammock can be considered a legitimate guest bed.

14. The internet installation guy is “scheduled” to show up sometime between now to 10 days.

15. You shake all your clothes for scorpions before you put them on.

16. Red wine goes in the refrigerator.

17. Sand traps – which you thought only existed in cartoons – are an actual threat.

18. Markets have community machetes available for cutting your own fruits and vegetables down to size.

19. Few people need the community machete because they brought their own.

20. Despite all the craziness, you’ve never been happier in your life to experience these nutty little differences.

Original source - http://thecostaricanews.com/20-wacky-ways-that-you-know-youre-in-costa-rica/20457

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I wanted to share with you a short vid of where we live. At the 0:40 mark is Vista Atenas, this is where we recommend friends to stay when visiting. The areal shots following are the Atenas area and at 1:40 is a friend of ours who has an organic coffee farm.
Just wanted to give you an idea of the area that we live. -- WATCH NOW & Pura Vida ! >>> 

Monday, September 9, 2013

Social Networking in Atenas

I want to apologize for being on the lazy side and not writing, but we have been having a LOT of visitors visiting our lovely little part of paradise. We have also my father in law visiting for the past two months. So we have been getting out a whole lot more and exploring the country. Once things settle down, I will be writing more posts. 

But in the mean time I am honored to share blog posts from some good friends of mine like Jen Jen and today I am sharing from my dear friend Pat over at "Mi Chunche" (http://www.michunche.com) 

With that, I am am glad to introduce my friend Pat and her post "Social Networking in Atenas."

Social Networking in Atenas
When we moved to Atenas, I found our little town lacked an interactive resource for sharing community information. There is a monthly newsletter published in English, and a telephone directory (yellow and white pages) that is sent out by email to most of the Expats in the area. But what was really needed was a place for folks to share information about the Atenas area.
Those of you that know me, know I’ve always been into data processing in some form or another, so it was a natural step for me to try and find a solution. Since we have been using Facebook for a few years to keeps tabs on everyone, and stay in touch with what’s happening in the lives of our family and friends, I thought Facebook could be a workable solution for Atenas residents.

So, about a year ago, I created a Facebook group called Atenas Costa Rica Info and it took off like wildfire. We now have 235 members and folks are sharing everything from the latest lost puppy to where to buy the best seafood. Let me tell you, social networking is very much alive and well here in Costa Rica! I love the info that is being shared. Some folks post links to personal blog posts, while others share nature photos and videos. There are constant discussions on the things like the best place for a pizza, or a hamburger, or where to get a small engine repaired.

A natural spin off to this group was the second Facebook group I created called Atenas Costa Rica Classifieds. This group is a place to list items for sale, in search of items, garage/contents sales, apartment/condo/house rentals, real estate, businesses, restaurants, products and services, job postings, etc. So far, this group has 129 members, with more joining all the time.

As time has passed, I found Facebook is extremely limited because it is not a searchable database. It is designed for social networking. This past June, I created a new forum for the Atenas community to provide the features lacking in Facebook. The forums give us a place to discuss organized topics. It supports multiple categories, polling on topics, private messaging, and many more features. It is searchable, so folks can always go back and find old topics. This doesn’t replace the Facebook group, it just supplements it. Here is a link to the forums at Atenas Costa Rica Info Forums

It has been fun for me to manage the Facebook groups and the forums. They don’t take a lot of time. They pretty much take care of themselves and I’ve only had to ban a couple of spammers. The positive feedback from the Atenas community has been overwhelming. It’s nice to have my efforts appreciated, and I’m happy to be involved like this in our community.

If you are interested in the Atenas Costa Rica Community, join our groups.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Seven Reasons Not to Become an Expat

We love living the expat life. The following is from "Adventures in Expat Land" and is a great post for anyone thinking of being an expat. We are living the dream, so can you, you just need to make it possible to do so. Where there is a will, there is a way. As in our case, having God on your side and it being His will also helps a lot. 
Oh, the picture is me standing up at the crater at Poas Volcano. There is a lot to see and do here, you just got to do it.

So please enjoy the following post... 

Seven Reasons Not to Become an Expat
Many people harbor a secret dream of trading in their current life to become an expat. Making a break and moving abroad.
Not surprisingly, the frequency of such dreams tends to spike after you return from a wonderful vacation overseas.
Who doesn’t know someone who has sighed and murmured, ‘What I wouldn’t give to live in such an amazing place like Provence/Rome/Tahiti/fill-in-the-blank?’
But before you decide to chuck it all and head for a new life overseas, you might want to consider what’s really going on.
Here are my top seven reasons NOT to become an expat: 
1. You’re ready for the ‘easy’ life. Sorry, for most of us, it doesn’t exist. If you live in Fairbanks Alaska or Aberdeen Scotland, I totally get how too many hard winters might drive you to a warmer locale. Why do you think we refer to Americans and Canadians who head south in winter ‘snow birds’?
Maybe you’ve bought into the idea that life in a tropical paradise is everything you’ll ever want: relaxing, rejuvenating, stress-free. Or you want to move to a quaint country village with the idea of living life at a slower pace. Admirable goals. But behind the easy going facade of most places, the day to day reality can be quite different. What you thought was relaxing might actually turn out to be boring; what you once considered a leisurely pace may be more of a snail’s pace.
Life is rarely what it seems. Otherwise, you wouldn’t have all of the people who thought it would be great to own a bar/restaurant/bed-and-breakfast only to learn it really meant long hours, hard work, miniscule profits, rare days off, getting up early, staying up late, making beds, cleaning bathrooms, and so on. 

2. You expect to replicate your current life, and just add travel. Not going to happen. Oh sure, depending on where you move, you may be able to achieve a similar lifestyle. And for the lucky few, you may find a higher quality of life than you left behind. But for many, perhaps most, their way of life changes quite a bit. So if you dream of moving overseas and still living exactly as you do now, doing exactly the same activities, you may be disappointed.
What seems like a ‘must have, must do’ in one culture may not even be an option in another.  Which means recognizing that you probably have to leave behind your former way of life. 

3. You’re unhappy with your life. Whether it’s your never-satisfied boss in your demanding drudge of a job, your inability to stomach one more day of carpooling through bumper-to-bumper traffic, or your irritating next-door neighbor that has put you over the edge, it probably isn’t enough to justify turning your world upside down, packing up and moving halfway around the world to start over. Not if you expect everything to magically straighten itself out.
Running away sounds good in theory, but rarely works in real life. Regardless of the origin of that famous quote (Buddhism? Confucius? Buckaroo Bonzai?) it’s absolutely true: no matter where you go, there you are. 

4. You can live cheaply and save a ton of money. Perhaps in some places. But more than likely, this won’t be the case. In some areas, costs are considerably higher than ‘back home,’ or the taxes are more onerous.
For those places where the cost of living really is significantly lower, then you need to ask yourself why that’s the case. You may find that things are cheaper, but the selection is poor. Or local jobs pay significantly less than you’d hoped.
Maybe you’re hoping you can choose the right place abroad to make more money doing the same type of job you’re currently doing. Possibly. Just remember that when salaries and wages are higher, there’s usually a good reason: the weather is atrocious part/some/all of the year, rental/sales options on property may be limited, there’s a lack of decent schools, traffic is horrendous, the air and/or water quality are iffy, it’s challenging/boring/dangerous to live there. There’s some reason why employers have to pay more, other than out of the goodness of their hearts.
Oh, and if average earnings are high, you can bet that costs for available consumer and other goods are higher, too. Funny how the marketplace works like that. 

5. Let’s just go, we’ll find work once we’re there. Maybe. But maybe not. I recognize that some expats have the luxury of being able to work anywhere in the world. (And for many of them, the caveat is ‘as long as the internet connection holds up’, which may prove to be a little dicey.)
For others, they figure it will be easier to approach employment agencies, contact companies, apply for positions and get interviews if they are actually there. That may well be true. But for every expat-to-be who has taken this tactic and succeeded, there are another dozen who run out of time, money or patience and head home.
Keep in mind that it isn’t always easy to get approval to work in a foreign country, let alone find actual work. That nasty credit crisis that has wracked the economies of so many countries is global. Companies in many countries have cut back hiring or been forced to lay off employees.
And those companies that have traditionally employed lots of expats? Many have cut back on expat packages – forcing current expats to choose between converting to ‘local hire’ status and losing some of their previous benefits and allowances for such things as housing, school and transportation costs or being let go. 

6. It’ll be just like it was on vacation. No, it won’t. Not to say that it might not be great, but you can’t expect to replicate the carefree relaxation of vacation because it isn’t vacation. By definition a vacation is an escape from everyday life; if this is your new daily life, it isn’t always going to seem vacation-like.
When you’re soaking up the rays poolside at that great rental property in Tuscany, shuttling by Vespa into town for casual dinners of handmade pasta and a carafe of the local red wine, it’s easy to assume you could live like that all the time. Until you find out that riding a scooter the 3 miles into town isn’t fun mid-winter with howling frigid winds, and the darn thing only seems to work on alternating weekdays anyway.
Or that you don’t become best friends with your neighbors because they’re too busy farming the land or working in town to hang out with you, let alone spend hours helping you improve your language skills.
When you were on vacation, you never had to worry about fixing the leaky water heater or maintaining the yard or garden or paying the confusing tax bill or trying to find a reputable local contractor to help with the repairs and renovations you find yourself knee-deep in. 

7. It sounds like fun, so why not try it? Well, yes and no. It can be fun. And exciting, educational, eye-opening, energizing, amazing.
It can also be uprooting, disruptive, alienating, challenging, lonely and just plain hard work.
Much has been written about the transitional phases of dealing with expat life. Labels differ according to various experts, but essentially the stages are:
  • honeymoon: everything’s so new and exciting!
  • disillusion: why do they do it this way? back home we always/never…, why is everything so hard?
  • bottoming out: feeling anything from moody to irritable to withdrawn to unhappy to angry to mildly depressed, and occasionally worse
  • acceptance: it is what it is so I’d better make peace with it, learning to appreciate the differences, looking for the positives and not dwelling on the negatives
  • flourishing: embracing what makes your expat home unique, making the most of what it has to offer, building a life that is engaging and satisfying and rewarding
These stages have been identified and discussed precisely because most people tend to go through them. Maybe not in exactly the same sequence or for the same amount of time. It may take one person six months to work their way through the phases,  another a year, someone else longer.
So in light of all this, would I still recommend becoming an expat? That depends.
IF you can:
  • let go of the fantasy of the seven reasons I’ve listed above;
  • conduct the necessary research about the potential places you’re seriously considering both to evaluate and then to prepare;
  • carry out the personal soul-searching about your motivations and whether you’re truly ready, willing AND able to embrace the roller coaster of change coming your way;
  • commit to riding out the tough times with a sense of humor or zen-like acceptance (and preferably both);
  • realize that you will likely have to give up some of the old (the familiarity of your routine, the closeness of existing friendships, seeing family as often as you may like, etc.) in order to pave the way for the new;
  • understand that it may not be forever, but just a phase in your life;
  • and you STILL feel a sense of excitement and wonder at seeing life through the lens of another country and culture…
Then welcome to Expat Land!

Source = http://www.adventuresinexpatland.com/wp/2011/03/26/seven-reasons-not-to-become-an-expat/

Monday, August 5, 2013

I’m living in a 3rd world country?

The people here are amazing.  When we see someone while walking by on the street in the morning, we say “Buenos Dias” (good morning) or “Buenos” (short for “buenos dias”), and they always respond in kind and with a smile.  It is known, that if we do not do this, we may appear as “frightened/leery/anxious American tourists”.  Also we learned to not say “Hola” (Hi) as a greeting, unless we’re prepared to sit down and have a nice long chat.  “Buenos” (or “Buenas” in afternoon/evening) is more of a greeting to say in passing, or we can also say “Adios” – which to us Americans means “good bye” – but here it is used in passing, like “hello & good bye” (I don’t want to sit and chat, but wanted to acknowledge you).  It’s little nuances like this that we have learned already, and I’m sure there are TONS more…
After meeting someone for the first time, the next time we meet, they greet me with a kiss on the cheek (just one kiss, on the right cheek). This is the custom here, and seems so endearing to me.  It’s just more personal than a hug, you know?  Even teenagers and little kids do it – it’s so sweet.  I truly love that I’ve been greeted like this already, and I have greeted (or said goodbye) to people with a kiss already.   Here I am with a model I hired, demonstrating the kiss on the right cheek (said model would not keep his hands off my hips, I do NOT think that’s part of the local custom here…).
The babies and children here – are very well behaved.  NEVER have I heard a screaming tantrum in a store, or in public.   In the park, kids play together well and run around, like normal, and have fun, but it never gets out of control (amazingly enough).  I’m not sure what the differences are exactly – but somehow the Costa Rican people raise their kids to be more respectful, from a very early age.  One friend told me he thinks one reason is because they hold their babies facing out (to see the world), instead of facing inwards…  Food for thought.
There are dogs everywhere here – roaming freely (some are owned, and some are not, but they all seem to roam freely).  At first it is hard to get used to, and I felt so bad for all them…  but now am coming to realize that it is a good life for them – simple and free and they are happy.  And they all seem to get fed, trust me.  They know to get off the road when a car is coming.  As our pal Richard says “the only dead dogs you see on the side of the road are dumb ones” (NOTE:  we haven’t seen ANY).  And we have not seen any aggressive dogs either.  On our hikes we encounter many dogs, but they just usually come up to within 10 feet of us, maybe do a little “soft barking”, and then let us walk by…   I’ve never felt fearful of a dog at all here.
I haven’t seen any homeless people here in Grecia.  I’m sure they are here??  But I, at least, haven’t seen any thus far (San Jose is a different story).
It’s rare to see trash anywhere.  It’s so clean here!   And I never really see people picking trash up, either (although I’m sure they must).  I think people here are just more clean and respectful of their environment.
If someone comes up to you trying to sell you something (happens sometimes in the park) – it’s better to not give an affirmative “no” or “no, thanks” but instead say “otro dia” (maybe another day)…  For some reason saying a point blank “NO” is almost rude or offensive AND it is hard for them to accept, so they don’t go away, they keep asking you again.  It’s like they can’t take “no” for an answer.  We have learned to say “otro dia” from our friend (thanks, Lair!), and it works well.
Pedestrians do NOT have the right of way here.  You really need to watch out for yourself while walking around in town and crossing roads, etc.  Sometimes, we do find a car driver will slow down and wave us through, but this is definitely the exception here.  As long as you know this, it’s not a problem.
Costa Ricans appear to be very hard working.  I have not met anyone who is lazy here.  While walking around, we always see people working in their yards or gardens;  sweeping or mopping their tiled patio’s; doing laundry and hanging it out to dry (dryers are rare here, most people hang their wash on lines or even bushes(!) to dry).
There is barbed wire and fences and gates everywhere here.  That, along with the dogs, does seem to deter petty theft, but I also think it’s “just how it is” here.  Like in Dallas, Texas – everyone seems to have a fenced in backyard.  I thought that was weird when I moved there from Wisconsin – in Wisconsin no one has a fenced in backyard.  So, again, once you get used to it, it’s no big deal.
barbed wire…
Fences and gates surround most houses here.
The local people (called “tico’s”) are really and truly genuinely NICE people.  We run into people all the time – on the bus, in the stores, at soda’s (café’s) and at the pharmacy (when I tripped & fell on my face and totally scraped my knee up).  Our first time coming home from town on the bus, we were nervous about knowing when to get off, and this sweet lady just seemed to sense our nervousness and started talking to us.  She knew English (pretty darn well!) and she tried to help us, asking where we lived, etc.  So nice!  Most of the time if you ask the locals if they know any English – they will say “oh no…  just a little English”, etc. – but it’s not true!  They start talking and they carry on the whole conversation with us in English!  They are very modest.  When we go in soda’s (always good, by the way) – we always start by greeting in Spanish, and trying to say what we want in Spanish, and it seems like as soon as they know we are making an EFFORT to talk in Spanish, they are so helpful and sweet, and help us with the words and then they start saying stuff in English, which is even more helpful!  It really amazes me – because here we are – foreign people (“gringo’s”) – living in their land – and they are totally kind and gracious to us!  Not sure the same can be said about some people in the U.S….
When one of my aunt’s first found out I was moving to Costa Rica, she was worried about me standing out with my fair features and said “well I hope she’s getting contacts and dying her hair!”…  which I found funny and sweet, but of course had not even considered.  Well, we found her fear to be totally unfounded.  The people here are really so courteous and nice, and it appears that they truly LIKE gringo’s (or at least they like us…  or maybe they’re just scared of my hubby.).  Here’s a picture from the bus we were on the other day…  you can see Costa Ricans look mainly just like us (at least from the back).  Although I guess Greg & I do kind of stand out (Greg being tall and me getting blonder by the day).  Ah, well…
That’s all for now folks!
Peace! — JenJen

Monday, July 22, 2013

25 Sure Signs You Are Becoming Accustomed to Life in Rural Costa Rica

I saw this and had to post it to our blog.

We live in Atenas and it is pretty rural.

It ain't the sticks, but the population is not very high and most people work in the agricultural arena

Please feel free to add your “Sure Signs” in the comments section below. Pura vida!

25 Sure Signs You Are Becoming Accustomed to Life in Rural Costa Rica

1. You were never considered a “morning person,” but now you don’t even require an alarm clock; the sun beaming into your bedroom window and the birds chirping wake you up quite consistently. And they require no electricity (see Sure Sign #2).

2. You stop assuming water and electricity are available every day. Instead, when you wake up, you switch on the light and faucet to see if either or both are working. You learn to keep an extra bottle of water (or five) handy.

3. Butterflies are a part of your bedroom decor. Not the plastic or fabric kind; the flying, fluttering, living kind.

4. When you see a few ants floating in your tea, you don’t dump the tea; you spoon the ants out and keep drinking.

5. You take your rain jacket or an umbrella everywhere. Even when the sun is shining.

6. You stop cursing the rain and are actually grateful for it. It is, after all, the reason much of Costa Rica is such a gorgeous green.

7. You schedule outdoor activities some time between 6 AM and 1 PM.

8. Instead of squashing the creepy crawlies you find in your house, you either let them be, chase them outside, or capture and release them. Advanced move: You lean in for a closer look to see what new creatures you are sharing your home with.

9. You put meetings on hold to see what species of bird is singing outside the office.

10. You stop wearing moisturizer. All of that moisture in the air is doing a damn good (and free) job of keeping your skin hydrated.

11. Your decision about what to wear involves this rule: If there are no visible stains on an article of clothing and you don’t cringe when smelling it, it’s clean.

12. You stop gripping the seat, door, or dash every time you get in any type of transportation. Or you at least lessen your grip a bit.

13. When you wake up to an unknown insect crawling on your arm, you don’t shriek; you brush it off and go back to sleep.

14. You stop buying all your fruit from the store and start pulling it from the trees.

15. You stop expecting people to show up “on time” and you switch your internal clock to Tico Time. If you really need someone to meet you at a specific time, you tell them a time earlier than your actual meeting time.

16. You have more bug bites than freckles.

17. You always have rice ready.

18. When you are out on a jog and hear a low, barking sound, you don’t look around on the ground for a dog; you look up in the trees for the howler monkeys.

19. You wash your clothes at least two days in advance of when you need them to account for the time it will take for them to dry.

20. Your front door is wide open most hours of the day. So are all of your windows. Advanced move: you live in a house where some doors and windows don’t have glass or screens or any way to *close* them.

21. You accept that seat numbers and bus tickets are not equivalent to the amount of people you can fit on the bus. You can always fit one more person on the bus.

22. You are that one more person trying to fit on the bus.

23. You have mastered the art of standing in the aisle of the bus. Advanced move: you have mastered sleeping while standing in the aisle of the bus.

24. When you go to a soda for a meal, you don’t ask for a menu; you ask what they have in their kitchen today.

25. You give – and follow – directions that include neither exact addresses nor street names, but instead involve descriptions of parks, colors of buildings, and that store over there.

This post is dedicated to anyone who has lived, worked, or played in rural Costa Rica. A special thanks to my Hojancha ohana – Charlotte, Anais, Jessica, Lara, Hanna, Maria, Bram, Guillaume, FX, Teniko, DJ, Marcus, and Scott – who have contributed (intentionally or otherwise!) to the creation of this list.
Originally posted -- http://sunnyamfitzgerald.com/2013/07/03/25-sure-signs-you-are-becoming-accustomed-to-life-in-rural-costa-rica-2/