Encountering Jesús Often in Costa Rica

Jesús

A very popular name for boys here is Jesús, yes that is Spanish for the English name Jesus but with the Spanish pronunciation and noted accent on last syllable: for you English-only speakers it is pronounced like “yay-sús.” It is not considered sacrilegious to use our Lord’s name as a given name, though some boys and more men tend to use their other given name, possibly because of the religious connotation or I can imagine little boys being kidded or bullied over their name.

Just today I conversed with Jesús twice. My taxi driver to the bus station was named Jesús Alpizar and his spirit and relation to me gave honor to his name which is what he is called by everyone as a young man in Atenas. Then in Alajuela today I went to my wonderful dermatologist named Jesús Roberto Gamboa Arend, who goes by Dr. Gamboa or Dr. Roberto Gamboa (choosing not to be called Jesús). But he too gives honor to his first name in his spirit and ways of relating to me. In addition to being my doctor, he is now my “Tico Travel Buddy” as he too enjoys traveling all over Costa Rica for both the sights and adventures, he with his family (2 children). He is the one who has removed all my skin cancers and is regularly monitoring the many growths I continue to get over my body due to my outdoor sunshine in the past.   🙂

A Break from Blogging

Yes, partly I just need a break from the blog sometimes. And after two trips rather close together, I was sort of tired which I seem to get more now that I’m nearly 80. But I have still been writing or really posting photos on my “static” pages of this website, just slowly. For a few days I added more trips to my Pre-Costa Rica TRAVEL Photo Gallery, particularly some of my many Zoo visits across the states. And thus more to my ZOOS I’ve Visited – Photo Links Index gallery page.

AND I also got motivated to start working some on my FAMILY pages, starting with one of the heaviest, fullest, and most emotional pages, titled Death of Juli 1997.   On the Menu under FAMILY – Family of Marriage – LOSSES.

I had already dealt with my dozens of scrapbooks from over the years in my bio books mostly, but I still have two full “scrapbooks” I called Juli Doggett Memorial Book 1 and Book 2. The soft pink covers are perfect for her but two more things I don’t have room for and what would anybody do with them when I die? So I am scanning most of what is in the two binders for perpetuation on the web for at least now (not finished scanning). 

20190722_154151-A-WEB20190722_154231-A-WEB

And one page from these books is the poem I wrote the day after her funeral. The photo of her was the last decent or useable photo I had made of her back in April ’97 on one of our weekend trips from Columbia, this one at Falls Hollow on the Natchez Trace Parkway in front of a waterfall. (And I know! She needed a haircut! But we were busy!)     🙂

My Daughter Juli--001-Cropped More-WEB
Poem easier to read on the web page My Daughter Juli, God’s Precious Jewel

Thanks to those many friends who shared those dark days with me in August 1997! Your presence, help and comfort made all the difference!

¡Pura Vida!

The Adventure of New Places

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
-Mark Twain

And many of you know that Mark Twain’s spirit is my spirit. I have visited more than 60 places in Costa Rica and intend to continue until I have visited every park, refuge and reserve along with lodges and hotels that offer birding and nature adventures. The feature photo is my cell phone shot at the Beach Break Hotel in nearby Jaco Beach when the Nashville FBC Group was here.

And what is different about this week is I am going close to home, an hour’s drive away to Hotel Punta Leona with their own private nature reserve and they promise many birds including the Scarlet Macaw they provide nesting boxes for (like Tambor Tropical Resort I’ve already visited). As long as I have the promised WiFi connection I will be doing nightly posts from Punta Leona the rest of this week. Get ready for adventure near my quiet town of Atenas!

I finally figured out how to copy Google Maps via a PDF file converted to jpg. This shows the 1 hour drive from my house to Punta Leona. CLICK to enlarge. Note that I will pass by Tarcoles River & Carara National Park, both good birding places that I can visit from the hotel if desired.

And I have three more similar nature hotels scheduled close to Atenas this year with Macaw Lodge in June, Villa Caletas in July along with a repeat of nearby Xandari Nature Resort. There is adventure close to home!   🙂

¡Hasta mañana de Punta Leona!

See my Punta Leona Trip Gallery

And visit the Hotel Punta Leona Website for more about this nature place!

¡Pura Vida!

 

Bonus Articles for People Planning to Retire in Costa Rica

These Are the Economies With the Most (and Least) Efficient Health Care

This article is about what you get for what you pay for in healthcare. Though not #1, Costa Rica is in the top 25 countries for efficient healthcare (based mostly on our public healthcare) while the U.S. is next to last with only Bulgaria being worse. Some rich expats here from the states still swear healthcare is better there and fly back for every little thing, since money is no problem for them.

The closest public hospital to me is in Alajuela. I spent 2 nights here for my angiogram. Español es necesario!

The rest of us expats have found excellent healthcare here at a fraction of the cost of the states when using private doctors/services (maybe averaging around 1/4 the cost of stateside) and some of us save even more by mixing public healthcare (free though I pay a required tax for it) and private healthcare for which I must pay cash since I dropped my expensive private health insurance here. Yet it is quicker and sometimes more expedient than public healthcare. As shared in earlier posts I use a mixture of both and for private care I belong to a medical discount group called “MediSmart.”.

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The most popular Costa Rica Made Cookies are called “Chiky” and come in many flavors and styles from the most popular chocolate cream-filled to strawberry, lemon, banano and even the tea-time crispy wafers. Mmmm good! The Link above is to Christopher Howard’s article and here is the English-language website of the cookie company here in Costa Rica:

https://pozuelo.com/en/marcas/chikky/

What If I Die in Costa Rica?

OK – not a happy thought! So for those who don’t want to think about it, I have another post today on why we are happier in Costa Rica!   🙂 This is one of those articles for readers planning to retire here.   Since I expect to spend the rest of my life here, I should plan for death here.

First, most expats living here will need two wills, one in Costa Rica and one in their home country. I already had a very detailed will in my home country, the United States, but now I am in the process of a slight update of it (I got rid of all my stuff.) AND creating a Costa Rica Will (which I should have done earlier). Since I own no property or even a car here (just personal effects in my house), my will is simpler than most expats living here. A house, a piece of land, a car, etc. located here must be covered in a Costa Rica Will, not your stateside or home country will. As the Boy Scout motto says:

“Be Prepared”

I keep a notebook in my house with all the instructions for what to do when I die or am disabled with copies of my 2 wills, powers of attorneys and other important documents. If someone finds me dead in my house, they will hopefully also find this notebook and follow the instructions.

MY COSTA RICA WILL covers everything in this country including:
FIRST, MY BODY which I am donating to science at the University of Costa Rica Anatomy Department (easy for everyone else).   🙂
SECOND, ANY BANK ACCOUNTS here which for me is just one where my SS Check is deposited for housing expenses. A Costa Rica Bank account needs a Costa Rica Will. Any other money accounts a person has here would be the same.
THIRD, MY PERSONAL EFFECTS here will be handled by Costa Rica law and I’m giving my son or sister 30 days to come here and claim anything they want (computer,  cameras, artwork, photos, books, clothing & very little furniture). Hogar de Vida (a local children’s home) gets what my family does not claim (in person here) and/or Hogar de Vida is 3rd in line for all personal effects. They can use the stuff or sell in a yard sale as they wish.
FOURTH, AN APOSTILLE DEATH CERTIFICATE(S) will be sent by my CR Attorney (or in some cases by the U.S. Embassy?) to my attorney in Nashville who will need it to execute my will there. Standard procedures.

MY UNITED STATES WILL covers everything related to me in the United States:
FIRST, MY BANK ACCOUNTS there
SECOND, MY RETIREMENT ACCOUNTS
THIRD, MY ONE TINY LIFE INSURANCE POLICY
FOURTH, DISPERSING ANY BALANCES ACCORDING TO THAT WILL

If I owned property in the states, it would be included above also. I don’t. I have greatly simplified by life in my final years. I have two attorneys (Costa Rica & Nashville) in touch with each other now so they have a plan to handle my death. When I die, it is all up to them in their respective countries. In my case they are also Executors of my two wills and Powers of Attorney, for me in their respective countries.

As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.
~Leonardo da Vinci

¡Pura Vida!   —   Even in death!

Atenas Homes Prepare for Easter During Lent

Just three examples of the many homes celebrating Lent in Atenas. 
These I walk by almost every day – reminders of the atonement.

From the internet at: 
“In the Catholic and Episcopal churches, purple is the symbol of royalty,” said the Rev. Garry White, pastor of Orangeburg Lutheran Church. “It’s also a symbol of bruising and suffering. That is the color that is used during the season of Lent. In the week immediately prior to Easter on Good Friday, a lot of churches will take the purple cloth down and put up a black cloth as a more stark reminder of Jesus’ death.”
The placement of a white cloth on the cross on Easter Sunday represents the purity and wholeness demonstrated through Christ’s resurrection, White said.

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live

John 11:25

A Butterfly’s Demise – Spider Web

I was walking up the hill to 214 to get my dinner from Chef Dan,
At this driveway entrance (101) a German family was photographing
something! I stopped and saw a cobweb stretched over the red plants.
I pulled out my cellphone and opened the camera.
Atenas, Costa Rica

 

A butterfly had flown into a Golden Orb Spider Web and was already being eaten
by the Golden Orb Spider. “The law of the jungle!” or “The food chain!”
Atenas, Costa Rica

 

Another Golden Orb Spider waited nearby.
Will he eat the leftovers? Or do they share?
Atenas, Costa Rica

Doesn’t this remind you of the giant spiders in the Forbidden Forest of the Harry Potter books?  🙂

Related photo galleries:

Butterflies & Moths       and         Other Insects
 

This was yesterday afternoon’s experience. This morning yielded another photo op which I am saving for tomorrow’s post. Never a dull moment in the Costa Rica Rainforests!       ¡Pura Vida!      🙂

¡Hasta mañana!

Ginger is Gone

ANOTHER PERSONAL-TYPE MESSAGE FOR THOSE WHO KNOW MY FAMILY

Got this email message from Jason/Athena today:

I got the call this morning. Moms gone. I wanted to let you know.

Need some time, but we can talk soon.

My simple reply back to my “lost” son:

Athena, 

Hope you are doing okay. 

You say when and I will call you on my phone bill. Talking is good. I’m still processing it myself. 

Love you, Dad.

We were married for 20 years, so it is still a loss with some deep emotions, even though we divorced 26 years ago and she was quite mean to me. She was the mother of my two precious children, Jason and Juli. The loss of Juli in 1997 was the greatest loss of my life, though the emotional loss of my son has been pretty great too. But who knows? This could be the beginning of a new adventure with Jason/Athena! Our relationship is still fragile but hopeful now. 

And whatever happens, God is good and I am happy with my life in Costa Rica! Pura Vida! Thanks for the encouragement several of you have given already! I choose not to share these personal feeling on Facebook. So thanks to those who read the blog!  🙂

AN INTERESTING ASIDE (Coincident?)
I read and loved the Harry Potter series of 7 books and of course saw all the movies! I think they are the best books written for teens and pre-teens since C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien! I think J.K. Rowling is right up there with them in writing ability! (And she made more money!) BUT ANYWAY:

She said she would not continue the Harry Potter books further, but just came out with a play (in book form of course) that can now be seen in West End London and I expect in the states soon. So the play becomes the 8th book in the series as a continuation of the story (regardless what she said). I just finished it, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a very moving story of how the adult Harry feels he has failed one of his three children, a “different” son named Albus (with a tiny hint of possible gayness coming in future stories). The very exciting and dangerous adventure they participate in together brings the father and son together of course! Yet the play ends with their relationship still up to the two of them with the message that it is still fragile but hopeful now! Just a coincidence that I read it this week, but a nice coincidence in light of the possible new relationship with my son. AND MY LIFE CONTINUES TO BE A SURREAL ADVENTURE!

¡Pura Vida!
¡Dios es Bueno!

 

Ginger & Jason

This post is really only for family and close friends who knew me back when married and younger. Ginger and I divorced in 1990 and Jason tried several things before, in over simplification, ran away and had nothing to do with me since the mid-nineties except for a few times wanting money. I tried connecting with him several times but we lived in totally different worlds and could never connect.

Sometime in the last 5 years he decided to become a transsexual and except for a few close friends, I told no one. How do you? With several gay friends I had come to understand or accept homosexuals, but as I told Jason, I have no experiences with trans and no understanding of it. We remained apart, still not understanding each other. He chose not to stay in communication and I had no addresses or phone number.

A couple of weeks ago I received my first contact from Jason in nearly 5 years. He has legally changed his name to Athena and wrote to tell me that his mother (my wife of 20 years) was dying of cancer and might not last through the week. He needed to see her and close out her business and other affairs. Of course, I paid to fly him from Asheville, NC to Gatesville, TX and other related expenses. He spent a week with her in a Gatesville nursing home. He emptied and closed out her apartment, shipping himself 16 boxes. And all arrangements are made for her to stay in the nursing home until she dies by signing over her Social Security check. Her will and the deposition of her ashes are also arranged. So my little boy has grown up and handled one of the toughest times of life, though she still has not died yet.

We have corresponded several times by email and I am again trying again to “connect” with Jason/Athena, though still not sure how or if possible. He is about to turn 43 and showing some interest in family history for the first time, so that is certainly part of my language. 🙂 We will see what happens. Your prayers are appreciated! And maybe my post of last night makes a little more sense now. God is my rock and my salvation!

As most of you know, I don’t like to keep secrets and not good at it, so again I’m being very open and honest and simply trusting God to be in charge. Thank you for allowing that in me. It is good to have friends!

MY LIFE VERSES

  Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own understanding;
  think about Him in all your ways,
and He will guide you on the right paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6, Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Dios es bueno 

The Loss of Another “Best Friend” Today



It is with great sadness that I recognize the expected death of my dear friend Rus Roach. I already miss him.   -Charlie

Below is the announcement I received from Tom and the funeral is available online

An Update from our Executive Pastor
1 message


Thursday, May 5, 2016

Dear First Baptist Nashville Family,

I must inform you of the passing of our dear friend and beloved Minister of Senior Adults and Pastoral Care, Cleatis L. Roach, Jr. (Rus). 

Rus demonstrated the most valiant faith and strong fighting spirit, especially over the five years since he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma cancer. All of us have learned from him and admired the way he has continued to serve Christ, family, and church throughout his illness.
October 18, 1987, Rus and his family moved to Nashville from Texas to serve the Lord in our church’s missions ministries. Since then, Rus has served in a variety of ministerial positions-missions, pastoral care, and senior adult to name a few. Every aspect of his ministry with us has contained the common DNA of serving Christ, helping others know Christ, brightening our day with humor and happiness.
Rus grew up in Houston, TX. As a junior in high school, he knew he was called to ministry. He graduated from Baylor University and received a Doctor of Ministry from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was pastor of several churches in Texas including Lone Camp Baptist Church, Palo Pinto, Texas; and Belmont Baptist Church, Abilene, Texas, before being called to First Baptist Nashville where he served loyally for nearly 30 years. 
During his First Baptist Nashville ministry, Rus helped thousands of people know God’s love. He wrote and delivered over 1,000 sermons, baptized over 75 people, and performed over 120 weddings and over 200 funerals for families, bringing joy and comfort. Rus was a world-traveler for Christ, leading trips to Rome, Costa Rica, Rio de Janeiro, Russia, the Middle East, Europe, North Africa, and Canada, to name a few. Rus always had time for others in need. Celebrate Recovery was a highlight of his ministry as he gave every Friday evening for years, serving adults dealing with life-struggles. His church family loved him deeply because he lived fully and brought everyone he encountered toward Jesus Christ.
You may send condolences and expressions of love to these and other family members:
Mrs. Debbie Roach
Holly, Heather and Hailey
102 Gillette Drive
Franklin, TN 37069
Mrs. Pam Sloan (Rus’s sister)
1936 Edenbridge Way
Nashville, TN 37215
God bless you and thank you for your kindness and many expressions of love,

A Saint’s passing reminds me of God’s Grace

I just learned of the death of Dot McGinnis, one of the saints I worked with at Belmont Heights Baptist Church in Nashville back in my Youth Minister days. Service is October 29, 1 PM, Woodbine Chapel.

God’s grace has always kept me surprised by the good things He keeps allowing me to be a part of though not deserved! And the brief intersections with her life and that of her son Ben (Pastor of Woodbine Baptist Church) are certainly some of those acts of grace for which I am thankful. Her untiring faith raised two very fine sons who honored their parents until death. Ben’s passion for missions is something I pray all pastors might gain.

I thank the McGinnises for their faithful examples and for being one of those surprises of Grace they gave me. Your light is still shining!

Blessings!  -Charlie

Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus.
Ephesians 2:7 THE MESSAGE

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An article for those considering a move to Costa Rica, the Happiest Country on Earth!
Who’s Happy in Costa Rica?
If you’re an unhappy American, you may have to change more than your country to be happy! 🙂