Monday, June 28, 2010

Seasons

Niger has seasons and there are enjoyable things about each season.  

There is the "cold" season when night temperatures can drop into the low 50's.  This season runs from November through February and it's the season when you like to get things done because you actually have energy.  It is also the season of the harmattan....the dust that blows down from the Sahara Desert.  This picture shows the sun on a dusty day.

Then there is the hot season that runs from March into June.  This is the worst time of year, mainly because three to four months of temperatures over 100 degrees can really wear you out. 
The harmattan continues through these months.  And did I mention from November to May....no rain (we do occasionally get a rain in April or May)?  The forecast every day is:  Sunshine!  or Sunshine with a layer of dust.


Around May the humidity moves in and the heat really becomes unbearable.  But this is moving us into the next season:  the rainy season which lasts from May through September and into October if we're fortunate.  During the rainy season, if it's a good season, we get rain about once a week, sometimes more.  If it's a poor rainy season, there may be several weeks before rain.  You find yourself going outside frequently, searching the sky for signs of building clouds.  If we do that, think of the concern and worry in the hearts of Nigerien farmers as they search the sky.  Often before a rain storm we will get a huge dust storm
in which the sky turns from orange to black and the temperatures can drop 20 to 30 degrees in 30 minutes.


October, well, October kind of stands on its own.  It's very muggy, very hot, and the rains are pretty much over. 
But it's an important month because it's harvest time in Niger.


Here in the northeastern part of the US, the seasons are very distinct:  Winter, Spring, Summer, Autumn.  My favorites in order are:  Summer, Spring, Winter, Autumn.  


I love summer.  I love the warm weather (for me, it's seldom too hot here in the northeast).  I love the long days.  I love being to grill out and then eat outside.
I've been trying all sorts of different meats and marinades on the grill.  Yesterday I did ham which I served with potatoes and asparagus. 
I've also grilled chicken (wonderful!), hamburgers, hot-dogs, and fish.  The fish tasted good, but I had a hard time turning it as it had the tendency to fall apart.  Any pointers for me on grilling fish?  

I love being able to sit outside in the sun,
not that I have much time for that!  (Neither does Suzanne for that matter anymore since she's busy at camp!)  And I love being able to go for walks without putting on tons of extra clothes to do it.

And I love the way that people just slow down a bit more in the summer and take time to enjoy things and each other more.


Do you know why autumn is my least favorite season?  It's because it means summer is over!


What's your favorite season and why?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Father's Day

Father's Day has come and gone.  But why not celebrate dad today since I didn't have a chance to blog yesterday.

The kids are home with eight of their friends who are working at camp.  We just finished supper at which they described several very needy children who don't have ideal family situations.  Why are those kids born into such dysfunctional families while I was born into such a godly, happy family and my kids were also born into a godly, happy family.  No my family isn't perfect, but there is no fear of abuse or distrust or purposeful meanness.  None of us chose the family we were born into, so I don't want to take it for granted that God allowed me to be born into such a special family.

My dad has a great sense of humor.  Here he is saying he always wanted to wear a bow-tie.  My dad is a very wise person whose advice I always value.  He taught us so many good things such as how to work hard, how to keep your word, and how to love your family.  

My husband is also a good dad. 
He has been an example of how a godly man should live.  I love him so much and am glad for the life we have shared together.

My father-in-law was also a godly man. 
He was both intellectual and a caring person as well as a prayer warrior.  He is in heaven now, but we still miss him.  We went to Connecticut to spend the weekend with my mother-in-law.  This past week would have been their wedding anniversary, dad's birthday, and Father's Day.  Here are three of his grandsons singing happy birthday to him a year ago at another grandson's wedding, which Dad performed.


Not only have I had a remarkable husband, father, and father-in-law, but my grandfathers were also godly men.  My grandfather Hall was the hardest working person I have ever known.  He was also very strict and as a child I was frightened of him.  But as a young adult I came to understand him as a very gentle man who also meant what he said. I saw him every evening sitting with his Bible on his lap. 
This is his wedding picture.

My Grandpa Gay was also a godly man.  His personality was much different than my Grandpa Hall's, being a much more playful easy-going person.  However he also shared Grandpa Hall's love for the Lord and was also a hard-worker.
Here he is with Grandma in the 1960s.


I can't take my heritage for granted.  "Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.  The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance."  Psalm 16:5, 6

Monday, June 14, 2010

Driving to JFK

Last week John came back from England.
Daniel, Suzanne, and I went to pick him up from the airport.  That sounds simple, but it's not.  It's not because it involves driving through the New York City area.  That involves much heavier traffic than we are used to.  Complicated by the fact that we don't really know where we're going.  
Daniel drove and he did a superb job.  We only got upset at each other once.  A stress-induced misunderstanding. 
The George Washington Bridge.


The Whitestone Bridge.


A tunnel.


So, we survived the trip.  We actually made good time....we left here around 11:30 a.m. and were back by 6:30 p.m.  We said it felt weird to have spent half the day in the car and arrive back at the same destination.


But it sure is good to have John home!!! :)


As for the dishes....Well, my favorite is the red berries, but I can't afford them (but I CAN dream)!  My least favorite are the rooster ones.  So, I'm not sure what I'll end up getting.  The red blossom and Medallian ones at Target are nice, but more than I want to pay, too.  So, probably it will be the Urban Red by Corelle, unless I find something else cheap that I like more.  I saw some Melamine ones I really liked,
but a set of them ended up costing more than Corelle.  But if I like them better and they aren't that much more, maybe I'll get them anyway.  They also had white plates and it looked pretty to match the red and white. 

Monday, June 07, 2010

Just Dreaming

In August we will be moving to Maryland where John will be missionary in residence at Washington Bible College.  We found out that the apartment is unfurnished, except for appliances.  We can't complain about that as we will get the apartment rent free.  Since the appliances are there it will save us a ton of money in what we do have to purchase.  Believe me, we will be living simply as we don't want to invest a lot of money in furniture we are going to use for only a year.

The other day I was in a store and saw dishes I really liked, so that got me thinking about buying a set of dishes.  I already have my Grandma's china set, but they are a little too nice for every day use.  So I am thinking about buying a cheap set of four for every day use and we can use the china whenever we have company.

If you've seen my kitchen in Niger you'll know I have red curtains and red accents.  I just love red in a kitchen!  But my dining room and living room in Niamey are one big (big being a relative term!) room as they were in Tera.  My living room/dining room curtains were blue, so I have blue dishes in Niger.  I love my dishes and didn't plan on changing them.  But I figure if I get some red dishes that would be really nice with my kitchen and would be something I could use beyond just this coming year.  Some days I could use blue and some I could use red.

So, I've been looking at red dinnerware, dreaming about what I might get.  Of course, there are always two categories in dreaming:  1.  What I Would Get If Price Were No Object and 2. What I Can Afford (But Still Like).  Here are some of my favorites that I've seen so far:

Red Berry Collection by Mikasa
       
                                                                Baking Days by Spode        
Pure Red by Mikasa 

America's Original Diner Collection by Homer Laughlin Dinnerware


 Urban Red by Corelle
 




                                      Pressed Petals at Target










Medallion at Target 


                                    Corelle Classic Cafe












Red Rooster Toile Dinner Set



So, assuming I could afford any of these sets of dishes (which I can't!), but since we're dreaming, which set do you think I should get?

Which set do you think I like the best?

Help me out with my decision!