Friday, April 26, 2013

The Week in Pictures, April 15-21

This past week ... three countries in twenty four hours.  Stepping from one world to the other.  Jumping from one culture to another.

Monday, April 15 ... The week started in Niger with me packing my suitcase by the light of the camping lantern and candles.  The power was off, which isn't unusual during the hot season.  Thankfully it hasn't been too bad so far this year.

Tuesday, April 16 ... I was told that our director's wife would be bringing a birthday cake for his birthday to our Tuesday morning coffee/tea time.  So I just assumed Tuesday was his birthday.  I thought that if nobody said anything about his birthday he would think it was a bit weird, so I asked him if he was feeling old.  He kind of looked at me funny and said his birthday wasn't until next week.  Another missionary who works in the office also wished him a happy birthday.  In spite of almost spilling the beans, he was still surprised when he walked in the break room and saw his wife there with a huge cake and everybody started singing to him.  We celebrated a week early because he was going to be traveling on the actual date of his birthday.

Wednesday & Thursday, April 17 & 18 ... Twice last week we got a few drops of rain.  Apparently the day after I left they got a real downpour!  It's a bit early for heavy rains.  The rainy season usually gets underway early in June, so it's hard to know if these are just unseasonable rains or if the rainy season is really starting.

Friday, April 19 ...  So Thursday night Beki and I flew from Niger to Turkey and then on Friday from Turkey to Washington DC.  The flight from Istanbul (bummed to not have been able to leave the airport!) to DC was 12 hours long, but there was a lot of leg room, foot rests, tons of movies to watch, and comfortable seats.  Beki and I got a four-seat section to ourselves, so we got to stretch out a bit.  Here's Beki in Istanbul, enjoying a Starbucks coffee.  We also enjoyed a nap, sleeping here on this cold hard floor.

Saturday, April 20 ... I got to spend a few days with Daniel and Kelly.  On Saturday we went to the Pentagon City Mall for lunch at the food court.  Then we went to the 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon and then walked to Arlington Cemetery and walked to the Kennedy's graves, to the Custis-Lee house, and watched the Changing of the Guard.  We figured out we walked almost five miles.  It was an absolutely beautiful day and I think all the exercise helped me get over jet-lag faster.

Sunday, April 21 ... I went to church with Daniel and Kelly.  Afterwards they took me to Walmart and then we had dinner at a Thai restaurant.  That afternoon we read, took naps, listened to Kelly play the piano, and surfed the internet.  Just the way Sunday should be!  The couch and coffee table are pushed back to make space for me to sleep, so this isn't how their living room usually looks. In the evening we walked down to a frozen yogurt place and then played games.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Last Week's Photo a Day Pictures

My year in pictures... April 8 - 14
 Day 115, April 8: I guess life is pretty routine when I start taking pictures of my breakfast!  French toast and grapefruit.
 Day 116, April 9:  I was in area council meetings for three days straight.  On Tuesday I had to lead the devotions.  These are my notes.  I don't think I'll ever be comfortable with public speaking (even though it was a small of group of people I normally feel comfortable with!).
 Day 117, April 10:  Our first attempt at rain.  It hasn't rained for about seven months.  This day there was clouds, thunder, some dust, and a few spits of rain.
 Day 119, April 12:  It seems strange to take pictures of food since I try to avoid cooking as much as possible while John is gone.  This is lamb sausage (halal), potatoes, onions, garlic, and green pepper sauteed together with fresh tomatoes and carrots on the side.

 Day 120, April 13:  I took down our mosquito net to wash it.  No, it hasn't been hanging there for years....just weeks.  I guess the net keeps out mosquitoes and filters out dust.  That's the air we breathe!

Day 121, April 14:  I finished piecing together the quilt I'm making for our bed.  In my next blog I'll tell you why I'm doing it in orange and blue.

And the next time I blog will probably be on the other side of the big pond!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Past Two Weeks in Pictures

I never posted my pictures from last week.  John has been gone for over three weeks now and it's pretty quiet around here.  I've got tons of work to do and have been in a lot of meetings, but it's kind of hard to take pictures of those things.  I can't believe that by the end of this week I'll be in the USA!

Pictures from April 1-7
 Day 108, April 1

This is the pool where I go to swim.  I like it best when I have it all to myself! :)

Day 109, April 2
The peacock at the pool.

Day 110, April 3
 This is one of the houses we rented after the flood.  It didn't work out for the people we rented it for to live there, but for somebody else.  

Day 112, April 5
Friday food....brochettes and fries.   Jane Eyre, Mr. Rochester, and me.

 Day 113, April 6
 Saturday morning at the pool.  Bible reading after.  It was a windy morning.

 Day 114, April 7

Sunday morning I woke up at 6 and thought I'd sleep another hour then get up for church.  I woke up three hours later.  Woops.  So I had a really long leisurely time with the Lord.

Pictures from April 8-14
OK, I'm having a problem loading more pictures, so I'll do this week as a separate blog....tomorrow.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


1. Write for 5 minutes flat – no editing, no over thinking, no backtracking.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in.
3. And then absolutely, no ifs, ands or buts about it, you need to visit the person who linked up before you & encourage them in their comments. Seriously. That is, like, the rule. And the fun. And the heart of this community..

OK, are you ready? Please give us your best five minutes on:::

Here where I live...

Here, the people on average are poorer than any where else in the world. Chances to meet needs are everywhere.

Here, people take precedence over time.  Yes, this often means meetings start late.  But it also means that relationships are most important.

Here, our children grew up.

Here, we have our home.

Here, we have helped to start churches.
 And here, we have also seen failure in our ministry (at least humanly speaking).

Here, we do what God has called us to do.  And really, the here doesn't matter...the obedience does.  Wherever God puts me....wherever my here....that's where I am happy if I am obedient to His Word.

Sunday, April 07, 2013


On Fridays around these parts we like to write. Not for comments or traffic or anyone else’s agenda. But for pure love of the written word. For joy at the sound of syllables, sentences and paragraphs all strung together by the voice of the speaker.
We love to just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. For five minutes flat. Here’s how we do it:
1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt “After” with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.
2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog’s footer}.
3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.
OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes for the prompt:


Wishing away time with all my afters...

After I grow up, I won't have to do all these chores.  I can do what I want, when I want, how I want.
I probably enjoyed this particular chore....helping mom pack for Africa.

After I graduate, I will have time to read, to explore, to hang out with friends.  After I graduate, I will see the world and be the best teacher ever.

After I get married, I will live happily ever after. (yes, happy, but there are days.....I'm just saying it's been a lot of work.)

After I have children, I will feel so fulfilled. (Being a mom DOES rank high on the job satisfaction scale!)

After this project is finished or this crises is over, I can have more time with my husband.

After this life, there will be heaven and that will be perfect.

Some of my afters are dreaded...
After my kids leave home, what will I do?

Ann VosKamp's book, 1000 Gifts, challenged me to quit with all the "afters".  Look around at how much there is to experience and to be thankful for right where I am!  If I'm unhappy or ungrateful now, who's to say I'll be happy or grateful when I move on to the next chapter in my life?  If I am grateful now, I'll be grateful no matter what the Lord may send my way.  I'm learning to look for God-sent gifts in each and every day.  Some days I find it hard to find anything....not because they aren't there but because I'm too tired to look and I'm too busy saying, "After this week is over."  

"In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures for evermore."  Your presence is with me right now...I don't have to wait for after to find joy!

Monday, April 01, 2013

My Year in Pictures, March 25-31

Well, Monday the 25th I didn't take any pictures.

Tuesday, I received this as a very special thank you!  A friend who had been here for a year with her family came back to help with flood restoration.  She brought this to me.  How did she know these are my absolute favorite kind of GS cookies??'s hot.  94 in the house for the high and 88 for the low.  Thankfully the power has been pretty reliable so far.

Thursday...This is the bulletin board above my desk.  I have a calendar with the teams coming to help in restoration in different colors, a mission plane flight schedule, a travel schedule, a school calendar, and of course pictures of my family just because they make me happy.

Friday...was Good Friday.  Our small group prayer group came to our house so I made hot cross buns.  I've never made them before, but they turned out great.  The only thing was, I used left-over brown sugar frosting I had.  I tried to thin it down a bit and got it a bit too runny.  But it didn't affect the flavor even though mine weren't quite as pretty as the ones in the cookbook.  Here's my recipe from Betty Crocker's Best Bread Machine Cookbook, p. 198
16 Buns
Put in the bread machine in this order:
2 eggs plus enough water to equal 1 1/3 cups
1/2 cup butter, softened (don't use margarine or oil)
4 cups bread flour (whatever....I just used plain old white four....I think I even threw in a few weevils with it)
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tsps quick active dry yeast
Set on the dough cycle.  At the raisin/nut signal add:
1/2 cup dark raisins
1/2 cup golden raisins (I only had dark, so again, whatever.  I read on the internet you could try craisins or other chopped dried fruit or chocolate chips)

Remove the dough from the pan using lightly floured hands.  Cover and let rest 10 minutes on lightly floured surface.  Grease a cookie sheet.  Divide the dough in half.  Then divide each half into eight equal pieces.  Shape each piece into a ball and place on the cookie sheet.  Snip a cross shape in top of each ball, using scissors.  Cover and let rise in a warm place (hmmm, let's see, which warm place in the house shall I choose?  Good thing I didn't have to let it rise in a cool place!) about 40 minutes or until double.

Beat slightly:
1 egg
2 tablespoons cold water
Using a pastry bursh, brush the tops of the buns.  Place in a 375 oven and bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown (mine never looked as brown as the picture, but they were definitely done).  Cool slightly, then make a cross with frosting made of 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon milk or water, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Saturday....time for more spring cleaning.  This time I cleaned the living room and dining room.

Sunday....Easter!  He is alive!  Hallelujah!  Our church always has a baptism on Easter Sunday.  I love the symbolism of being buried in the water and rising out of the water to start a new life following Christ (no I don't believe baptism is part of salvation; just an outward act showing your seriousness in following Christ).  
There is a woman in our church who was saved about six years ago.  I don't know just what happened...if her husband made her leave because of changing her religion, or if she left.  Then about six months ago she attended a women's conference. When she came back, she asked the church to pray for her because she knew God was asking her to return to her husband because the Bible says "In the same way, you wives must accept the authority of your husbands.  Then, even, if some refuse to obey the Good News, your godly lives will speak to them without any words.  They will be won over by observing your pure and reverent lives."  (I Peter 3:1-2, NLT)  So, she obeyed God and went back to her husband even though she knew their religious beliefs were diametrically opposed.  He has since then become a believer and was baptized on Sunday.  She stood up on Sunday with tears in her eyes and said that she keeps looking at the two verses that are displayed on the wall of the church.  One of them says, "Come to me all you who are burdened and heavy laden and I will give you rest."  Yes, she said, she's found over the years that that is true.  But the other one?  "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, and your house."  And my house?  Can it be possible, Lord?  Dare I hope?  And, she said, today this promise was fulfilled.  Wow!