Sunday, July 17, 2011

Amelia Bedelia Comes for a Visit

How many of you remember Amelia Bedelia books?  I used to love reading about all of Amelia's funny accidents and bloopers!  She was able to turn very simple activities or jobs into disastrous mishaps that usually destroyed or wasted other people's property.  I always wondered why she was ever hired again by anyone as a housekeeper or babysitter after the word got out about what had happened at her last job!  But in the end, everything miraculously ended up being fixed up and everyone was happy.

Amerel loves to bake.  She was given a children's cookbook by my younger sister the last time we were in the U.S.  She loves to look at all of the recipes and decide which one she's going to try next.  In the beginning, I would usually be around to help guide her as to how to interpret the ingredient measurements, recipe directions, etc., but now she has gained the confidence to start using the cookbook on her own.  Normally, she does a great job making pancakes, muffins and cakes out of her cookbook.  But the last two times she made recipes on her own, without parental guidance, somehow things just flopped!  Even though these were recipes she has made before, she somehow misread the ingredient measurements and ended up putting way too much of some ingredients and too little of others.  In the end, the recipe was nothing like it was supposed to be.  She ended up being very discouraged in her ability to bake.

This last time, she was trying to make pancakes out of her cookbook, which she has successfully made multiple times with and without my help.  They ended up with way too much sugar and too little of some other ingredients.  I tried to doctor it up so that we could still have pancakes, but it didn't work.  They just kept burning!  I prayed about how to salvage the "pancake batter" and decided to try to make it into two cakes.  I had to add some other key ingredients to try to make it work. 

This particular morning, I had lots of personal agendas that I wanted to get done and now I had no time to do them because I had to spend most of my morning fixing up Amerel's recipe.  I was not very happy that I had to put all of my planned activities aside and had a bit of an attitude.  After spending some time moping, I realized that I needed to stop moping and figure out how to encourage my daughter.  I began to pray and ask the Lord if there was anything that could be learned from these two seemingly disastrous recipe mishaps.  I realized that this could be something the enemy could use to try to steal away the joy that my daughter has had over baking and cause her to feel as if she couldn't bake anymore.  I felt that he might probably try to turn these last two mishaps into something that could end up discouraging her and making her feel down on herself in lots of other areas of her life, also.  So, after the first pancake turned vanilla cake came out of the oven perfectly beautiful and delicious, I called Amerel over and began to share with her what I felt the enemy might try to do if she continued to dwell on the mistakes of the last two recipes.  Afterwards, she felt very encouraged and prayed that she wouldn't allow the enemy to discourage her and take away her joy of baking.  She also prayed that she would be confident to continue baking in the future.  Isaiah then prayed words of encouragement over her.
Now we have two beautiful cakes to eat and share, even though we started out expecting a wonderful pancake breakfast.  Just like in the Amelia Bedelia books, we ended up with something good and everyone was happy!  When we choose to stop moping and allowing discouragement to set in over our failures, we can allow God to turn our failures into successes and into something beautiful that can be useful in our own lives and also in the lives of others!


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What's Been Going on the Past 2 Months?!

This blog contains all of the stuff I thought about posting over the last 2 months, but just never got around to it!  Hope you enjoy all of the photos!

Amerel and Isaiah graduated on May 13th.  We celebrated with a special dinner of pepperoni bread, one of their favorite meals, and other special treats.  Thanks to Tyren's parents in CT, my sister in NJ and another special friend in NJ for supplying us with pepperoni from the U.S. for special times like this!  Also, thanks to another special friend in CT, we were able to buy ice cream for dessert!  Yum!!  (Ice cream is about $13 for 2 liters so it's a very special treat that we don't buy very often!)
Amerel is now a 6th grader and Isaiah is a 3rd grader!  Time flies by so fast!

Below is a photo of myself and a team from the World Race ( that we hosted for a few weeks last month.  Since I'm the head of our Hospitality department, I was very busy with scheduling, and other things concerning the team.  In this photo, I am holding an orientation with them shortly after they arrived from a very long ride on the back of a truck preceded by a long bus ride to get here.  It took them almost a week to arrive to our base from Maputo due to a long bus ride, overnight stays and then the long truck ride.  It would have taken them just 3 days by bus from Maputo to Lichinga, but they were given the wrong transport information in Maputo!

Chayah turned 2 years old on June 25th!  She loves to lick the beaters when they have sweet stuff on them like dream whip topping, another item supplied to us in a box from the U.S.  Since it was her birthday, she got first dibs on the beaters! 
Chayah loves playing with Amerel and Isaiah's legos, which doesn't always please her older siblings.  We ended up finding something similar to Mega Blocks for her in town as her birthday gift.  She hasn't been bothering theirlegos ever since!

I've renewed my interest in sourdough baking.  Most of you probably don't know that I experimented with sourdough off and on for a couple of years when we lived in America.  It's something I've always wanted to get back into, but just never started it again until now.  So far, I've made sourdough bread, pancakes (that started out as waffles, but due to the batter sticking to my cast iron waffle maker ended up as pancakes), pretzels, and sourdough crackers. 
The first photo is the beginning of a batch of sourdough crackers, which has recently become one of our family's favorite snack foods!  See the next photo for the outcome!
This last photo was my first day teaching at our Iris Lichinga Bible school.  I am really enjoying being able to teach adults!  I'm used to only teaching children...mine!  I need to have a translator since I still can't communicate in Portuguese.  Pray for me that I can learn it enough to communicate!  I can usually understand when people speak to me in Portuguese, but I usually have to respond in English.  There are 6 teachers for this session of the Bible school and I only teach on Thursdays.  Tyren is also one of the teachers.  It's amazing to see how God has been lining up our teachings even when we haven't been discussing them with one another before class.  We've found out that our teachings are actually complementing one another's so that the students end up getting a fuller understanding of what God wants to say to them students through us. 

It's been a busy couple of months for us!  Oh, yeah, I almost forgot! I'm now five months (25 weeks) pregnant with our fourth child.  Surprise, surprise!  We were, too!  The baby is due at the end of October.  Hopefully, I'll be blogging again before that happens!  But, until then...


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there! 

Here's a Mother's Day flower collage featuring local flowers from around our place.



Saturday, April 16, 2011

Attack of the Killer Ants and Other Minor Distractions...

Do you remember those movies from eons ago with titles like, "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!"?  I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually watched a few of them during my childhood years.  Anyway, last month, I spent some time learning how to deal with ant attacks.  Some of you may know that Tyren went back to the US last month for a couple of weeks to surprise his dad for his 6oth birthday.  Usually, when Tyren is away from home on ministry trips, we at home experience some kind of distraction/disaster that seems to try to draw our focus away from what the Lord is doing in our lives.  This time, one of those distractions came in the form of ant attacks-literally.  After returning to our home from dropping Tyren off at the airport, we experienced our first attack.  I noticed tons of ants crawling around all over our yard as I began to walk to the front door.  Amerel noticed, too late, and ended up evidently walking into a pile of them which proceeded to crawl up under her clothing, biting her along the way.  It took a while to calm her down and get all of the ants out.  By then, I realized they were actually streaming into our home, also!  I used up all of the bug spray we had and when they were still not all dead, I began to sprinkle boric acid on the remaining ones.  I did the same outside.  That was the end of that!  Or so I thought...
After returning home from an evening church service, I noticed a swarm of ants in our bedroom, which I promptly sprayed with a new can of bug spray that I  had obtained.  Seeing no others, we sat down to eat dinner.  Amerel suddenly said, "Mommy, look!  There are ants coming in the front door!"  I promptly took out my handy dandy bug spray and sprayed the whole lot of them, which happened to be all around our living room and school room, behind all of the furniture and the shelves.  That took care of the ants, but the smell of the spray was unbearable, so we all retreated into Amerel's bedroom to finish our dinner.  I actually had to sleep in there with her and Chayah to avoid breathing in the bug spray that had permeated throughout the rest of the house. 
The next night, after I put the children to bed, I decided to use the bathroom one last time before going to bed myself.  When I turned on the light, I noticed that the hand towel we use for drying our hands was actually swaying slightly back and forth.  Upon quick inspection, I realized that it was moving because it was swarmed with ants!  I could barely even see the towel, it was so covered!  I looked to see where the ants were coming from and found that they were coming in from the roof!  There was a trail of them about 1 1/2 inches wide streaming into the house from the roof.  I ran for my handy dandy bug spray, but after spraying it once, it was empty.  I quickly called one of the missionaries here who had told me earlier that she had some extra bug spray if I needed it.  She promptly brought it over and I sprayed till I couldn't see anything moving.  Then I walked around the house to check for any others and found that they were also coming in the kitchen window!  I sprayed them again until I didn't see anything moving.  Then I contemplated whether or not we should stay in the house or go sleep at one of the other missionaries' homes for the evening.  I decided to stay in the house and sleep in one of the kid's rooms again since they have bug huts on their beds which no bugs can get through.

Just one of the many piles of dead ants I swept up the following morning...
(The white powder is boric acid which I also used.)
Besides the ant distractions, a small snake managed to crawl into our house just before bedtime and lodge itself right in the way of the door that I would have gone into to get our machete to kill it!  Having to think quickly, I called our base director, Peter, and he quickly came over to kill it.  Yay!  I could have killed it myself because it was so small, but I didn't want to kill it without a long knife, keeping myself as far away from it as possible! 
The ant attacks and the snake and all of the other things that I haven't mentioned, I considered minor distractions until our less than one year old laptop just up and died for no apparent reason at all!  That was the one thing that almost took away my strength.  Through all of the other distractions, I was able to keep my focus on the Lord and encourage my children to do the same.  But when the computer just stopped, I was really tempted to be very discouraged.  I knew throughout all of the other distractions that the joy of the Lord is my strength and that my trust is in Him alone.  When the computer stopped, I had to mentally, physically and emotionally pull myself out of the discouragement that the enemy had been trying to drag me down into through all of the other distractions.  I had to determine that I was going to praise God anyway.  There is a song called "I Will Calm Every Raging Sea" that our church has out on their latest CD, A Greater Glimpse.  When I felt as if all of my strength was gone, the words of this song really encouraged me and actually just brought me back to my senses!  Part of it goes like this:

I will calm every raging sea
I will silence the voice of your enemy
If you'll be still and know that I'm your God
Peace beyond all understanding
Tonight is yours because of My Son

...I am your song in the darkest night
Receive my strength tonight...
-Written by:  Mike Kim & Kent Henry (A Greater Glimpse-2010)

Through it all, God was singing this song to me and I received His strength.  His strength is ALWAYS matter what you are going through.  My kids and I learned this promise anew this past month.  I pray that we never forget it-no matter what "light afflictions" may be upon us!  I count it all joy!  Praise God!

Be blessed,

Gardening and Food

First of all, I want to apologize to the few of you who actually follow my blog for being an absentee blogger the past 2 months.  I really just lost track of time and didn't realize it had been so long!  I will try not to let it happen again!  I realized that I actually started this blog post in February, but never completed it!  Anyway, it's totally different now, so I'm starting all over goes!

Well, what have I been up to the last two months that I haven't had time to write one blog??  I've been trying my hand at gardening, for one thing...much to no avail!  So far, my butternut squash and cantaloupe plants have died, I got one crop out of my snow peas before they shriveled up and died, my tomatoes are struggling, and the lettuce has all mostly gone to seed before I could harvest most of it!  Help!  Can anyone give me some tips??  The only things that are still surviving are my local winter squash, a couple of watermelon vines (no fruit yet, but I did see a few yellow flowers), struggling broccoli plants and my flowers.  So far all of my flowers have survived-no thanks to me, I'm sure!  They must just be really hardy!
Anyway, not all of my efforts are in vain.  On the cooking front, I've tried some new recipes the past couple of months (and some old) and you'll see them in the picture collage I've added.  You all know how I love food!  For some reason, most of my attempts at new food ideas usually work out!  I think that God knows how much I enjoy food and He blesses my attempts!
From top to bottom:  Spanish egg & tuna empanadas, veggie burgers, homemade sandwhich bun, pizza with homemade Mexican cheese, and more homemade Mexican cheese-this time allowed to harden enough to slice!
God bless you!
Posted: April 16, 2011

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Picture Blog-School Vacation

Stuff I Did During My 2 Week Christmas Vacation from Homeschooling
 ...planted some flowers, made some strawberry-banana jam, worked in the garden, made a gingerbread house with the kids from scratch, celebrated Jesus with the family, made caramel corn with peanuts, took some photos of a butterfly, made homemade waffles (with our cast iron stovetop waffle iron), made paper chain decorations with the kids, and ATE SOME CRAB that Tyren happened to find in a shop in town around Christmas time! 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time off with my family...and this week it was back to school...can't wait to plan our next school break!