Sunday, April 27, 2014

Little Peter Comes for a Visit!

One of the guards at our base brought us a baby rabbit he found while cutting grass. Amerel and Isaiah were ecstatic and quickly made him their newest little pet! They named him Little Peter (Little Pete, for short).

Little Pete wouldn't eat the solid foods they tried to give to him, so they carefully spoon-fed milk to him.

They even wiped his mouth after drinking his milk!
They groomed him with an old toothbrush...   

...and Isaiah dug tunnels in the sandbox for him to play in!

All of the kids enjoy playing with him!
 After losing him under some bushy plants in our yard, they decided to put a leash on him.
They re-introduced him to solid foods after awhile-lettuce from my garden!

I think Little Pete likes the kids as much as they like him...he fell asleep on Amerel's lap! 
Once, Little Pete even hopped over to Isaiah when he called his name!

The kids have been having lots of fun with Little Peter these past 2 weeks, but we will soon give him to one of the guards who raises rabbits in his yard.  There, I'm sure he'll meet lots of new little bunny friends and be raised among his own!



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Coming to America!

For those of you who haven't yet heard, we are coming to America next month! 

I thought it would be fun to share some of the comments from the members of our family as we've been preparing for our 3 month (end May-mid August) visit back to the U.S.  Who actually made each comment will remain anonymous!  :) 

Here goes: 
"One of the first things I'm going to do is....."
"...Order a pizza!"  "Buy some decent socks!"  "Go clothes shopping!"  "Buy some new sneakers!"  "Take a HOT shower every day!!"  "Do we have to take a shower every day?"  "Use wireless on my Kindle!"  "Eat some real corn on the cob!"

Then we heard comments like:
"I want to eat meat every day!"  "We can eat Papa's bacon and keilbasa for breakfast!" "Do you remember those sausage, egg, and cheese biscuits Uncle Charles made for us for breakfast the last time we were back? Yum!"  "I wish we could go to VBS at Uncle Joel and Aunt Kim's church like we did last time!"  "We had so much fun with Joshua and Brian at their house!"  "Remember that time when we were jumping up and down with Daniel (Farmer) on his bed? I don't know if his parents knew we were doing that!" :) "Hey, remember that guy who had a music room full of instruments in his house? I wonder if he'll let me borrow a guitar while we're back...I'm going to miss playing my guitar for 3 months!"  "Remember we ate at that policeman's house with his family? Ooohh...a policeman!"

Our last two children don't know much, if anything at all, about the stuff they will encounter in the we also heard these kinds of comments:
"What's a washing machine? A drier?"  "I wonder how Berasia is going to react to all of the noise (of cars, trucks, etc. driving by all the time)?"  "Oh, maybe Chayah will get to ride on those stairs that move by themselves!" (An escalator!) "...and ride in an elevator!"  
And finally, we heard:
"I wonder if there is anybody at CLG (our home church) who still remembers us?"  "How will we all get to CT from the airport? We'll need a mini-van for all of us to fit now!"
As you can see, we've been having lots of fun just planning our visit back to the U.S.  I'm sure it will be even more fun once we are actually there.  Hopefully, we'll get to see you there.  Please email us ( if you'd like to see us while we're in America.  We'll be in CT, MD, VA, NJ, and NY during our time back.  Maybe we'll meet up with you in one of those states! 


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Photo Blog: Garden Fresh-Homemade Piri Piri Sauce!

One of my mottos about food since we've been here in Mozambique is:  "If you WANT it, you can probably MAKE it!"  Since I love food so much, there are usually lots of things that I WANT, but can't get here.  So I've learned to make up my own recipes (or find a recipe) to make the foods that I WANT!  Here are just a few of the things that I've made from scratch these 7 years we've been here:  English muffins, granola, jam, fudge, apple sauce, caramel corn, flour and corn tortillas, corn chips, mall-type pretzels, yogurt, cream cheese (made with yogurt), cheesecake made with yogurt cheese, mozzarella, ricotta cheese, feta cheese, sourdough crackers (taste like Cheese-Its), quesadillas, veggie sausage, and all types of veggie burgers.  My latest concoction in the kitchen is homemade piri-piri sauce!  When the price of piri-piri sauce in the shops in town went up, I decided it was time to make better use of the piri-piri peppers growing in our garden outside.  I couldn't find a good recipe online for homemade piri-piri sauce that didn't involve lots of oil, so I decided to make up my own recipe...and below are some photos of the results!

I figured I'd use some of the ingredients on the last jar of store bought piri-piri sauce we had...
olive oil, salt, garlic and spices, lime juice, and piri-piri.

I used almost equal amounts of piri-piri and fresh garlic, chopped them up
(causing everyone to flee outside when their eyes started to burn!), and put them in a pot with
fresh lime juice, a bit of olive oil, some salt, and water.  After cooking and tasting, I had to add a few more ingredients
to get rid of some of the heat and add more flavor.  About 1 TBS of ketchup went in
along with some mixed herbs.

When it was thoroughly cooked, I strained the sauce into a jar and
reserved the pulp to re-use later for my next batch.

The finished product!  We've been eating from this jar for about a week now
and it's almost gone...time to make some more!


Monday, March 31, 2014

Photo blog: Garden Fresh-Zucchini Bread

Freshly picked zucchini from my garden!

All freshly grated...

Checking the recipe to make sure I have the other ingredients...

All done and ready to eat! Now that's fresh! :)

Friday, February 14, 2014

Promise of a New Day...

Here are some photos I took recently of my new budding garden...

Zucchini squash seedling

Mesclun lettuce seedlings
Snow pea seedling

Swiss chard seedlings
 ...and some plants in one of our other garden plots...
Dill plant going to seed
Broccoli plant going to seed

What do all of these plants have in common? 
The young seedlings hold the promise of a fruitful harvest in the next few months...
The flowering broccoli and dill plants are actually in the process of dying;
but the flowers, which will soon produce seeds, hold the promise of a future harvest.
What does promise look like in your life?
In my garden...
The young budding seedlings may look weak,
but they are just in a stage where more care has to be given
for them to bring an abundant and fruitful harvest!
The old, flowering plants may look like they're dying;
but actually they are preparing for another phase of growth-
which will produce even more seeds and a much greater harvest!

Just as my garden holds promise,
so does your life!

Don't lose sight of your promise!
 If you feel weak and that you could never grab hold of your promise-
Don't Give Up!
Your harvest could be right around the corner!
If your promise seems to be old and dried up-
Don't Give Up! 
Look forward to what that promise still holds-
the potential for a greater harvest!


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reflections from 2013

When I began to think over the past year (2013), lots of thoughts scrambled together in my mind.  Some of those thoughts had to do with the many challenges that I (we) struggled with.  Others were what I consider to be highlights of the year, which I found to be more numerous than the struggles and challenges!  In this post, I want to share what I learned through the challenges as we enter into this New Year...
Do you know what surrender is?  Me, either.  Every time I thought I knew, I realized I still had no idea.  This past year has been probably the most challenging year here in Mozambique and it has done a lot to instruct me about surrender.  About a month away from this time last year, I was ready to pack up my house and my family and return to the U.S. with a one way ticket.  If you had asked me why, I wouldn't have been able to come up with a solid and clear answer.  All I knew was that I was tired and ready to go back to the simple, easy life back in the U.S. where I knew my kids would be fairly safe, I didn't have to worry about whether we'd have enough solar power to have lights or be able to use the computer, I didn't have to worry about whether or not our house would be broken into again, and I could actually eat real food that I didn't have to put so much work into in order to enjoy it! 
To intensify the desire to just pack up and quit, several challenges came up that just seemed to pile one on top of another.  Last January, one of our youngest daughters was seriously ill for several weeks and we had no idea why her healing didn't come quickly.  A few months into the year we began to have serious car trouble which resulted in thousands of dollars in car repairs.  Then, one of our 110 volt inverters (we use to turn solar energy into U.S. voltage for our U.S. electronics) got struck by lightning and stopped working.  Two replacement inverters that we were able to receive from the U.S. have also since stopped working for no apparent reason.  We'd never had problems like this before!  (Thankfully we were able to use our 220 volt inverter for our electronics that don't rely on a 110 volt inverter.)  To rub salt into the wound of this already trying time, we found out that we had to pay income taxes for the first time in our lives! 
I could go on for several paragraphs about other challenges that we faced; but I don't want to focus on any more of them because, throughout the year, I learned more about surrender.  When I finally stopped focusing on the challenges, God began to open my eyes to see His kingdom.  And He began to show me that we have a choice to walk in one of two very different realities:  His kingdom reality, or the reality of the world we live in.  Through several physical and painful personal attacks, I learned how to surrender to walk in His kingdom reality.  I learned that I can either sit back and focus on the challenge or I could look up and walk in His kingdom where things like pain, trials, and suffering are non-existent.  I learned that I can literally change my circumstances by trusting Him to allow me to walk in the reality of His kingdom.  Let me give you an example:  One morning I woke up in excruciating pain.  I had no idea where it came from.  There was absolutely no logical reason for me to have this pain.  I could barely move.  But I continued to get ready for breakfast, homeschool, etc.  After trying to act normal for some time, I told the kids I had to go lie down because I could barely sit or stand anymore due to the pain.  As I was lying in bed, I was praying, rebuking, pleading, and whatever else I felt to do in order for the pain to stop.  Suddenly, I decided that I was just going to believe that I could walk in His kingdom reality where there is no pain.  Even though I was still in excruciating pain and I could barely move, I decided to get up and go back to homeschool my children.  As I began to sit up, the pain suddenly left my body!  All of it!  It never came back.  I was walking in the reality of His kingdom.  I learned that I could surrender to His reality and therefore change my reality.  I could give several other personal experiences from this past year where His kingdom reality physically changed my reality, but that would make this blog too long!  
But have I learned anything yet about surrender?  What does it mean?  I had been looking forward to our Christmas holiday from homeschool for a long time and felt that I really needed to just rest and relax.  I had plans to bake Christmas cookies, make our traditional family gingerbread houses, read my kindle, and even get in a couple of blog posts before the year ended! None of that happened because my oldest daughter was too sick to enjoy any of it.  I spent all of the "holiday" doing her chores, sleeping in her room to make sure she was okay, praying for her, and just trying to see how to help her get better so that she could enjoy the time off of school.  I have recently been crying out to the Lord to teach me how to lay down my life for Him.  What does that mean?  How do I walk in His kingdom reality when my daughter is too sick to walk by herself to go to the bathroom?  When she has lost weight from not being able to eat regularly for 2 weeks?  What does surrender look like in all of this?  I found that it just looks like loving my daughter.  It looked like not baking Christmas cookies so that I could sit on the couch and just be with her.  It looked like not reading my kindle because I needed to spend time praying for her.  It looked like not being able to sleep some nights because she couldn't sleep.  Sometimes laying down your life for Him looks like laying down your life for someone else-in this case, my daughter.  A song from Hillsong says, "I surrender, I surrender, I want to know You more..."  Knowing Him more looks like loving Him more, and that looks like loving others more, and that looks like laying down your life, which looks like surrender.  I think I have finally learned a little something about surrender last year.  But may I learn even more this year! 
Happy New Year!!