Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Anticipating a miracle...

Almost two years ago, one of our SITAG colleagues med-evacuated from Honiara.

We didn't know if she would live or die,

and her recovery was long and hard.

We've been waiting and waiting and waiting.   But she has chosen to return to the Solomon Islands.
And this afternoon, we saw a miracle as she stepped off the plane.
And all of the waiting was worth it as we watched God's grace walking toward us.

Welcome back, Cynthia!  The sweet fragrance of your frangipani necklace mimics the sweet fragrance of Christ that you exude.

We're so glad you've come back to join our SITAG family again!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Monday bits and pieces...

Just a quick check-in this morning.  Before Aaron left for the village, we enjoyed brunch with these amazing Wycliffe Associates who are in Honiara for a few days.  Have I mentioned how much we love WAs?

We've been talking to Aaron on the radio twice a day, and village e-mail has been working beautifully, too.  Here's a tiny summary of Monday's work with the translators:

"Twas a good day.  Not so much in dealing with Translation stuff, but lots in just sharing together, making a better team of all of us, better men, followers of Christ.  We wrestled with lots of stuff...   Had a really good time exploring Matthew 18:15-17 together and how our cultures approach the life application of that scripture differently.  Even identified how Lavukal culture veers a bit differently from this passage of scripture and the need to have Holy Spirit expose for us the ways Lavukal culture needs to adjust to have God redeem it.  Good stuff."

 Aaron is also trying to work on a cross-cultural miscommunication between one of my friends in the village and me.  I have a friend in Marulaon who wanted to have a special gift made for my mom and for Gayly because they came to visit us in the Marulaon.  Two beautifully carved coconuts showed up with a friend from Marulaon on the Kosco last week, carved by a man in another Lavukal village.  But we are being asked to pay quite a bit of money for them as our part of the "gift"!  So we are trying our best to maintain good relationships yet not set bad patterns for the future.  Would love prayers for wisdom on this situation!

Yesterday, a cruise ship arrived in Honiara for a few hours.  It was a ship from Paul Gaugin Cruises, and we felt kind of special that it stopped in our little out of the way corner! 

Hope everybody's week is of to a great start.  We expect two visitors from JAARS today, and a precious colleague finally returns to SITAG today after leaving the country for a medical emergency two years ago.  And Aaron should be home sometime Wednesday night or early Thursday morning!  Lots of great things to look forward to this week!  What's coming up for you?


Sorry about the e-mail that appeared earlier and any confusion it may have caused.  I have no idea how that text moved from my e-mail inbox to our blog!  Our dear friends have finished their New Testament here in the Solomons and are moving to a different ministry.  We are NOT resigning from Wycliffe and are busy working here in the Solomons to help the Lavukal get a Bible in their own language.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

This morning God gave us calm seas for Aaron's trip to Marulaon.  We drove down to the wharf early to find a place on the Kosco for Aaron & the guttering, hardware, and pipes he is taking for Fly Harbour School's rain tanks.

The landing crafting Phoenix was "next door" loading.  This ship is the one our colleagues here often take out to South Malaita.

This cutie was eating a few cookies for breakfast while last minute passengers flooded the ship.

Everybody got last minute hugs an kisses from Aaron.  Except me, since men and women can't display affection in public.  I had already gotten my goodbye hugs and kisses at home.

Aaron called from the boat around 10:00 saying the boat was finally pulling out, only an hour later than the scheduled time.  He will be meeting with the Lavukal translators tonight and all day tomorrow.  Then on Tuesday, he hopes to lead a language development workshop with our Marulaon community.  The Kosco should return on Wednesday morning, so Aaron will have a very brief stay in the village this time.  We appreciate prayers for him and the translators!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.  Colossians 2:6-7
Overflowing because:
-best friends are together again
-it's Friday afternoon and the week's grades are finished and recorded

-of a precious namesake influenced by a godly woman
-my parents made me take typing in high school, so now I can type really fast as I "chat" in real time with friends and family back in the States

-a morning rainbow started our day

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ninety Years

"Since my youth, O God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds.  Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your might to all who are to come."  Psalm 71:17-18

Happy 90th birthday, Pop!  Even though we are so far away, we are thankful for you and the generations of Choate men you have influenced.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

After a long day of school, I needed to get outside in the few minutes I had left before it was time to fix supper.  The sun had started it's afternoon descent and made these frangipani petals glow.

Its all a matter of keeping my eyes open.  Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will sense them.  The least we can do is try to be there...so that creation need not play to an empty house.  ~Annie Dillard

Monday, August 18, 2014

Honiara Woman's Daybook

Just for today...Monday, August 18
From the learning rooms...Benjamin hopes to be starting new piano books this week, and he is working on solving equations with x's on both sides this week in Algebra.  He and Sarah will be studying Kingdom Fungi this week in biology and reading Jane Eyre for literature, while Sarah tackles powers an exponents in Algebra 2.  Olivia will be studying Korea this week (for a great picture book, check out "The Firekeeper's Son" by Linda Sue Park), the muscular system, and reviewing fractions.  And Katherine gets to practice measuring things in meters and learn more about trees and how they grow.
One of my favorite things...Biff's B-52 coffee.  Coffee in one hand and Bible in the other, such a nice way to start the day!
A heart of thankfulness...for friends who work so hard to keep in touch.  Ann worked so hard while I was in the village to make sure the blog stayed up and running, and when we are here in Honiara she still sets aside time to stay connected.  And Gayly, my other encourager, uses her abundant energy and resources to pour into our family in other ways.  I love the way God made these two beautiful women who are so totally different.  They are my "Aaron and Hur"!
Outside my window...I can just see Gela on the horizon and we have beautiful blue skies with bright sunshine today.
Pondering these words...Contentment does not come through changed circumstances it comes through a transformation o the heart.  ~Mimi Wilson
From the kitchen...trying new recipes.  We have three sets of families at SITAG who are gluten free, so tonight we are trying red lentil and squash curry soup and later this week we'll make a layered eggplant and polenta casserole.

A few plans for the rest of the week...colleagues from the village should arrive tonight and we get to provide supper for them, Wednesday, I'm hoping to meet with an administrator at the International School to line up testing (PSAT, ACT, & SAT) for Sarah in the very near future, Thursday, I'll be going to buy seedlings to put in a raised bed here in Honiara, Friday, a couple of Wycliffe Associates are coming to Honiara & we're looking forward to spending time with them, Sunday, Aaron leaves for a few days in Marulaon.
A peek into my corner of the world...the fading lilies around the corner of the house. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

We combined business with pleasure yesterday afternoon. An hour to get our new fancy-dancy Solomon Islands drivers licenses..

and some time drinking coffee, reconnecting, and contemplating calendars.  A very productive afternoon!

Friday, August 15, 2014

Sela Kokonat

After work today, SITAG continued our good habit of playing together.

Sela Kokonat, or coconut shells, is a game that village kids play all of the time, and playing with grown-ups and kids of several different nationalities provided lots of laughs this afternoon.

My children thought I looked like I was trying to use "the force" to make the coconut shells fall down!

I love our SITAG family!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

SITAG is a great place to work, but it is also a great place to play.  One of our colleagues has an almost-daily "uniform" of a pink shirt and a denim skirt.  So, today, we surprised her, and everybody dressed up in pink shirts and denim, men, women, ex-pats, and nationals all together.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Airport Run and Birthday Surprises

I love our little airport here in Honiara.  Visitors can still climb the steps to the top of the airport to greet new arrivals and to wave good-bye to departing passengers.  So we always climb to the top to watch our colleagues arrive as we yell and scream our welcome.

Then we run downstairs and peek through the windows to find our friends in the custom line so we know when they are coming out the door to be greeted with hugs and squeals.  On the way home, I was reminded that our colleague's birthday was coming up in a few weeks, so I asked our new friend, Heather (also in the car) when her birthday was.  She quickly replied, "Today!"  I though she was pulling my leg.

But really and truly, it was her birthday!  So we quickly made plans for her to come over and eat supper with us and added a birthday cake to the meal plan.  My Mama's chocolate cinnamon cake made a great birthday cake.

So glad Heather was willing to share her special day with our crazy family!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Honiara Woman's Daybook

Just for today...Monday, August 11
On my bookshelf..."Much Depends on Dinner" by Margaret Visser.  I'm learning so much about the history of food!
From the kitchen...Sarah made a lovely chicken pot pie for supper tonight.

From the learning rooms...the eggshells Katherine filled with beans last week have almost all produced beautiful bean sprouts.  She and Sarah have transplanted them to Sarah's little patch of ground.  The kids are all loving Rosetta Stone's French program, but the computer usage of my students (French, research, writing papers, etc.) means that Mama hardly has any time to be on the computer!

A few plans for the rest of the week...airport runs on Tuesday and Thursday and renewing our drivers licenses on Friday.
A peek into my corner of the world...the amazing sunset tonight.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Triple Layer Brownies

We found a fabulous new recipe this weekend, Triple-Layer Brownies from an old issue of Tea Time Magazine.  A little goes a long way!
2 1/2 cups dark chocolate morsels, divided
3/4 cup butter, softened and divided
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
1 cup creamy peanut butter
3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a 9-inch square pan with heavy-duty foil.  Spray foil with nonstick cooking spray.  Set aside.  In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups chocolate morsels and 1/2 cup butter.  Heat in the microwave at 1-minute intervals at 50 percent power, stirring to combine, until mixture is smooth.
Add sugar, stirring to combine.  Add eggs, 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition.  Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, stirring well.  Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine flour and 1/2 teaspoon salt, whisking to combine.  Add to chocolate mixture, stirring to incorporate.  Pour batter into prepared pan.  Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 30 to 33 minutes.  Let cool until slightly warm, approximately 15 minutes.
In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, remaining 1/4 cup butter, confectioners' sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, stirring until blended.  While brownie is slightly warm, use an offset spatula to spread peanut butter mixture over top in a smooth layer.  Set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat cream until almost boiling.  Remove from heat, and add remaining 1 cup chocolate morsels, stirring until smooth.  Pour over peanut butter layer, spreading into a smooth layer.  Refrigerate until chocolate layer becomes firm, 2 to 4 hours (or if you can't wait that long, stick it in the freezer, like we did!).
Using edges of foil as handles, lift whole brownie from pan.  Carefully remove foil, and place brownie on a cutting board.  Using a long chef's knife, score chocolate ganache into 1-inch squares.  To cut into individual brownies, line knife up with scored lines, pressing down firmly in one motion.  Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Shakespeare in the Kitchen

"Tis an ill cook that cannot lick his own fingers; therefore he that cannot lick his own fingers goes not with me."  Act Four, Scene 2, "Romeo and Juliet"

As Sarah whipped up a batch of gingersnaps to share with the SITAG guards, she reminded me of her new favorite line from Shakespeare.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

72nd Anniversary of US landing on Guadalcanal

Our family left the house as the sun came up this morning to attend a ceremony remembering the 72nd Anniversary of the American Marines landing on Guadalcanal.

A SITAG auntie helped Sarah tie red, white, and blue stars to the wreath.

On the stars we wrote names of men who had fought in WWII, including Aaron's grandfather who fought in the Pacific.

And the SITAG auntie had the great idea to include John 15:13 on one of the stars, too.

The Solomon Islands police band played beautiful and appropriate songs for the occasion - everything from the United States' and Solomon Islands' national anthems to "Abide With Me" while the wreaths were being laid at the foot of the monument.

During the speeches we learned that one of the men who rescued John F. Kennedy died last week at the ripe age of 93.

After the dignitaries laid their wreaths, our kids laid the wreath on behalf of SITAG and Bible translation in the Solomon Island.
We even got to meet the American Ambassador to the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, and Vanuatu!