Sunday, May 31, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today...June 1 (Can it be June already?)
Swing by Peggy's to share your own daybook.

Outside my window...frangipani blooming and releasing their sweet frangrance, lavendar sky as the sun breaks through the clouds

I am thinking...about our sweet friends who returned to Papua New Guinea this weekend and trying to plan for the next time we can get together

From the learning rooms...Spanish-American War, Panama Canal, Teddy Roosevelt, Sarah-math review, recognizing propaganda techniques & writing an advertisement, Benjamin-addition & subtraction with money,identifying hyperbole, Olivia-measuring weight, creating synonyms, Katherine-clothespin snap from "Slow and Steady...", hymn study-"O God, Our Help in Ages Past", Lavukaleve vocabulary review, science experiments with light and color

I am thankful for...the sun that has come out after days of rain. I enjoy the cooler days that accompany the rain, but my laundry dries better when the sun shines!

From the kitchen...we'll start the day with baked gingerbread oatmeal, enjoy egg salad sandwiches, carrot sticks, and apples for lunch, then share chili and cornbread (with brownies for dessert) with SITAG neighbors

I am and white floral sleeveless dress, hair in a ponytail, bracelet made from sea urchins

I am reading..."Evidence Not Seen: A Woman's Miraculous Faith in the Jungles of World War II" by Darlene Deibler Rose (a birthday present from a dear friend)

I am hoping...that we can Skype with our families before we leave for Marulaon on Sunday
I am hearing...Integrity's "iworship: experience the sights & sounds of worship" from a thoughtful friend in Memphis

I am creating...Father's Day packages to go in the mail this week

I am praying...that my heart will be sweetly surrendered as we uproot once again and move back to Marulaon for two months

Around the house...the spare bedroom is filling up with 25 kg bags of flour, jars of spaghetti sauce, rolls of toilet paper, sacks of milk powder, etc.

One of my favorite things...the joy and vibrancy of a delightful twenty month old little girl and her quickly expanding vocabulary

A few plans for the rest of the week...finish shopping and packing for the village, preserve lots of carrots and pumpkin, invite several families over to share a meal since this will be our last chance for a while, cook gobs of granola

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...

sweet Katherine who loves to help Mama with normal everyday tasks

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Honiara through the lens of a friend

We enjoyed our friends visiting for the week. They were a breath of fresh air, and we appreciate them taking the time and effort to visit us. Stacie took lots of pictures, and it's always fun to see your home through the eyes of somebody else for the very first time:

checking mail and finding the Sonlight Catalog of a friend - what a treat!

Stacie enjoyed the beautiful sunsets, too

everybody's favorite - ice cream

at the wharf

singing hymns while Aaron accompanied on guitar

drinking green coconuts at the market

shops in "downtown" Honiara

Aaron giving me yet another birthday present

friendly ladies making and selling beautiful jewelry in the market

I am still my beloved's and he is still mine

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Going to town

Yesterday, we took our friends into town to run some errands. We swung by Coconut Corporation to buy some more soap and coconut oil and discovered that they made cassava scrapers! Now, I'm ready to make lelenga when we go back to Marulaon. Then, we finished up at the market. Olivia is holding the "rock melon" (aka cantaloupe), a rare treat here! She's also wearing the necklace we bought at the market for the next giveaway. More details soon...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sweet birthday

Thanks to all of you who sent birthday wishes, boxes, cards, phone calls (I can't believe you called me, sis). We started the day by making ice cream! By mid-morning, the ice cream was still liquid, so we cheated and stuck it in the freezer. A precious family from SITAG left for furlough today, so Aaron went over to help them finish up the house, and then after lunch he and the big kids drove to the airport to see them off. We shared caramel brownies and ice cream mush with the SITAG crew for tea time, and then the director's wife came over to eat supper. And our friends from PNG grace our days until Saturday. My first birthday in the South Pacific was a marvelous day!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day

In honor of those who have given their lives in military service, we thought today would be a good day to take our friends from PNG to the WWII Memorial in Honiara.

The island in the background is Savo, and "Ironbottom Sound" separates Guadalcanal from Savo Island.

"O beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved, and mercy more than life!
America! America! May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness, and ev'ry gain divine."

Simple Woman's Daybook

Please swing by Peggy's and create your own daybook to share.
For Today...May 25th

Outside my window...the sky is gray, birds are chirping, clothes are still on the line on the veranda

I am thinking...about all of the men and women who serve their country in the armed forces, thank you.

From the learning rooms...we're taking the week off to enjoy our company

I am thankful for...a sweet husband who arranged to fly some friends from Papua New Guinea here to celebrate my birthday this week, woohoo!!!

From the start the day, cinnamon raisin bagels (still trying to perfect this recipe), bierrocks for lunch, and tonight, chicken & veggie stirfry followed by strawberry jello for dessert

I am paisley cotton pajamas

I am (re)reading..."The Power of a Positive Mom" by Karol Ladd

I am hearing...the bell at St. Barnabas ringing for early morning prayer

I am hoping...that this week is a refreshing time for our friends staying with us

I am school year's composer and artist schedule and book list

I am praying...for my grandmother as she undergoes chemo

Around the house...everything but the daily necessities on hold for this week

One of my favorite things...laughing with my mom and sister over Skype

A few plans for the rest of the week...take our friends to the WWII United States Memorial, drink lots of tea, enjoy sweet fellowship

A picture to share with you...

Katherine after the painting fiasco, she turned the bath water green!

And the winner is...

...Lisa! Shoot me an e-mail ( with your address so I can mail the coffee to you. Hope you enjoy!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


It's the coffee, not the coffee pot (a birthday present from my sweet husband). The label reads "King Solomon Premium Roasted Coffee Beans" product of Solomon Islands. You have until midnight Saturday night to leave a comment and enter the drawing!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

For Simple Things

For Simple Things

God of my praise, to Thee be praise

For children and their loving ways;

For all the things that lighten earth,

For quiet peace, and merry mirth;

For every friendly bird that sings,

For little, lovely, simple things;

For loyal comradeship that grows

The stronger for each wind that blows;

But most of all because Thou art

The sunshine of my happy heart.

God of my praise, to Thee be praise,

Today and through my length of days.

by Amy Carmichael

Monday, May 18, 2009

Reading Pleasure...

One of the hardest things to leave when we moved from Dallas was the Dallas Public Library and our local Barnes and Noble. So, imagine our joy when we arrived here in Honiara and found an Educational Resource Center for the families of SITAG! The kids are avid readers (wonder where they get it?), so they love to head next door and swap out books. One of my favorite things is reading a book with one of my children, snuggled up and savoring each shared word. Books we're sharing now:
Sarah - "Christy" by Catherine Marshall
Benjamin - "The Rescuers" by Margery Sharp
Olivia - "Little House on the Prairie" by Laura Ingalls Wilder (we finished "Little House in the Big Woods" while we were in Marulaon)
Katherine - "Jennie's Hat" and "Peter's Chair" both by Ezra Jack Keats

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Quick Prayer Request

Rachel, one of Katherine's special friends here in Honiara, was just whisked off to get stitches in her face since it got pinched and cut by a spring on the trampoline. Rachel's four older siblings are spending the morning with us while she goes to the doctor. Please pray for her...
Update: Rachel is home now taking a nap with her wound glued together. Thanks for your prayers!

Simple Woman's Daybook

How 'bout creating your own daybook and heading over to Peggy's to share...

For today, Monday, May 18

Outside my window...darkness, I miss seeing the moon and stars as clearly as we did in Marulaon

I am thinking...about my sister who got married and graduated from college this weekend and how much I wish I could have been there to hug her neck and tell her how special she is to me

I am thankful for...a husband healing quickly from malaria

From the learning rooms...hymn study "Take My Life and Let it Be", biography of Helen Keller, Sarah-angles, Benjamin-money,Olivia-reading graphs, Katherine-"On and Off" from "Slow and Steady..." , practicing piano again now that we have good electricity to run the keyboard, science experiments with light and color, studying the inception of labor unions

From the kitchen...breakfast-cranberry egg-bread braid that Sarah made yesterday & fruit smoothies, lunch-pasta salad, supper-curried lentils, coconut rice, green beans, watermelon, chocolate pudding with whipped cream

I am wearing...purple skirt, white t-shirt, gray choker seed necklace from Marulaon (my version of pearls), hair in a braid, and bare feet (my version of high heels)

I am creating...a meaningful and belated spiritual birthday party for Sarah and Benjamin to celebrate next week

I am enjoy having lots of company while we are back in Honiara!

I am reading..."Mountain Breezes", collected poems of Amy Carmichael, an early birthday present from a sweet friend

I am hoping (and praying)...that the colds we brought back from Marulaon flee our bodies soon

I am hearing...roosters welcoming the day

Around the house...starting school back up today, making bagels with Olivia, washing sheets

One of my favorite things...washing dishes with Benjamin and talking about his hopes and dreams in a very grownup way while we diligently work

A few plans for the rest of the week: studying Lavukaleve and creating a personal language plan for each of us, baking snacks each day for the translators in the workshop, beginning to stock up on supplies to take out to Marulaon

Here is picture thought I am sharing...

Katherine and Olivia swinging and singing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" together

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Sweet Sabbath

"Come Thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy praise..."

-beautiful sunsets almost every night inspiring us to worship the amazing Creator

-church at home this morning to allow Aaron to rest, children's voices raised in praise

-trying new recipes with my kids (and tastetesting the results)

Coming back to Honiara

Tuesday, May 12/Wednesday, May 13
Knew we would be visited with company today as people came by to story with us before we left, but Ezekial, Leonard (the chief), and Walter came by and stayed all morning. Ezekial even stayed for lunch. Just after morning prayer, Janet came by and told us that the house girl scheduled for today was in Honiara, so would it be okay if Skita came today? We hadn't counted on having anybody to help today, so Skita was a delight!
Everything always takes longer than we think it should, and we didn't get to taking inventory of the food and other supplies left in the house until about 7:00 p.m. Several men came to carry our cargo down to await the Bikoi. Soon, we heard rain begin to fall and hoped that somebody had covered all of our boxes waiting on the beach. Katherine went to bed, and Olivia crashed around 8:30. We closed up the house and went down to the beach around 9:30 p.m. to visit with everybody before the ship came. We found that Eileen (Bernadine's grandmother) had covered our things with a big tarp. The Bikoi was scheduled to come around 10:00, but it didn't come until almost midnight! Olivia went back to sleep, and Katherine fell asleep in Skita's arms. The wind was blowing so hard it was cold. But the rain had stopped, and watching the moon fly up in the sky over the ocean was beautiful! The Bikoi finally came, and we all piled into a canoe to meet the ship. The only space left on the boat was on the top deck, so the kids and I piled on two small camping mattresses and admired the stars until we fell asleep. Aaron was a true gentleman and just slept on the deck. We arrived in Honiara around 7:00 a.m. to find the SITAG truck awaiting us and two other translators who had come in from the Western Province.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Basket Weaving (but not underwater)

Monday, May 11
When neighbors bring us lelenga, they usually put it in a traditional woven basket made for sharing food. So today, we asked Sarah (the current house girl), to teach my big girls how to make the basket. It was simple to make, and I foresee many baskets in our future!

Sunday, May 10
Happy Mother's Day to all of our mothers and grandmothers! We're so thankful to still have so many of our grandmothers still walking the earth who have passed on a godly heritage to my children. We didn't do much here since it isn't Mother's Day in the Solomon Island. The kids made cards and Sarah created coupons for me (with expiration dates, no less!).


I forgot to show you what Olivia was doing while Aaron was installing the solar panel. She had asked if she could go spend time with "Auntie Skita", and when I came out to take pictures of Aaron, I found her scrubbing clothes! My little girl is growing up so quickly.

We have some really sweet neighbors. Two of these girls live with their extended family just down the hill from us. Bernadine is the second from the right, and she was dropped when she was a baby. As a result, she is lame and her right arm is very weak. She has every right to be bitter and hard, yet I have never seen her without a sweet spirit and a big grin on her face. Bernadine loves to sit in the water on the beach and let the waves splash over her while her laugh rings out. Lord, may I have a malleable spirit like hers to accept everything You give me with joy!

Giving Friends

My dear friend Gayly is holding a giveaway to celebrate her birthday and to benefit Love Without Boundaries Healing Home . Take a moment to wish her a happy birthday and sign up!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We interrupt your regularly scheduled programming...

Of all the missionaries I know, I think we have the best "care package brigade"! There is no way to describe to you how encouraging and refreshing it is to know that we have not been forgotten, and we enjoy the things you send so much. But many of you have asked what you can do to help those around us. We finally have a couple things that would really help out our neighbors:

1) White pillowcases - SITAG (Solomon Islands Translation Advisory Group) is building two new buildings right now. One of the main purposes for these buildings is to house national translators who travel far from their families to come to Honiara for training for weeks at a time. Each translator who comes will rest his head on a pillow with two pillowcases (to lengthen the "life" of the pillow in this climate), so would you consider grabbing a package of pillowcases and throwing it in your basket the next time you go to WalMart or Target?

2) Bandaids embedded with antibiotic ointment - In this climate, little scratches can turn into festering infections overnight. We talked briefly to the nurse at the clinic in Marulaon, and she agreed that these special bandaids would really help our neighbors. I realize that these bandaids are more expensive than the "regular kinds", but the embedded antibiotic ointment makes a big difference in speeding up the healing process. We were able to share some of these bandaids with one of the catechists while we were in Marulaon and saw him go from limping to walking normally in just a few days.

If you would be willing to grab a box of bandaids and a package of pillowcases, would you dump them in a couple of ziplock bags (so the Post Office customs officer doesn't think we are trying to sell them here) and stuff them in a manilla envelope to mail to us? We would love to be able to take something to help our village the next we go out!


Saturday, May 9
Yesterday, the kids and I went to watch Skita prepare lelenga. We had hoped to help her grate the cassava and the coconut, but we were too late. (I'm planning to buy a coconut scraper and a cassava grater to take back with us to Marulaon.) When we arrived, she was just taking the hot stones off the fire with a pair of bamboo tongs (I saw those at the market yesterday, guess I'll have to get a pair, too!).
Then she took a huge banana leaf and placed it in a big aluminum pan like the one Aaron made at POC last fall. She began by ladling thick coconut milk to coat the pan, then using her hands she placed a layer of cassava over the coconut milk. She alternated layers again before topping it off with the last of the coconut milk. Then she folded the banana leaf over the top.

Then Skita placed the pan on top of the preheated stones and covered the pan with hot stones.

On top of that, she placed some umalau (sweet potato) to steam for supper, and some more leaves to trap the heat.

On top of all of this, she positioned a burlap bag secured with stones.

After evening prayer, she brought us some delicious lelenga! When we get back to Marulaon, I'll make this with her watching me. Guess I'll have to eat any mistakes...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Solar Panels

Friday, May 8
Aaron and the guys mounted the solar panels today. What a task! After several hoists up the pole, they were finally able to get everything the way they wanted it. I am so thankful for the men who gave their afternoon and muscle power to help us!

Really frustrated that the e-mail isn't working again. I'm got some e-mails back indicating that none of my posts are making it to the blog. With all of the bumps we've run into during our first trip to Marulaon, we've decided to go back next week and learn how to work out the kinks. Marulaon is unusual because it has a reliable source of transportation in the Bikoi. God is so amazing the way He provides for us!

Thursday, May 7
Today was Skita's last day, and I was really sorry to see her three day trial period come to an end. I felt like I had another sister. We washed dishes and hung clothes side by side. I even heard her whistling "Oh God Our Help in Ages Past" so I joined in! She worked for the family before us, so she has a good idea of what to expect.

Market Day

Wednesday, May 06, 2009
Market Day! We walked down as a family today, and the kids swam while I shopped. I was really proud of myself for doing all of my shopping in stumbling Lavukal (with the aid of some 3 x 5 cards). We bought some "mogea" (kinda like a tart apple), some more "fakul", smoked "meo" (tuna), and "mata" (donuts!). Sweet breads are really big here, and when we come back with more gas for the stove, I'm planning to bake a lot. We've heard lots about the banana bread that the family before us made!

Grace promised to bring us some lelenga, and we were so excited when she brought it by after evening prayer. It was soooo good and hot. It's only grated cassave and coconut milk steamed in a square shape inside leaves. The best parts are the corners (kinda like brownies) where the coconut milk pools at the corners. Who knew anything like that could be so yummy?

Concrete and Skita

Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Aaron and the chief poured the concrete and set the pole today. The kids wrote their names in the cement quite proudly. Aaron also got quite a bit of blue painted in Benjamin's room. It really pops! In addition, he built me a big shelf in the bathroom that will eventually hold three months worth of toilet paper, laundry detergent, etc. This is really beginning to feel like home.

Skita began working with me today, and she also played number bingo with us (numbers 1-20). In the picture, Katherine is chowing down on some lelenga. It has become a family favorite, and Skita said she will show us how to make it.
Evelyn brought some green coconuts by this afternoon, and Katherine begged for one until I hacked it open. I'm finally getting a little bit more comfortable wielding a big knife! Our kids love scooping out the moist flesh after the yummy juice is gone. Evelyn and her little one stayed for quite a while. He and Katherine played with the lacing beads while I learned body parts from Evelyn.

Weeding and Solar Panels

Monday, May 4
The community gathered this morning to "weed" the area around our house. It's mowing the grass, Solomon style. You take your bush knife and hack at the roots of everything you don't want to grow, or you just pull the weeds up by the roots. I tried to pull up some of the things that they wanted to keep, but they quickly told me to leave the "grass". Now we have a beautiful patch of dirt surrounding the house (and I have some great blisters), but I think it will be green again very soon. The picture above is of Olivia helping Ruthie weed.

While I was clearing brush, I noticed that they were also pruning some of the flowering bushes. I asked if I could clear away the clippings, but they told me that the clippings were to replant. I watched them dig a hole, and stick a recently cut branch into the ground! The amazing thing is, it will grow beautifully here. I may actually be able to keep a garden or flowers here (you can pick you jaw up off the floor now).

After the yard was done, Aaron and the chief worked on digging the hole for the pole to hold the solar panels. The cement arrived yesterday on the Bikoi, and Aaron plans to pour the concrete soon. Digging through coral is hard work. I think Aaron will be sore tomorrow.

Tonight at Evening Prayer, Aaron was asked to give the Gospel reading. He read from the Pijin Bible, and he did a great job. We have really felt like a part of the community today as we worked and worshipped together.

Welcome Food

Friday, May 1
Ruthie started helping us this morning. She washed clothes and helped us play "Go Fish" in Lavukaleve (we're learning numbers 1-10). Aaron completed the hole and finished the drain pipe for the shower and kitchen.

Saturday, May 2
Aaron is still painting. The undercoat is almost finished (just the bathroom left), and he hopes to start painting colors on Monday.

Sunday, May 3
The bell didn't ring until 6:15 this morning, and it was only 36 times. Enough sun today to run the washing machine, I'm so thankful.

Somebody is always bringing us food. Today it was a "crawfish" and umalau that had been boiled in coconut milk. Think "choice lobster". We reciprocated with spaghetti, hardly a fair trade.