Thursday, September 30, 2010

Pure Joy

Katherine equals pure joy - dancing and singing songs from Marulaon while wearing a dress that was Sarah and Olivia's. So glad we've got her!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lone Pine and New Glasses

Our new glasses came in, and the doctor's office is near Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary. So, we took the opportunity to visit both places, and hopped a couple of buses to spend the day in Southwest Brisbane.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Brisbane Woman's Daybook

For today...Monday, September 27

Outside my window...I'm sitting in McDonald's to access the internet, so cars are driving through and children are playing on the playground

I am thinking...about the guys walking 2000 kilometers to promote awareness of Bible translation

I am thankful for...the church we attended yesterday, all in English, with a great sermon and worship

I am wearing...comfy, cotton clothes and tennis shoes to make my trek around the neighborhood

In the learning doing school whenever we are on public transportation for a long time or in a doctor's waiting room; and visiting museums, Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and the ballet later this week

I am walk to the grocery store in just a few minutes while Aaron shops for a water pump for our village house

I am currently reading...loads of Agatha Christie left in our flat (Mrs. McGinty's Dead, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd...)

From the kitchen...LOVING cooking old familiar recipes and finding new ones with ingredients that we can't find in the Solomons

Around the house...lots of hot drinks (like Cadbury's Mint Drinking Chocolate) as we enjoy the cooler weather

One of my favorite things...the laughter of my children, and I'm hearing it frequently these days!

From my camera...Sarah discovered the "whilrly-bird" seed pods that I loved as a child

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Our first week in Brisbane

We arrived last Thursday night, and Benjamin's eye appointment was early Friday morning. The doctor said that Benjamin's vision is excellent but that depth perception has still not developed. We were disappointed yet thankful that he sees so well. Saturday, our good friend Karen came down and helped us shop the second hand stores for clothes nice enough to wear to a Queensland Symphony concert. That evening, Aaron and I attended an amazing concert. I cried most of the way through the first half. The first time I've worn makeup in over two years, and I had mascara streaming down my face.
Sunday, we hopped some buses and a train up to the Buderim Ginger Factory. We're getting pretty good at running from one connection to another and making good use of our time on public transportation. (I think the picture looks like a Sonlight commercial!)

We enjoyed learning how ginger grows and is harvested, then we crossed the street and observed a macadamia nut factory. Then Karen and her mom picked us up and drove us to their home so we could spend time with their precious family. I love having friends all over the world!

Monday morning dawned cold and rainy. We had planned to go strawberry picking, but instead we headed to a local mall to do some shopping for our house in the village. Then, we returned to the flat in Brisbane. Tuesday morning, another doctor's appointment and another cool, rainy day. Every around us has been apologizing for the weather, but we are loving it! It's cool enough to snuggle up in a quilt and read books and to drink lots of hot chocolate.

Wednesday morning, I had an eye appointment and learned that it's almost time to get bifocals, Thursday was the morning for fasting and blood work, and this morning, I had loads of dental work done. Tonight, we will celebrate Katherine's third birthday with friends who are flying in this evening - perfect timing! It's hard to pick a favorite part of the trip so far, but I think it just may be eating strawberries and broccoli every day.

Monday, September 20, 2010


Just wanted to let everyone know we are safely in Australia and everything is going smoothly so far. Thanks to all for the prayers for the travel. Kepp praying us through doctor appointments too. About half way through.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Off to Brisbane!

Our plane leaves Honiara around 11:00 p.m. CST. Our flat in Brisbane does not have internet access, so our time online will be infrequent during the next three weeks. We would appreciate your prayers for our trip and all the many details that accompany this adventure!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

And the winner is...

Gayly! I'll put them in the mail before we leave for Brisbane.

Breaking news! Sarah and I decided that since only four people left comments, we would send all four a care package. So, all of you be looking for a package from the Solomons in about three weeks.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Honiara Woman's Daybook

Thanks to Peggy for making me slow down and think each week.

For today...Tuesday, September 14

Outside my window...a new day is beginning, roosters are crowing, birds are chirping, airplanes are humming overhead

I am thinking...about all of the things that have to be done before we can go back to Marulaon.

I am thankful for..."Women of the Harvest", a website dedicated to women (and their extended families) on the mission field. This ministry helps keep me from going dry!

I am wearing...floral knee-length skirt & burgundy t-shirt from the second hand store here in Honiara (great place to shop if you have the time & energy to sort through the racks of clothes), my hair up in a coconut shell clip

In the learning room...celebrating family with Katherine (perfect timing for Grandparents' Day), Sarah finishing up a research paper comparing aspects of China and Japan,

I am Christmas shopping!

I am Brisbane on Thursday, the first time for me to go visit my Mom's old stompin' grounds

I am currently reading...a Martha Stewart Living magazine from a care package

I am continue running while we are in Brisbane

On my mind...nourishing my family mentally, spiritually, physically, and emotionally

Noticing that...the tradewinds are finally dying down

Pondering these words..."To send a letter is a good way to go somewhere without moving anything but your heart." --Phyllis Theroux

From the out the pantry and fridge (again), seems like we just did this

Around the house...Katherine reading aloud from the "family" basket: "Are You my Mother?" by P.D. Eastman, boxes piling up to go into storage while we are in Brisbane

One of my favorite things...quiet, unhurried mornings with a cup of coffee and my Bible

From my exercise buddy who faithfully encourages me to be a good steward of my body

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Race Day !!! (by Aaron)

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us." Hebrews 12:1

In 2008, thanks to some great friends in Kansas, we learned about road racing and just how fun it can be to get together with friends and train for a race. We are on opposite sides of the world this year, but we have new colleagues here who decided to run with us.

Back in May, Joanna and another SITAG mom started walking together. Not long after, the other mom found an exercise program called Couch to 5K. Pretty soon, she and Joanna started training together just to be healthy. Around June we saw a poster advertising a half marathon here in Honiara. The event included a 10K, 5K, and a 2K fun run. With our great experience before, we decided that the whole family would train for the September 12th race.
This included a little bit of uncertainty of how well we would be able to race train in the village, but thanks to a little soccer field in the village, our family was able to get out and train, sometimes dodging tree roots and frogs along the way. Joanna and I alternated mornings and Sarah, Benjamin, and Olivia would run with one or the other of us.

We got the idea to include some of our colleagues here in Honiara, knowing how fun it was to run with friends. At first it looked like no one would join us, but by the time we returned to Honiara in August, three other families were training as well.

So, after months of preparing, the big day finally arrived. I couldn't believe it. Joanna and I were slated to run in the 5K, and Sarah, Benjamin, and Olivia were running the 2K. Several of their SITAG agemates were running with them (and one dad to keep an eye on them). We all had no real aspirations for greatness. I was wanting to be able to run and have my knee do better than last time. Joanna was shooting for 44 minutes. Sarah, Benjamin, and Olivia, I think, were just out to have fun. I decided to register Joanna and myself in the more mature age category. Thus, we competed with only 30-39 year olds instead of the open category which would have pitted us against teens and twenty-somethings, too.

Now for the celebration. When Olivia started out, she was great. The throng at the start got her a little bit flustered, but she quickly recovered. Unlike her sibs, though, she had no running buddy. Benjamin was with her for a minute, then I decided that Olivia was more important than proving something about myself. So for the first kilometer, Olivia and I ran side by side. I encouraged her all of the way, knowing that she would have to make the turn for home and run her last kilometer alone. Man, that was hard, leaving her. I was pretty sure she was going to walk the whole way back. But when I heard her story later, she said she decided to just run until she got to the fence, then she would know she was almost finished. Turns out, she finished 4th in her category, girls 2K. I am so proud of Olivia for finding strength inside of her that she may not have known was there.

Benjamin won one of those awards that is priceless. He and three other boys were a running machine. As Olivia and I approached the turn-around point, who are the first people we see coming at us from the other direction - Benjamin and his SITAG buds. They were looking good, too. One of the boys was a little in front of Benjamin and the other two. Turns out, that boy won first place (way to go!). The reason Benjamin's award is priceless is because it comes in the form of the honor and respect his parents give him. Coming to the end of the race, two of the boys gathered steam for the big finish. We know that Benjamin had plenty of zoom in him, but first hanging back with Olivia and then deciding to stay back with a slower friend, Benjamin finished 4th by one second. I am so proud of my boy for the selflessness he showed today!

Sarah is not the greatest athlete, but she always has a great attitude. Unfortunately, she seemed to wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. Come race time, all was fine. She and a buddy were at the start hand in hand, ready to go. The race starts, and all of the sudden
we look down the road and Sarah is coming backwards, basically stopped and saying something about bleeding. She was holding her hand out, and I hear Joanna telling her to just keep going. This was all within the first 20 meters or so. I was too busy getting Olivia going that I really didn't think much about Sarah after that.

At the end, I see my amazing #1 child with a huge scuffed up knee and a couple of spots on her hand. But she was all smiles and talked about the race. Turns out she and her friend (who stayed with her despite the spill) were in the top three. We are so excited for her, especially with her literally rough start.

I met my goal of having his knee feel okay. You know about my first kilometer already, the rest was okay. I had to walk a couple of times, I was hoping not to. But that is okay. I ended up third in my category. Crazy. Another SITAG buddy got first, so I have someone to catch now. :-)
Joanna was great. I am so excited for my best girl. She stayed true to her training plan and finished strong. I was able to run beside her in the end. It was so awesome to cheer her on and see her do so great. She got first place in her division!

SITAG racked up lots of great finishes - I think the crowd was ready for the SITAG crew to leave.
What an amazing morning!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


If you would like to own these beautifully carved salad tongs, please leave a comment by midnight CST, Monday, September 13. We were so excited to find a new batch of carvings had just come in to the shop! Thanks for all of the encouraging words you leave on the blog, the care packages you send, and the prayers you offer on our behalf.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Auntie Karen

During the last eight years, our family has moved numerous times, and each time has pulled us further and further away from family. But each time we move, God provides adopted family to help bridge the gap.

God gave us "Auntie Karen" here in Honiara, and her birthday was yesterday. As part of her ministry, Karen teaches literacy classes to a group of ladies. Conspiring together, the SITAG moms and the literacy class decided to celebrate and surprise her!

Our good friend, Caroline, enjoyed a bite of cake.

Lots of good food and fellowship...

...and a mad dash for the last piece of cake...

...combined to create a sweet celebration for an amazing person. Karen's class completed the party by singing praise choruses. Oh, what a sweet sound!

After the huge party, Karen and a couple of friends came over for lunch and a birthday pavlova made by Sarah. We're so thankful that God gave us Karen to be a part of our family.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Honiara Woman's Daybook

Thanks to Peggy who hosts this daybook.

For today...Monday, September 6

Outside my window...the Pacific Ocean is "smiling", that's the way the locals describe the white caps that form when the seas are rough

I am thankful for...great ways for my kids to stay in touch with current events

From the learning rooms...beginning "Early Education at Home" with Katherine, my all time favorite preschool curriculum guide (the other kids love it, too!)

From the kitchen...cinnamon rolls this morning (made by Sarah after I mixed up the bread dough) and tonight we'll enjoy chicken drumsticks and Mexican Salad Bowl from "The New Laurel's Kitchen"

I am wearing...sweaty exercise clothes - it's nice to be able to wear shorts again instead of a skirt

I am creating...Christmas wish lists for our thoughtful & generous parents so boxes can arrive for the grandchildren in the Solomons on time (Sarah really likes this one)

I am going...with a friend to try and find Sister Joanna from the Sisters of the Church on Wednesday morning, then we'll do our weekly shopping
I am reading..."Broken Stick: Mission to the Forbidden Island" a book set in the Solomon Islands by Eileen E. Lantry

I am take advantage of Dayspring's big sale on teapots and teacups

I am CDs that we just got in the mail, Vaughn Williams' "Fantasy on a Theme by Thomas Tallis" makes me smile and cry at the same time

Noticing that...God's grace and mercy still amaze me

Around the house...torn paper apple collages, a National Geographic map of India

Pondering these words..."But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior..." Titus 3:4-6

One of my favorite things...sweet iced tea in a variety of flavors

A few plans for the rest of the week...lots of company (including hosting a birthday party on Thursday), some catch-up shots for Katherine, the big race on Sunday - Aaron and I are participating in the 5K and our big kids are running in the 2K

Here is a picture though I am sharing...this is what happens to ranch dressing mix in the Solomon Islands, it becomes a solid block

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Sweet Sabbath

"But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation, I will sing to the Lord for he has been good to me." Psalm 13:5,6

-beautiful rainbows (we've enjoyed several lately)
-friends who drop by unexpectedly and accept the invitation to stay for supper

-girls learning to crochet
-a great exercise buddy who encourages me yet pushes me to do a little bit better each time we run

-my mom's recipe for chocolate cinnamon cake and the ingredients to make it