Thursday, June 30, 2011

SITAG's new kitchen

Thursday, June 30

Last night, we stayed up late eating vegan chili and not so vegan apple crisp with ice cream and playing games with Jenin (the young woman here to help one of our colleagues) and the trio.  After another failed attempt to get the trio on a boat out to Malaita yesterday, God placed a friend from their village in their path to help them make new arrangements.  We got them on a different boat early this morning so they can catch a truck and then catch a motor boat to arrive in the village late this afternoon.

Then we began a big motu party to inaugurate SITAG's new outdoor kitchen.  We had lots of help making cassava pudding.  Betsy and I went to Central Market yesterday and bought a big fish, and Rosina brought two huge bags of cassava this morning.  Solomon Islanders, Canadians, Australians, and Americans all worked side by side to prepare a feast to say "thanks" to our SITAG staff.  Rosina, Olivia, and Jenin scrape cassava...

and one of the amazing Wycliffe Associates volunteers from Australia helps to scrape some more.

Betsy and a SITAG friend scrape even more cassava (we made LOTS of pudding).  I knew that the Solomons contained a large diversity of languages, but I didn't know that many different ways of making pudding existed, too!  Betsy showed us how to make cassava/banana pudding from her area of Malita, Freida showed us how to make balls of pudding like her Kwaio in-laws, and I showed the ladies how to make pudding like our friends in the Russell Islands.  I also learned that our Solomon friends like the burned edges of the pudding best, while we tend to like the softer middle of the pudding.

Even the kids helped a bunch.  By the end of the day, we were exhausted, but the fish and pudding feast tasted yummy and we got to say thank you to our many Solomon Islands' friends who keep SITAG running smoothly.

Planes and Boats

Tuesday, June 28

Our family has really enjoyed having this trio around!  Aaron made an airport run about 2 a.m. this morning (due to the ash cloud hovering around Brisbane's airport).  These three will be running the children's portion of SITAG's conference in a few weeks, but between now and then they are hoping to catch some transportation out to a village on Malaita.  We took them to the wharf this afternoon to catch a ship, but the crew told us that the weather was too bad to take their small boat out on the open sea.  So, we all headed back to SITAG.  At least our trip into town ended on a happy note as I leaned out of the van window to snap a photo of this beautiful rainbow.

Honiara Woman's Daybook

For Today...Monday, June 27

Outside my window...sun glinting off the ocean, basil dying on the porch

I am thinking...about living between the "mount and multitude" in this busy week ahead

From the learning rooms...Cleopatra and Mark Antony, Augustus Caesar; plant cell and animal cell review; Sarah - dissecting a poem, decimal review; Benjamin - finishing up his research paper on Texas, tessellations; Olivia - writing a book report; Katherine - letter R and making patterns

I am thankful for...friends who exhibit God's grace and forgiveness towards me and my family

From the puff pancakes for breakfast, good ol' leftovers for lunch, and a new recipe, chillaquillas, from "The New Laurel's Kitchen" for supper.

I am reading..."Songs in the Key of Solomon" by Anita and John Renfroe, an early anniversary present from my mother.  Love it!

I am hoping...that Aaron's doctor's appointment this morning (for his yaws) goes well

I am creating...jars of food to take to the village.  Yep, it's that time again!  Carrots finished over the weekend, apples next. 

I am rummaging in the fridge to pull out leftovers

Around the house...a freshly mopped floor, things beginning to pile up as we begin our village preparation

One of my favorite things...feeding my family yummy, nutritious meals that look nice, too!  A feast for the eyes that nourishes the body and provides an opportunity to sit down and reconnect.

Pondering these words...
"Vessels, instruments of grace,
Pass we thus our happy days
'Twixt the mount and multitude,
Doing or receiving good:
Glad to pray, and labor on,
'Till our earthly course is run..."
-Charles Wesley

"Twixt the mount and multitude."  What a marvelous image!  We live out our lives as instruments of grace, in the continual movement between lofty spiritual awakenings and engagement with people - between moments in which we glimpse the glory of God and times in which we love and give and serve others for the glory of God."  --Paul Wesley Chilcote

A few plans for the rest of the week...picking up another translator's daughter and her friend at 2:30 a.m. in the morning to join the sister already here, helping the three of them find transportation and get out to the village as soon as possible, a big motu party on Thursday to officially open the new SITAG kitchen, Saturday morning breakfast for a group coming in from Australia to help with the Literacy Production workshop starting next week

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you...a pair of sisters from Marulaon (Hiva and Daisy's girls) that we found at the wharf yesterday

Technical Difficulties

Our internet hasn't worked since early Monday morning.  Sorry for the lack of communication, we hope to be digging through our inboxes and working on the blog soon!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sweet Sabbath

"O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water....Because your love is better than life, my ips will glorify you....My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you."  from Psalm 63

Praising even when I feel dry:

 -making Stone Soup and sharing with friends

-celebrating a favorite author's birthday with a basketful of books

-going down to the wharf to see Eileen and David head back to Marulaon on the Bikoi and finding lots of other Lavukal friends

-yummy belated birthday gifts from friends

-a butterfly that paused for a while and walked around on small hands

-rain to refill SITAG's raintanks just before another big workshop begins

Saturday, June 25, 2011

And the winner is...

Hannah.  I have a different set of salad tongs that I'll also send to the "runner-up", Deborah.  We're so thankful for our friends and family around the world!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Perfect Timing

One of our favorite things about living in Honiara is all of the amazing people that come to SITAG - both short-term and long-term.  Yesterday, we shared lunch with a young woman who is training as a physical therapist and hopes to work on the mission field one day.  She also happens to be the daughter of one of our colleagues, so while she waits for the ship to go out to her parents' village, she is shadowing some of the physical therapy staff in Honiara's hospital.

Last night, we enjoyed getting to know another young woman who is training for a career in speech therapy but wanted to use her summer to learn more about linguistics and to help a translation team.  As frequently happens, we stayed up way too late visiting and laughing, so this morning our family (okay, it was really just me) got off to a slow start.

I had already made the dough (you can put it in the fridge for up to 24 hours) for cinnamon rolls from my new favorite cookbook, but by the time the dough finished rising and the rolls came out of the oven, our breakfast had turned into more of a brunch.  I sent Sarah with a plate of hot cinnamon rolls to a colleague's house to share, but she returned with a full plate saying that nobody came to the gate.  Disappointed, we began to clean up the kitchen, when suddenly, one of the kids said, "There's mamam David!"  Sure enough, Eileen's husband David was sitting on our porch! 

What had begun as a frustratingly slow morning turned into chance to share hot cinnamon rolls with David and Eileen (still at her brother's house) who had come into Honiara for her to go to the doctor.  They are planning to head back to Marulaon Sunday on the Bikoi and needed some help to pay the Bikoi fare.  We were thrilled that we were able to send David back down the hill with fresh cinnamon rolls and some money.  God's timing is always so perfect.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Man at Work

These days, this is how Aaron looks just about every time I peek in on him.  He is diligently transcribing the recordings we have made of our Lavukal neighbors.  In this long and tedious process, he marks progress in seconds transcribed.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


I don't usually find such big salad tongs, but these were absolutely gorgeous and the shell inlay is very well done.  As a thank you, we would like to give these away.  If you would like an opportunity to own this pair of seahorses, please leave a comment by midnight (CST), Friday night, June 24.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Snapshots Around the World - Barns

We don't really have barns here in the Solomon Islands.  The closest we ever got to a "barn-raising" is when our neighbors built my kitchen.  To peruse the other photos from around the world, visit "Snapshots Around the World".

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

 "As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him."  Psalm 103:13

"Listen to your father who gave you life...

 ...The father of a righteous man has great joy; he who has a wise son delights in him."  Proverbs 23:22a, 24

"For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and unrging you to live lives worth of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory."  I Thessalonians 2:11,12

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Market Day

Going into Honiara as a family always provides an adventure and lots of stares.  I've been wanting to go back to the plant nursery on the far West side of town, and we finally made the trip out there.   We found some beautiful plants, but more importantly we found our friend, Mary, who is from Louna in the East Russells.  Last time I went to the nursery, she had gone back home, so it was a treat to find her again.  One of her relatives is marrying Margaret's daughter in Marulaon next week, so it was fun to chat a little bit (alternating a little bit of that so-elusive Lavukaleve with Pijin).  Mary might be a good language helper for me - we'll see what happens.

The produce available right now at market amazes me!  Cantaloupe is usally so hard to find, but it is plentiful right now.  We are loving all of the fresh fruits and veggies.  Kingfish has become one of our favorite fish, so Aaron went to the fish end of the market while the rest of us bought the produce.  He came back saying, "I bought the smallest kingfish I could find!" 

And, of course, no family trip into town is complete until we've stopped at Frangipanni Ice for some delicious ice cream to cool us all off.  Sarah tried the purple yam flavor, Katherine tried chocolate (because it matched her shirt!), and the rest of us enjoyed pawpaw ginger.  Yum!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Holding wonder...

by Sara Teasdale

Life has loveliness to sell,
All beautiful and splendid things,
Blue waves whitened on a cliff,
Soaring fire that sways and sings,
And children's faces looking up
Holding wonder like a cup.

Oh, those ringlets!  Oh, those brown eyes.  Oh, the flour stuck to her face after she devoured the Spotted Dog.

Spotted Dog - Railway Cake
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, preferable unbleached
 1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
2/3 cup golden or seedless raisins (or more)
1 organic egg
1 2/3 cups buttermilk

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Into a large mixing bowl, sift the flour and baking soda; then add the salt, sugar, and raisins.  Mix well by lifting the flour and fruit up into your hands and then letting them fall back into the bowl through your fingers.  This adds more air and therefore more lightness to your finished bread.  Now make a well in the center of the flour mixture.

Break the egg into the base of a measuring glass and add the buttermilk to the 1 1/2 cups line (the egg is part of the liquid measurement) and mix together.  Pour most of this milk and egg mixture into the flour.  Using one hand with the fingers open and stiff, mix in a full circle drawing in the flour mixture from the sides of the bowl, adding more milk if necessary.  The dough should be softish, but not too wet and sticky.

The trick with Spotted Dog, like all soda breads, is not to overmix the dough.  Mix it as quickly and gently as possible, thus keeping it light and airy.  When the dough all comes together, turn it out onto a well-floured work surface.  Wash and dry your hands.

With floured fingers, roll the dough lightly for a few seconds -- just enough to tidy it up.  Then pat the dough into a round about 2-inches thick.  Transfer to a baking sheet dusted lightly with flour.  Use a sharp knife to cut a deep cross on it, letting the cuts go over the edges of the bread.  Prick with a knife in the four triangles.  Put into the oven and immediately reduce the temperature to 400 degrees.  Cook for 35 to 40 minutes.  If you are in doubt about the bread being cooked, tap the bottom:  if it is cooked it will sound hollow.  This bread is cooked at a lower temperature than soda bread because the egg browns faster at a higher heat.

Serve freshly baked, cut into thick slices and smeared with butter and jam.  Spotted Dog is also really good eaten with Cheddar cheese.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Weaver Ants

In Marulaon, we call them naga. National Geographic's May issue has a great article on weaver ants, and the website provides fascinating pictures.  Every time I go to hang up clothes on the line, I look up to see one of their intricately made basket nests.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Snapshots Around the World - Wildflower

This is the clover that our neighbors here in the Solomon Islands like to use for groundcover instead of grass.  You can see more photos at "Snapshots Around the World".

Monday, June 13, 2011

Honiara Woman's Daybook

For Today...Monday, June 13

Outside my running and playing and banging seed pods like drumsticks

I am nice it is to have neighbors!

From the learning rooms...Julius Ceasar, Cleopatra, Augustus Ceasar, Cicero, Mark Antony; Sarah - writing a mystery, multiplying & dividing fractions; Benjamin - research for his paper on Texas, parallelograms, rhombuses, & trapezoids; Olivia - writing an imaginative story, adding and subtracing money; Katherine - learning about the food groups

I am thankful and friends who work so hard to stay in touch across so many miles

From the kitchen...for breakfast Icelandic Almond rolls from "The Great Scandinavian Baking Book",refrito spread from "The New Laurel's Kitchen" on whole wheat tortillas (bought on the sale rack!) for lunch, and tuna bread braid for supper, shared with company

I am wearing...a yellow cotton t-shirt and a denim wrap-around skirt.  I think this is the last week I'll include this prompt.

I am reading..."The Red Sea Rules" by Robert J. Morgan.

I am hoping...that the Baruku (another ship here in the Solomons) actually goes out tomorrow to take our friends some much needed supplies along with some goodies we've prepared for them.

I am creating...a cross-stitched bookmark for Aaron's paternal grandmother's birthday, if I can get it finished in time, the snowflake stitching is on hold until we get some more white embroidery floss.  Oh, I miss the multitude of craft stores in the States.

I am hearing...the very loud percussive sounds of the seed pods on the concrete

Around the looks like a tornado has come through, paper, crayons, schoolbooks, snacks strewn around the front of the house.  Time to tidy up!

One of my favorite things...hearing my children laugh

Pondering these words..."Wash you face every morning in a bath of praise."  --Charles Spurgeon

A few plans for the rest of the week...going to the airport tomorrow to pick up another translator's daughter coming in from the States, tackling the cataloguing of the rest of the books in SITAG's Educational Resource Center begun by a Wycliffe Associate last year

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you... Patson and Judy's son, Timmy, playing along in the "seed pod band"

And the winner is...

the Hibbards!  Be looking for the dove to fly into Arkansas in a few weeks.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

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

Continuing to number His goodness:

-iced mochas made with this coffee and this chocolate

-Aaron Copland's "Appalcahian Spring"

-beautiful flowers to soften the razor wire across the tops of the fences at SITAG

-reading precious line upon line scrawled across paper by wrinkled hands in a far-away land

-delicious new recipes suggested by friends

-kids opened mouthed in wonder at an ants' nest built in a flower pot

-finally beginning another cross-stitch project after many years

-an almost-twelve-year-old making a "wedding cake" to help us celebrate Pentecost and remind us that we are the bride of Christ

Saturday, June 11, 2011


We thought it appropriate to offer one of these beautiful carved doves on this Pentecost weekend.  If you would like a chance to own this, please leave your comment by midnight (CST), Sunday night.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Colossians Day

"My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ."  Colossians 2:2

An idea has been germinating in my mind for a while.  I'm always wishing that we had more time to do things to encourage and help other people, but I never seem to be able to carve the time out of our daily lives.  It finally hit me that, as a homeschooling mother, especially one who schools year round, I have the ability to make helping others a priority in our lives.  Since our family is still memoring Colossians, I decided to set aside one day each week as a Colossians 2:2 day while we are in here in Honiara this time.  This week, our experiment was a big success! 

Benjamin started by making a banana oat cake for Aaron to take to SITAG's afternoon staff meeting, while Sarah began by crocheting her first baby hat for "Caps for Good".  (After we checked the website, we learned that the deadline passed in February, but Sarah is planning to donate the caps to the many newborns we anticipate in Marulaon.  You ought to see the way those mamas bundle those babies!) 

Olivia wrote a snail mail letter, then she mixed up some peanut butter cookies to share with the SIBTLP workshop participants and the post office workers as a thank you.  Then Sarah shifted to making a double batch of banana bread to share with some of our SITAG colleagues, and Benjamin baked some chocolate chip cookies to send to one of the village teams. 

We finished up with another double batch of of banana bread (with nuts this time), so we would have a little more to share.  It was sooo fun to have the morning set aside to intentionally do those things that I always want to do, but seem to slip through the cracks of my day.  We're already planning for next week's Colossians 2:2 day and looking for the people we can encourage!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Sarah and Katherine reading "Days on the Farm" by Kim Lewis

Making pancakes with daddy using our farm animal pancake molds.

And every morning, a noisy rendition of "Old MacDonald" rings through the house.  Being a mom brings me so much joy!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tea Party

What happens when another translator's children stop by just as we are getting ready to sit down and read "Mr. Popper's Penguins" out loud?

Eight kids ages three to twelve have an impromput tea party complete with sugar cookies (made by Benjamin) and mint tea!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Day in the LIfe of SITAG

I went for a walk around SITAG with my camera this morning.  Our family plays such a small piece of the Bible translation puzzle here in the Solomon Islands.

This map, posted in the new translation center, pinpoints every language in the Solomon Islands currently running a Bible translation project.  Lots of people give of their time and energy to help Bible translation go forward.

This week, our friend Paul (far right), who works with a language group on Guadalcanal, is participating in his first consultant check with the book of Jonah.  It's very exciting!  Consultant checking is the last step before a book is ready to go to print.  Becoming a consultant takes lots of education and experience, and Neville (far left) flew in from Australia to work with Paul's team this week.

At the same time that Paul was working his way through the book of Jonah, Peter squatted outside next to some rain tanks trying to fix a leak.  He and his wife, Yvonne, are part of Wycliffe Australia, and they are spending a couple of months in Honiara helping out SITAG.  Although fixing a leak may not seem like an important job, our rainwater supply is vital, especially now that we are in dry season.

When I walked over to the new translation center, sounds of "I Need Thee Every Hour" wafted out the louvered windows to greet me.  This SIBTLP workshop is the first one to meet in the new center.  Debbie helps teach and organize the SITBLP courses and also accompanies their beautiful singing on the keyboard.

Debbie's husband, Greg, teaching the guys about using some of the Bible translation software available, while in another room of the translation center...

...Judy keeps the translation center clean and tidy so the SIBTLP guys can spend their time in class.

When I stepped outside, I found Patson, Judy's husband, supervising these guys as they built a shelter for the clothesline.  Believe it or not, all of these people that I photgraphed with a single hour work to further Bible translation in the Solomon Islands.  We are so thankful for each and every one of the and for the families they represent!