Friday, February 28, 2014


Take two fish...

and an afternoon with four amazing ladies...

add some onion, pumpkin, coconut cream, and some laughter,

and by the end of the day, you have some delicious food and five women who have full bellies and tired legs.

But more importantly, you have full hearts and strong relationships.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Listening for footsteps

"There is no greater happiness for a man than approaching a door at the end of a day knowing someone on the other side of that door is waiting for the sound of his footsteps."
~ Ronald Reagan
Our perspective today is from inside the house listening for those footsteps because Aaron is home!  We handled his absence better than ever before.  I'm so proud of my kids.  And I know we had people all over the globe praying for us.  Even though he isn't home right now because he's picking up another team at the airport, the entire atmosphere in our house is more peaceful and content now that he is back in Honiara. 

This morning is a "normal" school day, chugging away with piano practice and math problems, and we have a SITAG meeting this afternoon, but the smiles are a little bigger and our hearts are happier now that our family is complete again.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Favorite People

I love it when our "jobs" are a good fit for our personalities.  I think it brings the Lord joy, too, as He watches us.  Some of our work this week didn't feel at all like work as we got to meet some of our favorite people at the airport.

You can tell the kids were excited, too!  We've all been looking forward to Henk and Margreet's return to the Solomon Islands.  They have such servant hearts, and they ease the workload of our SITAG family so we can focus on other things.
This afternoon, our destination was the airport, but tonight, we will drive to the wharf to pick up Aaron.  He's finally on his way home!
Tomorrow, we get to go shopping for a few things to send out on a ship for a village team.  Even though none of these "jobs" are in our official job descriptions, we think they are a vital part of Bible translation.  And, the neat thing is, because God created us this way, it brings us joy to offer ourselves in service to our colleagues.
"Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God."  Ephesians 5:1-2

Monday, February 24, 2014

Honiara Woman's Daybook

Just for today...Monday, February 24
Outside my window...a dark, "cool" rainy morning.  The kind of morning I really wanted to let the kids sleep late.
On my bookshelf..."The Quotidian Mysteries" by Kathleen Norris, on loan from a friend here
One of my favorite things...pick-your-own farms.  No matter where I live, this time of year always makes me ready to plant and look forward to harvesting.

Praying cousin on a mission trip to Guatemala and friends on a mission trip to Hungary
Pondering these words...Take a look at a rose.  Is it possible for the rose to say, "I'll offer my fragrance to good people and withhold it from bad people?"  Or can you imagine a lamp that withholds its rays from a wicked person who seeks to walk in its light?  It could do that only by ceasing to be a lamp.  And observe how helplessly and indiscriminately a tree gives its shade to everyone, good and bad, young and old, high and low; to animals and humans and ever living creature - even to the one who seeks to cut it down.  This is the first quality of compassion - its indiscriminate character.  ~Anthony DeMello
Crafting in the kitchen...trying a new recipe this morning, cinnamon raisin muffins from Southern Lady, one of my favorite magazines
A few plans for the rest of the week...most of all, we're looking forward to getting Aaron home.  But we're also excited to get some of our favorite people back in Honiara for a while.  Last time they visited, they were brave enough to come out to Marulaon again.  You can follow their adventures as they work and serve in the Solomon Islands.  Other than pick ups at the wharf and airport, we have lots of meetings again this week, and another cooking day on Friday.
A peek into my corner of the pictures because Aaron has the camera in Marulaon.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Update on Aaron

I talked to Aaron on the radio this afternoon just after the shipping report.  The ship is still way out in the western Solomon Islands, just off Kennedy Island.  That means that it is finally moving toward Marulaon, but it probably won't reach Aaron until sometime on Monday.  Since Monday is St. Matthias Day, our church's namesake, Aaron will get to join in the festivities this year as our village celebrates a feast day, just like he did in 2012.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Cross cultural cooking

Yesterday afternoon, several of the ladies who work for SITAG got together for cooking lessons.  This week we're cooking food from my culture,

but next Friday they are going to share recipes from their culture.  We made banana cake with a recipe that uses no eggs and oil instead of butter, which they really appreciate.  Butter and eggs are very expensive here.  I like to use coconut oil, so the banana cake has a really nice local flavor!

We also made what they called a "stew" to go over rice:  veggies and ground beef mixed with curry, ginger, and cinnamon.  I used a mixture of TVP mixed with ground beef, again because the meat is so expensive here, and they liked learning how to use the "dry mince", as TVP is known here. 
We had a great time, and the ladies each went home with big boxes of leftovers to share with their families.  Next week, I'm looking forward to meeting Betsy at market early in the morning to buy what we need to prepare their recipes!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Aaron back to Marulaon

Last night, we dropped Aaron off at the wharf.  This was his comfy spot for the overnight trip on the Kosco's side walkway:
We checked in with him on the radio this morning at 8:00 (he sounded like Mickey Mouse!), he said the seas were calm and that he had arrived around 7:00.  Then we tackled the radio/e-mail for a couple of hours but never could get it to work.  Since he's only out for a few days, he'll be fine.  But some of our colleagues are also out in the village, and they really need to be able to communicate with the outside world.  Would you pray for the wisdom to figure out what is keeping the equipment for working correctly? 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Honiara Woman's Daybook

Just for today...Monday, February 17
Outside my window...sunshine, sunshine, sunshine.  Rainy season is definitely over.
Creating in the kitchen...lemon cheesecake morning buns this morning from my new favorite baking blog, a keeper recipe for sure.
From the learning rooms...immigration and the Statue of Liberty.  Katherine and I are reading "When Jessie Came Across the Sea" by Amy Hest, it's one of the sweetest books ever.  Betsy and Giulio Maestro write great history books for kids (with lots of pictures), and I pulled out "The Story of the Statue of Liberty" for Katherine this week, too. 
We had fun looking at pictures from last summer when Sarah, Benjamin, Olivia and I toured New York with their children's choir.  Even though the statue was closed, we still got to sail close by.

A few plans for the rest of the week...getting Aaron on the Kosco tomorrow night for a quick trip out to Marulaon.  He'll be leading an orthography workshop in three different areas of the Russells while he's out.  We'll also be enjoying hosting some people who have just arrived at SITAG this week, but mostly we'll just be doing normal things like school and holding down the fort.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Sweet Sabbath

I know the old adage:  "The family that prays together, stays together." 

And I totally agree.

But how 'bout this one:  "The family that plays together, stays together."

How wonderful and pleasant it is
when brothers live together in harmony!

Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon
that falls on the mountains of Zion.
And there the LORD has pronounced his blessing,
even life everlasting.
Psalm 133:1, 3

Friday, February 14, 2014

Valentine's Day

“Perhaps, after all, romance did not come into one’s life with pomp and blare, like a gay knight riding down; perhaps it crept to one’s side like an old friend through quiet ways; perhaps it revealed itself in seeming prose, until some sudden shaft of illumination flung athwart its pages betrayed the rhythm and the music, perhaps . . . perhaps . . . love unfolded naturally out of a beautiful friendship, as a golden-hearted rose slipping from its green sheath.”
― L.M. Montgomery

Our "beautiful friendship" beginning to unfold in the fall of 1990

I think we might be officially old this Valentine's Day.  But I accept it gracefully if it means that my kids are absolutely amazing.  They thoughtfully pooled their tooth fairy and birthday money (their only sources of income) to send Aaron and me on a date, a very rare occasion.

And if you need a beautiful and quick Valentine's Day craft that really speaks to the REAL reason we can celebrate, go over to Mollie's blog to see what she has created!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Vegetarian Pie

Sarah made this for supper tonight.  She was thrilled to make something with lattice on top!  Supper is always beautiful whenever she cooks, although I did joke with her that the name of her dish made me think that vegetarians were inside the pie.  

Vegetarian Pie
makes one 11-inch pie
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 firm unsalted butter, sliced
1 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons butter
6 cups shredded fresh vegetables such as leeks, carrots, celery, parsnips and cabbage, in any combination
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
1/4 cup cream
1 teaspoon oregano
salt to taste
1 cup shredded mild cheese such as Edam or Gouda
1 slightly beaten egg
1 tablespoon water
Measure the four, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl or into the work bowl of the food processor with the steel blade in place.  Add the butter and cut in using a pastry blender or on/off bursts of the food processor until the butter is in pieces the size of split peas.  Add the sour cream and mix until dough forms.  Gather dough together into a ball, wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
To prepare the filling, heat the butter in a large, deep skillet or wok.  Add the vegetables and cook over high heat, stirring and tossing constantly until vegetables wilt, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and mix in the ice, cream, oregano, salt, and cheese.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  One a lightly floured board, roll out 3/4 of the pastry to make a round to fit a 10-inch pie pan or quiche pan.
Fill the pastry with the vegetable mixture.  Roll out the remaining pastry.  Cut into 1/3-inch-wide strips and arrange the strips crisscrossed over the top to make a latticework top.  Seal at the edges.  Brush with the egg and water nixed together.  Bake for 25 minutes or until golden.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


This afternoon, it was our joy to help friends load the truck and take things down to the wharf.  Helping them also made us sad, because it meant that we had to say goodbye to some of our best friends.  So, during our bittersweet day, we chose to focus on the fun of working together!
Thankfully, one of our colleagues noticed the dark clouds on the horizon and grabbed some tarps before we left SITAG.  Traffic is often bumper to bumper and in the midst of our thirty minute drive, the heavens opened up and let loose with a torrent of rain.

I started snapping pictures of the really cute kids peeking out from under the tarp, and then my colleague riding in the front seat beside me reminded me that this vehicle had windshield wipers.  And she turned them on for me.  We make great tag-team drivers!

We drove right behind the truck most of the way to the wharf.  I stuck my head out of the window and, hollered, and offered for the kids to climb in the car with us, but they all grinned and refused.

The sun came out by the time we reached the wharf and began to unload boxes onto the ship.
The littlest ones checked out the fish in the ocean while the biggest ones hauled boxes.  Then Aaron drove the truck back up to SITAG, after stopping for ice cream cones on the way, while I drove wherever my friend needed to go for last minute preparations before boarding the ship.
We returned to the wharf about 8:30 tonight (after a brief scare with a van that wouldn't start) and helped our friends settle into the space that would be "home" for the next ten hours.
Finally, about 9:30, we left with lots of hugs and prayers for our friends.
When I got to the car, the bitter overcame the sweet, and I had to wait a minute so I could see through the tears to drive home.
Friends are some of God's sweetest gifts. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Honiara Woman's Daybook

Just for today...Monday, February 10
Outside my window...los of smoke.  After raining for weeks, we've had three beautiful days of sunshine, so this afternoon was the day to burn brush piles.  My sinuses aren't very happy about the smoke streaming through the house, but I'm thankful that the mosquito "apartment buildings" are burning!

Pondering these words..."You can't get much done in life if you only work on the days when you feel good."  ~Jerry West (missing my NBA games this time of year)

Crafting in the kitchen...making lots of coffee cake with papaya on top from a recipe we got from a sweet friend while we were training in Papua New Guinea.  The best part, she's getting married in just a couple of weeks after years of praying that God would send her the perfect guy!

One of my favorite packages from bloggy friends who know you well even though you've never met.  One day, we will!

A few plans for the rest of the week...getting another village team out on Wednesday.  Saying goodbye to friends never gets any easier.

A peek into my corner of the world...I had lots of sweet helpers in my kitchen yesterday as we baked a double batch of granola.  This one worked particularly hard!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Weekend Wonders

"But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy.  Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.  For surely, O Lord, you bless the righteous; you surround them with your favor as with a shield."  Psalm 5:11-12
Noticing His favor in...
-These amazing ladies who keep SITAG clean and faithfully serve God day after day with sweet spirits.
-The stomach bug that only attacked Olivia and only lasted for about eight hours.

-Our stovetop waffle maker and a great yeast recipe that made enough for Saturday morning and for the freezer, too!

-Meeting one of my colleague's village friends, having a sweet visit with the two of them, and being eaten by mosquitos while we talked.  Then walking by some of our other national friends and translators on the way up the hill and asking them why I got bitten and they didn't, and hearing the response, "Because you are fat!"  (a compliment here) followed by lots of laughter.  It was a bonding moment.
-Taking some colleagues down to the wharf for the long ship ride out to their village.  We love being in Honiara to help out!  And we got to see a friend from Marulaon Village, too.

Friday, February 7, 2014

All work and no play...

The first Friday of each month means game night at SITAG.  It's so fun to watch everybody come together and mingle and play and let the business of the week slide away!

This Friday, we also had the big unveiling of who won the license plate contest for our new-to-SITAG and much needed vehicle.  Everybody who was interested submitted a guess for the number on the new license plate, and the closest guess won a cake baked by our director.  And the winner is...