Saturday, October 31, 2009

Signing Off

We're leaving in a little over an hour to find our spot on the crowded boat among the hundreds of other people traveling out to the western half of the Solomons. Just a reminder that we will not have internet access while we are in Marulaon, so I will have to play catch up on reading blogs when we come back in January. We think we have the radio e-mail (still boggles my mind) fixed, so we will be able to send and receive small e-mail messages and send blog posts as well. Please keep leaving your comments (we love to read your reactions to our life in the village), and I will moderate them when we come back.
"Saddle up your horses, we've got a trail to blaze through the wild blue yonder of God's amazing grace. We'll follow our Leader into the glorious unknown..." Steven Curtis Chapman
On to the next great adventure in Marulaon...

Friday, October 30, 2009

And They're Off..

Aaron just left with all of our stuff in the back of the SITAG truck. He is headed for the wharf...


Part of our stuff waiting underneath the house to load the Bikoi in just a couple of hours -- things like cylinders of gas to run our fridge and stove, containers of petrol (gasoline to those of you back in the States) in case we need to rent a motor canoe, rat and insect proof buckets of flour, rolls and rolls of toilet paper, lots of new school books, & many jars of tomato paste.
We'll load our stuff on the Bikoi this afternoon and load ourselves early in the morning. Our boat leaves about 5 p.m. CST Saturday night. We're so thankful for your prayers as we make the adjustment back to Marulaon again.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back from Brisbane

Aaron and Benjamin are back from Brisbane (and our house is no longer quiet!). A great eye doctor's visit plus some fun sight seeing plus a generous couple to host them...

equaled a memory making trip. Thanks for your prayers!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

This daybook is hosted by Peggy.

For today...Monday, October 26, 2009

Outside my window...darkness, insects humming, neighbor in the valley trying out every single ringtone on his new phone

I am thinking...about how God never leaves me in my comfort zone for very long. "Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you." Psalm 9:10

I am thankful for...a good report for my Benjamin's eyes. Still in awe at how God works.

I am wearing...pajamas and about to crawl under the covers

I am remembering...a long list of things to do before we load the boat on Saturday

I am going...gray

I am reading...nothing outside of my "Jesus Time" this week

I am hoping...Katherine sleeps well tonight. She really misses her amazing Daddy.

On my mind...this sweet nature-inspired stationary

From the learning rooms...Benjamin schooling with Daddy in Australia, the girls studying with Mama at home, everybody gets a short week so we can pack up the books

Noticing that..."absence makes the heart grow fonder" is true

Pondering these words...about how to spark my child's imagination and wondering how to implement them best in Marulaon

From the out the fridge and freezer as we finish the packing and move back to Marulaon

Around the house...a girls' game of "hand and foot" in progress (Olivia is making a comeback), the list from SITAG of everything we have to do in the house before we leave at the end of the week, an almost completed "Noah's Ark" poster for Katherine's circle time

One of my favorite things...good old Apricot Scrub from St. Ives

From my picture journal...

our new favorite game for PE - "pie in the snow" (minus the snow)

Another Brisbane Update

From an e-mail from Aaron a few minutes ago:

"They say Benjamin's vision is great. His eyes are seeing about the same which is really good. At distance his eyes go out a bit and near they go in. But either way it is like 3%. They say anything under 5% they leave alone. They were complimentary of Dr. Gross's [B's eye doctor in Dallas] care and say B is in really good shape. I think Dr. Gole said and "oil and lube job". So he says he doesn't need to see B for another year. We are set with a tentative appt the end of Sept 2010."

Thanks for all of your prayers! This is better than anything we could have asked for...God is so good to give bountifully, as usual.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Sweet Sabbath

"The LORD is my strength, my shield from every danger. I trust in him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving. " Psalm 28:7 NLT

From our list on the fridge:

*four pairs of hands working together to make "Noah's Ark" for littlest sister

*"butuful sunshine" (from Olivia)

* fresh squeezed bush lime juice

*Elmer's gel glue

*butter on hot pumpkin bread (from Sarah)

*Mama and Daddy -because I love them- and Sarah, Benjamin, and Katherine -because they are joyful- (from Olivia)

*e-mail to communicate with a far-away husband

*ginger snaps straight from the oven

*breakfast in bed with my sweet girls

*people on the other end of care packages

*playing outside with my kids

*three pairs of brown eyes (each one unique)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Brisbane Update

Internet has been up and down a lot lately, but I wanted to let everybody know that Aaron and Benjamin have made it safely to Brisbane. Aaron e-mailed me and let me know that Benjamin had chosen to eat at McDonalds :-)
Thanks for your prayers for Benjamin's appointment Monday morning (8 p.m. Sunday night, CST). We're looking forward to the meeting with his new doctor.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Answered Prayer

Right now, I am listening to a solid, steady rain. I awoke in the night when it began, and it's been pouring life into the rain tanks for hours now. Thank You, Lord.

New Building

The kids and I took a tour of the new facility that so many people have helped to build. With all of the Wycliffe Associates members that have come to help and the many hard-working men from local villages the new building is almost complete!

This is the view West toward the foundation of the next new building.

The guys had to dig through rock to make the hole for the septic tank, but I'm glad we've got it. This means indoor bathrooms!

My three muskateers thought that the space under one of the landings would make a great place to play.

Capacity for the new building is 16 people. There are 8 bedrooms total.

Three kitchens and 41/2 bathrooms. Two apartments upstairs to house future families coming to help with translation...

...and the space downstairs will be used to house the ladies who come to attend translation workshops or volunteers coming to help. There are 4000 square feet - 2000 downstairs and 2000 upstairs.

This is an absolutely beautiful building, and we are so excited to watch the part it plays in furthuring Bible translation! If you are interested in helping fund this new building or the next one, visit the Wycliffe Associates catalog and scroll down to "Give the Gift of Housing for Translators". The Solomon Islands project is #3374GH3. Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Water Update

From SITAG's director a few minutes ago:
"Ok now its serious. We had a couple of hours of water from SIWA yesterday but we are going backwards every day and have less than one day’s supply left. Please stop any discretionary usage (including clothes washing). I am trying to arrange a water tanker today which will provide about 1 day's supply. "

SITBLP Workshop

Lots is always going on at SITAG ! In an SIBTLP (Solomon Island Bible Translation and Literacy Partnership) workshop, almost twenty independent translators are meeting with a translation consultant this week to finalize the dialogue of the story of Abraham.

The words will be paired with graphic art and printed in an effort to get parts of the scripture into people's hands before the entire Bible is translated.

We even ran into our old friend, Reverend Bea (on the right), whom we met for the first time on our trip to Munda! This is the third week in a row that SIBTLP has held a workshop here at SITAG. We are so thankful for the men and women who are willing to leave their families and come to receive training.

Monday, October 19, 2009

This just in...

From SITAG's director a moment ago:

"Just confirming that water is still tight. We have been getting reasonable but intermittent supplies from SIWA [Solomon Island Water Association]. We have extra workshop participants here this week, who have all been advised to be careful with water. The new tank is installed and connected to a rainwater supply and SIWA, so it can fill from whatever is available.

"Our holding capacity is now around 5400 gallons (up 1000 with the new tank) and we have about 3800 in storage at the moment. I estimate that we are using somewhere between 1200-1500 gallons a day, so you will appreciate that we are still very dependent on good supplies from SIWA. Hopefully our usage will fall next week after the workshop. Please continue to pray for good rain..."

Simple Woman's Daybook

Please visit Peggy who hosts this daybook. She's added some new prompts!

FOR TODAY...October 19, 2009

Outside my window...sun popping up over the Pacific and the heavens declaring the glory of God in brilliant color

I am thinking...about my friend Gayly. Her family is headed to Washington D.C. so her husband can run a marathon to raise money for Love Without Boundaries. Go Shawn!

I am thankful for...the SITAG generator that kicks in when Honiara's power goes off
I am wearing...turquoise cotton pajamas
I am grandfather whose birthday is tomorrow. Happy birthday!
I am enjoy lots of company this week as we try to have each SITAG family over one more time before we leave
I am reading...Sonlight's Core 5 lesson plans. We will be starting Cores 5 & K in December and I'm trying to have all my ducks in a row before we leave for Marulaon.
I am hoping...and praying that Aaron and Benjamin have a great trip to Australia and get a good doctor's report.
On my mind...keeping an intentionally slow pace to allow room in our family for creativity, helping others, etc.

From the learning rooms...History - Truman Doctrine, Korean & Vietnam wars, civil rights movement, Sarah - finding volume, Benjamin - hours, minutes, & other units of time, Olivia - addition within 100, Katherine - sorting and matching colors, etc.
Noticing that...two year olds fill me with joy and wonder and laughter
Pondering these words... "Live simply. Love Generously. Care Deeply. Speak Kindly. Leave the rest to God."~Ronald Reagan
From the kitchen...breakfast casserole and cubed papaya to start the day, tuna salad & crackers with tomato slices and the last of the carrot sticks (no more in town) for lunch, and curried lentils with gingersnaps for dessert all made by chef Olivia
Around the house...a game of Express in between hands (wondering who will win?), packing for the trip to Australia, coloring pages of MLK strung up next to excellent handwriting samples

One of my favorite things~ grateful children
From my picture journal...
the view out the window this morning

Friday, October 16, 2009

Bughotu New Testament Dedication

Thank you for praying for our friends last weekend during the Bughotu New Testament dedication. We asked them if we could share some of their words and pictures to let you know that your prayers make a difference!

From the translation family:

"Well, it's officially over....the dedication of the Bughotu NT!!! We are just overwhelmed at how smoothly the whole thing went and how God answered prayer. Thank you for praying!!!!

"All of our overseas guests (10) and Wycliffe friends (13) blessed us so much by putting up with the lack of comfort that comes with boat travel and village living. It meant so much to have them all with us and to experience the life we've lived for the past 12 years. No one got sick!!!

"All of the transport went off as planned and God kept us safe!...the long 18 hour ship ride there, the 2 1/2 hour motor canoe ride up to an airstrip (for some of us), the small plane ride back (for some of us), John's very scary 2 1/2 hour motor canoe ride back to the village in the dark and rain, our director's motor canoe ride back to Honiara, and the 7 hour ship ride back to Honiara (for some of us). Transport here in the Solomons often does not go as planned, so this was a miracle in itself!

"All of the 700 Bibles we had sent out to Sigana were sold within 15 minutes! About 250 Bibles that were to be sold in town were shipped out to the village yesterday so that those who were unable to purchase one at the dedication can do so.

"And now, please pray with us that the Holy Spirit would urge the people to read their Bibles faithfully and to apply the truths to their lives. "

"Na komi rioriso gougovu kena mono koragna na komi Rioriso ke Tabu kena au mai kori ghaghanagna a God. Na komi Rioriso ke Tabu, na fata ke nagho bali velepuhighitagna na hava ke tutuni, bali vathaothadoghaghita eigna na hava ke boi jino kori havida, bali vajinoagna na havida, ma na bali velepuhighitagna eigna katida eia na hava ke jino."
2 Timoti 3:16 in the Bughotu language.

"All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right." 2 Timothy 3:16.

From a literacy family who has worked closely with the Bughotu language and attended the dedication:

"Hundreds of people came from all over the Bughotu area (representing several coastal villages on Isabel Island) to attend the dedication. They came by canoe, motor boat, and by walking. Our family arrived by ship--hot, sweaty, and exhausted after 19 hours aboard a noisy cargo boat. Two other missionary families along with several guests from the US came with us. The ship dropped us off at one village where we unloaded our stuff then took two motor boats across the bay to the place where the launching was held.
"When we finally arrived, it looked like the whole village had come to the beach to greet us! They had set up a special shelter for us and other distinguished guests (church leaders and government officials) where a long table was laid with platters of steaming rice, sweet potato, pineapple, chicken, fish and lobster. Talk about a welcome! Then, while we ate, the villagers gathered around the shelter and began to sing. It was amazing and humbling to be treated with such honor.

"We stayed in a local village home, and the men and women from nearby villages took turns cooking and serving all of us for four days.

"At 6:30am Sunday morning, we attended the special dedication church service for the Bughotu New Testament. The Bishop, visiting priests and village leaders led the two hour service which concluded with the blessing of the new Bibles. Later, everyone gathered outside as a procession of youth and church leaders, marching and singing, carried the boxes of Bibles to the shelter where they would be sold. After several speeches, the Bishop cut the ribbon, officially launching the Bible sales.

"How can I describe the incredible rush, the pressing of the crowds around the shelter as people eagerly held out their money (about $2 US) to purchase a Bible in their own language? All 700 copies of the Bughotu New Testaments sold out in 15 minutes! Many people left with a Bible in their hands. Others left with the promise that more would be coming later. Please pray that these Bibles will be read as eagerly as they were purchased and that God will change lives through His Word. "

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Today in science, we read a little bit about the different types of rocks. I remembered back to a day several years ago when a friend had given me some fun recipes to help the kids remember how the rocks are formed. Thanks, Melanie, for a memorable and yummy day in science!
Igneous rocks – cereal balls
Air is trapped in the cereal much like air gets trapped in pumice when that molten rock cools quickly. Melt 1/3 cup margarine with a 10 oz. package of marshmallows. Stir in 6 1/2 cups of crispy cereal. If you teach mafic and felsic, use chocolate cereal and regular cereal. Form mixture into balls and place on waxed paper.

Sedimentary rock – layer bars
Each ingredient represents a different layer of sediment. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a 13" by 9" pan, melt 1/2 cup of margarine. Sprinkle 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs over the margarine. Pour one can of sweetened condensed milk evenly over the crumbs. Top with 1 cup chocolate chips, 1 1/3 cups coconut, and 1 cup chopped nuts. Press down firmly. Bake for 25 minutes. Cut into bars.

Metamorphic rock
Place 12 oz. of white chocolate bark and 12 oz. of chocolate chips in separate bowls. Melt each in the microwave for 2-3 minutes. Pour the white chocolate onto waxed paper, then swirl in the chocolate chips. Refrigerate until hard. Break into pieces to serve.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ending in Perfect Satisfaction

Last night, I was reading "Little Town on the Prairie" with Olivia as we snuggled on her bed. The chapter finished with this quote, and I thought Laura's words beautifully summed up the way I felt about the day.

"The day was ending in perfect satisfaction. They were all there together. All the work, except the supper dishes, was done until tomorrow. They were all enjoying good bread and butter, fried potatoes, cottage cheese, and lettuce leaves sprinkled with vinegar and sugar. Beyond the open door and window the prairie was dusky but the sky was still pale, with the first stars beginning to quiver in it."

Here's the Choate version:

"The day was ending in perfect satisfaction. They were all there together. Autumn leaf crafts hung in the window while the smell of decaf Maple Nut coffee from the Kitchen Store (in Conway, AR) wafted through the air. Aaron read from "The Wizard of Oz" while everyone enjoyed the crusty apple brownies that Sarah had made. Kids quickly brushed their teeth and jumped into bed to read and snuggle for a few minutes before Joanna turned off the lights. And very soon, the whole household lay in the dark listening to the much needed rain singing as it poured into the rain tanks."

"Creativity will broaden, deepen, intensify your relationship with God. It can be your most vital, viable, examining experience resulting in wonder and worship."
Ruth Vaughn

Monday, October 12, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Please consider visiting Peggy who hosts this Daybook

For today...Monday, October 12

Outside my window...dusk is falling, mosquitos are hungry

I am thinking...about this quote, "Gratitude glues to God and silence lets annoyance mount the steps and I should have kept the door shut with the thanks." and Ann's wise words.

From the learning rooms...History - finishing up WWII, Science - the micro world of rocks, Language learning - making flashcards to help us remember feminine, masculine, and neuter and listening LOTS

I am thankful for...a sweet church in Memphis who blessed us with new technology

From the kitchen...yogurt and granola parfaits for breakfast, leftovers for lunch, curried chicken with raisins & apples (an old Williams' family favorite) for supper with chef Olivia

I am wearing...denim skirt with white flowers & paisleys topstitched on it, a white sleeveless knit top, freshwater pearl & garnet earrings, barefooted and hair in a twist

I am reading..."Search for the Source" by Neil Anderson

I am catch up on e-mail soon

I am hearing...Tchaikovsky string quartets, insects humming outside, spoons stirring in the kitchen

Around the house...supper cooking on the stove (it smells great!), kids in the tub, painted rocks drying outside to help Katherine sort colors, a big box of starfruit just harvested from a tree pruned on SITAG property, language learning flashcards the kids made today

One of my favorite things...Bath & Body Works rosemary mint hand wipes

A few plans for the rest of the week...continued shopping for the village and culling everything I need from the internet before we go

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you:
no pictures on this computer yet, sorry!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Sweet Sabbath

Heart overflowing with gratitude this Sunday:

-the sound of rain filling up the rain tanks

-care packages filled with color and love
-chai tea served in a beautiful teapot from a friend across the ocean
-brown ringlets bouncing

-singing hymns together as a family this morning
-listening to sermons preached by friends on the other side of the ocean

-scented fall candles

-kids who like to cook

-friends with a new baby who unexpectedly drop by and decide to stay and play hearts
-a two year old playing joyfully in the rain

-apple cake fresh out of the oven

-jars full of of carrots and apples waiting to make the boat trip out to Marulaon

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Leaky Pipe

When is a leaky pipe a good thing? When God uses it to show you that town has turned it's water supply back on!
Thanks to those of you who have prayed for rain. We haven't gotten any rain, but Thursday afternoon, we noticed that there was water gushing out of a pipe behind our house (the pipes here are souped-up water hoses mostly above ground). The pipe was quickly fixed, it just needed to be rethreaded. SITAG's director was able to call and cancel the water truck he had ordered just minutes before it was supposed to arrive, and his phone call saved SITAG lots of money and hassle. I love watching God's perfect timing!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009


a downpour last week producing a beautiful little stream by our house

Please pray for rain in Honiara. The city water has been unreliable this week, but SITAG has rain tanks set up to provide drinking water and to help supplement the city water for cleaning clothes, dishes, etc. We have extra people here for the Boghotu New Testament dedication, and we have run out of water in the city tanks. A good rain would help fill them back up.

"As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it." Isaiah 55:10-11

Monday, October 5, 2009

Simple Woman's Daybook

Please visit Peggy who hosts this opportunity to record a slice of everyday life.

For Today...Monday, October 5

Outside my window...on again, off again showers, so the clothes have come in from the clothesline to dry on the porch

I am thinking...about Psalm 103:13-14 and being convicted by the question "Did I show loving compassion, comfort, and support, remembering my child's young and foolish heart, or did I unduly correct him and expect more of him than he could perform?"

From the learning rooms...History - WWII, D-day, Eisenhower, Sarah - drawing parallelograms & rhombuses, Benjamin - telling time & math review, Olivia - combining tens & ones, Science - creepy crawlies under the microscope, Language Learning - playing a game to help us sort & remember masculine, feminine, & neuter nouns and all of the ways they have to agree (sing/plural, verb affixes, number, etc.), PE - jump rope

I am thankful for...scented candles to help me imagine that it's autumn

From the kitchen...muffins & yogurt pops for breakfast, leftovers for lunch, and spaghetti for supper (with chef Olivia), nice & easy to start the week

I am wearing...denim wrap-around skirt & a pink plaid sleeveless shirt (both finds at the second hand store here in Honiara)

I am reading..."Mary on Horseback" by Rosemary Wells out loud with the kids

I am hoping...that we laugh as much today as we did yesterday!

I am hearing...neighbors hammering on their new roof, kids outside playing, the ubiquitous ceiling fan

Around the house...Christmas packages ready to be mailed to the States, potato stamped triangles and squares hanging up to dry, Katherine taking a nap

One of my favorite things...rainy days which melt into deliciously cool nights

A few plans for the rest of the week...beginning to preserve apples and carrots to take to Marulaon, hosting a family with a new baby for supper, baking cookies for afternoon tea for the SITBLP Grammar workshop

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

Kids reviewing their note names on the grand staff we constructed on the floor with blue tape, getting my visual, tactile, and aural learners by using flashcards and bells, too!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Benjamin's Turn in the Kitchen

Benjamin chose a "sweet-lips" fish to prepare for his meal this week. He had a lesson from Aaron in gutting, scaling, and filleting the fish. Benjamin also peeled and smashed the umalau for the souffle. Unfortunately, the souffle never rose, so it resembled mashed potatoes, but it was still delicious! We all pitched in to scrape coconut, snap green beans, and slice the watermelon because it would have taken Benjamin hours to do everything by himself.

He worked hard, and the results reminded me summers at my grandparents home on Lake Conway. Garden fresh produce and fish just pulled out of the water- yum!

Benjamin's menu:
coconut creamed fish
kumara (know as umalau in Lavukaleve) souffle
watermelon wedges
green beans
Coconut Creamed Fish
750 g (1 1/2 lb) fish fillets
2 cups coconut cream
2 tbsp chopped onion
1 tsp salt
chilli optional
1 tbsp cornflour (cornstarch)
seasoned flour
Mix corn flour to a smooth paste using 1 tbsp of coconut cream. Add these to a saucepan along with the balance of the cocnut cream, finely chopped oinions, salt, and chilli. Bring to boiling point only, and let it simmer for a few minutes.
Cut fish into serving sized portions. Dip fish in seasoned flour and fry in hot oil until brown. Drain well and place fish ina casserole. Pour the sauce over. Place slices of tomatoes on top, cover and bake at 150 C (300 F) for 20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.