Sunday, February 28, 2010


Sarah's poem made me smile as we studied the muscular system last week...
G lad they are there.
A lso they enable me to
S kip and walk. Without them I'd
T rip and fall from walking stiff-legged all the time.
R unning would be
O ut of the question, I
C ould not bend my knees.
N ever was I
E ver grateful for these
M uscles
I n my legs
U ntil I
S tudied them.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tsunami Warning

Just thought you all might like to know that the tsunami warning for the Solomons Islands has been cancelled, and we are all enjoying a rainy, cool Sunday afternoon.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Answers to the questions...

From e-mail:

*How far are the Russell Islands ( mile wise ) from where you are now?

I have no idea how far away in miles the Russell Islands are! (You can look it up on Google Earth.) I just know it takes us about six hours on the Bikoi.

*Does the boat just run once a week to your village?

The Bikoi leaves from Honiara on Sunday morning and goes all the way out West. We are the first stop on its trip. When it returns on Tuesday, Marulaon is the last stop before Honiara. When we get on the ship, we just look for somewhere to park all of our bags, and then we sit on the bags or stand up. We always take an ice chest and a big bag with life jackets, so those provide a nice place to sit. We're so thankful that the ship returns during the day now. The night trips were a little tricky!

*Other than a market are there any stores to buy supplies that you might need? I know that you take a lot of items with you when you go.

Our neighbors hold a small market for us twice a week so we can buy fresh produce. Sometimes there is food, sometimes there isn't! There is also a small trade store with things like canned tuna and oil and flour and rice, sometimes. The store isn't dependable either. In fact, people come to us if the store runs out of something. So, we plan to take enough food for our family, plus some to share. We take canned pumpkin and carrots, TVP (texturized vegetable protein), some dehydrated green beans, lots of rice, flour, oats, & pasta, cheese, jars of tomato paste, beans, cleaning supplies, lots of stuff. We also have a small garden, but we don't depend on it either. I planted cassava, sweet potato (totally different from the orange sweet potato in the States), green beans, tomato, chinese cabbage, watermelon, cucumber, & pumpkin. I tried planting cantaloupe (rock melon), but the bugs loved it and devoured it as soon as it came up. When we visited with Chief Leonard last week, he said that everything in the garden is doing well, so we hope to find lots of ready-to-eat produce when we return.

*Are there different villages in the Russell Islands?

There are other villages in the Russells, but I'm not sure how many. Maybe 10? One of Aaron's projects this time is to go visit each village. He and Benjamin have visited one village in the East. I've been to one to visit a market, and the whole family has walked to another. We might even put together a calendar for next year in Lavukaleve with pictures from each village.

*Are there still World War II relics around?

Yes! For example, when you visit Honiara, you can take a tour to explore Japanese bunkers, under-water wreckage, etc. One of the families that live nearby in Marulaon proudly showed us a pan from the war that says "Made in the USA". They use it to cook lelenga. Many cartridges with shells inside still wash up close to shore. A few people take the gunpowder and use it to stun fish. It's very dangerous, and everyone I've talked to disapproves. Several men and boys were killed in the Russell Islands around Christmas time when one of the shells exploded as they were extracting gunpowder.

*I would like to know about how many people are in your village.

About 300

From the comments:

*I just love hearing everything about your daily life there. I am constantly amazed at your ability to adapt to the cooking, living without a/c, new foods etc. Will you be able to get a package after March 6 and what else could I put in it besides pecans and baking chips? Have a great day!

SITAG can send packages to us on the Bikoi after March 6. Look on Facebook for the rest of your answer :-)

*I was talking to a friend about your lack of flour on the island, and she asked if you had access to other flours, like rice flour.

We don't have access to any other kind of flour, but we have put oats in the blender to make oat flour. It stretches the wheat flour pretty well.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

OT Workshop

Thanks for praying for the SITBLP Old Testament workshop! The guys overcame malaria and boils to learn lots and be encouraged by each other. We love to hear their singing float across the ravine every morning.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Q & A time

Wondering if anybody has questions about the Solomon Islands or our life here? Please drop a note in the comment box. Sometimes I forget that my experiential knowledge of our life doesn't transmit by osmosis through the blog!

Just a reminder that after Saturday, March 6, we will not be able to moderate the comments or interact with the blog from Marulaon. I will still post via e-mail, and I would still love to keep in touch with e-mail using the amazing technology of radio. If you send anything over 100K, we will not receive it until we get back to town in May, so please keep it small. We are so thankful for the ability to stay in touch!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Simple Womans' Daybook

Please visit Peggy and consider adding your own journal entry

FOR TODAY...Monday, February 22

Outside my window...dark clouds billowing and LOUD rumbles of thunder, unusual since we don't usually have thunderstorms; guys working on the storage shed next door & producing lots of banging and sawing noises

I am thinking...about noun declensions in Lavukaleve
I am thankful for...the friends that grabbed the last 25 kg bag of flour for us because they knew we needed to take flour to Marulaon

I am wearing...khaki skirt, ruby-red t-shirt, polished coconut shell hair clip

I am remembering...our 1989 family vacation to Washington, D.C., thanks to my parents who were willing to drive all night with a big family & save pennies to make lasting memories

I am meet a returning SITAG family at the airport tomorrow since their flight was canceled with the "big snow" almost two weeks ago

I am currently reading..."What Really Matters at Home" by John & Susan Yates

I am hoping...and praying that my Lavukaleve continues moving forward in its slow but steady pace

On my mind...missing being back in the States so my kids can fo fishing with my grandfather, so I can drive my grandmother to her radiation therapy, so we can wonder in the vast amount of daffodils soon to bloom on Wye Mountain, so I can watch my sister's baby belly grow

Noticing that...I love ceiling fans!

Pondering these words...even when I grieve not being with family, "The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and I am helped. My heart leaps for joy and I will give thanks to him in song." Psalm 28:7

From the kitchen...getting ready for lots of company this week and BAKING!!!

Around the house...flour, oats, rice, and pasta all finished with their time in the freezer and ready to go in rat-proof buckets, gas cylinders refilled, granola finished, boxes lined up on the porch waiting to be filled

One of my favorite things~ singing hymns in harmony with my family while we clean up the kitchen together

From my picture journal...
Katherine loves to help peel & cut hard boiled eggs for egg salad, she also begs to peel carrots & eggplant!

Sunday, February 21, 2010


Lickty, lickety, lickety-lick!

The frosting is getting thickety-thick --

The beautiful frosting

That Mother will make

To trim up the wonderful

Company cake!

But some of the sweet stuff

Is certain to stick

To the bowl and the spoon.

Judy, Johnny, come quick;

Here's the bowl,

Here's the spoon

For a lickety-lick!

--May Justus

Saturday, February 20, 2010

This is what my sweet husband does in between driving into town for gas cylinders and rain tanks and slicing affixes off Lavukaleve verbs. I'm so thankful for his servant spirit!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Check out Jello's website for some great ideas to help you celebrate National Jello Week.

And don't forget the Jello poke cake and the Jello Jigglers (a great way to review shapes)!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

And the winner is... creative friend, Gayly! We decided to send a runner-up package, too. So, Barbara, look for a small padded envelope to arrive at your house soon.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Dorm Dedication

Yesterday was an exciting day for SITAG. We held a ribbon cutting ceremony and dedicated the new dorm. Our two big girls were asked to place flowers around the necks of the two distinguished guests. The girls presented their flowers so quickly!
Archbishop Vunagi and an Wycliffe Associates (WA) executive cut the ribbon to officially open the new building which will eventually serve as a women's dorm downstairs and apartments for village teams upstairs.
Joshua Lui (president of SITBLP), Archbishop Vunagi, WA exec, and SITAG director chat over a yummy lunch.

The next building (housing offices, men's dorm, and training facilities) already underway next door! Thank you for your prayers and encouragement as one building is complete and another has begun.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

Please visit Peggy who hosts this weekly journal.

FOR TODAY...Monday, February 15

Outside my window...clouds and scattered showers, the sounds of children laughing and playing outside this afternoon

I am nice it would feel to close my eyes and take a nap right now

I am thankful for...our village chief, Leonard, who was comfortable enough to come visit on Saturday afternoon and to stay for supper!

I am wearing...denim skirt, striped shirt (a Christmas present from a sweet group of ladies in Arkansas), shell teardrop earrings

I am remembering...the heart shaped pancakes my mom used to make for Valentine's Day, accompanied by pink syrup.

I am mail a few care packages this week

I am currently reading..."A Grammar of Lavukaleve" by Angela Terrill, just a little light reading

I am hoping...and praying that wheat arrives at the Honiara flour mill soon!!!

On my mind...three ways to be obedient to Christ: 1) let my roots grow down into Him & His Word so I can draw up nourishment, 2) grow in faith, strong & vigorous in the truth, 3) let my life overflow with thanksgiving (Colossians 2:6-7)

Noticing that...I'm missing my extended family a whole bunch

Pondering these words..."Start by doing what's necessary; then do what's possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." St. Francis of Assisi

From the kitchen...fingerfood lunch today at the new dorm dedication, pasta bake tonight with crab that we bought from Russell Islands friends at the market

Around the house...paper skeletons with their bones labled, clothes hanging on the porch trying to dry during rainy season

One of my favorite things~staying in touch with family and friends across the miles

From my picture journal...

super-chef Sarah working on her Valentine's Day was yummy!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Sweet Sabbath

"I will praise God's name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving." Psalm 60:39

-love songs in the CD player ("All About Love" by Steven Curtis Chapman, "Best of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong", "Only You" by Harry Connick, Jr., and [blush] "Chicago's Greatest Hits 1982-1989")
-my "archaeologist" husband: "An archaeologist is the best husband any woman can have -- the older she gets the more he is interested in her." Agatha Christie

-making heart shaped popcorn balls with the girls to share with the neighbors
-the way the cream swirls in my morning coffee lovingly prepared by my husband

-sweet ribbons on little girl braids
-singing together as a family

-watching my kids' minds work and soak up new things

-washable markers

-making red, strawberry scented playdough with Katherine (and having enough flour left to make it!)

-observing my children live out this verse with each other, "My goal is that they will be encouraged and knit together by strong ties of love..." Col. 2:2a

-refreshing smoothies made of orange juice, pineapple, and bananas

-a creative first born daughter who loves to celebrate Valentine's Day by making cards and sharing yummy treats with almost everybody she knows

-diligent ants racing down the wall with their "all-you-can-eat-buffet" (Proverbs 6:6)
-nine year old boy bear hugs
-hearing the lids pop & seal shut on rows and rows of recently canned pumpkin and carrots

Saturday, February 13, 2010


This small, rosewood tray was labled a "bread tray" in the craft shop, and it's the only wooden tray I've been able to find. I liked it so much that I tried it out with my morning coffee. If nobody comments, I get to keep it! But if you would like to own it, please post your comment by midnight CST, Monday, February 15. (This will be our last giveaway for a few months as we prepare to go back to Marulaon.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What we've been doin'...

-turning the SITAG generator on and off and on and off and on as Honiara's electricity has frequently been undependable this week

-trying a fabulous new recipe to use the cottage cheese I made and eggplant (which is plentiful in Marulaon)

-language learning, "Ngai molev ruvalev oa fiv alev." (I saw six big canoes.) Notice all of the "v's"? Since "canoes/molev" is plural, the adjective, the focus marker, and the verb all have to agree. Please keep on praying for this slow brain...

-missing our friends in Marulaon

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Zealand fun

We've really enjoyed "visiting" New Zealand.

Sarah researced Maori carvings and copied one of the designs as she carved a bar of soap.

Then Sarah presided as head chef and whipped up some pavlova.

Benjamin could hardly wait for it to finish cooking...

but it was worth the wait - yummy!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Simple Woman's Daybook

Please visit Peggy and share your own daybook.

FOR TODAY... Monday, February 8

Outside my window...HOT & sunny, but we've got a little breeze, too; the three big kids are at a birthday party up the hill

I am thinking...about the new stove in this SITAG house. Thanks to those of you who contributed to ongoing needs of the accomodations fund. Now I no longer have to worry about flames exploding and engulfing my arm up to my elbow while I cook!

I am thankful for...God's "shepherding" and that He never leaves me or forsakes me

I am wearing...white t-shirt, green floral skirt made by Nana, barefoot, hair in a French twist

I am much I loved to play the cello, especially with my handsome, brown eyed stand partner

I am attempt to make cottage cheese

I am currently reading...Biblical Archealogy Review, January/February issue

I am get all of my canning for the village done this week
On my mind...all of the fun and beautiful things to cook at this website. Wonder if I could take a stash out to Marulaon?

Noticing that...I've been quite scatterbrained and forgetful lately

Pondering these words..."If I rise on the wings of the dawn, If I settle on the far side of the sea [that's me!], even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast." Ps. 139:9-10

From the kitchen...egg salad sandwiches and a big pot of chili

Around the house...piles of supplies for Marulaon beginning to accumulate...again

One of my favorite things~string quartets

From my picture journal...

Olivia was supposed to be dressing Katherine as we began our day. Sarah came running for the camera because she found them giggling on my bed and thought her two little sisters were just "too cute". I am so thankful that my kids love each other (most of the time) and enjoy playing together.

And the winner is...

...Abi. Hope you enjoy your new tongs!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sweet Sabbath

"Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you." Carl Sandburg

"Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom....Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love, that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days....May your deeds be shown to your servants, your splendor to their children. May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us; establish the work of our hands for us--yes, establish the work of our hands."

Psalm 90:12, 14, 16, 17

Friday, February 5, 2010


It's time once again to say a BIG thanks to those of you who mail cards, support us financially, pray for us, send care packages, drop us an e-mail...all of the many ways you encourage our family as we go back and forth from Honiara to Marulaon. These are lovely handmade rosewood tongs inlaid with shell. We own a very similar pair and use them almost every day. Drop us a note in the comment box before midnight CST, Sunday, Febrary 7th, and the last name our kids draw will receive these in a care package from the Solomon Islands.