Monday, March 28, 2016

Easter Monday Fun Run

Easter Monday is a public holiday here, and as long as we've been living in the Solomon Islands, the Rotary Club has held a 5K fun run.

We woke up to rain this morning, but by the time we drove down to the start of the race, the rain had stopped, leaving nice clouds and cooler temps.  The most difficult part of the race is the very beginning of the course, which goes straight up a big hill.  What goes up must come down, and the sound of hundreds of flip-flops running down a slick hill behind me was one of the most frightening sounds I've ever heard!

Sunday, March 27, 2016


For the first time in more than ten years, the egg whites for our traditional resurrection cookies didn't beat into peaks.  Even after 30 minutes with an electric mixer.  So we just spread the whole thing on a silpat on the cookie sheet, and it was delicious.

Several of our SITAG family attended a sunrise service at the American memorial.  The truck full of chairs and people pulled out a few minutes after 5:00 while the sky was quite dark.
Many different mother tongues and cultures were represented at the worship service.  It was a perfect way to start the day.  And we followed it with a potluck lunch back at SITAG, thankful that the cross gives us a reason to celebrate.

from "The Mediator" in The Valley of Vision
Thou hast devised the means
to rescue me from sin's perdition,
to restore me to happiness, honour, safety.
I bless thee for the everlasting covenant,
for the appointment of a Mediator.

I rejoice that he failed not, nor was discouraged,
but accomplished the thou gavest him to do;
and said on the cross, "It is finished."
I exult in the thought that
thy justice is satisfied,
thy truth established,
thy law magnified,
and a foundation is laid for my hope.

I look to a present and personal interest
in Christ and say,
Surely he has borne my griefs,
carried my sorrows,

Aaron's grandmother's recipe - a wedding present

won my peace,
healed my soul.
Justified by his blood I am saved by his life,
Glorying in his cross I bow to his scepter...

Saturday, March 26, 2016

The crickets chirp loudly outside

and inside we add our own joyful noise.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Friday

Aaron and I drove down to the wharf today to find the Kosco and discover its travel plans for this weekend.  Unfortunately, the ship isn't going for the third week in a row.  So, Aaron will be trying to work out details to secure a motor canoe to come from Marulaon and rendezvous at the end of Guadalcanal.  We are so thankful for Henk and Margreet who are making this trip financially possible and are willing to loan Henk out for a few day of hard, intense, and hot labor in the village.

After learning information about ship, we drove over to visit with some Lavukal friends who live in Honiara.  Sarah made a big batch of hot cross buns this morning, and we wanted to share the buns.  We also printed the first trial copy of Aitum Ovovo (Daughter of the King) and wanted them to be the first ones to look over the book and make suggestions for its use.  We were delighted to learn that they have a new grandbaby.  Iggy is five months old and an absolute doll!  I wanted to bring him home with me.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Purim and remembering God's faithfulness

A encouraging care package from Gayly arrived just in time for us to make chocolate Hamantaschen for Purim.

I love watching my kids work together to make a treat of remembrance.  God's faithfulness and sovereignty have been recorded over and over and over again through the years - beginning in the Bible and continuing to the present in our little corner of the world.

I want to be intentional about recording His faithfulness to our family, whether I use traditional family recipes or this blog or other "stones of remembrance" to pass down the truth that God is in control and He is working in our lives.

And the winner is...

Gayly.  And Ruth.  And Melissa.  Because I couldn't limit it to just one person.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

1963 Pillsbury Cookbook: Meat Balls in Spaghetti Sauce

Olivia chose to make meat balls in spaghetti sauce when her turn to be head chef rolled around.  (I love Olivia's pretty curls at the nape of her neck.)  The family gave this recipe two thumbs up!  And it was very good as leftovers, too.
Meat Balls in Spaghetti Sauce
(Serves 6 generously)
1 cup chopped onion
1 small clove garlic, crushed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 lb 12 oz can tomatoes
2 (6 oz) cans tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon leaf oregano
1 teaspoon crushed dried sweet basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon pepper
14 ounces spaghetti, cooked
grated Parmesan cheese

Brown onion and garlic in oil in skillet.  Add tomatoes, tomato paste, water, sugar, salt, oregano, sweet basil, parsley flakes and pepper.  Simmer, uncovered, 1 to 2 hours.  Add following Meat Balls.  Simmer 1 hour longer.  Serve over hot spaghetti.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Meat Balls
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1 egg
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon leaf oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried sweet basil
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons cooking oil

Combine beef, egg, cheese, bread crumbs, parsley flakes, onion, garlic, salt, oregano, sweet basil and pepper.  Shape into 18 meat balls.  Brown in oil in skillet.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Weekend Wonders (and a giveaway!)

Palm Sunday kind of snuck up on me.  With two botched attempts at getting Aaron and Henk out to the village (the ship didn't go again this weekend), other things have been crowding out this important celebration.  I did like attending the 6:00 a.m. service this morning and watching the sun come up.  And God gave us sweet rain after we got home and enjoyed Sarah's cinnamon rolls for brunch.  A sweet Sunday morning, indeed.
Friday night, our kids gave a small recital featuring the musical pieces and some of the memorization they've been working on since our arrival in the Solomon Islands.  Margreet took pictures, thankfully, since I turned on my camera to discover a dead battery.  We were super grateful for the adopted aunts and uncles who willing to come sit and listen to our kids.

The lovely coconut soap here is now packaged differently than it was when we left last year.  That is reason enough for a blog giveaway!  And supposedly, the soap is anti-ageing.  I think we should do an informal survey on that quality.  Especially since Katherine was looking at me funny while we were playing games this afternoon.  I asked her what she was thinking, and she said, "I don't want you to get old."  Then I realized she had been looking at my gray hair.  She likes to keep track of how many I have.

So, if you are interested in owning a few bars of Solomon Island coconut soap (which may or may not be anti-ageing), please leave a comment by Wednesday, March 23, midnight, CDST.  We ship just about anywhere!

Saturday, March 19, 2016


Oh, how I love this man God has given me for so many years of my life.  But that doesn't keep us from hitting potholes in our marriage.  We've experienced some bumps together this week, and I'm so grateful for a husband who believes our marriage is worth fighting for and that the potholes are effective instruments of change.  Our journey of resurfacing the marriage road reminded me of some notes I had taken when I read "What Did You Expect?" a few months ago:
"There are three primary tools of difference that God uses in marriage to reveal our hearts.  The first the difference in personal hardwiring that the Creator has formed in each of us.  Second is the difference in viewpoints, instincts, and tastes that have been formed in us through the experiential, cultural, and relational influences that we have lived in which have formed the way we see the world and respond to it.  And, finally there are the differences in personal sin and weakness and in our growth in grace.  We are not all in the same place on our journey to Christlike maturity.
It is so important to remember that these three things are not to be viewed as he potholes to be avoided on the road to a good marriage but as effective instruments of change in the hands of a loving, wise, and faithful Redeemer.  He is worth trusting, even in those moments when it is hard for us to trust one another, because, no matter what the motives of our spouse might be, our Savior is up to something good."

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Cleaning the ERC

SITAG has a hidden treasure underneath one of the houses.

Most people would walk in this small room, take one look at the dust, sniff the musty air, and walk back out.

But those of us with children hold the Educational Resource Center close to our hearts.

The value we place on this hidden gem spurred us on to a big cleaning day. 

Each in-country member of the CHED committee, most of the SITAG kids, and two of our employees gathered this afternoon with dust rags in hand, ready to clean the dust and soot off the shelves and precious books.

We eradicated gecko eggs and spider webs, organized shelves, ate cookies, and worked together like a well oiled machine to protect our treasure.

Multiple generations tackled the work together.  And we tried not to read the books while we cleaned and repaired them.
What a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ, equipped with everything good for doing His will as He works in us what is pleasing to him (Hebrews 13:21).

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

1963 Pillsbury Cookbook: Chicken-Rice Casserole

Head chef Benjamin chose to cook the Chicken-Rice Casserole for his night to cook.  Chickens are precious here, about US $12 for a whole chicken, so Benjamin used only half the meat called for in the recipe.  Our family found that it was still delicious!

Chicken-Rice Casserole
8 servings
1/2 cup canned mushroom pieces and stems
1 chicken bouillon cube
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cups light cream
3 cups cooked rice
3 cups diced cooked chicken
1/4 cup chopped pimiento
2 tablespoons minced parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup buttered bread crumbs or crushed potato chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Drain mushrooms; reserve liquid.  Combine mushrooms liquid and enough hot water to measure 1 cup; add bouillon cube.  Sauté onion and mushrooms in butter in skillet until tender.  Stir in flour.
Gradually add bouillon and cream.  Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens.  Add rice, chicken, pimiento, parsley, salt and pepper  Turn into 2-quart casserole.  Top with crumbs.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes, until lightly browned.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One of our SITAG employees came home with a new baby yesterday afternoon, so Roxanne and I stole a few minutes from our day to take some food down to the house.  And to hold the precious little one, too.  Mama and baby are doing well!