Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Road Trips Down Memory Lane

I went to Louisiana this past weekend. Timmy came with me since I was driving and it is fun to do a Road Trip. Just as when I went to Kansas, I ushered in some cold weather. Maybe the Lord knows I enjoy chilly weather and getting to wear sweaters and coats.

Traveling around the country, meeting new people, reconnecting with old friends, is one of the best joys of this 'job'.

Reconnecting with old friends was very special on this trip to Louisiana. The pastor of Hebron Baptist Church in Denham Springs, was our pastor when we lived for a short time in Port Allen, Louisiana. He baptized our four oldest children over 12 years ago! We haven't seen him since.

Timmy, six years old, with Pastor Joe in August, 1999
 I really should have gotten a picture with Timmy and Pastor Joe today. Timothy, at six feet, kinda towers over the pastor now. 

You have a chance to be a part of our family history now:

Timmy and I will both be in Dallas this week and are looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible this Thursday evening in Allen, TX (north of Dallas).

There will be snacks and drinks (I nearly typed snakes there....there will be no live snakes! I promise!) so please come and have fun!

Exactly Two Years Ago: Fab Friday Foto XIX  This is as true today as it was then--except for the monkey part.
Exactly One Year Ago: Happy Easter

Friday, April 20, 2012

FAQ #4

A high-school student who is doing a report on Zambia and missionaries (and our family in particular) recently wrote to me with some questions. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make my answers into a post as well. Enjoy!
 And, remember you can send me questions in email or leave them in comments and they'll be used in a future post. 

I was wondering what you could tell me about it (such as customs and culture).
Zambia is a developing nation—actually it is one of the fastest growing (if not THE fastest growing) economies in the world. But, even though people in the larger cities may have traditional jobs or careers, the majority of people around the country are still living in very rural communities.

What sorts of jobs are prevalent with the men in your community? The men in our community are mainly peasant farmers and fishermen. What it means by peasant is that they are mainly able to just grow or catch enough for their families and perhaps a bit to sell. They are not commercial farmers and fishermen. Some of them will also learn a skill like brick making or carpentry to supplement their family’s income.

  And the women, what do they do? The women have to work very hard. They take care of the children, care for the home—which means a lot more manual labor than it does here—and they look after the family’s maize (corn) field once it’s been planted.

Do the children go to school, or do they stay home and help and play? All children are expected to go to school but they do have to work hard to help their families. They keep the fields clear of mice and weeds, they draw water from the well, river or community hand pump, they help look after the younger children. This means that often their schooling is pushed to a back burner. Education is done in English but for many of the children they have never spoken English before and are not able to practice it at home so the school books don’t make a whole lot of sense. School is also only half day with half the students (or grade levels) attending in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. This means there are usually children roaming the streets at all time.

Is it modern, compared to the U.S., such as cellphones, TV, wifi, and the sort?
It is an interesting mix of modern and old fashioned. For the most part the homes in our village do not have electricity so they don’t have lights, much less TV and computers. However, most families do have cell phones. To charge them they go to a house that does have electricity and they pay to charge their phone for a few hours.
A few people in the village have electricity so sometimes someone will show DVDs on their TV and sell 10 cent tickets.

At the orphanage we do have wi-fi and television and video games. It’s a very different world, but it is good for the kids to learn how to handle technology.

   Also, I was wondering how you take part in the community. Do you have lots of friends, and do you participate in their customs and how they do things?
Because the of the socio-economic differences between us and the vast majority of people in the village, we haven’t been able to really develop friendships as such. We are of course friendly with everyone around us, but that genuine 'meeting of the minds' just doesn’t happen.
We have attended funerals, weddings and community events, but we have to be careful that our presence doesn’t distract too much. It would kinda be like having Brad Pitt attend your church. He would be welcome, but people might not listen to the sermon as well. :)

Exactly One Year Ago: Bloopers
Exactly Two Years Ago: Meatballs and Table Settings 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Few Interesting Links

As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently flew out to Kansas. I was invited by Heather whose blog I read regularly. You can read Heather's account of my visit here.
I've really been enjoying meeting up with people who I've up to now only interacted with online. I'd love to meet you!

Upcoming events:

April 26, Dallas, TX

In completely unrelated news: I've been staying with friends whenever I'm in Houston on this trip and I have no idea how to cook for just three people. Good thing I know what to do with leftovers.

Exactly One Year Ago: Saturday Sweetness
Exactly Two Years Ago: Fab Friday Foto XVIII


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Things I'm Lovin' Right Now

I accompanied my daughter to her university to give her moral support while she wraps up an overdue paper. In the meantime I get to use the high-tech computers with the massive 20" monitors. Of course I used this time to read blogs and play Facebook games.

OK, I did print out some important papers--that took all of 5 minutes.

I'm also listening to Pandora radio. High speed internet! so wonderful! In case you're not familiar with Pandora, you can enter an artist or song into the search and Pandora will create a station around that style of artist or music. Today my stations have been Lady Antebellum, Jason Mraz, and Scott Joplin.

Sometimes we look around us and see a lot of bad in the world. We wonder if the future is going to be very bright. Many of the young people we see are self-centered--focused on material things and their own pleasure.

But there is hope in the world!

Today I read this article by a young college student. He is headed to Kenya this summer but I hope he'll one day consider making Kazembe his new home.

And I remember that we have nine wonderful young people (including Meg) spending their summer with us this year. There is hope for the future!

This is what I'm lovin' right now!

P.S. Stay tuned for future installments of "What I'm Lovin' Right Now"--some might surprise you.

Exactly Two Years Ago: Tipping--Right or Privilege

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Little Hunters

When chatting with Tom the other day via Skype, he told me that he had gone hunting with the boys for frogs. After catching some, he did what any good hunter does and taught them how to fry and eat the frog legs.

I panicked a little about whether or not the frogs might be poisonous. Then he said this all took place two days before. Since no one died (aside from the frogs) I guess that rules out poison. So good to know.

Johnny looks a little sad. Maybe he has a tender side that mourns the loss of a frog's life.

                                         I'm not sure why Elias' eyes are closed....

I'm so glad the kids have the ability to explore and learn boyish skills--not that there's anything wrong with girls learning frog hunting--one of the many advantages to living out in the African Bush. They've all also been taking P.E classes and beginning Shotokhan. I'll try to share pictures of that with you soon.

Exactly One Year Ago: Look on the Bright Side of Life
Exactly Two Years Ago: Easter Photos  

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Book Reviews

An Uncommon Grace A moving and inspirational novel about the power of faith, family and above all, love, as a young Amish man must turn to his Englisch neighbor for help after a devastating tragedy.

My thoughts: This was a well-told story of love and faith. I enjoyed the shifts between characters and their voices. An interesting side note was that I was reading this story while on a trip to a community in Kansas which has a large Mennonite community. While not as strict as the Amish sect spoken of in this book, there are still big differences in their outlook as regards to education and the influence of the world. 
I thought this book did a really good job of showing the joy and peace that can come from living a much more simple life while not endorsing every thing the Amish faith stands for. 

One of my favorite parts of the book was when the grandmother in the story reminds a young Amish farmer that God's yoke is easy and His burden is light. If we are feeling burdened and weighted down, perhaps we've taken on something that isn't meant to be.

The love story running throughout the book was beautiful and felt natural. It was an easy and enjoyable read.

52 Monday Morning Motivations 
I'm not a huge fan of devotionals. Thought I'd just throw that out there right at the beginning. I find that many devotionals are a bit light. I prefer to do studies. Now, having said that, most of us moms don't have time to do in-depth studies all the time. And for those of us that are crazy busy, I like this devotional. 

As I flipped through it the first day after I received it, I noticed the last entry was from Revelation. "Hey, wait a minute", I thought, "I bet this devotional is chronologically working through the Bible". Sure enough this concept is explained in the introduction--Karol mentions how she wanted to show the "common thread of God's redeeming love and mercy". I'm so smart! 

Power of a Positive Mom is described as a devotional and journal. It's true that there are lines within the devotional where you can journal your thoughts, but if you're anything like me you'll need more space--plan on using a separate notebook.

I like the fact that you could just sit down on Monday (or Sunday or Thursday or whichever day) and read the scripture, accompanying devotional thoughts, journal a bit and then go on with your week. Or, you could come back to the same passage (and the extra Scripture) each day--meditate on it, pray the written prayers on your own, journal how the scripture is affecting your daily walk, memorize the featured Scripture (possibly the quotation as well) and really let it all sink in. 

I also like that the weeks are not tied to a calendar. Week One could be today or next month. I'm probably not the only person who gets sidetracked by life from time to time, and it can be discouraging to return to a devotional in April and find your bookmark still resting in January. You won't have that problem with this book.

You can totally customize this devotional to your style, time constraints and personal desires. 

Disclamers: I did not read every entry in this devotional and can not say whether I agree with every theological statement. 

I received free copies of both books listed in today's post for the purpose of reviewing. My opinions are--for better or worse--my own.

I am not an Amazon affiliate. 

Exactly One Year Ago: Shopping Trips One of the most common questions when I speak
Exactly Two Years Ago: A Bit of This, A Bit of That
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