November 29, 2009

Christmas on the Way

So as is normal tradition for my family the day after Thanksgiving we haul out the Christmas decorations and put up the Christmas tree while listening to Christmas music. Our Christmas decorations include a fake tree I was able to buy at a yard sale when someone was leaving Mozambique, a few ornaments I brought from home, a few ornaments that people have sent to us in packages and a few we have managed to find around town. I also brought a mini train (from the Dollar Store at home), to keep our tradition alive of having a train around our Christmas tree, mini stockings to hang, and a wooden nativity from Malawi. All in all it is looking like Christmas around our house and even smelling like it since someone sent us some lovely pine scented candles. I can't really say it is "feeling" like Christmas since it's been in the 90's the last few days but Christmas is a celebration of the heart not just certain circumstances, right? Hope you enjoy the photos of how things look around our African house at preparing for Christmas.

This is Nate trying to cool off in our backyard. He is in a cement well cover that has a puddle of water in it and playing with his boats (tupperware and milk cartons).

November 24, 2009


We all WORSHIP. The question is not IF we worship but WHAT we worship. I have been leading, I would rather say participating since I am getting so much out of it, in a ladies Bible study by Beth Moore called "Living Free." That woman always seems to get right to the heart of matters. She ushers me into some serious heart searching and re-evaluation of my walk /relationship with Him. In a good way.

We have been looking at strongholds, how to have freedom from them and what things in our life hinder us from walking truly free. To me the study is proving to be a deep, valuable wealth of God's word applied practically. To begin with we spent sometime learning what a stronghold in our lives would be. For me this was an amazing measure to weigh things against. I would encourage you to do the same.

TO IDENTIFY A STRONGHOLD would be to ask yourself is there anything that:
  1. Steals our focus
  2. Causes us to feel overpowered, controlled or mastered.
  3. Consumes so much of our emotional and mental energy that is strangles our abundant life.
  4. Leaves our callings unfullfilled.
  5. Makes our lives of belief ineffective.
Many things can hinder us but I find in my own life more often than not I have put something in the place where the one true GOD belongs (allowed a stronghold) and am serving a thing. Often in the end it serves to give me the self-seeking glory I am after. What is being so magnified  in our lives, in our spiritual eyes that we allow it to take God's position? My prayer is that each of us would walk in the true liberty that Christ has died for us to have and no longer give position to anything other than God alone in our lives.

Pretty sure I will blog more about what deep treasures I am finding in this study. Hope that someone else will benefit from it as much as I have. 

November 21, 2009

Let Thanksgiving Week Begin!

I know, I know I am getting ahead of myself saying "Let Thanksgiving begin." But I can't help it, I am excited. After all it does take more time to prepare here then in the States so I have an excuse of why I am thinking of it early.

On Friday the boys and I had some fellow American home schooling friends over to work on a craft for Thanksgiving Day. We came up with this cute craft using mostly recycled items. They are Turkey napkin rings that will be on the table Thanksgiving Day. To make the ring we used left over aluminum foil rolls or toilet paper rolls and cut them into sections. Then we used the inside of cereal boxes to trace turkey cookie cutter shapes (I brought one from the States), cut them out and glued them to the rings. Next was cutting out construction paper feathers and glueing them on. The final touch was to write each persons name and put on a glitter dot for the eye. I think the kids did an awesome job and they actually came out pretty cute.

So far there is one turkey butchered and in the freezer. This weekend our friend Manuel has gone out into the bush to try to capture two more of our turkey's so we can butcher those and freeze them as well. All this work yet the other day at the grocery store here in town I saw they had a shipment of turkeys in from Brazil of all places. Although I did also hear that someone bought one last year and when they got it home it was green. Now that is not green as in environmentally friendly that is green as in a rotten meat color kind of way. Anyway, we will stick with our home grown turkeys for a couple of reasons. Not because we are so organically conscious but first they are free because we already own them and secondly because I really don't want to end up not having turkey because it turned out to be green when I tried to cook it.

Today, I baked two home made pumpkin pies, I don't have pie plates so just ignore the non-pie shapes. It was fun and a challenge. Let's just say it took more work then MY normal "American" preparation. I had to prepare the pumpkin by cooking it and mashing it instead of buying it in a can and make the pie crust rather then buying it pre-made. I am thinking living in Mozambique and having to cook from scratch is going to turn me into a cooking and baking queen one of these days. So I can check the pumpkin pies of my to do list as well.

My next Thanksgiving adventure is to make homemade stuffing. Yep, there is such a thing. Crazy huh, who knew? Just kidding. So although I have never been one to make it homemade before this is my year. So today I bought four loaves of bread (that part is not going to be homemade-come on now don't push it) and because of the lovely internet I was able to download a recipe that is supposed to taste just like Stovetop. We will see since I have to wait to make that Thanksgiving Day.

So that is about all for now on the Thanksgiving prepartions. The rest has to wait until the day or so before. I'll let you know how it all goes. Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving too!

November 20, 2009

What are Your Pineapples?

Tonight we attended our bi-monthly missionary fellowship. Getting together with the other missionaries in town is very important to us and an important part of our support team. We enjoy the fellowship, the worship, the common bond of understanding, the spiritual encouragement (oh, and the yummy food). Each time it is hosted at a different missionary's house and that person shares a message. For this evenings message we were read "The Pineapple Story" in Portuguese which was then translated into English. Many may have heard it but for those that haven't it is a story about a missionary in Papua New Guinea that struggles with the natives stealing "his" pineapples until he finally realizes that everything he has belongs to God including his pineapples. What an appropriate story and lesson for a group of missionaries. I was challenged. We all have many things in our lives that we consider our "rights". Things we are owed; respect, gratitude, conveniences of life, love, acceptance, safety, fun, things for our children. For each of us the list of what we think we deserve would be different. Yet for each of us the real truth is that Jesus came and emptied Himself of all that He deserved so we could have abundant life. What are we willing to give to God? What are we willing to empty ourselves of for the sake of others seeing the love of God displayed in our lives? What are our pineapples that we have demanded are ours that need to be given back to God? If everyone was willing to lay down their "rights" how would it change those in our communities? My prayer tonight is that I don't hold onto one single pineapple and call it my own but instead lay them all at Jesus' feet and ask Him what He would have me do with His pineapples.

"LOVE" from Home

You know that expression "When it rains, it pours?" Well that was how we felt this week. Not in a bad way, in a very good way. Some boxes were being shipped from the States by my mother and our old cell group at Grace Capital Church. We were excitedly awaiting their arrival. I should say we were waiting and checking, waiting and checking, waiting and checking. These things always seem to take longer than they should but finally on Wednesday they arrived and all on the same day. FOUR boxes on one day. It was like Christmas. We each opened one while the rest of the family looked on. It was so exciting! Here are a few of my favorite things that arrived with love from home this week:

  • Ziplock bags - I was just dreaming of these the other day.
  • Shoes for Micah - We've been praying for these as his other shoes have literal holes in them.
  • A Charlie Brown Singing Christmas Card - I miss watching those TV Specials with the boys this year.
  • Christmas decorations - We may have a decent looking tree after all.
  • Candy - M&M's, Skittles, and Nerds-yummy!
  • Dunkin  Donuts Coffee - Ahhh, delicious. Amazing what therapy a good cup of coffee.
  • School Supplies - Great for us and for ministry.
  • Seeds - Pretty flowers and veggies like Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc.
  • A Christmas Gift for the boys - There isn't much to buy here so this is great.
  • Books - I can't get enough to read plus I can pass them along for others to enjoy.
  • Spice Packets - Great to have a taste of home.
Well there were about a million other things as well and I have forgotten important ones I'm sure. But the most important thing that came with those boxes was the knowing we are loved, prayed for and thought about. Now that is special! Thanks to all those that give of themselves so we can feel so LOVED.

November 18, 2009

My Kids Worldview

I am realizing that my kids have a very different world view than probably most kids their age. Just simply by living in a third world country they are exposed to different sights, sounds, ideas then even when I was growing up. Today as we were sitting in the car in town while Marc ran into the place we take our case of coke bottles to be filled a woman was walking down the road with her baby tied to her back and a live chicken hanging from her left hand by its feet. I said to the boys "Do you see that?" "See what?" was their response. "The lady with the chicken," I said. "Yeah, what's the big deal?" they responded. "The woman is carrying a live chicken down the road." "And??" the boys said as they stared back at me like what is the big deal mom. I said, "You know guys this would not be a normal sight in America!" "Oh, yeah I guess," came their response.

Today I also noticed that Micah was trying to remember things from the States. He couldn't remember the names of the places he is most familiar with like Walmart and restaurants. Funny how you get used to something pretty quick. Not that I mind because personally I don't think it's a bad thing for our boys to be exposed to a different way of life. I say it widens their horizons. Of course my boys can also hold a conversation with you about Mugabe and the damage his politics have done to Zimbabwe but that is for another day or maybe not.

November 17, 2009

The Brazilian Birthday Man

Today is my amazing husband Marc's birthday!
I love him and feel like the luckiest lady to be married to such a fantastic man.
He's a great friend, a wonderful father, a fantastic partner, a Godly man, a good son.
I always knew that I would marry a "foreigner."
And I always wanted to marry someone tall, dark and handsome and voila look what I got?
I love that my husband is from Brazil.
He was born and raised there. 
 Since today was his birthday I decided to make a Brazilian meal for his celebration.

So on the menu tonight is:
Rice and Beans
Pao de Quejo (cheesey bread)
Guarana (Brazilian soda)
Birthday Cake (very american)

Happy Birthday!

November 15, 2009

Kitchen Appliance Heaven

One of the things I know about the appliances and kitchen equipment you buy here in Mozambique is that the quality is horrible. There is no comparison to the items we would buy in the USA. My husband's favorite phrase when talking about items here is that they are Dollar Store rejects. Pretty much that sums it up except they are nowhere near $1 or anything reasonable for that matter (the last one cost around $30). It's crazy. We have lived here for 9 months now and have gone through 2 toasters, 2 coffee pots, a stove knob, and a refridgerator shelf. Now, we are not unusually rough with our things but they are just not made for any type of endurance. Our toasters for example just up and died one day. Actually the last one up and died between my toast and Nate's toast one day. His came out fine. I put mine in and voila no such luck. It was finished. My hubby is a handy guy but there is no fixing them. They are dead! For the time being we are toasterless for a few different reasons. Mostly, I am stubborn and too irritated to buy another one when they are so cheaply made. Secondly, we really don't have the extra cash this month. Third is because we found out from our friends, fellow missionaries, that they are getting an extra one from another missionary who is moving back to the states and would like to give it to us. That is great I just hope this one lasts a little longer. But hey I can't complain because it's coming to us free.

November 12, 2009

It's HOT

Today it has been crazy HOT! This afternoon it was 92 degrees INSIDE. It's 9 pm and it's still 90 degrees in the house. Now that is hot for anyone. But when you only have a fan it's really hot!

Today it was so hot the Mozambicans would say:

"The chickens have to walk around like they are drunk."

"You can not walk (barefoot) on the dirt."

"The birds have to die."

"The heat is cooking the rain."

"After 10 am you have to just sit in the shade and do nothing."

We love the way that Mozambicans communicate with their word pictures.
It is quite entertaining sometimes.

November 11, 2009

Daddy Time

One of the things I love about our life here in Africa is how much time we get to spend with our kids. For me it is not that new since most of the kids life I have been around home when not working for a few hours of the day. I love being home with my boys. Now that we are here they are experiencing having their Daddy around a lot more and I have to say that I think the boys LOVE it. Marc is still busy but because of the nature of what we do he is around home more during the day and then at times on the weekend or late afternoons he is busy. Today Nate built a fort in the living room and invited Dad and Micah to come join him so they could watch a movie together. They all seemed to really enjoy it and of course my job was to get a picture or two. Thank you Lord that the boys get this precious time with their Daddy before they grow up and become Daddy's of their own.

Hunting Time

Micah received a bow and arrow from his dad for his birthday. They sell them as true weapons in the market and we can't count how many times our guard has asked for one to use as "protection." We always manage to delay him and come up with a reason of why we don't think that is such a great idea. Micah loves his even though Marc did modify it a bit. He had to wear down the really sharp metal tips so no one loses their life around here. Yesterday Micah was in the backyard "hunting" and came into the house to show me his prize catch (poor little birdie). He was so proud of himself. His dad thought he should fry it up and eat it but I intervened convincing them all that we probably don't know what diseases birds carry here and it would be better to not take our chances. worked! Instead of eating it Micah took it out into the backyard to bury it.

It's great fun to be a 12 year old boy!

November 10, 2009

A Cooler Day Brings Thanksgiving!

Today was rainy and cool. Of course cool is relative but for us that means it was only in the 70's so it was a nice break from the hot weather. Actually, to me it seemed like fall. It smelled like fall. The rain had moistened the dusty ground. The air smelled of moist earth and wood burning from fires where people where trying to stay warm and take the chill off the day. I loved it!

It actually inspired me to really get serious about planning Thanksgiving which is just a couple weeks away now. We will be celebrating Thanksgiving with most of the other Americans (or married to Americans) in town. There should be about 20 of us including children. We are going to share the cooking and do it potluck style (you guessed it we are responsible for the turkey). We will caravan to our friends farm about 40 minutes drive from town out into the bush. They have been busy building their house and by that time should have a roof on. If the roof is not finished they will build a grass shelter for us to gather under and find shade. We will dine with plastic tables and chairs, and plastic plates and cups. We will have a squatty potty if needed. We will cart our drinking water in igloos. We will bring our food in coolers. It will be simple. It will remind us of how the Pilgrims first did it. It will be beautiful. It will be what Thanksgiving is truly about- fellowship and giving thanks to the Lord for His goodness to us. Living in this country causes us all to take notice of how much we have to be thankful for all the time. Even in the things we miss like our family, our American traditions, our American conveniences we realize because we miss those things we are blessed.

I for one am looking forward to Thanksgiving. Who knows we may even get in a good old American game of horseshoes.

November 7, 2009

When Does the Suffering End?

This will be short but I just need to write a little to try to process this foolishness. Some things overwhelm my senses here and constant death is one of them. This week our friend Manuel called us and told us his wife's brother died. You hear about death all the time here and although it is common place it is not acceptable. He was 21 years old and died of malaria IN THE HOSPITAL. Oh how I wish I could take you all on a tour of the local hospitals and you would see for yourself the poverty and destitution that the Mozambicans suffer with daily. Desperate fear and lack of hope grips the people here and often for good reason. When they look at those in medical care that are untrained, uncaring and ill prepared to help them without the basic supplies needed. I am frustrated by the poverty and the "system" here and wonder will there ever come a day in this land when the young people of the future are not dying from diseases that can be easily treated or prevented? May God in His great GRACE continue to have mercy on the people of Mozambique and give me the strength to continue to bring hope. It's all you Lord because in myself I am empty, sad, frustrated and impatient. 

Computer Tech Guru

Yep, that's me....the Computer Tech Guru. I am calling myself that because I finally figured out how all of you can post comments on my blog. Actually I figured if I clicked buttons on the settings long enough I would get it figured out (or I would seriously ruin something-but it was worth the risk to hear what you think). So I guess Computer Tech Guru is not my title but hey I am glad that if you choose you can now leave a comment for me to see. Woo hoo!

November 6, 2009

Malaria Man

Well, after several days of a low grade fever and trying to figure out what is going on with Marc we called our friend Dan over yesterday who is a nurse to get his opinion. I was vascillating between an infection near his belly button since it was red and inflamed or Tick Bite Fever since it has similar symptoms.  Dan thought most likely Tick Bite Fever and recommended Marc go to the doctor. So off he went this morning and came back a few hours later with a surprising diagnosis. Well not surprising in the sense that it is always a constant threat here but surprising in the sense that it did not show typical symptoms. He has MALARIA. He has not had any fever pattern, no joint aches, no vomitting, etc. Marc usually gets violently sick with Malaria so I know right away but missed it this time since the symptoms were masked. I do not like that they were discreet because it makes it that much more difficult to treat quickly. Anyway, would ask for your prayers for him to be feeling better soon. He should be starting to feel better in a couple of days although sometimes it takes a week or two to regain your strength.

November 5, 2009

Technical Support Needed

Is there anyone that has any wisdom they could share with me on how I can make it possible for people to post comments on my blog? I have tried going into the settings and allowing comments but as far as I can tell it is still not possible. I would appreciate any technical support out there. Thanks.

November 4, 2009

A Special Birthday Gift...

Today is Micah's official 12th birthday. His dad and brother walked into town to do some errands and decided to get Micah a SPECIAL birthday gift on their way home. Micah was quite excited as he stared at the little wrapped treasure. He opened it to find fried caterpillar's inside. His dad had gotten them at a roadside stand for the cheap price of 4 meticais which is about 15 cents. Let's just say Micah was not so keen to try them even when his dad challenged him and said he would eat one if he did. No way was that happening! After getting a good laugh Marc took the "special gift" next door to our neighbors guard who was quite pleased with his special treat and thanked Marc with big eyes and a big smile.

November 3, 2009

A Day in the Life

Today has been an interesting day but not unlike many of our days here as strange as it may be.

First came home schooling. I love that my boys are older and much more independently lately in their schooling.

Second came turkey time. Ok, so I have planned to butcher my own turkey's but our friend, Manuel, a Mozambican, thinks he need to do it for us so here it the first of the four we will be getting this month. Now, if you look at it you can surely see it is a bit skinny but hey we are not complaining because it is meat filling our freezer. I was busy this morning just pulling out the final few feathers, cutting off the neck which I don't care to use, and washing it well before I put it in the freezer to be enjoyed at a later date. We were supposed to receive two today but when Manuel went out into the bush (2 hours by bicycle to where the turkey's are being raised at his in-laws) they could only wrangle one and could not find another one. I am still working on convincing Manuel that I can kill it myself and do it if he will help me by teaching me what to do. We will see how that goes.

CAUTION this one is graphic for the weak of stomach. Third, came an urgent call from another missionary to Marc for the number of the police. After getting a little more information we discovered our neighbor Dan, another American missionary was a couple of blocks away trying to run interference in a bad situation. He had come across a mob of about 20 men that had tied up two guys that had stolen a cell phone. They were roughing them up and trying to put tires around their necks to light on fire to burn them alive and teach them a lesson. This vigilante justice is common practice here. This is the third we have heard of in the last couple of weeks. Fortunately, for these two guys Dan was able to call the police and intervene and save these guys lives. The mob of men couldn't understand why he was getting involved and asked him "Missionary don't you have some church to be preaching at?" WOW is all I can say.

Fourth, was making sure my hubby was taking his antibiotics that I have prescribed for him to take. He has some type of infection in his belly button area. We are not sure if it is just an infection or a result of tick bite fever but as a precaution I have him on a weeks dose of antibiotics and am applying antibiotic ointment. You never know when you have to be the doctor around here.

Fifth, was my going next door to lead a ladies Bible study. We are so blessed to have the material to do the Beth Moore study "Living Free" as a group. It is a study for mostly expat women in the community and today was a great day of seeing God bringing healing to some of the women's lives.

Sixth, was myself and Micah heading off to the post office and grocery store. We went to see if there was a package from his Auntie that we have been waiting for since his birthday is tomorrow. No such luck. Oh well it will come in time. After driving around to the other side of town because the direct route was completely blocked off to do road repairs (aka filling in the pot holes with more dirt that was washed out in the rain a few days ago) we came to the railroad tracks. You know those railroad gates that help cars to stay out of the way and to know trains are coming and that it is not safe to cross. Well instead of being kept out of the tracks area I was kept in the tracks area when the "railroad man" let me cross over the track and then put the gate down in front of me so I couldn't continue but was stuck inside the two barriers along with another car. Let's just say I wasn't impressed but couldn't do much as I saw the train speeding down the tracks in our direction. Thankfully we were not on the tracks and the other car was able to also get off the tracks but let's just say it's a little unnerving.

Seventh, was a stop at the grocery store. Nothing unusual here. Picked up some boxed milk, bag of sugar, powdered sugar for Micah's birthday cake, two packs of drink mix and some meat (scary stuff). As we checked out we gave the teller our money and like usual we did not receive all of the change. There is not a day, unless I give exact change that I get the correct change back. It's not because they can't count because they don't have to, the receipt has the amount on it but they do not keep the proper change in stock so often you get matches or a hard candy in exchange.

Eighth, was a call from our good friends from South Africa that run the local wood mill. They are both having horrible tooth aches and need to see a dentist. They were calling us to see if their boys could sleep over Thursday night. They have to drive to Beira which is a 3 hour drive one-way to see the dentist and need to leave at 4 am in order to make it their and back in the same day. No problem the boys will love the company since they are their best buddies!

Ninth, and last on the list at least as of 7 pm when I am writing this is a call from our Mozambican friend to say his wife's youngest brother just died out in the bush and would we be able to take the car out there tomorrow to help. Unfortunately, although our car is 4x4 it will not fit on the foot path that goes out to this village so for now that is not going to be possible. We will see what tomorrow brings.

Phew, I am tired....but this is just a day in the life and it will all begin again tomorrow. Better get some sleep:)

November 1, 2009

A Few of My Favorite Things...

Here are a few of my favorite things that we can not get here and I miss!
  • Solid Stick Deodorant (Secret, I miss you!)
  • Icecream
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Good smelling laundry soap
  • Pepsi
  • Corn chips/Tortilla chips
  • Real Milk
  • Junk Mail
  • Newspapers
  • Holiday Decorations
  • Library
  • Hot Water out of my kitchen tap
  • Flavored coffee creamer
  • Clothing stores
  • Preaching and Worship in English every week


Birthday Boy

He's growing up!

Micah's surprise at receiving an "American" he really has been wanting.

Madagascar 2 Birthday supplies...not bought in Africa..Thanks again Grammy!

Some of his buddies. Countries represented-USA,Sweden, South Africa.
He had cool singing candles and glitter gel for his cake! Thanks Grammy, he loved them.


Today we celebrated Micah's 12th birthday. He doesn't officially turn 12 until Wednesday but today was the day for his party with some friends. We had planned on going to a nearby swimming pool but unfortunately it has been raining the last two days and cool. Regardless he had a good time playing soccer with his buddies and watching "Hotel for Dogs" his birthday present from us that we had sent from the States (Thanks Auntie).
Thought I would share some photos. Enjoy!

(Oh, and for those that may be wondering YES I kept all the plates, cleaned them off and all the other birthday supplies like tablecloth, plastic cups, unused napkins to re-use another time. Hey this is Africa and I don't just have a party store down the road. I did however allow Micah to take the posters to hang up as decoration in his room.)