Sunday, February 23, 2014

2014 Quiet Time

You who are One
     Destroy my divisions
          Make me joined.
You who are power
     Destroy my strength
          Make me weak.
You who died for me
     Destroy my self sufficiency
          Make me die.
You who are wisdom
     Destroy my arrogance
          Make me a fool.
You who are love
     Break down all my walls
          Make me love.
Oh Great I AM,
     Undo me
That I may become your glory.

At the beginning of the year, I usually write something about what I plan to do for the quiet times in the year ahead. I've talked about the whole idea of quiet time and given some suggestions; listed my quiet time goals in my new year's resolutions; and suggested different ways to read through the Bible.
This year, I'm trying to slow down with scripture. Stay in one book for a while. Read and review and read again. It's amazing how a verse that you've read several times (even in the past week!) can jump out and grab you! So, it's a bit random, but I'm beginning in 1 Corinthians and planning to stay here for a while. I've reverted back to a way of studying the Bible that I used while I was single and teaching in China. I read a whole book in a sitting. Then I take the book a chapter at a time and make an outline for it. Asking about each chapter: What does God do? and then What am I to do? Then writing thoughts and reflections on the chapter. The above poem was the reflection after studying 1 Corinthians 1. 
It's wonderful to read through the Bible often. I plan to go right back to that, probably even next year. But it's also good to slow down, revel in the wonder of a magical word. I'm so thankful for the opportunity!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Snow Days

We've had two good snows in the past month.
The first (above) was just an inch and the temps were below zero, so the kids couldn't stay out in it long, but this past week's snow was about 7 inches and the temps were just around freezing. Perfect snow-playing weather!
I know that when you get snow all the time, a big snow can be a bit of a problem, but when snows are rare, snows are good.

There's a golf course near our house where everyone gathers to sled after a snow. This was our first time to go sledding there and it was FUN! and BEAUTIFUL! The little boys loved their first time sledding and the middle boy couldn't have been happier than when he was speeding down the mountain! He cried when it was time to come home. The little one liked going down well enough, but walking back up that hill was just not happenin.' He would use his cute face to beg a ride off some soft-hearted adult who was pulling a sled up, or get daddy to carry him back up. He can really turn on the pitiful when he wants!

I sledded a little, but mostly I just manned the top of the slopes and enjoyed the views.

Happy Winter!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Spaghetti Pie

You might have begun to wonder in the midst of all this Ugandan reminiscing, "Are they doing anything now?" Well, yes, I'm glad you asked. We're living. Rolling with a rhythm, enjoying the small moments. We school and we eat and we play and we go and we stay.
And I can't really think of a better recipe to go with that good, solid normal than spaghetti pie. It's not quite the normal of regular old spaghetti, but it's filling and comforting and easy.
Here's how it goes:
Spaghetti Pie
1 jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce
1 pound if ground beef
Extra veggies if desired
12 oz. spaghetti noodles
4 eggs
4 T butter
2/3 cup of Parmesan cheese
2 cups shredded cheese
Brown the ground beef, sauté the other veggies (onions/peppers/carrots/etc), and mix both with the spaghetti sauce. Cook the noodles. While still warm, chop the butter and mix with the noodles. Once the noodle mixture is slightly cool, mix well-beaten eggs and Parmesan cheese and stir into the noodles. Spread on the bottom of a 9x11 dish as a crust. Spread the sauce mixture over the noodles and sprinkle the cheese over that. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.
Enjoy a bit of the normal, my friends!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Birthday, Ugandan Style (Africa part #7)

On the morning of the oldest's birthday, we roped the rest of the families at the guest house into going to a local reptile village with us.
We were really glad we did! It was a fun place! We had the whole park all to ourselves, and each family got a guide to lead us through the village.

There were turtles and dragons

and snakes!

There were also quaint views

and hundreds of these beautiful yellow birds who made equally beautiful hanging nests

more beautiful views

a paddle boat ride

And oh, hello, there chameleon! 



more chameleons (100s of them!)

and more SNAKES!

the birthday girl happily taking a picture of one of the biggest snakes of the village

beautiful views of Lake Victoria on the way home...
We went by the local foreigner's grocery and a pizza place on the way home.
Once home, everyone rested a bit while I set up the partay. : )

If I had really been on the ball, I would have thought to bring birthday stuff for the oldest when we came to Uganda. But I wasn't, so we had to make do with what we could find there. And that would be candy, candy, more candy, Oreos, Pringles and Sprite. We had been in Uganda long enough that I knew the things that would make us all feel most party-ish would be the things that reminded us most of home. I spread a scarf, found some plates and glasses in Fred's kitchen, and spread it out prettily on the table. I was able to find plastic cups and pretty napkins at the grocery.
Oh, and yes, we did try to make cupcakes before we left for the reptile village. And as soon as I put them in the oven, the power went off. There wasn't enough latent heat to cook them, so I scraped out the halfway-baked cupcakes and we had to do with just cookies.

The kids all worked hard on the sign the day before.

After all the kids ate enough sugar to kill ordinary adults, we opened presents!
I think the oldest had a great birthday.
And it doesn't hurt that we're about to throw a superb
(more to come on that--there's going to be surf board painting, lei-making, Soul Surfer watching, lots of sundae and pizza eating and spending the night!)
Happy Birthday, oldest!