Saturday, February 28, 2009

Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches

I LOVE cooking in the crockpot. Putting food in the pot in the morning, letting it slow cook all day, and coming home to a delicious dinner is the best! Maybe ya'll have already discovered this easy way to make barbecue chicken sandwiches, but I just discovered it. I can't believe how easy it is! All you have to do is put boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the crockpot. Generously cover them with your favorite barbecue sauce and let cook on low for about 4 hours. After it's cooked, separate with a fork and put on a bun. It's delicious!

Crayola Pots

crayola pots

I saw this idea on crayola and thought it was so cute and easy! Gather all your broken crayons (you can break them into smaller pieces if you wish), put them in a glass jar, and then melt them - either by setting them outside on a hot day or sticking them in the oven on a very low temp. If you do the oven, I would suggest watching them because if they melt too much (like mine did) they will turn into a brown blob of color instead of a vibrant swirl. I think this would be an excellent idea for a homemade gift with a little plant inside!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Risk v. No Risk

precious love

Last week one of our staff, David Song, taught on the Nature and Character of God. It can be a difficult week as belief systems can be challenged. I think, though, it is healthy to wrestle through the Bible and really study what it says about who God is. So one of the discussions that came up is the whole idea of risk versus no risk. Did God take a risk in inviting us to walk in relationship with Him? Or does He just have it all planned out? Did He give us free will to choose? Or are we predestined to love Him? It's a heavy, I know. And there are so many theologies out there with these different ways of thinking.

At the end of the week, we watched Bruce Almighty. You know, the movie where God lets an average Joe be God for a period of time. Of course, Bruce quickly discovers how hard this job really is. There's a line in the movie that is fantastic. Bruce asks God, "How do you make people love you without interfering with free will?" And God laughs, "When you get that one figured out, let me know."

Didn't God take a huge risk in giving us free will and letting us choose to love Him and walk in relationship with Him? Because the foundation of His nature is love, it seems that He had to give us free will. What do you all think? I love this discussion and would love to hear your thoughts on this!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Questions, Questions, Anyone Have Questions?


I find that I always seem to have something to write about. From my kids to African animals or reptiles... From ministry to how to get crayon marks off of walls... It seems there's never a dull moment! Either that or I just blog about EVERYTHING we do! My kids can't even sneeze without me snapping a photo! What can I say? I love photos and I love blogging. The two just seem to flow together. But after reading a post by Nina in Portugal, she inspired me to ask a question. The question is...do anyone of YOU have questions?

You know, like do we live in a grass hut?
Have we ever seen a black mamba?
What is it like to be a foreigner living in the land?
Do we have grocery stores, malls, and banks?
Running water?
Want to know more about what in the world we do?
Daily schedule?
Do lions roam wild?

Anything, really. And you can be anonymous if you feel that question you're dying to know just might be a little embarrassing should the general public find out. Ok, I'm looking forward to those questions. Whether long or short, silly or serious. I want to hear from YOU, my readers! This will be fun!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

An Unexpected Visitor

chameleon

When I went to Mbonisweni on Saturday with the DTS, we were playing on the swings and at the netball hoop, when an unexpected visitor decided to walk through. I don't know if I've ever seen a chameleon before. I was definitely intrigued by the feet and of course, his/her ability to change colors right before our eyes!

chameleon

Did you know...
  • chameleons don't have ears?
  • some chameleons have tongues longer than their body length? And they're fast! It can extend out up to 26 body lengths per second!
  • some research says they actually change color as a method of communication?
You can read more about this reptile here.

chameleon

This young lad must have an obsession with moving things and sticks! Click here to see what I mean!

Reminders...

child

...of why we obeyed the call to go to South Africa. Jeremy and I first came here in July of 2000. I can't believe it has almost been 9 years! And yet we can remember so vividly the moment our hearts were forever touched. Working with a Catholic mission in Barberton, we stayed up one night with a woman who was dying of AIDS. She was already unconscious so we sang to her and put wet cloths on her, giving her the most peaceful death we could. Because she was valuable and deserved that. My heart broke to hear her story. Her husband had been unfaithful to her and given her the disease. Now she was alone, dying at such a young age. She should have had many years of life left.

beauty

Sometimes it's easy to get caught up on all the logistical, admin type of jobs that I have to do. Returning emails, setting up events, scheduling teams. All that is important. But sometimes I have to sit back, look into their eyes, and let my heart be touched all over again...

smiles

Monday, February 23, 2009

Sometimes You Just Gotta Have Fun!

We're almost halfway through the lecture phase of the DTS. I can't believe it! As a staff, we really felt we needed to take the students for some NSF (that's what we call non-stop fun in these parts!) God wants us to kick back and have fun every once in a while! It's good for us.

after the slide

splash

So we decided to take them to Forever Resorts in Badplaas for the day. It was awesome! We went on Friday and I actually let Joshua skip school so he could come with me (man, he scored!) It was a great break! The students were very thankful (it was a heavy week with Nature and Character of God teachings) and had a blast.

mommy and son

down the slide

into the water

After lunch, my 31 year old stomach wasn't quite ready to brave the slides like Joshua (there were many other pools but we happily spent most of our time at the slides), so I found a nice little spot in the shade to watch him zip down! It gave me an opportunity to start the second half of my mystery project!

mystery project knitting

I'm always challenged by making sure we are not just getting the job done but also caring for people in the process. It is so important!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tarragon Steaks

Thanks again to Southern Living, I found this easy recipe. These steaks turned out pretty good with potato wedges and a salad. In the winter here, it's nice to be able to cook these in the oven but I bet they would be even better on the grill!

Tarragon Steaks
1/4 cup Burgundy or other dry red wine
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon
2 (4 oz.) beef tenderloin steaks
Vegetable cooking spray

Combine first 3 ingredients in an 8 in. square dish; add steaks. Cover and refrigerate 3 hrs, turning steaks occasionally.

Remove steaks from marinade, discarding marinade. Place steaks on a rack coated with cooking spray, place rack in shallow roasting pan. Broil 6 in. from heat (with electric oven door partially opened) 5 min. on each side or to desired degree of doneness.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Role Models :: When I Grow Up...

hanging out

The other morning, Joshua, out of the blue, says to me, "When I grow up, I want to be just like Daddy." Ahhh.... So sweet, right? But then I asked why? "Because he listens to God." Wow! How amazing is that! That he would pick that out? It made me remember just how much our children watch us and form beliefs and patterns of thinking that will shape who they are as adults. It's a tremendous responsibility to teach them, but it's also so rewarding and amazing. God trusts us with so much! And the cool thing is that we can lean on Him for the wisdom we need to be awesome role models for our children.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Say Again!?

delish


With Joshua Emma and Grace going to school, they are not only learning a bit of Afrikaans but also english word choices that are a bit different than what I'm used to growing up in my American culture. Let me show you just what I mean:
  • Instead of crooked...it's skew.
  • Eraser...rubber. (Ok, now stop laughing, my American friends!)
  • Bathing suit...swimming costume.
  • Bad...naughty. (They are always quick to name all the naughty kids at school...they are never on the list!)
  • Pick up (like from school)...fetch.
  • Traffic light...robot.
  • Trash can...dust bin.
  • Trash...rubbish.
I know there's more that are slipping my mind. Joshua always corrects me when I don't use the right word choice or when I mispronounce a word (in my American accent vs. the South African accent). I just wonder how he will sound when he's an adult!

Hmmm...

history

I saw this T-shirt in Capetown. What do you think? Does history really depend on those who make it? The dictionary defines history as simply a study of past events. So isn't there just history that has had positive influence and history that has had negative influence? How can we change the world in a positive way? Here are some quotes I found that speak of change.

"Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly." Robert Francis Kennedy

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, It is the only thing that ever has.
” Margaret Mead

"There is nothing wrong with change if it is in the right direction." Winston Churchill

"Change is the essence of life. Be willing to surrender what you are for what you could become."

Don't you think we have the power to change the world and make a positive difference? I do!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Family Fun At The Botanical Gardens

One of my favorite places to go around here is the Botanical Gardens. It's so beautiful and cool on a hot day. We went on Sunday for a picnic lunch. The kids had fun playing in the huge tree house while the adults read, relaxed, and knitted (ok, it was just me who knitted!) Then we walked down to the waterfall. Doesn't it look like we had fun?!

playing in sand

playing in the sand

gaze

smile

looking at the waterfall

looking

family

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gifting My Handmades

I have decided that every gift I give must have a touch of handmade in it. Doesn't it just speak of love when you have spent your precious time making it? I think so. So with a wedding and a birthday within a week of each other, I was busy. Hence, the mystery project had to be put aside for now.

For the wedding I decided to make a lavender scented sachet. A bit girly, I know, but it went perfect with some bathroom items on their registry. I found the pattern in a cute little magazine we get here in S. Africa called The Art Of Knitting. Instead of going with the pattern of knitting hearts on the bag, I opted for little flower bursts instead. DEFINITELY screamed, "GIRL," but I was pleased with the results.

wedding sachet

wedding sachet

My friend, Lindsey's, birthday falls on Valentine's Day. She loves pink and brown so I decided to make her a purse in those colors. I decided to try a different pattern from my Sweet Little Purse, and went with Sampler Stitch Purse by Frugalhaus found here.

knit purse

If you're wondering how I had the time to do all this, I utilized my "traveling in the car for hours" time to be productive with my crafts!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Teaching :: Identity In Christ

Last week I returned from Capetown and started teaching on Tuesday on Identity In Christ. I taught the whole week with my staff tag teaming a little. I have to admit that it was my first time teaching for a total of 10 hours but it went well! Thanks for all your prayers! Here's an action shot!

Identity In Christ teaching

Most of my teaching was centered around the book of Ephesians. Did you know that book mentions the words "in Christ" more than 35 times? Obviously I can't write all my notes in this post but I want to share with you the highlights. It's a great book to study!

Ephesians Chapter 1:
  • We are chosen by God.
  • We are redeemed through Him.
  • We are sealed by His Spirit.
Ephesians Chapter 2:
  • We were once dead but are now alive through Jesus.
  • Paul moves from identity being personal to corporate or community when he starts talking about the Jews and Gentiles.
Ephesians Chapter 3:
  • God reveals the mystery of His will to us (how awesome is that!)
Ephesians Chapter 4:
  • We must walk in unity.
  • We all have gifts that are to be used for the equipping of the saints to the building up of the body.
  • We must put off the old self and put on the new self.
Ephesians Chapter 5:
  • We must walk in love, walk as children of light, and walk in wisdom.
  • Wives submit to husbands and husbands must love their wives.
Ephesians Chapter 6:
  • Children obey their parents.
  • We must put on the armor of God.
  • We must pray for boldness.
My thoughts:

I think finding our identity in Christ is a must in our walk as Christians. I believe that comes from personal revelations of who Jesus is and who He has made us to be as well as walking in community with other believers. I think steps to finding our identity are:

1. To identify with Christ.
2. Believe the promises and inheritance He has given us.
3. Losing our lives to find our life in Him (Gal. 2:20, Matt. 10:38-40).
4. Abide in Him and put off the old self (John 15:1-11).
5. Walk in faith.

But it is a battle, not only to find our identity but also to constantly walk in it. That's why we must put on the armor of God and have accountability in our lives. The fruits of walking in our identity far outweigh walking in who we're not. I would much rather engage the change process in my life so that I can walk in the fullness and freedom of who I am in Christ rather than sit back in my "comforts" and be bound by my fears.

The last day of class we had a ministry time. It was great! We started off with an excellent exercise that I've done with our apostolic covering team. Everyone gets a sheet of paper. You right your name at the top and then pass it to the right. Everyone writes one word to describe you on that paper and then passes it on. When it comes back to you, you look it over and then say the one that is hardest for you to believe. Openness and brokenness just seems to flow. It's amazing!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentine's Day Activities

Well, I still didn't get to those crafts (although Joshua made Jeremy and I an awesome Valentine's Day card!) but we had a lovely Valentine's Day yesterday with a forecast of 100% sunshine!

Joshua's card

Joshua's card

The cousins were very content to play outside all day! (A blessing for our evening babysitter!)

fun in the sun

fun in the sun

My wonderful husband started the evening with a bouquet of flowers and a planned double date with Zach and Anneke at Oliver's, one of my favorite restaurants here. It was an amazing palate full of olive bread, seafood appetizers, berry sorbet, tender beef, and a chocolate mousse and coffee to seal the deal. Oliver's knows how to put on a Valentine's banquet!

flowers

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day!

So I had high hopes of the kids and I making Valentine's crafts this year. But with us going away for 5 days and then coming back to busyness (more on that later), it just didn't happen. My top crafting picks? Hearts made out of crayons and wax paper, sweet little knit love birds, and let's not forget baked goodies! I'll just have to save them for next year.

On a sweet, family note...we've been having special family fun time right before bedtime involving giggling, tickling, wrestling, reading, praying, and lots of hugging and kissing. The other night Jeremy and I declared, "Love sandwich!" I said to Emma G, "You guys are the peanut butter and jelly!" She said, "No, I'm the tomato and Joshua is the salad!" From a girl who lives on PB&J, I was shocked to hear this news! Now if I could just get her to eat tomato and salad sandwiches!

love sandwich



Wishing you with your loved ones a very Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Wedding

wedding

About 2 hours before the wedding, storm clouds rolled in. Not good for an outside wedding! And not common in the Cape where rainy season is during the winter months.

What started as a 60% chance of showers turned into what could have been 100% disaster! The tables were already decorated beautifully so when the showers came, we all just ran inside. It eventually turned to light drizzle and then stopped. But the most beautiful thing was the double rainbow that appeared during the ceremony.

wedding

Sure, the tablecloths were damp and the serviettes too wet to place in your lap but the bride and groom were happy nonetheless and didn't let this act of mother nature spoil their special day.

After the ceremony we enjoyed lamb that was slow cooked all day on the spit. It was that kind of amazing taste that just melts in your mouth.

spit

Live entertainment was provided by Daniel Bedingfield, a good friend of Marguerite's. (You might recognize the Bedingfield name by his sister, Natasha, who has really made it big in the states.) It was fun rocking to original music as well as some old favorites!

daniel singing

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Wedding Preparations Invoke Community

Saturday we attended Marguerite and Erik's wedding. Marguerite is my sister-in-law's sister who we've known for several years since our YWAM Tyler days. At Zach and Anneke's wedding (Jeremy's brother), I witnessed family coming together to create a spectacular setting. It was no different with this wedding. The preparations began long before, carefully making each item to the bride's liking. It was amazing to see the family chipping in to make it so beautiful. With fresh flowers, beads, feathers, candles, petals, it was amazing. Just look at the beauty!

The girl's dresses made by the mother of the bride...

flower girl

flower girl

The beautiful flower bouquet's made by my sister-in-law...

flower bouquet

bridal bouquet

The table decorating, candle placement, light stringing done by aunts, uncles, cousins, friends...
(each serviette holder was hand beaded)

tables

serviettes

table listings

Gifts for the guests carefully stuffed by ouma (grandma)...

thank you for guests

I know most of you don't know the bride and groom but I was so blessed by the beauty of it, that I wanted to share with you in hopes you would also be blessed. I think it's also a beautiful example of one of the meanings of community. Coming together as one and giving of yourself to bless others. The result is simply beautiful...

*One more wedding post coming tomorrow! I just love weddings!
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