Friday, July 31, 2009

Fridge Clean Out

Do you ever have those days where you just need to eat all the leftovers in your fridge? Ours tends to be either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. So, what was on the menu today?

Lunch: Cream of Chicken/Tomato Soup & Taco Salad
Dinner: Chicken Stroganoff/Leftover Pot Roast Vegetables & Pancakes

Random! We feel great knowing that the only thing left in the fridge is our lunch for tomorrow.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Be Still

A few evenings ago, I sat on our balcony some time just before sunset. As I sat there gazing at the beautiful colors painted across the sky, I began to notice other finer details in the world around me. A gentle evening breeze that swayed the trees and flushed away the heat of the day, a small dog yipping in the distance, a neighbor's pans clinking as she washed them in the sink. In that moment, all I wanted to do was be still, to be quiet and rest before our Great God. I began thinking of how often my life, our lives, are filled to the brim with junk, busyness, and noise. When was the last time we switched everything off in order to listen to Him in the stillness? If you recall, when the Lord came to Elijah, he was not in the wind, the fire, or the earthquake, but in the still silence. Perhaps all the things, they may even be inherently good things, inhibit our ability to listen. I've often wondered what the song "Take Time to Be Holy" really means. Does it mean to be more careful to be perfect? I think maybe sitting quietly before the Lord is taking time to be holy, allowing Him to mold us in His presence.

After my own reflections that evening, I wanted to challenge others to listen, to switch off the television, radio, computer, and all other distractions, and just listen. Take a quiet walk one evening or sit on your patio to think and to listen. Resist the urge to plan, organize, or do anything else but listen. Maybe we'll hear what we've been waiting for.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The “Five Second” Rule

Recently, in a conversation with a friend, I discovered that the “five second” rule is not only prevalent in our home country, but also in this part of the world. Apparently, doctors even believe in this magic rule, as a physician is the person who told my friend about the rule. I explained to the lady that we also have the same funny practice, but most people know that it has no validity, especially if they’ve seen “Food Detective” with Ted Allen on the Food Network. They tested the theory and found that it is generally only applicable to dry, hard candy.

A few days after we had this conversation, the same lady and I were chatting in my kitchen when she accidentally knocked a bag of Cheetos-ish chips onto the floor. Since the bag had already been opened, the little puffs shot everywhere across the room. This lady’s face was priceless. With excited big eyes she bounced down to the floor and exclaimed, “Quick, quick! Five seconds!” in the local language as she feverishly collected the scattered chips. Then, she rolled the bag back up and returned it to its place. I tried very hard to suppress my laughter and nearly forgot about the incident until I remembered the story a few days later. As I began telling P.J. and his mom about it, I discovered that he finished the bag of chips shortly after the incident without knowing they had once been strewn all over the floor. Yuck!

So…I guess the rule applies somewhat after all since he’s still with us.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

July 4th on American Soil

Most American embassies all around the world open their doors to American expatriates every July 4th to celebrate the independence gained over 200 years ago. Yesterday we had a fantastic time with our fellow Americans celebrating that independence with barbeque, watermelon eating contests, live music, football (and yes, I mean real American football), and a lovely array of imported American goodies like Doritos and Cherry Coke.

About 500 of us gathered at the embassy's American club situated in the heart of the city. Once you step through the gates, and the very serious security, you are officially on American soil; and it feels like it. Large open fields of beautifully manicured grass, nice wide sidewalks, a proper parking lot with spaces marked off with white lines (the only one you will find in this country), and even its own grocery store full of American goods.

It was a nice break from life here. Today is the 5th, and it's back to work. Only 364 more days till the next time we step back on American soil on July 4, 2010.

On another note, Naomi has now officially lived longer outside of the U.S. than in it. She has adjusted well to her international life. Hopefully her little brain is learning two languages at the same time. She enjoys the local food and loves all the attention of the local people who don't see many little white babies. People gush over her and call her things like queen, dolly, and princess. They buy her things when we are at stores (such as apples) and love to carry her around and take pictures of her on their cell phones. We are just worried about when we come back to the U.S. and she is no longer the center of everyone's attention wherever we go; now that will be culture shock!