Thursday, May 31, 2007

New Profile Picture

I did something to mess up my profile picture, so I'm posting a new one.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Friday Favorite: Naptime

There is no hour of the day so peaceful as the afternoon hours when Caleb takes a nap. It seems that my morning hours are usually filled with laundry and other get-the-day-going activities. But the 1 1/2 hours of quietness in the afternoon have become a real favorite of mine. I have been able to read my Bible, finish a few books on my lengthy list, do a little baking, and every now and then sneak in a little nap myself.

For a mother, nearly every hour of the day (and sometimes the night, too) is filled with care for the perpetually curious, ever-hungry little children God has given to her care. But, He was gracious enough to cause those little wigglers to need an afternoon nap so that their dear mothers could retain a semblance of sanity! Isn't He gracious!?

Very Cherry!

Yesterday, we were invited by our friend, Paul, to his family's cherry farm to pick cherries. We made out like bandits! We came home with about 5-10 pounds of the ripest, sweetest, freshest cherries you've ever seen. Forget the grocery-store, if you want to know what real cherries taste like, you've got to make a trip to California's central valley and taste some Bings, Black Tarts, Rainiers, and Brooks cherries, fresh off the trees.

Some cool stuff I learned about cherries:
  • In order to grow a healthy, fruitful cherry tree, you must cross pollinate each tree with a cherry tree of another variety. So, if you're planning to plant a cherry tree in your back yard, plant two.
  • In Japan, consumers pay as much as $1 PER CHERRY? Crazy, huh!? No wonder the bulk of the Californian cherry crop is shipped to Asia!
  • Cherries are graded based on sugar content. The more sugar, the higher the quality; the higher the quality, the more money the cherry is worth. So basically, sugar = money.
  • A cherry isn't just a cherry. There are early producers and late producers, sweet and tart, soft and firm, dark and white.

Here are some photos from our field trip (technically, this was an orchard trip, but you know what I mean). . .
Caleb and I were so excited for our outing that we waited
on the front steps for Daddy to pick us up.
As you can see, Caleb could hardly contain his joy.

Paul with Caleb, Josh and Yvette displaying the loot off the first variety of tree.
The dark leafed trees on the left are Bing Cherries.
The light colored trees on the right are Walnut Trees.

I was allowed to climb the ladder, as long as I promised not to fall off!

Josh regretted volunteering to pick Black Tarts for me.
Every time he thought he was done, I kept saying, "MORE!"

Life is like a bowl of cherries!
(the dark cherries are Black Tarts, the bright red are Bings, and the light pink are Rainiers)

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Let's Indoctrinate Our Children!

Here is the promised excerpt mentioned in my previous post. . .

Taken from From My Kitchen Window by Jesse Rice Sandberg:

Let's Indoctrinate Our Children!

Not too many weeks ago a teacher in one of the nearby high schools was suspended on the charge that he had propagated communism in the public schools. The complaint had been made by several parents that their children had come home from school with the news that their teacher had told them the "good" side of communism. In his own defense the teacher said, "I am not a communist and I have never been one. I feel that it is my duty as a teacher to present both sides of every issue."

On the surface, "to present both sides" sounds innocent enough; in fact, it has a rather noble ring to it. Modern society has made broad-mindedness the supreme virtue. We have been so busy being tolerant, unbiased, non-sectarian and ecumenical that we have almost thrown away the God-given-privilege--no, I should say God-given RESPONSIBILITY--of influence over our children. We say, in essence, to the world, "I'll give you the same opportunities for indoctrinating my children for evil as I give myself to indoctrinate them for good. May the best man win!". . .

When we are teaching young children to stay out of the street, we do not describe to them all the advantages of playing in the street in an effort to give "both sides." If it is dangerous to their health and life, then there are no advantages, no "good points" about playing in the street. It is as simple as that. How strange that we are inclined to be more careless with their spiritual welfare than we are with their bodies. . . .

We give our children a slight smattering of spiritual training in the home and in the Sunday School, then we leave it up to the movies, the television, the cheap magazine, the evolution-teaching professor, and the worldly, popular crowd at school to do their worst without ever a a word raised in protest. God forgive us!

From My Kitchen Window

When I was a little girl, I was fascinated with books. I remember, in particular, one small, pink book that my mom kept in a prominent place (at least, prominent from a 3-year-old's perspective) on the bookshelf. Perhaps it was the rosy color, perhaps it was the cozy drawing of a cheerful little home on the cover, perhaps it was the petite size of the book. . . whatever it was, that book sparked my imagination. I can remember wondering what was inside and looking forward to growing up and being a Mommy with a pink book just like that.

In September of 2005, at one of my wedding showers, I received a torn, scribbled-upon, faded pink book whose inscription read, "Dear Rebecca, My heart is filled with joy and love as the Lord has brought you into this glorious season of your life! You have been a blessing to me all your life. The little scribbles on this book were made by YOU as I enjoyed the nuggets of wisdom contained within its pages. May you have many happy years as a wife and mother. . . Love, your own Mother." What a wonderful gift!

As it turns out, the little pink book that caught my fancy as a little girl was entitled From My Kitchen Window: Conversations with Christian Wives and Mothers about Home and Daily Living by Jesse Rice Sandberg. Published in 1963, the short little vignettes reflect a different era, an era not so long ago, but far, far away. Mrs. Sandberg speaks of sewing her own dresses and her children's clothes, of chatting with neighbors over back fences, of hanging clothes out to dry on the line, and of starching the kitchen curtains. But, despite the old-fashioned homemaking curiosities, Mrs. Sandberg's spiritual insights are just as relevant today as they were forty years ago. (One devotional that stood out to me was entitled, "Let's Indoctrinate Our Children!" I will post an excerpt in a subsequent post. )

As you may have guessed, this blog was intentionally named in honor of that tattered old book. Although I am well aware that Mrs. Sandberg's wisdom and insights far surpass my own, I do hope that in forty years, a young wife or new mother will be encouraged and convicted by the posts on this blog, just as I have been by the contents of the little pink book. It is something aim for. It is something to pray for.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Everyday Singapore

We started a blog called Everyday Singapore. We thought it would be a good idea to keep our personal stuff on this blog and start a second blog dedicated to life in Singapore. Of course, some things will cross over, but we'll do our best to keep them separate. Check it out and let me know what you think. If you have any questions about Singapore, send them to me. I'll try to keep a list of questions and answer them as I learn more.

B is for . . .

B is for BATH

B is for BEACH

B is for BUCKET

B is for BALLS

B is for BOOKS

B is for BEDTIME

Monday, May 21, 2007

Things to be praying about

We are running into a little difficulty locating housing in Singapore. The difficulty is twofold. First, the cost. The school Josh will be working for is run as a ministry, and although they do charge a tuition, it is significantly lower than every other international school in Singapore. Not only that, but over half the students are missionary kids and receive a significant discount off the regular tuition price. We are excited to be working for an organization that is focused on serving Christ and loving the students rather than making a profit, but that does translate into a very modest living stipend for us. In years past, the stipend allowance has been just enough to live on. However, in the last year, real estate in Singapore has gone up 70%, which makes the once barely-livable stipend no longer livable. We know that the Lord will provide what is lacking, whether it be through contract work that Josh may be able to find or through some other yet-unseen means. Please pray firstly that God would meet our financial needs and secondly, that a suitable flat (as they call apartments there) would open up in our price range.

The second difficulty we are facing is discrimination. Asia is not like America (DUH!). Landlords can deny a renter for any reason. Last week, we were working with a rental agent who had located us a clean 2-bedroom flat that was a "good deal" (albeit, still $300 more than we are currently paying!). We submitted some information that the agent requested but we received news this morning that the landlord was unwilling to rent to a family with an infant. I talked with our contact at the school and asked if that is a normal practice. He said, "Asia overall has practices that are much different. You see ads in the paper: Wanted female worker – age 30-35 only, Chinese Male security officer needed--under 40 years of age. You are asked you age, religion, husband’s job, etc. Things that would not be legal in the US are the norm here." (I replied that obviously the landlord hadn't seen pictures of Caleb, or they would have known that he is the cutest boy in the world and would have loved to rent to us!) So the third thing that we would ask that you be praying about with us is for a landlord who would be willing to rent to our family, infant and all.

We'll keep you updated. =)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Chicken Satay

Although it isn't exactly a Singaporean dish ("they" aren't sure where it originated, possibly Indonesia), Satay is a popular entree throughout Southeast Asia, Singapore included. There are a million versions of this simple meal but here is a recipe for one of Josh's and my favorite variations. Hope you enjoy!

Because several of the ingredients are unusual items (at least in my kitchen), I recommend doubling or tripling the recipe and freezing the extra prior to cooking. I'll include the freezer directions, just in case.

Chicken Satay
Serves 6

6 cloves minced garlic
4 Tbs grated ginger (you can usually find it in a jar where the garlic is)
4 Tbs cider vinegar
4 green onions, sliced
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Hoisin sauce (in Asian section of store)
1/2 cup soy sauce
4 Tbs peanut butter (smooth works better)
4 Tbs sesame oil (you can substitute veg oil, but the flavor of sesame is better)
2 Tbs honey
2 tsp crushed red pepper (or more to taste!)

Mix the above together. Divide in two. Half will be used to marinade the chicken. Half will be heated and used as a sauce.

Marinade 6 boneless, skinless breasts (cut into 1-2 inch slices) for at least an hour.
Skewer marinated meat and grill on BBQ. Use extra marinade to baste chicken, but be sure that marinade thoroughly cooked with the meat!

Heat reserved sauce. Serve chicken with sauce over rice. Grilled veggies and fresh tropical fruit round out the meal nicely.

Freezer instructions:
Make marinade/sauce and put half in a freezer bag with chicken. Put the other half in a quart-sized bag. Place both bags inside a 3rd bag and label. Allow meat/sauce to thaw completely before cooking.

The Daddy-Way

There is a definitive difference between the way Mommy feeds Baby and the way Daddy does. Mommy gives little bites, just enough to fill the tiny mouth (even if it takes 30 minutes for Baby to eat 3 Tbs of pureed fruit). Daddy, on the other hand, gives great big bites, replete with airplane noises and choo choos, because the faster the bowl is empty, the better (even if only 1/3 of it actually arrived to its appointed destination!).

I feed Caleb on the days when nutritional intake is of the essence. Josh feeds Caleb on days when time is of the essence.

It is tempting, being a Mommy, to think that the Mommy-way is the right way, but it isn't. Daddy's way is fun and fast and it gives Mommy a much needed break. There is nothing wrong with that.

If you have a husband who does things the Daddy-way, let him, even if it is different than the way you would do things. Let your husband do things his way and only interfere if there is real danger involved. Instead of itemizing everything he's doing "wrong", try standing back and appreciating everything he's doing right (like loving you and your kids). So what if the after-dinner clean-up takes a little longer. So what if there is water on the bathroom floor because of bathtub splash sessions. That's just the Daddy-way! Remember. . . there are plenty of women out there who would love the extra clean-up and water puddles if it meant they had a husband who helped out! Some of those women used to have husbands who helped out, but their critical spirit stifled their husband's willingness. Don't be one of those women!

"A continual dripping on a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike." Prov 27:15

"Better to dwell in a corner of a housetop, than in a house shared with a contentious woman." Prov 21:9

Here is a recent Daddy Day photo I though you might enjoy. When I came out into the kitchen and found this face, I couldn't help but smile!

P.S.--Thanks for all your help, Josh. I really do appreciate it when you feed, bathe or change Caleb. Especially on days when I'm needing a break or just a few minutes to myself. You always come to the rescue just in time! It is nice to be on your team.


We took Caleb to the beach a few weeks ago to play in the sand. He loved it! We burried his whole bottom half in sand, leaving only his toes exposed. He had so much fun digging his way out. He enjoyed splashing his feet in the ocean, too, although Mommy and Daddy both agreed that the water was way too cold for anything more than a toe-dip.

Monday, May 14, 2007

A few new photos

Didn't Josh do a great job picking out my Mother's day gift (a new outfit that actually fit!)?

Some of my cousins called at the last minute to say that they were in town. It was nice to see all five of the (tall) girls together. They are usually busy with all sorts of extracurricular activities and it is a rare treat to see them all in one place.

Caleb (7 months already!) is just about ready to take off crawling. Notice the tongue of determination. He is a crack-up!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Land of Eternal Summer

After I posted this, I was encourage by notes from many of you saying that you were praying for us. Living as a leaf in God's wind is. . .well, how shall I put this. . . unpredictable. If you had told me in January that we would be living in an apartment right now, I would have laughed at your imagination. But, here we are. If you had told me a month ago that we would be moving out of the apartment in just a few short weeks, I would have laughed at the joke. But, here we are!
After our house sold in only two days, an unheard of thing in the current housing market, we began earnestly seeking God's face about where He was leading us. After making application to a few places, we interviewed and were offered a position in Singapore. For the next two school years, Joshua will be teaching computers at a Christian International School. It is hard to believe, but we will be leaving the US and flying to Singapore the latter part of July! We are excited about this opportunity. God opened the door before us and all obstacles were removed. It has been reassuring to see His hand in our lives.
A little about Singapore. . . I have affectionately dubbed it "The Land of Eternal Summer." The lowest recorded temperature is only 65-degrees (for those of you who need a break from the snow and sleet of Colorado, Washington and Texas, feel free to come visit us next winter). Singapore is an island city-state on the southern tip of Malaysia. It lies very close to the equator and is only a little over 200 square miles. That isn't a very large amount of space in which to squeeze a population of 4.5 million people--thus the high rise apartments and office buildings that dominate the urbanized area of the island. Everyone who has been to Singapore comments on how clean it is. . . so clean that even chewing gum is not allowed in the country (my guess is that although there are no chewing gum stains on the sidewalk, there are 4.8 million people with less-than-fresh breath!) Not only is Singapore one of the cleanest counties in the world, but it is also very serious about obedience to the law (perhaps you remember the incident that made national television a few years ago regarding the caning of an American hoodlum who will now think twice about spray painting BMW's in Singapore) and has one of the lowest crime rates in the world. I'm sure I'll have a lot more to tell you about Singapore once we arrive there, but that's a good start for now.

Although we are excited to GO, we are not excited to LEAVE. It is difficult to say goodbye to friends and family and all things familiar. I cannot emphasize enough how grateful I am to be living in a day and age when technology gaps the miles and even the farthest reaches of the earth are as close as your computer screen. That makes the leaving less difficult.

Please be praying for us as we coordinate our move. Specifically, pray that I would not become bogged down with the details and physical exhaustion of an international move and that I would keep my eyes on the goal of glorifying Christ even in the littlest things. Pray, also, that Josh would be able to utilize these last few months at his current job to shine Christ's light. Pray for an easy adjustment for Caleb (it's a 15 hour time change and a 21 hour flight. . . not exactly a fun prospect with a baby!)

I will be writing more soon, but I wanted to update everyone. This has been an extremely busy couple of weeks and I know the next few will even more hectic.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

So much for resolutions

Some of you may have been following my progress on the 2,700,000 in 2007 (see sidebar). Well. . . I have unfortunate news. During our recent move, I dropped my pedometer and broke it. I've tried to continue wearing it, but the battery falling out, clearing out all my accrued steps. So, sadly, this fun experiment is over. I suppose I could take the results from the first three months of the year and multiply them by four to see if my estimated total for the year would have even come close to my original goal, but since I can tell that it won't, I'm going to spare myself the disappointment. =)

I'd like to get another pedometer soon, though. A better one that I can slip into my pocket or something. I plan to do quite a bit of walking in the Land of Eternal Summer.

More information on this to follow. Stay tuned!

Monday, May 07, 2007


We are back in action. Our problems with the DSL provider were finally resolved and our service became active this weekend. So, you should be hearing from me again very soon. I have a lot of pictures and updates from the last few weeks. And. . . a few good recipes, too!

Keep checking back. I'm going to try to upload our pictures to this computer (we're using a different hard drive now with different software so I have to figure out how to upload on this new system) some time this afternoon.

Ahhh. . . it's good to be back in cyberspace! =)