Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Beauty of Africa; Part 1

OK, I've Been Lazy Long Enough

So I'll post on what I'm good at: food.

The food in Africa was excellent. We stayed at a children's home where they had many many acres of farmland. Their main producing vegetable is green beans. They export to the European Union to make some money to help support themselves. The beans have a ton of regulations on them. In how they are grown, harvested, cleaned and selected. They have to be absolutely, perfectly straight or they are tossed.

Now, I grow a few meals worth of green beans every year in my little bitty garden. And I have yet to grow a straight green bean. However, this farm grows millions. So many that the imperfect beans are kept for the kids' consumption and only amount to 5% of all they grow. In their highest production month, they export over 32 tons of green beans. Can you even imagine?!



They hire many local village workers to do their greenhouse labor.This helps the farm and helps the local families. Many of whom would have to walk very far distances to find work otherwise. A bicycle is a valuable object and only the well-off own one. Walking is the prime method of transportation.






The greenhouse is four acres square and the beans are on a four block rotation so there is always a section ready to be harvested.
The most amazing part is that the beans are planted in gallen-sized bags filled with porous volcanic rocks. No dirt. They feed and fertilize through the sprinklers. It's unbelieveable.




We had beans in most of our meals. Green beans, tomatoes, onions and rice. Green beans, tomatoes, onions and fried potatoes. (and the occasional Coke as a respite from water, water, water)

Or lentils, tomatoes, potatoes, and a fried flatbread.
I know some of the boys got tired of not having meat in their meals, but I thought everything was amazing. So fresh and so flavorful and so healthy. I find myself craving green beans. And tomatoes and lentils and flatbread.

I'm also craving Africa.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Forward and Back

Welcome to the USA. Everyone speaks English. Everything is so clean.

But it doesn't seem the same here. It all feels different. It's not right.

Was I really just in Kenya two days ago?

I have much to say. Much to show. But it may take me a while to get it all out. I'm emotionally drained and physically exhausted. I'm not sure what day it is or when I am supposed to do what.

Keep watch. There will be much to teach. Much to learn.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Tomorrow...

I'm leaving for Kenya. It's weird because everyone keeps asking me if I'm excited. And I am. It's an exciting trip, an adventure I've never been on, a place I've only read and dreamed about. I could see lions and giraffes and huge expanses of desert.

But I really don't know what to expect. I don't know who I will meet, what I could see, where we will even go. I don't know what God is going to have to say to me through all these people, these new experiences. He works in different ways in a country where people have to FULLY depend on Him. For more than just paying the bills. For more than just safety in travel on vacation. For more than emotional stress in a relationship. For a bigger car and a better home.

Please don't hear me saying that those things aren't important to us, or important to God because they are important to us. They are, but they are not living and breathing.

To depend on God to get at least one meal a day. To depend on God through horrible illnesses, physical abuse. To depend on God for breath, for a scrap of clothing, for a smile once in a while.

So I am excited. I will be overwhelmed and challenged and encouraged and blessed. And I am terrified. I will be overwhelmed and challenged and saddened and troubled.

Please keep me in your prayers while I am gone. Maybe even post a prayer for me here every other day or so. I don't know what to tell you to pray for. Our itinerary is pretty fluid. But you'll know. You'll all have something different on your hearts that will be just what we need at the right time. So thank you in advance. And I hope I'll have much to share when I return.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Things to Do

1. Upload tons of new music into ipods. Charge ipods.

2. Spray all clothes with bug repellent. (Must not get West Nile Virus)

3. Buy new underwear as package already purchased was wrong size. (Like I don't know my underwear size? What is my problem?)

4. Pick out good book for plane reading. Not too big as is not much room in backpack, but not too short as to finish it too quickly.

5. Walk brother through watering all plants so none will die.

6. Empty and refill all litter boxes so no accidents will occur. (Please let no accidents occur!)

7. Clean off memory card of camera. Pack extra batteries.

8. Go through all lists and make sure have all needed for trip.

9. Pack backpack.

10. Run to store for something left off list.

11. Stay up extremely late.

12. Sleep in extremely late.

13. Worry that am forgetting something important.

14. Go to airport. (Too late for whatever was forgot)

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Flipper

I often wonder if I am too flippant. And then I decide I probably am. Then I wonder if that is a bad thing. And that I am not sure of.

I think I wonder this because so many people around me are often so serious. And that's not a bad thing. There are an awful lot of things in life to be serious about. There's more crap than most of us should have to live through, but we do.

I read so many good books this summer, most of which were nonfiction. Thoughts and ideas and philosophies. My brain feels well used and stretched. I often find that books that don't make me think at all are tasteless and pithy. I can't finish them.

I like random entertainment in a movie. But I also need a film now and then that challenges how I look at the world.

Anyway, all this to say that there has been enough in my life that is serious, and there is sure to be plenty more to come in the future. I need to laugh all the time. My life is lived for smiles. I want to provide the levity, the break, a bit of sunshine.

I hope I do that. I hope I'm not flippant or shallow but that I bring joy and fun and light amidst a life of sorrow and seriousness and bleakness. I just wanted you to know that. That's who I am, that's what I'm made for. I'm always afraid people don't think I'm smart enough or deep enough or whatever enough. But I'm me enough.

I think I'm reminding myself of this as much as anything else.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Why Do Cats...

My dearest Heather has asked some good kitty questions. I am assuming this means that she has brought Teva home and is resettling in with her sweet feline.

Why do cats eat grass (esp. b/c they/she just throw it up)?
Will my cat stop eating grass if she gets used to being outside?

This is a very common kitty malady. Or habit, whatever you'd like to call it. Every single time we let our cats outside (which is not often partially due to this situation) they head immediately to the grass to start mowing. So kind of them. To mow the grass for us.

I think there are two reasons for this. One is physiological.Cats cannot digest grass and they will always throw it up. They somehow know this and when they can't get a hairball to pass (gross, I know) they will eat grass or a plant to take care of the situation.

The other reason I believe that cats eat grass is because they can. It's different. It's not something they usually eat. It's a different and interesting texture and taste in their mouth. They are weird like that. Why does a cat climb into a plastic bag or a cardboard box? Because they can.

Unfortunately Heather, Teva will not stop this practice if she becomes accustomed to the outdoors. She'll just have more ready access to it. However, she may be more likely to "get rid of" the grass/hairball outside as opposed to bringing it in for you to clean up. If you see her eating the grass, give her a little time before bringing her back in and you'll save plenty of money on paper towels.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Iggy Likes to Hide


Ok, so I know this isn't the greatest picture. But he is behind the table, behind the door and behind the curtain.

He was in my pink room, so maybe he was just embarrassed to be caught in there. Only his little pink nose sticking out.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Organization


A while back I read on someone's blog about how they had found or bought or thought about buying cute patterned file folders.

(Again, boys you may want to look away from the blatent girliness that will follow)

I love to orgnize things. I'm not saying I do it all the time or even that I keep it orderly once I have done the job, but I do love doing it. My books are organized by genre and author in my library. Movies also separated certain ways. Closets, shelves, drawers. It makes me so happy to see them in their orderly perfection.

So when I read that post about fancy, girly, pretty file folders, my heart jumped. (Yes, I often have a silly heart) I followed the link and looked at the vintage patterns, the feminine swirls, the cutesy bubbles. But the prices seemed a bit high for cardboard. Mind you, I wasn't above ordering them the moment I fell in love with them, but I did amazingly refrain.

And have been searching diligently hither and yon for more affordable options. Target online had very cute patterns. However, I couldn't find them in the store. And I wanted to be able to be sure they were just what I wanted. I wanted to hold them in my hand.

Imagine my surprise this weekend when I found the perfect PERFECT file folders at Old Navy! (I was returning some pants I had bought for my husband online [I can only find pants for him online as he has a longer inseam than any regular store anywhere bothers to carry] which had claimed to be the correct size, but in fact, they were not. Curses.)

So I scooped up four sets of them for my perfect home office organizing. All in shades of pink. Of course.

All this to say, if you are organizing (or would like to organize) any office, I would recommend popping over to ON and grabbing a few of these while they're hot. There are even stylish masculine designs for anyone inclined to venture outside of the boring off-while folder.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Best Porch Ever

There was the emptying of the porch. The removal of old rotten wood.

There was the purchase of new wood paneling, carpet, nails and various other building sundries. (I just like using that word. I'm not sure if it means what I think it means.)

There was the caulking of the windows until the very possibility of water leaking was completely prevented. At least for a good ten years or so.

There was the laying and the measuring and the rolling and the unrolling and the cutting and the fitting and the taping and the gluing of the carpet.

There was the priming and the painting of the walls and the cutting and fitting and nailing and painting of the trim.

The windows were washed, the furniture was restained & painted and new cushions were made.

Everything was put back in and arranged.

Now it is cozy and clean and fresh and smells like new carpet. Now there is no more random stuff lying about. Now there is no clutter, no trash, no dead leaves. Now there is a lovely palm tree to make it feel homey and tropical.

We ate lunch in the middle of the new clean floor. This was also one of our fastest projects ever. Two weeks! Unbelieveable.
Feel free to come over any time to take a nap or eat your lunch. Even if we're not home. :) It's a very cozy porch to sit on. I'd be happy to share its coziness with you.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Ahhh

A hard work day.

A short nap.

A good movie.

A long bike ride.

A yummy dinner.

A hot coffee.

Another long bike ride.


A bubble bath.