Come Sit On My Front Porch…

Come in the cool of the morning,
 and we'll enjoy a freshly ground cup of coffee.
Guatemalan or Ethiopian --roasted just last week.
The morning traffic hums by, the birds are chirping, 
and the morning air is refreshing.
We'll sit out there 'til the baby wakes up for her breakfast.

If you come in the afternoon,
the sun will kiss your skin (work on the tan?)
 and a tall glass of meadow tea 
would be just perfect.

If you're lucky, we might even have 
fresh strawberry pie stashed in the fridge 
or I could always whip up some hot pepper jelly dip.
(Can you tell what I'm hungry for right now? ;) )

And then there's evening.
That's when hubby & I sit out and enjoy
the freshly mulched flowerbed and talk about our day.
With another cup 'o coffee, of course.
Or ice cream, on occasion.
It's cool and quiet and peaceful.
If you join us, we'll add a couple of chairs 
and hash out life's problems.

Why wait til we're old to sit on the front porch?
Let's enjoy it now!
That's our theory, anyway.

We found these porch rockers at a garage sale the beginning of May.
"A Mother's Day gift! " Jonathan said.
Come to find out, he likes them as much as I do.
So we decided that one is for Mother's Day and the other is for Father's Day. Ha!!

Come sit on my front porch!

Mother’s Day Musings

I am still getting used to the fact that I will be celebrating Mother’s Day this year in a different way than I ever have before.

I look into the innocent eyes of my precious two-month-old and tell her the important things of life she will need to know someday. (Like, “You’re going to love chocolate some day too!” as I munch on a handful of chocolate chips. Ha!) Often I will look up from a task and she is staring at me, watching every move I make. When I look into her eyes, I can see a mini image of myself  reflected in her dark pupils. She is so impressionable. I can teach her anything. I can teach her to love Jesus, and to talk to Him about anything. I can teach her Scripture. I can teach her to speak gentle words, to treat others kindly, and to work diligently.IMG_2489When she fusses while I’m trying to finish supper, I finally wrap her in a blanket and we sit on the porch rocker, waiting for her favorite daddy to come home. I sing and she drifts off to sleep contentedly.

I suddenly realize that these are the moments I will look back on with fondness.april11Sure, it’s not all easy and idyllic. Any mom would tell you that. There are those bleary-eyed 2:45 am feedings. There are those times when you’re both writhing miserably with an awful stomachache and all you want to do is curl up in a ball and sleep, but you can’t because the baby is wailing. There are so many hours of sacrifice and the times when she decides to be hungry too, just as you are sitting down to eat lunch.

But I  know that the good moments far outweigh the tough, and it is worth every hard, sleepless, frustrating day.

: : : : : :

I have new admiration and respect for mothers, since Avi was born. It takes so much grace + wisdom + strength to go through nine months of pregnancy, then the trauma of labor and delivery. And that is just the beginning of motherhood!

Thanks Mom, for all you went through to give me life and to pass on a legacy of faith to me. I love you!

Friday Five

Five favorites, for Friday. (Alliteration, anyone?) :) IMG_2479may1IMG_2460IMG_2505IMG_2534

1. A little green in my kitchen.
2. Soft evening light + new favorite place to sit with my coffee.
3. New favorite coffee, freshly roasted by an acquaintance in South Dakota.
4. Baby feet + yellow polka dots.
5. Hanging beauty on my porch.

Life in Numbers // 2

IMG_2511Life in numbers.

63// Number of years that the National Day of Prayer has been in existence in this nation. Don’t forget to pray for our government today!

 5// Number of Gerber daisies I planted this afternoon. I loved how they bloomed all summer long, so I decided to plant them again this year.\

51// Number of pages I’ve read in my new book: How To Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird. Super good read so far. Reaching out to our neighbors is something we both feel called to, and I’m enjoying the insights of the author so far.

3// Number of trips I’ve made to the greenhouse this year so far. I can’t seem to get everything in one trip! ;)

8// Weeks since they placed a wiggly little newborn in my arms. She’s growing so fast!

87// Number of degrees predicted for Monday’s high temperature. Hello, summer!

15// Number of days ’til I get to hug my family again. :)

Countless// Number of diapers changed in the last 8 weeks. (ha!)

Blessed, that’s what I am. Have a happy Thursday!

Fruit + What It Tells About Me

I just witnessed a scene of classic road rage played out right across the road. The UPS driver parked on the road and proceeded to take his good old time unloading a mammoth box from the back, then walked it to the front door of our neighbor’s house. The problem was, he parked right on the hill, so the cars behind him couldn’t see to safely pass. This entailed quite a back-up of rush hour work traffic, a terrific honking and a very angry man yelling so loudly that I could hear every bad word he said from inside my house.

(Given, it was a dumb move on the UPS driver’s part. He easily could’ve just pulled into the driveway and saved himself and a lot of other people grief.)

I don’t know the angry man. I don’t know what else he had faced in his day. I do know that his actions told me something about him. That he wasn’t exercising the fruit of the Spirit. That he was impatient. That he didn’t hesitate to use bad words.

These verses came to mind:

“For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” [Luke 6:43-45]

And I think of myself. How do I respond when someone spreads false rumors about me and those I love? How do I act when I get stuck in a fifteen minute stand-still due to construction on the road I’m taking? (true story) Do I treat others the way that Jesus does?

What is the fruit of my life telling about me?


Recipe // Southwestern Egg Scramble

I’m always on the look-out for quick ‘n easy breakfasts. This is my new favorite “brekkie”, as we (and the Australians) call it. :)

southwesternesSaute’ onions, peppers, and potatoes in butter. I like to use frozen hash browns for convenience sake, but you could also use shredded or cubed potatoes. Season with seasonings of your choice. I use tumeric, a little dash of cumin, and garlic salt.

Scramble eggs. Top with sauteed mixture, salsa, and sour cream.

Easy peasy.

It seems almost too simple to post as a recipe, but maybe it’ll help someone out of their breakfast-making-slump. :) I always like to hear new ideas for breakfasts… leave me lots of ideas in the comments?? ;)

The Ordinary, Everywhere [Guest Post]

This article was written by a friend of mine who is living in a Muslim country. I enjoyed her perspective and gained her permission to share it as a guest post. Enjoy this glimpse into her world of the glamorous and ordinary. [All photos are hers]

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

IMG_1662Today, when I walked through the butcher shop/restaurant, I had to be careful to skirt the 4 ft. slab of raw meat dangling in the middle of the room. When I walk through the city, I have to avoid garbage, puddles, and mud with who-knows-what-else mixed in. When I make my weekly journey to the grocery store, I have to ignore stares and unwelcome calls for my attention.

I’ve eaten different and delicious foods—balls of potatoes, mixed with who-knows-what, dipped in batter, fried, and smashed on bread with fried egg, olives, and a thin tomato sauce. Avocado milkshakes. Lentils in a thin broth, sopped up with bread. Couscous with chicken, vegetables, and a stewed raisin-and-onion topping. Some common American foods—cheese, peanut butter, salad dressings, ice cream, boneless chicken breasts—are expensive even by American standards.

I see a woman in a black burqa, gloves, and a veil covering even her eyes. I see huge bags of spices, stalls overflowing with scarves, pottery, leather goods, jewelry. I see carts mounded with gigantic deep-red strawberries, oranges, and bananas—all selling for less than $1.50 a kilo. I smell garbage, urine, and orange blossoms. During the winter, I shiver in our house without central heating, and during the summer, I’ll sweat. I sit on a low, wide, backless couch, with only pillows for lumbar support. To buy milk and eggs, I speak a few words in a different language, guttural, with sounds that don’t even exist in English, and—being too proud—hope that the shop-keeper doesn’t offer any pleasantries, because I’ll likely (a) not understand him and (b) get my grammar hopelessly wrong in whatever I say in return.

Now. Let me give you a different picture. This morning, I had a huge cup of coffee (complete with caramel coffee creamer, a gift from my mother-in-law) and scrambled eggs for breakfast, and enjoyed an e-book on my Kindle. I walked about a hundred yards to school, and on my break, I bought a 10-cent square of dark chocolate from the shop-keeper. I know the 3-5 words necessary for this, and when he makes conversation—something about me knowing the language—I just smile, show him my textbook, say “little by little,” and leave. After school, I devoured a spicy, saucy, cilantro-y chicken sandwich with fries. In the States, this would probably cost me $8-10 at an ethnic restaurant; here, it’s $1.50. This afternoon, I will make white chicken chili, mix up salad dressing, and do homework, and tonight, we’re going out with English-speaking acquaintances to celebrate a birthday.

In the streets, I see many women in traditional dress, but I see the same number in skinny jeans and sweaters. I can sit in a modern cafe with wi-fi and drink high-quality iced coffee, and a modern mall, complete with frozen yogurt, Burger King, and Pizza Hut, is only around a mile away. In our neighborhood, I can walk on streets that are regularly cleaned, and a bed of poppies and nasturtiums is outside our front door. When I’m tired of walking, I can ride in a taxi for around a dollar. I can buy peanuts and pay someone to grind them into peanut butter for a nominal fee, and I can buy a warm doughnut dipped in sugar for 10 cents. When I do laundry, I use Tide detergent and the American washer that came with our furnished apartment (and did I mention how beautiful and spacious the apartment is?). The other day, I let an older gentleman go ahead of me in line at the grocery store. When I left the store, I heard someone calling me, and it took me a while to realize that, this time, it was just that older gentleman saying thank you.

Which picture is accurate? The glamorous, difficult one, or the mundane, comfortable one?

They both are. I suppose I could talk about the importance of perspective and looking for the best in every situation, and while that’s a valid point, I want to focus on something different.

Life in a foreign country, for anyone, will be exciting and difficult—and this life is the stuff of story and legend. But, even in a foreign country, life can be normal and comfortable. A change of location will not automatically change you.

So. If you struggle with self-discipline in America, you will struggle with it in Africa. If you’re an extrovert in America, you’re still an extrovert in Africa. Conversely, America does not prevent you from seeing with eyes of compassion, from choosing a grateful spirit, from saying hello to your neighbor.

That fact is comforting, because it reminds me that God can use me, with my personality, wherever I am, and that He cares about me—even about my wants—wherever I am. And it’s challenging, because it reminds me that if I want positive change, I have to do something and sacrifice something—no matter where I am.

From America, to developing Africa, to the poorest of undeveloped countries—circumstances and situations will vary, but His love and commandments do not.