Thursday, July 31, 2008

Prayer Request

I just found out that my mother fell on Tuesday and broke her leg in a couple of places. Since many of you who subscribe to my blog know her, I felt it important to ask for prayers for her here. She goes into surgery some time today.

If you want me to keep you informed of how she is doing, please feel free to contact me personally and email me here.



Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Be prepared

I've decided that the boy scouts have hit one something very true with those two little words. Here, at least, I'm quickly learning the importance of being prepared. So what have I discovered?

1. Keep candles and flashlights in every room. You never know when the lights might go out.

2. Keep your computer charged. I have the feeling that my editor won't like the excuse of a dead battery.

3. Keep the water jugs filled. There's also no telling when the water might be temporarily cut off.

4. There are no McDonalds or Wendys here. Find ways to make cooking convenient.

Which is exactly how I spent a good part of my weekend. I froze pineapples, passion fruit and papaya (the fruit here is fantastic) for quick morning smoothies. I made individual banana breads for breakfasts, and a sourdough like starter for breads, muffins, pizza, and pancakes. I still plan to make salsa, tomato sauce, cookies, and muffins to freeze in the coming weeks.

Living here definitely takes longer, but I'm enjoying the cooking, baking, and finding ways to simplify my life.

What about you? I'd love to hear of things you do to simplify your life, including any recipes you'd like to share.



Coming next. . .Good-bye Pricilla

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Our new house

I realized this week that I haven't posted any photos of our new house. The owners are busy having a second floor built, and will move into it once it is finished. Considering it was supposed to be finished over a month ago and still has tons of work left, I don't think they will move in for quite a while. While we would prefer our own place, we think the situation will work out well. They have their own entrance and the yard is blocked off so we have our half for privacy.

Sunday night, we had a small church service and was excited that our living room was full. We are planning to use house churches throughout the area, but this was an encouraging beginning to our work here.

When we first move in, I hated my kitchen. The workmanship is horrid and the cupboards are nothing more than deep cement holes, which isn't exactly where you want to put your clean dishes. It's amazing, though, what a bunch of cleaning can do. We are still going to built shelves in the bottom shelves, so I don't have to store my pots and pans in a bucket, but I actually love my kitchen now!

Another project this week was to hang up mosquito nets. While the annoying fliers don't bother me, they certainly bother the rest of the family, and with malaria and issue here, they are important. This is Jayden's bed and net in the room he's sharing with Mariah.

I love my schoolroom! We have just enough room for four desks and two bookshelves and so far it's working out great. We started yesterday and Gabriel told me that he loved his first day back to school. Not bad. And I even have the library for the kids I've wanted.

I couldn't resist throwing in this last photo. We had some major plumbing problems to correct. The master bath was flooding at least an inch at night, and the main bathroom tub drained into. . .well. . .that was the question. Yesterday we brought in our own plumber who said the whole system had been done wrong and fixed both the leak and the tub. You can imagine my horror though, as I walked into the bath and saw the tub removed! As of today, though, the leak is gone.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Eighteen Years ago. . .

Eighteen years ago today, I married my college sweetheart. Like all married couples, we’ve gone through better and worse, and unlike most, lived in half a dozen states and that many countries. Looking back, I’m amazed at all that God has brought us through, and the way He’s forged us together like a team.

Yesterday, as part of our downsizing process, we made a pit and burnt years of files and papers we don’t need anymore (thanks to the internet). For me though, some of these papers spanned a decade of my writing career--from old rejection letters, to proposals (that certainly weren’t ready to be sent off back then), to printed out critiques from my writing partners. It made me think of how much he’s supported me all these years, through all the rejections, hours spent writing, and eventually paid deadlines.

He cooks dinner when I’m up against a deadline, takes the kids out to give me some quiet time, and faithfully critiques every manuscript straight through before I send it in to my publisher. When I get discouraged, think about quitting, or am simply too tired of the juggling act, he helps me put life into perspective.

And of course, there is life beyond writing. Every woman, wife, and mother out there understands how complicated life can be. Yet, he’s always been there to wash the dishes, run an errand, and sometimes, just to simply listen.

So here’s to you, Babe. Thanks for the past eighteen years together. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the next eighteen years!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008


We knew this day was coming. Last fall, before moving to Brazil, I sorted and got rid of as many things as I could before putting our things into storage, and. . .well. . .I'm doing it again.

Now, I'm not a pack rat at all, which meant that our house in SA actually had empty cupboards. Here, though, is another story. With our house much smaller, storage is at a premium.

Most of the houses around us are either cement block (like ours) or made from reeds. Thankfully, like one of our Mozambique neighbors in this photo, I don't have to hang my toothbrush out on the outside wall!

That's it for today. I'm off to unpack the last of our boxes. . .and find a place to put what's inside.



Monday, July 14, 2008

It's here!

For those of you who have been following our move saga, the truck finally arrived yesterday morning! The driver and his crew have had quite a week with a flat tire (that almost tipped over the truck), the brakes going out, and finally being stuck in Maputo for almost a week.

But of course, the drama doesn't stop there. Unloading went quickly, but as the truck was ready to leave, we discovered that it was stuck in the sand. (We pretty much live in the midst of a giant sand pit). Four hours later and a hired truck, we were finally able to tow it out. Needless to say, it was quite a long day.

Our wonderful co-workers took the kids last night, so we were able to work late into the night putting beds and desks together. The room I'm most excited about is our school room. We're converting a bedroom for the kids and it's going to work out perfect. I'll send photos once things are finished.

The truck returns later today after a quick trip back to Maputo for the things they had to off load from the truck, but this time we won't make the same mistake of letting it take the road up to our house. Thankfully, it's just a few pieces of furniture and our mattresses.

More soon from this side of the world!


Thursday, July 10, 2008

Quick update

I realize that it's been a few days since I've posted a message, but to be honest, I've been too exhausted to find an internet connection and write. This was supposed to be the week of our big move into our house and well, as usual, things haven't gone exactly as planned. Here's a brief rundown of our week.

Monday: We were expecting our truck to cross the boarder in the morning. Then we received a call from the clearing agent who was missing a document. The same document Scott had asked them about everyday last week, even offering to drive it to Maputo if necessary. The moving company kept saying, no, everything was fine. So Scott drove to Maputo (six hours) with the original requested document.

On the home front, David and I painted our new house that will work for us, but is in need of a lot of TLC. TLC meaning painting and MAJOR cleaning.

Tuesday: Scott returned from Maputo with the clearing agent saying that everything was fine. We were now hoping for a Wednesday delivery since they were half way there. That idea quickly changed when we got a call saying that the truck was overweight and was not going to be allowed to continue in Mozambique. At first we thought there would just be a fine (which the driver didn't have). Eventually, though it was clear that the truck would have to be offloaded to meet the weight requirement.

Wednesday: While we waited on an update on the truck, we continued to paint and clean. The sand and wind make for piles of dirt in the house even if kept clean. The movers work to get a second smaller truck to offload the weight.

The plumber arrived to fix what we thought was a small problem and started ripping out the tile in the shower. There was a shower head, but they had never hooked it up to the water! Yet another mess.

Thursday: We found out today that because the truck had to be opened, a clearing agent has to inspect it, a process that could take up to three days. There is still a chance that they can bring the first load up tomorrow (with the extra weight locked up in storage) but there are no guarantees. More likely, we are looking at next week. We have to be out of our current house by eight tomorrow, so we are praying that the beds and furniture do arrive tomorrow as well, but we are learning to go with the flow.

I'm finishing up writing the third book in my cozy mystery series with Pricilla Crumb (and if my esteemed editor happens to read this, yes, it will be in on time!) Today one of the characters mentioned how she had enough fodder to write a book with all that had happened. I had to laugh, because our lives have been crazy enough these past few months to fill a book.

I've posted a photo of the view from my kitchen window. In the background you can see the bay. It's really beautiful.

Enjoy today!


Friday, July 04, 2008

Moving Day

Well, the big day finally arrived. While many of my friends and family celebrate the Fourth of July in the US, the moving company came to pack up our things. The team who packed up did a great job and somehow managed to get everything into the truck. Yes, we were a bit worried as we got to the end, because the truck was their medium size and we weren't sure it would all fit. All except for a couple odd things, though, made it on.

Oh but wait, there's more.

Like any good mystery and suspense author, we need to add a twist to our story, right? Well, I've got one for you. Less than a mile from my aunt and uncle's place where we packed up, the truck broke down. Yes, you read that right. And as far as I know, six hours later, it's still sitting there waiting for a mechanic to show up.

They weren't planning to leave the country with the truck on Monday morning when customs is open again at the border, so we have a couple days for them to sort things out. Please pray that they can get the truck fixed so they can drive our things across the border. We're all so excited (and ready) to get this moving process over.



Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Wagons west. . .I mean east

I've always wondered if I would be one of the brave pioneers who headed out west in North America to find a new life. Many of them faced hardships, death, and sorrow along the way, while others found the new life they were looking for in the rugged untamed territories of the west.

I told Scott this week that I feel a bit like a pioneer. We've spent the past week working out travel arrangements and stocking up on supplies we will need like mosquito nets, laundry soap, and some staple food items. Th reality, though, is that our trek into Mozambique is nothing like it was for the settlers back then. When they left home, most of them never saw family members again. There were no telephone, internet, or moving trucks.

Turn of the twenty century missionaries had it even worse. They often left behind children and spouses and packed up their belongings in a coffin. No. Life is definitely easier for us today.

When we packed up to go to Brazil for language school, one of the hardest things we had to do was give away our pets, but circumstances made it necessary. So one of the things on our list has been to find pets for the kids. Which is exactly what we did this week. We decided that each child would have their own animal and with that pet would come not only the joy of having a pet, but the responsibility as well.

So meet Bella. (first photo) Bella is Jayden's new puppy. Eight weeks old and a ball of energy and personality. She's already bonded with him. She's a Jack Russell. This breed is especially good at catching snakes.

Next is Arya below, Gabriel's sweet and cuddly golden retriever. She is such a beautiful dog, and at six weeks old, loves to nap with Gabriel.

Mariah decided to wait and find a kitten in Mozambique. In the meantime, she's enjoying playing with the pups without having to clean up after them.