Sunday, February 28, 2010

Supply Run

Every few months, we have to make a trip into South Africa for car maintenance, doctors appointments, and other necessities. This week, Scott went alone so the kids and I could continue with their quarterly exams. One of the best things about making these trips is the supply run. We never go to SA just to being back food items, but if we have to be there, we fill up coolers with meat and cheese and suitcases with pantry items.

For the most part, we've learned to live with what we can find here, but it's always nice to add a bit of variety to our dinner table. And there are a number of things, like milk and oil that are significantly cheeper on the other side of the border.

The kids were thrilled with the plums and pears, both fruits we can't get here, or if we do find them, they are outrageously expensive. Some of my favorites? Sour cream, cream cheese, tortillas, and Fritos (though only BBQ flavored).

What foods would you miss the most if you moved to another country? Mine is definitely Tex-Mex!

I had to throw in a photo of one of the kittens. They really are cute.

Friday, February 26, 2010

(Local movers transporting two couches)

I can tell I've been busy when a week goes by and I haven't had a chance to think about blogging or twittering. We finally finished our quarterly exams for school (YEAH!) and I'm just about ready to send off my manuscript to my editor at Zondervan that's due Monday. (Another YEAH!)

As many of you know, the first book in this series, Blood Ransom, is about human trafficking, something I never really thought about before researching for this book. I've just posted a moving interview with Heidi Yoder on the Inspire, Be Inspired blog where she talks about what motivated her to get involved in being an modern-day abolitionist and the 27 million people who are enslaved today. Check it out if you have a chance.

And while I get back to some last minute editing, I thought I'd leave you with something special. While I love words and writing fiction, my daughter loves poetry and asked me to share one of her poems on my blog.


My body guard is big and tall
Strong, brave, big not small.
Always upright and cheerful,
Daily, daily, forever and all.

He protects the whole place
Day and night,
Even when there's no one in sight.

He does not sleep,
Nor does he play,
At night, in the evening, or in the day.

Just stands bright and tall,
Doesn't complain at all,
He's always good, never bad,
Always happy and never sad.

Be blessed today!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

And the winner is ...

I think I have as much fun hosting giveaways as you do, and always wish I could pick each one of you as the winner! Thanks to all of you who stopped by and left comments! Thanks to my daughter for picking the winning number, and to Emma (augustlily) for winning this months prize!

Please come back the beginning of March as I'm planning a month-long blog party with lots of giveaways in celebration of Blood Ransom's official release!

On another note, we all know that things don't always go exactly as we plan. Today, we headed for the beach, taking Saturday off instead of our typical Monday so we could take one of the kids' friends with us. As long as it's not summer holiday in South Africa (December) the beach we go to is typically all ours. In fact, I think we all view it as our private beach. Our last day off, I stayed home writing while Scott took the kids to the beach, so I was really looking forward to some downtime, reading under one of the umbrellas around the small pool area that overlooks the ocean, and enjoying the quiet while the kids played on the beach nearby.

Not today.

When we arrived, there was a large group around the pool shooting a music video. (We're not talking MTV quality here, but a music video nevertheless.) Not only was the music blasting while they danced around the pool, they shot a variety of scenes, all the time playing the same song over and over and over... (You get the picture)

We went ahead and ate lunch (which is opened up to the pool area) and the kids played on the sand for awhile, but since all the outside covered area was taken--the heat index was about 95 today--we finally decided we'd heard the song one time too many and decided to leave early.

I'll admit, I wasn't to thrilled to spend my day off trying to relax beside a rapping, pool party, and felt my frustration began to rise. On the way home, though, I started thinking about how we're all faced with hardships--some small and some not so small--and that it's hard sometimes to rise above the circumstances around us. The bottom line is that in the big scope of things, a roaring, rap party that messes with my day off is trivial compared to some of the things life can throw our way. Right now, I'm watching friends struggle with serious illnesses and job losses, and I'm certain they'd do anything right now to be sitting beside a rockin' party in exchange for what they are going through.

But isn't it often the small things that throw us off course the most? Something that irritates us, like a sliver of glass, ends up putting us in a foul mood that we in turn end up taking our irritations out on spouses, children, and friends and can easily spiral out of control.

I think that's why Paul encouraged us to keep our minds set on things above. To constantly keep our minds tuned into what is good and holy and worthwhile so we don't let the minor irritations of life tear us down.

So whether your facing a mountain or just a tiny mole hill today, let's encourage each other to set our hearts fully on Christ and things above. Our life is now hidden with Christ. How glorious! In the midst of frustration and pain, there is one thing that is truly wonderful. We are hidden, enclosed with Christ, and kept safe. He will protect us! Our delight needs to come from the Lord and His word.

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” Philippians 4:8

Be blessed today!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

Rainy Days

It's been one of those out-of-routine days. The power went off in the middle of the night as storms moved in over the city. Makes me extra thankful for our air-cons when we don't have them!

There was still no power when school started which meant the school room doors would have to be opened to get a breeze, but that also meant that the rain (and the dogs) would get inside, so we packed up all our books and headed for the living room.

I've enjoyed seeing photos of all the snow in the States, though I know that many of you are ready for spring. Here are some flowers from our garden I thought you might enjoy. I love all the unusual plant life here! The first ones are Spider Lilys and something we've enjoyed having for the first time.

I recently posted about a new blog Lynne Gentry and I are working on. We have a number of inspiring stories lined up of God using ordinary people to do extraordinary things. We pray that you will in turn be inspired to make a difference, one person at a time. And if you have a story to share, we'd love to hear from you!

We have several stories lined up for the coming weeks, but our first one is with Gail McWilliams.

Over her lifetime she has found the ability to choose life and, along with her husband, Tony, enjoy the gifts of five miracle children that the doctors said they would never have. These children came at a high cost with doctors trying to bully her toward abortion when her health was found to be in jeopardy. Her life message goes beyond political and social ramifications and her challenge to pro-life audiences is to make the decision to choose life every day.

And lastly, don't forget to drop by and leave a comment on my February Giveaway if you haven't already done so. I'll be drawing a winner on Saturday (as long as I have internet :-))

Enjoy the photos!


Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Gift of Giving

Here's a video from this morning in Magola, Elizabeth's village.



Friday, February 12, 2010

What's for dinner?

Tonight, it's one of our favorite meals with mostly all local ingredients. Papaya and passion fruit salad from the market with a squeeze of lemon juice from our garden.

For the main dish, beans and rice from the market along with a yummy addition I leaned how to make in Brazil. Manioc (a root vegetable like a yam) is dried and grated and found in the market or in the villages. Saute this with onions and bacon and it's great with beans and rice!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snippets from Africa (and some really cool news!)

I love this photo Luis and Fernanda took out in the village of a group listening to a Proclaimer, which is the Bible on tape. Since many people can’t read, we encourage them to come together and hear God’s word as a group during the week. The Bible is recorded in their mother tongue, which makes this a great addition to the discipling we do with them during the week and on Sundays.

Scott took this photo of little Scott this morning, and I just had to share. He’s four months now, very chubby, and very sweet. Some of you might also remember Rosie, little Scott’s older sister who can not speak. Due to the generosity of a sweet supporter, we were able to buy a DVD set that teaches children and their parents sign language through songs and repetition. I’ve been working with David and Emily with this, and Rosie is already picking up words that are helping her communicate better. This is a huge answer to prayer on my part, though we continue to pray for a miracle that God will grant her the gift of speech.

As now for my cool and exiting news … I’ve just signed a contract for my second historical with Summerside Press!

Dark Continent will release next February and is part of Summerside’s new romantic suspense line. I’m so excited about this book as it is set both in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and New York in the early 1920’s. And I’m thrilled to be working with one of my favorite editors, Susan Downs, and everyone at Summerside as they launch this new line.

This line is featuring some incredible authors including Tricia Goyer and Susan May Warren, so if you love historicals with a strong thread of suspense, check out their first books here.



P.S. Don't forget to leave a comment here for the chance to win a copy of my first Summerside historical, Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio and a beautiful necklace and earring set from the heart of Africa!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Baptisms in Magola

Today was a great day in Magola. Throughout the past few weeks, I've seen a new-found joy in the faces of the people, and it was particularly obvious today.

When we arrived, we met in the middle of the village and spent some time in worship. One of the women, who has been teaching the children songs during the week, shared some of their songs. We gave her a Proclaimer, a Bible on tape, so when she meets with the children, they can also listen to the Bible.

We then took three car loads to the bay where nine were baptized into Christ. There was a lot of singing and rejoicing! We ask for your continued prayers for transformation for this village.

Monday, February 08, 2010

She did it again ...

Apparently, our internet tech people have started turning off the internet over the weekend. For the past few weeks, it goes off about five on Friday then starts back Monday morning. The daunting part for me is waking up to a slew of emails that need to be caught up on, but since just having the internet is a blessings, (and there are plenty of other things that need to get done) I try not to think about it.

This weekend was another one of those very busy weekends. As some of you might remember, Mariah's cat had babies last September. After we gave away her kittens we scheduled an appointment with the vet to insure there were no more babies. But while I thought she'd stayed inside all that time, before the appointment with the vet it was clear she was pregnant again.

The one great thing about this time around, though, is that the kids are here to experience the kittens. (We were back in the States the last time.) And in fact, when she had the babies Friday night, she would cry if Mariah left her, so Mariah and Jayden were able to experience the birth first hand. (Like any good great-grandma, I slept through the births. :-))

We now have six new baby kittens and a very happy mom and grandma, aka Mariah.

Don't forget to leave a comment on my February Giveaway post for a chance to win this months gifts!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Bountiful Harvest

One of the things I enjoy about living in Mozambique is the fresh produce. And while the variety isn’t huge, what we have is wonderful.

There are also certain of vegetables that we don't normally eat, so thanks to a number of you who sent me some mouth-watering eggplant recipes, tonight we’re adding eggplant, something readily found here, to the menu.

Above is a photo of some of this weeks finds, both in our yard and in the market. Avocados (finally in season!) guavas, from our tree and Jayden's favorite, eggplant, okra, and passion fruit (my personal favorite!).

Picking guavas from one of our trees on daddy's shoulders!

Do you have any favorite recipes that use vegetables like eggplant and okra? I'd love to hear from you!

Be blessed today!


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

February Giveaway!

It’s time to kick off the month of February with another contest straight from the Heart of Africa! So if you haven’t read Love Finds You in Revenge, Ohio, or if you’re looking for a great gift with some African jewelry, earrings and necklace (plus a fun magnetic bookmark), here’s your chance.

Leave a comment below with a way for me to contact you. I’ll draw the winner around the twentieth of this month.

Blood Ransom’s official release is only a little over a month away, and I’m already planning a month long launch party in March on my blog! Be on the look for how to get a free gift for book clubs reading Blood Random, a book trailer, posted prologue and first chapter, study questions that go along with the story, interviews and book giveaways on other blogs, and more.

I’ll also be giving away a copy of Blood Ransom every week in March, ending with a fantastic giveaway basket with all kinds of goodies from the heart of Africa.

Be blessed today!


Void where prohibited; the odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. Entering the giveaway is considered a confirmation of eligibility on behalf of the enterer in accord with these rules and any pertaining local/federal/international laws.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Found it!

Apparently I've found it. My routine, that is. I realized today that a week had gone by without blogging, because, well ... to be honest ... I've haven't had anything to blog about. And that NEVER happens here. There's always something to write about.

Until this week.

I taught school, worked on the ending of my book for my deadline, did the laundry, worked out, cleaned the house ...

The only thing out of the ordinary was the fresh Tiger prawns Scott bought (and is cleaning) for me. For less than $5 a pound, we're going to enjoy garlic/lemon prawns on the grill tonight!

So here's to a week of routine, and hoping it will last.

Be blessed today.


PS Stop by tomorrow when something will be happening on the blog as I announce my February giveaway!