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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Celebrating Emma: Slumber Party Style

I started planning this party in my head over a month ago, when I realized that my sweet friends would be in Uganda during their dear-to-me daughter's 11th birthday. A week passed before I asked my husband's permission to host a slumber party for a group of pre-teen girls. He quickly said: 'Yes,' affirming that it was a good idea, and really not knowing [the craziness] that he was agreeing to.

Emma turned 11 (cannot believe that!) on Friday and arrived at my house at 3:30 on Saturday with her BFFL, and found her sister and two more friends already waiting for her here. This is what she found when she arrived:

The girls jumped out of the hallway, [literally] screaming 'Surprise!!!' (it wasn't a surprise) and the FUN commenced. I tried to think like I was eleven- or twelve-years-old again; so I covered the table in crafts from my Barney bag.

We made picture frames...

...and t-shirts...

...and magnets...

...and painted nails...

...and the table was a crazy mess!

The girls practically ate me out of house and home, consuming four pizzas, two dozen chocolate chip cookies, a whole tub of ice cream, an entire bag of jelly beans, an entire bag of Reese cups, an entire bag of Doritos, a few bottles of Coke, almost two gallons of Hawaiian Punch, and a batch of cinnamon rolls. CRaZiNeSs soon ensued; and at 2:30am, I was still wondering when the sugar comas would arrive.

I think all the girls had fun! Emma's parents [in Uganda] have already seen the pictures and are happy. I am so glad that I could do this for Emma, and for David and Michele! Every girl deserves to feel special on her 11th birthday - especially Emma! Twenty minutes before the girls were due to arrive (and I had 30 more balloons to hang and tape to the ceiling,) I was thinking, "AM I CRAZY for opening my TEENY-TINY apartment to five pre-teen girls for a slumber party?!?!"
It was pretty cRaZy, but so many disastrous things could have happened that didn't!
* All the girls got at least 5 hours of sleep; myself included.
* There was no paint on the carpet nor table that wasn't easily cleaned off.
* The neighbors didn't complain about the very loud Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber music.
* Only one girl cried, and she only cried once.
* We totally made it ON TIME for Sunday School.
* AND only 1 thing broke ('shattered' really!) and it was totally MY FAULT! (Knocked over a vase while carrying the futon mattress.)

I promised my husband that I won't "do that again" for a "at least a little while..." but who knows what will happen after a little while! It was too much fun!!

Love, Love, Love,

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Irashmo: The Boy I Can't Forget

During Summer 2010, I spent two months living and ministering on the coast of Mozambique at the Wesleyan Bible College in Xai Xai. At 7:00am sharp, I arrived at the Bible school for the conclusion of breakfast. The students went to various classes and I spent my mornings ALONE with 12 beautiful children between the ages of 1 and 6, with whom I only have fond memories.  With only 3 beach balls, various sticks and rocks, and a few broken plastic cups, we played hours and hours and hours.  They had the most fun riding on my back or spining circles in my arms; I had the most fun cuddling, rubbing their soft skin with my fingers, and capturing mental pictures of their big smiles.

Video of a precious moment with my crianças:

During the afternoons and early evenings, I spent my time with the Bible college students - teaching and learning, talking and laughing, dancing and singing, eating and working. I cannot tell you what I enjoyed the most because I truly LOVED every single minute I spent at the Bible College (except when we had shima for lunch;) but I can tell you one thing: one little baby boy stole a large piece of my heart - a piece that will never let anyone else or anything else in.

His name was Irashmo.

From day one, snotty-nosed Irashmo was my favorite of the children in the creché. There is this common disbelief that we aren't supposed to have favorites, which I suppose stems from the truth that everyone should be treated equally. Nonetheless, Mo was my favorite.

He smiled big [but not for the camera,] sung loud, and cried a lot. Like his sister Maria, he is a cry baby and was bullied a lot by João and the others because the kids knew Mo would react in a big way. He would scream "maaamaaa" and run into my arms with crocodile tears running down his dark, soft cheeks. He was also very forgiving, because João was his best friend. Mo loved bubbles and every morning he would put grab my bag and ask, "balão?" (balloon) in his endearing, squeaky voice. He also loved riding on my back, or swinging in my arms, and he was very jealous when I did either of those two things with another child, especially João. That's why I was often seen like this:

Irashmo and João

Irashmo and Japhete (another boy who has a special place in my heart)

Gabriele, Maria, Timoteo, João, and Irashmo

Irashmo at front, with friends

I don't know why, but God will not let me forget this boy.  He brings him to mind almost daily, and I go to sleep thinking and dreaming about him: the softness of his skin, the glow in his eyes, the joy in his smile, and his precious voice (so squeaky and unique.)  I do not know if I will ever be blessed to see him again - to embrace him again - but until then, I will continue praying for Irashmo and for his parents, Isak and Mama Sala.

My sweet Irashmo
May God protect you, as He protected Daniel.
May He give you a heart of love, like David; a spirit of power, like Elijah; and courage, like Esther.
May He make you wise, like Solomon; devoted, like Hosea; forgiving, like Joseph; a leader, like Moses; an encourager, like Barnabas; and patient, like Job.

His sweet hand; I never wanted to let go... eventually I had to.
That hand is almost two years bigger now, and it still has a strong grip on my heart.

With tears in my eyes, 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

This little chicky went to market and wobbled all the way home!

Monday night, Titus and I had chicken feet for dinner at my house.

Chicken feet...
for dinner...
at my house.

"These morsels of skin and bones are a unique combination of textures: the wrinkled, puffed up skin on the surface and the soft, gelatinous tendons within."

My husband had all the toes cut off before I got home, so I sadly do not have any pictures of the claws. [Click HERE to see a picture from the fabulous www.]   However, I did get plenty of other INTERESTING pictures to initiate your curiosity, and a recipe to satisfy your craving. The following are three simple steps to creating a fabulous feety feast:

  • First, I recommend that you start by removing the claws (you can do this by simply cutting off the toes) as they do not “swallow well.”
  • Next, season the feet in 2-3 cloves of garlic, a few pinches of salt, a few more pinches of pepper, and 3-4 tablespoons of brown sugar.
  • Finally, fry the feet in oil over medium feet. The minute the chicken feet enter the pot, the hot oil will begin to sputter and growl like some form of primordial lava, engulfing the feet until all you can see are the bubbles of the oil.
Something's afoot here...
One foot in the right direction...
Footloose and fancy free...
Put your best foot forward...
Holding one's feet to the fire...
Tip-toeing around...
The shoe is on the other foot...
Going toe to toe...
Putting one foot in front of the other...
Fancy footwork...
Anyone want leftovers??

Love love love,