Monday, April 26, 2010

Third Year Anniversary

Yesterday marked the third year anniversary of our arrival to the Canary Islands. I have such fond memories of the day we landed in Tenerife, greeted by our pastor friend, Jose Manuel and his wife Luisa. They were such a blessing to us when we first got here, helping us with our adjustment to the islands.

When we came Jenny and Hannah were still with us, and everything was an adventure. We had already rented an apartment that we found on the internet, so it was great having a place to call our home from the very start, even though we didn't have any furniture yet.

The first few months of being on the mission field is like a honey moon; every experience is new, but at the same time it was stressful. I recall going to the grocery store for the first time and being in shock at the prices and the packages so small. How would we ever afford to feed our family of six?

My prayer for the past few years was that the Lord would make this seem like home--something that can be difficult to achieve when living in a foreign land. The most difficult part is being apart from our older girls. When they were here, I never felt homesick, but after they left I missed them a lot. I am looking forward to this summer when once again they will be with us, but I can honestly say that the Lord is answering my prayer, and truly this is home.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Are You a "Real" Christian?

Someone told me the other day that they liked the fact that I was so "real." I pondered upon the significance of that. Is it a good thing that I am "real" or does it mean I am a carnal, fleshly Christian? Afterall, being real means that you are exposing your weaknesses and vulnerabilities. You are transparent, and don't try to hide things that might expose who you really are.

We all put on masks, so to speak.....especially when we go to church. We greet each other with smiles, telling everyone we are fine, etc. We put our best foot forward in social situations. For the most part, that is a good thing, afterall, we shouldn't go to church with our grumpy attitudes, speaking everything we think, and holding back nothing. We shouldn't "let is all hang out." But on the other hand, how many times have you left church thinking that everyone else is perfect, and that they have perfect families, perfect marriages, and the "perfect" life, and you ask yourself, "What is wrong with me?"

As a missionary/pastor's wife, you get used to having others watch you. There is a certain amount of expectation that comes from the role you are in--it comes with the territory, so to speak, and is even Biblical. There are certain qualifications for the ministry outlined in the Bible which includes the wife's behaviour. We do have to live by a higher standard.

You have heard the expression about life in the fishbowl, whether you like it or not, your actions and reactions are being scrutinized. People will look at what you are wearing, your makeup, or if you shouldn't wear makeup, what you say, what you don't say, if you are friendly, whether they like your personality, if you accidently ignore them or forget to greet them, how you spend your money, what kind of car you drive, what your hobbies are, or if you should even have a hobby, if you exercise or not, what kind of food you eat, how your children behave, what your children do and where they go, how involved you are in church activities and ministries vs. spending time in the home, and the list goes on and on. Some of these things are valid, and others may be no one's business as long as you are doing the will of God and are living the way He has shown you and are not living in sin.

So when someone tells me I am real, I interpret that to mean people are relieved when they find out that the pastor's family has the same struggles and issues that they do. That we aren't "perfect" either. We argue occasionally, lose our temper at times, yell at our kids once in a while, say things we shouldn't, etc. We haven't arrived, but are striving towards the mark. Most people don't expect their pastors/missionaries or their families to be perfect, they just want someone who is honest.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Is it Time to Go Yet?

I have to admit it, I am a little kid at heart. I don't leave for Mozambique until three more weeks, but I already have most of my clothes packed. Part of the fun of traveling is getting ready for the trip! I will be like Leanna, when she gets excited to go on a trip, all ready to go, sitting by the door with her suitcase in hand, and continually asking "is it time to go yet?"

I have the countdown on my calendar, and I am dreaming about the day I will get to see my grandkids. I am having fun picking up little things to take to them that I think they will enjoy. Leanna keeps asking me, "is that for Gracie and Micah too? Mom, I think your suitcase is already full." She is jealous of the things I am taking to them and thinks they should be for her.

When I come home, it will be 7 short days until Jenny and Hannah fly home for the summer. Hooray!! It's going to be a great summer!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons.....

I couldn't help myself, there were a dozen fresh lemons sitting on the counter in my kitchen, given to me from a kind friend who had an abundance of produce. We rarely have fresh lemons in the kitchen, so I was contemplating what I should do with them, and today I came across a delicious looking dessert "Lemon Berry Tart." It looked like the perfect dessert for our Sunday dinner, especially for tomorrow, given it was created especially for those celebrating the Passover, and was entirely kosher.

I should have left well enough alone, and saved my lemons for another day. First of all, the recipe for the crust called for matzo cake meal and potato starch--of course, where on earth would I get these things, especially here in the Canary Islands, and especially since every store is closed for "Semana Santa." I figure I can substitute Maria cookies and regular starch, since I have those in my cupboard. I grind them up, only to find the recipe calls for half a cup of cold butter. I look in the fridge only to find we are out of that too, so I substitute my diet margarine figuring that will do. Then the recipe calls for one egg yolk poured over the crumb mixture, but I feel lazy and beat a whole egg and pour it on. I try to figure out how this gloppy mess is going to press into my pie pan (I don't even have the proper tart shell pan).

Now I proceed to step two, the filling. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup lemon juice--but I have just squeezed 2 cups of juice and want to get rid of it, so I double the recipe, throw in some corn starch, and hope for the best. It looks decent, but only tasting it tomorrow will tell if my substitutions worked.

I have 6 egg whites left, and I hate to waste anything, so I decide I will try to make a merengue to put over the top, making it more like lemon merengue pie instead of a tart. Once again, I am too lazy to get out the mixer (which only one beater works anyway) and I vaguely recall using the blender once to whip something--so why not give it a try? After searching for the blender parts more than 10 minutes, I put the egg whites in and give it a whirl--only to have them liquify. I try adding the sugar, mistakenly thinking that they will somehow decide to puff up with the addition of another ingredient. Still no success--so I try adding vanilla. Didn't work.

I pour the egg whites into the sink, and decide to go back to the original idea of a lemon "berry" tart and take out some frozen blueberries and put them on top (blueberries are very hard to come by here, and I splurged the other day and bought a few boxes). Now if my tart/pie doesn't turn out, I will really be mad at myself. Those "free" lemons are turning out to be quite expensive!! I'll let you know tomorrow how the family liked it.