Sunday, March 31, 2013

If Only . . .

DSC_0048I can be pretty hard on myself sometimes.  I want to do the right thing all the time and if I feel I haven’t, I can go over and over it in my mind.  I want to be perfect.  (Hah!)  And if I’m  honest with myself, it’s  not as much because I want to be Christ-like as it is because I want to be liked. 

I just read a brief article in In Touch magazine by Charles Stanley about regrets that really gave me some food for thought in this area. 

1.  “Regret didn’t make my decisions any wiser or more godly – just more bewildering and wearisome.”  By allowing regret to take a strong hold after a poor decision, the author got trapped in second-guessing all her other decisions, always trying to make the perfect choice.    I can relate to this.

2.  “Bondage of guilt doesn’t come from the Lord.  He calls us to repent, not regret.”  I love this.  Repentance is freeing (as we are celebrating this Easter Sunday), regret is a lead weight that holds us down. 

When I look at those precious faces in the photo above, I usually see two main things:  1.  Gorgeous little boys whom I adore, and 2. Gorgeous little boys whom I feel I don’t do enough for.  I have these kind of constant mini-regrets lingering in my mind of all the things I wish I could do with and for my boys but don’t.  All the ways I’m not perfect. 

This isn’t a traditional Easter post in any way, but as I write this on Easter, I am reminded how very grateful I am that I don’t have to be perfect.  That while I was still a sinner, Christ died for the forgiveness of my sins.  That I don’t have to live under the weight of regret but I can repent, when necessary, and receive the forgiveness of my Lord.  And, when I have nothing to repent of but am beating myself up that I can’t do more-be more-fix more, I am reminded that God’s love for me is still the same.  He doesn’t expect me to be perfect.  He is perfect for me. 


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Easter 1985 and 2013

Easter 1985 - I went to church with my cousins, Jeff and Maureen Siegel and that began my relationship with Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  In October of that year, I told the Lord, “I want to serve you every day for the rest of my life” and although I haven’t done that perfectly, I have never turned back.

Easter 2013 - we had church on the soccer field for our center and also for whoever wanted to come from the community.  Our director Steve asked for a volunteer from several categories, including missionaries, to share a brief testimony of Easter in their lives.  I nearly ran to the front, no other missionary stood a chance!

I briefly shared my life before – high school dropout – twice! – drugs, drinking, smoking, etc., and my general rebellious attitude toward life.

Then I shared how my cousins invited me to church on Easter in 1985, and my life has never been the same since.  I am so grateful for my eternal life but also for my new life here on earth.

The crowning moment – one of the boys here in the center, a teenager now, who used to live in my dorm, sent me a facebook message to tell me he was blessed by what I shared.  Then he wrote, '”Thank u 4 caring me when i was young.”  What a blessing!

Thank you Lord for the meaning of Easter!

Children’s Day -


Preparations have begun!!!  Here’s some 30ish pairs of trousers (so I have the right assortment of sizes) to be paired up with the soon-to-be-bought shirts which will become the boys’ new outfits on  June 1!

These piles are according to size – I have the most size 5-6 year olds.  My boys are smaller than the average bears! Smile

So fun!

Friday, March 15, 2013

“Hmm,” I thought . . .



doesn’t look like


Tomato Chickpea Curry with Kale

(Please don’t mention that might have something to do with the styling and photography!)

Then I went back and re-read the recipe and saw it called for HALF a 28 oz can of whole tomatoes, not a whole one.  Well, I’m sure it will still taste good, just a little more tomato-y than curry-y.

DSC_0004The nice looking photo above is from The Yellow Table blog, which I’ve just discovered and looks great.  She is hosting March Wellness and I thought I’d be inspired.  This recipe was truly SO easy, I will definitely make it again – with half a can of tomatoes!

I think I will even make it for the boys for their Afternoon Program snack next week.  Hope they like it!DSC_0014

By the way, it’s delicious as is, especially with some creamy, cool guacamole topping it!

(PS: I really can’t stand plain chickpeas/garbanzo beans on salad for example but really like them in dishes – give them a try if you think you don’t care for them.)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sometimes on Sundays . . .

I like to take the day to read and relax and be by myself mostly.  Other days, I like to have the boys in, in groups of “brothers” and cook and sort and putz around.  I do so love to putz around!  I get a lot done on those days.  Today has been one of them.


Here’s the makings of a few different things.  First, “Brinjela Conserve” also known as Eggplant, um, conserve?  Not sure what to call it but it’s yummy.  My Brazilian friend Clara taught me to make it last week, so good. I also made guacamole and an avocado hand scrub moisturizer I found on a blog, from-fresh-tomatoes tomato sauce for the first time last night and these tomatoes will also go toward gazpacho soup for the first time as soon as I get a cucumber. 

IMG_5733Here’s my cute-patoot helper, Manuel, who was so proud to be cooking!  He stirred so carefully and none slopped over (more than I can say for myself) or burned.  The boys love to help me cook.IMG_5729

We had a special visitor today, Feliciano, who moved to the next dorm in January.  Things are so improved for him since we had two visitors, sisters, Charlotta  and Victoria, who have sponsored him for adult diapers for a year.  He can sit on my cushions now!  Thanks again ladies!


I found a fun toy by Melissa & Doug at a new shop in town, a little cafĂ© with special gifts and kids toys.  Not cheap but not much more than you’d pay in the US and I don’t have to figure out how to get it here.  They have fantastic quality toys, using lots of wood.  This one is magnetic, enclosed in the plastic screen so you can lose the pieces, and you fill in the shapes with the matching color pieces.  the boys love it!  (I added a link to the Amazon site of Melissa & Doug products above, I recently signed up to be an Amazon Associate.  I love giving people small revenue if I buy something through a link on their site so I thought I would try it here.   No pressure, just a disclaimer!  But hey, if you buy Melissa & Doug on Amazon, why not buy it through this link?!)


Check out my new lime green baskets I bought to get the boys toys organized instead of everything dumped in some random old boxes on the shelves.  Love the difference small things can make.


Felix hurt his knee so you’re seeing three parts of the RICE prescription for sprains/swelling:  Rest, Compression and Elevation. Lucas wore himself out playing with his cups with Felix. 


And here’s the finished project!  What would you call this?  Be nice - I know, it doesn’t look too appealing, even in person, the taste is better than the look.  And I’m no food photographer, but I wanted you to see what me and Manuel made!


Bonus:  Yummy beetroot salad with feta cheese and toasted slivered almonds, both of which make everything taste amazing! 

How was your Sunday?

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Being a kid is so fun!


Saturday Night Sleepover included the movie Annie and only Pai watched it beginning to end.  At this stage, the other boys were playing.  Pai decided to play AND watch – with binoculars!  Love him!

Monday, March 04, 2013



Well, I have been a little desperate for visitors lately but didn’t think I’d have to resort to my Froggie Friends!   Three days in a row I’ve had frogs visit me In my house – what’s going on?


Do you think it’s the sunflower seeds they’re after?  Imagine if he had jumped in my bag and I reached in my hand to get some – yikes!


I love froggies but really, I prefer to visit with them outside.


This one wanted no photographic evidence of his breaking and entering!

So, can I have a regular friend come visit me now?  Anyone?

Friday, March 01, 2013

An Anniversary Celebration


What a fun night out to dinner to celebrate me and my ten years here in Moz with some of my lovely friends!  Wendy and Tracey asked me to dinner to celebrate and I have looked forward to it all week.  In fact, it made the day kind of feel like my birthday!

It was so nice to get to Sophie’s Restaurant discover several other friends were invited!  What a great surprise!

We had fun talking about Top Ten Things about Moz and Least Ten Things about Moz as well.   On the way home, we started my Top Ten Weird Things about Moz which had us laughing the whole way, but that list will have to be continued!

Sarah and her husband Roberto brought me a gift of ten of several items that are quintessentially Mozambique.  Ten bajeas (not pictured cuz we ate them-the black bag represents them), ten loose candies you can buy anywhere at any time from anyone, ten Mcel credit vouchers you can buy from anyone, anywhere at any time, ten “caldo” packets, which is chicken bouillon – the red and yellow rooster packet is famous here!  And, reminded them of me in Mozambique – ten cans of Coke Lite!  So clever!IMG_5703

Thanks for treating me to dinner friends and being such a special part of my life in Mozambique!

(Bonus:  the weather being cool enough to wear my hear down for a nice dinner out!)