Monday, February 25, 2013

everyday life

Some weeks go by lightening fast, while others seem to drag. This last week was a drag.

A lot of my appointments were cancelled and everyone seemed so busy... way too busy to hang out with an American ginger.

One of my pet peeves since I arrived on this archipelago is the major culture difference found when looking at time. People will cancel appointments a minute before or even thirty minutes after we were suppose to meet up. It's wild. Even after a year and a half, it's hard for me to wrap my American mind around it. Each week, I at least have one appointment cancelled this way. It's taught me patience and grace to say the least.

Although this week was a bit of a drag... great things happened, too.

I'm meeting with my best friend here for discipleship once a week. And, hanging out with her just about every other day. It's such a blessing to have a good friend. I also hosted a few study sessions at my apartment. If you mention air conditioning and merienda (snack)... it isn't usually too hard to have a get-together. We each had our own study material and just enjoyed being in each other's company. I made homemade cinnamon rolls, and we enjoyed some good hot tea. Another highlight of the week was talking with Stephen and Patrick.

I finished Bonhoeffer's latest biography this week, too. It rocked. Everyone should pick up a copy. Metaxas did an awesome job writing, "Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy - A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich." Bonhoeffer was one of the guys in the conspiracy against Hitler. He was a pastor and a life-time learner. As we would say in today's language... Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a baller. No doubt.

His life is inspiring. Here are a couple of my favorite quotes from this guy.

"Absolute seriousness is never without a dash of humor."

"Being a Christian is less about cautiously avoiding sin than about courageously and actively doing Gods will."

"Death is the supreme festival on the road to freedom."

“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

"Do not defend God's word; testify to it."

Those quotes are just a teaser... now go snag a copy of the book for yourself.

"A wise man is full of strength, and a man of knowledge enhances his might, for by wise guidance you can wage your way, and in abundance of counselors there is victory." Proverbs 24:5-6

"We give thanks to you, O God, for your name is near. We recount your wondrous deeds." Psalm 75:1

"The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into His heavenly kingdom. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen." 2 Timothy 4:18

Studying for finals. 

Tango with Trecie. Love talking to my brothers. 

temperatures are rising

The sun is heating up these days. It's only a month until Filipino summer. Some days are pleasant while others are just plain hot. My ginger skin reminds me often of this tropical sun.

Take Sunday. I hail a taxi to go to church. I'm wearing blue jean capris and a tank top. The taxi air-conditioning is broken and boy was it heating up inside. I was thinking, I'm suprised the bobble head dolls swaying back and forth in the front aren't melting to the dashboard. The back seat is broken giving my blue eyes a peek into the trunk area. There are no seat belts, of coarse. The sun is beaming in through the back windshield. And, when I say beaming, I mean beaming. No tint. No advertisement to block any of the rays. I position myself in the corner by the door to make the most of the "shade." Fast-forward two hours. I arrive back home, catch a glimpse in the mirror... my shoulders and back are sunburned like I've been laying out on the beach for the past two hours. How is that possible? I have no clue. My only guess... the sun coming through the back windshield for about 15 minutes on the way to church. Oh, ginger skin... you are so high maintence. I guess it's time to be diligent with my sunscreen application again.

On another note of Manila heat... my yoga mat melted to my wall this week. I had it leaning up against the wall for a couple of days. When I went to use it, I had to peel it off the wall, leaving behind a big pink splotch of rubber material. Oops.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

you are so big

It's Sunday afternoon. The Philippine sun is burning my ginger skin as I stand on the side of the road ready to hail a taxi. The Filipino furnace is heating up as 12:00pm strikes the clocks around town. There is joy in my heart as I remember the girls I just left. I got to hug their neck and kiss their cheeks as I left church. All different ages. All different shapes. All different needs. I have had the wonderful privilege to know, disciple, and serve the women in my church. A few minutes pass and sweat is starting to drip down my back. My weak blue eyes are squinting as I stare off into the distance looking for a cab. My eyes don't forgive me when I leave my sunglasses at home.

After a few minutes of inhaling black smoke shooting out of the back of the passing jeepney's, I finally got a taxi. His first words when I got in: "Mam, you are so big, big, big, big, big, big... very big" I wanted to say, "Well, anything else, ya nasty?" Before I could say any words, He continued his rant. "I cannot believe how you are so big, big, big, big. You must go to visit the gym. So big, big, big. Are you Australian? Where do people like you come from?"

Needless to say, I wish I had this on video. I couldn't help but laugh a little bit.

Only in Asia.

The only positive thing about the taxi ride was the fact that I got to share with him before I arrived at my destination.... that and a good Sunday afternoon laugh.

Oh, Asia... what a love/hate relationship we have.

Friday, February 15, 2013

be my valentine

I love love. And, I love any reason to celebrate. That's why I think valentines day is a great day. Forget all this "single awareness day" business. My goodness, folks. Let's just enjoy it where we are.

This year, valentines day was a day filled with baking, crafts, and a Burgundy family (minus two members) dinner.

I am so blessed to have the Burgundy family girls by my side. We ordered a pizza, lit some candles, and turned on the air conditioner. It was a great night to celebrate.

"Jesus replied: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'" Matthew 22:37

Monday, February 11, 2013

homemade yogurt

Homemade yogurt. There's something about it that tastes better than the yogurt I used to buy at the grocery store.

In the Philippines, yogurt is very pricy... especially compared to the Kroger brand three-for-a-dollar cups that I was used to buying in college.

I have a great friend named Diane here that's all into the natural way of doing things... if you know what I mean. She owns a Vitamix. Maybe that makes it a little more clear.

I started asking her about her yogurt a few weeks ago, and since then... I've been making my own. My goodness, I'm pretty sure it couldn't be much easier.

Since we live in the tropics where the weather is warm... it's just the right temperature for the yogurt to form while sitting on top of my desk for about 6 hours.

Try to make your own yogurt. Here are some helpful tips and tricks:
-The most important thing is the starter. It's gotta be filled with bacteria. We can get good starters at a Persian store here. The yogurt cartons from the grocery store won't work.
- I usually make a liter of yogurt at a time. Microwave half of the milk (3 cups) for two or three minutes. Mix it with the other milk. Be sure that the milk is warm... however, it can't be too hot, or it will kill the bacteria.
- If you live in the tropics like me, just mix the milk and the starter together and let it sit in a warm place for anywhere from 4-9 hours.
-To make the second batch, take about 1/2 cup of the yogurt that just formed and add it to a liter warm milk.

Friday, February 8, 2013

keep on keepin' on

This week has been a good one.

It's been different than my "usual" week... whatever the heck that is. The students at Ateneo were out for two days this week, and the Miriam girls were out a few days as well. The Ateneo students got to have a day out of school for their basketball team winning the championship... that's what I'm talking about! I ate lunch with a few girls from Miriam a couple of days this week, and had a few girls over to my house as well. Sophie and I had a craft and cooking night, too... that always proves to be fun.

One of the highlights of my week was meeting a few Americans. It started with a despedida (going away party) for my friend Claire. I got to hang out with some people from Atlanta and Minnesota while we said goodbye to our mutual friend from North Carolina. I also got to have dinner with a family here that my best friend, Marianne, set me up to meet. Mutual friends... when you're overseas- they're extra special.

It's hard to believe that I have 6 months left. I am excited to see what The Lord is going to do in my time remaining here. I can't lie... meeting some Americans this week got me a little excited about that one way ticket back to Atlanta.

It's gonna be a great last 6 months. Pray that I will finish well. I want to glorify The Lord with every moment that I have left here.

Awesome package from Ashley.... love this diva.

Cooking at Anita's house.

Learning how to peel apples.

Making Sophie's favorite tea.

Making some good tea.

Craft afternoon with Althea!