27 April 2008

Getting to know you...

Elsie has been in a strange mood all day long. I've not been feeling well, so I stayed home from church while Tim took the rest of the gang. (Yep, he's "Mr. Incredible!" He preached at the morning service and took the big 6... and then even was willing to take Elsie Mae tonight to the English Service!). But, back to the point - Elsie and I've stayed home today, and without her siblings, she absolutely, positively... DID. NOT. KNOW. WHAT. TO. DO. WITH. HERSELF!

I've always thought of her as a pretty self-entertaining baby and toddler - apparently that is only as long as there is live entertainment available, in the form of her siblings. She literally spent the entire morning and evening snuggling on my lap, crying if I'd walk away. It was actually quite sweet to hold her for the day - they grow up so fast, I'm finally starting to learn to treasure those moments.

Makes me think of the song-- It's a very ancient saying,
But a true and honest thought,
That if you become a teacher,
By your pupils you'll be taught.
As a teacher I've been learning
(You'll forgive me if I boast)
And I've now become an expert,
On the subject I like most.
Getting to know you, getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you, getting to hope you like me.
Getting to know you, putting it my way,
But nicely, you are precisely, my cup of tea.
Getting to know you, getting to feel free and easy.
When I am with you, getting to know what to say
Haven't you noticed suddenly I'm bright and breezy
Because of all the beautiful and new
Things I'm learning about you day by day.

The thinks kids say...

One of our children (who shall remain nameless), informed us at the dinner table tonight, as we were eating nems and rice, that ice cubes melt more slowly in cold water than in hot water... observant, aren't we!
We laughed!

Asking for Prayer

Please head over to our ministry page, and join us in praying for Gervais and EBM's French School ministry. Thanks!

25 April 2008


Yes, I'm still hanging around, studying this topic of gentleness - the fruit of the Spirit which includes submission to God's will, humbleness and a teachable heart. And recently, when I think of biblical gentleness, after Christ, probably the most striking biblical example is John the Baptist. In some senses, I find this "amusing(?)" because that certainly doesn't fit with my childhood imaginings of John the Baptist - wandering around the desert, eating locusts and honey, dressed so atypically for his times and crying out to any who would listen, "Repent!" Words that I more typically would use to describe him might be uncompromising, steadfast, confrontational, prophetic, loud...

However, as I was looking at this biblical figure who Christ praised -
"I tell you the truth: Among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he." (Matt 11.1)
- it dawned on me that biblical gentleness is a perfect adjective to describe this man, who was mightily filled with the Spirit from his very birth.

John the Baptist lived a life submitted to God's will. (Matt 3.13-15) Even when he had questions (Matt 11.2), you don't get the idea that he was fighting God's plan for his life or that he was no longer submitted. Rather, I see a man stuggling with his circumstances and searching for reassurance. Christ reminded him of what he, John the Baptist, had already seen, heard reported... what he already knew.

His life was also characterized by humility. Read the following comments he made:

  • But John tried to deter him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?"
  • The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ. John answered them all, "I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come, the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire."
  • John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.' "
  • John replied in the words of Isaiah the prophet, "I am the voice of one calling in the desert, 'Make straight the way for the Lord.' "
  • "Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"
  • And they came unto John, and said unto him, "Rabbi, he that was with thee beyond Jordan, to whom thou barest witness, behold, the same baptizeth, and all men come to him." John answered and said, "A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease."

In Living Beyond Yourself, Beth Moore points out one other factor possilby leading to his humility: John the Baptist was humble because from his birth, he saw humility modeled in the life of his mother, Elizabeth. When Mary comes to Elizabeth, as recorded in Luke 1, she addresses Mary as the mother of her "Lord." While she recognized the miracle of her own pregnancy, Elizabeth knew that it was nothing compared to the Messiah who would be born to Mary. And both Elizabeth and Zachariah humbly submitted to God's will for the name of their son - even when others questioned.

Finally, I see that he was teachable - again look at the examples listed under his submissiveness to God's plans for his life. When corrected (the baptism of Christ) or when reminded of what he knew (while in prison), he accepted the teaching, learned and moved on. I would like to also imagine that as a young child maturing into a young man, that he received and accepted the instruction and correction of his parents. He most definitely learned, quite probably from his mother especially as a very young child, that Jesus was his Lord.

As I've meditated on the example of John the Baptist - and from there considered the example of Elizabeth, his mother, I realized that as I allow my Lord to craft gentleness into my life, He can be using my example and leading to craft this same humble and teachable submissiveness and recognition of Christ as Lord into the lives of my children.

The process of becoming gentle my be hard, hard work and painful at times, but these thoughts about Elizabeth give me another reason to earnestly desire that God does what He needs to do so that He and His fruit, His gentleness are what people (including my children) see in my life.

Note, all Scripture quotations for this post are from the NIV.
Picture of John the Baptist from Garden of Praise, free educational materials.
Picture of Mary and Elizabeth from the web site of Sacred Heart College.

24 April 2008

Bathroom Nightmares

We find lots of creatures in our bathrooms, especially flipping the light on as you stumble in in the middle of the night: cockroaches, spiders, mosquitoes, huge black crickets and lizards (which, if you just catch it scurrying away, it can really give your heart a scare (think long squiggly tail... snake). I've even heard of scarier things - scorpions and cobras in toilets. But nothing prepared me for what I saw in my bathroom the other night:










These two critters surely gave my sleepy brain a quick start!

These two crazy crocs are among Jonathan and Elsie Mae's favorite "shower toys," especially when it is icky, sticky hot!

Of course, when I told the gang about it the next morning, they all thought it was hilarious....

Thank you, Nana and Pop-pop, for all this fun, since Jonathan chose these as his birthday gift with the birthday money you sent!


18 April 2008

Amma goy-teerey kaŋ na haro kaa wo bay...Yohanna 2.1-11

...or translated from the Zarma: "Whereas the servants who had drawn the water knew very well..."

I had the privilege of teaching Ladies' Bible Study at our church again a week ago. It really is becoming something I love as I get to know these ladies better and start to appreciate the realities of their world. One huge challenge for me is to teach to a group where only 3 of the women are literate.

The Lord has impressed upon me a need to work through the Gospel of John - not just for these ladies, to strengthen their confidence and belief in God and to give them assurance of their future with Him - but also for myself. I've heard all my life, it seems, that John is a good place for brand new believers to begin, and I wanted to understand why people always say that. As I've taken the time to read the book from start to finish in one setting, several times now, I'm finding that not only is there the simplicity of the plain Gospel message, but also a depth that challenges me afresh each time I dig into this particular book of the Bible.

The book of John is very clear - it was written with the following goal: "...that you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that in so believing, you will have life in His name." (John 20.31) This is my prayer, that as I work through different parts of this book of the Bible with these ladies, they will come to believe more fully on the Lord and have the assurance of eternity together with Him.

Last weekend, we worked through John 2.1-11.
Three days later, there was a wedding in Cana, in Galilee. Jesus' mother was there, and Jesus was also invited to the wedding with his disciples. As they were running short on wine, Jesus' mother said to Him, "They don't have any more wine."  
Jesus responded back to her: "Dear lady, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come?"

His mother said to the servants: "Do that which He will tell you to do."
There were 6 stone containiers destined to be used for the ritual cleansing of the Jews, each one able to contain approximately 120 liters. Jesus said to the servants: "Fill each one of these containers with water." And they filled them to the brim. "Now, draw some out," He said, "and take it to the chef in charge of the meal." They carried it to him.
When the chef in charge of the meal had tasted the water changed into wine - not knowing from where this wine had come, whereas the servants who had drawn the water knew very well - he called the bridegroom and said, "All men serve their best wine first, then the wine of poorer quality after, when the people have already been drinking; you, you have kept the best wine until now."
Such was what took place at Cana in Galilee, the first of several miracles that Jesus did. He manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him.
Here are some highlights of what we discussed, ideas that the Holy Spirit impressed upon these ladies as we worked through the passage...

Three days later... Three days after what?? Tracing back through the first chapter of John, it appears to be talking about three days after John the Baptist gave very clear testimony of who Jesus was. John the Baptist recognized the uniqueness of Jesus, the Lamb of God - and his attitude as he approached the Lord, or even as he answered questions about Jesus, was one of humility. John the Baptist described himself as "...one not worthy to even lace the sandals" of Jesus. Such humility should also be the attitude of our hearts each time we approach God's Word to learn more of our Lord. We can't study the Bible to justify our ideas, determined to learn what we think we want to learn. We must come humbly determined to see the Lord, as He reveals Himself, even if it is not what we want to see.

Next, we looked at the fact that Jesus' mother was invited to the wedding. Jesus and his disciples were invited also. Culturally, 1st century Jewish weddings were much more similar to how weddings are celebrated in Niger than how we "do" weddings in the US. As I explained the process in the States - guest list determined, specific number of invitations sent out, often specifiying which family members are included in the invitation, required responses, catered meal carefully calculated and prepared on the basis of those responses, etc., ... oh - the giggles and laughter - the ladies found that hilarious! Here, anyone walking by can show up at the wedding and expect to eat. Invitations are scattered about and there is no way to know who will or how many will show up for the celebration. And just as running out of wine at the wedding in Cana would have resulted in shame and embarassement for the host families, running out of food here also leads to shame and embarassement. I love how God gave these ladies something, right away something with which they could identify - for it involved them immediately in the story... not just the historical account of Jesus' first miracle, but something that they felt could actually happen to them...

The mother of Jesus came and said to Him... Mary knew she could come and share this need with Jesus. Mary obviously knew there was something very special about her son: the Promised One's coming birth announced to her by an angel, the incredible circumstances of His birth and other things that she would have seen as He grew up in her home. And we know she had the habit of gathering these things up and pondering them in her heart (Luke 2.19). But the Bible says that this was His first public miracle, so I don't really think it was His habit to go around miraculously correcting difficult or uncomfortable situations. I love the song, "Mary, Did You Know?" that we so often play around Christmas time, partly because it asks this very same question: she knew her son was special, but did she realize how special? I don't think even she could have recognized the significance of all that He had come to earth to do. Yet she knew Him well enough, and had sufficient confidence in Him that she knew she could bring this need before Him.

Jesus responded to her... I love the fact that Jesus did respond back to her. I don't know what answer Mary was expecting... I imagine that the one she received was probably not exactly the answer she was hoping for. But He heard her and He did respond. The things that concern us concern Him, too. And He will respond for the best. Mary somehow understood this, because while Jesus' response ("Dear lady, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come?") may not have been what she was hoping to hear - she trusted that He would do something and that what He would do would be right - thus she tells the servants, "Do that which He will tell you to do." One of the things that the ladies all remarked upon was that they'd never considered this side of Mary's faith in Jesus - and that it was both challenging and encouraging to them.

There were 6 stone vases... each able to hold about 120 liters. Jesus told the servants to fill them with water. They filled them up to the brim. As Jesus responds, as He prepares to work this miracle, stop and think for a moment about the extravagance. Sandy Winter wrote, "Jesus chose an act ...truly extravagant and exagerated.... We would have thought that Jesus would recommend moderation. What does it mean, then, that He responded so excessively? 720 liters of rich and intoxicating wine...? This, then, is the true question. What was He trying to demonstrate by His nearly scandalous extravagance in this, the inaugural event of His ministry,... especially knowing that later miracles would deal with desperate needs: healing, provision, security, life?"

We discussed this, and the ladies really weren't sure what to think, although the point was made that perhaps because there is not much "extravagance" in their lives, they are looking for God's extravagance in ways that would make sense to them, and perhaps are missing instances where He is responding extravagantly. We also wondered some if it wasn't just the fact that God loves to delight those He loves.....

Whereas the servants who had drawn the water knew very well... As I first began to study this passage, preparing for this study, this was the phrase that grabbed my heart. I want to see my Lord working miracles - thus I need to be in a place of humble service, doing that which He tells me to do.

He manifested His glory and His disciples believed in Him.
Could this relate right back to the point about how Jesus loves to delight with extravagant responses to the things that concern us? Think about the first time we read of a miracle where water is changed into something else. God, working through Moses, changed water into blood (thus no longer life-giving), and ushered in the law. This, the first miracle of Jesus, the Lamb of God who came to usher in salvation by grace, was water changed into wine in super-abundance. Those Jews familiar with the Scriptures would have understood that the this abundance of wine was a celebration because of the arrival of the Messiah. (see Amos 9.13,14 & Isaiah 25.6-10) And, of course, we can't forget Revelation 19 - a wedding supper no one will want to miss, the Wedding Supper of the Lamb.

Please note: Since my notes from Bible study are in French and Zarma, all Bible verses are either translated back into English from the French, La Sainte Bible, Louis Segond version, or from the Zarma, Irikoy Tira Hanna.
The quote from Sandy Winter is also translated back from my French notes, so it is more accurately a paraphrase this time around.

Filling vases picture from kidschristiansunite.com .
Marriage Supper of the Lamb from sacredtexts.com .


When I first began the Living Beyond Yourself bible study series a few months back, I can honestly say that the week I was most looking forward to was week 8, the week on gentleness. God first really began speaking to me about gentleness last summer, when I taught my first ladies' Bible study at church on Colossians 3. In one of the French commentaries I read several months back, it was mentioned that a big part of God's business is "crafting (as a master artist works his craft) gentleness" into our lives, because a big part of biblical gentleness is a teachable spirit, one willing to learn of God. I started praying then that God would teach me about gentleness, that He would make the gentleness of His Spirit a characteristic of my life. I know I've got so much still to learn about gentleness, and the methods He's chosen to teach me are not what I myself would have picked, but I hope and pray He is molding my heart into a teachable one that desires nothing but Him.

I remember the first time I ever heard someone teach on gentleness - and being surprised that it wasn't exactly what I imagined. In Living Beyond Yourself, Beth Moore includes a detailed description and then a beautiful "word picture" of what gentleness is:
1) Gentleness (praotes is the original Greek word) is an "inward grace of the soul, calmness toward God in particular. It is the acceptance of God's dealings with us considering them as good in that they enhance the closeness of our relationship with Him."
2) One of her daughters had allowed a huge tangled knot to grow in her hair, because each time she tried to comb it out herself, it hurt. Finally the knot got so big and so tangled, the girl called for her mother to help her. Beth writes:

I sat down beside her...and began to brush - one hair at a time! I tried to hold her hair as tightly as I could so that she would not feel it pull, but finally the knot was too close for me to fit my hand between it and her head. The tears streamed down her cheeks. I asked, "Do you want me to stop?" "No, Mommy. If you do, I'll never get it out. Keep brushing." It took us many minutes to get through those tangles, and those minutes seemed like hours. Totally submitted to untangling the mess she was in, she rested her head in my lap and endured the pain. Her tears were not those of resistance. They were tears of submission: knowing that the end was worth the means.

Maybe this word picture speaks to me so much because in our house, we've got 4 heads of long, blonde thick hair - and we don't have the luxury of conditioner every time it is washed. I've spent more minutes than I want to count untangling "rats' nests" (that's what my mom used to call them), unwrapping expired rubber bands, unwinding braids - while the child in question submitted gently or not so gently to what had to be done. The process moves along much more quickly, with fewer tears and less frustration on my part when the child sits still and quiet, allowing me to do what needs to be done. On the other hand, if the child in question decides to do a drama queen routine, crying and wailing, little siblings will come running to see what all the ruckus iss - making it impossible for me to work. If she does not sit still, turning her head, grabbing my hands, the brush or comb, wrapping her arms around her head in a self-protective gesture... it just lengthens the process and sometimes achieves nothing more than making the tangles worse.

When I picture God untangling the messes, knots and yucky places in my life, this word picture helps me to see exactly what my position and attitude should be before Him - I should rest from my typical resistance, and allow Him to do whatever it is that He deems necessary... with no strings attached. Unfortunately, I quite naturally tend to avoid, move away or attach strings. Instead of thinking, "God, continue what you are doing here and right now and I'll submit," I add, "... just don't bring any difficulty or suffering or change in this area - only touch that part of my life in a way I'm comfortable with..." Rather, I need to seek a teachable heart, such as is described by Jeremiah -
As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you.
Jeremiah 26.14
Butterfly photo from JanLill Resources.


CHEERING GOING ON AROUND OUR HOUSE THE LAST SEVERAL DAYS.... 'cause she's a big girl now... well, at least most of the time.

YEAH, Elsie Mae!

12 April 2008

One Unbelievably, Incredible Journey

I don't know what you think of when you think of the Antartic, but this painting, by Eric Shackleton, pretty well sums up what I've always imagined... cold, majestic...

And then I read an amazing book that made the Antartic seem not just forbidding, but ferocious...

Painting by Xavier Cortada
"He [Shackleton] was...an explorer in the classic mode -- utterly self-reliant, romantic, and just a little swashbuckling." (p. 11)

...ENDURANCE Shackleton's Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing. While we were back in the States for our vacation/Christmas holidays, we were spending more time traveling in the car than we typically do here in Niger. And, since the roads in the States are mostly decent, I CAN keep my eyes focused on a written page since... I am not hanging on for dear life as we bounce in and over potholes or slip and slide through thick patches of sand,... I am not so worried about slamming into the dash because Tim had to brake suddenly due to the unpredictable pedestrian, animal or vehiclular traffic,... so I often read to Tim and the family as we travel.

Polar explorer, Ernest Shackleton, planned an expedition - the Imperial Trans-Antartic Expedition. His goal was to be the first to traverse still unmapped and uncharted Antartica on foot. He knew his goal was an ambitious, even an "audacious" one, but he never dreamed just what a challenge it would be. He and his mostly hand picked crew departed England on the 8th of August, 1914. They sailed to Grytviken whaling station on South Georgia Island, where they made their final preparations. Then, on the 5th of December, 1914, they joyously and excitedly sailed away from the whaling station, anxious to begin the adventure before them... Just two days later, they encountered their first pack ice.

The Endurance herself was a masterpiece, the last of her kind, designed and constructed for this very purpose. Many of the sailors first found this ocean of fluid and moving ice and ice bergs fascinating. "...though the pack in every direction appeared to stretch in endless desolation, it abounded with life. Finner, humpback, and huge blue whales, some of them a hundred feet long, surfaced and sported in the leads of open water between the floes. there were killer whales, too, who thrust their ugly, pointed snouts above the surface of the ice to look for whatever prey they mmight upset into the water. Overhead, giant albatross, and several species of petrels, fulmars, and terns wheeled and dipped. On the ice itself, Weddell and crabeater seals were a common sight as they lay sleeping. And there were penguins, of course..." (p. 27)

Hoping to take advantage of the Antartic summer, Shackleton originally hoped to be on the continent by the end of December. The heavy pack delayed their progress, yet by January 15th, 1915, they were within approximately 200 miles of their destination. January 18, a northeasterly gale began to blow - 6 days later, after the wind had pushed and pressed the ice of the Weddell Sea against the land, the Endurance was trapped, held fast by a sea-sized ice cube. Or, as one of the sailors wrote, the boat was "...frozen, like an almond in the middle of a chocolate bar." (Orde-Lees, p. 30)

The men lived rather comfortably on their trapped boat for the next nine months, even surviving an Antartic winter before Shackleton was forced to give the order to "abandon ship" on October 27, 1915. The men worked quickly as they watched and listened to the pressure of the ice literally crush their home.

And thus began the real part of their adventure...

Photos taken by ship photographer, Frank Hurley.

...as they lived on the ice floes until April, when the warming weather and melting ice forced them to attempt to reach land in the much smaller lifeboats they'd brought with them. After a desperate sail through icy and stormy seas, they finally reached the forbidding coast of Elephant Island, where almost immediately, Shackleton and a small crew took the most sea-worthy of the lifeboats and departed, attempting to locate South Georgia Island and assistance for the remaining crew "camped on a precarious, storm-washed spit of beach, as helpless and isolated from the outside world as if they were on another planet." (p. 220)

This picture is a reconstruction of the James Caird, the boat that made that 870 mile journey carrying 6 men through some of the worst seas known to sailors (rolling waves 80-90 feet high, moving at speeds of 30 knots), navigating by the use of a sextant - taking sights when there was a break in the clouds - and gently peeling the pages apart of a soggy navigational books.

After a harrowing 2 week journey, they did reach South Georgia - the wrong side of the island and with a boat no longer sufficiently sea worthy to sail around the coast. Shackleton and two other men then crossed the 29 mile wide island on foot. It seemed a straightforward, simple proposition, but in the 75 years that men had used this island as a whaling base, it had never yet been accomplished. "A few of the peaks on Sough Georgia rise to somewhat less than 10 000 feet, which certainly is not high by mountain-climbing standards. But the interior of the island has been described by one expert as 'a saw-tooth thrust through the tortured upheaval of mountain and glacier that falls in chaos to the northern sea.' In short, it was impassable. Shackleton knew it -- and yet there was no choice." (p. 258)

Miraculously, Shackleton, Worsley, and Crean reach the whaling station on May 20, 1916, 21 months and 12 days after first departing from England.

Photo by Frank Hurley

And although it required several efforts and tons of persistance and perserverance, the rest of the crew (those on left on the uninhabited side of South Georgia and those who remained on desolate Elephant Island) were all finally rescued by August 30, 1916.

No where in this book does it mention that these were men of faith, or that they relied on God as they faced this incredible ordeal. However, as I read the book, God's hand of protection and preservation is unmistakeable. One of my favorite moments was when Shackleton gave the order to abandon ship: forseeing a harrowing trip over the ice pack, he greatly limited what the men were able to take with them. He himself, however, chose to tear out the flyleaf of the Bible given the expedition by Queen Alexandra, the 23rd Psalm, and the following passage from Job:

"Out of whose womb came the ice? And the hoary frost of Heaven, who hath gendered it? The waters are hid as with a stone. And the face of the deep is frozen."

I think my initial picture of the Antartic (remember the pic at the beginning of this post?) was way too neat and "pretty," wouldn't you agree?

And why am I writing about all this now? Maybe it is because a video documentary/re-enactment made by NOVA/PBS is due to be released May 2, 2008 and I can't wait to see it... Maybe it is because I'm not sleeping as well - the heat has been bothering me the past few nights - and blogging is more entertaining than tossing and turning... But maybe it is also a comfort as I'm wondering, "Is possible to die from the heat?" - that the same God who took care of these men nearly 100 years ago in unimaginable circumstances is the same God taking care of me right now, and thinking about all this puts my "hardships" into perspective...

For more information: http://www.south-pole.com/p0000097.htm , a general biography of Ernest Shackleton; http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/shackleton/1914/ ; and/or http://main.wgbh.org/imax/shackleton/index.html .

  • Re-enactment Photo Credits: 2001 WGBH and White Mountain Films, LLC, Reed Smoot Cinematograpy & Reed SmootPhoto.
  • Frank Hurley, photos, The Macklin Collection
  • WGBH, Photographers: Kelly Tyler and Stephen Venables, working with the co-production of White Mountain Films and NOVA/WGBN (PBS), Boston.

11 April 2008

Elsie Mae & Salamatou

Last month,I wrote about watching Elsie Mae and one of her little friends playing together at church. I finally have a photo! Check our ministry page for a little bit of video of the two girls!

08 April 2008

Can you guess who this dear lady might be?

Nadia and Anna thoroughly enjoy the time they go to spend with Mrs. White each week - we are so thankful for her little investment in the lives of our girls.

07 April 2008

Driving Distractions

I drove to the English service last night - and got stopped at my LEAST favorite traffic light in town. Now, there are several lights in town that are just never working and theoretical rules that are supposed to be followed at those intersections, when the light is not working (i.e. right of way to the person on the right...).

But what do you do when the light is sort of working, but wreaking havoc all at the same time? This particular light, going towards our house on the main road, shows both red and green at the same time. In the other direction, heading toward church, the light is red, goes completely blank for 15 - 20 seconds, comes back on red and after a few seconds changes to green. It never has a yellow cycle.

And you know, these lights would be nothing more than minor irritations, maybe a bit dangerous if you weren't paying close attention to what cross traffic was doing, and just typical of life in the capital of a developing country except -

- except - well, there are almost always police standing at this light and they can decide, on a whim, to stop someone who innocently runs it because they don't know its peculiarities. There really is no rhyme, reason or predictability to whom they stop. I know. Fortunately not from personal experience. But I now have had three different friends tell me it happened to them.

You'd better believe (since I'm STILL waiting for my replacement Nigerien driver's license... promised now for over a month... but don't get me started on THAT... *smile* ... or is that a *grimmace*) ...yes, you'd can guarantee that no matter how many angry drivers behind me honk on their horns when that light goes blank for those 20 seconds or so to pop back on red again, I sit there and wait........

06 April 2008

Making Tortillas

Our family loves to eat tortillas (soft tacos, quesadillas, chili casserole, fajitas, breakfast fajitas...) - but we can't just run to the grocery store and pick 'em up. We get to make them.

In recent weeks, this job has been assigned to Brendan. In recent weeks, it is a job that has required much less work, as we have friends who let us borrow their tortilla press (rolling them out by hand takes forever and is tiring, but we've also done it that way, too. Usually though, we'd just ask our house help to do it.)

Boys sure can be silly!!!

After we use the tortilla press, we actually cook them on the stove - it is much quicker that way.

And then we enjoy!

Quick disclaimer: These aren't actually pictures of dishes we've made - but for the sake of expediency, ones I found on line of recipes we've tried, using tortillas. Unfortunately, only very occasionally will our "plates" look this pretty, and when/if they do, they are expediently consumed before I get a chance to take a picture! Oh well... LOL!


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